Crack Open

How are you feeling about your career?

Are you where you want to be?
Is your audience growing and adoring you?
Do you have money coming in from your work and systems in place for much more to flow in the new year?

Take a moment….and truly ask,
How is it going?

As we near the end of the year, this is a big time for reflection, to ask,
What is working?
What is NOT working?

And as Creatives, we tend to get really caught up in what’s NOT working.  It can be devastating to put out so much of ourselves, our passion and craft, and not see the return we desire.

And wanting to put on the “brave face” makes it even harder, especially at this time of year when we have the pressure of holidays, family, and all the gatherings where people are asking US,
So….how’s it going??

It can feel like we are cracking, and coming undone.

And we can’t have that, right?  We have to keep it together. We may feel we have to:
look the part
fake it til we make it
appear confident

Isn’t that how success comes?

 

Oh my God……there’s a HUGE crack…..

I look down at my bowl in my bathroom and see this enormous crack in the clay.

I pick up the bowl and can feel a panic in my stomach.  As I cup the base, my mind starts to race,
I just GOT this

This bowl was made for my husband and I as a wedding gift from one of my Zen teachers and dear friends.  Using the Raku technique, she made us a ring bowl, which was used in our wedding ceremony.  My husband and I placed our wedding rings in this bowl when we made our sacred vows to each other.

There was deep significance to this bowl.

Deep significance to this marriage.

I went through a devastating divorce six years ago, and the journey to finding love again was quite intense.  I had a ton of healing to do.  I went on the first date of my LIFE at the age of 38, I had to learn all the ins and outs of online dating, in which I was a complete beginner and VERY awkward. I had to get in touch with my feminine, which had been completely shut down for years. I had zero confidence.

I worked with coaches, I signed up for videos and email lists, because I kept feeling SO lost.  I knew I wanted this with all my heart, but was struggling in the process.

I would get my hopes up so many times, thinking I was truly READY for lasting love, only to be disappointed again. And time was ticking….I was in my early 40’s and really struggling with wanting him here now.

How much time did I really have?

Have you ever felt this?
The urgency of time?

When I finally found my life partner it was a whole new level, one I never thought possible, and I found myself burst open with love. The life I had only dreamed of was coming true.  All the work I had done was now coming to fruition.

Our wedding ceremony was profound for me.  In front of closest family and friends, I took a deep breath, and felt the emotion rise in my throat as I ended my vows staring into the eyes of my beloved with,

20 years ago I stood before witnesses
believing I understood this act.
I honor and love that woman
who’s long sleep brought me to this day.
Today, I meet her on the shore
and turn to you whole,
my dear love.
I vow to awaken within our clasped hands and joined lives.
from the crickets song to the dying leaves.
Unfurled in the sacred space,
petals open for all to see,

I vow to love you,

Lights on and Awake.

 

The day was amazing.  The wedding was sacred and beautiful.  My husband and I brought that special bowl back to our house and placed it in our bathroom to hold our rings.

Deep significance.

And now there was a crack……
What did this mean?
I thought I had worked through all of this!
Wasn’t this bowl supposed to be a symbol of the healing, and the wholeness of finding each other?

I reached out to my teacher Hojin to ask if she could repair the bowl and she said she absolutely could.  Having just returned from India, she actually had this new technique of filling the crack with gold.

Within a short time, the bowl was returned to us and I had expected to just see the crack, and now saw a gold line throughout the whole bowl.  That wasn’t there before….had it cracked more?

When I asked Hojin about it, she said,
I had to break it open to fix it.
It had to come apart to be repaired.

And then I got it. All of it.

And I now saw the beauty, and honestly, how the bowl in it’s present state was actually perfect.

My whole life came apart in order to discover my true calling as an Artist.
My marriage came apart for me to discover what true and healthy love actually was.
My career as a performer came apart for me to create my own platform and work I love.

The WAY I WAS in my life broke open.
I surrendered, I asked for help, and my cracks that I had tried for YEARS to hide, finally broke me open.

And for the first time, I had deep connection with my audience and raving fans. I realized I had been going about growing my audience completely BACKWARDS.

The cracks had actually been there all along SHOWING me what wasn’t working.  They were pointing to where I was exhausting myself.  They were pointing to where I was trying the same thing OVER AND OVER and expecting different results.

Isn’t that the definition of insanity?

And how about you?

As you take this time to reflect on 2018, where are your cracks?
Are you more concerned with having it all together, then actually getting the help you need?

What do you need?
Do you even know?

Our journey as Artists is not linear.
Our journey was never meant to do alone.

It can feel deeply isolating in the struggle, but perhaps the struggle is there to HELP you….

 

Take a moment, without judgement and close your eyes.  Come into your body and connect to your breath.  Now ask yourself,
What do I MOST need?

Let this arise, cracks and all.  Allow yourself to see where you truly are.  Release the judgement that you have to do this by yourself.

Crack open.

And then place your attention on the REPAIR.  Fill the cracks with GOLD.  That means, actually addressing what you need NOW to build your career as an Artist and to grow your audience.

And by GOLD, I mean skillful.
I mean helpful.
I mean from someone who GETS you and can actually partner with you to create the results you want in your career. Someone who is either a professional or has been a professional.

 

Your career, this precious bowl…..what could it mean to repair what’s not working?
What would be possible for you then?

I’m standing for your dreams.
Gold in hand.

Connecting To Your Life

Have you ever been right before your biggest dream, and felt completely stuck?
Have you had your deepest desire right in FRONT of you, and found yourself frozen in place, unable to move forward?

And inside your head, you are screaming,
What is wrong with me?
Why does this always happen?

Your inner critic is having a heyday, and you’re left there….
STUCK
Frustrated
and wondering if this will ever change.

Isn’t this what you’ve been working for, for SO long?
What the HECK is going on?

Turns out, that last question may be the most important question you ask yourself.

Perhaps there is a reason you are standing there, staring your dreams in the face.

Would you like to know how to step forward and get out of the crippling fear?

 

I’m married.

On Sunday September 16th up at Zen Mountain Monastery, I stood in front of my closest family and friends and took a vow to love, and be awake in loving my beautiful man, Chuck.

The day could not have been more magical and sacred.  We felt deeply seen by those closest in our lives, and marveled at the September sunshine that blessed our special day.

We had a three day mini-moon in Woodstock, NY, as my husband had to return to work on Thursday and I had a four day intensive training on non-violent communication starting on Thursday.

I woke up Wednesday with a knot in my shoulder, and feeling deeply anxious.

I didn’t want the honeymoon to be over.  This time was so special, I wanted more time just the two of us to bond.

Thursday I headed to the Lifebridge Sanctuary in Rosendale, NY for the beginning of the four day retreat.  The center could not be more beautiful.  The grounds were stunning.  Nature was all around me, with mountains, birds, and an open sky.

And while I WANTED to feel excited and grateful for being here, all I felt was conflict.

I felt so torn.  I had waited a year to do this training AND I missed my husband.  Non-violent communication is actually a HUGE reason I was able to call in my husband, and I’ve watched it transform my client’s lives.  It transformed MY life.

And yet, I was really struggling.  Thursday night, I had a complete meltdown, doubting myself, doubting being here, and starting to feel a deep ache.

I woke up on Friday and found myself isolating.  This was such odd behavior for me.  I’m a Leo!  I love people, and I love being around them….and yet, on the breaks I found I just wanted to be alone.

But the beauty of the work, is the whole retreat was about what may be the most powerful tool we have as creative beings,
Self Empathy.

As I began to connect with what was actually alive in me, I found I had HUGE fears arising around how I would show up in this marriage…..and they were all based in my past.
I was afraid I would mess it up.
I was afraid I would be too controlling.
I was afraid I would push him away.

All the things that happened in my last marriage came rising up as NOW it was real.  NOW I was married.

Have you ever had your past come up in a crucial moment and take you out?

Being able to connect with feeling devastated, scared, anxious, allowed me to connect with my actual Needs moving forward in the marriage.

Through the self empathy, I realized I needed Inspiration, and most of all, I needed Self Trust.

I mourned my unmet needs in my last marriage, and brought compassion to my strong feelings.  I took the time and space to feel everything and lovingly ACCEPT what was arising.

And I realized my strong feelings and judgements were actually pointing to what was most important for me moving forward.

My judgements about myself in my last marriage were actually the key to creating the life I truly want TODAY, now.

 

So, take a moment and grab a pen and paper.

Think of that moment when you stopped yourself.  Really put yourself there.  Close your eyes and connect.
What are you feeling?

Once you connect with the feelings, ask yourself,
What do I need?

I imagine there is a pattern here, and you may find you stop yourself because there is a strong need for integrity.  Perhaps that project wasn’t aligned with your voice.  Or perhaps there was a strong need for collaboration….perhaps that project meant you were going to be doing ALL the work.  Or perhaps you had a strong need for learning.  There was a piece of the puzzle you didn’t have and it was vital for you to move forward.

Or maybe, in my case, you just aren’t trusting yourself, and you need to re-connect with yourself gently and lovingly to step forward.

In truth, I realized that I’m very young in many ways.  My new way of being, through Zen, through compassion and a vow to be awake in my life…is YOUNG.  I started this journey just five and a half years ago.  I’m actually a toddler as a practitioner, and a being that sees the world VERY differently than I did for 37 years.

My five year old self was feeling really insecure stepping into this marriage beside the 37 year old, and was afraid she would be crushed.

Turns out, the 37 year old really wants to hug her and join.

And that’s when I realized the biggest need for this four day retreat,
INTEGRATION.

We can’t change the past, and we’ve all done things we regret.  It can be so easy to believe how it’s been is how it will always be, but the actual truth is,
You are becoming in every moment.
Change is constant.

Over the course of the four days, my five year old and the 37 year old met in the middle, lovingly.  I am the woman I am today because of all that came before, AND I am clear what I want moving forward.

So, it’s time to trust, and to cultivate that trust within myself.

What is it for you?

What would it look like and feel like to integrate your past into your present?
What would it look like to meet your needs NOW?

Thom Bond, who led the self empathy retreat said,
Everything we do, we do to meet a need.
Your needs are actually your life energy.
When you connect to your needs, you are connecting to your life.
This is how we CHANGE the conversation with ourselves and transmute to what we LOVE.

What would be possible for you then?

 

Sunday we sat in a final circle sharing how we were feeling.

I raised my hand and said,
I feel so grateful and inspired.  I came here Thursday feeling deeply torn and sad.  The journey I have taken over the past four days allowed me to connect with my needs and now I am SO excited and READY to be a wife.  I am ready to be present in this marriage the way I want to be.

I drove home, and when I saw my husband, I kissed him.
Long, deep, saying,
I’m here now.
I love you.

And I am so ready for our life together.

 

Connect within. 
All your answers are there.

What’s stopping you is actually pointing to what you most need.

So, get curious, and ask,
What is going on?

When your needs are met, then you are truly unstoppable.

 

 

 

 

Photography: Daryl Getman Dag Photo