Tag Archives: Jill Badonsky

morning pages

Back on the wagon again this morning. After a very long hiatus, I am calling in this morning for some Parallel-Universe time with Jill. Since it’s a long distance cell phone call for me, I can’t afford to stay on the call for the whole hour but I’ve checked in now and will call back just before the top of the hour to check back in at the end.

So I wanted to limber up a little bit here (in these morning pages) before I head over to my short story. I’ve just barely rolled out of bed this morning and made myself a coffee in time for the call. I haven’t been getting up in time most of the mornings that the sessions have been held so I consider this morning a triumph in starting to turn around my very weird body clock back to its usual routines.

My body’s been feeling better. It will be four weeks this Friday since the surgery and I’m finally moving and sleeping a little less gingerly, though some tender spots remain on my belly and right side. After rereading the post-operative instruction pamphlet a couple of days ago, I realized that I could have removed the steri-strips a while ago, but I have to admit that they intimidated me. Much like my reaction to the appendix surgery incision I got in 1971, looking beneath the bandage to see what is under there is always a bit alarming when you realize how many layers of tissue they had to cut through to get inside to where they needed to go. My inside part is always a weird concept for me, because I feel like I *am* inside, inside looking out at the world, and that when sharp objects are poked through my outer layers into my viscera, it is clear that those insides and the ones I think I am inhabiting are not the same. It’s an odd dichotomy.

Yesterday I watched yet another video of Danielle Laporte with a guest speaker, this time Linda Siverstein, discussing their new offering of the Big Beautiful Book Plan. I’m convinced that the reasons that people like Danielle are so successful is multi-fold –clearly without talent and compelling content you will go no where– but the primary aspect of the dissemination of her work is due, I think, to the fact that she enjoys the business end of her work. Downright relishes it, even. ‘Business’ brings up all kinds of stuff for me, notably the fact that while Danielle claims to be able to sell ice to the Inuit, I on the other hand couldn’t sell them a furnace even if I was one of few furnace retailers during a particularly vicious cold snap.

Selling makes me feel uncomfortable in the same way that self-assessment during the annual review process does. My idea is that: I serve a purpose, I fulfill that purpose to the best of my ability by doing the work expected of the role I serve. Whether others like the purpose I serve or not is not up for discussion nor for me to justify. I was invited to show up and served that purpose, in whatever concrete or organic way that purpose chose to manifest itself. I don’t keep track of every little thing that I do on the journey of serving. I simply don’t have the attention span for that – I’m not built that way. I’ve tried to keep track, though, because these details and calculations are apparently key to getting a good review and the bonus that invariably goes with one. Writing down the big projects – the end results – isn’t enough to make people understand all of the steps and the value of your contribution – the amazing accomplishment of getting to the end of the line. They need the details, the minutia, in excruciating (and self-aggrandizing) detail.

While I can mechanize some processes that I undertake to get from A to B, oftentimes they end up being a rather flexible (and innate) process. I might take a different route one day just for the sake of variety and I might even discover that instead of B, a new route to C is an even better outcome. I will change and adapt, and the discovery process is an infinite one. Rigid constraints stifle me in a way that I can’t even begin to properly describe without using words like “suffocate” and “airless” and “drowning”. I feel these physically, in my body, when I think of constraints. Apparently more exploration is needed in that area. ::head desk::

So I’m off to my short story now, but I leave you with these thoughts of constraint and restriction and expansion and freedom. In some respects I think constraints are good – having a base structure to work off of is essential to not totally getting lost meandering – but at what point does it stop serving you (and your purpose)? What do they mean to you? How do you work within their parameters? Do constraints feed you or do they pull the air out of your sails?

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coaching the creative

Years ago, when I signed up for Jill Badonsky’s Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coaching program, it was largely a form of self-service : I needed to gather together and implement a set of tools in my creativity arsenal so that I could continue tapping into the parts of myself that I knew I was here to not only exercise but express to the world.

Earlier this week I commented in my little co-admined (with Kim and Lisa) Facebook art group, Salon des Muses, that getting artists to collectively do anything is a little bit like herding goldfish. You can say your piece and suggest… and the rest is pretty much up to the universe and each individual artist to take note of and follow… or not.

The same can be said of the artist’s creativity, too. Ever try herding goldfish? Me neither, but the only way that they seem to be remotely interested in being led to a specific area of the pond is if they are enticed by something yummy that they simply can’t resist partaking in.

Herding the Artist
Creative types are notoriously resistant to being told what to do. In fact, the more you insist on telling them what they should be doing, the more they will blow you off. Well-intentioned advice will oftentimes fall on deaf ears and achieve the opposite result. So how does one get around that?

1. Engage innate intelligence.
The mind loves a good puzzle. Ask it enough questions and it will come up with answers (and all answers are good answers). Better yet, ask it just before lights out and you may well have some answers upon waking up the next day. We all have an inner-sphynx that asks oblique questions and demands the right answers in order for us to move on to the next phase. So if something is vexing you, start by asking:

  • What has worked in the past?
  • What drew you to the project in question?
  • What made you fall in love enough with a creative idea so much that you felt compelled to court it?
  • Can you remember or tap into that initial excitement; how?

2. Keep things light.
Play is the single most overlooked aspect of the creative process. As children, creative output was always a by-product of something else – engaging in play or immersion into our imaginations. How to lighten up? Try…

  • engaging in the absurd. Nonsensical mental jogs keep us from getting too entrenched in our work – just ask Dr. Seuss.
  • approaching whatever you are doing with curiosity, just to see what happens next.
  • pretending you are creating from the point of view of one of the subjects of your art work, or story characters.
  • letting your medium express itself as though you were conducting an interview – ask it some Q&A’s. What does it have to tell you?

3. Create a space-time container.
There is nothing that encourages greater procrastination than not allowing for adequate time in which to create. To stay engaged in a creative project one must actually, well, interact with it. The only way I know to do that is to actually schedule time for it, just like one would for any other item on our vast to-do list. Setting up specific times in which to create, or to interact with a coach, helps keep things moving along. Jill hosts Parallel-Universe time weekly – it’s a great opportunity, if you don’t otherwise, to engage in your creative process in a “held” space.

4. Change the vibe from obligation to opportunity.
One of my biggest takeaways from Jill’s work is the phrase “I get to…” inserted in front of just about anything I am in some way resistant to. As a general rule, life becomes so much more filled with gratitude and grace when you realize just how lucky you are to “get to” do all of the things you do, all the time. When applied directly to a creative process, which is way cool to be able to engage in anyway when you think about it, it turns an “I have to” into something far more appealing. How lucky is that?!

5. Own the progress.
Many creative types are also high-achieving perfectionists. Chances are they out-perform the vast majority of people production-wise, when comparisons are made, and they STILL think they are falling short and aren’t doing “enough”. Keeping score of what you DO do helps put things into better perspective and continues to fuel the enthusiasm you have for the things you are building toward. I recommend investing in some gold stars and using them copiously and conspicuously in your scheduler.

6. Learn to love the tortoise vibe.
Slow and steady does indeed win the race. Item 5. helps keep the progress in focus but breaking things down into tiny little steps will inhibit the feeling of overwhelm that invariably makes many of us short-circuit into inaction. How small? So small that you can do whatever “it” is in ten minutes or less. If you become lost in a time-space fold and end up working for longer, you can always claim it was quantum mechanics at work.

7. Pull straws.
If your creative mind is anything like mine, there is never a shortage of ideas flowing through your consciousness stream. Thing is, you can’t do it all, all at once, so you are going to have to pull straws on which ones get to be in the spot light and which ones are just gonna have to wait. The particularly appealing ones I scoop up for future reference (I jot down the ideas in my iNotes) while others will just have to be left to swim on by and be caught in someone else’s net. The matter of which projects to work on is always a question of how many to adequately juggle before you end up with a trout slapping you on the head and the rest of the fish flailing around on the ground. So put the ones you aren’t working on into a holding tank where they are easily accessible and focus on the one sitting on your head. It will all go swimmingly that way.

8. Comparison kills creativity.
Have you ever seen little Billy unabashedly, unapologetically paint his trees blue? Damned right you have. And he could give a rat’s ass that trees are generally not that colour, and that fish don’t customarily float through the atmosphere like clouds. Kids will generally look at each other’s drawings and yell “coooooool!!!” when they see some amazing stuff their own imaginations hadn’t yet thought to conjure up but they will not generally feel ashamed of sharing what they’ve made. Kids proudly and regularly brandish their creations. Take it from them. They know better than us stuffy ole grown ups. And you know what else? There’s room on the classroom wall for all of it.

So, that’s about it for today. Know that the world is ready to witness your genius. Know that you create because you were meant to express yourself exactly in the way that you do.

Adriane xo

an unfinished human

I’ve been on a bit of a downward spiral lately, and though there are some specific reasons for it, I don’t really feel that I should address them here. I will, however, talk about what I am (and have, for many, many years been) doing to get through to the other side.

Caveat: this works for me; I am an individual and we all have different ways of processing things. Take what resonates with you, and leave the rest; offer insight if you think it might be helpful, to me or anyone else.

Double-edged sword: I’ve been feeling creative lately, and writing more. What that means is that I am having to go into vulnerable places in order to access the meaty stuff that makes for good writing. On the flip side of that, things have been happening in my exterior world that are directly affecting my interior one. Things like news of possible lay-offs and general unrest at the workplace; financial issues with potential court room drama that come at a time when I am still in a tenuous financial situation; increased expenses without an increase in salary (for instance my rent went from $1100 a month to $1665 a month with utilities; that’s a slightly more than a 50% increase in rental costs alone); an old relationship resurfacing when the healing process had still not yet been completed. I could go on.

This is a small sampling, but there is an added amount of stress, real or imagined, that is pushing me into a kind of frantic state that I have a hard time dealing with, especially on my own. If you ask me about a support system (the kind that we normally look to: family, friends, etc.), I can say that I can’t really rely on any since I don’t have one in place, not really. This is, however, something I’m quite used to, so I have learnt that I have to reach out and find solutions because, contrary to popular believe, “going it alone” doesn’t ever work very well, and “sucking it up” doesn’t resolve the issues nor does it provide any relief for the anxiety. I’ve tried both, even recently, and it only ends up manifesting in physical ailment. Hint: it’s not a good course of action.

So enter the “self-help queen” – I must have one of the most extensive motivational, inspirational and self-help libraries around, but there are always new books (i.e., tools) that come out that I am (until the moment when I’m having a quasi-meltdown) unaware of. So I purchase more, because over the long haul, even a handful of books costs less than sitting through weeks and months of therapy. I’m not saying that therapy isn’t helpful, with the right counsellor, but the costs are quite prohibitive and it would behoove me to become proactive in my own getting out of my mire process. If all else fails and I’m still not able to find some mending, I would of course get some external assistance.

At the moment I’ve begun reading a couple of books:

The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown; and
The Muse Is In: An Owner’s Manual to Your Creativity by Jill Badonsky

I was already reading:

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain; and
Women Who Run With The Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype by Clarissa Pinkola Estés

So… I read slowly, bits of whichever of these happen to resonate at any given moment, over a period of time.

Well, that’s not quite true. I am reading Women Who Run With The Wolves with an online group and we are reading through a chapter every couple weeks, which, since the content is really dense and the exercises we are working through quite deep, it’s a bit of a crawling along (though rewarding) process.

The Gifts of Imperfection will be needed for an online workshop I signed up for with Brené, and similarly, I signed up for an online month-long teleconference/remote coaching group session with Jill Badonsky to help deal with some of my creativity issues, which essentially just boil down to the more basic issues that are the foundation of many of the other things that keep me from living as someone who is (as Brené calls it) Wholehearted.

I have moments of being in this state, so I know what I’m missing out on when I’m not. And I can tell you that it is wonderful. But like anything that’s worth working for, it takes some effort to maintain, and (clearly) I have many times that I downright fall right off the wagon.

So I’ve come to the meat of this post; the reason I wanted to write about this in the first place.

I know I am not alone.

YOU are not alone.

If there is ever a moment of inquiry that you pause in and wonder how you could be doing ‘this’ better, not because you are inadequate at doing whatever it is that you are doing, but because there is perhaps another way that might yield better results, you are drawing on your courage, and that is remarkable.

It is often said that happiness is a state of mind; I believe this to be true – it *is* a state of mind, and not dependent upon many of the things that we associate with happiness – money, success, love, sex, material acquisitions – because I have seen so many people with so much and yet they are not happy.

Truthfully, we all long for connection, and how we individually interpret that differs tremendously, but the more we can come to understand ourselves and what connection really means to us, the further along the path we can move to becoming a slightly less unfinished human.

February 11 Awe-Manac art…

“Aha-phrodisiacs:

Use Sidney Sheldon’s book title, The Stars Shine Down, as your title for poetry, prose, journal entry, collage, doodling, drawing with your eyes closed, or rambling out loud in a random stream of consciousness…”

from The Awe-Manac: a Daily Dose of Wonder, by Jill Badonsky

Dabbling… reaching…

“In chance events both emotionally and symbolically meaningful, our psychological experience of a synchronicity always occurs to enable us to move forward in some way…if we are characters in a story, the ending may not be a happy one, but the life we are living is at least one that is whole and coherent. It is the function of synchronicity to help us see this wholeness — if not goodness — behind the ups and downs of each chapter of the life we live.”

There Are No Accidents: Synchronicity and the Stories of Our Lives – Robert H. Hopcke

Well, seeing that I have a whole lot more time on my hands, lately, to dabble and reach and maybe even shine (seeing that I got fired from my oh-so-ill-fitting office job last Monday), I’ve been working on revamping my … er … life, I suppose, but in my customary no-holds-barred way. I am assaulting all angles at once… body, mind and spirit… closet and/or wardrobe… art projects… cleaning and de-cluttering… laundering and sorting of clothing and linen-y things… and last but not least, revamping my e-presence. Chaos ensues, but slowly there emerges… order. There were several links that were broken when I migrated my “old” blog contents (from onesundayafternoon.blogspot.com) to here, and I had such great plans and schemes to bring that one (and a few more that I’d registered) to new and/or greater heights. Time–and the whittling away of my soul at the grind that was my job–verily caused me to abandon ship… so they’ve all been floating along the cyberspace sea like an unmanned armada, narrowly avoiding ship wreak, but only just. I’m reclaiming the helm… of many things. The Incubus song, Drive, comes to mind.

In any case, while I was reworking some links which had somehow gotten broken, I rediscovered a site that has inspired me in the past and (not surprisingly) did so again. Debra Schanilec’s blissmonger.com site/blog is a spot on the ‘net that is not to be missed. When I grow up, I want to be like Debra. The quote (above) was snipped from this post. Read it and feel the shine. 🙂 Oh… and if you feel like snorting with laughter, tear-y eyed (from the hilarity), then you must check THIS spot out… I had almost forgotten how good it feels to laugh… have you, too?

Coming soon: an e-interview with Jill Badonsky to discuss the release of her newly released book The Awe-Manac: A Daily Dose of Wonder.

Graduations… celebrations…

Tonight was the last telecon class of my Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coaching training. What a cool bunch of women I’ve met, all extremely talented in their own right.

    I had a breakthrough this week on some concepts I’ve been lugging around with me, that didn’t serve me well. I’ve been in the habit of limiting myself with the use of negative self-talk, one of the many self-sabotaging “tools” if you will, and find that I am not the only one afflicted. In fact, it’s so rampant that I’m amazed any of us get anything done.

      I’ve found that I get the most done when I simply ignore limitations (whether real or imagined) and plod through to reach the other side. Worrying about something accomplishes nothing… except perhaps putting off the task at hand for that much longer. Many of us are so busy worrying about how NOT to do something, to wiggle out of a responsibility, that the task would most likely be completed within the time period we spend on avoidance.

        While researching “looks” of successful websites/blogs, Jill (Badonsky, the author of Nine Modern Day Muses and a Body Guard, and co-creator of the Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coaching program) suggested we take a look at this site. During my perusal, I came upon this article, which I wanted to share with you, because it strikes a deep chord for me and I suspect (since I am not very different from most creative types) it will in you as well. I especially like the Yoda quote from Star Wars… because that line was like a sucker punch when it came whizzing at me during a recent re-watching of this movie… and it sounded like something my father had said to me… “Don’t try… do!” Makes sense. It is somewhat akin to another quote, this one attributed to Henry Link: Those who hesitate because of the fear of making mistakes are being passed by those who are busy making mistakes and perfecting themselves.

          There are many times I’ve asked people to do something, and I’ve received the “I’ll try” reply… which I have found translates into, “Nice try… I don’t think I’ll be trying to do this anytime soon, suckah!” and amounts to absolutely nothing, but they’ve managed to tell you no without really telling you no (thinking they have also avoided to hurt your feelings, when really all they have done is piss you off because they’ve fallen short of your expectations).

            Well… I’ve rambled on plenty long on the subject, and will cap this post off with a short “suggested reading” list having to do with NLP (neuro-linguistic programming):

              Magic of NPL Demystified by Byron Lewis & Frank Pucelik (ISBN 1-5552-017-0)

                NLP: The New Technology of Achievement NLP Comprehensive by Steve Andreas & Charles Faulkner (ISBN 0-688-14619-8)

                  Mental Coaching-Utilizing Neuro-Linguistic Programming for Better Quality of Work Life, Job Performance, and Lasting Behavioral Change by Trygve Roos (ISBN 1-55395-469-6)

                    Trance-Formations: Neuro-Linguistic Programming and the Structure of Hypnosis by John Grinder (ISBN 0911226230)

                      Reframing: Neuro-linguistic Programming and The Transformation of Meaning (Paperback)by Richard Bandler & John Grindler (ISBN 0911226257)

                        And… happy Chinese new year! Be well and prosper!

                        Final "Harvest" color postcard and coaching thoughts…

                        Here is one of the Harvest color postcards in its final form. They are all a little bit different in color and hue, but substantively similar. I am glad that this postcard project is coming to a close because while I am pretty good at keeping focusing on ONE item, when I need to do several of the same thing, not so much. I attribute it to a sort of carpal tunnel of the creative spirit… the repetition makes me feel constricted, and it really is a painful process for me. I did, however, suggest extending the postcard exchange project into 2008, with one slight change… instead of creating multiples of one postcard for a whole group of people, we will now be only making one each, and will be alternating to whom/from whom the cards will be routed on a monthly basis, depending upon each month’s participants. That will take some of the pressure off and make the whole process a bit more enjoyable, I hope, for all concerned.

                        I conducted my second full coaching session with my practice client (see Lynda’s whimsical writings here), who is actually a co-trainee in my class. The coaching sessions are in-earnest, though, and I was really excited to see that we’d made some significant progress, though in the big scheme of things, I imagine Lynda is most likely the easiest client that I’ll ever work with, since she’s already very self-aware, quite motivated, and has a pretty good idea of where she wants to go. How couldn’t she? She’s been coached by Jill! 😀

                        As part of our session follow-up, I wanted to integrate our recap into a more visual format, so I had fun sketching this drawing which I intend to incorporate into a larger “picture map.” I’ll be doing that as soon as I’m done gluing down all of the elements of my Harvest postcards, because I have no room to work. That’s one way to ensure that I move along with my projects, eh?

                        Updates of all kinds

                        *gasp!* How time flies, even when you’re not having fun. Busy days at work have me pretty exhausted by the end of the day. In the past I used to be able to be somewhat productive after coming home from work during the week; these days I’m so fried that all I can do is curl up in bed and take a nap… and then go out to eat dinner.

                        Last month I started a coaching program (as in: I’m learning to become a creativity coach through Jill Badonsky’s Kaisen-Muse Creativity Coaching training). So far so good. It’s definitely got me focusing more on my own creative endeavors.I’ve been working on the Gothica project (which is overdue, partly due to my own lagging, but also due in part to the receipt of submissions long after the deadline). So, I’ve been busy laying out the book/zine/magazine and having to relearn the publishing software and become more adept at the photo editing software. It’s great fun and I think the end result will please everyone, but it’s taking a while to lay it all out. Phew! And I haven’t even begun to edit the “editorial” content. At the top is a sneak preview of the cover.I can’t believe the holidays are zooming in! Although… I’m very grateful that I have a four day weekend coming up this next week (not to mention just a three day work week–hooray!).Hope everyone is doing well and I wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving!

                        Sisters of the Soul – Completion

                        I’ve been tired… so tired. Working like mad at the office, but I finally feel like I’m climbing back out of my slump. A temp started this week and has begun to help with the backlog that I haven’t been able to attend to myself because there is so much other, more pressing, work to do.

                        I’ve finally completed my last contribution in the Sisters of the Soul round robin project… a piece in Bev Martini’s box of canvas sheets (above). The focal point is a portrait of my sister that I drew, imported into Photoshop, manipulated and printed out, transferred onto the canvas, which I then painted with acrylic paint.

                        I’ve been working at a snail’s pace… in fact, I’m amazed that I’m producing anything at all. I feel so flat! There is hope yet though…

                        During my last couple of visits to the book store, I picked up more books (tell me this does NOT surprise you!) and have begun reading One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way by Robert Maurer, which is part of Jill Badonsky’s (author of Nine Modern Day Muses (and a Bodyguard)) curriculum for Kaisen-Muse Creativity Coaching training which I’ll be starting at the end of this month. This I am very much excited about. In fact, I have no doubt that I’ll be my own best (first) customer.

                        Another couple of things I’m looking forward to this upcoming week:

                      1. Attending Sidley’s Annual Museum Event – Dali: Painting & Film at LACMA
                      2. Getting more work done on the forget-me-not tattoo on my left wrist
                      3. I’m also in the throes of working on my Gothica collaboration project, having finally received the last of the contributions mid-week last week. I am tripod equipped and will start shooting the pieces, since they’ve overrun my living quarters and it is time to move them out. What I flub we’ll re-shoot this week with the master photographer of the household (not me), but at least I’ll be able to get started on laying out the book in InDesign.

                        Last night Gabriel and I stopped off at South Coast where I made my habitual stop at the Paper Source but on my way there I was drawn in by the spooky candle displays at Illuminations, where I purchased a table runner and a ghostly candle (which is a hoot! …it flashes different colors as it burns… what will they come up with next?!). I think hallowe’en has got to be one of my favorite celebrations, right up there with yule.

                        Oh, and speaking of baby steps… I’ve been slowly straightening out my stuff, de-cluttering… I’ve almost reached a point where I can potentially use the surface of my workbench with a few more organizational cullings.

                        People often tell me “I don’t know how you have time to do everything that you do.” Well, quite frankly, I don’t… have time, that is. It’s the case of the small blanket for a large bed. I tug on one end and cover here, but it leaves the other part bare. That is how I manage to do what I do. I have to pick and chose what I spend my time on, and since I can’t do everything, I do what I can. So, it appears like I’m productive, but really, I’m just masterful at doing little bits of everything, here and there. What do they call it… multi-tasking?

                        It rained last night… I know, it would seem to be a non-event but in Southern California it’s quite the novelty. Which is why I live here.