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!

 

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

~ Amelia Earhart

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. 

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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….

 

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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

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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

 

 

• • • 

 

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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. 

Who is the muse

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 

(CLICK TO TWEET) 

 

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.

 

the muse spa

 

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

• • •

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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. 

 

> > > CLICK FOR DETAILS

 

 

 

 

 

Old year lessons for a happier new you.

to-your-wishes-hopes-dreams-2017

• • • 

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

 

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Creativity coaching: for when you’re dreaming big, being great & stepping up.

#27 in my Tonics for Your Creative Spirit email series: Eric Maisel (Again!)

• • • 

On dreaming big, being great & stepping up.

(Don’t worry, I’ll help.)

 

After last week’s epic post, I’ll keep it short and sweet today.

And it’s a newsflash / creativity quote combo!

Allow me to introduce my latest labour of love; a new offering for anyone who believes they have a book in them…

write that book 5 day ipad

This is a (FREE!) short course in getting clear, organised and inspired – so you can #writethatbook! (You know the one. 😉 )

Details here if you’re ready to get that book out of your head and into the hands of eager readers!

And to celebrate the launch, I wanted to combine this week’s creativity quote with a brief insight into the difference that expert support and guidance can make. 

So, here – in the eloquent words of my mentor, Eric Maisel – is the gist of what’s in store when you invest in creativity coaching;

• • • 

Eric Maisel creativity coaching quote

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And these things aren’t easy!

Which is why I have a ‘radical’ coaching philosophy (I believe we’re meant to enjoy the creative process!) and why I practice holistic creativity coaching. (Click here to find out more.

So if now’s the time to give your creative dreams a little TLC, I would be thrilled to (lovingly) nudge you towards that Great Work you know is inside you. 

Wishing you a vital and authentic week,  

• • • 

Danielle

 

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The Ultimate Creative Project : Life

#25 in my Tonics for Your Creative Spirit email series: Felicia Bender

 

Have you ever wondered about the ideal conditions for your creativity?

In my quest to discover the Joy, Fun & Ease route to creative success, I’m always on the lookout for ways to smooth the bumps of our creative journeys.

So I wanted to share this gem that I found in a recent read…

 

Felicia Bender creativity quote

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Though I’m an advocate of creativity as the solution to many of life’s challenges, (you may have noticed…) – it can be a two-way thing: we can make changes in our lives that will boost our creative efforts.

One such change is to create the fertile condition above.

By pursuing inner calm and a strong self-image – a sense of safety, self-esteem and self-assurance – we create a safe space for our creative spirit to emerge and blossom and thrive. (Ie., without all the soul-sapping self-doubt and time-consuming dilemmas.)

As an added incentive, a strong sense of self also makes life feel more like a ‘daring adventure’ than a series of battles to be fought.

This is just one instance of how both our life and creativity can be powerfully enhanced by the art and science of Life Design.

Maybe it’s my design background, but I’m increasingly approaching life as the ultimate creative project. With recent discoveries in human potential, I see no good reason why we can’t write our own brief and even be that high-calibre client that always expects and demands the best.

We’re all creating our lives as we go along, but the more intentional we are about it – the more we craft and shape and design the journey in line with our preferences and goals – the more likely we are to create the ultimate version of our life.

Not only that, we’ll also have a lot more fun en route. (And who would say no to that?)

Of course, we all have our own brand of limitations and challenges to be solved – but this applies to all design projects. There’s still room for us to fashion creative, inventive and enjoyable results within those restrictions – so why not?

Why not craft a life that supports and enhances our creative dreams?

All it takes is time and attention and a mind open to possibilities – but can you think of a better return on your efforts than a life you love?

And the more creative we become, the more we’re able to apply our blossoming skills to improving every aspect of our life – even beyond our creative work.

It’s a virtuous cycle – we can shape our life to boost our creativity; and we can use our creativity to enhance our life.

Taking the time to assess where we are and where we want to go – as well as potential steps to getting there – can reap rich rewards in our creativity and the quality of our lives.

If you like this idea of life design, please let me know because I’ve got loads to share on this and would love to hear if you want more of it.

And if, like me, you’re interested in numerology as one of your Life Design tools, I highly recommend the source of this week’s quote;

Redesign your life book felicia bender

Redesign Your Life;

Using numerology to create

the wildly optimal you

by Felicia Bender

  

Felicia is my go-to resource for all things numerology and her book is an inspiring read.

She uses the analogy of remodelling your home to guide you through the steps of remodelling your life.

It’s human nature to want to make our homes our own, but why stop there? We can apply the same process to make our lives feel more ‘at home’ too. We can be the architect and designer of our own life.

In the book, Felicia uses our unique numerical imprints to guide us to the most effective and enjoyable route to ‘the wildly optimal you’.

(She also explains a lot about why we are the way we are, so if you’ve ever been baffled as to why you do that thing you do, numerology can provide some comforting and eye-opening answers…)

So this week’s tip, inspired by Felicia’s wise words, is to approach your life as the ultimate creative project and bring all your skills and talents and creative gifts to making it the optimum experience for you.

And if your creative muscles could use a bit of support to get going, make your first ‘redesign’ a sense of inner security and confidence.

(If you could use some support and guidance with this aspect of your Life Design, we focus on this very issue in my Creative Thriving programme. I’d love to help you create an atmosphere of flourishing creativity.)

Then see what fabulousness you can unleash from that space.

Good luck and I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!

Wishing you a wildly optimal week, 

Danielle

 

• • •

 

Praise for Creative Thriving;

 

“I have been working with Danielle for a few weeks now and she has been a great inspiration.

I have somehow managed to fit in time to start painting and journaling without sacrificing time with my family.

Feeling accountable to providing updates to Danielle has made me accountable to myself and my ME time.

Thanks Danielle, you’re lovely! xo”

-Tracy Ryan Jastrow

 

 

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The playful route to creative success

#18 in my Tonics for Your Creative Spirit email series: Anodea Judith & Lion Goodman 

 

Hope you’ve been enjoying a fun and creative week.

Here’s another Creativity Quote to keep your creative spirits up and, speaking of spirits – we’re turning to the world of metaphysics with the source of this week’s inspiration.

First up, though, the words of wisdom:

creating on purpose creativity quote

 

This quote is taken from a book about the ultimate creative act; living our whole lives by intention and design.

The book is called Creating On Purpose and it’s written by two luminaries in the spiritual field; Anodea Judith & Lion Goodman – and if you’re interested in metaphysics and the power of invisible energies, I think you’d love it.This quote is taken from a book about the ultimate creative act; living our whole lives by intention and design. The book is called Creating On Purpose and it's written by two luminaries in the spiritual field; Anodea Judith & Lion Goodman - and if you're interested in metaphysics and the power of invisible energies, I think you'd love it. It's a fascinating and practical take on the idea that we shape our own realities. But what makes this book different is how it explores the fine art of manifestation, step-by-logical-step, in line with the 7 main chakras. For example, our initial ideas begin in the invisible realm of inspiration (Chakra 7). They then progress through the processes of vision (Chakra 6), communication (Chakra 5), and cooperation (Chakra 4) until we bring our idea into the material realm of the lower chakras of power, pleasure and matter. It's a compelling strategy for manifesting and makes even the loftiest life dream seem very do-able. But the process works just as well when applied to creative projects on a smaller scale. The book is full of inspiring insights on the creative process (such as the playful gem above) and happily there's an emphasis on how the journey can be one of fulfillment, synergy, altruism and (my favourite) joy. And, as Anodea and Lion put it: "If you bring the joy and enthusiasm of your inner child into your activities, life becomes a playground." Fun, success and fulfillment - not a bad roadmap to follow. (I love this idea. Why do we always assume that creating anything great needs to be hard work...?) But if you still need persuading that 'time off' for play will actually benefit your creativity, just watch any young child - children live to play and are effortlessly creative. Or take a look at how Google fosters a culture of playfulness and fun to spark innovation and ingenuity. So I hope you'll be inspired to build the productive practice of play into your creative schedule. Or at least play with the idea... ;-) Of course, if you're already use this idea to keep your creativity flowing - I'd love to hear your tips. Till next week - have fun at playtime! Danielle PS One of my favourite muse-magnetising playspaces is Pinterest, where I give my imagination free reign to pin how I'd like my life to look. (It may be my design roots but life-designing is my idea of play. Plus, if Anodea and Lion are right, this playtime can actually serve to bring about my Dream Home or Travel Wishes. Even more proof that play is productive!)

It’s a fascinating and practical take on the idea that we shape our own realities.

But what makes this book different is how it explores the fine art of manifestation, step-by-logical-step, in line with the 7 main chakras.

For example, our initial ideas begin in the invisible realm of inspiration (Chakra 7). They then progress through the processes of vision (Chakra 6), communication (Chakra 5), and cooperation (Chakra 4) until we bring our idea into the material realm of the lower chakras of power, pleasure and matter.

It’s a compelling strategy for manifesting and makes even the loftiest life dream seem very do-able. But the process works just as well when applied to creative projects on a smaller scale.

The book is full of inspiring insights on the creative process (such as the playful gem above) and happily there’s an emphasis on how the journey can be one of fulfillment, synergy, altruism and (my favourite) joy.

And, as Anodea and Lion put it:

“If you bring the joy and enthusiasm

of your inner child into your activities,

life becomes a playground.”

Fun, success and fulfillment – not a bad roadmap to follow.

(I love this idea. Why do we always assume that creating anything great needs to be hard work…?)

But if you still need persuading that ‘time off’ for play will actually benefit your creativity, just watch any young child – children live to play and are effortlessly creative.

Or take a look at how Google fosters a culture of playfulness and fun to spark innovation and ingenuity.

So I hope you’ll be inspired to build the productive practice of play into your creative schedule. Or at least play with the idea… 😉

Of course, if you already use this idea to keep your creativity flowing – I’d love to hear your tips.

 

Till next week – have fun at playtime! 

Danielle

 

PS One of my favourite muse-magnetising playspaces is Pinterest, where I give my imagination free rein to pin how I’d like my life to look.

(It may be my design roots but life-designing is my idea of play. Plus, if Anodea and Lion are right, this playtime can actually serve to bring about my Dream Home or Travel Wishes. Even more proof that play is productive!)

 

• • •

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How to keep a (sort of) gratitude journal…

…without the stress.

 

10 hour sleep - gratitude journalHappy New Year! 

I hope the new year finds you full of health, and hopeful for the year ahead. 

I am a big big fan of the new year vibe. This year, though, I’m not going to talk about resolutions (you can see my thoughts on those here).

But I do have a suggestion for you if you’ve recently (or ever) had the intention to keep a Gratitude Journal.

Unless you’ve been asleep for the last few years, you will no doubt have heard about the health and happiness benefits of focusing on what we’re grateful for.

I wrote a little bit about it in my first book but if it’s a theory that interests you, there are many books that go deeper on the subject.

In my own life, I’ve learned that turning my attention to what’s going well can be a humbling-yet-comforting reminder to focus less on the woes (as attention-grabbing as they may seem.)

So, when it comes to the benefits of gratitude, I’m a convert. 

However….

The gratitude journal.

I do love the idea of it. And for a number of years I’ve tried to keep one. Each new year, I’ve bought a beautiful new diary and declared it My Home for Grateful Thoughts. And every year, I start off well… and last till about February. I have a drawerful of mostly-empty journals, abandoned as the whole Must Write Down Grateful Feelings thing became too much of a chore.

For something that was supposed to help me feel better, it was feeling more like yet another job to do. I began to dread my scheduled gratitude-journaling time. Then I would feel guilty for failing to keep up with it.

I loved the idea behind it but, in practice, well, it just wasn’t working. At least, for me. (Please note, anyone who loves theirs and feels it has changed their life, I applaud and respect you, and would love to know your secret for sticking with it.)

For those of us who would like the benefits but struggle with the practicalities, I have an alternative….

Actually, I have two…

• • •

A Gratitude Journal Alternative – Part I

The following tip is very simple, yet the effects can be surprisingly powerful. It tunes into the same vibe as the gratitude journal (ie pausing to notice the good stuff) but without the potential angst of journal-entry-pressure.

It is…. drumroll, please…. the humble smiley face. 🙂

Stay with me.

What if, when jotting down your To Dos in your diary, daytime, schedule, timetable (whatever you use to track and plan your life) – you adorn your favourite activities with a little smiley?

It takes seconds. But, I believe, this ease and familiarity belies its greatness. Firstly, can you draw a smiley face without smiling? Well, it’s possible, but I imagine that whatever causes you to create one on paper will also cause one to sneak onto your face too.

Secondly, by adorning your planner with this symbol of positivity and happiness, you’re acknowledging something fun or joyful in your life. This focus is the root of many of the benefits of gratitude. You don’t necessarily need to give thanks to anyone or anything –  appreciation is an aspect of gratitude.

In pausing to appreciate the thing that makes you smile, you are beaming in (pardon the pun) more of the same. (If this sounds a bit unlikely, cellular biologistsquantum physicists and neuroscientists back me up here.)

So, the smiley face – a surprisingly powerful device.

Digital or hand drawn – opt for whichever method you prefer. Then at the end of the day/week/year, you can spot – at a glance – all the best bits of your life. You can instantly see which were good days  – any page with multiple smilies can’t be bad!

Plus, this practice may well encourage you to plan more activities that warrant the smiley-stamp. (Some days I put something in my diary that I know I’ll love, just so I can add another Smiley Item.)

On days when you’re feeling the drudgery of your not-so-happy To Dos, a simple reminder of any fun stuff can go a long way to nipping those blues in the proverbial bud. 🙂

• • •

A Gratitude Journal Alternative – Part II

I also have a second alternative to the added pressure of keeping an additional journal – again, using your existing diary or daytimer. (After all, these are usually the tools that dictate our hours and days, ie our lives).

This time, instead of the in-the-moment-of-entry addition of a smiley face, this tip is more of a reflect-and-review kind of activity.

Unlike the conventional gratitude journal, though, you’re not required to dredge up memories of your busy day from a tired and frazzled brain. You have your day in front of you, on paper (or screen).

All you need to do is take a look at where you spent your time and decide which were the best bits. Then, at the bottom of that page, scribble a few notes – your Daily Highlights.

The more you do this, the more easily they will come to mind – plus you have your planner to jog your memory. Even if you’ve had a bad day, there are usually one or two blips of good stuff.

And the gratitude experts tell us that eking out these highlights and giving them some recognition can work wonders for our mental, emotional and physical health. (Particularly if you do it just before you retire for the day.)

Although this is, in essence, a log of things to be grateful for, it removes a couple of the worksteps which will a) make it a more enjoyable habit and thus b) make us more likely to do it.

Plus – no blank pages and subsequent guilt! In fact, you may find that the short scribbles at the end of the day begin to increase in both size and frequency. (I’ve had to go for an A4-size diary this year.)

And before long, you will have kept a substantial (sort of) gratitude journal – without really trying.  You will also have transformed your daily planner into a great tool for mood-boosting – both on a daily basis and whenever you feel the urge to review it. 

• • • 

So there you have it:

twitter aquahow to enjoy the uplifting benefits of the gratitude journal, with less of the effort.

(CLICK TO TWEET)

 

(By the way, this is not laziness, it’s efficiency. And on the bumpy creative path, efficiency is undoubtedly our friend.) 

Let me know what you think –  worth a try?

 

Danielle

PS Thanks for reading! 🙂

PPS I promise to not use any more smilies in my blog posts. 😉

 

• • • 

 

Begin a New Year love affair with your muse…

 

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A Message From Your Muse – Daily Prompts for Creatives

 A sequence of short and very sweet nudges on behalf of your muse.

> > > CLICK FOR DETAILS. 

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Celebrate: A habit for life…not just for Christmas.

Celebrate success habit for life

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Tis the season, once again. Christmas.

Whether you celebrate the religious feast, or the culinary feast – or both (like me) – this time of year is dedicated to all things merry and bright.

It’s a time for focussing on the joyful, turning our attention to the wonderful and celebrating all that’s good.

Depending on your spiritual persuasion, the actual reasons for celebration may vary.

Perhaps you are honouring the arrival of a Saviour.

Or maybe your revelling is a bid to get through the long dark days before the welcome return of Spring.

Or perhaps you just enjoy the carolling and carousing and goodwill to all men.

Either way, the shift of our day-to-day perspective towards the fun stuff is not only a joy, it actually has beneficial effects.

Positivity, generosity, kindness, forgiveness, charity – all these things are good for our own health and happiness.

Whilst the act of celebration has powerful effects on our  psychology – it can influence our future mindset.

Celebrating causes us to become primed toward….causes for celebration!

In other words, The Good Life.

The benefits of celebration apply to increased success, too. (more…)

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