What Inspires Me

Sunday gratitude

I am going back to work tomorrow after a two-week break. In truth, I’m a little apprehensive about it.

The past term was tough and there were a few times I felt myself being pulled away from all the wonderful creative practices I have worked so hard to cultivate in my life. This term, I determined to remain focused on the things that matter and to draw clear boundaries between work and home.

I’m lucky, in a sense, to get regular time away from work to recover – although I must say that without it I think most teachers wouldn’t last the year.

The past two weeks have allowed me time to catch my breath, move a little slower and savour more of my time. I’ve spent more time being creative, relaxing, resting, outside walking, journaling, planning my business, dreaming, planning my tiny house, and just generally not feeling so stressed and overwhelmed.

It has been lovely.

Here are a few of the things I am most grateful for, from the past week:

  • Sleeping more (something I don’t get to do enough during the term!)
  • Spending time with family, friends and my partner
  • Taking my pup for more walks
  • Having the time to create my blog planner
  • Making my lunch fresh, at home, every day
  • Reading in bed until late morning
  • Watching some of my favourite TV shows
  • Journaling more often
  • Having time to read blogs and other inspirational material online
  • Just pottering around the house, sometimes aimlessly, and staying in my PJs well past breakfast…

As I head back to work tomorrow, I am mindful focusing on the positive and maintaining my creative practices in my own time.

What are you most grateful for this week?

Creativity

Back from a weekend break: Art journal peeks

I’ve just come back from a lovely weekend away with my best friend. We spent the entire weekend talking about our exciting new business venture, drinking wine, art journaling, walking on the beach and resting. Not to mention (she is an avid journaler too) we stole a few quiet hours away alone each day to journal.

I am finally starting to feel like myself again after what has possibly been the most difficult term of my teaching career.

Journaling in my lined written journal has been great, just getting back to basics. As I had the time this weekend to just write as much as I wanted to, I found myself exploring issues that have been bubbling away below the surface for a while now. unsurprisingly, solutions came to me as I wrote.

All in all, a very healing weekend.

I worked quite a lot with my paints in my altered book, too. Below are a few peeks of my favourite bits.

altered book 03

altered book 05

altered book 06

altered book 04

I didn’t really realise quite how much blue and turquoise I had used until I looked back through these pictures! I guess I was using those lovely colours to invoke a sense of calm and peace after a hectic few months at work.

I also notice now that the theme of travel, journeys and freedom came up a few times. I think I’m feeling the need to go out into the world and take a break from stress!

I’m lucky to now have two weeks away from work to unwind. People always joke that teachers have it so easy with ‘all the holidays’ but boy, do we need them.

I hope you all had a lovely weekend and took some time out to journal.

Creativity

The problem of too many journals

For those of you that haven’t guessed it already, journaling is my ‘thing’. It’s the perfect combination of my training in writing, life coaching, psychology and teaching.

But sometimes I get a bit uptight about my journals.

I have so many now that I’ve lost count (yes, I really need to update the ‘how I journal’ page). I have three art journals, one for Journal 52, one for the 30 Day Journal Project (which I’m way behind in, but I’ve saved the prompts for later) and another one which is an altered book. I have a written Moleskine journal, a creative dream journal, a blog journal and a business journal. I’m pretty sure that’s all my journals…

My passion for journaling and my all-or-nothing personality has meant that my journaling has expanded in so many different ways and in so many different directions.

Which is a glorious thing, really. I love having all these different avenues of creativity, these different ways of exploring and expressing myself.

Except…

Sometimes it feels a bit much. I want to journal but I’m not always sure which journal to pick up and use. I get confused about which online course I’m doing (I’m onto my fourth journal course in as many months and I’m not keeping up with them!). I have so many journal books and prompts that I’ve not finished reading a single one. I have at least 5 blank journals on my desk waiting to be used but devoid of purpose. I dip in and out of each current journal as I feel like it, but I feel like my focus is a bit split.

nichole-raes-book

I’m currently taking the Layers of Life Visual Journal workshop. I’m totally crushing on the work of Nichole Rae, Lisa Sonora and Hope Wallace and trying to infuse their styles into my journaling. I want to focus my energies on finding my own journaling style using collage, paint, stamps, stickers, washi tape and my own lettering. I want to combine my visual journaling with my written journaling so that I can have one main journal to work in, and then one other journal for painting and heavier media.

In the planner/Filofax community they have these monthly challenges where they stick to one book for a whole month. People, like me, who love notebooks and planners and journals and just get too carried away.

I’m wondering if it might be a good idea to do something similar: to limit myself to my two favourite journals at the moment and work only within them.

This will mean overcoming my self-imposed ‘rules’ of which journal can be used for what.

And I guess, since the next two weeks at work I’m what-do-i-want-from-my-journalinggoing to be so busy I won’t have much time for anything, that makes sense. Any time I get for journaling will have to be focused. I won’t have time to be going back through my online courses, so I won’t need to be switching between journals.

So here’s what I’m thinking: an experiment, for the next two weeks to only use my main Moleskine journal and my altered book. I think I need both because the Moleskine can’t really take paint, and I need a place to paint, so the altered book is good for that. And the Moleskine (which is a sketchbook, for the slightly thicker paper) can be used for my daily writing, collage, doodles and anything else that takes my fancy.

That is my small challenge for myself. To limit myself so that I might find some sort of creative freedom.

Does anyone else have the problem of too many journals? What journals do you have and how do you use them?

Creativity

Art journal playdate

Tonight my best friend/business partner and I spent a good few hours art journaling together. This is something I usually do alone, but it was fun to have the company and talk as we journaled.

In the past we have spent many a Saturday night going out drinking (and many a Sunday morning regretting it). More recently we have been catching up over a cup of coffee or a movie when we aren’t planning our business.

But there was something really nice about sharing an activity that is usually solitary. We had a few glasses of wine, put on some music, and played with our art supplies.

It was a great way to relax and renew our creative energies while also catching up and spending time together. Plus, the inspiration was contagious.

If you have a creative friend who you can do this with, I highly recommend it. Journaling is naturally a very private and solitary act, and it can be fun to approach it in a different way. I would suggest that you only do this with a friend who you totally trust and feel comfortable around, and who you know won’t judge or criticise your work.

Here are some of the images I created in my altered book journal. Loving just playing in here!

altered-book-1

altered-book-3

altered-book-4

altered-book-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Creativity, Self Empowerment

The risk to blossom

 

Anais Nin famously said:

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.

I love this quote, so much. It is only recently that I have come to realise that it is too painful for me to remain tight in a bud – I am now taking the risk to blossom.

I think this quote means that we stay in our comfort zones, we deny our true feelings and we try to protect ourselves.

Since starting a regular journaling routine, I have come to realise that I can blossom – it isn’t as scary or dangerous as it seems. I have all the courage I need inside.

Here are a few of the ways I used to ‘remain tight in a bud’:

  • Drinking
  • Watching a lot of television
  • Spending hours online
  • Napping
  • Overeating
  • Spending time with people I didn’t really care for, just so I wouldn’t have to be alone
  • Overworking, becoming exhausted
  • Denying that I had any control over my life
  • Shopping aimlessly
  • Dieting relentlessly
  • Perfectionism and procrastination

But now that I’ve created an ongoing dialogue with my true, authentic self through my daily journaling routine, I am finding the courage to ‘blossom’ in these ways:

  • Starting (and continuing) a creative practice
  • Experimenting with different art supplies and techniques, such as acrylic paint, watercolour, mixed media, crayons, pencils, pens, etc
  • Building a tiny house
  • Starting my own creative business
  • Acknowledging my deepest desires and daring to believe I can make them a reality
  • Sharing my work, my thoughts and ideas with others
  • Accepting myself as a flawed but deeply lovable human being
  • Quitting dieting

These are just a few of the ways I have sought to change my life over the past 6 months. Looking back now it seems like I’ve made quite a few big changes – most of them are internal. Most of them are shifts in my sense of courage, of determination. the external changes have naturally flowed on from there.

I can’t say it enough: it is the simple act of journaling each day that has allowed me to get to this point. It is the ongoing conversation with my true self, with my inner wisdom and courage. It is being awake in my life, rather than numbing my feelings through the things in the first list above.

So I challenge you: in what ways do you attempt to remain tight in a bud, and how can you find the courage to blossom?

Creativity

A peek into my vision journals

Today I just wanted to share a few images from my vision journals.

One of these is my creative dream journal, which is a berry coloured A5 planner from Kikki K (very similar to a Filofax).

creative-dream-journal

The other journal is part of a business and blogging journal that I’m working on at the moment with The Right Brain Business Plan and The Creative Entrepreneur, as well as including anything else for my business planning that inspires me.

blog-and-business-journalI love to use magazine images and words to help me in these journals. I love magazines that have images of creative things – art, writing, desks – as well as homes, gardens and other similar images. These are the images that resonate the most with me.

I tend to have one big session where I go through a stack of magazines and cut out anything I find appealing. Then another time I will put on a movie, or music, or an audio book, and just spend a couple of hours arranging the images and words. Sometimes I will add my own words, and washi tape if I feel like it.

The thing I have noticed is that it is important to work quickly and not get too hung up on getting it perfect. Try to work from your intuition rather than logic. The idea is to create images and words that make you feel inspired – it’s like creating a vision board in a journal. It’s images designed to generate the positive feelings of whatever it is you hope to draw closer to you.

The two things I am most working on at the moment are building my creative business and finding a wonderful place to live.

vision-1

vision-5

vision-4

vision-3

What Inspires Me

Weekly inspiration

Each week I publish a series of links to websites and blogs that have inspired me. If you have anything that has inspired you this week, please share it in the comments below!

> I enjoyed reading this excerpt from Sassoon’s diary

> I stumbled upon this page and now I’m going to spend the next month soaking in the images and inspiration!

> My friend and business partner has started a new series documenting our creative business planning journey

> I really want a Midori Traveler’s Notebook, but they aren’t cheap! So I’m taking my inspiration from here to to make a fauxdori

> This week I’ve been playing in my art journal and so anything art-journal related really inspires me. This is cool!