Every so often I like to share with you resources and tools from other experts that have transformed my creativity and business on such a deep level that I’m compelled to spread the love. Today is one of those days. I want to share with you a training that I know you would love so much and receive so much from. Especially since I know many of you are teaching, coaching, or facilitating groups - or want to move more in that direction ...Read More
“When you first told me that we were going to improvise, I got nervous and stuck in my head trying to figure out what kind of dance moves I would do…” [said a new student in my dance class] “...but then once I was in it and dancing, my body knew exactly what to do next. Like, if I was in this position [gesturing both arms out] I had specific choices of how I could move from there, and then from the next place, and the next place, ...Read More
In the last 5 years of doing creativity coaching as a profession, I’ve talked to MANY people about what blocks them from creating.
The most common response often sounds something like this:
“The real project I want to make (or the dream role as an artist I want to have) is going to take a lot of resources/courage/time/money and it seems way bigger than what I can handle, so I stop myself from doing anything.”
Not feeling far enough along.
Comparing yourself to what other artists are doing (better, with more reach, and earlier than you, most likely).
Not knowing where to start.
The best news ever is that none of that matters.
If there is something you want to create, you only have to worry about taking the first step.
One step at a friggin time.
Sure, planning and launching a Kickstarter and hiring a team and setting up a goals spreadsheet can all happen at some point, but all that’s a distraction unless you’re actually taking creative steps.
There is no substitute for doing the actual work.
You want to write a book?
Jot down the first chapter during your morning train commute.
You want to leave your job and do something more creative?
Make more time to create small projects NOW.
Does that scare you and do you have a million excuses as to why you can’t?
I’m sure you do. Because the real thing holding you back is mostly likely the fear of just doing it and sharing something you create with the world.
That’s the scary stuff. Because when you do it, you’re actually putting a real, vulnerable part of you out into the world.
I want to invite you to do it anyway.
The sense of fulfillment and what it will open up for you is well worth the uncomfortable feeling of getting started.
It’s like that analogy of driving through fog -
You sometimes can only see a few feet in front of you, but that’s really all you need to get where you’re meant to go.
If that’s enough to motivate you, then go ahead and stop reading this blog post and create something.
(and please share it with me after, because I’d love to see!)
If you feel like you need a boost or a bit of guidance, you’re in luck.
While these specialized group coaching calls are reserved only for active coaching clients, I’m making this one open to the public for the first time ever, for a minimal fee of $20.
During the session you’ll receive:
Movement exercises and tools for dancing through the holidays and into the new year in a healthy and aligned way
Seasonal guidance for working WITH your body and natural cycles, rather than against them, so that you can move forward into 2017 in a creative and productive way
Connection, community and love
Time for Q&A and personal coaching directly from me and the group
Deep personal takeaways that will light you up on the darkest night of the year
You can choose to be live on video with us to see and be seen, or to call in and just listen if you prefer a more private experience.
[button link="https://decemberguidancesesh.splashthat.com/" size="large" color="aqua" window="yes"]Sign up here.[/button]
It would be an honor to take this blog conversation into something live and interactive! Yea!!
dancing into the answers with you,
p.s. I recently was interviewed about my “dance into your answers” concept, something that is very in line with the topic for today’s post.
Check it out if you want to hear a bit more about this philosophy and how my personal creative practice of making little dance videos has expanded into a new career and focus for my life.
I think you’ll LOVE Michael Ian Cedar and The Legacy of You, as well as the fun conversation and dance break we shared! It’s bound to inspire something in you.
Whether you’re looking to stick to a budget, avoid consumer culture, or just simply reignite your creative spark this holiday season, I hope these ideas will inspire your process.
make a photo or video keepsake
At your next event, don't forget your camera! Photo and video footage of epic moments can easily become keepsake items for gift-time. Websites like Shutterfly allow you to customize calendars, mugs, cards, t-shirts, etc. with your own photos. Better yet, put the photos in a DIY SnowGlobe.
A new tradition I've created for all the young ones in my family: Instead of getting them each a random gift or toy, I invite them to a "Movie Making Party" in which everyone gets to be part of a fun creative process. After, I edit the footage together to create an awesome video that the kids and parents can watch and have forever as a keepsake.
give an experience
Another way to go is to give someone an experiential gift - tickets to a show, a class card for a yoga or dance studio, or membership to a program that they would love. Try Groupon, or better yet, visit a local studio and buy directly from them.
Might I suggest my online class, The Art of the D.I.Y. Dance Video? It’s great for dancers, artists, movement professionals, dance hobbyists, or business owners who want to use the medium of video to boost their confidence, creativity, and impact online. Plus, a percentage of proceeds will be donated to charity. Click here to get the details.
Support artists, artisans, and small businesses and get gifts that are really unique and really meaningful. Check out Etsy for personalized gifts, crafts, vintage stuff, and more.
My latest favorite purchase from Etsy were wooden frames made to fit license plates. I had old plates from the Buick my grandfather used to drive (which was passed down to me when he died) and so I gave my mom and grandma the framed plates as a gift to remember him by.
You could also get crafty in a digital or written way. make someone a dance video, a poem, or a playlist. Thoughtfulness goes a long way!
hope these creative gift ideas have sparked something in you.
I know that holidays are not always the happiest time for many, so hang in there, take dance breaks, and stay in touch. The new year will be here before we know it!
Let's face it. We don't REALLY want to go see the dance shows, music shows, and plays that our friends are doing. Sure, the good intention is there and we theoretically want to see them. But. We are tired after work. There are other obligations to attend to. In NYC especially, life is busy and we need to hustle. It's so tempting to skip plans and indulge in a night home alone.
Art can take the back seat.
We click "interested" on the facebook event but don't follow through with the ticket purchase.
We do the hustle - or the crash - instead.
I'll admit I've done this many times.
And I've also shown up many times.
Those are the times I remember most. The feeling of unity with the audience members around you. The gift of seeing someone shine in their authentic expression on stage. The inspiration that comes through for my own artistic process, just by witnessing others in theirs.
It's magical. And memorable. And something I strive to do way more of.
So this Friday is just a simple reminder to go out and see art in any capacity. Risk the slight inconvenience of less sleep or missing an episode of New Girl and expose yourself to something outside your normal routine.
You’re not only “supporting” artists, but you’re supporting yourself and your own artistic process.
(How can we expect to produce and put things out into the world if we are not taking things in for inspiration?)
If you happen to be in the NYC area today, come out to our dance show tonight and make some new artistic memories with me.
If you didn’t already hear, I'm hosting and performing in a dance show tonight with some of my favorite people on the planet: the women of my You Can Dance Again program and performing company and my dance partner Ben Weston.
After what's been a long and tough year for many of us, this show is a celebration of life, of art, of self-expression, of the fact that we CAN dance again - no matter what crap life throws at us.
Some of the women who are getting on that stage are doing so for the first time in YEARS and they been preparing dances that express their transformation and true dance voices in their journey back to themselves. It's going to be exhilarating and inspiring, to say the least.
Come share it with us. I guarantee you will leave feeling a lot lighter, more inspired, and more connected to your true self than you have in awhile.
to the art in you,
You can wait for the stars to alignYou can wait for the right kind of sign You can hope and pray for an answer You can tiptoe around like a dancer
But no matter the season or time No matter if you don’t have a dime If there’s something you want to do The power of creation is in YOU.
Because the stars reflect your light The signs show up with your might The answer was in you all along The dancer can choose her song.
- Jess Grippo
Enough is enough, *|FNAME|*.
It's time to take your power back.
We can't sit around and wait for the answers to appear, for some made-up hero to save us, or for justice to happen by chance.
We need to live by our values.
We need to dance powerfully into our answers.
We need to be clear on who we are and what we desire so that we can start magnetizing dream opportunities, instead of being a victim to things not working out.
Mopey energy attracts mopey things.
You are not the 8th dwarf named Mopey. There are only 7, and they can play happily or grumpily or dope-ily with Snow White in their own fairy tale.
This is your world.
You write the script.
You are a powerful, creative force and we need you to step up your game do what you came here to do.
Create. Dance. Share your gifts. Connect with humanity. Be the change you wish to see in the world. (to quote Ghandi)
If life throws you a crappy situation, or if someone or something doesn't quite work out the way you expected, be angry or upset or whatever you need to be, and then follow it up with gratitude for that lesson. It's there to help you let go of what's not working so that you can hone in on what will work better than you could have ever imagined.
What do you want right now? What do you wish was happening in your life? What's the dream that seems out in the distance?
And the most important question - Who would you need to BE in order to receive all of that?
Be that person now.
If you're ready to reclaim your creative power more fully than ever before and let go of what's been holding you back from your greatness, join me in NYC on July 29th and 30th.
I've created a 2-day experience designed to:
- strengthen your confidence & self-expression
- discover the truth & creative solutions inside of you
- create spontaneous art in community
- be stretched, challenged, & supported as you move physically, emotionally, & spiritually into higher vibrations and power
with a fire in my belly and a torch in my hand, Jess
p.s. Ever get stuck in wishy-washy energy? Here's a 2-word mantra to help you get your creative power back:
Seeing what needs to change but not quite there yet.
Think about it.
Try to figure it out.
Spend lots of time contemplating what to do next.
And then you:
Repeat the cycle of feeling restless and stuck.
Get more annoyed with yourself.
Does this pattern sound familiar?
I’ve been there in recent weeks and here’s what I had to remember:
Making a dance video is more productive than thinking.
[Insert your equivalent of dance videos if dance isn’t your thing]
Get back to your dance.
Get back to your joy.
Do those things that are just pure silly and fun, and watch it renew your energy.
In my experience yesterday, I channeled my restless energy into a going for a run with a mission. A dance video mission:
Did the dance video solve all my problems? No. But it did help me constructively move through the pattern I was in that had been making me annoyed and frustrated and suppressing my energy. It got me out of my head, back to my joy, and much more able to handle the other life and work tasks at hand.
The path to feeling renewed, clear and confident is often as simple as making a dance video.
Go do it!
To your joy,
p.s. I know it’s not always easy to get back to your joy and your dance alone, which is why I have 2 offerings for you today - 1 is my Dance Into Your Answers workshop, happening next week, all about getting back to your self-expression and physical movement so that you can move into the answers you’ve been craving and feel more purpose in life:
I hope you’ll join me at one or both!
p.p.s. Don’t hesitate to comment below if you have any questions or just want to share something. I like hearing from you. I’m not too busy. You won’t be bothering me. This is my life. Just do it.
Where in your life are you overcomplicating things?
Where are you thinking waaaaaay too much and trying to “figure it out” relentlessly?
Here's a suggestion -
Just give it some space.
The creative process and life and itself is not controlled by you.
Your only job is to be the vessel that allows it all to flow through.
If you’re feeling stuck, chances are it’s because your overthinking mind is in the way, making it all way too complicated.
Step away from the struggle.
Look up to the sky.
Make space in your body and in your life.
It really is that simple.
Truly and simply,
p.s. This post was inspired by the Dance Your Self class I led last night. I noticed myself quite nervous in the beginning, trying to figure out the best way to lead this group through the experience. Once I let go of those controlling thoughts, I was able to get back to the simplicity of the fact that opening up space for this dance experience was really what it was all about.
Making space for dance. People showing up to be in that space. Some gentle guidance and direction. That’s all. The less I try to control someone else’s experience, the more able they are to create their own experience.
Does this bring up anything for you? Feel free to share in the comment box below. I'd love to hear.
Dance once destroyed me:
The battered toes.
The worries and woes.
Bananas for lunch.
Broccoli for dinner.
More stretching, please.
But dance also saved me:
The lonely nights.
The choice to self-express
Instead of self-medicate.
The purpose that led me.
The feeling that connected me.
People who were true.
Realizing I had a voice, too.
Dance - or any creative, expressive outlet - can be your medicine.
Even if you had painful memories from ballet class, or got rejected at an audition and decided there wasn’t a place for you, it’s still possible to reinvent dance for yourself.
I know because I did it. And if I can do it, so can you.
It starts with one step. One small decision to do something you’ve never done before -
Maybe you find humor in the midst of a tough day.
Maybe you doodle a funny picture on the subway instead of filling in your to-do list.
Maybe you ask someone to dance unexpectedly.
Choose to dance. Choose to create something. And little by little, you’ll save your own life.
What's one way you're expressing yourself creatively these days?
Tell me in the comments below and let's help each other thrive.
to dancing through it all,
For the last time this year, I'm offering my You Can Dance Again small group program.
The NYC in-person group is now full, butthere are still 3 spots open in the online program.
We start Wednesday 11/11.
One of the spots might be yours if:
you know you want to dance more, but have been lacking the motivation, support, confidence, community, etc, to do so
you already dance, but recognize that you hold yourself back from going full out or being seen for who you really are. or maybe you often get stuck in negative body image, self-criticism, and other patterns that don't feel good and you want to move through them.
you want to discover a dance world that feels freeing, fun, and accepting of you and your body just as it is
There are a few reasons why NOW is the right time to join:
1. You've been making excuses for far too long, so just suck it up and get support. You can keep saying you'll get to class, but will you, really? This program will help you get to the bottom of what's been stopping you from dancing more and give you the tools to START.
2. There will be under 20 people in this group and the sessions are live. This means you can get lots of personal attention, support, and accountability. We will see each other on video every week. It's not the kind of program you'll sign up for and forget about - you'll get to be an active member and have your voice heard in the group if you choose.
3. We frankly don't know if we'll be here tomorrow. Life is short, as they say. Are you going to create your life or let it pass you by? Again, enough is enough with the excuses for not dancing and taking action.
Here's how it works -
Once you do, I'll send you a welcome email with all the info you'll need to get started.
--> Sessions are Wednesday evenings at 6:30pm EST and they are recorded in case you can't make it there live.
--> We dance for part of the session, and then we dive into discussion around the 4 specific themes you'll see listed on the program page.
--> You'll have a guidebook to write in as you go through the process, specially designed by me to provide you with important writing prompts and materials.
Bottom line -
The You Can Dance Again program is a community in which each dancer is celebrated for their uniqueness and encouraged to not only physically move and get past what's stopping them, but to express themselves and create something meaningful.
I've poured my heart and dancing soul into it, utilizing the best parts of my coaching and dancing experience into a step-by-step package that gets you moving in more ways than one.
The only thing missing from it is YOU.
“i want to put together a plan, but cant bring myself to do it. whats wrong with me?
i'm feeling a bit lost.
i want to share myself with the world but i don't know what to share.
are the videos i made dumb?
am i becoming narcissistic?
or was i always and just repressed it?”
I wrote that 6 years ago.
If I could’ve responded to myself then from the place I’m in now, here’s what I’d say -
(and here’s what I’d say to you, if you have been feeling similar things about your own process) -
If you can’t think of the plan yet, it’s because it’s beyond what you even think is possible.
Stop trying to make it happen in your mind, and instead take one step.
The more you dance through life, the more your path will organically unfold and reveal the answers to all the questions you’ve been struggling with.
Share the simplest thing.
Don’t try to share the best thing, or the most creative thing, or the thing that will get you a thousand likes on Facebook. Just share an honest piece of you and trust that your desire to share it is the only excuse you need. Trust that it will reach who it’s meant to. Trust that it’s leading you to something.
The videos you made are not dumb. They might not be the best quality or most popular creations ever, but they communicate something. They are stepping stones. They are part of your process. Keep making them. Keep sharing them. Without practice, nothing will happen. The practice of making them is your meditation.
Just because you want to share something that happens to involve you and your self-expression, it doesn’t make you narcissistic. You can share yourself and still stay humble. The way you do that is by staying connected to the message behind what you’re sharing and your highest and most sacred intentions.
Your boldness, your expression, the joy you share, will inspire someone else to be bold, express something, and feel joy.
That is healing in action. Think about the artists you love and who inspire you - how empty would life be if they chose to keep themselves hidden?
The only thing you’re repressing is the possibility for more healing, more joy, more creation. It’s not up to you to stop those things from flowing. Be the vessel, be the channel, and let creativity dance through you.
One day you’ll look back at this place and wonder why you worried so much.
Don’t wait til that day to give yourself the love and encouragement that you truly deserve.
You got this.
I write this from the airplane returning from California, after teaching at Soul Camp West.
It’s not that I have it “all figured out” now - in fact, there are still so many questions and unknowns in my life.
What inspired me to write this is the perspective I now have.
It’s easy to be hard on yourself and think that you should be farther along than you are, or that you should have certain aspects of your life in perfect order. It’s easy to forget how far you’ve actually come.
Teaching at Soul Camp was a reminder for me. I got to facilitate dance for groups of people. I got to perform. I got to be seen as who I really am. I got to make connections with amazing humans. I got to live in between mountains for a few days.
I don’t know exactly what will come next, but I do know that if I hadn’t been posting my dance videos for the past 6 years, I probably wouldn’t have gotten these opportunities.
Ali & Michelle, the founders of Soul Camp, spoke at the closing ceremony when we were all circled up around the bon fire. Ali spoke about how she never imagined she would be standing there (in a unicorn costume!) doing what she was doing. She talked honestly about feeling lost in the past and struggling with what to do, reminding everyone that it’s totally normal and ok to not know. To keep going. To be led.
And I pass on the same wisdom to you.
Take time today to love your process.
Let go of the mental need to figure it all out right now.
And instead, just be in the now and express something that’s in you.
Step by step, with time, your wildest dreams will be revealed.
in love and loving you,
If you’ve been feeling tired, lazy, crazy, unfocused, or unmotivated in the last week or so, you are not alone.
Between the supermoon eclipse on Sunday, the weather changes (if you’re in a weather-changing climate), and the changes happening within you and your life, it’s not surprising that life could feel a bit overwhelming.
Here’s the lesson I keep learning:
Trust your tired. Trust your desire to stay in bed longer, or cancel some plans, or do things differently.
Your mind might judge you for being “lazy” or “selfish” because your mind wants you to constantly be doing things.
But your body. Your body is connected to your subconscious self, the part of you that knows what you truly need to do or not do. It even knows what’s coming in the future - at least that’s my theory.
Years ago I was taking a course called Creating The Work You Love by Rick Jarow and there was a part that kept coming back to me this week, that I think pretty much sums up the point I’m getting at:
He said - and I’m paraphrasing here - “People ask me all the time how it is that I have the energy to teach, write, travel, and speak as much as I do at my age. And I tell them, I spent 6 years meditating in a cave with monks. That’s how I can do what I do now.”
At the time he felt the desire to meditate in a cave, he had no idea he would be writing books and teaching all over the world. He just followed his intuition and did what felt was right.
In retrospect, it was all that time connecting inwards that allowed him to do all the work in the outer world later on.
Get my gist?
I had a similar experience in the past couple of weeks. Working from bed on some days, pushing my to-do list farther and farther into the future, and giving in to my body’s need to sleep more and do less. (Ok, it wasn’t quite meditating in a cave, but it was my version of it.)
And then seemingly out of the blue I got invited to co-lead the dance floor at this fashion and art event called MOVE! in addition to prepping for the Dance YOUR Dance show next week. I’ll also be teaching at Soul Camp West at the end of the month and doing some things in LA before that time.
So I’m trusting my body’s guidance and resting more when I need to, knowing that there might even be more amazing things on the horizon that I’m prepping for without knowing it.
And I recommend the same for you.
Which brings me to my theme for October:
“and then she opened up to receive magic and let it dance through her.”
Are you ready to receive some magic?
Are you ready to stop pushing yourself so much and just allow things in?
Please share in the comments below and let’s dance into this new month together!
loving your lazy,
p.s. Soul Camp, the adult sleepaway for the soul, is heading to California October 28-31 and I am teaching! This mind/body/spirit BURST of joy is an immersive experience unlike anything you’ve experienced before.
If you have ever wondered what it would be like to live in a village of conscious people digging deep and having meaningful conversations… spending your days bouncing from restorative yoga to energy work to chakra clearing to angel breath healing to intenSati and ending the night in a kayak on the lake under the stars… then this is the experience for you. And if this entire concept scares you, perhaps it’s exactly what you need.
Visit www.soul.camp/west to learn more and use code JESSICASOUL for a 20% discount off tickets!
If you’re an artist or creative person, you’re probably familiar with the phase of “UGH.”
“Ugh! I just can’t seem to focus.”
“Ugh! I’m stuck in this job/relationship/situation, and don’t have any time to work towards my real dreams and goals.”
“Ugh! I’m so overwhelmed and tired that I just want to curl up and go to sleep for 3 days.”
If you’ve been there or are there now, you are not alone.
No matter how rough the “UGH” phase can get, it’s nothing that can’t be worked through.
Today I want to give you some practical tools to get through it and get your creative energy back in action.
I’m also excited to share my client Mary Massie’s Showcase video (below). Her story of getting out of a very stuck place and back into her creative flow was the inspiration for today’s article. In fact, the 3 tools I’m going to share here are exactly the 3 pieces that Mary said were most helpful to her throughout our work together in the Thriving Artist’s Program.
Get the tips and watch Mary share even more inspiration in her Showcase video!
3 ways to get out of a creative rut
1. Make space.
One of the simplest things you can do when you’re stuck in a rut is to literally, physically, make space in your environment and inside of you. Start by getting rid of clutter in your physical environment. Then make space in your schedule for some personal quiet time. Especially if you’re someone who gets addicted to being busy, this is key. Even if it’s only 20 minutes once a week, do it! Then you can start making space in your mind and body. You don’t have to “do” anything or force anything to happen. Just be still. Try the next 2 steps.
Whether or not you’re a “dancer,” you can find movement in your body that feels great AND do it on your own terms in your own time. (In other words, you don’t need a formal dance class to get your body moving.) A regular movement practice will help you find joy, relieve stress, and feel free. It will get you out of your head and into your body, which is HUGE for getting creativity flowing. Try dancing for 5 minutes before you have to do any kind of mental work, and notice what a difference it makes for you! More focus, more energy, more creativity = YES!
Note: If you need guidance here, check out this quick video movement prompt from me and my Find Your Rhythm 6-week program, which is full of dance and movement prompts. The current round is already in session, but there are still a couple of late-comer spots open!
Find out more here: http://jessgrippo.com/find-your-rhythm/
Writing can be done in many ways. What I’m suggesting here, for the purposes of getting out of a rut, is to use writing as a way to learn more about the inner workings of your Self. Personal inquiry, if you will. You can write to the part of you that is stressed out or stuck, and then respond to see what comes through. You can write to your future or past self, and then respond from that persona. If you don’t think about it too much and just let the words flow, you’ll be amazed and touched by the wisdom that can come through you.
Sometimes witnessing real-life stories and inspiration can be the best help for getting out of a rut.
So I’m really happy to share with you Mary Massie’s Showcase Video - check it out below!
Watch and read more about her story, and please comment below and let us know what you found most valuable about the experience.
To letting it flow,
In Mary's words....
Some of the fears I worked through involved using my voice more, both metaphorically and literally and finding cohesion for my varied interests. I felt stuck in so many areas of my life and now I really feel like I'm finally moving.
I think there are three specific things that I will take with me beyond our sessions. One is the importance of physical movement facilitating movement in other areas of my life. I'm not a dancer per se, but I found a real joy in dancing in my room and knowing that I have so many options for moving my body. I see the power of getting out of my head and into my body whether that's through a walk, a yoga class, or taking a dance break. And I love that I have so many wonderful options when I listen to my body. I used to get hung up on say, doing yoga. If I didn't go to class, then I didn't think about having other ways to move. And I also reconnected to the little girl in me who would joyfully dance and sing along with the radio. Priceless.
I also found the power of writing in a new way. I've journaled a lot over the years, but Jess helped me hone in on asking the right questions and listening for my intuitive response through writing. I learned that I have the answers inside when I'm willing to ask and listen to a response. The act of writing keeps me in motion too and gets me out of my head. The prompts Jess suggested really helped me find clarity through the act of writing.
I also found the importance and power of creating space in my life through my sessions. Realizing how I physically take up in space in this world was so insightful! I became more aware of my need for space in my life in order to allow rejuvenation and creativity in.
I thought when I started working with Jess, that I needed to get back to painting as that used to be my main art medium. What I found though is that I kept taking photos and found the reasons why that's what I'm really loving at this point in my life. Sharing my point of view and focus is another way of using my voice. I'm also feeling freed up by having camera and my digital images.
The world is my studio and I don't feel weighed down by canvases and paints right now. I showed a photograph in a show in May. It was the first time in five years I've had a piece of art in a show and the first time I've shown a photograph. I created a tumblr blog online for my photos as a space to share my work.
I also made a piece of jewelry on commission and sold it last month. I used to make jewelry and sell it on Etsy, but hadn't done it in over five years. I used to love making this jewelry that incorporated drawing and found it so gratifying to reconnect to that part of myself. Connecting back to the visual artist in me has been so gratifying.
I'm putting myself out in the world far more than I used to. I feel like I'm on the other side of a huge block.
I feel like I'm finally getting comfortable and more confidant with owning my varied interests. I used to feel like a bit of a flake and apologetic that I couldn't just focus on art or on music. I'm now seeing how each informs the other, making me uniquely me and being appreciative of what each of my passions bring to my life.
Feeling stuck in your life and need a boost?
Applications are re-opened for the Thriving Artist's Program.
About 20 years ago I stepped onstage as the lead in Swan Lake for my New Jersey dance school’s yearly production. I really had wanted to be cast as one of the 4 “little swans” in the piece where they intertwine hands and quickly move their feet. Instead I got stuck as the lead.
I had to dance a pas de deux with Vinny, one of the only guys in the studio. I had to stand out. I felt like all the other girls hated me because I was "the lead." And I hated every minute of it.
But the Type-A in me had to perform perfectly. In the VHS footage of that performance, I don’t think I smiled once. I was so determined to get all the steps right and to nail my fouette turns, that I didn’t even really enjoy the process.
These opposing parts - the perfectionist who strived to be the best and the self-deprecating, shy little girl who just wanted to blend in - spent a long time fighting. Even in school, I would hold myself back and get answers wrong on purpose if I felt like I was getting too many A’s - because being called a “goody-two-shoes” was not cool at all.
Maybe you can relate?
I’ve seen similar patterns in clients and friends: Wanting something so badly but then sabotaging or holding back so that you don’t quite get there. Playing in the safe zone. Finding connection through the struggle, rather than the success.
It must be shocking to my younger ballerina self that I’m not only about to perform the lead in another version of Swan Lake, but I CREATED this opportunity myself. No one forced me to stand out this time. I was compelled to.
And honestly, I had a lot of hang-ups throughout the process, even though I knew that it was essential for my soul.
I worried that it would come off as being egotistical or selfish. I worried that the other dancers who I invited to be part of it would think I was a jerk. I worried about being judged.
And then I stopped thinking and got to work.
And here’s what I learned:
If it comes from an authentic place, being in the spotlight is really about sharing. (tweet it!)
The reason my soul was compelled to journey down this path is because of the pain it’s been through and the deep messages it wants to communicate with the world. Dancing and performing happens to be the outlet that I chose. To paraphrase the classic Marianne Williamson quote, shining my light is giving others permission to shine theirs. It’s contagious inspiration.
Being the lead actually takes a lot of selflessness, humility, and generosity.
As I’ve been directing, choreographing and rehearsing, I’m pouring my heart into the process and holding the space for each performer to own their power and communicate a strong message. I’m also constantly having to relinquish the way my mind thinks something should go, and instead allow it to happen naturally. I’m wowed by the collaboration that’s in action and by the creative ideas and input that each performer contributes. I’m stepping back as much as I’m standing out. We all are.
And so, creative one, here's the message I'm passing on to you on this Creative Friday:
It’s ok to follow the impulse to be a star if that’s what you truly desire. You never know who you might inspire or help. You will save the world in your own way if you take the lead in your own story.
Just like the theme of the show itself indicates, you can create your own way. The answers aren’t in the clouds or in a book or even in a role model, they are inside of YOU.
Take a moment to share your thoughts on this in the comment box below -
Where in your life are you stepping into a starring role or holding yourself back?
What are you feeling called to lead?
Go ahead. The stage is waiting.
leading with love,