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?

Coming Home

I’m in a room.  The same I am in every morning at 6:30 am.  A brown couch behind me, and a TV in front. The door is shut and in the distance I can hear my brother playing Mozart in the living room.

I open my music stand, adjusting the height, my small fingers clicking the lock into place, and for a moment the overhead light flashes silver before I place a large book on top.

Suzuki scales.

Bending down, I open my case and take a deep breath, almost holding it, because all I hear as my hands lift my violin to my chin is a loud voice in my head saying,

I’m not good enough

And then my small bow hits the string, and I go through my practice, stretching my short fingers. Gotta get it in before I catch the school bus for second grade.

 

Remember childhood?

What was yours like? Did you begin your Art when you were young?

I grew up in a military household that was very musical.  My mother told both my brother and I we would take an instrument, and we could pick whatever that was. He chose piano.

For some insane reason I chose violin.

I used to always say that I never really excelled at violin because we moved around so much and each time we would come to a new military base, I would have a new teacher that would say,

Forget everything you’ve been taught. What you are doing is wrong. This is the proper technique.

But recently, I think I have been able to really get to the heart of it.  And I was surprised to learn that my violin and the feelings around it were actually the key to me moving forward in my Artistry and being successful.

I was a very artistic child, and was also in dance class and loved every minute of creative writing.

But the violin?

It always felt hard, and most of all, I felt like I couldn’t catch up or do it right.

What was it for you?
What was giving you that message as a child?
How has this affected you as an adult Artist?

 

I recently worked with a powerful coach named Tom Tynan, who led me through his process to uncover my core limiting belief, and when I wrote it down, I knew it was true…..even though it felt so cliche.  But there it was, in my own writing…

I am not enough

And in his process, he led me back to the child part of me that first had that belief, and guess who I met?

The 7 year old practicing violin every morning.

In all her glory, and with her best intentions to try and be lovable, and do right, be a good daughter and be a great musician…..she would get up every school morning to practice for 30 minutes.

But she never felt it was good enough. Her teachers weren’t reinforcing that, and it wasn’t joyful.

Not like writing…not like dance…not like singing in the church musical and playing a kazoo loudly for all to hear.

So, what did I do when I met her?

I hugged her.
I told her, “you are amazing!”

And she beamed, and hugged me back.  And then, I told her it was time to come home.  She didn’t have to be in isolation anymore. She could be a part of me and no longer feed the belief that I’m not enough.

Now, I could ask the question instead,
How AM I enough?

 

As artists and creatives we can have a very strong inner critic. And we have to ask the question, where did this begin from?

We are fully formed by the time we are 7 years old, and while the adults around us all had the best intentions and were working with whatever tools they had, our innocence can really suffer.

Especially with the Arts.

Our expression is very emotional, and can get tied up in our self worth.  We care so deeply about our dance, our music, our words, and art.

And the good news is, it can nourish us and feed us as we grow to create incredible work in the world.

But, take a moment to ask, what is that voice saying to you?

Or better yet, what is that voice truly asking FOR?

My career ended up being in musical theatre, and now with my business I use my writing a lot.  While I did choose violin as a six year old, it may have been because that is what was going to eventually open me to believing the most empowering belief,

I am enough.

And isn’t that what we are truly looking for as Creatives?

Enough to connect with our audience
Enough to put our work out to the world
Enough to stand center stage in the spotlight and been seen for all our glorious gifts
Enough to truly thrive and make a solid living doing what we love

And what’s more loving than embracing that inner child that has been calling to be seen?

So, take a moment and listen….tune in and get curious.  Close your eyes and see where your inner critic began….and find that child that wanted more than anything to express themselves with abandon, crayons in hand.

Give them a hug, and bring them home.

And then share your glorious voice.