True happiness is of a retired nature…

True happiness is of a retired nature, and an enemy to pomp and noise; it arises, in the first place, from the enjoyment of one’s self, and in the next from the friendship and conversation of a few select companions.” ~ Joseph Addison

This quote reminds me the importance of being centered and comfortable in yourself, and how sharing that with a few people can enrich and expand that sense of being profoundly happy.

Simple Ways to Enhance Your Creativity

Lately there has been a theme bubbling up from my clients and in workshops: Creativity. What makes a person creative? How can I be more creative? I’d like to have time for my other interests like… cooking, painting, my “compulsive craftiness”, writing, or photography. My business needs some new ideas, but I feel stuck. I need some inspiration in my life.

Now it is easier than ever to be creative. There are a plethora of resources at our disposal: hello Photoshop and iphoto, DIY Network, blogs on style, knitting, painting etc. It is also easier to be distracted by all these resources, never mind our daily realities of email, work responsibilities, family, etc. The Internet holds a mired of tips about creativity, but I though I would share the ones I use and find tested and true. They are in no particular order, just the way they tumbled out today.

1. Stop telling yourself you are not creative. You are. We all are. Some of us are just more adept at showing it- a tip of my hat to my artist friends. There is not a kid the world that does not dive into the deep end of creativity when they play. The imagination is a wonderful thing. We don’t lose our imagination, but it might become a bit rusty from lack of use.

2. Quiet & stillness. Get a way from the distractions. Find a way to center your self and connect to what interests you. You don’t need any woo-woo rituals do this. Maybe getting up early, drinking your morning cup-o-joe, looking out the window gets you centered. Maybe some mindful breathing works for you. Whatever allows you to be focused and centered is the thing to do.

3. Schedule it. Now this seems counter intuitive to the classic image of the painter working when the moment strikes, or the writer suddenly dashing off to write a masterpiece when inspiration goes off like fireworks. Most creative people I know, be they painters, dancers, knitters, writers, jewelers, or cooks, practice and set aside for work, regularly. They make it a priority and hold time sacredly in their calendars. – the both the group who are professionals and those of us who are amateurs, especially those of use who are amateurs.

4. Nature, be in it. Sunshine. Moonlight. A potted plant or a 5 acre spread. A park. What is more creative than nature? All those colors, sounds, smells, textures, the shifts of light creating new patterns. Find inspiration everywhere. What catches your eye when you are outside?

5. Play with your senses. Move your body. Dance, garden, sing. Hum. Strum. Taste something new. Listen to a type of music you don’t normally hear. Go to the fabric store and touch some materials. Look

6. Be silly, usually you’ll end up laughing and in a good mood. Positive moods enhance and support creativity. You can let your guard down and just play. Here’s a wonderful example courtesy of my Mom and oldest nephew: “At the post office, Q and I picked up the package of summer reading books, bought a book of stamps and mailed 2 letters. I peeled the narrow fold indicator on the book of stamps and plopped it on the box he was holding.  A minute later, a glance at Q showed he had sprouted a thin, white mustache.  It looked both funny and elegant on his serious, handsome face.”

7. Experiment. Let go of temptation to be “perfect”- what is important is to be open and to try.  Expose your self to something new. Do something new. So what if you don’t turn out a perfect product- chances are you learned something, and that gives you more material with which to work. I can not tell you how many times I have ripped out inches and inches of stitches from a knitting project, or found I needed to move a plant from where it was struggling to grow. Never mind the wonderdous “trial and correction” creative pursuit that has lead to many a discovery in science.

8. Capture what captures you. Some folks keep a notebook with them where they write doe ideas, paste in images, or doodle what captures their eyes. Other folks, like Twyla Tharp use a box where they collect materials that inspire them. I use a bulletin board to collect images, words and thoughts.

9. Don’t force it. If you are not feeling inspired to work, do something related like diving into a new book about your area of interest. Or take a break and then come back to what you were doing.

Here is an interesting bonus tip from Jeffrey Baumgartner.

10. If you’re stuck for an idea, open a dictionary, randomly select a word and then try to formulate ideas incorporating this word. You’d be surprised how well this works.

“Sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” Lewis Carroll

10 Pearls of Wisdom to Nurture a Healthy Intimate Relationship

Summer is wedding season. This year several couples I know have tied the knot. This prompted me to reflect on the words of wisdom offered to myself and my husband when we were engaged. It also spured me to ask others about the best piece of advice they received or had to offer about creating a lasting and healthy in intimate relationship.

Here are 10 “pearls of wisdom” about creating a lasting and healthy in intimate relationship. These three reflect the most common themes in all the advice offered then and now: the choice to love, respect each other as individuals, and continue to communicate purposefully. They are listed in no particular order each is important.

  1. “Let there be space in your togetherness.”
  2. “Love is a choice that you make from moment to moment.”
  3. “Laugh together, listen to each other, be spontaneous, support each other in all things, compromise and continue to be genuinely curious about each other.”
  4. “Michael and I have a rule that only one of us can freak out over something. The other must remain calm and rational. “
  5. “Spend an hour each night just the two of you to talk about good and bad. Make it your time just like when you were dating. Perhaps a glass of wine, or mug of tea, some good music, but not the TV. My husband  & I have been doing this for 34 years and it works.”
  6. “Gramma Wanda always said, ‘Fight Nice’. I remember this when I get mad; it makes me think; and maybe I just let things go by or decide the issue is worth the fight.”
  7. “Ask for what you want and be willing to open your heart up and be vulnerable.”
  8. “Respect each other at all times… it’s not always about you and your needs. While it is important to have your own interests it’s just as important that you share common goals and dreams.”
  9. “We all grow and change in unpredictable ways.  People in a relationship rarely grow and change in exactly the way manner or pace. Do your best to be responsive to the ideas and goals of your partner as if they are an extension of yourself.”
  10. “Keep talking.  Keep communications open, even if you only agree to disagree.  Be respectful of your partner and don’t put them down.”

The essence of true friendship is to make allowances for another’s little lapses

The essence of true friendship is to make allowances for another’s little lapses”. ~David Storey

Thank you to all of my friends and loved ones who have forgiven my lapses, little and big. Extending your forgiveness has always allowed me to in turn extend my own olive branches when I have been on the receiving ends of lapses. What lapse will you forgive today?

7 Tips to Getting to Your Goals

There are lots and lots and lots of tips, guidelines, programs and methods to achieve your goals. Here are 7 tips that I just keep coming back to when I need to get something off the ground and get my end goal. These have never steered me wrong.

  1. Just start. It does not matter where you are in relation to where you want to be professionally or personally, what matters is to begin closing the distance between the two. In action gets you nowhere. So make good use of the fuel that is you inspiration and take some step. Small is fine.
  2. You know more than you think you do. Trust in yourself. What you don’t know you can learn. People don’t lose their capacity to learn except in extreme circumstances and if you are reading this you are not in one of those.
  3. Timing is everything. You know when you are at your best energy if you can organizing you tasks by the type of energy you need do it.
  4. Put yourself out there and get others involved in what you are doing. No one is an island. You are uniquely you and that is enough to be. Some folks with respond to what you are doing and others will not and that gives you more information and resources with which to work.
  5. Trial and correction. When something does not work out, own up to that fact, take what lesson you can from the experience, use this information to adjust. The same holds true when something does work, own up to that fact, take what lessons you can from the experience and use them to adjust the time around.
  6. Keep it simple and concise. Focus on what is at the heart of you are trying to do. Make your bench marker and goals elegant, achievable with stretch required.
  7. Rule # 6*: Don’t take yourself so seriously, that you can’t laugh and learn. Life is challenging enough, allow for levity and perspective.

These tips won’t make things always easy, but they have always served me and my clients well.

*(The Art of Possibility, by Stone Zander & Zander)