CG | Episode 37 - Toni Nagy, Stand Up Comedian, Writer, Movement Teacher, "The Magic of Showing Up"


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Toni Nagy is a massively creative and incredibly intelligent, articulate content creator, stand up comedian, and writer. You have probably already seen one of her videos cross your social media feed - she interpretive dances her feelings, thoughts, and philosophies. She is also a filmmaker and the founder of CaveLight Productions. Her work is quasi–radical, somewhat-existential, and mostly funny.

At the beginning of this episode, I share some thoughts on the importance of stewarding our dreams vs. sitting back and "going with the flow" or waiting for them to happen on their own time, how being overly flowy with our dreams can actually be a way of staying small and that maybe we have to take a more active role in making our dreams come true.

Our guest in this episode, Toni Nagy caught my eye with her captivating interpretive dances which involve unique movements and spoken word work meshed together, in her dances she's expressing thoughts, working out how she's feeling about stuff, she's talking about philosophy. It's a little bit of activism even maybe.  

When we get to the part of the conversation where Tony starts to talk about shadow. I was nodding so hard. I thought my earphones were gonna fall off. I love what she says about shadow. You know, there's so much talk about how to recognize and ignore the , negative limiting beliefs that are holding us back.

And listen out for the part about negative self talk! She has a really interesting hot take on that and how there can actually be wisdom in some of it!


-The magic and power of consistently showing up for yourself

-Rituals for showing up for yourself and excavating more of your true creativity

-Capitalism's impact on creativity

-Why we work so hard to shove down one of the best parts of being human

-The pressure of being beautiful or creating something beautiful and how it impacts our sense of self worth


Hello there. Lovely one. I'm so glad you're here. You know, out of all the content out there in the world that you could be making time for, you have no idea how happy it makes my heart that you're here for this conversation about creativity, about how we can reconnect with this deep inner wisdom that we all have inside of us to free ourselves, free our lives, make everything easier and better and more enjoyable.

And ultimately, as I maintain heal the glitch that's happening in humanity because we have been disconnected from creativity for so long. So thank you for being here. I thank you on behalf of creativity even for being here, . I think creativity itself, if it had an actual voice, would be saying, thank you for listening to me.

You know, I think a lot life and being guided and what's actually happening here and how we can align with. This great big intelligence that we, that we all know, we all familiar with, we've all had these experiences with, but it's not a consistent thing we can touch or sort of corral into a part of our being in a predictable, consistent way.

It is sort of got this chaotic, unpredictable, you can't nail it down kind of energy. So I was thinking this week about dreams and making my dreams come true and going after my dreams. You know, what is the big vision for my life? What is the, what do I feel is trying to come through me in terms of my life's work? And I do have a really clear, intellectual, conceptual sense of that, and I can create a path around it and I can.

Go to work every day and tick off things on my to-do list to get me closer to that dream.

But ultimately, I really wanna be led by this other intelligence, this sort of gut feeling, the inner knowing the. And I realized this week through a conversation that I had with a friend that I was maybe leaning a little bit too heavily on the sort of flowy, AAMI intuitive side, and I wanted to name that because.

It was kind of an epiphany for me. I realized that when it comes to my dreams, or even when it comes to finding my creative voice with my own painting, there's a big part of me that has just sort of said, okay, well, I'm just gonna, it'll happen in its own time. It'll happen when it's ready. I'm gonna go with the flow.

I'm gonna just let it happen and allow it. I had dinner , with a really incredible friend the other night who's kind of like a powerhouse, builds huge businesses and really intelligent and really smart and gets things done and is still extremely creative. But her kind of lean is a little bit more towards the sort of like, Mastery or rational mind

and she was saying to me, no, no, no, no, no, . You don't wait for your dream to happen. You don't wait for your voice to find you. You don't wait for that to happen and let it happen in its own time. It's actually a collaboration between you and that energy, that creativity. And you need to steward it. You need to foster it.

You need to get up every day and make it happen. After this conversation with her, I did some reflection and I saw that there are many areas of my life where.

Kind of maybe hidden behind this idea of going with the flow and letting it happen. And it kind of blew my mind a little bit cuz I do think that going with the flow and allowing and listening is really important. But it does have to be paired with, and this is just kind of going back to my original thesis around creative genius.

It's something that happens when the rational mind or things within that realm are married and paired well. This ineffable intelligence that we like to call creativity or God or the universe. These two, these two energies need each other. And when it comes to your dreams, if you're just relying on one and not embracing the wisdom and benefits of the other one,

it may not happen. And so what I took from that this week was, man, I gotta step it up here. To take a more active role in making my dream come true, I think is what it boils down to. And I wanted to offer that to you today in case you happen to have that same proclivity to going with the flow and letting it, you know, all those things. Because I think we can fall into a little bit of a, it can lull us a little bit into a non-action, which may be.

Maybe another part of us is actually trying to make us stay still because it's scared of the unknown. I don't know, just putting it out there.

I am very excited to introduce you to today's guest, Tony nj.

Tony is a massively creative, incredibly intelligent articul. Compassionate, lovely light of a human being. She's a standup comedian and a writer, content creator. You might have actually seen one of her videos on Instagram or TikTok if you've opened one of those apps at all.

In the last year. She caught my eye because she does these interpretive dances. Spoken word work kind of at the same time, she's expressing thoughts about things. She's working out how she's feeling about stuff. She's talking about philosophy. It's a little bit of activism maybe. She definitely has things to say and I love how she's paired these strong opinions with these amazingly powerful and free movements that she does. She's really inspiring. We talk about capitalism's impact on creativity, we talk about why we work so hard to shove down one of the best parts of being. We talk about the pressure of being beautiful or creating something beautiful and how that pressure impacts our sense of self-worth.

When we get to the part of the conversation where Tony starts to talk about shadow. I was nodding so hard. I thought my earphones were gonna fall off. I love what she says about shadow. You know, there's so much talk about how to recognize and ignore the , negative limiting beliefs that are holding us back.

but she has a really interesting sort of hot take on that and how there can actually be wisdom in some of

Kate Shepherd (2): our negative Self-talk. I wanted to let you know that there's a growing collection of guided meditations that I've been creating and offering to you, and the feedback on them has been wonderful.

So thank you to everybody who's written in to me , to let me know how they've been touching you and helping you. I. Do feel like they're powerful and I was really proud of them when I created them. So it's been really wonderful for me to see them out in the world. I hope you try them out. You can buy them individually right from my website or you actually get access to the whole collection of them and all the other Paton bonus materials when you sign up to become , a Patreon.

And I don't know if you know this, but I. Well over 25 hours each week producing this podcast. Everything from outreach to guests and researching their work in the world and, and then actually conducting the interviews. I'm often on the phone with these guys for two hours at a time, and then the coming down from the high of being on the interview with them.

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And I don't wanna bore you with it, but I wanted to basically just say, I do this out of a passion and a love for creativity itself and for. . But there's no one paying me to do this. I'm a single mom and an artist, and I don't have an outside sponsor, and I've intentionally done that for the time. That little commercial that you hear in the middle of each episode is for my very own jewelry company, morning Moon, nature Jewelry.

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And when you choose to support my work with this show, not only as a Paton, but also buying my jewelry or any of my artwork. You're contributing to my own life as an artist, but also doing this work through creative genius that has such a positive impact on so many other people. And I believe on humanity as a whole, you can become a Paton and support the show for as little as $5 Canadian a month. You'll instantly access a rich and growing library of content that I make just for the Paton membership. I do bonus episodes every other week. I create worksheets and journal prompts, and of course all of the guided meditations will.

And when you join, you're helping to ensure that I can keep creating this show. So thank you and thank you to all of the existing Patons. I certainly couldn't do it without any and all of you,

. Genius podcast, or of course, kate shepherd You can find out everything you need to know about supporting. Woven into what Tony shares with us today is the message that she has for everyone who's pretty sure they might have

a weird, wonderful, creative person inside them, but who has been keeping them tucked inside too scared of what the world would think of them if they let it out.

Her message has to do with how to be more comfortable, just busting out and being your whole, weird, wonderful mess, shadow, light, all of it. Get ready. I think you're really gonna love this one.


Kate Shepherd: Welcome, Tony

Detached audio: hi. Thank you so much for having me.

Kate Shepherd: I'm really glad you're here. Where are you in the world right now? Where are you sitting as we're talking to you?

Toni Nagy: like my physical body, not my mental, spiritual self. is, in the mountains of Southern New Hampshire.

I think my mental,

Track 1: think my

spiritual self, earlier on today. It was definitely in the gutter.

Kate Shepherd: the gutter

Track 1: Slightly in a dump. And then

kate_shepherd: and

Track 1: been like slowly excavating myself to a more higher vibration. But it was definitely a lot of digging that I had to do. I was like, you can do this. You can pull yourself out.

kate_shepherd: I'm glad you're back,

Kate Shepherd: Yay. Yay. Here I am.Oh, I'm so glad. the conversations that we're having on this show are, they're really an answer to the gutter that we're collectively in. I say glitching because we've become disconnected from creativity and yeah.

I'm an artist myself I often run into people who are not artists. And I say that in quote for the listeners, like people who don't identify as a creative or an artist person who put me on this pedestal of oh, you're this creative and you're special and you have this thing that I wish I had and I don't have.

And it made me really sad after I saw that happening for a really long time. Cause I was like, wait a minute. Why is everybody turning off this thing that they have inside them? What's causing that? What, what, is causing. and I came to see that it was this mountain of limiting beliefs that we inherit from the world around us about creativity.

we've got this whole planet of people where so many of us have just of shut down our creativity, which, and for me, the definition of creativity is like it's our inner G Ps, it's our source of inspiration, it's our gut instinct. where innovation comes from and curiosity comes from, and intuition. we really, need it all to function properly and we're not accessing it. And so we're totally glitching, right? All of humanity's, just like we're trying to fill the void, we're consuming all this stuff. Like maybe that will make me feel better. And, but really it's because of this disconnection from creativity.

kate_shepherd: And so soon as I saw. I realized I had to devote my life to helping as many people as I can remember what is true about creativity, which is that we all have it in us and it's with us all the time and we can learn to access it and cultivate it. And actually those things is probably the most important thing we could do for the planet.

More than trying to create organizations that are saving the this and saving the, we need to save this, is what we need to fix the most. that all leads me up to why I'm so happy to have you here today. When I watch you on the internet, I'm struck by how you have such an obvious unobscured and clear channel of creativity running through you. I think that's something that's, not easy to achieve. And like you said, it's not all roses unicorns. It's not all good all the time, but it's so clear to me that it's so clear in you. maybe actually we back up for a second so our listeners can get a better sense of who you are creatively. you're a writer, you're a standup comedian, you're a dancer. else did I miss? Maybe tell us a little bit about who you are.

Toni Nagy: It's funny cuz I wanna comment much more on what you said than to talk about myself. Talking about myself is probably the most boring thing I could say, but you basically summed it up. I I create content for the internet. I put myself out there in order to both expose myself and connect in different ways.

I am still thinking about what you said around

kate_shepherd: you

Track 1: creativity. And I have to

kate_shepherd: have

Track 1: I think the capitalist.

kate_shepherd: the capital

Track 1: is very much part of why creativity isn't folded into the potential reality for many people. Because creativity takes time. It takes space, and it doesn't thrive under a system of being incredibly stressed out about bills or healthcare or having,

kate_shepherd: having.

Track 1: that you have to care for. And so a lot of.

kate_shepherd: a lot

Track 1: Art is the first thing that's taken out of schools. When you have a budget cut. They take out art when you're going to college and you're choosing a major. It's really difficult to be like, I'm gonna be a poet. That's a,

kate_shepherd: that's

Track 1: impractical choice.

kate_shepherd: practical

Track 1: you were to choose that and it's, you would be faced with the statistics of how few people are able to make a living as a poet.

kate_shepherd: as a

Track 1: So within this capitalist system, what ends up happening is people make more practical choices in order to support themselves or their families, or their loved ones, or their parents or their siblings, if they're in that circumstance. And so creativity isn't often.

kate_shepherd: often

Track 1: allowed I think that is intentional. I think that's part of a certain kind of

kate_shepherd: certain

Track 1: physical control and a mind control

kate_shepherd: mind

Track 1: of

kate_shepherd: of.

Track 1: system on human beings. Because as you were saying, all people

kate_shepherd: you were saying,

Toni Nagy: creative, all people have a creative energy, and I think that when you don't have an outlet to express your creative energy, it can turn into sickness which is definitely something that's happened to me before.

Track 1: in order to really be able to have your creative

kate_shepherd: your

Track 1: maximize, you have to have time and energy and chi and space to really dive into it. And not everybody has that opportunity. And so that's something

kate_shepherd: has a

Track 1: I think is very real.

And there's.

kate_shepherd: They

Track 1: all the time that are working very complicated jobs. And so all their energy is going for their jobs from nine to five, and they come home, they have to

kate_shepherd: they have

Track 1: around or maybe care for someone else, and then it's seven o'clock and then they feel bad. Oh, I don't have the energy to be creative.

And that's incredibly painful and sad. And so then rather than saying that I am being sucked by a system that doesn't allow me to have the.

kate_shepherd: to have

Track 1: Explore my creativity, then the answer is easier to say. I'm just not creative.

there's a waking that's happening. there's also so much polarity in the world right now about everything. It's very hard give somebody, here's a suggestion, maybe you could go and. be creative or the system is trying to control you so that it can get more out of you and that you don't, it doesn't, it's not rigged in your favor to go and listen to your gut.

Kate Shepherd: And cuz if, everybody listened to the gut intelligence inside of them, many, not everybody, but many people would quit their jobs. And like we would just, we would leave the life that we've created because it, isn't working right. That capitalist system feel like that's what's so brilliant about what you're doing is creativity is moving through you saying, okay, this needs to be said, but you can't say it with a stick over someone's head.

kate_shepherd: If you were to just sit there and do a boring dry video of this is happening and da you'd be like you're a conspiracy theorist. But you're, saying all these things and you're weaving them into this really like delightful. You're delightful.

your content is delightful and you, I wanna watch you, I don't wanna turn you off. And I feel like that's creativity's genius working through you. Do you f is that your sense of your work? Is that what you feel like you're doing

Track 1: First of all, thank you. That's very kind words and I'm going to let it permeate my consciousness. I think the thing that's interesting about social media that's happening is that

kate_shepherd: is that


Track 1: most of modern history. There are gatekeepers as to who can be quote unquote creative. So there you have a beautiful painting behind you that you painted, and that's gorgeous and I love it.

And you would need to impress someone that owns a gallery. And then you would have to tell that gallery, my painting has value. And then that gallery would have to either believe you or reject you, and then that gallery would, determine your value. . And the same thing is if you wanna make a movie or if you want to be a musician, there are these gatekeepers that are controlling

kate_shepherd: and

Track 1: how

kate_shepherd: how

Track 1: gets distributed.

And what's happened with social media is there has been this

kate_shepherd: has

Track 1: Somewhat of

kate_shepherd: somewhat

Track 1: how one can distribute art person to person. And that to me is what's most interesting about the platform we are going

kate_shepherd: we're

Track 1: each other and we are providing information. We're providing entertainment, we're providing counseling, we're providing health advice.

We're providing all of these things peer to peer. And to go back to your initial question,

around, like my personal experience with creativity

kate_shepherd: creativity

Track 1: I have,

kate_shepherd: I

Track 1: An

kate_shepherd: And

Track 1: deep human desire to educate myself.

kate_shepherd: So I think that,

Track 1: I just share my own personal education.

kate_shepherd: own personal

Track 1: and that's all I'm doing. And sometimes I feel really bad and sometimes I'm just gonna share a video where I'm like, I feel bad about myself.

And then sometimes I'm gonna

kate_shepherd: then

Toni Nagy: research the prison industrial complex, and then I'm gonna say, this is what I learned about the prison industrial complex.

So I try to have

kate_shepherd: try to

Toni Nagy: a explorative approach to what I'm doing. That's

kate_shepherd: I've seen.

Toni Nagy: genuinely where I'm at in life, because I'm not always at a place in life where, Huh. I wanna go understand Deutsche Bank. Sometimes I'm like, I don't fucking care. And other times I'm like, I really need to know about,

kate_shepherd: know

Track 1: finance reform.

So I, I try to honor where I'm at personally and to share that.

Kate Shepherd: I think that's what drew me to you. When I first found you online you're just so free. You know, you're. Expressing sometimes really deep ideas. And sometimes you can tell you're just kind of processing these emotions and it's, you're very free. And I think the gift you give people. When you're so free like that, especially in such a public way as you give them permission to feel those feelings and express those things. Are even to acknowledge that those things exist

inside themselves in the first place. .

Toni Nagy: I am always in this space of negotiating another person's reaction. It's a thing that I have been working on my whole life, but it's definitely a big part of my personality and how I interact with people. in this other space of creation, I'm letting go of all that.

There's that, juxtaposition and that duality that exists because I am so extremely one way I can be so extremely another as a Capricorn, we exist in extremes. I think we all have these like massive contradictions within our identities and personalities.

I don't think that I operate in my life just eh, I completely free and like you can accept me or not. And I don't give a shit. I do, but within. Arena of presenting the video or presenting these creations that I make, I am a little bit like, ah, whatever.

That's fine. I make it and then I, put it out. Sometimes I have a friend who I'll show and be like, what do you think of this? From nuts to bolts. I'm just doing it from nuts to balls. I almost said from nuts to balls. I'm talking to myself in the woods, mostly to a camera, and if I were doing that without the camera, it would be considered odd.

And I do it with the camera and it's considered art. So you know, who knows

Kate Shepherd: When I'm in the studio and I feel I'm not creating for the purpose of somebody consuming it. I'm much freer. I don't care about mistakes. I don't care what colors I use. I don't, I'm not thinking about can I sell this? Like as soon as those thoughts come in, right? Like it turns it off but, there is something about. even movement. you are just a freer person than I am and physically, like I can just see that by the way you carry your body. how did you, do that? What was that journey like for you?

Toni Nagy: Being in one's body comes from the practice of of investigating your body and being curious about your body, that's often overlook a lot a lot in society. when you start dancing as a child, you learn about alignment or you learn to follow choreography or you learn to look like the other girls if you're doing ballet but it's really hard to teach someone how to express themselves, and that's, I think, the gift.

We say, oh, that person has that spark, or that person has that thing that makes me wanna watch them because they have a desire to express themselves. So when you watch a very technical dancer that's emotionally reserved, they may not be as compelling as someone who doesn't maintain the same level of technique, but they are emotionally connecting to you. and I'm not sure. I think that's innate. it takes an effort to cultivate that kind of vulnerability because you're not always received, and when you put yourself out there fully and you're not received, there is a specific pain, and if you hold back and you're not received, there is that.

Caveat that you could say I didn't really give it my full self anyway. I have a lot of experience with failure, , and a lot of experience with rejection. that has been really important because the more I failed and made mistakes, or been rejected or things haven't worked out, it just kept.

Reminding me every time I just decided to keep believing in myself okay It's not it's not death, it's just painful.

as a standup comic, it's really difficult when you don't connect and people aren't really vibing what you're doing, and you're just like performing to blank stares.

Toni Nagy: I, just had that experience last night. And you're like, oh, okay. All right. And it's not the audience's fault that they're not connecting to you. I am the performer. It's, my job to connect to you I and I can't always do. All I can do is keep believing in myself to try. So I think that it's around this feeling of belief that you're worthy of trying, and also you're able to pick yourself back up again when it doesn't work, because always work. work I was reading some writing that you did and you, I'm glad you brought this up cuz you, you wrote, there's nothing that will put you in touch with your neurosis, like standing in front of 70 people and trying to get them to not only laugh at your jokes, but also like you I was just like, oh my God. I feel like to a certain extent, that's what we're all doing all the time. In every, but only in every waking moment of our lives. right? we're, trying express ourselves. We're trying to share, meaning, we're trying to share our feelings. And what about this little creative idea?

Kate Shepherd: And what about this desire that I have and is it okay? And do you like me and should I change it? And maybe that's not what everybody feels like, but I feel like the sense. ones among us are trying to do that in those moments. When we're faced with a really obvious, glaring example of that.

Like when you're up on a stage and there's 70 people there and they're just staring at you with how, do you navigate those feelings in that moment? Like you can't just run off the stage

Toni Nagy: I know I I think this is the journey that some people are

more comfortable learning how to. Pivot or stop what they're doing, or connect or accept or live. I think the thing that's difficult, like standup is a very specific example. I think we do this in life all the time, is we try to avoid pain.

the thing about standup comedy is that you're actually. putting putting yourself in a painful position, , and you're fighting your way out. Like you almost begin in pain and then you fight your way out and you don't always, you don't always fight your way out. And I think that as you get more successful or you get more seasoned or you get more accustomed to it, maybe the audience is going to be more.

Toni Nagy: Forgiving to you from the beginning, and so you have less of a fight. But I think that if you go to a random comedy club where nobody knows you and they don't know what you're about, the first thing you have to do is prove yourself. You have to face the pain of, okay, these people don't like me until I show them that I'm worthy of their love, and you just can't.

Show them that you're worthy of their love, cuz you're not for everybody. So that's the conundrum. But I think we do that every day anyway. And it's the avoidance of pain that is the cause of pain. so when we just accept that no pain is unavoidable, pain is a part of every relationship. Rejection is a part of every relationship.

Pain is a part of the artistic process period. When we just keep accepting it and allowing it, and accepting and allowing it, then we can keep trying and experimenting and picking yourself back up again when it doesn't work workthe, not feeling the pain is the cause of the pain or the avoiding the feeling. The pain is the cause of it just perpetuates some, there's the initial pain and then there's, if you're avoiding it, just, that creates so much more than there was in the first place. so have there been specific things that have helped you learn to love and accept what's inside? I used to live in New York City and living in New York City, I had a ego journey of wanting to be hot and wanting to be at fancy places and wanting to get into v i p rooms am I supermodel hot? Absolutely not. So how did I negotiate being a woman and dealing with hotness within an environment where there are a lot of really beautiful, hot women? trying to find how my identity or my personality could

bolster up

bolster up my looks in order to be of value.

I was gonna perform standup comedy, but after my shows, I wanted to go out dancing with some friends, and it was the summer, and I wanted to connect to that older version of myself, and I wanted to go to a cool place where beautiful people were and feel like I was cool. And so I got dressed that night and I put on a tank. And PS this tank top wasn't even that flattering or that cool.

Toni Nagy: It just was the intention behind the tank top was I wanted to be cool and hot to go out afterwards. I am not my funniest when I am being.

Self-conscious about if I'm cool or if I'm hot. I'm actually my least. I got up on stage and for whatever reason, I just made eye contact with this woman who I felt was judging my body, whether she was judging my body, whether she was looking at it at all. I will never know, but it was the initial feeling that I had and I suddenly felt really self.

About this choice that I made because it was, why did I make this choice? Why was I prioritizing something else rather than just like connecting to this audience and being there for them.

Detached audio: I was

Toni Nagy: I was thinking about myself and what was gonna happen after the show.

And that

that self-consciousness is not attractive to an audience, right?

No one wants to feel your self-consciousness when you're supposed to be the architect of entertainment in that moment, they wanna feel like they trust you. And I completely lost their trust from the second I opened my mouth and it was like performance art. I bombed so hard. I don't think I even got a chuckle.

And I was out there for eight minutes it was, or 10 even. It was torture and I was just like, ah. And rather than just addressing what was going on, I just kept performing my material. What I should have done is prioritize the connection, what I should have. Prioritized how to be with these people in a just rather than just here's material I wrote, but bum chun. so it was really bad and I was. Super embarrassed because after you do a show, you have to go back to the green room with all the other comics who PS this was not like a stodgy room where the other comics weren't doing well. Everyone was killing it. I, there was like nothing I could hide behind.

It wasn't the audience, it was me. They, every, the person before me did great. The person after me did great. It was me. . And so after that show, I had two more shows to do. I had to face these comics, I was like, oh God. So then I went out and I bought a t.

cheaper One of those. I love New York oversized t-shirts at a touristy shop cause it's the only thing that was open.

And then I did great those other two shows cuz I had a different fucking priority. And it really brought brought me to this place of looking at femininity, looking at beauty looking. The pressure of a woman's value in her beauty, and just like my place and my role in it and how that fits into my comedic journey.

weren't, you showed up on that stage and you weren't being yourself and they were onto you, and whether they were onto you or not, you. You were onto you and then you started, you

Toni Nagy: were, that was what you were beaming out was, oh my God, this isn't the real me.

I was trying to trick you into this other thing and I was, or hiding behind it to not show up as my real self for whatever. And, you caught yourself. And then once you catch yourself, you can't unsee what you've seen. And it's almost like if there was like some sort of karma fairy for that, she just tapped you on the shoulder and was like, yeah, you're gonna feel the burn of this cuz I don't want you to I don't want you to ever do that again.

I want you to always show. As you, because that's why you're here. That's, I think ultimately what creativity is trying to do through us, right? Is if I wanted some hot girl to be on the stage, I would've brought it some hot girl up on the stage. No, I brought you here because you have these gifts and this is what you're special about.

And I feel in a way that you're very lucky. That you had that experience. My son, I have a 10 year old son who has, we joke that he has like the craziest instant karma. If he punches his sister almost immediately he'll fall down the stairs. it's like his life is just falling him around going, every time you do the bad thing, we're just gonna quickly, we're not gonna even give you much time to figure it out so that you get the message so that you can, you've got other things to do while you're here. Yeah I wish I could say I totally learned that message and then every , show afterwards I show up as my authentic self not happening it's a lesson I

Detached audio: again

Toni Nagy: again again and again. And am I always able to be my authentic self on stage? No, I'm absolutely I'm absolutely not. And sometimes I am.

And I think that the reality of why I'm always, able to be my authentic self, that is a mystery I cannot truly unravel. I think that's part of the process of existence. And I think the expectation that we're just gonna be like, I'm be my authentic self every day all the time. Eh, I think that's setting us up for failure.

that we have to forgive ourselves and understand that it's just going to be complex, and you're not always gonna be able to excavate who your authentic self is because your authentic self is forever changing. It's morphing, it's growing, it's molding, it's reconfiguring.

It's it's not static. A isn't static. isn't static.

A person's soul isn't static. Like nothing about our human body, brain, soul spirit is static. It's in movement constantly. sometimes you have to recognize that, oh, I am moving through something and. If you want to be an evolved human, part of that evolution is recognizing that you take one step forward two steps back, three steps forward seven steps back. It's not. It's not a straight line, it's not a trajectory you can predict.

it seems to me that the whole point of creative urges and these desires, like you have a desire to perform in a way that I don't have that. It's not calling to me. I, have an obsession with paint. Like I can't stop touching pink. speaks to us differently, but what it's doing through all of us that I think we all have in common is that, It is putting us right up against our truest selves.

it's a meeting ground for our little self and our big self to meet, and so that we can heal our little self stuff so that we can express more of what we're really here to do. And that isn't, like you just said, so you said it so beautifully. That isn't a static process. Like now I've uncovered the true artist that I am, and from this point forward, all I will do is express wonderful, perfect creation.

Kate Shepherd: That's not, what we're doing here.

Toni Nagy: Yeah, it's really not.

And I like what you said about art and creativity is this place where like the ego and the higher self or the soul can meet and they can play and they can dance.

Kate Shepherd: I make these videos where I interpretive dance a topic and I talk and I'm speaking about an issue. And that can be from something Political to something social, to something emotional or on the spiritual end of things. But I'm moving my body in ways that are not meant to be beautiful. They're meant to be funny or quirky or unexpected.

That to me, if the to make is to make unexpected odd movements, then Im more am more free than if I was like trying to make a perfect arabesque line or if I was trying to impress someone with Like sensual in a sexy

Detached audio: I don.

Kate Shepherd: Like I don't, like I'm doing very odd things and odd movements and maybe sometimes I'll twerk for a second cuz I think it's funny in terms of what I'm saying, but there is this way.

I think when we are in a box of. Trying to fit into a societal standard that is going to be stifling.

So I think

So I think what I'm doing is I'm trying to break that box of society's standards of, sexuality and beauty when I'm moving. And sometimes I'll wear like a really frumpy outfit and sometimes I'll wear a really cute outfit.

And in that cute outfit I'll even be more odd because my outfit is so cute that I'll train It's

Detached audio: it.

Toni Nagy: I that's an interesting water. interesting water Like how can you like, wear something? wear something really cute but look really grotesque?

What, is confidence? I obviously have to have a certain level of confidence to do this, and then there has to also be a a certain level of delusion, right? And then I think I have to have a certain level of humility as well in order for it to be appealing to others. so I think there is a balance of being confident and being humble.


right? Because if somebody is too humble the

Detached audio: feel

Kate Shepherd: can feel meek if you're too humble. it's kinda okay, if you are too It's almost it's almost like you're not going get people on board with you cuz you're not even on board with you. But if you're overconfident if you're cocky it also kinda also off putting. So I think. I'm a pretty insecure person and I'm also oddly secure. Why did that? I plan in the water with both. the waters of both.

That's all

That's all I, that's the only thing I can think. And I let myself feel insecure and I let myself feel confident. I allow them to both be.

Because I feel very insecure a lot. Like all the time. I don't know, I like all the time it's it's so funny. The other day I was like so suffering. I just such a spiral of just like complete self-loathing, I have a practice of positive self-talk also cuz my mind loves to just twirl and have a whirling dervish and negative self-talk. And so when I go to bed at night, I do a gratitude practice every night.

And when I wake up in the morning, first thing in the morning, I do a gratitude practice that is embedded. Daily for me, and every time I dance and I teach a class, I do a gratitude practice before I move. So I have all these moments that I've embedded in the tradition of my day of living and reminding myself with gratitude of who I am, that where Im, as a piece of my life of what's going on. I, I have to remind myself constantly to sit gratitude

I'm glad you brought this up, cuz I dug out my, I go in and out of a gratitude practice and I wish I could be a little bit more consistent with it, but I did dig out my gratitude journal last night and was like, I'm gonna start this up again.

if you wouldn't mind sharing what that looks like. Are you writing it down?

Kate Shepherd: Are you, is it just a, checklist of thoughts that you go through? What does it look like for you?

Toni Nagy: So in my head, as I go to as I go to bed, I say to myself tomorrow morning, I am gonna wake up in the most perfect timeline that suits my highest self and then and then I start saying what I'm most grateful for, and it always begins with my daughter. I am grateful for my daughter. I'm grateful for her health. I'm grateful for her immune system.

I'm grateful for my health. I'm grateful for my immune system. I'm grateful for my body. I'm grateful for nature, and I just will go until I get sleepy.

Like I just keep going. I'm grateful for the land I live on. I'm grateful for beautiful food. I'm grateful for the fans that support me. I I just keep going.

And then in the morning I do it again, and then I try to visualize.

Toni Nagy: My life My life in a certain sense. So I'll say I choose to live a life I love. I choose to be in relationships that fulfill me. I choose for my body to feel healthy. I choose for my body to feel free. been this for for my immune system to be working at its.

Best possible capacity. So I go through my, the things that are important to me, and I choose them, and then imagine how I want my life to be, and I leave it open I have art that impacts people's life and it's meaningful to them. And I'm making that art. And I have a TV show, and that TV show is meaningful to people.

And I work with amazing people direct direct movies. And those movies are meaningful to people. And I work with amazing people and I feel fulfilled. I've had a meditation practice. A daily meditation for For 13 years, yeah. Now,

What have

Kate Shepherd: you noticed about your life since you've started to do that? If. Is life

is life easier? No. But am I moving forward ? Yes. like I am moving forward. Is it as fast as I want it to be? No. Sometimes yes. Other times no. But there feels like a momentum that is like just nudging me forward and that feels meaningful, do I always feel connected to this practice? No, but I show up for the practice. Am I always in a good mood? No. Am I always feeling like I'm gonna make it. You're amazing. Absolutely not. I just show up. I show up for the practice, I show up to make videos.

I show up to do the work, and I just keep showing up. I accept that my feelings about it are going to wax and wane. Sometimes I make a video and it does really well, and sometimes I make a video and it does not that great, and I just have to accept them all. I have to just live with them both and accept them both because the duality is part of it.

And if I get too attached to things going well, then I'm gonna get too crushed when they don't go well. So I try to maintain a certain neutrality.

I think that's

what meditation gives us. I've, had a meditation practice for quite a long time, and that I feel like when I first started I was like, oh, I'm gonna get enlightened. I'm gonna do the, and I was like chasing that for a really long time. And it was like this thing that I thought I'd get and would happen.

And I thought there'd be like sparkles attached. Like I don't even know what I thought. I just thought like everything would turn into white light and I'd become this big, I don't even know what I thought. But now with the wisdom of age and time, I realize that what my meditation practice has given me is a capacity to weather.

The those ups and downs that you're talking about, to know those annoying limiting thoughts and self-hatred and all that crazy shit that comes at you and you're just, you feel like you're anxious and it's all the, those thoughts come and it, they're like a storm. The if you can just breathe through them and feel them and allow them, they will actually also then pass.

And then, there'll be a clearing, and then there'll be a moment for the joyful feelings. And then you can, but you're not grabbing onto one of them and letting it pull you into its vortex. You're, just experiencing them and, acknowledging them. Cuz I, I think it's important to not hide from them too, like you're saying.

We not avoiding the bad and aiming for the good. It's like that equanimity between

you're reminding me of you're reminding me of is I don't wanna throw out the baby with the bathwater when it comes to my negative self-talk because sometimes I am actually correct. Like sometimes I actually need to listen to me and be like, maybe I'm a little bit harsh in my delivery, in my negative self-talk. There is wisdom.

In some of my negative self-talk For sure. And when things don't go well, when things it's like if a show doesn't go well, that those are most, most the most from.

You learn a lot from lot from things that are things that are uncomfortable.

You learn a lot from your own personal suffering. Even when you are the. Architect and the task master of that suffering. Feelings and emotions, they're they're transitory and they leave and they come, but it doesn't mean that they're not a message,

And it's funny, I think sometimes there is this kind of new age.

way Way of being that shunning negativity or, shunning discomfort. and don't I don't know, maybe it's me, maybe I'm a bit of a shadow person, like I'm a moon worshiper. I like the shadow. I'm interested in my shadow and the shadow of others, and I don't expect my shadow to go away.

My shadow will follow me and I will dance with it. I. I will dance with your shadow too. I don't need you to hide your shadow from me. I'm really interested

in exploring unconditional

love because I've so often felt that love was conditional and I felt like I had to be a certain way or , you create the persona of which you think makes people comfortable and therefore you are worthy of love.

So for. Conditional love is a deep wound. And so my exploration of unconditional love comes with fully accepting my shadow, your shadow, society's shadow, not and not pointing fingers and saying, you are bad a first society with with large shadow. So that's one. Step That's the shadow. the shadow? Accept the shadow. Love the. Love the shadow. Bring it with you. Don't let it control your, your, shadow. Your shadow doesn't move you.

You just said so many things all of that was just so brilliant. Thank you. we're trying so hard to deliver this curated version of ourselves and our art and whatever wants to come through us, and we forget that actually all of the gross, ugly parts of that journey are just as important as the end product, if you will.

. Okay, so I feel like there's somebody I wanted to go back to something we were talking about a minute ago. I feel people listening to this going, okay, I'm pretty sure I might have a weird, wonderful person inside me, but I've been keeping them inside tucked away deep down cuz I'm too scared of what the world will think of me if I let them out. What do you think is something really helpful that we could tell that person to help them be more comfortable busting out and just being the whole weird, wonderful mess, shadow, light, all of it. What would you wanna tell?

I would say I would say curiosity and experimentation are at the root of play.

and and that when we step into a curious space and an experimental space, you can be more playful. One of the things I do I did make a video about this But it's in the meditation that I do when I'm teaching. I ask people to envision the judgment part of their brain, and you can create a shape or a caricature.

Or an avatar an animal, whatever. You just visualize the judgment part of your brain, and then you ask that judgment part to get into a really nice, cozy bed, and then you tuck that judgment. Part of your brain into bed, and you give it a little pacifier and you pet its head and you say Night, night, it's time to sleep. And then you wake up the observational part of your brain and you say, wake up. It's time to be in the driver's seat. And then you allow observation to be the dominating principle of the mind in that moment.


And judgment is just doing sleepy.

nstitute. And

and I don't know if that helps people. It helps me. I think it's an interesting meditation that I offer it to your listeners to give it a try because when you're, when Judgment Brain is driving the VW bus of your consciousness, it's going to be judging everything you're doing and you're not gonna feel playful.

You're gonna feel self-conscious. You're gonna feel. Stagnant. You're gonna feel small, but it, you don't have to tell Judgment brain to go away forever. There. It's there for a reason. Judgment brain does a lot of good

Toni Nagy: work

Kate Shepherd: but judgment brain isn't the driver when you're on the Ken Kesey bus of acid tripping creativity.

No. It's no. It's not time for that part of your brain to drive. One of the things.

I in my

I have done in my meditation cause is because my meditation, my personal meditation practice was mantra-based. really It did really help me understand the parts of my brain a little So I recognize that there are parts of

Detached audio: are parts

Kate Shepherd: there are. and there are voices in my brain, there are voices in my head and not every voice is a voice that there are

Detached audio: there

Kate Shepherd: And attitudes different attitudes

I really resonate with what you're saying. Like I, I feel like there's this sort of, I call them my board of directors. I feel like there's this kind of cast of characters, , they feel like they belong to little Kate.

They feel like they belong to my personality. They're the things that help me survive and get to this point in my life and overcome my trauma. And they're trying to get me to survive and succeed. And they they've got all these mos and they're doing their things and they're helpful, but like you're saying, I don't necessarily want them in the driver's seat.

And then there's this other. Essence in me that I guess I would call self with a capital S and that feels like the direct line to creativity that feels like spirit or God or universe or the magic or the the ineffable quality of being a human being. And they, I feel like in my experience, All those little Kate parts have gotten really good at Shapeshifting and they're like, oh, she really likes to listen to self. She likes to listen. She really wants to set her life up. So she's being led by, by creativity, led by self, led by the observer. So here, let's get really good at sounding like those parts like that so that we can trick and, but it's still, we're still gonna be running the ship because I feel like that's something I've really had a hard time

Oh my God, I get to the end. I think I've done this like really self spiritual observatory thing and then I'm like, oh my God, it was the ego again. Duh. Got me again,

that's so funny.

I love I love that. And I also have experienced that in the sense where I can tell that my ego will start to. When I'm really in a deep meditation practice, it will compete by thinking more interesting thoughts. it, I, ego, but The thing

is that the ego is life.

No. Without an ego, without an ego, you are dead. Like then body is death. body is dead. The ego is, for whatever reason, it is deeply connected to the human body and to our consciousness inside a human body. The ego The ego is part of being human okay. and the ego is clever, so we cannot get rid of it. because it's, it is us it's it you, it's in, you can't extract you, you are you. So

I think the thing is about flow state is another way I, of calling the capital S self being in flow state.

No, don't No, you don't always find it, but you show up to try to find it, and sometimes it's there. I keep going back to that same concept of showing up.

Detached audio: I always



Kate Shepherd: meditate a hundred percent. No, but I sit there. . I And sometimes I just sit there and I'm thinking, and sometimes I'm sitting there and I'm thinking about stupid stuff.

And sometimes I'm meditating and sometimes I'm doing a combination of the two. the expectation that we're always gonna just because we're sitting there. Oh, time to connect yourself over. I'm ready to be No, it's magic. The magic is unpredictable. It's unexplainable. It's we just have to be there.

We the vessel for magic. You pass through. pass through.

you're not there,

the magic can't pass through.

And if you're there and the mag doesn't tap through, oh you showed up. know You're not only

Detached audio: up.

you're not

Kate Shepherd: See the mic, but it's. it's worth it when you.

That self, that magic, that flow state over the years, in my own creative practice, I've I get the sense that it's a living, breathing, magical entity. Like it's a thing that you can, you experience and that I also feel like it's trying. Tell us something or do something through us. Do you, does that resonate for you?

I Yeah, I mean I think that's touching on the idea of the collective consciousness is that ideas are not yours. They're not mine. There is a collective webbing of ideas and that you. Are sometimes the one to pluck the idea out, and then that idea happens to come from you. But the idea exists beyond you and above you and around you.

Do you feel like that intelligence has a particular mo through you? Do you feel like it's trying to say something particular in this lifetime as Tony through you? If you had to distill it down? Have you noticed a theme in what it's trying to communicate through you specifically?

What jazzes me up the most is about, what connects us and what is a vibration of

empathy and understanding. And like I was saying before, unconditional going back to that going back to that I get um, interested in conversations around forgiveness how to.

Be truly, connected to the self and others in radical self-acceptance and radical self-reflection.

Before I sit down with every guest, I say a little prayer that, that energy that we're talking. Join us for this conversation and that what needs to be said can be said so that what needs to be heard can be heard and so that we can all connect more

deeply with ourselves. Cuz my, whole purpose in life now is to support the emergence of this creative energy and intelligence in everybody everywhere.

Because I feel like it's so required for our healing. And so I put one of the, part of that ritual is that I, pull this beautiful little card and there's, I don't. A hundred cards here. And the card I pulled for our conversation today, which is like the blessing for our conversation was humor. And I laughed out loud.

Oh, that's so fucking funny. Yeah. funny. I love that.


And I love your, ritual of intention. That's so groovy. I really Oh

I've made the money and I've bought the house and had the business and built the brand and done the I've done all that stuff and I, it wasn't what I wanted, like the desire that I really had was to revere this intelligence that we are, that we've become so disconnected with.

That's what everything I'm doing is about these days. And on that note, I have a question that I ask at the end of every episode, and it's the billboard question. If you had a billboard that every person in the world who longed to connect with this intelligence we're talking about longed to be an artist, whatever that meant for them, but for all the reasons we've talked about, all these limiting beliefs, all this shadow stuff that they feel that they can't feel, they're not good enough and not creative enough, whatever it is, their story is about. but that they would read this billboard and hear your message. What would you put on that billboard?

First of all, when I was listening to you, I was like, wow, she really does have a dope podcast voiced . I just had to say that I was like very soothing podcast voice. I feel like my voice is a bit more abrasive and I was like, oh man, I should have mirrored your seductive Podcast voice more. What would my billboard be? Oh man.


What would, that's such a interesting question, but it's difficult cuz you want it to, you want it to punch.

I guess. Alright,

Skip. So the billboard is, I like three

Detached audio: to

Kate Shepherd: questions. I'm so your seduced by your, seductive voice. I, was like rolled I was like, was closing my eyes but Okay. but Okay. The billboard of how to connect to that like deep creative self that we all have. .

Track 1: I'm gonna say you are.

kate_shepherd: Mm. I love that. Thank you. And thank you for joining us today

Track 1: Yeah, I really enjoyed it as well and um, I'm gonna have to practice my podcast voice to somehow be more soon as. As yours. It just, it's really gonna make me laugh just thinking about It but I, I have to say, I, I honor what you're doing. I think it's very groovy and at the same time,

kate_shepherd: me

Track 1: It was making me laugh.

You know, you asked me all these questions and I kept bringing it back to you. Well, it's very hard, you know, like, so it's funny how within optimism, it's still pessimistic to be an artist, but I think the goal is to keep showing up. Yeah. That's the other, my other billboard is just

kate_shepherd: Well, I think you, and you said that a few times throughout our conversation, and I feel like that's really important, is show up and be willing to feel the stuff that happens when you show up.

Because it isn't all rainbows and unicorns, it's sometimes your mind doesn't stop wandering. Sometimes you bomb on stage. Sometimes you create a shitty painting. Sometimes your song tanks, sometimes you can't connect with your audience. It's,

but it's all part of you. You have to have those, those are parts of. Showing up that you can't, you can't cheap out on those ones. They're part of it, part of life's rich pageant, as my mother would say. I love that. I

Track 1: I love that. now. I just want more billboards, but just show up as another

kate_shepherd: um, okay. Actually, I want, tell us what you're working on next, what you're most excited about, how people can find out more about your work. Where do you want them to go and, and look and find you online?

Track 1: I'm

on all the socials of Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. So it's Tony, t o n i, last name n a g y. So it's some iteration of that Tony, n a g y, and.

I do teach an online movement class that I call Gyration Nation, and I think that that would be a groovy thing for people to explore, especially if you want to get into the body and you know, talk to the wisdom of the body.

We didn't go into how much body wisdom there is and how much we have stagnant emotions and feelings and things that we're holding onto that are holding us back actually. And so getting into the body and moving through those physically can really help move through things mentally. So I guess I would like to invite people to try that

kate_shepherd: I'd really like to try. I feel like you may have made that class for me, so I'm gonna try that class out. yeah.

Track 1: Oh yeah. Although the website where my class is hosted is my dance studio, which is sidestream .

kate_shepherd: Thank you so much. I really enjoyed that conversation. I really did too.

Track 1: I really did too. It was really great to meet you.

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