Why You Need a Clear Creative Vision

A few years ago, I held a vision board workshop for a group of people wanting to discover their vision of what was next for them. One of the participants was an aspiring author; he wanted to write a novel. Although he was skeptical of the process, he was curious and stayed open to the possibility that it could work for him.

And oh boy, did it work! Because making a vision board is a creative process itself, it got his creative juju flowing. He excitedly sifted through magazines, cutting out words and images, arranging them into his creative vision.

Near the end of the workshop, participants held up their vision boards and described their visions. As usually happens, we discovered symbolism and connections between the images and words that they hadn’t seen while they were making them.

When it was the writer’s turn to speak, he described his novel in detail. He knew the characters, their connections, the plot—all laid out on his vision board. Making that vision board took him from a general idea for a novel to enough details to get him started. And just as importantly, it energized him for the journey.

A vision board is a collage with a purpose. It represents your vision or goal, and your big reason behind it. It acts as a lodestar for your next creative journey—to sing in jazz clubs, to photograph horses on the Outer Banks, to paint abstracts in vibrant colors—whatever you long to do!

Here’s why it matters. Without a clear vision, and without tapping into why it’s important to you, you will stray from your creative path. Your life is like a multi-dimensional collage of hopes, surprises, connections, responsibilities, feelings, thoughts, and fears—all competing for your attention.

And whatever captures your attention, captures your time.

It’s too easy to stray from your path, often at the expense of what your soul longs to create. It’s too easy to listen to the negative inner voice that tells you, “you can’t.” Six months or a lifetime can go by while your jewelry sketches lie hidden away in a desk drawer.

Through the process of creating your lodestar, you identify your true creative north. When you put your lodestar where you see it every day, it becomes part of the three-dimensional collage of sights, sounds, smells, feelings, and tastes of your life.

The visual reminder aids you in changing old, entrenched ways of reacting—because when you begin to regularly ask yourself whether an action moves you closer to your creative vision, you begin to create a new path for yourself.

Living your creative life takes courage. That’s why I call it the Creative Heroine’s Path. (And hero’s path.) Life is inherently creative; you’re creating every day. But are you creating what you want to create? Making a lodestar can help.

If it feels like time is passing and you’re getting nowhere, and you want guidance in a fun, supportive, small group setting, come to my Lodestar: Your True Creative North workshop at the magical Two Hands Paperie shop in Boulder, Colorado on February 21, 2020.

For more information, see: http://twohandspaperie.com/lodestar-your-true-creative-north-new-class-feb-21/

If you can’t make it to the workshop, but you want to create your lodestar on your own, my book, The Creative Heroine’s Path, includes an exercise to do just that!

You Can Live a Creative Life

Woman in silhouette typing

At the turn of the new year, you get to wipe the slate clean. The old year—with its joys and sorrows, failures and successes—has been written. Now you have a bright, shiny stretch of time, in which you can create your deepest dreams.

Of course, you have the ability to create something new every single day. But psychologically, the new year feels so fresh with possibility, that this is a great time to reflect on the past and set goals for the future.

This new year is a milestone for me. I published my book, The Creative Heroine’s Path—a labor of love for every soulful creative who fears that living a creative life is out of reach.

Your creative life isn’t out of reach. It shimmers in the world of possibility, waiting for you to bring it into the world.

This year, I will be posting blogs and vlogs about how to live your life to make your creative dream real.

Changing your life to support your dream is not simply about making a list of resolutions and checking them off as you flawlessly complete each one. If it was that easy, everyone would do it. Changing your life takes time. It takes effort.

And it begins with what you believe.

How Do You Want to Feel This Year?

That may seem like an odd question. After all, you will have many experiences that affect you in different ways. But I’m talking about your overall perspective, which colors everything—especially events outside your control.

The biggest challenge you may face as you make your dream real this year is believing you can do it. That’s often not only the first hurdle, but an ongoing one. Whatever your perspective this year, it must support your creative dream.

If that sounds daunting, remember you have a clean slate, or a blank piece of paper in front of you. This year is yours to write. You are the author of your life. What do you want to make of it?

Here is an example of a perspective I played with a great deal this past year: “Life is creative and abundant.”

There were times when I saw it clearly, and other times I didn’t believe it at all.

You see, life wasn’t conspiring against me to keep me from writing a book for all the years I didn’t do it. It was my own beliefs about life—how it really works, what I believed was possible, even what I thought I deserved.

I faced external challenges, to be sure. But when I began to see those challenges as opportunities, for me to push against to build my spiritual resilience, they shifted from roadblocks to bumps on the path.

When I looked at obstacles as life’s way of simply asking, “Do you mean it?” I began to realize that life is abundantly creative; I just had to answer that question with a “Yes!”

Dealing with difficulty is a necessary part of the process of life, and of living a creative life. The challenges you must work with are part of the material you use to co-create with the universe—like wet clay you mold with your fingers.

You have everything you need at this moment to begin to create a life that supports you.

What You Believe, You Create

Here’s another perspective that I experienced, profoundly, this past year. It could easily be rephrased as, “What you fear, you create.”

Beliefs are powerful. Recently, I had a big A-ha! moment while I was telling someone about why I left my creative path in my twenties. I told her that I compromised my gifts to make a living because I was afraid that if I followed my creative calling, I would become a “starving artist.”

Those words caught in my throat. Tears filled my eyes. I realized that I had become a starving artist anyway—the very thing I was afraid of becoming. For years, I made a living, but not a life. My soul was starving.

If your soul is starving, this is your year to nourish it.

Pick A Big, Bold Theme

This is the perfect time to look at the beliefs you take for granted. You may not even notice them, because they are the water you swim in. But a perspective such as “I cannot create the life I want” will hold you back. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

What perspective do you want to look through in the coming year?

It could simply be, “The world wants my gifts.”

Get your rational mind out of this; let your soul pick your theme. Remember, this is about creating the life you want. This is big. This is wonderfully, incandescently real. Let your deepest wisdom speak to you.

Write it down. Keep it close to your consciousness. Put it somewhere you will see it every day, because there will be days you won’t believe it.

And remember, when you can’t see your theme, it’s still there, like a morning star, guiding you.

May the new year bring you the blessings of a more consciously creative life!

2 Simple Acts That Make a Big Impact

Every day, for the last few months, I’ve been doing these two simple, focused acts:

Winding country road at sunset

  • Each morning, I write my intention for the day
  • Each evening, I write one thing that I am grateful for

I call them my “bookend vistas”—two ways of looking at my day, with “everyday life” sandwiched in between.

Life throws curve balls every day, and it delivers surprises. It brings both challenges and delights.

Setting my intention centers the day in my true values. It helps me take responsibility for what I bring to it. Do my thoughts and actions make things better, or worse?

Practicing gratitude grounds the day in the deep meaning of life. It feels like less of a crazy blur, and more of a sacred space that I get to experience.

Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?

These two, simple acts help me become more conscious of the choices I make, and of the meaningful experiences I have.

If you want to feel more centered and grounded, try wrapping these bookend vistas around your day, and see what happens!

Are You Waiting to Bloom?

Pink tulips on blue table

For a long time, I thought I had to wait until something external “happened” to live a creative life. Until I won the lottery. Until I retired. Until somehow, life gave me permission.

Of course, I never stopped being creative. It’s as much a part of living as breathing. I am compelled to write, paint, and take photographs—and when I don’t express myself in these ways, all is not right with my world.

But more often than not, I would put my creative expression below everything else. I told myself that I would paint when the dishes were done, or write when the weekend came, or take photographs on my next vacation.

Who was I kidding?

Every moment brings us a fresh choice. Now, instead of thinking my creative expression will bloom someday, I see it blossom over and over again, every time I nurture it.

Enough blossoms, and you have a bouquet! A portfolio. A body of work. A completed novel.

So pick up your paint brush, camera, or whatever you use in your creative expression. Don’t wait for all the dishes in your life to be done.

Paint now. Write now. Plant your garden now.

Ultimately, you give yourself permission to create, no one else. You create your own precious life, one moment at a time.

Are Your “Shoulds” Sabotaging You?

Creative people are gifted rebels. We see things differently and we do things in our own way. This gets us into trouble, thank goodness! What’s life, if it’s just living the status quo? It’s not enough for us!

Woman holding a guitar

Some of you may be quiet rebels, living your truth without making a lot of waves. Others are shouting who you are from the rooftops.

Rebellious little girl

So sometimes, when you make your own to-do lists and tell yourself you “should” do something, guess what? Your inner kindergartener says, “you’re not the boss of me.”

Why? Because it feels more like a chore than your deep, inspired passion.

So you procrastinate. Or distract yourself. Or mope. You feed your inner critic bonbons. And you don’t finish what you actually want to complete.

Don’t get me wrong. I know you’re not a slacker. In fact, you are probably super responsible to other people. Just, perhaps, not always to yourself.

It hurts when you let yourself down. It can undermine your confidence, sap your enthusiasm, and seduce you into giving up.

So I need to ask you something. Why do you value what you want to do?

Stop. Don’t read any more of this blog post until you answer that.

Chances are, something came to mind pretty quickly, like “because I love to paint,” or “I want to make a difference in the world.” You might be sitting up a little taller, your backbone straight and strong when you say this.

Now, take that answer and go a little deeper. Ask yourself why that is important to you.

It could be that you feel more alive when you brush paint across a canvas. It could be that you want to make a difference because you care deeply about people. Do you feel a softening in your chest? Are you feeling a little more vulnerable? If so, you’re getting closer.

Watercolor painting of colorful tree

That beautiful combination of strength and vulnerability is telling you something. The value and importance of why you want to create are your energetic roots—and your wisdom. Tap into them. Let them ground you and nourish your enthusiasm.

What can you do with all that strength and enthusiasm? You can commit to anything that moves you in the direction of your goal. And mean it.

You can commit to painting or writing an hour a day, no matter what. Or playing the piano. Or knitting. Or designing your next piece of jewelry.

Yes, you can.

Ultimately, you have to make that choice. No one else can make you commit. There’s no magic potion, spell, or list of steps that will do it. It’s up to you.

We don’t always know why we finally choose to commit, or when it’s going to happen. It can be an accumulation of imperceptible inner changes, like an underground stream that travels a long time before it emerges into the light. Or it can be a swift response to an idea or situation, like someone flipping a switch.

All that matters is that you make that choice and then do it.

You can do this! I know you can.

If you’re hedging, here’s a tip: commit to doing something that is a stretch, but not too much. You want it to be doable, but not too easy. Why?

You need to make your goal realistic, so you can experience success, obviously. But you also need to make sure your goal stretches you, at least a little. Pushing yourself just beyond your comfort zone does three things:

  • It makes it more exciting!
  • It moves you further along.
  • It teaches you that you can do more than you realized.

Once you experience success, you’re more ready to take the next step, and make it meaningful. (And your inner kindergartner loves to get those gold stars!)

Woman's hands writing at desk with flowers

Honor your commitment to yourself by taking action.

A commitment you make to yourself is just as sacred as a commitment you make to your spouse, or child, or friend.

You’ll see how much you can do, and how far you can go, one commitment at a time!

IGB Post date: 2015-09-29