how prioritizing your creativity pays off

In 2009 I took a leap. I signed up to do a training course in the “Zero Balancing” technique, which is a hands-on structural/energetic form of bodywork. I was craving more education and something to add to my existing health coaching practice, so it sounded like a great idea. The course was held at the beautiful Esalen campus in Big Sur, California, so it was a great way to do something for my career while having a mini West-coast vacation.

 

A little while before I booked my plane ticket, I browsed once more through the Esalen catalog and saw a different course called “Writing Your Life: From the Page to the Stage,” taught by writer/performer Ann Randolph. It tugged at my heartstrings in that way that nothing else had. I was called to do it. I couldn’t explain why, but knew I had to. Shit.

 

me at Esalen, 2009

me at Esalen, 2009

I had a panic moment because I had already paid and planned for the other course, but luckily the understanding staff at Esalen were able to switch it for me. So I booked my plane ticket – which was now a month earlier than I had planned on going – and was psyched. Also scared.

 

I felt totally irresponsible for choosing to do a writing and performance workshop, instead of taking the more career-focused choice of something that would directly add to my healing arts repertoire. But I did it anyway.

 

When I returned from the trip, my life changed. I moved to Brooklyn, started taking as many solo performance workshops as I could find, and started my YouTube channel and dance videos. I wanted nothing more than to be an artist and a dancer. I had visions of creating and performing my own show, and of touring, speaking, and writing. I didn’t know how or if that was possible, but to me it was worth the effort. While I continued working in my health coaching practice full time, it was the start of a new phase for me.

 

In the time between then and now I went through the most dramatic changes of my entire life: moving multiple times, experiencing the pain and drastic reality shift of having a sick parent, getting into the first serious long-term relationship I’ve ever had, and starting my own business. Throughout all of that, the only constant I had was my creative expression, which consisted of making my dance videos, writing, and occasionally performing in live dance/art pieces.

 

Why do I share this?

 

Well, taking that leap to switch to the writing/performance workshop in the mountains of Big Sur set me off on a creative path that became:

a.) a grounding, stable force amidst many hard life transitions, and

b.) a key aspect of my career today. (I guess I wasn’t meant to be a Zero Balance practitioner afterall!)

Back then, I never knew I’d be calling myself a “creative life coach,” nevermind a “dancer.” All I had back then was the impulse to take that one workshop and “be an artist” and the rest was history.

 

I got a phone call earlier this week letting me know that my recent performance of “Swan Canal” at Spoke The Hub’s Winter Follies jointly won the audience voting competition, and thus I was granted 30 hours of rehearsal space, plus theater space for my own show in the fall, alongside the other winner Jennifer Roit. (She technically won by 2 votes but offered to share the glory with me. Wow.) I started balling crying as I got the news – not sure if the woman on the other line ever got such a reaction!

me in Brooklyn, 2014 photo: Iris Pan, BlackDotCreative.com

me in Brooklyn, 2014
photo: Iris Pan, BlackDotCreative.com

Looking back to that leap I took 4 years ago, I really see the value in trusting my intuition and prioritizing my creative process. It may seem frivolous to spend money on workshops or programs that don’t directly affect career goals, but I would challenge that notion to say that creative practices do in fact affect your career. Even if it doesn’t directly pay off financially, I guarantee that your creative process will influence the other work you’re doing in a positive way, increase your confidence, open your brain to more creative thinking, and improve your communication skills, to name a few.

 

Our creativity matters. If you feel the calling to “be an artist” of some kind, or to experiment in creative ways, then it’s in you and chances are you won’t be satisfied without it in your life. Chances are just as good that if you find a way to tend to your creative impulses, you’ll see the rest of your world blossom, too.

 

It’s the last call for registration into the Thriving Artist’s Program. Don’t deny the impulse if you feel it.

 

If you haven’t yet spoken to me about it, click through to read the details and take the first step by contacting me.

 

If you have already spoken to me about it, but felt on the fence about joining up until now, and if you’ve gotten this far in reading this post, then I have a feeling you might need to take a leap.

 

The rest will be history.

 

to Big Sur-prises,

Jess

p.s. Here’s the video of my “Swan Canal” performance:

Stay tuned for details on my upcoming Fall 2014 showcase at Gowanus Arts Center!

Tags:

8 comments on “how prioritizing your creativity pays off

  1. Diana van Eyk on said:

    What a great talk, Jess! Thanks for sharing your process. It’s so inspiring and such a gift to others.

  2. Wow. An autobiographical take on how it came to be that the Moon gave birth.

    “I felt totally irresponsible for choosing to do a writing and performance workshop, instead of taking the more career-focused choice of something that would directly add to my healing arts repertoire. But I did it anyway.”

    Well, thank the Surs for that, the Big Sur that is. Who knows what would have happened if you weren’t courageous enough to take that leap? I shudder to think of the lack of inspiration that would have been coming my way in the years to follow. “Grounding, stable force” indeed. You have embodied that sentiment since being graced with it… the rest of us are lucky to be reaping the benefits.

    Awesome swan canal video. I couldn’t help but notice the young girl in the front row. I wonder what she will want to do after seeing such a performance?

    Keep inspiring us all, Moonshine!

    • Thank you, Kevin! I’m humbled as always by your words.

      And you are so perceptive –
      the young girl in the front row is my friend’s daughter. When I saw her after the show, her eyes lit up and she was so excited! It was the best feeling ever.

      have a great weekend :)
      Jess

      • What else are eyes to do but light up when confronted with Moon Glow.. Luckily she is your friend’s daughter. I’m sure your friend was well-prepared for the inevitability of such a response and knows of the “I want to do this now, take me here and there” artistic attitude soon to come.

        Keep reflecting that artistic glow our way, Au clair de la Lune.

  3. Julie B on said:

    I absolutely LOVE this story, Jess! I totally believe when we follow & trust our hearts, we will go in the direction we are meant to be. This is a prime example! Congrats to you and Jennifer, that is so awesome! Here’s to being creative, trusting our guts, believing in dreams, and going for them!! :)

    • Thank you, Julie! Glad it resonates with you.
      Can’t wait to share more show details! Jennifer is so awesome and such a talented dancer… we actually danced together years and years ago in a Haitian dance company.
      Yay for surprises!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>