Tightening the Screws

Do you have something that’s been NAGGING you for a long time in your Art?

Do you feel like you are fixing the same things over and over again?

It can be so frustrating, especially when you feel like your attempts are all for nothing.

Whatever hasn’t been working can start to feel:
BROKEN.

And that can be so disheartening when your work is so heart-based, and comes from the deepest part of you.

And honestly, there are only so many hours in a day!

You want to put your focus where you are going to see the greatest return, and yet the same things seem to be plaguing you,

A broken link on your website
Low sales for your Art or events
Miscommunications with your collaborators
Equipment going on the fritz
Low social media engagement

Sometimes, it can feel like you have duck tape holding your Art career and business together.

Because, really you want to be spending your time CREATING.

That’s the joy, right?

So, why do these annoying small things keep distracting you, and taking you off creating your most powerful work and creating raving fans?

Couldn’t they just be permanently FIXED?

 

I’m a big fan of my drying rack.

I have a lot of dance and yoga clothes that are very happy hanging to dry instead of being burned to death in the NYC economy size dryers at my local laundromat.

When I moved into my sanctuary in Astoria after my divorce, I was actually really excited to buy a new drying rack.  This one was more sturdy, it had solid bars, and was a far cry from the rickety wooden one I had had, when I was married.

But, as this drying rack was used every week, it started to weaken.

And soon, I was finding the rack wobble, and the bars coming loose.  I felt like I was spending half my time just trying to put it together every week, and picking up random pieces that were falling off.

It was so frustrating!  The rack would fall over, and stand at this odd angle……I honestly spent more time just trying to find something to lean it against.

As I knew I was moving, I just assumed,
Well…..I just need it to last a few more months and I will get a new one when I move to NJ in Feb.

And then, two weeks ago, right as I was picking up a screw for the hundredth time from the floor, a NEW thought popped in,
Maybe I just need to tighten the screws on the rack.

I grabbed a phillips head and tightened one screw….and then another, and then another.  In fact EVERY screw needed to be tightened.

Five minutes later, I opened the rack and realized it was sturdy
It was solid.

In fact, it was as solid as the first day I bought it.

And all I had to do was take 5 minutes and tighten the screws.

It was that simple.

 

So, what is that thing that is nagging you in your Art?

What have you been putting duck tape on, doing the “quick fix” for MONTHS or YEARS thinking it will actually get better?

Is it your:
Organization
Pricing
Social Media
Website
Marketing
Scheduling
Cash Flow

Limiting Mindset?

Whatever it is, you know it, because it keeps coming up.

I was so intent on picking up the screws and believing my rack was broken, I wasn’t seeing the answer right in front of my eyes.

My focus was on the wrong place.

And this can plague us in our Art.
It can plague us as we are trying to build a raving fan base.

We can waste AGES on the quick fix, instead of taking the action that will actually give us solid footing, and allow us to use our energy where we want,
ON OUR CRAFT.

And when we waste our time, we really do believe things are broken, when this just isn’t the case. We can feel wobbly and unsure.

We’ve become blind to the solution.

But, if you took a moment and got really quiet, ask yourself,
What needs tightening?

What have you been resisting doing?

The answer is simpler than you think, and will save you hours and days in the long run.

Place your focus on what is going to actually FIX your solution, instead of running after the endless dropping screws.

 

Stop using the duck tape, and reach out for the help that will give you lasting change and growth in your Art.

Narrow in on that area that needs the most help, and make 2018 the year you truly become Unstoppable.

This is your life, and your work matters.

 

 

Photography by: Caitlin Cannon Photography

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