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Hello divine souls Djemilah Birnie here with becoming the big me. I'm so excited for this special segment of the becoming the big me podcast. This section of the podcast is dedicated towards sharing the stories of conquest for some incredible individuals. They are also featured in my latest book, becoming the big, the great conquest.
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In this section of the podcast, we will dive deep into each of their stories and their journeys and their hardships from addiction, PTSD, loss of loved ones and children.
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This segment of the podcast is dedicated towards sharing their stories and in sharing their journeys not only of the hardships but sharing how they overcame.
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To learn more about the author's behind the stories that you're going to hear, go to the great conquest.com and if you would like to purchase a copy of the great conquest book, you can go to bit.li slash great conquest. And without further ado, let's dive into the amazing journeys.
Unknown Speaker 1:34I wanted a baby at:
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And life did not give me that. I did not meet the love of my life until 39. And for all the women out there, you know that number 40 haunts us sometimes. And so during this time when I'm looking and searching and all this kind of stuff, I was like, Okay, this must not be what's going to happen for me. I had to focus on my career, what am I going to do? And so um, I was involved in the corporate world and moved up the career ladder really fast. I totally changed careers from being the corporate trainer was the last
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Kind of corporate type job that I held, I went from that to being a licensed massage therapist totally, you know, totally opposite.
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And two different worlds
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and moved, you know, numerous times all by myself doing it on my own. And then finally, when I was here in Nashville, reconnected with an old friend from high school, and through Facebook, the infamous Facebook, you know, and so we dated for a while, I knew he had some health problems, I knew there would be a heart transplant along the way, but I was young and committed and determined, and we were going to get through that transplant, there's a year of healing major healing the following year after that surgery, and then we were going to move forward. And life didn't work that way.
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within just a few months after the transplant, his body rejected the heart, and he passed away. So here I am, at this tender age of 39 is the way I like to describe it, and he's gone.
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And it was my love it was it was my dream. And and then it was also this just wonderful human being that I had known for so many years that I lost. And, you know, I had to face 40 coming around and face the fact there was a very strong chance I would never get to give birth, there goes for kids and all of a soccer tournament, it's you know, and, and I didn't know what would be about marriage, and maybe eventually down the road, I could, you know, fall in love again, but the kid thing was overwhelming. And so I'm, once again, I pour back into my career, like, Okay, if love isn't gonna happen, it's gonna be all about my career. And what is evolved in my now 10 years, August 23, actually 10 years, I'm, I'm at a point now where I can have a wonderful career and help others do likewise. And have a balance of love, and joy and family, and,
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you know, social life and all those kinds of things. And so that's kind of what I've used to help my clients today. So there's my backstory. Okay, so when, when you first met your fiance, you were you were in the corporate world at this moment. Um, when, when we first we had met in high school, met, but when, when we first started dating, at that point, I was a massage therapist, and I was getting my master's in marriage and family therapy.
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And so, yes, I've also been a licensed therapist as well. Um, and so and I was at the, you know, I was in grad school at that time. Okay. And, and y'all work together to to long before you embarked on this transplant journey together.
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Yes, it was very soon within our relationship. And we just went at it as a team.
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Yeah, and I know that that must have been extremely challenging to navigate. Going through that with someone that you loved. Can you could, uh, let us in on some of the emotions that you were feeling during this time?
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Um, when we first took it, you know, we were dating and when we got engaged, and when we're together, it was just this excitement, this pure joy, you know, this.
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There's some of this Oh, it's finally happened. And then it's, oh my gosh, I can't believe it's him. You know, we were friends in high school. Neither one of us thought it could ever be. And I'm like, Oh my gosh, it's really him. And we're doing this together. And, um,
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it was he was the sweetest, most tender man. And he his humor was very intelligent. I loved his sense of humor. And I would never tell him this there. Often times I'd have to go look up and research stuff after he says something so that I can fully get it because he was so sharp. He was an attorney. And, and so we we share all these laughs We share all this time together. We share the sense of you know, yes, we're getting married later in life, but we're gonna do this life thing together. And then his body just didn't cooperate.
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And I remember that night, coming back home, from the hospital. He wasn't with me.Unknown Speaker:
And I remember standing in the closet. And I was like, Oh my God, he's, he's not going to put these clothes back onUnknown Speaker:
it like, he's never going to turn around, I'm we're looking at the bed, I'm like, he's never going to be in this bed again. And I just walked through the, our home, just looking at all these things and was just like, it was this level of shock that, like, hit the pit of my stomach. And I just was like, I can't believe this has happened.Unknown Speaker:
I remember I remember leaving the hospital and we were heading home, my family was with me, and they were taking me home and driving by a gas station. And people were pumping gas. And I wanted to roll down the window and yell at them. What are you doing? Don't you know, the world is ended? How can you just be pumping gas. And you know, it's just their everyday life, they didn't know what was going on with me and you know, random car on the street, that just remember this, it was just so shocking. And just soUnknown Speaker:
it's like a gut punch. And I just couldn't believe everybody else's life was gonna go on in his was gone. And I felt like mine was ended, I may still physically be alive, but my life felt like it had ended.Unknown Speaker:
And then it can feel like that when you are experienced a loss. So how did you navigate that?Unknown Speaker:
a lot of self work.Unknown Speaker:
Um, I'm a, of course, you know, being a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, I'm a big believer in therapy. I'm also I have had coaches, aUnknown Speaker:
spiritual director, I had a circle of friends that came together, and I call them my angels. And it's as if their angel wings all came together. And I got to land right there in the middle of them. And they nurtured me, they cared for me, they let me talk about the let me not talk about it.Unknown Speaker:
And that was, that was a huge aspect of it. But then my own work was the other huge aspect in that I had to go through the process of getting to a place of acceptance of this is really what was this was really my life story. And there was a lot of anger at God a lot of anger for a couple of years. AndUnknown Speaker:
getting to a place where I could, I'mUnknown Speaker:
out, you know, I'll be honest, I'm just like, dude, get out with God, there were some ugly conversations, and it was intense. And in the whole time, I just felt like God's Spirit universe, whatever word you want to use, I'm not married to one word, but like that power greater than myself, just held me and was like, I can take it all I can take all this anger. And so just letting that happen. And not pushing it down, not shoving it, um, there's a degree to which any person grieving, live somewhat of a masked life, because everybody else has moved on a lot faster than the person that was, you know, intimately close with this person. And so you're always a little bit of keeping up a little bit of moving on, I'm fine to like a small percentage.Unknown Speaker:
But it takes a long time. And when you can allow that to happen, and not realize it's not going to be the entirety of your life. You just let it evolve.Unknown Speaker:
And then I also was bound and determined that this pain was not going to be wasted.Unknown Speaker:
I mean, I went through hell, to be honest, and I was like, this pain is not going to be wasted. So I turned in, I used it and for a long time, I was a grief therapist, you know, um, I didn't start that work till about two, three years after he passed because I wanted to make sure I was a clean vessel, doing that work, but, um, since then, I have used that experience and that,Unknown Speaker:
that time of having to really get present with myself. I had to get to know myself intimately. I had to be honest and real about what was happening in myUnknown Speaker:
Life, I had to make peace with certain dreams not happening. And then I had to say, okay, what's next, and keep putting my foot forward. And I was blessed with great life coach, I was blessed with a great therapist that helped me just kind of keep transitioning on into the next thing.Unknown Speaker:
But I think at the, at the core of everything, there was the determination that this was not going to be the end of my story. It just wasn't.Unknown Speaker:
And I have this belief that that life hands us the hardest obstacles to teach us the biggest lessons. Can it? Was there some large lessons that you learned through this journey? And can you share that some of those top lessons that you learned?Unknown Speaker:
Yeah, but um, I came away with kind of three big lessons.Unknown Speaker:
And the first one is grace.Unknown Speaker:
Everyone, including myself, is doing the very best they can with what they've got.Unknown Speaker:
And grace to allow,Unknown Speaker:
Wherever I am, in that moment, to be where I'm at, where I'm at, um, I have a history of being very shame driven, that I'm not enough or not, you know, I have achieved enough, haven't done enough, haven't become enough, all those things. And so for me coming out of this was grace. And then I'm doing the best I can, with what I've gotten, where I'm at is quite alright. Second big lesson I came away with was gratitude. AndUnknown Speaker:
this really helped me look at and realize that, yes, we have these dark experiences in life. But there's also equal and opposite light in our lives. At the same time, a close friend of mine had had me start a gratitude practice. After he passed away, she had done that one, her husband passed. And she said, they they're good days, you don't want to do it. But do it anyway, come up with three things, she does not care if it's as simple as warm fuzzy socks, or as deep and profound as the love you had for him that you're grateful for that. But it works, gratitude works. And like I said, it really just helps bring in the light into so much darkness when you're going through these big obstacles. And the third lesson for me was growth, there's always room for more, there's alwaysUnknown Speaker:
a next experience. And as long as I would allow myself to keep growing, I felt like I could keep thriving, and going forward. And I love that you have really exemplified the growth aspect, especially when it comes to navigating the different career changes that you have taken and also moving halfway across the country alone. Like those are big, big growth steps.Unknown Speaker:
I think our connections, something's happened. Oh, are we there? There, I can hear you now.Unknown Speaker:
I was just saying that you have exemplified growth up with the changes in your career and how you have allowed your career to grow with you, right? Like you, you transferred from grief coaching into transitional coaching. Now, how can you walk us through some of that growth with your career? And how that how that shifted over time?Unknown Speaker:
Yes, it's funny you asked that because just last night, I was I was counting up my careers that I've had at this point.Unknown Speaker:
And I was like, Jenny, I think you've had about five or six so far. And and I'm one of those is okay, I'm not a you know, I'm not a person that gets into something stays 2030 years and gets the Rolex at the end.Unknown Speaker:
And up don't think many are in our society at this point. But so I started out. Right after college, I worked in a nonprofit, and helped them with their national newsletter. And I realized nonprofit was very profitable. So I left that and went to sales and did sales for a while. And then I was in corporate training, which I loved and did a great job there workedUnknown Speaker:
for what is now part of horizon, it was air touch paging at the time, their paging division, they were merged and formed with others to form horizon. So I'd worked there and then I worked in corporate training for the United Methodist publishing house here in Nashville work with their national bookstore chain.Unknown Speaker:
Travel accounts across the country,Unknown Speaker:
teaching customer service and sales and leadership within their store chain. And then there came a day when I couldn't do corporate america anymore. And I went total opposite. So I became a licensed massage therapist. And, um, so I went from this past pace, you know, sales quotas, and I didn't have a sales quota, but you know, having others training others who are working with sales, quotas, and pressure ofUnknown Speaker:
deadlines and mental that, to listen to zen music, you know, watching people, and you know, that kind of experiencing it that right there was, you know, life changing, because it got me really more present in my life, and really started to have a great relationship with myself and with others. And so,Unknown Speaker:
as a massage therapist, I'm working with folks, and I realize that I'm only getting half the story, I believe that our physical stuff and our emotional stuff and our mental self, our spiritual stuff, they're all intertwined. And I'm clients would come back with the same areas that were had tension and pain. And so I was like, something's in there something, I feel likeUnknown Speaker:
emotional stress, whatever is in there. So I went and got my master's in counseling. It's an Marriage and Family Therapy. And I studied that route, because I believe whatever family we grew up in, whether it was one on the streets, or a blended family, or traditional looking unit, all those impact how we do life in the future. That's just where we learn. That's where we learn how to do money, that's how we learn how to do conflict, that's how we learn how to do affection, all those things. So um, so I combined this experience of working with people on the physical plane with working with them on their emotional and mental health. And at the same time, I was studying Reiki or a Keeling, qabalistic, healing, all this kind of stuff,Unknown Speaker:
to also work with folks in their spiritualUnknown Speaker:
plane. So not all that comes together at this point in my life. And now I serve as a transitions coach, helping people navigate big changes in their life. And I'm so excited that I've had all those past careers, because all that lays the foundation work for what I'm doing now, and I can work with folks, you know, from various different backgrounds or different experiences they're having. So, um, you know, it's just been a fun ride through all these different careers. I would say it gives you such a dynamic experience from both the traditional setting to the you know, moreUnknown Speaker:
out there, that's not the right word, but the the healing modalities and those different practices. And it really, something that I love about that is because a lot of times it's either either one, and one or the other. And this gives such a holistic approach to transition. So I'm curious, Jenny, given, you know, all of the knowledge and everything that you've accumulated cumulated Now, if you were to be able to go back in time, and to give yourself some advice, like, right, when you were going home from the hospital, is there is there any advice that you would have told yourself from your perspective now,Unknown Speaker:
I would tell myself to not isolate during the pain,Unknown Speaker:
to healing happens in relationship.Unknown Speaker:
And so whether it's relationship with other people that are grieving relationship with family relationship with friends, a faith community, a spiritual community, whatever it might be, and many times I'm just like, Well, nobody wants to see this ugliness. Nobody wants to see this pain. And I would just hide out at home and would go to work and come straight home and you know, grocery shop way late at night when people aren't the store, things like that. And it did nothing, but keep me in my pain, where that was all I saw. And so I'd say to myself, get out and go be with people. It happens in relationship.Unknown Speaker:
Yeah, we can be our own biggest enemies sometimes just inside of our own mind.Unknown Speaker:
Oh, so true.Unknown Speaker:
So So what what's what's sort of the future for you What excites you now what motivates you what gets you going?Unknown Speaker:
Oh my goodness, life is just fun, life is great.Unknown Speaker:
Um, I love what I do for a living. I love seeing people come out of these hurt places, or stuck places or experiences of isolation that I've had, and help them get to this place of freedom in a place where they're thriving, and where they're experiencing all kinds of joy.Unknown Speaker:
Other things that motivate me areUnknown Speaker:
I have some great family members and precious niece and nephew, they're young, and older ones as well. But working with these, you know, be with my young ones, and watching them grow. And they're, you know, we joke into their kind of my adopted kids. AndUnknown Speaker:
I just, I just love every experience, I think what excites me is thatUnknown Speaker:
it's okay, that life is not all one way.Unknown Speaker:
There's a place for everything. And for us to know what salt tastes, when for us to know what sugar tastes like, we got to know what salt tastes like, for us to know what life feels like, we got to know what dark feels like. And so I just get excited about this freedom that I have now that I don't take pain so seriously anymore. And I don't take fear or being stuck so seriously. And I can work through it and use it for good.Unknown Speaker:
I think what everyone wants to know, is have you are you happily embracing the single life with your career? Or where did your headspace go after that, because I know that you had a set vision and dream?Unknown Speaker:
Well, I, I didn't date much for quite a few years after Robin passed away.Unknown Speaker:
It was a little hard to match that he broke the mold kind of,Unknown Speaker:
um, you know, I started 2020 and I was like, I am getting back out there. I'm ready today, I've you know, good lord knows it's been long enough. And I'm just really ready for a high quality relationship. And then COVID happenedUnknown Speaker:
to many places, um, but where I'm at now is like, I I'm still single, I am dating and having a fabulous time.Unknown Speaker:
Some men come into my life for a short period of time, maybe one or two days, some men come into my life for a longer period of time, a couple of months, whatever. And I believe that there is someone that's coming into my life, that will be long term. And that's just going to evolve when it evolves. And so that is exciting, that's going well and it has its place and then my work is going well in it has its place. It just no work no longer defines me. I use it as a definition to cover up the fact that I never get to get married and have kids. And so who cares.Unknown Speaker:
I didn't get to have kids I didn't get get married for Okay, it's not a big deal as I used to make it you know, I could definitely feel this lightness in your energy around that.Unknown Speaker:
And which is awesome because that's where we find happiness, right is what we just say if it comes it comes okay.Unknown Speaker:
When I just back up and let the universe evolve, as it does great things happen.Unknown Speaker:
It really does and and when you choose to live in your truth which you have done and you are doing, and I love that you're not afraid to change and shift your careers because that is something that we can get very caught at are stuck into the career mindset like I have to stay in this one thing for my whole life. And, and you have allowed yourself to be fluid with life with the changes. It hasn't been easy. Obviously, you have had to learn a lot of tools along the way, but I can definitely feel that ease coming from you. So Jenny, what if the audience were to just get three major points out of like, everything that you've talked about and everything that you've learned through your journeyUnknown Speaker:
What are three takeaways that you would hope someone who maybe is experiencing grief or going through that takes away from this conversation?Unknown Speaker:
Number one, pain isn't here to stay.Unknown Speaker:
If you let it happen, it'll pass on through.Unknown Speaker:
Number two would beUnknown Speaker:
evolution is not a bad thing. And in other words, let something new happen. You don't have to be committed to one set path your entire life.Unknown Speaker:
number three would be to find that gratitude to find that joy, regardless of what's going on, no matter how dark it is, because you have to remember there is light, even when you're in a moment, or light or an experience of darkness. There is light out there.Unknown Speaker:
That's beautiful. So I know that some of y'all are going to want to continue to connect with Jenny, if y'all are going through a transition in your life, Jenny is here to help you, you you heard about all of her experience and what she has gone through. So how can people continue to follow your journey, Jenny and connect with you? There's two ways. Number one, follow me on Facebook, my profile is public. I'm constantly putting content out there telling my story talking about transitions, work, and helpful tips. So there's one great way and then also I have a website, Emerson coaching and consulting Comm. So check that out as well. And there's ways to contact me straight through that, but love to see you either on my Facebook page or through the website. Awesome. So for all of my lazy listeners out there, you know, I always put all of the links in the description down below. So don't worry about typing that into your search bar. I've got you. Until next time, this is jameelah signing off.Unknown Speaker:
Thank you so much for tuning in to today's episode of The becoming the big money podcast.Unknown Speaker:
I know that you found value in hearing this story today. And I would love if you could show your support by going and grabbing a copy of our book. And you can do so by going to bit.li slash great conquest. You can also go to WWW dot the great conquest.com for more information about each of the individuals involved in this process. Thanks again for tuning in.