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Friday, January 04, 2013

Getting To Bliss

I’m starting to come to the realization that I see life a whole lot differently than most people.

I’m an insatiably happy person.

When I was four years old, I knew exactly who I was going to be, and I was bright, positive and carefree. I insisted on piano lessons, loved them, and wanted to be center of attention. By eight I was singing, dancing and starring in plays. I would look out at the ocean and feel my future destiny. By sixteen I knew my gifts, felt confident, won more acting roles, and became vice president of the student union at school. I was playing piano, coming up with compositions used the living room as my stage to sing all my songs, as if I was already on the world stage. By eighteen I was on a plane to Europe to discover the world, having already been selected at a university (I took a year off to travel). After college, at twenty one I was living in new York feeling the amazing Broadway energy in my veins. By thirty I had lived half way round the world and was now in Los Angeles living my dream.

I’ve been living my dream my whole life and it hasn’t stopped.

I’ve always been an optimist. I’ve always felt confident in my abilities, and even when I didn’t know something, I, at least, had an adventurous streak to try something new and see where it took me. I’ve always had a “go get ‘em mentality”.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve had my fair share of adversity. Probably more than most, too. The obstacles I’ve had to overcome physically (medically), emotionally (relationships), mentally (living in hardship in various times of my life), economically, and literally (changing countries as my home, as one example), could have all broken me.

But they didn’t. I saw every adversity as an opportunity for growth and a new way of being. I look back and say, “wow, look what I have achieved”. This allows me to look forward to the ocean of opportunity in front of me, all the time.

That’s why, along with being an artist, I enjoy coaching other artists, and running Songsalive! the non-profit songwriters community. That’s why I write books, with titles like “I AM a Professional Artist” and “Just Get Out There”, and conduct workshops. My songs are usually about self-empowerment (“I’m Alive”, “I Can Feel”, “Woman!”)  I love to inspire others to see it through my rose colored glasses.

Put me in a pool of mud, and I’ll see it as a warm, blue ocean to frolic in.

But not everyone sees it the way I see it. Not everyone feels it the way I feel it. Many have to work at it to develop the craft of getting to bliss, for it just doesn’t come naturally to them like it does for me. Many only see the adversity, and stop there.

Today I’m pondering this with a tad of bittersweet. I wish everyone saw it the way I do, and just lived their lives with a spring in their step. But I can’t force others to feel it the way I do, or approach it the way I have. Some people just innately, or mentally, or physically, wake up sad, tired, overwhelmed, despondent, in-confident, insecure or frazzled.
So, for those that don’t live that A Type “I love my life” day, or for those who have felt it once but have seemed to have lost it,… perhaps I can offer some ideas on getting to that place. You all know I wrote a book called “Just Get Out There”. I do encourage you get a copy if you are creative because it has such a wealth of tips and resources to become empowered and successful. I have other writings too, on my website blog, and I offer one-on-one coaching as well.

Want that perpetual joy, optimism and courage?

Here are my “Getting to Bliss” strategies:

1.        It’s all about making a SHIFT with your mindset – a lot happens around us, good and bad. It’s up to us as to how we respond to it that makes all the difference. Ease into responding with joy, hope and curiosity. Every time you have that negative inner voice barking in your ear, learn to tune it out and think of the positive sides.

2.       Understand your process – You may be one of those types who like to be super organized with your agenda, deadlines and to do lists. But some people like to be more whimsical and spontaneous, with no lists, agenda nor deadlines. If this is you, that’s ok. It’s good to give yourself boundaries for all pistons to fire and not be on a rollercoaster, but follow that creative muse when it comes, and learn to ride the waves of the ups and downs and…. Stillness.

3.       Do the things that are important to you – Much of our frustration comes from having to do things that we don’t want to do, or don’t like to do. It’s time to discard what no longer serves you (tasks, things, people, and even old outdated dreams) and focus on what is important to you and what makes you happy. This can be a hard process, but well worth it.

4.       Find reason to do less, yet achieve so much more – It’s never about how hard you work, or how much you work, but how efficiently you work. If you can master the art of working in 3 hours a day, and playing the rest, you have found bliss. Just because others are slaves to their jobs, doesn’t mean you have to be. Focus hard on the tasks at hand, and get them done. Then go play in the sand. You’ll be surprised at how much you actually achieve when there’s balance in your life. But it doesn’t come without proper, diligent, focus when you are “switched on”. I call that “mini deep diving”. Dive in deep, complete, then play.

5.       Do the things you need to do, but have fun in it, it’s all creative – When you don’t feel like doing “Work” or tasks, or music business stuff, think of it as a creative opportunity. I find business and marketing very creative if I just see it that way. Getting on Twitter, or creating a newsletter to promote my latest release, or writing emails to business folks, can be exciting when you cream of the possibilities of the outcomes. Think outside the box, come up with new ways to do things, and enjoy the sunshine along the way.

6.        Don’t get bogged down in specifics - Stay generic. If you want to complete a project but get too caught up in the details, this can thwart any momentum of even getting started. Just think of the overall idea and slowly and easily write down some notes, but don’t feel like you have to fill in all the blanks on how to make it happen. We usually don’t know every step to take, so don’t worry. Just START. Be in touch more with the feeling and desire of it, rather than the nitty gritty of all the details (that would turn any brain to mush!)

7.       Let it happen. ‘law of attraction’ -  Have you heard of the saying “Don’t watch the kettle boil”? It never boils while you are staring it at it. The minute you walk away the water boils. That’s a good reference for our lives. Getting bogged down in the minutia and pushing for outcomes and manifestations usually leads to zero results and just a lot of frustration. Stop knocking on the door. Step back for a bit and you’ll find the door will open magically for you without all the fuss. This works by you letting go of the control a bit and de-focusing on the pushing. Think, visualize and believe the outcome (what you want the result to be). Keep focusing on that. Let the universe help you in getting there. You get what you focus on. Focus on the joy.

8.       Shift from difficulty to ease – When you feel like you have “writers block” or your tired and negative, go do something else. Be creative on other things. Hey, it’s ok to watch your favorite TV show! Spice it up, change it up, and be prepared to even change your dreams. You are the master of your destiny and today you can re-invent yourself to be anything you want to be.

9.       Integrate: I am all of it – When you start to realize you are all of “it”, meaning all that you are, you do, and be, you will start to take the pressure off yourself when you feel like you’re not doing what you are “supposed to do”. Who wrote the rules on what you’re supposed to do anyway? Who said you have to follow your career in a certain way, or do this or that. Make up your own rules. Define success on your OWN terms.

Getting to Bliss is about getting to yourself. Be in touch with who you really are and what you really want, and you’re half way there. The rest will come to you without you even trying.

Try this “Getting To Bliss” Exercise:

Try changing up this coming week to meet the real needs of you. I guarantee this exercise helps to cure feeling overwhelmed and be balanced and BLISSFUL.

In doing this exercise, follow the FEELING every moment of your day. Ask yourself, “How am I feeling right now?”. If it doesn’t feel good: CHANGE to something else that does. Stay with the feeling more than the wanting.

Be less specific in your tasks, and more general, giving yourself time to be with a project or an act of doing, without getting bogged down in the nitty gritty..

i.                     Monday: what are you going to do today? Be completely open to what you’d like to do. Don’t put any agenda, tasks or to-do lists in front of you. Just see what happens spontaneously from the moment you wake up.
ii.                   Tues:  what are you going to do today? Try narrowing it more to being totally creative. It usually goes this way. Again, no other tasks or to-do lists. Live on the wild creative side, early in the week, while everyone else is laboring over hard work!
iii.                  Wed: Today, focus on things that could make you financially abundant. Set up a to-do list for the day that asks you to focus, visualize and do things that may bring in financial wealth and/or opportunities. See where that takes you for the day.
iv.                 Thurs: Focus on tasks that share who you are with the world. This could be marketing your music, or promoting online. Or it could be picking up the phone or sending emails. Share with us who you are!
v.                   Fri: Today, just to “me” day things. Everything that you do should be all about you, loving yourself, nurturing yourself, and being with yourself.

(Of course you can change the days of week to start on weekend if you feel uncomfortable starting creative days on a Monday. But I think it would be fun to change it up a bit).

Ok, the week has ended… How did it feel? Did you stay with the feeling? Were you able to get into an easy flow each day? Were you getting to bliss?

A theory published in 2010 in the journal Thinking Skills and Creativity “links time management and creativity together as being mutually beneficial to each other. Basically, if you're good at managing your time and creating to-do lists, there's a positive correlation to your creative time. The implication is that you can schedule for and decide to be creative, which is exactly what we'll be looking how to do…. creating a block of time where you can let the muse speak. To others, it's more about rescheduling any problem-solving portions of your day when you're at your creative peak.”(Ref: link)

Well, as you all know I’ve been talking about this for years. This is exactly the essence of my artist career coaching, books, and workshops: being business-minded and organized with your creativity, and all your creative business aspects, attracts success. This is the essence of the artist entrepreneur.

How can you get organized? Come work with me, one-on-one. Face your obstacles and fears, overcome your roadblocks, get clear with who you are and what you want and create a creative roadmap plan that will help you realize your life dreams, and GET TO BLISS…