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Create or Die

A Manifesto For Fearless
Creators Everywhere

This book reveals just why creativity is the backbone of happiness and success, regardless of your occupation. It discusses the many adversaries to creativity that we are surrounded by and shows how to overcome them to create a powerful life by your own design.

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Run and Cry

Have you ever been in a situation – such as visiting with relatives (or dealing with collaborators, or etc) – where your head is ready to explode?

I’m sure you have.

Here’s the thing: It’s nothing wrong with them. They are who they are. You are who you are. Nobody is going to fundamentally change.

This is true even when they’re good people who are well intentioned (as the relatives I’m currently visiting are). This is true when they are not so good and not so well intentioned.

It is universal. It has nothing to do with the rightness or the wrongness of anyone involved. Yet so often we tend to make it about that. “They’re wrong and I’m right.” It makes your ego feel good but never solves the situation. Yes, I tried that for many years. Nothing changed.

In this conflict between “who they are” and “who you are,” generally what ends up happening is one of two things:

1. You “suck it up” and try to adapt. That strategy is one I’ve been familiar with many times in the past. All too many times I would subsume who I am and what I want for myself to the needs of others. Relatives, family, collaborators, kids. While I’m a strong personality, I also have a very strong streak of wanting to please others. When those came into conflict, the “wanting to please others” would often (usually) win.
2. You make them “wrong.” I’ve done this too, usually when I reached my breaking point in any situation. I would just get to a point where I couldn’t handle “playing the good girl” anymore, and so I would decide that “they” (whoever they happened to be at the moment) were “wrong.” Once I brought that attitude into the relationship, things went downhill…. fast. Worse, it’s easy to feel guilty after doing this, and then make yourself “wrong.” So you end up with a whole buttload of “making people wrong” and nobody wins.

There is another way.

In my work with Core Analysis – i.e. using intuitive methods to get to the bottom of who we are at our Core – I found out that I’m highly “internal.” (It wasn’t a surprise). What this means is that my relationship with myself is  the most important relationship. I need lots of alone time to think, to process, and to work on where I’m at.

For external people, this is bizarre. External people benefit greatly from being in relationship to other people, and not as much from “going inside.”

I can be by myself for days in a row – and be VERY happy with it! Someone who’s external (like one of my daughters) would not do well with that.

The conflict mounts

When I go visit relatives with my family, it’s full-on. It’s round the clock people, people, and more people. It doesn’t matter whether they’re the nicest people in the world – being an internal person, I get burnt out. I get exhausted. I get frustrated.

The point here is that each of us is somewhere on that internal-external spectrum (and similarly, there are a number of other spectrums) – and quite often when we’re in a situation – not just with relatives, but in any human situation – attempting the “suck it up” solution in the name of getting along – we end up exhausted. That often leads to the next phase, which is the making them wrong phase. Like I said, it’s all downhill.

The pressure release

This morning I was just about at my breaking point. I was going to snap at somebody or start the downhill trend. So I decided to go out for a run. Despite the cloudy day, I wore my sunglasses. I could feel tears coming on.

In the past, I wouldn’t have let myself cry in public (even with sunglasses!). I would have still been in the “suck it up” mode, trying to adapt to a societal norm that says it’s weird to be out in public, running along a suburban street, with tears running down your face. Well screw that!

So here I was, running down the tree-lined streets in gray, windy Madison, Wisconsin, letting the tears of angst and frustration flow. After I got over the first minute or so of “feeling like a freak” (a feeling that’s quite normal for me by now), I felt an incredible release.

I ran faster. I let more tears flow. I ran up a hill at a speed faster than I have in over a year. And by now, the frustration was spent. There were no more tears.

Why don’t we take care of ourselves?

Social norms.

Most of us are so caught up in “fitting in” that we subsume our health, our mental well being, and even our spiritual well being for the sake of avoiding negative judgements or conflict. (Or, alternatively, just cynically avoiding all such situations where we might be exposed to this kind of challenge).

It’s c-r-a-z-y.

Why do we do that? I for one am sick of doing that. I won’t do it anymore.

That’s why I found myself running down that street with tears flowing – and ending up feeling better than I have in weeks!

That one emotional release that I allowed for myself – in public – was better than meditating every day (which I do), journaling (which I do), regular exercise (which I do).

Nobody should try to “fit in”

The bottom line is that we are all hardwired – at our deepest Core – for certain tendencies. Most of us end up quite often very far out of alignment with that, and it’s usually in situations with other people. When we end up chronically out of alignment, it results in health problems. It results in relationship problems. It results in anxiety and bitterness. It ends up in unhealthy anger and blame (or worse, victimization). Some people spend their whole lives in these states. What a waste!

We are not here having this human experience to try to “meld ourselves to fit in.” No, we are not.

We are here to live our lives authentically self-expressed. We are here to align with who we are and look at the magic that happens when we do that.

It’s a shame that society often gives us just the opposite message: suck it up, fit in, do your homework, work hard, be nice, get good grades, and all that bullshit.

It really is bullshit, and I for one won’t do it anymore. My goal is to be able to have relationships with people where I don’t go down the route of “fitting in” and/or “making them wrong” – but instead, simply be myself – even if that ends up with me running on a public street with tears running down my face, looking like a madwoman.

I am shedding the notion that fitting in is useful or healthy. (It’s not).

My challenge to you

My challenge to you is to join me. I challenge you to look at your life, identifying areas where you subsume your personality in order to “fit in” or “avoid conflict.”

Then ask yourself this question: “what is the cost to me of continuing to do that?”

Once you realize the true costs, I think you may decide that you want to stop doing that. Because for most of us, those true costs are simply too great.

Let me know how it goes!

Freaking out, coming out: being authentic is hard

I stand for alignment. My goal for all my friends and clients is to get them aligned with who they are at the core so that they can live life to its fullest. That’s what alignment does… But sometimes alignment can be freaky scary. Like it is for me now. I’ve known that I needed… read more →

You’re so free, you can choose bondage!

An interesting discussion emerged on my Facebook feed after my most recent post titled "F*ck it, I'm done." That post was all about my own journey from being an atheist/materialist to a quite different – far more spiritual, happy, and abundant – place. One commenter chimed in with a classic materialist line: "we have no… read more →

F*ck it, I’m done

Sometimes you have to just say Fuck it. This is especially powerful when it comes to something that has been happening in your life that is not helpful or useful, and yet which seems to keep repeating itself. While I don't swear a lot, there is a time and place for the emotional energy behind… read more →

My other favorite F-word

This is a guest post by Allie Smith-Hobbs. Fun is a four letter word around the American workplace. When I worked in Silicon Valley during the dotcom boom of endless foozball rounds and mini-golf in the all-you-can-eat-cafeteria, “fun” was mandatory ad nauseum. But in the wake of the collapse, playing and even hard-earned vacation time… read more →

Security versus joy and inspiration: which wins?

For the past week, I've been processing some of the experiences from Bali. One of them was this. I went to Bali for a mastermind retreat. I had only met the leader, and was very excited to get to know the other members, most of whom are from New Zealand and Australia. Most mastermind meetings involve… read more →

Travel Anxieties and… embracing the unknown!

When you travel, does it bring up anxiety for you? It does for me. And it’s always weird little stuff that gets me. For example: I just rode for about 30 hours in airplanes over the world’s largest ocean, and I had almost no conscious anxiety about that. I wasn’t fretting about the airplane breaking… read more →

Schizophrenia and air travel

I have schizophrenia. I think this is common amongst modern air travelers. It’s a schizophrenia of alternating love and hate. I’m in the air on my way to Bali. It’ll be my first time there, and I’m excited to experience a new place. I’ve heard that it is beautiful and the people are kind. One… read more →

Why enjoying money can stop the money struggles

There are a lot of people who resent money. They feel like money is a “necessary evil” but that they’d rather not have it around if they could just get by and do their thing without it. I used to be one of those. And here’s the thing. That’s a money repellant attitude. You can… read more →

Judging failure is futile self-judgement

This is part of a message from me to myself after I judged something I was doing as a "failure." Maybe you will find it useful. You never know the impact that your actions will have. You can sit here from your limited point of view and judge that something has “failed” - and yet… read more →

How to be a “nice girl” in 9 easy steps

We are often told that, as girls, we've got to be “nice” - or ELSE. (Or else what? Someone might not like us or might not approve of us! This is the horror of horrors!) Since I like to be occasionally helpful on this here little blog of mine, I thought that therefore I need… read more →