Sunday, 30 December 2012

The Art of Surrendering by Glenda Myles

"Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.” -C.S. Lewis 

Surrendering to your dream, to your purpose, to your life....requires you to let go of the life you are holding onto so that you can grab hold of the new.  

"The word "surrender" is often interpreted as giving up, as weakness, as admitting defeat. Although this is one way to use the word, we will use it in a different way. Surrendering means letting go of your resistance to the total openness of who you are. It means giving up the tension of the little vortex you believe yourself to be and realizing the deep power of the ocean you truly are." -David Deida

It's been a long time coming.

Many may think it took too long.

"Oh, I thought you already did that" they would say. "No, I hadn't" would be my reply. Secretly feeling the pressure over the last 1-1.5 years, but not surrendering.

I had my reasons, as I am sure we all do.

I am a single mother who has survived and thrived because I focused on providing for my family. There are lots of people without work, how can I give up my good job for the unknown? What if I don't succeed? Am I just going through some mid-life crisis? Have I completely lost my mind?

Surrendering to your dream, to your purpose, to your life....requires you to let go of the life you are holding onto, that identity, so that you can grab hold of the new. And sometimes if you are unwilling to let go, the Universe helps you out. 

That's what happened to me. The universe pried it out of my hands. It was jarring for a moment. Then I realized my hands were free. And with my hands free I was able to reach out for that dream that had been in front of me for so long.

And then.

Relief. Now feeling relieved, the pressure off, I have fully surrendered to the Life I have been longing to live. A level of contentment, happiness, has settled in that I wasn't expecting.

Surrendering has opened my heart and my mind. I can't wait to see what happens next.

Glenda at Myles Ahead Studio is a professional marketing strategist working to bring more creativity into business and make more ideas come to life.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Why Can't It Be Diamonds? by Ginny Lennox

When reading Jamie Ridler’s blog not too many years ago I learned of the practice of picking a word for the year instead of making a New Year’s resolution. I loved the idea and immediately chose the word Sparkle. I don’t think I am an introvert but I am very quiet in many situations. I decided that it was my time to take a chance and step into the spotlight just a little bit. I wanted to sparkle and it was fun to think of this as the word that would lead me throughout the year. I was explaining what I was going to do to my yoga teacher and said, “Of course when I say sparkle I don’t mean diamonds.” Before I could continue she asked, “Why can’t it be diamonds?” At that moment, I realized even though I had picked the word sparkle I was already limiting all the ways I could sparkle. I was choosing a word that would help me grow and change but I was putting boundaries around that idea before I even got started.

I’ve been learning to sparkle ever since. Sometimes it’s through the clothes I choose to wear. Other times it is through the words I write or the pictures I paint. Recently I have decided to enter the world of creativity coaching and help others to sparkle.

It’s been a little intimidating learning to sparkle but it has been fun too. Every time I say that I am an artist or a writer or a coach my light gets a little brighter. I still don’t have that diamond but it’s not because I’m afraid to want too much. The sparkle I am looking for comes from within. You don’t need diamonds to make your light get brighter and brighter. It comes from knowing who you are, what you love to do, and sharing your dreams and yourself with the world. Then it is easy to sparkle!

I hope that everyone will have a wonderful holiday season filled with love, laughter, and lots and lots of sparkle!

Ginny believes that each and every day is filled with special moments to be enjoyed and treasured. On her blog, Special Moments in Time she encourages everyone to recognize and celebrate their own special moments each day. 

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Winter Pause by Angel Young

Sometimes it's just too hard.

It's been like that lately over here. Several family members have been diagnosed with cancer, and have been facing very tough times. Work has been soo busy - I travel a lot, and I feel like my feet have barely touched the ground. I've been trying to iron out some health issues of my own.

Wow I feel tired.

I'm the sort of person who normally keeps going until I fall over. Now I have a few days of breathing space it's starting to seep out of me. I just haven't had the time to do anything creative at all. All I can do is let go. I'm allowing myself, perhaps for the first time in my life, to take an easier option, to not work as hard, to finish earlier, to go out for lunch. I'm not quite sure where this ridiculous work ethic stems from. Sometime in childhood for sure. But I'm getting older, and hopefully wise enough to see that I can't please everyone all the time, and no amount of effort on my part can fix everything. It's difficult for me to be in this place - normally I'm a getting things done, taking people with me sort of person. But for now everyone will just have to take themselves, and I'm going to continue to rest until I feel whole again.

It's really a winter feeling. Packing up, folding myself away until the renewed energy of spring arrives. So here's a picture to remind us all that winter is about quietening down and being still.

Angel lives in the UK and is hoping for snow this winter.


Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Creative Dream TV: When You Have Obstacles In Your Way by Andrea Schroeder

"It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure." - Joseph Campbell
Obstacles and stumbles are super annoying! They are also the means through which our dreams actually come true, so it's important to pay attention to them. And that's what this week's Creative Dream TV is all about. Watch it now:

xo Andrea

Andrea Schroeder: With a paintbrush in one hand & a glitter-gun in the other, Andrea lovingly mentors men & women who want to lead creatively abundant lives — and do ‘impossible’ things, with ease & joy. Express the greatest parts of who YOU are, at

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Little Things Aren't Little Things by Aimee Cavenecia

Robert Brault has a quote about the little things being the big things, but I prefer to call the little things intangible things. The quote: "Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things."

Slavoj Žižek has a quote about the Absolute. He calls it the Absolute, but I would simply call it the Intangible. The quote: “What is the Absolute? Something that appears to us in fleeting experiences -- say, through the gentle smile of a beautiful woman, or even through the warm caring smile of a person who may otherwise seem ugly and rude. In such miraculous but extremely fragile moments, another dimension transpires through our reality. As such, the Absolute is easily corroded; it slips all too easily through our fingers and must be handled as carefully as a butterfly.”

This week, well, really the last few weeks, things have been moving fast. Lots arising, lots coming to the surface, lots demanding to be seen, demanding to be heard -- life requesting that things change quickly, very quickly.

And while so much is happening, what stands out most is what means the most to me. Hearing "I believe in you" or "Love you" or "Thank you" or "You make me happy" or "How can I help" or "You're my good friend" -- all said at different times, by different people -- all so rich & rewarding in the moment. The words were felt deeply & were deeply appreciated. Generous words that were precious, priceless, & irreplaceable. More meaningful than the context in which they were said in. More meaningful than the circumstances in which they happened in. Just little things that were spontaneously offered. But they aren't things at all are they? How can they be 'little' if they aren't truly measurable or quantifiable?

If I look at what made those intangible words, those little things, those spontaneous brief moments so impactful for me; if I look at what made them feel so good & resonate so deeply -- it's connection. There was no guarding, no barrier, no withholding; there was only openness, generosity & humility. And in that vulnerability & innocence, is the opportunity to connect on a deeper level.

If I playback in my mind, all of the past experiences or little things in my life that truly had an impact -- none of them were tangible. No car, no house, no sense of security; nothing I can put my finger on & say "I have it! This is it!" They were all part of some fleeting moment. And they were all based on some sort of connection.

The wind ticking my skin or playing with my hair; a child sitting on my knee or giving me a hug; feeling autumn leaves fall on my head; seeing my mother's face & feeling so happy that I get a chance to be near her; a dog raising his paw & placing it in my hand; biting a fruit while its seeds squirt out of the other side; being able to say "I love you" over & over & over, & each time it feels different, each time it feels new. With all of these things or moments, there is a oneness, an appreciation, a bond. This bond or connection can be with anything or anyone -- even with oneself. It is simply a feeling of wholeness. And when it happens, it feels like enough. I am enough, they are enough, this moment is enough.

There are so many quotes that touch on this topic. All of them are unique & unmeasurable -- just like each intangible moment that matters greatly.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge: "The happiness of life is made up of minute fractions -- the little soon forgotten charities of a kiss or smile, a kind look, a heartfelt compliment, and the countless infinitesimal of pleasurable and genial feeling."

Lao-Tzu: "All difficult things have their origin in that which is easy, and great things in that which is small."

Laura Ingalls Wilder: "I am beginning to learn that it is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all."

Arthur Conan Doyle: "It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important."

Thursday, 13 December 2012

What's Your Metaphor? by Kim LeClair


I’ve been away from Creative Dream Journals for a long, long time. I keep starting to write something or have an idea for a post and it seems to dissolve away into thousands of micro-thought-threads and questions.

But I’m drawn to contribute something, so I’m trying something new - A Creative Dream Journals Pop-Quiz-Post…. 

Here goes: If you described your journey toward your Creative Dreams in metaphor (or simile, or allegory, or get the idea) how would you describe it? 

So would it be a rollicking high-seas adventure or a solo trek thru the desert? What were the stops like along the way? Clearly I’m into the journey idea, but it could be something completely different than a journey - could be more like a retreat or an inward something - don’t know. But something metaphorical - not the ‘actual’ facts but the impression of the facts - a way to describe in story.

So - if you were to sentence complete “Moving towards my Creative Dreams has been like ______ “

I’m working on my own answer too, so I’ll join in the conversation. Have Fun!

Kim LeClair has been a shadow creative for the past 40 years but is finally deciding to come out into the light. Kim is In the Process of Creating her Dream Job....Creative Director of east willow studios. 


Monday, 10 December 2012

Give Yourself Permission to Sparkle & Shine! by Susan Cadley

“As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same.” ~ Marianne Williamson

I was hesitant to share when it was my turn to speak.  I was attending a monthly women’s group I belong to years ago, and many of the women were sharing about the chaos occurring in their lives.  I told the women I didn’t want to share my news out of respect for their current struggles.  A wise woman in the group encouraged me to share as my good news could offer them hope that things can change.  As I was trying to protect the other women, I was actually denying them a gift I had to share. Hope.  So I shined my good news, and received appreciation and gratitude, something I had not expected.  A gift all around.

This year, I received a gift on my birthday that soon became my favorite.  As I pulled back the flaps of the cardboard box of birthday gifts from my Mom, I noticed a “post it” note placed on top of the neatly packaged presents.   I’ve decided to make this my intention for 2013, and it can be yours too.

As children we enter the world with the ability to play, twirl, shine, and be curious.  Sometimes this ability gets managed, quieted, or disrupted by family, caregivers or life events during our childhood and we can loose our ability to be shiny and be seen.  But it doesn’t have to remain that way.  You can find your inner shine at any time in your life, and now is a great time to do it!

I slowly turned down my shine after I entered grade school, where being quiet was expected and was the norm.   Toss in some serious family illnesses and I faded more into the background as others around me took the spotlight.    But now, many years later, I’m learning how to step into the light again.  It’s not an easy proposition as old voices and beliefs love to chime in.

If you hesitate to shine or you’ve turned down your sparkle ask your soul this question: What beliefs are keeping your light dim?

Check these out and see what might resonate with you:

You believe:

  • It’s safer to not be in the limelight, because it means you won’t experience a perceived conflict.
  • What someone else told you about yourself.
  • Shining is for certain people, not you.
  • If you sparkle you’ll attract jealousy or people will think you are full or yourself.
  • Shining means you’ll have to set more boundaries (you might).

Here are some very important reasons to shine:

  • You have a unique soulprint; talents and gifts that only you can express.
  • You gift others by radiating hope and positivity when you shine.
  • Your precious life is your canvas ~ splash it with your colors.
  • You teach others it’s healthy to shine and share.
  • Your shining light may provide healing for another person.

If you still find yourself hiding in the shadows, I understand.  Taking on old belief systems that seems to provide safety and security, can bring up a feeling of vulnerability and fear.  However, these outdatedbeliefs no longer serve you as an adult. In order to grow, evolve and elevate your consciousness, you’ll need to be willing to shine, sparkle and be more of you everyday.

If you need a permission slip, feel free to use the “post it” note from my Mom.  She and I will be cheering you out of the shadows and into the light.  It’s where you are meant to be.  And you can be loved and be safe there. 

Susan is a Licensed Psychotherapist and Soul Coach and sole proprietor of Living From Within, LLC. Through counseling, coaching, creative workshops, book studies, and writing, Susan guides you to hear and live the messages of your soul. 

Friday, 7 December 2012

Creative Dream TV: How To Know Which Dream To Pursue NOW by Andrea Schroeder

Is there a such thing as too many dreams? YES. Yes there is, because you can usually only focus on and bring to life one dream at at time. When your focus is split, you end up with a Creative Dream Bottleneck. The result: ALL DREAMS ARE STUCK AND NO DREAMS BECOME REAL.

My clients HATE THIS!

They want all their dreams, right now. I have had so many clients REFUSE to pick just one dream. And I get it - I feel the same way! But the result of not picking just one? ALL DREAMS ARE STUCK NO AND DREAMS BECOME REAL. Holding onto ALL dreams means you actually get NO dreams. Grrrrrrr.

If you want to succeed, you've got to focus in on one dream.

You don't throw your other dreams away - you just put them in order. Each dream you nurture to fruition opens tiny doorways and makes the next dream easier to bring to fruition... like magic.


Watch this week's episode of Creative Dream TV for some tips on how to figure out which dream to pursue first:


xo Andrea

Andrea Schroeder: With a paintbrush in one hand & a glitter-gun in the other, Andrea lovingly mentors men & women who want to lead creatively abundant lives — and do ‘impossible’ things, with ease & joy. Express the greatest parts of who YOU are, at  

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

That's Brilliant by Alli Vainshtein

I watch the rising sun every morning while on my long commute to work. There is something amazing about walking out the door while the moon is shining, then watching as the sun slowly makes its way across the horizon. First I notice how many stars there are in the sky, how bright and how full the moon is. Living in tropical southern Minnesota, I have a wonderful view of the sky and it is dark enough that I can see many of the stars. It reminds me that I'm not alone. It reminds me that we are connected to the rest of the universe. I love feeling connected. No matter how dark it is when I leave the house, I know the sun will rise. On cloudy days I may not see the direct sunrise, but I see the effects as the sky gets brighter and the day fills with hope and possibility. 

It is a daily reminder that when things are dark, this is part of the cycle. I am not going to remain in the night forever, the sun will come and warm things up, bring me new light and a new day.

We are bombarded with media that warns of the doom and gloom of night and evil. For the last year, the political ads have focused on the negatives, what will happen if this candidate is not elected. Fear is on the rise. I see panic and anxiety in many of my students and friends. The ones who voted on the winning side feel a sense of relief, but disgust and lack of empathy for the ones on the losing side. The ones on the losing side feel despair and fear. They have been told that this will bring danger, and now the danger is upon them. This has just continued the hatred and polarization that is destroying our sense of connection. 

Whether or not you like the political candidates is not the issue. The issue is how are we going to live with the choice that our country has made? Choose to look for the connection, the brilliance in this decision. It's not US and THEM anymore, it's only US. 

No matter how dark things look now, the sun is coming. Focus on the brilliance of the moon, the reflection of light that is to come. The moon is there to remind us that the sun is coming. The stars remind us of our connection with every other living thing. Why else would we look for ways to connect the stars and create pictures in the sky? 

Reach out. Look for ways to connect. Look for ways to be brilliant.  You may think you are not important, not significant, but together with other brilliant people, you will shine and see the sun return. It starts with the little things.

Forgiveness. I am not asking you to forget. I am not asking you to allow people to continually violate your boundaries. I am just asking you to forgive. Don't hold hatred in your heart anymore. It will destroy you and everything you believe in over time. Hatred is too passionate to be ignored. Forgive your enemies. One of the most powerful things you can do. They can no longer hurt you once you have forgiven them.

Empathy. Pay attention to what they are feeling, what they are going through. Listen to their point of view. Let them know you hear them and that you care. You don't have to agree with someone to listen to them. You don't have to change their way of thinking. Just listen. Everyone wants to be heard.

Transparency. Life your life in a way that inspires others. If you are true to yourself, say what you mean, communicate honestly and with intention, if you know yourself well enough to know the values that you live by and make decisions by, you will inspire others. This is so important in our world today. There are few secrets anymore. Everywhere you go, there are cameras that capture your every move. Pictures of you are easily found on the internet. You can be tracked through your financial records. Everything you put on Facebook is captured on a server. When something goes wrong, it is twittered within seconds. Live a life that is true to what you believe. When you make a mistake, go back to step one and forgive yourself. Admit your mistakes. Make things right. The best lampshade is one that is transparent enough to let the light through.

Connection. Remember that we are all connected. What hurts one person hurts us all. Why do we hang on to the idea that some people are entitled to more than others? Why do we sit in fear with our riches, terrified that someone will take them away? Look at the people around you. Look at the people in the world. Remember that we are all connected. If you close your eyes to the violence next door, it will spread. Find ways to help. Start small. Someone you know personally may need help with something small, offer help. You may see someone hungry, share your sandwich. As you start to reach out, it can become a habit. You will find that sharing the brilliance within you will become something you want to do on a regular basis. It will become a way of life.

Look for the treasure in everyone you meet.  This is hard, I know. It can be very hard. I had a student years ago and people told me, "Oh, he's in your class? Try to get him to drop out.  He's trouble."  I reacted by feeling angry. How dare they judge my student? I got to class and he was very disruptive. Loud, angry, hard to handle in every way. I invited him to my office after class and we talked. Instead of confronting his behavior, I asked him about himself, his life. I looked for that treasure. It took a while, but eventually I discovered the rough background that he had grown up with. He was a survivor and an amazing one at that. The rough exterior was to protect a hurt child within. We became close friends, still are. He became one of the best students I ever had in that class. He works in a very rough environment now and is very good at what he does. I am amazed at how well he can use the pain and terror that he came from and be empathetic with others while maintaining those necessary iron boundaries. It wasn't that he changed, it was that I changed when I saw the world from his point of view. 

Everyone has a different perspective, and the more of those perspectives you can see, the better your vision will be. The more brilliant your light will be.

Alli Vainshtein is a business, accounting, and career instructor at Riverland Community College in Tropical Southern Minnesota. She loves to write (stories, lectures, blogs, letters, emails, etc.), paint, play piano, meditate, travel, cook, make new friends, and live like a Goddess. She is also a great fan of Jamie Ridler - Circe's Circle changed her life dramatically!  

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Tao Disaster Balance by Aimee Cavenecia

There was a hurricane on Monday. One that literally pulled the rug from underneath New York & New Jersey. For me, the hurricane was a mixed bag of feelings. Many that I might discuss in future posts. But the one feeling that remains strong, is the clarity. I feel that I had this clarity before the hurricane, but it is known that disasters put things in perspective. I feel that this clarity is even more apparent now, & that many others that experienced the hurricane, share a greater sense of clarity as well.

All of my work was canceled after the hurricane for various reasons (no public transportation, no electricity in lower Manhattan, etc.), except meditation. I continued to offer it online, as usual. My approach to sharing meditation changes, depending on what comes up spontaneously in each session. But for the session I lead on Friday, we previously decided that we would add a section of the Tao Te Ching to each of our weekly meetings. So before we mediate, I read a section, & share my thoughts on what I just read. But because of the hurricane forecast, I typed-out the brief section of the Tao Te Ching, & my thoughts on it in advance. I emailed it ahead of time, because I wasn't sure if I would still have internet on the day I was scheduled to lead the session. This was a precaution that wasn't needed. The session happened without interruption, & all was well. I felt fortunate to be able to work online, & to keep my mediation sessions going.

What I am sharing with you, is what I emailed. The Tao Te Ching section I shared is in RED, & my personal thoughts are in Black. For some reason, sharing this as my Sunday blog post this week feels more appropriate than talking about the hurricane (or my feeling about it) in detail. I'm not sure why, but I will trust this feeling.    


If you over-esteem great men,
people become powerless. 
If you overvalue possessions, 
people begin to steal.

This shows that labeling and attaching meaning to things, is not only separating oneself from the truth, but also from their power -- divisiveness sets in. Believing in contrast, or duality, or good/bad, or god/devil, creates an imbalance. Just like if in nature, people suddenly decided that eagles where bad for eating mice: "How dare they swoop-down and sneak-up on a mouse and eat it! Eagles are bad! Let's do-away with them!" If they thought that and acted on it, the ecosystem would be thrown off balance. And when the ecosystem is off balance -- we are off balance. Because everything has been designed perfectly to support the existence of the Whole. No right, no wrong -- just is -- nature just is, life just is. And because it just is, and because it allows itself to be as it is, it is the most powerful force we know of.    

The Master leads  
by emptying people's minds  
and filling their cores,  
by weakening their ambition  
and toughening their resolve.
He helps people lose everything 
they know, everything they desire,  
and creates confusion  
in those who think that they know.    

A wise person knows that the answers to the greatest questions of man are unknowable. An adult would be much smarter if at a certain point, they unlearned all that they have been taught. School text books, cultural norms, the ideas and facts that have been programed into us, are all stifling. Compare a wild edible (a plant that is thriving in the wild) to one that has been cultivated, hybridized and mass-produced. The latter would be less hearty and ravished by insects. It must be protected in order to survive (with chemicals, enclosures, or other inventions). This is the current state of man. He is confused, and he has lost his inner knowing, his innate understanding. He was once the animal that knew exactly what to do, but is now the refined animal that has no idea how to survive without his inventions.

Practice not-doing, 
and everything will fall into place.    

Understanding that you are not the doer is liberation. See that it is not you that created the sun, yet it is there for you daily. See that you have life, you were born; but you did not birth yourself, nor give yourself life. See that you are breathed, without any effort on your part. See that your heart pumps, yet never asks you for permission. See that you dance to a rhythm, without a thought, without a plan. See that you can fall in-love, with no say in the matter whatsoever. When you can see that there is such a thing as 'being moved', you stop trying so hard. You see that everything is energy, and of the same source. The weight of the world is no longer on your shoulders. The weight of your life is no longer a burden. Because you understand that you are being carried. You see that there is a flow and a dance to life; it moves with great beauty, and with great force. When you let go, when you relax, you see that life supports you -- and has supported you all along. Like floating on the water, there is very little required of you, yet you are there -- floating. When you stop resisting, blocking, or fighting life; when you move with it, as if you were in water -- you will travel fast. You will find yourself doing -- without doing. Succeeding -- without trying. Powerful -- without forcing. You will return to your natural state. You will be free. 

Friday, 30 November 2012

Creative Dreams + Money. It's a problem, right? by Andrea Schroeder

I mean, dreams don't pay the bills, right?

Well, actually, that's wrong.

Creative Dreams can and do pay the bills.

The problem is that CreativeSpiritual people shut off their genius when it comes to money.

Admit it, you do this.

So, before your creative dreams can pay the bills, you have to re-route a path in your brain - from your genius, to your money.  

I promise: This is not anywhere near as complicated or weird as it sounds.

In this week's episode of Creative Dream TV I talk about a whole bunch of questions I got from Creative Dream TV fans, about creative dreams and money.

And I and share a crazy-magic transformational tool that helps no matter what your specific struggle with money looks like - a tool that helps you to start to re-route a path in your brain - from your genius, to your money.

 Watch it now:

So let's get your creative genius flowing when it comes to money!

Your dream wants to pay your bills.
xo Andrea

With a paintbrush in one hand & a glitter-gun in the other, Andrea lovingly mentors men & women who want to lead creatively abundant lives — and do ‘impossible’ things, with ease & joy. Express the greatest parts of who YOU are, at

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Knowing Who I Am Now by Ginny Lennox

 As I think back over my life creativity has always been a part of it. Only, I didn’t recognize just how important it was to me until recently. As a little girl I loved to read and write. I dreamed of being an author one day and in second grade turned in a short story to be published in a magazine. My story wasn’t chosen but that didn’t stop me from writing. I wrote, produced, and starred in a play in sixth grade. I still remember how I loved doing that but slowly creativity took a back seat to other things and I stopped dreaming of being a movie star or writing a book.

When I taught parents either requested that their child be in my classroom or requested someone else. My room looked and sounded different than all of the rest of the classrooms. Children were actively engaged in projects. They were writing, drawing, creating and sharing. Sometimes they worked in their desks other times they were on the floor. They still did well on statewide tests so I was left alone to teach in a way that many could not understand. Yet, I still did not recognize myself as being creative. I just thought I was doing what was best for the kids and I still do.

As I moved through my career, I began to study creativity and how important it was to recognize that we are all creative people. We all have unique gifts and talents and it is those gifts and talents that should be celebrated. I shared this knowledge with my students and my fellow teachers. Some embraced the idea, others did not.

And now we come to this part of my life. It is a time that I am devoting to finding out who I really am NOW. It’s been fun to take this journey. It started with yoga, then onto blogging and meeting Jamie Ridler. Working with Jamie individually and as part of Circe’s Circle was an integral part of embracing my creativity and sharing it with others. I am painting and writing and taking pictures. It’s been interesting to watch my own growth. I have always known that I love water of any kind. Water always appears in my work. I love the mountains and the sky and big fluffy clouds. They too are in almost everything I create. I had an art teacher recently say she was going to push me and wanted me to paint something without water or a mountain. What I realized and politely told her was that I would love to be pushed but for now there would always be a body of water or a mountain or sometimes both in my work because I wanted them there. Acknowledging my creativity has given me a voice. I used to use that voice for others, now I use it to speak for myself as well. I know who I am. I know what I like. I know what I want to do. And it feels great!

Ginny believes that each and every day is filled with special moments to be enjoyed and treasured. On her blog, Special Moments in Time, she encourages everyone to recognize and celebrate their own special moments each day.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Creative Dreams in Hiding by Susan Cadley

Sometimes creative dreams get tucked away.  And like an old friend you haven’t spoken to in a long time, you can pick up right where you left off.  It’s comfortable, easy, and the relationship flows when you let go and don’t try too hard.

My childhood was filled with imagination and my teen years were focused on the arts in high school. I began college with the intention to continue my study of the arts, but somewhere along the way I received the message that I needed a practical major.   A major that would land me a good job, whatever that was supposed to mean?!The practical major was chosen: business.  Life got much more serious with this major as I packed up my creative pursuits and tucked them away. 

For many years my creative dreams had seemed to disappear as I focused on my career and taking care of myself financially. And then suddenly my life changed as a car hit mine, head on.  The painful recovery opened up a place in me that I had forgotten, the part of me that longed to express.  My pain was constant and I found a caring, compassionate therapist to talk to.  She assisted me in managing the pain with biofeedback, but more importantly she guided me to remember who I was.

With her inspiration, I began taking drawing and meditation classes after work.  I read Julia Cameron’s The Artist Way book and took myself on artist dates to planetariums, art galleries, the sea, and old college libraries.  My creative self began to re-emerge and I felt like I could breathe deeply again, right down to my soul.  I was shaking the dust off my old friend, my creative dreams.

Fast forward many years and more education, I’m now dedicated to guiding women and men to remember who they are; a shining soul. My work as a therapist is the creative process in action as there are feelings, colors, sounds, insights, intuitions, dreams and memories to work with.  And, it gets deeper and richer with time.

I recently declared to a friend that I feel most like myself when I’m in my painting class or working with clients.  Creativity brings me joy and fulfillment and it has brought me full circle to where I am right now in my life.  I’ve embraced that this is who I am and who I came here to be. I remembered.

Your creative dreams won’t every fully leave you, they may go into hiding or on a hiatus and that’s ok.  Just like a warm, trusted old friend, you can invite them back into your life at anytime and they will rise up to meet  and embrace you.

Susan is a Licensed Psychotherapist and Soul Coach and sole proprietor of Living From Within, LLC. Through counseling, coaching, creative workshops, book studies, and writing, Susan guides you to hear and live the messages of your soul.

Friday, 23 November 2012

The Richness of It All by Aimee Cavenecia

Right now I am listening to the sound of a diesel engine rumbling. Or is it more like a purr?

Now I am listening to a car rev & speed away.

And behind all of this is the white noise of rain. Car tires splashing as they roll past puddles. Rain drops hitting rooftops, leaves & windows.

The world seems peaceful.

Lately I've been getting really into subtle things. They have been so interesting for me. I watch or listen to them, fascinated. And by subtle things, I mean things that aren't very tangible. I mean things that you can't put your finger on. I mean things that float away. I mean the things that go unnoticed -- because the aren't really things.

As I look out the window, I notice that the rain looks like slushy snow falling.

Now it looks as if the rain is slowing down.

Now the rain is gone.

Now it has started up again & it's back to looking like rain.

All of this reminds me of how transitory life is. How one thing is happening -- & then it's not. And so many of us miss it. Miss all of the beautiful subtle (or not so subtle) moments that happen all day, every day.

 This morning I was eating watermelon. It was half a melon, wrapped in wax paper (because we are out of cling wrap). As I lifted the wax paper from the watermelon, I was so enthralled in how wonderful the wax paper was. Wow. Just to touch its waxy surface with my skin. To hear its light gentle crinkly sounds. Looking at it stand in a crumpled upright position, after I placed it down. It was glowing. How beautiful it was. In all its shapes & sounds & textures. In its ever-evolving delicate nature.
The more I embrace life, in all of its fragility, the more I see it as untouchable & powerful. As a whole -- as one ever evolving thing that keeps living & moving. The more I embrace me, for all of my humanness, fickleness & vulnerability, the more I feel secure & complete. It's an interesting parallel. It's so clear that I am nothing but life itself. Not a separate entity, but life itself.


Just sitting here. Just sitting. With my arms stretched out. Writing this blog post. Taking one second at a time. Not knowing what I will write next until it's being written. Just that. Feels amazing. Feels like life. It feels soft & effortless. It feels like peace.

I now hear a loud garbage truck outside. And now even that feels peaceful & subtle & beautiful. Even that feels perfect, in its ever-changing & temporary ways.

Being human, being temporary, being vulnerable, being fragile. Being multidimensional. Being part of the unknown. Giving into fatigue, sleepiness or death. Giving into hunger or thirst. Giving into unforeseen circumstances. The softness of it all. All of the feelings that come with it. The sensations. This is a richness that we all get to feel. We get to hear its sound, or feel its vibration. We get to be part of it all. What an opportunity we all have. What an opportunity life is.

To simply allow all that is. To allow it. To allow all of life fully (as if we had a choice!). I think that is where the confusion is. We think we have a choice. We think there is an 'I' that chooses. A separate someone, that can make a decision separate from all the other separate someones. But really, it's just a silly game we play with ourselves that takes us out of the fun. We resist. We fight the moment. We put our feet up & push with all our might against what is happening (like aging, or death, or sleepiness, or boredom, or loneliness, or crime, or fighting, or anything you can possibly imagine that you don't want to be happening).

Imagine if a tree did that. Imagine if every autumn the trees totally freaked out about turning brown. About losing all of their summer leaves. Can you just imagine the unnecessary suffering they would put themselves through? This is exactly what we are doing. We are life, resisting life! We are only fighting with ourselves. What a waste of energy. What a waste of life. What a lost opportunity to simple be life -- being life! In all of its subtleties (& not so subtleties). Why not enjoy all of it. At every phase, in every moment. In all of its glory.

Why not give up the false sense of control? Why not surrender & relax into it? Why not enjoy each step of the way with full appreciation? Why not see the beauty in each phase, or in each second? Why not have fun where you are now? There is so much to see & hear & feel. In this moment, in any moment. The richness of it all can be overwhelming -- but only in a life-affirming way. It can be so inspiring & exciting! But only if you open yourself to it. When you allow it in, you allow life in. And remember, you are only allowing yourself in when you do that. When you let all of life in, you let all of you in! You are life.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

I Know Who I Am by Meghan Genge

"Unstiffen your supple body. Unchatter your quiet mind. Unfreeze your fiery heart." - Celeste West

goddess knocker door
I have known it all along.

I've known it since my fingers tingled reading The Mists of Avalon for the first time. But then I put the book away, afraid of where there was room for goddesses and magic in my good Christian life.

I've known it since I read my first SARK book, tucked up in bed and breathing differently for the first time. But then I put the book on my bookshelf and decided I was not an artist after all.

I have known it since my friend Carla showed me her tattoo of a woman giving birth and something about the symbol stuck with me so deeply that I can draw that image to this day. But then I became afraid of how true she was to herself, myself by comparison small and afraid.

I have known it since I picked up a big black book and read about Women Who Run with the Wolves. My soul responded and I heard the roar for the first time that would echo through my days forever after. But then I experienced profound grief that made me switch off and question myself and disconnect from most people for a long, long time.

I have known it, but definitions and stereotypes made me question everything: Woman? Witch? God? Goddess? Sacred? Feminine? Heroine? Queen? Faery? Dark? Light? Magic? Spirituality? Religion? How could I - a 'good girl' - find my path amongst those trees?

I have been writing and living and reading around and around it for a long time now. Every time I got close to touching it, my fingers longingly toying with my pen, knowing that I was capable of saying more, I would retreat to the haven of familiarity and safety.

But it hasn't given up on me, and now, as I get closer and closer to the centre, it has begun to follow me around. Images like the one on this door knocker, words tumbling towards me from pages and blogs and meetings with remarkable people all seem to be pointing to the same place.

Sacred. Feminine. Divine. Beautiful.


Which brings me to my question for you:

What have you known all along?

Meghan is a writer, a storyteller, and a finder of magic.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

River Sparkles and Other Truths about Who You Are by Angel Young

Identity - what does it mean? The dictionary defines it as "the fact of being who or what a person or thing is". 

Mmm that kind of helps. But how do we know what we are? 

This is a pretty big question. 

So what is identity actually made up of?

When you're a kid (at least in the UK, and I'm assuming it's like this other countries too), there's an emphasis as you travel through school about what you want to be when you grow up? It was phrased as if this was to be a fixed thing, and I guess for previous generations it probably was - you'd be a bricklayer, or a dentist, or a journalist, and that was how you would be defined. I find this pretty strange because everyone would also have had the things that were important to them, like politics, or gardening, or poetry. Right now I'm sitting in Glasgow where there was a huge socialist movement and great tradition of education among its shipbuilders. But how many said - I'm a socialist first, and then a shipbuilder?

I do the same. I say, I'm a surveyor. It's an easy role to play. Instead I could say, I'm a photographer, or a healer, or a vegetable gardener. But I don't. I wonder why that is. 

Granted I still spend more time doing my job. But it's more than that isn't it? What would it mean to start with the things we're passionate about? Am I ready to declare my true identity to the world?

Mmm there's a clue there too - so, for me, my true identity is what I'm passionate about. And because I care about those things in a different way from my job, they are more personal, and I'm therefore more protective of them. I think that might be the nub of it. Protection. We conceal our true passionate nature because we don't want to get hurt. This is probably based on very real experiences where our tender dreams have been stamped upon. But what's important about this is how we deal with that protection. It's completely ok to protect your passions from others who might be less than supportive. Just as long as you are not protecting yourself from those truths. Be really honest with yourself about these deep core things. It completely ok to be a bricklayer who loves ballet, a shipbuilder who's a socialist, a dentist who likes shamanism. How about being really truthful with yourself about those passions - where would that lead you?

When you are ready you can take the middle ground - hey I'm a surveyor, but I really love taking photos! How amazing would it be if we all started doing this! Then the world would be full of conversations about what we all really care about. 

Now I feel that the first part of life was about learning to live by the rules, and this second part of life is learning to break those rules - to allow our true selves to surface and know the world can stand that truth too.

I wonder how the previous generations would deal with this now, if they were given the same opportunities we are being presented. Would they turn away from the collective identity of work. What would they do with their 'one precious life'?

So start small. Write a list of what you really love. Mine begins:

Folk music
Vegetable gardening
Deep talking
Warm fires

What about you? Tune in to what you truly are, and see what unfolds from there! 

Angel lives in the UK and loves photography, snow, deep talking, reiki, shamanism, warm fires, friendship ..... love.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

You are Here by Aimee Cavenecia

The other night I caught myself again. I wasn't where I was. I was somewhere else. Somewhere where most people often are. I was stuck on a thought. Lost in past & future. Thinking about something that happened yesterday, & wondering how it might influence tomorrow. --Then I snapped out of it.

I noticed where I was and what was happening at the present moment. Getting present brought everything into focus. I began to see what was true, what was happening in the moment -- without a story about it. My feeling, my breathing, my mood, my energy -- everything lifted. I went from a small boat, being knocked around by rocky waters, to deep presence, deep stillness. I was suddenly content; relaxed; at ease.

I thought of a map; I made the connection. Minutes ago I was all-over the map, lost in thought, then suddenly saw the arrow & words: YOU ARE HERE. Of course, of course! What a great reminder! In thought, I was lost in past & future. But when I bring myself back to what it feels & sounds like at this moment -- nothing I was feeling or thinking about matches, or compliments, this moment at all. It actually took away from it, overshadowed it -- ruined it. What is happening now is divine & spontaneous & perfect. A gift.

And when I imagine myself in a bigger picture, on a much bigger map. How silly it all is! What in the world would I ever want to stress about, or take seriously, or personally? Everything becomes laughable & danceable. Everything becomes light. Infinite. The idea of a little me to identify with completely disappears. I fade into the whole. The wholeness of totality. I become imperturbable -- because I no longer exist! I become a speck of cosmic dust. Stardust. Or dirt!

To be laughable & danceable: no longer in control; no longer important; no longer separate. Just some-thing or no-thing that is moved. I love being moved. I forget how easy life can be -- when I stop resisting it.

Earlier in the week, on the same day, my nephew became a father & my friend lost his father. A child was born & a father died, on the same morning. I received a celebratory email, & I also received a bereaving email -- moments apart from each other. All I could do was be present & respond to each email from an authentic place. The transitoriness of life was so present for me. I was awake to the transitory nature of life. The news of both events woke me out of my slumber -- the daily grind haze, the fog that we sometimes get enveloped in.

How precious life is. What an opportunity it is. What an adventure it is. Why would I ever want to waste a moment of it lost in thought, when the present moment is rich & new & full of life? Why would I ever want to resist the flow of life, by wanting things to be different, by being stuck on how I think things should be? I've replaced the old habit of questioning life, for the new habit of trusting life. Trusting that it knows what is best for me. That it sees a bigger picture, one that I can not see.

It's like a sprinkle on a doughnut concerning itself with what its place might be on the doughnut; in the bakery; in the town; in the country; in the world; in the universe. Stressing over it; taking it personal; over thinking it. It is unable to see all the other sprinkles, or even the doughnut. It's way out of its scope. Its best bet would be to enjoy its place on that doughnut & to have fun being a sprinkle. To just shine & allow life to unfold. To enjoy it all -- the mystery of it all! To be present to each moment, as if it were the greatest gift it could ever be given. To simply be present to the present.

What a powerful way to live. And it's always there for us. Silently there all the time. Waiting for us to wake up to the beauty of it. To the beauty of ourselves. To the beauty of presence.

We can simply start with the present moment. What is happening, right now? Where are we, right now? Without the past or future stirred into it. This moment, just as it is. Us, just as we are. Here. Now.

Aimee Cavenecia (also known as AimeeLovesYou) is an author & activist who is currently igniting a Bliss & Self-Mastery revolution through her weekly blog Sunday Is For Lovers. Aimee's life-work is to share her insights on Seeing, Loving & Being (SLB), as well teaching meditation to people globally via the internet.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

The Power of I Am by Meghan Genge

“I am neither especially clever nor especially gifted. I am only very, very curious.” - Albert Einstein

  window bath 
I hear myself say two words a lot. I hear them attached to words like fat, crazy, Canadian and deaf. I hear myself parroting them with an air of total finality as if the decision has been made. They must be true because I preface those things with "I am."

But who exactly am I? When I try to make a list I hear a little voice saying, "No, I'm not," about things that are both good and bad. There are lots of things that I am sometimes, a few things that I would like to change and lots of things that I wish I was but can't claim as truth yet.

When I find a new blog or a new site and see that they have a huge, juicy profile I always read it with equal doses of envy and incredulity. Are they really all of those things? How miraculous that they can put it down in black and white and claim a long list of who they are. A quick look at Twitter profiles finds people who are: photographers, adventure-seekers, CEOs, dreamers, tree huggers, vegetarians, activists, coaches, artists, or yoginis. If you look harder, you can also find leprechauns and faeries, MBAs, authors, designers and comedians. I'm in awe of those who can so easily claim who they are. What if they find that they are not? What if they suddenly realize that they are something else?

By saying, "I am," we claim ourselves. Like Baby in Dirty Dancing we claim our dance space. "I am" sends a ripple of power out into the world and creates a little bit more of our reality. Care and clarity is certainly required: we wouldn't want a muddled reality!

Lately I have been stepping out to claim a little bit of dance space for myself. No more passive use of those most powerful of words allowed. When I say "I am" from now on I am going to mean it.

Who am I? Watch this space.

Meghan is a writer, a storyteller, and a finder of magic.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Stop Waiting for Permission by Helen Yee

I was in the third grade and it was during my first weeks of learning to play the violin. I remember it was one of the earliest songs in the method book, and I was so excited to see I would actually be playing a song I’d heard of before.

They called it “Twinkle Twinkle.” Filled with delicious hope, I played the notes written on the page, but “DDAA / AAD- / DDAA  / AAD- / etc.“ was a befuddlingly disappointing melody that was most definitely not twinkly.

So what did I do? I figured out how to use the fingers of my left hand to make the other notes. And I played the whole song. I figured it out by myself.

But I told no one.

You see, I was waiting for permission. I didn’t want to be the one to jump ahead, to do what no one had told me to.

Can you guess what happened? Not long after that lesson I witnessed one of my schoolmates at the piano, teachers huddled around her, plinking out the theme from the movie, “Love Story.” There were ooh’s and ahh’s, comments at how talented she was to have figured out all those notes by herself, and I quietly kicked myself for not daring to show what I had achieved.

I remained afraid to take a step without being asked to. From the earliest years I was taught to be a good girl, to study hard, practice my violin, not make mistakes, get top grades, be humble. I learned my lessons well.

Fast-forward umpteen years.

I had just finished playing a show at The Blue Note, a show where the bandleader created loose structures and relied on his musicians to improvise and flow with him to create an entertaining and theatrical show. The stage was filled mostly with men: two guitarists, a keyboard player, the vocal bassist, the drummer and the leader of the band. And on stage left were three women: tenor saxophone, trumpet and violin. Despite the hearty applause and cheers, at the end of the night I felt underutilized and a little bit angry. By the end of the gig I didn’t feel I'd had my feature moment and wasn't called enough to add to the mix.

We weary musicians were packing up our gear when I noticed a woman coming to the stage to talk to us. Let’s call her Connie, the mother of an NYU music student, and out for the night with a girlfriend. Her motherly instincts and feminism made it imperative she speak her mind and she told us what she’d observed.

The guys, they feel something and they jump right in. The women, you're all waiting, waiting, for the leader to give you the signal to come in. The men just jump. The women wait. I know you're really talented, and we are longing and needing you to share with us what you have. You'll see it on the videotape. You need to be more like the guys. Jump in more.

This annoyed me because I knew Connie was right. And obviously, this was not the first time I felt this way. But how could I get past my default setting of waiting for permission?

Fortunately I was in Circe’s Circle at the time, and I received a great suggestion for moving away from that default setting by trying on its opposite, by stretching in the other direction. My assignment was to experiment for a week with the opposite, to let myself try on the role of “the woman who always jumps in.” I was to jump in as many places as I possibly could, letting myself risk being seen as aggressive, impolite, a show-off, or whatever other associations I had with jumping in. Just to see what happens, see how it feels…

I did. And I haven’t looked back.

Oh yes, I still feel at times those hesitancies to offer up an idea, to start a new riff, to suggest a different approach to some problem, to be the one to call first – but it has gotten a lot better. Because now when I feel that internal squelching sensation I recognize it as “waiting for permission” and I now know there’s a more satisfying choice I can make. I’ve learned from that week-long experiment that when I put my ideas out there they are almost always appreciated. Even if the idea ultimately doesn’t work out, I now consistently feel glad that I put it out there.

In truth, I had felt that night like the guys had been overplaying. They played too much stuff, weren’t sensitive to the context, didn’t leave room for others, took another solo when it seemed like the song’s ending was right there. I didn’t want to be like them, but I had erred on the other side.

Whenever I think of this lesson, I wish I could thank that NYU mom. What she said that night made a huge impact on me. The lesson is clear: You may be on a crowded stage but there are people out there hungry for your gifts. Do not wait for permission. Jump in. Try being the kind of person who always jumps in.

Put it out there because only then can it be seen, responded to, appreciated. Put it out there because if you hold your expression inside, you are squashing your self into a small container, teaching yourself to be okay with Not Being the Real You. If you hold back there is nothing for the people who are longing to hear it to be nourished by.  Like Connie we are waiting for you to shine. There won’t be a signal. Give yourself the permission.

Helen Yee is an improvising violinist, multi-instrumentalist and composer. Currently violinist for the eclectic string trio, Trio Tritticali she also performs on yangqin with Music From China. She considers the practice of improvisation in all its forms a profound teacher in art and in life.