My Big-ass Epiphany

I’ve made an earth-shatteringly major discovery. Hold onto your hats, people, because this one is big big BIG. And I’m going to tell you what it is.

Ready?

Ok, here goes:

If you want to do something, like blog, dance, draw, whatever…

You need to actually DO it. If you don’t do it, if you just think about it, it doesn’t happen.

I know, right?! I’ll wait here for a minute while you recover from the mindblowing shock of realization.

But seriously, I don’t know why I spent so long not realizing this. For months now I’ve wanted to dance and I’ve wanted to blog and I wanted and wanted and wanted…and FELT LIKE CRAP.

Today I got up and danced for 5 minutes. Today I sat down and I wrote this post. I didn’t just think about it, I did it. AND I FEEL SO MUCH BETTER!!

There you go. Wisdom for the ages from my brain to yours.

Some Thoughts from Lunch Hour

Ahoy!

Why can’t I write a post more than once a month anymore?! Urgh.

I’m writing during a belated lunch hour today. I was watching the email pile up and up and the days pass with no writing being done and I thought to myself, “Self, you know, you could take your damn laptop to work and do this stuff there.”

So here I am.

Working full-time is weird. I know it feels normal for most people, but trust someone who spent the last 4.25 years not-working: it’s weird. Your entire life suddenly revolves around this place you go to do things you never really thought about before. Like answer admissions emails, create new digital filing systems, order textbooks, and learn how online courses are made (I’m the assistant to the Distance Education Coordinator at the School of Social Work at my alma mater…this is the stuff I do).

The view from the doorway of my building at work.

This isn’t what I expected to be doing this fall. I signed up for a 2-week gig leading to part-time work…and then the person I was filling in for passed away (yes, really). And I realized that I enjoyed the job and I was good at it…and when they asked if I could keep going for a while, I said yes almost immediately. Sometimes things just happen and you need to listen to your gut and ride the wave. And now I’m working full-time (at least until New Years) with an actual salary that was quoted to me in annual terms for the first time in my entire life.

It’s turned our world upside down, this change. Suddenly I’m the one leaving every morning, kissing my baby goodbye and coming home a couple of hours before bedtime. My husband is home trying to parent AND house-keep AND run his business. And we’re both experiencing growing pains while we adjust to it. That’s really why you haven’t heard from me much lately.

I’m finding my way. I’m finding that there are moments (like this one) that can be snatched during my day and used for whatever I need–like the 10 minutes I spend stretching in the morning before I start my day, the 15 minutes per lunch-hour I used to crochet an amazing rainbow scarf, the 20 minutes of lounging/net-surfing/crafting/snuggling I grab after the next day’s clothes are laid out and the lunch is packed.

I’m noticing on an almost-daily basis that I am smarter than I thought I was, more capable, a more creative thinker. Things about me that I took for granted are suddenly things that make me special–I don’t know anyone else who closes the door and has a 2-minute dance party whenever her energy slumps (not at this office, anyway). I’m the Big Tea Mug girl, the Filing Whiz, the Crocheter of Rainbow Scarves.

See? ISN’T IT BEAUTIFUL?!?!

It’s fun to play around with my definition of me in this space that I live in for 7.5 hours a day–figuring out who I am by seeing myself through other peoples’ eyes for a while.

I don’t know what’s coming next. I don’t know if I’ll be able to stay here after December 31. But I’m planning to make the most of it while I’m here, to learn a lot, to stretch my wings, and hopefully to write more damn blog posts. It’s all a big learning curve, darlings, and I appreciate you bearing with me while I find my feet.

Making space for the Universe to flow in

I did my first telecircle on Saturday.

I did it.

After more than a year of “Oh no, I couldn’t possibly”-ing, a month of “I’ve announced this, now how the hell will I pull this off?”-ing and a week-long delay when the Universe had other plans…it’s done.

And it was lovely. The technology worked out, the plan came together, and my friend and I had a wonderful dance (thank you! <3). It actually happened! For real! It was incredible to know for that hour and a half that I was doing something that I had dismissed as impossible only months before.

As I danced the 45 minutes of free movement between the opening and closing of our circle…

…space opened up…the space in my heart and my brain where this dream had lived cleared out…and the Universe flowed in.

A dozen new ideas bloomed in the space left by this one…and I realized something important:

I’ve been quiet for a long time. Not that I haven’t written on my blog or spoken in person, but…I’ve held things back. I’ve been terrified that if I shared everything that I had to share, there would be nothing left. If I released my creations into the world, nothing would come to replace them. If I blogged every idea I had, I would run out of things to say.

So I held them back. I stored them for special occasions, or until I could “make them perfect” (which never happened). I got distracted by new projects before old ones were complete (more on this in an upcoming post). I hung on to never-started ideas because it was safer than trying.

But what came to me as I made this one dream real…was just how wrong that belief was. As I danced, things shifted in my mind, and possibilities blossomed. I took my next step into readiness.

And I thought…”I’m ready to DO this. I’m can share what I create, and there will always be more where that came from.”

So here I am…I’m sharing. (It still feels a little scary, but I’m doing it anyway)

I have a gift for you

Spirit Moves Dance – The Dance of Breath

This is my first-ever moving meditation. I created it about a month ago, and I was too afraid to tell you. I’m not afraid anymore

(It’s a link to the mp3, so you should be able to right-click to download…help yourself, it’s yours for free, and if you like it, please spread the word. This is my thank you to you for reading my words and sharing my space…I love so much that we can connect this way and that I can share with you)

There are more where that came from. There are more telecircles too. And there are projects I haven’t even thought of yet. I understand now…I have to make them real and let them go, and then the Universe will flow into the space left behind. I will grow, and I will be able to create new things.

There is infinite possibility…just so long as I don’t hold back.

 

…I’m ready to let the Universe in and see what happens…

Creative Collaboration 2: Kitchen Cacophony

Today’s installment of my new creative collaboration has me thinking about risk-taking and creativity.

When Marsha (my oldest friend and creative partner) told me about her idea for this month’s piece, I was really excited. She wrote, “I think my next piece will involve recording sounds from around the house. Should be entertaining.” COOL!! I couldn’t wait to hear what she came up with!

And then the next weekend she sent me a test piece, and it was WILD. She wrote, “It’s like a cross between having your apartment jackhammered and swimming through LSD.” Honestly…I think that’s a pretty accurate description. I was equal parts scared and completely psyched.

It’s SO not something I would choose to dance to. It felt crazy while I was doing it. It felt risky and “not beautiful.” But then, as I edited the footage together yesterday…something clicked. And suddenly the video I was making filled me with delight. It’s so completely wacky, so “out there”…and the whole process was just so damn fun.

A secret voice inside of me whispers, “Don’t post this…it’s ugly and goofy and people will laugh.” But you know what? I HOPE you laugh. *I* laugh every time I see it. I’m so glad that Marsha took the risk with her INSANE “household objects” piece, because it made me stretch in new creative (and hilarious) ways.

 

This month’s piece brought 2 lessons home to me:

  1. It may feel scary to try something completely outside of your comfort zone, but if you jump in and commit to it 100%, you may end up creating something you LOVE.
  2. Not everything has to be pretty. Sometimes you just need to GO for it and see what happens.

(The other discovery I made was that posting one video every 4 weeks is NOT ENOUGH for me. I miss the regular practice of dancing and filming and editing. I will be posting videos more often from now on)

Enjoy!

(In case you’re wondering, the music is composed of the following sounds: out-of-tune ukulele, cutlery, spoon against metal bowl with water, spoon against glass, zipper, clapping, paper ripping, and paper rustling.)

Creative partnerships (and big new video projects)

My oldest friend and I have been in creative partnership for almost three years.

She proposed it when Xander was about 8 months old, as a way to finally get our novels written. We agreed to write at least 5 pages a week, and to email each other each Sunday with our latest installments. We would be accountability buddies, a support system, rainbow-pompom-ed cheerleaders.

And it worked SO well. I have over 200 pages of my novel written. That’s the most I’ve ever written about any single thing, ever.

As time passed, the partnership shifted. I put my novel on the back burner to focus on this blog. She continued with her novel, finished her first draft, and proceeded to major edits. We kept writing each other every Sunday, with updates on our progress. I would send her notes about the posts, plans, and projects I’d worked on over the week, and she would send me her latest installment of edits. (If you’re looking for a way to get your creative work done, I can’t recommend this kind of partnership enough).

She finished her novel. And then she wrote to me with a new suggestion, one that lit me up and made me bounce in my seat going “YES! YES YES YES!!!”

So, here it is: every 4 weeks, she’s going to send me an original piece of music. And two weeks after I  get it, I’ll post a video of myself dancing to it.

Regular videos? With entirely original music? Yes, Please.

I love love love love love this idea. And here’s the first installment:

 

I’m immensely grateful for this partnership and everything it’s brought me. Thank you so much, Marsha. I’m excited to see what this next chapter brings!

Dancing With the Past: It’s never too late to finish what you started

This is a piece of music from the soundtrack of the movie Pi. The year after I graduated from high school, I began to choreograph a solo to it. It was the most technically challenging and choreographically intricate piece I’d ever done. I worked on it for hours. And then I showed it to the wrong person.

And their comment was “Huh…it’s kind of sloppy, isn’t it?”

…I never worked on it again.

13 years later, I’m still sad about this. I’ve been through all the stages on this one: anger at the commenter, insecurity about my abilities, feigned indifference, anger at myself for giving up, and sadness at the entire situation.

Here’s what I know now: Of COURSE the piece was sloppy. I’d only just started…I only had the first third of it done. But it could have been great. I know it could have been great. I remember the very beginning, and it was amazing.

But I forgot all of this. I was so overwhelmed with pain and self-doubt that I gave up on it. I didn’t stand in my own power. And I have regretted it for more than a decade.

I am not alone in this experience.

Do you have a project you loved but stopped working on? Do you have a project you’re nursing tenderly and worried about sucking at?

Just do it. Trust your vision. Finish your project, no matter how many people tell you it sucks (or, alternatively, don’t show anyone until you’re done, that could work too). Trust me, “doing it anyway” sucks WAY less than regretting something for 13 years.

It’s NEVER too late.

I thought it was too late for me to finish this piece because I can’t physically do the dance steps any more. But there are always possibilities. I have a friend who can do the steps for me. It is never too late to finish what you started.

I’m going to do it.
You can do it too.

Please, just do it. Create that thing that calls out to you. Listen to it, bring it out into the world. The world needs your creations. Do it. Don’t let it hang over you forever.