Making the Commitment to Show Up

Last week when I shared some thoughts on developing a dedicated creative practice, a lot of interesting comments, and ideas, and reminders came up that helped me (re)start the journey.

Before, sitting down to create when I didn't feel like it sounded like icky forcing - but these last few days of showing up for the practice felt far from icky. Each day starts off a bit awkward, but after just a few marks, I often find myself lost in doodling or finding clarity. (And not always, but that's okay!)

Art Journaling on the couch

I've discovered that not having expectations around what I do, leaves room for me to simply focus on showing up and staying present. I have yet to feel like I want to write or draw or paint... but I know I want to have a creative practice.

So each day, at the same time, I simply show up and make a mark.

No pressure. No desired outcome. Just openness and a mark.

Having grandiose ideas around the practice would just make it feel like a big heavy thing on my 'to-do' list that would likely lead to fits of the 'I-don't-wanna's'! I also know that if I continued on as I was, only creating when the mood strikes, I would show up less and less until perhaps one day I'd find myself not being able to call myself 'creative' at all.

Allowing myself to make crap day after day ensures that I'm present and ready for the moments when the muse (or the universe or creative flow) decides to flow through me.

It just takes some trust and consistency in showing up. And yes, it's hard.

Commitment may not fit into our glamorous idea of being creative, but it's what works, and it's what nourishes us.

Like my mentor, Kate Swoboda, so timely said in a recent blog post: "We need to water our personal selves much like we water plants." It's not about whether you have the time, or whether or not you know what to do - "It's about a choice to step into consistently practicing the things that make your life feel better."

So if creative expression makes your Soul feel alive, as it does mine... what are you waiting for?

All it takes is a devotion to make a mark each day. You never know where it might lead!



Always in curiosity and love,



>> I'D LOVE TO KNOW - WHAT ARE YOU READY TO COMMIT TO?



Thoughts on Developing a Creative Practice

Over the last decade of diving into how we humans can return to creativity later in life, one thing has always eluded me (or is it perhaps one thing I've been resisting?).

It is the question of whether we need to have a dedicated daily or weekly practice in order to truly deepen into our creativity.

I've always leaned toward 'no', seeing as though I consider myself a lifelong creative and I have never had a consistent practice. I would always ride the ebb and flow of my inspiration and curiosity while releasing any tensions, or built up energy, through writing and scribbling. But this past year has got me thinking that I may be wrong.

Being my naturally curious self, my mind begins to wonder about the differences between my new martial arts dedicated practice, and my lifelong 'do-when-I-feel-like-it' creative practice.

At the beginning of every karate class the students say a creed that ends with: "We are dedicated! We are motivated! We're on a quest to be our best!" For almost two years I've been hearing my kids and the others shout this at the top of their lungs three times a week. It makes it easy for me to tell my girls that we're dedicated and going anyway when they whine about not being in the mood to go to the dojo. Hence, when I decided to step into the practice myself this past March, it felt only natural to promise that I'd show up to every class unless I had a really good reason to miss it.

There were many times at the beginning of my martial arts journey that I wanted to skip class. I was too tired, or too sore, or just not in the mood... but I forced myself to go anyway - because of the promise I made myself, but also because I didn't want my kids seeing it was okay to skip it whenever they felt like it.

So I continued to show up week after week, and eventually the showing up got easier. It became more habitual, more 'normal'. (Well, maybe not normal based on how obsessive I've become!) Now, it's just something we DO. It's part of our life that's inseparable from us.

And yet...

When we took off for a two week vacation to my Aunt's beautiful home, with karate gear in tow and full intentions of practicing often... we ended up only doing it once. Even though we had plenty of time and space to do what we will.

It just goes to show: inspiration and willingness aren't always enough to get you into action.

I used to think I just wasn't inspired enough to create when I wasn't feelin it, so I'd wait it out. Many times creative bursts would return, but this last dry spell has been stretching far and wide. I actually did find inspiration here and there over the last few months. And I do have the desire to explore the path of drawing... but it has yet to happen. Perhaps all that's missing is my will to make it happen with a dedicated practice.



Always in curiosity and love,



>> I'D LOVE TO KNOW - DO YOU HAVE A DEDICATED PRACTICE IN YOUR LIFE? TELL ME ABOUT IT BELOW!



Our Important Reminder…

For the last few weeks I was feeling overwhelmed, overworked, uninspired… all my focus was on meeting deadlines, checking things off my to-do list, getting things done. I was nearing burn out. Struggling to find joy in my day. And in the midst of it all, I didn’t know what was wrong. I just new I was feeling like crap. Until, this came in the mail…

Soul Journal

My first print copy of my upcoming journal series. (Yay!!) It reminded me of all that I had forgotten… to breathe. to pause. to check in. to come back home to myself in the present moment and see the beauty of now.

Even though my whole livelihood is centered around reconnecting with your self, I still often forget when busyness settles in. Between being a mother to three young kids, nurturing the relationship with my husband, running a business, laundry and keeping the home clean, cooking, preparing for the holidays, and whatever else I’m forgetting that’s on my to-do list, how can one not loose their way sometimes and forget to make time for themselves? This modern world doesn’t leave much room for that.

But it’s something I’ve been working hard towards for the last couple years. I’ve learned that making time for myself, if even just 5 minutes a day, is not only rejuvenating, but it’s literally ESSENTIAL. Else I face burn out and eventually depression.

But I forget.

Often.

That’s why I continue to write about it. That’s why I create e-courses that I fully participate in alongside my students. That’s why I create interactive books that I enjoy myself. That’s why I create cozy nooks in my home that invite me to pause. That’s why I often go back and re-read my own blog (especially this post in particular). That’s why I’ve been dreaming up a women’s circle for support in remembering ourselves. And that’s why I felt the need to bring this new Soul Journal series to life for the new year – I need tangible reminders. And I’m betting you do too sometimes.

Life is busy. Life is full. Let’s remember to enjoy it. To slow down and take it all in. Will you take a deep breath with me now? (Yes, right now. Do it!) Feel the air moving into your body, nourishing you. Notice yourself. You are a magnificent, beautiful creature (whether you believe that now or not!).

And if you’re like me, and feeling the need for an inspiring daily practice to check in and remember what you already know about yourself, you may just fall in love with this Soul Journal as much as I have. It should be available next week on Amazon!

But for now, why not try setting a reminder on your phone to take three deep breaths every afternoon. Or set up a cozy corner of your home that will invite you to sit and pause every so often. Or start a practice to free-write every morning. Or, use your shower time to really get present and be with yourself.

How can you fit in a few moments of reconnection in your day? Choose it. Do it. And set reminders for when you forget.

Much love to you!!

Creativity is Not a Stone

I haven’t painted anything in over two weeks. What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I get it together? I wonder how she can create so much and still blog and take care of her kids.

These are thoughts that used to pass through my mind when I wasn’t creating something. I used to beat myself up for not creating as often as I see others online do. I was caught in the comparison trap and didn’t even know it.

Our fast paced society places its value on product – the final result. It’s all about: create, create, produce! It has shaped a vision of what things are “supposed” to look like and it couldn’t be further from the truth.

2016-06-22

In fact, we have it all wrong. We’re missing the big picture. We’re missing out on the entire process, on the wondrous journey. We are missing out on our lives.

There is much more to creativity than just banging out products.

It’s full of mysticism, ready to be explored and acknowledged. The creative process flows and shifts, like water. It’s not this hard, clean-cut thing.

Creativity is not a stone.

It takes on many forms. It heals, it transforms, it opens up your heart, it creates a pathway to your intuition… into your soul.

This creative source flows through you in more ways than just producing. Ideas incubate, inspiration is gathered, supplies are organized. But even after the creative thinking takes flight and you move into creating, the creative process continues to move through you. The work gets documented, shared, and reflected upon.

Each of these phases of the creative process are worthy of recognition. And once I realized this, everything changed for me; I reduced the internal comparison chatter and eased up on the harsh self-judgment.

After all: We all have our own way of creating.

Turns out, there’s nothing wrong with me, the way I create, or how I produce my work. I enjoy some of the other phases more so than the actual creating because…I’m a gatherer. I love to gather inspiration and research. I can spend months – even years – nurturing an idea.

When I honor this, I honor my natural creative process and embrace the creative spirit in all of its fluid ways, releasing the guilt of not creating constantly. Instead, I can confidently move forward, aware that I’m still doing important creative work even when I’m not the producing phase.

We are all beautifully unique. Even in how creativity flows through us.

When we get intimate with it, we can freely embark on our individual creative journey.


P.S. This article is an excerpt from my FREE e-book: Water – The Fluid Ways of Creativity. Download your copy HERE. :)


What I’ve Learned From My Creative Rut

(click here if you can’t view the video)


I’ve spent the past four months in a creative rut. How did I get out of it? Well, it began with getting out of my own way.

You see, whether you realize it or not there’s a natural ebb and flow to our creative cycle. Sometimes we’re completely inspired, and sometimes we’re just not. There are these natural ups and downs, kind of like a roller coaster ride.

And I’ve been finding myself in that really low point for the past few months. So I just wanted to speak into that because I know from experience that being in this state can be really scary at times.

Thoughts can cross your mind such as “Will I ever get my creativity back?” and it leads you to start fighting against it and trying to force yourself to create. But the more you fight for it and try to force it, the harder it is to get back into the flow again.


It’s like you’re hitting a wall, and no matter how hard you push, you just can’t create.
(click to tweet)

But going through these ups and downs is a natural part of our creativity. As long as you’re aware of that, you’re going to be okay. So, if you’re a blogger and haven’t blogged for a while… there’s no need to apologize. If you’re a creator, and you’re in the space of not being able to create, there’s no need to beat yourself up for that.


It was when I finally let go of the fighting and was able to accept the space that I was in, that it finally started to turn around.

So it’s that fighting against it that really prevents you from getting back into the flow. And as soon as you can release that tension and give in to the flow, you start to move along again, which will eventually bring you back into a creative high.


But just because you realize you’re in this flow, it doesn’t mean you should sit back and do nothing when you’re in the low.

You want to let go of struggle, but you should also be gathering inspiration, surrounding yourself with what you really want to be doing, and taking the steps to get back into your flow. But none of this works if you don’t first remember to give in to the flow.

When I was finally able to let go and accept where I was at, I started to become more aware and open to all of the inspiration surrounding me.

With my recent experience, two things helped to propel me out of it, after letting go:

#1.
Accountability
– As you may know, I’ve been going through an intensive training to become a life coach, and my mentor Kate said next month we’ll be taking a break to focus on marketing and she’ll be taking a look at our websites to give us feedback.

This put me in a bit of a panic, as I haven’t updated my site in so long, and there’s so much I’ve learned about marketing in the last few years that I haven’t implemented yet. So I got really inspired and motivated to start working on it again to bring it up to my own standards… so that when she does come to offer me feedback, it’s going to be something valuable for me to hear and grow from. (So expect a website update hopefully by the end of the month!)

#2
Inspiration
– During one of my random wanderings on the internet one day, I came across a creative exercise that was connected to what I had been thinking about. And it just hit me the right way and really inspired me. If I hadn’t given into my creative flow and surrounded myself with what I wanted to be doing, I may not have come across this inspiration.

This magical combination of accountability and inspiration really helped to propel me into a high creative state. Now ideas are coming from every which way and my only problem is deciding which idea to pursue first!

So if you find yourself in that creative low, my suggestion to you is to first become aware of your own creative cycle and stop pushing. Let yourself go with the flow. Then, seek out some inspiration and accountability. Perhaps get together with a friend, join a community, take an e-course, or something similar that’s going to give you the accountability and inspiration.


Now, I’d love to hear from you: Is there anything that you have found that helped bring you out of a creative slump in the past? Leave a comment below and let’s chat about it!