Wholehearted Art

My heart is pounding.

I’ve stopped breathing as I scroll down my blood test results, looking for that ONE number.

The number that will tell me everything.

The number that speaks into every piece of food I have eaten in the past three months, every liquid I have drunk, and every supplement I have taken.

It speaks into every choice, and the swings of frustration and isolation I felt staring at fruit, pizza, beer, and cookies.

My A1C.

When I finally find it, at the bottom of the third page, I can’t believe my eyes.

I never expected THIS.

It’s the lowest it’s ever been.  It’s a total reversal.  My body chemistry has completely changed.

I stand in shock for a moment, staring at the number, just to convince myself it’s real. And I think,

Oh my gosh…I MADE it.

Have you ever felt this;  that feeling of arrival in your Art?

Do you believe in change?

 

You are pre-diabetic.

Even as the nurse on the other end of the phone was telling me this, I was in complete shock and denial.

I’ve been active my whole life, I eat organic, and I’m thin. How is this possible??

Her diagnosis was confirmed by a bio chemist nutritionist named Kylie Reiffert of KR Nutrition.

And I made a decision in that moment.  I wanted to be healthy, and I would do whatever it took to bring my blood sugar down.

I set my sights on a number, and started working with Kylie last summer.

In one fell swoop, most of what I was used to eating was taken off my plate. I had always had a dancer mentality around eating, and now my body was going to burn fat for fuel instead of carbs.  I mourned my popcorn, chips, and crackers.  I said goodbye to craft beer, and had to learn a completely new way of eating.

I was hungry a lot, and felt really isolated going out to eat, as I struggled to find things on the menu I could eat.

Everything was turned upside down.

In three months time, we were able to bring my A1C down from 5.8 to 5.5.  The range for pre-diabetes is 5.6 – 5.9. This was a HUGE win, as Kylie shared she had never seen anyone do this before.

I went from being pre-diabetic to just under.  I wasn’t out of the danger zone yet, as pre-diabetic starts at 5.6, so the diet continued, and I stayed the course.

And then I plateaued.

The next blood test was exactly the same, and I cried.  It had been a rough four months for me, including getting a nasty stomach flu, and trying so hard to get back to a healthy weight.

But even more so…I felt so discouraged.

Why wasn’t my blood sugar number changing?
Why was it standing stock still?

Have you felt like this in your art?
Worked so hard towards your goal, and see the same results?
Do you set a timeline to achieve your goal and then find yourself at the date with no change?

It can be SO frustrating!

So, what do you do?
Do you believe in change?

 

I was recently listening to this brilliant podcast called the Dharma Ocean. The teacher was speaking into one of the greatest questions we ask, especially as we are working towards our goals.

The goals of,
Publishing your novel
Booking your dream gigs
Selling your Art
Producing your show

and ultimately,
Thriving in your Art.

His question was,
How do we create change?

The answer was very simple,
Commitment.

He spoke into a deeper commitment, a wholehearted commitment.  One that isn’t dependent on what you feel by the day or hour, but transcends swings in moodiness and experiences of pain and pleasure.

Unless your commitment transcends that, it doesn’t mean anything, and we won’t change.

The commitment has to be unconditional.  It means you leave the option to quit out.

It’s really LOVE.  Love for your Art, for your voice, and for the passion that expresses through your words, music, and brush.

This is why it’s wholehearted. 

He had a brilliant ship analogy, saying you get into your boat, you point your ship due east towards your goal, and head there. Your journey is not dependent on the water.  Storms may come and go, you may pass shiny islands with palm trees, but you stay the course.

It can be common to have commitment that is contingent, which translates to
I’m committing BUT leaving options open.

If our commitment is not wholehearted, we won’t make the journey.  And then we won’t experience the fulfillment and fruition of our efforts. In essence, we give up.

And I get it!  We go through SO much on this path.  Some days we feel inspired, and other days we feel we want to run ANYWHERE and hide.  I felt all of this in the last year, and it was compounded by other health issues like a neck injury, building my business, and also experiencing disappointment after disappointment in dating.

But the main point it, whatever we are feeling in that moment, we practice self empathy, allow it to pass THROUGH us, and then come back to the direction.

Come back to the goal.
Come back to the number that tells you everything.
Come back to the journey.

Stay in the Boat.

 

If I had given up, I would have diabetes.
If I had given up dating, I would never have met my incredible man and experienced the love I was hungering for.
If I had given up, I would not have doubled my business in one year and be writing to you.

In one year’s time, I went from 5.8 to 5.0.  This is a miraculous result. I could have given up at the plateau and said, It’s NOT working! It wasn’t easy, I went through some hurricanes, but I stayed the course.  Why?

Because underneath every wave was the belief in our greatest reality,
CHANGE.

Change is constant.  You are changing as you read this.  

And the beauty is,
YOU decide what that change will be.

Believe in change.  Nothing is permanent.

Set your sights on your goal.

And stay in the boat, with your whole heart.

 

 

 

Photography by: Caitlin Cannon

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.