you don’t have to have all the answers in order to take the first step.

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.

danswersOn December 20th, I’m hosting a live and interactive online group guidance session, called Dance Into Your Answers.

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,

Jess

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.

legacy of you interview michael ian cedar and jess grippo

didn’t get your “work” done? oh, that’s living.

Crap.

 

I didn’t get everything done on my to-do list.

 

I had to reschedule that appointment.

 

I didn’t “work” enough today.

 

(“work” is loosely translated as sitting in front of the laptop pecking away at something that seems really important.)

 

If any of these words have come out of your mouth lately, GOOD!

 

It’s a sign you’re actually living life.

 

As I went through my week, I noticed how anxious I was to get this blog post and other writing done. I did not plan the topic in advance. I did set aside time to write, but the time kept getting moved or pushed aside because of other things.

 

The frustration and anxiety rose -

 

But why was I feeling that way?

 

Really, it came from a place of fear of not having enough time and wanting to just “get it over with” so that I could not worry.

 

Then on the B train on my way to visit a friend, it hit me and I pulled out my notebook to scribble:

 

The balance of living life vs. documenting it.

 

Your experiences lead you to the truth meant to be spoken (or written).

 

Your experiences - with the world, with other humans - are what bring you to your truth. Sitting in front of a laptop trying to think about what to write is not always the way in.

 

I thought about how much richness and learning were embedded in the experiences and conversations I had been having throughout the week.

 

Monday was an example -

 

Stuck at an airport for 8 hours, I put a lot of expectations on myself about how much time I should spent writing and getting that very important “work” done. I took a break in the yoga room (yes, SFO has a yoga room!) and it led to a dance break which led to making new friends and making a dance video:

I’m so happy I didn’t sit in front of my laptop, which seemed like the easier, more responsible option. Instead, I followed my impulse to move my body and connect with people and it was so fun.

 

So what if I didn’t get ahead of the game with “work?”

 

Maybe my “work” is in the moving my body and connecting to people. Can it be that simple? I think it can.

 

And I’ll say the same to you:

 

Follow the impulse and desire inside of you. The work you’re meant to do will reveal itself that way.

 

There’s a time to integrate and document your experiences - and that part is so necessary! But don’t force it or rush it. The more you LIVE, the more natural the documentation process will feel.

 

And one more thing -

 

If you’re not sure if your impulse or desire is aligned or the right thing to do in the moment, here a few questions you can ask yourself. I got these questions from an amazing teacher of mine, Amy Jo Goddard:

 

  1. Is it something I want to be, do, or have?

  2. Does it create more life for me and others?

  3. Does being, doing, or having it take me closer to my goal?

  4. Does it limit anyone’s freedom, choice, or well-being?

 

If you can answer YES to the first 3, and NO to #4, then it’s pretty safe to say that your desire is a GO.

 

Trust that impulse. Ditch “work” for a day if you need to. Be messy. Be truthful. Be connected.

And then take time to make art out of it all.

from the field of experience to you,

Jess

in honor of vday: why i dance

Today’s post couldn’t be forced. I tried many times earlier this week to write something in honor of love, sexuality, and creativity as we approach Valentine’s Day tomorrow.  

I waited and waited but it wasn’t ready to emerge.

 

why i danceAnd then I found myself last night in a brick-walled warehouse, surrounded by people I didn’t know and flooded with music, poetry and stories that somehow knew me. It was the launch party of a film called Why I Dance.

 

I was moved to tears.

 

And I realized why today’s post wasn’t ready until it was ready.

 

So, what I’ll share with you today is a poem I wrote, inspired by the experience, and a quick note of encouragement:

 

Be patient with your own emergence.

Trust the movement inside of you.

Let go of force and let yourself dance.

Your body is sacred, so treat her that way.

 

In honor of Vday tomorrow, I encourage you to watch the film, find a movement near you and if there isn’t one, create your own.

 

Love yourself today and always,

Jess

 

(a poem in honor of Vday, inspired by the women of the #whyidance film)

 

why I dance

 

to shake off the clouds that keep me from myself

to shake off the times I said yes when I really meant no

 

to let go

to grieve

to feel joy

to feel free

 

to feel myself as a source of my own pleasure

 

I dance

 

for reasons I don’t fully understand yet

for all that I don’t yet know about my body

for all that I crave to understand

 

to connect to what women always knew before it felt unsafe

 

I dance

 

for the pain we’ve been through

 

I dance

 

for the uprising in progress

 

I dance

 

so that the young bodies after me

can dance freely if they choose

 

I dance

I dance

I dance

 

morethan

Let’s dance this VDay and always.

One step at a time we can reclaim our lost parts and create an uprising inside us all – women, men, and children. 

 

If you feel inspired, share your reasons for dancing below. I'd love to hear. 

 

 

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

feeling discontent?

Today’s note is brief, creative one.

 

I’m guessing you’re in some sort of transition right now.

Things might not feel totally clear.

Maybe there’s some impatience or frustration apparent for you.

 

If you’re feeling any sort of discontent, know that it’s totally normal. In fact, it’s an essential part of being a creative being.

 

Next week I’ll have something new and exciting to share that might help shake you out of any icky feelings that might be present, but until then I wanted to leave you with a note from the Muses you might need to hear....

[via Sonia Choquette’s Ask Your Guides cards:]

 

Sooner or later in our evolutionary process, each of us begins to realize that it’s not the having that fulfills our soul, but rather it’s the act of creating that brings us satisfaction.

 

Contentment in what we’ve created - no matter how grand - inevitably subsides, and our creative juices once again long to flow. That’s why the once-ideal partner ceases to mesmerize, the perfect job eventually becomes mundane, and the great adventure becomes tedious.

 

Although there’s a lot to be said for enjoying what we have now, we must nevertheless respect the fact that our basic nature as creative beings is...to create. Without the process, we can’t be fully content - at least not for long.

 

Your Muses are present, and they call on you now to embrace your creative discontent and undertake new projects. Their message: “See your frustration as a longing to learn more, expand more, dare more, and create more.”

What are you feeling frustrated with?

What are you longing to create?

Let's talk about it in the comments. After all, it's more fun to get these things out in the open than it is to be silently tormented, alone with your thoughts. (Am I right?)

Can't wait to hear from you.

to creating our way,

Jess

p.s. Did you miss the live broadcast of our Virtual Showcase? Check it out here:

There were tears, there laughs, there were beautiful drawings and touching words. Oh, and there were dance breaks!

Anneris shared her inspiring story of overcoming her own fears around putting her creative self out there, and she shared the project that she's been working on: her beautiful children's book with an inspiring message.

Listen in and you'll be inspired. Towards the end I walk you through a brief exercise and movement segment to help you tap into your own creative desires and put them in motion.

how to overcome self-doubt

Over the table of a group coffee hang-out, one of my best friends was practically in tears as she told us about her 4th grant application that got rejected. She’s an accomplished choreographer who is constantly making and performing awesome work, and she also lives a life of travel and freedom. Total success in my book.

 

But she was feeling terrible about herself because she was applying to things and not being accepted. She asked us for words of encouragement.

 

We all have been there.

 

The moment where we say:

 

“What was I thinking? I’m not good enough to try and do this...”

“Of course my application got rejected...I’m terrible.”

“Why did I even start this project in the first place?”

 

Self-doubt is real and palpable. It can swoop in and convince you that the dream that once felt so possible and exciting is a load of crap and you should just quit now.

 

So do you listen to that voice or what?

 

Self-doubt is a normal part of being human and being an artist, and if you learn to expect it and handle it in the right way, it doesn’t have to derail you for too long.

 

If you’re feeling bad about yourself and your talent, you don’t need to quit, you don’t need to wallow and feel bad about yourself for weeks on end.

 

What you need is a friend to remind you that you’re great.

...To remind you to dust off your jeans and get back up again because you have important work to do in this world.

 

It really can be as simple as that.

 

In case you don’t have a friend to call in this moment, let me help you.

 

A couple of months ago a video popped into my inbox from a dear friend in Washington DC. It was made for her daughter Azalea by her best friend Seneca.

 

And it goes like this:

Just what you needed to hear? I thought so.

 

I was so touched by this video - by the thoughtfulness of this 8 year old girl and the bravery and love that she shared with her friend - and I was so curious to hear more. So I got in touch with Seneca’s mom Michelle to ask her more about the video and to see if Seneca would be open to talking with me. She was.

 

So below is a brief interview I did with Seneca - I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

 

After you watch, please leave your comments for us below!

I’m sure Seneca would love to hear the impact her dance video is making.

 

And remember, in the words of a wise soul -

 

“Follow your dream...You don’t have to be someone that you’re not to impress someone.” ~ Seneca

 

be brave, be bold, be you,

Jess

not every project has to be a production

Do you ever stop yourself from making something because it feels like too much of an undertaking?

Or because you want it to look really good and you’re waiting until you have enough funds or the right resources to make it happen?

For example, maybe you really want to produce a music video, but you don’t have contacts with bands and you only have a shitty camera, so you keep dreaming about it and tell yourself that once you get those things, THEN you can make it happen. In the meantime, you’re not working on much of anything else because you’re waiting for this to someday come together.

 

It’s all too easy to get paralyzed by bigger future visions and simultaneously shut off the creative process in the now.

 

If you’re thinking that way I have a new way of thinking for you to try on:

 

Don’t ignore your impulses. You can make and share projects on a whim, just because it’s fun, just because you’re inspired, just because you’re bored.

 

Now, don’t get me wrong - There are absolutely times when it’s appropriate to make big productions: to create full-length shows, to write novels, to paint murals, to produce music videos.

 

(I’m actually in the process with one of these productions now, creating my first dance show. This is completely new for me, as I’ve spent the last 5 years improvising my own dance videos on a shitty camera.)

 

Don’t give up on those bigger visions. They can totally happen.

 

The part that gets neglected, in my opinion, is the day-to-day creation process, using the basic resources you already have.

 

While you’re dreaming up your bigger productions, don’t shut off the little ways you can share your creative self-expression and just make stuff for the pure joy of it.

 

Especially for those of us with technical backgrounds and artistic training, it can feel scary to do something that is not of the highest caliber or hasn’t been rehearsed a million times.

 

That’s why I’m in love with a project my friend Denise is doing right now, called #danceinanemptyroom. It’s a great example of doing a project without making it into a big production.

 

dance denise empty roomI participated yesterday and got her to share a few words on camera afterwards, which you’ll hear below. We talk about getting over self-judgement, challenging the ego, discovering generosity through art, and passing on a chain of inspiration.

 

The whole experience took all of 20 minutes, and that included the interview I did with her. We shot the dance video on her iPhone in one take and uploaded it as it was to Facebook. Fun. Simple. Effective.

 

dance 2 denise empty roomAs a former professional dancer/choreographer who hasn’t been in the studio in 3 years, Denise said that this was a huge step for her - to put work out there that wasn’t polished or planned. But it has proven to be powerful. It’s caused a chain reaction of family and friends of hers who have joined in the dance-making experience, many of whom in the past would have never done something so bold.

 

Check out our chat and our dance video below, and then share your experience in the comments. I even dare you to make a dance video.

 

Are you regularly sharing your expressive self?

 

Or do you get caught up in the glitz and glamour of bigger production dreams that stop you from making stuff now?

 

Tell it all to me below. I want to hear the good, the bad, and the ugly. It’s all beautiful to me.

 

love to shitty cameras everywhere,

Jess