Day 10 of 100 Days… in celebration, I published some of my favorite #CMBOS 100Dayer posts to the CreativeMornings/Boston profile and it’s been so great to shine some light on our awesome participants. At first I thought it would be very hard to facilitate the local support group, but I am finding so much love and light from within the group that I find myself inspired in spite of exhaustion, sickness, and endless lists of things that must be done. That’s why it’s called a labor of love, I suppose.

Compassion Cards + Energy Paintings

It’s hard to fully move on to a new project when a previous one is unfinished. So, today I devoted a few hours to updating my online portfolio at Essem Studio so that I have some recent content on there. It’s exciting to see the paintings up there and it gets me excited to keep working. Sometime you just have to take a step back.

I’ve included some of my favorite paintings here, but you can check out the whole portfolio of Compassion Cards + Energy Paintings.

working more…

I find myself puzzling over my art during random waking hours and even in my sleep…making mental and physical notes to try different thing to achieve what I see in my mind’s eye…. it’s a constant work in progress.

I’m obsessed.

P.S. Happy Valentine’s Day! ♥

Morning Pages

Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning. There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages – they are not high art. They are not even “writing.” They are about anything and everything that crosses your mind– and they are for your eyes only. Morning Pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and synchronize the day at hand. Do not over-think Morning Pages: just put three pages of anything on the page…and then do three more pages tomorrow.”

Julia Cameron , The Artists’ Way

I started morning pages exactly 4 weeks ago (woohoo!) and it’s been such a great tool for hashing out my thoughts, ideas and dreams. If something is weighing on my mind, I write about it. I write about the things that bother me and try to figure out what I need to change to be happier. Through morning pages, I’ve recovered my desire to pursue music, art, poetry, and writing. I am reconciling myself with drifting friendships and redefining the values that I am looking for in the people and experiences in my life.

There are mornings when leaving the warmth of my bed for the kitchen table (where I write my pages over a hot cup of tea) is hard, but I have yet to regret getting up. I am a work in process and my morning pages are my solitary time during which, I get to know me better. For, how can I achieve true self expression in my art, words, and actions without first having an intimate knowledge of my true self?

“If you want to work on your art, work on your life” -Checkhov 

A Million Dreams…

For my Artist Date, I went to go see The Greatest Showman. The movie was a delight for the eyes and ears, and my inner artist was very inspired. The song, A Million Dreams has been stuck in my head – I’ve been playing it on repeat since this morning, downloaded the chords online, printed out the lyrics, dug out my guitar, and needless to say, my fingers and voice are tired from playing and singing the song every chance I had today. What a joy it’s been! I haven’t learned a song with such gusto since my days of performing as a singer-songwriter.

It felt SO GOOD 🙂

As humans, I believe we are multifaceted and in possession of a million dreams and they are all meaningful in their respective ways. We certainly can’t pursue all of our interests with the same degree of accomplishment, and it is not my point that we should try to be all things. My point is that we need to stop thinking about ourselves in singular terms – job titles, roles, and boxes – especially as creatives.

We would be remiss to neglect any part of our creative self – it’s the unique blend of experiences and inspirations that makes us who we are. The different facets of our creativity need to be fed and in turn they nurture the overall health of our inner creative. Ever feel stumped by some project or challenge? Try something different – pick up a different medium, have fun, get immersed. I am realizing that the singer-songwriter in me is just as zealous as a decade ago when pursuing a career as a singer was the dream of my heart and I must nurture that part of me still, if I would truly be my authentic creative self cause…

🎶 “Every night I lie in bed/ The brightest colors fill my head/ A Million dreams are keeping me awake/ I think of what the world could be/ A vision of the one I see/ A million dreams is all it’s gonna take/ A million dreams for the world we’re gonna make.” 🎶

Artist Date

The Artist’s Way is a book dedicated to unblocking the creative within you by overcoming your deepest fears and doubts so that you can do what you are meant to do. The “program” is outlined into weekly readings/tasks, morning pages, and a weekly artist date. “An artist date is a block of time, perhaps two hours weekly, especially set aside and committed to nurturing your creative consciousness, your inner artist.” It needn’t cost much and you can do anything so long as you are having fun and doing it alone.

If you’re anything like me, the artist date is the hardest part of the program, which is odd because it’s arguably the easiest part. But, there is a deep feeling of guilt around spending two perfectly good waking hours alone, not working, not spending quality time with my family, and not getting precious sleep.  I’m three weeks into the 12-week program, and so far, no artist date. There is always a “good” reason to not do it, skip it, reschedule it – the resistance is real, folks.

Why do we feel so guilty about making time for ourselves? We are worth it. We deserve it. And, we need it. So, tonight, it’s going down for me – my first artist date. Tell you about it tomorrow! 😉

When was the last time you did something alone that was fun and stimulating for your inner creative?

CreativeMornings: ANXIETY

I think of anxiety and fear as conjoined twins borne of our primal instincts to survive predatory threats that no longer exist today. Prolonged and chronic experiences of anxiety are known to induce stress related health complications – mental and physical. But, more insidiously, the fear of failure and humiliation fuels our anxiety and paralyze us so that we remain in the “safety” our comfort zone. As Creatives, we must daily battle and defy our anxiety and fear, but how?

January’s CreativeMornings global theme was Anxiety and this morning, we hosted our Boston chapter event with guest speaker, Jenni Stuart,  who gave a candid talk about her experience overcoming anxiety and fear. Instead of trying to get rid of her anxiety, she acknowledges its existence, personifies it, reasons it down, and occasionally calls her anxiety a b–tch, but ultimately comes out on top. She is enjoying the success of a thriving business doing what she’s passionate about – making hand crafted fine jewelry – but admits that anxiety is never gone, just managed.

Sharing is caring, so here it is: check out the FB Live Stream of today’s talk with Jenni Stuart. It certainly can’t hurt to have another tool in our belt in battle against anxiety and fear. I created a board for our attendees to write down their anxieties… What are yours? Write them down and break them down!

[CreativeMornings is a free monthly breakfast lecture series for the creative community and there are 180 chapters worldwide – there is likely one near you. Check it out and get involved.]

Making & Mistakes

Staring at a blank canvas, a pile of raw materials, or a lump of clay waiting to be sculpted into something magnificent, can feel as daunting as staring down the barrel of a gun. To make a new thing requires that we take a risk – the risk that we will make a mistake, feel foolish, and have to start over again (and again, and again). The alternatives to making a mistake are: to choose to only make the things we already know how to make, or to give up altogether. Giving up gets us nowhere, and the risk averse strategy of sticking only to what we know, may, with the exception of human error, get us nearer perfection. But, perfection of this kind would come at a heavy cost. Invention and creation would exist at the sole mercy of happy chance. Life/Work would be repetitive. And, humanity would suffer the loss of human ingenuity.

As creatives, our calling is to make something new, to try a new thing, and if we’re brave enough, we will have made progress through failures. Let’s submit to the inevitability that we will make mistakes (in life and in our work) and adopt a healthier, more compassionate perspective on making mistakes. Let’s regard our mistakes as opportunities to learn and get closer to materializing that which our imagination is fixated on.

This small excerpt out of Paul Arden’s, It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be, inspired me to write today so I thought I’d share it… it’s a great book, if you are looking for an easy and inspiring read.

(The author claims that the misspelling in the title is a fortuitous coincidence, but I’m going to give him credit for ingenuity and humor.)