A former news reporter, Navy wife, and mother of three from Alton, Illinois, Jeanie Stephens draws from a wealth of personal and professional experience in her writings about fear, love, loss, and letting go. “Pretty much homeless, as part of a plan” (as one of her writing subjects once described his own life,) Stephens continually seeks to bring more meaning and emotional fulfillment into her life and the lives of others by living simply and free of unnecessary material possessions while increasing mobility and building relationships with others along the way.
I believe the only real loss suffered is in our failure to see how we may have won in the process of losing, and it is this basic philosophy that has kept me moving forward and appreciative in life, love, and the moments that pass through us…..perhaps on their way to somewhere else we can’t possibly see or know. And yet, if we are lucky, some moments leave their indelible marks on our beings/souls for good or bad and we grow and learn because of them. We live and are aware of our very existence because of them….each breathe and drop of sweat and blood spilled a reminder that our physical human lives are, in fact, dependent on each and every one…..whatever they bring and leave. For neither loss or gain exists without its counterpart, even as the energy comprised in all of our experiences can never really be gained or lost at all and may (in actuality) exist in that eternal and ever revolving circle that is life. To recognize this, to embrace it — while moving with the ebb and flow of all of its moments — is to live.
The meaning behind “Jeanie Unbottled,” therefore, is two-fold. Not only does it play on the idea of a magical “genie” (perhaps no longer) imprisoned in a bottle, it more broadly represents the inherent tug-of-war relationship between security and freedom, loss and gain, despair and hope, and the “letting out” of those thoughts and feelings one too often hides from the world……either out of fear, shame, or any other “bottle” an individual may construct to quiet his/her voice. For whatever comfort and safety we may forsake and lose in courageously speaking the truth of our minds and hearts, we gain in the chance to be seen, heard, and truly known. And in that, we have a chance at real connection, intimacy, love, and fulfillment. So, with that being said, may we all take a chance on releasing our inner genies and discovering the magic that can only be ours by having the courage to let it go.