Listen to Alice Dommert read the post here.
My latest favorite magazine is called mindful: taking time for what matters. When the October issue arrived a week ago I must admit I did not recognize the woman on the cover. She looked young, blonde and beautiful. Hmmm…not the usual cover of this magazine dedicated to mindfulness.
As I picked it up to take a closer look, on the cover I read Singer-Songwriter Jewel on Turning Fear into Happiness. I I scoffed. Okay, so she had lived in her car but what could Jewel possibly know about mindfulness? I also felt a tinge of disappointment. Really, was a mindfulness magazine already selling out by featuring famous cool people?
Now, I need to apologize. To Jewel, and to mindful magazine. I got caught in my own mental models of thinking I knew what was going on. Beautiful, blonde singer who happens to sit in silence every now and then on the cover to sell magazines. I’m kind of embarrassed to admit I thought that. (But thoughts are not who we really are, right? )
I’m here to tell you, with tears in my eyes after watching her interview at Wisdom 2.0 (one of the largest mindfulness conferences) that Jewel is the real deal.
Most of us know her from her early frame as the girl who went from living in her car at 19 to being a star at 21. Fame did not transform all of her problems. Jewel is now a 43-year old mother with a 6-year old son. She got rich, got married, lost it all, got divorced. That’s a lot of miles to walk practicing mindfulness.
It would be easy to think she learned mindfulness from an app. Though she still looks like she is 21, Jewel figured out what are now considered mindfulness practices well before headspace was even a thought and there were no mindfulness apps. She did not take a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course or learn it at a college Wellness Fair. She just figured it out.
Jewel writes in her book Never Broken: Songs are Only Half the Story that she did not even know what mindfulness was at the time but knew she needed solutions to shift her state of being unhappy and tremendously uncomfortable. She was living in her van and she was poor, sick and isolated. She visited the library to read about neuroscience and how to replace her negative thoughts to shift her situation.
I was in awe on one hand as not every teen in a hard spot can do what she did. Jewel admits, however, that it was out of necessity and a process of trail and error. She’d read, invent a practice and give it a try. The things that worked she would do more of. She should have become a statistic with a sad ending. She was determined not to let that happen. In her book, she writes about these practices.
– spend time in silence
– embrace imperfection
– let go of shame
– being a witness to your behavior is the first step to meaningful change
– establish a gratitude practice
– create a home for happiness
– what’s simple is true
– you can’t out run your pain
– flip the switch and retrain your brain
In the article in mindful we hear about her collaboration with Zappos on a project called the Whole Human Project where she is helping to create a benefits package to help employees find greater harmony in their lives. (I even like the pun!)
She also has a web platform called Jewel Never Broken, that is a nonprofit program in partnership with the Inspiring Children Foundation. This program shares the practices that she “invented” as a teen to keep herself from being a statistic. She describes their mission as a website “for those who are seeking the tools to examine their past and bring mindfulness into the present, so that they can be the architects of their future.”
Jewel tells it like it is and of course, I love the “be the architects of their future” reference. The ideas that she shares are the core tenants of mindfulness and positive psychology today. They are so very, very simple. I don’t pretend they are easy.
We tend to over-complicate, happiness, and life.
Which one of these ideas might go up on a post-it note at your desk for this week?
I’m writing mine right now. And I just ordered her book.
Learn a few easy practice with Jewel here. https://youtu.be/rvhMIBKzZt8
Thanks Jewel for keeping it real in all the best ways.