The Restoration

hawaii-shore

There once was a goddess made of fire. She towered high, enormous in her rage.

Her eyes burned in endless flames and she hurled balls of death and destruction to anyone who came near.

Anyone who threatened her.

Any contact with water would send her screaming as her fingers turned to smoke, her skin to ash. She guarded her black mountain range, ready to attack, just on the edge of the water.

The Fire regenerated her wounds, and without it she was pure darkness.

On her chest, a single black spiral, ending with a hole, a single space where something was missing.

Something she had forgotten.

So her Fire burned on, raging day in and day out, her eyes and mouth gaping holes, blazing yellow, hot, and endless.

Until one day, a young girl appeared who held the key to what was missing. In her small human hands, she held a tiny green stone, with a spiral on it.

And she reminded the goddess of who she was, and placed the stone back where it belonged, in the middle of the spiral, in the hole that had been forgotten.

Her heart.

Within moments the Goddess was restored, erupting in living life, flowers, creation, and glowing green. Her Fire went out, her body filled with lush tropical growth, and a smile returned.  She was restored to who she truly was.  A creative being.

 

This past week I sat with a smile wide, watching Disney’s newest animated feature, Moana. Written by the same team who brought us The Little Mermaid, and with music by Hamilton’s Lin Manuel, the movie was a throw back, traditional in form.

And of course, it was a musical, so I was in heaven.

Moana, the heroine, sang soaring notes, as she sailed the sea. And she sailed with one mission:

To restore the heart, and lift darkness from the land so her island would grow again.

And not only grow, but her people would remember who they truly are. To embrace their ancestry, and return to exploring.

But in order to restore, there had to be a moment before.

Remembrance.

 

95% of second graders say they are Creative.

50% of 5th Graders say they are Creative.

By high school, only 5% of the students say they are Creative.

What happens in that stage from the 7 year old mind to the teenage years?  How do we go from hands clutching colorful crayons to cutting off 90%?

I remember filling my pages in Creative Writing class in third grade, my pencil racing across the lined paper.  I loved writing with all my heart.  As I grew up, I got the very strong message that there was no career or money in writing, and my writing became more and more private.  I would write poems for friends and loved ones as gifts, but my energy started to shift to my performance.

My journal entries became less and less frequent, my poetry only emerging for the holidays.

I forgot.

And a fire was building in me…one fueled by frustration, exhaustion, rejection, and comparison.  I wasn’t where I wanted to be in my Performance Career and life.  And I began to lash out, blame others, and believe I wasn’t worthy. 

I began to believe I deserved to suffer, and I drew into isolation, too scared to share with anyone how much I was hurting.

And then my heart broke in a million pieces, as my life shattered.  And in one giant flame, I burned to the ground.

And then something extraordinary happened……

I remembered.

 

It was when I began to write again that my Career took off.  It was when I began to write again, I found my voice.  It was when I began to write again, I discovered my deeper purpose, and stepped into the Creative I really wanted to be, launching my own company and empowering artists across the globe to success and acclaim.

In this creation, I wasn’t bound by the roller coaster of rejection and elation, feast and famine.

I was ready to explore again, and grow.

I was restored to the third grader who knew all along where her heart was at, and sang it loud and clear for all to hear, like Moana on the sea, with the stone in her hand.

 

So, what have you forgotten?

Which box of crayons do you want, in all their color and glory, and are you ready to pick them back up as an adult?

What is the 90% you have cut off to keep you safe in your blazing fire?

It’s so common to believe we are alone in our struggles, to believe we are Creative islands and must isolate and suffer.  And we can build enormous black walls, stoking our fear, but this is not who you are.

No, you are something far more powerful.

Take a moment and remember.  Restore your heart,  by opening to your Creative beginnings, and exploring again.  

In the 95% you knew, and it’s a memory away.

To Brussels with Love

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Walking forward, I can feel my heart beating faster. It’s been so many years since I was here, and yet I see the opening in the buildings. It’s somehow becoming more familiar with each step and my breath quickens.

Walking down a cobblestone street, the traffic of people is picking up, there are more around, until I walk into the giant square, and turn around myself to take in the spires, the steps, the history of this magical place.

I’m in the Grand Place.

I’m in Brussels.

 

I lived outside a small city called Mons, Belgium for three years in my childhood. Brussels was an hour away by train and a very common trip. For me the trip to Brussels was about two things,

Belgian waffles and Godiva chocolate.

I would get a Belgian waffle in the train station and then we would head for the Godiva shop in the Grand Place where I would always get my fruit jellies.

My chocolate obsession came more as an adult. As a kid, it was all about the sweets.

I couldn’t tell you how many times I visited Brussels as a child, but it was a long time until I returned.

Almost 30 years in fact.

Returning as an adult was pure nostalgia and magic. I ate my Belgian waffle, went to Godiva to buy my fruit jellies, and danced around the Grand Place taking in the majesty, and pommes frites. Being able to see the city through the eyes of an adult was very different, and at the time I was able to share it with my husband. It was one of my favorite days together.

I had no idea it was also one of our last.

 

I hadn’t really looked at pictures of this special place until I woke up this week to a text from my friend telling me what happened.

Then, I turned on the TV to see this city through a very different lens.

I saw blood
I saw bodies laying still
Windows blown out
And the ticker across the bottom of the screen

Terrorist attack, 31 Dead

After taking in the news, my response was quick. I texted my family, I texted those closest to me with a simple message,

I love you

There may have been fear pouring out of my TV, but that was not what I wanted to pass on. There was a collective hurting, and I remember what helped me the most when I was in pain.

Love.

What has helped you?

 

A few days prior to the attack, I sat watching a much larger screen, one that took up more than my small wall in my NYC apt. One where I held popcorn in my lap and sat next to my friends.

On this screen I watched all different animals co-exist with mutual understanding. I saw mice, tigers, bulls, hippos, giraffes and lions.

All led by the most unlikely of couples,
A rabbit and a fox

I was watching Disney’s animated creation, Zootopia. The characters may have all been animals, but the themes were purely human. Labels aside, there was no separation between the predators and the prey.

Staring up at the movie screen, I felt I was seeing something large and expansive. A vision far closer to what really ties us together. A vision that was held by every illustrator, writer, designer, and team member of this project.

It reminded me of standing in the center of the Grand Place in Brussels as a child; looking all around and loving being a part of the whole.

It reminded me of you, and what we do when we create. What we have the possibility to do every time we pick up the pencil, brush, instrument or open our mouths.

What will you create today?

Rose Quartz Heart

In memorium to the victims of the Brussels attack and their loved ones.