Featured: Melissa Dinwiddie – The Creative Sandbox Way

(Re-posted from my website World of Magnifica)

The past few weeks, I’ve colored some images designed by other artists – I just couldn’t resist.🙂 What amazed me, though, was that colouring their designs “felt” very different from colouring my own. I had never realized how much we are affected by other people’s creative energies!

This is just one more reason for discovering our innate creativity and for staying true to ourselves: Every person, every artist, every colourist is unique. It’s exactly our uniqueness – warts and horns and all – that makes us essential and irreplaceable pieces of the whole puzzle of Life.

Anyway, colouring these pages gave me an idea: I want to start a new series of Featured Artist posts.

Once or twice a month, I’ll color a design by someone else, and post it here [on World of Magnifica] with a short introduction about the artists and their work. This will also give me the opportunity to supplement my own designs with inspiring work in different styles and from different perspectives.

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Colouring page from The Creative Sandbox Way – coloured by MariaH (see *footnote)

I can’t think of a better artist to begin with than Melissa Dinwiddie, who is in the middle of the launch of her book

The Creative Sandbox Way: Your Path to a Full-Color Life.

I met Melissa over a year ago at a workshop and so I’m acquainted with some of her work since then, but when she sent me an advance copy of this book, I was awed! It’s is so full of energy and life, just reading it made me smile.🙂

Although Melissa has included many pages and quotes and doodles for colouring, The Creative Sandbox Way isn’t a colouring book as such, more an interactive, playful self-help book for creatives and non-creatives alike: It’s a path to living a full-colour life.

Amongst other topics, it includes great tips on how to deal with various types of life-energy sucking Gremlins (our inner critics) or a drawer full of UFOs (Un-Finished Objects), original and inspiring doodles and pages for mindfully mindless colouring-in (including a Gremlin Family Tree), memorable quotes or very doable and enjoyable daily practices and writing prompts.

melissadinwiddie001

From the introduction of The Creative Sandbox Way – highlighted and coloured by MariaH

My favourite “tiny and daily” practice is the Week of Crappy Doodles – exactly what my Perfectionist Gremlin fears so much that it makes him implode like Rumpelstilzken.😉

But my probably most important takeaway is for me the insight that creativity is the act of overcoming resistance, doubts or negative self-talk – that creativity starts exactly at that point where I often feel like stopping or sometimes even giving up.

Launch Week Bonuses 15th to 21st November!

You can order The Creative Sandbox Way directly via Amazon.com, (or just read the description and the impressive list of endorsements!) but, as it’s Launch Week, don’t miss out on the tons of extras, bonuses, and an incredibly generous prize (sort of the dream of every colorist) that Melissa has prepared for those who buy the book between 15th and 21st November 2016.

And if you are on Facebook, please come and join us in the private Creative Sandbox Way Readers & Doers group, there’s even more going on!

Hope to see you there!

Maria

By the way, the Foreword is written by Patti Digh, author of “Life is a Verb! (See also my previous post with an excerpt from Walking into this new day. in the Huffington Post.

*Footnote in case you’re wondering how I did it: I used simple coloured pencils and markers for kids. The background is frottage over corrugated cardboard, and then I added the mock-up “mat and frame” digitally with Gimp.

Don’t fight, don’t resist, don’t struggle – bury the old and Go Create instead

Excerpt from Walking into this new day. in the Huffington Post, by Patti Digh Author of “Life is a Verb,” founder of Life is a Verb Camp, and blogger at 37days.com

Be generous with your energy to create a world that is fair and equitable and just for all. Don’t spend your energy pushing against something, spend it creating the world you want for your family, your community, your friends, and all people. What we resist grows stronger; don’t resist. Don’t spend energy fighting against, but name what you want to create instead, and go create it. Create it in community with others, and make sure that community is diverse. Be creative, because creativity will get us there and will save us on the journey.

Whatever we do, in our own little worlds, creates ripples and affects everything.
What can you do – today, now, every moment – that makes your little world a little bit brighter, sunnier, lighter?

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Sunrise over barley field – Image by kangbch via pixabay

Image source: kangbch via pixabay

Update: See also the next post about The Creative Sandbox Way by Melissa Dinwiddie, to which Patti Digh has contributed the Foreword.

Creative Routine Hack: How to let go of old habits – and live and work with joy (6)

Have you just discovered the Creative Routing Hack Series? Click this link to read the first post.

Once you step out of your Comfort Zone and give up on the idea of having to control the process or the outcome, something amazing happens: You realise that what you’ve thought of as discomfort is something else entirely.🙂

It’s not anxiety, worry, or fear of the unknown, it’s…

Part Six: …Butterflies in the stomach

And they’re ready to take off.

Butterfly visiting peony - Image by Boenz via pixabay

Butterfly visiting peony – Image by Boenz via pixabay

You can – literally and practically – change the way you perceive what you call your reality by relaxing and opening up your hands, palms up.

Here are some thoughts that can assist you with making the shift:

  • Instead of thinking “I can’t because…”, prompt your mind with “right now I can…”.
  • Instead of figuring out “how can I force success” or “how can I win this game”, ask “what’s the best that can happen right now”.
  • Instead of “thinking it through”, allow for the answer to come from Butterfly-You.

You can even induce the shift with a physical motion:

Place it in your heart.

Imagine removing the idea from your brain and placing it in your heart. You can reinforce this visual by actually using your hands to do so. Allow for the idea to settle in your heart – and then let it go so it may return to you.

Or give the butterflies in your stomach a gentle, clockwise rub.

The answer may come in form of a thought or an idea popping up, something someone says, something that catches your eye, and sometimes you’re trying to do something and it just doesn’t work the way you want it to. You can then ask: “Is there a better way of doing this? What do I need to know right now?”

When feeling bored, stressed or frustrated, you can also ask Butterfly-Me “Are we having fun yet?” or “Is there a more effortless way?”

Observe, without judgment, what happens within your body or with your feelings, or in your direct environment. Neutrally view what is going on around you as if it were symbolic, or a dream.

Sometimes the answer comes as a full-fledged solution. Sometimes it comes immediately and sometimes only when you’ve forgotten all about it.

Sometimes it comes in bits and pieces, and often you will lack understanding until the whole puzzle comes together.

Don’t actively look for clues, which creates tension again. Allow and trust and don’t think about it – for me, that’s the “hardest” part, because I often feel “I need to do something” and my mind is racing with figuring out what.

In the meantime, it helps me a lot with being patient when I switch my mind to sending some love to a person or situation, or myself…or by doing something simple and creative, like a few minutes of doodling or colouring or preparing a snack, or by getting in touch with nature, like watering the plants, petting a dog or going for a short walk.

And whatever happens: Don’t judge it or belittle what you do. You don’t know what it’s good for, or what will come from it, or how it might touch someone’s heart.

Coming next: Prepare for flight

Image by Boenz via pixabay

PS: When searching for a photo to illustrate this post, I immediately fell in love with this beautiful image. Water symbolises Flow and emotions, but also clarity, refreshment, and Oneness.

I know that since ancient times flowers are used to convey messages which also speak to us on a subconscious level. I wondered what Peony stands for and came across this link: Peony – Meaning & Symbolism . Have a look and see for yourself!🙂

NaNoWriMo: (Inter)National Novel Writing Month 2016

I’m doing it again…🙂

For the past weeks I’ve been getting emails regarding the next National Novel Writing Month in November.

I held my breath – and then deleted them without even a quick peek.

Today I gave in…and signed up.

NaNoWriMo 2016

Offical NaNoWriMo 2016 Participant Badge

Yes, I do have (seemingly) more important things to do, so I did my best to keep writing fiction off my wish list. But my fingers have been itching increasingly for a while, and the last time I participated was in 2013.

Anyway, now that I know what I’ve got on my plate for November, I hope that my mind is at rest during October.🙂

How about you? Are you participating this year?

Maria

Image: Official NaNoWriMo 2016 Badge

Making of a Master Piece…

BayArt

I am an Artist
Light glowing
Ink flowing
Words sinking
Papers flying
Waste lying
In trash cans assembling
Waiting for a master piece

I am an artist
Clock ticking
Time investing
Perspiration soaking
Effort demanding
Energy dissipating
Mind creating
Patiently innovating
Waiting for a master piece

I am an artist…

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Creative Routine Hack: How to let go of old habits – and live and work with joy (5)

Have you just discovered the Creative Routing Hack Series? Click this link to read the first post.

The analogy I used in the previous post was that of Butterfly-Me preparing to fly, which involves arranging the itinerary, gathering resources and clearing the runway.

It needs uninhibited freedom and space for take-off, and requires that we are relaxed and still enough to hear it.

Part Five: How to create space – Overcoming blank page phobia

But while the Infinite Creative Mind of Butterfly-Me is active in the background, the Limited Chatty Mind is busy as well…and a lot noisier. It’s got its own ideas of how to get where it wants to go and what it needs for doing so. However, the agenda of the Limited Chatty Mind is a very different one: To keep us safe…or sorry.

Lacking the infinite perspective of the Creative Mind, it can only perceive what it’s got already – previous experiences, previously acquired knowledge, and second-hand information and evaluations by others which it claims as its own.

It only feels safe with what it “knows” because it’s “proven facts” on which it can “rely”, and it rejects everything that is out of its reach and control, or threatening to expose the stored information as “not good enough” or “wrong”.

The Comfort Zone Trap

What’s more, in order to justify its own limited view as “being right”, it has created a Comfort Zone: a delusional world of labels, rules, regulations, and judgment, leading to the “need” of “being in control” and resulting in a false sense of security. Every bit of input is immediately scrutinised and compared with whatever it finds in its archives. Then judgment is passed, a statement is made, and the new “fact” is filed and cross-referenced in the appropriate boxes for future use.

This evaluation process is automatic – habitual – for a reason: If we had to think everything through it would take far too long, and we might react too late in case of perceived emergency.

But…

…all new ideas coming from the Limited Chatty Mind are based solely on what’s stored in the archives. Considering the different sources of the various bits of information, it’s no surprise that we have many contradicting, worried and confusing thoughts, and find it difficult to make the “right” decisions. What is right, what is true, what is better, what comes next?

This stress – ranging from conflicting thoughts and doubts,  slight nervosity or irritation, to anxiety or outright fear – is a “danger” warning sent out by the Limited Chatty Mind.

It signals that we have taken a step out of the Comfort Zone into unknown territory, which the Limited Chatty Mind can’t evaluate, that is has “no control over” and therefore labels “unsafe” by default.

And when we don’t step back right away, then the Chatty Mind really gets angry and starts shouting at us, increasing the stress level.

Either way, it keeps us on our toes to prevent us from leaving the Comfort Zone.

Signpost - Image by unsplash via pixabay

Signpost – Image by unsplash via pixabay

The agenda of Butterfly-Me: Keeping us safe AND happy

Whereas the Limited Chatty Mind uses all its tricks to keep us stuck in the Old, Butterfly-Me reminds us that being creative is one of our main life purposes – and creativity means the New, growth, expansion, progress, change.

As creator of our itineraries, Butterfly-Me with its Infinite Creative Mind does not only know where we’ve been and where we are now, it also knows where we are going – provided we follow the sign-posts and directives it prepares for us.

So…how can we find out what those sign-posts and directives are?

Open your hands, palms up.

Recognise the resistance and discomfort you feel for what it really is: You stepping out of the Old Comfort Zone. You getting ready to create the New. Allow it.

Do Nothing.

Watch how in the void of Nothing the cobwebs of your old thoughts dissolve when you don’t touch them.

Don’t push, don’t pull – let go of “having to know”.

Become comfortable with “not seeing the way”, “not knowing what it means” and “not understanding” – of course you don’t, it’s something new coming up! Observe the feeling of discomfort change into ease and inner peace.

Create space.

See the blank page or canvas – or the next moment – for what it is: Full of potential.🙂

Open your hands, palms up.

Allow yourself to see the signpost. Approach it.

Coming next: Butterflies in the stomach

Images by unsplash, via pixabay