Website bios & fear. Self-love & acceptance. Maslow & the chakras.
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
The above quote by Marianne Williamson is one my favourites of all time. I remember reading it for the first time in theatre school when I was 18, and promptly printing it off and putting inside the plastic casing on the cover my audition binder which carried all of my audition repertoire and sheet music. Before going into the audition room, it served as a reminder to just go in and my thing as I would normally do; nothing more, nothing less. At this point in my career, having walked into an audition room hundreds of times, if not a thousand, it's still as relevant today as it was back then.
Creating this website has been a personal test for me on multiple levels. For the past few years, I have created my own website thanks to the easy-to-use templates from Squarespace. As intuitive as these templates are to use, it's the content that goes into them that I always find challenging. A challenge in deciding what to include or what not to include and, perhaps most confusingly, WRITING MY BIO (does anyone else experience this?) To start off, is it not the weirdest thing ever to have to refer to yourself in the 3rd person? Amirite or amirite? And from there, the doubt begins. Are we gloating? Does the fact that we did XYZ even matter? Is anyone even going to look at our website? Who in the hay uses websites nowadays anyways? No matter how many times I give my bio to projects or organizations, I inevitably end up re-writing it each and every time which, quite honestly, is a colossal waste of time and energy. Why the madness, I ask? It all boils down to fear. Fear of not being enough. Fear that people will think I am showing off. Fear that my perceptions of self are grandiose and that my accomplishments really are not important or impressive. Fear that people will read my bio and despite what I have accomplished, will think I suck anyways. FEAR, FEAR FEAR! Well this time, I decided to approach this exercise of writing my bio by FEELING ALL THE FEAR AND doing it anyway (Ps. I highly recommend the book by the same title authored by Susan Jeffers PhD if you haven’t read it yet!)
In Maslow's famous heirarchy of needs, psychologist Abraham Maslow proposed "A Theory of Human Motivation" in the form of a pyramid. As I have gone through the exercise of writing my bio, each experience and project has reminded me of a time in my life where I've dealt with different parts of this pyramid. In this pyramid (illustrated above), Maslow layered the 6 different concepts which he believed to be the driving motivators in human beings, resulting in the final step of "Self-Actualization" (achieving one's full potential, including creative activities). Below that and in succession, we find "Esteem" (prestige and feeling of accomplishment), "Belongingness & Love needs" (intimate relationships and friends), "Safety" (security, safety), and finally "Physiological" (food, water, warmth, rest) which is known as the very first/primary step. To take it one step further (and for all my yogis out there), this hierarchy resonates deeply with the chakras. When questioning all things relating to human existence, taking into consideration the fact that eastern spirituality and western psychology mirror each other in a myriad of ways, it would be fair to assume that perhaps we are onto something here when it comes to what we accept to be universal truth.
What I find most fascinating about the Maslow, the Chakras, and both in tandem is that the do not strictly rely on the notion that we must take one step at a time in order to "ascend" to the next level. In fact, we may be working on two or three, or ALL of them at the same time and instead of picking one over the other, the expression of all of these combined is aided when the base levels of human existence are solid, or in other words, balance. For those of you whole feel like you are at rock bottom (a feeling I have known well and worked through at different points in my life thus far - a topic for another time), just know that it will not always be that way. Using Maslow's hierarchy and the Chakras as a guidepost has allowed me to experience gratitude for my journey and has served as a reminder that life, like art, is all about the process. When writing my bio, I decided that as much of a personal test as it would be to challenge my own fear and perceptions of self-gradiosity, all I needed to do was just stick to the facts. In this spirit, I did not to tame down my accomplishments out of my 'imposter syndrome' fear that I would be "found out". By doing this, not only was I reminded of how far I've come from those dark days of 'rock bottom' (not just professionally, but personally), but also how subjective art is. Therefore, if someone isn't vibing with my work or message, then that's okay. We are all entitled to our opinions and while I personally am not a fan of every single artist of every genre that has ever existed, what I am a fan of is people doing their thing and stepping into their power and self-acceptance despite their fear.
For anyone feeling as confused as I was about writing a personal or professional bio, I encourage you to try out the exercise of writing it in the third person (or heck, even pick a different name altogether) as if you are describing the accomplishments of someone you are unequivocally and proud of. Don't hide the things that may seem small to you because you never know what they might mean to someone else. Allow that tiny little nagging voice whisper those sour nothings in your year, and keep on writing undeterred. When was the beginning? What are the facts? Chances are that something insightful will be revealed to you in the process and you may begin to see yourself in a light that didn't exist until now. And remember: we are powerful beyond measure. If we don't allow the glare of our light scare us into retreating into the darkness, we will be giving other people permission to do the same. Let's cut ourselves a break and step into the expansive infinite beings we posses the power to be, one bio at a time!
All my love & light,