What nurtures the little child inside?

Baby photos with her family pictures taken with Charlotte NC children's photographer.My daughter has loved and believed in magic her whole life & I wouldn’t change it for anything!! She has always enjoyed the magic of a jolly, fat man bringing good will and gifts to cheer children. She has had a family of fairies that she has fed chocolate brownies on mini tea sets. We have made fairy houses since she was little. We have had every magical holiday possible, even our very own, made up holiday on May 1st that we celebrate as “Fairy day.” Her childhood has been full of magic, whimsy and wonder.

So, a few of her younger cousins have adored my daughter’s whimsical fairy land & always watch and wonder as she tells them imaginative stories of magic. My daughter loves to nurture the wonder and magic in her tiny cousins. It is so fun!!

So, a couple of these tiny cousins (who are under the age of 10) have wished and made their own fairy houses in hopes of having their own piece of magic. Well, I happened to find a couple of the same fairies that my daughter has on Amazon for a crazy low price, so I told my daughter that maybe we should surprise her little cousins & leave them on their door step with a special fairy note. My daughter was SO excited and knew the little girls would LOVE it!! We put our plan into action, ordered them & then went about delivering them.

It was SO FUN!! One of her tiny cousins parents were going on an overnighter, so we were invited to come over for the evening and play. We knew this would fit very well into our fairy delivery. We went and played for a couple of hours, I snuck out of their house & grabbed the fairy from my car & left it on their porch. About an hour later the kids were all walking out the front door to go on and walk & what did they find???

A special fairy box with a note addressed to the two youngest little girls. They were SO excited & instantly began trying to figure out where to put the fairy, how to make her bed…it was a flurry of excitement. Even the young boys in the family began talking about making a ladder and hammock out of sticks and leaves. It turned into a creative spring of JOY for everyone!! It was so fun. Their little imaginations ran wild with excitement. It went on for hours…special lighting, a special rock for food, an acorn trail…It was so fun!!

The next day when the parents arrived home to hear all about the new arrival, their Dad told them he didn’t believe in fairies.

I heard this and my heart sank. I felt so bad.

So, my question is this. Who nurtures imagination and creativity? Children are naturally creative and have an imagination, but if adults so easily squash the magic, the whimsy, the imagination—what happens?

I think we have a role as parents to encourage creative play, to foster their imagination, to ‘play along’ to help them develop their own stories, to write their own endings & not have the ‘adult’ come in and squash the child dreams or the childlike wonder that seeks to find its voice. That is my opinion.

I think this video (below) perfectly illustrates the child vs the adult perspective. Perspectives change, so let our children be little, let them dream, let them imagine having mermaid tails or shark mouths. Let them be little. Let them create their world of their youth, because the world will take it away soon enough. If we don’t nurture their childhood, who will?

I LOVE this video. Enjoy.

Nurture their dreams, put them to bed with stories of wonder, give them gifts that delight in magic. Childhood is too short, so let them be dreamers, creators and let us help them explore their imaginations.

This is also a great video on this topic. Love it!!

Here is another article on ways to nurture your child’s imagination https://www.bubhub.com.au/hubbub-blog/5-simple-ways-to-nurture-your-childs-imagination/

Have a beautiful day.  -H

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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