when you've got nothing to say...

I write to you from the depths of the creative void. It’s not an easy place to write from because there’s really nothing here. It’s Darkness. Emptiness. Mystery.  

I racked my brain trying to think of something profound to say on the blog this week, and then realized that I just needed to surrender to the nothingness that I felt.

 

You see, this void is a natural part of the creative process.

 

We’re not always supposed to be producing new things and creating masterpieces.

 

Sometimes we’re just meant to be still and listen and let the mystery hold us.

 

For it’s in those moments of stillness that we can connect to new parts of ourselves, integrate experiences on a subconscious level, and stay open to the whispers of the creative muse.

 

It can be vulnerable and scary to be in the unknown, to not know when it will end, and that’s where we have to activate our trust muscles.

 

After winter, comes spring... After a creative winter, comes a creative spring awakening.

 

From that space of emptiness, the dark cold winter, the void... that’s where creation happens without us trying to make it happen.

 

So for this Creative Friday, I encourage you to check in with your own creative void.

Let yourself do nothing. Surrender to the mystery. (Even if it’s a busy time for you, give yourself the gift of a short period of nothingness.)

 

For all you fellow moon lovers, it’s actually perfect timing, since today is the New Moon - the time of the month when the sky is completely black, the moon totally hidden from view. It’s naturally the time to be in the void and not take action.

 

I sense there’s a whole lot of light and creative activity in our futures, so we might as well embrace this moment of pause.

 

Imma get back to my void for now, and I look forward to hearing about yours, too. Feel free to comment below and share how it’s going for you.

 

in the mystery with you,

Jess

...and sometimes you need to NOT be busy

In follow up to last week’s post about how there’s nothing wrong with being busy, I wanted to take a moment to highlight the fact that there’s also nothing wrong with doing nothing.

 

It fits well into the theme I created for this month:march theme mystery

"and then she MARCHed forward, still anchored by the mystery"

 

As we transition into Spring here in the Northern Hemisphere, more light is here. More light is on its way. The days will continue to get longer until mid-June.

 

In a culture already over-saturated with lights and screens, we now also have more of the Sun to guide us into action.

 

This is your reminder to stay anchored in the mystery, the darkness, the deeper parts of you that might not want to see the light all the time.

 

All facets of your life, and especially your creative process, need to hang out in the unknown for periods of time.

 

You can’t always be productive. You can’t always be “a light.” You can’t always be in the active part of creation mode.

 

(Well, you can try, but you’ll probably just burn out. Like a light bulb left on for months at a time.)

 

Honor your busy modes and then honor your stillness.  There’s a reason we need both of them to thrive.

 

Where are you on the busy-nothing / light-dark spectrum these days?

Comment below and tell me!

 

to dancing with the mystery,

Jess

 

P.s. Here’s some further reading for you…

...if you find you’re TOO busy:

why am I working SO much, but not making any headway?

...if you feel like you’re too much in the darkness:

will I ever create anything again?

things change, but does the essence stay the same?

In honor of the 4-year anniversary of Creative Fridays, today’s post features a throwback post, one that I originally wrote on February 17th of 2012.

jazzhands2012jazzhands2016

[4 years of jazz hands]

It’s fascinating to me that I’ve been writing this blog weekly, consistently, for the past 4 years. Especially since there had been multiple other blogs and ideas that I started before it, but never quite kept going.

 

It’s also fascinating that the essence of what I wrote about then is still the same as what I’m writing about today. So much has changed, but yet the core of it has remained. (Including jazz hands.)

 

Think about where you were 4 years ago.

Perhaps your life circumstances were completely different. Perhaps they were similar to now.

 

No matter what the outside circumstances were like, what was the inner constant? What was that essence for you? The thing you ached for. The dream you tended to. The part of you that felt compelled to keep going.

Do you recognize an inner constant, too?

 

Share in the comments below - I’m curious to know how this lands for you :)

 

And here goes that post from 2012:

 

Do you have a dream?

You know, the kind of dream that might feel a little far off from where you are now, the kind of dream that whispers to you “anything is possible,” even if your rational mind shushes it up all too soon.

Do I know exactly what my dream is? Not really. I have ideas (and many of them involve being on stage with Lady Gaga or traveling the world making dance videos), but I’m starting to think that the uncertainty, the curiosity, the questions, are where the real juice is.

Isn’t that what pulls us forward into our dreams in ways that are even better than we could’ve imagined?

I used to get down on myself for not having a more traditional path, for not committing at a very young age to a single art form or trade. But now I’m beginning to cherish the many outlets I’ve explored and passions I’ve pursued. And in the process I’ve become so grateful for the circuitous path I travel upon.

I have a hunch that you have a dream (or multiple dreams), too. Even if they seem cloudy or completely out of sight, they are there within you. And they matter. And they are precious and need to be tended to if you ever want to discover what they really are and what they could become.

My hunch also tells me that you don’t have to abandon your life as you know it in order to pursue a dream. Of course sometimes we do feel compelled to quit our jobs, leave our primary relationships, move across the country, etc, etc, but for some of us who aren’t ready for that much of a leap, you can start small.

Start with one impulse, one picture, one dance class.

Start with Fridays and declare it your day to put more focus on your creative spirit.

Commit to nothing but yourself.

Learn from little kids and senior citizens.

Be curious.

Write down what you dream of at night.

Don’t wait for permission or a degree or certificate. You’re already an artist (or an athlete or an alchemist or a ….)

“Live the questions now,” as Rilke tells us.

I dare you to.

 

with love through the changes,

Jess

will I ever create anything again?

We all have had them. The dark and empty times. The opposite of prolific. The lacking-motivation-but-wishing-we-had-it moments. The get-jealous-of-other-people’s-stuff funks.

 

You might ask yourself:

 

“Will I ever create anything again?”

 

Here’s the answer:

 

Yes. Yes you will create again.

 

You will create something even more authentic and compelling if you just let yourself have a few minutes (or days or weeks or years) of doing nothing and not forcing it.

 

Instead of forcing yourself to produce something, try this:

 

Drop into the empty feeling.

Get curious about it.

Bring light to the icky places within you and heal where necessary.

Go on long walks.

Ask questions.

Pick up books you find abandoned on the street.

Be of service to someone.

Start a new workout routine.

Find peace in the stillness.

 

Why?

 

Because your creativity is cyclical. Just like the seasons around us. Winter happens before spring.

 

If you’re currently in a creative rut, take these words in and practice the art of TRUST. (Spring WILL come again, I promise!)

 

If you’re not in a rut, keep these words in your back pocket and remember them the next time things slow down.

 

Most importantly, don’t suffer through it alone.

 

Tell people what you’re going through. Isolation is a breeding ground for depression and shame spirals. Just saying something outloud, without trying to fix or change it, can bring deep healing through compassion.

 

Try it - Share something with us here, in the comments below.

 

to embracing all the phases,

Jess

 

why do I feel so "lazy?"

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:

october theme

“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,

Jess

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!

 

 

what I learned from California

IMG_0754 caliAs someone who grew up on the East Coast, California represents the wild and free. The place where the sun sets over the ocean, and where you are gifted 3 hours of lag time every day.

 

In my early 20s I took a few trips out to Cali, and I distinctly remember the feeling of walking out of the airport and having a wave of expansiveness rush across my body. To me there is a vastness of possibility inherent in the land and air.

 

Last year in 2014, I moved out there to follow my heart - in love, and in life. It was not an easy decision. As much as I followed my heart, I also teetered back and forth with it, questioned it, got lost in it, broke it, and caused the breaking of other hearts around me.

 

In the spirit of keeping some things sacred, I won’t share the specific details of what happened in my love life or in my family life (at least not right now), but I will tell you that I ended up moving back to New York after 6 months.

 

I could’ve looked at the decision to move back as a failure: the Jersey girl who gave it a try but was too attached to her East Coast roots to roam wild and free in sunny California. (And that thought did cross my mind a few times.)

 

JessGrippo_Day1-630-webBut instead, I embraced the decision as HOME. Not only feeling super clear and sure that New York right now is where my home is - that I actually do like to be closer to my family in New Jersey and physically connected to my friends here, and that I’ve built roots for my career here that are still growing - but also that having a bit of California in me is a part of my home. I can have both.

 

And so, on March 9th, 2015 I got on a flight to Newark, NJ, taking a piece of the Wild West with me.

 

Here’s the letter I wrote to myself, that pretty much sums up what I learned - and am still learning - from California. I thought you might need to hear it, too.

 

sunsetHere’s what I want you to remember:

 

  • The earth is vast and spacious - and it’s yours to dance in. Don’t hold back or shy away from taking up space.

  • Dancing every day is what your body and soul need. Do not forget this.

  • You are not responsible for anyone else’s happiness but your own. The right relationships will make both parties happy when both are being true to themselves.

  • You function best when your truth is spoken and your heart is clear.

  • Dancing is a political statement and you are part of a larger women’s movement.

  • Inhale fully and receive the world around you. If you deny yourself this essential nutrient, you cut off your ability to give and serve.

 

I’ve always lived in you, you just forgot and spent too much time searching in outside places.

 

love,

California

I also found this piece of writing I had done 5 years prior in 2010, when “East to West” meant “Brooklyn to Jersey.” It couldn’t have been more on-point:

 

“Home is not where the sun comes up or goes down. Home is where the moon lives inside of her. She has lived amongst the east and the west and the hot active lava of the in-between. She knew her home all along, even when she thought she was lost or forgot to feel the earth beneath her.”

 

And all that is preparation to say this to you:

 

Wherever you live, whoever you live with, you take a piece of them with you.

 

Don’t judge yourself if you need to move around or move on.

 

Just keep coming back to what’s inside of you.

 

Connect to your body and dance.

 

You will find your home.

 

sending love on your journey,

your east & west Jess

 

p.s. I will be back in California for a short time in late October! Teaching at Soul Camp (Oct 28th-31st - click here for more details on that) and I’ll be offering a limited number of private dance sessions and workshops in the LA area prior. If you’re out there, I’d love to dance with you, so please send me a note and let me know if you’ll be around!

 

p.p.s. The lessons from California and all the sentiments I wrote about today are actually part of something new I’m creating. (Why? because creating dance is how I make sense of life.) I’m beginning a new dance piece which will be performed as part of the You Can Dance Again show on October 8th and 9th, and I’ll be documenting my creative process in it via Periscope.

Periscope-LogoIf you haven’t joined that app, I suggest you do! All of the broadcasts are raw and real  and I’m posting something pretty much daily. My intention is to even more fully let the walls down and share more about what it’s like to channel feelings and ideas from life into a piece of art.

Find me on Periscope with the handle @jessgrippo

Here's an example of a recent "scope!"

free yourself: thoughts on the blue moon & your creativity

free yourself

 

You can wait for the stars to align

You 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.

 

 

As someone who loves reading horoscopes and following the cycles of the moon, I know that it’s easy to get caught up thinking that once something in the stars shifts, then it will all get better. It’s easy to wait for outside circumstances or people to change, rather than initiating the change we want in ourselves and taking ownership of our lives.

 

Today actually is one of those powerful moon days - a blue moon, to be exact. But rather than give you my amateur opinion on it, I’ll let you read on here if you’re curious. Here’s my favorite excerpt from that article:

“No more days should be wasted waiting for things to magically change. We are the ones that can create those changes as we have all the magic and creativity within.”

 

That’s it.

That’s the quote that inspired that poem I wrote above.

That’s the message I wanted to share today.

 

If there’s something in your life that you want to create or shift, really look at how you’re contributing to staying where you are. Really look at the small mundane steps you need to take to get there. There’s hard work behind magic. It takes 10 years to become an overnight success. You get my point.

 

I’ll keep this one short, since I think we all have deep work to get to today.

So tell me in one sentence in the comments below:

What’s the shift you want to make or the thing you want to create in your life and how have you been holding yourself back from getting there?

 

Then free yourself. Take the first step.

 

Setting an intention for what you want today can be really powerful, especially in the areas of creativity and relationships - because of the moon and Venus! - but don’t forget that it’s then up to you to uphold the agreement through your actions.

 

To making it happen,

Jess

p.s. If dance is one of those things you’ve been saying you want to do again or do more of, but you still manage to NOT do it consistently, I have something for you. There are a handful of spots left in my upcoming program - both online and live in NYC. Read on for details.

have patience in your process

“Being an artist means, not reckoning and counting, but ripening like the tree which does not force its sap and stands confident in the storms of spring without fear that after them may come no summer. It does come. But it comes only to the patient, who are there as though eternity lay before them, so unconcernedly still and wide. I learn it daily, learn it with pain to which I am grateful: patience is everything!”

~ Rainer Maria Rilke, from Letters To A Young Poet

 

Patience in the storms of spring…

 

I read those words and suddenly the tides of emotions I’ve been feeling, the inner struggles I’ve been facing, all made sense.

 

Why?

 

spring flowers and sunLet’s not forget that spring can be tumultuous. Yes, there’s green growth happening and pretty flowers blooming on trees around us, but think of the work that transformation takes! From the dead of the winter when much is dormant, new life arises. Don’t expect it to be smooth. Growth is messy.

 

When you commit to an artistic life (i.e. when you realize that calling deep down that it’s in you, whether or not you’re actively making art), you’re also signing up to feel the cycles and seasons of life - magnified!

 

You are an artist. You are more sensitive to the world around you. You feel things deeply. You long to express that energy inside, you long to paint the world with your colors and strokes.

 

And so your body tunes in to everything around you - especially the changing seasons and moon cycles.

 

You can choose to numb out to all of this. And many do.

You can cover the feelings and cycles with a whole range of things: from booze to Netflix to overly “busy” syndrome. You can pretend the creative impulse is not really there and instead just live a “normal” life.

 

But does the straight and narrow path really work for you?

 

Rebell against the status quo! (quoting my dad Gerry Grippo on that one ;)

Make waves, paint your strokes, choose your colors.

And don’t be afraid of a stormy spring.

The summer WILL come.

The sap will flow.

Without having to push or force or try,

you will channel something beautiful into the world.

It will come together.

Trust this emergence.

Have patience with your delicate process.

And while you ride the storms of spring, don’t forget to dance through the rain.

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If you’re feeling the storms of spring deeply,

You don’t have to ride them alone.

Dance into your answers with me on June 10th in NYC:

https://danceintoyouranswers.splashthat.com/

or online on June 9th:

https://danswersonline.splashthat.com

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with surrender to spring and faith in my heart,

Jess

2 ways to move through change

If you’ve been feeling stuck in the shadows,

If you’ve been in the dark and the pain for too long,

If your passions and dreams have been seemingly eclipsed by life’s tough stuff,

 

Please remember that the sun is coming soon.

 

Today happens to be a pretty significant day - the Spring Equinox combined with a New Moon Solar Eclipse. The Equinox initiates us into Spring, and New Moons are the monthly time of renewal and starting fresh - highlighted even more when an eclipse is present.

 

Astrological omens aside, can’t you just feel it? Change is palpable.

 

We are teetering on the cusp of a new phase…. not quite out of the old, not fully into the new, which can be a painful process to move through.

 

2 tactics I’ve been using to get through it are:

 

  1. Dancing

  2. Cleaning out stuff

 

Why?

 

Because when emotions are heightened and your mind can’t figure things out, the best thing to do is to get in your body and the physical plane.

Dancing will help you channel emotions and physical stuckness.

Cleaning out stuff - i.e. going through your closet and donating clothes you don’t wear, sifting through old files or boxes, etc. - will help you make space in your life. Even if you don’t know for what yet.

 

There will be a time for more words and a more personal post in the future, but for now I’ll leave you with a dance video - because sometimes dancing beats words.

 

I hope you dance wherever and whenever you can.

 

dancing on the cusp with you,

Jess

this is about your fire.

Before you read any further, take 15 seconds to click here and watch this short clip.

 

Ok.

 

Let’s continue.

 

We’re at a very special and tender time of year - the midway point between the winter solstice and spring equinox.

 

It is the reminder, the promise, that winter will transition to spring.

It is the time when we get to see a hint of what’s to grow when spring does arrive.

It’s why Groundhog Day happens now.

It’s why people back in the ancient times would light candles to honor the moment.

 

And it’s why I’m suggesting this today:

 

photo courtesy of Business Insider

Tend to your inner fire, the passion inside of you, no matter how big or small it is.

There’s no need to create a bonfire. Yet.

There’s no need for a fireworks show. Yet.

(Well, Katy Perry might beg to differ.)

 

Allow your flame to blossom in its own time, and to get stronger and more fiery with every passing moment.

 

If you’re not liking the direction it’s leaning toward, blow it out and start anew.

 

You’ve got the power to make any changes you want, or to keep going in the direction you’ve been growing towards.

 

What's your flame telling you? 

After you take a few moments to check in with yourself - maybe even light a candle to help you focus! - I encourage you to share your process in the comment box below. Saying things out loud has a profound impact ;)

 

And here’s a resource I thought would further light you up:

 

photo courtesy of Wild Woman Project

The Wild Woman Project: Your Divine Spark, Tending to Your Inner Fire

 

My amazing friend Chris is a moon sister and someone who I think you’ll love. Her article this week is all about your inner fire: how to keep the flame in balance for those who are naturally fiery, how to cultivate more of it for those who tend to hold back, and why all this matters right now.

 

Read it here.

 

 

 

livin’ in a world and it’s on fire,

Jess

time for a fresh start

santa barbara  

Let out a big sigh, creative one.

 

Are you ready for a fresh start?

Ready to lighten up your load?

 

Sometimes all it take is some focused intention.

 

 

When was the last time you sat down and talked about your dreams?

When was the last time you really listened to your heart and soul?

 

These words: “dreams,” “heart,” “soul,” can sound very cheesey. Words reserved for 9 year old girls with bedazzled headbands, maybe, or the next meeting of the woo-woo club.

 

But what if those words were actually applicable to YOU?

 

This weekend, I encourage you to try them on.

 

Make time and space for yourself, or gather with a group of close friends, and do the following:

 

  • On one piece of paper, write out all the crap you’re sick and tired of - the situations or behaviors that are draining you.

 

  • Put on a piece of music that stirs your emotions, and dance with this piece of paper until you’re ready to rip it up and throw it away.

 

  • Then, take another piece of paper, write down the question, “Dear Heart & Soul of mine, what is it that you truly want?” Then free-write from the perspective from your heart and soul about your DREAM, i.e. the vision of what you truly want for yourself and for the world.

 

  • Share this letter out loud - either with the group you’re in, or if you’re doing the exercise solo, call someone up or post it below in the comment box ;)

 

  • Then go play, have fun, be yourself to the max. Don’t take it all so seriously.

 

Tomorrow happens to be a significant astrological event - the New Moon in Sagittarius - which, according to Mystic Mama, is “a time of aligning with our deepest truth and having the courage to move, express and create from our center.”

 

Go with that feeling!

 

You have the power to create what you want.

 

Tell me in the comments below what you're ready to shake off, and what your heart and soul are really craving right now. 

 

I’ll leave you with something I wrote earlier this month while the sun was setting over the ocean. Use any part of it as an affirmation for yourself if it applies, and if not, please write your own.

sunset in santa barbara

I believe in myself.

I believe in my ability to create life and beauty and joy and abundance and health and a meaningful imprint on this planet.

I believe in the power of creativity and artistic expression.

I believe in this earth, I believe in the moon.

I believe in a universal connection to something greater.

I believe in dance.

believing in you,

Jess

questions to ask during this transition

rilke quotephoto via Melting Pot Love on Etsy

 

Oh hi, creative one.

 

We’re officially on the other side of Autumn: the nights are beginning to get longer, the daylight is waning, and as such...

 

It’s a great time to take a step back and really evaluate what is going down in this life you are creating.

 

Get clear on what you don’t want.

Get clear on what you do want.

Align your actions with your truth.

 

(Sometimes easier said than done, right?)

 

I created a brief set of questions to help you get the clarity you need. The questions will also help me better understand how I can continue to help you here on this blog and in future programs I’m cooking up.

 

Click here to answer the questions.

 

I’ll be on the other side of the interweb, waiting impatiently to hear the truth in your heart.

 

Let’s dance into the next phase together.

 

with love,

Jess

advice when things feel mushy

Anyone feeling a bit uncertain?

Not sure what move to make or when to make it?

 

Welcome to mid-September, or as I like to call it, the mushy stew of uncertainty. If ever there were a time of year when things felt strange, in-transition, or murky, it’s this one.

 

Why is that?

 

My dear friend Sarah at Brooklyn Acupuncture Project tells me, according to Chinese Medicine, it’s because we’re in the Earth element. A time for digesting, processing, and being mushy. (That’s totally my interpretation of her way more eloquent words.) Once the fall season official starts, we enter the Metal element, which is a lot more clear, direct, and sharp. Things come to fruition. Metal cuts through the mushiness and creates clarity.

 

So if you’re putting pressure on yourself to:

  • finish a project

  • make a move

  • decide on the purpose of your life

 

...lighten up a bit. Just sink into the mushiness and give yourself a break.

 

The time for cutting through the murkiness will happen when it happens.

 

For now, enjoy the inbetween.

 

(Maybe life is just a big inbetween, anyway.)

 

And take another one of my dear friend’s advice:

 

becurious

“BE CURIOUS. INTERFERE LESS.”

Sudden events can happen that will change everything in an instant.

 

Stop wasting time in your head trying to interfere with what is.

 

Instead, just dance with what you have and trust the answers will come in due time. {tweet that!}

 

And leave a comment below if you'd like to express your mushiness through words or dance :)

 

dancing through the mush with you,

Jess