I just love that word. It's something you feel on the inside that makes you want to do a happy dance, but only if you make space for it.
It's easy to allow the distractions of this life to fill up the space where joy can be felt and experienced.
What kind of distractions?
Well, let's see.
"Obligations" that aren't really the obligations that you think they are.
Conversations that are completely irrelevant to you.
Getting stuck in a rut that you've created for yourself.
Feeling boxed in by responsibility that you think you have to attend to at a certain time when you really don't have to. (This can feel heavy which is the opposite of JOY.)
Unnecessary activity that doesn't add to you or enhance your daily life experience.
So, what do you do with all this distraction?
I think the first step is recognizing what is a distraction in your life and how much space it's taking up. You may be surprised with how much room you can make in your life for the JOY you really want just by eliminating what isn't necessary and just focusing on what really matters to you.
You know what question I often ask myself when I want more JOY?
"What do you really want to do right now?"
You see, we often think we want things that we don't want when we really stop to think about it. If we're truly honest with ourselves, life can be much simpler and satisfying when we listen to our hearts.
And that makes sense since it's our heart that feels the JOY when we create it or when it happens spontaneously. Keeping our "ears" open for what is distracting us and taking action to remove or greatly reduce it can help us be more open to the JOY that awaits us with greater awareness and mindfulness of how we are spending our days.
I love it when I experience JOY in my heart when I choose to eliminate what is unnecessary and focus on what really matters. Then I know I'm truly aligned with Who I Am and I'm more able to leave my meaningful mark in the world.
List any and all distractions you currently have going on in your life. Determine the first one you will look to eliminate or greatly reduce to make more space for JOY. Take note of how you feel once that distraction has been dealt with and the space it makes for you to feel more JOY.
Art Journal Prompt:
Use the word JOY as an art journal prompt, showing and telling what brings you JOY. You can also create a spread expressing how you feel when you reduce the distractions in your life, honoring this positive change you have chosen for yourself.
I am excited to share with you my contribution to our January/February #JournalChat Live OPEN HOUSE (see link for details!) with our focused topic, Your Journaling: The Greatest Investment.
I will share with you why journaling and art journaling have been 2 of the greatest investments in my life and what these practices have led me to as one of the Greatest Investments in my life, especially in the past five years.
As an avid written journal keeper, I have found numerous benefits in my daily entries as I've discovered more about myself, my life, my world.
But one of the biggest Investments my journaling practice has been for me is in direct connection with my creativity: It has been directly influential in giving me creative clarity and direction (combined with prayer/meditation) toward building my creative practice, which is essentially regularly engaging in journaling, art journaling, doodling, intuitive watercolor painting and other creativity-based activities that keep me connected with my creative flow and light.
Journaling has enabled me to hash out what works for me creatively and what doesn't. I can be honest with myself and determine what I love and what doesn't float my boat.
One of the Greatest Investments I have discovered as a RESULT of my journaling practice has been my Intuitive Watercolor Painting. I decided to start using watercolor 5 years ago when I first began working in a sketchbook/mixed media book to create visuals with paint, image and text, what I now call my Art Journaling practice.
Watercolor and Art Journaling came into my life at the same time and both of those practices have become essential in my creative life. With both activities, I can listen carefully to my intuition and to my heart, which enables me to understand myself better, on a deeper subconscious level, which is incredibly powerful. I have been amazed with what comes out sometimes.
My watercolor painting that I do daily has become a way to play with color and apply it in my own artistic approach, both using the stippling method (essentially, dots of color in layers) as well as other paintbrush applications. This process for me is relaxing, refreshing, revitalizing and FUN. I have found my artistic style using the watercolor medium and that makes me very happy.
Journaling, both written and visual, have been conduits of wisdom, deep understanding, insight, and help with making decisions, including investing time in myself every day, even if it's just 5 minutes.
I highly recommend a written journal keeping practice as well as a visual one to invest time in yourself this year. But one of my greatest wishes is for you to discover what makes you happy and practice it every day. YOU WILL BE GLAD YOU DID.
How has your journaling practice been a wise and beneficial investment in your life? Detail how your life has changed for the better as a result of keeping a written journal.
Also, detail how your journaling practice has led you to the greatest benefit of your life. How did you discover it and how often do you engage in it? How do you feel about it afterwards?
Art Journaling Prompt:
Using the Greatest Investment as a prompt, create an authentic visual that honors what you love about art journaling or another activity that lifts your spirit and leaves you feeling fabulous. What do you love about it so much? Relish the process!
Here is my recent Refresh Daily Periscope Broadcast where I share 2 Reasons to Invest Time in Yourself in 2016, plus I discuss the #JournalChat Live OPEN HOUSE invite and then I give a Close Up View of my Intuitive Watercolor Painting, Flourish. Due to the video being based in Periscope, there are spots throughout where what I'm saying is cut out and it skips, but the message is still there! Enjoy.
As you can see by the title to this post, I'm starting a new series of doodle/art related posts in association with an Art Journal Challenge I signed up for called Color Me Positive. :) They post a new challenge each week, and our first one had the theme, Gratitude.
As I have already noted, this is an art journal challenge. But I did not choose to use my current art journal as my substrate of choice. No, instead I decided to go the Doodle route and use a page in my art sketchbook where I take notes, make headers for my blog and experiment.
With the challenge having a focus on gratitude, I decided right away that I didn't want to use the word, Gratitude, in my visual. Instead, I came up with a way of expressing gratitude using different terms, so I decided to use: Thank You Very Much.
Once I determined what words I would start with, I then considered what I would include for the items I am thankful for. The three (good number!) I considered and used are: Creativity (but, of course, right?), Love, and Connection with Spirit.
Of course, creativity includes all of my Creative Practice Elements: Art Journaling, Journaling, Doodling, Watercolor Painting, Collage, Walking, Reading, etc. My creative practice has had such a positive impact on my life that I want to encourage every person to build one of their own. It can be simply life-changing. Why? Because it gives you a way to express yourself, go deeper with yourself and understand yourself better. Plus, it's FUN. It's a way to Play. And we ALL need more PLAY in our lives!
The second one is focused on Love, which includes my relationship with my husband, my daughters, and my grandson, as well as others who are dear to me, both relationally and based in quality friendships. Love makes everything more meaningful and purposeful. Love never fails.
The third, yet most important, in my list is my Connection with Spirit. I wouldn't have anything at all without it. And it is the basis for everything I do. It's where my Intuition and Inner Wisdom come from, it's where my creativity finds its greatest strength, and how I keep the LIGHT ON in my life so I can see the next step on my journey.
As far as process goes, I determined I would use wavy lines as my framework, and then I drew in letters for my message, determining spacing and design as I worked my way through. Then I determined what sort of embellishments I would use to create visual interest as well as what colors I would incorporate to help express what I was feeling the most authentic way possible.
I really enjoyed the idea of bright sunshine where my Connection with Spirit was located since this is the Light that shows me the way with every step. The rest of the embellishments are focused on geometrics, with squares and diamonds and circles, molding to the shapes around them. I had a lot of fun with this design creation.
What would be your focus with the words: Thank You Very Much? What top three dimensions of your life would you include if you made such a visual? Why would you choose those elements over others? What do these choices say about what's most important to you?
Art Journal Prompt:
Using the words, Thank You, create a visual spread that incorporates what you valued the most in the past year and why it was priority in your life. Use images and text that show the most heartfelt message that comes to you in this creation to honor your heart and process as you play in your journal.
It has been a tradition of sorts for me to take a look back on my year and see what has changed, what has stayed the same and how I've grown in different dimensions of my life.
So, with 2015 almost gone, I thought I'd continue the tradition here at Refresh Daily to share my thoughts, my perspective and my anticipation for the future.
I wanted to start by talking about this blog, Refresh Daily. I have had an interesting, fun and adventuresome time as a blogger since 2007. (Yes, I've been around in the blog sphere for 8 years now.) A little background: I started on Blogger with my personal blog, JournalWriter Freelance. I then changed it up with Refresh with Dawn Herring: For a Fresh Perspective. I also added the blog with a focus on #JournalChat and journaling related info. Then I added Your Authentic Refreshment with interviews about folks who have found what refreshes them.
Since then, I started creating a blog here at www.dawnherring.net and decided to call it Refresh Daily. But as of this year, I've made Refresh Daily my primary creativity-focused blog where I share my artistic point of view concerning all of my adventures, and I have had SUCH a BLAST sharing with you my art journal spreads, my Doodle Dynamics, my book reviews, Creative Conversations, plus other great stuff like what inspires me, my wardrobe finds and my Refresh Daily YouTube Videos!
With so much to share, Refresh Daily has become my favorite place to reveal my artistic process, my life insights and some inspiration for you, my dear readers, to keep a journal and to activate Your Creative Center.
This Refresh Daily place has truly refreshed me! So it's a win-win.
I have also launched Refresh Daily Video, where I share creativity tips, including journaling and art journaling prompts, to encourage the simplicity of being creative without feeling overwhelmed or guilty. I also include refreshing clips from my creative walks, from birds and nature-based visuals. I've had so much fun with that!
I also joined a new Social Media Platform called Periscope, an app-based live video broadcast you use from your phone or other devise to record anything you like! Of course, my focus is on creativity and giving you an inside view of my creative practice. (Follow me at @DawnHerring)
Plus, I've joined Instagram, sharing my visual art and photos I take on my walks.
I still continue hosting #JournalChat Live for all things journaling on Social Media, posting links on Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Facebook where we have a thriving membership of journal and art journal keepers, as well as launching the new format of the OPEN HOUSE, where journal keeping enthusiasts write blog posts to a specific topic which I share on Social Media and on my website, bringing you more great journaling content for your journaling inspiration! You can read my Thank You Post for this past year of 2015 for those who have been a part of our #JournalChat Live activities!
Refresh Journal was my newsletter that I published for 4 years, and I chose to Retire it back in the spring. You can read my post about my decision here. I so appreciate those who were regular readers of Refresh Journal and I appreciate your interest in Refresh Daily, where I post all of my content now. :)
On the personal side of things, I continue my creative practice with keeping a personal written journal, which I record in twice per day, sometimes more, which also includes my evening doodle, where I look back on my day, create a word or phrase that describes it best, and doodle with black Uniball pen and Winsor Newton Watercolor markers, which is such a refreshing, relaxing creative practice. I've had so much FUN with this!
I also continue to keep an art journal, as Refresh Daily attests, which combines watercolor, mixed media, collage, text, stamping, stenciling, image, and experimentation, that brings the subconscious to the fore. Art journaling continues to be a very powerful practice for me.
I continue strong with my commitment to paint with watercolor daily, a decision I made back in the summer of 2014. I enjoy putting dots of paint on the canvas, watercolor paper, etc, using an intuitive approach so I can express myself from the heart. I never regret the time invested in my watercolor practice; it truly refreshes me.
I would be remiss not to mention my spiritual practice which directly inspires my creative practice as I study spiritual texts, keep spiritual journals, and pray/meditate and stay connected to Spirit to keep the Light On.
I am looking forward sharing new content here at Refresh Daily in 2016, including my Periscope broadcasts and Refresh Daily Video, my newest additions to my creative content. I simply love connecting with many journal and art journal keepers, writers, artists, and other creatives on social media and look forward to connecting with YOU in 2016.
I plan more OPEN HOUSES for #JournalChat Live in 2016, so I am looking forward to YOUR Contribution as journal keeping enthusiasts so we can share with the world the great benefits of keeping a journal and what a powerful tool it is in every day life!
I want to especially thank YOU, my dear Refresh Daily readers, for making my time on Social Media and on my blog such a rewarding experience. I have received such fabulous feedback on the insight and care I put into what I share and how many have been inspired to get more creative and keep a journal, initiating self care and positive change that leads to personal empowerment.
Here at Refresh with Dawn Herring my goal is to show you how the Creative Spirit can come to LIFE in your every day experience as well as in your business. Through finding what your creative practice can look like, which can give you fantastic benefits in every dimension of your life, as well as how to infuse your business with your creativity, and showcasing that creativity on Social Media, your creative practice can help you stand out in your areas of expertise. My programs, Your Business Refreshed! and Your Life Refreshed!, can help you do that, with my creative experience and my social media marketing direction. I look forward to working with you as your Creative and Social Media Consultant both personally and professionally in 2016!
So, that's my review of 2015.
Thanks so much for your interest at Refresh with Dawn Herring, at my Refresh Daily blog, and connecting with me on Social Media. I look forward to continuing our creative conversation in 2016.
Of course, I won't forget to remind you to refresh yourself in 2016. And I mean that! <3
Take time to look back on your year of 2015. Be sure to recognize your accomplishments no matter how small, what you let go of, and what you made more time for. Assess if there's is anything you should release as you head into 2016.
Art Journal Prompt:
Using 2015 as your prompt, express your emotions and recognize how far you've come in your journey toward aligning with Who You Are and honor that process visually, with images, text, or simply color. Relish the moment.
Copyright 2015 by Dawn Herring
Copyright 2015 Header by Dawn Herring
I wanted to share with you, my dear readers and friends, about an experience I had on my walk recently. I go on almost daily walks, weather permitting, for fresh air, exercise and for any adventures that may come my way, which I am always on the look out for.
During this particular morning, I was seeing evidences of the deluge of a rainstorm from the previous night--very windy with downpours. Typical Texas weather, of course.
So as I was journeying down the sidewalk, then crossed over for my way back to my place, I noticed the sidewalk plastered with leaves in a particular area. Apparently the tree on the nearby property took a bit of a beating and lost a bunch of its glory onto the sidewalk.
At first, I just glanced, noticed the textured and layering and then kept walking. But then I realized I could be missing out on something by not taking more careful note of what I was seeing. I believe this was an intuitive impulse I was feeling.
I am a huge proponent of listening to your intuition; it will often guide you into some unexpected places that you would otherwise miss, enriching your daily life experience. And I certainly didn't want to ignore this impulse--I didn't want to miss out on anything I may not be aware of.
So I took a U-turn on foot and retraced my steps. It's not often that I do this, but this time I felt compelled.
So I got my camera ready and started taking up-close shots of various areas where the leaves were congregating. I really enjoyed this process, being careful to really pay close attention to the color, the shapes, the layered effects of the leaves, and the mixed texture of leaves against grass and sidewalk with the colored stones mixed in.
In reality, for me, this was a fun filling-of-my-creative-well since, as an artist, I am always looking for images, textures, color and design for future reference in my creative work, especially with my watercolor paintings. You can never know where that infilling will lead. I really do need to trust this process, so I divulged myself and seized the moment. And I'm so glad I did.
I really saw this as an important lesson of recognizing those important nudges and not ever overlooking the smallest of creative impulses or opportunities to see what something could mean for me in any way possible. I followed my curiosity and enjoyed the process of absorbing the moment of unexpected creativity.
And honestly, I think maybe the leaves were happier because they gave me such pleasure which gave them even more value, off the tree and in places they might not particularly enjoy very much. (Most times I'm sure they just get stepped on and not noticed, especially in such an environment.)
I know it may seem odd to give what would be perceived as dead leaves with no life in them whatsoever personality and good thoughts. But when it comes to appreciating the beauty all around me and what it has to offer my creative expression, I think it's worth the good energy-based thoughts to what I come across to induce gratitude for the unexpected.
What we think really can make a difference in how we feel. And when we act on those intuitive impulses, we can more greatly experience the JOY of Being Alive. And that can give us the fuel to more readily and effectively leave our meaningful mark in the world.
Have you had an experience where your intuition gave you an impulse to do something you might not otherwise do? Did you follow it? If so, you were glad you did? What difference did it make for you? Would you do it again?
Art Journal Prompt:
Using the words, Intuitive Impulse, showcase visually a time when you enjoyed something special because you listened to the Voice within and followed your curiosity. Honor that process and the fact that you listened.
This is my first Periscope broadcast where I share a sneak peek of my current watercolor painting and discuss dry brush technique. (The Periscope broadcast on Periscopetv cuts out some of the footage, but this video was what was saved to my phone and its intact.)
The purpose of this video, Creative Curiosity, is to encourage the pursuit of curiosity paths to enhance your creative practice. I include journaling and art journaling prompts. I'm coming from my Dawn Herring Collection Art Studio where I sit to paint with watercolor to share with you my thoughts on curiosity and where it can lead to help us build a Creative Practice worth keeping.
Intuition is a powerful tool that I believe in underused and neglected. I didn't realize its power fully until later in life. But I'm so glad I understand its importance and how I can activate it and pay closer attention to it so I can benefit from it!
Enter My Personal Journal.
Taking my catylistic tool of journal writing and using the pages to record what my intuition is telling me is something I have found has changed my life for the better. As a matter of fact, I could not overstate the importance of these two powerful tools in my life.
The thing is, we all have Intuition. But do we listen to it?
It can sometimes be a challenge to know what voice we are hearing since we hear more than one; this can be disconcerting. But I have found that when I persist in knowing the truth about that Intuitive Voice, I have been able to recognize it more distinctly than ever before.
How? Because I've been able to TRUST IT.
Each time I pay close attention to the message coming from my heart, I get to know it all the better. And the more I know it, the more I KNOW.
Knowing is HUGE when it comes to every day decision making, direction for the future, even when to do something on which day for the best energy applied.
My journal is the perfect place to Keep Track of those daily intuitive hits that give me clear guidance and sometimes insight that I would not otherwise have.
My journal and my intuition are both Gifts; and for me, they are to be used for my benefit. Why? Because as I see the track record of the positive changes I have made as a result of listening by journaling, it helps to heighten my confidence and it gives me opportunities that I wouldn't otherwise have.
Listening to my intuition and recording those insights and plans to make change has enabled me to do what I never thought possible. And it's so exciting when I see and experience those positive changes where the rubber meets the road. Especially when the benefits are unexpected.
Journal keeping is a way to record what is inside my heart, what I dream of, and what really matters to me. Intuition is the power source (that we all have inside of us from the Creator) that keeps my pen moving across the page in celebration of all I have come to understand and experience, knowing I can TRUST the guidance I receive and can have full confidence for the follow through.
Journal Keeping and Intuition: So happy together. A Lesson Worth Learning.
What was the last intuitive hit you received? Did you listen to it? If you did, how did you benefit? If you didn't, did you see what could have been possible had you listened? (Remember to be gentle with yourself if you didn't. We don't always know for sure if it is our intuition we are hearing; it takes practice!)
Art Journaling Prompt:
Ask your Intuitive Voice about an issue you need to resolve; then create a spread or page showing the answer in color, text, image or whatever suits your creative expression. You can create a follow up spread to show the results of following your intuition and celebrate what good came of it.
Note: I wrote this post as my contribution to our September #JournalChat Live OPEN HOUSE where we are sharing Life Lessons we have learned as a direct result of our journal keeping practice.
Always remember that Your Journaling Voice Matters!
Copyright 2015 by Dawn Herring
Copyright 2015 Graphic Header by Dawn Herring
I am so excited to share with you an interview, or what I like to call, a Creative Conversation, with one of my favorite people, Jill Winski, dear friend and fellow journal keeper, previous Special Guest of #JournalChat Live a few times over, and active member of our #JournalChat Live Facebook Group. She is a Certified Martha Beck Life Coach and Creativity Coach and founder of The Artist's Nest; and I had such a fabulous time talking with Jill about journal keeping, creativity, and positive change that leads to personal empowerment. Jill shares an insightful and profound journal keeping journey. I trust you will enjoy what follows with the juiciness of what it means to be At Home in our Journals and Aligned with Who We Are.
Without further ado...the creative conversation with Jill Winski:
Dawn: I just re-read your post from our #JournalChat Live OPEN HOUSE in June, 2015, Hearing My Voice In a Noisy World, and it still touches my heart about how your journal is Home and a Safe Place for you. When was the very first time you wrote in a journal? How old were you? And how was that different from the time you were 12 at school? What kind of a foundation did it help you create in your childhood?
Jill: I think the very first time I wrote in a journal was when I was about five! It was a "diary" with a lock and a key. I believe I was just learning to write and I wrote things like "what I did today" or "my favorite foods." A little later, when I was maybe 8 or 9, my mom bought me some blank books and I used those to write stories that were based on my own life. So you could say they started out as journal entries but as I wrote they became fiction! Looking back, I do think these blank books created a foundation of writing things down as a way of expressing myself very early in my life.
I don't think the "true" journaling took hold until I was 12 and began to write in depth about what I was feeling and started to use the journal to process and understand my inner world, as I described in that blog post.
Dawn: LOVED your journaling start, Jill. The details of the beginnings of a diary/journaling practice can be so inspiring, especially when you can see clearly what benefited you in that very early time...which led to more writing for you, even fiction.
From the time you were 12 and began a deeper, more introspective journaling, were there other activities that you engaged in that really inspired you and refreshed you as a young person? And was the journaling a part of those activities, such as describing those experiences in your journal, or were they entirely separate?
Jill: One thing I did a lot as a child was organize my classmates and neighborhood kids into putting on plays and other sorts of productions. I remember a lot of running around barefoot in the summer telling people what roles they were going to play. (I think I was considered rather bossy!) I also loved reading -- particularly Judy Blume and Madeleine L'Engle at that age -- and being with animals (still do!). And rollerskating and collecting Breyer model horses. :)
Now, here's the interesting thing -- at around 12, I began to become pretty critical of myself. I think I became very aware of and concerned about what other kids thought of me, and, interestingly, this is when the journaling began to overlap with those other activities. So, the journaling came to my aid at that time -- it was a way of sorting out this self-consciousness and judgment I'd begun to feel toward myself. As I remember it, the journaling was very much integrated with other activities and I'd reflect on how things went. Actually, when I was packing to move just a couple weeks ago, I found a comic book I'd written at age 12 about a superhero rabbit. That was the kind of thing I'd do at that time, and it's likely I brainstormed that idea in my journal and then probably journaled about whether I was happy with the result or not!
Dawn: What delight to learn of your "directing" role with your friends in the neighborhood, putting drama as center stage! Love it.
So, when you became more conscious of other's opinions of you, that's when journaling took on a more vital role, helping you gain clarity on what was working and how you felt about each life experience. Brainstorming ideas was a great way to see what you wanted to experiment with.
Do you think that your journaling played a role in determining your identity as a person? Did it help you discover on a deeper level Who You Were and Who You Were Becoming? Did you stay motivated to keep a journal as you entered your youth?
Jill: Oh, most definitely journaling played a big role in my identity -- and the journal has been a sort of "witness" as my identity has changed over the years. I think the deep processing I've done in my journal over the years has been key to my understanding myself, and integrating what I'm going through and discovering about myself into the whole of who I am and my life.
As I got into young adulthood, that's when journaling began to take on an even bigger role for me. Around my early 20s was when I started to do a deeper kind of journaling, where I was really using it to understand myself. I think it became a form of meditation for me -- like other practices that can help you connect with the self, but then also something greater than the self.
So yes, I stayed with journaling quite naturally as I got into my teens and on into my 20s. It's always been something I feel compelled to do -- there's no "motivation" involved. I do it compulsively! :)
Dawn: What you said about being compelled to journal feels so resonating to me, since I'm the same way with my journaling practice. I don't need motivation either; it's just part of Who I Am.
Speaking of that, for you, Jill, seeing that journaling is such a powerful and essential tool in your life in developing your identity, have you been able to recognize, through your journaling practice, when you have not been aligned with Who You Are and how has journaling promoted positive change to help you Stay Aligned?
Jill: Yes, one of fundamental values of journaling for me is that I am able to see more clearly what I'm thinking and feeling, on the page. And that has the effect of quickly allowing me to see where I'm not aligned with my essential self. It can point me to where I'm in pain and not addressing that pain. Sometimes I'm like, "Hmm, I notice I've been writing that I'm feeling bothered about such-and-such for a week now ... what's going on with that?" In fact, there are certain things I've let go of in my life much more quickly than I would have if I hadn't been addressing them in my journal. And, things I've moved toward more quickly because journaling helped me tune in to what I was really wanting.
There are also times where I'm simply not ready to make the changes I know I eventually need to make that come through on the pages of the journal. And in those cases, the journal gives me a safe space to be totally honest about my fears. Just the act of being able to express what I'm feeling in completely open way, without ramifications, keeps me congruent and in touch with myself. Which, for me, is always the overriding goal.
Dawn: I love what you said about being in touch with your essential self and how that is your ultimate goal with your journaling practice.
Can you share how Journaling has enabled you to appreciate yourself for who you are, especially when you deal with those fears that sometimes can hold you back from positive change? Does journaling help you be more gentle with yourself when that happens? Also, are you able to validate your emotions and feelings to help prevent being too hard on yourself through those challenging changes?
Jill: I think "hearing" my own voice on the page when I journal has allowed me to get to know myself really well, and that has caused me to understand over the years that I have a very particular process that I can trust. So even when it seems like I'm "stuck", there's something going on beneath it all that makes a lot of sense. And that knowing has helped me be kinder and gentler with myself, because so much of what the critical part of me thinks is stuckness is actually just me taking my time to get to where I need to be!
I do struggle at times with not being hard on myself -- it tends to be a "default" reaction for me because I learned it so well when I was young -- but there's something about putting my feelings down on the page that allows me to detach from the harshness and see it for what it is. So, the journaling creates awareness, and from awareness, I can shift quickly into kindness. That's a practice for me -- shifting into kindness whenever I can. :)
Dawn: Wow. Knowing ourselves on a deeper level can be challenging and yet rewarding at the same time; I love what you said about understanding your inner process and recognizing that it can look like the illusion of being stuck when it isn't that at all; it's simply the way you deal with change and inner change is already being initiated. That is truly powerful. I love how journaling creates that awareness so that kindness can become your prominent focus as you work through that change.
With all this powerful, life-enhancing change going on, do you have specific ways of nurturing yourself, either in conjunction with your journaling or an activity or engagement all on its own? How, as an adult, do you find ways to nurture and nourish your self in any life dimension and how does that nurture affect how you leave your meaningful mark in the world?
Jill: For me, much of nurturing myself involves slowing down (which you did a wonderful video on recently). We live in a very hard-driving culture which moves very quickly, and I have a fast-moving mind which jumps quickly from one thing to another. So a lot of nurturing myself involves remembering to come back to my breath, to the present moment, and reminding myself that it really is okay to slow down and savor things and tune into myself. This can mean taking walks where I really notice my surroundings (I love combining getting my morning coffee with taking a walk). Time with my cat is very nourishing as well. I've always found the presence of animals so healing, somehow, but cats especially, maybe because of the purr (which is said to have healing qualities).
And then, connecting with people I love who truly support me is key to nourishing myself. I'm noticing that seeing people in person is important, especially when so many of us spend so much time in the online world. There's a particular way I feel nourished when I've been with a friend in person, or even had a great phone conversation, where I feel their presence in a way that is important to me. So reminding myself not to substitute online connection for physical world connection feels relevant to nurturing myself right now (though I do love connecting with wonderful people online!).
And that said, one of my favorite ways of nurturing myself IS by going online and reading blogs and articles and essays that connect me to who I am and what matters to me. I adore having books and artwork around me, too, that help me stay connected to what I care about. The more connected I am to what matters to me, the better I feel, and the easier it is for me to tune into others and connect with them.
Dawn: Slowing down, savoring the moment and creating connection with people and nature and things that have great meaning for you...delightfully authentic and nourishing for the soul. I agree it is important to have a balance between what good we derive from the online world and having important connecting time in person. I also enjoy finding folks and resources in the online world that resonate with me and what matters to me...
Connection seems to be key in creating a life that is full, rich, meaningful and authentic. When we are personally empowered, we are fully Who We Are, in the zone, creating our best work and forging those most meaningful connections with people and other things we value.
Can you share with us how all the elements of your life dimensions you have shared that help you create positive change in your life lead to personal empowerment? How do you know when you are personally empowered and when you're not? What does personal empowerment feel like to you? What is your most direct path toward staying there?
Jill: What a great question. I love this question because the way we FEEL is really what creates our lives. So, how do I know when I'm personally empowered? Because I feel connected to myself -- I feel good! When I say good, that doesn't necessarily mean "happy" (though it could). It means I am in integrity -- the way I'm living is in sync with who I am and what I value. Of course, the journey of life, for me, is about questioning what it means to live "congruently" and continually closing the gap between feeling "incongruent" and "in sync with who I am." So it's always ongoing. I'll never be "done"!
For me, the most direct path toward "closing that gap" is to keep checking in with myself, through practices like journaling. And walking. And simply being. You might have heard of the idea of "do-be-do-be-do." I think that's what it's about -- taking actions (doing) and then moving back into being, connecting with myself, checking in about how that action went, where it pointed me, what sits right and what doesn't. And then taking the next action that occurs to me. And then checking in again. Always remembering to check back in with myself. This is so much of what I work on with my coaching clients -- how do we take inspired action, as opposed to just taking actions out of fear or frustration? Inspired action is when we're acting based on personal wisdom, or simply a sense of curiosity. It feels much lighter and freer than fear-based action. So when I feel light and free, I know I'm on the right track.
Dawn: I could feel the good vibes coming from your answer to personal empowerment and the do-be-do connection you explained! I love it--checking in with yourself each time you take an action to be sure it's aligned or congruent with your values, and not responding out of fear or frustration. Indeed. There is such an innate difference between the two, isn't there? Light and free is what we want to be!
Starting from a place of lightness and freedom is a great place to live from in our creativity. Jill, as a Life and Creativity Coach, can you share with us why creativity is so important and how you handle creative blocks? How do you stay consistently creative without feeling overwhelmed? How do you know when you are satisfied with the amount of creative expression you are putting out?
Jill: Well, I always define creativity in a broad way -- the definition I like is that creativity is the life force moving through us. So if our creativity is feeling a little bit sluggish or blocked in some way, that points to some area where we are feeling sluggish or blocked in our lives. These "life issues" tend to show up in our creative work. So it's great to keep our creative energy (life energy) flowing. Of course, it's not possible for it to flow all the time -- in fact, when it stops flowing, there's often something really important for us to learn there. (This is what we might call a "dark night of the soul", in some ways.) I also feel strongly that we are all the creators of our own lives -- it's not only writers, artists, musicians, etc. who are creative! We all are, no matter what we do. That's what I love about journaling -- we can all do it, it's about the expression of who we are. That's really why creativity is important, to answer your question -- because we crave that expression of who we are, and we want it to reach others who appreciate it. In that sense, it's about community, but it's also about remaining connected to ourselves.
As for how I stay consistently creative without feeling overwhelmed -- well, I don't! I do get overwhelmed at times and I am not always consistent. Having moved recently, I realized how much of that creative life energy sometimes needs to go to making big changes in my life, and then I don't necessarily have as much of it going toward "tangible" creative output. But in moving, I've been creating a new living space for myself, so that's creating, too!
But I would say the biggest thing that helps me stay consistent and keeps overwhelm at bay is to begin with kindness toward myself. In other words, self-acceptance is always the underlying factor. And that means noticing when perfectionism comes in and sort of cracks a whip over me and demands that I do more. If I feel like I'm forcing or pushing it, I know it's time to stop for the day. I like to stop writing before I get to that point! There's kind of a "sweet spot" where I can feel that I've challenged myself and I've reached a certain edge, but if I get into pushing beyond that too much, I can bring on burnout. And this is something that simply takes time and practice to understand in oneself. Everyone has a unique point at which, if they pay attention, they know they're satisfied with what they've done, or they're not! We just need to pay attention. And using our journals to record what we notice about this can be incredibly helpful.
Dawn: I love your definition of creativity...and I so agree! Everyone can express themselves creatively since we ALL have creative energy...to do what each of us do well. And It's Awesome. And when the energy is not flowing, there is always something important to be learned. I think that's one of the reasons I love art journaling so much, because it gives me that space to listen when things aren't flowing. And it's important to give ourselves space during change. And yes, Journaling is the PERFECT PLACE for that creative expression of Who We Are. I couldn't agree more!
I love how that brings us back to kindness, Jill. This is such a powerful place to be. It can truly make all the difference when we feel overwhelmed and need to get ourselves back to center. And noticing is so key to understanding ourselves on the deepest of levels, which is so vital to our creativity, our personal empowerment and to Knowing Who We Are.
How Sweet It IS when we are loving ourselves from the inside out by paying attention, recording our understandings in our journals and giving ourselves space to express ourselves creatively while being kind and gentle throughout the process of bringing about positive change.
Jill, can you give us a final word for those who want to start a journal practice and for those still looking for that sweet spot of creative expression? What is your recommendation in a nutshell?
Jill: The main thing I would say for getting started with journaling is to simply trust that whatever comes up onto the page is perfect. There is no way to "do it right". Trust that you have a unique path with your journaling and stay open to discovering it. One of the most exciting things about journaling is that, if you stay with it, you will be led to that "sweet spot" of creative expression. You'll know you're there because you'll feel it. But, like with any practice, you need to MAKE it a practice by staying with it. The benefits only come from doing it repeatedly. So if you're interested in journaling, try it for at least three weeks, or a month -- that gives you a chance to do it enough to start experiencing where it can take you. You can start very simply, by writing down what you see in the room around you, or out the window, what that makes you think of, how that makes you feel. Try it for even five minutes a day. And see where you go!
Dawn: Thanks so much for that fabulous final word, Jill, as we conclude this delightful conversation about journaling, creativity and learning to listen and be Who We Are in all of this wonderfulness! We appreciate all you have shared about your journaling practice and your learning process when dealing with change and creativity.
Do check out Jill's Bio and her social media so you can connect with her; I also highly recommend Jill's The Artist's Nest where she shares about her creative and journal keeping process; it's simply fab and insightful!
Jill Winski's BIO:
Jill Winski is a writer, a creativity coach, and a Martha Beck Certified Life Coach. Her own fears inspired her to create The Artist's Nest, a safe place to talk about creativity, self and getting unstuck.
You can CONNECT with Jill on Social Media:
Dawn engages in many roles: As Writer/Blogger and Artist/Creative and Founder of Refresh with Dawn Herring: Where Art and JOY Align, She enjoys sharing from her vast experience as award-winning, life-long artist and leader in the field of written journaling, offering encouragement and proven tips to other journal keepers. Dawn's focus is on written journal keeping, artistic expression and finding your Creative Voice, and positive change that leads personal empowerment, encouraging you to leave your authentic and positive mark in the world. Dawn is a Commercial artist, hand letterer/illustrator and writer/blogger and enjoys sharing insights, humor, and encouragement as she shares from her life experiences as a woman, wife, mother of two grown daughters and as a Grandparent to a special needs grandson. She enjoys keeping a journal and reading spiritual texts to help keep the light on. May JOY Align with Your Creative Heart.