Friday, 28 June 2013

Free to Make Mistakes By Ginny Lennox

It is interesting how kind I can be to someone else if they make a mistake and how hard I used to be on myself if everything was not perfect. But I am learning that it is ok to make a mistake. I have to admit I like knowing what I am doing and I like being good at what I do. I also realize that the fear of making a mistake has kept me from trying new things especially if it was something physical. But I have also come to realize, rather late in life, that it is better to try and to make a mistake than to never have the fun of trying. In my fifties I learned to snow ski and to snorkel. Both took me awhile to learn but both were so worth the effort. There were lots of crazy moments learning but the memories provide lots of laughter. When I turned sixty I became immersed in yoga. Again, there were lots and lots of mistakes. But the yoga community was not only welcoming but encouraging. No one but me cared if I could do a perfect downward facing dog and pretty soon I was so happy with my own progress that I stopped comparing myself to everyone else.

Once I realized how great it felt not to compare myself to anyone else while practicing yoga, I made an effort to stop comparing myself in other areas of my life. Comparison can stop you from moving forward and I always want to keep my journey moving. I still want my work to be good but it doesn’t have to be perfect. When I look at my work now, it is with kind eyes. The same kind of eyes I use to look at the work of others. I look for the colors I like in my painting or the sentence that pulls everything together in my blog post. Not having to be perfect is such an easier way to live. It is such a kinder way to live. So now when I make a mistake, I just laugh and move on.

                     I saw the following quote on Pinterest and I think it says it all.

“Imperfection is a form of freedom.” Anh Ngo    It feels good to be free.

Ginny, a certified Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coach, believes that each and every day is filled with special moments to be enjoyed and treasured. On her blog, Special Moments in Time, Ginny encourages everyone to recognize and celebrate their own special moments each day.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

10 Ways to Deal with Mishaps from the Queen Herself by Jodi Crane

Believe me when I say, I am the Queen of Mishaps. My life resembles that of Alexander in the children’s book, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, far more than I like. For example, I have twisted both ankles, broken a foot and a finger, and gotten stitches on my chin twice. And I’m not even a physical risk taker.

Here’s what I’ve learned along the way.

1. Slow down. You are more likely to experience a mishap when you are in a hurry.
2. Take a deep breath. Your brain will need oxygen so you can think clearly. Plus you will feel better. Now take another breath. You probably need it.
3. Allow yourself to feel your feelings. Don’t push them aside or even worse, tell yourself you shouldn’t feel what you feel. I’m not saying to act on your emotions. No road rage please.
4. Curse if you must, out loud or in your head. It relieves tension. I read somewhere that research supports this idea. For reals. Just please don’t do it with young children around.
5. Now let those feelings go. Balloons up into the sky. A newspaper sailboat you float down a creek. Imagine waving bye.
6. Know that sh*t happens. Don’t assign meaning to the experience or overanalyze it. You aren’t being punished and you don’t have bad karma even if it might feel like it. Everything doesn’t have to have a reason.
7. Ask yourself, will this matter in… 24 hours, 7 days, a month, a year? I know how to make mountains out of molehills until I ask that question.
8. Go outside. Take a walk. Ride your bike. Breathe some fresh air. Nature is frequently the elixir to what ails us.
9. Laugh at yourself. When you are ready to engage your funny bone. Your mishap will make an amusing story someday.
10. Be kind to yourself. Exercise self-compassion. Give yourself a break. You’re human. You will make mistakes. Bunches of them. You really don’t have to be Superhuman no matter what others seem to expect or you expect of yourself. And those other guys. They may look Superhuman, but on the inside, they are just like you.

One more thing. Here’s a hug for you in case you need it. { }
Jodi Crane
play therapist, blogger, creative, mom

Monday, 24 June 2013

Breathe, just Breathe by Lisa DeYoung


Our prompt for June asked us to reflect on dealing with mishaps. Taking a few deep breaths is always the first thing I (try to remember to) do when something goes wrong. In the past it may have been more like hyperventilate, but I've learned that this does not help.

Even if getting upset, or reacting without thinking, may be my spontaneous response thought – I have learned that stepping back from the issue at hand to access the situation works much better. And a few deep breaths allows me to do just this.

Recently I've been practicing yoga quite a bit, and we've talked a lot about using the breath in our postures...and how it can benefit us off our mat, too. It's amazing how easy it is to stop breathing, or barely breathe, when you let your mind take the lead. Breathing brings you back to the present.

I have found being present is very grounding, which really helps me when something goes awry; it reminds me I am still alive in this moment (and breathing). Breathing also helps me when I feel overwhelmed or have too much on my mind.

I'd love to hear if and/or how you use the breath to ground you when things have gone awry.

Lisa, aka the mountain mermaid

Lisa, aka the mountain mermaid, is a creative, independent spirit who loves to explore and play outdoors. She lives in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Embracing her creative life is an ongoing adventure, a journey that she loves and trusts more each year – and hopes to inspire others to do the same. She is also an entrepreneur providing innovative business support, including graphic design services, for passionate creative entrepreneurs.

Friday, 21 June 2013

R & R & R by Kate Wolfe-Jensen

One of the great gifts of creative effort, for me, is that it invites me to deal with mistakes. Maybe there are artists who can birth what's in their minds into the world without compromise. Not me.

The creative spark that brings me to the blank surface is tied to a vague vision of the finished product. I don't know exactly what it is but I know that, when I am finished, what I have in front of me is not exactly what I meant to do.

Even in the midst of creating, materials surprise me, my hand makes an unexpected motion, I can't remember the right word and mistakes are made.

I continue creating partly so that I can continue practicing what happens next: I need to

release, recommit and return.

1. Release: When I make a mistake (or mishaps occur or I haven't done something I intended to do) my monster-mind starts complaining about how this will ruin everything and how there is no recovery from such disaster. I take a deep breath, look on my monster-mind with compassion and release all judgments and the emotions that ride in their slipstreams.

2. Recommit: there is a part of me that wants to give up at this point. I am so childish that if I can't get what I want I will take my marbles and go home. Instead, the grown-up me needs to recommit to doing the project. Even if it's not what I intended, it may be something wonderful. The project itself deserves a chance to become real.

3. Return: I need to pick up the brush or return to the keyboard or make a call. I need to return to work. If I'm scared to restart I can identify the smallest action and do just that one small thing. For example, I can load the brush with color and make a mark on a piece of scratch paper. Usually, taking a tiny action makes the next action easy.

Practicing Release-Recommit-Return in my creative work reminds me to do it in the rest of my life. Practicing Release-Recommit-Return serves me well.

Kate Wolfe-Jenson writes and makes art about chronic illness, creativity and spirituality. Interested in monsters and angels, garbage and flowers, brokenness and wholeness, she suspects they call us toward joy. Someday she hopes to dissolve into a ball of light. Her blog is

Monday, 17 June 2013

Sometimes a wrong turn is the only way to find the right path by Andrea Schroeder

This week has been frustrating, all around. A special kind of frustration - the kind where you are doing exactly what you want to be doing and yet it feels off.

This is the thing about creative dreaming - in creating your dream as a real live thing you have to do things you have never done before. Which means you can't know how it's going to go ahead of time.

This is how it goes:
You're inspired -> You act on it -> You learn stuff -> That feeds the next inspiration

But this is how we all seem to want it to go:
You're inspired -> You act on it -> Everything is PERFECT BLISS - > Happily Ever After

Somewhere in leaping towards PERFECT BLISS and landing on YOU LEARN STUFF there is a world of pain.

It didn't go the way you'd hoped. Maybe your idea sucks. Maybe you suck. Maybe everything is impossible. Who cares about dreams anyway?

But it just feels like a world of pain.

It's actually a world of information.

Information about what does, and does not work. Information about how to try it differently next time. Real life information that helps you build your real life dream.

(Real life as opposed to DREAMS OF PERFECT BLISS.)

Your fantasy is not going to happen.

You'll never just be handed the key to your dream.

Or a map that shows you how to get there without messy, painful detours.

Dreams come true through this messy process of:
  1. acting on inspiration
  2. having things go way differently that you thought they would/should
  3. being upset about that
  4. getting over it
  5. finding the gems in the experience
  6. letting that inspire the next step.
And so on and so on.

The people who live their dreams engage with that messy process.

I just wrote all of that to remind myself.

This was one of those messy weeks where I was doing a bunch of PERFECT BLISS kind of things and what I got was a pile of life lessons.

Andrea Schroeder

That's me this morning (bedhead and all!) with one of my custom made Creative Soul Alchemy cards - a perfect bliss activity if there ever was one.

I learned A LOT.

And this morning I am remembering the magic of how letting go of how you thought it should be creates space for it be what it is. And life, what it is, is beautiful.

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.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

The Gypsy's Message for When Things Go Wrong by Julie Gibbons

Oh my! How often have you had a picture in your head of something you want to create and it turns out nothing like your vision? Especially often if you’re a visual artist, I’d guess.

What about when you've gone through a process that usually delivers for you, and you've still ended up with something you completely dislike?

It happens to all of us - but knowing that just doesn't make it any better. Sure, logically we understand that creating content isn't a foolproof occupation and that sometimes we will make stuff that we're not totally in love with.

We also know that we are often our harshest critics. But knowing this stuff doesn't ease the disappointment and frustration when things don’t go to plan.

True Story

Most of my work centers around the process of making art, rather than the end product as a piece of art. But the truth is that I also have an ego, and often create with the hope that I’ll make something beautiful at the end of it all.

My series of Goddess Within portraits was a perfect example of such. It was to be an exercise in revealing the many facets of the goddess that we each possess through the creation of mixed media portraits.

spring goddess detail

Creating portraits appeals hugely to my sense of coming to understand and know my Self better but as my creative renaissance has been a fairly recent phenomenon, I’m also interested in developing and growing my arting skill - and hopefully developing an artistic style of my own.

spring goddess detail

The first two portraits went well and I was delighted with the results. They felt like something I would comfortably share with my friends and so I did.

Sharing this process isn’t so easy - there are so many fantastic artists out there, I know my work doesn’t have anything like the same skill or depth of qualities. But the sharing is also part of my process, and it’s definitely easier to do when I ‘like’ what I make.

When things go wrong

The third portrait in my series wasn’t at all the same experience.

Going in, I was feeling fairly confident about what I’d get out. It’d been ages since I’d made anything I ‘hated’ (such strong words we use when criticising our own work, hey?) so it didn’t even occur to me that it would happen this time.

Well, it did. The end result was so far from the picture I’d started out with. And to make things worse, I was filming everything so I could add it to my YouTube Goddess Portrait playlist!

Double trouble … It was looking dodgy from the very beginning, but I hoped that my technique would come together eventually. Eventually, I'd been at it for fifty minutes when the camera ran out of space and the filming stopped. At that point I knew I wasn't going to keep going. She simply wasn't going to be beautiful, this Gypsy Goddess.

I also knew that I wouldn’t upload the video - it was more than the portrait ‘not being good enough’ - it was that I didn’t like her at all!

It's difficult to articulate ... I don’t want to invite false compliments or have anyone reassure me that I am ‘good enough’. I believe in myself, honestly - but take a look, she really is simply not very good and I hated the look of her - I was creating far 'better' portraits a year ago when I really was just beginning!!

But what I want to convey with this story is that notion of having made a mistake - of experience mishap....

This common experience of having invested time and energy in something that doesn’t do what you wanted it to do. It’s quite a visceral experience, isn’t it? Sure, there’s stuff going on in your head, but bodily, you’re also reacting in a way that’s uncomfortable. Emotions are most certainly triggered.

And so I've decided to post the video here!

Because the process has something to teach us. I've even stopped cringing when I look at her!
When I’m creating the portraits, I'm usually aware of a message that speaks to me through them - there’s always a lesson in it for me. This time was no different.
gypsy message
The gypsy spoke to me and she said, “moving around hard to pin down. gypsy soul. love. blending in. waiting to hear the violins. then you will dance and mesmerize.
Her message was for me, of course, I don’t expect you to shout a chorus of knowing (though you might do - if you do, then we're soul sisters, come say hi!) They are simply words that struck deeply with me and highlighted my 'mistake' as another valuable experience on the creative path to my true self.
gypsy eye
Here's the translation that I think does apply to all of us:
We don’t always hear the violins to which we might one day whirl, dervish like and fully embodied. Sometimes our gifts are difficult to pin down. But when we embrace our gypsy souls and also practice love, then we will hear such sweet music that we will indeed mesmerize.
Truly, there is a gift in every 'mishap', each 'mistake', everything we create that we don’t 'like'. Yes, it is so. When I look at these small sections of my gypsy, I love them. Perhaps we just need to take a different viewpoint ...
gypsy lips

Julie Gibbons enjoys art journaling, journal therapy and mixed media. Her passion is self discovery through intuitive, creative practice, to reveal personal patterns, symbolism & archetypes of the true self.
Blog & Website + Etsy

Monday, 10 June 2013

Mishaps, low points, and finding a way forward by Angel Young

I think there's quite a lot of variation in the doldrums. From a small mishap to a full blown low that can last much longer. There's a quote I love from a poet called Tony Harrison - he says something like "I know the darkness. The darkness is my friend." It's a good thing to remember when you are in the middle of it. It is a friend. A part of the transformation to the next step or the next understanding. Oh but it's so hard to come to terms with in the moment!

The first thing is to feel it out - is this me / or have I absorbed some feelings from someone else?

Second thing is - is this what I would call "environmental" - ie it isn't you really, but something in your environment. I find that can be quite broad. So think small first - if I move my room about will that help? Have I had enough fresh air / exercise / food etc. Do I need to smudge the house to clear the vibes?

But it can also be much wider. A good check for that is - are all my friends facing similar questions / doubts? Sometimes the universe sets a question and leaves you in a quandary to work it out. At the moment I know quite a few people, including myself, who are having to face up to our own self care. Sometimes you find everyone is arguing. Or that everything you try to progress becomes like walking through treacle. When it's like this try to detach. It's not personal! Let the process evolve, but try not to fight it! Or as little as possible. :) Take some time out. Look for the hints of where it's been going wrong, so you can make the small corrections needed.

Of course, sometimes it is personal. It's good to have a First Aid kit ready to deal with that in advance - so you can have some strategies ready to go. So what helps, what works? A bath? A trip to the cinema? Meeting with friends? A reiki session. Have a think - decide what is good for you.

Whatever happens remember it will pass. It's ok to have a natural pause. Like winter, eventually spring will return. There's no need to fight the ebb and flow of the creative seasons. A way forward will emerge.

Angel lives in the UK and currently loves her Medium Format camera.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Uninspired? Get your Creative Spark Ignited! By Susan Cadley

I created a real dud of a painting in the art class I recently joined. The painting was muddy and I couldn’t get the perspective of the barn just right. Over time I’ve learned that not every creation begins with bursts of creativity sparks flying. Sometimes there’s a dud in a pack of firecrackers. I acknowledged the initial feeling of disappointment and the inner critic voice telling me “you’ll never get a creative spark again”. “Thank you for sharing” I tell the inner critic and I let her know that I know better. I remind her that creativity is not always an instantaneous combustion of fireworks and ideas. Some creations take time and mistakes and detours create more layers, complexity and depth. I gently confronted my inner critic and suggested that we “play and see what shows up next”.

It’s usually in the “next” that the creative spark emerges. It feels like a tiny firefly flickering it’s light on and off. With excitement I see the light glow, then it’s dark again. I cheer myself on to keep going, creating. When I’m kind and gentle with myself that’s when the creative spark begins to burn more brightly. Then I enter into what I call “the flow” and the glow of creating. In this space I experience fun and curiosity. New ideas drop into my mind like oranges heavy with juicy substance waiting to be shared and savored.

In my creative life, I’ve discovered that when I ease up, play, and let go of expectations, my creativity begins to flow. If I try too hard or become overly logical or critical, my creativity freezes up. The key here is to be kind, yet firm and direct when your inner critic shows up. If you tell her off or threaten her, she may go underground for a while, but she’ll show up later with a bigger fury. If you acknowledge her presence and assure her you’ve got it covered, the voice will quiet eventually.

Last year, I participated in an online creativity class with author and creativity coaching pioneer, Jill Badonsky . Jill facilitated an exercise that involved drawing what our creativity power looked like. I created the following drawing and keep it posted above my computer to remind me what being in the creative flow feels like. Consider creating a drawing that reminds you of what your creativity power feels like so you can draw on this energy if you need it.

If you find yourself uninspired or lack luster in your creative life, just begin something. You don’t have to wait until you feel the spark. In order to create fire, there’s a lot of friction generated before the flame appears. Begin, do, jump in, play….and watch your creative spark begin to glow and grow!

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

Monday, 3 June 2013

Do you want to be right or happy? by Aimee Cavenecia

There is always room for blame. There is always a reason, an excuse, a point-of-view; why things are the way they are. Why people are they way they are. Why the world is the way it is. It's easy to say "That's not right. Someone or something is wrong." But who's job is it to correct it? To make it right. To set it straight?

The answer is never outside of ourselves. Life is always a mirror. When we see something we consider wrong; something a mess or amiss, there is always a reflection of something we personally need to clean-up or set straight. It could be a matter of 'letting go', or it could be a matter of taking personal responsibility for correcting in ourselves what we dislike most about others. It's easy to say "I'm not like that" or "I didn't do that." But an individual life or personality is vast, there is always something within ourselves that we don't want to see or acknowledge. Something we are doing or being that isn't in alignment with our highest values. There is also deep-rooted misery within ourselves that we desperately need to discharge, release or defuse (if only for a moment), through pointing the finger or through seeing life as lopsided. It takes the responsibility off of us, & sets it somewhere else. This misery, or this thing we can't put our finger on, is the very thing that gets triggered easily by others, or by life itself.
If you let go a little you will have a little peace; if you let go a lot you will have a lot of peace; if you let go completely you will have complete peace.

- Ajahn Chah
When I see a 'mature' person. It touches me deeply. I feel the truth & the wisdom in who they are being. When I say mature, I am using the word as this quote does: Maturity begins to grow when you can sense your concern for others outweighing your concern for yourself (quote by John Macnaughton). But when I read that quote, I don't think that it means to put yourself or your personal needs aside & to place everyone before you -- but to see that there is no separation between you & anything in the world. Turning a blind eye, tuning out, being defensive, judging harshly, or being cruel -- it only means that you are ultimately treating or viewing yourself that way. In the end, everything comes back to you. Each life happens through the eyes of the one living it. Therefore, we can either fully open up to life; trust it, get intimate with it -- or we can shut down, close ourselves off & wonder why life is so difficult.

When there is a strong need to be right about ideas we have, or about the way life should be, or about the way people ought to behave, we set ourselves up for suffering. We actually begin to confuse ourselves, because we start to live life from the mind instead of the heart. We let fear & ego take a position of power, instead of simply allowing life to flow, & allow love to be the driving force in all that we do.

I often think of the quote: Do you prefer that you be right or happy? (quote from A Course in Miracles T-29.VII.1:9). I think of it when I see someone suffering over an idea they have about the way things should be, or when I find myself hanging on desperately to something as ephemeral as a thought. A thought that I know isn't getting me what I ultimately want. And what can we all say we ultimately want? Everyone wants to be happy. Yet many of us are on a mind-game carousel that takes us nowhere, or better yet, to a place of pointless suffering & energy wasted. Many of us would like to get off this ride. If only we could see that we ourselves, no one else, has the power to stop it.

For me, self-inquiry helps to stop the mind-game carousel. To simply stop; to look nowhere for answers but within. To be honest with myself. To ask myself questions. To get to know myself on a deeper level. It doesn't matter what others are doing or saying. But to witness with compassion what I am doing & saying, what I am thinking & feeling, & why. After that, my mind slows down. I become more spacious & patient, more open & tolerant -- more understanding. I begin to see everyone as the same, & life itself as perfect, unfolding as it should. My breathing goes from shallow to full. My body releases its tension. My attitude lightens up. My face brightens up. My heart opens up. And my mind follows my heart, it too opens up. There is no longer a need to be right, not even a desire. To be happy is more than enough.

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.