Wild Creativity

Into the Wild

Are we on the lonely side
Are we so lost in the dark of our hearts
That there’s no light of day

Somebody left the gate open
You know we got lost on the way
Come save us a runaway train
Gone insane

How do we not fade
How do we not fade away

Into the wild
How are we living living living
Into the wild
How are we living living living

My ears fill with LP’s soaring voice of her song, “Into the Wild”, as I stare out the window of the Airtrain, smoothly gliding along the rails towards Terminal 4 at JFK International Airport.  I’m going to Peru.

And I’ve decided this will be my theme song.

I’m going to a new place.  One I’ve never been to, unknown.  Temperatures ranging from high 20’s to low 70’s, altitudes up to 14,000 feet, ancient Incan ruins…..rising mountain ranges, and an indigenous culture that survives in harsh conditions.

And birds…hundreds of them.  Birds I’ve never seen before of all shape and sizes, with long tail feathers, piercing calls, and wingspans up to 11 feet.

As I lift off from my life in NYC, and the schedule, calendar, and to-do’s….LP’s words ring in my ear.

Into the Wild.

 

How ARE we living?

As Artists and Creatives, we have something to say.  We have a story to share, an expression to put out to the world, and the question arises,

How are we LIVING?

Our Creativity is not separate from our lives, and most of all, not separate from our mindset and perspective.  If we are to leave a legacy, in the form of our art, words, and work, are we doing that in a way that is sustainable?

Your passion and message has a purpose.  When you share your story, it opens the door for your audience to do the same.  When you have the courage to step forward with honesty, it reads.  Your audience can tell.  They can also tell if you are lying, or creating your work based on what you think you “should” say, or what others are saying.

When we think of iconic celebrities and change-makers, there is usually a commonality.

Their uniqueness.

Elizabeth Gilbert, Beyonce, Oprah.  They are not afraid to share their struggles, their vulnerabilities, and their power.  And each of them are doing it from a place of honesty.

You may even call this WILD.

And as their audience?  We experience absolute magic, believing this is possible for ourselves.  We are inspired, and a loop is created that initiates our work that is then seen by our audience.

And it goes on and on….

Imagine if what you created, what you said, and put out to the world helped someone else to get out of bed?  Just like the song, or book, or speech that motivated you to pursue your dreams?

In this way, we never fade.  We are actually stepping INTO the Creative flow that is happening every minute.  And feeding from a source that sustains, not destroys.

When we isolate as Creatives, we become lost.  We are cutting ourselves off from our greatest source and ultimately our audience.

That runaway train will derail you.

So, how are you Living?

 

My ears fill with LP’s soaring voice, as the Airtrain glides along the rails away from JFK airport and heads towards the E train to take me back to my home in Queens.

My face is sun kissed from the altitudinal Andes light, and my backpack filled with a new list of 181 species of birds I’ve seen. My mind full of Machu Picchu, Ollantaytambo, and Cusco City.  In my suitcase, my hiking boots still carrying the dirt from ancient ruins….traveling from centuries ago in Peru to present day NYC.

I had left for Peru ready to relax, feeling the pinch of my tight schedule and many obligations, ready to step into an environment I didn’t know.  One where I was going to meet new people,and spend time with family.

I felt I was “flying”, setting myself free from my NYC life for a week, heading into a Wild setting.   

As I looked out over the New York skyline, I remembered standing in the early morning up on the Abra Malaga pass in Peru.  It was freezing, and the mountains rose on all sides of us.

Except for this break, where two mountains sloped down.

Within the break, clouds were dissipating as the sun rose, and my eyes caught a silhouette against the white, soaring.  This was the largest bird I had ever seen, and I pointed it out to the guide who identified it immediately.

The Andean Condor.

With a wing span of 11 feet, it glided easily and I couldn’t take my binoculars off its magic.  I had never seen one in the wild before.  This was a first.

Regal, expansive, and beautiful.

I was inspired, and I knew this magnificent creature would make it’s way into my writing, into my story.  I could even feel my own shoulders flexing, the wings underneath remembering their ability to fly.

Remembering MY ability to fly.

I had thought that LP’s song would just be a theme for the trip to Peru, but as I turned the key in my apartment, I had a new thought, one that included where I was headed next.

Into the Wild.

Every day.  Here in NYC, here in my writing, here in my offering, and here with you.

How are we living, living, living……….

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