Moving Day

I’ve been talking about this for months, and now the time is here.

I’m leaving.
I’m packing up all my things.

This is it.

After over 19 years in New York City, I am moving out of the city.

And even though this is something I have always envisioned,
even though this is ultimately what I want,
even though this move is bringing me closer to the life I have been working for, for SO long….

I’m terrified.

Have you ever felt this?

Worked so hard towards your Artistic Dream, towards the acclaim you desire and a life that is deeply fulfilling doing work you love where you thrive….and THERE it is, right in front of you…and yet, you feel paralyzed?

We so commonly hear the conversation around Fear of Failure, but what about Fear of Success?

What do we DO when all we want is right in front of us, and we feel overwhelmed?

 

I moved to NYC back in 1998, fresh out of college, newly married, and ready to “make it”. I grabbed my Backstage paper, and went to as many auditions as I could, booking work very quickly.

After five years in college, I was ready for the hustle and bustle, and felt grounded in being married.

My focus was on my career, but family was always in the future.

I used to declare that one day, we would move out of the city, fantasizing about a real house on the Hudson River.

I was clear I didn’t want to raise a family in the city, and this was where I needed to be while I was building my career.

For live theatre, NYC is the place.

So, I stayed…and I worked, and I hit a ceiling.

My dream of Broadway felt out of my grasp.  So many close calls, final auditions….and meanwhile, my marriage that had felt like the calm in the storm was starting to crumble.

I remember doing a production of Romance Romance in the summer of 2010, and my grandmother came to see the show.  We were sitting on a bench in the heart of Cape May, NJ in the early evening summer sun, and she inquired around if I was planning on starting to have a family.  She grabbed my hand, and squeezed it, looking right through me saying,
Don’t wait too long.

I had just turned 35, and was feeling a panic.  I had always thought I would have the family by now….the Broadway show…this wasn’t the timeline I imagined.

My grandmother passed about 7 months later, and on my 36th birthday, I officially got off the pill and started trying.

Except it wasn’t working.  I was taking my temperature every day, writing down on charts, going to acupuncture…and nothing.  I began to think I was “one of those women” and something was wrong with me.

But, my body was actually protecting me.
My body knew what was coming.

Four months after my 37th birthday, my husband knelt in front of me to share he didn’t want to be married anymore and didn’t want to have kids.

And just when I thought I was going to be moving out of the city and starting a new life….I lost my married home, and moved into a very small 300 square foot one bedroom.

Everything I knew of my life burned to the ground, and I questioned if I would ever have a family.
Would I ever have that home?
Would I ever have a partner that wanted children?

As I turned the key in my new apartment, I walked into a reality I never saw coming.

And then something magical happened…
This new apartment became a cocoon.
This new apartment became a sanctuary.
This new apartment gave me quiet, and the space to create a life I couldn’t conceive of before.

I learned who I really was beneath all the criticism, self judgement, and comparison that had been running the show for so long.

And I healed my heart, learning to love again.

And I met a special man…..who came with a home.

And he lives outside NYC.
Everything I said I wanted.

So, here it is right in front of me….MOVING DAY…..and I’m terrified.
It’s pretty crazy, isn’t it?
Why do we do this to ourselves?

What is REALLY at play underneath the fear?

 

As Artists we work so hard.
We GIVE, and we give so much of our hearts in the process.  Our art is literally an expression of our desires, our fears, and what matters most.

We sing
We dance
We write
We create,

And all of this flows from within us, with the hopes and dreams we will evoke strong emotion in our audience, be fulfilled in our work, and create great art that allows us to thrive.

We are on output SO much, creating endlessly. Our desire so strong to receive the acclaim we desire.

So, what happens when it starts to occur?
What happens when our fans start to rave?
What happens when you are in demand?

You taste that sweetness of being seen, of being heard, of FINALLY an audience that GETS you.

And where do we go?

We get scared it will LEAVE.

As my brilliant therapist so succinctly put it,
With attachment comes fear of loss.

I have literally spent the last five years with one goal in mind,
to find my man and start a family.

With my whole being and heart I have wanted this, and it has been a birthing on a scale I didn’t even know I was capable of.

So, naturally, I am terrified it will slip through my fingers…
just like my last marriage.

And yet, here is the miracle.

This came into my life because I stayed IN it.  It came because I gave energy to it, day after day. This move is a manifestation of my efforts.

And now the next chapter begins.

And just like the woman who felt so lost and terrified five years ago, I know what is most important.

The fear is PART OF the journey.

And maybe that home I had been seeking for so long, was in me all along.
Maybe connecting to my inner home, was really the grounding I was needing.

Because that home….never leaves.

“Big challenges stretch us beyond our self-image to something deeper.  Who we think we are won’t win this challenge, but who we really are can”
-Robert Holden

 

So, what grounds you in your life?

It’s from this “home” you will create your best work, and have the CAPACITY to deal with the fear as it arises. I stand here today and share with you I’m scared AND I am moving WITH that fear.

The fear hasn’t stopped me from moving.  I may lose it all, and that’s the chance I am willing to take.  In fact, I know life has an end point, and it’s because I know it will end, that I am FREED to take action.

This is your life.  How do want to live your days?

 

What would be possible if you moved WITH your fear?
What action would you take in your Art?

Pack up your things, it’s moving day.

 

 

Photography: Caitlin Cannon Photography

Creature Comforts

Oh Dear GOD…

There it is.

My skin is crawling.  I’m not even sure if I’m breathing.  My hair is literally standing up on end.  There’s this sickening feeling in my stomach. I’m frozen in time, helpless.

In front of me, my deepest fear.

A spider.

Spindly, large, gross….a million words coming out, all to say,
AHHHHHHHHHH!!

What is it for you?

Snakes
Heights
Public speaking
Rats
Cockroaches

I mean, YUCK!

What makes your skin crawl and you do EVERYTHING in your power to avoid?

I get it, I ran from spiders for most of my adult life, convinced they were pure evil and would kill me.

I mean, HOW could a spider help me?

This was my fear.  This was something to AVOID, not walk towards.

Right?

 

In 2012, I was the dance captain for a production of the musical A Christmas Carol out at the Pioneer Theatre Company in Salt Lake City, Utah.  I loved this musical, and I loved the cast.

But my life was falling apart.

On Thanksgiving, my husband flew out to tell me he didn’t want to be married anymore and was in love with another woman.

I felt as if the world had opened wide, and swallowed me whole. I was in shock, and utterly devastated.

I wanted to scream to the world,
STOP!

I wanted to control the immense change that was happening.

This wasn’t what I planned.

I planned we would go old together.
I planned we would work through any issues.
And most of all, I planned we would have a family together.

In one conversation, I saw all of that disappear.

And I found myself facing my deepest fear,
losing my marriage.

Because, WHO was I if I wasn’t married and trying to have a child?

In December, we had a cast Christmas party, and the company manager brought in a company called.
Creature Comforts

I walked into the party room to large turtles crawling around, and walked over to my fellow dancers who had a giant boa wrapped around them.  I got out my phone to take a picture, as I think snakes are SO cool, and then out of nowhere, a man came up from behind and placed a spider on my friend’s head.

Not just any spider, A TARANTULA.

My whole body froze.  I stopped breathing.  This wasn’t just any spider, it was the mother of all spiders..the largest.

And then I looked behind this man to see a table with FOUR tarantulas in cages.

My worst nightmare.

I was just about to bolt from the room, when a small voice arose,
I always thought spiders were my largest fear, but facing divorce is far deeper.  Since I’m facing that and still breathing, maybe I can finally face this fear of spiders.

I saw an opportunity.

So I walked over to the handler, and asked him to place the tarantula in my hand.

When he first did, the spider started to scratch and crawl in my hand. It was freaking out!  I realized I needed to probably calm down because the spider was feeling my fear.

So, I took a breath.

The spider stopped moving, and was standing in my palm, it’s abdomen shaking, and I realized,
It’s just as scared as I am.

And then a wave of realization came over me.  The spider was NOTHING like I thought it would be.  It was actually soft, light, and fuzzy.

A huge smile came over me, as my fear dissipated, and my friend took a picture.

That picture became my profile picture for months on Facebook, because every time I looked at it, I was reminded,
If you can hold a tarantula, you can do anything.

And anything included,
surviving and healing from a divorce
launching my own successful arts business

Who knew the key was in my biggest fear?

In that moment, my arachnophobia vanished.  It literally disappeared when I realized what I had in common with the spider, and that I was still breathing and ok.  My fear vanished when I LET GO of the woman who ran from spiders.

Who was she anyway?  She was really just made up in my mind.  She wasn’t permanent.

So, what is your biggest fear?

WHO would you become if you no longer had it?
What would be possible for you in your Creative Life?

So often, we isolate and avoid our fears, but the real lesson lies in facing them.  We may have formed a massive belief the fear will harm us, but what we are really avoiding is the FEELING.

If your fear of heights or snakes was faced, and you found yourself still breathing as you skydive or pet a snake, then what other assumptions could be blown apart in your Art?

Perhaps,
No one wants my work
I’m a fraud
My work needs to be perfect to be shown
No one will pay that price for my work
I’m not ready

If these are no longer holding you back, perhaps you would find your fears are actually not harmful, but soft and fuzzy.

You just made them far larger than they actually were.

Maybe even as large as a tarantula.

 

Over the holiday weekend, I was staying at my boyfriend’s house in NJ.  I went into the downstairs bathroom, and caught my breath when I looked in the shower stall to see,

A giant spider.

Instead of running from the room, as I would have done five years ago, I sat down and looked at it. I could feel some of the hairs on my arm rising, the old pattern and memory of fear.

The spider was pretty huge, and I knew I needed to get it outside.

I grabbed a glass from the kitchen, and a piece of mail, and placed the glass over the spider.  As I lifted the spider closer to me, I became surprised at how small the spider looked up close.

It had looked SO large from a distance.

And I found the closer I was to it, the less scary it appeared.  I became curious, looking at it’s markings, as I carried the glass to the backyard.

As I watched the spider crawl in the grass, I marveled at the journey.  I could NOT do this five years ago.  I would have screamed, and ran from the room, shutting the door, and pleading my man to kill it for me.

And I thought of that woman five years ago, who really thought she was keeping herself safe.  And I gave her a hug.  I loved her.  She was doing the best she could.

And I looked at the yard of this house that will be my home, that will house my children, and I remembered that moment holding the tarantula.

Thank goodness for the tarantula.  My biggest fear actually set me free.

The way is always through.
You have everything you need.

 

Get curious around your fears, and turn towards them.  Hold them in your hand, and LOOK at them.

You can’t change what you can’t see.

WHO would you be without them?

WHAT could you create?

 

 

Top Photograph: Caitlin Cannon Photography