Beyond What’s Possible

Have you ever wanted something really BIG?

Maybe it even scares you little, because you have had some success, but this would be blowing it out of the water!

Maybe you’ve booked some shows at smaller or medium sized venues, but you really want to sell out a stadium.

Or you’ve self published a book or two, but you would LOVE to be on the NY Times Best Seller List.

Maybe you’ve sold some of your original art work, but you really want to have sales coming in non stop and see your work in the Metropolitan Museum of Art!

They are the BIG dreams!

Have you ever felt this?

Sometimes it can feel like a HUGE leap from where you are to where you want to be, and one of the most common questions I get is, HOW DO I GET THERE?

We can look at other successful Artists, see their glory and just wonder,
Am I missing something?
What’s the secret?

We can tie ourselves in knots, but what if the most important piece is far simpler than you think?

I know when I found this piece, my life changed.  I found myself fulfilling the dreams I was afraid to really ask for….I found them coming true, from a life partner after a devastating divorce, a house after losing everything, and a thriving art business after not working for a year. From the ashes, a new life. I was asking for something VERY big….and it came.

What is this for you?

I’m a bird watcher.  Yes, a lover of all things bird!  My parents were into birding for a lot of my adult life, but when my divorce went down, my parents gave me my first set of binoculars and I started going to birding festivals with them in 2013.

A huge nature lover, I was in heaven, watching them fly, seeing their vibrant colors and identifying all the species. I was hooked, and it was helping me heal from my divorce.

Most of the festivals I went to were in southern Virginia during migration season, and my parents and I would be there for 3 days.  As is common in birding, we would keep a list of all the birds we saw, counting each species.

The most species we would see would be about 70-80.  And that was thrilling!  So festival after festival, I would set the marker for 80 and look with earnest.  Sometimes, we would hit that and other times, it was less.

Until last weekend….

Last weekend, my parents and aunt all came to NJ for the Cape May Birding Festival.  In existence for over 70 years, this is one of the best birding festivals in the country.  Cape May is a hub for naturalists, conservationists, and ornithologists.  They flock to the shore to view, save, and protect the wildlife.  It’s very inspiring.

So, I couldn’t wait to share this festival with my parents after the years of them sharing their festivals with me.

I also had this feeling…I felt we were going to have an epic festival.  I knew Cape May was one of the top and we were going to be visiting at peak migration time.

I felt we could smash the old record.

And I felt we could do it together.

So, on Friday morning, as we were driving down to Cape May, I made a pronouncement to my family,
I think we can get 100 species this weekend!

My mother’s eyes got wide, and my aunt and husband were excited.  And then, my dad piped in,
I don’t know about that….

For a moment I doubted myself.  This was setting the bar high, so I made a compromise and said,
Ok, how about 90?

There was a general consensus in the car, and I thought,
Well, this will definitely happen!  No way we won’t hit 90!

I was playing it safe; managing my expectations of what was possible.

And then, my father burst out from the front seat,
Great Egret!  First species!

He dove in, and right away we all started looking out the window.  By the time we were to Cape May, we already had about 6 species.

After an amazing first day of birding and seeing a Seaside Sparrow and a Virginia Rail for the first time in my life, I knew there was something in the air.

And I turned to my family and said,
We CAN get 100 species this weekend.

It was on.  No more doubting. We were all in it together.

And it became this wonderful game!  My mother was keeping a master list and with each one, she would say,
40 species, 60 to go!

It motivated us all, and the weather was giving us gorgeous sunshine.  Birds flying overhead, birds perched in trees, birds singing their mating song….all coming together to be seen.

On Sunday, we went to the Edwin B. Forsythe Refuge and found ourselves trying to spot the elusive Marsh Wren, who was singing his loud song, and typically is impossible to see because he lives in the tall marsh grass.  And then he came out, and my mother said,
That’s 100!

So, we took this picture above. Holy moley…we did it!!

The most amazing thing?  We actually saw 6 more, so our total for the three days was 106.

We actually surpassed the largest number we THOUGHT was possible.

I can remember so many times in my life setting the bar low.  I imagined it would be easier to deal with the disappointment.

And yet, what was actually forming was a BELIEF that I could only go so far.

I could only earn this much as an Artist
I could only work at these theatres
I could only sing this high

Sound familiar?

What changed, was my BELIEF in myself.  Out of my divorce, I realized I had wayyyyyy more potential than I was giving myself credit for.

I remember the first time my coach said to me,
You know your dreams are possible, right?

It went through me.  And she was right.  I just needed to get out of my own way and give myself a permission slip to think bigger.

That was when I discovered something profound.  True for you and me,
You are limitless.

So, where are you with your BIG dream?
Have you put a ceiling on it to keep it safe?

What are you believing about yourself and your ability?

This is the single most important place to look.

Our beliefs run the show.  You can do all the strategies in the world, create the website, do social media, and NONE of it will matter if you don’t BELIEVE it’s possible.

So, the real question to ask is,
What do you believe?

And even better,
Is that working for you?
Is this belief getting you closer to your dreams?

Sometimes it can be awful and scary to come face to face with these beliefs, but it’s the first step. And the next step, the one that will really make the difference, is to ask for help.

My family and I came to 106 species TOGETHER.

Belief is powerful, AND it’s highly contagious.

So, what is your dream?
Say it loud.
Sing it out.

And build the team and support around you to make it happen.

Claim your power.

It’s all there within you. Waiting with wings to fly.

The Sun in St Paul

Have you ever gone on a vacation and gotten sick?
Have you ever had a BIG exciting trip waiting for you, only to experience delays, snafus, and disappointment?

It can be so frustrating!

We have so much to balance these days, and those precious vacation days or DAY are what we look forward to.

A chance to have a NEW experience, to relax, to get away from the GRIND.

Isn’t everything supposed to be perfect in these moments?
Haven’t you worked hard enough that you deserve peace and ease?

As an Artist, these moments are so crucial to recharge.

Has this ever happened to you?
How did it affect you?

 

Two weeks ago, I boarded a plane with my fiance for Anchorage, Alaska.  My bags were packed with my binoculars, and many warm layers, ready to stand in the cold winds so I could witness the bountiful birds far North.

If you didn’t know, I’m a birder:)  I geek out over feathers, migration, and wing spans.

Birding nourishes me.  It’s time in nature slows me to the present moment, and has commonly been bonding time with my family.  In the wake of my divorce, my parents bought me a pair of binoculars, and I started going to birding festivals with them.

At a time when I was in deep pain, I found birding to be a healing balm.

My family and I planned this trip over a year ago, and we’ve been talking about it for months, getting so excited and even all buying the same Eddie Bauer coat in different colors.

On every level, I was VERY ready for a break.  Planning my wedding, running my business, settling into NJ, and recovering from a shoulder injury, I could feel it was time.

We touched down in Anchorage, after two long flights, and I could feel my body relaxing.  We took a selfie with a stuffed moose in the airport and met up with my aunt who’s flight got in right after ours.

VACATION! Yay!

We met up with our family, our tour guides, and the rest of the tour group (16 in all!) and crashed right after dinner.  With travel, we had been up for 22 hours.

The next morning we all flew to St. Paul, part of the Pribilof Islands, and the farthest west you can go in the United States.

St. Paul was cold, barren, and very windy.  The sign at our hotel said, “The Galapagos of the North”, as it is a huge destination for birders.  Indeed the hotel was full, not only with another tour group, but Cornell Ornithology research teams.

At dinner I started to feel light headed and nauseous, so I turned down the night birding and went to bed early so I could be well rested for the next day.

After a long night of sleep, I woke up feeling better, but as the morning progressed, I felt like my energy level was at 20%.  At breakfast, I turned to the tour guide and said,
I’m not doing so well….

My mother held her hand to my forehead, no fever.  I looked at her and said,
I think I’m going to pass out.

The room swirled for a moment, and I knew I couldn’t go birding.  One of our guides drove me back to the hotel, and I could feel the disappointment rising.

This isn’t what I wanted.
What’s happening?
Why NOW?

Have you ever felt like this?

I went back to my room, feeling like I was walking through soup…crawled under the covers, and crashed.

 

Two hours later, I woke up.  The hotel was so quiet. The guide was going to be coming back in another hour or two to check on me.  I had time, and reached into my bag for The Sun.

The Sun is a collection of interviews, short stories and poems.  I love it.  I started reading it four years ago, and it used to be my weekly joy.

Then life became very full with launching my business, and my daily time to read was cut shorter and shorter.  I used to take it on the subway, but my commutes were soon filled with social media and catching up on emails.

I had to stop my subscription to The Sun, because I had so many issues piling up.  I would wistfully look at all the magazines, hoping time would open so I could read them.

And here, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean…..I finally had the time to read.

As I opened the page, I could feel a warmth coming over my body; almost a sigh of relief. After reading a few stories, I decided to check in with my body and do some healing.

I did Walter McKichen’s Rainbow Meditation, where I brought energy up from the earth, to each of my chakras, one at a time.  On every chakra, the color was strong and traveled up my right leg to my center line, and then down my left.

Except one…my second chakra.

This is the chakra for creativity.

The color was so light, and barely traveled up my right leg. Usually bright orange, it was almost a dull gray.

So, I went back to bed.  I slept again, and again.  I stayed in the hotel, not going out birding.

And I finished reading The Sun.

As I closed the last page, a huge smile came across my face.  I could feel my energy coming back, and the dull gray morning light had now turned into afternoon sunshine coming into my room.

I remembered coming home from college, so exhausted, and then sleeping for a day.  I remembered a Christmas where I laid on the couch opening presents because I had the flu.  I remembered so many times I had gotten sick….and I realized what they all had in common…

My body needed to rest.

I had finally given it the space to recharge, and this is what it looked like for ME.
I actually was given the space to nourish what needed the most nourishment.

I had finally stopped, gotten off the carousel of my life, and here I was…..me and the Sun; shining it’s bright lights of inspiration and stories of humanity.

Right before dinner time, I sat up and did the Rainbow Meditation again, and when I came to my second chakra, the brightest orange light climbed up my right leg, connected at my spine, and then gloriously traveled down my left.

In flow.

I opted out of evening birding again, and slept soundly for 9 hours.  And the next day, I put on my binoculars, and saw Puffins for the first time in my life.

 

It’s a fallacy that we can push forever.  We all need rest, and most of all, we REALLY need it as Artists.  Our work comes from a very deep place, and is highly personal.

We decided to become Artists because we LOVE our Art, and we love expressing it.

This is not a process to PUSH through, or create on fumes.

The body never lies.  As Creative forces, we need to stay connected to our inner life, because it is our inner life and humanity we are expressing in our work. If your body is calling for rest again and again, listen.

So, what is your Sun?
What nourishes your Creative flow?

If you were to take a moment and stop….what would happen?

Things may really slow down….AND you may be getting exactly what you need.

Open the pages.

Open to your Sun.