Philosophy

5 Ways To Not Sweat It

Planning gets people feeling all the feels. In one moment nothing is together, and then in the next moment everything is together, and that sliver in between seems more like a dagger, and one that could go either way, killin’ it or killin’ you!

Here are 5 ways to keep cool and not sweat yourself into a funk before your festivity:

1. Keep hold of the positive perspective that brought you into this in the first place.

Don’t let your vision die because uncertainty is spooling-up doubt. If you are doing it right, things ought to feel uncomfortable. Learning is uncomfortable and mastery is the prize.

There are times when you applied this positive perspective before and it led to amazeballs results, remember? Believe it now, and again. If you don’t believe it, who will?

2. Take one thing at a time.

If ever there was a time that you would consider giving your right arm to quit your plan, it is when you have let a list of to do’s, each sing their own chorus of uncertainty in unison, play like a broken record in your head.  The song is unbearable and the thought of quitting your plan entirely, and the relief it will provide, is more palatable to you in that moment than, well, the benefits of retaining your right arm.

Stop the song. Take just one thing, and see it through.  Map it out, assign it, deadline date it–take it’s power over you, away.  See how smart you feel when you commit to taking one thing at a time.

3. Have no fear.

A perspective: The way is not to avoid failure. The way is to fail often and faster. Sounds nutty right? Let me explain. When you try to avoid failure as your main purpose, you get further invested in things that may fail regardless, and then it sucks more because it takes you longer to recover. And you are delayed in trying a new way, if you try again at all. Getting stuck in pain, self-loathing, and shame is real.

When you accept failure as a good sign–that you are applying yourself, putting yourself out there to face challenges that will bring you to a new level of awareness–you are free to keep trying things to realize your vision.

4. Plan B & C and, possibly, D, E, F, G…

This is the hardest step for me (and anyone else feeling particularly stubborn). To cling to the details you started with, is to potentially miss the point of the festivity, and puts you at high-risk of quitting and not realizing the event at all. Which is the ultimate shame!

It is like a child throwing a fit, and the parent losing their shit, and the whole afternoon being ruined. When really, it could have been a nice time if the parent just let the kid-fit blow over.

So, make a list of other options before you are thrown into having to consider other options by surprise.  This way you will be in a better place to see the virtue of other options, and feel sane sliding into other options to save the day. There are always other ways but not more time to do them, which brings me to my final point.

5. It ain’t over until the fat lady sings.

One thing is for certain, you will run out of time. Therein is relief, ultimately.  Until then, keep your mind and body about progress. Don’t quit because the quitting will come for you before you are ready. This is your time–to learn, to grow, to take care, to maintain, to feel all the feels. Make your plans and festivities happen, one way or another, you have only to lose the experiences you forgo creating.

If you have other ways of not sweating it, please share in the comments section.  I look forward to hearing what works for you!

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2 Volkswagen Vanagons, 1 camp site, 10 people and a guitar. The challenge was to create an intimate social gathering within a public campsite. The solution was to corral the vans, pop the tent tops, park them parallel with sliding doors open–creating social space between and within the vans. Served traditional camp foods, plattered along with a single tray of Mai Tais to start, each just short of plastering. Bubbly to finish. All under the tin twinkle of a few string lights under battery-power. Effortlessly we glow camping.

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Themes

Van Parity

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Philosophy

In Service To

What keeps us from life satisfaction? There are many theories. The one I posit regards a giving of yourself to a cause beyond the sole purpose of benefitting just yourself. It is to be incredibly vulnerable, and to empathize with the incredible vulnerability of another by taking action. Action! What we find when we stick our necks out, to give to others what we also need ourselves, is an eventual rush of collaborators in kind. To find community in this way is one of the joys of life, and it can also be a way of life! I urge you take action to stand for the kind of world you want to live in, not only to bring sustainable satisfaction to your life, but for the effect it has of drawing others into confidence to stand for others, too. Today.

Here is just one example for your consideration, something you may model and/or participate in this week:

Leave Them: Un-Silencing Victims of Sexual Assault

100% of the funding raised from ticket sales, mercy sales and donations is going into this project: a music video serving as a PSA/social justice piece giving voice to the silent victims of sexual abuse. Two solo shows to fund the project happening May 21 – living room on Pleasant Beach Drive and June 3 – store on Madison Avenue.

What are you creating now?

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40 guests, 1 band, and 1 vision to share. Farmhouse living room setup for concert viewing, and social. We did it! You can do it, too. Take action at your first instinct to share what you have, ask for help, and prepare to be delighted.

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“Communication is merely an exchange of information, but connection is an exchange of our humanity.” ~Sean Stephenson
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Living Room Concert

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Philosophy

Row with your muse

It is shocking.

I decided long ago that I would use my energy to love, to understand, to build collective consciousness, and none of it to fight. I learned much later that I could also let go of what I loved, understood, and helped build, that in fact it would be taken away from me regardless and eventually. Also, if I found my energy to be alone in the endeavor, it was likely I was persuaded by Ego missives to stay in that limiting place. One’s calling is beyond the furling captivation of Ego and so to take a leap quiet from it makes sense. I came to believe that if I could soar to greater heights in love and understanding, then the whole world could, too. Where at once it is all about me, and not about me at all.

My goal in any relationship is to maintain a mutuality of holding one another up to the light, from within a shelter from the storm. A relationship where even one person busts things up within the shelter, is not a relationship for me. I have walked through the fire many times to learn these lessons. There will be other fires to walk through, and I am not afraid. When I keep aligned with my purpose, I am never lost or alone. I have given up hope of a better past, and therein lies forgiveness. Once the seal of resistance is broken, forgiveness flows like a mighty river. It’s a process to keep the flow going. This is work.

All the best with your work today.
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Rooftop Dance Party

This party is perfect for someone who loves to dance, and wants to amongst a bunch of people that they know. The benefit of creating a party space where there wasn’t one before is that you are free from the trappings of apathy which tend to pervade places that extend themselves in a certain way for too long. You know you are in a place like this when the corners seem stale. Stale is only good for bread and for the birds.

Objective

Facilitate a dance scene reminiscent of a hot Miami night on a rooftop except on Bainbridge Island.

Details

  • Guests: 50-80
  • Rooftop adjacent to the art museum was something I had been eyeing since its construction. Several introductions, personal emails, and emails on my behalf later, I had it booked and insured–as a gift no less! The universe wanted this party to occur, clearly, and so I pressed on.  To the police station.

Note: It’s important to consider all the people you may effect and try to mitigate circumstances before they occur.  For a perceived positive impact: look to extend. For a perceived negative impact: look to hedge.  Big mistakes are made when the focus is too narrow, although one cannot avoid mistakes altogether as long as one is human, so don’t be too hard on yourself. Be merciful because the less beat-up you are, the more fun you will have.

  • Get all the permits. Meet the police. Find out who will be on duty that night, and send a personal email. Make it clear to everyone that you are a law-abiding citizen and wish to remain so.
  • Remember, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Plan as if someone will call the police to complain.  I proposed to the police chief that callers be given options: a) attend the party, or b) a trade of 2 hours community service by yours truly in exchange for them shutting their pie hole, er…allowing the dance music to blast through midnight.
  • Assign someone to manage the police the day of the event.
  • Signs/Directions: Consider all possible entrances and exits, decide the best, and sign affectionately.

Props

  • Outfit outdoor fireplace area at the entrance with rug and throw pillows to affect a posh and inviting scene.
  • Consider lines of sight from all major areas. Adjust furniture and props accordingly. (I prefer to do this process alone because it looks weird to do, and I cannot be concerned with how I look at this stage or the space will suffer.)
  • Hand-lettered signs–food, bathroom, %alc on the beer in the keg, etc.
  • White tablecloths for food areas, patterned tablecloths and pillowed seating at cafe tables.

Note: Why mix it up, re: tablecloths?  You have a bunch of tables, why not give all tables white tablecloths? The answer is, you are communicating to people what to do within a space in a variety of ways, and if successful, you will facilitate connection between people. Using cues to minimize conflict between people and the space they are in is key.

The tablecloth color was one of the ways I communicated what was happening within each space so people could spend their energy on other, more fruitful things like socializing. Also, signage. You know how it feels when you are running around looking for the bathroom. Terrible. You’re in a panic, and probably not connecting with people as a result. Social events tend to be short and so there really isn’t time to recover from something like this: it’s a good night if you don’t pee your pants. Set the bar higher.

  • Situate cafe tables to emphasized the dance floor, like hands holding prayer space.
  • String lights, crisscrossing over the dance floor, further delineating the dance space and creating warmth.
  • Hobbled glass candle holders at tables, another layer of lighting and texture.  Ideally, there are at least 3 layers of light in any scene. This provides that comfortable feeling you can’t quite put your finger on.  It’s like a light hug, feels so good.

Note: Layer textures for delight. Take a view of a space and make it flat, like a picture. Identify the textures in the picture to see that they are alternating well. For example: floor–sandy, gritty | table–steel, smooth, hard | tablecloth–soft, flat, patterned | candle holder–nubby texture, solid | space above table–blurry mess of movement | string lights–solid, steady.

  • Pick a color palette.  I chose a sunset at the beach theme: blues up high, reds and oranges at midline, ground the color and texture of sand–this detail delighted me most because I could have it no other way without a ton of effort, and the way it was could be no better.

Outfit

Vintage silk shorts/tank onesie in a flowering squash pattern with onyx buttons cast in gold frames down the front; black-glitter keds; spray tan.

Food & Entertainment

Interactive Art

Perhaps the secret of living well is not in having all the answers but in pursuing unanswerable questions in good company. – Rachel Naomi Remen

It started with a couple of extra large picture frames, burning a hole in my garage:  an interactive art piece to be created at the party.

I had two existential-type questions that I had planned to fashion the words out of felt or wire and affix to the top of the frames.  With my dear neighbor during the odd hours, we made die-cuts in two shapes, one to represent each question on which guests could write their answers with a hearty ballpoint pen, and affix somewhere within the respective frame. One frame was black, one what white, I had mats made (Julie’s Frames) to bring the initially blank visuals up a notch. I eyed them for weeks. I was thrilled.

As it happened, I ditched this idea in favor of keeping the dancing interaction, front and center.  Sometimes you will find that more is more, and thank your lucky stars when you do.  Just because an idea is great, doesn’t mean you have to use it.  This is one of the most important lesson I have learned in curating parties.

Any unanswerable questions?  I’m yours.

xx

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