The news “reported” that a storm was coming and that we should be prepared for power outages. At three AM this morning I woke up from sound of strong gusts of wind and now that there’s light at seven AM, I see the trees dancing in full force over the rippling waves of the Pacific Ocean.
There’s a storm brewing in many of us right now trying to “make sense” of how our world changed so quickly. Many people wanting for everything to get back to “normal” and we have yet to experience the true “cost” of what’s transpiring.
Some of us are in deep mourning around what we have lost, some feel a sense of despair as we experience our freedoms “being taken away” and some are simply going inward and cleaning out our deep conditioning and trauma. We each weather the storm in our own way — when we choose how we respond to the level of disruption we experience.
For me, it all unravelled when I started questioning everything after years of staying silent. I always felt a bit of an outsider and moving around from an early age always made me different, especially when I arrived at a new school in a new country in the middle of the school year. Can you imagine always being the new kid who was not like everyone else?
I was forced to create a fake English name in high school when the principal told my father that my real name would make it harder for me in his school. Can you imagine having to change your name at sixteen so you can fit in?
I was taught that someone outside of me had my answers and I always found it puzzling because they didn’t bother to understand my questions, or simply shut them down. And what I learned was to fear being criticized, asking controversial questions and rocking the boat. But the truth of the matter was that in a world that tried to make me like everyone else, I kept getting lost in someone else’s story.
I have lived a full life and am very grateful for every experience — the ones that broke me wide open and the ones that healed my brokenness. I learned that no one has my answers because they don’t always know my questions and what’s deep in my heart. I learned not to fear being criticized and by writing this trilogy, I am poking at society’s wounds, and my own, by discussing them openly.
I learned that my work is not for everyone as some people want to accept things as they are and unlike me, don’t question. And so I focus on my own journey with a dream of helping anyone who is ready to explore the unknown.
Yesterday, Dave, who is visiting his brother, sat right across from me and told me that he started reading my book but prefers to read James Patterson’s books on detectives on a mission. I was surprised by my own reaction as I asked him why he read a third of my book when he knew it wasn’t for him. Dave said it was all common sense for him but he knew that his sister would benefit from the book. Later, I realized that my book actually scared him as he was at a point in his life where he simply wanted to play golf, read mysteries and enjoy his family.
It is the quandary I am in though and the storm I am weathering as I not only write and self-publish but also work to get the books to anyone who is ready to explore the edges. In a noisy world where everyone is vying for our attention, it’s not simple to connect with the people who would benefit most. There is no “targeted” demographic so I keep playing with the universe knowing all I can do is create and celebrate when one person is sparked.
But I keep going since I get different experiences when the book reaches the people I am writing for. Last week, Mandy told me that she not only questioned whether people in her life were toxic but she also asked herself whether she herself was toxic. She is going through a big storm in her life. Her son has experienced a great deal of loss and she dropped everything to be with him. The words that were entrusted to me in the book are guiding her to navigate this turbulent time. Mandy is also setting boundaries and not allowing anyone to suppress how she shows up in the world. It’s quite humbling to hear her experiences and how the book is supporting her. And it has nothing to do with me.
We’re all wounded. No one is spared. We haven’t had the opportunity to talk openly about it in a divided world where we often get shut down. But for some of us, this is no longer an option. We are doing our own work at our own pace.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how vulnerable we are when we unleash the artist within in a world filled with division, judgement and hate. We can pour our heart out into our art, and another can dismiss it in seconds
The Artist Within Us
It used to be that artists could focus on creating whether a painting or a book. But for independent authors like myself, the expectation is that we master marketing since we don’t have huge publishing budgets behind us. If you decide to write a book, you will most likely hear experts telling you to spend a year building your author platform as it’s more important than your book. And again, this advice points you in the direction of finding influencers and the dying marketing machine dictating to you how to find your audience. So, it is interesting for those of us who walked away from the manual of success, to connect with those ready for what we have to offer.
When you cook a healthy meal, you select healthy ingredients and then spend time weaving them together to create an experience — the meal. If you have invited others to share in the meal, you get to see firsthand how they respond to your craft of cooking. But when I spent months and months writing this trilogy what motivated me most was the impact the words would have on every person they would touch.
The artist within me sprinkled the pages with my desire for more people around the world to discover our own wonder, trek into the unknown and trust our heart. I had a deep knowing in my own heart that when each do our own work, we’d emerge as co-authors of our lives, and no longer be consumers in a marketplace.
I have confidence that when we’re doing our own work and are healthy to the core, we can co-produce a healthy world. It gets me excited to know that planting these seeds can help us thrive, and not suffer through our lives.
Maybe one day I can sit and watch people’s reactions to my art beyond cooking a meal. But until then, I have to rely on hearing back from you through an online review, email or mention. I struggle with traditional marketing and hope that as more of us experience these books, we can talk about what’s in them and the impact they had on us. I am sure each one of us has an artist within us with a deep desire to follow our hearts.
Renowned martial artist, Bruce Lee, and founder of the martial arts, Jeet Kune Do, was an artist who pursued truth and beauty, using his physical and emotional body as art. In his own words, he shared,
“I have always been a martial artist by choice and an actor by profession. But, above all, I am hoping to actualize myself to be an artist of life along the way . . . I don’t know what is the meaning of death, but I am not afraid to die. And I go on, non-stop, going forward, even though I, Bruce Lee, may die some day without fulfilling all of my ambitions, I will have no regrets. I did what I wanted to do and what I’ve done, I’ve done with sincerity and to the best of my ability. You can’t expect much more from life.”
Revered by generations as the greatest martial artist in popular culture, his art and poetry continue to inspire the awakening of generations. He writes, “By martial art I mean, like any art, an unrestricted expression of our individual soul … The human soul is what interests me. I live to express myself freely in creation.”
We continue together, walking and exploring heart to heart, along the path of creation. After all, isn’t that why we’re all here?
Blessings on your journey!