Creativity Burst: Cloudscapes


Look Up! What do you see?

I had the chance a few weeks ago to look up at the sky for a little chunk of time. The sky looked a lot like the picture in this post. Bright blue sky with puffy, large cotton balls floating by me. I love to sit and look at these types of clouds. A few moments in, I will let my mind go hazy — sort of on, but not completely — and then see what I can see.

What do I see? Ah! All sorts of shapes that look like images of animals, cartoon characters, or any other thing that sort of floats up into my mind. I am amazed at how many faces I find — and mostly happy, although I sometimes run into a frown or two. I think what we see in clouds often reflects how we are feeling.

Taking in cloudscapes and playing an imagery game with yourself is one way to access how you are feeling. It also allows one’s mind to turn off the logical, always on, processing mind and move toward the artistic, creative, imaginative side of the mind.

What if you don’t see anything at all? Perhaps your mind is still too turned on? Letting your mind go soft and hazy seems to be an essential element to finding what may at first appear hidden. Oh my, once you start seeing images, get ready! Every cloud that wanders by is going to show you something new.

Looking up at the clouds often fuels my creative side. I can let my mind wander and become inspired by what nature is serving up to me and I can do it for as little or as long a time as I am interested. It costs nothing and can really put you in touch with a part of yourself that is often silenced as we act and think out of our fast-paced, logical mind.

My suggestion? Look up, let your mind go hazy, and see what creative shapes, images, and more you find today.

Creativity Burst: A Homemade Valentine


It’s a week for showing people whom you love that you indeed love them. There are many ways to show someone you love her. The stores are chock full of cards, chocolates, lace, and more pink and red goods than you could ever imagine. It’s fun to stroll around and take in what has become an overly commercialized holiday.

For me, it’s inspiring to become creative and go old school. Do you remember being in elementary school and making a bright box to receive all of the Valentines from your friends at school? I believe the school rule was everyone in a class had to give a Valentine to everyone else. It was a holiday that was designed to include everyone.

You may be making a similar box for your children’s celebration, as well as picking out and/or creating Valentine cards for your kids’ friends. However, I suggest you pause right there and think about your own partner and friends and become curious with the idea of how they would feel to receive a Valentine from you?

My guess is — thrilled! When was the last time you received something handmade — let alone a Valentine? Yes, you can buy a box of cards, write a kind note, and send them off. Even using a readymade card can lead to feeling creative. Putting heartfelt words to paper, addressing the envelopes, stamping the cards, and mailing them off is certainly old school. It’s a delightful tradition.

Even more creative? Cutting out a paper heart and sending it in the mail or hand-delivering it to your partner and/or nearby friends. A hand-delivered Valentine that you cut out yourself? My word, the creativity is bursting forth.

We always think that simple correspondence projects like this would land flat, but the opposite is true. Most people never even expect a card like this in the mail — talk about putting a spring in someone’s step. I wonder how that person’s day may change and how she will move forward in her day?

Second, for you, working with paper and scissors can reignite pleasurable, old time memories that can allow one to embody one’s creativity and share the gift with one’s partner, family, and friends. It’s simple really. Add it on to the time you are spending helping your kids do their own Valentines or just take a little time, pull out some paper and scissors and a bright colored pen, and create!

Now is the time to show love!

Creativity Burst: Compliments


Yes you are all of those things and more. Let me be the first person to shower you with compliments today. It’s good for me and my spirit to do so — I definitely feel a burst of creativity when I see someone in his best light and share that thought with him.

For me, as people walk by me on any given day, I notice them. Do you? I see some amazing color they are wearing or their sweet dog they are walking or how good their hair looks and on and on. Even though these people are complete strangers to me, I share my thought with them, giving them a compliment.

I figure no matter what is going on in their day, hearing someone appreciate some part of them can only do good by that person and really all of humanity. How could one compliment get so big? Well, when that person feels good, he may pull his head up and notice someone else, extend a complement and the chain continues on. All of a sudden, you have a bunch of people – random strangers – connected to one another by appreciation and goodness.

And it does lead to creativity. Perhaps it is difficult to find something good about others who you see walking by. Perhaps there is a critical voice inside that thinks everyone walking by looks like an idiot, as an example. Well, then, noticing that this is how you view the other is a great moment to get creative and find something you like. That’s right, find something. Perhaps it’s too much to tell the other person, but finding something good creatively in the other person is a start.

For those of us whom it comes naturally to give away compliments, take that energy and give some compliments to yourself. Another problem we sometimes have is noticing the good in everyone else and actively calling it out to others, but then denying ourselves those kind thoughts from ourselves to ourselves. It is a wonderfully creative idea to think about what you are wearing or how you are feeling and give yourself the compliment. This may also not be easy, but it’s another way to cultivate creativity within.

Now, who will I compliment next?

Creativity Burst: A Snowy Walk


A Snowy Walk

My mind is on snow. We’ve had a few days of the winter white stuff out here in Seattle, which is actually unusual. Given I hail from the Midwest, it is not something uncommon for me to see, although it sort of is out in the Pacific Northwest. As such, when a snowy day arrives, what is there to do, especially if you are stuck at home?

Creativity burst time!

Put on your coat, gloves, hat, and boots, grab your partner or pooch or just yourself, and hit the snow with an easy walk. Have you ever noticed how quiet the world is when it snows? You could live in the middle of a city and even then when the snow descends, peace and quiet reign.

Instead of staying bundled up inside by a warm fire, get moving and take a walk. Once in the snow, it is a good opportunity to observe the natural world asleep under a blanket of snow. What do you notice? As you walk along, try to name what you observe, especially those things you would only see this time of year.

Now, dwell. In the quiet, in the snow, in what you have observed. Breathe it in, take it in, observe your partner or pooch taking it in, and be in the moment. Even a short walk can lead to feeling restored.

Further, when you return home, you can take your observations, musings, and other thoughts here and there to inspire the rest of your day. Ultimately, leading to a burst of creativity. A snowy walk can hold a breakthrough moment. Wait for it.

Creativity Burst: Baking a Pie


When all else fails, bake a pie!

Creativity can found in so many places, particularly the kitchen. Perhaps you are not one to enjoy cooking or baking – if that is you then this post is probably not for you. However, if there is an inkling within that is drawn to making something homemade in the kitchen, it truly is a place and space to let your creativity burst forth.

And why pie?

In my humble pie opinion, it’s one of those baked goodies that can be as easy or as challenging as you want to make it and/or need it to be. No matter what level you take it to though, baking a pie can create a space for creativity like none other.

You have the choice of type of pie and can change it up as you see fit and are drawn to do. You can choose ready-made pie crust and focus on the filling or you can perfect your pie dough technique – what would be most challenging of all for me! There is also the ritual of using your hands and mind to create something special and delicious for you and your loved ones.

Even better, once the pie is in the oven and the scent comes piping out of the oven — oh! Is there anything better? The scent alone can bring forth a burst of your creative self at play.

Along with the creativity, baking a pie can also lead to a felt sense of being grounded in a tactile activity that uses our hands and our hearts and minds. United in the act of creating a pie, it is an activity that holds one in the moment. So, not only is it an activity to turn toward for a creativity burst, but also to find grounding in one’s self.

There is always pie! Which type is your favorite?

Creativity Burst: Visual Journal


It’s all about journaling these days. And usually our minds land on writing words on paper to process whatever is going on in our lives. As a writer, I certainly appreciate writing in a journal to do just this. However, for those of you who could care less about writing and words never have that much of an impact, a visual journal can be a creative and fun way to track where your mind is on any given day.

It’s also super easy, especially if you don’t think too much as you go through the exercise.

First, while perusing any visual material, i.e. magazines, newspapers, paper advertisements, have a pair of scissors on hand and clip out whatever is calling out to you. As mentioned, do not over-think this part. Simply cut out what interests you.

Second, have a large blank journal available for when the spirit moves you to engage with your visual journal, as well as a pair of scissors and some glue sticks.

When the mood strikes, pull out your journal, scissors, glue sticks and clippings and journal away using the visual medium only. From words that you have cut out to images, start to work with what you are drawn to and paste the clippings into your journal. There is no right or wrong way to do any of this.

After you have done a few pages, stop, and look over what you have created. If you haven’t given it too much thought, it may be very interesting to see what has visually arisen on the page that is all about you even though it had not yet been uncovered. This is why journaling visually without too much thinking is one of the best ways to intuitively reflect on parts of yourself that are yearning to be heard.

After you have done this over the course of several months, it is always fun to look at all of the pages and see what has been evolving over time for you. Even if you write in journals, visual journaling is a whole different endeavor which taps different parts of your brain and mind to learn more about what is going on in your internal world.

It may not only provide you with a creativity burst, but also help you attuned to your self and the place you are in today.

Creativity Burst: Confetti Sprinkles


Confetti Sprinkles

Given tonight is New Years Eve, confetti may be in your immediate future. You know those fun, colorful small pieces of paper that can sprinkle us with delight and also become the bane of of our existence when, two weeks later, we are still finding bits and pieces to clean up!

Still, confetti can lead to a burst of creativity and not only on a special celebratory night like New Year’s Eve. Perhaps its the color, perhaps its the tiny little bits of paper, perhaps its the way it bursts in the air for a moment and then falls to the ground, perhaps its the surprise when you aren’t expecting a confetti shower.

Whatever it may be, having a little jar of confetti on your desk or somewhere that you can easily access can add a delight and pleasure in your day to wake one up out of a mid-afternoon stupor, find a smile, give some fun to someone, etc. all for very little effort.

Perhaps on this New Year’s Day you engage in this little creative project. Find the old tissue paper and holiday gift wrap that you are just about ready to put away for another season and cut the paper up into confetti. From there, put them into a little dish or some other container. Place it somewhere that you can easily find.

Tonight, of course, you can sprinkle confetti to celebrate the New Year.

But how about sprinkling the confetti on a rather glum, ordinary day in January or any other mundane day that is sure to be found in the New Year?

See how it lands when you do so – a creativity burst, a smile, a frown for what now has to be cleaned up? Where does your confetti sprinkle take you?

Creativity Burst: Wrapping


Meditative Wrapping

I will admit to you that I am terrible at wrapping presents. I never tie off the ends with just the right amount of paper. My cutting of the paper always always leads tojagged edge lines. I use so much tape to get all of the bulky paper to seal together. I have no idea how to tie a pretty bow. It’s a mess! I can be holed up in a room for hours and it makes no difference. It looks like — well, it’s a mess, but the thought and effort are there and that seems to take me far when I give a gift that looks like Snuffalufagus wrapped it.

However, for those of you who are crafty and creative and enjoy working with paper and tape and ribbons and bows, I have heard that wrapping presents can be an activity where not only creativity is expressed, but a way to find calm in the stormy seas of life.

I suppose it is akin to something like coloring. It does not take too much brain power to wrap a present and yet we all know – even me – the basic tenets of wrapping. As such our minds can go on hiatus from whatever has been occupying her and we can just give way to wrapping.

I would not call it meditative, but I do think it can be restorative to give up thinking and simply enjoy an act of doing that will cause a smile on another’s face and can lead to a calm demeanor as we partake in the great wrapping tradition.

If you want to add a meditation to your wrapping extravaganza, while you wrap a present for someone, call that person to mind and reflect on them and your relationship to them. Honor it in your thoughts and bring forth peace and calm for them, for you, for what is yours together. This can slow down the whole experience and add in an element of intention to your wrapping that is meaningful — along with being beautiful.

Even if you are like me and it looks like — well, let me go gentle with myself and call it — well-intentioned.

Creativity Burst: Magazines


Tuesdays I plan on dedicating to creativity!

When you think of creativity, what comes to mind? Do you envision a writer humped over her desk hard at work in her fictional world? Perhaps you see an actor on stage learning lines and bringing a character to life. My mind sees a person in front of a great big canvass ready to paint bold images on their page. Alll of these life paths strike me as one of being a “creative.”

Being a creative doesn’t necessarily imply you have had a creative burst of anything. Rather these paths are crafted by diligently chipping away as we all must do in whatever path we are on today.

As such, finding creative muses on a daily basis seems to be a good place to start. A burst of creativity can plant a new idea in your mind, put a spring into your step, inspire you to be present in your life in ways that are new and fresh, and generally open you up on any given day to any and all available possibilities.

I seek out creative moments just for this purpose in my day-to-day life. It’s not always easy, but there are ways that seem easy and assessible for all of us.

One of these “easy” ways I have found is perusing and reading new magazines that I am not familiar with – such as Cereal. First, this magazine is not from the USA, but from the UK. Immediately my mind is transported to another land and a magazine that focuses on art, style, and travel from this perspective. All of a sudden I am reading interviews of artists and designers I have never even heard of, traveling via pictures to far flung places, and taking in art all within an easy amount of time.

What’s that that happens? A new idea pops in my head and I am off back to my keyboard with something new to say. Perhaps it will be creative, perhaps not, But the burst of creativity has given me renewed energy for my day.