Kondoizing

Okay, so I had heard about Marie Kondo, and I had the INTENTION of reading her book a couple of years ago and being inspired. But I never got around to it. However, this past week I took a short trip back to Utah, and had a chance to catch a couple of her episodes on the Netflix show Tiding Up.

I had no idea what to expect. 

I had no idea that I would not only be excited to try her tricks, but that I would unexpectedly find myself emotional. I had no ideas that something so deep in me would be so awakened.

Fast forward to past weekend where I decided to fully Kondoize my closet. I piled everything onto bed in the guest bedroom, and got to work. The first thing I learned was that it was a lot easier to move through knowing what to keep and what to get rid of than what I had originally thought. Instead of asking myself a myriad of questions about the function and how well it works, and if it was a gift, etc. etc. blah blah blah

I had one question.

Does this spark joy? 

Usually the answer was a quick, electric jolt of a yes or no. Usually the answer had been there all along, but I had never asked the question.

The best part for me is how Marie taught people to say thank you to the items they were getting rid of. For some reason that woke me up. I felt it. I think all too often we are harsh. Harsh to ourselves, harsh to other people, harsh to our things. I really resonate with the experience of thanking everything for being a part of our life, even if the time has come to an end.

Anyway, I spent half of Saturday and all of Sunday clearing my closet and my chest of drawers. I can’t  believe how magnificent it was! As it was reaching 7pm on Sunday, I had been going all day, and I realized that I didn’t feel tired at all. I felt rejuvenated, relaxed, excited, pulsing, alive, and like I could breathe again.

shirt.jpeg

drawers.jpeg

I knew I had a lot of stuff, but I didn’t really think about the fact that so much old energy was being stuffed into my space. No wonder our space has felt heavy and thick and full. There was no movement! No flow!

The part of all of this that is so phenomenal to me, is that asking this question could have made my life WAYYYYYYYYYYYYY less cluttered years ago! I had never once lived my life with so much authenticity like what I am learning right now. All of the items I’ve kept out of sheer uncaring, or gifts from obligation, or piles of STUFF that could have been thrown out forever ago if i asked myself that ONE question.

Does it spark JOY?

Wow. What an exciting way to honor ourselves with items and feelings that ARE US. This is one of the highest forms of self respect, and I am doing it. I  feel like my entire life is changing. Ha!

Today I will excitedly tackle my nightstand and bathroom with grace and gratitude. I can’t wait for our entire house to be Konzoized!

1440

So I had never heard of 1440 in Scotts Valley, CA until my sister in law suggested we check it out. There was going to be a speaker there that she loves. I just agreed, because I love her, but still had no idea what I was in for.

Turns out, not only is the facility absolutely incredible and vibrating with energy, the food is phenomenal, the people are full of depth, and the speaker was exactly what I needed to hear.

Sharon Salzberg led us in deep discussions about compassion and love and kindness and tied it up in a nice package of meditation.

There is nothing better than getting an epiphany about something that’s been buzzing around in our heads. That’s exactly what I got. I realized that I’ve been associating doing  with being kind. I’ve gotten myself in a situation where I’m doing too much and now I’m drained. In the midst of all of this, hearing Sharon say that we can’t be giving if our vessel isn’t full, I had this realization. As much as I love to give, and I love to help out, if I end up doing more because I feel obligated, than I’m not giving from a good place. If I’m not doing things out of a place that feels good to me it certainly isn’t going to be good for anyone else.

I have known this intellectually, I know that. But something about the way she worded it, totally put me in a place of empowerment. Yes! That’s it! Because I love to give. Me giving isn’t the problem! But when the intention is to ‘make up for someone else,’ that’s not true giving, and that’s why it doesn’t feel right. A ha!

 

By the way, if you’re needing a place to replenish your body mind and spirit, check out 1440. It is truly amazing. I can’t wait to go back!!

What the FROG?!

Ok. Okay, so you’re going to die.

Literally MINUTES after I finished writing my last post, the strangest thing happened to me. Oh my gosh.

I had just walked away from the computer and was heading out to the garage to paint, when I noticed a small puffy lint ball on the ground.

As I looked closer I realized IT WAS A FROG.

A frog! A frog??

The small frog was covered in lint that resembled our rug.

What? How would a FROG get in our house? We never leave the doors open, and besides that,.. HELLOOO I live in San Diego. I have never seen a frog ANYWHERE around here.

I stared at him for a minute with my mind racing. ‘Oh my gawd what do I do what do I do what do I do how do I get him outta here what do I do?’ I started looking around in a panic for a box or a cup or something…

All of a sudden, he started hopping. He hopped across the rug, through the kitchen, under the bar,.. and plopped right into the CAT’S WATER BOWL.

 

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What. Was. That?

A frog appeared in my house?

Now if you know me, the first thing I did after shaking my head in disbelief was look up the MEANING of finding a frog.

Here is what I found out:

‘Frog spirit animals show themselves to us when we are ready to move on from a dramatic experience. They represent physical, mental, emotional and spiritual transformation. Just like the frog that cleanses itself in water, we need to cleanse our spirit from energy that is no longer serving it.’

Wow.

So there you go.  Just like the frog started out covered in fuzz and cleaned himself off, I am clearing away negativity and cleansing my spirit to show up as my true self. Yay!

Thank you Mr. Frog!

I love how magic surrounds us when we least expect it!

 

 

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.

What the HELL is my role

The biggest question of my life right now,…

What is my role????

I’ve told myself I am confused about this question because

I am a stepmom.

Right away the words STEPMOM fill the room with hazy smoke, the kind where you can’t see 2 feet in front of you, and you suddenly have no idea where you even are. Just THE WORD is full of questions. 

But then for some of us, the role gets even stickier.

I’m not ‘just a stepmom.’

In fact, I am the kids main emotional support. I am the instigator, I am the listening ear, I am the one figuring things out, communicating with teachers, connecting the dotes, finding therapists, locating new schools, discussing, giving consequences, and driving all over the place.

It’s a strange dynamic because I enjoy being a part of a family. I love being relied on and knowing that they can trust me to follow through.

But,… I’m not the mom. I’m just a stepmom.

Right?

Am I only doing these extra things because their MOM can’t? No,… that’s not entirely  true. My love for them continuously grows the more I do. The more I learn about who they are and what they need, the more I want to show up.

Because I love them.

And then again there are times when I get super annoyed that their ACTUAL mom doesn’t know even a morsel about them. I get angry, and I feel taken advantage of, and I want to step down.

But what would I be stepping down from when my ROLE was never established in the first place?

What would I do if I ‘stepped down?’

Who would fill these roles if I didn’t?

So I go back and forth between feeling obligated and then really wanting to show up. Sometimes I have lots of energy for it and I feel empowered and strong. Other times I’m seething with anger and want to scream at everyone.

My feelings go back and forth, just like the hazy, muddy, slightly skewed title of ‘stepmom.’

I was thinking about this today as I was doing yoga.

MY ROLE is all over the place and nowhere and has no definition and is yet all encompassing. I was starting to get anxious just thinking about it.

But then I realized something else.

Why am I so special?

I mean, am I the ONLY one that doesn’t have a clearly DEFINED role?

I’ve been so caught up in my STEPMOM identity and what that means or doesn’t mean, that I didn’t give myself a chance to check out everyone else.

Maybe the reason this has been so confusing for me, is that we ALL seem to have some weird idea that our ROLES, any of them, should be clearly defined and explained.

We must feel like we SHOULD know exactly what it means to be a good wife, or good friend, or great sister or daughter, or excellent employee.

We SHOULD have learned what the parameters are, what is expected, what isn’t, how we can EXCEL, etc.

The more I think about it, there isn’t one single thing in life that is surrounded by clearly created black and white boundaries and definitions, right?

What if the very concept of ROLE is just bullshit?

What if it completely depends on who the person is and their intention for how they want to show up in the world? Wow. That just took a lot of pressure off my shoulders. Seriously, I felt them just fall.

What if I don’t need to do ANYTHING to perfect my ROLE. 

What if I just get to be Jackie? I can do more or less depending on what I feel, but I don’t need to have all the answers, and I certainly don’t need to FEEL like I have to do anything. I’ve just decided while writing this that my only requirement is that I’ll do everything with lots of love. Love for the kids, and my husband, and his ex-wife, and my family, and my friends,…

But most importantly, I can have a lot of love for myself, and let myself OFF THE ROLE HOOK!

 

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.

 

 

Answers are Sometimes Hidden Gems

I’m sitting here on a Tuesday earlish afternoon and thinking about trust. It’s so funny how when things are going great or even well, trust isn’t much to really think about. But what about when things are rocky? That’s the real test.

You know when you’re in the right place at the right time but you aren’t sure of all the logistics? When you don’t see how the pieces are going to possibly fit together?

Most people freak out.

Ahhh! I don’t have all the answers! Ahhh! I’m not in control. I can’t do this!

This is:
scary or
hard or
daunting or
NEW and I want to run away!

I think where I am definitely seeing this show up the most right now is trusting that there is

ALWAYS A SOLUTION.

Always. I’ve struggled in the past with thinking in black and white, it’s either all this or all that,…etc. And yet the older (and hopefully wiser) I get, I am realizing more and more that

LIFE ISN’T LIKE THAT.

I think life, in all situations has solutions that are these hidden gems just waiting to be discovered. Sometimes we may need to step away and take care of our basic needs before we can see them. But they are always there, lingering in the shadows ready to be revealed if we are open to jumping and trusting.

I’m being tested a lot regarding many new mom responsibilities with my step kids and cray cray stuff coming up  in regards to my husband’s ex-wife. Lately I feel like I’m barely coming up for air. It’s scary and a lot of work and I have a lot of feelings to work through , oh and by the way, where has my own time gone??

But I really do believe there are a lot of hidden gems along the way for me to experience as well.

I’m expecting to become better at trusting the universe, but also:

time management,
patience,
being present,
remembering the purpose,
remembering my purpose,
making sure that taking care of me is most important,
feeling my feelings, and
knowing that it’s okay to feel overwhelmed because I know I know I know that there will be solutions right around the corner.

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.

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.

 

 

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