Tag Archives: let it go

The journey to loving myself: Part 6 – Letting go

Please begin with Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4 / Part 5 

May, 2005. At the exact moment the gavel came down to close the shareholder’s meeting that officially voted me out of the company I had created and turned into a multi-million dollar business, I looked at my phone and the time was 11:11 am. What could have been my perfect Joan Crawford “Don’t f&ck with me fellas…” moment, turned into an equally awkward moment for those who had voted me out because at that very instant a very peaceful smile took possession of my face. It was actually funny to watch their faces go from a victorious, “hell yeah! we are sticking it to you!” to a completely baffled “WTF!? Uh oh, why is he smiling?!

What, you ask, could bring a smile to my face when I had just been voted out of my own company? I am not sure that I can fully explain it, but I will try.

This was a company that I loved very much; I often referred to it as my baby. It was the culmination of all I had learned in the wonderful world of candles. It was with this company that I introduced soy wax to the nation. We were selling millions of dollars worth of candles each year, I was at the top of my game and had recently been featured on CNN News Night with Aaron Brown in a featured segment for up and coming entrepreneurs, called ON THE RISE. The piece was beautifully produced. It was a priceless advertisement for my brand. Though, while I was with friends in Seattle watching what should have been the pinnacle highlight of my career, my gut was telling me it was all about to end.

My face, my name and my newly developed cartoon image/mascot (which was heavily featured in the CNN piece), was about to become, in the eyes of the majority shareholders, too important for the company; think Colonel Sanders and KFC. If this happened, I would gain more power, even though I didn’t hold the majority of the shares, because my name and image would become permanently linked to the business. I knew this group of investors could not and would not let this happen. Approximately 3 months later, the gavel came down at 11:11 am. Why is the time so important? Let me explain.

In the last months of my participation in the company, it was becoming very clear that the group of majority shareholders had intentions on moving in a direction that, not only was I not included, but quite frankly, I wasn’t interested in going. During these last months I began to see the number 11 everywhere. Every time I would look at a clock, it always included an 11; 2:11, 3:11, 6:11 and twice a day for months I happened to look at the clock twice a day at exactly 11:11.

I mentioned this to a friend and she told me that it was the universe trying to let me know that I was on the right path, like a thumbs up. I liked this idea and so that is how I looked at it. As I would see an 11, I would let go of my stress and think to myself, “I am on the right path…”

So, by the time it came to that fateful meeting and gavel came down at exactly 11:11, officially removing me from my company and my company from me, I was flush with peace. I can’t really explain it, but in that moment I knew I would be OK and a smile, a very genuine and peaceful smile brightened up my face. And again, in that very instant, I began to let it go.

Let it go, let it go, let it go!

And that is what I did. At the end of that week I was on a cruise ship, to who knows where and it didn’t matter, to clear my head and let it all go. Many times before I have created from an inspired place and knew that I needed to remain as present as possible in order to do so. I had to let go of all the drama that had just taken over my life for the past several months as well as let go of trying to figure out where I was going next and what I was going to do. I knew that if I could remain present long enough the answers would come to me. I knew I wanted to stay in the candle business, though I had no clue as to what I should do. And let me tell you, a cruise is the perfect place to do this. I surprisingly remained rather present on that cruise and by the trip’s end, it was as if a huge bubble of information enveloped me with the complete concept of my new company. The only caveat, we were fast approaching the major gift show season, and it was only 5 1/2 weeks away. We had to be ready to go by then.

5 and 1/2 weeks after I stepped off of that ship, I was at market with my new company. We launched 17 new fragrances, designed new catalogs and had them printed as well as new packaging, we were set up in 6 showrooms across the country in all the major markets, along with 50+ sales reps. All of this happened in 5 and 1/2 weeks. This is a feat that still astonishes me!

The only way this could happen is because I was able to let it go, let it go, let it go… and I remained present in the moment. The amazing part to all of this is the lack of stress during this period. Yes, I worked long hours and a lot had to come together in a very short period of time, though somehow I had remained at peace throughout the process. I have come to realize over the years that when I am experiencing a lot of stress, if I stop and take a step back and look at the cause of my stress, it is usually because I am focused either on something from the past or worrying about something in the future. When I refocus upon the present moment, my stress mysteriously goes away.

11:11 was simply a tool I used to help stay present. As I see them now, it is simply a reminder for me to let go of the past, let go of worrying about the future… and remain focused upon the present moment.

I am coming to realize that all good things happen while I am present in the moment; the experience and expression of love, the appreciation of beauty and of course the experience of peace. All of what I was learning would ultimately help me in creating a life that I now describe as peaceful. Ahhh, nothing beats a peaceful life… and I mean nothing.

To be continued…

To receive an email when I post, please find the FOLLOW tab.

Thanks for reading!

Jimmy

 

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Insights, My Journey, Tools

F@RG!VE Y@U!

I was about to write a post about Letting go and the word forgive popped into my mind. Letting go is a form of forgiving. So, I decided to look up the definition of the word forgive, and this is what I found:

for·give
verb
To stop feeling angry or resentful toward (someone) for an offense, flaw, or mistake.
This is interesting. Nearly every source dictionary for the word forgive stated the same thing. So why is it that most people think that when you forgive someone you are letting the offender “off the hook” for what they did?
Clearly the definition of forgive is an act of letting yourself off the hook by releasing your anger and resentment. We all know or have a pretty good idea what stress does to our health (hint, stress is recognized as the #1 proxy killer disease today. The American Medical Association has noted that stress is the basic cause of more than 60% of all human illness and disease).
Holding anger and resentment does nothing but add to your own stress… the other person may not feel a thing. If anything, you might be giving the other person exactly what they want!
Think about it. When someone is doing something to hurt you, what are they trying to take from you? It has nothing to do with the money or the property or the words or the punches… it has everything to do with them wanting to separate you from your PEACE. And the more you spin out of control, the more upset you become, the more disconnected you become from your peace – the more you give them exactly what they want.
What happens to their plan when you let it go and maintain your peace? Who just won?
Read the definition of forgive again… forgiveness is an act of love to yourself. Let karma play itself out for any wrong someone else may have done towards you. One way or another, they will pay for their transgressions… we all will. So, in turn, don’t create any of your own bad karma by wishing them ill will
The greatest revenge you can have is to be at peace. The greatest gift you can give yourself is connecting with your peace… and letting go/forgiveness is the key.
He/she who lives with the most peace wins!

Leave a comment

Filed under Insights, Jimmy's Spiritual Journey, My Journey

The journey to loving myself: Part 3 – My Dark Period

Please begin with: Part 1 ;  Part 2

“I think it is time we begin to see other people…”

My first reaction was, “Do we have to do this now… when my business is collapsing beneath my feet?” I cannot remember if I said this out loud or just in my head, but I said it nonetheless. The time was in the early months of 2008, soon after the big crash of the US economy.

Even though the 14.5 year relationship that was ending was probably about 4.5 years past its expiration date, it was the only thing that was consistent in my life. Less than three years prior, in 2005, I walked away from a company I created and built to a moderate success.

In 2005, exactly 5.5 weeks after walking awayI put together a new company and started all over from scratch. Needless to say, these were tumultuous years, but nothing like what I was about to experience beginning in those early months of 2008. The ground beneath my feet was shifting so quickly I am not sure that I was actually standing; and it didn’t stop shifting for another four years.

My friends have called this my Dark Period. Those four years were the most difficult of my entire life. Though, I am now very thankful for those years, because if things hadn’t happened as they did I would not have found the peace and true happiness that I am now experiencing. For me, it was all worth it.

In January of 2008 as the economy collapsed, so followed my business. Somehow, without any funding, I kept the company afloat with sheer determination and the will to not give up. I remember saying, “They will have to pry this company out of my dead bleeding hands…” and they nearly did.

By mid 2008, when it was obvious that we were not recovering from the crash, I had to begin laying off my staff one by one until it was just me and one other person. By 2009 we had moved out of our beautiful new offices and into my home office. That one employee I had left, Maggie, ran my office until the end of 2010 and worked several months with neither a paycheck nor a complaint. I had stopped paying myself back in the early months of 2008. From 2009-2010 I made, packed and shipped all of my candles by myself (with occasional part-time help). The warehouse I was forced to use as my production facility had no air-conditioning or proper ventilation. Temperatures inside would reach around 120 with all the wax melters running during the Texas summers. I was often working 6-7 days a week and not taking care of my health. My eating habits turned into (I’m now horrified to say this) what I could afford on the dollar menu at fast food restaurants. I was killing myself with my work load, the working conditions,  the stress of my mounting debt and my dollar menu diet. I don’t remember having much if any joy in my life…

Since I had stopped paying myself in 2008, I had no money left and no more room on credit cards by early 2010. Some of my greatest fears were coming true. I was so behind on my car payment that I began to park down the block so the repo men wouldn’t find it. I was also several months behind on the house mortgage and received a notice that if I didn’t make a payment that month, they were going to begin the foreclosure process. Adding to the pressure of this, I had been a rescuer of animals for over 15 years at that point and had a house and yard full of animals that depended upon me. They were my family. If I lost the house, there would have been no way for me to keep my family of animals together. I was on the verge of losing EVERYTHING.

By 2011 I was nearly dead; physically, emotionally and spiritually. In order to save the house and keep food for my dogs, I had to sell off many of my personal belongins, including my prized possessions, my Big Boy statues.

IMG_0743

Bye-bye BIG BOYS!

 In 2011 I received some reprieve when I licensed my candle brand to another company. This removed the daily stress of making and shipping candles off my plate, though it still left me with no income. I applied at every job I could think of, though no one seemed to want to hire someone who had been an entrepreneur for the past 20+ years. I literally was starving. Any money I could scrap up went into keeping the roof over my head, my car on the road and food for my animals. I had no spare money for anything.

I learned how to live on $5 a week from a friend. He told me about the real Mexican grocery stores, the ones where all the signs are in Spanish, and how they would always have some sort of (unidentifiable) meat on sale for $0.99 per pound. I would go there and buy $5 worth and live on it for a week. I would cook the hell out of it on my George Foreman Grill to kill anything that could possibly kill me. If I was lucky a friend would give me some barbecue sauce to make it, whatever it was, tolerable.  Yes, I am serious, I was that poor. The only time I saw a vegetable is when Maggie would invite me over to eat.

During this time I was rather lucky that my dogs had relatively good health and did not require much… if they had, I would not have been able to afford taking them to the vet. There were only a couple of events that happened where I had to turn my kitchen into a triage unit and emergency room. I saved one of my special needs puppies life with a chip clip when one of the other dogs ate 3/4’s of her IMG_0825IMG_0972ear off. That is a long

story, but she lived.  

Hippity Hop in the emergency room (my kithen) and her bi-level look afterwards.

I am usually a very social person, and by the spring of 2011 I had been living as a complete hermit for a few years. My dogs had heard all of my jokes and when they began to recite my punchlines back to me, in unison, I knew it was time to get out of the house and become social again – with humans. Who would have thought that a visit to The Round Up, a Country & Western Saloon and Dancehall, would change the course of my life forever?

To be continued. Part 4 (click here)

If you would like to receive an email every time I add a post, please find the FOLLOW tab on this site.

thanks for reading!

Jimmy

4 Comments

Filed under Insights, My Journey

MASTER of my peace

I have lost THREE businesses, for three different reasons, and through it all I maintained my peace. Even though some would look at these as failures, I look at them as winnings (yes, seriously). The immense power of peace in your life is priceless. You may have lost everything, or in my case nearly everything, but if you hold onto your peace – you win.

He who lives with the most peace wins!

Candle Company #1 early/mid 1990’s Design Initiative Group/DIG/DigWARE/DigGlo: We grew to moderate success selling to up market stores such as Neiman’s, middle market stores such as Urban Outfitters and mass market stores such as Clair’s Boutiques. We had enough success that the government gave us a Small Business loan for $350,000 to help us expand. Within a year of the loan, I was notified by my business partner that he was taking actions that would close the doors to our candle company. I was overwhelmed with fear. I know what the onset of a deep depression feels like…I couldn’t pull myself from bed for a couple of days. I woke up one morning, stood up and said, “I am turning this into THE BEST THING that could have ever happened FOR ME!” And that I did.  FIVE and ½ weeks later, I was up and running with a new candle company.

Candle Company #2 1998 Er’go Candle: It was with this company that I helped introduce Soy Candles to the nation by marketing nationally to the upper-end gift and spa industries. At the pinnacle of our success, I was featured on CNN during Prime Time, News Night with Aaron Brown in a piece on up-and-coming entrepreneurs, called ON THE RISE. Sitting there that night, watching CNN, at what was the height of my personal success, an event that should have brought me great joy, I knew in my heart it was the beginning of the end. I am a very positive person, but in this case it was my gut talking.

My name and image was becoming important for the brand (think, Colonel Sanders and KFC). Though this exact scenario was my vision for the brand, it wasn’t the image held by a group of my investors, a family who happened to own the majority of the shares. I knew that evening, while watching CNN, that group of investors could not allow this to happen. If my name and image became too interwoven within the brand, they might lose some control. Approximately 3 months later I was voted out of my company.

Several days after I was voted off my Island, I took a week long cruise to clear my head and receive inspiration. And I did exactly that by staying PRESENT on that cruise and not spending ANY time on what had just transpired. I also knew that I didn’t want to create what I was going to do next from my mind, but instead be inspired from my inner spirit – for that reason I did not spend ANY time trying to figure out what I was going to do next. The trick, I had learned over the years of creating from my inner spirit, is to remain PRESENT in the MOMENT during these times of inspiration and let go of the past and don’t worry about the future. On the last day of that cruise, it was as if an information bubble encapsulated me with the full concept for my new company. And yet again,  5 and ½ weeks after I stepped off the cruise ship I was up and running with a new candle company. (I’m not sure why with both businesses it took exactly 5 ½ weeks to get them going, but that is amazingly what happened.)

Candle Company #3 2005 Jimmy Belasco Soy Candles: With this company, in the 5.5 weeks it took to put everything together, we also happened to design packaging that won Best New Product Packaging for our category (candles/fragrance/bath & body) at the NY International Gift Fair. We began to experience some moderate success when, in the early months of 2008, the bottom fell out of the US economy. With the drop in the economy along with some poor timing on decisions made in the months earlier, my company started to bleed money. Over the next few years, I experienced the collapse of my business. After completely exhausting all of my resources (financially, physically, spiritually & emotionally) I licensed my brand to a larger candle company in the beginning of 2011. After a year, I finally decided to call it quits – there was not more peace, love or joy in that business for me.

At the end of each of these businesses, for the most part, I maintained my peace. I usual choose to look at these sorts of tumultuous events as happening FOR ME, for my highest good… instead of TO ME or against me.   In the first two businesses at the very end, if I had spent ANY time regretting the past I would not have been focused enough to start an entirely new company in FIVE and half weeks. In each instance, in just over ONE month, I was able to create a new company, develop a full collection of fragrances, design new packaging, have samples of the new packaging produced, design and print new catalogs and have it all set up in showrooms across the country in the 6 major markets! All of that, plus a whole lot more in FIVE and a HALF WEEKS! It still amazes me that I was able to that, TWICE!

The ONLY way this was possible is because I stayed PRESENT IN THE MOMENT. I had to let go of my past and focus upon my present moment if I wanted to succeed in launching those candle lines. I am not Superman, in fact I am rather normal. What I am good at is remaining focused on the present and letting go of the past. By me letting go, I was able to maintain my peace. Because I was at peace during the process, I was able to accomplish some amazing things in a very short period of time.

Letting go is your key to peace. There is much power in a person who is able to maintain their peace.

He who lives with the most peace wins!

Let it go. Let it go. Let it go. (sung to the tune of Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow)

If you look at the case of candle company #2, technically, they walked away with the business I created, but I walked away with my peace. In this case I feel happy because I gained a level of peace in the process that I might not have been able to if the circumstances hadn’t played out as they did. This is why in the middle of a tumultuous situation I try not to judge the events as “bad”… they simply “are what they are“. I see these events as something that will end up for my highest good. It has sometimes been difficult to see things this way when the sh#t is hitting the fan, but I have had enough experience to know and trust that it can be the BEST thing that could happen… as long as I continue to keep that point of view. And trust me, because I know for myself, if you think it is the worst thing that could happen to you, you will also end up being right.

 

This universe is a magical place, whichever direction you choose in life; life is happy or life is sad, Life is good or life is bad… you will ALWAYS be right!

let it go let it go let it go

peace, love, jimmy

Leave a comment

Filed under Business Insights, Insights, Jimmy's Candle History, Jimmy's Spiritual Journey, My Journey, Tools