Rest + Think + Hum To Yourself

July 16, 2013

What if you dropped everything that you didn't ABSOLUTELY have to do (i.e. show up at your job or your sister's wedding), and only did what you wanted to for 30 days, with no (well, hardly any) sense of obligation? What would it look like?

It's full-fledged summertime, and I'm in need of some kind of break or mental reset. I know this because even the most fun things in my life are starting to feel a little burdensome, and life is too short to feel like that. So I'm taking a 30-day work hiatus from everything but a couple of clients I've made commitments to, and my part-time job. Instead I plan to do some or all of the following:
  • Sit on my porch and stare at the sky.
  • Cook new things.
  • Attend the Minnesota Fringe.
  • Write letters.
  • Grill.
  • Go Swing-king (drinking a beer on a swing).
  • Swim.
  • Watch Pina
  • Concoct movement experiments in my living room.
  • Meditate.
  • Read books that have remained half-finished for awhile.
  • Ride my bike. 
  • Go to yoga.
  • Journal.
  • Catch up with old friends at spontaneous times.
  • Eat lunch from a food truck. 
  • Search for summer dresses at the thrift store. 
  • Go to a puppet show
  • Avoid setting my alarm whenever possible.
What would your days look like if you could do anything with them? Really. I believe that it's possible to fill our lives with the contents we most desire, and I'm challenging myself to do it.

I'm taking a break from writing in this space for the month, but I'll be back mid-August. Meanwhile, I plan on posting some of the summer goodness on Instagram.



July 9, 2013

I opened this fortune back in February at the Chinese restaurant across from the Red Eye Theater. It was that rare perfect fortune, and I've kept it on my desk to stare at since. Sometimes the hardest thing in life is to show up fully to struggle: to immerse yourself in it bravely, and not run. But I argue that it's a harder thing to show up for the win. It's harder to see what you want from this life in bright neon lights, convince yourself that you're worthy of it, and then revel in its arrival.

Today is a dare to win. I give that dare to you, and I'll take it for myself, too.

Made In June

July 8, 2013

I rehearsed very little in June, and I missed the flailing movement sessions in my tiny office that I had so many of in May. Still, I found strange satisfaction in making other things. Sometimes I think that creative energy is all the same, regardless of where it goes. Sometimes painting a wall or writing is just as nice as a rehearsal.

Here's what I made in June--
A Tiny Garden:
We decided not to attempt any major gardening or tilling in our new yard this year. Instead I planted seeds in pots-- mostly herbs, but also leaf lettuce and arugula. Eventually I got smart enough to move the pots outside, since our cats were treating the baby seedlings like ready-to-eat snacks. This small collection of plants makes me incredibly happy, and the fresh herbs are always ready for food (and cheaper than a trip to the store). 

A Chalkboard Wall:
A big part of my job for McGinley Motion is taking care of accounting, invoicing, and client-tracking. The folks at Braid Creative have long-inspired me to keep better track of what we're growing business-wise. So, I followed their lead and painted a wall of my office with chalkboard paint. On it I'm writing our Quarter 3 projects and clients. I'm loving filling it in and watching it grow.

The Perfect Pimm's Cup: 
I made a variation of this recipe, but changed some of the measurements and omitted the mint (which would be awesome, but I didn't have any). Here are the measurements I used:
           1 T. grated fresh ginger (I like a lot of ginger- use less if you don't)
           1 1/2 Oz. Pimm's
           1 1/2 Oz. Gin
           Juice of 1/2 lemon
           1/2 Oz. Simple syrup (you can make a big batch-- 1 C. water to 1 C. sugar, heated until disolved        
           and then chilled in the fridge)
           Top with soda water (or ginger ale-- but then I'd cut out the simple syrup)

I added dark chocolate, crystalized ginger, and walnuts to it. If I were to make it again, I'd add spices but skip the ginger and walnuts. Also, I upped the almond flour to 2 1/2 cups. I think it would be killer with some cream cheese frosting.

Some Money To Make Dances:
I wrote a grant back in February. In May I found out that I was moving to the final round of applicants, and last month I got to sit and watch a board of people deliberate over my proposal. I left certain that the grant wasn't in my future, but then had a pleasantly surprising email: I was funded! I think that there's skill involved in grant writing (certainly), but also a bit of chance involved in the selection process as well. Bottom line: thank you MRAC. I learned a lot about my goals from needing to articulate them on paper. I'm excited to share details about my upcoming project, which will be performed in February and March of 2014.

Sit on a pontoon & ponder

July 3, 2013

I like a lot of things. 

Lately I've been trying to aim towards being really good at a couple of things, rather than doing ALL THE THINGS in a mediocre way. 

I've been thinking about this more as I ponder my 20's. I did everything! I taught, made dances, worked in a restaurant full-time, wrote grants, and said 'YES!' to most collaboration offers. My energy was spread really thinly. 

I look at my creative peers, and they're faced with many of the same challenges: so many ideas and possibilities, and so little time.

As I was re-writing my exercises for the consulting work I do with artists, I thought about one question in particular:

If you could be known for doing just one thing really, really well, what would you want to be known for?

I've taken on a lot of different creative endeavors over the years; I've had a comical number of employers. I could be known for doing a lot of different things:

  • As a teacher of studio dance.
  • As a movement consultant for theater companies.
  • As a grant-writer for artists.
  • As a ghost blogger for corporations.
  • As a choreographer and collaborator for musicals at high schools and colleges. 
  • As a server and food expert at high-end restaurants.
  • As an arts reviewer.
Each is a different expertise. The problem I've discovered with doing ALL THE THINGS, is that I rarely do all of those things well. And I miss out on putting my energy towards the things that I do REALLY well (and those things do exist).

And when I think about what I want to be known for, it helps me get really clear about what kinds of projects I want to say yes to, what grants I want to take the energy to apply for, and what kinds of clients I want to take on. It makes my actions clearer. And that is really nice.

So, go sit on a boat this 4th of July, and put up your feet and drink a cold beer. Ponder and gut-check all of the possibilities. And think about what you want to be known for.

[If you haven't already, you should check out the McGinley Motion post, Choosing The Ideas That Push You Forward.]

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