Stoke Your Creative Fire: Change the Scenery

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What my creative fire produced after I changed the scenery.  Work in progress by Jennifer Currie

As an artist and intuitive, I am a bit of an inspiration junkie. I love that moment when you get the spark of an idea that opens a door to all kinds of possibility. It’s energetic fuel for your creative fire and if you take action, things start to happen.

The creative process is a journey, however, and this is just a part of that path. I feel it most strongly at the beginning of a project and can joyfully follow it to a certain point where inevitably I feel stuck. And I’ve noticed this happens both on and off the canvas.

It happens when I start a new yoga class or diet. It happens when I tackle projects for my business. It happens when I take new classes and start learning something new. There comes a point where that initial burst of creative energy starts to taper off and in order to keep moving forward I need to feed that little spark so it can become a steady-burning fire.

This is where I’ve found that the best thing to do is KEEP GOING… (and trust me, it’s not always the thing I want to do.) ACTION, even if it’s little micro steps that seem insignificant on their own are essential at this stage.

But sometimes we get really stuck and that’s when we need what I think of as a “Pattern Disrupt”. There are lots of ways to do this and get out of ruts, but the BEST way is to change the scenery.

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This is REAL!  Montréal Botanical Gardens

You can change the scenery in really accessible ways by simply taking a different walk to work, going window shopping or trying out pretty much anything new and different.

Sometimes though… we need a big change and traveling to a new place has never failed to re-energize me when I’m feeling creatively droopy. Whether you go on a full-out vacation or simply on a day trip off the beaten path… the fresh and different sights, sounds, tastes and energy of a new place can snap you right out of your creative doldrums and stoke your inner creative fire.

I recently took a weekend trip to Montréal, Canada with my daughter for just this reason. It was a relatively short drive away. It was a different country, and it was a place I had never been… so it definitely qualified as a perfect opportunity to change the scenery.

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Olive & Gourmando Coffee Shop, Montréal

We had a great and sometimes not all that comfortable adventure that included getting lost in a maze of tunnels and highways around the city center when our GPS failed, eating some amazing food (definitely a city to go for that!), and stepping out of the very chilly 20 degree spring weather into the balmy, green of the Montréal Botanical Gardens. It was a quick trip, but we got to enjoy the sounds of people speaking French, several amazing lattés, and the vibration of this warm and friendly city.

We returned home exhausted, and then… I noticed after a good night’s sleep in my own bed, there it was: my inspiration! It was back. My energy had returned and my head was full of bright ideas.

When you need to stoke your creative fire, find a way to change the scenery. It may take a few days for the effects to sink in and sometimes it’s instantaneous… but it’s a great way to rediscover your inspiration.

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These paper flowers in the Anthropologie were magical!

Magical Thinking versus Believing in Magic

Magical Thinking2What is the difference between magical thinking and believing in magic?  Let me begin this by making it really clear what I mean when I say “magic”. I’m not talking about pulling rabbits out of hats or Harry Potter. I want to talk about the energy of magic and the 2 ways I notice people embrace it. One of these mindsets can be beneficial and the other is disempowering… so let me explain:

Believing in magic resonates with the vibration of expansion and possibility. When we can embrace possibility, all kinds of manifesting magic starts to happen.

We get into a state of wonderment and faith. We try things out, follow our intuition and meet life with curiosity. We notice synchronicities, we have our eyes open to beauty and we’re able to delight in these things when we find them.

I’m a big advocate of believing in magic… because it brings fun, whimsy and open-heartedness to our experiences. You hold the door open for good things to happen… and very often good things walk right on in.

But there’s a big difference between believing in magic and magical thinking.

Here are a few phrases that illustrate magical thinking:

“It was meant to be. The Universe will save me. The Universe will make things happen. If it’s meant to be, the Universe will deliver it. The Universe must have had different plans for me…” You get the gist.

Now I realize that there are a lot of romantic, faith-promoting themes found in this mindset, and it’s often part of the soul purpose journey to start seeking the signs, looking for the synchronicities and having faith that the Universe, God, the Divine (however you like to think of it) has your back. The Universe does have your back, but it’s a co-creative force that works with you… it doesn’t grant wishes like a fairy godmother and it’s not the boss of you.. it responds to your will.

Magical Thinking can be quite disempowering mainly because we end up waiting. (cue Disney’s Snow White singing: “One day my prince will come… “.)

We don’t set intentions, we don’t take the actions we need to take, and we often miss opportunities.

We also don’t give ourselves credit for the amazing things we do create. I’ve watched people work their butts off to meet an amazing goal only to say when it all came together…”(sigh) it was just meant to be.”

We can miss the real magic that’s happening because we’re distracted by trying to figure out what that random meeting with a person we knew in college was all about. (Sometimes it really is just a random meeting- maybe the real gift was that it was a nice surprise) We misinterpret the impulses of our intuition and end up undermining our security or creating a lot of drama with an ungrounded leap of blindfaith because we expected the Universe to catch us.

You are the creator of your experiences and believing in magic helps you get into a dance with the Universe and collaborate. Magical Thinking often leads to abdicating responsibility and hoping that some magical force of good will come in and rescue you.

As an empowered creative soul, embrace the magic… but remember that the Universe responds to your will and you’re in the driver’s seat of your life. You can go anywhere you choose, but you have to take the wheel.

Art and Alchemy Everyday

I’ve been thinking a lot about the power of taking action lately.  About a year ago I got to a point where I realized if I wanted something different to happen I needed to start doing something differently. I decided … Continue reading

The Heart of Creativity

One of my favorite things to do - doodling

One of my favorite things to do – doodling

My spirit is calling me to talk about creativity today.  Most of my posts have been related in some way or other to the Tarot, and I often post my artwork or a photograph I’ve taken of the card.  Until now I’ve never spoken directly about my work as an artist, but the journey to express myself creatively has been healing and extremely gratifying.  I have always been pulled to do creative things, but it took me a long time to fully embrace that part of myself.

When I was 27 my late husband, Chris, gave me a copy of The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron and about that same time I discovered another wonderful book called Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach.  I know that I didn’t fully “get” everything these women were talking about at the time, but I kept going back to these books.  I still revisit them from time to time, and this is why:  Julia Cameron helped me understand that I wasn’t alone in feeling creatively blocked, and that it was absolutely possible to awaken that part of myself.  She also gave me tools that I still use.

Sarah Ban Breathnach planted the tiny seed of an idea:  that gratitude and self-nurture could transform my life.  Both of these books introduced me to the concept that there might be something truly wonderful, unique, and beautiful inside of me just waiting to emerge.  I had a lot of inner criticism and mental garbage to wade through at the time… but I had that tiny glimmer of hope that kept pulling me forward towards discovering what those gifts might be.

It took me a while to get over myself enough to be a beginner.  The ego hates that, you know.  But my creative spirit needed to emerge.  I heard someone say last week, “the pain pushes until the vision pulls” and that absolutely describes my experience.  The pain of not allowing myself to express creatively kept pushing me forward.  It pushed me into classes and to craft fairs.  It pushed me set up a studio, carve out time in my life, unplug from drama and tend to my inner artist.  I was pretty stubborn, and there was a lot of resistance to jack hammer through….but then the vision started to pull me into my creativity.  It started to feel necessary, like dinner.

For me the path of creativity ran parallel with my journey to cultivate my intuition.  In fact, one of the reasons that I was so captivated by the Tarot was that the archetypal themes went right to my creative center.  They stirred my imagination into action in a positive way.  I had become very good at using my imagination to generate worry, but now I had a productive outlet for this energy and beautiful things started to come forth.  I learned that expressing myself creatively was healing, and now it’s part of my spiritual practice every bit as much as meditation.

I had the wonderful experience this weekend of indulging in a workshop with Suzi Baum, my neighbor, friend, and all around Renaissance woman.  You can check out what she’s up to on her blog: www.laundrylinedivine.com.  Sitting with a group of women writing, doodling, and sharing really fed my spirit.  We did these things just to see what would emerge.  There was no agenda, just exploration… and it occurred to me that this is really the heart of creativity ~ to explore oneself and make what you find visible to others in some way.  The little doodle pictured above is part of what I did that afternoon.

I’ll add here, that even though my own path has involved literally picking up a paintbrush {or pen} and expressing in that sense I believe that we are all creative.    Perhaps you love to cook, garden, or write.  Maybe you love sewing, knitting, or decorating.  You might enjoy the art of golf or creating a meaningful yoga practice.  Your business can even be a creative outlet with endless possibilities.

Whatever you are doing, you are creating the life you are living.  You are creating the quality of your days, the connection in your relationships, the essence of every moment you spend.  I believe that these moments are opportunities to allow our inner riches to come forth.  Whatever you are doing to give voice to your spirit is worthwhile.  It doesn’t have to have a an obvious purpose right up front.  If it lights you up in some way it’s a beautiful thing.  I’ll leave you with an invitation to explore that part of yourself in some way along with one of my favorite quotes:

“Make visible what, without you, might perhaps never be seen. ” ~Robert Bresson

I’ll be posting again in a few days all about The Emperor.  In the meantime have a wonderful 4th of July!! xo

Taking a Breather

My brother and his wife have been visiting this week, and I love how I get to see the world through fresh eyes when a guest is here.  I end up doing all sorts of things that I probably wouldn’t make time for otherwise.  I’ve been walking trails and visiting places that I take for granted when I’m in my routine.  I love this time of year, but it always seems to go by too quickly.  So I’m grateful today for the opportunity to take things at a slower pace and soak up the beauty of autumn.  I have to admit I was resisting it at first.  I’ve been doing a lot of new things lately with my work, and part of me didn’t want to slow down.  I was afraid I would lose my momentum.  More and more I’m learning that the impulse to push through isn’t really in keeping with the flow.  Sometimes it can shut the flow down completely.  Whenever I feel my brow furrowing, my jaw tightening, and time growing short I’m learning to pay attention because it’s a sign of contraction, and it’s time to take a break.  If I catch it early I can free myself pretty quickly, but if I let it go too long it gets harder to shift.  The nature of a contraction is constriction.  It’s like trying to hold your breath for a long time.  Your body gets tight and pinched, and it’s tiring.  Taking a break for a bit is like a wonderful exhale.  You release and expand – the energy (whether it’s physical, creative or emotional) has somewhere to go.  That’s being in flow – you breathe in and you breathe out.  I guess that’s why they call it a “breather”.  So that’s what I’m doing today.  Getting back into the creative flow and wishing you a beautiful day.