Happy Birthday, Jewel! The singer, songwriter, actress, and daughter of Atz Kilcher, from the popular reality show Alaska: The Last Frontier, turns 43 today. What is the multi-talented artist doing now with her life and her career?
In March, Jewel spoke to Dan Harris during the ABC podcast 10% Happier of her childhood revelation of how when she practiced mindfulness, she make herself happier.
Her family situation was very tough. The singer explained that she came from a family of musicians, and at 8, when her parents split, she began performing with her father, Atz Kilcher, who is the patriarch of the reality show Alaska: The Last Frontier. She saw some of the pitfalls of adulthood in those bars.
“I was probably the only fourth grader that went right from the elementary school to the bar. And I watched how people handled pain. I watched people use relationships, drugs, alcohol to try to numb and medicate feelings…and I was like, ‘I’m in trouble.'”
What saved her? She explained that she found that writing was the key to getting calm and to overcome anxiety.
“I noticed every time I sat down to write, I felt calmer, I felt less anxiety, and it took the edge off just enough.”
Writing became the tool that helped her find her own personal truth.
“I just started habitually forcing myself to do what I call my anecdotal thought. So when I would have anxious feeling, I would retract the thought, I would see what the lie was, what my brain was telling me and I would tell myself the truth.”
Jewel left home as a teenager on a vocal scholarship in Michigan, and later, she hitchhiked her way across the lower 48. She has confessed that during this dark time, she was shoplifting and doing some of those things that would make her repeat the age-old mistakes that kept her family in poverty. It was writing and going back to her self-taught mindfulness techniques that gave her peace and gave her strength. At 19, she was spotted singing at a cafe and the rest is music history.
Yet, music history does not always end up happy. Jewel was quite saddened at the recent news of Chris Cornell’s suicide. She had revealed to Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo that she knew the Soundgarden singer, as both were in the music industry at the same time, although she explained that they were not close friends. Jewel pointed out what she had learned so long ago that being successful does not necessarily guarantee happiness and fulfillment.
“It goes to show that just because people… look like they have it all, you can name CEOs, you can name… high-performance athletes, celebrities — having it all doesn’t mean you have happiness. It doesn’t mean you have peace of mind. And if you don’t have that, you’re really not succeeding in life.”
— Jewel (@jeweljk) May 19, 2017
At the recent Salt Conference, CNN reported that Jewel revealed to the crowd how difficult the cycle of poverty was, as well as the chemical abuse that went along with it. In her book, Never Broken, she wrote that her father, Atz Kilcher, was an abusive alcoholic who suffered from PTSD. She wrote the book with her father’s blessing, and Jewel broke the cycle of poverty and chemical abuse. She told the audience that she was determined to break the poverty cycle.
“I never drank and never did drugs my whole life. The poverty cycle was just really hard to break.”
She told the conference crowd of her homelessness and how she felt like an animal, as her only thoughts were of finding a place to sleep and food to eat. Perhaps the worst was how she was shunned by others.
“People treated me like I was contagious. They thought the homelessness might spread to them.”
Now, Jewel has created the Jewel’s Never Broken, a non-profit foundation to help homeless kids like she was. She has partnered with others to provide mentorship and even entrepreneurial skill development for underprivileged teens. She says that back then, she would have “killed” for this sort of opportunity. Because one did not exist then, she has created it for the youth now.
What do you think of Jewel’s mindfulness techniques? Are you familiar with Jewel’s non-profit?
[Featured Image by Rick Diamond/Getty Images]