Wednesday, 27 November 2013

A Creative Dream Come to Life by Lisa DeYoung


Introducing the 2014 Daily Musing Journal!

DMJ-inHand

It's not exactly a traditional calendar that you hang on your wall, but a cool journal – calendar that gives you space for daily musings, sketches, ideas, lists, color and more.

I introduced my baby to the world  just a few short weeks ago. Publishing this journal is truly a dream come true, and I am thrilled that people have been so excited they want 2014 to start now. Wow! My heart is full to feel this love.

The 2014 Daily Musings Journal is a 7" x 9" spiral bound journal, 136 pages – with musings pages, a month calendar for each month, and week-spreads for each week of the year. Open, yet defined, space on which to muse about your daily adventures, thoughts, feelings, gratitudes and more!

I have to admit my reasons for creating this are a little selfish...you see – I've been creating these journals for myself, week by week and month by month, for several years now. I'm perpetually behind, and then things get sloppy. So this was the year I decided I needed to have the whole year done in advance of the new year. The added bonus is I get to share with you!

Click here to learn more about the Daily Musings Journal, and I'll be thrilled if you decide you want one of your own.

xox,

lisa-mtn-mermaid-signature

xx
xx

Lisa, aka the mountain mermaid, is a creative, independent spirit who loves to explore and play outdoors. She lives in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Embracing her creative life is an ongoing adventure, a journey that she loves and trusts more each year – and hopes to inspire others to do the same. She is also an entrepreneur providing innovative business support, including graphic design services, for passionate creative entrepreneurs.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Experienced Beginner by Helen Yee


I have been mulling over my dreamboard, which I try to do each full moon, and unsurprisingly it has some messages for me. The thoughts and feelings that I've held in the background are right there on paper in front of me. There, in the cry of a newborn and the images of women in their prime, tables, flowers and ripe fruit.

How can I make peace with being both experienced and a beginner at the same time, when it comes to my creative pursuits? One of my challenges is I find myself feeling like a newbie constantly. Yeah, it can be a problem when one considers herself the perpetual student. I see all the stuff I don't know yet, and I yearn to be "there." I imagine a magical place where I'll feel okay when I have gained that next piece of experience, of accomplishment, of wisdom. And yet, I must have gotten "there" hundreds of times in my life and yet don't feel completely satisfied. An adjustment in interpretation is needed, don't you think?

My dreamboard has images of a baby, but also tall, old trees and women who stare down the camera and strut their stuff on stage. In the center, two words dominate in capital letters: NEVER HIDE. Is it that I feel I have to hide the newer parts of my creating, the not fully hardened edges of my learning and experimenting? Is it okay to show the world what I think is only half-baked right now? I need to learn it's me who keeps judging herself as not done yet and keeps feeling the need to hold back the newer edges of what she's creating. It is vulnerable territory to let the world see my process, but I do this in improvisation anyway. Maybe it's the technology of recording that creates this ability to freeze something created in the moment, and examine it over and over again that I'm fearful of. In improvising, it used to be only the people in the room with me and their memories of that moment. Now, with both fear and gratitude, I recognize that those moments can be captured for criticism, or for sharing or enjoyment.

I'll go back to my initial challenge: being simultaneously experienced and a beginner. If I can adjust my interpretation, forgive and love myself for always wanting to stretch and learn, I can perhaps come to a more satisfying place of claiming and showing myself as an accomplished artist, and let some of the fear of not being "there" yet fall by the wayside. Note to self and to readers: Don't let "beginner's mind" (in the non-Zen sense) get in the way of celebrating and sharing what you already are.

**

Helen Yee is an improvising violinist, multi-instrumentalist, composer with experience in a broad range of music genres. Currently violinist for the eclectic string trio, Trio Tritticali she also performs on yangqin, a Chinese hammer dulcimer, with Music From China. A multicreative adventurer at heart, she also loves exploring and collaborating in other forms of improvisation including vocal work, movement and text improv. She considers the practice of improvisation a profound teacher, in art and in life.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Savor, Celebrate, and Enjoy by Kelly Besecke, Ginny Lennox, and Jamie Ridler


A note from Kelly: This past September, I was getting ready for a bunch of activities related to the launch of my first book. I had looked forward to this moment for years, and I really wanted to savor it. So I turned to my fellow creative dreamers and asked their advice. The result was the wonderful Facebook conversation below. This month, we decided to share this conversation in hopes that it may help you celebrate, savor, and enjoy your creative life.


Kelly Besecke

Here's another request for advice from all you fabulous sparklers! The next couple of months for me are filled with activities related to the launch of my first book. I've been working toward this moment for sixteen years! Also, I've been facing some challenges this year in my personal life. So these two things combined have made me just super eager to suck the marrow out of the next couple of months, really savor and celebrate this moment in my life, this accomplishment I've worked so hard and so long for. So! I would so very much love to hear your advice on ways of savoring accomplishments and good times. It would mean so much to me. How do you celebrate and savor your triumphs and dreams come true? Ginny Lennox, I have an idea that you may have a gift for this, but I'd love to hear from anyone!  (thanks!)


Ginny Lennox

Kelly, you made my day. The two words that came to mind when I read your post were awareness and gratitude. Once I became aware of what was really important to me in my life, I began to notice those things more and more. I remember talking to Jamie about living in the moment, since I am such a planner and always thinking ahead. She said it was fine to plan and think ahead and really be in that moment when you are planning, but after the plans are made, to move on to the next moment and be completely in it. (At least, that is what I heard her say.) It was one of those light-bulb moments that has made life so much simpler and exciting for me.

The second thing that has changed my life has been gratitude. Greg got sick six months after I retired and life changed dramatically for us. After adjusting to the changes, I began to look for all the positive things that happened each day. I started to realize what was important to me - it was people, the sunshine, beautiful skies, etc. I don't know exactly when, but each Friday I began to post on my blog what I am grateful for that week. It is a practice I don't think I will ever stop because it helps me focus on and appreciate what is important.

My celebrations are really an awareness and appreciation for the good things in my life, and it truly seems as if my brain has changed so that it spends a lot more time appreciating the good and ignoring the unimportant. A practical thing that I also do is keep a Reminder Journal. When something really important happens, I write it in the journal so that I won't forget the moment. I write only one or two sentences on a page so that the moment is easy to find. I do enjoy this journal!


Kelly Besecke

Thank you, Ginny! I thought of another piece of advice for myself: slow down. It's like what you say about being in the moment, but slowing down allows me to focus on and appreciate the moment better. Rather than, for example, turning all these activities from the celebrations that they should be into a stressful set of tasks on my to-do list.

In case anyone's interested, this little inquiry of mine has turned into a full-blown project: Project Joy. I've been looking into positive psychology exercises, and one of the coolest I've found is to first identify your signature character strengths and then find fun new ways to use them every day. They can be little things. Like for me, one of my top strengths is "appreciation of beauty and excellence," and so I might make a point of spending twenty minutes in a beautiful natural environment or listening to excellent music. Another one of my strengths is "curiosity and interest in the world," so I might listen to music from another culture or explore a new part of my city. Another is what they call "perspective/wisdom," and one site advised using that by taking a favorite quote and living in alignment with that. Fun. Here's another link--this is where some of these examples come from.


Ginny Lennox

Kelly, I think slowing down definitely helps. If you think of each thing you are going to do as a small step rather than a task and then acknowledge what you have accomplished, it might help. Right now, I am small-stepping my way into buying a new computer, which can be overwhelming for me, but it is helping to recognize each step I take to learn more about what I need and (what is most important) how to effectively use it.


Jamie Ridler

Celebration!! One of my favourite topics EVAH!

One thing that we simply don't do enough these days is mark our achievements. You have been headed towards this for 16 years and now you are here! How will you mark it?

I have a couple of favourite ways to mark an occasion (I feel a blog post coming on!) and I'd love to hear everyone else's.

* Make it Memorable. Mark the day by somehow making it distinctive from other days. Throw a party. Go somewhere you've always wanted to go. Let yourself be in pyjamas for 24 hours. (Hey, combine the pyjama idea with the party idea and voila!) Dye a streak of purple in your hair. Make yourself an "I wrote a book" cake and have it for breakfast.

* Make it tangible. Buy yourself an author's gift, something that will always remind you of your very first book. Get a tattoo or piercing. Write yourself a beautiful letter congratulating yourself for a dream come true.

When I got my coaching certification, I had promised myself a beautiful clock that I had seen at Pottery Barn. When I went to actually go get it, I almost backed out. I found it hard to spend the money. I thought, "I don't need this," but I did. Now every time I look at the time, I remember that I invested in my dreams and in my goal to help other people with theirs.

And you see that clock in just about every picture of my desk and my studio!

And Ginny Lennox, I'm so delighted that light bulb is still burning bright!


Kelly Besecke

I love these ideas! And Jamie, I have never before thought seriously about getting a tattoo, but that's the idea that jumped out at me most! I might get a tattoo!  I might get myself a special present, too! Ooh, fun, pondering what that might be!

Jamie Ridler

Oh, yeah!!!



Kelly Besecke is the still un-tattooed author of You Can't Put God in a Box: Thoughtful Spirituality in a Rational Age. Ginny Lennox, a certified Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coach, believes that each and every day is filled with special moments to be enjoyed and treasured. Jamie Ridler is a creative living coach who is passionate about authentic living and making creativity come to life.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Do you Dare? by Julie Rorrer

"But he who dares not grasp the thorn should never crave the rose." Anne Bronte

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

A Scrap of Color by Kate Wolfe-Jenson

 

My ability to distinguish between one positive emotion and another is fading as I age. Or maybe I just don’t care anymore. For the last few years I’ve been purposely paying attention to the positives, inviting them into my life by keeping kind promises to myself.

Karl Barth says “joy is the simplest form of gratitude.” I’m finding the positives tangle with each other—one causes another causes the next until I don’t know what is which and which is what. I admire a beautiful color and fall in love with it. I feel this beauty-love as a warm glow in my chest. Noticing the glow, the corners of my mouth turn up. The glow bubbles into joy, for which I’m thankful.  My shoulders drop as I relax into gratitude. I am amazed that this wash of positive sensations can be caused by one scrap of color.

This is not to say that life doesn’t suck sometimes. It certainly does! Words like “incurable” and phrases like “case manager” are in my daily conversations. I know and dwell in brackish suckiness.

And yet, the smallest gestures pull me out of the muck. The sun shines through the branches and makes crisscross patterns on the sidewalk. I hear my daughter laugh. There are warm towels coming out of the dryer and ginger cookies coming out of the oven.

All I have to do is notice and deliciousness becomes beauty becomes love becomes joy becomes gratitude.

---
Kate Wolfe-Jenson explores kind promises and irritating monsters at JourneyDancing.com. She is s-l-o-w-l-y illustrating an e-book, Practicing Life as a Creative Experiment.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

It’s Time for a Break! By Ginny Lennox




“Stop. Breathe.  Allow yourself the luxury of doing nothing for a moment, or an hour, or even a day.  It is in emptiness that inspiration will appear.”  Carol Katchen

There are times in everyone’s creative life when we need to take a break.  Sometimes our body needs a rest, other times we feel overwhelmed or frustrated and the best thing we can do for ourselves and our work is to give both the time needed to reignite the energy and the passion that makes what we do each day exciting and special.  

I have been going through just such a time.  I was so in love with painting and all of a sudden I was finding it harder and harder to get out my pastels.  So I decided to do what I know is best for me and that is to take a break. There are times when I take a break that I read or walk or take an extra yoga class or two.  I might visit different parks or art galleries or I might rest a little more, sit in the sun, and dream.  

 This time my break is a little different.  I find that I am excited about taking pictures.  The fall colors are just beginning to appear and everywhere I look there seems to be a new photo opportunity.  I know that the pastels will come out again soon but for now I am going to enjoy the season and maybe become a better photographer in the process.

One of the things I often tell friends and clients is to follow your heart.  As we go on our creative journey, it will take many twists and turns.  I encourage everyone to embrace the new paths and opportunities that open up to us so often.  Take time to explore new things.  Give yourself the chance to embrace new ideas and ignite new passions.  Give yourself a break and then see what happens.  Often you will come back to what you left with a new appreciation for what you are creating.  Other times you will find yourself going down a new and exciting path.  The important thing is to listen to your heart and your body and to give yourself the time necessary to decide what to do next.  

Ginny, a certified Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coach, believes that each and every day is filled with special moments to be enjoyed and treasured.  On her blog, Special Moments in Time, she encourages everyone to recognize and celebrate their own special moments each day.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Is it possible to be healthy in a sick society? by Aimee Cavenecia

Is it possible to have integrity while working for a corporation that lacks it?


I was sick this week. My closest friends where shocked: "What you? Sick? I never see you sick." Well, I was. And I still am. The good news is, I was forced to cancel work and all appointments, and stay home. While at home, I decided to learn how to loom bead. I had a small wooden loom that I had yet to try. I literally had to pull it out of its box, unwrap it and read the directions. I felt intimidated. Trying something new always feels a bit scary. But after an hour or so, I said to myself, "Wow. This feels just like meditation! I love this. It's so centering and peaceful."

The forced slowing down of my overly active schedule (and brain) allowed me to realize what an opportunity my current state was. If I were to be home getting well, instead of racing about as usual, I could catch up on things I rarely get a chance to do. For three days I was able to enjoy so much. Just sitting in one spot, quietly beading and listening, and a little reading.

In the next few blog posts, I'll share what I listened to over those three days. But for today, I'll share one thing that I read.

This is an except from Evolving Dharma: Meditation, Buddhism, and the Next Generation of Enlightenment, by Jay Michaelson:

"I asked this of Jon Kabat-Zinn on the last night of the conference. I mentioned David Loy’s open letter entitled “Can Mindfulness Change a Corporation? written to a board member of Goldman Sachs, and arguing that a Buddhist couldn’t serve in good conscience on the boards of corporations that have been involved in unethical business practices. It was a pointed and well-stated challenge.

So I was curious what Kabat-Zinn, who has consulted with numerous corporations and had just given a talk about mindfulness in business, had to say. Although he hadn’t read the letter, his answer was surprisingly similar to Loy’s. “This whole issue of ethics is really important,” he said:

"It’s not like Goldman Sachs can just do a little mindfulness and then be driven by greed, hatred, and delusion all the more. That’s not mindfulness. This is about restructuring things so that your business is aligned with the deepest domains of integrity and morality. You can make money in the service of creation of wealth, but not lying, cheating, and stealing, or cutting every corner."

Then he made a further point:

"I did some mindfulness work with a major Boston law firm back in the day, and people ate it up—and then a whole bunch of them left. We have to be prepared for that…. These people were being given annual bonuses called ‘no-life bonuses’ because you had to work so many hours that you never saw your family.”

So wait a minute. Meditation is being brought into the corporate world because it improves well-being and productivity–but then it causes people to leave. Who’s gaming who here? I was reminded of something Krishnamurti said, “It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” Sometimes the unavoidable fact may be that our lives need to be adjusted to the dharma—if what we’re after is deep change. And often, seekers (including this one) actually integrate too fast, moving too quickly from low-level spiritual states back into the conventional world, without adequately deepening the stages and insights they bring about. Sometimes, we use the rhetoric of “integration” to have our spiritual cake and eat it, too."

What the author shared is something I experienced too, and something that I am still working with. I stopped being a professional artist with corporate clients (like high-end art foundations, retail franchises, ad agencies, etc.) because I could ethically no longer do it. I could no longer support a paradigm that I felt was outdated and blind. I literally felt like I was working for big dinosaurs that were manipulating and muscling their way through life, and would one day be extinct because of it. I felt like the longer I served the 'bottom line is king' agenda, the longer that type of thinking would be the standard. This was over 5 years ago, and although these corporations still run the show, the emperor is gradually being seen without clothes. People are beginning to wake up to the co-created sick reality.

I did make changes in my work, and I'm still finding my way regarding work (it's not easy to bite the hand that feeds you, unless you have your own thriving garden set up first!) But living in the city, a city like New York City, you can't help but get swept away in the frenzy. My days get filled to the brim, because that is what we do here. One tiny New York minute is probably one whole hour in the country -- things happen fast! I feel like every time I write someone (family & friends), I am rambling on about how overwhelmed I am with what I have going on. Why is this? I'm like a broken record. Every email seems like it says "I had a crazy week this week!" Do you feel like this too? Are you jammed packed busy until you are forced to slow down?

This is why meditation, mindfulness and spiritual matters (not religious matters, totally different) can be so challenging for most. It's very difficult for the average person (especially living in a big city) to slow down. To sit still, surrender, and just be. Or even to be fully centered in what they are doing. Like using the current activity as a mindful practice, or a way to be fully present.

When things are ready to happen, they happen. When things need to change, they change. Sometimes we find ourselves home sick, or we suddenly find that we can no longer do what we were doing. We are forced to wake up. But we are not isolated individuals living in separate bubbles. We are completely dependent and interconnected. The sun, stars, sea, animals, insects, people, trees, wind -- all work in harmony. If a large enough group is sick, everyone is sick. Right now, people are not living well, despite what many of them think. They are overstressed, and preoccupied with money or superficial things. As a result, the planet is sick. Things are crazy. The planet is trying to find balance, and so are we. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Regardless of whether or not we threw the planet off balance with our actions, we all have to clean up the mess. That's what families do. Consider the entire universe, everything that is a part of it, your immediate family. Did you forget that is was? It has been all along.

Like I tell most of the people I work with, it all starts with awareness. If you know you have a problem, it's less of a problem. If you have no idea you have a problem, it's a HUGE problem. I'm fully aware that major changes need to happen in my life, and in the world. I am fully aware that this will take heart. It's not a matter of money, it's a matter of courage and clarity. And the change in the world begins with me. How could it not, when I am an integral part of it? We all are. It's time we stop selling ourselves (or things that make up the planet, and universe) short. Life isn't for sale. And if it is, it might be time we finally took it off the market. And if we won't, maybe nature will. Regardless, we are in this together.

**

Aimee Cavenecia (also known as AimeeLovesYou) is an author & activist who is currently igniting a Bliss & Self-Mastery revolution through her weekly blog Sunday Is For Lovers. Aimee's life-work is to share her insights on Seeing, Loving & Being (SLB), as well teaching meditation to people globally via the internet.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Creative Living with Jamie with Amy Palko

creative-living-with-jamie



MP3 File

Creative Living by Jamie podcast via RSS

This podcast is 27:45.

This week's guest: Amy Palko, writer, academic and spiritual seeker




Website: Amy Palko Website
Community Site: Bloom by Moon
Twitter: @amypalko

Amy is a writer, photographer, academic, teacher, spiritual seeker, wife and home-educating mother of 3. She plays many roles in her life, but the thread that runs through each is the sacred feminine. Whether she is photographing close-up images of flowers, facilitating a goddess workshop, teaching her students new ways to approach narrative, or providing a nurturing learning environment for her own children, She does so from a place of love and compassion. She creates and holds spaces for illumination to occur. She has recently launched an new online community/flexible course called Bloom by Moon which explores the different cycles of the moon as a way of honouring and celebrating the sacred feminine.

Show Notes...


Subscribe to Creative Living with Jamie...

  • You can subscribe to Creative Living with Jamie here and also on iTunes here (Note: this link will ask to access your iTunes and then take you to the podcast. You can also simply open iTunes and search for "Creative Living with Jamie)

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Creative Living with Jamie with guest Helen Yee

creative-living-with-jamie
Creative Living by Jamie podcast via RSS

This podcast is 28:35

This week's guest: Helen Yee, improvising violinist, multi-instrumentalist, composer


Website: Helen Yee.com
Blog: first a glimmer
Twitter: @helyee
Facebook: Helen Yee on Facebook
CD and Music Downloads: Trio Tritticali and CD Baby


Helen Yee is an improvising violinist, multi-instrumentalist, composer with experience in a broad range of music genres. Currently violinist for the eclectic string trio, Trio Tritticali she also performs on yangqin, a Chinese hammer dulcimer, with Music From China. A multicreative adventurer at heart, she also loves exploring and collaborating in other forms of improvisation including vocal work, movement and text improv. She considers the practice of improvisation a profound teacher, in art and in life.

Show Notes...

Subscribe to Creative Living with Jamie...

  • You can subscribe to Creative Living with Jamie here and also on iTunes here (Note: this link will ask to access your iTunes and then take you to the podcast. You can also simply open iTunes and search for "Creative Living with Jamie)

Friday, 18 October 2013

Bizarre and Flawed, by Julie Gibbons

bizzare and flawed

“I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it's true I'm here, and I'm just as strange as you." Frida Kahlo
---oooOooo---
Hello, you out there.

I am so pleased to meet you!

I see your bizarre flaws and I love you for them.

Will you be my {strange} friend?

With love,
Julie xo
---oooOooo---

Julie Gibbons is an artful self-help guide. What that really means is that she shares personal stories and artful techniques to help women invoke the creative magic they need to discover their whole, true and best self. Artful self help is a combination of art and journal therapy and the psychology of self, which allows you to tap into soul wisdom and experience personal growth, healing and transformation.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Creative Living with Jamie - with guest Jodi Crane

creative-living-with-jamie



Creative Living by Jamie podcast via RSS

This podcast is 25:00.

This week's guest: Jodi Crane, play therapist





Blog: Playcrane

Twitter: @playcrane

Instagram: Playcrane

Twitter: Playcrane


Jodi Crane wears many hats and she likes it that way. She is a wife, a mom of two, and a counseling professor in the School of Professional Counseling at Lindsey Wilson College where she directs the Appalachian Play Therapy Center. As a play therapist she is very active in the Association for Play Therapy where she serves on many committees and is its Mining Report Editor.

She loves all things creative including photography, mixed media art, writing, blogging, and social media.

Show Notes...

Subscribe to Creative Living with Jamie...

  • You can subscribe to Creative Living with Jamie here and also on iTunes here (Note: this link will ask to access your iTunes and then take you to the podcast. You can also simply open iTunes and search for "Creative Living with Jamie)

Connect to Creative Living with Jamie...

  • You can email your feedback, questions and suggestions to Jamie.
  • You can also call and leave your thoughts on our guest line at (512) 827-0505 ext 8766.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Collaboration (spread the love!) by Angel Young

Where is the line between collaboration and protecting your own work? It's certainly a thing I've been pondering lately.

Italian Street Artist Collaborating with the Highways Department!

Recently I attended a real time class with someone I greatly admired, an artist who's work really has such a great vibe - you know the ones I mean, where something universal runs through their art, regardless of the medium, and you can feel the purity of the universe has been combined into that piece or poem or dance, whatever! 

But the course was a bit of a let down because the artist was reluctant to share those techniques, worried we would copy and undo the considerable body of study they had undertaken.

I can understand the concern, but it seemed to me that was a profound misunderstanding of most artists' intentions. We all are trying to tune into our muse, and let the universe flow through us, and because each of us is unique, the creation is by necessity, altered. What I am trying to create is very different, even though I'd hoped some of the techniques would prove useful. After all we all "stand on the shoulders of giants" and spark off each others' creations.

I'm wary of claiming ownership in this way in my work, I see that I am channeling that universal vibe, which combines the current moment, and all those moments which have lead to that one. It's the nature of the creative act. And I expect those that follow will do the same. Rather than feeling ownership I feel honoured to have inspired others. Imitation opens the door to a revised version that speaks to another generation. To be creative is to be at the cutting edge of life. So for me, share your work and share the love. Don't be fearful, and trust in your version of the vibe. See what comes after as your collaboration with the future, and the atoms that made your work exciting will be reinvented a thousand times into the future. And that is the gift of collaboration, knowingly or otherwise. Let's share the love! It makes the world a better place.

Angel Young is resting in Venice this week, amongst a thousand layers of history and collaboration.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Creative Living with Jamie with guest Meghan Genge

creative-living-with-jamie

MP3 File
This week’s podcast is 21:31 long

This week's guest: Meghan Genge, writer

meg_closeup_1

Her new website: Creating Wings
Her personal blog: More to Me
She is a partner in: Randomly Challenged, a website that is dedicated to being an antidote to all of the online social networking sites that keep you online. Its aim is to dare you to do something different.

Meghan Genge is a Canadian writer who lives and works in the UK. As part of her journey, she has launched a website called Creating Wings. With this site she hopes to 'become the change that she wants to see in the world' by inspiring people to believe in who they really are and to question the rules that they have imposed on themselves. She believes that we need to stop pretending that we are ordinary and remember that we are truly capable of anything.

Show Notes



  • Meg refers to Morning Pages, which is a daily practice of writing 3 pages of long-hand stream-of-consciousness writing recommendedby Julia Cameron in The Artist's Way




  • I mentioned my Full Moon Dreamboard Circle.



  • By the way...

    If you're enjoying these interviews, you might like Your Creative Spark. 12 wildly creative women share their stories and strategies for facing creative challenges and releasing your inner artist! This collection features artist & coach Jennifer Lee, domestic diva Suzie Ridler, pet portrait artist Jessie Marianiello, mixed media artist & creativity guide Leah Piken Kolidas, artist & writer Christine Mason Miller, artist & coach Andrea Scher, artist Melanie McMullin, creative goddess Leonie Allan, artist & activist Jen Lemen, photographer & poet Darlene J Kreutzer, writer & coach Sunny Schlenger and writer & artist Laini Taylor. To find out more or to order, click here.

    For more episodes of the Creative Living with Jamie podcast, subscribe in iTunes or visit creativelivingwithjamie.ca.

    Friday, 4 October 2013

    My people: Coming From Crazy by Julie Rorer

    Each family has its own difficult scripture - Chinese Proverb

    Have you ever had one of those days when your family just makes you want to scream? If I didn't look so much like them I'm sure I’d wonder if I had been adopted. This would explain a lot. Sometimes I seriously just don't get them. Are these people from another planet? These frustrations inevitably lead to a sharp twinge of loneliness. After all, if you don't have your family, who do you have?

    Luckily, for a long time now I've been gathering new family members. I call them the family I choose, and they are located all over the world. I’ve even been known to tell these people things like "You know, you are the sister I would have picked if I could have." My chosen family has kept me going through the years. They let me vent, they let me cry, they laugh with me and somehow (even though I am massively flawed) they continue to love me nonetheless all these years later.

    The greatest and most amazing person in my chosen family is my husband. I'm still not sure how in the world we were able to find each other, and make it work for so long (coming up on 12 years) and through so much. The twenty-something Julie was not marriage material–not even remotely. Somehow though, he came along, wasn’t repelled by my rough edges, and we ended up married. We get each other. We frequently can tell what the other person is thinking, but not in a creepy way. At least not always in a creepy way. He is a kindred spirit, for sure, and I feel grateful everyday that somehow, someway, it keeps on working.

    Everyone needs at least one person (and ideally a whole group) that gets us on that deep level, someone that we can hold close as family no matter whether we share the same blood. It’s far better to share a kindred spirit.

    Known in certain circles as Danger Girl, Julie is never afraid to throw caution to the wind and take a chance. She’s been creating things since she was a little girl and shows no signs of stopping. As a grown-up (more or less) she’s created a bath/body products brand, launched the largest indie fashion website (at the time), learned to ride a motorcycle, and done various other things large and small. She lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and son and a yard full of lizards and is currently writing the book she’s been dreaming about for years.

    Tuesday, 1 October 2013

    Influences by Kelly Besecke

    I have a thing for singer-songwriters, and lately I've rediscovered my love of crayons (which as a kid, I used to call "crowns"). The other day, these two loves came together when Dan Wilson, who's an artist as well as a songwriter, posted a drawing he made of the names of artists who have influenced him.

    Inspired, I got out my crayons and made this list of my creative influences.



    Here they are in categories:

    Musicians and Artists: Storyhill, The Beatles, The Monkees, David Bowie, Johnny Depp, Claude Monet, Wolf Kahn, and Stuart Davis

    Novelists: Jane Austen, E.M. Forster, J.K. Rowling, Ursula LeGuin, Madeleine L'Engle, Ellen Raskin, Lloyd Alexander

    Memoirists: Liz Gilbert, Frances Mayes, Dave Barry

    Coaches who write: Tama Kieves, Martha Beck, Jamie Ridler

    Scholars: Wade Clark Roof, Joseph Campbell, Stephen Prothero, Huston Smith, Paul Ricoeur, Emile Durkheim, Victor Turner, Robert Bellah

    I could go on with friends, family, teachers, and organizations that influenced me, but this is the list of people I was drawn to specifically because of their creative work or their creative way of being in the world. But I couldn't resist also including some places that have been important to my creative life:

    Places: Nepal, Wisconsin's Devil's Lake Park, and Austin, Texas

    Who are the influences that you've chosen?

    Kelly Besecke writes about spiritual meaning, progressive religion, and authentic living. Her first book, You Can't Put God in a Box: Thoughtful Spirituality in a Rational Age, will be out November 1. Kelly is a dreamer, a thinker, and an incurable idealist who loves singer-songwriter music, impressionism, and every dog she's ever met.

    Friday, 27 September 2013

    Tending your ideas and dreams

    Looking down on my veggie garden, late August 2013
    I've always thought of the harvest in terms of farming, but more recently in my life I've thought about it around my own vegetable garden, too.

    September is traditionally harvest season in farm country, and our 'prompt' for this month is harvest. It made me start digging a little deeper and here are some 'definitions' I found:
    to gather in (as in a crop)
    The quantity of a natural product gathered in a single season.
    gather ~ pick ~ reap

    Looking at these I see that harvest is a great metaphor in life.

    My style for following my ideas and dreams has probably tended to mimic my gardening style:

    I plant seeds or starters – I always have grand plans. I'm pretty careful about putting this plan together initially, although I don't study up on exactly how I should be planting what seeds, or how to best tend. I just do it.

    I get excited when things begin to grow, but after awhile I don't tend the garden as well as I could. I don't give it the attention I believe it needs and deserves. I let it grow a bit wild.

    Is this a bad thing?

    I still get plenty to harvest although every year I do lose some things. Each year something grows better than something else – even when that something did better the year before.

    My beautiful radicchio is a perfect example. I just planted the seeds this spring because I wanted to try growing radicchio.

    I don't think I planted with the proper spacing, and/or I didn't thin them properly – to give them the space they needed to grow nice sized heads. The other day I had to pull some out that had gotten slimy because they didn't have enough room to grow.


    But I still have some beautiful plants, and I even harvested some to eat as I was thinning. And I think I will have some yummy heads shortly!

    In thinking on all of this, I realized how my gardening style seems to mimic how I've often tended to my ideas and dreams:
    I give them plenty of attention to begin with, and then I usually let them evolve with out much tending. I leave things to see what happens.

    Tending is an important aspect for the cultivation your ideas and dreams, as well as your garden. It's also important to let things have time to grow on their on. I'm realizing that it is this dance between the two that brings abundance to the harvest. 

    How do you tend your ideas and dreams? When do you let them grow on their own? Does this help with your harvest?

    Lisa, aka the mountain mermaid, is a creative, independent spirit who loves to explore and play outdoors. She lives in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Embracing her creative life is an ongoing adventure, a journey that she loves and trusts more each year – and hopes to inspire others to do the same. She is also an entrepreneur providing innovative business support, including graphic design services, for passionate creative entrepreneurs.

    Tuesday, 24 September 2013

    Harvest by Angel Young

    Milling the grains, old school!

    I wonder what you have been planting In the spring, that brings you now to a point of harvest? I'm finding it's a bit of a mixed bag this year. My word for the year has been gentleness - doesn't that sound good! But truthfully I'm learning the need for that the hard way. For while I have planted some exciting seeds (more of that in a moment) I have also planted over work, too much travelling, not enough rest and time off, and now I'm wondering why I'm so tired and my back's playing up. So I am digging up these weeds, or at least trying too. I'm listening to my body more - meditating / allowing my pain to surface. This week, a revelation! My back was full of the stress of my GCSE exams from over 20 years ago (you takes these at 16 in England & Wales). I could feel the emotions from that time release, and I realised that the impetus to keep going then was informing my choices now. It seems so ridiculous to me that I have allowed that to happen. But I was blissfully unaware. So I am being more gentle. Allowing my pain to surface. I am planting healthier seeds that will be nourished by more rest, less travelling for work, less giving of myself to breaking point.

    So my exciting seeds are, planning a trip to Italy, going on a course with textiles artist Cas Holmes - her combinations of stitching and layering blew my mind in Open Studios in June (http://www.casholmes.textilearts.net/). (Open Studios is where artists open up their houses so visitors can see how they work and meet real live artists!) Also I'm hoping to go up to Norfolk and Suffolk to take photos and do some canoeing in October. A bit more fun to balance out the working hard. Hopefully your year has been better weighted in 2013. What adjustments do you need to make for your own harvest?

    Angel Young is resting in the UK. You can see her photos here.

    Friday, 20 September 2013

    Harvesting My Dreams by Carolyn Eicher


    I never could have imagined what was ahead when I picked those first oranges. If I had, maybe I wouldn’t have begun. It’s been a lot of hard work, more than I ever imagined. But isn’t that often the way? We start with what’s easy, and avoid what’s hard. At least I often do. For me, starting, literally meant harvesting that first tree, which was easy. And then I harvested a second, and a third. I had no idea at that time how many thousands of pounds of fruit I would harvest in the years ahead.


    In collaboration with community members and various organizations, we started a program that was adopted by our county’s Food Bank. From the first tree I harvested in 2010, to this point, our community has collectively donated 265,881 pounds of fresh local produce to people in need in our county -- food otherwise wasted for a variety of reasons. Real food harvested equals real people fed.


    Each harvest is unique with different connections between volunteers, farmers, growers and homeowners, who donate crops large and small. While gleaning, I photographed the fruit trees, row crops, fields and orchards. But I realized how much I enjoyed documenting the people who picked with us, capturing moments of them picking the first apple off a tree, harvesting a variety of peach they’ve never heard of, and meeting new like-minded friends. I always finish a glean with a group photo which brings everyone together after the hard work. People typically ask at the end, “when is the next harvest?” which I take as a good sign.

    In gleaning, I’ve not only helped feed hungry people, but also my soul. One of my bios says, “helping others is often the best medicine.” What I mean by that is if you’re stuck in a rut, you’ll feel better by helping others. I learned this from my family while growing up. From this work, I’ve found that I enjoy giving back to the community not only from harvesting, but through my images which can be shared.  When I look back to those first oranges I harvested, I never knew that a few years later, I'd be calling myself a photographer.


    Carolyn has always been drawn to photography, but it’s taken her a long time to use the word to help define her. She is passionate about capturing people in their true radiance and light. She also spends time working with the Food Bank, giving back to her community on the Central Coast of California.

    Tuesday, 17 September 2013

    You Don't Have To by Shelley Noyes


    You are loveable as is. TRUTH.

    You don't have to work so hard. You don't have to try to leave any kind of impression. You don't have to compete for a spot. You don't have to be the coolest, the funniest, or the most artistic. You don't have to be the best writer and you don't have to play to the crowd one bit. You don't have to be nominated the 'most likely to' anything or to the get the most votes.

    You don't have to be the most popular or the most famous or the most well known.  You don't need to have the most interesting story or the best hair in the room. You don't need all of the attention.
    You don't have to win the congeniality award and you don't have to be the most gregarious or the most extroverted. In fact, you don't have to perform at all.

    You showing up as you is all you have to do. When you are fully YOU--the real thing--all those other things--'the bests and mosts' may be true--but then they represent the real truth of who you are; not the image you want to shape, craft and control because you are afraid you are not enough.

     You can show up as an equal; as open and also generously full--learning what you need to learn and offering what you have for the benefit of others. You are already MADE--hard-wired--to do the work that only YOU can do in the world. You have permission to take all of that pressure off of yourself and to let it be easy.

    You are truly ENOUGH.


    My name is Shelley. I write about stuff that happens to me so you won't feel so alone. Email me at shelley.noyes@houghton.edu.

    Friday, 13 September 2013

    Fields of Weeds by Susan Cadley

    Fields of weeds
    Dying and drying to straw
    Not a part
    Of any harvest
    Only a reminder of warmth
    That has passed overnight
    With crisp coolness
    Biting at the coattails of summer
    Time is hurrying past
    The innocence of yesterday
    Bare feet running through warm puddles
    On heated sidewalks
    Time to nestle in
    While the leaves rustle about
    Scurrying for a place to hide
    Silence appears
    With the first snowfall
    Settling
    Quieting
    Cleansing the earth if falls upon
    Whiteness with grace
    Waiting to thaw
    And awaken the life held
    In the seeds of the weeds
    Of yesteryear

    Susan Cadley©

    Susan is a Licensed Psychotherapist, Soul Coach, SoulCollage® Facilitator and sole proprietor of Living From Within, LLC. Through counseling, coaching, creative workshops, book studies, and writing, Susan guides you to hear and live the messages of your soul.

    Tuesday, 10 September 2013

    When the Harvest is Slow by Jodi Crane

    Sometimes the harvest is very slow.  You plant something and it takes years to bloom or bear fruit.

    The same can be true for your dreams.  It may feel like your dreams are on hold, but it’s just not the right time yet for them to bloom.

    This doesn’t mean your dreams aren’t important.
    It doesn’t mean they’ll never happen.
    It doesn’t mean you aren’t deserving of your dreams coming true.

    It can be so hard to be patient.  It can be very discouraging to work so hard and it seems like nothing happens.  Believe me I know.

    Then you turn to social media and see others having their dreams come to fruition.
    “I’m working hard too,” you say.  “It’s just not fair.”

    It isn’t.  And it sucks there’s often no one to blame.  But you’re probably comparing apples to oranges.  So turn away from the social media and be compassionate toward yourself.

    Sometimes you need to take a roundabout way to get there.
    Sometimes you need to take the scenic route.
    If you’re always in a rush, you’ll miss the beauty along the way.

    This harvesting of dreams really is just one giant mystery.
    So hang in there.

    Jodi Crane has harvested some dreams while others are slow growing.  She is a play therapist, professor, creative, and player.  Find her here.

    Friday, 6 September 2013

    Harvesting Dreams by Kate Wolfe-Jenson


    My mother thought it was best

    to get the corn from the garden

    to the pressure cooker

    to the table in under 10 minutes.



    Is that how you harvest dreams, too?



    Do you grab them at their peak

    yank off the protective husks

    and rinse them at the sink?

    Do you lay them with their siblings

    over water

    in the big heavy pot

    on high heat?

    Do you wait until the pressure valve pops

    and listen to the singing hiss

    for two minutes,

    then rush them to the sink

    so you can run cold water and cool the pot?

    Do you open up the lid

    so the whoosh of steam

    fogs up your glasses

    and withers your hairdo?

    Do you slather your dreams

    with butter and salt

    and bite into them

    with gusto?

    Do you chew

    feeling the kernels pop

    sweet juices into your mouth

    ‘til you swallow them down

    so your belly gets good and full?



    Then, do you lean back

    and reach for the toothpicks

    with your greasy fingers

    and think

    “wow, that was good!”

    Kate Wolfe-Jenson, author of Dancing with Monsters: Chronic Illness as Creative Transformation, blogs at JourneyDancing.com.

    Tuesday, 3 September 2013

    Doing The Impossible by Andrea Schroeder

    I'm setting out to do something I'm not sure I can do.

    So I wrote out a few things I know are true, to help light the way. Hopefully they are helpful for you too.

    creative journaling

    1. If you apply your creativity and your intuition and work and it and give it time: you can do anything.
    2. The stuff you think you can't do is the best stuff to do. If you know you can do it, it means you've already done it and there's no adventure in it.
    3. Being in the adventure of doing something you haven't done before and aren't sure you even can do pushes your creative edge and grows you in all the best ways. I know it's hard now, but you'll be so grateful you did it.
    4. If you are NOT doing things that you don't think you can do - you're stagnating, you're staying in already-been-done-ness.
    5. You wouldn't have the desire to do it if you weren't capable of it - that desire is a new part of you being born, the part of you that can do it - once she figures it all out. It's ok if the figuring it all out part is messy.
    6. Floundering. Mis-steps. Having it take more time than you want it too or look different than you thought it would. That's all ok. Giving up is not.
    7. Changing course is different from giving up. Dreams change as you work on them. Flow WITH the inspiration and you'll get somewhere amazing. Try to control the outcome and you'll get somewhere pretty sad.

    With a paintbrush in one hand & a glitter-gun in the other, Andrea lovingly mentors men & women who want to lead creatively abundant lives — and do ‘impossible’ things, with ease & joy.

    Thursday, 29 August 2013

    Touchstones of the Heart~ by Susan Cadley

    I’m a lover of life, celebrator of the small, cheerleader for the soul, and hope holder.  Reverence is my favorite word. 

    When I lose someone or when I realize loss of life is imminent, I find myself bracing for what is to come and all the feelings that go along with the deep emotion of grief.  Grief is an emotion that rises up from the depths and takes you along for the ride on what can feel like a tumultuous river.   It’s not an emotion to be controlled or managed.  Like a river, it needs to move.   It will move you through loss if you allow it to have its way with you.  Otherwise you may get lost in a swirling eddy by the side of the river.  Grief will wait.

    I began experiencing loss as a 5 year old when my paternal grandfather died.
    My dad explained my grandfather’s lifeless body to me this way; “your grandfather is not really there; what you see is like a pencil without the lead.”  I wondered about that lead and where it had gone?   The stark reality of someone being here one minute and gone the next is jarring and traumatic.  I trusted my dad, as most little girls would and I would remember his words when he passed away 8 years later.   My family experienced continual losses throughout the years and after I got married, my husband’s family lost loved ones that I had come to know and love.

    In order to honor my loved ones and to keep their memory alive, I created touchstones with their name and I keep them inside a sacred circle in my yard. They are my “tribe on the other side”.  And I believe as I send my love to them, their love returns to me.

    Love is a powerful force.  Touch into the love when you need it.

    When people are in the dying process, they usually want their friends and family around them.  Stories are told and remincing about past life celebrations are shared.  At the end of the journey here on earth, it’s people and love that is cherished.  The love we feel is what survives.  You can test this theory by closing your eyes and remembering someone you love that you’ve lost.  A feeling will more than likely rise up in you.  That is the love and connection you have with that person.  That feeling of love never dies or leaves you.

    The heart emits much more electromagnetic energy than that of the brain or any other organ, according to recent research.  You can use the love that your heart holds as energy, fuel, or support when you need it.  Love is a touchstone. Tap into this limitless power.

    Susan is a Licensed Psychotherapist and Soul Coach and sole proprietor of Living From Within, LLC. Through counseling, coaching, creative workshops, book studies, and writing, Susan guides you to hear and live the messages of your soul; www.coachingforyoursoul.com

    Monday, 26 August 2013

    Be Your Own Best Friend by Ginny Lennox

    "The most adventurous journey to embark on; is the journey to yourself, the most exciting thing to discover; is who you really are, the most treasured pieces that you can find; are all the pieces of you, the most special portrait you can recognize; is the portrait of your soul.”  –JoyBell C.
    I was reading a blog post just now about being your own teacher and having all of the answers inside of you.  I do believe that as we get to know ourselves better and better we will find the answers to the questions we have, if we give ourselves permission to be still and to be quiet.

    When I read the words be your own teacher for some reason the phrase "Be you own best friend" popped into my head.  Some days I do think I am my own best friend.  I try to take care of myself and make decisions that are best for me while not hurting anyone else.  It took a long long time to come to this point in life. But important things are worth waiting for and yes I should have listened to my mother who gave me this advice many years ago when I was a teenager.

    What does being my own best friend mean to me?  It means really listening to what I need. It means living a life that is calm and peaceful. It is saying "yes" to things that are interesting and challenging and "no" to things that don't make sense to me now.  It is accepting that writing and painting are an important part of my life and making sure that I create time to do both each day.  It is remembering that exercise makes me feel not only stronger but gives me energy.  It is not being hard on myself when I reread something that I have written and published and then three days later finding not one but two or three or four mistakes.  I would tell my best friend it didn't matter, now I say those same words to me and really mean them.

    Being my own best friend means being there for me. It means taking care of me the same way I would take care of someone else.  It means having fun, laughing, and taking a deep breath when things get stressful.  It is reminding myself that life is filled with ups and downs and to learn from both. Most of all its recognizing that I'm not perfect and no one expects me to be.  I think I am going to like being my own best friend.  How about you - what does being your own best friend mean to you?

    Ginny, a certified Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coach, believes that each and every day is filled with special moments to be enjoyed and treasured.  On her blog, Special Moments in Time, Ginny encourages everyone to recognize and celebrate their own special moments each day.

    Thursday, 22 August 2013

    My Hero, Celebrating his Life and Lessons Learned, by Glenda Myles

    I must be at that age, my early 40’s, where we begin to watch our parents’ health fail. Recently several friends have lost a parent or a parent has been diagnosed with something terminal. It is heartbreaking.

    In August 2012, my own father was diagnosed with lung cancer. It was a very scary time for us as he underwent surgery to remove part of his lung. We are fortunate as he survived and continues to thrive. But I am also realistic. Each day I get to spend with him is a gift.

    In those weeks before, during and after the surgery, I thought about many things. I saw both my parents as human beings, maybe for the first time, not just my parents. And in that moment I saw their frailty, their fears, and their courage.  It became easier to understand that they were doing the best they could every day. It became easier to forgive them and let go of any baggage that I may have been carrying.

    In the long hours at the hospital as I watched my father deal with the pain in the aftermath, I saw a side of my father I had not seen before. He was the strong, silent type if there ever was one. He endured. He had a long military career and grew up in that tough exterior environment. Here, in this moment, he was vulnerable. It was humbling.

    During these months, as I came to terms with what was happening, I considered what my father meant to me and what I learned from him. What came to me was loyalty and hard-working.

    You see, my father is a very loyal man. I remember questioning it when I was younger. He stayed in situations, I would have left. He didn’t have the best childhood. He left home at a young age and worked to send money home to help his family. And he has remained forgiving and loyal to his family since he was young, when most others would have walked away.

    Like many men of his generation the military was a smart career choice – it provided a good wage, job security, and opportunity. He didn’t graduate high school but was a smart man (and years later he would go back to school to get his GED). He worked hard. He still works hard. After 35 years of service in the military he retired for one year before going back to work. He has since worked another 25 years. After his surgery and recovery, he wanted to get back to work. I was shocked but it is his community, it keeps him active and engaged. At 76, he continues to work and be active. I hope that it helps him have a better quality of life.

    As I think of the lessons that I have learned from him and his life, I am filled with love and gratitude.

    Glenda is a healer, coach, and teacher as a doula, educator, reiki practitioner, dance facilitator, kundalini yogi, and earth-medicine creator. She facilitates a new group called Awe-Inspiring Women, a community based on respect, support, education and, occasionally provoking a conversation, so that we can take responsibility for the world we've created and encourage a better world.

    Monday, 19 August 2013

    The Quiet Hero by Angel Young

    I've been pondering on heroes - I'm not much of a hero worshiper, never got really obsessed with a pop group, and I've been struggling to really see who would be good to put forward - aside from the obviously marvellous Jamie Ridler!

    Kindly the universe has obliged with a gentle reminder of my artistic beginnings. Andy (my husband) and I have just got back from Latitude where we've been selling Andy's Jewellery. Latitude is a really fantastic festival - a bit like Glastonbury but smaller (a mere 35,000 people) and more diverse with lots of poetry, literature, art, comedy, film etc as well as the music playing until 3am! We had beautiful weather, worked our socks off, and had a really great time. Andy's my hero too - at every opportunity he says "I am a silversmith" he puts us shy-of-our-talents ladies to shame! But I digress.

    A lovely lady came to my stall, and she seemed familiar, but it was because she looked quite like another friend of mine. But then she spoke, and she spoke just like my textiles and art teacher from High School. And it turned out she was my former art teacher, from like 25 years ago! My favourite teacher from school.

    And Miss D. is a hero of mine. Naturally creative, Miss D could easily draw, paint, batik etc just as you would want to - with a bit of flair. And she challenged us, made me spread my wings a little bit further, encouraged us to be bold. And created this sanctuary in the art room, where we could retreat at lunchtime, and allowed us freedom to explore what it meant to produce art in lots of different mediums. What a gift. I just wouldn't have had the courage to explore my creative side without this basis back there in the mists of time. Quietly, working behind the scenes in my brain, is the groundwork put in there by Miss D.

    Today, it turns out that Miss D is painting full time. How wonderful is that! So, to my rediscovered hero, Miss D - thank you! I genuinely wouldn't have survived without the sanctuary of creativity you instilled in me, and many others, all those years ago.

    Angel lives in the UK, and is enjoying the summer plotting some lovely textiles projects.

    Thursday, 15 August 2013

    I Want to Celebrate by Jodi Crane

    Celebrate: to honor, bless, praise, emblazon, exalt, glorify, laud, magnify, resound, or proclaim.

    I want to celebrate those who…
    • Do for others without expectation of a return favor or word of gratitude.
    • Do what’s right even if it’s unpopular.
    • Do their own thing in their own unique way and timeframe.
    • Don’t take the easy way out.
    • Face their fears whether they had a choice to or not.
    • Have made sacrifices because they were thinking of others before themselves.
    • Try and fail and yet get up and try again.

    I want to celebrate those who…
    • Nurture,
    • Support,
    • Forgive,
    • Mentor,
    • Love,
    • and Celebrate me.

    Jodi Crane is a player, creative, play therapist, professor, and more.  Find her playing here.

    Monday, 12 August 2013

    Cool by Kelly Besecke

    I have a thing for "cool people," and I have a specific image of what "cool people" are like. They're bohemian and iconoclastic. They challenge our ideas of what's normal and beautiful and good. They read Jack Kerouac and Alan Ginsberg and D. H. Lawrence, Dostoevsky and Eastern-bloc writers I've never heard of, and if they're exceptionally cool, Zora Neale Hurston and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. They like Picasso and surrealism and dark things. They're edgy. They're avante garde, artistic, brilliant, and discerning. They like Lennon more than McCartney, but they like early, little-known blues musicians even more than that. Their humor is filled with unexpected observations, unique word choices, and original twists of phrase.

    I'm drawn to these people, but they also intimidate me—because, of course, I'm not that cool. An adolescent at heart, I periodically think, "I should be more like them. I should read edgy literature and see art films and try to make my mark and be an explorer of the outside and a pusher of boundaries." Instead, I read Jane Austen and Harry Potter. I seek out stories of good triumphing over evil and love conquering all. And I gravitate to the bright, happy, sparkling play of colors that Claude Monet saw in hay bales and bowls of grapes. Once, I was given a literal pair of rose-colored glasses: I loved them.

    Cool people sing with honest understanding of the tragedy and physicality of the human condition; I write with hopeful idealism of the interconnections between people and the unity of the universe. They explore the aesthetics of decay and the things you can see in the dark; I seek out the sun and the spring green of new leaves. Cool people are edgy and challenging; I am reassuring and hopeful.

    But here's the truth: What the cool people I'm thinking of really have in common—what's at root, beneath their arcane tastes—is a commitment to authenticity, truth, and honesty. They are themselves rather than some societal version of normal and good. They see people honestly rather than idealistically or cynically. At their best, they identify with and embrace the real—even the real that is dark, negative, and decaying; even human imperfection; even the tragic.

    What really makes cool people cool is not their taste in art, literature, film, or music, or even their attraction to themes of darkness, weakness, and tragedy. What really makes them cool is deeper than that: their commitment to truth and authenticity in themselves and to empathetic and raw honesty in their perceptions of others.

    And that's what I take in. That's what I try to imitate. What's cool is being who you really are, even if part of who you are borders on someone else's idea of schmaltzy, naive, or pedestrian. None of those one-sided judgments matter. What matters is expressing your truth, your reality, your unique mind, self, perceptions, and feelings, and bringing that out into the great mix of ingredients that makes up the shifting soup of creative expression.

    Kelly Besecke writes about spiritual meaning, progressive religion, and authentic living. Her first book, You Can't Put God in a Box: Thoughtful Spirituality in a Rational Age, will be out November 1. Kelly is a dreamer, a thinker, and an incurable idealist who loves singer-songwriter music, impressionism, and every dog she's ever met.

    Thursday, 8 August 2013

    Trust by Shelley Noyes


    Trust. Even if you are underground like a seed that hasn’t germinated yet. Trust even if you are wrapped up tightly in a dark cocoon and memories of your green days seem unreal to you now. Trust even when the root begins to break out of the shell of your seed-self. It will feel like you are being split in half--being broken--like your world is exploding. Trust through the pain of the breaking.

    Trust when you start to wake up in a too-tight space--when you feel claustrophobic and panicked and all you want to do is thrash around CRAZY until you get out. Trust that the space isn’t too tight for you--that you will be given the strength you need to get out at the right time. Trust when the wind feels freezing on your still-wet wings that you already have everything you need to fly.

    Trust that you will be ready. You will know what to do when it is TIME

    My name is Shelley. I write about stuff that happens to me so you won't feel so alone. Email me at shelley.noyes@houghton.edu.