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Sunday, May 30, 2010

Fanning the Flame of Creativity

A Flame Azalea


I am experiencing a lovely AM, punctuated with rain showers and bird song. I have the luxury of a quiet house--so delightful!
I took myself out to the screened porch to write a little. Yes, I am finally back on that horse, since yesterday. It takes a series of steps to get me there, namely, having some peace and quiet, watching nature, and reading something uplifting for a bit (actually more than one book is key). Then I can usually come up with something that resembles writing!
This is such a lovely way to start the day. Why can't I do this everyday? Yeah, I know--working for a living. I seem to do best when I start this routine in the morning. The brain is more functional then, I believe.
One of my books I am revisiting is The Woman's Book of Creativity, by C. Diane Ealy, Ph.D. Ealy writes about how the creativity process differs with women; apparently, we create holistically, not in linear form, as do men. I can't wait to read the chapter: Quieting the inner you--that is something I can use!
Finding what it takes to turn on your creativity differs from individual to individual. Trial and error may be one way to get there. Certainly centering oneself and tuning in to your heart and soul are keys to starting your process.
This week try to find some quiet time and tune into your thoughts and feelings. Trying to meditate for a bit each day may help, also.
Have a peaceful and thoughtful week!

Joan


Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Waiting

The Clock Is Ticking! Tick, Tick, Tick!

Today I am waiting for my computer wizard friend to do a little file extraction surgery from our computer's hard drive. It is a little like waiting for news of a baby that is being delivered.
Hopefully, I will be able to recover some documents, and 6 months of photos that I did not have on disc. If not, life goes on! At least I have all of my faculties intact. O.K., don't start with me, mostly intact!
After today, I need to move out of my vegetative state and into a more creative state of mind. I have become complacent, and used to not creating for me.
It's easy to get caught up in the mundane existence of working, cooking, cleaning, laundering, etc. I am not very motivated these days. Solution: I need to kick myself in the butt to move forward!
Note to self--have a heart to heart with you today. Discuss: What is your problem?
Hey all you whirling dervishes out there! Could you send me a little mental energy? Perhaps I need to change the batteries in my brain!
Enough of the self-examination! May everyone have a stunningly fantastic week! Take time to love and encourage yourself. Take time for you!
Ciao!

Joan

P.S. Check out new quotes at:
http://www.waterrunningdownhill.com

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Oh Where, Oh Where Have My Little Files Gone!


The Author Treading Water!

You are not going to believe this--I have no computer files, no photos, no email addresses, saved emails, documents, etc., etc.! Scary, huh?
My wonderful husband did a complete backup to an external hard drive. Then the hard drive was wiped clean, as there was a DLL(?) file that was corrupt--per Microsoft help. All this to install Windows 7.
Now all my husbands files are restored. We can't find mine. This is an item to be addressed this week with "help" from the external hard drive manufacturer, and probably Microsoft.
Why I had not saved important documents to disc, I cannot say. I thought that backing up the files to the external hard drive meant backing them all up! In my defense, I had backed up my current manuscript in January 2010. I had backed up all of my photos; but, only to last October.
I have lost Christmas NC photos, photos of my little Granddaughter celebrating Christmas with us, and her 4th birthday party photos (I can get a copy from my Stepdaughter-whew!)
I lost a photo shoot for my book cover. I have a copy of an email of the final (tentative) product which I sent to a friend. I'm not sure I can recover it and use it.
Anyway! No use crying over disappeared files! I have recovered most of my good nature--really, I am trying! I will try to salvage what I can; I have not drowned in the sea of hopelessness, yet!
The lesson here is put your files on something where you will not lose them!!!!!!!! I cannot emphasize that enough!
Meanwhile, have a pleasant week. May all your problems be small ones!

Peace!

Joan

Sunday, May 9, 2010

FINDING TIME FOR CREATIVITY

CREATIVE: Any place that makes you say "ooh" and "aah"--an art museum, the ballet--is a good place to get a creativity makeover. And if you feel inspired to try your hand at something creative right after your visit, go for it! (from Stop Doing Start Being, by Leigh Anne Jasheway-Bryant, FAMILY CIRCLE, April 2005).

If you are like me, all kinds of distractions come between you and your soul's need for some creative time. That's just life swallowing you whole; throwing tasks and chores at you until you yell "enough"!
We can't have a distraction-free life. What we can do is find a little space in the "now" to get in touch with the left side of our brains.
Taking a time-out can be as simple as finding a quiet corner to deep breath and meditate. Listening to music or singing can bring out your creative soul, as well as writing, drawing, looking at art, or observing nature/gardening.
I find that color inspires emotions for me, particularly the color purple, or a melange of colors. Even vibrant greens evoke feelings of well-being and relaxation--all those spring trees do this for me!
Silence is key for concentrating on the one thing that you love to do. That is why I am typing this now. There is no one in the house at the moment, no TV, no radio. Just me and my breathing.
Julia Cameron, author of the Artist's Way books says that "unleashing your inner artist . . . can allow passion and growth to become a part of your everyday life. People . . . eat better, have vivid dreams, and get the most out of their lives" (from Your Inner Life, Keep it Creative, by Anna Davies, REDBOOK MAGAZINE December 2009).
Cameron is big on journaling. She calls the process "morning pages", as she wants individuals to write before they get out of bed, so that you are aware of what you are thinking.
Another process involves making a date with yourself every week, to go somewhere that interests you where you have not yet been. Apparently you are naturally drawn to things that are "creativity cues".
Thirdly, Cameron recommends walking alone in your neighborhood and observing the world around you. This will connect all three processes together. Interesting. . .
I did read the The Artist's Way A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity, several years ago. I found it stimulating. I am just not very good at following other people's advice; although I usually take from a book or speaker a component that I will modify and use as my own.
This week, try to take a little time to do that thing that you love to do! Do not think of it as selfish time, think of it as "self" time. Remember this: we cannot grow in a stagnant medium. We must be immersed in the flow of life!
Enjoy your week!
Happy Mother's Day to all Mother's in the world! May you be blessed!

Peace,

Joan

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Replenishing The Soul With Nature




I have just returned from a respite in western North Carolina. What a literal breath of fresh air! The weather was perfect, albeit cold a couple of mornings.
Every morning, with the exception of one rainy one, my trusty Shepherd and I trudged up the hill to the top of the mountain. I have nicknamed this climb the "stair-stepper", as it definitely gives one that workout!
I loved the quiet moments that were spent admiring the newly green leaves and the blossoming shrubs. A particular favorite time of mine was spent languishing on the front porch and listening to the birds trilling. Is there anything more lovely than this?
There is nothing like a bit of nature to replenish the noise weary soul. I feel that I have aired out all my brain's winter cobwebs; although there are some new spring ones starting!
This week, try to take a few minutes every day to reconnect with nature. Try a stroll or walk, or just sit and look at some greenery to soften your eyes to the living world. Oh, yes, and remember to breathe!

April 2010

Spring Again
Colors reload
Then shoot open
The vibrant newly-greened
Oaks, Dogwood, and Sourwood
Tree egos puff up their leaves
Vieing for your attention
Easily outshining the somber
Darker green of the
Mountain pines