A Dancer’s Faith

Do you ever feel like you are stuck in between where you are and where you want to be?

You are doing everything you can for your Art, and you know you just have to STICK it out, and yet, you want to yell out,

When will I GET THERE?

We can have such a clear vision of our success, but the journey can be downright exhausting.

Could we just skip to the raving fans and thriving career?

Wouldn’t that be AMAZING!

But since this is not our reality, the question arises, what helps?

When we are feeling stuck…..what is there?

 

Back in early July, I found myself in excruciating pain.  My right shoulder was killing me, and what I would normally think was a tight knot, wasn’t going away.

Something was wrong.

I soon found myself staring at a large x-ray in my chiropractor’s office, with the diagnosis of swelling in my disks, arthritis, and my skull at a 9 degree angle off from center.

I had injured my neck, and now had to go into treatment.

And stop dancing.

I’ve always been a good patient, and showed up for all my adjustments.  I started to see improvements quickly, and after two months, started taking yoga again.  It was feeling so good to move my body, and then I pulled a muscle in my back.

And was back at square one.

Still no dancing.

It took another month of recovery before I could take class.  When I walked back into the studio, I was both excited and scared.  This was the longest time I had taken off from dancing in my whole LIFE.

I was shaky…..I was off balance, but I was there.

In the coming weeks, it was frustrating.  I didn’t have full range of motion, and it felt so strange to be in dance class, my place of joy and expression, and NOT be able to fully let loose.

My back was still tight, my neck still tight, and I felt like I was managing it all.

And I didn’t WANT to manage it…I wanted to just DANCE.

Have you ever felt like this? Constricted in your Art?

Dance hasn’t been my place of safety and conservation…it’s been my place of FREEDOM!

One week, we did a fast combo, and I found myself hunched over, desperately trying to get in enough air.  My stamina was in the toilet…..class was feeling HARD.  I was really questioning if I would ever feel the same in my body again.

I wanted to feel strong again.

But, with each week, it got slowly better.  I was still going for my chiropractic treatment, and feeling my neck loosen, my back widen….

Incrementally, I could feel the change.

 

Last week, we learned this really fast combo.  As we learned the steps, I felt full range of motion.  I was feeling alive and strong, and having a blast. I had no idea what the song was, but the movement was so much fun!

And then my teacher turned on the song…and I grinned ear to ear as the familiar guitar strum reminded me of my early teenage days….George Michael singing on my Sony Walkman:

Faith.

Before this river
Becomes an ocean
Before you throw my heart back on the floor
Oh baby I reconsider
My foolish notion
Well I need someone to hold me
But I wait for something more
Yes I’ve gotta have faith
Unh I gotta faith
Because I gotta to have faith, faith, faith
I gotta to have faith, faith, faith

And then I danced…..

Five months after walking into the doctor’s office, I danced.

 

What does Faith mean to you?

Is it a part of your Art?

I see so many Artists struggle because they are stuck in their circumstances.  They can’t see PAST it.  They are disconnected from a larger picture.

The picture of their vision
The picture of their audience

The reason WHY they came to their Art in the first place.

What DO you have Faith in?

If we are going to take our work to a larger audience, we need to realize we are larger than our challenges. 

And I get it, it can be deeply isolating when you are in pain and struggling. I felt so self conscious being in dance class and falling out of turns, and doubled over from exhaustion.  But I kept showing up, each week.

If the only reason you are doing your Art is confined to your Ego, you will suffer again and again.

We ALL face challenges along our path,

Rejection
Disappointment
Loss

We don’t have control over people. There is a letting go here.

So, what can we CREATE and NOURISH to get back on the dance floor and be strong?

FAITH.

And this is personal TO you.

Two years ago, I interviewed four successful Artists that are dear friends.  They were at the top of their field, in choreography, performance, teaching and writing.  They were on Broadway, large films, and turning down work.

The common thread with them all?
Faith.

Faith in their Art
Faith in their audience
Faith in the larger picture of what ART actually is doing FOR themselves AND the world

You may be shaky and off balance in the process, but tap into something larger, and find the support that FEEDS you.

We are stronger together.

 

 

Photography: Caitlin Cannon Photography

9 Degrees of Separation

I’m staring at a giant monitor, my skull before me, at a sickening angle.

My chiropractor, Dr Imana, says,
I normally see this kind of deviation in whiplash patients.
You’re off by 9 degrees.

While I’m in shock at how misaligned my skull is from my neck, it is explaining why I’ve had such severe shoulder pain the last week.

But the word that is resonating like a tuning fork through my whole body, really makes the most sense….

Whiplash.

Dr. Imana looks at me with his caring eyes and says,
I also see this in my patients who have something really large happening in their life. So…what’s going on?

Oh……right…..this is making sense now.

 

What is your Creative Dream?
What is your Desired Vision?

Is it to:
Sell out Carnegie Hall
Be a NY Times Bestseller
Star on Broadway
Give a TED Talk
Have your Art Hang in the Metropolitan Museum
Win a Grammy

What drives your Process and feeds your Artistic Drive?

What is that vision, that if or when it comes true you will feel in your whole body and soul that you have ARRIVED?

We can spend so much time dreaming, and working, but what happens when it actually does come into our life?

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.  Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.  It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.  We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?  Actually, Your playing small does not serve the world. As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people the permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
-Marianne Williamson

As Creatives, we can talk all we want about our Dreams, but when the spotlight is in front of us, how can we step in and actually be liberated? How do we fully make the impact we deeply desire?

It all comes down to one key element,

Alignment.

 

I look at Dr. Imana and smile,
I’m in love

And encapsulated in this is so many elements,
overcoming my fear of being hurt again
starting a new life partnership
moving out of my apartment

And ultimately forming a whole Creative life…one where I feel fulfilled in all areas.

All things I have been working towards, and wanting with my whole being, and here it is!

So, why was my neck so imbalanced?

Well…I’ve never been here before. 

The dream of Art that feeds me, work I love, a family and partnership that is deeply aligned with who I am as a woman today….this is all new.

At least, all of it together is new.
And it’s knocked me off my center.

Much like that roaring crowd waiting for you.

Are you aligned for the success you desire?

 

When I lay down for my adjustment, Dr Imana said,
I want you to think about this work as something we do together.  Place your attention on moving your skull center and open, center and open.

Once the adjustment was over, I felt as though a huge shift had occurred, and I was led to a dim room to relax with a guided meditation.  As soon as the headphones were placed on my ears, I began to cry.

Something was moving.

My neck was aligned, and now I could just freely flow.  My fear left my body, and I relaxed into the chair.

And a thought occurred to me,
This timing is perfect.

In order to welcome in all I desire, I need to be aligned for it.

My body had been sending me a clear message, and it was time to create new space; release the old fears, as they don’t serve me anymore.

Not for the life that is unfolding.

What about you?
What are you still holding on to?

 

So, how can you get aligned with your Dreams?

Take a moment right now, and grab a pen and paper.

Write down your Creative Vision, and then look at your actions towards them.  Take stock of your mindset, and your language. Look at your messaging, your collaborations, and habits.

Alignment: the proper adjustment of the components of a machine, circuit, etc., for coordinated functioning.

and

a state of agreement or cooperation among persons, groups, nations, etc., with a common cause or viewpoint.

We can so commonly get caught in believing we aren’t READY for success, but the answer may lie in whether or not we are ALIGNED.

This alignment begins WITHIN.

It begins with us, and then works it way out into our Art, and then connects with our audience.

Take a look at your paper, and see where the gaps are.

When we can release the judgment against ourselves, the answers come pretty easy.  And then the next step is just to ask for help.

I came to this new place with A LOT of help, and it was when I was willing to release the belief that I HAD to do it alone, that my business bloomed, and I was led to coaches and mentors and healers that have allowed me to create the life I want.

There’s been something holding you back for awhile, and today you have the opportunity to adjust.

Move Center and Open
Center and Open

Step into your light and align your life to SUPPORT that.

And then inspire your audience to do the same. Align with THEM, cooperate with what they need, and are clamoring for from you.

Align your Artistry with your Humanity, and your audience will follow suit.

This will create the deepest impact.

The success may feel like a whiplash, but it’s just the opportunity to create more space.

 

Who are you to be brilliant?
ALIGNED.