The Gift of Comparison

Have you ever looked at another creative and thought,

They sound better than me
They look better than me
They have got it all together, and I’m a mess!

How does that feel in your body?

Pretty awful, right?

I can remember showing up to dance auditions and dreading if I was put in the same group to dance as certain dancers.  There they would be, with their long legs, perfect bodies, and glowing confidence, and I would panic, thinking the choreographer would never look at me.

Even though I didn’t want to be feeding the voice in my head telling me how I DIDN’T measure up, I would spiral, and as a result have crappy auditions and performances.

Comparison.

UGH!

Comparison is a real issue because it keeps your nervous system in a state of fight or flight.  With every thought of,
this person is better than me
this person has something better than me

your whole nervous system is in fear, because you are constantly monitoring for what is unfavorable.

This is no way to live, my dear one.
And certainly no way to create our best or perform our best.

And this was proven to me time and again.

But there was something magical that happened when I did perform my best.
There was something completely different happening when the choreographer would gleefully hire me.

There’s a way to turn this around, because we ALL feel it. You are not alone, and I want to give you some powerful tools so comparison doesn’t take you out any longer.

 

So, let’s start with the moment of comparison.

You’re looking at someone else and thinking,
they have it and I don’t

If we stopped here, the result would be toxic.  But, let’s allow the comparison to actually point us towards what you DO want.

What is it EXACTLY this other Creative possesses?

Is it confidence?
Is it ease in front of their audience?
Is it a powerful presence in their performance?
Is it words that jump off the page?

Take the comparison as an opportunity to understand what you CRAVE.  And here’s the juicy part…now CLAIM it for yourself.

Give yourself PERMISSION to claim this.

Allow yourself to tap into all that is powerful in you.

For myself as a dancer, I used to marvel at the EASE of these other dancers.  They would remember the combination effortlessly and be able to really PERFORM, bringing themselves to the dance.  They stood out because they were relaxed.

So this was what I worked on. This is what I claimed, and the results were completely different.

Your desires are actually pointing you towards your aliveness, towards your unique light.  Let them REMIND you what you CAN have and embody.

Instead of bringing you down, comparison is actually pointing you towards what needs permission to thrive.
You truly have all you need….it’s all there inside you.

 

Comparison can also be our way of being terrified.  As Creatives and Performers, we can be terrified of being seen, of being magnetic to our audience.

So, comparison can be used as an unconscious way to stay small.

Small in our Art
Small in our words
Small in our actions

Standing in that audition room, looking at another redheaded dancer who has Broadway credits, I would think,
If she really is that good of a dancer, if she really is that talented, then who am I to chase my dreams? Who am I to stand in my worthiness and claim this moment?

Have you ever felt this?

I certainly did…….

Because it can be terrifying to fully FEEL your power as a Creative; to fully feel you are limitless.

SLOW down and ask,
Where am I hiding?
Where am I terrified?
Where am I giving myself an excuse?

And all from a place of empathy.  There is actually no problem here.  There is so much shame that gets put around comparison and jealousy and self deprecation. Finger pointing never works, but inquiry and curiosity does.

I’m here today to lovingly tell you, there’s nothing wrong with you.  You are not broken.  You’ve just been scared.

AND, you have the power to flip it.

When comparison arises, you can say,
I’m comparing!

Then USE it, slow down, and turn the light around.  Shine it within to gain clarity around what you truly WANT and where you are hiding.

 

So, take a moment right now, and write down what you are going to CLAIM starting today.
Use this to bring you back to empowerment.

 

Step out of the shadows.  Your light is brilliant.

 

 

Photography: Caitlin Cannon Photography

Rising From the Fall

I fell down the stairs….

All the way from the top to the bottom.  I was rushing coming down the stairs and had an empty laundry basket in one hand, and my laptop in the other.

A scream cried from my throat, the laundry basket smashed into my skull, and at the bottom of the stairs, my laptop went flying out of my hands into the entryway.

My socks had met the carpet and created a long slide where I couldn’t stop myself or the fall, until my body was at the bottom in a heap.

My fiance came running from the kitchen immediately and crouched at my side, his face contorted in concern,
Are you OK??

I heard the water still running in the kitchen from my fiance doing dishes……and then just went still.

Quiet, I asked the most important question to myself,
Am I ok?

 

The summer after I graduated Penn State, I was hired to be the dance captain and play one of the supporting roles in Stephen Schwartz’s musical Children of Eden for Centre Stage Theatre.

I loved this musical!

Our director was the brilliant Jack Parkhurst, who returned for the professional production after helping us with the workshop two years prior.

There was a lot of dancing in the show, and we were rehearsing one of the largest numbers, where I was wearing heels.

I had a history of weak ankles, and sure enough…..rolled over my ankle, twisting it horribly.

I went down immediately, started crying from the pain, and could feel all the fears coming up,
Did I break it?
Will I be able to dance?
Can I still do the show?
What is everyone thinking of me??

Have you ever felt this when you fall?

The director came rushing over, and took off my shoe, saying he actually knew Reiki.  I had never heard of Reiki before, and he placed his hand on my ankle and said,
I want you to let all your pain flow into my hand

I looked at his hand, and did as he requested.
And something magical happened…..I felt the area loosen, I felt the pain dissipating.

How was this happening?

He had me sit on the side for a bit with ice, but by the afternoon, I was back on my feet again.  The swelling went down, and I was able to dance.

 

What happens to you when you fall?
What’s the first thing that pops into your head?

And falling can look many ways in our Creativity.

It can be rejection.
It can be something going wrong and ruining your work.
It can be set backs, and cancellations.

At the root of a fall, is the feeling of fear.

When we fall, we have lost control.  Things aren’t going the way we want, and most of all, we are dealing with surprise.

At the core, we are dealing with SHOCK.

One minute you are up and the next you are down.
It can be deeply unsettling.

Wouldn’t it be nice if when we are up, and everything is going our way, that is STAYS that way?

Yet, this does not seem to be the case, and as we grow in our careers and take more risks, we find ourselves falling.

So, what can you do?
How can you deal with the SHOCK and the FEAR and be able to get back up and dance again?

How do you go from the crumpled heap at the bottom of the stairs to walking again?

 

My fiance’s face was looking down at me with deep concern, and I didn’t move.  I stayed still and checked in asking,
Am I ok?

After checking in, I knew I hadn’t broken anything, but my body was in shock from the fall.

So, I said yes to the Shock, and remembered Jack Parkhurst holding my ankle.

I let the shock roll through me, and began to shake.

All the fear and energy that had gathered in my body as I slid down the stairs started to dissipate.

I let it go. I let it move through me, and once I was done shaking, I moved to the floor and lay on my back, and then the tears came.

I cried.  I expressed my fear to my fiance, the fear of falling down the stairs, and my deep desire to feel safe in this home I’ve only lived in for five months.  I let all my fears and desires come to the surface.

And then, once the tears stopped.….my fiance lifted me, and I took my first steps.

So often in the moment of shock, we want to jump to something CERTAIN. We’re scared, and don’t like being in this place of not knowing. And trust me, I get that!

What if you just FELT the SHOCK?
What if you let the shock move through your body and let your body shake it out naturally?

Shock is usually the first response, and then comes the emotion.  What commonly occurs is we ATTACH to the emotion that arises OUT of the shock and believe that’s the answer. We believe the emotion is fixed and will be there forever.

This hurts, therefore it will always hurt.
I’m in pain, therefore I will always be in pain.

I’ve been rejected, therefore I will always be rejected.

But I have a gift for you today.

Change is the constant.  You are not a fixed being, you are a creative force.  That means that in every moment you are changing, you are shifting.  Your cells are realigning.

Your body WANTS to be whole.
And in this wholeness, comes your most powerful expression.

So, next time you experience shock from a fall, try this instead,
* go quiet and give yourself space
* check in with yourself and ask, Am I ok?
* let the shock roll through you
* allow yourself to shake and process
* say yes to the powerful emotions and express them in a skillful way to a loved one or using journaling.
* Slowly rise, and take a new step

 

The way is always through.

When you take that first step, you get to begin anew. The fall is now is the past, and here you are.
How will you use this moment?

I’ll meet you at the bottom of the steps, holding out my hand.

Tap into your limitless resources, creativity, and flow.

Slowly rise, and take a new step.