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?



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!

Art Journaling 101 – Making Time + Space

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.


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

Being able to live the creative life of your dreams isn’t about timing, or chance, or luck… its about doing the work to create the life you want. All creativity really needs is a little bit of time and space to flourish. But these are two of the hardest things to give yourself. So, here are a few simple tips to make it happen:

#1. 
Declare Your Why

Many of the excuses that we give ourselves about why we can’t express our creativity stems from the misbelief that creativity is not important. So, take a moment to think about why you want to art journal, or why creativity is important to you. How would it effect your life or make you happier? Write it down, or perhaps create a poster to pin on your wall as a reminder.

#2. 
Simplify Your Life

When you keep things simple, it gives you more breathing room in life to be able to do the things that you really want to. So de-clutter your home, de-clutter that to do list, and de-clutter that calendar! Learn to say no to invitations that are not so important to you, and say no to purchasing something that will only add to clutter.

#3. 
Optimize Your Space

The best thing for your creativity, would be to have a dedicated space for it… even if it was just a tiny little corner of your home. It is so much easier to find a few moments to play in your art journal when everything is set up and ready to go. But, if its absolutely impossible for you to have a dedicated space, then put together a kit or something that you can easily take out and put away. Take a moment to consider what you can do in your home to be able to spend more time creating, and less time setting up and cleaning up.

#4. 
Make it a Routine

When you want to incorporate something new in your life like art journaling, you need to pick a specific time of day and stick to it. Doing it right after a task you already do every day (like eating lunch for example) will create a trigger for you, so your mind automatically goes straight to art journaling after your trigger. Then, it just becomes a part of your day without even thinking about it.

#5. 
Keep it Fun

When you do have time for art journaling, be sure to keep your attitude light and fun. Don’t stress over the outcome or make it a chore, or you’ll be less likely to do it again. You should also expect and embrace imperfection. Nothing is ever perfect. Just let your creativity flow through you and enjoy the process.

Has any of these tips helped you? Do you have another tip to share with us? Leave me a comment below!

It May All Just Be an Illusion

I either have a very important wake up call for you… or you’re just going to think I’m crazy. Your artistic experience may all just be an illusion. What the heck am I talking about? Watch the video to find out.

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

I really hope you take my advice, and not move on to learning the next technique until you’ve tried or nearly perfected the first. Implement what you learn as you go! Don’t get caught up in the “research” time warp as I have.


Have you experienced something similar? Or have I created a record for being stuck in “research” mode for over a year? Please let me know by leaving a comment below. And don’t forget to share with us what you’ll be implementing today!