Creativity Burst: Cake For Breakfast

Cake for Breakfast

Here’s a fun trick — something I often do the day after my Birthday or when my sweet tooth is really calling out to me: I eat cake for breakfast.

What’s so tricky about that? Not much, except you have to trick your mind into thinking its acceptable to eat cake at 7 am on any given morning and feel good about it. Another favorite tip is to eat breakfast for dinner — say eggs and bacon at 6 pm? Of course, there is always brunch where we get away with eating the sweet and savory all at once during a midday meal.

For me, if I remember to eat cake for breakfast, it really starts my day off fun. Just to look at the cake on a plate early in the morning is decadent. Then to give in and indulge with a nice cup of tea. Could there be anything better?

Change up your schedule and eat different types of food at different times of day. Even something as simple as this can get your creative juices flowing and inspire more creative ideas for your day.

Now, you could even get up and bake a cake to get your day off to the right start — creativity and sweetness. It almost feels like that is exactly what I am doing when I make up a batch of blueberry muffins or cinnamon rolls. Those are so cake-like and sweet, it feels like I am making cake for breakfast.

Try it. Mix up your meals and indulge in something different for you and your family. I will grab my fork and be right over. Let’s see what creative ideas spew forth as we enjoy some cake in the early am hours.

Creativity Burst: Lady With Baguette

Lady With Baguette

Continuing my mid-summer break, here is an interesting photo that I took in Spain last year. I was walking along — she was strolling as any good local would do. Only thing — she had a baguette in her hand.

I usually think of carrying a baguette home wrapped in long paper — not her! She strolled along, baguette in hand.

I see a person like this and immediately begin to build a story in my mind about her and her baguette. Was she headed home to make a tasty lunch for herself and/or her family? Was she taking the bare baguette to a sick friend to cheer her? Was she about to hit someone over the head with it?

My mind went wild with my various stories but around this woman — this complete stranger — and her baguette. A creative little game I sometimes play when I want my mind to wander to someone and a story outside of myself. How could I resist with a picture like this?

What are you seeing today that you could build a creative little story around?

Creativity Burst: Flower Power

Flower Power
Here’s to Flower Power!

Are you enjoying the height of the summer flower season about now? If you just take a mere walk around your neighborhood in the Northern Hemisphere of the world, it seems like there are bursts of flower power color everywhere you look!

One of my favorite parts of summers is hanging baskets of petunias. Not only do I love the color these flowers offer my backyard, it is a season where I get to directly care for living flowers that are in full display this time of year.

From watering them morning and night to dead heading the flowers that have fizzled, I feel so very satisfied as I interact with my flowers. I know others have actually planted flowers and they are being rewarded this time of year. I know others who are buying flowers for themselves and loved ones and enjoying the beauty of arranged flowers.

Flowers do not last — even my pots are really only good for the short season — but how wonderful to be surrounded by their cheer even if only for a few weeks. I have been known to sing to my flowers — they seem to thrive even more when I do this. I also love to just sit amongst my flowers. Such cheer. They help take my mind to something creative, hopeful, and bright. Sometimes I journal beside my flowers — another way in to finding my muse.

How are flowers creative? Think and marvel on the fact of how they grow. The colors and shapes they take on. What images come to mind? What memories may a flower evoke for you? If your flower has scent, does it transport you somewhere? If so, where?

I hope on this perfect mid-summer — height of summer! — day you have some flowers surrounding you, making you happy, providing a creative a burst of color within and toward others.

Here’s to flower power!

Creativity Burst: Fun Clothes

Fun Clothes

I always loved this T-shirt. A friend gave it to my husband years ago and it gave us both a good laugh. It’s summer. The living is easy. It may just be fun to find some fun, happy clothes to don and share a good laugh.

Even better? Make your own fun (and/or funny) clothes. T-shirts where you use fabric markers to make your own would be a great way to get the creative juices flowing. All you need is some plain white T-shirts (or another solid color) and fabric markers — and, of course, some of your own inspiration to make it a fun activity.

Now another part of this project is finding out what makes it fun. Is it the color? Is it the saying? Is it a combination? I remember when tie dye was all the rage. There were no words, just psychedelic colors that you could use to turn your t-shirt into a wild print. Fun! The process of tie dye was really fun – especially with friends.

Your kids could outfit their dogs and cats too. Finding funny sayings and creating an animal shirt to put on the family cat and dog would also be a fun way to create something new. I think the laughs you may get from your family and others when your pet walks around in his funny T-shirt may also boost creative fun. Whether or not your pet will find it funny is another story.

If creating fun clothes is not exciting for you, then how about heading to your closet and shopping it to create fun new outfits. Perhaps the colors clash or two pieces simplyy don’t go together. Now is the time to try and see what new combinations you come up with that are fun, not necessarily ones that you would wear out in all seriousness. Being outrageous with your wardrobe can spark new ideas and ways to use them. Be open and create some fun fashion statements.

Whether creating funny T-shirts for you or your pets or reimagining your clothes into new outfits that may be outrageous, you are leaning into a creative exercise that will spark more ideas of bringing the new to the old and actually lightening up and having fun. It doesn’t take much to get a creative burst of energy.

Creativity Burst: Balloon Parade

Balloon Parade

Ever think of hosting a Balloon Parade?

Today is my Birthday, and I have always dreamed of a Balloon Parade. What does this idea entail? To be completely honest, I am not sure as I have never hosted one before, even as I’ve always yearned for one. As a former kids’ party planner, my mind turns toward inviting friends over and blowing up balloons — or, more likely, having balloons already blown up that each person can grab…and GO!

Go where? Off to a Balloon Parade of our own making. Basically line everyone up and march around my neighborhood or my city with balloons in hand together. Ah, how fun! Although I have a fantasy around my Balloon Parade, I have never made it happen as I don’t want to plan something like this for myself. I resist!

So, I yearn for this celebration and yet I don’t make it happen for myself — and who has time to plan a Balloon Parade? By this time in my life, I think I am more excited by the idea and the dream of it than actually doing it. Have you ever wanted something for so long that your mind builds it up in a way that reality can never meet your expectations?

In that case, I would say just do it — to myself and to anyone else who has a “Balloon Parade” of their own in their mind. Reality is actually always better than fantasy. I doubt I will get around to it this year — I think this is another year where my mind will float over the idea, but, with any luck, I will be here for the next Birthday and perhaps that year I will have the courage to host a Balloon Parade of my own.

To all the Balloon Parades in our minds — Cheers!

Creativity Burst: A Positive List for a Negative Habit

A Positive List for a Negative Habit

How can a positive list change any type of negative habit?

Well, it’s a creative exercise indeed to flip something we criticize ourselves for on its head and see the positive side, i.e. what may be the part of the habit we deemed as negative as something that is giving us something we are missing, longing for, and enacting that feels good.

Usually the way we interact with our bad habits and patterns is to criticize ourselves for having formed and maintained the habits. I often have found the more negative, critical talk about these habits, the more they take hold. Which is the exact opposite of what we want in our heads as we often seek to not do these very things again and again. However, what else to do, but to talk negatively to one’s self and keep up the habit of the negative behavior.

So, it may take a little effort to do this, but if you look at this idea as a creative exercise then it may not feel difficult at all. Also, it will allow for a break from the negativity toward self. In concept, the idea is simple. Take a few moments with yourself and sit down with a pen and paper in hand. From there, write at the top of the page — or wherever on the page — your bad habit or pattern.

Now, instead of thinking about all the bad you think you are for doing this habit and also how you judge the habit to be bad in and of itself — flip it! — and think about all of the good things that you get from doing this habit from the little to the big things. My guess is there is something positive that far outweighs the negative of engaging the pattern or habit that keeps it active for you.

After you see all that is positive in this negative habit, treat yourself compassionately. There are reasons that are valid that drive us to take on “bad” habits and behaviors. By allowing yourself to be compassionate and extending loving kindness may help you get more in touch with how this may be a way for you to express your anger, handle your anxiety, regulate your stress and more. No one action or thing is all bad. Opening up space to look at the positive part of whatever it is may help you tolerate the habit and it may also loosen some of the grip it has on your life.

This is a creative way to approach a bad habit or pattern. Give it a try and see what alights upon you. I hope compassion and kindness above all to yourself.

Creativity Burst: Create Art

Create Art

Sometimes art can be the best way to process and think through how we are feeling about events unfolding as well as our shared history that has brought us to this moment. We often feel that we must process and come to understand via language and words. However, I have found that sometimes the mind can make connections, enter sad, scary, angry feelings and emotions through the medium of art.

Art allows our right and left hemispheres of our brain connect in a way that often is interrupted by words. Instead of trying to put down in words one’s thoughts and feelings, it may be helpful to pick up a crayon, marker, paint, and any other art medium that you may have and create.

Create what? Well, a mural would be interesting. A mural can often be large in scope and that space can allow for multiple people to work on the piece together. This may also be helpful to engage as a collective. You can also create a mini mural where each person creates a small scale piece and then you come together as a community and put them together to see what arises from everyone’s different artistic expressions.

There is so much street art unfolding across America right now. As places are boarded up, people are taking to create art right on the chip board in their communities or in certain designated areas that are public. Creating a piece on site or bringing a piece to a place like this and hanging it is yet another way to engage with processing the movement that is unfolding through creative expression.

Once our minds can connect and make meaning of the collective pain in America, there may arise new ideas for how to continue to disrupt the systemic racism that has always been present in the country. Creative art making rather than speaking offer a golden key to creating something new. Perhaps it can create a new idea for this world too.

Creativity Burst: I Have a Dream Letters

I Have A Dream Letters

I am wondering these days how the children of America are taking in all the racial strife unfolding in America. I have spoken with several of my friends who are parents and most have told me they are engaging in on-going conversations of what is going on in the nation. Let’s face it, the unrest can certainly be felt by the littlest ones in society.

Given children are the future of the country, it is important to be honest about the struggle that has been in America since its founding. It starts with telling them this story so there can be context to what is going on today. At some point, you will tell your children about Martin Luther King and read to your children the “I Have a Dream” speech. It is uplifting, powerful, and can offer an opportunity to engage in dialogue around MLK’s vision for our nation v. what has actually unfolded. It provides an opportunity to critically think about the situation together.

From there, perhaps have your kids write their own “I Have A Dream” speech. What is their dream for America? What are their hopes regarding equity and safety for all Americans regardless of skin color? They can write this or draw it or access their ideas through another art form. This type of activity can provide your children with a time to dream of a better world.

Then have them share their dreams. This will be quite interesting to hear the children speak about their vision. Perhaps it is something novel and new that an adult who has been in the fight too long cannot see. This is the hope of the younger generations.

Parents or just about anyone else can also think about their collective dreams for America as well. Don’t just leave the hope and dreams for the kids, but seek to engage a better world as well that you then share with your family. This may lead to a burst of creativity that lends new ideas and thoughts for helping to change the system in America.

I think we all have dreams for America. Expressing these ideas at this moment in time is more important than ever. Engage it!

Creativity Burst: Forest Walk

Forest Walk
Time for a Forest Walk

A forest walk. For me, this conjures up the lovely surroundings around the Emerald City, the very one I live in these days, Seattle. In the Pacific Northwest in America, we are fortunate to be surrounded by beautiful forests of evergreen trees that seem to breathe in and out their beauty throughout the entire year. They never lose their leaves but seem to form an eternal canopy that visitors to our nearby forests can enjoy year-round.

It was Memorial Day weekend – the unofficial kick-off to the summer season. It has not been much of a spring with pretty strict shelter in place orders in place this spring, but a few weeks ago our Governor opened up the trails and parks for all of us to get out and explore once again. Although it felt like a very long time since I had been out there, it was still all there waiting for me when I returned.

I want to encourage you to take your own forest walk in the woods that surround you sometime soon. And when you do take that walk, get creative and be there in that moment. Really see the green on the trees, the moss too, and the leaves. Have your kids count as many leaves as they can.

Breathe in green. That’s right — once you are on your forest walk, shut your eyes and call to mind the glorious color of green and mark in your mind all the green you have taken in so far on your walk. Breathe in and out slow and deep as you recall the green living energy that surrounds you. The trees are living, breathing creatures. Seek to attune to their breath in their space. My guess is a sense of expansiveness will fill you.

It is a wonderful time to get back to the forest, to nature, to spend these long days, which still feel somewhat curtailed, in their beauty. Allow nature to give you her own creative burst of energy to charge your day and self to a place of calm but also growth like the green forests surrounding yourself.

Another thought is to revisit this same spot over the next few months. Do you notice any changes in the surroundings? How about in yourself? Is it easier to breathe green? Marking time by returning to the same forest spot a few times can not only track time, but also yourself in nature and its time and rhythm.

In the Pacific Northwest, most of our emerald gems will not shed their leaves, but if I attune myself to my forest, I believe I will find subtle shifts as time moves forward from here. A wonderful way to welcome summer and keep track of her passing by during this fleeting season.

Creativity Burst: Old Recipes

Old Recipes Box

Old Recipes? What’s the difference between them and any other recipe? A great deal in fact.

I was reminded of this when my brother reached out to me asking for my Grandmother’s old recipes as he wanted to try a few. Years ago, my Mother gave me all of my Grandparents’ recipes, which are truly a walk back in time. How so?

First off, many of their recipes are typed up – with a typewriter and all. Can you imagine a time when people would put an index card into their typewriter and type up a recipe? How novel. So, many of these recipes are easy to read.

Second, the types of recipes give me some insight into what they enjoyed eating during their own hey day. For my Grandparents, they loved Texas Chili, Dill Pickles, Buttered Noodles, Tomato Pudding, and other old fashioned recipes that people used to make and not just buy for convenience as they do now.

Third, these recipes, in addition to being typed up, are written on all sorts of slips of papers that give some insight into their lives and how they spent their time. One of my favorites is the Holiday Inn hotel bill that had them spend one night for $15. On the back of the receipt is my Grandmother’s handwriting scribbling down some recipe she heard from whomever she was visiting.

What does all of this have to do with creativity? For me, it gives me a burst to see how others who have gone before me enjoyed their food. Back in those days, people made it from scratch and that feels important to this time. People are back to baking bread and making their own delicious recipes, those that will mark this time as part of our own personal history.

If you have a collection of recipes somewhere in your family it may be the perfect time to give them a review. You may learn what they enjoyed, how they recorded it, as well as some history along the way depending on where they wrote down their recipes. One’s mind can wander back to that time and find reassurance that older generations made their way through, through both good and challenging times, and what they were eating as they did so.

The continuity of care provided by these recipes gives me a creative burst of energy to try one of their recipes or even one of my own. It also inspires me to write my own recipes down on sheets of paper that feel so modern now, but in 50 years will seem vintage, like scraps of paper.

Given this time when people are cooking up a storm as they did many years ago, use it as a space to learn more about people and how they cooked before you and find ways to record your own experience as it is sure to be treasured by the future people who read you and your recipes.