Creativity

Ten Minute Tuesday: Creativity is Your Birthright!

Creativity is your birthright!

You were born to be creative. There is no doubt about that. Just look at your body and the way that it heals itself each time…each time it has to mend something new or different or fight a new cold, it gets creative to heal you. Your mind is just as creative. It always has been and always will be. Brene’ Brown says, in Daring Greatly that “85% of people experience so much shame over a childhood experience in school, that it changes who they are as learners.” She goes on the disclose that then 50% of that group were given what she calls “creativity scars.” School is supposed to be a safe place to learn and experience creativity. That is an outrageous number of people who were never allowed to be fully who they could have been, especially creatively for a right that is given to us freely from the moment we are born. Imagine what could happen in this country if those numbers were brought down even just ten percent each. I would imagine that there would be so much more creative thinking arising from the communities that issues like water and energy would be closer to being solved because people were allowed to play with their creativity instead of it being shamed and stifled away so that someone could fit them into a box.
Creativity is your birthright. TAKE IT BACK! That’s right. It is yours. Pull it out of the darkness and claim it once again. The person that took it from you all those years ago had no rights to your creative soul. Maybe their own creative soul had been injured so they felt that they must strip it away from someone else but it is no longer your problem why they did what they did. You are all grown-up now, so CLAIM YOUR CREATIVITY! Own it. Wallow around in it. If you have forgotten how, start by playing again. DO you need ideas on how to play? Start HERE! Do you need more reasons to play? Start HERE! DO you need permission to take your creativity back? Click HERE or HERE! I want you to have it. The universe wants you to have it. That is why you were born with it.

If you need help with calling out your creativity, listen to Elizabeth Gilbert’s talk on The Elusive Creative Genius. Then go Here and get to know YOUR OWN creative genius. Come to an understanding with the creative genius within you that will come to you when you allow it time and space. To claim back your creativity, you simply have to give yourself time to sit with it. Time to play with your creative soul. It probably has shown up off and on through out your lifetime and you have not been present to receive it. Now is the moment to be present for your creative soul. Now is the moment to listen to what it needs to be creative.

Often, we think of creativity as only being A-R-T but creative thinking is so much bigger than that. In the book, Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer, he discusses how the Swiffer mop was invented. Researchers watch thousand of hours of how people cleaned their houses. But it was in watching a video of woman cleaning up coffee grounds with paper towels that sparked an idea. That idea expanded and became the Swiffer mop. It wasn’t an instantaneous, overnight success. It took trial and error but that is creative thinking in progress. It is seeing one thing and creating something new. Even in art, there isn’t just one love song or one break up song, there are hundreds because what speaks to you may not speak to me and vice versa. This is the core of creative thinking. Making something new out of an old idea or changing an old idea into something different or new.

I love to watch Brene’ Brown being interviewed by Chase Jarvis, who is a YouTube genius with his show. Yes, I like her tedTalks and her Oprah talks but there is just something about how comfortable she gets when she is being interviewed by Chase Jarvis that makes her relatable in many more ways for me. It could be the “You Bless my Heart, I’ll kick Your Ass,” comments that make me laugh but what really struck me in one of her interviews was what she said about living in a “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” world. She said, “I am tired of living in a ‘Don’t ask, Don’t tell’ world. I want to live in a Show up and Be seen World.” I LOVE THAT. We spend so much time hiding and not being real. Our creativity gives an opportunity to show up in the world in a way that nothing else can. Show Up. Be Seen. Even if its just in your circle of trusted friends, those that have earned the right to see your creative soul. That is okay. I just want you to have it back.

As you take back your creativity, it may feel strange at first but for your ten minute Tuesday today, play. Click the links. Explore. There are ideas Here and Here.  Answer the Call.  Or you can check out Jamie Ridler Studios, or Andrea Schroeder at the Creative Dream Incubator, Or SARK, whose book, A Creative Companion was my first real introduction to creativity exploration. It was given to me from a friend when I was twenty-one years old. My dear friend passed away way too young just a few years later but the gift has had a lasting impact on my life. A couple people more to explore are: Leonie Dawson, artist and CEO of a huge woman centered creative empire; Jani Franck, who owns The Art House in Britain but is an artist and blogger; Read and watch Sir Ken Robinson who writes and talks about creativity and is actively trying to change our schools. Read the book Imagine by Jonah Lehrer; Read Brene’ Brown, Daring Greatly and Rising Strong ( I can’t decide which one I like more), Read Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic and watch her interviews and TedTalks.

It is funny to me as I write this for you that I have always wanted to produce a conference on creativity and have all my favorite creative people show up and speak, and have panel discussions about creativity and I realize as I have written, I have given you just that, a conference of my favorite creative inspirers. Some day, it will happen and maybe then, I will have my own talk to give but for now, I leave you this. TAKE back your creativity.

It might be messy at first. Remember creativity has no right or wrong. Just lessons on how to do it different next time. You will make mistakes. BIG ones. Little ones. They are all okay. You learn and grow and move on. But claim your right to your creativity. It is an integral part of your soul. In the words of one of my favorite artists, Mumford and Sons, from Roll Away Your Stone, “With my stake stuck in this ground, Marking the territory of this newly impassioned soul,” and “You have neither reason nor rhyme, With which to take this soul that is so rightfully mine.”
Your Creative Soul is your Birthright.

talkingtyourcritic

Ten Minute Tuesday: Talking to Your Critic

We all have at least one in our head. One critic that doesn’t shut up. He or She is the critic in the stands that Brene’ Brown often refers too. They aren’t supposed to matter because they do not get down in the arena with you. They don’t wrestle with the world and come up dirty. This critic tries to stay above it all. Always criticizing  but never trying. Since this is National Letter Writing month  let’s write  a letter to this critic, Tell this critic what you think of them. See who they are clearly in your mind. Man or woman? Insolent child? Think of this letter as standing up and addressing them directly. If they are a critic that is not willing to get down in the mire with you, do you fire them? Send them on vacation for a while? What do you want to say? I once wrote a letter to this critic firing them. He was a cranky old man in my head. One who was never happy with anything at all. It didn’t matter how good something was, HE did not like it. So I fired him. Now, I will warn you, since firing him, he does not come around as often, though a couple of new ones took his place. But everyone once in a while the cranky old man slips past my defenses and into my head once again like an employee who never gets the hint that he is doing terrible at his job. So I have to fire him again. Here is my letter to the critic in my head and how I fired him.

Dear Critic in the Stands,
I’m letting you go.
I’m saying good-bye to your harsh tones and your sandpaper words
that scrape away
the soft parts of my heart.
I’m turning away from you,
and
Leaving you standing with your arms crossed and
frown lines on your face
while tapping your foot.
This relationship is not working for me.
I do not enjoy having you shred my skin away,
expose the broken bones beneath
while you are up in the stands, keeping your hands clean
and your bones safe.
I have made my list of the ones who matter,
tucked it in my pocket… the loved ones who get down in the mud with me.
So, I will tell you again.
I’m letting you go.
I’m saying good-bye.
Please leave the arena now,
you are fired.
Sincerely,
Susan

wrting acrostic poem

Ten Minute Tuesday: Acrostic Poem

“An acrostic poem is a type of poetry where the first, last or other letters in a line spell out a particular word or phrase. The most common and simple form of an acrostic poem is where the first letters of each line spell out the word or phrase.”
Young Writers Free Glossary

For example I could use my name SUSAN with each letter beginning the sentence of a line in the poem. You can choose to use any word or even the whole alphabet. Sometimes it is easiest to start with just using a name.

Such as the morning came, the dawn so cautiously rising and the day

Unwritten. I savor the gray light that arrives just before the dawn,

Surrounding myself in its quiet blanket

And keep myself warm in its solitude, listening only to the

Noise of the doves cooing in the gray light.

It is a great way to learn the feel and rhythm of poetry. It’s form also lends itself to learning to choose words carefully as we write poems. In a poem, unlike a story, you may only get 5-10 lines to tell your story, so words need to be chosen with care. Today I want you to play with the Acrostic poem. If you are having a hard time getting started I am including two sets of word tiles for you to draw words from. Print them out and cut them apart and draw a word, or simply pick a word from the list. I find that words with five or more letters work best but short words are a particular challenge that could be fun. Save them the word tiles because there will be other poetry prompts this month that will call on them to be used. Good Luck and have a bit of fun.

word tiles 1 word tiles 2

magnetic poetry

Ten Minute Tuesday: Magnetic Poetry.com

Welcome to April, National Poetry Month. It is also National Letter writing month but I will bring that up again in another post. I want you to play today. Have you ever seen the magnetic poetry kits for sale, usually  in gift shops or little off the wall places. I used to collect the kits. I had three or four of them and more words than I could count. I even had a magnetic calendar and separate magnetic board just for all the words to hang out. I LOVED them. In my last move, they kind of scattered away. Every once in a while I will find a stray word in a box or stuck in an old journal. I loved having them to use for jump starting poetry writing.
Well, Magnetic Poetry also has a GREAT website, where you can not only by said poetry kits but you can PLAY with some of the kits in an online interface. It is a lot of fun and a great way to play with poetry if 1) you have never really played with it before 2) feel stuck in your own poetry 3) just to play for a few minutes for fun. It makes poetry entertaining and easily attainable to everyone which is what I like. Poetry should be reachable for anyone to try. It isn’t just for the poets or the slam poets, but for anyone wanting to express themselves in new ways.

So what I have done is taken screen shots of the website and posted them here with brief tutorials beneath the photos. It is really simple to follow and a lot of fun to do. Just to give an extra tip now, what I have may not stay in this form. I like to use magneticpoetry.com as a jumping off point for an idea and then expand it from there. I hope you have a lot of fun playing with words today. More poetry prompts to come and favorite poets to share.

awesome pleasurable tips

Ten Minute Tuesday: 11 Awesome Tips to Make Your Day Pleasurable

Recently I was propose the question,” what can you do to make your day more pleasurable?”
So I reflected over the things that I do that add pleasure to each day. These are not things I do all once but I attempt to do one to three of them a day. In doing so, and make my day a little more pleasurable.

  1. First one is kind of obvious as it shows up more more ideas of self-care and pursuit of happiness. It is 5 to 10 minute meditation in the beginning at some point during the day. Time and agin studies have shown that by allowing ourselves even just five minutes to focus on our breath helps relieve stress and anxiety. The result of which allows us to have room to experience more pleasure or happiness.
  2. Smile. Not fake smile or pretend smiling. Make an honest effort to smile at someone. The person sitting next to you or the stranger you walk by, someone you are talking to, or even in the mirror at yourself. Smiling uses different muscles in your face and in fact releases tension. Try laughing as well. Read a funny meme or watch a funny short video. Laughter and smiling are pleasurable experiences.
  3. Attempt to eat one healthy meal or snack during the day. Not only is it good for your body but certain foods are actually mood boosters and can make us feel better. Think dark chocolate (just one oz), fruits and vegetables, foods high in B-12, fish, and certain nuts. Not only do these foods improve your mood but we get a little boost when we accomplish something like eating healthy. I challenge to look up a new recipe that is healthy and try it out. See how it makes you feel.
  4. Take a break. We were not made to go through our day without breaks. Our biorhythms aren’t made that way. There is a reason most people need to stop around 10 and then around 3 if they are working an 8-5 schedule. It is because we experience a natural dip in our body rhythms signaling a need for a quick break. Pay attention to it. Working through our breaks adds to our stress not reduce it. No matter where you work or even if you are someone who doesn’t work in a traditional job, take a break. Your body needs it.
  5. Connection. Spend a few minutes connecting with someone you care about. People are not meant to be in isolation. We need, even crave human connection. It is essential to our survival. Could we live without human connection…it is possible but there is a reason that infants can fail to thrive simply because there is no human connection. It does our psyche well to seek out human connection, especially with those we can trust. Most of the time, I feel better after speaking with such a person. It reminds us we are not alone. And it takes me to the next thing.
  6. Get out of yourself. If we are talking to a friend and listening to them, we are out of our own heads. Another way to get out of yourself is to commit to some kind of service it a way that is comfortable for you. But whatever it is, it has to be bigger than just you. So maybe it is a non-profit, or involvement in a recovery program, teaching art to underprivileged kids. Maybe it is that you take the old woman down the street a hot meal once a week. The point is to give back to the world and put ourselves in perspective with the world. Often giving back makes us just feel good too.
  7. Build a “pick me up” into your day. Give yourself something to look forward to at some point. A good book, a chance to curl up on the couch with a movie or cuddle someone you love. Maybe it is a bubble bath or a game of basketball with friends. Whatever it is, the goal is for it to be pleasurable and something to look forward to. Some quick ideas could be tied to your ten minute break: a piece of dark chocolate, or an iced coffee, pick up your favorite magazine. Just make sure you allow yourself a “pick me up” moment.
  8. Make a List. Now, this one doesn’t seem as obvious but let me explain. I have found this kind of list SO HELPFUL. So I keep a running list next to me through out the day. It is so if I have an idea for something while I am in the middle of another project or chore, I can just jot it down real quick. Then I don’t have to stress over trying to remember and I can stay focused on what I am currently doing.It isn’t necessarily a “to-do” list. Sometimes they are topic ideas, things I want to google later, pictures I want to take. It is a random list but it makes my life much more pleasurable than trying to remember that “thing” that I forgot.
  9. Ok. Disclaimer: I LOVE LOVE my coffee. BUT there is such a thing as too much caffeine especially later in the day, early evening. It can mess with our sleep patterns if we are not careful about how much or when we drink it. I have been known to drink coffee at night, mostly for the taste but that is rare and I tend to be awake late already. Christmas Eve I won’t even tell you how much coffee I have consumed. That being said, sleep is essential to happiness and too much caffeine makes one jittery not happy. You don’t have to give it up, just seek a pleasurable middle ground.
  10. Be Creative! Add some creative time into your day. What is your creative pleasure? Painting, coloring, writing, drawing…? Whatever it is, do it. One of my favorite shows is NCIS, I make no apologies for it, and one of the main characters, Gibbs, is ALWAYS working on a boat. It is what brings him pleasure after chasing bad guys. Find your “boat”. If you aren’t sure, experiment. Try a coloring book, or drawing mandala’s. Play with play dough or create a new recipe from scratch. Sometimes you may find you have a couple of creative tools to turn to, even better. Creativity releases stress, and is just plain FUN.
  11. Improved Canvas.

    Finally, Express Gratitude. Being grateful for what we have is a good reminder of how happy we are in our current moment. Yes, things can be worse But look at the good I have right now. People who regularly express gratitude tend to me happier and less stressed. Sounds like a ticket to putting some pleasure into my day. Keep it simple if you need to, just list three things. Overtime it will become a habit and will become easier to write.

This is not a proposal to do all of these things in one day. But there simple 10 minute activities that added into the day can make our day more pleasurable. In the beauty of several of these tips is that they overlap. For example connecting with somebody also satisfies the need to get out of our head. We can build a “pick me up” to look forward to in our 10 minute break. We can be creative in our 10 minute break. What things do you do to make your day more pleasurable? Let me know in the comments below.

ten minute canvas signs

Ten Minute Tuesday: DIY Canvas Signs

I just love the canvas signs I see for sale in JoAnn’s and Michaels, or even at Ross or other home decorating places. I think they are cute. But why am I going to pay to have someone else’s sign when this creative person can do it herself. Now, here is the disclaimer. It’s been a while since I played with canvas and acrylic paint. That being said when I saw packs of 8×10 canvas on sale at JoAnn’s ( my fave store for crafty things) and a useable coupon, I picked the pack of ten canvases up.  I already had a big plastic tub of paint that had been given to me. Though old, and worn, I had paintbrushes as well. I was ready to go.

My first attempt at making a canvas sign didn’t even make the pictures. I had tried a technique I had use on some fabric (similar to batik) and let’s leave it at the canvas was ruined and into the trash it went. Such as it goes. Each canvas sign took about 10 minutes to create. The ones with layered colors were done in five minute breaks so that I could wait for the color to dry before applying the next. The longest project was the I am grateful one, as the original technique didn’t work the way I wanted and so as creative people often do, I chose a different direction and what you see is the end result. The point of of all this is to encourage to get some canvas and some paint and PLAY. Make your own signs to put up in your house. Use whatever inspires you.

My recommendation is to look for where there is canvas on sale, like JoAnn’s or Michaels Craft stores. They also sell small acrylic paint sets for getting started with about 12 colors. If you know what colors you want, you can also purchase individual tubes. This might have more options in that there are metallics to also choose from if you choose individual tubes of paint. An inexpensive pack of brushes, also available at the crafts or even Wal-Mart or Target. You really aren’t looking to spend a lot on a first project. Maybe you already have supplies hanging around and you have a more practiced hand. Some advice I got after starting this was to trace out the letters or design for the canvas sign first. Another tip for doing the words is that they also make acrylic paint pens that you can use. Hope these tips help. I would love to see some of your canvas signs.
Here are my results below.

dollar store craftpng

Ten Minute Tuesday: Dollar Store Craft

March is National Craft month. YAY! I have all kinds of goodies planned for you over the next month. However, since this is Ten Minute Tuesday, and I live on a tight budget, I thought I would show you a quick and simple Dollar store craft. The steps are simple. I did start out trying to use  a hot glue glue gun but the glue dried too fast and my glue gun was not working well. So, I do what all great crafters do in a pinch, I went to plan B…E6000 glue. I use it for the pendants that I usually make. It holds almost anything in place. So here you go the Ten minute Dollar Store Craft project.

Overall, I had fun with this simple Ten Minute Dollar Craft. Now, I have two cool trays out of the deal. I cannot wait to use the large at the next big family party. What would I do differently? I would be prepared  for the hot glue Not to work well. And I would remember to put the glue on the sides of the bowl instead of on the bottom. That being said, I accomplished this all in ten minutes. Isn’t it amazing what one can do with just ten minutes? Happy Crafting this month. There is more to come.

Love ME 🙂

Fika Tuesday

Ten Minute Tuesday: Introducing “Fika”

“Fika is Swedish for a coffee break that’s more about socializing than drinking coffee. And something sweet is also welcome.”
“Fika is much more than having a coffee. It is a social phenomenon, a legitimate reason to set aside a moment for quality time. Fika can happen at any time, morning as well as evening. It can be savoured at home, at work or in a café. It can be with colleagues, family, friends, or someone you are trying to get to know. It is a tradition observed frequently, preferably several times a day.”
https://sweden.se/culture-traditions/fika/

I was recently introduced to this idea of Fika through something I found on Pinterest. Since I like collecting words and ideas from other cultures I decided to do some research. When it comes to the concept of Fika, I am delightfully surprised. I like this idea. It reminds me of the practice of mindfulness. It reminds me of the practice of being in the present moment, the here and now enjoying the cup of coffee in front of you, the sweet treat in front of you and the company with you; and also being away from the telephones, the computers, work, and  the busyness that swallows us up sometimes.
How lovely to find a couple of moments a day to enjoy a savored cup of coffee and that little treat either alone or with company. From its description I gather that this is not about the quick 10 or 15 minute rushed break that we often find in retail jobs or busy offices. Or the breaks that we skip and eat at our desks because we feel we cannot stop working. Instead I imagine rather a slow mindful conversation sitting at tables and chairs.
This is Ten minute Tuesday, so my challenge to you today is instead of rushing through your cup of coffee or heating it up and letting it get cold at your desk over and over again, I want you to pour your cup of coffee or your cup of tea and to take a light snack and intentionally sit away from where you are working; sit and drink your coffee mindfully. If possible, invite a friend or coworker to sit with you and chat, not about work. Pay attention to what each other says. Just for ten minutes.

What does it feel like to not rush? What does it feel like to pay attention to what is in front of you just for that moment? How does it feel when you are done?

Credits: Ulf Lundin/imagebank.sweden.se
anythingcan happen

Ten Minute Tuesday: Anything Can Happen

I had a lovely Ten Minute Tuesday post for you today. However, there were some copyright issues I had to attend to before I could publish it. This is the first time I have had to do this since usually I don’t rely on other sites for information or if I do, they simply require me to share their link. But this time the topic was interesting enough that I wanted to make sure I got the information right at the source, which required me to ask permissions to use quotes from their page. So it is my hope that next week you will see the surprise I have for you.

For today I want you to choose how you will spend your ten  minutes. Take ten minutes. Journal. Free write. Paint. Play with sand or draw an mandala  or play with  play dough. Take your ten  minutes and sit in silence. Consciously people watch. It is your choice today so long as you take your ten minutes to do something for your creative soul.  Ten Minute Tuesday has never been about just doing creative or play activities. It is about purposely taking the time and setting aside those minutes for YOU and YOUR creative soul.

It can be anything so long as you feel your creative needs have been met. Maybe you work near an art gallery and you take your time to wander through a local artists works. Maybe you take ten minutes to listen to the musician on the street corner. Maybe you doodle on post it notes at your desk during your break while people around you are typing and answering phone calls. Maybe you watch videos on how to paint or draw.  My recent love has been following Button Poetry on YouTube and listening to poetry slams. I love the energy they build when they speak. My point is my dear friends, is not in the exact how you spend your time but that you give yourself the gift of the time itself. As always, happy creating.

New perspectives TMT

Ten Minute Tuesday: New Perspectives

A couple of years ago a I wrote a blog on perspective and how important it is to remember your perspective when creating your art. I spoke of the importance of staying true to your perspective in your writing, art making and general creativity as you are the only person in the world with your unique view of the world. You can read the post here: “Perspective: Your’s, Mine and Ours.” I was trying to establish that no matter how many other ways there are to look at a situation, there is generally only one or two that YOU identify with personally and those are what you should work from.
But I am going to pull you back from that a little bit. When creativity gets into a rut or feels stalled, it often needs a fresh angle to be looked through, much like a heated disagreement, one might step back and refresh the angles of the conversation. Today’s Ten Minute Tuesday task is to look at and accept another perspective other than yours. It can be on any topic you wish from world politics to a family disagreement.
For your first step, which may be the hardest, I want you to step into the perspective of the other side. No arguing with it. You don’t have to agree with it either. I just want you to see it. Taste it and smell it. Feel your way around it in your mind with out judgement. If you start to feel your own counter-argument coming on, stop yourself. Immerse yourself in this opposing perspective. Then without judgement, I want you to write for ten minutes from this same place. NO blaming. No exclamations of right or wrong. Just write from within this particular angle of discussion.

Now, you are wondering why? Why are we doing this? Because perspective is important. If we are stuck, flipping the switch my be just the move we do to provide us a fresh angle, even in our creative work. It takes practice to know when and how to apply opening ourselves up to other ideas. This includes passing judgement on them. Judgements in our perspective  help define who we are, what we believe, and how we live our lives.
It is equally important that we look at our creative issues without judgement, without attachment.

Once a project is completed, how can we be ready to perfect it for its release into the world? We can prepare it by looking at it from a fresh perspective. Perhaps from the perspective of the people we are trying to speak to. Perhaps from the perspective of the editors may read it. We need to be able to do these things without our judgment getting in the way. So today’s 10 minute practice is all about letting go of judgment and giving ourselves the gift a fresh perspective.

The reason I suggest using a topic or an argument in which you disagree with your opponent is because this is often the most difficult for us to do; that is to allow the others position to exist without our passing our own judgment on their beliefs. If we can conquer this even in its smallest form, then we are capable of using this practice in our creativity.