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Creative Life Hacks For The Crazy Busy & Wiped Out
There are a lot of people on the internet right now talking about manifesting your dream life.

A life where you only have to work four hours per week and spend your days fulfilling your creative dreams like painting all day in your backyard she shed or spending the summer in the south of France drinking rosé in the garden and learning how to make lavender essential oil from hunky french farmhands (or is that just me?!).

And while I’m a total believer that we all have the power to intend and manifest good things into our lives, I’ve also got both feet on the ground and am aware of demands of all of our daily lives.

You’ve got bills to pay and people to show up for even on days you aren’t feeling so hot. As much as you’d like to, you can’t take a year off of your responsibilities to go on your Eat, Pray, Love adventure around the world.

I believe in dreaming big (really big, even!), but I also believe in being practical about the realities of your life right now….just not in a limiting and self-defeating way.

We modern women have a lot on our plates, and usually our own self-care and creative goals are the first items to be tossed aside to keep our lives running smoothly.

…and it is in those moments, of being super busy and creative untapped, that I encourage you to infuse creativity back into your life – starting with your regular, mundane tasks.

That, my friend, is what we call a creative life hack.

Learning to do this will help you realize that creativity doesn’t have to be a goal that is somewhere out there that you constantly berate yourself for not being able to get to, but there it is within your reach on a daily basis.

Off the top of my head, here are 4 ways to funnel more creative energy back into your life when you’re feeling under tapped and burnt out:

1. Create an inspiring work space

As creative women, we are inspired by your environment. I am a far better problem solver and can dream bigger when I am surrounded by beauty than when I am in a cluttered or drab space that doesn’t inspire me in the least. You do your best work when your workspace feeds your creativity, rather than killing it.

Take a look at your workspace (whether it’s a cubicle, a home office, or maybe your car from running around all day) and do something to make it more feel more inspiring. This could be tidying up your desk, adding a vase of fresh flowers, hanging a mini dreamcatcher from the rearview mirror, or placing a candle in the windowsill.

2. Craft nourishing morning and evening rituals

I have found that, when your days are busy and intense and can feel like one day bleeds into the next, it’s the practice of book-ending your days with little rituals in the morning and evening that brings more grounded, calming energy to your everyday life.

As my go-to girl on rituals Maria Molfino, says, morning and evening rituals are about letting go and allowing your body, mind, and spirit to re-align with pleasure and rest in between days of discipline and grit-fueled activities.

A morning ritual could be as simple as drinking a glass of warm lemon water upon waking, doing 5 mins of slow stretching, and writing in a gratitude journal before checking any technology on your phone or laptop.

An evening ritual could be taking a hot bath with essential oils and epsom salts, removing tech from your bedroom, and doing a short meditation before going to bed.

Your rituals could be 30 seconds of one activity or 1 hour of a beautiful ceremony. What matters is that it helps you feel nourished and rejuvenated to take on the day (or the following one) and re-charge your creative batteries for what’s to come. Plus, they are fun to create.

3. Infuse beauty into your meals

We all gotta eat, right?

Even if your schedule is packed to the gills and you feel like you’re running around all day without much room for rest or play, your body still requires you to pause and eat. And this is where you seize your opportunity to creatively hack your busy-ness by playing with your food.

This could look like lighting incense and playing some music while you prepare your food. It could look like lovingly plating your meal in a beautiful, creative way. It could look like filling your plate with the most colorful veggies at the salad bar and admiring nature’s design as you eat them. It could look like trying a new smoothie recipe or saying a blessing before you eat.

Mealtimes are a perfect opportunity for you to infuse beauty and intention back into your life and press reset on your day.

4. Cultivate a passion project on the side that doesn’t have ANYTHING to do with your work or daily to-dos

Studies have shown that developing a hobby or passion project contributes to being happier, healthier, and more successful in your life.

What do I mean by a passion project?

A passion project is the indulgence of your deep inner desire to create. A drive to bring your ideas to live, whatever form they may take. Its purpose is about creating. Not for money. Not for fame. Not for recognition. But for the pure joy of creating something and sharing it with the world.

I’m going to be talking more about the importance of passion projects in the next couple of weeks but, if you are reading this and feeling a huge blank when it comes to what that passion project should be, then check out my downloadable guidebook on discovering your passion project here.

 

 

Life can be crazy busy and there isn’t always time for grand creative adventures, but that doesn’t mean you have to live a creatively unfulfilled existence.

Your life can be one big creative dance. It’s up to you to make that happen.

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Creative Life Hacks for the Crazy Busy & Wiped Out

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Time is one of the most precious things we have in this life. There are only 24 hours in a day and, as much as you’d like to, you can’t generate any more than that.

Just reading those two sentences makes my belly contract and my chest tighten with anxiety. Does it do that to you too?

This recognition of the preciousness of time usually leads us to believe time is scarce.

And, when time is scarce, we tend to try to fill it with as much as we can…leading to the auto-generated answer to the often asked question of “how’s it going?” with the dreaded….”BUSY!”

But is that really true? Is your life so full and so busy that there isn’t room for anything else all of the time?

A recent New York Times article about the fallacy of the scarcity of time put it best:

Life is full, and life has space. There is no contradiction here.

The article shared that professional adults tend to overestimate work hours, often remembering their busiest weeks as the norm. The reasoning for this was because negative experiences stand out in the mind more than positive ones and because we humans like to consider ourselves “hard-working.”

So here’s the honest truth….

You are the owner of your time, and you can make space for what nourishes you, lights you up, and feeds your soul.

Now, as a busy ambitious woman myself, I know this can feel downright impossible to do….but it really isn’t. It just takes a dose of action with a teaspoon of intention and a pinch of devotion.

Your passion projects are worthy of your time. {click to tweet!}

Here are some practical tips for you to create more space in your cluttered calendar for creating what you love.

1. Trade in an hour of a mindless activity each week.

For you, it may be scrolling through your social media feed and going through your emails with a feeling of avoidance and dread. For me, this was watching reality television.

It’s a guilty pleasure of mine, but when I decided to trade in one hour of Real Housewives for an hour of working on my creative passion project, I realized just how much more alive I felt doing that than I did sitting on my couch numbing out to what was on the screen and checking my instagram feed obsessively.

Take a look at your average week, and pinpoint those moments when you often engage in an activity that doesn’t feel like it nourishes you in the way you know working on your creative dreams or dabbling in something new would. Then trade in 20 mins, 45 mins, or even an hour or more of that activity for something more nourishing.

2. Plan it ahead of time.

It’s true what they say – what gets planned, happens! When you set goals (even if it’s just to spend 30 mins once a week on a creative passion project) and take some time ahead of your week to schedule in time to work on them, you are that much closer to accomplishing them.

I like to do this on Sunday evenings for the week ahead in both my digital (google) calendar and my paper (productivity) planner. When I’m thinking through the responsibilities of my week, I schedule in my creative time right alongside my work time. It is essential to value those blocks of time as highly as anything else you do in a week when planning to train your brain to prioritize them.

3. Say no more.

It sounds so simple, but takes regular practice to make a lasting habit of it – especially for us recovering people pleasing perfectionists who have spent most of our lives thriving off of other people’s approval.

But let me tell you something…saying no is incredibly liberating for both yourself and the person you are saying no to. As my girl Maria says, “Saying no in the short-term is saying yes to your deeper desire and your long-term vision.”

I also love Derek Sivers’ mantra of “If it isn’t a hell yes, it’s a no.”

This next week, take gentle notice of all the moments you are asked to commit your time to something or someone. Instead of saying “yes”, try plugging in a compassionate “no” and watch your time flow back to you.

4. Know Your Why

When I talk about your “why”, I’m referring to your purpose. Why do you want to work on this passion project? What will it give you in the end? What feelings will you experience?

So many of us say we want to work on our creative projects because we “like doing them.” But there’s something more, something deeper to it all. Because our creativity provides a path into who we truly are.

It’s soul-deep work.

The reason I want you to connect to your why is because that will help you justify creating the time in your weekly schedule to work on your passion project. Your why helps you take responsibility for how you spend your time. Comparing yourself to others and feeling like a victim of the setting sun each night will melt away as your purpose becomes more crystallized in your heart and mind.

Now I would love to hear from you!

Can you commit to at least one of these tips this week to start taking back your time? Or do you have any time-creation hacks of your own? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.

Photo by Sophia Mavrides

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How To Actually make Time For Your Passion Projects

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Healing My Masculine imbalance

I had a profound realization the other week I really want to share with you…

After seeing my friend Maria’s recent presentation of The Heroine’s Journey (Maureen Murdock’s female interpretation of Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey), I had the pleasantly surprising realization that I have been emerging into a phase of healing my relationship with the masculine and integrating it more into a balanced relationship with my feminine.

First of all, what do I mean by “masculine” and “feminine”?

We all have the energy of both masculine and feminine traits living within us. It’s not about gender or sexuality, it’s about the energy you call upon.

The energy of the masculine is focused, like an arrow zeroing in on its target. It needs purpose to thrive. It is the tree rooted into the earth, unwavering and strong.

The energy of the feminine embraces the flow of life and creative energy. It thrives on play and beauty and letting go to receive. It is the wild wind that blows through the branches of the tree of the masculine.

Embracing both energies brings balance.

We live in a society that tends to overvalue the traits of the masculine, creating the imbalance that so many of us feel in the world today.

When we overvalue masculinity, we spend most of our time working and have a hard time resting or spontaneously connecting with others. We spend less time in nature or expressing our creative selves.

Denying the feminine in our lives leaves us longing for something more – more creative, more nourishing, and more wild.

Healing My Masculine imbalance

Soon after my realization about my place in The Heroine’s Journey, I got out my watercolors and painted this!

Back in 2013, I knew I needed to quit my corporate job (which was in a very masculine dominant environment – the norm for most work environments), and I immediately dove into a two years of intense devotion to self-care, creative expression, working with goddess archetypes, and deepening my connection to mother nature as a way to reconnect to my inner feminine.

It was beautiful and deep work.

And then a few months ago, I started to feel something shift within me. Totally unexpected.

I found myself coming back to more intense, singularly focused (masculine) activities with a balanced mindset. Instead of fearing or judging the masculine, I was embracing it again.

I’ve been pushing my physical edge by lifting heavy weights at CrossFit and tapping back with determined intensity at SoulCycle several days a week.

I’ve been creating work hours where I’m super “on” with my businesses and noticing the quality of my output increasing thanks to my Productivity Planner and working in an amazing community of ambitious, creative women at my local coworking space.

…all while still maintaining my commitment to taking care of myself through creative expression, circling with women regularly, nourishing my body, and being the counter-balance of energy to my man.

In other words, the feminine is still thriving within me – alongside my masculine.

And that feels powerful.

I texted my friend the other day that I felt like a powerful sorceress. The integration of the many parts of myself feels expansive and whole.

And I know I have the tools now to rebalance at any time.

What about you? Where do you think you are on your own Heroine’s Journey based on my watercolor image above? I’d love to know. Leave a comment below!

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Are you afraid of being unoriginal

“It’s impossible to be original these days!!” she told me, throwing her hands in the air into total frustration and defeat.

My dear friend was nearly in tears expressing her frustration to me during our lunch date.

I compassionately nodded and let out sighs of understanding as she vented all her fears around starting a new side project she’d been dreaming about for years. Her tender heart wanted so badly to express itself, and yet she couldn’t bring herself to take action and make it happen.

Her main objection?

That there were so many people out in the world doing the same or similar things so there was no way she could be original.

I felt a pang in my heart as soon as she said it. That all too familiar imposter feeling was rearing its ugly head and attempting to silence the little seed of inspiration that was growing inside her.

Then I got pissed.

How many women are there in the world right now actively preventing themselves from sharing their authentic voice and creative gifts with the world because they are afraid of being seen as “unoriginal”?

Too many, that’s how many!

So I’m going to tell you what I told my friend that day…

Nothing is original.

All creative work builds on what came before it.

This is the nature of humanity.

As you walk through life, you weave together the fabric of who you are through your experiences and what you are naturally drawn to. Your family life, where you grew up, what smells you love, your major in college, your travels, your favorite colors, etc. All of those contribute to your own unique being and help to craft what you express in the world.

As Austin Kleon puts it,You are a mashup of what you choose to let into your life.”

So yes, you are taking bits of inspiration from other people and things in the world to make your thing, but this does not make you unoriginal. It makes you a living, breathing, creative human.

The late David Bowie was once asked if he was original, and he responded that he was more of a “tasteful thief.” If one of the most daringly creative, inspiring, sparkling humans of our lifetime is embracing it, then I think it’s OK if you do too.

All that being said, there are some lines you shouldn’t cross when it comes to being your own tasteful thief and you likely know when you cross them.

This is why crediting your source is super important. Giving a nod to the people and things that contributed to your body of work is what keeps this beautiful recycling and re-purposing of ideas moving forward.

Take what you’ve been inspired by and turning it into your own thing. Don’t let your fear of unoriginality hold you back, sister.

Photo Credit: Sophia Mavrides

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Are you Afraid of Being Unoriginal? How many women are there in the world right now actively preventing themselves from sharing their authentic voice and creative gifts with the world because they are afraid of being seen as “unoriginal”? Too many, that’s how many! So I’m going to tell you what I told my friend that day…

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How To Plan A Creative Retreat

It feels really good to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life to clear your mind and re-inspire your creative heart.

Several years ago, when I was working my 9-5 at a tech company and blogging on the side, I remember suddenly having the urge to get away from it all. I was craving solitude and deeply desired a sabbatical, a time out, a pause.

I needed a personal creative retreat.

So I logged onto AirBnB, typed in “redwood forest” and “ocean cottage”, and booked two little spots for five days of me-time.

The experience ended up being deeply healing and transforming for me. I had never gone on a creative retreat before, let alone had that much time to myself – without technology or the noise of my daily life around me.

I was finally able to simply be – with my emotions, my desires, my fears, and my creative intuition. I meditated, I hiked at sunrise, I painted, I read poetry, I napped in the sun, I showered outside, and I wrote (a lot).

I returned from my retreat feeling more clarity, courage, and creative inspiration than I had felt in a long time.

Taking a personal creative retreat is a must for the creative, ambitious dabbling woman.

Whether it’s a week, a few days, a day, or just an afternoon. Whether you rent a cottage in the mountains, go camping by a river, or take the afternoon off at your local library or in your backyard, the effect is still the same. You feel rejuvenated and inspired to create and express, and do your meaningful work in the world.

Below are some tips for planning a deeply impactful personal creative retreat:

Commit to the Date

I find this is the most crucial (and difficult) step for my women to take. To commit to a date/time in the future and follow through with it without letting anything get in the way of making it happen. I find the most effective method for making your devoted creative time happen is to open up your calendar (digital, physical, or both!) and block off the time. Color code it bright red or circle it with a highlighter. This shows your brain that this is an important commitment of time.

Surround Yourself with Inspiration

Prepare for the day by having a few things on hand that you know provide inspiration to you. This could be a beautiful coffee table book, poetry (I like this book a lot), your go-to personal development book (I’m a big fan of The Desire Map, Big Magic, and Daring Greatly), magazines, printed quotes, and elements of nature (like fresh flowers, sea shells, and feathers).

Have Creative Supplies on Hand

Be prepared for when creative inspiration strikes by having supplies on hand like a journal, paints and canvas, your camera, colored pencils, scissors, glue, clay, etc. Grab your go-to supplies you have at home or stop by your local craft store to see what supplies grab your eye.

Set the Space

Once you’ve arrived to the location of your retreat, take some time to make it sacred. Put your phone into airplane mode (and leave your laptop at home!). Remove any distractions by cleaning up cluttered corners, covering a television (or any other tech device) with a sheet or tapestry, and putting low vibe items in the closet or outside. Create an altar, light some candles, put fresh flowers in every corner, and put on a soothing playlist of inspiring music. I like to adorn myself in comfortable clothing that make me feel beautiful (kimonos for the win) and wear what I call my “priestess jewelry” that make me feel more like an ancient woman of artistry and magic.

Cultivate an Intention

Once your space is set, set your intention for the day. What is it you desire out of this experience? It doesn’t need to be super grandiose. It could be simply “to play” or “to feel childlike wonder.” Or your intention could be “to overcome my writer’s block” or “to hear the wisdom within me”. Take a moment to close your eyes and find that intention. Feel it in your bones before you begin.

Nourish Yourself

Bring along items that you know will provide nourishment to you and your body. This could be a cozy blanket, your favorite tea and tea cup, delicious healthy food, or some dark chocolate. Be sure to take breaks to drink water, eat slowly and mindfully, and move your body (especially if you start to feel stuck).

Be Open to your Creative Muse

If you aren’t sure what to do during your creative retreat (or find yourself getting stuck or blocked), have a practice that opens you up to creative inspiration.

This could be going on a walk with your camera and playing a photo game with prompts you’ve written for yourself like:

  • Take a self-portrait
  • Capture your shadow
  • Express all of the 5 senses
  • The color blue

Or you could have some prepared writing prompts for you to journal on like:

  • I am:
  • I dream of:
  • I believe in:
  • I secretly:
  • In a past life:

Ground Yourself

Exploring alongside your creative soul can sometimes bring up a lot of emotions, uneasiness and feelings of being un-grounded. Be sure to prepare yourself with tools or exercises that ground and comfort you. This could be meditations, breathing exercises, crystals, essential oils, mantras, or even walking outside with barefeet on the cool earth.

Completion Ritual

Be sure to have a ritual or activity you do to complete your retreat – marking its end and sealing it as sacred. This could be reflective journaling on your intention, a dance party to your favorite song, a meditation or prayer, or blowing out candles and saying “thank you” out loud.

There’s no “wrong” way to do a creative retreat, so please don’t read these guidelines as rules for the perfect retreat. Instead, use them as a guide for you to find what feels best for you as you plan for your next planned moment of creative solitude.

I’d love to hear from you! Have you gone on a personal creative retreat before? If you have or haven’t, I’d love for you to commit to one in the next two months. Leave a comment below with your experiences and commitment.

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It feels really good to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life to clear your mind and re-inspire your creative heart. Several years ago, when I was working my 9-5 at a tech company and blogging on the side, I remember suddenly having the urge to get away from it all. I was craving solitude and deeply desired a sabbatical, a time out, a pause. I needed a personal creative retreat.

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