Category Archives: Mindfulness

On the eve of this definitive American election, and on the cusp of the holiday season, this month’s Must-Reads for Creatives are about finding our essence. I’m reading Greg McKeown’s Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less. It’s about “making the wisest possible investment of your time and energy in order to operate at our highest point of contribution by doing only what is essential.” To create healthy families, meaningful social change, or beautiful creative projects, we must find a way to prioritize them. The rest is noise.

Must-Reads for Creatives: Make Time for the Essential

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.

On Making Time for the Essential:

On the eve of this definitive American election, and on the cusp of the holiday season, this month’s Must-Reads for Creatives are about finding our essence. I’m reading Greg McKeown’s Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less. It’s about “making the wisest possible investment of your time and energy in order to operate at our highest point of contribution by doing only what is essential.”

To create healthy families, meaningful social change, or beautiful creative projects, we must find a way to prioritize them. The rest is noise: saying yes to each imposition on our time, giving in to busy work (at work or at home), keeping up with the Joneses, or distracting ourselves with shopping. All of these things sap our time, energy, money, and mental energy (fueling what mindfulness teachers call “the monkey mind.”).

Deep down, we all want to reserve the best of ourselves for our children, partners, passion projects, and causes. This season, let’s advocate for less materialism and greater minimalism. Let’s find the strength to speak our minds, share our stories, and support one another, above all. Because, what could be more essential?

This Month’s Must-Reads for Creatives:

Are You Taking the False First Step? >>>

The Profound Joy of Completion >>>

Materialism Doesn’t Work: Self-Care Without Stuff >>>

Stop Waiting to Feel Inspired (or Motivated) >>>

Break the Silence, Sister. Your Story Matters >>>  Continue reading

Living a creative life—with wellbeing—can be an act of minimalism. Often, creatives thrive when we do less, not more, with our time and energy. We lower our unrealistic expectations and judge ourselves with less frequency. We acknowledge how much we do (and do well) already. We winnow our priorities.

Breath as Metronome: How to Transform Creative Obstacles

Living a creative life—with wellbeing—can be an act of minimalism. Often, creatives thrive when we do less, not more, with our time and energy. We lower our unrealistic expectations and judge ourselves with less frequency. We acknowledge how much we do (and do well) already. We winnow our priorities.

Then, we can breathe! In that space, with fresh eyes, fewer worries, and renewed intention, we meet the blank page or canvas, the dust-covered musical instrument, or the amorphous idea in our heads. It’s not about planning and productivity. We learn to say “no,” “I deserve rest too,” “I’m not taking from my kids, I’m being a creative role model,” and “I’m enough already, but this sounds like a fun creative experiment.”

I share this because it’s a relief, and it’s empowering. Yet, we often forget that minimalism, mindfulness, and breathing can support us. Instead, our culture bombards us with off-base and ineffective creative and business advice. Sometimes, the tone seems harsh and judgmental (I don’t know about you, but I’d rather “practice” my craft than “hustle.” If you wouldn’t word it like that to your kid, or your best friend, should you aim that language at yourself?).

Where does that harsh advice leave you? What thoughts do you hold about where you “should” be in your life right now, and what you “should” be doing? I have a feeling you know them well; you think them dozens of times each day! Step back and put it in context: how exhausting are these thoughts? Fortunately, there’s a healthier way.

Mindfully Work with Thoughts, Feelings, + Sensations

Notice that I shifted from sharing reassuring thoughts to asking what thoughts get in your way. That probably brought up some emotions for you. Hang with those uncomfortable feelings for a moment. Maybe you can notice shallower breathing, a constriction in your throat, or a swirly feeling: all signs of anxiety.

The biggest obstacles to getting our creative work done are not lack of clarity nor logistical issues. The obstacles are our thoughts, feelings, and sensations.

It’s human nature to want to turn away from discomfort and toward comfort. Have some self-compassion; you’re only human.  Continue reading

I feel as if I’m swimming against the tide. And I know I’m not alone. I’m drawn toward self-care: sleep, exercise, quiet reading time, simple snuggles with the kids...a growing introversion as the fall season unfolds. But, it’s back-to-school season: I have more on my calendar than I’d like, even when I try to keep it minimal. Family time and me-time feel so very much in transition. I feel without a groove. Does such a thing exist? Yet, I find myself so desperately seeking one. It feels right to open a conversation about the challenges of self-care. It’s at the root of so many of our struggles...because it’s the foundation for our wellbeing.

Must-Reads for Creatives: The Challenge of Self-Care

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 the Challenge of Self-Care:

I feel as if I’m swimming against the tide. And I know I’m not alone.

I’m drawn toward self-care: sleep, exercise, quiet reading time, simple snuggles with the kids…a growing introversion as the fall season unfolds.

But, it’s back-to-school season:

I have more on my calendar than I’d like, even when I try to keep it minimal.

Family time and me-time feel so very much in transition.

I feel without a groove. Does such a thing exist? Yet, I find myself so desperately seeking one.

It feels right to open a conversation about the challenges of self-care. It’s at the root of so many of our struggles…because it’s the foundation for our wellbeing.

Let’s re-commit to a deeper level of self-care, together. (It’s the united struggle of creative parents everywhere—and women in general!)

This Month’s Must-Reads for Creatives:

Oh Despair. Some Sun Has Got to Rise. (If you read nothing else…) >>>

What Nobody Tells You About Self-Care (this one stirred up my Facebook friends!) >>>

Reframing “No” as a Positive Force >>>

The Perfectionist Trap >>>

How to Meditate (a wealth of a resource!) >>>

Artist Raquel Rodrigo (cross-stitch on buildings, to end with a little awe!) >>>

Continue reading

Must-Reads for Creatives: Breaking from Expectations

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. 

On Breaking from Expectations:

This month’s Must-Reads for Creatives are about breaking from expectations—whether imposed by our culture or ourselves. This theme has echoed throughout my life this summer. (I hear I’m not the only one!)

It’s easy to believe that we meet goals by maintaining high expectations. In reality, that’s just the voice of the inner critic at play. Self-compassion matters most—because our wellbeing comes first. The good news is: self-compassion benefits our creative work. It aids us in remaining open-minded and receptive (and that fuels creativity way more than the inner critic’s “should”‘s ever would).

We face very real struggles in our parenting, work, and creativity. Can we cut ourselves some slack? Cultural forces impact us greatly. We’re all in this together, doing the best we can.

Since our lives are complicated, I want to get to the root issue. I believe that’s how we simplify creative living—by not letting ourselves get distracted by tangents, or scattered outward into too many directions. So, my approach to creativity coaching includes limited productivity hacks and business advice. Because I believe that the most important work is much deeper yet, actually, simpler. It’s shifting your mindsets.

In some ways, your creative life might benefit from lessening expectations (about how the house looks, or how much you accomplish in any given day). In others, you may need to raise them (choosing to believe that you actually are good at connecting with people, or capable enough to put your project out into the world).

Let’s get vulnerable together. Let’s do the deep work. Let me know how it goes.

This Month’s Must-Reads for Creatives:

Of Elder-Flowers and Jealousy >>>

How to Know When to Lower the Bar >>>

How to Thrive as a Highly Sensitive Mom >>>

Get Lost >>>

For U.S. Parents, A Troubling Happiness Gap >>>

Are You in Despair? That’s Good >>>

Chilean Artist Santiago Salvador >>>

Brooke Smart on Illustration and Motherhood >>>

Are You Really Available for Connection? >>>

Living with, and Loving, Your Imperfect Life >>>  Continue reading

1 Simple + Helpful Mindfulness Practice for Creative Clarity - createintandem.com

1 Simple + Helpful Mindfulness Practice for Creative Clarity

Fear of overwhelm feels like a summer haze that leaves you spacey and immobile.

What fuels the oh-so-common fear of overwhelm? You know, the one that prevents you from even considering a new creative project, or following through on that long-held dream?

  • Is it emotional wounds from past experiences?
  • Is it avoidance of anxiety’s physical discomforts?
  • Is it fear of appearing vulnerable and incapable?

The good news is: we don’t need to decipher that in order to feel relief! Let’s start there. Breathe. Shift out of your head and into your body before we move on!

We’re in good company here. I know overwhelm well, and you likely do too. Overwhelm quickly spirals into inaction. Often, we stop our creative projects before they’ve truly begun (though, often, we’ve researched them into oblivion, so we falsely “feel” like we’ve begun).

Recently, two concepts have helped me to take action on my creative dreams (Wondering what mine are? Frequent stream-of-conscious writing to release thoughts and emotions, and developing my creativity coaching practice with bravery).

Concept #1: Become Aware of Your Decision-Making Style.

Psychology researchers have identified two decision-making styles: the maximizer and the satisficer. Maximizers “take their time and weigh a wide range of options—sometimes every possible one—before choosing” (as Elizabeth Bernstein writes). Satisficers “would rather be fast than thorough; they prefer to quickly choose the option that fills the minimum criteria (the word “satisfice” blends “satisfy” and “suffice”).” (Note: If you’re unsure of your style, try this quiz.)

You can be a maximizer in certain spheres of your life, and a satisficer in others. Historically, I’m a maximizer when it comes to work/career and creative projects; I research, ruminate, and end up stuck in analysis paralysis. What’s your style? I ask you to reflect because it matters.

Research demonstrates greater wellbeing for satisficers. I take that to heart in my work here, supporting others in taking creative action with wellbeing.

In our modern culture filled with choices, satisficing might prove satisfying (as Barry Schwartz emphasizes in The Paradox of Choice). Aiming for satisficing just may help us launch and follow through on our creative pursuits (with a spirit of experimentation and play!).

There’s no hard science on how to shift from maximizing to satisficing, but I love these suggestions from “Field Guide to the Maximizer: Set deadlines, simplify the low-priority decisions, commit to being “all in,” and express gratitude.  Continue reading

Must-Reads for Creatives - On Visibility + Vulnerability - createintandem.com

Must-Reads for Creatives: On Visibility + Vulnerability

This week’s Must-Reads for Creatives encourage us to take the beautiful risk of becoming visible and connecting with one another through our common vulnerabilities. I’m always pleasantly surprised by how exhilarating and rewarding the results turn out to be. 

This Week’s Must-Reads for Creatives:

How to Overcome Isolation (And Why You’re Doing It) >>>

Should You Start a Business? 51 Female Entrepreneurs Weigh In >>>

What Becoming Visible Has Taught Me >>>

Raising the Mindful Family >>>  Continue reading

Must-Reads for Creatives - Fresh Perspective for Creative Living - createintandem.com

Must-Reads for Creatives: Fresh Perspective for Creative Living

This week’s Must-Reads for Creatives draw us toward something greater than ourselves—through awe at the world, and connection with others.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the minutiae (or our to-do list, for that matter). When it comes to cultivating a fresh creative mindset, a little perspective goes a long way. Soak it in. Then, head off and create something with the time you have—a sketch, a soufflé, an art journal page, a play fort…Dream big, and take small actions steps forward. You’re on your way. Creative living is all about the joy in jumping scope, in shifting from wide lens to zoom lens. That’s the space where fresh insights happen.

This Week’s Must-Reads for Creatives:

Mindfulness Goes Beyond the Meditation Cushion—It’s a Way of Life >>>

Try Something Hard >>>

Pema Chödrön & bell hooks Discuss Cultivating Openness When Life Falls Apart >>>

Photographer Alex Strohl Journeys to Remote Locations Most of Us Can Only Dream About >>>  Continue reading

Must-Reads for Creatives: Improvisation for Your Work and Wellbeing - createintandem.com

Must-Reads for Creatives: Improvisation for Work + Wellbeing

This week’s Must-Reads for Creatives encourage improvisation—within your work, and for your health and wellbeing. Improvisation isn’t just for jazz musicians, dancers, and comedians (or procrastinators!). Most creatives desire to bring an element of improvisation to their work.

What if we allow a dabbler’s spirit into the areas of our work that feel like they need the most structure? What if we stop thinking of ourselves as self-improvement projects, loosen the mind/body health rules, and experiment with different kinds of exercise, food, or mindsets? What do you need this time? Which formulaic approaches can you shed? What’s changing for you? You’re freer than you think you are…

This Week’s Must-Reads for Creatives:

Is Dabbling a Form of Procrastination? >>>

Creation Without Burnout >>>

Meera Lee Patel on Mindfulness, Following Your Dreams and Running a Creative Business >>>

Mapping Creativity in the Brain >>>

21 Reminders Every Creative Needs to Hear Right Now >>>

Continue reading

Must-Reads for Creatives 2.27.16 - Let Go of Control and Create Mindfully and Playfully - createintandem.com

Must-Reads for Creatives 2.27.16

This week’s Must-Reads for Creatives help us question the common search for stability and control and, instead, tap into mystery and mindfulness. What a relief, right? This feels so much better…

This Week’s Must-Reads for Creatives:

Before You Blow Up Your Life, Do This. >>>

Our Everloving Quest to Control Our Lives >>>

On the Submerged World >>>

Settle into Mystery >>>  Continue reading

Must-Reads for Creatives 2.13.16 - Self-Compassion - createintandem.com

Must-Reads for Creatives 2.13.16

This week’s Must-Reads for Creatives cover the foundation for a healthy creative process: self-compassion.

If the word “self-compassion” sounds fluffy, stay with me! Self-compassion offers us a healthier alternative to using self-criticism as a way to motivate us into creative action.

Dr. Kristin Neff defines self-compassion as “extending compassion to one’s self in instances of perceived inadequacy, failure, or general suffering.” Self-compassion supports us exactly when self-esteem lets us down. Self-esteem is based on what psychologists call “contingent self-worth.” Self-compassion is remembering that we all suffer in life, and treating ourselves as we would a good friend. It gives us just what we need to get back to creating…our own full, empowered support.

This Week’s Must-Reads for Creatives:

A charming video on self-compassion from The School of Life

If you’re doubtful about this whole self-compassion thing…

Go all-in and integrate this concept into your life.

Find Neff’s book here: Self-Compassion.

In Tandem Posts on Self-Compassion:

Stuck in the Comparison Game? Why Self-Compassion Helps

Must-Reads for Creatives 10.23.15  Continue reading