Wednesday, November 24, 2010

"So...what are you working on?"

If you are creative or artistic in any sense of the word, you have probably experienced the frustration of the knowledge that you DO have something MAGNIFICENT to share with the world combined with the incapacitation of perfectionism/procrastination (and yes, they are sometimes one and the same!).

I have many creative aspirations and often find myself overwhelmed by them. I am overwhelmed because there are so many different directions I can feel drawn to, but also because I have this sense of perfectionism. I don't want to do something unless it is going to be absolutely perfect (to my often impossible standards) and the most UNIQUE thing that has ever been created. If I do not have the time, energy, or inspiration to produce this product I refuse to even begin. While I embrace and am grateful for that perfectionism in regards to creating things I am proud of, I have learned recently that this is sometimes just another way of procrastinating what I am capable of. I am learning that there is something much more admirable in those who create for the sake of creating rather than the sake of being considered "brilliant". I have created some of the most amazing things from moments when I let go of that need to be the most "perfect/unique/brilliant" and just DID SOMETHING. This is a current goal of mine and I promise it has NOTHING to do with Nike but...


But...sometimes we are entirely too hard on ourselves.

I had the pleasure of reading this blog post at Affirming Spirit many months ago and was so excited by the relief/inspiration it provided me. She could not recall the name of the artist/psychology major who had self-published a book about it.

Here are the breakdown of the four stages as Nancy recalled them:

1 | Gestation

This is the stage where things are quiet creatively, but you are feeling hopeful because you are noticing interesting experiences, gathering ideas, deciding what you want to work on next. This stage comes after the creator emerges from the Renewal/Rest stage.

2 | Inspiration

This is the stage where you find a new idea, or series of ideas, that really feels *exciting*. It might be a single idea, or one idea that quickly spawns many additional ideas. It may be something you observe outside of yourself or something that pops into your mind. The topic feels juicy and pregnant with potential. You begin whittling down the ideas collected to decide what you really want to focus upon.

3 | Creation/Birth

This is the stage where you begin taking action toward materializing the inspired idea, from start to finish. The creator’s energy is high, and they often feel full of life and vibrant. The work may take on a *life of it’s own*, possibly even going in a new direction not considered in the Gestation or Inspiration stage.

4 | Renewal/Rest

This is the stage creators enter upon completion of the Creation/Birth stage. Often, the creator has been focusing so intensely on the previous two stages, that this stage may feel like a comparative shock. New or inexperienced creators may find this stage comes relatively unexpectedly.

This can be a very critical stage for creators because most find themselves feeling low, possibly even feeling depressed, in comparison to the high-energy stages of Inspiration and Creation/Birth. Unprepared, doubt, worry and fear can easily creep in during this time, and in this low-energy stage, the creator begins questioning if they will ever do anything worthwhile again. They simply don’t have the energy to contemplate something new, and often feel defeated because of the low energy levels.

In extreme cases, a creator susceptible to addictions may retreat to drugs or alcohol to deal with the low energy, and/or soothe doubt, worry, and fear. However, if the creator is aware of these stages and knows *this one, too, shall pass*, they can embrace it and move through this stage relatively quickly~sometimes hours or days, versus months or years.

The creator knows they have left this stage when they find themselves entering the Gestation stage as they gently begin gathering more data and being intrigued by new ideas of theirs or other creators.

As a human being, I am a firm believer that we are constantly ebbing and flowing in SO SO SO many aspects of our emotions/world. Any woman knows how cycles affect our moods/over-all well-being. We are just lucky we have been given an explanation for it. Men just keep their insanity to themselves! With so many people on anti-depressants/anxiety medication I wonder if we all couldn't do with a little sit-down about our natural cycles. Everyone feels down sometimes. It is natural and part of the normal cycle of life. I realize there are extremes to this but for me, just KNOWING that these cycles exist and are so NORMAL helps me to feel better.

As an artist, I am even more relieved to read how NORMAL it is to feel so inspired at one stage, to productive in another, and then to just chill out and regroup afterwards. What a relief! I used to feel like such a schmuck when I wasn't "working on anything". As performers we are all so very familiar with this feeling. When making conversation, friends and new acquaintances like to inquire "So...what are you working on?". Sometimes they truly mean well, while others may be judging. I have always HATED this conversation. If I have nothing to say I feel like a loser and if I have something to talk about I feel pretentious mentioning it. What a RELIEF it is to know that we shouldn't ALWAYS be inspired to be DOING DOING DOING! There is a time and a place for it, of course, and if you find yourself stuck in the "Gestation" or "Inspiration" phases for too long (which is different for everyone) perhaps you can give yourself a kick in the arse but just to know that each of these phases are legitimate and necessary to the final product...ESPECIALLY the "Renewal/Rest" stage makes me feel so much better!

As performer who often relies on other people to cast me in order to "allow" me to create amidst "their" show, I imagine these cycles can be a bit more difficult to manage. All us theatre-folk know the depression that follows closing a show. On top of the loss of such magical quality-time with an incredible new group of friends paired with creating something as a performer we must then return to the "what next?" feeling. As performers in NYC we are encouraged to just keep getting out there and auditioning. Sometimes you need to regroup. You need to be able to regroup without feeling like you are lazy. Resting/Renewal is a crucial part to our art as well! I feel like artists in other formats may have a little more control over which part of the cycle they are on whereas performers spend SO much time in the "Gestation" and "Inspiration" cycles while often having to keep putting themselves out there over and over again until someone "allows" them to be in the "Creation/Birth" cycle. No doubt our cycles are naturally continuing regardless - thus causing an overall feeling of unease when some of them don't come to tangible fruition! Oh right...and then we have to work "day-jobs" on top of this! Oye.

Do you feel better knowing that these cycles exist and are perfectly normal? Can you let yourself off the hook and just enjoy your "Resting/Renewal" phase? I would love to know your thoughts!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Do You Believe in Magic?

Forget about Houdini, the Easter Bunny, and Santa Claus. The kind of magic I am talking about here is the power that lies within good luck charms or superstitious behavior. An interesting article from "Scientific American" recently got me to thinkin'. Please take yourself a gander at it here.

This article speaks of good luck charms and superstitious rituals. Choosing to focus on good superstitions rather than the bad ones (ie..."Can you really break your mother's back every time you step on a crack?", the article limits itself by delving only ever-so-slightly into this topic. Perhaps this is due to the scientific nature of it's source and it may well be where science is limiting itself in learning/reporting just how magical we really are!

The article suggests that whose who believe in good luck have an edge over those who don't. It is not the actual objects which are inherently "lucky", Valdesolo's findings suggest, it is the owner's BELIEF in them which makes them so. He suggests not to run out and acquire a lucky gem or create any new rituals for this purpose since anyone who has just read this article would now be too aware of that fact for it to work. Now that they know "it is just you and your abilities", all magic is off the table.

I think it is in this realization where we can all discover our true magic. When I read articles such as these I am equally fascinated and frightened by how easily manipulatable we are. It is frightening because we are constantly being controlled into believing certain products, people, choices, and things are "good" or "bad" based solely on what someone else TELLS us to believe. Some of this is conscious and intentional manipulation (marketing/politics) and some is not. It is fascinating because, once we become AWARE of the fact that some things are SO simply because we BELIEVE they are, we become empowered to change our beliefs as we see fit. Once we know it is "just us and our abilities" we have the power to see around some of the beliefs which are forced down our throats by those around us and create those which serve us best.

The article doesn't seem to want to get too deep and falls short of even mentioning negative superstitions. I am fine with focusing on the positive but it bears mentioning that if this is true about our belief good luck, the power of bad luck beliefs are just as powerful, if not more! Let's forget about the "break your mother's back" thing. I'm fairly certain we entertain smaller but more dangerous negative superstitions fairly often without even realizing it. Why do Mondays always seem to suck? Why do we "never seem to have enough money?". Why is every politician "crooked"? Well, these aren't so much "superstitions" as they are negative beliefs but I doubt they couldn't use some tweaking!

Do you read your horoscope? Do you believe everything it says? I am one who enjoys reading mine after the day has ended since I know how manipulatable I am. Astrology can hold a great deal of power but it does not have to!

Some people find it disheartening to learn of the placebo effect but again, this just shows us how powerful our minds really are. We have far more control over our health and the world around us than we are aware of. The minute science analyzes and reports on that is the minute we begin to stop being manipulated and continue to evolve.

Do you believe in magic? Would it feel better if you called it something else?

I recently took my Level 1 Reiki Certification which turned out to be a rather "magical" experience. Even though I was blown away by the undeniable power I became aware of that day I couldn't help but question the validity of it. Was I really able to transmit the Universe's healing energy through my hands or was I going nutty? I could definitely FEEL it without concentrating on it very hard at all. Did I really need my Reiki Master to connect me with this power? It is said that even non-believers who receive Reiki report feelings of relaxation even if they don't imagine themselves to be "healed". But isn't relaxation healing? Is Reiki real? Do we all have the power to heal ourselves by laying hands on each other? It it all a bunch of hooey? I do not know. It comes down the believe or not to. What harm does it do to believe in this incredible power? How is it any different than believing in prayer?

There will always be skeptics and naysayers. There will always be people who will challenge anything that crosses their path. There are those who will refute any/all scientific findings that support any type of "magical" thought. Those people will probably always choose not to believe. I don't know about you but I choose to believe.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


I have heard so many people discuss their experience of having been unlucky in the area of relationships for a lot of their lives until the moment they finally decided to learn how to feel absolutely awesome with the possibility that they may spend the rest of their life alone. At this point, "POOF!", in walked love. This has been something that has been on my mind lately, but not only in terms of relationships. Up to this point in my life, relationships have seemed to elude me as well, so of course this topic intrigues me. I am most interested in it, however, in regards to anything any of us truly desire that seems to be eluding us. This same story can be said for the person who finally threw in the towel with "making it" as a performer and as soon as they took that day job, "POOF!", they got their big break. It can be said for the couple who desperately wants to have a baby who try every method they can spend their time, money, and energy on only to finally adopt and, "POOF!", become pregnant. Our world is littered with stories of people who are struggling to live their dreams being led to believe that it's because they "want it too much". Somehow, deep within the core of our passion is a fine line we seem to be on the wrong side of called need. No one provides a map to this troubled territory. GPS technology doesn't work there yet. You can send a text for help, but once you are in there it seems you've just got to figure it out for yourself.

So I get that this fine line is really the point where pure and authentic love meets fear and doubt. I understand how those of us operating from a place of need are more apt to push that which we want the most just out of reach. I understand that it is in the moment of need that we are believing that we don't have enough money, we are not yet where we wish to be, who we wish to be, or not yet in love. We are believing that we are not good enough, not talented enough, not lovable, not valued, not secure. I understand that, when we stand on the wrong side of that fuzzy line, it is the focus we put on these thoughts that create in our experience exactly those things. We create experiences in which we come close to what we want only to come up short. We create experiences in which our friends and colleagues whom we love and respect get to be, do, have exactly what we want. We see other people living our dreams all around us and it hurts. It hurts because we want to be happy for them, and we are, but somehow this also makes us horribly unhappy and jealous. I am never proud of myself when I feel this way but I am starting to finally see the light at the end of the tunnel about it. No, I don't want to spend the rest of my life with just one toe on the side of passion and the rest of my heavy and bitter self chillin' on the "other" side. But yes, I am grateful I am being given such a STRONG and undeniable emotion. This is an opportunity to examine my limiting beliefs and change them. It is that simple, though for some reason it never feels that way.

As I focus my thoughts in that direction, I have some questions. I will use the example of love that I began with, since it has been a hot topic amongst friends recently and is obviously something I'd like as well. We know that all this LOA stuff isn't about just sitting on your butt and wishing things into existence without any action. We also know, thanks to Jeannette, that unless this action is inspired (you are just doing it because you think you "have to") it probably isn't going to get you where you want to be and you may feel like crap. So you've reached that moment in your search for love where you want to accept and embrace the possibility of being alone for good. You realize how helpful this will be whether you find someone or not. You are ready. When I imagine myself doing this, I get a little perplexed. I have always had a profile up on a free dating site online. It keeps me entertained from time to time and gives me that little boost when nothing else is happening. I rarely seem to meet people in the "real world" and every so often...this is my only means to having a date at all! Often though, I am truly not looking. I am not even interested in the replies I am getting on there and wonder if keeping my profile up is still some way of saying "I'm still searching...I'm still searching!". So I am often tempted to sign off of it for a while. Does that mean I am no longer open to all possibilities? How do I still remain open without "searching"? I am finding myself thinking about dating people I never would have imagined taking a chance with when I was younger. Generally my intuition is pretty rockin', so this doesn't always turn out that well. I am doing it, though, because I am trying to remain open. What if I am missing out on some incredible lovin' just because he isn't really "my type", and didn't immediately get my hormones goin'? Is this me being open and allowing for all possibilities? Or is this not trusting that I can find someone who truly IS all of those things and more who will also be interested in me?

Whether we are focused on a career goal, a love relationship, a new living situation, or anything else we desire, there are some fuzzy fine lines I can't seem to figure out.

1. How do you step fully over to the side of passion instead of need, when you almost can't tell them apart?
2. How do you stay focused on your exact passion/dream, in all it's exquisite and specific detail, while remaining open to receiving what you need in the form of something close to what you have always desired that doesn't quite look the same? At what point are you settling for something less than you deserve?

I guess what I'm saying is....I want my "POOF!"!!

Please let me hear what you think about this. I would be so grateful for your perspective!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

"High Status" vs "Low Status"

I am finally taking an improvisation class here in NYC, and I am fascinated by all it's applications to real life! I strongly suggest your taking one if you can, even if you have nothing to do with the performing world! It has always terrified me as I prefer to perform well-rehearsed. It's time for me to just dive in! It's excellent training for being completely in the moment. You have to be. You have no choice! I am still learning how to stop the inner chatter than goes on with my attempting to pre-think what I might say or do next and just be there, listening to my scene partner and responding to what they give me. How often are we reminded how important it is to be in this moment? The "Now"? The main "rule" of improv is: Always say "Yes, AND....". This means that, no matter what your partner says or does, you are to agree to the situation they create and add something to it. This doesn't always have to be a verbal "yes", but it can be. The minute you say no to something, you just end up in an argument, which can get very annoying to watch, or the scene can't go anywhere. So that's the "yes" part. The "AND...." part encourages you to add something to the mix. You want to create a scene with your partner where something is happening between two people in a certain place. You want to add something to the scene that can inform what is actually going on. For some strange reason, our natural instinct at first was to ask questions rather than make statements. We would say to our partner, "Do you think it's hot in here?", when it would be more informative/effective to say "It is hot in here.". Learning how to notice when I feel compelled to ask something rather than SAY something in a scene was very revealing. We began realizing how much we do that in real life. I think we do this because it feels like we are being polite to the other person, even if we most definitely are not! For instance, one of my classmates said to her partner with mucho attitude, "If you're so unhappy, do you really think you should stay at this job?". Why all the attitude? Wouldn't a caring person just say "You should find a job that makes you happier."? Retraining our minds to think in statements rather than questions can only enhance our ability to communicate what we want and who we are to each other and the Universe. Why play games with all the small-talk?

This week we were discussing status and how that can affect a scene. Status is always at play, on stage and off. Teacher versus student, parent/child, coffee barista/customer, etc. And even though we have our usual assumptions with those situations, it isn't always the adult or "authority figure" who ends up being high status! Think of the timid substitute teacher with no control over her unruly class. We were examining how your behavior would change if you were high status versus if you were low status. How would you carry yourself? How would you speak? How would you interact with someone? My teacher explained it in a way that I have not been able to get out of my mind all week. She said that the person with higher status is not affected by anything the person with low status does/says while the person of low status is affected by everything the high status person can do/say. Now there are, of course, gray areas to this and people can become affected and change, but, for the most part, this is entirely true. It got us thinking about how we interact with anyone. Disrespectful roommates, loved ones who may not be giving you what you deserve, that barista at the coffee shop.... I have been thinking about this ever since. I can be quite stern when I need to be, but mostly, I am entirely too affected by everyone else in my world! Now, there is a part of me that truly appreciates this quality about me. I love my sensitivities because they allow me to empathize, to feel, to love. I don't want to be the entirely opposite of what I am. But there are, most definitely, people in my world who are entirely unaffected by what I say/do and whose actions I have allowed to disrupt my well-being. Learning about status, what it means, and how it affects our behavior is making me rethink how I ought to carry myself and be. Are there relationships in your world where you can imagine gaining some status?

Sunday, February 14, 2010


I sort of forgot to document the Love, Support, Creativity, & Guidance in the very recent months. Call it "I got too busy", or "I sort of forgot for a second"...either way, I apologize. I have gotten some VERY clear experiences of ALL FOUR of these lovely gems very recently by visiting one of my favorite uplifting sites, Jeannette Maw's Good Vibe Blog

A few weeks back, she posted a piece about the idea that we might be able to outsource our intentions and ask for assistance in their creation. Her readers are always ready to participate and inspire in the comments, but what ensued was just plain magical for this one! She hit on something we could all really utilize. Most of us have no problem manifesting the small stuff, but when it comes to the things that matter the absolute most, something happens and we can't help but believe old stories about it. If we want something too much, we often end up working too hard at it and this can, unfortunately, push it further from our reach. Passion is a great thing to have, but within it lies a fine line between love and fear.

This has always been a paradox for me: How do you stop needing something that you want with all your heart and just allow it to happen? How do you stop working towards it when it is what drives you? Sometimes that work can feel bad, but not working towards your passion can feel even worse!

So Jeannette proposed the question "What if we could hire someone else to improve our vibe?". Within those comments we all signed on as freelance employees. We found that in writing up our visions of seeing each other living within our desired outcomes we, not only lifted the vibe of those with the initial intention, but raised our vibrations in the process. It is fun to imagine myself living all my passions, but sometimes I suppose it is harder for me to believe in it 100%. It is easy and loads of fun imagining all of my friends online living their dreams! So very quickly this party spilled over onto the Good Vibe University where the message boards are just exploding with creativity and magic!

This stuff isn't just silly distracting nonsense either. It SOLD A HOUSE!!!!

There is something that happens when we all spend a little time indulging in our best wishes for each other, and that vibe gets even more powerful as we enlist others to do so. I have always been fascinated by the power of intention and am loving what I read in "The Intention Experiment".

Enlisting others helps us to see ourselves more clearly living our dreams. Every day we have something to go back and read to lift our vibration about them and spend some time seeing, hearing, touching, and tasting our finest moments as though we are living them this instant.

Imagining other people's intentions through meditation and writing fuels creativity and ease. This takes the stress off your own needs since you know they are being taken care of simultaneously! Some of my best manifestations have occurred whenever I had stopped focusing on the exact thing I wanted. Now, Jeannette had initially implied we might "hire" people to do this for us, but we are all having loads of fun doing this pro bono. Though I admit I haven't ever felt as much like a "Visionary Fairy" as I do lately with this Outsourcering and have been wondering if I shouldn't go into business with it! If you have something you've been working on and need a little extra help, please let me have a go at it! Catch me while I'm still pro bono!