Wednesday 30 November 2011

Projects Are Like Quilts by Susan Cadley

Have you ever had a HUGE project or idea and you become so overwhelmed you stop in your tracks, get distracted, feel anxious, and end up just ignoring it? These kinds of projects have a way of continually tapping you on the shoulder, saying “hey, when are we going to get started?”

In construction, there’s a term for huge, overwhelming projects, they are called BHAG’s. This acronym stands for a Big – Hairy – Audacious – Goal. I had never heard this term until I heard a man describing the BHAG he was working on in his back in his yard. I’ve always wanted to use this term, and now I can. If you’ve got a BHAG, how do you get started?

I’ve been in what I call a brewing stage for a while now. I’ve been listening to my soul and receiving many new creative ideas. I’ve been writing them down and talking them up. I kept getting tapped on the shoulder by these ideas so I decided to take on a BHAG. Instead of thinking about the task as one huge project, I decided to begin taking small steps. I complete one task a week and give it all my attention.

If you have a large project looming, begin simply, begin small. Each step will take you to the next, and the next. I liken this to creating a quilt. My Mom is a quilter and I’ve always enjoyed sharing in her satisfaction as each square was completed. Each square being unique and important to the whole of the finished project. Find joy and learning in creating each square. The process is the journey. Before you know it, you’ll unfurl a quilt that is uniquely you.

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

Monday 28 November 2011

Falling in Love by Glenda Myles

Image: Vega Ad

When I was around 7 or 8 years old, I begged my parents to let me take a ballet class. I can’t remember what prompted the need, but I recall asking, begging, pleading. They finally succumbed. I loved everything about it: the pink slippers, the tights, the teachers, the studio, the music, the smells, the other dancers, and of course the movement. And come on, what little girl doesn't love a tutu!

In my teens I was in a pre-professional program where I danced 5 days a week – ballet, tap, jazz, modern, and even some more “modern” styles (at the time it was break dancing). I learned to be courageous - taking leaps and trying new things with my body. Going on auditions with people that I thought were so much better than me and learning to have faith in myself and my ability to do it.

I danced well into my late teens and then when we moved across the country I stopped. The dance lessons at least.

In my twenties, I continued to dance. Then it was in nightclubs not dance studios. I would hit the dance floor when I entered and barely leave until the end of the night.

Then kids, work, life took over. I stopped dancing. I then watched my daughter and nieces dance.

On my fortieth birthday last year, I decided to give myself a special gift. I went to Kripalu for a week to attend JourneyDance™ teacher training. It was a magical week that reminded me of my love for dance. It connected me to my true Self. Since then I have tried to dance every week, whether at home or out. 

In September, I went a step further and signed up for an adult intermediate ballet class. It was my first ballet class in twenty years. And I love it. Of course, my body doesn’t quite move the way it used to. My brain remembers the moves but the body doesn’t quite get the message. But it doesn’t matter. Every week I get stronger and better. And most importantly, I love it for the same reasons I did when I was seven: the pink slippers, the tights, the studio, the piano, and the beautiful movements.  It fills me with joy.

The process has taught me so much about myself. Life is so often like a great ballet dance. The better the dancer is – the more graceful and beautiful – the stronger she is. It takes great strength, agility, courage, faith and commitment to be so graceful.

I have fallen in love all over again. This time, I am holding onto it.

Glenda at Myles Ahead Studio is a professional marketing strategist working to bring more creativity into business and make more ideas come to life.

Saturday 26 November 2011

Success by Valarie Budayr

Photo by Valarie Budayr

"To laugh often and love much; to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children; to earn the approbation of honest citizens and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give of one’s self; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived—this is to have succeeded."

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Valarie Budayr is the founder of Audrey Press and author of the book The Fox Diaries: The Year the Foxes Came to our Garden. She is passionate about making kid’s books come alive and you can find her doing that on her popular blog and website, Jump into a Book. When she isn’t being bookie, she is very happily the mother of three uber creative children, married to a wonderfully patient man who has come to love yarn, and caretaker of one adored cat. Other creative interests are music, travel, knitting (a bonafide yarn harlot), and gardening. She loves living a daily creative practice, where even a good cup of coffee is art.

Thursday 24 November 2011

Grounded by Meghan Genge

"There is a lot to be said for pinning things to the earth so they don't follow us around. There is a lot to be said for laying them to rest." - Clarissa Pinkola Estes

DSC02144 copy 
 You are grounded.

Do you hear me?

All of you.

All of the books that are whispering to me that they have the answer to all of my problems, but make me feel like a failure for not reading/ finishing/ doing them: you are grounded.

All of the clothes in my drawers that are sighing about the day that I will fit into them again, making me feel like a failure for not being thin: you are grounded.

All of the food that I am 'supposed' to eat because it'll make me healthy and all of the eating plans I have made and failed at following, all of the diets I have tried and also failed at that made me feel like a pathetic fatty: you are grounded.

All of the emails I have not written back to, all of the phone calls I have forgotten to make/ not felt up to making that have made me feel like a bad friend: you are grounded.

All of the projects I have thought about starting that I haven't grabbed with both hands, all of the guilt I have from when I have watched Lost instead of grabbing my creative dreams, and all of the feelings of inadequacy I carry from comparing myself to other people/ bloggers/ writers: you are grounded.

All of the crap in my head about not being a good enough wife because I am not currently a sex/ domestic/ intellectual goddess: you are grounded.

We're done. Do you hear me? I refuse to play with you anymore. You are too heavy to carry and frankly, I am bored of you. In fact, I think that the weight I try so hard to shed might be made up of you. So you are grounded for the forseeable future. You are not welcome anymore. I am locking you in the spare room and leaving you there until I decide what to do with you.

I am not sorry.

Megg is a writer, a seeker, and a believer in magic.

Tuesday 22 November 2011

Take a Step, Any Step by Andrea Schroeder

Creative Visualization is when you visualize, by creating a picture in your mind's eye, whatever you want - your Creative Dream Come True.

Creative Visualization is an important tool for bringing dreams to life.

It puts you into a space of feeling like it's already real. This is so important because that feeling can help guide you along the path as you create the dream for real in your life.

It puts you into the perspective of living with the Creative Dream as your reality. Which can give you so many clues and ideas about how to actually get there!

Einstein said that you can't solve a problem from the same consciousness that created it.

Your consciousness now, you-who-you-are-today, simply can't know the whole story about how to get there. Creative Visualization puts you in the position of already being there. So now you are in the consciousness of the Dream Come True. Now you are you-who-lives-with-the-Dream Come True. Now you are in a place where you can access the whole story about how to get there.

When you see yourself living your dream in a Creative Visualization, it helps you to develop your belief and faith that your dream is possible for you. When you really believe that your dream is possible you find a way to make it happen.

Creative Visualization is all about the inner game of bringing your Creative Dreams to life.

The inner game of bringing your Creative Dreams to life is mostly about shifting your beliefs about what is possible for you. You aren't going to bring this dream to life until you believe that it's possible.

Once you've won the inner game, you've still got the outer game to play. You've still got to do the work and take the steps and make it happen - but all of that gets so much easier when you've won the inner game first.

Learning how to do Creative Visualization is very simple with this Guided Meditation I made. Press play, close your eyes and listen.
(This is one of the six guided meditations from the Creative Dream Incubator e-course.)

I'd love to hear about your experiences with it.

Andrea Schroeder is a Creativity + Meditation Teacher, Healer Artist + Magic Maker. You can find her in the Creative Magic Academy.

Sunday 20 November 2011

Take Your Partners, Please by Amy Palko

Photo by _Teb

Take Your Partners, Please (mp3)

I remember moving across the dancefloor, linseed oil
glissando, your hand pressing into the small of my back,
holding me tight,
holding me close.
We two stepping in time,
feet moving in tandem,
take in the expanse of the ballroom,
avoiding other couples less agile,
less graceful, less passionate than we.
The twirls require epic endurance.
1,2,3,4, then sweeping into swift polka for another count of 1,2,3,4
and then back into hold.
My breathing is heavy and laboured,
while my cheeks are pinkroses flushed.
Whereas you – you are hardly breaking a sweat.
You seem so in control, so steady, so constant…
and I…am…breathless…
Giddy and breathless.
Giddy and breathless and so in love with you that it feels like our first dance together and I am a girl of just 18, naive, enraptured and true.
Our first time moving to the music,
our bodies held close,
our scents mingling and our eyes: locked.
The world retreats around us and the music fades
until I cannot hear it anymore.
All I can hear is the thud of my heart
as it tries to catch up to the beat of the band.
It’s like no-one else exists.
Like we’re dancing in a snowglobe – sectioned off in a bubble of glass,
unaware that a world beyond our togetherness exists.
Our problems,
our troubles,
our cares
ceased to matter the moment we assumed our position.
And now, the dance comes to a close
and the sheer joy of being transported starts to fade.
Holding hands, we make our way back to our seats.
No sooner have we sat down
than the caller announces the next dance.
Our eyes connect and we speak without words.
Will you dance?
With you, my darling,

A true lover of stories, Amy Palko spends her days reading, writing, knitting and dreaming… well, that is when she's not being kept busy home-educating her three kids! She is the creatrix behind Bloom by Moon, an online learning community of women exploring goddess myths and moon cycles through story, journalling, visualisation and creative exercise.

Friday 18 November 2011

Big Steps, Little Steps, No Steps & Leaps by Angel Young

As I’m writing this post I keep changing my tactic, trying to see it from different points of view, shifting perspective. This, I must confess to you (and to myself) is because I am not at all easy with this part of the process.

In truth I am naturally a very rash person - a ‘leap at will’ person - but also quite an intuitive person. However I had a very sensible upbringing. It seems these two forces are not mutually reconcilable. Here is the crux of the problem for many creative types - their heart is clear, but the ol’ how will I fund this / can I live on a quarter of my income / this is foolishness, grelims kick in and I, for one, am often sunk by them.

I think the only sensible response to this is dream big, dream creatively, but plan sensibly, with little steps. This is the negotiated settlement I have managed to agree with the warring factions in my head. Effectively small steps, baby steps. Then the dreamer knows you are moving in the right direction, albeit slower than you really want, but on the other hand you are not jeopardising your house and food and heating bills in the process. It’s an uneasy truce. But it’s a start.

And that is enough - to start - to keep taking those steps. A leap is exciting and the danger exhilarating, but as I get older and have more commitments I find I don’t always have that luxury. But it doesn’t mean I’ve given up. On the contrary I am more committed than ever to my dreams, in spite of the doubts, in spite of my desire to leap - I walk the line, because at the moment that’s necessary. And now, as I’m writing this, I accept that this is an ok place to be - the place to be - and my anxiety about my lack of leaping evaporates.

So be peaceful with your own style. It might be leaps, it might be pauses that keep you in a duff job for far longer than you want. But keep dreaming - because that is at the heart of all the steps we make.

Angel lives in the UK and is having fun bringing more of the things she loves into her life.

Wednesday 16 November 2011

First Step by Ginny Lennox

“The question isn’t who’s going to let me; it’s who’s going to stop me.” Ayn Rand

When I saw this quote I thought it was perfectly aligned to what I was reading in chapter seven of The Artist’s Way. In this chapter on connection, the subject of perfectionism was touched upon. Julie Cameron believes that as we struggle to be perfect we actually stop ourselves from moving forward. In trying to make things better and better and by doing them over and over again, we become stuck. It is easy for me to see this in others but more difficult to see this trait in myself. But if I am honest with myself and now the world, there are times that I have not moved forward or became stuck because I was afraid my story or picture or painting would be viewed by others as “not good enough”.

Since this is something I don’t want to happen again, I took a look at my life and how I handled things to become unstuck, to get rid of that voice that said I couldn’t do it or that my work wasn’t good enough. For me the answer is to take action. It means to pick up the phone and ask for the job, to send out the email with a suggestion on how I can help, or to display the painting or picture on a prominent wall in my house. I haven’t always gotten the job or my suggestions weren’t always received with open arms but I did become unstuck and I did begin to move again. I am not a person who takes giant steps all at once. I usually take one small step at a time and then I watch to see what happens. This works for me. Something else might work for you. But I do believe that the key to moving forward is taking that first, second, and third step and then watching to see what happens. Sometimes you get the answer you are waiting for right away. Sometimes it takes hundreds of more steps or maybe a giant leap! But for me life is all about taking the first step and moving forward. Won’t you join me? I’d love to know what first, second or third step you are taking today!

Ginny Lennox believes that each and every day is filled with special moments. On her blog Special Moments In Time she encourages everyone to recognize and celebrate their own special moments. Ginny also believes that we are all creative and talented people. In her workshops, All About Me and Circle of Dreams, Ginny shares ways to discover your talents.

Monday 14 November 2011

Creative Dreams and Money (raw beginnings) by Kelly Besecke

I want to write to you about money and creative callings. But this topic is so full and so present for me that my thoughts and questions don't yet cohere into anything like a focused blog post. The place to begin, then, is with my disparate thoughts and questions. For now, I've organized them just enough to give you some broad categories. Please chime in! What are your thoughts and experiences on any of these topics, or on the broad topic of money and creative dreams?

The Day Job

  • Day jobs and the creative process. Creativity happens during down time, when our minds are free to wander. We get our best ideas during breaks from periods of focused effort. We work hard on our creative project, and then we take a nap or a shower or a walk, and ideas come to us. But when we’re working a day job, our minds can end up devoting all that great unconscious creative energy to the concerns of the day job rather than to our own creative projects. Creative work, then, requires us to free our minds from our day jobs. It requires us to take a mental break from our paid work, then shift focus to our creative project, then take a break from it to allow our ideas to gestate, then return to focused work on our creative project, and then return to our day job. How do we manage our lives so that we can do all that?
  • The happy day job. How do we find or create day jobs that we love, that feed our creative lives, or even day jobs that we just like well enough and that don’t take away from our creative lives?
  • Self-employment as a day job. If you’re self-employed in your day job, how does that affect your ability to pursue a separate creative calling?
  • Distributing our energy. We can put our energy into finding or creating or developing or tailoring our day jobs so that they support us financially and creatively. And we can put our energy into developing our creative careers so that we can earn money from them. And we can put energy into actual creativity—writing, painting, dancing, making music, however we express ourselves creatively. How do we decide where to focus our attention on any given day, week, month, or year?

Making Money from Creative Work

  • Money dreams. "Do What You Love and the Money Will Follow." How has this dream played out for you?
  • Creating and business. If you’re trying to earn money from your creative work, how do you manage the different requirements of creating your art, music, or writing versus running a business that sells your art, music, or writing?
  • Different logics. Often, being in business involves being strategic and goal oriented. We might develop marketing strategies, work to establish ourselves as leaders, set goals, and prioritize sales. The creative process often involves a more process-oriented logic: we follow the muse, go where the project leads, do what's intrinsically motivating, and allow things to unfold naturally. When does it make sense to follow which kind of logic?
  • Self-employment as a creative worker. How do we learn how to sell our creative work and manage a business built around our creative work?
  • Hiring help. When do we hire help with the business side of creativity, and what kind of help do we hire?

Money, Creativity, and the Life Cycle

  • Waiting for retirement. What happens when you postpone seriously pursuing your creative work until retirement?
  • Parenting. If you’re pursuing a creative calling, keeping a day job, and parenting, then you’re working three careers. How do you manage?
  • Gender, marriage, and family. What’s it like to pursue a creative calling as a single/married woman/man with/without children?
  • Age, creative work, and money. What’s involved in being a "starving artist" in your 20s versus in your 40s or your 60s?
  • Different strategies for different parts of the journey. How do we structure our creative careers differently as our lives change? For example, at different points of our lives, we might pursue a creative calling full time, we might go into debt to support a creative calling, we might work unrelated day jobs, or we might pursue careers that put our creative skills and talents to work on other people’s projects.

Struggle and Costs

  • Debt. When do we go into debt to pursue our creative dreams? What kind of debt do we accrue? How do we manage debt?
  • Managing time and energy. Pursuing a creative calling and a day job means pursuing two careers, in addition to our personal lives. How do we manage our time and energy so that we’re meeting our needs and staying happy and healthy?
  • Financial worry. When our creative callings cost money, or send us into debt, or entail the uncertain income and increased costs of self-employment, we can get into a habit of worry. What do we do about this?
  • Learning by example. Sometimes, the stories we hear about creativity and money run to extremes: it’s all either “starving artists” or “the universe pays me to do what I love.” But many creative people’s journeys are more complex than this. What true stories have you heard? What stories could you tell?
  • Compromise. Sometimes we compromise our creative dreams for increased financial stability. Sometimes, we compromise our financial security for the sake of our creative dreams. Our day jobs may feed our creative work or take away from our creative work or both. How much of these different kinds of compromise is wise? How much is necessary?
  • Work that costs money. While we hope to make money from our creative work, initially it often costs money, and this period of investment can go on for a long time. How do we decide how much money to invest in our creative dreams?
  • Faith and trust. What roles do faith and trust play in the serious pursuit of a creative calling? How do you nurture your faith? What enables you to trust? Are you ever reluctant to trust that things will be okay? Is it ever unwise to act on faith? Are you ever better off not trusting and not having faith?

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

Saturday 12 November 2011

Looking Under The Hood When The Dream Stalls by Helen Yee

Last last week I realized that I have not worked as consistently as I would have liked with my composing project. It made me uneasy because I had just felt like I had hit my stride, and yet here I was, stalled.

Somehow, instead of my more typical reaction, criticizing myself and labeling this as failure and proof that I'm never going to succeed at composing music, I wanted to look at this as an opportunity to learn what works for me. I wanted to pull over to the side of the road, open up the hood and look inside. What are the things that support working on my project and what doesn't?

I decided to ask two questions: Why has my project stalled, and what might I do differently?

It is more challenging to write when one's time is being pulled in different directions: the everyday life stuff, commitments to other music making endeavors, having house guests for a few days. What could I change? To be honest, I couldn't have done any work while hosting visitors so I gave myself a pass for those days. But for the other days I could see I might need to establish some kind of routine. For instance, I've noticed that once I'm at the desk with my tools around me and I begin, the creative process starts rolling easily. It doesn't seem to take much more than telling myself I'll only spend a short time on it, and (surprise, surprise) that timer is beeping in a blink and I wish I had more minutes remaining.

Or sometimes, my project stalls because it just doesn't feel fun anymore, especially when it seems I'm not making enough progress, or fast enough progress. I'm slogging away and I only move an inch, and I can't be so sure that's even an inch in the right direction! What might I do differently? I try to trick myself into making the work feel more like play. Putting aside pre-planning, relying on following curiosity and intuition might help me reduce the pressure of trying to produce a "great" work. It might mean finding some tools and methods that allow for more spontaneity. But I've also discovered that maybe I need to find tools that are more fun and inspiring for me to work with. It is like a garden tool that doesn't fit one's hand properly.

If the tool isn't a good fit the gardener winds up with muscle strain and blisters, the time creeps along slowly and the work of weeding seems interminable. But if she finds the tool that fits her hand, using it is a pleasure and the tool almost seems to do the work by itself. Or maybe making working on my dream more fun and pleasurable means taking the work to a cafe, or sprucing up my desk area. I believe the key is to keep trying different things.

I don't know yet how the experiment with establishing a routine to help me arrive at the desk ready to create will go. I don't yet know yet what the tools and methods that fit best in my "hand" are. What I do know is just by changing my approach from seeing "failure" to looking into how I can improve my creative commitment and process, I am already declaring to myself that my creative dream is a priority in my life. It is worth taking a look under the hood and starting up again when it stalls.

Helen Yee is an improvising violinist, multi-instrumentalist and composer. Currently violinist for the eclectic string trio, Trio Tritticali she also performs on yangqin with Music From China. She considers the practice of improvisation in all its forms a profound teacher in art and in life.

Thursday 10 November 2011

Easily Distracted by Shiny Objects or Projects... by Glenda Myles

How often have you met someone and asked: “How are you doing?” to get the response, “Things are crazy. Oh my goodness I am so busy.” We are all busy. This sense of busyness is often distracting. We think we are doing so much but yet when we consider what we are doing and what we are accomplishing there is often quite a gap.

It’s not hard to fill up our time in our day, week, or month. It’s actually very easy. Have you ever had one of those weeks? You sit back on the weekend and wonder where the week went, but then can’t really think of anything that you even accomplished? The difficult part is not filling up our day, but focusing our energy on our goals.

I suspect that we all have a part of a project that we find interesting and that which we find difficult. Some people find getting started hard but once they start they can push through. For myself, I find getting started easier but it’s the pushing through to the end that I find difficult. I like new ideas and new projects. I like taking the concept and creating a plan to make is a reality. As a result, I often get distracted from my goals when a new idea or project comes up. The new shiny project gets my attention more often than not.

Here are some strategies I have been using.

1.    Focus: Be clear on your goals and strategies to win
  • I keep track of my monthly goals that align with my annual goals. Weekly, I review these goals in my planner asking what I I did last week that aligned with my goals and what I plan to do in the next week.
2.    Space: Clear the schedule
  • It’s important to say no. This was a lesson, a hard lesson, that I learned this year. I had to give up some things that were important to me in order to give myself the space to work on my goals.
3.    Question: Will this move me forward?
  • It often very difficult especially for people like me that are attracted to the shiny new project to say no. I have tried to find space before I say yes or no to something – to consider is this aligned with my goals? If not, will it help me get to where I want to be? Will it bring me joy? Will it fill me with something that is missing?
This year, I have been trying to constantly recalibrate myself to get back on track. The reminders: what are my goals and are my actions in alignment with those goals.

Glenda at Myles Ahead Studio is a professional marketing strategist working to bring more creativity into business and make more ideas come to life.

Tuesday 8 November 2011

The "A" Student by Valarie Budayr

What would you do today if you knew you would not fail?

Many years ago the above question was written on a huge sign hanging above the doorway to my daughter’s kindergarten class. “Wow”, I thought, what a great way to start going to school. The teacher, before even meeting my daughter had already given her an “A” for the rest of her life. She could not fail when everyone around knew her already to be a success.

That was 19 years ago and the young girl has grown up into a beautiful woman and filled with success.

Over the last year I’ve had many creative and financial decisions to make. After writing several successful blog posts about the little fox family living in my yard, I decided to write a book about it. Should I publish traditionally or should I start a publishing house and publish my own book? One of the scariest moments was answering this question. I decided to start a publishing company but that came after I consciously decided what type of journey I wanted to take. I didn’t want to be rejected 200 times, or find an agent, or have my ideas completely rearranged for the benefit of a corporation. Once I made the decision to publish independently and started moving towards the goal of my printed book my fear subsided.

Ah yes, my fear subsided until I was actually holding the book in my hand. After that initial thrilling moment of holding my sweet little book in my hands passed by fear, and I mean big fear set in. The foremost question in my mind was “Who is going to buy this book?” At that time I had a few thousand copies sitting in a warehouse. My stomach lurches just thinking of that moment.

Over the next couple of days I remembered the quote at the beginning of this post and that’s when I decided to give myself an “A” and know that I had already accomplished my goal and I had not failed and I could not fail. Amazing what this little change in perception did for me. No longer did those little bumps in the road seem so daunting, they were merely learning opportunities.

So what next, I still had a few thousand copies of this book sitting around. I wrote a letter to myself stating how I had achieved my “A” in book marketing and sales. Step by step I detailed with great clarity, in the past tense, how many copies of the books I had sold, where I sold them, who bought them, the wonderful people I had met, the inspirations for new books, a community of liked minded authors etc. It was a love letter to my book and to myself. At the top of that letter I dated it 6 months ahead from the day I was writing. Every morning before even getting out of bed I would read my love letter to myself, my “A” letter.

This month is the 6th month since writing that letter. I’ve sold all of my books, ordered the second printing, I’ve met the most incredible people, am working on the 2nd edit of my next book and have been welcomed by many communities. Everything in the “A” letter has come true through my constant efforts of believing I am an “A” student, and doing what “A” students do, I work hard and know that I can do anything as long as I believe that I cannot fail.

What does success look like to you?
  • Write yourself an “A “ letter. What and how did you accomplish your goal?
  • Start with little steps towards reaching your ultimate goal.
  • When something isn’t working, take a step back and ask yourself if there are other ways this could be done.
  • Every time you accomplish one step in your goal, celebrate.
  • Be thankful for everything including the frustrations. The quote says you cannot fail not that you wouldn’t be frustrated. Frustration is a way of giving up resistance, making room for the new to come in.
  • Once you’ve reached your goal set another one. Now you are a master and know how to make your dreams come true.

Here’s wishing you many enjoyable and creative moments along your path.

Valarie Budayr is the founder of Audrey Press and author of the book The Fox Diaries: The Year the Foxes Came to our Garden. She is passionate about making kid’s books come alive and you can find her doing that on her popular blog and website, Jump into a Book. When she isn’t being bookie, she is very happily the mother of three uber creative children, married to a wonderfully patient man who has come to love yarn, and caretaker of one adored cat. Other creative interests are music, travel, knitting (a bonafide yarn harlot), and gardening. She loves living a daily creative practice, where even a good cup of coffee is art.

Sunday 6 November 2011

Big Fat Failure by Meghan Genge

"Acting on your own behalf is about slowly becoming a person you can count on." - Geneen Roth

my feet

Go gently.

There is a tender soul there.

They are doing the best they can, but they can't see that.

They can't see the path that is spiraling around ahead of them, bringing them closer and closer to where they want to be.

They only see that they aren't getting there.

They only see the times that they didn't follow through with their plan or didn't listen to their inner voice. They only remember eating the world and sleeping through and letting fear be the boss. They only remember that they somehow let themselves down.

They only see that they are a big fat failure.

They don't see the tender human being who is doing the best they can. They don't see that everyone else is struggling too. They don't see that other people sleep in and eat the world and don't write 10,000 words a day or have perfectly clean houses or perfect marriages or easy lives.

They don't see that they are beautiful and getting there.

Go gently.

There is a tender soul there who is learning their lessons slowly.

They don't see that every step forward that they do take is worth five steps back.

They don't see the other people who are looking at them and wondering how they got to be so wonderful.

They don't see that they shine.

Go gently.

Megg is a writer, a seeker, and a believer in magic.

Friday 4 November 2011

the in between time by Kimberly LeClair

I used to always think things like “I should do _____, it would be so fun” (fill in the blank with some exciting creative project) and then never do it.
Something has changed.

Now, when I have an idea I’m doing it. I’m actively engaged in several projects, have completed some and am happy with how they worked out. I have energy to keep going.

And ... I have no idea how to feel or think about myself at all.

It’s actually very very strange....

I know that as humans when we go thru transitions and periods of change our inner identity shifts and we have corresponding emotions. The image of the trapeze artist as she lets go of one bar and hasn’t quite caught the next one - the moment of raw terror when the man loses his job and doesn’t have a new one yet - the feelings we all get when we suffer a loss and we keep expecting to see our loved one in the old familiar places but they aren’t there. I’ve heard about these transitory times before, I’ve even had some of my own experiences.

But I still feel really weird. There’s a void there, I feel it on the inside - I don’t quite know how to talk about what I’m doing - the brain structures, the language, they aren’t quite there yet. And something else --- I’m aware of some really old inner demons knocking on the door of my psyche. Lots of inner chatter about how none of this is really possible, how I’m really not a very good person at all, how I will never be able to move forward and do bigger things, how at any moment the entire world will start laughing in unison.

So this in between time, it’s tough....really tough... My hope is that as I keep moving forward, keep doing what I have energy to do that I will eventually feel Stronger in this New Life. I will eventually have more Integrity on the Inside, talking about things will get easier again, I will have a better sense of who I am again.

Until then, I’m positive that I need support structures on the outside to keep reminding me that I’m on the right path, that I’m actually still here and a complete person and all will be well. I need to be honest with others about what is going on for me, as best I can, to keep any gnarly knots of shame from growing. I need my True Friends. People who can simply say “of course this is what you should be doing!” -- That statement is like a lifeboat right now.

As I write this the word Hope is standing out for me - in this in between time Hope is there, hope that there is a time when this will all feel more solid, when I will feel more Solid again.

Hope and maybe Faith and Trust too....and True Friends --- these are my companions, my lifelines, during this in between time.

Kim LeClair has been a shadow creative for the past 40 years but is finally deciding to come out into the light. Kim is In the Process of Creating her Dream Job....Creative Director of east willow studios. For now, you can visit her at one of her other adventures -- MoveJoyUs or fitness for mere mortals.

Wednesday 2 November 2011

Beauty and Bread by Tammy Durham

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul. --John Muir

We spent a day a few weeks ago in Muir Woods on the Northern California coast. We arrived into the woods very early in the morning before almost all of the other visitors arrived. (It is always quite crowded with people.) Because we were so early, we were able to walk through this amazing stand of giant redwood trees dedicated to the amazing John Muir without any human sounds, other than our own footfalls.

During this time, I realized that this was something I have been missing in my life since we left our beloved Oregon coast to move to California for my husband’s job. In Oregon, we were surrounded by this amazing natural beauty all the time. We looked out on Devil’s Lake from our little apartment, and the ocean was a short half mile away.

Since moving, we have had to seek out beauty. It’s around, but we’re not right there in it. And I think that has had a very negative effect on my psyche. The move to California has been a difficult transition for me, and in moving, we (my husband and I both) have learned that Oregon is where we want to be, actually NEED to be. But, as we are currently NOT there, I need to find ways to feed my soul.

The time in Muir Woods was actually healing and energizing. I reveled in the silence, and it felt meditative. We saw three different bucks grazing around. It rained (which was definitely welcome!) and the sound of the drops falling through the trees, the light mist on our faces… made for a perfect experience.

And just a couple weeks later, we ventured to Yosemite National Park. It was another wonderful experience that fed our souls. There were quite a few people around, but it wasn’t over crowded, so we were able to take in all of the beauty. (It was another rainy day, oddly enough – perfect!)

So, though we don’t love where we live, we are finding ways to feed our souls as John Muir so elegantly put it. (And he was speaking of the places we’ve been able to visit!) As I’ve felt quite in a funk lately, this was such a needed revelation for me. My creativity and energy seem to be somewhat revved up following both of these adventures too! We are planning another early morning visit to Muir Woods next weekend!

Where do you find the beauty you need to go along with your bread? How do you feed your soul? Does communing in nature help you find your center and get back on track? How have you found ways to help yourself out of funks or blue places in life?

Tammy is an artist using many mediums to create and a web designer/editor by trade. She is the owner of Off-Center Studio.