own your life // Truth Tribe interview: Jennifer Albin

Phoenix, your life is your own.

This revelation can be both exhilarating and anxiety-producing. It's easy to cast blame, to point fingers, to throw up your hands and say that nothing can be done when life is not going your way (trust me; I've been there!). But guess what? You unlock tremendous power when you realize YOU get to choose. Of course you can't control what happens to you; but how you respond, how you move on and grow? That's all you, baby.

Jennifer Albin, owner of Soul Whisper Arts, discovered this empowering truth in her own life. In a time of deep turmoil and trauma, Jennifer found the strength to change her life for good (and psssst, she definitely didn't have to do it alone).

I'm a huge fan of Jennifer's signature art dolls and inspiring mixed media work. Honestly, though, I hadn't realized how deeply moving her life-story is until recently. Now I understand where the power and depth of her artwork originates: they really are whispers from her soul.

Jennifer's creations speak to the hurting parts of us, saying, "Oh honey, I've been there, too. You'll get through this. You are strong. You are wise. You are loved. And you are never alone."

Jennifer isn't afraid to reveal her past aches, and how she forged a path of healing. Growing up, Jennifer lost her way in the face of grief and addiction. When the father of her children passed away fifteen years ago, Jennifer (then 21) was compelled to overhaul her life as she cared for their boys, then ages 4 and 6. She discovered "a sacred mirror" in a women's therapy group and realized she could change. Now she's "a super firm believer that love conquers all, that the heart of life is in fact awesomely good, and that art heals on some really deep levels."

I'm bey0nd honored to welcome Jennifer to our Truth Tribe. Her interview in our current issue, The Phoenix Soul: SAGE, is deep and true. Her wisdom is hard-won but gentle-spirited. I'm happy to share an excerpt from her interview here today.

Jennifer says that her art "serves as a reminder that [we] are not alone. When you fumble in the dark, there are torch bearers to light the way." I asked her to speak more about why spreading this message is so important to her. She responded,

It’s important to me because at the heart of all my ‘issues’ was Shame. It isolated me. Looking back now, it seemed to have wrapped its cloak around me before I could speak, as it did my mother and father, both of whom were addicts. Addiction, at its core, is a shame-based disease, that permeated our lives for generations. And it was only a symptom! I didn’t understand that. I didn’t know that I was only as “sick as my secrets” and that others were healing. They were re-writing their stories and finding connection and hope. I need other women to know it’s out there, it’s possible. If it is for me, it really is possible for anyone.
— Jennifer Albin, Truth Tribe interview, TPS: Sage
  Art doll and photograph by Jennifer Albin

Art doll and photograph by Jennifer Albin

In addition to Jennifer's soulful creations and monthly bundle boxes, she offers art classes. I asked what she hopes some of the deeper lessons are that students will take from her classes. She answered, in part,  

I think the deepest lesson I want women to take away from my classes is that our Souls already know everything we need to know, that there is so much inherent goodness and wisdom to discover inside. There was a time when I believed the world would be better off without me. I believed that so much that I attempted suicide at 15. Thankfully, I failed the attempt and here I am at 38, in a very different place, with the understanding that everyone has something to offer; no one is a mistake.
— Jennifer Albin, Truth Tribe interview, TPS: Sage
  artwork and photograph by Jennifer Albin

artwork and photograph by Jennifer Albin

I asked Jennifer what encouragement she'd offer The Phoenix Soul readers also in the process of rediscovering their true selves. She said,

. . . one of the most important things I was taught is that I couldn’t change anything in my life, in my Self, until I was willing to own it, all of it. I have to take responsibility for every thought, feeling, and behavior in order to continue to step into the fullness of who I am.
— Jennifer Albin, Truth Tribe interview, TPS: Sage

Phoenix, imagine stepping "into the fullness" of your identity today. What would that look like, feel like? Yes, the work may be heartwrenching . . . you may have to give up old stories about yourself and your life. You may have to step (leap) (fly) into your un-known.

But oh, phoenix, just imagine what freedom you'll find. The healing. The hope.

And remember, dear one, you never need journey alone. We phoenix are forever flock. Trusted tribe. We're here for one another.

It's time to own your life. Today.

with love & awe,
(your fellow phoenix)