Who Do You Need to Forgive?

When you look back on the journey of being an artist who do you need to forgive? I mean, if you've been doing this for any amount of time, there will be people to forgive.

The person who ripped off your idea. The person who told you to keep your day job after they saw what you made. The person who balked at your prices. The person who insulted you in front of your peers. The person who promised you that show (or book, or deal, or golden opportunity) and then flaked and disappeared. The person who never paid you for your work.

I could go on, but you get the gist.

When I look back at my creative journey and start to tally up what I call "a million little humiliations" I get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of people I could forgive. And I feel bitter all over again. Why SHOULD I forgive them? What they did sucked.

But then I remember they're not the ones being held back by the past. They're not the ones hanging on to an unresolvable situation. They're not the ones waiting for an omniscient voice to boom from the sky, "You were right! They were wrong!"

It's just plain ineffective to live in the wounded place.

(How do you know when you're living in the wounded place? When someone presents you an opportunity and you approach it defensively. When you think about your past and feel bitter. When you overcompensate by trying to be perfect. When you turn down viable offers for fear of being hurt. When you believe all the negative crap people have said about you or your work.)

Talking about this today a dear friend and fellow entrepreneur reminded me that I am not the person I used to be. I am stronger, wiser, more powerful. And because of that I would never be caught alive in most any of those situations I used to put myself in when I was younger, situations that were breeding grounds for stress, anxiety and humiliation.

The great irony is that all of those hard moments with all of those jerks are what lead me to a place of greater strength. They're actually the reason my boundaries are stronger. The reason I can say no to opportunities that seem too good to be true. The reason I can spot a jerk, or a drama queen, or an abuser, or a hustler a mile away. The reason I value peace in my life above all else.

When I look at it through that lens and see the bigger picture, I know that my creative spirit was forged in the fire, and that I can forgive those people because they were part of one big, messy, painful soul plan that helped me step into my power.

And that's pretty cool.

But you know what else? There's one person who needs forgiveness more than any of these people. Me. (Extrapolating: the person you most need to forgive is you.)

I mean, how could we have let ourselves settle for less, or ignore our intuition, or stay in an abusive situation, or allow other people's opinions to shape us so thoroughly, or believe what that rejection letter said about work we knew was true to our heart?

I try to remember that we all show up with a stunted child inside, or with a family wound, or with an unconscious pattern, and when I remember that it becomes a lot easier to give myself a break.

Every one of us has been hurt by other people. The question is, will we keep letting that pain hold us back from our creative destiny, or will we release it and move forward?

Photo credit: Patrick Humphries/CC

 

Artists, It's Time to Get Over Feeling Icky about Self Promotion

As artists we strive to be authentic. We search for truth as we take something unseen and bring it to light. Our creativity is born of our unique vision, heart, and soul. It's hard then to see the concept of making a sale as fitting in with this pure self-expression. Time and again, through mass media and even our own artistic creations (particularly film and TV), we've been shown that salespeople are inauthentic. At best they're shallow and pleasantly disconnected (the QVC archetype), and at worst they're slimy, underhanded manipulators greedy for our hard-earned cash (the Snake Oil archetype).

With this kind of spectrum we're naturally repelled by the idea of trying to sell something.

We take the day job and keep art as a side gig or hobby, so it remains untarnished by the murky underworld of money. Yet, we simultaneously lament our lack of time and opportunity when it comes to our art.

Time and again artists who become successful at selling their own wares are seen as "sell-outs," the art world's dirtiest word and most scathing insult.

We've come to believe that artists who achieve status as not only full-time artists, but financially sound ones at that, lose something in the process - their soul, their vision, their edge.

This is unfair and a double standard. We can't yearn for a culture that supports artists then criticize those who receive support - monetary or otherwise. At this point in our cultural history, sales is no longer something to shy away from due to an outdated belief that doing so requires pimping a product we don't care about to an unsuspecting audience.

Selling is simply about finding a compatible home for the work we make so we can continue to make it. Today, artists who want to be doing it full-time must embrace making a living from their art, and understand that our creative expression doesn't just remain intact in the face of money, but thrives with the acquisition of it.

Truthfully, when we're turned off by someone promoting themselves it's not that they're promoting themselves, it's how they're doing it.

Being authentic is easier than ever. Thanks to the internet and social media we can now directly connect our daily lives with a growing audience. We can share images or thoughts about our creative process. We can ask questions to engage with fans, or for informative feedback. We can show works-in-progress, bringing people into the fold as we navigate our way through creation. We can even post about our kids, our animals, our food and more.

We can do these things, and we should if we want to be financially successful. These authentic day-to-day offerings are how we share our essence and our work with people we feel aligned with, people who want to own what we make. It's time for creative folks to show up, be visible, and let go of the idea that it's wrong to promote our work. The world needs successful, authentic, creative people who embrace their life's purpose by allowing themselves to be supported.

And, hey, even if you put yourself out there and don't make many sales for whatever reason (a reason you'll likely uncover if you keep at it), you can be sure that sharing your creative work will inspire other potential creators to express themselves, or encourage fellow artists to show up and be seen too.

If you want to learn to become a better receiver - of joy, pleasure, money, creativity, and more - please join me for theTao of Receivingonline program starting May 24, 2015!

Photo by MartinaK15/cc

 

Receive More. More Creativity. More Money. More Love.

I was tired. Tired of struggling with my creative work. Tired of being broke. Tired of working so hard and never getting over that elusive "hump" - you know, the place where once you get over it you can kick back and relax for a bit.

I asked the universe what I needed to do and the answer was, "Let yourself receive."

In the past month I've spoken with 10 experts around various aspects of receiving. I spoke to intuitive painting teacher Chris Zydel about receiving creativity; I spoke to business mentor Ava Waits about receiving money; I spoke with spiritual wellness Barbara Schultz around receiving guidance; I spoke with MA Yoga founder Jessica Jennings about the body as a receiver, and many more people about various aspects of receiving.

I took all those awesome conversations and used them as the basis for an online program that can help other artists or inner space explorers receive more - more love, more pleasure, more money, more creativity.

The Tao of Receiving online program starts on May 24, 2015 and will be a 40 day hands-on experience that uses participants own lives as the basis for experimenting with receiving more.

I'm excited about this program and its possibilities. I hope you'll join us!

 

Don't Do What I Did

When I was a budding screenwriter I would do more than 20 revisions on a script before sending it to contests, managers, or production companies. Typically, professional screenwriters do 3 to 5 revisions before sending their work out. So even though I had to tack on some extra work for being a newbie, 20 revisions was total OVERKILL. It's no exaggeration to say that I spent years doing something that should've taken months. Instead of having 10 screenplays in my arsenal, I had 3. Some lessons I've learned in hindsight:

* Trying to make each work perfect is short-sighted. Instead of looking at your creative practice or creative career as a marathon, you're treating like a sprint. In doing so, you sacrifice the big picture for the small.

* The quest for perfection comes from a place of insecurity. We claim that we're only trying to "do our best," when really we're obsessively looking for flaws and missteps and systematically eradicating them in order to avoid the judgement of others.

* The most successful people abide by the rule of, "Done is better than perfect." Instead of giving in to the fear and mistrust of our own abilities, we have to retrain ourselves to do our best within the time, energy and expertise currently available then move on to the next so the work can continue to flow - and grow.

If you find yourself tending toward perfection more than completion take a look at your motivation. Is it driven by love or fear? If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn't belabor my work. I'd have released it sooner rather than later and let it live on its own. Too many creative opportunities passed me by while I was searching for "perfection."