Jesica Davis

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us. EMERSON


April 2012

“A Prudent Question…”

…is half of wisdom” said Francis Bacon.

And my question was: The journals? To keep or not to keep?

My mother-in-law shares this anecdote: ” When my grandmother died, [her son] threw away her journals.  My mother and I lamented this, for she lived a tortured life, had many nervous breakdowns and poured herself freely into her writing, apparently her soul’s one outlet, other than her prayers.  We felt it was a great loss, since she was a person who was frustrated, suppressed and misunderstood.”

In the same note, she added: “I have many boxes of journals and diaries I have kept since I was a teenager.  I want to get rid of them, but my daughter doesn’t.  She believes they may have some value for her. So I say, not so fast.  I understand both sides of this dilemma.  They may be a legacy for someone else.  Your biographer would / will have a field day with them!”

My brother and one of my friends also recommended I keep them, while another friend shared that she’d gotten rid of hers with no ill effects.

All of which BEGS the question: why?

There was a time when, like my mother-in-law’s grandmother, I lived a “tortured” life, believing I was “frustrated, suppressed and misunderstood” and had no outlet but the privacy of my own pages: when I thought perhaps, one day, someone would find my journals and discover how brilliant and sensitive I really was. But, having remained neither tortured, frustrated, suppressed or misunderstood, I no longer have THAT reason.

There was also a time when I believed so fervently in my own  greatness that I looked forward to leaving  a comprehensive record for my earnest biographer(s). But I no longer have THAT reason either.

A legacy for my daughter? Perhaps. But it might as likely be a legacy of more crap for HER to deal with. I promised one of my very best friends I would absolutely ditch them, but I think I will ultimately leave it to the cards and do a reading.  Then I will report back.

The Stuff, cont’d


After the initial despair of seeing my once-pristine new apartment invaded by countless boxes filled with who-knows-what, I’ve started unpacking and purging. I did my first drop-off at Goodwill today and have two boxes filled with trash waiting to go out.

According to the tradition of Tibetan Black-Hat Feng Shui, the power areas (or baguas) of a home are organized around the location of one’s front door. The home is divided into three rows of three separate areas, making for nine baguas in all. Each bagua is the metaphorical power center for a certain area of the residents’ lives, i.e. relationships, travel, health and prosperity.

In our new home, the prosperity bagua is located in our dining area: a clean, naturally lit area that opens into our kitchen, as well as onto a very large, green center yard. According to general feng-shui principles, it is best to accessorize an area with items that energetically resonate with it or that remind you of what you want in that area of your life.

In the process of feng-shui-ing the new place, this has led to the question: what does prosperity mean to me?

Until this week, I never realized that for me, prosperity is actually a state of freedom and an access to the fulfillment of my dreams rather than an accumulation of belongings.  In fact, until this week, I’d never realized that owning and being surrounded by a lot of crap actually made me feel less wealthy and more disempowered than having “nothing.”

I am not the first to discover this simple truth and many books have been written on the topic. In fact, when I walked into the library today, a book called “Abundant Simplicity” stood on the shelves by the front door. It was not until I experienced the freedom of the empty space myself, however – and then the oppression of the opposite – that I realized that truth  in my bones.

My last post on this topic generated more than the usual commentary, so this week I invite all my readers to share their own experiences and wisdom regarding belongings  – or the lack thereof: particularly in the area of journals. For years, I’ve carried around several boxes of journals – some dating as far back as 1979 –  and  I am strongly considering letting them go.

If you’d like, please e-mail your thoughts to  along with a note regarding whether or not I have permission to share them here.

Thanks, Jesica

The Stuff

Earlier this month, I moved myself and the kids into a small one bedroom apartment around the corner from my Mom’s. Earlier this week, Brian arrived with a moving truck full of our “stuff.”  Immediately upon encountering the boxes that contained my belongings, the happiness I’d felt in my new space was replaced with dread and hopelessness. The possibilities that had loomed so beautifully ahead of me seemed to recede.

I texted a friend: How much contemporary despair is really just contamination from proximity to one’s “stuff”?

I tried to be happy. The kids were happy to be reunited with toys, decor and everything they’d been missing that they associated with home. Brian was happy to no longer be paying for storage in Los Angeles. But  I couldn’t shake the feeling that something terrible had happened.

When I’d told a friend we were moving to Washington in pursuit of a better life, she’d referred to it as “pulling a geographical:” a term I later found out was 12-step speak for thinking you’re getting away with something by getting the hell out of dodge. On the one hand, she was wrong. There IS more possibility for my family here and there is more of everything that genuinely makes me happy. On the other hand, she was unfortunately right.

I’d thought that when I’d left all that stuff behind, it was gone forever. But the truth is, I still have to deal with it and mindfully make the choice to let it go – not just run away from it. I still have to overcome my dread of upsetting the kids by sending some of their toys to Goodwill  and I still have to overcome my natural reluctance to dispose of years of books, artwork and journals. And this time I have to do it consciously, not just by getting in a car and driving away from it for someone else (my husband) to deal with.

I really wish I didn’t have to. I really wish there had been a fire and it had all burnt beyond recognition. But then I know I’d also have lost those few precious things that I actually value, and I would have let fate do the work that  is mine alone to do.

So that’s what I have ahead of me and, right now, that is the work that is between me and the life I am dreaming of: a life of simplicity, spirit and contribution. Without too much stuff.

Of course, my husband also has his “stuff” and while it’s vexed me horribly for years that I can’t just get rid of his, I’ll just have to leave that one up to him.

Readings and Writing

After considerable delay and false starts, I am back with a new blog.  It took considerable thought to come up with the title “Readings and Writing,” but in the end it seemed the obvious choice. Simply put, here is where I will be writing about the things I am reading: whether in the cards, in my beloved books or in the air.

Several years ago, I saw a therapist who devoted week after week to persuading me that “sensitivity” was a gift. The first time she uttered the word, I recoiled as if she had called me a particularly bad word. I am from The Bronx after all, and that is a place that values the ability to look, feel and talk tough.  Sensitivity? Fuggedaboutit. She may have said “sensitive” but I heard words like loser, victim, crybaby and completely-useless-human-being.

This is a tough world, I remember saying.  I couldn’t be sensitive AND strong. I couldn’t be sensitive AND survive. I knew this, just as I knew there was no hope for me to be myself. I had to put on the layers – the motorcycle jackets, the combat boots, the scowls – because I had to. End of story.

And yet, through no real fault or effort of my own, the whole structure I had built to cover up and protect that sensitivity started to fall away upon the birth of my first child. It wasn’t a pretty story but it brought me here: to the Pacific Northwest,  to this blog and  to the knowledge that I am sensitive and can read things – in nature, in lives, in cards.

And I’ve grown to like it that way.  Much better, it turns out, than motorcycle jackets and combat boots.

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