Attachment, creative block, creative practice, Creativity, focus, inspiration, Uncategorized

Improvisational Creativity

Things I’ve had “forever” are finally meeting their purpose

A week or so ago, while looking for something completely different, I came across some hand made paper and shibori indigo-dyed fabric samples I created about thirty years ago. Thirty years?!?!! How the heck did that happen?

I looked at the two stacks, noticed that the colours were similar, shuffled them together, and an art project was born. I would make a book of them. From there, I decided to stitch on them, creating several independent works linked together.

Beyond that I really had no plan, and have re-ordered which page goes where several times. Each time I sit down I pick up a page and allow my imagination to wander. Sometimes making my imaginary self very small and exploring. Are there hidden images waiting to be seen? Maybe technique marks to be honoured. I have picked up needle and thread with no plan and stitch-scribbled my way around, enjoying what is being birthed between my hands.

I feel if I had taken a different and more studied approach, the results would be quite different. It would have a different rhythm and flow to it. I like surprising myself during the creative process, exploring the “what if I tried this”, mostly delighting in the results, and always learning, regardless of the outcome.

This kind of creative practice is so important. It can shake us out of habits and expand our creative vocabulary. We can unknowingly become complacent in our choreography, writing, music, or however we express ourselves, and end up repeating themes and patterns without even realizing it. It’s a beautiful thing, for example, to witness two dancers who’ve never danced together before explore a piece of music together, create something new, and deepen their own knowledge of their craft.

One thing I like to do when I feel creatively stuck is to explore a medium I’ve never tried before. The materials or process may have some basic “rules”, but there’s something about not even knowing what the rules are, experimenting, and discovering what happens.

If you’re building a new brand, or making an existing brand more relevant, what would it look like if it was a person? What kind of personality would it have? These kinds of characteristics could be an interesting exploration and could even do something like uncover a target demographic that hadn’t been considered. What conveys a recognizable identity for a product category, and yet stands out from other similar things/businesses?

Liberally use the cut/paste/relocate features if you’re writing on your computer… I did it just now! Or write chunks of a story/article/poem/song on post-its or paper and rearrange them. Have a conversation with that character that seems to adding to your block. Do your choreography backwards. Play a musical scale as if it was the most soulful piece of music ever written. Pretend you’re from another planet and just opened up your box of art supplies.

The idea is to explore freely without attachment to outcome. You’re not making “a thing”. There are no mistakes to be made, because you are exploring, learning and being in flow with the process.

Even with this project I’m playing with now. I had the thought this morning that I could keep adding to it as long as it’s in my possession or I exist. I can keep stitching on it, or add or subtract pages. What feels done now could call to me later for something else. I can gift a page to someone if I feel so moved. If someone else ends up with it, I hope they feel free to do the same.

This approach can expand to other areas of life- those that we may or may not see as creative. Take a different route between locations. Go on a grocery store treasure hunt by picking up the first ingredient you see and building a meal by picking one thing from each aisle (I just thought of this while thinking up examples- I think I’ll try it!)

No matter how you explore, make some time to disconnect from all devices and let your mind wander a bit. Your to do list might come up, or you’ll suddenly hear everything and that’s OK. Let it flow by. Eventually you might find yourself in a state of relaxed awareness. And what do you know? You’ve meditated, and maybe even had a day dream or two. Or come up with some ideas/answers. Or had a much needed nap!

My invitations to you this week:
If you write, what would your words look like in movement? Dance them out!
If movement is your jam, what does each movement sound like? Sing and sigh as you move and see where it goes.
f you create in two dimensions, focus on texture. Go for a walk, pick up five things, and create something. Or take a sketch, cut it up into random shapes and create something different. Better yet, buddy up, each cut up a sketch and then trade!
If you normally don’t think of yourself as creative, write down the first ten words that come into your head, even if they are: I can’t think of anything to write; this is stupid. Rearrange them into different sentences, maybe even a poem.

Let me know how it goes; I’m excited to hear what you discover!



focus, goal setting, passion, Personal Development, Personal growth, Uncategorized

Content, Connection, Goals, and Plans

Things are not always what they appear to be on the surface
Photo by my friend Andrea.

The other day I was listening to a talk by Bradley T. Morris, a lifestyle and business design coach. He was describing one of his “AHA” moments. While sitting in Nature enjoying a sunset, he discovered he was already formulating a social media post rather than being absorbed in the moment. That realization was his inspiration to approach business in a completely different way. What a perfect example of how social media and online presence has taken over the lives of so many. Going through our days with an eye to creating content and capturing likes, follows, and share instead of fully embodying our experience.

Social media’s been mixed for me. I’ve definitely had moments when I take a picture or have a passionate flow of words come to me and think “Oh man! This will make a great post!” It’s also connected me to people I’ve come to call true friends, collaborators, teachers and mentors from all over the world I wouldn’t have had a chance to interact with otherwise. It’s provided an audience for my images, words, and music I might not have had. It’s inspired me to refine my photographic eye and hone other creative skills.

Being content-focused to me is living on the surface. It can take up a lot of energy, without a lot of reward for either the creator or consumer. Creating content with the goal of connection, though, has the potential to be inspirational and even interactive.

It’s important too, I feel to make sure the mission and message are aligned. That a subversive mission of gaining a following doesn’t dilute the offering.

In my own experience lately, I found I was expending a lot of effort in creating content in a way I thought would bring me passive income and potentially a large following. It. Was. All. So. Hard. I realized one day I had distracted myself from my original goal, which was (and still is) to find a way to share with others my joy of creative practice, and how it can contribute to making meaning.

To the point where even though a particular plan felt so uncomfortable, wrong, not “me”, I was pursuing it anyway. I had veered off the path of wanting to truly connect with others and holding space for them to make their own discoveries to healing, stillness, and celebration of this thing we call life.

Full.

Stop.

So, Adele, you may be thinking… what does all this have to do with goals and plans?

For one, the concepts of content, connection, goals, and plans have been tumbling around all together in my mind these past few weeks.

Let’s consider, for a moment, to look at both content and goals as intent. They can both be broad and vague. Examples could be: This topic is trending and I’m going to rehash it/share a meme. I want to increase clicks with this catchy headline. We will create a brand that will create excitement in a certain demographic. I want to write a best seller novel/song. I want to be a baseball player. I want to change my weight/fitness level. Goals are an expression of a desire. Sometimes they are realistic, and sometimes they are really more dreams than anything.

Plans are the action steps: I’m going to go a new provocative route with this trending topic, and these are the steps I’m taking. The headline is not just a teaser, but the content makes you want more. This month we will launch new packaging that’s more appealing to a demographic. I am scheduling time each day to devote to a pursuit, either for enjoyment or mastery. I am sitting down today to make my meal plan for how I want to eat. They connect (see? this is how my brain works!) the dream to reality. The route to achievement. A sense of meaning is being created. Good stuff!

I chose the image for this post because for me it’s both content and connection. It’s made from a butter box I was going to recycle. I turned it inside out, and created something different. From the outside, it’s not what it appears to be. It can hold anything. Rocks, slips of paper with words of encouragement. Or as it turned out, a pair of sock I knitted and gave to a friend because I started knitting them while staying with her when I had nowhere else to stay.

My invitation to you this week is to look at what you are putting out to the world. Are your message and mission in alignment? Are you creating value, or simply a scroll pause?


course creation, creative block, creative practice, Creativity, goal setting, inspiration, journaling, Personal Development, Personal growth

Overwhelm Can Lead to Innovation

I will admit- the past couple of weeks I’ve found myself becoming overwhelmed. Both by content, and the goings on in the world. It’s seemed like a priviledged extravagance. It seemed that everywhere I went there was someone promising “complete transformation in just eight weeks”, offering an app that held content much like I want to present. or making this or that spiritual claim. I used this bombardment of information and enticements as a template, and I’m discovering that’s just not me. I was not being true to my values, beliefs and integrity. Which made me laugh, because that’s one of the explorations I offer to people.

Between finishing up some trainings, looking for a “regular” job to support me on my journey, coming up with course materials and trying to figure out platforms and methods of delivery, and .. and… and… whew. I kinda shut down.

This created a fantastic opportunity! Overwhelm can indicate that a person or group is out of alignment with core tenets and values, or headed a direction that’s not right for the project at hand. It’s a cue to step back, evaluate and recalibrate. Concepts might be vaild overall, but not for the current situation.

In my personal situation, it came to that I was trying to cram too much into one package. AND yay! Many packages! Sometimes it’s necessary to do some sorting out and see what’s noise, and what’s music.

I can’t promise, nor do I want to, a formulaic transformation miracle. I’m more a hands-on kind of person, so I’m beginning to think offering self-paced learning is not what I want to offer. There’s something about in person shared experience that lights me up. I want to take “just enough” time in developing things that when the world sees it, people will think “Yeah! That’s the stuff!”

I believe my music, words, and energy come through me not from me, and I never want to lose sight of that. I witnessed too many people I’ve admired on their journeys begin to believe their own hype and become characatures of themselves.

I believe in the science behind the healing properties of meditation, sound, and energy, and that there are many ways to achieve a state of relaxed awareness. That this is accessible to everyone, and much as there are people more receptive to talents with words, or music, or painting, there are people who are more open to being channels for energy.

That some of the practices I’m exploring use symbols and tools that don’t quite jive for me, and that’s OK.

What I can, and deeply desire to offer:
* A safe and sacred space for people to find their way to relaxed awareness. This can
be through conversation, meditation, sound experiences and creative practice.
* That in this state, people can discover what makes life meaningful to them, and a
few life purposes to lead a satisfied life.
* Contemplative excercises, including some fun creative practices, that have worked
for me in making these discoveries, and maybe they will work for you, too.

I invite you to begin by thinking of a time you felt fully yourself, being and doing something you completely got lost in. Commit to doing this activity twice a day, for twenty minutes. Write, walk, make or listen to music, participate in your community in an uplifiting way. It can be anything that aligns with your values and longings.

If any of this sounds interesting to you, let’s chat! We can explore together a way for you or your team to develop a personalized course. Become more effective and satisfied with your life. I can be reached at info@craftingthespirit.com

creative practice, Creativity, focus, goal setting, inspiration, instinctive meditation, meditation, passion, Personal Development, Personal growth

Desire, Devotion, Discipline, and Dedication: Ways in to Habit Formation

Now that we’re a month into the new year, many of us have had resolutions or goals that have started to fall by the wayside. There are a lot reasons that this happens, and for so many. It could be that the goal was too ambitious, such as “I’m going to go to the gym everyday and work out for 2 hours” when you’ve only worked out an hour a week previously. Or “I’m going to write 3,000 words a day” when the most you’ve done is a couple of 140 word social media entries a week.

Why does this happen, why do we do this to ourselves, and how can we change this?

For one, as I said earlier, it might be too ambitious from the standpoint of our current reality. Or it might not be in alignment with our core values and life purposes. Or maybe we did it because we’re “supposed to”, and not because we want to.

Desire is the first key. What are some of your deepest longings? How are they currently appearing in your life, and how might you bring them forward? How do they fit in with your values? I’m a big fan of meditation being a form of mind-wandering. Take a moment to explore your desires. Something might show up asking for attention that surprises and delights you.

I feel devotion is the second key. Devotion is about love, tenderness, curiosity, and playfulness. Without engagement of joy and enthusiasm, the thing we’ve vowed to do can quickly become a burdensome chore. Sure, at times something will feel like a chore and not hold meaning, but the center of that will always (or mostly) be there.

Discipline I see as more, for lack of words at the moment, more linear or rigid. It can contain the training to learn a skill, or commitment to a time each day one sets aside to do the thing, such as writing first thing in the morning. It might include the rules one has around their practice.

Dedication to me is an amalgamation of it all. Desire, devotion, and discipline working in partnership.

It might be helpful to ask yourself these questions, originating from the work of Alan Seale, and I have used so much in life:

  1. What wants to happen? Not what do I want to happen, but what is coming forward, asking to be expressed?
  2. Who is what wants to happen asking me to be? What inner parts of me are going to be engaged to make things happen?
  3. What needs to happen? What are the action steps?

Then make time for creating the habit of what you want to do. Schedule 2, or 5, or 20 minutes to do the thing. Be realistic, and perhaps start small. You can go beyond the time if you want. With any luck, the doing, the making, the moving, will become as natural as say… cliche, I know… but as natural as brushing your teeth.

If you’re still having a challenge working something into your day, try making a list of parts of what you want to do, like a menu. Choose one, two, or three things to complete that day. A sense of accomplishment can be a reward in its own right, and created the desire to do “the thing” again.

I invite you to try this out, and let me know how it goes!

course creation, Creativity, goal setting, inspiration, journaling, passion, Personal Development, Personal growth

Stepping Back to Step Up

This is kinda how my brain feels right now.

I’d fully intended on launching an online course next month. I still could, but I would be doing a plug and play. I want you all to have a much more vibrant, fun, deep experience than that. In order to do that, I need to step back a bit and map things out. Sometimes stepping back to allow things to marinate and show the way is the best choice.

This week I realized that:
1. I have multiple learning curves happening- embodying content, developing the courses, and learning the delivery platforms.

2. There’s a lot of “noise” out there right now. I want to rise above it, not be part of it

3. I have multiple courses bouncing around.. Yay! And also overwhelming.

4 This experience in itself is a rich topic for exploration with others (add it to the course list, haha!)

5. Part of my mission is to make experiences accessible, relatable, and not of privilege, which so many of these kinds of classes have been.

And probably more.

I can hardly wait to share and explore with people. The fusion of what I’m learning, mixed with my own flavour is so exciting to me.

At least one course WILL happen this year.

In the mean time, I am committed to holding space on the Saturday Group Guided Instinctive Meditation Zoom, creating podcasts, music, and blog posts.

I’m also available for individual and group classes for pay. Inquiries to info@craftingthespirit.com.

****************************************************************************************I don’t know who created this awesome image, but it sure is accurate!