{Creative} Soul Truths #1

Welcome to my mini series – Soul Truths! My hope is that if you’ve been feeling creatively stuck, what I share will help you get clear on why that is, and inspire you to start trusting in your Creative Soul once more!

Without further adieu, here’s your first Soul Truth:


Just in case you’ve ever doubted it… YES, your Soul is inherently creative!

But, that doesn’t mean you should be creating gorgeous art right out the gate. If you’re just returning to your creativity, or just starting to learn to create from your Soul (versus copying others or an image), then you’re going to suck at it. But that’s okay!

Here’s the deal – We ALL were born as curious, creative beings. If you’re human, you have the ability to be creative. You can think of it as a quality within you that’s perhaps been stifled, or you can imagine that there’s a stream of creativity that’s available for everyone to tap into – you just gotta learn to do the tapping in. We all started out trusting our creativity (have you ever watched children create!?), but for one reason or another, that part of us got left behind. So to begin our journey of learning to authentically express ourselves with art, we must start from where we left off… as beginners.

You can’t expect to be able to do something as well as someone else who’s been practicing for years. Don’t let other artists’ work intimidate you or make you feel not good enough… They’ve likely been practicing for much longer, and if you stick with it, you’ll get better at it too.

Your inner artist, is most likely a young child who’s so eager to play, to create, to explore, to have FUN! It doesn’t need criticizing or judgment from you, only encouragement. We must allow our inner artists to be that child, that beginner; paying less attention to what our expressions look like, and more attention to how it FEELS.

The more you allow yourself to play, experiment, and make mistakes, you’ll start to build a foundation and understanding of how things come together so you can start finding your own authentic style!


TIP: Don’t isolate yourself. Find community support with other beginners and have fun! (And perhaps step away from Pinterest and Instagram for a while!)



Much love to you!!






Enough of the Nonsense… Let’s PLAY!

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” ~George Bernard Shaw

We look to others who seem free and full of life, playfulness and creativity, with a longing, hopeful heart. And yet we stand here, arms upon our hips, rigid and firm, struggling in pain to hold tight onto an identity that doesn’t quite fit.

Why?

If we so deeply feel the urge to let it all go, to dance in the rain, to feel the wind upon our face, to dip our fingers into the paint… why do we still stand here, pretending to value our nicely kept homes and hard work over our joy?

I know you can feel deep down how much you NEED creativity in your life. How much you NEED to just let loose and express yourself. Many of you have told me.

And yet, here we still sit. Letting our minds hold onto this rigidness and fear. And I say WE, because yes, I too feel this struggle day after day… even after years of honoring my creativity.

Our minds are funny that way… we can see the value in play and creativity, we feel the need to create; and yet our minds tell us we can’t. There’s too much risk, we’re not good enough, we have too much work to do.

We’re stuck between two worlds.

Society has shaped exhaustion as a status symbol and productivity as self-worth; yet recent studies are showing us that play and rest are essential. Dr. Stuart Brown, a psychiatrist and clinical researcher, argues that play is not an option.

He writes, “The opposite of play is not work – the opposite of play is depression.”

There’s a part of us that knows this is true. Yet there’s another part of us who still wants to fit in to the norm, to prove our self-worth through societal standards. We are stuck in between, and don’t know which way to turn.

But should we stay here, refusing to choose? NO. Our refusal to choose joy for ourselves right now in this moment, is our refusal to help shift our society into a new way of living that matches our beliefs.

It’s time to act on our belief that we need rest, that we need play, that we need creativity, that we need JOY.

Not only for ourselves, but for our children, for our community, for our world. We have seen enough pain and suffering. We’ve been feeling the confusion and doubt and uncertainty all around us. And yeah, there’s a part of me who just wants to crumble beneath it all. And still, there’s another part of me who wants to rise up and embrace the beauty and wonder and joy in this world… because I know creativity and play are powerful healers.

It’s time to shake loose my friend! Wiggle those fingers. Wiggle those arms. Roll your shoulders. Start to sway from side to side. Let the wiggles roll through your entire being! It’s time to consciously choose joy, one moment at a time.

Let us not wait until the day that permission is handed to us on a silver platter. Let us choose it NOW and help spread the word.

ColorPlaydate

Your mind will fight against it. But what I’ve learned, is that the more I choose play and joy and creativity, the more I remember that letting go will not undo me. The more I remember that this is what fills me up. This is what allows me to be even more productive. Allows me to love more. LIVE MORE.

Our letting go will not undo us. Let us prove our minds wrong, one baby step at a time.

Are you ready to say YES!?


Here’s eight easy ways to start saying yes to play and creativity (and start proving to your mind that there’s nothing to fear!)

#1. Make it a habit to doodle on the foggy mirror with your finger after every shower.

#2. Spend some time with young children – kids are masters at play and creativity, let them lead the way!

#3. Challenge yourself to do a little doodle each day – I’m in love with the book Year of the Doodle by Dawn Sokol! I can’t always remember to do it everyday, but when I do I don’t beat myself up for forgetting and I play quickly without worrying about what it looks like.

#4. Head out for a walk or day trip without a plan. Keep an open, curious mind and see what you can discover!

#5. Start super small. For example, if you’re called towards art journaling or another creative act that feels huge and overwhelming, start by practicing showing up and committing to just one minute of play with paints or crayons.

#6. Keep a brain-dump journal, or start what Julie Cameron calls “morning pages” – simply free write anything that crosses your mind without judgement. Don’t over think it, just write and spill everything out onto the page.

#7. Play with movement throughout your day – skip, swing your arms, twirl around… Have you ever noticed how children move about so freely in their world!?

#8. Join a supportive class or community to create with, such as Creative Soul Roots where we’ll be learning how to deal with our doubting/judging mind and stretching our play muscles!


Just remember: Take baby steps. Be gentle with yourself. Practice showing up for play at least once a day, if even just for a minute. Why not THIS minute? I know you can do it!



Much love to you!!



P.S. Don’t forget to share this with your friends! Let’s unite. Let’s stand together. Let’s Play!!


Dear “Ugly” Page…

Art Journaling 101 - a FREE e-course designed to gently introduce beginners to the basics of art journaling so you can find your way with more ease and less fearThis article is part of my FREE e-course Art Journaling 101 – which has been designed to gently introduce beginners to the basics of art journaling so you can find your way with more ease and less fear. If you’re curious about art journaling or overwhelmed with how to begin, sign up for the full free course HERE.


Dear Ugly Page


Dear ugly page,

I know you didn’t mean to cause such turmoil. But as you emerged within my journal, I was faced with so many thoughts and emotions that almost brought me to tears.

I guess I was secretly hoping that you would turn into something beautiful… something that I could look back on and smile, something I could share with the world. Because when you didn’t, I was flooded with disappointment and frustration. I began to worry, “Why can’t I create something I love?”

That’s when it hit me – I was putting conditions on my love for you … when all you’ve ever done was bring me joy, and insight, and relief.

What right do I have to withhold my love for you when all you did was become who you were meant to be?

What right do I have to tell you who you should or should not be?

You were created as an expression of my Soul. You are what needed to be released, what needed to be born. You are evidence that I have the magic to create something from nothing. You are the evidence of creativity flowing through me. You are the evidence of me honoring ME.

So I thank you.

I thank you for having the courage to be who you are without fear or shame, so that I may learn to do the same – flaws and all.

I thank you for reminding me to enjoy the process of creating, releasing, and expressing; and to relish every moment I have to share with you.

I thank you for showing me that there is much more in life beyond my thoughts, beyond my ego; and that there are discoveries to be made around every corner.

And I thank you for unapologetically showing up when you knew you weren’t what I was hoping for, to remind me to celebrate where I am today instead of always looking to the future. I thank you for being that physical reminder of where I am right here and now, so that I may look back on my growth as a creative, as a woman, as a human, as a Soul.

You have given me all of this and more. So I thank you.


With love,

P.S. Perhaps you are beautiful after all.

Time to Get Real – What’s Stopping you from Starting an Art Journal Today?

So many women have come to me saying they feel the pull towards art journaling, but they’re waiting until things settle down. Or until they can save up for some supplies. Or until they can heal their bodies. Or until their kids grow older. Or until… whatever the excuse may be.

But ya know what? Art journaling doesn’t require any of those things.


Think you need a ton of supplies?

How about making a journal out of a few paper bags and some markers? Or cereal boxes and craft paint? Or how about an old book? One of my favorite ways to journal is with a $1 composition notebook and crayons.

Just because the majority of art journals you see online are covered in high quality paint, gesso, glue, glitter, and the works; doesn’t mean yours has to.


image from tumbler


Short on time or always busy with the kids?

I’ve been known to make messes along side my daughter, or limit my journaling to just 10 minutes a day. (It’s totally do-able! And I share that process in my e-course Roots.)

When it comes down to it, if it were a matter of life or death, I’m sure you’d be able to muster up a few minutes of your time. So perhaps the real issue is accepting the importance of art journaling or time to yourself. You can hear my thoughts on this and other tips on making time for art journaling here.

image by gina sekelsky
image by gina sekelsky


Struggling with your health?

I know this is a toughy. (And I can’t really speak from experience.) But there are many journal artists who create in bed or on the couch when they’re limited or in pain. Samie Harding shares some tips here on what she dubs “couch-art”.

image by samie harding
image by samie harding

I think the key here is to just keep it simple. You might be limited, but studies have shown that putting limitations on your creative projects actually increases your creativity! So if you have one working hand, you can do this. (Heck, you don’t even need hands!)


In fact, everything you need is already within you. (More on that HERE.)

And as the saying goes… where there’s a will, there’s a way.

So, dig deeper.

What’s the real excuse here?

What's holding you back?

Could it be fear? Fear of failure or that you’re not good enough? If you listened to my story, you’ll know that’s totally what happened to me when I fell in love with the idea of art journaling. I spent over a year watching youtube videos and flipping through pages of magazines, learning techniques I would never try.

It paralyzed me with fear. Fear that I wasn’t worthy of doing it myself. That I would fail, and never be able to create such beautiful work as they could.

Long story short, it wasn’t until I was able to move past these fears, put the focus back on myself, and start having fun that I was finally able to develop a fulfilling art journaling practice.

I’ve shared many tips in the past about how to overcome these fears. But the very first, most important step in moving past any fear is to simply acknowledge the fear and show yourself some compassion.

Start by being honest with yourself.

What is your fear? What’s holding you back from starting an art journal today?

Take a moment right now to practice courage and share your answer in the comments below.


And remember… these fears? Are simply that. A feeling that you can work through. (You’ve got this!) And that feeling of not being good enough? Is totally wrong. You are good enough, because you are whole. In fact, you are full of infinite possibilities.






Art Journaling ROOTS e-courseStill feeling stuck in starting that art journal? Why not delve into it with a supportive community and me as your guide. In my 6-week online e-course ROOTS, you’ll develop your own transformative art journaling practice as we let go of comparison and open ourselves up for self-exploration. Check out the information page HERE.



The Secret to {Art Journaling} Happiness

The Secret to Art Journaling Happiness

When I first started art journaling, it was more disappointing than it was fulfilling. I was so focused on trying to make my pages look like other’s I’ve seen, that it left me frustrated when I couldn’t meet my mind’s expectations.

It wasn’t until I was able to put the focus back on myself and start having fun that I was finally able to find happiness in my art journaling practice.

But easier said than done, right?

Throughout my journey (especially in the beginning) I struggled with keeping that focus. But time and time again, there were three important reminders that helped keep me on track. I’m sharing them with you today in hopes that they can be reminders to you as well to guide you into a fulfilling (and happy!) art journaling practice.


#1. Don’t Compare – Yeah, I say that a lot… but we all need constant reminders. It’s just too easy to get lost on the internet drooling over everyone’s art and feeling not good enough.

But ya know what? Your own true creative voice is just as beautiful.

And striving to be someone else, or to create art exactly like someone you admire, is ignoring that voice. Not only that, but it takes away the pleasure, the excitement of living where you are now. Of enjoying your own journey.

We are all beautifully unique. You and your life and experiences are like none other. This unique perspective on the world should be what drives your voice, your artistic expression. And when we compare? We’re pushing that aside to borrow someone else’s. But no matter how hard you try, you will never be able to duplicate her work, her voice. And if you did? Do you truly think it would be as fulfilling as you’ve come to believe?

I’m not saying that sharing our work with others or admiring what we see is wrong or worthless… it’s what we do with it or how we react that matters.

So go ahead and look and admire. But instead of comparing it to what you create, celebrate it for what it is – a peek into his/her life. And remember that this is what their path looks like, not yours. It doesn’t mean that you are less worthy or that your creations are any less beautiful.

Be Yourself


#2. Embrace & Celebrate Where You Are – I like to think of life and our creative growth as a continuous journey. And even though our paths may look similar, each path is unique and some of us are further along than others.

But the great thing is, every stage in the journey is a wonderful place to be.

Your journey, especially in the beginning, is full of discoveries to be made, successes to celebrate, mistakes to learn from, and growth to witness. But when we compare ourselves to others, tell ourselves that what we create isn’t good enough, and wish for the day when we can create something “perfect”… we’re missing out on all of that. We’re missing out on our lives.

Your work as a beginner will be raw, messy, and imperfect… but there is so much beauty in that.

Don’t miss out on this wonderful experience you have right in front of you. Embrace being a beginner. Celebrate where you are. Laugh at your mistakes, learn from them, then try again. Revel in the experimentation of it. You’re only at this stage once. Tomorrow, you’ll be further along.

Don't compare your beginning to someone else's middle


#3. Choose Your Current Path – Each day you have a choice: Which creative path do you want to walk? If you don’t choose a goal or focus, you might just find yourself walking in circles; or worse, not even beginning.

You may choose to continue down the path you walked the day before, or start anew. But each day you must choose. What do you want to focus on now? What do you want to practice? What’s your purpose? Is it to express your feelings? Or to perfect your painted faces?

Whatever you choose, follow it with passion and openness. Keep in mind: mess-ups are mandatory. And above all, know that your path can and will evolve at every step you take.

Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.


Embracing your journey (in lieu of someone else’s) and having a sense of where your next step is, will give you the confidence you need to face obstacles along the way. And with this new found confidence and sense of adventure, you’ll find the enjoyment, fulfillment, and happiness you were longing for.

Your journey is like none other.

Your journey is magical.

Your journey…

is yours.

Are you ready to claim it?