Creativity

This is what I’ve been doing almost every weekend lately..   DRAWING!

This photo is from a couple of weeks ago – I was finishing up a still life from my drawing class.

While I had my stuff all spread out, working away for hours and being a tad shocked that my drawing actually looked like how I wanted it to look (!!), I started thinking about this artist journey that I’ve been on for the past few years.

Did you know that I wasn’t always an artist?

Nope, not even a little bit.    Other than hanging out with artist people, I never EVER thought that I would be making art or that it would now be such a huge part of who I am and how I spend my time.

But seriously, I was a MATH MAJOR when I first went to college out of high school.  Art + Me was NOT happening.

I did, however, have secret artist dreams for as long as I can remember.  That’s why I hung out with artists.  I admired them and looked up to them and deep in my mind pondered what life must be like for them.

I spent much mental space WISHING.  Wishing that I could be like them, and feeling pretty certain that I couldn’t.  I would often have thoughts that began with “If only….”

Do you ever have thoughts like that?  That begin with “If only…”

  • If only I could work for myself…
  • If only I could be more creative…
  • If only I could RUN and be healthy…
  • If only I could travel and see the world…
  • If only I spoke French…
  • If only I could leave my job…
  • If only I was more organized…
  • If only I could find my passion…
  • If only ______________.  (Fill in the blank..  you know your secret wishes.) 

Well, I want to tell you that you CAN!

You can do anything you want with your life.. ANYTHING.

I know that it may seem impossible.  It may feel like you don’t have the skills or the courage or the money or whatever it is you tell yourself about WHY you can’t make that “if only…” a REALITY. But, you CAN make any dream you have happen.

Here’s how I did it to become an artist:

  1. I finally admitted to myself that I really wanted it. 

    I stopped hiding my dream of making art.  It was a little painful, the longing that was there.  It was something that I REALLY wanted, but I didn’t think I could do it.  Letting my heart open up to the desire was scary.  What if I failed?  Or people thought I was ridiculous?  But I did it anyway.  I claimed that want and owned it.

  2. I started.  I began making stuff. 

    It started with sewing things and being crafty around the house.   I still didn’t feel like I was an artist, but it did feel good to set up a sewing space in my home and to make things that I was proud of.

    From there, I started a preschool art group with my kids.  I started to learn about art materials and experienced the way it feels to put paint on canvas.  Still…  I didn’t feel like an artist, but people around me started to think of me as creative – because I was doing creative stuff all the time with my kids.

    Over a year or so, the people in my social circles me saw me in a new way. This wasn’t my intention, but them thinking of me as creative helped to shift my thinking about myself as a creative person.    (this is HUGE, my friends!!!  When your community starts to KNOW you as who you long to be, you start to believe it to.  Often they see it looooong before we see it in ourselves).

    This part of my process happened just because I started DOING stuff that felt creative and fun to me.

  3. I put myself in a structure to make sure I kept at it.

    About 3 years ago, I decided to go back to school.  I started out in a graphic design program.  It felt safe – I knew a little about web coding stuff.  But, it was creative!

    Along the way, I took my first ever drawing class.  I learned how to draw something besides stick figures!   It was amazing!   I officially fell in love with art and switched my major (to art education). 

    Every week now, I spend hours in art classes and I just keep getting better and better.

  4. I keep going even when I suck or I’m not feeling it.

    I have created a lot of BAD art over the years.  But, I’ve also created some good stuff that I’m proud of.  And, with every horrible piece I’ve made, I’ve learned something that has made me better.

    They say practice makes perfect and I know I’m a long way from feeling “perfect” as an artist, but I do see myself getting stronger – both in my abilities and in my confidence.

  5. I take baby steps.

    Everything that I’ve learned started with a small baby step.  I remember buying my first sketch pad and then having no idea what to do with it!  But, I bought it – a baby step.

    Now, I fill up sketch pads all the time and have quite a collection of them.  I even know about the different papers and what type I prefer to draw on.  I’m becoming an expert, which happens slowly, over time.   But, it happens.

  6. I practice.. A LOT.

    I spend at least 10 hours every week working on art!  At least.  Often much more.

    It’s important to me, so I devote time to it.  My house often gets messy in order for me to do this, and other stuff falls to the back burner, but being an artist is a priority, so I make time for it.

  7. I spend time with people that encourage and push me.

    I have the best art teachers and mentors around me.  They know my goals and have seen my failures.  They know what I’m good at and what I need to work on.  I trust them.

    Because of our connection, these people help to push me forward, toward my goals.   I’ve accomplished things I never thought I would because they believed in me.

    This is another KEY part of making dreams happen – Don’t do it alone!!!! 

  8. I learn.  I take classes, I read, I try new things.

    This one is really a no brainer, but it’s important.  I try to not come at things like I already know.  I bring my curiosity along and allow others to critique and tell me how I can get better.  I read and research and explore.   Always.

  9. I share with people about my journey.

    Everyone around me knows that I want to teach art to teens.  I want to share the magic of creativity and make a difference.  It’s who I am and I live out loud about it.  It’s what people now expect of me and they come to me for guidance and encouragement in their own creative pursuits.

    I post images of the work I’m doing, even if it’s not that great.  Because I want to be KNOWN in my community as an artist, so I share about it all the time.  The more I do, the more that REALITY of Me As Artist comes true.

————–

One day while I was working on a painting,  I realized..  I AM an artist.  I’m no longer WISHING or wanting or trying to become.. I just AM.  And I claimed that title for myself.

It didn’t happen overnight, but by putting myself on the path and moving towards what I wanted.. here I am.. making art.  All.The.Time.

Sometimes the work I do is good, sometimes it’s awful.. but I have confidence now in who I am and the mark I want to leave on the world as An Artist.    I became who I wanted to be.

What’s cool about this story is that YOU can do it too.

Whatever your “If only…”   is, YOU can make it a reality.  You really can.  You just have to start, to begin and follow your own path toward becoming.

Start with my 9 steps:

  1. Admit to yourself what you really want.
  2. Start.  Just begin.  Do SOMETHING that is on the path of your dreams.
  3. Put yourself in a structure that keeps you working on your goal.  A coaching group, a class, a mastermind, an accountability partner, etc.  Come up with a way to make sure you stay in the game.
  4. Keep going.  Even when you fail (you will) or you doubt yourself (you will).  Just keep working on whatever your dream is.
  5. Take baby steps.  Start with one thing – something easy – and go from there.  I think we get overwhelmed by all there is to learn or do to make our dreams happen, so we don’t think we can do it.  But baby steps are a big deal, don’t discount them!  They lead to the good stuff happening.
  6. Practice.  A lot.  You aren’t going to get good at what you want to do if you don’t make it a regular, ongoing part of your life.   Make time for it.
  7. Spend time with people that encourage you and push you to grow and keep at it.
  8. Learn.  Don’t be afraid to look stupid and be a novice.  EVERYONE who made something big happen had to start somewhere.  Get committed to learning and exploring and discovering.
  9. Share about your journey and how it’s going.  This is a great way to see how far you’ve come, what you’ve accomplished and how you’ve changed.  And talk to people about your goals and your dreams.  Let the world know what you are up to and what you want to make happen with your life.  They will do much more than you realize to help pull you into the reality of living your dreams.

I know I make it sound simple and, really, it is.  Move toward your dreams.  Allow your wanting and then start to take action.  By doing so, YOU can live ANY life you can imagine!

Xo, Lisa

 

 

 

We are all creative and brilliant.

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Yes, even you!

Do you ever doubt your own creativity, or wish you were more “artistic” or tell yourself that living a creative life if for someone else?

I think we all do this from time to time.

But, you are creative.

You make art, in your own special way.

Living a creative life does not mean you have to paint or sew or know how to decorate.

You can be creative in the way you dress, in how you listen, in the way you raise your kids.

You can be creative at dinner time without being a master chef.

You can be creative in how you help others, or how you go after your own dreams.

You can be creative at your work, even if you’re an accountant!

You can be creative as you walk through the forest, or as you tidy up your house.

Art is everywhere!

The opportunity to create and connect and experience life as a magical place full of chances to express yourself…

Those are artistic moments.

Life is your canvas.

So, what do you want to create?

 

I think we like to make things complicated.    But finding your passion is not really that hard.

First, I think we try to fit things into being a passion, when they really aren’t.  An example:  I love photography.  Like, really, really love.  I enjoy taking photos, looking at photos and learning all about it.  I often think that is my true passion, but it’s not.

It is something I enjoy a ton, and something I will for sure continue doing for the rest of my life.  My true passion?  People.  And what inspires them, their passions.  I am passionate about passion!  It’s what I stay up at night thinking about, what is always on my mind, what I work on all the time.  How to help people pursue and unlock their passions so they can make their dreams come true.  That is what I am crazy passionate about.

Photography is one of my loves and I may even be a little bit passionate about it.  But my camera can sit here on my desk for weeks without me even thinking about it.  Dreams and passion and making a difference with people.  I can’t go a day without diving into that.

Then, I think we think there is some one perfect thing out there that we must find and locate or we will never truly be happy.  Which is so not true!  So many things in life provide inspiration and joy and fulfillment.  Finding your passion can really be as simple as paying attention to what that stuff is, and then cultivating more of that.  (Next week, I’ll write more about cultivating our passions).

So, how do you figure out your passion?

1.  What are you attracted to? What kind of people, blogs, books, movies, etc.  What are those things all about?  What are their passions?

2.  Dig deeper. Go beyond the surface of the things you are drawn too.  Yes, I love photography, but when I look deeper, I really love portrait photography – the kind that truly captures the essence of a person, that gives you a glimpse into who that person really is and what makes them tick.    So, yes, you may love to read crafting blogs, but maybe it’s not the craft that is inspiring you – maybe it’s something deeper?

3.  What moves you? Do you ever find yourself with tears in your eyes about something or so full of happiness and joy about something?  What about that is stirring your soul?  Last night, I was watching The Voice, which if you don’t know is one of those singing reality shows.  All through the show I was so moved, crazy sappy-happy moved.    Why?  Because these courageous people were boldly chasing their dreams!  And that is what most inspires me.

4.  What do you think about all the time? What opens up the floodgate of ideas?  What gets your creativity fired up?  What do you obsess about and stay up late at night thinking about.  Not the junk you worry about, but the stuff that gets you excited as you daydream about it.   It is easy to get consumed by what your passionate about when we let ourselves really get into it.

5.  Look back over your life, when did you most feel alive? What things from your past really excited you and got the wheels spinning?  What about those things?  I worked on a film project in high school.  It was an 18 minute VHS movie called, “What is the meaning of life?”  The month I worked on it was one of the most invigorating, consuming, inspiring experiences of my life.   Yes, some of that was the medium – I love film, but more of it was the subject matter and interviewing tons of people about what life means to them, then putting those stories together.

6.  Tell the truth as you explore these questions. I was recently working with a mom who was struggling with finding her passion.  As we were talking it was so obvious to me what she most loved, but not to her.  One of her objectives with our coaching session was to figure out her purpose and passion, and yet it was seeping out of her!  She’s a therapist and working with clients is not what her passion is, it is the process.    Her passion is learning about, thinking about, exploring and experiment with different processes.   It’s the theories that inspired her, not the actual therapy.    Seeing that and telling the truth about it was a huge aha moment for her!

7. Give up that it has to look a particular way. Your passion may very well be knitting.  You obsess about it, you can’t go a day without picking up your needles, patterns are floating in your pretty little head all day long and yarn stores make you pee your pants.  BUT, for many of us, our passion is not a THING.  It is more of a feeling, an experience.  There are many vehicles for expressing our passion, when we know what it is.  A big help in discovering your passion is to let go of the HOW and focus more on the WHAT.   Your passion may be the creative process.  HOW you explore that can change and evolve over the course of your life.  You may find that it’s the theory of creativity that truly inspires you way more than the actual making of stuff.    So maybe where you find your bliss in teaching or writing about creativity instead of painting or drawing.

Now, I know for some of you, it may be that you have never bumped into your passion.  Keep looking!  It’s out there.  Just stop trying to make it so complicated.  Be committed to living a passionate life.  I’m willing to bet it’s not too far away or too mysterious.  Follow these steps, listen to your heart, and surrender to it.  Be willing to be surprised by what it is that deeply inspires you.

Does this help?  Do you have any questions about it?  Any aha moments you want to share about?  Let me know in the comments below.  And please share this with your peeps!

You, my friend, are a creative woman.

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You are.  Whether you believe it or not.   To be creative does not mean that you make ART, or are always doodling cute little things on whatever you can get your hands on.

Creativity is a state of BEING.

It’s a way to live, a place to think from and something you feel.

You seriously can be sorting laundry and have that be a creative act.

Don’t believe me?

Remember when you were pregnant with your first little one and it was time to get all their tiny little clothes ready?

You lovingly washed everything, folded and put it all away.  And I would bet money that in that moment, you were being creative!  You were present to the growing life in your belly, imagining how he/she was going to be.  You were full of love and super eager for the big day to arrive!  You had no idea what this little dude was going to look like, or what kind of mischief they would be up to at the bold age of six.   But you held up those itty-bitty baby clothes and you imagined!

Those moments are ooolaalaa magical!   When we are in that creative element, when the juices are flowing and we feel ALIVE, knowing that our lives have meaning and purpose, it feels amazing!   And,  we get to be amazing!  Creativity is sexy and powerful and, I swear, it makes us look and feel younger!

Here are five easy ways to tap into your magical, yummy creative force:

1.  Start the day with a few moments of quiet.  Sip your coffee or your tea, sit down and just be.  Let the goof balls run around being wackos and include that in this one small, still moment.  Savor this moment in your life and everything that is happening.  Forget the to-do list, the dishes can wait, just be.

2.    Make stuff.  Doesn’t matter what it is, but try to consciously make something every day.    It could be a drawing,  a fun snack for the kids, a family portrait, or even the bed!  But allow yourself to experience the fact that YOU are MAKING something!   Put your own fun little creative spin on things.  Play!  Affirm all the little things you get to make every single day.

3.  Day dream.  Imagine your life with you totally FREE, living exactly how you want to live, doing all the things you want to be doing.  Feel it, experience it.  Tap into what it is you really want for your life.  Don’t be afraid of it!  This is your daydream, you can have anything you want!!

4.  Talk to people who get it. People that understand about dreams and totally get what you wish for in your life.  Stop trying to convince the naysayers.  Right now, they don’t get it.   Hopefully, someday they will.  But, until they do, find and create a little tribe of people that get it.  Forge inspiring relationships with these folks, knowing that you have full on permission to create a really kick butt life and they will cheer you on every step of the way!

5.  Just do it!  Stop waiting for the inspiration to strike and just get started.  I know, for me, I like to put things off, waiting until I feel motivated.  And then that quickly turns into agonizing over how badly I need to do whatever it is.  And then, I remember, “oh, yeah, I just have to START!”   When I do,  I usually get inspired and into it and it’s fun!   Why?  Because I’m doing something I love, instead of thinking about it.

And that is really the biggest thing about tapping into our creativity.  It ain’t going to happen sitting on the sidelines watching everyone else have a blast playing the game.  You have to stand up and walk out onto the field.  Only out there is the magic going to happen.

What do you think?  I’d love to hear from you!

How do you tap into that creative energy?  How is it when you do?  Do you consider yourself to be a creative person? Please leave a comment down below with your thoughts.

And, please share about this on FB or twitter!

Ever feel like that?

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That’s me, right now.  I’m seriously in shock that it is March (and a lovely spring feeling day here in Colorado).  But March?  How did that happen?

Life is going fast right now, a gazillion ideas and projects and works in progress.  Plus a bunch of stuff patiently waiting in the queue to get my attention.

In the moving and grooving of all of that, I have caught myself feeling all over the place… crazy, over the moon inspired; frustrated with my annoying  habit of putting things off to the last minute;  totally loving my life and all the good things happening; beating myself up for not “being there” enough for my kids; wishing I had more time or was more organized; and so exhilarated by the projects I am working on, I can’t sleep at night.

ALL.OVER.THE.PLACE. !!

Up and down, happy and sad, empowered and feeling rotten.

This is what life looks like when you have a passion and a mission and creative urges that MUST get fulfilled.

It’s messy and wobbly and fun and scary as hell!

And, it’s amazing to be living life this way.  It’s full and fulfilling.

I think alot of us (myself included) think that if we get on this path of passion and purpose that life will be easy and happy all the time.

But, life is not like that.  Especially when you are really busy LIVING it.

Life wants you to experience her, feel her, savor her.

And, to do that, you have to open yourself up to feel all of it.

And all.of.it. is not perfect.  It’s messy.  As most creative endeavers are.

Ever watched your kids play?  It’s messy.  Painting?  Messy.  Sewing? Messy.  Writing?  Messy (have you seen my desk when I am knee deep in it?)   Cooking? Messy.

Creativity is messy.

And with it comes strong emotions.  That happens when your heart is wide open, when you are digging in, when you are welcoming the creative force to manifest itself through you.

So, perfection?  Smooth and steady?  Easy?  Peaceful?

Probably not going to happen.  Maybe some moments of blissed out peace, if you’re lucky. 😉

So, my dear, sweet mama friends….

Go easy on yourself.  You may not get to all of it (very likely especially when there is SO MUCH you want to do!) and you may mess up and forget things and make a big gigantic mess in your passionate efforts to express yourself.   It’s okay.

Perfection and being on top of it all is overrated.  :)

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As we are talking about creating intentions, I think it is important to focus a bit more on the creating aspect of that.

Which, by the way, could be an AMAZING intention to create.  (More about that in a minute.)

So, what do I mean to create an intention?

Well, the dictionary defines creativity as “to bring into existence.”  And that is exactly what I mean.  To bring something into existence into your life.  Something that isn’t really there, or not as fully experienced as you want it to be.

It is NOT about fixing or changing something in your life that is not working!

It is about using your imagination, dreaming, opening your heart and letting in whatever it is that you want for your life.

So, an intention of “being determined” is doubtfully something that your heart is longing for.  If you were to add some more determined energy to your life, that would only be a means to an end.  Sitting around experiencing determination is not what you really want for your life. (I hope)

What you are really after is bigger than that and way more inspiring!

But, we trick ourselves into thinking that is we were just more _________ (fill in the blank) that we could then finally get to all that stuff we want to DO and then we will hopefully start to feel more  __________ (again fill in the blank).

We all have some version of this…

“If I could just get more organized, I will feel more calm.”

“If I could be more focused, I will be so much more successful.”

“If I had more will power, I will feel more healthy.”

NONE of this is an act of creativity.  It is all just fixing stuff that is wrong with us.  Or our lives.

So, to really, truly create an intention, you have to let go of all the junk that is, all the stuff that is not, and every single thing that will never be.

If you looked at this like creating art, to begin, you have to have a blank canvas.    You start with nothing there.  Then, you begin.

Same thing with creating an intention.  You have to stop, bring yourself into the moment, be still, and listen.  Let go of all the stuff you want to fix and change and just be in your life.  What do you want to experience?  What do you want to feel?

And then create from that space of quiet.

What do you want for you life?  What do you want to experience in the coming year?  THAT will be your intention.

And, you could create something about creating as your intention.

Imagine a year of coming from that space of quiet, inventing, imagining, allowing the possibilites of life to be expressed through you?

What kind of amazing things could you make happen if your intention for this year was to be creative?  Or to savor creativity?  Or to embrace the creative spirit?

Just giving you some ideas of what you might want to create as your intention. :)

Are you beginning to see that YOU have the power to experience life any way you want?

Awesome, huh?

Day Four of The Intention Series

I just finished watching this amazing talk by Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love)  on TED.  I just discovered TED.. Wow.

Anyway.  This talk.  It is amazing, about giving yourself some space to create, to do the thing you do, to free yourself from the pain and the torture of working on that which you love.  Your Thing.  Whatever that thing is.

I loved watching this.  Something shifted for me while I listened.  This has been a tough week for me.  Trying to connect with my passion and what it is I want to share with the world.  Feeling disconnected and it has been hard.  I have been hard on myself.  But, I can see that my problem was that I didn’t show up and do my part.  What she is talking about here makes so much sense to me. Instead of doing MY thing, I have been hiding out feeling scared and I stopped doing what it is I do.

And, I know that for most everyone out there reading this blog.. you’ve done this to.   Just stopped and gotten scared and stopped working.  Maybe you are doing it right NOW.  Suffering.  But, what there is to do is just show up and do your part.

Dear sweet Elizabeth here talks about how to do that.  It’s long (almost 20 minutes).  But, please, take the time to watch, to nurture yourself.  This is so beautifully said and her authenticity.. WOW!

Here it is:

Now, go have an awesome, inspiring, creative weekend.

Do your thing. Show up and do your part.  Let genius catch you.