Two creatives

IMG_0294Had a conversation with a friend about what she wants to do with her art business. As I sat with her I asked questions to point her into a mission. What she really wants to see. What we could build upon.

I write a heart on my paper waiting for her to tell me what she loves about her business, so I can write a word or two, beside it. She goes on to tell me that she has postponed doing certain things and had filled her life up with stuff for others in order to avoid the new mission. Automatically avoiding the real success she could have if she just did it.

I push back, and say she can do it, then in my next breath I said I get it. I feel the exact same way. The excuses build up everyday until time is wasted that you can’t get back.

I have been “home” for almost six months. Plenty of time. A real long respite from everything. How did I spend it? Helping others with their dreams.

Working on my own creative endeavors; some, but mostly I would find projects helping others which very conveniently took me away from my writing.

“I’ll get back to it.” I’d say. “Tomorrow.” Then I walk away from the computer. And another day is gone.

I will make a generality here for the sake of this post but I do realize not everyone feels this way. ( Don’t argue with me about this. I don’t care.)

Many of us are absolutely terrified of living up to our full potential and we are all afraid of rejection.

I have two other novels I could have worked on, literally with outlines. Good concepts. If I sat down and really let the words fly, I imagine I could bust them out in about six months. But then what?

As a creative, you make things. Ideas come from your heart and your mind and you put them out into the world, and sometimes the world is not hospitable. It is like holding up your child to the family for the first time and having them say your baby is ugly or stupid. These big things that we share, are our children, are our very hearts. We have carried them with us for months or years. Maybe a lifetime.

Rejection is rough. I have over twenty rejections from years ago with my children’s stories. Now trying to play with the big boys with a novel that I feel, and believe with every part of my being, could give others a sense of peace and acceptance of us being one.

But, I have no audience. No one even gets back to me. The lack of answer is the standard rejection, these days. That in itself is painful. You are not seen. Not heard. Not a person, you stand vulnerable and naked in front of them, and they turn away. Ok, that was a little dramatic, but it feels like that sometimes. Dammit.

Getting up and finding someone else to hand your heart to, then more hopes or wishes that they will get you. Trying again. Then silence. More time goes by.

Then the thoughts that eat at you. Who am I to try to put something out there? Who am I to expect an invitation to Oprah’s house to talk about my book. ( I still see it)

A lot of creatives are also “afraid” of the other side too. What if I get totally successful? What if people will then expect more from me, than I can deliver? The original came from the heart, maybe from trying to heal a dark secret or get over a painful love. What if we can’t perform on command again. What if we can’t deliver?

Many artists are especially tortured with the idea of creation. It can feel like a burden. It is because you feel compelled to do it, you have to get it out of you. many times you cannot sleep, eat or do anything until it is done. Out of you.

I loved Elizabeth Gilbert’s story in her book Big Magic that someone relayed to her. I can’t remember who it was. He looked at ideas as if they are always floating around, just waiting for someone to land on. Once he was driving on a beautiful coastal highway, when the words to his next song came to him. He screamed back “Hey! can’t you see this is not the best time for me to write this stuff down?!”

Love that. I do believe that there are always more ideas and thoughts behind the ones that get away. Sometimes I don’t even write things down anymore, I just let it go on to land on the next person. You have to prioritize, man.

I don’t even know what I am writing about anymore. Basically it was two creatives, drinking tea at an antique oak table and venting about the crap, the excuses we come up with to not do our biggest art. And it was f*&n magical.

Love days like that.

Hazel out.


Boogie down

DSCN3002I wrote this when the Baltimore riots were going on. Years ago.

Went to the gym last night. My latest campaign for fitness and losing weight. I strolled in and moved my key fob over the reader and analyzed my options.

Stair climber, elliptical, treadmill?

I focus in on the treadmill, second to the end. I walk past three people, on stationary bikes, one on the treadmill closest to the entrance, and one woman on the stair climber. I step up onto the treadmill and pull out my earphones. The wires are tangled. Figures. A short battle with them and I win. I place the buds in my ears and set the treadmill to Quick start, climbing up to 4.3 mph. A nice jog.

It is dark outside as I face the window; the reflection is my own. I watch myself, and look at the people behind me. We all have ear buds, there are many machines between us and we are all in our own worlds.  No one speaks to anyone else. I said hello to the counter person, but after that, I might as well be alone.

I turn up the radio on my iphone to listen to a particularly catchy tune. I imagine others are listening to their own catchy tunes. I think how I would like to dance to this song, but I don’t bust any moves because of what others might think of me. And, they can’t hear my music.

They can’t hear my music.

They can’t hear my music, and I can’t hear theirs.

We are orbiting planets in different universes.

It starts me thinking about how we all walk the planet.  With a lot of our interactions done on the internet; it is rare if we even reach out to new people daily.

This disconnection; I believe has led us to feel isolated as an individual, a community, a country and as a people.

I wonder what can be done to bridge the gap?

And then I thought of something.

In every culture there is a dance, or many dances. Dance has long been a way to communicate, tell stories and come together. It is used to spread joy; in celebration and in ritual. One of the gifts people have is the ability to move their bodies for no other reason, but because they can, and they hear the music that makes them feel . It makes them feel that they are a part of something.

Something bigger than themselves.

What this world needs is a dance party. A Worldwide dance party where we can see our similarities and the way our bodies move. Music is powerful. It mellows, it excites depending on the rhythm that it carries.

Ten minutes at a time,  all over the world simultaneously. So we can share something. Something amazing. Together.  We can see that we are all people, who love, dance, share a smile. Move together in a great unison of humanity.

If it were ever up to me, we would dance. And be one.

Where the Happy lives.

Wishing, waiting for happiness to come.
There is a phenomenon that has swept us all up. The idea that happiness is around the corner. That it is product of reaching blank, being able to afford blank, or when this specific thing happens. The problem with attaching your happiness to some entity outside of yourself is that that goal is always movable. It serpentines away from you. Things are shiny. There is always something behind the blank, a new blank tempting to steal the happy and extend it out. The blank steals our attention and takes away from what is.
I wish that people could see what is right in front of them.
They are missing out, always looking for the future. The future is unattainable, for it is always further than one can touch. People that spend their lives worrying about the future, or looking back in retrospect to what happened years ago. Living in the past or the future robs you of the present. It robs others too. Oftentimes, people that are stuck in the idea that happiness is the product of an outside event or position; have people around them that enjoy the now. It is exhausting to always trying to help them appreciate what they have, to be grateful for what is. I’m tired of listening to people waiting for their lives to be nice. When and if blank happens.
Please do not mistake, I see definite value in thinking about the future in reference to taking care of yourself when you are older, however, make a damn plan, work the plan and look up at what is happening right now. Depression is another thing. Get some help. Make a damn plan and work that plan. Then get on with it.

You are missing:
Being happy holding hands on the couch listening to the rain. Looking into the eyes of child who is still filled with wonder and brightness. A surprise package at the door. A phone call from a friend. Your favorite sandwich. A smile from a stranger. Remembering that time you were a hero to someone. Finding something you thought you lost. Rifling through a box of old photographs and seeing a funny hairstyle you had. Connecting to a new book. You miss seeing the daisy open for the day. Your child’s excitement when they score well on a test. Feeling proud. Getting pulled into the plot of a movie. Your wife wearing a dress and making herself pretty. Having lunch with a friend. Taking a walk with your love. Doing a puzzle with your kids. A walk in an antique mall and seeing your old toys displayed. Remembering when you were a kid. When your Dad took you fishing or your Mom let you lick the spoon. The site and sound of the ocean. The First snow of the season. The sunlight on your face. Wrapping up in a blanket with a hot chocolate or coffee. Brand new rubber boots. You are missing your bliss.
A (happy) distractor- Retail therapy. Stuff is just stuff. Perhaps spending money you don’t have on things that you kind of like in an effort to be happy. Trouble is that most people that cope in this way, don’t have the extra to be able to sustain it. It is unsustainable. There is always something new and then the debt builds up, stealing the happy, extending out the happy to the unknown.
If you look around and see that stuff is what you will remember when you are on your deathbed and people and memories are unimportant, I invite you to open your eyes. And see.

Another happy distractor- Addiction. My uncle drank himself to death. An amazing, creative and hilarious man, believed that success was always out there. And when it didn’t show up on his schedule, he drank to forget. He drank to escape, he drank for whatever reason he could. And he died. Without reaching the success in writing and film that he wanted. It’s over. This one encompasses retail therapy and drugs as well.

A way to start seeing and feeling your happy is to Love. Remember what you love. If you love flowers, plant or buy flowers. If you love a movie, watch it and remember why. If you love to paint or you love art, go to a museum. If you love animals, visit a shelter and care for them or take one home. Follow your love, as much as you possibly can and soon you will feel happy bits enter your life.
Say the word love. Say it a lot. I love this coffee, I love this outfit, I love this restaurant. Love is not only for your partner and your family. The architecture of this building can be something you love. Love everything. Sometimes I just say Love, because I Love love.
If you don’t love something, move on to something you do.
My wish is that you see the potential happy that is around you today. Smile at the people you see to show that you see them. Do something that helps someone. Appreciate the little things. Expand yourself.
Feel the happy in the waking up Late on a Sunday. Your favorite song on the radio.
Feel the happy in everything you do, see and touch.
I know it can be hard. I promise, though, that it is worth it.
The happy lives in you.
With Love, Hazel


A tear.

A tear fell from the corner of my eye and streaked down my face. It was not a tear of despair, or sadness, but a tear of change.

For so long I have played small. Not doing everything in my power to shine. I hid, afraid of being seen and afraid to show up my loved ones. There is a passion in me. The essence of giving and of my storytelling needs to be seen, and felt and heard.

The tear was there as a reminder of time that had passed. Time that could not be retrieved, it was gone. There was only now, this moment. I stand at the gateway of my new life and gather the confidence to step through. A long sigh. More tears.
Years back I had let go of the shame of crying. I had seen my strong grandmother do it, my mother and my children. There is a flushing, a cleansing when it is happening that helps or soothes.

Tears of happiness, sadness, great disappointment and love. Watching your child walk for the first time, their first smile. When you graduate from school. Events. Events that are yours to keep in your heart. Things we have done.

Tears connect us.
They say “I understand, I’ve been there, I am with you.”
There is no shame in connection. I have seen tears of pride, tears of joy and tears of pain. How amazing it is that God has provided such a way for us to express our feelings. People fight it, they say crying means you are weak. I think when we fight this urge we are disengaging in the very thing that holds us together. The One.

Another tear falls, and another. It is the One who has made me, gifted me with the ability to tell stories, to speak my truth and to share with others. And I have hid it away. Ashamed of being different, ashamed of being me. Who am I to walk into the world and introduce myself, who am I to ask for more than what I have right now. Who are any of us?
Yet, who are we to hide away, to not live our most ultimate life? The gifts within ourselves nurture others, give life to others. Moments of inspiration, healing and courage. It is a must that we all shine as brightly as we are meant to. It is in honor of the world that we barrel through.

If we don’t do it now, when will we have a chance? There is only now, only this moment. Shine on.
Big love, HIMG_3912

Nostalgia is only for older people

DSCN4321Walked through the mown down forest by my home (soon to be a large, tight housing development) and thought, remember when these were trees, and you could hear the birds and animals scurrying about?

The sounds now were of children laughing in their small yards completely oblivious to the scalping of nature right next to their homes.

They will grow up with neighbors and have friends that they can go to school with through the years. Perhaps they will find their future spouses and have families of their own.

The current twenty something’s are into the latest technology, just as we were years ago. We had been dazzled with the VCR and a microwave that could cook our food in no time at all.  Cable TV and  movies you could rent anytime you wanted. Drive in theaters.

Every generation becomes nostalgic of what they had in their younger years. They watch with great excitement the new stuff that they got to see come into the world. The older stuff is set aside as obsolete.

Yet, those that came before, sat amazed, and felt nostalgic of the things that they remembered back in their time.

So is the cycle. Looking back and remembering.

My time was better than now, better than theirs who came before. We all feel like that. That our time was the best, feeling sorry for the rest.

It is only when you are older that you miss stuff. Moments, certain fragrances, clothes that were hip. Music is a big one.

The current generation has no idea what we had, and we have no idea what they have. It is my hope that each generation will feel the feelings of belonging and what life is really about.

I am nostalgic for the open spaces and the games played with friends outside until dark. The playing so hard you forgot to eat, and running next door to see if your friend was home.

Many of those things are going away. Life is complicated. Different.

That’s why I miss the good ol’ days.


Apples, oranges and bananas

orangeWith mid-life, one has some time and experience to look back and really assess the situation of one’s life. It is a good time to make sure you are being your best self. That the decisions you are making are your own and that you can live with them.

A big part of my decision making, has been my desire to make my daughters’ proud. I wanted them to see me succeed in a general sense. And I have at times done that.

Now, as I ready for a change again, due to circumstances I will not go into, I am faced with telling them I am on the move again.

I think the reason I didn’t want to tell them and the reason I maybe stayed longer than I might have, is two fold. I like the money and the stability, however, I really didn’t want to tell my daughters’ I was quitting.

I have figured out why. Their father, a very good man, is as stable as they come. In this disastrous employment environment called the 21st century, this man has managed to stay with the same company in similar roles for 37 years. THIRTY SEVEN.

Now in comparison, I have had numerous jobs, three start ups and am also writing a book. Sorry, four businesses.

If one would make a side by side comparison between us; obviously one would be a winner and one would be a LOSER. However, it came to me recently that we are measuring people as if they come from the same mold. Apples to Apples.

I must be an orange. I love the thrill of a start up. The brainstorming, the dynamic mind melding that comes when a small group decides to chase their dreams. If not dreams, an incredible idea that they want to share with the world. The creative juices flowing and overflowing until you look down at your sweaty, blistered hands and realize that you have made something. Made something from nothing.

There must be great satisfaction in having a nice comfortable life with plenty of money, a job you go to everyday and enjoy. The contentment of a nice stable, career. I applaud those who have that. I celebrate that you love that or have that. Go Apples.

But it is when it is not wanted, but a self imposed necessity, that I find sad. Some have a fire inside that they let become embers. That the societal belief that one should stay in the same place and for the long term, and the shaming that happens when one chooses another life than that, is what we need to change.

We need to start appreciating the ones who take chances, the ones who looked at the odds and made the jump anyway. There is bravery and pride in going beyond the proven way.

Oranges have made the Iphone, they have built up cars that run on alternate fuels. They have built empires, and have struggled, each of them, along the way. There are Oranges that never make it, but they just keep trying.

What I cannot get behind any longer is the shaming. The expectations that one has to fit into this mold to be considered successful. I hope my daughters will see a Mom that went for it. That she might have been a little more nomadic than some, but she was always excited about creating and searching for the next big thing. Something to build, something to make. Something to write.

Apples make a huge contribution to society, and I am thankful for apples. I am thankful for oranges, and my God, those bananas. They are fabulous. We all have a place, with a job in being in this world.

There is room for all of us in this fruit bowl called life. Enjoy ~ Hazel.

Writing and Reading, and not reading.

Feather from JonathanI have a favorite author, one I watch, and follow and listen to, but I have never read her books. I have picked them up and purchased them, but I always set them down.

She has a highly intellectual, academic way of writing that really taxes my brain. Big long words. Many of them. Too many of them per sentence.

When I read a paragraph, I end up putting the book down, going to the dictionary three times and having to sit and let it sink in. It just doesn’t move me, like it should. Like I know it is supposed to. Like I know it does for others.

I wish it did.

Maybe it’s because I am a story teller myself. The way I write is the way I talk, I can use big words; but I rarely do, as the simple ones do just fine.

Sometimes, it feels like these academically charged self help books are for an upper class of people only. The ones that went to college for fifteen years, have multiple degrees and huge boxes of vocabulary at home just for fun. They sit at the breakfast table and discuss hyperbole, and what they will have for dinner in the next fortnight. Ugh, who talks like that?

When you are working on yourself, you don’t want to have to work to think as well. Your brain is already rearranging a lot of inner thoughts and judgements about the way you are; into the way you want to be. That is hard work in itself.

I appreciate everything she says when I hear her speak, but the way she writes, makes me nuts. And it’s ok. Because others like it. And she’s successful. And that’s great.

I am grateful for TV, and the internet for showing me who she is as a person, and for being able to hear her say the things that are in her books. Sometimes with big words because she cannot help herself; but also with regular words that the brain can digest when open.

Gratitude that there are all different types of people. Grateful for the many ways to see and hear them.

There is room for us all. ~ Hazel