Friday February 2,  9am – Chicago

Hello my friend,

Timing – I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately. It’s the part of life we can’t control, yet THE crucial element in the direction life takes. I have spent a lot of my life believing my timing sucked; that I had missed the boat, that the Universe was conspiring against me.

Let me explain. A little over a year ago I had a huge realization, which led to a series of decisions that became the seedling for where my life is now. My 20s weren’t in any way typical. I lost a best friend to a freak bicycling accident the summer after my freshman year in college. My brother died from suicide when I was 23, and the following year my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and lost that battle four years later. I spent those years in caretaker and survival mode; battling huge amounts of loss, grief, and anger. Even with several stints of therapy, I wallowed in resentment and self-pity for almost 25 years.

Ironically, Covid is what helped to pull me out of it. For some reason, I didn’t have the negative experience many did. I almost relished the forced isolation; it was a chance to retreat, re-group, and re-evaluate. Looking back, I now see I was using that time to lay the groundwork for much of the mind, body, and spirit work I am doing now. Timing…

So, when 2023 started, I decided to call my upcoming April birthday my fake 50th. Since that milestone happened right in the middle of the pandemic, I wanted a do-over. The next realization struck me deeply. My 20s were consumed by death so I never really experienced that time in life when one gets to focus on their own future; to create who one wants to be as an adult; to be young and carefree, or dream big and go for it.

I then asked myself what was stopping me from having more than a birthday do-over. What if I gave myself permission to imagine my life differently? Other than giving birth, there really isn’t anything I cannot do now that I could have then. So I looked in the mirror and said, “ Jacqueline Marie if you were about to turn 22 and graduate from college – what would you REALLY want to do? Who would you want to be? What kind of life would you create for yourself?” The beauty of asking this question at this point is that I no longer have parents to please, nor many of the insecurities, and fears indicative of that developmental stage of life. ((Don’t worry, I have other issues! – just not those.) Again, timing…

Then a few months later, on the eve of my birthday, the fire happened in my building which led to the fateful walk down the stairs. The lesson learned about the need for exercise, let alone the deeper, too often ignored lesson, – that life can change, or be over in an instant – seared itself into my mind and heart – don’t waste a single minute more. Timing struck yet again…

I still don’t have all the answers, and I work hard daily to ensure I will have many decades to learn them, but here are a few I have figured out so far. I have always loved being in front of people; teaching, sharing, inquiring, and listening. I have always loved to cook, especially for others, it’s my most cherished love language. I have always desired a healthy strong body, a sound mind, and a faith-filled, grounded spirit. And yes, I’ve never met a spotlight or center stage I didn’t like! And so the path became clear –Jacqueline Cooks was born.

I am so grateful you are here and a part of the adventure.

Until next time, remember, each day is an opportunity to create the best you and to build a life that is delicious by design –