It’s not what you thought…. then what?

It’s not what you thought…. then what?

It’s not what you thought…. then what?

When the end product is so good, but the getting there isn’t, what do you do? Anyone on any kind of team knows what I’m talking about. A team—could be a work partner, a dance troupe, a writing group, a band, Some sort of partnership that takes collaboration to complete the picture.

Over the years of my teaching, performing, and coaching career, I have had questions about just this thing, so many times, from fellow dancers and artists around the globe, from dance teachers, dance students, troupes, folks who want to start a project or a business with someone. It’s is easy to be seduced by the positive creative energy of the moment, when you get lit up by someone or a group, and you want to go high speed ahead.

How many of you have started a collaborative project, excited to be working with this new, outstandingly creative soul, or group of people, thinking that your vision has come true, that your art form will see the light of day, that your words will get published, your song heard, your dance seen? You have found the perfect people, the incredible outlet you’ve been waiting for. You are on a creative bender; you’re on fire, juices flowing out of you like you are going to burst. You become attached at the hip with this other person, because you are trusting, breaking down your guarded walls that you built from previous painful encounters. You are spilling your guts, high on adrenaline and excitement because that final product is so freakin’ good. You pour your heart and soul into this adventure.

Yet, somewhere, along the path and in the back of your heart, there comes a little black cloud, billowing every now and again. It glides into view, peaking at you, as if giving you a wink and a nod, saying, “hey hey, watch out li’l sister, don’t put all your eggs in one basket,” then it disappears, and you do put everything you’ve got into it. That is not a bad thing sometimes. But your intuition speaks the truth to you. It is important to slow down and listen to yourself too.

So you realize after awhile that you are starting to tiptoe around your creative crew, because while the result is super powerful, maybe the getting there is starting to feel icky, like you are compromising what you thought you were working on, yourself and your integrity, your beliefs and even your health.

WTF? Dang it, what has happened, what has changed?

…is what you are saying now. You sweat with anxiety. Something is amiss.

You decide to lay your heart on the table. To say something is wrong. Can we look at this? Knowing how hard any kind of confrontation is for you, you have to do it anyway. Because this just can’t continue, you can’t overextend yourself and not feel good, and you are starting to worry what is down the road if you continue.

Communication is the hardest part of being with someone- whether it is in marriage, work, friendship. It is heart rendering to say what you feel, when you know it could create discomfort, defensiveness, questioning. And when you approach it with a loving heart and sincerity, it can be a beautiful thing, one of growth and connection. Listening is a true art form, to truly hear another person, with no judgment but a willingness to hear and be a part of the solution.

If you really want this “thing” to succeed, it needs to be bigger than you. To continue and to prosper there may be the need and desire to adapt, change, compromise in a positive way, to make it better. You need to listen as well as speak your mind. If you can agree on moving forward together, fabulous, and it may be much smoother, easier, even more creative. It’s like breaking some ice, learning even more what each other wants and knowing that you can do it and how to do it together.

Or you may decide to stop instead of continue on.

In which case, you pick yourself up, you stitch your heart back together, and you move forward, and on to the next incarnation of your creative forces. Definitely back to your personal vision, to commitment to what you believe in with the desire not to get caught up in something that is not quite right for you, maybe dysfunctional or even disastrous, and you can quit compromising too far. You have learned a little bit, or a lot more about yourself, what you desire, how you want to feel, and how far you can go. That is a beautiful thing! And a cause for celebration. It is not the end of the world, or your creativity.

Because you have to do what is right for you, what speaks to your heart and soul.

Most, or all, relationships take a certain kind of compromise and commitment, to create together and share a vision. Often one does need to bend and lighten up, to share and enjoy each other’s dreams, processes, ethics.

But not when it becomes unhealthy. When I went through a journey like this recently, I had to listen to my heart and do what was right for my own creative soul. I had to stand up and step it up, walk through the anxiety and the dis-communication because the end picture was not going where I thought it was anymore. I actually have had to do this many times on my creative path,as I have worked with lots of amazing folk, but changes happen. I had to do what was best for me, my health, sanity, and what my vision was, which is ultimately best for all.

How do you deal with it? How to continue when you have a broken heart, or you are broke, or you feel let down, or your creative juices have stopped? Take time if you need it, but you have to move forward, loving what you did, no matter how short, and celebrate that creative process, that time. With no regrets, no revenge, no what-ifs. Most things aren’t forever. Enjoy that time, then let go, and then move on…right?

Here’s to honoring our creative processes, with beautiful collaborations, making art, making the world a better place, sharing the dreams, and on to the next journey!

Tell us in the comments below how you have gotten through times like this, and what you did! Or what you think about this.

Thanks for being here, and by the way…thanks for all the healing well wishes toward all of my family… I fell the love, and my mom is getting better, yay!


~~~~~~~~~~OH, and  new WORKSHOP added, with me!


If you are in the Columbus, Ohio area, I am teaching a workshop this coming Saturday, January 18th, 5-7 pm…thanks to Laylia!

Read more and register here.


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