The Mundane, Presence & Everyday Magic

On Tuesday & Friday mornings I invite you Behind the Scenes at my studio.

Today:  I’ve hurt my arm but that wasn’t going to stop me from showing up with this reminder that your life is precious and important and that you are surrounded by magic and inspiration every day – grab it!

Mentioned in Today’s Show

    • The Studio Yearbook – a seasonal guided journal for your creative life
    • Mindful Mondays – a powerful practice to start your week with intention
    • Journal Club – establish your journal practice in an encouraging creative community
    • Awakening – awaken your inner dancer this winter!

The Power of Devotion (or Changing Your Life One Choice at a Time)


As 2019 starts to find its rhythm, I’m finding mine as well. I’m working with a new schedule and it is rigorous. This past week I’ve done my best to work within it, noticing where I’ve designed something too structured and too demanding, making adjustments as I go. I haven’t made this schedule to push or punish myself. I haven’t made it so I will “rock my productivity” this year. I’ve created it to support me, to hold in loving care the things that matter deeply. My studio work is on the schedule. My practices are on the schedule. Tending to my home and my life is on the schedule. Time with loved ones is on the schedule. My writing is on the schedule. (In fact, I’m writing to you during that allotted time in the dark morning cold, watching the sunrise. Beautiful!) Art days are on the schedule. I am on the schedule.

With such a rigorous schedule it might come as a surprise that I love freedom. A wild heart beats inside this chest. I don’t like restrictions or enforced limits. I will change my schedule without hesitation or guilt when it is good and healthy for me to do so – but I won’t break from it lightly. I won’t abandon my priorities on a whim. Why not? Because this schedule isn’t a yoke on my shoulders; it is my root. The deeper my roots, the more wildly I can dance with the wind without getting lost or broken. I am tall and strong and graceful when I have ensured the strength and safety of my roots. I do this through devotion.

We can express our devotion to our true priorities in every choice we make.

This week I met with my sister Shannon, who is an integral part of this studio, and we chatted through the season ahead. Grounded in the studio vision, we worked on this season’s projects, getting into the details of scheduling, policies, procedures etc. As we spoke, it became clear the kind of rigour required to support the dream, not simply in terms of what we like to call “work-work” but also in support of the creative process. Showing up to create, to love, to shine requires a special kind of energy, one that needs to be nourished, cultivated and protected.

So this week, I practiced devotion. I said no to things, even things I love and look forward to, in order to tend to my root. I chose nourishing food over convenience. I chose water over caffeine. I chose yoga over Netflix. I chose sleep over choir.

It wasn’t easy but it also wasn’t hard. I simply chose, gently and repeatedly, in small ways, again and again, what mattered deeply.* Little choices made with devotion can change our life.

What are you devoted to?

Choose that this week. Again and again, choose that.

Find Inspiration: Callum Donovan Grujicich

One of my practices is actively looking for inspiration.  Every day I open up my awareness to the creative sparks available all around and I gather to me. I make note of them in my Studio Yearbook. They are my teachers. Some sparks become ideas that turn into projects. Some sparks open my mind to something new. Some sparks confirm my suspicions. All contribute to my creative life.

Watching this video about young sculptor Callum Donovan Grujicich came on the heels of my decision to restart my Studio Diaries.  For years I have been searching for the “right” format for this creative push inside of me and finally I remembered this:

The form will be revealed as you are doing the work. Not before.

This was reinforced when I heard Callum say, “I had to figure out how to make them because I had never seen anything like this before. After a while they evolved into what I make now.” Right. When you are doing something brand new, you have to figure it out. There is no recipe or road map but the treasure at the end is that you will have created something uniquely and powerfully you.

I was also struck by Callum’s statement: “I find it more interesting to put a bunch of different materials together.” His work developed as he followed what interested him. Thank you for the reminders, Callum.

What interests you right now?

What creative impulse are you willing to follow, even if you don’t know where it’s leading?

Studio Diaries: Schedules, Home & Cats

 

Studio Diary: Friday January 11, 2018

My Studio Diaries gather raw and real inspirations and insights of life in my studio. They are not finished pieces but works in progress intended to let you in to the world of this one creative heart.

Cat in the Hood

Just when I thought I was scaling the mountains of busy-ness, it turned out I was a mountain to be scaled! In the midst of a very full and demanding week, this magical moment happened. I was out for a walk delivering some important letters to do with our reno when I met this sweet tabby. Just as I was kneeling down to get closer, he walked right up my back and settled in! It was as though he were thoroughly ready for me to take him for a ride! What a joy. This was truly one of the most memorable “cats in the hood” experiences ever!

The Studio Yearbook

It’s hard to believe but it’s already time to start working on the spring edition of the Studio Yearbook. Now that we’ve completed our first year’s cycle, we’re making some changes – not to the yearbook itself but to how we share it with the world.

Every season since its inception, we’ve chosen one growing edge to focus on with each yearbook. For example, in the fall season I learned how to print postage from the studio instead of having to take boxes and boxes to the post office in my granny cart. That was particularly good for the winter edition!

We’re always trying to improve and we’re always trying to grow. There are a million things on my list of possibilities for what we can do to nourish the yearbook and its community. It’s hard to not try to do it all at once! But one thing I’ve learned from plate-spinning is to get one thing going smoothly before you add the next.

The Reno

As we prepare for the reno and, like everyone else, as I binge watch Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, I am focusing on the things that are truly near and dear to my heart, like Otis.

On one of our early anniversaries, Justin and I walked into a toy store and each bought one thing. He ended up with little red binoculars and I fell in love with a sweet bunny puppet I named Otis. He accompanied us on the rest of our date. He talked to kids on the streetcar and had his own seat at dinner. Now I even have a portrait painting of me and Otis. (Thanks, Shannon!)

He’s a little worse for the wear but he’s a keeper for sure.

And speaking of the reno, I am just so happy right now! We’re a few weeks away from the committee meeting which will determine whether we can go ahead with the reno in the way that we would like to. One thing that can impact our chances greatly is letters of support from neighbours – and we got one!  I hadn’t been too hopeful, honestly, but now I am beaming with gratitude. Thank you to our neighbours and to the Universe too – and maybe even to that little tabby who blessed my letter-delivery outing!

My Schedule

Ah… writing that makes me realize how often I use that strategy, including moving into the season. This week was my first full-time week in the Studio, including returning to the BTS. Next week, I start working with my coaching clients. The next week Mindful Mondays and Journal Club begin. The next week the Studio Yearbook should be available and Awakening begins. Throughout all of this, I am trying to work with a new schedule, one that puts my priorities in focus and makes sure I include my practices in the mix.

Already I see what’s most likely to get dropped (my writing) and what things are fairly established (basic home tending).  I also see how often I want to veer away from the schedule. Most times it’s simply habit that tries to pull my attention away.  I have some things built-in to the schedule that are helping. Let’s say I want to check my email or social media. I know I have two times during the day that are dedicated to that. It’s easy to say no when I’m really just saying, “Not yet.”

Even though I’m still experiencing the discomfort of trying to adhere to something new and rigorous, I am also feeling the benefits. I was very productive in the studio this week – plus I did get to my meditation, yoga and writing way more than I have in ages. I also managed to have a couple of lovely quiet nights, getting to bed early and even *gasp* having a bit of time to read.

It’s still an adjustment but all of these things seem to suggest I am on the right road.

Feel the Love

And nothing caps off a Friday better than cat videos and Sarpur Duman’s YouTube channel and/or Instagram feed is a rabbit hole that I am more than happy to explore.  The joy is never-ending!

Creativity, Practice & Dancing with Life

On Tuesday & Friday mornings I invite you Behind the Scenes at my studio.

Today: It’s good to be back in the studio – and to the first Behind the Scenes of the season. Diving back into our regular routines, it’s all too easy to sink into familiar patterns, even if they don’t work well for you! Instead, stop and include your self and your dreams in the mix.

Mentioned in Today’s Show