When my mom was in her last few weeks of life, a close friend of mine suggested I record her voice. My friend had lost her mom to cancer years before, and she told me that, as time passed, it became hard for her to remember the sound of her mother’s voice. That had made her very sad. Imagine that feeling? Not knowing your mom’s voice … . So she suggested I make a recording of my mom saying she loved me.

Let’s connect around that and take a deep breath together. Breathe in the idea of being told you are truly loved by your mom. Mmmmm. What a great sensation.

I talked to my mom about this and I even bought her a digital recorder. While she agreed to do it, she never did. Looking back, I think it was just too hard for her to think of my being alone, without her, with my only solace being a digital recording of her voice. It was just too sharp for her to confront the realities of death and its effect on her children.

After my mom passed, I realized that I had a voicemail message from her saved on my phone. It was a simple message: “Hey Jay, it’s your mom. Welcome to Santa Clara. I’m looking forward to seeing you soon. I love you.” I treasured that recording and would listen to it often when I missed my mom. It was a bit like the Winnie-the-Pooh stuffed animal I carried around as a little boy — a tiny bit of love and safety; the recording was all I had left of my mom in the physical.

When I was in business I had always been a Blackberry man. I loved its raised keyboard. With my big fingers it was easy for me to strike the keys as I was writing the usual several hundred emails a day. After my “retirement,” my emails dwindled to a few per day, and I slowly — begrudgingly — decided to join the cool crowd and get an iPhone.

So I drove to the local AT&T store, bought an iPhone, and transferred my service. I left the store feeling really hip and got in my car admiring my new phone. I dialed my number and began to record my new voicemail message: “Hi, it’s Jason, leave me a message.” I’m a believer in short messages. As I hit the save button, I realized what I had just done. My heart sank, my eyes welled with tears … my mom’s voice was gone. Forever.

A few years later, on one of the anniversaries of my mom’s passing, a friend of hers posted a video of her on Facebook. I watched the video over and over again, not sure if it was really my mom. It looked like my mom, but I wasn’t sure of the voice. I had forgotten the sound of my own mother’s voice.

To those of you who haven’t lost a loved one, this sounds impossible. But it’s true. And it also applies to all the other areas of our life. We are creatures of repetition; we learn through this repetition and we remember what we practice daily. Just as importantly, we forget when that practice isn’t there anymore, and we adapt to whatever is present in our reality at the time.

This is the value of developing a daily practice.

We’re born as beautiful bundles of love & joy – tiny gifts of enormous love wrapped up in the packaging of a human body.

We are born as beautiful bundles of love and joy — tiny gifts of an enormous love wrapped up in the packaging of a human body. You know what I mean, right? Is there anything more beautiful than gazing into the eyes of your newborn baby? Or listening to the unreasonably joyful giggles of an infant? That’s what we are born into this world as … and it’s what we were always meant to be.

But we live in a society that reinforces the negative in a very consistent, pounding fashion — like waves wearing away at the shoreline of our psyche. The nightly news, the grumbling of our friends and co-workers, the daily grind of our lives; all slowly reinforcing an often negative view of life, and of ourselves. We start to believe that we are hopeless creatures dwelling in a hopeless world. We are shown that we are violent, angry, sick, depressed, and broken beings in need of saving by medicine, products, religion, and government. Just the way that I forgot the beautiful voice of the woman who cared for me my entire life … we forget the beautiful truth inside of how truly amazing we are.

That’s a sad reality … but it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s simply a matter of practice.

In order to maintain the truth of our beings — our loving nature, our beautiful purpose on this planet — front of mind, we have to practice and remind ourselves exactly who we are each and every day. In the same way that we are bombarded with messages that to smile we need a Coke, to connect we need a Bud, and to love we need a blue pill, we have to remind ourselves each and every day that we can smile, and connect, and love just because we are who we are.

In my life I look at this like a three-legged stool: my body, my mind, and my spirit. I have developed a practice to nurture these three legs of my life. I like this metaphor, not because I actually own a three-legged stool (I’m not even sure I have seen one), but because it’s a three-pronged approach that helps keep me balanced in my natural loving state amidst the noise of the world.

My body: My friend and teacher, Dr. Bruce Lipton, taught me to look at my body as a community of cells — 50 trillion of them working together to form what I call my body. He also taught me that a healthy body is the result of happy cells. What makes a cell happy? Nutrients. And when cells are happy (receiving the nutrients they need), they create a happy body, which in turn tells the brain to be happy, too.

Practice: I try to fill my body with as much nutrient-dense food each day as I can. The easiest, most efficient and effective way to consume nutrients is green vegetable and fruit juice. One of my favorite recipes is green lemonade. Juice 1 head of romaine, 5 stalks of kale, 1-2 Fuji apples, and 1 lemon. You can add just a bit of ginger if desired to give it some zing.

My mind: My teacher, Dr. Vera Dunn, taught me that our emotional state is the product of deep programming from childhood — an accumulation of all the messages we received in the womb and as a little child. Those messages were meant to keep us safe, but they often end up limiting us and creating a programming that makes us feel less than we are. We can counter that by being present in the current moment through deep breathing and fully occupying our body.

Practice: Deep breathing, stretching, and moving my body. I practice a short set of yoga each morning accompanied by long deep breaths. This resets my system to a balanced state. I do Kundalini yoga, but there are so many wonderful ways to breathe, stretch, and move. Keep it simple … choose a few stretches that feel wonderful for your body and start your day by stretching into your body glove.

My spirit: When our spirit gets muffled, we start to believe all of the exterior noise is real. My teacher Guru Singh taught me the value of quiet meditation as a tool to experience who I am in a larger context than Jason Garner the Job, or Label … instead, he taught me to look at Jason Garner, The Cosmic Being. When you have a tool to expand beyond your circumstances, it’s much easier.

Practice: At least 11 minutes of meditation a day. We tend to make meditation out to be something woo-woo or solemnly scary — it’s not. Just sit down, close your eyes, and enjoy the quiet time. Don’t worry if your mind is thinking, that’s just what it does. I like to focus on my heart and just feel it filling with love, and then pumping that love to my body. Expanding and contracting, expanding and contracting, over and over again.

I often add a final touch to my daily practice and it goes back to the voice of my mom. After her passing, I came to believe that everything I believed and loved about my mom lived on through her son, through my life and my love. In that way, her final resting place wasn’t the ocean where we sprinkled her ashes, but in my heart. And so each morning as I’m doing my practice, I imagine my mom’s love filling my being. As I drink my green juice I feel her warmth nurturing my cells, as I stretch I experience her wisdom circulating through my body, and as I sit in quiet meditation I know, silently, that she’s with me.

I invite you to develop a daily practice to reinforce the beauty that is the true you. There is no magic formula or perfect answer, just lots of tools. Try some on for yourself, see which tools work for you, and then make them your consistent habit. That is the true definition of self-love, like the warm voice of your mother saying, “I love you.”

Big hugs of love,

Jason

 

 

  1. wendy st. john-devereaux says:

    good sunday morning, Jason…..this was a wonderful post…

    how sad that you had forgotten your mother’s voice…..but please know that she is with you always…..

    many people do not know, or have never known, a mother’s love, so you are blessed in that….
    ============

    ian and I try to be mindful of what we eat, we do breathing exercises and yoga, and we meditate….we also have several spiritual practices……we project various positive words and positive energies out into the world….

    we believe that proper food, proper breathing, proper movement, meditation, etc can all help person right down to a very cellular, DNA level……
    ============
    thank you again for another wonderful posting

    much love and huge hugs
    wendy and ian

  2. Tricia Raines says:

    Thank you, as always, for your wisdom & sound advice. But a special thanks for “Don’t worry if your mind is thinking, that is just what it does.” I have ADHD, & have always found meditation a mystery, getting hung up on the ‘clear your mind’ aspect of it. When told that, immediately my mind says, ‘clear your mind?!? How do you do that? How do you not think?”…etc. (And usually all at once, overlapping). I have, therefore steered away from trying, though I feel certain that I could benefit from it. So thank you, Jason, for giving my hyperactive brain permission to be itself while I attempt to meditate!

    • Jason Garner says:

      Thank you Tricia for sharing. I believe that meditation is a tool for self-love and in loving ourselves we try to accept the unique way that each of us is put together versus judging and trying to fix ourselves as if we are broken. A form of meditation you may really enjoy is the use of “koans.” There is a great teacher named John Tarrant http://www.tarrantworks.com who you may find valuable. Big hugs.

  3. Such a beautiful article I miss my Mother she was born in September and she passed on in December 23 years ago and to me it’s as if it were yesterday.. I love all your blogs she was only 59 I am 57 she was the Mother of 8 she had her first child at 16 her 8th at 34 ..I loved your exercise on writing down your Mothers name and Grandmothers name and how they felt that was really healing for me. I did some healing and forgiving work through some 12 step work before but never like that exercise, Amazing and healing! Thanks for all your Blogs ..I’m looking through different eyes and a lighter heart everyone can use a lighter heart in this world of caring so many burdens we all need to find a way to lighten the load ..
    Thank you Again .
    One who needs all ways too Heal I can’t do it Alone !

  4. Jean Middleton says:

    What I wouldn’t give to hear her voice just one more time. To feel her touch. To dry her tears.

    I cherish a lady from our church who has timeless beauty, and a smile that brightens the path before her. I told myself over and over that she reminded me of a dear friend who is 87-years-young. It wasn’t until last week when we had a double date, with our husbands, when Miss Frances walked back from the buffet line and I suddenly realized I was looking into the soul of my mother. The ‘coincidence’ being that my Mother, who I lost at age 30, would have been 82-years-young this year… We are celebrating a fellowship dinner tomorrow night, and I will be offering a cake with 82 candles to this beautiful soul to celebrate her life. I’m certain that after reading this story that I will listen even more intently to her voice. As I share a moment, eye-to-eye. It will be a God Moment for me.

    You have the ability to tell stories for others. It’s a gift, a blessing. I am so blessed.

    • Jean,
      Thanks so much for sharing this. How wonderful to find the spirit of someone you thought lost long ago in someone new that you cherish! I’m certain your mother is smiling at that! Namaste!

  5. Jason, my mom died 10 months ago. It was sudden and we didn’t know for a couple of days. I miss her phone calls, voice messages and the lilt of her voice when she answered the phone and recognized my voice. What caught me off guard was in your post, your mom saying welcome to Santa Clara. I grew up there and my mom died in the family home there. Good thing you reminded us to breathe. I am trying to breathe in her voice through my complete and total sorrow, my loss of her presence.

    • Thank you for sharing Gloria. I’m sending you big hugs of compassion and love. I have many blog posts on my site about my experiences with my mom’s passing and the special place she holds in my heart center. You are not alone. Big hugs – Jason

  6. I lost my mom to cancer back in January 2007. I had an mp3 of her last phone call to me that I managed to save for all these years, and then I went to look for today, Mother’s Day 2015, and I wanted to listen to it again, and sadly, I can no longer find it. I guess it got deleted somehow, unintentionally, and now her voice is gone forever, and sadly, I can no longer remember exactly how she sounded. I wish now I had made many back up copies of it so this could never happen.

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