Hunting Down Creativity

My creativity is bipolar. It is either manic, coming at me in full force, attempting to attack. Or it is hiding so well I’m convinced I never had it to begin.

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I’m a task oriented individual. I like lists, goals, following a process thoroughly. Creativity does not like to play by my rules. Creativity waltz in, stays for just one dance and then disappears faster than Cinderella at midnight.

I’ve discovered that I cannot magic creativity when there is time for it in my schedule so I have dedicated myself to two tactics on finding and harnessing it.

 

  1. Whenever creativity strikes I write it down, jump on it and try to make moves. If I am too busy or at work I jot down the thought in my notes and pray to god that I will have some inkling of its magic left when I have time to look it over.
  2. My less successful tactic, but incredibly more fun, I try to lure it in. When I want to be creative but can’t muster up an idea I force myself to try. I pull out the list mentioned above, or a creative writing prompt from Google or I try movement. I will start by attempting intuitive yoga and see what emotions I can bring out. Once I identify an emotion I write it down to use. Turning movement into words is becoming my new favorite game.

Am I good at these? Of course not! I’m just getting started but I’m working on it.

How are you doing with your goals this month?

June Goals: Inspiration Creation

It is one thing to want to do something creative it is a different thing to actually do it.

I’ve learned throughout May that the hardest part is the dedication and setting aside the time, but both are closely followed by figuring out what to do.

But as Jack London said “ You can’t wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club”.

Last month’s broad goal of creating was great. It forced me to take a step back and look at the bigger picture but I also caught myself “waiting” for inspiration and creativity. Fun fact; talent and ideas did not flow through my veins the moment I decided to sit down and try. But I did try! In June I am going to create inspiration for my movements and my writing.

Once again I know this seems broad, but I’ve got a plan.

How am I going to do this? Watching, learning and practice, practice, practice.

To inspire creativity in my movements I’m watching more yoga videos like @erinkellyart. Her flows are gorgeous and natural. Watching her it is impossible to tell where the yoga pose ends and the yogi begins. Seamless. While I don’t want to copy her or try to speak her body language I want to watch and learn her transitions. Imitation is the highest form of flattery, and I could sing her praises all day, but I want to take ideas and her ability to embody herself in her movements to make my own. She also has inspired me to get my handstand press up within the next year. If you don’t know what this move is I suggest you watch a few of her flows and see her in action. Beautiful.

I also am going to get on my mat everyday, regardless of how much time I have to practice. I want to try different flows by letting my body tell me what needs work and what needs rest. I’m curious to see where my body wants to take me if I listen to it.

I’m going to continue this curiousity off the mat and take every opportunity to get out of my comfort zone. Try new workouts, try new games, put myself and my ideas out there (wherever there is).

In my writing I’m going to follow more creative writing prompts and re-read old books from my childhood/ adolescence. I plan on reading Harry Potter, Matilda, Alice Through the Looking Glass, Slaughterhouse Five and Cat’s Cradle. After I re-read my favorites I want to read works that are out of my wheelhouse. I plan on going to the library and picking based on recommendations from friends or best seller lists.

While focusing on different reading genres I also want to mirror that with my creative writing. Try my hand at fiction, specifically absurdism (I am most excited to try this!) and see where my stories go. Absurdism, for anyone who is not a huge English nerd like me, is the idea that man is always looking for meaning in life, but there is no meaning. Absurdist writing, like that of Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut, typically involves a character hunting for meaning in a world that cannot provide the answers. I find this style of writing particularly intriguing as someone who would love to have a purpose, but I have no clue what that purpose is.

Most importantly, taking the time to write write write. From Stephen King’s book, On Writing I have learned that the right of passage to successful writing comes with practice.  

As always, I will let you know how it goes!

Cultivating Creativity in May

How the f&*k is it already May?!

May

I spent April trying to take stock of what I’ve done to achieve my goals this year (more on this next week). So far this year I have taken action (March), listened to learn (February) and practiced self love and gratitude (January) – all for the goal of cultivating love and creativity.

Now that I have spent time cultivating love for myself through working out, reading more and spending more time appreciating my body through yoga I can feel my creative energy flowing back through my body.

Creativity is something I want to incorporate into every aspect of my life.

I’ve been practicing creativity in my motions by freestyling some of my stretches (using a mixture of my dancer, gymnast and yogi skills) but I plan to take this further. I am going to relearn old dance and gym skills, come into new yoga poses and trust my body to take me on its own journey by turning one or two of my weekly yogas into freestyle.

Along with using my moves for creativity I want to bring more creativity to my writing. Now that I have made it a habit of posting on here weekly, I am going to add a bit more writing to my plate and start setting aside time for creative writing. While I plan on doing this as consistently as I work on this blog I want to take a different approach to my creative writing routine.

For my blog if I don’t feel like writing on a designated writing day, I do a little editing and move on..but for my creative writing I want to accomplish something small everyday that I sit down to write. I plan to sit down to write for at least 30 mins every writing session and see what shows up on the page. I’m allowing myself to do any writing I would like as long as it is outside of my normal blogging zone. Some ideas for this are developing characters, outlining plots, working on some poetry, and writing short stories. If I hit a creative wall I am going to use creative writing prompts I found on Google.

The hardest part of this for me is going to be getting started and not getting hung up on creating something perfect. I struggle with fiction because I want the plot to be perfect, I want the characters to feel real and I want everything to give me the same feelings I got while reading Matilda or Harry Potter for the first time. As a reader I am a harsh critic so I expect the same level of criticism from my potential readers. I want to create something I am proud of…but first I need to just create something. You may not see the fruits of my writing labors for a while (or ever) but I am excited to start this creative journey. I think the most important part of this creative process is getting started and letting the need to be perfect go.

On the days when I cannot muster up the energy to write I plan to do something that stimulates my brain instead. I love doing the crossword in my local newspaper, working on puzzles or coloring in one of my many adult coloring books. If the simple act of coloring seems too hard I will read one of my favorite books and meditate on passages I love for inspiration.

This goal is a big, broad step on my road to creativity. I think the rest and reflection I took in April has reenergized me on my path to love and creativity. I am very excited to see what comes out of this month.

As always, I will keep you updated on my progress!

How are you doing on your goals for the year? Don’t forget to take time to reflect on how far you have come!

Is Getting Ahead Overrated?

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Actual photo of me resting

My goals for March we’re all about action which makes it a bit ironic that this is the time I decided to start honoring my rest days. It’s insanely important to balance action and activity with rest and relaxation though..so it’s totally okay and normal to require more rest than scheduled. A couple weekends ago I woke up wondering, is getting ahead overrated? Should Sunday’s be spent meal prepping and getting ahead or playing and relaxing (or both)?

 

I gave myself a break last weekend and this is what my Sunday consisted of:  

 

Sleeping until 9:30am

Playing an entire level of Peggle (in a unicorn onesie)

Adventuring to Coffee Bean

Exploring at the park (check out my cute video of B in the park on my instagram!)

Brunch!!

Meal Prepping for M-W lunches.

Making delicious chickpea crisps (recipe here).

Binge watching LOVE on Netflix.

Free writing for posts/creative projects whenever I felt like it.

Reading Jen Hoffman’s guide to plan my attack for the week (and resonated with the section about the need for self-care).

 

What I planned to do.

Write multiple blog posts

Edit a friend’s creative project

Work on my creative projects

Meal prep/plan for the week.

Study for the PHR

GET AHEAD GET AHEAD GET AHEAD.

 

Even though I did not do everything on my planned list I managed to be insanely productive without stressing myself out. I always try to save my relaxation time as a reward but maybe it’s better to just let the day unfold itself and to be present. I woke up and decided to take the day off from writing but ended up writing more (and having more creative ideas) because I decided to be present and found inspiration in my daily life. I spend so much of my time in an office or doing mindless activities making it harder to focus on the here and now. I let myself be aware and awake on Sunday and it was relaxing.

 

I think this is a sign from the universe to slow down, so instead of making new goals for April I am going to continue on taking action for the next month and balance it with loving kindness through rest. I’m going to meditate on my goals and what I have accomplished and what I aim to do.
So I suggest to spend your Sundays doing whatever you feel like. Go on a walk, take a nap, read a fucking book, bake cookies, take time to just be human. It will make you more creative and productive in your everyday life. 

Keeping Calm with CalmBox

On my journey to self-love and gratitude this month I decided to show myself a little self-love by trying Calm Box. Calm Box is a subscription box for peaceful moments.The box is supposed to cultivate tranquility and a sense of calm in my life.

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Tranquility has arrived!

Calm Box comes packed with “mindfully curated items” and is $35 a month. I love that the website states that a portion of the proceeds go to charity (it’s much better than nothing) but I did not see a lot about what charities they supported. Regardless of how their company allocates their money I decided to investigate and see if the items alone were worth the price.

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I CANNOT stop eating these.

Item One – YumEarth anti-oxifruits organic vitamin C drops

These are fucking amazing. Wow. The have so much flavor, are so delicious, and they are allergen free. These hard candies are perfect. They are free of tree nuts, peanuts, gluten, dairy, eggs, soy and high fructose corn syrup. On top of being safe to eat, they’re so delicious. They come in four fruity flavors that resemble pomegranate, strawberry, raspberry and a mixed fruit flavor. The pomegranate are my favorite. I would highly recommend YumEarth to anyone with food allergies. I’m going to try their licorice next!

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Item Two – Cuccio Somatology Balancing Lotion

I had never heard of this brand but this lotion smells amazing. I think this lotion is for yoga studios or massages but I’m very excited to create a spa like environment in my own bathroom with this. The smell is very mild but it smells like rose, camomile and lavender. This lotion is extremely oily which makes it perfect for at home massages or dry skin.

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Yogi tea gives me life!

Item Three – Yogi Relaxed Mind tea

I’m a HUGE Yogi tea fan. I love that every tea bag has a quote to promote gentle lifestyle.I could drink their ginger tea all day everyday. This tea is caffeine free and claims to promote tranquility. While this tea isn’t my favorite from Yogi, I do enjoy the boysenberry and sage combination. It brings me good vibes. I’ve been drinking this before bed and placebo effect or not it helps me sleep.

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Yes, You will probably receive on of these from me if we ever meet in person.

Item Four – Yes, You Cards

These are cute little cards to hand out and make peoples’ days. While I think this is a very cute idea the odds of these spreading beyond my friend group and coworkers is slim. I might put them in a cute tray on my desk at work with a take one sign to brighten anyone who needs it day!

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OBSESSED with this spray

Item Five – Cuccio Somatology Yoga Elixir in Lavender & Cardamom

Hands down, this is my favorite thing from the box. I have read a few articles and blog posts about the benefits of using a relaxing bedroom spray before bed and I was itching to try one.  I had looked online but was a little timid on purchasing one due to their prices. I’m thrilled that this spray came in the box. I would have never known about this brand on this scent. The spray smells like lavender, mild citrus and rosemary. It smell like my dream spa. The smell is not overwhelming and does not affect my asthma.  I’m fucking OBSESSED with this new spray.

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Item Six – A String of Wishes Bracelet

This is a simple string with a Buddha head on it. The card it comes on says to tie it on and make a wish. I have yet to successfully tie it on my wrist but I’m sure a quick google search will help me.This is a super cute reminder to be patient with our wishes and goals, they do not happen overnight.  

 

The six items I received are adorable, practical and made me smile but I think this box was a one time present. I do not think this would be a box I would want to receive every month. It did expose me to some exciting new brands to try like YumEarth and Cuccio. This would make an excellent present for someone you know who is looking for a little peace in their chaotic life.
Have you ever tried a subscription service and if so, what was your favorite? Let me know if there is one you want me to review next!  

Cultivating Love & Creativity in 2017

Happy 2017! We all have our opinions about the trainwreck that was 2016 but now it is finally over. On to a new and brighter year! For 2017 I have chosen a word to represent my goals for the year.

 

Cultivate.

 

Specifically, I’ve decided that after the year we had as a collective group I want to cultivate creativity and love in my life and share it with others. Although, right now all I am able to cultivate is a glimmer of optimism and hope for our world under Sir Cheeto of the United States I am hoping that with enough hard work and meditation by the end of 2017 you will all be reaping in the joy of knowing me (even if it is just through the internet). I am taking the year 2016 gave us and turning it into a personal challenge to spread more love and combat all of the hate we harbor in our lives.

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Big fucking goal, right? Yeah, I thought so too. So yesterday I decided that my quest to feelings happiness and creativity is best broken down into small chunks. By taking the quest one month at a time I will be putting less pressure on myself to conquer something that is so abstract. At the end of each month I am going to check in with myself, and you, and decide what I need to work on next to complete this quest.

 

I am so fucking excited to see where this takes me! Are you ready?

 

January 2017 is going to be all about self – love and gratitude. I’ve gotta love myself so I can spread my love to others. Below you will find my bite sized goals for my January 2017 journey to self- love and gratitude.  My two first steps to cultivating love and creativity.

 

  1. Turning “I’m Sorry” into “Thank You”. To create feelings of gratitude I am going stop apologizing for things that are out of my control and thank others for their patience around them instead. For example when I am supposed to meet B and the gym and am late I will thank him for waiting for me instead of apologizing for running a bit behind due to work. This does not mean I will not apologize when I make a mistake or when I am wrong, it will only replace the unnecessary I’m sorry’s.
  2. Daily Guided Meditation. Every day, probably before I go to bed, I am going to do a guided meditation to bring myself into the present moment and ground myself and my emotions.  I love using the Calm app for this. I am going to begin the month with the “7 Days of Gratitude” series and then move on to the “Loving Kindness” themed meditations for the rest of the month. If you would like to know more about the Calm app check out my Relaxation Station post or check out their website here.
  3. Yoga Revolution, a 31 day Yoga with Adriene program for January. As I mentioned in my Fitness is Fun post, I love Yoga with Adriene. The queen of “finding what feels good” is once again doing a yoga camp for January and I am, once again, hopping on board. I love Adriene’s relaxed yoga style. She removes the stiffness from yoga and replaces it with an opportunity to get to know how your body reacts to movement and stretches. I am the most excited for this journey with Adriene and the yoga community. If you would like to join, it is not too late. Sign up for her newsletter here!

Well, there we have it. Those are my bite sized goals for cultivating love and creativity in January. Let me know if you have any long term goals and if so how you are breaking them down! Let’s kick some ass this year.

 

XO

Em