Expectation Hangover

Machu Picchu

“Is this it?” my father said.

My heart sank.  I’m at Machu Picchu. This is the moment I have been waiting for, one of the places on my bucket list.

My father’s words ringing in my ears, I wanted to quickly distance myself from his energy, and immediately get out my phone to start taking pictures.

To take THE picture.

You know the one.  It’s so many people’s profile picture.  Standing at the peak of Machu Picchu with the ruins behind; a symbol of achievement.

I’m here!
I made it!

The sun was blazing down hot, and I was feeling it.  When the first pictures were taken, the light was all off.  I was in shadow.  This isn’t what I wanted to portray. Thankfully, my aunt was there to save the day , and had a brilliant idea.

Face the ruins and look at the camera.

This way, the light hit my face AND you could see the expanse of Machu Picchu.  Soon, my parents were doing the same shot and the moment was captured.

I had THE picture.

But, where was the feeling?

I had expected to have this out of body experience, the clouds to part, and wisdom to reign down on me from the heavens.  Wasn’t this the place of enlightenment?  The site of ancient wisdom?

It was high season at the ancient site and it felt like the whole world had decided to enter the stony walls, walking in single files behind a never-ending amount of tour guides, their flags raised and voices ringing out.  I had to really get close to our tour guide to hear all the richness of the history.

As we walked through, the sun continued to beat down, and I was chugging an electrolyte packet to alleviate the effects.  It was gorgeous and the view was amazing, but it was feeling more like something else…

A tourist attraction.

Our guide had given us the option to stay behind and have some personal time amongst the ruins, but I was feeling the hot sun, and knew I needed to get some food, get out of the sun, and wasn’t too thrilled with the idea of taking the bus back by myself and finding my way back to the hotel alone.

As we exited the site, we walked through a stone doorway, and I felt a panic and sadness arise, and a voice asking,

Did I learn what I needed to?
Did I receive what I needed?

Then, I walked through the arch and said goodbye to one of the most famous destination sites in the world.  I did’t want to leave. I left wondering if I would ever return.

I left managing something that had been building in me since the trip was planned a year and a half ago…



Where have you formed the Perfect Picture in your Creativity?

Where have you entered a situation, already deciding it would LOOK a certain way?

This is the PERFECT job
This show will solve all my problems
This book will launch me to success
This gallery will make me famous
My audience tonight will all stand and go raving mad!

We can so easily attach an outcome to our plans, and decide is HAS to be; that what we have formed in our mind as a projection will be truth.

And in this expectation, we believe in permanence.
We believe things are unchanging.

And when it doesn’t look exactly as we planned, we feel a loss.  We feel sadness, and we feel dis-empowered.

How can we create from here?

Creativity by its very nature is an open space.  It’s one of possibility, not fixed.  So let me offer a different tool, instead of expectation, so you are not feeling the “hangover” of disappointment that leads to procrastination and burnout.  Imagine instead using,


Intention is based in your needs, and isn’t about the outcome, but your energy in the moment.  It’s about the step by step, daily commitment to your Creative Vision.  Intention is based in what is feeding you moving forward, as opposed to bringing you to a stopping point.

Intention will bring you to growth, which is what we are all doing.  Every day, with every moment, we have the opportunity to learn, to try again, and to expand not only in our own Creative abilities, but in our audience, reaching more with our gifts and talents.

That sounds far more sustainable than believing it HAS to be a certain way.


On the last day of the trip, our guide made an offer to do a short walking tour of Cusco City.  I was already enamored with the European influence, and was hungry for more history.  I was loving my time in Peru, and wanted to learn more.

We walked around, and I was in awe of the Incan walls, perfectly formed and interlocking like puzzle pieces. There was no mortar used, and despite catastrophic earthquakes, and much of the city destroyed through the Spanish invasion, what still remained was the foundation…those Incan walls built back in the 15th century. The Incans possessed a quality that has not been duplicated by building engineers since,


We walked into the Plaza De Armas and Cusco Cathedral loomed skyward.  I entered, and was instructed to walk to the sides as a service was going on.

And then it hit me.

That feeling.  A powerful energy, and I began to weep, gazing at the high domes.

As the tears fell on my shirt, I walked to the front of the sanctuary, and knelt in a pew.  The parishioners were singing behind me and their devotion was coursing through my blood, and as I bowed my head to my hands, all I said was,

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

This was what I had expected to experience at Machu Picchu.  This moment of emotion, and a powerful experience.  It was unexplainable in the present moment, but I was allowing it, so grateful for it’s arrival.

My INTENTION had been to be open to what Peru could teach me.

And in a cathedral that we were never supposed to be in, in a place I had no idea I was going to visit…it came.

It wasn’t the picture I had in my mind, but the result was exactly what I had asked for.

Cusco Cathedral brought me back to a sense of home.  It resonated with my European upbringing, and visiting countless cathedrals in my youth. It resonated with my personal devotion to my own Zen practice, it satisfied my need for growth and learning about new cultures, and as I gazed at my parents and aunt who were on this trip with me, it brought me back to the incredible gift of family and connection.

And as far as my Creativity?  It’s here in every word to you.  I walked out of the cathedral and knew I would write about it.  In fact, I had absolute clarity about the whole trip and what I would create FROM it.

In Machu Picchu, I faced the ruins and faced my own expectations.  And the catalyst was Cusco Cathedral.  I actually got exactly what I needed.

Are you open to seeing this for yourself?


So come back to your Vision, and see what you’re holding onto so tightly.  Come back to your intention, and do your tasks from there.   Allow the intention to drive your actions, not a fixed picture.

You may find yourself on your knees, experiencing exactly what you have always desired, and doing so from a place where you are motivated and engaged; a place where you are connecting to your Dreams and your Audience.

A place where you are receiving what you need.

Cusco Cathedral

Your Inner Bark

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There are two dogs barking.

Each bare their teeth, and stand their ground with tenacious energy.  Eyes focused ahead, their legs rock with the vibration of their voices.

Their barks fire out in varying cadences of rat-a-tat to a rhythmic drum, banging again and again.

Around their necks, collars are cinched tightly, the metal encased in grommets that connect to a silver tag hanging down that individually reads:


Which one is barking?
Which one are you feeding?


I have a morning routine that I love.  After I shower, I light incense, open up my meditation bench, and count my breath in silence.  After the gong goes off, I grab my deck of Louise Hay’s Power Thought Cards and hold them to my heart, and ask,

What do I need to hear today?

With eyes closed, I shuffle the deck and then pick at random.  Many times, as soon as I see the message, a moment of recognition comes over me.  Sometimes I laugh, sometimes my brow furrows in concern, and sometimes I cry.

If there is a moment of confusion, I know the answer will be revealed later in my day.

There is always a reason for the message.

Recently, I pulled this card:

I Am Willing To Let Go

I did have a quick association, but also an instinct there was more to the card today. So, the card went up on my wall as my daily mantra, and I hopped on my coaching call.

Today, my mastermind group had a special guest, energy healer Maryann Robbat, and she was teaching us all a powerful practice for releasing stuck energy and limiting beliefs.

Would you like to hear it?

1) Close your eyes and think of where you come up against something in your life and what that belief is.
2) Feel where in your body tension arises
3) Imagine physically scooping that tension out of that area either with your hand or something else and placing that energy in a basket.
4) Now breathe into the newly formed space and ask, What is the new belief?

My belly had constricted around doubts of my Creative ability, and I took my hand again and again to my soft underside, scooping away, and scooping away, until all I felt was space.

Then I asked the question, and a very different belief arose.


As soon as I opened my eyes, the first thing I saw was the Louise Hay card in front of me, reading:
I Am Willing To Let Go

There is always a reason for the message.

I wanted to share this practice, and hopped on Instagram and my ZenRedNYC Facebook page, posting the picture of the card, and within 10 seconds, I had 20 likes.

I’ve never had that kind of reaction on social media.

Maybe there was something there.

My Facebook post received the most attention of any of my posts.  This was hitting a cord.

This wasn’t just a call to action, it was coming from a place of personal empowerment for every finger that hit “like” and clicked on the page.  The key word in the sentence?



There are two dogs barking within you, depending on which you feed.  Their names are Fear and Courage.

Their appetites are as you would expect, animal and endless.  If you place the bowl in front of them, they will consume.

When they want your attention, they bark.

We may be led to the bowl via our doubts and limiting beliefs, but where we place it is always a moment of choice.

A moment of Will.

Our Fears have served us for certain aspects in our lives, believing they are keeping us safe, barking at the stranger, or uncertainty in the dark.

Isn’t that what a guard dog is for?

But, is it serving us in the long run for our Creative Process?
If we are always creating from a place of Fear, what are we cutting off?
What are we really guarding against?

Yes, the barking can be loud and incessant, but can you hear the difference in the quality and tone of each dog?

Maybe the they are both calling to be loved, and we can begin by lifting the post that has Fear bound at the neck.  Let him go chase a squirrel, while you scratch Courage behind the ears.

As Creatives, we all have something to say.  It expresses through word, speech, brush, and song.  It expresses through our limbs and voice, reaching out from within.

And it takes Courage to do so.

It was no mistake that a simple message resonated with so many.  We can see clearly we are held back by our fears. And we know what the next step is.

Isn’t it beautiful we are doing it together?

There are two dogs within you, Fear and Courage.  Which will you feed today, and which are you willing to let go?

Comment below and share…..maybe our dogs can play together.

Willing To Let Go