- How To Move Past Your ‘Blurred Lines’!
- The Audition Room And How It Triggers Our Reptilian Brain (Part 2)
- The Audition Room And How It Triggers Our Reptilian Brain! (Part 1)
- SHARE YOUR CRACK! PART 2
- KEEP REACHING TOWARD THE FINISH LINE (Some thoughts and prayers for the victims of the Boston Marathon)
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Category Archives: Being an Artist
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Besides the many stirring things Ms. Williamson says in this quote, one of the most inspiring is her reference to children.
The older I get, the younger I want to be. (Not chronologically – I don’t want to revisit those dreaded high school years or be back in my 20’s trying to figure out who I am again. Oh the drama!)
I’m talking about recapturing the essence of youth, which is really locating the eternal child within each of us.
So many great world teachers talk about returning to child-like innocence. Why? Because children are not in a state of developed ego. They don’t let the cynical, fearful, habituated, negative way of seeing the world contaminate their reality. Which is wonder, excitement, mystery, possibility, play.
And that’s where all the creative work comes from: in-the-moment, not tied to results, not worrying about how you look or what you’re going to get out of it. Like how kids play.
When I was in the 5th grade I’d re-enact episodes of Charlie’s Angels for no other reason than the joy of playing. (Well, OK, I did love Farrah Fawcett’s feathered hair and if I was going to re-enact a show, I wanted to be in the one I thought was the most glamorous on TV.)
But the point is, that boundless, nonjudgmental, childlike creativity is inherent to us. Forever.
We haven’t lost these qualities just because we’ve gained 10 pounds or turned 30 or have gray hair or feel that our lives are at a standstill.
Let this year, then, be a year of tapping into that truth. That to be child-like isn’t to be childish. It’s to be hopeful, innocent, awed and appreciative.
How you used to be. And somewhere within you, you still are.
Q = Quantum.
Let your thoughts dwell on that which you are: cosmic, expansive, huge. You are not your fears, your challenges, your obstacles. You are made up of the same stuff that birthed our planet 13.7 billion years ago. Tap into that scientific truth and your “challenges” will seem to be a tiny blip on the screen of your magnitude and magnificence.
R = Relax.
Truly, things take time. And patience is a virtue. So just relax, if you can, about those things still unsettled in your heart. Relax that you haven’t yet fulfilled all the things you set out to do. Great things take time. Relaxing doesn’t mean stopping. It’s surrendering to greater faith that things will work themselves out accordingly.
S = Sell The Goat.
The goat represents the albatross around your neck. The thing you keep carrying around with you that you’ve obviously outgrown (a habit, a negative thought, a toxic person, an inattentive lover, an outdated belief) but for some reason, you can’t quite let it go. Out of fear, out of habit, you hold onto this thing that is not only weighing you down, but keeping you from making room for what you really want. You know what it is! Sell it to someone else who’s ready to buy it. You’ve paid for it long enough in more ways than you realize.
T = Totally.
Do things totally. Be with people totally. Share totally. Give of yourself totally. Be out in the world more fully. We’re so not invested in living fully that when you begin to give yourself over to doing things totally, you’ll find you have more energy than ever before. Attention Deficit = Doing 10 things at once. What if you just tried to do one thing at a time? And did it completely?
U = Ugly.
Who me? Yes. Actually, we’re all beautiful, but what makes us so is that all the things we judge and are scared about (our shadow self) are not only the parts we want to see, but they are the parts that reveal our beauty. To us and to others. In short, our humanity. And it’s also the part that gives other people the permission to share all of themselves.
V = Vehicle.
You’re not the source. Not the fount. Not the creator. Let yourself be this amazing channel that we all are for something greater to move through you. Stay plugged into the creative matrix and let your TV-set broadcast something fantastic.
W = When In Doubt . . . Do It.
Do it now. Fix it later. Get out into the world and try things. If it all falls apart, that’s OK. At least you’re out in the world in an alive way.
X = 10 In Roman Numerals = The 10 Chapters Of Your Life:
Watch the video from May of 2011 to see:
Y = Just Say Yes.
Do the things that scare you. Take an acting class. Go out on a date. Stop coming up with reasons why you can’t do something or it’s a bad idea or why it would never work. Watch how often you say “no” to something out of habit. Broaden your horizons. Say yes.
Z = Zymurgy.
Is the branch of chemistry involved in making wine or brewing beer. You are like a fine glass of wine! Which means, the process of your life’s unfolding is alchemical. It’s a process of creating and trying things and experimenting and attempting. You are the scientist and the experiment. The wonderful thing about alchemy is that it’s always a work in progress. Just like you and me.
Your journey is a never-ending art form.
And you are the art.
Now that’s something to celebrate in 2012.
Happy New Year!
J = Joy.
Our natural state of being is joy. But you’re often your own thief of your own joyful experience. You rob from yourself that which is innately yours. Thankfully, joy is a never-ending commodity and it can’t be diminished entirely. But you do compromise it when you continue to re-write history and tell yourself stories that are not only blatantly untrue, but also make you feel like shit about yourself. Stop it. Tell a story of joy instead.
K = Kinesthetic.
Learning by doing. Get in the game of life. Stop sitting on the sidelines bitching, complaining and bemoaning. You learn by doing. Try. Crash. Burn. Do things that scare you. Attempt. Fail. This is not only a kinesthetic experience, it’s an experience of being alive.
L = Laughter.
Keep things in perspective. Stop taking everything so seriously. As long as you’re moving forward and experiencing new things in your life, being challenged and moving beyond your comfort zone – there’s progress. Celebrate what’s working. Stop being so dramatic about what’s not.
M = Mistakes.
Make them. The younger you are the easier it is to do that. As you get older it gets scarier because you become invested in what you’ve become, how you’re perceived, what you earn, what’s your identity and what you’ve created. These illusions can trap us into not taking risks because we’ve become so identified with the stuff we’ve amassed. Be like a kid: scab your knee, overreach, get yourself into a pickle. You’ll discover that you’ll survive.
N = Navigator.
You are the pilot and the co-pilot. You are setting the path and driving the vehicle. You have your own inner GPS system. If you don’t like the co-ordinates you are putting into your system, change them! No one is making you take the paths you don’t want to drive down. You decide where you want to go and you start moving in that direction. Follow your heart. Be a rebel.
O = Occam’s Razor.
The law of economy, the law of succinctness. The law of simplicity.
Which means, the simplest explanation for something is generally the correct explanation for something that may seem to have many hypothesis. The answer that has the least amount of assumptions is usually the truth. Stop assuming worst-case scenarios and doom-and-gloom stories about your life.
The agent didn’t sign you. It doesn’t mean you sucked.
You didn’t get the call-back. It doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you.
The agent didn’t sign you because you reminded him of his ex-girlfriend.
You didn’t get the call-back because they already made an offer to someone else.
K. I. S. S. = Keep. It. Simple. Silly.
P = Purpose.
The purpose-driven life? Not sure what that is. I know it’s a best-selling book. Your life already has purpose. Purpose is created by showing up in our own lives more totally. More fully. It’s created by being more present with what’s in front of us right now. It’s not about being with someone and also answering our phone and responding to texts and sending emails and tweeting and watching an episode of 30 Rock and worrying about what’s going to happen in the future. It’s not about placing ego demands on yourself that you have to change the world or become famous or make millions of dollars.
True purpose transcends the ego-labeling of what we do as a career or how we define ourselves or the descriptions of what we do. Purpose is created in the minutiae of the moment. And it changes moment-to-moment. But we’re constantly missing the calling of purpose because we’re so distracted by our ego needs of, “How do I look?” “Will this sell” “Am I popular?” “What will they think of me?”
Mother Teresa said it best: “Let no one come to you without leaving happier and better.”
Holy crap. If you can just do that with every interaction you have in life, your life will rip open right in front of you, your ego demands will fall away, you’ll stop focusing on the ego self and its fears and maintenance of the status quo and your life would become one of the most joyful celebrations you could ever imagine.
Now that’s purpose!
“If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts.” ~ Albert Einstein
E = Essence.
Essence is who you are. That’s what we want to see. That’s what wants to be shared. It’s what makes you unique. It’s your life currency. And when you share it, it changes relationships, it inspires, it heals. It’s waiting for an opportunity to be expressed. Stop bottling it up. Let it out. Or rather, simply let it be.
F = “F It!”
Stop doing it for everyone but yourself. We are constantly seeking approval and support and love from out there. We expend so much energy wanting to be liked and do the right thing and give people what we think they want. We try to please our parents and our teachers and our lovers and our siblings.
What if you took a radical new approach to your life? What if you started doing things for you? What if you did the things that made you feel good? What if you stopped letting other people define you or categorize you or limit you because you feel they have some sort of power over you? You might think, “Well that’s selfish.” But to authentically listen to your Self and show up for that part of you first, you will then be much better equipped to show up for other people in a much more selfless way.
G = Grace.
Walking through life with even a modicum of grace is truly the art of letting go. It is, to me, one of the inherent, governing principles of life itself. We’re not here forever. There’s nothing we will ever be able to hold onto. Not things or money or people or even our own existence. So to understand that truth – that everything is transitory – actually helps us to cultivate grace, because without it, life is very painful.
Practice the art of letting go now. Empowerment comes from this process.
I know it’s hard because we get stuck on the “idea” of what we’re told life is supposed to look like. And when our life looks different from those pictures of what we’re told we must have to be successful or happy or liked, we start to feel badly about ourselves. We compare ourselves to an idea. They are illusions. All that we will ever have is what’s in front of us. Right now. It’s great to have mind-pictures of what we desire to work toward, but having grace also allows us to make room for what actually shows up on our plate even if it’s not exactly what we thought we ordered.
H = How.
You don’t have to worry about the details.
You just keep moving forward. As you move forward living the artist’s journey, the “how’s” will reveal themselves. You simply have to take action; take risks. Show up in your own life. That’s half the battle right there. Just showing up a little more fully in your life and thereby you’ll become aware of the information, the insight, the signs, the assistance that’s trying to aid you on your journey. What you then decide to do with it is up to you.
I = Inspire.
It comes from inside. Outside events, experiences and people are the catalysts to help you awaken something inside you, for sure. A lover. A teacher. A piece of art. Transcendental acting. But what it ignites is already inside you. It’s perhaps been lying dormant or, like a pilot light, has remained unlit, but it’s always stirring that which is inside us already. It evokes our own inner spirit.
So try and cultivate a little more time with the inner. As you do, you’ll take that into the outer and discover that you too have the innate ability to inspire.
“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
When the idea came to me last year to write a weekly blog covering 52 weeks and 52 ways to change your life I had no idea the year would go by so fast. And I also had no idea what those 52 things were – except they were all predicated upon the truth that we’re all artists and that who we are is greater than the limited things we tell ourselves and the lies we’ve been told to believe.
To finish out these remaining 4 weeks, I’ve broken down my last lesson of the year (from last week’s acting class) into an A to Z primer on how to get unstuck, become more hopeful, get out of your own way, stop apologizing for who (and where) you are and learn the art of self-actualization.
Some of these ideas are repeats of themes we’ve discussed throughout the year (Sell. That. Goat!) and some are new. I hope they inspire you into 2012.
A = Affirm & Confirm. Not Compare & Despair.
The dialogue you have with yourself on a daily basis doesn’t support the Truth of who you are. You’re amazing simply because you are uniquely you. You’re not egocentric when you’re affirming that you’re talented or beautiful. Ego is actually the voice in your head that tells you the opposite: you can’t do it, you’re untalented, you’re a loser. Dump the junk thoughts. They don’t serve anyone but your ego.
B = Belief.
You don’t get what you wish for in life, you get what you believe. So if your belief system is not in alignment with what you want, don’t freak out. Simply start with smaller beliefs that turn into goals that are reachable and actions that are doable. As you master these smaller life goals, you’ll get to the other side of the experience and realize your belief system has started to create newer, more exciting beliefs and will continue to expand accordingly.
C = Challenges.
Without them, you’d have no victories. Learn to ride with them. They’re here to evoke qualities within you that you don’t realize you possess: greater strength, more patience, deeper faith. Instead of running away from your challenges, face them and explore what it is they’re trying to show you. They inherently possess a gift of everything you’re wanting. They create the fertile soil that gives rise to your life’s successes. But you can’t realize those victories if you don’t understand what the challenges are trying to teach you and why you punish yourself for having them.
D = Desire.
The entire universe is born out of a desire to create. It’s creation itself. So it’s a part of who we are. The science of the universe continues to evolve and expand to create life in myriad form. It has an encoded DNA to survive. Your existence is proof of that. So desire is at a deep level a part of your essence.
In our personal desires, we struggle, however, when we have an intense desire and a belief system that’s incongruent with that desire. Whichever aspect has the greatest energy charge around it will win out. So if you have a strong desire to be on a TV show, let’s say, or have a lover, but your belief system doesn’t believe that can happen, you cancel out your desire’s order, neutralizing it when you don’t believe you can have something. Creating then sucks.
Again, simply work smaller. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. As you align simpler desires with their fulfillment, you will automatically start firing off greater desires that you then have a belief system in place that will support its manifestation.
Next week E to I.
“You realize that all along there was something tremendous within you, and you did not know it.” ~ Paramahansa Yogananda
Joseph Campbell said, “We are so engaged in doing things to achieve purposes of outer value that we forget that the inner value, the rapture that is associated with being alive, is what it’s all about.”
For many of us, we’ve never been taught to identify with an inner journey; how to self explore. So we seek continuously outwardly. Partly this is due to our living in a culture that only measures results by the things we achieve, the amount of money we make, how things can be categorized into price-points and sales.
The problem with an externally-referenced (i.e., outward) journey only – is that we can continue to achieve results on an outer scale, but we eventually find that we’re unfulfilled but can’t understand why. So we keep trying to acquire more stuff or do different things or get new boyfriends or girlfriends or a better car or more designer clothes and again feel anesthetized within.
The journey we’re all on – which you might be now realizing after 44 weeks! – is a journey of discovering the inner self. The inner world offers us everything that we think the outer world provides.
You gain access to imagination and discover hidden meaning and deeper feeling. You tap into resources of potential and possibility you never knew you possessed. You realize you’re much smarter and stronger and talented than the outer world either confirms or denies. You begin to take outer experiences less personally because the inner can’t ever be affected by the outer. It’s impervious.
The outer (whether we like it or not) is always temporary. Always transitory. Things don’t last. You grow tired of something. You become bored. You want something bigger or brighter or prettier or younger or flashier.
The inner is your cornerstone. It’s changeless. It’s with you always. It actually is you.
The inner is the clay. It’s the filling in the cherry pie. It’s the grist to the mill. It’s the part we mistake for the outer – which sadly often then distracts us with its window dressings – that we never even discover we have an inner.
Let the inner inform the outer. Not the other way around. And as you do, you’ll start experiencing your outer life becoming more free, more fun, more abundant, more exciting, more fulfilling.
In short, all the things that you wanted to have happen in the first place.
“Everyone who wills can hear the inner voice. It is within everyone.” – Gandhi
Sometimes you’re going to want to quit.
It’s normal. People feel that way in all walks of life and in all pursuits; from artists to athletes; from mothers to media moguls. If you didn’t feel that way, I’d think you were maybe not normal.
But often, in an artistic career path, we choose to quit not because we aren’t having fun or aren’t being challenged, but because we allow society’s (warped and incorrect) definitions of “success” determine our self-worth and happiness.
But society has it all wrong.
You aren’t creating for millions of dollars. You aren’t creating to have your face on a gigantic billboard. You aren’t creating to have the most famous website or brand.
You’re creating for the pure joy of creating.
(Yes, those other things are fine – and they stroke your ego deliciously – but they are the end-products of creating and ultimately don’t bring happiness.)
But you let society’s standards of “success” poison your joy of your journey. Of honoring who you are and where you are.
If you’re 30 and “haven’t made it,” or “aren’t famous,” or still have “a day job,” you internalize the negative associations derived from a monetary and results-oriented model that says “you’re a failure,” or “untalented.”
And then you turn these untruths on yourself and start feeling resentful. Or angry. Or jealous. Or bitter. And feel like you deserve to be getting “something back.”
But you can’t take on this societal dysfunction. Stop making an artistic process (or any process for that matter) a means to an end.
There is no end to get to.
Start giving back to yourself. You’re never going to get it “back” from society anyway. Because society and its standards are fickle and based on the whims of fads and trends and demographics and sales and popularity polls.
You want more love in your life; give more love. You want more support; give more support. You want more of an adventure; be more adventuresome.
It all starts with you. You want more from this world – go out into the world with more of yourself engaged. Smile more, listen to other people more, look on the upside of things more, laugh more, stop taking everything so seriously, be more generous, be more kind, be more forgiving.
As you do you’ll begin to feel that anything is possible.
And that’s because – in creating – it is.
“Everyone has talent. What is rare is the courage to follow the talent to the dark place where it leads.” - Erica Jong
Start with yourself. If you start anywhere else, it’s a false start and you’ll just be forced to go back to the starting line and begin again. And again. (Sort of like Usain Bolt false-starting & being DQ’d at the World Track & Field Championships yesterday.)
Starting with yourself means finding the place within you that is not influenced by outside forces. It’s not affected by what other people say or do. It’s not discouraged by people wanting to stop you. It’s not even concerned with the negative things you say about yourself, which come from the conditioned part of our left brain.
When I was in my 20’s I spent a great amount of time running away from who I was; always trying to be someone else: wanting to be liked, or popular, or cool, or attractive.
But no matter how hard I tried to avoid myself, I kept coming back to me. By my 30’s I realized that who I was – who we all are – is the thing we keep looking for somewhere else.
In someone else.
Our essential Self (which makes each of us unique) is the part of us that is connected to something bigger than our egos. It’s like you are one of those limitless channels, plugged into the TV.
To receive the broadcast, you’ve got to keep your channel open. You’ve got to get out of your own way. You’ve got to get out of its way. Keep it open. Stay plugged in.
It’s not an easy job because the ego wants to get in there and take credit, or lay blame, or excuse, or rationalize, or defend, or judge.
To live optimally – the way we are intended to create and live – requires us to surrender to something bigger than us – but of which we’re all a part – that wishes to be expressed through us.
And because each of us is uniquely different, the expression of it will be unique, innovative, original, dynamic.
You don’t have to work so hard trying to do. You don’t have to put something on. You don’t have to show. Stop trying so hard.
You simply have to allow. Surrender. Align. Accept.
Watch what happens. Just. Stay. Open.
You are the vehicle. Let yourself be driven.
“Choose to be optimistic. It feels better.” — The Dali Lama
In our evolutionary process, there are 3 types of learning.
1). Those “light bulb” moments you get when you’re hearing something truly remarkable for the first time. It’s “beginner” learning. The sad thing is, as we get older, we think we “know it all”, becoming bitter and jaded (ouch!) which makes it feel as if this type of exciting discovery occurs less and less. It doesn’t. We just have to become beginners again. And again. In everything we do.
2). This depends on our own personal learning curve. “You get it when you get it.” It’s the kind of learning where – at a deep level – you know it, but your system hasn’t caught up with that knowing yet. So you get it, but you don’t get it. Or another way of saying it is you know it, but you don’t yet have the muscle to support that knowing so it’s not exercised yet. It’s conceptual. Not experiential.
3). The most profound learning – which accelerates our growth, transformation and evolution 100% – is quantum. The physicist, Amit Goswami, calls it “taking a discontinuous jump in thought.” Which basically means, if you want access to possibility, stop trying to take the linear path. Stop waiting for the “assurance” before you do something. Stop waiting for proof that A + B = C and then maybe with that “security” you’ll take action. Instead, just jump from “A” to “C”. Skip “B” entirely. Quantum.
Or an even more radical way of thinking about it is you have to leap into “C” in order to get “A” and “B”.
It is the new context in which to understand creativity.
When we step into the unknown it is a discontinuous jump because the answer to our problem that we seek has not yet been made manifest. So it’s nebulous, dark, scary. But taking the leap gives you access to the things you are wanting that can’t present themselves to you until you take the leap. When you do, the number of possibilities that are created are multiplied.
It’s like you’re grappling around in the dark, searching and searching for the light switch. As soon as you take the leap, the light is turned on.
Be brave. You can do it.
“No great art has ever been made without the artist having known danger.” — Rainer Maria Rilke
Life is designed to bring up your stuff.
That’s the way it’s supposed to be.
We can avoid it. We can deny it. We can ignore it. But eventually, we see that to get to where we want to go, we have to work through the stuff we’d rather step around.
There’s never around. There’s only through.
But we hate “our stuff.” And we often hate ourselves for having it. We think we should be “stuff” free. We look around and think, “None of those famous people have to deal with the stuff I have to work through.” Oprah doesn’t. Does she? Tom Cruise doesn’t. Does he? We think we’re the only ones who have it.
But everyone has it. Everyone’s got their stuff. Some people hide it better than others. Some people are honest about it. Others not so much. But everyone is here to evolve through what is uniquely part of who they are.
The key to getting on your path – and staying there – and experiencing all the things you truly desire, is to start confronting the stuff you run away from. The stuff you judge. The stuff you think you shouldn’t have. Or compartmentalize. Or project onto others.
Once you begin to see that the stuff we are here to overcome is what we absolutely need to experience the life we want, you change your relationship to it.
And you change your relationship with yourself. You start being kinder. More loving. More compassionate. More creative. More brave. More risky. More fun.
Don’t be scared of the things that a different part of yourself wants to show you. They are there for a reason. Learn from them. Bless them. Utilize them.
There’s no way you can get to the last chapter without the first nine. They’re all needed. All part of the story that is uniquely you.
“If you don’t have any shadows, you’re not in the light.” – Lady Gaga