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by Kristin Cooper September 01, 2019 3 Comments
After many years of wanting to create pieces with meaning for others, Chris and I invested in the tools and time to develop our mantra process in January. Aside from our supplier sending us a set of alphabet stamps with two Q’s and no G, things came together smoothly. We’ve come to learn smooth sailing = we’re on the right track. Here's the story of how our first mantra piece came to life and found its forever home.
Our supplier had a good chuckle with me on the phone and promptly sent us a G. So, with our new alphabet + G, I sat down to begin this vision of adding meaningful messages to our pieces. Often when I start a completely new design, there is a bit (or a good, long while) of staring at a blank canvas. I can create anything I want (meaning, I don’t have anyone else telling me what to create), and not having parameters sometimes feels overwhelming and stalls my creativity. My first thought: “Whoa … I’m finally doing this, where should I begin?” followed by 30 seconds of nothing but cricket sounds in my head. I took a deep breath, glanced up at the bulletin board above my bench, and my eyes went right to a quote from my favorite Yogi Tea I pinned for inspiration 5 years before. I read, as if for the first time, "Let your heart speak to other's hearts."
So perfect! It truly sums up this calling I’ve felt for years (decades!) to inspire, empower and uplift others. At the same time, it speaks to my own reluctance to share ... and, well, speak. I prefer to withdraw, tune inward, and hibernate in our jewelry studio where I express myself by letting my heart speak through my hands and my work. Getting the words out, whether spoken or written, is much harder for me. Luckily, teaching yoga forces me to speak in front of a group, and after 5+ years and 1,000+ classes, I’ve discovered I have a lot to say (and share). Plus, I mess up at least once every single class. When the teacher says "elbow" and means "shoulder" things can get interesting, and often makes the whole room laugh. Which reminds me: laughter IS the best medicine, and I can speak, screw up, and not die (+ laugh). Win/win.
The design of this “Let your heart speak” necklace came together spontanteously from my favorite place of exploration and play, no pre-sketching. I knew – in the middle of “birthing” this very special and symbolic piece – it was meant to match with someone, not for me to keep. I’ve tried to describe this creative process to friends. It feels like energy that I have to let out. Inspiration and ideas come into my mind, filter through my heart, and come to life through my hands. It’s a very strong feeling and one that’s hard to put into words. I know Chris understands this concept. Part of an artist’s soul is embedded into each piece they create.
So, in the process of making this piece, I knew it was meant for someone other than me and it was going to go to someone special, but I had no clue who. That is why meeting the people who match with each piece is so incredibly satisfying. It’s honestly one of the best parts of what we do and something that is not in my control. It just happens as it should. And it happens again and again and again.
I love my job!
… And, was I right. She is special, amazing even. Read on to learn Jill Anderson’s inspiring mission and how she happened to match with this piece in her own words.
Photo credit: Wildwood Photography
I asked Jill to share what drew her to this particular piece, and she sent me this incredibly open and honest testimonial:
“Let your heart speak. Such important words for creating a life well-lived.
So much of the jewelry imagined and created by Kristin and Chris draws me to it. In fact, I purposely drove to the Cupid’s Gems Jewelry Show at the Thompson Barn in Lenexa to buy an adorable daisy necklace I saw on Instagram. I think it was the day before that Kristin posted a photo of a new piece inspired by her desire to create wearable art with mantras. I thought, “How beautiful! I love that, too!” But I really still intended to buy that cute daisy and just take a look at this new piece. My heart had other plans.
I picked it up and immediately felt like it picked me. I turned it over and saw the words, “Let your heart speak,” and knew that I would be leaving with this piece. I have been exploring a variety of paths and opportunities in my professional journey to support young children’s social emotional development and interaction in and with nature, while at the same time trying to find a focus (pun intended) for my photography. The uncertainty was starting to wear on me.
Photo credit: Wildwood Photography
Let your heart speak. That simple mantra went straight to my core. It is exactly what I needed to read at that exact moment. Almost like a kick in the rear. Why? Maybe it was permission or guidance (and a shove) to move forward and make the decisions necessary to do so.
Decisions do not come easily to me. I waffle. I am utterly indecisive. There are always pros to every decision and not really enough cons to strike many choices from the list. I think some of this indecisiveness stems from me questioning whether I really have anything to offer. What do I know? Why would anyone listen to me? What if I say no? Will I miss out on the perfect opportunity? Yes, so much self-defeating talk.
Let your heart speak. Oh, I needed to hear that. And now I do hear that. I wear that. I am working toward living that. Creating a life well-lived by letting my heart speak. Thank you, Kristin.”
Photo credit: Wildwood Photography
Wowza, Jill exceeded my expectation with her answer to my question! I'm so happy she matched with this symbolic first piece. Jill and I met for coffee a couple of weeks ago, and we could have talked for 6 more hours. We're kindred spirits, creative souls with a drive to make the world a better place. She and I see eye-to-eye on how experiencing nature and building simple mindful techniques into every day life can give children tools to cope with their emotions at a young age, shifting the world in a more positive direction.
Jill might "waffle" while figuring out her next steps, (honestly, who doesn't?), but I can see clearly she has all the skills and talents necessary to inspire and teach children and parents to embrace the world in a whole-hearted, positive, and compassionate way, and I see this happening on a large scale. I love listening to her speak. If you ever get the opportunity to hear her talk (hear her heart speak!) you'll be better for it. She's truly kind, genuine, passionate, and incredibly smart. I hope you'll follow her along her path as she posts her insights, wisdom, and gorgeous nature photos. Here's where you can find her:
As I write this, Chris is hammering in the background! We're finishing up more new mantra pieces and many fun, new one-of-a-kind designs for our upcoming fall and holiday shows.
If you can't make it to our shows, please be sure to check our website often, we’ll be adding new mantra pieces and all kinds of new work throughout the year.
Take care, friends. Live, love, laugh (& let your heart speak) ... !
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