Friday, July 9, 2010

Lost in the woods (again) and wondering how I got here.

Procrastination, the allure of lazy summer days, and good old-fashioned fear have conspired to keep me away from posting these past months. In an effort to cultivate my creative inner landscape, I've been working on digging deeper in my life, learning not to run the other way when faced with discomfort. And I'll be honest here, discomfort shows up a lot now that I've decided to ignore it, and I find myself wanting to run for the hills everytime it rears its ulgy mug. I'm quickly realizing that I've listened to the whipsers of fear for far too long, allowing it to clip my creative wings and keep me feeling content with comfort and numbness.

Paradoxically, in an effort to move forward and be the creative person I've set out to be, I realize that I must dig my heels in and dive deeply into my creativity, instead of uprooting myself and moving on when fear tells me I'll never succeed. I've abused my "gypsy" nature (always searching for that new adventure) and given up too easily, kept things easy and light but never fully immersed myself. Offering my deep emotional attachment has often proved more difficult than I could endure (or so I thought).

In recent weeks, In addition to ignoring my newly christened blog (for fear that I suck), I've considered quitting school (What if I fail Italian or can't repay my loans?) and giving up my dream of taking guitar lessons (I have too much on my plate now), but I've decided to stick it out this time.

Do you hear me, fear? No more running away from my dreams. Or my creativity, as it happens. I'm going to finish school despite how difficult Italian is, buy that guitar and learn to play it. And yes, be less of a stranger to my blog, whether I suck or not. Because the truth is, creativity isn't a by-product of perfection, and I don't have to do anything perfectly to loose my creative spirit.

And here's a question for you, fellow creative archaeologists: What techniques keep you on your creative path? What wakes you up and propels you forward, even when you feel like pulling the covers over your head and listening to your fears? I'd love to I don't find myself lost in the woods quite so often!

Oh, and if you have any tips for a beginner guitarist, please share them. I'm buying my first acoustic guitar this week....

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

What's your Style Statement?

I recently read the book "Style Statement: Live By Your Own Design" by Carrie McCarthy and Danielle LaPorte. I'd been intrigued since reading an article about these ladies in Domino Magazine a few years ago. Sadly, the cost of a consultation was out of my price range, but I was in love with the idea. I really wanted to know my style statement! Needless to say, when I saw the book displayed in my local Barnes & Noble store last year, I snatched it up immediately!

The book uses questionnaires and lists to distill your unique natural style into just two words. These words, your "style statement" are carefully chosen to guide you in the expression of your truest essence.

I've answered the questions, made countless lists, and finally arrived at my very own Style Statement, which is Elemental Refined.
I've been reminding myself what these two words mean to my evolving creativity, and finding that it's actually helping me stay the course...who knew!

I'm including the Style Statement "Style Manifesto" below for further inspiration, but I highly recommend that you read this fun and enlightening book!

Manifesto of Style
By Carrie McCarthy and Danielle LaPorte

1. Communicate who you are in all you do.
Consistency is power. When the various parts of your life reflect your essence, your life moves in the direction you want it to.

2. Style is multidimensional.
Visual and sensual choices are driven by self-perception. Our image is a composite of our beliefs, history, and desires.

3. Style matters.
The design of your life can inspire you or mire you. Every aesthetic and material choice sends a message to the world about who you are and the world responds accordingly.

4. Authenticity is energizing, economical, and efficient.
The better you know yourself, the clearer your choices. Self-awareness leads to true style.

5. Accentuate the positive.
Give your attention to the best in you and around you and the best will flourish.

6. People are like snowflakes — uniquely beautiful because of the details.
To compare snowflakes is not very productive. Instead, celebrate what sets you apart, what’s most particular and true for you, and your own specialness will become clear.

7. Pay attention to what attracts you.
One of the most powerful questions you can ask is what am I drawn to?

8. Working from the outside in can create deep transformation.
Surface changes have the power to alter your inner landscape. (So yes, sometimes a new hairstyle or a work of art can change your life.)

9. Feel free to change.
When you discover something true about yourself, put it into action, regardless of who you were yesterday.

10. True style is not dependent on wealth, and wealth does not necessarily create taste.
Authenticity is not dependent on funding. Whether you’re on a budget or on easy street, you owe it to yourself to find a way to be genuinely you.

11. Cheap is expensive in the long run.
Why buy twice when you can buy once? Commit to quality and it will commit to you.

12. Use your best every day.
Life is too short to wait for a special occasion to bring out your finery, your treasures, your brilliance, and the best of your love.

13. Choose from your heart, and your life will fill up with things you love.
What works is what feels right.

14. Beauty transforms.
Beauty’s capacity to generate pleasure, healing, and connection is divinely powerful. Beauty affects its maker and beholder every time.

15. It’s always a good time to be yourself.
And it’s never too late. Possibility exists all of the time, everywhere. You haven’t missed your chance to be your most beautiful.

16. Only love is free — everything else costs.
Whether it’s with time, space, emotion, or earthly resources, we pay for what we choose. Be selective about what you need.

17. Creativity + Restraint = Beauty.
Overdone style leaves little room for newness, appreciation, or reciprocity. Hold back a bit. Allow for breathing space. Trust in the power of subtlety.

18.Contrast makes things interesting.
Too much sameness dulls the senses. Create a twist.

19. Living is sensual.
Engage life with all you’ve got.

20. Make more choices — moment to moment, day to day.
You are the designer of your life. Be selective, creative, and intentional in every possible way.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

My feathery nest

I've spent the past week mulling over what my first creative steps should be. I took some photos on a walk, but quickly realized my motivation for doing so was only to make this blog more inviting and pretty (and although I do strive for an inviting and pretty blog, that's not why I've created it). I thought about making a crazy pair of tights to wear, but that didn't seem right, either. Suddenly, while showering a few mornings ago (I do my best thinking in that shower!) it hit me! How could I even think of exploring my creativity without a creative space?

So I've been working on turning my second guest bedroom into a creative candlelit caravan. I've moved the twin bed into a corner, for naps and quiet musings, and I've taken the sewing machine out the closet where I can better access it. I'm planning on painting poems on the walls and hanging sari-print curtains in the windows!

I'll have to be very creative when decorating my nest, since funds are limited, but I've promised myself that only those items that I absolutely LOVE will be allowed. Oh, and fairy lights will most certainly be included.

Do you have a favorite creative space? And if so, what objects feather your nest? I'd love to hear how you make your sacred space...well, sacred!

Photos are stay tuned.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Leaping into the abyss...accessing my creativity

Today I begin a journey to meet myself. Not the self that wakes up and showers every morning, who drives to work and uses the same part of her brain day in and day out. The Jennifer who most often shows her face to the world revisits the same locales in her town, her world, her mind, day after day. She often dreams of doing things differently, but shakes her head and quickly falls back into the daily routine that has become her life. Truth is, she isn't very interesting to me.

The Self I'm hoping to meet on these pages is the grown-up version of the girl who read by candlelight in her bedroom deep into the night, who never got tired of seeing the world from a new perspective, who isn't afraid to diverge from the beaten path in hopes of finding new adventure.

I'm pledging to myself that I will nurture this forgotten child, that I'll give her all the tools she needs to unfurl and blossom: A camera to capture the beauty of this earth, paint and glitter to make this earth even more beautiful, and time, the sweetest gift of all.

I'll use this blog will chart my course. Who knows what techniques I'll find to coax my creativity out of her hiding place...striped kneesocks and a tutu, a treehouse in the backyard, a camping trip all by myself. I'll keep trying new angles until she smiles! Will you join me?