Tag Archives: Creativity

Season Change

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Colorado has experienced a significant cold front with the changing of the season this year. Mere hours after the Autumn Equinox, it was in the high eighties, but overnight the rain came in and our temperatures have continued to drop throughout the weekend. It is currently forty-one degrees. I had to pull my comforter up last night for the first time in a long time and this morning I had to grab a sweatshirt and dig around for some slippers. Yesterday I read, as it gently rained outside and my green chili simmered on the stove.

As I mention every year, Fall is my favorite season. I am looking forward to the beauty and the light. I feel more reflective this time of year and I welcome the change that the season brings. However these first days of fall are gloomy and cold. I can’t help but think the outside is mirroring my inside. This year has been difficult in so many ways, both personal and global. There is so much to be sad and angry about. I have been on a roller coaster of emotion, especially for the past two months. I am hopeful and working for change within myself and in the world, but some days it feels overwhelming and I wonder if things will ever be good again. I am a silver-linings person, but I have been learning lately that there are certain things I just can’t fix and it is difficult not to get mired down in that.

There is grief in that realization, but there is also freedom in the sense that I can only control my reaction to things. I can have boundaries and take a break. I can make art and write stories and sing songs. Will that change the world? Maybe, may be not. Will it change my inner world? Absolutely, because I feel more grounded and strong when I participate in those activities. Can I send all my love and compassion to people who are hurting? Yes, and I can be an ally and work to find other tangible ways to help. 

Eventually the clouds will part, the temperature will rise and the sun will shine on the beauty of the world around me. It’s all still there, and I will be grateful to see it again. I am thankful for this seasonal change reminding me to embrace the changes I experience in my life. Today I appreciate these comfy slippers and a warm house, while I reflect on how to proceed when the sun  returns. 

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Spring in my Step

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It has been feeling like spring and I am loving it. We are getting down to the last couple of months of school, my birthday is coming up, and it’s warm and sunny. I have had a hard couple of months. Lots of stress has taken its toll, and I am finding myself in desperate need of a reset.

I have been seeing a therapist again and I am very grateful for the support and perspective she brings to my life. We have been talking about ways to get energy in, instead of having all my energy drained out. Upon reflection, I’ve decided to take a month to really concentrate on self-care and do what I can to fill my cup.

I had a hard time embracing the idea of self-care when I was introduced to it. As a people pleaser, type A person, the idea of down time seemed ridiculous. As a recovering people pleaser, I’ve learned over the years that time to rest is almost more important than the work I do. I’ve learned that I need to listen to my body, my energy, my spirit, my heart and take time when it is asking me to. Even though I have learned this, but I am not always good about slowing down.

That said, this thirty-day reboot is an opportunity to do just that. Take a break. Do things that are good for me. Do things that fill me up. Be around people who support me, where I am right now…not people who drag me down or expect me to give my all and not give me anything back. I’m reading some books, doing a yoga practice everyday, trying to create a bedtime ritual that promotes true rest and writing.

Yep, I said it. Writing is a big part of self-care for me. I ignore that fact from time to time, but I feel more grounded and stable as a human when I’m writing regularly. I have recently started working on a freelance content writing portfolio with a graphic designer and I applied to an online magazine I really admire and respect.

For a couple of weeks I was really stuck. Paralyzed by a fear of not being good enough and daunted by the task of writing the samples and resume. However, I jumped in over Spring Break and worked really hard to finish my submission on time. Writing vulnerable and honest essays about my life and editing them over a week, opened up a door in my heart that I hadn’t realized was closed.

Now I’m getting a rush of ideas and am feeling excited to be writing again. It’s hard sometimes to come to a blank page, but so is trying harder yoga sequences when I’m still a beginner. Not quitting and doing my best is really invigorating.

I am excited to see what these thirty days of reflection, intention and rest bring. I am only four days in, but I’m already feeling a difference.

Don’t Be Afraid…

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Up until recently the only prose I’ve ever really written and shared was intended for younger audiences. A couple of years ago, a handful of my works in progress started to take a darker turn and I was afraid to follow my characters into the proverbial forest. I was frightened by what my imagination was capable of. This was the same reason I have avoided horror films and books for most of my life…my imagination made them much scarier once I was at home, alone, in the dark.

Knowing this, one of my best friends sent me an incredible article from Poet’s and Writer’s about earning your violence in art. It gave me a new perspective but I was still too frightened to try. Last summer I devoured Gillian Flynn books. I couldn’t get enough. They were brilliant, dark and violent. I love the Hunger Games series which is also very violent. The violence was not gratuitous. It helped move the story forward and as hard as it was to read, it belonged on the page. I started to understand what the article was really saying, but was I ready to go to that place?

The answer was no, since it has been another year of procrastination. However, I have recently been inundated with a dozen of new short story ideas that feature darker and more subversive subject matter. I’m still a little hesitant, but the stories are winning out. I am more interested these days in the dynamics of family, sexual identity and the vast spectrum of good vs. bad in characters and human beings in general. I am also writing again. I wrote three scenes for a short story I have been revising for a couple of years and I wrote 500 words for a new short today.

I’m learning in my personal and creative life to be more brave. The imagined outcome is riddled with anxiety, fear and doubt yet, if I get out of my own way and try…it’s typically not bad at all.

I know I will come to a scene that will push my limits again, but I’m encouraged that now I won’t be afraid to follow those characters where they lead me, no matter how dark or dire. I’m excited to grow in this way.

Light a Fire

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It has taken a couple of weeks of mostly being a sloth, but today I feel rested and I actually had some good productivity. I have been staying up way too late. My night owl soul has had a grand ole’ time with not having a bedtime. I have been up until 2:30 or 3:00 am for at least seven days. It’s easy to lose track of what day it is when you don’t have a bedtime.

Being in class this last week has made me have to be somewhat responsible. I have been enjoying the class a lot. It’s hard to imagine that I’m doing an entire semester worth of work in three weeks, but that is the beauty of summer school. Yesterday it was a little cooler and I sat on my patio for a bit and read outside. It was a little slice of heaven.

I’m settling into a slower way of life. It felt odd at first because I have been on a dead run for so many years. Even though I’m still taking a class this summer, it seems rather strange to have this much leisure time. Today was the first day that I really relished in the knowledge that I can do whatever I please for the next two and a half months.

I have been reading and writing. I think I might have finished a short piece I have been revising for the last year. I’m eating healthy and exercising.

I am lucky enough to be able to participate in a weekly writing workshop this summer. Just reading and doing some of the warm-up activities have lit a fire under me again. I found a book online about outlining and I just got another book that focused on character development and archetypes.

As I come back to my center, emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically – I am feeling inspired to create on a regular basis again. I cleaned my house today, did laundry and the dishes. The organization of my surroundings has made me feel more grounded today as well.

I’m excited to keep working on myself and my creative life this summer. I worked incredibly hard this year as a teacher, but having these couple of months of freedom is making it all the more worthwhile.

Talk soon.

Spring Break!

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I made it to Spring Break! Alas, as soon as my body realized a break was on its way – I developed a nasty upper respiratory infection and horrible asthma. Yeah me! This seems to happen almost every year. I wear myself down and do fine until I start to slow a bit and then my immune system takes a vacation and I’m left sneezing and coughing through Spring Break.

I had plans to go to the mountains after class tomorrow. Now, I won’t be going to class or to the mountains…unless a miracle arrives soon.

I have been writing about striving for balance for a while now and I haven’t been doing a good job of it lately. I need to take better care of myself by getting a good night sleep and eating better – lots of fruits and vegetables. Because the reality is that having my own classroom will be stressful too. I need to establish some better habits now.

On the nicer side of life, my creative fires have been stoked again. I have been working out some of my writing kinks and for the first time in a long time I opened up my guitar case. I have to give credit for that to my friend. When he asked me over to play, I didn’t want to admit how much dust lay on the abandoned guitar case. As the days drew near, I kept eyeing it and eventually with only a couple of days to spare…I opened it up and held her in my lap again.

It felt a little foreign at first and my fingers ached after only a couple of minutes, but it’s amazing how much muscle memory remembers. It was good to have it in my arms again.

I also watched a great documentary on the Hotel Cafe tour and that was very inspiring as well. I haven’t written my own songs in such a long time and the idea of starting up again is exhilarating and slightly scary. All the reasons that I stopped are coming back up to the surface and they still seem relevant, but all the reasons why I loved songwriting despite my fears are coming to the surface too.

Hopefully I can stop coughing and sneezing soon and have some time over the break to play and write!