Happy New Year, Lovelies!
I am sitting in my home in the Rockies - enjoying some time to snuggle with my son and relax.
2017 has been quite the year for me - many highs and many lows. Such is life.
I tasked myself hard this year to continue to pave a new path forward.
Perhaps its being the daughter of pioneers, but I firmly believe if you don't see a path in front of you in life, then you are free to make one up!
There have been many times in my life where I have had to completely start over, where life knocked me down and from where I sat it looked as if there was no way to rise again. But the world is a magical place if we are willing to look with new eyes.
When I was homeless life seemed so bleak. I felt disenfranchised, alone, and with no education and no address, getting a job seemed impossible. What wasn't impossible was looking inward and seeing who I uniquely was and what things made me fall in love with life. What I discovered at that time was I loved reading and writing. So I did that, even though it did not seem like it was a logical path that would lead to a job. I trusted that if I followed what was in my heart, and trusted my passions, that I would be in for an adventure that I could not predict. That was my hope, at least. And so I poured myself into following what made me feel less anxious, and what strengthened my passions and made me enjoy being alive. I got very curious and applied myself. And I started to see small doors open up and a sense of purpose. I had no idea it would lead me to getting signed to a label and being discovered, but it did!
There were many more times I had to task myself to remember that what was most important was what I saw inside, and not what the world was telling me. And to pave and discover my own path forward. This is how innovation happens. A person looks deeply within and follows their inner knowing with curiosity and passion. Like a dog on a scent... following an invisible thread that only you can find and only you can find where it will take you.
After the divorce, my life was not what I thought it would be. I had to start all over. I had to reimagine life and work and what it would be like to be a single parent and raise a boy.
I had to reimagine what being a parent was, learn to hold ground and space and be a good cop and bad cop and make sure that my life style did not create an environment of entitlement for my son. I knew I wanted to create a principled young man of values, character, grit, empathy, creativity and a deep love of learning and looking within for answers - and the resilience to know that if he worked hard, he could create a life for himself that he desired. I know the future that my son will inherit will be one as of yet unimagined. The job he will have hasn’t even been created yet, nor will it most likely exist yet when he is being educated. The same way Instagram and SnapChat didn't even exist a few years ago, or when its employees were in college. We are living in a rapidly changing world, and so the best skill set I can give my child is intrinsic self-esteem, creative problem solving abilities, to listen to his conscience, and know that his job is to find his passions and follow them, and if needed, pave a new path forward if he isn’t seeing the path forward that he sees inside himself.
This has also been my journey, and so my son has gotten to see me in real time invent a path for myself that did not exist before.
Don't get me wrong, I will always make records, but I don't want to rely on an imploding comic model for my source of income or creative fulfillment. Touring all the time has never been my favorite thing. I do it when I feel led to, which as you all know isn’t like clockwork.
I have wanted to create a business that would let me do it from anywhere, from home if I wanted, and still let me live my passions and values. And I wanted to test my creative abilities and try something hard, even if I failed, because its what moved me to do it.
I decided I wanted to do what I have always done - look within and advocate for wisdom and help others advocate and discover the wisdom that lived in them. That’s why I wrote songs like "Who Will Save Your Soul," and "Deep Water," and "Hands," and "Absence of Fear" and so many others... I like discovering what makes me and all people tick, and how we can be happier, and be the driver of our lives instead of the passenger.
So the businesses I am starting are basically all about seeing if I can scale wisdom and help people learn to quiet their anxiety, create connection to themselves and their communities, and create self agency. I cant wait to tell you about the ways I am beginning to do it, but it has been amazing to think outside the box, To disregard thoughts of ROI and business plans, and follow instead that quiet voice inside, and follow that thread where it led me. And where it has led me has been extraordinary.
I have had many chances to doubt myself. I have suffered several personal blows that have left me reeling, but at the end of the day I have peace because I know I am following what is right and living my values. I am living up to my word with my son, I am paving a new path forward as a businesswoman, and I am taking care of myself. The ups and downs come and go, and always change. What does not change is my commitment to myself to continually be the best human I can be.
For my EDA’s, I want you to know how much you inspire me. Many years ago I wanted to create a community around me that were not fans, but who were a community of like-minded humans that supported one another as they discovered their passions, as varied and different as they might be. To show up for one another - to answer each other's prayers, to task themselves to live their values and demand that the world they participated in reflect them. I have seen you do that, and the deep friendships you have made, and how you have fought for your own humanity - and this has brought me to tears with joy and humility and awe. It is special what you guys have created. I hope you never forget the power you have to change your own lives, and the lives of those around you. To love one another, hold each other up, accountable, and to listen deeply to your passions and encourage your community do the same. We all have this amazing power....
Lets see... highlights for me this year were too many to tell!
Touring in Australia and New Zealand with Kase.
Making my Hallmark movies in Victoria, BC, and sharing that lovely island with my son.
Speaking at the Mindfulness summit in NYC.
Speaking at the Fortune magazine’s Most Powerful Women’s summit in DC.
Meeting Billie Jean King, and finding myself in a unexpected conversation about education with Ivanka Trump, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Billie Jean King!
Founding the Never Broken Foundation, and seeing JewelNeverBroken.com grow to 30,000 members.
Partnering with the amazing Inspiring Children’s Foundation, and the amazing work they do, and letting my son be a part of their community and values.
Partnering with Zappos to build a company of my dreams.
Watching my son flourish as he travels with me, as he learns without knowing its learning, and watching his mind grow and his curiosity blossom and that he is tasking himself to live his
values, build character and discover his passions. Being his teacher and guide in life is such an honor.
Going to Alaska with my son and letting him learn from my dad and that beautiful wild land.
Things I'm looking forward to in 2018:
Cirque du Soleil is doing a show about my life on March 2nd and I will be in it singing and the “guide.” I'm so excited to be part of this one night only special performance for charity.
Developing the product for my partnership with Zappos.
Streamlining my life and simplifying as the cream rises to the top and I can focus in on what's working and letting go of what doesn’t.
And seeing how my son grows and changes and adapting to meet his needs as they grow and change.
But, before I look too far ahead, I want to end on one of my highlights of 2017: touring with my family for my Handmade Holiday Tour.
Having my son and my brothers and my dad on the road was an incredible experience. To see the healing my family has done, how they have pushed themselves to grow as people, and letting my son see the amazingly strong sensitive men they are, and letting my son see what it looks like to express your own unique view point- the voice that is yours alone - was so special to me.
On the last night my dad surprised me with a special song he wrote. The fact my dad writes every day amazes me, but most amazingly of all, to see my dad grow, change and become more himself with time - happier, more excited and childlike, and how much he desires to help others is so moving and gives me faith for all of humanity. He is proof change is possible at any age, and that happiness can be claimed at any age!
I wanted to share the song he wrote, because while my dad has seen the darkest sides of life, the song he wrote states a beautiful statement that speaks of his faith in humanity.
It’s called "There Is No Weak Link In This Human Chain."
Happy New Year to you all.
May you fight for your happiness, for your sanity, for those you love. May you have your own back even if no-one else does. May you have health and play and seek wisdom with the curiosity of a child.
Love to you all,
Click play to listen:
© Atz Kilcher 2017 All Rights Reserved. Atz Kilcher photograph by Scott Dickerson.
Live house mix by Michael Larcey. 4 track audio mix by Alan Bershaw.