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!

Sweeping and a Sense of Well-Being

As your world or your government, or individuals within your government, make decisions about what is better for you, and as they try to protect you from every possible potential experience, your lives become rather cumbersome, don’t they? All you ever need is a vibration of Well-being.

—Abraham

This article is about sweeping and well-being; the old fashioned kind of sweeping, with a straw broom. It seems like such a simple task, sweeping. I love the satisfaction of sweeping a surface that is covered in dust, sand and debris. The zen-like mindfulness of ridding a surface of tiny particles and creating a clean spot on which to walk with bare feet is so satisfying. An ancient feeling of thousands of years of being human and clearing a space.

I discovered by love for sweeping so many years ago. When we had tile floors at a summer cabin that we went to each summer, I loved the old brooms that were hanging on the walls there. They were made of straw and most likely made by hand. They seemed to do the best job of whisking away the natural elements that accumulated in corners and entryways. I would wake up, grab one of those brooms and begin to sweep away the sand that had gathered. I would repeat this act several times a day. I felt like I was creating a sacred space for bare feet at this cabin for my family.

I am not a neat-freak by any means-actually far from it. (While I appreciate others joy in cleaning and have the greatest respect for those who can keep a home clean daily!) I actually love living in clutter and messes. But there comes a time when cleaning and organizing space rises to the surface to be a task for the hours.

Sweeping is that task for me. I flow into the swoosh of the broom…the flying particles that leave a clean surface. It’s almost like reverse painting. Erasing the artwork of the day to begin again…new and fresh.

And of course within hours of the sweeping, the sand and debris begin to accumulate again, finding their way back to the grit under my feet.

However, those moments with the broom give me pause to the thoughts and creative ideas that are waiting just beyond the cobwebs. They sweep my mind clean bringing me into the ‘now’ of the moment. This is like creating my own blank surface to begin again.
What daily tasks bring a sense of satisfaction and creative thinking to you?

Seasons and the Creative Cycle

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I have begun to take a long look at how the creative cycle works in my life.  With this reflection, I have discovered that working in 12 week time blocks supports the cycles of the seasons and the cycles of my creative work.  You see following the seasons and changes within the natural world is how I work best.

Let me explain.

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I notice that the creative cycle (seed, plant, growth/blossom, death, incubation, re-birth) is like that of a plant.  The plants work with the cycle of nature and the seasons.  The seasonal changes-spring, summer, winter, fall- follow this pattern.  I see that I plan my workshops and personal work around the seasons.

I have divided my calendar into 12 week time periods, 3 months each.  Each of these time periods has a unique “feeling” that connects to the cycle of the season and my life.  I will continue to organize my life and work around this calendar.  This will be a new way of discovering what ideas work best at certain times.  This will allow me to see when to create and when to rest.

fall_color

I enjoy the feeling of completion; of a final “ending” and celebration to honor and notice accomplishments.  This is satisfying and then allows for some quiet (incubating) time that I need to begin the next project, idea, reflection….whatever comes next.

What is interesting to me is that this seasonal calendar has always been a part of my life and the lives of those who came before me.  It is just now that I am noticing it consciously.  I am turning my focus to embrace what was already there.

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When you reflect on your own life and work, what do you notice about how you set your schedule or calendar?  What are the cycles that show up in your life?

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Creating Positive Thoughts

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I have been taking time to notice my thoughts and my thinking.  Taking time to consistently see when I begin having negative thoughts and working to turn them around into the positive.  This is actually very difficult for me.  It seems my mind wants to hold on to the negative…and call it reality.

Does this happen to you?

Years of reading about “affirmations” has shown me a pattern that works for changing my thoughts.
1.   Noticing a negative thought –either in my journal writing or throughout my day
2.   Turning that negative thought around to a positive thought
3.   Writing out that positive thought on paper
4.   Read that positive statement aloud
5.   Repeat

This takes conscious effort.  This takes commitment and time.  This is the way I bring peace and joy to my day and create my life.

A few weeks back, I wrote about that “nasty voice” inside my head.  Using the steps above, I am able to re-work thought thoughts and create a positive result.

Here is a suggestion for you to try this week.  Get a journal that you will carry around with you all day for a week.  When your mind starts speaking to you in negative thoughts, write them down.  Keep track for a few days and then re-read what you have written.  What do you notice?  Write that too.

Then, take one or two of those thoughts and re-write them into positive statements.  Do this for the full week.

Here is an example from my own thoughts right now:

Negative Thought:  This article you are writing is terrible.  Stop now, before you embarrass yourself by sharing it with others. Change to Positive Thought:  This article says just what I want it to say.  It is written.  Share this article with others who may feel the same way.   Others find a benefit from the thoughts and words written here.  They connect these ideas to their own life.

Do you see how changing your thoughts, your words, can create the positive you are seeking?

Taking time to change our thoughts to the positive takes conscious consistent effort.  Take the time to notice your thoughts and celebrate the positive.  Look for ways to create a mindset that supports you and your good work.

What steps will you take this week to change your thoughts to the positive?