Your Five Closest

Have you ever felt completely depleted?

You feel low energy, and as you stare at your Art projects, there is an emptiness…a lack of inspiration.

And this feels so icky! Your Art is your heartbeat and passion.

What is going on?

The muse has left the building, and it can feel very lonely.

So what do we do in that moment?
How do we turn it around to return to that place of energy, joy, and creative flow?

How do we go from feeling stuck to inspired action?

A few weeks ago, I went to see a close friend present her choreography at Martha Graham.  It was a very special night, as she was showcasing work that had taken two years to compile.

At the end of the show, the audience leapt to the their feet, and as I stood cheering, I became aware of one woman in the back, shouting very loudly. Turning to see who it was, my whole stomach dropped.

Standing clear as day was a woman who used to be my friend, who used to be one of my closest confidants, and even a fellow performer.

We shared years of secrets, tears, triumphs and tribulations….until it all ended, right in the wake of my devastating divorce.

A friend no more, I hadn’t seen her in years, and instantly I could feel my body tighten.

Would she say anything to me?
Would I say anything to her?

I hadn’t seen her when I came in, and now with hindsight it made perfect sense she was here.  Of course, she is also close friends with the choreographer.

Friends with her….not with me…anymore.

And for very good reason.
She stopped being a healthy support for me.

She was the only friend who thought I should do a trial 6 month separation in the face of infidelity and a man telling me to my face he didn’t love me anymore.

She defended my ex when I laid  myself at her feet, sharing how devastated and broken I felt.

I felt invisible in her presence.
I felt like my words didn’t matter….

And most of all, as I started to truly open up about my shame and vulnerability, she wasn’t interested. She wasn’t a safe harbor anymore.

In simplest terms, we were no longer on the same page.

I wanted to grow, she didn’t.

So, we ended the friendship…mutually, and never spoke again.

And I went on to create many new friendships, deepen the most loving ones, and build a whole new life where my Art actually nourished me, instead of drained me.

My new friendships reflected where I was NOW, not where I was before.

And that evening, among the throngs of people at the Martha Graham studio , no words were exchanged.  Our eyes never met….we both knew.  We had both moved on.

 

Who supports you?
Do they understand your passion and Art?

Do you feel like you are spending all your time convincing them?

That can be really draining.
That can be exhausting.

And if they are close to you, it can really affect not only the quality of your Art, but your ability to actually get out there and promote yourself, connecting with your audience.

One of the most famous quotes rings very true here,
You are the sum total of the five people you spend the most time with.

So, take a moment and take stock.

Who are you surrounding yourself with?
What are they saying?

Are they criticizing you and bringing you down?
How do you feel in their presence?
Energized and inspired, or exhausted and depleted?

As Artists, our power is in community. YOUR power lies in support and fellow Artists who not only GET you, but lift you to do your best, to express your heart, and to step forward fearlessly with your unique voice.

And here’s the part that I missed for SO long….we do this TOGETHER.

Specifically, we do this with Artists who are on the same page.

They want to be Untoppable
They want to create their best work
They want to move the audience

Like you.

Negative, blaming, and critical energy can be so draining.

Find your people who inspire you, who energize your muse, and who hold your path of GROWTH as absolutely vital.

We are constantly changing and becoming with every day!  This is the joy of being an Artist, because we have the ability to express this.

So, take stock.  Release those who are more interested in blaming and staying stuck.  Release them with grace and know,
you are not alone.

Let’s rise together.

Choose those closest to you with care.

This is your precious life.

Who do you want to share it with?

Meeting Elizabeth

Do you ever just wish someone would just tell you what you need to do to receive the acclaim you desire?

Do you fantasize of your own personal fairy godmother or godfather just appearing with a magic wand and waving all the frustration and overwhelm away?

They would say,
Voila!

Even better, what if that fairy godmother was a celebrity, some artist you have looked up to for so long, someone you LOVE everything they do, and would just DIE to have a conversation with them? Imagine having your burning questions answered!

Wouldn’t that be incredible??

Who is that for you?

For me, it’s best-selling author Elizabeth Gilbert, and last week, my dream did come true.  Not only did I get to meet her face to face, but she answered a very profound question for me.

One I imagine you have too…

One I think ALL artists struggle with.

 

One of my first friends that opened her apartment to me in the face of my divorce was a Broadway dancer named Nova. She was going out of town and offered me the keys to her place for two weeks.

It was January of 2013, and my whole world was falling apart.  I was trying to catch up with the fact that my 15 year marriage was over, that I had been lied to for months, and my dreams of being a mother were disappearing fast.  I was trying to wrap my head around mediation, selling my apartment, and extracting myself from a life that took 19 years to build.

When I arrived at Nova’s apartment, after she handed me the keys, she handed me something else, a book:
Eat, Pray, Love.

I looked down at the paperback cover, and all my former judgements came rising to the surface.  When the book was first released, I was a married woman, and remembered thinking,
I don’t need to read this!
I’m a happily married woman.
This has nothing to do with me.

The irony hit me square across the jaw.

Now…this book had EVERYTHING to do with me.

Tears in my eyes, I took the book, thanking Nova.
I read it cover to cover within days.

The part that went through me was Elizabeth’s 10 Steps to Letting Go.

I remember reading them, and thinking,
I’m not there yet….but someday I will be.

I got out a small yellow writing pad, and wrote them all down.  When I moved into my own place six months later, I placed this yellow pad on my desk, and would re-visit it every couple of months.

As I began to heal, I would slowly go through these steps…one by one…..until they were done.

I let go.

I let go of the deep heartache.
I let go of the self hatred.
I let go of the judgement towards myself and my ex.
I let go of my old life, that old wife.

I said goodbye…..and began to open my heart, ready to call in my life partner.  A far different man.

A man who would take me to meet Elizabeth Gilbert in person.

And then ask me to marry him.

 

My man gave me tickets to see her speak for Christmas, but it was only a few weeks ago, he shared there was a bigger surprise….the tickets were VIP and we would be able to meet her in person!

I was over the moon, and lined up with dozens of other women to have a few minutes with her before the general admission was allowed in for her talk.

The first thing she did was open her arms, and embrace me.  The hug was deep and genuine, and then I was able to pull back and say the words I have been waiting to say for five years,

Thank you.

I thanked her for Eat, Pray, Love.  I told her what a profound effect her writing had on my healing from my divorce, and then my man came forward, and I shared that she helped me call the love of my life in.

Her energy was so open, and loving.  She was fully present. We were able to get fantastic pictures with her, and then we exited the theatre, and BIG MAGIC occurred…..my man got down on one knee and proposed…..

And I said YES:)

 

Elizabeth gave one of the most powerful talks that night, and then opened up the floor for questions.  Directly to my left was the mic, and I saw my chance, to ASK Elizabeth my burning question.

Stepping to the mic, I first thanked her for the night, and then asked what was on my heart, what I imagine so many other writers and creators would LOVE to know,

Elizabeth, what have you found to be the most important part of your process that you would offer as a piece of advice to another writer?

Elizabeth took a moment, bowed her head, and then raised it with three words,
Do it Anyway.

She shared how important it is to release your inner critic, and just do it anyway.  Write the story, write what is coming out.  Who cares what anyone thinks?! Who you are when you begin the writing is not who you will be when you complete it.

Do It Anyway.

Create.

Put it Out There.

Let others say what they will…..do it anyway.

You will be changed by your expression…trust THIS.  Trust the process. Whether you are scared, terrified, or doubting yourself….do it anyway.

What have you held yourself back from creating?
What have you allowed the critics to keep you from doing in your Art?
What have you let Fear take over?

What is that story that is burning in you?

Elizabeth may be one of the most inspiring examples of absolute honesty.  What I found so incredible was how her writing and speaking were the same.  She really was very genuine, and her writing reflects that, as does her audience.

It’s no surprise the night was sold out, and the line to meet her in person wrapped around the theatre.

If she had not told her story, think of all those women who’s lives would not have been touched….
Mine would not have been touched.

We don’t know the future, so stop trying so hard to control it.

Get out your paper.
Get out your canvas.
Get our your camera.
Get our your instrument…..

Do it anyway.

 

Take a moment, and center back to WHY you became an Artist in the first place.  Release the craziness in your mind. You are not your fears.

Take YOUR 10 steps to let go,

And do it anyway.

And watch the BIG Magic occur.