Preserving The Moss

Do you find yourself stuck in the same patterns again and again?

There you are again….
procrastinating on completing your projects…
Getting to the end of the day exhausted with NOTHING done on your To Do List

Or even worse,
The gig you wanted falling through
The person who was supposed to hook you up going AWOL
Opening another rejection letter or email

It can be so disheartening!

And I imagine, you may be thinking,
This will NEVER change.  I will be STUCK in this pattern forever!

This can feel so discouraging and really take a toll on our inspiration, and our motivation.

You may be thinking,
There must be something wrong with me.
I’ll never make it.

I get it.  I remember bawling my eyes out when I blew a callback for Sister Act on Broadway.  I had wanted it SO bad, and at this point it was another in a looooong line of disappointments where at the final moment when I needed to deliver, I would choke. It was as if I couldn’t sing….I literally froze and when they went to test my range, all I heard in my head was,
“You can’t do this”

I was really believing I would always do this.
I was really believing I didn’t have what it takes to sing at that level.

And indeed, this belief kept me stuck.

Can you relate?

I would marvel at my friends who were booking their Broadway gigs, and just ask, from my absolute depths,
What am I missing?
What are they doing that I’m not?
And why the HECK can I not deliver when it matters most?
What is holding me back?

Have you ever asked yourself these questions?

I thought of you last weekend.

I was at a three day intensive up at Zen Mountain Monastery in the Catskills, the place where my whole Zen journey began six years ago, and where I was married last September.

The theme of the intensive?
Wholesome Action.

As part of the daily schedule, we do what is called Care Taking, which is typically an hour to 90 minutes of taking care of the monastery and grounds, doing various chores like
Kitchen prep

All of these activities are done as a way of taking care of the space that is taking care of US.  This is our giving back.  What’s most important about this process is, we do it in silence.  It becomes a meditation, so when we get distracted, we come back to the task at hand; back to what we are doing in the moment, and cultivating not only the single focus, but the appreciation for this very special and sacred place.

I was chosen to help out with Cemetery Duty and headed up the hill in the woods with five others, bringing buckets and pads for our knees.

Our care taking?
To preserve the moss.

I had never been to the Cemetery before, and was taken by the beautiful enormous altar, and the peaceful setting.  There were stone pathways, gravestones, and lots of moss…..except the moss was covered.

My job was to pick up the sticks and the pine needles that had fallen and were choking off the moss.  And there was a LOT…in fact the needles seemed to be everywhere.  So, I got down on the ground, and began to gather the needles.

According to Basic
“Mosses play a vital role in being among the first colonizers of disturbed sites. They stabilize the soil surface, thereby reducing erosion, while at the same time reducing the evaporation of water, making more available for succeeding plants.”

They come to disturbed sites, stabilize, and make space for new growth.

Stabilize and make space for growth.

In the face of my divorce, my whole body felt like a disturbed site.  My heart was breaking deeper than I had ever experienced and I felt like my whole life was burning to the ground.  In this space, I asked for help, and it came.

I learned tools around my mind.
I learned how to let go.
I learned tools around self compassion.

I was able to look at each “needle”, each “stick” that had fallen over time, over years of these pattern; these needles and sticks that were essentially my beliefs.

And what I came to realize was that underneath all I had labeled as “bad” about myself was actually something good.  And it was innate.  This goodness wasn’t affected by my heartbreak, by my divorce, by all the rejections I had endured in my career….it wasn’t affected by all the times I choked when I wanted so desperately to sing my best, or wanted to hear YES.

It was my moss.
And it needed to be preserved.

In fact, at that point, I was 37 and realized I had never placed my attention there.

Perhaps this was why I felt stuck….

And when I placed my attention on my moss, I had a radical shift in my career, a complete resurgence and ended up building a global fan base.

I was doing care taking…for the first time.

What are your sticks?
What are you needles?

What have you allowed to fall and cover up your beautiful moss?

What have you believed is real and will always be the same?
Is this helping you to go Full Time with your passion?

What if you are whole and complete?
What if the answers are actually all there, you just need help uncovering them?

There at your disturbed site, is actually an ecosystem waiting to bring you back to life in the face of disappointment and rejection. It’s there to stabilize you and create new growth.

You are actually far more powerful than you know.

Take care.
Preserve your moss.

Hot Pink Learning

I think I’ve discovered a miracle.

After dancing for almost 40 years, I have learned something completely new.
Something I REALLY wish I knew before when I was dancing professionally and dealing with injuries, pain, discomfort and frustration.

Because that’s the stuff that is no fun in our industry!

Pain, discomfort and frustration…no thank you!

Do you ever feel like this?

I mean, I imagine you come to your Art because you love it!  It makes you feel amazing, right?

This isn’t a 9 to 5 for you, I imagine it’s a deep calling.  You want to create, and there is a deep fulfillment that occurs in your music, your words, your art, your images…that just doesn’t arise anywhere else.

I get it.

This is how I feel about dancing, this is how I feel about writing and speaking.

So, when I’m dealing with situations that keep me from dancing, it’s heartbreaking.  As I did for the last three months…until last week, when I was able to return from a strained tendon and be back in dance class.

And the real saving grace?

Well…it turned out to be something bright pink.  Something I had NEVER used before.

And something I actually knew about, but had looked at and said,
“Nah, that’s not for me”

Have you ever said this?

My husband is an Occupational Therapist.  Literally the universe has brought the perfect man into my life.  Every day I am so grateful for him, but with my calf injury I was beyond thankful.  This injury was entirely new to me, and I was a total student asking him,
What do I need to do?

In the second month of recover,y he recommended I wear his compression socks.  I had heard of compression socks before having several runners in my family, and had always looked at the socks and said,
Oh, that’s for runners…not for me as a dancer.

And now, here I was being handed these socks to put on, even though I had made a strong decision they didn’t apply to me.

What’s really interesting here is I NEVER wore them before.  I actually had no direct experience with compression socks.  I had just decided they didn’t apply to my body and needs.

So, being the good patient, I put them on…and the effect was miraculous.  My calf instantly felt better.  So much of the achiness was gone.  When I asked my husband to explain them, he shared they actually help with blood flow and are really important post injury or post an intensive workout to keep swelling down.

Wait….in adequate blood flow and swelling are BOTH things I have dealt with my whole life.

In fact, they were issues I had as a professional dancer and performer that I was approaching in other ways that didn’t always help or work.

Maybe I had made a hasty decision…or maybe I had made a decision based on nothing…..

The day before I was going back to dance class, my husband surprised me with a gift…hot pink compression socks.  Pink is my favorite color and I immediately put them on.  I loved them!  He instructed I wear them all day before I take my first class and then make sure to put them on right after class to help with any possible trauma or swelling.

So, I went to class.  It was ups and downs, and my calf was definitely talking!  Right after class I put the socks on and even felt a very strong heat at the injury site.

I was worried, and even more, was convinced I was going to be SUPER sore for at least 2-3 days.  This was my first dance class in 3 months!

And then, I woke up the next day with no soreness.

I was flabbergasted.

Wow…turns out compression socks actually were completely FOR me.

I felt so good that within five days I was back in class and that went even better.  The compression socks went on right after class and again, the next day, no soreness.

Total education.
So grateful…
Now I had an actual experience with something that was a HUGE help to my art.

So, what is causing you pain, discomfort and frustration in your work?

What have you looked at and said,
Nah, that’s not for me…

What solutions or help have you walked away from, even though they have been presented to you, maybe more than once?

Have you actually had a direct experience WITH it?

What do you really need HELP with right now?

I can’t tell you how many times I have made a decision on something to later find out it was exactly what I needed to grow, and it’s hilarious that compression socks were presented to be so many times over the years through my brother and my nephew who were both competitive runners.

Even more, I can look at the four years leading up to my divorce, and my deep desire to ask for help.

Yet, for years I would look at therapy or coaching and say,
Nah, that’s not for me

Nah, that’s not for me

And yet, these three things saved my life.  And it was only when I had the actual experience of DOING them, of trying if FOR myself that I was able to really understand WHY I needed them so badly.

Pain, discomfort and frustration?  Now, I had tools to deal with these, and even more so, NOT be taken out or stop doing the work I loved because of them.
Check in…..what has been nagging at you?

What has been working for others around you that you are refusing?
Have you tried it

There is wisdom there.

What are your compression socks?

The answers to your pain may be right in front of your face….open your eyes and your heart, and step into a new experience.

You may learn something that will change your life.