A Wake Up Call From the Universe – Tired of Retirement

On my return home from a recent trip, I was tired from being on jets all day. Then there was a long drive home from the airport. The trip had been a doozy as far as trying to deal with all the dislocations and annoyances that come from being gone for so long.

It had been a mix of family event, working vacation and experimentation with a more laid-back lifestyle. Well, the laid-back lifestyle part is not happening at this time. Semi-retirement is ok. Full blown retirement drives me nuts. But enough about that for now. I’ll follow up on those thoughts another time. Now I’m writing about how the universe sometimes plays with the mind of this mere mortal…

Arriving late in the middle of the night and dragging my tired self from the car, I trudged inside hoping to quickly plop in bed for a sound night’s sleep. As I reached the kitchen, with no lights on, I glanced out the large window that faces the bay and an electric bolt of blue light passed across the entire wave break.

HOLY COW what was that!

It was as if someone had taken a powerful spotlight, like a massive Batman searchlight beam, and swept it across the top of the breaking waves. Not all the waves, some were low and barely illuminated. But every few waves was a large one that flashed with bioluminescence as far as my tired eyes could see. I stood transfixed.

I was suddenly awake and thanking my lucky stars that I had my eyes open enough to see the phenomenon before me. Wow, just wow. I could not even think of going to bed. I watched as long as I could stand up.

Being part of a family lucky enough to live on and travel to many beaches, I thought I had seen all that the bay had to offer. But never have I seen bioluminescence like that in action.

The effect is caused by reactions between luciferin and luciferase in tiny dinoflagellates. But the dry specifics don’t describe the watery magic made by those sea sparkles.

I love how the beauty of the world wakes me up now and then, when I’m lethargic or curmudgeonly and need new inspiration. The timing is always mystical, magical, and keeps me engaged while sparking my creativity. The natural world keeps me amazed and I never tire of it.

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A Better View of America

In the past we had our own Unstuck Creative poet, Maryann Bartram, who wrote original poems for our meetups. What at treat! Maryann has gone on to other projects, so we must fill our poetry needs in other ways.

I recently discovered this project where filmmakers traveled through Alabama to try to connect us all through the poetry of Walt Whitman: “For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.”  Inspiring. Unifying.

If you have time, enjoy more readings. Do Whitman’s 19th c. words touch your 21st c. heart?

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Blame It On Aunt Bee and The Love of Vintage Aprons

In my quest to understand female archetypes, I often return to Aunt Bee, the lovable but sometimes bumbling, matron of the Andy Griffith Show. I first saw her at an impressionable age and I admired her role as the homemaker for her men. She was their comforter and caretaker. She made the homemaker role look good.

As years passed, a real homemaker life became important to me. Think about it. With so many homeless, hopeless, and lost souls today, what better role could there be in society than homemaker? Even if you’re in the business world, isn’t there that one person who plays a nurturing, cohesive part of the team? That person is the glue that holds it all together. Aunt Bee was the glue. She was the Queen Bee.

Frances Bavier 1964

Maybe watching Aunt Bee started my love of vintage aprons. I’m not sure how it developed over time but it continues to this day. Maybe it’s a melancholy reminder of days gone by, or a fantasy of days gone by. All I know is I love a good apron. What I Found On Etsy Today

Fantastic Vintage Apron With French Farm Scene In by SevenOrchards
Not only does this apron have a pleasing blue and green combination, it even has a cow. A cow looking at spilt milk. There must be some deep semiotic meaning there, but I just like the lighthearted nature of the scene.

Do you love aprons? Do you have a favorite? Does anyone even wear aprons anymore?

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There’s No Place Like Home – Where Do You Belong?

 

There’s no place like home. Can you hear Dorothy saying those words as she clicked her sparkly ruby slippers together three times?

Do you recall how you felt when you first watched that combination of  Technicolor© brilliance and heartfelt words? Did they make you sympathize with Dorothy and feel a longing for home?

If you saw The Wizard of Oz as a child and think of it now as an adult, has your idea of home changed through the years?

Have you, like Dorothy, ever been displaced? Sometimes displacement comes from a big event like a natural disaster, war, losing a home to foreclosure, or losing your family. Sometimes big changes come with age, the natural hormonal changes from girl to woman. Or from a womanhood in which you were comfortable, to a strange new phase.

Whatever form it took, if your identity underwent a forced change, what gave you a sense of home, security or belonging after that?

How about today? Are you longing for another place and time?

If you feel you are missing someone or someplace you identify as home, is it because you miss them, or do you miss who you were then? Maybe you were a carefree child, a strong, athletic young adult, a fulfilled parent with loving children and full days. Perhaps you were a spouse or partner. Maybe you had a place in the business world where your co-workers gave you a sense of fulfillment?

If you’ve lived awhile, there’s probably a time and place you wish to return to again. Things may not have been perfect, you and those around you may not have been perfect, but something about that place, in your mind, makes you want it. Or makes you want that feeling again.

The idea of “Home” is a powerful placeholder. Once embeded, it’s primal and hard to replace.

If you could click your shoes to go back, what would home look like?

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Archetypes – Are They Calling You?

Think of all the feminine archetypes you’ve read in literature, noticed in everyday life or seen in a movie. Maybe you noticed one on a coin or in an emblem. Maybe she was a statue or work of art. Do her exploits or heroism stand the test of time in your mind?

Do you like to geek out a little? I do too. It helps me cope with all the craziness the world throws our way.

I’ve studied female archetypes and psychology through the years and want to revisit some of those theories. I want to add to my cache of archetypes, female and male, and explore how our culture presents them to us today.

So put on your ruby slippers and join us as we learn how and why cultures create feminine characters and myths, goddesses and heroines. You can use them as a theme for your journaling, paintings and writing. If one in particular beckons you, enjoy the exploration!

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Juxtaposition

img_1252My family and I, feeling the Christmas spirit intensely one year, decided to visit a nearby senior living home on Christmas day. We brought along the family dog because she was a gentle soul who loved people.

All was going well, our visit was nearing an end, and we were ready to make our way home. As we were gathering our things to leave, a young woman approached us to help in her dilemma. It seems she had signed up to sing Christmas carols at a few Senior Centers but none of the other carolers had shown up. Uh oh.

At this point I must tell you that we are not singers. We don’t karaoke—and we try to blend in when it’s time to sing Happy Birthday. So this was going to be painful.

But hey, it was Christmas! Time to be selfless and giving. We were suckers for that.

The first stop was as expected. Polite audience, thankful for a bit of distraction. The carols were traditional and we were comfortable with the familiar words and melodies. But we were poor backup singers for the young lady. Luckily she was pretty and had a nice voice so she was the star of the show. All was well as we continued the rounds.

Our last stop was a nursing home. The residents were in various stages of care, some in wheelchairs, some standing in the hall with their walkers, or slowly taking a seat along the wall to listen. The staff were all smiles, grateful for  the holiday cheer and a break in their day.

Many in our audience were joyous, some solemn. Some were adorned with jolly Santa hats or garlands of tinsel. But one lady in particular stood out. She took this opportunity to exercise her vocals. As we sang the sweet familiar tunes, she shouted a stream of creative expletives!

🎶“We wish you a Merry Christmas”🎶…”YOU MOTHERF___ERS!”

We looked at the nurses in surprise yet they seemed nonplussed. The other residents were unfazed. She must be known for this.

🎶God rest you🎶  …”SONS OF B___ES!”

🎶Let nothing you dismay🎶… “F___YOU!

So there we were, a band of discordant carolers and a patient but weary dog, surrounded by a beaming bevy of old folks. Except for the one curmudgeon in a Santa hat, its white cotton ball bouncing over her forehead to the staccato beat as she spat forth her profane version of  ‘F__YOU Jingle Bells’. I’m sure she meant Merry Christmas 🙂

You can’t make this stuff up folks.

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Advent Calendar of 24 “Painless Creativity” Prompts

Recently at a family reunion we handed out Advent calendars for the kids in our family. You know the kind, where you open a little window and get a candy treat or special item each day, counting down the days ’til Christmas?  Afterward,  I started thinking about how the grownups were left out of the ritual. And you know what? That’s not fair. Instead, we grownups get the countdown of x number of shopping days ’til Christmas. Bah humbug!

Do you need a little something to help you through this holiday season? A special treat for your sweet spot of creativity? An easy-to-do, short, daily prompt for your creative self during this crazy time of give, give, giving to others?

Starting December 1 you’ll receive a prompt-a-day to tickle your creative brain. There will be 24 “painless” prompts leading up to December 25. Depending on your engagement, each creative exercise can take 5-15 minutes and will be stress free since you can skip a day when needed or quit anytime. The prompts are not religion-based, not tied to Advent except in borrowing a traditional form.

I can’t give you a little chocolate each day, but I can help you rediscover the simple pleasure of creative time for yourself each day. And that is a sweet gift in itself.

The only supplies you’ll need are:

  • 3×5 cards, notepad, sketchbook or journal  (anything on which to draw or paint)
  • pens, watercolors, pastels, pencils (anything with which to draw or paint)
  • willingness to let go of your inner critic

Using 3×5 cards is easy–when you’re done you have a nice collection and can pin your favorites on your bulletin board.

Or send a photo to #unstuckcreativeprompts on Instagram. Remember, these are creative exercises, not finished works of art.



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Are You A Warrior In The War of Art?

 

Do you want to study war or be a warrior?

“It is one thing to study war, and another to live the warrior’s life.”                                  -Steven Pressfield

Why a quote about war in a blog post about art and creativity? Because this quote sums up the difference between one who studies a thing and one who lives it. One who studies art and one who creates.

In my first post for this blog I was becoming the warrior. I had reached that point where I questioned myself and asked  myself if I was willing to make art no matter what? Well yes, yes I am. I am doing this. And this is war. The War of Art.

Another warrior, Lang, has fought some battles and had some victories. But she will tell you the war is still on. She recently spoke about her experiences, her war stories if you will. Listen as she speaks–can you catch the joy of the process when she talks about the characters in her book, how they come alive for her, speaking through her?

If you are itching for a fight with the “Resistance” (Pressfield) and to finally get your game on, get your combat gear ready. Put on your flak jacket and follow us, the unstuck creatives, as we create. You’re welcome to join us for a meetup if you are local or keep in touch here on the blog. We are an extremely welcoming group, for a bunch of warriors.

 

Because warriors are action-oriented, here are 3 Action Steps To Refresh Your Creativity.

Lang is one of our unstuck creatives featured on the creative living page.

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California, A Leadfoot and a V-8 Engine

Leadfoot

🎶Your lips taste like sangria…your lips taste like sangreeee..eee..yuhhhh🎶

There’s something about the open road that nurtures an open mind. As I was blasting, uh, make that driving sensibly through the beauty of Central California recently, in a car with no satellite radio and no Bluetooth, I dialed through to an FM country radio station. With a great Bose sound system and no other cars in sight, I was in highway heaven. That song on full volume made me realize how long I’ve been disconnected from music.

Driving in California is a stimulant. Not the driving in commute traffic around congested cities. I’m talking about the driving where you’re reminded that cars and freeways were made for each other. Smooth, fast, glorious.

On previous driving trips I devoured the scenery as I listened to some of my favorites: Copland’s Appalachian Spring Suite VII (Shaker melody) as the rising sun slowly illuminated the fields of Steinbeck Country…Joshua Bell, YoYo Ma, Invisible by Black Violin… the Highwaymen through King City… Gracias a la Vida as the coast burst into view near Pismo Beach.

On this road trip I noticed the make of cars change through the miles; from the latest models of Tesla, Mercedes, Lexus—other upscale cars I don’t even recognize—to practical models, then to pickups and trucks hauling farm equipment. Then closer to home they changed to Prius.  Each geographical area seemed to reflect the mindset of the drivers.

Recently my mindset has been blocked and sluggish.  But on this road trip Blake Shelton’s voice drove straight to my heart as I drove straight through the golden hills and miles of vineyards. His song helped reopen my mind.

I realized lately I’ve been listening to too many business or self-improvement audios. This trip reminded me to reconnect with music. To appreciate the magic trio of music, an awesome car, and the stunning visuals of California scenery.

Do you have a song that connects you to driving in California? Let me know in the comments and I’ll give it a listen and add it to my driving playlist.

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Introducing Rosey, A Very Nosey Mouse

rosey peeping circle

Meet the newest member of my family – Rosey. One of the reasons I’ve been missing lo these summer months is my struggle to bring her and her story to life.

Many months ago, approximately 18, which is twice as long as a human gestation, Sonja–a fellow unstuck creative–encouraged me to consider writing a book. I never wanted to be an author, even though I enjoy writing and love word work.  But Sonja is a published author and worked in the publishing industry. She knows these things.

Even though I had not wanted to be an author, I saw a need for a book, a certain type of book enjoyed by little ones in my family. A scratch ’n sniff book to be exact.  There didn’t seem to be any new ones on the market and none covering the subjects I was interested in buying.

So being the true creative who sees a way to make something that doesn’t yet exist, I took the challenge. And lo and behold, Rosey comes into being.

As in a regular birth process, there are periods of confusion, morning sickness / night sickness / motion sickness…bloat, weight gain, discomfort and distrust. Apprehension and, through these labor pains, anticipation.

After numerous attempts to confine the illustrations of Rosey to the page margins of Amazon’s Createspace, I finally had to turn my baby Rosey over to a professional in the printing industry who promises he can help her take form. Now I’m going through separation anxiety.

So I’m writing about her to introduce her to you and prepare the way for her eventual coming out. Rosey will be here soon.  There are still problems to overcome but I am determined.  Watch for an announcement!

Expectantly yours,

Cynthia

p.s. Thanks Sonja. Here’s to many more! 7fd631c70bf302d122247c69fb137881

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