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.

Common Stranger

Gig the Show

Body to Body.
Packed so tightly.

I squeeze onto the rush hour train, the doors opening for a moment to swallow us whole.

In clusters, we reach for the nearest pole, chair, or even the ceiling for some kind of balance.  My arm weaves in between sleeves and purses to grasp on, the totem of various fingers wrapping around the horizontal silver.

Before me, a smaller woman is sandwiched in between everyone else, with nothing to hold onto.  She tentatively reaches out for a person’s shoulder, but withdraws in concern, afraid to hold on, but having trouble with the fast moving car.

She meets the eyes of a woman in front of her who says,
“You can take my hand.”

Their palms meet over the shoulder of another gentleman, as the packed car moves with the sway of the tunnel turns.  They exchange a smile, and then the smaller woman relaxes completely.

And she closes her eyes.

For two stops I watch her holding on in complete trust with a stranger who just offered a hand.  Her eyes closed, she rests in the throng of the crowded car.

The doors open and the good samaritan bids her goodbye, and then a FDNY fire fighter who was watching the same scene offers his hand to her.

He gives her a place to hold on to until she exits in midtown and playfully says,

“Don’t talk to strangers.”

She smiles and thanks him, exiting the car.

At Penn Station, I walk onto the platform out of the silver doors, following the fire fighter, knowing I have just witnessed something both remarkable and common.

I feel warmed by the scene.  I feel warmed by the humanity.

Isn’t this what we are all seeking?

 

Last week I sat enthralled in the audience for Gig The Show, presented by The Performance Project at University Settlement in downtown NYC.  Conceived by Artistic Director Whitney G-Bowley, the piece was a collaborative joyfest with singer/songwriter Jenna Nicholls.

I was supporting two choreographer friends of mine and a dancer who were all a part of the project.

The performance space was large with high ceilings, filled with a packed audience.  The dancers warmed up on the stage taking turns leading, as we sipped wine and beer, settling into our seats.

Already, the fourth wall was down.
Already, we were a part of the evening.

I looked down at my program to see a beautiful black and white illustration, and a short description for the piece:

“Join us on a journey from young love to new.  Each song is matched with another-
The First: A call to action
The Second: A life-changing response.  Looking through the eyes of one woman manifested in many forms, the entire room will face challenges, find joy and grow old together.”

And then, Jenna Nicholls came out with a ukelele, and the spell was cast.

A mix of Madeleine Peyroux, Billie Holiday, and Ziegfeld Follies, her voice enchanted and set the tone from which all the dances emerged.  There were 14 songs in all, shared by 9 different choreographers, and 12 dancers.

Created by many, and unified in concept and intention.

The music ranged from jazz to country to introspective ballad, in varying tempos, and all executed flawlessly by the company.

There was absolute cohesion, and the audience leapt to it’s feet at the end, clapping and cheering as Jenna shared,

“I just want to say how grateful I am to be a part of this show!”

Funny, that’s how I felt sitting in the audience.

I congratulated my friends, sharing in their radiant energy, enjoying their bright beaming faces; their story-driven choreography and powerful ensemble work spilling out of our mouths and bouncing off our skin.

Standing under the warmth of the colored lights, I witnessed something both remarkable and common.

This is what we were all seeking.

 

I remember sitting on a subway car over two years ago, feeling as though I was made of fragile glass.  My purse held stacks of white folded tissues, surrounded in plastic.  I was buying packs of these weekly, using them up daily.  Though it was morning and I was headed to a temp job, the car was not busy, and I stared down at my book, a collection of Rumi poetry, trying to soak in every ounce of inspiration I could.

I may have showered and applied my makeup with care, but I felt far from together.

My bones were lead on the seat, my heart a tiny broken beat in the cave of my chest.  There was a dull ache there, and a cough that reminded me of the fire that was engulfing my life in divorce and loss.

I looked up from my page to see a man across from me with his head in his hands.  He was bent over, his fingers deep in his roots, forming an arc of despair. I had a moment of complete recognition.

He was a picture of how I was feeling inside.

I was flooded with empathy for this stranger, feeling his pain, and knowing I was not alone.  Someone else was struggling today too.  Someone else was riding this subway feeling pain. And I rose from my seat to step into my day, feeling less isolated, and sending this man all the compassion I could.

I was witnessing something remarkable and common.

This is what I was seeking.

 

In me.
In him.
In a vibrant dance.
In an offered hand.

“The entire room will face challenges, find joy and grow old together.”

Witness what is remarkable and what is common.

What are you seeking?

IMG_2133