10 EASY STEPS TO KILL YOUR CREATIVITY 1.Be so afraid to make a mistake that you never begin.
2.Compare your work to the works of others, especially the most successful ones.
3.Hold yourself and your work to impossible standards of perfection.
4.Try to please and not offend anyone with your work.
5.Doubt yourself at every step and at every choice.
6.Quit because it’s crap anyway.
7.Don’t listen to yourself; listen to everyone else, especially those that discourage you.
8.Be motivated by money, fame, and fear.
9.Neglect your life, relationships, other interests and overall well-being to focus on this one thing.
10.Ignore your heart.
10 EASY STEPS TO REVIVE YOUR CREATIVITY 1.Just begin.
2.Stop comparing yourself and your work to others. You and your creations are original and, therefore, beyond comparison.
3.Embrace your mistakes. Embrace imperfection.
4.Not everyone will like your work and that’s okay. Trust that it will reach those that need it.
5.Trust yourself. Listen to that wise little voice inside of you. The more you listen, the louder it gets.
6.Keep going. You’re in the muck of it now. It might not be pretty but don’t give up. Keep going.
7.Surround yourself with a support system of believers and cheerleaders. But, more importantly, listen to and believe in yourself.
8.Be motivated by love and hope and joy and fun.
9.Take care of your life, your relationships and yourself. Explore other interests as well.
10.Above all, listen to your heart.
This past spring, my grandmother passed away. It was her heart – she’d been sick for a couple of years, in out of doctor’s offices and hospitals, but there wasn’t much that they could do beyond what they’d already done. I remember visiting with her one day after a particularly long hospital stint and she said, “I always knew it would be my heart.” In those few words, I heard all the things that couldn’t be said: how she’d given so much of her heart to others and, in many ways, neglected her responsibilities to her own heart.
When we drove in for her funeral, I knew that I wanted to speak and I knew what I would say. When she first got sick, I had a feeling it was the beginning of the end and I felt like I need to tell her all the reasons why I loved and admired her. So I wrote her a letter and was able to share it with her. In honor of that amazing and beautiful woman, I’d like to share that letter with you today:
My Meme and my baby.
Dear Meme, you deserve to know that I think you are an amazing, incredible, beautiful, inspiring woman and I am so honored to be your granddaughter.
You are so brave, adventurous and strong while still being nurturing, elegant and unbelievably kind. I admire very much who you are and try to emulate these qualities in my own life.
You deserve to know that you have inspired me to travel and see the world and expand my horizons. I love listening to your stories about your travels and adventures.
You deserve to know that I love getting hugs from you and cuddling with you – you are a great cuddler. And some of my best childhood memories are on your lap and in your arms – I remember thinking that the world was perfect in those moments and I felt deeply loved and nurtured.
You deserve to know that your willingness to grow and change leaves me in awe of you. I hope I, too, continue to grow and change for as long as I live.
You deserve to know that your ability to go to the opera in impeccable dress while laughing at a dirty joke in the car on the way there is one of the things I love about you. You are elegant and wonderfully silly all at the same time and I admire that about you so much.
You deserve to know that I admire your deep commitment to family. You want so much for all of us to succeed and be happy and you have definitely had an integral part in making that happen in all of our lives.
You deserve to know that I am so grateful to have inherited your love of music and so grateful that you shared with me what you know.
You deserve to know that I admire your ability to maintain life long friendships as well as forge new ones along the way, no matter where your life has taken you.
You deserve to know that I admire your bravery in meeting every challenge life has thrown you and I think we both know you’ve had a few. And yet you handle every challenge with determination and grace and it is an awesome sight to see.
You deserve to know that I am deeply moved by your long and beautiful marriage to a wonderful and goofy man and the loving family that you two created.
And you deserve to know that when I have grandchildren, I will make them eggs in a frame and drink coffee milk in bed with them in the mornings and tell them stories about my Meme & Paw.
But most importantly, you deserve to know that you have lived a wonderful and inspiring life and made a world of difference in mine.
Well, I missed Earth Day in April and I’m a little early for next year, but as my favorite baseball cap says “Every day is Earth Day.” This is the 12th installment of my Love Series and how the woman in the picture looks is how I’m feeling today – full of love for our Earth.
I’ve recently been watching the new Cosmos with Neil Degrasse Tyson and reading the original Cosmos by Carl Sagan. And I must admit, it fills me with awe for this Earth, humanity, and the entire Cosmos. Those great works have also reminded me of how precious and unique (as far as we know) our Earth is and how we must care for it because, right now and for the foreseeable future, it’s the only one we’ve got.
So maybe go and do a small thing for the Earth today. Plant a tree. Pick up that piece of trash (yes, I know you didn’t leave it there, but someone has got to do it – why not you?). Volunteer for a beach clean-up. Give a little extra effort to recycle that (fill in the blank here). Start composting. Hug a tree (it’s not just for hippies). Or go do a naked gratitude dance in the woods (this one might be just for hippies). I don’t care what you do as long as you do something. One small step. One small act for this pale blue dot we call home.
This 10th installment of The Love Series is dedicated to breastfeeding aka Booby Love. 😉 I drew this picture only a couple weeks after my daughter finished weaning so it’s a bit bittersweet. My goal was to make it to at least 2 years old and we made it to 2 years and 3 months. Did you know that there is a such as thing as post-weaning depression? I had no clue (despite many La Leche League meetings and breastfeeding blogs) and was a little blind-sided when I decided to reduce my daughter’s free-for-all nursing schedule to only one nursing session in the morning. I wasn’t even ‘weaning’ in my mind, just putting down some boundaries. But not long after we made the change, I felt awful. I was moody, crying all the time, anxious and depressed. I had no idea what was going on and was obsessing about why I was feeling this way and how I might ‘fix’ it when I stumbled upon post-weaning depression online.
After knowing why this was happening to me, I was able to relax and just accept that this was a temporary hormonal shift and to give myself a little break. A few months later, when I decided to wean fully, I was prepared. Thankfully, going from a 5-minute nursing session per day to no nursing wasn’t as large of a hormonal shift (I’m assuming) as I didn’t have such severe symptoms – only mild depression and anxiety that lasted a couple of weeks.
While I was pregnant, I’d heard many women recount their experiences of postpartum depression and anxiety, but I’d never heard a woman discuss post-weaning depression. So this is my little PSA. Post-weaning depression is a thing. Maybe if you know it’s a possibility and that it could be coming, you’ll have a better system in place to cope until it passes.
These 2 years of breastfeeding have been quite a journey. Those first couple of months of figuring breastfeeding out were complete hell (the postpartum depression and anxiety didn’t help either!) but I’m glad we persisted.* There have been some truly wonderful moments – one of which is captured in the drawing below. It was in those first two months of hell that my daughter was nursing and laid her hand upon my chest with her pointer finger, pinky and thumb extended forming ‘I Love You’ in sign language. The significance of this is that my husband and I had made that sign to each other since first saying “I Love You” to one another. We still make that sign to one another and now my 2 year old daughter does too.
*This statement is not meant to judge, criticize or shame any mother who could not or didn’t want to breastfeed. Every person fights their own battles and must do what is best for them and their baby and I 100% recognize that was is ‘best’ for me may not be ‘best’ for you. You do you. I’ve got your back.
This is the 9th installment of The Love Series and it’s a celebration of the love a mother feels for her child. I did this painting when I was pregnant with my daughter and in complete awe of how much love I felt for someone I hadn’t even seen with my own two eyes.
My love for her now is the same as it was then: powerful, fierce, and deep. Any person is capable of feeling this kind of love whether they are a biological parent, adoptive parent, step-parent, animal parent, grandparent, auntie, uncle, or friend. May we all know the joy of giving and receiving such a love.
P.S. This post happens to coincide with the e-book release of my new book of poetry – Hummingbird Heartbeat:Poems of Pregnancy and Beyond. You can find it on amazon.com for $3.99. It’s also available on Kindle Unlimited and the Kindle Lending Library. I hope you enjoy it. <3
Although we were spared from Hurricane Harvey, we know many who were not. I wrote this email to a friend who’s mom is overwhelmed with all that must be done when the rain and flooding finally stop. It is in NO WAY a comprehensive list, but it is a starting point. When my mom was flooded last year in the Tax Day Floods, it would have been nice to have a list like this to help us make a game plan so I’m passing it along in the hopes that it might help someone else too.
TIPS FOR DEALING WITH FLOOD DAMAGE
-Call your flood insurance (if you have it) and FEMA (the faster you get an agent, the faster you get your money to buy new stuff)
-Do not turn on electricity until it has been deemed safe by authorities or an electrician
-Once water recedes, open up the walls, rip out the insulation and put fans out to dry the house (this prevents mold growth)
-if carpeted, rip it out ASAP to prevent mold growth
-Do not attempt to start or plug in any appliances – they must be checked out by a professional
-TAKE PICTURES OF EVERYTHING BEFORE YOU THROW IT AWAY (insurance needs this)
Regular Tips -Things that can’t be washed (like mattresses, rugs, couches, books, etc) or things that absorb water (like drywall and some wood depending on type and how long it was in the water) which have come into contact with flood water must be thrown out. Put them on the curb for heavy trash pick up. Take pictures!
-load up trash bags of clothes/fabric/pillows (anything that can be washed) and send them to friends and family to wash and dry. Using original Pine Sol and hot water in the washer disinfects the clothes.
-Tile floor can usually be cleaned with disinfectant and kept. My mom didn’t have hardwood, but I assume it would have to be removed as it absorbs water
-Make a pile of things that can be cleaned with disinfectant instead of thrown out (ex: pots & pans, plastics, etc – anything that doesn’t absorb water). Set up a disinfecting and drying station or send them with family & friends to be cleaned at their homes and then brought back
-If you decide to use a contractor to rebuild, choose carefully. There are a lot of scammers and half-assers out there. Ask for recommendations from friends and family.
-This is a marathon, not a sprint. Take time to rest & recharge.
-There are Houston Flood Groups on Facebook that have advice, suggestions, recommendations, etc.
-Don’t be afraid to ask for help. My mom worked for two or three days with me and a handful of friends before she asked for help on Facebook. A huge church group of moms, dads, & teens showed up and finished demo-ing everything in one day – it would have taken us another week without their help.
-You cannot eat anything that grows in soil that has been flooded. You have to wait at least 6 months.
Mostly, stay strong and know that one day it will end and things will be back to normal. The pile on the curb of things that have to be thrown out will be huge, but it’s going to be ok. You will get through this.
Amidst all the flooding, rain, and chaos, Houston and it’s surrounding areas as well as many across the nation have united to help those who have suffered the most during this record-breaking storm. As I watch the news and social media and see the stories of citizens and first responders saving and caring for one another, my heart breaks open again and again. I’ve essentially been crying for the past 4 days.
So this 9th installment of The Love Series goes out to Houston, it’s surrounding areas and all the citizens, civilians, officers, fire fighters and first responders who are spreading the love any way they can.
If you’d like to give a little love to Houston, there are many ways to do so. Here are just a few:
1. JJ Watt of the Houston Texans is raising money to get direct aid to the victims of Hurricane Harvey. You can donate HERE.
2. Over 160 police officers have had their homes flooded but have still been working. To help officers whose homes have been damaged, consider donating to Assist the Officer HERE.
3. Brene Brown, author, UH professor and all around badass, has suggested donating to Undies for Everyone on her Facebook page. It’s an often overlooked area. You can donate HERE.
4. Lastly, if you are here locally, consider volunteering your time, your washing machine (so much needs to be washed), or resources to shelters, neighbors, family and friends in need. So, essentially, keep doing what you’re doing Houston. #HoustonStrong
I visited a historic battleground monument and museum today. As usual, I was quite bored. As my 2 year old took a break in a hand-carved wooden chair, laid against a well-maintained marble wall, I breathed a sigh of relief that I didn’t have to pretend to look at all the war memorabilia, at least for a little while. As she started to squirm indicating the break was over, I said to her, “Well, are you ready to look at more old, white dudes?”
An over-simplification, to say the least, but a fairly accurate generalization (there were a few photos of white women hidden among the displays as well). As we gazed at the guns and swords and rifles and pistols and military uniforms, my 2 year old asked what they were and it was difficult for me to give her a clear, but appropriate answer. “These are weapons to kill other humans” was accurate but a little much for a 2 year old (and even for me). So I simply told her this was a ‘sword’ or ‘rifle.’
Even that felt a little wrong to me. I want to shield her from the violence that we humans commit against one another or the fact that we’ve created machines to perfect it. I don’t let her watch something so violent on television so why would I show her this shrine of violent instruments?
As we continued on, it became apparent that the museum was severely lacking in color. As in people of color. There were no indigenous people or African-Americans in this war of the Americas according to the museum’s display (although they surely had been there). No, the largest and most prominent displays were of old, white men and their weapons.
The old, white men and their weapons. That seems to be all I hear about these days. And I wonder if perhaps these shrines to violence that we’ve built all over this country don’t contribute a small part to all that is going on today. There are towering monuments to war and the heroes that fought them. There are entire museums that document the wars and their weaponry in great detail. Even my history classes in junior high and high school talked mostly about ‘the great wars.’
I understand that wars are huge, world-altering events that take many, many lives and those lives must not be forgotten. And I understand that, sometimes, we must fight for justice and what we believe in. But I wonder if we were to build more statues and monuments of peace and less of war, if things might be a little different. If we had more museums of peace and fashion and science and food and love instead of war, if things might be a little different.
I wonder how different the world might be if my 2 year old and every 2 year old were able to go to a museum of kindness today and be shown the great acts of kindness that humans are capable of. I wonder if things might be just a little bit different and a whole lot better.
Strawberry Fields in Central Park, New York City – A Tribute to John Lennon
This 8th installment of my Love Series came to me during my morning meditation. As I was imagining myself as a big ball of love, spreading love to each person I met, this image popped into my head. I like it because it helps to remind me that each small act of love I do ripples out and reaches much farther than I can see.
How Love Works: The Ripple Effect. (Also, how infectious diseases work just FYI.)