Thursday 25 April 2013

Voyage of Discovery by Lisa DeYoung


This month the creative dreamers were prompted to think about the rhythms and practices of our creative lives. Part of my rhythm right now is to be part of the dreamers here at the Creative Dream Journals each month. For this I've decided to make a practice of creating a hand lettering piece that speaks to me about our prompt for the month.

This month, the quote in my piece above, by Ralph Waldo Emerson, spoke to me – it seems to describe how I think of my creative life very well.

I imagine myself on a ship where sometimes the waters are easy to navigate, and sometimes the swells make it difficult to see beyond where I am currently navigating. Along the voyage there are things that must be done regularly to keep the ship on course. And the ship must be kept nimble for when a reason to shift course, to explore a new discovery, comes along. Sometimes my chart takes me into familiar territory where I can be with friends and loved ones, and some times I'm in unfamiliar territory where I have to go it alone. If I'm lucky I have friends I can call on when I'm in unfamiliar territory, and I also realize that I need to be prepared to take responsibility for my decisions on how I proceed.

This voyage I am on is never quite the same from year-to-year, day-to-day, and sometimes even moment-to-moment. It is at the whim of the many factors that make up my life - including my physical wellness, my desires, my emotions, my obligations, and even the weather.

My creative life sometimes does not feel like it has rhythm at all - but is moving along an erratic path that has no clear direction or destination. It used to make me crazy and frustrated when I felt this – which only made enjoying the journey and discoveries very difficult. In recent years I have found that relaxing as I navigate rough terrain make things clearer. And it makes the discovery of the unknown that much sweeter.

When I feel overwhelmed and I cannot see over to the next swell I take a deep breath and strive to enjoy the process of navigating the current swell – keeping my eye on the horizon scanning for the next discovery that is inevitably just beyond.

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.

Monday 22 April 2013

Creativity is Good Medicine By Susan Cadley

Being up with a cold at night as a child was miserable until I was offered the glowing red cherry spoonful of cough syrup. It was a promise on a spoon towards feeling better. At least that’s what my parents would tell me, and they were usually right. I would feel better after the warmth coated my throat and I could sleep restfully.

Creativity is like a spoonful of good medicine for the soul. For me there is a visceral difference in how I feel in my inner world, when I take my creativity medicine and when I don’t.
  • When I’m not nurturing my creativity, life feels lackluster, boring, serious, flat, gray. I don’t feel like I’m fully being me.

  • When I am nurturing my creativity, life feels vibrant, alive, buzzing with possibilities, satisfying. My soul gets to express and experience.

In order for me to keep my life feeling vitally alive, I’ve had to enlist my left-brain to remain accountable for carving out time for fun and play. I’ve learned from the creativity masters; Jill Badonsky, Jamie Ridler, SARK, and Julia Cameron to name few…that even spending a few minutes at a creative pursuit is enough to open the door to these wonderful feelings. I believe that creativity in any form opens an internal door for your soul to express.

Here are a few ways I’ve blended in creativity into my life:

Hold the Space

A few years ago I realized I needed to dedicate time to my creativity or everything in my life took precedence. I had never painted before, so I took a class at my local Parks & Recreation Center and I’ve been doing this ever since. If there’s not a current class, I use this time to paint at home. I also mark off time in my schedule for dance classes at the gym as I consider this a creative activity. On the days I don’t have something fun scheduled I might be found taking photos in my backyard, around my office, or on a walk. If you have a camera on your phone, you have a creative tool with you at all times.

It’s important to be conscious of your creative time each week. There will always be items on your to do list. And maybe, just maybe if you schedule some creative time, you’ll plow through that list with a bit more energy because you’ve been filled up. Schedule your time and protect it. It is sacred to your soul.


The left-brain loves this activity – naming, boxing, and organizing. I took the time last year to box and label my creative supplies. I put on some great music and got to work. So now, when I decide what I’m going to work with, I can find the supplies I need easily. I used to become dissuaded from beginning a project because I couldn’t find what I needed in my messy creative stash.

Ask for Support

I’ve shared with my family and friends how important my creative time is and I’ve asked them to support me in claiming my time. It’s a wonderful feeling when a friend asks me what I’ve been doing with my creative time. Ask for what you need and you might just receive it!

Carving out time for your creativity may cause these side effects: more ideas flowing, moments of unbridled happiness, giddiness, problem solving, joy, energy, heightened intuition, satisfaction, fun, connection, learning, opening, hope, love…

Add a dose of this medicine to your week, and then notice how you feel. Wishing you more.

Susan is a Licensed Psychotherapist and Soul Coach and soul 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.

Thursday 18 April 2013

Calendars, Lists, and Office Supplies (oh my!) by Kelly Besecke

Last month, I wrote about how with a creative life, you lack the provided structure and schedule that are a part of most jobs; instead, you make up your life as you go along. At the same time, you do have priorities, and you want to make sure to really prioritize them and not just drift, letting circumstances and others' wishes take the place of bosses and job descriptions.

In my effort to give method to this madness, I find myself in a creative relationship with calendars and to-do lists. (Do they love me as much as I love them? I wonder.) I find that every few months, I feel an urge to take a step back and reflect on what my priorities have been, and more than that, what I want them to be as I move forward into the next phase. I journal about what I want or need to give time and attention to. I'm one of those people whose inner life is as organized as my outer life is disorganized, so I end up sorting through all the values and priorities that I journal about and putting them into categories. Which I color-code. And then transfer to two different calendars and multiple to-do lists, using cute bullet points and fonts that don't make me feel trapped. (You have to do this kind of thing with time-management devices; otherwise, they think they're in charge.)

For example, a couple of years ago, I was really struggling with the balance between my creative work—my first book—and my freelancing work, which is the work that brings in money. If I drifted too far to one side, I was all happy, except for every time I swiped my credit card to pay for basic needs that I couldn't afford. Over too far on the other side, I was bringing in money but feeling alienated from myself and like I was watching my life recede. And like most people, I also had other priorities—family; groceries, laundry, car maintenance, paperwork, and all the ordinary chores of keeping a household going; time that I wanted to spend with friends or just at leisure, having fun; my long-postponed quest for a good man (I hear they're hard to find); things I needed to do for my health, such as exercise and spending time in the sun (I get seasonal depression, and the sun is my very best friend in the whole world and my favorite antidepressant. Does it love me as much as I love it? I think I will judge this by whether or not I eventually get skin cancer).

It seems obvious in retrospect, but it was a big deal to figure out how to use the calendar to balance these things. I marked designated days to work on my book, and I stuck to them no matter how worried I was about money. I started with one day a week, and then that didn't feel like enough, so I settled on two. And I had designated days for clients, and scheduled time for chores and leisure. I marked them off on my calendar in their different colors, but I also moved them around when I wanted to. Just having them there helped me make sure that I was attending in a regular way to my two big priorities of writing a book and earning a living, as well the other things that mattered.

Recently, I finished the book. (I finished the book!) Well, for the most part. The manuscript is now with my publisher's production team, and I will have work to do—writing the index, reviewing copyedits and page proofs, and a variety of marketing-and-promotion tasks—but it feels like a whole new phase of things, Whole and New, and I found myself with that familiar urge to step back and reflect on What Next. More and more, I felt that this division that I had constructed in my work life between money work and creative work, as much as it had helped for the past two years, wasn't the way to move forward. The categories are blending. My creative work now includes marketing and promotion, and I want my paid work to gradually move in a more creative direction. Meanwhile, the long-postponed Quest for Love needs to finally get prioritized, and so does a certain kind of self-nourishment that I've sidelined while I've been working two jobs.

So I have a new calendar, and a new to-do list, with new colors and fonts and fun bullet points. (Okay, really I have two calendars and two lists, one broader and one more detailed version of each. Have I mentioned that I also enjoy pretty office supplies?) Despite its multitude, this new organizational system is simpler, because it has only four categories: Work, Man, Self, Chores. And the simplicity helps me organize in my mind the myriad of activities included in each category, especially work: the production of my book, promoting it and myself as a writer, looking for more creative paid-work opportunities, working with current and prospective clients, updating my freelancing website, and gestating book #2, which will be about exactly this kind of thing: How do writers, artists, musicians, and other creative types balance their creative work with earning a living? I know from my own life and from listening to others, especially musicians, that it's not something that you just figure out once and stick with forever. Circumstances change, other life priorities emerge and fall away, and the musician who's writing songs and touring full-time this year might have been working in a factory, teaching guitar, and performing on weekends last year; might be recording and producing next year; and might be writing commercial music for hire and touring occasionally the year after that.

And so it is with creative living. Organizing a creative life is creative exercise in itself.

(And aren't these cute?)

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 later this year. Kelly is a dreamer, a thinker, and an incurable idealist who loves singer-songwriter music, impressionism, and every dog she's ever met.

Monday 15 April 2013

Your Creative Dreams Don't Need Support by Andrea Schroeder

Last month I hosted a tele-playdate where we played with and explored the idea of Creating Perfect Support Systems for our Creative Dreams.

I set this up in hopes that we would discover that system or product or way-of-doing-things that makes everything magically easy, always, forever and ever.

But when we invited the heart and soul of SUPPORT to join us in the circle, I was completely blown away:

My Creative Dreams don’t need support.

They are already perfectly and beautifully supported by spirit and purpose. Nothing I can create or find or buy would add to this in any noticeable way. My creative dreams are already completely supported, perfectly whole and complete and real on the spiritual plane(s).

It’s me who needs support! You and me and all the other creative dreamers. Bringing a dream to life is a big job that demands internal growth. Internal growth almost always requires a different kind of support than you think it does.

This is part of the nature of being in the process of change, you can’t properly anticipate what you need because you’re thinking from where-you-were and the support is needed at the level of where-you’re-going. That’s why I playdate these things instead of attempt to teach them – playdates open you up to your creative genius and divine intuition so you can get the answers you need.

During the playdate the heart and soul of support asked me to let go of some old dreams, and old ways of seeing myself, to free up my energy to be more supportive of the dreams that want to come to life now. This is NOT even close to what I was expecting.

I was expecting stuff like: spend more time working on it, be more organised and productive, have a better system, get expert advice, hire the right help, blah, blah blah. In hindsight, those do sound like things my inner critics would say, not my inner genius.

So I wasn’t expecting, even a little bit, to be asked to let go of dreams that I’d held for so long they feel like a part of who I am. When I received that message, I felt totally blown away and confused.

But now? Not even two weeks later, I think it’s AMAZING the way our dreams can lead us to discover new aspects of who we really are.

Of Course(!) it’s time to let go of some of those dreams. I have been feeling like it doesn’t all fit. Letting go makes space for what’s really important right now. And it’s not like I destroyed the old dreams – I can always go back to them if I want to.

Right now I feel free. Like there is enough room for what matters, like there is even enough room for my dreams to grow bigger than I think they can.

This is the soul work play of bringing a dream to life. I am blown away grateful that this is also the work work I get to do every day, and that I get to do it with such amazing and inspiring people. I have so much love for all of you.

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 11 April 2013

The Empty Room by Angel Young

Sometimes the room is just empty. Uninhabited. And uninhabited for some time. Above is a photo I took in the Yukon, at Fork Selkirk. We had been canoeing for days already and there were still many ahead of us.

The action of canoeing everyday really pares everything down. There is paddling, making camp, making fire, preparing food, eating, sleeping, striking camp, and paddling. Don't get me wrong there is beauty and wildlife and fresh air and lots of good things, but basically everything boils down to the basics. There is not the energy to write a journal, nor read a book and there's no broadband or phone signal out there in the wilderness. But the space was restoring in some way. It ordered my thoughts, even though I was unaware of it. It settled my always upset tummy. My health improved (in spite of my high chocolate consumption). It restored my soul.

And with creativity it's the same. It's an empty room. It's an awe-inspiring trip which is also exhausting. Creativity needs periods of no productivity. This informs the other times. After I finished my Art MA, I literally did no art at all for 2 years. I had given everything and it was time to focus on resting - on refilling the room.

So if your room is empty, go with it. Let it be. Stop fighting your natural fallow season. There may be nothing happening on the surface but the dust motes are settling, the room is breathing, exhaling. And that's ok. When you are ready your creativity will, of course, return.

Angel lives in the UK and is looking forward to warmer days.

Monday 8 April 2013

Chutes & Ladders as Metaphor for Life and Creative Practice by Jodi Crane

Life is a journey goes the ole cliché.  But is it true.  The ups and down, hills and valleys, mountains and molehills, the curves and straightaways, summer and winter, darkness and light.

A few weeks ago I bought a Chutes & Ladders game.  I couldn’t believe that as a family with a 13-
year-old and 7-year-old we didn’t already own it.  I have happy memories of playing it as a child.

According to Wikipedia, this game has its history in other games that attempted to teach morality lessons of virtue and good deeds.  For me, this game could be a metaphor for life.  I’m not saying that life is a game.  However, throughout our lives there are both positive and negatives surprises.  The ladders are rewarding as they move us farther along our paths to reach our goals and dreams.  But these same ladders involve some effort and work or we would fall down them.  The chutes (slides) represent the rough times that seem to move us backward.  On the game board, though, young children enjoy moving their game piece down the slide, at least until they discover they are losing.  For us, the rough patches can have positive consequences if we take the time to learn from these experiences. 

Eventually, we call make it to the end of the game unless we choose to stop before we reach our destination.  In Chutes & Ladders there are winners and losers that are only determined by staying in the game and experiencing either good or bad luck.  This is where this metaphor falls short since life isn’t that simple.

For me there is a rhythm to life.  A rhythm to the seasons.  Creative practice then becomes a way for me to 1) keep moving along and not drop out of the game, 2) have the strength and courage to move up the ladders, 3) deal with the negative thoughts and feelings associated with the chutes, and most importantly, 4) enjoy the ride.  This most precious life.

Jodi Crane is a counseling professor, play therapist, creative, mom, and blogger. Find her at

Thursday 4 April 2013

My Creative Groove by Julie Gibbons

I forge each day fresh and new

I think bravery is key to it. That and keeping an open heart. When it comes to the acting out of it, anyway.

Fine tuning intuition helps, to hear the rhythm of the ebb and flow that makes for a more sensual dance.

Of course there's an overall plan. A direction. Needs and wants. Family and fortune. They play their part - for I'm not yet a free spirit in the wind.

And then there's also the wee bouts of obsession.

When I get so very enthused about my latest thing that I want to tell everybody I meet about it (and persuade them to get started, too?)


Those types of obsessions help shape my every day. They become a part of me.

Daily rituals, they change all the time

Creative energy is hard to pin down. Lithe and fluid, it grows and shrinks according to nutrients and kindness.

Sometimes it's loud and other times it just needs to be still.

Learning how to not force it is an art. Like all art, this takes practice and dedication.

When it comes down to it, there's a type of sacrifice that has to be made. An offering of self.

Creative source, I will open myself up to your whim and in return, you will inhabit me and I shall harness your energy to create form in this world.

  hoop spin

Today that form may be hoop dance, tomorrow the making of mandalas. I am listening to your desires. 

Together we will make the choice. One eye on the plan, the other turned into my soul.

Surrendering to change

Sometimes it seems as if I might fall off this very earth if I don't hold on tight - just go zooming off into the cosmic soup, leaving a shimmering jet trail behind.

That's when I know I'm holding on too tight. When I'm letting my rituals dictate the day.

  back hoop

That is when it's time to take some deep breaths and relax. To let go of the shoulds and the musts (even when those should and musts come disguised as delicious friends, like yoga or morning pages ; a country walk or home baked bread.)

Sometimes they're not of my choosing, not in my control. These are the ones that need the most kindness bestowed in the moment of release.

My relationship with this creative life

I've chosen to live creatively with freedom.

I refuse to be bound with exclusivity agreements - I want to date many more creative passions.

It doesn't always come easy. Often, I'm not very good at it and other times, it is simply too fleeting to grab hold of. There's also plenty of disapproval and a distinct lack of safety nets along the way.

But you, dear creative source, your energy just keeps giving and I am grateful for every single one of your gifts.

  hoop joy

Journal Prompts:

  • What rituals are part of your daily rhythm that you feel might not be serving you in this instant?
  • How do you feel about letting them go for the moment? ( Remember, you can reintroduce them anytime.)
  • Can you identify a new passion that you feel drawn to flirt with?
  • How do you imagine you would feel after trying out your new passion for a week?

Julie Gibbons enjoys art journaling, journal therapy and mixed media. Her passion is self discovery through intuitive, creative practice, to reveal personal patterns, symbolism & archetypes of the true self.
Blog & Website + Etsy

Monday 1 April 2013

Living a Creative Life by Ginny Lennox

“Around here we don’t look backwards for very long… We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things because we’re curious… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”

--Walt Disney

I love this inspirational quote from Walt Disney. I have found that in life I am always going down new paths. Sometimes by choice other times because of necessity. But when I go down the path with an open mind plus an open heart , I find that I can always learn something new about myself, my world, and the people in it.

The past few months I have wandered down some new paths with my husband not by choice but by necessity. He has a chronic and progressive lung disease which decided to take some unwanted twists and turns on its own. We faced each new decision together and are now back on the path we want to be. During this time, lots of things had to take a back seat to what was most important – his health. But I also found that along with lots of new medical information I learned something about myself and how important my creative practice has become.

I have always been a creative person I just didn’t know it. But for over six years now I have been on a creative journey that has taken me down many new and interesting paths. Writing and painting have become part of who I am. I look forward to writing my blog, to using my pastels, and to taking pictures. I love to begin each day doing something creative. Yoga fills my soul and being in nature inspires me! When I couldn’t fill my days with these things for the past several months, I realized how important they had become to me and how important it is to protect the creative side of who I am.

Life is filled with ups and downs. It has its own flow and rhythm. Sometimes we can control those ups and downs. Sometimes we can’t. But I believe that the more we know ourselves and what is important to us, the easier it is to weather the storm. So now I make sure to bring a small sketchbook with me to a doctor’s visit and draw while we are waiting. Or I get up a little earlier to paint a picture or write a blog post. If I miss a yoga class, I do my practice at home. I realized during the past few months how important color is to my mood and/or creative life. So I am adding more color to my paintings and to my wardrobe. Bright scarves can brighten any day and help me to express who I am in a simple yet creative way.

Sometimes life changes and with those changes comes new ways to sustain or build a creative life. Being curious, being open, knowing one’s self and staying true to who you are makes finding new ways to express yourself fun and exciting. There are always ways to protect your creative life. You just have to be open to finding them.

I would love to know how you have found time to be creative when life seemed to get in the way.

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.