In 2005, I was 41 years old, I had a solid 11 year relationship and I was at the top of my industry. I was sitting at a friend’s house outside of Seattle watching myself on TV being featured in a segment story on up and coming entrepreneurs called ON THE RISE during CNN’s News Night with Aaron Brown. It was a wonderfully edited piece, which lasted nearly 5 minutes, which during Prime Time on CNN is priceless. Approximately 20 million viewers were watching CNN that evening.
While watching what was the pinnacle of my career and my business success, I sat there with a feeling in my gut that it was all about to end… And I was correct.
A little back story: In the mid to late 1990’s I met the gentlemen who created and was in the process of patenting the first soy wax formula. I was the first national candle maker who believed that SOY WAX was The Future of the Candle Industry. I was a pioneer marketer of SOY WAX CANDLES, introducing them to the nation. I helped launch what is now a billion dollar portion of the candle industry. By the time the CNN segment featured me in 2005, I was at the top of my game.
As I sat there and watched the program that evening surrounded by some very excited friends, I had a gut-feeling it was all about to end. Mind you, I am NOT a pessimist – I just knew in my gut that the end was near. In this case, it was not pessimism, it was intuition.
Two months later, I was Steve Jobs’ed out (voted out) of my company by a group of shareholders that held the majority of the shares. My personal friends and I held the minority shares and we were out voted…I was voted off the island I had created, nurtured and turned into a success.
Within a month or so later I was up and running with another soy candle company. Not to bore you now with all the details of those tumultuous years, if you want to read the full story of my candle history, click here: JIMMY’S CANDLE HISTORY and scroll down to PART 1 and start at the beginning.
You would think that My Dark Period would have begun when I was voted out of my company in 2005, but I handled that transition quite masterfully. My Dark Period officially began in the early part of 2008 when two KEY factors collided:
- The bottom fell out of the US economy and my new candle business began to collapse beneath my feet.
- My partner of 14.5 years, John, told me that it was OVER and we should begin dating other people.
I remember saying to my partner at that time, “Do we have to do this RIGHT NOW? I have a business collapsing beneath my feet! Why now?”
During the next few years I had to fire my staff little by little until I was the only one making and shipping candles. I was working 70-90 hour weeks in a factory that had neither air conditioning nor proper exhaust ventilation – if it was 105 degrees outside, it was 120 degrees in that tin roof building! In early 2008 was the last paycheck I had given myself from the company.
In 2011 I licensed my brand to a larger candle company. By that point, I was done. I was nothing but a shell of my former self. Licensing my brand was my last effort to keep the brand alive, especially since there was nothing left of me physically, emotionally or spiritually to continue on. It was during this licensing period that I didn’t have to kill myself working, though I still had no income. I was still in charge of my company and had to design the new collection that would be released with the licensing company; my work load had dropped to just a few hours a week – and I desperately needed the break. Even though I was not receiving a paycheck, I was under contract with the investors in my business and I was not able to work anywhere else and my focus had to stay upon this company. Up to that point, my entire life for the past several years was focused upon keeping that company going – and I had become a hermit. Now that the brand was licensed out, I was free to focus upon myself again.
In the spring of 2011 I made the most life defining decision of my life. I was tired of not being social and I decided it was time to do so. I decided to get out of the house and go to The Round Up Saloon & Dancehall – I needed some social interaction with humans (my dogs had heard all of my jokes and when they started saying the punch lines back to me, in unison, I knew it was time to get out of the house!). I chose the Round Up because I could go there and watch the dancers, which are so amazing, and I did not have to spend a penny since I didn’t drink (and I was broke). For years I have gone to this bar to watch the dancers, though I never had the desire to learn how to country and western dance. Though to my fortune, it was on that very first visit to the Round Up that I ran into an old acquaintance, Mark-Brian, who pulled me onto the dance floor and taught me how to dance in the follow position. I actually learned very easily and dancing became my drug because the entire world of my troubles went away while I was on that dance floor. I started going every chance I could.
By end of 2011, I decided to close the down my company for good. The licensing deal just wasn’t working and I was done. I hadn’t had a paycheck in over FOUR YEARS. I had gone through any savings I might have had and I no longer had any credit cards as I maxed them out trying to save the business and could no longer make the payments. I was living on $5 a week for food by going to the Mexican grocery store (an excellent tip from my friend Mark-Brian) and buying unidentifiable meat for $0.99/lb. In order to keep the mortgage paid and my dozen rescue animals alive I had to sell off much of my furniture and artwork. Yes, I had a pack of rescue animals that my partner and I had collected over the previous 17 years. Because we had been rescuing for so many years and all of the original animals were still with me, I had a literal GERIATRICS WARD as well as a SPECIAL NEEDS WING. Thought at that point if any of my animals would have needed veterinary care, I could not have afforded to take them to the vet hospital. In fact, during that period my kitchen was often turned into a TRIAGE UNIT and EMERGENCY ROOM. I actually saved one special needs dog’s life with a long handled wooden spoon when I was hand-feeding her and didn’t realize she couldn’t swallow due to dehydration. I also saved her life yet again, this time with a chip clip to stop the bleeding when one of the other dogs ate her ear nearly completely off. And no, he didn’t eat her ear off because of hunger… he used to lick and clean her ears and I think he got a little carried away, plus he’s a little “special” too. Needless to say, I had my hands FULL and my pockets were EMPTY! But I had The Round Up to help me heal.
I fully give credit to my time at the Round Up for helping me heal and pull myself out of my dark period.
During My Dark Period I made the decision that I wanted to have someone to share my love and life with. But this time, I would purposefully draw that person to me. Over the years of running my businesses, I had learned how to pull things into my existence. I had learned that we live in an Attraction Based Universe…I had done it many, many, many times throughout my business and personal life. I know it works and I was pretty good at it (when I wasn’t in my dark period). I made a decision early on to not date and not fool around unless I felt the spark of something special from someone. I also knew that in order to attract someone with the qualities I wanted in a partner – I had to become those qualities. I had also learned that if you create from a space of “lonely” you will only draw to you someone who will make you lonelier – I had seen it happen to several of my friends.
Every time I began to feel sorry for myself (during the 3.5 year period of being celibate) or when I would feel lonely creeping in, I would stop myself and begin to state to the universe the qualities of the person I was drawing to me. “I am drawing to me the person who has an immense capacity to love and an immense capacity for happiness, who will adore me as I adore him…” and on and on I would go. I never added a face, an age or a race. One of the things I would call forth was, “I will find this person physically attractive and he will also find me physically attractive.” Because of this, I never had to put a body type in my calling forth. I would list qualities, such as honesty, caring, loving, loves to dance, healthy, happy, skilled at his profession, loves animals, lots and lots of animals, thinks similarly about spiritual matters, non-materialistic, peaceful… these were all on my list. When you begin to list these things out loud, you forget about being lonely. Honestly, you have to think of yourself as a magnet. What ever charge you are giving out, you will attract. If you are sending out lonely, you will only attract lonely. If you are sending out drama, you will only receive someone who feeds off and give you more drama. It may sound corny, but I would say, “I am love, I am peace, I am happiness…” knowing that I was sending that out into the universe.
Every day I worked on these things because every day I would begin to feel lonely at some point… and I couldn’t have that. I was definitely working on all of these things when I met Mabo. And the very first time I actually danced with Mabo, I felt “the spark” – enough so that I asked him if he was in a relationship – because I wanted to go on a date with him. He was the first and only person I asked on a date since my split with John.
I KNOW that calling things forth works. Mabo and I have now been together for about two years. He possesses every single quality that I called forth. He adores me! I adore him! What are the chances that I would find someone who would be able to not only deal with but LOVE my animals as if they were his own children and also love all the other parts of me that I would think of as hard to love?
And I give full credit to MY DARK PERIOD for showing me who I am not. If the events of my life had not played out as they did, darkness and all – I would not have been in the position to meet the love of my life. I made some life changing decisions during that period. I had to choose to believe in love. I had to choose to not give up on life. I am very thankful to myself for not giving up on love or life. I now look back at My Dark Period as a necessary step to become a happier person. It definitely was a rough several years and I really don’t ever want to go through anything like that again…but I am so happy that I did.
There are two stories that you should now read, first off I would read THE UN-DATEABLE ME, and then you should read our LOVE STORY – both of which you can find in the menu on this site.