America’s Got Talent – Big Dreams and Small Steps

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Last night I watched a re-run of America’s Got Talent.  Barbara Padilla sang and of course blew the judges away.  Me too.  She’s from Mexico, her mother used to play opera all the time and she sang along.   She didn’t become a professional though, it’s hard to understand why, her voice is phenomenal.

She was light years ahead of everybody else, but she didn’t win, because not enough people like opera.  It’s a weird competition.  I think the judges recognize talent, but talent doesn’t dictate the winner.  It’s the ultimate illustration of the real value of being worshipped by millions or being cast aside.  It doesn’t say anything about talent at all.   Doesn’t mean you’re really good – or bad – at what you do. It says the people who vote don’t put talent at the top of their list.

I wonder how many people there are whose creativity never sees the light of day because they believe they aren’t talented enough to win huge competitions, so they don’t start with the small steps.  They just put it all aside.   Watching Barbara, at one point I thought what the hell am I doing?  I can’t sing like that.  I felt myself get smaller and smaller, until I had convinced myself that I couldn’t sing at all.

Then I remembered.  I’m not in competition with anybody.  So I sang something out loud, and felt the pleasure of it, and that was enough.  I’m not Barbara Padillo, and of course I wish I could express through such powerful talent.  Oh my, it must be glorious.  Well, I can give up because I’m not the best, or I can accept what I am and do the best I can with it from now on. It inspired me to be more focused.

Big dreams, big competitions, are important, but you have to be careful about letting the dream  get so huge that there’s too much of a gap between them and the reality of what you’re able to do, because it’s the action that makes it happen.   It’s easy to become discouraged if you can’t do small steps.   If you stay in your head, and get too disconnected from doing the thing you love, the dream gets bigger and more distorted and you get smaller and more disabled.

So, dreams are great, performances are wonderful, but so is practicing, and the small steps.  A balance between the two makes the whole package.  You start with the second and build up to the first.  I’d love to see a talent show that’s about the build-up, the practicing, blood sweat and tears, facing fear, needing support.

I’m going to call that teacher I had once, to at least find out what she charges.  I’m in a different place, more receptive perhaps, less defensive.  Maybe this time I can access what she has to offer.  Still can’t afford it, but I might as well ask the question.  Surely some kind of solution will open up.

Right.  Time to sing.  Whoopee.

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Home is Where the Heart is

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I’m having a GRRR moment.  I want to load slides onto photo place where I can sell them.  Needed scanner.  Landlady said use mine.  I hooked it up, got slides out, all excited.  Yes, this is a way to earn interim money and be creative!

The bleeding thing doesn’t work.   Keep getting infuriating message saying device isn’t hooked up.  So what am I supposed to do?  Send it to online dating?  Mmmm.  Have hit dead end.   Don’t like dead ends.  Tantrum impending.

Right. Love those tantrums.  So I need: scanner that works, and decent digital camera to take more photos.  Don’t know how I can get them but know I need them.  It’s all I can do for now.  Move away from what’s frustrating you if you can’t do anything about it, Jennifer.   Okay, okay.

I walked some of the way to therapy this morning.  It’s a cold quite rainy day, so beautiful.   The air crisp, the ocean a pale acqua, lots of white in the sky.   My heart felt full.   How lucky I am to have found a person to help me make sense of everything, and lead me away from my own dead end type of thinking and living.

What a painful nightmare if your life is twisting in the wind, your experiences are taking you further and further away from what makes sense to you, your world keeps imploding, and you don’t know how to stop the roller coaster.

It used to be my story, but it’s not any more.  Now?   I’m surrounded by amazing people who all seem to really love me just for who I am, and who let me love them too.   As far as dreams go, that’s been number one since I was v. small.   Suddenly am feeling that I have a home.  Flipping marvelous.

Never felt I had one.   I wandered around the world, trying to flee gruesome demons, riding my bicycle, doing adventurous things, trying to settle, trying to find home geographically.  Is it here?  Is it here? Nope.  Kept having to move from one place to the next; that small child within crying out where’s home, am I ever going to have a home?

Whoopidie doodah.  Wouldn’t you know, it’s not geographical.  It’s right deep within.  You know how to recognize it when you’ve cleaned up the inner mess, and can risk being real and people love you anyway.  It’s the love and the real connection, from heart to heart, that counts.  It’s my home.  I’m not saying I don’t want the physical one too.  Of course I do, I’m not that spiritual, but first things first.

What have I done with this day so far?  Haven’t sung, played piano, written script or anything.  Let’s see.  Getting to therapy and back – 2 hours, v. good, v. worth it.  Therapy – 1 hour, spectacular. Wrestling with dumb scanner – 4 hours, eugh. Tantrum – 1 minute v. high quality.  Blog – 2 hours, of which time spent writing and deleting – 1 hour.

Minutes spent contemplating how life doesn’t always give you what you want but it gives you what you need, so you can make that connection with people and yourself – plenty.   Gotta get that in place first.   Without it, anything else I build is a house of cards.  I’ve done house of cards.  It’s not all it’s built up to be.

My take on the Truth about Life and its Crises

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Thinking about crisis.   My take on it is that it shatters denial that everything’s okay right deep within and exposes the reality of everything that has created an impoverished self esteem.   Part of the denial is the material world we build around us, that tells us and everybody else we’re okay Jack.   That world was built on beliefs about Right and Wrong, and our deservability.   It wasn’t built on ultimate truth.

The thing is, they were our parents’ and society’s beliefs, not ours.   We just soaked them up unknowingly.   That’s what children do.    We learned to compromise ourselves, suppress emotions and needs, be unselfish, be practical, be in control, be spiritual, be nobody.   All for the greater good of humanity which never transpires, or to get to heaven which never happens.

It stands to reason that any world constructed on that basis is going to be limiting.   You think? It doesn’t allow you to breathe, let alone listen to your heart and soul’s desires and follow your dreams.   But this is the authentic you, the part that nobody can alter.   Not even you.   It’s that which is sacred and unique about everybody.   It has huge power.

So here I am with my sacred part shut in a dark room somewhere in the recesses of a world I’ve constructed that complies with other people’s rules.   I’m stuck in a tiny little box.   I force myself to do things I really don’t want to do.   I rationalize that I must do them because it makes me responsible, keeps me safe…   Then bam!   CRASH!  Crisis from out of left field. The world I’ve constructed falls apart.

When our little safe and stifling box gets shattered, terrifying as it may be, I believe there is the potential for something much, much better in the wings.   I don’t mean holy-spiritual.   I mean at every level of life – “this is more fun, it gives me more freedom, more love, more mobility, more pleasure, more joy, more creative expression, makes life more meaningful, makes me thrilled to be alive”.   And yes, I believe material reward is part of it.   I don’t buy this “got to be poor to be spiritual or enlightened” thing.   Can be if you want to, but that’s your choice.

So the crash is about breaking new ground.   Being a pioneer for your life, sorting through the rubble, working out what beliefs you want to keep and which ones you want to toss out.    Building a new foundation based on rules that work for you, and on which you can construct a bigger box that lets you live a bigger life, where you’re the boss.   Isn’t there a term for that?   Yess!   Stepping out of History.    Hah!

Pioneering is v. exciting and v. challenging.   Looks romantic from the outside.   It’s more like fighting bloody wars from the inside.   And they’re all inside your own head, which makes it even harder, because you have to deal with “am I just insane?” all the time as well.

Worth it, though.   My last thought on this: I don’t think anything happens for nothing, I don’t believe in chaos, and I think every crisis, no matter how small it might seem or how impossibly insurmountable, has the potential for a very brilliant outcome.   Just don’t give up.  That’s all, she wrote.

2010 World Cup Soccer Final and the Big Event in my Heart

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Here on the edge of Africa, on July 10 2010, the eve of the 2010 World Cup Soccer Final, millions are holding their breath in expectation.  Outside,  it’s white and grey, wintry cold and raining.  The street separating me from the ocean is wet; cars adorned with flags of every description swoosh by.  Tomorrow, tomorrow.

But for me today is much more important, and inside my heart it’s summer, the sun is shining, and I have a much bigger event happening.  It’s called friendship.

This blog is dedicated to friends who just accept you for who you are.  They don’t care if you’re a fruit-loop or a downright raving maniac.  They don’t see your vulnerability and your spectacular failures as something shameful.  They sure don’t see it the way you see it!  You don’t have to hide anything from them.  They don’t hide their vulnerability from you.

You don’t have to run any more when you have friends like this.  Let me tell you something, I’m one very, very lucky woman.