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Category Archives: Empowering you, me..

If you found out you were going to die tomorrow, what would you regret not having done in your life?

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Now there’s a somber thought.  I know.  But that question, “If you found out you were going to die tomorrow, what would you regret not having done in your life?” is the question that led me to finish and publish my memoir, Beyond All Imaginings.

In my life and creativity coaching practise, I have, on occasion, asked a client that question. When I asked myself the question, the answer,  “FINISH THE BOOK!” screamed in my head.   THE book… not the first, not the only, but THE book that is a memoir of a very strange and magical time in my life.

Sure, I was procrastinating. It’s a strange story to tell. What would people think?

BUT, the moment I asked myself the question and heard the answer, I knew it was essential to my soul to publish the story.

There are no words to describe  the feeling of publishing a book that means so much to you. I’m a writer and I don’t have the words. Satisfying, contentment, peaceful, relieved, a purpose completed, frightening and fulfilling, honouring the loved ones, honouring the magic.  These words don’t say enough but if I bundled them into a new word and sprinkled them with magic, that might do it.

Because it has always been a constant in my life, coaching and otherwise, to know of people who truly want to write, but who just can’t seem to get to it,  I suppose it’s been a natural progression to take my passions and find a way to support more writers to get to their writing.  Nobody else can tell the stories that are haunting them to be written. And the magic of writing and sharing the stories? It matters. So much.

But back to the question. Step away from my answer about writing my book.  Ask yourself:

If you found out you were going to die tomorrow, what would you regret not having done?

Take a moment, listen to your answer.  Might you honour that answer?

~~~~

Here’s my book, with a little excerpt:

bai thumbnail for musingalong

 

bai excerpt art better

Curious? If you’d like to read more about it, pop over  here

If you’d like a signed copy, please let me know. I love the synchronicities and connections that seem to happen when I’m signing a book for someone!  (janet@novelminds.ca)

 

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Writerly – Why? What? What’s next?

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Hello my favourite people who follow the blog I am most likely to keep up!

You may have noticed I’m getting to put all my creative passions into a new project: Writerly Kits.  Coaching, creativity coaching. Writing. Painting. Pottery. Coffee. Ships. Alternate Identity Trading Company. A hint of magic.  Insightful contributions from grandchildren. And especially, supporting others to find their best way to get to the things that truly matter. That matters.

I’m delighted by this project. Only the endless learning around getting the word out there is a bit of an … um… endless learning. Ha ha. But I’m learning.

I’m sharing what’s inside these Writerly Kits. Just thought you’d like to know more about this crazy project.
I’d absolutely love to hear what you think about this concept, and would appreciate any ideas you’d like to share.  Thanks in advance!

September “Imagination Gone Wild”  2018 Kit Reveal

Imagination Gone Wild!

The Theme: Landing on doorsteps now, an  experience that will take your imagination and intuition to a whole new level!  Really, this is a gift for you from your imagination.

As creative folks, I know you already have a good imagination. You already do think outside the box. But, we do end up creating a new box – it’s a weirder shape than the average box  but it, too, can use some wild ways to take it up a notch;  for writing our books, for making it easier to get to our writing, and even more, to enhance all we do in our lives.

What’s included:

Birchwood Kit: Value $40

Writerly Notebook and Planner: Value $44  An unusual twist –  getting to use your imagination to help you get organized and focussed in a way that makes sense to you. Our imagination is everything – including key to making those typically logical left brain functions work better!

For your planner, we’ve included:

  1. Birchwood engraved notebook covers, designed by us and created by Kyle Rankin and Kamloops Makerspace.
  2. Dividers with a pocket, an old fashioned library card,and an oldstyle luggage tag.
  3. Sections:
    1. Weekly planner pages
    2. Creativity and imagination builders
    3. Quality plain paper
    4. Lined paper
    5. Post-it dividers
    6. Art paper
    7. Torn paper (with a purpose!)

Sharpie Fine Art Pens:  Value $5 The best thing Sharpie has made yet, we think!

Alternate Identity Trading Company Cards: Value $12  A collection of wild characters nagged to be included to assist writers as they take their imaginations to a whole new level, or ten.

Character stickers: Value $4  Explore traits, quirks, and even sleeping habits of the characters in your stories, (or even in your novel mind!) Great moveable stickers for your writerly notebook!

Zack’s Chocolate Covered Coffee Beans: Value $5   Locally roasted and loved and wow to kicking your imagination in gear!

Zack’s Costa Rica Blend Coffee Beans: Value $4  A favourite in town!

Imagine Calm Lavender:  Value $5  To calm that wild mind when needed. Grown, harvested and created by children who also sprinkled extra magic on top.

Do Not Disturb Door/computer hanger:  Value $ 6  Fun, isn’t it?

Letter from Indie Author, Dennis Staginnus:  Priceless support and encouragement

Letter to and from your imagination: $3

Green Tea packets: $1

Wood Kit total retail value: $129

Kraft Kit total retail value: $89  (1st and 4th kits are wood, 2nd and 3rd  kits arrive in our beautiful kraft manuscript size box, repeating)

All for subscriber price of $68 (or less if you choose 6 month or yearly subscription options)

This kit is too precious not to make available for a little longer. Check it out here  

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

What’s Next?

Arriving on your doorstep just in time for
Hallowe’en and NANOWRIMO

Not kitschy Hallowe’eny – this classy kit arrives at a perfect time of year to make friends with your creative monsters and the book that haunts you.
This is the boost you’ll love to get your damn book done!

~~~~~

And this is what was in our first ever Writerly Kit:  “Seaworthy”
July 2018

Item by item reveal, plus a sweet box opening video here.

Seaworthy!

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It’s a pretty great feeling to realize you really are doing what you love.

Writerly Kits is happening! My new venture is up and running and I could not be more delighted by all that it is.

ONE; everything I love to do, and am decent at, gets to go in these lovely boxes.  It’s like an event in a box that let’s others find their own answers to their best way of getting to what they love – while having fun!

And these are things I love:

  • Theme planning,
  • creating the discovery content from the coaching and Novel Minds process,
  • creating the graphics, the art… and sometimes even the pottery;
  • collaborating with authors I love
  • collaborating with others to include very cool items that support writers;
  • testing coffees that may pass the test and end up in the boxes;
  • stay true to my passion for organic products, less waste, a healthier earth, supporting artisans and companies in line with my values.
  • and then.. THEN… building a community that supports each other!

These are all things that scream “Janet, You LOVE this!”

TWO:  People who might not otherwise access coaching, (because it is hard for a writer to justify the cost of coaching) will find this accessible, affordable and do-able.

Writerly Kits is curated especially for writers. Dear to my heart. I know the struggles.  But, what if you are not a writer? I suspect I’ll venture into other areas for other creative folks down the road.

If you are here, following this blog, you know I’m pretty passionate about each of us getting to whatever realm of creativity reveals our magic. More writers writing. More arters arting. More actors acting. More musicians making more music. More inventers inventing. More philosphers philosophizing.

I love the theme of the first box. It just seems a perfect place to start, given my history!  Actual contents are a secret, because the gift- like quality of a subscription box is half the fun! The theme?

FullSizeR

 

Seaworthy.

Because, guess what? You are not a train going from A to B on the same track every other train is on. You are a writer. You are far more ship-like. Treasures, techniques, cool processes to find your way to chart your course and navigate your writerly life. Fun and Imaginative

 

And THREE:   Oh my. People are subscribing! The learning curve of finding nice ways to share this new project has been…. well, kind of like climbing a mast. Not much curve, I suppose. Straight up.  I don’t want to play the same old same old rhetoric of sales that is out there in social media. You are too smart for that, anyway. I just want to share what this is and hope people care. And they do care. And I am feeling very happy.

It’s not always easy to do what we love way more often. But this is working for me. I wish for you more of what you love, too.

I invite you to have a peek:  Writerly Kits

I also welcome your feedback!

 

 

 

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. themindunleashed.org/30-traits-of-empath.html 

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.

 

 

Birthday Reflections: Maybe I’ll turn 12, or 20 perhaps. Or Phoenix.

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My birthday is coming up and I’ve yet to choose my age!  My granddaughter recently shared that she liked how I choose my age, even if I don’t usually use numbers. She’s six. She suggested I turn 12 or maybe 20. She also tells me often this week how young I look. “If we’re not with mommy, then I bet people think you are my mommy.”  Sweet. Not exactly true, but it is in her mind, so I’ll take that compliment.

(Little sidenote: Before you jump to conclusions on why I would choose my age, like maybe thinking it is vanity, please have a look at the previous post… it’s a good philosophy. )

At first I thought, “Twelve .. that was an easy year.. no horrific experiences.”  But then I recalled two moves in that year; leaving my childhood home for a new job for my dad in a new city, just a couple of rough years after my Mom died, and a second move that same year to another city wayyyyyy up north (at least in a Vancouver girl’s eyes) for a better job. First day of school in that then wild northern town, all the girls threatened to kill me.

Kinda scary that at first I thought 12 was easy.  I don’t know… does that tell you there’s been some tough years and in perspective 12 looked good?

But that’s just one view. Another view is that, although sadness hovered around our family and changes were hard, I knew ‘happy’. I woke up each morning when I was 12 feeling refreshed and renewed and with a big smile on my face as I said Hello to the sunshine. True story. This is memorable because perhaps even then I knew it wasn’t a usual thing to feel that good each morning, especially within a family struggling to re-find itself. I suppose it’s an entire story to be told. My brother if he reads this would suggest I expand. He’s read my novel (the one I finished. But I finished it and edited while on chemo. It seemed FOREVER to reach the period at the end of  sentences, so I kept shortening it. And shortening it.) and he thinks that the little hint at this part of my life story didn’t quite work. But okay, this is a blog post.  Expanding not wise. In fact, I wonder if I’ll even publish this at all..it’s already too long! This is Janet in a birthday inspired rambling reflection of the past year, but I haven’t even gotten to that part yet!!!!!!!!

Back to Happy, though. Was there a special little gift given to a little girl who had lost her mother? At age 10, I wrote letters to my mom, just with my finger on the pillow. I was certain she read them. Even at just 10 years old, in those ‘olden’ days, I knew I couldn’t tell anyone that. I knew all about mental institutions and didn’t want to go there. But still I wrote her letters. Regularly. For a long time. It was much later in life when I realized that it was my mom in those early years that helped me wake refreshed and happy each day.

And so, during my twelfth year, I got to experience the magic of ‘more than what we can see’.

As well, I got to know the feeling of  happy. I searched for it when it wasn’t there because it helped me. I didn’t  consciously search. I could not have put this into words. But looking back, that’s what I was doing. I didn’t know how to search for the magic.. I learned more about that in later years. (OH! That’s the novel I was talking about. Okay, it would be a good share. Get on it, Janet)   It’s like a habit or good addiction, that connection the brain makes knowing a moment of feeling happy can soothe a little girl’s soul… and so it looks for more.

Then there is Twenty.. I was living in Iran, my Dad and I, with solo trips from there throughout Europe.  Missing family, but loving loving loving the adventure. This was a life changer… allowing me to develop an awareness at a young age of what matters. I remember being in awe when I was invited in for tea at a young Iranian family’s home.. a grass hut of sorts way out in the bush near the Caspian Sea, with a mattress, a samovar for tea, a one burner camp style stove where they roasted seeds for me, and a deck of cards. These are the things I remember. We played cards, I couldn’t speak Farsi worth beans, they couldn’t speak English.. yet the parents, children and I had so much fun. This was not typical of the Iranian people’s lifestyle… and I suppose they were living there for lack of resources or other options. But have you ever met a person who emanates happiness? The kind that seems unencumbered by stressful thoughts tucked in the background? The kind that you know  isn’t a temporary mask?  Rare, I know. This family had it.  And this event, along with others like it, really had me questioning all that we in western society think is important. At the time, I decided that we couldn’t get that same feeling in that same situation. We were trained to want more, learn more, be successful, grow, grow, grow.. we wouldn’t know how to live such a simple life. The yearning for more was too ingrained, even though that kind of ‘more’ wasn’t necessarily leading to happy.  And so, besides a billion other reasons, age 20 was a life changer in making me curious, making me question, making me not necessarily accept the status quo, making me aware that no culture is better than another, making me less judgmental, making me less likely to believe what is touted to ‘give us happiness,’ making me more inclined to ask myself what happiness is for me;  as well as making me braver, less shy (yes, I was shy) and learning there is a whole big world out there for the exploring!

So 12 and 20. Is my granddaughter intuitive? Knowing somehow that these reflections on those two ages are good for me right now?

But about this past year… that’s where I was really heading with these birthday reflections. Holy Moly. Here I am in a sweet tiny log cabin near the river, feeling pretty healthy and blessed, feeling like my brain is liking what I’m up to as I take all the ideas and work of the last few years and turn it into something cool and, I hope, helpful, to share.  Still having moments of panic over my dwindling finances meant to support me as I rebuild, and some anxiety remains from the constant hard hits in the last years. Still catching my breath over all that had to happen last year:  Selling my home. Selling my boat and really not feeling good about that. A couple surgeries. Ever trying to manage the side effects of medications.. including anxiety and oh, the mood swings. In amongst the chaos, consciously, regularly, sometimes forcefully asking… what can make you feel good today? How can this be funny?  Which would lead to paying special attention to the moments that simply create happiness.  Which would also lead to making sure I gave myself permission to do awesome stuff. Awesome stuff like gratefully living with my daughter and granddaughters for several months being fulltime Nana, with my daughter and I treating ourselves to comfort treats like far too many specialty coffees.  Enjoying all three of my granddaughters immensely. Paddling, sketch-journalling, camping, hiking,  painting, writing, being in a couple of art shows, hanging with, and grateful for,  amazing friends, amazing family, slowly but surely fitting some  coaching and courses in among the wild ride and adoring that. And of course, there was that whole training as a tall ship sailor and hanging out atop a mast furling sails and whispering to myself, “Nothing is impossible. Nothing.”  That was cool.  And true.

Ya, it was a wild ride this past year. But still, as I ponder all this stuff, I’ve been staying aware of the need to choose my age. You know how facebook has all those little quizzes?  Like,”Who were you in a past life?”, and if you happened to pick ‘casual clothes’ as a preference, they happen to pick that you were a farmer? For me, the answers in the quizzes have suggested that I’m logical, left brained, don’t stray from traditional living or thinking. Shit like that. Really? Me?  BUT then as I meandered away from writing this  post, I did a quiz on “What constellation are you?” I’m all about constellations. And, I dunno, this one just hit home.  And it’s the Phoenix…an everlasting powerful mythological bird, often with it’s origins attributed to the ancient Persian culture.   Lot of synchronicity going on here, yes?

Birthday Phoenix1

 

I think that I will turn 12-20 Phoenix, and take only the best and blessed of each of them. Curious that the Phoenix constellation is in the Southern Hemisphere… triggers a thought that I ought to go see it this year. Hmmm….

Having said all this, though, if you have other ideas for my age this year, please do let me know.  Many of you have inspired my birthday age in the past. And, I can turn as many ages as I want.

Anyone else turning an unusual age this year?  Oh, how I’d love to know what you pick!!!

And thanks for reading all the way to here, by the way. That was crazy of you.  In a good way. ~smile~

The Amaranteen Theory Revisited

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My annual republishing of this post from 2010.

~~~~~~~

For a long long time now, I have chosen my age just before my birthday. My family has been ever so kind to honour the age I choose – wonderful beings that they are.

The fact is, I’ve been doing this for so long now, that if I do need to know my ‘legal age’, I ask my daughters or I have to calculate!

This is not vanity. This is my way of not allowing my own perceptions of age to affect how I live my life.  I started ‘age choosing’ when I noticed in my thoughts that I was questioning how long I would be able to continue to waterski.

For many years, I’ve practised and experienced the power of thought and visualization for improving sport ability and for healing nasty sport injuries. Three times I was told I would never ski again. I’m grateful for the seemingly magic of visualizing because I continue to ski.

And so I applied the same principles – the power of thought – to my thinking about my age. It works like a charm for me, because honestly, even still when I think in terms of ‘age,’ I am surprised at the chaos of limiting beliefs that have been formed in my thoughts.

Ever think you are too old to write a book, hike a mountain, or start a new career?  Then you understand. I seriously can’t have those kind of thoughts in my head. I’d still be back in the corporate world if I’d allowed those to take hold!

A few years back, my dog’s vet was surprised I still skiied and played hard. He said, “So, isn’t it time you started aging gracefully?”   Excuse me? No! I was a baby still in my 40’s! I was inspired to change vets.

To me ‘aging gracefully’ triggered beliefs that would not serve me well. For you, however, it may be an empowering thought.

Now about my amaranteenth birthday..
About six years ago I chose 37.5.  But the next year, I realized I needed to add some years for wisdom, so I turned ‘ageless’, then ‘timeless’, then ‘eternal’, then ‘nana age’.  My age comes to me from an “aha” moment, a daughter, or a thesaurus. Today’s choice was via a thesaurus. When I found the word amaranthine, as a synonym to eternal, I leaped in the air!  Amaranthine means:
eternally beautiful and unfading; everlasting, and has been used in reference to an unfading imaginary flower.  “Perfect!” I thought, “what a beautiful age to be!”  And so, I am celebrating my amaranteenth birthday tomorrow!

This should keep creaky bones and cranky thoughts about getting older in check.

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