by Jenny Leigh Hodgins
Sometimes we even doubt our ability to be creative at all. In those moments, if you have my inspiring 2020 Nature 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.
My calendar designs are based on my personal 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 constant source of awe. Research shows wellness improves even if you’re looking at pictures of nature instead of being outdoors physically!
Release Your Stress To The Air
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. These are limited editions (and almost sold out!) that I personally designed as a resource for nurturing your creativity and inspiration.
I used decent quality materials so you could write your personal 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 an ordinary 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!
IF YOU LIKED THIS, YOU'LL LOVE MY INTERVIEWS WITH CREATORS, & INSPIRING STORIES! CLICK HERE FOR MORE!
Photo Essay Series
By Jenny Leigh Hodgins
This is the fifth 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.
The essence of this photo is the positive effect of nourishment from self-care. This wonderful demonstration by a small, black and orange moth feeding itself brings home the critical necessity of taking care of oneself. Soaking up the leisurely way this winged insect approaches the echinacea bloom is meditational, bringing a sense of rest and calm.
How well we take care of ourselves is also a pivotal part of our ecosystem. If we allow ourselves to get run down, losing balance between work and rest, or between spiritual, emotional, physical and mental wellness, the beauty and vitality of our lives will fade. Interacting with those around us in this low state makes things difficult for everyone.
When we neglect ourselves, it becomes too easy to react negatively to others who aren’t practicing self-care. Entering a situation with less than a full cup makes us more susceptible to the darkness that others bring to the moment.
A sure barometer of my inner condition is how I respond to the gloom of others or unavoidable daily stresses. I’ve noticed when I make my own balance a priority, taking care of my health and especially my spiritual core, I’m better able to respond with wisdom, compassion and positivity.
Since it’s inevitable that we’ll continuously face both arduous situations and people in our lives, I’m learning the key to creating positive value is taking care of myself first. It’s not selfish or ego-centered to place a priority on polishing my character to bring my best forward. In fact, taking care of myself enables me to more deeply and energetically care for the plight of others in the world.
The brilliant saturation of color and vibrant light in this garden image reminds me how nurturing oneself brings power, joy and beauty to ourselves and those in our environment. My hope is this picture gives you pause to reflect on the importance of self-care. The potential influence you have on others depends on this.
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IF YOU LIKED THIS, YOU'LL LOVE MY INTERVIEWS WITH CREATORS, & INSPIRING STORIES! CLICK HERE FOR MORE!
by Jenny Leigh Hodgins
Listen to the Podcast version here.
Plenty of adult music students have told me that they were not creative. I’ve always responded, ‘Nonsense!' Everyone is creative. Some of us have learned to tap it more naturally than others.
Anyone who knows me uses the word creative to describe me. I blog, podcast, write, compose, play piano, improvise, sing, garden, take photos, make videos, design my website layout, present, facilitate. As a former music and piano educator, I've been known to tweak a lesson in mid-stream to make learning accommodations for my students, lead drum circles on the beach, and more.
The point is that I know how to be creative. Ideas, thoughts, patterns, melodies, rhythm, words, drama, and humor burst forth from me as an unstoppable fountain. Creative expression is more natural to me than breathing. Immersed in creative projects, I sometimes forget to breathe!
Incidentally, I’ve never met a child who was not able to be creative. Young people are fully tapped into the creative dimension. They need no map to get there.
Adults, however, are a different story. We sometimes lose our way to creative freedom, due to stress and pressure from our daily responsibilities. We grow out of touch with ourselves, and forget how to listen to our intuitive voice. We pay too much attention to the harsh judgments from society, and shrink our creative energy in response. We foolishly compare ourselves and our creativity to others, with standards that aren't fair or realistic.
There will always be art that's better or worse than ours. There will always be someone whose creative skills are more honed than ours. There will always be people whose creative output surpasses our own. None of this matters.
What matters is that we allow our authentic creative expression to flow sincerely and honestly. If you’ve lost your way or simply need some help getting connected to your creative side, here are some things I’ve learned about how to be imaginative:
Setting aside time to explore creative adventure is not only healthy and enriching for you, it will lead to your creative development. The more you give your creative life, the greater energy it will ignite.
Enjoy your process and Viva La Vie Boheme!
Let me know if these suggestions are helpful or if you have more tips for tapping creativity by leaving a comment below!
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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.
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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.