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.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Paddle Strokes and Feeling Safe by Angel Young

Andy and I are quite different - a classic case of opposites attract. This became very obvious as we canoed through some of the Yukon's rapids this summer - Andy's response "Wasn't that exciting! Let's do it again!" Me: "No thanks that was scary not exciting at all!". We seem to have such a different approach to risk taking: Andy is much more gung-ho, while I'm more cautious, more of a planner.

In creativity Andy has launched himself into silversmithing like a kiddie jumping into the swimming pool, feet first. He started describing himself as a silversmith without any qualms at all while he was still just taking the baby steps of his practice. Now he's been made redundant from his job he's turning his passion into a business, giving it all his focus.

Me, I've been wobbling about with my creativity for years. I want to be doing it full time, but can't get going at all. I don't do much actual creative work (although I seem to do a lot of washing up). I struggle to claim the titles associated - photographer, artist, printmaker, craft maker, even though my friends complement my work, and keep suggesting I phone Ikea to see if they want any of my pics.

I'm starting to wonder if this is a question of gender. That there is something inherently focused about Andy's approach, the way he can ignore the dishes and the hoovering, that he is happy to take risks and finds them exhilarating. I'm programmed to play it safe, to keep the boat steady, to protect the situation as it is, even if that's not what I actually want.  I'm guessing this is even stronger for women with kids to look after as well.

I'd like to think I'm miraculously going to be more Andy-like in my approach! But instead, back in the real world(!), I'm trying to understand what's needed to provide the level of safety I feel I want.  

I've started by working out what the risks are for me, aka what's getting in the way. Here's my chart:

All this time I had really thought that money was my main barrier, but it turns out those emotional concerns are stronger. Thinking about it more I realised I wasn't actually getting to a safe place with my work, so the money thing couldn't really be considered until I had. If I felt confident about the creative works I was producing then that would change my feelings about money and any risks I might be taking. That's not to say that finances aren't part of the equation, but for me they are a part-gremlin at the moment, masking what I'm actually worried about.

So what are the factors I'm worried about? What's holding me (and maybe you?) back?

Competence is the first bit. You have to have faith in the work you produce. This is why it's called a practice! Here's my chart for that:

So what is needed to feel safe?

Emotional Space & Time
I realise that personally I really need "percolating" time, or artist's dates as Julia Cameron calls them. Space to be inspired and let the normal day to day thoughts subside. For me this produces more work, and the attrition of doing the work breeds confidence. I have to start with the space, the inspiration, otherwise I just end up imposing other people's ideas and priorities onto my work rather than giving it a room of its own. This gives me the faith to believe my work will stand on its own, and I can defend it if I need to.

Physical Space
I'm lucky enough to have a place to work in, but this is obviously a factor for many - we all need a safe place to produce our work. How can you find that in your life? Is it the cafe on the other side of town, or a log in the woods, or a corner of the kitchen table? What about longer nourishing trips? The wilderness really does it for me - there's something in the silence that gives me room to breathe. 

The next important step is the backwards one. Look at your work from a distance: actually is it enough? If you had perfection what would it look like? Will most people even see the flaws you find? Check in with the final piece of the puzzle - intuition - are you ready to step forward now? What else would you need to do so? Just the exercise of asking these questions helps you focus in - maybe you are ready now?

Intuition is also the mysterious force that inspires, tells you to go right or left, red or blue, or to paddle the Yukon and marry the mirror of your personality! Learn to heed its signs. There's a lot of good books about this - Martha Beck's Follow your own North Star is a good place to start, or if you prefer fiction, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. 

So even as I write this I see I'm further down the road than I thought, and now I recognise this I can share my creativity with more people, feeling happy(ier) that it's of sufficient quality. 

A bit of safety lets me stretch a bit further. What can you do today to help you feel safe in your work, and build for there? After all paddling the Yukon, well the 460 miles we did anyway, was a journey built of a thousand strokes, and in the end you get there, safe and sound.

Angel Young lives in the UK, and is enjoying the late summer sunshine.