Let Go of What You Think You Know

We’re all on a creative journey, whether that’s launching a blog, starting a business, writing a book, putting out a music album, being the best (insert job title), finding greater purpose in life, or becoming the person we’ve always wanted to be. It takes creativity (and sometimes patience…and always courage) to stay on the path.

Much easier said than done. I know. I’m along for the ride, too. And some days are bumpier than others. Keeping the metaphor going for a moment, how do we keep from popping a tire, driving into a ditch, or getting locked out of our car? In other words, getting stuck or stressed?

Let go of expectations, and stay detached from the outcomes.

I’m not suggesting we park it on the couch, rip open a bag of Cheetos, and watch our life happen in front of us like a TV drama (or sitcom). While that sounds a liiiittle tempting, we still need to do the work. We need to show up every day like a front-row student who’s ready to work and learn. Just don’t stress about your grades.

We must continue to be curious.

Experiment. Let go of what we think we know. When we start a new project or venture, if we feel the fear of failure, instead of thinking, “Oh no, I’m going to fail” or “Crap, I don’t know how this will turn out,” try thinking, “Let’s see. Let’s find out” or “Hey, this could work!”

Remove the fear of failure with a bigger desire to learn.

Learn to be okay with not knowing, getting messy, and maybe even being wrong. Dare to find out what’s on the other side of letting go!

***

Here’s a visualization exercise to get rid of any negative energy that’s still nagging at you:

  • Sit quietly and make a list of situations in your life where you feel stuck, frustrated or scared.
  • Pick one situation and really look at it. Why do you feel this way? Have you been overthinking it, trying to control the situation, doubting or being too hard on yourself?
  • What is the outcome you think should happen? Picture it.
  • Now let go of that outcome and your attachment to it…
    • Visualize an empty balloon.
    • Breath in, then exhale all of your outcomes into the balloon.
    • Let the anxieties, fears, and frustrations that go along with these outcomes flow out, as well.
    • Take another deep breath through your nose…sweeping up any last bits of negative energy.
    • Then exhale through your mouth, pushing it all out and into the balloon…watching it fill up and expand effortlessly.
    • Now, detach from the balloon. Let it go…watch it fly away.
    • As it’s released in the air, come back to yourself. Feel your toes and legs grounded beneath you. Imagine you’re rooted into the earth like a tree. Stand tall. Feel strong. Be renewed.
  • What can you see now that’s possible? Write it down and make a plan to do it!

Many blessings,

Kate

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Up Your Creative Game in 2018

If you feel the good energy 2018 has in store, let “new” be the spark that lights your inner fire to be awesome.

Decide and know your creativity is super important for co-creating your life, and then find ways to stay inspired.

I’ll do my best to post pieces of inspiration for us every week. So be sure to keep coming back for Creative Tip Tuesdays!

For today, here are some thoughts about what causes creativity:

Take a minute to really think through this list in terms of your abilities. Maybe even score yourself in these areas. On a scale of 1-5 (5 being best), how do you stack up?

Don’t get bummed about the low scores. Find your strengths and run with them.If you’re insatiably curious, stay that way. If you’re an energizer bunny, keep pushing forward. Work with what naturally comes your way and use it to your creative advantage.

PS. This list came from a fantastic blog about creativity. I highly recommend it. Also, watch this movie. I’d love to know what you think about it.

Until next time, here’s a little personal pep talk…

Fist bumps and blessings,

-Kate

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Digital Detox: Pruning Your Garden

Welcome to week three of our December Digital Detox. As a quick recap, we started by picking one day a week that’s free of social media.

I chose Facebook Free Fridays since that’s the site I check most often. Feel free to pick Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest…whatever pulls you away the most.

Next, we focused on our bodies and the physical cleansing of electromagnetic frequencies (EMFs) through grounding or earthing. Pretty wild. Did anyone try this? I’m super curious if it’s making a difference for you. I’m still giving it a try.

This week, let’s get back to assessing our digital usage and prune back our emails, social feeds, desktops and more.

Here are three great things to do this week:

{ONE} Unsubscribe

If your notifications and emails are piling up, it’s probably time to purge.

Leave the online groups you never engage in. Asses your Facebook friends, Twitter following or Instagram feed and prune the negative influences. Unsubscribe from unwanted emails (or change the preferences so you get fewer emails from the companies you actually like.)

Tip: For a total email makeover, create a free email account (through Gmail or Outlook) so you have an email address to use when you sign up for things. That way you don’t have to rummage through so many emails looking for what’s important. 

{TWO} Declutter

The desktop on my computer and home screen on my phone were both so cluttered it was taking twice as long as necessary to find anything. I created a folder system and stored files, apps and photos in more organized spots.

For example, all of my blog file are organized inside of a Neat Nook folder. Inside of that, I have sub folders for each month of the year where I store photos and other files.

I did the same for my phone. All of my “shopping” apps are now inside of a single folder on my home screen.

This whole exercise also prompted me to delete apps I never used and trash files I knew I’d never need again. It felt really good.

Next up is decluttering my email folder. In addition to unsubscribing, I plan to clean out my inbox, sent folder and trash. All three of these folders use up storage space, especially if you send and receive large files, so it’s good to clear them out at least once a month.

{THREE} Check Out

If you’re like me, you have a knee-jerk (or maybe it’s more of an elbow-jerk reaction) to answering the phone, text, emails or any other notification that comes pinging through at any given hour.

I’m going to cut back on my reaction time and practice not responding immediately to everything that comes to my attention. I’m going to choose more consciously when to respond so I create better boundaries for myself.

This means turning off my phone during dinner with my family. It also means putting my phone down after at 9pm and resting my mind and eyes from the screen before bed.

***

I know this week is crunch time before Christmas, but I truly hope you’re able to pull back and enjoy simpler days ahead.

Good luck and many blessings,

Kate

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Digital Detox: Grounding Ourselves

Okay, friends. We’re in week two of our December Digital Detox! First of all, how was last week? Were you able to find a day to be Facebook free?

I powered off on Friday and missed three birthdays. Oops! There were so many times when I wanted to open that app, especially as the notification bubble kept growing. I managed, though.

It was interesting to notice when I felt the urge to login to my account. It happened during two specific times: the quiet moment of waiting in the car lane after school, and the social moment of being out with friends.

These are habitual times when I reach for my phone. When it’s quiet, I tend to check in and see what everyone else is up to, and when I’m in the midst of fun and laughter, I want to capture the moment and share it with the world. So…my personal lessons from the week:

  • Use quiet moments to sit in stillness instead of filling it up with noise.
  • In the height of my joy, just be in the moment and let that be enough.

They both point to being more present, so I’ll keep working on that this week for sure. Let’s keep up with our Facebook Free Fridays this month and add one more helpful thing this week.

Grounding Ourselves

I don’t mean this in the angry, “Young lady, you’re grounded” kind of way, but in the super earthy, “Let’s get grounded” manner.

As I’ve been reading about detoxing from technology, I found an interesting article about how man-made electromagnetic fields (EMFs) emitted from devices like our cell phones, TVs and WiFi routers are thought to be unsafe for our health.

As we’re exposed to unprecedented levels of EMFs, we’re still learning about their effects on our bodies. Pro-technology people believe artificially created EMFs are completely safe. On the other hand, studies are emerging to demonstrate that EMFs may be unsafe. So what do we do?

Well, it never hurts to stay informed and be proactive about how much we surround ourselves with EMFs.

One way I plan to guard myself a little better is by putting my phone in the kitchen at night, so it’s not next to me when I’m sleeping.

Another thing I’m going to do is ground myself.

You can read about the benefits in this article, but it basically states that grounding is putting yourself in direct contact with the earth. Your skin needs to touch the grass, sand, soil, water or anything that’s in contact with the earth to neutralize your body.

Basically, being a tree hugger might be good for you. Lol!

The idea is that if your body has a positive electrical charge from EMFs, you can neutralize this energy by having contact with a negative charge from the earth.

The more you’re grounded, the better you’ll feel. In fact, people report better sleep, fewer headaches and less anxiety from just one session of walking barefoot in the grass or on the beach.

Now, this is my kind of detox!

The debate continues about how effective this process really is, but I’m willing to give it a try. If anything, being outside and enjoying some fresh air certainly doesn’t have any downsides.

What do you think? Have you tried grounding before? Are you willing to give it a try? Let me know!

In the meantime, I’ll see you next Tuesday with more digital detox tips and tricks.

XoXo,

Kate

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A December Digital Detox

As we lit our first Advent candle on Sunday, we were prompted to turn off the electricity so we could see the light. I thought that was such a beautiful message.

In order for us to really see the light…light that is good, light that brings hope, light that delivers truth…we needed to power down for a moment.

What if we did this for the entire season of Christmas?

In the midst of such busyness and excess, what if we stopped for a minute and did nothing but breathe? What if we decided to put down our devices and enjoy the real, living faces that are in front of us? As someone who’s probably (okay, very likely) on my phone waaay too much, I’d like to find out.

Studies are telling us that social media appears to promote narcissism, smartphones could be causing insomnia, and screens seem to be making our kids less empathetic and more depressed. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to head down such a sad and tired path – and I certainly don’t want my kids there.

So what do we do? We learn to unplug every now and then.

I’m going to try a digital detox for the month of December. If you’d like to join me, come back each Tuesday for a weekly challenge. (You can log off once you’ve read each post. I definitely see the irony. Lol!)

For now, let’s start with this…

This week’s challenge: Pick one day (each week of December) where we go Facebook free. If FB isn’t your jam, select the social channel of choice – one that you typically can’t live without.

Don’t check notices, post any statuses, or respond to someone tagging you in a photo. Turn off your notifications and spend the day being present. Maybe even try some bullet journaling?!

I’m going to pick Friday, which is the day I tend to post the most often. And it’s the day when I really should be enjoying and doing other things. Like this! >>

And spend more eye-to-eye time with these sweet faces…

So it’s Facebook-Free Fridays for me!! I’m already kind of nervous, which means I definitely need this detox. I hope you’ll join me.

Here’s to a more relaxed week for all of us, sitting in our true light, feeling the hope arise.

Blessings,

Kate

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Sleep Your Way to a More Creative Life

The phrase “let’s sleep on it” might actually have significance – other than helping you end a long meeting.

Neuroscientists believe that while you’re sleeping, you continue to work through ideas that were planted in your mind when you were awake. So essentially, you can keep creating cool stuff while your body gets its beauty rest. Ahh. I love the sound of that.

There’s a particular type of sleep that’s most beneficial for our creativity, too. According to this study, REM sleep helps the brain connect unrelated ideas, which in turn helps our creative problem-solving.

Fun facts about REM sleep:

  • What does it do? This type of sleep increases brain activity, promotes learning, and creates dreams.
  • When does it happen? It takes place after you’ve been sleeping for around 90 minutes.
  • How long does it last? The first cycle lasts about 10 minutes, and the length of each cycle increases with time. It can last up to a full hour in the phase right before you wake up. Basically, the longer you can sleep, the more REM you’ll get!
  • How does it affect us? According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, a study depriving rats of REM sleep significantly shortened their life span, from two or three years to five weeks. (Yikes! So a deep sleep might even help you live longer?)

During the REM phase, when you’re in a dream state, your brain is busy making sense of your thoughts, memories and experiences. And these connections often prove inspirational. Steve Jobs was noted for saying, “creativity is just connecting things.” And we can definitely do this in our sleep.

In order to capitalize on your dreams, keep a notebook by your bed. As soon as you wake up, write down any thoughts that come to mind – even if they seem nonsensical at the time. They will be ideas worth mining!

In addition to dreaming, it’s important to get a regular amount of sleep each night. By establishing how much sleep you need (for me it’s 8 hrs) and sticking to a routine, you’ll create a rhythm for your body. A rhythm that will help you think more clearly, aid your memory and make creativity flow more freely the next day.

Author Stephen King King believes a regular sleep pattern encourages our wakeful minds to unlock the similarly creative imaginations we access in our sleep. He said, “as your mind and body grow accustomed to a certain amount of sleep each night, you can train your waking mind to sleep creatively, and work out vividly imagined waking dreams, which are successful works of fiction.”

Whoa. Coming from a master of mysterious, bone-chilling novels, I’d say he’s on to something. That dude has quite an imagination.

So as you begin to work on your next creative project, seriously consider “sleeping on it!” And then take notes the next day.

Before you lull into a creative slumber, though, I’ll leave you with some of my favorite quotes about sleeping. >>

XoXo,

-Kate

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Creative Tip: Are You Asking The Right Questions?

If you want to awaken and nurture your spirit of innovation and creativity, one way to crack that egg is by asking questions. When you get super curious about an idea or problem, you can break new ground and walk away with a brilliant solution.

Questions stir up new connections between two or more concepts, or they lead you on a path to new questions and different angles. So how do you enwreathe an idea with just the right question?

Here are three approaches to try!

{ONE} PLAY “TEN QUESTIONS”

Remember the game 20 Questions, where one player thinks of a person/place/thing and another player asks up to 20, yes-or-no questions before guessing what they’re thinking about? Well, you can take a similar approach to a creative problem.

Think about what you’re trying to accomplish. Then write it in the form of a question – in at least 10 different ways.

For example, if you want to invent a new way to walk a dog, you could start with “How do I design a better leash?” Or you could ask, “What’s the problem with leashes on the market today?” Or better yet, “What would make a dog want to stay next to his owner on a walk?”

As you explore, your questions might get deeper into the issue and closer to a creative fix.

{TWO} THINK LIKE SOMEONE ELSE

Instead of sitting there feeling stuck inside of your own head, try to slide into someone else’s perspective.

For example, if you’re designing a better sippy cup, ask what changes your kids would make. What would make it easier for them to hold it? What would make it more fun for them to drink from it?

Think through the problem from their angle and ask questions from their side of the equation.

{THREE} REMEMBER TO GET FACTUAL 

Phil McKinney wrote a book that’s dedicated to this entire topic of digging deeper and asking the right questions. It’s called Beyond the Obvious. I haven’t read the book yet, but I recently stumbled upon one of his concepts.

He came up with two basic categories of good questions: factual and investigative.

As the name implies, the objective of the first category is to get information…real, useful info that provides detail and context. It’s the “who, what, where, why, and how” kind of questions.

They serve an important purpose, though. Sometimes people glaze over details or make assumptions, when a simple, factual question could be the missing link to uncovering a solution.

For instance, there were two sisters who always cut the ends off their ham before cooking it for the holidays. One sister finally stopped and asked why. When her sister didn’t really know, they decided to ask their mom. After all, she taught them how to cook a ham. The mom said she cut the ends because she didn’t have a pan big enough…not because it had some sort of culinary benefit.

So discovering a new way of doing things can certainly come from asking factual questions.

And remember to keep following the question train. Keep asking why, and follow up with another question until you’re satisfied.

McKinney believes you’re more likely to get creative answers from open-ended, investigative questions – like what we explored above in options 1 & 2 – so it’s good to give all of these approaches a try.

Let me know what works best for you.

Have a creative day!

Kate

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Why should we care about being creative?

{via} Today’s creative tip!

Let’s say you’re a blogger or writer. You probably see the need for creativity on a regular basis. As you plan out your posts and thoughtfully craft your sentences, you rely on many techniques to keep your work interesting and memorable. If any part of your livelihood (and therefore your paycheck) relies on creative thinking and solutions, then it’s sure to have a meaningful place in your life, and you see the importance of sharpening your skills.

But what if you don’t feel like your job or your life depends on it, why should you really care about it…at all?

Edward de Bono woke me up with this statement, “Creativity is the most important human resource. Without creativity, there would be no progress, and we would be forever repeating the same patterns.”

Could you imagine a world that was on constant repeat?

Not only would that be boring, but also frightening. And if you think about it (like in terms of a song that never stops playing on the radio) it would also be annoying.

When we frame it up in this manner, we realize that spending time coming up with new ideas or “piddling around” with words, craft supplies, or music isn’t being frivolous. It’s necessary.

There’s even scientific evidence that shows creativity can help us live better, happier, healthier lives. I read a beautiful post that describes creativity as “a way we wrestle and thrive and search and grow and learn and make sense of the world. It’s how we find our purpose and our joy and our way through long, dark days until we get to better ones.”

So if you take away only one thing from this post, hopefully it’s a need to express your own creativity.

If you’ve been struggling with prioritizing your time or rationalizing why you should take up crocheting or tackling a few of the DIY projects on all of your Pinterest boards when you have kids to pickup from school or there’s laundry piling up in the hallway, this is your permission slip to do so.

Go explore. Get messy. Grow through your experiences – and help keep this world off repeat, damn it.

XoXo,

Kate

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Scare Up Some Creativity

Goblins, ghouls and spilled glitter aren’t the only things we fear. The death-stare of a blank page can make any writer go numb.

So how do we unmask the fear of our own attempts at creativity?

First, it helps to put fear in its place. Here’s some perspective from one of my all-time favorite humans. >

Along that same train of thought, I’ve heard that “fear doesn’t actually stop death, it stops life.”

That’s a pretty powerful statement. And why would we want to do that to ourselves? Why would we stop ourselves from truly living and expressing the creativity that’s inside of us?

If we’re being totally honest, there’s probably a long list of reasons. And some of them might look like this:

  • I could fail.
  • My ideas could suck.
  • People could think I’m stupid and have no original ideas.
  • I could lose credibility as an artist or writer.

The key word in all of those scenarios is “could”. We don’t know for certain that any of this is true. For now, it’s all in our head.

So, isn’t it just as likely that our list could turn out like this:

  • I could succeed.
  • My idea could be awesome.
  • People could think I’m super creative and full of original ideas.
  • I could gain the confidence of those around me and have a giant fan club.

Yes. The pendulum could most definitely swing in that direction.

If we define fear for what it really is: False Evidence Appearing Real, then maybe we can muster the courage to face our creativity. Surrender ourselves to the process. Allow ourselves to take a chance and let go of the outcome. Even if a project or storyline doesn’t work out, we can choose to learn and live on.

Everything we experience becomes our experience.

So in honor of the upcoming holiday (Halloween), let’s make a pact to scare up some creativity this week.

Stare down that blank page and write like your life depends on it. Because maybe it does.

Courage and blessings to you,

Kate

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Hold On To Your “Ors”

For today’s creative tip, I want to focus on choices – and the beautiful fact we have them.

{via}

If you’re feeling stuck, challenged or downright uninspired, lean into the idea of choices. They don’t have to be life-changing decisions. Start with a tiny fork in the road and let it guide you to a better place.

For instance…

If you’re in between creative projects and don’t know what to do next, you could pickup your camera or sketchbook like usual or try your hand at watercolors or crocheting. Challenge yourself with a new medium, and you might discover a whole new hobby. That you love!

Have you taken on too many projects and feel overwhelmed? You could stew in your stress or take a quick minute to stop. Delegate what you can. Say “no” where you need to. And handle the rest one thing at a time. It’ll all get done in due time.

Maybe you’re writing a book and are struggling with dialogue? You could continue to sit in front of your computer and feel frustrated or you could pack up your laptop and head to a coffee shop where you can eavesdrop on conversations and gather inspiration. A simple change in location could be just what you need.

Let’s say you want to share a creative idea at your next meeting but are afraid of rejection. You could sit in doubt and smother the idea or take a chance on it working out. Like they say with the lottery, “you can’t win if you don’t play.”

And if your idea doesn’t go over well, you have the choice of feeling deflated or inspired to make it better next time.

There’s always an “or” when we really look for it. Hold on to it and maybe even see what’s on the other side?

Still need a nudge? Elizabeth Gilbert gives us this empowering thought from her book Eat, Pray, Love. It reminds us to stay in charge of our choices. >

Many blessings,

Kate

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