Read & Watch

The same old song: Our jobs as creators and fans.

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Whether you create (and you do) or are a fan of art (and you are), may this post offer you comfort, inspiration, or something in between.

With love,

TG-Signature-1-2

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To the Creators.

I’ve been giving variations on the same talk for a long time now, and it was beginning to make me feel like Peggy Fleming skating to a medley from Fiddler on the Roof. Perhaps this is what Fleming’s audience would want to see – left to our devices, we often want what is smooth and familiar and instantly warm.

 – Anne Lamott (Traveling Mercies)

As the reader, I of course rooted for Lamott to give a brand-spankin’ new talk. One delivered from a place of fresh truth, freedom and expansion, happily assured that her audience would rise to meet her with thunderous applause and the adoration of a thousand fiery suns.

Turns out, when Lamott DID change up her talk, it was an unmitigated disaster. Sonorous silence, but for the lone cricket chirping away, looking for his mate. (It’s possible that I made that detail up being one of my own grade A biggie speaking fears. Yours too?)

As a fan of people taking big risks, swinging out and saying the truth, it’s really important, (and feels like it’s my civic duty) to point to a couple of contributing factors to the public speaking nightmare that unraveled on that stage.

1) The first is that she didn’t prepare. And the talk, in her words, bombed. We know this: if you’re a speaker, you must prepare and practice and train like it’s your job…’cause from the stage, that IS your job. Fin.

2) The second fact is that the crowd was disappointed that they weren’t getting exactly what they were thirsting for. Which is what she’d been delivering time and time again and they were used to it. They knew what to expect. Kinda like when you go to sip your wine and realize all too soon that you’ve sipped your kid’s milk. Kinda like that, but more cerebral-like.

And frankly, that’ll happen any time we deviate from the script that is “smooth and familiar and instantly warm”.

Which is why so few deviate from the script.

Which is ALSO why there is so little new, fresh and evolved. And that there are so many creative one-hit wonders (who succumbed to the Impostor Complex.)

Remember Elizabeth Gilbert’s famous TED talk on creativity and genius? It’s 19 wise and entertaining minutes that speak in part to her process facing the question: ‘How do I pull off “Eat, Pray, Love” again?’

In short, two words:

You don’t.

Or, in her words:

And it’s exceedingly likely that anything I write from this point forward is going to be judged by the world as the work that came after the freakish success of my last book…it’s exceedingly likely that my greatest success is behind me. Oh, so Jesus, what a thought! You know that’s the kind of thought that could lead a person to start drinking gin at nine o’clock in the morning, and I don’t want to go there. I would prefer to keep doing this work that I love.

The fear of a success and the subsequent “how do I top that?” is a bona fide fear that is revealed to me in hushed tones time in time again by my brilliant coaching clients:

“I’m terrified that this (project, book, launch, business, endeavour, talk etc) will be such a screaming success and I won’t be able to top it, or deliver again”.

While Elizabeth Gilberts’ follow-up “Committed” wasn’t a flop the way Lamott’s talk was, it wasn’t the screaming success that “Eat, Pray, Love” was either.

So?

Neither Lamott nor Gilbert allowed that to stop them. Which is why you know who they are to this day.They are brilliant women, prolific artists and communicators who kept doing the work and DIDN’T become one-hit wonders.

If you’re an artist and you experience success, you will undoubtedly ask yourself:

‘How do I pull off my own personal version of “Eat, Pray, Love” again?’

I repeat:

You don’t.

You’ll create anew. That is, if you heed the Big Point of Gilbert’s talk:

Maybe [artistry] doesn’t have to be quite so full of anguish if you never happened to believe, in the first place, that the most extraordinary aspects of your being came from you. But maybe if you just believed that they were on loan to you from some unimaginable source for some exquisite portion of your life to be passed along when you’re finished … it starts to change everything.

It’s not about you, Dear Artist. It’s bigger than you.

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To the Fans.

A confession. If I ever went to see Peggy Fleming, I bet I’d want to see her skate to a medley from Fiddler on the Roof. If I ever saw Anne Lamott talk, I suspect I’d want to hear share some of the stories that I know and love of hers. And if I ever saw Lauryn Hill in concert, I’m fairly certain I’d want to hear her perform “Doo Wop (That Thing)” from her brilliant 1998 album “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill”.

Because I like what I like and sometimes I like that which is “smooth and familiar and instantly warm”.

I don’t love the new and experimental. There. That’s my confession. And it’s a big one.

Which is why this piece by Talib Kweli Greene about the backlash against Lauryn Hill struck me so.damned.hard.

Where have I been treating artists like products?

“The artist is a human being, not a product. Sure, the artist makes products that are for sale, but the artist is not forever in your debt because you may have purchased a product from them at some point.”

Where have I expected to be pandered to?

“Artists make art for themselves. Art is an honest expression. Artists who pander to their fans by trying to make music “for” their fans make empty, transparent art. The true fan does not want you to make music for them, they want you to make music for you, because that’s the whole reason they fell in love with you in the first place.”

It’s not about you, Dear Fan. It’s bigger than you.

Where have I felt like an artist owed me something?

“However fans are not your boss, and listening to them when it comes to creative decisions is a slippery slope. I am not obligated to make the same album over and over again just because fans demand it. I am allowed to try new things, succeed at them or fail at them.”

Yes. Yes. Yes yes yes yes.

With every fibre of my being, I know this to be true:

You are allowed to try new things, Talib Kweli Greene. You will fail and you will succeed.

You are allowed to try new things, Anne Lamott. You will fail and you will succeed.

You are allowed to try new things, Elizabeth Gilbert. You will fail and you will succeed.

You are allowed to try new things, Tanya Geisler. You will fail and you will succeed.

You are allowed to try new things, dear reader. You will fail and you will succeed.

(Understanding what success and failure means is up to us, individually.)

Do what comes next. Write the next book, take the next stage, launch the next THING, create the next project, paint the next canvas.

It may well become an unmitigated disaster. And it may not be.

The Point.

If you’re a creator (and you are), your responsibility rests in finding your own edges. In staying open to the gifts that you will receive from an unimaginable source. In giving yourself wings – big flappy wing of expansion, and plenty of room. Taking off requires that.

If you’re a fan (and you are), your responsibility rests in celebrating what you have appreciated about the artist’s work and to allow them their own space to evolve. It’s true, they may pass us over and fly off to new lands we don’t care to visit. It’s a risk we all must take together. It’s called progress. (And? It wouldn’t kill any of us to challenge our palate, she said pointedly to herself.)

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Making our Heroes into Zeroes and other forms of Hero-Worship are unpacked for discovery in my new collaboration with Lauren Bacon: Beyond Compare. Get on the list NOW and gain access to this weeks’ brilliant interview series with Amy Palko, Sarah Bray, Ronna Detrick, Paul Jarvis and Julie Daley (and a chance to win a copy of the complete digital program).

 

 

My 42nd Birthday…and a Sale!

I’ll tell you about the sale in a moment. But FIRST? The backstory.

I’m turning 42 this year. Today, to be precise.

I’m happy about that. It’s an age that has some heft. It feels…substantial, but not weighty. It feels right and good. Neither old, nor young. Just where I’m at.

I also know good things are coming this year. I can feel them. I catch twinkles, sparkles and glimmers out of the corner of my eye. And I’m abundantly ready for what they’re about to reveal.

And yet, it’s a curious number, this 42.

There are 42 Oreos in a 1-lb box. Elvis Presley died at 42. It’s a pronic number and an abundant number (yeah, I don’t know what that means). There are also 42 dots on a pair of dice (and who ever plays with only one die?)

But of course, 42 is also the numeric Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything, according to Douglas Adams in The Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy. (If you’re looking for a way to spend an idle 20 minutes, google “42 meaning fan theories”.)

What IS the Ultimate Question, you ask? Now THAT’S a good question.

It’s never revealed, because it’s never asked, because it’s never known.

Deliciously absurd.

So, because it’s MY birthday (and I’ll posit if I want to), here’s what I think.

I think the ACTUAL question to life, the universe, and everything is “what are we here to do?”

And I think the ANSWER to the ACTUAL question to life, the universe, and everything is to “make the most of this life AND treat each other right”.

There it is. I’ve been afraid to share this for fear that it’s overly simplistic, not profound, or cerebral enough (oh, HELLO Impostor Complex). But at 42, I’m making peace with the fact that stunningly simple is also my kind of genius.

And who am I to dismiss the very belief that has informed my life since I was a very very young girl.

I’ve been guided to where I am by continuing to ask:

How do I create the life that I truly want in the kindest, most considerate, most loving, most empathetic and most compassionate way possible? How to make an impact while I’m here while still treading lightly and treating others well? How do I support others while supporting myself?

Usually, the way is led by love. Other times, instinct. Others still, intuition. I get it wrong when I don’t listen deeply. (I often get it wrong, but the learning curve is getting smaller.)

But I also know that I get it right when I’m surrounding myself with good people. The kind who share approximations of my beliefs, feelings, desires, and wishes. Who also want to create a life of purpose and meaning while treating others right.

Like you here. (If you weren’t that person, you would have stopped reading long ago.)

So, back to 42.

I’ve come to realize that my Board of Your Life program actually OFFERS the answer to the question: “what am I here to do” IN THE WAY that speaks to “treating each other right”.

Crazy how that works, huh? (I seriously got chills when I realized that’s what I’d done so long ago.)

So for my 42nd birthday, I want you to have the Board of Your Life kit. But not just you, Darling. You AND a friend. (Everything is so much more fun when we do it with a partner). You know the friend. She’s done all the right things, but things haven’t quite clicked into place. You can see the massive potential available to her as clear as day, but she cannot. She is ready to meet her raison d’être (even as she fears it a little). And you can help her, in community. And SHE can help YOU to actualize “making the most of this life”.

So, the program that is normally $150, is now $42 (for TWO COPIES) for 42 hours, starting now and ending Sept 29th at 6:01pm EST.

BOYL-sale

You have no idea how happy this makes me on my birthday to imagine the wild and swoopy spirals of joy that will come from so many people doing this work.

And so my 42nd begins.

Thank you.

TG-Signature-1-2

Blinded by jealousy?

It’s not your fault. That’s what jealousy does. It blinds you. Or, more accurately, it only allows you a partial view of someone’s fortune, life, experience and obscures the rest. And because we humans just can’t cope with uncertainty, we fill in the blanks with our imaginations.

A little something like this:

If someone you’re eyeing is enjoying the success you desire, then they must also be enjoying the intimacy you crave. If they have the friendships you dream of, they must also have the financial stability you yearn for. This AND that.

Jealousy deals in absolutes, with little room for nuance or space for discernment. AND? With little allowance for the capital “t” Truth.

We see what we choose to see and are blind to the rest. 

Maybe you know that the French word for jealousy is “jalousie”. But did you also know that a “jalousie” is also a window shutter with angled horizontal slats? Also know as a…(wait for it)…“blind”?

Funny thing about jalousies…they are designed to allow you to see outside without being seen yourself.

(You see where we’re going here, right?)

Yeah…jealousy and blind go hand in hand.

But, of course, jealousy is also an on-point teacher. A snarling, frothing, lusting, hot-breathed swamp dog of a teacher, mind you, but an on-point teacher just the same. Within what you choose to see (and what you’ve made up that you see) lie your desires:  success, intimacy, relationships, and financial stability.

Knowing what you want, of course,  IS the first step in making what you want to happen, HAPPEN.

And here’s what I want for you:

get out from behind the blinds of jealousy and into the lightI want for you to come out from behind the blinds that offer such a limited view of others. And such a limited view of yourself and what’s available. 

I want you to experience the fullness of the person you feel jealousy towards. And to experience the fullness of yourself. Just add curiosity.

I want for you to see how relative this all is.

I want you to bring some compassion into the fold. For you. For them. For the next time you feel jealous (and you will).

I want you to see, REALLY see, that the magnificence that you’ve projected onto them is but a prism caught in the light of your own magnificent potential

I want you to get out from behind the blinds of jealousy and into that light.

 

Because the light, the light…oh it’s so very much warmer in the light.

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Beyond Compare is coming soon. Tackling shadows, light, projections, jealousy, and judgment, so you can be free to do your good work. Breaking the comparison habit for good feels so…good.sidebar_1

Early notification, special offers and the Beyond Compare Starter kit…right this way.

 

 

Limits & Limitlessness: The Ampersand Series

{This piece is part of a brand new suite of posts called The Ampersand Series…an exploration of two sides of the same coin. See my why in the footer of this post.}

Limits

Limits offer parameters. They create order and safety and understanding. Limits can be helpful structures that, at their best, serve to cordon off danger, clearly delineating where something ceases to be safe. Knowing where the line lives can be quite empowering.

Speed limits. Alcohol limits. Bandwidth.

“I mean, most parents would be proud of a kid like that – good-lookin’ and smart and everything, but they gave in to him all the time. He kept trying to make someone say ‘No’ and they never did. They never did. That was what he wanted. For somebody to tell him ‘No.’ To have somebody lay down the law, set the limits, give him something solid to stand on. That’s what we all want, really.”  – S. E. Hinton

Yeah. We can stand solidly in a limit. And FOR a limit.

Enough is a powerful proclamation.

The trouble with limits

Most limits are rooted in ancient cultural traditions, maths and sciences. They often represent our best guesses at the time that they were decreed. And still, they are mostly human constructs…and we know how fallible humans can be.

By definition, limits create scarcity. Within the container of limits, there’s only so much space, creativity, money, opportunity, room at the top to go around.

And when we buy into the structure of scarcity…well, you know how well that tends to work.

Argue for your limitations, and sure enough they’re yours.” – Richard Bach

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Limitlessness

What’s not to love about limitlessness? It means that everything is possible. Imagine that. REALLY imagine that. You can create anything, ANYTHING you want. From here. With exactly what you have. An infinite array of choices and options and chances and outcomes are yours if you just make up your mind and set course.

Just like that.

(Did that paragraph set your heart ablaze, or have you wanting to hide under your duvet? Either response is perfectly sane.)

The trouble with limitlessness

“For small creatures such as we, the vastness is bearable only through love.”Carl Sagan

The reality is that the very notion of limitlessness often creates a sense of agoraphobia. Untethered existence and uncharted territory CAN feel very isolating. For some. Which is why we created limits in the first place. We can’t wrap our heads around this magnitude of possibility, so we create structures to contain things. Rules and constructs. Glass ceilings. Social stratification. Beliefs. Whether we realize it or not.

And here’s the funny thing about limitlessness…we may feel like we’re operating from there…until we hit an edge. We may not even be entirely aware that we’ve hit an edge.

Sometimes we feel literally stopped and blocked and can get the help we need to see our way up, over, or around it. But sometimes it’s more insidious…and we can only sense it when we catch ourselves saying can’t, shouldn’t, always, never or some other action-stopper. But when we realize it? Oh, how that stings. The pain of being here again. Knowing that a choice needs to be made. Rest here or break on through to the other side.

If you’ve hit a limit

  • Don’t panic. As above, limits aren’t in and of themselves a bad thing. Nor are they, contrary to how it may feel, a decree from the heavens that you are on the wrong path. They may indeed be a construct of our belief system about our capacity, and they might also be a signal from your being that you have done enough. For now. Either way…
  • Pause. Take a breath. (Or 10.)
  • Get curious about the limit…why’s it here? What’s it holding back? What’s it keeping you from?
  • What’s beyond the limit? (This may not be entirely clear. And that’s okay…still proceed to the next prompt:: Expanding into the grace beyond the limits of what you can see is an act of courage.)
  • Does the idea of busting through that limit fill you with excitement or dread?

NB:: They can feel like the same thing (the way extreme cold can feel like extreme heat) but with one massive difference:: excitement fills your being whereas dread depletes it.

Once you have that clear, you’ll know what to do. Either::

  • Assemble the resources you need to nourish you and bolster you and sustain you as you do the work of breaking through the limit;  OR,
  • Rest.

Your being knows even when your mind isn’t entirely certain.

Between limits and limitlessness lies discernment that is yours to explore.   twitter-bird-tiny-blue

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the-ampersand-series-option-1Why The Ampersand Series? – As a Libran Life Coach, I’m pre-programmed to see both sides…of everything. This can be an annoying trait to my nearest and dearest who just want to vent to me, but it can be a massive service to my clients. Blessing & Curse. (Which, by the way, I can see in everything). So much of my writing touches on polarity. This & That.

Enter The Ampersand Series. Blog posts that shine a light on both sides:: Effort & Surrender. Limits & Limitlessness. Easy & Hard. An invocation to find our own places of discernment between the extremes. To love our ampersands. If this speaks to you, sign up to receive my posts. So much more to come.

 

I am a Force of Nature. Even when I feel anything but. You are too.

It’s been a bit of a doozy of a couple of months. Many, many highs, and many lows. Not a whole lot in the middle. But, y’know. I can take it. And all those highs are so, so gooooooooood. The lows are inconsequential, right? And besides, I’m tough and I’m softly malleable. I’m loved. I’m well-supported. I know what to ask for. I receive well. So, y’know, I’m good.

Except, I haven’t really felt good.

So when an “energy guy” came highly recommended by two friends I trust with all I have, I listened.

And so did he. Though before he could listen, he needed to clear some profound exhaustion that I didn’t know existed. Before he spoke to a profound sadness that I didn’t know existed.

Did you?

I’ll be honest that there’s is a part of me that wasn’t 100% convinced. I mean, we’re all carrying a little tired and a little sad, non? Part of the light and dark of life that makes it so, erm, rich, right? And then, I took a look at some pictures that were taken of me earlier in the day. There was a void in my eyes that I haven’t ever, EVER seen. And it scared the HELL out of me.

How long have I been sad? And then this:: What right do I have to be sad? I am so bloody fortunate and grateful and lucky and blessed and, and, and…

Sidebar:: Sometimes we get ourselves in a fair bit of hot water for not asking for what we need. But sometimes we don’t KNOW what we need.

Perhaps the reason for the long dispute over the source of the adage: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle” is due to the fact that it’s incomplete.

Perhaps it needs to be updated.

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle they might not even know they’re fighting.

Once I saw that I was IN a battle, I did what I do best, surrendered to the wisdom of some of my nearest and dearest and asked::

I could use your honest loving.
Have you been receiving me as sad lately?

Julie Daley spoke up first, within minutes.
yes. I will tell you. but I’d rather do it on skype, with you, not here.

As ever, she gave me a soft place to land. She gave me this question::
“what do you trust in when everything is pulled out from under you?”

Oh. My.

That my light is abundant, was my answer.

Julie Daley does deep, powerful and transformative work. She can hold your tears. She has no fear of snot (trust me on that one). She can hold your power. And her Becoming a Force of Nature program registration starts now. This is not an affiliate link. This is a you-need-to-know-her-power link. You can take it. You are a force of nature.

And so am I. Whether I’m sad or otherwise. Up or down. I am a force of nature. 

Related:: let’s be patient with one another, shall we? Some are fighting battles they didn’t even know they were fighting.

Are you over being the understudy in your life?

(Begin metaphor)

Being an understudy in theatre is a great place to be…for a while. It acclimatizes you for what the stage will feel like. It gets you used to the warmth of the spotlights. The sheer number of bodies in the audience. The adrenaline, the energy and the excitement. The lines, the pressure, the choreography.

It’s good practice and an excellent place to hang out. It allows you to put in the hours and get good and sure that this role, this LIFE, is the one you want. It bows to the idiom “you need to learn to walk before you can run.” (Though we’ve all seen babies who have missed the walking stage, so, there’s that).

Waiting in the wings means you can’t fail.
There’s safety here.
And latent energy.

For some, this is perfect. You’re ready when you’re told you’re ready… and when the lead actress has a sore throat and can’t make it to the performance. THEN it’s your time to shine because you’ve been tapped in. Given permission.

By someone else.

For others, those who KNOW they are ready, who are tired of being spectators and want to become do-ers, who WANT the role so badly that they can taste it, this waiting over a protracted period of time is like purgatory.

(End metaphor)

So let’s say you’re in the second group with the ants-in-your-pants. You feel strongly that you’re ready to claim your role as artist, speaker, coach, leader, author, teacher, pro, star…

What if you could tap yourself in? What if you could give yourself permission?

Would you?

And if not now, when?
How much more practice do you need?
How many more dance steps do you need to learn?
How many more hoops to you need to jump through?
How many more lines?
How many more courses do you need to ace?
At what point will you allow yourself to take centre stage?

Know what I think?

I think you’re ready. Period. I think you’re ready to name and claim your starring role. I think you’re ready to strive. I think you’re ready to face all that’s been holding you back. I think you’re ready to get the help you need to get you there. I think you’re ready to leap onto the stage. I think you’re ready to do the work. And I think you’re ready to be seen. For the do-er, the pro, and the star that you are.

Tap yourself in

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Show time for the 12-week Step into Your Starring Role is September 23rd. The box office opens to the public on August 26th, but getting on the VIP list means you have first dibs on limited seating and premiere pricing on August 24th.

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