Archive for April, 2011

Jill Barber – Chances

April 27th, 2011

Your Life Isn’t An Accident: A Tip on Finding Your Life Path By Hershey Wier

April 26th, 2011

If “transitioning” is a talent, then perhaps quite a few of us can add that to our little bag of tricks. In my life, I went through several interstate moves during my childhood in the U.S. I’ve been through a few of life’s traumas and deaths of family members, I have cumulatively lived with over 60 roommates, have moved over 22 times, have lived in nine different cities, and now, as most of you reading this, live in what has become my second homeland, Japan.

I have made so many transitions, in fact, that I now incorporate the title ‘transitionist’ on my e-mail signature line. That’s who I am. I know transition. One day, though, I realized that I had accumulated almost too many experiences, too many transitions. It was time to pare down and decide what it is I wanted to do from here on. Or, at least for the next six years. Maybe longer if it’s fulfilling, or for fewer years if it’s not. In looking back on my life thus far, I noticed that about every sixth year, I had gone through a life change. Perhaps I moved, or entered or finished some program or major project, but each change lasted for six years.

It has been said that to understand is to perceive patterns. So, I note this six year pattern, and try to incorporate that into my future plans. Then the question for myself became, “What would you like to try out for the next six years?” Now, to answer that question, I journaled and I soul searched. One of the concepts that came out of this is what I’m going to tell you below.

Do you ever pine away thinking “If only I had done such and such… my life would have turned out differently.” Yes, differently, but better? You don’t know that. Remember that you got to the point you are at today because of who you are. If you had a difficult home life, you may have left home early on and struck out on your own. If you were pampered by your parents with a cozy home life, perhaps you’re an adult who is still living there. Is that any better? If not, it’s time to make a move.

Each of us made decisions at each point in time that seemed right to us at that time. Have you done the “right” thing with your life? Yes, because you did the only thing you felt you could have done at that time. Rather than kicking yourself for choices that you see now, in retrospect, could have been more wisely made, recall the circumstances that led to them. Recall the players and the options in your world at that time. Then give yourself credit for bravely facing each crux in time and making the best choice that was available to you.

Be proud of the fact that you have a lifetime of experience that is like no other. You have developed a unique set of skills and talents. A huge bank account of experiences. How can you draw from it?

What I mean by finding your “life path” is finding a vocation or avocation which makes you feel fulfilled. This does not necessarily mean it makes a lot of money. It is something you enjoy doing, and that you feel is one of your life’s callings. As my life has been marked by many transitions, I decided to develop work that involves writing and speaking about transition, and it is very fulfilling to me.

It is a kind of funny story

April 25th, 2011

story to find your creativity and the way back to life …

Mastering Creative Anxiety By Eric Maisel, Ph.D. (3)

April 24th, 2011

11. Disidentification techniques
“Disidentification” is the core idea of the branch of psychotherapy known as psychosynthesis. Rather than attaching too much significance to a passing thought, feeling, worry, or doubt, you remind yourself that you are larger than and different from all the stray, temporal events that seem so important in the moment. You do this dis-identifying primarily by watching your language. For example, you stop saying “I’m anxious” (or worse, “I’m an anxious person”) and begin to say, “I’m having a passing feeling of anxiety.” When your show comes down without a sale, instead of saying “I’m ruined” or “I’m finished,” you say, “I’m having a passing feeling of pain and disappointment.” By making these linguistic changes you fundamentally reduce your experience of anxiety.

12. Ceremonies and rituals
Creating and using a ceremony or ritual is a simple but powerful way to reduce your experience of anxiety. For many people lowering the lights, lighting candles, putting on soothing music and in other ways ceremonially creating a calming environment helps significantly. One particularly useful ceremony is one that you create to mark the movement from “ordinary life” to “creating time.” You might use an incantation like “I am completely stopping” in a ritual or ceremonial way to help you move from the rush of everyday life to the quiet of your creative work, repeating it a few times so that you actually do stop, grow quiet, and move calmly and effortlessly into the trance of working.

13. Reorienting techniques
If your mind starts to focus on some anxiety-producing thought or situation or if you feel yourself becoming too wary, watchful and vigilant, all of which are anxiety states, one thing you can do is to consciously turn your attention in another direction and reorient yourself away from your anxious thoughts and toward a more neutral stimulus. For example, instead of focusing on the audience entering the auditorium where you’re about to give a talk you might reorient yourself toward the notices on the bulletin board in the green room, paying them just enough attention to take your mind off the sounds of the audience arriving but not so much attention that you lose your sense of what you intend to say.

14. Discharge techniques
Anxiety and stress build up in the body and techniques that vent that stress can prove very useful. One discharge technique that actors sometimes learn to employ to reduce their experience of anxiety before a performance is to “silently scream” — to make the facial gestures and whole body intentions that go with uttering a good cleansing scream without actually uttering any sound (which would be inappropriate in most settings). Jumping jacks, pushups and strong physical gestures of all sorts can be used to help release the “venom” of stress and anxiety and pass it out of your system.

15. Recovery work
You can deal with mild anxiety without having to stop everything. But if your anxiety is more serious and especially if it permeates your life, affecting your ability to create, your ability to relate, your ability to dream large, and your very ability to live, then you must take your anxiety-management efforts very seriously, as seriously as you would take your efforts to recover from an addiction. One smart way to pay this kind of serious attention is by using addiction recovery ideas, for example the idea of identifying triggers, those thoughts and situations that trigger anxiety in you. Just as you might “work your program” to stay sober, you work your program to stay calm and centered.

If you intend to create, get ready for anxiety. It is coming — and you can handle it beautifully if you use these simple tools and turn yourself into an anxiety management expert. •

About the Author
Eric Maisel, Ph.D., is America’s foremost creativity coach and is widely known as the creativity expert. His most recent book is Mastering Creative Anxiety.

Based on the book Mastering Creative Anxiety © 2011 by Eric Maisel. Printed with permission of New World Library, Novato, CA.

Very talented lady with a fab voice

April 22nd, 2011

I believe in you …

April 21st, 2011

Mastering Creative Anxiety By Eric Maisel, Ph.D. (2)

April 20th, 2011

6. Cognitive work
Changing the way you think is probably the most useful and powerful anti-anxiety strategy. You can do this straightforwardly by 1) noticing what you are saying to yourself; 2) disputing the self-talk that makes you anxious or does not serve you; and 3) substituting more affirmative, positive or useful self-talk. This three-step process really works if you will practice it and commit to it.

7. Incanting
A variation on strategies five and six is to use them together and to “drop” a useful cognition into a deep breath, thinking “half” the thought on the inhale and “half” the thought on the exhale. Incantations that might serve to reduce your experience of anxiety might are “I am perfectly calm” or “I trust my resources.” Experiment with some short phrases and find one or two that, when dropped into a deep breath, help you quell your anxious feelings.

8. Physical relaxation techniques
Physical relaxation techniques include such simple procedures as rubbing your shoulder and such elaborate procedures as “progressive relaxation techniques” where you slowly relax each part of your body in turn. Doing something physically soothing probably does not amount to a full anxiety management practice but can prove really useful in the moment to help you calm yourself and when used in combination with your cognitive practice.

9. Mindfulness techniques
Meditation and other mindfulness practices that help you take charge of your thoughts and get a grip on your mind can prove very useful as part of your anxiety management program. It is not so important to become a practiced “sitter” or to spend long periods of time meditating but rather to truly grasp the idea that the contents of your mind create anxiety and that the better a job you do of releasing those thoughts and replacing them with more affirmative ones, the less you will experience anxiety.

10. Guided imagery
Guided imagery is a technique where you guide yourself to calmness by mentally picturing a calming image or a series of images. You might picture yourself on a blanket by the beach, walking by a lake, or swinging on a porch swing. You can use single snapshot images or combine images to such an extent that you end up with the equivalent of a short relaxation film that you play for yourself. The first step is to determine what images actually calm you by trying out various images and then, once you’ve landed on images that have the right calming effect, actually bring them to mind when you are feeling anxious.

will be continued …

Mastering Creative Anxiety By Eric Maisel, Ph.D.

April 17th, 2011

15 Anxiety Management Techniques
Mastering Creative Anxiety by Eric Maisel
Based on the book Mastering Creative Anxiety: 24 Lessons for Writers, Painters, Musicians & Actors
by Eric Maisel

Many anxieties arise as you attempt to create. There is the anxiety of facing a blank canvas and fearing that you have nothing to say or that you have something to say but won’t say it well. There is the anxiety that comes with putting yourself “out there” and risking criticism and rejection. There is the related anxiety known as performance anxiety that afflicts almost everyone. There is the anxiety associated with going into the unknown, with relinquishing control, with making choices (as the creative act is one choice after another) — innumerable anxieties arise as you try to create and as you try to find an audience for what you create.

In order to create and to deal with all the anxiety that comes with creating, you must acknowledge and accept that anxiety is part of the process, demand of yourself that you will learn — and really practice! — some anxiety management skills, and get on with your creating and your anxiety management. There is no reason for you not to create if “all” that is standing in the way is your quite human experience of anxiety. What follows are fifteen anxiety management tools. For a further discussion of these and other techniques that you can employ, please take a look at my latest book Mastering Creative Anxiety (New World Library, 2011).

1. Attitude choice
You can choose to be made anxious by every new opinion you hear or you can choose to keep your own counsel. You can choose to be over-vigilant to changes in your environment and over-concerned with small problems or you can shrug such changes and problems away. You can choose to involve yourself in every controversy or you can choose to pick your battles and maintain a serene distance from most of life’s commotion. You can choose to approach life anxiously or you can choose to approach it calmly. It is a matter of flipping an internal switch — one that you control.

2. Improved appraising
Incorrectly appraising situations as more important, more dangerous or more negative than they in fact are raises your anxiety level. If you are a writer and consider it important what weight of paper you use to print out your manuscripts, you are making yourself anxious. If you hold it as dangerous to send out your fiction without copyrighting it because you’re afraid that someone will steal it, you are making yourself anxious. If you consider form rejection letters genuine indictments of your work, every form rejection letter will make you anxious. You can significantly reduce your experience of anxiety by refusing to appraise situations as more important, more dangerous, or more negative than they in fact are.

3. Lifestyle support
Your lifestyle supports calmness or it doesn’t. When you rush less, create fewer unnecessary pressures and stressors, get sufficient rest and exercise, eat a healthy diet, take time to relax, include love and friendship, and live in balance, you reduce your experience of anxiety. If your style is to always arrive chronically late, to wait until the last minute to meet deadlines, and to live in disorganization, you are manufacturing anxiety. How much harder will it be to deal with the creative anxiety in your life if your very lifestyle is producing its own magnum of anxiety?

4. Behavioral changes
What you actually do when you feel anxious makes a big difference. Behaviors like playing games or watching television for hours quell anxiety but waste vast amounts of your time. Behaviors like smoking cigarettes chemically quell anxiety but increase your health risks. If a ten-minute shower or a twenty-minute walk can do as good a job of reducing your anxiety as watching another hour of golf or smoking another several cigarettes, isn’t it the behavior to choose? There are many time-wasting, unhealthy, and dispiriting ways to manage anxiety — and many efficient, healthy, and uplifting ways, too.

5. Deep breathing
The simplest anxiety management technique is deep breathing. By stopping to deeply breathe (5 seconds on the inhale, 5 seconds on the exhale) you stop your racing mind and alert your body to the fact that you wish to be calmer. Begin to incorporate deep breaths into your daily routine, especially when you think about your creative work and when you approach your creative work.

will be continued …

The climb

April 16th, 2011

The Importance of Creativity by Vickie Ferguson

April 15th, 2011

The importance of creativity in our personal lives can’t be underestimated. Creativity is a part of who we are and how we express ourselves in everyday life. How creativity impacts our relationships, careers and business strategies means that it’s crucial too

While creativity comes easily and naturally to some, creativity needs encouragement and education to foster. It requires finding the best way for those people to express and implement their creative ideas. Fine-tuning the ability to take the imagination one-step further and produce a tangible item or viable process, solution or procedure is the result of creativity.

The importance of creativity is essential to individuals in order to express feelings, thoughts and ideas in a way that reflects who we are. The outlet or medium is whatever process works best to ensure the individual gets their message across, it is understood, and the form of expression may be subtle, loud or visual.

Expressing creativity is what comes from taking both old and new ideas, melding them together and creating something new and unique out of these ideas. Creative expression comes in many ways and the following list is a sampling of several areas where creativity is used.

  • Writers, poets, philosophers all use the written word to express thoughts by adding to and expanding on pre-conceived ideas
  • Artists use creativity to express their ideas and visions through painting, wood carving, sculptures, graffiti and photography
  • Musicians, singers and songwriters use words and sound to be creative
  • Actors and actresses are provided with endless opportunities to express their creativity through words and actions
  • Dancers use interpretation to express and convey creativity to an audience
  • Fashion designers create using fabrics and materials
  • Hair stylists use a persons persona to create individual styles

The list can go on indefinitely and is, in itself, an example of creativity.