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Archive for the ‘The Year of Saying Yes’ Category

photo credit: headersfortwitter.com

photo credit: headersfortwitter.com

I have endless lists out there in cyber space and in the myriad journals that I’ve kept throughout the years.  There are to-do lists, wish lists, goal lists, and contrasting diagrams about what I want my life to look like and what it currently looks like spanning the last decade.  It’s all quite interesting really in a sort of self absorbed kind of way.  So, I’ll spare you sharing all of them.

But, I’ve been thinking that I’d like a solid place where I can keep a list of things that I stand for, as well as a place for the things that I am “holding space” for.  A place where I can see it, update it, change it, etc.  A more solid place than some random page in my journal that I can never find.

Well, luckily I have a blog.  Lol.  So this post is going to be far less inspirational, informative or instructive and instead super intimate.  As of today, this is a pretty good representation of what I believe in and personally stand for as well as what I’m seeking in my ideal life, as of July 18th, 2012 at 5:40:39pm.

Beliefs:

I believe in the power of art to change the world.  I believe in telling stories and entertaining to bring joy, laughter, thought, and reflection to an audience.  I believe in making work with quality.  I believe in traveling and sharing things across beliefs, cultures and languages.  I believe in creating dialogues to solve world problems.  I believe in being a light in times of darkness.  I believe in laughing at myself, and our beautiful humanity.  I believe in falling down and getting back up.  I believe in telling it how I see it.  I believe in empowering people, especially children, our future, and those that have lost their sense of power and place in this world.  I have a passion that I believe has a purpose.  I believe that my talents and perspectives give me a voice to share things that matter with the world.

I am the possibility of light and love in all situations.

I am the possibility of the impossible becoming possible.

I am a story-teller.

Dreams:

I want to have the renown and financial success necessary to be able to live and create my art freely with the support, coaching, training, practicing, cultivating, brainstorming, and living that that requires.

I want friendships, romance, partnership, working relationships, love, and positive inspiration around me at all times that will support me and guide me when I feel less that brilliant, positive, or faithful myself.

I want to find that well of energy that fuels a life of creation and joy.

photo credit: fantom-xp.com

photo credit: fantom-xp.com

 

To be continued…

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Tis the season for self reflection, goal setting, and let’s admit it, jealousy and competition. Whether we are talking about sibling rivalry flaring up at holiday functions, competition for bonuses at work, wondering why we didn’t get invited to that holiday party, or are our own worst enemy in the goal-setting and self-reflection department; the green-eyed monster is as evergreen as that needle-shedding star holder we put up each year.

I like to think that my experiences in open relationships prepared me to foresee and handle my envy in a healthy and constructive manner.  But the truth is, I can suddenly find myself seething with the angry-hating-blaming-scathing-gossiping-fearful bullshit as much as anyone.  And being currently devoid of lovers, or even wanting to enter into monogamy (gasp) doesn’t give me a free pass.  Instead, as we approach the end of the year, I find my jealousies bubbling up around my art instead.  Do you want the bare-naked, ugly truth of what’s been happening in my head?  Ready or not, here it is:

Why is this or that person more successful than I am?  Why haven’t I won any awards lately? (Besides the fact that I haven’t entered any competitions??)

Why is it so much easier for that person to master that move that I’ve been struggling with for years? (Have you actually been focusing all of your energy on that move?)

Why is that person thinner than me, when I work out so much? (Because they are them, and they are you.  A little self acceptance please!)

Why is it so hard for me to commit to a weekly writing schedule?  Or finish the freaking book I’ve been working on for a decade? And why is that person who can’t even spell properly getting published? (Let’s look a little more honestly at your time commitments, shall we?)

Why was that person offered that job/gig that was half-promised to me, or that I feel like I suggested/inspired?  (Uh, did you even really want that job? Was it really promised to you? Did you really deserve it?)

If only I had regular access to a studio (and/or a car), I could polish and choreograph the ideas that I have more easily.  I’d have more time, more energy, be able to make more money.   IT’S NOT FAIR! (If it’s not working, you’ll need to figure out a new solution.  Time to start saving for a car…)

And even, yes, why is dating suddenly such a barren, non-existent thing in my life? What’s wrong with me? At least I used to just have trouble keeping a partner, now I can’t even get a date? (Do you even want to date?  Do you have time?)

Jealous Cat

For me, the end of the year is about looking back at what I’ve learned and forward to what needs to happen next.  This inevitably involves some self comparisons to people that have accomplished more, less, or specifically what I wish I had, in the past year.  I spent a glorious evening last week wallowing in my envy and self-pity.  It felt good like hot dogs and macaroni and cheese feel good.  Like a comforting, unhealthy indulgence.  And then the defeated, depressed hangover kicks in.  And luckily, my experiences confronting jealousy on the dating playing field, and a little kick in the ass from my best friend who got sick of listening to my whining, came in helpful after all.

The realizations that I came up with in delving into my artistic career path insecurities is remarkably identical to what I’ve encountered before in romantic situations.  Jealousy seems to come from 3 emotional sources: Fear, Envy, or Defeat.  Which, looking deeper, means it signals 1 or more of 3 things: That you care about something or someone deeply; that you aren’t on the right path to get, or are not being clear about whatever it is that you want; or that something about your current tactics/habits isn’t working.

For my artistic journey, identifying what of these factors is triggering each jealousy has cleared the way to better planning, scheduling, and goal setting overall.  First, that while I think that I want certain jobs/gigs, they may actually not be right for me, and even be a hinderance on my overall broader goals.  What I’m really wanting is the acceptance of my peers when being considered for a job.  For instance, right now I have exactly the right balance of teaching and creating that I need.  What I need is a little more time to work on my personal projects, without abandoning the work that I do with my troupe.  It would also seem that I want an artistic partner-the right artistic partner-someone who inspires me to work harder and who I can communicate well with, and who commits to meeting and working with me at an equal level.  Without examining what exact aspects of being passed over for certain jobs was making me jealous, I wouldn’t have been able to come up with clearer goals and needs moving forward.  Nor would I be able to realize that I don’t even want some of the jobs I’m jealous of, in order to focus on working harder to get the ones that I do want.

Next, I needed to realize that if I’ve been working on something for a long time and its not coming together, then something in my approach obviously needs to change.  Perhaps I need to be honest with myself about how much effort and commitment I’m actually putting towards what goals and re-prioritize.  Maybe I need to be a little gentler with myself in the realm of how much one person can realistically accomplish in what amount of time.  Or you know, I could ask some experts for help and guidance.  Probably all of the above wouldn’t hurt.  Without examining this area, I wouldn’t have been able to come up with a new game plan and I wouldn’t have the excitement and fresh inspiration of the new challenge that I’m taking on for 2014 (I know, you can barely wait to hear more, right?).  I’d still be defeated and self-pitying, eating mac and cheese with my cat.

Finally, I may need a certain amount of patience.  Like when I sit wondering why I haven’t been asked on a date for a whopping two months (seriously, that seems so long!), I have to admit that I didn’t want to be.  I hate the institution of dating.  I like meeting people naturally, being friends, hanging out, getting to know each other.  But, I’m working on my art right now, which involves more alone time, physical work and exhaustion, and self reflection than hanging out drinking and socializing.  And I’m loving the friendships that I’m building that are about training and creating more anyways.  So, “yes” Envy, thanks for coming over to visit and all, but you can take your leave now.  I need to get back to work.

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Today, I had the pleasure of reading some wonderful “Yes” reminders from one of my favorite blogging mentors, Danielle LaPorte, and I wanted to share it with you, fellow “yes-ees”. Enjoy!

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Just before I left my new home in Austin to return to NYC for two weeks, I received a Facebook invite from a friend there, Stav Equality Meishar. Since I get around ten invitations a day on facebook, much of it not even remotely near where I live, or could feasibly attend, this was no big thing. In fact, I most likely wouldn’t have even noticed it if it hadn’t included a personal message that this event had made her think of me, specifically. Intrigued, I opened the event page at exactly 12:01pm on April 7th, 2013 to find that it was in fact a notice to audition for what looked like a Cirque troupe here in Austin. An audition that in fact had started just one minute before I opened the invite on that very day.

Image Credit: ashleeholmes.buzznet.com

Image Credit: ashleeholmes.buzznet.com

“Too bad I missed it, looks kind of cool,” was my first thought. Then, “well, I don’t have plans today…but I also don’t have a way to get there, or anything prepared.” Again, “well it looked interesting, maybe in the future.” Then, I told a friend of a friend who was staying in our apartment about it as I fixed my coffee. And suddenly I had the offer of a ride, just like that.  Wait, what?  “No, I’m not going, it already started.  I don’t have anything prepared.”

And that’s when I realized that I was saying “no.” I didn’t need a perfected audition piece, I had dozens of sequences on my trapeze, stage presence, a love of improvising dances on my apparatus, and I could RSVP to the audition and see if they still had any spots open for me to come in. To which I received an almost immediate “yes” back. And suddenly I was committed. I was auditioning for a troupe. Which was fine, I could always try it and see if it was for me, I could always say “no” later, in other words.

Somewhere around the part where we improvised physical theater with each other, I had decided these might be my kind of people. Yes, I was that stubborn about it. It wasn’t until the day that the cast was to be announced and I was anxiously checking my email that I really owned that I wanted to be a part of this group. And it wasn’t until two weeks later, back in Austin and attending rehearsals, timidly trying to learn the awesome dance skills other people were bringing to the table that I started to understand my own resistance and why this opportunity was so special.

The Great Circus of Cats

See, I hadn’t truly been a part of a group, a whole heart committed, 3-4+ days a week of rehearsals kind of group in five years. I’d dipped my toe into being a part of a circus group in NYC just before I left, but I’d never been able to participate much more than showing up for performances with my own act. I was overbooked, and that felt like all they needed from me anyways. That left my own theater group, which I’d disbanded exhausted, wanting more experience and more time to create my own work, five years prior. On my way to NYC, I learned that I was a core member of the troupe Crash Alchemy back in Austin TX and that we’d be putting on a show in just 5 weeks, on May 18th.

Okay, I didn’t really know what that meant, but I knew I would be dancing and acting and creating and trapezing. I wanted to be a part of building this group, of creating something together. I’d fallen into a family of people who somehow magically wanted to make the kind of things that I wanted to make. And it had all almost happened by accident.  Or maybe by sheer force of the Universe reminding me to say “yes” and stop being so stubborn all the time. It was okay to commit to this. I was more creative, making more art in my life, not less. And the people in the group were there for each other, talented and into the vision of working in multiple disciplines. I think somehow I’d believed that I couldn’t find another group I’d love as much as my hand selected theater group years before. And I’d believed that committing to a group again would stunt my own work again. At the same time, I kept craving and wondering why I couldn’t find community in NYC.  Well, no wonder when I’m this gun shy about commitment, huh.  Head. Trapeze Bar.

May 18th has come and gone with spectacle and love and just more and more amazing talent, community and group love and support.   I am learning what it means to be a part of the right creative family for me, ups and downs, exhaustion and success.  And I wholeheartedly love it and am honored to be a part of it.

Image Credit: Ed Lehmann

Image Credit: Ed Lehmann

 

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The goodbye note read thus,
“Everything I touch turns to ash.
The taste of me grows rancid in your mouth.
And mine.”

The darkness returned to reign.
Old fantasies of razors slicing into thin, delicate, spiderweb veins,
blurred with reality.

Others’ hatred mirrored my own, more profound dis-ease.
One man’s cruel words and one man’s unconditional love danced a waltz around my melting mind and will.

Perhaps the rancid me I taste, is not me.
Identities and hiding places are painfully shed.
They do not go easily into that goodnight.
I do not go easily into that bright light.

It burns, scars, pushes back, spits on me.
Life asks, “is this what you really want?”

Sometimes I say yes, sometimes scream no.
But stumble forward.
Feinting with my useless words, my actions answer for me.

“Yes.”

And every once in awhile, I remember that my vulnerability is my strength.

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Well, there’s no getting around it, I’m behind on posting. The only excuse I can offer is that saying “yes” makes you pretty darn busy. Plus it’s South by South West here in Austin. If you don’t know what that is, let’s put it this way, when the live music capital of the world decides to throw a music festival, people show up. Innovators, film makers, corporations, and musicians known and unknown, but pretty universally bad ass, fill the streets downtown with music.

For my part, I’ve decided to say “yes” to whoring myself out for corporate promotion. Despite the very nice paychecks involved in promotional work this month, I should confess my disappointment at taking this work.  I need the money after a move across the country, very much so.  But I was convinced that I’d land a performance gig for SXSW.  Since I didn’t, despite some valiant guerilla approaches to event spaces and a couple of musicians themselves, I took my actual income producing opportunities with a sigh and an open-minded “yes.”

And, in just a few short weeks, I’ll have modeled for Treaty Oak Photography (and a Burning Man costume maker), represented the city of Austin, the movie Spring Breakers, Ray Ban, and Reese’s at the MTV Woodie Awards. And I’ll walk away with $1000+, a motorcycle license, more reusable bags than I’ll ever need, a bellyache from too much chocolate, more new portfolio photos, having seen Tegan and Sara live, and hopefully this sweet pair of Ray Ban Wayfarers.  Oh, and I guess I’m in a commercial this Sunday at 8pm during the MTV Woodie Awards.

Spring Breakers Promo

Spring Breakers Austin Premier

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Spring Breakers Austin Premier, South by South West in Pussy Riot-esque Unicorn Ski Mask

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Ray Ban’s Envision Campaign, South by South West, with Square205

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Ray-Ban’s Envision Campaign

IMAG0957

http://www.SockItToMe.com, Best Socks Ever!

www.thebos.co, Reese's and MTV Woodie Awards, loved Tegan and Sara!

http://www.thebos.co, Reese’s and MTV Woodie Awards, loved Tegan and Sara!

More importantly, brand ambassadorship and promotional modeling are becoming the perfect freelance work for a busy performer and writer, with very few bars or nightclubs involved!  It’s mostly laid back and fun (with a noticeable correlation between high pay/respect/fun and low pay/disrespect/shit gig), and it turns out: a pretty sweet way to learn about marketing myself as well.

Catch me on the streets of Austin today and tomorrow (in costume), representing the Fire Trapeze and yours truly!  Follow me on Twitter and tweet @Erinina or #FireTrapeze today or tomorrow and I’ll be giving one lucky tweeter a copy of my Fire and Circus arts and writings book for free!  Afterall, if I’m not willing to give as much energy to self promotion as I do for a 1-3 day gig for some already rich corporation, then who should?

So what else have I been saying “yes” to? Well, it seems only appropriate during the live music festival of the year, to mention that I’m saying “yes” to music in my life.  I started a morning singing ritual back in the Happiness Project, making up silly songs for Evie, mostly. And that habit seems to have blossomed into full on singing at any and all times of the day. So, probably that means I’m saying “yes” to looking like an idiot most of the time too. C’est la vie. <=^.^=>

I’m also learning to play the violin/fiddle, thanks to a handsome music man here in Austin.  The violin (which I’ve always loved) and a handsome musician is pretty good motivation to do well in my world.  ;)  So far I can play an A scale and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.  Look out Julliard, here I come.  Soon I’ll also have my clarinet back from storage, and I’d better start practicing because friends are asking me to play.  We’ll see how fast I can overcome 15 years off of regular practice.

I guess the point is, that I didn’t realize how much New York had dampened my love for music until I arrived here. You couldn’t beg me to go to see live music in NYC. Seriously, I’m pretty sure my girl Liz literally begged me on a number of occasions. The prospect filled me with shuddering visions of dark, cramped loft spaces with too many drunk kids with attitudes puking in the bathroom and spilling their beer on you while they attempted to grind on your ass if you dared to actually dance.  Jump to Texas, where they actually ask you to dance (and it’s the two-step, or even better, the two-step with a dubstep/hip hop beat), and everyone dances and laughs and it’s beautiful outside.  This part I like about Texas.  It’s hard not to imagine music coming back into my life here.

Classical Music Mugs at www.cafepress.com

Classical Music Mugs at http://www.cafepress.com

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arrogance

So, now that I’m not in crazy New York mode, it may be time to reevaluate how I approach situations and people. It just may be that the “I deserve to be paid more, revered, and sought after for my awesomeness,” no matter how true, isn’t the way to make friends and influence people.

Austin has been teaching me that getting a job isn’t that easy.  That getting paid gigs isn’t that easy.  That being the newbie is fun and everyone is welcoming, but friends don’t pay the rent.  Starting over is harder than I thought and the life lessons that I may have been avoiding learning in the NYC rat race aren’t always the most fun things to deal with.  Seeing ourselves and our imperfections in the mirror never is, I suppose.

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What I do know is that since opening up to the concept of humility, letting people in who I might have judged unworthy of my “precious time” before (which in NYC was pretty much everyone because there is no time), I’ve found that very often, my judgements are incorrect.  People surprise me.  Often even surpass the impossibly high expectations I seem to set for myself and everyone around me.

And something I didn’t expect has begun to happen.  When I assume that everyone else has something to teach me, they generally do.  They also open up more.  And when I see their strengths and their weaknesses, I have more compassion for their weaknesses.  Which allows me to have more compassion for my own struggles and weaknesses.

All from a little humility…huh, I’ll keep working on it.

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