Molasses, tools, and the next right thing

Hi! When last I wrote to you, a few weeks ago, I regaled you with a tale of plans cancelled, intentions up-ended, and relearning (again, like we all seem to be doing over and over these days) the lesson of impermanence, and of holding things with an open hand.

I had made a promise in that Love Letter — to myself and to you — that I would be walking forward from there with an open heart, listening for the next right thing, and determining where next to set my aim.

And can I tell you? That didn’t go so great. In the week or so after I wrote, I found myself having a really hard time, feeling like I was crawling through molasses to face each day. Do you know that feeling?

When I recognize that feeling in myself, it’s generally an indication that I’m somewhat depressed. Which, to be fair, didn’t seem to be a completely unreasonable response to the moment. But still … me + molasses = feeling pretty crappy and not getting anywhere, not even to the next right thing. 

And then …

… one day a week or so ago, I remembered that I have tools to navigate times like this! Tools. Amazing tools! Miraculous, life-saving, molasses-melting TOOLS.

So … I pulled out the trusty ol’
“What are you feeling
& what do you need?”
(Man, that’s a good one.)

 And then I whipped out the
“What can I control in this situation
& what can’t I control?”
(Another all-time great.)

And then! For the grand finale,
I grabbed the power-duo toolset of
“LET GO of the stuff you can’t change”
“What are you gonna do
about the stuff you CAN change?”


What I realized …

… is that I was feeling unmoored — both because of the unpredictability of the state of the world, and also because I didn’t have a clear direction for where I was headed next in my work. 

I identified that I had a need to get my head wrapped around some of that, to create some definition in the haze.

I sorted “the unpredictability of the world” into the bucket of “things I can’t control”; and then I put that whole bucket into a metaphorical boat, pushed it out to metaphorical sea, and let it go. (And, to be frank, this is an activity I find the need to repeat almost daily.)

I sorted “no clear direction for my work” into the bucket of “things I do have the power to change” — and I set my mind to that with my partner in crime.

Putting our heads together, Jamie and I came up with some ideas — a few lightly-sketched possibilities drawn from our curiosities. An opening orientation toward the next right thing.

And — even though I am learning to hold these kinds of “plans” with a loose grip, and to remain flexible — I could almost immediately feel the difference in my mind and body. My spirit was glad to have an arrow pointing somewhere.

So where are we going?

I’m so glad you asked! We have ingredients for some long-range ideas that will be simmering on the back burner for a bit, to see what they become. But in the shorter term, there are three main things I’m going to be focusing on for the rest of 2021, all of which are endeavors for which we would love for you to join us, in one way or another. Ready?

2020101 – The Album

Mark your calendars: the entire 2020101 album is coming out Friday, October 22! 🎉

It’ll be streaming wherever you stream music; or if you want a CD, we’ll have those available as well. Stay tuned for pre-order info, coming soon.

2020101 – LIVE Virutal Concert!

While your calendar is out: we’re celebrating the release of 2020101 with a One Night Only LIVE Virtual Concert on Saturday, October 23. 🕺

We’re reimagining and repurposing for the virtual realm the performance we prepared for this summer’s cancelled festival, with one (very awesome) difference, which is that anyone, anywhere, worldwide, can come! 

I can’t wait to share this all-new, out-of-the-box performance with you. More details coming soon about how to join the virtual concert and the Misfit Stars Exclusive After Party. ✨

It’s open season for Personal Songs!

Every year for the last decade, we’ve only ever been able to do a handful of Personal Songs for the holidays, because our house concert season went well into the autumn — and that meant we only ever had room in our schedule to do a handful of them. But THIS YEAR …
This year, we’re getting started early, because we can! And because I can’t think of much else I’d rather do with my creative time this autumn than to dig in with a whole bunch of you, listen to your stories, thoughts, and feelings about someone you care about, and create THE BEST HOLIDAY GIFT you’ll ever give:

An original song,
written & recorded by me,
based on your thoughts & feelings,
your stories & memories,
for someone you love.

That’s what we call a Personal Song, and …
 … we are now accepting deposits
for a limited total of TEN Personal Song projects
between now and December.

Email me today for details
about project options and pricing.

It’s an awesome gift … for your partner, your parents, your kids … your best friend, your grandma, your favorite aunt. Whoever it is, you’ll blow their socks off with this.

We’re doing 10 songs this season! First-come, first-served, until our docket is full. —> to get info about how to score one of the 10 spots available.
Here’s a note I was SO pleased to receive from a someone who gave a Personal Song to their parents last year:

“Thank you!!! This is beautiful!
My eyes teared up when I listened to it.
You are definitely an intuitive empath.”

This is one of my favorite things to do — getting to know you and your loved one(s), through your stories and memories, and using my songwriting (and empath!) skills to turn your thoughts and feelings into a song. It’s a gift that truly lasts forever. Let’s do it.

We will, of course, also be continuing this fall all of the things that are supported by our (freaking amazing) Misfit Stars community — like our weekly podcast, ongoing artist mentorship and empowerment, facilitation of the Misfit Stars Antiracist Book & Movie Club — and there are a few other sparkles of curiosity that may draw our attention here and there this season, too. (Did you know that Jamie’s been writing a book?? 👀

And I’m really happy to say that, even with all of the challenges we’ve faced lately — both personally and globally — I’m excited that autumn is here. I can feel it in the air. It makes me want to take a big breath in and step toward the next right thing.

Love and arrows — shannon

ps — If you enjoyed the photos in this Love Letter, I wanted to give you a couple more … and to tell you that they’re all from a spontaneous adventure Jamie and I took last week driving and hiking the Cascade Loop. Gosh, we live in a gorgeous state. 🥰