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 Creativity Calling

The Newsletter of the Creativity Coaching Association

Dear Friends

Welcome to the August issue of Creativity Calling!

Summer is when many folks slow down and enjoy a little rest and relaxation in the United States. Interestingly, of the 21 wealthiest countries of the world, I recently read the United States is the only country that does not mandate vacation time. The July 2007 article at the Kiplinger website was appropriately titled, "No-Vacation Nation."

Hmmm. Permit me to repeat this startling fact: Of the 21 most advanced and prosperous countries of the world all but the United States require by law that their citizens take time off from work to relax and enjoy life. It is mandated.

At CCA we realize creativity overflows from a full life...a balanced life. I personally encourage you to grant yourself some "kick back" time as summer draws to a close. It is integrally linked to your creativity!

As always, this newsletter is designed to inspire and support your creative work. I know you will enjoy this month's thoughtful articles, prepared just for you by some of CCA's talented, caring creativity coaches.

Don't hesitate to contact us if you have special topics you would like to see addressed in future newsletters. We love your feedback!

All the Best,

Beverly Down

Beverly Down , President & CEO, Creativity Coaching Association

Gone (idea) fishin' ...
Packing your mobile creativity kit for vacation

Gili Air pool viewby Liz Massey

Packing for a vacation is always a challenge, but "hard fun," as I like to call it—it's hard to decide what to bring, but fun to anticipate using each item during a relaxing break from the ordinary routine.

Wherever you've decided to go on vacation, don't forget to pack things that nurture your creative self. Consider including the following, which taken together can comprise a sort of sack lunch or first aid kit for your artistic soul. These tools can offer your creativity food for thought, or bring much-needed healing, during your time away from work.

  1. A Journal. Jot a few notes each day as you move through your adventures. You're your insights about the scenery, or the ideas for your next project that bubble up along the way. Don't like notebooks? Journal with a sketchbook, a blog, or an audio recorder.
  2. A Camera. Let your visual environment inspire you—photograph people, places, sunsets, quaint abandoned buildings, or eccentric cruise directors. Impromptu photos don't even require an actual camera any more—:many cell phones have built-in cameras that work just dandy for capturing spontaneous moments that deserve repeated viewings.
  3. Maps and itineraries. Vacations are like creative projects; there needs to be a balance between anticipatory pre-planning and surrendering to the moment of creation. Plan your vacation well, if that pleases you, but when you're there, experience the territory, not just the map.
  4. A Good Book or Magazine. Many people seek down time during vacations for free reading. To spark innovative thought, bring at least one selection outside your normal reading diet. The cross-fertilization of ideas will surprise you.
  5. Quiet Time. A lot of artists are overscheduled. If our vacations are shared with others, it's easy to cram each day with non-stop activity. But empty spaces are vital to cultivate the growth of our mind's creative "seedlings." If you have to schedule a nap at the beach as an "action item," do it. Think of your mind as a rechargeable battery. Quiet, unstructured time is the recharging unit, which plugs you into the larger world of images, concepts, insights and ideas.

Energy Renewal during the Dog Days of Summer
by Gloria Nelson


Years ago I owned a 1985 orange jeep. This vehicle taught me an important lesson. When the gas gauge pointed to "E" the jeep stopped. Only after walking to a gas station with a gas can several times did I learn to always keep fuel in the tank. The vehicle I now drive is a red Caravan with a system to alert me when I need to refuel.

We each have an internal energy system. Just as learning to work with the refueling requirements of these two vehicles made my life easier, understanding how our individual energy refueling works will make our lives easier. Identifying your inclination toward introversion or extroversion provides a clue.

If you are an extrovert you will gain energy from encounters with others. Are you trying to complete projects and meet deadlines that keep you alone a lot of the time? If so, to refuel you may want to increase your social interactions and activities.

If you are an introvert you may enjoy being with others but find yourself feeling drained. You will find your energy renewal requires quiet, nourishing time to be alone.

Whatever system works for you—this August, in these dog days of summer, we may encounter a lull which provides a good time to make our energy assessment. Before we move into the fall and winter with their numerous energy requirements check your internal gauge and fill up your energy tank!

Gloria Nelson is a Certified Creativity Coach. A life-long pursuit of creative expression in her personal life and work experience enable her to bring creative break-through thinking skills to creativity coaching. Visit Gloria's website at http://creativeplaydate.com or email her at creativeplaydate@yahoo.com

Have Fun with a Mindfulness Vacation

Twister on Thailand Islandby Dave Storer

Mindfulness is a great tool for enhancing your creativity. But like everything we think we should be doing to better ourselves, mindfulness can seem like a lot of hard work.

To many, mindfulness suggests meditation—the need to force yourself to sit for hours on end in a single uncomfortable position, straining to focus your mind on just one thing. But in fact, mindfulness is nothing more than expanding your awareness of the present moment. It's not some super-sublime state you can only reach after 27 years of hard work and continual self-denial.

And dig this: the present moment is always right here and now, ready to be heard and tasted and enjoyed by all of us any time we like.

Nothing could be more natural than being in the moment, being mindful. And few things could help you more in your creative pursuits. The first step to finding and working in "Flow" is to come into the present moment—to be mindful. The more you do it, the better you get at it and the more it'll help you create.

There's nothing hard about in; nothing onerous. Right now, sit back, close your eyes. Absorb all the sounds around you. Hear them, enjoy them. Don't bother to analyze them, just experience. Just hear. Just smell. Just feel.

And isn't this what vacation is all about—putting aside your concerns and your work—all your Left Brain bother and bluster—to just enjoy the moment; enjoy where you are, all the sights and sounds and smells and tastes and the emotions they bring up?

Okay, sure, it's great to do this at the beach or up in the mountains or out at the lake, but you can enjoy a mindfulness vacation anywhere, any time. A great deal of the joy in it—and so the joy in the creative process—is in realizing you can put aside your worries and simply connect to and experience where you are right now. Being in the moment is a vacation wherever and whenever you can do it.

Take a mindfulness vacation today! It's easy.

As a creativity coach, Dave Storer helps his clients develop the tools they need to achieve creative success. Check his site, www.thecreativitycatalyst.com. Don't forget the "the"!

Tap into Our Database of Creativity CoachesCCA logo

Twenty years from now you will be more dissapointed by the things you didn't do than the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. " --Mark Twain

Are you:
  • just starting out in exploring your creative desires?
  • a working artist who is stuck on a creative project?
  • looking for something new to juice up your creative work?
  • going into midlife and feeling that now is finally the time to do the art you always wanted to do?
  • already a known artist but interested in taking your success to the next level?

For any of these situations, why not hire a creativity coach? Check out our database of nearly 50 coaches who are ready to work with you and propel you forward. CCA-member coaches specialize in nearly 100 different specialties.

Congratulations to Quinn McDonald, New CCA Certified Coach!

Quinn McDonaldWhat does Creativity Coaching bring to a client?

Of all the questions I hear about what I do, the one most often asked is "What's creativity coaching like?" It's hard to answer that question, because coaching is an experience, not a product. It's easy to describe a banana because it's a physical thing. It's hard to describe what a banana tastes like, because it is a personal experience.

Creativity coaching is about improving your experience of daily life. Here are three things creativity coaching can bring into your life:

1. Deep Listening
In our work culture, we are trained to have answers, so we listen until we can say something—anything—back. In coaching, deep listening means focusing solely on what the client means, rather than what the client says.

During phone coaching, I often close my eyes to concentrate completely on the client's emphasis, voice timbre, inflections. Those qualities often tell a different story than the words the client speaks. When I ask a client how the week went, and I hear a catch in the voice, a sigh, and "OK," I can ask, "What's wrong?" Often clients think I'm highly intuitive. It's really just deep listening.

2. Not knowing
Each time a client says something important, it's easy to think I know what it means. But that's my conclusion, and not theirs. So when a client says, "I don't have time to work on my art," I'll ask, "Tell me how you work," or "Tell me about how you feel the instant you decide not to work one day." The answer brings rich information. Other questions that bring good information include, "Tell me more about that," or, "Tell me what X means to you," or "How did you know that?"

3. Acknowledgment
Some clients get fully listened to only during coaching. At work, as employees, not knowing is dangerous. At home, parents must have a schedule, an answer, a solution. In coaching, clients get listened to and don't have to know. A simple acknowledgment-"Are you noticing how you are making progress in finding time to write?" can have amazing results. I try to fit one acknowledgment into each session. It has built many a bridge to trust and honesty, and the client knows I'm listening and I care.

--Quinn McDonald is a life and creativity coach. She helps people reinvent themselves, transitions people from corporate work to their own small businesses. She is a writer and a corporate trainer in writing and journal writing. See her work at QuinnCreative.com 2007. All rights reserved.

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New CCA Creativity Coaching Classes
Beginning in September 2007!

If you've been thinking about becoming a creativity coach, or adding creativity coaching to your existing life coaching, consulting, or therapy practice, we invite you to explore CCA's Certification Program. Our program includes a variety of basic and advanced coaching courses that can be done online or through telecourses in a reasonable period of time. The knowledge and skills you will develop in this program will serve your own work and open up opportunities for you to professionally coach others.

For details, please visit our Certification Program web page for a full explanation of the courses offered and requirements.

Hope You Enjoyed Our Newsletter!

This is the end of the August 2007 issue. Send us an email and let us know your thoughts and suggestions.

Note: If you are a life coach, executive coach, literary agent, therapist or any other profession involved with creative people, and you are interested in joining the Creativity Coaching Association, please drop me a note at join@creativitycoachingassociation.com for information.

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