This first blog has been a long time coming , yet perfectly unfolding at the exact right time , simultaneously. As much as I'd love to share with you everywhere I've been, the details of how I've healed and transformed, and where my dreams are taking me all here , right now , I'll start with a simple story how The Totem Butterfly was born. Think of this as a preface of what's to come here in this special sacred space.
I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. The trauma and pain have helped me grow, strengthen , and to have more compassion. The loving and joyful moments have given me the wisdom to know how to soak in all the miracles no matter how big or small. The struggles have sharpened me to better understand of just how deep my hope and tenacity run. Whether it's the cherished or the challenged moments , I hold appreciation for it all.
Four years ago , my youngest girl , Noel , was born. She was a challenge from the start but even more after she was born because she suffered from colic. Well , we all suffered during that time. My life prior to this was very colorful , filled with bright spots and other dark periods all tangled throughout my years. The darkness of being a second time new mom of a colicky baby is where I can trace the very beginning of my awakening. If you have no idea what colic is , the short version is a baby that cries a lot, unable to be soothed, mostly at night. Of course, the type A control freak inside of me tried every remedy Dr. Google offered to soothe her each night to no avail. The days were mostly fine , but come 5 PM , the gates of hell would open. Eventually , after months and months, she stopped crying and is now the toughest, happiest, mighty 4 year old.
But the darkness that came over me during that first year of her life is where I started my journey as a caterpillar. The many sleepless nights of trying to keep everything together , perfectly perfect , to satisfy that inner "am i enough?" voice left me yearning for something more, a better way to live , a chance to live with more happiness. I turned to the one thing that helped me in the past when medication had failed me over and over again, exercise. Exercise helped me release my inner demons and anxieties when I dealt with depression, anxiety, and PTSD in my late teens & early twenties. It helped some for a while, but looking back I'm not sure it helped release anything but rather help me run from this darkness and pain faster. Of course , eventually catching up with me in one way or another.
I exercised hard, ate healthy, and did everything for everyone, like a good mom and wife should ... right? My routine of going hard in all areas of my life for a week or two , maybe three if I was lucky and then completely burning out and having to go into a "hibernation" for a few days. During the hibernation, I would do the necessities to care for my kids and household , but I would hide from any texts & phone calls (really any outside interaction), I watched a lot of TV and felt pretty low , all while silently shaming myself every moment along the way. I felt like something was wrong with me...
Normal people don't do this , Jackie. Why can't you do what you're supposed to do? What's wrong with you? Why are you so sensitive? Why can't you just be like everyone else and just live a normal life?
This familiar voice would drive me to take on ALL the things for everyone , seeming on the outside like I was this super mom or wife. But it'd also grab hold of me while I was already down and take me to some scary places. Eventually, I just got so sick of my own shit. Have you ever felt like that? Like I could see this pattern of never being enough , doing everything "right", the way others wanted me to be or what I thought they wanted me to be, and then still feeling like I wasn't enough for them. Nor did I ever even consider the fact I wasn't being true to myself. My whole life felt like this. But being a mom to two young girls , and not even knowing my own preferences or interests because I never took the time to deeply understand my own likes while always making other people's happiness a priority, is a wake up call. The vicious addiction of people pleasing and codependency. Looking at my kids and seeing some of these habits slowly develop in my oldest, Grace, was another breaking point.
How could I tell her that it doesn't matter if other people think her interests or style were "weird" , as long as it made her happy? When I didn't live my life that way? How would I be able to foster a sense of independence and strength and compassion when I didn't possess any of those qualities for myself? I knew I would do anything for my kids. I always heard the age old saying for moms "she sacrificed everything for me" ... and I would ... but experience and awakening has taught me that instead of sacrificing everything for our children. Why don't we show them the beauty that comes from self love and living from joy and for our highest good ... whatever that looks like for each of us individually. It just blows my mind how we are raised to "reach for the stars" and we tell our own kids "you can be anything and do everything your heart desires" but then as we grow older there are these unofficial rules we are pressured to blindly follow.
Then just as a caterpillar knows exactly when it's time to create their cocoon for a period of rest and transformation , I was called to do the same after my first reiki healing. The stars aligned and I was called to seek out a reiki healing session with a friend of a friend who came highly recommended. During the session I felt ALL of the emotions but afterwards is where the magic happened. Afterwards, I drove home feeling powerful, aware, aligned, and more MYSELF than I ever even knew possible. The only way to truly try to describe it is it's as if my whole life I was looking for all this stuff from the outside world, the validation, love, support, strength, compassion, and I suddenly discovered an abundance of all of it. A feeling of fulfillment , of wholeness , all within ME. This feeling , was the something more , better way of living I had sought years ago.
This is where my cocoon began to be formed. I began adding things that taught me more about myself, painting , creating , God , books about true well being , yoga , gratitudes , inspiring podcasts, courses on the chakras , the energetic body, crystals; energy healing classes and certifications, honoring the present moment. Each path leading me to a deeper understanding of myself and this miraculous life. It's as if I grew lighter by honoring myself with each practice. My inner being (soul, highest self, Source, whatever that inner voice is to you) within me seemed to grow louder and easier to trust.
As much as I'd like to profess my "happily ever after" at this point, this was just the beginning of my cocoon. I had to redefine my role within my family dynamic and partnership with my husband. I had to integrate all the tools into my life to cultivate the inner strength to release the habits that no longer served me and awareness to recognize when they would try to rear their ugly heads again. This strength would also nurture the art of loving myself , the truest deepest love and appreciation for myself , just as I am. It was only then that I could sincerely live a soul-led life that is centered on living from the heart, for joy and love alone. I continue to practice approaching each day from peace and goodness and grace and heartfelt intention.
This is my rebirth as a butterfly , not because I know everything there is to know, that's not my intention. I am a butterfly because of the transformation that I have endured. As a butterfly , I share my beauty and wonder with the world while soaking in all the world has to offer me. I hope this space and the stories I share can be used as a symbol of hope for anyone going through similar experiences. I wish to share all of the things I've learned and soaked in with the world to shine a light on a path of healing for all. To offer an alternative to the over-planned, overworked, emotionally starved, superficial, fast-paced way most Americans feel they should be living. If nothing else , I wish to bestow upon the world the idea that every moment we dedicate to self care offers us a chance to release more of the darkness and make room for self love. And I am a testament that with self love , self care , and honesty you can feel whole again.
Stay tuned for so much more to come. Until then , please know I am so grateful for this space, for you, and this magnificent life I am proud to call my own.
Wishing you unexpected joys to come!