This morning I drove my husband to work. We share one car and my motorcycle was in the shop. Excited about having the car to myself on a Saturday, I packed a bag of healthy fruits and my new 40 calorie crackers. I figured I'd drop him off and find a nice Starbucks with an outdoor space where I could write, gnosh and watch the world go by. I'm a pretty simple gal. My recipe for a perfect afternoon involves iced coffee, access to wifi and a power source, and a quiet place to 'nest'. Bonus points if this writing space is surrounded by nature.
Jumping onto Lake Shore Drive, we had an impromptu 'staff meeting' for our monthly storytelling show in the car. As producers, we have to regularly weigh in on talent bookings, the menu, venue, or ticket sales. Running a show of this size just coming out of the pandemic involves a lot of decision making and organization. At one point, I got quiet and gently held his hand. I love producing together, but sometimes I just want to be "us" again. Vic and Johnny. To see his face. To notice what he's wearing that day. To BE in the moment together.
Windows down, we passed Lake Michigan on the left, Lincoln Park Zoo on the right. I got off the Drive and parked in front of the Happy Camper Old Town. Now Johnny is a DJ and works in these huge venues. Loud. Crowded. Hi-energy. Full of people half our age. Even entering the surrounding neighborhood is a shift for me - with young people in their workout gear, headsets in, confidently going places. Seeing and being seen. It's all very jazzy, cute and urban.
Suddenly I felt very tired. I kissed him goodbye. Now that he was sorted, it was finally time for me.
What would I do with this delicious free day? I could go anywere. Do anything.
First step - get out of this congested part of Chicago. I hopped on 90/ 94 West and headed up to Edgebrook/Saugunash. I'd heard about a neighborhood festival with vintage cars and a sidewalk sale. Ok, whatever. Something to do. I figured I'd check out the festival, search for my "Starbucks sanctuary" and do my thang.
Merging up the highway ramp and into traffic, I was in motion again, an observer. Gospel music filled the car and I drank in the visual flow of vintage apartment buildings, massive factories, and bill boards. The Metra train ran alongside me. Kicking it up to 65 mph, I happily headed out of downtown.
Opening up. Calming down. Energized again.
When I got to Edgebrook/Sauganash, the 'Sidewalk Sale' was two stores with card tables hawking tacky sale items. The "Vintage Car Show" had 4 retro cars and a few old guys kicking the tires. There was no Starbucks in sight. The only saving grace was a lush forest preserve with a bike trail. Crap. I didn't have my bike and there was no way I could hike wearing my flip flops.
For 20 minutes, I circled around trying to find any cafe where I could salvage this afternoon. My inner soul was calling me. Victoria! Where are you? Please slow down. Give me some time. Find a place to write....
I circled and circled. Nada. Zip. Nothing. Really? The only place with outdoor seating was an ice cream shop with Adirondack chairs full of sweaty, loud kids.
Suddenly I felt completely unprepared for this day. And I was mad at myself. Why hadn't I put the bike rack on the back of the car? Thrown my running shoes in my bag? Why hadn't I mapped out the nearby cafes in advance? Summer in Chicago is so short and we have to take advantage of these nice days when we can.
What was my deal today? Well, first of all I was trying to be spontaneous. I had also had a really busy week and no time to "plan fun". I thought just having the car would open me up to worlds of adventure! Well, it didn't. It just opened me up to circling around TRYING to have fun, which honestly is really exhausting.
How hard could it be to find a quiet table outside, decent coffee and a sacred slice in time to reflect, synthesize and write? Evidently very hard.
Suddenly, this weird anxiety came over me. After holing up in my apartment for 15 months during the pandemic, the traffic and number of people around me felt overwhelming. They were driving fast, on a mission. I could not linger. I had to have a purpose, a direction. I felt like I was supposed to be going somewhere, but where?
This strange feeling of LOOKING FOR SOMETHING outside of myself came over me. Most of the time I languish in the here and now, happy with what each moment brings. But here I was searching. Trying to fill a hole. Running.
I headed home, frustrated. I was trying to have an adventure and I had failed. I felt jealous as I passed families happily riding down the bike trail on McCormick Avenue. I could have been chilling on my yellow Schwinn, with an iced coffee in my cup holder, listening to A Tribe Called Red, this EDM/DubStep group I'd recently discovered. But, no. Here I was in my (sacred?) car watching others enjoy their rides.
"Just get your iced coffee with almond milk, Victoria!" I told myself. "That's one thing you can easily accomplish today." Pulling my SUV up behind the others in the Starbucks drive-thru, I felt like a cliche as I paid with my iPhone and headed back home.
When I opened my door to leave the garage, it hit me. Everything I'd been searching for all morning was right here in my own backyard. I was greeted by a dove and a baby bunny rabbit scampering across the grass. My wrought iron table. My private sancutary. My nature. My silence. They were all here - waiting for me.
I could run an extension cord out of the garage and tap into my home wifi. Completely alone out here, I could blast my music, write for hours and even do some ecstatic dance if I wanted to! Slowing down and sinking into the expansiveness of now, I noticed that the ferns along the fence had grown as high as my waist, the hostas had covered the back garden with light purple flowers and orange lilacs were reaching towards the nourishing sunlight.
I cut up my fruit, sipped on my iced coffee, noticed the bird and cicada sounds surrounding me and began to write this piece. Content in the serenity and gratitude for my tiny slice of heaven, my Muse stepped up to the mic and was able to shine.
Driving down Lake Shore Drive this morning, I saw a lone man playing his saxaphone, facing a tree. He was on that small plot of grass that runs alongside the Drive around Montrose, where there is a homeless encampment. I was thinking, "He must really want privacy to trek all the way out there just to play his sax."
Maybe he's finally playing out now that clubs are open. I bet he's elated and excited to be on stage again, yet also needing time and headspace to remain centered in his craft. So he hiked out to his public practice room (aka a tree next to a busy road) to get some "city space".
I get it. As a Creative, I need to regularly tap into my own ideations + side roads. Having huge swaths of time to just BE is non-negotiable for me. In those times of seemingly "doing nothing", I'm actually percolating, nourishing my wild child, giving her freedom to run and play and question and giggle and stare off into the sky. And every time, every time, she rewards me with inspiration, clarity, direction, next steps.
This duality of vulnerably exploring our gifts and courageously bringing them out into the light of day is a cultivated skill for any Creative. We cannot share what we do not have. Our Muse always reminds us when it's time to return, listen and breathe.
I am tired of being told how flaky Creatives are. How we need to get with the program, do something with our lives and get ‘serious’ about reality. Peer pressure can make us feel forced to account for ourselves, our time and our very existence on this earth.
I reject this with every fibre of my being.
And this attitude makes me angry. After years of being laughed at, belittled, dismissed, eye-rolled, or smiled at condescendingly for being ‘eccentric’, I am finally stepping into my power as a CREATIVE.
Creativity is what I study, practice and teach about every day of my life. It’s THAT IMPORTANT to me (and to the world). No more apologizing or feeling 'less than'.
Here’s the point. We need to flipe the script and start valuing Creativity.
Creativity is the unlimited SOURCE that makes all things possible.
A Creative’s ‘subconscious ramblings’ inspired that book or film that capitvated you. Generative ideas gave birth to your favorite song, your clothes, your computer, and the chair you’re sitting on. For real. Let’s get THAT granular.
Thoughts become things. EVERYTHING starts as an idea.
Think about it. Creations are all around us. They started out as precious inklings that were listened to, cultivated, honored and respected. Nurtured in conducive environments, couragous innovators went on to create, design, compose and give birth to ground-breaking objects (products) and experiences (services, classes, music, films, web content). We may not notice these sacred offerings; we may take them for granted, but these valuable tent-poles sustain us.
These diamonds give us hope, asuage our fears, connect across difference.
Creatives helped us get through the Pandemic. Netflix doesn’t just ‘happen’. Screenwriters, editors, set designers, producers, actors, musicians, copywriters, photographers, clothing designers. Think about the inspiration, passion and technical skills that contribute to making one movie.
Creatives have been producing virtual storytelling shows, concerts, conventions, courses. Moments of synchronicity and joy. Powerful, healing gifts that will lead us forward into the great unknown of magical possibility.
Nothing ‘flaky’ about that.
I move, seamlessly, between iterations of my SOUL. Mulitpassionate Master. Creative Entrepreneur. Coach. Producer. Modeling the audacity of hope.
It’s all about articulation, synergy, love. Every ounce of me is invested in transformation. Supporting exploration. Holding safe spaces for creative joy.
Some days the manifestation is visceral. Concrete. I feel powerful, confident, happy! In a conversation with the Universe. Flow!
These are the days I live for.
But then, of course, there are days when I feel like quitting. When it’s all too much. Days when I wonder how I’ll ever take this to the next level.
Days when words like purpose, vision or path seem ridiculous. Pie in the sky. Silly. Esoteric. I question everything about myself and my choices.
These are the days when nobody ‘likes’ (what I thought was) a prolific post. When I have literally no registrations for my class that starts in 3 days. Days when I spend hours on the phone talking to people who say they are interested, only to hear a litany of reasons why they can’t attend our next Creative Tribe Dojo. They are, in their words, too tired, busy, depressed, angry, distracted or stuck to add ‘yet another thing’. I get it. But this is confusing, frustrating. Sometimes demoralizing.
Like a deflated balloon, I contract. Hearing a lot of ‘NO’s’ is, admittedly, hard on the old self esteem. I don’t want to write that chapter on “Overcoming Resistance”! I don’t want to give birth to new lessons. Responding to emails or scheduling yet another SoulChat feels like drudgery. I’d rather binge-watch Will and Grace on Netflix and eat some chocolate.
So….what do I do on those days?
𝕀 𝔻𝕆 𝕀𝕋 𝔸ℕ𝕐𝕎𝔸𝕐
I answer the emails, schedule the calls, post the affirmations, sit down and write that chapter, make slides for the upcoming class. I listen to inspirational podcasts like Innovation Hub. I tap into a ClubHouse chat on Creative Entrepreurship, igniting your passion or following your dream.
I FILL the WELL. Trust the process. Keep going.
Because, here’s the thing. We need to show up for our creative metamorphosis.
It’s a conversation and we need to be a part of it. Source energy only comes when we participate. So show up. Show up to the page or the stage, the conversation or the possibility – every time.
Rainy or Sunny.
Expansive or Contracted.
Busy or Relaxed.
Inspired or Deflated
Supported or Ignored.
These are but variations on a theme. Change is the only constant. Letting go of external feedback is the key to sustaining our own VISION, DREAM, PASSION. Ironically, the more we articulate our direction, the easier it will be for others to SEE us. But, really – it all starts and ends inside of us.
So dial in. Nourish your Muse. Give yourself time to BE.
Tap into your Higher Vibration, allow yourself the freedom and power of NOW.
Then, sit back, relax and observe what your Creative Genius has to say.