Harness The Energy [on KS Friday]

boundaries song box copy

Lately, in my new role as co-managing director of a performing arts space, I find myself repeating the same simile/metaphor over and over and over and over… (insert Kerri’s eye roll). This week, my favorite-simile-repetition goes something like this: communication is like a river, it needs proper banks if it is going to flow. Without banks, it spills out all over the place flooding basements and creating havoc.

Needless to say, our job thus far is largely about placing proper banks on this flood plain of communication. Placing proper banks, at first, creates consternation and resistance. No one likes a limit until the limit works in their favor, until the constraint makes life easier.

Boundaries. Limits. Constraints. It is what I adore about the arts: freedom of artistic expression is the result of discipline, technique, and practice. And, the heart-desire of discipline, technique and practice is unfettered play. It is a paradox. It is boundaries placed on a rushing torrent so it can flow. The harnessing of creative energy. Communication is an intentional art and art is communication with an intention.

Kerri’s BOUNDARIES is a bubbling brook, bright with the morning sun, tumbling and playful within its banks. It seems so easy, her flow. But I know the truth. This ease and flow, this call to put your feet in the brook and rest for awhile with the sun on your face, comes from the years and years of hours and hours and hours of practice. Boundaries. A riverbank, a limit that will work in your favor. It is the creative flow through a heart that desires to play and play and play.

 

BOUNDARIES on the album RIGHT NOW is available on iTunes & CDBaby

 

read Kerri’s blog post about BOUNDARIES

 

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boundaries/right now ©️ 2010 kerri sherwood

Release The Edge

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Usually, there is a lake….

Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you dont give up. ~ Anne Lamott

Sometimes the fog hangs heavy all day along the shore of the lake. The sun tries in vain to penetrate the fog so the air glows. When, in combination with the fog, the lake is still, like it was today, it becomes invisible, inaudible; the lake disappears. Standing on the great rock barriers, staring into the void, it feels as if you have arrived at the edge of the world.

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looking the other direction

All of my life I have been fascinated by edges. What is the line between wild and tame? Most good stories require a stride beyond the boundary, a movement into territories unknown. And, at the end of the story, what was once known becomes unfamiliar. Every ending is a beginning. What is the line that distinguishes the known from the other place? A good dose of reason will assure us that most things can be understood but a walk through a spring meadow or a night spent gazing into the stars will remind us that understanding is illusive or at best illusionary. What do we understand?

Once, working with a group of teachers, we had a terrific discussion about beginnings. Where does a story or a life begin? There is always an easy answer, “Once upon a time,” a birth date, when two people meet, the day the crisis arrived on the doorstep. In fact there is always a multitude of easy answers, of possible beginnings, and none of them are definitive. Which beginning point is the beginning point? At what moment did success arrive? Or, when did failure begin? Does my life begin with my parents or their parents or…? Edges are esoteric!

There is a long tradition in the arts of Dances with Death. Paintings, dances, compositions, plays,…; Hamlet ponders life as he holds poor Yorick’s skull. It passes all too quickly. Most spiritual traditions carry the notion that life cannot be understood, valued, or fully appreciated without first grasping that this life-ride is limited. Living a good life, a fully appreciated life, demands a nod to the edge. It’s the ultimate paradox.

I’ve courted a bundle of trouble in my life because I rarely see the black-and-white of things. Where is the line between hope and hopeless? What wall delineates faith-full and faith-less? Like happiness, edges are made, not found. Ask a physicist if it is a particle or a wave and they will uniformly answer, “It depends upon where you place your focus.” Even in the era when people believed there was a hard edge to the world and finding it meant falling off, sailors supplied their ships and sailed toward the horizon to find it.

 Icarus reached for the sun.

Icarus

Give Yourself Some Advice (2)

Finishing a painting is really about having a conversation with yourself. This one is talking!

Finishing a painting is really about having a conversation with yourself. This one is talking!

[continued from Give Yourself Some Advice]

Here’s the next bit of an email Horatio sent to me with his Advice To Myself. He wrote it following a question from a reporter about advice he’d give to emerging filmmakers. I am particularly fond of this section as many of my teachers, mentors, and guides are now passing away and I am revisiting what is mine to add to this “ancient conversation.” Here is the next section of Horatio’s advice to himself (for the full text, visit his blog at www.fidalgofilms.com):

Respect the boundaries of others; do not seek to control anyone else. You can only control your own choices.

Learn and honor with absolute integrity your own boundaries so that others may not try to control you or your work. Unfortunately, this is usually only learned through a certain amount of trial and error. 

Learning to trust is an art, and absolutely necessary. Learn to trust yourself first. Learn to trust others.

Always respect the tradition of your work, its ancient human conversation.

Connect to tradition, to all your teachers and your teachers’ teachers. Give yourself to it so that it can give to you and to your work. Honor it with rigor and doubt, with hours and hours of study and practice.

Then let your teachers go, follow the path that you understand as truth. You will know it when you see it. It will be your part of the ancient conversation. Likely, you will find that parts of one or two of your teachers have become part of you.

If you do not let your teachers go, your part of the ancient conversation will not be yours, but rather what you think other people want you to add to the conversation. That is not from you and only clogs up the conversation.

[to be continued]

Horatio asks great questions: What is the tradition that you carry forward? I follow the line of Tom and Marcia McKenzie, who learned from DeMarcus Brown, who learned from Eva Le Gallienne, who learned from…. What teachers/teaching do you need to let go?

Go here to get my latest book, The Seer: The Mind of the Entrepreneur, Artist, Visionary, title_pageSeeker, Learner, Leader, Creator…You.

Or, go here for hard copies (Amazon)

 

Listen To Fuji

771. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

Over the next few days I’ll be hanging out with Judy’s cat, Fuji. Fuji is a wise old soul and her needs are simple. She wants attention when she wants it and not a moment before. She is unequivocal when she wants space. She requires food and water and has specific preferences for her food. Fuji is not a goat. Fuji is very clear about what she wants and expects. Fuji has very clear boundaries.

This morning was my first morning alone with Fuji. I’ve never had a cat. I am a dog person. I assumed that I would have trouble understanding Fuji’s needs without a cultural informant but in a relatively short amount of time Fuji taught me the essentials of cat communication. Fuji is a love and appreciates being greeted in the morning. We had a nice pet and then she walked to her bowl and stared at me. Her message was clear so I put food in her bowl. Next she drank a prodigious amount of water and I refreshed her supply. While I filled the water dish Fuji settled into her favorite spot on the back of the couch and yowled at me. I responded immediately and rubbed her ears and beneath her chin until she was sated with attention. Then, she slept.

As a coach I often have conversations with clients about proper boundaries. As I watched Fuji drop into sleep I marveled at how easy our communication had been. There was no hinting, no guessing, no apologizing, no timid offers, no power games, no diminishment, and no justification of need. She told me what she wanted and when she wanted it. I complied when I could. There was no confusion and no miscommunication.

Don Miguel Ruiz writes that the most potent act of self-love is being impeccable to your word: say what you mean and mean what you say. It is self-love because it is not predicated on the needs of others. It is not dissipated by worth issues or control games. Impeccability is predicated on the understanding that your needs are valid and yours to communicate without justification or defense. In this sense, clarity and transparency are expressions of self-love.

Fuji is a great teacher. Note: as I came back this evening Fuji opened an eye and said, “Pet me, please.” I gave her a pet and she fell back into a deep, restful sleep.