Music

Singer Jewel shares tools to 'help people with their pain'

Jewel's rise in the music world from the Alaska frontier to first-name-only singer is almost unbelievable: Girl endures an abusive father, becomes homeless and then not only survives, but thrives in her profession.

Now 43, Jewel, born Jewel Kilcher, is branching out with a business based on the mindfulness tools she used to survive that harsh upbringing.

What did living out of your car teach you?

When I was 18 and homeless, I saw a reflection of myself in a mirror, and knew that I had become a statistic.

At that point, I decided to turn my life around, based on the saying: Happiness doesn't depend on who you are or what you have, it depends on what you think.

How are you turning this interest in mindfulness into a business?

The website jewelneverbroken.com is non-profit and free to the world. It is an emotional fitness destination, where people can access simple mindfulness tools to create change in their lives.

As a mum, I did not want to be dependent on touring to make a living. I wanted to make music, but I also want to help people with their pain in other ways.

So a part of my business will be B2B (business-to-business), working with online clothing shop Zappos.com to create the next frontier of corporate culture. Another aspect will be schooling for how people can achieve fitness in their emotions and parenting and finances.

I am also creating a curriculum for students with mindfulness baked into it, so people with addictions or anxiety can become the architects of their own lives.

How do you decide where to devote your charitable dollars?

I founded Project Clean Water (a web-based portal that provides a centralised point of access to water quality information and resources) back in 1997, because when I had been homeless, I had bad kidneys and could not afford bottled water.

If we are not able to drink our tap water, we are all in trouble.

I also founded the Never Broken Foundation to help people with emotional health and mindfulness.

Why are you offering pre-show artisan craft and gift-making on your latest tour, Handmade Holiday, which kicks off on Nov 24 in Las Vegas?

What I see in our culture is anxiety, and families breaking apart, and people feeling incapable. So with this holiday tour, I wanted to promote the values of self-sufficiency and connectedness and industriousness.

So there is crafting during the day, where you can learn how to make things for yourselves and create memories with your family.

As a single mum of a six-year-old boy, do you have any advice for other single parents?

You have to let go of the myth of perfection. Single parents always feel like a failure, if they are working and raising a child at the same time.

But you are not a failure, and you do not have to do things perfectly. Remember your children are watching you, and it is okay to let them see mistakes.

This is real life, and we are all responding in real time. 
- REUTERS

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