So, I just found out about this project that’s apparently been going on for years and it’s basically hijacked my world right now. I’m not even sure where to start… It’s delightfully simple and based on a premise I can totally get behind (because it’s pretty much the same idea behind my 5MinuteCreator ebook). It’s an Instagram hashtag that heroically tries to motivate people into doing something creative every day for 100 days. Special shout out to Elle and Lindsay and www.the100dayproject.org.
Okay, so I was feeling really in a slump, emotionally and creatively. Yes, this even happens to Creativity Coaches. It’s something everyone struggles with from time to time, but the difference for me now is this: I am used to rolling with the punches so recovery time is a lot quicker. I have cultivated an acute awareness around my creative energy, so let’s just say, a creative slump is not something that terrifies me anymore. It is actually something I look forward to, not in a “Yay! I’m going through a period of self-loathing again, Wheeeee!” kind of way, but more of a “It’s growth time again – bring it!” kind of way.
I actually missed the very first day of this year’s #the100dayProject because I was waist deep in Brené Brown’s Rising Strong, but, honestly, that’s exactly where I needed to be in the moment. So when I look back on my #100dayProject I will always notice that day #1 is absent, and I will remember why as I think fondly of Brené’s words:
“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.” – Brené Brown
I had not been feeling seen, heard or valued. This doesn’t mean that I am invisible, silenced or lacking value. It means this is how I felt inside for a while and I was actively seeking a way for that pain to go away. This is precisely why I do the work I do, because I know what it feels like to lose faith in my own creative self-expression. My brain can tell me everything it’s learned over my 47 years of wandering about on this planet, but when I feel something, that feeling obliterates all else whether it is based in truth or not. It becomes my truth of the moment and it eff-ing hurts!
Brené also explains that creativity is a dangerous thing to keep bottled up inside. When I start feeling like my creations are not good enough, I slowly stop creating. It usually doesn’t happen all at once. This time, the last thing to go was small, a daily journal entry… But then one day, I just let that slide, too, and I will always have that one blank day staring back at me. This was the very same day that I missed “day one” of the #the100dayProject. The very next day, I saw someone’s random post about #the100dayProject and I allowed my curiosity to guide me to it and here I am, frankly, a little obsessed with it right now.
“Unused creativity is not benign. It metastasizes. It turns into grief, judgment, sorrow, shame.” – Brené Brown
There are no coincidences. I strongly believe this. When we feel like surrendering, the Universe can feel it, too. It will send you a lifeline. It may be subtle and seem totally insignificant at the time, but if you learn to cultivate awareness around your creative energy you will start to notice these gifts of opportunity as if they are giant Jim-Buoy rings tossed into the ocean right at arm’s reach just as you’ve exhaled your last breath. #the100dayProject was that life-line tossed to me just at that critical time.
First, some back-story… When I made the commitment to turn my business as an artist into a service-based business, the symbol of the winged heart kept coming to me. I saw it everywhere. Honestly, my first thought was something like, “hmmmm… really, this is it? It seems so corny.”
I’m not sure what I expected. Maybe I imagined my power symbol would be more fierce, like a dragon, a phoenix, or even a dangerous spider! I waited patiently for another symbol to appear, but the same one just kept coming back, again and again. This little winged heart. It barged in on my meditations. I saw it in nature. I felt it fluttering inside my own body. I decided I had no other choice but to start giving it a chance. I began to see the symbol itself as an entity, maybe a small girl, perhaps my own inner-child. She had something she needed to free from her heart, something that desperately needed to be expressed and seen.
“Expectations are resentments waiting to happen.” – Anne Lamott
That was four years ago. The symbol of the winged-heart is still my logo and I find myself clinging to it now as a symbol of hope. These days I feel my entire business is lying on the chopping block, and I am feeling profoundly disappointed. I am reminded of what it means to “walk the talk.” Beginning a journey into your own creative soul can feel scary, but it’s nothing compared to starting your own creative-based business. Putting my creative heart on the line for survival has been the most terrifying thing I have ever done. I find myself asking now, “Does she still have wings? Have I failed her?” More on this another time, because I’m still looking back at all the lives I have touched over the past four years to see a more complete picture.
A little more back-story… This year my son is in Kindergarten. He is struggling with learning words that must be recognized by sight. He was behind everyone else in his class, and the teacher was threatening to hold him back a year. My initial response was shock… “who fails kindergarten?” I mean, he plays nice, he shares, he is kind to others, can he really fail at Kindergarten? How would this effect him in the long run? What’s the big picture I’m looking at here? Then, one day, I had an idea. We love to bake together, so we baked a whole bunch of sugar cookies in the shape of letters. We spelled out each of the sight words he was struggling with, which was a lot. We baked for hours putting these words together. When they were laid out, decorated and beautiful, I told him that we were about to do something magical.
His eyes lit up as he asked, “Are we going to eat them?”
I said, “Yes. Absolutely. The magical part is that after you eat a word, you will never, ever forget it again. It will become a part of you forever.” His eyes grew big as we prepared to ingest the first word. I am happy to report that fast-forward a few months later, my son is now on schedule to graduate from Kindergarten. Whew!
So maybe I’m at that point. I’m on the brink of failure, so I’m invoking a little of my own magic. For my #the100dayProject I am creating (and sometimes eating) my logo (the winged heart) every day out of food with the magic spell (or intention) that through connection and community I will gain the support I need to keep my creative-based business alive. In return, I am doing what I do best. I am sending “hearts” and words of encouragement to as many other participants in #the100dayProject as I can. Already I can feel the positive effects of it on my own creative spirit. Plus, my inner child has been looking for a good excuse to play with her food. My flying heart is lifting higher and higher with every follow, every like, every share and every word of encouragement, whether it comes from me or is intended for me.
“Giving and receiving are part of the same organism. There is no separating one from the other without great suffering.” – said me, just now.
So, please share this blog post and if you haven’t checked out #the100dayProject for yourself, I whole-heartedly encourage you to do so. If you need help getting started or to keep going with it, ask me for help, or at least follow my blog, because I’m going to be writing about it more, at least every ten days for the duration of #the100dayProject. Through my creating I’ll be doing what I do best: nurturing the creative soul inside of you!
One easy way you could get started with 100 days of creating is just to spend some time drawing circles. I was delighted to see others doing this already in the challenge. Circles are a perfect starting place. If you want to hear more about why, you can read the first chapter of my book “Vitalize Your Creative Life” absolutely free. Click on the page and follow the link to a downloadable PDF.
Circles are amazing! Whenever I get stuck they are always there to help me move again. This makes complete sense to me because they are like little wheels.
Sending love and nurturing support to each and every one of you!
Your Creativity Coach,
Bonnie Kelso is a Creativity Coach who uses Creating as a healing modality. She is the author of Vitalize Your Creative Life, a workbook for engaging with your inner creative child. She also facilitates creativity workshops and classes locally in Las Vegas, NV. She is the creator of the ABCs of Conscious Creating, a guided self-study program that delves deeper into the spiritual realm of your unique creative potential. Are you ready to start right now? Do you have 5 Minutes?