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Fear in This Time of Coronavirus

The value of fear–and how to let go of fear when you’re ready

I want to talk frankly about fear in this time of coronavirus. 

I’m just coming out of something that I suspect was a mild case of coronavirus. I had a dry cough that became aches and chills and then shortness of breath… I couldn’t get tested in NYC because that’s reserved for people who are sick enough to go to the hospital, but because I’d already had a flu shot AND two flulike illnesses in January, I knew there was a good chance this was COVID-19. 

I wasn’t paralyzed by fear because my symptoms were mild, but every time the aches and pains or shortness of breath flared up, I would get scared again. And between resting and researching the symptoms of mild cases and learning about the coronavirus and supervising my kids’ new home schooling, I didn’t have the bandwidth for my creative work.

But, because I’m a coach and creative priestess, my online world is filled with coaches and spiritual people. All over my Facebook feed, people were saying, “Be in a higher vibration. Don’t live in fear. Keep going, keep doing your work…” 

I recognized the value of that, but at the same time, a part of me said, “Shut the f*ck up. I don’t want to deal with you, and I don’t want to hear about rising above fear. I’m reading about coronavirus because I might have it and I need to figure out how likely that is and what I need to watch out for, to know if I need to go to the hospital.”

Sometimes we feel fear. And there’s a reason we feel fear. It comes from our ancestors, we evolved fear as a way of recognizing danger, and it played a valuable role in keeping us alive.

Fear can point to legitimate issues we need to deal with, and it can spur us to take important action to protect ourselves. 

This is not to say you should feel fear–if you don’t, you don’t, and that’s a powerful place.

But, if you’re afraid about your health or afraid for people you love, if you’re afraid about money, or you’re questioning whether it’s meaningless to do art in a time when millions of people are dying or on the verge of dying, that is okay. There’s no need to force yourself to be “strong” or “spiritual.” 

Your fear is telling you there’s something uncertain and unknown that could be a threat–something you need to deal with. That makes sense right now.

The coronavirus is real, and the things we need to do to flatten the curve and take care of ourselves are important.

Fear-shaming or pushing fear away can be a form of “spiritual bypassing,” where you try to skip over very real and very valid emotions. (This usually causes your emotions to break out in destructive ways later on.)

It can also cause you to skip over necessary internal or practical preparation. As risk consultant Peter Sandman says, “The knee-jerk reaction of overreacting early to a potential crisis is extremely useful. Like other knee-jerk reflexes, it protects us. People who have gone through it come out on the other side calmer and better able to cope.”

There are actually stages of dealing with an epidemic: denial, panic, fear, and rational response. By moving through these stages, you prepare yourself emotionally and mentally to face what’s there. 

So be afraid if you’re afraid. Bunker down if you need to. Read obsessively about coronavirus if you need to. Let yourself cry or rage. 

Moving through the stages also means you will come out of your fear–because we’re more than our fear. 

We’re survivors. We have that in our genes and our lineage. 

Our ancestors lived through sickness and war. They lived through epidemics including plagues that killed 60% of the population. And we will survive this too. Not only that, if we choose, we can thrive.

Yes, feel the fear. Let yourself. It’s all right. 

And then let the fear go. Even when you’re still afraid, there will come a time when you’re ready to move on. 

There comes a time when your spirit says, “All right. I want more than fear. Show me the way out. Show me what to do. I know I can be more than this.”

This meditation is for that time.

A Meditation to Come Out of Fear

NOTE: The meditation itself starts at 5:05 on the video.

Breakthrough Artistic Success IS Within Your Reach (Part 2)

Breakthrough artistic success isn’t something that just happens. It isn’t a bolt of lightning that hits the lucky and extra-talented few. 

Artistic success is actually the result of several key elements coming together. (I’m talking about this in a multi-part series; this is Part 2.)

The first key to success is artistic work that truly matters to people–art that compels them, draws them in, moves them, and inspires them to share. 

Key to success #2: Quality

Now, when writers and artists talk about quality work, many of us think about practicing our craft over the years. You humbly apprentice yourself, you put in the time, and you hope that your talent will be enough. Right?

Partly.

Apprenticeship and craft are valuable–and 100% necessary. Craft and technique are what enable you to successfully translate your inner artistic vision into an external work of art.

However, there’s much more to quality than craft. Technically skillful work without anything to say usually feels cold or boring. People may admire it, but it doesn’t affect them deeply–so it’s unlikely to win awards or have raving fans. 

Also, consider this: No matter how many years of study and dedicated practice you put in, your technical artistic talent will have some limits. 

What if you never become the equivalent of Tolstoy or Picasso, Toni Morrison or Leonard Cohen? Do you resign yourself to mediocrity? 

I say no.

You can become the most brilliant version of yourself. 

You do that by finding what really wants to come out in your work–its deepest truths, most searing insights, and most moving expressions of the human condition.

So yes, dedicate yourself to perfecting your craft. 

But don’t limit it to that: find the deepest truths in your work–and bring out your truest expression. 

This brilliance–which can only come from you–is the quality you need for breakthrough success.

P.S. I’m bringing together a group of talented, ambitious artists committed to artistic success.

The CREATE! Mastermind is specifically designed to support you in EVERYTHING it takes to create a breakthrough masterpiece that can open up the floodgates of success for your artistic career.

We cover everything from doing original and brilliant work, to setting up your life so it supports your creative work, to turning your inner critic into one of your most powerful allies. 

In the CREATE! Mastermind, you’ll also uncover the deepest truths hidden in your creative work—and bring it out—so your creative work moves people and changes lives.  And, you’ll discover the unconscious emotional patterns that limit your craft—and transcend those limits to do your most powerful work yet.

This is how you create your breakthrough masterpiece.

Interested? Email me.

Breakthrough Artistic Success IS Within Your Reach (Part 1)

Deep down, most of us dream of the big breakthrough–the NY Times bestseller, indie blockbuster, or viral hit song–but we don’t believe we can do much to create that success. 

That belief is wrong.

While we don’t control whether people publish our book or buy our art… there are specific things we can do to make it likely those things will happen–and happen on a scale big enough for massive success.

So let go of the belief that breakthrough success is a bolt of lightning: rare, out of your control, and unlikely to strike.

When art or writing breaks through to become a big critical or commercial success, there are actual, predictable elements that go into making a breakthrough success.

I’m going to talk about them in three parts. Today, part one. 🙂

Key to success # 1: 

Your art has to evoke a deep response from people. 

It’s not enough to write lyrical sentences or insightful scenes–your work has to matter to people. It needs to drawn them in, keep them captivated, and affect them deeply. 

As my writing teacher Michael Cunningham once said, “People don’t want to read your book. They want to get dinner, have sex, have a beer… you have to write something so compelling that they’re standing in the bookstore unable to put your book down even though they’re hungry and they’ve got a million things to do.”

Even the most talented writers and artists fall prey to this mistake: they don’t give people a reason to care about their work. 

I’ve been a writing teacher, an editor, a reader for a prestigious literary magazine, a member of a writing group, and a participant in more workshops than I can count. And, I will tell you this: there is a lot of work that’s very well written… but doesn’t draw people in. 

This is true for all the art forms.

It doesn’t matter how technically good your art is: if people aren’t engaged, you can’t achieve external success.

So, take an honest look at your art, and ask yourself: If I were a total stranger, would this draw me in? Would I stay with it? Would it move and affect me deeply? Would I remember it a year later?

If I were in a bookstore feeling tired, distracted, and irritated, would I put this book aside impatiently and leave the store? Or keep turning page after page, leaving my everyday worries behind as I got pulled further and further into the story?

If I were starting this film when I was hungry, my toddler was crying, and my husband was texting me–would I hit the stop button and go take care of those things with no regret? Or would I ignore my rumbling stomach, pull my toddler onto my lap, tell myself my husband could wait a few minutes, and keep watching, glued to the screen?

External success comes when you create something so compelling that people are drawn in and absorbed. They leave behind everyday life with all its distractions and choices–to enter the world you create with your art.

Their response comes back to us in the form of love, fans, word of mouth, money, awards, publicity, and more.

And yes, you have a say in this success: you are the vessel for the inspirational, moving art that exists within you. You are the one who brings it out.

Ready? Your people are waiting.


P.S. I’m working with a small group of writers and artists who are creating their breakthrough masterpiece. And yes, we talk specifically about how to create art that matters and draws people in. 

How do you go in and find what’s truly compelling within your work–and bring it out successfully? 

How do you find the deepest human truths in your work? (Whatever you’re working on, there’s a good chance you can go much deeper.) 

How do you get past the unseen emotional and intellectual blocks that keep you from going to those depths… so you can create the work that draws people in–and moves them so deeply that they recommend it far and wide?

Want to hear more? Email me.

If Your Inner Critic Is on Overdrive

When you write or do your art, does your inner critic kick in?

Do the critical voices say, “This is such a cliché,” “You really need to redo this,” or “You’re nowhere near as good as so-and-so. Maybe you’ll never get there”?

If so, you could be a Perfecter.

The Perfecter has high standards and can do incredible work when they revise. But, their self-critical voices can keep them from creating in the first place.

Are you a Perfecter?

And if you are, how do you quiet the negative voices that keep interrupting you?

You can take this quiz to find out if you’re the Perfecter–and you’ll also get a ritual designed to handle your critical voices. 


P.S. If you want to go even further–and get support so you can do your art regularly and easily–email me and ask about the Artist in Action program.

What will get you past YOUR creative block?

What will get you past YOUR creative block? 

If you have trouble writing or doing your art, do you sometimes wonder WHAT will get it going again?

Part of it has to do with the TYPE of “artistic manager” you have. We all have an internal “artistic manager”: the part of you that shapes how you approach creation and art.

Each type of artistic manager has its own strengths–and weaknesses. So, it needs its own approach to move through obstacles.

I made a quiz to help you find out what type of artistic manager you have–and give you a “custom solution” for your type of block.

If you want to take the quiz–and get a creative jumpstart ritual customized for your type–go here.