Saturday, May 31, 2014

Create More Time to be Creative

Guest blog post for

Is a never ending To Do List getting in the way of your creative productivity? Often we think we don’t have time to be creative. But I’m willing to wager that many of the things on your To Do List don’t really need to be done today, by you, or, at all!

Following are 3 easy steps to transform your To Do List. It just might transform your life!

Step 1: Reframe your Shoulds into Coulds

There are always unavoidables on our To Do List, like making the car payment or buying the cat food. But often things on our list don’t really need to get done. They’re more like good ideas and nice intentions. Or worse, they’re someone else’s idea for how we should spend our time.

Start by reviewing your To Do List and cross off anything that was not your idea. Your sister might think it would be great for you to start online dating. But if the thought doesn’t excite you, let it go.

Next, separate the Shoulds, like paying bills, from the Coulds, such as cleaning the bathroom. Once you’re done, you’ll have two lists. The first are your Big Rocks, the things you really should do to be a responsible adult and manage your life. The second is a Could Do List, the things you feel you should do… eventually.

The beauty of a Could Do List is that it reminds us that we’re at choice. How delicious would it feel to wake up tomorrow morning and ask yourself, “What could I do today?” Or say to yourself, “I could do this… or could do that…”

A Could Do List leaves room for inspired creativity and  invites in possibility. So the next time your best friend invites you to join her on an all-expenses-paid trip to Cozumel, or just for a cup of coffee around the corner, you can say, “Yes!” Your Could Do List will allow for the freedom of spontaneous choices, instead of just guilt-ridden obligations.

Read 2 more easy time creation tips at the blog here.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

It Was My Shameful Secret (this week I get real)

In honor of May being Mental Health Awareness Month, I want to share something with you that you may not know about me. It's something I kept as a secret for years because I felt shame about it. Until my friend Karen committed suicide in 2010. That's when I decided I could not - and would not - hide my secret any more.

If you've read
my About page on my website you know that I'm upfront and honest about suffering from life threatening depression 12 years ago. But most people don't know the details: that in 2002 I spent 7 days in a double-locked psychiatric ward of a hospital on suicide watch,
followed by 4 weeks in an out-patient program. That's when I was reintroduced to art through art therapy and my creative, and spiritual, journey began.   

Infinite Love, 12x12, Acrylic & Mixed Media on Canvas, sold
I'm telling YOU this because I didn't tell Karen, my friend who ended her life. In the four years since her death, I have rehashed our last conversation over and over again in my mind. I can't help but wonder, if I had shared the truth about of my journey, could I have saved her?

I know that we are each responsible for our own happiness and the choices we make. But I think of Karen often and wonder, if she had known about the lows I had endured and the challenges I had overcome, could I have given her hope to live another day, and then another…

I’ll never know. But it’s my hope that by sharing my story of choosing life, when I welcomed death, and starting over again, and then again, that I will inspire someone, somewhere, to give life a second chance.

And I’m going to be brutally honest with you. My life, since my dark night of the soul, at certain stages over the past 12 years, actually became more difficult before it got easier. I had several failed relationships between my two marriages. A couple of business startups failed. I was sued. And I went through bankruptcy. 

But I kept going and I continue to. I’ll tell you why. 
A Good Cry, 20x20, Acrylic & Mixed Media on Canvas, sold
The night I was hospitalized, I had a mystical experience. I’ve since come to learn it was an ADC, an after-death communication. My maternal grandmother had lost her battle with cancer 4 months earlier. I laid on the floor of my house at the time, in the fetal position, holding my bottle of antidepressants in one hand, my car keys in the other, and the intention in my mind to swallow all of the pills with booze from my (first) husband’s liquor cabinet, and then lay down in the back seat of my Volvo in the garage while I waited to slip out of the life I felt stuck in.  

It was a foolproof plan. My husband was in Japan on business. No one would find my remains for days. But as I laid on the floor, in the fetal position, sobbing, I felt as though someone wrapped a warm blanket around my back. I was alone, and yet, I felt as though I was being comforted. Then telepathically I heard my Grandmother’s voice, “This isn’t the life you’re supposed to be living, but it’s not your time. You need to get help.” And so I did.  

I’ll save the details of how I went from experiencing a visitation from my deceased grandmother, to admitting myself into a double-locked psychiatric ward of a hospital for another post. But what I will share is that since my friend Karen chose to make a different choice, to choose death instead of life, I have felt that it's my soul’s calling to shine my light so that others may find their way again.

Whispers Through the Veil, 12x24, Acrylic, $457
Available for purchase through Sync Gallery in Denver

Everything I do – from the paintings I paint, to the blogs, essays, and magazine articles I write, to providing my Creative Life Coaching services – is with the deepest hope and desire of my heart and soul to inspire others to not only live life, but to live life fully, joyfully, and creatively. 

There are no accidents. You are here for a reason. No matter what the circumstances of your life, your presence is needed. You are here to love and be loved.  

With help comes hope. If you, or someone you know, is feeling helpless or hopeless, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or visit

You CAN begin again! I'm living proof.

Live and live creatively,

P.S. Last week's blog, "The One Question that can Change... EVERYthing" is going to be reprinted in the August issue of Science of Mind magazine! If you missed it, you don't have to wait until August. Read it here.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The One Question that can Change... EVERYthing!

“What do I really, really, really want?”
~Elizabeth Gilbert
It’s been said that we are transitioning out of the Information Age and entering the Age of the Artist. As systems are changing and paradigms are shifting, we are moving beyond knowledge and embracing higher levels of conscious thought and intuition.

As we embark on this new age, this time to explore and implement new, creative, ideas to solve the world’s challenges, the world needs YOU. Your talents, your gifts, your creative ideas, and your rebel ways to lift us higher and lead us further.

You hear the call. Something inside of you is inviting you to dream bigger and shine brighter. But how, you ask? How do you answer your heart’s calling when you work, manage your household, perhaps raise a family or care for others? How do you make time to be creative, when your never ending to-do list never ends?

Take it the cushion. It could be your mediation cushion. Or the cushion on your couch. Where ever it is, sit your tushy down, close your eyes, and ask your heart, “What do I really, really, really want?”

In 2008 I saw Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat Pray Love, on Oprah. Liz shared a lot of wisdom she gained while she spent a year traveling through Italy, India, and Indonesia to write her New York Times bestselling memoir. But the nugget that struck me the most was her invitation to ask ourselves, as we go into meditation, “What do I really, really, really want?”
Meeting Liz Gilbert at book signing in Colorado in 2009, just 1 month after I moved there
(Detroit was not on her book tour that year)
Liz went on to say that it’s extremely important to ask, “really,” three times. And to emphasis the word the third time you say or think it. Doing so invites your heart to answer honestly.

You may not hear the answer right way. Be patient. And you may not, “hear,” an answer at all. You might see what looks like a sign. Or you might feel a strong intuitive hunch. How ever your Higher Power answers, listen. You’re being guided.

When I began to take the question, “What do I really, really, really want?” into my meditations, my husband Sean and I were renting my Grandparents house back in Michigan. When we weren’t planning our destination wedding, we were busy making home improvements. And we were debating. Should we buy the house where I spent a lot my childhood and start our family there? Or should we relocate to Colorado, a place we had both loved to vacation?
Before taking Liz’s, “really want,” question into meditation, I felt conflicted. I loved my Grandparent’s house. I had so many fond memories there – both as a child, and as Sean and I began to create our life together. And we had the opportunity to purchase the house at a really great price. Plus, it had everything we wanted if we were going to start a family: multiple bed rooms, a fenced in yard, and a 2-car garage. But I was hesitant to commit.

After a week, maybe two, of taking Liz’s, “really want,” question into meditation I began to hear the still small voice. For me, it sounds like my voice, yet not my voice, whispering in my ear, over my shoulder. I know, crazy right? But she’s never steered me wrong... Anyway, the answer I heard in response to, “What do I really, really, really want?” was, “paint.”

Paint? Yes, paint! But I already was painting! Dry wall. We were tearing down old wall paper that my Grandfather had hung 25 years earlier and we were repainting all of the walls in the house.

Confused by the answer I was hearing, I kept taking Liz’s, “really want,” question into meditation. And I kept hearing the same answer. Paint.

Paint? And then it dawned on me. I had begun painting again, on canvas, a few years earlier when I studied with Detroit artist Shadia Zayed. But after we began renting my Grandparent’s house, and started making home improvements, I had stopped creating.

Finally, after months of feeling conflicted over the different life paths I could follow, I knew, with conviction, what I wanted. A simpler life. Where I had time to paint – on canvas, not dry wall – just for me, just for the joy of it.
Eating wedding pastries after eloping, August 2012
So we didn’t buy my Grandparent’s house or start a family. Instead, we relocated to Colorado where we still rent. And when something breaks, we call maintenance and they fix it. And we cancelled the elaborate destination wedding we were planning. Instead, we eloped at city hall. And these days, the only time I paint dry wall is in public spaces, to patch up holes from a previous art show.

Live creatively – the way you really, really, really want to,

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Feeling Fried? Take an Om-cation

"I have so much to accomplish today that I must
meditate for two hours instead of one."

There's nothing like a crises, even a minor one, to show us that our life is over scheduled and we are over committed. If you're like me, and you find yourself getting impatient and snarky when your schedule is thrown off due to an emergency (real or perceived), it's probably time for an Om-cation.

When we get uber busy, many of us tend to keep working, to keep pushing. It's during these times that our self-care, spiritual, and creative practices tend to fall to the wayside. Just when we need them most (to keep cortisol, our stress hormone, down and serotonin, our happy hormone, up) we tend to ditch the tools that would help us cope.

When I feel like I've mentally checked-out, and that my evil twin is showing up in my place during stressful situations, it's a sign that I need some
radical self-care. For me it means clearing my schedule (often easier said than done), sleeping in until I wakeup without an alarm, reducing my sugar and caffeine intake, and taking my butt to the cushion to let my monkey mind go at it while I, "sit like mountain, thoughts like clouds," for at least 20 minutes.

If you're new to meditation, just try
sitting quietly for 5 minutes with your eyes closed while you take deep breaths. Let your mind wander, because it will. But a mantra like, "Om," helps. Or I invite you to try two of my favorites: "I am love," or, "Thank you." When you notice your mind is rehashing your to-do list, just gently begin again. 

Get your Om on and live creatively,

P.S. Think you're too busy to take an Om-cation? That's when we need it the most! Ghandi was hip to this cosmic irony when he said, "I have so much to accomplish today that I must meditate for two hours instead of one." 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Win Support for Living YOUR Creative Life

Guest blog post for

Over the years, as my art business has grown and my writing has taken off, fellow and aspiring Creatives have often invited me for coffee so they could “pick my brain” to learn the secrets of my success. I have enjoyed these heart-to-heart connections SO much that I have integrated coaching into my business!

After more than a decade of practicing the art of honoring my creativity, years of building my successful art and writing business, and committing to cultivating my Live Creatively philosophy and lifestyle, I am excited to offer my Creative Life Coaching services!

Read the the rest of the guest blog post, here.