by Jenny Leigh Hodgins
As a creator, I decided the best way I could serve you through the challenging coronavirus 19 pandemic would be sharing my creativity to encourage you.
Nurturing creativity and inspiration through the power of art and nature is my passion. These spiritually rejuvenating sources are scientifically proven to empower and fuel our inner strength and wisdom.
I share my creativity with the sincere intent that it brings you a bit of comfort and sparks courageous hope.
Below is the text for the poetry I shared with you through my earlier podcast, Creativity Brings Comfort, Courage, and Hope. They are in the order of appearance during that podcast episode.
LISTEN TO THAT PODCAST HERE.
Stop the banging, the racket, the jitters, the drums
that shake you, break you, run you in circles from
that lopsided spinning wheel barreling your mind
Leave that torturous neurotic noise behind
Use an image, like stuffing all your crazy
into an over-sized balloon that flies away
Or dump all that ugly, murky blackness in your head
into a dark, wide sea and sail your boat instead
The point is, your hell is created from inside,
so make it a world that is beautiful to find…
Whatever trips you up, wind it up another way;
Your darkness is treasure—in the light of day
Dull, dim clouds of grey blocking your sky?
You are a rainy season--who’s to question why
So let it pour, let it roar, let it thunder—storm--
Who’s to say, anyway, that is not your norm
Bad weather, like relentless weeds, has a place
Serves a purpose and a need to fill a space
Lesson learned, universal shift, and…
Suddenly those clouds will lift
Leaving something growing there,
Something brand new to appear,
Everything refreshed by the light coming through
this rising transformation that originates from you.
There is benefit, value, and hope in every trouble
so long as you are not defeated in the struggle.
A treasure greater than anything
lies nowhere outside but within.
Born of courage that you muster
in the face of challenge, loss, disaster--
a kind of strength forged deeply--
the basis for a joy that lives eternally.
For it is only in bravery that we will see
the path to take to become truly free
to reach the lofty noble state of life
in which our hearts are fully open wide.
And it is only through adversity that we can ever really be free.
Independent of any pain, we clearly stand to gain.
For, by dealing head-on with hardships,
we find the points we’ve missed;
Those inner places of our lives where darkness tends to thrive.
It is by facing ourselves this way that we begin to create change;
An inner transformation through self-realization
A process of evolution. A rather simple solution,
Yet the result is total freedom--
a completely positive outcome
a deeply lasting value
dependent solely on you.
Everything rests on your mindset
Your attitude determines what you get.
So if you regard everything you face
as a good influence to embrace,
you’re guaranteed to find your way
to a path that leads to a bright and happy day
Lions In My Dreams
Last night I dreamed of lions
There were lions everywhere
They were in the green meadow.
They were along the mountainside,
They were roaming the forests.
They were sleeping in silence.
They were rising with the sun as they raced about my bed.
They were on the beach.
They were on the highway.
They were leaping. They were roaring.
There were lions, lions, lions--for as far as I could see...
When I woke today, I noticed there were
courage, power, and audacity written all over me.
What’s in the Garden
Roses fading with every bloom
Pansies profusely shining like happy elves
Pampas grass flowing like a woman with a new hairstyle
Milkweed attracting too many aphids
Rosemary quadrupling in size
Tiny flower seeds popping up as greenery
Lavender sprouting like human limbs
Small trees losing their leaves for the winter
Sunlight floats like a balloon filling with helium
Glowing gradually like a musical crescendo
Rising above the horizon…
Then dropping like a silent ball in the ocean
Fire awakens with golden fury
Roaring like a vicious lion
Cackling, spitting and scratching the air
And whimpers like a child at the splash of a water bucket
Rain drizzles sporadically
Arriving like secret elves dancing on tippy-toes,
Then leaping and stomping on
rooftops, gardens, and streets everywhere.
And suddenly dribbles to a silent stop.
In the orchestra of my mind
Always moving my life
In the privacy of my heart
Lighting my way with wisdom
In the treasure house of my life
Let me rise up for you
Hold on to who you are
Hold on to hope
--even if there seems to be only darkness blocking your path
Hold on to the light burning in your heart
--even if no one sees it but you
Hold on to everything you dream of
--even if you've already dreamed it for years
Hold on to belief in yourself
--even if you can't see your potential clearly
Hold on to breaking through your struggle
--even when you want to sit down and quit.
Feel free to share your original and/or favorite creative works, links, or responses to this episode by leaving a comment below.
Thank you for showing your love of my content with a LIKE or by sharing this blog with others.
All poetry, photos and music content © 2020 Jenny Leigh Hodgins
Even When We're Derailed
by Jenny Leigh Hodgins
As a new online course creator, blogger and podcaster finishing two short nonfiction ebooks for piano learners, while caregiving for my 80-year Mom, I'm learning to juggle a lot.
Most of it's new to me.
My journey as a creator is a struggle to overcome life-long patterns of anxiety, challenge the new, balance my family responsibilities, and keep my creative fires burning.
Can you relate?
My goal is to launch my first online course for new or returning piano learners on how to practice piano effectively in April 2020. I've announced this goal originally for January and February—and missed my target dates. Wish you could see my face.
I'm disappointed in myself for that.
I didn't want to share that with anyone, either.
Why Sharing Our Vulnerability And Failures Is Important
But I decided this is actually a great lesson for practicing authenticity and developing self-compassion.
By being honest and transparent here, I'm showing myself and you how important it is that we share our vulnerability, our seeming failures—and still keep going no matter what.
The truth is we're all human. We all experience failures and setbacks. Hiding those away is antithetical to creative living. It's also counter to the reality that success often comes directly from failure.
Holding myself accountable publicly is a way to show myself that I can get back up on the horse. Even if I've fallen into the slop, and am covered in it, I can still get back up and try again.
There's a short video flying around social media of a little girl trying to mount a pony. The video shows her jumping up, falling down, grasping the pony's mane, slipping off, lunging forward, in multiple attempts to get on that pony. Over and over again, she fails.
It's remarkable to watch this child's attitude. She doesn't waver once. She just keeps trying. And she finally succeeds. Wow, the look on her face when she makes that glorious break-through is a monumental statement for having the never-give-up attitude!
Plans In The Works For Nurturing Creativity And Inspiration
I muster that little girl in myself to refresh my resolve. I'm determined to have my first online course and books for new and returning piano learners all rolling by early spring.
I'm also planning a course offering how to use nature and self-care based on spiritual optimism for overcoming blocks, and nurturing creativity and inspiration with a variety of activities.
I have another course on overcoming that negative inner critic planned next. And still another course about nontraditional memorial planning.
I also have an idea percolating about creating a community for those interested in nurturing creativity and inspiration, but that's after my products, books and courses are established...
I'm now editing podcasts featuring interviews with wonderful artists of all kinds. Those are phenomenal sources of inspiration, as these wonderful creators share their creative practices and personal stories.
I've designed some beautiful new products, featuring nature immersion and self-care affirmations! From notecards, journals, posters, pillows, puzzles, playing cards, coffee and tea mugs, T-shirts, kitchen and bath towels, these products are a splash of nature's energy with inspirational messages. I think you'll love everything! (See photo and video on this page for a sneak peak of a few notecards.) Click here to explore my new products designed for nurturing creativity and inspiration!
Creativity Integrates Many Moving Parts
The balance between my creative output while learning and doing the technical and administrative parts of launching my online business as a new creativepreneur is an ongoing, steep climb.
Some days I want to hurl my computer out the window!
But I'm getting better at it!
All my upcoming products, books and courses are completely in sync with how I roll as a creator and in line with how YourCreativeChord harmonizes many moving parts. Like an ocean contains many kinds of waves. Peaceful, subtle, flowing, roaring, crashing, stormy. It’s all part of the same beautiful ocean.
I juggle multiple ideas and skills constantly. I think this is how most people function. But sometimes we forget how varied our creative outlets may be! We also forget how these diverse interests and skills function to replenish our creative juices!
You may have noticed my focus is on piano right now. That's because my current priorities are to get my course and both books for piano learners on Amazon.
I want to empower those interested in expanding their creative flow through piano playing! I have so much piano experience, I can help many people embark on a joyful journey of piano progress!
Once that's underway, I'll be tackling the other courses, with books, and of course, regular blogs and podcasts, too.
ACHIEVING VICTORY OVER--SCRATCH THAT--BECAUSE OF OBSTACLES
You'll always get new content each Tuesday (and sometimes Thursdays). I've spent this year getting weekly blogs and podcasts to you while building systems to launch my upcoming products, books and courses.
I'm packing in as much value for you as possible, whether it's a blog, podcast, a short video, my upcoming new books, products or course!
I'm sharing this with you because everything I do as a blogger, composer, writer, poet, visual designer, nature photographer, creator-with-a-capital-C embodies what YourCreativeChord offers:
My mission as an artist is to lead, by example, through my creative strategies, achieving victory over obstacles and fulfilling my life's greatest potential.
Even if I get derailed, or slowed down, by life's difficulties, or tackling new stuff as an entrepreneur, I will never give up. I will deepen my determination to show victory as an artist for peace.
That’s what creativity is about:
I recently listened to the audiobook, The Obstacle Is The Way by Ryan Holiday. It was perfect timing for me to recognize that a new challenge, problem or obstacle is not just something to "overcome."
Rather, I learned through this wonderful book that it is precisely because of difficulties that I'm able to tap capability, ingenuity, determination, resilience and wisdom that would otherwise lie dormant. The obstacles we each face become the way to greater creative flow, stronger conviction, and more committed action!
EXPANDING COMMUNITY & COLLABORATION
By the way, I've just updated my website HOME and ABOUT pages with a call-to-action for any bloggers or podcasters to interview me or collaborate. If you know of anyone interested in creativity, piano, personal development, wellness, or caregiving, please share this with them!
I'm on a mission to expand my community and collaborate with more creative and inspirational people!
You can definitely support me by sharing this with your social media or forwarding to a friend by email!
Thanks for keeping me accountable!
Join the conversation by sharing a comment with me below, or connect with me on social media using the icons below! ^_^
by Jenny Leigh Hodgins
If I could go back in time to speak to myself in my youth, or, if there’s one thing I could say to those remaining after I’m gone, the message would be, “Don’t waste your time being afraid.”
Fear has been the one internal opponent that has slowed me down, held me back, or blocked my ideas and actions. Not external obstacles or misfortunes, but this inner voice of anxiety.
In the past 2 years, I’ve started living Eleanor Roosevelt’s advice to do something everyday that scares me. I’ve learned it’s liberating to challenge myself to experience new things, ideas or experiences, or go for higher, different goals as a way to grow my courage overall.
But I’ve also learned that getting to the root of fear is hugely important.
The inner energy of my intent or feeling while taking action makes a powerful impact on the outcome.
It is important to act. Yes, do that.
But go deeper. Look at that fear. Deal with that emotion. Get to the core of it. Spell it out. Analyze it. Ask yourself what you’re afraid of.
Once you get to the root of that fear and dissect it, you find clarity. When you see clearly what your fear is based on, you can use reason to counter each fear.
Let’s use an example:
I’m launching my new online business. This new venture requires that I learn things I’ve never done. That alone has caused me fear.
But when I look at that fear through the lens of reason, I find it’s absolutely reasonable to feel fear simply because this is a new experience for me. Things we haven’t challenged before often naturally make us anxious.
This helps me see my fear as normal for my situation. This viewpoint relaxes me and diminishes my fear. I feel calmer and a bit proud that I’m pushing myself into new things and beyond my comfort zone.
One way to decrease fear is to acknowledge your courage in taking on new endeavors, in pushing yourself to feel the fear and take action anyway. It’s important to take a moment to celebrate that kind of victory. Celebrations of personal accomplishment are also a strong deterrent to feeling fearful!
As a new entrepreneur, and a highly sensitive person with OCD tendencies, I have many things that make me feel anxious. I start a cascade of inner questions to myself:
As a new business owner, the stress can seem relentless and unending. But by getting all my worries in focus in front of me, I can begin to break things down into a clear plan with my critical priorities mapped out.
I'm learning that having all my fears written down allows me a chance to face each one and brainstorm a solution for it. Next, I brainstorm ideas for a contingency plan in case my first solution doesn't work or something else happens to derail it. Sometimes this process enlightens me to a need to re-prioritize or shift my plans to accommodate additional issues and/or time.
Keeping my daily plan and inner intent in line with these priorities allows my mind to find ease, knowing I’m actively addressing everything necessary for reaching my goals. One of the most powerful anecdotes to any fear is taking concrete action. Taking action based on a plan through which I've faced my fears puts me back in the driver's seat of my life and my business success.
How To Get Back Up After A Failure
But, yes, sometimes I flat-out fail to reach goals. Or, I get out of rhythm with my priorities. Sometimes, I start spiraling into a downward stress mode where insomnia rears its head. I get run-down, and out of whack.
Yes, other personal, family or health issues distract my focus or throw me for a loop. I’m human.
When any of this happens--and things will happen--I get back to self-care basics. I refresh my determination. I refresh my determination again. And again. I go back to review my fears and center myself on my values.
As an entrepreneur, and hell, as a human being, I’m learning that it’s not a straight line to happiness and success. Rather, it’s a dramatic, magnificent drama with these crazy, off-the-beaten-path excursions, unexpected adventures, and hurdles that appear from out of nowhere. It’s heavy storms and strong gales of unforeseen problems that completely drench and knock me down into the sloppy mud.
That’s the story.
That’s the part of life that creates the dynamic arch of climactic engagement. It’s also the fuel for catalytic flow to unleash new, fresh, robust, colorful creative juice that leads to a view of an amazing, vast vista.
That new vista is a vision of your joyful fulfillment and the start of a new chapter for previously unimaginable victories.
But, this up-and-down, twisty, turning story cannot emerge without dealing head-on with fear, or without hitting plateaus of illusive limitations that cause you to rear back or stop dead in your tracks.
These obstacles force you to take three steps back, like the lion prepares an attack on his prey, to regroup. Assess. Take care of your inner world. Do whatever you need to refresh yourself and rebuild your inner fortitude.
Then, you may lunge forward, with all your might. That momentum gained from ripping out each fear by their roots will propel you forward in a way that you’ve not experienced until this moment.
Fear makes you face your problems to break through your self-imposed limitations so you may unleash your massive, unlimited, creative, beautiful human potential.
Fear makes you better yourself, both for your own happiness and for others in your life.
I’m learning that for every negative emotion, problem or experience, there is a positive. A way to convert whatever it is into value, inner strength and a source for deeper personal growth and wider progress.
It all goes back to nurturing creativity and inspiration, based on self-care. When we truly do the things that are beneficial for ourselves, we spur positive health, creative energy and the inner qualities we need to improve ourselves and for others.
How Dealing With Your Fear Buoys Your Success
That’s why I’m becoming grateful for my bouts with fear.
After wholeheartedly, directly wrestling with my fear, I find that interaction miraculously morphs into a kind of bearhug, leading me to a moment of gratitude.
This shift is an amazing metamorphosis that allows me a more informed view of my true self and my situation. I feel a burst of powerful confidence, with the strength to go after my goals with clear action.
This mood change propels the reach of my actions. The energy behind my actions grows more confident, joyful, compassionate, deliberate and resilient.
This personal development process reveals how dealing with fear buoys powerful action toward success and growth.
When you see fear as a part of your necessary growth process, it has the potential to be your friend. Fear becomes your guiding voice of wisdom to do the things you must do for a richer, happier life.
So let’s embrace our fears. Addressing our fear is the way to successful, enlightened living.
by Jenny Leigh Hodgins
People think I have a large life. My energy commands a room. But it’s not intentional. In fact, sometimes I think I have two personalities.
And, no, I'm not schizophrenic.
I developed my exterior confidence through my job as a music educator, and my role as a Buddhist facilitator. Directing, leading and teaching large groups of people performing music, and facilitating faith-based activities with diverse groups provided abundant training.
When I’ve had the opportunity to lead, there was no room for ego or attention to myself. There was a task to do. I’ve honed that skill to focus on the task at hand without regard to my personal feelings.
I appreciate this skill.
It enabled me to achieve more as a teacher, chorus conductor, faith leader and performing musician. It allowed me to see beyond myself and do more than I would have otherwise envisioned had I stopped to ponder my capability.
Battling An Attack of Self-Doubt
On the flip side, my alter-ego is debilitatingly shy and constantly fighting doubt. Through sheer life experience and in particular debt to my SGI-USA Buddhist philosophy, I’ve managed to function well—beyond my insecurity.
But it relentlessly attacked me when least expected with insomnia. Even when I thought I’d confronted my inner demons, fear and doubt insidiously assaulted my thoughts until the wee hours of morning.
I’d combat it with my intellect, of course. I spoke to myself with a voice of calmness about reality and fool-proof strategies to turn away my inner demons. I distracted myself with reading, deep breathing and imagery of relaxed, happy visions.
I chanted my Buddhist mantra while attempting to empty the barrage of negativity swirling in my brain. I got out of bed and stretched. I wrote my thoughts in my journal. I fought the battle until 3am, despite exhaustion.
Finally, I’d drift off for about three hours of rest.
In the morning, it would all seem perfectly stupid. In the light of day, my evening struggle seemed like a mirage. Except that I was depleted for two days afterwards.
Making Headway By Forging Inner Strength
This darkness beat at my inner doors all my life. I’ve dramatically lessened the effects of it. It used to cause such stomach-upset agony I couldn’t function beyond bed-rest. It caused me to develop respiratory issues. I had no stamina against this demon.
I continued consistently battling it from the inside out with my determined prayer. I forced myself through the exact experiences that caused me anxiety, repeatedly. I forged directly through anxiety until I incrementally gained strength over it.
I no longer have those anxiety attacks that shook my whole body with nausea or stomach pain. I no longer get respiratory illness or stage fright. I have no qualms about public speaking, performing, or facilitating. I've led hundreds of groups as a music educator and chorus conductor, performed in front of thousands as a vocalist/pianist, and spoken in front of countless audiences from musical to community events, from weddings to funerals and beyond.
I don’t worry about what people think of me anymore. All those battles forged my strength and grew my confidence.
As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.'
Notably, when I’m striving to reach a personal goal, or break through to a new level of success in any aspect of my life, my doubts rear their ugliness to challenge me.
That’s how I know I’m on the right track.
A Strong Opponent Builds Your Spiritual Muscle
My Buddhist practice confirms this is a sign of my inner growth; I’m pushing myself beyond comfort and growing my capacity larger than before. There should be some fear or doubt because...I’m human. I’m tackling new and bold territory.
I’m on to these twin evils (fear and doubt). They appear so I may open the path to my future with my true essence—my inner power fueled by belief in the human heart. My heart.
There’s resistance so I may develop spiritual muscle. These most powerful opponents enable me to forge my full potential. Anything easy would not warrant a victory celebration.
I wage on—with a resolute vow to never give up until I win absolute victory over every new challenge. I know it is always a test of my faith. A chance for me to see how my determined prayer—starting from the inner realm—manifests in tangible, conspicuous external proof, based on the interconnectedness of life.
I just have to do the inner work first.
Take that, doubt and fear. Take THAT.
I'd LOVE to hear from you. Please share your thoughts in the comments below. Thank you for liking and sharing this blog with someone who may benefit from the information.
Your Troubles Are Your Progress Barometer & Catalyst For Your Full Potential
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
My Top Tips For Winning Over Insomnia
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COMING SOON: Watch this space for new ebooks, products and courses for nurturing creativity and inspiration!
In my INSPIRATION blogs, you’ll find ways to overcome obstacles, reach goals, and experience more joy in the moment with spiritual awareness and inner transformation.