Coming Home

I’m in a room.  The same I am in every morning at 6:30 am.  A brown couch behind me, and a TV in front. The door is shut and in the distance I can hear my brother playing Mozart in the living room.

I open my music stand, adjusting the height, my small fingers clicking the lock into place, and for a moment the overhead light flashes silver before I place a large book on top.

Suzuki scales.

Bending down, I open my case and take a deep breath, almost holding it, because all I hear as my hands lift my violin to my chin is a loud voice in my head saying,

I’m not good enough

And then my small bow hits the string, and I go through my practice, stretching my short fingers. Gotta get it in before I catch the school bus for second grade.


Remember childhood?

What was yours like? Did you begin your Art when you were young?

I grew up in a military household that was very musical.  My mother told both my brother and I we would take an instrument, and we could pick whatever that was. He chose piano.

For some insane reason I chose violin.

I used to always say that I never really excelled at violin because we moved around so much and each time we would come to a new military base, I would have a new teacher that would say,

Forget everything you’ve been taught. What you are doing is wrong. This is the proper technique.

But recently, I think I have been able to really get to the heart of it.  And I was surprised to learn that my violin and the feelings around it were actually the key to me moving forward in my Artistry and being successful.

I was a very artistic child, and was also in dance class and loved every minute of creative writing.

But the violin?

It always felt hard, and most of all, I felt like I couldn’t catch up or do it right.

What was it for you?
What was giving you that message as a child?
How has this affected you as an adult Artist?


I recently worked with a powerful coach named Tom Tynan, who led me through his process to uncover my core limiting belief, and when I wrote it down, I knew it was true…..even though it felt so cliche.  But there it was, in my own writing…

I am not enough

And in his process, he led me back to the child part of me that first had that belief, and guess who I met?

The 7 year old practicing violin every morning.

In all her glory, and with her best intentions to try and be lovable, and do right, be a good daughter and be a great musician…..she would get up every school morning to practice for 30 minutes.

But she never felt it was good enough. Her teachers weren’t reinforcing that, and it wasn’t joyful.

Not like writing…not like dance…not like singing in the church musical and playing a kazoo loudly for all to hear.

So, what did I do when I met her?

I hugged her.
I told her, “you are amazing!”

And she beamed, and hugged me back.  And then, I told her it was time to come home.  She didn’t have to be in isolation anymore. She could be a part of me and no longer feed the belief that I’m not enough.

Now, I could ask the question instead,
How AM I enough?


As artists and creatives we can have a very strong inner critic. And we have to ask the question, where did this begin from?

We are fully formed by the time we are 7 years old, and while the adults around us all had the best intentions and were working with whatever tools they had, our innocence can really suffer.

Especially with the Arts.

Our expression is very emotional, and can get tied up in our self worth.  We care so deeply about our dance, our music, our words, and art.

And the good news is, it can nourish us and feed us as we grow to create incredible work in the world.

But, take a moment to ask, what is that voice saying to you?

Or better yet, what is that voice truly asking FOR?

My career ended up being in musical theatre, and now with my business I use my writing a lot.  While I did choose violin as a six year old, it may have been because that is what was going to eventually open me to believing the most empowering belief,

I am enough.

And isn’t that what we are truly looking for as Creatives?

Enough to connect with our audience
Enough to put our work out to the world
Enough to stand center stage in the spotlight and been seen for all our glorious gifts
Enough to truly thrive and make a solid living doing what we love

And what’s more loving than embracing that inner child that has been calling to be seen?

So, take a moment and listen….tune in and get curious.  Close your eyes and see where your inner critic began….and find that child that wanted more than anything to express themselves with abandon, crayons in hand.

Give them a hug, and bring them home.

And then share your glorious voice.

Your Coffee Break

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If I can’t take
My coffee break
Somehow the soul no longer tries
Somehow I don’t metabolize
Something inside of me
Coffee or otherwise
Coffee or otherwise
Something inside of me

Ring true?

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying made its Broadway debut in 1961, sharing the story of one man’s quick and inventive rise within corporate culture, filled with heart, big dance numbers, and lots of humor. The musical inspired a movie in 1967 and then went on to have two Broadway revivals, most recently starring Mr. Harry Potter himself, Daniel Radcliffe.

The show has had continued success because while offices have changed since 1961, human behavior has not, and neither have certain elements of the work culture.

Like coffee.

In the first act, one lone employee walks half asleep up to the coffee machine to find it empty, and while confusion is the first response, soon the whole office has gone into absolute hysteria.

No coffee?
No coffee?!?!

The stage fills with reaching arms and desperate pleas for that:
One chemical substance…
Gets out the lead

Ring true?

This past week I took an advanced theatre dance class with Choreographer Jeffry Denman. He was actually in the first Broadway revival of How to Succeed in 1995 and decided tonight we were going to dance to this comedic song.

Before the choreography began, we had several counts of improvisation to get us into place, a chance to basically embody the characters.

Most of us went for Night of the Living Dead, slowing moving forward like the zombie who feeds on caffeine.

Chuckles ensued as we all went glass-eyed with arms stretched out at odd angles, all heading towards the phantom cup.

We were all making the same choice.

Then Jeffry challenged us,
Do something different.
Do what no one else is doing.

I heard that and immediately began to run about the room, looking everywhere for the coffee, upending clothes and bags.

We did the dance several more times, and each time I made a new choice for the beginning. I stared at the mirror, I had hallucinations, I broke out into endless giggles, and I even prostrated myself calling out to God….anything that was a different choice than the first one.

And all of them served the same purpose, because everyone has a different way of expressing shock and withdrawal, right?

After class, the teacher came out to introduce himself to me and remark how much he enjoyed my choices.

Now THAT was different for me.

For most of my performance career, I chased after directors and choreographers, saying,
Look at me!

I felt like I was waving my arms to get their attention and while sometimes it worked, most of the time I just felt disappointed and unheard.

Didn’t they see my brilliance?

Apparently not, because I was too busy shoving it in their face.  I used to look around the room first and see what others were doing, or have a great idea but be too scared I would just look stupid.

So what was the difference?

When Jeffry asked us to improv and make new choices, I just did it. I knew what the song was about and started to have fun.

I opened my creativity.

What was missing?

Self judgement and a need for external validation.

Ironically, it was when I was just staying in the moment and the process that all the ideas came to me, and ultimately a connection was made with the choreographer. I wasn’t trying so hard.

Ring true?

We are all creative beings. We have tons of ideas and we want to connect with our audience. But when the ONLY reason we are creating is for the validation, the audience can feel that. They may not know what is off, but something just doesn’t seem right.

Something doesn’t ring true.

And if we can be in our bodies and allow the initial inspiration to just express itself, then we actually will connect with our audience, and it will be in a way where they will want to return. And return, and return.

What you bring to the process is what sets you apart.

So trust it, and don’t let that die.

Truth is, you aren’t a zombie. Thank goodness!

So how can you bring back the play in your creativity? Answer in the comment section below!