“The Sun will rise and set regardless. What we choose to do with the light while it's here is up to us. Journey wisely.” ― Alexandra Elle
Enjoy the journey. We have heard it over and over again. We have tried to. Still, we struggle to.
The point of enjoying the journey isn’t to be more present or stop and smell the roses. It is because the point of the journey is who you become within it. The destination is only the result of the person who journeyed. Without the journey, there is no arrival anywhere. That is why we must enjoy it. It is all there actually is.
There is no magic moment you will arrive at in your career when you will say, “There. I am satisfied.” An artist is never satisfied because artistry lives in curiosity and curiosity always has one more rock to turn over. Curiosity never ceases its amazement and interest in life and so it is never done. You are never done. You will never arrive. Even as you stand holding your freshly won Oscar you will wonder what the next project or opportunity might be. There is no there, there.
So if we are going to dedicate our efforts and focus to enjoying the process of creation then we have to get into alignment with creation. Nature is our wisest teacher. Mother earth knows what she is doing. She does a lot. She never stops creating, and she has not one worry line about it.
All matter evolves in stages. Yoga says all matter goes from unmanifest to manifest. From impotent to potent. From the unseen to the seeable. How this happens is the great mystery of the Universe. We can think, act or feel things into being. We are creative source energy.
Think of an idea. Where does it come from? You are sitting on a train or watching television and suddenly something just drops in. David Lynch says we “catch ideas like fish.” So it appears from the unmanifest and then we either begin to grow it or not. There are ideas we plant and others we let go. The ones we release go back into the cosmology waiting for a better suitor. Those we hold we now get to honor and get into relationship with. That is our job. We are the gardeners of art.
Perhaps you take an idea and plant it. You start to take a little action. Make a few calls or sign up for a class or begin writing a first draft. Just like a seed planted in the earth it takes time for it to mature and grow. It has its own stages and as it grows and ripens, so do you, that is the beauty of it all.
Like any romantic relationship you enter into a love affair with your idea. It brings you bliss and makes you excited to get out of bed everyday, and it triggers the hell out of you and makes you want to kick, scream and leave. And just like a new romantic love, you don't expect to know everything about the seed right away. You learn from it. You ask it questions. You spend time with it. You nurture it. That is how something has space to grow.
The yoga sutras which can be thought of as one of the original sources of psychology, tells us that growth and transformation happens in stages and if we have knowledge of those stages we can be more at peace with them as we endure or enjoy them.
The first stage is called Vitarka. Vitarka is how any new idea or process or change can feel. Hard at first. Clunky. Gross, difficult, annoying and inauthentic. Think of your first draft of your first script. Think of your first audition or acting class. Think of a musician picking up a guitar for the first time. At first he doesn’t even know how to hold the damn thing let alone play it. When he tries to press his fingers down on the frets it hurts and he can’t yet press down hard enough to make sound. It feels so awkward and like it will never make sense. This is the first stage. The stage where we plant the seed and then we no longer see it or feel connected to the big beautiful plant it might one day become.
The next phase (if you stick with it) is Vichara. Basically, it starts to feel a little easier. Maybe your fingers are now a little thicker and more calloused from pressing down on the frets. Maybe you can strum a little. Maybe the guitar doesn’t feel as heavy on your leg. Maybe you add a great scene to your script. Maybe you have an authentic moment in your scene. It feels painfully slow, but it is changing.
Next, (if you stick with it) is Ananda. Basically, it starts to feel fun! You may look more forward to doing it. You actually want to practice your guitar because you can string together a few chords now and it is just beginning to sound like music! You felt really connected to your scene partner that time and you are excited for next weeks class to try a new scene. You wake up with a new idea on how to improve a scene in your script and are excited to get it down on paper. You have just enough communion with it now that the relationship is feeling easier and more joyful.
Next, (if you stick with it) is Asmita Rupa. It becomes second nature. You are playing songs now. You are writing and rewriting with ease. It is no longer a fluke to have an authentic connection on stage or in your scene, you are beginning to understand your instrument enough to draw it up and out of yourself on cue. You don’t have to think or try so hard. It is now part of you. This is where your romantic relationship feels like you have an unspoken language and there is comfort and ease. It has become an extension of you.
And finally, (if you stick with it) Samprajnatah. You are a master. Malcolm Gladwell says it takes 10,000 hours to become a master. Here you have hit your mark. It is like there is no separation between you and it. The flower is fully bloomed. You are playing concerts or teaching guitar to others. You are selling screenplays for television. You are winning acting awards and doing great art you love eight shows a week. You are a pro. You are the authority of your craft because you are a master of it.
Now, how long does each stage take? However long it takes. The more you practice, the more you devote, certainly the faster, yet your talent and art can only expand to the level of expansion of your own awareness and personal growth. Your own maturation is required as the vehicle for your talents to mature. You are not only the gardener, but also the garden. It grows as big as you do.
How can you mature? How can you move through and into mastery? You reach your own enlightenment when you can genuinely embrace each stage of your transformation with the same energy and enthusiasm. When you can enjoy and champion your clunky difficult stages with the same fervor as you accept your mastery, then you become a container big enough to have it. There is nothing holding back your growth beyond your judgement an resistance to its stages.
So…enjoy the journey. All of it. Without each stage there is no show. Who you become as you learn to love and devote to the fullness of the creative process is the kind of artist who has access to every story, every canvas and all of what life has to offer. Commit and begin, from where you are, and celebrate with joy how awkward it feels and watch and see how great a ride you find yourself on.
“You were given life; it is your duty (and also your entitlement as a human being) to find something beautiful within it.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert
what are you looking at?
Have you ever done one of those auditions where you stare down the barrel of the camera lens and have to act like there is a person there? Have you felt yourself watching your own face in the lens instead of connecting beyond? Have you struggled to know what you are "supposed" to be looking at while being acutely aware that the camera (aka lie detector) is picking up on every thought in your head and knows you are lying to it?
I had such an audition recently. And what is fun about awareness is that once you have any kind of awareness of a question..the answer is already revealing itself.
I have a fun game I like to play with myself. Thus may demonstrate my crazy rather than any kind of wisdom but bear with me. I often find myself listening to a voice in my head saying various things such as "why did you so that", "you are too much," "that didn't go well", "you're an idiot" etc.
Recently I started a new practice. The moment I have the awareness of the voice talking away at me I stop in my tracks and out loud (yes even on the subway or crowded street) I say "who's talking?"
Yes, I am aware I am now talking to myself and there is medication for that.
But "who's talking" is a transformative question.
It takes me out of obeying the voice as law and truth and puts me in position to know myself as the one who is listening. As the listener I can choose how I want to respond. As the observer I can see it as false, sabotaging, crazy or anything I want. Because it isn't my higher self talking. My higher self is listening.
In the same way it has been so powerful to rewire my thoughts with this practice, as I sat in this recent audition staring down the camera lens I asked myself "who am I looking at?" And something magical happened.
Just to jump all the way to the end to keep your interest...I booked it :)
But that actually wasn't the magic.
The magic was, when I stopped trying to be a good or technical actor who was doing what the director wanted "right" I was able to see in the camera something I have never seen before....ANYTHING I WANTED!!!!!!!
I have imagination!!!!!
I am a creator!!!!!
I had seriously never considered that I could see ANYTHING I wanted in that camera. The camera is FREE of form!!! You are staring into NOTHING, and so, you are staring into ANYTHING.
So the director told me I was sad.
Down the lens of that camera became my heartbreak.
What I missed.
Who I wished I was.
Then he told me I was happy.
I saw Paris.
I saw dancing with my best friend.
I saw love.
Then I had a very sneaky smile cross my face, and I heard from somewhere in the background said director "That's it!!!"
Oh wait - I forgot you were there. I forgot there was a camera, or an audition. I was lost in my looking. Oh wait - that's what acting is.....
Can we be MORE INTERESTED IN DISCOVERING SOMETHING than KNOWING SOMETHING.
Can we be more curious about what we might be looking at then what is even there?
Can we be willing to let ourselves be transformed by the looking, so we know that whatever is really there is just the catalyst for our unfolding?
So this week Elevate friends, let's have fun looking.
Look inside your creativity, your imagination, your play, your joy, your fun.
There is so much to find, and who you become as you look for something new might blow your mind, or get you a booking, or change your life.
You look good,
who tells your story
Only I am the author of my story.
I recently listened to the brilliant Lin-Maneul Miranda talk with Oprah about creativity and his journey with Hamilton. Genius.
Lin talked about a few key points. #1 the most important quality (or only quality) you need to be a great artist is EMPATHY. We need to be able to understand, have compassion and listening of humanity. We need this to live, and we need this to make art. It is the breath of our art form and our very being.
The second point I loved was him describing the opportunity of playing Alexander Hamilton. He said that every night he got to fall in love, be empowered, impassioned, filled with life and love and change. He got to sweat and play and go toe to toe with the greats. He got to express himself fully and completely. He got to be wild and smart and revolutionary. Every single night. And NO ONE was going to write that part of Lin-Manuel Miranda to play. No one.
It makes me think of my own journey. There has never been a magical TV writer come along and say, "Natalie, what is every talent and nuance you have in your body? Let me create that for you, so you can play that on tv."
No one else is coming friends.
Only I am the author of my story. The way I live my life, take every breath, have every conversation, ride every train, each every crumb is a walking living breathing meditation on the story of ME. You are the same. Every single moment of every single day you are telling your own story. And you are the only one capable of doing so.
We must cease our OBSESSION with this industry seeing us and rewarding us. We must EMPOWER ourselves to create with our talent, our passion and even our frustration ART that is WORTH our story!
If Lin didn't have the drive to tell a story about communities and lives changing from the perspective of an immigrant with all the drive and no one's belief in him, then we would not have Hamilton. we would also not have Lin - because Hamilton''s story IS HIS STORY.
So what is your story?
I guarantee you it is not a 5 line co-star. Or even a top of show guest star.
Your story is massive. It is an epic. And only you can write it, tell it, play it and live it. It's up to you. And it's all in you.
What's your story?
Every thought you think, belief you hold, action you take and feeling you feel is telling a story whether you accept it or not. Why not consciously choose to tell the story you want. And why not create art around it so you can also get paid for it and inspire and change the world? Sounds fun.
What's your story?
What are you passionate about?
What lights you up?
What are you were for?
As you write it here and share it with us, the seeds of its manifestation as a piece of art, a screenplay, a one man show, a poem, a song will form. Then you too can claim, "I'm not throwing away my shot."
Tell us your story,
We, and the whole world is waiting...
There is no THERE. All we have is here.
Bonjour de Paris mes amis!
I am sitting here in a cute cafe in Paris and each time I check out what is going on back in NYC my heart fills with joy!
I was notified that the Actors Access Breakdown and the Breakdown Services Breakdown of a project I am cast in has dropped and the cat is out of the bag!
In the past few days it has been so exciting to see us all out there, submitting and working with the legendary Jen Rudolph back behind the casting seat and it has brought up so much so I thought perhaps the best OM WORK this week is to share the process all together!
People often ask me if my teaching or my other Dharma (purpose) that I do on the planet distracts me or takes away from my acting career. I have always been a huge advocate that the more of ourselves we bring into the world, the better for our art and this is a prime example!!!
One day, a long time back, the lovely Rob Margolies, who is a powerhouse producer, director, filmmaker and more walked into C.R.E.A.T.E. Months later he told me he was casting a new film and he was seeking a specific role of a warm, sweet, well meaning teacher and of course -- having seen me teach C.R.E.A.T.E he thought maybe I would fit the description and would like to audition. I had no idea what the project was. Who was attached or what the scale was. I read the script and simply thought Tim Realbuto's writing was deep, raw and truthful. I knew I would love even auditioning for such a great piece so I said YES! (Funny that is also the title of the film...not funny actually...of course).
I spent a beautiful afternoon with Rob and Tim and we PLAYED! How fun to PLAY in an audition room. To feel free and unattached. We just had fun and tried lot's of choices, unattached to which might be the right one. I let it go so completely afterward because the play in the room felt like such a joy that booking the role became a back burner thought. Literally MONTHS later, I got the call that I was being offered the role.
This was back in December.
Now, months later the film is an official go and the very talented Nolan Gould is on board. What a dream!
And the icing on the cake...Jen Rudolph signed on to do the remainder of the casting with Rob and Tim. I mean!!!!! Jen, who hired me to TEACH C.R.E.A.T.E at AGR, where Rob met and heard of me. The world is so small and cooperative incidences (coincidences) are always here.
And what I have watched come up in me these last few days is my sweet Ego playing with me. She sounds a little something like this....
"Now that the breakdown is out and everyone knows Jen is casting people will assume my relationship with her and AGR will have gotten me the part."
And even if people did assume this, would it matter I ask?
But something in that thought made me feel like it would invalidate what got it for me -- which in this case was me.
See we walk around this business wishing and hoping and praying someone will give us a leg up -- yet if our success comes from that we start to question our talent and if we would have gotten there without it. And in this particular case it was without it, but the perception that others would think differently even made me ask these questions. The ego is so slick and it never lets up.So the invitation is to ask yourself honestly about how YOU feel about YOU.
YOUR talent, YOUR value. YOUR offering in this world.
If you submitted to this project (or any project) and do not get called in, or you do get called in and you don't book it, what does it bring up for you? Or if you DO get called in or book and it comes from your relationship with Jen or anyone does that cause you to think differently about it?
There is no right answer but these are worthy questions to spend time with.
Can you claim your voice, your talent and your abilities and light with or without an advocate? Can you claim them within having someone go to bat for you? Because this is what thus industry is all about. SO the opportunity is to tune the inner compass to receiving help without drama. Without insecurity or questioning. To know YOU and what you bring, with or without a helping hand.
A journal practice on these questions could be a very useful practice this week. And going into the next phase of pilot season and episodic season to come.
Do you know your talent?
Do you feel secure it in?
Do you understand the gift you are?
Are you excited to bring it forward?
What else comes up?
It is not as helpful to process when we only share at our "destination".
And here I am at a type of "destination" with this project continuing to ask the same questions.
There is no THERE....there.
All we have is here.
All we can do is CLAIM what we know ourselves to be.
That is the calling this week.
triple a artists
Accept before you reject.
I have always been a straight A girl.
In college when I got less than an A- on a paper I argued and rewrote the paper until my teacher would concede. I thought if I hustled and fought hard enough I would get what I wanted and thought I needed.
I spent a lot of time in my early career trying to take the same path.
If only I do that ONE more thing.
If only I hustle a little more.
The issue was I was so busy trying to get it all right, trying to get an A plus from my acting teacher or agent that I forgot to actually be an artist.
Being an Artist is NOT about getting it right.
It is about being in the mess of it all and telling the story from wherever we are.
Few (many no) writers write the story of the best day of someone's life, or about the character that has it all figured out. The Hero or Heroines Journey is about PROCESS NOT PERFECTION.
We all want to A+
We all want to win and be at the finish line.
The problem is...there is no art there.
If you want to be a product then please, go forth and make yourself a finished one.
If you want to be an artist stop trying to get somewhere and give yourself permission to be where the magic is....wherever you are.
We abandon ourselves in trying to be bette than we are all the time, and shaming ourselves for not being enough or where we want to be.
We then see a world full of reflections of that energy.
We are always feeling abandoned by our partners, our agents, our industry.
We started it. We can change it.
Instead of a constant attempt at an A, I am going to suggest we play with not one, but 3 A's this week:
And friends, you must do the A's IN ORDER.
Step one is AWARENESS
We want to get clear on where we are, whats really going on, and what we want.
For this step we need to stop moving!!!
Just for a minute. Just get quiet. Really ask yourself.
Take your own inventory. You may like or dislike what you see.
Judging it is not your job, becoming aware of it is.
Step two is ACCEPTANCE
Most of us skip this one.
We prefer to become aware of what we want to fix or change about ourselves or our situation and then go right into action. It never works. The action you take is always the wrong one. For example:
I am aware my career is not where I want it to be
Action: worry, hustle or self loathing
I am aware I messed up and hurt someone
Action: shame and/or guilt and avoidance
I am aware I don't want to be aware anymore
Action: self hared and deflection
Not what we are going for.
Step two is ACCEPT what you see and come to understand.
Accept that you did the best you could have to this point with the awareness you had, and now you have more awareness so from a compassionate place you can ask what is the best next action. No worrying to making up for lost time to punishing yourself -- acceptance of where you are as perfect for you up to this moment and now that you know better, you will do better.
Want to know the good news?
The action will now reveal itself to you.
You don't have to work at it or figure it out.
It will be obvious.
But ONLY if you don't skip step two.
You will know what to do, and you will be able to do it with love.
You will be purposeful and positively motivated.
Now, you are the real A student.
This week we ACCEPT.
Whatever you see.
I accept my own laziness
I accept my contest for this business
I accept my jealously
I accept my victimization
I accept my complaining
Really do. You are HUMAN. Stop resisting it. It will still be there only if resisted it will come out in more ugly passive aggressive ways. You might as well accept.
Next, from a place of compassion for yourself, and owning of where your work is on the INSIDE, watch the pieces move on the outside and become so clear you can't miss the right action step.
As you accept your laziness, the action step of going easy on others in your life who are also lazy and disappointing you may be obvious. From that more loving place maybe you are motivated to actually get off your ass. You will be.
Accept before you reject.
Write about it. Tell us.
Tell us what you are accepting and becoming aware of.
Then see what action comes in. And take it.
You will powerfully change your life.
If you're convinced the target is always moving, you will never hit it.
This is an obsession for many of us.
Pilot season comes and goes and we think - maybe next year...but next year we are a little older, more worn, more wrinkles, and we start to dismay.
We are so convinced it is all staked against us that no matter what age we are, we concoct stories that we are the "wrong" age and collect evidence to prove it.
I remember being in my twenties and being in total dead zone for several years. I was too "wise" and too much of an old soul to play early twenties but I didn;t look old enough to play moms yet. Dead zone.
Of course the second I aged into my 30's it began to look like all the 20-somethings were back in. Or a new trend is 40-somethings. So wherever we are, we are always convinced the industry is somewhere else.
The TRUTH is, wherever YOU are, is where YOU need to be. You don't need an industry or romantic partner to be where you are. YOU just need to be there. Owning it. Expressing yourself as fully as you can. Exactly as you are.
If you are convinced the target is always moving, you will never hit it.
If you are convinced it is all conspiring against you, it will.
If you surrender into the gifts that could be available to you RIGHT NOW as you are, exactly in this moment in time, you may see those expand. You will be more visible once you, yourself begin noticing you.
I hear all the time people say they wish they had started in this business younger, or not taken time off from the industry etc.
These all look like valid perceptions but they are illusions just like any other perception that does;t serve your truth.
You can take on ANY perspective YOU want, so how about one of these...
"Well yes I did start later, but I also started wiser"
"I took time off to be more of a human being, now I have more to offer"
"I am only just starting and how GREAT, I have less to undo!"
"My age is so ideal for all the stories I am ideal for telling. What a gift."
Your OM WORK this week is to write your own.
Tell us your false perception and tell us your new and improved one.
Stand for it.
Live it all week.
See what shifts when you do.
You will probably look younger :)
And if you are still fixated on age actually being a thing....
Don't take it from me....
Take it from these gurus....
1) Helen Keller, at the age of 19 months, became deaf and blind. But that didn’t stop her. She was the first deaf and blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree.
2) Mozart was already competent on keyboard and violin; he composed from the age of 5.
3) Shirley Temple was 6 when she became a movie star on “Bright Eyes.”
4) Anne Frank was 12 when she wrote the diary of Anne Frank.
5) Magnus Carlsen became a chess Grandmaster at the age of 13.
6) Nadia Comăneci was a gymnast from Romania that scored seven perfect 10.0 and won three gold medals at the Olympics at age 14.
7) Tenzin Gyatso was formally recognized as the 14th Dalai Lama in November 1950, at the age of 15.
8) Pele, a soccer superstar, was 17 years old when he won the world cup in 1958 with Brazil.
9) Elvis was a superstar by age 19.
10) John Lennon was 20 years and Paul Mcartney was 18 when the Beatles had their first concert in 1961.
11) Jesse Owens was 22 when he won 4 gold medals in Berlin 1936.
12) Beethoven was a piano virtuoso by age 23
13) Issac Newton wrote Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica at age 24
14) Roger Bannister was 25 when he broke the 4 minute mile record
15) Albert Einstein was 26 when he wrote the theory of relativity
16) Lance E. Armstrong was 27 when he won the tour de France
17) Michelangelo created two of the greatest sculptures “David” and “Pieta” by age 28
18) Alexander the Great, by age 29, had created one of the largest empires of the ancient world
19) J.K. Rowling was 30 years old when she finished the first manuscript of Harry Potter
20) Amelia Earhart was 31 years old when she became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean
21) Oprah was 32 when she started her talk show, which has become the highest-rated program of its kind
22) Edmund Hillary was 33 when he became the first man to reach Mount Everest
23) Martin Luther King Jr. was 34 when he wrote the speech “I Have a Dream."
24) Marie Curie was 35 years old when she got nominated for a Nobel Prize in Physics
25) The Wright brothers, Orville (32) and Wilbur (36) invented and built the world's first successful airplane and making the first controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air human flight
26) Vincent Van Gogh was 37 when he died virtually unknown, yet his paintings today are worth millions.
27) Neil Armstrong was 38 when he became the first man to set foot on the moon.
28) Mark Twain was 40 when he wrote "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer", and 49 years old when he wrote "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn"
29) Christopher Columbus was 41 when he discovered the Americas
30) Rosa Parks was 42 when she refused to obey the bus driver’s order to give up her seat to make room for a white passenger
31) John F. Kennedy was 43 years old when he became President of the United States
32) Henry Ford Was 45 when the Ford T came out.
33) Suzanne Collins was 46 when she wrote "The Hunger Games"
34) Charles Darwin was 50 years old when his book On the Origin of Species came out.
35) Leonardo Da Vinci was 51 years old when he painted the Mona Lisa.
36) Abraham Lincoln was 52 when he became president.
37) Ray Kroc Was 53 when he bought the McDonalds Franchise and took it to unprecedented levels.
38) Dr. Seuss was 54 when he wrote "The Cat in the Hat".
40) Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger III was 57 years old when he successfully ditched US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River in 2009. All of the 155 passengers aboard the aircraft survived
41) Colonel Harland Sanders was 61 when he started the KFC Franchise
42) J.R.R Tolkien was 62 when the Lord of the Ring books came out
43) Ronald Reagan was 69 when he became President of the US
44) Jack Lalane at age 70 handcuffed, shackled, towed 70 rowboats
45) Nelson Mandela was 76 when he became President”
Happy OM WORK,
ahead or a head?
If we see ahead you must also see behind.
I, like all actors (all humans) spend time on Social Media. It like everything can feel like a place of sharing and connection and it can also be a place where the Sweet Baby Ego can run rampant.
Recently I saw a post. Seemingly lovely and innocent of an actor praising the work they got to do with another saying "it's been a long time since I got to work with another great actor" or something of the like. However, it struck me somehow. What perhaps was intended as a compliment to their own work and their comrades work felt like it verged into the territory of the Ego - who's currency is comparing.
We all compare. Most artists practice the incredibly damaging and useless tool of "compare and despair". Yet comparison is the tool of the Ego, not the artist. To always be noticing how far ahead you are, or how much more advanced you may be MEANS that you ALSO carry with THAT awareness, the awareness of where you are worse or behind. You see friends, you cannot carry one side of the coin and not HAVE to carry the other.
If we see ahead you must also see behind.
It is VERY easy to get our validation off of what others are doing or not.
And it is a trap.
When we are in comparing we are in our Ego.
When we are focused on getting or being ahead, we are IN OUR HEADS.
So there is the place where the Ego will compare your bookings or auditions or talent to someone else's. In a CD workshop you want to know where you "rank" among the class and you want it to be top. On social media you may want to post your victories or wins, and you MAY be doing that in celebration, OR you MAY be doing that for persona or to make yourself "look" like a winner. You may want to offer advice to those "less" on their path than you - without any awareness that those very people have genius in them too.
The Ego also loves to look at others and judge their process.
Why doesn't that person get it?
Why is it taking them so long to get it?
Why are people so dense, ignorant, lost, small or unchanging?
Again....if you think YOU are ahead....this is coming from the Ego in your head.
Perhaps a new lens is this...
When I want to judge that someone's "getting it" is taking a while, can I be humble enough to notice that MANY MANY things are taking me a while to get?
How about loving and talking to myself with compassion.
Have you gotten that yet?
How long have you been trying?
With ALL OF US....
SOMETIMES THINGS TAKE A WHILE TO GET IT.
Can we lead then with more compassion.
For ourselves and others.
Can we take a TRUE STAND to see EVERY PATH as the perfect path for each person on it - and NO ONE is on a better, faster, more knowing path.
We are all the same.
NO ONE is ahead.
Why would you even want to be?
When you could be a heart?
When you could be a star?
Because you are. And so is everyone else.
THE DANCER PART 2
Ballet class continues. I am working my little tutu off. Attending twice a week. Stretching, learning new moves. And everyday having to be so so humble.
This is something I an NOT good at. And don't we love to only play games we know we can win? Well, when we show up again and again for what we cannot master, the master in US gets revealed.
I came to notice (very obviously) in class that while all the other ballerinas were plie-ing "grande" and gorgeous, moving effortlessly towards the floor, my plie was "petite" or non existent. The most basic move, and I had nothing.
Class after class my sweet teacher tried to help and instruct me. Many stretches and a massage later I came to discover that my Achilles Tendon is not only tight. but locked and immovable.
Just when I was beginning to dream of my first recital (kidding...kinda)
Now I have had enough sickness and ailment in my life to understand that all dis-ease in our bodies is as spiritual and emotional as it is physical so I decided to try to understand what else was happening.
And of course when I looked up "achilles heel and tendon" the story in Greek mythology came up, and my jaw dropped.
My dear Spiritual master teacher Wikipedia said to me...
"An Achilles' heel is a weakness in spite of overall strength, which can lead to downfall."
OK BALLET GODS I GET IT.
Oh but wait...there was more....
"In Greek mythology, when Achilles was a baby, it was foretold that he would die young. To prevent his death, his mother Thetis took Achilles to the River Styx, which was supposed to offer powers of invulnerability, and dipped his body into the water; however, as Thetis held Achilles by the heel, his heel was not washed over by the water of the magical river. Achilles grew up to be a man of war who survived many great battles. One day, a poisonous arrow shot at him was lodged in his heel, killing him shortly afterwards."
Where our parents held us. Where we were CONDITIONED. We are vulnerable.
And they did it well meaning. They wanted us to be safe. And we became deeply, deeply wounded.
But here is what we know. Part of our conditioning is to have us believe that vulnerability is in opposition to strength. That to be strong is to NOT be vulnerable and have weak human spots, but what we KNOW is that, THAT is actually the Achilles heel.
“Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.”- Brent Brown
What if this week we could truly ask ourselves, where have I labeled myself weak, to keep me out of the knowing of my own strength? Where have I fought against my: sensitivity, brokenness, fear, shame, doubt instead of seeing those things as my super human strengths and artistic genius?
Where have I told myself that my vulnerabilities are my problem, instead of seeing the judgmental voice in my head who hates on my deep human qualities a problem?
Who do you get to be, in the freedom of letting yourself be all of you?
Dance away, brave ones,
THE DANCER PART 1
The Dancer (Part 1)
All of us have some childhood story, where we had a deep desire to be or do something and someone, well meaning or not, told us it wasn't a good idea, or laid out the reasons why we couldn't.
I as a child loved dance and after kick ball changing in my school gymnasium in my bathing suit and tap shoes was hooked. I also was a charily sweet short chubby little munchkin who had far more excitement then talent. One day I decided I was going to be a ballerina and I was told I didn't have the right legs for it. AKA - too fat.
Sometimes a message around what we want most becomes too hard to bear. The message becomes even stronger than the dream itself. So I put it away. Locked it somewhere safe within and left it alone. I played sports instead. I moved on.
So cut to now - many years later, and I keep seeing healers and teachers and Guru's and they all tell me the same thing - to heal yourself - to go to the next level - you must dance.
You can run, but you can't hide.
So I walked into Steps on Broadway, outfit and ballet flats in tow and I took my first ballet class. When they asked if anyone was new only myself and a six year old raised our hands. Yes. I was that girl.
What I thought was about to be yet another dance humiliation, changed me in a way I could never have known. I moved, as best I could, and after class I cried. And I didn't stop crying for a very long time. Honestly, I am still crying.
Something moved. Some pain. Some forgotten self came to the surface and I loved her, and I missed her.
So I kept showing up and I realized - my teacher was right - my body was NOT made to be a ballerina. I was (am) a terrible ballerina - but somehow - just even attempting to move in this new way changed me. I didn't become a dancer, but I did become song I had never been before.
Yoga says that to do a pose in its integrity you always want FUNCTION over FORM. You want the FUNCTION of the pose - you want the muscles to stretch or lengthen that the pose is designed to stretch and lengthen. You don't want theFORM which is how it LOOKS.
You want to focus on how it feels, and what moves when you breath into the discomfort. NOT the cover of yoga journal pretzel shape that makes you look good and hold your breath. Heaven forbid anyone find out how hard it is :)
So many of us are CONSUMED with form. CONSUMED with what we look like or how we are perceived or hat the world or a CD or our parents think of us. We forget that we are here to FEEL and to experience our plethora of fears, emotions, loves, losses, joys and griefs. THAT is actually what makes us an artist. Not making it look good.
Okay - now I feel all the share shame. See? It runs deep.
I invite you this week to ask yourself if there is something inside of you that you shut down or turned off when the "form" of it didn't "look good" on you.
And are you willing and brave enough now to trust that you are ready to bring it back to the light? And if you do, you will astonish yourself, not with how great you are at it, or how good you look doing or being it, but how free you are. How loved you are. How you get to show yourself your true genius.
If you have dimmed your light - share! It may bring up shame - I get it. Share anyway. We are only as sick as our secrets and it is time for us to stand in our mess, our flaws, our imperfections and say, yes, we are still worthy of love. Now, even more so.
Let us begin with love.
We know intimately the moment we fell in love with being an artist. Or rather, when we fell in love with ourselves, as the artist. A moment of play, abandon, laughter, joy, freedom, expression that was so palpable, so transcendent, so authentic, that we felt the courage to say - I will do this with my life. I will be an artist. We answered the call of the muse.
It wasn’t a choice we made - it was a charm we followed. It chose us, from the moment we took our first breath, and we said yes. We entered into this great love affair with the creator inside of us, and like all healthy relationships, if love remains the foundation and the single driving force we can soar. We can be transformed. If not, the relationship at some point will fill with resentments, fallen expectations and hurt.
There was a time in your artistic life when it just felt good to create. You sat down to your Easy Bake Oven or Twirl-a-Paint or Costume Trunk inspired by one goal — to have fun. You had no concern over commissions, SAG rates, even audiences or validations. You wanted to play.
Play, fun, and love are often the first casualties when we move from hobby artist to career artist. We believe that in order to be a powerful creator, to make money at our art, or to properly hone and display our talents we must sacrifice play and joy for hard work and hustle. We are told the competition is stiff and at best we can be a