Dancing with your trolls

I’ve been getting a big response from my last video, Dancing my Question, so I thought I’d try dancing with my trolls.

Trolls are what I call those negative thoughts that go on a loop, those critical inner voices that start in on you and won’t let up. I call them trolls because they are stubborn, they have that dogged ability to not let up or leave you alone. I’ve got lots of different creative ways I work with trolls (which I’m going to be talking about in my free webinar, FREE YOUR TROLLS, and which we spend a lot of energy on in my creative magic workout) — but this was a new idea for engaging them, so I thought I’d make this quick video about it and share it right away: karaoke with your trolls!

Something I’m struggling with lately — there’s this little troll that’s like ewww ughhh nobody likes me, nobody’s helping me – it curls inward and projects all my insecurities about what I’m doing or not doing onto everyone around me – so when I drop off my kids at school this troll is saying, they all think you’re a bad mother because you’re dropping your kids off late, ooooooh! It’s this little Gollum-like troll.

If I’m going to work out with this troll using the life changing magic of karaoke, what song makes sense? The song that floated in my brain was “Tears of a Clown”… and honestly, when I worked this out for the first time earlier today, this song showed me SO MUCH about my fears and what’s going on with me and that troll. So thanks, subconscious!

I invite you to try this yourself: Identify your inner troll (I like to draw it and name it but it also works to just notice it) and ask them, what song would help me work out what’s going on? And see what floats into your brain.

Are you ready for me to work out “Tears of a Clown” with you? Let’s see what happens.

[Dancing / singing like a fool]

I’m kind of performing this but I’m also having some genuine insights here. I’m so surprised to realize that the flip side of this hidey nobody’s taking care of me feeling is, this pressure to only share a shiny happy face – I’m not comfortable with anyone seeing my sad face! I don’t feel like I can share my tears, even though I’m someone who talks all the time about crying and sharing your vulnerability. I’ve still got a sad little clown inside me who has to wait until there’s no one around to be real! I sound like I’m joking but this is genuinely helpful for me… and I have some trolls right now who are telling me, this is pretty self indulgent… which is another frequent troll for me. But I’m sharing because I wonder if some of you have those trolls, maybe the horror of self indulgence, or little sad Gollum who feels like he’s supposed to be Flashy McFlasherson?

If so: work it out, see what comes up for you!

 

Dancing your question

Today I am demonstrating an exercise that is so simple, I can’t believe I’ve forgotten about it for the last nine months. Ready? It’s SINGING KARAOKE BY YOURSELF.

Or you could sing with others! It works even better that way. But if you’re like me and you can’t leave the house at night without civilizations crumbling to dust, you can also go out to the garage, or the shower or your car or the attic or the basement or a closet — anywhere where you can be alone and undisturbed — and find a karaoke track on youtube and sing to it.

Here’s the twist: pick a question that is haunting you or an area where you’re blocked, and sing and dance with THAT. Dance with your question. Let the answer come in your dancing and singing.

For me, today I’m having a big block / messy internal tangle around childcare and work and how to find balance, so I’m going to think of a song that can help me with that. Hmm… for some reason, Edith Piaf comes to mind. My favorite song of hers is Je Ne Regrette Rien. So I’m going to karaoke it and see what I find out. (Skip to 6:01 if you want to get right to me singing and dancing).

If you try this, let me know what you learn! Regret nothing!


… Want to sing and dance and draw and write (or all of the above) with me? I’m offering free 1:1 spring workout sessions! Go here to schedule one: Coaching

Finding your superhero

How to create a superhero for yourself when you’re lost, in trouble or coming out of a dark time.

I’m coming at you for the first time in a while, after diving deep down in the depths of my artist residency in motherhood. I thought – foolishly! – that this would be a three month residency following the birth of my son, and I have come to see that of course, it is a year long creative journey. At least.

As with all creative journeys, the process means sometimes you lose sight of the end and lose hope and forget your own strengths and why you are doing this and that is very much where I have been. Wiping a lot of poopy butts and waking up at 3am and talking to myself in the car.

And then just when you’ve lost all hope, something amazing happens (or it did this time anyway): you emerge from the fog and you remember where you’re going and what you’re good at and what you love and you’re back in alignment. That’s what this week has been for me, starting to lift up my head and look around at the world again, see the green of spring and feel alive, feel some joy. My kids are no longer sick every other day (hopefully!) and we’re having fun, and I’m feeling creative energy again.

So I wanted to share an exercise that I have been coming back to: creating your superhero alter ego. I used it a lot two years ago, it was a great way for me to try out different ways of moving in the world and shift patterns around performing and being in front of people that I’d thought were immovable. Playing with different alter egos helped me see that it’s all moveable.

And then I kind of forgot about it, until I was talking to my son yesterday, who loooooves superheroes and bad guys and Batman and Spiderman. I have been trying to find a way of engaging with him on this because I love connecting with his creative mind but I do not find Batman and Spiderman all that fascinating. So I said, hey let’s make up our own superheroes! And immediately he was like, oh yeah! How about Scorpion Man? Or Birdflash?

We sat down and did some drawing. Here’s Birdflash —  he can talk like a bird or like a human, and he moves really fast. 

IMG_9204.jpg

I asked myself, who would be the superhero for where I’m at these days?

Immediately an image came to me, of someone split between two desires, one to light up the sky and move mountains and shout out loud – sun energy – and one to go quiet, to go inward, to go down deep and calm the waters and listen. Moon energy.

IMG_9207.jpg

Coming up with this superhero – I’m calling her Moonsun – helps me see these desires differently. I’ve been thinking of them as a conflict or a weakness, like I can’t decide which way to go, I’m constantly switching – but what if it was not a weakness but my superpower? What if the ability to switch from extrovert to introvert on a dime was an amazing rare gift?

OH YEAH. IT IS.

And that’s what I love about coming up with a superhero for where you’re at now, especially if you’re in a dark place or feeling down on yourself like I have been, if the trolls have been coming at you fast and furious. You can turn it around and see the very traits you’re struggling with as your unique gifts.

Because any great superhero’s strength is also their burden. What helps them is often the same thing that gets them in trouble. So if you’re feeling like you’re in trouble, you can slow down and take a look at why and see if what’s getting you into trouble could also help you find your way out.

Here are some steps to follow if you want:

  1. Close your eyes and ask yourself, who is the superhero for who I am today?
  2. Draw them
  3. Give them a name
  4. Write what you see in the drawing
  5. Get on your feet and move around like your superhero self. Dance! Speak! Sing! Find a karaoke track on youtube and sing it like you’re a superhero!

This last one is such a natural extension if you’re four years old, and harder for those of us who are grown ups. My son just got up and started walking around like Birdflash. So easy he didn’t even think about it! And then he dropped it and did something else. So I encourage you to do this like you’re four. Try it on and then drop it.

That’s all today. Thank you for listening and I look forward to hearing and seeing your superhero self moving around in the world.

Until next time…

Make your shower a holy temple

I’m looking for a better word than “life hack” for those genius moments when you redraw the boundaries / find an easier way / reallocate your resources to get more done in less time. Energy Aqueduct? A ReConduit?

IMG_9020.jpg

Lately one of my favorite energy aqueducts (my that’s bulky… should I just called it an energy duct?) is to turn my bathroom into a mini temple.

IMG_9022.jpg

That way I get to use my shower time – already a precious resource – as sacred mind/body/spirit/hair revitalization time. Time to refresh my spirit, worship my body, cast spells and sing along to Barbra Streisand.

 

It doesn’t add any time – because time is one luxury I do not have – but in the same amount of time, I can either jump in the shower and stand there on autopilot OR take some simple actions to make that time more energizing, hilarious and meaningful, to make it an intentional cleansing ritual for my spirit and my body. (Not that I’m knocking being on autopilot — sometimes you don’t want meaning and depth and beauty, you just want to stand there under hot water, and that’s good too).

Even if all I do is take the shower with the intention to connect with myself, it makes a difference. The sound of the water and the steam surround me like a cocoon, I feel my skin and feel alive. I feel taken care of.

And these days, when I am in the thick of  mothering two little kiddos and feeling stretched very thin — that makes a huge difference.

Sometimes when I get out of the shower, I take a moment to repurpose my kid’s paints that he left out and paint a little self portrait.

IMG_9013.jpg

What kind of energy ducts have you been using to get through this strange winter season?

Glory In Excelsius

(Or, more thoughts on excellence)


Note: I wrote this a week ago in a moment of breezy triumph, and then the mess of life — in the form of my baby coming down with a fever for five days and caterwauling whenever I put him down for one moment, and then passing the fever on to me — got in the way of me taking that extra 5 minute step of posting it here. Ah! The glory of excellence and messiness intertwined…


I’ve been thinking more about excellence and what it means. If my version of excellence is not perfectionism, if it includes messiness, what is it?

Magic is mess and order

Let’s break it down, starting with the word mess

= fertile
= lost
= too much stuff
= overwhelming, avoiding
= piling = stockpiling = hoarding
= natural
= creative = destructive = generative
= fertile
= neverending
= comforting

And there are some parts of that I want to keep and some I’d like to move away from. What are the qualities of this thing around excellence that I want in my life?

I want…

= a well tended garden
= room to expand
= the right tools
= something manageable = a little chaos but not all chaos
= doing = diving in
= to put things away
= to get out tools, make a big mess, then clean up and put away
= enough space to make a mess
= to let things go
= the key to survival
= to tend to nature
= to tend to myself

And what I don’t like about excellence is this idea of the BEST or the FINEST or getting rated or ranked or lined up and compared. This is the greatest, this sucks, this is hot, this is not. Yuck.

I looked up the word EXCELLENT to see where it comes from.

Ex = outside, beyond

Cellence = Celsus = lofty, high

I remember the term “in excelsius” from some hymn… which one, does anyone know? It means higher, loftier, more elevated, ever upward. Glory to god in the highest.

So to be in excellence is to exist to the utmost degree, to be high, to be praised for being what you are to the greatest degree – to celebrate that quality and that desire and that process.

When Bill and Ted say, Excellent! — they are saying, this is in alignment, this works, this is how things should be. When they say, be excellent to each other, they mean, bring out the best in each other. Enjoy each other. Treat each other well.

My excellence encourages your excellence. When I see you being excellent, I want to be excellent too. Our mutual excellence is a game, a way of taking care of each other.

I want to fly high to the limits of my nature. Which also will mean, failing. Failing and flying are both included in excellence, two sides of the same process.

It is the opposite of calcifying.

It is the process of alchemy, of change, of evolution.

It is stretching and morphing and molting and figuring out what you are now in this moment, which is impossible to figure out, which is why it’s so fun.

Fun is not COMFORTABLE.

But it feels right.

You’re glad on some level.

Like when the toys are scattered everywhere

And cleaning them up will take a lot of work and you don’t FEEL like doing a lot of work, you’d rather go to bed

But you take a deep breath and you put them all away

And it only takes five minutes

And it will only last about five minutes

And when they are put away you look around and feel a surge of goodwill, of pride, of rightness, of clarity

And you make yourself a cup of tea instead of the beer you feel like reaching for

And you feel cozy and comforted and strong and healthy

As you close your eyes and drift off to sleep

In alignment with yourself and the universe

In this moment

That is excellent

May you be excellent to yourself this weekend! Let’s all be excellent to ourselves and each other.

Full Moon in Cancer

I am drawn to write you on this, the fourth day of 2018.

I haven’t been connecting with you not because I have nothing to say, but because I have so much.

Today my little baby is over half a year old — 7 months! — and as I look back at 2017, it was a year in which SO MUCH happened. In the world at large and in the snowglobe of my world. Things I would never have predicted, including a ranting raving shakespearean supervillain for president, a rising tide of rage and solidarity amongst women, and decades of entrenched sexual harassment shaken up. 

Drama and horror and potential cataclysm. World shaking and paradigm shifting and potential coalition.

On a personal level, realizing I’m a different mother than I was four years ago, that things that once were impossible are now easy. And yet, this month finding myself back in the emotional space I remember being in when my oldest was six months old: a wall of exhaustion and frustration, a longing to bust free of my human limitations, to do more than I can do, to resist the inevitable truth which is that I need to slow down and do less.

FAILURE

When I hit the wall four years ago, in my exhaustion I sought out anything to keep me sane and they shook the rocks loose: hypnosis, therapy, life coaching, zumba. I realized that the key wasn’t DOING more or less, but expecting less. If I set out expecting to fail in the world, with the aim to enjoy that failure — I ended up doing more than I thought I could.

So now I find myself in a similar blockade. This has been a good opportunity to look at the ways I cycle through the same phases in my life, and the ways I judge myself for doing that. I’ve been trying to love the phase I’m in while I’m in it, like I love my failure, like I love the phases of the moon. 

IMG_8811.jpg

Instead of being mad at my waning energy, I can notice it and wait for it to wax strong and full. Instead of being impatient for one cycle to end, I can slow down and experience the one I’m in. And instead of judging myself for not having “solved” issues that are coming up again, I can welcome the chance to dive deeper. Or not! I can welcome the chance to avoid it too. It will come around again.

When I made my solo show two years ago, I Hate Positive Thinking, the guiding question was, what if I put myself out there exactly as I am, in my tired frazzled unkempt state? What if I believed my un-enhanced, un-amplified voice was enough? What if I embraced failure as a human and put it front and center in my work?

faith0-001

This winter it’s been helpful to embrace failure again— to brag about the mess — but a question has been emerging in counterpoint.

What if I allowed myself to be excellent?

EXCELLENCE

The word “excellent “ is one I recoil from because I associate it with the toxic spell of perfectionism. Something hard edged and unforgiving, a desire that doesn’t acknowledge the human nature of messing up, falling flat, going sideways. (And I am a Cancer so I love to go sideways).

But this idea of excellence has been worming it’s way into my consciousness, asking me to look deeper.

Asking, can excellence coexist with human frailty and mess and failure?

Asking, can staying in the mess be a way of hiding, jumping down into the mud to avoid the exhilarating fear of leaping up into the air? Can jumping from one new endeavor to the next be a way of avoiding the tougher work of continuing on through failure and modest success to excellence?

I think about the two journalists, Jody Kantor and Megan Twohey, whose excellent investigative reporting for the New York Times uprooted Harvey Weinstein’s toxic hold over Hollywood. They felt their way into the darkness, sure, and I’m sure there were times when they felt like they were failing — but they also committed to the project and organized for the long haul. They did it for real.

And when they talk about their accomplishments, I want them to crow about their hard work. I want them to own their excellence.

Which makes me wonder: why is it so easy for me to brag about what I’m struggling with, and so hard to brag about what I’m great at? Why is it so hard to even NOTICE what I’m great at? Like I’m scared that if I say it out loud it will disperse and I’ll be left with nothing.

What if I took my time and had the courage to go as deep as I wanted to go, and to speak with pride about what I’ve learned? What if I bragged about the mess… AND about what I have done well?

I don’t know what it means yet, this question. But I’m going to keep following it.

IMG_8846.jpg

On the first night of this new year, the full moon was in Cancer. A good time to open up to my emotions, and whatever strange and contradictory clues they have for me. It’s taken me a long time to see that my ability to feel suddenly and deeply, and to imagine what others are feeling, is a strength and not an embarrassing useless quirk.

I wrote a poem about it — because I’ve been writing poems for over twenty years, and they are often the purest way for me to express my feelings, and I am excellent at it.

What excellent parts of yourself are you hiding from? Or are you sending your excellence out into the world like a gorgeous sunflare? If so, thank you.

IMG_8836.jpg

Full Moon in Cancer

I used to be ashamed to cry
The way my face would flush and betray me
The time I passed out at the sight of fake ketchup red on a movie screen
Embarrassing, weak
Expressing my feelings was ceding my power
Letting it run through my fingers like ocean water

Onstage I could feel the power of my receptivity
Onstage bursting into tears was a magnet
Attention snapped to me
It gave me a confidence I did not have chatting in the lobby after the show
Because bursting into tears at a party clears the room

I didn’t find a way to feel the power offstage until I gave birth
And my body aligned in solidarity with my feelings against the shit show of labor
At one with my body against my body
I felt the power in that paradox
I felt humility
And ever since I trust it
Trust my body in it’s haywire variations
Trust my feelings in their shifting shiftless shapeless moony passive aggressive power

Moonlight on the ocean
The way my hands look underwater
It’s not the same kind of power as a volcano
You have to feel your way into it

Listening to Venus de Riveter

So, here we are. It’s December. I’m still a mess.

Don’t know if it’s got something to do with having a six-month-old, but last time I felt like this was four years ago when my older son was six months old. And what’s keeping me sane right now is remembering that. And remembering that even though it felt neverending and impossible while I was in it — the period of time in which I was hitting the wall was only about three months. And what came after that was huge, sudden, sea changing breakthrough.

It helps a little, to remember that. But nevertheless I am at a wall. The wall of: I can’t go out at night without paying someone $50-75 to watch my kids. I can’t seem to go one goddamn week without forgetting a meeting or an appointment or when my kid last pooped, oh god is he constipated again, where did I put the miralax? 

I have big ideas, ideas that fill me with tingling thrilling excitement, but when I try to make them happen in the real world, I run out of steam or blow a fuse in my art garage or lose hours in a tailspin of self pity and web edits and mom guilt.

My body wants to dance in the streets and bring the baby with me everywhere. All of me wants revolution and paradigm change and to join hands with all the women I know and shout me too,  me too, me too. 

I want to make a literal space for us to come together and cry and rage and laugh and feel our power. It’s such a great idea! A monthly creative emotions worksho so we can cry and rage together. I know I can do this. I want to lead with the confidence I had when I was nine years old, I want to be doing and creating and taking care of my family and making our dreams come true, doing it our way.

But my body reels me in and tells me to slow down. I burn my hand on the stove. I bonk my head with the car door which… how do you even do that?!

So I listen. I slow down. My inner goddess — these days I’m seeing her as a combination of Venus de Milo and Rosie the Riveter — she reclines with her chin on her fist, smiling and waiting for me to come back to myself.

IMG_8723.jpg

What a relief, when that cloud clears, when that story drops.

And if I’m making this sound easy and idyllic, like I just sit back and the clouds clear, like I am a different human than you are, more evolved or courageous, or that I always snap out of it easily: no, girl. I am still a mess. But sometimes I see that what I thought was a wall is an optical illusion.

The mess hasn’t changed. The judgment has – THAT was the wall.

giphy

Here’s what dissolved my walls this week:

I cut my own hair and felt the simple, immediate power of being able to alter my appearance.

IMG_8719.jpg

I read something from the great witch whose work I love so much, Carolyn Elliot — she said:

… you’ll definitely die, and in dying, you will totally fail to keep your ego projects in motion. You’re a complete failure no matter what. A dead failure.

And that bracing reminder helped me drop my sad sack story — god, that’s right! No matter what I will fail! What a relief. We are all going to die. No matter WHAT I do, the realization of my big ideas will never match the vision in my mind — ahhhhhhh. There is comfort. There is the sound of my grand ridiculous expectations, spontaneously combusting.

And as soon as they disappear, there is Venus de Riveter, lounging in my psyche, eating some almonds and laughing. Hi honey. Where you been?

Hand on heart, listening to Venus, why don’t you text so and so? And I do, and simple as that, I’m not alone. I am surrounded by loving, wonderful friends. They were there the whole time, but I couldn’t see them.

There is magic, right in front of my eyes.

My son, drawing intricate maps carefully inscribed with the letters B, O, T, D, A and Y. What does it mean?? Who knows?

IMG_8724.jpg

The trains he is always pointing out — I notice that they are roving art exhibitions. What an amazing thing.

IMG_8722.jpg

Even his tantrums — his huge, primal anger that I find so overwhelming — they are an opportunity to feel my feelings, to witness someone I love expressing feelings without filter. You’re mad! You wanna knock over chairs, that’s how angry you are! What can we do instead? Let’s rip some paper! Let’s draw a storm! Let’s dance to Sly and the Family Stone! 

Look at that! Every day is a damn creative emotions workshop in my world. I don’t need to make anything happen, it’s already here.

So in case you’re feeling angry at your mess or stuck behind a wall or lost in a storm today: you are not alone. I’m a mess too. We all are. Let’s draw / write / sing / breathe our way through it, shall we?

IMG_8726.jpg

Bragging about the mess

I talk a lot about bragging about what’s hard and celebrating failure and being real. And I try to walk that walk. But I have been hiding the last few weeks, because I couldn’t find the story that I wanted to share.

And once I realized I was hiding, I thought: why do I feel like I have to find the right spin to put on this? Why can’t I just talk about my doubts and questions as I’m living them? Isn’t that what I encourage other people to do?

So here you go. My life is feeling like a mess right now. Lots of glorious beautiful moments in that mess – and also lots of questions and doubts and problems I don’t yet know how to solve.

In a lot of ways, my summer artist residency in motherhood was easier, because I focused all my attention on figuring out how to mother a newborn baby + a big kid with big feelings and energy and needs. It took all my attention to do that, and there was poetry in living that, poetry in not having a moment to write down the poetry.

And in the last two months as I’ve edged back into work – which is not a singular thing but many overlapping obligations, of which this creative magic biz is one – and the kids have edged into school and childcare, it’s been much harder.

I plunged myself headlong into promoting the fall round of the creative magic workout, and then decided to cancel it. Partly because not enough people signed up, partly because I’m so consumed with mom guilt, it’s difficult to give my full attention to creative magic these days. Even though I think it’s worthy of my attention. My body is at odds with my mind and one thing I’ve learned over the last few years is, when that happens, it’s a good idea to slow down and listen to my body.

And right now my body has a lot of contradictory information. It wants peace and quiet and a break so it can sleep, and it also wants the baby to be snuggled close at all times, and it wants someone else to hold the baby. It wants to dance and play piano and not be mothering, and it wants to dive deep into mothering and nothing else.

How do I brag about this mess? Oof.

I am ROCKING this mom guilt, y’all. Oh my god, I am doing an amazing job of relishing the exquisite pangs of shame and longing that consume me when I’m away from my baby.

I am letting myself feel it, letting myself sit with my questions. Instead of forcing the situation one way or another, I am sitting in the paradox. I am brilliant at sitting in the paradox.

My body is such an amazing teacher that even when I sit and listen closely to what it wants, I don’t have a fucking clue what to make of it. That’s how far ahead of me it is. I find this incredibly frustrating.

Oooh – except, and this is interesting – as soon as I wrote that, my body came alive with an image of exactly what it wants.

(Clue to think about later: sometimes you can’t figure out what you want until you express your rage and confusion).

So here is the image that just came to me: I’m in a small cozy room and I am surrounded by loving, patient women who take my baby and rock him and gently push me out the door saying, go, do your work honey, let us take care of the baby for a while. And I leave him in that cozy place and go outside under a big far-reaching tree to do my own work which begins with checking in with my body.

Ahhhh. I love this. This helps me understand what my issue is. It’s not about the childcare itself, it’s about the where and when and how of it.

I encourage you to join me – to take a moment, if you are currently in the mess (which – I don’t know about you, but I am in it all the time) to sit with your body, to voice your frustration, and to pay attention to the images that come to you.

Write them, draw them, or just notice them.

As soon as I noticed this image, my whole body changed. The low level panic and stress I’ve been feeling all day fell away. I haven’t solved any problems but now I’m alert and creatively engaged in the problems.

That’s what I’ve got for you today. Let’s keep bragging about this freaking mess we’re all living, shall we?

(And if you are interested, I will be offering the Creative Magic Workout at some point later this year — never fear, my mess will not keep me from making a space for expressing the wild ridiculous wonder of our true selves together)

IMG_8312 (1)

Accidental Spellcasting

The kind of creative magic that I’ve been talking about comes very naturally to kids. Because another word for creativity is just this: playing.

Put two kids in a room together, they will start pretending. Have you ever listened to a four-year-old playing with trucks? (I am doing this every morning and night so it’s fresh on my mind). You’ll hear them repeat and reuse and recycle everything that’s been happening in their lives — they use that play time to work out conflicts, figure out what they don’t understand, be the bad guy, be the good guy.

Think back to how you played as a child. Can you remember doing this?

One of the big questions I ask every day is: why do we stop doing that? Why are we in a rush to grow out of it and give it up? What happens when we make space for it as adults? For working things out, actively and creatively?

It’s the reason I put together the Creative Magic Workout: When we practice, when we pretend, when we play, we embody an alternate reality. And just like that, we’ve cast an accidental spell.

It’s easy to see accidental spells in retrospect – not always as easy to see them as they’re happening.

For instance: I cast an accidental spell eight years ago.

I wrote a post on my old blog in November 2009 (which I am not going to link to because I am not quite ready to give attention to the parts of it I’m embarrassed about).

Here is what I wrote — I was speculating about an imaginary world in which I might have a business:

My business isn’t really a business. It’s a weird combination of artist haven / social service agency. It looks like a kindergarten classroom, if kindergarteners had an amp/mic/delay pedal station. And a waterless shower where they get to sing their favorite songs and shout imagined rants / visionary speeches.

I am selling dreams and rainbows and story time and a place to talk about your fears and practice becoming the badass you already are but don’t know it.

Yeah. Um… is that something I can sell? What would make me qualified to provide that? Can I just say I want to do that, and it’s cool? Will anyone buy it? Am I wacky enough to pull something like that off?

I would love to get to where I can embrace my own wacky, woo woo, stumbling dreams. That is what I want: to believe in myself enough to go there, to lead people in wacky, crazy workshops where they spend half the time thinking it’s total bullshit and then have a breakthrough. To have a space where I can work on my stuff and other people can too. Where they can show up and I’ll make them a cup of tea and we’ll sit on a big old rug in the middle of the room and I’ll pull out a book and read from it and we’ll put some music on and dance out the stress.

Holy shit y’all. Eight years ago all I could do was articulate how much I wished I had the guts to do this totally impossible thing, and now I AM DOING EXACTLY THAT IMPOSSIBLE THING. Like that is for real what I am pursuing, with zero irony.

That, my friends, is an accidental spell.

I was casting a spell without realizing it – planting seeds deep in my unconscious mind for the kind of space I wanted to create, the kind of work I wanted to do, the kind of world I wanted to live in.

I cast it, and then forgot about it. And then life or my inner voice or my unconscious mind started moving towards that vision like a magnet. And now, eight years later, through rain and shine, through trolls and money mud traps and confidence-scorching dragons, through child-birthing and job-juggling and mom-guilting and the neverending tetris of childcare: here I am, doing this thing that I feel like I’ve stumbled into, and yet eight years ago described with perfect clarity.

That’s my exercise for you today: write / draw / speak out loud the biggest, goofiest, boldest, most ridiculous version of your impossible dream. Spend two minutes imagining it and seeing yourself in it.

Then put it aside and don’t give it another thought. Do NOT try and pursue it for real.

(This part is key, I think – it’s got something to do with how resistant my four-year-old is to doing anything I tell him he has to do, and how motivated he is to do something I tell him not to do.)

So whatever you do, do NOT start taking steps towards making your dream a reality. Just let it sit there, okay?

Using magical intervention to do your taxes

Lately I’ve been thinking about how to bring magical attention to the most mundane, minuscule, everyday activities.

Some things stubbornly resist magical intervention (though I’ll keep trying to figure out how to apply magic to clearing out my email inbox, wiping my kid’s poopy butt and doing my taxes).

But you’d be surprised at how many mundane things open like a flower when you slow down and look at them with magic in your eyes.

For instance, I decided last week to approach my kid’s toys with a magical eye, and try to Marie Kondo them, which I thought would be impossible. Hold each of the 1000 tiny cars and bits of playdoh in my hand and decide which of them bring joy?! But my four year old was totally down. I asked him, “Does this spark joy?” and he said, “What’s joy?” and we went from there.

What is the most mundane thing that you could approach with an eye towards creative magic? 

Maybe this sounds like a glib question but I’m for real! Can you do your taxes with magical intent? Let’s do some brainstorming about how that might work. We can use one of my favorite tools: the stupid solutions brainstorm. It is what it sounds like: we brainstorm as many stupid ideas as we can, and we relish in the stupidity, we embrace it. The stupider, the better. I’ve done it on all kinds of things (including truly impossible problems like gun violence but that is a topic for another day) so let’s try it on this:

STUPID SOLUTIONS FOR HOW BORING IT IS TO DO YOUR TAXES

+ Fill out tax forms with a feather quill and ink
+ Fill them out with invisible ink, mail them in to the IRS with a matchbook and instruct them to hold the forms over a lighted candle for the writing to appear
+ Use numerology to determine the magical significance of your gross income
+ Do your taxes in a wizard hat
+ Do them by the light of the full moon
+ …and naked
+ Get your 1099 in a foreign language and try to fill it out
+ Fill it out with your left hand

I’d love to hear your ideas, for magical taxes or anything that seems impossible to enjoy.