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Ivy

Zen Sunrise
Creativity

Creative Help for Breaking Through

“Creativity involves breaking out of expected patterns in order to look at things in a different way.”
Edward de Bono

These last two weeks have been a bit of a ying and yang in the area of creativity. At times, usually when I’m at work, I’ve felt the creative flow moving into my path. Beyond work hours, it’s been a struggle to get in the creative zone.

I mentioned this challenge to a dear friend and neighbor who offered a creative and unexpected solution to my block EMDR Therapy.

My neighbor, Eric, is a certified therapist. He’s shared his thoughts on EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) with me for a couple of years. Most recently I’ve read about Prince Harry sharing his experience with EMDR. Eric uses EMDR Therapy to help his patients heal trauma, overcome fear, and move past blocks to unlock their true potential. My son was one of his patients. EMDR helped him heal and overcome the extreme bullying that he was experiencing in school.

When he mentioned that he wanted to do an EMDR session with me to help me overcome my creative block, I jumped at the opportunity. I saw firsthand how much this helped my son, so I wanted to experience it for myself so I could gain a better understanding about it. During this challenge, I said I wanted to experiment. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to stand up to this goal.

Before I share some details, let me back up and tell you a little more about this type of therapy. According to pyscom.net, “EMDR therapy is a phased, focused approach to treating traumatic and other symptoms by reconnecting the client in a safe and measured way to the images, self-thoughts, emotions, and body sensations associated with the trauma, and allowing the natural healing powers of the brain to move toward adaptive resolution.”

I’ve never worked with a therapist prior to meeting with Eric for this EMDR session, so I really didn’t know what to expect. After having a conversation to help identify the root of the thoughts contributing to the block, we dove into the EMDR part of the session. Using a combination of sound, vibrations, eye movements, and visualization, Eric walked me back to an event in my past that we had identified as the sole contributor to my limiting beliefs.

We unpacked a lot during the session… a lot more than I expected.

He helped me identify not only what my limiting beliefs were, but also the reasons these limited beliefs had such a strong hold over me. Through the session, I learned how much trauma I was holding onto and was able to release it and begin healing. I also learned more about how trauma is stored in our subconscious. The event we identified was something I thought I had moved past, but I learned there’s a big difference between moving beyond trauma and healing trauma.

Eric described EMDR to me as “defragging the computer.” This is a really good description, because it felt like the frayed connections between the left and right sides of my brain were fixed and the hidden, temporary files (the ones that often slow down a computer) were removed.

I walked into the session not really knowing what to expect, but ready to feel more inspired. I left the session with a deeper understanding of myself and feeling a renewed sense of freedom. That relaxed, lighter feeling instantly led me to feel more creative.

In the days following the EMDR session, I continued to feel lighter and healed. I decided to do a follow-up session to help concrete the progress made, and all I can say is WOW. This follow-up session was filled with ah-has, confirmations, and feeling like I had mentally upped my game. I went into the days that followed with clarity and a closer connection to myself.

I don’t know if EMDR works for everyone, but I suspect it would help in some way. I was really blown away by the experience. As I start this next week of the challenge, let’s see what unfolds.

Creativity

Releasing Expectations

Author Elizabeth Gilbert once said, “Creativity itself doesn’t care at all about results – the only thing it craves is the process.”

This quote really sums up what this 90-DAY Creativity Challenge is about, but releasing expectations over the outcome of a creative practice has been easier to talk about than execute this week. I think this is partly due to the creative practices I chose for this week, but it’s also clearly part of the process of breaking down my inner perfectionist.

I attempted to start the week with creative journaling. I’ve missed this practice. For years, I would start my mornings with Rocket outside writing in my journal. He would hold space close by in the grass being his adorably wise self. It was my favorite way to start the day. I began this challenge by attempting to share this morning routine with our new puppy, Daisy. I was able to write  a sentence and half before Daisy would draw my attention to her by digging in the yard, trying to eat a rock, or whimpering for attention. While I did enjoy the time outside, my journal would close after about 5 sentences because it was impossible to focus and be in the creative practice.

Then I decided to dive into some fun, light-hearted design with Canva. The idea was sparked by a friend Lauren Pennywell, who spoke at the virtual conference we hosted at work recently. Lauren has a unique and quirky design style that I love. So I created a few Canva designs. This is my favorite one:

For this upcoming week, I have set some goals including sharing more with you about my progress. I will be dusting off my beloved ukulele, trying my hand at poetry, and maybe getting a little crafty. I also expect to see this inner perfectionist pop in this week, but this time I’ll be ready.

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yellow flower and sun beams
Creativity

The Power of Intentional Creativity

“The qualities of creativity and genius are within you,
awaiting your decision to match up with the power of intention.”
– Dr. Wayne Dyer

A few months ago, I was faced with an opportunity and need for re-evaluation. I had been burning the candle at both ends for over a year. After surviving the ongoing stresses of a pandemic, drowning in the crushing grief of losing my best friend, juggling increased and new job responsibilities, and overseeing the busy world of my teenage son’s virtual school, I realized the stream of creativity that I once felt fully engaged with had disappeared. The only time I was engaging with my creative mind was for my 9-to-5 job and every effort had begun to feel forced and empty.

My music had silenced. My personal writing had ceased. The special DIY touches for the holidays, which always brought myself and my family joy, were replaced with whatever was available on Amazon Prime. My soul was unfulfilled and worn out. My inner child was screaming for me to stop and color with her, but her crayons were broken.

It was time for an intervention.

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After trying to “fit in” creative practice moments into my overflowing schedule quite unsuccessfully, I meditated, prayed, and tuned in for inspiration.

As usual, the inspiration came in one of the most unlikely of places.

Clubhouse. Yes, the new the drop-in chat-based social media app everyone keeps talking about.

It my very first day trying out Clubhouse. I was listening to a conversation between Mark Drager, host of the We Do Hard Things Podcast, Evan Carmichael, a legendary professional coach, and my friend Bo Hawkins, the master of connection and breakthroughs in the professional world. I was on the call because Bo invited me to check it out. I stayed because I wanted to be present for his parts of the scheduled talk and show my support.

The conversation between the panel of experts had veered into an unexpected direction focusing on Mark. He was one month into a 90-day fitness challenge called “The Chunk to Hunk Challenge.” During the first month, he celebrated his birthday and had enjoyed a piece of  cake. His fitness coach supported the idea, but Evan, Mark’s mentor, did not. They started talking about the motivation and reason for starting the challenge and by end of the conversation, Mark had decided to re-start the challenge.

The entire conversation ignited a spark in my creative mind. What would happen if I committed to a public challenge like Mark had? 90 days of creative practice, documented on this blog and social media for accountability. Could this help me find my lost stream of creativity?

I shared the idea with my husband and my most creative friends. They were all supportive and added extremely useful insight about how to structure the challenge, set expectations, and creative practices to try.

I committed and set a start date, only to let is pass with the same excuses that led to the creative block.

So it’s time to commit right here and right now.

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My 90-day Creativity Challenge starts right NOW!

The guidelines for the challenge are simple. Every day, for 90 days, I need to take part in a creative practice with no purpose other than to enjoy the creative practice (which means no 9-to-5 work allowed). The daily creative practices don’t have to work towards a final project or be work that I’ll use for anything, but they can be. I’ll let the creative flow decide the outcome of the practice. Experimentation and “failure” is encouraged. If I try a new kind of creative skill and I suck at it, who cares! The point is to tap into the creative muscle each and every day with no strings attached.

I’ll make sure to share these kind of failures in the most “nailed it!” way possible. 😀

In an effort to learn from Mark’s lesson that led him to start his challenge over, I’ve worked on clear expectations and ways to overcome some of the possible challenges. For instant, I realize that on some days creativity may feel forced. That’s just life, and it’s okay. I’ll honor whatever comes up. The point of each day is to show up and put in the effort.

The next 90 days are all one giant experiment. Can 90 days of intentional creativity open the flood gates for my creative mind to shine? I have a feeling it will.

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Life

But what is grief, if not love persevering?

“It can’t all be sorrow, can it? I’ve always been alone, so I don’t feel the lack. It’s all I’ve ever known. I’ve never experienced loss because I’ve never had a loved one to lose. But what is grief, if not love persevering?” – Vision

This week has been a challenging one, because it ended with Rocket’s first birthday not physically with us. For the last 10 years, Rocket’s birthday has kicked off a 3-month string of birthday celebrations. We would start on March 19th by putting up a “Happy Birthday” banner for Rocket that would stay up through my son’s birthday in April and my birthday at the end of May. We would fill the living room with balloons, put a candle in a cupcake, and help Rocket blow it out while telling him that he was the answer to all of our birthday wishes.

This year, we hung a new “Happy Birthday” banner, blew up some balloons, made puppy chow, and shared our favorite memories of Rocket. We decided as a family that March 19th would forever more be known as “Rocket Day.” It would be an official family holiday.

The boys of the house have made it though the weekend so far without crying. I, however, woke up crying and haven’t stopped for long. The quote above has come to mind more than once this weekend. When I first heard it, I thought of Rocket. 

“But what is grief, if not love persevering?”

Before Rocket came along, I wasn’t much of a crier. He taught me that it was okay to be sad sometimes. Somehow he always knew when I was about to cry. He would come over, moments before the tears fell, and put his head against me. Whether it was from a sad part in a movie or a broken heart, he always knew and held space for the emotions to come through.

Our first annual Rocket Day, which we turned into Rocket Weekend, has been a bit uneventful. The boys have spent the weekend diving into video games in their respective gaming locations (aka the man cave and the teen boy room). As for me, I’ve been powering through it as best I can. The pandemic blocked any attempts at a big blow out, but I think that’s okay. I wouldn’t make it through any type of social gathering without breaking down. I feel like Rocket would be okay with that. Instead I spent time outside with Rocket’s little sister Daisy, who joined our family a few months after he passed. We sat in the grass, watched the clouds roll by, and tossed a tennis ball. All activities that I know Rocket would approve of.

I’m planning a big celebration that I hope to host next year for the neighborhood dogs and close friends of Rocket (it’s a big list, he was a bit of a social butterfly). But until it’s safe, any kind of social gathering will have to wait.

This year, I’m holding this thought closely, “But what is grief, if not love persevering?”

It’s a beautiful way to look at grief and loss. Neither can exist without love. It comes to reason that the deeper the love, the deeper the grief.  What a blessing it is to know a love like this.

Life

Forever Wouldn’t Have Been Long Enough

“In the end these things matter most: How well did you love? How fully did you live? How deeply did you let go?” – Jack Kornfield, Buddha’s Little Instruction Book

There aren’t words to describe the pain you feel when you have to say goodbye to someone you love, especially when that someone is your devoted furry companion. Two days after writing my last blog post, my husband, son and I held our best friend, Rocket, as he closed his eyes and found his wings.

The world stopped spinning as he stretched his neck out and laid his head in my arms. It was what he always did when he sensed I was sad. It always seemed like it was his way of saying, “I’ll always be here for you.”

I tried to hold back my tears and be strong for him. My husband and son were attempting to the do the same. In that moment though, we knew Rocket could sense our hearts breaking. We weren’t ready to face the world without him, and it was impossible to hide that sorrow from our infinitely wise companion. He used the last of his strength to remind us that he would always be by our sides.

In these last two weeks, we’ve felt his presence. He’s reminded us in small ways that the bond we shared is rooted at the soul level.

We really weren’t ready to say goodbye, but the truth is forever wouldn’t have been long enough to have him by our sides. While we still long to see his smile waiting at the bottom of the stairs, feel his kisses on our cheeks, and embrace his warm, soft body, we’re holding onto his final promise.

“I always be here for you.”

Thank you, Rocket. You’re still the goodest dog of them all.

Life

There’s Nothing Like the Love of a Good Dog

Author Gabriel Zevin once wrote that there are over 300 words for love in canine. Anyone who has ever loved a dog knows just how true this is.

I’ve often asked my loyal sidekick, Rocket, how I could repay him for the love he’s brought to my life. He answers, every time, with a slobbery kiss and a soft nuzzle. 

These last few weeks, I’ve been reminded over and over that dogs love on a whole new level. Three weeks ago, Rocket collapsed in the house. He was conscious, but he couldn’t move. After creating a makeshift cot, we rushed him to the emergency vet. As I held him in the back of the Jeep telling him how much I loved him, he looked up at me and licked away my tears.

In pain, he chose to show love.

As we’ve sat up at night trying to make him comfortable, he’s shown us that what comforts him most is just having us near. Through the home cooked meals, the extra time to help him around the house, and the creative hiding of medicine in “treats,” he matches every step we take with gratitude and admiration.

He finally answered my question. How do you pay back a dog for the love he brings to your life? You become his human. That’s all he wants and all he needs.

There may be 300 words for love in canine, but in English we can sum it up in two… GOOD DOG.

Nature

Fall is in the Air

There hasn’t been a lot about 2020 that I would consider “normal.” For the first time in at least five years, we’re experiencing true seasons in my part of the world. Nature seems to be normalizing this year, and it’s breathtaking!

The beautiful colors of this season are ushering in my favorite part of the year. Let’s hope this winter shows up in style!

I laughed way too had at this comic. I wish I knew who the artist was so I could give them credit. If you know the source, please let me know and I’ll add it to this blog.

Life

The Hidden Power of a smile

Robin Williams once said, “I think the saddest people always try their hardest to make people happy, because they know what it’s like to feel absolutely worthless and they don’t want anyone else to feel like that.”

This quote from Robin has always stuck with me. I’ve always been known as the “happy one.” 

been one of my favorite actors. As a child, I was in awe of his talent and ability to make people laugh. As an adult, his authenticity and truthfulness about the challenges he faced taught me a lot about myself. The quote above has always stuck with me. 

Life

It’s So Good To Be Back!

Wow, it’s been such a long time. It feels good to get Unscripted Life back up and running. I’ve been paying for this URL for years with the intention of returning to blogging. The plan was to relaunch the blog when I had more free time. I quickly learned free time isn’t something that just shows up. It’s something you have to intentionally create.  

A lot has changed in the last six years. My son is a teenager now (he had just been born when I first launched this blog). Our family built our dream house in a neighborhood so magical that I have to pinch myself regularly to make sure all of this is real. My neighbors are the ones Mr. Rogers sang about (I’m sure you’ll be hearing a lot about them soon). And professionally, I’m working with inspirational content creators to put a lot of good and kindness into the world.  

My years away from the blog have been quite a ride. I look forward to telling you all about it, sharing the lessons I’m continuing to learn, and sharing new adventures with you. I considered republishing some of the content from the old blog, but I’ve personally grown so much that I feel like starting from scratch feels more authentic. Thank you for coming along for the ride and for your patience while I build this blog into something amazing.

About Me

Hi, I’m Ivy-Dreamer, Pretend Comedian, Positivity Badass!

I once heard Dr. Wayne Dyer say, “Stop acting as if life is a rehearsal. Live this day as if it were your last. The past is over and gone. The future is not guaranteed.”

Wow, do these words hold a lot of weight… especially while living (and re-launching a blog) during a global pandemic.

My adult life always seemed like it was stuck in fast forward. I was living for a moment in the far distant future, searching the horizon for what was to come. I could never truly tell if I was running toward something or away from it, but I was certainly running. And I chose roles that fit the pace – firefighter, kick boxer, breaking news reporter, people pleaser, sleep-deprived mom, and the list goes on and on.

I was definitely accomplishing a lot, but I was missing even more. While pushing through to get to the next destination and the many that followed, I kept forgetting to enjoy the journey. Life was passing me by while I was racing to the finish line. When I finally took the time to slow down and reflect, I realized I was racing toward someone else’s dream.

It was one of those “no turning back” moments. I could keep pressing forward, continuing to climb the mountain I had fought so hard to conquer or I could start down a new path that was so overgrown with uncertainty that I couldn’t see where to step next.

I think you already know where this is heading, but it took me awhile to get there. I turned around a lot. I looked for detours. I even lost myself and both paths for awhile. Then I learned that life has a way of course correcting, if you allow it.

And I’m so glad I did.

I learned more while being lost than I could ever have thought possible. When I allowed my life to become unscripted, I found myself. I hope my story and the lessons I continue to learn help you see some of the magic around you. Life can be messy and uncertain, but it can also be sweet and seriously amazing!

Thank you for joining me on this journey.