Tightening the Screws

Do you have something that’s been NAGGING you for a long time in your Art?

Do you feel like you are fixing the same things over and over again?

It can be so frustrating, especially when you feel like your attempts are all for nothing.

Whatever hasn’t been working can start to feel:
BROKEN.

And that can be so disheartening when your work is so heart-based, and comes from the deepest part of you.

And honestly, there are only so many hours in a day!

You want to put your focus where you are going to see the greatest return, and yet the same things seem to be plaguing you,

A broken link on your website
Low sales for your Art or events
Miscommunications with your collaborators
Equipment going on the fritz
Low social media engagement

Sometimes, it can feel like you have duck tape holding your Art career and business together.

Because, really you want to be spending your time CREATING.

That’s the joy, right?

So, why do these annoying small things keep distracting you, and taking you off creating your most powerful work and creating raving fans?

Couldn’t they just be permanently FIXED?

 

I’m a big fan of my drying rack.

I have a lot of dance and yoga clothes that are very happy hanging to dry instead of being burned to death in the NYC economy size dryers at my local laundromat.

When I moved into my sanctuary in Astoria after my divorce, I was actually really excited to buy a new drying rack.  This one was more sturdy, it had solid bars, and was a far cry from the rickety wooden one I had had, when I was married.

But, as this drying rack was used every week, it started to weaken.

And soon, I was finding the rack wobble, and the bars coming loose.  I felt like I was spending half my time just trying to put it together every week, and picking up random pieces that were falling off.

It was so frustrating!  The rack would fall over, and stand at this odd angle……I honestly spent more time just trying to find something to lean it against.

As I knew I was moving, I just assumed,
Well…..I just need it to last a few more months and I will get a new one when I move to NJ in Feb.

And then, two weeks ago, right as I was picking up a screw for the hundredth time from the floor, a NEW thought popped in,
Maybe I just need to tighten the screws on the rack.

I grabbed a phillips head and tightened one screw….and then another, and then another.  In fact EVERY screw needed to be tightened.

Five minutes later, I opened the rack and realized it was sturdy
It was solid.

In fact, it was as solid as the first day I bought it.

And all I had to do was take 5 minutes and tighten the screws.

It was that simple.

 

So, what is that thing that is nagging you in your Art?

What have you been putting duck tape on, doing the “quick fix” for MONTHS or YEARS thinking it will actually get better?

Is it your:
Organization
Pricing
Social Media
Website
Marketing
Scheduling
Cash Flow

Limiting Mindset?

Whatever it is, you know it, because it keeps coming up.

I was so intent on picking up the screws and believing my rack was broken, I wasn’t seeing the answer right in front of my eyes.

My focus was on the wrong place.

And this can plague us in our Art.
It can plague us as we are trying to build a raving fan base.

We can waste AGES on the quick fix, instead of taking the action that will actually give us solid footing, and allow us to use our energy where we want,
ON OUR CRAFT.

And when we waste our time, we really do believe things are broken, when this just isn’t the case. We can feel wobbly and unsure.

We’ve become blind to the solution.

But, if you took a moment and got really quiet, ask yourself,
What needs tightening?

What have you been resisting doing?

The answer is simpler than you think, and will save you hours and days in the long run.

Place your focus on what is going to actually FIX your solution, instead of running after the endless dropping screws.

 

Stop using the duck tape, and reach out for the help that will give you lasting change and growth in your Art.

Narrow in on that area that needs the most help, and make 2018 the year you truly become Unstoppable.

This is your life, and your work matters.

 

 

Photography by: Caitlin Cannon Photography

The Zen of Art

You Need Meditation

The voice was pretty clear and distinct.

I was in tech for a production of A Christmas Carol out in Salt Lake City, and my life was falling apart.  My husband had just flown out and told me he didn’t want to be married anymore. I thought we were going to spend the holiday trying to have a baby, not end our 19 year relationship.

You can imagine, I was in a LITTLE bit of shock.

I had been practicing yoga for a while, and it was at the end of my practice, that the voice came in.

I had never had a meditation practice, and honestly, wasn’t even sure what it really meant.

All I knew was I was in a ton of pain, and I needed something new.  Something was missing.

Clearly, something needed to change.  I felt like my whole world was spinning out of control.

Have you felt this?
What do you do when life seems to cut you off from your Art?

Somehow I was getting through my performances, but felt like I was moving through a terrible nightmare.  I didn’t feel connected to my art.

All I felt was fear.

You can imagine, my performance career came to a grinding halt.

 

Two months later, once I had returned to NYC, and the divorce was under way, I went and took my first yoga class.

The holidays had been the worst time of my life, opening presents with a man who didn’t love me anymore, and I hadn’t been on the mat in weeks.  Today, I was starting to take the reins back on my life and what I wanted moving forward.

I went to the library with the intention to buy a book on Meditation.  Here we go!

A title caught my eye, and I pulled it out and opened to randomly read.

It was as if every word was jumping off the page, saying,
YES!

The biggest surprise was I actually had picked up a book on Tibetan Buddhism, not meditation.

Wait….I came here today looking for meditation…

This simple book (which I devoured in days, underlining and dog earring) opened the door to a whole new search, and I began to explore different Buddhist centers in the city.

Who knew I was actually seeking Buddhism?  Apparently I did…I just hadn’t heard it until NOW.

I tried many of them, and while all were helpful in some way, none seemed to feel like HOME.

Something was still missing.

Until I took an intro to Zen Training weekend up at Zen Mountain Monastery. I woke before the sun to meditate with many others in this beautiful monastery, the ceiling rising high above me.

In the stillness and dark of the early morning, as I counted my breath, tears began to fall. Tears of recognition, and tears of sweet relief.  This is what my body had been calling for.  THIS is what was missing.

A way to work with my mind.
An experience of true space.
The ability to actually HEAR what is rising and falling.

And the tools to let go.

I had gone through a career of holding on for dear LIFE my expectations, my perfectionism, and comparing myself constantly to other performers. And now, as I had NO control of the immense loss of my marriage, I was being given the tools I needed to face it.

And actually they were the tools I needed all along.

I just wasn’t listening to my body’s messages.

 

What are you holding on to?

What is your body calling for to help you become the Artist you truly want to be?

Can you even hear it?

In that moment of absolute pain, there was NO denying what I needed. I certainly didn’t think it was going to turn into becoming a Zen practitioner, but once I found the practice, my whole life fell into place.

I had a complete resurgence in my performance career.
I found the work I REALLY wanted to be doing as an Artist, and launched ZenRedNYC.
I built a business from scratch, doing work I love that makes more money than ever before.

I now could HEAR what I needed.

In having a practice that connected me to my breath and the present moment, my whole outlook changed.

We can so often get caught in the static,

No one wants your work
Artists have to starve
Making money is selling out
Claiming the spotlight is selfish

There is so much JUNK out there that we take in, on a daily basis not only from fellow colleagues who want you to join their pity party, but from parents, society, and the news.

What’s the answer?

SILENCE.

All that junk?  It’s just noise.  And it’s not helping you move forward and step into your full creative power. The junk is keeping you stuck and filling your airwaves with confusion.

If you are feeling something’s missing, then you haven’t had the clear open space to really hear what you need.

Today, you can begin to incorporate one of the most important tools as an Artist,
CURIOSITY.

So, take a moment today, and sit down for 5 minutes. Close your eyes, and come into your body.

Place your attention on your breath.

And from this experience of SPACE, simply ask,

What is it I most need?

It’s all inside.

Create the space, so you can hear.

 

 

Photography: Caitlin Cannon Photography