Blend Your Grind

I think I just drank plastic.

I’m pretty sure that horrible sound when I started my blender was the plastic cap…..

GRIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNDDDDDDDDDDddddddd…….

I couldn’t find the top this morning when I went to empty all my ingredients into my blender, and just thought,

It must have fallen down somewhere

OR…it was actually in the blender and just got mixed in with my ice, protein powder, coconut oil, and all the other goodies that make up my daily concoctions on this diet.

My smoothie tasted odd, different.  Something was definitely off, and it wasn’t the daily ingredients.

This was an extra piece that didn’t belong.

So, I emptied the smoothie down the drain, and started fresh, without the plastic cover on the top.  It was a pain, but I figured I could just hold I paper towel over the top to keep liquid from coming out.

The blender worked great otherwise, right?

WRONG.

 

Last summer, right before my 41st birthday, my whole world was turned upside down with the diagnosis of being pre-diabetic.  I went from a dancer’s mentality of loading up on carbs for energy to completely eliminating them.  My whole pantry emptied and was filled with items I didn’t think I would ever have.

My fruit bowl that was normally overflowing with bananas and peaches instead held avocados and squash. Chips, crackers, and popcorn all went away.

Thankfully, I started working with a brilliant biochemical nutritionist who prescribed a protocol that reversed my numbers in 3.5 months.  I was no longer pre-diabetic, but my blood sugar was still right on the cusp and too high.  So, in came her mentor, a integrative medicine doctor who started me on a more intense regiment and a cleanse.

A cleanse with smoothies.

Lots of them.

Before my diagnosis, I rarely drank smoothies.  I did enjoy a chocolate protein drink for breakfast every day, but my blender sat in my cupboard.

For years.

I don’t think I had taken it out once in the three years I’ve lived here, and the blender was actually from my bridal shower for my first marriage….back in 1997.

When I started the smoothies as part of my daily diet and a way to get good fats in my system, I got the old blender out of the cupboard, and it didn’t last long….just a few months.

And then, at the beginning of 2017, I grabbed my Bed Bath & Beyond coupon and bought the cheapest one I could.  With my coupon, the blender was a whopping $15.

That was all I wanted to spend.

I didn’t need anything fancy, right?

WRONG.

 

This $15 blender was a pain from the beginning.  The blades would get stuck, and I would have to pump the buttons to get an even mix.  Most of the time, the smoothies would come out lumpy, and when I would add avocado, the motor would actually burn out.

WHIRRRRRRRRRrrrrrrrrr…

And yet, I kept using it.

When the plastic top cover piece was ironically eaten by the blender, I had a quick thought,

Maybe I should buy a new blender.

And yet I didn’t.

I was determined to make this blender work.

Even though it was not working.

What was I really trying to prove?
What was actually going on?

 

Have you ever done something like this?

Tried to force something to work in your Art that clearly wasn’t?
Have you tried to keep working with people that you know in your gut are not your ideal collaborators?
Or forced a project that was not in integrity with your vision?
Have you seen all the signs and just trudged on anyway, thinking it will change on it’s own?

Most of all, have you cut yourself off from growth in your Creative Life for the sake of saving a few dollars?

Check in for a moment.  What in your Art are you allowing to be hard and take more energy than it needs?

There’s an easy solution, so you don’t have to drink plastic and burn out your motor.

You’d think the day I drank plastic would be the moment I would hop onto Amazon and buy a new blender, but I actually took the impending 28 Day cleanse I started in April to really bring it home.  I was looking at having 2-3 smoothies every day, and that was daunting.

So I broke down and went online.

And there it was….shining and new.  A glass jar, and the same make and model as my friend had recommended.

The price?

$23

Only $7 more than the last one.

The blender arrived and I plugged it in, and saw there was this button,
AUTO SMOOTHIE

I put all my ingredients in the jar, placed the nifty top on, and hit it.

And then magic happened.

The blender ground up the ice, and created the most even and perfect smoothie I have drank since my diagnosis.  All with one touch of a button.

That easy, and all it took was $7.

And there was a LOT in that $7.

There was the belief I could make it work.
There was an attachment to an old way of being.
There was a strong need to control a situation I didn’t feel comfortable in.

The answer?

Actually become present to the situation, recognize my frustration and anger at the cleanse and diagnosis, and then give myself a huge hug.

The old blender wasn’t working.  And I was using money as an excuse.

 

Have you done this before?

I think the real issue underneath was fear.  I was scared to admit I needed to let go.

And recognize I was doing the best I could, and this was not a sign of failure from my effort.

We can become so attached to how things HAVE been, and try to get the results we want, but just putting in more effort.

But more effort doesn’t equate results.  It’s really about the intention behind the effort and the effectiveness of your actions.

It may be as simple as just investing in making a change. Even more so, admitting to yourself it’s not working and it’s time for something new.

One that will free up your Creativity.
One that will be more effective, and allow for flow.
One that will inspire you and connect you even deeper to the reason you became an Artist in the first place.

And it may only cost $7.

As Albert Einstein said,
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results

What can you change today?

Throw away the old blender and bring in what puts you in the flow.

Separation Anxiety

CONGRATULATIONS NIKOL!  You’ve just been hired for the Broadway production of Hairspray!

OH MY GOSH!!  This is my dream!  This is what I always wanted!

Hugging myself in elation, I look at the casting director and say,
Thank YOU! 

 

Sounds amazing, right?

 

It’s 2003.  Hairspray is blowing up the box office after winning the Tony Award for Best New Musical.

I go to see the show, with stars in my eyes, seeing myself up on the stage.  The show is dynamic, alive, and perfect for me. I can’t wait to audition!

So, the day comes, and I show up, along with about 200 other women to sing a whopping 8 bars of music, the equivalent of about 30 seconds.  I belt my face off, and I get a callback!

I’m over the moon, because it’s the first time I’ve been called back by this casting office, which is the top casting office in the city.  Even better, they aren’t just looking at me for the ensemble, but the understudy for one of the lead roles.

They give me this thick packet of songs and scenes and I have a week to work on them.

And I do.

I pour all my energy and heart into the callback material, and a, really excited because not only am I strong dancer, I’m a strong singer too!

And I feel it…this is my BIG chance!

I walk into the callback, and all I see are all these women,
…and all these women,
…and all these women.

I thought because it was an invited call, there would be 20-25 women there.  I thought I had made it to the next level, I thought I had arrived.  Looking around, this was just another cattle call.

And all I could think was,
I’m not competing against a FEW, I’m competing against a HUNDRED! How do I stand out?

I go into the room to learn the combination, and I’m completely in my head.  I can’t seem to pick up anything.  It’s as if I have two left feet. I’m so worried how I’m looking and how I’m going to get kept, that I can’t get back in my body.

My turn comes up, and I completely bomb.
And I’m cut.

Inside my head voices were screaming, “NO!  This show is perfect for me!”

I go up to the associate choreographer, who I know, and beg her to let me stay.  Because she knows me, she gives me another chance.

I learn the second combination, but I can’t see straight. Nothing is making sense, and I get cut AGAIN.

As I walked out of the room, I looked at the women that were being kept to sing, and all I saw was competition.  All I did was compare myself.

I went out onto the NYC street, in the pouring rain and sunk down onto the concrete sidewalk and called my mother, absolutely inconsolable.

What had happened in that audition room?
Why couldn’t I dance?

 

Has this ever happened to you?

It’s your BIG moment, your time to shine and you’ve completely bombed.  You’ve worked so hard and then couldn’t deliver in your performance.

So, what actually happens in this moment?

Well, we go into comparison, and then a process begins;
1) We disconnected from our bodies, shutting down.
2) We then isolate, and put up a wall.
3) Behind that wall, we go into self judgement and shame.

So, how do we meet this and get past it?

The answer is actually something you may not think of at first.
The answer is Your Audience.

Here’s my big idea for you:

You are not separate from your Audience.

 

So what does that mean and how does that help you as you are stuck in competition and shut down in your performance?

Well, let’s play a game! Why don’t we put ourselves in the place of our audience?

So, there they are. They are sitting looking up at you, and they are enraptured. Why? Well, they are enraptured because they are seeing a piece of themselves in you. But what’s important is WHAT that piece IS. It’s something very personal for them and it’s something that they want desperately to live. The only way it’s living in this moment is through you, through whatever that expression is you are putting out.

You’re allowing your audience to access that piece of themselves, giving them the permission slip for life so this part of them doesn’t whither and die.

That’s the effect you HAVE on your audience.

Now…let’s jump back into your body, UP on the stage. What is your role in this? Well, this is the first part of the process, and it means you don’t separate from yourself.

It means you aren’t jumping up into your head, and cutting yourself off, and isolating behind a wall. It means you are grounded in three the solid keys to performance:
1) WHO you are
2) WHAT you are talking about
3) A clear INTENTION behind what you are trying to say.

And it’s because you come to the stage with honesty, that allows your audience member to see you. There is no wall, because you are showing up fully present and clear.

So, you arrive, not separated from yourself, which allows your audience to see and keep that precious part of themselves alive.  Now you have created a beautiful loop that allows you to tell your creative story again and again, and your audience a very real reason to return again and again.

You feel connected and fulfilled, and your audience is raving, because they feel alive from your work.

 

The key to putting your work out to the world is your Audience.

Back in that audition room in 2003, I completely separated from myself, and forgot WHY I was there, and WHO my audience was!  I wasn’t connecting with the artistic team of Hairspray, I was too busy comparing myself.

I found myself in this place time and again in my performance career because I didn’t have the tools to come out of isolation and truly shine.

Everything turned around when I as able to do two things:
1) Take Risks
2) Embrace Imperfection.

This led me to realize, I actually had way more in common with those around me.  I realized I’m not separate from my audience.

We’ve all been there and had our moment in the rain when we have been so hungry to be SEEN and HEARD in our Art.

There’s a way to drop that wall you’ve put up between you and your audience, so you can truly receive the acclaim you desire.

And it begins with seeing what you have in common.

So, come out of comparison, and place your energy on your intention. Place your energy on what is unique and honest to YOU in your Art.

Your audience wants what you have.

So, bust down your walls and connect with them.