Taking the Leap

Has fear stopped you when it matters most with your work?

Have you been right there, and the next step you need to take in order to go Full Time scares you out of your mind?

It may be,
Starting your Youtube channel
Submitting your manuscript to a big publisher
Hiring your first producer
Promoting your workshop
Raising your prices on your art
Launching a newsletter or blog

It’s that next level of exposure and action you KNOW you need to take, and yet you find yourself paralyzed.  You may feel like your feet are stuck to the ground.

Have you ever felt this?

And the fear can be intense…
It can feel so overwhelming, and you may be thinking,
If I’m THIS scared, I’m not supposed to do it!
Maybe I’ll just wait…
I’ll wait until I’m no longer scared.
If I’m scared, it must not be right.

So, you wait, and wait, and the fear never goes away…and your dreams of going Full Time are no closer.

How does that feel?
I imagine it can be devastating and really discouraging.

You are an incredible Artist.
You have so much to give and your audience is waiting for you…..
So, what’s the DEAL??

Why won’t the fear GO AWAY?

I mean, things would be so much easier if it did, right?

Wednesday night was a big night for me.  Almost four months after a serious calf injury, I decided to try leaping across the floor for the first time.

I had been back to dance class now two times prior since the injury and each time had felt even more solid, and I was actually really excited. 

Tonight is the night!  I get to leap!

And yet, right before I was about to go, I felt it…Fear.
This was exactly how I got injured in January.  It was the leaps across the floor.

For a moment, I could feel that voice coming up saying,
What if you’re not ready?
What if you hurt yourself again?

Have you ever felt this?

I was scared.  The last four months have been really challenging and I have MISSED dance so much!  The last thing I wanted was to have another injury and be out again.

But, something deeper was with me.
So, I leapt WITH the fear.

And I made it across to the other side of the room. A smile broke across my face, a wash of relief came over me.  My calf was tight, but I was ok. 

I was ok.

I remember in the very midst of my divorce, sitting in front of a Zen teacher with tears streaming down my face, sharing my heartache and weeping as I choked out my deepest question,
How do you let go?

He passed me a box of tissues and then asked me,
Are you ok without him?

This question stopped me cold.  Literally, it was as if a huge shift occurred in my body.

Yes, I was ok.
Yes, I was breathing.
Yes, I had support of family and friends….I was still alive.

I honestly had thought because I was SO afraid of being single, of being without the man I had spent 19 years of my life with, that ultimately I would NOT be ok.

This was unknown territory, after all.

And yet, here I was breathing and alive.
The ironic thing was I was the one who actually said,
I want a divorce.

He had asked for a trial separation, but there was no way I was going to give that to him. He was in love with another woman, and had shared he didn’t want to have kids. AND in couple’s therapy, he didn’t want to look at the deeper reasons he was leaving me.

There was no future here. I knew it, and I knew what the next step had to be, and it rocked me to my core.

So, even though I was terrified of never finding my partner, of never having children…I leapt.  It was scary as hell.

And I was ok.
I am ok. And that ability to leap WITH my fear allowed me to not only find my life partner and begin family planning, but also create my own Art business and find true meaning in my life.

Last week I saw a quote from one of my favorite women in the world, Marie Forleo
Fear isn’t the problem. Waiting to stop feeling afraid is.

And this IS the heart of it.

Whoever told you not to step forward because you are scared, lied to you.

It actually may be the least helpful advice given, ever.
We don’t grow when are comfortable, we grow when we are challenged, face it, and step INTO it.

The reason why?

Because when you are able to take steps WITH fear, you are building your greatest ally,
Self trust.

It took me losing everything to wake up to how strong I actually was.

And trust me, it wasn’t easy, and I didn’t do it alone.

Fear is actually just an indicator that it’s important to you!
Much like family to me, partnership, and dancing!
Dancing is VITAL for me, so OF COURSE I was scared to leap.

And I did WITH my fear.

Perhaps, this isn’t about letting GO of fear.

What if fear can come ALONG on the journey?
What if fear is just here to point to what’s important to you?

Take the leap.
The only way is through.

Fear is not your enemy…it may actually just be waiting for you to make friends with it.  Maybe your fear WANTS to leap across the floor and feel freedom too.

Because when you land there….you will realize, it’s gone.

Just like that. It’s disappeared, and there you are….landed from the air, alive.

You are alive.

The wait is over.

Photography: Caitlin Cannon Photography

Hot Pink Learning

I think I’ve discovered a miracle.

After dancing for almost 40 years, I have learned something completely new.
Something I REALLY wish I knew before when I was dancing professionally and dealing with injuries, pain, discomfort and frustration.

Because that’s the stuff that is no fun in our industry!

Pain, discomfort and frustration…no thank you!

Do you ever feel like this?

I mean, I imagine you come to your Art because you love it!  It makes you feel amazing, right?

This isn’t a 9 to 5 for you, I imagine it’s a deep calling.  You want to create, and there is a deep fulfillment that occurs in your music, your words, your art, your images…that just doesn’t arise anywhere else.

I get it.

This is how I feel about dancing, this is how I feel about writing and speaking.

So, when I’m dealing with situations that keep me from dancing, it’s heartbreaking.  As I did for the last three months…until last week, when I was able to return from a strained tendon and be back in dance class.

And the real saving grace?

Well…it turned out to be something bright pink.  Something I had NEVER used before.

And something I actually knew about, but had looked at and said,
“Nah, that’s not for me”

Have you ever said this?

My husband is an Occupational Therapist.  Literally the universe has brought the perfect man into my life.  Every day I am so grateful for him, but with my calf injury I was beyond thankful.  This injury was entirely new to me, and I was a total student asking him,
What do I need to do?

In the second month of recover,y he recommended I wear his compression socks.  I had heard of compression socks before having several runners in my family, and had always looked at the socks and said,
Oh, that’s for runners…not for me as a dancer.

And now, here I was being handed these socks to put on, even though I had made a strong decision they didn’t apply to me.

What’s really interesting here is I NEVER wore them before.  I actually had no direct experience with compression socks.  I had just decided they didn’t apply to my body and needs.

So, being the good patient, I put them on…and the effect was miraculous.  My calf instantly felt better.  So much of the achiness was gone.  When I asked my husband to explain them, he shared they actually help with blood flow and are really important post injury or post an intensive workout to keep swelling down.

Wait….in adequate blood flow and swelling are BOTH things I have dealt with my whole life.

In fact, they were issues I had as a professional dancer and performer that I was approaching in other ways that didn’t always help or work.

Maybe I had made a hasty decision…or maybe I had made a decision based on nothing…..

The day before I was going back to dance class, my husband surprised me with a gift…hot pink compression socks.  Pink is my favorite color and I immediately put them on.  I loved them!  He instructed I wear them all day before I take my first class and then make sure to put them on right after class to help with any possible trauma or swelling.

So, I went to class.  It was ups and downs, and my calf was definitely talking!  Right after class I put the socks on and even felt a very strong heat at the injury site.

I was worried, and even more, was convinced I was going to be SUPER sore for at least 2-3 days.  This was my first dance class in 3 months!

And then, I woke up the next day with no soreness.

I was flabbergasted.

Wow…turns out compression socks actually were completely FOR me.

I felt so good that within five days I was back in class and that went even better.  The compression socks went on right after class and again, the next day, no soreness.

Total education.
So grateful…
Now I had an actual experience with something that was a HUGE help to my art.

So, what is causing you pain, discomfort and frustration in your work?

What have you looked at and said,
Nah, that’s not for me…

What solutions or help have you walked away from, even though they have been presented to you, maybe more than once?

Have you actually had a direct experience WITH it?

What do you really need HELP with right now?

I can’t tell you how many times I have made a decision on something to later find out it was exactly what I needed to grow, and it’s hilarious that compression socks were presented to be so many times over the years through my brother and my nephew who were both competitive runners.

Even more, I can look at the four years leading up to my divorce, and my deep desire to ask for help.

Yet, for years I would look at therapy or coaching and say,
Nah, that’s not for me

Nah, that’s not for me

And yet, these three things saved my life.  And it was only when I had the actual experience of DOING them, of trying if FOR myself that I was able to really understand WHY I needed them so badly.

Pain, discomfort and frustration?  Now, I had tools to deal with these, and even more so, NOT be taken out or stop doing the work I loved because of them.
Check in…..what has been nagging at you?

What has been working for others around you that you are refusing?
Have you tried it

There is wisdom there.

What are your compression socks?

The answers to your pain may be right in front of your face….open your eyes and your heart, and step into a new experience.

You may learn something that will change your life.