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.