Tuesday 29 May 2012

Your Creative Dream Team

The amazing dreamers who make up Creative Dream Journals are all alumnae of a powerful small group coaching program called Circe's Circle: Your Creative Dream Team. Led by creative living coach Jamie Ridler, this program is designed to help you bring a project to life in an inspiring environment, adding powerful tools to your dreamer's resource kit and growing your awareness of and confidence in your own unique magnificence

“Circe’s Circle felt like a nurturing cocoon for my dream. Knowing that I had that kind of support and encouragement helped me face the many fears that came up along the way. It also kept me on track and moving forward." Andrea Schroeder.

“[Circe's Circle] helped me to take each of the strands of my identity and weave them into a beautiful fabric that I feel proud to share with the world.” Amy Palko

Discover your magnificence and gain a creative dream team here.

Saturday 26 May 2012

Your Dreams Are Possible by Andrea Schroeder

I've got a special treat for you today - a half hour class on possibility and dreams:

With a paintbrush in one hand & a glitter-gun in the other, Andrea Schroeder lovingly mentors men & women who want to lead creatively abundant lives — and do ‘impossible’ things, with ease & joy. Express the greatest parts of who YOU are, at www.CreativeMagicAcademy.com.

Tuesday 22 May 2012

Following Your Own Inner Wisdom is Freakin' Crucial by Kelly Besecke

I can point to so many people I've learned life lessons from. I've talked about some of them in other posts on this blog, and some are other contributors. But for me, the greatest lesson I've learned is to follow my inner wisdom. It's a cliché, but it's truth, and that's the way to say it.

The best teachers I've had are people who have helped me do this. They modeled integrity themselves; or they actively listened to me and asked questions to help me figure out what I want, think, and feel; or they reacted positively when I followed my own path, spoke my mind, wrote what I wanted to write, and was true to myself.

Following my inner knower is a muscle I have to keep exercising, because it's rarely convenient. She likes to go against the grain, and that makes her both endearing and frustrating, like a toddler, only one with years of experience, insight, conviction, and perspective. So, maybe not so much like a toddler. Maybe more like some other stereotype—a hippie, a bohemian, a ne'er-do-well, a self-absorbed artiste, a layabout. Because my inner knower almost always comes across as lazy, self-indulgent, and irresponsible, on the surface. But she's not. She's just serving a deeper purpose, one that has to do with developing the soul, growing as a human being, becoming more myself, and experiencing life richly.

Just in the past couple of weeks, my inner knower has had to deal with conversations like these:
  • My habits of mind say, "It's Sunday. You should be productive today." My inner knower says "No. You need to go to the park and cut pictures out of magazines."
  • My tax bill says, "You should sacrifice some of your writing time so you can do more income-generating work." My inner knower says, "You need to stay on the path you're on. You can be creative about this."
  • Some insidious voice says, "You need to sacrifice your own best interests to accommodate other people's convenience." My inner badass says "Are you kidding me?! Step aside while I pull out my Tommy gun." (Wow, I didn't know my inner spirit had a Tommy gun till I wrote that just now. I'm pretty pacifist, so I'm both horrified and impressed.)

The thing is, she's right. I can tell because when I don't do what she says, I get depressed, and life feels like a burden. When I do do what she says, the world seems open to me. I'm alive again.

In her great book Finding Your Own North Star, Martha Beck talks about the debilitating pain she gets when she doesn't do what her inner knower tells her to do. She says "I certainly hope that you don't have as antagonistic a relationship with your body as I used to have with mine. I hope you don't develop shooting pains and embarrassing rashes every time you step off your true path. Most people don't. For the majority of my clients, their physical reactions to life choices are much more subtle—sometimes barely noticeable. But they are most decidedly there." I quote this for you, because I'm in Martha's fun club: when I don't do what my inner knower tells me to do, my brain chemistry freaks out and does what it can to incapacitate me and generally make me miserable. Stick, carrot—whatever works, I suppose.

But they used canaries to test coal mines for a reason. Sensitive freaks like me and Martha Beck are just extreme versions of normal people. Jamie Ridler once called it "having a super-powerful inner compass." But everyone has an inner compass, right? It's just that for some people, their inner compass points them toward things like "become an investment banker" or "marry a millionaire," and so their struggles are different. But all of us are better off when we can find a way to go in the directions that our inner compass points. When we do, we're more alive. We're more ourselves. We're absolutely more creative. We make possibilities that wouldn't be there otherwise.

So your teachers rock. Mine do, anyway. But the best thing for you about your teachers is that they point you toward your own inner wisdom. They resonate with something amazing in you. They help you hear, they help you follow. You say "yes." You don't know what will happen. But you know you're living your real life.

Kelly Besecke writes about spiritual meaning, progressive religion, and authentic living. Her first book, You Can't Put God in a Box: A Thoughtful Spirituality for a Rational Age, will be out in 2013. Kelly is a dreamer, a thinker, and an incurable idealist who loves singer-songwriter music, impressionism, and every dog she's ever met.

Saturday 19 May 2012

Teaching by Ginny Lennox

I am sure we all have a favorite teacher.   They made us think, they challenged us with their questions or their projects, and they let us know they cared not only about us but about everyone in the class.  It is not easy being this type of teacher but it is the type of teacher that every child and adult deserves.

Having spent the last thirty years of my life in a school, I feel qualified to say what makes a great teacher.  It does not matter if you are five or sixty-five you deserve to be taught by someone who is passionate about their subject matter and can make that subject come alive before your eyes.  A great teacher is someone who knows and truly understands that not everyone is the same or learns the same. They prepare their lessons for every type of learner.  They come to class every day prepared and ready to teach.

The question is often asked, “Are teachers born or can you be taught to be a teacher?”  I think it is a little bit of both.  I really believe a great teacher is born with the desire to help people and is able to share what they know in a way that is nonthreatening.  Teachers can be taught strategies but they cannot be taught to care.  A teacher who cares about her students will find a way to reach them all.  They will know when to ask for help with a student who is struggling and they will be glad to let the advanced students move ahead.

Now that I have retired I have been taking lots of classes.  Some of the classes have a teacher standing in front of me and some are online.  It doesn’t matter which type of class I am in.  A good teacher is a good teacher.  They know what the objectives of the class are and they know how to evaluate whether their lessons are meeting the needs of their students.  They are always finding a way to communicate with their students.  As an adult student, be sure that your goals for what you want to learn meet that of the teacher’s syllabus.

I know that you don’t have to be in a classroom to teach.  We are all teaching people all of the time.  But I can tell you there is nothing like that moment when a child’s eyes light up when they understand something for the first time.  There is nothing better than teaching the son or daughter of one of your former students and know that they requested that their child be in your class.  There is nothing better than getting a hug at the end of the day or an apple at lunch from a five year old.  Just yesterday I saw one of my previous kindergarten students.  She is now a mom with a child in third grade.  We both remembered her kindergarten year fondly.   It was so much fun to reminisce about all those special days so many years ago.

If you have a special teacher and you know how to reach her, let her know you still care.  I bet one of the reasons you still do is because when you were in his or her class they let you know in some way each day how very much they cared about you!

Ginny 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.

Wednesday 16 May 2012

Shining Lights in Dark Places - My Shadow, My Teacher by Amy Palko

Sliver of Light

The dark places are not something I've consciously chosen - in fact, I've always considered myself something of a light-seeker. And yes, I realize that my postgraduate degree in gothic literature highlights the irony of that statement! But then something has been stirring recently, and I've felt a curiosity, a desire to (consciously) explore those recesses in which we hide all our 'worst' traits.

In the archetype readings that I do for clients we explore the light aspects of the god and goddess archetypes they draw most heavily upon, and then I shine a light on the shadow aspects.

Now, I need to do this sensitively, because it's never easy to hear about those parts of ourselves that remain unintegrated by our psyche. It's important to deliver this information with as much compassion and understanding as I'm capable of.

And, so I generally start by saying that within each of us is a full kaleidoscope of traits that humanity expresses as a whole. There is no trait that you are unable to express given the right conditions and context. Read that sentence again. There is no trait that you are unable to express given the right conditions and context. You're likely to feel resistance to that statement - I know I do! However, when we accept its truth we see that the shadow is not, in fact, negative; it merely shelters the aspects of ourselves that we've been conditioned to believe are not ok.

The shadow is where we repress the parts of ourselves that we believe render us essentially unacceptable, undesirable, unlovable.

But the real truth is that the darkness hides not that which is negative, but that which is unseen, that which stays sheltered by our lack of awareness. Our traits which reside in our shadow exist there solely because we have chosen, consciously or otherwise, not to bring them out into the light, claim them as our own and integrate them into our way of being.

However, this is precisely where we encounter difficulties, because it's when we don't acknowledge these hidden traits, they act out. They're calling out for our attention and they do so by revealing themselves in ways which compromise our coherent sense of self.

And yet, these traits have many gifts to give us if only we are willing to bring them out into the light. When we recognize and claim, say, selfishness, we can see that this trait offers us the gifts of
  • determining clear boundaries on our own time, energy and other resources.
  • keeping a weather-eye on our self-care practices.
  • and, paradoxically, it allows us to extend generosity, because when we have attended to our own needs and established our own boundaries, we find ourselves in a much better position to give to others.
You see, when we act from a position of awareness, we allow ourselves to make conscious choices that are not only in our own best interests, but in the best interests for others too.

Awareness allows us to live our lives from a place of compassion rather than judgment.

So, when I explore my own personal shadow, or I facilitate another to explore their own shadow through an archetype reading, I do so to help bring an awareness to an otherwise hidden trait, and then I can go looking for the gifts. The light that we bring to this endeavour comes from the twin-flames of loving kindness and compassionate acceptance, and when we embrace this light, we allow ourselves to shine brightly and brilliantly.

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 of the series Ancient Wisdom for the Modern Goddess, exploring goddess myths and moon cycles through story, journalling, visualisation and creative exercise.

Sunday 13 May 2012

Teaching is My Passion by Alli Vainshtein

Teaching is my passion.

As I get more experience as a teacher, I have learned that sometimes little things you say can be blown out of proportion and change a life. This can be a good thing, but it carries a lot of responsibility. I had a piano teacher (for 12 years) that I started with at a very young age. When I did well, I was a good Swede. When I didn't do well, I was a dumb Norwegian. My heritage includes both, but I always describe myself as Swedish. I approved heartily when my brother moved to Sweden, but inside I was disappointed when my sister married a Norwegian. I know now that this was my piano teacher's idea of a joke, and I actively try to overcome this prejudice, living in Minnesota where there are as many Norwegians as there are mosquitoes. It has made me more cautious about what I say to my students.

When I was working as a minister, I had a woman tell me that I changed her life. She came up to me in church, told me she was inspired and named her first child after me. She told me that she met me when I was preaching on a street corner in downtown Minneapolis. I told her that she had the power to change her future with her choices. At the time, I recall she and a few of her friends threw banana peels and eggs at me. Later, she went home and thought about how she was living her life and how she wanted to change that. She ran away from home when she was 12 and had been living as a prostitute. She told me that she had never really thought about her own choices, that she had considered herself a victim of abuse at home and abuse on the street. This gave her the courage to come to the women's shelter and change her life. I didn't know about it until 4 years later, she was married, had a good job, and had just had a child. I was so humbled by the fruit from this seed I had planted.

I think of the inspirational moments in my own life. I remember just a few phrases, words, and kind deeds from teachers who changed my life. Sometimes they were words taken out of context, but they burrowed their way into my brain and found the courage to change the way I think.

It may take just one person to inspire you and change your life. It may take one book, one movie, one poem, or one quote. It may be the status somebody shares on facebook. It may be a picture that you happen to see. These are seeds. Nurture them. Let them grow. Look for the positive seeds, the kind deeds, the beautiful ideas, and give them life.

I am finding out that imagination is not just for children. Imagination is powerful. This is how we makes our dreams become reality. This is how we change our world. Imagine your day the way you want it to go, then make the choices that will bring that dream into your reality. Don't wait for miracles, create them. The human brain is powerful. You can create patterns in your brain with positive ideas, positive thoughts, and positive words. This is why visualization is so useful. This is why role-playing works so well. If you role-play a job interview, for instance, and practice the really difficult questions, when you are under stress, your brain will fall back on the patterns that you have created. If you have test anxiety, practice taking tests. Start with the free personality tests online. They are fun and you can't fail. Then look online for other tests. You can find a test for just about any subject, and often the answer keys are online as well. Practice taking them until you feel that you can take them successfully. Your brain will fall into the pattern of success and you will overcome that anxiety.

I had a dream. There was a beautiful swan named Burilda. she kept smiling at me and welcoming me into her nest. She taught me many things about the world, about life, about myself, and about the future. Then she looked at me and said, "I am you. You are a beautiful swan. You are the teacher. Share your knowledge with the world and make it a better place. Don't worry about seeing changes right away, because seeds often give up just before they bear fruit."

I am embracing Burilda.

Alli Vainshtein is an instructor at Riverland Community College. She teaches business, accounting, medical administration, human relations, technical computer and software. She is also working on a doctorate in Organizational Management and Leadership. She is a Reiki Practitioner, an ordained minister, a licensed private investigator, an accountant, and jack-of-all-trades. She lives in Northfield, Minnesota with her husband, Igal and Pooh, the feline dictator. She is always looking for new ways to enjoy her spiritual journey through life.

Thursday 10 May 2012

Strawberry Waffles and Prosperity by Susan Cadley

We sat across from each other in the restaurant booth, chatting away about the church service we just attended and our plans for the upcoming week. Two friends sharing breakfast and life’s details. Little did I know that I was going to receive a lesson in prosperity after the strawberry waffles had been enjoyed, bite by luscious bite.

My friend Edith was 79 years old when we met; I was in my 20’s. We formed a close friendship right from the start. I had just moved to a new city in my home state of Michigan to begin a new job in outside sales. I settled into a townhouse and during my first week there, I had a problem with the lock on one of the windows. I called the leasing office and they sent a maintenance man right away. A very friendly young man, my age, showed up to fix the window. We talked about how I was new in town and was hoping to meet people with like interests. He noticed some books I had on my table and shared with me there was a book study group that in the townhome complex I lived in. The book study was based on “You Can Heal Your Life” by Louise Hay. He said he would contact the person who was hosting the group and ask her to invite me. Unknowingly I was about to enter into what would become a catalyst of my spiritual growth.

Edith was the leader and teacher of the group and everyone else was my age. We would read a chapter aloud and then discuss how it applied to us and what we might be experiencing. I could tell everyone was hanging on Edith’s words as she added her wisdom to that of Louise Hay. At the end of the night, someone had to drive Edith home, and I always volunteered. As we slipped through the darkness, I became more illumined as she continued to share her wisdom with me. It was during these slow drives to her home that we became friends. I often felt like I was riding on air as I drove home after dropping her off, thinking about all I was learning.

Edith and I began attending church together, someone would bring her to church and often I would drive her home. It was then that we occasionally stopped for lunch. Since Edith was on a limited income and I had a “corporate” job, so I picked up the check when we would go out. She was a gracious receiver most of the time, until the day we both ordered the waffles with strawberries on top. As I went to grab the check at the end of our meal, Edith told me that this time she would like to pay. I insisted and she sternly told me that if I did not allow her to treat me, I would be blocking her prosperity. What?? This stopped me in my tracks, Edith explained: she was a great believer that what you give comes back to you ten fold. She told me that she needed an opportunity to give, so that her prosperity would remain flowing. With that in mind, I said a gracious thank you. To this day I allow others to give to me with this idea in mind. Giving and receiving need to flow and if we lean too much in either direction, our life can get out of balance. Share, give freely, love and also receive this so you not only experience your good, but also assist another person’s prosperity flow.

Wishing you prosperity in all forms, and a waffle with great big strawberries on top!

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.

Sunday 6 May 2012

Creative Living with Jamie: Meghan Genge


Creative Dream Journals writer Meghan Genge was interviewed on Creative Living with Jamie. Have a listen and get to know more about Megg and her creative life.


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

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
  • Jamie mentions herFull Moon Dreamboard Circle.

By the way...

You can find more episodes of Creative Living with Jamie on iTunes or at www.creativelivingwithjamie.ca.

Thursday 3 May 2012

Consulting the Oracle by Meghan Genge

"In fairy tales, when something bad happens it means that something new has to be tried, a new energy has to be introduced, a helper, healer, magic force has to be consulted." - Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes

thinking pier web 
I own a very battered copy of Women Who Run with the Wolves. In fact, WWRWTW was the very first book that I properly wrote in. Before then, I wouldn't even fill in the blanks in books you were supposed to write in, but from the very first page I must have known that my experience with this book would somehow be different. I even dated the first reading in the same pen. Every time I have read the book since, I have used a different colour pen or pencil.

And do you know what? In the past 14 years, every time I went to the book, I underlined something different.

Apart from yellowing pages and a battered cover, the book hasn't changed. Not one word, sentence or paragraph has been altered in that time and yet different things are underlined depending on the date that they were read.

The book hasn't changed in 14 years, but I have. All of the wisdom, all of the stories and all of the words were there the very first time I opened that book, but I wasn't ready to read them.

There is a theory that you can't see something in others without it being present in yourself. I'd like to take that one step further and argue that all of the wisdom that you need is also already present within you when you are ready to hear it. All you are searching for in a book, a coach, a teacher, a mentor, a film or even a place of worship is the mirror that will reflect your inner knowing back to you.

And when you are ready, it will be there waiting. Just make sure you always carry a good pen.

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