My Favorite Creativity Tools

 

The very first creativity tools I used were pen and paper. These two are not only my first tools, they continue to be the most important for me. There is something special about writing with a pen on paper, not only does it help me process my thoughts and feelings it also helps my brainstorming and problem solving sessions go much better.

Second on my list, although closely rivaling number one, is my beloved Tarot. If you asked me five years ago, whether I would ever find myself owning, not one, but (too many to list) tarot decks and using them regularly I would have looked at you as if you had just said the most crazy thing in the world; I really never saw this coming. I use tarot to gain insights into many different areas of my life, and especially about my creative journey. Tarot is a tool for storytelling and storytelling is one of the most creative things you can do. Tarot as a creative tool deserves its own blog post and it is on my list of topics to cover, so I will leave it there for now.

If I could only pick two creative tools ( I count pen and paper as one) to use for the rest of my life, I would choose writing and reading the tarot. But being the person I am, I do delve in other creative practices like painting, embroidery, photography, jewelry making and crafting of magical tools like wands, oracle cards, and divination sets.

I am pretty open to following whatever creative urge strikes my fancy. In the past, I felt that this was a barrier I had to overcome, but now I see it as a gift. To be aware of my changing interest and have the freedom to pursue them is the greatest gift of all. So if one day I wake up wanting to do collages, I will do them and if suddenly I grow tired of collages, I will stop doing them without regret. We have to follow inspiration wherever it leads us.

 

 

 

 

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My Personal Beliefs About Creativity

Continuing with my reflection on creativity, I want to share with you some of my beliefs about creativity.

I believe we are all creative. Sometimes when we hear the word “creative” we instantly think of artists, writers, dancers, musicians. Let’s face it, the majority of us are not what comes to mind when we think about creativity. Most of us work a full-time job, maybe more than one, and usually those full-time jobs don’t encourage much creative thought or action. But at the core of my creative journey is the belief that we are all creative beings.

Creating is an act of service. Being of service to others is an important part of most spiritual paths. Being of service is a way to affirm the belief that we are all connected and in this earthly experience together. Being of service to others helps us grow and learn, dare I say advance in our human evolution. Being of service is just the right thing to do, unless you want to live a sad, miserable, selfish, inconsequential and lonely life.

Creating connects us with our most authentic Self. I believe that when we tap into our creativity, we begin to connect with a deeper part of our Self, a part that is more truly us than the selves we walk around pretending to be on a daily basis.

We are being creative everyday, even if we are not aware of this. I am going to get into some woo woo ideas about the power of our mind, if you are not into the woo, please don’t close your mind to what I am about to share! I firmly believe that our mind/thoughts are way more powerful than most of us realize. It’s not as explicit as thinking about something and having it magically appear, most of our minds are not strong enough to make that happen. What I mean is that our thoughts dictate our words and eventually our actions. What we say and what we do in the end creates the reality that we live in. If our mind is constantly tuned to Negative Nelly’s Radio Show, well our words will not be used to build people up, we will always try to tear people down, our actions are not going to be empowering, we will always sabotage ourselves and others. If you leave your mind to run wild with negative thoughts, your are creating a negative reality for yourself.  

We all have unique gifts to share with the world.  Part of what set me on my creative journey was the belief that I was here for a reason. With time I began calling that reason or purpose a gift and I was off on a journey to unearth that gift. Since beginning that journey I have discovered more than one gift I can share with the world. I have also learned that the greatest gift we can give to the world and to ourselves is to be our true and authentic Self. Discovering, or unearthing, the real Self is essential to the creative journey.

These are my current beliefs about creativity. I am sure I will discover more and maybe a few months or years later I will write an updated list. Tell me your beliefs about creativity in the comments, I’d love to know!

Reflections on Creativity

Well, I came to my laptop to write a blog post and I have somehow managed to lock myself out of my blog account. The website says to give it a few minutes, I have no patience as of late, it must be a sign from the universe.

Over on my Instagram page, I have been participating in a month long challenge exploring magick, which has led me to explore creativity. Being creative and expressing creativity is something that is important to me on many levels, it’s important for my mental health and important to my spiritual path.

Unfortunately, I often spend a lot of time thinking about being creative or reading about creativity. I have also had many false starts in my creative journey, maybe they are not “false starts” though, maybe they are all part of the journey.

I always seem to lack something, or need something else to finally unlock the secret door to creativity. If it’s writing I want to do, I am in need of a better laptop, this laptop is too slow. Or maybe I need peace and quiet (something that is currently a luxury), or time, there’s never enough time for this creative stuff. If it’s painting I want to do, I must have more colors and brushes and paper because the ones I have are obviously not enough.

From all that I have learned about creativity, we really don’t need anything fancy to get started. In fact, creativity is able to make something out of nothing. I could blame my consumerist tendencies on capitalism, but the truth is that fear is what keeps most creatives paralyzed and unable to actually create. Fear sabotages our creative nature every day, and if not dealt with, possibly for the rest of our lives. Unless we decide/choose to get over our fear and just fucking make something.

I can say that a few many times in my life I have successfully overcome fear and created something, many somethings actually, which means there is still hope for me. I can continue to overcome fear and create what I am meant to.

What have you created lately? Or has fear won you over? Don’t give up, you do have it in you to bring into reality what you desire to create for yourself.

Storytelling Performance #1

The day that I had been awaiting with excitement and fear came and went, but fortunately I can say that it did not happen without consequence.

On November 30th, 2017 I performed my story in front of a supportive crowd of about 150 people.

The day of, I could not get my stomach to settle down, so I didn’t eat too much. In the morning I packed my crystal companions that I had chosen to carry with me, they were: chrysocolla, black tourmaline, two pieces of carnelian, and citrine. Let’s just say I had my pockets full of supportive energy.

I practiced my story one last time with a good friend from work.

When I got to the event I met my fellow storytellers and we were all full of excitement and nerves. We encouraged each other and I felt better knowing that I wasn’t the only one who was panicking. Our teacher, Scott, was also very encouraging, telling us “nerves were completely normal” and to enjoy telling our story and being present with our audience. He assured us he knew we were going to put on a wonderful show. I tried to believe him.

People started to arrive for the event, we were mingling for 45 minutes before we got the signal to go into the auditorium. I saw many familiar faces, which helped me feel a little more relaxed.

When the first storyteller went up, I felt just as nervous and excited as she was. Then her story finished, and the next storyteller went up, and the next, and the next. Then it was my turn to stand up and walk to the microphone. I remember saying a quick “Please help me!” to my spirit guides and stepping down into the center of the auditorium. Scott introduced me, sharing that when asked about who had the most influence in helping me became the person I was that night, I answered that everyone I had met had helped me be who I was that night. I heard the audience say “aaww”.

The rest of the story is kind of blurry, go figure! I said the opening of my story and the words just kept flowing, I could hear myself speaking, I didn’t feel nervous. I looked into the audience and saw engaged and supportive faces. I didn’t hear myself stumble, or say “umm”, which I tend to do when nervous. Then my story was done. I said thank you. People started clapping. Scott came over to ask for another round of applause. I was feeling warm and tingly. I returned to my seat and my fellow storytellers were smiling and high-fiving me. It was done. And I was alive.

Once the storytelling ended, the Foundation who was celebrating their 20th anniversary shared some important news. They thanked all the storytellers. We went out into a reception where I was showered with hugs, compliments, and stories that the audience members wanted to share. My story had awakened stories in them.

I felt so proud of my self for accepting the invitation/challenge to tell my story. My heart was warmed by the people that came up to share their own stories with me. I knew from the storytelling workshops that this was the magic of storytelling, when you share your story, you give freedom to other people to share their own.

Having worked in that story, which was about my parents and why the work I do now is meaningful to me, had made me rethink many things. I’m still processing them and I hope to do a future blog post about that. This is the other part of storytelling, before the performance, comes the discovery, the exploration, the digging deep down to find what is important.

I have been thinking about what my next story will be. I don’t know that I will ever perform it, but you never know, maybe I get another invitation and I decide to be brave.

I uploaded one of my practice runs of my story to my sound cloud account. Click here to have a listen.  

Maybe High School English Classes Do Matter…

Since I was a young girl I have wanted to be a writer. I filled journal, after journal, after journal. Becoming a writer is still my dream, but now that I am an adult, it feels a little more distant, like it’s something that might not actually happen.

Most of what I have written over my life time are daily reflections in my journals. In high school, I took a stab at writing short stories for my English classes. There are three classes that stand out from my high school years, two of them were taught by one of my favorite teachers, Mr. Barry Grimes.

Mr. Grimes was my English teacher during grades 10 and 12. He introduced me to a diverse range of writers, not just in styles but also in culture. His teaching style was about bringing out the life lessons hidden in the books and making us think about how the stories we were reading connected to our own life and our own stories. Of course, we were all young so most of his teachings eluded us, but he tried nonetheless. Mr. Grimes was peculiar. He carried three small notebooks in his back pocket, he used to record things through out his day. He had very sloppy hand writing, but I got used to it. He wrote on a chalkboard, when most teachers were using white boards.

In his class, I read books like The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, Farewell to Manzanar, and Braided Lives: An Anthology of Multicultural American Writing. We also got to write our own short stories, emulating the writing styles of the authors we were reading. Mr. Grimes liked my writing and ignited in me the belief that maybe I too could be a writer some day.

The other class that was formative for me was a Latino Literature class I took in my junior year (11th grade) with Mr. Bodeen. In his class I was introduced to many Chicano authors like Gloria Anzaldua, Tomas Rivera, and Rudolfo Anaya. In his class I read one of my favorite books: Bless Me, Ultima. In his class I also wrote some short stories and learned that my cultural background provided me with a lot of creative material.

Did you take any classes during high school that had an impact on you? Share your stories in the comments!

The Power of Stories

In my last post, I shared about how in the last few months I have began to be involved with oral storytelling. I want to share how stories have been a significant in my life even before getting into storytelling.

In college I had to take a writing seminar my freshman year, I took the one called The Power of Story: Writing as Transformation. The class was rather small, maybe 10 people. Some of those people become my best friends in college.

In the class we wrote stories, then read them in class and provided feedback to each other. We shared personal and vulnerable stories; this is probably why the group became so close. The professor shared her stories with us too. I don’t remember much about the class, but I do remember learning about the hero’s journey. I  remember the stories my classmates shared. And I remember a moment when the professor shared how she felt alone, and that she was afraid that she would die alone. I remember her vulnerability, and I remember feeling what she said as if they were my own feelings.

I didn’t understand this then, but stories are powerful. The stories we tell ourselves about ourselves and about the world around us have real life implications, they determine how we act and how we live our life.

Most of us aren’t aware of the stories we believe. We are not aware of the stories that we have inherited from our parents.  And most importantly, we are not aware that we have the power to change the story. I know I wasn’t aware of that before, and now I’m finally beginning to put this story puzzle together.

What about you? Have you ever though about the stories you have believed about yourself and how the world works? Share in the comments!

Adventures in Storytelling

Almost accidentally, I have fallen into a new hobby/adventure: Storytelling.

It’s not so strange that I would find myself exploring this. I remember back in college during the Day of the Dead celebrations, I went to a museum exhibit on the Dia de Muertos, and they had a real live Storyteller. She used different instruments to bring the sounds of her story to life and I was mesmerized by her performance. I secretly wished I could one day become a storyteller like her, but my extreme shines and fear of public speaking kept me from even trying.

I have always battled with fear of speaking. Not just public speaking, just speaking in general. Speaking up in class was never easy, it used to cause me so much anxiety, I rarely even talked in class. I didn’t know that speaking-up was important to my spiritual and life journey, until recently. My life has put me in many situations where I have the opportunity to work on my fear of public speaking.

I have come a long way from my younger years. I even have a job where I regularly have to speak up, do presentations, tell people what’s on my mind. It’s through this job that I’ve had the opportunity to dip my toes into storytelling.

It started with a workshop series where we learned the basics of storytelling and got to practice and actually share some stories. I received very good feedback from those workshops, but it was always very nerve wrecking. Not just because it was speaking up in front of people, but also because sharing personal stories is well…personal, and vulnerable.

Apparently, my stories were powerful because I was invited to share my story at a large event. My mind told me to run for the hills and not accept such a crazy proposal, but my soul told me I needed to be brave and do this.

This Friday, I will have my first storytelling workshop to prepare for the big event. The story I am going to tell has been trickling in little by little. I will be needing a lot of courage to make it through the two workshops and the main performance. Wish me luck, I feel afraid, but I am choosing courage. I feel this is an important step for me. And I’m excited to see where it leads me.