Welcome Message

Marvel, Muse, Manifest, Materialize. Welcome to February Jones: The Blog. While you're here I might challenge some of your opinions, show you something you never knew before, or if you're lucky, I just might melt your brain and bring you a new way of viewing the world and your place in it. And I have accessories to help you remember these new ways of thinking! View my Etsy shop items just to your lower right in my CraftCult widget, or by clicking on the Merchverse tab above. See what some of my customers think in the Testimonial section, and check out all on my interweb featurettes in the Media section. You can even watch some awesome Etsy videos in the Etsy Fun! section. I hope you enjoy the World of February Jones and come back often, things are always changing.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Cosmoi: It's All [Ancient] Greek To Me!

Cosmoi: the word that started me down the path toward "philosophically infused" jewelry. It comes from the ancient Greek word "kosmoi", the plural form of "cosmos" which I am sure is the most familliar to everyone, meaning "universe". But it has another meaning, one that seems to be lost in usage and it can also refer to an ordered, harmonious whole. What sucked me in though, was learning that ancient Greeks used this now lost meaning in a very general way. Any things that were orderly were considered "cosmoi". If you had set the table in a particularly balanced and orderly way, you could call it a cosmos. Jewelry and adornments were considered cosmoi as well.

But there was more to it than a simple relation to orderliness. The ancient Greeks revered the mysteries of the universe. They would look up to the night sky and see the most orderly system that they as sentient beings could strive to duplicate. You know the phrase, "cleanliness is next to godliness"? If you were ancient Greek you might say "orderliness is next to godliness". Jewelry and other adornments were created in a very conscious way so that the orderliness of the design could be maximized and the wearer brought that much closer to unity with the universe.

If you wear a piece that resonates with something you aspire to, it makes you more conscious of the target of your aspiration and in so doing, changes the conditions of your mind so that it becomes more favourable of achieving that target..

We look up at the sky, we see order, we see perfection, we want to get as close to that as we can. So we wear something to represent that order that we see in the sky, and that representation has the power to remind of us our hearts desire whenever we look at it. If we are reminded more often, we will work towards our goals and desires more consciously.

This is one of the driving philosophies behind the jewelry and accessories that I create.
I want you to adorn yourself with purpose, not just to look pretty.
I want your accessories to work harder by becoming a part of your evolution as a human.
I want you to love them not just because of how they look, but also because of what they represent.
I want you to find connections with your world by accessorizing for your soul in addition to complenting your outfit.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Who Are You?

Throughout my life I have found that I am constantly trying to answer this question. Not with the little answers like, "I'm Maria," "I'm a handcrafter," or "I'm a friendly gigglepuss," but the BIG answer, the response that will finally define me as a person for the rest of my life. Searching for the BIG answer has frequently driven me to the brink of madness. Then, just as I think I'm finally getting close to that all encompassing definition of me, I discover that something about me and who I am has changed and then it's back to the drawing board.

Does anyone else feel like this? Does anyone else out there feel like they're thisclose to defining who they are and then the universe throws a wrench into your self-preception?

In a world where companies that provide us with all of life's needs, wants and desires are moving more and more towards personalised marketing and selling ourselves back to us, it seems even more imperative that we should be able to provide a quick and simple answer to the loaded question, "Who are you?". As kids our days are filled with activities that are meant to help us get to know who we are, what we like and don't, what we want, what we wish for, etc. We're given the impression that as we grow, we should naturally discover the answer and that will simply be that.

Why, oh why didn't someone tell me 10 years ago that there is never one answer that question? It would have saved me a lot of heartache, confusion, and repetitive soul-searching if someone had simply said,

"you are a different person everyday, the trick is to keep your footing when you find the foundations of your self are shifting"

We are not static creatures. We are dynamic. Every day we process thousands of pieces of information, and those new bits that resonate with us, those affect us. They can alter our perceptions just a little, or change our outlook ever so slightly. This happens every day- little shifts in our thinking. It happens so frequently that we don't always notice it. So if you're like me and are always trying to figure out who you are, end of story, try to remember- you're writing a new page of that story every day, and if the main character doesn't grow along the way, well, the story is just boring. 

So embrace your own evolution. 
The next time that you confront the question,
"Who are you?"
Don't be afraid when the answer turns out to be
"A work in progress".


Thursday, February 17, 2011

One Simple Way to Becoming a Happier Person

There is no reason why you can't be a happy person most of the time.

I am, and a lot of people find that disconcerting. They think there is something wrong with it, with me, for being so pleasant so often. Is there really something so unusual about a person who smiles whenever you see them? The fact that I get weird looks a lot just because of my naturally happy disposition tells me that this world could definitely use more happiness. So I'll tell you one of my secrets, and the great part is, it's actually really easy once you get the hang of it!

Don't waste energy on what you can't change or affect NOW.
How often do you encounter someone who is unhappy or in a bad mood because of something that is happening that very instant? Not very often in my experience. The question, "what's wrong?" usually gets responses like, "I had a bad morning," "I'm pissed off at (blank)," "I have to do (blank) later and I'm not looking forward to it," among many others. People spend a lot of time being emotionally effected by things that already happened and are over with, or things that haven't even happened yet. You all know that we only live in this moment. Anything else is just a memory, or a projection, it isn't the life you're living right now. So why are you wasting your time in this life being consumed by memories or projections?

My rule of thumb is, if you can't do anything to change it NOW, then don't worry about it until you can. 

You can't change the fact that you spilled coffee all over your desk, so why are you wasting energy being upset about it? Feel what you need to feel while you're cleaning up, and then move on. Find yourself getting irritable because you know you have a meeting coming up that you're not prepared for? Do whatever you can to increase your sense of readiness and then roll with it because you're as ready as you're going to be- why waste valuable energy on a bad mood when you can simply reinvest it in yourself?

The sooner you realize that the things you have no power to change aren't worth the energy required to worry and fret about them, the sooner you'll realize how much energy you have left to enjoy the little good things- like the coworker who brought you another coffee after you spilled yours, or the boss who really enjoyed your contributions even though you thought you weren't prepared enough.

When you let go of things you can't change, you naturally become more aware of all the different ways that the universe is trying to make you feel better.

I know this is a little cliche, but I'll say it anyway! It takes 43 muscles to frown, and only 17 to smile, just like it only requires a little bit of energy to be happy but it sucks up a whole lot more when you focus on things you want to change and can't.

 Be happy, doofus. It's easy.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Summon the Zazzen

"Carnival" courtesy of bomobob
I work hard. I'm working all the time. My brain is constantly on overdrive with thoughts about marketing and promotions, new product designs, show schedules and booking, packaging, branding, the list goes on. I dream this stuff, and when I wake up I'm pretty sure some of it sneaks into my breakfast too. Today though, I spent three and a half hours at the spa getting a manicure, a pedicure, and a facial. It was heaven. And when it was over, I just felt so great about being this person that I am that I just wanted to jump right back into my work- but my body was in such a state of zazzen bliss that I couldn't.

Zazzen: the state of being in which you feel like a stick of butter gently softening, melting, into a pliable, impressionistic sort of mass, and you are just absolutely delighted to be yourself in that moment *not to be confused with zazen (one 'z') which is a type of meditation focused on sitting.

Regardless of the kind of work that you do, the people that you live with or the kind of life that you lead- you are a person who is worthy of the power that you have within you and is deserving of your own respect. In order to be worth anything to anyone else, you have to be worth something to yourself first. You'd be surprised how easy it is to take that for granted, to think, "I know I'm worth something to myself, why on Earth do I have to show it or prove it? I KNOW it!" Well the truth is, most of the time, we actually don't know it because we aren't usually in the practice of telling ourselves on a daily basis how awesome we think we are.

Why the heck not?! Why are we waiting to hear or see that stuff from other people? You don't have to depend on others to help you to realize that it's pretty cool to just be you. You can do that yourself. Just Summon the Zazzen. Bring into your life those things that you love that you think are treats, or just for special occasions.  Show yourself that you appreciate who you are by allowing yourself to enjoy that which you are naturally drawn to. It'll make every other aspect of your life easier, more enjoyable, and who knows, you just might wake up one day and absolutely love every moment from then until you go back to sleep.

Okay, Summon the Zazzen. It can be anything on the spectrum from a mani/pedi on one end to an extra round of Call of Duty: Black Ops on the other. Make a list of things that you absolutely love to do, things that make you happy just to think about them, and start booking those moments into your schedule or making notes so that you don't forget to enjoy them more often.

I want you to do more things that make you feel awesome and less things that make you feel icky. By the way, those icky things definitely feel less icky if you introduce more awesome. So give yourself a high five/pat on the back/big hug and remind your being that you appreciate it.


Monday, February 7, 2011

A Closer Look: Quantum Rosettes

 Quantum Rosettes just after completion!

Quantum Rosette Earrings are one of my bestselling items, both in my Etsy shop and at shows, so I thought I'd give you a closer look at them. It's rather like an act of meditation, creating these ear studs. Turning a length of wire into a Quantum Rosette requires a level of open-ended creative focus, similar to how you might feel after peering at a mandala for a while. The swirling, coiling motion of wrapping the wire over itself always brings with it thoughts about the universe and how similar each one of us is to the vast empty space in which we all exist together.

"There are worlds within worlds, and you are an example of this." -Quantum Rosettes

The atomic structure that creates the molecules that you are composed of are each like micro-universes, coming together to create the person that you are. How ironic that you are also like an atom, a small piece of planet Earth, contributing the structure of the greater universe that we are still exploring. It almost seems that the nature of being is a single pattern, repeated at different levels throughout all existence. You as an individual are both a part of the greater pattern being expressed, but are also an example of the pattern itself.

These earrings are designed to remind you that:
-Although you stand alone as a unique individual, you are also part of something greater than yourself that you can't even fathom.
-You may feel like you're alone, but the thoughts and energies that you put out into the world become a part of that greater system and will affect other components and energies.
-In a very fundamental way, you are the universe, and if you remember this in your daily activities you will find yourself becoming more aware of your presence in the moment.
-Our lives are built of moments, and if you're not present in those moments, then you're really just standing on the sidelines of your own life.


Thursday, February 3, 2011

One Drop Becomes a Ripple

I'm Canadian. I know that not all of my readers are, so I'm just going to provide a bit of backstory. A few weeks ago, I learned, through various social media outlets that the CRTC (the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission) was putting a plan underway to charge internet users according to a new usage-based billing plan. Currently we operate under a monthly-limit sort of billing plan, very similar to cell phone plans where you purchase minutes. For a certain rate, you can download up to a certain amount of data. Most consumers have been able to find plans that allow them to enjoy the benefits of high speed internet at an affordable price.

You all know how much can be found online if you look hard enough- well our willingness to seek to find free services had led a growing number of us to forgo purchasing cable television services, after all, many of our favourite shows are available online, and in many cases, they are available directly from the companies that broadcast them. My household jumped off the cable bandwagon when we moved to our current apartment- but it wasn't so much because we could find free entertainment online, it was more to keep advertising out of our home and regain control of our mental atmosphere... but that's a different story.

So the CRTC comes along, complaining that people aren't purchasing cable television services like they used to and that they're losing money, and major internet service providers say that they have made so many infrastructure changes that they have to increase their prices structures, and they draft up an idea to get more money out of their customers- hike their internet rates and charge based on the amount of data that gets downloaded. These companies pay less than a penny to transfer 1GB of data, and in some cases they wanted to charge between $1 and $4 for that same amount of data transfer. I know intuitively that seems like a pretty big jump, but mathematically that's a 1000 to 4000% markup! I could write an entire article about how wrong it is for a company to sell a product or service that is marked up so exorbitantly.

Needless to say, there was "virtual" outrage over this matter as consumers rushed to sign the online petition posted by Open Media, or flooded government inboxes with pleas, arguments, or even diatribes regarding this issue.

This morning as my teeth were finally beginning to stop chattering in the sub-zero environment of my Honda Fit, and the frost which had so annoyingly appeared on the inner side of all my windows was beginning to fade away, I heard on the radio that the government had decided to step in to over-rule the CRTC's plans- because they had been overwhelmed by social outcry and calls to the government to help prevent this corporate money-grab from actually taking effect. We all rely on the internet for many reasons, but I signed the petition because I am trying to operate a small home-based business and a significant investment towards its profitability occurs in online marketplaces. In this case it wasn't "I want the internet", it was "I need the internet", and having to pay more would cut into costs possibly to the point of no longer making a profit.

Every day the world is changing more and more, and so are the ways that we as humans are interacting with one another and creating connections. I love running a small business because I have the opportunity to connect with customers on a very real level by providing them with something I hope they will treasure and that helps them to look at the world from a different perspective or in ways they hadn't considered before. I've had opportunities to treat people to an interaction that is practically impossible to find between Consumer and Corporation, because I want to treat my customers in exactly the same way I would want to be treated. Corporations have to learn to adapt and change and stop trying to bully their customers around because they have clout. Consumers are discovering that they have a middle finger, and when we all come together we can make a pretty big "EF YOU!".

Thanks to everyone who contributed to raising a big stink about this ridiculous policy.

You can find (and sign!) the petition here: http://openmedia.ca/meter

An Article from the Toronto Star recapping the issue to date: http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/932571--ottawa-threatens-to-reverse-crtc-decision-on-internet-billing

The next time that you see a petition making the rounds for an idea that you are even mildly interested in, in support of, or against, don't hesitate to sign. You have no idea how much your one drop can contribute to a ripple that might become a tidal wave. Don't be afraid to try to make a change.