Helping You Create Your Best At Home, At Work, and in Life

1/28/20

Everyone's Creative


Everyone can learn to be more creative. 

How to open to creativity? It begins with believing you can, practicing, and strengthening the connections between your left and right brain hemispheres. 

Notice what you think and say about your ability to come up with new ideas and to create. Repeating a simple and empowering mantra such as "I am creative" helps whenever you catch yourself thinking anything less. Affirmations like this can strengthen belief in yourself and encourage you to stick it and try new approaches, even when it gets challenging or seems to have no solution. 

All creative endeavors require practice and action. Opening up a consistent time for creating is important. Try approaching each practice without judgment, staying in the present moment. Continued learning, imitating masters, and networking with mentors can also inspire progress in practice. 

Our left-brain educated minds and stress to produce a desired outcome both interfere with accessing our right, more intuitive brain. Mindfulness practices like sitting quietly, attending to the breath, and breath-centered movement like yoga and chi gong can strengthen the corpus callossum. This is the thick fibrous band that connects the right and left cerebral cortex lobes and allows for communication between both brain hemispheres. With both sides of the brain connected, ideas and analysis combine more easily to fuel your creativity.

Today's a great day to create with open heart and mind. If you think you can't, you probably won't. If you think you can, you just might. So pick a time, keep at it, and take some breathing breaks

1/21/20

Imagine If?


What if?

What if no one ever imagined new things? Would we still be living in caves, hunting for our next meals and running from saber-toothed tigers? 

Positive imagination is a key ingredient to inspire creativity. Einstein was a proponent of thought experiments, asking questions that required imagination to solve them. His most famous thought experiment– wondering what it would be like to chase a beam of light– led to his breakthrough scientific theories of relativity. All the world's arts and advancements have come to life largely from people wondering, "What if?" and applying analytical and creative thinking to imagine and create solutions and opportunities. 

Some of our technologies have led to unintended externalities in need of timely resolution. For instance, climate change is perceived as the most pressing world problem according to millennials in a recent Global Shapers Survey; and several other issues such as cyberattacks are outlined in the World Economic Forum's summary of biggest risks. The art of living has always involved creating ways to overcome obstacles and difficulties. When we invite in positive imagination, we find there's hope for even the most complex problems. For instance, if we adopt sustainable agricultural practices, expand solar and wind power, electric vehicles, and public transportation it's expected we'll reverse climate change and create new green jobs. 

We can expand beyond where we are now in any area of our lives by applying knowledge and creativity. We can work towards a more balanced world by creating harmony within ourselves first, and then in our families and communities. And always, most importantly, we can keep questioning to learn about all the points of view on a problem we may be looking to solve, and continue imagining and working towards solutions where they're most needed.

Now is a good time to question, wonder, think the best, and ask "What if?" about something you'd like to create or improve. Or ask, "Imagine If?"

1/8/20

Take a Breathing Break


"Take a breath" is more than a meme.

Breathing practices are being advised by doctors, therapists, yoga and mindfulness teachers, and for good reason. Breathing is one of the body's most elementary functions and and one of the most accessible ways to calm the nervous system, helping us become more responsive and less reactive, which helps us create improved health and relationships.


Breathing is a clearing process of what’s been held in the body. We inhale and bring in oxygen, and exhale to release carbon dioxide and toxins. According to Chinese medicine, the breath can also release emotions. The lungs are associated with grief and inspiration, while the heart is where we feel joy, love, and sadness. We express or exhale with the lungs, and we can hold our breath and hold things in. Sobbing is involuntary spasm of the lungs to let go grief. The belly carries anger, fear, and worries. Because of this, it's important to bring the breath beyond the diaphragm and belly movement and also engage the movement of the ribs to benefit the heart and lungs.


Research supports that practicing breath control, or pranayama, can strengthen immune systems, lower blood pressure, and improve concentration and focus. We become less fearful, more resilient to stress, and feel an increase in our energy. Some of the other benefits of breath control include less depression and anxiety; physical pain regulation; increased lung capacity; increased oxygenation of the blood; aids with some detox; helps smokers quit; helps with the emotional element of asthma; and is a tool for meditation practice, bringing you into the moment and keeping you in the present.


Breathing practices help us to cultivate energy, spark awareness, and improve our emotional state. With healthier body, mind, and heart, we're better inspired to create in our homes, communities, and professions. So next time you feel anxious, take a breathing break.

1/2/20

Sail Away

Happy 2020.

I've been fiddling with how to share inspiration for creativity, mindful movement, and balanced well-being. And this little painting is prompting me to sail away with it and see where the wind blows.

I recently started making daily, Etegami-inspired, quick ink & watercolor paintings. With humble gratitude towards this Japanese craft and it's artists- a spontaneous and meditative art where they become one with their subject, sketch it directly and slowly in ink onto a postcard-sized paper, then paint it with watercolors, add a few thoughtful words in calligraphy, stamp it with their unique signature seal, and mail it to someone they're thinking of- I became curious and had to give it a whirl. After a few quick paintings, I was enamored with the process and hooked. I love the freedom to draw wobbly lines directly in ink, for things coming out not quite right and even sometimes wonky, as well as the occasional happy surprise result. Making art without overthinking or overworking is a way of abandoning striving and self-doubt, of looking deeply, of loosening up control, and of effortless creating without stressing over outcome. Because Etegami's intention is to connect and communicate with a friend, I'd like to share my quick paintings with you as visual inspirations for creativity that may spark positive thoughts, feelings, and actions.

I'll also write something about each picture to encourage further creativity, and will draw from years of practice and teaching of Yoga, Mindfulness, Art, and Music. These are all creative ways to empower feelings of strength, harmony, and well-being. Moving with presence and awareness of our breath, thoughts, and feelings, we create and move from the inside out, inviting positive imagination and uplifting energy to transform the blank sheet, to spin vibrating air into beautiful sounds, to create healing and stress release in our bodies. Inspired and with calmer nervous systems, we can focus our energies and unique set of talents and interests to better create and contribute within our families, communities, and organizations.

I hope you'll follow my blog and share it with anyone you think may appreciate some inspiration. And whatever you endeavor in this new year, may warm winds fill your sails.

Thank-you,
Andree