The Landscapes of our Individuality

The Creative Journey: Individuality The Landscapes of our Individuality   “Do you know what you are? You are a marvel. You are unique. In all of the years that have passed there has never been another child like you… ” Pablo Picasso Each of us truly is a marvel, a complex and wondrous being capable of amazing feats. We all have a distinctive way of interpreting and translating our life experiences, approaching our daily challenges and relating to our fellow beings and the world around us. Our unique inner landscape is formed by our attitudes, thoughts, beliefs and emotions. As creative artists, we can benefit from taking the time to explore what thoughts, attitudes and beliefs we are experiencing and practice nurturing those that support and energize us. When we pay close attention, we may find that over time, certain thoughts have evolved into stories that are limiting our creative potential. I call these “Minimizing Myths.” Minimizing myths are the stories that we have told ourselves that keep us from stretching beyond our comfort zone. Everyone loves a good story. We hold onto the story of how we can’t do something, or that we haven’t got the right kind of … Read More

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Creating Intuitive Goals

The Creative Journey: Intuition Creating Intuitive Goals   “What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” Henry David Thoreau As a creative artist my mantra is: Play. Explore. Discover. I love to spend hours looking at and handling my art materials by sorting them, making piles, grouping things together and imagining combinations of color and texture. I love to daydream and play with possibilities. I love to wonder about the “What If’s.” I consider myself very intuitive. I also love to use goal setting as a powerful tool for guiding my daily choices. How about you? Do you work intuitively? Do you set goals? In the past, I have determinedly set goals to create artwork for some future exhibit and then after the initial burst of enthusiasm I’ve gotten distracted, or lost my momentum to follow through on all of the steps needed to make that happen. I even used the popular SMART acronym which reminds us to set goals that are: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Oriented. SMART goals are intended to help us define the specific details of what we want to accomplish, what that will look … Read More

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Procrastination, Permission and Progress

The Creative Journey: Procrastination Procrastination, Permission and Progress   A few years back, when I was in the middle of writing my book, I entered a magazine contest that asked people to submit their best house cleaning tips. My submission was simple: Challenge yourself to a big creative project. Set a deadline. Then you will find yourself noticing every tiny speck of dirt in your house as you try to focus on your big project. Instead of writing, drawing, painting, or sewing, let procrastination take over. Spend all of your creative time scrubbing, dusting, and sweeping, and your house will be immaculate from top to bottom! I didn’t win the contest. I did distract myself from my feelings of fear that arose from writing my book. It just seemed less risky to be reading the magazine, entering the contest, cleaning my refrigerator, and dusting my rafters. I was procrastinating big time. Why is it that even when we are passionate about our work and truly motivated to create something new and original, we find ourselves putting off our project and choosing to do just about anything else, including cleaning our house, instead? On a good day we feel like intrepid … Read More

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Cultivate Curiosity and Caress Wonder

The Creative Journey: Curiosity & Wonder Cultivate Curiosity and Caress Wonder   An artist… must actively caress wonder: for fascination, like the desire to play, can be eradicated by the rigors of living.  – Eric Maisel When was the last time you opened yourself to “caress” wonder? A couple of weeks ago I found myself marveling at the gorgeousness of the Japanese gardens in Portland. At each turn in the path I found myself drawn toward some fabulous combination of moss, water and stone. The fat golden koi swimming under the wooden bridge; the dew glistening on the bare branches of the cherry trees; the circular patterns of raked sand; I was delighted and awed by the natural beauty and the carefully contrived simplicity that I discovered as I explored the gardens. I felt a tingle of excitement as if there was some kind of magic afoot. I felt my sense of wonder activated and energized. With our culture of busyness it can be challenging to find ourselves in the state of fascination that feeds our creative imagination unless we consciously cultivate a practice of curiosity. That may require us to physically slow down and make way for our playful … Read More

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Claiming Your Inner Authority

The Creative Journey: Authenticity Claiming Your Inner Authority   The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are. – C.G. Jung As a teen in the 70’s I remember being surrounded by bumper stickers with slogans like: “Question Authority” and “Get Real.” I had a large poster on my bedroom wall that encouraged me to “Do your own thing.” Those messages really spoke to my heart. I grew up ensconced in a strict authoritarian Catholic school culture and had a law enforcement officer as a parent. Being surrounded by outside influences that reinforced the established norms, my individuality and originality became treasures for me to cherish and defend. Figuring out how to live and work in sync with my own inner authority, to be authentic, has been a lifelong pursuit. Authenticity refers to living one’s life according to your own inner guide and not looking to outside sources to define you. You could say that authenticity is the degree to which someone is true to their own personal spirit. Authenticity, creativity, and individuality all go hand in hand. These attributes act as fuel for our self-expression and they inform the process we use to create original work. … Read More

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