It has turned to a wildly flowering spring here in Southern Oregon. At the same time, some very dear people in my universe have passed on.
Taken together, these events are a reminder of why we are here and inspire me to follow the example of the spring flowers.
What if you bloomed like crazy now, before you’re certain you have it figured out, before it is perfect, before you have the credentials, time, money?
What if you were forsythia and cherry?
What if you shared and sold and valued the gifts you have, your passions, your art now, in the springtime, without worrying about what summer and fall will bring?
Because, sometimes there is an early frost and we don’t get the luxury of bearing full fruit. Wouldn’t it be better to be remembered for your flowers than to pass away without any glimpse of your true beauty reaching the world?
“The Days Are Long, But The Years Are Short”
So, don’t delay in getting started. Another thing to remember is that, while people often overestimate what can be done in a short time, they also underestimate what can be done over a long time. This is the power of beginning and spending some time each day, week, or month on a project.
Everyday people have amassed fortunes, art collections, bodies of artwork, gorgeous gardens, cookbooks full of recipes, albums of photographs, basements full of canned goods, thousands of songs, and other kinds of wealth, simply by building it and working on it a little at a time.
What do you want to create?
Start now and set aside time each day, week, or month for the next year.
Let me know how it goes!
Please share this with a friend who might be stuck in tight bud stage and needs a nudge to open up and bloom!
If you know you would be more courageous, focused, & effective with some structure and support, click here to be in touch, so we can schedule some time to help you determine your best next steps.
You already have the key to creative success!
Remember when you were a child, or a young adult, or even a mature adult, that moment in which you declared, decided, and announced that you ARE an artist?
You might have said it differently. You might have said, writer, actor, painter, poet, singer, chef, healer, or something else, but the key is that you declared it to yourself and to the world, quite likely BEFORE you had incontrovertable proof to offer that world.
Your were brave and bold and audacious.
And, you never looked back.
That doesn’t mean you never had doubts. We all have doubts, even after incredible, incontrovertable success, about our abilities, or our direction, our genre of expression or a particular project. But, it’s likely you’ve never once considered giving up your creativity, not really. And, you’ve never truly lost your faith that your creativity will be there for you, that it is enough to carry you through. You might have feared that it would go away, you may have had moments of despair that it was dissappearing, but you’ve never totally lost the belief in its presence and sufficiency, despite everything.
Oh sure, you may have taken a full-time job doing something else, raised kids, subverted your creative dreams for yourself or others, but deep down, you’ve never let go of that identity, of your core belief in yourself as an artist, right?
I want you to pause and realize how absolutely amazing that is! Seriously. Everyone else waits until they have a degree or a job or some kind of outward stamp of approval before they claim their vocational identity. It’s true. Ever seen a child declare that they are a doctor? Not that they want to be a doctor or will be a doctor, but that they are, already, deep inside, a doctor? Doesn’t happen.
You are amazing!
OK, soaked that one in?
Now, here’s the thing. This very act, this declaration and faith and life of following through to make good on that promise to yourself.
This is your greatest and most unusual strength.
It is the key to:
And, you’ve had this key since you were young, hanging in a locket around your heart of hearts.
“Well, that’s just dandy,” you may be thinking. “If I’ve had that key all along, why don’t I have those things in abundance in my life already?”
Think about keys for a minute. Have you ever, when you’ve been doing some deep cleaning, come across and old key and wondered what the heck it opens?
Having the key isn’t everything, but it is a great start!
Knowing what it unlocks is the next step. See that list above? That is just the beginning of what this key can unlock in your life.
What is it you need to unlock?
Then, finding the doors and using it to unlock them, open them, and walk through to that fulfilled life of creative success.
This the part we do together. Through my programs, retreats, and workshops, I remind you of what’s on your keychain, help you choose what you need to unlock and create a path to get to those doors, plus the courage to open them and walk through once you get there.
If you’re already working with me, be sure to engage fully, so we can do as much of this for you as you are ready for right now.
If you aren’t, I would invite you to open the locket, give yourself some love for having such a powerful key and get the support you need to unlock what your life needs so your gifts can shine brightly and sustainably for a world in need of your light!
Here’s something to snuggle up with!
This call was chock full of juicy exercises and ways to transform those boring old guilt-producing resolutions into living breathing guides fueled by your inner wisdom, that will kindly lead you into your new life.
Finally, click on the image below to watch the handy video on how to fold a paper crane if you need help completing the final call activity.
Happy New Year you Gorgeous Glimmering Gifted Beings!
I believe this statement about vulnerability, and I try to live into it. Today is my turn to share some vulnerable storytelling that, I hope, will serve your creative dreams, help your boldness, and nudge you in the direction of the changes YOU need to make.
I got married about a month ago. It was gorgeous, love-infused, and such a gift! Then, we came home and dove head-long back into work. Only a couple of days later, we were both on the verge of a breakdown.
See, I have this TINY tendency to do too many things at once. And, by that, I mean that, in the past five months, we have moved across country, set up and opened a retail store, got married, planned a retreat I’m co-facilitating in a week, oh, and I’m now re-structuring and re-launching all my programs at the same time.
I do not recommend this approach.
But, I have learned from it and hope you can, too. Here are my top five insights from this time (and all that past wisdom I put aside for a while to engage in this wild ride).
5. Be a tortoise, not a hare (plod, plod, plod).
Multi-tasking prevents creativity. Focus encourages it. Do. One. Thing. At. A. Time. Or, as I heard in a wonderful interview some months back (also the name of a play): Here. This. Now.
One of my best work habits (to which I joyfully return this month) is sectioning off my schedule so large chunks of time are devoted to each area of my life, rather than skittering back and forth between them. For example, Wednesdays are for music. (I invite you to call me on this one if I’m getting distracted:).
4. Ask for help (and be willing to pay for it, if necessary)
This goes from everything to taking someone out for coffee (appropriate if you are new in town, want a friend/colleague, or are in a networking group together- not appropriate if you want them to do for a cup of coffee what they usually do for their livelihood) to joining a private coaching program, hiring a graphic designer, a publicist, or other professional.
I’m a recovering do-it-yourselfer (and I don’t mean those gorgeous greeting cards you made last week to send to your family for Christmas- I LOVE those!). I mean, doing absolutely everything myself, because I can figure it out, gosh darn it, and, besides, I’m broke and can’t afford to pay anyone anything. When I was living on less than $10,000 a year for ethical reasons, perhaps that held true. But now, well, really the moment I wanted to ask other people to pay for my help, that was the moment I needed a new story to guide my own actions.
And, I have a good one now, mostly, except for those moments I slip back into the old DIY broke scarcity story. Just like with any big change, it doesn’t magically all work all of the time after the first go. We will slip and fall off and have to gently pick ourselves up, clean and bandage the skinned knee, and lovingly help ourselves back into the new reality.
So, I have paid for coaching, for graphic design, for conferences and retreats, for sponsorship opportunities (tabling), for mastermind groups, for networking, and for training around specific leaps/skills I wanted to take with my work. It’s no different from paying for voice lessons or art classes. And, it tends to all cost less than grad school.
The real reason to do it, however, is it allows you to shine at what you do best while encouraging others to shine at what they do best. You also gain skills, meet people, gain fans, grow as a person, and have more fun doing it. And, you make leaps you could never have made on your own.
3. Cultivate honesty with yourself.
I spoke about this in the last message, but it bears repeating. When I get honest with myself (kind, gentle, but truthful), I can let go of all that anxious energy that comes in not really knowing or admiting what’s going on.
This has looked like re-evaluating my business budget and realizing that my overhead is higher than I thought (which explains why it’s been hard to put the amount we planned into the household account). Naming that and making a new plan around earning that much more was such a relief! No more secret shame spiral for not paying what I had promised to the household. A clear plan to earn the income.
This has also looked like seeing myself as a whole human being again, not just a work machine. Once I got honest that sitting in front of the computer all day wasn’t making me more productive, it was actually making me feel icky, then I could return to my previous holistic vision of myself. I take time to build friendships, take walks, have downtime (without feeling bad about it), and do life-affirming activities, knowing they all feed into my success as a human. And, you know what, it has made my work time more productive! Bonus!
2. Let go when it’s time to let go.
I had an incredible time in the woods with my oh-so-gifted co-facilitator for the Space To Create Retreat last week, but that took some letting go for me to get there.
Why? Well, remember that stunning list of things we’ve done and huge life changes we’ve made in the past five months (while I was planning and inviting people to this retreat)? Well, all that means I didn’t spend as much time focusing on giving you lovely people the chance to know about and attend the retreat. This means we are going to have a tiny, gorgeous intimate group rather than the big round circle of participants we imagined when we began planning.
And, that took some adjustment of expectations, some letting go, and some basic gratitude practice for the people who will be there sinking into the quiet inspiration of the space, the instruction and each other. But, after that I was able to be so excited to have that quiet sinking time myself and to share that with these precious few. It is just what I need.
1. Be bold!
This leads to my number one insight. Be bold! Dare greatly! Step out!
Even if you do it all wrong, you are building the groundwork for future success, and, if you are willing to be vulnerable and in-process about it, you can help others along the way. While I don’t recommend my approach to the last five months, there are many reasons I made the choices I did at the time. And, I don’t regret them. I will not take that path again, but glorious things have emerged from that time and they brought me here, to a beautiful town full of creative people I am slowly getting to know. They have helped my new husband bring his store to life.
They have helped me to be willing to re-invent and improve my programs, so I can offer you things like the:
In the end, I learn best by doing and I have learned a lot this year. That said, I am happy to share that with you, so your road can be a bit easier!
What have you discovered? What questions do you have? I invite you to share your thoughts as comments.
It’s true. I’m especially grateful to my friends and family having celebrated my own wedding with them just last week and feeling fully loved and cared for by community.
In honor of that love, I wanted you to be able to get your creativity on WITH the support of a friend. Join us for the Space To Create Retreat and bring a friend along. When you do, you’ll become a new best friend. If you split the cost, you will both save OVER $300 on your registration, room, and board! Click below to get started.
Since I’ve spent the past month and a half in a mad dash to move across country and help my fiancé open a spice and tea store, I’ve been thinking a lot about change, stability and how they relate to our creative lives. If you are in the midst of upheaval or, on the opposite end of the spectrum, worried that your life is too predictable, journey with me this week through the virtues of change AND stability.
As a kid, I never understood how someone could want to live in the same town their entire lives. We moved several times, both in and out of town, and I found it stimulating, exciting and educational- perhaps a testament to my parents’ approach. That said, the town in which I mostly grew up was just such a place that people lived out their entire lives quite happily. Even a number of my friends who went away to college ended up back there afterward.
I took a very different path, headed to college half-way across the country, then moving from place to place, in and out of the country. I discovered stories, wrote songs, met new friends, and stayed inspired. It seemed like the ideal milieu for a rich and productive creative life and, having little if no rent to pay made it possible for me to live as an artist. Only years later, while touring full-time around the country, not spending more than a few days in each place, that I discovered the virtue of stability.
One of the joys of touring as a solo artist is long stretches of quiet in the car. I found myself turning to audio-books. This one, I accidentally discovered in a discount book store in North Carolina. It was Kathleen Norris’ book, Acedia & Me. In this unexpected exploration of an archaic relative of depression, I ran into the monastic virtue of stability. This was not the stagnation of a life lived by others’ expectations that I deplored. It was a kind of quiet rebellion, a commitment to one’s callings despite what the world demands and a groundedness my life was sorely lacking. Something deep within me leaped up in recognition and longing.
It would be a while yet until I began to understand the power of stability for creativity, however. In fact, while I have seen that in the lives of some of my favorite musicians, artists, and writers, it is only now, in the midst of incredible change and transition that I see myself moving into a calm still place, the kind of stability that will allow me to connect to the source of creativity every single day, with a joyous predictability that turns my craft from happy accident to profession. I have had glimpses of this and notice my songwriting increase exponentially during these periods of stability.
The key, then, is stability without stagnation. New research is emerging on how to prevent, if not Alzheimer’s, then at least standard dementia, and going outside of one’s routine, getting together with friends regularly and learning new things are keys to staying mentally fit as a fiddle. These are also the keys to staying inspired and having plenty of mulch out of which your creative seeds can grow strong, tall and beautiful.
You don’t need to move every 9 months or change relationships like outfits to have plenty of good material, though. This is an invitation to go deep.
You may discover that change, while an important virtue to a rich creative life, might not need to be drastic to be powerful.
Oh, and let us know what you discover on my Facebook Page, won’t you?