Everyday Beauty

Whenever I take pictures, I’m most likely to take 100+ pictures of a shoreline at home or sunlight through the trees…

Like this small harbor shot…

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…or this shot from our bike ride on the 4th of July…

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But I also love the unexpected color and light that happens–

When an everyday intersection strikes you as beautiful, and then you look up even higher to discover two rainbows…

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Sweet Spring

I write this morning from my couch. I’ve sipped my first mug of coffee, and I need/want! another cup, but there is a sweet beast snuggled at my side. He is curled into a little teddy bear ball. His back leans heavily on my leg.

I cannot don’t want to move.

It is a lazy morning wrapped in quilts and softness. I want to savor the quiet and peace of the day.

The beast snores in agreement. His nose nuzzles into the couch pillow.

Our Japanese maple dances shadow puppets across the window blinds as the sun beams break through. A bird trills her morning song, calling down the chimney and interrupting our coziness.

Spring is calling us to start the day—

to start a new season—

the season of sunshine, play, and new blooms—

the season of change and possibilities.

 

Finding an Answer

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a resolution is defined as follows:

“the act of finding an answer or solution to a conflict, problem, etc.”

and

“the act or process of resolving: as

  • the act of analyzing a complex notion into simpler ones
  • the act of answering : solving
  • the act of determining…”

I bolded the words I just love in this definition: finding an answer, simpler, and solving.

This definition seems so much friendlier to me than the self-torture goals most of us set in the New Year. Nowhere in the definition does it mention deprivation, starvation, or rigorous workouts.

Yes, this is a good time of year to review what is important to us. It is the time of year to reset and take better care of ourselves. It is the time for long walks, journaling, and meditation.

I hope you will give yourself a resolution for more joy the answer of creativity.

If you need scientists to tell you how good creativity is for your brain and your health, read Study Says Making Art Reduces Stress, Even If You Kind Of Suck At It.

If you’re waiting for permission and validation to create your art, listen to Elizabeth Gilbert’s Magic Lessons podcast #204. (And let’s just revel for a moment in her conversation about immersion with Mark Nepo. I think immersion is my favorite word for the year ahead. What will you immerse yourself in this year?)

If you feel that you’re too old to start, read/watch Hollywood Reporter’s Creative Until You Die. (language warning on these clips!).

Instead of “no pain, no gain,” give yourself a resolution that will bring you joy. If one hour a day is too much of a commitment, start small. Try one hour a week or one hour a month. …One hour just for you, to let your brain wander, dream, and solve problems.

Sign up for a class or workshop, write in your journal, set up a creative space just for you.

It’s time to play and create.

Happy New Year.

My Favorite Sound

My Favorite Sound…is the sound of people singing together spontaneously.

A friend recently told me that when people sing together, they breathe together…and when they breathe together, their hearts beat together too.

It is the sound of my husband and I on a road trip, singing our favorite Beatles songs.

It is the sound from my teenage years. My friend T— and I went to an a cappella festival at Boston Common. We had started the day early so we could set our picnic blanket in a good spot. One of the a cappella groups led the audience in a 4-part harmony. Our voices filled the open air, blending and harmonizing- Amazing!

It is the sound of a van filled with women in the small tour I did many years ago. We were driving from one theatre to the next. We didn’t have GPS back then, and we were never lost. The radio wasn’t on. We were just singing…because life really was a musical back then.

It is the sound at a rock concert, when we’re all pounding our feet with the beat and singing Every. Single. Lyric. We feel connected to the band on stage, as if they wrote their songs just for us.

Arms stretch to the sky.

Hearts open.

Then, the band turns the microphone to the audience, and we rise up together. The entire stadium vibrates with THOUSANDS of voices singing the same words and the same melody.

Our hearts beat together in one melody.

 


Afterthoughts: I spent a lot of time on YouTube searching for the perfect clip that captured the joy I was trying to express. I suppose it depends on the music that moves me, which may be different than the music that moves you.

Also, there are flash mobs that have provided some of this beauty over the last few years. -For me, spontaneous singing brings the magic to an even higher level. I feel it in my heart- pure magic, pure joy, and hope for humanity.

My favorite sound is this.

This…

…and so much more. We need more singing in this world.

Wishing you peace, my friends.

 

 

Creative Paralysis

I’ve been reflecting on my Starting Again post from a couple of weeks ago. I think my biggest fear is that I’ll have all this training and still choke when it’s time to audition. The trouble with fear, whether it’s stage fright, writer’s block, or fear of creating of any kind, is that it’s paralyzing and stops us from doing what we love. How can we push through it?

This New York Magazine post How to Get Over Stage Fright is from 2014, and it has some great, scientific ideas for dealing with stress.

Here are some other ideas for breaking through creative paralysis:

  • Take a walk— Walking in nature gives your brain a chance to wander and release stress. Also, the sights, sounds, and open air can trigger new ideas.
  • Improvise— If you’re a performer, take an improv class. If you’re an artist, practice free-hand drawing (doodle!). If you’re a writer, let your brain storm, and write whatever comes into your head.
  • Reconnect— It is important to reconnect with the simple joys of why you loved singing/painting/dancing/writing/etc. in the first place. For me, it means singing to my Broadway playlist or going to the theatre.
  • Release perfectionism— Give yourself permission to try, be in the moment, and move forward. What is the worst that can happen?

Inspiration

Do you remember the first time you felt inspired creatively?

When I was seven years old, I asked my parents to bring cardboard home from work. They brought the backs of emptied notepads, and I used them as canvas for my paintings. I liked how the cardboard absorbed paint compared to a regular piece of construction paper. Believe me, I was no prodigy (which you’ll see if I share my painting projects here!), but I remember feeling satisfied with my cardboard-painted visions in front of me.

Since then, I’ve explored writing, singing, dancing, beading, crocheting, cooking, and gardening. I’m thinking about making a sun catcher next.

I’m also interested in how other people keep creativity in their lives. We’re all so busy with work, family, and other responsibilities– yet, many people find time to explore and create (because they must!).

These creative moments bring color and light to our lives.

I started this blog to start a creativity conversation. What inspires you?