Fresh New Year 2018

Ahhhh! There are few things I love more than starting a fresh new, blank chapter. An unlined, crisp, white papered chapter just gleaming with morning dew and ready for me to dip my brush in it.

Ah!

That being said,…wow. Can you believe it’s 2018???! What a crazy year full of learning and growing and the absolute unexpected last year was. Ha! I am grateful for the trials and tears and growth but I must say, I am so so so ready to start this new year. Last year proved to be far more difficult and immerse than I would have ever guessed. But I have the power to figure out why and make the changes necessary for this year.

Every New Years, my hubby and I rent a cabin in Idyllwild for 4 days and work through everything from the year prior and bring what we want into the fresh new year.  We create lists of all we experienced, the learning from it, old beliefs that no longer serve us, and anything else that needs to be healed. We talk and cry and discuss for hours. Then the magic begins… We spend the next half of our visit creating the year the way WE WANT IT.

What feelings do we want to experience?
What new experiences do we want to have?
What are the intentions we have for this new year?
I have learned that if we create everyday with INTENTION, we get closer to what it is we really want.

My favorite realization over this New Years visit was that our habits, priorities and intentions need to be aligned in order for us to create the life we want. If one of those is off, life becomes a lot harder and usually we end up not where we want. Ah!

I am so ready for this year, and so ready to dive in to the unknown, even when it’s not always fun or easy. My intentions will guide the way, and part of that is writing more frequently on this blog. Yesss.

I am sending everyone lots of love and light…., and I hope that you’re all ready to move full force into this new year as well!

xo Jax

I need a Change NOW

These past couple of weeks have proven to be some of my most difficult. Probably ever in my life. But through them, like icicles glimmering in the sunset, there are always nuggets of realizations and moments of discovery. This time is no different. I guess what gets me through the tough times is knowing without a doubt that there is SOMETHING for me to learn.

Something for me to deepen as a human.

Something that I may have missed before but that I am now ready to learn. 

 

So here goes.

The thing that has by far taken up most of my mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual energy right now is BEING A STEPMOM. I know I know I’ve written about it a lot lately. I’ve done google searches and researched books that could maybe help me feel more empowered, more at peace, more in a place of joy. And yet most of what I read is pretty depressing. I mean it’s nice to see that I’m not along, but there isn’t a lot of ACTION ITEMS to try, which is what I am truly craving.

The truth is, I haven’t liked who I am lately. I’ve felt so tired and annoyed and irritated and quite honestly stuck. It’s a horrible feeling, and because there is probably nothing I dislike more than feeling like a victim, I know there is a way out.

There is always a path to empowerment, I just need to find it. 

This weekend was another one of those hard times. I spent most of it in tears, and exhausted from attempted to guide, and teach, and ask questions, and create plans, etc. etc. etc. and I’m left buzzing around from one thing to the next completely drained and unhappy. I don’t like feeling angry. I’m so sick of being upset and near tears so much of the time. This isn’t the way I want to be, and I know that my core is not.

Things need to change and I am so so so ready for it.

One thing I have learned from past experience is that the CHANGE I’m talking about needs to come from me. It doesn’t work to be waiting around for the ex wife to change, or the kids to change or the situation to change. They all have their own agenda and course to run.

The change NEEDS to come from me. 

But what is it? Hmmm…
I know I can meditate more.
I know there are a handful of things that I probably need to let go of.
I know I can’t do everything.

But how do I make these adjustments? 

Amidst all these questions running through my brain, I got this funny little realization. Perhaps it’s the title that is screwing me up the most. Since I’ve titled myself as a MOM, and the kids STEPMOM/BONUS MOM, there is instantly this pressure to do everything I can to encourage!  To shape! To question! To inspire! To lead! To guide!

Is it the word, MOM?

Though when I say it to myself I feel full, powerful, maternal, warm, and like I have a place in this world. But what comes out is burning weights of pressure.

If the kids don’t learn their manners, it’s my fault. If the kids still don’t have goals, or interests, I didn’t do something right. If the kids are horrible at time management, I must not have carved out time to teach them. If the kids are lazy, I screwed up.

I have just realized the terrible voices that run through my mind all. day. long. No wonder I’m exhausted. No wonder I have this anger hiding inside my body. No wonder I’m feeling small and yucky and not enough.

I was realizing all of this after my husband pretty much required me to go out to the garage to meditate and paint. Both of these are things that I love and center me, but usually when the kids are here, I have a difficult time doing them.

Anyway, after a good hour of Jackie time, I realized something else. Though it’s obvious I need to make ME wayyyyyyyyyyyy more important than I have been. In fact, I need to be the first one that gets attention. I also realized that I don’t need to say the word ‘MOM’ to myself. It’s fine whatever the kids see me as, but to me,… I can be just Jackie.

If I am just Jackie, then I get the FREEDOM to show up as me. NOT as someone that needs to teach them or guide them every minute. NOT every second should be a teaching moment anyway. What if we are just a couple of souls that are hanging out in this lifetime learning from each other?

What. Woa. This just took the pressure way off.

Now, I still see myself as a MOM, but what if I am more of a universal mother, NOT NECESSARILY THEIR MOM?

I walked back into the house, and noticed right away the change in the energy. I felt a desire to chat with them and laugh and it felt easy.

I was being Jackie.

I let go of the PRESSURE to do anything else. The kids and I hung out and watched Project Runway. Ah! It felt so much easier and smooth, and we were chatting and discussing the whole time. I felt myself being interested in their observations and enjoying myself the way I am with anyone else.

I know everyone has a way that works best for them, but this might actually be mine. I’m seeing that even if I had my own kid, the pressure to BE SOMEONE’S MOM, can be overwhelming. And yet, they are on their own journey just like we are. They are here for their own reasons, and maybe I’m only here to softly guide and continue along my path side by side. I don’t know, I haven’t worked all this out yet, but it definitely feels better, and I like just being Jackie.

Live Your Truth They Always Say

I am in the middle of an interesting situation and had some thoughts about the concept of ‘living our truth.’

This is something that we always teach our children, remind our friends of when they have forgotten, and tell ourselves under our breath when life gets a little crazy,…
Live your truth. Live your truth. Live your truth. No one else is going to look out for you, so you must live your own truth.

Though I stand behind that 100%, I am suddenly in the middle of a predicament with a client. What my heart wants is now different than what she wants.

What do I do?

Do I stand up for who I know I am and the work I know I can do and say no to her?

Or…

Do I see that maybe the Universe wants me to push myself beyond my own limitations?

 

In the past, there were plenty of times that a creative situation didn’t SEEM like I would be ‘living my truth,’ so I bailed. I straight up walked away. Though I thought I was fearlessly standing up for myself in the face of possibly losing myself, what if I also didn’t give myself a chance to learn something new about life, or myself?

It just sort of struck me that if I only LIVE MY TRUTH, and only get involved in projects, people, experiences that I 100% KNOW for a fact will be amazing, how will I grow? Also when has anything, anything in life worked out completely the way we think it will?

Uh never.

Sometimes things work out better, but they are never exactly like we have them in our brain.

What is comfortable for me, may not be the best way for me to always grow. I want to learn more about myself, always, I truly do. So this realization that only moving forward when I can see the WHOLE path and it resonates with me FULLY AND COMPLETELY, doesn’t actually make so much sense.

So I am keeping my heart open. I realize I might have accidentally stepped into some uncharted (and currently undesired) territory, but I’m going to trust that it’s here to teach me something.  Maybe it’s to not try and have all the answers all the time, or let go of control, or play my way through it, or trust intuition. Lets be honest there are any number of LESSONS I could have lined up to learn. But for me, the important thing is to always be learning. Even if I hate this new situation. At least I said yes and put myself out there, and finished what I started.

What are your thoughts on sticking to your TRUTH versus allowing the Universe to sometimes guide? Do you go for that? Or does that feel like giving in?

Also, for me I am realizing that it’s not about the answer that I decide to give, yes or no, to this project. It’s only about the intention. I could say YES and then hold a grudge and feel totally put upon. Or, I could feel my anger and sadness, release them, and then say YES because I am ready for a new unexpected experience. In both instances I SAID YES but the last one is way more empowered. I know that when I have felt my feelings fully, I can move forward with a clear head.  I am going to take my time working through all these feelings so my answer can come from a strong, powerful, authentic place.

 

 

Doodle Ideas

I’ve been leafing through my art journal for inspiration for painting this gaga pit. Here are a couple of ideas that I’m going to springboard off of for the project. I love to draw with tiny black pens, but I’ll be PAINTING instead. Not just painting, but LARGE AND IN CHARGE PAINTING. Can I do it? Hmmmm Actually having some ideas helps me wrap my head around the project.

Yes, I can do this. Breathe Jackie.

Gaga Pit Galore!

My attempt to write in this blog every single day hasn’t quite been working out. ahahhah But I think the minute that I get hard on myself, I need to remember that I haven’t quite taken all the other things on my list into consideration. And! On top of that, I can adjust my goals at anytime. If they aren’t reachable at this exact moment, that’s okay, lets tweak them.

Something really exciting happened over the last couple of weeks. I know a woman that founded a private school. I don’t know her well, but she came to my first Creative Women workshop and I connected with her a little bit. She told me that she’s got a gaga pit at the school that the kids love, and she’d like to HAVE IT PAINTED.

Whhhhhhhhat.

Normally I would have listened to that sadly familiar, mean little voice inside that said things like, “You’re not good enough for this project…’ or ‘You never finish things, how could you possibly commit to this,…’ or ‘You’ve never done anything this big, there’s no way you can do it well.’

But I decided not to.

It’s not that I didn’t HEAR the voice, I most certainly did. But I didn’t hear it as the truth, I heard it for what it was.

It was fear.

It was the voice of a frightened little Jackie trying her best to protect me. That’s how my fear generally looks to me, when I really give it a chance to be seen.

Why is our fear there anyway? Is it always to protect us? For me I would say usually, yes. It knows situations I’ve been in over the years that were risky and she’s gunna show up again and again to warn me to STAY SAFE.

Now if I remember that that is all she’s doing, I can be loving towards the voice. I can listen for a minute, and really feel her inside of me. The angst, the anxiety, the fear,.. but then it’s up to me what I do next. Lately I’ve been sending her love and thanking her for protecting me, but that I’m not going to let her call the shots. And then I go out and take a risk.

Back to the story. Normally I would have put off calling this person to discuss the gaga pit because the voices would have been too loud telling me not too. Reminding me I’m not the person she wants. But this time I called her right away and arranged a date to meet. After I saw the project I knew it was for me. It was so wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy out of my comfort zone and yet there was this funny little glimmer of joy that kept creeping up.

What if I’m ready? 

The gaga pit is an 8 sided octagon that is 15 feet across. It’s used for a game where an entire class can fit inside the walls of the pit. Each side (panel) is about 4 feet x 3 1/2 feet. Now I have never painted on something so large in my life, but I wanna try. I believe I can.

The funniest part of this is that I would do this for FREE. No matter how many hours I may spend sitting on a little stool tediously painting each panel, I would do it for nothing. Ha! In fact I’m honored that someone is allowing me to ‘play’ with the pit. ahahha It doesn’t seem fair for someone to pay me for doing something that I will just devour with joy.

Anyway! This is the next project! Can you believe it? I can’t wait to get started, and even though I have moments of fear still seeping in from time to time, I am trusting that I. Can. Do. This. And then I will. 🙂

 

Creating For Me

Hello! Happy Monday! The sun is out and it’s going to be another hot day here in San Diego.

I know I wrote a blog about a creative women’s group I wanted to start someday.  I remember writing it, and then being even more inspired from what I wrote.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago, right before I left on vacation….

I was telling one of my girlfriends the concept for the group. ‘Wouldn’t it be great to get a group of creative women together that all have these ideas that they want to do. We can talk out loud about them and THEN hold each other accountable for everything we say we want to do!’

Anyone that knows this particular friend, knows that her response to ANY new idea is always, ‘Oh my gosh you should TOTALLY do it!’ That’s exactly what she said, and this time I was ready.

In 10 minutes I had created a Facebook event and we were planning on our first meeting. It’s funny, even a year ago I would have been plagued with ‘oh my gosh I can’t facilitate this sort of thing, I don’t know what I am doing,’ or ,’ I need more time to RESEARCH what I want to say and do,’ or ‘I’m too busy,’ or ‘I’m not the right person for the job,’ etc. etc. etc. I would have been freaking out. But now, for some odd reason, I wasn’t. It felt organic, and just like the next step. It was almost shocking how NOT scared I was. I felt empowered and full.

The meeting was a complete success! It was full of magic and laughter and these super awesome, weirdly synchronized events with wildly magnetic, bursting, creative women. The whole time I felt strong and powerful and as if I was completely in the right place at the right time.

It’s pretty interesting to feel worlds different than I would have even a couple of months ago. Why?

Here’s what I think:
I needed this group FOR ME.

I didn’t set out to:
INSPIRE OTHERS.
Or TEACH THEM SOMETHING.
Or CHANGE THEM.

This was purely for me. I was in a place of realizing that I need ACCOUNTABILITY and I DESIRE being around creative, compassionate, warm, open women. But I created this group for me, and that took all the pressure off. If other people end up getting what they need along the way, that’s great, but it’s not the reason I am doing it.

HA! I can see how I can apply this concept to all areas of my life. It’s not my JOB to teach people or get them into places I want them to be or I think they should be. It IS my job however, to live authentically and create what I WANT AND NEED FOR ME. What what a relief! I don’t need to save the world after all. Ha!

SOUL

Ah! I’m back! 2 vacations, so much change personally, and now here I am. It feels like a lifetime ago that I actually sat down to WRITE. There is so many cool leanings and inspirations and aha moments that I WANT to jot down here, but I need to remember to chill out. I don’t need to do it all in one day. I’ve got time. As long as I’m being dedicated and diligent, there is always time. So… what do I write about first?

*******DRUMROLL*****

Ooooo! I know! This is something that I have AVOIDED writing about on this blog. It just wasn’t the right time to open up freely about it. See, that’s another lesson I’ve learned.

Even when I’m excited about something, that doesn’t mean it’s the right time, space, or place to talk about it. HA! Sounds like such a simple realization but it’s huge. I’m usually bursting like a volcano with news, so it takes a lot to HOLD BACK. Which is exactly what I’ve done.

I haven’t written much about my step kids. I don’t know why exactly, but here goes. My step son is this amazing techie kid that has this incredible brain for computers. However the PUBLIC schools he’s been in have not been helpful. He doesn’t learn by sitting still and taking notes. I can’t stand that they keep trying to get him to comply, to be more like him, to learn in the ways that they teach. I’ve known public school wasn’t working for him for awhile, and it’s been devastating to watch him time and time again struggle not only with the work in school but seeing his self worth take such a toll as well.

If he were my SON (my actually son son) I would have changed his school years ago, but because he’s not exactly, I had felt like my voice just didn’t have a chance. Two years ago my husband and I attempted to move him into a different school, but his mother wouldn’t have it. I was broken-hearted. I had done so much work on finding an environment that would (hopefully) work better for him. But she flat out refused. It took me a long time to work through that.

Fast forward to this year. We went at things very differently. My hubby and I have both changed in so many ways, and one of them has been to become much more firm in what we believe. But be able to do it in a loving, kind way. We were able to have a conversation with my son’s mom, and she finally HEARD. I can’t believe she finally got it, after all these years! And the funny thing is, is that we had thought SHE was the problem. In reality, we were all involved in the dynamic. It’s taken us growing into who we are to be able to stand strong, that provided the foundation for her to say ‘Okay lets move him.’

After 4 months of meditation and prayers and research and phone calls, and many many many school visits, I was constantly wavering between anxiety, and stress and fear that she would change her mind or that we wouldn’t find the right school and he’d have to just go back to where he was last year. I put a lot on my shoulders, probably more than I should. It felt very personal to me because I had also felt misunderstood in my time in school. So I think little Jackie was getting a chance to possibly be healed as well.

But then, in the middle of all of it, a miracle happened.

We got a small lead of a new school opening up called SOUL Charter School. It was like a little crack in a window pane, something I could have ignored, but I didn’t. Instead, I thought, ‘What the heck, what do we have to lose? Lets check it out. With a name like SOUL, this has to at least be interesting.’
So I brought up the website.

All at once I saw in front of me exactly what my hubby and I had STATED we wanted for our son. There it was plain as day. Ah!!! And! They were ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR 7TH GRADE. Just like that it was there in front of us, just what we wanted. So I filled out the application right away and crossed my fingers.

After attending the parent meeting and talking to the co-founders, we were both buzzing. The schools intention is to focus not only on teaching academics, but also on EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE, SOCIAL SKILLS, AND PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT. They even have courses on becoming an ENTREPRENEUR. Woa. What if school doesn’t need to be a horrible place where everyone feels mistreated and misunderstood? What if it can inspire the joy of learning and teach inclusion and taking risks and that we all have unique talents? This is what the founders talked about! Ah!

This was it. We both knew it, but we had one more hurdle. The ex-wife needed to be on board. Besides the fact that I was completely bursting at the seams with so much joy, I had to keep it under rap. I had to keep it logical. So my hubby and I wrote up straight information for his ex-wife. I actually left out my emotion, can you believe it? ahahhaha It was a really hard exercise. We wrote it up and sent it off.

I felt sick and scared and a little hopeful. Well, a lot hopeful but that was only from the constant meditations and feeling that we had the Universe on our side.

Anyway, we were visualizing her wanting this school. We were visualizing and feeling how nice it would be to have some ease where we weren’t convincing her of anything.

And then it happened. She said, “I think SOUL is the way to go. Can we get him into that one?”

I can’t even describe the feelings I had when my husband told me those words. I just cried. All this time and energy and years and pain and knowing without a doubt that something needed to done, all of it FINALLY PAID OFF. We will now be able to do this.

I don’t think it’s sunk in even yet. I feel so so so very honored and grateful for this opportunity to be involved in a new school with an entirely different message and focus. To have a curriculum that can be tweaked for every student with teachers that genuinely want kids to love learning. And we get to do this, together. I have so much respect for my sons mom, that she trusted us enough to do the research and that she’s willing to give up control and take a risk. Because anything that we don’t have all the answers to is a risk.

So I just have to say this: If anyone in your family lives in the San Diego area and is struggling in a regular public school, and you don’t know where to turn, please check this out. The school is starting with 7th and 9th grade, but each year they will be adding a grade, so it’ll ultimately be a 7th-12th grade school. There is still space available! Ah!! There are still parent nights and space for your kids. I think we owe it to them to have a place where they feel celebrated and validated and want to learn more about themselves and the world.

Here is the website below if you’re interested:

http://soulcharterschool.org/
https://www.facebook.com/soulcharterschool/

 

What does it mean to be an artist

This morning, in the quiet, dark morning, I was drawing in my art journal and reflecting on this past week. The kids are off in Europe with their mother for a summer vacation, and you’d think I’ve had a lot of art time. But it’s been a busy week full of lots of errands, and some family time. Parts have been fulfilling experiences and others that are just,.. you know,.. necessary.

Anyway. As I was allowing my mind to relax, I realized that I feel a bit uncomfortable. I’m feeling a bit muddled right now. Starting a new piece but not sure where it’s headed or what to do next. There’s been this gnawing anxiety inside as I work out what to do and how and if it’s even going to work.

I’m not feeling like an ARTIST. 

I hate to admit that but it’s true. I feel like a fake. I feel disconnected from whatever I thought I was and it feels yucky.

In that moment I jotted down some notes for myself.

Why is it that I only feel like an artist when I have the answers? 

Because when I think about it, being an artist isn’t HAVING the answers, it’s relishing the questions. And I’ve known this, I’ve felt it in my body before. But intellectually it’s UNCOMFORTABLE to be in a murky place, am I right? In a place where I’m feeling a bit tired and listless. But am I only an artist when I’m bursting into flames of passion and frothing at the mouth with excitement? Does being an artist really come and go just as quickly as my emotions?

No! It can’t! What if all of this is being an artist. All of it. Regardless of if I am in a buzzing bursting swirling place of joy or if I’m cloudy and unsure. I’m still a creator, I’m still searching and open and moving forward.

So this was a good reminder to have faith. Faith that there is always an ebb and flow to everything, and creating is just another part of existing. So have faith. I know I can do things to foster my creativity better than I have been.

  • I can meditate at 2 pm everyday like I planned, I can make that a priority.
  • I can remind myself to feel the sensitivity of creating when I draw. To let it absorb through my skin into my heart.
  • I can breathe through the murkiness and know that the bubbling film of questions will only lead me to the answers when I am ready to receive them.
  • I can go outside and notice everything around me that aches with beauty.
  • I can remember that being an artist doesn’t mean all I do is create. An artist must live, and it’s my job to feel, to see, to acknowledge the sacredness in all of life. That must be done outside of my little art studio.
  • I can focus on being present in more moments than I have been. Being fully there, with my eyes and heart fully open. That is the kind of artist I want to be.

Maybe it’s okay to sometimes feel lost. To sometimes not feel all that we truly are. Maybe those are the moments when we get to learn more about ourselves, and our strength then we ever knew possible.

 

 

Yes!

I’ve been working on this piece for awhile now, and I’m relishing every moment. When I start feeling like I need to hurry it up, I remind myself ‘what am I doing this for?’ Do I want to rush through what I absolutely love doing? How is that going to be the best thing for me? So I’m soaking in creation and trusting that it’ll be finished when it’s supposed to be finished. Ahhhhhh

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