A Guiding Heart

There is within each of us a better part of who we are, and who we can become. That part of us is the best of us. It is waiting, ready to guide us, help us, and show us who we really are.

A while ago, I received a phone call from my mother, and with the sensitivity of an angry bull she blurted out the three words that will haunt me until my dying breath: “I have cancer.” There was a stunned silence. She went on to explain the doctors had advised her to get her affairs in order. There would be no treatment. It was too late, she explained.

My mother and I had a strained relationship. She had remarried a man after breaking up my childhood family and had from that day forth put him first. I had lived with them for several years until the mental and verbal abuse became intolerable. I left home at the age of fifteen and was determined to make it on my own. For the next ten years I lived in survival mode making one mistake after another, learning my life lessons very early. By the time I was 25 I’d lived several lifetimes, it seemed.

Something came over me when I heard my mother’s tragic words, spoken with so filled with grief, her hope a foregone thought. In that instant, I was overcome with love, compassion and I forgave my mother in my heart for every terrible thing I experienced in her care and at her hands. In just a few short seconds, what had restrained me for years disappeared. I did what I do best. I went into action and began calling everyone, hospitals nearby, far away, in different countries. I was determined to keep calling until someone said yes.

Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto was my main focus. When you call there you get one of several dozen operators whose job it is to schedule appointments. The woman that took my call was named “Ann.” Although Ann said that there was a six month waiting list, I decided to call Ann again. Then again. And again and so forth. Each day I called and asked to speak to Ann and each day I asked her for an appointment. I could hear the frustration mounting in her voice until the day she barked, “I said no! Why do you keep calling?” There was an indeterminate number of moments passed, and then I replied, “she’s my mother, what would you do if she was yours?” Another silence, more eerily quiet than the one before it. I had been holding my breath, expecting to hear the connection had been cut after she hung up the call. Instead, I heard the words, “have her here at 8:00am tomorrow morning.” I felt like I’d won the lottery. “Pack your bags Mom, I got you in!!” I could barely contain my excitement.

I drove four hours to Windsor to pick her up. I found her curled up on the loveseat, a mere whisper of the energetic woman I remembered. She lifted her head and smiled and I helped her up. Then, my mother did something I would never forget. She hugged me. She had never just hugged me ever before. That just wasn’t something we did. It felt uncomfortable, but nice. I could smell the clean, floral smell of her, my mom.

The next morning we drove to Toronto and found Princess Margaret Hospital. I had my arms full, carrying a large bouquet of flowers as we neared the intake area. “Good Morning! May I help you?” the receptionist asked, looking longingly at the beautiful armful of colourful petals. “Yes, is Ann here?” I saw a heavyset older woman suddenly raise her head from her desk and look in our direction, a faint look of recognition on her face. Our eyes locked together. She looked from me to my mother and then at the flowers I was carrying. I smiled hopefully. She got up and walked toward us tentatively. “Hi! Ann? I’m the daughter that kept calling you.” I gestured towards my mother. “And this is my mom, Renata.” The three of us shook hands, tears welling up in our eyes. Wow. What an incredible moment. 

An hour later, sitting in the sterile doctor’s office, my mother asked me what she had done to deserve a daughter like me. She couldn’t seem to grasp how I’d simply forgiven her. I smiled and simply stated that she was my mother. The doctor came in and was very surprised that we’d gotten an appointment with her, as the waitlist was backed up for more than six months. My mother and I shared a private smile.

Five years later, my mother took her last breath and died in my arms. Not the three months the doctors initially gave her, FIVE YEARS. In that time, we were able to laugh together, love, and get to know one another. My mother got to have a relationship with two of her granddaughters and got to meet my third daughter as well, Eve Renata. None of this would have happened without forgiveness and a little hope, a four-letter word that can move mountains.

The moral of the story? Forgive to live. You’ll never regret it, but you most definitely will regret it if you don’t.

Janet-Lynn’s “Live Impossibly” Newsletter

Dear Friend,

Welcome to my “Live Impossibly” newsletter. This is the first of many inspirational messages I will be sharing with you and yours. Please enjoy, be moved, and most of all, be inspired to move towards the impossible, however that shows up for you in your life.

There’s no better time than now… to Live Impossibly

By

Janet-Lynn Morrison

Have you ever found yourself in an impossible situation? Whether impossibly good or bad, you just can’t believe its reality? Throughout my life, I have seen both sides of these spectrums. I’ve known unreachable highs, and unspeakable lows. Looking back, my life in a backwards sequence, it makes sense to be where I am today. 

We are not defined by our past, but we should be grateful for every lesson we learn along the way. Forgiving those who have hurt us, including ourselves, and letting go of the hurt is the first step to creating the life of your dreams. I’m so grateful to have learned this lesson. I’ve implemented it, and I’ve seen my life transform.

Now as an international bestselling author, I see things differently. I see my life as one day. The day I’m living. We never know when our lives might change forever, and often it happens in a blink of an eye. To quote a few of my favourite words from my book, “Yesterday is in the past, tomorrow isn’t promised, but forever is today.” We have today. It’s so true. I know it’s been done to say live every day like it’s your last, but it is no less relevant after the millionth time you hear it.

As we walk our path and our experiences unfold, we will undoubtedly find ourselves at low moments, moments that seem impossible to ever get past. In these moments of desperation, we can forget that the cup is refillable.  When I was fifteen, I was not able to live at home and my focus became simply figuring out where I’d be safe to lay my head down to sleep at night. 

I was hungry and lost and had nothing but the clothes on my back. You always think you’ll recognize rock bottom when you hit it. But, if that were true, then I’d already hit it many times over. But true rock bottom came as a complete surprise to me. I was curled up under a park bench. Cold rain pelted between the slats and drenched my shivering body. In that moment, I realized that rock bottom isn’t so much something you feel as something you don’t. Never in my life had I felt so hopeless. And I knew I had two choices: give up or get up. That night changed my life. I wanted to survive. It wasn’t easy, but I did it and it’s because of that night that I’m the person I am today.

You see, it all comes down to making a choice. Deciding what you want your life to be. Once you start seeing all the good around you, you can begin to transform your life and create the life of your dreams. Anything is possible, even the impossible.  Living impossibly is all about experiencing the beauty of life. Every little detail of being a living, breathing human being should be celebrated.  

You might at first think that this means jumping out of a plane or swimming with sharks, both of which I’ve done. But actually a much rarer way of living is living impossibly with everyday life. Experiencing the impossible with your daily tasks. Adding beauty to your life simply by choosing to see it. We live every day with an internal clock. This clock never stops ticking. And we all eventually run out of time. If you are shaken by this thought, ask yourself… are you living? Truly living. Are you squeezing joy out of this life, are you celebrating it and feeling it fully? 

Feel the energy of the earth, the air around you, the people walking by. By living impossibly, I don’t miss a thing. The good, the bad, the big, the small, the things right in front of you, and the things you can’t see. 

If you don’t like your life, ask yourself if you’re noticing everything. Did you notice the intricately designed, living person who smiled at you today? The beautiful privilege of safety and shelter within your home? That incredible gift of a breath you just took? It’s easy to forget these things, or small things like birdsong, the feeling of walking on grass, or the magical nothingness taste of water. Living impossibly isn’t about jumping out of a plane. It’s about seeing the extreme beauty and magic that is life. A quote I will never forget is from The Great Gatsby. “I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald. 

Life does not begin and end with purpose, people, and your own mind. Because after all, isn’t the mere existence of life the most impossible concept known to man? It will forever remain the great mystery. There are endless possibilities to life on earth. We only have to choose to see it. 

As a writer, I hope that my words resonate with solutions towards leading a more desirable life. I truly believe that my experiences have shaped me and have taught me to never give up. What I have been through can be counted as a million blessings or failures, and it is perspective that has become my guiding light.  Choosing your battles, sorrows and joys, is all in your hands.  It all starts with one breath, exactly how we came into this world: One breath. One Chance. One life. Live it. Live Impossibly.

Apple Podcasts: Healing With Forgiveness with Janet-Lynn Morriso‪n‬

Is there someone in your life you need to forgive so that you can truly move forward in life?

🎙In this episode of POSITIVE CHANGES: A SELF-KICK PODCAST, Shelley F. Knight talks to author of Surviving Seventeen, and Forever is Today, Janet-Lynn Morrison.

👥 Join Shelley and Janet-Lynn as they discuss overcoming childhood memories, forgiveness, and positive changes.

Click on the image to go to Apple Podcasts:

Probus Caledon Presentation

Inspiring women, from all walks of life, to stand up for yourselves and your beliefs to pursue and achieve your dreams.

A group of senior women from the PROBUS Club of Caledon invited Janet-Lynn to be a guest presenter, via zoom, to tell her story on inspiring women, from all walks of life, to stand up for themselves and their beliefs, and to pursue and achieve their dreams.

PROBUS is volunteer-based, non-profit, non-political, non-sectarian fellowship organization with over 4,000 clubs worldwide whose goal is to encourage healthy minds and bodies and socializing with other retirees in the community.