Driving Your Art

I’ve been in a car accident.

I start to go into shock, as I stare out the windshield in front of me, and the thought that rises is,
Am I going to die today?

My whole passenger side bashed in, I’m up on the sidewalk, spun facing the wrong way.

I look down and see my legs.
They are ok.

I look down at my arm which hurts,
but is moving.

Behind me the driver of the huge Jeep that hit me is getting out and moving towards me screaming angrily.

I slowly get out of my car and a man hands me a small bottle of water, asking,
Are you ok? I’m a cop. I’ve called in the accident.  Help is coming.

As I walk around to the passenger side of my car, I see the entire side crumpled in…..my car is totaled.

I am BLOCKS away from my home….and the craziest part is,
I just left the scene of another accident I was in. Literally 15 minutes ago…I rear-ended a car that stopped suddenly on the highway.

I was in two accidents back to back on the same day.

WHO does this happen to?
HOW could this happen?

Am I going to die today?

 

I usually refer to 2013 as  my Year of the Flame.  It began with a devastating divorce, and then turned into a raging bonfire where I lost my home, was robbed twice, lost a dear friend to a heart-attack, and then this day; the day I was in two car accidents back to back.

It was November, and I was still in shock over the loss of my friend in September.  I had gone up to visit my best friend just north of NYC, and had spent the day playing with her twins, and being outside in the vibrant fall leaves, taking pictures of them gleefully playing in their swings.

I left her house smiling, so grateful for the time, and soon was entering back into Queens….and then BOOM.

When the first accident happened, it was more startling than anything.  Everyone was ok, and I immediately called my insurance to let them know.  The other drivers were pleasant, but I drove away shaken.

Coming into Astoria, just blocks from my apartment, the intersection was blocked by a double parked van, and I couldn’t see.  As I came into the intersection, a speeding black Jeep came barreling down and completely took me out.

After the shock wore off, I found myself faced with a larger problem.

I was scheduled to drive to my alma mater, Penn State the following weekend to see my mentor’s one woman show, and now I had no car.

I knew I could rent a car….but could I drive?
Did I feel I could?

Two days later, I went to see my acupuncturist to tell her about the accident, as I was experiencing back issues.

She said,
It’s a good thing you came in right away.  Fear and trauma will store in the muscles.  This way we can move it.

I lay on my stomach, and she placed a needle right in the heart of my back muscle that took the brunt of the accident, and I immediately started to weep.

My fear pouring down my face.
My anger, my sadness, my shock.

This year…..

 

Have you ever had a huge accident?
Have you ever had a huge disappointment that took you out of your Art?

When we create from the deepest parts of ourselves, it can feel like a huge black Jeep pummels us in the face of rejection or something not turning out as we wanted:

The rejection letter from the publishers
The booking agent saying no
The gallery not responding
The show that barely sells any tickets

Not to mention, an actual life accident that leaves you really questioning,
Am I safe?
Can I do this?

What do we do in that moment?

I remember really questioning whether or not it was a good idea to drive to Penn State, days after the accident.  While I did have some bruising, the biggest piece was my fear.

I was scared to get behind the wheel again.

My best friend and my mother both encouraged me to drive again, otherwise the fear would set in. It would become something larger.

I would make it permanent, and start a new belief that wouldn’t serve me,
I’m a bad driver.

And what would be possible with this belief?
Not much….I would probably never drive again, and not experience new roads.

And for you?

What is the belief you have formed in the face of your accidents?

Is it serving you and your Art?
Is it allowing you to get back behind the wheel, back in the driver seat and receive the acclaim you desire?

I fully admit, I was terrified to drive again, but I rented a car and drove to Penn State with no incident, and you know the biggest gift I received?

That I could DO it.
That I was CAPABLE.

The only way you will know this is by DOING.

We can spend hours, days, YEARS stuck in a belief and wake up one day staring at gorgeous Art that has gone nowhere….and realize we let fear be the driver.

But, what if you got back in the seat?
What is possible for you in your Art then?

What is possible for this ONE life you have?

The first step, is to FACE your fear head on.
Love this part of yourself.

Indeed, this part has believed it was keeping you safe.

This is not a moment of shaming or saying you are wrong…this is when you LOVE this part of you as much as possible.  Allow yourself to feel.

Hand over your heart say,
Even though I feel terrified, I deeply love and respect myself.

Watch the fear rise and then fall.

And then get back in the driver seat.

 

You CAN do this.
You are CAPABLE.

Turns out the accident didn’t kill you.  The rejection didn’t kill you.  It was painful….but here you are.  You are still breathing, and with that breath, you have the whole universe.

So take your car out of park, and enter your new road.

This is your Creative Life, how do you want to live it?

Overwhelm Relief For Artists

Do you sometimes look around you at all you have to do, and just want to go running the other direction?

Do you see a huge MESS in front of you, and just feel frozen?

Sometimes, it just feels easier to just binge watch the latest Netflix original, than to actually clear the clutter, because the question that always rises screaming to the top is…

What the HECK do I do first?
Where do I start?

This is ALL important, and ALL of it has to be done.

And yet, you feel completely unmotivated, shut down, and stressed.

Overwhelm comes in, has a party, and steals your precious time.

Projects go by the wayside, deadlines are missed, and you feel like you are just chasing your tail with your Art.

If only you had a magic wand….
Then you could just wave it, and everything would just go away and be magically done!

Sounds like a unachievable fantasy, right?

Perhaps not……

 

Last week my kitchen was a disaster site.

I moved into my new house with my man on Sunday the 25th, and then on Monday, my mother and I attacked the kitchen.

A phenomenal cook, the kitchen is really her place of genius.  Also, my mother is incredible at setting up systems and spacial awareness.  She can look at a space, and knows exactly what can fit there.  During this past move, I commonly referred to her as a packing ninja, and that still may be too soft a term for her talents.

I had my boxes from Astoria with my whole kitchen, and it was time to meld with my man’s, which had pretty much been a bachelor’s kitchen, so there was going to be a LOT of reorganizing, donating, and throwing out.

This was a HUGE project.

First order of business?

Take everything out of the cabinets and drawers.

Next, create piles.
Keep
Donate
Trash
Question mark as to whether to donate or trash

The peacefulness of the kitchen was replaced with absolute chaos. And this chaos spread over a very large space.

It looked as though every cabinet had vomited it’s contents onto the counters, chairs, dining AND living room.

Next we took out post it notes, and decided where everything was going to go.  We categorized and stuck the post it notes on each cabinet door and drawer to know where things would go.

With every cabinet door wide open, and white sticky notes everywhere, I could feel that moment of overwhelm hitting me.

Standing in the kitchen, I could feel myself starting to freak out, the tops of my large Uhaul boxes yawning wide open as if to demand,
Where are you going to put me, Nikol??

And a panic rising for HOW LONG was this going to take?
What was the best way to do it?
Could this just be DONE now?
What about all the other unpacking?

And then something magical happened.

I thought of you, and I knew what to do to overcome the overwhelm.
I knew exactly how to quiet the craziness in my head, and actually step out of feeling stuck.

 

My clients come to me all the time from a place of overwhelm.  It’s so common, we all do it!
And every time I meet them the same way,

I allow them to get everything OUT of their heads and hearts.

Then I chunk it down to ONE step.

ONE thing.

When it’s just swirling around in our minds, it can feel like you are going crazy, much like me believing my Uhaul boxes were yelling at me.

In the process of getting everything OUT in the open, then there is a powerful opportunity.

Your opportunity to prioritize.

Ask yourself, what is most important?

As Artists, we are idea machines.  It’s never a problem of creation, it’s what the HECK do we do with it, and what will actually help me to receive the acclaim I desire and allow me to make a living with my art.

So, take out a piece of paper, and write down everything you need to do for you Art.  Just let it all tumble out, messy and in any form.

Now,

* Categorize your tasks according to marketing, production, networking, etc.
* Within each category, ask what needs to be in place FIRST for each of these lists.  For instance, you will need content before creating a promo period for your next project.  Or you may need to do research FIRST to begin your newest crowdfunding.
* Get super clear on WHAT your end goal is.  Write this down.  Be very specific.  This could be,
Self publish a book
Book summer tour
Do a FB Live promo campaign
Crowdfund new album
Set up website for online sales

** And this is the most important…..ask yourself, What is My Vision?
What is most important to me as an Artist?

Look again at your tasks, and align them with your vision.  If your vision is to perform on global stages, but you have a task that’s associated with building a local network, place this to the side, and instead put your energy towards tasks that get you seen by more, whether that is international connections, or by building up your online presence.

Much like the piles I made with the kitchen, you are deciding what to:
Keep OR Trash

I have a very strong vision for my new home, one where the kitchen is a vibrant place of creation and health that will not only feed me and my man, but the family we are creating together.  Because of this vision, setting up systems and flow are paramount. It also meant that any kitchen tools that were unsafe were going to be thrown out or donated.

Connecting back to my vision really helped in that moment of overwhelm, once I remembered to chunk it down to ONE step.

So, I chose ONE cabinet and started to put things in it.
Then when that was done, I chose ONE other cabinet.

One step at a time, all towards my vision.

And my mother and I were able to get the kitchen set up in two days.

My panic for the amount of time lifted the moment I chunked it down, and connected back to WHY I was doing this in the first place.

 

So, what are you working on right now?

Once you lay out all the steps, and eliminate what is no longer necessary, what is left?

And what is ONE thing you can do today?

Chunk it down, and watch the magic unfold, much faster than you thought possible.

Turns out, you are powerful.