Hey all! How are you all doing this brutally chilly Winter morn? I’m actually doing great!
I can’t believe we are into February already, can you?
I’m gonna be honest – January is literally one of my least favorite months.
It’s cold, dark, dreary, and oftentimes bombarded by snowstorms after snowstorms. And I hate the cold AND the snow, so there’s that.
And I’ll be honest – this January guys, I really struggled.
Like reeeeeealllllyyy struggled!
But guess what? It hasn’t been all that cold (when I’m recording this, it’s almost 60 degrees on the last day of January! Hallelujah!) And snow – what snow? We’ve had 1 smallish round of about 6 inches of snow, some freezing rain, and not much else. In fact, a snowstorm of epic proportions just missed us and went south, and now they are predicting lower than normal precipitation and above-average temps into the middle of February. I’ll take it!
So, the cold, dreary weather can’t be my excuse this year, can it? So what was it that is holding me back?
I felt tired – like full-body emotional and physical exhaustion kind of tired.
I felt uninspired to do much of anything if I’m honest.
My creativity took the worst hit- and it was stifled beyond anything I’d ever experienced. A long stretch of THE WORST writer’s block I’ve ever experienced.
I ran across a quote on Facebook that really spoke to my heart and I thought I’d share it with you all because this quote was able to find the words I’d been feeling when I couldn’t find them myself:
My heart wants rest, my mind needs action. My skin wants touch, my soul needs air. My curiosity wants different, my comfort needs same. My dreams want big, my fears need small. My love wants change, my loss needs safe. I'm stuck like this, all of my days, in the hot coal of human paradox, hanging somewhere between the illness & the cure, between the dust of yesterday & new scents of tomorrow, unfinished like all books, writing new chapters of myself with every bit of ink around me. Trying to cure my neediness with choice, my self-made prisons with the freedom to escape them.
Nobody told me that the messy Now & terrible Unknown could dare to be so beautiful.
~ Andrea Balt
I hadn’t seen the beautiful in my situation. I’d only seen the ugly. The messiness.
And there was a point last week when I thought it may never end.
And it’s not like I don’t know the steps to take to try and get myself out of it. After all, that’s what I’m here to do – it’s my purpose – to uplift others and to offer you hope and healing to create your best life.
So why is it so hard to allow myself the opportunity to learn and grow from these same teachings?
That is something I’m just recently learning – how to love myself as much as I love and want to serve all of you. After all, I’m worthy of that same love – I just need to remind myself of that every once in a while, and so do you.
Okay, so this week, we are talking about How to Jumpstart Your Year and 8 steps to Awaken Creativity to Spark Inspiration and Joy.
Because I’m an author, I’m going to talk heavily from a writer’s perspective when I’m talking about ways to awaken creativity and spark inspiration, but you can change these steps to suit your strengths and ambitions in life.
#1 – you’re gonna laugh. But for me, my journey back to sanity – the first piece of the puzzle in putting my life back together started with chocolate cake. The large piece of homemade Texas sheet cake with homemade chocolate buttercream frosting made by my husband who sat a piece down in front of me and said, “Now, how can I help you get out of the slump you’re in?”
At first, I wanted to push back and say that there was nothing he could do and that I’d be ready when I was ready. And it would have been much easier to have done that and to stay stuck, wouldn’t it?
But he’s my best friend and the love of my life. He knows me better than I know myself at times. And he is an author too. He gets the writer’s block. The feeling uninspired and unable to write.
But ya know what? He also gets ME. He gets my desperate need to center myself, to meditate to feel grounded again. So he wrapped his arms around me, fed me the best chocolate cake I’ve ever had in my life, and silenced the chaos and noise around us so I was able to breathe again.
These last few weeks have been brutal. Between losing his dad to covid, our daughter and grandbaby having covid, our car breaking down, kids moving out, kids struggling to keep their heads above water, work being crazy, and losing ourselves in the midst of it all, it was all just too much.
So this weekend, we took a step back, centered ourselves, and ate too much chocolate cake. But somewhere in the middle of the silence, sweetness, and extra love my hubby gave me, I found my reason, my purpose, and my motivation to want to jumpstart my life again and discover what the future has waiting for me beyond this cold, dreary January.
So one of the things we did this weekend leads me to the second step in awakening creativity –
#2 – meditate and release all that once was to allow room for all that is yet to come.
We put on some binaural beats to clear our headspace, lit some sage, and cleansed our office and writing space of any lingering negative energy, stagnancy, and feeling stuck.
That in and of itself helped tremendously.
But it was what my husband did afterward that struck a chord and opened my heart and mind to receive.
I leaned into him, we put our foreheads together (we’ve always done this) and he began to do a visual, guided meditation to literally lead me out of the darkness.
It was one of the most beautiful visualization exercises I’ve ever been a part of, and at the end, I could feel the weight of the past few months falling away, and my mind and heart begging me to let it go so that I could be open to what’s waiting just beyond the bend for me.
See, I've been stuck between some sort of stagnant hibernation, wanting to hide away, needing a reprieve from the noise of life, and feeling that slow-burning ember of craving change. Needing to do, to BE more than I've ever been before. Even when I was feeling "stuck"... blah... didn’t have what it takes to make a move forward, my mind, my spirit were forming a beautiful partnership behind the scenes. They were composing new music to spark inspiration that would launch me into the next stage of my journey. And that music will be the catalyst that whispers it's time to start planning, dreaming, or creating my next project, my new vision, and bringing it to fruition.
And this brings me to the third step –
# 3 in awakening creativity - So, in order to inspire this change, we decided to do a writing prompt exercise that we are actually reinventing beginning in February – It’s called Faerie Tales.
It’s a flash fiction (usually fantasy) writing prompt exercise we do once a week and post on Twitter. We pick a picture for the month and then attempt to stay under the 250 characters you can use on Twitter.
So we write each week based on the picture we chose and we add to it each week until, by the end of the month, we have ended with a flash fiction short story of sorts.
So we chose our pic – a locked door – and I closed my eyes and silenced my mind. The next thing I knew, I’d not only written one week but all 4 weeks of that writing prompt!
So I encourage you to google writing prompt ideas, teasers, pictures, whatever ignites inspiration and gets your creative juices flowing again.
It felt good to feel that spark returning.
It felt good to feel alive again. It felt good to know that I am ready - It's time to jumpstart my year and start planning, dreaming, and creating my next project, my new vision, and bringing it to fruition!
Now, the next 4 steps, I have yet to implement but plan on doing so in the weeks and months to come to keep me on track.
I’m sharing them with you because they are tools I’ve used in the past that have worked for me and for my hubby. And sometimes, just hearing them from someone else or seeing them from a fresh perspective is all it takes to initiate that change and determination to make it happen.
#4 - Embrace the Messiness
Don’t run from it. Don’t hide away. Learn to embrace it, and to accept it for what it is – the opportunity to plant seeds of hope for the future, and to cultivate the flowers you want to fill your garden of inspiration with someday when this season is over.
I found a quote that reads:
“At some point, you just have to say, “You know what? Life is messy. Things have a way of NOT going exactly as planned. I make mistakes and I get upset sometimes. Some moments (or seasons) get the best of me. I try my best and I still fail… But you know what? I’m choosing joy anyways. I’m choosing to find the beautiful in the messy because life is too short and fragile not to… I’m choosing happy.
~ Walk the Earth
Amen to that! Amen!
#5- Imagine Your Life Where You Want it to Be – not where it is right now.
We have a hard time doing this, don’t we? Somedays I can see my future through the clouds and trees and still chase the sunshine no matter what is standing in my way.
But other days – it’s not so easy.
I found another quote that I think sums this feeling up perfectly. And I want you to close your eyes and imagine the words coming to life as I read it.
It’s called “Seek Happiness.”
“I want you to imagine something right now.
I want you to imagine that you are in the place you always dreamed of in your life.
Don’t’ worry about how you got there.
Imagine someone just swept in and took care of the details for you.
I want you to imagine thinking to yourself that it was easier than you thought, remembering that I all started when you started listening to your heart.
Now, do you feel those emotions?
Those are the seeds. Feed them.
~ Nausicaa Twila
#6 – Do something to move forward! No matter how much you struggle. No matter how much it hurts. Just take one step forward and make this your Day One.
So sometimes, it’s that first step that is the hardest, isn’t it? It’s so much easier to stay stuck in your comfort zone and make excuses for why you can’t do things rather than create a new plan and set goals to make sure you CAN!
What can you do today to move in a forward-thinking direction and stop wallowing in self-pity and stop allowing that negative headspace within your mind to control the dreams your heart longs to create?
You can start with taking a nice long, hot shower. Even if it’s the only thing you do today!
Then clean up the space you want to use for expressing yourself.
Declutter. Rearrange. Light a candle. Turn up some music. Make it warm and inviting and prepare it for the magic that will come.
Journal – pour your heart and soul onto paper.
For me – I wrote down a list of things that were holding me back and killing my creativity or adding to the chaos and noise.
Then I evaluated which things I should just LET GO of and which I could actually do something about.
Listen to Music – get in your car, take a long drive, and sing at the top of your lungs! I promise you that music can and will heal your very soul!
Limit your distractions and find some quiet time to regroup and refocus.
Of course, we all have giant killer goals and ambitions, don’t we – but don’t get ahead of yourself just yet. Take a moment to reflect and set attainable goals that are easy to keep and check them one by one off your list.
Reward yourself for meeting those goals. Coffee is always an awesome way to reward yourself. So is a hot bath. A piece of chocolate cake. A long walk in the woods. Or even a new CD.
Increase your connection with others – make a call to an old friend you’ve been promising to catch up with. If you’re lucky enough to still have your parents and/or siblings around – call your mom. Call your dad. Call your sister, your brother, your kids.
Get some art supplies and just start drawing, coloring, painting – if you are already an artist – great! You know what to do! If you’re not – who cares! Have fun with it! No pressure. No perfection expected. Just have fun and release whatever the emotions are that have been holding you back. Get it all out!
If all else fails, retreat to your favorite safe haven – i.e. the bathtub, your bedroom, and take a nap. But when you wake up, you have to pick one thing off the list and make yourself do it!
I promise you’ll thank yourself later for taking that one tiny step that changes your life and your future for the better.
#7 - Fill Your Life with ALL the Things You are Missing – Nurture yourself to find the magic again.
"That girl inside you… she needs some air.
She needs some sunshine.
She needs some moments that will make her smile again and believe in the magic of living, away from noisy streets and people bouncing off each other.
Nurture her every now and again.
Slow your day down and have a dance together, because she’s always a part of you, and forgetting what’s inside us is why we stop believing in magic."
~ S.C. Lourie – aka Butterfliesandpebbles.
So what is it that you are missing?
What is it you need to nurture yourself and find your magic again?
Mine is apparently chocolate cake and a guided inspiration from my favorite person on this planet! :-)
Other than that – it would be a long walk in nature. The beach. Music. My hubby. My grandchildren’s laughter. To chase my dreams and rediscover my purpose.
To share my life and hopes and dreams of teaching others, serving others, and offering them hope and healing to manifest their own best life.
#8 - Okay, so now that we’ve chosen Happy – how can we create a happy life that inspires our creativity and awakens joy in our souls?
Here is a quote called “For a Happy Life” that I found on Facebook from one of my absolute favorite inspirational sights I follow.
“Make sure one of the paths in your life leads to the beach, the forest, and on some days a table full of cake and chocolate.
Walk barefoot wherever and whenever you can.
Learn to love your alone time.
Always let your heart hope and dream and love.
Be honest with yourself.
Turn the page you are stuck on.
Expand your story.
Make enjoyment important in your life.
See your age as a gift and not a curse.”
~ butterflies and pebbles
Wow. Wow. Wow is all I have to say. It’s like she stepped into my life and read the words that lie hidden in my heart!
So look, stop what you are doing and come back to me for a minute, would you? I want to make sure that you hear me. That you understand... I GET IT – I’ve been stuck exactly where you are right now!
And we all know that we are going to run across obstacles both in our professional and personal life, right?
P.S. In case no one told you yet - Life doesn't always go as planned. Sometimes it knocks you off course and leaves your heart reeling and your head spinning. And sometimes, you want to throw your hands up and say, "What’s the point?!"
And so you follow the same old dull routine and you start living your life like a robot on autopilot and you never live beyond just trying to survive.
Sound familiar? Cuz it sure does to me. But rather than just trying to survive through the chaos, why not take charge and thrive through it instead?
That is what I’m going to try to do from this day forward and I take my life back into own hands and jumpstart my year, my life, my hopes, and my dreams.
So what do you say?
Come along with me?
I can’t promise it will always be easy.
But I can promise that with me by your side, it will always be a heck of a lot more fun.
I hope you’ll join me each week as we take the next steps in becoming more than we ever thought imaginable. As we learn that nothing is too big to handle when we step out of the way and let the universe guide us.
My wish is that I have provided you with hope, that I have uplifted you, that I have made you laugh, made you cry, and that you want to scream out loud – I want to take my happiness back into my own hands! I choose happiness! I choose joy! But most especially, that I CAN DO THIS! YES, I CAN!
Chin up, my friend. You’ve taken the next step. It’s all uphill from here!
So straighten your crown. Take a deep breath in and let it all go. I believe in you.
You’ve got what it takes and so do I.
Together, we’ll make it through, day by day, and piece by piece. Until we’re restored. Healed. And find Joy in the Journey once again.
I hope you have a great week. Forget about it being winter! Forget it's dark and dreary outside!
Let's get out there and make our own sunshine and light! Let's get out there and be the change this world desperately needs - today!
Hang in there and know that you are loved from here to the universe and back.
Until next time.
I’m unconditionally yours.
All my love,