Now What?

It’s been over a month since this project ‘ended’ – since I have posted anything. I am still trying to figure out ‘what comes next,’ and have in the meantime, been participating in #100happydays via Instagram. It’s been a nice way  to stay focused on the positive things I have in my life. Of which there are a very many. I also have several friends participating alongside me, and it’s fun to track their progress and cheer each other along. It’s not, however, the same as posting here. The self-reflection and learning and evaluation is of a lesser degree. Which isn’t a bad thing. It doesn’t have to be all serious all the time. (I’m saying that as a reminder to myself.) It’s just, it’s hard to go cold tofurkey on this thing that was a life-force really; a vital component of my inching forward in this crazy universe and trying to maintain some ounce of sanity. Or not. (Hey it’s OK, I embrace my weird and crazy.) But at least, it kept me grounded.

I still don’t know what’s next. I feel, actually, like I know LESS now than I did a month ago. But I have to believe that means the tipping point of this monumental change my life course has been on the past year is finally. painfully. almost. here.

But for today, on this damn snow day when I neither feel like being locked inside nor being outside in the freezing cold (which would also mean being around other people), it felt important to return to this stable base of mine. And for today, I’ve been thinking a lot about courage. Specifically, Brene Brown’s TED Talk and what she refers to as the original English definition of courage; ‘telling the story of who you are with your whole heart.’

[WO]man I love that sentiment! And it hit me square across the face that I’m not living from this place. Not even a little bit.

A little while before stumbling across this video and realization, it was pointed out to me that I do a lot of finger pointing,  and not a whole lot of sharing and opening up of my own. I’m feeling exceptionally vulnerable and weak (although I try to hide it as best I can out in the world). And in a time when all I really want is comfort and support from those around me, those I care about, I’m doing the exact things to push them away.

So, there’s that question again. Now what? Hell if I know.

All I do know is, if vulnerability is the key to a happy life as Brown’s research suggests, then damn it, I should be the happiest person alive, cause my vulnerability meter is off the charts these days. What is missing is my ability to embrace THAT part of me. So. Now. On to embracing and loving and opening up in a genuine way, no matter the outcomes.

Living with my whole heart here I come.

Here’s to another day of creativity…

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Day 278: Ten.Ten.13

I heART Emeli Sande.

Everyone should know her music, I think.

I thought I knew all of the songs from her most recent album.

Pandora showed me I was wrong.

Here is one I hadn’t heard.

It’s darker than most.

At the time it came on my station, it completely paralleled my mood. It’s amazing how music can do that – mimic, or mirror, or validate a feeling. There really is nothing like it – finding a bit of artistic expression that makes you FEEL – all the way into your every fiber.

“and now you’re dancing like you need him, need him…”

Emeli Sande – Daddy ft. Naughty Boy

Here’s to another day of creativity…

Day 185: Seven.Nine.13

I used to think bigger was better.

Events. People.
I used to think bigger events, were better.

Now, I’m starting to see that there’s nothing wrong with starting out small and building something lasting and worthwhile instead.

I’m realizing I won’t ever be an ‘Ideavirus’ unleasher, as described by Seth Godin. I read the book. I thought, maybe, I could be that, do that. And up until, well, tonight maybe, it made me sad that I didn’t seem to possess the magic to get everybody to jump on board and flock to my idea, event, etc.

That’s never been my way.
I don’t have a million viewers on my blog. I don’t have a thousand people like my Instagram photos.

But I have a steady group of people who support and encourage and attend, and that means more these days.

I have an event this Thursday – the kickoff for a monthly series my friend and I developed, called Reel Talk. (Food, Film, and Forward-Action Conversations.) We capped it at 15 people (it’s taking place at our friends house and includes cooking and watching an independent film.)

We have… five people registered. All of them are friends or family of those of us putting on the event.

Instead of feeling bad about this in the way I would have in the past, I see this as an opportunity. We have no idea if this idea will go well or not. (We have a hunch it will – WE believe in the idea of gathering people around a thought-provoking movie and delicious meal to get some connections and positive action happening.) But we don’t really know how it will be received. So starting with five people – whom we all know – will allow us to test it out and refine it in order to build the event’s success over time. It will be the right five people at the right time and will allow us to grow into ourselves as an organization. And this is all good.

In another first – I didn’t over-extend myself money-wise for this event. We kept the price low enough to get people to register but charged enough to cover our costs. This is a huge in my world. Huge I tell you.

So two pats on the back for me, for altering the way I approach my work.

And two more for continuing to charge forward with the work I believe in. Even when it feels so hard to do so.

Here’s to another day of creativity…

Day 184: Seven.Eight.13

I’ve been struggling with the idea of ‘relationship’ more than usual lately.

What I’ve come to realize is that plain and simple, I just don’t want one unless it’s the fairytale kind.

Well, OK wait.  That’s actually not at all accurate.

I don’t need a man to ‘save’ me. Or fight for me. Or play a part in any kind of racist, sexist, classist, or any other ‘ist’ type of story. So fairytale is a misleading word. It’s just, I want the kind of thing that seems to happen so naturally in fairytales and girlie romantic movies; girl meets guy, guy professes undying love for girl, they live in true, devoted bliss for the rest of their days.

More than anything, I guess what I’m trying to say is that I want the kind of relationship where we both are continually growing and loving and improving because of our partnership, not in spite of it. And I’m learning I’m not so sure I know how to be a part of that. I so want to learn how to be, though.

Meet my friends, the HODESH family. A reminder that a lifetime of love, happiness, and joy DOES indeed exist. It’s no fairytale, either. It’s real and inspiring. Their adventurous ways and love of life and each other is evident in everything they do. From the pictures they post, the words they say and write, to the places they travel, and the actions they take in and for this world.

I have known them as a couple now for the better part of a decade and while, granted, I haven’t seen them in person in many days (years?!) too long, their spirit is contagious. Even through these sometimes impersonal modern-age staying in touch modes such as instagram and tubmlr.

They have just brought a beautiful baby girl into this world. The photos and updates I have received thus far melt my heart. OK to be fair, all baby pictures are heart-melting. But the added thing these two super-people bring to the equation – something I can’t quite put into words but am doing my best to here – makes their sweet little one even that much more irresistibly heart-melting.

I’m so incredibly overjoyed for them.

I am hopeful that this un-fairytale kind of love will find me when the time is right.

Here’s to another day of creativity…

Day 182: Seven.Six.13

I started thinking about what it would take for people – en masse that is, because I know there are plenty of art lovers/aficionados that already DO – to pay for art programming in the same way that they do for say, a meal out or drinks at a bar. Without thinking much about it. With a sense of spontaneity and adventure, in the same way they might select a new restaurant or drink off of a menu. (Trying different varieties of food on different nights, different flavors, in different parts of the city. And, leaving tips without thinking about it. The food and service was good? Leave a tip, duh!!)

I’ve started thinking about this because: I’m working on building an organization that relies on people paying for art programming. (Good stuff. Interesting, unique, soul-touching, accessible, great art. Of all kinds.)

I’ve also started thinking about this because: for the first time in my life, I’m working in a restaurant/bar and making almost – almost – more in my not-full-time hours than I ever did in any of my full-and-a-half-time jobs in the non-profit/education sectors.

I don’t have an answer. I’m just hoping I can continue to build a delicious recipe that will entice people to try our brand of art over and over again.

Then I heard THIS story on NPR. Seriously. The timing couldn’t have been more amazing. I am totally smitten (in a purely professional way, of course) with Dan Pallotta and what he has/is doing to revolutionize thinking about ‘doing good’ as a profession. I’m definitely about to do some more (professional, of course) research on his company, work, and philosophy…

Here’s to another day of creativity…

Day 175: Six.TwentyNine.13

I’ve had to have some conversations with myself. About my lack of focus, my recent play time, my sudden burst of social-butterfly-ness.

I’ve had to tell myself that all of these things are perfectly acceptable. Commendable, even.

Somehow I have come to know only one way to be in this world – a way that leaves no room for having fun (without feeling guilty later), taking one day as it comes, a way that includes all work all the time.

Work in the sense of responsibility, doing things for others, doing things 110% all the time even if I am not personally invested in them.

This new way, this place where I can do good work AND have fun AND be open to new ideas and ways of being…

As doors seem to keep opening (not shutting), partnerships keep forming (not disintegrating), and happiness keeps being with me every morning when I wake up (not an overwhelming sense of duty but lack of personal serenity)… I realize… THIS is living.

And now my talks with myself include reminding me that this new state doesn’t have to be fleeting. I don’t have to worry about it disappearing. (Do I deserve this?!) There will be ups and downs yes, of course. But I am creating this new world for myself, for others. And if I am willing to keep giving of myself – my true, positive, encouraging, passionate, helpful, hard-working self… I have to believe I will be able to keep living in this perpetual state.

The best part? There’s plenty of room for all to join me here.

Never has the phrase “love what you do” rang so true as it does right now.

Here’s to another day of creativity…

Day 173: Six.TwentySeven.13

The recorded version of this became the ‘music’ for my piece, recently performed at Love, Us 2013.

A Love Story

(for my someday child)

 

Part One

The truth is, I thought you would be here now.

In my younger years, I had life figured out.

You, your daddy and I, we live in a house. A yard, a dog, a fence, by now.

We count the ways we love, you, your daddy and I. Tea parties and swings and picnics by now.

The other truth is, I’m scared for you.

Life, perfect before you. For you.

Heal backs of hearts.

Matching dishes, wallpaper, 401ks.

Mend cracks in souls.

Ironed shirts, rolling pins, family trees.

I know now, there is no perfect. I will tell you this. Tell you to live.

Now. And everyday thereafter.

Part Two

Sing shout laugh cry. Be.

Scream dance hug laugh. Be.

Rejoice. You are powerful.

Speak. You are truth.

Pause. You are beauty.

Speak read share laugh. Be.

Dance laugh dance. Be.

Paint, bold. Learn the names of colors.

Forever cherish the shades that make us all magnificent. Brilliant.

Travel wander trust. Share.

Love. You are worthy.

I haven’t found your daddy yet.

But I promise he is kind, generous, loving.

He laughs, silly. Creates, and stays curious about the world.

We dance, you, your daddy and I.

We sing, you, your daddy and I.

And he loves you. All the way as much as I do.

Part Three

There is a mourning I didn’t allow myself to have.

Perhaps, I don’t want children.

Lips gasp back words as they tumble from dark within.

Steeled heart soldiers past mines deep within.

I have always, always wanted you.

I know this now.

I know, now. I am, now.

I promise, now.

To sing dance laugh. Be.

To trust hug cherish. Be.

To scream speak pause. Be.

Above all else, I promise to love you with all of my heart. And then some.

The truth is, I already do.

 

Here’s to another day of creativity…

Day 172: Six.TwentySix.13

I have been freaking myself out about this show for months.

Not like I haven’t performed before.

Not like I don’t make myself vulnerable everyday with this whole public blog thing.

But even with all my ‘years of experience,’ I feel like a beginner when it comes to creating personal work.

Crazy that the one place I feel most comfortable – lost in music on a dance floor – is also the place that brings me the most amount of anguish when it becomes public.

Times sure are a changin’ though.

Up until recently, I would have given up already – returned to my comfortable world of doing other people’s work.

Instead, I’m trying to embrace the fact that my work may not be ‘good,’ but it’s honest, true, and it’s forever in-progress.

What more could I ask for?

Here’s to another day of creativity…