What’s Your Slice of the Creative Pie?

ID-100199185_Fresh Homemade Apple Pie_KEKO64

I consider myself a painter who writes. It’s much easier for me to brush paint on a canvas than string words in a line on a page. It certainly feels better to me to work with brushes and paint, however, the satisfaction both creations bring me is the same. While some creative projects feel better or are easier than another, the need to create never stops. Even though it was a difficult process for me, I can’t explain why I had to complete writing my book. I only knew I had to. This compelling factor of creation is hard to explain. It’s not just a great feeling it’s more like eating. You have to do it or you’ll die.

Readers and writers share a special symbiotic relationship. I once asked an avid reader what would happen if they didn’t get to read, and they said they’d probably perish. There’s a part of us that is compelled to do things. Writers must write and readers must read. Painters must paint and audiences must look at the paintings. We need to support each other in our quest of creative pursuits, because somewhere we serve each other.

As far as the teeter-totter of creativity swings, it doesn’t matter on which end you sit. The part you play in a creative expression is up to you. What does make a difference is that you play your part. Make your art and share it. Tell your full story about what led you to create. Go to museums and look at art. Take the time to learn the backstory that led to the masterpiece in front of you. Wander through art shows and, yes, talk to the artists! Ask them why they make their art, what they do for fun or what their favorite piece is? If you’re an audience be a great observer and give appropriate feedback. If you’re a reader savor the words and then seek ways to leave a review or interact with the author.

Put some power in your playground of creativity and enjoy your slice of the creative pie!

 

(Image courtesy of Keko64 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

THANKS — To You!

It’s no secret we’re in the midst of the crazy time of year. There’s so much to do for others, and take part in that it’s easy to get lost in the wave of holidazzle. It’s also a great time to say Thank YOU!

Giving thanks to yourself is one of the most important things you can do for yourself at any time of year. If you’re creative person or like creative things, you know that too much celebratory chaos can be destructive. Practice T-H-A-N-K-S to you and enjoy this holiday season and arrive in the New Year with a great attitude.

ID-100271736_Thumbs Up Means Thanks A Lot And Approved_ by Stuart Miles

Image Courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Timing- Pay close attention to your schedule this season. What’s your timing? It’s your personal time. Do you want to have dinner with a friend or be shopping at that hour of the day? Maybe you don’t want to shop at all? Give thanks for the way you choose to live and decide what works for your best timing so you can both enjoy, and give joy in all of your activities.

Health– Notice and be very honest with the state of your health right now. At this time are you capable of what there is to do? What exactly do you need right now to maintain the health you have, and improve it if you need to? Would a bit less decorating, partying or driving here and there be a good choice for your health? How would a healthy home cooked meal that nourishes you feel instead of a round of entertainment? A bit of quiet time or a nap might serve you better than many other activities. Honor your health and give thanks for how healthy you are this season.

Anxiety- There’s no denying it. This can be a season of high anxiety.  There’s extra noise, moving bits, activities, blinking lights and decorations spilling all over the place. Yikes! Those new wonderful energy saving lights give people like me serious migraines because they have a micro strobing effect. Even if you enjoy the decorative things of the season they’re in abundance adding extra input to your being. Sounds, smells, textures, colors, people, and an wealth of special foods during this season can create too much stress. If your nutritional balance goes awry you’re not going to feel well and might instead be feeding anxiety. Marketing uses an element of pumping up our anxiety making it irresistible to not grab an extra present just in case. Commercials send messages checking if you’re ready for that crazy hour when everything is supposed to be perfect. Remember that those moments last a few seconds of your life. Treat yourself gently this season. How will you choose to live with less stress?

No- One simple little word. I’m sure you’ve all heard the phrase, “Just say no!” Think of all the ways that you’ll need to say no during the holidays or anytime you need to moderate your schedule. Say the words sweetly and honestly, because you care about who and how you are.  “No thank you, I don’t care for any more food. No, I’ve had enough to drink.  No, I don’t feel like going out to dinner that night. No, I need to get rest instead. No, I’m not cooking dinner for 50 people. No, I don’t care to go through all of the work to decorate. No, I’m not taking on that extra project. No I’m not doing that extra activity.” Celebrate yourself by gently and firmly saying “No” this season.

Kindness– If there’s one word that says what this season is supposed to be about it would be— kindness. This is a great time to practice your kindness skills. People are taxed, tired, stressed, anxious, and bombarded with messages that they and everything they touch needs to be flawless and full of magical moments. There’s a pervasive sense that everything needs to be all shiny, twinkling, and full of hope and promise. However, without being conscious about your actions, it’s a setup for disappointments. Giving your kindness will go much further than anything else you can do. It may not be easy when another shopper hits you with her grocery cart and yells at you for being in her way, or the parking spot is rudely snatched, or someone is just angry. The loveliness you pull into your own heart will be well worth it when someone cuts you off in traffic, grabs the last item on the shelf. Flash your smile, send them kindness, and fill your own well with humanity.

Satisfaction– Know what you need to fill up, and when you’re full. Go for the things that serve you best. It’s okay to have enough of your nieces and nephews running around and screaming, relative’s rants or listening to stories about grotesque organ failures. It’s quite right to eat a few bites of all the rich foods. Decide what you need to feel satisfied and cut out the excess this season. The holidays will go smoother, your stress will be reduced and you’ll be a much happier person when January 1 rolls around. You won’t feel as if you’ve been bulldozed. Instead you’ll feel fulfilled, rested, and your checkbook could have extra money, because you were consciously choosing how you wanted your holidays to be.

I’m very thankful for you and that you’re reading my blog. Happy New Year!

 

What do You Get from Being Stupid?

 

Wisdom!

An unknown cook in china experimenting in the kitchen created fireworks, learning that cooking can be dangerous and more than food will delight.

Ink Jet printers were imagined after an engineer accidentally left his iron on his pen causing the ink to spray out.

Thomas Edison inventor, learned thousands of ways to not do things.

Leonardo Da Vinci artist and inventor, learned about human limitations

Steve Jobs creator of Apple, learned that life is fragile.

Alexander Graham Bell inventor of the telephone, learned through listening that silence can be translated into sound.

John Pemberton a pharmacist, learned that people liked to burp when his assistant accidentally mixed carbonated water into his recipe for Coca-Cola.

Charles Babbage inventor of an early calculator, learned that ambition must yield to time. Never completing his invention, years later his notebooks revealed knowledge basics for the computer.

“Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.” Mary Lou Cook

George de Mestral an engineer, learned that walking his dog could stick things together in amazing ways. He observed that burrs had a particular structure that stuck them to his dog’s furry coat and he created Velcro.

Leo Baekeland inventor of Bakelite an early plastic, learned the liability of copycat imitators after defending his work in numerous lawsuits.

Alfred Nobel inventor of dynamite and namesake for the Nobel Prize, learned that playing in mud has powerful payoffs, discovering mud held his explosive together.

John Bardeen, Walter Brattain, and William Shockley inventors of the transistor, learned about success, collaboration and the emergence of creative ego while working together.

John Walker inventor of the friction matchstick, learned that you don’t need to profit from a good idea. Never patenting his invention someone else stole it.

Patricia Bath inventor of Laserphaco Probe used for cataract laser surgery, learned that innovation is colorblind. She was the first black woman to receive a medical patent and compete a residency in Ophthalmology.

Richard Jones a naval engineer trying to invent a meter to monitor power on ships, learned about the fun of bouncing discovering the slinky.

Sir Isaac Fleming discovered penicillin, and learned the true value of dumpster diving after discovering mold in the garbage.

James Wright an engineer trying to make synthetic rubber, learned about the human enthusiasm for goo – Silly Putty.

Patsy Sherman a chemist, learned that being messy is important to the creative process. After spilling on her shoe she discovered Scotchguard.

Albert Hoffman a chemist, learned that accidents can take you to unimaginable places. He developed LSD.

For gosh sakes be as stupid as you can when you want to grow. You’ll be amazed at what you can learn and you’ll become one of the smartest people you know.

Summer Blitzing

I don’t know about you, but as an artist I can get excited about pretty much anything. I love to let ideas tumble through my mind, and sometimes to distraction from my real creative work. As summer heats up in the north country, all I want to do is sit and dream. This is the summer blitzing phenomenon, that makes me feel light and fluttery, bouncing from one thought to another. In this mindset, I can’t do much physical or outdoor work, which is what we northerners save up and take advantage of doing in summertime. Frankly, it’s too hot to be outside anyway, so I need to work inside looking out. Gazing through windows is definitely dream time, however learning to do so with purpose can be mind bending. I have to remember to plan time for and call this activity passive work, and set limits on how much of it I can afford to do given my other commitments, but it’s always worthwhile.

One way to make idea spinning meaningful is to record what you see, sense, discover or ask about the experience. Your observations might come in handy to solve your current or future creative challenge. I also like recording mine, because it sets limits due to the media used, and makes the time a part of my real artistic work. I think as summer as the soft months during the year, a time to ease up my workload. So when I find the need to day dream, I try to honor it. When you make this a real part of your summer, you can look forward to blitzing your way through your creativity with insight and wonder, and maybe an unanticipated nap!

Reframing Can Help You Succeed

I had lunch with a friend the other day. “OMG/Boy I’m frustrated!” they said. “So what’s going on?” I ask. “I have a new project manager who doesn’t know what’s she’s doing.” “Tell me more,” I continue. Well she’s only been here a few months. She’s young, and more stereotypical descriptors flow into our discussion. At this point, I know my friend is facing a challenge and in the throes of learning. Frustration is the obvious symptom, and stereotyping is a sign they may feel cornered and defensive. And most of us want to elevate our symptoms fast, so we focus on what seems obvious to us.
There’s another way to make it feel better and actually enhance the experience. If we looked at our challenge as just that- a new encounter, we might be able to accept the differences and change that which is frustrating us. Saying some altered things to engage the situation, might sound something like this: “I have a new manager in charge of my project starting tomorrow. I really don’t know much about her, and I’d like to know what experiences she’s had that can make our project better. I’d also like to learn about her ideas and see how we can combine our thinking to make our project a great experience for the team.”
Here are some of the key differences when we look at a challenge as less of a threat and more of a learning exchange. In the example statements above we never give up our own important placement in the project. By reframing our thoughts and words, we continue to see ourselves as part of the team and take ownership of our role. We also embrace the new person as someone to learn about, rather than quickly assess and negatively judge. Reframing allows us to use our creative insights to discern what we need to know. We can stay focused on the project, not our feelings. Last, we anticipate a great experience as the successful outcome we expect.
All of these adjustments will bring up frustration and most likely won’t come easy for us, because learning something new is a change, and change is scary and hard. However, when we read our frustration simply as a symptom of a new learning that is taking place, we can simply reframe our thinking to more easily make the personal adjustments necessary to reach a positive outcome.
I’d love to hear how you’ve reframed your challenges to turn them into success!