Ep 48 - Dr. Merideth Hite Estevez - Rediscovering Creative Joy: Recovery & Resilience in Your Creative Process

Follow, Listen, Rate & Review (thank you!)  in Apple Podcasts 
Subscribe & Listen in Spotify
Subscribe & Watch clips on Youtube
OR listen in your favourite podcast app


dr merideth hite estevez on devotion vs discipline on the creative genius podcast 

Episode Summary

In this episode of The Creative Genius Podcast, our guest Dr. Meredith Estevez, a renowned oboist, podcaster, coach, writer, and educator, shares her profound journey of creative recovery and the vital lessons she's learned about finding joy in the act of creation. Through her personal experiences, Merideth explores the effects of creative burnout, the harmful generational cycle of teaching through shame, and the pressure to balance creative impulse with marketability and success. She discusses how she rediscovered her true self using "The Artist's Way," navigated feelings of unworthiness despite achievements, and unveiled the power of surrendering to the creative process. Dr. Estevez also provides practical advice for reducing the stress of needing to know everything and embracing a sense of inner worthiness. Tune in to discover how to align with your calling, overcome self-doubt, and cultivate creativity from a place of joy.


  • Merideth's journey of creative recovery
  • Exploring the impact of creative burnout and the generational cycle of teaching through shame.
  • Balancing creative impulse with marketability and success in the artistic world.
  • Acknowledging feelings of unworthiness even amidst achievements and accolades.
  • The transformative power of surrender in the creative process.
  • Devotion vs discipline in creative work
  • Practical steps to shift from shame-driven creation to joyful expression.


Kate Shepherd: Oboist podcaster, coach, writer, educator. Your music has taken you all over the world from the Yale School of Music to being a Fulbright Scholar to Germany and Julliard, where you earned your doctorate in obo. You've served on numerous faculties at universities and schools of music. You've been featured as a speaker at Google and in your work as a coach, you've supported thousands of people, including some major museum directors and deans of Conservatories to overcome Creative Block. Currently, you host your own award-winning podcast artists for joy. the English hornets slash second oboe of the Chamber Orchestra of New York, and you have two young kids and are working on a book. I mean, I'm actually, I feel like if I've, I'm sure I missed some things, but did I, did I kind of get it all?

Track 1: You got it. And I'm tired already just

Kate Shepherd: I know. Well, that's the, that's the blessing of being given, uh, What I call a big current of creativity running through us.

Like I

think, I feel like some of us are born with just like a bigger tube of it to channel and you

know, we're always those of us and we are just doing lots of things like I I I'm guessing you probably wouldn't have it any other way, would you?

Track 1: I haven't always . Felt the flow. I, I went through a, a really big block right after I finished my doctorate degree where I, I was hugely burnt out and I wasn't sure that I was gonna keep playing music anymore. After 12 years of studying oboe, including four degrees in music and my, my work transitioning into creative recovery work and coaching and writing was really an effort, first and foremost to come and save myself from

Losing my creative impulse. And so I, I do feel like I have a big, a big current of creativity flowing through me now, but I'm really grateful for it because it wasn't always that way.

Kate Shepherd: Was it that way when you were little?

Like, do you, when you, okay. So, okay, so you were, I'm trying to find the map of it. So you, you, so take us back to when you were little. Were you mu

music art? Like what, how did it show up for you?

Track 1: I, used to wear leotards to school. I would wait until everybody left our house. we grew up in this beautiful historic southern home in, in rural South Carolina. And it had really tall ceilings. It was great for singing. And so I'd wait for everybody to leave the house and I would belt Broadway show tunes in front of the mirror, for hours,

Kate Shepherd: Oh.

Track 1: And um, yeah, I was always a writer. My mother was the elementary school librarian in at our school, and I. I would hang out every weekend at the local community theater, the Abbey Opera House. , I always felt like music and, and writing creativity in general was just my thing. And I came from a big family.

I'm number three of four, and so it was also a way for me to be an individual and to get a attention and to do all those things to, to fill my space in the family. It was really important to my identity. I went to boarding school for the last two years of high school at the South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities, which

Kate Shepherd: Wow.

Track 1: was an incredible opportunity.

I don't think I would've been able to get into to college for music without that experience. And it was really the, the beginning of the intense training that . I think in the end was, was the catalyst that really burnt me out to the point of just not being able to recognize myself. And it, I don't blame it entirely on my education because I think my education combined with my personality, which was pretty, um, driven and disciplined and perfectionistic at its worst, uh, it kind of met with a really

Intense environment, competition, some toxic teachers, some bad work environments. Absolutely. But it was just a long, um, nitpicking through how to be perfect and playing classical music in particular. It's not as creative as say, you know, abstract painting. Whereas like there's a, it's a really a recreated art.

So we take a work of Beethoven and we go and recreate it. And so there is a right and wrong way to play. The notes. Um, and so it took me many years after I graduated with my final degree to sort of recoup and remember and, and reacquaint myself again with my creative, my inner child and my, my creative self.

Kate Shepherd: I feel like that is so that that arc, that story arc is so we all, and we almost all of us have that in common. We can, you know, I loved this thing when I was a little kid, when it was free and, you know, it was what made me feel different. It was what made me feel like me.

I just loved it. And then I kind of entered the grownup world and had to sort of become this thing. , and. For you, it was within the kind of quote unquote creative world, but really, you know, that sort of academia aspect of of creativity, takes the creativity out of it really.

And then it becomes about mastery and there's benefits to that. But what do you think is in us as humans that wants to do that, to creativity, to take this

wild, wild thing, and why do we do that?

Meredith Hite Estevez: I mean, in order to be an oboist, like I can't just sit at home and like as kid in rural South Carolina and like learn how to play the oboe. I mean, YouTube didn't even exist when I was growing up. And some ways you do need apprenticeship. You need a mentor to . Help you improve your technique.

There is technique to learn. There is a level of putting in your 10,000 hours, that makes you more free. But if you're not prepared in yourself to almost guard that pure creative impulse that, that desire to make things you care about, you'll lose it.

Our mentors and those who we admire and idolize, shouldn't be held responsible for maintaining that in us and they had it squashed out of them. in many cases. So they don't know how to, how to teach this music without doing it. With shame, motivating people through shame, which is really in, in the end, is very harmful.

And I coach so many creatives of all disciplines from, designers and writers who work on major television programs and, you know, other conservatory trained musicians. And we have all experienced that feeling of having to balance. What we feel is our creative impulse with marketability and success and wanting to be an artist in the world.

it is really hard and my dream is to help young artists specifically guard that creative impulse and be able to get through an education and are healthy and ready to go and change the world.

Kate Shepherd: So how did you do that? How did you go through your education and, and have that experience of, you know, the, the discipline and the mastery and the, And how did you learn? How did you come to know that you needed to guard that impulse, and how did you actually learn how to guard that impulse?

Track 1: well, I'm sure that people talk about this on your show a lot, but Julia Cameron's book, the Artist's Way was paramount. I mean, it was like a key and I, so I got, I got married and . Shortly after my huge burnout moment where I'm standing on the the West 65th Street in Broadway and holding my Julliard diploma and smiling for my dad's camera phone and thinking, how am I gonna do this for the rest of my life?

I don't even want to hear music much. Let's play it. You know,

really lost, and I moved to Chicago . I had like six different jobs trying to make it. add financial stress on top of burnout.

And it's like, a good way to be. But then I walked into a church where I was working part-time as a community music school director, coordinating things inside the church. And, I met my husband, he was walking down the hallway singing just like to himself, like just

Kate Shepherd: You're like, that's him.

Track 1: And I was like, well, and you were, he's wearing a clergy collar. He is a Presbyterian minister. He is, got a ponytail. His, you know, his, his family's from Guatemala. I mean, I was just like, I, I joke, we joke like in the dictionary besides like, people I thought I would end up with under opposites of is my husband


Kate Shepherd: I love it.

Track 1: And he's a Latin jazz percussionist, just for fun, you know, and he reminded me that relationship really was pivotal. He was the one who gave me the artist's way. he was like, I want to help you remember how fun music is and how joyful music is. And so I had this person in my life that modeled that for me.

It's something that I, even though we're married, I have to do for myself now. and so that's . The beginning of how I found my way back doing the work in the artist way. We started groups in 2017. We started meeting, uh, in, in Wilmington, Delaware, where I was living at the time.

And we had, you know, maybe five or 10 people in the group. during the pandemic we, um, online on Zoom and have creative recovery groups on Zoom and it blew up because the cre, you know, the pandemic, we all needed support. And now we, we had over 600 people registered.

For the, the, the Julia Cameron Creative Cluster, um, the artist way creative cluster back in, um, last one just wrapped in, in May.

Kate Shepherd: I'm trying to imagine what happened after that moment on the street corner holding your diploma with tears and then you, you found your way back to the, so then professionally what happened to you? What was that journey like? To go from graduate. You've done your boarding school, you've gone to Julliard, you've, you've kind of achieved these things. Then what, what, what was

Track 1: Well, I wish I could say that like everything was great and I, you know, ,

Kate Shepherd: No, nobody wants to hear that. Well, 'cause, and actually that brings me that, I'm glad you said that because I think it would be really, it, it is possible that, you know, you could read about your story and think, wow, that's amazing. Look at all these incredible achievements and accomplishments, and she must have something I don't have.

It came really easy to her but I don't have that in me. I don't, I'm not special. I don't have What would you say to the person who's listening to this? Who's who, who feels that way? I.

Track 1: I think that when we don't live in congruence with what we believe and what we believe to be true and who we are at our core, then we can easily . End up in the wrong life. . We can be, we could find ourselves in an orchestra when we actually don't wanna play in orchestras. And that's sort of what happened to me, I kept trying over and over again to make my, myself, make my resume make sense.

I don't, I don't know if, if you feel that way sometimes,

like I worked so hard at this degree getting a doctorate, I have to be a university professor. Right? and then I applied for many university positions. I managed to get a university position and I got there and I was not happy. And then I got another one and I got there and I still wasn't happy.

I thought, oh, if I just get a job in a better city or if I get a job doing more of this then not this, then I'll be, and I, and I really regretted, I, I shouldn't say I regret it, but I wish that I have could have gotten there without laying wake to all the chaos of moving around a lot and going through the searches.

And I. Um, committing to these opportunities that were incredible, but I wasn't really listening to an inner voice of calling and vocation. And I think had I done that, I would've gotten to, to this place I am now, um, much quicker, which is letting go of the lie that we're not allowed to be more than one thing.

'cause I was taught at Julliard that like if you didn't play the oboe in an orchestra full-time, then you hadn't made it. And like getting a university job is like . Slightly below. It's still a, it is still a legitimate job, but it's not as good as like playing principal in one of the top five orchestras, right?

And so I had to constantly tell myself, I'm not less than, and let me tell everybody listening, , you are not less than if you are multi-passionate. If you're not sure whether or not your resume makes sense, you are not your resume. Your worth is not defined by your work, by what you've done or what you will do.

You're already worthy. And the more you can connect to your innate sense of worthiness and you'll experience belonging, and then you will know where to go next in your career by listening and following to, you know, I, I call it the spirit, listening to the spirit as it leads you. To where to your next opportunity, and you won't have to carry around that heavy ego that just will let you down.

Kate Shepherd: It's so heavy and it's so heavy and it's so, it's such a shapeshifter and it's a trickster and it will, you know, unless you become really aware of it, it can creep into all these different parts of your life. I think a lot of people do. I'm glad you touched on the worthiness thing, because I think a lot of people, myself included, are troubled by that sense of worthiness because we did, we were raised by and inherited from the previous generations. A way of being that doesn't, isn't conducive to freedom and listening and

heartful and, you know, truth. and that translates to a deep sense of, of unworthiness the person who's really, who, who wants to, who's kind of ready and is like, I, I, I'm ready to see myself differently. I'm ready to see that I am special and that I do have an amazing gift and that it's okay to not know what the heck that is. but I really don't know. How to even begin to work with even the mechanics inside myself of how to feel worthy, interact with worthiness. Because

it's one thing to just say, well, it's, it all comes down to self-worth, you know? And there's all these Instagram gurus who are like, well, you're not manifesting because you don't believe you're worthy.

Okay, well, but, but really on the ground, like what that means is, We have to begin to do things differently. Look at ourselves different, like there's a mechanics inside,

right? There's a, what has that been for you? How, how are you able to contact your own sense of inner

worthiness and nurture it in such a way that it, 'cause it sounds like that is what has, is leading your life now. It isn't this like idea of where I need to go. It's like this inner whisper. And I feel like until we connect, until we can kind of. Am I making sense? Is


question make? Okay.

Track 1: and I, and I've, I've written a lot about this and I've thought a lot about it because I want, I want my story like, like you said a minute ago, like when people read your resume, they think like . This person's awesome. I'm, I lack right? But what I want people to see is no matter what you achieve, you can go to an Ivy League and you can get a Fulbright Scholarship, and you can get, your degree from a place that accepts 6% of its applicants.

you can do all that and still feel lost. You can't earn your way to worthy. it doesn't work. I've tried it. the higher I achieved and the more I achieved, the further I had to fall, and the worse I felt. when I started researching this, I, I, I fell into the work of Brene Brown, which I know you've heard of.

And her, three part recipe for worthiness is courage, compassion, and connection. each of those, she reminds you that you, you practice each of those, you don't. You know, you don't get arrive somewhere and are courageous, just like you don't arrive somewhere in master music, right?

There's always more to learn and you become more courageous by being more courageous. And so to me what that looks like, feeling worthy encouraged means showing up and doing the work. Even when I'm scared,

it means hitting published on the podcast. It means trying to do a podcast even though I had no idea what I was doing.

So vulnerability is central to courage. Compassion is self-forgiveness. That's how I think of it, is really for, and, and this is where I lean on Anne Patchett, who wrote an amazing essay that only writers read. And I want to tell everybody about it because it is so amazing. It's called The Getaway Car.

Kate Shepherd: We will put it in the show

Track 1: Okay. Yeah. It's Anne Patchett. It's her in her, in her, um, book of essays called . This is the story of a happy marriage or something.

Describes, um, when she has an idea for a book, it's like a butterfly, and she like watches it and it's this like perfect butterfly.

And like in order to write the book, she has to . Pull the butterfly down and kill it.

Kate Shepherd: Oh

Track 1: And the butterfly is never as beautiful as it was in her mind before she killed it. And so she says, creativity is the act of constantly forgiving yourself for not writing the book that you dreamt of writing for.

Not making the thing you make.

Kate Shepherd: I just got the full body chills. That is amazing. I never saw it that way.

Track 1: me either. And so that's what I think about compassion is like . Forgiving myself over and over and over for not playing with the, with the sound in my head for not writing the book that I dreamt of writing. And it is so freeing and it makes me feel worthy because then it's, we it's not a contest anymore.

Kate Shepherd: And then the showing up piece becomes even more important. 'cause the, the answer to that next thing is, but then you just, you do keep showing up. You keep doing it.

Track 1: Exactly. Yeah. And then you find connection when you are . In your zone of genius, when you're living your best life, when you're on your path, you meet the right people, you meet your people, and you feel connected. And if as long as you're on some other path, you'll meet people there, but they not, they might not be your true people.

Kate Shepherd: And you feel that you can, you can feel it when you find your people and when you begin to find your yourself

Track 1: Yeah.

Kate Shepherd: How does your, that inner voice. I mean, so when I say creativity, you know, I talk about how I think creativity is the intelligence that's animating the entire universe.

So I think of creativity as, you know, not only the thing that is inspiring, the music in your head or the poem to come out of your hands when you're writing, or the painting or the whatever. The architecture, the, the know the things that we've stereotypically can talk about creativity, but I think it's also. The intelligence that's inside of a seed that tells it, you know, when to open and how to become a tomato. And like there's something that's running all of this and it's moving through us and it's, it communicates but not with words. It can't, 'cause it doesn't have language, but it communicates to us all in undeniable ways.

And some people that's music and some people that's intuition. And how does that, if we're talking about creativity with that, Kind of lens, how does it speak to you? How do you hear it? How do you know when it wants something from you

or when it wants you to make something or when it's tapping on the shoulder to collaborate with you?

Like how, how does, what's your lived experience of that in your body?

Meredith Hite Estevez: it's really different at different times in my life right now I am, uh, waiting for my editor to bring back my book that I've submitted and then tell me how I need to revise it. So I'm gonna have like a document of like 3,500 notes on Word documents.

Kate Shepherd: Oh

Track 1: so I'm, I'm bracing for this like, Um, not rejection, but like a, a soft rejection, you know,

Kate Shepherd: some butterflies have been killed in the

Track 1: they have Oh yeah.

Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. For sure. And there, there's gonna be many more. Um, and so I found myself in this, in this in-between time with an opportunity. I have plenty of other work I could be doing, but I, I felt this, this little impulse to start a new book. And I know that sounds crazy, but . I just wanted, I just needed, there was something I wanted to say and, and for me with writing, it often comes in a story or a turn of phrase that sticks with me and I feel it kind of bubbling up.

And usually I'm like child rearing or, you know, take doing some, like taking out the trash or I'm doing something completely not related and I have to write it in the notes app of my phone. And I'm lucky if I remember it when I come back. But, I'm really, I'm in that like, fun, sweet spot of working on a new book and it feels like this very awkward kid dressed in their like mom's heels and like, you know, fake jewelry in the Elsa costume.

You know, I have a five-year-old, so that is an image that's very real in my life, but

it's like, it's like that. I keep trying, I keep trying it on and it has a real playful, playful sense. Um, and it doesn't. It doesn't make sense at all really at first. And, um, I have to surrender to the process. And, and so it's been, it's been really fun.

It's a different energy. It's a different kind of energy. It gives me energy while, you know, the editing or the marketing or whatever kind of, those are creative things, but they sort of take away my energy or exhaust my energy in another way.

Kate Shepherd: for a lot of us, I think surrender is hard. how has surrender come to you? within the creative process Is it easy? Is it easy to you

Track 1: Not at all. I still love this idea of practicing scales, which is, which such a gift in music. I mean, we have this, like in Western classical music, we have this like fundamental . This thing, this fundamental, and I write about this in my book, that, you know, a four 40, which is the note we tune to in the orchestra, it's the same every day.

Kate Shepherd: right.

Track 1: a good portion of the practicing is just reacquainting yourself with where is a four 40 day after day and where, you know, what, what is 60 beats per minute, which is the ticking of the clock. Right? How do you find it's like devotion. It's, it's you. You have to be disciplined to do it, but it has to come from a devotional place in that you submit yourself to something that's already there.

I've been playing around with that idea of devotion versus discipline with my coaching clients. And it translates really well to music because scales. But how does that translate to visual arts and how does that translate to writing? What does running scales look like to a writer or to a visual artist?

And one of my clients, actually, she's a, a, a children's book author and illustrator, and she had just not created for years and she was just really wanting to get back to it, but she was experiencing this block. And so I brought up this idea of devotion to her and asked her what was fundamental to her about her work.

And so what she decided to do, and she came up with this herself, but she decided to take some of the mantras. From the artist's way, some things that she believed, and she would do hand lettering of the mantras every day and just decorat, you know, illustrate the mantras every day. And she did that for like three weeks.

And then she had an idea to like make a book and now she's on her way. And it was like some rudimentary thing just to, to move forward. And so when I, surrendering to me means feeling wonder in the face of the amazing thing that is the foundation of music and the foundation of writing, which is words and communication.

And so that's how I surrender because there's nothing new under the sun Iit's a song that's already singing. I just get to jump in if I want.

Kate Shepherd: Oh, that's beautiful. And that's so true. Oh, I love that so much. , you just said so many amazing things. I wish I could go back and like, read them and, and remember

Track 1: Well, let me ask you a question.

What if I, if I asked you to do that fundamentals exercise, like what, in your, in your creative work, what is, what is at the fundamental level of your work? What would that look like to practice scales, quote unquote, in your creative life?

Kate Shepherd: Like, do you mean like technically, like what would the technical thing be that I would like Would writing or painting or, or do you mean like, what do you mean?

Track 1: Yes, and I could mean the tech, the technique, but also the heart of what's true about what you do.

Kate Shepherd: so. I think I shared this struggle with a lot of, of, a lot of people listening to this show and a lot of people just in the world, which is, and you've talked about this at the beginning, I love so many things. And actually as a child, I went, I got a little bit of shame about like, well, you, you can't be a printmaker and a photographer and a weaver and a paint, you know, a painter.

You, you have to pick some, pick something. It really stressed them out that I couldn't pick something and I just wanted to do it all. So, and it, and, and as an adult, That stress presents like in my house where it's like, oh, my loom is over there and my paintings over there and my watercolor section is over there.

Like, it's just our, my life is this big mess of art supplies and, um, so it's a little bit difficult for me to have the discipline to, to stick to one. I think that is actually a struggle for me in terms of like a, a practice, a daily practice. Um, so, so maybe some discipline might be actually good for me, right?

Like if I said, well, I'm gonna do a 10 minute sketch every

Track 1: Mm-hmm.

Kate Shepherd: but in terms of like what's underneath, like why the why that I create, it feels like it's deeply in service to the thing that wants to create. I can feel that life force wanting to move through me and make a beautiful thing. It's like I can't do it without you.

I need your hands to move the paint like I need you. And so I love, I love the. The feeling of being able to be in service to that and in service to beauty itself. I love beauty. Like, I just love beauty and I, I love how color plays together and like, you, a turn of phrase that just sounds right or evokes something. There's that, those sparks of magic bring me to tears. You know, it's

why I, I read Mary Oliver and I'm crying

like, you know, it's a, a poem about a snake. Like it doesn't even make sense, but why, why am I crying?

Track 1: Yeah. It's so funny you mentioned crying because you, we were talk, speaking of why, like why we do things and like, you know, the, the deep core value of the base of, of who you are. And, um, I, I was working with a coach once and they were like, well, what, what's, you know, what's the thread that runs through your life?

Like, what's your why? You know? And I was like, actually just like to make people cry, .

But like, in a good way. Like

I, I, I like for people to feel things. I, and when they, and, and Van Gogh has this quote that he wrote in a letter to his brother that was like, I want people who to see my art and know that I felt tenderly.

that's it. That's why, you know, that's it.


Kate Shepherd: That's it. That's totally it.

That is what we really are. That is why we're really here. That is all we actually really want. We don't want any of these accomplishments. We don't even really want the big house and the big, like really we don't.

We want that and, and there's just all of these limiting beliefs that we've inherited over the years. You know, we talked about some of them already. Who, who creativity's for who can access it, what, what's good, what isn't good.

And, and I really believe with my whole heart that when we can sort of other that stuff and see it for what it is, we can begin to heal the things that make us believe those limiting beliefs and we can stop glitching.

'cause I do feel, feel like it's that, that disconnect from that, from that, that is, that is causing everything, like all the dysfunction, all of addiction. All over consumption, all of this panicking that we're doing, trying to fill this void. It all comes from, from, us being disconnected from that. What have you seen is the, is the biggest, most harmful belief that we're collectively carrying?

Consciously or unconsciously? if we could move the needle, what would be the one limiting belief we have about creativity that we could address that would have the biggest impact?

Track 1: I think the shame piece is really . harmful. And what I would want people to know is that joy is just as a powerful motivator as shame is. we need to learn the skills to be shame resilient and see it for what it is I think the, the reason I was so scared, to change my life and to, Except the big creative flow in me versus the small, little, tiny, you know, anemic, creek of water that was me as a musician, was because I, I believed that the only reason I had gotten into Julliard, the only reason I was allowed to be there was because of how hard I had worked and I.

I had earned that, and what a shame it would be to waste it. I couldn't give up that part of my personality because I didn't know who I was without it, it had become my whole persona. And so I would want people to believe that we are tempted to, even with ourselves, I notice it a lot with my parenting.

We're tempted to motivate people. through shaming them. You should be ashamed of yourself or we don't do that. Or, um, how dare you. When we long, sustainable joy comes from intrinsic motivation is helping someone see this is who you wanna be. This is the thing that's gonna bring life. And so let's make decisions together from joy, not through, from shame.

Kate Shepherd: Yeah,

Track 1: only thing that we can do is start within ourselves. As creators, we have this opportunity, if we make a change in our ourself, it becomes, you know, the one degree turn that affects this person, which affects this relationship, which affects this institution, which affects this county board, which affects this country.

And you know, it is just don't believe that one person changing themselves or bettering themselves, taking care of themselves. . Don't believe that it won't change the world because What's that quote like indeed, it's the only thing that ever has, I think it's Margaret

Kate Shepherd: right. That's right. You're, that's a hundred percent right. What was the biggest, is there like a thing you can point to that you had to let go of to make this decision


Track 1: Hmm.

Kate Shepherd: I.

Track 1: I had to let go of

what people thought of me, especially what my teachers thought of me. I think I, I thought if I was living my, my best life , you know, if I was thriving and, and following my call, I, I guess I thought other people would be supportive of that. Like they would see the fact that I had healed my eating disorder and that I was like loving my life.

I thought that they would be happy for me. , but they're not . Like I had to let go of needing that because I can't control them. And if, if the choice was to stay in that old life and continue that harmful stuff and like make, you know, everybody would love me, which they didn't anyway. Or, you know, be myself and you know, have people that

Think I sold out or I'm not talented enough to win a major orchestra job like that. I'd rather choose me being me 'cause that's way better. And so if, if you're listening to this and you're thinking about changing careers or blowing up your life in some way because, and you're not doing it because you're of people pleasing, I'm on the other side of that and I'm saying it is, it was so worth it.

I do not regret it for a single minute.

Kate Shepherd: What has been the biggest surprise to you on, on this side of it? Looking back, , there was a moment when you sort of made a conscious decision to shift worlds to leave that behind and be brave and go into the unknown. In that moment, you probably had an idea of what might be possible, but now that you're there on the other side, what is something that that's there that you didn't expect would be there waiting for you?

Track 1: I think it surprised me how much more was on this side than I could see

Kate Shepherd: Hmm.

Track 1: because opportunities like once you are, once you are sharing your work with the world, that's really glowing with authenticity and the, the zone of genius, quote unquote, like people see that and they want to . Know you. They want to figure out like, what do you got going on?

How are you, we went to the same school. Why? You know, what, what do you know that I don't know. And so I actually coach a lot of people I went to Julliard with and, and so I'm surprised at how. You know, the, the, the work I'm doing in corporate America, which is really fun, totally new, and I'm speaking at events with people who aren't artists, would never call themselves artists.

Talking just about creativity and the power of creativity to make your life better. I never thought I would do that. I didn't think I had the total imposter syndrome. Like, I can never do that. I'm a oboist, you know, like, and so I'm surprised at how much better it actually was than I, than I thought it would be.

Kate Shepherd: For the person who's like, okay, I wanna do that, I wanna align myself with, with my calling, with my work, and I have a very vague idea of what my, what I'm supposed to be doing, but I really don't know where do you, where do I start? How do I find it?

How do I find my

Track 1: Hmm. I think that incorporating play and rest. and wonder into your life. Those three things play a big role in the way I move through the world and my coaching practice. Taking care of yourself is like, you know, sub-zero, the most important thing. So until you're, you are really giving yourself your body what it needs, your mind, what it needs, um, healing from burnout, if that's something you can't quit a job and blow up your life and

Go straight into something new without deeply reflecting what it is you want. And sometimes that requires you to, , start over in terms of reconnecting with who you are. And that takes time. And so after self-care, I would say reduce the, the stress of needing to know. So if that's financial, like get a job that will pay your bills.

And you don't have to love it. You don't have to do it forever, but get a job that allows you to have the space and time to spend a couple hours of your week playing and resting and wondering so that you can be open to what it is you're supposed to do next.

Kate Shepherd: And I can see how that's, that discipline has given you the container to find this freedom. And I just think that's really beautiful and I love that you're sharing it with the world the way that you are. 'cause I think so many people, Are just trapped in this, in this inside themselves and don't know that these things are available to them.

And so

on behalf of everybody who's ever read, heard, you know, something you've said or written, thank you. you're doing really, really important work in the world and, and I admire you and I appreciate you.

Like you're amazing. Yeah.

Track 1: Same to you,

Kate Shepherd: Thank you. We're at the end, like we're nearing the end, uh, which I can't believe.

I wanted to ask you about your wish for, if you could wish for the ideal situation, what is your wish for the future of creativity in

society as a whole?

Track 1: I think that the future of creativity and of the arts rests on the wellbeing of artists.

Kate Shepherd: Hmm.

Track 1: And I think that we, we love to binge, like, that's a really interesting word,

Kate Shepherd: Yeah.

Track 1: we love to consume art and creativity. I think we could all agree that creativity makes our lives better. Even people who wouldn't call themselves creative would say that. And we often, because artists are deep feelers and

Vulnerable and open to the creative flow. we can risk being really hurt

by people and by situations. And, you know, I don't just mean, um, mentally, I, I mean physically and I mean financially. And I really want

the tortured artist stereotype to die

Kate Shepherd: Me too.

Track 1: And so that's what I want everyone to know. And maybe if we all accepted the invitation to sing along to the song that's already playing, then we would have a more beautiful world, a more empathetic world, a more courageous world, and I think it would be a really fun place to be. that's what I dream of, what creativity can do.

Kate Shepherd: I love that dream. I'm, I'm gonna be with you in that dream. And I love, I have to tell you, I love this feeling of, of what you're sharing with singing along to the song that's already singing That's so beautifully put. And as soon as you said it, I was like, that is exactly what's happening. And I feel like that song is getting louder. You know, I, I, I can feel a quickening, I can feel arising, I can feel we are as unconscious as we can be in moments. We are deeply aware. Creatures and we know that the direction we've been going in so far, culturally as a society, you know, isn't fulfilling. We know, we know we're, we're onto ourselves and we also are.

I feel like we're, it's, it's a struggle for us to find our way, but I really feel, you know, especially when I see people like you out in the world doing the work that you're doing, I really feel that it's happening. We're, we're remembering we're, and, and we're hearing the song and, and then another voice joins and

another voice joins and like, I feel like that dream is. We're in the path toward it becoming our new reality. And I'm very excited about that world for us, but, you know, for our children and our children's children. 'cause I, I, I think that this is a turning point for humanity and civilization and I, I have hope, you know, even a big, it's AI and all of this crazy stuff that's going on at wars and I still really, I can feel it in my being that we're headed in that direction.

Track 1: Yeah, I agree. And I think that the more we witness it and speak, speak about it like this, the more worthy we feel like it.

there's no limit to how many voices can sing in the thing. It's, it's, it's limitless. And so everyone has a part to sing and to offer. . And so we don't need to worry about being unique or being, you know, inventing something new.

It's like we already are and it's just a matter of, of, of surrendering long enough to, to listen before you, before you enter and join in

Kate Shepherd: Oh, brilliant. I cannot wait to read your book. When is it coming out, please?

Track 1: So yeah, my book is called The Artist's Joy, A Guide to Getting Unstuck, embracing Imperfection, and Loving Your Creative Life.

it comes out next year in 2024, but the, the pre-order link will be up soon.

So if you go to artists for joy.org, which is my website, and I think you're gonna put that in the show notes. You will see there on the banner, how to pre-order the book. Um, you will have to wait for about 10 months.


Kate Shepherd: It'll be the perfect timing. Like for the, you know, for people who I, this is what I think is so magic about the world too. You'll pre-order it, you'll forget about it, and then it will arrive and it will be at the exact, you'll be like, how did this happen? This was the exact moment I needed this book to arrive.


that's the magic of those things. Right. Um, and we'll have you back if you'd like, maybe around the time that that's

Track 1: I would love that. and I, And I'm looking to, I'm, I'm booking the book tour and sort of the leading up and post book, uh, lunch. I'm booking all of that now. And so if anyone listening to this wants, needs a speaker or, I'm actually gonna, I'm offering to do free zoom readings for folks, um, if they have a creativity group or a book club.

I wanna get this book in the hands of as many creatives as possible


Kate Shepherd: I have one final question for you. it's the billboard question. So if you had a billboard that. Every single person in the world who longed to feel aligned with and connected to the song that we're talking about that's already going, but just for whatever reason feels like it's not for them.

They, they're not worthy of it. They, they're other people could be a part of it, but not me. I'm, I'm not good enough. I don't have it in me, but they were gonna read this message on this billboard and. Something in, it was gonna be like a seed in their heart and it was gonna, it would

open them from the inside. What would you put on the billboard?

Track 1: Well I prepared for this question because you A, you told me you're gonna ask it and, um, I had a couple of different options and I've been like trying them out on Instagram, by the way,

Kate Shepherd: Oh, fun. Oh, I love that.

Track 1: So, um, I think I'm gonna end, I'm gonna start with the one I like my least favorite one, but it's also really great. But, um, creating in the cracks is still creating, that's number one.

Number two is being a multi-passionate person is not a liability. It is a gift. and then I think the grand finale . Does anybody else have three in in this show?

Okay. May you let Joy motivate you more than shame.

Kate Shepherd: That's beautiful. I love it. Thank you so much for this conversation,

I cannot tell you I, my heart feels like 10 times bigger, just having talked to you today.

Track 1: good. Me too.

Kate Shepherd: Thank you.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published