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Starstruck answers: An interview with Author Jill Badonsky

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jill cover real cover with museThe moment I held “The Muse is In: An Owner’s Manual to Your Creativity,” I was starstruck. First off, the book feels really good… fits nicely into my hands, an ideal weight, smooth sexy silkiness, and cool curvy corners. I opened it up and was drawn in… to the colours, the images and oh, the words! Thank you!
It prompted an email to the author extraordinaire, Jill Badonsky:

Subject: F*ck, your book is good.

“Holy f*ck. I am so impressed. Truly all your work has made this into clear, concise, fun, and inspiring teachings that will make such a difference. I think you’ve done what’s needed now: Sometimes reading is exhausting!!!!! But we can enjoy illustrations with teachings that don’t tire our unfocussed overworked minds. By gump, people will soon be able to focus again once they practice these tools. It is really really really f*ckin’ amazing.”

I can talk like this to Jill because.. well, we’re buds.
It was one of my favorite emails. 🙂
(By the way,  dear readers, all the purple responses are Jill’s)

And I am ever so grateful to be acknowledged in this kick-butt book twice. Thank you, Jillybean.
You’ve been an inspiration to me, Janet Whitehead, so thank YOU.

But, like I said, I was starstruck. That’s not always the best thing. By golly, I’m having moments of wanting to toss my work(play)books into the trash – I’ve heard myself say, “they pale in comparison.” What troubleshooting tips would you suggest, and where should I go directly in the book?

Start here: Know that I do the SAME thing. I see the work of others – including YOU- and get slimed by my Ego. This is a normal reaction especially for sensitive creative people. It consists of fears that normally surface in the creative process: The fear of not being good enough, of someone doing it better so there’s no need for you, of someone else beating you to an idea you really would like to share, of never being able to finish your work in a way that is significant. THESE ARE ALL LIES I TELL YA!

Understand that it’s the Beast of Comparison sneaking in your head and talking, also known as the Ego. We have to pass a lot of spiritual tests when we answer the creative call, it’s not always easy. Not being derailed by comparison is one of them. When you figure out its dynamics, you can save yourself time and grief.

When you feel that sensation of envy or comparison, let it be a signal that it’s your ego talking and not the truth. Seeing the work of others can also feel really good- but NOTE: It takes practice. It won’t happen just because you read that last line. I just expect myself to be 5% less envious each time I catch that awful feeling and it becomes a relief.

I also allow that feeling of envy to light a fire under my butt to go back and ask myself “Where can I improve my work?” Make feelings work FOR you not against you. They can do that. The book didn’t start out looking or sounding like you see it now. It really was a disaster. I know that my first renditions, even my fifth renditions usually aren’t going to be as good as the tenth or eleventh. There are exceptions. I did take things out I wish I would have left.Something important to know is that your subconscious always thinks you are talking about you, so if you compliment works of others that you love versus get down on yourself or try to decrease envy by criticizing them or the people themselves, it will feel better AND you will begin to thread the shuttles of the loom that will weave your own masterpieces, you will beam with good energy.

You make the craziest creative connections. These alone are inspiring. How do you come up with things like “Fuel yourself into loving the process” and “The Duhs.”
Crazy? Why THANK YOU. I’m not quite sure how I come up with things. They seem to just be there as a personality trait. I do a lot of free associating and daydreaming, but I think that’s just the way my brain works. It isn’t until people ask me how I come up with these things that I realize not everyone does (although I KNOW that you do too).

It’s brain play, figuring out what things SOUND like other things and also refusing to title pieces with predictability. I gravitate toward the off-beat and I suppose that makes me do off-beat things as well. I had eccentric parents…. well, they had me. Always looking for a way to be defiant helps too.

I love the preface. I mean, really, who has the nerve to do something that simple? Can you tell us how that page came to be?jill Preface2
My editor sent back the whole first draft of my book and said to cut it down by two thirds before she would even read it – BECAUSE IT’S AN OWNER’S MANUAL and is supposed to be concise. The preface used to be three pages of why creativity was important to me, how I used my pathology to be creative, hardships I went through, yadda, yadda.. just like many prefaces I had read before. When I thought about cutting things out I became rebelliously delighted about how different my preface would be from all those other ones I had read. How liberating it was to just throw all that writing out and leave the most important line.
Thanks for asking about that, that’s one of my favorite stories about the book that I seem to find funnier than anyone else.

Speaking of simple, you’ve taken creativity topics, principles and ‘how to’s’ that could fill a set of encyclopedias (if such a thing existed) and simplified them into concise, understandable concepts and simple do-able actions. That’s quite a feat, especially for the creative mind that can have.. ummm…. a LOT to say once it gets rolling. (and sometimes rolling right into overwhelm. Fortunately, I see there’s a troubleshooting section for that) Can you tell us how you mastered taking so much and tucking it into ‘so simple’?
As I mentioned in the last question, I HAD to or my editor wasn’t even going to read it. She kept saying, “Think powerpoint presentation,” which made me groan because I had so much more to say.

Although cutting the preface was fun, making the rest of the book concise and cutting out parts I was attached to and felt were important was painful and difficult. It was a huge lesson in cultivating non-attachment and figuring out what was most important. It took a long time and a lot of sighing. I just had to tell myself there would be a way I could get the rest of the information out there.

Is it okay to have used the f*ck word on my blog? Fuck yeah.

An honour to have you here, Jill. NO! IT WAS AN HONOUR TO BE HERE!!! Thank you Bo!!

Readers, thank you for stopping by!  Twenty comments and I’ll do a draw for the book! Pretty sure if you have questions, we can sneak Jill back here to share more.

You can find more about Jill at

I love this quiz!

Soul Whisperings of the Creative Spirit

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… especially for those with a creative calling – even if you’re not ever getting to it!

There is a pathway to spirit, soul, intuition, and connections to the ‘more than what we see’ that is so easily accessible for some that it is dismissed ‘unlikely’ and few truly recognize its potential for miraculous discoveries.

And that pathway is simply this: If you are creatively inclined, or always yearning to be creative, then show up. Show up to your creative process.. in any way, shape or form. Even if you aren’t sure what your ‘true calling’ is, show up to something.

‘Showing up’ is the yoga of the creative being. “Being in the zone” is their meditation. The process (not the product) is where the creative person opens the door to the whisperings of their soul, the channellings of spirit, and the magic of… okay.. honestly? …the magic that can begin to happen is almost ridiculously and unbelievably amazing.

I know. I’ve experienced it.  When characters, who initially introduced themselves as faeries, (and later fine-tuned this to ‘realm travellers’) showed up in my clay.. well, I wasn’t exactly pleased. “That’s not art!” I cried out. “I’m trying to connect to spirit here, what do you have to do with it?” I complained.

It’s a long story what happened from there; so long that it’s now a nearly complete novel. But for now, I will say, the doors to new thinking, intuition, easy access to spirit, and ‘impossible things becoming possible’ flung wide open. Not just while I was creating, but life as a whole shifted to something new and magical.

There’s little being modelled or taught in our logical left brain world, nor a lot in our alternative wellness world, that has supported the creatively-inclined to recognize the immense spiritual value of showing up regularly to any or all things that might be called ‘creative.’   These ‘creative things’ can range from the obvious visual, performing and written arts to the less obvious; inventing, mind mapping and stream of consciousness thinking, high risk individual sports (really!),  to living life ‘differently,’ and to one of the most powerful and easiest accessible: imagination.

Unsupported in the left-brain world, the individual creative person finds many reason not to show up to their calling; not enough time, not feeling like you are ‘good enough’, perfectionism, overwhelm, procrastination (we are the masters of that one!), fear of failure, fear of success, not giving it the same value as more commonly recognized self-awareness paths … well, the list can get pretty long.

If this is you, you’ll know the yearning to show up to your creativity doesn’t stop. You might feel guilty for not showing up, and guilty when you do because you ‘ought to be doing other things.’ But there is a part of you that always wants to get to your creative process.

For those whose gift to connect to spirit is through their creative process, there may even be unconscious fears around this unknown feeling of ‘other worldliness’ that happens if you allow yourself to go there.  Liken this statement to those who have prophetic dreams and visions, but will do whatever they can to avoid exploring this more because it is scary to go into the unknown alone and unsupported.

You’ve all witnessed singing performances where you knew the singer was connecting to angels. Possibly you’ve seen an artist in the zone of creating and realized there is much more going on than just paint on a canvas. Very likely you’ve seen friends who excitedly come up with the most bizarre ideas that you are certain have come from some inspired ‘out there’ place.

And you may personally know people gifted with a fabulous voice or amazing art,  who don’t show up to their gift and you wonder why… they may be the ones who don’t even recall their performance or doing their art, so ‘out there’ were they, and without an understanding of what is happening, it can be frightening.

If you are yearning to be more in touch with your creative side, you too have the ability to hear the whisperings of your soul in a way that is truly and uniquely yours. A great first step is to simply ponder the possibility. A good next step is to  give yourself permission to ‘show up’ to a creative calling for just five minutes. Just five minutes.. that’s do-able, right?


Janet L. Whitehead    ©2011

Certified Life Coach and Creativity Coach

Musings and Mud Coaching Studio
“Your inspired life begins here”

Orginally published in Yoga Tree Magazine 2011

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.

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: 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 Magic of Creativity

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Creativity…  For me, it is blissful to witness a world that is evolving to recognize the power of our creative being.   Like magic dust finding its way into all nooks and crannies, those who were once considered ‘ordinary mortals’ are now experiencing moments, discoveries and creations that leave them breathless saying, “YES! YES!… but wait a sec, where’d that come from?”

We all know the stories of ‘elite’ genius minds, artists and writers, and their ability to be in a space where brilliant thoughts, ideas, inventions, answers, artwork and stories ‘come to them.”  When asked how these creators got the idea, they often answer, “I don’t know.” or “From God.” or “From spirit.” 
We’ve heard the stories of Da Vinci and Einstein and we’ve commented in awe, “Gifted.”

As we move from the Age of Information to the Age of Conceptualization and Creativity, more and more research, resources and stories are appearing that give credit and value to the creative being in each of us.  Yes, we are all gifted.  We simply need to find our best way to access our creative soulful brilliance.

And that access– whether it be through making art, thinking differently, writing, storytelling, dancing, yoga, playing, using our imagination, singing, visualizing and/or  taking meditative journeys – opens the door to the intuitive, wise, gifted and magical self.  Yes, magical. With ‘magical’ meaning “making the impossible possible.”

I, for one, am gloriously happy that finally.. FINALLY.. the word ‘creativity’  gets to take on its full meaning.  And that soon, when people see the word “creativity’ their first response will no longer be “I haven’t got a creative bone in my body.”  Last I heard we all have a right brain.  And I think that the more creativity is given its value, the more people will realize “Hey, I’ve always been creative… and it’s okay to spend more time with that.”

Simply by reading this and pondering the concept, you have opened a door of awareness and possibility. You might not even notice as old belief systems that have limited you start to melt away.  By reading this, you have taken a step in your pursuit of your unlimited potential as a soulful being.
That was easy enough, wasn’t it?  Yes, it’s all so much simpler than people think.

Christmas is a magical time of year.  Have you noticed how much creativity plays a part in the celebration?  Storytelling, theatre, baking, singing, crafting, decorating…. perhaps we have always naturally known a way to be open to the magic.

Bringing back the Spirit of “When I grow up..”

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As kids, we knew a lot. We knew the future held a remarkable adventure. We were born knowing our passions and gifts and gravitated easily toward them.  We knew joy in the moment. Our job was to play… and it was a darn good job.  There was no amount of rules, regulations, shoulds, or ‘have to’s’ that could stop the dreaming, scheming, imagining and discovering.   There were no limits to the enthusiasm and answers when we finished the sentence “When I grow up…”

As kids, we believed in magic. Most everything seemed possible.  We were certain that one day we would time travel.  Personally, I’m a little baffled that I haven’t yet walked through walls.  

We knew to stretch like cats and we knew how to experience happiness with our whole body.

 We discovered we were good at things we loved – skating, drawing, climbing, building, storytelling.   When the world felt out of sorts, we would seek out those activities to find peace.

And then well intentioned grown ups got involved to help us participate in the grown up world.    We learned how to fit in, how to sit quietly at a desk, how to think in a linear fashion with timelines, logic, rules and structures. 

As a result we learned that the creative and imaginative adventurer in us was ‘just play’ and that it really did not have much value in the grown up world.  Yes it’s true: Jumping up in the middle of a meeting yelling “aha,” and blurting out an amazing idea that could not be substantiated by statistics, is generally not well received.

And so we forgot the little kid who had all the answers and who could naturally gravitate towards what they loved.   In a nutshell… we lost the spirit of “When I grow up…” and gained doubt, uncertainty, rules, fitting in, and simply stated, how not to live our dream.


But that’s okay.  We can rediscover that spirit.  Imagine what can happen when the wisdom of an adult mind connects to the wonder and curiosity of the child’s mind… the result is nothing less than spectacular.

Okay, I admit.. it gets a bit crazy.  At a recent Creative Muse Group, the participants experienced the ‘Bea Silly’ Muse.  The participants are introduced to nine muses.  Muses like ‘Aha-phrodite’ – the  muse of passion, paying attention, and possibilities,  ‘Albert’- the muse of imagination, and ‘Bea Silly’.   Let me tell you about Bea Silly.  She is the muse of ‘childlike play, laughter and dance.’  This muse is introduced as a tool to reconnect to the child self.  Participants learn that they can call in their Bea Silly Muse to reignite creative flow, relieve stress, gain energy, connect to their passionate spirit and well..  just plain have fun.

And so, on ‘Bea Silly’ night, the participants climbed trees, walked on stilts, played hopscotch , hula hooped, gave piggy backs, pretended to be imaginary people, were sassy, silly, and hysterically funny.
They remembered.  Having re-experienced their child, they can now bring that energy in and, believe me, they do know how to use it!  

But here’s the crazy part.   At the end of the class, when I, their facilitator, attempted to connect the group to summarize their experience, well!  Little brats.. they were interruptive, giggly, throwing paper balls at each other, and generally not at all capable of sitting, listening and summarizing.   Here’s a fact: As much as many teachers and caregivers would love to incorporate play and imagination into all of their teachings…. well, it’s not an easy thing to bring a group of wildly imaginative children back from the ‘land of their right brains’ to sitting quietly at their desks. 

But here lies the ‘spectacular’ in connecting the wisdom of adults and their wondrous kid spirit:  I could send them home.  And they, as adults, get to find their way to bring that child-like genius into all they do.  They can add playfulness to their written works, visualize their kid spirit to de-stress, incorporate free thinking into their projects, and energize themselves by climbing trees.   I hope I get to hear that they piggy backed their co-workers to a meeting! 

And without even noticing how it happened, one day they may notice that they are stretching like cats, feeling happiness in their whole body, and enthusiastically saying, “When I grow up I’m going to….”

Isn’t it your turn to go play?  Yes, go play.

by Janet L. Whitehead ©2010

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