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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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Make a Beautiful Bracelet to Track Your Moon Cycle

Tracking the cycles of the moon within my own body has been a beautiful experience for me.

Over the past few years, I’ve been on a journey of getting more closely aligned with nature, la luna in the sky, and the wisdom of my own body. The results of which have brought me so much closer to the core of who I am and have helped me see and feel my connection to all living things – unleashing a depth of creative expression I’ve been yearning for for many years.

Last summer, I did a 6-part blog series delving into the often taboo topic of moon cycles (i.e. periods). The response to the series was really awesome. It turns out, a lot of you want to explore this topic alongside me.

Because I’m a dabblist, I wanted to take all the wisdom I had gained around this topic and channel it into a creative project.

And then I found out about feminine moon cycle tracking bracelets.

The concept is to wear a bracelet where each bead represents a day of your monthly moon cycle. The beads are separated out by color – representing a different phase in your cycle (I talk about the phases of your cycle in this post) and you use a charm to move along the beads to keep track of where you are in your cycle.

It’s practical and beautiful, my fave!

At my monthly full moon sister gathering, we made these bracelets and it was so much fun. Some of the women were worried because they didn’t know exactly how long their cycles were (or it’s different every month).

But what I told them was this – make an educated guess based on the length of your last few periods (to help you out, the first day of your period is Day 1) and go with it. The bracelet won’t be perfect 100% of the time, but it will connect your more deeply to your moon cycle than before. If you need to wait to move the charm a few days until your period comes, that’s totally okay.

 

Make a Beautiful Bracelet to Track Your Moon Cycle

You will need:

Bead Breakdown:

  • Menstrual Phase (red beads like garnet) – typically 4-5 days
  • Follicular Phase (green beads like green aventurine or jasper) – typically 7-10 days
  • Ovulation Phase (pink beads like rose quartz) – typically 3-4 days
  • Luteal Phase (darker beads like snowflake obsidian or onyx) – typically 10-14 days

Shape the wire to your wrist (giving it some slack) and cut. Then take one end of the wire and use pliers to make a little loop so the beads don’t slip off.

Then start with day one of your cycle, which is the first day of your period or menstrual phase. Those beads are red and it’s typically 4-5 days. Place one bead for every day of your menstrual cycle on the wire.

Then place a little gold (or whatever color) bead and begin the next phase of your cycle which is follicular with a green bead, which is typically 7-10 days.

Then another gold bead and begin your ovulation phase with rose colored beads which is usually 3-4 days.

Then another gold bead and then it’s your luteal phase which is the longest phase of your cycle with a darker bead. Luteal can be as long as 14 days.

At the end of your cycle of beads, cut the wire and make another little loop to close off the bracelet.

Finish with a little charm (I’ve used goddess charms, little moon charms, and animal totem charms) that you’ll attach to a lobster clasp. The idea is you move the charm each day to the next bead to help you keep track of where you are in your cycle.

For those of you worried about not knowing your exact cycle…

That’s ok!

My bracelet is for a 28 day cycle and this past month, I went to 32 (I had an extended luteal phase, likely from a little stress). So I just kept my charm in luteal until my first day of my bleed, and then moved it to the red garnet.

It’s ALL GOOD. What’s important is cultivating a deeper connection to your inner moon.

I want to know how it goes for you! Leave a comment below and/or share a photo of your bracelet on Instagram and tag me @thedabblist.

Resources to Buy Gemstone Beads Online

 

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Dabbling Away Your Inner Critic Through Mandala Coloring

Earlier this week, I was on a private call with the women in The Dabblist Collective talking about our dreams and supporting each other in overcoming struggles in our creative lives.

One woman courageously shared that she was struggling with diving into her creative work.

“I keep putting it off because I just want to get an A+ from my inner critic” she said.

As soon as she admitted this vulnerable truth, many of the other women on the call virtually nodded their heads in agreement that this happens to them too (me included).

The inner critic is the uninvited, yet often present, party guest that likes to tell you nasty stories to prevent you from sharing your voice and artistry with the world.

It can say things like:

“This is stupid!”

“I’m doing this all wrong and messing it up! I should just quit now.”

“This is ugly. When people see it, they’re going to think I’m weird.”

“Why even bother creating this? I’m not special or lovable or talented.”

“I better make this look amazing, so people won’t know that I am imperfect.”

“This is silly. I am wasting my time and should be doing more productive things right now.”

This voice of your inner critic can be so loud that it can stop you before you even start.

But listening to this voice and stifling your authentic creative expression is no way to live your life, sister. You and I both know this to be true. The world needs more courageous women stepping up in the world and expressing themselves.

And, in order to do that, we must remember that the Inner Critic does not speak truth and learn to hush that voice.

Mandala Lead Box

One of the greatest gifts creative dabbling has given me is the ability to silence the voice of my inner critic.

When I’m dabbling in a creative project (simply being in the moment of creation and not attaching to the outcome) I experience pure presence. I’m not focusing on past stories, future tripping on made-up scenarios, or judging my process according to my inner critic.
I am simply being.

One creative dabble that I find really helps me sink into a space of present moment creation is drawing and coloring in mandalas.

I talk a bit about mandalas in this post but the basic idea is to draw a circular and symmetrical pattern to expand your mind and receive spiritual/intuitive messages.

mindful mandala

Drawing and coloring in mandalas is less about the art of drawing and more about slowing down and opening up to your inner wisdom and creative flow. The repetition and pattern is soothing enough to the brain to calm down the critical voices in side and allows you to drop into the present moment.

And, it is from that place of creative presence, that you can strengthen your connection to your intuition and inner wise woman – sending and receiving messages and advice when you need it.

I once read that the creation of a mandala is the universe speaking to you through your creative intuitive voice. I love that so much, and feel like it can be applied to so many other creative dabbles.

Mandala Lead Box

The Easy Way to Draw a Mandala:

  1. Draw a small circle in the center of a page.
  2. Mark the four directions on the page to create a compass (North, South, East, and West)
  3. Start in the center and draw shapes or lines that fit into each piece of the pie (separated out by the lines to the four directions).
  4. Keep building outwards, adding circles, domes, squares, triangles, lines, waves, outlines, secret symbols, etc. You can’t break the rules here, so see what your creative intuition whispers to you.
  5. Once the mandala is drawn, grab colored pencils or pens and begin coloring in the shapes you’ve made. As you draw, listen to what comes up for you.

What about you?

Do you feel crippled by your inner critic? Have you found ways to quiet the critical voice through your creativity? I’d love to hear about it. Share in the comments below.

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Dabbling Away Your Inner Critic

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Are You Listening To The Whispers

I’ll never forget that moment.

I was dressed in a vibrant green sarong, sitting in a circle of women, overlooking the rice fields of rural Bali when the idea hit me like the bolts of lightning I could see over the mountains in the distance.

I will tell you it took serious work to clear my schedule for two weeks of travel and being offline, major guts to fork over the money for the plane ticket, and deep devotion to the whispers of my inner wise woman to get me to that moment. A moment where I could quiet the noise of the overwhelm and anxiety and the shoulds and the must-dos and intently listen in.

I had spent years developing my own understanding of my mission in this world, but struggled to fully comprehend what I was meant to do with it – how I was meant to serve.

I knew it had to do with empowering women to be creative and take courageous action through a dabblist mindset and bringing them together in sisterhood. But I grappled with the how of it all.

It wasn’t until that morning in Bali, sitting in a circle of deeply intentional (and slightly sweaty) women committed to supporting each other in our highest truth that everything started to piece together.

I spoke the words out loud, “I want to create a creative sisterhood for women all over the world to connect with their creative wisdom – a creative collective.”

As soon as I said it, I felt a shiver run down my spine and many of the women nodded with affirming sounds. This was powerful. This was truth.

Emboldened by the support of my sisters, I took courageous action. From that moment on, my path was clear. I worked many months to intentionally craft the community that is now known as The Dabblist Collective.

And, in the several weeks since its birth, I can see just how powerful this vision and intention I set in Bali really was.

I’m overwhelmed and delighted by the ease with which these women (from all over the world who never met each other before) have come together in a space of generosity and community.

We’ve got women sending each other extra fabric and magazines to each other, sending each other handmade gifts, sharing favorite supplies, crochet patterns, recipes and podcasts with each other.  We’ve got women sharing karaoke dance party videos, starting blogs and creative businesses, and even sharing costumed selfies with each other.

And we’re going deeper – which makes my heart sing.

The women are reaching out for support with the tougher stuff in life – losing jobs, fear around money, recovering from health scares and medical traumas.

One woman shared an ancient indigenous practice for cultivating dream recall and interpretation.

Another woman shared a poem describing the journey of discovery they’ve made in the few weeks since joining.

Another woman shared that she was going through storage and found crafts she made 50 years ago that connected her to beloved (and forgotten) memories of her mother.

Then there was the woman who went on a run in the pouring rain and excitedly shared with the group how amazing, fresh, and alive she felt.

This is the power of our collective.

This is what happens when creative women come together. They remember their own wisdom, connect to their intuition, and begin to creatively express themselves. This is the healing work of dabbling in sisterhood. I am honored to hold the space.

…and it all started with a whisper. One that I could have easily been too busy, too overwhelmed, or too scared to listen to.

What whispers are inside of you? Is there some message your inner wise woman is telling you? Let us witness you in your truth. Share in the comments below, sister.

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Are You Listening To The Whispers

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