Category: Creative Living Podcast

Conquering Your Fear of Facebook Demons: Creative Living with Jamie eps 285

Creative Living with Jamie Episode 285:
Conquering Your Fear of the Facebook Demons

Sharing our creative work on Facebook and other social media platforms brings up all kinds of resistance and fears. In this episode of Creative Living with Jamie,  Jamie addresses a listener question, “How do you face the Facebook demons?”

Take It to Your Journal

  • When did you learn to hide?
  • How does hiding support you as an artist?
  • How does it get in the way?
  • What would support you in coming out of hiding?
  • How can you build creative safety on your own terms?

Resources & Mentions

  • Our Ask Jamie question this week comes from mixed media artist Allyson Gunnel. You can find her on Instagram and at her website, The Magenta Door.
  • Allyson was one of the first graduates of Devotion.
  • Do you have a question you’d like to ask a creative mentor? Send it to
  • Join the Studio and get access to 5 free Creative Practice Workshops



Welcome to Creative Living with Jamie. I’m your guide Jamie Ridler and on this podcast you and I are going to go on a great many adventures together. We’ll explore all aspects of what it means to live a creative life and we’ll embrace ourselves as artists. We’ll get curious, we’ll wonder and we’ll follow inspiration. We’ll wrestle with tough questions and we’ll brave challenges and sometimes will ask our friends for help. Along the way we will discover our courage, our confidence, ourselves and one another. We’ll come to know our artistic hearts and from there we will create. And that’s when the magic happens.


Hey there, everybody,

I hope you’re having a great time and feeling inspired in your studio (and remember, your life is your studio). This is the time of year when my studio starts to extend out into the garden. To be honest, for the past several years we’ve kind of ignored it. During the reno, it really got smished and afterwards we were so focused on getting our house in order that we didn’t quite make it to the outside. We had imagined we’d do a bit of a reno back there too – new fence, stone instead of grass, maybe a new deck – and what’s funny is that thought of what we might do ended up making it so we didn’t do anything at all. Have you ever had that happen?

This year Justin and I made a different decision, that we weren’t going to just leave the garden on pause and oh my goodness, it felt so good! So good to clear away all that was dead or dying, to uproot all that was unwanted or out of place, to make room for what would be beautiful. It felt respectful. It felt like honouring this the little patch of land that is ours. It felt like hope.

And so now the peonies are blooming and the twinkie lights are shining. The birds and squirrels are visiting and the latter not so welcome when they’re stealing my bulbs but still, but still, but still, I’m glad they’re there. I’ve planted a new clematis and it’s so wee. The first night after we put it in I was thinking about what it’s like when you go to bed for the first time in a new place and I hoped this little life would feel right at home. And today it is pouring and I don’t mind a bit because I know that rain will nourish it all.

What would nourish you this week, dear listener? What would make you feel at ease?

I know something that definitely doesn’t create that feeling and that is Facebook Demons, which is what I’m going to talk to you about today. I received a great question from artist Allyson Gunnell about how to not let these baddies get in the way of participating. That’s what I’ll be answering in this Ask Jamie episode but first, I want to share a little bit of Studio News.

Studio News

Though we are still immersed in the joys of spring, summer really is just around the corner and that means it’s time for the summer Studio Yearbook! This fill-in-the-blank guided journal was designed to take you through an entire season of creative practice. You’ll learn to look for inspiration in every day. You’ll gather words and images that touch your creative heart. You’ll have a place for your gratitude practice and also learn to celebrate and appreciate every day. You’ll set intentions under the new moon and dream under the full moon. You’ll learn to focus on what truly matters to you.

Now, before this summer edition came out, I announced that this would be the last Studio Yearbook. Since then, I’ve been inundated with stories about what this journal has meant in the creative lives of so many yearbookers. For many, it has been a road back to themselves, a bridge to a creative life that they have only dreamed of. I must admit that hearing these stories gives me the wobbles about drawing the yearbook to a close. Even the people who have written about how they’ve been starting to move away from the yearbook, moving into new-found ways of journaling, even they make it clear how essential their time with the yearbook has been, how it has given them a safe and encouraging place to build their creative confidence, to get to know their artistic self and giving them the power and motivation to try, say, art journaling for the first time. Even for myself, I was working in the yearbook this week, catching up on some pages that I had missed and I thought, “Oh, this feels like home.”

It is amazing what can happen on the pages of a journal. It’s amazing the magic that can be awakened page by page, day by day, as you develop a creative practice. I hope you’ll join me for the adventure this summer. I’ll have a link to the Studio Yearbook in the show notes.

Okay. Now it’s time for Ask Jamie.

Ask Jamie

Today I have a question that came in from mixed media artist Allyson Gunnell. Allyson was one of the very first graduates of the Devotion program here in the studio. It has been an absolute joy to witness her deep commitment to her creative work and the way she and her work simply shine. I’ll leave a link to her website in the show notes. Be sure to check her out. I am delighted to be able to address her question today. I know it’s one that many of you can relate to!

Allyson asks…

I have a question for you as mentioned in the newsletter. (Oh, by the way, this is Jamie, not Allyson’s question, if you’re not getting my letters from the Studio, come on over to and sign up. You’ll also get a free mini series of creative practice workshops! Okay, back to Allyson’s question)

How do I face the Facebook demons? I’m part of a 10-week course where the instructor suggested not hiding (something I do quite well) and joining, posting, and commenting in the Facebook group. In the past, posting my artwork in Facebook leads me to check and recheck for likes, being disappointed when they are few and getting caught up in other posts with some negative energy (which is why I stay away from social media in general.) 

I would like to participate in this class’ Facebook group and would appreciate some ideas on how to contain/work with/ remove myself from the Facebook demons.

Allyson, thank you so much for sending in this question. I know it is something that so many people can relate to, whether it’s sharing on Facebook specifically, on any other platform or, honestly, sharing in any other way. Sharing our creative work brings up all sorts of stuff, often triggering our hurts, memories, needs and desires. So first I really want you to know you’re not alone. I am guessing that if I asked everyone listening to this podcast to raise their hand if they relate, just about everyone’s hands would be up. In fact, I’m just imagining everyone doing that exactly where they are, raising your hand if you relate. I’m looking around the grocery store or the laundry or your neighbourhood while you’re walking your dog. If someone else raises their hand too, you know they’re listening to the same podcast!

Let’s talk about hiding and then we’ll come around to how to face those Facebook demons so you can share. By the way, I’ll also post some Take It to Your Journal questions on the topic of hiding. There will be a link to that in the show notes.

Hiding is such a powerful and familiar strategy for highly sensitive creative people. We use it for a reason. If I was to ask you about your personal art history, it probably wouldn’t be too hard for you to tell me why you learned to hide. We’ll all have different stories but our desire to hide ultimately comes from a deeply human drive – the drive to be and to feel safe. This is absolutely reasonable so I don’t want you to give yourself a hard time about hiding. You’re not only allowed to but encouraged to create safety for yourself and hiding is one way to do it. Now what we want to do is just expand the range of tools that are available.

Let me say too that hiding can be a powerful gift that we give ourselves and our work. Perhaps we can reimagine it as sheltering. When we shelter our art from forces that might (even unwittingly) do it damage, we are being a good steward to our work. There are times in our creative process when it is so important that we nourish our work and our relationship to it without the winds of outside opinion, which brings us back to sharing.

The first question I have in return for you, Allyson, and I want you and everyone listening to put the show on pause and either take this question to your journal or really think it out before you go on – why are you sharing? When you put your work into a Facebook group, what is your motivation? Knowing the answer to this question will help surface the best approach for facing those demons. So, put me on pause and with list out all the honest and true reasons why you are sharing. Then come back.

Okay, I’m going to address a few common reasons why we share our work, including one that’s right there in your question. I hope it will address some of your reasons and give you some great strategies.

The one reason you’ve made explicit in your question is simple and clear: you’d like to participate. This is a warm and wonderful motivation. Our desire to be a part of something, to have a shared experience, brings human beings together and that is a beautiful thing. The wonderful thing is that participating is something you have 100% control over. It’s entirely up to you. If this is one of your goals, you can put something in the Facebook group and give yourself a big gold star of success. You did it! You may also find other ways of participating like supporting other artists, asking questions and sharing resources.

Another reason we might share in a classroom group is that we want feedback. Now, here we need to make a distinction between feedback and validation, which I’ll talk about in a minute. At the very core of taking classes is our desire to learn. When we’re developing new skills and learning new methods, it can be helpful to have the instructor or other students provide feedback. This can help us identify where we’re on the right track and where we could use some further growth.

If you’re posting because you’d like feedback, make that clear as a part of your post. Tag the instructor, ask specific questions, create clarity about the kind of responses you are looking for. This might look like, “In this piece I tried the blending technique from lesson 3. I feel like I was able to achieve a good blend with the pastels but then I noticed it was less effective when I was working with the blue and red in the bottom corner. Any advice on getting a more consistent blend? Does the colour choice make a difference?” That’s a request for feedback, the kind of feedback you’re looking for and that will help you further your learning and grow as an artist.

Now, let’s talk about validation, which is where posting often gets sticky The truth is that every person who shares their work in a group wants to get those likes. We want to be seen and appreciated. We want other people to like our work – of course we do! It’s exciting and encouraging when we post something and we see that other people respond, preferably lots of other people and preferably with lots of love for our work. When we receive that, we bask in that joy. We made something and it struck a chord. That is a truly beautiful thing.

The problem is our believe that if it doesn’t strike a chord – right here, right now, in this environment, in this form – then there’s a problem, that that somehow signals that there is something lacking or even wrong with us as artists or with our work. This can be devastating and it can also be a total disconnect from reality. Not getting likes can be the result of something as random as posting at a time when something major happens in the news or on a day when the weather is spectacularly nice so people are outside. It’s just not an adequate measure of the power, beauty and value of your work.

But the deeply insidious part of that response is that it seeps into the cracks. It seeps into the cracks of our creative confidence, all of the hurt places where we are looking for validation. We are vulnerable to this when we’re looking for a sign that our art is worthwhile and when we’ve internalized the idea that what makes it worthwhile is someone else’s response to it. This can be hard to see because it’s such a fine distinction between the sincere desire to be seen and to have our artwork appreciated and the exhausting diminishment that comes from the ongoing need for external validation.

So, how do we tell them apart? Well, one fills us up and the other gives us a temporary high that keeps us craving more and more and more. One like is never enough. Our need for likes is bottomless. It’s more akin to an addiction than a connection.

So, if you find yourself going back again and again and again to see if you have more likes, stop for a minute and give yourself the validation that your creative spirit is seeking. Remind yourself of all the reasons that you are creating. Celebrate your artistic heart, the way it shows up to make something in this world. Recognize the creative you have always been and always will be. It is your nature. It is who you are. And one like or one million likes is not going to change that.

Step into that Facebook group knowing who you are, an artist with an unshakeable relationship to her art. Be aware of why you are sharing and then share with an approach that honours that. And if those demons give you the wobbles, step away from the container and have your feelings. Soothe your jangling nerves. Let the storm pass. What you’ll start to see is that the storm aren’t going to stop you. Though you may like the likes, you don’t need them to show you up as you are. More and more you’ll see that useful feedback gets you excited about growing as an artist, true resonance with the work gives you courage and the things that used to trigger that need for validation impact you less and less.

Keep creating. Keep believing in yourself and your work. Nothing’s going to stop you now.

And that goes for each and every one of you listening. You are here because your creativity is calling. Show up for your work. It will be the adventure of a lifetime.

I’ll see you soon.

How Do You Find Creative Joy: Creative Living with Jamie eps 284

Creative Living with Jamie Episode 284:
How Do You Find Creative Joy?

Where did you lose your creative joy? For many hidden artists it was when assessment came into play.  Someone’s criticism shut us down and made us believe that the arts were outside our reach. This is never true. Let’s look at the ways we can bring back that joy – along with another secret ingredient you might not expect!

Take It to Your Journal

  • What were you doing the last time you felt creative joy?
  • What steals your creative joy?
  • What gives it back?
  • What were you like as a creative kid?
  • What would that creative kid say to you right now?

Resources & Mentions



Welcome to Creative Living with Jamie. I’m your guide Jamie Ridler and on this podcast you and I are going to go on a great many adventures together. We’ll explore all aspects of what it means to live a creative life and we’ll embrace ourselves as artists. We’ll get curious, we’ll wonder and we’ll follow inspiration. We’ll wrestle with tough questions and we’ll brave challenges and sometimes will ask our friends for help. Along the way we will discover our courage, our confidence, ourselves and one another. We’ll come to know our artistic hearts and from there we will create. And that’s when the magic happens.


Hey there, everybody. Well, it looks like I am slipping into a bit of a biweekly rhythm with the podcast. Honestly, I’m kind of breaking all the rules here and settling in to create when I have a moment. I am trusting that as this show starts to take root, it will begin to take up more and more space and will find a regular home in the Studio.

This is a bit odd for me because the truth is I love consistency except for when it gets in the way.

Consistency is a great way to establish trust and a sense of safety. It’s a great way to honour your work and your commitment to it. Consistency is a great way to find a rhythm that will hold you even when your energy is bucking with the wild horse of resistance. Consistency is a gift to your creativity in so many ways. If you are a part of the Studio, and I hope you are – if not put me on pause and run on over to and join – and if you are, you’ll know that I generally like to run things with consistency. My newsletter comes out at 6:00 am EST on Sundays and has for well over a decade. I love knowing that I’m spending Sunday morning with readers and that they are starting their day with some creative inspiration and something to ponder, that we are sharing that moment of connection. Consistency really can be a gift.

But it can also be a roadblock. How often do you not do something at all because you’re not sure you can do it always?

Always is such an unreasonable expectation, especially when you are doing something new. How do you know you’re going to thrive with a daily drawing practice until you’ve tried it out? How do you know the time and energy it’s going to take to make a show on YouTube every week if you’ve never done it before? You just don’t. So you make a start and see what it feels like. You give yourself permission to make adjustments as you go. You do what you can because showing up to your creative impulses is far more important than showing up to an arbitrary schedule.

So here I am. And for now, I’m going to think of the newsletter as somewhere you know you’re going to see me every week and the podcast as something you’ll be delighted to discover on your doorstep whenever it arrives. And then we’ll see where this particular adventure leads.

Today it’s leading to joy.

I want to talk to you about the power and importance of your creative joy. I want you to think about it for a moment. Cast back into your creative life and ask yourself, when was the last time I felt creative joy? It might have been puttering in your garden or arranging tulips in a vase. It might have been throwing a dinner party. It might have been giving yourself permission to doodle for hours. It might have been yesterday. It might have been a long time ago.

When was it for you?

As creative people we sometimes expect that every time we do something creative it will be a joy. Has that been true for you? It hasn’t been for me.

I can tell you that one of the heartbreaks that so many of my clients have been through is that when they finally give themselves time to do their art what they feel is anything but. They find themselves weeping or frustrated or full of resistance. They wonder, “What happened to my joy?” They worry, “Will I ever find it again?”

They will. They do. And so will you.

One of the ways to do this is to call on the wisdom of your little kid artist.

When we were little, if we had the freedom and the opportunity, we loved to create! We would draw monsters and dinosaurs and bears and castles and you name it. We wiggled to music before we could walk. We built sandcastles and made up games and conjured costumes. All of it with great seriousness and joy.

Did you notice I said seriousness? I want you to hold onto that thought for a moment.

But first let’s talk about joy. When did we lose the joy? When I talk to recovering artists, it is almost always the moment assessment or critique became involved. It’s when someone said you couldn’t sing. Or someone told you that you couldn’t dance. Maybe someone laughed at your clay pot or criticized your drawing or painting. When that happened, you took in that destructive notion that you were somehow not good enough, that art wasn’t for you – even if it brought you joy. Joy simply wasn’t enough. Joy was for children. Now that you were 9, 12, 17, 42, 72, if you want to be an artist, you better demonstrate aptitude, talent, some skill or move on to something else.

What utter garbage!

But we take it in. We leave art behind as a childish love or maybe, maybe we let it find some space in our lives as a hobby. And that’s often how secret artists find their way back to creative joy. They start knitting or calligraphy or scrapbooking or photography. It lights them up in a way they haven’t felt in years. Was that you?

When that happens, that spark of joy starts to rise and it is awesome!  Suddenly they are taking classes, buying supplies, taking up space and feeling inspired. Ideas are flourishing and there just isn’t enough time in the day for them to do what the love to do. The artist and the joy are present, awake and alive.

And then, at this point, because we instinctively know that part of the reason we got shut down in the first place was assessment and criticism, we decide to throw it away. We simply refuse to engage in that approach. We embrace the process and release ourselves from the pressure of a precious outcome. We want to bring back that childhood joy and we just want to play. And playing is awesome. Every artist needs it. Creative play gives us a gorgeous sense of freedom, joy release, and often innovation and originality, until it doesn’t.

Because at some point, for some artists, it becomes hideout.

You see, if we declare that what we are doing is play and that we don’t care about the results at all, we are safe. No one can say we aren’t good enough because we’re not trying to be good enough. We’re just mucking about. And if something we make happens to be “good” well, isn’t that a surprise? How amazing! How unexpected! Then we can say, “Hey, everybody, look at this. I wasn’t even trying but this is pretty good, isn’t’ it?”

We do this is because the world has taught us that we can either play at art or we can be a professional and nothing in between. I’m here to tell you this is absolutely and totally untrue.

Let’s go back for a moment to that thought I asked you to hold onto earlier: that little kids create with joy, yes, but also with seriousness. Think about the kid you were. Think about the kids you know. Can you see their sweet faces deep in focus and concentration? I can literally see my sister Suzie with her hand on her forehead.

When you see a kid making a fort or putting on a play or creating a sculpture, that kid is often trying to make something great or cool or epic or amazing. They aren’t thinking of it as ‘little kid stuff’. That’s our projection. That’s our judgment. And when we foist it on them, we perpetuate this cycle.

What the little kids artist in our heart is teaching us about creative joy is not just about freedom and play – though it is certainly that – it is also to give yourself over to what you are making. Dare to dream. If you don’t know how to do something, improvise. Give your art your all and believe in your ability to create something wonderful.

Criticism, assessment and the velvet ropes have convinced us that the only way we can find joy is to engage in the process and let go of our art but I want you to know that you can have both. Creative joy is available to you as you wiggle and giggle and doodle and paint a mess. Creative joy is also available to you as believe in your artistic vision as you bring it to life, as you learn and grow every step of the way.

Have you heard this tale from Howard Ikemoto? Here’s what he said: “When my daughter was about seven years old, she asked me one day what I did at work. I told her I worked at the college – that my job was to teach people how to draw. She stared back at me, incredulous, and said, “You mean they forget?””

Never forget, dear listener. That artist is alive inside of you and creative joy is right at your fingertips. Make something this week. See what magic might be unlocked if you embrace the alchemy of joy and seriousness.

Have a wonderful week in your studio and remember, your life is your studio. I’ll see you soon.

Creative Boundaries: Creative Living with Jamie eps 283

Creative Living with Jamie Episode 283:
Creative Boundaries

How do you politely set boundaries around your creative time and space? In this first ‘Ask Jamie’ episode, I offer some advice to a listener who is creating a unique studio space and share a few reasons why people so often tread heavily on our artistic hearts!

Take It to Your Journal

  • Growing up, what did you learn about art and artists?
  • How much space and time does artmaking take up in your life?
  • How much space and time would you like artmaking to take up in your life?
  • Where would it be helpful to establish creative boundaries?

Resources & Mentions



Welcome to Creative Living with Jamie. I’m your guide Jamie Ridler and on this podcast you and I are going to go on a great many adventures together. We’ll explore all aspects of what it means to live a creative life and we’ll embrace ourselves as artists. We’ll get curious, we’ll wonder and we’ll follow inspiration. We’ll wrestle with tough questions and we’ll brave challenges and sometimes will ask our friends for help. Along the way we will discover our courage, our confidence, ourselves and one another. We’ll come to know our artistic hearts and from there we will create. And that’s when the magic happens.


Hey everybody

This week I am excited to bring our first Ask Jamie episode with a great question about creative boundaries. Plus, I’m going to share some big studio news and an important takeaway I want you to have for when creative containers come to an close.

So first, let’s turn to a listener question in our very first Ask Jamie segment.


Today’s question comes from mixed media artist Lola Yang who recently graduated from Devotion, my three-month artist-in-residence program at the studio. Lola has taken on the amazing project She is transforming a minivan into her own artist studio. I’ll share her Instagram link in the show notes so you can follow Lola’s creative journey. She is absolutely magical!

So here’s what Lola asked:

“Since I moved my studio from home to the minivan, I feel freedom and spacious, more connection to the outdoors, but somehow I feel there are so many disturbed moments: people passing by or getting curious (some I know, some I don’t).

For me, this space represents sanctuary, me time, my cocoon. I don’t feel I want to invite everyone to come in and take a look and explain why I am doing this, at least not now. (I am still arranging the space to make it feel more me and it takes time and I don’t want to rush). It makes me feel not generous when I make excuses to tell people why they cannot come inside. I dreamed this space will be only me and my people and what I enjoy doing inside.

Any tips for politely saying no in this situation?”

So, Lola, first of all, I want to celebrate that you have created this sacred space for your art and your creative heart. This is the precious unfolding of a dream come true and of course you don’t want to rush. You want to bask in it with all the freedom and spaciousness you have been longing for. This is a special time for you.

Creating boundaries around our artistic time and space is a familiar challenge for most artists, especially as they begin to devote more and more time, space and energy to their work. Often it follows this route of expansion.

First, we go through the process of learning how to let our art take up time and space in our own life. We have to get out of the way. We have find ways to get over our fears, our resistance, our procrastination so we can get creating. We find ourselves starting to choose creating over other things, whether that’s TV or scrolling or laundry, and we start to let artmaking become a part of our life. We let it take up space.

Then, as art starts to take hold in our life, it begins to expand and then we face some new challenges. How do we hold the line and let art continue to grow, taking up more time, more space, more resources even if it impacts others? We find ourselves starting to saying no more ofren, including to other people, because we want to say more yeses to our art. If we live with others, now we start negotiating for more creative space and more creative time.

Next, as the influence of art in our life grows and grows, starts to spill over into more public spaces. Maybe you’re wearing clothes you’ve sewn yourself. Maybe friends or family come over and they see your art on the wall. Maybe your neighbours hear you playing the piano. Now you’re not only dealing with your own responses to letting your art take up space or those of your friends and loved ones, but you are also now dealing with colleagues, neighbours and strangers.

Each step of the way you are learning to hold that line for your art in a deeper and stronger way – and not only for your art but also for art in general.

Because here’s the thing. Most people actually don’t know how to respond to artists. In part because societally we’ve done this horrible thing of separating people from their own artistic nature so that we grow up believing that art and artists are some rarified thing. Plus, making it even harder, we’re generally taught to see art and artists from the lens of being a consumer. So, if art is available, it must be for me – it must be longing for an audience. And then on top of that, because art is often viewed as a commodity, then I’m also not only allowed to view and consume it but also assess it and assess it in the same way I would a shirt or a bicycle that I see at a store. That’s why people will so casually say things like, “I’d like it if it was blue” or “Wow, I just don’t get it. I just don’t get the appeal.” Most artists who have worked in coffee shops or done something like urban sketching have found their work being commented on by strangers or had people stare over their shoulders to see what they’re creating.

Of course, there is also something beautiful happening here: the absolutely genuine human response to the power and allure of artmaking. And again, because so many of us have been separated from that impulse to create, we are profoundly curious about it and deeply drawn to it. The only thing is we often don’t know a way to engage that honours the artist and honours the work. chances are, Lola, that’s you’re responding to that beautiful impulse in people and that’s the part that makes you think, “Oh, I feel badly that I’m not sharing.”

But here’s the thing. Whatever the motivation – curiosity, admiration, nosiness – no one has a right to your work or your space unless you grant it to them. And Lola, as a graduate of Devotion you know, it is incredibly important that artists have time alone with their art, time to develop a strong and unwavering relationship with their work, before they share it with others, if they ever choose to do so.

Navigating people’s responses to your work can be incredibly difficult, especially while you are still in the discovery and birthing stages. This is the time when you need to listen to your instincts, when you need to listen to the work, including the work of creating your own sacred space, This is the time you need to listen to your own heart to discover what wants to emerge without the influence of even the most trusted companions never mind strangers.

So, let’s come back to the very practical and tangible answer to your question.

All of what I’ve said so far is to affirm that it is completely reasonable for you to keep your new studio space to yourself for now or for forever, whichever you choose. It’s also to say that people generally don’t know how to be around artists and so this is a great opportunity to show them how they can be around you.

My very simple solution is to create a sign that says, “Artist at work. Please do not disturb.” This gives you an opportunity to honour your role as an artist and to invite other people to honour it too – and it shows them how they can. Find language you feel good about and also know that as you do this, you are being a legacy. You are helping people understand that not only is art and an artist space compelling but it is also sacred.

In that spirit, you can also work on creating energetic boundaries around your studio space. Start to identify your space not at the front door but several feet in front of it.  Imagine a sacred, beautiful and private bubble around the minivan itself. As you do this day by day, you will start to notice that people sense it too. You can enhance this by finding gentle ways to mark a perimeter around your space. Just placing some stones can make all the difference.

As you settle in you may find there are ways that you do want to share your space, like video tours on Instagram or YouTube videos about setting up a studio in a minivan. Maybe you’ll decide to invite dear friends into your studio for tea or have an art show that includes people being able to see the magical space you’ve created. Or not. Maybe it will always be your private sanctuary, a special place just for you, a place to fill your well so that you can keep shining and keep creating. You and the work will know.

Lola, may you find peace and freedom, joy and magic in your creative studio. I have a feeling you will. And thank you so much for sending in the very first Ask Jamie question.

Now, let’s have a little bit of Studio News, including that one thing I want you to know.

Studio News

The big news in the Studio is that not only is time to order your Summer Studio Yearbook but it’s time for me to let you know that it is going to be the last one.

For over four years I have been offering this seasonal fill-in-the-blank journal that is designed to bring your creativity to life. The Studio Yearbook brings together creative practices I have developed over a lifetime, practices I have shared in my classes and with my clients. It is a creative practice studio in a journal and I am proud to say that it has impacted thousands of lives.

So why draw it to a close? It’s a balance of many things. There are practical considerations like the rising cost of paper and shipping but there’s also something nipping at my heels, that next thing that wants to come through me and into the studio to awaken creative magic. So, I am trusting that and leaning in.

This summer I intend to treat the last season of the Studio Yearbook as a grand celebration! We’ll have our kick-off on the Summer Solstice. I’ll host an inspiring ephemera exchange and make some contributions myself. And, for the first time ever, at the end of the season we will send off all participants with a selection of yearbook pages that you can print out again and again and again so you can continue your practice with ease.

If you have been wanting to check out the Studio Yearbook now is the time. Immerse yourself in these creative practices and then, whether the yearbook is available in print or not, the practices themselves will support you for a lifetime.

I do hope you’ll join me for this last round of the Studio Yearbook. Print copies are only available until Monday May 9th at 10:00 am EST. After that, PDF copies will continue to be available and, if you join the Studio, you’ll receive a 10% discount. I’ll have all the details for you in the show notes.

The Studio Yearbook is an incredible support, a powerful guide that takes you on a creative journey but what I want you to know is that the power is in the practice and the magic is in you. Of course, it is.

Have a wonderful week in the studio and remember, your life is your studio. I’ll see you next time.

Sharing My Three Core Journals: Creative Living with Jamie eps 282

Creative Living with Jamie Episode 282:
Sharing My Three Core Journals

We creatives tend to have piles of journals, notebooks and sketchbooks of all kinds! I have so many it’s hard to keep track but through it all there are three journals that form my core creative practice.

On this episode of Creative Living with Jamie I share my three essential journals and how I use them. I hope it will inspire some new and helpful journaling ideas for you!

Take It to Your Journal

  • What journals are essential to your creative life?
  • What is your relationship to things being unfinished?

Resources & Mentions



Welcome to Creative Living with Jamie. I’m your guide Jamie Ridler and on this podcast you and I are going to go on a great many adventures together. We’ll explore all aspects of what it means to live a creative life and we’ll embrace ourselves as artists. We’ll get curious, we’ll wonder and we’ll follow inspiration. We’ll wrestle with tough questions and we’ll brave challenges and sometimes will ask our friends for help. Along the way we will discover our courage, our confidence, ourselves and one another. We’ll come to know our artistic hearts and from there we will create. And that’s when the magic happens.


Hey there,

I have to tell you that I have been noodling so much about this who over the past while. We’re in this wild and wonderful stage of recording while the ideas continue to develop so thank you for being here at this new beginning, in this kind of groundwork stage as we see which seeds take hold.

We’ve already had a journaling workshop that was a crossover episode with YouTube, so exciting. And last week I announced in my newsletter that we’re going to have an Ask Jamie segment, in which I answer listener questions. So, if you have a something you’ve been wanting to ask a creative mentor about, I hope you’ll ask me. Just email  me at You may just hear my answer on this podcast!

Soon I’m going to be starting an interview series called 101 Encouraging Conversations about Art. I’ve been dreaming this up for ages and I cannot wait to begin. I’ve just recently hired a Studio Assistant (Hey there, Amy!) and once I’ve passed a few balls over to her, this is on my list to get started.

I hope you’re as excited about these developments as I am. Honestly, I’m just beaming sharing them with you. And for today, today I want to share with you my three essential journals, plus a poem. I have shared these with members of the studio. So if you are one, I hope you enjoy listening. And if you aren’t, come on over to and sign up! You’ll be glad you did – and I will be too! Of course, I’ll leave a link in the show notes.

Okay, let’s talk journals.

Oh, my goodness, if you’re anything like me, you have about a bazillion journals, notebooks, composition books and sketchbooks. You’ve got empty ones, half-started ones and overflowing ones. You wonder all the time whether you should consolidate everything into one book or whether you need to categorize even more, having one journal per theme or project.

Oh, our creative minds, right?

I have tons of journals in all shapes and sizes for a myriad of purposes but I have three that form my essential core, three journals that I would be lost without, three journals that keep my creative life clear, inspired and moving!

Journal One: Free Writing

Journal number one is my free-writing journal. This journal is everything to me. It is my conversations with myself and with the Universe. It’s how I understand what I’m thinking and where I am going. It’s my safe and sacred place to tell the raw and the real without hesitation or fear. It is the one place in the world where all of my big feelings and brave dreaming, no matter how epic, will never be too much. It’s where I bring my questions and where I hear my intuition answer. I write in this journal every single morning, even if only for 10 minutes. I also grab it whenever I need to remember, process or get something off my chest. It is always near at hand. For this journal I use a large ruled ​Moleskine hardcover notebook​ and I usually pick a white one.

Journal Two: My Everything Book

Journal number two is what I call my everything book. Really, it’s really my planning journal. I think all of the women in my family have at one time or another had some version of this. Mine has settled into a form that I just love and have been keeping for years. For this I use a Leuchtterm 1917 medium A5 dotted hardcover notebook. It lasts me about half a year. What I usually do is pick a navy blue for the fall and winter and magenta for the spring and summer.

In my everything book, I use a two-page spread for each day. The right-hand side is a bit of a scratch pad, sort of a draft of my day. It starts with a loose list of all the things that I’d like to get done  (honestly, it’s often completely unreasonable!) I note ideas that come up throughout the day or things I want to remember. Sometimes I doodle or take notes from a conversation. It’s a free and messy space where I brainstorm, gather and imagine how I would like to create my day.

On the left-hand side I am much more ordered. I put the date at the top and throughout the day I list the things I actually get done as I do them, including any details I might need or want to remember.

For example, this week I had:

  • Morning chores
  • Morning write
  • Called to make eye appointment – Booked for Thursday at 5:00 pm
  • Created SOP (standard operating procedure) for setting up Zoom meetings
  • Proofed the summer Studio Yearbook and sent my notes to Alex.

This two-page approach, I find it honours both my imaginative, process-oriented side and my practical get-it-done side. Together in my everything book, they keep me clear, creative and focused.

Now, I mentioned the yearbook and that is journal number three.

Journal Three: My Studio Yearbook

My Studio Yearbook is my creativity inspirer, my memory keeper, my documented life! It’s a place for me to play, to colour, to glue. It’s my portable paper studio, reminding me to look for inspiration and insight in each and every day. It encourages me to dream under the full moon and to stay focused on what matters. It guides me and holds me and becomes an incredible record of my days. I have been keeping a studio yearbook every season for years now (and I know some of you have too!) and I treasure each and every one. Every volume reminds me of what I did and who I was in a particular season of my creative life. The Studio Yearbook is something I produce here in the studio and share every season. Right now people are working with the spring Studio Yearbook. At the beginning of May, the summer yearbook will become available and ready to begin on the solstice. So, once again, come on over to and sign up to make sure you don’t miss out on that.

These three journals are the core of my practice: my free-writing journal, my “everything” book and my Studio Yearbook. Together they nourish, support and hold the magical moments of my creative life.

I hope that you have a journal practice too and if you don’t, I hope that one of the practices that I’ve described inspires you to make a start. In the whole time I’ve been doing this podcast, I’ve done lots of interviews. I have asked many people what their number one creative practice is and almost always it’s journaling.  Not only is it a magical way to support your creativity and your artistic vision but I really want to make clear that it doesn’t have to be writing. There are a million ways (I think I’ve been trying to share that with you), there really are a million ways, to keep a journal. You can find and make, like, create a way that suits you. Take inspiration from examples like the one I’ve shared with you today but really give yourself full permission to pursue the fine practice of journaling in a way that is yours and supports you.

Now, recently in one of my journals I wrote a poem. I haven’t done that for a long time but I’m excited to share it with you today. It really is a response to something that so many of my clients have felt and spoken to me about, so many ways I have felt so often, and I hope that it speaks to you. It’s called Unfinished Business.

Unfinished Business

I expect to leave the world incomplete
Paintings half-done on my art table
Books half-written
Books half-read
Maybe my laundry in the dryer

And I will be unconcerned

Because this life was so generous
That it gave me more than enough to do
It gave me more than enough to tend,
to love, to be

And when I am gone,
If there is something here that inspires you
Pick it up
Take it home
Let it be a part of the generous abundance of your life

And when it is your time
Consider that being finished
Doesn’t prove you did enough
It doesn’t prove you were enough
That is a given on any day

Instead let all the unfinished business
Be proof of life

The draft of your novel
The half-knit sweater
The movie on pause
The laundry

All are proof that you were here,
that you engaged
and expressed
and created
and got dirty
with life.

For the moment you were here
you lived.

Closing Words

Thank you so much for being here. I am truly honoured and delighted to share this journey with you. Let’s keep living. Let’s keep creating. Let’s keep showing up to this wild  artistic adventure, no matter what. Until next time, have a wonderful time in your studio and remember, your life is your studio.

Plan Your Creative Season – a Mini Creative Workshop: The Creative Living with Jamie Podcast eps 281

Creative Living with Jamie Episode 281:
Plan Your Creative Season – a Mini Creative Workshop

Every season I love to make a plan for my artistic pursuits. I thought it would be fun for us to do this together and so I made this short planning video for you! I hope it nourishes your creative fire this season!

Take It to Your Journal

Here are the core journal questions from today’s episode.

  • What interests you creatively right now? 
  • What projects have been calling you?
  • What would you like to learn?
  • What is a guiding word that would represent the kind of season that you want to have?

Resources & Mentions



Welcome to Creative Living with Jamie. I’m your guide Jamie Ridler and on this podcast you and I are going to go on a great many adventures together. We’ll explore all aspects of what it means to live a creative life and we’ll embrace ourselves as artists. We’ll get curious, will wonder and we’ll follow inspiration. We’ll wrestle with tough questions and we’ll brave challenges and sometimes will ask our friends for help. Along the way we will discover our courage, our confidence, ourselves and one another. We’ll come to know our artistic hearts and from there we will create. And that’s when the magic happens.


Hey there. It’s Jamie from Jamie Ridler Studios and I’m so glad to be here with you today for what is my very first ever crossover episode where I am attempting, hopefully successfully, to both share on video for YouTube and also to make this a part of my podcast. 

And if you didn’t know the Creative Living with Jamie podcast is back. We’ve got a reboot. It’s kind of like Creative Living with Jamie 2.0. So far we’ve done an episode on embracing yourself as an artist, one on being a highly sensitive creative and also, how to show up to your creative work and your life when things all around you are so very hard. 

If you haven’t listened to any of those yet, I hope you check that out on Spotify, on Apple Podcasts, wherever you would- with whatever podcast catcher you use. I hope you check it out. 

Today I want to share with you something special. I wanted to make this a special episode. I want us to do something together like a mini workshop about planning your creative season. This is a bit of a take on what I do with my Devotion artists. Devotion is a program where I invite in a group of artists to spend their season immersed in their creative work. They learn the principles of devotion. They learn the practices of Devotion and they really have a beautiful season immersed in their own creative expression and really embodying what it means for them to be an artist. This is a bit of a take on what we do.  

One of the things we do in that program is create a curriculum for ourselves, so really design what we want to learn and do and create during the season ahead. I’m going to give you a little taste of that, so that you can really make the most of this creative season. 

The first thing I want to do is (and this is something I do in all my classes) I just want to shift the energy. I want us to really arrive and be present with our creative hearts, with one another and with this work. I do that by light. I’ve got the twinkie lights on. It’s very bright here today, so maybe you can’t tell. I also do that by lighting a candle. Today I’m using my beautiful Star candle to invoke that energy of guiding the way. We’re going to give ourselves a true north. 

The next thing I want you to do is to imagine a container of time. I am going to suggest a season. I find that 12 weeks is such a great amount of time to really make progress, to get things done but not so much that it feels like it’s forever. 

And so, I’m going to talk as though the season is what we’re all doing, twelve weeks of a season is what we’re all doing, but you can adjust that to work in whatever feels like the right rhythm for you. Let’s imagine that we’re starting to plan what our creative season is going to look like. 

You know what I’m going to say next. 

Grab a journal. 

We creatives always have a journal nearby or it doesn’t have to be a journal. It can be what I always say in the studio: something to write with and something to write on. It doesn’t have to be precious. This is kind of like sketching out a plan. It is sketching out a plan. 

So the first question I want you to answer is what interests you creatively right now? 

What interests you creatively right now? 

Just let it pour out of your heart and just let the pen keep moving. Let some words stumble out until I ask you the next question.  

What interests you creatively right now? 

Maybe it’s just one thing and you’re very clear, and that’s cool too. Just hang on there until I come to the next question. Or it can be all the things that’s fine too. Just tell the truth. 

What projects have been calling you? What projects have been calling you? What things have you been wanting to make? 

What would you like to learn? I know we creatives are lifelong learners. What is it you’d like to learn? 

And then lastly, what is a guiding word that would represent the kind of season that you want to have? Do you want to have a playful season? Do you want to have a sacred season? Do you want to have a productive season? Have you decided? Spend some time on it. You can always put me on pause if you need more time to think about it. What kind of season do you want to have? 

Okay, now look at all this wonderful stuff and think about the time container that you have created. Start to pull some things, maybe the things that grab your eye. It doesn’t have to be one thing. We are multi passionate creatives. It doesn’t have to be just one thing or it could be if you’re like, “This is my season of writing my novel and I want it to be everything!” Then do that. 

It’s kind of like you have a canvas and you’re pulling on the just right amount of stuff. You want to leave some white space. You want to have some variety, some dynamics. You’re designing your creative season and so you know how Full or spacious you would like it to be and what might marry well together.  

 know I like to have something like that I’m very devoted to that really is my core project, but I also want to have something that feels… I usually have something core for the studio. Then I want to have something for me and then I want to have something playful. So I might pick three things that have those three focuses. 

So just start to play. What if you were creating a beautiful curriculum for your season? What do you think might work on it, being respectful of how much time and energy you have and that exists. 

And if something new that wasn’t on your list comes to your mind, that’s totally cool. You can include that. 

I know it’s hard to choose, but one of the reasons working with the season is so great is you know, okay, this season I’m going to work on. I might choose learning how to make prints, sewing and my garden and then in fall or the next season I can make entirely new choices and get to the other things that are in my idea bank. That’s the other thing I want you to know now. Once you’ve chosen your two or three or whatever feels right to you, as new ideas come up, have a way to capture them. Have a little treasure box of all the creative projects, the creative ideas you want to pursue, all of the creative skills you want to develop. Then at the beginning of each season you can just go into that treasure box and go, “Right. Oh, this one feels really alive for me right now, and this one too. And oh, you know what? I’m not actually interested in that one anymore. I’m going to chuck it.” 

It will give you a framework, a time where you choose, create focus, immerse yourself in that creative process, come to completion, and then choose again. 

So, you’ve chosen some creative projects for the season. And if you haven’t, it’s okay. Keep noodling. Keep feeling your way into it. Make a commitment to something and live with it for a couple of days and see if it feels right. Don’t– If we just sit there going, “I wish I had everything. I want to do it all.” what ends up happening (you know already) we do none of it! 

And remember, promise yourself, “Hey I can come back and choose again at the end of this season. So all of you darlings, I’m coming back I promise. But for this season. I’m going to play with you and you and you and it’s going to be awesome!” 

So once you’ve made your choices, I want you to be able to set yourself up for success, and there are a couple of things to think about. 

One is the physical reality of this choice. What do you need? What are the supplies you need? What are the tools you need? What’s the environment you need? How much space do you need? Can you set up a dedicated space? If you can’t, how can you make it easy to pull it up and tear it down and pull it up and tear it down?   

If you think about that at the beginning of this season, you’re setting yourself up for a beautiful flow and making it easier for you to come to the work. That onramp always matters. So often we have creative ideas we want to pursue and we just never get to them. By making an easier and easier on-ramp, it’s more likely to happen.  

So think about the physical realities, tools, supplies, space. 

Also, think about temporal realities. What time can you dedicate to these projects? I know we always want all the time. But what time reasonably can you dedicate this season? Is Sunday afternoons the time that you’re going to give for painting? Is half an hour of writing every weekday going to work for you? Is setting up the time something you want to have a conversation with someone else about so that the whole family or your partner holds that time sacred for you? Think about time. 

These are the things these are two of the three things you can do to set yourself up for success. 

The third thing I invite you to do to set yourself up for success is to think about your energy management. We love our creative pursuits and they fill us up. They give us so much, but they also ask us to pour in energy, time, persistence, all sorts of things. All of our great ideas, all of our magic comes out of this corporeal being that we are.  

So how can you take care of this sweet artist that you are? What do you need? Do you need more vegetables? (That’s a good one for me. I always need more vegetables.) Do you need more water? Do you need more sleep? Do you need meditation time where you just let yourself have a break from all the thoughts that are in your head? What about journaling? Sometimes that can not only help you dump all those thoughts onto the page, but also help you see nuggets of ideas. What can you do to nourish you? 

Space, time and taking care of this: these are all the tools for setting you up for a great season of creative work.  

So we set a magical container today by changing the energy and giving ourselves time to focus on a vision for the season ahead. We generated ideas and possibilities and then we started to choose what made sense in a container that we also chose, that makes sense to us. And we try, as in our art, we try to craft composition and balance. We’re trying to do that with our schedule. Then we know that we’re going to go ahead and create conditions of our success to make sure we have everything we need. 

Studio News

I hope you’ve enjoyed this mini planning workshop for your creative season. I hope it supports really some amazing flow and magic and possibility to come into your studio and remember your life is your studio. I hope you’ll come on by open and check out all this on offer at Jamie Ridler Studios. 

I’ve got journal Club coming up this summer. Yay! We spend an hour on Fridays together, much like this, journaling and thinking and diving deep into who we are and what is meaningful to us. 

Also, Devotion. The current Devotion program is wrapping up for the winter. It will not be offered this summer, but it will be offered in the fall, so make sure you get on the wait list. It is limited enrollment, so get on the wait list now so you’ll get first notice when we are ready to start thinking about registration. 

Last Words

Thanks for spending this time with me today. It’s been a joy to spend it with you and have a great creative season. 

I’ll talk to you soon. 

Oh, and I almost forgot! I always do this when I  sant things to keep on going! We want to release this magic to shift our energy back so we can go from our artistic, creative, sacred, visionary space back to our regular lives. 

Bringing this energy with it, I am sending you all good wishes to your plans and imagining lots of magic taking hold. 

Take care! 

During Dark Times, How Do We Keep Showing Up? The Creative Living with Jamie Podcast eps 280

Creative Living with Jamie Episode 280:
During Dark Times, How Do We Keep Showing Up

When times are tough, personally or around the globe, how do we show up for our lives, our art and one another?

Take It to Your Journal

Here are some journal questions inspired by today’s episode.

  • What am I feeling right now?
  • What would be soothing for my body?
  • What can I do?
  • What good is available right now?

Resources & Mentions



Welcome to Creative Living with Jamie. I’m your guide Jamie Ridler and on this podcast you and I are going to go on a great many adventures together. We’ll explore all aspects of what it means to live a creative life and we’ll embrace ourselves as artists. We’ll get curious, will wonder and we’ll follow inspiration. We’ll wrestle with tough questions and we’ll brave challenges and sometimes will ask our friends for help. Along the way we will discover our courage, our confidence, ourselves and one another. We’ll come to know our artistic hearts and from there we will create. And that’s when the magic happens.


Last week I started writing a piece for you and it ended up becoming last week’s Letter from the Studio, but then so many people wrote to me saying they found it helpful I thought I had to share it with you here too. 

You know last week we talked about what it means to be a highly sensitive creative. It turns out there are a lot of highly sensitive creatives in the Jamie Ridler Studios community. Even in my Devotion program, I asked the artists, “How many of you consider yourselves in HSC?” And you know how many of them said yes? All of them. 

So, no doubt, that’s part of the reason I have had so many tender conversations ever since the pandemic started, and all throughout about one theme in particular: 

How do we show up not only to our creative work but also to life when there is so much hard in the world? 

Now I want to be clear that I am far from an expert in responding to global crises, but I do think that during difficult times we must all share what we found to be helpful, share with detachment and with hope that something may be useful to someone else as well. It’s in that spirit that I share this with you today. 

So the first thing that I would say is… 

Feel your feelings  

When feelings well up inside of you don’t try to bypass them. Just putting on a happy face or shoving your feelings down or ignoring them simply doesn’t work. In fact, it can be damaging. It’s much better to cry and moan and rage and let that energy go. It’s better to dance it out or draw it out or throw some clay about. And that takes me to suggestion #2. 

Turn to your art. 

As artists we have this incredible gift available to us. We may feel overwhelmed, our friends and family might not want to or be able to hold the massive geyser of emotion that we need to pour out but our art can, and it will every single time. Turn to your art. Let it process that pain into compost and the promise of something new. 

Also, soothe your body. 

What will soothe your physical being back to a state of equilibrium? A timeout in a quiet room with the lights low, a cleansing, calming bath, nourishing comfort food, maybe some breathwork. What about a butterfly hug. Do you know what that is? (I’ll leave a link in the show notes.) Maybe an early night under a warm blanket. Start to build a repertoire of self-soothing strategies. 

Do what you can do. 

Some situations, like global crises, are by very definition overwhelming. The sense that there is nothing we can do feeds a sense of hopelessness and despair. It’s true that you cannot solve the whole problem. No one person can. But what can you do? Can you make a donation or raise funds or awareness? Can you lend an ear? Call your local representative? Vote with your feet? Practice loving kindness? Offer it to others? 

Please don’t diminish any contribution you can make. One of the things I’m coming to understand is that problems that we can’t solve alone ask us to come together and that’s a beautiful thing. Make your contribution. Trust that it matters.  

I’ll tell you that when my mom was sick and unknowing but very considerate man gave up his seat to me on the subway and that was everything to me. It’s years and years ago and I still remember how that felt. Which brings me to my next suggestion. 

Let the good in. 

Sometimes I know it feels like a betrayal of our humanity to experience joy or goodness when others are suffering. If war and injustice and the global pandemic have taught us anything, it’s that life can change in a heartbeat. We will all experience sorrow and joy, loss and life. So let the darkness remind you of what is precious and good. The nights you’ve been safe in your bed. The times you’ve laughed until you cried. The delicious meals you’ve shared with friends. The quiet joy of painting for hours. The wonder of sunflowers that are taller than you. Revel in it for yourself and remember that it matters for everyone. 

And lastly, keep your heart open. 

Don’t abandon yourself or others. Maybe, just maybe, we can use this time to learn how to take care of ourselves and one another. 

Let’s start now. 

Okay. I hope those are helpful and before we go, I want to share with you a bit of Studio News and then a short story from Pema Chodron that I keep tucked into my heart. I keep it there to remind me to stay soft to stay open and to stay present in the world as best I can. 

But first studio news. 

Studio News

I love that song. I know, I’m sorry if it’s a bit brash after such a tender topic. In that spirit of tenderness, I want to share with you that during the pandemic I made five short workshops on simple creative practices that I knew could support people during difficult times. These are available to you now, absolutely free. There’s one on journaling, one on collage, meditation, doodling and even dance. 

Come on by right now and sign up. You’ll get these creative practice workshops, one every day for five days. You’ll also get my Sunday morning Letters from the Studio, plus 10% off creative classes and the Studio Yearbook PDF, which is available right now. I hope you’ll come on by and become a part of Jamie Ridler Studios now. 

Last Words

Before I go, I promised I would share with you this wonderful story from Pema Chodron. She shares it in The Places that Scare You: a Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times. It’s really good read for right now to be sure so I’ll be sure to leave a link in the show notes. 

As I’ve mentioned, this little story reminds me to keep my heart open. I hope it does the same for you. Pema wrote, 

“When I was about six years old, I received the essential bodhicitta teaching from an old woman sitting in the sun. I was walking by her house one day feeling lonely, unloved and mad kicking anything I could find. Laughing, she said to me, “Little girl, don’t you go letting life harden your heart.” 

I know we have some serious things to contend with. I hope that this little story from Pema and the strategies I’ve shared with you today are helpful. 

Here’s just a quick review:  

  • Feel your feelings. 
  • Turn to your art. 
  • Soothe your body. 
  • Do what you can do. 
  • Let the good in and… 
  • Keep your heart open. 

Feel. Art. Soothe. Do. Good. Open. 

Have a great week in your studio and remember your life is your studio. I’ll see you next week. 

You’ve Got Nerve(s): The Creative Living with Jamie Podcast eps 279

Creative Living with Jamie Episode 279:
You’ve Got Nerve(s)

Often artists are highly sensitive people.  Learning to navigate the world and our work through the gift of our sensitivity can open a whole world of possibility and healing for the creative soul.

Take It to Your Journal

Here are some journal questions from today’s episode about being a highly sensitive creative.

  • I find that I am highly sensitive to…
  • This has been hard because….
  • It’s also been a blessing because…

Resources & Mentions



Welcome to Creative Living with Jamie. I’m your guide Jamie Ridler and on this podcast you and I are going to go on a great many adventures together. We’ll explore all aspects of what it means to live a creative life and we’ll embrace ourselves as artists. We’ll get curious, will wonder and we’ll follow inspiration. We’ll wrestle with tough questions and we’ll brave challenges and sometimes will ask our friends for help. Along the way we will discover our courage, our confidence, ourselves and one another. We’ll come to know our artistic hearts and from there we will create. And that’s when the magic happens.


Hey everybody. So I titled this episode you’ve got nerve… s and it is especially for my HSCs out there, my highly sensitive creatives. And let’s face it, if you are creative, chances are you are highly sensitive, sensitive to nuance, sensitive to subtext, to colour, to meaning, to energy, to sound. In fact, I’d love for you to take these three prompts to your journal. Yep, we are getting right into it. I’m going to give you all three. These are each sentence stems so I want you to finish the sentence. When you’ve done all of that, come back.  

So, the first one is, “I find that I am highly sensitive to…:

The second is “This has been hard because….” 

And the third, “It’s also been a blessing because…” 

Trust whatever comes out of your pen and then come back and we’ll chat a bit more about what it means to be a highly sensitive creative. 

One of the reasons that I love to give you journal questions right off the bat is because I want you to look inside first. As a sensitive creative soul, you take in a lot of information and sometimes it’s hard to know what’s yours and what you’re taking in from the world around you.  

As a creative, what you have to offer the world is something unique to you so learning to hear that voice within and then to trust it and then to use it is powerful work for the creative heart. I hope you take the time to listen to yourself before you listen to me. 

Let me tell you a little bit about my own experience. In my family, many of the women have what we call “nerves.” I would define that as a tendency to react strongly to stimuli. That could look like sensory overload. It could look like anxiety rising and trying to anticipate every possible outcome and then a rush to plan for every single one. It could look like supreme unfettered delight in taking in something beautiful or delicious or fun. It’s like we’re finely tuned instruments resonating with the pluck of the world. Only sometimes we don’t want to be plucked! 

Can you relate? 

Some of the gifts of this sensitivity is that we tend to see to the heart of things, recognize what’s unspoken, identify patterns and revel in the arts, both the making of and the drinking in. We do so in deep ways that include both struggle and bliss. 

As you’re listening, maybe you’re hearing, like I am, all the voices that you’ve internalized along the way. What makes you think you’re so special, little snowflake? Stop being so sensitive! Toughen up. It’s not that bad. What are you talking about? Nobody actually said that. You’re just being oversensitive. I’m sure you have your own version of these critical reactions. 

Some of you may have heard how I feel about dentists. In part, it’s because I had some awful experiences as a kid. I won’t go into them. Don’t worry. But I do want to say what a relief it was for me when a kind dentist told me that I did have a complex array of surprisingly tiny little nerves. Even now I feel a deep release in my body when I think about it. I was not playing it up. I was not being dramatic. I was having a normal and appropriate reaction to my unique set of circumstances. 

Now, isn’t that familiar? This happens all the time, in all different ways. The world gets frustrated when we do anything, want anything, need anything or are anything that is outside of standard operating procedures and those standard operating procedures were usually not made for us. 

Do you know Patty Digh? She’s a wonderful, creative soul. She is an author and an educator who works in the area of diversity and inclusion. Please, go ahead and check her out. She’s amazing. 

Recently she shared the story of going to the doctor and being told she was having a panic attack when, in fact, what she was having was a serious coronary event. (I’ll link to her post in the show notes.) Thank goodness she ended up trusting her instincts and getting help when she needed it, and one of the things that Patty said allowed her to save her own life and how you can save yours is by valuing your life enough to make hard, and what might be unpopular decisions. 

So, okay, how did we get from talking about being a highly sensitive creative soul to talking about life and death and what does this have to do with art? 

Have you heard this saying, “How you do one thing is how you do everything”? Well, I don’t always agree with it, but in this instance, I do think it points the way to something important. Our art gives us the opportunity to practice with how we want to do and how we want to be. The more we learn to navigate anything in our art, in this case our sensitivity, the more we’ll be able to navigate it similarly, in our lives. One of the reasons this is so helpful is because with our art, the stakes are so much lower.  

What if we get used to speaking our truth in our journals (like the real truth, even the unacceptable truth)? 

What if we got used to trusting our own choices in our work? Color choices, no choices, phrasing choices, costume choices, anything. 

What if we learned to tend to our nerves, our beautiful, sensitive, nervous system, learning to ride the waves of adventure and risk and failure and success, rejection, visibility, vulnerability and more? 

There’s a reason that we sensitive souls are drawn to the arts. They are a path for us, a pathway to understanding ourselves, one another and the world. What we learn on that path can grow our resilience, deepen our self-trust and build our confidence so that more and more we can bring to life into the world all the gifts we are here to share. 

I’ve got some resources for you to continue exploring these thoughts about sensitivity and our tender nerves, and I’ll share them right after Studio News. 

Studio News

This season in the studio we have two wonderful things to bring to you. The first is the Studio Yearbook, a guided fill-in-the-blank journal designed to bring your creativity to life and includes all the practices I use myself to support my creative life, from working with focus areas so I know I am spending my precious time and energy on what really matters to creating full mentoring boards so I can stay attuned to my wildest, deepest, most precious and most current dreams. 

The Spring Studio Yearbook has just begun, so it is not too late to get yours and all the wonderful bonus lessons that come with it. Come on over to open and check it out.  

I’m also excited to share that this summer, the one and only Journal Club is back. We will gather together weekly live for an hour of inspired and intuitive journaling. You’ll discover so much about who you are and, in the process, also connect to a really encouraging creative community, not to mention a creative mentor. That’s me. Journal Club is one of the all-time most popular offerings at Jamie Ridler Studios and I’m excited to bring it back this summer. 

Registration will open soon, so make sure you’re on our newsletter list. You will get first notice (not to mention a discount!) So again, go on over to open 

Resources for the Highly Sensitive Creative

Okay before we go, here are a couple of sensitivity resources that I promised. The first is the book The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You by Elaine N. Aron. It includes a self-test at the beginning to see if you relate to such statements as:  

  • I seem to be aware of subtleties in my environment. 
  • I have a rich complex inner life. 
  • I am deeply moved by the arts and music. 

So do you see why we’re looking at the relationship between creativity and sensitivity?  

The second book is one I literally just stumbled across today as I was preparing for the podcast. It’s one that is current and includes the context of things like COVID. It’s called Sensitive Is the New Strong: The Power of Empaths in an Increasingly Harsh World. It’s by Anita Moorjani. 

Now I’ve only read the very beginning of the book but I am trusting that it showed up today for a reason. Maybe that reason is you. To give you a sense of what Sensitive Is the New Strong is about, here’s a short bit from the introduction: 

The tools and suggestions I offer in this book are not the type of tips you may have read before. I’m not going to tell you how to build rock solid boundaries and shield yourself from others. This book isn’t about walls, barriers and protection. If we hide behind walls to protect ourselves, we’ll never go out into the world and shine our light. 

This book is about expansion, liberation and connection with your own divinity. It’s about speaking out, honouring yourself and loving yourself. It’s about embracing all that you are, chipping away at what you’re not about, undoing, not doing. Once you learn how to honour and develop your own gifts, I encourage you to get out there. Shine your empathic light. Take on leadershipr oles and become role models. 

That touches my heart. Perhaps it touches yours too. 

And before we go, really please remember also the wise words of poet Mary Oliver who says in her poem Wild Geese,  

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves. 

Love what you love this week, kind listener, and include in that loving yourself exactly as you. 

Thanks for hanging out with me today. I love being back on the podcast. I really appreciate everyone who let me know that you’re glad I’m back too. Scout is sitting here too. He’s one of the soft animals that I love. He’s sending along purrs and comfort too. I’ll see you in the next show.