Connecting to the Work | 5 More

October 20, 2014

Continuing on from this post, here are 5 more suggestions for connecting to the work you want to make-- which could mean feeling less creatively stuck or figuring out what direction you want to take a career shift. Or, remembering what you want to pour yourself into in your free time. In no particular order....

1) Learn from Jealousy: As I've written before, jealously has been a great tool for helping me get clear about what I want to make and do-- and who I want to make things things with. I'm usually jealous of the people who do things with confidence and without apology. It turns out that there's nothing stopping any of us from being one of those people. Jealousy is great for helping us figure out what we want, because it's such a strong emotion. It can be a force for motivation-- and I love this podcast that discusses exactly that.

2) Let go of Assumptions: Ben and I were chatting a few months ago and he said something really great: "When you unsubscribe from the assumptions you have about what you do or what you don't do, then you can get down to work."  
I assumed that because I'd always been a choreographer and dance teacher that my career would continue in this trajectory. I had to make space for the possibility of change, which is sometimes really uncomfortable. Before Small Art, I never considered myself a curator-- I assumed I wasn't qualified. I thought that being a good choreographer meant making work in big spaces. Both of these assumptions turned out to be false. This is where I urge you to try something new, to work in a different artistic discipline, to entertain projects and ideas that you'd usually turn down. Give yourself 6 months to try some new things.

3) Say "Yes" / Make Lots: I've talked a lot about being decisive and saying "No", but if you're trying to shake things up I invite you to says lots of "Yes" instead. Avoid being choosy and judicious; forget about whether or not this thing is going to lead your career somewhere spectacular; give yourself permission to stop thinking realistically about money for a while. The key in these stuck places is to get moving, and thinking too much works against this. Make as many things as you can for 6 months, without thinking. You can reevaluate then. 

4) Make a Mondo Beyondo List: There's a theme in these suggestions: give your rational, left brain a rest, and tap into your intuition instead. 3 years ago I took an e-course from Andrea Scher called Mondo Beyondo. Though it made me a bit uncomfortable with its woo-woo/ hippie dippy nature, taking the class was actually just what I needed. A Mondo Beyondo list is a list of improbable things you want to accomplish or experience in this lifetime. It's different than a goal list: these things are supposed to be really reach-for-the-stars kind of things. There are a couple reasons I love this list:
  • It helps you cut straight to what you want, practicality aside. And half of the challenge, really, is figuring out what you want...
  • It helps you cultivate a certain amount of faith & courage: there are things that you can do to work towards these goals, but there's also plenty that's outside of your control
  • It's awesome to make a list, put a date on it, and then consult it later and see things happen (I promise, things start to happen-- it's really a little out there).
5) Commit to Morning Pages: While I admit that I've never made it all the way through Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way, I've found a lot of value in committing to her suggested Morning Pages. The exercise has you write 3 full pages at the beginning of the day, before doing anything else.  You write with a real live pen or pencil (no ipad or computer), in a steam-of-consciousness manner. The idea is just to write-- stop over-thinking or censoring yourself in any way. The goal is to get yourself moving, without worrying about where you're moving to.

I'll share a few more suggestions on this topic next week. 


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