On Sunday, May 15th, emergence is bringing a few people together for a 'Heart Talk' with Jennifer Thompson Trepanier, on how multiple encounters on the brink of death taught her love -- and joy.
Initially arising as an intimate group breakout in the context of a Living and Dying Pod, this conversation felt too rich to not share with more friends -- and you are joyously invited to listen in!
Jennifer Trepanier is a woman of many talents. A writer, nonprofit founder, pain alchemist and agent of change, her bright and bubbling spirit consistently pours out of her presence. Yet, it is only from a long and winding road of pain and sorrow that her joy was able to radiate. Hers is a story of deep loss and deep love.
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At the age of twelve, Jennifer was a very sick child fighting to survive. Diagnosed with a rare and debilitating disease, Dermatomyositis, her immune system was attacking her muscles. At the most challenging point of her condition, she was too weak to get out of a chair or bed, or even to swallow. In her late-teens, she went into remission, but in her early twenties, new challenges surfaced. For three years, she experienced high fevers and physical pain that mirrored the feeling of hammers constantly striking her joints. In her thirties, Jennifer's father died in suicide and her grandparents passed away in quick succession. Then, while pregnant, she found herself with another rare diagnosis: Autoimmune neutropenia. This time around, her white blood cells were attacked by her immune system, forcing her into a difficult early labor to birth her daughter, and leaving her susceptible to continuous infection throughout her first years of motherhood.
Jen's grueling experiences with pain brought a revelation: she did not have to become a victim of her disease. And grief became her teacher. Experiencing first-hand the power of the mind and body, she learned how to move through pain to find the light. Her suffering inspired her to complete a Masters in Psychophysiology, the study of the mind and body connection, and she began to live into what she innately already knew: when the body and mind are treated together, healing begins.
Leading up to the pandemic, a new spontaneous health scare brought her immune system destructing her body again -- this time, her lung. In a new country with her family during covid lockdown, strangers stepped in to bring groceries to her door. Moved by myriad disarming moments of care during experiences of incredible anguish, she was propelled to give back. All the pain and suffering she felt throughout her childhood and adulthood must come full circle.
Today, Jen's life is a symphony of offerings, spilling forward from the resilient alchemy of human fragility and strength. Bridging her love for animals with her passion for helping kids in pain, she founded Pile of Puppies (POP), an innovative heart-centered nonprofit that brings joy to chronically and terminally ill children and their families by surrounding them, literally, with puppies. She also helps people unlock their own “wells of wisdom” by assisting them in living their lives in a conscious and healthy way. In between, she's writing her experiences in an autobiography and volunteers with hospice to help patients gracefully transition when their time comes to depart from this world. Through it all, she is most challenged and awe-inspired and empowered by being a mother -- one of the greatest gifts life has given her.
Jen's efforts are born of a vision to remind all who have been given an extra physical challenge in their lives that there is always light within the darkness. There is always a capacity to find joy, even in the hardest times.