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Creativity

It’s Only Failure When You Stop Trying

“It’s not how far you fall, but how high you bounce that counts.”
Zig Ziglar

If you’ve been following the blog, you’ve probably noticed my absence. Unlike the star of one of my favorite movies, I haven’t been using my absence to enjoy much-needed time off.

I’m okay… I just let “life” get in the way.

I write it as “life,” because our time is what we decide it will be. I’ve let my days be filled with work and have been burning the midnight oil for so long that my intention for the creativity challenge was put on the back burner.

But the best part about being the creator of your own life is that you can dust yourself off and start all over again.

 

Dale Carnegie once wrote, “Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.”

In the past few months, I have certainly felt both discouragement and failure over my creative journey. Discouragement that I couldn’t find the time to enjoy being creative, and failure knowing that the only way to “find” time is to create it.

It seems a little ironic, doesn’t it? Here are I was failing at my 90-day creativity challenge because I wasn’t creating the time to fit it into my schedule.

As the law of attraction shows us, focusing on my feelings of lacking in my schedule was simply creating more lack. I was inviting the busyness of life to overwhelm me.

 

I think when you “know better,” the lesson hits even harder. Cue the guilt trip. Cue the self-bullying. Cue the internal lecture.

Eventually… like an hour ago… I decided to work through the emotions, stop working on a weekend, and write about my experience on this blog.

Finally… a step in the right direction!

Now that I’m traveling in the right direction, it’s time to re-start the challenge with new insight and lessons under my belt. Cheers to a NEW BEGINNING!

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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