The Newsletter of the Creativity Coaching Association
Welcome to the March issue of Creativity Calling. We are excited about
providing you with what these newsletters to inspire and support your
creative work. We hope you enjoy the articles. Please contact us with
any feedback or questions you have to our newsletter.
Our best regards,
Beverly Down, New Executive Director
Rick Benzel, Founder and Former Executive Director
A Creative Linguistic Note
by Etta Mology
A few days ago I was thinking about how I keep missing the deadline for this newsletter
and my friend Etta stopped my thought. "What do we mean by 'deadline,'" she asked? "We're not going to die if we don't get a newsletter out by such and such a date, so why do peolpe call it a deadline?" she mused.
When we met for lunch the next day, Etta had the answer, of course.
She explained that the term did not appear until this century to mean a limit on the amount of time one had to accomplish something. She found out that the word 'dead-line' may have been used with prisoners during the American Civil War, to refer to an actual line in the dirt on the floor of the prison cells which they were not allowed to cross. You can see the image of a harsh guard standing there and telling the crowd of prisoners, "Cross that line and you're dead."
Somewhere about 1920, the term got picked up by those working in the newspaper business to refer to "the line of time" by which a story had to be done, or else, we suppose, the journalist writer would be dead figuratively speaking, for missing the day's newspaper.
This made Etta and me wonder what people did before the 1920s when it came to getting things done on time. Did they not have deadlines? Did they not care to complete their projects within a specific time frame? Was everything in life late?
It's possible that people didn't care much about being on time. As Etta said to me, "If you think about it, many cultures and through much of history, people didn't feel the same way we do about deadlines. In some parts of the world, a deadline is as artificial as a plastic flower. It carries no weight at all for people." I thought about this and realized that there was some merit in this. So the next time you are faced with a deadline, imagine yourself living elsewhere or at a different time in history - and it will help to lift some of that pressure you feel about your project. Then perhaps you will feel less stressed out - and it will be a lot easier to meet your deadline!
Sweet It is to be Loved By You
Contributed by Beverly Down
In the month of February, there is much attention given to “matters
of the heart”, especially romantic love. With Valentine’s
Day behind us, let’s talk about another form of love that is paramount
in our living a happy, healthy and creatively fulfilling life. Let’s
take a few moments to reflect on self-love.
When we value ourselves, we can more fully develop our potential and
genuinely feel good about sharing our unique gifts and talents with the
world. When self- love grows, so does the ability to access our soul’s
wisdom and creativity. However, there are multitudes of misconceptions around the subject of self-love.
The ancient tale of Narcissus tells a tragic story of a boy who falls in love with his own image in a pool of water and becomes totally self-absorbed. The truth of the matter is that narcissism is a condition that occurs when a person does not love himself or herself. People who talk about themselves nonstop obviously do not possess a strong sense of self.
Loving the self is not selfish, it is self-less. When we give to ourselves, we have more to give to the world. Feeling good about ourselves helps us to move forward in creating positive outcomes for our businesses and in our authentic creative expression.
An Exercise: One tool that I use with my creativity coaching clients to increase their level of self- love is an exercise that I call Five acknowledgements a day brings positive things my way! It is very simple: Before you go to bed, take time to acknowledge five things that you felt good about that day. Keep a pen and paper by your bed and list them if you want, or just recount them in your mind before dozing off. This is a wonderful habit to develop.
Beverly Down is a practicing creativity coach and has just become the new Executive Director of
the Creativity Coaching Association. For more information, visit her web site. .
Becoming an Artist: Reinventing Yourself Through Mindful Creativity, by
Book Review by Liz
We've all marveled at one time or another at the all- consuming nature
of the creative act. That feeling of intense engagement in the moment
can be ours far more often if we apply principles of mindfulness to our
work, asserts Ellen Langer, a professor of psychology at Harvard.
Langer defines mindfulness as "an effortless, simple process that
consists of drawing novel distinctions, that is, noticing new things,"
unencumbered by judgment or excessive evaluation. Awareness of a situation's
context, and continually remaining open to the uniqueness of a situation-even
if we have encountered similar ones dozens of times-holds the promise
of artwork and life experiences that are fresh, vibrant and insight provoking.
Creativity coaches will appreciate Langer's lively, detailed explanations of her mindfulness research and its implications for art-making; creative folk will likely appreciate her stories of her own creative activities (primarily as a painter) and her personal reactions to them. On Becoming An Artist echoes themes related to meaning-making explored by "flow" researcher Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, but presents them in a context specifically focused on artistic creativity. The result is a book that speaks eloquently to the joys as well as the frustrations of the creative life, and offers practical advice on how to make creative endeavors a vehicle for personal, as well as artistic, growth.
Liz Massey is a professional editor and creativity coach whose coaching practice, Creative Liberty, is located in the Phoenix metropolitan area.
For more information, see her business profile. .
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Recipe for Success: How to Reconnect with Your Art
Contributed by Beth Barany
Have you lost your way with your art and don't know how to forge ahead? If so, this is a good time to step back, hold on to your courage and re-imagine your current project or work in progress.
Imagine your project as a delicious dish. Take a moment to immerse yourself in your sensations. How does the dish smell? How does it taste and feel in your mouth? When savoring the dish in your imagination, how does it make you want to move -- do you want to stretch like a cat, dance disco, or bounce like an excited puppy? What sounds or music or rhythm could be associated enjoying your dish? What colors or shape would it be framed by? What feelings does the thought of this delicious dish evoke for you -- joy, comfort, sensuality, anticipation? What memories arise as you picture this dish, your art project?
Now take a deep breath and bring yourself back to your project's current form. You just reconnected with your art!
Next, ask yourself: What is my next step for my project? And how can I do that now? If you can, dive right in! If not, what is the missing ingredient and how can you invite it into your life? Your recipe for success is in the doing of your art. May you re-connect to the heart of your art everyday.
Beth Barany is a fiction writer working on a young adult fantasy trilogy, and a
Creativity Coach for Writers (& Other Artists). She plays with character, plots, and finding ways to motivate her students and clients with practical and fun advice. Visit her visit her web site. .
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