Tried & Trusted : Belkin Qode Ultimate Keyboard Case for iPad Air 2

Recommended Resources for Creatives

A short review of my new Belkin keyboard case – and why I love it so much. 

After many visits to my local apple store to play with seriously research the new iPad Pro, with its fancy soft-touch smart keyboard that was such a joy to type on – I decided it would be a worthwhile investment in my work and my writing and I should definitely get one. 

But I kept thinking how I had a perfectly fine iPad Air 2 that did pretty much everything I need and was light and portable enough for me to enjoy my beloved garden writing sessions...

Eventually, it dawned on me that all I was really craving was the keyboard case! 

So why not, I wondered, see if I could get myself a nice keyboard case for the iPad I’ve already got and save myself hundreds of pounds?! 

After lots of research online, I finally chose the Belkin Qode Ultimate. 

I opted for this one because I’ve had Belkin products before and I know they’re well-made. They also have excellent Customer Service, which I really value. 

I also liked the look of it. Aesthetics are also vitally important, especially in a device I’ll use daily. 

So, I ordered it and waited, hoping and hoping that it would be as lovely to type on as the one I’d been playing with in the apple store…

I was not disappointed. In fact, I think I prefer this one. 

I love it. It has transformed my writing life and how I use my iPad. 

Win #1: I write more often and more easily – no more lugging bulky laptops and cables into the garden. 

Win #2: I spend less time at my desk, which was one on my recent health goals. 

Win #3: It does an excellent job of protecting my ipad and screen. (I tend to take it everywhere.) 

It also has a really long battery life – you can find all the full techy-specs here, if that’s your thing. 

So, if you’re looking for an iPad keyboard cover, I would definitely recommend Belkin in general and this case in particular. 

Available from Amazon. (See sidebar for my affiliate policy.)

And I’d love to hear if it has the same magical effects on your creativity! 

Danielle Raine Creativity Coach

Hi! I'm Danielle.

Danielle Raine Creativity Coachcreative coach danielle raine l

Welcome to Tried & Trusted, the reviews and recommendation section of my blog – designed to help you save time and avoid the creativity-sapping effects of choice overwhelm. 

Please note: I only endorse and recommend products and services that I have experienced myself and that I heartily recommend. 

Affiliate Disclosure: I am an Amazon Associate and all Amazon links are affiliate links. (All other affiliate links are marked with **.)

Purchases via these links help to support this blog and keep it ad-free – at no cost to you.

 

 

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CREATIVITY  •  INSPIRATION  •  WELLBEING

… because happy creatives are good for the planet. 

How? Somehow. Possibility reminder for visionaries.

407mm x 407mm Framed Print

Available to buy on Redbubble.com

Hi! I'm Danielle.

Danielle Raine Creativity Coachcreative coach danielle raine l

Magic happens when you swap How? for Somehow

Try it!

It kick-starts your inner steeliness and sends your mind off in creative new directions.

There’s still a time and a place for pondering the Hows, but when there seems to be no clear way to go, try simply declaring;

Somehow.

And see what happens…

Danielle Raine Creativity Coach

PS If you’d like more on the power of believing in possibility, I highly recommend The Magic of Believing by Claude M Bristol. 

This was one of the first books that helped me truly understand the creative power of our marvellous human minds. 

There really is a powerful magic at play when we believe…

 

PPS I wrote a blog post all about the power of creative faith – you can read it here. 

You may also like…

CREATIVITY  •  INSPIRATION  •  WELLBEING

… because happy creatives are good for the planet. 

Be Kind & Prosper teal throw cushion (inspired by The Diamond Cutter)

40cm x 40cm Throw Cushion

Available to buy on Redbubble.com

Hi! I'm Danielle.

Danielle Raine Creativity Coachcreative coach danielle raine l

This design was inspired by the book, The Diamond Cutter; The Buddha on Managing Your Business and Your Life by Geshe Michael Roach and Lama Christie McNally. 

The book explores the principles of an ancient Tibetan text (also called The Diamond Cutter), as well as Geshe Michael Roach’s sparkling career in the diamond industry. 

It’s a rare and fascinating insight into both. 

The core principle of the book is the prosperity law of giving and reciprocity, ie in order to receive anything, we must first give it. 

This is a valuable practice for life and happily it’s also a good basis for a sustainable, soulful business. 

Kindness creates good karma. 

Being compassionate, generous and kind with your customers is always good for business. 

I designed this work as a reminder that Love and Business can go together beautifully. 

And the ever-popular teal / Tiffany Blue brings an uplifting colour pop to any neutral scheme.  

Be kind & prosper! 

Danielle Raine Creativity Coach

You may also like…

CREATIVITY  •  INSPIRATION  •  WELLBEING

… because happy creatives are good for the planet. 

Reduce worry and overwhelm; have a Scarlett O Hara Moment…

Flashback to 2010…

Today’s post is inspired by an idea from my early blogging days – when my focus was how to stay serene (or at last sane) if you were an undomestic goddess with a home to keep.

It’s a tip from my first blog, Make Peace With Housework:

The idea of having a ‘Scarlett O’Hara Moment’.

When I originally wrote about this, it was a suggestion to help reduce feelings of frustration and overwhelm for sufferers of housework blues.

I offered it as a psychological trick to help my readers keep calm and carry on. (Even though that’s now an overused cliché, I still believe it’s a powerful strategy for resilience, inner strength and success.)

If you’d like to read the original post, you can find that in the Make Peace With Housework blog archive.

But over the years, I’ve found it such a useful tool, that I’m updating it for general use and sharing it here too…

• • • 

What is a Scarlett O’Hara Moment?

Inspired by one of my favourite fictional heroines, a Scarlett O’Hara Moment is the simple decision to postpone worry.

In the classic film, Gone With The Wind, Scarlett has a habit of scheduling difficult decisions…

“I can’t think about that right now. If I do, I’ll go crazy.

I’ll think about it tomorrow.”

~ Scarlett O’Hara

Now, this may seem childish or irresponsible at first, or it might even sound like denial – and it’s true that there are times when it’s not possible or appropriate.

But there are other times, lots of times during everyday dramas, when it could actually be a genius coping mechanism.

Because for all its childish simplicity – it works!

Psychologists now know that when we’re stressed or overwhelmed – we don’t think clearly, we don’t make the best decisions.

So whenever possible, Scarlett’s strategy is a perfect solution.

Those times in the midst of drama – when our emotions are high and our head is spinning – sometimes the best decision is to not make any decisions. Yet.

We can take a deep breath – and choose a Scarlett O’Hara moment:

the simple choice to think about it tomorrow.

And there’s so much relief in this.

(I speak from experience – it’s a strategy I’ve used often since I first wrote about it in 2010.)

This tactic gives you some mental breathing space which can really help you recover your balance and calm.

It takes the pressure off, even if only temporarily.

Intending to worry about it another day is far easier than trying to write it off completely.

Because you’re not trying to deny or suppress your frustration, you’re just filing it for future attention.

You’re scheduling it for a Less-Frazzled Later – a time when you’re better able to manage it with clarity and reason.

• • • 

There’s also a hidden benefit to this tactic…

When we stop pushing so frantically for a solution, many problems have a habit of ‘mysteriously’ sorting themselves out.

So, sometimes, when you’ve regained your calm, you realise that there was no need to worry after all.

By having a Scarlett O’Hara Moment, you saved yourself all that needless anxiety and stress.

But even if the issue does need addressing the next day, you can approach it with more balanced emotions, you can make a clearer assessment and ultimately better decisions.

I’ll admit, there will be times when this isn’t as easy as it sounds – but it does get easier with practice, I promise.

And even if you only manage this trick on every other attempt – you will reduce your angst by half.

As an incentive, remind yourself that it’s a practice that not only helps to soothe you in the moment – it will also bring more peace, calm and serenity to your life and relationships.

Because by postponing decisions and reactions for a Less-frazzled Later, you’ll enjoy the happy ripple effects of better choices, responses and solutions.

So, the next time you’re feeling overwhelmed or stuck in a worry-loop, take a tip from Scarlett:

If you can, make the decision to simply not worry about it, for now.

Take a deep breath, and decide to think about it tomorrow.

Danielle Raine Creativity Coach

Hi! I'm Danielle.

Danielle Raine Creativity Coachcreative coach danielle raine l

PINNABLES…

5 days to clarity, focus & purpose…

Join me for a mini ecourse that walks you, step-by-step, to creating your Rudder Board.

5 days of simple tasks that create a blueprint of what matters to you and how to stay clear, on track and on purpose.

CREATIVITY  •  INSPIRATION  •  WELLBEING

... because happy creatives are good for the planet. 

The Rudder Board – my remedy for choice overwhelm and decision fatigue

The day we moved house last year, my husband asked me a simple question:

“Which cupboard shall we keep plates in?”

Seems like an easy enough question.

But I couldn’t answer him.

I just couldn’t get my brain to click into decision-making mode.

After the hundreds of choices and decisions I’d made in recent months, packing up our home of 15 years, handling the complex legal issues with the house sale – my brain had had enough of decisions and was refusing to make any more, at least for the time being.

Standing in our new kitchen, surrounded by boxes of pans and piles of plates, my whole family looking to me for answers, all I could do was admit:

“I’ve run out of decision-making juice.

I need to not make any more decisions for a while.”

Luckily my family understand my struggles with decision-making.

Or at least they’ve got used to it – ever since I told them about an article I read a few years ago, revealing that scientists had discovered humans only have so much decision-making capacity each day.

This is why!” I’d shared excitedly.

“This is why I sometimes can’t decide what to do!”

I’m always delighted when science backs me up in something I’d known but couldn’t quite explain.

So when I also read about the idea of the ‘mental load of mothers’, I heaved another happy sigh of relief.

(It seems, some lifestyles – CEOs, presidents, mothers of small/multiple children – are particularly taxing on our limited decision-making resources.)

These insights helped me so much.

Because in recent years, I’d noticed that my decision-making powers (or lack of) were getting in the way of the life I wanted to live.

I’d started to think I was just a dithering Libran who was weak-willed, unfocused, indecisive.

But discovering the effects of decision-overload on our human brains helped me to understand and forgive my so-called failings.

It helped me learn to recognise when my brain was simply tired of making decisions.

And it helped to share with my family that Decision Fatigue was a legitimate phenomenon – so they’d understand why some days a question like, Where do you want the plates? was more than I could cope with.

 

 

But even with an understanding family, life calls for many, many decisions, some large, but mostly small and seemingly inconsequential.

Yet all decisions have their effects.

All our daily choices build up over time to create the life we live.

And modern life is only getting more complex – in my Positive Psychology studies, I learned about ‘the anxiety of choice’ and its detrimental effects on our health and happiness.

For me, as a lifelong creative (who has learned to tap into inspiration on a daily basis) – one of the areas where I felt the most angst around choice and indecision was in my creative life.

I noticed that I wasted increasing amounts of precious creative time wondering which project to focus on.

I’d be full of ideas, yet when it came to time to take action on them, I’d flit from one project to another, making little progress with anything.

If I was working on one thing, I’d feel like I should be working on something else.

If I was working on that, I’d wonder if the first thing was right after all.

An acute case of Should I be doing something else? Syndrome – a common problem for many multi-passionate creatives.

I’ve known all my life that Librans have a tendency to struggle with indecision, but it was becoming more than a character trait, it was becoming a major obstacle to my career success.

It was also affecting my self-esteem – nobody wants to see themselves as flaky and indecisive, unable to finish anything.

It reached a point where I feared that my Libran indecisiveness, the mental load of motherhood and natural decision-making limits would block me from achieving anything worthwhile.

How was I going to write the books that were calling me to be written?

How could I create the dream career that my soul was craving?

How could I choose which actions were the ‘right ones’ to create the life I wanted to live, a life that felt meaningful, creative, productive and happy?

Choice overwhelm and decision fatigue left me feeling confused, dejected and lost.

Rudderless.

 

Luckily, I also have a more positive tendency to puzzle over problems until I find or create a solution.

Eventually, an idea began to form in my mind….

“What if I had a clear guide that I could refer to when my decision-making fuel was running low…?”

“What if I had a kind of map, to steer my life by – that I could check in with, whenever I got overwhelmed with decisions or forgot what really mattered…?”

“What if there was a tool I could use daily to remind me of my Bigger Picture goals, values and ambitions, so I don’t get lost and distracted by the minutiae of life…?”

And these What Ifs gradually grew into the kind of touchstone I was craving.

I created a process and one-page check-in tool I call The Rudder Board.

 

Introducing… The Rudder Board

It’s a kind of life map, that helps me tune back into my course and direction – helping me see clearly where I want to go.

A reference tool that helps me reconnect to my goals, making it easier to choose what to focus on and how to spend my time.

A device that preserves my precious decision-making fuel by helping me feel clear, focused and decisive in my life and work on a daily basis.

And I LOVE having this rudder!

It feels like a pocket North Star.

And I found my Rudder Board so helpful that I began sharing the process with my clients, who also loved the new clarity, focus and peace of mind it helped them find.

Our Rudder Boards helped us;

• feel clear on what matters, which makes decision-making easier 

• include our purpose in our agenda, so we feel on track in our daily lives

• prioritise the creative work we love and feel called to offer the world

• be crystal clear on the ‘right actions’, ie what we want to be spending our precious life units on

I used to share The Rudder Board process as part of my larger coaching packages, but I feel this is such a useful tool that I wanted to make it available as a quick-&-easy mini ecourse.

Because I know that I’m not alone in my choice overwhelm or Should I Be Doing Something Else…? Syndrome.

And I know that more and more heart-centred creatives are feeling called to a life of purpose and contribution – if only they could get clear and stay clear on what that is.

So I’ve wrapped up my process into a 5-day ecourse that walks you step-by-simple-step to creating your Rudder Board.

In less than a week, you could have your own clarity-&-focus touchstone that will help you avoid getting lost in dilemmas or wasting your precious decision-making fuel.

Because if, like me, you’re also prone to confusion, indecision, too many ideas or choice overwhelm…

… it feels so good to know that you’re doing what you should be doing. 

 

Your Rudder Board will help you tap back into that clarity and focus more quickly, more easily and more often.

So you can spend more time creating the work you’re here to create – and enjoying the process.

There are more details below if you’d like me to guide you in creating your own Rudder Board clarity tool.

And if you’ve also felt lost and overwhelmed with choices, I hope these insights will help you find clearer, calmer waters in both your creativity and life.

Because happy creatives are good for the planet. 🙂

 

To being clear, focused and productive – and all the lovely life-enhancing ripple effects that follow,

Danielle Raine Creativity Coach

Hi! I'm Danielle.

Danielle Raine Creativity Coachcreative coach danielle raine l

• • • 

PINNABLES…

5 days to clarity, focus & purpose…

Join me for a mini ecourse that walks you, step-by-step, to creating your Rudder Board.

5 days of simple tasks that create a blueprint of what matters to you and how to stay clear, on track and on purpose.

CREATIVITY  •  INSPIRATION  •  WELLBEING

... because happy creatives are good for the planet. 

My unusual remedy for creative overwhelm

If you’ve been with me for a while, hopefully I’ve helped you access the source of your inspiration and unleash your innate creativity.

So if you’re now on great terms with your muse, you may be familiar with a new level of creative challenge…

Creative overwhelm.

Also known as:

• Too many ideas

• A struggle to focus or choose projects

• Shiny Object Syndrome

These are real, and often unacknowledged obstacles on the creative path.

And they can sap the joy and fulfilment from the creative life. (The reasons we signed up in the first place.)

I know that for many a blocked creative, Too Many Ideas seems like a nice problem to have.

But still, it can be a problem.

Especially if you get so overwhelmed with ideas and projects that you never finish anything.

Or you don’t know what to focus on and end up wasting your precious creative time spinning in confusion.

Or you flit from project to project and making little progress with anything.

And since I’ve spent the last 5 years learning how to access and tap into inspiration – virtually on demand – it’s a challenge I am very familiar with.

But happily, I have recently found a surprising solution in an ancient philosophy…

 

Introducing… The Magic of Numbers

There’s an ancient art and science that explores the rhythms and cycles at play in our lives linked to the ‘energies’ of numbers.

This school of thought believes that we’re influenced by these energies and cycles depending on our own unique numbers, based on our date of birth.

It’s a little like the realm of astrology and horoscopes, but instead of identifying with star-signs, we discover and align with 9-step cycles.

We can use this cycle-system on a daily, monthly or yearly basis – or even over a whole lifetime.

Welcome to the fascinating world of numerology…

Numerology – the study of numbers and their meanings – is currently enjoying a renaissance, possibly because our Life Path Numbers can offer insights into our purpose and ideal careers.

But what I love about numerology is how it helps me to structure and pace my creative goals and dreams.

Because I have a tendency to have Lots Of Ideas and to want to create them All At Once.

I’ve learned this is not the most practical, productive or effective approach.

This is where my magic numbers come to the rescue…

When we know our numbers, we can identify what mode or energetic ‘season’ we’re in.

It’s little like understanding the rhythms of nature, where the creative process is aligned with natural forces, ie the best time to prepare the soil, when to sow our seeds, how long to wait and when to reap the fruits of our labour.

If, like me, you have lots of ideas or projects at varying stages of development, it can be really helpful to have a similar kind of insight and framework for your creative process.

I find that the 9-step cycle of numerology, with its different phases and ‘vibes’, is a perfect antidote to creative chaos and overwhelm.

It helps me plan and pace my projects, helping me choose what aspect to focus on and how to schedule my efforts effectively.

It provides an essential structural balance to my over-inspired tendencies.

It helps me to harness the energy and flow of my wild creative spirit in a way that leads to productivity, progress and the inner calm and confidence that those vital aspects bring.

Here are some of the benefits I enjoy by adopting numerology principles into my creative process and workflow…

The benefits of aligning my creative flow

with a balanced and productive cycle structure

• I can plan projects and goals in alignment with the right energies or seasonal themes – knowing when it’s time to move forward,  speed up, slow down or reassess.

• I enjoy balance and a manageable pace with opportunities to rest, recharge and recover.

• I can joyfully go for it with gusto when I know it’s ‘harvest time’!

• I get to experience deeper meaning, clarity, and a sense of purpose in my creative life.

• Understanding my process and rhythms brings peace and inner calm.

• There is a spirit-calming comfort in knowing that certain struggles are short term – that ‘this too shall pass’.

• I find it much easier to have faith in happier times and the inevitable upswing when I can see where I am in the creative cycle.

(And since faith and resilience are creative superpowers – this makes a huge difference to my work, and my quality of life.)

So if you ever struggle with having too many ideas, I highly recommend looking into numerology as a tool to tame any wild and overwhelming creative tendencies.

After all, if there are energies are at play in our lives – and there are undoubtedly some seasonal rhythms at work – wouldn’t you like to know what they are?

Then you can learn to ride the flows, instead of swimming against the current.

Or you could even just use the 9-step cycle as a way of pacing your creative projects and planning a manageable, productive schedule.

If you’d like to know more, I began my discovery of numerology with these books:

 

i see your dream job sue frederick    redesign your life using numerology felicia bender

 

 

Admittedly, it may seem a little complicated at first, but once you get used the language, it’s a fun and fascinating philosophy.

At least, it is for me – but I’ve always enjoyed maths and numbers. (As a teenager, I used to do extra maths exam papers for fun – I just loved numbers!)

But if you don’t share my love of maths and the joy of numbers, there are lots of resources online that can help you work out your own magic numbers.

Or if you’d like it done for you, I’ve created a new offering that reveals your personal numbers and cycles with a creative twist…

It’s a bespoke guide to show how you can best use your numbers to plan and structure your creative life and work.

More details below if you’d like to know more.

• • •

So, there you have it – my unusual remedy to creative overwhelm.

I’d love to know if this strikes a chord with you!

Are you curious about the role of your magic numbers in your creative life?

If so, I hope I’ve given you something to think about and maybe a new solution to explore.

Because there’s more to being a happy, successful creative than just endlessly creating new things.

We need to find a way to work with our energies, rhythms and flows, as well as those of the wider world.

We need some kind of stabilising structure that helps us stay balanced, productive and inspired – not to mention happy and well.

Numerology provides that structure for me – and I love the peace and calm it brings.

So, if it sounds like the kind of balance you’ve been looking for, I hope you’ll explore your own magic numbers…

And let me know how you get on. 🙂

Hi! I'm Danielle.

Danielle Raine Creativity Coachcreative coach danielle raine l

Discover your magic numbers…

CREATIVITY  •  INSPIRATION  •  WELLBEING

... because happy creatives are good for the planet. 

Why I’m doing NaNoWriMo this year…

…despite lots of ‘good reasons’ why not.

I’ve just signed up to participate in the fun and madness that is NaNoWriMo. (National Novel Writing Month)

…Even though I’m not a novelist.

…Even though the coming weeks could be the busiest and most intense of my whole year. (Featuring a house move and a big family wedding. In Austria.)

…Even though I’ve been on a mission to simplify my life and reduce my commitments.

So, why am I doing this? And why now?

Despite all the ‘good reasons’ for not doing it this year, I also have 8 great reasons to go for it…

 

1. The Call

In the immortal words of one of my heroines, Amelia Earhart…

“I want to do it because I want to do it.”

 

I do have a fair few reservations, but something about it is calling me.

And I’ve learned that magical things happen to me when I answer those calls.

• • •

2.  Productivity

I’ve had a number of book ideas at various stages of progress for the last couple of years.

I’ve been so focussed on the lovely work of helping other writers with their books, that my own have been patiently waiting on the backburner.

It’s time to see at least one of those projects make it out into the world.

I have a dream of writing a book a year for the rest of my life, and this fun/crazy NaNoWriMo challenge will support me in that goal.

• • •

3. Joy

I love writing books!

• • •

4. Expression

I like the idea of putting my writing first for a whole month, and feeling I deserve support and help in prioritising something that matters to me.

• • •

5. Research

This is something of a creativity experiment.

This intense method of creating is new ground for me and I want to explore it.

I’ve been working on a theory about how we create best under certain conditions.

And to test that theory,  I’m experimenting with the opposite – to see how both ways work for me.

• • •

6. The power of focus

Despite the uncertainty…

Which book project to choose?

Will I have time?

Will it be too much?

And most importantly – will I enjoy it?!

(Joy is a major factor in my decision-making.)

Despite these unanswered questions, I know that if I intend to do it, if I choose to focus, if I decide to go for it regardless – something will come out of it.

(If only how to not do it.)

• • •

7. My clients and readers

I believe this experience will benefit my work in supporting other creatives.

I write a lot about the creative process, and I am dedicated to supporting creative people.

And to do both these things well, I like to spend time in the creative trenches, up against the challenges that my clients face.

I’m continually investing time and energy and devotion into being the best creativity coach I can be, and this is one way to explore new solutions and gain new insights.

So, if all I gain from NaNoWriMo is more compassion and understanding for my clients, it will be worth it.

• • •

And finally, and this was the clincher…

 

8. The Nudge

I felt very strongly ‘nudged’ by my inner creative voice, what I call ‘my muse’.

I’ve toyed with the idea of NaNoWriMo before, but this year, I was inexplicably drawn to it.

It felt like a divine mandate.

My muse – my source of inspiration and inner guidance – was very clear;

Do this.

Even though it made no sense – she offers no explanation, she cares little for logic, she just asks that I trust.

And after following my muse’s nudges for the last few years – I know it will lead somewhere surprising and wonderful.

I’ve learned to follow her mysterious ways.

• • •

 

So, I’m in!

 

I’m excited. I’m nervous. And I’m doing it.

I want to see what happens when I just commit, stop questioning, ignore the excuses, and do it anyway.

I’ll keep you posted!

 

PS If you’d like to know more about my studies of ‘the muse’ and how she makes life so easy and fun, you can get the full scoop here.

Or to rekindle your own connection, I’ve created a daily email series to help you. 

More details below…

Hi! I'm Danielle.

Danielle Raine Creativity Coachcreative coach danielle raine l

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On hiring support

I recently invested in support for a creative project that I dream of bringing to life.

 

Even though I thought the timing wasn’t right…

(Turns out, the timing was perfect.)

 

Even though I thought it was too expensive…

(Turns out to have been worth double or triple my investment.)

 

Even though I thought I didn’t really need it…

(Turns out, there was so much more to learn – we don’t know what we don’t know!)

 

So, was I sure it was the right thing to do?

Not at first. I had lots of doubts and ‘reasons’ to not go for it.

 

Was it worth it?

1000% yes.

 

It wasn’t an easy or convenient commitment of both time and money – but it was an investment in me and my creative dream.

And I’m learning that the returns on that devotion are the surest and most rewarding.

 

• • •

 

So, if you feel called to invest in a vision or project that’s tugging at your soul, here’s my test for whether to invest…

 

Slightly scared + inexplicably drawn to it + feels exciting  = go for it.

 

If it’s calling you, if the idea of it makes you smile, there’s a reason – even if it also makes you nervous.

 

Looking back, it will all make sense.

 

The tricky bit is taking the leap.

(Turns out, it gets easier the more you do it. :-))

 

Good luck!

 

Hi! I'm Danielle.

Danielle Raine Creativity Coachcreative coach danielle raine l

Getting creative with life’s dramas

Today I have a little story for you – how I got creative and turned a frustrating mini-drama into a very happy ending…

 

Creativity: a tool for life

Now, as you may know, I am obsessed with the creative process – how to find the time, inspiration and energy for more expression, and how to enjoy more flow and ease as we go along.

Because I love creative people. I have so much admiration for the brave-hearted souls who are facing the bumps and challenges that arise when you answer the call of your art and spirit.

And I know the powerful life-enhancing benefits that arise when you do manage to live the creative life you were meant to enjoy.

So, I’m a big advocate of creative expression – whatever that looks like for each of us.

But did you know that honing your creative skills can make for a happier life, even beyond the writing room or studio?

When you actively build your ‘creativity muscle’, it can help you in so many areas of your life. 

twitter aqua

 

It can help you with work challenges.

It can help with relationships.

It can help with health issues.

It can even help you with cooking – transforming basic fuel into a delicious experience.

And cultivating a creative response can also help with the little (or big) dramas of life, that seem to be an integral part of our human journey.

• • • 

For example, yesterday evening, at about 9pm…

My son was packing his cricket kit in preparation for his first match for his new school.

This was the high-school event he’d been waiting for – a chance to finally shine in his favourite sport.

We were chatting happily about his debut in the morning, until…

He discovered that his cricket trousers – optimistically know as ‘whites’ – had somehow been left in his bag at the end of last season.

This might not have been too bad, had the season finale not been quite so wet.

And muddy.

As you can imagine, chaos ensued.

How to turn a pair of brown trousers white in just a few hours….

 

File 28-04-2017, 15 14 11

Time to get creative. Part I.

After some ‘discussion’, we decided that the offending trousers were a write-off.

Instead of staying up all night to get them clean, we agreed on a simpler option: Mum’s Concierge Service would make an early morning trip to the sports shop and then drop off a new pair at school.

Problem solved.

(This seems like an obvious solution in hindsight, but in the heat of bedtime panics, it took quite a long (and noisy) time to find.)

However, this particular Mum Concierge was less than thrilled with the solution, having made other plans for my Friday.

Time to get creative. Part II.

Instead of heading down the (admittedly tempting) path of begrudging frustration, I decided to think about how I could mitigate this annoying drama, maybe even turn it into a good thing.

I got creative.

I took the ‘given’ – a reluctant trip into town – and did all I could to make it a more positive experience.

And I had the best morning!

I walked across the beautiful Harrogate Stray…

I stopped off at my favourite cafe…

 

I spent very happy 20 minutes in the local bookshop, treating myself to a book I’ve been wanting for a while…

I even acquired a new Tiffany Blue notebook. (Tiffany Blue anything makes me so happy…)

I was enjoying my enforced ‘inconvenience’ so much that I almost forgot to buy cricket trousers.

And as I walked back to the school to deliver the all-important debut-standard whites, I wondered…

How many other mini-dramas could I have turned around, with a more creative approach?

But not to worry, given the roller-coaster of family life, I know I’ll get plenty of opportunities to practice my skills. 😉

• • •

So, I share my mini-epiphany in the hope that it inspires you to cast a creative eye over your next mini-drama.

Imagine if we all got creative with our problems and somehow managed to always find the diamonds in the dustheap…

It may not solve every problem, but I’m sure it would make for a happier planet overall.

Creativity as a route to world peace – and we can begin with all the little hiccups at home.

 

Let me know if you give it a go!

 

Wishing you a creative, inspired and drama-free week,

 

Danielle

Hi! I'm Danielle.

Danielle Raine Creativity Coachcreative coach danielle raine l

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The All-Year Resolution: Intention vs Force

The All-Year Resolution: Intention vs Force

All Year resolution

 

It’s New Year time again.

I love the energy and optimism of this time of year. We’re so hopeful for the future, we’re determined to improve things, to live better, to be better, to finally do those things we’ve been saying we will do.

It’s the perfect time to resolve to actually make it happen this year.

And yet…

New Year Resolutions don’t have a great success rate.

Instead of an inspiring opportunity to harness the wonderful New Year energy, they’re more often associated with forced denial, failed attempts and fractured self-esteem.

But I don’t believe the New Year resolve is to blame for the high incidence of abandoned hopes and dreams. I believe there’s another culprit that can be an insidious saboteur of the human spirit:

The All-Or-Nothing mindset.

When our New Year Resolutions fail, often it’s not because we’re weak-willed, or ‘just not meant to do it’, but simply because we’re humans, not machines – when making powerful changes, it may take many, many attempts and re-attempts before these new practices become established.

What would happen to our success rate, if we removed the pressure to enforce our New Year changes without fail every day, from January 1st?

 

What if we accepted that it may take time to adjust to these changes, it may take weeks, perhaps months for new habits to form?

After all, humans have limited supplies of will-power, we have finite reserves of discipline. There’s only so much force and steely-willed determination we can summon before we become exhausted, disillusioned or unpleasant to be around.

Is this really the best way to craft our dream life?

If our New Year changes are meant to increase our success and happiness, how does being miserable and set up for failure support that goal?

And isn’t the quality of life en route to our goals just as precious and important as the (fleeting) moments at the Finish Line?

Whilst it’s true that 100% commitment can work brilliantly for some, (at least for a while), for the rest of us, there’s a more spirit-friendly alternative to the strait-jacket of All-or-Nothing Resolutions…

 

Christmas candles

 

 

The Power of Intention.

Intention is powerful.

Intention is a fuel that will never run out. No matter how many times we may lose our way, if we hold fast to our intention to get to where we want to be, the odds are good that we will get there. Eventually.

There may be detours, but if our intention is strong, we will soon recover our path.

There may be failures, but if we ditch the pesky and unhelpful All-Or-Nothing Mindset, we’ll find it so much easier to simply try again.

Intentions don’t require deadlines; they allow you time to just begin playing with these ideas, they allow you space to gradually incorporate these changes into your life.

Intentions are lighter and less demanding than the Must Do mentality, meaning you’re far more likely to shrug off any slips or blips and have another go.

So if a day or two or more goes by, and you’ve missed or forgotten your new practices – your intention is still there, as strong as ever, ready to shore up your resolve.

You can tap back into your intention, revisit your reasons for making these changes, and begin again.

This approach to creating anything will carry you much further toward your vision than any number of failed All-or-Nothing attempts.

New Year ‘Intentions’ are undoubtedly a less dramatic, less aggressive route to ‘getting results’, but for many of us, they can be so much more enjoyable, not to mention easier to stick with. And when the journey is easy and fun, that way success lies.


So this New Year, instead of giving up on resolutions altogether, perhaps try the gentler, subtler tactic of The All Year Resolution.

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Simply intend to create the fabulous New You that’s calling you.

No unrealistic deadlines. No forcing of will. Just an intention to devote this new year to working towards your vision.

And when you’re not chasing a fixed result by fixed time, there’s no failure. You’re just making changes, gathering feedback, adjusting and re-adjusting.

Less urgency = Less stress. (A significant health bonus even before you start.)

Even if it takes all year, you’ll still be closer to your vision than if you go all-out for a few miserable weeks in January, then abandon it for another year – or even worse, never attempt those life-enhancing changes at all.

And imagine how lovely life could be this time next year, if you make your resolutions an all-year focus.

 

Cambridge tree

 

So this year, why not play with the idea of The All-Year Resolution. It’s a kinder, more sustainable route to the improvement, success and happiness that you’d love to create in the year ahead.

As an added incentive, the more your reaffirm your intention to do something, the more you’ll find it ‘mysteriously’ popping into your head, or occurring at the perfect place or time. (This is the muse’s handiwork. 😉 )

It becomes ever-easier to live and act in line with your intended goals.

So I hope you’ll join me in celebrating the promise and potential of a fresh and sparkling New Year, with a yearlong intention to make the most of it.

No struggle. No force. Just a resolve to evolve.

Allow the phenomenal power of intention to fuel your hopes and dreams, and make this new year the magical success it’s waiting to be.

 

Wishing you health, wealth, peace and joy – in the New Year and beyond,

 

Danielle Raine Creativity Coach

Hi! I'm Danielle.

Danielle Raine Creativity Coachcreative coach danielle raine l

• • • 

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Who is the muse?

Who is the muse

• • • 

Something a little different on the blog today…

An idea I’ve been developing for the last couple of years,  along with the story of my latest creative project. 

 

Introducing… The Muse

 

Throughout the ages, great artists and philosophers have discussed and debated the existence and nature of ‘the muse’.

She, (muses are invariably feminine) has intrigued, puzzled and fascinated creative minds the world over.

But who is she?

The commonly accepted definition is that the muse is a capricious force of inspiration, an ethereal goddess, that appears – if you’re lucky – but only ever on her untameable, unpredictable terms.

A celestial being that deigns to visit, in bursts of creative inspiration, but only to the very hard-working and usually at the most inconvenient time and place.

 

But what if the mysterious power that we call The Muse is less of a contrary psychic visitor and more of a line of communication? Twitter icon 

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When we feel lit up, on fire, in the zone, in the flow i.e. in the presence of the muse – could it actually be that we have simply opened up are to the source of inspiration – a force which is there all the time?

I believe so.

I believe that the muse is just our connection to this force, whether your label for this silent, invisible power is the universal field, source energy, the divine, the god-spark, your true nature or higher self.

In this light, the muse is not an external force, but an aspect of ourselves. The muse is simply the connection to the innate genius we all possess.

And under the right conditions – when our spirit, our heart and our soul are aligned – we can access this internal resource.

The channel opens. We are connected. The muse appears.

Universal spirit mingles with our own creative spirit and the result is inspiration. We are inspired.

(The origin of the word ‘inspire’ actually relates to the inhaling of spirit.)

 

So, contrary to the idea that the muse comes and goes according to her fickle whim and fancy, could it be that the source of our inspiration is always there – it’s only our access to it, our connection, that falters?

 

And it’s the choices we make in all areas of our lives that affect this vital and powerful connection.

Certain daily actions, habits, emotions and beliefs help us to live and work more closely to this source, whereas others leave us cut off from it.

So it’s the way we live that determines how often the channel is open – which would explain why some days the muse is so elusive.

This is what I’ve experienced in my life and everywhere I turn I find more evidence that this could well be the case.

I’ve learned that when this channel is open, life flows much more joyfully and effortlessly than when we are cut off from our genius, our inspiration. Our muse.

And yet this source is ever-present and freely available!

Imagine armies of creative, brilliant, genius muses just sitting and waiting for us to craft our lives in such a way that allows them to reach us.

They are always there – and it is us who controls the access!

Imagine that – being able to summon inspiration at will.

Imagine being able to access our genius and universal intelligence – the all-knowing source of past, present and future.

Imagine being able to tap into this power – on demand.

I believe it’s possible – and not even that difficult – to live in such a way that the muse is an ever-ready source of creativity, guidance and inspired intelligence in our daily lives.

• • • 

 

Introducing… The Muse Spa

 

The more I questioned and analysed and monitored the visits from my own muse, the more I saw a pattern which was related to my actions and habits, rather than unpredictable, chance encounters.

I discovered certain ways to live that appeared to be irresistible to my muse, and not only did my creative life take off like never before, the rest of my life became truly magical, too.

Everything becomes so much easier when your muse is on board.

And the genius behind the design is that the ways to be more attractive to the muse are the most fun, exciting, healthful and enjoyable too!

So, after studying my own results for many years, I created a map of this muse-friendly way to live.

I developed a 6-part process to shift life into the flow of effortless inspiration and creative ease.

I call it The Muse Spa.

My vision is that simply by making small adjustments to lifestyle and mindset, we can enjoy a life-enhancing love affair with our muse – our connection to inspiration.

It’s a theory that I am living and exploring and sharing with my clients, who are also finding the results to be powerful and thrilling, bringing an air of magic to both their creativity and their life.

(It’s also highly entertaining – the muse has a fabulous sense of humour.)

The Muse Spa programme guides you in crafting a life that encourages these precious and powerful alignments and connections.

There are simple things we can do, small tweaks we can make in our daily lives, slight changes to our habits, that increase these connections to the source of all ideas and genius.

And this work is designed to help you make those changes, to re-open the channel between your conscious mind and your creative spirit, aka your muse.

 

 

CREATIVITY

The material is not only designed to help you to access your creative spirit, but also to express it.

We do this for 2 reasons;

1. For the sheer joy and pleasure of creative expression (and all the healthy, happy ripple effects of that)

2. Because it’s what we’re here to do.

It’s how we make our unique mark on the world, our personal brand of contribution to the planet and the human race.

We’re even incentivised to do this by the fact that doing so is the key to health, happiness and a core ingredient of a fulfilling and meaningful life.

It’s almost as if some infinite omniscient power has designed all this…

This is creativity as purpose and contribution, your soul’s expression as a spiritual practice.

 

WELLBEING

But The Muse Spa is also concerned with the physical as well as the spiritual – because the body is part of the process.

Our physical selves effect our relationship with our muse.

The state of our bodies effects how open we are to the whisperings of intuition and downloads of inspiration.

Taking care of our physical forms effects our spirit, heart and soul – the channels of the muse. 

The body is also a means of communication, an ingredient in the muse’s makeup.

The muse speaks through the body, or at least that can be one mode.

So The Muse Spa has a core element of physical self-care and wellness.

 

INSPIRATION

Even though I believe this power is an aspect of ourselves – like our memory, imagination, optimism or consciousness – in The Muse Spa, we play with the idea of the muse as a separate personality.

This is because is can be comforting to feel we can turn to a supportive life force that knows everything and sees everything and has all the answers – especially during the inevitable creative challenges.

In this light, the muse can act as a bridge between our mortal struggle and the universal consciousness (who knows what’s going on).

And by giving this magical, creative aspect a name and a personality, we can explore it more freely, without getting bogged down by the existential and philosophical intricacies and meanings.

It makes it easier for us to harness this complex, universal force – leading to more creativity and those priceless flashes of insight and genius. 

This is a new perspective on inspiration, a system of wooing what we call The Muse to set your creative world alight.

 • • •

So The Muse Spa is a programme of pampering and nurturing your innate creative spirit, to enhance the quality and quantity of your creative output, and lead a more inspired and effortless life.

It’s a process of shaping your life and creativity in ways that benefit your health, your relationships, your happiness, fulfilment and wellbeing. 

And I would love to help you discover the unique and brilliant power of your muse – because this is one relationship that could change your life forever.

 

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts! What’s your take on ‘the muse’ and the magic behind your creative brilliance?
 
 
Danielle
 

• • •

Hi! I'm Danielle.

Danielle Raine Creativity Coachcreative coach danielle raine l

 

Is time to discover your muse? 

The Muse Spa | Self-study course

the muse spa self study course

6 weeks.

6 powerful modules.

6 steps to rediscovering your brilliant creative spirit. 

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Old year lessons for a happier new you.

• • • 

It’s New Year time again, a time for that lovely reflective vibe that seems to hit as soon as Christmas is over.

I love this time of year – it seems to demand a welcome pause in the busy mayhem of life, as we transition from one year to the next.

I’m a big fan of reviewing and recalibrating, and this phase is the perfect time to look back over the previous year – for successes to celebrate and lessons to learn.

Doing this can help us face the shiny new year before us with more confidence, clarity and excitement – 3 things that will supercharge our success and happiness in the future.

 

And if you can also review the last year with an attitude of gratitude – counting all the blessings (even the ones in disguise) – you’ll be rewarded with more peace, understanding and life-enhancing optimism for the year ahead.

So, if you haven’t already, I hope you’ll join me in taking some time to acknowledge your gifts, achievements and challenges over the last year.

Indulge in a beneficial spell of healthy and productive reminiscing, as well as some big dreaming and scheming for happy times ahead.

• • • 

Here’s to the trials that shape us and make us who are.

And to the victories that show us glimpses of who we can be.

Wishing you so much happiness and success in the New Year – and beyond.

Danielle Raine Creativity Coach

Hi! I'm Danielle.

Danielle Raine Creativity Coachcreative coach danielle raine l

PINNABLES…

CREATIVITY  •  INSPIRATION  •  WELLBEING

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