Category: Creative Living Takeaway

My New Moon Ritual

Yesterday the new moon in Leo arrived. May she brings shining goodness into the world for all.

I look forward to each new moon. I have a ritual of lovingly setting up my space, listening to music, lighting a candle and reflecting. I reflect on how far I have come since the last new moon, how I have (or have not) filled my intentions. I have made a home for this in my Studio Yearbook. It’s so good because I can flip back over the pages and they remind me of challenges faced, accomplishments to be celebrated. This also gives me perspective on how much can be easefully accomplished in a moon cycle and that helps me create the next one.

And that’s what I do next. I journal for a while, imagining what I want the next cycle to be, what I want to do, be, experience, create, how I want to feel. I then turn those imaginings into simple and clear intentions, guideposts for the time ahead. Some for this cycle:

Keep it simple.
Launch new classes.
Get outside.
Create new writing routine.
Show up for art.
Insist on original joy.
Be devoted.

I keep the list focused and short. I write it in my yearbook and also print it out to carry with me. Often I don’t look at it until the next new moon, when I am always surprised by how much I have lived into this list.

Do you have a new moon ritual?
What intentions would you like to set from now until the next?’

(If you want to try this out in a Studio Yearbook, you can get it here.)

Creating the Season Ahead

Last week we took some time to gather our learnings, our memories and our accomplishments of the season that we are saying goodbye to. As the equinox approaches, let’s cast forward into the season ahead. Grab your journal and a nice cup of tea and imagine next season into being!

Imagining the Season Ahead

What season are you entering (eg. Fall of 2015)?
What are you dreaming of this season?
What are you longing for?
What are you appreciating?
What priorities & pursuits will you focus on this season (e.g. home, work, health, creativity)?
What do you want to create/accomplish this season?
What do you want to do/experience this season?
How do you want to feel this season?
Who do you want to be this season?
What is already on your plate this season? Are there adjustments to be made?
What energy do you want to bring to this season (e.g. playful, serene, focused)?
Who do you want to spend time with this season?
How do you want to grow this season?
What mantra, affirmation or words of wisdom will be your guide for this season?
What guide/energy/role model would you like to lead you through this season?
What blessings would you like from the Universe this season?
How will you fill your well this season?
How will you immerse yourself in this season’s pleasures?
At the end of this season, what will have you saying, “Wow, this season ROCKED!”
Truth be told… more than anything else, what do you want this season?

I also made a PDF of these Journal Prompts for you.

Download the Imagine the Season Ahead PDF here.

Celebrating the Summer that Was

Celebrating Summer

One of the things that has had a major impact on both my productivity and my enjoyment of life has been discovering my rhythm. A profound part of that has been learning to work with the seasons. The 3-month length of a season seems just right for creating a focus, making a change and bringing a project to life. Add in the natural energies of summer, fall, winter and spring and you’ve got magic!

With transition just around the corner, it’s time to cherish the season we’re leaving behind before we start our dreaming for the next.

Here are some journal prompts to help you celebrate and learn from the summer (or winter) that was!

What season are you celebrating (eg. Summer of 2015)?

What were the major events of the season?

What was the mood or tone of this season?

Where did your interests lie this season?

What did you create or accomplish this season?

How would you describe the “you” that you have been this season?

How would you describe your summer style?

What contributed to your well-being this season?

Who did you hang out with this season?

What are you proud of this season?

What did you learn (or re-learn) this season?

What grew this season?

What was left behind?

If you were to describe this season in one sentence, what would it be?

If you were to choose one image to represent this season, what would it be?

What do you want to remember as you step into next season?

Generally, what do you enjoy about this season (eg. summer, winter, fall, spring)?

What did you enjoy about this particular season?

What do you want to make note of for the next time this season rolls around?

What do you want to celebrate?

I also made a PDF of these Journal Prompts for you.

Download the Celebrate the Season that Was PDF here.

Awaken Your Senses

Peony in Jamie's Garden

One of the reasons that I love the garden as a part of my creative life is that it is a delight for the senses. I feel the soil in my hands as I put the dahlias in. I eavesdrop on the birds telling their stories. I rub some sage between my fingers for the scent and then bring some in for a meal. The flowers grab my eye and I grab my camera.

Our senses are doorways to our creativity.

As we develop our awareness of the world around us, we gather inspiration for our lives, our work and our hearts. People waiting for the bus are transformed into a ceramic sculpture. The lively chihuaha you saw on your walk becomes an embroidery pattern. The look in your loved ones’ eyes becomes a poem.

Through awareness and creation we come to know and understand ourselves and our world. As we sketch our friend, we see details about her we’ve never noticed before. As we pay attention to colour, we discover that this summer the world is in love with brights. As we write our morning pages, we finally understand that our sadness is telling us it’s time to brave a change.

And when we share what we create out of discovery and awareness, it can bring discovery and awareness to others as well. You turn that heartbroken night by the lake into a song and find when you sing it, your healing more borken hearts than your own.

This glorious creative journey can begin with the simple act of paying attention – and paying attention can start with your senses. To help you start a practice of paying attention to your senses, I’ve created a downloadable journal sheet to help you awaken your senses. through paying attention to the moment and through gathering your delights. Here are mine.

My Compendium of Sensory Delights


I love the taste of

our New Year’s mushroom risotto
my mom’s ham and barley soup

Sky at Dusk

I love the sight of

the sky
white flowers
monochromatic colour schemes
people when they’re all lit up

My Love of the Wind

I love the feel of

the wind
tThe coolness of early springtime, when the windows are all open and the breeze is strong
my bare feet on sand, grass or hardwood floors
my mom’s hugs
being tucked into the cozy, heavy blankets while getting a facial at the spa
Coffee on My Desk

I love the smell of

fresh-cut grass
fresh-baked cookies
my honey

The Ridler Sisters

I love the sound of

joyful conversation
just the right music at just the right time
bird chatter at the end of the day

Jamie Dancing
I love the sensation of

Moving my body
Sensing something wonderful is about to happen
The electric connection of a shared experience, like being at or in a show, concert, special event
The aliveness of performing

What do you delight in?

Remember, I’ve created a journal sheet for you to gather your delights. You can download it here.

Step Into Your She-ro’s Journey

She'ro's Journey

I love Jennifer Louden. She’s a straightforward sparkler, a self-growth revolutionary, a powerful force for good in this world and a dear, dear friend.

A while back, Jen asked an inspiring group of women how they step into their She-ro’s Journey. Their she-ro stories are in this marvelous free e-book. I am honoured and delighted to be a part of it.

May this free e-book inspire you to step into your She-ro’s Journey. The world needs your gifts.

She-ro's BadgeThe She-ro’s Journey

Jen has also created The She-ro’s School for Revolutionaries. Check it out if the time for your shero revolution is now.

Giving Your Dreams Wings – One Feather at a Time

Giving Your Dreams Wings
I believe in dreams.

I believe that little inkling in your heart is a dream seed answering the tug of life’s sunshine, aching to grow.

I believe that as you bring your dreams to life, they bring you to life too.

Your dreams are inviting you to be braver, sing louder, shine brighter.

As you give your dreams wings, so they will give you yours.

A Creative Living Activity for Dreamers: Today I invite you to create feathers for your dreams’ wings. Imagine each feather imbued with the magic that you know will help your dreams take flight. Today I know that my wings are ready for vision, positivity, showing up and taking action.

What do your dreams need in order to fly?

Feather Form

Download this PDF and Create Feathers for Your Dreams.

May you and your dreams take flight!

I Gave My Dreams Wings


The Give Your Dream Wings Blog Hop is a peek inside the process of how inspiring people make the magic happen. We’ve got some of the internet’s most inspiring bloggers sharing how they give their dreams wings – what they do that supports, nurtures and encourages their tender dreams to come to life.

This is happening in celebration of the new e-course of the same name by Andrea Schroeder of the Creative Dream Incubator. The Give Your Dream Wings e-course shows you how to nurture and grow YOUR dream, for free, in only 10 minutes a day. You do not have to wait until you have more time or money! To find out about the free e-course, and to read the other (crazy inspiring!) posts in this Blog Hop.

Working with Focus Areas – And Free Focus Journal Sheets!

Focus Areas

My Gift To You: Focus Journal Sheets

Thank you so much to everyone who let me know that sharing this concept of focus areas both here and in the podcast struck a chord. I’m so glad that sharing the specifics of how I have developed clarity around my core focus areas helped you too. Last week on the podcast, I promised that I would share with you how I actively work with these focus areas on a yearly, weekly and even daily basis so here we go!

My core focus areas, honed in on over the years, are: work, home, art & creativity, self, love, loved ones, body, spirit, and money.

My secondary focus areas are: experience and adventure, doing good, learning & style.

And a very special pivotal focus area is: serendipity.

Knowing these makes it easier to say “yes” or to say “no,” to invest or to pass, to fix or to let go. It helps me make choices and take a stand, to decide where to put my energy and my talents and when to walk away. It’s powerful, motivating and useful

If hearing this inspires you to make your own list (and I hope it does) remember, I didn’t come up with these categories overnight. I made a start at identifying my priorities and then I began working with them. Over time, I made adjustments, tweaked this or that. So, don’t feel like you have to know everything right at the beginning. Just make a start.

So, how do I work with them?

Yearly Focus

Many of you know that every year I spend the time between Christmas and New Years making Vision Cards. In fact, many of you have taken my Vision Card workshop and done the same! At this magical transition point of one year to the next, I contemplate what I wish for in each of my focus areas areas and then create a kind of mini dreamboard for each one.

This year I added something new, inspired by Shannon: two journal writes. The first was a check-in for each of my core focus areas and the second explored what I dreamed of for each of them this year. And let me share a tip for you on this; I timed myself! I could totally have spent days upon days writing about each of these but instead I gave myself a couple of minutes per focus area for a really focused write and I let that be enough.

Weekly Focus

This is where the whole idea of focus areas began for me. At the beginning of the week I sit down and plan some things that I can do to tend to each of my focus areas. I know you’re probably saying, “OMG, Jamie, that’s too much! You have, like 14 areas! That’s way too many to-dos.” But it isn’t really. First of all, I prioritize the core focus areas, so that brings it down to nine. And no one’s saying you have to plan big earth-shattering events or achievements in each area. In fact, knowing that you’ll be tending to each area again next week really allows you to trust smaller steps.

Plus, knowing these focus areas doesn’t mean you have to add more to what you’re already doing. You simply have a category for recognizing the importance and value of each focus area in your life. For example, if you’re going to a birthday party this week, you can note that as an activity that honours your focus area of Loved Ones. Doesn’t that feel so much better than seeing it simply as a commitment on your calendar or even an obligation?

So, I can look at my week and say,

  • Home: a big clean-up because my dad’s coming to visit.
  • Work: I’ve got lots of to-dos here! Which ones are going on the schedule for this week?
  • Art & Creativity: I’m going to do the next lesson in Lifebook.
  • Self: I’m going to stick with my morning pages practice this week.
  • Love: I’m going to chat with Justin about what we’re going to do for our wedding anniversary in February.
  • Loved Ones: I’m going to make sure to say happy birthday to Suzie on the podcast!
  • Body: I’m going to play obsessive amounts of Just Dance 2014.
  • Spirit: I haven’t been meditating lately. This week I’m going to make an effort to sit at least once.

I could also look at my secondary areas and say, hmm.. I’m going to pay attention to Style this week too.

  • Style: While I’m out this week, I’m going to pop into H&M and look for a new pair of earrings.

Imagine the difference in your life if every week you spent some time focused on your true priorities!

Daily Focus

On a daily basis, you certainly could take a similar approach, starting with your focus areas and creating and/or categorizing to-dos with that framework as a guide. Personally, I don’t try and fit in every category every day. That feels way too full and way too structured for me.

What I actually do daily is work backwards. I keep a running document on my computer for gathering my accomplishments during the day and as I note what I’ve done, I categorize it by my focus area. This becomes a tracking mechanism, though I treat it lightly, trusting my awareness. Over time, I’ll notice which categories continually show up and which never do and make adjustments. Maybe I’m having resistance to a certain focus area or maybe the truth is I’m not that interested in it. Paying attention helps me tweak my focus appropriately.

Your Focus Areas

If you’re interested in playing with this model, I’ve made something to support you: Focus Area Journal sheets , a printable PDF for planning your actions to honour each focus area. It includes both the subject areas that I have defined and also a sheet that you can add your own categories to. I hope you love it.

This practice has been key in helping me align my life with my priorities. I hope it inspires the same in you. Let me know how you find working with these.

I’d also love to know how you relate to my focus areas. Are these things that interest you too? If they are, I might expand what I share with you to cover more of these areas or I might find a way to categorize content on my site around those subjects.


My Gift To You: Focus Journal Sheets