When “totally satisfied” isn’t enough

The people who get my weekly ezine are split between those who’ve never touched a harp, but who see me in concert, listen to my albums, watch me YouTube, saw me on PBS or heard me on the radio.

The other group may have done all that – and they also play the harp.

So every week, when I write the greeting, I’m thinking about where these parts of me connect and interact.


Performing & teaching in last Sunday’s Webinar

The people in the first group experience me as a performer, an artist.  Those

in the second also experience me as a coach and mentor if they take my online courses or mentorship– someone who can help them get where they want to as artists and musicians.

And of course, I’m both … an artist and a creative coach … and a composer as well.

And on a deep level, I don’t think they’re separate.  I learn immensely from art and artists and I’m both entertained and moved by great teaching.  And this is part of my own lifelong challenge: to integrate the two

Apparently I did that a little too well last weekend …

I presented a Free Webinar on Sunday, a LOT of people came from all over the world (I had to upgrade my webinar account so they could all get in!), I got INCREDIBLE comments afterwards – and judging by the emails people sent me afterwards, most people were totally satisfied!

That’s the problem …

I didn’t want them to be satisfied!  I wanted them to see that this was just the BEGINNING!  That I created the full 21-day course to give them the full experience of being able to PLAY this whole piece (Baroque Flamenco) in their OWN way!  

webinar-stillshot-5To be fair, some people immediately ‘got’ that the 60-minute webinar was just a TASTE – and that taking the full course  gives them not just the inspired feeling of learning something new – but the skills to actually put that into practice in a big way. Those people used the secret code to get the discount and signed up.

[Oh, you want to know the secret code? It's printed right below the replay and you can sign up to see the replay here]

But a lot of people took the free training, wrote me how much they enjoyed it -  and stopped there.

But … but … but… this is just the beginning!

This inspired feeling – and what it does and doesn’t lead to – is why I started creating these courses in the first place.  Whenever I go to music conventions, where people like me give one-hour presentations, I see how inspired the audiences are.

I’ve been one of those inspired people in the audience. I read something, or hear something —  it’s exciting, I’m ready to put it into practice, it makes complete sense … yup, I’ve GOT it!  Cool!  Here I go!

And it’s not ‘til I start to actually put it into practice that I hit the first roadblocks.  Roadblocks I can never see until I’m actually DOING it – because they’re my own, personal roadblocks!  And when I’m doing it, that’s when all my questions flood in.

webinar-stillshot-4The question is usually, “Great!  I GET it … but… HOW do I actually DO that, step-by-step???”

This is the nature of learning in my personal experience.  Until I actually put something into practice, I don’t see my own roadblocks.

This is why, in my courses, I always encourage students to do the homework – not so they can get it right but so that they can figure out what are the next questions they need to ask in order to find THEIR way IN, THEIR way to being able to DO it.

Because that’s what I, personally, need when I’m learning.

So, hey … sign up here and watch the replay of the webinar – even if you don’t play the harp, according to the reports it’s fun – and you’ll get a window into a tiny artistic niche in the world.

Or better yet … sign up for the course and then watch the webinar(OK, OK, the secret code is “Passion” but it only works ’til midnight tonight!!)

Then let me know what you think – I’d love to know.

It’s great to feel inspired — but the real, deep, lasting empowerment comes when you can put that inspiration all into practice.  And that’s what comes – in my experience – from training.

And … OK … I admit it … the course can be entertaining, too (yes, sometimes I dress up in costume for the lessons – but only when I’m trying to embody Marie Antoinnette … and her dog).



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Discovering My Boots

This post instigated by a 3-hour Grubstreet writing workshop 2 days ago.

Screen shot 2014-09-03 at 11.14.13 AM

My boots.

I love when the weather gets cool because it means I can wear my boots. They’re cowboy boots.  They’re black and I love to get them shined in airport shoeshine chairs. I love the feel of being inside the boots while a man who loves boots is shining them. 

And I love the shine. I think that people see me coming and think:
“Wow, she has shiny boots.”

My boots have become my hair.

I didn’t realize that was happening.  I thought that my hair was the only cool thing I would ever have, and when I cut it off, I thought my days of people walking up to me and commenting on how I look were over.

For fifteen years my hair was in long colorful box braids.  My hair became my signature self.

It was all completely fake – I braided hair extensions and ribbons – purple, red, gold, blue – into my own shoulder-length, flacid, nondescript ‘real’ hair.  Within 6 hours I was  flamingly cool.  Having been uncool for the previous 40 years.

Screen shot 2014-09-03 at 11.09.42 AMPeople would stop me and say, “I love your hair,” and they would touch me.

Ambassadors would touch me, and ladies cleaning airport bathrooms would touch me. They would reach out and take a handful of those strands, and feel the texture, as if my hair were a flower, or a dream, or chains of gold  in a treasure-chest.

As if my hair said, “Yes, go ahead, it’s fine. You can touch me.”

And it was fine.

I love that strangers touched me with this childlike delight. That my hair made them forget it was impolite.  And so it became a simple, genuine, spontaneous act of human connection.

And then, one thanksgiving I cut it all off.  You’d think it was brave, but it was – what’s that word – the guy who looked in the water and fell in?

Oh right … Narcissistic. My marvelous braids were pulling out my un-marvelous hair and receding my hairline in unflattering ways. As if there are any flattering ways to recede a hairline.

It was after dinner, when our friends Thomas and Stuart had left. I was sleepy after the meal.  I’d stopped on my way to the bathroom, and leaning against the doorjamb, I glanced at the television where my husband – no, actually, my boyfriend – he’s not my husband – was watching Lady Gaga’s Thanksgiving special.

She was singing “I am my hair. I am my hair. I am my hair.”

And I thought suddenly, “I am NOT my hair.”

I walked into the bathroom, pulled out the scissors and cut off the braids one by one. And put them in a ziplock bag.  And then looked at myself in the mirror. It wasn’t the world’s best haircut.  But that’s not what I was thinking.

I was thinking: how do you step forward into your life when you’ve just cut off something that defined you?

I won’t describe all the hats and wigs I bought, hoping to make some kind of  ‘transition’ – and finally gave up and accepted it was over.

This was me.  The End.

… only, apparently  not the end.

Because one day I noticed my boots. Or, I should say that I noticed that other people noticed them.

And here’s the thing. The boots are simply boots.  They’re plain and simple cowboy boots. I bought some silver chaps for them, though, or whatever they’re called.  Like stirrups, but decorative – with shiny silver discs, as if the boots are each wearing a manly bracelet.

Screen shot 2014-09-03 at 11.09.16 AMAnd then there are the necklaces.

I don’t wear necklaces. But I love them.  I love the way they hang, and move. I love the glint and the ever changing sway.

And so I hang them on my boots – I run them through the fingerholes that help you pull the boots on.  Four or five necklaces on each boot.  A silver necklace with stars, elegant simple chains, a string of rhinestones.

And when I wear my boots. I feel powerful. And whimsical.  And people stop me and they say: I love your boots.

And sometimes they touch my shoulder when they say that.

This post was instigated by a 3-hour GrubStreet workshop earlier this week.  I wrote about it here.


Posted in Inside Look, Random Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments