Eye of the Hunter

20170128_154424I’ve always been fascinated with arrowheads. I grew up on the high plains of southern Colorado, and as a child I spent countless hours exploring those plains on horseback. Occasionally, I was lucky enough to find a genuine arrowhead–a tiny relic of a forgotten time when those same plains, now subdivided by barbed wire, were dominated by herds of bison that roamed freely and the Native American tribes that depended upon the bison for subsistence.

Genuine arrowheads are very difficult to find these days, but they continue to have a certain mystique in the American West. I’m clearly not the only one who finds them fascinating because modern replica arrowheads can now be found in pretty much every rock shop in the west. That’s precisely where I found the Fancy Jasper arrowhead I chose for this necklace–in a charming little rock shop in Virginia City, NV.

I never know exactly what I’m going to do with some of the pieces I pick up while I’m traveling, but I’ve learned to pay attention to what is now a familiar sort of magnetic pull of certain stones. I can’t help but pick them up, and those are the pieces that I’ll buy. Even when I can’t possibly imagine what I’ll do with it in that moment, I’ve learned that inspiration will inevitably flow. The seemingly random stone that I picked up along the way will eventually let me know what it wants to say. And so it is with this piece, which I’ve named Eye of the Hunter.

Turn on your TV or open an Internet browser these days, and you will almost certainly be convinced that the world is descending into complete chaos. Our country is more deeply divided politically than perhaps at any time in American history. Millions of Americans are marching and chanting and demanding rights they already possess while millions more trudge off to work every day, quietly hoping that they can manage to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads for another day or week or month. Those people dare not look further than a month into the future because they’ve learned over the past decade that the rug can be pulled out from under them at any moment.

Given the instability constantly portrayed on the news, it’s easy to believe that things are only going to get worse for us. But if you step outside and look around, you’re likely to find that everything is exactly as it should be. The balance and order we’re all desperately seeking is as close as our neighborhood park or greenbelt.

Growing up in a rural community, I was fortunate to spend the vast majority of my childhood outdoors. I had unfettered access to 20,000 acres of pristine land, which I explored on horseback as often as I possibly could. The countless hours I spent roaming that land, listening to the distinctive sounds of the high plains prairie and surveying wide open spaces as far as my eyes could see, left me with a deep and indelible connection to the natural world.

20170128_154152Whenever things start to feel out of balance in my life, I look to reconnect with nature. And the moment I step onto unpaved ground, I’m reminded again that the connection was never broken. I just believed I had lost it because I was focusing on the chaos instead of the order.

There is a natural order to our world, and no matter how much man claims to be above that order or in control of it, the truth is that we’re as much a piece of it as any rock, tree, or animal. We are intrinsically bound to this planet in much the same way that we are bound to our parents and our children.

The Native American Indians who once hunted these lands upon which my family now lives in a second floor apartment on the western edge of a sprawling Colorado town understood that basic truth. They knew that they were as much a part of their world as the bison that sustained them and the stones from which they honed their weapons. That understanding was central to their very survival, so they never lost sight of the common bond between themselves and the bison. Their focus was always on order rather than chaos.

Today, in a world where our food comes neatly packaged in tidy little boxes and we spend more time staring at screens than gazing out of windows, we’ve lost that focus. We’re so easily distracted by the chaos we see on the Internet and TV, and it’s easy to believe that the chaotic world portrayed on the screens that we’re so addicted to is the real world; but it’s not. The world in which we live is as ordered as it ever was. All we need to do is turn our focus to that order.

Eye of the Hunter is a reminder to turn our focus away from the chaos of politics and back to nature because it is there that we will find our way back to peace and order. What we focus on is what we foster. If you want peace, focus on peaceful things. If you want abundance, focus on those areas where your life is brimming with abundance. We all have some form of abundance in our lives for which we can be grateful. If it’s joy that you seek, focus on the squirrels chasing each other around the tree in your front yard or on the birdsong that wakes you at dawn.

Animals–particularly small woodland creatures–are inherently joyful. It’s no accident that nearly every Disney film includes scenes of a pretty girl singing joyously while surrounded by helpful woodland creatures joining in her song. Nature calls upon us to acknowledge our connection to it. I feel that call daily. Do you? Do you answer it?

20170128_153235All forms of Jasper are considered to be nurturing stones, and we’re all in need of more nurturing these days. It is my hope that this necklace will help at least one lovely woman reconnect with nature so she can restore the balance of strength and softness that is inherent to all women. The world needs more balanced feminine energy, and I can think of no better way to restore that balance than to bring as many women as I can possibly touch back to nature.

Eye of the Hunter consists of a Fancy Jasper replica arrowhead that has been intricately wrapped in handwoven copper wire and embellished with a Red Creek Jasper “eye”. The back of the pendant is finished in a pretty filigree of scrolls, so this piece can also be worn reversed. The pendant, which measures about 3 inches long by 1-1/4 inches wide, is strung on five strands of waxed nylon jewelry cord. Each cord is hand knotted with an array of natural copper and colorful Red Creek Jasper beads. Finished with an adjustable slide knot, this one-of-a-kind necklace can be adjusted from 24-40 inches long. It is currently available for sale exclusively at door44jewelry.com.

 

Collections and Websites and Wholesale, Oh My!

 

 

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Chalice Earrings – New for Spring 2017

Things are about to get real here at Door 44 Jewelry! I have a full year of sales under my belt, and I somehow managed to exceed my wildest expectations for my first year in business. That said, 2016 was a particularly challenging year for my family. It was a year of financial instability and uncertainty for we three Reamys. My husband was out of work twice last year, through no fault of his own. It’s just the nature of his business. Sometimes one contract ends before the next one is lined up, and sometimes it takes longer to line up the next gig than we expect.

 

We were without an income for four of the last thirteen months as a result of two such incidents of poor timing, and that made me realize how vulnerable we are as a single income household. So, what’s a busy mom with an even busier 6th grader to do?

I considered going back to work full time, naturally, but there are a multitude of reasons why that’s a less than ideal solution for our family. What really needs to happen, I decided, is that it’s time to level up my jewelry business to a point where it replaces my former salary as a project manager in the tech sector. Last year when I launched Door 44 Jewelry, that felt like a pipe dream. Today it feels totally doable, and I’m going for it.

I kicked off this year by participating in the 2017 Jewelry Brand Makeover Bootcamp hosted by Flourish & Thrive Academy, and what an eye-opener that was. I learned more about growing a jewelry business in that 10-day Bootcamp than I learned in an entire year of promoting my Etsy shop. The biggest revelation for me, though, is how much I’ve yet to learn. So, I’ll be dedicating the next eight weeks to a more in-depth Flourish & Thrive Academy course called Laying the Foundation.

I’ve always suspected that I would ultimately end up working for myself someday. It’s not that I don’t play well with others. I do, when I’m on the right team. It’s finding that team that’s been a constant source of struggle for me in the corporate world. Too few companies are willing to do the right things for the right reasons. Corporate America is plagued with incompetent and unethical management, and the situation has only gotten worse since I joined the workforce as a young woman. I made a lot of money for some of my former employers through the years, but for all that hard work, I have little to show for it. I was never the prime beneficiary of my own effort, but that’s about to change.

That 10-day Jewelry Brand Makeover Bootcamp showed me that it is completely within my own power to turn my love of jewelry into a lucrative business that will benefit my family in ways I’d only dreamed of until now. It’s high time that my family and I become the direct beneficiaries of my hard work.

You can expect to see a lot of changes behind Door 44 soon. You may have already noticed some changes, but there is so much more to come. I see now how I can leverage my background in manufacturing and production management to produce more jewelry more efficiently so I can sell wholesale to my favorite boutiques and galleries around the country–maybe even around the globe! I see how I can leverage my project management

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Twig Earrings with Picasso Czech Glass – New for Spring 2017

experience and my accounting education to set up scalable and sustainable business systems that will make my business run like a finely tuned machine. I see how I can tap into my web development and copy writing experience to build an engaging web presence for my jewelry, and I can’t wait to showcase the new collections I’m currently developing on the new website I’ll be building in February as I work through the Laying the Foundation course.

 

2017 is the year that I stop dreaming and start making those dreams my reality. I hope you’ll stay along for the ride because it’s going to be a lot of fun. A lot of work, yes, but it’s the kind of work that I can fully get behind because, for the first time in my working life, I’m totally free to do it my way.

Why should the shareholders of some nameless, faceless corporation be the ones to benefit from your blood, sweat, and tears? Life is much too short for that nonsense. Do something you love, and do it well so you’re the one who reaps those rewards.

 

 

Fly With Me

fly-with-meWhen it comes to jewelry, there are two kinds of people. There are those who see jewelry strictly as fashion accessories, and then there are those who see jewelry as deeply personal pieces of personal expression. I find that most of my customers tend to fall into the latter group, which is extremely fortunate for me because I learn so much from their stories and from working with them to create something that is uniquely their own.

Every now and then, I get a custom request that reminds me that I am ultimately in the business of helping people, and “Fly With Me” began with one such request. On December 3rd, I received an inquiry for a custom piece from a guy who is clearly head-over-heels in love with his girlfriend. He explained that his girlfriend lost her horse suddenly eight months ago, and she’s been grieving ever since.

I’ve had a life-long love affair with horses myself, and I’ve had some mystical experiences with them through the years. So, I completely understand the depth of the bonds that form between horses and the women who love them. The story broke my heart, but at first I declined the request because I’m unfamiliar with horsehair as an art medium. I referred the customer to a company that specializes in horse hair jewelry, but sadly, the lock of hair his girlfriend managed to keep from her horse was too short for that company to use. They’d already been turned away from there. At that point, I realized that I needed to take this commission, if for no other reason than to give a grieving young woman some peace.

Once I agreed to the commission, the design came together almost effortlessly. “Fly With Me” is one of those rare pieces that allowed me to get into that elusive flow that every artist lives for. Anyone who has ever galloped freely across an open field on the back of a beloved horse knows very well the sensation of flying just above the ground, and the horses we’ve loved and lost remain forever in our hearts. They’re angels with hooves. Wings seemed like the perfect theme for this piece, and I love the way the wings turned out. They’re subtle, and they frame the focal piece—a tassel, which is made with a lock of a beloved horse’s mane—perfectly.

Since this is the first time I’ve ever worked with horsehair, making the tassel was a bit nerve-wracking. The client provided precious little hair, so there was absolutely no room for error. Once I finally worked up the courage to give it a go, however, even that part of the process flowed effortlessly. “Fly With Me” is just one of those pieces that was meant to be, and I’m so grateful to have been a part of it!

“Fly With Me” consists of .999 fine silver wings which frame a horsehair tassel capped in silver plated pewter and sterling silver wire. The pendant, which is approximately two inches wide by three inches long, is suspended from a patterned sterling silver chain. The chain is accented with pretty little gray and aqua blue Amazonite beads and finished with a hand forged sterling silver clasp.

Amazonite is a healing stone that is believed to help soothe emotional trauma, and I can think of few things more emotionally traumatic than suddenly losing a beloved horse. They’re such powerful creatures, yet their lives are startlingly fragile. That, of course, makes them all the more precious to those of us who know and love them.

If you’d like a special horse remembrance necklace of your own, please email your request. I plan to make this design, along with one or two other concepts currently in the works, available in my shop in 2017 as made-to-order semi-custom designs.

 

Six Weeks of Gratitude: Week Six

November is, for many of us I think, a time to be thankful. As I’ve grown older, I’ve found that I naturally tend to retreat inward around the winter holidays. I don’t retreat from the outside world so much because I want to escape, but more because I feel a strong internal pull toward introspection.
 
This is the time of year that I tend to take stock of my life. I review the previous ten months and consider whether I am pleased with the direction I am going, or if perhaps I need to adjust my course a bit. Or maybe a lot, as has often been the case in previous years.
 
This year as November rolled around and I felt that familiar pull to examine my life, I was pleased to discover that all is right in my world. It’s a wonderful thing to internally examine your life and find that everything is exactly as it should be.
 
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that my life is perfect. It’s far from perfection, as a matter of fact. It’s just that I feel for once that I am right where I need to be and that no major course corrections are necessary to get me back on the right track.
 
As I’m sure you can imagine, Door 44 Jewelry is a very big part of my life. Launching a business and taking the leap into self-employment is daunting, to say the least, but this has been an amazing year. So much so, that I wanted to express my gratitude to the many people—friends, family, fans, and customers—who helped make 2016 such a remarkable first year for me.
 
I am so grateful for the support of every person who has contributed to what has been a very successful first year in business, and there have been a lot of people involved. I’ve sold over 100 pieces of jewelry to customers all over the US, and just today I shipped my first international order. One of my wildly popular Trumpet Vine pendants, pictured below, is on its way to France as I type.
 
 
I realize that I can’t do what I do without the customers who buy what I create, so I decided to give away six pieces of jewelry over a period of six weeks to show my customers how much I appreciate them.
 
I’ve already shipped five of those pieces—the fifth one, a gorgeous Lepidolite Egyptian Moon pendant pictured below, went out today along with the order I shipped to France. So, I only have one piece left to gift to a member of the Door 44 community.
 
 
I’ll be giving a limited-edition silver and blue Winter Icicle pendant to one lucky winner on Saturday, December 17th. If you’d like to have your name thrown in the hat from which my husband will blindly pull one name next Saturday, just ‘like’ and share this Facebook post.
 
Follow Door 44 Jewelry while you’re there for exclusive savings and the latest news about what’s happening on my workbench. And if I haven’t already said it to you before, welcome to Door 44 Jewelry and thank you for shopping. Please come back again!
 
Have a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

Four Blue Moons

One of the things I enjoy most about the work I do is that I get to meet some wonderful people. Since I opened Door 44 Jewelry for business exactly ten months ago today, I’ve corresponded with dozens of customers from all corners of the country (I’m still looking forward to my first international order), and I’ve grown to think of many of those customers as good friends.
 
Two of my new friends are a sweet young couple from California. I first met them when they purchased one of my all-time favorite pieces, Blue Moon Rising. They also happen to have a little girl who may very well be the most adorable toddler on the planet. She was about eighteen months old at the time her daddy started wearing his new choker, and she was thoroughly fascinated with it.
 
 
As toddlers are prone to do, she got a little excited one day and tugged a little too hard on Daddy’s choker, so it came back to me for repair. I’m completely smitten with this beautiful little girl, so I decided she needed a Baby Moon necklace of her own, which I included as a surprise for her when I returned Daddy’s repaired choker.
 
 
At that point, we all agreed that Mommy needed a coordinating necklace, too. So, along came Mother Moon.
 
 
Since baby #2 is expected arrive within a month, I just had to add a second Baby Moon necklace in that final shipment last week, bringing the L. Family collection to four Blue Moons.
 
 
It’s customers like these who’ve made me fall in love with making jewelry all over again. These are the people who give meaning to my work. I’ve done a lot of jobs through the years. Some of them paid well. Some of them were fun while others were challenging. All of them were educational, but this is the first job I’ve ever had that feeds my soul. Thank you for that, L. Family. Thank you to all my customers–my Door 44 family!

Week Two of Six Weeks of Gratitude

Door 44 Jewelry is nearly one year old, and this year has been far more successful than I dared to hope. So, I’d like to say thanks to all of the amazing friends, relatives, customers, and fans responsible for the success of my fledgling little jewelry business. Every like, share, pin, comment and purchase makes a difference. You’ve helped me spread the word about Door 44 in countless different ways, and now I’d like to give back to you!

I’ll be giving away one piece of my handcrafted jewelry every Saturday between today (I just announced the first winner an hour ago) and December 17th! To enter these drawings, just ‘like’ and share each weekly giveaway post, which will be pinned to the top of Door 44 Jewelry’s Facebook page. Be sure to ‘like’ that page as well so you’ll be sure to catch all of the latest drawing updates!

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Balancing Act

This piece was originally published on October 8, 2016 at door44jewelry.com. You can find more of my most recent blog posts, as well as all of the jewelry I currently have for sale there, so please stop by. Also, follow Door 44 Jewelry on Facebook for exclusive holiday deals!

A couple of decades ago, back when I was still young and idealistic, I naively believed that hard work was all it took to get ahead in life. So, I worked. Hard. Pretty much non-stop, as a matter of fact. By the ripe old age of twenty-six, I was a card-carrying member of workaholics anonymous.

I’m joking, of course. I don’t even know if there is a such thing as workaholics anonymous. If there is, I’m not making fun of the organization or its members, so please don’t send me hate mail! I’m just trying to make the point that work was my sole focus at that juncture, and it was so at the expense of all other aspects of my life. Personally, spiritually, and physically, I suffered from a rather extreme and persistent case of imbalance.

That imbalance took a heavy toll for ten long years before I finally reached my breaking point. All it took was for one particularly clueless supervisor to hit a very sensitive nerve in the midst of a difficult and tedious project, and I snapped. I had quite a flair for drama back then, so I didn’t just burn that bridge. I blew it up.

BOOM!

Career suicide is the technical term, I believe, but for me it proved to be the most liberating day of my life to date. I might have killed what I know now was always a dead-end career anyway (hindsight being 20/20 and all), but with that same strike of the match that lit the dynamite that destroyed the career I’d spent ten years building, I also revived a long lost connection to a person I’d neglected for a very long time: Me.

I hardly recognized my own reflection in the mirror the next morning. I looked and felt ten years younger. And as I marveled at the reflection of the young woman looking back at me, I felt something else for the first time in many years. Hope.

The main take away from that experience is that I know now that I can’t let my life get so wildly out of balance before I take time to refocus and rebalance. And that’s the thing about balance, right? It’s elusive. You find it and then you lose it, and then you find it again. Sometimes you hit a sweet spot and it’s like the heavens open up. You can almost hear the angels’ singing while you bask in the magical sensation of perfect balance. And then, poof! It’s gone. Again.

I launched Door 44 Jewelry just over eight months ago, and as new ventures are wont to do, it’s thrown my life out of balance. Not in a bad way, necessarily, and certainly not to the degree that I’ve experienced in the past. It’s been enough of an imbalance, though, that I’ve had to remind myself to take a breath and refocus.

While examining my transition from jewelry hobbyist to full-time working artist this week, one important area of imbalance that I’ve discovered is that I’m too isolated creatively. I have many friends who are artists and fellow creative minds, but none of them live within a 60-mile radius of my current residence. Although I know the city in which I currently live is brimming with artists, I’ve yet to make a meaningful connection with any of them.

That’s my fault, of course. I consciously made the decision to get my online shop up and running smoothly before tacking on the extra challenges and complications that come with selling locally at craft fairs and seasonal artisan markets. To further complicate matters, I also have family time and my daughter’s extracurricular activities competing with my personal need to expand my own creative social circle.

Something has to give. Competing priorities must be reprioritized, and I need to make time and space in my life for some local artist friends—maybe even a mentor. I’ve had to remind myself this week that balance is active. People tend to believe it’s passive, so they mistakenly think the key to finding balance is to remain still. The truth, though, is that stillness is the surest way to lose your balance.

I realized recently that I’m guilty of this myself. For months I’ve been telling myself to be patient and to wait for the right time or the right person to come along, but the reality is that the time is now and the person I’m ultimately looking to connect with is me.

As counterintuitive as it might seem, the key to finding your balance before the wobble becomes unrecoverable (as was the case with my former career before I wiped that slate clean) is to keep moving—maybe even a little faster than you feel comfortable going. Lean into it and trust that you’ll find that elusive balance once again. You know you will. After all, you’ve been doing it since you first learned to walk.

Life is short, and it’s easily thrown off balance. All you can do is keep moving forward. Make space for the things you need in order to rebalance (some local creative friends, in my case), and pursue what you love with the knowledge that you’ll always catch your balance, sooner or later. And then enjoy that balance for as long as it lasts before you lose it again, because you will lose it again. That’s just the way of it.

Balance isn’t a destination. It’s a process.

Step by Step, Brick by Brick

20160930_111235Can you believe it’s already the first of October? This year has been an absolute whirlwind for me! After far too many years of sitting on the fence when it came to selling my jewelry, I finally opened an Etsy shop on January 28th of this year. The response, thankfully, has been overwhelmingly positive, so I am now in the process of formalizing my business structure and taking a more strategic approach to growing Door 44 Jewelry into my primary source of income.

A major part of my business strategy, of course, is a formal door44jewelry.com website, which I recently launched. As luck would have it, though, my current business cards reference beyonddoor44.com. So I can’t simply pull the plug on this site. Not yet, anyway. For the time being, I’ll be maintaining both sites. I’ll probably still write some occasional blog posts here, but the blog at door44jewelry.com will be the primary location for all jewelry-specific blog posts for now.

Eventually, my goal is to let go of the beyonddoor44.com domain and move door44jewelry.com to a WordPress platform. I’ll get there, but the transition will likely happen gradually over this coming year. Step by step, brick by brick, I’m inching closer every day to achieving my full vision for Door 44 Jewelry. And I’m thoroughly enjoying the process along the way.

Life is short. Do something you love!

 

Good Vibrations

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“Egyptian Sun” pendant in silver featuring a Red Jasper focal stone and Carnelian accent beads.

Do stones have healing properties? I don’t know for certain. It sounds implausible at first blush, yet people (mostly indigenous people) have believed in the healing power of stones for thousands of years.

I’ve always been drawn to stones for some reason, but I always assumed it was simply because I appreciated their natural beauty. I know people who say they can sense the energy of stones and crystals. I’m not one of those people–at least not consciously. I don’t physically feel or sense energy in a way that I can clearly articulate, but I have come to realize through many years of dealing with emotionally incongruous people that I am extremely sensitive to emotional energy. I seem to be something of an empath in that regard. I pick up on the emotions of pretty much everyone around me, which certainly explains why I tend to prefer the company of animals.

Animals are masters of emotion. They move fluidly through a full emotional spectrum, and they’re able to live in the moment. People, on the other hand, have a strong tendency to live in either the past or the future where they cling stubbornly to emotional extremes. This inability to live in the moment and process a healthy range of emotions fluidly results in emotional incongruity. We all have that one friend who smiles and jokes loudly (often inappropriately) to mask “negative” emotions like grief or anger that she simply doesn’t want to acknowledge.

It’s those masked emotions that I seem to absorb like a sponge. I actually don’t have many emotionally incongruent people in my life anymore because I’ve spent the past ten years systematically eliminating them from my inner circle, but there was a time when I was completely surrounded by them; and they literally sucked the life out of me. For years I wondered how I could feel so emotionally drained while I was surrounded by other people yet I immediately felt better the moment I was alone. I blamed it on the fact that I was an introvert, and (naturally) I assumed that it was my fault that I felt so overwhelmingly sad or angry when I was surrounded by people who appeared to be happy, albeit superficially.

You might be wondering right now what any of this has to do with stones, and that is in fact the same question that I’ve been asking myself. For the past three years, I’ve managed to live inside a happy little isolation bubble. For the first time in my adult life, I’m not working outside of my home. I’ve had very little contact with anyone besides my husband and our daughter during that timeframe, so I’ve enjoyed the luxury of steering clear of most of the emotional pollution out there in the world.

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“Desert Moon” pendant in copper featuring a Wood Jasper focal stone and Tiger Eye accent beads.

These three years have been a social sabbatical of sorts, but as my business grows, I’m finding it more and more necessary to interact with the outside world. I’m being invited to teach classes and to be a vendor at local craft shows. I’m getting more requests for custom work and private commissions, which involve a great deal of back and forth communication to hash out the details of the customer’s jewelry design. I’m toying with the idea of writing tutorials or perhaps starting a YouTube channel to share my own jewelry making tips and tricks. Additionally, I’m starting to get involved with my daughter’s school now that she’s attending a unique little charter school. Her school is growing at an alarming rate due to the phenomenal academic achievements of its high school students, so the PSA is desperately in need of parent volunteers to help support the teaching staff.

Basically, I’m having to come to terms with the fact that, whether I fully understand how emotional energy works or not, I am an emotional empath. Avoiding prolonged contact with all but my closest friends and family members certainly made coping with this innate ability easier and more comfortable over the past three years, but it’s become increasingly clear to me since I opened my Etsy shop that social avoidance is no longer practical. I’m going to have to learn how to function in a world of emotionally incongruent people in order to grow my business, so I’m looking to the energetic properties of stones to help me stay balanced in a decidedly imbalanced society.

Not surprisingly, then, my jewelry is starting to move away from the glass beads that I’ve always loved. I’ve recently found myself drawn more to gemstone beads in general and jasper beads in particular. About a month ago, I went on a bit of a shopping spree and splurged on more than a dozen strands of beautiful gemstone beads. It’s the largest single supply purchase I’ve made since opening my Etsy shop in January.

Almost none of the strands I bought were marked with the actual gemstone name, so once I got all those gorgeous beads home, I set about working to identify them by name. I was somewhat surprised to discover that the vast majority of the stones I chose are various types of Jasper. Once I began researching the energetic properties of Jasper, though, I realized that I’d intuitively chosen precisely the kind of stones I need at this particular phase of Door 44 Jewelry’s development.

Jasper, it seems, is widely regarded for its grounding and balancing characteristics. Deeply connected to the earth, and used for thousands of years in various cultures around the world, it’s said to be a warm, nourishing, and protective stone that balances the feminine yin and masculine yang energies. These energies are unquestionably out of balance in our society presently. One only needs to turn on the news to see the latest antics of two of the most wildly inappropriate presidential candidates in our nation’s history to see clear evidence of that fact.

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“Egyptian Moon” pendant in silver featuring a Picture Jasper focal stone.

I don’t know if stones really do have healing properties or not. What I do know is that I’ve been powerfully drawn to various forms of Jasper lately, and I’ve felt almost compelled to create Jasper jewelry over the past couple of months. I’ve also been wearing Jasper jewelry almost exclusively in that same period, and I’ve noticed that I feel generally calmer and more confident and grounded while wearing it.

Maybe my jewelry can help restore a healthier energetic balance in the world. Maybe not. I won’t go so far as to claim that the stones I’m currently using in my jewelry have magical healing powers. They are pretty, though. Perhaps the simple act of wearing or gifting a piece of lovingly handcrafted jewelry made with a beautiful natural stone will do nothing more than make someone happy. And maybe more happiness in the world is ultimately the answer to restoring balance.

Laptops & Tablets & Smartphones, Oh My!

I spent nine years of my former life as a corporate drone working for a telecom company in Alaska. During that period, the company went on to become one of the first fully integrated telecom service providers in the country. Professionally, those were some of the best years of my career. Personally? Not so much.

I was wired to the hilt. Even back then when wireless technology was relatively new and still extremely limited in rural Alaska, I was virtually accessible to my employer around the clock. I worked from home. I worked from the office. I traveled to some of the most remote regions of the state, and I was always tethered to my job by technology.

To say my personal life suffered would be to imply that I actually had a personal life. I didn’t. I was married to my job, and not necessarily unhappily so. Not for the first seven or eight years, anyway; but as unbalanced marriages inevitably do, mine eventually crumbled. I was struck with the harsh realization on a redeye flight home to Alaska after visiting family in Colorado that, for someone so thoroughly connected through technology, I was woefully disconnected from the things that actually matter in life: friends, family, nature–the kinds of relationships that actually feed a spirit rather than isolate the spirit with the illusion of connectedness while slowly starving it to death.

That startling realization marked the beginning of the end of my marriage to my employer. I quit my job a few months later, and I spent most of the following year getting reacquainted with myself. I disconnected all but the most essential communication services, and I refocused all of my attention on things that actually mattered, like my hopes, dreams, and creative impulses. I also moved back to Colorado that year, and thank goodness I did because I’d have never met and married my husband had I not cut those cords.

Today marks the tenth anniversary of my return to Colorado. Ten years of being mostly unplugged from technology, and now I find myself being steadily reeled back into that tangled web. I suppose that’s a hazard of starting an online business–or any business, for that matter. This time, though, I’m determined to maintain a much healthier work/life balance because this time I do have a personal life. And a pretty wonderful one at that.