Category Archives: Uncategorized

Courage Doesn’t Always Roar

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Courage doesn’t always roar
Sometimes courage is the quiet voice
at the end of the day saying,
“I will try again tomorrow.”

courage campaign

Want to be part of making
dreams come true and
sharing inspirational messages?  

Why Mary Anne and Applied Insight
Need Your Help

Mary Anne is ready to inspire future generations with fresh work and delightful new energy (because evidently a quarter century of art and verses and a dozen books later she hasn’t even scratched the surface). So, she’s creating a new studio and artistic space in her home where she can host retreats and workshops and artists (oh my!), and where she can birth another glorious array of ideas and insights, art and words, to inspire generations to come.

She calls the new space “The APRON-AERIE,” where she dons boldly-colored aprons (often polka-dotted in nature) to create and inspire and to support others in doing the same. THAT’s what Kickstarter will help her do. One of our fabulous Kickstarter rewards levels gives you and a friend a 5-night, 6-day opportunity to spend uninterrupted time in the APRON-AERIE with customized artistic guidance from Mary Anne, enjoying rest, relaxation, creativity, and million-dollar views from her lovely studio and home on Whidbey Island. But there are so many more ways you can enjoy and celebrate her work.

Mary Anne Radmacher Apron-Aerie

Because while she’s doing all of that, the Applied Insight team will be busily bringing all of her inspiring new work to the world. In the form of cards and journals, art and affirmations–whatever touchstones will help people remember to act boldly, embrace courage, and live with intention. To do this, our Kickstarter campaign will help launch an exquisite new line of wall art, journals, stationery, and quote cards that people have been asking for (ok, demanding) for many, many months. Mary Anne creates. We bring it to the world. You love it (and live it) every day. Everyone wins.

Those who have followed Mary Anne’s career know that she is far more inclined to ask for help for others (and often does so with grace and compassion). Applied Insight knows this about her and we are asking for help on behalf of this whole endeavor.

 

It takes courage
to change your style,
your opinion,
th
e path you walk,
your hat!

It takes courage to let go
of the weighty parts of your past.
It takes courage to find your own voice.
It takes courage to reinvent joys,
to reinvent opportunities,
to reinvent dreams,
to reinvent connections…
to reinvent hopes that you have set aside.

There are only 7 days left to reach
the Kickstarter fundraising goal
and they are over half way there!

The goal is $43,700 and they have
reach $25,755 as of November 1st.
They must reach the goal by 4:52 pm next Saturday, Nov 8th

If they don’t reach the goal
they will not receive any of the funds.

Giving is easy and a joyful experience.
Be a part of making dreams come true
and ensuring that Mary Anne Radmacher’s 
inspirational words continue to be 
spread far and wide.

You can also receive beautiful gifts
in return for your giving,
come learn more by visiting
the Kickstarter page here.

 

Courage doesn't always roar

It takes courage
to recognize that rigid habit inhibits
It takes courage to accept
that the way you “have always been”
does not determine the way you are.

It takes courage
to stand in a place you didn’t know existed…
and learn from a view
you previously couldn’t imagine.
It takes courage to let go
of your assumptions
and fly you dreams as a
soaring invitation to become the best
version of yourself.

It takes courage to stand for your convictions.
It takes courage to give up control
and it takes courage to recognize
you are perfect just the way you are.

Change of any sort, requires courage…
Courage to write a new story of your life
with the pen of each day…
of every moment.

Tell yourself this little story when you need it –
“I have the courage to stand in whatever
the weather brings…
and understand that everything is washable.
Everything is fixable
and everything is replaceable
but by time and breath.”

Link to the Courage campaign video

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1279672343/courage-doesnt-always-roar/widget/video.html

Mojo Monday ~ Listening to Your Heart

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Listen_to_Your_Heart

Listening.

This is my focus this month.  

I am trying to quiet my mind that is known to race, make lists, check off to-do lists, focus on schedules and spiral or spin on a variety of subjects.

I am also attempting to get clearer on what makes my heart sing, what also brings me peace, happiness, contentment and joy.  

On May 2nd my listening to what speaks to me had me paying close attention to a post by Mary Anne Radmacher, a writer and artist I have long admired and found inspirational.  Here is what she shared on her Facebook page.

“What do you think of those ‘training opportunities’ that assure they will double, or triple your business activity? Hmmm. Just got a note from Twitter that they want to help me grow my business. So kind. A live stream webinar of experts teaching me how to optimize my twitter feed. Do I want to grow my business? Yes. Yes, I do. Do I want to grow my business applying a formula and rationale that is being taught to and applied by tens of thousands of people? I don’t think I do. When I offer something I’ve made, I tell about it. I show you. If I’m excited or touched or impacted, I tell you that, too. Sometimes I remember to link to twitter. Sometimes I don’t. But at least people know when I show up on social media it’s because I want to be there. I think formulas are great – and they are formulas because they work. That said, I think I’ll stick to my plod-along ” marketing formula.” What is that? Create fresh + meaningful message + sharing + showing = a business that feels good to me.”

This spoke to me when I read it.  I love how her focus is on creating fresh and meaningful messages, sharing and showing, and definitely connecting with other people.  This speaks to me as I explore my own dreams and goals.  I tucked this into my bag of inspirational messages for the month.

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This is also the month for the chapter called “Listening Woman” in The 13 Original Clan Mothers, by Jamie Sams.  Here is how the chapter begins:

Echoes of the Ancestors
Ride the Winds of Change,
Voices of the Creatures
Calling out my name.
Singing spirits on the breeze,
The crashing of waves to shore,
The poundings of Earth Mother’s heart
Teach me what to listen for.
In stillness, before dusk and dawn,
Hidden messages are set free.
Like the chants of my people,
Their rhythms speak to me.
My ears can hear this music,
And my heart can understand.
Clan Mother of Tiyoweh,
I am yours to command.
I listen for your whispers
On a course you will chart,
Searching for the still voice
That lives within my heart.

 

Quotation-Thor-Heyerdahl-live-people-university-listening-nature-Meetville-Quotes-76825 

One of my deep loves is to listen to music.  I love to really hear the lyrics and to seek out inspirational messages.  Here are two new songs that have my heart listening.  The first is called The Heart by a band called Needtobreathe.  The second is the song Love Me by Katy Perry.

Here is the official music video for the song The Heart by Needtobreathe

The Heart
Lyrics by Needtobreathe

Ain’t no gift like the present tense
Ain’t no love like an old romance
Got’sta make hay when the sun is shinin’
Can’t waste time when it comes time to dance

Slammin’ this door with a heavy hand
signin’ this line like a deed to land
keeping in touch with the windows down
Dreading this night since the rain hit the ground

[Chorus]
Long live the heart
Long live the soul
That knows what it wants
That piece you can find
That part is the whole
It never lets go

Always tryin to be the one outlaw
Goes where he wants never does get caught
Pushing this line like the Lord ain’t comin’
Building this house like they’re scared of something else

[Pre Chorus]
Be my winter in this living hell
Be my one last dying wishing well
oh well

[Chorus]
Long live the heart
Long live the soul
That knows what it wants
That piece you can find
That part is the whole
It never lets go

[Bridge]
Got’sta make hay when the sun is shinin
Can’t waste time when it comes time to dance
keeping in touch with the windows down
Dreading this night since the rain hit the ground

[Chorus]
Long live the heart
Long live the soul
That knows what it wants
That piece you can find
That part is the whole
It never lets go

[Chorus]
Long live the heart
Long live the soul
That knows what it wants
No matter how far
How heavy this load
It never lets go

There is no official video for the song Love Me by Katy Perry, but here is a fanmade video that paired the song with a promotional video for Katy Perry’s perfume.  

Love Me
Lyrics by Katy Perry

I lost myself in fear of losing you
I wish I didn’t do, but I did
I lost my own, my own identity
Forgot that you picked me, for me

But now, I don’t negotiate with insecurities
They always seem to get the best of me
I found I had to love myself, the way I want you to

Love me, no more second guessing
No, there’s no more questioning
I’ll be the one defining who I’m gonna be
No concealing feelings, or changing seasonally
I’m gonna love myself, the way I want you to love me

Sometimes I wish my skin was a costume
That I could just unzip, and strip
But who I am is who I’m meant to be
And it’s who you are in love, in love with
So now, I don’t negotiate with insecurities
You’re gonna have to take a back seat
I know I have to love myself, the way I want you to

Love me, no more second guessing
No, there’s no more questioning
I’ll be the one defining who I’m gonna be
No concealing feelings, or changing seasonally
I’m gonna love myself, the way I want you to love me

No more standing in my own way
Let’s get deeper, let’s get closer
No more standing in my own way
(I want you to love me)
No more standing in my own way
Let’s get deeper, let’s get closer
No more standing in my own way
(I want you to love me)

No more second guessing
No, there’s no more questioning
I’ll be the one defining who I’m gonna be
No concealing my feelings, or changing seasonally
I’m gonna love myself, the way I want you to love me

No more second guessing
No, there’s no more questioning
I’ll be the one defining who I’m gonna be
No concealing feelings, or changing seasonally
I’m gonna love myself, the way I want you to love me


Quiet and listen near a little stream

This week (or month) carve out some time to listen.  

What catches your attention when you make it a priority?  

Even when reading what jumps out at you when you listen with your heart?

Seek out some new music.  Listen to a new-to-you band.  What do you hear?

Go outside and soak in the sounds of nature.  How do the sounds make you feel?

When a loved one speaks to you really listen and then also try focusing on listening with your heart. Does anything change when you place a focus on it?

Can You See Me?

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CC Magazine Logo (1)

 

Today in Cosmic Cowgirls Magazine
is my latest article called

Can You See Me

One of the more powerful and moving experiences of my life was at a Cosmic Cowgirl member conference two years ago.  One of our leading members, Carmen Baraka, led us through a beautiful ceremony that involved each of us standing face-to-face with another member, while holding hands and gazing into one another eyes.  The words we then spoke from the heart were “I see you.  You are my sister.”   We then moved down a person and repeated the same actions and words. There was a great deal of emotion in the eyes and voices of each woman, some who may have only met for the first time that weekend.  Yet,  for me in that moment, I felt like we were really seeing past all the exterior masks, that the veils had been lifted, and we were seeing into the very souls of one another.  I felt deeply moved by the experience and wished for all of humanity to connect in that soul to soul way, as it was healing and inspirational.

Click this link Can You See Me or the one above to visit Cosmic Cowgirls Magazine to read the full article.

 

 

Mojo Monday ~ Creative Anxiety

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anxietygirl

Are you every plagued by creative anxiety? I know that I am at times transformed into Anxiety Woman.  My anxiety levels have grown due to stresses at the day job last year, taking determined steps forward in pursuing the dream of getting published, as well as offering some of my art and photographs for purchase via Fine Art America.

My anxiety can also grow more pronounced if I am struggling with my writing or coming up with the right approach for my monthly article for Cosmic Cowgirls Magazine.  If my deadline is looming, or has come and gone, then the anxiety really starts to squeeze me in its grips.  Occasionally I wonder why I continue to put myself through it all, yet I know that creating artistically and writing are two of the key things that feed my soul and are positive things that I contribute to this world.  Yet, there are still times where I fear that all my endeavors may be for naught.

I have also had unusually high day job stresses this past year.  I also know that there are things I can do, and could be doing more, to help relieve the anxiety and stress that is part of creating and living life.  Sometimes I do those things, such as get plenty of sleep, eat well and exercise.  Yet, if I get into a loop of being tired, not exercising regularly and I stress eat on top of it, then the cycle becomes quite vicious and I feel less healthy and unable to cope with the pressures.  This pattern has been going on for several months now and went seeking some new inspiration.  I found some in a book written by an author who has done extensive writing on the subject of creativity,

artistanxiety2

In the book Mastering Creative Anxiety: 24 Lessons for Writers, Painters, Musicians and Actors from America’s Foremost Creative Coach, author Eric Maisle, PhD shares insight from his many years as a psychotherapist and creative coach to tackle the subject of creative anxiety.  Maisle begins right in the introduction by asking a series of questions.

Are you creating less often than you would like?
Are you avoiding your creative work altogether?
Do you procrastinate?
Do you resist getting to your work or marketing your work?
Do you have trouble deciding which creative project to tackle?
Do you find completing work hard?

He then shares that anxiety may be the culprit.  He writes “Anxiety regularly stops creative people in their tracks and makes their experience of creating more painful than pleasurable.  It stops would-be creative people entirely, preventing them from realizing their dreams.  Anxiety is the number one problem that creative people face –and yet few even realize it.”  Fortunately Maisle wrote his book with the intention of offering anxiety management techniques and strategies to help readers learn to manage their anxiety skillfully and realistically.

The book includes 24 chapters focused on different types of anxiety that may affect the creative person and process.  Here is the comprehensive list of topics:

The Anxiety of…

Creating and Not Creating
Mattering and Not Mattering
Identity
Individuality
Choosing the Creative Life
Surviving
Day Jobs
Choosing
Compromising
Possibility
Working
Thinking
Ruining
Failing
Completing
Attaching and Caring
Ego Bruising
Performing
Selling
Promoting
Procrastinating
Waiting
Repeating
Success

Let me begin by sharing some excerpts from Chapter 1 – The Anxiety of Creating and Not Creating.

“Anxiety is part of the human condition.  and it is a much larger part than most people realize.  A great deal of what we do in life we do to reduct our experience of anxiety or to avoid anxiety altogether.  Our very human defensiveness is one of the primary ways that we avoid experiencing anxiety.  If something is about to make us anxious we deny it that it is happening, make ourselves sick so that we can concentrate on our sickness, get angry at our mate so as to have something else to focus on, and so on.  We are very tricky creatures in this regard.

We are also very wonderful creatures who have it in us to create.  Creativity is the word we use for our desire to make use of our inner resources, employ our imagination, knit together our thoughts and feelings into beautiful things such as songs, quilts, or novels, and feel like the hero of our own story. It is the way that we make manifest our potential, make us of our intelligence, and embrace what we love.  When we create, we feel whole, useful, and devoted.  Unfortunately, we often feel anxious as we create or contemplate creating.  There are many reasons for this — the subject of our twenty-four lessons.  We get anxious because we fear failing, because we fear disappointing ourselves, because the work can be extremely hard, because the marketplace may criticize us and reject us.  We want to create, but we also don’t want to create so as to spare ourselves all this anxiety.  That is the simple, profound dilemma that millions of people find themselves in.”

Here are some of the author’s initial thoughts on how to deal with creative anxiety:

“To create and to deal with all the anxiety that comes with creating, you must acknowledge and accept that anxiety is part of the process, demand of yourself that you will learn — and really practice! — anxiety management skills so that you can master the anxiety that arises, and get on with your creating and your anxiety management.  It is too tragic not to create if creating is what you long to do, and there is no reason for you not to create if ‘all’ that is standing in the way is your quite human, very ordinary experience of anxiety.  It is time to become an anxiety expert and get on with your creating!”

Eric Maisel then leads into special sections that appear in each chapter called Headline, To Do, Vow, Teaching Tale and Your Anxiety Mastery Menu. In the Headline the author boils the topic down into a concise focus.  That is followed by the To Do in which he gives clear instructions on an action or actions to take.  He then offers a Vow that the reader can apply with a personal focus.  The next to last section is the Teaching Tale in which a story illustrates the lesson of the chapter. The final section Your Anxiety Master Menu is where the author offers tools and reminders to really enacting changes that are anxiety reducers.

Let us review the Headline, To Do and Vow together for Chapter 1.

Chapter 1 – The Anxiety of Creating and Not Creating

Headline – “Since both creating and not creating produce anxiety in anyone who wants to create, you might as well embrace the fact that anxiety will accompany you on  your journey as a creative person — whether or not you are getting on with your work.  Just embracing that reality will release a lot of the ambient anxiety that you feel.  Since anxiety accompanies both states — creating and not creating — why not choose creating?”

To Do – “Pic your next creative project or return to your current one with a new willingness to accept the reality of anxiety.  To help reduce your experience of anxiety, remember to breathe deeply, speak positively to yourself, and affirm that your creative life matters to you.  If some anxiety remains, create anyway!”

Vow – “I will create, even if doing so provokes anxiety; and when it does, I will manage it through the use of the anxiety management skills and techniques I am learning and practicing.”

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The author Eric Maisle, PhD, has truly comprehensively covered the topic of creative anxiety in this book.  Here are some more insightful excerpts for you, along with some of his recommendations for handling the anxiety provoking situation.

Chapter 2 – The Anxiety of Mattering and Not Mattering

“The biggest challenge facing a creative person is keeping the belief firmly in place that what she is attempting matters to her.  A creative person’s main challenge is therefore existential; she easily loses the sense that what she is doing matters, given how hard it is to do the work well, how difficult the marketplace feels, and all the rest.”

Headline – “Anxiety arises in us when we fear that our efforts do not matter, and it arises in us when we do the creative work that matters to us.  Since anxiety will arise in either case, decide to do the work that matters to you, even if doing so provokes anxiety.”

To Do – “Opt to matter.  This is a decision, not a given! Decide to be the hero of your own story and to prove the exception by doing your creative work, despite your doubts, anxieties, and life’s difficulties.  Plan for your creative work, schedule your creative work into your daily routine (preferable first thing each morning), and do it despite your doubts about you, the marketplace, and the universe.”

Vow – “I matter, and my creative efforts matter.”

Chapter 3 – The Anxiety of Individuality

“Creativity is an expression of individuality, an expression of a person’s desire to manifest her potential, to speak in her own voice, to have her own opinions, and to do her own work.  What distinguishes the creative person from other people is her felt sense of individuality.  Many people are born conventional and find it easy to follow the crowd; only some people are born with a strong desire to assert their individuality.”

Headline – “When your sense of who you are does not match your sense of who you ought to be, you experience anxiety.  Become the person you long to see in the mirror, and match your reality to your vision of your authentic self.”

To Do – “Actively become your best version of yourself by working on your personality.  Begin by identifying the traits and qualities you want to shed and the traits and qualities you want to nurture.  Choose one from each list, and make a plan for eliminating the one and increasing the other.”

Vow – “I will strip away all the personality bits that are not me, add the traits that I need, and create and stand behind my authentic self.”

Chapter 7 – The Anxiety of Day Jobs

“A day job is a job whose primary meaning — or only meaning — is that it allows you to survive while you work on your are and your art career.  Some day jobs are satisfying in their own right, some are completely unsatisfying, some are more like second careers with their own perks and their own success ladder, and some are simple dead-end positions that go nowhere and aren’t meant to go anywhere.  What they all have in common, to lesser but often to greater degrees, is that they provoke their own special anxieties.

job anxietyFirst of all, they are jobs, with all the pressures that jobs entail…Second there is the worry — the anxiety — that you will have to work day jobs for a much longer time than you ever imagined, maybe forever.  You are banking on your creative efforts paying off, and the more it looks like you won’t be able to live on those creative efforts, the more the specter of day jobs remaining a central time-wasting, spirit-killing, mind-numbing part of your life grow.  It is one thing to work a day job at age twenty-four while you write your first screenplay.  It is quite another to work a day job at age forty-four as you struggle to fine the wherewithal to write your tenth screenplay after the first nine haven’t sold.  Day job anxiety are inextricably connected.  Your first day job will feel like a lark.  Will your twentieth?”

Headline – “Day jobs come with their own set of anxieties, from mean bosses to the experience of time being wasted.  Get ready.

To Do – “Think through the following interrelated three-part conundrum: 1) Should I work a day job and do any art I like, even art I know is unlikely to sell, hoping against hope that what I create will in fact be wanted? 2) Should I work a day job but do art that I think is likely to sell, so as to increase my chances of one day being able to give up my day job? 3) Should I choose a second career rather than a string of day jobs?  What are the pluses and minuses of each choice?”

Vow – “I will do my best to make sense of the role that day jobs play in my life — and if they must have a place, then I will effectively manage the anxiety that they invariable provoke.”

Chapter 11 – The Anxiety of Working

“Many different anxieties arise as we tackle our work.  The three main reasons that we experience so much anxiety as we do our creative work are 1) that our self-talk tend to let us down rather than support us, providing us with anxious-making ideas such as ‘I ca’t possibly pull this off’ or ‘I have not idea what I’m doing’; 2) that we doubt the quality of our work as we measure it against the very high standards of the art we love and as we strive to make it excellent; and 3) that the very nature of the creative process causes our work to morph before out eyes and comes with no guarantees whatsoever.  Our self-talk, our desire for excellence, and the process itself all make us anxious.”

Headline – “Creating makes us anxious.  There are countless reasons for this, so many reasons that if we laid them all out they would stretch from wherever you find yourself to the door of your studio.  Open that door anyway.”

To Do – Do you creative work, even if doing it makes you anxious.  Do not avoid it; do not talk yourself out of it; do not desire the process to be different from what it is.  Do the work directly in front of you; the work you want and ought to do.”

Vow – “I will do my creative work and forthrightly deal with any anxiety that arises.”

Chapter 14 – The Anxiety of Failing

“What fears are actually involved?  That you will be proven to have insufficient talent, that you will learn that you can’t trust your instincts and your choices, that you will be forced to live that other ‘real job’ life, and that your heart will be broken as your dreams go up in smoke.  No wonder you get anxious at the prospect of a project failing, and by extrapolation and implication, your entire creative life failing!”

Headline – “We hate failing, and our first line of defense against failing is not trying.  Do not go this route.  Rather, do your creative work and refuse to label any of your honest efforts as failures.”

To Do – “Really spend time with the cognitive idea of reframing.  You want to have a serious discussion with yourself about how to reframe the concept of failure so that the possibility of failure is either eliminated or at the very least greatly reduced.  This is not a linguistic game but you learning for yourself that, through lack of self-friendliness, you have misnamed certain events and called them failures when they were not.”

Vow – “I will do my work and not worry about failing.  In fact, I think I may just banish the word failure from my vocabulary.”

performance-anxietyChapter 18 – The Anxiety of Performing

“Performance — which includes the act of coming to the blank page or the blank canvas, as well as standing up in front of an audience — is a classic anxiety producer.  It is so potent an anxiety producer because it consists of a great many different fears: the fear of being seen as flawed, the fear of criticism, the fear of disappointing people, the fear of being in power, the fear of embarrassment and humiliation, the fear of imperfection, the fear of loss of control, and even more dramatic fears like the fear of loss of love and approval and the fear of annihilation.  Performance anxiety is made up of such a long list of fears that it is no wonder so many people dread performing.”

Headline – “Performance anxiety, because it is made up of so many pressing fears, afflicts almost everyone.  You can probably only avoid it by not performing: by not writing, by not painting, by not networking, by not getting up onstage.  Your best bet is to accept that it is coming and to prepare yourself.”

To Do – “Make sure you have at least one or two anxiety management techniques in place to deal with performance anxiety.  Two of the best in this regard are discharge techniques (such as silently screaming) and reorienting techniques (in which you move your attention away from the performance).  Choose your techniques, practice them, and make sure they work by using them in performance situations.”

Vow – “I will perform, even though performing makes me anxious.”

Chapter 19 – The Anxiety of Selling

“This selling provokes anxiety.  One way to deal with this anxiety is simply not to enter the fray.  This might sound like ‘I paint for myself’ or ‘I’ll find someone else to do the selling’ or ‘I don’t care who reads my writing — I do it for the process.’  Some people do indeed create for themselves and do not need to enter the fray.  But many people who say that they are creating only for themselves say that because the marketplace seems too daunting and anxiety provoking.  You will have to decide what is true for you: if you decided not to enter the marketplace with your wares, is that because you are truly creating for yourself or because the marketplace feels too complex, hostile, and frightening?”

Headline – “Most creative people find that selling provokes anxiety.  If you are in this large category, opt for dealing with the anxiety rather than avoiding the marketplace.”

To Do – “Go over your anxiety mastery menu and think through how each of the strategies might work in the context of reducing your selling anxiety.  If one of two stand out as possibilities, practice them and begin to use them in your marketplace dealings.”

Vow – “If I intend to have a career in the arts, I will not let anxiety stop me from marketing energetically.”

Chapter 20 – The Anxiety of Promoting

“Life is indeed Darwinian.  You may not personally feel that you are competing with another creative person, and in fact you may feel nothing but kinship for your brother and sister creators.  But you and your creative products are nevertheless competing with every other creative person’s wares for the attention of buyers and for a foot in the marketplace.  You know in your heart that self-promotion and product promotion are probably more important ingredients in the success of a song, novel, painting, or play that the quality of the product.  This thought may sadden or anger you — but feeling upset won’t make this reality go away.”

Headline – “Promotional tasks such as being interviewed, speaking in front of audiences, and making pitches to potential partners make most people anxious.  Get ready for these tasks and get ready for the accompanying anxiety.”

To Do – Picture yourself promoting yourself and your creative products.  What do you see yourself doing?  If you can’t get a clear picture, presume that anxiety is getting in the way.  Use one of your anxiety-management tools to calm yourself, and then try again to visualize promoting yourself and your creative products.  Continue with this exercise until you have a clear, distinct vision of you promoting.”

Vow – “I will promote what I create.  That is how I advocate for me work and have a career.  If some anxiety accompanies my promotion efforts, I will deal with it.”

Chapter 22 – The Anxiety of Waiting

“Creative people wait.  We wait as we put our wares into the marketplace and wait for a literary agent, club owner, or gallery own to say yes.  We wait as a project incubates — even as we are working on this story, we know that we are really waiting on that story, the one we truly want to write but that isn’t available to us yet.  Even as we work to get it, we wait for our next acting opportunity, our next screenwriting opportunity, the next chance to get our symphony heart, the next chance to get our performance piece performed, the next change to get our installation installed.  We are active, busy, maybe too busy — and also waiting, waiting, waiting.”

Headline – “Waiting is surprisingly taxing and produces more anxiety that you might imagine.  Remember to keep busy, get a grip on your mind, and deal with the anxiety that remains.”

To Do – “Sit down and describe for yourself what tactics you will use whenever you find yourself waiting, whether for a job opportunity, a response from a marketplace player, or an idea to arrive.  List the different sorts of waiting you will have to endure, what you will do in each case, and what anxiety-management tool you will employ in case anxiety wells up as you wait.”

Vow – “I acknowledge the reality that waiting is a regular feature of the creative process and the creative life, and I will learn ways to make waiting less oppressive and nerve-racking.”

What are your thoughts and experiences with creative anxiety?

Are there any in particular that are more potent than others?

Have you developed skills and techniques to deal with anxiety in your life?

If the topic of creative anxiety is one you wish to explore further I recommend getting your own copy of the book Mastering Creative Anxiety.  This post has shared just a small amount of the valuable ideas and techniques that the author covers. 

Eric_MaiselAbout the author –

“Eric Maisel, PhD, is the author of over forty book and widely regarded as American’s foremost creativity coach.  He trains creativity coaches nationally and internationally and provides core training for the Creativity Coaching Association.  Eric is a columnist for Art Calendar magazine and is currently building the fields of meaning coaching and existential cognitive-behavioral therapy (ECBT). His books include Coaching the Artist Within, Creative Recovery, Fearless Creating, The Van Gogh Blues, and a score of others.  He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his family.”

His website is www.ericmaisel.com

Mojo Monday ~ What’s the Word?

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Resolution postcards from 1915

Early 20th-century New Year’s resolution postcards

A new year can feel like it offers up fresh starts, new beginnings, and opportunities to do things differently. I found myself wondering how long the tradition of proclaiming resolutions has been around.  I did a little reading and found that Wikipedia had some interesting notes about the topic.  “A New Year’s resolution is a secular tradition, most common in the Western Hemisphere but also found in the Eastern Hemisphere, in which a person makes a promise to do an act of self-improvement or something slightly nice, such as opening doors for people beginning from New Year’s Day.”

While resolutions may appear to be a secular concept Wikipedia also offered some of the religious origins of this practice.  “The ancient Babylonians made promises to their gods at the start of each year that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts.  The Romans began each year by making promises to the god Janus, for whom the month of January is named.  In the Medieval era, the knights took the “peacock vow” at the end of the Christmas season each year to re-affirm their commitment to chivalry. At watchnight services, many Christians prepare for the year ahead by praying and making these resolutions. There are other religious parallels to this tradition. During Judaism’s New Year, Rosh Hashanah, through the High Holidays and culminating in Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), one is to reflect upon one’s wrongdoings over the year and both seek and offer forgiveness. People may act similarly during the Catholic fasting period of Lent, though the motive behind this holiday is more of sacrifice than of responsibility, in fact the practice of New Year’s resolutions partially came from the Lenten sacrifices.  The concept, regardless of creed, is to reflect upon self-improvement annually.”

Calvin and Hobbes

This year I have noted many people, in lieu of sharing resolutions focused on improving oneself, (ie one of the common ones involves joining a gym, working out 7 days a week and losing weight) are instead choosing resolutions regarding doing things that makes one happier.  Part of this shift is a movement away from the guilt that accompanies not following through on resolutions and they might be onto something.  According to a “2007 study by Richard Wiseman from the University of Bristol involving 3,000 people showed that 88% of those who set New Year resolutions fail, despite the fact that 52% of the study’s participants were confident of success at the beginning. Men achieved their goal 22% more often when they engaged in goal setting (a system where small measurable goals are being set; such as, a pound a week, instead of saying ‘lose weight’), while women succeeded 10% more when they made their goals public and got support from their friends.”

1544505_10152179168470992_1761420284_nI have also noted a lot more people sharing how they have chosen a word for the year.  Artist Kelly Rae Roberts has shared that her word for 2014 is trust.  She shared this on Facebook: “My word for 2014 is trust. I’m gonna practice trusting my little heart out. Trust in others. Trust in new beginnings. Trust my voice. Trust the leaps, the falls, and the timing of it all. I can tell that 2014 is gonna be epic.”

Artist Pixie Campbell also wrote about selecting a word for each year on her blog.  Her word this year is Mother and I encourage you to go visit her site and read more about this choice.

What is your word for this year? (I’ll share mine later.)

A great post to read about finding closure for 2013 as you embark upon 2014 is also by Kelly Rae Roberts.  Pop on over to this blog post of hers and enjoy her always insightful musings.  Here are the key questions she addresses to close out her year:

1. What do you want to acknowledge yourself for in regard to 2013? (What did you create? What challenges did you face with courage and strength? What promises did you keep to yourself? What brave choices did you make? What are you proud of?)  

2. What is there to grieve about 2013? (What was disappointing? What was scary? What was hard? What can you forgive yourself for?) 

3. What else do you need to say about the year to declare it complete? The next step is to say out loud, “I declare 2013 complete!” How do you feel? If you don’t feel quite right, there might be one more thing to say…

My hubby and I have a tradition for New Years Eve that involves us reading a letter we wrote for one another the year before.  We also do two inspirational card readings.  The first is with the Lakota Sweat Lodge cards that my husband has owned for many years.  We then select from one of my decks of cards and do a second reading.  This year we used a new deck called The Enchanted Map.  We record our readings in the same journal each year that is reserved for this annual ritual.  Here some photos showing two of the readings.

Lakota Sweat Lodge Cards

Lakota Sweat Lodge Cards

Enchanted Map Cards

Enchanted Map Cards

I haven’t really ever selected a word as part of my new year ceremony.  This year however after reading the first posting by Rob Brezsny my word came to me. The recommendation for me was as follows: “Deep bronzes and smoky cinnamons and dark chocolates will be your lucky colors in 2014. Mellow mahoganies and resonant russets will work well for you, too. They will all be part of life’s conspiracy to get you to slow down, deepen your perspective, and slip into the sweetest groove ever. In this spirit, I urge you to nestle and cuddle and caress more than usual in the coming months. If you aren’t totally clear on where home is, either in the external world or inside your heart, devote yourself to finding it. Hone your emotional intelligence. Explore your roots. On a regular basis, remember your reasons for loving life. Stay in close touch with the sources that feed your wild soul.”   (If you want to read yours click here.)

My word, as it came to me in that forecast, is Groove.  The meaning for me has to do with release, flow, easing into, relaxing, movement, sensuality, letting go and breathing.  Here is my creative expression with my word so that I can hang it up as a reminder through the year.

Groove by Michelle Fairchild

Groove by Michelle Fairchild

How does your word translate into art?  

Could you dance it, sing it, write poetry about it, paint it, sculpt it, photograph it or plant it?

Tears of Transformation

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CC Magazine Logo (1)

Today in Cosmic Cowgirls Magazine is my latest article called

Tears of Transformation

“Walks Tall Woman felt the tears of transformation run like slow moving, lazy rivers down her cheeks. The truth had taken root in her heart and the impregnated seed of change had been planted in her womb. It would gestate until it was time in the future for the Clan Mother to give birth to her new, more vulnerable self. She quietly sat and reflected on the words Mountain Lion had spoken before she asked a question. ‘How can I be an example to other women, Mountain Lion, when I have to learn these lessons for myself?’

Click this link Tears of Transformation or the one above to visit Cosmic Cowgirls Magazine to read the full article.

 

Mojo Monday ~ Courageous Acts of Art

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Art is a personal act of courage,
something one human does
that creates change in another.
– Seth Godin –

In the past couple of days there were two stories I came across that are completely unrelated, except for an invisible red thread that I saw connecting them.   I recognized in both stories some common messages about the power of art.  Both are also stories about courage and how art can save lives and transform challenge and hardship into beauty and creativity.

AliceHerzSommerTheTimes

Alice Herz Sommer photograph from The Times

Let me introduce you first to Alice Herz Sommer, who just turned 110 years old in November and is the world’s oldest pianist and holocaust survivor.  In July 1943, Alice, her husband, and their six-year-old son Raphael were sent to Theresienstadt concentration camp.  Theresienstadt was originally designated as a model community for middle-class Jews from Germany, Czechoslovakia, and Austria.  Many educated Jews were inmates of Theresienstadt.  In a propaganda effort designed to fool the Western allies, the Nazis publicized the camp for its rich cultural life.  Alice played more than 100 concerts in the camp along with other musicians.  Her young son Raphael remained in the camp with her, performing in a children’s  chorus at the camp.  Unfortunately her husband, Leopold Sommer, was later sent to Auschwitz and although he survived the camp, he died at Dachau  in 1944.

As a child in Prague, Alice spent weekends and holidays in the company of Uncle Franz (Franz Kafka) and other notable figures like Gustav Mahler, Sigmund Freud, and Rainer Maria Rilke who were friendly with her mother.  When Alice moved to Israel after the war, Golda Meir attended her house concerts, as did Arthur Rubinstein, Leonard Bernstein, and Isaac Stern. Today Alice lives in London, where she still practices piano for hours every day.  Alice has been victorious in her ability to live a life without bitterness and she credits music as the key to her survival, as well as her ability to acknowledge the humanity in each person.  Here is a short featurette from a documentary made about Alice called The Lady In Number 6.

Camille Seaman

The next story is about Camille Seaman who is currently a 2013 TED Senior Fellow and a Stanford Knight Fellow.  I was introduced to Camille by a wonderful syndicated interview by Richard Whittaker called Camille Seaman: We All Belong to Earth.  Camille has many artistic talents, but she has become most well known as a photographer.

Let me share with you first Camille shares about being introduced to photography as a teenager in the interview:

So in high school they recognized that I was at risk of getting into trouble, ending up pregnant, on drugs or whatever. So they put me in this after school program and they gave me a Nikkormat film camera. They took away the manual and said I’d have to figure out how to use it. They taught me how to bulk load black and white film. They taught me how to develop using an enlarger and chemicals, all that. Then they said go out and photograph your experience.  I didn’t realize it, but that probably saved my life because I was given something creative in my hands, so I could express whatever anger, frustration or emotions I was feeling as this teenager. So I did. I photographed everything; all my friends, all of our adventures. I realized having that camera in my hands gave me excuses to be somewhere in a positive way.

Later on in the interview Camille shares about her experience with facing fear while she learns to surf. Let me share an excerpt with you.

     I was like, okay. I started to try to paddle out and my balance was terrible. It felt really awkward. The water was so dark, cold and murky. This was at Bolinas and the Farallons were 29 miles away. And there were all of these great white sharks out there, which meant they could possibly be here. That was all I could think about and I freaked out. I turned to him and was like, “Oliver, I’m scared.” He turned and looked at me and then he paddled away. And I was so mad. I was so angry. I was like, “Oh my god! He was my friend since we were like 16 years old and he just abandoned me.”
I tried for a while and then it was like, forget this. I got out of the water and just waited for him. I was like you’ve got to get out sometime. And when he came out and I asked, “How could you? I told you I was afraid and you just left me.” And he said something that really resonated. It was really a great truth. He said, “No one can teach you to manage your fears, but you.” And he was right.
From that day on, I would go out and I would sit on the board. I got a little better at paddling. I got a little better with the balance. And I still sometimes would freak out. Then I would be like, okay, what’s the worst that could happen? Well, a shark could bite you and kill you. Well, is that happening now? No. Okay. You know, you kind of just work through it. What’s the worst that can happen? Well, I can drown. Is that happening now? No. So I surfed for over a year every day. And then I was hooked.

Camille’s courage, love of adventure and travel and a free plane ticket later lead her to fly to the Arctic Circle.  There is a point where she is fives mile away from the nearest town and all she can see in all directions is just white and she has an epiphany.

 On this extreme part of our planet I was realizing that I was a creature of this planet, that I was literally made of the material of this planet—that we all are. And in those moments, I realized the absurdity of tribe, of border, of culture, of language—because at the bottom of it all, we are all made of this material. We are all earthlings. There is no separation. There is no distinction. None of us were born in outer space. We will all return to the material of this earth.
What was so clear was that I was standing on my rock in space. I understood the immensity, and also the minuscule nature of that. I understood that I meant nothing in the scale of time and space and history of this planet. That it would blow over my cold dead bones without a thought. But the fact that I could stand there on the ice and actually ponder such things was a miracle. That was a self-realization at its finest. It made me realize what my grandfather was trying to show me.
I started to think about that; if my sweat becomes the rain, whose sweat is this ice? How many ancestors ago, what creatures created this? They’re all my relations, all my relatives. And in that, I understood the integral nature of this planet—that we truly are a web of life.

Here are two of her amazing photos.

The Last Iceberg

The Last Iceberg photo by Camille Seaman

 

Photo by Camille Seaman

Photo by Camille Seaman

Here is a TED talk given by Camille about her iceberg photography experiences.


The experiences of these two women inspired me.  What are your thoughts?

Creativity and art (music and photography) play significant roles in Alice and Camille’s lives.  What forms of creativity and art play a role in your life?

This post began with a quote by Seth Godin that reads: Art is a personal act of courage, something one human does that creates change in another.  Do you agree with this quote?  Have you ever felt changed by an experience with art?