Creative Joy

“Creative” and “joy” were at one point in my life, mutually exclusive concepts for me.

On the mean streets of advertising, you were from one side of the track or another. You were either a Suit or a Creative. (Like the Sharks vs the Jets but with far less fancy dance moves.)

Depending on your vantage point: Suits = out of touch stiffs. Creatives = out of touch flakes.

Admittedly, I was a Suit. But I secretly harboured the belief that I was a Suit with a side of Creative. And no, not the kind that thought adding clipart to my .ppt presentations meant that I had a good design eye. (That sort of self-deprecating talk about my kind helped raise my stock with the Creatives, you see). No, I believed in the power of creativity, and that it was for all of us. And, armed with my ideological ways and Libran charm, I believed that I’d be the first one, ever, to bridge the two sides. I could see the value in both camps and knew our best work would come from bringing harmony to the creative process. And dare I say it, joy?

Umm. Not so much.

This work wasn’t about joy. It was about work. The industry is built around creativity was a transactional endgame. Get an idea. Get people on board. Cook it or be cooked. Someone’s not doing something right and with all that firepower, people get burnt.

That was then.

As I tripped and traipsed through the next stages of my life, I couldn’t shake my Pollyanna belief that I could be a Suit AND a Creative. That burnt as I felt there wasn’t a way to have it MY WAY. To be a powerful force in this world AND to be deeply rooted in a richly sustained and creative way. That I had something to be expressed.

It started with a new belief. That creativity may be about output, but it’s not about outcome. And that the process was the point. Not the product. So I decided to “try” to commit to a belief in the okayness of creating for creating’s sake. For the pure joy of it.

I started to see this: Advertising is a transactional endgame. Creativity is not.

And so, testing this new theory and buoyed by a desire to see some original art hung on our walls, my husband and I started painting. Just for fun. Just to see.

{We saw, and we happened to like what we saw. But that’s hardly the point.}

For the most part, I get the new approach right. And then without warning, I start to treat my writing, painting or other creative pursuits as transactional, and, like clockwork, I shut down. And shut off.

But now, I have a powerful ally. When I stop writing because I’ve allowed myself to measure my words with metrics like Facebook shares, likes and RTs, I have one fail-safe: I sit down to draw with my eight-year-old daughter.

She surveys the blank page, for but a moment, then fearlessly attacks the paper. She has yet to throw a picture away in a moment of “it’s not good enough”. Immersed in the pure love of her process, she just makes it better. For her and her alone. And there are rainbows. And kitties. And peace signs. And joy.

So, my desire for you is this, you Creative, you.

I want you to believe that you were born to create. I want you to believe there is untold and unexpressed beauty within you yearning to be released. It needs to trust that you will not judge its imperfections, nor try to force it into something it’s not. That you will love it for what it is. And that in time, when you have nurtured this tender new growth into the fulsome being that it wants to be, that you will lovingly release it into the world, so that others may rejoice in the beauty: of your words. Of your song. Of your silverwork. Of your adornment. Of your art.

That your “good enough” can move mountains, launch ships, set hearts free.

That your “yes” is someone else’s “YES”.

I want you to create for you. And THEN spread it around. With joy and abandon.

+++++

Oh so much gratitude to Jen, Marianne, and Susannah for inviting me to riff on Creative Joy and for taking a strong and powerful stand for YOUR Creative Joy. Will you join them at their retreat in July?

 

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Wishes for my 8-year old Birthday Girl + one for me

Dearest L -

On your 8th birthday, I have eight wishes for you.

And one for me.

For you

  1. I wish that you always carry with you this big heart of yours: the one that wants to be the peacekeeper, inspired by what you know of Marianne. Beautiful as you are, your heart is your best feature. 
  2. I wish that you retain your capacity for empathy, even when you get charged with being too sensitive.
  3. I wish you to hold on fiercely to your belief that you can be anything you want. Because baby, you can.
  4. I wish you continued delight in every wonder. And that even as those big, beautiful wide eyes become dimmer with the skepticism of age, that your curiosity lights your way.
  5. I wish you to feel deeply…the highs AND the lows.  No sense avoiding it, ’cause  there’ll be days like this.
  6. I wish you to KNOW that your voice may be sweet, and it’s still mighty. It will take you to places beyond your wildest dreams.
  7. I wish you could see yourself, as we see you.

And for me

I wish I’ll always be something like this in your green eyes.

Oh, I know that it won’t always be this way. And so, for those years that you won’t be able to stand my very presence, my final wish is this:

8. That you remember this morning: your bear holding your balloons for you, the chocolate croissants in bed, the steady stream of phone calls from family and friends,  and the biggest worry of your heart being what party dress to wear to school.

I know I will.

 

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You’re Invited: Toronto Firestarter Session Launch Party (April 19th)

Oprah’s not the only Hot Shot coming to Toronto the week of April 16th. My friend and business crush Danielle LaPorte  is coming to town to celebrate my mention in the May issue of Canadian Living.

Okay. Maybe not.

But she IS coming to town to launch her (hothothothothot) book: The Fire Starter Sessions. (The very book that has yet to leave my side).

New friends. Old friends. And DANIELLE!

Click on the invite to get your ticket. See you and your dancing shoes on the 19th at the Gladstone Hotel.

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End Sex Trafficking Day

Of all the unfathomable atrocities that I try not to think about, human slavery and the sale of women and children around the world as sex slaves ranks just about as high as possible. Thankfully, not everyone is as ostrich-like as I.

Enter 
Erin Giles and her vision: End Sex Trafficking Day.

She’s creating a book by assembling sixty writers (think: Seth Godin, Danielle LaPorte, Dyana Valentine, Pam Slim, Mark Silver, Tara Sophia Mohr and ME) to contribute essays about love, freedom + knowledge. (I weighed in on love).

Every dollar raised in the sale of this book of love will go directly to the Not For Sale Campaign.

This book, in Erin’s words, will set people free.

I believe it.

She’s launched a 30-day giving campaign to raise the funds necessary to get this book printed. She’s made a good dent in her $10,000 target, and has a ways to go yet.

I’ve given. And there’s still more for me to give.

I’ve created a coaching offer for 5 people who want to give too. AND to end something in their own lives and worlds.

The “What wants to end?” Session

Make a $100 donation and get a one-hour Skype/ Phone session with me. In that time, we’ll laser in on what in your life is in the way of your glorious path. And end its reign.

Just came up with this so there’s no fancy sales page.  But here’s how it will work:

  • Visit the End Sex Trafficking Day site (and just try not to be moved by Erin’s video).
  • Make a donation of $100 or more.
  • Forward a copy of your receipt to me via email.
  • I’ll send you a link to my calendar and some juicy questions to get you going.

Big ol’ caveat: I’m nearing the finish line of the Board of Your Life Kit launch so sessions won’t happen before April 23rd.  

If this offer isn’t for you and you’d still like to help:

Please visit End Sex Trafficking Day site and allow your inspiration and compassion to guide you.

 

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The Finish Line

 

Like every other project in my life, I started writing the Board of Your Life Kit con mucho gusto.  I shouted from the rooftops. I whooped it up and got bizay. I came up for air to revel in my progress. It was easy, to start. After all, this is the program that I developed in 2008. I’m damned well masterful.

Annnd…90% of the way through, I lost my mojo.

Like the final putts on the 18th hole. The gravy that still needs to be made for the Thanksgiving feast. The final 500m of a 10k run.

I wanted. To. Stop. Tired. Bored. Apathetic. Contrary.

Who’s going to love this thing, anyways?

Recognizing a pattern that has had me stopping short in life, I caught it this time.

One thing I’ve learned deeply: if you want to feel better, open your circle, be vulnerable, ask for help, say you need it, allow it in. – Maria Shriver

I called in friends. I called in reinforcements. I invited them to help me hold this. Their cheers, offers and love has meant more than I can ever utter.

How else could Board of Your Life be born? After all, it has everything to do with rallying your team.

So grace be to them, the Board of Your Life kit will be available within two weeks. There won’t be much fan-fare (though how gorgeous is that new graphic on your left? Carrie Klassen, Imma talking to you). It will slip quietly in the water. I will break a bottle of Veuve Cliquot on its side with my nearest and dearest and whisper a prayer that you love it as I do.

Sign up here to get updates about The Board of Your Life Kit

If you are fighting through the last 10% of ANYTHING,  please heed this:

  • Lean into your friends. They want you to cross the finish line more than you know.
  • Clear your calendar. You may need to say no. You’ll make up for it in leaps and bounds when you are finished.
  • Keep going. Edit by edit, swing by swing, stride by stride, whisk by whisk, we are getting there.

And you know what? We’re going to love your thing, that’s who.

 

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Thing Finding Thursday with Ronna Detrick

In one short conversation with Ronna Detrick, I was immediately aware that this woman is big. Like, BIG. Not big, LOUD. But big, POWERFUL. Honest. Bold. Compassionate. A champagne-loving sister.

More conversations were quickly scheduled. (Including this one about faith and congregation.)

In no time, she became my go-to High Priestess of Truth-Telling. This is significant, ‘cause I’m honest. Well…largely. There are places within me that still harbour untruths. When I speak with Ronna; when I look her in the eyes; when I am graced with her PRESENCE (and oh yes – she’s got herself some presence); I get curious dig in, dig down, and yank it out. Like a dandelion’s deceptively deep root.

Kinda like thing-finding, non?

Her writing stirs my soul. Her grace stills my heart. Our conversations feed my mind. In soaking her up, I get to rest in the quiet place of integrity, courage, peace and fullness.

These are the cornerstones of the truth-filled life.

And it’s her Thing.

Interview with Ronna Detrick for Thing Finding Thursday

Acknowledge the disconnect between what’s going on internally vs. what you’re putting out externally, ask yourself what you really (REALLY) want, decide upon baby steps and move into your truth. You will survive. And thrive. Because:

Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.  - Buddha

Truer words were never spoken.

Tweetworthy Ronna-isms (for your sharing pleasure)

  • I can’t really expect people to be in authentic relationship with me when I’m not really being authentic. (TWEET IT)
  • If you could say anything you wanted to say, no risks, no consequences, no ramifications, what would it be? (TWEET IT)
  • As women, we feel a deep responsibility to the sustenance of relationships. (TWEET IT)
  • Can you acknowledge that there IS something in your core that knows + is trustworthy? (TWEET IT)
  • Truth–telling is about knowing that the way that other people experience me is consistent with who I actually am. (TWEET IT)
  • What if you had permission to not hold it together, but rather, to fall apart? (TWEET IT)

Transcript of edited interview (for your reading pleasure)

Ronna: —  I think my thing is telling the truth. And when I say that I don’t mean not lying. What I mean is really being in touch with the stuff that matters most to me, and knowing that I’m living that out. Knowing that I’m expressing that, knowing that the way that other people experience me is consistent with who I actually am.

And I land on that over and over and over again because I’ve been so aware in my own life of places where that’s not been true. Where I’ve had one tape running in my head, and other words coming out of my mouth. Or one way that people are experiencing me but a whole different set of feelings internally.

And so the more and more I became aware of that a number of years ago, the more I started thinking to myself—hey, this isn’t okay. This disconnect. Because I can’t really expect people to be in authentic relationship with me when I’m not really being authentic. I can’t really hold them hostage for not treating me, or not loving me, or not respecting me, or seeing me the way that I want them to when I’m not actually being that person.

And of course the risk that is inherent in that is that when I show up, when I really say what I want to say and tell my truth and live that, people might not actually like that. And I have to be willing to take on that risk as well. So that comes just out of my own chronology, my own story, my own experiences.

And because that has been super significant for me and very, very life changing, it’s what I talk about all the time.

Tanya: So how do you help people to access that truth telling?

Ronna:  We have to acknowledge it. That there is a gap for us, right? That where we want to be or how we would want to be experienced isn’t where we are. So will we tell the truth and name that for ourselves to begin with. I think for me that was a huge piece in my own story. Was having to really tell myself the truth.

Like, I’m in a world of hurt here. Or my relationship really sucks. Or I don’t like my job. Or I don’t like my body or whatever. You know we all have our own—all of those things and individual stories.

The second thing that I spend a good amount of time doing is asking people just rhetorically—like if you could say anything you wanted to say, no risks, no consequences, no ramifications, what would it be? What would you say or what would you do? And usually we feel like really nervous when we get hit with that question. But I really want people to answer that as fast as they possibly can. Because I think that’s the thing. Right? That’s the core truth.

And maybe we don’t go there right away. Because there’s work to be done before we can completely upset the apple cart. Or walk away from our job, or end a marriage, or step into a relationship or whatever—

Tanya: Right.

Ronna: —these circumstances are. But when you hear yourself say those words, even written. Then you go, ooh, wow, really? That’s where I go? Note to self.

I think sometimes we dismiss it because we start saying, well it doesn’t really matter what my answer is because I can’t have it. I’m like, that’s not what I asked you.

Tanya: So you mentioned some baby steps that people would take to have them move towards that place of truth telling in their own lives. What might those look like?

Ronna:  For me, when I first began to recognize this disconnect, this gap, between what was going on internally and what I was experiencing externally. I was commuting a long distance up to work and back every day. And I realized as I got closer and closer to my house that my anxiety level was going up higher and higher. And that I was stepping into this space of having—of kind of changing who I was. Like literally in my head going—okay, 20 miles to go. Are you ready? Do you know what this will mean? Kind of get—you know—and I would work myself into this place of being who I needed to be in that space which really was so disconnected from who I actually was.

So when I began to recognize this, what I—one of the small, small steps that I started taking was I would say to myself as I was parking the car and walking up the steps. Just one time tonight Ronna. Could you say exactly what you feel? Just one time. No more than that—just once. When some—when you start editing in your brain or you start recognizing that you have a reaction, but you’re not expressing it. Just once, could you do that?

And I thought to myself, I could probably do it just once. But even though once felt so scary to me at first. Because I thought all hell was going to break loose. Well it didn’t—right? Now eventually lots of things occurred over time in that process of testing those waters and then finally diving off the deep end in that regard.

But it was valuable for me to see that I could actually bring some consistency and some resonance there, and not fall apart. I didn’t fall apart, the world didn’t fall apart. Might have been a little dicey. But I went huh, I’m okay. Maybe I could do two things tomorrow right?

It’s really like trusting this deep knowing. And I think we lose touch with that. Right, we listen to all the data that comes in from the outside and we gauge our relational worth and our value on how other people are experiencing us and over time we’re completely disconnected from this sort of intuitive, internal, even embodied kind of knowing. And so when I ask that first question—like, you know—if you could do or say anything, what would it be?

I think that’s that voice speaking really powerfully. But we immediately go, woah I can’t trust that. Because look what would happen if I did it. And so the process is one of really beginning to acknowledge that hey, maybe there’s something in my core that is really, really trustworthy. That is stronger and wiser then all this other stuff that I take in and all these constructs that I’ve built around me. What if that were true?

And the more that we ask ourselves that question, and the more that we practice that, I think that moves us as women closer and closer and closer to just being these amazing goddess-like creatures. Because that’s—that’s like this DNA that I think we have within that we can trust.

Tanya: And what is the distinction that we often like to collapse in with truth. Is that there’s going to be a negative consequence if I tell this truth. Or what are some other distinctions that might be kind of stuck in this place of I can’t do that.

Ronna: “If I were to tell the truth, or if I were to be really, really honest and authentic in the context of my relationships, I’d be too much. Like you couldn’t handle it. Or you’ll leave me, or you won’t really like who I am. Or I’ll hurt your feelings. Or it’s going to make us uncomfortable for a while until we figure out what this new thing means.”

And it’s just—it’s craziness.

So I think for most women that’s the thing that gets us. Is that we feel a deep responsibility to the sustenance of relationships. Which is a beautiful thing. I mean that is a true thing for our hearts.

But not at the expense of our hearts, right? And often times we’re sustaining relationships that really are not nurturing us. And really are not completely whole because the person that we’ve chosen to be isn’t all of who we are.

Tanya: There like a cousin to truth, and it feels like respect. And I love the way in which—you know—by stepping into your choice, you’re actually offering your partner a choice too. A full choice. Would be the full complement of who you are then he gets to choose that’s who I want to be with or not. And that’s a very respectful place because I do think that we tend to be—you know—trying to hold a lot of things assuming that we are required to hold it all together.

Ronna: Yes, so we think.

Tanya: Yeah. And not giving anybody else the opportunity to sort of step in and be the full expression of who they are.

Ronna: Right. And to give ourselves permission to not hold it all together, but to fall apart, right? That’s the other side of it.

_______________

Go find Ronna with all her truth-telling goddess wisdom and fiercely gorgeous writing  at her site and on Twitter

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What's YOUR Thing? If you’re trying to find your thing, then signing up for updates is the thing for you. Get Thing Finding Thursday updates, plus:

Top secret and supershiny notices, events and discounts.

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Taking Stock

We’ve had some, shall we say, umm, technical glitches around the site for the past couple of weeks. It’s been frustrating, maddening, defeating, and at times hilarious (like, when I’m underslept and marginally hysterical). Just when we think we’re in the clear, something else comes up. It’s been one cluster-whoops after another. (Hat tip to Kenneth Parcell for that one. Also trying to fold in “fuzzy bunnies” from Jamie to my non-sweary swear repertoire).

Today, Mercury is in retrograde. I’ve actually taken precautions. {For real.} Annnnd in spite of said precautions, inexplicably, the planets have decreed that I not receive email on my general inquiry account. So THAT’S, you know, great for business. My VA and Web Wonder Woman are all over it, people have been resourceful enough to contact me via Twitter + FB and in the meantime, I have choices.

Take stock of what I have YET to do, or take stock of what I HAVE done.

Today, I choose the latter. While Mercury whoops it up with his trickery, I decided to round-up where I’ve been writing, posting, chatting when I haven’t been here, or coaching, or producing the oh-so-soon-to-be-released Board of Your Life program.

I’ve been re-listening and re-reading. Reflecting on every love-filled request. Appreciating the airtime. Relishing the deliciousness of being invited into the on-line spaces of some of the brightest lights I know.

I hope you track these dropped crumbs—I know you’ll appreciate the powerful work these people are doing just as I do.

Writing

I’ve been showing up regularly at The Jungle of Life to talk about new beginnings, focus, change, giving, consumption, and love.

Sara Blackthorne invoked the Warrior Woman in me to talk about my path and support along the way. A favourite topic of mine.

Tamarisk Saunder-Davies and I riffed on being a connection catalyst. (How hot is that?)

It was an honour to be part of in the autumn tribe of Roots of She. In fact, it was magical.

I was interviewed by the luminous Hannah Marcotti for the Women We Admire issue of Wild Sister Magazine. We talked about ritual. Sumptuous.

C.A. Kobu invited me to speak to her people about Strengths in her truly delightful A Year With Myself Project. (And she’s super-generously giving away the whole module as a Valentine’s Day prezzie!)

Amanda Fall published my “I See You” post in the Bold Issue of Sprout Magazine.

Kate Swoboda invited me to share what I think I know about courage.

Video + Audio

Amy Kessel and I talked about the glory and the messiness and the grace of unfurling. And our grandmothers. Both bodacious women in leisure suits named Mildred. Awesome.

Ronna Detrick invited me to her pulpit to talk sanctuary, silence and faith as journey. Click here to listen in.

Amanda Farough and I spoke about clarity in your business (and warning, things got a bit, okay a LOT, sweary…hence the aforementioned search of non-swear swears).

David Cohen invited me on to his show to talk about putting a bit of love back into your business.

With all this rounding up and re-listening, it was timely that Abby Kerr went in and read my writing voice, like a Super Star Seer. It’s part of her Illuminating Voices series. I am touched and humbled by what she shared. She also read the voice of Tara Gentile, Rachel Cole, Bridget Pilloud, Emma Alvarez Gibson, Alexandra Franzen, Erin Miles, Yvonne Bynoe (In Part 1, Abby reveals what she hears in Danielle LaPorte, Chris Guillebeau, Marie Forleo, Justine Musk, Laura Roeder, Havi Brooks, Charlie Gilkey. Some pretty stellar writers…)

So, that’s where I’ve been. Feeling honoured and suddenly far more prolific.  Grace be to Mercury for the time to pause, reflect and savour.

Will you put down your To-Do list and create a Done list?

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You are what you feed

As I write this, I am awaiting friends at a lovely resto in Toronto. It’s a locavore’s delight. Their slogan: Food is Fuel. Food is Medicine.

Yes.

And, while I am being more mindful of what I’m putting into my body (you know: Vita-Mixing kale like it’s my job), this isn’t a post about that.

It’s about what I’m feeding.

I recently ran across a story about a Native American tribal leader describing his own inner struggles. He said, “There are two dogs inside me. One of the dogs is mean and evil. The other dog is good. The mean dog fights the good dog all the time.” Someone asked him which dog usually wins, and after a moment’s reflection, he answered, “The one I feed the most.”

Living a Life That Matters, Harold S. Kushner

Have you ever noticed how much time is spent on the problem? The pain, the worry, the fear? How we feed those with our time, energy and devotion, even as we recognize how it depletes us?

And how we merely tend to our successes and move on quickly to the next problem?

Now, Darlings. Please do NOT get me wrong. I’m not suggesting we ignore the pain, worry, fear, betrayal, disappointment. That would be unrealistic and arguably, irresponsible. After all, what we resist persists.

I’m suggesting we flip this around.

Tend to the pain. But feed the joy.
Tend to the fear. But feed the love.
Tend to the anger. But feed the freedom.
Tend to the worry. But feed the excitement.

Do you feel the energy shift? Do you feel how important that is? Do you see how this changes everything?

Yeah. Me too.

+++++++

And speaking of feeding hungers, my dear friend Rachel Cole is traveling the US leading intimate Retreatshops for women who want to explore their truest, deepest hungers and what it means for them to be well-fed. The reviews are coming in and they are glowing. She’s half-way done, but you can still grab tickets to: San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Chicago, Minneapolis, and Los Angeles.

Tweets for the Sweet

Tend to the pain. But feed the joy. (TWEET THIS)
Tend to the fear. But feed the love. (TWEET THIS)
Tend to the anger. But feed the freedom. (TWEET THIS)
Tend to the worry. But feed the excitement. (TWEET THIS)

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Thing Finding Thursday – What’s YOUR Thing?


I truly cannot express how joyful it’s been to invite some of my favourite people into my virtual living room on Thursdays to discuss their THING. What it is, how they found it and sharing their collective wisdom about how you can find yours. I’m richer for the experience and it is my sincerest hope that you are too.

Remember these interviews/posts and these gems?

Danielle LaPorte - Take the charge out of finding your genius. Like, what makes you happy? – (TWEET IT)

Fabeku Fatunmise – Trust the bigness inside of you that is pulling you toward your thing. (TWEET IT)

Chris Guillebeau - The goal isn’t so much to vanquish fear, but to find a way to channel them into s.t. positive + motivating. (TWEET IT)

Jen Louden - It’s okay to find [your thing] + abandon it + find it + abandon it. (TWEET IT)

Tara Sophia Mohr - Compassion is the natural expression of wisdom. (TWEET IT)

Dyana Valentine - I want you to believe that you know the difference between right and right now. (TWEET IT)

Susannah Conway - do the work that makes your heart sing the loudest. (TWEET IT)

Pam Slim - Focus on where you can make an impact based on who it is that you are. (TWEET IT)

Jenny Blake – Sometimes in order to admit what we really want there are some scary questions (TWEET IT)

Amy Kessel - And making peace with not knowing the answers is a crucial aspect of these journeys. (TWEET IT)

Matthew Stillman – (When we’re young) our radiance goes out in 360 degrees. (TWEET IT)

Jasmine Lamb – Stop and listen. What is your life, right now, trying to tell you? (TWEET IT)

Megan Potter - My Thing is ME  (TWEET IT)

Emma Gwillim - It’s only by tasting a little of everything that you’ll get to know your favourite flavours. (TWEET IT)

Sabrina Ali – In facing doubts, ask yourself: Where is the love coming from + what’s it saying? (TWEET IT)

Brandy Glows - We could all use more gorgeous crazy in our lives. (TWEET IT)

Mary-Margaret McMahon – WHY NOT spread your gifts and enthusiasm? (TWEET IT)

Oh so much richness and light shared. And oh so much more to come (make sure you’re subscribed for updates).

I’m also hearing from you, dear and precious readers, that you’d like the opportunity to share YOUR thing, YOUR path, YOUR journey with us.  And we’d LOVE to to meet you. We WANT to get to know YOU and where you are at in your own process of finding, loving, or claiming your thing.

And so, I’ll be mixing it up a bit around here.

Peppered in-betwixt the interviews and guest posts, I’ll be asking you one of the interview questions, and invite you to share your responses with us in the comments below and on my Facebook page.

And, for an added dose of inspiration, we’re going to hear the answer to the question from someone who HAS found their thing. And wants to share it with you.

This week, we’re graced with the sparkliciousness of  Andrea Schroeder of www.CreativeMagicAcademy.com. With a paintbrush in one hand & a glitter-gun in the other, Andrea lovingly mentors men & women who want to lead creatively abundant lives — and do ‘impossible’ things, with ease & joy.

So, Andrea, what’s YOUR thing?

My Thing is Creative Magic.

I help people find their creative spark and use it to bring their dreams to life, with spiritual practices & personal development techniques that feel less like silent meditation & group weeping, and more like magic potions & tea parties.

This means I support myself as a coach, course leader & creator of magical kits to help with everything from overcoming fear to mapping your goals to building the heart-centered business of your dreams.  I spend a lot of time playing with crayons and glitter, wearing costumes and giggling.  My job is the funnest thing ever.

I’m actively & passionately working on my mission of overflowing this whole world with sparkly wishes (fulfilled!) and dreams (come true!) — and I’m enjoying every second of my chosen adventure.

Express the greatest parts of who YOU are, at www.CreativeMagicAcademy.com. You can also find Andrea sprinkling glittery joy over on Twitter.

Your turn, Dear Reader: What’s YOUR thing?

So go ahead. We’d love to hear from you. Share in the comments or on my Facebook page. And make sure you leave your link so we can find your glorious self.

Still looking? Keep coming back for inspiration. Sign up for updates below, or email me for my Quintessential Questions.

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Self Love begins with Values

(I’m delighted to have been asked to write about Values for a blog series put together by Molly Mahar of Stratejoy.  She’s organized a blog crawl + Treasure Hunt where 26 writers I admire are blogging about self-love. Please be sure to go check their posts out.)

I say “delighted” in the intro above because I truly was. And then, I became overwhelmed. Surprisingly quickly.

See, as juicy as values are, they are so foundational to self-love that it’s almost impossible for me to uncollapse the two. And values form the most basic level of the work I get to do as a coach. I could write a book about values. Two books. Maybe three. And self love? Yikes…don’t even get me started.

But I have just one blog post to write.

So, as I do when I feel overwhelmed, I went rooting through the closet of my values to see which one could help me out of this pickle.

There it was: simplicity.

(Knowing your values allows you to cut through the vines of your thought with machete-like discernment.)

And it really is JUST this simple: to know you IS to love you.

It’s rare that you can love that which you do not know.

So, let’s get to know you.

Spelunking for Values

Values, by the way, aren’t necessarily what you VALUE. Nor are they necessarily morals, ethics, or principles.

To be sure, when you are living from your values, there is a sense of “rightness” for YOU, but that’s not to say that values are intrinsically virtuous.

They are your own unique thumbprint of who you are. At your core. From the inside out.

Now, that innate “rightness” (also known as “resonance”) is a pretty powerful metric in learning what your values are. You can uncover some of your core values by thinking back to a time when you felt at your best. Like everything was right with the world and time could stand still. Conjure that moment and jot down what was going on, who was there, how you were feeling. That’s called “Peak Experience” and it’s a doozy for getting clarity.

Also notice what you’re always insisting upon, who you admire, and what makes you crazy (the flip of that emotion is likely a value).

At this point, you’ve got yourself a pretty robust sense of what makes you tick.

In the spirit of Molly’s ABCs, here are some values that my clients tend to own (this list is by no means exhaustive…nor is it a shopping list from which to load up your cart).

A – Adventure, authenticity, achievement

B – Beauty, bodaciousness

C – compassion, caring, community, connection, congregation, creativity, courage

D – Determination, duty, delight, diversity, discovery

E – Ease, excitement, energy, elation, efficiency, excellence, equality

F – Fun, freedom, flow, faith

G – Generosity, gratitude

H – Health, happiness, hope, humility, honesty

I – Innovation, intimacy, independence, integrity

J – Joy, justice

K – Kindness, knowledge

L – Love, luminosity, leadership, luxury

M – Mastery, meaning

N – Nature

O – Optimism

P – Power, peace, pleasure, performance

Q – Questioning, quality, quiet

R – Resourcefulness, respect, responsibility

S – Sharing, sensuality, success, simplicity

T – Trust, truth, transparency

U – Understanding, unity

V – Vision

W – Worthiness, wholeness, wisdom

X – Excitement (erm…)

Y – Yummy factor

Z – Zen, zest

See which ones show up in your work, and claim them as your own.

Rating your Values

Now that you have your list of say, 10 or 15 top values, rate each of your values on a scale of 1-10. How alive and well is that value in your life right now (one being the lowest and ten being the highest).

Given that you are human and have a pulse, Imma gonna guess that some values are rated pretty high and some have been taking a beating of late. And, if you feel any discontent in your life right now, it will become pretty clear why when you see which values have been ignored.

Let me be clear. This is not about you doing something wrong. Living fully from your values isn’t always comfortable. Just ask anyone with a core value of authenticity. Often, they must make choices to honour that value at the risk of saying some hard truths.

But selling out on your values is the quickest way to selling out on your self. A most inelegant act of self-loathing.

And we’re about self-love, right?

Onward.

Action

If you’ve identified that some of your top values have been a bit unloved as of late, make note of which ones need the attention and make a plan of action.

Also notice that you’re always moving towards, or away from a value.

Say you decide that you need ramp up the yummy factor in your life (a common value my clients are desiring more of) you can ask in a moment:

“Will this decision move me towards or away from the yummy factor?”

Or if you’ve identified that you’re missing ease, ask yourself:

“How can this (task, project, decision) be easier?”

Electric truth in the form of elegant simplicity.

Now, tap into that creative value of yours. What actions can you take to shine the love on your value of beauty, freedom, adventure, gratitude, pleasure?

Beauty? Adorn your night table with trinkets of gorgeousness. Freedom? Commit to clearing a day for white space, by lovingly saying no to dissonant obligations. Adventure? Lose the city map and go for a stroll in a new part of town. Gratitude? Journal your gifts. Pleasure? Well, I’ll leave that one up to you.

Love up those values but good. And in doing so, you’re loving yourself up.

Purely, resonantly and honestly.

Hallelujah.

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