While the title may suggest so, this is not a breakup letter. At least not between you and I. Instead, this may very well be a breakup letter between me and the forces of “normal”. It’s a breakup and a declaration.
You may be thinking, how on earth could she need space after a year of the pandemic and separation? Hear me out.
The past year I committed to something called the Morning Pages. This is the process from Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way. It was recommended to me by a dear friend and mentor last spring. Since then, I haven’t missed a single day.
The process involves writing three pages every single morning immediately upon waking. It’s a process of “clearing house” and “brain dump”. It’s clearing and cleansing the mind. It’s processing. As David Allen famously says, “The mind is meant for having ideas, not holding...
“Where’s the old A?!”
I will never forget my high school softball coach shouting this at me down the first base line.
The spring breeze picked up dirt and swirled it around me as I sulked back to the dugout. Strikeout after strikeout after strikeout. Where was the old A? (Everyone growing up called me A). I wanted to know too.
Just the weekend prior I had hit it out of the park, literally. We had played a tournament - three back to back games on a Saturday with a team that wasn’t in our league. It wouldn’t be on our league record. In my mind, that meant it didn’t count.
So what did I do? I laughed and cheered with my teammates in the dugout. I didn’t’ think. I felt loose. I walked up to the plate and I hit. I hit like I did in the batting cages - even better. I had fun and when I was at the plate my head was empty.
All that was there was me and the ball, and boy did...
Oh. My. God.
I lost it all.
Two weeks ago I was prepping my landing page, copy and the whole framework of my mindfulness coaching program, Divine Design. I spent days and hours fine tuning the layout, the precise words, the images, what teachings would go where and was so excited to share it.
It felt so in alignment and exactly how it was supposed to be presented.
I skimmed over the page on release day, double checking everything - it was time to post!
Literally moments before I intended to share it I pressed “delete” rather than “refresh”. My quick fingers saved my error too.
Oh. My. God.
It’s all gone. I had not saved my copy anywhere else. It all came crashing down.
Rest assured, my neighbors likely heard an earful of expletives (from who, I don’t know!) and my eyes immediately began to fill. I stared at my...
“You’re so lucky.” A sentence that shows up time and time again. A sentence that perplexes me. A sentence I’m not fully on board with. Perhaps maybe not even at all.
It’s almost like when people say “You’re so talented”. I feel my brows furrow and my head tilt to the side. Huh?
In my head I have flashes of thousands of hours of practicing, deliberately putting myself out of my comfort zone over and over, two degrees, hundreds of auditions, driving to other states to play for 30 seconds, rejection upon rejection and eventually a few big yeses.
I am not talented. I made that, I created that, I chipped away for decades at that. My aptitude or knack for music would have sat vacant and unsung at my parents’ house if I hadn’t shown up to build it.
I am not talented, I am devoted. My results are a by-product of devotion.
So when I hear the sentence, You’re...
I recently reconnected with a long-time friend and colleague of mine. Her and I did our undergraduate degrees together and were in the same studio at music school.
Like many quarantine reconnections, her and I huddled up at our screens and told tales. We drank tea, we laughed aloud and shared about our lives. Two Michigan girls in their respective big cities making it happen. It was medicine for the soul.
It had been years since we’d spoken. Early in our conversation, she said, “ I don’t know if you remember this, but I told this story about you to my partner before I logged on.”
My immediate thought was - “Sh*t! What did my silly twenty-year-old self do or say back in the day?!”
What she shared gave me chills.
Back in music school, our studio cohort, like many, had tons of drama. Drama that I had experienced myself, deemed harmful and that my friend had begun to experience upon her arrival as a freshman.
This week Chicago had the biggest snowstorm in 5 years. Snow spun and swirled and piled and blew so fast in the wind I could hardly see in front of me. It was fantastic.
Snow plows created gigantic mountains of snow on the edges of sidewalks, parking lots and alleys. Kids climbed the mountains, toppled down, sledded their hearts out, shrieked and laughed aloud. Adults did too.
This whole week I keep thinking, this is just like the 90s! You know, when we used to have big snowstorms all the time? I’m a 1991 baby and grew up in Michigan. The photo above is my sister and I in a heap of snow in 1998. The entirety of our winters were snow on the ground and at least a few times per season, there was a knee deep snowstorm.
At school I would get into trouble for digging tunnels through the snow mountains and climbing through them. I was also pretty good at the game “King of the Mountain”. 2021 me corrects it to *Queen*.
Yes, I delighted in...
This past week I played a little Haydn ditty for a student via zoom. Enamored by the many notes in the piece, she was eager to hear who created it. After hearing “Haydn” she asked, “Do you think he knows Biden?!”
A connection and rhyme I certainly did not make.
A few years ago I arrived at a lesson after having an intense conversation with my therapist about setting boundaries. My six year old student sat down at the piano with me, clearly emotional about something. I asked him what was going on and if he wanted to talk about it. He said, “It’s private.”
My jaw about hit the floor. How did he know about boundaries already?! I was amazed.
During the pandemic, I briefly tried teaching some lessons in real life. We all wore masks. Upon our prompt switch back to virtual, my five year old student showed up on zoom with her mask on. Her Dad explained that with zoom, we didn’t need masks anymore.
At any given point, in every moment of every day, we are collecting evidence. Our brains and our bodies are collecting data. The human brain loves binary - right or wrong, yes or no, good or bad, love or fear. It’s the nature of our humanness to want to put everything in neat and tidy boxes.
This means that whatever beliefs and thoughts we have, our minds will collect evidence that supports it. Our minds love congruence, even if it’s not serving us in a positive way.
Something I began thinking about and using as a tool for myself and those I serve a long time ago is the art of collecting evidence. Rather than make myself, my brain and my humanness wrong for the way it operates - what if I could wield it to create the results and life I want? And, not just me, what if I could present it as a skill and way of being that others can replicate?
This beloved tool of mine is expressed in what I call mindful empowerment. Mindfulness is a path to my power,...
Oh, inspiration. The perceived fleeting visitor, the meta magician, the golden ticket to every artist’s next big move. Inspiration can show up as an idea, a feeling, an urge or spark to do something. Many times inspiration stokes something creative or something that really matters to someone. I know it does for me.
Much of the time people wait around for inspiration to strike. As I’ve lived during the pandemic, I’ve noticed loads of people waiting around. People wait for inspiration to knock on their door, for opportunity to show up out of the blue, or for a magical moment to appear.
Much of the time, it doesn’t knock, doesn’t show up or doesn’t appear. People feel disappointed. I’ve witnessed people feel disappointed in themselves and look around our current world and fall into a pit of darkness without hope.
My invitation is not to ignore the darkness, it’s to view is at fertile ground. Even in our darkest days,...
Am I the only one who misses baseball? Truth be told I’m a bit of a fanatic. I grew up playing barefoot in the grass and dirt with my cousins, went on to play competitive softball and have played in rec leagues as a “grown up”. The only subscription I pay for is MLBTV.
I love baseball and I love the Chicago Cubs.
The reason Friday became my favorite day of the week is because I used to cycle down to Wrigley Field each week on Fridays, put my bike under the red line, grab a beer and bask in the afternoon 1:05pm sun as I got to watch my favorite team play my favorite game. Just writing and thinking about it makes me smile!
Now I just love Fridays no matter what I’m doing because they’re special to me. AND. I’m just that much more excited to take a cycle or pop on the train down to Wrigley when the time is right. What a celebration that will be.
Not only do I have a love of the game and my rituals that go along with it, I...