The Artist’s Injury

Are you feeling like you are pulled in a million directions with your Art this year?

Here we are, January is coming to a close, and that feeling of New Year is fading.  Perhaps it is being replaced with anxiety and overwhelm.

Are you looking at all you want and need to get done to make money with your Art and feeling like the list is a mile long?

What comes first?
Where do you begin?
Is one thing more important than the other?

In our DIY industry, it can feel so overwhelming.

Do I place my energy on social media?
Do I place it on promotion?
Do I place it on my website?

And you may be coming back again and again to the question of,
What will actually WORK to grow an audience that promotes and nurtures me?

Wouldn’t it be amazing to just have a magic wand and KNOW?
There are only so many minutes in a day….what if you were using your precious time on things that actually grew your career and made you money as a Artist?

I remember being so frustrated as a performer, realizing I hadn’t booked the big gig I wanted.  Here I was, taking dance classes every week, taking voice lessons, doing networking with casting directors, keeping my resume updated with really great head shots, having a strong website….I mean, what the HECK?  Wasn’t I doing all I needed?  Why wasn’t I where I wanted to be?

Have you ever felt this?

I’ve been in a place of really listening lately.  My calf is taking way longer to heal than I would like.  I was really encouraged going to the gym and riding the bike with no pain, so yesterday for the first time, I got on my yoga mat to test it out.

My calf was not happy.  Downward dog was too much of a stretch and I coudn’t be in child’s pose for more than a second.  The compression was really painful.

It was pretty clear to me I wasn’t going to be able to take dance class this week, but after my body’s response last night, I was now thinking class may not happen next week either. The initial timeline of 7-10 days to get back up on my feet and be healed?  Pretty much tossed out the window.

My calf is talking to me.
It’s being very clear what is helpful and what is not.

Bike?  Great
Ultrasound?  Fantastic
Non-weight bearing exercises?  Wonderful

I’m still in the ACUTE part of this injury, and I’m clear what I want.
To heal fully and be able to dance and do yoga.

And because I am so clear on this, I am willing to do what it takes.  And trust me….I’m missing yoga and dance like crazy.  I feel vulnerable, I feel disappointed, and I would LOVE to done with this NOW.

Can you relate?

Being a dancer my whole life, I’ve always understood how important it is to treat an injury at the time it happens and do it smartly.  My livelihood depended on it!  I always needed to return to work, and be able to dance again, not only to fulfill my contracts, but because I LOVED it.

But something wasn’t clicking.

While I was good at addressing the swollen ankle, or pulled back muscle……there was a pain that kept arising again and again.

I wasn’t where I wanted to be in my career.  I would come into January and feel this anxiety because I didn’t know why I was STILL here.

So, I would go back to spending my time the way I thought was going to change things, and kept seeing the same results.  In a sense, there was an injury I hadn’t addressed, and I kept pushing it under the rug.  And it became chronic, year after year.

I would ride the roller coaster of believing if I got the show or the job, I was good enough.  I was basing all of my success on what my audience thought, and was constantly putting them on a pedestal.

And it wasn’t until I lost everything that I finally saw what the true injury was.

I didn’t know how to create lasting relationships.

I learned it didn’t matter if I had the appearance of “having it all together” or “looking perfect”.  It didn’t matter if my resume was impressive or website savvy, because underneath I was terrified of what my audience thought of me.  Ultimately, I was powerless.

In the face of my divorce and not booking a single job in a year, I finally turned towards the injury and started to listen.

I hired a coach, I got help……and in the very ACUTE phase of losing all I knew, I placed my energy and precious TIME where it would have the greatest impact,

I became fearless, and finally understood that building relationships was the most important tool I needed to learn.

So, take a moment right now.

What is missing for you?
If you were to get quiet, and really listen, what is the injury under all your efforts as an Artist?

Treating an issue in the acute phase, means you have the quickest turnaround.  When something becomes chronic, it will repeat until the issue is really addressed. Where do you want to be next year at this time?

What if this is the perfect time to finally create the change that will make THIS year the year you grow your audience and make more money with your Art?

So, how do you feel about your audience?
How do you feel about yourself in front of your audience?

What is that part of your Art business that hasn’t been working for a LONG time?

And most of all, what do you really want?

Just like my calf, your Art is talking and it’s telling you what is helpful and what is not.

Open your ears and listen.  Do this with an open heart.  This isn’t about punishing yourself anymore. Clearly that hasn’t been working.

What if this is the year you finally get the help you need to turn it all around?

Photography: Caitlin Cannon Photography

Crack Open

How are you feeling about your career?

Are you where you want to be?
Is your audience growing and adoring you?
Do you have money coming in from your work and systems in place for much more to flow in the new year?

Take a moment….and truly ask,
How is it going?

As we near the end of the year, this is a big time for reflection, to ask,
What is working?
What is NOT working?

And as Creatives, we tend to get really caught up in what’s NOT working.  It can be devastating to put out so much of ourselves, our passion and craft, and not see the return we desire.

And wanting to put on the “brave face” makes it even harder, especially at this time of year when we have the pressure of holidays, family, and all the gatherings where people are asking US,
So….how’s it going??

It can feel like we are cracking, and coming undone.

And we can’t have that, right?  We have to keep it together. We may feel we have to:
look the part
fake it til we make it
appear confident

Isn’t that how success comes?

 

Oh my God……there’s a HUGE crack…..

I look down at my bowl in my bathroom and see this enormous crack in the clay.

I pick up the bowl and can feel a panic in my stomach.  As I cup the base, my mind starts to race,
I just GOT this

This bowl was made for my husband and I as a wedding gift from one of my Zen teachers and dear friends.  Using the Raku technique, she made us a ring bowl, which was used in our wedding ceremony.  My husband and I placed our wedding rings in this bowl when we made our sacred vows to each other.

There was deep significance to this bowl.

Deep significance to this marriage.

I went through a devastating divorce six years ago, and the journey to finding love again was quite intense.  I had a ton of healing to do.  I went on the first date of my LIFE at the age of 38, I had to learn all the ins and outs of online dating, in which I was a complete beginner and VERY awkward. I had to get in touch with my feminine, which had been completely shut down for years. I had zero confidence.

I worked with coaches, I signed up for videos and email lists, because I kept feeling SO lost.  I knew I wanted this with all my heart, but was struggling in the process.

I would get my hopes up so many times, thinking I was truly READY for lasting love, only to be disappointed again. And time was ticking….I was in my early 40’s and really struggling with wanting him here now.

How much time did I really have?

Have you ever felt this?
The urgency of time?

When I finally found my life partner it was a whole new level, one I never thought possible, and I found myself burst open with love. The life I had only dreamed of was coming true.  All the work I had done was now coming to fruition.

Our wedding ceremony was profound for me.  In front of closest family and friends, I took a deep breath, and felt the emotion rise in my throat as I ended my vows staring into the eyes of my beloved with,

20 years ago I stood before witnesses
believing I understood this act.
I honor and love that woman
who’s long sleep brought me to this day.
Today, I meet her on the shore
and turn to you whole,
my dear love.
I vow to awaken within our clasped hands and joined lives.
from the crickets song to the dying leaves.
Unfurled in the sacred space,
petals open for all to see,

I vow to love you,

Lights on and Awake.

 

The day was amazing.  The wedding was sacred and beautiful.  My husband and I brought that special bowl back to our house and placed it in our bathroom to hold our rings.

Deep significance.

And now there was a crack……
What did this mean?
I thought I had worked through all of this!
Wasn’t this bowl supposed to be a symbol of the healing, and the wholeness of finding each other?

I reached out to my teacher Hojin to ask if she could repair the bowl and she said she absolutely could.  Having just returned from India, she actually had this new technique of filling the crack with gold.

Within a short time, the bowl was returned to us and I had expected to just see the crack, and now saw a gold line throughout the whole bowl.  That wasn’t there before….had it cracked more?

When I asked Hojin about it, she said,
I had to break it open to fix it.
It had to come apart to be repaired.

And then I got it. All of it.

And I now saw the beauty, and honestly, how the bowl in it’s present state was actually perfect.

My whole life came apart in order to discover my true calling as an Artist.
My marriage came apart for me to discover what true and healthy love actually was.
My career as a performer came apart for me to create my own platform and work I love.

The WAY I WAS in my life broke open.
I surrendered, I asked for help, and my cracks that I had tried for YEARS to hide, finally broke me open.

And for the first time, I had deep connection with my audience and raving fans. I realized I had been going about growing my audience completely BACKWARDS.

The cracks had actually been there all along SHOWING me what wasn’t working.  They were pointing to where I was exhausting myself.  They were pointing to where I was trying the same thing OVER AND OVER and expecting different results.

Isn’t that the definition of insanity?

And how about you?

As you take this time to reflect on 2018, where are your cracks?
Are you more concerned with having it all together, then actually getting the help you need?

What do you need?
Do you even know?

Our journey as Artists is not linear.
Our journey was never meant to do alone.

It can feel deeply isolating in the struggle, but perhaps the struggle is there to HELP you….

 

Take a moment, without judgement and close your eyes.  Come into your body and connect to your breath.  Now ask yourself,
What do I MOST need?

Let this arise, cracks and all.  Allow yourself to see where you truly are.  Release the judgement that you have to do this by yourself.

Crack open.

And then place your attention on the REPAIR.  Fill the cracks with GOLD.  That means, actually addressing what you need NOW to build your career as an Artist and to grow your audience.

And by GOLD, I mean skillful.
I mean helpful.
I mean from someone who GETS you and can actually partner with you to create the results you want in your career. Someone who is either a professional or has been a professional.

 

Your career, this precious bowl…..what could it mean to repair what’s not working?
What would be possible for you then?

I’m standing for your dreams.
Gold in hand.