Category Archives: Community

Must-Reads for Creatives is a monthly curation of articles + art for thoughtful creative parents. Each post arrives tied together by a gentle thread—because I’m not here to add to the noise. Let’s simplify creative living, shall we? (At the end of each post, I share how I’ve been doing just that.) Bookmark these posts. Savor them slowly. This month’s Must-Reads for Creatives tap into the bigger picture: the public good and the great outdoors.

Must-Reads for Creatives: On the Public Good + the Great Outdoors

Must-Reads for Creatives is a monthly curation of articles + art for thoughtful creative parents. Each post arrives tied together by a gentle thread—because I’m not here to add to the noise. Let’s simplify creative living, shall we? (At the end of each post, I share how I’ve been doing just that.) Bookmark these posts. Savor them slowly.

This month’s Must-Reads for Creatives tap into the bigger picture: the public good and the great outdoors.

They remind us that:

  • We’re not alone.
  • We’re only human.
  • Our struggles are common, and we can handle them.
  • We’re not failing to meet our potential.
  • Cultural expectations are out of whack (and filled with distractions.).
  • The personal is still political.

Step back and let go of your imperfections and worries for a moment. You’re more than them. Set those burdens down.

We are connected to the public good and the greater world around us.

Sometimes, busy modern parents feel like they don’t have the bandwidth to consider large-scale social and environmental issues. They feel like they can barely hold things together each day.

I’d argue that we can’t afford not to consider them.

Our personal struggles exist because we have so many unresolved community and cultural issues. It does take a village and, often, that village fails us.

To remember the big picture is to let go of the culturally-imposed anxieties to be the perfect parent, with the perfect home, the perfect kids, the perfect body, the perfect time management systems, and the perfect life. We’re more than consumers of products, media, and life hacks. We don’t need those things to get in tune with our creativity and our wellbeing.

What a relief that this isn’t all personal! To be sure, we often judge ourselves for not meeting cultural standards, and so often forget to question these standards as unrealistic.

Of course, that leaves us with solving large-scale issues. I think that’s where the anxiety kicks in, and we revert to business as usual. But, we can choose to turn to one another and to approach the challenges together. We each contribute a piece toward the whole. That’s plenty. This mindset clears space for fresh ideas and solutions that potentially serve us all equally. Plus, it builds in breathing space for mindful moments and fun adventures along the way. You don’t have to tackle it all; you just do what you can, when you can, in your circles of influence.

That’s not to say that personal self-care doesn’t matter. (You’ll notice I write about it a lot!) I wouldn’t recommend waiting around for social change to happen before taking care of your own and your family’s wellbeing. Obviously, you’d be waiting a long time!

I believe that we have to “molt” cultural restrictions regularly. Only then can we re-connect with awe, wonder, the natural world, and the communities around us.

We find meaning and purpose through connection with the common good and the peace of the outdoors.

These Must-Reads reflect that…

This Month’s Must-Reads for Creatives:

A Guide to the Basic Anxiety of Life >>>

In Defense of Silence >>>

Have We Lost Sight of the Promise of Public Schools? >>>

Mental Minimalism: Paring Down Thoughts Which No Longer Serve Us >>>

Billboards That Advertise the Surrounding California Landscape by Jennifer Bolande >>>

A Cinematic Love Letter to the Wilderness and John Muir’s Legacy >>>

Continue reading

Must-Reads for Creatives is a monthly curation of articles + art for thoughtful creative parents. Each post arrives tied together by a gentle thread—because I’m not here to add to the noise. Let’s simplify creative living, shall we? Bookmark these posts. Savor them slowly. This month’s Must-Reads for Creatives are for those with wet eyes, angry fists, big hearts, and a messy, searching hope amid the current cultural atmosphere.

Must-Reads for Creatives: On Wellbeing Amid Injustice

Must-Reads for Creatives is a monthly curation of articles + art for thoughtful creative parents. Each post arrives tied together by a gentle thread—because I’m not here to add to the noise. Let’s simplify creative living, shall we? Bookmark these posts. Savor them slowly.

On Wellbeing Amid Injustice:

This month’s Must-Reads for Creatives are for those with wet eyes, angry yet eager hands, and big wounded hearts amid the current cultural atmosphere.

Many of you—as parents, creatives, healers, community volunteers and activists, and generally caring people—struggle with grief and anger after the American election. You’re searching for meaningful and effective ways to create social justice. You’re holding concerns for yourself, your family, your community, and the world at large.

These times have me reflecting on how personal wellbeing and community wellbeing intersect (and are often inseparable). Any comprehensive discussion of wellbeing must acknowledge that, even though we’re still figuring out how to support their intersections.

On Personal Wellbeing:

Let’s re-write our definition of personal wellbeing along the way; it’s a form of self-love. And, as Krista Tippett has written, “Love, muscular and resilient, does not always seem reasonable, much less doable, in our most damaged and charged civic spaces.” Self-care is more than bubble baths (though they may help). We need to turn the lens of self-compassion upon our thoughts and goals. We need to intersperse mind/body practices across our everyday lives. We need others to support us, in order to be well; no woman or man is an island.

On Community Wellbeing:

Let’s also re-write our definition of community wellbeing along the way. We cannot create true inner or outer change without activism. We can’t meditate our way to a better world (though it helps us to act from a more present and insightful place). We can’t parent, work, create, or play with true freedom within the social structures of oppression. But we must not burn out our flame in the process. We have the right to live our lives with love and play, whenever possible, and in spite of injustice.

It’s so much for us to be and do, in tandem. The good news is: to live a creative life is to contribute your part toward the whole.

Together, we can keep the candle lit.

Together, we will continue to raise the tone of our voices.

Together, we will embody and unify our creative visions for a more just and healthy world.

 

This Month’s Must-Reads for Creatives:

Self-Care Tips for Those Who Are Terrified of Trump’s Presidency >>>

How Women of Color Are Practicing Self-Care in a Trump World >>>

Amaal Said’s Portraits Shed Beautiful Light On Women Of Color >>>

What It Means to Be a Writer in the Time of Trump >>>

We All Have Our Reasons. >>>

Kimberlé Crenshaw: The urgency of intersectionality (a must-view!) >>>

Continue reading

It’s human nature to turn away from suffering. These times call for a different response. A response also rooted in human nature, but one that arises intermittently across American history—standing in our discomfort as we sustainably continue the struggle for social justice.

As You Struggle to Swim This Current of Suffering, Seek Sustainable Social Justice

It’s human nature to turn away from suffering.

These times call for a different response.

A response also rooted in human nature, but one that arises intermittently across American history—standing in our discomfort as we sustainably continue the struggle for social justice.

I say “sustainably” because:

  • Momentum can be lost quickly.

  • Activists and helping professionals burn out easily.

  • American culture quickly steers potential allies back to consumerism and a model of perfectionistic parenting, rather than a life of giving and social activism.

For the most part, if you’re white, middle-class, able-bodied, heterosexual, and/or Christian, you have privileges—reserves of time, money, energy, and support. You can use these privileges as you educate and act in the name of equality and justice.

You have power and privilege to bolster you and amplify your voice; put them to good use and be ready to give them up. Now is the time to be a true and active ally for the long haul. Don’t lose this momentum in a week, a month, a year, ten years…

Sometimes, you may need to tend to your personal wellbeing and to take breaks from the stories of suffering you hear and read.

Please return soon, though. We need you.

Learn to hold the suffering of others and act to alleviate it.

If you’re a person of color, LGBTQI2-S, Muslim, with disabilities, without documents, or of any other oppressed group, I wish you justice, respect, safe spaces, and wellbeing. You deserve to have people fight for justice beside you, as well as on your behalf when you need to restore yourself after facing hate crimes and microaggressions.  Continue reading

Let’s get creative together this summer. You can bring your kids along. Join the Bring Your Own Creativity Party (BYOC)! Katy McCullough of Greens & Blues Co. had the fabulous idea to start BYOC, a summer creative party. On the first of each month (in June, July, and August), she’ll share a creative prompt, and we’ll share our responses via #byocreativity. I’m thrilled that Katy has invited me to help throw this party.

Join the August “Bring Your Own Creativity” Party

It’s August, summer’s last hurrah.

It’s one more chance to join the Bring Your Own Creativity (BYOC) Party.

See Part 1 (creativity coaching tips + my kids’ projects) and Part 2 (my completed June project—a photo series).

Katy McCullough of Greens & Blues Co. had the fabulous idea to start BYOC, a summer creative party. Katy captures the concept like this: “Summertime is the time for parties. What better way to party than to have a BYO…However this party is a Bring Your Own Creativity.”

Here’s How to Join the BYOC Party:

At the beginning of each month (June, July, and August), I’ll share Katy’s prompt with you.

As Katy writes:

“Interpret the prompt and complete it in whatever way your creativity speaks to you and makes sense. These prompts are completely open-ended and can be interpreted by writing, drawing, sewing, knitting, hand-lettering, painting, taking photos, songwriting, building something, etc. The possibilities are endless!

“On the 25th of each month I, and the other ladies joining me for BYOC, will share how we completed the prompts…and we truly hope you will do the same! The prompts we are using were specifically chosen to allow room for true creative expression. Share how you responded to the prompt using #byocreativity.”

JOINING THE BYOC PARTY ARE (AND WHERE YOU CAN FOLLOW ALONG WITH THEM):

Jenn from The Spare Room Project: website; twitter; facebook.

Emily from Eltscott.com: website; twitter, instagram.

Allie from Allie Explores: website, twitter, instagram.

Gabrielle from A Life of Gab: website; twitter; facebook.

Katy from Greens & Blues Co.: website, twitter, instagram.

Julie from In Tandem: website; instagram, facebook.

“Each of these inspiring ladies practices creativity in different and awesome ways. Take some time to check them out and follow them to see updates about BYOC.”

NOW TO THE GOOD STUFF – TIME TO GET CREATING!

Create something that represents travel – it could be about a trip you have taken, somewhere you want to go, or even something you could use on an adventure!

My Completed July Activity:

I set out to capture and print a photo, to gift to my sister as art for her new house. This was my favorite (which you’ve seen, if you follow me on Instagram):

July "Bring Your Own Creativity" Challenge - A Photo Gift - createintandem.com

My Deeply Personal Reflections:

In an alternate or parallel reality, I’m an outdoor photographer. Mountains, vistas, bodies of water, and verdant hiking trails are my favorite works of art. I don’t think there’s anything more beautiful than nature (and real life). Photographs of places can’t fully capture their splendor, but it’s a close second to actually being there. So, photography is my absolute favorite creative medium.

Nature photographs tap into my spirit of wanderlust (in this phase of parenting young children, where traveling is anything but simple). Plus, I live in a climate where winter is the longest season. Of course, winter has its own beauty, but I sustain myself with photos of currently-more-colorful places.

I’ve loved capturing so many photos this summer. I’ve been writing less often. It’s partly because I’m off on adventures with my family, partly because I’ve shifted time into coaching creatives, and partly because my readers are offline and off on their own adventures (good for you!).

Mostly, I needed space to create in a wordless medium. I’ve done deep personal work this summer. The words to capture it are only beginning to form. It’s felt like a period of transition, sensing an upcoming but unknowable transition in my work in the nonprofit sector, gathering the courage to take my coaching practice to the next level, and working with my own coach to feel my feelings in a more embodied way.

Perhaps most of all, photography has been a medium that integrates well with summer family adventures. I’ll be honest that I have gotten love notes from my daughter that end with “P.S. Why are you on the computer so much?” Those comments hurt, of course. More importantly, she has the right to ask for my presence, when I’ve lost my balance.

Oh, that balance can feel so elusive! Ironically, this space I’ve created to talk about creating, parenting, and working in tandem takes me away from my family more. I’ve found ways to make it all work sometimes, but it’s always a work in progress.

Being a mindful parent is essential to me. But, I also want to be a role model for my daughters: a parent mindfully engaged in her community and in her own personal creative practice. My daughters are so naturally and unselfconsciously creative at this young age. I want to help them continue to live out their creative lives. I believe that the best way to do this is through walking my own talk, and having open conversations with my daughters. All in all, writing here serves me and my daughters, and hopefully helps my readers as well.  Continue reading

Join the July "Bring Your Own Creativity" Party - createintandem.com

Join the July “Bring Your Own Creativity” Party

In June, I shared an invite to a Bring Your Own Creativity (BYOC) Party!

Read the post (for creativity coaching tips + how I got my kids creating too).

Katy McCullough of Greens & Blues Co. had the fabulous idea to start BYOC, a summer creative party. Katy captures the concept like this: “Summertime is the time for parties. What better way to party than to have a BYO…However this party is a Bring Your Own Creativity.”

Here’s How to Join the BYOC Party:

At the beginning of each month (June, July, and August), I’ll share Katy’s prompt with you.

As Katy writes:

“Interpret the prompt and complete it in whatever way your creativity speaks to you and makes sense. These prompts are completely open-ended and can be interpreted by writing, drawing, sewing, knitting, hand-lettering, painting, taking photos, songwriting, building something, etc. The possibilities are endless!

“On the 25th of each month I, and the other ladies joining me for BYOC, will share how we completed the prompts…and we truly hope you will do the same! The prompts we are using were specifically chosen to allow room for true creative expression. Share how you responded to the prompt using #byocreativity.”

JOINING THE BYOC PARTY ARE (AND WHERE YOU CAN FOLLOW ALONG WITH THEM):

Jenn from The Spare Room Project: website; twitter; facebook.

Emily from Eltscott.com: website; twitter, instagram.

Allie from Allie Explores: website, twitter, instagram.

Gabrielle from A Life of Gab: website; twitter; facebook.

Katy from Greens & Blues Co.: website, twitter, instagram.

Julie from In Tandem: website; instagram, facebook.

“Each of these inspiring ladies practices creativity in different and awesome ways. Take some time to check them out and follow them to see updates about BYOC.”

NOW TO THE GOOD STUFF – TIME TO GET CREATING!

Make a gift for someone.

Here’s Katy’s thought process in her own words:

“Many of us give gifts around the winter holidays or on birthdays, but what better time to give one than when it is totally unexpected?

“Your response to this prompt can be simple or elaborate – it’s totally your call. It can be as easy as taking 15 minutes to make a handmade card for someone (don’t forget to send it!) to something much more elaborate such as building a treehouse. Mine probably won’t be that elaborate. 🙂

“I like this prompt because by making something for someone else you are sharing your creativity + you are giving yourself the gift of time to practice your own creativity. Win-win!”

My Completed June Activity:

I set out to create a small series of photos representing summer, with a nostalgic Polaroid-style spirit:

Continue reading

Bring Your Own Creativity Party - Summer 2016 - createintandem.com

Join the “Bring Your Own Creativity” Party + the June Creative Prompt

Let’s get creative together this summer. You can bring your kids along…

Join the Bring Your Own Creativity Party (BYOC)!

Katy McCullough of Greens & Blues Co. had the fabulous idea to start BYOC, a summer creative party. On the first of each month (in June, July, and August), she’ll share a creative prompt, and we’ll share our responses via #byocreativity. I’m thrilled that Katy has invited me to help throw this party.

Katy captures the concept like this: “Summertime is the time for parties. What better way to party than to have a BYO…However this party is a Bring Your Own Creativity.”

I’ll share three BYOC posts here on In Tandem. In this first post, I’ll share how to join the party, why I love the concept, my creativity coaching tips to help you get started, and a peek into how the party’s starting up in my family.

Bring Your Own Creativity Party - Summer 2016 - June Prompt - createintandem.com

Here’s How to Join the BYOC Party:

On the first of each month (June, July, and August), I’ll share Katy’s prompt with you.

As Katy writes:

“Interpret the prompt and complete it in whatever way your creativity speaks to you and makes sense. These prompts are completely open-ended and can be interpreted by writing, drawing, sewing, knitting, hand-lettering, painting, taking photos, songwriting, building something, etc. The possibilities are endless!

“On the 25th of each month I, and the other ladies joining me for BYOC, will share how we completed the prompts…and we truly hope you will do the same! The prompts we are using were specifically chosen to allow room for true creative expression. Share how you responded to the prompt using #byocreativity.”

JOINING THE BYOC PARTY ARE (AND WHERE YOU CAN FOLLOW ALONG WITH THEM):

Jenn from The Spare Room Project: website; twitter; facebook.

Emily from Eltscott.com: website; twitter, instagram.

Allie from Allie Explores: website, twitter, instagram.

Gabrielle from A Life of Gab: website; twitter; facebook.

Katy from Greens & Blues Co.: website, twitter, instagram.

Julie from In Tandem: website; instagram, facebook.

“Each of these inspiring ladies practices creativity in different and awesome ways. Take some time to check them out and follow them to see updates about BYOC.”

NOW TO THE GOOD STUFF – TIME TO GET CREATING!

Your prompt for June is…Create something that represents summer (if you are not currently in the middle of summer, be inspired by whatever season you are currently experiencing).  Continue reading

Must-Reads for Creatives - On Self-Doubt + Emotional Health - createintandem.com

Must-Reads for Creatives: On Self-Doubt + Emotional Health

This week’s Must-Reads for Creatives help us work through self-doubt and sustain our emotional health—throughout the creative process.

Suffering emerges from our constantly second-guessing ourselves. We wonder:

  • Am I actually a creative person, or am I kidding myself?
  • Am I capable of follow-through, or am I just lazy?
  • Am I ready to move forward, or am I an imposter?
  • Are my kids suffering because I’m always on the computer?
  • How do I stop procrastinating and promote my work, as an introvert?
  • Is all of this time and energy even worth it?

Yes, it’s worth it, and you’re capable of bringing your creative ideas into form. Self-doubt is simply part of the creative process.

Most creatives struggle with the same behind-the-scenes worries. I like how creativity coach Eric Maisel frames the common creative challenges: “issues related to the creative process, issues of personality, relationship issues, and marketplace issues.” These issues are part and parcel of the creative process. With support, you can move forward with your creative dreams. Read on…

This Week’s Must-Reads for Creatives:

Am I Creative “Enough”? >>>

Navigating the Creative Industry as a New Creative >>>

Pete Mosley on the Art of Shouting Quietly and How Introvert Creatives Can Thrive >>>

Working to Feed My Soul >>>

Worrying About Being a Perfect Mother Makes It Harder to Be a Good Parent >>>

Peace Over Perfection >>>

3 Daily Practices of Emotionally Healthy Entrepreneurs >>>  Continue reading

How to Live a Creative + Resilient Life - createintandem.com

How to Live a Creative + Resilient Life

Last night, I heard creative voices speaking their truths—survivors of sexual abuse, and a powerful spoken word poet. It’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month. People around the world gather at community events to spread education and awareness, and to show solidarity with survivors. I work for a nonprofit organization as a Survivor Advocate, providing counseling and support groups to survivors. The month of April is always a busy one for me, in attending these amazing community events. It’s truly a privilege to hear voices of resiliency.

Creativity + Trauma = Creative Living

I’ve wanted to write a post about the intersections of creativity and trauma for a long time. These are the realms in which I work, at my job, and in my writing and creativity coaching. But, it’s felt like a massive topic to address. (Honestly, I could write a whole thesis on it. In fact, I did, years ago; my Masters thesis was on narratives of personal and cultural healing.)

I’ve also wanted to write more about creative living. I love the phrase and how it expands our definition of creativity. My manifesta is: everyone is creative, and within all endeavors—in work, parenting, volunteering, home life, community connections, social justice efforts, and more. Creativity appears not only in art and crafts, though those are some of each culture’s most important forms of self-expression. Creative living is speaking our truths, walking our talk, and shaping a world where people can safely share their authentic selves and ideas.

The transformational process of empowering yourself is creative living. That’s true after the “big ‘T’” Trauma of losses, disasters, abuse, and/or mental illness, and after the “little ‘t’” trauma of everyday life challenges. If you’re kind, thoughtful, and doing your best, you’re already living creatively each day. Continue reading

Jettison Comparison + Share Your Own Unique Creative Vision - createintandem.com

Jettison Comparison + Share Your Own Unique Creative Vision

Recently, I had the pleasure of being a guest on the Digiscrap Geek Podcast. We chatted about getting past creative comparison. Listen here! Read on to hear my thoughts and tips on the topic…

Jettison Comparison + Share Your Own Unique Creative Vision - createintandem.com

We compare ourselves to one another in a thousand small ways each day. It’s automatic behavior. Often, it’s encouraged by others—our friends, co-workers, peers, and partners. (Teens, especially, busy themselves by egging each other on!). It’s a cultural phenomenon with personal implications (like everything!). Certainly, comparison affects our self-perceptions. And it has the potential to complicate our relationships with others. For example, it can construct a wall of difference where, instead, we could unify through our shared experiences and vulnerabilities. Comparison alters our filter of the world and colors our self-talk, often in unproductive ways.

Now, I believe that it’s possible to use comparison as a way of articulating fresh dreams and goals for ourselves and, sometimes, as a playful way to connect with others. However, I know many creatives want to shed the toxic forms of comparison—the ugly forms of competition that fly in the face of feminism, the I-don’t-accomplish-enough blues, the self-hatred, and the struggles with articulating your own voice as distinct from the chorus of others.

So, this piece is about shedding the toxic forms of comparison, and growing clearer and more confident in your own creative vision.  Continue reading

Must-Reads for Creatives - Radical Imagination for a Just World - createintandem.com

Must-Reads for Creatives: Radical Imagination for a Just World

This week’s Must-Reads for Creatives cultivate the radical imagination necessary for creating a more just world. Community wellbeing matters. We can do so much together. (Bonus: helping others often boosts our own wellbeing!)

This Week’s Must-Reads for Creatives:

Community and Self-Care—What Do They Have to Do With Each Other? >>>

8 Creative Ways to Make the World a Better Place >>>

Shifting Narratives Through Art and Activism (a “Must-Listen”!) >>>

Radical Imagination Is a Necessary, Sustaining Force of Black Activism >>>

The Politics of Being a Parent in the Art World >>>  Continue reading