I woke up and started crying.  I was scared.

Of what?  You ask.

Of being inadequate.  Of not being up to the task at hand.  Of being a fraud.

I have committed to leading a Creative Explosion Workshop on April 6 & 7.  The purpose of it is to create the energy to start what you haven’t started and to blast through the block that is in the way of going where you want to go.  As awkward as that sounds, it’s what the workshop does for people.  It’s a powerful commitment.

I started doing the workshop in 1988 and continued doing them until 2007 when I stopped.  Oh, I could say that I needed a break.  I did.  Or that I was taking a sabbatical or even that I was retiring, but that wasn’t the reason.  I stopped because I had lost my faith in myself—triggered by a very hurtful incident.

One of my best friends, who had taken my classes for years, repeated the workshop many times, and had moved through her fear to create a career singing and performing, cut off communication with me.  I was never clear what had upset her so much that she had to shut me out completely and not answer emails or calls.  I still haven’t heard from her.  Of course, I speculated, but that was fruitless and led nowhere.

I thought I was okay about it—that it was her problem, at least I told myself I was, but I wasn’t.  Instead of feeling my hurt and my anger and fear around abandonment, I thought, “If this work could so damage my relationship with a friend of 28 years, one who chose me to be her maid of honor in her wedding, then there must be something wrong with the work.  There must be something wrong with me.”  So, I “retired” from all teaching and doing workshops.

It didn’t matter how many people had told me what a positive and profound effect the Creative Explosion had had on their lives—that some had even changed their names as a result.  Instead, I used that “failure” if that is what it was, to stop doing the work.

It has taken me years to get over it.  It’s laughable in a way, I, who guide people into and through their fear, hid from my own and used her to stop doing the work that the Big Whatever had given me to do.

But, I have used those five ensuing years to grow and learn—being with my dying sister one winter, taking a three month solo journey around the US in a camper van, writing a book about it have all strengthened me.  Perhaps I needed those five years to go deeper into myself.  Perhaps this woman was just the “Pain Angel” I needed to push me to new level of self compassion.

So now, I’m stepping back up to the plate, so to speak.  It’s been five years.  I’m afraid.  I think I’m not good enough, but I’m going to do it anyway.  Mother Theresa spoke of being the pencil that God used to write with.  I like that.  My pencil may be old, stubby, and has some teeth marks chewed into it.  But the Big Whatever rescued me before the Hound of Hell ate it up completely.   Here I go.

Is there something you’re not doing or stopped doing because you think you’re not good enough?  Do you think you’re a fraud or are you just afraid?

15 thoughts on “A FRAUD OR AFRAID

  1. Nice, where have 3 years gone? Leaving Ft. Laud to arrive home in time for Easter. Keep blogging my friend, love it, always a good read and many times inspirational. J

  2. Hello Katherine, I’m so glad you’re doing the workshops again, despite all that. They were so wonderful! I hope I will able to come out and take one some time (when I’m not in the throes of Saturday teaching!) I wish you all the best. Alex. xx

  3. hi, Katherine. i’m home with a cold, flu-ey thing and that low-energy sometimes forces a peace and self-introspection otherwise difficult to attain for this buzz-buzz man. i’m going through a similar episode with someone at an employment agency whom i’ve had quite a nice rapport with for months – so, not nearly as deep a relationship as you with your friend – but same deal . . . an acute flip to no return phone calls, emails, etc. and i’m left wondering “just what the hell did i do?” so, life is grand in all other respects and there are a multitude of employment agencies in London, so why have fixated on the negative experience these last 2 days? thank you for pointing a sign toward “abandonment” – it gives me something to chew on. “how dare he do this to me,” “no one treats me this way,” “if i don’t get a response by Wednesday, his boss is on the phone,” etc. and all of wonderful London that’s in front of me is receding into the background like some hazy Impressionistic rendering of a rainy day in Paris. after reading your blog, i am brought back to the more sane reality that these people are indeed “pain angels” to help us to focus on some needed healing when it’s time. i don’t need to tell you what the CE workshops did for me, so if your new students get half of what i did, they should expect quite a ride! didn’t realize your sister moved to The Other Side over these last years – i’m sorry. i too lost my sister, my only sibling, to a brain tumor in 2009. my heart has only recently shed my NY armor enough to more fully feel that. so, my friend, have a blast teaching again and know the Great Creator is working through you. and thank you for your soul-searching honesty – it reminded me as to why you’re such a stellar actress in addition to a brilliant writer, director, teacher, mentor, etc. love, Seb

    • Beautifully put, Sebastian (I was in the CE workshop when you were processing the whole name change thing…and we all felt and validated your commitment to doing it! Vividly remember that, and your presence!) I second all of that!

    • I, and soooo many people I know have had a terrible and long flu this winter. It’s a teacher. Not a fun one, but one nevertheless. Hope you’re feeling better.

  4. I am so happy to know you are teaching again. You’ve had such a profound influence on my life as a person and as an artist. We open our heart and soul to you. Welcome back!

  5. I sat on the couch this morning, dripping wet, a towel on my head and another wrapped around me because I got out of the shower and couldn’t wait any longer to tell my husband I felt like a failure. That I have failed my beautiful, intelligent, courageous daughter because although she is getting into some very good schools I cannot afford to send her and so the years I spent teaching in university to ensure she would get a college education (a choice so many people told me was a brilliant plan) now seem to have sentenced her to going to school where I teach, when she is capable of so much better. That I have failed myself and my partners because I just dissolved my production company because I cannot keep up with New York State corporate laws and taxes when I am already working two jobs just to support my family, but somehow cannot make enough to hire lawyers and accountants to do it for me. And that my heart is gripped with a terrible fear that he, if I cry “uncle” and say I can no longer financially support him in his quest to build a new career, will move on and find someone who can.

    I am right up against it. Value, worth…don’t know what “it” is yet, entirely. But I do know that not two days ago when I was in class, doing the one thing I can still believe I am good at, I said to my students that my teacher, Katherine Kerr told me “Stand in the presence of the discomfort.” So I stand. And I breathe. And I look in my in box and there is an email from you. You are teaching me still.

    I realized not long ago that I have moved forward in life by becoming the people I admire. I admired married people, and I became one. I admired my teachers, and I became one. My admiration for what you do and what you gave me was my inspiration to be what I am. Now I am becoming…a writer? I think, perhaps. Not sure yet, but I wanted you to know that just at the very moment when I needed to hear you, you were there. Again.

  6. I’m so glad you’re doing your Creative Explosions again! How many people can you accommodate in a session? I was thinking that maybe next year, I’d have a CE for my birthday!

    And it hurts to lose a friend….no matter if you’re someone who leads workshops on blasting past your fears or not. It’s a very deep and painful hurt. I’m sorry you had to go through that, Katherine, but glad it freed you up to take Pallas on the trip of a lifetime and to write a fantastic book about your and Pallas’ adventures!
    xo, Louise

  7. Hi. I just want to say that I only took your class once many years ago(loved it but couldn’t afford it at the the time, starving NY actress!), but my friend gave me the Creative Explosion book (an early version), and it has informed so much in my life, I go back to it from time to time when I need reminding of what it means to “be present”,or most often in my case when I feel “Idawanna!”. I am so glad that you have found the desire to teach again because I’m sure there are many out there who will gain so much from it.

    I think the death of a friendship is not something that society talks about or gives enough respect to. Losing friends can feel as painful as any breakup and no matter what happened with your friend I cannot imagine anyone would ever want you to stop being who you are and inspiring others as you do. I am sad that you took her rejection upon yourself so deeply, you are an inspiring force to many I am sure that you don’t even know about. Maybe the break was necessary though, at any rate best of luck and I wish you much success with the new workshop! I hope someday I can come to one, maybe when I am not in another country!

    • Such a lovely email. Thank you. It meant so much to me, really. I hope you are doing well wherever you are at the moment.

  8. “I think I’m not good enough, but I’m going to do it anyway.” is very powerful. I am so sorry for the reason that you took a break, it is painful enough to lose a friend, but to lose one without even knowing why is agonizing, because most of us do what you did and blame ourselves. I am also sorry for the loss of your sister but glad for you that you were able to be with her. It sounds as though your 5 year sabbatical was a very healing one. I’d never heard the term “Pain Angel” before but I get it, some people in our lives help us see ourselves more clearly or help us become stronger by hurting us.

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