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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!

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.

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.

Peaceful Puttering Pottering in Parallel Universe Time

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s a coaching quandary- the creative soul

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I’ve been spending time participating in the lastest craze (and I say that in a good way) for creative beings:  telesummits.. which simply means gathering a number of experts in the field to share information and resources via phone and webinars.

This thrills me for many reasons but key is this: If you are either creative, intutive, a risk taker, adventurous OR some or all of the above, you have not been supported or encouraged in a way that works for you in this dominant left brain world. 

Finally, with the likes of Sir Ken Robinson, Jill Badonsky, Garrott LaPorto, and now others gathering people in telesummits, there is a wave of resources that finally acknowledge the right brain soul.

The two telesummits I’ve recently followed (albeit a bit of ‘hit and miss’.. yes, I am creative, that happens)   are Jennifer Lee’s video series about building a right brain business plan and the Creative Soul Telesummit– both introducing a number of speakers who are good and whom I had never heard of.  The tribe is gathering.. this is good. 

As I’ve watched all the questions from participants on the ‘chat’ side of the screen in these telesummits, I’ve  laughed and thought, “oh my, these people are all my ideal clients.”  I didn’t leap in with “Hire me!”  … thought I might get thrown off the conference for blatant advertising.  ~smile~

But here’s my AHA moment from this experience.   Right brain creative people are the ones who would most benefit from coaching.  But alas, it is the left brainers who go for coaching because they most understand the logic of this. 

Rightbrainers with all their brilliance and ideas and wisdom also have the most difficulty putting these into actions – there’s a lot going on in the mind of a brilliant rightbrainer.  There’s constant conflict between the left logical, linear ‘should do’ ‘must do’ thinking and the lateral aha brilliance of the right.

There’s overwhelm, perfectionism, self doubt, inner critic yattering, and procrastinations.

There’s trying to fit in a left brain world.. as a parent, in your job, in the way you keep your house, manage your finances, in making decsions. That can be exhausting to always be living your life , without engaging your right brain brilliance that cries out to be noticed.

Ah, the quandary…Rightbrainers are known to rebel against logical… because honestly ‘logical often does feel like a ‘should do’.  Combining intuition and logic is a good way to make a choice… but one must first rethink ‘logic as a rightbrainer’ and best ways to access intuition. 

It doesn’t have to be like this, dear wondrous rightbrainers!

In my little video below called “conversations between the left brain and right brain”  it explains more…  and I offer my services as the mediator for your left and right brain, so you, dear right brainers, have success.

Your left brain knows this makes sense and is logical.  The right knows your possibilities are limitless.  Bring them together.  I would be honoured to help.

Muse Cruise, Shamans, Rapunzel

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Just a little link to the latest newsletter! 

The world of creative understanding is bursting wide open.  Phew. One of these days, everybody is going to dicover their right brain and left brain can work / play together happily ever after! 

Okay.. we still need some leaders in this evolution… Read on my friends

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