Holy Curiosity!

“Be a loner. That gives you time to wonder, to search for the truth. Have holy curiosity. Make your life worth living.”
– Albert Einstein

Have holy curiosity!  What a wonderful way to express it – holy curiosity to make your life worth living.

Liz Gilbert describes curiosity:

“Curiosity is a tiny tap on the shoulder — a little whisper in the ear that says, “Hey, that’s kind of interesting…”  The trick is to just follow your small moments of curiosity. It doesn’t take a massive effort. Just turn your head an inch. Pause for a instant. Respond to what has caught your attention. Look into it a bit. Is there something there for you? A piece of information? For me, a lifetime devoted to creativity is nothing but a scavenger hunt — where each successive clue is another tiny little hit of curiosity. Pick each one up, unfold it, see where it leads you next. Small steps . . .”

I love that. Have holy curiosity; follow those small moments of curiosity; listen to that quiet little whisper in the ear; turn your head just a little bit to see what caught your attention out of the corner of your eye. Pay Attention!

I have been talking a lot about paying attention lately, about following that little whisper.  I’ve been having to practice what I preach as I put myself out there in the world.

Last week my book, This Way Up: Seven Tools for Unleashing Your Creative Self and Transforming Your Life,  became available early on Amazon!  Publishing date is April 26th, but Amazon released it early.  This is very exciting on the one hand, but I wasn’t quite ready, I felt cheated somehow; I went to Amazon to check on something unrelated to my publishing date, and there on the page it said: “In stock and ready to ship!”  Suddenly I felt like I was on the back foot and needed to do more and move faster.

So I have been actively promoting my book and researching with holy curiosity different places for interviews and promotion.  It is not for the faint of heart, I assure you.

Today I had a wonderful interview on Artist First Radio with host Tony Kay, President of the ArtistFirst Radio Network.  It was such fun to be interviewed and to talk about my book for a whole hour.

I’ll close today with the interview.  It is an hour, so it does take a bit of a commitment to listen to the whole thing.  But if you can please do take the time to listen.

 

I’d love any feedback you have, and as always thanks for stopping by, I appreciate it.

Insights from 2014

Our mind is capable of passing beyond the dividing line we have drawn for it.
Beyond the pairs of opposites of which the world consists, other, new insights begin.

– Hermann Hesse


One of the things I love about starting a new year is making intentions. One of the intentions I usually make is to pay better attention. Which means that for the first few weeks of the year anyway, I’m paying closer attention to life, being more mindful in what I do. Wish it lasted longer than just a few weeks, but baby steps, right?

And along with intentions for the year to come, I love to look back on the past year and see what insights I’ve gained. One of my insights from 2014 is that I always feel better, more connected when I’m paying closer attention to the present moment. Another insight from this year is how much better I feel – body, mind and spirit – when I’m alcohol free.  So once again, I’ve decided to abstain from any alcohol for awhile.  This is not a new behaviour for me. Alcohol and I have quite a history. This isn’t a typical ‘New Year’s Resolution’ – this has been coming for quite awhile, I’ve been alcohol free for several months now. It just feels like alcohol doesn’t fit within the context of who I’m becoming.

I like reading the articles that come out in the new year about the ‘bests’ of the year that has passed.  And I love learning about other people’s insights from the previous year. So it’s no surpise that my favorite article is from The Greater Good Website.  Not only do I love that site! But the article combines those two things, the best of and insights gleaned. The article is based on the annual list of the top scientific insights produced by the study of happiness, altruism, mindfulness, gratitude – the science of a meaningful life. The article –  The Top 10 Insights from Science of a Meaningful Life in 2014  – is wonderful. It’s well worth reading the whole article, but for those of you who like things put in a nutshell, here you go:

  1. Mindfulness can reduce racial prejudice—and possibly its effects on victims.
  2. Gratitude makes us smarter in how we spend money. (Makes us better in all we do!)
  3. It’s possible to teach gratitude to young children, with lasting effects. (see the video within the article on the GG website)
  4. Having more variety in our emotions—positive or negative—can make us happier and healthier.
  5. Natural selection favors happy people, which is why there are so many of them. (So Be Happy!)
  6. Activities from positive psychology don’t just make happy people happier—they can also help alleviate suffering.
  7. People with a “growth mindset” are more likely to overcome barriers to empathy.
  8. To get people to take action against climate change, talk to them about birds.
  9. Feelings of well-being might spur extraordinary acts of altruism
  10. Extreme altruism is motivated by intuition—our compassionate instincts.

Each of these points is explained in depth in the article and is based on studies done in 2014.  As I said, well worth a read, helping us all work toward leading a more Meaningful Life.

I’ll close with a lovely short video about gratitude –

The Science of Happiness – An Experiment in Gratitude

 

 

I’d love to hear about your insights from 2014. Or some of your intentions for 2015.

And as always thanks for taking the time to visit, I appreciate it.

Paying Attention to the Coincidences

“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”

It is strange to be known so universally and yet to be so lonely.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/alberteins133182.html#cRzVZOHjpM8tGpjB.99

Alice Walker


Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous! (God, Goddess, The Source, Higher Power – use whatever word evokes power for you.) It’s my connection to that higher self or higher power that helps me when,  as Alice Walker reminds me,  I start thinking I don’t have any power.
One of  the ways I know I’m connected to that power is when I am paying attention to the coincidences. And one of those lovely coincidences has been happening in the last few days.
On Saturday,  I got together with my friends to do a fun, informal goal setting night where we had a lovely dinner and discussed what we anticipated our lives would be like in 2019.  During the evening, one of the things we talked about was finding new streams of money through Social Entrepreneurship,  or creative fund raising.
On Sunday, I attended an amazing event in Auckland called The Auckland Writers Festival (Thank you Trudi!)  During one of the events, I heard four amazing women speak: Eleanor Catton, Ngahuia Te Awekotuku, Sandi Toksvig and Jessica Jackley. As Jackley spoke, I got chills as she elaborated on Social Entrepreneurship and what great ‘givers’ New Zealanders are.  I sat up and paid attention.  And then on Monday morning, while reading the NZ Herald online, an article jumped out at me, again about New Zealanders and their generosity, with a link to an incredible website called Give a Little.
Givealittle is the free, safe and easy way to receive online donations for charities of all types and sizes.
In three days I had heard about the amazing generosity of many people in New Zealand and the wonderful giving being done, often anonymously, through various ways of giving, micro-financing, social entrepreneurship, etc. I was paying attention.
So on Tuesday, I went to our office at Figjam Workshops and my business partner and I set up an account at Give a Little.  We published the information on our page on Facebook, and we are getting the information out there.
When I pay attention to the little coincidences around me, and when I remember to act on those little nudges, then I am connected to my power.
Although I enjoyed every aspect of the Auckland Writers Festival, the highlight for me was hearing Alice Walker.  What an amazing woman!
So I’d like to finish with a video clip of Alice Walker speaking at Google.  Please take the time to watch and be inspired!
Please let me know what you thought of the video. And I’d love to hear of any ‘coincidences’ that you’ve experienced lately.  And as always, thank you for taking the time to visit.  I appreciate it.

A Fine Balance

“If you don’t know where you are going, you will wind up somewhere else.”

– Yogi Berra


I am honored to have been invited to contribute a post to a blog that I follow.  The League of Champions is a wonderful blog and well worth your time to explore.  In their blog, Kevin and Leanna help people reach their optimum creativity through finding inner peace and loving themselves.  Leanna and I have been discussing trying to live in the moment and at the same time keep one’s goals in mind.

There is a fine balance between going with the flow and directing your own life.  There is a certain peace in acceptance of what is, but there is empowerment in knowing what you want and being willing to go after it.  And then there is the all important need to Pay Attention and Be Present in the moment.

But does being present preclude goal-setting and focusing on what one wants in the future?  I don’t think so.  I think that we can have both, but I believe we have to practice a fine balancing act.

In my 7 Tools,  I discuss Heart-Centered Goal Setting.  And I believe that this is one of the keys to the balancing act.  In order to really focus on true goals, you have to find out the deepest WHY of the goal, the emotion behind it. Work to discover WHY you want that particular goal, journal about it, question it. When you understand the deeper emotion of why your want that particular goal, the emotional need behind it, then you have hit the WHY.  You can FEEL the why in heart-centered goal setting.  And in order to feel it, you have to be paying attention and be present to the moment.  That ability to stay present actually helps to define a direction for the future.  But indeed, it is a fine balancing act.

Zig Ziglar is one of the greats – an iconic motivational speaker.  In the clip below, Ziglar talks about setting goals.

 

I hope you enjoy listening to Zig Ziglar.  I always find him inspirational. I’d love to hear about how you balance staying present and setting goals for your future.

And as always thank you for taking the time to visit, I appreciate it.

 

Understanding Happiness – Love and Happiness

“Love consists of overestimating the differences between one woman and another.”

– George Bernard Shaw


In my previous post, I talked about the second talk in Understanding Happiness, a wonderful course offered on iTunes U. That course was by the “father” of Positive Psychology, Martin Seligman.   The first talk was the one I discussed in Paying Attention to Happiness, in which Nancy Etcoff explores the Surprising Science of Happiness.

In the third talk, Dr. Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist, tells us why we love and cheat and it’s relationship to happiness.  Facinating!  A great talk on love, happiness and the brain. This was kind of timely for me in that it mirrored a conversation my husband, Jeff and I had sitting in bed this morning.  He is possibly taking a job in Borneo for a year, and could be leaving as soon as next month. Well even after 23 years of happy marriage, sigh, I still do feel some jealousy.  And the thought of him away for a year feels, well disconcerting.  Of course I’ll miss him, and practically speaking, I’ll miss the stuff he does around here.  But there is also that little painful piece of fear that he’ll find some gorgeous woman there and have passionate sex! Sigh, I wish I could say I was much more mature and secure than all that , but there it is.  I found this talk by Dr. Fisher both entertaining and informative. And I have to agree with one of the women who commented on the video:

This talk is comforting and disconcerting all at once.

Please let me know your thoughts Helen Fisher’s TED talk at iTunes U, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on love and cheating.

And as always thank you for taking the time to visit, I appreciate it.

Paying Attention to Happiness

“It’s so hard to forget pain, but it’s even harder to remember sweetness. We have no scar to show for happiness. We learn so little from peace.”

–  Chuck Palahniuk


Hard to remember happiness . . . and hard to pay attention to happiness even when it is happening.  As I learned on iTunes U,  we are hard wired for happiness, we search for it everywhere as Cognitive researcher Nancy Etcoff discusses. So why is it so hard to remember happiness and to be present for happiness as it occurs?

Etcoff tells us that research shows that we are happiest when we are “in flow” (absorbed in what we are doing) and when we are with other people, actively engaged (with loved ones; having sex with a partner; participating in a team activity.)

Through participation in an academic study, I have personally experienced Etcoff’s findings to be true.  I’m participating in a study at University of Canterbury, NZ in which the researcher checks in several times a day to find out what people are doing at that moment, with whom they are doing it and measuring how “pleasurable, meaningful, engaging the activity is and how happy the person is at that moment.  I got involved because I’m a member of NZ Association of Positive Psychology and I saw the researcher Carsten Grimm was looking for participants for his well-being study.  I’m doing it not only because I like to help out in the research of Positive Psych, but also because I relished the idea of someone checking in on me and my happiness.  What a wonderful reminder to be present and to pay attention!  Several times a day I am asked if I am truly engaged in whatever activity I am doing and if I am aware of my level of happiness.  What a gift!

 

 

Please let me know your thoughts Nancy Etcoff’s TED talk at iTunes U, and I’d love to hear about how you pay attention to happiness.

And as always thank you for taking the time to visit, I appreciate it.

 

 

 

 

 

A Moment of Silence

“A moment of silence, please, for the lost art of shutting up.”

– Neil Genzlinger (American Playwrite)


I belong to a wonderful book club!  The No Guilt Book Club.  We go along to the group each month and have a glass of wine, or don’t; talk about books we’ve read, or haven’t; share some books, or don’t.  No Guilt, No Rules!  It’s fantastic!

Last night at book club, my friend Anne talked about the time she spent at Thich Nhat Hanh‘s Retreat Centre, Plum Village.  She explained that everytime a bell rang, a phone rang or any alarm sounded, everyone would take a moment to stop, be silent and mindful.  Imagine that, instead of rushing and hurrying everytime we hear a phone ring or an alarm sound to take just a split second and use that as a reminder to be silent and mindful.  When I asked her if she continued it after she left, Anne laughed and said no.  Of course not!  Who has time?  We are all so busy, who has time to take a moment to be silent every time a bell rings?

When I got home from book group last night, I got my newsletter from Daily Good.  In the email, there was a link for Fred Rogers’ (of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood) acceptance speech for his Emmy for the Lifetime Achievement Award.  Now don’t get me wrong, Mr. Rogers Neighborhood was never my all time favorite show, however I found this speech very moving.  He asked the audience to remember the people who had loved them into being.  What a wonderful way to put, to think about the people who have loved us into being.  He then asked the audience to take ten seconds of silence to think of the people who helped them become who they are.  It was very moving in that grand auditorium at the Emmy Awards, with everyone dressed in their finest to take a moment of  silence.  There were tears and a lot of emotion.

I don’t fool myself into thinking I will pause and be mindful every time I hear a bell in the future; but I am going to try to be silent for at least a moment every day – and to just breathe and just be, and perhaps think of the people who loved me into being.

Please take a moment to watch this speech by Mr. Rogers, and perhaps take a moment of silence to think of the people who loved you into being.

 

 

Please let me know your thoughts on this speech, and any methods you use to remind yourself to be mindful.

And as always thank you for taking the time to visit, I appreciate it.

 

 

Moving past Woundology toward Authentic Self

“Your biography becomes your biology.”

– Caroline Myss


Caroline Myss is a tour de force!  She is indeed a force to be reckoned with.  I credit her with a big portion of my healing.  She became the teacher that helped me to move through  Woundology – and move toward Authentic Self.

I didn’t plan for these last few posts to be a series, but they seem to have become that – a series exploring my teachers.

Shakti Gawain opened my eyes – helped wake me up and got me started on my path.
John Bradshaw helped me dig through the depths in the middle of my work
And Caroline Myss helped launch me out of the depths of my woundology and onto my path toward Authentic Self.
Caroline Myss coined the term “woundology” to describe how some people define themselves by their physical, emotional, or social wounds.  In Why People Don’t Heal and How They Can, Myss writes that many people hoping to heal “are striving to confront their wounds, valiantly working to bring meaning to terrible past experiences and traumas, and exercising compassionate understanding of others who share their wounds. But they are not healing. They have redefined their lives around their wounds and the process of accepting them. They are not working to get beyond their wounds. In fact, they are stuck in their wounds.” ( http://bolstablog.wordpress.com/2008/12/28/woundology/ )
I never planned to stay stuck in my woundolgy, I don’t think anyone does this consciously. I had to really pay attention to my inner dialogue, my conversations and my day to day focus to realize I was stuck.  I had to focus on changing my inner loop of thoughts.  As Mike Dooley points out daily in Notes From the Universe ( http://www.tut.com/ )
“Thoughts Are Things.  Choose Good Ones!”
So I invite all of you, pay attention to where your focus lies.  Is it on your wounds or the life in front of you?
I’ll close this post with one of my favorite videos of Caroline Myss.  It is a longer video, in 8 parts, but if you can make the time, it is well worth watching.

Please let me know your thoughts on the Caroline Myss video.  And I’d love to hear about your own journey toward Authentic Self.

As always thank you for taking the time to visit, I appreciate it.

Who was your teacher?

“When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”

– Zen Buddhist Saying


“Our bodies communicate to us clearly and specifically, if we are willing to listen to them.”

When I first read that statement by Shakti Gawain, I felt a tingle inside, and luckily for me, I finally listened.  I was finally ready to make some changes in my life.  If I had read Shakti Gawain’s timeless book, Creative Visualization a year earlier, it probably wouldn’t have moved me in the same way.

http://www.shaktigawain.com/

But because of where I was in my life, as I read her book, I felt the shift, I had the Ah-Ha Moment that I had heard others talk about.  I credit Shakti Gawain with waking me up, with being my teacher when I was finally ready.

Although actually, to back up a step, I would say that my sister Karin Clark would have been my real first teacher.  She saw in me my search for meaning, my longing for something more.  She saw that alcohol and partying was not only no longer enough to make me happy, but was actually beginning to destroy me.  It was my sister Karin who gave me that book, and who was and continues to be my teacher. I have never formally thanked her, so I want to do that now.  Thank you Karin, from the bottom of my heart.  In more ways than one, you saved my life.  I love you.

Who was your first teacher?  When did you have that Ah-Ha Moment?

The video below is an excerpt from an interview with Shakti Gawain about the process of creative visualization.

 

Please let me know what you thought of Shakti Gawain’s interview.  And I’d love to hear about how you found your own teacher.

As always thank you for taking the time to visit, I appreciate it.

 

Life is not linear!

“Life is not linear  – it is organic
we create our lives symbiotically as we explore our talents in relation to the circumstances they helped to create for us.”

– Sir Ken Robinson


“Life is not linear  – it is organic – we create our lives symbiotically as we explore our talents in relation to the circumstances they helped to create for us.”

I rewrote that quote purposely so you could read it twice.  I love that line – think about it, we create our lives symbiotically as we explore our talents in relation to the circumstances they helped to create for us.  When I read that I think of an infinity sign, a figure 8 on it’s side, with each experience that we have feeding into the life we are creating as it goes on into infinity.  I just love it!  It feels like such potential to me, that interweaving and the symbiosis.

So in my opinion, it is essential that we keep paying attention.  We must pay attention to our talents and to what is unfolding as we are creating our lives.  Are we on the right track?  Do we like the direction we are heading.  What does our life feel like?

Remember, This is Not a Dress Rehearsal!  This is it!  We are creating our life each step of the way.  Pay attention!  Perhaps today choose to watch one hour less TV and journal instead; pay attention to what is going on, even when it is not comfortable, and change direction if need be.

The video I have chosen today is another by Sir Ken Robinson, a follow up to a previous post I had on creativity:

https://patticlark.wordpress.com/2012/04/17/imagination-and-creativity/

In this YouTube video, Sir Ken urges us to bring on the revolution!  I hope you enjoy it:

 

Please let me know what you think Ken Robinson’s talk.  And I’d love to hear how you are creating your life.

And as always thank you for taking the time to visit, I appreciate it.