Posted by: WisdomQuest Arts and Coaching | February 22, 2019

Play is Serious Business

Play is serious business for children and adults−synonymous with breathing to keeping us alive, although our society tends to downplay it. Since it’s “unproductive” with no tangible results, adults may neglect it. According to the Author of Play and psychiatrist Stuart Brown, MD, play is on par with oxygen, “it’s all around us, yet mostly goes unnoticed or unappreciated until it is missing.”

What’s the big deal about play? For children it’s vital for brain development and healthy connection. For adults play helps to build community, keep our minds sharp and also, maintain healthy relationships, especially with our significant others. According to Dr. Brown, when adults are play deprived they are no longer much fun to be around. Play is fundamental to experiencing joy. Without it we risk becoming dull. This is a considerable consequence.

What does it mean to play? It’s difficult to define because it’s a process, not an end result. Brown calls it a state of being of timelessness and purposeless fun and pleasure. It’s all consuming and vital to our well-being, as important to our health as sleep or nutrition. Brown also believes that the opposite of play is not work, he suggests it’s depression. His book argues that play is also a critical element for the workplace because it encourages creativity, innovation, and mastery. Creative teambuilding exercises are an example of how organizations can enhance productivity and innovation through the play state.

What are some ideas for play? Brown emphasizes it isn’t so much the activity as the spirit of fun you bring to it. It’s more about getting lost in what you’re doing out of sheer joy. Play can be gathering around a board game (e.g. Scrabble) where winning or losing is secondary to having fun; or making snow angels or snow men or women; sledding; bike riding; going to a comedy show, theater or a concert; playing a sport with a team (e.g. soccer) or going to sport’s event; dabbling with colored pencils and a coloring book; and it is often spontaneous. It can happen when you’re not expecting it–a playful outburst leading you to laugh yourself silly with a group of friends and/or family members. What matters most is to surrender to this nurturing play state. Engage in some form of play day-to-day.

So how can you play with more abandon? Psych Central’s Margarita Tartakovsky, Associate Editor, recommends the following:

  1. Change how you think about Play (as in give it the importance it deserves). It’s crucial for our well-being that we find some time to play every day. Give ourselves permission to play for the sake of our creativity and our relationships!
  2. Write a play history (or timeline) of your past relationship with play. What did you love to do as a child? Is there a way you can reignite that joy today? For example, as a child I loved to line up my dolls as if they were my audience and perform for them. I’d act out the television shows I watched; and sometimes I’d even teach them what I learned in school. I think they preferred the entertainment. As an adult when I’m performing and connecting with an audience (acting, leading workshops, speaking, etc.) I feel the greatest joy. It’s total play for me.
  3. Surround yourself with Playful People. Seek out friendships with people who make you laugh and have a playful nature. Then you can bring this fun way of being to your other key relationships. If you don’t know any playful people, enroll in an improv or acting class. You will find them there.
  4. Spend time with children. If you have kids or grandkids, hang out with them. They are the best teachers on play! They are so curious and all about indulging full on with play – they don’t hold back. If you don’t have grandkids then schedule a play date with your friend’s (or family member’s) kids or grandkids.  
Posted by: WisdomQuest Arts and Coaching | February 13, 2019

Spice up Your Relationship and Celebrate Valentine’s All Year Long

What if you could add a little spice to your relationship−no matter how long you’ve been together? How would it be to celebrate Valentine’s all year long?

Having been with my husband, Jim, for 21 years, I get how challenging it can be to keep things “interesting.” We’ve learned when we find ourselves falling into a rut of “what we’ve always done before” (e.g. going to the same restaurants) then our relationship needs a new spice, a little variation, just like a meal does, to bring out the flavor.

What helps us to celebrate Valentine’s all year long is having a strong community of friends. We don’t just rely on one another. My partner has his poker buddies, Padres season ticket holder friends, and the guys he goes on camping trips with. I go to dinner and the movies along with other fun events with my girlfriends. As a couple we often invite other friends over to join us for dinner. Being with friends is the spice of life.

Here are some ways to add some spice to your relationship and celebrate Valentines’ day all year long:

  • Bored with the same meals – Create a romantic meal together: Select a new recipe to try for a savory meal. We just bought a One Pot and are enjoying learning how to make soups, lentils, and a lot more (it is a fast and slow cooker all in one). Make your meal together while sharing a bottle of wine, beer, or some other alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage. Serve it in front of your fireplace if you have one. You can set up a temporary folding table next to it with a table cloth, flowers, and candles. Otherwise, go to a new part of your home, outside on the deck or lawn, or the formal dining table if you rarely visit it. Try something new!
  • Do not spend all of your time with one another. Make time to be with your friends. When you come back together it is fun to share your experiences. Also, have friends over for dinner, brunch, or even a themed party evening (e.g. game or movie night). Being around others can spice up your conversations.
  • Be more playful: Choose fun activities to do together. Expand your repertoire from what you normally do. Go on a picnic at the beach, a lake, or a park. Make sandcastles, toss a Frisbee, rent a rowboat, or go on a nature walk. Play cards and/or games (the loser buys the winner a treat – come up with some fun ideas). Take out some art supplies and paint or draw together. Spend the day at the zoo and feed the giraffes. Go to a nearby comedy club and have some good laughs. Get on your bikes and explore the area you live together. If you have snow then build snowmen, make snow angels, and take out your sleds.
  • Finally, write a list of 10 or more activities that bring you Joy. Have your partner do the same and then compare notes. Highlight what you have in common on your lists and use this to choose fun activities to do together.

Couples who play together, stay together.

Posted by: WisdomQuest Arts and Coaching | February 9, 2019

A Love Poem for Life

Love Life!

Life is…
 
… a symphony. We each have a part to play.
… a forest, often thick with uncertainty.
… bright sunlight, shining its brilliance to light our way.
… a jungle, dense with rich diversity.
 
… a garden. We are all intended to grow.
… a stream of rushing water which can carry us along.
… a mountain range, there is much to get over and so much to know.
… the space between the notes of every song.
 
… a banquet, a sumptuous feast for our senses to enjoy.
… a puzzle–to be continually sorted and put back together.
… a traffic jam, a child’s shrill cry, a dog’s loud bark—sometimes it can annoy.
… an integrated ecosystem–we owe our lives to her.
 
… a coastline – an endless sea of expansion.
… an infant with outstretched arms seeking love and embrace.
. . .a playground beckoning us to jump aboard and have fun.
… a toddler exploring every inch of space.
 
 
Life asks us…
 
…  to be patient as we traverse along our journey.
… to discover the vast, inexplicable ME of who we are to BE.
… to honor each precious moment of our time here.
… to not dismiss her with boredom, abandon her with annihilation, nor reject
     her with fear.
… to savor her as we would surprises, to rejoice in new beginnings, to relish every moment of the time we’ve been given here.  
… to honor her because our last breathe may be near.
Posted by: WisdomQuest Arts and Coaching | December 20, 2018

How to Resist Resistance

 

child embraces creativity

Summary: According to U.S. News and World Report (December, 2015), we abandon 80% of our New Year’s Resolutions by February. What has so many of us discard our goals/intentions so early on? I believe one of the primary reasons this occurs is due to our resistance, a feeling of fear/paralysis which we cave into and allow to win. I wrote the following article to help you move gracefully through any resistance with your creative endeavors. May you learn to resist resistance and rediscover creative play!

___________________________________________________________________________________________

 

 Do you long to write? Paint? Start a new business? What is it for you?

 What’s stopping you?

According to Steven Pressfield, Author of The War of Art, Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles the big red sign is resistance. It often distracts us from our creative work. Social media or television show obsessions; over-indulging in food or drink; or compulsive shopping are some ways we may avoid creative endeavors. What is it for you?

Resistance is natural. We all share this. Some of us feel our fear and do the creative activity anyway, determined to fight back. Others allow resistance to win, at an enormous cost−our aliveness and joy. Pressfield underscores that we need to pay attention to our resistance and allow it to be our North Star. When it feels as strong as a rip tide current, be mindful. In the midst of this fury is what we’re being called to do for our soul’s evolution. “So if you’re paralyzed with fear, that’s a good sign. It shows you what you have to do.”

Many of us get stuck waiting for the perfect idea(s). We expect inspiration to find us before we sit at our desk or in front of an easel. The truth is the muse, the higher part of ourselves, simply needs us to get started. She asks us only to show up, trust the process, and allow it to unfold.

Resistance feeds on fear. We may believe our creative project won’t be good enough; our families/friends may desert us if we become successful; and/or we’ll be embarrassed when the critics blast their horns. It’s this fear we conjure up that stops us. It may become justification for not beginning our creative project – or not finishing it.

Years ago while writing a novel I joined a weekly writing critique group. Although I knew this group wasn’t right for me; I persevered. Many people in the group were much farther along and I didn’t want to leave these “mentors.”

The critiques were harsh. Over time my sensitive soul barricaded itself with walls of thick resistance. Eventually I walked away from the group and to my own detriment-my writing. It took me years to finally write again. Joining a writing support group where the writers encourage one another to resist resistance helped me reclaim this essential part of my being.

Want to resist your resistance and rediscover creative play? Pressfield suggests the following:

  • Show up for the page, the canvas, your business plan or whatever your project is. Listen for whatever is calling the loudest (in the form of the most resistance). Arrive without expectations–simply begin. Be bold enough to engage in what clearly wants your attention.
  • Sit through the resistance and know it will reappear. Be prepared. It’s like climbing a steep hill at times. One foot after the other is all you need to remember when the going seems rough.
  • Keep a healthy distance from your creative work. Don’t over identify with your success or failure as you’re likely to experience both.
  • Keep your sense of humor. Do not take yourself and your creative endeavor too seriously.
  • Earn money for your work (or not if it sings to your soul and that’s enough) yet let your motivation be love. May your artistry (whatever this is for you) be your gift to the world.

May the words of Wolfgang von Goethe inspire you to show up for your creative muse!

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too.

All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.

Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Posted by: WisdomQuest Arts and Coaching | December 18, 2018

No + No = Yes to Your Success

Saying No

With a blur of holiday activities and often little time for ourselves, it’s even more important to set healthy boundaries. During this festive time of year over commitment seems to be the norm so saying no becomes a real challenge. Yet if we overdo it, we often pay a price. Perhaps with our health, well-being, and/or our relationships. Can you relate?

I’m honored to be a recent co-contributor on my Shaman and Colleagues Compass North Blog.  This feature entails how to successfully say no and create healthy boundaries. I share both my personal story and recommendations I provide with my coaching clients, including specific tips and tools you can apply to your most successful precious life!

Enjoy the blog!

Access here: https://www.compassnorth.info/single-post/2018/10/29/No-No-Yes-to-Your-Success

Posted by: WisdomQuest Arts and Coaching | July 26, 2018

Calm Your Inner-Critic to Create

Hello My Name is Perfectionist

Does “letting go” of your work or personal projects challenge you? Do you find yourself holding on for dear life until something is “perfect” often finishing it much later than planned? Worse yet, maybe it never gets done. Notice your heart beating rapidly and/or your belly feeling queasy−that familiar sense of dread as it creeps up on you?

Perfectionists feel driven at any cost, usually the currency is one’s own self-esteem. According to Psychology Today, (Belkin, 2014) perfectionism has become rampant in our society. It’s almost the new normal. We’re more obsessed with our appearance (our clothing and our behavior – how we come across); achievement; and our acquisition of “things” or “education.”

Years ago in the training field I recall the program evaluations and how carefully I examined them. 95% of them may have had “very good” and “excellent” scores yet I couldn’t take my eyes off of that one evaluation with the lower score. Then I would beat myself up over it (or rather allow my inner-critic too)! Many times I threw out a perfectly good program to develop a brand new one because my inner-critic convinced me what I had wasn’t good enough. Being a perfectionist can drain one’s energy because we often over deliver convinced we need to give 150-200%. Giving only 100% might mean we’re slacking. Can you relate?

Perfectionists have fierce inner-critics. Our inner-critics reprimand us and have us believe we aren’t doing and/or being enough. It’s like we’re being chased by some primal tiger that doesn’t rest. So how do we realize it’s only a paper tiger? This entire chase is our minds on over drive. We do have the power to stop it.

As a recovering perfectionist who has spent years learning to calm the voice of my inner-critic, and now assist others to do the same, I offer the following:

  • You need to spot your inner-critic and call her/him out. If the voice in your head is like a broken record (e.g. Who do you think you are? Repeat), it’s your inner-critic. If it sounds negative and would not be the way you would speak to a cherished love one, be suspect. It’s like fake news. It never tells the truth yet we may still believe it.
  • Richard Carson from Taming Your Gremlin suggests to simply notice the voice of the inner-critic. Do your best not to judge it. Just observe it. Then instead of beating yourself up over it, you could say, “Oh it’s you again. I hear you. I know you mean well. But I am done writing this article. I’m clicking send right now.”(Fill in the blank for your own situation).
  • When you notice your inner-critic nagging you, try sending it off on a walk, a hike, or to the airport to take off on a long flight. Give yourself a break whenever you need one and know you’re fully at choice to do so. Accept that having an inner-critic is part of being human–we all share this. The bad news is when we send it away it will eventually find its way back. The good news is we can calm it down anytime.
  • Elizabeth Gilbert in Big Magic, Creative Living Beyond Fear recommends imagining that your inner-critic is driving your car. Know you have the power to have him/her pull the car over. Your inner-critic gets to sit in the back. You take over the driving. Give yourself full permission to drive your own car. Your inner-critic is not allowed to be a backseat driver either or to touch anything in charge of navigation.
  • Externalizing your inner-critic helps it to have less power. You can do this by drawing, coloring, or even painting it. Give yourself a quiet space where you won’t be interrupted for at least 30-40 minutes. First close your eyes and imagine what your inner-critic looks like. <Note: You can send it on a hike while you do your art work. You don’t want him/her to interfere with your creative process! It’s not about being an artist–it’s the process which is revealing and healing.> The main idea is to get this inner-critic out of your head and onto the paper. Then give him/her a name. You may also want to write down some of the typical things he/she says to you. It’s then easier to spot and manage it so you have more space to create. You can keep this drawing nearby as a reminder. Your life can become easier and you can play a more active role when your inner-critic isn’t running it.

Through this awareness you realize that your inner-critic is only a paper tiger so it’s much easier to tame. With practice you can release the need to be perfect and get back in touch with your natural creativity. In time you can envelop the truth that as humans we are all perfectly imperfect. We, and that includes you, are good enough right here and right now. There is nothing more you should do or be. You can choose to listen to your deeper wise voice over the grinding chatter of the inner-critic.

Posted by: WisdomQuest Arts and Coaching | November 29, 2017

Would You Like to Stave Off Cognitive Decline?

brain and art

In 2015 a four year study done jointly by the Academy of Neurologists, Mayo Clinic, and the National Institute on Aging showed promising results for staving off cognitive decline by engaging in arts and crafts. Participating regularly in arts and crafts activities in middle and older ages may delay in very old age the thinking and memory problems which lead to dementia.

People 85 years of age and older are considered the fastest growing age group in the United States. Since Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) generally begins in the 80s it is essential to find ways to help delay cognitive decline in this aging population. “Our study supports the idea that engaging the mind may protect neurons, or the building blocks of the brain, from dying, stimulate growth of new neurons, or may help recruit new neurons to maintain cognitive activities in old age.”

The study looked at multiple activities: arts; crafts; computer use; and socialization.Arts comprised activities such as painting, drawing, and sculpting (more of the Visual Arts); crafts included woodworking, pottery, ceramics, quilting and sewing; computer use referred to using the internet, playing computer games or engaging in social media activities; and socialization referred to book clubs, spending time with friends, Bible study, travel, theater, movies, and concerts.

Results: Participants were 73% less likely to develop MCI; crafters 45% less likely; computer users 53% less likely; and socializers 55% less likely. Thus, to delay cognitive decline as you age, there are many fun and stimulating ways to do so. With the arts in the forefront, here’s your opportunity to dabble with some paints, clay, colors, or pastels with a sketchpad. You can still benefit from coloring Mandalas, making collages, and working with any other visual art form. You get to decide! And the best part-there is no need to be an artist (although it’s certainly okay if you are).

The benefit of staving off cognitive decline is in the art making process – not the final product. So gather your art materials and begin. Better yet find a community to do art with – find a class, workshop, or other way to socialize while creating art. Bonus for your brain!

Posted by: WisdomQuest Arts and Coaching | October 10, 2017

Play More and Age Less

 

IMG_4164

Play comes easily for children. They love to dress up, get messy, try anything new, and invent new worlds. Children laugh naturally. A study showed children laugh about 300 times per day as compared to an adult who averages about 17 laughs a day! Somewhere between childhood and adulthood, many of us forget how to play. Instead we may choose to zone out in front of the television or computer with our free moments.

“If only we could think like a child again, there’s a good chance we would find the freedom we gave up to become adults.” Iyanla Vanzant

HelpGuide.org, a collaborator with Harvard Health, suggests that play for adults can help:

  • Relieve stress because when you play endorphins, the natural feel good chemicals, are released in your body. It can also ward off depression with the increased social interactions.
  • Improve brain function because it challenges your brain and helps with your memory. (e.g. playing a card game, Chess, or Scrabble)
  • Enhance relationships because when you laugh and play with others, you foster more trust, empathy, compassion, and intimacy.
  • Keep you young and feeling more alive. It can enhance your immune system and help keep you healthy as it boosts your energy and vitality.
  • Stimulate your mind because it’s easier to learn when you’re more relaxed and enjoying yourself. Your imagination reawakens and this can help you to better problem solve.

So how do you play more? It’s possible at any age. My “adopted Mom,” Sophia, mentored me on play and she was in her mid-70s with Emphysema. She had COPD, a breathing situation where she sometimes struggled for breath and had to be on oxygen 24-7. She still lived her life full out. Sophia took improv classes, worked out at the gym, had frequent happy hour gab sessions with girlfriends at her home, and even had a boyfriend several years younger. She told me never to call on Thursday nights because they would be “busy.” One time they took off for a few months to adventure around the U.S. and explore national parks. Yet the most endearing memory I have is how they dressed as clowns and created a comic routine which they took to nursing homes to bring smiles to others. All of this with her oxygen tank at her side. She taught me that we’re never too old to play. In fact, if we play we’re less likely to grow “old.”

George Bernard Shaw, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”

Here are 10 ideas on how to play more:

  • Explore how you would like to play. Take out your journal, or any notebook, and write about, What brought you joy in your past? What have you always wanted to try? What makes you laugh? What could make your life more fun?
  • Plan a game night with friends. Have everyone bring over a game and make it a potluck.
  • Create a movie night with friends. Watch something on Netflix (or your favorite at home movie provider) and then discuss it. Make it a potluck to keep it simple.
  • Organize a group to listen to music and/or go dancing. If you don’t have a group in mind, take a dance lesson.
  • Sing Karaoke with a group or alone with a You Tube video.
  • Meetup.com is a great place to connect with about any kind of group out there (e.g. hiking, cooking, gardening – you name it)
  • If you love animals, consider volunteering at a shelter where you can give them some attention or even adopt a playful pet.
  • If you love children, volunteer at a school or a church. I volunteer with Pre-K kids and they are the best teachers on play. They remind me how fun it is to play with abandon.
  • Join a sports team or create your own. It can be as simple as throwing a Frisbee at the park or at the beach.
  • Go to an arts and craft store and buy some fun stuff to play with alone or with others. It will bring out the playful creator in you. Remember it’s not about the final product. It’s more about the process of having FUN.

I help women over 50 to learn how to play again! Please let me know if I can help you. You can contact me here!

 

Posted by: WisdomQuest Arts and Coaching | July 14, 2017

Slow Down to Calm Your Anxious Thoughts and Find Peace

Calm Your Anxious Mind

Do you find yourself taking in what’s going on around you inside like a sponge? Is it affecting the quality of your everyday life?

A recent poll shows that in the U.S. the average percentage we worry on any given day has increased 4.1 percentage points to 33.3% since early November. And yes, politics may have something to do with it. Nonetheless it’s imperative that we take responsibility for our self-care and try not to give our power away. Otherwise our health and wellbeing suffer.

If you continue to worry about the future you can derail your present. Mark Waldman and Andrew Newberg, M.D., Neuroscientists, suggest these preoccupations become anxious thoughts which can stifle your motivation, decisions, ability to move forward, and optimal performance.

Waldman and Newberg recommend that we find more ways to relax throughout the day, such as:

  • Mindfully yawn five or six times.
  • Meditate (even if 1 minute at a time) – anything to slow yourself down.
  • Breathe deeply while meditating or as a general practice throughout the day (maybe set your phone alarm to go off on the hour). More oxygen helps restore us and allows us to stay more present (hint: anxiety lives in the past and the future – not the present moment).

Waldman and Newberg also cite research from the University of Leeds in West Yorkshire, England about the powers of self-touch and massage to enhance wellbeing. They mentioned this also can help someone with food issues (e.g. overeating) to redirect the need for “comfort” to the stress in the body.

  • Try self-massage (e.g. with rollers, or two tennis balls in a sock, or kneading with fingers or fists into the tight spots for those taut shoulders or aching back).
  • You can also work on your hands, feet, scalp, or face – these are powerful areas to release tension from. Self-nurturance through touch decreases negative feelings and thoughts. <side note from me: If you’re able, schedule a massage (whichever style works best for you). Places like Massage Envy are helpful because they encourage people to book at least once a month, at a discounted rate.>
  • Give yourself a long hug. Yes, I’m serious. This is an easy way to show yourself more compassion. This can relax you.

Here’s a few other self-soothing ideas to calm your anxious thoughts and find peace:

  • Take yourself through a guided mindfulness meditation by going through every body part to relax it. You can do in a few minutes – even at your desk at work. This is also helpful at bedtime if you’re having difficulty falling asleep. At minimum focus on the parts which are speaking louder (as in the ones with some pain or discomfort).
  • Create some art! You can play with paint, or pens, or colored pencils, or crayons (whatever you wish) – and it’s not about having anything in mind. Just play and see what happens. The very act of making art is healing. Studies show that participating in some form of artistic endeavor for at least 45 minutes significantly reduces Cortisol in the body (e.g. inflammation). This can improve your health and certainly quiet your anxious thoughts.
  • Go for a “walking meditation.” You can do this barefoot in the yard, or throughout your home is fine too, your office at work (if you have a private space), a nearby park (whatever suits you). A sandy beach would be ideal! Even 10 minutes can calm you. Take slow steps reminding yourself you have “nowhere to go, nothing to do.” You can choose a word or phrase to focus on and keep returning to it to focus your attention (e.g. I am calm. Or I am at peace. Whatever works for you).

Step by step you can calm your anxious thoughts. The answer to life is not in revving up, it is in slowing down.

Posted by: WisdomQuest Arts and Coaching | July 7, 2017

Calm Your Inner-Critic so You Can Create

Blog 7-7-17

Do you think you’re creative? Maybe your answer is yes and you aren’t fully expressing it. Perhaps you don’t think you’re creative at all.

What if you could reframe the definition of creativity? Because the truth is YOU ARE CREATIVE! Every one of us is. We each have a unique mission here on earth and creative expression helps remind us we’re alive – it’s that important.

The thought of being creative may even stiffen your body, dry out your throat, have your heartbeat quicken or slow down, or your stomach get queasy. What is it for you?

Creative expression can become something we dread even though a part of us feels dead. Carrying that corpse around takes up a lot of our energy. In spite of this, facing old demons like teachers or parents or anyone who criticized us in our formative years can become a fate worse than death (or so we think).

As a young girl I had painted alongside my dad, an artist, since I could walk. Around age 11 a tragedy occurred and I stopped painting. My inner-critic high-fived me and encouraged me to give it up altogether. I wasn’t any good anyway so why bother, right?So I went along like the “good little girl” I strove to be. I gave up painting….for 30+years!

Fortunately I had a professional artist as a client years ago who suggested we do a trade. This freed me up to realign with my passion for art and expression. I haven’t stopped painting since.

I share this story to encourage you to pursue whatever creative nugget is in your heart. It may be some way you’ve longed to express yourself or something you used to do. Perhaps you do it now – just not enough. What is it for you? Don’t leave it to your inner-critic to decide. Your joy is at stake and that’s too high a price.

So here are some tips to help you calm your inner-critic and go after any creative pursuit that calls to you:

  • PLAY MORE! I believe play is the heartbeat for creativity. When you laugh and play you’ll feel more lightness of being. Any rigid thoughts and taut, stress-filled body aches can finally relax and float away which allows space for inspiration to come in. When you’re less serious and uptight you’re more present and available. The inner-critic does not live in the present. He/she thrives in the past and the future. Feeling calm you can venture boldly down any creative path you wish to pursue.
  • Redefine creativity. It’s not only reserved for artists, dancers, musicians, writers, and the like. It’s how you select your wardrobe, prepare a meal for your family or some friends, plan a birthday party for a relative or friend, or decorate your home. If you still work, it can be how you prepare a presentation, a report, or sales presentation. And the list goes on. How do you express your creativity in your everyday life? Think about it. You really are creative! With this understanding, creative expression has more chance to flourish in your life.
  • Make a pact between your creativity and your fear. Elizabeth Gilbert from Big Magic – Creative Living Beyond Fear mentions in her book that it takes courage to freely express our creative beings. And fear is overrated. She states it’s actually quite boring – all it knows how to do is stop us so we don’t really do anything, at least not the things which we dream about. There is no merit or even any fun in that. She suggests we first learn to share space with our fear. If we try to kill off our fear, we may also kill our precious creativity too. Fear is analogous to the inner-critic, that negative part of us which readily talks us out of our big ideas. (mainly because he or she is so afraid). One way to calm this inner-critic is to imagine you’re on a road trip with your creativity and your fear. Make a pact that you and creativity make all the decisions. Fear gets to have a voice and be in the car, yet never will it be allowed to have a vote, or make any of the decisions.
  • Go somewhere that inspires you. If you want to tap into your creative expression you need to take yourself places that excite you. Maybe it’s a walk on the beach with your shoes off, a concert in the park, watching a sunrise or sunset, hanging out with your dog at a dog park or riding rollercoasters. What is it for you? Being inspired can take your breath away along with any mundane thoughts. In its place you can breathe in a new space just for you to create whatever wants to come forth.
  • Finally, Give Yourself Permission. Enough Said!

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