At six or seven months an infant begins to realize that it is a separate being, separate from its mother. It can be heartbreaking for a mother to leave her crying child. The child begins to realize that crying brings her mother back to her. There is separation anxiety for both mother and child. Oh such a delicate dance, balancing the need of the child with the need of the mother. Healthy boundaries facilitate a wholesome balance of connection and separation between mother and child. Push and pull. Give and take. Lessons to last a lifetime.
Jana Joramo works as a nurse for the Nurse Family Partnership. She works with low income moms from pregnancy until the infant turns two. Mostly she listens. It is a mindfulness practice, being truly present to another precious being. Fascinating, the various life stories. She channels her energies to help the moms work out their own mothering process.
The job can be stressful. The moms that Jana works with often have to deal with difficult factors outside the mother-child relationship. Housing is often an issue and domestic violence is more common than people realize, for instance. Jana has learned the necessity to meet her own needs, to set her own boundaries, so that she doesn’t burn out. The work is gratifying. What can be more important than working to facilitate a prosperous mother-child relationship?
Jana has found that humor is the best way to cope. Laughter was a childhood gift from her irreverent family of origin: this is no laughing matter! – ha ha ha! Laughter eases overwhelming emotions and can bring an overheated argument to its knees. It relieves muscle tension, improves your memory, and bolsters your immune system – seriously! Laughter brings it all into the belly and grounds us in the present moment – it is empowering.
Improvisational humor as a spiritual practice? Jana says yes! And her perspective has two decades of study and experience to pull from. Improv is humor’s tool. Improv isn’t about trying to be funny: it’s about recognizing the humor in a situation. Ultimately, it points to the absurdity of the human condition and this is its healing force. Every action, every choice in our life carries immense importance; yet, the human condition is absurd when we start to think that we have absolute control. Improv introduces the spirit of mystery; a mysterious spirit spirals into the light.
And, Jana asks, “who ever thought of the idea that we can ruin our lives? How have we come to put so much emphasis on this?” You’ve ruined your life! Or, carrying the paralyzing burden of the fear of ruining our lives… There is no such thing as a permanent mess up! When we fall flat on our face, we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and start another skit.
If you’d like to fall flat on your face (and discover the unexpected), join Jana and the gang for amusing enlightenment on Monday nights at the UUCGV. Over the years Jana has been involved in pretty much all of the UUCGV leadership positions, including president (her husband, Lee Joramo, is also a past president). Most of her energies are now flowing into improv and Religious Education. This is why you haven’t seen her around much lately – she’s been relegated to the basement. Ha ha ha! On Sundays Jana congregates with the teens downstairs. She also teaches OWL – holy cow does she teach OWL! This past year she taught adult, high school, and middle school grades 7-9 OWL. OWL or Our Whole Lives is a comprehensive sexual education class that is co-produced by the national Unitarian Universalist Association and the national United Church of Christ.
Through the high school RE program, Jana and Lee began to form a close bond with Myca Bryan. Last year she asked to live with them and they gladly opened their arms. She needed a safe and steady-going environment. Jana and Lee think of Myca as their foster child. She is wound around their hearts. She is a ray of sunshine. Myca recently turned 18, and just went through the Bridging Ceremony at the UUCGV.
Myca is blossoming. She is acutely insightful, which lends itself well to her talent for actualizing art. Jana, Lee, Kyra, and Myca just took a trip to Chicago, to tour the Chicago Institute of Art. Yes, Myca was accepted to attend the prestigious school, and was offered a large grant. The Joramos are helping search for ways to fill the gap in funding.
In case you haven’t heard Jana shouting with joy from the treetops, her grown daughter Kyra has returned to Grand Junction. Her wonderfully wise, gentle and sweet souled Kyra. Compassionate Kyra, so in-tuned to pain in others. The sometimes blunt Jana finds herself softening in her presence. Jana also appreciates how Kyra holds her accountable. “You do realize how you...?” Kyra, Kyra, her beautiful child – Jana is filled to overflowing with gratitude!
Yes, Jana is trying to utilize all of her mothering instincts – embracing all aspects of motherhood. Mothering = channeling creative energies. Woman, brave and strong.
Life goes on... in endless song…