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One Creative Client’s Update: Be affirmed, Be inspired, Remember what works…

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 While I’ve been healing, I have stepped back from coaching. My clients, and clients currently inquiring, do make (or wish to make) a very powerful, empowering and life changing commitment to themselves when they choose personal coaching. My role in that is to truly be there with them, fully present,  committed to them in consistency and ‘on top of my game’ in my ability to support them as they discover and take actions while creating their lives.  During my healing, surgeries and treatments.. my coaching practise was understandably set aside. However, my long time clients do keep me updated. And I’m here to share an update, with permission and a rewrite by the client for anonymity. 

There’s so much to notice in what she shares.  She is the epitomy of both moving forward successfully and in enjoying where she is now. She does this now with compassion for herself, with the ability to understand her thinking processes, her barriers, her way past them.. not only in her musical career but in all aspects of her life.  (Some of the life aspects are removed… again, to keep anonymous) 

You might notice.. 

  • how she goes back to things that worked before,
  • the way she notices but does not let the ‘hard on self’ talk stop her,
  • how she connects an experience that gave her strength to an experience where she needs strength, 
  • and how she notices the synchronicities that are affirming.. and even magical.

And one other thing that I’d like to tell about her: one of her strengths is knowing when she needs support, not hesitating, simply connecting for support. The great thing about this is that now, after our longtime coaching relationship, once she contacts me for coaching with the concern, she usually resolves it before we speak, simply by thinking through the coaching process!  I do love that.. it says both her and I are doing our ‘work’ well.

Here’s her update! Enjoy. I suspect you’ll be inspired, reminded, and affirmed by her sharing.

My “musical tinkering” sessions have been going rather well this past week or so. I hadn’t done any tinkering in a while, and decided to get back to it about a week ago. It felt really good. Just giving my creative muscle a workout after a period of inactivity. Kind of like the endorphin boost you get when you exercise for the first time after a long stint of inactivity. This allowed me to enjoy the process without really caring too much about the quality of what I was producing. I wasn’t expecting to create a masterpiece after having been away from the process for so long. Kind of the way you wouldn’t expect to do splits or run a marathon after exercising for the first time in weeks or months. So since then I have been showing up to the process quite regularly. Not imposing any time limit or anything, just doing it for as long as I want, letting whatever comes out naturally just come out and appreciating the wellness I experience from feeding my soul, taking care of my creative needs. This approach has been doing wonders to silence those nasty inhibiting voices.

So Wednesday night I was heading over to my music rehearsal space (which is now a rock’s throw away from where I live) for one of these sessions. Initially, my intention was to go and experiment with some aggressive growl screaming stuff (which I don’t really feel comfortable doing in my apartment because my neighbors might call the cops or something). But when I walked into the room, I wasn’t in the mood for loud and crazy stuff. I had another interesting breakthrough on my way to the space (that is the subject of a whole other email) and felt light as a cloud and I just wanted to sit at the piano and play touchy feely songs. I started playing this song I wrote a few years ago. It is one of a very small handful of songs I’ve written on piano which I feel pretty good about (I find most of the other ones really cheesy… and a lot of them never get finished). I’ve only performed it in front of small gatherings of friends and family (and I’ve always found the experience to be 3000x times more scary and intimidating than walking on a stage in front of thousands of people). So anyways, when I was finished playing the song that night in my rehearsal space, a little voice came into my head: “Why don’t you play that song at Andrea’s tribute show this Saturday? It seems perfect for the occasion.”

Andrea is a singer-songwriter who is in my circle of artsy friends and acquaintances. We’ve performed at one event together and I’ve had the chance to hang out with her a few times. Unfortunately, she committed suicide in August, right before my summer vacation. Although I did not know her well, her passing affected me. Several of my friends were close to her and deeply pained by the loss. I thought of her as an inspiring, generous person and I wish I had gotten the chance to know her better.

Nicole, a visual artist and close friend of Andrea (whom I also happen to know because I did some work for her in exchange for some of her artwork) organized a tribute concert for Andrea happening outdoors. Twenty or so artists were to come out and perform songs in memory of her. Initially, I intended to go as a spectator. Until that crazy little voice popped into my head.

Of course no sooner had I come up with that wonderfully crazy idea that the monkey chatter began chiming in. “Why should you go perform at a tribute show for Andrea? You barely knew her. Oh my God, over a hundred people have clicked “Attending” on the Facebook event.” I also noticed that this talented songwriter named Robert, whom I dated for awhile and to whom I actually played that song of mine once or twice, was amongst the artists performing on the bill. “Oh great. He’s going to think it’s the only song you know.” Etc. Etc. Etc…

During my summer vacation, I had the amazing opportunity to go white water rafting down a pretty wild river. Truly, one of the best days of my life. I never imagined I would have been able to paddle down those kinds of challenging drops and dives… and enjoy it as much as I did.

Suddenly, another voice popped into my head. “You’ve paddled your way down a roaring river and came out just fine. You should be able to handle playing a little piano in front of a bunch of people.” Thank you, river.

Next thing you know I was writing Nicole asking if it was too late for me to join her tribute concert and perform one of my songs. Moments later, she replied saying “Yeah cool, there’s a little spot left just for you.”

That same night I checked the Facebook event again. My name had been added to the list of performers.

So at that point I figured “I guess I am really going to do this.” I had butterflies. But they were the happy kind.

The concert was certainly an emotional affair. I was a bit nervous on my way to the event, but I soon forgot about my own little issues upon arriving there. Everyone was standing teary-eyed, listening to the various people who stepped up to pay tribute to this magnificent and well-loved woman. “Okay, this isn’t about me. This is all about her.”

My contribution was welcomed by everyone present and I got some positive feedback on my singing voice. The organizer even bugged me to go up again and sing something else, but I hadn’t prepared anything. Interestingly, another friend of Andrea organized a higher profile tribute about a month later and asked me to perform in it… and there was no connection with this one. Life can certainly be interesting and mysterious.

Funny also what I wrote earlier about butterflies. Right before I went up to sing my song, they had a “butterfly flight ceremony”. Literally. Everyone was given a little butterfly in a box, and we were told to free all of them, as a symbolic gesture.

Portrait of a Nana (aka How to be an Artist)

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Oh precious children.  Yesterday I felt pretty crappy. I asked myself “What do you need?”  I needed a grandkids fix.

Courtney said she’d bring them over… She’ll do anything right now for me. And really? She’s pretty good that way at the best of times. But in amongst her final deadline of pulling together her magazine, in a week where her usual support systems with kids during this 14 hour/day work week are flailing (and others stepped in!), she brought Evalee and Lainey over.  Pretty thoughtful, me thinks.

I knew just the fact that Court and the girls were coming would energize me enough to be ‘okay’ while they visited. Oh, it’s true, I did debate that with myself, but the option to visit won.

And oh, the visit was delightful… look what evolved! Drawings! Including a portrait of me by Evalee! Amazing in its finished product, but also so amazing watching the process!



But first, photos of the little ones in the studio.. drawing and visiting.

Look at Lainey.. so involved in her drawing, a drawing now brightening my fridge and my day.







And she’s also so talented at ‘posing’ for photos..
just like her big sister.







I  asked  Evalee if she’d like to draw a portrait of me.  She pondered that as I pondered that drawing portraits is one of the techniques many artists are most afraid of.

I said, “You know, doing portraits can be tricky, but it’s a great thing to try out and it can be fun.”

I didn’t need to say that. I wasn’t finished before I realized her “pondering’ was really her observing me  as she made the plan. Pencil to paper, she began…

 A circle for the face. Eyes.. with eyeballs!  A smile added.

And then, Courtney and I couldn’t quit smiling as we watched her figure out how my arms were being held.  I was posing one hand resting against the side of my face.  She drew that hand.. and it’s curious where it came from and went, since her arms begin at the side of the head!   She placed the other arm.

Then, as an observant artist does, she got off the chair, and glanced under the table to see how my legs and feet were sitting.. and sure enough, she drew them cross-legged, just as they were.

Observing me, pencil tapping her chin, she then announced, “teeth!” and added those.  “Oh.. your hat”… and on went my little cap.   And finally, ears.  (Because my ears definately show up these days). “Oh they’re a little funny,”  she said with a smile as she drew them.  But unlike the adult artist, ” a little funny” was perfect. I thought she was finished, and I had phone call…and  I came back to see she had also included the telephone!

I couldn’t help but notice how much:

1. Evalee got right into the zone with the process.

2. how she felt parts of the drawing were quite accurate and she liked that.

3. how she felt parts of the drawing weren’t quite accurate and she liked that, too.

4. How it simply was not a big deal to draw a portrait of her Nana.

  • No second guessing the choice.
  • No fear.
  • No words playing in her head that she ‘can’t’, she’s ‘not good enough’, or that she really ought to ‘clean the house first’ or she should do something ‘more productive, or that makes money, or is an otherwise good use of time.’
  • No hidden limiting beliefs she’s acquired as the result of what others have said about what an artist is, or isn’t.
  • No words of one (or more) person who’s opinion she respects who has subtly suggested she steer away from her creativity, or out and out said she doesn’t have what it takes. (Ringing bells? Teachers of the past? Loving relatives?)
  • Nothing that has her misinterpreting even supportive comments because she’s become far too sensitive as a creative being.

Oh, how I wish for all of us that we could create like Evalee.  And even more, I wish for the ways to support her and all children to be their natural and amazing creative selves without developing the blocks and barriers that so often lead to children not believing they are creative beings, inspired thinkers, and intuitive wonders.

And on that note, I’m going to share this now. Because, in truth, it has led to a most exciting adventure in writing about how we really can support the children.  It’s turning into a workbook!  No, it’s turning into a novel….   Soooooooooo delighted where this is going. More soon!

A pen, the back of my hand, a bookstore.. and redirecting my life.

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I hadn’t gone into the bookstore with the plan of redirecting my life.  It just happened that way. One of those series of synchronistic moments that lead you to … well, in this case… not only an ‘aha’ or twelve for me, but an awesome exercise in self discovery for everyone.

My original purpose was to see if any novels leaped out at me yelling, ‘Read me! Read me!”  That helped… I had walked in with the intention of being open to noticing.

I walked past the gardening section and thought, “Wow, I don’t ever buy gardening books anymore.”  At one time it was a passion of sorts, and I do like to play in the dirt.. but I’d probably be just fine if someone else planted the dirt.  That was curious.

I could feel the little niggling naggling thoughts that have semi-consciously nagged me each spring ( ‘why don’t you put more effort into the gardens?  You used to love the gardens!”)  simply bow out graciously.  My gardening interest was no longer worthy of a new book and that’s okay.

A smile curled onto my face as I let go the nigglenaggles, and realized I was beginning an adventure in the bookstore.

And so I asked myself,

           “What no longer captures your interest?”

           “What DOES capture your interest?”

I even asked,

What has never captured your interest?”

I wandered through the book store making a list on the back of my hand:

What books no longer capture my interest?

tournament ski boats, waterskiing,  dog training, creativity, self-development, visual art, pottery, home renovating, technology.

That’s rather curious since these things, other than the interest in dog training and home renovations, ‘define’ me.

What REALLY captures my interest and excites me?

quantum physics, science of mind, travel (as always), writing, games, hiking, camping, wilderness survival, paddleboarding, maybe kayaking,  outdoor maps, tall ships

What has never interested me?

magazines about organizing closets.  (Just in case I’ve ever felt guilty about my closets, I now know I can let it go and acknowledge it’s ‘not my thing.’)

I left the store with a new backroad hiking map book. AND a great basic guide to backpack camping. When I’m out in the woods,  which is often, I realize there’s a lot I don’t know. I was practically skipping out of the store excited about learning more.

BUT what about those things that define me?

I walked out of the store knowing, again, how important it is for me to finish my own book.. my crazy true story about creativity and life.  I don’t need to read any more books in those areas right now. I simply want to trim the current 350 pages to a more readable and concise and flowing 150.  Maybe tips from those ‘organizing closets’ magazines might be helpful. Ha!

I walked out of the store with a plan to sell my lovely and precious tournament boat.

That’s big. Trust me, this is a REALLY big decision for me. But dynamics have changed, and the bookstore adventure confirmed I’m as crazily excited about paddleboarding and other outdoor adventures as I once was as my ‘most- obsessive- and- insanely- passionate- waterskier- ever” self.

I had a bunch more discoveries.. but really, how long can a post get? The point though is that ‘what lights my fire’ is essential for me, through the ups, downs, thick and thins, crazy wonderful and crazy-making moments in life.  Sometimes we need to give ourself permission to notice that we are ever evolving and what worked in the past is allowed to shift to something new.

So.  All you need to get clear on your direction is a pen and your hand and a little visit to the bookstore.  Napkins, or even a notebook could work as well as the back of your hand.  Arrive delightfully open to discovery and armed with the three questions above.

Wishing you many aha’s as you  let go what isn’t serving you well.. and welcome what is right for you right now!  I wonder if you’ll be as surprised at the absolute clarity and as excited as I am from my discoveries!

What if you live magically today?

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janet l. whitehead copyright 2010Kabing!

You landed in the magical sharing spot!  (For those of you who didn’t arrive via flight or rainbow, then you probably didn’t find this through my newsletter)

Sooo, what if you lived magically today?

What would ‘magically’ mean for you?

I’d adore beyond imaginings if you share.

Why? Because I know one person’s ‘magical’ might be a trigger for another person’s ‘aha.’  And another person’s ‘magical’ might be another person’s “oh, I’m not crazy after all – there’s others like me!”

And because sharing is caring. ~smile~ (okay that’s a grama nana statement coming out) and sharing is a way that kindred spirits can inspire and support each other.  THAT always evolve into more magical things happening.

Thanks for being here! And a joyous and happy St. Patrick’s Day to you!

Cars: But if it keeps on ticking….

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This week I get to drive my daughter’s 92 Honda Civic. She’s borrowed my car for a trip because..well, it’s possible hers isn’t as dependable.  Driving her car brings me back to a little issue I have about ‘stuff.’

A few years ago I traded in my 91 Honda Civic for my nice Toyota Matrix.  But I resisted doing this so much!

“Why would I get rid of it? It’s still running! And the rusty fender isn’t going to fall off anytime soon,” I would say to my other daughter, who would respond:  “Mother. You have a business. Your car cannot be a beat up piece of crap.”

She was right of course. And I do love my Matrix.  I had to justify the change because I really did need more room for grandbabies and for camping gear, and not because it wasn’t suitable for a woman running a business.  There’s a rebel in me who really dislikes doing things for ‘social acceptableness.’  There’s a rebel in me who is horrified by the waste that is so often based simply on making sure our ‘status symbols’ are current.   Not so many years ago, we knew those old traded-in cars just kept on ticking in someone else’s hands. Not true anymore. How many old cars do you see around these days?

And really… there’s a lot ot be said for old Honda’s.

1. Megan’s car still has better gas mileage than most nowadays. When I traded mine off, there was an offer from the government to give money back for trading to a more fuel efficient vehicle.  As it turned out, NO car I looked at was more fuel efficient than my 91 Honda. Seriously? 20 years later and none in my ‘range’ are better? (No, I wasn’t looking at the very expensive hybrid cars, it’s true.)

2. You stop worrying about .. oh, things like “mom backed into my car and wrote “oops sorry” on the dent.”  (It’s still there.. a bit hard to see in the picture)  You stop worrying about those things because really, is it worth a lot of repairs when it’s this old and may not last? But it has kept on lasting. And maybe I should get it fixed for her.

3. You can say to some young new driver who is horrified that he backed into your car and took out the side mirror, “That’s okay. Just get the mirror fixed. The crunch is fine.”   You can imagine how much he loves her.

Besides it gives the car symmetry and balance.  One crunch on each side.

Now the very cool evolution I see happening amongst some people is this: Less waste, more simple. Simple lifestyles. Small homes. Cabins on land shared with others. (I’m in for this one.. anyone else?) Old cars and old furniture are okay.

And what is starting to evolve is that others see people making these moves as brave and innovative.. and perhaps a move like that is going to become the new status symbol, instead of the bigger homes, fancier cars, etc.

I heard someone say the other day, “Did you hear that so and so is moving out into a cabin for $200 a month? Sold their big home and simplifying!” And they said it with admiration instead of what we might have heard in the past.. scoffing judgementalism.

I think we’re going to see more of that:  approving attitudes.

But I don’t think we are at the point where I wouldn’t be judged as to the success of my business if I were driving my old rusty Honda. I don’t think I’ll hang a “Musings and Mud Coaching Studio” sign on Meg’s car this week.

Megan, on the other hand, can be the beacon of a changing world by hanging onto her little civic until it decides it’s time, or until it is no longer safe to drive.

Really, it all comes down to making choices based on what’s right for you and your lifestyle and your dreams, and taking care that those aren’t being determined by external factors like media, consumerism, and society’s expectations of what you should be doing.  There’s nothing wrong with wanting a new car.  There is something wrong if you want a new car only because others think you should get one.  Thank goodness I could justify my new car for camping and grandbabies.  ~smile~

Thoughts, anyone?

Today I put the damper on genius…

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I feel like a big corporate entity.. the difference is that I do care, but still, I put the damper on genius because I’m bigger and I could, and the safety of my home and the cost of running my home mattered more.

Brilliant little Swallow once again decided that my clothes dryer vent would be the best place for her nest. Really.. it is brilliant:  Safe from anything that can climb or leap or otherwise harm her eggs.  And warm. Imagine.. so cozy and warm when the dryer is running that she probably can go out and play, knowing her little eggs are incubating, while other moms-to-be just squat for hours on end.

Even more brilliant.. the fuller she fills the vent with twigs and string and nesty things.. the longer my dryer runs to dry my clothes and warm her babies.

Yup. And I wired it off. Chased her right out of there and attached a wire screen. We’ve been through this before. .. If I don’t realize she’s there until the nest is built, and the eggs are laid,  I leave it.  My clothes take forever to dry.  I stop running the dryer if I’m not home, just in case I’ve created some sort of fire hazard.

But this year, I heard her as she began the nest.  And big mean me told her ‘Go build a nest like a normal bird.”  That was the moment I realized I was playing the role of the ‘systems’.. corporate, government, religious, etc… that stomps on the genius of those who think differently because  1. they aren’t doing things ‘normally’ and 2. they are interefering with what matters to the organizations.

So, little bird, I am sorry. I hope you don’t get discouraged, and shut down that innovative thinking of yours. I hope you find another way to be a mommy AND get to play more often. I hope you don’t run into more people like me in the process.

Oh jeez… now I’ve written this, am I going to go take the screen off?


There’s genius in everyone.
Find your way.
And don’t let the likes of ‘me’ (today’s me, not my everyday me!) stop you.


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