Taking a Leap of Faith

Cliff
Living a creative life, especially deciding to make a living from your art involves taking a giant leap of faith–of a very big cliff.  It's easy to back off from the cliff when the inner critic starts to pipe up.

Often, artists say things like, "I'm not a very good business person." or "Don't worry if you don't see my show, who knows how good it'll be." or "Maybe I'm
just not ready to hit the big time." Us creative types tend to either downplay or oversell their creative work. Why?  What makes us think our work is less valuable than the paving of a road, or the filing of a dental x-ray, or the programming of a computer? 

Think of the most important moments in your life, those that were inspired, those that brought you to a new level of understanding about what life means to you.  Was art part of that?  Was it something you read in a book or a piece of music your heard?  A film you saw?  Each of the creators of those works pushed past the internal and external voices that said, "Don't bother." 

Not all of us will make a living from the creative work that comes from the core expression of our being, but perhaps there could be more singing road pavers, dental x-ray painters, and authors who program computers.  We can take the myriad of voices who find all the reasons to say "No" and transform them into voices who say, "You do your creative work, and I will support you by thinking logically, planning for the future, and helping you pack the parachute… if you insist on jumping off this cliff!"
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"Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence…  Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.  The slogan "press on" has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race."

    -Calvin Coolidge

It’s never too late!

Butterfly
"This isn't what I meant to do!"  "This isn't where I meant to be!"  "What the heck happened to all those years?"

Often in our lives, through a series of conscious and unconscious choices, we find ourselves in a different place in our lives than we had once imagined we would be.  We reach a milestone age, or we see friends or even public figures accomplishing something, and as we compare ourselves, we feel a poignant mixture of jealousy, desire, regret, and hope about where we are.  Many of us will take the exit ramp right there, and drown in these thoughts and emotions.  Some of us divert ourselves from even feeling the emotions by watching television, drinking, eating, falling in love, etc…

Yet no matter how we try to avoid that call, that little phone will keep ringing.  Picking it up, even when it's yapping about what's wrong, is in fact a great step to take!  This is a really powerful moment of choice, and it's important to listen to the deeper message beneath the surface.  By identifying and dealing compassionately with the "chatter", we can get to what's really important.  Notice the voices that say, "If I really was meant to be successful, I wouldn't have wasted all this time." "I shouldn't have taken time off from my career while everyone else was getting ahead."  "There are so many people who want to succeed in my field more than me, how can I possibly make it?" 

Make a list of what all those voices say, and then put it aside for now.  Next, take a few deep breaths and quiet your mind.  What is the deep desire beneath your fears?  What is your spirit longing for?  What does your heart whisper to your ears?  This wish will never be extinguished. And even if you discover it in your last breath, it won't have been too late.  Each twist and turn along your journey has brought you to this perfect moment, and your soul has its own perfect way of fulfilling its purpose right where you are, right now.  Everything you need is available to you now. 

Could you summon the courage to surrender to your own spirit, just for this moment?

        -"The greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing."

        -Many of the great achievements of the world were accomplished by tired and discouraged people who kept on working."

Free Your Creativity with Free-Writing

Inspiration
Natalie Goldberg, author of Writing Down the Bones and many other books on writing has dedicated her life's work to teaching people how to increase their flow of creativity.  A big component of her workshops is free-writing.  Free-writing is the practice of picking a topic, setting a timer, putting your pen to the page, and writing until the timer dings.  When you do it in a group, you can set the timer for five, ten, or twenty minutes at a time, and then take turns reading what you've just written. 

I have found this group practice to be really liberating; I find support to sit with whatever I am feeling, I find camaraderie and connection with whom I'm sharing my writing, freedom in not having any aim for my writing to reach.  The real aim is to quiet the inner censor and critic that stops me from creating.  Later, I can always edit and evaluate.  Often, after I've done a couple of hours of free-writing with people, I notice that I'm less judgmental about whatever art that comes out, I'm a lot more productive and I'm happier with the work after all the gunk has been "blown out the tubes." 

Try this:  Sit down with a pad and paper (best to avoid typing for this exercise, as it's easier to connect emotionally to the physical sensation of writing) and set a timer for five minutes on each of the following topics.  Try to use as much detail as possible.

  • right now…
  • flowers
  • third grade
  • I hate…
  • baseball
  • magic

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  "You must not for one instant give up the effort to build new lives for yourselves.  Creativity means to push open the heavy, groaning doorway to life.  This is not an easy struggle.  Indeed, it may be the most difficult task in the world, for opening."

        -Daisaku Ikeda, Japanese peace activist and Buddhist Leader

Creative Heart Coaching

Coach_logo_small You have a unique gift to offer the world.  What if you have an idea of what that gift is, but don't know how to use it or trust it?  In a unique process tailored to your goals, visions, and ideals, I can help you bridge the gap between possessing your gifts and talents and expressing them.

As a creativity coach, I can support you to crystalize your vision, unfurl your natural rainbow of imagination, and cultivate tools and habits to effectively inhabit the life you truly want to lead.  You can find deep satisfaction, joy, and connection in the artistic process as you create a pathway to actualize your dreams.

Creative Coaching is for performers, artists, writers (even if you've never performed, painted, or written) who want to jump-start a career or enliven an avocation.  The Creative Coaching style is rooted in the work I've done to transform my own creative blocks; I offer compassionate, authentic reflection for the places you want to shift. 

As a professional performer and writer maintaining daily creative practices, I can model ways of working creativity.  As a natural entrepreneur I can also help you work externally, addressing organization, time-management, self-promotion, marketing, branding, and business planning.

I am called in this life to share what I have learned and applied to my own creative work.  Fostering growth in others is a great honor and privilege.  I believe each of us is imbued with gifts to share with humanity, and unlocking them brings us a powerful sense of appreciation, value, and connection.

Your Partner in Possibility,

Alicia Dattner

        "Don't ask what the world needs.  Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it.  Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."

                   -Howard Thurman (1900-1981)  educator, minister, civil rights leader