Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Seven Ways to Use Creativity for Political Sanity

My father taught me that voting was my civic duty. So, when I turned eighteen I started voting. I tend to vote democratic; although I have voted for green party candidates, written in names and voted for Arnold Schwarzenegger. My voting record reflects my independence, creativity and open-minded thinking. And to be honest I had not given politics too much thought until the 2016 election. That election changed me. I wonder if it changed you too?
For the first time in my life I became politically active. I like Hillary Clinton and I won’t apologize for that. I think she is smart, more than qualified to be President and I think she cares about our county. I cried when I watched people in Massachusetts place their “I Voted” stickers on the Susan B. Anthony’s headstone. Maybe our time had come?
Yes, in fact our time had come but not as I had envisioned it. The evening of November 8, 2016 was shock and awe for most of the country. Hillary Clinton would not be 45. I was heartbroken. Not because Hillary lost but because of WHO won. 
I believe in love, peace and hope. I do not hate Republicans or those people who voted for Trump. I have found that hating someone eats my soul from the inside out and it has never served me. Having said that, I detest some of the public policies and racist ideology I am bearing witness too. There are days I feel drained, stressed and anxious. Maybe you do too? 
Pablo Picasso said, Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. Since November I have found that not only does creativity and art wash away the political dust, it has helped me keep my sanity. Before I tell you how I use creativity to help me cope, I want you to really understand that you DO NOT have to be an artist to create. That is fake news! So, please be open and read on!
1.  I am learning to play the Ukulele.  Who knew this little instrument could bring so much joy? You can purchase one for less than forty dollars and download a free app that will teach you how to play.  When you are playing Somewhere Over the Rainbow all the political noise dissipates. AND you don’t have to be a rock star for the Ukulele to work it’s magic.
2.  My beautiful daughter is teaching me to crochet little pink hats. I will admit I am not very good at it and she often removes the yarn from my general vicinity but I am learning something new.  Personally, I never thought about yarn as a creative endeavor.  I was wrong about that.
3.  Kaleido Journaling!  I developed Kaleido Journaling as a creative way to release words, images and colors that reflects what I am feeling. It’s a very effective tool. If you would like my free e-book and upcoming class schedule on Kaleido Journaling, then sign up for my mailing list.   
4.  A diary is also a way to collect your thoughts and process what you are thinking and feeling.  I have no doubt that we are in living history. It is validating and healing to write about your experiences because there is power in telling your story. The most famous diary of all belonged to a teenage girl named Anne Frank.
5. Paint! Working with color can be incredibly soothing and relaxing. Pick your favorite colors and apply them to a canvas anyway that suits your fancy. Painting doesn’t have to be about producing a master piece, it can be about self-expression. There is no right or wrong way to paint. All you need is a little courage and a few supplies.
6. Movement can help relieve stress and anxiety. So, what is stopping you from playing your favorite music and dancing around the house? I like cranking up Motown and dancing while cooking. And for added benefits I sing along!
7.  A home cooked meal can bring inner peace and clam. At our house, nothing says home like a chicken cooking in the oven. The smell waffles through the house and all seems right in the world.  Creating a meal is nurturing for yourself and others. What can you cook to share with family and friends?
I hope you will try out at least one of these seven ideas.  If you do, then I invite you to share your experience in the comment section or send me an e-mail!
Kimba Livesay
Certified Creativity Coach

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Creative Writing Online Group for Women

Online Writing Group for Women
I am a professionally paid writer. I know how to write, even though I have dyslexia and am a horrid speller. I know how to research a subject, develop an outline and write paragraphs into chapters. That’s not my problem when it comes to writing. My challenges are:
  • Not having the time to write even though I have plenty of time to binge watch Netflix
  • Feeling overwhelmed with all the different choices for scenes, characters and plots
  • Hanging out on Facebook because I am stuck in the writing process 
  • Being paralyzed because a word in a sentence doesn’t seem perfect
  • Deep seeded fear that my work is not good enough for anyone to read
Did any of my challenges resonate with you? Maybe you have a few challenges to add? As a writer, these challenges can stop me from writing. As a creativity coach, I know how to WORK though bad habits, overwhelm, being stuck, perfectionism, procrastination and fear. I have creative coaching tools that help me move forward and stay motivated to write.
The writing groups I offer do include writing resources and yes, we critique each other’s work in an enjoyable and positive way. BUT the main resource that makes my writing groups different is creativity coaching tools. Together we will address your writing challenges, create doable writing plans, suggest creative play fuel ideas, offer gentle accountability and guided motivation. AND you will meet like-minded writers and develop social connections.

How Does It Work?
  1. We meet every day in a SECRET Facebook group. You drop by when you can and see what’s going on in the group. You will need a Facebook account to participate.
  2. You will need a writing project. You can work on a novel, poetry, short stories, blogs memoirs or daily journaling. Please note this is a creative writing class and not for academic work.
  3. Each week I will ask questions, offer support, post assessments and coaching tools based on group needs. 
  4. My job is to help you stay committed and motivated to your creative writing project.
  5. We will use Facebook files and Google Docs to share our creative writing for positive and supportive feedback.
  6. This writing group is for women. Why? Because we need the space and time to explore our gifts, values and passions. That is not often afforded to us.
  7. We will have one conference call. The time and date will be determined by the group.  
Sound good? Then register today. The writing group starts March 1, 2017 and ends March 31, 2017. The registration fee is $40.00 for the entire month.


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Altered Books for Personal Change

Altered Book by Sooz Weissberg

Altered books are a symbol for change.  A book for one purpose is altered and used for another purpose.  In its simplest form, an altered book is a book that is recycled.  The first Altered book probably were created in the eleventh century, Italian monks recycled old vellum manuscripts by scraping off the ink and adding new text and illustrations.

Creating an altered book is a very unique experience.  As part of balancing our mind, body, and spirit we realize and understand that our lives are in constant alteration.  As a creativity coach I have worked with clients using altered books as a liberating way to express and reflect on personal experiences, strengths, and talents.  It is a healing process of self-expression, understanding and resilience.

What I like most about altered books is that you don’t have to be a visual artist and there are NO rules.  However, I would suggest you use caution showing your altered book to a serious librarian.  In altering a book, you can paint, draw, tear pages, collage, glitter, stamp, tape, punch holes, write, paste, and use stickers.  Really you can do whatever suites your fancy.

I ask clients to focus on a goal, challenge, or experience that they want to work on.  Examples include:  pursuing a career in the arts, starting a new business, graceful aging, menopause, meaningful retirement, stress reduction, losing weight, smoking cessation, creating wellness, and being more creative.  I love it when clients find a book title that correlates with what they are working on….it is like magic!

As clients begin to work on their altered book they use their left and right brain to play with all sorts of possibilities, ideas and solutions, goals and plans.  What’s cool is as they alter their book, their lives also begin to change.  Nifty uh?

After you select your goal, the next step is creating a new habit of making time for your book.  You may wish to set aside ten minutes a day or an hour during the week-end.  This is your soul work and so making the time is vital for self-discovery.

The next step is hunting and gathering and as women we are really good at that!  You want to use supplies that delight you.  Basic supplies include:  scissors, pencils, rulers, glue, markers, and pictures.  You can also consider paints, pastels, chalks, fabric, tissue paper, card stock, ribbon, brads, hole puncher, rubber stamps, tape, beads, buttons, and dried flowers.  Basically, if it can be attached to the page you’re good to go.

In order to alter your book and add new materials you will need to remove pages though out the book.  You can rip out as many or as few pages you like.  I like to think of ripping out of pages as the removal of habits that no longer serve us.   

Next, open your book and glue several pages together to create a sturdy surface for your page.  Use two pages to increase your canvas size.  I like to paint both pages the same color and then use a hair dryer to decrease drying time.  Once your pages are ready it’s time to create layers using pictures, tissue paper, makers, glitter, etc.  You can add all sorts of elements to your book like pockets, windows and folded pages.  Don’t forget the cover!  You are re-writing your story so give your book a unique title like Lisa, the Creative Entrepreneur or Rebecca’s Stress Free Life.  Don’t be afraid to create the story you want to live.   

I am a creativity coach that uses holistic approaches, creativity and play to help women reach their goals.  For more information about my coaching programs visit www.kimbalivesay.com or contact me at kimba@kimbalivesay.com