The Restoration

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There once was a goddess made of fire. She towered high, enormous in her rage.

Her eyes burned in endless flames and she hurled balls of death and destruction to anyone who came near.

Anyone who threatened her.

Any contact with water would send her screaming as her fingers turned to smoke, her skin to ash. She guarded her black mountain range, ready to attack, just on the edge of the water.

The Fire regenerated her wounds, and without it she was pure darkness.

On her chest, a single black spiral, ending with a hole, a single space where something was missing.

Something she had forgotten.

So her Fire burned on, raging day in and day out, her eyes and mouth gaping holes, blazing yellow, hot, and endless.

Until one day, a young girl appeared who held the key to what was missing. In her small human hands, she held a tiny green stone, with a spiral on it.

And she reminded the goddess of who she was, and placed the stone back where it belonged, in the middle of the spiral, in the hole that had been forgotten.

Her heart.

Within moments the Goddess was restored, erupting in living life, flowers, creation, and glowing green. Her Fire went out, her body filled with lush tropical growth, and a smile returned.  She was restored to who she truly was.  A creative being.

 

This past week I sat with a smile wide, watching Disney’s newest animated feature, Moana. Written by the same team who brought us The Little Mermaid, and with music by Hamilton’s Lin Manuel, the movie was a throw back, traditional in form.

And of course, it was a musical, so I was in heaven.

Moana, the heroine, sang soaring notes, as she sailed the sea. And she sailed with one mission:

To restore the heart, and lift darkness from the land so her island would grow again.

And not only grow, but her people would remember who they truly are. To embrace their ancestry, and return to exploring.

But in order to restore, there had to be a moment before.

Remembrance.

 

95% of second graders say they are Creative.

50% of 5th Graders say they are Creative.

By high school, only 5% of the students say they are Creative.

What happens in that stage from the 7 year old mind to the teenage years?  How do we go from hands clutching colorful crayons to cutting off 90%?

I remember filling my pages in Creative Writing class in third grade, my pencil racing across the lined paper.  I loved writing with all my heart.  As I grew up, I got the very strong message that there was no career or money in writing, and my writing became more and more private.  I would write poems for friends and loved ones as gifts, but my energy started to shift to my performance.

My journal entries became less and less frequent, my poetry only emerging for the holidays.

I forgot.

And a fire was building in me…one fueled by frustration, exhaustion, rejection, and comparison.  I wasn’t where I wanted to be in my Performance Career and life.  And I began to lash out, blame others, and believe I wasn’t worthy. 

I began to believe I deserved to suffer, and I drew into isolation, too scared to share with anyone how much I was hurting.

And then my heart broke in a million pieces, as my life shattered.  And in one giant flame, I burned to the ground.

And then something extraordinary happened……

I remembered.

 

It was when I began to write again that my Career took off.  It was when I began to write again, I found my voice.  It was when I began to write again, I discovered my deeper purpose, and stepped into the Creative I really wanted to be, launching my own company and empowering artists across the globe to success and acclaim.

In this creation, I wasn’t bound by the roller coaster of rejection and elation, feast and famine.

I was ready to explore again, and grow.

I was restored to the third grader who knew all along where her heart was at, and sang it loud and clear for all to hear, like Moana on the sea, with the stone in her hand.

 

So, what have you forgotten?

Which box of crayons do you want, in all their color and glory, and are you ready to pick them back up as an adult?

What is the 90% you have cut off to keep you safe in your blazing fire?

It’s so common to believe we are alone in our struggles, to believe we are Creative islands and must isolate and suffer.  And we can build enormous black walls, stoking our fear, but this is not who you are.

No, you are something far more powerful.

Take a moment and remember.  Restore your heart,  by opening to your Creative beginnings, and exploring again.  

In the 95% you knew, and it’s a memory away.

Reds, Oranges and Yellows

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The day before Thanksgiving.
The day before my whole life changed.

I’m pushing a full cart around Whole Foods in Salt Lake City, Utah.  I’ve just finished a full day of rehearsal for A Christmas Carol, and am ready to fill my fridge for the holiday. I want to have everything prepared, and special.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite days of the year! Hot chocolate, family, fun and laughter!

And this year needs to be the same.  How could it be any other?

My cart is full of pistachios, spaghetti squash, candles, doubles of everything, for me and my husband.  I load up the food and watch it go down the conveyor belt, seeing each item, grabbing a special card, some mints…..do I have everything?

The price arises on the screen at the cashier and my eyes widen.  I’ve never spent this much before, but it’s worth it.

After filling the cab’s trunk with my endless paper bags, I enter my room and lovingly place each item in the kitchen.

I take the bag of pistachios and empty them into a bowl, placing it next to the new autumnal candles.

All is set…….
Indeed it was, but not for the scene I thought would play out.

 

It felt strange to arise on Thanksgiving Day without my husband, but he was flying in, so I made the annual cinnamon rolls, and watched the parade with my fellow cast members.

We can’t wait to meet your husband!

And I waited in anticipation.

Upon his arrival, I was giddy like a puppy.  I showed him all the food I had bought, the candles, and placed the bowl of pistachios in front of him.

Something was off….

And while we were talking, he ate handfuls of pistachios…forming a giant pile of shells on the table, while his suitcase stood unpacked against the wall.

We had a quick turnaround before heading to the company Thanksgiving dinner my director was hosting at her home.  My husband secluded himself in the TV room, and watched football.  This was very odd behavior.  He was also an actor and usually so social.

After dinner, the group all decided to make gingerbread houses, and create teams, having a fun contest.  He declined, saying he wanted to watch football.

As I formed the house with each piece, spreading icing and creating the foundation, I saw his face in the opposite room, the lights of the TV bouncing off a distant expression.

Why was I forming a home without him?
It may have been made of gingerbread and gumdrops, but a tightness that had been building in me for months was rising.

And soon we were heading back to my apartment, leaving the gingerbread house to my director’s daughter who had such a fun time creating it with me.

And upon entering, I was invited to sit down to hear the words that would change my life, on Thanksgiving.

 

I don’t think I want to be married to you anymore
I don’t think I love you anymore

But the fridge is full.
But I bought special candles.
But I got you a bowl full of pistachios.
But….we’ve been married for 14 years.
But……..we’ve been trying to have a family………

And the ground opened up, and all I knew of my life began to burn.

In a fire so bright, flickering like the vibrant leaves falling outside in reds, oranges and yellows.

On Thanksgiving Day.

 

Two months later, I was sitting, weeping in a spacious apartment in New York.  The walls were so white, and the January wind blew outside the glass windows as I huddled in heartbreak.  A friend had introduced me to the apartment’s owner, a writer, who opened her home and invited me in for tea and support.

She listened with compassion to my story and shared her own journey from a deep depression to forming a new life and finding love again. There was so much to take in, I asked if she had any paper I could write down her wisdom on.

She handed me two bright yellow sheets.

I wrote furiously in between my tears all she shared, specifically a tool that had brought her out of her darkness.

Gratitude.

Every day, write down what you are grateful for. Write down your victories.  If your greatest accomplishment was folding laundry, then celebrate.

And so it began.

At first it was a memo in my phone.
Then a writing pad.
Then a journal, and another.

Every day, before closing my eyes, I would reflect on what I was grateful for and celebrate.

And then I started to begin my day with gratitude, turning off my alarm and sitting upright in the darkness, saying out loud, simply,

I am grateful for sleep
I am grateful for this bed
I am grateful for this apartment

And so it began.

The healing.
Building a new life.
Forgiving myself.
Asking for help.

And then Creation, pouring out of me in my performance, in my artistry.  The chakra system, that had been a distant understanding before my divorce, now glowed brightly as I held my belly.  And the color of Creativity?  Orange.

And finding my voice that had been locked for so long, now flowing so freely again in my written word.

Finding my Creative purpose, launching a global business and community to empower artists to success.

Finding and forming a life I never imagined, one so much richer than before.

Finding you.  All on this Thanksgiving Day.

 

I look outside the window of my bedroom at my parents’ house.  There is a giant tree in the front yard, and the sunlight is reflecting off the autumnal leaves, in vibrant colors like fire.

Reds, oranges, and yellows.

The red of that day four years ago, the burning of what used to be, the panic and fear of my former life.  The yellow of those sheets and the wisdom of the writer’s compassion in January of 2013.

The orange of my internal fire, my Creative center glowing in all it’s bright Chakra light.

And the tool that ties it all, and was there even before….when I used to arise with hot chocolate and cinnamon rolls.

The heart of why we gather on this day.

The heart of what I feel for this path.

Gratitude.

It saved my life.

 

Today, I celebrate you, and the path that has led me to you, in all it’s vibrant colors.

Today, I ask…what are you grateful for?