I love meditation, and up to now I have been really inconsistent about it. But in all honesty, I think it is right up there with money in its ability to cure most problems. More powerful than money when it comes to stress/anxiety/depression.
I have had the pleasure of taking classes with meditation teacher Jessica Snow, and it is a treat! She is so creative, gentle, soothing and whip smart. Whether you’re hardcore into meditation or have always wanted to try – Jessica will meet you where you are. Personally I am always better when I meditate. Even 5 minutes…
Jessica! Thank you so much for hanging out with us today. Let’s start at the beginning. How did you come to meditation? Is it something you grew up with? Was it love at first site or did you struggle with it?
I’ve always been a dreamy kind of person, but also kind of anxious. So I’ve always been a “seeker”, very quick to investigate or try all kinds of spiritual practices. In 2002 I began a devoted mindfulness meditation practice and really stuck with it wholeheartedly because it improved my experience of life so much. For a long time I stayed in my little meditation bubble, meditating everyday, reading, studying, journaling. Then in 2011 I went on a retreat and had an epiphany – that I could use the meditation that I love in such a way that I could help others as well as myself. Since then I have become very open in terms of writing my own meditations, adding in techniques from many different disciplines and sharing these more modern meditation experiences with others.
How and why did you start teaching meditation classes? What is your professional background? Did things take off right away? Were there any struggles? If so, how did you overcome them?
My professional growth has been very organic, which is another word for slow. I literally started teaching in my backyard. Every two weeks I would invite over a group of friends and treat them to an elaborate evening of meditation and ritual. Everyone loved it and magical things started happening in all of our lives. We became champion co-creators. Then, when my friends started bringing their friends and we needed more space we started meditating at my husband’s work after hours. Pretty soon, I was doing guided meditations in nature (the beach, Griffith Park), and then I was asked to present at a yoga conference and things kind of sped up (a little bit) from there. Looking back, everything did happen in perfect timing, and the pivotal moment two years ago when I met Mark and Martin from Spellbound Sky came at the perfect time.
You are obviously passionate about meditation. What is it that lights you up about the process? I love how you incorporate crystals, guided imagery, animal imagery. Who were your teachers and inspirations? How did you come to incorporate all of these wonderful tools into your practice and teachings?
I love meditating, I see the journey into the interior as the greatest and most rewarding adventure. I think what “lights me up” the most is that meditation is such easy magic and it is available to everyone at any time.
This might sound crazy, but everything I do when I create and guide meditations comes from some energy, some intelligence beyond me. When I sit down to create a meditation, I meditate first and receive inspiration about how to guide that specific experience. Nothing really comes from me, and even I am consistently amazed that the inspiration just keeps flowing.
What is your favorite thing about teaching?
Being with people and getting to breathe and feel the energy of all the hearts in the space we create. The giving and receiving of that heart energy is really what it’s all about. The stories I tell with my words are just to keep your brain busy while we do the real energetic work with the heart and the breath. I also love feeling that moment about twenty or thirty minutes into the practice where I can feel that everyone has suddenly been able to really let go and relax.
Can teaching at times drain you? Is there a lot of different energy coming your way and does that at times weigh you down?
Interestingly, teaching energizes me. I haven’t found out the exact mechanism that makes this possible, but I suspect it has something to do with it being my life’s work and that I’ve done it so much that even when I am leading I am meditating too.
I find your style very forgiving psychically. Like, “You’re good. It’s cool. It’s now. Whatever came before – it’s done. Whatever is – is exactly how it should be.” I am paraphrasing! Were you raised with this sort of gentle attitude? Does it carry into your life, way of mothering, etc? I was raised to always BE BETTER. So I find this especially inspiring, cleansing, energizing – and hope I am raising my son with this new, more gentle messaging.
LOL. I grew up with a very strong internal voice imploring me to always BE BETTER. That’s a big reason this work has been so transformative for me and also why I really encourage that radical friendliness towards ourselves in meditation. I think (and hope) this great gentleness flows into the way I mother my son and find it very inspiring to apply that gentleness over and over again to myself as well as everything and everyone in my life.
Tells us about the art on your site! Do you do the graphics? Where did the idea for the images come from? The way you package your meditations is so appealing! “Create your own key” (omg – gorgeous!!) Tell us more! Your inspiration, how you do it. Also, can you tell us about the necklaces you are selling on your site? I want one!
Yes, I do all my own art and graphics, I created my own website, I write and record my own meditations. I am a polymath, happiest when I allow myself to indulge all my creative influences regardless of medium. And again, the images and other creative elements all come from the deep wells of inspiration meditation gives me access to.
As for the keys, a while ago I started selling meditation MP3s as digital downloads and then on these really beautiful silver key-shaped flash drives. Recently I got to thinking about how I really believe each of us has our own path, our own secret code, our own brand of treasure to express. You know what’s best for you, I am just here to show you a few things, open you up to some possibilities. You are the one who is going to choose the way that speaks to you and make it your own. To that end I’ve just started offering a new way to pick and choose the meditation MP3s from my site that speak the most to you. For $25 you can now Create Your Own Key, self-curating four guided meditations which I then load onto the key flash drive along with an unguided drum meditation track. These keys obviously also make a really sweet gift for a close friend or loved one.
The necklace sets were born from my collaboration with Melinda Lee Holm who is an extraordinary individual. We refer to them as Adornments for Personal Evolution. Each set comes with a beautiful Melinda Lee Holm crystal necklace (so far we have featured four stones – Citrine, Fluorite, Rose Quartz & Rainbow Moonstone), two matching meditation touchstones, and an 8-page meditation booklet from yours truly. Melinda and I have both experienced the crystal and meditation magical combo so we created a collection of objects that would keep that magic working for you 24/7. In the morning, you meditate using the booklet & touchstones, put your necklace on so you are keeping that mojo going all day (and looking rad doing it), then at night you can meditate again and put those touchstones under your pillow so they work while you dream.
What’s coming up for you in 2015? What are you jazzed about? Or am I getting out of the present moment?
2015 is going to be a year of profound creativity. Now that I’ve found this groove, I am overflowing with ideas. I will definitely be releasing more things to read, listen to and experience. I’ve been recording our live crystal meditations week by week, so I hope to offer a bigger library of new MP3s. Also I’d love to find bigger spaces for live events and hopeful to offer some day-long retreats.
I am so grateful for the vibrant community of people (including you Marissa!) that has formed around this work. It is such a joy to meet and mingle with people under these circumstances.
P.S. I think it’s perfectly ok to get out of the present moment every once in a while as long as you are aware you are doing it. J
The oh so lovely and talented Jessica Snow pictured above.
A little bonus for us – Jessica’s thoughts on holiday stress and new year resolutions…
The holidays are an intense time of year and this year especially I sense a lot of magnified energy which can feel exciting or stressful. Also, remember this time of year for our ancestors represented a time when the harvest was done, it was cold and dark a lot of the time and we hoped we had enough to last until Spring. I think the best antidote for this time of year is radical self-care. Taking a little time for the simple things: drinking plenty of water, getting plenty of rest, going outside, enjoying small moments and practicing gratitude. I’m sure we’ve all heard all of that before, but it really is the way to cruise through the season instead of fighting it. And breathe! Don’t forget to breathe.
I do New Year’s Resolutions, but they are unusual in that they are all about pleasure. I already am pretty clear regarding what I need to work on, my inner critic has that on lock-down. So I use the New Year’s Resolution process as an excuse to go ahead and give myself the things that make me feel really good. Because when I feel really good, and treat myself the way I would treat a good friend, that’s also when I’m bringing my A-game and showing up for myself and the rest of the world.
I also have a cool New Year’s Eve ritual. We do a meditation on the morning of Dec. 31st on the beach. We meditate and let the ocean wash away the old year and make space for the new. It’s fantastic, there is nothing like connecting with nature and something as big and grand as the sea and sky on the day before the new year begins.
If you want more information on the Keys, Necklaces, New Year’s Eve Ocean Meditation or to read my little 30-page treatise on this modern style of meditating, you can find it all at Jessicasnowmeditation.com/.