Tag: Perfectionism

Is Your Passion Project Collecting Dust?

Finish Passion ProjectHey, does this ever happen in your world? Got any passion projects you can’t seem to get off the ground?

 

You know what you want to be doing with your time and energy, you’ve got the skills and know-how to get it done, you’re super excited about it, but somehow it’s still a struggle.

 

Maybe you’ve got a solid studio practice, but you can’t quite seem to get the right foods into your shopping cart.

 

Or you’ve got the fitness habit nailed down, but you can’t find your voice at work and you feel out of place.

 

Or you know there’s a bigger, more exciting role for you to play in your community, but you just can’t muster the courage to put yourself out there.

 

Why is it that your passion project (at home, at work, in your relationships) feels like wading through thigh-high mud sometimes?

 

Some of this is just about making new habits, of course. Our brains and bodies like to take the same old path over and over. New paths can feel difficult to forge.

 

And it’s always good to do an honest assessment and ask yourself if you have too much on your plate, or if you need to delegate some of your duties to other people. A more difficult question is asking if you are running from project to project to avoid your feelings, or avoid participating in certain relationships.

 

Often, however, I find there’s a mismatch between our desires, our intentions, and our beliefs.

 

When I hit this wall (and I’m there right now with y’all), I know there’s a deeper level of mud waiting to be explored. And that deeper level of mud is the squishy realm of the subconscious mind.

 

Here’s what I’ve discovered through my coaching and healing work with others, and in my own life:

If somewhere in that gooey mud there’s a belief that whispers,

“Why bother, I’m no good,” or

“Everyone in my family is sick anyway, so why change my habits,” or

“I don’t want to shine TOO brightly, “ or

“I don’t deserve to feel satisfied and successful,”

then your passion project (or the life you desire) is going to sit on a shelf getting awfully dusty.

 

And a dusty passion project, or worse, a dusty life, is a huge detriment to you, your loved ones, your community, and to the world at large.

 

Yep, your dusty passion project, if left untended, is a huge energy leak, and can even make you sick. At the minimum, it will leave you feeling vaguely and persistently unfulfilled, and dare I say even a bit cranky.

 

So what’s a passionate, driven, capable, heart-centered human like yourself supposed to do?

1. Rewire Your Brain with PSYCH-K.

Our thinking is the biggest obstacle to experiencing everything we want. Yes, you read that right. It’s not about needing mo’ money, mo’ time, or mo’ skills and opportunity.

Our thinking sinks us.

If you want mastery over your thoughts, then PSYCH-K can get you there in a jif.

If you find yourself in negative or limiting thought patterns (broken record, hello!) and you want to break free, book a quick 30-minute conversation with me to see if PSYCH-K is right for you. Did I mention it’s a free call?

 

2. Learn to Embody Your Intentions.

Wait, whaaatt? Just like we need to retrain our brains to think differently, we need to retrain our bodies to act differently.

We need to break our chemical addiction to living in the past.

Dr. Joe Dispenza writes about this beautifully, but the jist is this: We think the same old thoughts day after day (roughly 70% of them stress-inducing and limiting) and those thoughts produce chemical reactions, also known as emotions. Our bodies become addicted to those stressful chemical cocktails coursing through our bloodstream, and the body says, “I gotta have more cocktail!”

And before you know it, you’re living the same day you lived yesterday, feeling the same things you felt yesterday, and your life, and your passion project is getting dustier and dustier.

If you want to understand this on a visceral level, and experience embodying your intentions in real-time with me, then you’ll want to join me for Inner Sanctuary, my mini online retreat on March 31st. Early bird and donation tickets available.

 

So how would you think and feel, and what would you do and say, if you were living out your intentions, and acting on your passions? If you were actually living the life you really want?

 

Let me know what your passion project is! I love hearing from you.

 

 

 

Don’t Be An Ass

Why are we so silly sometimes, insisting on schlepping our burdens for months, years, decades? When, unlike this poor beast, we have the choice to simply set them down?

Why do we struggle?

I’d say that by the time I was 11 years old, I was definitely a little ass. My folks had moved us from rural New Mexico where there was one socio-economic class (poor as shit but content as hell) to the suburbs of New York City, where things were, um, just a little bit different. I was riding the bus home from the 6th grade one day when another kid asked me if I was a hick. (What? Did my hand-me-down Wranglers give me away?)

I felt totally humiliated and can almost feel the burn on my cheeks when I think back on it.

My parents split when I was two and both started new families. I spent my time living in two worlds, and never feeling like I fit in either one exactly. And now here I was in New York, still feeling poor as shit, but somehow not content at all. In fact, feeling more like an outsider than I had ever felt before.

No Preppies Allowed Protest T-shirt
My dad helped me draw the original with Sharpies on a white t-shirt.

That little ass wasn’t even remotely able to express that pain of not fitting in anywhere, even at home, but she did have the brilliant idea to protest.

I couldn’t stand how preppy everyone was in my middle school (the clothing was a visual indicator of my outsider-ness), so I made a T-shirt that read “No Preppies Allowed” with the Izod alligator behind the red crossed circle. (I wish I still had that shirt for posterity’s sake.) And yes, I wore that shirt to school. Imagine all the new friends I made!

I look back on that with a curious mixture of pride and shame. I’m proud of that little ass for campaigning against an obviously unfair class system, but I’m saddened at the way she did it.

That little ass was protesting, but she had it wrong.

Because it’s a little awkward protesting against your feelings – against that sense of not belonging.

‘Cuz it’s not like those 12 year old boys and girls were actually asking to be dressed like baby yuppies. Sure, maybe they liked the alligator (I mean, who doesn’t like those terrifying prehistoric creatures), but they were just wearing mostly whatever their parents told them to. (Remember, this was the 80s, it was different then!) And their parents were doing what most parents did in those parts: trying their best to send their kids to a really great public school and earn a decent living in nearby New York City.

I belong
It feels warm and fuzzy to belong, to fit in, and be part of a group. Even a group of asses.

I have often wondered what the other kids thought of that shirt, or of me the wearer of it. Did they see it as an arrow aimed right at them? I don’t recall a single classmate or teacher ever asking me about the shirt, or why I had made it.

Part of the shamey feeling comes from me knowing that it took me several decades to put down that burden of not belonging, of not being good enough to be in the group, of being the perpetual outcast. And in those many decades, I carried this burden that I could have so easily laid down, and had I done so, life would have been a lot more fun, ease-ful, and well, less shitty feeling. I might have made many more and deeper connections with awesome people.

But I also take great heart in realizing that over these years, I have gathered my tribe of people who have continued to love me even when I’ve been an ass. And now as I evolve faster and faster, and break out of the tired old constraints I used to call ‘home’, I have the honor and privilege of intentionally collecting my misfit tribe, who as it turns out, are perfect, just the way they are.

To all the Flourishers among us, rejoice in these burdens for all the lessons they bring us, and then lay that shit down. It’s time to run free. 

Emotional Freedom
Run free, you adorable little ass.
Perfectionism Kills

Perfectionism Nearly Killed Me

Perfectionism KillsPerfect isn’t just the enemy of the good – it’s the enemy of YOU.

I used to describe myself as “particular” or “detail-oriented.” I was steadfastly focused on the big stuff and also the minutia. Everything mattered. To say I was tight and controlling was an understatement. I’d tweak out on every aspect of an art project, and grant or exhibition proposals were the worst. I’d spin and spin in my head, wrestling with each and every decision, and weighing the pros and cons of my choices. You can hardly say the work was inspired. Rather, I had a chokehold on it.

My deliberation would lead to procrastination and analysis paralysis. But then the stress of looming deadlines would kick in, giving me laser-beam focus and everything else would fall away. I’d forget to eat, or pee, and I’d put in ridiculously long hours to make sure that my work was nothing short of perfect. (Can someone please remind me how perfection is actually measured?)

Perfection mattered most in the areas of my life where I felt the least secure. I would never tweak out while chopping veggies for a pot of beans. (I make kick ass beans.) But in my artist life, I never felt secure about my work or even my identity as an artist.

I always knew there were much better, smarter artists in my world. Artists who were much better connected. And who were much better craftspeople than me. And deep down, I believed that there were people – maybe almost all the people of the whole entire world – who were less insecure than me.

And on that deeper level, I knew that if anyone found out about who I really was inside (as in, who I saw myself to be), it would be over for me.

So I worked hard. Really hard. Struggling through video production. Sourcing the “perfect” materials for an installation. Obsessing over which images to choose to represent my project and at what sizes should they be printed? And sure, these are all important and necessary things to do when creating art exhibitions.

But since I was so busy unconsciously worrying that someone would find out how shitty I was on the inside, or that there were so many other, better artists around, I wasn’t having very much fun. In fact, I was miserable.

It’s wretched and painful pretending to be something you are not.

I was pretending to be confident, and pretending to be enjoying my work. But inside, it was all Fear and Loathing. Fear of being found out, and Loathing myself for not being better.

Perfectionism nearly killed me, because in its name, I worked myself into the ground. Instead of doing my work out of love and joy and respect for the process, and myself, I was doing it out of fear and so much shame. I was unconsciously using my art practice to get the healing and catharsis I needed.

It all broke apart in February 2014. Total collapse of body, mind, heart, and spirit. Everything came to a snail’s pace. I wanted to call it quits. I prayed for mercy.

I found guides to hold the flashlight for me. Bit by bit, I did the work; sometimes reluctantly, sometimes exuberantly. The old patterns came up for review. I revised. I edited.

I learned how to accept myself, even when I wasn’t perfect, or the best in town. I learned how to care for myself. I learned how to lovingly sit with my shit. Which was itself a revolutionary act.

And lo and behold, all that stuff I used to feel, it got a lot lighter. Life got a lot easier. My thoughts and I are no longer adversaries. (OK, sometimes we still argue.) But those voices that drove me to perfection, that told me nothing was ever good enough, that I wasn’t good enough, well, they quieted way down.

I won’t lie; I’m still pretty “particular” about some things. I own that and am working on it. But that shame I used to feel that drove me so hard, it’s been dismantled piece by piece. I’m confident now, instead of just pretending to be. (You’ll know it when I’m not feeling confident because I’m much more comfortable being vulnerable now.)

I can be grateful now for that sickly shame that compelled my hard work. If it weren’t for that drive, I wouldn’t have produced some work that I really am proud of. That drive allowed me to do some pretty cool stuff, some of it rather herculean, even.

But I’m ready now to do it another way. I’m ready for my work to be inspired by love and truth, compassion and wisdom.

So Perfection, old friend, we’ve walked a long way together. I’d say I learned a lot, and for that I’m grateful. But I think it’s time to part ways.

If you have a chokehold on your life, or are compressed by the downward forces of perfectionism and self-doubt, have a convo with me. It’s free and I’ll share resources to help you find your way out from under it.