Posted by: Cathy | August 3, 2020

Why creativity is important: It is a safe place

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A creative practice is important because it gives you a safe place.

It is a place to show up as you are, in the moment, with whatever emotions or stresses or hopes or dreams or doubts or declarations you have living in your body or mind.

Your creative practice provides you a container to hold whatever you are carrying. Anything you don’t know what to do with, you can turn it over to your creative practice to give you a rest, some distance, and maybe a fresh perspective. Anything you are struggling to communicate can be worked through in your creative mediums.

When words aren’t enough, turn to art. It may not be fun, but it will be therapeutic.

Let your creative practice hold you. Find safety in your art.
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Posted by: Cathy | July 29, 2020

Forgiveness as a Productivity Tip

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In Jessica Abel’s book “Growing Gills: How to Find Creative Focus When You’re Drowning in Your Daily Life”, her Number 1 productivity tip is: Forgive yourself.

“Embrace self-compassion instead of self-blame, because happiness and productivity go hand in hand. It’s proven that increased happiness allows for greater productivity, and lower levels of happiness diminish it.” Jessica Abel

Forgive your limitations, forgive getting off track, forgive whatever happened or didn’t happen because of Covid.

Take the temperature for where you are now, today, and adjust your plans realistically. Trust in the you of now. Move forward with less baggage and more focus by forgiving yourself.

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Posted by: Cathy | July 27, 2020

Alone Together

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“Here in this fortress of solitude, we shall try to find the answers together.” Jor-El in “Superman” (1978)

It has been a long nineteen weeks since most of us started social distancing due to the coronavirus; a surreal period we’ve never experienced before and hopefully won’t ever again. But it is the unique experiences and our response to them that give us an opportunity to learn and grow.

I invite you to think about the last five months. What aspects did you enjoy? What aspects were the most challenging for you? What surprised you about yourself? If you had a time machine and could tell yourself three things back in February, what would you say?

For example, I’m an introvert so staying at home and distancing wasn’t difficult for me, but I did miss diverse sensory experiences like dining out and hearing live music. What surprised me was my reaction to being furloughed for 10 weeks; it was difficult for me to focus on my thousand other personal projects like writing and art. I had always thought having that much time for my personal projects would have been more productive, but the circumstances were stressful and I had to acknowledge that I was doing the best that I could at the time.

We have all gone through a lot of stress, frustration, and loss this year. We went through it alone but together. Try to take the positives with you as you make sense of the present and move into a brighter future.
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Posted by: Cathy | July 22, 2020

Art as Ritual

My own watercolor palette, one of my favorite art supplies

“All art emulates the condition of ritual. That is what it comes from and to that it must always return for nourishment.”
T. S. Eliot

You can make art from anything, but if you’re like me, you have a little stash of favorite art supplies; a favorite pen, trusty sketchbook, or a signature color. Using our art supplies, especially our favorites, helps us make a ritual for art.

When we reach for that favorite pen or tube of paint, we pick it up with reverence, with a little rush of pleasure and gratitude, possibly with a smile on our faces. Ritual helps us move from the every-day frame of mind into the artist space. You can enhance the ritual by lighting a candle or incense, or beginning your art session with a cup of tea or an inspirational reading. The more ritual you bring to your art, the more you create liminal space to move into creativity.

What kinds of ritual do you use for your creative time? Let me know in the comments.

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It’s summer (in the northern hemisphere) and that means it’s time again for my Creativity Camp Challenge!

Summer is a time for fun, adventure, and exploring. Apply these qualities to your creative life for some extra spark and inspiration! Get wildly creative!

To help you do this, take my Creativity Camp Challenge with four different activities combining creativity and nature: Wriking (writing-hiking), Alfresco Color, Image Hunt, and Nature Collage. Get out in nature and do some art!

Download this free workbook here!

Tell me about your Creativity Camp Challenge adventure in the comments!
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Posted by: Cathy | July 15, 2020

Share your vision over a campfire

There’s nothing like telling stories around a campfire. When I was growing up, my dad would tell us stories of his antics when he was a kid. He got up to some funny stuff!

Think about telling your vision like a campfire story. Under a blanket of stars, with the trees as witness, say out-loud your dream and how you see it playing out in an ideal scenario. Maybe actually tell your friends and family at your next campfire or patio fire-pit, or do it in your imagination but still say it out-loud. Put it out there around the campfire and let the magic of the moment carry your goal up to the stars.

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Posted by: Cathy | July 13, 2020

Mind the Gap, the Satisfaction Gap

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The satisfaction gap is a real thing. It is the gap between reality and your dreams. A small satisfaction gap can be ignored, but the bigger the gap, the more it forces you to action.

Boredom, frustration, and despair are all signs that you are experiencing a satisfaction gap. Pay attention to this gap. Know what you want, what you aren’t getting now, and what you would rather be experiencing. When you know this, you can figure out the steps to close the gap, to bring yourself closer to your vision of what you want. If you don’t know what you want, you will be stuck in dissatisfaction.

Look at different areas of your life and notice your level of satisfaction; creativity, love, health, family, home, finances, spirituality, career, etc. If you have low satisfaction in an area, daydream for a few minutes about what you want in that area. Hold that vision for a bit, and then think of what steps you need to take to move in that direction. Make a plan and then work it into your to-do list for the next few months.

Take small, consistent steps in the direction of your dreams and you can close the satisfaction gap.

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Posted by: Cathy | July 8, 2020

Don’t follow the crowd; Explore!

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“The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has ever been before.” Albert Einstein

If you are in a rut, you need to stretch beyond your comfort zone, your normal sphere of experience. Sometimes we can choose to leave the old behind, and sometimes that choice is made for us in a layoff or breakup. Either way, it can feel scary to step into uncharted ground, but that is where the discoveries are.

When you step out of your comfort zone, you build new muscles, see new things, meet new people. Change is uncomfortable, even when it’s change for the good. Take a deep breath, take the reins, and walk alone out of your comfort zone. Each step will increase your confidence and resilience, and who knows what amazing things you’ll discover out there.

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Posted by: Cathy | July 6, 2020

Reinforce your Systems for Q3

How are your healthy habits going?

Healthy habits help us create containers for what we want to cultivate in our lives. For example, I told you about my morning and evening routines, which help give me more time and energy for my creative pursuits. These systems make it easier to choose my creativity by streamlining common things I want to do each day.

As you begin tackling your goals for the third quarter of the year (Q3), check in with your healthy habits, routines, and systems. Have you stopped doing something you know is beneficial? Recommit to it. Is there something you want to tweak to make it more effective? Implement it. Do you want to try a new habit to strengthen another facet of your life? Go for it, but try to only initiate one habit at a time to improve your chances of success.

Continue making progress on your year’s intention by reinforcing your systems for Q3.

What systems do you find especially effective for you? Let me know in the comments.

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Posted by: Cathy | July 1, 2020

Q3 mini-goal, what do you want to create?

I like to do my annual planning quarter by quarter. This way, I can make course-corrections as the year progresses and not feel behind on my overall goals.

For example, my Q2 mini-goal was to continue my daily parrot watercolors, plus regular oil canvases, and art journal pages, and to turn back to my fiction writing. However, this past quarter was one big curve-ball, as I went on furlough from my day-job on April 20 (10.5 weeks now!) and, despite having more “free” time, I have been so stressed and thrown off from my daily routines that it is a struggle each week to stay focused and get anything done.

So, looking forward to the next three months, what is a mini-goal you want to set for yourself? It can be a subset of a larger goal, or it can be a stand-alone goal. Try to focus on only 3-5 mini-goals at a time, one for each priority area of your life for the year. For example, you might have a fitness mini-goal, a creativity mini-goal, and an education mini-goal. What do you want to create for yourself in Q3?

For Q3, I want to enjoy the summer and not commit to a lot, but I’m enjoying my art projects and will continue with my daily parrot painting. I want less stress and more ease, so that is what I’m aiming to give myself.

What will you focus on in Q3?

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