My shifting professional identity, and differences between coaches/mentors and therapists 

For those of you who are still getting to know me, I am Asher.  A female artist who is deeply devoted to a career as a creative helping professional <3 

Here’s a little info on where I’ve been, where I am, and where I’m going…. 

Where I’ve been.  My education includes a doctorate degree in physical therapy, a certification in life coaching/mentorship, 10+ years of experience with conscious healing, growth, and trauma recovery, artistic development, as well as numerous self-study programs in various areas of creative spirituality.  Plenty of personal challenges and discoveries have informed the empathetic presence many people feel in our individual work together, and it is a deep honor to join others on this journey of creation, healing, and growth as a personal guide. 

Last year after reaching a peak in my artistic career as a musician, I made the decision to become a licensed clinical mental health counselor.  Many of you may not know that I’ve actually always wanted to be a therapist.  I just needed to find the courage to admit it.  2020 left me at a crossroads that finally revealed this truth undeniably.  If I am to make full use of the gifts my life has offered me, I finally recognized that they fit most precisely in the professional role of therapist/counselor.  And for those of you who know me well, you know that this secret identity has been trying to sneak its way out through original music and songwriting, through endless personal conversations about aaaaaaaaaaall the growth and healing, and even through past coaching work I’ve done. 

Where I am now.  Currently in my 2nd semester of graduate school I am beginning to receive the foundational training I've always craved in mental health.  It is offering an awakening of sorts, to say the least.  I think mostly it is giving me a grounded platform to more deeply understand self-worth, my own needs, and how to honor the boundaries that offer me the space to lovingly and securely exist.  These are directly increasing my capacity to hold space for others, and I love seeing this new presence develop and emerge.  It’s also giving acknowledgment to so much of what has been sensed, perceived, intuited about empathy, compassion, and presence… That which is just now scratching the surface of understanding and integration. 

Where I’d like to go.  With some of this new integration, I'm seeing that I’ll be juggling two professional roles for at least the next 2 years.  This is presenting the need to clarify the kind of coaching/mentoring work I’ll be offering between now and when I become licensed as a therapist, in alignment with values of clarity and compassion for all.  This clarity can hopefully offer everyone a greater window into how to access support through me, or through others I may be able to direct you towards 😊 

 

SOME DIFFERENCES BETWEEN COACHING/MENTORSHIP AND THERAPY: 

Many people have varying opinions of professional coaches and mentors who are not licensed mental health professionals.  I found this out directly when I asked a question on social media a few weeks ago about how each were perceived.  There were many who trusted therapists more, and others who trusted coaches more.  It was fascinating to read the responses and differing perspectives! 

It became obvious though that there is still some misinformation floating out there.  Did you know for instance, that professional coaching is a legitimate profession beyond people just saying it is?  There is actually a national accrediting body outlining the standards of practice and ethics codes for certified coaches.   Although it is not a requirement to join the ICF and many coaches/mentors choose not to (learn more about the ICF here), it’s worth taking a look as a consumer for checks and balances.  By educating yourself on what the standards of this profession actually are, you’ll likely be able to quickly discover more quickly whether someone in the public is taking the responsibilities and ethics of being a coach seriously, or just hanging out their shingle as an experiment or hobby because it's something they've "heard anyone can do."

Other than standards of practice, there are a few other major differences from between therapists and coaches/mentors that many people don’t seem to know about.  In an attempt to create more clarity and appreciation for each profession – because I myself am standing with one foot in each right now – I’ve outlined one perspective of these differences below, which is not an all-inclusive list.  From my vantage point, professional coaching/mentorship and therapy differ in the following important ways:  1) each profession’s targeted clientele, 2) the training each helper chooses to receive, and 3) how they each address the process of change.  I’ll say a little about each of these differences below. 

Therapy seeks to serve people who are typically looking for an emotionally-intimate form of help, generally with their deepest sensitivities and concerns.  Clients in a therapeutic relationship need and desire a highly sensitive partner in growth to address the core root issues of whatever they are working through.  This means they need a high degree of emotional trust, care, and skill in order to expose these deep concerns, fears, challenges, and inner wounds.  Many say that the purpose of therapy is to address the past, though that is only half true.  A good number of therapeutic approaches don’t even focus on a person’s history at all, and many very much address the present, and a person's future goals.  The therapeutic process is validated by evidence-based practice, years of study by theorists and philosophers, a professional community of peers, a thorough academic and evaluative learning process (licensed therapists are required to pass through years of school and training with evaluation by supervisors both during and after school), and a consistent ethics code that clearly defines the profession and its standards of practice.  All that being said, did you know that most therapy training programs do not require their grad students to receive therapy of their own?  It is highly encouraged, but not usually required, even after someone has made the commitment to become a therapist for others.  What this means is that although a therapist can move through tons of knowledge-based training, depending on how experiential their program curriculum is and their experience before joining the profession, they may actually be relatively new to a deep path of learning and growth themselves.  

Ok, now coaching and professional mentorship.  You can think of this service more like a trade profession, instead of an academic one.  Looking at the work of a mechanic is a nice comparison.  Your local mechanic probably didn’t go to school to learn what he does.  He probably learned it through life experience, mentorship, and self-evaluation.  Why do you trust him?  Well, that’s a good question, many people have a hard time trusting mechanics, because they think they’re just trying to run a business and get your money.  And the truth is, there are some mechanics who are less skilled, less genuine, and yes, are more focused on business and money than the work itself and the people receiving it.  But when you find an amazing mechanic who not only does what you’re paying him to do (fix your car in a really particular way), you’re likely to feel immensely grateful for the service he’s providing.  You’re also not expecting him to be a rocket scientist who knows all the theories behind what he’s doing.  His results validate his knowledge, and because of that you feel satisfied and complete (ideally).   

A professional coach or mentor choosing to make this work a career is in a similar type of business – offering you a more specific kind of service in an area where the helper often holds years of experience working with, and finding solutions for the problem or concerns you’re facing.  Many coaches/mentors are called to help others heal, grow, and make positive changes in their life because they seen their own results and the results of friends they’ve helped happen over and over again.  Following their unfolding purpose of giving back to others what they have been given, the next step they see is to be of service using their natural abilities, passions, and the experiences they've learned from.  They receive mentorship by others who are further along their chosen path, and through their own learning and self-evaluation they develop wisdom – an inner knowledge obtained through experience – that they begin to channel in the direction of benefiting others seeking support.  Those who appreciate a professional coach or mentor's support are people who are on a similar life path, looking for solutions to similar life problems that their coach/mentor has had successful experience with navigating.  

If we start comparing a mechanic to an engineer, and expecting him or her to be that, it would make a lot of sense that we’d be disappointed or even distrustful.  The same comparisons prevent some people from trusting the coaching industry (along with the fact that some coaches choose to charge exorbitant amounts of money for their services).  The value of trade professionals such as mechanics or coaches/mentors is not their academic knowledge, it is their hands-on, life experience with the specific problem you’re facing, along with the specific results working with them can produce for you.  Many people don’t actually know it, but the skills many coaches and mentors use are very similar to skills embedded in therapeutic modalities focused on shifting belief systems and taking action in the direction of your desires (cognitive behavioral therapy, and solutions-focused brief therapy are two therapy modalities where I believe coaching’s roots lie).  The difference between how a coach versus a therapist will deliver these skills speaks more to each profession and its standards rather than the professional themselves.  If a client values a professional’s personal experience more than anything and feels better having less structure to their process, a coach or mentor might serve them more.  If someone feels safer and more trusting of a process informed by knowledge and more structure, a therapist might feel better.  

So what can we conclude about the professions of mental health counseling and coaching/mentorship?  Although there are nuances to what I’m about to say, in trying to integrate this for myself this is what has become clear:  

The career path of becoming a licensed mental health professional) is validated primarily through knowledge and training, and complimented by experience.  And the career path of professional coaching is validated primarily through personal learning and experience, and complimented by knowledge and training.  

Though some professionals are strictly on one path or the other, there are a million shades of grey in between each of these paths, resulting in varying combinations of the two!  You might consider me to be exploring some of those grey zones right now 😊 

With oodles of ongoing, personal experiences of growth, healing, and being a change agent for myself and others, I’m making the transition to becoming a mental health professional alongside my less structured work as a coach/mentor.  The generous spirit in me decided this was a good idea because I want more people to have access to the healing that flows through, not just the people who can afford the rate I need to charge right now as a coach working outside of a 3rd party payer system (insurance does not cover coaching or self-development yet).  And, the introvert in me thinks this is a great idea because the truth is, self-expression takes a lot of energy for me, and I don’t like playing marketing games to “attract” people to my services.  I like helping people directly, who directly ask for help.     

As a person who loves loving transparency and clarity, below I’ve outlined a direct glimpse of all the in’s and out’s of my current service career.  This is what I currently offer in my coaching/mentoring practice, while expanding and deepening my toolbox as a therapist-in-training: 

 

WHAT YOU CAN RECEIVE FROM ME NOW AS A MENTOR/COACH: 

  • Body-centered mindfulness practices 
  • Accountability for growth and positive change 
  • A safe, loving, and compassionate space for self-inquiry and self-examination 
  • Homework assignments that promote experiential learning, insight, and integration 
  • Focus and clarity in a particular area of life that feels challenging 
  • A confidential helping relationship that is more objective and directive than friendship 
  • A loving, compassionate container of growth in the area of your choice 
  • Either a process-oriented approach, or help in aligning with specific goals 

 

HOW THIS DIFFERS FROM THERAPY: 

  • The work I currently do does not address root emotional issues such as low self-worth, codependency, or addiction 
  • A therapist is better equipped to help you if you are working directly with core issues that are causing bigger disruptions, instability, dysfunction, or “stuck-ness” in your life 
  • The services I offer must be paid for out of pocket, and cannot be billed through insurance 
  • Our relationship will likely feel more social, and less intimate than your relationship would be with a therapist 
  • We will likely communicate some between sessions to talk about your progress towards goals and resistance that comes up, whereas a therapeutic process mostly happens during sessions 
  • You are expected to be totally independent in your growth process, with me as a supportive guide.  You might expect your therapist to offer more emotional support through deeper pain and/or challenges that arise through your growth process 

 

REASONS A REFERRAL MIGHT BE MADE TO A MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONAL: 

  • If suicidal thoughts or feelings begin interfering with your established goals or begin presenting a safety concern, we may need to pause our work together while you receive support from a licensed mental health counselor.  It may be possible that both therapy and coaching can occur together, though usually people benefit from focusing on one or the other. 
  • If we both determine that our work together is not benefitting you, and a deeper or different form of support is needed. 
  • If you’ve reached your goals or our work comes to an obvious transition and seeing a mental health counselor is where your path is leading you next. 
  • If expanding on an aspect of the work we’ve done leads you to want to explore one of your core issues in that area. 
  • If one of the ways we worked together felt amazing for you, and you have an interest in exploring it more therapeutically to work on your core issues. 

YOU ARE A GOOD FIT FOR COACHING/MENTORING IF YOU ARE: 

  • Self-motivated 
  • Generally stable and grounded 
  • Earning a steady income 
  • Clear about the way you’d like to grow, expand, or deepen your life 
  • Actively doing things to cultivate more presence and mindfulness 
  • Wishing to work towards your creative goals 
  • Committed to your growth 
  • Open to receiving support 
  • Ready for positive change in the area(s) you’d like to shift 
  • Excited to invest in creating a better future for yourself 

 

LIFE THEMES YOU MIGHT WANT TO WORK WITH: 

Creative process 
Life transitions 
Self-leadership 
Interpersonal connection 
Identity 
Spirituality 
Self-esteem 
Money 
Business development and expression 
Self-expression 
Purpose discovery 
Recovery 

 

PROFESSIONAL TONE:  (how it feels to work with me individually, or within a coaching group) 

Although sometimes it can be challenging to work through resistance, overall I’ve been told the tone of coaching sessions feels fun, spirited, relaxing, and invigorating.  You’ll likely feel seen, heard, appreciated, inspired, and motivated, with a natural inclination to reach a little beyond your comfort zone and into your next way of being. 

 

PRICES AND PACKAGING: 

When you decide you’d like to work together, your level of commitment to the process, the nature of your goals, and your budget determine what payment plan we agree on.  Many people choose to commit to 2-3 months of coaching together to begin with, anticipating that this is about the amount of time it will take to cultivate lasting change.  In this scenario, if it is comfortable financially to do so, the most commonly chosen option is to pay for your upcoming month of coaching prior to the first session.  For those who pay ahead I offer a small discount on their coaching package as a thank you. 

If the nature of your goals is more short-term, unknown, or it makes coaching more accessible for you, paying for single sessions at my regular rate is also an option. 

  • $400/mo – 4 weekly sessions 
  • $110/hr – 1 session

10 Reasons Coaching "Doesn't Work" 

 

And how it CAN work for you today...

 

As a coach/mentor, I’ve heard a lot of people’s opinions about whether or not coaching “works” for them.  Many who have tried coaching and gained a tremendous value from the experience are big fans.  They felt the support they needed, and were likely able to achieve not only the feelings of support and empowerment, but also the grounded results they were seeking.  Even still, there are tons of people who have had a different experience, one that left them feeling disappointed with either their coach, or what they received/didn’t receive while working with them. 

In having these conversations, and in speaking with many people who are considering hiring a coach for the first time, it’s become clear that a solid understanding of what coaching is and isn’t, is important if you’re interested in being in this first camp of people – the ones who will say without a doubt, that their coach helped them changed their life in profound ways.  

When you hire a coach, you are likely looking for 2 things:  1) The feelings and freedoms you seek internally, and 2) The external outcomes you desire. 

Coaching is a sacred partnership.  Which means that ideally, both people in the dance are investing energy into your growth, and the resulting outcomes you desire.  In years of experience witnessing this growth partnership in action, there are certain elements that when present, allow for grace to enter in consistently.  There are also certain elements that when not present, can leave you feeling disappointed, and even like you’ve wasted your money investing in something that never took you where you actually wanted to go.  

Here are a few reasons I’ve seen this coaching relationship produce anywhere from mediocre, to non-existent results for people interested in receiving this form of support, with contributions from both the coach and client.  And if you’re someone currently seeking coaching support, these are the points I’d suggest considering before handing money to anyone who you wish to enter into that sacred partnership with.  If you had a disappointing coaching experience, here are some possibilities as to why that may have happened: 

 

1) You weren’t fully invested.  The only way you can achieve what you want, is if you believe in it whole-heartedly.  Even if you are working with a coach with years of experience, loads of skill, and who believes in you 100%, it still would not be enough if you weren’t bought in to your own growth process and willing to feel the importance of what you’re creating.  Clients who enter into this relationship with clarity that with support, they can meet their challenges and create lasting change, are the ones who see the results they seek. 

2) Your coach cared more about being right than you reaching your goals.  Many coaches, especially ones just starting out, believe that they know the “right” way to do things.  The problem with working in a growth partnership with someone like this though, is that it does not allow enough space for your intuitive wisdom to emerge and be your ultimate guide.  Coaches who are skilled in constantly bringing you back to your own inner guidance, and detaching from their own opinions, biases, and beliefs about you and your life, will ultimately feel the most empowering for you to work with. 

3) You weren’t willing to be vulnerable with yourself, or with your coach.  Growth partnerships thrive when you expose your needs, desires, and truth.  And this requires you to open up honestly about who you are, and what you really want.  If you’re not used to doing that and including someone else in the process, it can feel hella-scary!  And, the effectiveness of what you receive from your coaching experience completely depends on the depth of this honesty, and how much of it you’re willing to bring to the process within your coaching relationship.  The more real you get, the more real your results will be. 

4) Your coach was still hiding from their own potential.  There is a particular phenomenon leaders like Julia Cameron have talked about called being a “shadow artist.”  Well, there is also such a thing as being a shadow coach.  If you are hiring someone to work with you in a particular area you want to grow and expand in, but they themselves are not committing energy to their own growth process, your results are not going to be as strong.  Again, this is a partnership, and choosing a coach who is actively stretching themselves personally and professionally is a huge factor in you feeling the inspiration and stimulation you need from them. 

5) You secretly believed that “following your dreams” is woo woo.  This happens a lot with clients who are hiring a coach for the first time.  Apprehensively, they invest money into the process, but with an open eye scanning for the moment they can prove their theory that the coaching business is actually a fraud, and that they’ve indeed been duped.  Here’s a secret:  The process of expansion is only effective when grounded in a relationship of faith and trust.  The nature of the coaching relationship, is such that you are wishing to step into a place of unknown territory.  One that ideally, your coach has cultivated for themselves and helped others step into.  If you’re secretly holding onto the belief though that you can’t create the real changes you seek because it’s too crazy or unfathomable, you’re might not experience the miracle of supported growth and awakening. 

6) Your coach was too woo woo.  The other side of that same coin, is that there is a practicality to growth that is very real.  It is the reason that for most people, simple saying the affirmations over and over again do not create the changes they seek.  Most of the time, the practical application of feeling can be found in our physical experience of those feelings and beliefs.  That’s right, I’m talking about a-c-t-i-o-n.  Action is the way we embody our emotions and intention.  And it is the piece that when left out of the coaching relationship, can result in a client feeling like they just invested a lot of money to simply think thoroughly about something, that never really landed in their actual reality.  High quality coaching includes inspired actions, accountability, and creating a real road map towards you bringing your intentions into a reality.  Even if you’re hired a coach who work primarily in the areas of mindset, spirituality, or the emotional realms, if they weren’t including action steps into your work, this may have contributed to your disappointment in working with them. 

7) You expected your coach to be responsible for saving, fixing, or healing you.  This is a growth partnership, but it is not a parent-child dynamic.  Even if you have the most ooey gooey emotionally-connected bond with your coach, their role is still very clearly to help you take care of yourself.  Your actions are not their responsibility.  Your goals are not their responsibility.  Your results are not their responsibility.  Though they are invested helping you with all of these things, Your progress is ultimately yours and yours alone.  This is actually true of any helping relationship.  A practitioner or helping professional can literally only offer you what they have.  If you are ready to receive what they offer it will be there for you.  Whether you receive and absorb that gift is completely up to you.  And the ones who do, are usually the ones who see splendid results.

8) Your coach was insensitive to your true needs and desires.  Unfortunately there are many coaches who become too attached to their own agendas.  So much so, that they are not actually listening to yours.  Remember that when you seek to hire someone to help you grow, one of the best qualities you can look for is sensitivity.  And specifically, the empathetic kind that allows for you to feel seen, heard, and understood.  If in the past you worked with someone who did not have this quality, I can almost guarantee that you felt “missed,” or in even worse cases, judged.  This is not a high-quality coaching relationship, and it’s also not the kind of environment that will produce your most efficient growth process.  Finding a coach who is able to easily tune into you is crucial to the effectiveness of your work together. 

9) You chose a coach who was the wrong fit for who you are, and what you needed.  There are as many coaches nowadays as there are needs.  Since the profession of coaching and self-development has expanded over the last few years, most coaches have moved in the direction of narrowing down the population of people they work with based on their personal growth trajectory.  They call this working within a particular “niche.”  If a coach has not done enough purpose discovery work though, or if you decide to just “settle on someone” because you’re tired of looking for the right person, you might find that this distills the results you can achieve with them.  It is similar to romantic relationships.  The more clarity you have on what you need and want, the more satisfied you will be with the partner you find.  Looking for a coach operates very similarly.  When you can hone in as specifically as possible on what you’re needing to work on and seek that person out, this is where your highest potential lies. 

10) Your coach didn’t embody deep listening with you.  Again, the coaching relationship is so much about you feeling heard.  If your coach did more of the talking and you mostly listened to them, this is more of a teaching relationship than a growth partnership.  That is useful, but it’s not where the magic of coaching will be witnessed.  Most coaches offer an introductory call so you can get a feel for how they work with their clients.  This call is a 2-way interview, but ultimately, you are the one investing money in your personal and/or professional growth.  This is your opportunity to decide whether this person is able/willing to listen to you, and where you are.  If you worked with a person who wasn’t, it likely contributed to a less-than-desirable experience.  

 

The good news?

 

You can be fully invested in your growth journey.

You can choose a coach who prioritizes your goals over their own opinions.

You can be completely honest with yourself, and your coach.

You deserve to work with someone who is actively engaged with their own edge.

You can step into the unknown with faith and trust, allowing the mystery to work in your favor.

You can choose to work with a coach who blends together grace, and grounded action.

You can take full responsibility for your growth process, and the results you create.

You are worthy of being seen, heard, and understood by the coach you choose to partner with.

You can find clarity on your specific needs and desires, and a coach who meets you there.

You can hire a coach who listens to you on an intellectual, emotional, and intuitive level.

 

The coaching relationship has the potential to literally change your life.  I and many of my network have experienced it, and you can as well by paying attention to the reasons you’re hiring a coach, the timing of this experience, and the person you choose to work with.  

How has working with a coach been beneficial, annoying, empowering, frustrating, etc for you?  Please share questions, thoughts, and/or reflections, I am curious to hear the variety of experiences you’ve each had with this unique relationship. 

And for anyone who is currently seeking to dive deeper into your creative service leadership, I am now accepting clients into my new program, Creatively Called this month.  Please visit the web page, and feel free to apply if this looks like it may be calling to you.

Are you making comparisons with kindness.... 

Or Judgment

 

 

The difference will reveal with the peace you seek… 

 

As the caring people we are, we tend to really notice other people. 

And while this is a beautiful quality, it can also lead us into troubled territories when we place extreme emphasis on others, and forget about the context of self that is doing the observing.  

There is so.  much.  talk in our culture that encourages us to compare ourselves with one another.  Have you noticed these internalized dialogues within yourself?  Have you noticed how hard it is to not place yourself, for instance, next to someone who is 20 steps beyond where you are and feel pressure, or self-criticism, or even failure? 

In my reflections today I fondly remembered an old college boyfriend.  We were reaching the point of commitment where I was starting to get scared and feel trapped, and innocently bringing up my fears as best I could I said, “Levi, I’m starting to think we’re just really different.  And I don’t know if it’s the right kind of relationship.”  What I was actually feeling, and not able to articulate very well, was an insecurity with myself as an individual.  The person I was dating had a strong identity, and a lot of emotional and self-awareness.  He also felt clarity around his sense of purpose in the world, and the ways in which he wanted to serve others.  These were all qualities I was seeking, but didn’t know yet within myself.  

Our differences didn’t feel beautiful to me, they felt threatening to my sense of self. 

Anywhere else we see this happening right now?   The unfortunate scenario which, greatly simplified, reveals a way in which we say NO to connection with those who we perceive as different, and YES to separation when we think that presents a threat to us. 

This runs so.  deep.     

And to me, it feels like the sacred rub right now that leaves me with a question as we face the challenges presenting within ourselves as caring individuals, and within our divided society: 

How can we honor, celebrate, and value the differences we notice between ourselves, and others in our lives? 

The color of our skins 
The amounts of money we make 
The different gifts we share 
The beautiful voices we have 
The ways we’re inspired to create 
The people we’re drawn to 
The boundaries we set 
The fires of passion that burn differently within us all 

The histories that inform those fires….. 

This work of strengthening our sense of self, and building true inner security (if you’re interested in doing that, check out Voices of Love!) that allows us to look at each person we see as someone we share sacred similarities with, and who we can also celebrate as special, unique, and different in ways that add to our beautiful array of humanity. 

When I look back now on that relationship I mentioned, I see that it was probably the healthiest, strongest, and happiest one I’ve ever experienced.  Though I didn’t see my partner’s maturity at the time (and if I did we might still be together), it shined through when he responded to my doubts by saying, “Actually, I love the ways you’re different from me.  And I think our differences are what makes us really, really beautiful together.” 

 

Your uniqueness is a beautiful contribution to the world, and all those who

see and love you for exactly who you are will notice!

 

What are your thoughts?  

Let us know below in the comments.

 

And if you'd like to go a little deeper into your journey of releasing judgment and stepping into your unique beauty, I'd love to talk with you more and explore that together!  

Email me @ radiantsong.asherleigh@gmail.com, I'd love to hear more about your experience.

Sometimes when you feel like you're messing up.... 

You're actually being celebrated...

Sav'ry June is alive and bein' loved up on! 

My oh my, I have some more exciting news to share.... 

Last Monday night, Jodi and I were excited to participate in a songwriting/performance contest called Hidden Voices -- organized by Asheville Poverty Initiative as a fundraiser supporting those at many levels of financial need. 

We were pleasantly surprised by the results: 

Our new song, Savory, was chosen as the 1st place winner!  As a reward, we've been offered 1 fully recorded song as Echo Mountain studio. 

This was a tremendous gift, as we've been dreaming up visions of creating an album together this spring anyway. 

But as wonderful as "winning" things can be, it felt important to share a little more about the personal process I went through that evening -- which inculded a lot of, well, other things.... 

 

Along with excitement, I also had the following experiences: 

  • Fear of "messing up" 
  • Anxiety in preparation for potentially "messing up" 
  • Shame while I thought I actually was "messing up" 
  • Frustration when I realized how I had "messed up" 
  • Terror that I was going to be punished for "messing up" 
  • Harsh self-criticism for the ways I "messed up" 
  • A belief that I disappointed people I cared about by "messing up" 

 

Basically, I forgot some lyrics to the song we sang and it sent me into a pretty big shame spiral during, right after, and for about a week since the performance. 

Although this definitely triggered a deep trauma response in my nervous system rooted in a hard early childhood experience, I was grateful to have cultivated enough self-love, compassion, and inner peace through the years to keep moving through each moment knowing I was ultimately safe, and going to be ok. 

The message I want to relay to anyone else who may be suffering from trauma-related performance anxiety is this: 

       

         It is perfectly acceptable, to be imperfect. 

 

Even when it seems impossible that you could actually be loved, celebrated, and valued based on what your mind is telling you -- actually, especially during these times -- you are worthy of that care and appreciation.  Both from yourself, and from others. 

This was a wondrous, awe-inspiring reminder for me of just that. 

Beauty is relative, and art is such a mysteriously powerful channel, one we can't always pin down based on our limited perceptions.   After the show we thanked the judges for their recognition, even in the face of some obvious "mistakes." 

With puzzled looks, they each said, "What mistakes?  We thought you were great." 

Check out the winning performance below, and enjoy the affirmation we're soaking up right now.... 

     

        We are loved exactly as we are, and so are you.

 

Join us in any of the following ways to find out about future shows, updates, and more 

 

Email list  -  savryjune@gmail.com

Facebook - Savry June

Instagram - @savryjune

 

Feeling shut off from the very thing you WANT? 

OPEN THE WINDOW!

When I speak to someone who says, "I wish I was more creative" ... it's an automatic sign to me that they have not yet tapped into their creative source with a conscious experience of being moved by their own creative spirit

Cause when you have that experience, there ain't no turnin' back... 

You can't "un-know" the truth of your creative essence when you experience it with every cell of your being. 

You can't "un-believe" that it's possible for you to make something out of nothing, because the first time you see it happen it is miraculous and life-changing. 

And you certainly can't "un-design" your humanity to become some kind of different species (at least not yet!) who doesn't create every second of their waking life. 

It's...  JUST.  NOT.  POSSIBLE. 

When we have a direct experience with the Divine through the act of creation, I call it a Creative Awakening.  And it's what lots of us are searching for tirelessly within our pocket books, partnerships, careers, friendships, hell even our own minds, hearts, and Souls. 

And seriously, a roap map really, really helps. 

***a note of irony, for those who are interested:  The content that helped me unlock my own Creative Awakening told me very different -- it was a song, in which I expressed very succinctly that I did not need help to find my way in this world.  In actuality, this single belief cost me over $79,000 and 9 blessed years of my life spent running around looking for the directions.... 

Your road map is within you.  (I know, so annoying...) 

But I'll help you read it a little more clearly :) 

 

Here are 5 windows giving you direct access to your Creative Awakening: 

1) Joy.  Things that makes you smile ear-to-ear and get lost in silliness! 

2) Passion.  The stuff that makes you lose track of time, and feels effortless. 

3) Your truth.  The stuff that puts you in touch with, and helps you express your personal experiences and perceptions of yourself, life, and your surroundings. 

4) Purpose.  The stuff that deep in your heart you feel fulfills a deep need in the world. 

5) Self-inquiry.  The stuff that helps you get curious, and pose questions you don't know the answers to. 

 

These "windows" are like a system of organizing the activities and actions you engage with in different buckets, based on what they put you directly in touch with.  For instance, what puts you most in touch with your inner experience of passion right now?  Is it throwing parties?  Being out in the snow?  Rock climbing?  Reading fiction novels?  Writing about things you'd call nonsense?  Whatever it is, that's one of your windows.  Rinse and repeat with all the other windows, and you've now collected 5 strong ways to directly, let me repeat directly, access your creative awakening.  No confused searching, no frustration, just a pure, direct experience with exactly what you're looking for. 

So the next time you do find yourself seeking direction, or someone to give you the right answers, maybe consider saying yes to some of the "stuff" that opens these windows.  And if you feel adventurous, try some activities that combine a few :) 

Whatever you do, do NOT for a split second believe that you, or any other humanoid you know, are not granted access to the Divine gift of "being creative."  It's just.  not.  possible. 

Are you FEELING THIS??? 

I'm feelin' it. 

Tell me, how are you going to open one of your creative windows today?

For those who are seeking their truth... 

10 Ways to revive your long-lost creative passion:

 

(photo:  Erica Mueller Photography)

When you’re looking for something important – lost keys, an important document, a piece of jewelry or favorite accessory – it’s usually pretty frustrating when you can’t find it.  You know exactly what it is, and probably what it looks like.  And since you probably see an image of it clearly in your mind, there’s no doubt that it does exist, somewhere in space and time.  You know that it’s possible for you to find it.  And even if you don’t ever reunite with this lost item, there is security in knowing that you could have if circumstances were different. 

Imagine though, that you were looking for something deeply familiar that’s even more important than your car keys, something that has the potential to bring happiness and joy to every aspect of your life.  The difference?  You don’t know what it is, or what it looks like.  

This is what it feels like when you’ve lost your creative identity, and have decided you want to find it.  

Talk about something that’s frustrating!  Add confusing in the mix as well when the sadness hits, as you remember on a deep Soul level that you think, or at least you’re pretty sure, that you had access to this mysterious quality at one point in your life and that it was really, really sweet.  As opposed to finding some item you've misplaced on the outside, searching for your creative spirit can only be found by tuning into your insides -- who you are, what you love, and why you love it.  

If you’re someone who’s looking for access to your creativity, purpose, and sense of passion, although it may seem like you’re searching for a pine needle in a pile of oak leaves, there is a bit of a road map that consistently leads many people straight to their joy.   

 

Here is my top 10 list of strategies for re-discovering your long-lost creative passion: 

 

10) Take note of the common thread(s) showing up in everything you love. 

Write down the string of connection.  What keeps showing up for you no matter where you are, or what you're doing?  What feels like it's missing when you're not having a great time?  Why are you feeling full and alive when you have that favorite night of being with your favorite people in all your favorite ways?

9) Spend quality time by yourself, and feel all your feelings.  

This is an inside game, folks.  And although our outer environment certainly gives us clues as to what's happening and why, there is absolutely no way that you're going to find your passion if you're still avoiding looking within.  One of the first major steps you can take is learning to feel pure, human emotion.  And let me tell you, if you're anything like I was when I was looking for myself, a lot of clues are revealed when we simply start paying attention to what our feelings are telling us.  Spending time alone also allows us to explore ourselves fully, without inhibition or a need to please anyone else.  Time to get into that crazy crafting project you've been thinking about all week!  Or take the trip, or cook the meal, etc. etc...

8) Connect with people who are lit up naturally by life.  

You know who they are.  You feel it because they're oozing with the passion you want to find!  They seem endlessly inspired, endlessly real, and endlessly in a state of pure delight at the simple pleasures of being alive.  And being around these people naturally ignites your own innate sense of passion, however it wants to live through you.  Some of these natural light bulbs may engage with substances like drugs and alcohol, and some may not.  What's plain as day though is that they don't need them to engage from a place of excitement and positive energy, because they are sourcing that energy from within.  Start noticing these folks and how you feel when you're in their presence.  And then, if you're feeling brave, start asking to be around them more and take notes about the different ways they're going about they're life!

7) Release people, communities, and/or situations that feel heavy, negative, or judgmental. 

On the other token, you probably know some of these people as well.  They're the ones who seem to have the opposite effect on you -- heaviness, laziness, or fatigue.  All of a sudden you wake up and notice that you've slept in until 11am the past 4 days and not even the thought of making your favorite spaghetti supreme dish tonight feels enticing anymore.  These are likely people who have blocked their own passion and creativity, and they will help you block yours also as long as you let them.  Making the choice to reduce your contact with these folks, you will immediately feel the result of increased lightness, inspiration, and excitement that is driving your search.

6) Explore new and exciting interests with an open mind.  

When you're looking for something that will give you an internal feeling, sometimes you have to try a few different ideas before really identifying clearly what it is.  Give yourself permission right now to try something you've never done before.  What if you didn't have to be a professional drummer?  Or an experienced painter?  Or a long-time gardener?  What if you just wanted to try it out and see how it felt?  By allowing yourself to dip your toe into a few new things that perk your interest, you receive mega-information about what your passion is really about, and take yourself one step closer to hitting the bulls eye.

5) Spend time with children, and reflect on your own childhood.  

Children are masters of passion and authenticity.  They can't help but be exactly as they are, shining out their bright and vibrant nature.  AND GUESS WHAT YOU'RE LOOKING FOR... ?  I see this as one of the intrinsic purposes of people below the age of 10.  Along with giving us access to a natural flow of love, they also innocently show up in the way you're trying to be yourself -- fully alive, vibrantly creative, and filled with passion.  Spending time with children will also put you directly in touch with yourself at a younger age.  What would you have done with the worm y'all just found on the ground together when you were 6?  What was your answer when your mom said, "What do you want to do for your play date with David this weekend?"  Looking at life through the lens of yourself as a child, you receive tons of valuable information about the truth of who you are, and how you roll.

4) Pay attention to your sleeping and waking dreams.  

Our dreams are windows into our subconscious minds, and when you're looking for something buried deep in your subconscious mind, they're like striking gold!  Start a dream journal, which you write in every morning recollecting any dreams you had and anything about them that feels important or relevant.  Even if some mornings you don't remember anything at all, even initiating the practice will cue you into your deeper wisdom and let yourself know you're inviting answers.  Your questions will be heard, and it will feel joyfully mysterious when it does eventually begin to come together.

3) Write love letters to yourself.  

Beginning to communicate with yourself is crucial to opening up any conversation of self-discovery.  Why not make it a little more romantic and juicy?  Maybe you can pretend like your creative passion is like a long-lost lover that you know will eventually find you again.  What would you say to it?  What feelings might emerge?  What kind of paper would you write on?  Treating this new relationship you're forming with yourself as special as you would a new romance you're excited about re-kindling is a wondrous way of bringing it closer to you.  And it is likely that you will see results from this action immediately after the exciting words are written.

2) Look at yourself in the mirror (often).  

Again, this is about forming a relationship with the only person on the face of the earth who can hear the answers you're looking for.  You are the window into your own creative Soul.  And if you've lost access to that, there is no other way but through your own eyes that your passion is going to start pouring out.  Take a look in there, and start feeling the familiarity of what it's like to be you.  It may be hard at first to enter into that intimate space with yourself, but I promise, it gets easier with practice.  Soon all of the lines on your face that you've been judging turn into marks of comfort, and the way your nose crinkles up a little when you start to cry starts to feel natural.  Connecting with yourself visually begins to anchor you in your own sense of self, outside of others' expectations or projections, and the effect of this is a natural emergence of true expression, authenticity, and pure passion.

1) See each experience as a directional sign pointing you straight to your truth. 

When you're on the search that you're on, it's easy to feel like you're lost and swimming around in a sea of unknown trees in a forest you don't know the name of.  Probably the most important clue you have along the path though, is that each step of the way you are being given direction from your inner guidance, and from the Universe.  Life wants to live a full existence, and as long as you are alive you're not exempt from this natural force pulling you into your full, mature expression of self.  What does this mean?  It means that as soon as you're ready to start looking, it's going to show up.  E-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e...  If you're aware of this one, simple fact, you can start entering into each experience with your eyes wide open, ready to experience the next miracle showing you exactly where to go next.  It is continuing along this path and saying yes to each of these moments of truth that eventually leads to big reveals, big breakthroughs, and eventually big growth spurts as your creative identity evolves.   

 

0) Spending time in nature.  

I know I know, I said 10.  But this one simply can-not be excluded.  I cannot emphasize enough, that if you're someone looking to discover the truth of who you really are, nature is seriously your biggest teacher.  Spend time with her.  Learn from her.  Study her and her ways.  If you connect intimately with living things in the natural world from a place of curiosity and learning, it's like giving your passion-battery a mega-boost of essence energy.  Living as nothing but the pure expression of what is, each element of nature (at least that has been untainted by the ignorant hands of some humans) lives and breathes authenticity and clear passion.  Soaking up this medicine is one of the best, and most effective ways of connecting with your own nature.    

 

If you're starting to notice, these suggestions are not a quick fix.  Finding yourself and your passion takes committed action and persistence, and often our progress is building silently under the surface.  While on the outside it may look like nothing is happening, internally a galactic shift may be hiding just around the next action or feeling.  I wish you ease and grace along your journey, and thank you for finding the courage to seek the truth of who you really are!

 

Where are you on the path???  

 

Let me know, I'm want to hear your story!

Feeling the Fullness of the Holidays... 

Wow, it's Christmas Eve... 

And if you're anything like me, you might be experiencing mixed emotions, heightened emotions, and/or raw emotions. The holidays can be the most intense time of year because so many pressures we face normally in smaller doses all seem to collide.  And as loving, kind-hearted, sensitive humans, it's normal to feel a little overwhelmed in the face of those stresses. 

Music and self-expression are powerful tools of acknowledgement.  In essence we're like, "Hey, this is what I think, feel, believe, own, understand, don't understand, etc.."  The first part is the one where we say whatever we need to say. 

But what about the second part?

That's where it tends to make a difference whether your audience is drinking and hanging out half-listening in a bar.... Or, attentively sitting in front of you, soaking in your words and your facial expressions and your body language and emotions, and letting it resonate deep inside, honoring whatever meaning it has for the life of the one whose ears are open and receptively hearing what's being dished out.

A step beyond listening, it's actually something much deeper:  validation.  And the effect is that the person communicating feels that their experience is important, reasonable, and normal given the circumstances that created them.

 

It doesn't matter who you are.  *Every* person on this planet needs to feel validated for their pain before they can let it go.

 

I wrote this the other night, processing through some of the hardships I've experienced in my life.  I am endlessly grateful for how these pains have been heard by loved ones, therapists, coaches, growth partners, romantic partners, co-workers, and anyone else who I've opened up to about any of these sentiments.  

As an artist and generally sensitive person, the holidays have always been especially challenging for me.  I've learned to accept the challenge and reap the richness it offers, but damn....  Sometimes it just. gets. hard.

 

I share the following in hopes that it's helpful for someone around this time, when some challenging inside things might be rising to the surface <3 

 

The Pains I Know: 

I do not pretend to understand for a second, the kind of suffering a mother faces upon losing a child. 

I don't know that pain. 

And similarly, I have no knowledge of the wound created by a partner's infidelity. 

It's just not in my experience. 

 

But there are other pains I know well... 

 

I know the pain of being bullied by people you admire. 

I know the pain of being the odd one out. 

I know the pain of the insanity one feels when they can't detach from their dinner plate, or any thought of food that came before, or that comes after it. 

I know the pain of rejection. 

I know the pain of loneliness too, the kind that feels confusing because you've analyzed your life from every possible angle, and it still doesn't add up that you did anything so wrong, that you deserve to feel this far removed from human love and affection. 

I know the pain of having genuine happiness bubbling out of your being, but not feeling safe enough to share it. 

I know the pain of feeling missed, passed by, or forgotten. 

I know the pain of anxiety, and how it shows its innocent face at all the wrong times -- like when you're on the lieu, or trying to make epic love, or when you're supposed to be having the time of your life...

I know the pain of love -- the love that allows you to care so deeply for someone, but not quite enough to change the reality that you'll both be better people if you aren't together. 

I know the pain of being sexually molested, and being unfairly disgusted with yourself for letting it happen.

I know the pain of being broke, and not knowing where your next meal is coming from, *and hiding it* because you "look" middle-class, and God-forbid anyone would find out you're barely over the poverty line. 

I know the pain of delusion -- the kind that with 1 single reality break, creates the seed of doubt that says quietly, "but you're crazy, and you don't know what's really real..." 

I know the pain of feeling orphaned, with your parents still living and a phone call away. 

I know the pain of creative repression, and the stagnancy and boredom that encourage a life full of "What do you think I should do?" kinds of questions 

I know the pain of waiting... for a person -- any person -- to decide what no one on the outside can ever decide for you... 

I know the pain of living in an alcoholic family, without anyone ever talking about it.

I know the pain of wallowing, and not knowing how to stop. 

I know the pain of numbness, and not seeing how to thaw. 

I know the pain of showing the world how beautiful you are, and waking up the next morning feeling depleted, raw, and completely worthless. 

I know the pain of domestic violence, and I knew it before I knew how to say those words. 

I know the pain of being livid, boiling with anger, and behaving in the very same ways you've been most hurt by. 

I know the daily demands of a nervous system that has learned trauma, and I know the pain buried under the resentment secretly held for everyone who gets to live "normally." 

I know the pain of being angry and thinking the only acceptable expression of it is to grind your teeth until the dentist says that your sad attempts at self-containment are now your most pressing reason to save money. 

 

I don't know the pain of genocide. 

And I don't know the pain of being an African American male in a predominantly white, racist, elitist country. 

 

 

I do know very well, what it's like to be victim to your pain.

       I also know how to step out of that hell, and step into a creative, empowered life of freedom.  

 

 

Merry Christmas & Solstice everyone, I hope this leaves you more connected to yourself, those you love, and your best Life!

 

Week 2 Update: What are YOU surrendering to? 

And what would it mean for YOU, if more of that energy was circulating around the world??? 

I'm asking you to consider putting your dollars towards the answers you find by supporting the production of my first album, Roots Alive.  

 

Consider this for a second...   

How could your present life shift if more people in your immediate circle were soul-inspired?   

 

Your neighbors welcoming you in... 

The ways you interacted with your children... 

Your feelings towards your job... 

The love you give to your partner... 

What you see when you look in the mirror... 

The people your children interact with... 

The revitalization of our planet... 

An artistic community you didn't know was possible... 

The tears of joy you thought you'd never be able to cry... 

Your family finally experiencing loving connection... 

 

In the last 2 weeks we have pledged $1,578 towards these intentions and are still going strong -- THANK YOU!  Now, it's time to dig a little deeper and discover the real truth of why we're all supporting this music and its exposure to a larger community... 
  
If you take a listen to this DEMO of one of the featured songs on this album, you will hear a prominent theme of surrender.  

...and the winds become our witnesses   
and these leaves show us the way down 
and we disappear into our morrow 
the still, is what we have found... 

This is a lesson I'll be learning for a lifetime.  I find during moments of that learning though, that when I am thick in the trenches of true surrender -- to my identity, to my feelings, to my soul's callings, to a purpose outside myself -- I know peace.   

What will making a financial contribution to this album encourage YOU to surrender to? 

Maybe it has something to do with one of the GIFTS you'll be receiving with that contribution.  Have you been having a calling you're ready to surrender to now?  A burning desire you can no longer avoid?  A feeling that is finally landing in your heart today?   

Below is a sneak peak at some ways you can channel that surrender through my crazy artist soul.  You can learn about them in more detail HERE...

 

A signed copy of this Soul-inspired music! 

Music Lessons! 

Album artwork! 

A Creative Empowerment Session! 

A BUNCH of Creative Empowerment Sessions! 

A Live Performance from me! 

Group Workshops! 

Original, customized songwriting! 

 

I am so grateful to have your encouragement and trust, and even more grateful to be able to do and be what I love every day.  Stay tuned for a weekly update on where we are on the way to this album being fully funded!  <3 

 

(Remember that this is an ALL-or-NOTHING campaign, meaning that we need to raise the entire $4500 in order to keep the money and fund the project) 

 

And if you feel low on funds right now, here are some other ways you can support its success: 
  

1) Give any amount you're comfortable with to the campaign, no matter how small or large.  Go to the Kickstarter page, and make your pledge with glee! 

2) Share the Kickstarter Link on social media along with some loving words.  When you share, do it with a BIG HEART, an exclamation of how you're supporting this movement, why it is exciting FOR YOU, and an invitation for friends to support as well. 

3)  Personally contact a friend (or 20) who you feel would benefit from this music and/or contact with me as an artist, teacher, or inspiring friend.  If you have a network of your own, consider sending a brief email or text letting them know about me and my music, and inviting their involvement.  Encourage them to be in touch, and invite them to support this music's creation! 

4) Send me your encouragement throughout the campaign!  Let me know when you've pledged.  Send me a sweet text saying you're moved and inspired.  Tag me on your posts that relate to the project and what it's inspiring YOU to do.  All of this is valuable fuel that keeps us all flowing towards our goal :)  

5) Sing with me :)  Your own sweet, sweet songs, and invite me to sing the ones we're supporting here.  There is nothing that inspires me more than sharing original music, even if it's just 2 friends sitting around a living room or campfire.  After-all, that's basically where all this started in the first place. 
  

So grateful for your help in making this music a reality!  

May it reach all who desire Love, and who are ready to receive it.    

***I also intend on donating $300 of any additional money raised to a charity that is TBA, who supports emotional well-being, balance, and our community through art.  

Tomorrow at 12pm -- Are you ready to support emotionally-connected music? 

The Kick-off Show last Friday was in Full-Bloom... 

We were nourished, entertained, and brought to life with the spirited music of Roots Alive that was introduced for the first time at The Raga Room with Madelyn Ilana, Aditi & Jay Brown. 

And tomorrow at 12 noon, I invite you to invest some energy into this emotionally-connected, soulful music...  

The time is NOW friends :) 

The Kickstarter campaign will go live tomorrow at 12pm, which is when together we begin supporting the music of Roots Alive, the soul-inspired folk album I record this fall in Asheville, NC.   

 

My artistic mission is simple:  

To be an embodiment of Love through art, poetry, & music -- giving and receiving, and naturally existing within this beautiful, inter-connected web of existence.   

 

Here's a sneak peak of what we created at the show this Friday... It was such an authentic display of this magic that creative connection offers.  Mmmm!!!  I say yes to so much more of this...  

 

 

And even if you weren't present at the show, you ARE a part of this never-ending story! 

 

Right now, it's a $4500 story, because this is the amount of funding it will take to record a clear-sounding, beautiful display of these songs  :)   

If you wish to support this 31-day Kickstarter campaign (which will go live tomorrow at 12pm), here are some actions you can take that will help the project be successfully funded... 

(Remember that this is an ALL-or-NOTHING campaign, meaning that we need to raise the entire $4500 in order to keep the money and fund the project) 
 
 

1) Give any amount you're comfortable with to the campaign.  Go to the Kickstarter page when you receive the link tomorrow, and make your pledge sooner than later, enjoying the gifts I'll be giving you in exchange! 

2) Share the Kickstarter Link on social media along with some loving words.  When the page is live, I'll send you the link.  When you share, do it with a BIG HEART, an exclamation of how you're supporting this movement, why it is exciting FOR YOU, and an invitation for friends to support as well. 

3)  Personally contact a friend (or 20) who you feel would benefit from this music and/or contact with me as an artist, teacher, or inspiring friend.  If you have a network of your own, consider sending a brief email or text letting them know about me and my music, and inviting their involvement.  Encourage them to be in touch, and invite them to support this music's creation! 

4) Send me your encouragement throughout the next 30 days of the campaign!  Let me know when you've pledged.  Send me a sweet text saying you're moved and inspired.  Tag me on your posts that relate to the project and what it's inspiring YOU to do.  All of this is valuable fuel that keeps us all flowing towards our goal :)  

5) Sing with me :)  Your own sweet, sweet songs, and invite me to sing the ones we're supporting here.  There is nothing that inspires me more than sharing original music, even if it's just 2 friends sitting around a living room or campfire.  After-all, that's basically where all this started in the first place. 
  

So grateful for your help in making this music a reality!  

 

May it reach all who desire Love, and who are ready to receive it.    

 

***I also intend on donating $300 of any additional money raised to a charity that is TBA, who supports emotional well-being,

balance, and our community through art and music.