New Year, new permission to be creative

Well this is embarrassing; I haven’t written anything since November. Since that was the start of the holiday season it’s not too surprising, but it is a sign that when life gets hectic, writing stops. Does it stop for you as well? How do you keep the words flowing when you’re swamped by family and work and friends and activities that all seem so damn important.

Friends and family are important! But so is writing. Writing keeps me focused and centered, which makes me much easier to deal with. You’d think my loved ones would insist I write every day. “Here Terena, take this mocha and go to your room for an hour and write. You’re getting bitchy.”

I do it to myself; writing brings me happiness, but doesn’t benefit anyone else. I feel selfish when I take the time to create and rest. Most of the women I know feel the exact same way; our creativity doesn’t matter unless someone gives us permission to use it.

Bullshit! That’s my new mantra for the New Year: Bullshit!

Starting right now, I give myself permission to write. Permission to speak. Permission to have fun. Permission to take care of myself. Will you give yourself permission to be your most creative self?

Permission is just the start; you have to also follow through and do it. But if we wrap our brain around the idea that what we love to do is important, then we’ll take the time to do it. As long as we don’t think it matters, we’ll put everything and everyone above what we really want to do. I want… no, I need… to write. I can’t explain why and it doesn’t matter. I don’t need to justify my need. Justification ties in to permission. I don’t need to justify why and I don’t need anyone’s permission other my own.

No matter what you love to do, give yourself the time and energy to do it. Whether you love to garden, paint, sew, cook, sing, dance, take pictures, or knit baby booties, do it! Do it with all your heart. Even 30 minutes doing what you love will feed your creative soul.

But no guilt. Guilt kills creativity and happiness. If all you have is 15 minutes while hiding in the laundry room because your kids won’t stop bugging you, do it then. Don’t beat yourself up because you only had 15 minutes! Praise yourself for carving out a few minutes to be creative. No excuses and no guilt. We can do it!

Of course I have to follow my own advice. Who’s gonna help me?



Forget Resolutions: What do you want to learn in 2014?

Have you ever looked up the definition of the word “resolution”?

Resolution: The act of finding an answer or solution to a conflict, problem, etc. : the act of resolving something (from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary).

Did you know the word is a noun, not a verb?

How many resolutions do you make each year, and how many are you able to keep?

I stopped making resolutions several years ago because I got tired of setting myself up for failure. I kept promising myself that I would learn to cook and eat better, but so far all I’ve learned to cook is steak. Not veggies or quinoa or curry or even meatloaf, just steak. I gave up promising to get in better shape or be more organized because by March my running shoes were still clean and my date book was empty. But now I wonder if I was making resolutions wrong. If a resolution is a noun and not a verb, then maybe we need to think of a resolution as a tangible thing and not as a goal. Maybe a resolution is more of a transformation than simply the number of hours you log at the gym.

Instead of making resolutions that are about losing weight or earning money, what if we ask ourselves, “What do I want to learn this year?”

I want to learn to be kinder to myself, so I will look for ways to do that. Perhaps I will stick with meditation or read more books or spend more time with friends. Perhaps I’ll do all of that. Perhaps eating more veggies will make my body happier. The point is, rather than beating myself up for not meditating four times a week and eating more broccoli, I will praise myself for all the ways I try to treat myself gently. Rather than telling myself I’m a loser for not getting to the gym, I will tell myself that going to the gym is important because it makes my body happier.

Resolutions are a tool to help you, not hurt you. If resolutions make you feel guilty/angry/lazy/stupid, then they are worthless. Forget resolutions. Think deeper and ask what you hope to learn in 2014. Then find the tools to help you. If the word “resolution” is a noun, why are we treating it like a big, angry, scary verb?