Bringing my dreams of being an author into reality

I’ve completed my first interview for my book which is about how those of us who are frustrated creatives can launch their creative career and get paid to create work they love. A subject which is close to my heart as over the last 8 years I have watched artists I love succeed where I have struggled. I know its not the quality of my work, but there is something more than just producing things people love. I can do that and my work sells.

I’ve done courses on marketing, on using social media and can totally do all of these things and for a period of time I have increased my sales and done well. But I haven’t succeeded in the way that I would want to. It has always struck me that there is something more. What is that more? So as I always do I am going on a journey of research. A journey to interview those who are experts, those who have succeeded and made that jump.

Some of the answers will be very personal and will answer my questions, but I’m sure I’m not the only creative who is saying I want more, I am more, I want to be able to make a living doing the things I love. So the answer is to talk to people who have “made it” creatively, I want to talk to psychologists and neuroscientists because I’m sure the answer is in the way we think about it.

As an Occupational Therapist the things a I will always look at is volition, so our motivation, our values and our beliefs. It will be in our habituation so the roles we hold and the way we view them, and how we spend our time. It will be in the environment we create for ourself, both the physical atmosphere we create in but the social world we inhabit. All of these along side the important skills set of how to use social networks, how to platforms for sale and how to market ourselves.

Join me on my journey of “More”

WE ARE MORE than our histories, WE ARE MORE then the self defeating thoughts we have. WE ARE MORE and together lets discover some practical solutions so we can be MORE

If you are interested in finding out about the progress of the book and be the first to know when it is launched, head over to the front page there’s a sign up form on there

Cardboard cutout

Life is more than being a cardboard cutout. Being present in the world but making no difference. Squashed into the roles and expectations others and yourself have for you.

My question is what is your strength? The thing is, I’m beginning realise, that it isn’t something that you are good at necessarily, more that it is something that gives you strength. The thing you do where you begin to find passion and fire. The place where you feel alive and full of vitality.

The problem with being good and competent at something, is that you can spend the rest of your life being competent. Somehow you end up not being who you were created to be. A cardboard cutout, that does a job, but isn’t you.

So changes need to be made.

For me I need to clear clutter. Literal clutter which will make my husband so much happier, emotional clutter where I’m trying to perform rather than be present and activities. These the things that keep me numb, like computer games and fiction, rather than those that keep me passionate, like community transformation. There’s nothing wrong with games of books in and of themselves, it’s just they steal me away from being who I was created to be.

Deep cuts, big change but becoming truly me.

What is it that you find your strength in, the thing that grows you?

What are you prepared to do to make it happen?

Eureka

I had one of those Eureka moments. for a long time I have tried to get my art work and my craft work to fit into one umbrella. With absolutely no success. I suddenly realised that they are not the same thing. Ultimately they could dovetail, but here and now they are separate and to try and combine them has been stressing me out and causing me not to enjoy or do either.

Hence no posts here and not keeping up with the schedule of activities I set for myself.

So the plan
Well I guess I develop my simply captivating line which will be simple design home ware and cards. Things I like and find attractive, which could cover a number of the ideas I have floating around my head. What that will do is free my up for my art of be my hobby. For the pure creation to be something I do just for me, and if people want to purchase it or like it enough then that’s another issue and a bridge I can cross at that time.

Grateful Friday

Today is the infamous snow day and living in Wales under the little area the Met office had given a red weather warning for, there was little chance I was going to get away without seeing my fair share of snow.  And I did.  So beautiful, so crisp … so cold.

I made it to work for a whole 2 minutes, before being told to leave as there were rumours that the trains were going to stop any time.  I was home half an hour before they stopped.  I am so incredibly grateful for the member of staff who texted in with the rail update and to the unit manager for sending me home.  I got the best possible outcome, a full days pay as I got in and got sent home, getting home safely, not having to walk home 6 miles down hill in the snow and a unexpected day to me.

A good day.

Noticing

So I got thinking.  The most natural post to write next seemed to be about how to breathe.  Afterall as far as I can tell when you are developing a new set of skills, or reapplying them to your life you need the short term solution, the medium and long term ones.  So discussing a tried and tested method seemed like a great idea.  Also showing off a little and blinding with science seemed fun, if I’m honest.  Making myself look good always seems like a nice option

My journey seems to be taking me on a completely different path.  were I ended up was with noticing.

I mentioned in the last post that my breathing through my mouth I was becoming more aware of not only how I was breathing, but I was becoming more aware of my movements.  Unconsciously slowing and moving in a more deliberate manner.

That sense of awareness has continued.  Probably also aided by a new set of glasses bringing life into new focus.  I live in a valley, surrounded by mountains.  Too often it is so easy to keep your head down, immersed in whatever life is throwing at you.  Lifting my eyes up, I find my breath stolen by the beauty around me.

I am also noticing and valuing friends more.  Suddenly more aware of the small moments of expressed friendship and gratitude. causing me to feel more loved.

Noticing… causing me to open my eyes.. causing me to see what I already have… realising that what I am seeking for is already mine… allowing me to feel alive, at peace and centred in a way I have been seeking for.

The power of simply breathing and being is proving to be amazing.

Dreaming of Spring – Creative Everyday

Dreaming of Spring

This is the piece I have been working on this week.  Some of the earlier pictures are over in the work in progress gallery.

We are due for snow and all I can think is that I want spring.  I want the end to winter… so I guess I’m going to create it in my own space… because I can.

There are now 2 layers of resin.  I’m hoping to finish it with a final level of paint and sanding down the sides and the finishing touches by the end of the week.

Things I’ve learnt when doing this

  • I really enjoy using pallet knives and love creating depth just using paint and paint mediums
  • Putting the leaves on to early before the resin stops moving causes the leaves to move from where I placed them
  • I think I’m beginning to enjoy creating the depth purely from the paint and wonder if long term as my skills develop I will end up with more traditional paintings and not mixed media.  Although I guess the reason I’m drawn to mixed media is that I get to use all sorts of skill sets as I get bored really easily.

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Grateful Friday

T-Thankful
G-Grateful
I-Inspiration
Friday

This week I’m thankful that my new student seems to learn best from my natural teaching style. Such a huge blessing.

I’m grateful to God to have such an amazing husband who increasingly is changing to be the best that he can be.

I am inspired by the idea of becoming who I have been created to be. To be true to who I am regardless of who other people need me to be and giving myself permission to look after myself, not just the world around me.

Breathing

PeaceSurely one of the most natural things that we do it breathe. Unlike dolphins, who I understand from nature programmes consciously control their breathing, we have an autonomic system which regulates our breath. We don’t have to think about each breath in and out to stay alive.

Breathing correctly has amazing benefits to our body, everything from controlling anxiety symptoms, to improving concentration, wanting to eat healthy to the desire to exercise and naturally maintain a good posture. It also gives that sense of being centred and being in control which I know I loose all too easily as I get swept away in the busy life I lead, with the expectations I place on myself.

However it is suggested that up to 90% of us in the western world breath in a way which is not so helpful for us. We breathe only with the top part of our lungs therefore taking in too much oxygen and not getting rid of the carbon dioxide efficiently.

Check out how you are breathing but placing one hand on your chest and one on your stomach at about waist height. Which is the hand which is moving?

If you are engaged with what you are reading I hope you will feel both hands moving. But like most of us it is possible you only feel your top hand moving. This is simply an exercise to help you become aware where you are breathing from and gives you the option to change you breathing patterns as you are aware of them if you choose to.

Interestingly the body doesn’t register the amount of oxygen we have in our lungs but does register the carbon dioxide(CO2). So when there is too much CO2 in our lungs out body tries to compensate by getting in more oxygen. This leads to hyperventilation, where the body has too much oxygen. This leads to symptoms which people often associate with anxiety, stress or panic.

So we need to reduce the amount of oxygen we have in our system and the is done by expelling some of the CO2. Our aim should not be to eliminate CO2 completely either as this is bad for us. My understanding is that in and of itself CO2 is not toxic, but we do require the correct balance of gasses in our lungs.

The myth that CO2 is bad for us stems from when they first started testing CO2 and finding out about the composition of air, there was a suggestion that it was toxic. A few lab mice lost their lives to sealed containers of carbon dioxide, thus in the scientists minds demonstrating that it was toxic, rather than considering the idea of a balance gas composition.

Breathing and meditation techniques can help bring the body back into balance for a period of time. This is why these seemly simple techniques can work so efficiently and effectively even in a space of 30-40 seconds to stabilise mood and reduce uncomfortable feelings. This is because it has been suggested that in our stressed western world, many of us live in a slightly over oxygenated world at the best of times and these techniques balance us effectively.

Our aim, however, needs to be more long term, rather than the quick fix of dealing with symptoms of hyperventilation when we see them. The challenge is to get our breathing rate when we are engaged in a sedentary activity such as reading or sleeping, to be between 8-12 breaths a minute. The main problem is that as soon as we try to monitor our own breathing, it naturally gets deeper. So we need someone else to monitor this for us when we are not expecting it.

So the question is how to we maintain this. Clearly we can control it when we are aware, but there is something about bringing a naturally healthy pace at all times.

The simple answer is to only breath through your nose. Exercising, staying hydrated, not being calcium deficient and consuming less stimulants (e.g. sugar and nicotine) will make a big difference too.

Try it. Consciously keep your mouth closed and breathe through your nose.

For me it brought a sense of awareness not only of my breath but of my movement as well. I somehow became more aware of my foot fall rate, the speed at which I was talking. There somehow came a need not to race. Strange I know. I am however aware for me that consciously breathing through my nose at all times is part of a journey to peace.