I have been generating the kind of creative spirit that reminds me of the ‘way back’ time of two years ago…before this ongoing global shift was initiated.
I love a busy period to remind me of the power of being active in creation and how much I can truly rely on my talents to provide for me.
I just spoke with a new producer friend who said the only way to write (his method of expression) is to write. Thinking about writing doesn’t lead to better writing. Writing does.
Yet, maybe like you, I often get trapped in my head, dreaming of the possible while neglecting the present.
It’s a dreamy time of year.
But taking those small steady steps on the regular to produce great work leads to a creative abundance that feels so…..well, satisfying.
This is when the MONEY MONSTER of perfectionism rears his head: Not Perfect Paul.
He tells us that it needs to be our greatest work to exist.
That we need to work harder to create what we are capable of.
That whatever we are doing it will never be enough.
And while I do believe he is helping us become our most abundant creative self, he also holds back the part of our creative self that innovates into the possible.
The one who needs to crawl before they can run.
Who needs to fingerpaint before they can draw.
Who needs to practice before they perform.
In my early acting career, all I cared about was performance. It was a time that felt more alive than life to me and I craved it.
Everyone told me that I needed to fall in love with process in order to be a great actor, but I really didn’t want greatnesss, I wanted attention.
It was only when stepping back into a smaller market that I found the deep roots of patience and care that made me the actor I wanted to be.
Rushing is not the road to excellence.
When I finally found I loved the rehearsal room more than the stage, my reviews went from encouraging to stellar.
Not that I cared.
As we grow in our fecund possibilities as creatives, we have to chose where our focus lies: on the path ahead or the light inside.
And I have found when the light inside is the guiding source of my actions, what happens next is in the details. Generating my own creative light draws more attention even as I care less about the approval of the world.
It frees up so much of my brain to find new solutions to my creative problems.
New approaches to the same old conventions.
New insights into well worn barriers.
So as your springtime begins to activate in the warmth of returning sunshine, remember you create your own light and let it guide your way.
No matter how abundantly your garden may grow.
warm wishes & cold cash,
P.S. But tell me ~ where’s your money process hung up? Do you feel ready for the reckoning of tax season? Lean into where you are now and let me know if I can help. Comment below and tell me where you need support the most. I’m here to help!
February is the month we get to explore the value of love in our life and all its many forms. We honor the love we find and then offer appreciation as we grow more. It forces us to take a moment and reflect if our time matches our intention. It’s an emotional health check that truly allows us to know if we feel like we have ‘enough’.
This is especially true with our MONEY.
It’s easy to spend too much time focusing on all the things your bank account balance is not: not big enough, not helpful enough, not safe enough.
Yet much like in important relationships in our life, this constant criticism can add up to resentment over time.
On both sides.
It’s important to see the seed of the possible in every dime in your bank account.
Yes, it may not be the cost of the plane ticket to Aruba you have your eye on.
It may not yet be the amount you want to put the deposit down on your dream house.
It might not even be enough to take yourself out for something nice for a change.
But it is the kernel of future that is waiting to be tasked on your behalf so you can grow your best life as a creative.
Take a journey with me….into the not~so~distant past…..aka Monday.
I woke up to find myself the proud owner of a flat tire.
It was smashed flat.
Of course, this sudden arrival was no real surprise to me since I had been timing the lifespan of my tires for quite some time.
Secret time, friends: I can be profoundly cheap when my eye is on other things.
While this can help in some ways, it is actually a MONEY MONSTER for us to explore another day.
So while this DOA tire was no surprise, it was not welcome either.
I had to find a solution stat.
As luck would have it, I had a few hours in the middle of my day to drive my three-wheeled car to the tire shop. Shout out, membership tire centers who take walk-ins!
One location couldn’t find the tires I needed for my car but encouraged me not to wait for them to order them.
So I nursed my wounded chariot to another location across town where I was assured the tires were in stock…
To find the wait was 2-5 hours.
Significantly longer than the extended lunch window I had planned for this emergency operation.
But what could I do, my valiant steed was down for the count!?
So I showed them the bald tire of shame, handed over my keys, and reconciled myself to the fate of hours spent with nothing to do.
My personal nightmare, people.
And on a work day?!
Shoot me now.
So I bought an incredibly cheap hot dog and sat down to wait.
I watched the parade of mass consumption push their carts past my table.
Filled with applesauce, toilet paper, and massaging back cushions.
The best the American dollar can buy.
I looked at the faces of these customers, families & single men mostly (it was Valentines’ Day after all).
Good people enjoying the sacred exchange of goods for value.
Buy the extra-large package ~ Problem solved.
Purchase 75% more ~ Pennies saved.
2 racks of ribs for less than your car payment ~ Dreams fulfilled.
LIFE IS GOOD.
Yet as I finished my $1.50 hot dog, I noticed that the battery on my phone was low. Too low for a five hour wait at the crossroads of consumerism.
I began to panic as I pictured dark moving in and I would still be there nursing a soda I don’t drink.
No wifi. No cellphone. Nothing.
I began to go through the glorified book bag I carry around with me, packed with papers and post-its and personal items. All the things I am working on with no clear end in sight. What analog work could I create from this fiberglass picnic table?
Suddenly, the book I’ve been meaning to read popped out of my bag, Mary Poppins style.
I shook my head in wonder at the offering of time well spent packed in this tiny business book. I grabbed my pencil and began to go to town, reading all the wisdom I could while watching the people go by.
Too often, the shiny packages and abundance of goods rolling past captured my eye and I found myself wondering what answers to my life problems might be solved by a stroll through the store.
Knowing I had neither car to put oversized packages in nor the room in my budget buy much, I resolved to finish my chapter and then explore.
A treat in itself.
Seeing so many things I wanted but nothing I needed, I circled back to the front of the store. Only about 20 minutes or so had passed.
What would the next 3.5 hours have in store for me??
I checked the time on my phone and saw that the tire place had called me to come and pick up my car.
I was done.
And yet, as I played bumper cars on the way to the exit, I felt an exuberance that merged on triumph.
I had resolved the issue of my car in a timely and appropriate fashion.
I had an adventure in a new landscape.
I had some great people watching.
I had started my new book.
And I had spent a short 80 minutes fully engaged in my experience.
Kinda like a long lunch period…….just like I intended.
The kernal of needing to buy new tires grew a mighty great flower, no?
Are you feeling the creative love pouring in or is it feeling like you are continually waiting for rain?
It’s easy in our land of plenty to get obsessed with the obvious abundance around us.
We are so fortunate.
To live in this time.
To live in this place.
To live among these people.
Life is good.
Yet, as a creative in a Tesla-saturated landscape, it can feel like the simplicity of creative joy doesn’t add up.
Bills gotta be paid.
Commitments gotta be honored.
Dental cleanings gotta happen.
But this is where the opportunity is present in the challenge.
The solution is hidden within the problem.
The answer was within you all along.
It’s easy to get obsessed about the HOW of your creative abundance ~ how it’s going to flow, how it’s going to come, how it’s gonna show up, that we so often forget to rely on the WHAT.
What we are trying to create.
What stories our audience wants us to tell.
What makes us freaking happy, for goodness sake.
This is the emotional equivalient of demanding to know HOW a customer will pay for dinner before they even order the meal.
And besides, as far as MONEY goes…..
Cash, credit card, check, it all counts, no?
But too often we get caught up in the details of the delivery method, how much we’ll make, how this project will finally make a splash, how we will finally get what we deserve.
How, how how.
But when you refocus your efforts around the things you want to say and the stuff you want to express, then the receiver (who likely is very excited to pay money for your brilliance) can see what it is you are actually offering.
Your emotional confusion around the WHAT clouds the HOW you will make bank.
Tap back into the joy, the wisdom, the clarity of your creativity and then make something from there.
Your buyers are waiting to hear what you’re up to.
warm wishes & cold cash,
P.S. Know a creative who just needs a weekly hit of financial wisdom in their inbox? Send’m to the link below and I’ll add them to the list. The more, the merrier, right, creative warrior?
The gate post turned in its moods, making it temperamental to latch.
Like everything with my new almost 100 year old house, it had character.
And I love character, right???
Except when it left me tired and frustrated, cursing my decision to buy whenever I tried to get cold metal wrenched into place.
The numbers started to run in my head.
How much it would cost to fix it.
How much the guy would want to replace it.
How much it would take to sell the house entirely and move to Argentina.
SPOILER ALERT: None of it cheap.
How could my dream home be so costly?
I manifested it from nothing. I can still remember another set of calculations running over and over in my head:
How much I would need to save (thousands each month)
How long it would take me (ten years)
How much I needed to be competitive in an escalating Southern California housing market.
The interest, the inflation, the impossibility of it all.
Then, in the miracle way these things do, something broke through.
An unexpected dividend from the Universe.
Paid from the time and effort put in over years.
Received from resources given away freely from my heart.
Manna from heaven.
How I ended up with the beautiful bungalow I now own is a story for another day. But suffice it to say, there are always better outcomes on the horizon than we can dream of, Horatio. Promise.
And even so, all the
did not stop the expenses from triggering my Money Monsters.
Those guys kept rapping at my mortgaged door.
I can still feel the thump of my heart hitting my belly when I got his text Friday.
‘We are getting a new fence on Monday, sorry for the short notice. I see that your gate post is lashed to our fence so we should talk about it.’
That’s all my friendly new neighbor said but somehow that got my Money Monsters to howling.
Howling about how it was broken and could never be fixed.
Howling this would suck up all my savings and leave me nothing to show for it.
Howling that now I could see the folly of my financial selfishness.
Howling that I should have just stuck to stocks where I’m comfortable, not stuck my toe in the real estate market.
That, my creative co-creators, is Roger the Regretful and he is a tricky fellow.
He will tell you that you made the decision, okay, but it really wasn’t a wise one and, oh, did you know everyone else knew that too and just didn’t say anything?
He drives home the point that you can’t trust yourself to make strong MONEY choices so you might as well give up trying.
For you, this may manifest in:
Spending all your money because you never seem to manage to save anything anyway.
Splurging on your credit card since statement balance $0 never seems to happen.
Socking away savings in cash in a bank account, instead of allowing it to increase through investments over time.
Roger the Regretful shows up in so many insidious ways. He thinks he’s being helpful, of course, but his help is passive aggressive at best. It undermines your confidence in yourself and your ability to know what’s best for you.Which, my dear creative light, is
As creatives, our confidence is key.
It is the turbocharge that lets us to tell the world: I have a vision of something (that doesn’t exist yet) and when I build it, you’ll think it’s cool too.
This could be a sculpture, a performance, a beautiful, ease-filled life.
Everything is creative expression at its root.
And we must have confidence in our ability to create those visions to start on the journeywe dream of completing.
It’s like the Choose Your Own Adventure books I checked out by the dozens when I was a kid, so excited to save Montezuma’s treasure, free the kingdom from the dragon, or root out the villain hiding in our midst (ahem, MONEY MONSTERs!).
I loved that the journey I was taking in each book was a collaboration with its creator, a path prescribed by the author but masterminded by me.
Brilliant storytelling, no? Get the audience involved while also having them tell the story to themselves. Gotta love that business model.
But, my friends, I could never just let the story unfold.
Not this kid.
Who could wait to find out the outcome until the end?
So I would ‘reverse engineer’ the ending I wanted and try to chart the course from the page with the best resolution back to the pages that led there.
But it never tracked back exactly. I don’t know if I just wasn’t that careful in my pattern tracking as a kid or if there was some kind of magic spells on those books that changed page numbers like shifting walls in a labyrinth if you tried to outsmart the ‘choose’ in Choose Your Own Adventure. I just may never know.
For whatever reason, I was never able to successfully navigate the ending back to the beginning.
The only good resolutions I found where in making the best possible choices as I read the book forward.
Yes, sometimes that meant I ran out of oxygen at the bottom of the ocean (dark, I know! Who writes this stuff? And for kids??) but mostly it meant I had an ending that unfolded in an entertaining way and ended up better than I expected.
It’s hard to beat floating to the bottom of the Pacific, no doubt.
So these days I have accepted I can’t live my life backward to maximize the endings.
I use other tools instead:
I called in my personal construction crew to brainstorm solutions to this incoming problem.
I deep googled fence latches to reassure myself I was not the first person in the history of the world to need to replace one.
I repeated my best money mantras on an endless loop until finally we finally met on Sunday night….
And he didn’t have an answer for me.
He just didn’t know enough about the fence to tell me how we could solve my attachment issue.
(As if I needed more deeply triggered stuff to work through!)
But I had done all I could do and had to step aside to let this growth moment play out as it would.
The first thing I noticed was how careful they were coming in and out of my unlocked gate. Then the thoughtful way they swept up the overgrowth they cleared from my side of the gate. And finally how many times they checked the alignment of my gate channel to make sure it would slide closed like butter.
And best of all ~~ how they attached it firmly to the new gate so it would no longer swing out of reach when being latched.
And the gate works better than ever.
Cost to me: FREE
The only thing invested was the mental strain I put myself under as I let my MONEY MONSTER Roger second guess my ability to navigate unknown waters.
And so, my dear creatives, I ask you, what confidence undermining are you letting yell in your ear? What MONEY MONSTER is taking up your time and energy? How are you distracted from creating, trying to reverse engineer an uncertain outcome?
Just because you think you know how the story ends doesn’t mean it’s how it ends for you.
Take a moment today and recenter yourself in the moment. Tap into the sense of knowing and self trust that has brought you so successfully to this point and remind yourself you have always found a way forward in the past.
Recite to yourself: I have done it, I can do it, I will do it. And then let the events unfold.
warm wishes & cold cash,
P.S. I’m taking some of my own advice! The Money Monster Masterclass is moving to the afternoon on Feb. 19th. We’ll be convening at 2 pm to kickstart our creative abundance and kick our MONEY MONSTERS to the curb. Are you joining us?
Depending on where you are in your work cycle, it has either been the fastest or slowest month to date.
There is something about those full 31 days in January that makes them feel like a haul even while they fly by.
That’s right, my dear creative creators, January is the month when the Money Monster of EXPECTATION comes to bang on our door.
We talked about how some of this is related to our focus on Chronos time (anything clock or calendar based qualifies as this). We even admitted to our obsession with hustle culture despite the way it scares the creative bejesus out of us (it’s a dance with the universe, remember?). And we talked about how rest is an essential part of the creative cycle (gotta inhale to exhale).
So what then can we do with all this amazing time and space and rest?
Didn’t see that coming, did you?!
You built a beautiful empty container, now go decorate it. Let your inner child run wild. Pull out the markers, the nice paper, the fashion magazines from Europe that cost as much as a latte. Get it all out.
Because the world doesn’t want to buy your pain and suffering.
THEY WANT TO BUY YOUR JOY.
This is one of the greatest gifts of the creative spirit and there are so many buyers for the outpouring of abundance that comes from it.
Think about it: When you go to the store and buy something you don’t need but maybe something you just WANT, are you buying it because of someone’s blood, sweat, and tears?
You are buying the promise of joy that emanates from an inspired creation. You are buying the pleasure that the creator had in fashioning it just right so that it might bring you the same joy.
I can already hear you saying, But…it can’t be that simple…’Life is pain, highness, anyone who says otherwise is selling something.’, etc…
And that is too true.
It is not simple and you are selling something.
You are selling your own capacity for joy.
How simple is that? ~ In idea, sure, but practice?
Ah, that’s a horse of another color.
How often are you really truly HAPPY?
How much time do you spend in BLISS creating your latest offering?
How do you spend your time, in worry and fear or in JOY?
Well, there you go.
Maybe it is simple, but it’s definitely not easy.
So that is my invitation to you, my dear creative sunburst, how can you light up the sky with creative pleasure?
That’s all you gotta do to close out a ‘bang-up’ January 2022.
Next month we’ll chat about practical steps to get your money feeling happy along with your creative spirit. But that’s all in February for our month of LOVE.
Have you ever felt like there’s more on your plate than you can possibly handle?
I mean, are you breathing?
The creative pursuit parallels our current belief in what human beings are capable of: MORE.
We invented electricity so we could work all night so why aren’t you??
The answer, of course, is because we are not meant to push 24/7, 365.
Sleep and rest are the parts of our creative cycle that allow the creative abundance to pour forth.
For those of you who had ’80s childhoods, like me, you may remember a lovely little device known as the Etch-a-Sketch. It was a literal blank slate where you could turn knobs and magnetized writing would appear on the screen. A precursor to the tablet computer, I’ll admit, but this was gloriously analog.
Because when you were done with the writing or the drawing or the creating, you could shake the whole thing and the writing would disappear.
It was MAGIC.
You could create a blank slate just by shaking.
This is also what ‘down time’ does for us.
It presses the reset button so we don’t burn out, burn up, or otherwise extinguish our creative flame.
Yet our worship of hustle culture whispers in our ear, ‘if you aren’t creating, you aren’t existing. If you aren’t moving forward, you aren’t heading towards where you want to go.’
Ah, but you are.
This particular Money Monster is one of the most insidious because he believes he is helping us by keeping us honest and focused.
We can’t get where we are going if we don’t keep trudging ahead, right?
Your creative fuel is your life.
If you aren’t taking care of that, you will draw from an emptying well.
One of my beloved creative friends who is also a yoga teacher calls this ‘The Inhale’.
Because you have to inhale so you can exhale.
They are not seperate activities, they are aspects of the same action.
You must inhale so you can exhale.
You must reset so you can create.
You must rest so you can see with fresh eyes.
These are not seperate tasks but continuations of one: the divine art of creation.
Which is what you are here to offer.
So today as you go about ordering your life to reflect the increasing demand of the creative marketplace, remind yourself that your greatest resource is you.
And you deserve the FULL creative cycle.
Invest in that. Invest in yourself. Invest in the Inhale.
warm wishes & cold cash,
P.S. Having trouble taking that deep, satisfying breath when it comes to your finances? Never fear. I’ve got your back.
We’ll be throwing a new Money Monster Mash workshop next month (Feb 19th at 10 am PST) and you have advance access to tickets.
It’s that busy time of year where the peace of the holidays starts to get replaced by our compulsion for activity. It is frenzy, it is drive, it is ‘doing for the sake of doing’.
All of which exhausts the creative spirit.
You know that, right?
Creativity is a gentle beast that requires the utmost care and quiet to regenerate our life experiences into gold. It’s the literal unicorn of skill sets.
For those of you not as entrenched in myth and legend as I find myself lately, the best way to tame the beautiful wildness of the unicorn was for a ‘virgin’ to sit quietly and wait.
While every modern sensibility in me bristles at that idea, there is a nugget of gold for us to mine in it.
When we show up in our purest form and wait ‘without expectation’, then the magic shows up.
It is the purity and the patience that invites the miracle.
As a lifelong creative with a passionate, ‘want it now’ nature, purity and patience have not always been my strong suit.
I want it now and I want it this way and I want it only to come from this exact source.
So. Many. Demands.
I wouldn’t want to deliver miracles to someone like that either.
But as I learn to dance with the power of creation, aka LIFE, I have seen how much it loves a strong lead who knows how to let their partner shine.
For those of you who didn’t go to cotillion and study classical theatre like me (nerd alert!), the best partner in ballroom dance is the one with a steady arm to direct and frame their partner’s beauty.
In this example, we, my dear creative warrior, are the strong armed partner, sharing our visions clearly with the universe, holding firm to the steps of that vision, and allowing the universe to shine.
Because even though we are the dancer, we are not the dance.
And isn’t that wonderful?
So please offer your creativity the rest and repair it needs even as the rhythm picks up.