Friday, January 30, 2009

Creative Every Day INDEED

"He who uses the spirit that is within him creatively is an artist. To make living itself an art - that is the goal."

- Henry Miller

Creative cycles.

The first thought that comes to mind is that I do not have creative cycles.

It feels like I am either "in the zone" or I'm not. My creative process seems to work like Toronto traffic, 10 minutes before rush hour. I'm humming along, happy as can be, singing to "Billy Jean" on the radio, tapping the steering wheel on each "ooh, ooh," just amazed at my luck - in the car, breezing through the city - what a novelty! And then WHAM! I turn the corner of the Gardiner and there it is. The sea of combustible chaos. Rush hour...which is really a misnomer. Because nobody "rushes" anywhere and it doesn't last an hour - it lasts FIVE hours! argh.

I am either propeling myself into the beautiful, complex inner world of CREATION or I am caught, blinded, by my "internal opera" (to coin Blisschick), where my excuses and flightiness sing away and I am left artistically high and dry.

I must say, though, that in those times, while I am blaming myself for my procrastination, my inertia, my lack of discipline, I remain an awfully good cheerleader! I am SO GOOD at supporting my friends, family, kids, the creative people in my life. I am YAY YAY YAY all over them and their questing after their dreams, the songs they write, the commercials they get, the games they create to have fun with Life. I enjoy being the cheerleader too. I enjoy being the "YAY-sayer" and i am so proud of all of their accomplishments. I am also happy with mine. And now I am re-thinking this whole "creative living" thing....

Going back to the first chapter of "12 Secrets," I had a massive list of artistic goals to accomplish....some I knew were not aimed at this year, but perhaps the next 10 years. Even the goals I re-set last week have not all been accomplished.

So let's focus on what i HAVE managed to achieve since we began McMeekin's book:

- bellydance once a week

- kundalini yoga once a week

- bought glue

- put a few hand-written poems on computer

- watched 'Charlie Wilson's War' & read about Benazir Bhutto

- consistently read and wrote about each chapter in 12 Secrets book

- made up new sound effects for 'the wheels on the bus' song

- made a vermicelli dish for dinner solely based on ingredients i love

- sent an email to creative souls (including a Russian clown!) in our building & discovered that we have more ecstatic things in common than i ever imagined! plan to meet them on sunday.

- connected with people in our elevator, smiled, greeted them, made conversation

- braved the snow with a friend to give elliott and my friend's daughter a true 'canadian' experience

- contacted my artistic connections

- ordered shakespeare kids book for reference

- ordered 2 awesome cds to 'open up' my creativity and musical repertoire: Hush (bobby mcferrin & yoyo ma) and the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon soundtrack!

- ordered 'funner' workout videos because i discovered that i have a lot more creative energy when i am more physically active!

- baked chocolate chip cookies that were perfectly soft and moist!!

- have sung little ditties and danced with abandon almost every day

- i HAVE embraced some difficult moments with more grace, and some humour

- i have been playing with my baby every day, nurturing him, introducing him to the WONDER-FULLNESS of the world, giving millions of kisses, enjoying daily laughter and tears of joy

Now...there are 2 current 'threats' to my creative process - the internet and HGTV. But you know what? How about if I stop judging that and turn it around....they are part of the process too, right? - part of the whole package around me that "fills my well." What am I doing with that time? I'm admiring homes around the world, longing for travel and adventure again, drooling over the home renovating, checking out AMAZING blogs by phenomenal women in this community, imagining the future house my family will live in one day and pondering the possibilities of how we will make it a home... That's not wasted time. It may be 'passive' time, but it's not wasted.

And while I have been "filling this well" I have been tinkering with some ideas. Like the idea of creativity....being an the art-filled life. The list I began this journey with had many ideas of big, bold accomplishments I wanted to make to put my stamp on the world! To say, "This is me! I'm here! I'm creative! I have ACHIEVED!" Wanting to be recognized. Creativity for the sake of recognition, admiration, praise.

I would like to move beyond that.

I am now choosing creativity for the sake of playfulness. (How funny - that is Leah's theme this month, isn't it?!) I am choosing creativity for the sake of 'artful picnics,' for the sake of BEING instead of doing. For the sake of my soul just wanting to hear its own whispers aloud. I am proud of my artistic resume, but that is not what this is about. This is about LIVING creatively. (Those of you who are already there, please forgive my incredibly late, little epiphany!) I have always loved that quote by Henry Miller, and I have felt that I was living it, but this is something else. This is about creating 'junk,' about making a mess, about bringing out all my underused art supplies and colourful pens and spreading them across our living room floor for the sole sake of expression, and possibly sharing - but not for the sake of acknowledgment.

I want to be someone who, when I die, others will say, "She was one of the most truly original people I have ever known." I want to be original to myself. Constantly challenging my own boundaries, my own self-imposed limitations. I want to be like my grandfather - the Newfie sailor. The poetry-loving, model sailboat-making, pipe-smoking, sea shanty-singing, nickname creating, special handshake shaking, stuttering, laughing Buddha-esque grampa. Charlie Knight. My creativity is not about the Pulitzers, or the Dora Mavor Moore's, or the "best-selling," or the honourary degrees. It is about being the creative sparkler that leads to the collective fireworks of a happy humanity! It is about living with inspiration. Waking up everyday so excited for the creative possibilities waiting to be kissed and brought to life for the day ahead.

"There is only one thing you can hope to kindle in the life of another:
the spark that they carry." - David Berger

It is about creating more of those moments (and I have thankfully enjoyed many) where my cheeks ache from the roar of laughter, where my mind surrenders to the ridiculous, where each breath is celebrated through song, dance, art, play or poetry, and the eyes of my companions twinkle with the rapture of kindred connection.

These are my new goals to ignite the joy of my soul and share that glow with those around me:

- get out those dried-out watercolours and inspired scribbles and create "Inspiration-on-the-go!" to post in our building's elevators

- create 2 scrapbooks for Elliott: 1 - 6 months & 6 - 12 months (including photos, journal entires, poems, beloved cards, stories, etc) This will be a good challenge because I am a little lost by all the 'hardware' and accessories of the scrapbooking world!

- create my "Book of Inspiration" that includes my poems (hand-written) surrounded by collages, photos, quotes i love, wonderful letters and endearing comments i have received from friends, etc.

- create my pregnancy scrapbook/journal with photos, ultrasounds, journal entries, favourite quotes, textures, momentos, etc.

The more I think about it, the more it dawns on me that these types of 'accomplishments' are the ones that truly and deeply resonate. These are the ones that give me more heartfelt 'validation' than any 'outer accolades' possibly could. Perhaps even trying to accomplish these goals may prove to be daunting, but at least it will be a start. Stepping back from the rush hour...and into the bewitching one.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Own Your Unknown!

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.

Johann von Goethe

Thank you Jamie and Jessie!! It is amazing how inspiration works. I read almost the whole chapter, did a couple exercises, but the flow just wasn't there and I was feeling stifled.

And then - ALOHA! I listened to the interview with Jessie and checked out her website, and BANG! The dam is lifted. I am forging forward like a jetstream.

I love that 'word of the day' concept. I loved her story about 'Do one thing every day that scares you,' showing up all over her life. And in her blog, I saw my own word, twice. A word that has been playing with me lately like the wind dancing with a kite. PROPEL.

That's my word of the 2009: PROPEL!

1. to drive, or cause to move, forward or onward

2. to impel or urge onward

Related Words:





M O V E !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now check it out in webdings:


(a winding road, traintracks and a tree; a listening ear; a winding road at night with the same tree and a cactus; a magnifying glass - HOW COOL IS THAT!)

Getting a MOVE ON this creativity!! My projects, my goals, my free flow of everything that is bubbling and shining inside of me! :) I have been thinking about little steps this week - funny how Jamie made that challenge. I have been thinking about the little steps I want to make to at least start testing the ground, getting my feet wet, feeling out the air quality around me.

- call a friend about publishing contacts

- check out related books in book store/library and their publishers

- send an article to a couple websites i subscribe to

- buy scrapbooking supplies (i already have the glue!)

- contact an artist friend about illustrations

- write synopsies for shakespeare plays

- gather those quotes and my watercolours and make the inspirational elevator messages for my building that I've been meaning to do for 2 years!!

- get the poems on the computer, and a book in my hands, and print and colour and cut and paste and add texture and love and multiply!

I LOVE the idea of doing something that scares you everyday. I like to mix it with a little bit of 'random acts of kindness.' I have a friend, LT, who is so phenomenal. She radiates light towards others, like that incredible Obama. She says hi to every single person she passes on the street! She spreads sunshine just by being herself and connecting with people. This is sort of exemplified in the way we met: a parking lot. We were in a yoga class together and she 'picked me up' (in the spiritual sense :) right there beside my car as I was getting ready to leave. Gave me her phone number. I was a little taken aback, but flattered that she saw some spark in me that made her want to connect. And here we are. She is an inspiration just for LIVING and BEING. I want to take those risks every day. In the elevator. Post a message. Look for other moms, or yogis, or creative spirits, or culturally diverse ladies to connect with. I want to visit the 90-something year old man who lives in my building and wears Adidas and works out everyday in our gym. I recently saw him in a wheelchair. I want to know if he's okay these days.

What en-courages me??

- this blogging group! Jamie Ridler. the interviews. and sometimes the book.

- beautiful words. it is true. words have POWER.

- trips to book stores, art galleries, transformational movies, nature walks, showers & baths, reveling with friends, museums, exciting architecture, biographies, Mother Teresa & Anais Nin & Sisi (Viennese royalty) & my friend Yvonne & Barack Obama

- my competitiveness. when i see others out there doing what i should be doing and wondering, 'come on, brittany, what the heck are you waiting for???'

- positivity. supportive feedback. when i write and friends or family empower me with their praise and motivation

- people helping out, reaching out, to other people. charity. philanthropy.

I LOVED what Jessie said about why we don't just go forward and MOVE on our projects. How it isn't really lack of time or energy or it is because we are AFRAID of something...failure, rejection, not being 'good enough', judging ourselves too much...That is so TRUE! I think my problem is perfectionism. It is so hard to start because I want everything within me and everything i create to BE THE BEST. I also have not been good in the past at breaking things down into smaller steps. This is what I am now working on. I loved how bloggers talked about having a sanctuary just to CREATE. To make a MESS. To surrender to their creative muse and not care about the result. I care too much about the result. I do not let myself be free to make a mess. My little fairy is wrapped up like a mummy and just wants to be free to spread that fairy dust! Speaking of mummy, my son, the catapult of creative reawakening, will help me through these chains, I know. You can't raise a child without LOTS of messes, right?!

My boss is the most incredible example I know of JUST DOING IT. Stop fretting, making excuses, putting things off, worrying about whether you are 'qualified' or not. Before my mat leave, I was working for her for 9 years. She is a member of the Order of Canada. She raised the bar and broke the stereotypes for people living with disabilities. She is the Artistic Director of Canada's foremost black light theatre. She is the author of 4 books. She is an entrepreneur. She gives motivational talks around the world. She has 4 honourary doctorates. And she never graduated high school.

She lives by the code of hard work, dedication, perseverance and belief in yourself. She wakes up at 5:00 am almost every day - so excited for another day of possibilities. When she sets out to tackle a new project, she doesn't worry about whether she is 'qualified' or the 'right' set of steps to take, or muddles over how to begin. She just lives by my university professor's motto: "Less thinking, more doing!" She just plunks herself down at the computer, or on a chair in the theatre, or in front of a room of world leaders....and begins. She speaks from her heart, her experience. Of course, she learned her philosophies from her own mother, a 93-year-old dynamo who still works (with her) 6 days a week. And her mother lives by the motto of service. I call her 'the Hostess with the Mostess' because she lives by the genuine concern, "How can I be of service?"

Last night I had a dream. I was in California, on the beach. (Wish it was true!) I was with my family. Not my family of creation, but my family of birth: my sisters, parents. I was in my bikini. The beach was real, but it was also like a movie set. I was hanging around on the sand, happy, replenishing, and someone decided to 'replay' a different beach scene - that of a storm. And the black clouds rolled in and the night came calling with some stars blinking out of the sky. The waves became more agitated and the froth foamed up. The wind threatened. The mood darkened. And I sauntered slowly, taking in the scene, making my way towards the water and thought: how beautiful. The storm was like an all encompassing black opal...a black opal of air and wind and water all mixing and melding together. And I wanted to be in the water. I wanted to be enjoying this moment...not the moment I expected when I found out we were going to California, but a beautiful moment just the same. I was not afraid.

I am not afraid of risk. I have certain phobias. I am scared of flying on planes, but I do it anyway. I am sometimes scared of the unknown, but I venture forth anyway. I am afraid of losing control, but I let go anyway. I am not afraid of conflict. I am not afraid to make my voice heard.

I am not afraid to try something new and see where it takes me. I do like approval, though, and I do seek it. But I do not risk my own equilibrium for the sake of approval. I need to do what is in my heart. I need to pursue my passions. I need to propel myself into the darkness, the frothiness, the order to live with beauty.

And now I need to go take a step into my own unknown!...................

Friday, January 16, 2009

At HOME with myself

Thank you Jamie, Suzie, Gypsy and Gail McMeekin for my inspiration this week!

I read the chapter and have been contemplating my creative 'sanctuary' and then all of a sudden, in the last 2 minutes - BOOM! - like lightning here it is.

I have been challenged by my current maternity leave - I have loved it, honoured it, and been deliriously happy with my little guy - but have battled with the raging feminist voice in my soul that says this 'home life' is just a stereotype and is not valuable, is not my destiny. Thank you Suzie for empowering my own 'domestic diva' and enlightening me to consider otherwise. And thank you to Gypsy for giving me the peace of knowing that this is where I am 'supposed to be' right now and it is a place that deserves honour and reverence.

I am home, I am here, I am mother, I am domestic diva....AND I am an artist, I am a creator, a teacher, a lover, a deep friend, a compassionate being, a force to be reckoned with, a revolutionary spirit, a daughter, a sister, a partner, a woman of BLISS.

And my sanctuary....first I thought it would be a box. A beautiful marble box with inspirational quotes on it given to me by a kindred spirit as a gift of initiation (I realize now) into my Motherhood of Creativity! Then I thought perhaps it would be the car because I can be truly alone there (I live with my Bulgarian beau, my baby and my beloved cat in a 1-bedroom apartment!) And then....reading about Gypsy, her music, her incense, her moment of silence...I looked in front of me and realized MY CREATIVE SANCTUARY IS RIGHT HERE!! I saw (on our circular wooden 'dinner' table, which was once my table of creative pursuits) my champagne roses (my favourite), my glass of Bordeaux wine (my favourite), incandescent light, my delightful rainbow fish quilted placemats (a creative 'extravagance' bought in my grandmother's province of Nova Scotia), and on the wall, paintings from our travels and the Queen of Romania's deliriously enchanting summer castle and sanctuary! Listening to Deva Primal (from Gypsy's blog site) it dawned on me that all I was missing was my lavendar oil. So that is now burning....and my inspiration is all FIRED UP!

So what 'makes my heart sing'???? (I LOVE that phrase.)

- Elliott.....('little L'), my boodha, my boosha, my munchkin, my 'petit miracle'
- champagne roses!
- lavendar & peppermint & patchouli & sandalwood & bergamot & sage
- chocolate chip cookies
- mangoes & strawberries & acai & fresh juicy fruit!
- dancing - disco, bollywood, bellydance, drumming & dancing, letting my spirit FLOW OUT and being surrounded by the energy of other dancers in a dance trance!
- yoga
- sunsets! (especially over the water)
- my voluptuous, intuitive black & white long time best friend (and cat), Gadjette
- the way my Bulgarian beau looks at me when he comes home at the end of the day
- Bordeaux wine on the balcony in Paris (I think that led to the #1 love on my list!)
- Cream Earl Grey tea from Pippins
- bubble tea
- chai latte and my escape to solitude at the local Timothy's
- skating by the lake at Harbourfront, with the lights and the music and the Toronto icon - the CN Tower - all lit up at night (followed by decadent hot chocolate!)
- making snow angels with my sisters when we were kids (& goofing off with them in general anywhere and everywhere)
- the beach....the lakes of Northern Ontario, the Black Sea, the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic ocean....the waves rushing up against the shore of my soul
- sunshine...frolicing in the the sun...rollerskating, walking on the boardwalk, watching the 4-year-olds learn to play soccer in the Beaches
- making little L laugh....oh his laugh....all my broken and fragile pieces just leap together again in joy and I feel the angels smiling on us
- being 'loopy' (as my friends say)....being uninhibited...wearing crazy hats and making ridiculous faces and reminding people that adult life does not have to be serious and routine....we can still be 'free to be you and me' if only we would give ourselves permission more often!
- anything that sparkles
- fairies
- Dr. Suess & Tomie de Paola & J.K. Rowling books
- carefree days to wanderlust around the library
- Winnie the Pooh
- Maya Angelou
- Leonard Cohen
- puppetry, clowning, masks, creative movement, experimenting with my body, appreciating how it creates, speaking a physical language
- conversations with people living in their light
- playing with kids
- swings in the playground, propeling myself into the SKY!
- mentoring young people
- bonding as a team when creating performances
- Japanese onsens
- traveling and experiencing foreign cultures
- learning new languages and wonderful words and expressions like 'alegria' and 'saudades' and 'let's leave in beauty' and 'enchante'
- forgiveness
- finding the humour and allowing myself to let go of control
- the words: serendipity, bliss, possibility, magic, flow, be, breathe, widening open, inspiration, enchantment, SURRENDER
- the intoxicating music of my songwriting friends
- ancient trees in the rainforest
- tropical fish
- lush mountains
- looking into the eyes of a horse, or a dog, or my cat and feeling something beyond language
- philanthropy and people who give a darn
- writing! - poetry, journaling, travel writing
- towns up north where you can see and wish on EVERY star beaming in the sky
- the northern lights
- Rocky Harbour, Newfoundland (& my late, beloved, poetic 'granfudder')
- Brazilian baterias
- the joy that often radiates from the economically 'poor' people in other countries
- of course, my family, my friends....spending TIME with those I love

......I could go on forever

but instead, I will finish with a poem I recently wrote for my baby, who propels me deeper and wider into the layers and vast mysteries of LOVE:


You make me want to learn every language and dialect around the world
so I can know a thousand ways to say

You make me want to grow propellers from my arms
so I can fly with you through the canopy of stars in the sky
just to see the twinkle in your eyes.

You make me want to transform myself into a mutant rooster-hermit crab
so I can cock-a-doodle-doo my way underground
and taste the earth drinking in your laughter.

You make me want to

You make me want for

You make me want for nothing.

You make me want to open a library of unknown facts
that can only be learned through the senses
so I can touch the mysteries with you and savour the wonder
of you.

You make me want to conduct a symphony of fireflies
that enchants the Queen Bee to declare a truce
between the insects and the reptiles
so you may lie upon the grass
and hear the hush of peace between the blades.

You make me want to dance with dinosaurs
and tickle turtles
and slide across a moonbeam into your heart
where I could sleep forever
snuggled in the sweet smell of your soul.

You make me want to

You make me want for

You make me want for nothing.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Embracing my Creative Self

Thank you Jamie Ridler for starting this awesome experience and creative community!

I just got my book: 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women - yippee!! Went for a frosty trek to the postal outlet with snowsuit-stuffed little baby strapped on to my chest, through the muck and ice and snow, to begin my creative awakening of 2009!!

And now to acknowledge where I am creatively at this magical moment in time.

Let me begin with my perpetual place of being.
My personal mission in life:

Thank you to the other phenomenal women of this community who are providing that fantastical inspiration!

And where I am, now, January 10, 2009: I AM A MOTHER.

This is a bold new creative adventure for me. Having been diagnosed as hormonally imbalanced and concerned about infertility for several years, this has been a mighty miracle in my life. An unexpected, overwhelming blessing where the rewards just swirl and multiply around each other like a giddy tornado of creation, rather than destruction. I actually feel most creatively alive now than I ever did in my independent, single professional artist life. Connecting with some new age thinking, I got into Christine Northrup's books before the pregnancy and wondered why I was creatively stifled in my life....was it the physically demanding work and intense hours? Was it my upbringing, my parents' divorce, my mother's battle with stress? Was it my procrastination? Was it my enthusiasm for beginning a project but rarely following through? Was it my love of the outdoors and not wanting to 'waste' a minute of sunshine and frolic? And then, voila! My little Elliott came along. And I foresee many more 'births' in the months to come.....


Creativity is freedom. When I am free...from too many obligations, from fear, from excuses, from demands, from criticism, from limitations...I am creative. When I am traveling, I am creative. When I am lying in my bed and cannot fall asleep over all the enthusiastic visions I see, I am creative. When I am performing, I am creative. When I am looking out the window of the bus to the vast canvas beyond, I am relaxed. I am creative. But also, when I am disciplined, I am creative. When I stick to my routines, and my yoga classes, and dance classes, and writing regularly, and honour my commitments, I am also creative. When I have too much time on my hands, I become withdrawn, lazy. I need a the juices to keep flowing; I need to stay connected.


I am addicted to creative pursuits. I love SARK. I am excellent at developing ideas, but I need to stay focused, I need to master my procrastination. I have many projects 'on the go'.

Creative projects I would like to accomplish are:

- scrapbook/artsy journal of my pregnancy & of Elliott's 1st year (buy scrapbook, go on snapfish & compile photos, buy decadent paper, glue, collect quotes, tokens of memories, etc)
- learn to create a photojournal
- publish my adapted Shakespeare plays for kids (write to friend for info, ask another friend for illustrations, write summaries of plays, go to bookstore & look for publishers, contact shakespeare for kids groups)
- collect quotes for my treasure box of inspiration
- organize and compile all of my poetry into one beautifully unique and vibrant book
- take NIA classes
- collaborate with my sister (the illustrator) to manifest the story written for Elliott; take a class for writing children's literature in the next few years
- become more involved with youth, teaching, mentoring and developing theatre projects as an arts educator/creative spirit
- collaborate with my life partner to build a puppet theatre company for young children
- travel the globe and observe, listen, explore, experience, learn and write, write, write
- meet with other moms to discuss and explore the creative journey of parenting (put 'mom' on my blog and look for others, go to yummy mummy or other mom websites)
- sing more in the shower
- dance every morning
- write more letters/send more pictures to my foster child in Brazil
- learn to bake
- be a fairy godmother
- find a magical escape to keep dreaming and visioning
- embrace every moment with humour and grace

This is where I am. My intentions are all sitting on the table waiting to be devoured. Let's eat!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

This is my blog

I have no idea how to do this, but I'm doing it anyway.
I'm kinda like that. Venturing into the unknown...feeling the fear and doing it anyway...that kinda girl.
I consider myself technically-challenged, and this blog is a new territory for me, but when I experiment and succeed at what I thought was 'impossible', well, that is the closest I can feel to being a GENIUS.

I live in the in-between. That's really just an indecisive way to say I live in the moment. Or at least, that is what I strive for. I live between one conundrum and another. Between longing and being satisfied. Between where I've been, where I am, and where I want to go. Between indecision and stubbornness. Between light and not-so-light. Between harsh truth and softened half-truths. Between my belief and my uncertainty. Between boldness and fear. Between the gasps and the sighs. Between this blog and your eyes.

I am and I have been many things. Mostly I am me. Radiantly me. Joyously me. Frustrating me. I have a cat, and a baby, and a Bulgarian beau. I have travelled and performed around the world. I enjoy Harry Potter and Henry Miller. I have taught. I have learned. I have fallen. I have jumped back up. I am the dragon with its breath of fire; the phoenix rising from the ashes and the wind supporting its triumph.

I like to write about my life. I like to write poetry. I like to write about traveling. I like to write whatever strange thoughts or obsessions come into my head at 2:00 am. And now that I have leapt into the realm of mom-dom, I like to write about that. I am a Pisces. I like to go with the flow of my life. Welcome to my chi.