Tools for Fueling your Creative Fire

Creativity can be much like the tide with its ebbs and flows. This can be acceptable at times, yet frustrating at others. It can also be a challenge to know where to go at times with this flow. Here are some tools I’ve gathered along the way that you may find helpful in your own creative journey. Take what resonates and leave the rest.

Creative Life Coaches can be very helpful!

I highly recommend Sam at Coaching Creatively. We’ve been working together for 2 years now! In this time, she has helped me to develop my strengths as well as my perceived weaknesses. This has helped me to grow both as a person and as a writer; as a mother, too.

Sam is amazingly supportive. She teaches you how to unlock and access yourself and your own creativity. She also understands the process, as she herself is a poet. Sam walks-the-walk and for me that’s imperative; she gets it and she gets me (which is a rare thing for me to say).

The process Sam uses is unique. It is called co-creative coaching, which means she’s there and “in it” with you. Please check her out. She has a free 1/2 hour “trial” session to offer you. What is there to lose? (well, your fear for one… that beast can be greatly unhelpful with creativity).

Meditation. I know, if you’ve followed me for any length of time, I’m sure you’re tired of hearing it!

When we meditate we can hone in and focus our energy. Meditation, contrary to popular belief, is NOT about silencing, stopping or killing the mind. The mind was made to think, much like the heart to beat or the lungs to breathe. Thinking is a sign of life. HOWEVER, just as we don’t pay attention to every breath nor heartbeat doesn’t mean we have to pay attention to every single thought we think….

Through regular meditation, and increased bouts during times of distress, I have seen both my intuition and creativity increase. A tool I absolutely love is the Insight Timer App. There are many free features including countless talks and meditations on a wide variety of topics. Furthermore, if you join, membership has the advantage of granting you access to all of the courses. Definitely worthwhile to check out whether you meditate or not.

READ! When I’m stuck with my writing, I pick up a book and read. Some recent reads that I HIGHLY recommend:

  • Anais Nin In Favor of the Sensitive Man and Other Essays. While Nin was born in the early 1900’s, I was surprised HOW much I resonated with her essays in this book (no, they’re not ALL about men). Years ago, I stopped writing erotica because I felt that it was not in alignment with my spiritual growth. After reading some of her essays, I now see that this was a grave mistake on my part. Nin has helped me to see that erotica allows us to explore beyond our present reality. I’m still in resistance here, chipping away at that old salt block piece-by-lovely-piece.
  • Elizabeth Gilbert Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. I missed the train on Eat, Pray, Love (maybe I’ll catch it one day), however, this book has been an absolute gem. Gilbert has SO many counterpoints to ALL of the areas where I have found myself getting trapped, and ones I didn’t even see as traps. Just about every page or two has a new idea or view, most of which I agree, some of which I do not. HOWEVER, in reading this book (and I’m 80% through it) I am approaching my writing and my life completely differently.
  • Debbie Ford The Dark Side of the Light Chasers. This book is about looking into our shadow aspects, which are not all “bad” aspects; as hearing the word shadow may imply. My analogy here is that seeds sprout in darkness, which is also where our creativity is borne. I have overcome SO many self-limiting beliefs with this book, and since I’m still using the tools I’ve learned, I’m still counting more unsupportive beliefs undone.

Your Creative Genius. So I just started reading Big Magic last week! However, I “fell in love” with Elizabeth Gilbert by seeing her TED talk several years ago called “Your elusive creative genius.” In this talk she discusses the early Western concept of the creative genius being outside of ourselves. This concept can really help to unload a great deal of pressure and greatly free our creativity.

Follow your curiosity. In this podcast, The Curiosity-Driven Life, Elizabeth Gilbert discusses here how not everyone has a set and specific purpose in life. This really spoke to me, as I am more like a hummingbird, flitting from flower-to-flower following my varying curiosities. This is compared to how Gilbert describes herself as a “jackhammer.” Though I will say, based on her body of work, that she has both qualities. While she knew she wanted to be a writer, her body of work is quite diverse.

CREATE! Sometimes, we just need to create for ourselves, and actually, I write more often to understand myself than anything. It is then that I sometimes feel called to share my discoveries.

I’ll also add that sometimes switching the creative medium can also help get the flow moving. Allow yourself to be imperfect and make mistakes as a painter if you are a writer, or vice versa. It’s not about the outcome as much as it is the process. PERFECTION and the need for it are self-sabotaging. I find the fastest way to kill my creativity is in “looking for something deep and meaningful” to say. Furthermore, I find I lose my audience when I dig too deeply with my memes on IG.

Be in Nature or drive. Some of my best ideas ‘come to me’ when I’m driving or hiking. I feel like I read somewhere that driving and being in nature activate the creative aspects of our brains.

Be willing to make mistakes. Again, this is the perfection thing rearing its ugly head. Instead, I often find “happy mistakes” often lead to greater creative genius. So much of creativity is really about allowing.

Understand your Enneagram. This can help you to understand your basic motivations, potential potholes and even ways to rise above it all to your highest potential (this is such an amazing system to understand). Most creatives (not all) are “hopeless romantic” Enneagram Fours. I will say that I resisted this initially. However, this podcast “May the Fours be with you” showed me that this is my grouping.

Move your body. Walk, stretch, bike, hike, dance, or just move differently. We get stuck in the same movement patterns, this leads to stagnation; which is anti-flow.

Change something. Drive to work differently. Get up at a different time. Maybe get up earlier to create while the energy is still fresh. Make a new creative space, or just rearrange the one you have.

I know there is a lot of material here. It can take some time to move through it all, again, take what resonates.

May we each find and use the tools that support us on our creative journeys. 

Namaste

 

Celebrating a New Path

This was originally scheduled to post yesterday on 6/1. However, in light of the events in Virginia Beach the day before I felt it was not the time to celebrate. Overnight, I had some breakthroughs and recognized it’s even more important to celebrate life at this time. We must each choose to be the light and celebrate life while we honor the tragic deaths of others, this is what leads to healing. #VirginiaBeachStrong

Have you ever looked back on your life and seen how one new opportunities arose based on prior choices; ones previously unseen or unimaginable? Perhaps the first one was a choice you were afraid to take… yet you took it anyway… then more and more pathways opened up.

Well, in looking back over the last five years, I can see where new opportunities and choices that arose after a seemingly simple career path change. However, little did I know at the time how that one change would lead to a cascade of changes; literally, so much of my life today is very different than it was on 6/1/2014.

The first step was when I moved out of the field and back into the clinic. In doing so, I freed up more time and energy for life, living and seeing… Almost immediately, I changed my diet (at the time to Vegan) which lead to my spurt with running.

Since 2014, I’ve removed over 60 pounds from my frame. Yes! I said 60 (and no, removed does not mean surgery!). Though this has taken me most of the 5 years to accomplish, the final 10 or so has been through intermittent fasting; not running nor being Vegan, although I’ve given both a go now, twice each…

Within a few months of my job change, the shifts also lead me to see that my nearly 15-year-old marriage was failing; miserably. Had I stayed in “the field” of home health, I would not have had the energy nor emotional capacity to go through such an upheaval as the divorce required. The running I mentioned earlier lead me to meet many friends who were supportive during this time of separation & divorce, as many had endured or were enduring the same! It’s still amazing to look back and to see all of the support I had all along; though I often felt lonely…

The separation and subsequent divorce lead me to start blogging (just passed the 4 year blogiversary in April). Blogging has pushed me to explore greater depths of understanding and it has introduced me to new concepts through being able to see life through the eyes of others, too. I’ve also made some interesting and supportive connections over the years.

Five years later and  my work has expanded to include 2 clinics, mentoring of 4 other therapists, numerous public health and physician education events and acquiring my certification as a pelvic rehab specialist. When I started, I worked part-time in pelvic health and part-time in general orthopedics. Now, my caseload is nearly 100% pelvic health. It’s an amazing journey to summarize in one quick paragraph.

During this time, I’ve also moved twice and changed cars twice. Before this, I had never lived “alone” meaning without another adult in the house, much less purchased nor leased a car on my own. Needless to say, these years have taught me a great deal about myself and much of this learning has been chronicled in the 688 blog posts to date. So today I celebrate the many changes. And wonder what the next 5 years will hold. Even as I have set some personal goals, I’m confident surprises are in store.

5 years from now, I’d like to look back and see where I have:

  • Published a book or two giving guidance to others on their journey.
  • Given TED Talks (or similar) on navigating through change.
  • Reduced my hours in health care to 20/week or less.
  • Paid off consumer debt.
  • Maintained my weight loss, my meditation practice and increased my consistency with working out.
  • Continued to actively expand how I support my children in their growth and development.
  • Improved my relationship with my parents.
  • Settled into a deeper relationship with myself.
  • Invited a compatible partner along for the journey.

So stay tuned! Who really knows what tomorrow will bring?!

May we each follow our natural curiosities, discovering new opportunities as we travel through life. May we each give ourselves the freedom to choose change, even when at the time it may seem tough or a mistake, knowing more chances await …

Namaste

Choosing Happiness while Ditching the Facade

Mom, Physical Therapist, Healer, Daughter, Sister, Friend, Woman, Ex-Wife, Ex-Girlfriend, Employee, Student, Blogger, Breather, Investor, Borrower, Tenant, Driver, Consumer, etc, etc, etc.

We can have so many roles that at times we lose site of who we truly are. Each of us can have multiple labels that come with different and sometimes complicated and conflicting expectations. Sometimes these roles come to define our identity and then we lose ourselves in living up to unrealistic expectations. Why do we do this? To meet the expectations of others, living and not, and some of these expectations are often only in our minds.

In allowing these identities to define us, we lose personal freedom while we gain a false-sense of security. We then find ourselves needing to defend this false sense of self, less someone begins to see the cracks in the walls or the foundation. Separation from others deepens as we lose ourselves to the facade – to the mask – of who we want the world to see. We become trapped in our own self-created prisons; the place we created to protect ourselves now keeps us from true experiences.

In this place we avoid following our hearts’ desires and instead we find ourselves stuck on the paths we believe we’re supposed to follow. How does this serve us? We believe that by following the preset path that we will be more safe, that our survival will be more properly preserved. Yet on the inside we’re dying from misery of living below our unique abilities.

Each of us is here for a unique purpose. When we cage ourselves, we are much like the lion in the zoo whose pride (literally and figuratively) is taken away. He is unable to follow his instincts and roam as he may. Instead he treads the same paths, dreaming of running across open savanna’s. (what is your heart’s dream?) Unlike the caged lion, we can choose differently. We can choose to break free of the false identities, the roles in which we play.

So when will you choose happiness, breaking free of the false-identities? When will you choose to follow the whispering of your heart, your soul unleashed?

What I’m talking about here is happiness without condition. What happens in our lives can shape us or break us. Even the heartaches and struggles are here so that we can choose our values, our path, our perspectives. Strength is built by doing and by choosing to “level up” and be our greatest selves. When we place conditions on our love, on our happiness, both cease to exist.

Namaste

If not now, then when? When will you listen to the whisperings of a soul ready to be unleashed?

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The Lessons within The Pain

The pains that we feel are cries for help, attention, and love. These pains are all messengers that something needs to change. While the form may change in that the pain can physical, emotional, mental or spiritual, each form is a lesson left unlocked. What is this pain trying to tell us?

Instead of pushing it away, fighting it, anesthetizing it, can we take a moment to lean into it? Feel it, walk into the fire; the contraction. Feeling into the middle of the source of our pain, we can begin to relax, almost as if we stood in the eye of the storm. Being fully present with this, we begin to feel the grip of the pain begin to loosen. We can then only be transformed. Sometimes the pain needs to be taken in smaller bites. Sometimes it can be taken in all at once.

Our pain has something to teach us. What are we not learning? Rarely does change occur when we are comfortable….

Believer – Imagine Dragons

Building a New Life by Moving Beyond the Status Quo.

Making positive life changes involves opening up to new possibilities. When we can see a different path, this allows us to take steps towards a new way of living. I recently wrote a friend about some life changes I’ve made in the past few years, moving from a closed perspective to a more open one that allowed me to move differently through life:
When I couldn’t see myself surviving alone, I stayed in an unhappy marriage. When I couldn’t see myself buying another car, I suffered (literally) in a car that made my hip hurt to drive. When I could see something different in both of those scenarios, I was able to take the steps I needed to make changes. 

It takes our ability to believe in ourselves for us to take the next step. We deserve and can have something better in our lives if we choose to allow ourselves to first and foremost believe in something different. This is a major step that cannot be missed.

Once we believe in a new possibility and in ourselves to live it, then we can begin to take tangible steps to make that belief a reality. Consistent homage to our new vision is required, as there will be tough patches where breaking away from the status quo can steal our thunder. It is in those dark moments that we must call upon our faith in ourselves and our abilities to live something better. Having a tangible reminder can help us keep the faith and keep moving forward in obtaining our dreams.

“I always wonder why birds choose to stay in the same place when they can fly anywhere on the earth, then I ask myself the same question.” ~ Harun Yahya

What keeps us doing the same things, expecting different results? Albert Einstein is credited with saying that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. At this point, it’s important to ask ourselves what might be holding us back. Is it a fear of failure? Perhaps it is also a fear of success as Marianne Williamson suggests here:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world.”

So how can we better serve ourselves and the word by being more than instead of less than? Each step forward begins with our ability to believe in ourselves to be something greater than we were the step before. Let’s each take another step forward today.

May the fourth be with you.

Namaste

Strength of Character 

Strength of character isn’t built when the sun is shining, the sea is smooth and all is well. It’s built when your sails are torn, when the waves are high, when the rudder keeps slipping and when you’re still determined to give it your best. 

(C) 2017 Tiffany Cara

Even Subtle Changes are Important 

Making positive changes in our lives is a process. However, I find that many people (including myself) seek huge changes and become disappointed if those changes do not occur overnight. This can be a challenge, because this can keep us from appreciating the subtle shifts that can lead to bigger changes. 


At the onset of any journey, just a few degrees of change in the beginning can lead to bigger changes further down the path. Acknowledging subtle changes early on can also help us to see and appreciate greater shifts as we move forward.

So while we nurture big dreams and visions, knowing that all of the little changes that we make today allows for greater pieces to fall into place tomorrow. Even if the shifts today are by small degrees, by continually redirecting our focus on the prize allows us to make our way to it. Even if sometimes appears that the change is only by a few degrees those degrees add up to big changes in the long run. 

Just as I share these thoughts, I am applying them to my own life; reminding myself that this is a process. Growth occurs at the edges of our comfort zone and to get where we are going next we need to push that growth edge on a daily basis. For it is the cumulative change that we seek. Today, by choosing to live a little differently, we affirm the changes we seek. Instead, to stay where we were yesterday, prevents us from being better and greater tomorrow. With each degree that we allow ourselves to expand into new territories, the more our perspective changes and the more we can better see the next right step to take. 

“I am learning to appreciate the subtle changes that I am making today.”

Images: BrainyQuotes

Monday Motivation: Chasing Our Heroes

By chasing our heroes, we find new ways to push our growth edge. By continually moving out of our comfort zones, we make our best a reality, over and over again. 


Last night, a very good friend shared with me Matthew McConaughey’s Oscar acceptance speech. It blew me away! 

I hope you find it does the same for you. Today and every day, let’s find new ways to “chase our heroes!”

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