Creative Living

Honor your writing…or your chosen creative outlet. It can restore you to health

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I love the subtle nuances in language you encounter when you sit down to write. You end up pleasantly surprised by the unexpected gifts your muse can bring once you show up for the moment.

While preparing to write this post, I thought to share how I’ve been in the process of re-creating certain aspects of my life, and I initially wrote, “I am in process of recreation.”

I stopped and looked at that last word and thought,
“Now, that’s an oddball way to say that… re-creating vs. recreation?”

Or is it?

To describe re-creating oneself or life, I subconsciously used the word that means “refreshment of strengths and spirits after work,” a term whose Latin origin means to “restore to health.”

The more I think about it, that’s what writing does for me—it restores me.

The problem I face, like many other well-meaning writers, is I don’t give my health, er, writing, the front row seat it deserves. I neglect it, take it for granted, put it off, blab about my desire to improve it, and feel guilty and inadequate for not making it an everyday practice. Ugh, so much angst and shame surrounds this idea when I spell it out in that way.

But it wasn’t always like that…

When I was nine years old, I went to the store with my mother and came across a fuchsia-colored, cloth-bound book with blank pages inside and instantly made a friend. I asked to take this new friend home and mom agreed—no outside influences necessary, my request was based on a simple desire to write. That’s it. I had no expectations, no goals, no agenda, no ego.

I picked up a pen (no deep breaths required), and had my first exchange with page one.

It went like this… “Today I ate eggs and Grandma and Grandpa are visiting us from Texas…” That was the start to a lifelong relationship between me and writing.

I visited my new friend on a periodic basis and as the years past, I filled up page after page with details about how I felt, things I ate, places I went, and boys I liked. My infatuation with a guy named Ricky got what newspapers and magazines would consider full page spreads—I was clearly mesmerized by his dirty blond hair, white skin, blue eyes, and that Puerto Rican bubble butt.

(What, you didn’t think women noticed too?)

I became a writing zealot, a devout scribe to my deity, The Page… it proved to be my sanctuary of sorts.

Instead of rubbing rosary beads, I was kneading ballpoint pens between my fingers, releasing whatever demons plagued me at the moment. Happily, I knelt at the edge of my bed many a night to confess my innermost thoughts. This faithful act kept my emotions in check and calmed my mind when life didn’t make sense. I had little to no understanding of anxiety, procrastination, resistance or feeling a sense of obligation when it came to engaging with this faithful friend.

My family saw me writing often and, for the most part, they respected my privacy—except that one time my brother grabbed my diary and read it in front of the neighbor boy. Why did he have to randomly open to the page that began, “Today I started wearing a training bra…”? That story followed me to school the next day and I had a few of the other guys teasing me about my newly developing body. Dirty looks and silence were my response, but I licked my wounds, returned home and worked it out onto the page.

When my mother was busy loving my brother and actually raising me, I wrote about the unfairness of being the girl. When I experienced my first French kiss—with Ricky, of course—I wrote about that 25 minute ordeal (read: this burgeoning adolescent girl’s dream come true). When I had some run-ins with mean girls at school, I cursed and wrote about them.

Pre-pubescent little girl diaries with front cover key locks became hormonal teen girl five-subject notebook journals.

As the years passed, I enjoyed rereading my journals and seeing the changes I went through, laughing at myself and with others as I did open book readings with friends on my front stoop. My handwriting and language evolved from one book to another. I was able to evaluate myself as a person and decide, “Yuck…I cursed a lot there, not attractive…Wow, I was hateful…Ugh, what crappy friends, never again…” Those moments of recognition were the seeds of self-awareness being gently planted within me.

Thanks to my unacknowledged writing habit, I was unknowingly making decisions about the woman I wanted to be, on paper and in person.

Although I didn’t realize the benefits of what I was doing, self-reflection was at work and these seemingly unimportant moments of recreation were actually doing their part to create the person I am today.

When it came to writing, there was never a question of what I wanted to say, whether I was good enough to say it, whether the story was worth telling…it was merely about release and play and self-expression.

Eventually, that intimate practice of writing atop bunk beds late at night, sitting at the kitchen table, and scribbling in front of my Chicago brownstone on warm summer days translated to a young girl who had a high regard for herself. Writing granted me a healthy dose of self-worth without the conscious pursuit of it. Writing was an outlet for peace and solace. I wrote as if I was speaking to someone separate from me, yet it was a form of cultivating a relationship with me all along.

As I grew up, I took breaks from writing because I got busy living and there was no guilt in my absence.

I became your everyday working girl, newly graduated from college, and when I wanted to slow down, I’d do so at the page.

It wasn’t until I jumped the corporate cliff and made the announcement, “I want to be a writer” that I somehow lost the feeling the act brought me.
I was mentally unprepared to handle the struggle I encountered balancing something that brought me peace once I put a price on it. Declaring myself a writer was unnecessary because I was one already. Without realizing, I had embarked on a search for validation for something that didn’t need to be proven.

Instead of going to confession with pen and paper in hand, I started to rely on conversations with others about my feelings, about the confusion I was experiencing on this trail that had only my name on it. I almost started to believe that other people had the answers I needed, that the accolades and social proof behind them was suppose to give me comfort in asking for directions to where I needed to go—as if they knew. That wasn’t the key that would unlock the door to what once brought me and could always bring me peace.

Looking outside of yourself for answers has a dizzying effect and takes you nowhere.

Show up for you, for the YOU in fresh canvas form to weigh things out in your own mind first. Give time to what nurtures and grounds you…the practice of writing, or whatever art form that chooses you. There are many outlets—sports, music, writing, painting, building a business, etc. Become engaged in yours, regularly, so you don’t become stagnant and polluted by what can cause you to feel jaded or confused about life. It can get pretty weird out there.

Writing, or whatever art form you practice, has a grounding effect and it’s crucial that you remember to do it for this purpose, not for your own personal glory, for likes, or validation.

I’m fully aware that my words could land on deaf ears because each one of us has to take a ride for ourselves to discover these truths. It’s hard won wisdom and it cannot be earned any other way.

I’m not here to dish grand advice on how to live right, but to encourage you to simply write (or however you creatively unleash on life). Do it because it makes you feel good, because it strengthens you, and if you approach it with that intention, or better yet, with no intention at all, you will experience true recreation in this very pure act and end up creating something unexpectedly amazing.

Those moments when you are stared at blankly or laughed at frankly… grab a hold of them and make them your experiment on paper.

When you write it out, you inevitably write it off, and THAT is what restores you again and again and again.

Live, write, release, restore… go for that full circle effect, my friend.

(Previously published as a guest blog for The Literati website. If you’re a writer, check out this amazing community of artists.)

   

A Necessary Mindset / Dream Chasing Combo

When it comes to your goals and dreams, think in these terms:

“It’s not only possible, but it’s INEVITABLE.

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This thing called life and how you live it is all up for interpretation.

It always has been…

Accept your metamorphosis.

Embrace the discomfort.

Break the cocoon.

Release the butterfly.

Do life your way.

   

There are moments to act and moments to stop (set it all aflame) and listen.

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There are moments in your life when you have to pay attention to what life is throwing at you and act accordingly.

Sometimes, all can be going smoothly; other times, everything can be going to sh*t. What do you do when its the latter?

As I must often learn, the more you resist the change you are needing to make, the more momentum you give the forces working against you.

This is when you have to (more…)

   

Sometimes you have to screw the screen and just get real

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“Life is just better led when it is lived rather than viewed…now I find myself just taking in a moment, and I don’t have to post a picture about it.” -from Disruptions: More Connected, Yet More Alone

In this online space, I blog about putting yourself first, savoring the moment, and leading a more conscious and creative life. But…I must say, I don’t always follow my own advice.

Recently, I’ve had some great discussions about our current world’s incessant dwelling in digital land and how it’s hindering true living.

It’s easy to get sucked into this newly evolved matrix of sharing, texting, and posting because that’s social media and the culture we now live in, but for the love of your one life, don’t remain there.

When you put higher priority on sharing what’s happening in the moment with others who aren’t there (and probably never will be), it can be hard to savor your experience.

Look at me here. I’m out on the town, waiting on dinner, and I’m on my phone… (more…)

   

Born And Raised…It All Comes On Without Warning

“Take your place…show your face to the morning…’cause one of these days you’ll be born and raised and it all comes on without warning.” -John Mayer

The lyrics above are from Born and Raised, a John Mayer song that’s been on my 2013 playlist (repeatedly), a song I enjoyed on my morning walk earlier today, a song I heard Mayer perform live in Dallas this summer.

I would’ve written about my concert experience sooner, but I was feeling (more…)

   

How Often Do You Say Yes To You?

The world is full of opportunities for rejection. Be the first to say YES to you.

Don’t let the thought of being told no, not being qualified enough, not being enough of anything stop you from pursuing a budding desire in you.

It’s there for that very reason…to be explored, nurtured, given light, given the proper care and attention.

Bloom in as many places, in as many ways possible.

   

Venturing around Portland + Record Players in Cool Crafty Shops

I went to Portland last weekend to attend an unconventional conference and being that it was my first visit, I wasn’t sure what to expect.

I’d heard my business mentor and cousin, Tony rave about it and now that I’ve been living in Austin for almost two years, I’ve become well aware of the comparison folks make about Portland and Austin, calling them sister cities.

This was a trip in which I went with the flow of each new day (true chillaxin’). What I’ve concluded is that I love my Austin, Tejas. Sorry P-landers.

I’m sure if you stay awhile, you’ll get the similar vibe amongst the locals of my town and P town, but as far as the way the two places look, I got more of a San Francisco (SFO) feel.

I have to say, no city has topped San Francisco for me…well, unless you journey to this colorful town south of the U.S. border or take an 8 hour flight for some fancy-shmancy bike riding in this Italian village.

I ate really well in Portland. A satisfied palate is crucial for any traveling, convivial woman.

My friend, Monica and I stepped into a few cool shops too. (more…)

   

My Weekend Getaway to Portland for Chris Guillbeau’s World Domination Summit

I’ve made it back to home sweet Austin after a convivial weekend in Portland for Chris Guillebeau’s World Domination Summit (WDS 2013).

It was my first time attending and I’m thankful to have shared the experience with my friend and fellow Austinite, Monica Crowe. On our flight home, we sported our new WDS 2013 shirts…

Once you get familiar with going to conferences (or any social event), you begin to understand that it’s not about impressing, it’s about (more…)

   

How to Get Passed Some of Life’s Road Blocks

I’m spending my morning reviewing the new format of my book to ensure the print version (long awaited!) is ready to go for the world (read: you!) and while revisiting the material, I’ve decided

Today is a good day to be reminded of this…

Source: Uploaded by user via Kelly on Pinterest

Focusing on a problem, a weakness, what is missing, what you’ve yet to “get” only amplifies the issue, delays progress, and weakens you. I’m not saying don’t acknowledge your problems, but instead place your attention on how to resolve, alleviate, or completely be done with them. Creativity is a form of seeking solutions, especially when they aren’t as evident or in your face.” -excerpted from my book Convivial | A Quest for the Masterpiece Within

What comes to mind when you think of problem-solving? How have you gotten down and dirty to get passed some of life’s roadblocks?

   

My Convivial Discovery of an Ancient Mayan Massage…The Ultimate Form of Self-Care For Women

Self-care is a form of trusting, listening, seeking, yearning, surrendering…it’s purpose is convivial at the core.

This is the story of my convivial discovery of an Ancient Mayan massage therapy and how I came to the understanding that you are your body’s advocate and its up to you to find the many ways that nurture, restore, and heal you…

Once upon a time, I headed to Mexico for a much needed sabbatical after quitting my job in Banking. I left behind my husband, my home, my parents; my country, language, currency, and all certainty to walk the cobble-stoned streets of San Miguel de Allende with the intention to restore myself to who I once knew myself to be…a writer.

My first week in town, I went to the mercado and purchased what I thought was a fresh bowl of albondigas (meatball soup). After taking a long walk and climbing the steps of El Chorro to reach the peak streets of this colorful central Mexican town, I knew Moctezuma had spiked my soup with drano, because I fell ill that night with chills and fever.

My mother-in-law, concerned for me, recommended I visit La Dona Chole, “‘pa que te de una sobada…” My Spanish was getting better by the day, but I still had to put two and two together to understand that she was suggesting (more…)

   

A Peek At My New Dream Board

Some people write down goals while others function perfectly without any need for bucket lists. Then, there are the futurists whose thoughts must take visual form because a convivial life doesn’t happen by accident; it takes conscious effort (and brass ovaries) to create what you want.

Rather than have my desires collect dust within the constricted walls of my brain, I decided to create a new vision board.

Here’s a glimpse at my work and travel section… (more…)

   

Sunday reading, vision boards, and my fascination with this tombstone hipster look

I jumped out of bed this morning with the intention to down a glass of my favorite Kefir Blueberry yogurt and get started creating a new vision board.

My dreams have been dancing around untamed in my brain for awhile now and I’m certain not grabbing a hold of them and keeping them front and center is a sure way not to attract what you want in life. To begin reeling my desires and dreams in, I pick up local Austin magazine, Tribeza and begin tearing out images that resonate with me, reading what snags my attention, and flip to this page (more…)

   
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