Friday, January 30, 2009

"Let's say you do something nice for someone. The Monster in the Mirror will tell you that it's actually a covert attempt to control them. The Monster in the Mirror likes to keep you looking in the Mirror, examining you and your motives as if you've got a bad spiritual complexion. If it can keep you picking at yourself, it can probably keep you from doing anything." – Julia Cameron, Supplies: A Troubleshooting Guide for Creative Difficulties, pg. 25.


That last line. So true. Mind you, I also understand that if it can keep me reading a book about how it keeps me picking at myself, it has found yet another way to keep me from doing anything.


But this book, Supplies, is worth mentioning. As a matter of fact, all of Julia Cameron’s books are well worth mentioning. Not just the title most well-known. The Artist’s Way and the Vein of Gold and Walking in This World. There's also the Right to Write, The Sound of Paper, and Finding Water. Although they are presented with the writer in mind, the words apply and appeal to those with an artist's heart ... and who among us does not have this, to some degree? Some of her readers complain of redundancy, but to me her books always feel like having tea and sharing with a wise friend who knows her way around the block. Literally and figuratively.

Supplies is special to me. It is an artist’s emergency first-aid kit. An anti-venom. A tourniquet. A generous spray of Bactine. At times, the advice serves as the comforting hug that lovingly sends me back out to play. I had, more or less, forgotten that I had it on my bookshelf. I pulled it out this morning and opened it at random to this passage. Food for thought for breakfast.

The first week of Camp has not gone as planned. Today is the fourth day in a row that my daughter has been off school due to the snow/ice storm aftermath. I am out of my routine. I am out of sorts. And I am also out of excuses.

Next week heralds a bright, shiny new month. For those of you keeping track, Mercury will go direct on Sunday, February 1. Monday will be a second chance to welcome the new year. Things should feel lighter, go more smoothly ... a lot less like slogging through wet cement ... or a foot of snow.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Love Thursday: Happiness is ...

... being green.

Jakk's Green Power Smoothie

1 cup of spring water
1 frozen banana
1 fresh banana
1 apple (Granny Smith is my favorite)
1 kiwi, peeled
3-4 collard green leaves (or 5-6 leaves of kale)
1/2 cup of frozen blueberries (or other berries of your choice)
1 tablespoon of bee pollen (use caution and test for allergies)
1 tablespoon of hemp protein powder (I like Manitoba Harvest)
1 tablespoon of flax oil
1 teaspoon of spirulina

My beloved Blendec whisks this into about 36 ounces of creamy green goodness. I divide it into three 12 ounce mason jars and enjoy them throughout the day. I've been high raw for about a year ... with high meaning 75-90% of my daily diet is raw fruits and vegetables. But please don't ask me about the month of December. I'm too ashamed to talk about it. I will say that the better I am at sticking with it, the better I feel on a day to day basis. Immensely better. Especially through winter, which is typically a slumpy time for me energetically and emotionally.

Greens have been a miracle to me. They've clobbered my carb cravings. Now I crave the greens. Two years ago I had never tried collards or kale. I've come full circle and, last spring, was pulling big, juicy dandelion greens from our flower bed to put in my smoothies. Don't worry, I made sure that the neighbors weren't out and no one was driving by. They're good for the liver, you know, those dandelion greens! (Just remember that a little goes a long way.)

Anyway, if you're new to green smoothies, start slow. Yes, they'll seem really bitter at first. Yes, you'll swear that it is the most horrid looking conconction you've ever consumed. What helped me was beginning with a regular all-fruit smoothie and then adding one kale leaf, one smoothie at a time. Thing is, you WILL feel better and it will encourage you to add more. And don't be surprised if, like me, you start craving them. And don't be surprised if, over time, your life starts changing for the better in all sorts of unexpected ways.

You don't have to add the supplements. I like them for personal reasons. Be careful with the bee pollen, though. If you have never tried it before, there are instructions for how to test for allergies.

Hey, let me know if you go green! A green smoothie feast may be on the horizon for me this year. (All green smoothies, all day, for a certain number of days. For real!) It would be fun to feast as a team.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

My Winter Song

Loved the song ... the first 100 times I heard it. Thought you might be getting tired of it (and scrambling for the mute button), too.

Testing, Tested and Testy

Doesn't it sometimes seem like every goal is met with a test?

My test this week has been this winter storm. Don't get me wrong. I do love a hearty snowfall, knowing that I and my loved ones are safe and sound at home. But Camp Magic Beans is a camp for one and having those loved ones at home with me all day for the last two really didn't figure into my original game plan. And, yes, I do realize that I am now using it (the storm) and them (said loved ones) as my new excuses for not producing. I guess it is what it is.

The last couple of days have not been without some accomplishments. I have been rocking the G9. A few shots at first, but I am slowly remembering what it feels like to play with a camera on a regular basis. Like riding a bike, I suppose. Jen is encouraging me to get my Lomo out of hiding and kindly sent me some guidance to loading film in the Holga. I've received the latter as a gift two years ago and I have been utterly intimidated.

Hope. I think I'm feeling some hope.

And some forgiveness. I know it is unrealistic to think that I can do all that I love to do, every single day. I am a creatively lusty girl. I want whatever it is that I am doing at the moment to be fun. It can’t be fun if I feel that I must do it only to check it off of the list. It can't be fun if I must rush through it to move onto something else.

So this checking in with every facet every day can be a bit tricky, but I stand by this plan as the way that I want to approach it right now. It may turn out that I am better off with weekly goals ... certain facets for certain days ... rather than trying to touch base with every one of them every day. But I want to give this a chance before I change it. I want to see what develops.

I want to be immersed.

There are some things that I have not shown up for in these first three days. I don’t want to specifically name these facets. I don't want to give my absence from them any power. But just noting that my resistance is much stronger in some areas than others. Makes sense, I suppose. One step at a time. One layer at a time.

The storm has passed. It is likely that tomorrow we will be able to return to business as usual, with some caution, of course. The aftermath is dangerously beautiful. I will keep putting one foot in front of the other. One facet in front of the other. I believe that I will get into a groove in the days ahead. I believe that my intuition will guide me to and through the next logical steps. And I believe that what I choose to do, whatever I choose to do, makes a difference.


Monday, January 26, 2009

Mandala Monday

A fresh, new mandala to help us all remember the sun. It's still up there. I promise. We get one more minute of it every day, they say. That's a good thing to remember ... especially for those of us under a winter storm warning. (Be safe out there!)

The mandala, well, it's here. Please email a scan or photo or even mail a copy of your colored mandala to me. I would appreciate the warmth!

Sacred Life Sunday ... on Monday

I had hoped to be able to post this yesterday, but I did not get home until almost 4:00 p.m. and, frankly, I was post-retreat beat. It is challenging for me to make the transition between the retreat setting and regular life at home. It is a 20 minute drive between worlds. A mere fifteen if I don't get caught at the lights on S.R. 32. (I prayed for red lights on S.R. 32.)

Each retreat has its activity and this time, aside from yoga, we made vision boards. I've heard the endorsements and admired the vision boards created by those I truly admire, but I have never mustered the courage to make one for myself. Shouldn't be a big deal, right? Right. If you don't have perfectionist leanings like me. It turned out to be a project that brought out (and up) the little shit in me.

Very begrudgingly, I cut things out of magazines sans the giddy enthusiasm of my retreat mates. Random, who cares, this and that. Whatever caught my eye. No plan whatsoever. So over it before I even started. (I should have known I was onto something good.)

When it came time to arrange and glue the pieces down, my transformation to recalcitrant child was complete. I convinced myself that I should take everything home and deal with it later. (In RC-speak, later = never) I crack me up! Wasn't I the one who just wrote "the only way through it is through it"? Yes, that would be me.

The only remedy for recalcitrance is coaxing. Gentle coaxing. So I cooed myself through gluing down one picture. I promised I could see how I felt from there. This temple with the prayer flags. What does it mean? Whatever. Put it there on the left. Hey, Earth did not shift on its axis. I did not spew pea soup. Good. Okay, what next? Hmm. Guess this might be my idea of a dream bedroom. Or I just want a good night's sleep this year. Fine. So be it. Right there. On the right. At the top.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

This was the perfect project to lead me into Day 1 of Camp Magic Beans. A creative enema, thank you. Confirmation that I am on the right track ... but also proof that my resistant probably won't go down without a dirty fight. This will require commitment and diligence. A sense of humor will help immensely.

So after much inner debate, I have concluded that aiming for a certain number of completed projects won't (necessarily) work for me. Not yet. As I've said before, this is primarily about showing up. Once I can do that easily and regularly, I can raise the bar and kick the expectations up a bit. For now, all I ask (coax and coo) is that I show up. For every facet. Every day.

So what does that look like?

If you have cruised around Jakk's Magic Beans Workshop, you have discovered that it encompasses a number of facets. Creations and services that mean a lot to me ... in the doing of them and in the sharing, too. There are the I-AMulets, Reiki, feng shui, my Jakkoupage, the mandalas, etc. In other words, a lot. Now I certainly don't expect myself to DO all of them everyday, but I can certainly check in and at least acknowledge, if not take, the next logical step for each facet. Maybe the next logical step is to make that creation or provide that service, but it might also look like ordering supplies, updating the shop(s), or making progress on an idea.

Here is the point. If I don't make a point, better yet, a literal apPOINTment, to check in, a facet can languish for months ... and that is a shame. Letting something that I love wither from lack of attention is a crying shame.

Which is the perfect segue to the million dollar question. How can I ever find enough time to check in on every facet without my beloved family withering from lack of attention? And what about self-care luxuries like peeing and sleep? There are only so many hours to each day and a good number of them were called dibs by my full-time job. This worry weighs heavy on my mind. Trust me. But I have to trust that if I am called to do it, I will be given the resources, including the gorgeous resource of TIME, to do it. So, if anything, these next nine weeks are an experiment in trust. Trust in myself. And trust in Blooming Ha-Ha. (Thank you, Rob Brezny.)

On top of the showing up and checking in, I ask of myself these three things. First, to the best of my ability, raw until dinner. (It's for my own good, said in the tone of a fairy godmother rather than a wicked witch.) Second, again, to the best of my ability, sit, breathe and count to 100. At least once each day. (See, I don't even have to call it that M word.) Third, a walk after dinner. Not necessarily a long walk, but some measure of movement outside of the house which will require shoes and contact with the forces of nature.

I'll say it again because it is well worth repeating and applies across the board to all of it. To the best of my ability. If I have to bitch my way into it, then so be it. Amen.

Happy Birthday, Frances!

She is ...
a wise and compassionate healer ...
an adventurer ...
and pretty much the bravest person I know.

She is also ...
my travel buddy ...
my soul sister ...
and one of the best friends anyone could have.

Happy birthday, Frances! Blessings and best wishes to you!

Saturday, January 24, 2009


I will be retreating this weekend. It is time for Julie's semi-annual yoga sleepover. Twice each year. January and August. Although I've lost count, I would be willing to bet that this is my 10th time. At least. Festivities start around 2:00 pm today and end around the same time tomorrow, but it always feels like a week's vacation. Good food. Good friends. Good moves. And pretty much the best night's sleep, guaranteed.

The perfect prelude to Camp.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Camp Magic Beans

"I spend a lot of energy managing the mind game in this line of work. There are so many things to get snagged along the way and slow us down–performance issues, perfectionism, the complex relationship between art and commerce and the way you can read that sales sheet like it's measuring your whole worth. One thing that helps me keep things light and not too significant is to frame things in terms of a game that I'm currently playing. When Jen Lemen came to visit last week, we were both at the end of the games we'd been playing for the end of the year, and ready for something new. We came up with a 12-week action burst that would focus on daily production goals that will dramatically expand our body of work. This is a big game. What would your landscape look like, if 12 weeks from now you had 50 new paintings, or 100? If you had 50 new poems and short stories? What if they weren’t all amazing–don’t you think the odds are that plenty of them would be? That it would feel good to fish for the best from a vast ocean instead of a puddle of projects?" --Jen Lee on the Portfolio Project

This blog post has rocked my world. Go. If you have a creative bone in your body, which we all do. Just go. Even if you swear on a stack of Somerset Studios that you don’t. Please. Go now. Watch the video. Marinate. You will relate. And you, too, will be inspired.

I have read and reread Jen's words. As a result, I have come to terms. I have taken responsibility. Last year stank for me, creatively. The second half of the year before didn't smell much better. See, I have one of those old-fangled, full-time jobs. Some say the kind from which any real artist would be wise to create her escape. It is demanding. It can be depleting. But, gosh, I love it. I honestly do. Having it, even loving it, shouldn’t make my artisticity any less real. Yet the only thing that I have made in a very long time is it, this job, into my excuse for why I have not thrived at anything I deem to be my passion in this Workshop of mine.


It was far easier to blame my job than to confess that I let myself get the best of me. Ironic that the purveyor of I-AMulets can use some affirmations herself. I don't know, exactly, where I got snagged along the way. It doesn't matter. Not really. What feels right to me, right now, is forward movement. A clean slate. A deep breath. A big push.

A big game.

Which is why I am so inspired by the Portfolio Project. Although my aspirations are not necessarily about cultivating a portfolio, they are about dramatically expanding my body of work ... in whatever form(s) that may take. So with dramatic expansion as my focus, I have decided to send myself to Camp Magic Beans. Just like the Portfolio Project ... with beans.

I have taken the first steps and laid the foundation. Camp Magic Beans starts for me on Monday, January 26 and runs for 9 weeks through the end of March, before I leave for California and Reiki Master Teacher training. I carry into Camp my mini-manifesto for 2009. Show up. Put out. Be willing to get messy. And I should add to that DO NOT critique the out-putted. Produce. Rejoice. Move along.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Dramatic expansion requires dramatic immersion. The daily production goals of which Jen speaks. This is the part that makes me feel a bit itchy and reluctant. (Must resist the urge to check my e-mail. Again.) After 18 months of excuses and diversions, I am not sure that I remember how to show up. What do I do once I get there? What if I don’t feel like it? And in the snarl of my thorny gremlin, "Isn’t it inauthentic to do it anyway?" Gasp! Putting out seems like a sweet dream I had a long time ago.

Thankfully, among many things, I am a stubborn believer. I have been around the block (and literally blocked) enough times to know that if I can ride out and through the initial turbulence of seemingly overwhelming stuckitude, it is pretty much smooth sailing thereafter. But here's the catch. The only way through it is through it.

I will show up. I will put out. And I will wear play clothes.

One of those aforementioned first steps, taken with a smidge of shyness, was to announce Reikifest which just so happens to coincide with Camp Magic Beans. I have made available 40 one-hour appointments for a free in-person Reiki treatment. If you are a friend of Jakk’s Magic Beans Workshop in the Greater Cincinnati area, you should have received an e-mail very early this morning. If you didn't and you are interested, here is the scoop. I have not offered Reiki treatments on this scale before, so I think this counts as putting out. Yay! Hope to "treat" you soon!

Mandala Mondays Coloring E-Books

I am thrilled to announce that the 2008 Mandala Mondays Coloring E-Books will be available for purchase as of Sunday, February 1, 2009. There will be two volumes with 25 mandalas each! Due to the size of these files, they will have to be purchased separately, but it will be well worth it.

The 2007 Mandala Mondays Coloring E-Books will be retired on Saturday, January 31. If you think that you might like to have them for future coloring adventures, you will want to order them for download sometime over the next week.

As always, thanks so much for your support of Mandala Mondays!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Free for the Asking

Any girl who names her business Jakk's Magic Beans Workshop must love a good online oracle. How about you? Here are a few of my favorites ... all three free and no need to signup for anything:

Goddess Oracle

The Lunar Phase Oracle

Gaian Tarot Oracle*

*My personal favorite ... Joanna's artwork is breathtaking and the descriptions have inspired more than a few journal entries.

Happy asking!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

2009 State of the Workshop Address

I hope that your New Year is off to a wonderful start! I've been in an assessing mood since it arrived. Contemplative. What to bring forward? What to release?

Seems like the perfect time for a State of the Workshop Address.


In 2008, the I-AMulets moved from the website over to Etsy and back to the again. I want to give them the best possible exposure so that they can do their wooing, which may mean putting them back up on Etsy again. These particular I-AMulets have been waiting a long time for someone to bless. The reduced adoption fees reflect that, so see if one woos you. I intend to get back to regular wrapping this year. I've missed it terribly.

.:.Reiki Treatments.:.

In April, I will be traveling to the San Francisco area to take Reiki teacher training. Excited is an understatement, but I'll gush about that later. To get those Reiki juices flowing, I feel inspired to try to give 40 in-person treatments before I go. It's an idea that keeps niggling at me everyday. But having the regular full-time job significantly limits the time that I'll have available to offer them. Didn't someone say, "Where there's a will, there's a way"? I have treatment space in my home-based workshop ... with a comfy table and everything. It could happen. It could really happen. Pretty easily, at that. Stay tuned!

.:.Feng Shui.:.

I have been secretly crafting an eCourse that will enable you to go through your own home and assess it with the eyes of a feng shui consultant. The pace will be gentle ... a nine week journey. You will be free to make as many changes as you desire or as few as you feel comfortable. You will be accountable only to yourself. I will virtually hold your hand, room-to-room, every step of the way. Sound like something you may be interested in? Please contact me via e-mail and I will add you to the notify list when it is ready to launch.


I have quite a project ahead of me with setting up the coloring e-books with last year's Mandala Mondays selections, but I do hope to have them available sooner rather than later. As noted on its page, Mandala Mondays will be changing a bit for 2009. A fresh new mandala will be posted on Mondays. Just not EVERY Monday. I'll let you know on this blog as soon as a new one has been posted, so that you can download it and color to your heart's content.

.:.Reiki Shawls.:.

Tis the season for crochetin', so Reiki shawls are flowing. There is something about the needle and yarn in hand that connects me to the generations before me. So grateful. Adding Reiki to the process makes it that much sweeter.


I feel tugged, creatively, in so many different directions. I have been away from "Jakkoupage" for a long, long time and feel it beckoning me again. Happiness is Mod Podge covered fingers, I say! First grade flashbacks are good for the soul! I know that I have a blank box stashed away somewhere and this frosty weekend seems like a wise time to find it. Something about winter brings out the best in me as an artist. The trick is figuring out how to spread it out year round.

I intend to have a regular presence on this blog this year. Not just when I have a mandala to share. Not just when I have an announcement to make. Not just when I am inspired to take on some project or another. Everyday. I would like to connect with you, here, everyday. In some way or another. This blog is called Jakk's Magic Beans Life for a reason!

I will show up. I will put out. It may get messy. But it will be so much more fun if you're here to join me. I have an ABUNDANCE of magic beans to share! I promise!

Mandala Monday

Mandala Mondays will operate a bit differently in 2009. There won't be a new mandala EVERY week. Last year, I had a really hard time admitting to myself that posting a fresh one on a regular basis was overly ambitious in light of all of the other things that I'm doing. So this year, I have decided to post new mandalas on Mondays, but it won't be EVERY Monday. It could be close, though, I don't know. I hope so. I enjoy the new ones as much as you do.

That said, the newest mandala is ready to download here. And, as always, happy coloring!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year's Day Roundup

Feeling ... curious.

Journaling ... "My renaissance has come upon me."

Beginning ... another 100 Day Raw Fu Challenge.

Reading ... The Wishing Year, by Noelle Oxenhandler.

Anticipating ... a one-hour reflexology appointment this weekend (one of my Christmas presents).

Researching ... San Francisco and surrounding sights.

Committing ... to Reiki teacher training in the spring.

Appreciating ... the relatively mild winter that we are enjoying here in SW Ohio.

Planning ... ahead for the weekend yoga retreat that I will attend in a couple of weeks with one of my best and oldest friends.

Dreaming ... up all sorts of wonderful plans for Jakk's Magic Beans Workshop in 2009.

Wishing ... YOU abundant blessings for the fresh new year ahead!