Learning from Others

For the past few weeks, I have been running my Elemental Observation e-course.  I run this class in the fall and spring (in the Western Hemisphere) and delight in it each time it comes around.  

I always learn something new and love to see the images that show up from the participants!  

To start…comments from Kris:

“On Angles and other prompts: I’ve been through this EO course multiple times now. I take A LOT of cell phone photos and miss many opportunities – but feel this particular course really motivates me internally to look for or take a particular photo (vs. What I am drawn to). BECAUSE of this, I take photos at times I wouldn’t and of subjects I wouldn’t think of of consider.

Another observation is that being a part of a group doing the same thing feels purposeful and challenging. I look forward to seeing how others’ interpret the topic for the day.” -Kris

Here are some of the comments when we were looking for “reflections” …and reflecting:

” I have looked forward to the chance to take some time out to consider a different way of seeing. It has been a mini retreat from routine and very welcome. ” -Fiona

“I have been a little more mindful of what is around me and have enjoyed making these simple images – which is not always simple. I echo Fiona; it has been a bit of a mini retreat. Also, a “treat” just for me! You are bringing a little creativity to all of us…just perfect!” -Becky

“It has been an interesting opportunity to experience familiar paths in different ways, looking more intently at what has been there to see all along.” -Shelly

” It has been summed up as a mini retreat, a respite. It provided a mindful experience, gave me fresh eyes to view my yard. It was joy without pressure to produce a perfect picture. Thanks for doing this.” -Michelle FV

“This has been fun. I take photos every day, looking for random spots of beauty, so this was something new to focus on.” -Karen

” I have greatly enjoyed the invitation to look deeper with the themes of the day…even the struggle with resistance was enlightening. Also, I have been so amazed and impressed with the diversity of photos & collages from the participants…what a group! I even enjoyed the challenge to get a new app for photos on my phone so I could “get creative.” I very seldom carry my phone on my person, especially when walking in nature but got creative around that, too!” -Toni

These are just some of the comments as we have reflected back over the experience of noticing different “art elements” each day.  A simple, daily practice that leads to a mindful, intention-setting time during the busy day.

I have learned through these sessions that I really enjoy seeing where other people spend their time, what elements “speak” to them as they look for certain elements, and that sometimes, resistance can be found in the simplest of tasks. 

I will most likely find myself over the next few days “looking” for certain things…yet the course will be at an end, so the looking will begin to melt away and change into something new.

The biggest learning for me through working with others in any of my 21 day sessions is the beauty of connection.  Connection with a purpose.  Connection with intention.  

To keep connected with the wonderful members of my on-line tribe, the next e-course I have in my 21 day series is the 21 Day Mini-Mastermind.  Click here for more information and to join in!

Round and round we go!  I love connecting with all of you beautiful souls!

 

21 Day Mini-Mastermind

 

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  • What if you had a group of like-minded people to collaborate with for 21 days?
  • What if you had time to ponder and focus on your own creative work/job/business?
  • What if you took the time to begin to set your intention to share your work?
  • What if you could ask questions of others in order to grow in your work/job/life?
 

These are the constant questions that I ask myself on a daily basis.  I have discovered that I enjoy working in collaboration with others to help me to answer questions that come up as I grow my business and work a day-job.  I take time each day to write and answer the questions that arise.  However, sharing these questions and my possible answers with others allows me to get a bigger perspective and clarification.  How about you?

I have had such fun facilitating accountability groups for the past few years.  As these groups have progressed, I have noticed a pattern of questions that arise as individuals begin to look at their own work.   I have compiled these questions into this new venture.  Spending time working through those questions with others allows for expansion.  We discover answers to questions that we may not have otherwise figured out on our own.  Connecting with others and their genius work allows us to deepen our own.

Whether you work full-time, stay at home with your kids, work part-time or are retired, I’ll bet there is something inside of you yearning to share your creative work with others.  Perhaps a side-line business, a blog, a website, a class, a creative endeavor…you are a “maker”; a creative that wants to share with others and bring your creative-self into the forefront!

That is why I am opening this e-course, Mini-Mastermind: 21 Days of Questions and Collaboration on November 1, 2017.  This e-course invites you to ponder questions about your creative work and will allow you to collaborate with others to support your journey.  This course will last 21 days and will have a private Facebook group, so that we can connect with one another to see what we discover as we ponder questions and connect with one another around a common topic.


What you will receive:

 
1.  Daily emails for 21 days inviting you ponder questions to dig deeper into your creative work/life/business
2.  An invitation to a private Facebook group to share what you discover and to share your ideas with others
3.  Intentional focus on common questions, answers and ideas to grow in our business/work/life (facilitated by Susan Loughrin)
 

Simple.  Clear.  Mini-Mastermind.
 
21 Days for $21.00. 
 
Click the button below to register:



Zen Moments

It was all too much. Too many distractions. Too much change all at once.  I needed a way to create that was simple and calming.  I looked around for an app for Japanese brush work and found it. I could use this app to make quick, simple marks in black, grey, and red.  The backgrounds could be shifted and changed for my mood.

At first, I just created swooshes of black with the big brush. Created a circle. Then moved to what showed up as I looked around at different points in a busy day.  Bringing in the calm…like breathing.

Then, I began finding lines in the tarot cards during my daily readings.  Simple shapes that were found within the cards.  Simple lines.  Lovely. We then went up north to our cottage.  No internet there. The app still worked which allowed me to continue this practice of “Zen moments”.   I was really calm by this point.  The simplicity of this work was just what I needed each day.  To create and move on.

I created the simple lines of things I discovered each day.  Sights, ideas, and objects.  I then combined them in their simplest form…lines and shapes.

I was very much at peace during this series.  I pulled away from the busy-ness and found those quiet moments in time. The lovely feeling of just creating mark sand seeing what showed up.

Many of you commented on this series as I posted on Instagram.  I have made prints of the work (pictured in this article).  If you are interested in purchasing a matted print of one (or more!) of these images, click here to go to the shopping page.  

 

What’s Next?

I am a mom.
I am a daughter.
I am a wife.
I am creative.
I am healthy.
I am working

 
But what happens when these things are gone? Or no longer fully necessary? Or nobody really cares? Or they change…as they do, to be almost completely unrecognizable?

Being a different age, with a lot of life behind me, I wonder on this a lot. I wonder on death daily…to keep the world of living alive, I think. I have discovered that all of it is important…and none of it is important.

Each day and breath is new.  Sit in it and allow… (but tell that to my ambitious mind and I am off and running!)

I recently read this line from a David Whyte book entitled Consolations:

“Ambition may be essential for the young, but becomes the essential obstacle of any mature life.”

I have been continuously thinking of my role as a “worker”.  My job has defined me for so many years.  And for the past few, my creativity has defined me.  I like this better.  But the need to bring in a cash-flow to pay the bills gnaws and gnaws at the edges of all that I do.

I have a resume.  I have worked in many different capacities.  Some fulfilling, others not.  The continuous cry to “Be a maker!”  “Make lots of money!” “Work your ass off and relax later!”  “Work smarter, not harder!”

I am tired. I want things to be more simple.  I still need to eat.

My resume reflects the old parts of me.  The parts I am ready to let go.  But how can that be? How does one hold all of that past knowledge, integration of skills and projects, and yet find the strength to let it all go?  What happens to that definition of me?

I find that when I try to nestle into the world of my creativity, the battle cry sounds…”Get a job!”  and the money worries sneak in and hold court in my head.  And my emotions get involved and I watch the depression cover it all like a blanket of doom.  (These times, then, are not the best ones to think on death.)

Or are they?

The letting go, death, re-cycling of life is a deeply rooted “work” that I find myself in (even if I look back at times when I was “happy” in my work).  This malaise has been with me always.  It just seems more apparent during times of “money worries” and not really being seen as “viable” in the workplace any more. 

Ambition.  It is still within me.  I am wondering how it helps or hurts as I continue on this path and new phase of life.  

What are your thoughts on the phases and changes of life?  How do you move through them?

 

 

Down to Earth

I am back to writing Morning Pages consistently these past few weeks.  I am discovering that I am still living in the dreamy-ness of summer, but grounding into the beginnings of fall. Change.  The only constant. 

Throughout the summer, I planned on being more creative.  To allow for the creative “flow” to enter in and take over.  What actually happened was that I took on a new job and that changed everything.

I have lots and lots to say about this, but I want to boil it down to its essence.  Taking on a job shows me where I spend my time.  It allows me to receive a steady cash-flow and look for ways to bring my creativity into each day.  This, dear reader, is my way.  I have learned that this lesson comes up for me over and over and over.  I like to have a steady “job” of some sort that creates a safety zone for me.  (I resist this, but it is how I flow best…and I am reminded of it again and again).

I am also seeing how I live is how I like to teach.  Sessions on creativity and sessions on how to build a “mini-business”.  Basically, work everyday, share everyday and create everyday.  I do this and I want to pass it on.

Nothing new here…the same ol’ same ol’…but there is beauty here.  Beauty in the flow. Beauty in the routine that I create.  Beauty in the daily noticings.  And…I am back to a weekly newsletter.  I need to connect with you all and hope to hear from you as the fall gets underway!  

How do you spend your days?  What do you notice about the lessons that return over and over again like the seasons?  I would love to hear from you…

Simplifying

Coming back to center.

Noticing what is right here in this moment.

Breathing in…breathing out.

When I sit…I sit.

When I eat…I eat.

When I walk…I walk.

One simple thing each day.  Creating my life.

This is what is happening as I take some time off to just “be”.

Remembering this as I go through my days.  

Bringing the mindfulness into my being.

Zen mind.  Beginners mind.

 

21 Day Selfie Exploration

Last summer I spent much of my creative time working on Mandala Magic with Julie Gibbons and Begin Deepening with Catherine Just.  Amazing work with amazing women!  The exploration of “Self” became a theme for me.  I created many photo images using Images of myself, or “selfies” as the basis for my creative exploration.  

This summer, I am noticing that I am once again wanting to explore my creative focus on the Self.  What better way then through “selfies”?  It may be SUPER uncomfortable to turn the camera back on to myself, but I find this to be something I do each day through my writing (Morning Pages…all about the Self), and my thinking; daily ruminations on “my Self” and what it means to do deep, inner work.  So much is buried deep within and is waiting to show up.  Lots of shadow work here, but I am being called to explore it once again in these creative summer months.

I am inviting you to join me on this journey.  What do you think?  Here is what I am proposing…

  1. 21 days of Selfie Exploration…daily email invitations to take a “selfie” each day.
  2. Posting a selfie a day for 21 days on Instagram as a way to put the”Self” work out there into the world #21Selfies2017
  3. Daily prompts to dig deeper into what is showing up for you and invitations to journal about the selfies you take (you may wish to share bits of this with your Instagram posts)
  4. A private Facebook group page…when sharing is closer to the bone
  5. Additional exploration of Self through “layering” photos using the app Enlight (click to see the Enlight app here)
  6. Session will be opened July 1, 2017. Your investment 21 Days…$21.00.

If discovering more about your Self  is something you are saying YES to…click the link below to sign up!  Let’s get that creative fire going…21 Days of Selfie Exploration.




Letting Go

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Acappella Affirmation:

Letting go of control
Setting free this one song
Brings me back to the place
Where I belong

Organization, clearing clutter and scheduling are things to be dealt with every day. No big deal, right? Then, there is the attempt to control these daily activities. Which leads to controlling the environment, controlling our loved ones, controlling nature, politics, and the world!

Does it ever feel this way to you?

A small daily issue becomes a larger issue and then, it becomes so big it feels like you are trying to control the universe.

What is happening here?

The need to control. To feel safe. To know that all is right in the world.

But, we are not IN control of so many things. When I start to feel this way, I notice that I become exhausted. Catching myself before this happens is key.

What helps support the daily routine, is putting a flexible structure into place and letting go of those things that are out of our control.

I enjoy singing, so I call this time creating time to sing.

Here are 3 steps to create “singing” moments in your daily routine:

Morning ritual-create time each morning to reflect and give thanks
Create a simple schedule that allows for “singing” breaks; time for naps, exercise, creating time in nature
Smile. Sing. Let go of the tension. Run. Fill a few moments each day with fun!

Now is the moment to find that “time” in the schedule, let go of tasks that are robbing you of that time, and get it back! You want to create, you want to “breathe” you need to see the moments in your day!

So, what will you be letting go of? What tasks do you feel control you? What wastes your precious time?

Let’s take a look…

Take a moment, just off the top of your head, to list out all of the tasks you do within your day. Go ahead…I will wait here.

You’re back? Okay….what did you notice as you wrote out your list? Did you add everything? Good. Now, go back through that list and circle the ones that you believe are not really necessary to getting through your day. Next to each task you circled, put an amount of time next to each one that you believe you spend on that task.

Here is my example from what I circled on my own list:

Check email-30 min
Laundry-15 min
Dishes 20 min
Grocery shopping-3 hours
Look over schedule/calendar-1 hour

So in one day, 5 hours is dedicated to these tasks I have circled. This is out of let’s say a 14 hour day (and this is just some of the tasks!).

Of these tasks, which can be “let go”? Hmmmm well, none of them, of course! I am all things to all people and must have each of these tasks remain in my day! I can do it all!

(Are you tired just thinking about this?)

Yes, I have thought this before, too. EVERYTHING I Do is important! Well, really, after looking at this list, I see where my time is going.

Here is what I propose for myself based on my example above. I will drop “check email” to 10 minutes. I will need to set a timer to actually keep to that time allotment. This would leave me 20 minutes.

That simple? Yes. Find 20 minutes in your day to let go. And once you have found that 20 minutes…set the timer and do nothing. Yes, you heard me correctly. Do nothing. 20 minute of nothing. See how long that really is.

For the rest of this week, once you have “let go” and found 20 minutes, do nothing for 20 minutes every day. Check in w

June, July and August off the Grid

Off the grid.

I am taking this summer off to create.

I might pop in to say hello…and will most likely keep my Inner Creative Voice Newsletter running, but I am taking time off this summer to create!  You can find me on Instagram @susanloughrin

Fall will begin with a new Sunday Check-in starting September 1.  Also, I will let you know about future 21 Day e-courses as I plan them fall to winter.

Enjoy this time…see you in the fall…

Susan

Focus on Your Creative Work

When fears arise in the midst of your creative work, practice affirmations, get supportive friends and share your thoughts.   Then, let the negative thoughts pass through your mind and get right back in there creating!

So often we begin a project with so much enthusiasm and positive thoughts!  We get settled and begin to create.  Or, we go to an uplifting event and carry the joy into the next few weeks.  But then, something happens.  Those voices, that doubt, the old feeling of “not being worthy” creep in.  We listen. We put our work aside and believe we cannot continue.

When doubts arise…what do you do?

Stay where you are.  If you are in the middle of a great project…if you are enjoying “creating” of some kind, stay with it!  Let the thoughts slide through.  Ask yourself, “Is this true?” If this still isn’t enough, take the words, and turn them around into an affirmation.

Here is an example:

I am not good enough to continue this work.  Can be changed to the following: I am good enough.  I am good enough to continue.  Continue this work…I am enough!

Or

I am not an expert and should stop now. Can be changed to the following:  I am an expert.  Stop now and affirm that I am an expert!  I am.

This is trick you can play with words.  You will stay in the moment Write out the affirmation that resonates with you.  Listen to that inner voice, change the words to the positive and get back to creating!

Another great way to change your thinking is to connect with a trusted friend.  Jot an email, give a quick call or text, filling them in on where your thoughts have gone.  The act of noticing the negative thoughts, supporting you by changing them and/or connecting with others shifts the energy.

You can get back to your amazing creating!

As you continue to “stay” with your creative self, and you have distracted the negative chatter, you may become tired or need a change of scenery.

If a break is necessary, give it a time limit and get back to your task.

Energy is being used while you create; sometimes more energy than others.

If you do need a break in the middle of your 2 hours of creating a larger project, be sure to give yourself a time limit. Also, be sure the break nourishes your energy flow.

Breaks need to “feed” your energy, so that you can get back on task.  Some energy boosters may be getting a nourishing snack, change of scenery (a walk, a stretch, a big *sigh*), or looking up at the sky.

Then, when the time is up, get back to your creative project with renewed energy and passion!