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…

Expectation.

 

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.

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,

Patience.

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

You, Unstoppable.

NikiCity_054

You, Unstoppable.
You, Unencumbered.

You, getting it done.

Your work out in the world.
You, connected to your fans, audience, and customers.
A consistent flow of revenue and job offerings that excite you, and offer opportunities for growth in your Creativity.

You, Fulfilled.

Is this how you feel today?

Is this how you WANT to feel?

When you look around at successful Creatives, you imagine their lives so easy and flowing, you see their art selling, their calendar booked with gigs, their phone ringing off the hook, and you are probably asking,
“What do they have I don’t?”

Well, the answer is simpler than you think, and those Creatives have one simple thing:
Resources

They have resources that allow them to put their work out effectively, free of procrastination, free of doubt, and connected to their vision. They have resources that allow them to not get stopped in their track by CONFLICT.  You know that voice, the one that says:

Do this!
Don’t do this!
But what if?!
It’s not perfect!

And it exhausts you and leaves you in indecision, and frustration, and ultimately not moving forward.

But, here’s the good news, you already have these freeing Resources.  You actually have exactly what you need right now.  You are no different than those more successful than you. How amazing is that? So maybe, there has been a huge misunderstanding around how to access them.

So, let’s dive in.

A few weeks ago, I went on a weekend retreat up at Zen Mountain Monastery just outside Woodstock, NY.  I hadn’t been back to the Monastery since I first found Zen three years ago, and my teacher was leading a retreat around the third century poem “Faith Mind.”

I never expected it to be three years until I returned, and yet that was what it took.

As soon as I sat on my cushion to meditate, I was instantly reminded of sitting in the same space three years ago. I remembered tears streaming down my face in the wake of so much loss in my life, and the excruciating stab of heartbreak.

And I remembered that weekend was when I found my practice. It was when I felt like I had actually come home.

Sitting on my cushion, I was feeling a sense of perspective, and recognizing the journey I have been on since April of 2013.  I felt so broken when I walked into the Monastery doors three years ago, and now I sat up tall, acknowledging all that had transpired and all the ways I have grown.

And it wasn’t just that three years ago I was losing my home, marriage, and was completely frustrated in my performance career….it was that now I had formed a new life, found my true calling, and felt a great sense of inner peace.

I was recognizing my Resources.

The resources that allowed me to ask for help. The resources that allowed me to launch my own business.  The resources that up-leveled my performance and opened me to writing again.

This is why stepping into the Monastery doors felt like home.  I had been outside myself for so long, I had become a stranger to my own life.

My Resources were actually there all along, but had been hidden and trampled in the wake of so much self doubt and an endless stream of loud chatter in my mind.  That chatter was debilitating, and most of all, I had attached to every word, believing it was TRUE.

Do you know what was true? It was just chatter.

Prior to this recent weekend retreat, I had been feeling an immense amount of pressure in my life with deadlines and feeling pinched.  I was procrastinating on projects and waking with anxiety in the morning.

When I returned from the retreat, I simply sat down at my desk, and worked.  And the words came, the content flowed.  My life and what I needed to get done hadn’t changed, but my approach had. I had been reminded of what was within.

I had been reminded of my Resources.

So, here is the question for you.

What REMINDS you of your Resources?
How are you most Resourceful?
What do you NEED to access that place of balance that allows you to act?

When we are able to come into our most resourceful state, then your canvas fills with color, your song comes pouring out of your mouth, and your words fill the blank page. You stand on the stage and deliver, because you have recognized your inner resources are far greater than the debilitating chatter.

And your audience?

They see that, and become inspired to do the same. They tap into THEIR resources through you.  That’s how you connect and create endless opportunities.

I didn’t find Zen on my own.  I didn’t launch my business on my own.  As I sat in the Monastery surrounded by fellow practitioners last month, tears did fall, but they were coming from one very strong feeling:Zen

Gratitude.

You, Unstoppable.
You, Unencumbered.

You are Resourceful.

So, dive in.