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"Everything's temporary if you give it enough time"
- 'Stephenville'

Jewel's "Chasing Down the Dawn" (also distributed by Harper Collins Publishers) is an amazing book. I couldn't put it down, and I think I read the whole thing in less than two days. Following is a few exerpts from the book. I chose a few that really touched me; those stories that made me laugh, or made me cry. One's that offered a unique insight into Jewel's life, career and thoughts; and one's that reflected some of my own thinking. Enjoy!


'Sixth Grade Crush'
Tour bus - Somewhere, Ohio
Jacque's Birthday
'Mid-life Crisis'
'Controlling Her Ego'

'Sixth Grade Crush'

"In sixth grade I chose John to have a crush on. He had long hair, wore only black, and could stick fifteen pins and needles into the back of his hand, then bristle them like a porcupine's quills as he fanned his fingers.
You can see how a girl just couldn't help herself..."
p 21


Tour Bus - Somewhere, Ohio

... "I peek through a corner of the window onto the streets flying by. How I long to be more conscious, more aware, more alive, not wasting myself on things that take me farther from myself like hatred, fear, worry, and gossip, but constantly reinvesting my energy in the things that make me feel vital ... like being still ... like writing what I know is real rather than what I know will make a hit ... like kissing a man in the humid rain showers of Texas ... and learning to love all people as I love God and all things."
p 73


Jacque's Birthday

"Today is August 17. It is my best friend's birthday. It is the first birthday to pass since she died. She was a Leo.

Her family is not all together today but scattered across the country. I talked to her son, Sean. His voice sounded a lot like mine, heavy and thoughtful.

Some days it's hard to believe in anything. some days it seems that the heart has been sucked out of the entire world, so that everything seems cold and absurd and perhaps pointless. I feel like a child who knows less than nothing.

Tonight I could barely face people. I had to force myself to walk on stage. I did not want to be applauded or heckled or even looked at. I wanted to sit at Jacque’s feet again and have her pet my hair and make me feel safe. Nobody could make me feel safer than Jacque. She was so wise and smart, and she loved people as much as she loved God. She even loved me when I couldn't love myself. And she was always proud of me, even when I disappointed myself.

This is how I want to love.

This is how I want to be loved.

I feel her still, of course. But I miss her physically. Being held. Being listened to. I miss rubbing her feet and watching her eat Skittles and jelly beans instead of breakfast.

If she were here, there is so much I'd tell her. I'd tell her that at times I have been hurt and disappointed and embarrassed by myself. I would tell her that I am learning not to be. And I would tell here that I am making her birthday wish come true: I am happy. I'm maturing. I'm becoming a woman I know she'd be proud of."
pp. 81-82



"When I was a small child, I had an enormous potbelly. It was impossible to tame. I loved it. It was glorious and smooth and stuck out of everything I wore. No T-shirts could cover it; no Tuff-Skins could tame it. It was plump and lunar, like someone had cut the moon in half and sculpted it to my small self.

I was still quite young when I began to catch on that a belly wasn't something to be desired; it was something to be ashamed of. Girls wanted breasts; to wear earrings; to cram their feet into uncomfortable shoes. Potbellies were not in demand. They were not even considered attractive, and everything I saw, heard, and read reminded me that being attractive was the point of it all."
p 105


'Mid-life Crisis'

"When I was eighteen and living with my mom in Poway, California, I went through a sort of premature midlife crisis. Or maybe what I went through was something every eighteen-year-old faces and I was just more dramatic about the whole thing. At any rate, I felt a terrible sense of emptiness, as though I had no purpose, no reason to live. When I envisioned my life stretching out before me, I saw myself passing time. Work, eat, sleep - for what? I imagined myself raising a family and that didn't make me feel fulfilled. I needed a purpose. between shifts of temporary jobs, I sat alone and tried to figure out what kind of life would make me want to be conscious every day. I felt I must have been put here for a reason. I wanted to know what that reason might be.

When I told my mom how I felt, she said that as soon as I figured out what I wanted to do she'd do what she could to help me. I told her that I wanted something different from going to college, seeking a career or having a family; I wanted to make a difference in people's lives, in the world. Visualizing myself in that role made me feel calm inside. But how could I reach that goal? I wasn't sure I could help myself, much less other people. Nevertheless, I was excited. At last, I was onto something that filled me with hope.

My helped me to clarify my ideas. She said that my desire to help was great, but in what way would I bring about change? Becoming an environmental lawyer, a teacher, or a good mom were all choices that made a difference in the world. I decided that my writing and singing talents were among the things I could bring to the table.

I knew that I felt less alone when I sang because music allowed me to share my feelings with others. Some of the people who came to my shows had told me that they felt less isolated when they listened to my songs. My lyrics reassured them that someone else had experienced the same emotions, walked the same path as they did. That settled it. I told my mom that I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to write songs and sing for people. I asked her if she could help me make some demo tapes. She said she would - but there was one more factor to consider. In order for my dream to be realized, it was important for me to know what had attracted me to that dream. Why did I want a music career? Were there reasons for my decision beyond wanting to help?

Again, I sat alone. This time, I wrote about those things that intrigued me about music - and those that did not. Beyond the sheer love of performance, the hope that a music career would bring money and excitement and fame seemed to be an obvious plus. But when I projected into the future, visualizing a life of only money and notoriety, my feeling of internal calm faded away. Wealth and attention as goals would never sustain me through a challenging career. Whatever happened, I knew I would not be satisfied unless my every deal, decision, contract, and performance grew from my deep desire to make a difference rather than prosper financially. I wanted my career to match my intentions and integrity.

My mom and I decided then that when we were able, we would use the money from my success to found Higher Ground for Humanity, our nonprofit organization. And, after only five years, we were able to. It has been a dream come true - a reward that makes all the touring and hard work worth it.

I am on a path, and in a career, where many have lost their footing. I feel in my heart that taking the time to be clear in the beginning, to think about what I wanted from the record industry, has kept me from losing my way. I have a life I feel good in. I have abundance, and I am able to bring abundance and health to others. That's as good as it gets."
pp. 129-130


'Controlling Her Ego'

"When I was nineteen or twenty, and first stared getting noticed by the press, I have to admit it turned my head. Suddenly, journalists were telling me, "You know, you're such a mature writer for your age!" or "I just can't get your songs out of my head." At that time I was desperate to take all the credit I could get - even from complete strangers. I wanted people to think I was extraordinarily talented - that I could compose without strain, be perfect without effort. Most of all, I wanted to believe it myself. So I sort of smiled and feigned humility and took all the credit anyone wanted to pile on. Why yes, I guess I was special! I guess I did embody innate greatness! And did I mention that I could actually levitate?

As soon as my mom read these articles she took me aside. She was well aware of what made me hungry for affirmation. And most of all, she knew that the real reason I got into music had nothing to do with acclaim. She spoke to me frankly.

Was it possible I'd feel dishonest if I shared only my successes rather than my struggles? Wouldn't denying my difficulties simply be contributing to the kind of thinking that made me feel inadequate to begin with?

At first I was offended by her suggestions, but after I took time to reflect I realized Nedra was right. Pretending I was perfect was dishonest and made me feel I had an unreal image of myself to uphold. Nedra wasn't asking me to focus on my tendency to doubt myself and she wasn't saying I didn't deserve compliments; she was encouraging me to align my actions with my intent. I had a choice: I could continue to act on my old destructive ideas about myself and ignore my feelings of inadequacy or I could view them as opportunities for growth and get a chance to create a life that looked like me in the press rather than a fictitious one.

With Nedra's help I began to live as what I desired myself to be - a person who lived as honestly as possible, full of mistakes and good intentions. My personal problems could easily have sabotaged my creativity and even my career; I could have ended up bitter and unfulfilled. My mother didn't just give me life; she helped me see choice within my life. For this gift alone I will always be grateful for her particular kind of love."
p 119