Feel-Good Friday Book Series: Your Creative Brain

FEEL-GOOD FRIDAY

BOOKS THAT GAVE ME SEEDS TO THRIVE (Click link for the introduction to the series)

Your Creative Brain: Seven Steps to Maximize Imagination, Productivity, and Innovation in Your Life by Shelley Carson, PhD was a game changer for me. I read the book in college for a creative processes course. I’ve written about this book once before in a post called, I’m Not Stupid After All: School Testing and Self-Worth. I have this book in hardcover and audio, and I needed both! There are self-tests and quizzes to help readers assess where their comfort mindset is, which if you truly want to understand how your brain works is a VERY powerful tool.

Shelley Carson is a Harvard professor. You’re Creative Brain is the science behind how our brains process what is in front of us. It helps us get a true view of what and where our strengths are and how to work on areas that aren’t as developed. Carson reminds us that we are all creative in different ways, and that understanding our mind’s comfort zones is key to seeing our true potential.

I used to think something was wrong with me all growing up (You can read more about my personal struggles in the link above). If I knew that I was a divergent thinker, I may not have beat myself up so much. Carson says on page 124, “Divergent thinking is a type of cognition in which you see many possible answers to question and problems. In fact, you will risk becoming overwhelmed with possibilities for creative innovation!”

The current school system can treat divergent thinkers as failures, but if they looked a little closer, they could see they are our innovators. I didn’t learn I was an divergent thinker until I was almost 40 years old. I can’t tell you how much it’s helped me knowing it. I’ve been faced with so many challenges and opportunities where I finally understood how to use my mind’s strengths.

There are so many amazing jewels this book has to offer. You definitely need a physical copy of the book to get the most from it, simply because some of the tests you need the book to do. This book won’t just help you understand your brain, but it will help you be able to see how different people feel comfortable functioning from other mindsets. It helps us in our schooling, careers, personal relationships, communities, and our inner world. When we know how our brain works, we gain understanding of how best to help ourselves succeed. We gain access to solutions and research that can help our world become better and stronger by focusing on the strengths each of us inherently have.

If you are anything like me, you will gain understanding about why it is so important that we allow people to develop their strengths, because each way of thinking is valuable. If we understand that the person in front of us is coming from a different mindset, we are more likely to ask questions than make judgments. We improve the quality of humanity when we gain understanding about ourselves and others.

Favorite Quote from Your Creative Brain:

(click on the book title to check out the book for yourself)

We are all creative. Creativity is the hallmark human capacity that has allowed us to survive thus far.”

-Shelley Carson p. 9

With Love and Gratitude,

Rachael Wolff

If you are looking for doses of daily feel-good you can follow me on social media.

90-Day A Better Me Series: Day 85 – Giving People Tools to Build From A Loving Place

90-Day A Better Me Series

Part III: Living the Journey

Making the Now Count: Rebuilding our Lives

Day 85: Giving People Tools to Build From A Loving Place

“Creativity is the person-centered process of imagining possibilities and taking embodied expressive action to make your ideas real.”

-Marta Davidovich Ockuly, PhD, 2019

On this 90-Day A Better Mejourney we have covered a lot of ground. We have looked at what holds us back (Part I), what launches us forward (Part II), and now we are well into living the journey (Part III). In these final days of the journey we will be covering how to consciously project love (light), engage in what we stand for, embracing what we manifest, being the change, and leading by example.  There is one tool very important tool you will need to engage if you want the best results and to completely submerge into life as a better you—CREATIVITY!

Take in the definition of creativity above given by Dr. Davidovich Ockuly. REALLY take it in. If you have any thoughts or perspectives of truth within you that tells you that you aren’t a creative person, read this definition again and again. YOU ARE CREATIVE! Each of us has a purpose where we need our creativity to shine through in order to bring our purpose into fruition. We make our soul’s purpose come alive when we engage in our creativity.

When we block our creativity with beliefs such as, I’m not a creative person. We sabotage our gifts; we create unnecessary blocks for ourselves. We conjure a struggle where their doesn’t need to be one. We are creative. We were made creative. We just need to find our own unique creativity. When we do that—

We find our power! We use creativity to better our lives and give others seeds to better theirs on a daily basis. What we do may not be a piece of fine art, a best-selling book, viral memes or videos, mind-blowing photography, a jaw-dropping performance, and/or an award-winning garden. We use creative to project and manifest AWE in our lives. The work is engaging in our creativity.

If we want to give people tools to build from a loving place, we not only have to be creative, we have to inspire the creativity within them. We don’t know what someone else’s creative path is, but what we do know is if we help others see themselves clearly, we are giving them the tools to go within and see their gifts. Here’s an example: I’ve read countless books, gone to thousands of workshops and classes, had many challenging life experiences, practiced spirituality and religion, and experimented with using my creative mind in all kinds of way. I needed to do all those things to create the 90-Day A Better Me Series. I had no idea when I started my blog that I would be led to write this. It just kept unfolding, because I trusted the process. I was open to the possibility of giving others tools to live better. I had to go through the process to see the possibilities in order to write everything that has come to me.

When we engage our creativity our minds are open. When we suppress our creativity our minds close. We don’t see possibility. If we don’t see possibility we are stuck in the cycle of insanity. When we are open—WE LEARN, GROW, AND EXPAND. When we do that, we have the ability to give people tools to build from a loving place.

 

With Love and Gratitude,

 

Rachael Wolff ©2019

 

P.S. I wanted to give my former professor, Dr. Marta Davidovich Ockuly, a special thank you for this beautiful definition of creativity. Thank-you for being who you are and creating what you do. You are an inspiration.

Today’s Letter from A Better Me: 90-Day A Better Me Letters Series: Day 85- Using My Creativity to Help People Find Their Tools to Build From A Loving Place

 

 

90-Day A Better Me Series: Day 67 -Celebrating What Doesn’t Work

90-Day A Better Me Series

Part III: Living the Journey

Making the Now Count: Rebuilding our Lives

Day 67: Celebrating What Doesn’t Work

“Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.”

-Garth Brooks

I’m not going to lie— This step takes some work! Celebrating what doesn’t work is a testament of our faith. It is us realizing that we don’t know what is best, and that is a VERY hard pill for many of us to swallow. I’ve talked about this multiple times in the series. If we were meant to be anywhere then where we are right at this moment, we would be there. There is something to learn from the moment we are in—

No matter what that moment looks like. As soon as we open ourselves up to learn instead of wishing things were different—We grow! Wishing things were different just keeps us stuck in the hamster wheel. We won’t get anywhere! So, if we are praying for things to change, a more productive prayer would be:

Please show me what I need to learn from the moment I’m in. Help me  move past whatever is blocking me.

There maybe a much better plan for us than we could imagine, but if we don’t learn what is necessary to get us there, we will just stay in the hamster repeating the lesson over and over. We may leave one relationship and move into the next, but the same patterns show up. We may leave one job for the next and the same patterns keep repeating themselves. We think our prayers are being answered for getting us out of one toxic situation only to find ourselves in another one. Where our thoughts and prayers go matter to the energy we are putting out into the Universe. We can’t escape or pretend to be somewhere we are not, energy is energy. It’s not judging us, it just is. So, even in the moments we are not getting what we want, we need to find away to celebrate.

“Remember that sometimes NOT getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.”

-Dalai Lama

If we have faith in a Creator who is the encapsulation of love, why would we think what we were going through isn’t a necessary step to help us achieve love’s full embrace? Why would we think a Being who represents love is punishing us? The only one punishing us is ourselves and maybe other humans are trying to, but they can’t break our soul. They can’t destroy the love within us, no matter what hate they may throw at us. Our love is ours. Only we can lock it up in the dark and make it our prisoner.

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My perspective of truth is that I’m being led to be able to love to my full capability. Everything I experience is a stepping-stone to build my love for myself, for Source, for loved ones, for strangers, for the environment, for animals, for the planet, and for the Universe. Each lesson I get, I can choose to learn from or repeat. My kids are definitely able to show me the ones I need to repeat. I also get to see where I’ve healed and how I’m breaking generations of unhealthy patterns. Little steps, that’s all there ever is. So I’ve learned to surrender, sometimes with tight fists at first, but eventually, I remember—I’m loved more than I can humanly imagine. Everything is happening exactly the way it needs to for each person to learn what he or she are meant to learn in this life.  We have to become aware, accept, and then we get to take action. That is where we celebrate!!

How do we celebrate what doesn’t work, the big NO, the drama, the chaos, the illness, the pain, and the struggle?

9 Ways to Celebrate What Doesn’t Work

  1. Have a dance party! Make a playlist of music that gets your heart pumping. Know that no matter what the challenge is, it is leading you where you are supposed to be. Honor the love in your heart. If you are grieving, know that you are grieving because of your capability to love. If a partner left you, or you needed to leave them, dance because it wasn’t the right relationship for you to experience your best love story. Celebrate the cancer, illness, or disability because with it you have an amazing tool to teach others love and compassion while learning how to embrace the love within you on your journey through the pain.
  2. Go do something you love. Have that amazing dinner, explore somewhere new, visit with friends, take that walk, ride, or run; drive to the beach, mountains, or desert. We will be covering this more in the days to come.
  3. Get down on your knees and pray. Stand-up, with your hands in the air, and pray. Lie down in your bed and pray. Just pray in gratitude to learn from the lesson in front of you, and be grateful for the love that lies behind it.
  4. Write out a gratitude list for everything that the “not getting” is teaching you. Write about how grateful you are for the mistakes, the lessons, the failures, and the challenges because they are giving you opportunities to learn about perspective. We make the choice how we want to view anything in our lives. We don’t have to be victims of anything that we don’t choose to. Gratitude is a perspective that says, I’m bigger than anything that happens to me. I’m the love inside me and for that I will celebrate and be grateful.
  5. Create a spot in your life for peace. It can be the bathroom, a closet, a room, a bench, a tree, a chair, etc. Wherever it is, make this your spot to go to when you need to feel peace when you thought you knew what was best for your life and it didn’t work out the way you thought it would. This is the place that reminds you that even your trials are part of the master plan. This is the place where you embrace the love within you to feel at peace with what is happening around you.
  6. Find a plant, tree, flower, and/or animal that makes you feel AWE. Celebrate the simplistic AWE of life, of creation. You are here! You are alive! That is something to celebrate. If you aren’t where you want to be, make sure you are taking a step on your path in the direction you actually want to be going. Celebrate the AWE inside of you.
  7. Create something beautiful! I personally love word collages (click here to see more) and writing, but this can also include things like gardening, painting, drawing, photography, knitting, stenciling, needlepoint, etc. Just be creative and use your energy to create something beautiful. IMG_3371
  8. Hug someone you love. Not just a few second hug. Hug them for a whole minute. Feel the life of someone you love in your arms. Listen to her/his heartbeat and yours.  Take deep breaths and match your breathing with hers/his. We can celebrate what doesn’t work by embracing what does—LOVE!
  9. Play and laugh! Bring out the childlike energy within yourself and find a way to play and be joyful in the moment. If you have an animal play with her/him. My kids and I play the try not to laugh or smile game while watching funny videos on YouTube. Appreciate the moment you are in. Laughing yoga is a fun way to release tension and play. Just play! What doesn’t work matters a lot less when we appreciate what does.

Be real with yourself. If you are feeling like the victim of something that is happening to you, be there with the feelings. Then, look at different ways you can choose to look at the situation. When you are ready to open yourself up to the possibilities of seeing things differently— Celebrate that! Don’t beat yourself up for your bad mood or dark feelings, just know that is where you are in the moment and when you are ready to move out of that moment, you have choices. That in itself is a reason to celebrate. I love seeing the world through the eyes of perspective because I’m never trapped. I can ALWAYS choose to see things differently. I can be the person who is grateful for the rain or who dreads it, the choice is mine and it’s yours too.

 

With Love and Gratitude,

 

Rachael Wolff ©2019

Don’t forget to read today’s companion piece: 90-Day A Better Me Letters Series: Day 67 – Celebrating What Hasn’t Worked in My Life

 

 

90-Day A Better Me Series: Day 66 – Quieting the Mind for Conscious Creation

90-Day A Better Me Series

Part III: Living the Journey

Making the Now Count: Rebuilding our Lives

Day 66: Quieting the Mind for Conscious Creation

“Only in quiet waters do things mirror themselves undistorted. Only in a quiet mind is adequate perception of the world.”

-Hans Margolius

Quieting our minds can be one of our biggest challenges, but if we do the work— It comes with the greatest rewards. In a quiet mind we can separate all the clutter and distractions. We hear and see messages clearly. We create consciously. You know those signs we ask the Divine Creator for? We only can see them when we slow down our minds.

“A quiet mind is all you need. All else will happen rightly, once your mind is quiet.”

-Sri Nisaradatta Maharaji

We actually have the ability to change our neural pathways when we are able to calm our minds on a regular basis. This means those unhealthy messages that have been feeding us and forming the way our mind behave can be changed to create new and healthier connections in the brain. Scientists have been studying the effects of regular meditation on the brain— The results are incredible. So all the mindfulness, meditation, and quieting of the mind messages have scientific proof of effectiveness.  We are literally retraining our brains to operate on a higher level. I find that pretty amazing. This is proof that we have choices that will make things better for us, and it starts with our mindset. We have to choose not to be a prisoner of our thoughts and beliefs that keep us trapped in an inner life we aren’t happy with.

“Quiet the mind, and the soul will speak.”

-Ma Jaya Sati Bhanagavati

Some people think of quieting the mind as meditation, and instantly the walls go up saying I can’t meditate. We’ve talked about the word, can’t. It’s an excuse not to keep trying. The word can’t is a choice to be stuck where we are. There are plenty of ways to quiet the mind that are building the muscle to be able to meditate and/or keep the mind quiet for longer time periods. I’ve brought some of these up in different parts of the series, but they are worth repeating.

10 Techniques to Quiet the Mind

  1. When you are using the toilet, take the time to be conscious of your breath. Make it a practice that every time you use the toilet you take three long inhales and three long exhales… This is what I did to start MAKING the time for quieting the mind.
  2. When you’re in the shower, be conscious of your breaths in and out. Then imagine the water touching you is the love of the Divine cleansing and clearing all the chaos and clutter away. Feel the love washing over you in your silence.
  3. Take a walk in nature or spend time in with the Earth in some way. If you can keep your mind on what you are seeing and feeling, you can help quiet the clutter in the mind. Really look at the nature and feel the energy coming from the Earth. Let your mind be focused on what you are looking at and touching. Embrace your senses.
  4. Lie on the ground and really look at the sky. Do you remember trying to figure out what animals clouds looked like? Or connect the dots with the stars? Focus on breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth and be childlike in your exploration. You will notice the more you can focus on this, the clutter in the mind dissipates.
  5. When you are exercising, focus on your breathing and being one with your body as you move. Pay close attention to your form and make sure your breaths are even as you move. NO holding your breath. Pay attention to the flow of your body during transitions in movement.
  6. Consciously drink a whole glass of water. See, feel, taste, hear, and smell the water moving with each sip. It helps me to add  a little flavored vinegar, lemon, cucumber, herbs, or essential oils to help me stay fully conscious of the experience.
  7. Get a meditation application, CD, YouTube, etc. on your phone and start practicing. If one doesn’t work for you, try another. Start slow if you are challenged. What time did you start and when did your mind start moving into the clutter. Then find meditations for that length of time and work your way up. Don’t beat yourself up over your mind drifted. You can see the thought come up in your mind and watch it float by like a balloon and release it. Don’t try to force your mind not to let the thoughts in, just simply let them pass by and visualize them floating off.
  8. Free writing is one of my favorite techniques. There are many names for this type of writing. Here is the method that works best for me: Set a timer for 20-30 minutes. Ask the Universe a question, say a prayer, write down a quote that inspires you, or give your mind a topic and just start writing. Don’t think or plan what you are going to write, don’t edit any words that are coming to the page, just write without trying to steer your thoughts. Keep writing until your timer is up or just keep writing if you are in a flow that the words are just coming to you without any effort. Once your mind starts trying to control the writing after the timer goes up, stop! The more you do this kind of writing the more you will be consciously creating. Many of my blogs are written like this. I actually do my best writing when I let my conscious energy flow. I only edit when the whole piece is complete.
  9. Doodle, doodle, and doodle some more. If you struggle with meditation, try listening to meditation music or a guided meditation while you doodle. Simply focus on breathing and letting your hand be led to just create the shapes and words that flow into stream of consciousness. Doodling has been scientifically proven to help focus the mind (the research is easily accessible on-line, just in case you ever have a teacher complaining about your child is doodling).
  10. Create a free mind; free flow art piece, creative movement, and/or musical masterpiece. Like the writing, set a timer. Give yourself a minimum of 20-30 minutes. Ask the Universe a question, say a prayer, look at a picture that inspires you, listen to a song without lyrics that inspires you, and/or just take three long deep breaths in and out. Now start creating without any thinking, planning or editing. See what comes up. You may be amazed in what you create. Some of the most mesmerizing music and art was created in free flow energy.

When we allow ourselves the time and space to quiet the mind, we start consciously creating new ways of thinking, believing, living, choosing, processing, expressing, loving, visualizing, experiencing, flowing, being, problem-solving, and on and on the list goes. The possibilities are endless once we quiet the mind for conscious creation. Now, if you are truly interested in changing your life, take one to three of the items on the list and do it for a minimum of 45-Days. You will be SHOCKED at the results. Like I’ve said before, transformation takes commitment and work. We have to consciously choose to MAKE the time.

 

With Love and Gratitude,

 

Rachael Wolff ©2019

Don’t forget to read today’s companion piece: 90-Day A Better Me Letters Series: Day 66 – Quieting My Mind

 

 

 

Creating Collages for Practicing Presence and Building Self-Worth

Creative practices and hobbies are wonderful tools for our personal well-being. We gain so much by slowing down and putting our focus on a creative project. Activating that part of our brain helps us in a myriad ways. The focus of this piece is on practicing presence and building self-worth through creating collages. This is where the journey took me.

When I was going through a very dark time, I found my way to a 12-Step group called AL-ANON. The program is for families and loved ones of alcoholics. It was in this group I found me. I stopped focusing my energy on people and things I couldn’t control and started to focus on what I could change and improve—me. One of the tools I heard mentioned multiple times was making a God Box. This suggestion brought back horrible memories for me because I remember having one in high school and thinking God hated me because the pain kept coming. I knew I needed something, so I got a container and started covering it with everything I wanted for myself inside and out.

 

In the midst of creating the project I cut out the words “God can”. In that moment, I felt connected…What I can’t do for myself, God can. For some reason working on the container and seeing the life I was looking to create for myself both inward and outward connected me. I was present. I enjoyed placing each piece of paper on that can. Each one just seemed to have the perfect spot. As the project went on I felt even clearer headed. I thought, here is what I want. I’m going to write God letters on anything that is creating difficulty in making what is on and in this container come true for me. Creating the can, I was present. Looking at the can, I am present. Writing the letters, I’m present. In that presence I find the best solutions. I’ve been given so many amazing gifts from engaging in my creativity making my God Can.

On a side note: I will tell you right now, I don’t judge anyone for what they believe. I believe our spirituality is a personal relationship and how we connect is an inner calling only we can hear. Books, people, animals, and nature can help us feel that inner call, but it is up to us individually to make the connection that feels sacred to us.

 Through the years I’ve created presents for friends, which once again connect me to the best parts how I see others and how I see myself. Finding each word to describe my loved ones, along with each saying and/or phrase that felt true, connected me to this amazing energy of peace and joy. These feelings only exist in the present moment. One of my favorite sayings I learned in AL-ANON was, “If you spot it, you got it.” Now, I’ve heard that before, but I never thought it was true for the good stuff because I had a horrible sense of self-worth, self-esteem, and self-image. It was making these types of gifts for my friends and realizing, this is true for me too, that helped me build up my sense of self. I began to see that through my perception of them, I could see me.

 

 

 

In my late thirties, I went to college to get my degree in Human Development. I took an amazing course on the creative process by professor Marta Ockuly. For one of the projects I created a hope chest. I went through dozens of magazines in a complete Zen-like process finding empowering words, phrases, and sayings. I read countless inspiring quotes from old Louise Hay calendars. I was in search for all the good I could find. By putting my focus in this energy, amazing ideas kept popping into my head. The creative process brought out my best qualities. I was happy taking this time to focuse on this image of hope I was creating. I felt connected to each piece of paper I place on the wood. I felt peace as I brushed the on the coating creating a finishing shine. My hope chest is now filled with my dreams and goals.

 

 

The latest collage was my inspiration board for 2018 (Check out the story of my inspiration board here).  My goal was to create something for my desk where I wrote everyday. I’ve learned the importance of staying present and mindful. I’ve taken away so much of my stress, worry, and anxiety by simply staying in the moment. I’m still not perfect, but as always, I’m a work in progress. Making the board helped me focus without getting overwhelmed or filling myself with fear of an unknown future. It didn’t put pressure on me to make an endless amount of resolutions that I wouldn’t follow through on. Having the board in front of me helps me keep my head where I want it to be. My inspiration board reminds me of what I stand for and the person I am. In times of darkness, it keeps me from putting my energy into the fear, hate, rage, and anger. Each time I look at my board, even right now, I get to see the love that is inside me, because I created this board of hope. I found these words. I connected to poetry, quotes, and saying. This board is what is inside of me.

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My journey through my collages shows my dedication to being the best version of me. Focusing on me in this way didn’t make me selfish. It made me into a woman who has self-respect, self-worth, self-esteem, and a positive self-image. I love sharing and giving to others, because I know what I give is from an authentic place of love. I am able to pay my mistakes of my past forward by assisting others in seeing their own value. I love what my collages have brought out in me.

I hope this will inspire you to get out your magazines, print out some pictures, find your favorite memes, and create the best vision of you that you can imagine. I would love to see what you create. Share with me on From A Loving Place.

With Love and Gratitude,

Rachael Wolff © 2018