One of the best pieces of advice that my dad has given me is this: “You can’t parent perfectly; your only measure of success is your children’s ability to parent even better than you and your willingness to support them in that process.”
Jolie believes in honoring stories through paint. When she’s not painting, she’s experimenting with recipes, or knitting, or reading stories. She creates her story now in Portland, Oregon with her husband Chris– who is the best listener. She tells her story here.
What do you create?
Paintings, mostly. But hopefully, those paintings create joy. That’s my ultimate goal. I think of them more like small bits of me that find their way to the wall of a child’s room, or to a spot near a favorite chair. And there they look down and offer happy thoughts, or reminders of good things. It’s a bit corny, I know, but I’m okay with that. I guess I just hope I create happy memories, and powerful stories when people look at my work.
Where do you create?
I create in my half of our spare room. Though to be fair, I probably have 60% of the room instead of just my half. Apparently, painting takes up more space than writing.
I also create in a cane backed rocker next to the biggest window in the house, since this is where I do most of my writing and thinking. I love this chair. So does Libby the cat– she stalks the chair, and the moment I get up for a glass of water, she jumps in it and curls up pretending to be asleep. She doesn’t fool me though.
And I create outside with my portable easel. I love exploring Portland on my bike with my easel on my back, finding a spot that says, “Paint here!” This is my favorite part. I love being outside with my easel and my paints. It centers me.
When do you create?
I’m not a morning person. Not at all. I work best from 2-6pm, which works out pretty well, because that’s when the light is best for landscape painting (This summer, I’m working on a series of landscape paintings en plein air). So I run errands, answer emails, and go to yoga class in the mornings. Then I come home, eat lunch, and write my morning pages before I work for a bit. The goal is one painting every weekday. Once that painting is done, then I’m happy with myself. If it’s not done, then I’m grumpy and useless. I’ll attempt to knit, or write, or cook, or create something else, but it’s all feels pointless if I haven’t painted that day.
I love watching people paint… here’s a video of gorgeous Jolie doing her thing…
Why do you create?
A simple answer is that I create to honor the Creator. Because I believe that we were created to create. To make stuff. To find the thing we’re best at and do it. For me that’s painting, which is why all the other stuff becomes pointless if I’m not painting.
But there’s more to it. I paint because I get grumpy, when I don’t. I paint because I learn more about myself and the world by looking at it through my painting eyes. I paint because it makes me feel strong and centered. I paint because I love color. I paint because I love the way brushes feel and the way paint squishes on to the palette. I paint to reclaim happy memories and find good in all the crazy infuriating confusing parts of of life. I paint to tell my own story. I paint to draw others in to my story with me, because when they look at my paintings they know part of me.
Thank you so much gorgeous Jolie for this scrumptious peek into your studio… you = wonderful x 1000.
I hope you don’t find this odd. It’s just how we roll.
When I was little, we would go on family picnics.
But not to normal picnic places – like parks or beaches.
No, we’d have family picnics at the cemetery. We’d spend days on blankets, wandering between tombstones, reading the names, the ages, the dates.
My beautiful Great Aunt Lucy, a fire-haired fairy, would come with us in her best finery – swirling long dresses, looping necklaces and wrists filled with wide bangles. She’d dance her way through the graves, and say:
I just love coming here. It’s just like visiting old friends!
You see, Proserpine Cemetery isn’t just any cemetery – it’s got our ancestors in it. Five generations on both sides of my family have lived here in Proserpine.
And now my brother lives there.
But, you know, he doesn’t really live there.
But we still go visit him there anyway.
Like Aunty Lucy says,
it’s just like visiting friends.
There’s been times we’ve visited with all our tribe – grandmother, parents, nieces, nephews, siblings, partners.
We sit around on his grave, and we laugh and talk.
Some people leave flowers on graves.
You can always tell we’ve visited my brother by the lollies being left there.
Today, my big sister, me & Ostara went to visit Starry’s Uncle Clinty.
We didn’t leave butterscotch this time.
Instead, we left a slice of chocolate coconut ice.
And ate some ourselves.
I think Clinty likes ze variety.
And I introduced Starry to her Uncle Clinty.
But it was less about introducing and more about…
Remember how your Uncle Clinty guided you down out of the stars to us?
He loves you so very much.
We all do.
And we took family photos.
Because that’s how we roll.
And we talked to our brother.
Asked his advice.
Told him about everything.
And we ate more Chocolate Coconut Slice.
And we sat and looked out over the mountains.
And I said:
Ya know? I don’t think Clinty is any more here than he is everywhere else. I feel him just as much in the mountains as I do here.
And sis said:
I know. I feel him everywhere. We don’t have to visit anywhere to be with him.
And it’s true.
My brother is all around us. And we can talk to him anytime. He is just as much right here as he is right there.
But it’s fun to go visit friends anyway.
And have cemetery picnics, and eat chocolate coconut ice.
I’m so grateful – for all of this.
The more I travel in this world, the more I see that all there really is is love.
Once upon a time, I went to a management course thingy for my cubicle job.
Sounds enlightening, no?
Sometimes the Miracles that change us the most come wrapped in the disguise of Normal.
That was the case with this.
One Monday morning, I got onto a little white bus with dozens of other cubiclers – all strangers.
The two hour drive into the green, rolling mountains was quiet. No one spoke. They nodded off into early morning naps, fastened headphones into their ears, pretended to be absorbed in the morning paper. All the while, we snuck glances at each other. Who were these people we were to spend the next two days with?
On Tuesday night, as we drove back into the city, our little bus was vastly different.
Where before there was silence and strangers…
A miracle had occurred.
There, in the white bus, hurtling through the evening dark, we shone like a thousand stars in love with each other and themselves.
We were a comet. A comet of laughter and tears.
Behind me, an older man spoke, perhaps for the first time, about going to war. About cancer. About being a single father. About having to leave countries. About how hard it had all been, how much he loved his children and how deeply grateful he was.
Women shared their stories together. They held hands, and laughed through tears, saying:
A soft kind man sat beside me, and told me his childhood secrets.
I pulled a Native American flute from my bag, and stumbling breathlessly, played a song to the bus, to the woman with angel eyes sitting at the front who so longed to remember her joy again.
We were the sound of hearts broken open so thoroughly that our only thing left was to be vulnerable.
To allow the vulnerability in like we had been gasping for it, as needed as air.
We came together as strangers. Less than 48 hours later, we left each other, embracing each other, with shining tears in our eyes. Witnesses to each other’s hearts.
The next morning, I made this video – the first time I had cried on video. It was definitely not my last.
I wonder what it would have been like to be that bus driver. The one who had dropped us off quiet & unspeaking only to pick us up as the very best of friends.
He must have wondered what had happened in those hours between.
What must have happened to make us all open and shine so much?
I can only tell you in words and photos, and even they are not enough.
There was many things that happened while we were there.
There, we were surrounded by golden fields that glowed in the sunlight. A lake surrounded by weeping willows, dragging their leafy fingertips across its surface.
There was a 70 year old man with white shining hair, brilliant blue eyes and a smile that came easily, filling a room with his happiness. His brown-eyed love, who sat in the room watching everyone. My brother tells me I have X-ray eyes, she tells me with a mischevious smile.
And as each hour unfurls, so too do we. Slowly, our hard little clay exteriors begin to crack, and wash away in the rains.
We talk. We learn a new meditation – one that surprises me with its power. We breathe deeply into it. We fall asleep on the floor. We write. We talk more.
Over dinner, people begin to share their stories.
That night, we have to write letters to people we haven’t forgiven. In my soft cream room by the lake, I cry in the night. I can hear the sounds of all my other heart’s comrades writing their own letters in the velveteen evening.
It feels like skin on canvas, like tattoing our shame for the world to see. Our pens are feverish and damp. We fret that we couldn’t possibly say what we need to. And yet, we must. It is at once awful and utterly liberating.
Our pains are privately written in the night.
At the first light of dawn, I awake and walk through the mist to the lake. My heart is open and branded with light. I am vulnerable, and each cell inside me tingles. I am struck by the bravery of every soul here.
I pull my flute from my bag, and play long, fluid songs over the water. Prayers that we all might be healed.
In the morning light, we all look a little puffy. We eat breakfast.
We march back into that meeting room, and we do what must be done.
We open those wretched, tear-stained pieces of paper, and we read them aloud.
We sob. We pass boxes of tissues to each other. We say:
And our stories rise and fall. We are crescendos of birds, sharing with the world for the first time, all those things that lay heavy upon our hearts. We fling clutches of crows into the air.
And then, just like that, the sobs ease, and the birds arc off into the sky. We are free of them.
And we lay back down on the floor, and breathe again.
Falling heavier and heavier into the softest, kindest, deepest meditation I have ever known.
Those two days were one of the greatest healing experiences of my life.
I wish I could give you the whole healing experience, but how on earth could I package a lake and a bus?
I want to give you the essence of this healing though. This meditation technique is such a profound, powerful gift. For me, I go deeper into zennified space than I ever have before. My muscles soften, my breath deepens. I go much quicker into an amazing space of peace. And when I awake from it, I usually have some bright insights about things I need to do.
I’ve tried a bazillion meditation techniques. I’ve stared into candles. I’ve chanted. I’ve gazed upon the images of gurus. I’ve done funny things with my nose and fingers to breathe in and out through alternating nostrils. I’ve read meditation books by the dozen. I’ve got a box dedicated to meditation CDs I’ve bought. I’ve gone to weekly meditation classes in winter with a group of my lovely friends – my favourite part was buying roasted chestnuts afterwards and eating them until it was hard to breathe. I’ve invented the Meditationap.
And this one was the one that really worked for me.
It really is my own Holy Dinger Uber Deep Zennifying experience.
As soon as I learned this meditation, I wanted to share it with you.
And I wanted to make a package so you could really use this technique in your life.
Please note this meditation is different from the usual Goddess Leonie meditations – it is the ancient So Hum technique as taught by many teachers. Usually my meditations are original visualisations – just the way I like it. But I found this technique so incredibly helpful in going deep into stillness that I felt really called to share it with you. And make it into a kit that would make it most helpful to you. If you’ve got any more questions, please just email me!
So I made you the Holy Dinger Uber Deep Zennifying Meditation Kit…
You’ll get four MP3s in this kit:
An introduction MP3 explaining the technique
Three meditations of different lengths – 5, 10 and 20 minutes. That way, each day you’ll be able to choose how long you want to meditate for, and have a meditation to know when ze time is up. I dunno about you – but sometimes it’s hard just getting started in meditation. So the beauty of having a 5 minute meditation is you can commit to something small and easy. Just a moment of meditation is worth a hundred moments without. So yus. Choices all around, dearest heart.
Want to buy?
Two options my dearest heart!
You can buy this kit for US $24.95. Just click the button below & you’ll get instant access.
Otherwise, you can become a Goddess Circle member for only $99 & get this meditation kit and everyyyyything wlse I’ve created – over $600 of my other e-courses, meditations & workbooks.
Okay my darlingheart. Thank you for joining me in this story. Whether this is right for you right now or not is utterly perfect.
And if you have any questions at all, please just email me dearest heart. I’d be so happy to help.