Our Q&A with September speakers, Tay & Val, who will be talking on the topic of Chaos.
Tay & Val are the spiritual strategists and soul mentors conscious companies and visionary leaders go to – to answer their “What’s Next?” question – as they navigate their personal transformation, cultivate a conscious workplace, and make their legacy impact.
Award-winning filmmakers, Tay and Val left successful media careers, closed their production company, wrapped work on their nationally televised television series P.S. I’m Sorry, and set off to travel the world by bicycle for a documentary project to inspire dreams. Six years, three continents, more than 400 public talks and national radio and TV appearances (in twelve countries), and 2 TEDx talks later, Tay and Val settled in the Pacific Northwest as City Artists of Seattle. Committed to helping visionary leaders meet their call to greatness with clear-eyed vision, groundedness, and deep trust - they work with leaders and businesses around the globe who hear the call to rise and say yes.
More recently, their work has also appeared on Huffington Post, MindBodyGreen, and Thrive Global. They are also co-founders of M Meditation, Seattle’s premier modern meditation movement.
Their signature program, Propel Your Purpose, sherpas a soulful tribe of multipassionate, multitalented, and multifaceted millennials (at heart) to bring their whole selves to the table, create a thriving life, and make the impact you’ve always envisioned for yourself and the world.
[CreativeMornings (CM)] How do you define creativity and apply it in your career?
[Tay & Val (TV)] We think of creativity as the ability to create. Specifically the ability to out-create your current circumstances and challenges.
Creativity strings the series of careers we’ve had in our lives. Our first careers as TV Producers and Directors were in making documentaries of people who have out-created their challenges and created the life they want.
After that, we spent 3 years cycling around the world, asking as many people as possible one question: “What is your dream?” The intention was to inspire people to acknowledge/remember their dreams… and then see the possibility of out-creating their current circumstances to realize their dreams.
Now, as spiritual strategists and meditation teachers, we help our clients tap into this very creativity — that they already have within themselves — to out-create their current stagnation or challenges and achieve their goals.
(CM) Where do you find your best creative inspiration?
(TV) Most of our best creative inspiration “comes” to us when we’re least expecting it… and definitely not when we’re looking for it. When it comes, it reaches us through the spaces “in-between”. For instance, the space during a train ride from Seattle to Portland; the silence in the middle of a brainstorm meeting; the pause in-between an inhale and exhale.
For Val, it’s the bathroom breaks where creative ideas were born. (#throneideas is a thing in our business.) For Tay, it’s when she’s preparing a meal.
These meditative spaces for us — moment where we have focused attention and open awareness at the same time — are the spaces that inspire creativity for us. Anything is possible in this space. (CM) What’s the one creative advice or tip you wish you’d known as a young person?
(TV) This is what we’d tell our younger selves today:
Tay: “Try it before you say no.”
Val: “It’s ok if your final product looks nothing like your first draft.(CM) Who would you like to hear speak at CreativeMornings?
(TV) This is a hard one, because as filmmakers we know that there’s a story in everyone; as leadership consultants we know that the best inspiration/wisdom/answers are the ones you find in your own stories; and as meditation teachers we know that the best stories are the ones you actually listen (as in listen) to. So this makes us want to list every other cool creative we know. ;)
And if we had to pick, here are our Top 3 Seattle #LocalHeroes: Dani Cone, Peter Shmock, Victor Loo
Dani Cone. Her story about how she started Fuel Coffee in Seattle was unforgettable to us. Ask her about the number of banks she got laughed out of when she brought in her business plan to start a coffee shop… in Seattle. Then ask her about who got the last laugh. It’s a great story about out-creating perceived limitations from other people, with a great sense of humor.
Peter Shmock. We love his unconventional story about how he broke his personal best record, qualified to two Olympics with less training, more naps and zero injuries. Yes, he threw his personal best because he chose to take naps, when everyone else on his team was training thrice as hard. It’s a story about out-creating conventional “wisdom”, listening to yourself, and creating beyond what you thought was possible.
Victor Loo aka Victoria Victor. By day, Victor is the Director of Recovery Services at the Asian Counseling and Referral Services, where he designs and oversees programs to help immigrants and refugees recover from various forms of addictions in a culturally sensitive manner. When not at work, Victor takes on the role of Victoria Victor, an androgynous model who advocates for gender fluidity and equality through fashion and lifestyle. His work was inspired by an experience with peeling carrots. It’s a humbling and awe-inspiring story at the same time.
(CM) What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
(TV) When we quit our award-winning TV career, sold everything we had, left our hometown of Singapore and went cycling around the world. We told our folks: “We’re going to cycle around the world, meet as many people as possible, and ask them one question: What is your dream?” Everyone — from our closest family, friends, colleagues, mentors, to our third cousin twice removed, to Billy the next-door neighbors’ cat — everyone thought we were crazy. Why would we give up our dream life, to ask people, specifically strangers we’ve never met about their dreams??!
Crazy? You bet! We traveled across 14 countries, stayed at more than 100 homes, collected more than 5,000 dreams, shared them across multiple platforms: radio, TV, schools, companies, governments etc. We ended up in Seattle because we were invited to give a TEDx talk here. Every step of the way, we learned what it means to be creative: To out-create any challenges, we were facing to create the life we want. And we would do it all over again — bicycles, blood, sweat, frustration, joy, ups and downs all included — in a heartbeat.
(CM) What practices, rituals or habits contribute to your creative work?
(TV) Meditation has always been our anchor. It’s a practice that helps us develop awareness — of our internal self, and our external environment and community. This is the same awareness that helps us tap into that “space” in-between, that fuels and inspires our creativity.
On some days, it’s an intentional quiet sit-down practice for an hour. On other days, it’s an integrative meditation practice — one mindful bite at a time during meals, three mindful breaths before we begin work at our desk, a mindful walk in the evening after dinner etc.. Whether we’re filming a story, cycling around the world, teaching a class, or seeing private clients; meditation helps us come back to ourselves, remain centered amidst the inevitable chaos of life, and stay true to our intention in everything we do.