The Newsletter of the Creativity Coaching Association
Welcome to the May issue of Creativity Calling!
A huge "Welcome!" is extended to our many new subscribers. I'm certain this month's newsletter will resonate with you...because it does with me!
I love the simplicity of the messages in this month's articles. Our CCA coaches have written some wise words that highlight the role self-awareness plays in fulfilling our highest potential. And isn't that what we all want for others and ourselves? Self-awareness that can open us up and lead us to more positive, productive attitudes? Zig Ziglar says, "Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude."
Just as Spring ushers in new growth and ideas, it's also a great time to look with fresh eyes at our creative lives. I like to ask myself: What is it that matters most to me? What makes my heart sing? As we all reflect on our answers to these questions, we can then purpose to step in that direction, rather than just wait to see what comes our way. I believe a person's attitude and focus is the key. I alone choose my perspective and whether I will look for the abundant gifts that fill every day.
Barbara encourages us to view our intended creative path as our unique contribution in helping to light up the world. John illuminates us with valuable tips on how to transform obstacles and limitations into creative growth and opportunities. Lynn shines a spotlight on a simple yet effective tool to stay engaged in, or return to, our creative flow. And the CCA's newest certified coach, Beverly Williams, shares how she is using her newly acquired skills to bring out the best in her students at the Savannah College of Art and Design. Excellent reading--enjoy!
Thank you so much for subscribing to Creativity Calling. Feel free to pass the newsletter along to your friends and colleagues. And, continue to write us with your questions and areas of interest, as we love your input!
With Love and Creativity!
Beverly Down , President & CEO,
Creativity Coaching Association
Illuminating Our Everyday World
by Barbara Millman Cole
Like the moon demanding center stage as it sweeps between the earth and our sun, we artists illuminate our everyday world for others to appreciate, contemplate, and realize, if only for fractional moments in time.
Casting a shadow over large portions of the world, the annular eclipse's full effect lasts a mere five minutes, but it creates a breathtaking ring of fire around the moon's dark silhouette; a glorious, unforgettable, celestial display.
Everyday, we take for granted that the sun shines down upon us, warms us, lights our way. Yet, this annular eclipse forces us to notice our sun in a new way. We are struck by its phenomenal beauty. The solar brilliance is always there, but, because of its constancy perhaps, is unremarkable to us. What has changed? The moon has interjected itself between us; stayed its course and moved along its intended trajectory, contrasting its darkness against the sun's radiance, and thus emphasizing the sun's true aspect; not a mere white ball of light, but a giant, gaseous ball of roaring fire in the sky.
The moon did nothing more than follow its intended path. Had it stopped, changed directions, jumped off its track, the glorious eclipse would not have occurred.
As artists, we must follow our intended paths. We cannot stop for someone else's social comfort, we cannot change course to find the easier path, nor can we jump off to avoid struggle. When we create, as we are intended, we illuminate our everyday world so others can better understand, experience, and interact with theirs.
Interject yourself, caste your shadows, stay your course, create your own rings of fire and light up the world.
~ Barbara Millman Cole is an award winning writer of Short Literary Fiction, editor, and coach, who helps people delve deep to discover their true meaning. Understand why you create so you can know what to create. She can be reached at email@example.com. ©2012 All rights reserved.
Shining the Light of Awareness
By John MacDonald
Years ago, while studying karate, my instructor would comment on my frequent mistakes by saying, "You can't fake karate. It sticks your mistakes in your face and keeps them there until you learn from them."
How true that is of art making! Every object that appears at the end of the creative process, be it a poem, painting, novel, or symphony, clearly reveals the limits of the knowledge, technique, and talent of its creator. Mistakes, frustrations, limitations, these are intrinsic to the creative process and the ability to deal skillfully with them-usually by separating our sense of self from them and mining them for information-is an important trait to acquire for every artist. But we can learn much more from creative obstacles than mere information about our craft. We can use them to deepen our self-awareness, which is the source of artistic and personal growth.
When our weaknesses are shoved in our faces by our work we have a precious opportunity to examine our automatic, habitual patterns of behavior. Our reactions reveal our unconscious attitudes and beliefs about ourselves and our work. How do we react when our third consecutive painting fails? When our most recent poems feel lifeless? When our manuscript is rejected again and again?
By shining the light of awareness on our behavior we give ourselves the opportunity to transform our mindless reactions into deliberate choices. We don't need to make an effort to change or stop our unconscious reactions. Self-awareness is not self-improvement! Instead, by becoming aware of a habitual reaction we can loosen its hold on us and drain it of its power. Free from its grip, we then find ourselves able to choose how we will behave. Faced with the endless frustrations and mistakes that are inherent in the creative process, we can make choices that will make us more productive and joyful artists.
~ John MacDonald has been a full-time freelance illustrator and painter for over 30 years. A member of the Creativity Coaching Association and a Certified Creativity Coach, he lives and works in Williamstown, Massachusetts. www.jmacdonald.com
Yes, AND ...
By Lynn Wyvill
Improvisation has one "rule" that fascinates me, probably because I've been struggling with it for months. It's called "Yes, AND ...." Basically it means that instead of saying "no" to whatever idea or suggestion comes up, we say "yes" and build on the idea.
How often do we say "No" to our creative work? Sometimes we say it outright, other times, we're sneaky about it. We say yes with our lips, even though our hearts aren't in it. Or we say the dreaded, "Yes, BUT..." which is really "no" in disguise. Wow! That insight was a real revelation to me.
I guess I had too many examples of "yes, but..." in my life and formed the habit myself. Once I became aware of it, I noticed how often I said it to myself and others.
"Yes, but ..." can stop us in our creative tracks. Yes, I could paint now, BUT I need to run errands or do chores first. Yes, I could try that new technique, BUT I don't want to waste materials if it doesn't work out. Yes, I could write that story, BUT what if it's no good.
No wonder we give up and walk away from our creative work.
So here's an idea. Say "Yes, AND ..." to all your creative work this week. Yes, I'll paint today AND I'll play my favorite music and not watch the clock. Yes, I'll jump in And experiment with that new idea AND I'll see where it takes me.
"Yes, AND ..." is a powerful tool. We all have it in our creativity boxes. It's right there under the "Yes, buts ..." that we should box up and throw away.
~ Lynn Wyvill is a Certified Creativity Coach who is currently taking a break to say "Yes, AND... "to her own creative expression in writing and painting. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Congratulations to Beverly Williams, CCA's Newest Certified Creativity Coach!
Happy Spring Everyone!!!
By Beverly Williams
Being the most recent creative coach to become certified, I'd like to unfold a bit about my practice. I'm the Creative Coach for the Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD), in Savannah, Atlanta, Hong Kong, Lacoste, France & E-Learning Community. While I work with students from various locations, many of the complaints are similar: <
<"I can't seem to finish anything!"
"I'm a procrastinator!"
"I'm afraid of crits!"
"I'm out of ideas for this project!"
"I'm out of ideas period."
"I have so many ideas, I can't focus!"
What exactly does a creativity coach do in this position?
- Help students to develop project time lines
- Discuss the never ending cycle of procrastination & being your authentic self
- Examine what about critiques is so frightening
- Stimulate students imagination
- Provide avenues of focus
CCA instructor Eric Maisel, a two-time visitor to SCAD, explains that whenever a student's/artist's work has lost meaning, they are experiencing a creative block. My goal in working with students is to help them develop skills that will enable them to live a creative life.
From time-to-time I see students who cannot concentrate due to relationship problems, mental health issues or simply a lack of support from their friends & family. Students with relationship & mental health issues I refer to on staff counselors. I'm always looking for ways to help students reduce their anxiety levels as this is a frequent problem as well.
I love my job & wish to thank the entire Creativity Coaching Association teaching staff for enabling me to meet the challenges I face in working with young artists'.
~ Beverly Williams attended Oral Roberts University & is a nationally certified Sign Language Interpreter. At the Savannah College of Art & Design, Bev functions in two roles: Coordinator of Deaf Services & Creativity Counselor. To contact her:
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Life is not about finding yourself...
Life is about Creating yourself. ~ E.W. Wilcox
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.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed 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.
- 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 over 80 coaches who are ready to work with you and propel you forward. CCA-member coaches specialize in nearly 100 different specialties.
Find a coach here.
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Read This Book and Get Motivated!
If you have not yet purchased your own copy of Inspiring Creativity, why not take advantage of this special offer today? An anthology of 22 powerful essays by professional creativity coaches, the book will get your creative juices flowing and make you feel more confident, excited, and ready to tackle your creative work.
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Hope You Enjoyed Our Newsletter!
This is the end of the May 2012 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 firstname.lastname@example.org for information.