The Artist’s Edge

Do you ever feel like you are on the edge of a cliff, scared to leap and fall headfirst into the ravine?

Do you desperately want to make changes in your Art, but find yourself rooted to the spot, frozen as you stare into the chasm?

I mean….it’s a looooong way down, and how do Artists actually MAKE it to the other side??

I remember this place. I’d walk out of an audition, crestfallen, after not being kept. I’d hear other singers, the voices soaring out of their mouths, effortlessly.

And yet, mine was stuck in my throat.

As I choked back my embarrassment and shame, I’d feel myself saying,

Why do I find myself here again?

Standing on the edge of the cliff, so confused and frustrated, I didn’t want to be here anymore.

How do I get THERE??

That place across the chasm, NOT on the edge of the cliff.

Have you ever felt this?

 

Four years ago, I went to visit my aunt and uncle in San Diego for Christmas. It was my first holiday season being divorced, and I was a mess.

I had just survived the worst year of my life and was licking my wounds from car accidents, robberies, and loss.

I was doing the best I could to find some seasonal joy, but really found myself asking,

What do the holidays mean to me now?

We went to Point Loma, this glorious monument overlooking all of San Diego.

The sun was shining
The wind was whipping through my hair…

I jumped up on the stone wall along the walkways and felt the wind moving through me. I asked my mother to take a picture of me, standing on the edge with the whole San Diego Bay behind me.

For one of the first times that year, I was feeling a sense of hope and freedom.

My mother nervously asked me to come down. I looked at the picture of myself, standing alone, and saw a new strength. Yes, I spent many days still crying, but standing on the edge of the wall, I was seeing something new.

Not just in the grand expanse of the San Diego Bay, but in myself.

Where are you right now in your Art?

What is wanting to be birthed in you?

Are you going to the edge to allow it to emerge?

It seems, that’s when it comes out. 

 

Just this past week, I found myself back at Point Loma, for the first time since 2013.

The San Diego Bay was there, the lighthouse, my aunt, and the beautiful expanse….

And something else. Something I could barely even imagine before.

My man.

As we walked around to the Pacific side, I saw a cliff overlooking the ocean.

I asked him to come out there with me, and for my aunt to take a picture.

What was captured in that moment was one of the most vital and moving pictures I’ve ever had.

Four years ago, I stood on the Bay side, wanting and hoping things would change.

I stood at my edge, scared and feeling doubt if Christmas would ever be joyful again.

And now, we sat together overlooking the Pacific Ocean….

On the other side.

I could have stayed trapped and comfortable, but I knew more waited.

Indeed, on that wall four years ago, something emerged…a longing, to not only find lasting love, but create an Artistic life that fed my soul.

And while I had NO idea how it would manifest, I stayed on the edge.

And I shared my voice as an Artist….with MUCH different results.

So what is crying to come forth for you?
If you stayed on your edge, what would emerge? 

What’s in your journey from the Bay to your Ocean?

Communal Crescent

Mission Bay Night

I’m walking down a path, looking out over the bay.  Pink streaks cross the California sky as small lights dot the concrete sidewalk and snake around a palm tree.

A Great Blue Heron dips it’s beak into the shallow shore, it’s large silhouette moving slowly in the sand.

To my right, the bay holds a few boats in the calm wake, and as I look up into the darkening dusk, I see the moon in a bright curve, forming a recognizable shape,

A Smile.

There was a time when I looked skyward and saw only heartbreak and reminders of my past.  Just the sight of a full moon would bring a tightness to my chest and a drop in my gut. I felt so alone.

Walking now, the glowing crescent ilicits only one response.

A Smile.

 

This past week I flew out to San Diego for a mastermind with my business coach.  I’ve spent the last twelve months in a group program with fellow entrepreneurs, and we all gathered to have a final retreat.

Over the past year, we shared our challenges and wins, our moments of wanting to curl up in the fetal position and our moments of shouting from the rooftops as we build our businesses.

Gathering on the first day, our hugs were deep with understanding and experience.

“It’s so good to see you!”


“I love what you are doing!”


“How is your project going?”

The energy was palpable and expectant.  We all had something in common, and sat down at the round conference tables with pens clicked open, poised above blank white paper, as our coach took the stage.

We made it.
Here we were, at the end of the program, at completion, and our collective energy?

Possibility.

 

Do you remember this place?
Do you remember an eagerness to learn?

Is your pen out and ready to fill your blank page?

I now have a notebook filled with notes of blue ink in swirling letters, and can tie this inspiration down to two items:

Community and Humility.

Community has always been a huge piece of the puzzle for me.  It was when I began to ask for help, that things really turned around. I’ve always been a social butterfly, but when I was previously challenged in my creativity, my answer was to either blame and criticize others, or isolate, thinking no one understood what I was going through.  Both were really versions of the same thing.

Separation.

Separation from myself, and separation from others around me.

And the effect was crushing.  I wasn’t where I wanted to be, and I was beginning to believe my dreams were never going to happen.  My talent didn’t matter, my training didn’t matter……and I simply wasn’t good enough.

Sound familiar?

Having Community in my life really opened me to a whole new level of expression, because for the first time, I was willing to admit I wasn’t alone.  But deeper than that, it was HOW I was showing up.

With Humility.

So, what does that mean, and why does it make a difference?

When you show up with Humility, you risk being hurt.  You risk getting seen by sharing that you are struggling too.  You become vulnerable. But, in sharing your story, you actually gain an enormous gift, because you give permission for others to do the same.

This is how Community works in your favor. When you hear someone else is going through the same thing you are, it helps you connect the dots.  It helps you learn how to move forward, and takes you out of isolation.

You are no longer stuck in the endless loop that says no one else understands.

We all want to be heard and find our audience, but we have to be able to relate to them.

We are NOT separate from each other, and in showing up with humility, we actually can learn from each other and be inspired.

We can get out of our heads and into action, because we have acknowledged a basic truth:

We are connected.

Now imagine creating from THAT place.
What could you create this year?

 

As I pack up my bag and click my pen closed, I push my chair under the table.  It’s the end of the mastermind day and I turn to my neighbor and give her a big hug. I feel accomplished, fulfilled, and clear on my next steps.

When we pull away, we meet each others eyes and have a moment to acknowledge the day, the week, and the year.

And wide across both our faces, we reflect back a common shape,

A Smile.
Mission Bay Smile