Breaking the Pattern of No

Do you feel like you are stuck in a pattern?

Do you feel like you are experiencing the same disappointment over and over?

Rejection letters from publishers.
Booking agents never returning your call.
The people you thought you could count on not showing up.
Low attendance to your events and shows…

Basically, you are hearing NO a lot.  And that can be so disheartening!  I imagine you would love to scream out to the universe,
Can I just get a BREAK?
When is it MY turn for success?

It can feel deeply discouraging, especially when you CARE so much about your work. I imagine deep in your heart, you KNOW what you have has value, but have felt blocked on how to end all the rejection and experience your fans and a team that promotes you saying YES!

Imagine them saying,
We LOVE what you do!
We WANT what you have!

Imagine stepping into the beautiful flow of actually hearing YES to your dreams and being fully supported.

Feels amazing, doesn’t it?
Now, how do you make this a reality?

I was recently in a car accident.  It was more of a fender bender, but really startled me.  I was in a traffic circle, and realized too late I was taking the wrong exit.  Between my confusion with the navigation, night driving, and not being familiar with the area, I was clipped on my left side by a pick up truck.

I knew it was my fault, and immediately got out of the car to speak to the other driver and apologize.

Then I looked down at my car and was shocked.

It had felt like the impact was so light, but looking at my car, you would think otherwise.  The whole front left light was crumpled in, and my headlight was hanging precariously inside from a wire. My hubcap had come off, and was somewhere in the traffic circle. The pickup truck looked as though nothing had happened.

Within minutes, my husband had arrived and the cops.  I was on the phone with insurance, filling out forms, and trying to take care of everything legally.

Once it was over, and we had pulled off into a parking lot, I started to weep.

I felt embarrassed.
I felt self conscious.
And I felt angry at myself for allowing this to happen.

We went to grab some groceries, and I could feel I was in shock.  And then something arose in my mind…..
I’ve been here before.
Six years ago, I was in two car accidents in one day.
Six years ago, I was taken advantage of by the towing company
Six years ago, I was threatened by the  car lot owner to dismantle my car without my consent.

I could hear his voice in my mind, in a dark tone saying,
I will take your car apart piece by piece and there is nothing you can do about it.

I remembered my insurance having to send out a private investigator to get my car back. It was a nightmare, and the two car accidents were the last horrible thing that happened to me in one year’s time. Before all that, I went through a divorce, was robbed, and lost a dear friend to a heart attack.  It was a rough year.

I haven’t been in a car accident since then.

Would it be the same?
Was I doomed to repeating the same scenario?

Leaving the grocery store, I was very guarded. 
Would I get in another accident on the way home, just like six years ago?

When we got home, the left side of my back was starting to seize.  I knew this was where the fear had lodged itself, as I was hit on the driver side.  My amazing husband gave me a loving massage and Reiki and I went to bed.

What would tomorrow bring?

Have you ever felt this?
The fear of what’s to come based on what you’ve experienced?

I was so scared I would go through another horrific experience post accident because that was what happened last time.

It can be so easy in those moments to want to manage any possible disappointment in the future, by trying to FEEL the fear of what MAY happen.  We can believe that if we just prepare ourselves for the worst, perhaps it won’t be as bad.

I used to do this all the time with big auditions.  If I had not danced well for a particular choreographer or not been kept by a specific casting agent, I would try to manage any possible disappointment by EXPECTING IT.

Well, they just don’t like how I dance.
This casting director doesn’t like me.
They never keep me, so why should this be any different?

Sound familiar?

I was anticipating the disappointment in an effort to actually protect myself.
But what I didn’t realize was I was also shooting myself in the foot by setting myself up for failure instead of success.

What if I had gone it believing,
Today is a new day, one I have never lived before!
I am going to dance my best today.

Very different energy, than walking in trying to pretend as if I KNOW the outcome. With this intention, I would actually be in the PRESENT, instead of trying to manage the future.

And when I approached my auditions like this, the outcomes were VERY different. I could release what the casting directors thought of me, and instead place my attention on just doing my best.

Which usually meant I was kept and booked the show.

The day after my recent car accident, I woke up and my back had relaxed in the night.  I had a small window of a few hours to take care of getting a rental car, and dropping my car off at a shop to be worked on.

Everything flowed.
Everyone was so helpful.
I was able to take care of everything I needed within a few hours.

Very different from six years ago.

As am I.

I am not the woman I was six years ago. In the morning after the accident, I stayed present to each task, instead of spending the morning worried about what could happen.

Because the largest lesson I have learned is the simple truth,
Change is constant.

I got scared.  My mind went right back to the trauma of that first accident.  And then, I was grounded back into reality, and reminded by everything around me that things change. I focused my energy on the moment.

Things change.
Thank goodness.

So, whatever accident you have suffered, take a moment and love yourself.  You are allowed to feel what you feel.  Once you have brought love to the frustration, now ground back in reality.

What if this is your opportunity to make a new choice?
If change is constant, then you are not doomed to repeating the same disappointment.

Release managing your future, and instead focus your energy on what you are doing NOW.

Your point of power is in the present moment. The past is over, and we don’t know the future, so use what is right in front of you.

You can change your life right now, and end the cycle.

When you say YES to the power of being present, you will hear YES all around you.

Photography: Caitlin Cannon Photography

Homecoming

“What I really want to do is be a representative of my race, of the human race. I have a chance to show how kind we can be, how intelligent and generous we can be. I have a chance to teach and to love and to laugh. I know that when I finish doing what I’m sent here to do, I will be called home. And I will go home without any fear, or trepidations, wondering what’s gonna happen.”
– Maya Angelou

I have to tell you, last weekend my world was blown wide open. I saw Beyoncé’s Homecoming on Netflix.

Written, directed, and produced by the Queen Bey, the film documents the making of and live performance of her 2018 Coachella Show.

The first black woman to headline the infamous festival, she spent 8 months conceiving an original piece that was not only a love letter to her heritage, but an explosive night of empowerment.

Steppers, dancers, full orchestra, breakers, a baton twirler, back up singers, full drum line…..all on a massive bleacher.

Beyoncé created her own black university up on that stage; alive, proud, unapologetic, and celebratory.

And the film was rich with quotes from prominent black voices like Nina Simone, Toni Morrison, and one of the greatest female writers of our time, Maya Angelou.

I was SO inspired.

And did I mention she created this show after Jay Z cheated on her, a very difficult pregnancy, gaining a ton of weight, and birthing twins?

And none of it was sugar coated. Beyoncé was very open about her fears and doubts. She was raw, free of makeup, and struggling to learn choreography after a long hiatus.

So, we saw this juxtaposition of her dressed as Nefertiti, standing in her power AND sharing the road to this moment.
“I studied my history, I studied my past, and I put every mistake, all of my triumphs–my 22-year career–into my 2-hour Homecoming performance.”

Standing strong, standing confident and saying to the world,
Here I am.

What has stuck with me since seeing the film was when she said,
I wanted to make an environment where no one felt marginalized.

That last word went through me.
Marginalized.
Verb meaning – to place in a position of marginal importance, influence, or power.

Have you ever felt that?

Do you have something important to say?
Do you want to say this with your Art?
Have you struggled with HOW to do this?

I remember for years secretly wanting to be the lead, to create my own show. It had started young, starring in and directing my own version of the musical Annie when I was eight.

Then, choreographing an original ballet to Hans Andersen’s The Little Match Girl in high school.

And when I entered the professional world out of college, I started with guns a blazing. I was on fire, turning down work and working towards my biggest dream.

But over time and with so many rejections, I struggled. While I worked in my profession, I couldn’t seem to step out of the ensemble or playing supporting roles. I started to doubt if I “had what it takes”.

And then I lost everything, my marriage, my home, my car….and I questioned if I was still an Artist. 

But even through the deepest pain, I kept dancing. And I returned to writing. The Artist was still very alive.

So I hired a coach, because I wanted more for my life, and I created my one woman show, my company ZenRedNYC.

I had felt marginalized as a woman in my profession. I had felt I was a dime a dozen, and had to compete to survive. I felt I had to “be what they wanted” instead of spending my time figuring out WHO I was.

I had thought my recognition would come from someone else giving the green light, whether it was a director, or a casting agent, or a choreographer. I never imagined I could actually CREATE it myself.

After my divorce, I was sick of trying to be someone else, or that image of perfection I THOUGHT was going to get me cast and bring me the roles I wanted. Turns out, I had the right idea as a young girl.

I reconnected with that eight year old and took a leap. I started saying what I really wanted to say, raw and real. And to my shock, when I was vulnerable and real, it actually brought people close, AND it opened them to do the same.

Beyoncé moved me deeply because she created this show.

She didn’t wait for permission.
She didn’t ask if it was ok.
She created it herself.

And formed a family around her that shared her vision.

“I’m so lucky and grateful that I’m able to take all these crazy ideas and actually make it into something that heals people; that may spark vision in people, that shows them to dream big, that shows them that they are limitless. It’s possible. If my country ass can do it, they can do it.”

And you can.

It can be so easy to get caught up in believing the gatekeepers hold the reins, but what if you are more powerful than you know?

What if the reins are YOURS to take up?

If someone gave you a permission slip TODAY, and you knew you couldn’t fail, what would you do differently?

Art has the power to change the world, one beautiful audience member at a time.  You possess this, because you made a choice to be an Artist.  You made the choice to CREATE. And maybe it’s not even a choice…maybe it just IS.

Because all we have is today.  Your greatest point of power is the present moment.

So, what do you want to say?
What is the show that is dying to be birthed?

Is it a book
Album
Blog
Exhibition….

As Beyonce says,
You are limitless.

Stand beside the great women and men who have come before you to make this moment possible.

Step forward and share your light.

“Tell the truth, to yourself first, and to the children.  Live in the present.  Don’t deny the past…and know that the charge on you is to make this country more than it is today.”
-Maya Angelou