Creative Wellbeing

Motivational Monthly

prepare-for-the-fallOctober days are heavy with the last rays of summer before the leaves turn and call in Autumn and the longer, darker evenings. There is something old-fashioned about this time of year, with its harvest festivals, bonfire nights and sweet-smelling roasted chestnuts; something that reminds us of homemade jams and thick needles clicking and clacking on new winter woollies.

The blustery weather seems to blow in echoes of the adage “the devil makes light work of idle hands”, but in these times of round the clock treadmill technology when do we swap our smart phones and stress inducing schedules for a spot of tapestry or carpentry? We’re more likely to be checking emails while watching telly than putting the flourishing touches to our latest clothes peg doll.

In the olden days knitting and cross-stitch, crochet, sewing, flower arranging, playing the fiddle or singing at the piano were past on one generation to the next. In Scandinavia, children would whittle rough wooden toys like the Dala horse with no expectation of brilliance. It was just creativity as an activity that kept hands and minds busy in the evenings after work and school, done over candlelight in the embrace of family and friends and warmed by the fire.

Brave New Girl

Gift yourself or loved ones with Lou’s new book

The tradition of handmade and homegrown, is exemplified in the Danish concept of Hygge – to live well in creative contentment and simplicity. And those vintage wooden toys are now collectors’ items, not because they are masterful but because they are hewn in a heartfelt way by the small hands of curious children.

With the comeback of craft and baking and colouring in, we can all indulge our spare time in creating and de-stressing. Past generations understood that life was hard and that respite came through the routine of winding down with thread, wool, paint and wood. Now you can buy a meditation colouring book and a pack of felt tips and as an adult, sit down and do what you did as a six year old, and know that it’s good for your spirit. And you don’t have to be Van Gogh or Damian Hirst to enjoy a bit of me-time in the rainbow world of crayons or a Pinterest image mood board.

Disarm yourself of the thought that creativity is for the artistic. Artists do their own thing but history has always encouraged everyone to turn their hand and their eye to crafts that simply take a bit of enthusiasm, practice and pause in the day. Just as surely as you take the time to check your phone, you can doodle on your commute, or in a cafe in your lunch break, or in the playground while your kids run around with their friends.

And instead of feeling tied to your daily concerns you’ll feel the worries of the world float away as your hands get to work and your mind drifts off into imaginative daydream and mindful meditation. For the full article read the September/October issue of The Best You magazine

Want to make your life more happy & creative? Then work with me, your creative Life Coach. Contact me for a FREE 30 minute consultation to find out more

Lou Hamilton is a an Artist, Author & Life Coach who founded CREATELAB in her mission to use creativity to inspire others to lead happier & more fulfilling lives. Follow her on Twitter: @createlab Instagram: brave_newgirl Facebook: Lou Hamilton Artist

BRAVE – Motivational Monthly Blog

Fear is what you feel, BRAVE is what you do about it. Fear is when a soldier loses her limbs and faces a life of disability. Brave is when she decides to learn how to use prosthetic limbs and compete as a runner. Fear is when bombs rain down on your city threatening your family’s lives. Brave is when you decide to take your family on the treacherous journey across seas to find sanctuary in another land and rebuild life from scratch elsewhere. Fear is when you worry about your child’s safety and well being. Brave is when you stand up for her and help her to make the changes that will make her life better.

explore-greatly

Flipping fear into bravery is a life skill we can all learn, and we don’t have to wait until disaster strikes in order to learn it. It requires unearthing your limiting beliefs, breaking bad habits and building new ones, and it demands the strengthening of your creative muscle by harnessing your imagination for useful not fearful projected thoughts. Brave is a shift in mindset. You can practice it on a daily basis, and the more you do the better you get at it. Then when bad stuff happens, which it inevitably does at some point, you are well-rehearsed in grabbing your bravery first aid kit and preparing to do what it takes to make the situation better for yourself.

throw-fairy-dust-at-dark-forces

 

“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.”Winnie the Pooh

 

Learning to be brave is not easy, it takes hard work and commitment. It takes the willingness to create a vision for yourself, set the goals to make that vision happen, to take the steps, to build your will power, a positive belief system and a set of healthy habits. Bravery is persistence in the face of adversity, it is patience when there seems to be no end in sight, it is failing over and over again and being able to pick yourself up and keep going.

Most of us need support in learning to be Brave. Here’s how I can support you:

Other resources for learning fearlessness, that have happened with me this month

School’s out for Summer

Summer slows everything down, people are away, there’s a sense of school holidays even if you’re not a kid and don’t have kids, the evenings are long and light and when you can you’re lapping up your year’s supply of Vitamin D.

Life is ebb and flow, there’s time for speed and a time to slow down. Think of a garden; you don’t plant a seed and expect to see a tree the next day. The art of patience allows for a natural pace, the need for speed forces artificial pressure on a creative process. Think of Genetically Modified Foods. They grow quick and taste of nothing. In the film industry we use the three pronged model: quick, cheap, good. You can only have two of the three. Quick and cheap, but not good. Quick and good, but not cheap. Cheap and good but not quick.

Have dreams

Illustration by Lou Hamilton

Even instant gratification takes too long” Carrie Fisher is quoted as saying. But she has Bipolar Disorder. “I would get really impatient. I was going faster than everything else around me, and it drove me crazy. You feel out of step with the world” She has achieved a lot, being talented and manic. Her 1987 book Postcards from the Edge hit the New York Times bestseller list and won her the Los Angeles Pen Award for Best First Novel; and she’s published three bestsellers since. More recently she’s turned her memoir Wishful Drinking into a one-woman play, as well as an HBO special.

But you don’t need to be Manic to achieve a lot. I’m from the School of Plod, you do a little and often and you can incrementally produce a large body of work. The art is in consistent application. It’s like saving money. You put in 3% of your wages and over time you have built up a substantial nest-egg. It’s called Compound Interest. Day one you put in £1, Day 2 you put in another £1 and you’ve already doubled your money. Day 4 you’ve quadrupled your initial deposit. The same with writing a book; two hours a day or 1000 words and in 80 days you’ve got your first draft.

where's your hideaway

Illustration by Lou Hamilton

Carl Honore wrote In praise of Slowness, a book on the need to slow down. He speaks of how we have added speed to everything; speed-reading, speed-walking, speed-dating. He even passed a gym in New York offering speed-yoga. We believe ourselves to be time poor, so pack more in, we run faster and we feel like we have even less time than ever. We do nothing properly, we leap frog from one task to another. Marinade, savour, mull, languish, ponder, wander, contemplate, peruse, explore, lie fallow, are words we have ejected from our vocabulary and left to curl and wither under the heat of our soles pounding tarmac.

When you slow down you simply do things better. Eating, sleeping, making love, creating, inventing, designing all become better when slowness is your modus operandi. Understanding this has created the international Slow Movement, which started in Italy but has slowly spread around the world. Slow Food, growing, consuming in an organic sustainable way that celebrates pleasure and health. Slow Cities where people slow down, smell the roses and connect with one another; slowing traffic, putting in places for people to sit, read, take a breather and decompress, green spaces, art works for contemplation, poetry on the underground.

The Scandanavian countries are showing that you don’t need to work at the speed of light in order to have a kick-ass economy. They work reasonable hours and they are now among the top six most competitive nations on earth. They understand that in order to be more productive people need to be able to work fewer hours, to unplug, to sit in a quiet room. In order to be creative we need to switch off and re-charge on a regular basis.

So take timeout over Summer, use it as an opportunity to kick back and let your creative mind take over. Day dream, chill out and enjoy the view. Then in September you can come back to life and hit the ground running.

If the thought of September scares you, if you are wanting to get out of the rat race but don’t know how, I can work with you to find another way. Lou@createlab.co.uk

If you are coach and want to take your practice to the next level join us on our Quantum Coaching Bootcamp workshop. Warning: It’s not for the faint-hearted

Motivational Mondays: Using Intuition

Intuition is our body radar, picking up signals to give us inside knowledge on which to base decisions. It is an instinctive response not an intellectual or logical one. It’s a feeling. When we listen to and follow our gut instinct, things usually turn out well. It is our animal instinct. We often leave it dormant.

Doodle by Lou Hamilton

Doodle by Lou Hamilton

Intuition is a sense; it relays information, be that of danger or fortune. It gives an inkling of what might be ahead, behind or out of sight. It is what we do with the information that determines the path we carve for ourselves. Our creative nature responds to intuition, so the more open we are to the intuitive sense the more creative we can be. But we can only tap into it if we choose to stop and listen, for it is a subtle and delicate sense that can be easily drowned out by the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Doodle by Lou Hamilton

Doodle by Lou Hamilton

It takes patience, awareness and practice. Take time to pause, to notice moments of insight and flashes of inspiration, to watch patterns of events unfolding and evolving around you. Similar occurrences start to appear in different areas of your life and you can begin to make connections. You notice avocados are pushed to the front of the shelves in the supermarket, then someone recommends avocado oil, then you read that avocados are a superfood. Your week starts to pop with avocados and before you know it you are eating them every day and putting avocado oil on your salad and making face masks from the flesh. This is an example of how something slowly creeps onto our radar until it is multiplying across all our senses and we decide to act upon the flashing message in our brain: “avocados are good for you, eat more of them.”

Doodle by Lou Hamilton

Doodle by Lou Hamilton

The same thing happens when we start to become more positive in our lives. We become more sensitive to negative people, the ones that drain our energy. Gradually we are so attuned that when we hear negative talk it feels like someone running their nails down a black board. Our intuition by now is so strong in that area that the moment we meet someone we instantly ‘know’ if they are good for us or not. Our intuitive sense is screaming at us to back off from the negative people, to shake off their cloak of bleakness. If we ignore this voice we can start to become depleted or even ill from the strain of propping ourselves up against the dripping effect of their toxic waste.

Doodle by Lou Hamilton

Doodle by Lou Hamilton

When an opportunity arises, our intuition responds first; a flutter of excitement or a sense of fear or dread. We then check in with all our other senses and background information. Our logic piles in with the pros and cons. We make connections, run the reel through our minds of what the outcome will look like in a variety of scenarios. Then the best thing we can do is walk away, sleep on it, distract ourselves with other projects. Our intuitive system takes over while our conscious analytical brain is distracted. It percolates the experience until it makes sense of it. Processed, it will seep its way to the surface of our consciousness and we are able to make our decision. Sleep helps the process, with dreams incubating and unraveling the issue, away from the meddling of our conscious mindset, until the intuitive feelings become thoughts that can be acted on. If we listen to the advice of the wrong people it can set us off at a tangent to our intuition, cast us adrift from what we instinctively know to be right.

Doodle by Lou Hamilton

Doodle by Lou Hamilton

We feel intuition through a physical change in our bodies, sweaty palms, a tightening in our chest, a flutter in our stomach. Scientists at the University of Iowa did a study to test for perspiration on card players’ hands. The players didn’t know that the deck was stacked but after turning over about ten cards they started generating stress responses with sweatier palms. But it wasn’t until they had turned over 50 cards that they began to suspects the cards were rigged and not until they had got to 80 cards that they were able to work out how the decks were stacked. Their bodies sensed something was up long before their conscious minds were able to make the connection. And another study in 2005 found that the brain regions associated to bodily signals and sensory processing in people who meditated regularly, had developed more grey matter. Meditators are better placed to listen to their intuition.

“We all process things that we’re not consciously aware of—it’s a feeling of knowing that uses an older brain structure,” says neuroscientist Beatrice de Gelder, PhD, who researches blindsight, a phenomena of blindness that occurs when brain is damaged but the patient is still able to navigate a course or detect a person’s facial expression even though the can’t see using their conscious vision. Because we’re so dependent on our sense of sight, she says, we’re not used to trusting our intuitive vision track. When we feel a sense of foreboding about something we must pay attention to that sensation.

In 1957 W. I. B. Beveridge explored the role of the intuition and imagination in science in his book The Art of Scientific Investigation. He found that the more people were able to listen to their intuition, the more open was their conduit to creative thinking. Anne Lamott‘s Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, agrees “You get your intuition back when you make space for it, when you stop the chattering of the rational mind. The rational mind doesn’t nourish you. You assume that it gives you the truth, because the rational mind is the golden calf that this culture worships, but this is not true. Rationality squeezes out much that is rich and juicy and fascinating.”

Albert Einstein: “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”

Steve Jobs: “The people in the Indian countryside don’t use their intellect like we do, they use their intuition instead, and the intuition is far more developed than in the rest of the world… Intuition is a very powerful thing, more powerful than intellect, in my opinion. That’s had a big impact on my work. Western rational thought is not an innate human characteristic, it is learned and it is the great achievement of Western civilization. In the villages of India, they never learned it. They learned something else, which is in some ways just as valuable but in other ways is not. That’s the power of intuition and experiential wisdom.”

When Picasso began a drawing he would hold his pen above the blank page, not knowing what he was going to draw. Then he would touch the nib to paper and let his intuition guide his creativity and the drawing would flow from his hand. Writers say that just the act of showing up at their keyboard everyday, allows the words to pour from a place they can’t intellectually tap into. But intuition doesn’t just belong to the artistic. Intuition and creativity are an integral part of us all. They are interconnected, interdependent and interchangeable from each other and from all our other human capabilities. The more we develop those aspects of ourselves the more everything else flows in a transference that quantum physicists like to call ‘instant information transference’. We make better decisions, we learn more easily, we understand more, we make more original connections, we are more empathetic, we see things more clearly, we gain a deeper insight into our own purpose and we find life more meaningful.

Doodle by Lou Hamilton

Doodle by Lou Hamilton

Intuition and creativity help build our intelligence and guide our behavior, whilst creating a fertile field for making innovative progress. Our brains are plastic, always ready to be stretched, molded and developed. All we have to do is get out of our own way, pause, listen and learn from that quiet inner compass and gradually our mind expands, our intuitive voice gets stronger, our ability to think creatively and make connections grows and our intelligence becomes alert, responsive and boundless.

To develop our intuitive strength

  1. We must learn to become to attuned to our intuitive sense

  2. We must learn to interpret what we tune in to

  3. We must learn to act on what we have connected to

Learn to use your intuition and creativity by working with me as your creative coach, and create a richer life for yourself. Email me to find out more: Lou@createlab.co.uk

Doodle by Lou Hamilton

Doodle by Lou Hamilton

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