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Monthly Archives: November 2011

Sherry Robinson: Inspiring People to Deepen Their Connection to Nature

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Meet Sherry, an inspired Muse who will be at the Muse A-Fair!

Sherry Robinson

Kamloops BC

Notice Quiet Nature



My curiosity started well over a decade ago, when I began reading books and followed Mentors on the Internet who shared the insights of Deep Ecology and the emerging field of Ecopsychology.

I resonated with this way of experiencing the world that inspires us to shift our attention and feel a deeper connection to anything in Nature.

Then a few years ago, I experienced a few Life Changing Events. I had to let go of my identity and lean into a new way of living. I was frustrated that I may not be able to achieve the career and rural lifestyle that I so desired.   Notice Quiet Nature began as a means to reconnect myself to what I was most passionate about and that is, spending time outdoors making discoveries in nature using photography, writing and crafts, then sharing this with the world.

This also meant giving myself permission to freely explore my dreams and hopefully find a way to adapt my dreams too.   One small step was to start a Blog to share my photography and introduce concept of re-connecting to nature, as well as share and quote some of my favorite resources on the subject.

A container made of Wasp Nest Paper

Click image to go to Sherry's popular blog!


When we explore this deeper connection to nature, we feel attached to the interdependent web of life. When we feel connected, we flourish because of this relationship with Nature.”   ~Sherry Robinson

Thank you, Sherry!!!  I get to hike with Sherry and she is a wealth of inspiration in nature.  Meet  Sherry at the Muse A-Fair: Dec 2 noon to 9, Dec 3 10 to 4 at the Pavilion Theatre in Kamloops!   More info







Messy Bottoms and Breaking the Rules

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I’m talking about the bottoms of my pottery pots… sometimes messy. The more intricate the design in the pot, the messier the bottoms.  That’s against the general rules that the critics would believe makes a good pot:  MUST. BE. PERFECTLY. Smooth.  Bottoms.

Ya, whatever.   In cross-stitch it’s ‘important’ to have the back side look as clean, almost, as the front side. But what if the front side had some wild and amazing intricate design, but the only technique to do that was to have a lot of knots on the backside?  Do you not bother to create the new and wondrous and wild design to save ‘face’ for the back side?   I hope that wouldn’t be true.  Something stunning wouldn’t happen.   (I know squat about cross stitch.. just creating a scenario here.)

What if a pottery piece was wildly designed with extensive detailed carving, and handbuilt additions? DO YOU KNOW HOW INSANE IT IS to keep a bottom perfectly clean as a billion tiny pieces of clay, while carving, fly like Edward Scissorhand trimming a hedge? Or what about flipping over  that odd shape pot for a final cleaning on the wheel, when the rim it sits on is not symmetrical, and the added pieces would be damaged in the process? Sure I’ll trim the bottoms beautifully before carving begins. But keeping them ideal just doesn’t work.  A wipe, afterward,yes.. but “proper” cleaning, no.

So, I have messy bottoms and dang it, I’m proud of them.  The rules of proper bottoms have had to be broken for the rest of the piece to evolve.

Have you  broken any rules lately?  Ever noticed how ‘must do’s’ in art actually stop you?  Or is the rebel in you inspired when you see a possibility of breaking the rules? And what about ‘rules’ in the rest of your life? I personally have given up on “House must be clean for guests” and trust me, this took many years evolving. Now I figure it’s my job to model imperfection.  ~smile~

What rules would you like to break? Noticing them is a trick in itself when we live by them but we don’t ‘notice’ them consciously.  Once noticed, once we ask ‘do I have to adhere to that rule?” we can usually find some way to justify our breaking the rules that serves that part of us that does appreciate rules.  Like I just justified my messy bottoms and sometimes messy home.  Works for me. What works for you?

The Muse A-Fair – the epitome of why I do what I do

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As the 2nd Annual Muse A-Fair approaches, I thought I’d re-share this post about why the first event was so successful!

The Story of the Muse A-Fair really has become the epitome of why we, who are advocates of those wanting to live inspired lives,  do what we do.

What was it that made the Muse A-Fair such a success?  Oh there’s the obvious – people who walked into the show have never seen anything like it.  Really, when else has artwork of vaginas and altered cabbage patch dolls been combined with the teachings of a shamanic healer,  a promoter of the written word, and a most eclectic and unusual collection of visual artwork, jewellery, photography, owl pellet dissecting kits, duct tape wallets, soaps , witches wands and baked goods?

The quality of the works was top notch… I was in awe at what had been produced and at the glorious effort that went into displays.

People who came to see the event, despite the bomb threat that shut down the downtown core (we were on the edge of that shutdown) stayed and stayed and stayed.  Yes, there was so much to see and absorb.  One person left and came back, commenting she was overwhelmed with the inspiration in the space and had to take a break.

But here is the true success of the show:

When you go into a traditional art or craft show, how often do you find yourself wanting to get out of there quickly?  Traditionally, many of the vendors, although pursuing their creative endeavour, are suffering from the characteristics of the un-mused:   they are doubting themselves, comparing themselves with others, judging others, still thinking that they can only justify their creations if they sell,  are competitive with other vendors, (and can even be caught verbally disparaging them), are finding all kinds of outside people and things to blame if things aren’t going as well as they should be,  and they show up to the event in high defence mode in preparation for any rude comments that might never actually happen…..  and thus, there is an energy hovering over the show that is not all that light.

The muse a-fair, however, included people who have had coaching and/ or muse group training.  The energy of compassion and gentleness for themselves was obvious.  Their collective caring for each other literally shone.  If they found themselves comparing, or fearful, or doubting.. that was okay… they knew how to manage that.  They have Bodyguards and Spills and all the muses to call on. But more than that, they’ve bonded with their own creative soul.  So much
that may have caused doubts in the past no longer even exists.

They understand each other.  We could all laugh with each other at the sleepless nights prior to the event for those of us who create on a deadline.  It wasn’t wrong to stay up all night. It just happens to be a characteristic of some creative people.

We didn’t necessarily have high dollar sales, (although without the bomb scare I think we would have) but not one of the Muses would say this wasn’t the most awesome show ever.  They got to be in their process and they knew how brave they were to step out and share their brilliance.  They knew they had the full support of every other creative being there.

The depth of their stories were not blatantly shared, although I hope over time they feel comfortable sharing all.  There are stories of overcoming huge challenges, of moving forward despite pain, of crazy success… Observers were touched to the very depth of their soul and said so, and purchased pieces that touched their heart.   Some muses have commented that this event has been life changing.

The group of Muses of the Muse A-Fair are people who have chosen to live inspired lives.  That energy, and the collective love and support of each other is what made this event a success.  This is what people who came to see felt. This is what inspired them to stay and talk and meander and purchase and be inspired.

And this why I do what I do. That is why life coaches and creativity coaches do what we do. We are changing the energy of the world by honouring the inspired soul.

Learn more about the event and the work and inspiration of the Muses of the first ever Muse A-Fair here!   As well on my site, you can learn more about becoming a muse yourself, or even, training to be a certified creativity group leader.

Liz Gow on Finding Your Tribe ~ A Renegade Muse Interview

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Wise in the wily ways of supporting creative souls, the Renegade Muses are an international community of people trained to lead creativity groups. Meet Liz!

LIz Gow

Liz Gow

New Zealand
Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coach
Renegade Muse: Muse Group Facilitator
Awesome Person
Liz, I had the absolute joy of meeting you in person in the San Diego Muse Group Leader Training with Jill Badonsky.  Connecting to kindred spirits is inspiring and such a relief!   How has finding your ‘tribe,’ as international as it is, helped you?
My goodness, I cannot tell you how much it has helped me to be true to myself.   More than that it has helped me discover who I really am which is still continuing.  At times it has been a challenge.  When I first came back from San Diego after the Muse Group Leaders training, I was ready for action but when I told people about the Muses and some of the ideas it was as if I was talking from another planet. I was concerned that people would not take my coaching seriously, I do have a lot of fun but you know what I mean.
So I used the Muse concepts regardless and did not declare it until after participants had experienced the concepts.  They were so successful that it was hard to not acknowledge their power.    My  upcoming presentation with leaders of a profession will be extremely creative and interactive.  This is a real biggy for me and I cannot wait.  I’m thankful for having my ‘tribe’… I feel supported when I receive emails, attend (on calls, online, facebook, etc) anything to do with KMCC, Muse Groups, and am reminded “Ok, this is really  me.”   We share, inspire and support each other to have the best life possible based on who we are as individuals. How fantastic is that? And there is no pressure to belong or be, you simply are.

Do you have tips to help others find their tribe locally or internationally?

LIz's Front Garden!

A few years ago,  I googled an interest and discovered ‘Body Blissmas’.  I explored the site (The Muse is In)  and initially thought, “Wow that is a bit out there for me”, but that was my head talking -I had a smile on my face. I can honestly say that I felt my whole body smiling and I thought “why the hell not?”  It was different and I wanted different.  Being open to trying  something that you have never done before can open up your horizons.  As you search for your tribe,  try to notice the reaction on your face and in your body;  Do you feel good, simply by being present?

In New Zealand I have attended so many networking meetings and am so networked out.  Now I simply ask,  “Do I feel comfortable here?” “Do I feel myself here?”  “Am I having fun being here?”  As a result, I have now dwindled down to 2 networks that I am happy with.   I have learned about my passion, interests, likes and use this as a guide.    If you find yourself smiling, laughing out loud and feeling “I so get what they mean”, these are wonderful clues to tell you perhaps you are in the right place.  Noticing that someone ‘gets you’ is another great clue.

Your thoughts on the creative process?

Creative Mind Mapping

I had not appreciated just how creative we all are in whatever we do so I had to work through my preconceived ideas of what artists, writers, sculptures, musicians, etc were.  I had this feeling of being in awe and that I was not worthy.

Being a part of Renegade Muses and KMCC,  I feel totally safe, I don’t feel judged,  and it’s  helped me find courage; to be vulnerable; and to know what it is like to connect to who I really am. I am not an artist, author or whatever, but I am a creative being and recognizing that, it blows me away the shift I’ve experienced in all that is me.  I am getting bolder as I bring creativity into my practice.  I’ve written things that I would have normally kept to myself .  I have fun. I make way more mistakes, do heaps of colouring in, and I am doing a painting class next weekend.  I have  more compassion; I give myself permission to take  small steps.

Any stories to tell about what’s stopped you in the past from being your creative self?

Thinking Ahead by Liz Gow

Many years ago,  I took a stained glass class.  I had wanted to do this for years, but after 2 sessions I gave up.  I also attended a water colour workshop and gave up.  I had not realised at the time that I gave up because what I created  was ‘not good enough’.  The end result was ‘crap’.  I was not allowing myself to be a beginner and constantly compared myself to others each time, thinking, “Wow their stuff is so good,  they are creative, this is not for me.”  Now when I write this, I think, “How crazy is that?”  but it stopped me from trying things, well, I stopped me from trying things and from believing I was a creative person. Right now I am learning to crochet.  I make so many mistakes and I’m actually looking forward to putting a photo of it on face book; I  may even blog about it.  I laugh because it is not how it is meant to be, however I am enjoying being a beginner.  Even the ‘Greats’ of our time had to start somewhere.  It gives me so much freedom to try new stuff and giggle and be proud at the same time of not giving up.  Being in the creative process gives me joy.

Any quirky secrets/ rituals/ silly thoughts that help you show up to honouring your creative self?

Well to be honest I call on the Muses, even mentioning them somehow makes me feel mischievous.   Sometimes I just think of Bea Silly and that helps me do something.   In the morning, I  give myself 5 mins and  just ‘colour in.’  I doodle while on the phone at work.. and this is something new for me and it feels good.  I love it when I go to meet someone and they are late because I get my wee book out and pen and doodle.  I have started getting there earlier so I can play.

Creative planning

Ever feel like you don’t exactly ‘fit in’ in this world?

To be honest I feel like that more and more – ha ha-  and yet I feel like I am fitting with me more and more.   I still step back from many things because I don’t want to be influenced to fit.  What I am noticing  is now that I try to not make myself fit in I am in my bliss and the better my energy is.  I am getting known for well being, having fun and laughing.   I now speak my truth more and have written approximately 4 articles for my Professions newsletter that are a little different.

My muse tribe has shown me that I can be who I am and they are who they are and it works, albeit scary at times.  I guess I feel like I belong to this tribe without the strings.  It feels more spiritual and bigger than anything I have ever known.  What I know is that I am surrounded by like minded people  like you, KMCC tribe, my husband, friends, acquaintances.  I have been approached by a couple of other people just because I am who I am.  I feel now it is more important to absolutely belong to your ‘self’  and the ripple effects are absolutely amazing.

What’s coming up for  you in the future?

More of Liz's Home

Next year I am going to do a counselling course – 18 months.  I want to work with people who have disordered eating, one to one and groups.  Now I know I will  want to do it differently with the Muses and coaching and creativity workshops/tools.  This means I may not ‘fit’ but now that will not stop me.  I will make sure I am professional, safe and ethical and will do it my way.  Wow, I said that out loud.  How cool is that!

Thanks, Liz, for sharing your journey here.  I’m delighted that you are one of my kindred spirits and I think I would love to come visit you in beautiful New Zealand and take one of your workshops!

You can connect with Liz at Liz Gow Life Coach on facebook

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 life and creativity coach, Janet Whitehead,  who tosses in some of her wily ways to boot.

Linda McRae: “Click goes the Shutter, Click goes my Soul”.

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The Muse A-Fairian Interviews: Inspired people showing up to their inspired lives – there are trials, there are tribulations, but they keep showing up and honouring their passions and purpose.   All are a part of the collaborative second annual Muse A-Fair event in December.

Welcome Linda!

Linda McRae

Linda McRae
Views by Linda Photography

Linda discovered photography when she purchased her first digital camera in 2002 for use in her technical writing work at Nortel Networks in Ontario. She never did get to use the camera for that purpose, but instead found herself on a journey of passion in creating fine art images. Since then, she has shown and sold her work in art shows and galleries, and won several awards (including an Award of Excellence in Photography from Muskoka Arts and Crafts Inc. in Bracebridge, Ontario, and an Honourable Mention from the Kamloops Art Council). In Kamloops, Linda continues to show and sell her fine art images. In addition, she also captures “extraordinary moments” at action events.

Have you always been creative?
I struggle always with this question and usually, my first response was always no. But when I really think about it, yes, I believe that I have always been creative, in some form, but always in the sense of replicating something that someone else had created. I don’t remember much about being creative as a child, but as a teen, I tried a lot of different things, such as reproducing vinyl record album covers freehand, embroidery, and making a beaded belt. I never did finish the embroidery and beading projects, but I did keep them, and I still have them. That belt would make a good choker, now!

As a young adult, I knitted and crocheted lots, and tried my hand at designing and knitting sweaters on a knitting machine and designing and hand-knitting or crocheting bedspreads or afghans. I still have a couple of those unfinished projects too.

Nothing seemed to work for me. Anything I did create always fell short of expectation; it was just never good enough and did not excite me enough to keep going. Until one day in 2002, the digital camera I purchased on eBay (for work) arrived at my door and I used it to photograph the flowers in my garden. My life was changed. All other interests fell to the wayside as my passion for photography was ignited and continues to burn almost 10 years later. Has it really only been that long? It feels like a lifetime because I’ve achieved so much in that time.

And recently, through my friendship with Janet and her Creative Muse students, I’ve discovered a creative ability in doodling and painting too, but photography is where my heart is at.

Kamloopa Pow Wow by Linda McRae

Any stories to tell about what stops you from showing up to your creativity?
I work the equivalent of two full-time jobs 1) technical writing which provides my bread and butter income, creating software configuration manuals in the telecommunications industry, and 2) freelance action event photographer, capturing extraordinary moments of dogs and humans in action which I then offer for sale as prints or digital files; the volume I shoot is very high, and my workload is heavy. I find it hard to justify taking time off to “play”. My friends literally have to drag me kicking and screaming away from my desk, so friends…. please drag me away from my desk more often!

Has small steps or lowering expectations helped you to show up?
I believe that small steps and lowering expectations are a really great way to help one show up, but my mindset has always been that if I can’t spend some considerable time on “something” in one sitting, what’s the point in starting?
But on the other hand, the projects I want to work on are usually so big that sheer overwhelm stops me from showing up. I really need to work on that, to break those really big projects into smaller bite-sized pieces and just keep processing those bite-size pieces a bit at a time. Because I know that all of a sudden, the project will be finished! I need to apply that concept to keeping my house clean too. I can’t remember the last time I dragged my vacuum cleaner out of the closet!

Do you get the feeling of being in the zone when you are in 
your creative process? Can you describe that?
I have experienced being “in the zone” while working behind the lens.
I become quite absorbed in what I’m doing to the point that I lose awareness of time, my environment, and the people around me.  And when I capture an image that really works for me, I feel a kind of “click”  deep inside my core. Interesting… click goes the shutter, click goes my soul.

Band Abstract by Linda McRae

What projects are you currently working on?
The photos of my work here demonstrate some creative photography techniques that I’ve been working on. Some people paint with paint and brush. I am learning to paint with light and motion.

I have in mind to create huge (and I mean “HUGE”) pieces of photographic wall art. They are expensive to produce, and I only have the financial means to create one or two, but first, I have to decide “which images.” I have so many that I like, it’s really hard to choose!

Events/shows that you’d like to tell us about?


*  RIH Craft A Fair, November 6, Interior Savings Centre

*  Christmas at the Square, November 18-19, St. Andrews on the Square

AND of course…
Muse-A-Fair, December 2-3, Pavillion Theatre

I’m one of those last minute decision makers… what I’ll be showing at Muse A Fair will not be revealed until you get there, because right now…  even I don’t know!


Note from Janet: Oh, I think you do so know now… and I’m excited about seeing your works!  ~smile~  Thanks so much for being here, Linda, and helping others to see themselves and know they are normal if they have big projects, and that feeling that one must dedicate huge blocks of time.  Thanks for the reminder that breaking it down and small steps can bring results.  There are many tools to help get to your dreams, and Linda’s? She gives herself permission to  keep showing up.. LOOK at the amazing works she produces!!!!!!! I adore following your “Views by Linda Photography”  pages, Linda. Thank you for the visual wonders that inspire me.

Here’s how  to contact Linda and where to follow her inspired works!

View by Linda Photography



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