The Artist’s Edge

Do you ever feel like you are on the edge of a cliff, scared to leap and fall headfirst into the ravine?

Do you desperately want to make changes in your Art, but find yourself rooted to the spot, frozen as you stare into the chasm?

I mean….it’s a looooong way down, and how do Artists actually MAKE it to the other side??

I remember this place. I’d walk out of an audition, crestfallen, after not being kept. I’d hear other singers, the voices soaring out of their mouths, effortlessly.

And yet, mine was stuck in my throat.

As I choked back my embarrassment and shame, I’d feel myself saying,

Why do I find myself here again?

Standing on the edge of the cliff, so confused and frustrated, I didn’t want to be here anymore.

How do I get THERE??

That place across the chasm, NOT on the edge of the cliff.

Have you ever felt this?

 

Four years ago, I went to visit my aunt and uncle in San Diego for Christmas. It was my first holiday season being divorced, and I was a mess.

I had just survived the worst year of my life and was licking my wounds from car accidents, robberies, and loss.

I was doing the best I could to find some seasonal joy, but really found myself asking,

What do the holidays mean to me now?

We went to Point Loma, this glorious monument overlooking all of San Diego.

The sun was shining
The wind was whipping through my hair…

I jumped up on the stone wall along the walkways and felt the wind moving through me. I asked my mother to take a picture of me, standing on the edge with the whole San Diego Bay behind me.

For one of the first times that year, I was feeling a sense of hope and freedom.

My mother nervously asked me to come down. I looked at the picture of myself, standing alone, and saw a new strength. Yes, I spent many days still crying, but standing on the edge of the wall, I was seeing something new.

Not just in the grand expanse of the San Diego Bay, but in myself.

Where are you right now in your Art?

What is wanting to be birthed in you?

Are you going to the edge to allow it to emerge?

It seems, that’s when it comes out. 

 

Just this past week, I found myself back at Point Loma, for the first time since 2013.

The San Diego Bay was there, the lighthouse, my aunt, and the beautiful expanse….

And something else. Something I could barely even imagine before.

My man.

As we walked around to the Pacific side, I saw a cliff overlooking the ocean.

I asked him to come out there with me, and for my aunt to take a picture.

What was captured in that moment was one of the most vital and moving pictures I’ve ever had.

Four years ago, I stood on the Bay side, wanting and hoping things would change.

I stood at my edge, scared and feeling doubt if Christmas would ever be joyful again.

And now, we sat together overlooking the Pacific Ocean….

On the other side.

I could have stayed trapped and comfortable, but I knew more waited.

Indeed, on that wall four years ago, something emerged…a longing, to not only find lasting love, but create an Artistic life that fed my soul.

And while I had NO idea how it would manifest, I stayed on the edge.

And I shared my voice as an Artist….with MUCH different results.

So what is crying to come forth for you?
If you stayed on your edge, what would emerge? 

What’s in your journey from the Bay to your Ocean?

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.