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Photo Essay Series
By Jenny Leigh Hodgins
This is the third of my photo essay series featuring images from my newly designed 2020 nature photo calendars. The calendars include monthly self-care themes highlighting strategies for nurturing your creativity and inspiration.
This powerful garden pyrotechnic display caught my attention on a trip with my mother to The Arboretum State Botanical Garden of Kentucky. We came a tad too late to catch the vivid purple blooming stage, but I found these natural fireworks to be a stunning visual celebration.
Seeing this flower in its transition from one stage to the next sends the message; “Never let your spirit die.” These amazing alliums bring something new to each phase of their life cycle. I reflected on the impact having this kind of attitude each day would have on my life and those around me.
These seemingly exploding plants symbolize the joy of creating something new. They manifest an expression of the compassionate force within life. Their spirit shines as an example of constant, vibrant growth.
The spectacle encourages me to rise above laziness, fear, doubt, and any other form of darkness. These tall, bold stems of greenery, an epitome of strength and vigor, awaken within me a fresh resolve for taking action in my life. The flowers seem to announce that this attitude toward continual development is the key to feeling real joy.
Sometimes I feel like nature speaks to me, like Snow White’s guilelessness, trusting in the birds and animals around her. When I snapped this photo of pyrotechnic flowers, I felt an explosion of renewed determination in my heart.
This is how creativity revives itself from immersion in nature. The dynamic, colorful, textured canvas of plant life brings medicinal healing and vitality to the mind, body and soul.
That transformative power is enough to change any situation into new progress and development. This spirit to create something new leads to feeling more joy, energy and inspiration. It’s my hope that my photo helps you use nature to reinvigorate your fresh spirit, too.
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by Jenny Leigh Hodgins
I’m focused on becoming my best self. I’ve started working with a life coach as a way toward manifesting my potential and maintaining balance as an artist, entrepreneur, volunteer, and caregiver.
My life coach, FayAnne, has me immediately paying attention to my values. Top on my values list is creativity.
Some people have difficulty owning their sense of creativity. I am alive with it. I love it. I live it. It is my religion (or at least an expression and reflection of my Buddhist practice*). I have no problem stating unequivocally that I’m a creative person.
I exhale creativity. It’s always been part of my daily life. I write (blogs, poetry, non-fiction), compose music (orchestral, piano-based, musical theatre), use my photos (nature) for my Instagram mini-blogs, annual nature photo calendars, and online content. I’m also a gardener, decent cook, public speaker, and explore painting on canvas for fun.
Where I struggle, though, is taking care of my creative self. Or even recognizing that this is a treasured part of who I am as a person. To me, it just IS.
FayAnne guides me to see that my creative, energetic, encouraging, strong, compassionate, inspiring self is a gift to others 🤭 because I, like all artists, have the power to connect deeply, uplift and help others tap their empowered self. I’m learning it is important to protect and support that aspect of me; that constantly, creatively expressive artiste. 👩🎨
We must take extraordinary care of this creative force that is within each of us. We must deliberately guard this beautiful treasure from over-stimulation.
Sometimes we must allow silence. A moment to feel our breath rise and fall.
Space. An area to absorb our surroundings and internal activity.
Time. For our experiences to settle in.
Solitude. To refresh our energy.
As self-care practice, my coach asked me to make a metaphor for this. The metaphor I chose, for my whole being, encompassing my creative flow, physical health, spirituality, emotional and social world is a symphonic (as in composition of many harmonious parts) OCEAN. 🌊
OCEAN has alternating colors of blue, green, and glistening bright white waves that gush, crash, build, surge with fluidity, sooth, calm, or gently flow.
My creative process, including writing, composing, taking photos and designing my visual content are part of OCEAN. All my online biz tasks are also part of OCEAN, including technical, technological, administrative, marketing, and planning.
Nothing is separate or compartmentalized.
This is a new way to think for me. Generally, I, like most artists, separate creative flow from business or administrative tasks.
But this OCEAN view makes sense to me as I am ONE person that encompasses ALL these tasks and creative projects. It makes sense to see every task in my daily routine as part of the flow from that essential core at the center of my life.
YourCreativeChord is OCEAN. It is a place you can get ideas, strategies, and encouragement about a variety of topics. I pour all of my experiences with piano, music, creativity, caregiver and inspiration into this OCEAN called YourCreativeChord.
Though each section is a separate world unto itself, each world also connects to this one whole, harmonious collective force; OCEAN.
If we met at a social event, we may discuss a few things that we have in common, like gardening or writing. As we continue learning about each other, we discover that we both have a multitude of interests, talents, jobs or skills. The integration of all those branches is revealed in our unique personalities.
Just as we each have various interests that are encompassed by our individual lives, my offering to you through YourCreativeChord is ALL ONE THING. The creative, spiritual, emotional, physical are all interconnected and feeds the whole life; It’s all one thing!
As you explore my content, you’ll find connections between all these topics that relate to the one thing that is YourCreativeChord.
I’m describing the interconnectedness of life, but also how learning effective piano practice strategies, building caregiver support, spiritual wellness and opening your creativity are two but not two. They are uniquely separate and yet all connected to the same essential core called LIFE.
Another way to see this bond is to recognize how expressions of the creative life stem from the same impulse within our lives. My life coach gave an example of seeing something within the visual as audio;
A flower as a melodic phrase.
A harbor view as a pattern of rhythm or dynamics.
A song as a color.
These are all expressions of who we are as human beings. I’m an artist, a musician, a composer, a cyclist, a pianist, a writer, a poet, a spiritual facilitator, a daughter, a sister, a friend.
Your specifics may vary slightly; a film composer, runner, guitarist, painter, photographer, fiction writer, rapper, spiritual seeker, son, brother, father.
These all spring from within the same vital center within each life. That means there is nothing to separate me from you, or either of us from the connection to creativity or wellness.
This OCEAN is not just about the arts, either. My social, financial and business goals are part of OCEAN. My success in all these areas comes directly from my OCEAN’s momentum of creative output, spiritual wisdom and physical energy.
My personal challenge is learning that I can’t boss OCEAN into doing something!
As a creative process, the OCEAN is not concrete or finite. It has expansion. It ebbs and flows.
Don’t attempt to push the OCEAN around like a Bossy Boss.
Get out of the way and let it flow. Let it morph in its natural, creative, spiritual, emotional and physical way of choice.
Part of this process is learning to TRUST that creativity—OCEAN—the one thing—will be able to head in the direction and generate the success and the social, business, financial or artistic victory I desire.
I’ve experienced this.
Things happen when I clarify that it’s all one thing. When I TRUST my sincere intent to speak from the voice of my OCEAN to the world around me--things resonate, connect, and guide in the best and most positive way.
I’ve transformed music classrooms, chorus rehearsals, musical performances, speeches, relationships, and readership based on my ability to trust my inner voice in this way.
I’ve had audiences express emotion through tears and standing ovations, readers send messages of deep gratitude and relevance, students rise up to pull out creative brilliance and explosive energy, jobs and/or clients suddenly available, and people open up--all in direct response to my TRUSTING the OCEAN and that everything is ALL ONE THING.
This is the power that artists wield. And in my opinion, we are ALL artists.
Some of us are just a few steps ahead in the zone of getting accustomed to our connection to this OCEAN.
This is what YourCreativeChord is all about. My inner journey to connect to your inner life, to tap into and empower our best potential, greater selves.
We get there instantly, leisurely, methodically, and randomly through various ways, niches, branches, and aspects of this one thing we call life.
Welcome to YourCreativeChord. IT’S ALL ONE THING.
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!
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Why Should You Dream Too Big & Harness Your Powerful Imagination?
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
*Although I'm a proud member of SGI-USA, I'm not an official spokesperson for SGI-USA. Though I base my actions on my personal Buddhist practice as an SGI-USA member, my online business and content associated with YourCreativeChord is not in any way affiliated with SGI-USA.
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.