Driving past the Flaky Tart in Atlantic Highlands is damn hard. A pal and I know we aren’t the only ones to grab a post-workout maple walnut scone at this rock star bakery. Life is unpredictable and difficult and splitting a delicious treat with a sweaty friend is what makes us human and whole. Owner Marie Jackson couldn’t agree more.
“About a year ago, I was hit with a trifecta of badness—Superstorm Sandy, cancer and a paralyzing neck injury. It took me down hard. But the strangest thing happened. I realized what was really important in life—love and connection,” shares Jackson. In her previous life, Jackson worked all the time. Fitting play into her very busy world seemed impossible.
But life can give us the opportunity to practice what we need and Jackson realizes, through suffering, she was given a great gift. “…rather than being devastated by my ‘bad luck,’ I was thankful that the message finally got through. Now I can really live a fuller, richer, more playful life.”
Jackson believes that play heals. “I got the answer I was looking for my whole adult life—play IS the answer.” Finding a place for play in a hectic life can be as simple as letting go of the ego, ignoring the fear of embarrassment and embracing our childlike selves. Jackson’s children help to create the safe space for her to do just this.
“I love to be goofy,” Jackson says. “I love to play with my kids because they aren’t self-conscious and they crack up when Mom gets crazy.”
Speaking at TEDx Navesink is a great next step in sharing her story. Jackson never envisioned doing something like this ten or twenty years ago. “Life has been a crazy teacher,” says Jackson, “(I want) to share my crazy story in the hopes that others can “get it” without having to experience the ICU.”