Unafraid of failure

“The guy who takes a chance, who walks the line between the known and unknown, who is unafraid of FAILURE, will succeed.” — Gordon Parks

What would our lives be like if we approached everything as if it has already succeeded or that there was no possibility of failure? It would change our entire outlook on the way we we do things and probably what projects we would pursue in our artistic lives. I’ve been thinking about this lately as I evaluate what I have accomplished this year creatively and what I still want to achieve by the end of the year.

I know more than ever, that part of achieving our goals is the way we visualize them. Even if things don’t work out the way we anticipated, we don’t have to view them as a failure. We could view them as a lesson that we needed to learn. It’s all in the way we perceive the outcome of some of our ventures and the way we view success.

Is success measured by fame, money, quality of work? It depends on your goal when you approach your creative project. Only you can determine what makes you successful. However, if we lose the fear of failure than we have no choice but to continue on the road to success and we will make bolder choices in our creative process.

Over the years, I have learned to define success with other standards other than money.  I measure my success by the artistic quality and impact on others. I know that is difficult in the society that we live in but we can not let the fear of losing money or not making any money deter us from producing creative work. If we do, we will not take as many chances and I think that is dangerous.  If we let fear determine our path to creativity. We will be more cautious, which will limit us.

What choices would you make right now if you knew you would not fail? Would you quit your day job? Would you move across the country or out of the country? Would you finish your book, script, painting, business plan, portfolio? Would you audition for that play, film, or commercial? What would you do? I challenge you to approach your upcoming artistic goals without fear of failure and wish you much success when you achieve your goals.



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The truth about clarity

“Truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain’t goin’ away”.
— Elvis Presley

In the past month, I have learned some joyful and painful lessons about clarity, especially the importance of being clear. Often what we hear may or may not be what the person said or meant. We need to repeat it or sometimes follow up with writing. When we leave things unclear, it causes more disappointment, hurt, and even anger in the long run. I have learned that leaving things up for discussion, not repeating what I heard, and not following through in writing, are all ways that diminish clarity in our lives.  The truth is that I owe it to myself to make sure that everyone I deal with understands my position. I will be the first to admit that this is very difficult and uncomfortable to have these conversations. However, if you are not honest about the truth of how you are feeling or the situation, it breeds resentment and causes unnecessary stress in your life.  It’s better to clear things up immediately than let them drag on.

A couple of weeks ago, I was feeling stressed because one of my clients were trying to pressure me to do something that I didn’t want to do. I told a friend about it and she said, just say no. Be clear about what you want. It sounded so easy then why was I having so much anxiety about it? It was because I didn’t want to anger the client and I wanted to be agreeable. In addition, I didn’t want to appear to be difficult to work with; however, was it worth making myself misireable to please someone else? No it was not. After I thought about it, I did say no; I felt so much relief; and I still have the client.

Why is it that sometimes we are afraid to have clarity in our lives? Do we feel like we don’t deserve it? I had to learn that I have to stand in my power of what I want and not to apologize for any of it. I have decided to make sure that I’m very clear with my intentions and what I expect from each relationship, business and personal.

I’m going to continue to be conscious of clarity and bring intention to everything I do. I need to be clear when I step in my power. When I dance, I don’t hesitate with my steps, I am very clear with each one. I realize that this practice can be very helpful in other aspects of my life.

Please know that sometimes when we seek clarity and we are shown the truth. Sometimes the truth requires that we take action. It may cause us to dissolve or re-adjust some relationships that we currently have in our lives and that part of our growth.
“As I began to discover my own truth and endeavored to possess it with clarity, I became more and more alienated from that which my companions held, or professed to hold”.
-Juan Goytisolo

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Awareness: The power of your word

“The Universe totally supports us in every thought we choose to think and believe”.

-Louise Hay

Are we aware of the way the universe supports us in what we choose to think or believe? Awareness can be defined of consciously having knowledge.  Part of the battle is bringing awareness to each thought and belief. Often our thoughts and beliefs are so strong that we no longer think of them consciously. What we choose to think and believe can be a positive or negative choice.

When we were young, we learned the rhyme: “sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me”.  At the time, those were words of comfort; however, now over the years I have come to realize that words can hurt and help us. What we think and what we say are powerful. Once we put the words in the universe, we can never take the words back. Often we harbor negative thoughts and words in our subconscious and then it becomes part of our reality without us even realizing it.

Recently, one of my friends brought to my attention that every time I spoke about a certain subject I used words such as “it is so hard, difficult, and challenging”.  She said that when she heard me say those words, I was giving power to them and that might be  why it continues to be so hard, difficult, and challenging because I truly see it that way. In other words, my thoughts and words have become my reality. I hadn’t realized how much I said those words with this subject until she brought it to my attention. I was shocked. I began to change my language immediately and my viewpoint has changed.

During this week, take the challenge and become more aware of your thoughts and beliefs by keeping track of how many positive and negative words and thoughts you  say to yourself and others. When we say something negative about a situation or ourselves, try to think of another way to reword it to expect a positive result. For example, when you say something like “I can’t believe we only had three people show up for a meeting. It’s so difficult to get people to participate in this organization”. Instead you could say, “I’m thankful for the people who are here, let’s make this a productive meeting”. Often we take out our resentment on the few people who are dedicated instead of being grateful that they showed up at all. Remember it is quality not quanatity.



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There is Power in Hope

“Hope is faith holding out its hand in the dark.”-George Iles

There is power in hope. Hope brings energy to faith. Without either one, how can we continue our path? Last week, I had the honor of hearing an amazing speaker that spoke about the power of hope. I became instantly engaged in her message about hope and faith. Sometimes, people mix up faith and hope but they are two different things. They indeed work together in a powerful way. Faith is sight unseen and hope is the energy we put into faith. As artists we hold on to faith and are constantly breathing our energy into hope. We cultivate it as we are painting, sketching, writing, molding clay, pre-production of a film and/or a theatre project. In all of these things we are creating and believing in the vitality of our project. If we don’t, how can we expect anyone else to invest in our art?

Working on our company’s latest project and trying to fund some of it through indiegogo.com is nothing short of faith and hope. Indiegogo.com is a website created in 2008, that gives people hope for their passions in their life. It takes away some of the fear of funding and gives others the opportunity to invest in people’s dreams. It creates an online community . Indiegogo.com is not just for artists, it is for any project that needs financial assistance. I’ve seen a variety of dreams from someone wanting to open up a speciality cheese store, saving the environment, to finishing up editing of a film. If you have a project that you are working on but money seems to be an issue, check out the site.

I hope that many people will invest in this project in pre and post production. We’re in our third week and 10% of the project has been funded. Last week, we were contacted by indiegogo about our project. It will be pitched to MTV Media. The power of faith and hope. I believe that our film, Color the Night  (starring America’s Next Top Model finalist, Keenyah Hill and international model, Isa Rahman, written and directed by Emiliano Styles is going to be a blessing to many people. All we have to do is put energy into our faith. We like creating projects that are very creative but they have a purpose-to educate and inspire people on various issues. We hope to connect with organizations that are bringing awareness and hope to people who need support in issues such as domestic violence, cancer, HIV/AIDS, child abuse, and many other causes and Color the Night will allow us to do just that.

Click here to find out more information on Color the Night.

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The Tragedy of Her: The journey of love and commitment

“Love makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place.” -Zora Neale Hurston

“What are we doing or where is this going?” That is the famous line that most of us women have asked at least once in our life to a man that we were dating. Some of us ask this question sooner than later because we claim we know what we want. However, I think this question is best asked after you have established a strong relationship with someone (i.e. more than two dates). It’s naturally to want to define your relationship with someone but experience has shown me that we should also value the process of getting to know someone. This will lead to a more committed relationship. I’ve always been fascinated with the dynamics of love and commitment and this journey is often reflected in my own life and artistic projects.One of our most poignant films we produced that address the ultimate relationship question is, The Tragedy of Her.

Before I discuss the film, I want to address briefly when it is appropriate to ask this question. Lately, I have been hearing from men and women that this question is brought up very quickly in the dating game. When you bring this question up with someone that you do not know well, this question can be intimidating and is not coming from a place of love but from fear. Asking questions from fear instead of love, will not get the response you may want from that person. I have two brothers that are single and often we they begin dating a woman, she brings this question up, “what are we doing here?” and their response is usually a confused one. It goes something like this: I’m just trying to get to know this woman, why is she trying to pressure me into a relationship?” I think that is a fair question to ask when you truly do not know the person you are dating. That is why you’re dating-to get to know someone. However, many single women that I know want to skip the formalities of dating and they want to go straight to the serious stuff. Ladies, it’s good to know what you want but take your time in getting to know your mate. It’s worth it. When you wait, you are able to have a bigger impact with this question. This is where we meet the characters, “woman” and “man” in The Tragedy of Her.

In the film, The Tragedy of Her, which will screen on May 25th at 8pm (est) online there are two main characters (woman and man) that tackle the challenges of commitment in a an undefined relationship. The Tragedy of Her, challenges us to think about how many days, weeks, months, and years are we to spend together before we define what it is that we have together?  In the film, Nedra McClyde who plays woman and Cornelius Smith Jr., man played by Soap Opera (All My Children) star, enjoy spending time together. They clearly have been together for more than just a few months. In fact, it’s been almost two years. They feel comfortable with another. They speak without words.  They are in love. We watch their most intimate moments on screen and we can’t help but smile as you see their interaction. Seeing their intimacy allows us to but think about our own significant other (past, present, or future).

When we first screened this film in New York City, I was amazed by the flutter of nervous but knowing laughter that scattered across the room as Nedra’s character asks this question, “what are we doing? What are we?” and Cornelius’ character tries to avoid it by saying, “why do we have to put a label on it. Let’s just let it be”. Whenever, I see the film I reflect on the fact of why is it left up to the woman to bring this question up the majority of the time? Maybe because this question makes us feel so vulnerable, so raw and it’s acceptable for women to be viewed in a vulnerable way but men get a pass? Whether you are a man or a woman, when you are truly in love, your emotions usually come from a honest and sacred place.

Later in the film, the couple is faced with dealing with an illness and we realize that if you truly love someone or care deeply for them, you owe to yourself and to the other person to tell them how you truly feel. Be honest enough to define what it is that you have. You can decide what your relationship is together, instead of making assumptions. Have the courage to tell someone how you really feel because no day is promised. We shouldn’t have to wait for a tragedy for us to realize how much someone means to us.

I would love to hear your comments or reflections on this topic and/or the film, The Tragedy of Her. In the meantime, check out the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/user/jamarranemilmoss#p/a/u/2/-5pfFDIvMfs

The Tragedy of Her will screen for free next Wed. 5/25 at 8pm (est)

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When is the last time you went on an artist date?

The Artist’s Way

To purchase The Artist Way, click on Image.

You may be thinking what is an artist date? According to The Artist Way, Julia Cameron explains that “An artist date is a block of time, perhaps two hours weekly, especially set aside and committed to nurturing your creative consciousness, your inner artist…You do not take anyone on this artist date but you and your inner artist, a.k.a. your creative child”* There is something to be said about spending at least two hours a week of your time, tapping into your inner artist, just focusing on what brings you joy. Keep in mind that the two hours do not have to be spent in one block. If you prefer to break it up during the week instead of one time, feel free to do it. You need to find out what works for you.

I know you’re thinking it’s been so long since I played that I don’t remember what I like to do.Think back to your childhood and try to remember what things you use to play with as a child. Re-visit some of those items.

You may not want to invest a lot of money in your artist date, and that is okay. It’s not about the money; it’s about the time. You can go on a walk in your neighborhood or a place that inspires you. Imagine yourself as someone else and you are seeing this place for the first time. While you are visualizing, you can observe the beauty of your surroundings and discover all the creative things around you. There is art around all of us.

You can also usher or volunteer for an arts organization. If you have a white shirt and black bottoms, you can usher for a variety of events and see the production for free while enjoying time with your inner artist! Check out your local theatre and dance performance organizations and volunteer.

Why go through all this trouble to spend some alone time with your inner artist? It is important to get in touch with your creativity. It is a creative exercise to get you motivated and it is a spiritual experience to spend some time alone and nurture yourself.

Do you have any ideas on other types of artist dates you enjoy? Please feel free to leave a comment on this blog.

Here are some other suggestions for your artist date: jigsaw puzzles, knitting, listening to music, dancing, creative writing, painting, and sketching.

If you are in the Atlanta area, click here to find out more about Artist Way classes at the Open Mind Center, http://theopenmindcenter.com

*From the book, The Artist Way by Julia Cameron.

Don’t have the book, click on the link at the top of this blog to purchase through Amazon.com

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Are you ready to live your dream awake?

“The starting point of all achievement is desire. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desires bring weak results, just as a small amount of fire makes a small amount of heat”-Napoleon Hill

Dreams…what are they to you? Is it your strong desire, vision, vivid images, thoughts, and desires revealed  from your self-conscious that still remain with you as you awake? For me, dreams are strong desires that can become reality if we breathe energy into them.

Often people share with me their dreams-goals they want to accomplish but when I ask them what steps are they taking to make that a reality, they are not able to articulate it. This has been happening a lot lately which motivated me to write this post and ask the question, are we truly ready to live the dream awake? Often we hesitate when we pursue our dreams because we have a fear of failure, fear of the unknown, lack of commitment, lack of money, or sometimes we truly don’t think we can accomplish the dream (for various reasons).  I’ve decided to put fear aside and move forward with living the dream awake.

In order to awaken the part of us that wants to live the dream awake, there are steps that we must take. The first step is breathing intention and focus into our desires and then setting goals to make the intention concrete.

Earlier this week, as I  was stretching in warrior pose in yoga class, I began to inhale and exhale thinking about my latest goal, visualizing my intention in each breath. Later this week when I  was teaching a Nia class, I began to step purposeful toward my intention and it felt very powerful.

I decided that I will try to find ways to breathe life into my intention at every moment; walking the dog, prayer, as I wash the dishes, as I drive my car, meditate, you get the idea. Each time I breathe energy into this goal, it will get me closer to living my dream awake.  What things can you do to embody your dream? I want to embody my dream, in order for it to become real, more than something I can see or experience as I sleep. We have to live as if there is nothing else. We can not stop reaching our goal until we achieve it. In some cases, it may take years to get what you want. As long as you achieve your goal, it doesn’t matter how long it takes you.

Are you willing to breathe life into that intention, knowing that it may not be overnight? Know every breath, thought, and energy we put toward our desires, is worth it.

My latest dream is to secure funding for my company’s latest film and philanthropy project, Color the Night (http://cargocollective.com/colorthenight) . I’m so blessed that people have already began supporting the project!

“Desire is the starting point of all achievement, not a hope, not a wish, but a pulsating desire which transcends everything”-Napoleon Hill

How strong is your desire?

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