by Jenny Leigh Hodgins
If you’ve read any of my blogs on inspiration or creativity, or listened to any of my new podcasts this year, you’ll know exactly what my personal values are about.
My brand name, YourCreativeChord, is symbolic of the importance I place on empowering myself and you with the tools to nurture creative energy and inspired daily life.
If you’ve been reading my photo essays under the Creativity menu on my website, you’ll see more closely, behind the scenes, under the hood, of my personal creative process.
That’s partly why I created my 2020 Nature Calendars, too. My calendars feature my own photos, taken on my iPhone with a simple one-button push. My photos are a reminder of how I find ways in the midst of my daily life, to notice, discover, and explore nature’s incredible beauty within an ordinary moment.
I created these calendars as a representation of my brand. Immersion in nature is a huge part of healthy self-care. I added written monthly themes to remind you to be mindful of each moment. My calendar's monthly themes help you remember how your mindset matters toward reaching goals each day, month, and for the year.
I value finding ways for nurturing creativity and inspiration. If you’re reading this, obviously, so do you.
My calendars are a tangible example of how I approach the creative process. Each time you look at a monthly photo in my calendar, or read my written positive affirmation, you’re receiving my message about the importance of being true to yourself—and of how expressing that authenticity is to tapping inspiration. When you allow yourself to be real, genuine, vulnerable, open—the creative muse will come to you naturally.
I made these calendars for you as a reminder to seize your day, create an experience of gratitude and joyful awareness through nature’s beauty and healing force. Every time you look at my calendar on your wall, you’re reminded to refresh your creative energy.
We All Go Through Creative Blocks
Sometimes we even doubt our ability to be creative at all. In those moments, if you have my calendar, you’ll get a friendly, warm, gentle reminder that you’ve got this. Creativity is in your life just as it’s in mine.
And if I’m not a professional photographer who uses fancy camera gear, or knows all the advanced technical stuff, so what?
I stand in my truth. I look at the world from where I stand, with whatever tools are in my hand, and I shoot. Er, push the button.
The point is that my calendars are based on my creative process of finding time for self-care, especially through experiencing nature. There's scientific research proving that experiencing awe improves your optimism and lowers stress. Nature is a constantly changing source of awe that is constantly there.
See How You Are Incredible
I want you to see how incredible you are. How easy it can be to release your stress to the air and relish the vibrance and wonder that nature brings to your senses. Exploring the profundity of nature’s compassionate force can put you back in rhythm with your own inherent creative flow.
That’s why I made my 2020 calendars.
And yeah, they aren’t mass distributed. I used decent quality materials so you could write your personal goals, events and notes on them easily.
I left plenty of white space so you can set and track your personal goals in the same place where you’ll see a joyful or peaceful moment in nature.
The same place where a positive affirmation will be to encourage you about your infinite creative potential.
You can feel how I incorporate authenticity, an open heart and sincere determined effort in the creative process from these calendars. You can see why this visual and written format is important to me.
If I can make something out of the simplicity of a moment within my day, so can you. These calendars were made to empower you and me toward manifesting our beautiful relationship with the unceasing compassionate power of the universe.
That’s why I made these calendars.
The cart has closed on YourCreativeChord's 2020 Inspiring Calendar. Stay tuned for 2021 Calendars in October 2020!
by Jenny Leigh Hodgins
Is your creative flow clogged?
Or do you just want to tap into your creativity?
Do you fight with insomnia, negative self-talk, overthinking, or depression?
Do you struggle with how to progress as a pianist?
Are you having difficulties keeping up with your caregiver responsibilities?
Are you searching for a joyfulness in your daily life?
I've struggled with all of these! As an entrepreneur, caregiver, composer, writer and hobbyist nature photographer I share my personal tips that work for tapping creativity, and inspiration! I also interview other professional creators, from artists to writers, to composers and creative experts.
And it’s not ALL about struggle! There are moments and even full chapters and books about riding that wave of joyous creative output, refreshed balance and spiritual momentum!
I offer TONS of valuable FREE content on empowering strategies for nurturing your creative and inspiration that I have used and still practice.
All of these topics, from music to creative flow to handling stress and strengthening spirituality, are branches from the same roots.
Everything is interconnected. It all flows from the same core of spiritual, physical and creative energy.
When we take care of one area, it reflects in other ways, too. We're complex, deep, light, funny, serious, talented, methodical, rebellious, sensitive, bold beings, and everything in between!
The different things I blog, talk about or teach, reflect the holistic interconnectedness of a creative, healthy, spiritually well and whole person. Like YOU!
Check the ABOUT page to learn more about why I'm the perfect person to offer empowering strategies for nurturing creativity and inspiration for you!
I'll keep the great value rolling out for you in my blogs, podcasts, products and courses!
Creativity and inspiration are worlds that EVERY HUMAN has the potential to explore and THRIVE. Join TEAM YCC and let me show you the way to prioritizing your life so the creative juices pour forth from a solid life-state of strength and compassionate wisdom.
As a creativepreneur, caregiver, Buddhist, single 50+ woman, I have MY particular journey. The reason I’m launching YourCreativeChord is to SHARE what gives me creative and spiritual energy so that YOU can be empowered, too.
We have the ability to use every difficulty we experience to encourage others. This is what the Buddhist concept of 'karma into mission' means to me. We have our unique set of challenges so that we can learn how to manifest our full potential. In the process, we become leaders by example, helping those around us stand up, too!
My goal is to use my personal journey, skillsets, talent, experience, and awareness to create as much value for you as possible.
SIGN-UP HERE FOR MY MAILING LIST to be the first to hear of new content, products and courses!
I’m SO excited to see where we go, to learn from you as well, and to share how we grow in our creative, inspired wellness together.
I’d love to hear from you. It means a lot to me that my content is helpful and empowers you. Please take a moment to let me know your thoughts below!
Your Troubles Are Your Progress Barometer & Catalyst For Your Full Potential
How To Use Self-Care To Feel Happy
5 Ways To Use Music & Nature For Self-Care
Defeat Fear & Doubt with Your Courage & Capability
How To Deflect Negativity To Become Happier
Believing In The Positive
To Climb Again My Kilimanjaro
You can also find me on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook!
A REVIEW OF LEXINGTON BALLET COMPANY
By Jenny Leigh Hodgins
My mother and I attended New Works and Other Voices, a free performance by the Lexington Ballet Company, Saturday, October 27, 2018, at LexArts on 161 N. Mill Street, Lexington. I had no idea what to expect, as I was unfamiliar with the program.
From the moment Lexington Ballet Artistic Director, Luis Dominguez spoke, I knew immediately the audience was in for a robust explosion of cultural spirit. As he introduced each choreographer, musical background of each composition, and the meaning behind each dance, his love and respect for art was exuberant. The featured choreographers are also company dancers and instructors at the Lexington Ballet. As each one spoke before the cast’s performance, the heartfelt sincerity and passion for dance was palpable.
But the dancers’ performances topped that. Beyond demonstrating a graceful physical flexibility, they overwhelmed the room with youthful passion, and shared their hearts through dance. It is rare to attend a concert that rises above technical mastery to resonate directly with the heart. But Lexington Ballet Company cast did just that, with every performance of the concert.
I don’t know anything about dance. But, I gathered from each selection of the concert, that these young people have vigorously worked to overcome their physical limitations. That was obvious from their movements, and their polished achievements are worth the spotlight of attention.
The colorful costumes changed throughout the concert, adding oomph to the visual cultural expression onstage. The unity of the dancers was impressive. They created a harmoniously flowing motion with bodies of different shapes, heights and age. They made it look easy.
The atmosphere within the room transformed through the purity of the energetic dancers. In today’s world filled with self-inflicted barriers, darkness and disunity, Lexington Ballet’s performances immersed the audience with spiritual and emotional therapy. The power of their artful dances, evidently rooted in the expression of each artist’s heart and soul, led the audience through an array of emotion.
I could feel my own heart open, and sometimes be astounded by their phenomenal talent. It is this kind of artistic performance, based on communicating heart to heart, that has the power to bring hope to our society. “Music is an expression of the human spirit; it speaks directly to the heart and proves that we can transcend national and ethnic barriers. It plays a critical role in building peace.”1
This is a strong factor in the argument for arts promotion. Lexington Ballet Company’s program offers solid training in dance to youth. But observing their concert last Saturday, they go far deeper than that. They provide their dancers with holistic development toward becoming true artists.
I cannot think of a single thing our society needs more than raising capable, spiritually empowered youth. The development of young artists connects wellness of mind, body, and spirit. Experiencing art as a performer or audience member is rehabilitation for the soul. Art is a great place to start in our complicated world, toward building bridges between humans. Art is healing and energizing for all, as it is a collaboration between humans in the most vulnerable form.
Choreographer/Dancer Casey Myrick introduced the first piece, Anxious Desires, by musician Sufjan Stevens, which featured modern dance movements grounded in classical dance styles. Myrick said the work was inspired by a Buddhist concept about anxiety stemming from desire and how anxiety can actually work to fulfill our desires. The performance was a unique, outside-the-box mentality of dance that evoked discomfort lending to intrigue. Dancers bodies and expressions emoted fear, doubt, distress, and finally, resolution and relief.
Choreographer/Dancer Alexandra Orenstein introduced UnderTones, her work set to an excerpt from jazz composer, Keith Jarrett's solo piano work, Lausanne Concert. The improvisational music builds on a rhythmic droning, with Jarrett’s infamous knack for outflowing melodic lines. Orenstein’s organic, abstract modern approach to movement for each dancer emerged naturally, in sync with the music’s pulsating crescendo and layered texture.
Talented dancer, Ayako Hasebe Lloyd’s stunning entrance in a bold red dress, and her ensuing solo dance to Sand, mesmerized the audience. Luis Dominguez and Lexington Ballet School Director and Ballet Mistress, Nancy Dominguez "developed the collaborative piece as a pas de seul”2 for Lloyd.
The first section of the dance, Sand, was set to Luis Ni’s G Minor Bach, and choreographed by Nancy Dominguez as an homage to her mother, who passed away with Alzheimer’s last year. Next, Zoom-Out, set to a song by Drummond Dominguez, was choreographed by Luis Dominguez. Lloyd’s movements were elegant, bursting with passion tempered with artistic maturity that shook the room with her life-force.
Lloyd’s commanding performance segued fluidly into Kaylie Conner and Sean Sullivan’s romantic Pas de Deux, performed to Nightflight, by Drummond Dominguez and Ethan Gustavson. The performances, highlighted by vivid red costumes, led flawlessly to the final group piece choreographed by Nancy and Luis Dominguez, to Fernando Delgadillo’s La Inspiration.
During intermission, my mother and I engaged in a natural conversation with strangers around us. Was it the dancers’ performances, emanating with openness and intimacy, that made it so easy for strangers to interact?
We went well beyond small talk to discover that the couple behind us had a 28-year old son who’d been diagnosed with 4th-stage cancer. This led to our sharing that we had lost my 28- year old brother to a car accident in 2004. We opened up and shared honestly with each other in the short dialog.
We took our seats as Lloyd introduced the meaning behind her choreography to Our Blue Hearts by Japanese composer, Joe Hisaishi. “This work is inspired by the blue stained-glass hearts that hang in the Lexington Ballet studio windows as a memorial to a past student.”3 The dance featured the largest cast of the evening, and in particular, the youngest performers.
Lloyd talked about how the personal loss of her brother inspired her choreography. She shared warmly how grief affects many, and it was her intent that the piece would help audience members cope with loss and feel supported. Her introduction and the dance performance were mystically in sync with the conversation my mother and I had with the couple behind us.
The choreography and dance were deeply touching. Depicting the sorrow of loss as relationships end, the stage evolved from soloists to exponentially growing numbers of dancers exhibiting grief through facial expression and movement. As Hisaishi’s music progressed with a symphonic swell, a solo dancer was hoisted atop a group of dancers, like pallbearers carrying the deceased. The audience was moved by its emotional intensity.
The dancers, in delicate blue costumes, swirled onstage from scene to scene, ending with a harmonious, joyful, full cast of camaraderie. It symbolized, to me, the victory over tragedy with the power of friendship, community, and spiritual transformation.
My words do not do justice to the eloquence and impact of the Lexington Ballet Company performances. “We can know a country’s rise and fall by whether its tones are happy or sad.”3 The Lexington Ballet Company's display of artistic beauty, poise and soul expressed the gamut of moods, yet landed on the joyous, the united and hopeful.
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1 Daisaku Ikeda, peace advocate, Buddhist philosopher, educator, author, poet and leader of
Soka Gakkai International
2 Extracted from LexingtonBallet.org
3. Extracted from LexingtonBallet.org
4 Nichiren, 13th century Buddhist leader
COMING SOON: Watch this space for new ebooks, products and courses for nurturing creativity and inspiration!
In my CREATIVITY blogs, you’ll find tips for exploring creative flow, and inspiring content related to the inherent challenges and tremendous joy within the creative process.