Jen

My favorite poet, Mary Oliver asks "Tell me, what is it you plan to do. with your one wild and precious life?". My answer is simple, I plan to share love and support with those around me.

We all face challenges and circumstances that we may not believe we choose or control. However, we do control our ability to reach beyond isolation.

My background with depression began at three months old, when my father was killed in an accident while drilling a water well for my grandfather in rural southern Colorado, he was 23 years old, my mother was 21 and had just given birth to her first child. This was the beginning of my understanding of loss and the complications related to inheriting money for the death of a parent. For me, having money created a huge sense of guilt and responsibility. At a young age, I learned to care for those around me by cleaning the house and making meals, I was 10. I studied English Literature at the University of Central Oklahoma. Inspired by my high school English teacher, I believe that my greatest gift is my voice. My favorite stories are nonfiction, the stories of real people struggling and then finding their inner strength. I admire the tenacity of the human heart even more than the majesty of the stars.
I love to work, especially amongst the trees. I remember what is important to me when I am free, breathing the fresh air. I was fortunate enough to have worked as a Type 1 Wildland Firefighter for the National Forest. I also led the Recreational Trail Crew in the Carson National Forest and helped build the trail to the highest point in New Mexico, Wheeler Peak at 13,161 feet. At 30, I was exhausted. I decided to move to India. I didn't know how to cope with my depression and anxiety anymore. I needed help. I went to a yoga class, found a teacher, made arrangements to study at Shri Kali Ashram for one year, and paid in advance. I learned the most critical lesson when I asked the guru "Please, tell me what I need to do to be happy?" He answered " I cannot tell you what you need, you must learn to trust yourself." I was devastated. I wanted a chore, or a mantra, a pamphlet, something, anything other that to have to trust myself.

Day by day, I remember and forget what it means to feel love, wholeness, gratitude, and forgiveness. Presently, I work at a coffee shop I really like in the middle of town called the World Cup. The logo is a picture of the Greek god Atlus, carrying a cup of coffee the size of the globe on his back, it's seriously good espresso. I work at this coffee shop because I fell in love with the people. Listening to stories and making jokes with people makes me smile even when I'm depressed. Eventually, I'll talk to the right person and they will remind me of what I already know. I would like to practice being that person for you.

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