Creature Comforts

Oh Dear GOD…

There it is.

My skin is crawling.  I’m not even sure if I’m breathing.  My hair is literally standing up on end.  There’s this sickening feeling in my stomach. I’m frozen in time, helpless.

In front of me, my deepest fear.

A spider.

Spindly, large, gross….a million words coming out, all to say,
AHHHHHHHHHH!!

What is it for you?

Snakes
Heights
Public speaking
Rats
Cockroaches

I mean, YUCK!

What makes your skin crawl and you do EVERYTHING in your power to avoid?

I get it, I ran from spiders for most of my adult life, convinced they were pure evil and would kill me.

I mean, HOW could a spider help me?

This was my fear.  This was something to AVOID, not walk towards.

Right?

 

In 2012, I was the dance captain for a production of the musical A Christmas Carol out at the Pioneer Theatre Company in Salt Lake City, Utah.  I loved this musical, and I loved the cast.

But my life was falling apart.

On Thanksgiving, my husband flew out to tell me he didn’t want to be married anymore and was in love with another woman.

I felt as if the world had opened wide, and swallowed me whole. I was in shock, and utterly devastated.

I wanted to scream to the world,
STOP!

I wanted to control the immense change that was happening.

This wasn’t what I planned.

I planned we would go old together.
I planned we would work through any issues.
And most of all, I planned we would have a family together.

In one conversation, I saw all of that disappear.

And I found myself facing my deepest fear,
losing my marriage.

Because, WHO was I if I wasn’t married and trying to have a child?

In December, we had a cast Christmas party, and the company manager brought in a company called.
Creature Comforts

I walked into the party room to large turtles crawling around, and walked over to my fellow dancers who had a giant boa wrapped around them.  I got out my phone to take a picture, as I think snakes are SO cool, and then out of nowhere, a man came up from behind and placed a spider on my friend’s head.

Not just any spider, A TARANTULA.

My whole body froze.  I stopped breathing.  This wasn’t just any spider, it was the mother of all spiders..the largest.

And then I looked behind this man to see a table with FOUR tarantulas in cages.

My worst nightmare.

I was just about to bolt from the room, when a small voice arose,
I always thought spiders were my largest fear, but facing divorce is far deeper.  Since I’m facing that and still breathing, maybe I can finally face this fear of spiders.

I saw an opportunity.

So I walked over to the handler, and asked him to place the tarantula in my hand.

When he first did, the spider started to scratch and crawl in my hand. It was freaking out!  I realized I needed to probably calm down because the spider was feeling my fear.

So, I took a breath.

The spider stopped moving, and was standing in my palm, it’s abdomen shaking, and I realized,
It’s just as scared as I am.

And then a wave of realization came over me.  The spider was NOTHING like I thought it would be.  It was actually soft, light, and fuzzy.

A huge smile came over me, as my fear dissipated, and my friend took a picture.

That picture became my profile picture for months on Facebook, because every time I looked at it, I was reminded,
If you can hold a tarantula, you can do anything.

And anything included,
surviving and healing from a divorce
launching my own successful arts business

Who knew the key was in my biggest fear?

In that moment, my arachnophobia vanished.  It literally disappeared when I realized what I had in common with the spider, and that I was still breathing and ok.  My fear vanished when I LET GO of the woman who ran from spiders.

Who was she anyway?  She was really just made up in my mind.  She wasn’t permanent.

So, what is your biggest fear?

WHO would you become if you no longer had it?
What would be possible for you in your Creative Life?

So often, we isolate and avoid our fears, but the real lesson lies in facing them.  We may have formed a massive belief the fear will harm us, but what we are really avoiding is the FEELING.

If your fear of heights or snakes was faced, and you found yourself still breathing as you skydive or pet a snake, then what other assumptions could be blown apart in your Art?

Perhaps,
No one wants my work
I’m a fraud
My work needs to be perfect to be shown
No one will pay that price for my work
I’m not ready

If these are no longer holding you back, perhaps you would find your fears are actually not harmful, but soft and fuzzy.

You just made them far larger than they actually were.

Maybe even as large as a tarantula.

 

Over the holiday weekend, I was staying at my boyfriend’s house in NJ.  I went into the downstairs bathroom, and caught my breath when I looked in the shower stall to see,

A giant spider.

Instead of running from the room, as I would have done five years ago, I sat down and looked at it. I could feel some of the hairs on my arm rising, the old pattern and memory of fear.

The spider was pretty huge, and I knew I needed to get it outside.

I grabbed a glass from the kitchen, and a piece of mail, and placed the glass over the spider.  As I lifted the spider closer to me, I became surprised at how small the spider looked up close.

It had looked SO large from a distance.

And I found the closer I was to it, the less scary it appeared.  I became curious, looking at it’s markings, as I carried the glass to the backyard.

As I watched the spider crawl in the grass, I marveled at the journey.  I could NOT do this five years ago.  I would have screamed, and ran from the room, shutting the door, and pleading my man to kill it for me.

And I thought of that woman five years ago, who really thought she was keeping herself safe.  And I gave her a hug.  I loved her.  She was doing the best she could.

And I looked at the yard of this house that will be my home, that will house my children, and I remembered that moment holding the tarantula.

Thank goodness for the tarantula.  My biggest fear actually set me free.

The way is always through.
You have everything you need.

 

Get curious around your fears, and turn towards them.  Hold them in your hand, and LOOK at them.

You can’t change what you can’t see.

WHO would you be without them?

WHAT could you create?

 

 

Top Photograph: Caitlin Cannon Photography

Waiting for the Train

IMG_4773

How do we navigate impatience?

How do we navigate disappointment when our efforts seem to be squashed again and again, even with the best intentions?

Weren’t we supposed to BE there by now?

You look up at the clock and all you see and feel is that tick tock….tick tock. And you can feel so hopeless, and that you literally have no control over your dreams.

You can feel like you are in the midst of so many moving pieces, not getting the results you want. And you are frustrated.

So, what’s the answer?

I was walking through a crowded and busy subway station today. Under the belly of New York City, all shapes, sizes, demographics, and ages come together for that speeding train to take us to our destination.

And everyone seems to have a different pace.

Me?  I was moving fast.  I wanted to get to the end of the platform to catch my train and was very focused on this task.  Along the way, I side-stepped those moving slowly, those distracted by their phones, and those walking two by two with a friend.

Those at a different pace than me.

The train came into the station quicker than I expected, before I had reached the end of the platform, so I turned quickly and waited at the door for those to exit, and sat down in the cool air conditioned car. I wasn’t where I wanted to be on the train, but I was on it.

I was going to make it home, just from a different place.

And the question arose,
“Where am I in all of this?”

I began to think of all my years of professionally dancing, and having to constantly be aware of the other performers on stage.  While we had rehearsed and spent a lot of time to perfect the show, spacing was everything. I needed to be aware of my spacing in regards to the other dancers.

I needed to learn how to be a PART of the ensemble, and still accountable for my role.

I had to hone my periphery vision, much like the subway platform.  This is how I got on the train. So, how are you boarding?

When the impatience arises, what is YOUR role in it?

Are you pushing it out of your way, and cursing under your breath?
If you were on the crowded subway platform, would you shove those aside that are moving at a slower pace?

We can’t control others, but we can learn how to be in a world of constant shifts and changes. We can move with the flow, instead of fighting it tooth and nail.

Because what we resist, persists. And change is a constant.

And in truth, the fight is within.  We aren’t battling with the “others” on the subway platform.  We are battling with our perception of our ROLE in it.

You can make a choice in the moment to get caught up in all that is holding you back from putting your work out to the world, and start blaming all the external circumstances.  OR, you can make another choice, one that isn’t grounded in beating yourself and others around you up.

One that is grounded in freedom.

Freedom for your Creativity
Freedom for your Artistry
Freedom for your Dreams

And what if, with all of this, we took a moment and recognized we actually ARE on the train….

We can allow each other, and most importantly ourselves to move at our own pace, and take comparison out of the equation.

We can be accountable for OUR role, and be aware of the space between us and our fellow passengers on the train.

We are all making our way there.  It just may be from a different subway car than you originally expected.

But our Creative Life is happening, every day and the train is moving. Time continues. Your point of power is the present moment. That’s all we really do have.

So choose the role that actually feeds that.