The Circle of Seven: Creating Your Very Own Badass Gang Of Inspiration

This photo is from the screen test yesterday as our film dream, Revolver, is so near…
As the Full Moon nears, I’ll be working the CIRCLE OF SEVEN magic specifically for Revolver.
Want to join me?
Let’s do this together again….

To start, it was never referred to as “magic” when I was growing up, it just was what it was……..

It was things that my Grandma Helen would do, things that my Czechoslovakian Great-Grandmother, Anna, taught her. Things that were part of our daily life together….charms, wishing circles, mirror work, reading the stories of our lives hidden in lines of our hands.

Photo by Milton Greene of Marilyn Monroe. 1956.

This knowledge, passed down from my ancestors, has definitely enriched my life. Every Monday, I’ll be sharing things that I do that help me guide my own destiny in a kickass way.

I offer these secrets to you…

The Circle of Seven

Step One:
Ask yourself –
What is one thing that you are working on that you feel you could use some help or guidance with?

Your above answer could be anything in your life – from gaining confidence to launching that web-based storefront you’ve been dreaming about.  It could be applying for that circus arts school or nailing that promotion at your job.

As an example to show you how to do the Circle of Seven, my current answer is that I’m looking for guidance and inspiration as I write.

Step Two:
If you could come up with your “Dream Team” to help you, who would they be?

These people could have lived anytime in history.  They are the people that you look up to – who have achieved your step one answer goal.

You know that popular question – if you could have dinner with anyone in history, who would it be?

It’s like that.  But you get to pick Six.  And it is focused to the people who have figured out your step one answer, successfully!   These are people you want on your side, your creative co-horts, your army of awesome.  Enlist them in your mind.

It is the Circle of Seven because it includes – “Me, plus three, plus three.”

Step Three:
Print out a photo of yourself where you felt vibrant and happy.  That picture of you where everything in your day was ON.  Print out photos of your badass gang of inspiration.  Put each name in Google, click images and voila!  Print your favorite pic of each one.

I have this photo of Zora Neale Hurston by Carl Van Vechten on my wall, and I love it.  But for my Circle of Seven, I chose a photo where she is smiling.  I imagine her saying,  “You’ve got this!  It’s easy.  Just show up and write everyday!”

Step Four:
Clear a special spot in your home to set up your Circle of Seven. You don’t need much room. It can be set up on a single shelf, on top of an old trunk, or on a pretty piece of fabric in a private corner of your room. I set mine up in a non-working fireplace in my 100-year-old Brooklyn apartment.

Step Five:
Put your picture in the middle so that you can visually see yourself surrounded by support. This is important. Then place three on one side of you, and three on the other side of you.

Step back and admire your badass gang of inspiration….

My Gang of some of my favorite authors cheering me on.  On top (L to R): Marguerite Duras and E.B. White. First row (L to R): Tennessee Williams, Jack Kerouac, Me, Zora Neale Hurston, Mikhail Bulgakov

Step Six:
Take a picture of your Circle of Seven, like I did above. Make this photo your desktop picture on your computer or your wallpaper on your phone. The above photo is my current desktop, so no matter where in the world I roam, I can open up my computer to work on my book and there’s my Circle of Seven smiling at me, encouraging me on. Portable Instant Inspiration!

Now you tell me in the comments:
Who would be the six standing beside you in your Circle of Seven?
For bonus points, take pictures of your Circle of Seven and share if you’re feeling it.
For super bonus points, head over to Revolver the Movie and LIKE this.

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5 Tips To Keep Fighting For Your Dreams When You Want To Give Up


Dear Danger,
How do I keep fighting for my dreams when I feel like giving up?
Love, L

I know what it’s like….
I’ve felt the odds against me.
I’ve felt like I couldn’t get it right no matter how hard I tried.
But I keep swinging because all of my greatest heroes were once failures who didn’t give up.
Time to knock out the obstacles and the odds.
I’m here in your corner.
Cheering you on.
You. Have. GOT. This.

Fight Tip #1:  When You Want To Give UP – KEEP GOING and you will push yourself through. 

This is going to seem like fucked up logic, but if you are feeling like a failure right now, it means that you’re attempting something that you’ve never done before, something wilder and harder than you have imagined.

Burke and I have been putting together our film, Revolver for 10 years.  We felt like we tried everything.  Last year, we were almost ready to give up.  We called out to the community in a last ditch attempt to make our dream happen on Kickstarter.  The odds were almost insurmountable, and in that month we pushed harder than we ever had in our lifetime.  All of us were able to achieve it together.  Don’t give up.  Tell everyone.  Keep pushing.

I’m crying tears of joy in this video because I knew how close I was to giving up on this dream…..

Fight Tip #2:  Don’t Let The Bastards Get You Down.

People that haven’t done it before love to tell you that it’s impossible or that it can’t be done.  Unfortunately, also some people who we look up to or people in positions of power will tell us – we can’t do it.

I was told by my ballet teacher when I was 6 that I had “clouds behind my eyeballs and didn’t have the grace to dance”.
I left crying and never went back.
I quit.
In fact, for years afterward, I would tell people I was a horrible dancer, because that was what I was told by a ballerina.

Eventually, a full decade later, I gravitated back to dance because it’s always been something I’ve wanted to do .

Now I make my living as an international burlesque performer dancing with feather fans.

Oh, and Miss Ballet Teacher when I was 6…..?

…You can suck it.

Photo taken by Jacklyn Shields-McGregor

Photo taken by Jacklyn Shields-McGregor

Fight Tip #3: Find Your Co-Conspirators.

Success is contagious.
Surround yourself with people you admire and who also believe in you.

Seek out people who are doing the things that you want to do and be inspired and encouraged by them.

One of the first burlesque shows I ever saw featured Jo Weldon.
I was struck by how she controlled the stage, captivated the audience and performed powerful and sensual burlesque.

I had to be her friend.

One day I was bold enough to ask her out for tea and we spent the whole time excitedly bouncing ideas off of each other about our wildest dreams.

Jo gave me my first teaching gig at The New York School of Burlesque and got me my audition at the Slipper Room which has since become my burlesque home. We lovingly support each other’s dreams….and in Jo, I found a dear sister, personal heroine and kick ass co-conspirator.

Jo Weldon - My Hero!

Jo Weldon – My Hero!

Remember:  Your co-conspirators might not always be in person. You might live far away from some of the people you admire. Luckily, the internet gives us access to everything! Reach out. Ask questions. Make it happen.

Also, don’t forget to create your own Circle of Seven.

Fight Tip #4: Our Biggest Heroes Were Failures. Remind Yourself of People Who Have Overcome The Odds and Kept Going.

FACT:  When google searching “unlikely success” – over 96 million results come up.  Remember that when you are feeling like a failure, you are among the greats.  Everyone feels like success is unlikely at one point or another!

  JK Rowling was on welfare, was contemplating suicide and had been rejected by major publishing houses before one of them decided to take a chance on her story of “Harry Potter”.

♥  Walt Disney was told he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas” as he was being fired by a newspaper editor. Later he was told Mickey Mouse would fail because women would be afraid of a gigantic mouse.

♥  In 1954, Elvis Presley played one show at the Grand Ole Opry. Jimmy Denny, the manager of the Opry said, “You ain’t goin’ nowhere… son. You ought to go back to drivin’ a truck.”

♥  Albert Einstein’s teacher described him as “mentally slow, unsociable and adrift forever in his foolish dreams.” He was turned down by the schools he most hoped to get into.

Fight Tip #5:  When You Do The Thing You Love The Most, You Give a Gift Back To The World.

See the people listed above?

What would have happened if they let those things get in their way of success?

What would have happened if they just threw their hands up in defeat? We would have lost out on their gifts!

Most of the greatest music, science, stories, and art came from people that were told they couldn’t make it, had been rejected and felt like giving up themselves.

What would have happened if Jo Weldon didn’t push herself to do burlesque, inspire others and then go on to open a burlesque school?  Perhaps the course of my life would have been changed, too.

If you are giving up on your dream…not only are you taking that gift away from yourself – you’re taking that gift away from the world.

Don’t you dare take your gift away from me.

I believe in you.
Now stop reading this blog and go kick some ass.

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