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Category Archives: Creativity

Practical Imagination and my Troll

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Sometimes we just need to write.  As my granddaughter said at age 4 (while ‘scribbling’ sentences)  “Writing is important. It helps me hear what my mind is saying.”

Proof in the pudding: Writing my previous blog post likely hit home more for me than for any of you dear readers. And it led to a true commitment to imagination, creativity and intuition.

Yessirree, while leading my new online course last night, (the course that I more fully developed after I wrote the previous blog post) I heard myself say , “I know.. weird. But then, the weirder this course gets the happier I am.”   ( I had a brief second of “Eek.. how unprofessional!” Yes, I have a logical left brain that tries to have its say)  

But it’s true. The more people get to discover that their imagination and intuition is wilder and weirder and more able to empower them than most anything, and that it often does this with such curious surprises and insights… yes, the happier I get to be. Even better, the more people recognize how practical their imagination is, the happier I am. After all, through simple creative techniques, we can connect to answers that otherwise evade us, seemingly forever, using our logical cautious thinking.

Consider this.  I posted the following on my facebook page:

“You know the naysayer in your head? The one who says you’re not good enough? Quick. Use your imagination and turn them into a character of some sort. Now do tell, who did you see.”

I noticed a troll as I wrote this. Then I quickly wrote down thoughts that came to my mind:

“Troll lives under a bridge. Wants to keep people away.  Empath.. . too much energy of others bombards him and it hurts.  Living a simple life. No responsibilities. Is not actually happy.  But will do what he can to sabotage having to be out there in a world that hurts him. “

Honestly I wouldn’t logically have guessed that I have a troll. I am an empath – very aware of energies of others and very sensitive to environmental issues. (Ie: can’t be in fluorescent lights)    It is an asset when I work with dedicated groups or with personal clients.  It does, however, come with challenges.   I hadn’t recognized this little troll quietly playing havoc , especially since I felt I manage my sensitivities rather well.  But when I wrote this it revealed a huge aha moment, helping me see that there is a part of me that wants to withdraw and that creates a constant quiet resistance that I am always working against,  even though it doesn’t stop me. Who needs that? Now just the  simple awareness of the troll, especially with a visual,  is going to help us both. Noticing the resistance is enough to stop its hold. And sometimes, perhaps, I will notice the resistance and say, “Hey, maybe we’ll just paddle our feet in the water near Troll’s bridge for a little while.”

"I see you, Troll" (Also note, there's nothing says a sketchpainting needs to be good!)

“I see you, Troll” (Also note, there’s nothing says a sketchpainting needs to be good!)


I quick sketchpainted him. I find that going one step further on a discovery helps to cement the insight so it is less likely to hide itself again. Seems to me this simple little imaginary connection has been worth years of therapy.


How about you? May I repeat that post just for you?

“You know the naysayer in your head? The one who says you’re not good enough? Quick. Use your imagination and turn them into a character of some sort. Now do tell, who did you see.”

Love to hear who you discover.

And if you’d like to read a good article about empaths and see if it’s a fit for you  (often the case with creative folks) here’s an interesting link. 

Oh, curious about the new course? I’d love if you popped over to learn more about the next ♫Way Hey Up She Rises♫ course!

Enjoy that wicked wild practical imagination of yours!


My sincere apology to creativity, imagination and mystical tall ships

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“I’m so sorry. I am truly at fault here,” I say to imagination and creativity.

Creativity, and it’s biggest player, Imagination,  has spent lifetimes being dismissed, discredited, and at best, something you do when you’ve got everything else done, even though our creative mind is as much a part of our lives as breathing.  Would we give breathing so little recognition for it’s value?  Creativity could even use a new word to help people to pay attention.  You know how ‘God’ –  a tiny three letter word- can evoke so many stories, so much controversy, so much doubt, so much questioning and so much yearning,  that some people have trouble, or might even step right away from, defining and engaging with what God is for them. Sometimes I think God needs a new term. Like, “Universe” or “GOM – (Grand Old Magic)”

Ya, creativity is like that, needing something new.  It’s even easier to not define creativity… all the systems already did that for you- usually with a final touch suggesting creativity is a nice hobby and imagination is for kids.  Eek!

But what is really scary for me is that I’ve played a role in keeping creativity and  imagination in their ‘place’ in the general thinking of the world. This is not true of how I’ve interacted with the process of creativity and imagination on a personal level, nor is it entirely true of how I include it in coaching personal clients….and yes, I know, it’s obvious that I care about creativity and imagination,  but damn, I haven’t shared exactly how powerful, how magical, how therapeutic, how impossible becomes possible, how spiritual and how magical things can be when the creative thinking  and doing and being processes get the time and space they deserve.  And magical. Did I mention magical?

I’m sorry.

I know this stuff. Yet, knowing what I know, I’ve been resistant to share it all, because a lot of people will think I’m crazy.

“Really, Janet?  You think that’s been getting in your way?” asks some part of me.  Yes, I think I’ve been letting that get in the way.

I’m going to change that.

After all, mystical tall ships saved my life, faeries got me through grief, and a  leprechaun changed the direction of my entire career.

They deserve better than they’ve been getting.



Creativity.. here’s a couple sad statements

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A quote from Robert Epstein, senior research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology, and contributing editor for Scientific American Mind: (Highly recommend reading the current edition focused entirely on creativity)

“When children are very young, they all express creativity, but by the end of first grade, very few do. This is because of socialization. They learn in school to stay on task and to stop daydreaming and asking silly questions. As a result, the expression of new ideas is largely shut down. We end up leaving creative expression to the misfits – the people who can’t be socialized. It’s a tragedy.”

Quote from my six year old granddaughter yesterday upon returning to school after the Christmas Holidays: (She is half way through Grade One)

“Nana, my whole classroom was changed!  It’s because we’re older now, so now we just have to work, write and sit all day. Just work and write all day!”
“You still get to play and make things, don’t you?”
“No, I think we just work all day now. Because we are older and some of the kids already turned 7.”

I don’t know what’s really going on in her class. She is in an arts-based school. But, it frightens me that this is her perspective. I hope today is different for her. I really don’t want either of these quotes to be true anymore.

Wow, what a setup for failure…the pressure to capture ideas!

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I’m proud to be a bad poet… always quick ramblings triggered by a birthday that needs a card, or in this case a friend’s poem about a toaster. Oh, and by a question which was one I happened to ask our local group of muses. (Which means our local group of eclectic, funny, diverse, very interesting people with creative thinking and doing or sometimes not getting around to it, as our bond)

Here was the question prior to a get together at Red Beard Coffee (that’s important to know.. you’ll see): Anyone want to bring a demo/piece/tool/ quirk of their current favourite creative expression?… a trigger line for us to write a poem, a tool that you seem to constantly be using, a painting technique, a way you made toast when the toaster died?

But back to poetry…it just hasn’t become a place that I spend time connecting words into rhythm and magic. Even with bad poetry, though, if I’m looking to figure something out, it (like all creative expressions) will always reveal something worth knowing….


No one else can see my quirk

It hides where others cannot lurk

Odd insights, strange stories; all day are told

Some so subtle, some so bold

They hide within my chatty mind

A little hard, then, for others to find

Like the tree that falls in the forest, does sound exist if no one heard?


No matter if others don’t hear…

I’m entertained all day… and I want to end this line, (cuz it almost rhymes) with Red Beard.


I know I was inspired to write this because of all that is ‘out there’ saying that those creative ideas in your head are meaningless if something isn’t done about them. I was inspired to write this by how often I’ve heard people be so upset with themselves because they had a great idea in the night and did not wake up enough to write it down. I’m inspired to write this because a whole realm of wonder, curiousity, fuel for future ideas, and personal entertainment is often dismissed as both frustrating and unworthy.

To all that I say; Wow, what a setup for failure, guilt and a ton of shoulds! My god, if we were meant to produce something from every creative thought or idea, I know people who would need twenty lifetimes just to produce the ideas that run through their head in a month, or even a week, or even a day, or sometimes even a highly idea-inundated hour!

So, really, let’s give it a rest.. that part of us who beats ourselves up for not turning all those interesting ideas, genius philosophies or witty comebacks into something for the world to see.

And let’s give them some credit…the ideas, humour, genius concepts, magical feelings, visions, curious questions, and quirky ponderings that flit through our minds… soon forgotten but likely leading to the next one… and appreciate them for being a part of us.

I know this is contrary to popular opinion. I know this is contrary to many teachings that say you must get those ideas down in writing. But maybe, just maybe, if we give them credit just as they are, we can enjoy them fully in that brief moment they are there.  (Isn’t that part of the ‘being in the moment’ and mindfulness philosophies? Why yes, I believe so!) And there could be a side benefit; maybe if we stop trying so hard to capture them, the ones we’d most like to capture will be captured more easily.

middle of night jpg

Anyone else ever wake up to notes like this?

Inspiration from the Mediocre Weather.

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grey sky copy

Driving to a creativity event, under a grey sky, I wondered where the huge thunderstorm that had been predicted, had gone.

And I wondered if the weather has struggles deciding what to do.

I imagined the Weather thinking to itself:

“Oh, it’d be fabulous to have a wild adventure of thunder and lightning and wind and rain!!!!” the Weather leaps with the anticipation of it all, but then adds, as its spirit drops,  “But gee, people get so upset if I cause damage…maybe I better not.”

“Oh wait,” the weather brightens enthusiastically, “I could have long sunny days with beautiful sunrises, sunsets and crystal blue skies!” But downtrodden once again, the weather adds, “Nah, my sun is too hot this time of year. People complain too much.   Maybe I better just stay mediocre.”

On Being Nervous, by a Six Year Old.

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Phone call to my granddaughter before I went to be on the creativity panel, (billed as a ‘Creativity Expert’) at the Thrive Festival:

ME: Hi Sweetheart, you know what I get to do today? I get to speak in front of a lot of people about creativity and I’m nervous.


ME: Yes, I phoned for you to wish me good luck.

GRANDDAUGHTER: I know what to do. When I was going to my very first day at my School of the Arts Elementary School, I was very nervous. So what I did was just say Hi to people. And as I went along my way, I got happier and happier. Soon, I was even able to say more.

ME, with jaw dropped, heart smiling:  Honey, that’s beautiful. I will try that. And I will write that down and share it with others to help them, too.

(ps. It worked like a charm)

Okay, phew… that was brave of me.

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“Sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage.
Just, literally, 20 seconds of just embarrassing bravery
and I promise you something great will come of it.”
From the movie, We Bought a Zoo.

I’ve had a few 20 seconds of bravery of late. Today, I delivered my book to family members. Embarrassing anxious bravery. It took many teeny 20 second steps to do it.

Working title: Beyond All Imaginings. A true story of love, loss, life and beings who introduced themselves as faeries.

The book is full of stories I tell, some of you know about the crazy way faeries came into my life. But within this book, also, are the sad stories and the otherworldly stories that evolved from the sad ones; the stories that I’ve never told.

As it is a creative memoire of a 15 years period of my life, my family are in the story. Before it goes any further, I need to know they are comfortable with that. More than that, its been important to me that they know the stories I’ve never told.

Nobody has read my book. And how frickin’ crazy is it that family reads it first?  Not that they are critical or judgmental of me. They are all pretty amazing. BUT family is not the place to first put your creative dream because they love you, care about you, and are most likely to be concerned about others being critical or judgemental of you. They don’t want you to be hurt.

And the stories I tell in this book… well, let’s just say a lot of strange things have happened in my life. There will be some who will doubt, criticize and judge.  Heck, it’d be a dull book if there weren’t.

But my family first?  There’s a chapter on faerie sex! And it’s not just about faeries. Oy.  Definately needed courage to share this book with them.

20 seconds: “Just open a document.” Then you can write the letter that goes with the book for the family. Just start with opening the document.

20 seconds: Get envelopes out of the drawer.  Just that.  It leads to packaging the book for the two that are sent out of town.

20 seconds: Dial daughter’s number.  Once she answers, you kind of have to say what you planned, “I’m bringing my book over.”

20 seconds: Breath. Hand book to brother as he opens the door.

Yes, that is what it took. Many small 20 second steps that led to other steps. Each of those 20 second steps feeling like I was being insanely brave.

It is a  little scary as I wait for them to read it. Such relief when my brother called tonight to say he’d read just a bit so far and thought it very well written. He’s very well read, his opinion matters.  I had tears in my eyes as he said that.  Now, if only he doesn’t think me crazy by the time he is done. Ditto for all the rest of the family. (Ditto also that they are well read!)

Tonight to tune out of the anxiousness I watched “We Bought a Zoo.” Seemed like it might be a light humorous movie to be distracted by. It surprised me that it was very good and when I heard Matt Damon speak the quote above, well, I took a little moment to acknowledge those 20 seconds of embarrassing bravery of mine.  Heck, no, apparently I took  more than a moment… I wrote this blog post too!

Pondering that quote, I recognize many occasions where 20 seconds of embarrassing courage, things I didn’t say or do but wanted to,  might have made some interesting changes in my life. I’m going to hang onto this 20 second insane bravery  philosophy. I’m going to notice moments where a 20 second action of crazy courage is called for.  It’s only 20 seconds after all. And it could lead to something great.

How about you? Any 20 seconds of embarrassing bravery in your life story?





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