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!!

In Process

Here is a piece I am in the middle of working on. I did this one a little different, and started drawing with the color first. It’s so much fun and my hand is lusciously cramping… Ahhhhh I love feeling it in my body.

Is it really art if I’m just allowing my hand to create without my head?

I’ll post it when it’s finished! xo

Clear That Space, Woman

Geez, a New Year is here! Ahhhh! Isn’t it amazing to start a fresh chapter? I know I keep mentioning it but I still can’t get over it. The luster is hopefully going to last far into the year for me because it’s keeping me going.

I’ve been doing a lot of checking in with myself these past couple of weeks. I didn’t like how I was starting to feel pretty regularly by the end of the year last year. Sort of tired, and put upon, and constantly feeling like TIME IS RUNNING OUT,.. you know, all of that. None of which makes me feel
EMPOWERED or
PASSIONATE or
CREATIVE or
ALIVE.

So I knew I needed to make a change. 

thumbs up

One of the adjustments I am making is HOW I can take care of myself better.

Now, I know better than anyone that I require a lot to feel my best.

I need:
To do feelings meditations super regularly, and deep breathing, and go to bed early, and make art, and cry, and see friends, and connect with my hubby, and eat protein often, and write, and exercise until I am covered in sweat, and take baths, and visualize solar light, and wake up at 4am, and speak my truth, and have conversations with depth, and I am sure there is plenty more.

I’m pretty good at all of these, but one area I’ve been struggling with is creating spaces that feel good to me. Spending time figuring out how to make spaces clutter free, or warm, or full of love so I feel good in them.

I realized this with my sacred meditation space. I’ve appointed a small walk in closet as my meditation room, but have allowed it to fill up with junk (probably just like my mind), and haven’t bothered to fix it up. Every morning I trip over a bunch of crap in order to close my eyes and attempt to meditate.

How ironic is that? 

After New Years it dawned on me that IT’S UP TO ME to create the space exactly the way I want it. And really, if I have it at all, why not make it feel good? Isn’t that the point?

Again, WHY DO WE MAKE LIFE HARDER THAN IT NEEDS TO BE? 

Ah! So I am in the process of creating my meditation space so I feel clear and vibrant and at peace when I am in it. Yesssssssssss! And THAT FEELS like I am taking care of me!

 

I will show pics when it’s done!

xo

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.

Without My Art Journal

Like I mentioned at the beginning of the year, my art journal is a bit of a safety net for me. I feel SAFE taking risks on it. It’s fluid and playful and scribbling and messy and yet I get a chance to be a bit daring and then I can close the book and no one has to look at it.
I’ve known for a long time that the freedom I feel from ‘playing’ as I call it, in my art journal NEEDS to come out on actual pieces. If I want to show anything ever, I would like to be more comfortable with myself so that I can just make something without the journal. Something that has the same playful, effortless feel as working in that book.

It’s starting to get easier.

Lately I’ve been in the middle of a lot of little things OUTSIDE of the art journal. Yessss. This one I started out a bit cautiously. I could feel the apprehension building in my hands and arms as I worked. But when I have my art journal open close by, I’m reminded that I can create, I am an artist, and I just need to trust and relax. The more I worked, the more I began listening to those little intuitive hits that always bubble up when I’m working in the journal. I began relaxing into it. It felt so amazing to conquer that! I can feel easy and light no matter what or how I am creating. I can feel confident about myself and what I am doing. Ahhhh!
Ah! So so so appreciative of all the ideas that are spilling over in my brain. I am loving experiencing each and every one of them!

Sending you all love and joy on your creative journey!

Supa Fine Canvases, Finally!

Years ago I thought about having a surface where I could do my tiny little drawings on as well as some acrylic painting. I don’t like painting on canvas without gessoing the hell out of it, because lots of canvas texture just isn’t my thing. I thought about it, and maybe did a little thinking, but I wasn’t prepared to figure it out.

Anyway, this time I decided to figure it out only now I am much more patient and curious. I decided to glue a pretty thick mixed media paper to the canvas. After lots of trial and error, and starting over 5-6 times, but I got it to work seamlessly! Ha!!! It’s stuck to the canvas with no bubbles, and the edges have been covered in white texture paste to hide the paper seam. Though it’s not quite finished, it’s only taken a couple of hours and will be done in no time. Ahhhhhhh!

Now I can work on canvases of all shapes and sized with soft deliciously fine paper over the top! Yesssssssssssssss!

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/

 

Focus Focus Focus

What if everything has the potential to work out if we stop focusing so hard on it?

I have sort of a funny example:

I’ve always disliked my arms. They were never the shape I wanted.

Through the years I started paying more and more attention to them until it became a total obsession.I was constantly thinking about them, and noticing other people’s arms that I was envious of.

Looking back, I can also see that my fixation caused me to assume that EVERYONE ELSE was also aware of my arms.

What is wrong with me?

Oh my gosh I look so horrible!

My arms are so noticeable and disgusting!

I found weight classes with the determination of getting them THE WAY I WANT THEM. I pushed myself to make this happen, but nothing seemed to be working!

The ARMS had become this HUGE problem.

I worked out even harder.

But still nothing happened.

About 4 months ago, I was peering at them, grabbing the areas I felt should be different, and I thought of something. If my arms suddenly WERE exactly what I wanted, how would my life be different?

Would I still do the same things?

Would I still have the same people in my life?

Would the same things still make me happy and sad and excited?

Yes. Of course, the answer was yes.

So…

Who cares?

I mean really, what if my arms are just the latest obsession that is keeping me from totally accepting myself, but they are fine? What if they are fine just the way they are. Can I love myself exactly as this, if they never do change?

I decided that yes, I can and I stopped thinking about them. I started sending them love when I saw them in the mirror, and being grateful they were getting so strong from all my weight exercises.

I stopped noticing the size.

 

The other day I was in the middle of my brutal yoga class and I happened to glimpse at my arms in the mirror. I realized that they were starting to take the shape I had always wanted. But I hadn’t even noticed!

As I examined them more closely that evening, I realized something else. It’s great they are toning up, it really is. And yet I don’t care nearly as much as I thought. Their size, their shape isn’t what determines my happiness.

So I was wondering, is this how it is in all areas of life? If we are super focused on something, and running in circles demanding it to BE DIFFERENT, do things suddenly change? After all that grueling work?

Or if we build up some sort of ideal into this fantasy that will make our LIVES BETTER AND MORE ENJOYABLE AND HAPPIER, is that ever true?

This was a great epiphany, because I’m involved in some heavy life stuff right now. Maybe instead of running in circles SEARCHING FOR THE ANSWER, I can surrender to what is, and LOVE who and what I am and who and what everyone else is that I am involved with.

Maybe this can create the space for miracles to occur.

 

 

Find Your Solace

There is so much emotionally going on for me right now, I don’t even know how to begin this post. I’m not in the mood to complain or explain the story over and over again. And yet I have a very strong desire to connect, to feel loved and that everything will be okay.

I was realizing a moment ago how fitting it is at this time in my life when I am deciding to fully embrace myself artistically, there is also an interesting life crescendo happening.

All I can say is,

THANK GAWD I am creating art. 

Thank god that it had become a priority BEFORE all these changes began happening, and all the feelings and the stress.

I had no clue that at just the moment when I was deciding just be an artist, that my soul and my heart would actually need it more than anything.

So I’m checking in on all of you. It seems like life is really rocky for a lot of people now, full of so many changes and waves and tears and explosions, and pain. Maybe some of us know that it will lead to growth, (which is what I believe) but regardless, it seems to be very hard.

I’m sending you all love that you have your solace. That you have a place you can go where you can feel your feelings, where your heart can be open and full and alive and you are able to remember what a gift you truly are.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑