Posts tagged: creativity

Are You Creative?

Life Simplified: Do You Have An Imagination?

photo credit: Sand Creation via photo pin cc


Diagnosis: No Creativity

When I was 12 years old, I thought I wasn’t creative. Although my mother told me everyone was creative, I figured she was just being nice.

My grandmother painted, created needlework patterns, drew,  and much more.  My mother sketched.  My younger sister made up cartoon people.  My creativity went as far as a stick figure.

I channeled my creativity toward math and science.  I spent hours copying whole sections of dinosaur books into a notebook or doing math problems while my sister drew.

My Imagination Run Wild

Fast forward 25 years or so.  I’m sitting in my coach’s office.  It’s my first visit so we’re getting to know each other.  She asks me what I like to do.  For the next 20 minutes (or more) I rattle off hundreds of things I love to do.  When she gave up taking notes, she said, “You are certainly creative.”

What happened in those 25ish years?  I discovered being creative didn’t need to look like what my mother, sister or grandmother were doing.  I learned what I loved and my creativity took root there.

What Do You Love?

Sadly, when I ask clients what they like, they stare at me for a few minutes and then say, “I don’t really know.  I’m so busy all the time I haven’t thought about it for a while.”

I’m giving you permission today to think about it.

Write down all the things you love.  Be gentle with yourself.  Start small.  Do you love your first cup of coffee in the morning?  Write it down.  Do you love taking a walk after work?  Write it down.  Do you love cooking a new recipe?  Write it down.

Don’t judge.  Just write.

Grab your coffee and start right now.  Jot down at least one thing you love  in the comments.  It will loosen you up.  Ready.  Go.

50 Ideas of What To Do When It’s Not Working

50 Ideas of What to Do when It's not Working

photo credit: fauxto_dkp via flickr

It’s Just Not Working

You wake up for the 100th day and feel what’s the use.  It’s just not working.

You try your best, but all efforts seem thwarted.  Nothing ever seems to work out in your favor.  You look at others in similar situations and have to admit you’re  a bit jealous.  How come they can do it and you can’t?

Have You Settled?

I know you are very smart and creative, even if you don’t think so right now.  I know you have infinite potential.  What I also hear is you’ve put those on the back burner and settled for mundane.

That’s why it’s not working.  Whatever it is for you changing careers, painting, photography, raising kids, growing tomatoes or building a business, when you are stuck in a rut, nothing will work.  Think about it, you’ll never make it to your destination always traveling in the ditches on the side of the road.

Ruts might look different than you think.  When I think of a rut, it means doing the same thing over and over, an unending routine.  But a rut could be always going to the same source for inspiration or trying “new” ways of doing things that are just variations of what you’ve done in the past.

If you run off the side of the road, you know you’re off track because you slow down or can’t move.  The same happens in your life.  When things slow down, you’ve hit a ditch/rut/whatever you want to call it.

What do you do?

You need to step outside of the rut, outside of your comfort zone to see things differently.  Here’s a list of 50 ideas to get yourself out of a rut and back on the road.

  1. Read a completely new author.
  2. Drive a different way home from the office.
  3. Ask for advice from a source you admire, but have never approached.
  4. Go to the art museum.
  5. Listen to new music.
  6. Take a course that interests you, but has nothing to do with your rut.
  7. Schedule a personal day and go somewhere you’ve never been, but that’s close to home.
  8. Go to the ocean or mountains.
  9. Visit a cathedral.
  10. Take a yoga class.
  11. Go for a long hike.
  12. Meet an old friend for lunch.
  13. Follow an unconventional idea you have even if your rational brain says it’s silly.
  14. Journal.
  15. Spend the afternoon with small children or animals.
  16. Volunteer to read to kids or at your local animal shelter.
  17. Plant seeds and watch the unfolding life process.
  18. Choose a book, audio book or movie that you haven’t seen that captures your eye without thinking too much about it.
  19. Make dinner for someone who can’t and deliver it.
  20. Read an inspiring biography.
  21. Move furniture in the house.
  22. Take a nap.
  23. House sit for someone.
  24. Read a quote or inspirational paragraph and think about it during the day.
  25. Sit in a different seat at a meeting.
  26. Let someone else cook tonight.
  27. Work from home if usually in an office, or in an office if usually at home.
  28. Buy a magazine and rip out your favorite pictures.
  29. Join Pinterest and find pictures that inspire.
  30. Create a vision board.
  31. Job shadow someone doing your ideal job.
  32. Interview people in places you want to be and write an article/blog about the interview.
  33. Find 2 blogs that inspire you and read them regularly for a month.
  34. Take a long ride.
  35. Do something artistic even if you don’t think you’re artistic (paint, take photos, sketch).
  36. Take a vacation in a new place.
  37. Go for a run.
  38. Read a book you loved as a kid.
  39. Write a letter to yourself as if it were next year at this time and tell you what’s going on.
  40. Get rid of clutter.
  41. Take a test drive in a car you want to buy.
  42. Put all your knick knacks in a storage bin and live without them for a week or so.
  43. Wash your sheets and hang them outside to dry.
  44. Go see live music.  Choose something you wouldn’t normally listen to; jazz, classical, celtic.
  45. Go on a picnic.
  46. Sit in the sun for an hour.
  47. Change the pictures on your walls.
  48. Go to a farmers market.
  49. Visit people in an assisted living home.
  50. Hug someone you love.

Doing any of these small things can help you course correct.  The key is doing something completely new to stimulate new thoughts and ideas.  Soon you’ll find yourself out of your rut and heading down the road in a new convertible.

I’m sure you have ideas of your own.  What do you do to get things moving again?

Live Fearlessly

Life Simplified: Live Fearlessly

photo credit: blinkingidiot via flickr

Get out and live your life fearlessly.  Anita Moorjani

Imagine 24 hours of living fearlessly.  I don’t meet throwing caution to the wind, but truly living 24 hours without feeling fear.

You might say, “I don’t really live in fear now so that would be easy.”  That’s what I thought.

It’s More About the Small Fears

Everyone has big fears.  It’s what you worry about.  Will your kids turn out okay?  What if you’re laid off?  How well are your parents?  Will there be a war?  Will you get that big client?

I realize these big thoughts can dominate your life.  It was, however, the small fears like what people will think if you eat that doughnut, paying a bill, keeping the house clean just in case people stop by, or worrying if you’ll make the team that make up many of your routine thoughts.

These small thoughts creep into your consciousness.  Over time, they become part of your daily thought process.  Sitting in the background, you don’t even notice them any more.

Anita Let Go Of Fear

In Anita Moorjani’s book, Dying To Be Me,  she talks about a near death experience.  Throughout her life small fears had shaped her world.  She always strove to fit in, and never felt she did.  After her experience, she learned, life is not about fitting in.  It’s about letting go of all fear and living in love or “being love” as she describes it.

Louise Hay in her book, You Can Heal Your Life, talks about fear being one of the four top reasons people develop illnesses.  By holding onto fear whether we developed them or were handed them by others, we only hurt ourselves.

How To Let Go Of Fear

Because you might not recognize the smaller fears at first, it’s easier to start with something you can name as a fear.  I’ll use the example of Maisie’s training.

I feared Maisie going crazy when she saw other dogs on our walks.  It stopped me from taking her places, walking during certain times or even allowing her outside.

Working with our trainer, Nancy, she brought a dog to walk with Maisie.  My first reaction was to pull Maisie back.  It was then I realized it was my behavior, my fear, that caused Maisie to act out.

Releasing this fear came in a couple steps.

  • Recognize and own the fear.  Give the fear a name or a picture.  Then own it.  Know it’s all about you and no one else.
  • Visualize the situation.  Visualize the situation that you fear.  Then change the picture.  Imagine you have no fear at all.  It’s all working out fine.  Send love to the thing you fear, for me it was the other dogs.
  • Practice.  Whenever you’re in the situation, go back to the good visualization.  Practice living that new visualization in real time.
  • Love yourself.  The first couple times I had Maisie out on a walk, I didn’t prepare as much as I should.  We encountered a dog.  I tensed up.  Maisie barked.  Then I did something different, instead of telling myself I failed, I congratulated myself on trying.  I didn’t judge.  Instead said I loved and approved of myself.  This practice was perfect in what I knew so far.

The last step is the most important because it’s where you’ll make it or break it.  The typical pattern I see in people is to scold themselves after not meeting their own expectations (or others). This feeds the fear.

By not judging and sending myself love, it was like shining a light into a dark room.  The fear shrunk away.  I was ready for the next dog to come along in a good way.  It didn’t feel like I was going into battle (fear), but instead another opportunity to practice (love).

You Choose.

Every moment of every day, you get to choose whether you’ll live in fear or love.  The natural choice is to live in love, so choose it.  Wherever you are in your journey, always choose love.

Be Joyful In What You Ask For

Be Joyful In What You Ask For

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Often – even when you believe you are thinking about something that you desire – you are actually things about the exact opposite of what you desire.  In other words, “I want to be well; I don’t want to be sick.”  “I want to have financial security; I don’t want to experience a shortage of money.”  “I want the perfect relationship to come to me; I don’t want to be alone.”  ~ Abraham via Esther Hicks, Ask And It Is Given

What You Think About Comes About

You’ve heard that before.   You’ve tried to focus on what you want in your life; a new car, a soul mate, a thriving business, but things aren’t working out like you planned.

Could you be thinking about what you don’t want rather than what you do want?

Ask And It Is Given

You know what you want, but you are feeling the lack of it.  This feeling of lack focuses you on the opposite of what you desire.  For example, positive thought: “I want a new computer.”  Feeling of lack: “I can’t afford a new computer.”  Without knowing it every time you say, “I want a new computer” you are actually saying, “I don’t want one because they are too expensive.”

A New Lesson

I’ve read Ask And It Is Given by Esther and Jerry Hicks a hundred times.  Never before did I pull out this lesson until just recently.

After my initial ah-ha moment,  I looked back on my life.  When I set goals and was positive about an outcome, I got exactly what I desired, and pretty quickly I might add.  More often than not, however, when I asked for something I unconsciously focused on the lack behind it.  In those situations I was given exactly what I asked for…more lack.

Discovering the Lack

Through this activity, I realized I’d built a habit of focusing on lack.  The key to breaking a lack focused habit is to check in with your emotions.

Here’s an example.  I’ve wanted an iPhone forever.  However, when I thought about having an iPhone, my focus was on not having one.  Even when my phone was due for an upgrade and an iPhone was an option, I didn’t get one because I came up with a dozen excuses.  I now see those excuses were coming from my thoughts of not having an iPhone rather than having one.

I felt horrible during this process.  This was my first clue I was focusing on lack.

Let Your Emotions Be Your Guide

I’m still learning to tap into my emotions as I set new goals, create new visions, and develop new plans.  When I don’t feel good, I check in to see how I’m feeling. These feelings always point to my thoughts of lack.

Listen to your emotions.  If you don’t feel good, do a check in, like I’m learning to do.  When you think about your goal, vision or plan you should feel excited and passionate…like you are standing on the brink of something very exciting.

That’s when you know you’re on the right path.

Works in Progress Are Never Perfect

Life Simplified: Works in progress are never perfect

photo credit jimmiehomeschoolmom via flickr

Today take a real risk that can change your life: start thinking of yourself as an artist and your life as a work-in-progress.  Works-in-progress are never perfect…Art evolves.  So does life.  Art is never stagnant.  Neither is life. ~ Sarah Ban Breathnach

The Artist

An artist starts with a blank canvas, page, or mound of clay.  There is only an idea.  In some cases it’s a notion or a sketch that inspires them to dip their paint brush into the bright red paint.

From there they let the design take it’s course.  They can’t plan what it will look like in the end.  They have an idea, but then allow inspiration to direct their next step.

My Writing Process

As a writer, I know I can have the best laid plans for an article, short story or even the book I’m working on.  Once my fingers start typing, however, something different almost always comes out.

I’m inspired by a quote I hadn’t read before.  A picture I hadn’t seen.  Even an email can send me in a direction I hadn’t planned.  As Stephen King writes in his book,  On Writing (One of my favorites by the way.  My copy is dogeared, highlighted and scribbled in which is why I’ve included an affiliate link):

I want you to understand that my basic belief about the making of stories is that they pretty much make themselves.  The job of the writer is to give them a place to grow.

This is a perfect example of that in action.  I hadn’t planned on using that quote before I started writing this article.  As the article developed, it seemed natural it should be included.

Artist In Your Life

When you accept you are the artist of your life, everything seems possible.  You’re more willing to take chances, trust your intuition and allow situations to flow into your life that a moment before seems inconceivable.

Every day you’re presented with “two roads diverged in the wood.”  It’s safer to take the road that is well worn.  It feels comfortable.  It feels safe.

It also feels unconscious.

But it never seems to be the right time.

You’ll start a family, business, new relationship once you have enough money.  You’ll spend more time with your parents, potential customers and friends when you have more time.  You’ll start writing, painting, playing the flute when you retire.

Waiting for the right time or the perfect conditions is keeping you caught the crossroads.  When you get to the intersection, you stop hesitate for a bit, then proceed down the well worn path.  There are some crossroads were you languish longer.  Even some where you might be paralyzed with the choice.

Here’s a Hint

There is no perfect time.  There are no perfect conditions.  There is only here and now.

When you get to the crossroads and pause, ask yourself, what’s the worse thing that could happen if I explored a less traveled path?  You know you want to, so go ahead and take a step, even if the time seems to be a little off.

Here’s what Joseph Campell had to say about following your bliss:

If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Wherever you are—if you are following your bliss, you are enjoying that refreshment, that life within you, all the time

Sounds pretty good right? Who knows you may discover something great.  Here are some pointers from experienced travelers such as Wayne Dyer, Stephen King, Sarah Ban Breathnach, Oprah, Julia Cameron, Napoleon Hill, Jack Canfield, Marcia Weider, and Lynn Robinson on how to “follow your bliss:”

  • Set aside quiet time every day to go within and listen.
  • Trust your gut.  When you get a nudge in a direction take it.
  • Commit fully to the process.
  • Dedicate time.  When you show up every day it becomes the place you should be.
  • Trust yourself, always.
  • Learn from your mistakes.  Don’t sit around and lick your wounds.
  • Your fear is only your ego trying to protect you.  Thank it and then move on.

So how will you become an artist in your own life?  Believe in yourself.  Take the first step.  Even if the path is unclear, continue to move in the direction that feels right.

Step Away From The Wheel

Life Simplified: Step Away from the Wheel

photo credit: nycstreets via flickr

I’m A Home Body

I confess I’m a home body.  After a busy week, there’s nothing like a couple days of nesting.  I love to cook scrumptious new recipes, bake golden desserts, write until my heart’s content and watch a couple sappy movies that ultimately make me cry.

This might not be your perfect day, but that’s not the point.  You know what re-energizes you.  Maybe it’s a football game, raking fall leaves or working on a craft-like project.  But in our 24/7 lives, we push what fills our bucket to the bottom of the list.

Are You On The Hamster Wheel?

It’s important to take time to do the things that make you feel whole again.  If you don’t life ends up feeling like you’re running in a hamster’s wheel.  When you’re in that state of mind even if you’re getting a lot done, you truly aren’t living.

This summer I wrote a couple posts about vacation and it revitalizing effect.  Well non-vacation time needs breaks as well.

Today if you get a chance, step off the wheel and focus on yourself for a while.  It’s not selfish, it’s necessary.  I look forward to hearing about your experience below or on Facebook.

How To Create Your Own Indepence Day

How to Create Your Own Independence Day



The passionate pursuit of dreams sets your soul soaring; expectations that measure the dream’s success tie stones around your soul.  Sarah Ban Breathnach, Simple Abundance




As a lover of history, I’m always inspired by the passion and drive of our founding fathers.  Take a few simple men, mix in passion and voila you have a new country.  It’s really crazy when you think of it.

Or is it?

When’s Your Independence Day?

When you reflect on your life, I’m sure you have your own “independence day(s).”  What fueled your drive?  What helped you flow gracefully (or not so gracefully in my case) over obstacles?  Can you relate to the passion the founding fathers had when you look back at your own independence day?

We need to celebrate our own victories on a more regular basis like we do the Fourth of July.  Celebrations are the sparks of your next inspiration.

The Downer, Expectations

What weighs you down are your expectations.  When you think back to your victory, did you have expectations around every milestone, or did you see the finish line and you worked toward that.

Expectations cause you to evaluate your progress against some arbitrary vision of where you think you should be.  When you peel back the layers of that onion, guaranteed you’ll find those expectations rooted in long held beliefs that may not be true for you today.

Start a Revolution

As we approach the Fourth of July, I encourage you to start your own revolution.  Ditch the expectations you have around your dreams, goals or visions.  Then “move confidently in the direction of your dreams” as Thoreau reminds us.

Our fore fathers and mothers who founded our country had to give up a lot of expectations along the way.  If they can do it, I know you can.

What expectations will you be giving up this Fourth of July?

You Can’t Use Up Creativity

You Can't Use Up Creativity - Life Simplified




“You can’t use up creativity.  The more you use the more you use, the more you have.” Maya Angelou




Over the last 10 years, the creativity faucet has turned on not only in my business, Life Simplified, but in many aspects of my life.  There isn’t a day when new ideas aren’t flooding my consciousness.

There was a time when I was afraid to create.  I truly believed I didn’t have an imagination.  Therefore when I had an idea, I didn’t act on it because I didn’t want to lose my “creativity.”

Through writing, I began to explore my own world of imagination.  First I started journaling.  Then I wrote short stories.  Now I blog almost every day.

At first the creativity came in drips.  Then the drips combined into a flow.

Not only do I write, but I paint, do photography, develop new concepts for my business, and develop new ways to teach people.  Not to mention fun things to do with my nephews!

Today I can’t go anywhere without paper and pen.  This blog, for example, was written sitting in the sun at the baseball fields between games.   Before where I thought there was no creativity, now I live in the flow every day.

How do you express your creativity?  Have you ever been afraid of “using it all up?”  I’d love to know.


Photo credit: zdenadel via Flickr under Creative Commons License

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