Ladies, it is time to get vulnerable...more vulnerable than I would like, however I have learned vulnerability is a MUST in any authentic creative process. First, here is a brief recap for those who are just reading this blog for the first time.
Like you, I am a busy mom trying to navigate the fast-paced swirl of modern day living with grace and ingenuity. This blog is my documentation of that navigation process. I post insights from my own journey in carving out creative time and space to refuel (and avoid burnout) so I can continue to pour into those I love more fully. I also share creative habits I am learning to practice to maintain work/life balance.
Finally, I post resources to help other busy moms discover their creative gifts and develop creative habits to refuel in daily living. Each blog post represents my creative habit of writing because writing refuels me and refueling through creativity is core to the Creative Habitat mission.
Now confession time. Despite my efforts to carve out creative time and space over the past few weeks, I have felt an inner sense of conflict. Current events (both national and international) as well as recent personal events have reminded me of the battle we all wage both internally and externally to claim joy amidst turmoil. With the weight of the world resting on our shoulders and tyranny of the urgent constantly vying for our energy, carving out time to create (just for the joy of it) can feel frivolous. The battle is real, and yet so is the need.
As I've contemplated my own experience with this battle, I've come to the conclusion, it is worth the fight. It is the creative act, after all, that brings light and beauty to a hurting world. Our creative gifts not only bless and refuel us as the creator, but have the potential to bless and refuel many who are on the receiving end.
Dear friends, I know the battle is real because I experience it daily, but please be reminded no matter how many internal or external issues you may be facing, your creative gifts are equally real. The world needs your light, so shine on!
Wishing you creative and refueling days ahead.
Check out the Creative Habitat Facebook Page where I will be posting weekly resources starting Monday, October 24th including:
*Blog photo from wallpapersus.com*
I miss hearing cheers in our living room now that the Rio Olympics have ended. I can only imagine how the athletes must feel after years of training for two weeks of glory that are now history. Fortunatley for athletes like Kerri Walsh, many are returning to spend quality time with their families after intense months away training.
Kerri is not only a decorated Olympian in beach volleyball but also a mother of 3! In fact, she was pregnant with baby #3 during the last summer Olympics in London where she won her third gold medal while starting her first trimester! Having just gone through a first trimester, I am amazed at her stamina and agility amidst so many changes happening in her body. Her example of grit is nothing less than bump, set, striking!
So striking in fact, I had to research Kerri further which lead me to "A Day in the Life" clip where Kerri discusses balancing her career and family goals (check it out in the Mompreneurs in the Media section of this site - under Resources).
What strikes me most about Kerri is her ability to weigh decisions based on what is best for her family including making the committment to pursue her gift in volleyball so she can stay inspired.
"Any time away from my family needs to be something that betters me and betters my life for my family." - Kerri Walsh
This single quote shows she knows her values and refuses to settle for anything less than best for her dreams and her family. She understands the sacrifices and the reward of pursuing her gifts. Fortunatley she has not let the sacrifices hold her back and has reaped both personal and professional rewards as a result of her diligent dedication to her sport.
Like any mom, I'm sure there are days where she wonders how she will juggle her training schedule while keeping up with 3 kids. Yet somehow, like any mom, she makes it happen day after day because she has established a routine and her routine includes carving out time to develop her gift so she can continue to be bump, set, striking!
Ladies, we may not be Olympians like Kerri, but we are all invited to play in the game of life. We have 3 choices. We can continue rushing busily through our days and miss the opportunity completely, sit on the sidelines and wish we were gifted enough to play, or recognize our gifts and carve out time to develop these gifts so when it's time to play, we can bring our "A" game!
Choose option 3 and the next cheers you hear in your living room may just be from your family because let's face it, when you develop your gifts, everybody wins!
If you want help carving out time to discover and develop your gifts, DOWNLOAD a FREE:
"Mom's Guide to Developing Creative Habits"
"Mompreneurs Guide to Uplevel Success"
Blog photo from fiercelyfitenterprises.com
Trivia for the Day:
What does this Creative Habitat blogger have in common with Michealangelo and Dr. Seuss?
A Creative Habitat!
It's true! I have lived and created in the same cities and even resided on the same street as one of these renaissance men, different century, but I like to think there was still a touch of inspiration in the air. I'm referring to Casa Buonarroti, a property owned by Michealangelo on Via Ghibellina, the same street I lived on while studying abroad in Florence, Italy.
I'd take a deep breath each time I'd pass his prominant marble bust carved distinctly above the large wooden door of his florentine flat, hoping, maybe just maybe, to absorb some of his creative genius.
Fast forward 8 years and I now find myself living and working in Dr. Seuss's hometown where he created many of the fun characters and stories we cherish today. Similiar to my practice when walking by Casa Buonarroti, I breath in the creative inspiration while walking on the UCSD campus (where I used to work) which is home to the Geisel Library. This library houses the largest collection of original Dr. Seuss drawings, sketches, manuscript drafts, and photographs documenting the full range of Dr. Seuss's creative achievements from 1919 to 1991.
I am encouraged to know I have worked within walking distance of both of these creative geniuses authentic drawings and sketches reflecting their raw talent and creative process. I have received a touch of inspiration from both as a result!
In Big Magic, the book I am currently reading, Elizabeth Gilbert conveys her belief that creative ideas are living amongst us waiting to find their human collaborator to bring the creative vision to fruition. Just as there are billions of people inhabitating the planet, these ideas inhabit us through a touch of inspiration, but the chosen collaborator must be willing.
Michelangelo was willing. Dr. Seuss was willing. As creative beings we must ask ourselves, "Am I willing?"
Even as a busy mom of a toddler, I can attest a willing spirit yields creative gifts. No matter how crazy and overwhelming life may seem, there is always a touch of inspiration waiting for a willing collaborator.
Wishing you creative and willing days ahead!
Freedom. What a gift. What a sacrifice. We are free because many gave all to defend the freedom we celebrate on this Independence Day. As I reflect on the significance of 4th of July, I can't help but wonder how many Americans truly live with the conviction our forefathers intended for America, "Home of the free and land of the brave."
We live in the land of opportunity, yet many Americans are trapped in depression, addiction, and isolation, serving as a constant reminder we must continue to defend the freedom we value by making a conscious choice to embrace and appreciate the freedoms we so often take for granted.
Freedom of speech. Freedom to worship. Freedom to vote. Freedom to pursue life, liberty, and justice. This is truly profound when you consider the many other countries where many only dream of freedom yet we have the freedom to dream.
As a seasoned dreamer, I feel so blessed to live in a country where I can dare to dream and dare to be different and make a difference. It is my hope, Creative Habitat will make a difference by encouraging women in their freedom and call to create.
After several months of feeling called to focus more attention on my son, our family and the development of Creative Habitat, I finally put in my notice at my professional job (July 1st was my last day in the office). This was a big decision for me because I have worked since I was 16 years old. Professional development has always been a freedom I have valued.
I am pleased to share the new freedom I have experienced in stepping away from my job to step into my calling. I know this was a "freedom decision" because it required sacrifice...sacrificing the known for the unknown, and yet, the unknown is where I feel called to explore!
I look forward to dedicating myself more fully to embracing the freedom to develop the creative gifts I've been blessed with including my son (as shown in the photo above), his sibling on the way (Spoiler Alert: I just finished my first trimester with #2), and developing Creative Habitat resources to encourage my fellow creative mamas to embrace their creative gifts as well!
This Independence Day, I am daring to live and dream more fully. Will you, Creative Mama, dare to live and dream more fully with me? This is afterall, home of the free and land of the brave. Let's be brave and claim the creative gifts we've been given to use and serve with greater intention!
Through every great struggle is a need for innovation. Joy Mangano
Joy Mangano was once a busy single mom of 3 working hard to keep a roof over her kids heads. Now she is a leading business woman with a net worth of over $50 million.
Coined the "Mother of Invention," this once tired and busy mom decided to carve out time to discover and develop her creative gift of innovation. Her launching product, the Miracle Mop was just the first of over 100 patents she would later develp and sell at a groundbreaking rate.
For anyone who has seen the recent blockbuster film based on her life, you know her success required overcoming obstacles and taking big risks...big risks that she believed in!
I don't know which part of Joy's story inspires me more, her perseverance to keep pushing forward when even those closest to her were skeptics or her audacity to dream (an do) BIG when it would have been so easy to maintain the status quo. At 34, she broke the mold by doing what so many adults are too afraid to do. She reinvented herself!
She returned to the passion of her youth (making things) and combined her experience as an adult to creatively overcome daily struggles other adult women face, but with a youthful fearlessness. She dared to try something new, even when her circumstances were overwhelming. She made time to create!
"Through every great stuggle is a need for innovation," Joy shared candidly in a recent interview (as shown HERE. Her great struggle was mopping and she developed an innovative solution and helped many other women in the process. Her story has inspired me to continue to develop an innovative solution to my greatest struggle and hopefully, help other busy moms with similiar struggles in the process.
Full disclosure, my great struggle is battling burn out. As a mom of a toddler, wife of a busy medical resident, employee in a fast-paced job, and overall millennial do-all-be-all mindset (which I battle daily), I MUST be intentional about how I spend time or else the world in all its enticing messages can consume the precious energy I MUST conserve.
Creative Habitat is my innovative solution to conserve energy and refuel amidst the busyness of daily living. I have found carving out creative time to write, dance or develop other creative gifts not only refuels my spirit, but allows me to better serve my son, husband, and friends. I guess you could say Creative Habitat is my "Miracle Mop" for cleaning up the hectic mess that can ensue in this 21st century life.
If you are a creative mom who has been putting off developing your creative gifts, l hope Joy's story inspires you to carve out some creative time in the near future. I can personally attest to the benefits of doing so. Who knows, perhaps you have the next "Miracle Mop" hidden within.
Check out my first Creative Habitat interview with Owner and Artistic Director of Bowen-Hays School of the Arts as she describes her creative habitat and habits that fuel her creativity.
Interview can be seen HERE
WARNING: You may be inspired!!!
Currently, there is a bottle of raspberry vinaigrette and pair of half chewed up shoes accompanying me at my kitchen table. They are part of a smattering of odd end items that have somehow made their way to a space I've made multiple efforts to keep organized.
I'll just move to another room so I can focus, I naively think to myself. Within seconds, it becomes clear I need to learn how to focus amidst clutter. As I survey my options, I realize I'm not the only one who feels out of place. The bathroom trash can is on top of the entertainment center, the blow up pool with rainbow balls is the new centerpiece on the coffee table, and there are Trader Joe's bags strewn across the kitchen floor.
And it hits me...I trail in the wake of a toddler.
While I tried to pick up after each of my son's many "explorations" this morning, motherhood is teaching me the art of losing control.
Take the raspberry vinaigrette for example. After reaching the 20 minute threshold of "toddler grocery shopping patience", I decided to take my chances and keep shopping for a few more items. Somewhere between the frozen peas and peanut butter crackers, I could sense my son's patience beginning to wane
I pushed on...after all, I still needed the raspberry vinaigrette...or so it seemed.
Within seconds of entering the dressing aisle my son had practically maneuvered his way out of his seat and into the back of the cart to get the much anticipated peanut butter crackers.
Long story short, I left the store with an open box of crackers stashed in my purse (paid for) and a kiddo with peanut butter melted across his face. At least we prevented a public melt down for both of us.
As for the chewed up shoes, well, that is the result of having two 90 pound dogs who think every new toy, book, and pair of kid shoes is free game. Fortunately, they only chewed the Velcro and left the rest intact which would explain the yarn and needle also atop my kitchen table.
Full disclosure, I am an organized person learning how to navigate the messes of life with grace. Grace for the process and also grace for myself.
Creative Habitat is one of my saving graces as it provides an outlet to share my creative gift of writing and, hopefully, inspire other busy moms to carve out a little grace space in their own day.
Whatever your creative gift may be, may you learn how to focus amidst clutter and embrace the art of losing control! This post, after all, is a result of carving out creative space, clutter and all.
Savor now. Now is your time. Now is when your creative gifts can influence those around you. Here is a truly inspirational story about a woman who learned how to savor the moment amidst true adversity and used her creative gift of writing to encourage others to SAVOR.
Let's carry her message forward by savoring the gift of now.
A safe space is something to be cherished and protected. Whether it is physical space, emotional space or creative space...a safe space allows for ultimate growth. A habitat provides the ideal conditions to ensure that growth is sustained.
I was reminded of the sustaining value of habitats this weekend after taking my son to the San Diego Zoo and running in Mission Trails, a protected wildlife reserve near my house. Both had many signs posted to remind passerbys to respect and protect the natural habitats and their inhabitants.
This got me thinking, why don't creative women have similar signs to remind others we need protected time and space to grow and nurture the creative visions within? Why do we let the busyness of 21st century living intrude on our creative habitat so often? Perhaps I'm speaking solely for myself but something tells me many women can relate.
Women, by nature are caregivers, or as some refer to us as caretakers, yet few women take more than they give. This caring nature is our beauty within outwardly manifesting itself through an encouraging word, a hug, or a sippy cup given at just the right time...you get the picture. I'm constantly amazed by women's ability to care so deeply for so many.
I love being a caregiver. It's what I was designed to do, yet I have also come to realize I can cannot continue to pour into others if I am running on empty myself. In order to sustain our caregiving nature, I believe we must protect the creative gifts we've been given so we can continue to give the best of us, not what is left of us.
Just as natural habitats require sustained protection, so too do creative habitats. If we want to develop our creative gifts in a protected space, we must first set boundaries and invite others to partner in our effort to respect and protect our creative time and space.
This shared respect and understanding may be all the sign we need!
Are you in need of protected time and space to develop your creative gifts? If so, who do you need to inform about your creative habitat and protecting the key inhabitant, you!
"There's a paradox in the notion that creativity should be a habit. We think of creativity as a way of keeping everything fresh and new, while habit implies routine and repetition. That paradox intrigues me because it occupies the place where creativity and skill rub against each other." ( Tharp, The Creative Habit, pg.9)
Dead Twyla Tharp,
I think your parents must have known you were going to be a creative genius when they named you. I mean honestly, how can you have a name like Twyla and not stand out?! Being the curious, creative being that I am, I looked up the meaning of Twyla.
Well, you have certainly woven the paradox of creativity and habit and found "a cord" with me. I think if you read this, you would like my play on words. Maybe someday you will. But even if you never do...thank you.
Thank you for weaving your creative gift of writing and conceptual thinking to publish "The Creative Habit" which has had profound significance on my life. I am dedicated to developing my own creative habits so I can use the gifts I have been given to serve our ultimate Creator and help other women do the same.
God bless you Twyla, for you have blessed me.
I love your choreography. Dance has always been my outlet. Even though I am beyond the prime dancing age, I will dance until my knees buckle! It is a creative habit I refuse to lose!