Planting the Seed

I’m pregnant.

It’s my deepest dream come true.

I feel my expansive belly, the warmth as my hand glides over my full curves, and I begin to weep.  I’ve wanted this for so long…..

In fact, I went through a very dark time in my mid 30’s where I thought I actually couldn’t get pregnant.  I thought something was wrong with me.

Turns out, it was the wrong partner. My body knew…..

And now it’s here.
It’s real.

Creation at it’s most profound….human life.

Can you feel it?
How real it is?
Do you see it?

I do.

This is my future. I’m planting the seed.

As I sit here and write to you, I can feel my soft flat belly……there is no life in there right now. Not yet.

But I know there will be….

And it all began with a work of Art.

 

I’m a huge fan of Feng Shui.  When I was single, my consultant, Josiah Bouricius, came to my little 300 square foot apartment in Astoria and helped me turn that space from a single woman’s hideaway to a single woman CALLING IN her man.

I got rid of water in the bedroom, moved my mirror so it wasn’t reflecting on my bed, took down the single woman photos and art, and added vibrant color where needed.

Most importantly, I added inspiration.

And not just any inspiration, but one of the most famous works of art reproduced today,
Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss.

Every day, I would wake to the luscious image of a woman being cherished and adored, held in a passionate embrace, and I would feel into it.  Every night, I would look at it, and close my eyes, imagining connecting with the generous heart of my man.

And then one day….that amazing man walked into my apartment, professing love, and the single woman was no longer alone.

From Klimt to reality, WOW.

Josiah came to my new home in NJ, and while we originally hung the Klimt in our bedroom, Josiah recommended our next future vision.

A family.

So, I went searching online, and on Pintrest found this incredible artist,
Katie M. Berggren.

Her work took mine and my man’s breath away.  Every image was an ode to motherhood, to the beauty of children, and to family.

Her swirls of color, softness, and magic spoke directly to what we both desired.

So I ordered one of her stretched canvas prints, and it arrived last night.

Holding each other in an embrace, my man and I took in the image.
We felt the image.

And were inspired.

Today I woke, and sat on my bed, staring at the faces, serene and pure, feeling into this greater love.
And tonight, I will imagine calling in these children to me, feeling their hearts, much like I did early last year, staring at the Klimt.

This the the power of Art.
It’s magical really.

Did you know you could create this?
Did you know you have the power to create change in your audience’s lives?

Klimt did for me….and I can’t wait to send a thank you card to Katie Berggren when my belly is swelling with life.

 

It’s so easy to forget what is possible with our work.

And I get it!  There were definitely many days I felt so discouraged from another failed audition.  I would show up so ready to wow the casting directors, putting on my vibrant leotard, only to be wiping back tears of confusion and embarrassment an hour later after being cut.

I can remember doing a summer production of “Bells Are Ringing” way back in my late 20’s where I was counting down the days until the contract was over.  I hated the theatre, felt completely disrespected by the creative team, and the audience’s were small. My role was laughable, and I was not challenged at all.

Was I really making a difference?

It can be really discouraging to put so much of ourselves into our work, and not see the return we desire.

So, what can you do?

I invite you to remember.
Remember WHY you came to your Art in the first place.

I remember the last time I was a Rockette, I did a ton of PR.  I did many radio and TV interviews, and also did meet and greets with audience members after the show.

I remember before one show coming in and seeing this little girl, all dressed up with her mother, clutching her program and a pen.

When she saw me, her whole face lit up. Beaming, she held out her program and pen, asking me to sign it, saying,
When I grow up, I want to be a Rockette too!

I had to blink back tears, because at that point I was in my early 30’s and really starting to feel the pull of motherhood.  But what struck me most, was her open energy, and even more so, the OPPORTUNITY I had as an Artist to make an impact on her.

As I took in her flushed cheeks, I remembered being 11 years old, and staring wide eyed from my seat in the London Theatre as Cats danced and sang all around me.

Because of that production, I went into musical theatre as a profession.

What could happen for this little girl in this moment?
Could this be the seed planted for her, connecting to her deepest desire?

Not only did this moment remind me of WHY I became a dancer in the first place, but reminded me of the impact I have on my audience.

And that special moment also gave me inspiration to dance my best on stage.

It’s actually a loop of energy.

 

Your connection to your audience is paramount.

Are you feeding this inspiration?
Do you know what they need?
Do you know what they like?

What struck me most in my experience buying from Katie Berggren was her personal touch.  Not only did she email me directly, she also sent me a separate envelope with her line of greeting cards, a personally written thank you, and her promo materials.

Her customer service was impeccable.  She knew exactly what I needed.

I felt so supported by the entire experience, so that when the time came to hang the print last night, my man and I felt not only connected to the Art, but also the Artist.

Because of that, I will recommend her to everyone.

Katie is planting the seed.
Much like those dancers did in Cats for me when I was 11.
Much like I did for that little girl backstage….

Your work matters.

Art has the power to create change.
It even has the power to create life.

Katie shared with me her artwork has been hung by many women, desiring to be mothers, and has helped them to become pregnant.

So, come back to your inspiration today.

Remember WHY you became an Artist, feed your inspiration, and CONNECT with your audience.

It’s a loop of energy.

If you don’t know what they need or like, find out.

Let the relationship blossom.
Plant the seed.

And watch new life begin.

Held Back to Leap Free

To be honest, Nikól…..you dance in an affected way.

As my heart started to wrench, I took in Linda Haberman’s words.  I had just been cut from Rockette auditions, after nailing the combination.

I wanted feedback, so I had gone up to her and asked.  Linda was the director of the Christmas Spectacular and head of all the companies.

What stung most was, I was not a newbie.  I had two years of working for Radio City under my belt, hired first as a singer in the ensemble, and then as a Rockette.

I thought I was part of the “club” and had proven myself in performance, by not missing any shows, and by giving 100%.

And I was being cut because I danced in an “affected” manner? This felt unfair in so many ways.

I felt surprised, startled, and unsettled.

Have you ever felt like this?  Worked so hard for someone only to find out they don’t actually like your style or effort?

Have you felt like your best Creative work is being judged?

As I walked out of Radio City music hall, past the women who were kept to dance, feeling embarrassed….I felt like I was 12 again.

The year I was told I wasn’t good enough.

 

When I was ages 10-12, my father was stationed at RAF Lakenheath in England.  Once a week, my mother drove me to Bury St. Edmunds to take ballet.  The school was using the Royal Ballet curriculum, and there were levels.  I was at Level III, and had to wear a maroon leotard.

Level four meant I would get a new color leotard.

But it was about more than the leotard, it was about feeling like I was growing.

I loved to dance!

My mother always said I wouldn’t come out of the delivery room until the lighting was right.

And yet, taking lessons at this school was not joyful.

I was the only American there and felt like an outsider.
I felt like no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t do it right.
I felt like the teacher didn’t like me.

And then we received the news.

We are holding your daughter back another year.  We don’t think she is good enough to go on to the next level.

And they didn’t do this to me once…they did it two years in a row.

I was heartbroken, and my mother was outraged.  She deeply believed this school and teacher were not helping me, didn’t agree with the evaluation, and even more so, felt this teacher was harming me and my potential for growth by holding me back.

So, I stopped going.

And I didn’t take ballet for a whole year. While I did have a blast in 7th grade, crushing over Scott Ray and enjoying my handbells and violin, something was forming inside around my ability as a dancer.

A belief I wasn’t good enough.

Have you felt this in your Art?

 

The following year we were stationed in Heidelberg, Germany, and I was taking ballet from a studio on base once a week and got my first pair of pointe shoes.

I was over the moon!

I felt so special being on pointe.  I really liked the teacher and laced up my shoes with glee.

We were only going to be living in Heidelberg for one year, and then moving to Montgomery, Alabama, where I was hoping to attend an Arts and Academic Magnet School. The school was grades 7 – 9, taking in 12 to 14 year olds. I would be entering as a 9th grader.

In order to attend, I had to send in an audition tape, so I could be placed in either Beginner, Intermediate, or Advanced Dance.  As an Arts student, I would be taking dance for two hours ever day, five days a week. Yahoo!

So, the tape was made, sent off, and I made the assumption I would be placed in the advanced class.  I was on pointe!  Plus, I was 14, so it all made sense to me.

When I received news I had been placed in the advanced level, I felt validated, and so excited.  I had never had intensive training before, and was ready to really dive into dance.

So, I show up for the first day of school, leotard on, pointe shoes in hand, hair pulled back, and was hit slap across the face one stone cold truth….

I was one of the weakest dancers in the class.

The 12 year olds were dancing rings around me, doing fouetttes on pointe, way more advanced.

And all I could think was,
How did I get here??

And yet, it lit a fire under me. I worked the hardest I had ever worked.  I threw myself fully into my studies, and something magical happened.

I grew.

The reason?

The teacher.

At the end of the year, I was awarded Most Improved Dancer and was given a solo on pointe for the end of year recital.  My solo was short and simple, but it meant the world to me.

I went up to my teacher , Mrs. Caruso, and asked her,
Why did you put me in the advanced level? I was one of the worst in this class!

She looked down at me, and smiled wide saying,
I saw potential in you.

 

Our teachers, coaches, and mentors are invaluable to forming our Creative gifts.  The beliefs we form as Artists can be tied back to those formative years when we were excited about leotard colors.

My dance and any growth could have been cut short when I was 12, but thankfully, I was blessed with amazing teachers that saw the burning desire and love inside.

I knew I loved to dance, but I had no idea how quickly I could improve. I had no idea of my own potential.  I needed her for that.

Mrs. Caruso saw this, and because of her, I kept dancing through high school, and then decided to get a BFA in Musical Theatre, and follow my heart to having a 20 year professional career in the theatre.

Thanks to Mrs. Caruso, I still dance every week, and leap and turn across the floor with abandon.

I know I always will.

And I know that with the right teachers in my life, I can achieve anything.

So, who believes in you?
Who is holding your potential high and reminding you of your brilliance?

Creativity was never meant to occur in isolation.  Who we are as Artists is constantly shifting and growing.  Many times, we can become so short sighted in our limiting beliefs and past failures, but it’s our teachers and mentors who remind us of what is possible.

Our teachers and coaches aren’t viewing our work through our personal blocks.  They view us through our potential and brilliance.

It’s in there.  It may just need illuminating.

So, who is guiding you?
And who HAS guided you?
Are they holding you back or causing wings to sprout from your shoulders?

What is truly serving your growth as an Artist?

I remember that 12 year old who was told she wasn’t good enough, and am taking a moment to hug her and love her. She really was doing the best she could, but she needed stronger guidance and better technique.  She wanted to grow as a dancer, and needed a teacher who could SEE that pure desire.

Linda’s words at the Rockette audition did sting me, but they also brought to the surface the vital importance of who I choose as a teacher.

Of course we are going to face challenges as we learn and grow, but it’s vital to have a teacher who MEETS you there and encourages you through the process.  One that has not only the knowledge, but the compassionate skill to truly help you OWN your greatness.

The proof is always going to be in your results and progress. 

So ask yourself,
Are you where you want to be?

 

The days of teaching through humiliation and shaming are behind us.  Thriving in our Creative Joy today comes from compassion, commitment, and collaboration.

If you want to see lasting results and the type of change that brings your Creative Dreams alive, give yourself the gift of teachers who will actually help you get there, and release the rest with grace.