The journey to loving myself: Part 1

The dropping of the H-Bomb.

There I stood with my mom, sparkly-eyed and jumping for joy (in my head), in the Boy’s Clothing department at the opulent Muirhead’s Department Store in Dearborn Michigan, looking at rack after groovy rack of the most spectacular clothing I’d ever seen in person. This clothing looked every bit as exciting as I imagined possible from what I had seen on TV shows, such as The Jim Nabors Hour! And they were mine for the choosing! My dream had finally come true!

Because we were the poor preacher’s kids, the Muirhead’s (members of our church when my dad preached in Dearborn, who owned a very high end department store) invited us to come to their store and pick out 2-3 outfits each before school started. I can still smell the richness of this store… it emanated the scent of wealth.

As I stood there, my mind exploded with images of how great I would look as I strutted down the hallway flashing people the peace sign on my way to my classroom on that first day of school. Every head would turn and gasp in awe of my grooviness! As I stood there contemplating which of these amazing outfits I would first try on, my world came to a screeching halt.

“Excuse me ma’am…”

As I’m hearing in the background, nearly drowned out in the midst of the purple haze of my glory,

“… you seem to be in the wrong section…”

The sales woman begins to whisper to my mother in a tone as if she were speaking of a horrible and unthinkable disease.

“What?!” Snap! …goes my head just in time to witness the sales woman pause for a few seconds more to look over her shoulders, in either direction; I guess to see if the coast was clear for what she was about to do.

“Ahem, you see ma’am, this section is for slim boys” as her voice became even softer, and slightly malicious, as if she knew she was about to drop the H-bomb on a little boys heart.

“… your boy is obviously HUSKY.” 

 

As the mushroom cloud was forming above my head, and before I could completely comprehend what exactly just happened, she turned to lead us to the department especially assigned for my “type”.

I can vividly remember taking that long walk of shame to the far corner of the boys department, with my spirit completely crushed,  as I was placed in front of the ugliest rack of beige clothing I have ever seen. The letters of the sign hanging over the one, singularly very sad rack of clothing, designed especially for me, simply read, for the entire world to see, in big fat, chunky bold letters – HUSKY BOYS.

 

My life was over.

 

HUSKY?!?!

obviously!?!?

 

It was official. In that moment, on that day in the late summer of 1971, at the age of 7, I was fatunlovable…and obviously not worthy of groovy clothing.

 

This moment in time forged the basis for my self image that would follow me for the rest of my life through to adulthood. I grew up thinking I was fat… with varying degrees of non-love for my body.

…to be continued.  (Click here for Part 2) 

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Thanks for reading.

Jimmy

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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

He who LIVES with the MOST PEACE wins!

As I ran up to THE PEACE TRAIN, I noticed a door with my name above it! How exciting! This must be where I get on – “PEACE, HERE I COME!”

For some reason, when I attempted to step aboard through the doorway to my PEACE, I was stopped dead in my tracks.  As I stepped back to examine the door more closely, I noticed that the door frame to my peace was exactly the shape of my body… and placed upon that frame was a small sign that read,

NO CARRY-ONS ALLOWED. Please leave your baggage at the door.

 

I have had great successes in life – going in both directions – up and down.

I have had great success in building businesses, finding love, finding peace, finding myself and I have had great success in losing nearly everything – a few times. And through it all, on the rides upward as well as the rides downward, I finally figured out that the secret to maintaining my peace came when I was able to let go. I have now learned to be quite masterful in maintaining my peace – even during some of my darkest moments.

I have come to know that, He who lives with the most peace wins!

Even when people were “taking” things away from me, things of great value to me, they did not take my peace. And when I chose to maintain my peace and let those things go,  I become happier because nothing was “taken” from me.

If you freely give it away, then nothing is actually taken from you. 

You only feel like a victim when you are trying to hold onto what was taken. You can choose to no longer be a victim of the crime if you choose to see yourself as letting it go and you no longer hold onto itit is gone, so let it go free. Even if it was rightfully yours, letting it go gives YOU peace. If you choose to become happier because of letting it go – you win.

“He who lives with the most peace wins!”

As long as you choose to hold onto the loss of things, those things will continue to eat you up… you will not know peace. The key to maintaining your peace is LETTING GO, period. Letting go of things that no longer serve you has a magical effect upon your entire being.

Let it go. Let it go. Let it go. (sung to the tune of Let it Snow)

…and you will find your peace.

He who lives with the most peace wins!

let it go let it go let it go

We ARE love!

In my life’s journey I have come to KNOW it is all about love.

Love is the most powerful energy in existence. We all live for it, if we want to admit it or not. We all want to be loved. We all want to find someone or lots of people to share our love with. We all strive for love. We all yearn for love. Love can turn us into a complete idiot. Love can make us crazy. Love has the power to heal. Losing love has the power to make us experience more pain than we think we can handle.

All of this should tell us something.

We ARE LOVE.

We are all made from this energy that IS LOVE. And because we are love, we cannot completely understand what that means until we are able to experience ourselves as separate from love.

To truly KNOW WHO YOU ARE you must first experience WHO YOU ARE NOT.

How can a princess know what it means to be THE PRINCESS, if she knows nothing about what goes on outside the castle walls. How would the princess realize WHO she is if she has nothing or no one with which to compare herself? And even if she knows what goes on beyond those castle walls, she still doesn’t KNOW how good she has it – until she loses everything that she knows.

The only way for the princess to truly understand what it means to be the princess, would be to lose all knowledge, all obtainable memory of being the princess and to be put out into the streets to live a life other than that of a princess. In this state of non-princessness, she would live as the common folk do, she would experience life as something other than what she really is. She could play in the mud. She could steal food when she is hungry. She can know what hunger is. Though, somewhere deep inside of her, she knows there is something different about herself, though she isn’t quite sure what it is. As she explores this, she more and more realizes that she is special in some way. Eventually, with much soul seeking, she realizes she is royalty, she finds her inner princess. She then comes back to the castle and regains her status as the princess. Though this time, she KNOWS what it means to be the princess. She KNOWS how special it is to be the princess. Because she EXPERIENCED herself as separate from her princessdom, she can now truly KNOW what it means to BE THE PRINCESS.

Even our modern day sciences are proving we are ONE WITH ALL THINGS. But, then why do we have separate bodies? Why do I feel separate from you? Why are all people built differently? Why are there different languages, different religions? Why are there so many shades of skin color? Why does everyone have their own opinion?

What if all of this is the master plan? What if all of this has to exist in order to give us the opportunity to KNOW WHO WE ARE?

What if our mission on this planet is to come here and learn WHO WE ARE NOT, so we can truly, one day KNOW WHO WE ARE?

What if we are here to experience ourselves as separate from love so that we might one day KNOW that we are ONE with LOVE?

What if we are here to experience ourselves as separate from ALL THINGS so that one day we might KNOW we are ONE WITH ALL THINGS?