gilli moon products

Friday, March 24, 2006

It ALL is all of me

Something about L.A..... this city tricks us into thinking we have "got it going on" but then we could really be spinning wheels.
This city makes it really difficult to concentrate on just one thing. You end up spinning plates, which is not a bad thing. I've always talked about 'diversifying talents' in order to gain opportunities in this business. Spinning those plates means several fingers in several pies. It all tastes good... just... maybe I should go on a diet.
There are so many distractions; so many projects; so many people. So much to do, so little time. Ha ha!
I sit here, in my quiet paradise in this city of angels, with my lava lamp on, paintings around the room, cool groovy music playing, and a huge pile of unfinished business in my computer inbox, plus a stack of papers and projects cluttering my desk and floor, staring at me saying "start me gilli, fire me up; work on me gilli, i'm going to make you millions; write me gilli, i'm your next important creative project..". These projects plague me so much I feel guilty, as if I haven't handed in an important assignment or essay to my teacher. But the only teacher here is me. I'm placing pressure on myself and I feel bad that I can't get to everything.
I'm happy though. I feel like my piles of to-dos are company for my restless mind, ready, willing and able to just fly into any territory and conquer. I am a servant to my creativity. I have no problem with creative flow. I know so many people have read Louise Hay's "The Artist Way" to help them unblock their creativity so they can be prolific in their art, or writing. As for me, I have it going on too much. I am a "yes" girl, and love to want to start new projects all the time. But then I have a laundry list of them to complete.
It's funny how we think we know who we are, that we have it all worked out in our minds, and we know what we want. Dreaming big, visualizing and then planning it can be daunting to most, but not to me. I'm a huge dreamer, and a great planner. I love to plan. I love getting the calendar out and plotting out my course of action. This month I'll prepare, record, write. Next month I'm off to Ireland to mentor budding songwriters at a songwriters retreat. Plus I have promotions to do for the new album. Following month, a big cd launch in Hollywood, then off to Texas to speak at a music conference and perform. By June I will have released the new Females On Fire compilation of thirty female artists, started writing my musical film script and recorded a whole album for my new Warrior Girl Music artist, Holly Light. Then more dreaming, visualizing, plotting and planning. This is all true. This is my life for the next three months. I have a full-on creative schedule called "my life".
I dream of lying on the beach with a margarita in my hand, contemplating how many sand particles are in between my fingers as i dip my toes in the warm ocean.
Life happens when you're not looking. That's what my friend and music artist, Max Sharam, said to me once. It's funny how weeks go by, even months, and sometimes you can't even remember what you did. In this city, it can be because there is SO much to do, and we do SO much, that it's hard to remember what we did yesterday unless we write about it.
So write about it. Write about what's going on with your creativity. Purge it out. Write that to-do list, like a big fat note on your bathroom wall. Then start crossing off the superfluous stuff: the tasks that you don't need to do. Eliminate the extraneous and get down to the nitty gritty: the truly important stuff.
When we begin to see differently, we think differently and we do differently. Just because everyone else out there is spinning their wheels and pushing along till they burn out, doesn't mean you have to. One amazing project might be better than a thousand little ones that don't get your full attention.
My whole philosophy of surrendering to the universe is really working. Lately, I've been listening to what I want to do "in the moment", rather than let my scattered mind control me and leave me restless. When I truly listen to my inner self, I start to see the divine plan.
It's stranger still when I realize that the most amazing accomplishments are ones that didn't get on my to-do list. They are the little things that sneak in when I'm not looking, and end up being champions. I signed up as the Director of a summer music camp for kids. I thought it would be a quick summer project later in the year. Little did I realize that this project is becoming a lifelong dream fulfilled, to share and nurture children in the most beloved area I know, music. I am so excited that it has consumed my attention for three non stop weeks as I've been hiring my teaching staff and promoting the camp for student enrollments. I literally dropped everything off my list to concentrate on this. It was a natural choice. Unbeknown to me, when it comes to kids, I melt. I've spent my whole life dedicated to education and I didn't even realize it. I even have a Bachelor of Education and thought I'd never use my degree. I've spent the better part of the last ten years, while pursuing my own music career, also conducing workshops, speaking on panels and now writing my second book, all about educating and empowering youth and young adults. I just didn't realize it was such a strong passion inside me, until I saw these kids jamming on stage the other day at the Camp Open House and I realized... gee Gilli.... this is who you are too.... a teacher.
When I wrote my first book, "I AM A Professional Artist" I was on the speaking circuit and did many media interviews, but all through that I denied I was actually an "author". I just thought I was a musician/artist who happened to write. But I get so many letters from people who've read my book, or seen me speak, or come to one of my workshops, and for some, it has changed their lives. They feel empowered, and invigorated after reading my writings or attending my workshops. The teacher in me is probably as strong as the artist in me. I didn't plan this. It just happened. Coming to this realization, and accepting this, is powerful for me.
Listening to our higher destiny is crucial for our happiness and ultimate success. As you know by now with what I write about, success is defined by you, on your terms. So when you begin feeling fulfilled and you know that you are on to something satisfying in every way, creatively, financially, and more, then you know it's right. That's success right there, when you've found your niche.
Pushing in several directions is ok, but when you stop pushing, and you allow it to come naturally, you'll find it all becomes a lot clearer. It's becoming clearer for me. I have nothing to prove anymore when it comes to being an artist. My fifteen year over night success story is simply this: I've come to understand who I am, and I'm confident in who I am. I'm talented, happy and much wiser today than yesterday. Everything I know, I'm willing to share, because there is certainly enough to go around.
You don't need any credentials to know who you are. Just faith. Faith in yourself and the confidence to go out there and put it all into practice.
What would you do if this was the last year of your life? For one, you'd delete all the little stuff and get on with what matters the most. Secondly, you'd probably not be so concerned about being famous. Fame is fleeting. What's much cooler is the art of doing.
My boyfriend, who is a very talented artist, and I were talking about music demos we did when we were young on cheap 4 track machines. We shared a common teenage-hood of staying up till the wee hours of the morning tracking seemingly amateur songs and beats, loving the process of creating. It wasn't about the big record deal or being famous, it was about getting through the night and creating an awesome song. Listening back to our demos, we both reckon some of them are better than the expensive recordings we've outputted today in our respective studios, for big albums. There was more creativity and uniqueness flowing in our demos that is inspiring us more right now than anything we've heard! I wrote more songs before I was 22 than I've done ever since. Isn't that wild? I was a creatively flowing tap, never ceasing. Same for him too.
Since those years I have always been creative, but I've also become a producer of projects, and a teacher, and an author/writer, and a business owner, and continuing as a performer. It ALL is all of me, and I'm joyous in that. I might have a lot on my plate, but it's only because I've put it there. I don't have a boss adding tasks to my inbox in a job I don't enjoy. I'm lucky. I'm my own boss. I might be a little hard on myself, and push myself a little for many reasons (to achieve personal best, financial security, project deadlines). But at least I look at a view of my backyard and can wake up when I want to.
Whether you do a lot, or you do a little, it doesn't matter. It's ALL of you. You can be a consummate artist, prolific in your writing, or you can be choosy and selective, outputting seldomly.You can work part time, or full time for someone else, and still be a professional artist pursuing your creativity. You can run several businesses, or none at all. You can do whatever you feel is right for you. It doesn't matter. There is no blueprint you have to follow. You are the master of your own destiny.
So do it, do it, do it, or don't. Whatever, you do or don't, enjoy the process.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Be the Bag - surrendering to intention

Sometimes, we want something to come to fruition so badly, we push so hard it hurts us. Sometimes, even with all the pushing, the drive and the effort, we don't even get what we set out to achieve.
Why is that so?
I was brought up to think that if you work hard you can make anything happen; that if you put in the required effort, and you stay focused on your end goals, everything will happen.
When we set out to do what we want to do as artists in the entertainment business, many artists feel that they cannot let anything get in their way of achieving their desires, ambitiously keeping to their life purpose . Actually music business representatives (labels, managers, producers, etc.,) tell them they need to be like this too. Then, they take on a pit bull like determination, with a "never give up" attitude, often sacrificing personal joy. I know that many have seen me this way in my life. I'm always seen as joyous, but certainly with a determined streak! They notice my unsurpassable resolve to stride forth, take on many challenges, and make mountains out of mole hills. I've always seen myself as highly ambitious, determined and a super achiever. I remember being told by quite a few "know-it-alls" in the business that I had to "choose" what I focused on for my career. I had to be totally dedicated and committed to being a music artist, and not let anything get in the way, including personal life (that cut out relationships or having a family), or other career options. "You gotta be in it to win it," they would say.
For the last ten years, I dedicated my life, every day, to my music career. I have been extremely committed, changing continents, moving to the heart and center of the music industry, L.A, to achieve my dreams. I have conquered so many hurdles to be here, including immigration papers, making money, getting to know the right people, everything. I won't say that I "sacrificed" alternate options of life (leading a quiet life on the beach could have been one of them), but I certainly remained focused on my mission in life. True - this is always what I've wanted to do. I was never the type to do a nine to five job or marry young. For me, performing, entertaining and making albums was everything , and I took on a ruthless, "go get 'em" mentality to achieve my dreams.
I have achieved my dreams and I continue to live my dreams on a daily basis. But I have expended a lot of energy in my past that quite frankly could have been better served if I had understood my intentions more, if I was more clear on my mission. I have done a lot, tried many things, achieved much, Mostly with trial by error. But many things I did was because I didn't know what I truly wanted. I knew the overall idea, but no specifics, and I often focused on a big picture outcome (the big dream), based on some idea of commercial success that the industry has drummed into me as being the only way, rather than building blocks one step at a time on my own terms.
There are no complaints from me though. I certainly have achieved many things and continue to. But more recently I've begun to believe that it's not about the work nor the effort, and definitely not the push. It is more about intent. It is about dreaming, about thought, about visualizing and about surrendering to (and enjoying) the journey. I have learned to define success by my own terms and live more in the moment: connected to my journey as an artist.
I remember watching the movie, American Beauty, starring Kevin Spacey, where the boy next door filmed his favorite home video and he showed it to his girlfriend. The video was of a plastic bag, just a bag, floating in the wind. It drifted here, then there, and up, down and over. It drifted with ease, it was light and in his mind, the most poetic and visually pleasing subject.
Be the bag.
There is much to read into this simple, small piece. In my mind, being the bag is about surrendering to the journey. Letting the wind, and the universe, provide our path, and trusting that path. It means that the outcome, the goal, is not so important. Yes, it can be a guide, and sure, stay ambitious, but if we are attached only to our end destination, and not about the journey, then we may only be disappointed. You see, life delivers us amazing things, but the most amazing are along the way, not necessarily at the end of a long hard journey, nor should we work ourselves into the ground along the way.
I notice that the more I am in touch with my inner intention, that indefinable force that attaches to my dreams and thoughts, things come to fruition more quickly and effectively. Large efforts or hard work are certainly great personal growth processes, but not necessarily goal realizing. While it's important to have a strong work ethic on the outside, it's the work I'm doing on the inside that is really allowing me to master my Art and my life, with freedom and joy. This all comes down to the powerful word of "intention".
Whatever I focus on, whatever I give attention to, whether I want it or not, I will create. This is where is gets really awesome for artists. As we are creative more often than not, our thoughts, desires and dreams build most of what will happen artistically and opportunistically in our lives. You get what you think. So if we focus on doing a lot of "hard work", we get a lot of "hard", a lot of "work" and a lot of "hard work" back. If we focus on a positive action or creative outcome, it will occur positively. But more accurately, if we focus on something we want... and then let go of it... and surrender to the universal forces.... it will definitely occur, and with great results, because not only are you giving power to your thought, you are also allowing the universe to share the power and help realize your dreams, plus provide you more freedom to truly create what you want and who you want to be.
Remember that saying, "if you love someone, set them free". Well, this is true also for your art. If you love your art, set it free. Don't cling onto it, push it, force it. Surrender to the universe and let it be. It will feed you abundantly if you find the freedom. This all starts with intention.
Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, author of "The Power of Intention", and whom I mentioned briefly before, has dedicated a book about intention, about how to make your dreams come true, about freedom and about surrendering. His writings are one of the new approaches and philosophies that has brought me to a new attention about fulfilling lifelong dreams. Ever since I saw the movie "American Beauty", and since reading many Toltec philosophy books, some by Carlos Castenada, Dyer's books and Don Miguel Ruiz books, I have come to a better understanding about the art of "letting go" and allowing the universe to show me my true path.
Dyer, like Castenada before him, sees intent as "not something you do but a force that exists in the universe as an invisible field of energy". It means, in a nutshell, that we don't have to do anything to create intention and any action and goals following that, but instead "allow" it to happen, almost as if there is an invisible force field manifesting our dreams for us.  It means connecting to our natural selves and letting go of total ego identification. Dyer expresses four steps to intention:
1. Discipline - training ourselves to perform as our thoughts desire. When our bodies are healthy and connected to our mind, the whole body can take on anything.
2. Wisdom - wisdom combined with discipline fosters our ability to focus and be patient as our thoughts, intellect and feelings work with our body.
3. Love - loving what you do and doing what you love. I have always believed that you need to be passionate about your art for it to come to fruition.
4. Surrender - my favorite part, for the exercise of this chapter: your mind and body let go of being in charge, and you move more into intent. When you surrender, you lighten up and be more in touch with your inner truth, and it will take you wherever you feel destined to go.
I am fascinated with Wayne Dyer's words and although he focuses on life development, it is equally fitting as a focus for you as an artist. I'm sure I will touch more about intention as we move forward in this book.
What is the opposite of surrendering? Clinging on. Attachment. If you are attached to the outcomes of something, so much so that you push for it, you will only meet with resistance.
So in summary, as we navigate through this book discussing all the cool ways to "just get out there", remember that it all starts with your intent, your intentions: what you really want. From there, everything is possible.
When I say "just get out there" what I really mean is "go within." Ooh, now we are really getting somewhere!