Monday, April 20, 2009

Visioning® Step Five: The Inner Critic

The reason that there are 10 steps in the Visioning® process is because our feelings are also a process. Not seeing the cycle leads us to the false belief that whatever we are feeling now will last forever. We want the good emotions to last and the bad to stop. The fact that we hang our societal hat on the HAPPY FOREVER peg is obvious when we watch television commercials. The internal advocate of this false advertising is known as The Inner Critic.

Corporate America dumps huge dollars annually on advertising. If advertising didn’t work – big business wouldn’t be paying the big bucks. Business owners count on you to sit through the commercials so that their message will be recalled the next time you make a shopping decision. Our Inner Critic works the same way.

Other names for the Critic are Monkey Mind or ego. In the Visioning® process, the Inner Critic comes at Step Five, the crucial step where all of the collage pieces are laid out but not glued down. Objectively listening to the Critic’s messages and gives us a chance to answer back.

Unfortunately, once out of the workshop environment, where you are supported in your Visioning® process, you forget to be objective to the critical voice – and then POW, your Vision has spontaneously combusted. The critic’s fear based, controlling messages create a slow leak of energy that siphons the juice out of your inspired dream.

This is why Visioning® manifestation seems so far away. When we first begin the Vision, we are in our large, expansive intuitive minds. That is what our collage is based on: the unlimited potential. But when chaos descends on our Vision like Zeus’s thunderbolt from the heavens then what’s a mortal to do?

Stop and feel the thunder.

If you don’t feel the chaotic thunder, then the sun can’t come out. It will stay in hiding for days until the thunderbolts of doubt are seen, felt, accepted and released. Once I told my friend Amy that I felt sad, but I hated having that feeling. She reminded me that when I’m happy, I don’t judge that feeling, so why is sad different? The difference is the powerful advertising from our Inner Critic.

Luckily, I am revisiting a collage created on the theme “Standing in My Own Space in This World” – that I also call Toilet Man because he reminds me to flush when the critic starts yapping. I used to think that this collage meant to stand up for myself only externally. But the most important place to stand up for ourselves is internally, so we can protect the dream that lives in our heart.

When you hear the Inner Critic, you’ll want to notice what it’s saying, but not take its words personally. This means learning not to identify with this internal voice. I use the dominant hand, non-dominant hand technique outlined in Visioning, Ten Steps to Designing the Life of Your Dreams by Dr. Lucia Capacchione. This method allows me to hear the voice of the Inner Critic and feel where its energy lives in my body. In regards to creating a Visioning® collage, the critical voice may use phrases such as: “I’m sure, pictures from a magazine?” “This is a waste of time, you need to _____.”

The Inner Critic is really on our side, trying to take care of us by keeping us on the SAFE path – even if it’s not what our heart desires. In fact, the chaotic rumble of the Inner Critic gets louder as we move closer to our dream. Other ways that the critical voice often manifests is bodily pain such as headaches, fatigue, and depression. These body signals tell us that there are feelings that need to be expressed. In fact, Dr. Capacchione states that addictive behaviors are our way of muffling the voice of the Inner Critic.

Journaling the Inner Critic and talking back via an empowered, yet often disowned energy called The Inner Brat teaches me that these energies are separate from WHO I AM. As I work with these energies it becomes easier to notice and then turn off the critical voice. Ways I use to bring myself into balance after I’ve wrestled with the Inner Critic are The Jimmy Kimmel show, reading Dave Barry, daily affirmations from and spending time each day doing what I LOVE.

You also have your ways of dispelling the Inner Critic. Please share them in the Comments section at the end of this Blog and let’s get a dialogue happening.

The world is in need of big dreams and the Visionaries brave enough to face the internal blocks that keep us from our calling. This means you.

May your journey to your dreams be filled with laughter,


To order Lucia’s book

To start a Visioning Group or have a Vision party in your home, contact me at

Finally, hoorah for the Cafe Violette in Capitola, for standing up to its sloppy customers with snappy signage:

“Newsflash: Cafe Violette has trash cans – yes it’s true. So use them or suffer the wrath of the owner – you won’t like her when she’s mad. Use them or suffer the consequences.”

After my fabulous food, I asked about these consequences to see if I could get away with leaving my plate on the table: turns out that any offenders will be assigned to the midnight clean up shift. Yikes!

For a delicious, decadent meal that won’t dent your wallet – stop in at the Cafe Violette at 104 Stockton Avenue in Capitola Village. They’re open for breakfast, lunch and dinner – and feature locally made Marianne’s and Polar Bear ice cream.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Goodnight Kiss

Janet Fisher
Goodnight Kiss Music

Dear Janet,

I was blessed to participate in the March 31st Annual Songwriters Showcase at Britannia Arms in Aptos. The hand of the Big Songwriter in the sky was definitely present as songwriter after fabulous songwriter went up to the mic.

I am proud to say that I was one of them.

When I read your eloquent letter to the songwriters, I found what I came for because your letter reads like a benediction.

If I start my story in the middle it reads something like this:

In 1993 I wrote my 2nd song and decided to become the next Joan Baez. It took 10 years but I made it to the 4-hour gig slot – playing 90% originals at a place called The Network in San Luis Obispo. With an hour to go, I was eating a sandwich on the stage steps thinking,

“Gee, down to the schlock songs and only two tables here. I guess I’ll have to…”

But then a more powerful thought took over.

“Like hell you are. This table is just sitting down and you may know you have been here for 3 hours but they do not. So get back up on that stage and play balls out…”

except with swear words.

After the gig, the man from the table asked about the CD I was selling. He bought one and gave me a folded bill. He said that it was for me, not the CD Project. Turns out he gave me a 100 dollar tip.

I meant to tell you a different story. About how I gave up songwriting because I thought I wasn’t successful and I was so tired of lugging equipment and how I always wanted to go back to school anyway and I did graduate from Antioch and I learned to give speeches and co-edit a magazine.

But what meant the most about that time was finding my way back to the songs.

After Tuesday’s showcase, I read my excellent feedback from one judge that was along the lines of “Write about love you lost – you can do that can’t you?” On the drive home I heard the song fire off in my head.

I’m going back to Britannia Arms on April 14 to play my new song.

It’s hard to say what inspired me the most: your letter, the supportive atmosphere, the judge’s comments or Eric, the sound engineer from MARS Studios who told me that I was ‘never going to give up’ – except with swear words.

You know I’m kidding about the swear words.

In any case, THANK YOU.

Please say hello to Patys Restaurant. I miss Toluca Lake sometimes. It’s where I first picked up the guitar.

May you and Goodnight Kiss Music be joyfully prosperous,


The Songwriter Showcase at Britannia Arms is every Tuesday between now and April 30. The show starts at 7pm. Arrive early to enjoy great ale and yummy food.

I’m playing again for a slot in the finals: April 14 at 7:30pm

Visit MARS Studios for the annual Showcase details, to tour the studio, or wave hello to Eric Bates, the sound engineer who is now famous because of this blog.

To read Janet’s Song Critique Checklist or sign up for the newsletter click Goodnight Kiss Music

Download The Odyssey, Antioch University Santa Barbara’s literary magazine that I co-edited with Rita Traner-McDermott.

Finally, if you are in SLO County this weekend – check out singer/songwriter/guitarist Amanda West – she playing at different venues throughout the county Friday, Saturday and Sunday – then she’s in Monterey. If you can’t see her in person – listen to her music! Be sure to tell her Dot says hello!