Your Story. Your Legacy.

Our stories, our words, our openings to others say a lot about our lives. It is interesting to begin a conversation with a complete stranger (grocery clerk, massage therapist, hair stylist, etc) and stories just seem to flow. People like to connect with one another. The trick is…what are you telling? What are you saying about your life? What message are you leaving with those you come in contact?

Another step further—What if you could not “say” anything.

img_0387img_3605We recently took a trip to Southern Utah and hiked among petroglyphs of the Anasazi people. It was fascinating to think about walking through handwriting of people thousands and thousands of years old. To see what was important to them—food, feet, animals, people with horn hats, stars, labyrinth patterns…fascinating! Again. No words, just symbols.

 

112246My cute daughter is doing a report on the Northwest Coast Indians and found out they were tribes of people with no specific written language and shared their history and stories through Totems. A Totem is kind of like a book you could read, but instead of using words it used symbols. Totem poles were used as a way of passing down stories.

I thought this was a very interesting idea that could bring up various feelings for people. Think about it!! If you were to create a “Totem” of your life, what would it look like? What would be the main images that you would include. What words (now that we have them) would you include? What message of your life? What symbols would you use?

I think this could be a very fun personal activity you could do to see what comes up from your soul. Think about it. Draw something out. If you like to carve wood–carve away! Maybe make a collage of visual images. Create something. I think a visual of your life’s journey may say something to you. Try it!!

MAKE YOUR OWN CREATIVE TOTEM.  Here are some ideas I came up with…

SONY DSCMaybe make a simple totem for your yard. Pick glass or ceramic beads and make a decorative story line that you know the meaning and symbolism behind.

 

img_0433This made me think of making a personal beaded bracelet that you could create that will symbolize different things within your life. Each bead represents something personal.

 

tumblr_o19gthtumm1v5h6m1o1_1280Maybe make a collage of highlights or things that remind you of your life. [example–pulled off google. Not sure of the source]

 

afb84d4942a1abb2bf4befed1785594dThis made me think of a crafty idea–if you know or enjoy quilting. Quilt symbols of your life and put them together.

 

2044Make symbols that mean something to you personally. Put them together to create a story.

 

 

d4239633957aced98ed266250f0942b1fd4adfbe71b055ee92pimgpsh_fullsize_distrIf you don’t feel too artistic you could always find various mandalas and color them to your own style and put meaning into them with specific colors meaning emotion, certain shapes to symbolize parts of your life, etc. Then you could stack and frame them or take a pic to always have close.   Mandala’s are a symbol, representing the search for completeness and self-unity.

 

Hope this post has given you some ideas to finding your deeper stories and unique ways to share them with yourself and those you love.

 

Happy creating!!  -H

 

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Day of AWESOMENESS!!

ImageYesterday I had all my nieces and nephews over for a fun summer activity I called “A Day of AWESOMENESS!!”  We made an eruption out of a 2 liter of Diet Coke with half a package of mentos, then we created little tornadoes out of water bottles filled with dish soap (2 drops) and glitter, did activity books, learned lots of weird but true facts & had lots of FUN!!

I truly enjoyed watching their faces Ooh and Ah at the wonder and delight of seeing their own little tornadoes take shape. Children have this amazing sense of wonder and imagination and I thoroughly love being around the creativity they hold—making up games, coloring so vibrantly with such passion, learning and seeing things at a new level–their level.

SO, what is something that would make YOUR DAY OF AWESOMENESS?? What peaks your interest? What lights you up? What do you want to learn about?   Is their a science experiment you want to try? Do you want to go volunteer at a shelter or humane society for a day. Maybe sit with a child and think of all the super powers you would like to have. Maybe take a friend and go visit a museum you have never been to. What about flying kites (homemade ones if you want to be truly creative & scientific). Take your camera outside & shoot pictures close-up of everything—see the details. Get online and find some AWESOME experiments you can try. Have a night of Constellations under the starry night sky. Blow up Ivory soap in the microwave and make Soap Clouds…there are soooo many things to learn, try, experience…there is an abundance of AWESOMENESS!! Have fun, get creative…do, try, PLAY!!

I am going to attach a fun packet of weird but true facts I put together for the kids—feel free to print them off and share them with people in your life. You can never learn too much!!Awesomepacket

Here are a few pics from our day of AWESOMENESS!  Cheers to YOU & having an AWESOME DAY!!ImageImage

PLAY!!

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Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain                                                       an artist once he grows up.  -Pablo Picasso

Last night I spent a couple hours doodling with my daughter and two of her cousins. It was so fun to see the creativity, the spark of creation, the lines that whirled & then created the outline of a lion, a dolphin, a girls curly locks of hair. It always surprises me to see how in tune children are with diving deep within to find their belief in their own creative abilities.

First there were words of self-criticism, words of personal imperfection & disbelief in their ability. Then the drawing began. It turned into a chain of confidence boosters as one finished a small, doodled whale, then another was sparked into making a self-portrait…the chain continued on as they each complimented and cheered one another on in their pursuit of creation. It was neat to see the transformation within each little ten-year old girl. We doodled, colored, grabbed stuffed animals as inspiration for shapes and design & played for hours. It was so fun!! But the best thing of all…just letting myself play, to doodle like a little girl, to be part of the sisterhood of creativity & cheer each other on in the creative, play process.

So, today, I am going to give you (adults who have children within) some links to find play tools for your personal delight and creative possibilities.  Take some time over the next couple of weeks & just set aside some time to PLAY!! Pick a mandala to color, doodle, pull out some chalk & create on your driveway, listen to the Ted talk about the importance of play in creativity, sketch, whirl with markers, create a art journal, etc. Here are some ideas and links to fulfill this little request. Enjoy!

ImageFINDING CREATIVITY. IMAGINATION. the CHILD WITHIN

Creativity in business: Ted talk by Tim Brown: Tales of Creativity and Play Tim talks about the powerful relationship between creative thinking and play–with many examples you can try at home     www.ted.com/talks/tim_brown_on_creativity_and_play.html

Blog: http://playaboutit.wordpress.com/ Reflections on adult play in modern society

Color Mandala’s: Mandala’s are amazing symmetrical designs that are fun to color. Print one off and just fill in the swirls and patterns. It is very calming for the mind. Here is a great link for a variety of mandalas–http://www.colormandala.com/

Doodle & Drawing Ideas: link to Pinterest ideas   http://pinterest.com/majekmom/doodles-drawing-ideas/

List of 40 impressive doodle artists for your inspiration: http://www.creativebloq.com/illustration/doodle-art-912775

Create an art journal:  http://www.createmixedmedia.com/make/journaling/journal-doodling

Well, I hope these ideas get your creativity going. Take some time to let the child within come out and PLAY!! Have a MARVELOUS, fun-filled day!! My BEST to YOU.  -Heather

Ways to be Creatively INSPIRED!

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This one is for you Mom!!

My darling Mom went back to work after taking care of kids for forty years of her life. She is the ultimate creator…play write, song writer, has created boutiques, blogger, dancer, decorator,  published author, and a artist in a variety of mediums, all while being a mom and devoted wife. She has always been a women of ideas, loves the creative process and thrives in it. Going back to work has been a challenge for her creative balance and she has been feeling very unfulfilled in this area, so I thought I would dedicate this blog post to her. Mom, I hope you find inspiration in its ideas. I hope you will be able to catch your breath and take a moment to get creative, not just for you, but for all the people who will be touched by your talent. Love you.

Get outside–Take your camera and get outside. I have been trying to get out the last week and capture any moment of beauty, whether the clouds circle the sun or a leaf shimmers from the rain. Nature holds many treasures if you take the time to look. Go on a walk and look at all the textures, the details, the colors and hues.

Try something new–Is there something you have always wanted to try? What about that photography lesson you have put aside? What about a watercolor class? What about chalk drawing on pavement? What about a dance class (Zumba, Ballroom, Hula)? What about a cooking class?

Try something that doesn’t take a lot of effort–while out on my walk yesterday I drew a heart in the snow and took a photograph of it. You could sit down with a mandala coloring book and just color.

Go to the library or bookstore and look at books–the library/book store is a one stop food for the creative soul. You can find books about anything and everything. Sit down in the lounge and peruse through magazines, cook books, illustration or photography books, leather tooling or decoupage how to’s, the ideas are limitless.

Learn about what lights you up–When you are at the library or book store notice what books you are drawn to. You may have a sincere interest in water color, where a book about noodle making doesn’t do it for you. You will notice what interests light you up and then you can go from there on how to create something truly inspired. You will find true inspiration on projects that you get excited about, so don’t waste your time and energy on something that does NOT light you up!

Learn about something completely new to you-–take something like typography, calligraphy, art history, photography, multi-media, wood working, fabric, recycled art or a history of artists and learn something that seems to interest you.

Be inspired by others–Check out online portfolio sites and creative artistic ideas–check out sites like Flickr, Carbonmade, Behance, Pinterest, etsy (homemade items)

Your creative surroundings--When you are trying to write, paint, dance, cook, anything that comes from the creative medium within you, you need to be encouraged, motivated, inspired. You may be creating from a desk, a studio, a kitchen, the outdoors, an office, how are your surroundings? Do they have images and words that inspire, quotes that are dear to your heart, colors that soothe and reflect your needs, music that stirs your soul…look at where you create and make sure it is filled with the musings of your heart.

Stress free please–Stress is NOT the friend of creativity, so when you begin to create anything, make it a time when you are not affected by outside noise, whining children, distracting influences, time crunches and stress inducing limitations. Try to create space for your creativity and welcome it with open arms and a heart that is ready to be inspired.

Buy some magazines–go to a thrift store or local market and buy some magazines that may have something that may inspire you. Maybe you need to revamp your creative space, maybe you want an idea to paint your dining room table, maybe you want to try logo design or scrapbooking. Find something that appeals to you and buy the magazine. Look at it as an investment in your creativity. There is always something that will jump out and make you take a second look…a vibrant color, a jar full of sea glass, a pot full of succulents, a hammock hanging in a corner, a bow tie pasta beautifully prepared, a piece of jewelry that looks organic, a photograph that stirs your soul. Creativity is everywhere. You just need to take the time to look and find what inspires you.

Create a vision board–see my directions under my post category “Self LOVE” and the title is “Tap into the vision for your life”

Just do it! You may feel like you are in a creative rut, too tired, not inspired, but NOTHING will happen if NOTHING is done. Even if you set aside fifteen minutes a day to something creative then you can feel that something is being done. You can write daily pages, go on a fifteen minute walk and take a picture, you can listen to something inspiring (a Ted talk, podcast, some mozart, a creative youtube) for fifteen minutes, do daily exercises that get you creating…just do something to get the creative juices flowing.

I would LOVE and appreciate any other ideas that you have.

Happy Creating!! Love you Mom.

Get Creative!

628383_15013214The art of a people is a true mirror of their minds. -Jawaharlal Nehru

Art is a collaboration between God and the artist, and the less the artist does the better.

-Andre Gide

I thought since I was talking about creativity & making vision boards that I should add some additional tips and tricks to get you moving in a NEW direction. There is a lot to be said about the creativity of the soul…

Here are some suggestions taken from an article 21 Ways to Be More Creative

by Christine Kane and some other good stuff by me!!

1 – Stop watching television

Or better yet, get rid of the damn thing. Any time I teach writing or creativity, this is one of the biggies. TV is a mind-killer. It numbs you. It fills you with emotionally-charged images and over-simplified solutions. It dulls you. Turn it off. Even if this idea scares you, turn it off.

2 – Take a 20-minute walk everyday

It’s easy to become driven about exercise. You go to the Y. You go running. You think that a 20-minute walk isn’t productive or worth much. Take a 20-minute walk and allow the world to just be. Watch things. Stop and smell things. Notice birds. Let the world unfold and show itself to you.

3 – Write with pen & paper (or pencil and paper)

Keep a journal. Do morning pages. Write in long-hand. Typing on a keypad into a computer doesn’t always open up that tactile sense-loving part of us that loves to create.

4 – Write songs to your pets

5 – Dance around the House

Put on old disco (Earth, Wind, and Fire, baby!), or new Madonna, or swing. Put it on loud. Dance

around your house while you make dinner. Or start the day shakin’ your groove thang.

6 – Walk in the rain

I haven’t owned an umbrella in about 10 years. I love the rain. I love walking in it. I wrote the song Everything Green after I hiked in the mountains in the pouring rain. I was journaling about how alive everything was, and I wrote “It was all just rain and mud and wild and green.” That’s how I got my CD title. Walking in the rain can be a happy thing. (Use an umbrella if you want. Rain on umbrellas makes a good sound.)

7 – Make a collage

Magazines. Some Yes Paste. A scrapbook page and lots of crayons and paints and stickers. (And thou.) This isn’t a vision board. It doesn’t have a purpose. It’s just for fun and beauty and making something. I love collaging. I’m not great at it. But I’ve gotten better and better at laying out the page and learning what colors and shapes I love. I always feel more alive when I do one.

8 – Make a list of things you love

My song Loving Hands (on my first CD) was born out of a journal exercise I did where I just wrote a long list of all the things I love. That song remains one of my most requested songs. I had so much fun thinking of things that delight me in the world. Finding feathers, finding pennies, the sound of big flags flapping in the wind, the smell of my cat’s fur when she’s been out in the snow (she smells like a big box of wool mittens). I remember reading it to a friend of mine who just sat there smiling and nodding his head. Even though this was years ago, I still remember how much fun I had making that list.

9 – Write 10 postcards

Go pick out some really cool postcards, and then go to a cafe somewhere, and order your Genmaicha Tea (Okay, get yourself a Latte if you want) and write postcards to friends and family.

10 – Get up early and watch the sun rise

11 – Listen to music you’ve never listened to before.

After I saw the movie Tortilla Soup, I downloaded a bunch of Latin music from iTunes. One of my favorite nights in my memory this year was a hot rainy night thick with humidity. My husband and I opened up all the windows and doors. We pressure cooked (I love our pressure cooker) some black beans, shared a froo-froo mixed drink and made a fantastic dinner while all of my new Latin and Tejano music was cranked up. It was one of those really happy nights, partly because I loved discovering new music.

12 – Eat with your hands

Be a kid again. Make a meal and put the silverware back into the drawers. Eat with your hands. Have some friends over for a silverwareless dinner.

13 – Be quiet

Light a few candles after dark and just sit. Don’t meditate if you don’t want to. Just sit quietly and listen. Watch the candles. Allow for more silence in your life.

We are a noisy people. I hear people say they can’t stand silence. But it is in silence where we can hear the voice of our creativity. Maybe not at first. But it will come.

Drive with no music on. Make dinner in silence. Pay attention to your hands as you slice the veggies. Just be quiet.

14 – Take a nap

15 – Take photos. Real photos. Not digital photos.

My favorite camera is a Pentax K1000. It’s completely manual, and it’s how I learned to take pictures. I’m not very good. When I first moved to Asheville, I used to walk around town on Sundays (the whole town was closed up then) and take pictures of all the buildings. These photos are now a treasure to me because nothing is the same anymore. (Every building has been bought, remodeled and now is filled with stores that sell trickly fountains, Buddahs, and things that smell grassy.)

Take pictures of anything. And have fun in the old method of actually getting your film developed and the excitement of flipping through photos you haven’t seen yet.

16 – Make an event out of watching the full moon come up

One of the things I love about my husband is that he’s always looking for the perfect place to watch the full moon come up. He’ll make an event out of it. We pile in the car and go to this one field or to a bench on the college campus and sit and watch the moon rise.

17 – Read poetry aloud

Poetry is meant to be read aloud. The words and phrases will tilt your brain and open doors like you never thought they would. My favorites: Mary Oliver, e.e. cummings, Rumi, Pablo Neruda, Sharon Olds, Barbara Brooks, and Alicia Suskin Ostriker. There are lots of collections of poetry if you don’t want to pick just one.

18 – Go see a play or live music or live anything

Get out of the house and experience creativity. Avoid mega-blockbuster-Hollywood movies whose trailers begin with the deep gravelly voice saying, “IN A WORLD_” (And then bombs go off and Mel Gibson appears)

Live performance is an exchange. As an audience member you get to participate. I know this because I perform. Every night is different. Everything is about the audience. You receive so much more energy from live shows. Go see the symphony, even the small local symphony. See a play. See some improv. There is so much life on a stage, so many improvisational moments, so much about authenticity. You can’t help but take it in.

19 – Visit a gallery

See another artist’s creation. The downtown of any city is bound to have some great galleries. You don’t have to buy anything. Just experience the artistry of someone gifted in glass blowing or pottery or woodwork.

20 – Write a letter

When was the last time you wrote a letter? I just got a long letter from one of the women who participated in my last retreat. It was funny. And it was fun to read. And I kept thinking, “Damn. It’s been too long since I’ve experienced this.” Every time I write a letter, I feel clearer and happier. Not only is it more fun to make something for someone else, it’s also just a way to get out of yourself.

21 – Stop watching television

This is an important one. It bears repeating. There are so many better things you can do than watch American Idol

I hope during this time of reflecting on a new year that you will take the time to create, to go within to understand yourself better and know that divine gifts lie within.
Best wishes for a creative January.
-Heather

Tap into the vision for your life

VisionBoard2012VisionJon2012VisionKate2012

IT IS A NEW YEAR! the energy, the timing, the need to organize, to begin again seems to play in the air. This year I had my little family sit down and create individual vision boards. Needless to say, they were very resistant and not very excited to begin such a creative process. I had to guilt my husband into the experience & my nine-year-old whined “noooo!” Yet, after begging and pleading, we all sat down and plowed through a large stack of a variety of magazines.

It was such a fun process to see my little girl get excited about all the animal pictures she could find. Rip, tear, cheers and big smiles, as she found pictures that resonated with her heart. She has always loved animals, but this year she made and sold bookmarks for the World Wildlife Fund, constantly makes wishes & prays for the animals safety, and whenever we visit a zoo gift shop she seeks out the stuffed animal that will make a donation to an animal cause. Her heart has been centered around giving & learning about animals, so it was fun to see her work for hours on a project that she ended up embracing and loving.

My husband sat quietly tearing, while I anxiously waited to see his creation. Every detail spoke of his innate loves—images of triathlons, cooking and flyfishing filled the board. His work has been very stressful, so it only made sense that his deep inner spirit yearns for play, for passion, for things he loves and enjoys.

My images ended up telling me of my need for change, adventure, my desire to be surrounded by nature, to travel, to be quiet.

I wouldn’t have pushed my family to do this activity if I didn’t whole-heartedly believe in the creative process of our subconscious minds. There is a magic, a knowing that seems to exist when we just allow our creative desires to come. The subconscious is a very powerful tool that we tend to overlook or think it may be a little “whoo-whoo.” There is so much that is unknown, something that no one talks about because of the unfamiliarity of the mere chance that someone will mis-interpret our view point or belief.

I have always thought about the depths and power of our mind, but never truly understood or experienced the potential guidance our subconscious holds. This is a great story that taps into how powerful the vision of your life truly is…

I was attending my first women’s retreat coach training in Colorado. There were about twenty women in attendance, none of whom I had ever met. For our first meeting together I was sitting near a beautiful, african-american women (the only one in the group). Our first assignment was to one by one got to a stack of pictures that were upside down on a nearby table, pick one and then sit down. I was curious to know what this had to do with retreating, but I followed along and selected my picture. None of us were to look at the images until everyone had chosen one. We were then broken into groups of five women and we each turned over our images. Well, before I turned my image over I sat in amazement as the beautiful women next to me had chosen a image of a african-american woman holding a small child. She got a little emotional and explained to me that she had one little daughter and the image touched her so. I was shocked by the seemingly beautiful magic that was happening. How else could this happen unless we have a innate, inner knowing of what our souls desire is–it longs to share a deep, inner knowing, a guidance.

Needless to say, I was eager to see my image. I slowly turned over my magazine page and there was a young, blonde boy flyfishing up on a rock. I began to weep. It was like a vision of my husband as a young boy. It looked just like him. I even have a similar picture of him up on a rock flyfishing. It was unbelievable. My husband had recently been struggling with some personal depression, so the image touched me. It was as if it was reading my heart, my love for him, but I did not understand why it was affecting me so much that I was sobbing uncontrollably. I thought for a minute and then it hit me with an even deeper surge of emotion. It was the very day that one year earlier my sweet husband had taken a gun, wrote me a goodbye letter and drove to the mountains to take his life. I wept. I wept at the very thought that my soul had such a spiritual connection. I wept knowing how different my life would be without this amazing man in my life. It was then that I realized the power and knowing of the subconscious mind. How else would I have been drawn to this image?

It was a very powerful personal lesson for me. One that will always stay with me and remind me of the innate gifts and powers that are given to us to help guide us in all we do.

CREATE YOUR OWN VISION BOARD

I wish for you at this time that you will gift yourself the opportunity to have a deeper understanding of what your soul needs and desires. Take the time to create your own vision board. Take the time to nurture your souls desires by taking the necessary steps to make this a beautiful experience. You may not understand some of the images and why you are drawn to them, but do not dismiss the message. There may be something within you that is trying to get your attention and longs for you to see it.

Get a variety of magazines—you can pick some up at thrift stores or buy a variety as a gift to yourself. Say a quiet prayer of inspiration and guidance. Go through each magazine and rip out ANY image that you are drawn to–words, colors, someone who looks fit, a couch cushion that you like, etc. Then go through them again to FEEL which ones you desire to include on your board. Then cut and arrange them on a piece of foam-core board. Put the vision board somewhere that will inspire you. Look at it often & seek any inspiration that it shares with you.

This exercise is to help you find a deeper understanding of your soul’s desire, your personal vision for your life, what is needed and essential for your personal growth. Take the time. Do the work. Create. Enjoy the gifts life has to offer.

-Love and Best Wishes. Heather