Curiosity + Courage + Creativity = An Unbeatable Formula

“Everybody has a creative potential and from the moment you can express this creative potential, you can start changing the world.”
— Paulo Cuelho

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I think about that quote a lot lately, almost every time I watch the news in fact! ‘From the moment you can express this creative potential, you can start changing the world.’  Watching the news and keeping up with current events, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and helpless. But it’s important to remember, we all have the creative potential to start changing the world.

But why are so many people so afraid of the idea of creativity? Perhaps it’s the idea that to be creative is to relinquish control.

Matisse famously says: Creativity takes courage.

And Joseph Chilton Pearce adds: To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.

Picasso adds to that: The chief enemy of creativity is good sense.

To allow oneself to put aside that part of us that is in control, that is logical and rational is a scary thought. For those of us who have worked so hard to keep everything ordered and in control, the thought of relinquishing this control is scary. But I love the image created by Lady Gaga about letting go to access one’s creative spark:

When you make music or write or create, it’s really your job to have mind-blowing, irresponsible, condom-less sex with whatever idea it is you’re writing about at the time.

A lot of research is also pointing to curiosity being an important key to unlocking creativity:

creativity-curiosity

In order to spark new levels creativity as adults, we need to get back in touch with our childlike curiosity. We need to observe, explore, ask questions, and again venture into the unknown — Andrew Merle explains in a recent article in Huffington Post: Why Curiosity is the Key to Break Through Creativity.

Along with fear of losing control, a great many people believe that they aren’t creative, that they ‘don’t have a creative bone in their body.’ The sad truth is that many of us have been shamed out of even trying to access our creative spark. Some of us have even been taught out of our creativity. Sir Ken Robinson explains this beautifully in his popular TED Talk: Do Schools Kill Creativity?

The reality though is that we are ALL born creative, we all have that creative potential. Yes, some of us are more artistic than others or more talented in certain areas. But all of us are creative.

Creativity is not found just in the chosen few who exhibit artistic talent. It is a force that flows through every single one of us, allowing us to dream things up and make them happen.

–Peggy Taylor and Charlie Murphy

In a wonderful article on Greater Good Website, Ten Things Creative People Know, Peggy Taylor and Charlie Murphy explain that:

Creative expression opens the door to the inner world of our imaginations. It is here that we make meaning of our lives. It is here that motivation takes root. The more creative we are, the more capacity we have to imagine what’s possible and make those visions real.

So although it’s a conundrum, creativity sparks creativity!

So the next time you look around and feel as though it’s time to start changing the world, remember:

Curiosity + Courage + Creativity = an unbeatable formula

I think I’ll close with Sir Ken Robinson’s latest TED Talk, he is always a good choice to illustrate the 3 Cs!  Bring on The Revolution:

I’d love to hear how you spark your creativity.  And as always, thank you for taking the time to visit.  I appreciate it.

Happy 2017 – A Year for Cultivating Gratitude

“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.”
― Thornton Wilder

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Happy New Year! I think the general consensus is that 2016 was a rough year for most people, on so many levels.  But in this post I don’t want to focus on politics or difficulties, but instead on cultivating gratitude. A new year is the perfect time to be cultivating gratitude and a renewed focus on what you appreciate. And 2017 is in particular a great place to start because from a numerological perspective, 2017 is a “one” year. (In short: 2+0+1+7 = 10 = 1+0 = 1.) Numerology looks at time in nine-year cycles, in which a “one” year begins a new nine-year cycle of creativity, learning and growth. It is a time of intentions and planning for the next phase. The intentions and foundations you build in 2017 can help shape the upcoming years. A “one” year is the perfect time to set intentions and goals for yourself.  It’s an important year to take time for yourself and clarify the direction you want to travel. And a perfect time to focus on gratitude for what you have.  My new years message talks about this and about the importance of silence in your routine. You can read more about that here in my newsletter.  And if you want to read more about the science of silence, you can read about that in my article in Thrive.

Cultivating gratitude is so important as we enter 2017.  Psychology Today defines the benefits of gratitude as:

Gratitude is an emotion expressing appreciation for what one has—as opposed to, for example, a consumer-driven emphasis on what one wants. Gratitude is getting a great deal of attention as a facet of positive psychology: Studies show that we can deliberately cultivate gratitude, and can increase our well-being and happiness by doing so. In addition, gratefulness—and especially expression of it to others—is associated with increased energy, optimism, and empathy.

Another good reason to cultivate gratitude is:

“Your experience of life is not based on your life, but what you pay attention to.”

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And when you pay attention to what you are grateful for, that becomes your experience. It becomes your experience that life is good and full and wonderful.

I have often quoted Melody Beattie here but it is so appropriate, I have to do it again.

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

 

In Japanese Psychology, on a wonderful site, The ToDo Institute,  seven principals for cultivating gratitude are given:

  1. Gratitude is independent of our objective life circumstances
  2. Gratitude is a function of attention
  3. Entitlement precludes gratitude
  4. We often take for granted that which we receive on a regular basis
  5. Gratitude can be cultivated through sincere self-reflection
  6. Expressing gratitude, through words and deeds, enhances our experience of gratitude
  7. Our deepest sense of gratitude comes through grace, with the awareness that we have not earned, nor do we deserve all that we’ve been given.

If you are looking for a way to focus on gratitude as 2017 unfolds, I suggest getting a ‘Gratitude Journal’ – and start by just writing down 3 things you are grateful for every morning before you even get out of bed. And if that feels too hard, then just think of 3 things you are grateful for before you get up. That’s a great start!

If you are feeling more ambitious, I can suggest a wonderful course on Daily Om! It’s a new course I have authored and it’s available here.  The course is offered with the option of selecting how much you want to pay. No matter how much you pay, you’ll be getting the same course as everybody else. Daily Om believes that people are honest and will support the course with whatever they can afford. And if you are not 100% satisfied, they will refund your money.  So what have you got to lose? It’s a great way to start the year.

I’ll close with a YouTube clip describing the course so you can get a better idea of what it is about.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about how you cultivate gratitude and it’s impact on you.  And as always, thank you for taking the time to visit.  I appreciate it.

 

 

 

 

 

How To Avoid Feeling Homesick For The Self

“Creativity is a great motivator because it makes people interested in what they are doing. Creativity gives hope that there can be a worthwhile idea. Creativity gives the possibility of some sort of achievement to everyone. Creativity makes life more fun and more interesting.”
 Edward de Bono

I’m so happy to feature a guest blogger this month. Carol Walsh is a fellow author at She Writes Press and a friend.  Carol’s book, Painting Life: My Creative Journey Through Trauma will be available at the end of this month.

Carol is a talented artist and writer who also happens to be a wonderful therapist.  Do check out her website to find out more about her.

How To Avoid Feeling Homesick For The Self

If I have not been able to be creative, I feel homesick for my Self. I actually feel a physical sense of longing way down deep in the core of my gut. I feel lost. It’s also a feeling that’s reminiscent of my childhood.

When I was a young girl, I couldn’t go away for the night, or I would become homesick. This was a bit inhibiting; but I was sure that if I left home for too long I would be forgotten. I had to go back home to reclaim my space within the family.

As an adult, feelings of homesickness emerge when I forget myself – that is, forget who I am and what I’m about. When I forget me, I need to touch base with my soul, my spirit, so I can reconnect with my Self.

In this crazy, busy time, many of us forget to touch base with our core Self. We forget about our needs, priorities and values. When we aren’t in touch with ourselves, we can’t make effective choices, because there is no Us to turn to for information.

When we are connected to our core, we can make conscious choices. This is so important because all choices need to reflect who we are — our meaning and purpose in life.

Creativity is a terrific way to access our core Self. As we mature, we have different needs and awareness’s and therefore we need to make different choices. Creativity helps us keep in touch with those changes.

I love this quote from Sophia Loren: “There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.”

In general, it is best to pick one creative outlet that you can routinely engage in, to help you touch base with your inner Self. That will be one of healthiest habits you could add to your schedule – even if it is for one half hour, once a week.

 Try one of these exercises while asking yourself the question, What is my mission and purpose in this life?

Exercise no.1. Get a journal (with no lines), or a blank piece of paper and then, with your non-dominant hand, write two sentences, one that begins with: “I am a —.” Then write a second sentence that begin with: “My purpose in life is —-.“

Exercise no. 2. Cut out a number of photos, from several magazines, that speak to you. Then arrange these in a pleasing way and glue them to a large piece of cardboard. While looking at the collage, ask yourself: “What does this say about who I am, and what my life mission is?”

Exercise no. 3. On a blank sheet of paper and in a vertical column write the words like this:

6 months,

year 1,

year 3,

year 5

year 10.

Then, beside each time frame write two things you would like to manifest during that time. On a new page, begin with the items in the six months category, and note the first three action steps you need to take to achieve each of these.

 

Thank you Carol! And now I’d like to close with another She Writes Press fellow author, and one of the founders of SWP, Brooke Warner. If you are thinking about writing your own memoir, Brooke’s book, Green Light Your Book is a must!  Here’s a video about it:

 

 

I’d love to hear about how you stay connected to your creativity and thus to your self. And as always thanks for stopping by, I appreciate it.

The Excitement of Possibilities!

“Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.”
― Gloria Steinem

The excitement of possibilities.  What a wonderful turn of phrase. And so true!

The excitement of planning often creates more happiness than the event itself.  In a recent study in Applied Research in Quality of Life, it was discovered that people are usually happiest planning events, in anticipation. This particular study, quoted in The New York Times found that:

There is a definite connection between anticipation and happiness. The authors of the study, researchers from the Netherlands, interviewed more than 1,500 people, including 974 vacationers, and found that the vacationers felt most happy before their trips.

I believe that that is because of the excitement of possibilities.  And I agree with Gloria Steinem (or course I do!) that dreaming is absolutely a form of planning! And at the moment I am awash in this excitement.  I am planning and dreaming and planning some more.  I am in the process of planning the roll out of my national book tour here in NZ.  It’s very exciting.  Working closely with my brilliant publicist, Sarah Sparks of Markom PR. We have dates set for several venues in Thames and around the Coromandel Peninsula, Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin, and many points between. Such an exciting time doing all this planning and anticipating . . . once I’m on the road and going full steam ahead some of that excitement may wane, but for now, the dreaming and planning is joyful!

 

For those of you interested in receiving updates via newsletter, please visit my website: thiswayupbook.com and sign up!

I’d love to hear about your experience around the excitement of possibilities. And as always thanks for stopping by, I appreciate it.

The End of the US Book Tour

“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.”
― Alexander Graham Bell

As I get read to leave the US and head back to NZ, I am am filled with so many emotions.  Humbled at how incredibly powerful the whole trip was and how much love was shared with me.  So very grateful that I had this amazing opportunity. Sad to say good-bye to family and friends here in the US. But so very happy and excited to see my sons and my friends back in NZ.  So many emotions all at once.

I decided to make a video about this, rather than write about it this time. Feeling inspired!

 

 

I’d love to hear how you handle it as one door closes, often waiting for the next one to open. And as always thanks for stopping by, I appreciate it.

Getting Inspiration through Creativity

“To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.”

― Joseph Chilton Pearce

I love that quote by Joseph Chilton Pearce. And I’m feeling that a lot at the moment – having to lose that fear – as I see my own stuff out there. This book tour, the interviews, the articles, have forced me to get over that fear of being wrong.  I have to be so out there, so transparent. I have nowhere to hide!

In my latest interview with Sally Hubbard, I talk about getting creative and getting into flow to find our inspiration.

“Being creative is much easier than trying to meditate or spend time just being quiet. Then they get their inspiration and their connection to self and they can be in that flow and get their ideas, their inspiration, their juices flowing.”

I’m going to make this post a bit different – this time instead of writing the post, I will attach a podcast.  The podcast is an interview with Sally Hubbard, creator of Women Killing It!

Women Killing It!

Let me know what you thought of the podcast; and I’d love to hear how you lose that fear of being wrong. And as always thanks for stopping by, I appreciate it.

Creative Positive Reframing

“Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.”
― Voltaire

Creative Positive Reframing:  Taking limiting beliefs and creatively transforming them so that they become supportive rather than destructive.

This is what I am calling the process that I outline in my book – This Way Up.  So today, the second of August, 2016, I’m letting all of my readers know that Creative Positive Reframing is now *named! (*kinda trademarked, if you will)

The process involves several steps, but one of the central points is the use of questions. We are often advised to use affirmations when we are trying to rid ourselves of a bad habit or in getting out of a negative thought spiral. And it’s a wonderful, helpful tool. However, sometimes if we are using affirmations that do not feel real to us, our brain rejects it, and challenges us on it. For example, if I am struggling to save enough money to buy a car, and I say to myself, ‘I am wealthy and have plenty of money for a new car’, my head will say, ‘that’s not true’ – and then my brain will work to prove that I am wrong.  Affirmations sometimes work brilliantly, but sometimes they don’t; and if they don’t seem to be working on certain problems, there is a body of research that shows that the use of questions instead of affirmations works very effectively. Questions spark the brain’s tendency to work to solve problems. Ask a question and your brain will toil to find an answer, so that your brain is working with you, instead of against you.

I read a great article in Daily Good the other day called Living by Questions.  In it, poet Jane Hirshfield explains:

To ask a good question is a way to carabiner yourself to intimacy, a doorknob that turns only one direction, toward open. A good question can send you on a long journey in rain and cold. It can terrify, bringing you straight into your own fears, whether of heights or of loss or of all the mysteries that never go away—our own vulnerability, the heart’s utter exposure, the capriciousness and fragility of events, of relationships, of existence.

In times of darkness and direness, a good question can become a safety rope between you and your own sense of selfhood: A person who asks a question is not wholly undone by events. She is there to face them, to meet them. If you’re asking a question, you still believe in a future. And in times that are placid and easy, a good question is a preventive against sleepwalking, a way to keep present the awakening question that’s under all other questions: “What else, what more?”

What a stunning description, so, well, poetic!

I will go into more deteail about Creative Positive Reframing in future posts. But for now, I’d like to close with a TED talk – ‘How to Ask Good Questions.’

 

I’d love to hear what you think about the name I’ve chosen for my process – ‘Creative Positive Reframing.’ And any thoughts you have about the use of questions.  And as always thanks for stopping by, I appreciate it.

Visualization on Goals

“One of the lessons that I grew up with was to always stay true to yourself and never let what somebody else says distract you from your goals.”
―Michelle Obama

That quote by Michelle Obama is quite fitting to me today for a couple of reasons.  I have been very busy with my own, very personal goal this week.  I leave for the US in only 10 days. I’ll be in the States on a book tour –  the realization of a long held goal and dream.  And one of the goals I have at the moment is to load all the visualizations and quick scans from my book on to You Tube. So as of today,  I have 15 videos loaded on to my You Tube Channel. No mean feat I can tell you!

I am also loading them on to my website, thiswayupbook.com, with each exercise loaded under the workbook tab, under it’s specific week where the exercise is in the book.  This has been such a steep learning curve for me, a 58 year old woman, with both sons living away from home. I’ve had to search up solutions to problems I’ve faced, watched endless youtube vids about how to load youtube vids onto youtube!  It’s been a mission . . . (*however I have asked for a lot of help from my sons who have done so much remotely, I don’t want to give you the wrong idea that I’ve been able to do this alone, because I haven’t.)

But the main point I’m trying to make here is that I’m doing it.  I have the goal and I am steadily walking toward it. It hasn’t been easy, but it is so worth it, and as Michelle Obama says, I shall not be distracted from my goals.

I would like to close, fittingly, with a visualization about achieving your goals.  Special thanks to my son Devin for composing the music and overlaying it on the video. And special thanks to my son Lukas for creating the website in the first place.  Yeah, like I said, I didn’t do it alone…

I would love to hear any feedback about how this visualization was for you;  I always love hearing about people’s experience with creative visualization.  And as always, thank you for stopping by, I appreciate it.

Creativity – Externalizing the Internal Stuff

“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.”
― Jon Kabat-Zinn

Get the Crap Out! That is what we oh so graciously call it in our workshops.  Shrek had it right: Better Out than In!

Sometimes shedding light on the negative stuff and the obstacles is difficult, but it’s always better to look at it and deal with it rather than pretend it’s not there.

The exercise is from Week Three, Day Two of my book, This Way Up.

Deb and I talk about the process in this video.  I’d love to hear your feedback, not only of the video, but also of the process if you have tried it yourself.

 

I would really love to hear you thoughts on this process.  And as always thanks for stopping by, I appreciate it.

Creating Your Sacred Space

“Visualization works if you work hard”
― Jim Carrey

Shakti Gawain describes creative visualization as:

The technique of using your imagination to create what you want in your life.  There is nothing at all new, strange or unusal about creative visualization.  You are already using it every day, every minute in fact.  It is your natural power of imagination, the basic creative energy of the universe, which you use constantly, whether or not you are aware of it.

We do this everyday, so we may as well do it consciously. I have found that the best and most effective way to do creative visualization is to first create a sacred space to work from.

Creating that sacred space is the first visualization exercise from my book This Way Up: Seven Tools for Unleashing Your Creative Self and Transforming Your Life – from Part Two – The Workbook – Week Two, Day Three.

In my book, I have written out the words for the exercise, but for ease and simplicity, I have made a video to aid in the process.

You will find all of the exercises and visualizations from This Way Up on my You Tube Channel and also on my website:  www.thiswayupbook.com  

A huge thank you to my son Devin for his amazing music.  Devin composed and performed and uploaded this original music for my visualizations.  The music is absolutely mesmerizing!

Please give yourself 20 minutes to complete this visualization; and I suggest you take time to journal about it afterwards, making note of anything that might have stood out for you – a color, an unusual image, etc.  This is the same sacred space that you will go to for all future visualizations from my book, so take the time to create the perfect space for yourself.  The more you practice, the easier it is to do.  Enjoy!

 

 

I would love to hear any feedback about how this visualization was for you;  I always love hearing about people’s experience with creative visualization.  And as always, thank you for stopping by, I appreciate it.