It’s Only Us

“So what if it’s us?
What if it’s us
And only us
And what came before won’t count anymore or matter?
Can we try that?

What if it’s you
And what if it’s me
And what if that’s all that we need it to be
And the rest of the world falls away?
What do you say?”

Two weeks ago I celebrated my 6 month wedding anniversary and the anniversary of our engagement.  We celebrated with a weekend in the city seeing two Broadway shows, and then last weekend went away to a very special Bed and Breakfast just over an hour away from us.

It was magical, and I found myself overcome with gratitude for my marriage, and for my husband…this miracle that entered into my life.

Miracle tends to be the word I use, because this union didn’t occur overnight.  It emerged out of a very painful divorce, and an earnest journey of four and a half years where many times I felt like I was banging my head against the wall and getting nowhere.

Have you ever felt like that?

After a 15 year marriage, I was completely disoriented.  I had to first understand,
how the HECK the divorce occurred in the first place
my role in everything falling apart
how to process the enormous anger that was pervading my days
WHY I had stayed in the marriage for so long trying to make it work

And then I had to understand and learn the most important piece,
What a healthy relationship actually looks and FEELS like.

Apparently, there were some huge gaps.

For years, I felt haunted by my patterns.

For me, it all came back to wanting to control the man, so I dated man after man that was unavailable.  It was devastating, because my biggest fear was I would end up marrying someone just like my first husband.  I would honestly think I was making progress, working with coaches, going online, being in therapy….and then after a few dates, I would have the HUGE realization….

Oh my GOD….he’s unavailable too.

It wasn’t until I learned how to be AVAILABLE myself that things turned around.  If I wasn’t in a control state, I was actually relaxed, so when I was in front of my dates, I just checked in to see if I was relaxed.  And if I wasn’t, and could feel myself reaching out and wanting him to be WAY different than he was, then I knew I was in my pattern and it was time to go.

And then I had my first date with my husband.
I had never been this relaxed on a first date.

It was actually mind blowing.

Was this possible?
Could I BE different?
Could I actually be relaxed and open?

Apparently those gaps were closing.  The chasm now had a bridge.

On our third date, we went exclusive, and within a year we were engaged and I had moved down to NJ.

And what I kept coming back to was a moment of amazement at how I FELT in my body with him.  I was changing.

I was recently driving to the train station to head into Manhattan, and was listening to the Spotify playlist I created for our wedding, and on came this song from Dear Evan Hansen, “Only Us”.

I love to sing along to this song, and yet, was overcome with emotion when the words,
and what came before won’t count anymore or matter…can we try that?

I thought of the journey to this moment. I thought of the fear that welled in me for years I would just go and marry another who would break my heart and leave me.  I thought of the fear that I would stay stuck, feeling unfulfilled in my relationships and feeling underappreciated and undervalued.

And there was a powerful question here in the lyric,
can we try that?

For years, I held on to my past for fears of repeating it, and yet, here I am, celebrating six months and more in love than ever.

What if it’s JUST this moment?
Just this marriage?
Just this relationship?

What if I was here NOW?

Because the truth is, I have mined and faced ALL of my divorce.  I have taken down that wall brick by brick to understand. I’ve come to clarity about WHY it occurred and my part in it.

The evidence?
The marriage I have now.

It couldn’t be more radically different.  And the way I know that is how I feel. Waaaaaaay more relaxed.

So, what about you?

Have you felt haunted by patterns in your Art?
Have you felt stuck in relationships that let you down again and again?

What is the relationship you deeply want to cultivate this year?

Is it with,
your perfect producer
your perfect publisher
an amazing band
Your perfect booking agent
the most amazing agent
a team that supports you and promotes you
a raving audience

Take a moment today and LOOK at those patterns.  Do you understand WHY you have taken the same actions again and again?

Do you understand why these relationships have either not happened or have fallen apart?

What if turning TOWARDS them is the answer to you changing them?

Because it’s when we have full understanding, we can make a new choice.  I needed to understand I was unavailable to fully call in a very different relationship.

And I’m sharing this with you, because your career and your success in your work ALL comes down to relationships.

You don’t get there alone.

And the beauty of all of this is,
change is constant.

Once you have clarity around the WHY of your patterns, you can release them.

In fact, that is when you will attract those relationships that have eluded you, because YOU have clarity.  It was never about them.  It was always going to happen inside you.

What happened in my love life actually had an effect on EVERY relationship in my life and allowed me to build a team that nurtures me, and go full time with my work.

You are a whole person.  Everything is connected.

So,
what came before won’t count anymore or matter….

Can YOU try that?

“We can try that
You and me
That’s all that we need it to be
And the rest of the world falls away
And the rest of the world falls away”

What if the “world” you created where you always stay the same is just that?

Learn how to build healthy relationships and watch the old world fall away.
When you are available, your dreams rush in.

Photography: Dag Photo

Your Artistic Mother

What is your first memory of your Art?
How old were you when you first found your medium?

Was it,
starting music lessons
dance class
playing with crayons
the school play
playdoh or paint by numbers?

What did your small hands do?

Do they still do this now?
If not, what stopped you?

What messages did you get early on about your Art?

 

I remember being six years old, and my mother stating I would take an instrument.  I could choose which one, but I would learn an instrument.  I chose violin, and also played in my mother’s handbell choirs.

Our home was filled with music, whether it was classical records playing during dinner, or my brother and I practicing early in the morning.

My mother was a musician. Her love for music was passed down to my brother and I. She instilled not only an education, but a respect for learning the craft, every key signature, theory, and incidental.

But music was not the only piece.  My real passion?  Story.  It came out in my dance, and then I I picked up a pencil.

Third grade Creative Writing was my happy place. In leaded cursive flow, I would pour my imagination into stories, relishing the scratch of my pencil onto the lined paper.

I remember writing one story about a teddy bear that came back to me with a huge “A++”.  I didn’t think it was possible to get a grade this high!  My teacher was elated and really encouraged me to keep writing.

I brought the story home to my mother and her tears welled, and then fell.  She said it was the best thing I had ever written…..

And she said to me,
Keep writing.

As I got older, I started getting more serious with singing, dancing and acting, and was really finding my voice and success there.  As a teen, I stopped taking violin, and started honing in that I wanted to have a career as a musical theater performer.

The writer?

She was fed by my high school English teacher who taught me how to write poetry.  A basketball coach, and well over 6’5″, he stood tall in the class room one day, with a white piece of chalk in his hand, drew a circle on the floor and proclaimed,
This is the Poet’s Circle!  Are you IN or OUT?

I remember exclaiming out loud,
I’m IN! I’m IN!

Yet, even in this proclamation, my energy was really going towards my performance, not my writing.  I got an A in English, and did every assignment, but my belief was built around a performance career.

Why?

I believed my father when he told me,
You can’t make a living with your writing.

So, my creativity was channeled into my performance, and my choreography.  My love of story was expressed in my dance, and the writing turned into yearly Christmas poems for my family, and poems as presents for close friends.

And as I grew in my performance, I heard my mother say,
You should write a book.

I was having success in my performance, why was she saying this to me?
Didn’t she see I wasn’t doing that?

So, my writing became less and less……
My journals had months between entries…and then years.

Has this every happened to you? Your Creative outlet starts to run dry because you don’t think it matters or has value?

How have you felt when you stopped giving time to this piece of you that thrived naturally as a child?

 

In 2013, my whole life burned to the ground.  In one year’s time I went through a devastating divorce, lost my home, was in two car accidents, robbed twice, and lost a dear friend to a heart attack.

I questioned who I was at the identity level. And I questioned if I was still an Artist.

But in this time of deep grief, I picked up a pen and began to write daily.  At first it was writing down daily victories.  Then it was starting a gratitude journal, then keeping a dream journal….poetry started to flow out in a way it hadn’t in years.

At a very healing and cathartic yoga retreat where I had a transformative experience with a Mayan Shaman, he looked me straight in the eye and said to me,
You will write a book on healing.

And in that moment, I knew he was right.
And I knew the title.

My mother’s words ringing in my ears, after all those years.
Perhaps she had seen something I wasn’t ready to own.

Not until now.

 

At the beginning of 2014, I began to work with a life coach, and one of the first things she had me do?
Launch a blog.

And that blog was called,
ZenRedNYC.

And this blog, my writing birthed into a business.
It birthed into a platform where I felt fulfilled as an artist, and doing work I love.
It birthed a relationship with you.

And when I created my new business cards, I added something new to my personal description,
Writer.

She was in there all along…..

Still sitting at the desk in third grade English, with stories to share; waiting patiently for me to wake up.

In America this weekend, we are celebrating Mother’s Day, and I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge my mother for always seeing this in me.  When I launched my blog, she couldn’t stop smiling.  Her encouragement that confused me as in my 20’s and 30’s was suddenly clear.

And today, I want to thank you mom.
You saw it, always.

And I also want to acknowledge that I got very conflicting messages as a child around the value of writing.  And I imagine we can all relate to this!  Whether it’s been a parent, friend, or teacher in our younger years, it’s so common to hear them recommending we put our intelligence to other “stable” pursuits. This can be super confusing to navigate, especially if we just want to please and be loved by these caregivers.

So, in the spirit of Mother’s Day, who encouraged you in the early days?
Who saw your raw talent, your authentic expression?

Who was your Artistic Mother?
Reach out to her or him today and thank them.  Acknowledge them for seeing you fully and encouraging you to develop and take the scary leap to be an Artist.

Many times we have to be told a million times our strengths, before we wake up to our own power.  It took me decades!

Now, ask yourself,
What came SO easily as a child?

And is this still alive today?
How can this be revived and integrated?

 

Come back to the third grade table.
Pick up your pencil.
Let that early Artist thrive again, and LISTEN to those early encouragements.

You were being seen and nourished.
You were being mothered and loved.

Now, let that child play again.