I am coming up on my 11 year anniversary in May.
It’s been an 11 year journey of designing, making and selling my jewellery….And of course there have been many other journeys along the way.
On this anniversary I will be completing a very important transformation.
In my own life I see that times of transformation always takes longer than I think… as if entering a doorway and leaving it is a journey unto it’s self.
I entered that doorway here, if indeed these journeys have some sort of beginning at all except at the very beginning. The first time I went to Burning man I was also in the middle of a huge life change. I had just packed up my apartment in Vancouver, and all my belongings were in a shed in Courtenay on Vancouver Island, where I planned to make my home. The country had been calling for too long and it was time to make that dream a reality. So I left my friends, community, and clients and stepped into an unknown life.
But before that I went to Burning man.
In this place of ‘in between’, the veils of illusion are slightly thinner than usual and sometimes we are open to walking through doorways we might not have seen before. It’s a long story, but to sum it up, when I was in the desert things become clear to me in a new way. I had new direction and I started walking down a spiritual path that has since led me to where I am today.
I had earlier written a long piece about what transformation means and why allowing for the death and life cycle in all of our lives in so important, but what is the point of saying all of that without the meat and bones of the real story.
You see, I am actually a bit of a private person (much to the surprise of many who know me) and a spiritual journey is about at personal as it gets.
With my heart on my sleeve…..I continue. While in the dessert I stumbled upon a tent where they were giving people their playa name ( a name that you get given while at Burning man that perhaps represents, a freer, more expressed and true version of yourself). I honestly thought that this would be a fun and silly thing to do and so I laid down my bike and went it. I sat with two lovely women for a good half hour as they asked my questions about my life. I found myself sharing all sorts of things as the words just tumbled out of my mouth. After some time the women went away to talk about it amongst them selves. When they returned, they each held one of my hands and looked in my eyes and told me that my name was Phoenix. Much to my surprise I burst into tears, as sometimes we do, when we hear some piece of truth that has been waiting for such a long time for us to notice… it cuts straight to our core and we find ourselves on our knees in gratitude.
I don’t fully know why I had this reaction, which is ok… some things are just beyond the mind’s understanding and require our trust.
The three years that have passed while in this ‘doorway’ are nothing less than a wild ride that included moving 5 times, meeting the love of my life, becoming a step mom, creating new and soulful friendships, another trip to burning man, countless tears, unbounded joy, a lot of hard work on truly changing how I live with myself and others, a lot of work creating and selling hundreds of pieces of jewellery, countless moments of reward for what I do, ten thousand and more things to be grateful for, and all the other beautiful messes that a life contains.
3 years later in a forest on Saltspring Island the name came to me again as I journeyed inward looking for answers. I walked out of the woods with that name, new, again.
The conclusion of this story is that I have taken Phoenix as my middle name. I find it interesting to be faced with my own judgment about this, as I have judged others before me about changing their name (ooops, sorry).
And so, in this 11th hour I find myself on the other side of the doorway I walked through just over 3 years ago. On this side, I’m not sure where things lead, but now I have enough trust to guide me through the darkness of the unknown… and that feels like a greater blessing than thinking that I know what lies ahead.
And so it is in this name Jessie Phoenix that I adopt for myself and my work that I practice laying down judgment and other pieces of useless baggage, to just simply be who I am.
It is my hope (actually beyond hope, as the truth of this resides very deep in me) that owning this name in my life and in my work is a practice that comes to life everyday. A practice that requires letting go and being new.
As an artist my work is a reflection of me – sometimes it feels that it is even a piece of me, and so I will let the future tell the story of what this transformation truly is.