Last week, I had the privilege of participating in Elevate Your Uniqueness, a women’s backyard gathering, designed and facilitated by two incredibly inspirational women, Diane Rogers and Robin Bramman. They put together a Dream Booster team of beautiful women to help them inspire, reflect and play and boy! did their vision ever dance! It was magical! And I was honored to be one of the Dream Boosters and I’d like to share with you my personal experience as well as my backyard chat.
Now my experience was a little different than most because while this was an opportunity for me to share my story and my art , it became very soul challenging as an incredible battle began to rise up within me between the “I can”s and “I can’t”s. I contemplated what it might be like to stand in front of people and talk. And as the visions filled my head, so did all those things that lurk in the darkness inside of me. They crept out of their shadows and found their way into my head. They say 95% of people fear public speaking and I am no exception.
Over the last 6 weeks, I had become emotionally drenched as I hunted for and found and then lost and then found and then lost again the courage to take that seemingly dreaded stage. I was sure that I would turn into some form of stuttering melting crying fool, pee my pants in public, or lose all of my words completely in that dark abyss that words sometimes go, never to be found again. I had convinced myself, off and on again, that I had nothing to offer these souls and I would bore them to absolute tears.
But on the other hand, it seemed that the Universe was insisting that this wasn’t an “I can” or “I can’t” situation…it was an “I MUST!”. Somebody out there needed to hear my story…I don’t know who but somebody. And I needed to share it. As I took the long journey to prepare my backyard chat, much of the time I wore a cloak of confidence and told myself “No problem!”, “You got this!”, “Other people do it and so can you!”. But sure enough, the night before I was scheduled to give my chat, my cloak started to unravel. I desperately grasped at the threads of courage, hoping to gather enough pieces together to assemble something that resembled some garb of confidence, no matter how small. And on the day of the event, as the moment approached, my head became filled with an incredible clamorous disruptive noise and my briefly found courage began twisting and turning in lies, disbelief and negative chatter. I began my walk through the doors of sheer panic leaving behind all the amazing advice others had given me over the last 6 weeks. My gut was turning. I couldn’t eat. I could barely think. The tiniest possibility of remembering my words disappeared on the horizon. I wanted to run!
About 15 minutes before it was my turn to speak, a very ominous dark cloud approached as if it had something very important to share. And so it did as it carried in its gut high winds that caused the crowd to frantically grab their treasures from the day and run for cover. Rain poured down. The eaves sang as the water fell thickly around our momentary safe haven. I realized in a moment of clarity, one of the few that I could find as the noises in my head trumped the ability to be present, that this cloud of darkness had created an amazing space for me to stand among the swirling energy of a mass of beautiful souls and absorb its power. Suddenly the thoughts of the possibility of speaking to these women turned from fear of getting up in front of people to the fear that I wouldn’t have the opportunity to share what I desperately wanted to share. However, one had to wonder if the Universe sent the rainstorm to save me from my turmoil and just end it all there.
The storm began to clear and my friend left it to me to decide whether I would brave the stage. So I had to ask myself: Do I take ALL that energy that I had expended over the last 6 weeks in creating what I created and just simply toss it away? Throughout the event, I was immersed in constant messages that said ‘you MUST do this’. I knew that I MUST! But the rain had ravaged the once beautiful setting of colorful tables filled with flowers of inspiration and had transformed it into a soggy wet mess. It had danced through the space and left its mark as if to say, ‘I call dibs on this spot. Go find another!’
As it turns out, it was a blessing as this pushed our group into the space of something even more magical. The Universe wasn’t saying ‘Forget it, you can’t handle it.’ The Universe was saying ‘Here, I’ve created the space where you belong. Now be amazing!” So I took my ‘Eyes Wide Open’ piece, put it on an easel in the still wet grass as 50 beautiful women gathered about on chairs in this wonderfully grounded green earthy space. I quickly glanced at my thick stack of note cards with the yellow-highlighted word ‘BREATHE’ scattered throughout; printed in extra-large lettering to accommodate my vision-challenged self. And then I began…shaky, nervous, but strangely okay. And as I looked out into the eyes of my recipients, I felt this incredible blanket of energy spill from their souls and wrap its arms around me. I knew I was safe. The words spilled from me….sometimes they got crooked and mixed up or lost in that space between my note cards and my vocal cords but that was okay too. I eventually found them or found ones that worked possibly even better.
I don’t know who’s soul the threads of my story weaved their way through but I am confident that the Universe placed someone out there to gather up a few treasures as I spilled my magic into the world. I certainly found some treasures of my own! Now that it is behind me…it is surreal… a dream? a new found truth? a freshness to who I am becoming?
So after expending words of immense gratitude to this tribe of amazing women who joined us, as well as Robin and Diane for sharing their vision and the Dream Boosters who helped to inspire and motivate, I began to spill my messy self into the space and it went something like this. (Please note this was written to be carried into the space of the moment by a voice, any voice, so if you have the opportunity, read it out loud. ):
I would like to share with you that at this very moment, I am attempting to make the shift from solution feared ((Solution Feared is a Elevate Your Uniqueness term indicating finding solutions from the space of fear rather than the space of focus.)) as I stand here before you because standing in front of people is not usually my thing and in fact scares the crap out of me. So why am I here other than the fact that Diane ((A beautiful soul-FULL lady whose mission it is to put a smile on everyone’s face.)) wouldn’t take no for an answer? When I met Diane at that art show, everything about her vision, her energy, the opportunity she offered me to be here with you, aligned with what I have defined as my purpose: To create art that feeds the soul by providing inspiration, motivation and healing to souls that are in need, including my own. When things align so well with your vision, it can’t be wrong. Right? I see this as an opportunity to push through an obstacle of fear and finally see what’s on the other side.
My daughter((An awesome writer (and veterinarian) who, whether she likes it or not, may just have some inklings of the craziness of her mother.)) sent me a quote just the other day written by DW Winnicott and it says “Artists are people driven by the tension between the desire to communicate and the desire to hide.” I am very much that artist but I am exhausted of hiding. I have spent the last 50 years of my life devoted to my fears and I want to spend what’s left of my life devoted to my dreams.
As you know, my name is Rani Primmer. I am the owner of Jagged Touch Studio. The Creator of these characters…which I call Seekers…Seekers of Magic. And I call them seekers because they tell a story about the magic I have found while seeking magic as I have journeyed through life… they tell a story about the magic within each of us that sometimes gets stifled by the busy-ness of life or by the perspective that we choose to view life from.
Seeker of magic was a term that I first learned from my mom((My soul partner who I miss deeply but whose magic lives on through the hearts of many.)). She was a self-proclaimed Seeker of Magic and as the daughter of a Seeker of Magic, I grew up watching this incredible artsy fartsy soul-FULL woman who had an amazing talent for pulling the magic out of life as life happened whether it be the joyful parts or the incredibly painful parts. She took that magic and put it in her art and put it her surroundings and let that magic live through her. It was intriguing and inspiring to watch her in action…to watch how she chose to dance through life. She taught me to SEEK THE MAGIC and when you find it, SHARE the MAGIC and by sharing the magic, you will BE The Magic.
So what is a Seeker of Magic? Well, the seeker part of the title has nothing to do with being lost although I do wander around aimlessly now and then. And the magic part is not your pull-the-rabbit-out-of-a-hat kind of magic.
A seeker of magic is someone who seeks out the truth, the beauty, the goodness and love in all the moments of life…. every day, every hour, every minute, and every second….it’s about searching for the glittery shiny beautiful things that can be found in the good moments and the bad moments.
It’s about being present and keeping your heart wide open. It’s about being self-aware and actively exploring why you feel what you feel when you feel it. It’s about listening to the whispers of your heart so that when it’s time to change course, you don’t spend too much time spinning in the depth of fear, or settling for something less than you are worth.
Life and how we view it is a perspective and we get to choose that perspective. When we make a choice to seek the magic in life’s moments, we choose to see life from a place of love…from the eyes of our heart rather than our eyes of the mind..our ego.
So let’s say that you are late for work….again. And to make matters worse, you find ourselves crawling up on a traffic jam. Now you have a choice as to how you are going to look at this moment. You could choose to dwell in a place of irritation and frustration which quite frankly isn’t going to change the fact that you are stuck in this traffic jam. So another option might be to look around and see the beauty in the moment… the guy in the car next to you, dancing and singing in his little car cocoon as if no one sees him…. the old couple walking down the sidewalk, hand in hand, growing old together. Or you might see this unwanted traffic jam as an opportunity to capture that hard to find time we yearn for to spend reflecting and listening and breathing. That is what it is to be a seeker of magic.
DOing is part of life. We all have to DO. We have to pay the bills. We have to keep the wheels on the bus. But the more we get caught up in the DO part, if we are not paying attention, we start to lose the BE part of life and what it is to seek the magic. When we spend our days BEing, the magic surrounds us. All we need stands in the space of the moment…. like this backyard gathering.
So I want to tell you my story about my journey over the last several years where for a while it got really hard for me to seek the magic, let alone see it as I became unaligned with the universe because I was so focused DOing that I forgot to BE and I had to find my way back from almost losing myself …or maybe not ever truly knowing myself in the first place.
This piece that I created is called “Eyes Wide Open” and she says “for a long time she told herself, “dreams only happen when you are sleeping!’, but she knew better. And when she finally found the courage to dream with her eyes wide open, when she finally found the courage to trust, she watched in delight as her dreams unfolded in front of her.” This piece transpired from the space of that moment of realizing that I was stuck in living a life that was not my truth anymore and I needed to change course.
Now seeking the magic is all fine and dandy but one cannot pay the bills on the meager wages of a seeker so I found this amazing corporate job working in a beautifully architected building set in a very nice downtown campus. I got incredible benefits…a covered parking spot so I never had to go out in the cold and being from Iowa, that was a definite nice to have. I got to work side by side with some very kind and friendly people. And some days I even got to cuddle up on my sofa in my favorite pjs and do my work from home. But the biggest and best perk of all? I made money! Lots and lots of money. I didn’t make millions((A shit load of money!)) by any means…not even close….unfortunately… but I never had to worry about how I was going to pay the bills((Making less than a shit load of money but enough. Forever Grateful!)). I was by most people’s definition, “successful”.
So for many years, I’d hop in my car and drive down to this beautiful building, walk happily through the big gigantic glass doors, hop in the elevator and smile my biggest smile because it was all good. And as Joe hopped in too, I’d excitedly say, “Hey, Joe. Casual Day all week!! Yayyyyy!” ….because in the corporate world we get very excited about casual days. And for a long time my heart filled with joy and I had no trouble finding the magic in the day.
But after a while something began to happen…. You see, I am an artist. That is where my heart lies but up until about 2 years ago, I could not say out loud, ‘I am an artist’. I could say I was a computer programmer. I could say I was a mom. I could say I was a lot of things but the one thing that was closest to my heart, I never told anyone. I allowed that part of me to come out only after hours and only in private. It was my dirty little secret.
So as I drove my car to work one day, I heard something. A whisper. A faint breeze of a whisper that said “follow your dreams”. I looked around wondering where in the heck did that voice come from. And I heard it again. “Follow your dreams”. And then I realized it was coming from deep down inside my heart. It was my soul. A good old friend that I had long forgotten and had left behind as I went on with the busy-ness of life. “Follow your dreams” my soul whispered again. And I thought,” Dreams? Dreams only happen when you are sleeping.” Well, as It turns out, I did have dreams…dreams to be an artist…but I had placed them in a cage and buried them, right along with my soul many many years ago…. without even realizing it.
Well apparently my soul had had quite enough and didn’t much care for that cage any more. She wanted out and she wanted out NOW. She was tired of being silent and she wanted our truth to be known.
So the long rides to that beautiful corporate downtown building began to transform and the time was filled with thoughtful conversation as me and my soul began to rediscover our true essence and as we began to rediscover our true essence, we began to rediscover those dreams hidden away so long ago. I began to seek the magic within…and… guess what? I began to find it.
My head filled with the thought of the possibilities that could open up if I let go of what was no longer working. The possibility of being an artist. Of living my truth. I imagined I could fly if I listened to my heart and followed my dreams. I slowly gained the courage to say ‘I AM AN ARTIST’ out loud. I was dreaming BIG!
But as I pulled into that covered parking spot and began my walk toward the big glass doors, my soul would inevitably ask, “So….what are you going to do about it?” And I’d begin to consider my options and I’d say, “Well, maybe I could….”
And before I could finish my sentence, I could feel the hot breathe of MY FEAR monster breathing down my neck…we all have one, right? Mine is this big ugly 10 foot drooling creature with slimy nasty teeth. And quite frankly, he kind of smells a little.
I’ve gotten to know him quite well over the last 50 years and he was right standing right there in front of me, his beady little eyes staring down into my hopes and dreams. He stood towering over me and growled out, ‘What the heck are you thinking? An artist?’ Almost immediately, I slumped my shoulders over and I made myself as little as I felt and said, ‘I don’t know. You are right. What was I thinking? That was a stupid thought anyway’ and then I turned to my soul and said ‘we will not fly today’.
And then I entered into that big beautiful building with a little less happy in my step as I dragged my unwilling soul through the gigantic glass doors. I hopped into the elevator and this time I pasted on my best smile because it didn’t just come naturally anymore and as Joe hopped in, I said in a less then inspiring tone “Hey, Joe. Casual Day all week!! Yaay” I was losing the ability to see the magic. And my heart filled with aching as I denied the magic within and as I told my soul to be quiet and wait….” just a little bit longer” because I was too scared to change what needed to be changed.
And so the cycle began…car rides filled with Imagining the Possibilities and Practicing Flying, Dreaming Big…And then as I parked my car, my Soul would say, ‘SO…What are you going to do about it?” And I’d begin to say “well maybe I could”……and just then, sure enough, my big smelly Fear Monster stomps up and smashes any glimpse of possibilities and I’d turn to my soul and say ”We will not fly today, soul.” And I’d drag her kicking and screaming into that beautiful building, hop in the elevator, paste on a smile and but this time when Joe hopped in, I’d say nothing because I was so anguished by constantly telling my soul, “Be quiet soul, just a little bit longer”.
But what I didn’t realize was that by having those daily conversations with my soul and imagining the possibilities, practicing flying, dreaming big and getting to know who I was and what I wanted, I was getting stronger. I began to shift my perspective from being a computer programmer to being an artist. My courage was building. As I discovered more and more of the magic within, I began to Trust. I began to believe. Until…. One day, as my big smelly fear monster made his usual appearance, I gathered up all of my courage, I put my hands on my hips, pushed my chest out with authority (what I have of one any way((No really, I was the president of the IBTC! (Itty Bitty Titty Committee)))) and I yelled, ‘STOP! I will not be held captive by FEAR anymore! I am not settling! I AM an artist!’
And just then, my fear monster began to shrink… and shrink and shrink and shrink. I bent down and scooped him up and put him gently in my pocket and then walked HAPPILY through those gigantic doors, hopped into the elevator and smiled my biggest smile as Joe hopped in too. And I said excitedly, “Have a nice day Joe!” And my heart filled with joy as I made my way to the boss’s office and said “I’m going to follow my dreams!”
And just as I said it, I could feel that fear monster in my pocket start to throb as it threatened to grow again but I held tight to my hopes and dreams. And then as I walked down the long corridor on my way out to make one last final run through those big giant glass doors, the voices of judgment and doubt dive bombed me , “Is she crazy?”, “Has she lost her mind?”, “She’ll be back”, “You can’t make money as an artist.”, ”What is she thinking?” “Who leaves a perfectly good job in an economy like this?”. But I kept going. I had to. I couldn’t bear to live any longer in the space of who I once was. I needed to live in the space of who I was becoming.
And guess what…The next morning I woke up with the fear monster sitting right next to me. He wasn’t as big as he once was but he had certainly grown overnight but that was okay. I had done what I needed to do. I knew I was responsible for writing my own story. And I decided the next chapter was going to be about sharing my true essence with the world. The next chapter was going to be about an artist, not a computer programmer.
And as I began to write, it went something like this…As she walked through the doors of possibility, she stood for a moment, quietly and looked out over the vast lands filled with dark intimidating forests, flowing meadows, deep green valleys, rolling hills, and seemingly impassable mountains. She took a deep breath and gathered up all the pots of wisdom that she had collected over the years and with the moon in her hand, love in her heart, and extraordinary curiosity tucked in her hat, she took her pocket full of courage dappled in fear and she set off on her next journey into unfamiliar territory, anxious to see what would unfold. As she took that first step, her soul began to dance and said “It’s time to Leap. Grander things await you!”
And instead of the usual ‘THE END’ it reads ‘THE BEGINNING’.
So that’s the creative version of my story and it sounds easy, doesn’t it? It was not easy therefore it deserves a few footnotes. It required a shift in perspective of who I believed I was and who I wanted to be. It’s hard when you are something for so long to see yourself as anything else. Every time I said ‘I am an ARTIST’ out loud, it was an event. I’d get out my cell phone and text my daughter and say ‘guess what?!?!’
Also, it required deep conversation with my husband because he was impacted by this choice to follow my dream. We both needed to understand what this meant to each of us, both emotionally and financially. It required sacrifices of a materialistic life style we had become so comfortable with. We live on less now, much much less, but we live drenched in more joy then we ever have had in the past.
It required spending hours after work researching, planning, building an online presence, testing the waters…all those things that go along with creating a business. Jagged Touch Studio was being hatched simultaneously as I was gaining the courage to move forward.
I redefined success in my book as soul-filling success rather than wallet-filling success although I leave open the possibility for having it all. I have led a blessed life having a great job when I needed it. But as I looked back, I knew that I do not want to lose the ability to see the magic to the monotony of settling for a ‘safe’ life. It was clear that it was time to leverage the gifts I have been given and the wisdom I have gained. It was time to Trust. It was time to change course. It was time to leap.
I encourage you to be a seeker of the magic within you. When we seek that magic and find it, we enrich our day and the day of those around us and we naturally attract more magic. And once we accomplish seeing the magic, we hold a gift within our hands.…and our hearts. And that gift is ours to keep.
Today you have worked toward defining what makes you unique, you have created awareness around your true essence, and have hopefully found inspiration toward living your potential as you journey while serving your life’s purpose….THIS is YOUR magic. This is YOUR gift. Now you have a choice….you can place it in a box, wrap it all up so it’s safe and then neatly tuck it away to be opened another day. And on that day that you finally open it and you pick out all the bits and pieces, one by one and you might regretfully say, ‘I wish I had….’ Or ‘if only I had’. OR… or you can pour all those bits and pieces of magic, of YOU, out into the world and share it with all of us and all of them out there.… in a place that is longing for the gift that only your unique self has to offer.
I hope that you will honor your soul … emerge and share your sparkle. Stretch your heart and your mind to step outside the box and go beyond those self- imposed boundaries. Don’t settle because Grander Things Await You.
Written by Rani Primmer, Jagged Touch Studio