Lessons In Self-Expression

When it comes to fresh perspective, the new year feels like the sparking of kindling wood. Energy growing, crackling, moving, and shifting.

I think creative self-expression feels like that. Making this uninhibited photo felt like that.

I hope the start of 2023 finds you with tangible reminders of the love in your life and acutely aware of the blessings that surround you, even in the face of extreme hardship and unbearable pain. 

Last time I wrote to you here was 2020. I was excited. I’d created a podcast variation of the Another Door Opens space. I wanted it to last forever. But I chose to end it. Are you thinking, “Why is she advertising that? Why put your failures on blast?” Because. There’s no shame in trying. There’s no shame in falling short if you put in your all. 

To me, that interpretation of ‘failure’ is true only in the world of comparison and judgement. Even in a science lab, a failure is a finding. In the world of creative self-expression, it’s a step on the road each one of us builds, stone by stone. To be self-expressed is to live.

So back in 2020, I put my audible voice on ‘record’, along with the voices of my special guests. Using my physical voice was not a natural step for me. I’ve worked in broadcast television for my entire career, but not as a face you see or a voice you hear. 

On a shoe string, I started. Like many other people. As of January 2023, there are upwards of five million podcasts in existence. I never intended to stop despite the millions of choices listeners have. I love the knowledge and the self-expression so many skilled creators are displaying. Keep it coming! I celebrate you all. 

For me, I wanted my guest list to go on forever. To continue to shine a light on good people in the world.  But I did stop.

I will tell you that making it in the first place meant traveling about 100 miles outside of my comfort zone. And I was willing to make that trip. If you listened to any episodes, I suspect you sensed it through my delivery and shaky voice.

I’d decided to say what I needed to say.  And what I needed to say was: “I’d like you to hear the ideas from these people who are generously sharing their intellect, insights and wisdom. I’d like you to learn from them and see yourself in them.” 

I also was saying, “I’m going to stop hiding. I’m going to try this thing, despite my own insecurity and fear of judgement.” 

In a recent interview on We Can Do Hard Things, Tracee Ellis Ross, daughter of Diana Ross, said that when she was a little girl watching her mom on stage in a sparkly dress, she understood that Diana Ross was saying: “This is me.” She was not saying: “Look at me.” I couldn’t love this distinction more. Those words describe what I was trying to do in my non-sparkly way. Also, I do love sparkles.

Knowing When to Keep Going and Knowing When to Stop

In his book The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself, author Michael A. Singer talks about the dog that runs for freedom which lives beyond the perimeter of the yard … only to be shocked when running into the invisible electric fencing. Freedom was on the other side of that invisible shock. What the brave dog understood was that feeling the discomfort of it, and withstanding it… would lead to freedom. 

In the example of my podcast, I was willing to walk or run or slog through the pain of leaving the perimeter of my comfort zone and make it past the shock of leaving the yard. 

You could use the example of a cold plunge or any other illustrations of moving directly  toward pain to relieve pain. We not only have to leave our comfort zone to create change — we need to march into the unknown.

I know that you, like me, have been that dog. We’ve been the dog that let the shock (or prospect of it) stop us and keep us in our place. And, we’ve been the brave dog that knows it’s going to hurt, but it’s worth it, and we do it anyway.

So, was the podcast worth it?  Yes, it was absolutely worth it. 

Did I gain my freedom? Somewhat. But not entirely. 

I expanded my boundaries through self-expression. And when you are more honestly self-expressed, that is a form of freedom. 

Silent Self-Expression

I’m accustomed to silent self-expression. When I move my body while doing martial arts, I feel silent self-expression. When I paint, I feel it. When I do photography, I feel it.  And when I write silently as I’ve done as a career for more than 25 years now, I feel silently self-expressed. Occasionally I write from my own voice, like I’m doing here, but mostly, I write words for other professionals to say out loud. My voice, when writing, is a voice in my own head or a channeling of someone else’s voice. 

Recording my voice on the podcast was not something I could do silently. I did it to the best of my ability at that time in my life. Listening back to my guests now still makes my heart sing. Listening to my own voice makes me cringe. I suspect most of us have that in common.

And that’s ok. Making the Another Door Opens weekly podcast while working full time and traveling proved to be more than I could do sustainably over the long run. So I decided to slow it down, then to stop altogether. I didn’t stop because I thought it wasn’t good enough. My guests were exceptional, engaging, entertaining and enlightening. And I know that with more practice I’d have become better at back and forth exchanges and offering some more of myself.  I stopped because I needed to take care of my health. And sometimes something has to give.

So did I fail? No? Yes? It doesn’t matter, because I’m proud of the guests I featured. And that is what it was about for me. And what did I get out of it? Service. Discomfort which led to growth. A new form of self-expression. And a new connection to some of you.

How Do You Feel Self-Expressed? 

What does self-expression look like for you?

I invite you to think about the ways you feel creatively self-expressed and how that makes a fresh vibration in the world. Is it a ripple of kindness, light, mood, brilliance, wanderlust? Is it a ray of something zany, funny, thoughtful, clear, stirred, or purely energizing to this wild world? 

What makes you feel alive? What actions open your internal doors to self-expression? 

If you read this far, we are on the same page, you and me. I want you to know that in this next phase of the Another Door Opens space — a written space for now — this will be an opening of internal doors, exploring the interior spaces we all share, and finding out what lies within each one of us by taking a journey inside ourselves.

Wade into your own means of creative self-expression with me. Let it heal you. Let it nurture your soul. Let it warm you like a bonfire. Let it be a salve for those around you. Just let it BE.

Note: I’ll be moving this blog site, so please watch for notice about where to find this blog going forward in 2023.