Creativity….

A few weeks back I thought I was bored, or maybe even a little down. What I realized it I hadn’t had any creative time in over a month.  Yes the house needs attention, as do the dogs, the accounting, the world it seems, but I learned that if I don’t get my time to create and just be….I’m no good to anyone.  It’s almost as important to me as water or food.  So when I saw Danielle Laporte’s post within the same week it was too good to pass up and not share!

Check out her stuff on http://www.daniellelaporte.com.  Her books are pure magic!

Criticising your creative process? No baby, no.

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I don’t want to starve for my art. I don’t want to bleed for it. And I certainly don’t want to be all judgey and perfectionistic and pseudo motivated(read: punishing) about HOW I MAKE my art.

(Note: I’ve bled for other things — men, money, ideas, deep angsty longing for communion with a god figure. I’m over it. Back to my art…)

I used to be critical about my creative process. So sad. It was part of my self-improvement affliction. Because if there’s a better way to be myself (I hope you see the humour in that), then there must also be a better way to get better at finding the best way to be…better.

This is how I used to regard my creative process:

Focus issues. Lack of patience. Too insular. Workaholic.

This is how I see my creative process now:

Focused. Swift. Centered. Turned on.

What changed? Nothing. Just my perspective. So, everything.

FOCUSED

I thought I struggled with focus. Sometimes, mid-article, I want to wander over to Pinterest and pin lusty things on my Man, O Man board. Or I just have to text my girlfriend about that obscure song reference we heard in a movie soundtrack, or about really important things like, Is Beyonce still a vegan? I also shop online late at night for kimonos. That’s never a bad thing (because you can never have too many kimonos), but it tends to happen while I’m “working”.

I wondered if I was just easily bored, but that’s not it (and BTW, I’m cynical about bored and cynical people because there’s so much to find interesting).  It’s not that I easily lose focus. It’s that I prefer to be really engaged. Luckily, this is easy to make happen: I just work on stuff that I’m passionate about in that moment — no grinding.

I also got down on myself for being distractible, but it turned out that all I really needed was…a break. I was talking to Martha Beck in my Beautiful Writer’s Group podcast and she told us that she never writes on one subject for more than an hour. That’s it! Rhythm. It’s all about creating rhythm. And rhythm requires movement — which often looks distracted — but it’s movement.

SWIFT

I worship at the altar of word economy. I usually finish a painting in one or two sessions. I used to be down on myself for this. Like, if I grew up and laboured more over a book chapter or acrylic tonality, it would all have more merit. The fact is, I instinctively write and paint quickly. And it usually works out, meaning — I often get my point across in a way that’s effectual, maybe even pleasurable on a good day. I’m not in a race. I just have a lot to say.

CENTERED

I go on regular inspiration diets. I don’t read other people’s work when I’m writing my own books. I don’t want to be influenced. I want to write about my own experience in my own words. Maybe I should do more “research”, I used to think. But the only way to research your own experience is to be still….with yourself.

TURNED ON

I can go days without working but I never go long without an idea. Last week I was earring-deep in the juiciest paragraph on porn, morality, sex, and the sacred — it was GOOD, I was on a roll, I’d been ruminating on it for months. Then, my awesome kid walked in with his guitar and my work day was officially, blissfully over then and there. Because life was right in front of me, with a new chord. I pull over to the side of the road with #truthbombs to write down. I once wrote a poem on the way to a funeral. Some of my emails to girlfriends turn into blog posts. I’ve ditched deadlines for yoga and loving. I’ve worked through a business deal with pneumonia. I walked away from a big offer because I wanted to…just stay home instead. I work when I want to.

 

Late at night, when it’s really inconvenient, painstakingly slow, in a flurry of sexy madness… All at once. Once in awhile. In a barn, sprinting, loudly. At the kitchen table before dawn….However and whatever it takes….

Make stuff that feels good to make — your way.

 

All yes,

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You have got to try this!

This is the best desert in a long time.  Still healthy, even paleo if you want or need it to be.  It’s sweet without the fake sickeningly sweet, and oh man if you use cacao instead of cocoa, you make it superfood worthy!

Chocolate Avocado Pudding (Paleo, Vegan).

See? Looks just like regular chocolate pudding! You can’t taste the avocado, it just adds a really nice creaminess. And of course it adds some nice nutritional benefits as well, like lots of good, healthy fats. Dessert without the guilt.

CHOCOLATE AVOCADO PUDDING (PALEO, VEGAN).
PREP TIME
5 mins
TOTAL TIME
5 mins
This avocado chocolate pudding is a healhy and delicious treat!
Author: The Pretty Bee
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 2
INGREDIENTS
  • 1 medium avocado, ripe
  • 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 Tablespoons honey for Paleo diet OR 2 Tablespoons agave nectar for vegans
  • 6 Tablespoons almond milk
  • optional: pistachios or other nut for topping
METHOD
  1. Cut open the avocado and scoop out the pit. Cut it into large chunks and put in the blender.
  2. Add the cocoa, honey or agave, and almond milk. Blend, starting on low and then moving to high speed until it is smooth.
  3. If the avocado is larger, you will need a bit more of each ingredient. If it is too thick, drizzle in a bit more almond milk. Add more cocoa or honey or agave to taste.
  4. Refrigerate the pudding and serve cold. Top with pistachios or other nuts. Enjoy!

Lots of anger around these days…

I talked about this in one of my yoga classes recently that there is just so much anger around us.  Whether it’s anger over politics (yep that a hot button) and/or the media’s coverage of such, something is driving anger in America and it is showing even on Facebook where folks don’t have to be brave to be awful to each other.

So what’s the answer?  Practice compassion is mine.  If I am compassionate with myself I can be compassionate with others.  Without that, I can be a serious road rage with the best of them.  When I found this article on elephant journal I thought the timing was pretty interesting.

Enjoy the read –

Anger is not a part of my daily life or something I have to control. I am generally a peaceful person who would rather laugh at a situation then get angry about it.

Most situations that might cause me anger seem to turn into funny ones when I view them objectively.

Last night I hit my shoulder on a fridge door that was left open. I was cleaning and feeling like a character in an old movie scrubbing the floor by hand. Then I stood up and caught my shoulder on the corner of our fridge door. The pain of bumping into the door definitely irritated me and I slammed it shut to get out that frustration but laughed as I did it.

I then swore in an old man way (pretty much mimicking my father). It was a way to purge the annoyed feelings while not actually freaking out. My wife was there, we both laughed and the situation ended, leaving us with a bit of a chuckle and my shoulder throbbing.

So, anger doesn’t rise in me often, but what’s my point?

I don’t have one. But I do have a question.

Am I a person who doesn’t have anger in me? Or do I just not face real situations where I could be brought to anger? Hitting the fridge door is irritating but not the most angering of events.

I like the idea that I have overcome petty anger and don’t get upset at things that are insignificant and can’t be changed. But what about real anger? If faced with a truly terrible and angering situation, how would I react?

I don’t get into verbal or physical arguments on any regular basis. I am not confronted by hateful words or actions. If anything, because of my artwork and the community I have around me, I often find my world filled with loving kindness and supportive people.

But I do think back to this one time I was walking in Soho.

I was with my wife and was looking at my phone while we were walking. I don’t remember what I was doing on my phone, but I do remember justifying to myself later that is was something important. But, if I am honest, I do check my phone while walking through the city way more than I should. I know it is annoying and dangerous, but I’m working on it.

As I was walking I saw a guy out of the corner of my eye notice me and change his course so he was headed right for me, trying to catch me out for not looking around while walking. He comes up to me trying to bump into me but I notice him and stop.

We look at each other.

He gives me this “you’re busted” look and my instant reaction is to call him a wanker to his face. He yells that I am the wanker and walks away. My wife is confused as it all happens so quickly. She thought he was drunk so calls me out saying I shouldn’t have called him what I did.

My heart’s beating fast. We walk away, I keep thinking about for hours.

At first I am annoyed with the guy, thinking that he will just make a lot more negativity and really solve nothing by making people feel bad about themselves.

But then later, I go back to that moment, when my first reaction to someone being negative is to double down and be negative back and personally insult them.

What happened?

I talk about compassion and mindfulness in my work and then at a moment when caught off guard I instantly let anger drive my actions.

I know I am far from perfect but situations like these really make me take stock and realise that I have work to do to become a genuinely kind, compassionate, loving person.

I hope that next time I am confronted with such a situation I will react with even just slightly more compassionately. In the meantime I will be mindful of myself and the different emotions going on inside of me.