Wednesday 27 November 2013

A Creative Dream Come to Life by Lisa DeYoung

Introducing the 2014 Daily Musing Journal!


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 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.




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 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.