RSS Feed

Tag Archives: musings and mud coaching studio

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

Posted on

 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)

Posted on

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.

Posted on

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?

Posted on

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….

Posted on

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…

Posted on

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.


Posted on

The Muse A-Fair – the epitome of why I do what I do

Posted on

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

Posted on
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 Muse A-Fairian Interviews: Coreena McBurnie, Writing with Chocolate and Crowns

Posted on

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

%d bloggers like this: