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.

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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?

Elemental Observations~Spring 2017

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el·e·men·tal

ˌeləˈmen(t)l/
adjective
adjective: elemental
 
1.  Primary or basic.  “elemental features from which all other structures are compounded”
                synonyms:  basic, primary, fundamental, essential, root, underlying
  • What if you took 5 minutes each day to look for the simple art elements that are all around you?
  • Where do you walk each day?  Is it with intention?  Or do you just meander?
  • How do you “create every day” when you are so busy?

 These are the constant questions that I ask myself on a daily basis.  In answer to these questions, I find tiny moments in each day to notice, really notice what is around me through the lens of my camera.  My phone camera…I love that I can do this!  I am so grateful that I have this tool at my finger tips!  Do you have a camera with you each day?

I so enjoy looking for the art elements that show up all around me.  I spent last summer and fall finding these elements and posting them in  tiny “collages”.  The response to those simple images was amazing.  Something so simple that touched others so deeply.  I love this and created and e-course around it last fall.

Now that it is spring, I want to get out and look for those art elements again!  I want to take time each day to observe and delight in the newness that surrounds me!  Want to join me?

I am opening Elemental Observations:  #EO2017 on May 1, 2017 to invite you to “walk with me” and look for the art elements that are all around you.  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 notice the elements that are in the mundane things we pass by each day.

 
 
 
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What you will receive:
 
1.  Daily emails for 21 days inviting you to notice certain elements for that day (starting May 1, 2017)
2.  An invitation to a private Facebook group to share what you “see”
3.  Intentional focus using any camera that you have available to you daily
 

Simple.  Clear.  Elemental observations.
 
21 Days for $21.00. 
 
Click the button below to register:
 
 



My Creative Self

 
APJY6341A while ago, I spent time working with a creativity coach. She helped me to really connect back to the essence of my creative self.

How did she do this?

Many amazing hours connecting via phone, sharing assignments to dig deeper into my creativity and she listened. She really listened.

While there were many thoughts and activities that remain with me from that experience, there are two that I cycle back to most regularly. I am going to describe one of those activities for you here. (The other, I will fill you in on next week.)

My coach said, “Write down what you love to do.”

That was it.

And so I wrote.

I wrote during my morning pages, I wrote in the afternoon and evening. I wrote down “things I love to do” on note cards, napkins, scraps of envelopes in the car…I wrote anytime I thought of something that I loved to do.

I purchased a special notebook in which I transferred all of my jottings. I keep it near me still.
What I discovered from this experience was that I truly enjoyed very simple things…petting the cats, taking a long walk, tea in the morning, a ray of sunshine…this surprised me. I thought I would have written big, lofty things on that list.

But no…

The simple joys of small things is what I truly love.

I go back to this list when I get crazy and frenzied. I re-read it. I choose one of those “things I love” and I put it into my daily practice. I notice how something that simple can change the way I get through a day.

My question for you is …What is on your “list of things you love to do”?”

Finding Your Own Unique Voice

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Do you ever have those times when it is difficult to find your own voice?  When you wish to speak up, but stop just short of sharing your thoughts?  When you know you have something valuable to share…but you remain mute?

How do you find your own voice?

Take a moment to reflect back on the questions above.  What is happening when you wish to speak up but don’t?  How do you feel when this happens?  What stories does it bring to mind?  Reflecting back on thoughts and feelings may give you insights in to what may be being “triggered” when this happens.

Think back on what it is that forms your true values.  What do you believe in?  What can you stand behind because it is your truth?  What is ultimately important to you?

Discovering your values will help you to find your voice.  Here is a list of 5 tasks to help you realize your true values:

  1. Write out what you believe is true about you….your unique self
  2. Read back through what you have written
  3. Circle the words or phrases that show up most often…or words that truly resonate within you
  4. Pick 10 words that describe the essence of your values
  5. Type up that list and print it out

Find a place to keep this list of 10 words.  Put it where you will see it every day.  Reflect back on these words and their deeper meaning for you.  Keep it in view for a month.  Check back on these words that show your values daily.  Think on each word.  What deeper meaning does each word hold for you?

Now, when you are in another situation where you are hesitant to speak, remember your values.  Think about your words.  Which ones will you use to find your voice?

How about joining in the 21 Day Mini-Marketing session?  Find your voice and learn ways to promote your creative work!  Click here to learn more and to register.

That Nasty Voice Inside my Head

I find when I begin the next phase in a creative cycle or start to market for a new e-course there is that voice that shows up.  Do you know that voice?  The one that attempts to take you off your path?  That voice that speaks to you in mean tones?  The one that you wish would quiet down so that you can create?

I have come up against this voice many times.  The voice is back these days as new challenges arise in my life.  I am listening and seeing that the things the voice is saying now are different than they were years ago.

Let me explain.   A few years back, I worked with a wonderful creativity coach.  She invited me to “draw” the voice that was constantly chattering as I worked on new creative projects.

Below is a blog post from that session:

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I took some time in my morning pages writing to get started on the exercise of drawing the gremlin/nasty voice from my head.

What I discovered, is that the initial drawings I created were images from my dreams.  Those visions I saw after giving birth to my children that were scary, but fascinating.  The more recent dreams I wrote about all had male figures, shape-shifters, disappearing and re-appearing images, black and white, shadows, angels/devils/gargoyles, half-formed creatures.  These images, I have discovered, are actually here to help me somehow.

Even though these images were a bit frightening, they were not the “nasty” voice in my head.

So, I took more time to go into my mind and find that “nasty” voice.   It took me a while to get there, as I was very resistant to write about that voice.

When I finally got to the vicious words and thoughts that I call “the nasty voice inside my head”, I wrote and wrote.

This is the voice that tells me I am not good enough, not worthy, not OK…blah, blah, blah.  It is a SHE and very nasty.  She has a forked tongue, fiery, sharp nails, beautiful (she believes), red-haired (not sure why), coifed, buggy-red bloodshot eyes…I have drawn her, colored her in, and enclosed her in an actual glass bottle and I have sealed the bottle with heavy foil…a rubber band and a lovely golden bow…and put her into the cupboard!  So there!!!!

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Stay in there!

I am now starting to see which are the helpful and cautious voices and which are the nasty voices.
[End of blog post]

Re-reading this past blog post is showing me that the “nasty voice” has changed.  The image I created and placed in the bottle has quieted down.  She is no longer distracting me with her words.  Soon, I will take the old image of the nasty voice out of the bottle.

There is a new “nasty voice” that is in need of being heard and drawn.  This one is slicker…more savvy.  She knows to go right for the issues at hand:  “No one wants what you have to offer.  You are too old, face it!  You need to go back to the reality of “playing small” and get over it.”  Whew…she is a tough one…touching on my fears and I begin to listen…oh oh…Time to get out the markers!

Each time I grow and challenge myself creatively, a new “nasty voice” emerges.  I believe this will occur each time I reach a new level of discovery.  As difficult as it may be, I will begin to write the words I hear; those words that are attempting to distract me from my creative path.  Then, I will replace the old image with the new image I create of the “nasty voice”.   I will let you know how that goes!

For now, I am wondering if you have ever drawn the “nasty voice” from inside your head?  Will you try that now?

Cycle of Creativity

winter walkDo you ever notice that creativity has a cycle…like in nature? Sometimes it is within moments, or days. Sometimes it is much longer. The gentle nurturing of the creative self means taking a look at this cycle of creativity. And taking time and energy needed to nurture the cycle.

This cycle starts for me as a wonderful new idea, goes into a million directions, gets put out into the world in some form. Then, the idea is released, or let go moves into a meditative time to nurture and incubate….to return once again to the start of the cycle.

The cycle of creativity looks like this to me when compared to the natural cycles of the earth:

Seed (idea)
Growth (building and creating on that idea)
Blossom (the idea takes a form)
Decline (the idea is completed in a form, and sent out)
Death (the idea is gone, separated from the creator)
Incubation (a new idea is preparing to arise)

Observing the creative cycle in my own work has given me some valuable insights.

Much of my creating is inspired by nature. Nature brings me peace, and healing. It is important for me to share this joy with others through a variety of means. Sometimes I write, sometimes I draw or paint, dance, sing, create melodies or act out the drama. I enjoy reflecting on the cycles of the universe and our earth through my work.

What type of “creating” fits into this cycle for you?


After I observe the creative cycle in my own life, I begin to notice the cycles within the cycles. Here is what I mean:

Seed/Growth/Blossom/Death:

To me, whether the work is seen by another in the beginning stages of the cycle of creativity does not really matter. It is in working within the cycle itself that is important.

So, I find that I cycle around by getting the “seed” idea, growing the seed idea, getting the seed idea to blossom…then, many times the idea declines and death appears before I actually share my creative work with anyone else.

That is alright. They process of the creative cycle is endless… round like a seed full of life.

Growth/Blossom/Incubating:

I can get lost in the re-creating of the beauty I see and experience in nature.

One of the consequences of creating is getting lost in an idea and not knowing when to stop. Have you ever had that happen? You are creating and creating and it is just not quite the way you want it? Then, cycle goes round and round and you have to jump off and just call it DONE! This creating is usually full of energy and inspiration. It can also be overwhelming…but is always exhilarating!

I can internally analyze my creative ideas and they can become overwhelming. At these times, I feel that my creative ideas are “incubating”. Running around, piling up, too many…too much! I need to take time to acknowledge them. Put them in a safe place to bring out later, when the time may be just right…the ground more fertile.

Decline/Death:

Occasionally, creating feels wonderful at the start, but it sometimes brings change or disruption which can be difficult and a bit scary.

Emotions and past events are revealed when we create. Whether it is the “nasty” voice inside your head, real words that were spoken to you that were difficult to hear, or you tap into a subconscious thought which may or may not be articulated any other way but through creating.

This can cause us to shut down…a form of declining, or death. It can also bring in wonderful ideas for creating that lead to finished work. The fulfillment of getting the creation outside of ourselves leaves a new space to be filled. Death of an idea that is now ready to be shared with the world. We can move on to a new creative endeavor….using the dried and dusty remains to create anew.

There are many ways the creative cycle plays out. I have given a few examples based on my observations. I wonder what you think. How do you keep your creative cycle flowing and spiraling?