Your Creativity Test

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Which of the following multiple choice questions would apply BEST to the correct answer?
A….
B…..
C…..
D……

And you look at the clock.

How would you describe this situation BEST?
A….
B……
C…..

Shift in your chair, stare at the clock, scratch an itch, and sigh deeply. How many MORE of these do you have to answer?

Dear God….there are 155 questions and you’re only on question number 45. And you already want it be over.

And in it creeps.
I hate tests
Why do I have to do this
What is the point?

Have you been here?  Staring at a screen or blank piece of paper, finding yourself shutting down?

What if the test is something else, like meeting a writing deadline or submitting your creative work for consideration, or completing your project?

Tests come in many forms with your Creativity. They come in many forms in your life.

And the question we often find ourselves asking is:
Why the heck is it is taking SO LONG??

 

Last week I sat down to take an online test for my ICF accreditation. ICF is the International Coaching Federation and as I had completed all my hours and my mentoring sessions with my coach, this test was the last piece. I had an idea it would take some time, but felt pretty prepared.

I was excited. I had put in a lot of time with my studies and mentoring, and was looking forward to the official accreditation to validate my intentions and efforts, and take
me to the next level as a coach for my clients.

So, I dived in.

I had three hours to complete the test and thought,
There’s no way it will take that long!

And then I saw there were 155 questions.

It began smoothly, but I began to fidget and become frustrated with the questions. So many were written in corporate settings and all my training and experience has been in the private sector.

I wasn’t seeing myself in these questions.

I began to fidget.
And I began to get frustrated.

And I began to slow down.

I found myself saying the questions out loud, trying to make sense of it, and starting to doubt myself. And an inner voice started saying

Who are these questions for?
Why aren’t they including me?

And I slowed down even more.  I was coming up against a wall.

This wasn’t what I usually experienced! I was valedictorian in school, I practice meditation. Why am I having so much trouble?

And then I stopped and realized…THIS was the test.

Could I take a moment and be aware of what was getting in my way, take a breath, release it and then move forward?

Yes….it was just taking longer than I thought.

Two and a half hours later, I hit the final button and received the message congratulating me,

You passed!

Indeed. This had been the end goal.

What if I had stopped?
What if I had thrown up my hands and yelled and screamed?
What if I had spiraled down into the anger and belief I was being “wronged”, and didn’t finish in the three hours?

Maybe then I would believe I was a quitter. Maybe then I would just avoid it all together.

And what would happen to all that work and energy I had put into my training?

What happens to all the work and energy you’ve put into your Creative Craft?

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Meet Billy Porter. He’s a Tony and Grammy award winning singer, been in countless Broadway shows, directs, composes, and is a playwright. He’s one of the most celebrated performers on the Great White Way today working across all mediums.

In a recent interview he said:

“For me as an artist, the best thing that ever happened to me was the lack of work. The best thing that ever happened to me was that it didn’t turn out the way I thought I was ENTITLED to have it be, because I was talented. You know what I mean?

Everybody’s talented once you get to a certain level. Everybody in the room can sing. Everybody in the room can act. Everybody in the room is cute.

So, what makes YOU different, what makes you stand out?

What makes you rise to the top above the rest?

It’s  about showing up.

It’s about having the courage to try new things, to create your own project, to create your own work. Right now I’m working with this director and we are doing plays in a living room. If you’re not interested in doing plays in a living room then you can’t be interested in doing a play on Broadway.

You have to be willing to do your work anywhere. You can not WAIT for anyone to give you permission to practice your work.

You have to be practicing all the time.”

All the time.

So, where do you stop and slow down? Can you view each challenge and moment of “this isn’t how I thought it would be” to act as information instead of feeding a belief you are not capable?

What if you showed up, regardless?  That belief you are not capable would probably get blown out of the water. You may star on Broadway, you may get a coaching certification, you may even decide to launch a business based on your Creative Spark.

This is YOUR test. Take a breath, come back to the practice, and rise.

Rise to the top and create anew.

Two Years, Two Lights, One Plate

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I was there when the second plane hit, I saw it with my own eyes. It was such a sunny September day in New York City.

This week, walking into Union Square in New York City, I looked skyward and saw them, two shining beams piercing the sky, a memorial that blazes the skyline every year the week before September 11.  And it all came back.

The day, and my journey.

While there were many ways I processed the grief and senseless hatred of this act, where I found my truest voice was in dance and writing.

These are my creative HOMES.

What’s yours?

Three years ago, on September 11, 2013, I danced in the Table of Silence Project, choreographed by Jacqulyn Buglisi at Lincoln Center in New York City.  It was so powerful, I agreed to perform two years in a row, returning again in 2014.

This is the gift we have as Creatives.  It’s what we express and the change we inspire.  The Table of Silence has been performed every year since 2011, and is broadcast across the world.  The audience has reached the millions, offering a message of peace.

What I didn’t expect was how dancing in the Table of Silence would actually heal me on a much deeper level.  I began with one intention, and was gifted something far more powerful.

The belief that I could do more. The realization that I had something to give, and I wasn’t alone.

It was after dancing in the Table of Silence that I decided to launch my own business.

Here is my original entry from September of 2014. At that time, this was just a blog with no inkling of a business. My audience has grown 26x since then……I have grown in ways I never thought possible.

What waits for you?

 

My White Plate

(edited)

 

“Repeat after me, I am a miracle.”

I am a miracle.

“Hand over your heart, I am a miracle!”

I AM A MIRACLE.
 
We stand in rows of ten, twelve deep, dressed in white, and all eyes and ears on the woman up front, our director and guru, Jacqulyn Buglisi.  She is leading us in rehearsal for The Table of Silence Project.  Her company members from Buglisi Dance Theatre walk throughout to help with the movements, give correction, and answer questions.

We beat our sternums, singing out, and let the vibration ring through the cavernous studio space.  We clap our hands in front of our mouths, only fingers touching, and then bring our hands out, palms offering the sound, forearms perpendicular with our bodies.  Our bare feet stand firmly on the floor where we add our intention to share our message through dance with our audience.

We offer our expression, we offer our silence.

 

I was on the N train in Astoria heading towards Queens Plaza to transfer to the express train.  I had only lived in NYC for three years and had my second day of jury duty.  As I was a Queens resident, I had to report to the courthouse pretty far out.

I had spent my first day trying to look as dour and pissed as possible so I wouldn’t be picked.  So far, the strategy was working.

The N line is an elevated train out in Queens, and I stared out the window at the smoke billowing from the one of the towers of the World Trade Center.  It was churning out in large black puffs and I got out of my seat to try to understand.  I heard a woman on her cell phone say something about an airplane, but all my brain could process was there had to be an explosion.

Suddenly the second tower was engulfed in fire and smoke. From my vantage point, I only saw the impact, and couldn’t comprehend what was happening.

When I arrived at the courthouse, every TV was on and people were standing, staring blindly at the images.  My eyes widened as I took in the reality of the attack.

We were excused pretty quickly and the subways had already shut down, so everyone was bee-lining for buses.  They were all packed, and I lined up with others to get on whatever came next.  This was my only way home.  As I walked out of the courthouse, I got the word,

The First Tower is Down

I felt my stomach drop into my heels, and my legs stopped working.  I stood on the concrete outside the courthouse, and for a moment everyone rushed by me, running for the buses.  There was a horrible smell in the air, and black was streaming across the blue sky.

One question arose,

“What is going to happen?”

I got on the first bus I could, and everyone had the same frantic look in their eyes.  People were trying to call friends and family and the lines were getting jammed.  I was trying to call one of my closest friends to make sure she hadn’t gone into Manhattan, and I was just getting a busy signal.

I turned to the stranger next to me and saw myself in her.  I asked her where the bus was going and she asked me where I needed to go.

We were all lost in the confusion of this attack, a community formed out of survival.

Through their help, I got off and followed the subway tracks home.  I sat on my couch, watching the one station still broadcasting, and wept for the lives lost, for the fear, and for the destruction.  Ash filled the New York sky, and I curled into a ball, mourning the loss.

These two towers held some beautiful memories, and now they were a massive graveyard of twisted steel and burning death.
 
The following day, my neighbors held a candlelight vigil on the sidewalk outside our apartment.  We came together to comfort, as the city did the same.  People streamed into the island to help, and to search.

As I witnessed this community, I felt for the first time this was my home.  We were leaning on each other for strength, and holding each other in grief.

 

This is my second year dancing in the Table of Silence Project.  Last year I placed white powder on my face to signify ash, and walked on Lincoln Plaza with over a hundred dancers. In the face of divorce , robbery, and the sudden death of a dear friend, I felt I had burned over and again in my loss.

In the first year I performed, I cried deeply, feeling my heart so broken.

Jacqulyn’s words were a beacon to me, reminding me of my inner peace, and the power of our collective hands raising.

Now, after removing white plates from each other’s mantels, we all sat in the sunshine, crossed legged, in silence, eyes lowered, listening to the flutes echoing across the plaza. We formed three concentric circles around the main fountain, a sacred geometry.

As I sat, I realized there was a change.

I was not sad, and suddenly the tears flowed. 

This was the Miracle.

My tears caught the white powder on my cheeks, and fell into the plate in my lap, held carefully between my hands.  At the sound of the bell, I raised my plate heavenward, offering in silence my story and journey.

A plane flew overhead and instead of smoke, I saw blue sky.

I had worried my bare feet would bleed and tear dancing outside at Lincoln Plaza, but the granite was smooth and cool beneath my feet.  My soles had calloused and strengthened over the three weeks of practice, and they carried me out of the plaza, in a line, following this community in white, all of us holding our plates at our heart centers, as the drums beat on and on.

Today I walk, and I offer peace.  I dance in peace.

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