I don’t remember where I first came across this quote, but I think it was in college and obviously clicked for me for a long time, as it’s one of the few I have memorized:

“Education is that which allows you to get into more intelligent trouble.” Unknown

I’ve always been a very curious person, and this quote appeals to me, even though I’m not a trouble-maker! I like the implication that education can inspire exploration and mischief. Once we expand our minds, we can take steps into the unknown with curiosity instead of fear.

Autumn is back-to-school season and it always makes me think about what I want to learn next, even if I don’t take a formal class. There are lots of free resources online, including how-to videos. For example, I have some bookmarked to learn how to darn a sweater! But I haven’t tried it yet.

What do you want to learn next? What kind of intelligent trouble appeals to you?
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Posted by: Cathy | September 11, 2019

Everything changed the day she figured out …

“Everything changed the day she figured out there was exactly enough time for the important things in her life.” Brian Andreas

I’ve been doing a near-daily creative practice since March 2018 when I got serious about my art-making and devoted at least 15 minutes per day to it most days. My art skills have grown and I’ve made some pieces in the last 18 months I’m really proud of. I’m setting monthly challenge goals to stretch myself and continue growing, and I’m thinking about starting a series of paintings with the goal to eventually submit something to the county fair next summer, and then eventually selling my art online.

It all began with the commitment to a daily practice. I love making my art, and finding the time became easier once it became a habit. Of course, I’ll skip a day here or there if there is just too much to do, but those days are the exception now and not the rule.

I do have time for the important things in life if I commit to them. And you do too.

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Posted by: Cathy | September 9, 2019

What affirmations could have helped you this summer?

Thinking back over the last three months, what do you wish you knew earlier? Write those statements as affirmations to help you next summer.

Reflect over what issues you’ve been going through recently and what you learned. Think about points where you were stuck this quarter and what you learned or what advice would have helped you move through the problem. Then make notes for yourself to review next June and write some personal affirmations for yourself to capture the wisdom and help your future self recover maybe faster if you encounter a similar problem.

What affirmations could have helped you this quarter?
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Posted by: Cathy | September 4, 2019

Center Before you Stretch

If you practice yoga, you know that, before you can stretch up or out, you need to have a firm foundation in your legs and core. You need to get grounded and centered before you stretch.

Just so, to take a big step forward in your life or toward a goal, you need to get grounded first.

It helps to have some self-care practices that help you feel grounded and centered so you can whip them out whenever you need them. Some habits help you zone out but that is avoidance and not grounding. You want some practices to help bring you home to yourself, like journaling, yoga, meditation, art, prayer, etc. Think about what kind of practice you enjoy and be sure you’re doing it at least a few times per week.

Then each day before you tackle your goals, notice if you feel grounded or not. If yes, great, go get ’em! If not, take a few minutes to do one of your grounding practices. This is why a morning practice is so good for you; it builds in your grounding work so you can take on whatever the day brings from a strong foundation.

Do you feel grounded and centered? What are some of your favorite practices to get grounded?
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Posted by: Cathy | September 2, 2019

Evolution: What has changed about you since January?

I don’t know about you, but this has been quite a year already for me. Lots of change …

I met a man, fell in love, got pre-approved for a mortgage together, and now we’re looking for a home to buy. I’m packing up and leaving my apartment where I lived for eight years. I’m giving a lot of things away as donations, and recycling or trashing lots of other stuff. I’ve already gone through a lot of changes and we still have four months of the year to go!

I’m not the same person I was in January, and I bet you aren’t either.
We grow, change, stretch, trip, regroup, and move forward again.

Notice who you were in January, who you are today, and what else you need to change to catch up with where you are today.

Maybe some goals you set in January don’t fit you in September. Maybe you got some new ideas or lost some connections and need to go in a different direction than the path you set up nine months ago. Give yourself permission to grow and change, and meet yourself where you are today.

What has changed about you since January?
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Posted by: Cathy | August 29, 2019

Creative Alignment Check

It’s time again for a “Creative Alignment Check”! I invite you to check in, notice any imbalances, and work to integrate and re-align.

Many of us are suffering from a “Reality Disorder”: our ideals are not aligned with our day-to-day reality.

It doesn’t matter how you got to this point. You made choices that led to your current reality and you can make choices to change it. We aren’t going to judge and regret the past. We are going to take a Creative Alignment Check and use that to make small changes in the present to better align your future with your ideals.

We’ll do this with three scales: Mind, Body, and Soul.

Review my post from May on how to do this, and/or download my Creative Alignment Check e-booklet, which has worksheets for these three exercises. Find it on my downloads page under “Self-Development.”

You can begin to merge your reality to reflect more of your ideals. It takes mindfulness to notice when you are operating from the “old” states so you can make different choices to cultivate the “new”/ideal states. But day by day, moment by moment, you can create new habits and slowly shift to your ideal states. You have the power to build your reality in a new direction by building new habits.

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Posted by: Cathy | August 26, 2019

Balance is a Verb

Life balance feels elusive because it is not a one-and-done thing, it isn’t even something you can work on once per day, it is a constant practice of evaluating what is happening to you versus what you want to be happening.

“Balance is not something you find, it’s something you create.” Jana Kingsford

Life balance is the interplay between your values and ideals versus the actual circumstances you find yourself in on a given day or week. For example, you may have the experience that it’s easier to create balance on a weekend than it is on a weekday because the circumstances (your commitments) are different.

We can’t control every circumstance, but we can pay attention when something arises and make mindful choices to better align the situation with our values or ideals rather than reacting unconsciously and letting the circumstances carry us away.

Consider a circumstance you find yourself in today. Is it contributing to a feeling of balance or imbalance? If you feel balance, notice which of your values is reinforced in that situation. If you feel imbalance, notice which of your values is lacking in the situation, then think about what you could do to bring more of that value in play. Then make a mindful choice to create more balance in your day and take action.
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Posted by: Cathy | August 21, 2019

Make a date with your muse

Before the end of summer, schedule a fling with your muse.

Take a hike, a picnic, a quiet swim, a drive in the country, etc. Relax and daydream, then do some journaling to have a “conversation” your muse. Take turns asking and answering questions in your journal with some automatic writing.

Here are some sample topics:

  • What was your favorite part of our activity today?
  • Where would you like to go next?
  • What is inspiring you lately? (Music, tv, books, movies, colors, textures, etc.)
  • What kind of creative expression would feel really good right now?
  • What kind of self-care practice are you craving?
  • What would be a fun creative risk to try?
  • With whom could we share something creative soon?
  • What can we do with the last few weeks of summer energy?
  • Where will the autumn take us? What would we love to experience in autumn?

The more you engage with your muse any time of day, the more she will show up for you when it’s time to be creative. Just like a friendship or romantic relationship, you need to spend time together not just when you need or want something. Get to know each other and open a communication channel by making a date with your muse.

Where would your muse like to go?
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Posted by: Cathy | August 19, 2019

Honesty leads to Originality

When you’re looking to live a more authentic life or find your artistic style/voice, the secret is honesty.

When you’re being honest with yourself, you’re in touch with your real emotions and values, and better able to express them in constructive ways. Honesty helps you set healthy boundaries and filter what you want and don’t want in your life. It gives you a container to build an authentic and original life.

Within this container, you can slowly become more fearless. When you are comfortable expressing your real emotions and values, you become less worried about what other people think. Then, you can make art honestly and your authentic/original voice and style will emerge.

A tool to strengthen your honesty is journaling. Give yourself a safe space to explore your real emotions and values. Dig into what you think and feel, and practice expressing yourself. The more you practice being honest with yourself, the easier it will be for you to be original and authentic with others.
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Posted by: Cathy | August 14, 2019

Revisit Your Routines

With summer, your routines may have gone out the window. Mine sure have.

I invite you to take some time to rethink your routines as we approach autumn so you can reconnect to your healthy habits and pick up where you left off with your goals.

Think about any of your routines: morning, evening, meal-planning, chore schedules, work, health, etc. Look at each in turn and consider what you want more or less of to make your days feel more balanced and satisfying.

  • Have you stopped doing something you know is beneficial?
  • Is there something you want to tweak to make it more effective?
  • Do you want to try a new habit to strengthen a facet of your life?

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

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