A fun little image from 10 Little Rules for Your Creative Soul author Rita Long. Thanks, Rita, you made our day!
A fun little image from 10 Little Rules for Your Creative Soul author Rita Long. Thanks, Rita, you made our day!
A long-time friend is going through a rough time in her life right now. Changes, decisions and questions have surfaced and are demanding answers. In my attempt to help, I always ended with the question: “What do you want? What do you really, really want? What do you really, really, really, really want?” Somehow saying “really” four times gets down to the heart of the matter.
She was not amused or pleased with the question. Most of us aren’t. We feel the pain and seem to follow that pain into what we don’t want and why we can’t get it. It’s like walking down a dark alley even after we see the dead end sign before we begin. Why is it so hard for us to focus on what we want rather than what we don’t have or have been told we can’t get?
I’ve never built a house before. A real house, from concept to design, from foundation to roof. I find it to be truly exhilarating and freeing. Yet dozens have warned me of what a long and arduous process it is going to be and the toll it will take on me. Before we sat down with the builder and the architect, we prepared a list of general ideas, questions, variations and open-end options.
At the very top of the page was our “What We Want” list. It was not an easy, quick list we jotted down light-heartedly. It was the result of many hours of thinking about and talking about what we do, what we like, what is important to us and how we want to feel when we get into our new home. We reviewed many blueprints…many, many blueprints. We feel in love with one and yet we still have to make adjustments based on our wants and desires and values. My hubby wants his work bench and home theatre. I want my studio and a kitchen that makes me feel yummy every time I go in there to cook. We both want our lake view to be the star and focus of our new home…relaxed, comfortable and warm.
So – life is a lot like building a house.
Must Have: No compromises.
Want: Some concessions may be needed.
Like: If possible
No Way! If it’s not a yes, it’s a hell no! (10 Little Rules for Your Creative Soul)
Start living a yummy life – stand up tall and strong and know what you truly want. Go deep.
That home on the water you dream about is more than a home on the water. Is it the peace and quiet of nature? Is it the ability to ski and tube and party with like-minded people? Is it the privacy and inspiration of the ever-changing view each day? Build your life around that.
The only answer that matters is your answer and that fact that you have uncovered what it is you really, really, really, really want in life.
Artfully inspired, Rita
Part of my parenting was to teach and remind my children to carefully monitor the people they associate with on a regular basis. Why? The five people closest to us will impact our own success and happiness in life. Just this week, even at my age, I had to make a conscious choice to choose who would hang out in my space. Yes, it really is that important! Presented with a lucrative opportunity, my gut told me “no way” even though my checkbook was saying yes. So I remembered my new mantra from my book 10 Little Rules for Your Creative Soul:
“If it’s not a “hell, yes” – it’s a no!
The mere thought now of seeing, communicating and dealing with this person on a daily basis makes me weak. The confirmation is so strong and I know I made the right decision. The decision to say no. The decision to include people in my life who inspire, encourage, dream, support, connect and care. So when I ask myself daily what I want my day to look like and how I want to fell, I know I have at least five awesome people surrounding me in my life. I am lucky and grateful. Choose wisely – treat kindly!
My family called me active, and I was always wanting to do something different than most of the other kids. Not out of judgement, but out of curiosity. Still to this day, I am curious about learning new things yet have such a strong sense of what I like and want in my life. There’s a fine line between Saturday night and Sunday morning (thank you, Jimmy Buffett).
I’ve always struggled with being put in a box, labeled, pigeon-holed as any one thing. Yet I am so clear on my vision of what I want. The hows don’t really concern me too much, especially in the creative stages of my adventures. Is it possible to remain true to yourself and yet seek newness and change? Absolutely! Even more so for we creatives.
Most of what I do is paint, when it comes to creativity. But I also am an author, a speaker, a teacher and a foodie. Heading up to the Leelanau Peninsula in northern Michigan this week, I was again stunned at the natural beauty of the Great Lakes and the intimate towns that charm their way into my heart. Each town has its own energy that is unique.
The shops are similar and most often the restaurants are also. But we found a Farm to Table Restaurant (and Farm) that got my creative juices flowing. It’s 9 Bean Rows in Suttons Bay, Michigan, housed in a cute little row of shops and painted red. It started with French Press coffee even before they actually opened, but they let us sit outside in the warm sun to enjoy the favor.
We returned for one of the most unique and healthy meals we have ever enjoyed. The entire experience was joyful. The food was fresh and unusual, using herbs and spices and abundant creativity. They knew how to help us get the perfect wine and beer to go with our meal.
Pure Michigan turned into Pure Culinary Delight. Every one of our senses was illuminated and it will long live in our memories as not only a special meal but a Moment That Matters, a memory, a “do you remember when we…” event.
So, although I was born creative, I did not know the extent of what being creative really meant until recently. Being a foodie, knowing, wanting and sharing good, fresh food with good, fresh people is totally creative. You first know what you want, you seek it out and you enjoy – and then your creativity is at a new level. Today I used some of the ideas I experienced at 9 Bean Rows into my lunch at home. Bam!! I can’t wait for dinner. And I can only guess how good my paintings will be tomorrow when I walk into my studio with coffee in hand (French Press, of course).
Surround yourself wisely in all areas of your life … and watch your creativity soar.
It was a long, long time ago. I still remember it as sharply as a sunny summer day. The advice was heartfelt and genuine and I bought it without question. It took me decades to discover that although delivered “in my best interest,” it was not the truth for me. And now, in retrospect, the only thing that matters is that I did not know enough then to listen to my own whispers. Where do you hear your whispers?
I was always an artist in my own mind, as a child. Yet it never entered my mind that I actually could be an artist. When the nuns told me not to take math classes in middle school, and instead try Home Economics, well … I just did what I was told. So today, math is not my thing. Go figure.
What is important is that I heard those whispers way back then. The whispers spoke to me even if I did not recognize them as creativity, a calling, inspiration, or a call to action.
I believe we all have whispers that are screaming to get our attention. And the sooner we listen to them, with respect and playfulness, the sooner we arrive where we truly want to be…doing what we truly want to do.
Where do you hear your whispers? Most likely it’s while you are in silence or when you feel your own brand of yummy giggles. Both are places of honor and are not to be taken lightly or given away.
Rule #1 in “10 Little Rules for your Creative Soul” is Thou Shalt Not Steal. Do not steal from yourself the holy sound of silence where your whispers will be heard loud and clear. Do not steal from yourself when you experience moments of pure bliss and pass it off as silly. Do not steal from yourself the opportunity to hear your own whispers. If you ignore the whispers, the cosmic 2 x 4 will arrive to somehow get your attention. That, my friends, is not fun.
Give yourself the gift of silence. Honor yourself and open yourself to what you are trying to express.
Picture me carrying my coffee, walking into my studio and painting on this cold, sunny March day in Michigan. Just that customary practice of taking my coffee into my sanctuary starts to stir things up inside me. Good things. Creative things. I only drink one cup of coffee a day, so it’s not the caffeine. But it got me to thinking about how rituals and clarity can work for us in our attempts to be creative. Can we “create” creativity? Hmmm … or are we either creative or not creative?
We don’t need anything to become inspired. Rather, we need to take our attention away from what we see and move into the miraculous world of creativity, where joy and bliss awaits us! We are talking all kinds of crazy creativity – your garden, how you prepare a meal, what you paint, how you dress – the list goes on and on and on.
If we feel joy and bliss we are “in the flow,” “in the zone,” “living in yummy giggles.” It’s all about the feelings. What we do willingly is never a burden. How could it be if we are feeling joy and bliss? Even in difficult times we will do the difficult tasks if it gets us to that place of joy and bliss doing something we love or being with someone we love.
And that’s enough to start. Just do something you love to do and brings you joy and bliss. You can start big or small, whatever you decide…the point of power is in the present moment. Doing one little thing that feels like inspiration or creativity will kick-start your journey.
Be Original. Be You. As you become the director of your own life, be sure to cast yourself as the star!
Excuse me while I continue off to my studio! Be Original. Buy Original. Rita
If you haven’t gotten your copy of 10 Little Rules for Your Creative Soul by Rita Long stop waiting . Rita’s book is the perfect follow-up to 10 Little Rules for Your Blissy Life, and designed to help uncover your hidden creative sparks and fan them into infernos of creative bliss!
With plenty of yummy giggles, rich insights and life experiences, Rita takes you on a journey to the center of your own creative heart and helps you hear the whispers. Whether you’re already a creative professional, or simply want to live a more creative and joyous life, you’ll find something to spark your imagination.
(Cover art poppies painted by Rita specifically for this project; we are thrilled to feature such talented artist and heartfelt writer in the 10 Little Rules series. Order 10 Little Rules for Your Creative Soul today on Amazon, or get in touch about signed copies and bulk discounts.
Today our Supper on Sunday was a big, delicious, outrageously yummy brunch of bacon, sausage, and blueberry waffles. Two grandsons were here and they are teens, hence the brunch instead of the breakfast, as they sleep late these days!
But the real message of today was The Art of Trying to Fix Things. We’ve lived in our home for nearly 24 years and things just need to be “fixed.” Updates, painting, replacing and sprucing up….some small tasks and some seriously big projects. It can be exhausting and at the same time exciting. Our grandsons helped us with some chores and we realized what strong, dependable and bright young people they have grown into recently.
Yet sometimes, a situation cannot be fixed. It may need to be fixed or fancied up, but getting started and involved may cause even more damage. We were asked today for advice about such a situation, one close to home. Lending an ear and offering an opinion, if asked, is welcomed most of the time. There are times, however, when we can’t rush in and solve a problem that isn’t ours to solve. As much as people or things need “fixing up,” it doesn’t always mandate our direct involvement.
This is one of life’s tough lessons. It doesn’t make us feel good. It doesn’t feel like we are doing anything to help and we want to help. We feel guilty. Truth is – sometimes it is not only not our responsibility, but more importantly, does not serve the people or situation in question.
Supper On Sunday can allow us time to reflect on when to jump in to help, or when to watch from a distance with love and compassion. If we keep our hearts open and filled with kindness, we will know when the time comes to eagerly leap with joy, resolve and total commitment to help.
Moments That Matter! Rita