Path to the Stars performed by Jay, a 2018 SPEAK*Girls participant. Featuring footage from the 2018 SPEAK*Girls retreat & Capital Fringe performances.
Dear future me,
I hope that by the time I meet you, you’ve either chased your stars or are soaring your path through the galaxies. I’ll meet you in the middle. Know that you have a long trip ahead of you but you’re pushing through just fine. I hope you never forget to use the starlight to guide you, but never to define you. The true stardust is etched on your very molecules, and it trails behind you like a lifeline for when you ever find yourself lost. Don’t let asteroids intimidate you. Don’t let them strike you either. But if you fall off course, I hope you find the strength to carry on. I know you have it. Your halo shines even when you don’t see it and the keys to your destiny are secured within your ribcage. Nothing is written in the stars, not those stars anyway. But everything’s engraved in the stardust that smears your veins, written in the blood of your cells. What you do with that blood and dust is what determines your future. Listen to the brontide of a storm, prepare yourself for it. But don’t let it scare you off. The scariest thing about storms is the rumble of thunder. They pass faster than they occur. You’re going to be okay. Progress isn’t linear or aesthetic or glassy. It is still progress, even if it doesn’t always look progressive. Your future is still bright even if it doesn’t always glisten. But you do, even when you don’t see it. I’ll meet you in the middle. I’m still in the process of preparing my spaceship and putting on my moon boots. But I’m in no rush, I trust that you’ll be there and waiting. I don’t have to focus on you. I need to focus on me so that when the time is right, I’ll meet you when I’m not looking. I need to focus on me because that’s the only way to get to you, not through pursuit but by walking at my own pace and taking the time to enjoy the view and admire the construction of my own atoms.
Dear future me,
4 months ago I graduated college, which was hard.
2 months ago I was in D.C. with SPEAK*, doing our best to change some lives with art and my grandfather passed, which was hard.
1 month ago I had opened a show (my first comedy in 3 years!) and was headed back to Dallas while planning a move to Chicago, which was hard.
This whole time I was very anxious and very depressed. People tell you post-grad is tough, and I got a heaping pile of ouch. Change is hard, and it's much easier to follow your head than your heart. It's even harder to be honest with yourself. I was quite lonely and completely lost.
But I took a massive leap of faith and that changed everything.
2 weeks ago I bought a one-way plane ticket.
10 days ago I turned 23.
9 days ago I moved to New York City.
No job, no solid working connections, no permanent place to live.
Now, I am surviving and sometimes thriving in my new home. I have a few jobs, am actively pursuing a career, and am connecting with friends new and old in ways I never have before. It's often scary, but the little things pay off. None of these are really that big, but I'm putting my head down and doing the work. I'm still anxious, still often depressed, but I'm here. Honestly, I am proud to be "doing the thing".
Moral of the story is: If you're stuck and lost, it's okay. Take a leap of faith, gamble on yourself. I promise you are capable of more than you think. You're all you've got, so get out there and DO THE THING! Even if you just get out of bed and take a shower, it's the first step (and trust me, I have many days where this is a mammoth challenge). Go change this world, team. One step at a time.
- Brooke, SPEAK* Facilitator
My future is big, but my tree is still growing.
What do I know, and what do I want to discover?
I know the sun is in the middle of the solar system.
I know that my parents love me.
I know the Earth is round and not flat.
I know that Uranus has rings, as well as Saturn.
I know how to sew.
I know about time: quarter past, half past, and quarter ‘til.
I know how to do art, but one thing I really want to know is how to make a vase.
I know that Michelangelo did the Sistine Chapel and the David. Leonardo da Vinci, he made a lot of paintings; he is the Renaissance man.
I want to play with clay, do sculpting, putting the clay together, and all that.
I know that clay is made of mud. Once the mud turns into clay, then you can cut it, and then you do the other process.
I want to discover somewhere in the ocean, and if the other planets have oceans as well. Do they have water?
I know that Jupiter has a red spot which is actually a hurricane, and I wonder how that hurricane got there, how did it begin.
I know that Jupiter has around 29 moons.
I want to discover the rest of my relatives.
I do know that I am mostly European, but there’s more to learn about my ancestry and my tree is still growing for my future to come.
I will have a good job, have a nice husband, go to college, and have friendly kids.
But right now I still am working on my tree.
- Abby, SPEAK*Girls Participant 2018
Ritual. Isn’t that like, a spiritual word? Shouldn’t it have something to do with balancing energies, meditation, or witchcraft? It’s much simpler than that. Implementing positive, easy rituals in your daily life can change your productivity, positivity, and even affect you relationships for the better. It provides a more grounded basis for existence, and teaches us to let go of the things we cannot change until tomorrow, the things that keep us awake at night and distract us from begin present. Ritual has changed how many people, especially inherently creative humans, function in their daily life.
What exactly is Ritual?
Ritual is defined as “a series of actions or type of behavior regularly and invariably followed by someone.” Life is governed by ritual. For example, every day I get out of bed, go to the bathroom, then come back and make my bed. I then make breakfast, and while it is cooking I do dishes from the night before. Putting these things together affirms to me and my body that we are ready and willing to accept what today will bring.
Habitually creative people have rituals linked to how they choose to start their day. By putting yourself in a specific environment meant to work in, you begin your creative, ambitious day from a place of understanding and acceptance. It puts you in a safe headspace to let your mind be as smart and impactful as it can be!
One of the most difficult things to do, no matter the task, is to get started. (Just starting this piece was a challenge for me!) Especially if you freelance, work from home, or are in a creative field; making the decision to sit down and start working can be a real challenge. This is where ritual comes in. Over time as routines continue, they become habits. By developing specific rituals that tell me “now we are going to work”, you can learn to maximize your time and enjoy the things you can do with others.
Rituals are important. With them, you are able to train yourself to get more done, but they also allow you to really focus on your personal values. They help fight depression and the desire to quit, they provide motivation, introduce kindness, and create ease. Rituals can cap your day and allow you to spend time on things you find important. It opens opportunity for more moments of joy.
Choosing a Ritual
One of the best ways to choose when and how to implement ritual is by creating a morning and evening routine. Begin the day the same way, enter your work space the same way, then leave it there when the day is done.
In our SPEAK* programs, we make a point to come together at the beginning and end of each session. Starting with a basic sun salutation and creative warm ups brings everyone to a collective space physically, emotionally, and spiritually to trust each other and the work we will do that day. It is a chance to quiet the mind as a group and be open to growth with more understanding of self and others. At the end of our time, we come together and acknowledge where we are, check out, thank each other for the day, and hit the floor as a unit. This brings a punctual end to each day, and allows participants to leave what we had done in that space, and carry with them what they choose. By doing this, we create a community of people that know the value of process.
So how do you do this in your life? Simply start! Find a ritual that you do that makes you feel better, stronger, more efficient, and give it some more value. Something simple that can be repeated. By attaching value to an action it becomes a marker in the day, a checkpoint to cross.
For example, you could...
There is no ideal condition for a creative and mindful work. What works for someone may not work for you, and that’s fine! Whatever you choose, make it easy on yourself. Start small. Even a few minutes of meditative breathing can make a world of difference. Find habits that invite a working environment that doesn’t shut you down, that doesn’t make you want to leave.
Most importantly, you have to choose a ritual that feels right to you. Ask yourself, “What do I get out of this? What’s in it for me?” The most valuable workings states encourage you to get started, get moving. Figure out what feels like something that inspires you and means something to you, putting you in the proper head space to go to work or leave it. It must implore you to do something.
Start small and start slow. Some days, you may forget your five minutes of meditation in the morning. That’s okay! Forgive yourself, and start over again the next day. First steps are hard. Over time, these rituals will become habit. Human beings are creatures of habit so create little habits that put you at ease. Take small steps with conviction. Don’t let yourself or excuses get in your way! The best way to do something is to just do it. These habits will develop, and you will be a step closer to a life of fewer stressors and more joy.
These posts are created by members of the SPEAK* community (participants, friends, supporters, etc.) who have something to share! Want to share any of your art (visual, written, or video)? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll put it up here!