Order Switch

NikiCity_020

Wait, there has to be a mistake….I didn’t hear my name called.

I stood catching my breath, after just nailing the dance combination and singing my heart out at the callbacks for the National Broadway Tour of A Chorus Line.

And this wasn’t the first time I had been in.  I had been called back for the Broadway production, and was invited in by casting for the Tour.

I had done everything the same.  I sang the same song, I knew the choreography forwards and backwards.  I wore the same outfit, and I had nailed the infamously hard pirouette sequence.

So, why was I cut?

I just gave the performance of my life.
Was it not enough?

As I watched other friends and peers stay for the next round, I found myself blinking back tears, lowering my eyes as they started to sting.

I didn’t want to be seen like this.

As quickly as I could, I made my way to the dressing room, and changed out of my sweaty leotard and tights, and around me other dancers who were cut were voicing their disbelief and denial,

Why did I even come today?
I totally messed up the dance!
They weren’t even looking at me.
The show must already be cast.
Well, back to the day job.

And as I stuffed my leotard and feelings into my backpack, so many emotions rose in my throat, choking me off.  I was both angry and deeply confused.

I had thought for sure after being in callbacks for Broadway, I would book the Tour.

I was wrong, and I never did the show, and casting actually never called me back in.  I went from being seriously considered to no longer considered.

Just like that.

 

It’s Maddening, isn’t it?

You spend hours, days, weeks, years on your Creative Process and building your craft.  You put your heart and soul into your work and then you stand up, put it out there for your audience, and say,

HERE I AM!

You are giving your all, full of energy, hands open, eyes open, just waiting for approval, waiting for validation.

And what do you hear?

Next!
Nope!

Or even worse….crickets.

It feels completely unfair, doesn’t it?
It feels completely unbalanced.

You are giving so much.  Why isn’t it being returned?

 

Integrative Therapist and Coach Tom Tynan breaks down the world into two types:

The Givers and the Takers.

It’s pretty much exactly as you would imagine, the Givers always give first in order to receive, and the Takers take first in order to give.

So, what commonly happens?

Well, the Givers become exhausted.  They go through endless roller coasters of feeling good when they give, and then burning out when they are not recharged.  Basically, they give until they are empty.

Sound familiar?
What category would you put yourself in?

How many times have you given endlessly with your Creative work and saw no return?
Do you then feel motivated to try again?

So, what’s the answer in this cycle, since as Creatives, we so desperately want to give?

What do we do in that moment of crying out,
PICK ME PICK ME!

We need to learn how to RECEIVE.

I recently asked a writer in my tribe what it means to “Receive as an Artist”, and he couldn’t answer.

Bingo.

I know I never had an acting, dance or singing teacher give me tools or any teaching around receiving. In truth, it was a completely foreign word in my performance career. I kept viewing it all through what I had to give.

And even more so, we need to reverse the process so we don’t burn out as Artists, which means we need to Receive FIRST, and then GIVE.

So, what does this mean for you and your process?

There are two elements here to consider,

1) Having the quiet space before we go into action and into our work to actually receive our creative inspiration
2) Being able to receive what we are actually given by our audience, whether they are people hiring us or taking in our art.  Our audience is directly tied to our livelihood as Artists.

For that former dancer who was so heartbroken and frustrated at the Chorus Line callback, I didn’t have any kind of daily practice to recharge. I was pretty much operating on two extremes,

On and Off
Highs and Lows

Now I start my day with meditation, have a daily gratitude practice, and go to yoga weekly. I now have a way to open to receive BEFORE the action, to calm my monkey mind, a place of quiet.

And this may be different for you, but ask yourself, how do you recharge? And I don’t mean, distract. I’m not talking about binge watching Netflix or disappearing into social media for hours. This isn’t about escape, but about nourishing your Creative Being.

The powerful question is, how do you fill your Creative cup back up so you feel inspired?

Because the magic is, when we are able to recharge and fill our own cup, then we have the capacity to receive the rejection or being cut or experience the disappointment and use it as information.

Information instead of judgement.
Evidence to continue, instead of give up.

For whatever reason, the creative team behind A Chorus Line decided I wasn’t right for their show, and if I had these tools at that time, I could have taken a step back and known this was not a reflection on my ability.

But it was a reflection that I was burned out. And it was information to move on to the next opportunity and the next creative team who would value my talent.

We can so commonly get caught in the belief that we are not enough, that our work is not enough, but for all you givers out there, I have a gift instead:

Receive first, and then Give with your Creativity.

And ask yourself the simple question,
How AM I enough as an Artist?

Next time you find yourself caught in the frustration and feeling like no one cares,  make a list of how you are enough.  When you phrase the question this way, it can only be positive.

Because it’s from that place of knowing what you actually bring to the table, that your greatest work will occur.

30 Minutes Before the Ball Dropped

2017-selfie

What words would you use to describe me in this picture?

Festive
Happy
Joyful
Energetic
Funny
Silly

All true.  My family and I got dressed up and went for an incredible dinner in Soho, enjoying an amazing meal, taking lots of pictures, and feeling celebratory.

All true, and an hour after this photo was taken, I was doubled over on the bathroom floor, horribly sick.

30 minutes before the Ball Dropped.

I came out of the bathroom, shaking and holding a full trash bag, and told my family I had just thrown up, and then I started to really plummet.

I did see the ball drop.  I was standing, not even able to take a sip of water and all my body was screaming was,

I want to be home.

My family was staying at a close friend’s who lives two blocks from my apartment, and the TV was so loud, I could feel this was just the beginning, and I put on my coat and boots and was just about to hug my father goodbye…..

And then my body fully took over.

And I didn’t leave that night.  Thank goodness I was with family, because things got very intense.

Hello 2017.

 

There are few celebrations that are global, that are felt by billions at the same time, and New Year’s Eve is one of them.  With so many different beliefs in the world, the ritual of a new year is pretty universal.

How do you celebrate your New Year’s?
What goes through your head as the ball drops?

We can feel everything from excitement to anxiety, but the glimmer of that ball, or the glow of the fireworks usually brings a very strong message to us all.

Hope.

Hope for a new tomorrow
Hope for a new opportunity
Hope for a new year full of all we desire
Hope to truly make a difference with our work

So, how do you take all of this in while you are flushing the toilet, too weak to stand?

With all the expectation, what does it mean?
I think the real question is, what are we CHOOSING it to mean?

 

This past week has been one of recovery, and staying home.  I ended up clearing my calendar and staying in to heal and sleep.

It’s been ups and downs, and my mother stayed an extra day to make me magical electrolyte elixirs, soup, and get food in for me.  Having her here an extra day was a lifesaver.

And being home, with low energy, actually allowed me the space to do a few things I had been really wanting to do.

Clearing out old papers in my office
Clearing out and donating cds to the library
Clearing out clothes in my closet
Clearing out my night stand

Do you see a theme here?

It seems this was my journey for coming into 2017.

What is yours?

I went through my own anxiety over having to postpone meetings and several things I had originally planned to do this week, but I knew I needed to heal, and the real question became

What is the gift here?

When I think of how I want to come into 2017, it’s CLEAR.  I want to have space and clarity so I can show up.  I want to be present here for you, for my life and Creativity.

And when I look around at my home now…..my office….I feel something very powerful,

Inspiration.

It would have been very easy for me to spiral with the flu, to believe that how I spent my first moments were a “sign” that my year was doomed.  Instead, I made another choice.

And you have that ability in any moment, at any time.

As you face 2017, it’s not about what will happen TO you, it’s always going to come down to HOW you handle it, and what you decide to make it MEAN.

Your point of power is always in the present moment and sets you up.  Very often, I have heard that what you are experiencing now is a result of the past three months. And I know that is why I was able to clear out this week and open to Inspiration and Hope.

So, what do you want your 2017 to mean for your Creativity?
What are you choosing for yourself?

Look for the gift. It’s always present.