IT'S OKAY TO LET GO

reading by Kelly Nicolaisen I'm not one to shy away from hard work. I'm usually always willing to go above and beyond, and do what needs to be done to reach my goal.

But that mentality can also make me supremely cray and stressed out.

With blogging, planning Eat Drink Create events, and doing more and more graphic design work (yay!), my weeks are pretty full lately. Throw moving into the equation and holy craziness... I'll admit, there were definitely some tears this month.

Believe it or not I'm actually really grateful for this supremely stressful month. I realized something pretty major - BIG thank you to the Glitterbomb Your Biz crew! I realized that I need to give myself permission to let go...

Let go of my crazy high standards. Let go of posting x number of blog posts each week. Let go of tweeting and facebooking and instagramming everyday to keep up my "online presence." Let go of feeling like I have to attend that big blogger conference in January... you know the one.

Release it all. Cuz at the end of the day? It's okay. Better than okay. Everything is unbelievably amazing. Why would I add unnecessary stress to all this amazingness?

We're settled into the new casa. It's almost a new season. It's time to start fresh, yes? Okay. Starting fresh... NOW!

Shout out to artist Kelly Nicolaisen by the way. I'm obsessed with her photos! Seriously, I want them all.

It’s Thursday and that means a whole gang of rad bloggers are talking about happiness! Join the movement below, on facebook, and on twitter with #BeHappylinkup!

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Reading by Kelly Nicolaisen.

BE CREATIVE / 03

just-be-cool Okay, it happened. I hit my first block. After a few weeks of pure excitement about this Be Creative project and embracing SO many new mantras, meditations, and baby steps in the right direction - I relapsed and reverted back to my old thought patterns.

For the past few days, I wasn't able to clear my head during meditation and I could barely remember my dreams - did I mention I've been keeping a dream journal? My dreams are always redonk, but I've read keeping a dream journal helps increase our awareness and ability to connect the dots that can lead to - boom - awesome ideas. So we'll see if my dreams about tree houses and mushroom ravioli lead to any major breakthroughs... you never know.

What happened that I suddenly hit a creativity wall? I got stressed. Almost the instant I let myself start worrying about a particular major conference happening this week, my mind began spinning. BIG (obvious) lesson in creativity: being frazzled never leads to greater creativity.

Immediately recognizing that I'd gone off path - the frantic feeling of omg, what do I have to do next? was a clue - I knew I had to find a way out of this nervous, frenzied state of mind. No good comes of that.

Guys. I've discovered the best way to eliminate stress ever. I'm not even joking... and it has nothing to do with booze. The most effective way to eliminate fears/anxiety/worry - basically any negative feeling - is to let go of judgement. Good or bad. In a recent meditation (p.s. I'm using Deepak Chopra's guided meditations, download them here! So worth it.), I was presented with the challenge to go through my day not judging anything.

Doesn't seem so hard, right? UM it was crazy hard! I basically repeated to myself "Today, I will judge nothing that occurs," approximately 30,000 times. It was a very conscious decision I had to make over and over again... but it was surprisingly effective.

It may seem silly, but practicing non-judgement was the most liberating exercise I've tried so far for the Be Creative project. Once I started non-judging, I felt so much more peaceful. I was no longer obsessing over the wording of an email or the design of a blog post. These things weren't good OR bad, they were just an email and a blog post. I wasn't getting caught up in the worrying or the excitement of anything. As a result, my mind was much freer to make decisions and receive new creative ideas.

When things get stressful, it's so easy to slide back to my old way of thinking (ahem worrying). This week, there will surely be many opportunities to get stressed or overwhelmed. So I plan on repeating to myself "Today, I will judge nothing that occurs," another 30,000 times. This week, I'm determined to carry peace with me wherever I go... and TONS of business cards.

See you soon, friends! This girl is Alt-bound. xo!

 

Images: one (by Lucas Passmore) | two (by The Vaguely) | three (by ban.do)

BE CREATIVE / 02

The Be Creative project is underway, friends! For those of you who may have missed last week's post, here's a little recap of my year-long project and what I'll be working on each month to strengthen my inner creative genius (bwahahaaa - creative genius laughter): January: meditation / the increasing awareness method February: cross-pollination / the more diverse experiences method March: create / the just do it method April: booze / the stop inhibiting the imagination method May: play / the act like a child method June: nature / the observe creativity in progress method July: borrow / the learn from other geniuses method August: live abroad / the see the world method September: compete / the push yourself method October: city life / the move to a metropolis method November: be extreme / the immerse yourself in the absurd method December: be willing / the take risks method

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So it's week three of meditation month... have I had any major, earth shaking creative ideas? Yes and no.

Yes because I've realized a major concept about creativity and success in general. The funny thing is that I've heard this concept before... but something was different when I heard it this time. I finally took it in and understood the meaning. It's like the difference between hearing E=MC2 and really understanding what it means. I hear that once you're willing, you'll find what you're looking for... maybe this time I was finally willing to hear the message. Was I more receptive because of my daily meditation? Maybe. Or could it have been my willingness and dedication to learn more about creativity? Also maybe.

So what did I realize? You have to recognize and deal with your fears before you can reach your creative potential.

I've read that if miracles or inspired ideas aren't occurring naturally, something's gone wrong. Something is blocking your creativity from coming through - usually that "something" is negative thinking, worrying, or self-doubt. Wild concept, right? That would mean majorly awesome ideas are always available to us. It's our job to simply get out of our own way, let go of negative thought patterns, and be willing to receive.

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The first step for getting out of our own way is to recognize what our negative thoughts are and then find out how to deal with them. At first, I found it difficult to take responsibility for holding myself back. I thought: Why would I do that? I love me! But it's true, I have thoughts and feelings that are preventing true creativity from shinin' on through on artsocial. What are they? Gah I'm scared to share them with you... Okay, here they are. At the core of almost every negative thought or anxious feeling I have are these 3 bad boys:

01. I'm new to blogging so I can't be good. 02. Who's going to care about what I have to say? 03. I'm just a blogger so I can't make a lot of money.

As a side note, I'm promising myself I will eliminate the word "just" from my vocabulary. You're never "just" anything. You're great, you're mighty, you're an effing force! But that's another post.

Nothing like listing out your fears to make you realize how ridiculous they are, huh? When I sat down and really thought about it, I was surprised at what my fears really are... because they don't show up in their true form, like the list above. They show up as seemingly harmless thoughts: What if no one comments on this post? (fear numero uno). I love this idea, but would anyone else like it? (fear numero dos). I shouldn't ask to get paid for that feature because I only have such and such number of readers... (fear numero tres).

Well I'm tired of those thoughts. I'm gettin' over these fears, ya hear, and I know I'll be presented with the right people, events, and circumstances to do just that. Take that, fears. I'm putting my foot down.

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So while I didn't have any breakthrough creative ideas yet while meditating, I have had some heavy realizations. Oh and I also received an intuitive hint during meditation as to where to find a cute dress for Alt Summit... and it worked! Hey, meditation can guide you through anything.

Do you have similar worries or fears? Were you able to overcome them? I'd love to hear your story in the comments!

 

Don't like meditation? Here are some other creative tips that have helped me this month:

Be Creative Shortcuts:

01. Take a shower or its more relaxing equivalent, a bath. This has been surprisingly effective this month.

02. Sit in silence. Yep. Just sit in the quiet for 15+ minutes. No iphone, no music, no tv, just you... and maybe a pen and paper (for when those rad ideas start flowing in).

03. Ignore everybody and check in with yourself. How do you feel about that project, outfit, upcoming commitment you're unsure about? You know the answer.

04. Ask yourself a lot of questions. What if? Why not? What else? Keep asking and the answer will come.

05. Sleep on it. Sometimes I get my BEST ideas right before I'm about to fall asleep. Keep a journal on the bedside table fo sho.

 

Images, from the top: one (via Whitney English) | two (by Nini Baseema) | three (by ZinniaCottage) | four | five (by by Sarah Louise Johnson) | six (by Dieppa Restrepo)