2017 Taught Me A Few Things…

Dec 27, 2017 | Creativity

What lessons have you learned this year? And, more vital, how do these lessons move you forward?

This year in particular feels like I’ve lead five lives.  It was exceptionally long, incredibly dramatic at times, incredibly blissful at others and deeply instructive.  It’s like I started out in Junior High and suddenly I’m getting ready to graduate from High School.  I don’t think I’ve ever had so many visceral lessons in one year, ever.  And they’re not such wise lessons because I’m so great.  Quite the contrary- I learned most of this because I’m so far from perfect.

You can burn out without realizing it. You can also recover from it far less quickly than you imagine.

Did I ever think that I could burn out from doing what I love?  Nope.  But I did realize something else— you tend to stop loving what you love as you start burning out.

I reached a moment where I was going to take an extended sabattical in the woods with the dogs and grow a garden and paint stuff that felt very tactile because I was just… done.

From that moment (which lasted three weeks… and, months later, I’m still recovering) , things have radically changed.  I sleep a lot more than 8 hours.  I eat way more, much earlier in the day.  I take exceptional vitamins, exceptional breaks, days off and daydreaming as priorities. By the end of next year I may radically shift the way I create.  In fact, it’s already begun.  There are no gurus or marketing mavens or anyone else involved.  I know that the energy with which I do things matters the most and I’m letting that energy be the guide. It felt risky at first— and now it feels amazing and I’m so sparkling with ideas and love for my whole life again…!

My clients always get 100%.  I now get 100%, and I have 1000% more to give.  Everyone wins.

Chances are, people will hate on you for absolutely no reason. Well, I suppose they have their reasons, but…

If you’re aiming true and people don’t like it, it’s fine.  I still vividly remember the violent reaction people had to a 5 minute office makeover on NBC.  Luckily, I stopped caring abuot this wayyyy before that, but my lesson was that even the most innocuous of things can be met with enormous hatred. It’s just not worth trying to play it safe, ever.

No one is more powerful than you. Never ever ever ever will I believe in anyone’s powers that surpass my own. Even healers- the great ones- acknowledge that you have the power to do it yourself.  If someone is skilled in acupuncture or other arts, this is deeply powerful… but you need to participate.  The great healers, leaders and teachers don’t put themselves on a pedestal and foster dependence- they work to free you and unlock your own abilities to do these things, too.

Justice doesn’t always come swiftly, but it does comeHence the #MeToo movement.  When it began, I made a list of every single man in Hollywood I thought would be exposed and, one by one, the justice swept down.  The moment I sat in a car with my friend on the way to a wellness party and we both realized we each had #MeToo moments with some of the men finally brought to justice was a big one.  Between the two of us, we collectively knew, saw and experienced 8 of them over 10 years ago.

It was a long time to wait for justice… but the justice does come.  I had long given up thinking that justice would come to some— they were like teflon.  I forgave a whole lot, I moved on… and I’m thrilled to see that now this issue is being aired out more and more where it’s been swept under rugs.  Many issues are still swept under rugs.  And, collectively, we’re doing much needed airing of truths. It’s just the start, but it’s such a hopeful start…!

Comparison is a sign of a creative block.  If you’ve got the energy to compare yourself to others and don’t have the energy to create… you’re creatively blocked.  Like burnout, it happens slowly sometimes.  You start slipping from your zone of power and start feeling the “why do they have x,y,z…?” coming in.  Instead of digging in and justifing why you are right and others are wrong, get to creating.

You know when you’re in your genius zone. Don’t fool yourself.  No matter how many times I can ask/say “that was really good, right?” I know when something wasn’t my best.  My inner compass knows that if I have to ask, I am not there yet.  When I have tried to fool myself into thinking I’d done my heartfelt best and it wasn’t very good, it was my way of hiding out and not really taking art or life to a next level.

Now… please don’t let perfection be the standard- it is intellectual and it’s a trap.  Let your feelings be the guide: if it feels right, it’s right. Lots of times my best isn’t some huge sensation.  Often it is.  It’s worth aiming for heartfelt rather than pushing and doing without feeling the thrill.

Faith is a whole-hearted practice, not a one-time deal or mindless routine. Being a Buddhist most of my life, daily practice is the standard.  Many spiritual practices have a set of rituals and routines and ceremony.  Just because you’re doing the actions doesn’t mean you’re doing the practice, you know?

My heart wasn’t in things, and I felt the deficit.

That I now see applies across the boards.  Whether in relationships, in spiritual faith, in making art, in creating the day— if your heart isn’t in it, you’re not there doing it.

Deeply engaging in things has not only saved me time and actually saved me energy (things actually go so much better when you’ve shown up!), it’s changed the way I see myself as even more of an author of my experience every day.

Everything on the backburner needs to go.  If you’ve been holding on to the past, hoping it can be a safety net if you fail to fly, you’ll likely never make it out of the nest.   Let this stuff go.  You know if you’ve been doing it.  I know when I was doing it.  It makes life feel confusing and it stops you from moving forward…

The passion projects are the ones to do.  That’s 2018. That’s every year. That’s all the time.  No one will give you the magic ticket that says, “now you are allowed to go for it.”  Give yourself that permission.  Go and do it.

What about you? I bet you have some life-lessons from 2017 to share. Drop ’em below and we can all learn from your insights…!!! xoxo!!! Dana



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