Filling the Well

Filling the well within allows our potential to flourish. While careers or jobs may be more lucrative financially than personally fulfilling it is important to nourish our creativity. When we are performing work that is labor intensive or mentally draining it is also important to fuel our creativity. That well calls for inspiration, color, daydreams. We are striving to succeed and achieve personal and professional goals but we also need to nourish ourselves. 

The pressure to succeed at everything we do seems to be indicative of a societal obsession with perfection. We perceive our work as lacking and so we grind harder, rather than taking a break. This is particularly easy when we hold ourselves, or our work, up to the finest creations in history. Rather than the creative work that artists must do to build up to their masterpieces we consider VanGoh’s Starry Night, or Monet’s Water Lillies. Even though there were many rough drafts, and in Monet’s case years of patient gardening, that went into the painting of a single image. We forget that our own potential requires work and ongoing development. We are forever learning, changing, and growing our talents – it is the practice that is the most powerful. When we practice we build up to our own creative, personal, and professional masterpieces. 

We often look up to successful or powerful people as examples of what is possible. But it is also possible to be discouraged by their examples because they are doing already what we long to do in the future. I recently heard this fabulous advice from a friend, “You are not in competition with anyone else.” Other people will be doing their work their way, you will do your own work your own way. There were talkshow hosts before Oprah and painters before Frida Kahlo. We are not here to do the only original thing – we are here to do our own original thing. Allow yourself to thrive in the places where you are most interested, engaged, and motivated. Show up and do your creativity as only you can do it.

Water the seeds of your potential by nourishing and filling your own well first. Hydrate, meditate, focus on the abundance that fills your life, rather than the scarcity of trying to model yourself after someone else. Never make yourself tinier to fit someone else’s package. We are revived and enlivened by creating. We cannot give to others or the world if we do not first care for ourselves. It is my deepest hope that as you grow and strive for whatever dreams or hopes you carry in your heart. I hope that you create from a sense of fullness. Because there is nothing missing in you, you have everything you need in your head, heart, and soul. There is no doubt that whatever you hope for you can have, if only you try. – M

Letting Go of Control

Lately, I am saying yes to the opportunities the universe presents to me. It is my role to accept those gifts not to own or control them. The benefits include the joy that comes of being engaged and invested in exactly what I am doing. Rather than being responsible, obligated, or in charge, I am merely a part of something larger than myself. Letting go of control is not easy but when we allow ourselves to step back from that role we ignite a spark. We begin to feel more vibrant and alive, as if there’s suddenly so much to see, do, say, build, dream and create. It is awe inspiring how quickly the universe conspires for our success and our joy in the process. 

It is powerful to let go of the illusion of control and simply accept the help that is given in whatever form it comes. By showing up excited to engage we open ourselves to possibility. We release control of the process and make space for wildly unique and different outcomes to present themselves. This is the birthplace of ingenuity and creativity. For creativity to thrive it needs an environment of safety, room to grow, and the absence of control.

Releasing control allows the universe to use us as instruments to create more magic in this world. When we graciously accept all the bounty and blessings the universe bestows upon us we become part of the process. You are only one snowflake floating in a sea of miraculous little ice crystals. Each one is just like you and yet completely different. How magnificent to be one of many and yet also completely our own. How incredible to be free to relax, release control, and float. The future holds innumerable outcomes for each of us we open ourselves to possibility when we release our hold on control.

What is one thing you can let go of controlling right now? 

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Social Media Cleanse

The rain has stopped outside my window and it seems to have dripped green paint onto the weeping willow tree outside. There are suddenly millions of yellow green buds waiting to bloom. Being fully present to witness this moment feels like a gift and one that I have chosen for myself. I like to feel that I am choosing to do whatever activity I am engaged in, particularly social media. This week I wanted to share a little about a social media cleanse I tried. 

Level one is general media hygiene. Regularly clear your follows and determine what accounts are bringing joy and which accounts are simply bringing you down. Anything that leads you to feel inadequate by comparison has to go – we don’t need that negativity in our lives. I’ve written more on general media hygiene practices here.

Level two – back to the cleanse – because just organizing follows is not our only new practice. I’m talking about a full week of conscious and deliberate social media avoidance. The purpose of this exercise is to clear your head and make space for creative ideas to break through. It is an opportunity to reflect and recognize how much time there is in the day when we are not scrolling. 

I scheduled a week to be social media free because as an Artists Way exercise I have found it to be particularly powerful. Cameron calls her abstention a reading cleanse. No reading for pleasure or knowledge beyond what one must do for work or as necessity. That can be different things for different people. The overall purpose is to clear your head of everyone else’s stories so that you can really dig deep into your own creativity. It’s also a quick way to recognize how much time we fill by immersing ourselves in media.

I love the dopamine burst of reels on Instagram, or of finding something beautiful to pin on Pinterest. But when I am loosing too much time or feel like I can’t log off even when it is time to do so, that’s a good cue to spark a cleanse. This time my cleanse was not cold-turkey. I still watched the reels or notes that people sent. I simply logged on, replied to messages and got off. My logic here is that this an opportunity to connect with a real person. It is a moment of relationship building and that is more than simply watching what everyone else is up to and liking or posting a few emojis. 

When we aren’t scrolling or lost in the virtual world of our phones it’s amazing how much we can create. The space gives us room to do something new, unique, and fresh. We want to make space for our true and raw selves to grow and be nurtured. Much like the rain outside painting the weeping willow with spring greens, I want to have room and water to grow and blossom in spring time. We can’t do that if we are constantly being pruned by everyone else’s ideas, endeavors, and news. So even if your break is a day, an hour, or an evening, I hope you are able to create something that’s never been in the world before. I hope you’ll take the time to invest in yourself. 

Let me know how your social media cleanse goes and what new priorities you welcome! And just so you know all was not perfect over here! I was very much tempted to look at my phone more than I care to admit. Instead I cleaned the bathrooms, washed windows, wrote pages in my journal, painted, and spent quality time with my kiddos. Every second of it was worth it because I felt present, engaged, and more alive than I have in a while. I might just take this cleanse for another week’s run and see what happens! 

5 Steps to Generate Momentum in Your Creativity

As I clear out space and complete tasks that have long been on my list it sometimes feels like trying to drink from a firehose. There are so many projects that I have long awaited making progress on that I am now feeling as if a dam has burst and it flowing fast and furiously. As I feel myself taking steps toward accomplishing my goals I am also trying not to get ahead of myself or rush. 

It’s a balancing act to both pursue my goals but also to take my time. I remind myself not to expect everything to be finished right away. Lunch and showers and the regular activities of life still need to happen every day. Therefore, instead of feeling disappointed that I have not done, “more,” I am going to stay in the joyful space of gratitude. I am grateful to myself for all I have done over the last several days. Rather than feel disappointed that I did not do more I am going to feel grateful for my patience and will hold myself in gratitude as I continue to move forward. 

Humility + Gratitude

Life has a way of humbling us when we rush too quickly or stay still. Staying in gratitude is one way to counteract the arrogance that can arise when we feel particularly proud of ourselves. Gratitude also prevents us from standing still. When we have so much to be grateful for we want to share that gift.

When I am not in gratitude I freeze – unsure of what to do next. I feel frustrated when I can’t decide where to begin. I “strategize,” which is another way of saying overthinking my every move. It has been incredibly freeing to simply take small steps forward. Lately I have been able to do just that. It is elevating my mood and my disposition. It’s an interesting shift from the obstructive and frozen place I was in before this watershed moment.

Small Steps Create Momentum

As I make gentle progress I am also striving to stay grounded. I know that I can do many things but I cannot do all things. I will move ahead but I will never be, “done.” I may step forward and then need to recalibrate to decide what comes next and that is all ok. Patience is appropriate and necessary to my progress and my growth. 


When I am shifting away from overthinking it helps to state some clear affirmations. These reminders help me to focus and realign. Here are some of the mantras I use to ground myself: I am doing the work I was put upon this planet to complete. I am following my intuition and being attentive to my own desires, wants and needs. I am sitting in the sun rather than watching it trace a  path across the floor. I am showing up for myself and for my own life. I am doing what I was destined and designed to do. I am allowing the Creator to express their creativity through me. I am making myself an instrument for even greater creativity and to allow the energy that inspires me to flow through me and my work so that someone else may feel and experience the sensations I am feeling right now. 

Sharing to Complete the Cycle

It is uplifting and humbling at the same time to know that my showing up and allowing myself to follow my path is only part of my work’s journey. I am creating art, organizing words, and allowing this sacred and universal energy to flow through me. And this energy will move through me and my work to inspire others – like you dear reader. 

This is just the beginning, or perhaps even the middle, as I have been inspired by countless artists and visionaries. It’s hard to say where this creative force began. Perhaps it is more like a circle, it never begins or ends but keeps going. Creativity is a self-fulfilling journey of shared and complicit co-creation throughout the universe and throughout all time. How wonderful to be a tiny piece of this universal journey. It is a gift to be a piece of the ever changing landscape of creativity. It feels so simple and simultaneously transformative. It is an incredible honor to be fulfilling my purpose in this way. 

Have you ever felt so deeply connected to universal energy and to what your true purpose is in life? Isn’t it awesome? I am humbled and deeply touched to be a part of this creative cycle. This cyclone of creation and creativity. Thank you for reading and for sharing this creative journey with me.

Sacred Spaces – Making a Creative Oasis

My studio feels cozy and safe today. It feels like a warm and welcome reprieve from the outside world. It feels like exactly the space it was designed to be. It is warm, it is soft, and it is all mine. This is not a community space. It is my sweet little apartment. My home away from the world. I am so grateful for this space and the creativity and joy that I find and make in this room. I can already feel it working its magic, giving me the balm I need to think inventively and creatively.

This space feels holy and sacred, like a luxurious and welcoming den. A lair where I may heal and tend to myself as a sacred and special person. A place where my intrinsic value is nurtured and nourished. The space is warm. The walls are a buttery yellow and the windows bathe the space in delicious natural light, even on an overcast and rainy day like today my small lamp alights my workspace gently, as if respecting the boundaries of every other object in the room. There is much to unpack and arrange in this room but right now it feels blissfully disorganized. There are boxes of treasures just waiting for me to open and unpack them. There are mysteries and hidden gems in every package, under each lid. I delight in finding old friends in familiar places and giving them new life in this space. 

I am thrilled to welcome my precious belongings into my new home. I am excited to explore and imagine where each piece belongs. I am eager to see how I make this space my own.

Tonight I will make bolognese and chocolate chip cookies for dessert. Tonight will be a night of comfort foods and cozy family time. It will be a welcome reprieve from the challenges of the day. It will be an opportunity to give the gift of good food and comfort to myself and to my family. These gifts will be small but they will also be monumental in that they will be felt deeply by those I love. That is the point and purpose of generosity anyway.

Some ideas for making your own creative oasis:

  1. Boundaries – Make sure the space is your own. Or if you invite others in to join you, let them know what level of engagement and sharing your are comfortable with first.
  2. Art Supplies – I am always inspired in the art store and try to come home with some projects or tools I’ve never used before to get my creativity flowing. I don’t have to be good at everything and trying something new is always fun.
  3. Water – Keep yourself hydrated and energized so you have all you need to keep going!
  4. Writing utensils – It doesn’t matter if you type, write, or sketch, it’s always good to have a pen and paper to jot a good idea down.
  5. Quiet – Or a playlist of your choosing – the sounds that comfort you are always a quick way to breathe new energy into your space and create the mood you are after!
  6. Bonus – Anything that engages your senses, beautiful artwork to look at, images that inspire you. Some incense burning or an essential oil diffuser. A cozy blanket or fan that keeps air moving. Anything that brings you into the present moment will help invigorate your energy and get you in the mood to create.

Do you have a space in your home where you can recharge and rest? How do you create hygge in your home? What do you do to spread warmth on winter days?

Reconnecting in the New Normal

When you believe in something or someone you do something about it. 

Today I wrote an email to a friend I haven’t spoken to since high school. I was inspired by another friend who reached out for ideas on how to cope with the various plagues of 2020 and entertaining herself in long winter months. First, for this woman I have nothing but praise, she is planning for her future and investing in those things that will sustain her through the long months – new ideas and old friendships. If that is all I took away from her reaching out, it would be a gift. But that is not all, I also was reminded of a dear friend from many years ago. A vulnerable, beautiful, and talented author who may not be writing – so I wrote to her to find out. 

Why was this important? Well, to me when I believe in someone I tell them, I tell them deep beautiful truths out loud. I do this intentionally, because I do have a gift with words and I write often but my work comes of labor, effort, and refinement. That is not the way with talent. With talent, your words will silence a high school classroom of overachievers and lead the teacher to ask your friends if they know how you did it. Talent, is twenty years later someone remembering the lines and the power of your writing. Talent, is touching people’s souls.

While I’m sure I gave support when we were younger and close, I haven’t given support to this woman in a long time. I don’t know what her life looks like, the shape of her days, or where life’s journey has taken her. All I do know is that she has, “It,” whatever it is. While many aspire to that gift, to have it and not use it would be a loss for humanity. Not for her, I imagine she lives a happy life that is fulfilling and rich – but the rest of us who need to listen and learn, we would only know the absence or the feeling of an unfulfilled longing. I cannot put pen to paper on someone else’s behalf, but I can show up, I can remind her of her gift and that I am eager to read her words. I don’t know how the message will land but I do know that my gift to humanity today was to inspire her to write, to share her words, and to trust herself and her talent.

As a creative, I suddenly am completely clear on the need for patrons of the arts. Because artists like Cathleen Collins and T. S. Eliot go to work each day, and make dinner, and pay their bills, and might never have the opportunity to craft the stories that move our civilization, our species forward.

As I write it also occurs to me that I write these words for myself, to align my priorities and to say these words out loud. It reminds me that I have these gifts too. I am not on her level, I may never be, but I have witnessed greatness and I am capable of greatness and I am willing to try. I am willing to show up and give it my best. I hope you are too. 

Has anyone sent you a message of support or encouragement that landed just as you needed it? Would you find such a note presumptuous or invasive? My hope is that it lands as it should or upsets you enough to do something about it. Do you like love notes from long lost friends? Do you send love notes to long lost friends? Will you now?