Category Archives: Self Expression

Mojo Monday ~ Express Yourself

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Jack Kornfield, Buddhist author and teacher once wrote “I’ve been told the story of a six-year-old girl who asked her mother where she was going one afternoon.  The mother replies that she was headed for the university to teach her students how to draw and paint. ‘You mean they’ve forgotten?’ her daughter asked, amazed.  Many of us have forgotten how to give voice to our creativity.  And yet it is said that play —- our ability to let go, dance, sing, create — is one of the most wondrous expressions of our aliveness.”
Excerpts from the book by Nina Wise called A Big New Free Happy Unusual Life: Self Expression and Spiritual Practice for Those Who Have Time for Neither.

“Everyone is creative.  Creativity is our very nature.  But for many of us, the creative impulse has gone into hiding, ‘I can’t draw, I can’t sing, I can’t dance,’ we confess to each other, and we plant ourselves in front of the television for the evening. But the creative impulse that is at the core of all being remains robust within us.”

“Creativity is about having the courage to invent our lives – to concoct lovemaking games, cook up a new recipe, paint a kitchen cabinet, build sculptures on the beach and sing in the shower. Creativity is about our capacity to experience the core of our being and the full range of our humanness.  The question of how to become more creative is not about learning anything or even doing anything, but about allowing whatever arises to gain expression.  To do this, we must bypass the voice inside of us that says stop.  The censoring mind is clever and has an entire litany of reasons we must refrain from expressing ourselves: you are a bad dancer so sit back and watch while the skillful ones dance.  And you certainly can’t paint so don’t even try because you will embarrass yourself. You sing off-key and you can’t hold a rhythm – you will disturb everyone within earshot if you open your mouth.  And if you happen to disregard this sage advice, you will make a total fool of yourself and no one will ever love you or give you a job.  We obey this voice as if being guided by inner wisdom, but when we tune in, we hear a quieter voice calling out to us to express ourselves freely.  This is the voice that can liberate us.  If we listen and respond, our lives become rich with the pleasure creative freedom provides.”

“It is our nature to be free and it is our nature to express that freedom, spontaneously and without hesitation, through song, and dance, and painting, and poetry and prayer.  In the same way that the universe gives birth to uncountable shapes, forms, colors and beings in a grand panoply of flowing, changing manifestation, we too, are of the nature to give birth to myriad forms of expression.”
What are your thoughts regarding the excerpts from Nina Wise’s book?
Has someone you know ever stated I am not creative?  Did you respond?

Have you ever felt that you weren’t very creative?

This week if you hear that voice that says “stop” when you think about painting, dancing, writing or inventing a new recipe put your fingers in your ears and go “la la la la la” until you can’t hear it anymore and then proceed with wild abandon to create without judgement, to create just for the sake of creating. Liberate yourself! Set aside time to just play and let go.  See what happens when you give yourself permission to just create without a specific purpose in mind.  

What do you gravitate to first  – paints, crayons, scissors and glue?
As Greg Anderson so brilliantly put it
“Focus on the journey, not the destination. 

Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.”
 

Nina Wise is known for her provocative and original performance works. Her pieces have garnered seven Bay Area Critics’ Circle Awards, and she has received, among other prestigious honors, three National Endowment for the Arts fellowships. Her written pieces have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies. Nina lives in San RafaelCalifornia.
http://www.ninawise.com/

Jack Kornfield is one of the leading Buddhist teachers in America. A practitioner for over 40 years, he is one of the key teachers to introduce mindfulness and vipassana meditation to the West. His approach emphasizes compassion, lovingkindness and the profound path of mindful presence, all offered in simple, accessible ways in his books, CD’s, classes and retreats.

Mojo Monday ~ The Many Forms of Creativity

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From top left clockwise ~ Dia de Los Muertos Madonna painting, a glowing Owl Pumpkin,
Cosmic Skull Girl, and tasty Spiced Pumpkin Muffin Owls.

Creativity can express itself in many ways.  Yesterday my creativity had a chance to express itself via the culinary arts.  I baked a vegan pumpkin pie, then darling vegan spiced pumpkin muffin owls and followed that up with vegan pumpkin cupcakes with cinnamon icing.  Today we had a family pumpkin carving party in the front yard and my parents even came from out of town to join in on the fun.  My husband’s abnormally large pumpkin turned into a child eating monster and my own overgrown pumpkin found its inner owl.  Yes there is a bit of a theme of pumpkins and owls carrying on in our neck of the woods.

What forms of creativity have you been expressing lately?

Next up this week is one of our family’s favorite holidays – Halloween!  We will be dressing up in costumes and I will be figuring out how to transform my face into that of a zebra.  Wish me luck!  Last year I was a parrot, the year before that our whole family was decked out as Sugar Skulls for a special Dia de Los Muertos gathering and art show.  Other forms I have taken in the past have been as a Killer Bee, Fire (with my husband as Ice), a Pink Flamingo, the Ocean, Half Devil – Half Angel, Dolly Parton, a male biker and the list goes on.  Halloween has a long tradition in my family and my mom who celebrates her birthday on October 31st, always dresses up as a witch, because she says it is her true alter ego.

Do you ever dress up for Halloween?
If yes, do share about your costumes, past and present.
Photos sharing is highly encouraged too!


I love the creativity that Halloween inspires in people.  Costumes can be such a fun way to express oneself, to get wild, and try out playing a character or new role.  Costume parties are often the funnest kind, as people who might normally be shy or reserved, find themselves being more extroverted and free, because for a night that can try out being someone or something different.

From top left clockwise ~ Fire, Killer Bee, Sugar Skulls, Biker, Cat Woman,
Fire and Ice, Pink Flamingo, Parrot and Kitties


Fashion and the clothing we choose to wear are also another way we can get creative and express ourselves.  Clothing can change the way we move.  Clothing can change the way we see ourselves.  Clothing and outfits can even make us feel differently, if we let it.  

Some people may find dressing creatively to be intimidating and may not want to draw so much attention to themselves.  In our Cosmic Cowgirl Tribe we have encouraged members to at least try on various outfits or costumes to release their inner Legendary self.  Our amazing Chief Laughing Cloud has even written about how one day she realized that she was being overtaken by the “gray” and set her intention to pull out her more sassy and wild clothing in order to spark creativity and a bit of rebellion.  

Do you ever put on an outfit that makes you feel different?   

Sometimes I get into a clothing rut.  My creativity lags and I just go through the motions of picking out clothes to wear to work or on the weekends.  However, I have noticed that if I my creativity is Sparking, or if I remember to let my clothing express my inner creativity, or even my inner wild woman, well those are the days I am reaching for long feathered earrings, jeans with glitter, tears and writing on them, or high black boots and a dress with a slit up the side.  

I know that we women can get very self critical about our appearances and our bodies and that we can let this restrict our clothing, fashion and costume choices.  As a woman who has been a variety of sizes, from very thin when I worked out 7 days a week for three hours every day, to very overweight, and lots of places in between, I must tell you that size does not matter.  It really doesn’t.  Even in my larger times when I dress fun and fashionably I have still received compliments.  The way we carry ourselves, the way we see ourselves, the way we strut and hold our heads high, is so much more influential than some realize.  If you can see the beauty, and the sexy in yourself, that is going to shine out into the world.

No matter our size all of us women also face growing older, if we are so lucky in this life.  We will see our bodies change.  Perhaps gravity will take its toll and certain parts will begin to sag, wrinkle, and change.  We may adjust to such changes gracefully, or we may choose to wage a battle against it with some tucks and tightening here and there to firm things up a bit.  

Whichever route we take though we will still have choices on how we choose to present ourselves in the world.  Some women as they grow older state they begin to feel invisible.  They look around and see a media world obsessed with youth and beauty.  It is refreshing when you see someone take notice of style and beauty that is of a more mature nature.  Photographer Ari Seth Cohen roams the streets of New York looking for the most stylish and creative older folks.  He share this: “Respect your elders and let these ladies and gents teach you a thing of two about living life to the fullest.  Advanced Style offers proof from the wise and silver-haired set that personal style advances with age.”

You can visit Ari’s Advanced Style web site by clicking here.  



Here is a taste of some of the photographs he has taken.


There is also an Advance Style documentary about the women he has been photographing in New York and this is the very fun and short film trailer to inspire you to get more creative in your own closet!


Mojo Monday ~ Mental Freedom

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“Because you don’t have time…you’re on this earth for a dash of time really, and then that’s it. 
And for some reason that reality and knowing that, it just changed everything.” 
~ Viola Davis


Viola Davis played the role of Aibileen Clark in the film The Help.  Davis won numerous award nominations for the role including a Golden Globe Award, BAFTA, Screen Actors Guild and an Academy Award.  In 2008 she had also received numerous nominations for her role in the film Doubt, that has also starred Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman.

She has been working as an actor for 20 years and has received other awards and recognition throughout her career. Yet in a talk with Oprah Winfrey she opens up about having battled low self-esteem for many years.  She also shares during the interview how she had to learn to receive love and how when she was nominated for an Academy Award in 2008 for the film Doubt she went through a mid-life crisis that led her to realize the only definition of success that mattered to her, was her own.

Here is the first clip where she talks about overcoming her low self-esteem.

Here is a second clip where Viola reveals why she didn’t feel fulfilled, despite the fact that her dreams were coming true.
Viola’s childhood was far from glamorous.  She grew up so poor that at times she knew what it meant to go hungry and her family lived in a condemned building that was infested with rats and roaches.  Despite her impoverished upbringing, Viola says, she learned to dream big from her older sister.  She credits those experiences for making her who she is today.  She shared in the first video how grateful she is for the simple things in life due to  her knowing what it is like to have so little.
What are your reactions to the video clips?
Do you feel you worry too much what others think of you?
Do the opinions of others affect you a great deal or not very much at all?
Would it bother you if someone didn’t like your writing, your art, your singing, your dancing or some other form of creativity that you were expressing?
Have you allowed criticism to hold you back from doing something that interested you or that you loved?
If you answered yes to any of these questions consider what these now well-known writers faced when they were trying to get published. Dr. Seuss faced over two dozen rejection letters before he realized his dream of being published. Classic books such as Lord of the Flies, Diary of Anne Frank, War of the Worlds, Animal Farm and The Time Machine all initially met with rejection from publishers.
How about these very successful and well-known public figures: “Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because, ‘he lacked imagination and had no good ideas.’ After that, Disney started a number of businesses that didn’t last too long and ended with bankruptcy and failure. He kept plugging along, however, and eventually found a recipe for success that worked.” “While today Steven Spielberg’s name is synonymous with big budget, he was rejected from the University of Southern California School of Theater, Film and Television three times. He eventually attended school at another location, only to drop out to become a director before finishing. Thirty-five years after starting his degree, Spielberg returned to school in 2002 to finally complete his work and earn his BA.”
Could it be true that some of the funniest actors didn’t fair so well in the beginning? “Just about everybody knows who Jerry Seinfeld is, but the first time the young comedian walked on stage at a comedy club, he looked out at the audience, froze and was eventually jeered and booed off of the stage. Seinfeld knew he could do it, so he went back the next night, completed his set to laughter and applause, and the rest is history.” “Lucille Ball had thirteen Emmy nominations and four wins, also earning the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Kennedy Center Honors. Before starring in I Love Lucy, Ball was widely regarded as a failed actress and a B movie star. Even her drama instructors didn’t feel she could make it, telling her to try another profession. She, of course, proved them all wrong.”
Here is to following your dreams, writing the book that you will love to read, painting canvases that speak to your heart and express your soulfulness, singing those songs that lift you up, dancing that lets your spirit fly and be free, creating whatever that is inside of you yearning to be expressed, all because it makes you happy.

Here is one last clip of Viola Davis speaking about learning to receive love:


Mojo Monday ~ Express Yourself

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Jack Kornfield, Buddhist author and teacher once wrote “I’ve been told the story of a six-year-old girl who asked her mother where she was going one afternoon.  The mother replies that she was headed for the university to teach her students how to draw and paint. ‘You mean they’ve forgotten?’ her daughter asked, amazed.  Many of us have forgotten how to give voice to our creativity.  And yet it is sad that play —- our ability to let go, dance, sing, create — is one of the most wondrous expressions of our aliveness.”
Excerpts from the book by Nina Wise called A Big New Free Happy Unusual Life: Self Expression and Spiritual Practice for Those Who Have Time for Neither.

“Everyone is creative.  Creativity is our very nature.  But for many of us, the creative impulse has gone into hiding, ‘I can’t draw, I can’t sing, I can’t dance,’ we confess to each other, and we plant ourselves in front of the television for the evening.  But the creative impulse that is at the core of all being remains robust within us.”

“Creativity is about having the courage to invent our lives – to concoct lovemaking games, cook up a new recipe, paint a kitchen cabinet, build sculptures on the beach and sing in the shower. Creativity is about our capacity to experience the core of our being and the full range of our humanness.  The question of how to become more creative is not about learning anything or even doing anything, but about allowing whatever arises to gain expression.  To do this, we must bypass the voice inside of us that says stop.  The censoring mind is clever and has an entire litany of reasons we must refrain from expressing ourselves: you are a bad dancer so sit back and watch while the skillful ones dance.  And you certainly can’t paint so don’t even try because you will embarrass yourself. You sing off-key and you can’t hold a rhythm – you will disturb everyone within earshot if you open your mouth.  And if you happen to disregard this sage advice, you will make a total fool of yourself and no one will ever love you or give you a job.  We obey this voice as if being guided by inner wisdom, but when we tune in, we hear a quieter voice calling out to us to express ourselves freely.  This is the voice that can liberate us.  If we listen and respond, our lives become rich with the pleasure creative freedom provides.”

“It is our nature to be free and it is our nature to express that freedom, spontaneously and without hesitation, through song, and dance, and painting, and poetry and prayer.  In the same way that the universe gives birth to uncountable shapes, forms, colors and beings in a grand panoply of flowing, changing manifestation, we too, are of the nature to give birth to myriad forms of expression.”

What are your thoughts regarding the excerpts from Nina Wise’s book?

Has someone you know ever stated “I am not creative.”?  Did you respond?

This week if you hear that voice that says “stop” when you think about painting, dancing, writing or inventing a new recipe put your fingers in your ears and go “la la la la la” until you can’t hear it anymore and then proceed with wild abandon to create without judgement, to create just for the sake of creating. Liberate yourself! Set aside time to just play and let go.  See what happens when you give yourself permission to just create without a specific purpose in mind.  What do you gravitate to first  – paints, crayons, scissors and glue?

As Greg Anderson so brilliantly put it

“Focus on the journey, not the destination. 

Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.”

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Nina Wise is known for her provocative and original performance works. Her pieces have garnered seven Bay Area Critics’ Circle Awards, and she has received, among other prestigious honors, three National Endowment for the Arts fellowships. Her written pieces have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies. Nina lives in San Rafael, California.
http://www.ninawise.com/

Jack Kornfield is one of the leading Buddhist teachers in America. A practitioner for over 40 years, he is one of the key teachers to introduce mindfulness and vipassana meditation to the West. His approach emphasizes compassion, lovingkindness and the profound path of mindful presence, all offered in simple, accessible ways in his books, CD’s, classes and retreats.