06 Mar 2016 Leave a comment
02 Mar 2016 Leave a comment
Marcus Sikora has a flare for the creative.
The 25-year-old from Omaha, Nebraska, has acted in school productions and wrote and produced a one-act stage performance in cooperation with a local high school.
Sikora also has Down syndrome, but that hasn’t stopped him from achieving something that would be impressive for any 25-year-old. As of June 2015, he can add “published author” to his list of accomplishments.
17 Mar 2014 Leave a comment
You might have noticed in reading my posts that I have a bit of a pet peeve about watching what you say. I’m a big fan of “if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” And this doesn’t just apply to what you say about others, it applies to what you say about yourself and the things that you do/create/share.
I see this happen a lot with creative people. They produce a beautiful photo, brilliant art work, or incredible writing, and then, when they show it to you, almost instantly devalue their own efforts by adding “it’s not very good”, “I really don’t know what I’m doing”, or “it’s not my best work”. It makes. me. crazy.
Okay, I admit that it makes be MORE crazy because I used to do it – a lot – and I understand where their head is at. But it also makes me crazy because if it is something that you created, it comes from you, and from your heart, by saying that it’s not any good, you’re also devaluing yourself on a subconscious level. You’re holding yourself back, limiting your creative potential, and beating up your own self-confidence.
It may have started subtly enough. We might discover that by saying, “Oh, it’s not very good.” a friend might disagree and insist that the work is truly wonderful. Instantly, the reward part of our brain goes “Heeyyy… I say it’s bad, I get a compliment!” Soon we automatically unveil the fruits of our creative labor and simultaneously announce “it’s really not my best work”, while preparing for the freshly delivered reassurances and compliments from our audience.
While getting compliments is nice, this is really not the greatest way to validate the worth of your work. You create a pattern of constantly devaluing your creation and at the same time your own worth. This doesn’t mean that you have to go flying off in the other direction and declare to everyone who’ll listen how fabulous your latest work of art is. (Which may result in your friends running for the hills when you appear.)
The simplest way to stop devaluing your work really is, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” or “keep your mouth shut”. Oversimplified, maybe, but the idea is to get you to stop trash talking yourself and smothering your creativity and self-esteem. By all means, show friends and strangers your art work, but do not tell them how awful it is. We create art for art’s sake, what you have created is what it is, good, bad or ugly, but it is a part of you, treat it the way you want to be treated.
When someone compliments what you do, a “simple thank” you is the most powerful phrase you can utter. On a subconscious level, you’re validating that what you have made has value and so do you. It takes a conscious effort to stop whatever else you were going to say and just say “thank you”, but once you get the hang of it, it can be a truly liberating experience.
Those two small words can help grow your confidence, boost your creativity and inspire your faith in your own creative processes.
06 Mar 2013 Leave a comment
Time is an invention. Now is a reality. So much creativity is happening for the simple reason that we have withdrawn ourselves from the past and future. Our whole energy remains blocked, either in the past or in the future.
When you withdraw all your energy from past and future, a tremendous explosion happens.
That explosion is creativity.
~Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (From Begin It Now, by Susan Hayward)
If you are an artist or a writer and you spend a lot of time worrying about how you’ll ever become published or famous in the future, or about dumb mistakes you made in the past that you’re worried you’ll make again, chances are you’re getting little to nothing accomplished in your present.
Perhaps you’re holding out on taking a job that you don’t like very much because you’re waiting for that ideal job to present itself. Maybe you’re not allowing yourself to find a loving relationship because someone did the Mexican Hat Dance on your heart in the past, and you never want that to happen again.
It’s hard to wrap our heads around it, but in reality the present is all that matters. Do what you need to do now, and the future will begin to form and take care of itself without you fussing over it.
Let’s bake a cake. You decide to use this delicious new cake recipe. You have all these dreams and fantasies about how fabulous this cake is going to be. But, instead of just letting it bake, you keep poking your head in the oven to see how it’s doing, and eventually the whole thing goes flat, and you have to start again.
Neither does your past successes or failures at baking a cake really have much relevance on that cake you’re baking now. You think to yourself oh, I didn’t use enough flour the last time I made that cake, so I better adjust it this time. You don’t say, oh my god, I screwed that cake up so badly I will never make it again. Well, at least you shouldn’t be saying that, anyway.
We make our lives so much more stressful by constantly dwelling on the past and wringing our hands about the future. Redirect your focus to the present. Pick a cake recipe and just bake it. If it comes out, it comes out. If it doesn’t, you note what you have learned and try again.
Pick up the paint brush or the pen. Make bad art and enjoy it. Write a crappy first draft. Take the job that will put food on the table today and keep yourself in the present so that you will see that new opportunity when it arrives. Go out on a date with someone you’re not sure about. Start a conversation with that person you’ve been admiring.
Nothing at all, good or bad, will change unless you take a step. Taking one small step today is better than planning a thousand steps tomorrow.
06 Mar 2013 1 Comment
This is a part two of a series of posts looking at the different ways we can use color to positively benefit our lives.
Orange is another warm, energizing color. It is thought to combine the stimulating qualities of red with the more cheerful energy of yellow, which we’ll discuss next time. It is linked to the sacral chakra, another of what is believed to be the centers of vital energy in our body. This chakra is located in the lower abdomen, and is related to the organs in that area, including the uterus, ovaries, prostate and testes.
Physically, the color orange stimulates and energizes us. It is believed to stimulate the lungs, respiration and digestion, as well as increase the activity of the thyroid. Like red, many restaurants use orange, or more subtle shades of orange, such as peach, to stimulate the appetite. Orange colored foods provide beta carotene, vitamins and nutrients which help improve the immune system, protect heart and vision, and may play an important role in preventing certain cancers.
Emotionally and mentally, orange projects warmth and happiness, it is associated with fun and sociability, and inspires creativity. It is believed to release constrictions of both the mind and body, open your mind to new ideas and boost enthusiasm. It’s related to gut instinct, as opposed to mental or physical reaction. It’s association with the sacral chakra may also make it helpful in dealing with sexual expression.
Many people are averse to the color orange, it’s often considered one of the least popular colors. If you’re not a fan of orange, ask yourself what aspects of orange do you perhaps have a personal struggle with, and apply orange in some form to that part of your life.
Like red, you can incorporate orange into your life as simply as eating or drinking things that are orange. In fact, so many orange foods are so good for us, like carrots and oranges. You can use orange to decorate a room like studio or craft room to inspire creativity, but you want to avoid using it in rooms where there is possible stress.
Visualize orange light when meditating or healing, on the areas of your body or your life where you think they most need it. Keep an orange light or light filter so that you can sit directly in the light if you feel you need it. Find a cheery orange blanket to wrap yourself in on days when you need that boost of cheerfulness or creativity.
It takes a certain personality type to wear a lot of orange, but adding orange accessories may help boost your mood. Jewelry or gemstones such as citrine, coral, amber, sunstone, carnelian, topaz, and certain agates and opals worn or carried in your pocket and bring a little of that orange energy into your life.
As with anything like this, it’s not just what people and books or websites tell you to believe, it’s what you believe. What feelings or thoughts does the color orange invoke for you? Does it bring up a particular memory? How does it affect you? You should always trust your own intuition about what’s best for you.
Just I mentioned with red, there’s nothing that says you have to work with orange if you can’t stand it. The added benefit of orange being a secondary color is that you could possibly achieve the same effects by using a bit of red and yellow if you like those colors better. These pages are certainly not everyone’s truth, just a bit of guidance to get you going in the direction you need to go.
And please, as always, if you have serious physical or mental health problems, talk to a professional. Take care of yourself.
18 Feb 2013 Leave a comment
I have been feeling a bit agitated for having too many projects (i.e. not managing my time very well) and not giving myself enough time to write posts for this blog, which is one of my favorite things to do. I was thinking about it this weekend, and I realized that one of the things that I’m doing is setting some pretty high expectations for myself.
We all do it. I think there’s a tendency to think that until we can do something 110%, we might as well not do it at all, and so then of course a lot of potentially great things never get done. With Spiritual Tea, for instance, I keep thinking I need to have just the right topic, and it needs to be a good essay length, and then of course once I pick a subject, I might need to research it, and who has time for that?? And on and on…
Sometimes we need to stop waiting until we feel like we can do something perfectly, and just do it. Perfection is a pretty elusive thing, and by not doing anything at all, we don’t even give ourselves a chance to learn from the imperfections. This means, writing that blog post, painting, creating, or expressing yourself in any way.
It can also be the reason we don’t try new things. There’s that feeling that we’ll be embarrassed because we’re not very good at it yet, and people will laugh at your mistakes, and learning curves are painful. But in reality, if you find the right person or people to learn from, they have all been where you are, and they will support and encourage, pick you up when you fall down, and share their own stories of failures and successes with you.
So, as you can see, what I thought was just going to be a very short blog post to say how I had figured out what I would do to write more often has actually turned into a pretty lengthy one, with some surprising insights that popped into my head once I started typing. And that just came from idea that I would just write more frequently, even if it’s just a paragraph or two, a word of the day, or a little inspiration, and not wait for perfection.
I hope that you take my example and follow your own bit of inspiration today.