Waiting for the Train

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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.

How to Find Calm in the Chaos

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Calm is possible in the Chaos.

And the way there is probably the opposite of what you would expect.

In our Creative lives, chaos can come in so many forms, and often feels like we have no control.  We pour our hearts into our work, and rejection can feel so personal.

I hear so many artists desire:
consistency
security
stability

So, it’s no wonder we begin to grasp tightly to the familiar, to what is known, and start to hold our work closer to our chest.

If putting ourselves out there time and time again was only bringing disappointment and rejection, why would we continue? We’ve been traumatized by the waves of rejection, so better to take a back seat.

But, are you truly getting what you want?
Are you where you want to be in your Creative Life?

Maybe there is a better way…..

I recently sat wide-eyed in a dark movie theatre, fingers reaching eagerly into my popcorn bag as I awaited Pixar’s new movie, Finding Dory.

Before every feature presentation, Pixar always shows a animated short.  Though short in length, these usually hold enormous depth. There is a reason they win the Oscar almost every year, and a reason billions of theatergoers globally support their work.

It’s humanity at it’s best.

As the opening scene began on the new short, Piper, my whole body filled with glee.  The film was about a sandpiper.  I’m an avid bird watcher, and I turned to my friends besides me and whispered excitedly,

This is made for ME!

What I didn’t expect was how TRUE that was.

Little Piper was afraid to come to the ocean’s edge. His mother coaxed from the shore, and finally Piper joined his mother to learn how to forage clams on his own.

Unfortunately, a giant wave knocked Piper over, and soon he was ruffled, frozen, and petrified back in the safe grass.  He had been taken by surprise and he didn’t know what to do in the chaos of the waves.  He didn’t know how to swim.

His answer? To stay on the shore.

But, Piper’s food source was at the ocean’s edge.  He couldn’t survive or grow in the grass.  The clams were in the ocean.  So, now he had a choice.

Gingerly stepping towards his fear, Piper was bowled over by a minute crab, running directly into the waves. Shock and disbelief widened Piper’s eyes, as he watched the small crab dive head first into the abyss.

How did he do that and survive? Well, the crab had a secret.

When the waves approached, he would just burrow himself in the sand.  He would ground himself, so the waves didn’t take over.

Piper tried this, and as the waves crashed over him, he opened his eyes in the midst of the chaos….and you know what he saw?

Beauty.

It was gorgeous beneath the waves. It was actually calm and peaceful.  And food was everywhere. What he thought waves were, was replaced by a new experience, one he felt free and empowered in.

Piper began to grab every clam in sight, gleefully pulling them up on shore.  He filled not only his belly, but the bellies of his whole Sandpiper family.

And his former fear? Washed away.
His chaotic mind telling him he had to stay in the grass? Calm and clear.

So, where are you hiding in the grass?  
Where have you decided the waves are too much in your Creative Life?
When your mind begins to spiral, do you know how to ground and find your floor?

It took a tsunami for me to learn this lesson.  As I stared up at the movie screen, I remembered myself, gasping for air in the midst of complete chaos.

I remembered feeling like I was drowning in the face of my divorce, my heartbreak, and losing the life I had built for 19 years.  But, like little Piper, I too had a teacher who gave me the most powerful visual during that time.

Imagine yourself on the bottom of the ocean floor, looking up at the waves, and simply repeat,

This does not reflect on me.

This visual and mantra saved me.  It offered the beginning tools to silence, to stillness, and ultimately to my Zen practice, which grounded me. And you know what I saw from my ocean floor?

Beauty
Calm
Peace

I knew the only way was THROUGH.  The answer was actually IN the waves, not on the shore. I was not the chaos.  I was only observing it.

So, I ventured again and again….and I was fed, I grew, and so did my Creative Life.  Not only did I create a whole new life for myself, my performing transformed, and I took the risk of becoming a CEO.

I would have NEVER found that on the shore.

I would have never found you.

As Creatives, we are alive in that moment we are willing to try something new.  But we don’t leap headfirst with eyes closed and no awareness, we dive in with tools.

And it is in that moment of waves crashing over our heads, that we can ground and truly find what we have been wanting all along.  Look for the teacher, and open to the beauty of what you are really capable of.

Come take a swim…the water’s amazing. Piper and I can’t wait to see you there.

 

Now I want to hear from you!  How can you ground in the waves, and create a new experience? Share in the comment section below.