Do you find yourself waiting?Waiting to act, waiting for the right time, waiting for the perfect conditions, waiting for a reason, waiting for more money, waiting for someone else to finish, before you begin? The difference between creativity and productivity is the energy behind our actions. Our society has conditioned us to be driven by measures of productivity. This means we have been conditioned to run our lives based on what to do next. We wrack our brains making "to do" lists, we pack our schedules full of "things to do", we commute, we rush, we move constantly in our effort to achieve more productivity. What we have not been taught - and what is not valued as publicly - is how to act from the energy of creativity. I have learned from my own deep practice that the energy of creativity is openness, space, and peace. The act of creativity is allowing. All of that may sound way too passive to you, if you, like me, are a product of this culture we live in. Continue reading
The creative space is one of NO mind.This morning, as I was driving to the grocery store, there were these thoughts running through my head: "What if I could just relax into ACCEPTANCE of myself, exactly as I am right now?" "What if I could treat myself as if right now, exactly as everything is, it IS all exactly as it should be?" I was trying to examine my recent thought patterns which were centered around "concern" for a variety of things in my life: was I spending enough time doing the right things, was I doing enough yoga, was I eating enough fruit and vegetables, was I working hard enough on the right things for my business, was I spending too much time on "non-productive" activities.... The list went on and on, and nothing seemed to be "clicking" or "flowing" during the past few weeks until the rare moments when I just let go and did the ONE thing right in front of me. This morning, I was thinking about the feeling and energy around doing JUST THIS, RIGHT NOW. What is it about that thought which creates flow? It's certainly not a state of heightened anxiety and pushing and grasping. It's not an energy of worrying. It's exactly the opposite. It's LETTING GO of all the worrying and relaxing the mind completely. Continue reading
Tomorrow afternoon I'll give a 1-hour talk and interactive music demonstration, entitled "Feel and Heal with Music", at Little House, multi-purpose senior center, in Menlo Park, CA. I'll share my personal story of transformation through music, and involve the audience in some music-making that will require no prior musical experience. Plus, a little surprise ending for all who attend! Hope you can make it. For more information, visit Little House's website, or call 650-326-2025.
Randy Bales' Chinese Melodrama. In case you haven't seen it, we have a new blog and a Twitter account, where you can keep up with our latest activities. We've played in the Bay Area at least two nights every week for the past two months, and spreading our joyful energy has yielded plenty of early interest in our fledgling local band. I've been so amazed with what I've experienced that I put together 10 brief lessons from launching my first ever band. Let me say right away that it's been a total team effort with my friends and fellow musicians, Randy Bales (guitar/vocals) and Cathy Luo (percussion/bass/vocals). 1. Practice in public
- In other words, be sure to play outside your comfort zone in public every once in awhile. Most of us can learn something from this statement: "Don't be so humble. You're not that good!" I can't tell you how many times Randy has encouraged us to play songs that I didn't feel were "ready". I can also tell you that at our first gig, I was deliriously frightened of what might happen! I had so many ideas about what a "performance" needed to be. Yet if I had waited until I thought we were ready, we might still have never performed in public to this day! My point? Be willing to start small. Just be sure to start!
- Even if you consider it "practice", show up at your own personal best every time. This doesn’t mean you play perfectly. It means you set an intention for HOW you are showing up each time, and you let go of the results. And you do this every single time.
- Notice that there will always be ways to improve upon your performance, but never be disappointed in yourself. If you’re tempted to “get down” on yourself or be harsh with your criticism, notice it and ask, “How will this help me show up at my best next time?”
- Keep playing and be kind to yourself no matter what. Always know that you will have another opportunity to grow. It helps if you…
- Create a regular consistent schedule of opportunities to play in a supportive environment. You will always get more comfortable by doing what seems uncomfortable at first.
- All that said, also develop some “comfort food” – material that can always make you feel good, for those moments when you need to boost your own confidence.
- This quote from Eleanor Roosevelt is framed on the wall of my office. Practicing in public (item #1) was exactly the thing I thought or believed I could not do, until about a year ago. My peak discomfort point was reached – in a public, but safe, setting – and it forever changed what I believed was possible for me musically.
- Give yourself the gift of being open to this kind of transformative experience. Instead of avoiding the thing you fear, embrace it as the very chance you’ve been wanting to break through to your next level in life.
- If you have an intention or an idea, start NOW while your energy is behind the project, and take defined steps right away to make your idea feel real to you.
- Learn to trust yourself. Go with your first instincts.
- Take small, defined, and consistent actions over a period of time rather than waiting for everything to be “perfect” before you begin. Hint: There is no perfection, so get over yourself and act now.
- Judgment comes more quickly than understanding. Seek to understand first.
- Capture and share not only your own work but others’ as well. Facebook is a great example of how this works. Don't you love being tagged in photos or videos? And reading others' comments or "Like"s? There is a real-world analog to this, and it's called being present, supportive and expressive. Try it!
- Collaborate openly. Playing with other artists helps build bridges of trust and understanding, and helps you understand yourself better too. Continue reading
Here's a first installment on what I feel will become a BIG topic of focus on this blog and in my work.
Did you learn to celebrate failure as a child?Continue reading
OK I just loved this performance by my band, Chinese Melodrama, last night. If you grew up listening to Metallica (which I didn't), you might recognize this tune. For me, it's like a thrilling roller coaster ride each time I play it, since I get to make up the ending every time! That's right, totally improvised every time. It reminds me that every single moment is fresh, whether or not it feels familiar in some way. Great way to live life! If you're in the San Francisco Bay Area, you can see us play this Sunday, 8/8, at 8pm, at the OCTOPUS Lounge in Pacifica. And "8" is an auspicious number in Chinese!
In this video blog, I share some observations of first being with and then transforming my own self-criticism. I'm learning to accept myself in all situations, tuning into not only how I react when I'm accomplishing things, but also how I react when I experience an energy low or less productive moment.
So what happens when I start my day REACTING instead of CREATING? Here's my video blog (yes, I filmed while driving! Please don't try this at home...) with what I noticed about my day last Thursday...