Posted in being a sensitive artist

Feeling Frazzled when the World Goes a Little Crazy? Tips to get Grounded

I don’t know about you but the last month has been crazy! If you are sensitive at all you’ve felt the collective angst and fear as it oozes through social media computer screens and into our homes. We’ve also had some chaos at home and within my family reflecting the world around us. Physically, it has felt like living in a rocky one person boat bouncing around in the sea. Emotionally it has felt like all my emotions are raw and on the edge. I have felt tremendous anxiety and anxiety I have learned = too much energy running through the system.

After finding out that my friends in Florida are safe and okay, but many without power, I felt my body sigh with relief. I could relax now. I had no idea I was still in flight or fight and thinking unclearly until this morning after a fitful night sleep, over-warm and overtired, I woke up and glanced at the clock thinking it was an hour later. I overslept! I flew open the bedroom door. Where was Nathanial? Did he leave for school? He was still here! Fifteen minutes after the bus would already have left. In a panic I called my husband at work, who had my car (his battery died the night before, ironically to add to the chaos). He was able to rush home for a break to take Nathanial to school only to realize that he was right on time. We both thought it was an hour later. After the kiddo went to the school bus stop and Ben back to work, I thought, Damn, I’m friedI am really ungrounded and need to fix this.

That’s what the Fight or Flight and one thing after another does to your system. It makes it all frazzled and funky and time gets confused. In the news we’ve had wild protests with Nazis, solar eclipses, Hurricane Harvey with a town under water, political decisions that have unnerved us, and then a huge hurricane of the century that gratefully, didn’t live up to its predictions. Never mind the poor folks in the hot zones of the storms! It’s enough to throw anyone even with the strongest of cores.

Grounding is all about imagining that you have a tree trunk attached to your core and the roots go deep into the ground. You are connected to the earth. Steady and strong. You are in your body and in your feet. When stuff is happening many creative and sensitive people tend to fly up and out, half in and half out. It’s comfortable out there. We grab ideas and inspiration. When we are in the midst of craziness or disruption in the world, we automatically unground. Watching the overwhelming floods and winds, it’s no wonder we wouldn’t want to connect to Mother Earth, who seems a little pissed off. So what do we do? We need a new sense of grounding. We look at what creates structure, order and brings calm back in. Here’s a couple of suggestions I’m about to do.

Feeling Safe

What helps you feel calm, safe and taken care of? When I think of comfort, I think of my soft blanket my grandmother sewed for me, Cobi’s fur next to me, and a warm bath while listening to my favorite music. When I’m ungrounded what I really want and need is to feel nurtured. I have my touchstones — my favorite t-shirt I can wear, a turtle necklace I’ve had forever I can throw on.

Don’t Add Stuff

This is not the time to add new things. When taking on something new you need courage and strength from your core. When you are ungrounded that part is feeling vulnerable and a little wobbly. I was tempted to add new groups online. That one online workshop sounded interesting. Nope, not the time. Need to get steady first.

Get Back to Routine

I have that one special coffee mug I like to have my morning drink with, and that bagel or english muffin I eat like clockwork every day. Maybe it is OCD to like the same things, but it creates structure for me. A bit of yoga poses to a video might help me feel more “in.” Going to the studio at the same time creates structure. Back to my animation lessons’ neatly organized homework structure helps. Blogging here every Tuesday is part of the groove.

Notice the Trees

I’m a fairy girl so being near trees nurtures me. Going outside and staring at the huge healthy pines that surround the house and are still standing helps me feel all is okay in the world. I grab my camera and take photos of the next door neighbor’s babbling brook, the butterfly that just landed on a desert marigold. Nature is calming and it also can take away a great deal of nervous energy that has been bouncing around in my body like a pinball machine.

Get Back on Track

Life gets crazy, stuff happens, and it’s easy to lose track of what YOU wanted to do and what matters most. As an empath I can get pulled into everyone else’s story and forget I even have one of my own. I take out my book proposal. The animation book. The book I found on Multiple Intelligences and how people learn. I keep a bullet journal with pictures so that helps me to refer back to what I am needing and what I originally wanted to focus on. It’s even fun to gather the pictures, cut them out and arrange them in the book.

Watch What You Eat

Sure, eating a ton of sugar is the go-to when I’m stressed out, but the resulting rollercoaster of blood sugar afterwards is not worth it. When my blood sugar is haywire so is my reactions and emotions. I am best with lots of protein and several small snacks and regular meals throughout the day.

Feel My Feet and Get Rid of the Extra Energy

Dancing really helps me get into my body and out of the emotions. Painting for fun helps me process out all those excess emotions that are mine vs. not mine. I start out in a frenzy of paint splashing everywhere and an hour or two later the calm comes in and the insights. Ohhhhh, that wasn’t even mine I was feeling? Yup.

And lastly, Renew

Calming down a bit I can fill up with what nourishes me including animation that is clever and fun. I found a bunch of interesting stop motion videos. Watching these helps me get back on track and replenish with what feels uplifting and good. I’m going to be sure not to fill up with more Facebook feed pictures of hurricane devastation, which ungrounds me more, because then I have to start this list all over again!

Being self-aware that I am sensitive and take on too much that is outside of me when things get crazy is the biggest first step to self care and probably should be first to recognize before I start on my grounding list. To know thyself, correct? Noticing this I will need to limit my involvement with the world a bit until I am back on my feet.

Off to tackle this list. Incidentally, in church on Sunday we learned the power of words — how words can help or heal. We were asked, how can we give the gift of words? We had a bit of time to reflect and in my analysis I realized this is my gift outward, this blog, this gift of words once a week to try to help one other creative and sensitive soul. In a way, it’s my tithing to give back what I have been given. I do hope it helps.

Until next Blog Tuesday, (and be sure to follow the blog or sign up for the newsletter),

ronnidesigningfairy

Announcements:

  • Be sure to check out the Playhouse page, which I will be updating each week with clips.
  • Interested in classes? I have a few in development but I need to know which ones you are interested in. Check them out here and let me know in an email or the comments.
  • On Instagram? Be sure to follow me over here. I am building my tribe over there and would love to have you join me.

 

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Posted in being a sensitive artist, Being Creative, Blog Tuesdays

When the World Goes Crazy, Lighten the Load & Find What Fits

blogwhatfitsI have such the habit of piling it on. What is mine, what isn’t mine, what is the collective mine, what is out there, what is not my responsibility…And I found myself overloading, again. My stomach goes on vacation without me and I get an headache as a big wakeup call that I’ve been carrying the world around on my shoulders. I’m not really sure why I don’t just have shoulder issues, which literally and symbolically makes a lot more sense. I’m guessing because the classic feeling center is the stomach. And sometimes we can’t avoid the overload, like the shakeup that is happening in the world in Charlottesville, or kids going back to school and having big emotions expressed. But one thing I know for sure is that my creativity is deeply affected.

Looking at this overload and the relationship to creativity my mind searches for a solution to bring balance back. In my email today, the fabulously real Danielle Laporte asks, What will you let go of? Letting go translates to lightening the load. Because if I am taking on the world and a whole lot of stuff that isn’t my stuff to work on, I need to drop that suitcase down on the ground, so I can create and express. I need a moment of honesty with myself.

  • I can’t do much about what is happening in rallies of hate, but I can support those who are doing something about it. I can hand it to them.
  • I can’t do much about my stepkids’ world before me, but I can say a prayer that they figure things out themselves and find their voices. I can hand it to them.
  • I can’t do much about the inbalance between what I give out and what I receive…whoa…what’s this…but can I? I can drop things that don’t perform. That feels like I am giving so much out and not getting back? That would really be lightening the load.

Now we are hitting paydirt and some deep honesty…

Last week I mentioned again on Facebook that I was asking for donors at Patreon for my new book. For only $1 or $5 a month folks would be supporting my project, the Idea Emporium Book, as I created it. That’s $1.00. When I started the Patreon page, a few of my dear friends who have seen me through thick and thin, lent their support. I was deeply grateful. With their support I was hopeful, excited, and filled with ideas. I could share bits and pieces of the book. I could share lessons, ideas. And I have. Support feeds your creativity. And I wanted to share with even more people and create even more.

Now I’m an extremely creative person. Sometimes the ideas, whether good or not, flow through too much and I can’t shut off the flow. If I didn’t create I would crumble. It would be like shutting off a raging river and I’d either flood over or dry up. And when I asked and shared, and got crickets, I felt unsupported, invisible. And then I felt resentful. And most healthy people just pull back and don’t share as much. Not me. I give more! With suggestions from a coach for the book she suggested I increase my social media presence and that would eventually sell the book. I added a facebook biz page for my book. I now have two pages to take care of. I started writing again, which I needed to do, because without writing I was cutting off the flow. I got ideas for doing classes again and I wanted to offer a zine. More ideas. More flow. But again, I looked at that Patreon page and the result and I pulled myself way back. This is a business after all, and without financial support coming in, it is hard to feel rewarded for what I do and feel that balance of giving what I have and sustaining that business. Whether folks don’t trust or understand Patreon (which I think might be some of the issue), or whether they don’t see the value, it wasn’t helping.

I felt all this today as I cleaned the house with my stomach healing, and as I avoided the news and social media angst over the world and focused on scrubbing. I’m not sure I will keep my Patreon page as I don’t want to burden my besties, and that is how I am feeling. But I don’t want to let of my idealism either or enthusiasm for what I am creating, or that hopeful feeling when I create something new. And I like to give, I like to help others. That’s my mission.

Creatives, can we be more honest what fits and doesn’t fit us? Instead of doing more work for less reward?

  • The exhaustion of Facebook ads to maintain a page when I am not a social media marketer
  • Having paintings in gallery shows; I am not a fine artist
  • The follow/unfollow technique on Instagram. Can I have a great big Ewwww?
  • Free seminars or classes to get folks to look at your work
  • Wholesale
  • Big venues when I’m a one on one kind of person

I just think the formula to get there we are told and taught is not working for me and I need to find new avenues, new areas of support, to seek out so I can keep creating for those who value and need it. I need to find my formula.

Can you lighten your load and carry less of the world on your shoulders? And what isn’t fitting and what needs to be a better fit for you regardless of “how it’s being done?” Feel free to share what DOES work for you.

Freeing your thinking and my own. Until next Tuesday,

ronnidesigningfairy

 

Posted in Being Creative, Creativity and imagination

What Blocks Your Creativity & What Flows It

I’m excited to get things rolling here at the Idea Emporium. I just started a Facebook page for the world/book, I’m growing my Instagram page to share video clips and drawings, and the book proposal and first chapter are nearing completion. Yay! I’m excited also to have you on this journey and be a part of the Idea Emporium world. This is good stuff, but then why am I having soul-crushing dreams like being naked while driving a car? Or having headaches and this overwhelming urge to live under the bed most the day like my Giant Ooh Yellow Dog, Cobi Ann, and I don’t want to create? Making things takes a lot of vulnerability — you are putting yourself out there for all the world to see. And creating those things takes up a lot of energy. You need to refill and renew, but creativity can be shut off for a little while. There are THINGS that can block that flow of creating, and THINGS that can keep that river flowing. So here’s my tips if you are feeling hopelessly blocked, numb, pissed off at everyone and everything because all that creative juice ain’t going anywhere. Believe me, I have been there. Like the other day…Drum roll please.

Three Things that are like Toxic Mud to Your Creative Juices & What Will Fix It: 

Too much Social Media Not Enough Creating Take heed my friends! The other day I created a nasty migraine. I was staring at the phone counting my Instagram Followers. I was cursing the Unfollowers/Followers and getting caught in the nonsense game. I looked down at myself, and thought, Dear Goodness, This is my Life now? I hadn’t drawn a thing. Not one. In fact, I probably didn’t look away from that phone in two straight hours. It was my driven personality taking myself hostage. I was close to needing some kind of weekly meetings. Yes, build your audience (I’m talking to you and to myself here), but please go do what you do first! That’s the whole purpose of sharing, right? To have stuff to share? This social media thing of who gets the most followers first reminds me so much of Middle School. Let’s see who has the most friends and is popular, but God forbid, you pull out a tendon and are on crutches one day and no one is there to help you up the stairs when you need it (true story, tenth grade). 

 

You aren’t having fun This is a biggie. Yes, work can be hard and there’s irritating things you have to do like fill out taxes and business forms, and actually leave the house and talk to other people. But there needs to be PLEASURE in what you do. It should be fun. I have a teaching philosophy called the Rubber Ducky Theory. Even the mundane like taking a bath can be fun by adding a squeaky rubber duck to the bath water. In fact, learning should be fun. We integrate more when we are enjoying ourselves. Once you aren’t having fun, it’s a big indication you are heading in the wrong direction. I’ve been reading a fabulous book on Design Thinking called Designing Your Life. There’s this exercise on Engagement and keeping a Good Time Journal (not what you are thinking, you dirty mind.) In your journal, you write about all your activities of your day rating them with how much energy that activity gave you and how engaged you were. The more engaged, the better. What a mind blower! This is your map. Letting you know what you are meant to do, where you thrive and your strengths are, and what gives you true pleasure. That’s fun, people, that’s joy. Go there, says the map. Because years from now on your death bed you are going to resent what you didn’t do (Well, that’s a downer, but you get what I mean.)

 

You are comparing your thighs with someone else’s thighs When I was a teenager I was perfectly happy hanging out with friends and thinking I was way more than enough. Thank goodness for women’s magazines to remind me I was not! What a service. Today’s magazines are replaced by Instagram images of perfect homes and people laughing in mid air. They are photoshopped even on their phones with editing software, and they are posed with all the right things around them. Ugh. Never mind that behind the scenes their marriage is a mess and they are addicted to sniffing glue. A form of torture for artists is to have them scroll the feeds and look at how one artist has a zillion followers even though they draw cartoons with their feet for fun. “Omg!” I cry. I don’t even draw with my feet and my drawings are good. Am I not special enough? I just compared my thighs with someone else’s thighs, symbolically of course, and decided I didn’t measure up. This exercise then cuts off my creative flow and I have zero ideas, and all I want to do is sit and watch an iZombie marathon and be grateful at least I’m not undead. You are your own kind of special, remember that. The whole snowflake analogy thing. Don’t get caught up in that nonsense that is trying to sell you perfume. 

Symptoms Your Creativity is Shut Down:

Antidotes:

  1. Vacation. When my hubby and I went on vacation to California a few weeks back, I filled up my notebooks with creative inspiration. It was glorious. Even day trips can help change the scenery. You need in-person inspiration to experience to fill up that well of ideas. 
  2. Talk to good friends. They are your fans for the creative stuff you make. They love your dress design you made from socks and won’t rip it apart why it doesn’t make sense. You need to fill up with the right voices.
  3. Make what is important to you, important. Quickest way to creative blockdown is to try and please everyone else while creating. Everyone wants you to paint mountains, but you feel pulled to paint old tricycles caked in rust. Please paint those tricycles! In the long run, you will have the bigger success.
  4. Fill up with Goodness. I love looking at Pinterest or hanging out at the library. Barnes and Noble magazines also fill the well. Images love to feed the creative juices. But fair warning: don’t fall into the Comparing sandlot. Watch Spirited Away.
  5.  Dance! Listen to music that gets you hopping. Kick up your feet and move. That gets the juices flowing the quickest and easisest. 
  6. Let things grow in the time it needs to grow.
  7. Be authentic as possible. Get back to yourself. What did you used to love to do as a kid? What is your favorite interests? When’s the last time you perused the graphic novels in the bookstore or checked out the journals in the stationery store? What is most YOU?
  8. Read The Artist’s Way and the whole section of “the odds.”
  9. Go watch Embrace: The Documentary. It will snap you back into place.
  10. What works for you?

So, what do you think? Been blocked? Stuck in the evil muddy waters? Step away from the phone and go put on some music. Better yet, have some coffee at a funky coffee shop with murals painted on the wall. How do you know that creativity is coming right back? You will feel the flutter of ENERGY bubbling up. Until next time,

ps. Do take a look around here and have fun unleashing your creative juices. The Bakery needs cupcakes designed. Episode 1 is ready to be viewed. And join the growing book Patrons over on Patreon and shop the store with upcoming classes to support the project.