You want a rich full juicy creative life

You want a rich full juicy creative life.

Money is not your end game.

Money is how you pay bills and what helps you have stability and choice in the material world, but you don’t measure your success by your bank balance. All roads do not lead to income. You want money to be in service of your dream not the other way around.

Your goals are deeply personal. They are about creating a satisfying and meaningful life.

You want things like kindness, self care, connection with like minded people. You want to feel kind, generous, supportive and you want to feel connected. You are sometimes embarassed to say it out loud but love is one of your main motivators and goals in life. To be more loving, to open your heart, to act with love.

You want to make a nett positive contribution. There are issues you care about and you want to make a difference. You care about the world, you care about people. You want to shake things up, create change. You want to help support, challenge, heal, inspire, support, educate, connect people.

You want to bring beauty into the world. This might be through your art, music, performance, through getting your ideas on the page. It might be through interiors and your home. It might be through creativity community projects and social enterprise and volunteering. It might be through starting your own business and creating beautiful systems and processes. You have a vision, you are pulled towards things. Your vision is rich and varied and ideas are your friends.

You want to feel light. A spring in your step. A reason to get our of bed. Something to look forward to, a sense of possibility. You want to have plans, and be able to bring your most deeply held precious dreams into the world with confidence and ease.

You want to be real. You want to feel authentic and not a fake. To love yourself even if you are a bit grubby or dinged in parts. A smile or tears both welcome, not some shiny two dimensional version of you curated for show. Deep conversations. Uniquely you. You want whatever you do to fit with your life, your skills, your passions, your resources. You don’t want to buy someone else’s map to some place you don’t even want to go.

You want a life that surprises you. One full of learning and change. You want adventures of the body and mind. You want to feel freedom and variety. You want to use your favourite skills, and feel good about it. You want your interests and fascinations and inspirations to take the reins in your life- not your fears, not what other people expect of you, not keeping up with the Joneses. You don’t care if your life makes sense to anyone else (well you do a bit but you are gradually caring less and less about this).

You know that something is holding you back. Is it fear? Is it that voice in your head that says ‘how dare you, stop being so dreamy/ pathetic/ selfish, this is the real world, just get on with it, you don’t have to like your job’ or ‘get real, people like you can’t do things like that?’. Are you trying to fit in with someone else’s view of who you are? Trying not to be too loud, colourful, audacious? Trying not to show anyone up, be too successful, take up too much room? Is it because you realise you’ve been competing in a game you don’t even care about but aren’t sure where to go next?

Or maybe it’s the practical stuff. Sure you have a vision but how the hell are you meant to get there? You somehow skipped that part where eveyone else seems to have learnt how to plan and prioritise, how to stop getting overwhelmed with too much on their plate, how to manage the peaks and troughs of their own energy levels, to take an idea and get it done. And what about how to build your professional reputation, change directions, retrain or reinvent? You figure there are probably business things and social media things and legal things and it all feels a bit much – where to start?

Don’t worry you’re not alone. And you’re not crazy.

You just need a companion to set off with you, and maybe some sustenance for the journey.

You need a jolt of confidence and maybe some practical tools.

You need to speak to someone who gets you and has been there too.

You need some encouragement through the hard bits and celebration at the peaks.

And you need to be able to keep moving and find new help along the way, until one day you notice that you are encouraging yourself, celebrating yourself, believing in yourself.

If this speaks to you I would be delighted to be that person you need now. Imagine having someone in your corner. Imagine having someone you can share your weird with. Imagine someone who gets messy, impulsive, sensitive, emotional, creative and doesn’t judge you for it. Imagine someone who gets fear, and self doubt living right alongside drive and big dreams. Imagine someone who delights in your quirky sense of humour and your way-out plans, or your teensy tiny tender little seeds of dreams.

Imagine someone who cares deeply about social and environmental issues too, who is empathetic and understands trauma and grief, who is trained in the transpersonal and client centred counselling and experienced in nuts and bolts project management. One foot in each world. Is that someone you would like on your team?

Make the leap. Get started. Who knows where this journey might take you. If avoiding it or bullying yourself isn’t working, try supporting yourself and surrounding yourself with support. Back yourself and your dreams. Trust your instincts. Take a leap of faith.

Make a commitment to yourself and get started.

My ‘Kickstart your Project’ package is $450 for three hour long sessions. I will be taking new clients from January 2019.

 

Chronicles of a learner

Yes folks I’m learning to drive*. I’m 40ish and back to being a beginner. Feels like a theme of my life the last few years, being a learner again in lots of areas.

And what’s been interesting about learning to drive is all the metaphors for life that have been hitting me thick and fast as I gingerly navigate curves and try to remember who gives way to whom.

One insight that’s hit me is that you need to slow down on the curves. When you are moving a car, you need to slow right down to change direction. Isn’t that like life? If you are moving fast in one direction, it helps to slow right down to reorient and move in a new direction. Go carefully, concentrate on your positioning and focus on looking ahead at where you want to go.

What else?

You need to keep your eyes up ahead. If you look down at the road right in front of you the car is less steady and less able to navigate the bends in the road. Look where you want to go and the car will go there. The big picture view guides us where we want to go.

Its ok to listen to your own sense of what is safe and right for right now. It’s Ok to go slower than others when we feel unsafe. A new road, bad weather, steep windy country roads – these are places we naturally feel a bit more cautious, and that is a good thing. As a new driver you get used to being slower than those around you and you need to grow thick skin and not worry too much about their inconvenience. It’s OK to go as slow as you need when doing something hard or new.

We learn with teachers. It takes being with someone who knows this thing well to internalise the ways of thinking that helps us drive well. Sitting next to experienced, patient drivers, a good instructor who can tell us what to do when we find ourselves repeating their words like a mantra. Eventually we think their words and do those actions. New ways of thinking are socially transmitted, and take practice and reinforcement.

We learn by doing. No amount of reading the road rules, or watching someone else drives gives the same muscle and bone knowledge as actually driving does. It takes practice in different scenarios to really embed these new sequences of actions, these new skills. The mind and body have to work together on complex learning. Just like in life, theory alone never teaches us as much as study and application and reflection in real life complex situations.

We have to embrace being sh!t at something to get good at something. Make no mistake, it is excruciating as an adult to be an awkward, fumbling, messy beginner. I hated my driving lessons sometimes. I feel frustrated and awkward and annoyed at myself. We make mistakes. We feel foolish. We can feel frustrated that it’s not happening quick enough. But unless we embrace this stage, and can sit with the discomfort, we will never begin to master the skill or get to a place where it becomes second nature.

So that’s it! There are my main observations about how learning to drive is much like life in general.

Have you taken on a new skill to master lately? What did being a beginner in this teach you about life and learning?

*Oh actually, I passed my test! I am a P plater! But I still consider myself in a phase of learning.

PS If you have something hard that you’ve been putting off for a long time maybe I can help. I know what it’s like to have your own good reasons for not doing something, even when there is widespread social pressure to do it! I don’t believe in an off the rack life, but one that suits you, perfectly tailored to you, comfortable, enjoyable and unfolding in the timing that suits you.

 

What do you need from me?

Lovelies! I am about to create a wheelbarrow load of freebies to help my creative, multi-passionate peeps move towards their dreams and get more of their creative passions, biz ideas and projects out into the world!
Think checklists, planning templates, challenges and even some fun art stuff like collage sheets to get you working in full colour.
But before I roll my sleeves up and get started, I want to check – is there anything that YOU want that I can help you with?

Is there a goal you would love help moving towards? A hurdle you’d like help leaping over? Some practical thing that’s a sticking point for you? Please let me know, either below in a comment (hint: you don’t have to have an account to leave a comment, just use your name and email address) or email me via the ‘contacts’ link.

Help me to help you!

Mucho gracias!

10 thoughts on calming event anxiety

Plenty of people struggle with giving talks, making presentations, running workshops etc, especially if its the first time, a new topic or a bigger group than you are used to.

Is this you? If so, here are some thoughts to help you prepare and sail through that next big event.

  1. Name all the things that are freaking you out – say them! Write them down! Cry if you need to. Think ‘it’s not fair’ or ‘it’s all shit’ if you need to. Do this as early as you can, as soon as you notice you are procrastinating and feeling fear. Strong feelings are better noticed and expressed then swept under the rug.
  2. Conjure up some kindness for yourself about what’s freaking you out – ‘yes of course that would be stressful, well no wonder that’s hard’.
  3. Think of three things you could do to feel more calm on the day: Have picked your outfit in advance? Have checked the travel time and given yourself enough time? Have practiced your talk with a colleague? Maybe have visited the venue before and stood up on the stage in the empty room? Have a nice connected chat with a taxi driver, barista, another presenter or conference attendee about something else beforehand? Make sure you commit to doing these things.
  4. Imagine arriving fully prepared, now get started and get preparing
  5. Remember to also focus on other things on your horizon: a dinner next week, an article the week after, that summer holiday you’ve been thinking of next month… If you let the event be the ONLY thing in the future it will feel all consuming, let yourself have a timeline that is much lounger than the time leading up to the event.
  6. Does exercise help you get out of your head and back into your body? If so a brisk walk or run the morning of the event, or a slow stroll around the neighbourhood with your camera might shift your focus.
  7. Lower your expectations and lower the stakes: rather than ‘I have to give a world class presentation otherwise everyone will think I’m stupid’ see if you can change your goal to ‘as long as I turn up, deliver my talk, and talk to two people at the conference all day I’ve done enough’
  8. Reconnect with the bigger why – presumably you’re doing this because you care about a topic or issue, and want to help someone else learn from your experiences, or do their job better – focus on that goal, imagine how much time or effort or pain you can save your audience if they learn from what you share
  9. Know that if you are doing something new it is absolutely normal to feel out of your comfort zone, tell yourself this kindly. After all feeling ashamed that we are scared and angry at ourselves for being scared just makes us feel worse.
  10. Know that this is a gift to future self – you’re wracking up experience so this will be easier and more comfortable for future you, and future you will thank you.

 

Photo by Ester Marie Doysabas on Unsplash

The forest of story tellers

Some creative musings about story across generations and within families. 

 

There is an enchanted land of story tellers. It is a place where fiction and truth dance together and in the movement can be mistaken for each other. The storytellers are a family who have been cursed, but no one can remember why.

This is a complex thing.

With children and parents there are multiple people to have opinions of the others and themselves and probably vast variants of stories that overlap and compete and fight for air.

They are mysterious stories, with ghostly similarities, the same castles and trees and other landscapes, with time scales for the most part although often significantly altered, and most confoundingly, the characters changed, people playing different parts.

One story you will hear and no sooner has the tear rolled down your cheek at the fate of Cinderella then the next teller will start up and pull you through the same tale, this time, Cinderella’s face is an ugly stepsister kicking her swollen warted foot into the side of the lithe, golden skinned, dirt smeared sister, who in the last story was the stable hand, whilst outdoors the stepmother appears with wand and pumpkin coach. It is unsettling, this shifting of images.

The traveller may get stuck in this land and believe that just one more story might explain things, that perhaps a number of stories will correspond, a type of democratic truth will evolve, and then, once having clarified the true story, with the true roles, the traveller may go.

Part of the curse (but nobody warns of this) involves the traveller, who may be dragged into this magical place and become a storyteller too. A new version, his version, he shouts at the forest, at the others, but no one can hear, they grow angry and tear at each other with fists and claws, enraged by the falsehoods spouted by those around them. The stories grow over time, this telling of the stories, so that the stories start to describe the telling of stories, start to include the tearing of claws at the hearing of stories. The stories loop around and capture now and engulf it back into the story, ammunition in this fighting with words, armour too for the heart to protect against each other’s armouries. The travellers own telling of stories, is woven into the stories too.

It doesn’t help that the tellers are listening to each other’s stories and changing their own, constantly. Some things change by accident, a slip of the tongue, a gap that needs filling with detail. Some things are changed to make the storyteller appear more moderate, a tiny hairline crack in the character of themselves as heroes, a clumsy show of compassion for another character, a benevolent insight into the motivations of the villains, but themselves emerging victorious as ever.

Some of the story tellers developed a special style in the midst of all this noise – somewhat like minimalist mime they clam up, write their stories in the lines in their faces, the set of their mouths. Some slip into the audience and frown, leave with arms folded when they hear the tale unfold as the teller tells it. This is a kind of storytelling in its own right. The observer knows what the story isn’t but must guess at what it is.

For the passing traveller, the stories shimmer, not quite solid or substantial, always liable to change in a new light or as a new teller enters the forest.

—-

What stories are told in your families? Do they contribute to a sense of possibility, groundedness and optimism? Do they help bring the family together? Are they divisive? Do they cast certain people as heroes and others as victims and monsters? Is anyone missing or voiceless in the telling of the story?

Do roles change? Does the story liberate and share learning? Does it loop and change? Does the hero have freewill in this story or are their choices predestined? Do you find the story helpful? Do you believe it?

Is there a new story that would be more helpful for you now? 

If you are interested in exploring dynamics in your own family and how they have shaped your own responses to the world you might be interested in family systems constellation work. If you are interested in gaining a greater sense of what is possible with your own unfolding real life story, you might find narrative therapy useful.

 

 

How to get past your gatekeeper

imageSee here for Part 1

In fairytales the adventurer goes on a quest, to find something, or do some heroic task. Often along the way there is a gatekeeper, a holder of the secrets, a holder of the reassures.

 

A giant that needs to be told a story that entrances it and lulls it to sleep so you can creep past

A wiley clever troll that needs reasoning with

A philosopher that needs a riddle answered

Maybe some gift or payment given

A hardened mistreated character that can be lulled by the gentle tones of beautiful music

 

What does your creative gatekeeper look like?

What gifts might you need to give it to lull it into a deep slumber so you and your paintbrush can sneak past?

What distraction might you need to provide so that you and your violin can scurry past while it looks elsewhere?

 

Celebrating friendship through creativity

In August 2015 Jade ran a workshop for a social group of women who wanted to show their care and support for each other in a creative and fun way. The workshop design featured a range of materials and simple relaxation and centring strategies, to help:

  • encourage participation regardless of what past experience of art they might have had
  • get past restrictions put in place by fear or perfectionism
  • experiment with materials and explore shapes, textures and symbols
  • experience impermanence through staging the destruction of earlier work to create latter work
  • model and encourage acceptance for each participants’ unique personal expression
  • model and encourage a light-hearted and curious approach to creativity and art making
  • bring people together in a cooperative, collaborative making process
  • create a ‘gift’ at the end for the guest of honour and also the host – a lasting creative work to keep as a moment of the day

The group was amazing, the women jumped in feet first and had a great time getting their hands dirty.

Some of the work from the group is below.