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Monthly Archives: October 2011

Muse Chelsea-Mae Smith… B.C Bud, you say? (and we aren’t talking ‘buddy’)

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About The Muse A-Fairian Interviews: 23 inspired people will be hosting a collaborative show, sale, engage, and inspire event Dec 3 and 4 at WCT Pavillion Theatre, Kamloops, BC.  And I’m honoured to interview some of these muses here!

An invite to Chelsea-Mae was all she needed, no questions asked!  Here’s what she has to say!

Chelsea-Mae Smith

I remember when I was three and I painted my partially blind puppy bright blue.  I knew right then and there that I wanted to spread beauty all over the world.  And I haven’t loosened my grip on that dream ever since.

Now, two months from finishing my university degree, with a Major in English and Minor (such a wrong word for something I’m sooo passionate about) in Fine Arts, I feel charged and equipped to “make it”, at least some part of my life, as an artist.

Hell, I’m 21 and have already shown in a variety of galleries, organized my own art openings and booths, and currently have work being sold out of local retail venues.

I LOVE making art to suit people’s needs!  I am a ceramicist, a painter, a sculptor, and a photographer.  I love paper arts, and silk screening, creative writing, and drama.

Currently, I’ve been exploring the idea of culture left in stone, of ceramic artefacts speaking to an era’s sense of values.  In my era, in this country (and more specifically this province) I wanted to combine high art with the love of smoking B.C. and our “B.C. bud” is known for.  And as my sensibility is often abstract, liking complicated things, I pushed the limits of my clay working abilities to make these intricate, bulbous, hilarious, and figurative looking shapes, which ironically you can smoke out of!

As you can guess I have heard and seen a wide variety of commentary on the work that I’m doing, and rather than intimidate or make me feel awkward about this touchy subject matter that is so engrained in our culture, I welcome the conversation and the controversy.  That’s what art is all about: visually stating what you think matters.

I have also recently pushed myself into creating custom works (such as portraits or particular ceramic dishes), and collaborating with someone else’s idea to make real what they’ve been seeing in their imagination.  Nothing so far in life has given me greater pleasure than watching someone joyfully use a piece of my artwork!

So if YOU have an idea for a gift, or a need for your house, and would like to support a local artist in its making, I would LOVE to collaborate in your creation!!  As well as being found on Face book at ‘Chelsea Mae’D’ I can be reached through email at .
I look forward to seeing you at the Muse A-Fair… and be sure to bring your splendiferous imaginations!

Janet: Readers, I know you’ll get to see this look at the Muse A-Fair!   Thanks for being here today, Chelsea-Mae.

Hope Mikal – Artist, Poet, Muse Leader, I have 2 of her paintings, and she’s 22 years old.

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 About The Muse A-Fairian AND the Renegade Muse Interviews:  (because our guest today is involved in the Kamloops Muse A-Fair and is a certified Muse Group Leader) Real people, magical people, inspired people, people I have the blessing of getting to know through my work, people just like you.   In this series, they will be sharing their trials, tribulations, creative passions and reminding you of your wisdom, wonder, and even ‘normalness’.. for a creative soul, that is.  

Self Portrait by Hope Mikal

Hope Mikal
Age 22 
 Artist – Painter, Haiku Writer, Lover Of Photography (and all mediums really!)
Creative Workshop Facilitator

Hope, you are an adventure in creativity… what would  you like people to know for sure?

My ideal creative space is a live demonstration where I am surrounded by others and their positive energy although, I create mostly in my home studio with my art loving cat, Rembrandt. (Janet’s note: I’ve SEEN kitty prints on Hope’s works!)

My pieces have been described as ‘refreshing,’ ‘happy,’ and ‘sensual.’ I’ve even heard my work is a mixture of Rainbow Brite, the 80’s cartoon character and Mary Engelbreit, who is known worldwide as an arts related Martha Stewart.

I’ve always wanted to be an artist ever since I was a child. Through coaching with Janet Whitehead, I realised my worries about money and having a ‘suitable career’ were keeping me from calling myself an ‘artist’. Once I let myself play with paint on a daily basis and publically show my art, it was so satisfying! That was more than two years ago, now my artwork can be viewed year round at The Art We Are in Kamloops, B.C.

I host workshops once in while for creative souls, paint shop windows, love life. I have recently joined on as a Kamloops Arts Council Board Director. In December, I will be at the second annual Muse A-Fair.

Do family and friends support your creativeness?

I am so grateful for my many friends and family who support my artwork. In July, my solo exhibition ‘Rainbow Wonderland’ was a great success because of my many friends who helped me with little things such as picking out an outfit, setting up the food and drinks, and sticking around to enjoy the evening. (One friend even held the chocolate fountain full of melted chocolate in the passenger seat of my car in an attempt to safely get it home for baking. Not a fantastic idea… but let’s just say it was a delicious disaster!)

My fiance, Jordan, is always supporting my crazy ideas, even when our apartment is covered in paint and paper mache, he has a good laugh about it, sometimes he helps with cleaning the huge mess later. When I am talking to myself out loud, he is the little man on my shoulder feeding the conversation.

‘Some Good Karma, Some Bad Writing’ is the name of a writing group I meet up with usually once a week; talking to these lovely friends about projects and life keeps me creatively in check. I believe having a great support system is an important part of being an artist to help one grow… from a hatchling… to taking her first steps out of the nest… and spreading her wings.

(pssst, Hope, do you have this photo in a bigger image file? I’d love for everyone to see that inspiration in your eyes!)

Hope of Hope-Full Universe

Were you a creative kid? An imaginative kid?

As a child, playing outdoors was where I spent a lot of my time. My brother and a few

of the neighbour children played in our two storey tree house, playing ‘house,’ ‘store,’ and ‘librarian.’  I always had my nose in a book, especially during the summer reading program at the local library. In grade five, each student was assigned a journal that we handed in weekly. Mine was filled with reports about the endangered Vanouver Island Marmots, whales, poems, and stories I wrote. Art was my favourite school subject and I’m pretty sure I have always had a passion for painting. The first time I won something was a local poster contest, my grandma and I went on a helicopter ride! Whenever a family member or teacher asked me what I want to be when I grow up, I earnestly replied, ”an artist!”

What does creativity mean to you?

I believe creativity is letting go of expectations and the how to’s. Art is an expression of the soul, of who you are, whatever form it comes in it needs to be acknowledged and patted on the back. Everyone is creative, even a left brained politician doodles on his memos. I really encourage my friends in their creative adventures as Charles Horton Cooley said, “An artist cannot fail; it a success to be one.” My interpretation: it is a success to pay attention, and allow the time, supplies and just ‘show up’ to your art. Anything is possible.

I have two of your paintings in my home that feed my soul!  Please tell us what we can look forward to in the future?

Projects I am currently working on… Well, I need to plan what I’m showing at The Muse A-Fair… haha, which is coming up sooner than later. I have several paintings half finished. One is a stuffed rabbit from my childhood. I am working on getting the eyes ‘just right’. Another one is a set of rainbow surround sound speakers. It’s going to look really cool when it’s done. I’m dreaming big and thinking of writing a book of haiku poetry called Haiku 365, with a haiku and possibly art for every day of the year.

A favourite quote?

“The easiest thing to be in the world is you.
The most difficult thing to be is what other people want you to be.”
– Leo Buscaglia

 Thanks for having me, Janet! =)

Thanks for inspiring us, Hope!

Who wouldn’t want to contact Hope Mikal , Artist, Writer, and Certified Creative Workshop Facilitator…. here’s where  you can do that!

The Renegade Muse Interviews: Lisa Bolender, now approaching Quirky

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Renegade Muses?? Say what?? A community of creative sorts from all corners of the world who are wise in the wily ways of bringing creative principles, in the guises of quirky and brilliant muses, to those wanting to be more creative!  Why, here’s one right now…

        Lisa Bolender
Who am I anyway?

A fledgling mixed media artist, scribe to the characters in my imagination, maker of shiny jewelry things, KMCC Certified Coach, Renegade Muse,  part-time poet, creative wanderer, collector of odd things,  dreamer of adventures, friend of animals.

Have you always been creative?
Why yes I have, thank you for asking. When I was little, this was called “odd”. Now I don’t care what they call me. I love my strange, wild life and letting my Muses run free.  Perhaps I am now approaching “quirky”?

Where does your inspiration come from?
Many places: the color of a flower in my garden, the texture of a sweater, a dream, an off-hand comment, the need to escape from my everyday duties, a song on the radio. I just try to be open and receptive to the many messages around me.

Ever feel like you don’t exactly ‘fit in’ in this world?
I’m actually ok with not fitting in. I am discovering through my coaching practice, and through my workshops that very few people really feel like they ‘fit in’.  The athletic, the thin and beautiful, the tortured writers, the quiet ones, they all struggle with finding their place in the world. We spend a lot of time labeling ourselves and others, when each person is a wonderfully wacky blend of traits and behaviors that makes them shine their own particular light. My advice? Find your tribe. They are out there looking for you, and they think you are terrific just as you are.

Do you get that feeling of being in the zone when you’re in your creative process? Can you describe it? When you create, do you ever wonder, “Who did that?”
I love being in my creative zone! Time disappears, my fingers fly, I don’t hear people talking to me, everything seems right with the world. My ideas sometimes take on a life of their own, growing and changing, evolving before my eyes. When I finish and return to the “real world”, look at what I’ve made and say, “Where did that come from? Did I make that?”

Crazy wild dreams?
Yes, yes, yes! A round the world cruise, a dedicated studio space bigger than my kitchen table, a community art center, stenciling in Spain, fabricating finery in France, collecting an awesome closet full of high quality vintage clothing, teaching the world to sing, being my bestest truest self.

Thank you, Lisa, for being here!  I know others are going to feel just that much gooder about themselves.. especially knowing it’s okay not to feel like you ‘fit in!’

Where you can find Lisa:

Learn more about leading creativity groups here.   The Nine Modern Day Muse Facilitator Training is based on the works of, and in collaboration with, Jill Badonsky, and is facilitated by Janet Whitehead who tosses in some of her wily ways to boot.

The Muse A-Fairian Interviews: Meet Una – a tribalmusekin rocking her creative soul

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The Muse A-Fairians Interviews:
Real people, magical people, inspired people, people I have the blessing of getting to know through my work, people just like you.   In this series, they will be sharing their trials, tribulations, creative passions and reminding you of your wisdom, wonder, and even ‘normalness’.. for a creative soul, that is.

Una Connor,

Kamloops BC

Where does your inspiration come from?
I am inspired by the journey and Love of life. Every time I turn a corner I am inspired by nature, other people, and of course the universe…… that is such a great mystery. Sometimes I even go deep enough into my own vortex that I inspire and a-muse myself. Music lights the fires of inspiration deeply, and as I create and listen and dance in between projects and drum to the beats that move me, I hope that my art can inspire the same joy and healing for others.

Do you easily consider yourself an artist?
It’s really apparent that I am an artist, and if I were to say that I am not would be pure denial or loss of self. Every day, even when I don’t want to, my brain somehow transforms everyday life to art somehow.

I can’t look at a crab apple tree without wondering if the star in the middle is a teeny tinny version of an apple, If I cut it in half, can I make cute little tiny stamps for some kind of miniature art project?

Or, walking  I see a weed growing out of a crack, and feel compelled to photograph it, cause you just never know, that could make a really cool tshirt iron on if I decide to make tshirts one day…….

Inspired? Music inspires me! I make art to music all the time and even sing out my frustrations by making up a good venting session to the tune of say, You are my Sunshine.

Every day is an inspiration to see the world through my artists eye. I believe everyone has this within themselves. I consider everyone to be an artist in their own right.

Projects you are working on now?
My most current projects , involve power tools . I have been learning about and using a reciprocal scroll saw, dremel tool and drill, for preparing shells, bone and antler, or tiles and wood for designing and incorporating in home decor designs, sculptures, and jewelry.

I am also currently working on self publishing and promotion /distribution of my  art book called, “My Vision of Energy Healing.” Copies of the book and prints of the art work will be available to order on line soon!

One of the most exciting up and coming events in my current life is The 2nd annual  *Muse a Fair*,along side some of my “Tribalmusekins”( my new favorite add to dictionary word)

We will be showing and promoting and /or selling our creations and ideas and services from Friday Dec 2, 12 – 9 pm to  Dec 3rd 10 am to 4 pm at The Pavillion Theatre, Kamloops BC.  Learn more here!

If you would like to know more about my art, contact me at (web site coming soon!)


Thank you, Una! Grateful to know you! 

The Muse A-Fairian Interviews: Coreena McBurnie, Writing with Chocolate and Crowns

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Coreena McBurnie
Writer, Reader and Creative Adventurer
Kamloops, BC

Coreena and her children reading their published Nanowrimo books

About Coreena:

When Coreena was nine months old her mom gave her a picture book which showed a baby getting out of its crib.  That was it, she never stayed in her crib again and a love affair with books, a source of information and entertainment, was born.  Over the last few years, she has allowed her Muse to emerge and has learned to recognize the creative process in her everyday life, to feel empowered by it, and to take time for it.  One of the ways she does this is through writing.  For three years, she has not only participated in the National Novel Writing Month, she has been instrumental in helping many young people participate as well.  At the Muse A-Fair, Coreena will showcase Nanowrimo and provide a space for unfettered, enthusiastic, fun, fly by the seat of your pants writing.

What projects you are currently working on?
I am getting ready to participate in my third year of National Novel Writing Month where the goal is to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November.
Also, I am almost done editing my first Nano novel from two years ago.  It is a middle school fantasy called The Prophesy of Ilverzah.

What helps you to show up to your creative projects?
I have a writing buddy (yes, you Janet)!!!  This has been amazing for me to get things done.  Every (most every) morning, I call her at 9:30 in the morning, set the timer for 20 minutes, then get writing or editing – 20 minutes is such a non threatening amount of time.  After 20 minutes I call her back and debrief.  This is such a supportive, gentle way to write.  After 20 minutes, I am often eager to keep going, but in the back of my mind, I know if I only ever do the 20 minutes, I have still done something.  This is also a great way to celebrate the baby steps.  Sometimes all I can do in 20 minutes is edit one page or get my notes organized.  These are all important steps, but are often overlooked as part of the process.

Also, I am part of a very informal writing group.  We meet most weeks for coffee and talk about our projects, brainstorm and do writing exercises.  It is so much fun to meet with this great group of writers.

Then there is the threat of deadlines.  I think that is why Nanowrimo works so well for me.  There is a crazy deadline which makes me work crazy hard.

The last one is chocolate.  I often wonder if Nano was picked to be in November because it is the day after Hallowe’en.  I get through November by raiding my kid’s Hallowe’en chocolate.

Any quirky secrets/ rituals/ silly thoughts that help you show up to your creativity?
Often, showing up for me means getting some quiet time and keeping my kids busy.  This quite frequently involves playdates and movies.  I think the first year I did Nanowrimo, my daughter, who was not yet in school, watched Alladin every day.  I found that I can usually write 1000 words in the space of one Disney movie.
The next one is a bit embarrassing.  I have this crown that I put on last year when I was writing.  It got me into writing mode and was a signal for my kids to leave me alone unless there was an emergency.

When you create do you ever wonder ‘who did that?’
Yes.  In fact when I reread my last Nano novel, I could not even remember writing some of it.  I was on the edge of my seat wondering how certain issues would get resolved!  It was the strangest feeling.

Was there a moment or event that you can remember that triggered knowing you are a creative person?
Taking your Muse class was very powerful for me.  I think I always knew I had something creative in me, but taking this course made me realize I could make it a priority and explore it in a fun, non threatening way.

I suspect you have an inner critic… how do you pay attention and move past that nagging little brat?
Again, this is another reason I like Nanowrimo.  The goal is not to write a good 50,000 word novel, just to write a 50,000 word novel.  You should see some of the terrible things I write in November (or maybe not…).  This crazy deadline shifts the focus from quality to quantity.  Whenever I worried about writing a good novel, I barely got started.  I ask my inner critic brat to go on vacation for one month and let it know it can come back in December.  This works for me, I already have 2 novels written and plan to have a third by the end of November.  Sure, they were bad, but they were done and gave me something to edit.  Editing makes a novel good.

Do you easily consider yourself an artist/ writer/ chef/healer (etc)? or if that’s hard for you, please share any thoughts around this.
This is definitely hard for me.  I haven’t sold anything, I haven’t even sent off anything to a publisher yet.  But my thoughts are changing just because I show up to my writing most days.  I am making writing a priority in my life and am ever so slowly changing how I think about being a writer and what a writer is.  Does publishing matter?  Or is my enjoyment of it enough?

Do you know what you’ll be showing at the Muse A-fair.. or are you still percolating? Or procrastinating? Or planning to go crazy on a deadline? Or all of the above?
I plan on showcasing writing and National Novel Writing Month – and I get to share a table with the creative Melanie Van Mol, who is also going to participate in Nanowrimo this year.  She has read me some of her work and I love her writing, it is so sensitive and beautiful.  I would love for people to share their writing with us at our table.  We may even have a book corner for kids.  The Muse A-Fair takes place 3 days after Nanowrimo ends, so we might be a bit frazzled, but we will plan something fun.

Thanks so much, Janet, for having me on your blog today.  It was fun.

And thank you, Coreena… I’m gonna get me a crown….

Coreena’s links:
Blog:  Books & Other Creative Adventures
Facebook: Books & Other Creative Adventures

The Muse A-Fairian Interviews: September Kuromi’s Dual LIfe

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The Muse A-Fairian Interviews:
Real people, magical people, inspired people, people I have the blessing of getting to know through my work, people just like you.   In this series, they will be sharing their trials, tribulations, creative passions and reminding you of your wisdom, wonder, and even ‘normalness’.. for a creative soul, that is.

Galloping Free by September Kuromi

September Kuromi

Leading a dual life.

My art:

My Social Fire business:

A bit about you?

I am an ex-corporate computer programmer – I love social media, business intelligence and solving impossible programming challenges.  But now – I divide my time between three young kids, creating art and consulting on corporate volunteering/sustainable business practices.

My first love in art is horses – my second love is portraits.  I do commissions and fun pieces in pencil, plus dabbling in painting, sculpting.  I will have a little of everything at the Muse-Affair.

Have you always been creative?
I always thought ‘I am not very creative’.  I can solve problems and draw anything I see – but I am not creative.   But then a fairy (I think I call her Muse Janet) landed on the page of a magazine I was reading and I decided to try something new.

Now I feel like I am full of ideas and solutions.  I used to do all my brainstorming on a computer, occasionally with a pen and paper.  Now, I get my pencil crayons, paints, playdough and my sketchbook and let my imagination flow.

My first impulse to an open ended problem is still to ask someone else for advice, or do it for me, but as fortune would have it those people don’t seem to come through – so I end up doing it myself, with lovely results.  I am slowly building faith in my creative self…  and I hear people say ‘you are so creative!’ regularly.  I know it was always there – so yes, I was always creative –  but I didn’t accept the label until recently.
Has ‘small steps’ or ‘lowering expectations’ helped you to show up?
More than anything ‘small steps’ has made me more effective.  Even what I used to think was a ‘small step’ I now realize was still a big step.  Infinitesimally small steps makes the impossible seem possible.   I love having someone help me break it down – it turns out to be an eye opener everytime.  But I also remember to do it all on my own sometimes and love the results.
Where does your inspiration come from?
Solving problems, running…

Do you easily consider yourself an artist/ writer/ entrepreneur?

Jade by September Kuromi

So hard!  I want to see a traditional amount of success (i.e. money coming in regularly for my art or clients lined up out the door for consulting) before I feel ‘real’ when I say I am artist/consultant.  I try put positive energy and pride into my work so I feel like I am fulfilling the role I imagine.  But it is so hard.  It is much easier when you are working for someone else and they give you a job description and a title.  Plus, my successes have been slow coming in  – I feel like people won’t believe me when I say “I am artist/consultant” if I take too long to produce results.  But I still do call myself an artist or a consultant – and people seem to believe me.

Crazy wild dreams?
I see all these people, mostly from afar, who glow about their life.  How they wake up everyday and get paid to do the things they love to do.  “Live your passion and the money will follow”.   I want to believe them – they seem real and honest.  But really?  I don’t know anyone personally (well one person: Muse Janet) who actually lives this dream – who is excited, thankful and successful everyday (or most days).  My wildest dream is be successful, influential and loving my work everyday –  I feel a degree of each of these now but I want more.  I continue to build on this and one day I want to feel like I am in the company of these content, successful people I follow.

Favourite quote?
My favourite quote right now is from the Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, answered

Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.

It is making the rounds on Facebook right now – so I feel like I am jumping on a bandwagon, but I truly focus these days on living in the present and I try to honor my body and soul everyday ( or most days)

Thank you, September for your honest sharing.. you’re staying true to your dream and this is so inspiring for others.  Readers, your comments and even answers to the same questions are welcome!

Join us at the Muse A-Fair to see more of September’s inspired works..
from both sides of her life! 

Peaceful Puttering Pottering in Parallel Universe Time

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“Hello Creative Beans!” announces the queen of inspiration, Jill Badonsky, to a number of creative beans on a teleconference call.

She suggests we  add an essence to our Parallel Universe Time*:  A couple of adjectives like childlike openess, mellow meandering, willing wonder, delighted curiousity…

I’ve picked  Peaceful Puttering Pottering.. because it’s okay to pick more than two words.. everything is okay if you are in a creative space.  It’s a random choice.  But then, ‘random’ is often the ‘permission slip’ for our more inspired thoughts to surprise us.

We write our words on a piece of paper in a script akin to our words (mine looked very puttery) and breath in the feeling that our words might feel like.

Yup, I’m going to spend a focussed half hour of peaceful puttering pottering with my clay.

After a couple of moments of connecting on this call, being reminded that this is our half hour to show up to our creative space, and that in that space, we also get to hold creative space for  the others on the call:

  • No checking emails,
  • no searching for snacks in the fridge and then deciding it needs cleaning,
  • no taking the dog for just a little walk

… just showing up to our creative project.  At the end of a half hour, we will reconnect to ‘check-in’ and celebrate our showing up.

I feel rather excited at the mention of ‘giddy eagerness’ and the sacred space to be held by ‘us’.

I hang up, go straight to the clay that MUST get done.. there is a deadline!  And it is drying too quickly!  And I’ve been on many deadlines in the past and endless hours of sculpting and creating and I realize as I breath in ‘peaceful puttering pottering’ that my energy truly has shifted to something I had forgotten when I’m on a deadline (oh so self imposed.. I could always have started earlier. Typical dang creative.)  I also realize that the energy of wayyyyy too many late nights, long weeks, extensive creating without breaks over the years is exactly what can keep me from the clay now – it worked then, but it’s not what I want to feel anymore.  I want to take breaks and lull and meander and peacefully puttery pot.

And even though the pieces I’m working on do have a deadline, I truly feel more peaceful and puttery.   This rocks.

“Oh wait!  I have an idea!” I think as I carve my pots. BUT GUESS WHAT.. I DON’T run to the computer to start a new blog post. I don’t run to my book to add a few words. I don’t run off and email a friend.  I don’t post a caption to Jill’s facebook photos. No. I stay put because I am holding sacred creative space for the others, too.

A fun little check-in one half hour later and Parallel Universe Time is over.. but I can do it again next week.  You can too.. you can just whip right over here and sign up for free.

But if you can’t get there, there’s other ways.  You could find a cohort in creativity:  Almost every week day morning, Coreena McBurnie and I connect for 20 minutes of ‘getting to our books.’  It works.  Even for me who likes endless hours to write.. I feel so good getting in 20 minutes.  It can lead to more, of course. I usually have clients or other things booked and don’t get to carry on for too long. But the book is always open on my computer now, and I can spend more ’20 minutes’ several times during the day! Or not.  20 minutes is enough to keep it on the top of the important list.. instead of the ‘one day I’ll get to” list.  Just holding space for each other is enough.

Oh the wonders and weirdnesses of us creative beans…  and thank goodness for ways to help us show up!  What helps you get to your creativity?

 * Parallel Universe Time is actually an official tool (and ever so well received) of Jill Badonsky’s Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coaching

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