Get Out of Jail Free

Lately I find myself coaching mothers, artists, and people in the financial world. Quite a blend, isnt it? Believe it or not, there is a common thread amongst them. There are limiting stories about each of these domains: the starving artist, the economy is bad, Im just a Mom so Im not important. What is key in transforming these stories is reinventing how we think of ourselves. Consider the notion that you get to decide how you want it to behow you want YOU to be. Isnt that cool? And yet, how do we really get out of our environmental, inherited, or self-created prisons?

I teach acting and creativity workshops to women in prison. The women are there due to prostitution, drug dealing, assault even murder. What I found to be the most freeing, unifying, and energizing act was to inspire these women to create. Some women thought they were worthless, some that they had nothing to say, some that they had been violated so horribly that all that was left were howls of horror. And yet the women created a play together and they did it in a week! And not just a play, a play that changed their lives, because they remembered they had a voice, and their voices matter. They performed for the other women in the prison and affected them too. Everyone reconsidered how they thought of their lives, their value in the world, their hearts.

I look at myself and other people as being trapped in metaphorical prisons at times. Some tough thoughts which construct the prison are: I cant do it, I wont achieve my dreams, my dreams dont matter, I am not good enough. The women in prison liberated their minds by being creative, and once they did that they created change, hope and were permanently altered. They knew better things were possible for themselves.

In what way do you dare to be creative today?

Creative Spark:

If you want a simple way to be creative right now, try this exercise:

My daughter will say things that are contrary to the truth. Okay, yes. I do mean they are a lie. But she and I both know its not true. Its fun because its imagined. What color is the snow? Pink! she exclaims. And so we pretend the snow is pink. And that concept infects our imagination and colors our world. And it is energizing, liberating, and joyful. Try it. What do you dare to think differently, do differently? Guess what? If you do it, you will be using your imagination, and you will instantaneously be creative.



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2 responses to “Get Out of Jail Free

  1. Linda L Grace

    Hey, I like this idea, and the idea of pink snow.
    A lot better than dirty as it is right now!

  2. I received this response from Skip Swanson. He took the creative invite to a whole new level…. He imagined us as two Hungarian women from another era… in which he called me Kitti! Here it is, it is wild:

    Dearest Kitti.

    I appreciate you continuing to write me even though I am not good at correspondence. It does not help that I haven’t spoken Hungarian in years, but thanks to your letters I manage to keep from forgetting it entirely.

    Ever since those dark days I thank god that we were able to escape, with little more than our dignity intact to be sure, but at least we had our recipes. I thought after the great goulash massacre that you would never speak to me again, I know you don’t blame me for the atrocities but I always felt guilty that I didn’t try to clean up the spill a little bit more. It was all I could do to wrap up my töltött káposzta and wade away to high ground (and political amnesty) before they came in and took away our spices—all that made us who we were, the only thing that made us different from them.

    But I was wrong, you returned and taught them the proper use of paprika, and now you are their chef laureate and I dry dishes in a sushi restaurant, a exile from kitchen and motherland. I look fondly on the good old days, and someday, if I have my way, they will be serving Hurka-maki here. It is actually even better with soy sauce.

    may our paths again cross,


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