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
All photos, music, video content © 2018 J. L. Hodgins
A couple of years ago, while leisurely checking on my plants in my Florida garden, I discovered 13 caterpillars on my tropical milkweed. New to the whole idea of gardening and unaware that these were Monarch caterpillars, I quickly did a Google search and found a Facebook group to consult.
The Race To Rescue Began
I didn’t know anything about Monarch butterflies. I learned from the Facebook group and online research that the Monarch’s numbers are drastically dwindling in our region and the world. I learned that due to pesticides (i.e., in Florida neighborhoods, regular trucks spray for mosquitos), only a few survive disease. Those that live face the threat of predators (like wasps and lizards) if left alone with mother nature.
Instead of killing these critters for eating my milkweed, instead, based on the advice of The Beautiful Monarch Facebook group and other friends with Monarch expertise, I actually decided to bring the caterpillars indoors.
This is how I began my first experience with ‘rescuing’ Monarchs from predators or harsh elements. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, as I tediously coaxed the hungry caterpillars onto fresh milkweed leaves and stems, to transfer into a mesh container.
For those who don’t know, mature Monarch caterpillars climb onto something where they sew an attachment from which they can hang upside down in a ‘J’ shape. They later shake a shimmy-like dance to shed their caterpillar skin and form a chrysalis which hardens. (Watch my video below showing that process.) During a period of time, they undergo a mystifying metamorphosis to emerge as an orange and black Monarch butterfly!
After a quick local internet search, I learned the importance of having a closed container so that I wouldn’t have caterpillars forming chrysalides everywhere inside my home. Since I have two real cats who would be driven mad from curiosity about these new indoor roommates, I knew I had to get the 13 caterpillars in a solidly closed container.
I had a race against time as these big fifth stage cats were already beginning to spin their silks before I could get them into a properly sealed container. At 9:30pm, I ran down to a local store to buy a pop-up, zippered laundry basket, only to discover holes for handles when I got home. Consulting with the Facebook group butterfly aficionados, I knew I needed to seal the holes to prevent escapes.
I called my mother in Kentucky, whose many artistic talents include being a seamstress. At 10pm, she taught me over the phone how to quickly sew tulle across the laundry handles to end escape routes. I am not a seamstress by any stretch of imagination, so dealing with tulle and a needle was a tortuous and annoying task. (I'm sure Mom could relay the cursing and grunting vividly.)
Once the containers were sealed securely, I transferred ten fat caterpillars and one chrysalis that had already formed on a milkweed stem propped through saran-wrap in a cup of water. Two chrysalides had already formed in separate mesh containers, so I put them under my patio table's umbrella netting, double-sealing the container openings with T-shirts, towels and rubberbands. What a botched job!
By the next day all but two caterpillars had morphed into solid green chrysalides hanging from the mesh at the top of the laundry basket. I discovered one green chrysalis had formed on my bedroom dresser top!
Coaxed carefully by my new Facebook group mentors, I managed to gently detach and transport it to join the others in the large mesh container. I pinned it to scotch tape across the top of the container. I felt like a doctor performing my first important surgery.
The final caterpillar finally shed its face to reveal its beautiful green and gold-rimmed chrysalis right in front of me just three days after I had rescued it. See my short video (below) of this remarkable transformation.
I barely had enough time to get these caterpillars into containers before they morphed into chrysalides. The fast-paced learning curve that was keeping me on my toes took another sharp turn when I discovered four chrysalides turning brown and one with long white strings hanging from it.
Again, my dear Facebook group butterfly mothers came to my aid. This was my first heartbreak; discovering I had to freeze these chrysalides due to the parasite fly that had infected them. It was important to quickly separate the infected ones from those remaining. (This also taught me to rescue earlier than later to avoid such infestation.)
Down to nine small, beautiful, dainty light-green chrysalides with sparkly gold bands around the top layers (see photos below), I began the countdown to see how many butterflies would survive to healthfully emerge.
Why Bother With Creeping Crawling Critters?
Some of my friends thought I’d gone off the deep end when they heard about this project. Especially considering I knew next to nothing about the Monarch Butterfly, am generally freaked out by insects of any kind, and already have too many irons in the fire, my singular focus must have seemed a bit bizarre. What compelled me to put so much effort into creeping, crawling things I knew little about?
The Preciousness of Each Life Mirrors Our Value As Individuals
I instinctively knew the value of this life-form. Rather, I was moved by the value of any and all life-forms, and wanted to protect it if I had the power to do so. (I'm that kind of person who scoots lizards and spiders out the door versus squishing them.)
I had no idea if my efforts would save even one Monarch. But since each caterpillar is a form of life, it struck me as precious and worth every effort. Something about these creatures pushed a button in me.
The experience showed me a deeper, philosophical and beautiful meaning. It opened my eyes to my challenge to see each person in my life through that same ‘life is precious’ filter. I knew that for me to be able to value the dignity of people around me, fundamentally I must value my own life.
Deepening my vision to see past differences and flaws to revere the positive potential of each individual life underlying these superficialities is my new determination. Wow, what a bunch of caterpillars have taught me about my life-view. Imagine what an emerging butterfly would accomplish!
If you enjoyed this blog, please let me know in the comments below!
Click Here for a list of butterfly rescue supplies I use and recommend.
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
Viewing The Road Forward
Watch my video below to see a Monarch caterpillar shake a shimmy-like dance to shed his caterpillar skin and form a chrysalis which hardens into a green and gold gem.
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.