by Jenny Leigh Hodgins
This is part of my series of creative posts to encourage you during this pandemic and through the inherent challenges we all face as a result. I hope you are doing your best to stay at home as much as possible to socially distance yourself and protect others. Since you are at home more than usual, I've created music, poetry, and nature videos (starting with this one above) as meditative therapy for you.
If you can get outdoors--while keeping safely distanced from others--the fresh air and healing power of nature immersion will improve your mood. Everyday, get some movement for your body as best you can to boost your wellness.
If you can't get outdoors, or you just want to relax or de-stress for a moment, this nature music video will help elevate your mood and keep you calm.
Watch my video above (click the PLAY button and have your speakers or headphones on!) and experience the healing power of nature immersion and soothing piano music.
The video includes nature photos taken in my hometown of Lexington, Kentucky. I've been strategically taking my 80-year young mother to local parks, careful to avoid crowds of people during off-hours. Walks through these parks and my bike rides inspired me to snap photos to celebrate the rise of spring.
As hard as it is now with everyone focused on lowering exposure to the coronavirus, nature still moves ever forward with its jubilant burst of blooms and color. Life goes on, the ebb and flow of good times, prosperity, and wellness reminding us that the cycle will continue.
Let's use nature's gorgeous vibrance as encouragement to weather this new challenge with the hope of new growth and deeper meaning in our lives.
My original piano music in the above nature video is called, 'Simply You.' I composed this piece for my late friend, Linda. Her down-to-earth manner and ceaseless optimism moved me to compose this music as a tangible representation of her positive influence on me and others.
Her friendship was one of simplicity and authentic expression. She was able to always look squarely at reality and find something positive out of even the worst scenario. I feel this is a fitting piece for our shared struggle through pandemic 2020.
Dark times reveal who we really are. May we be 'simply ourselves' as we use the current difficulties to polish our better selves. Let's use this time to forge stronger courage and compassion.
Let's emerge from this tumultuous season like spring blossoms, with our greatest energy to transform this poisonous situation into medicinal value. Our successful response depends on our individual wellness and inner strength. May my music and nature video be a catalyst for yours.
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What Self-Care Has To Do With Creativity
Set Your Positive Intent & Inspire Yourself
By Jenny Leigh Hodgins
Nurturing creativity and triggering inspiration often comes straight from interaction with other creative people. Seeking out these relationships is a common practice for successful creators. Listening to the story behind an artiste’s creative process, or watching their specific technique for an artwork can open up new neurological pathways for your own innovative thinking. This is where much creative spark begins.
It may seem counterintuitive for introverted creators like myself, who thrive in solitary work routines. But seeking out and learning from other creative people is an incredible boost to fresh inspiration.
Hence, I look for opportunities for creative collaboration. That’s why I love interviewing creative people for YourCreativeChord podcasts and blogs. I’ve spoken with creators from all over the world, thanks to the miracle of digital technology.
Positive Creative Community in a Local Shop
I believe it’s important to also support connections locally, and I’ve gratefully found a wonderful collaboration with a local shop and its owner in downtown Frankfort, Kentucky. Belinda Davis-Lesniak’s flavorful shop is a boon to downtown Frankfort, adding a robustly diverse retail experience with energetic and upbeat character.
For those who are far away from my home state of Kentucky, have no fear; this wonderful shop is easily accessed online, too. I also highly encourage a visit to this ‘hidden gem’ of a city, with its geographical position next to the beautiful Kentucky River, and uniquely characteristic limestone and Italianate architecture dating back to the late 1800s.
Welcome To My Exclusive Home For Inspiration!
I’ve chosen this local small business to exclusively host my 2020 inspiring nature photo calendars. Additional products will soon include notecards, posters, puzzles, playing cards, kitchen towels, T-shirts, sketch- and notebooks. All my products feature the beauty of nature with self-care themes for nurturing creativity.
I selected this shop because of the intersection of our mutual branding about fostering positivity, inspiration, harmonious living, nature love, spiritual wellness and self-care. It’s a wonderful fit for my upcoming nature photo designs and new products.
I’m so excited to introduce and offer a bit of behind the scenes insight into this beautiful shop and its lovely, warm-hearted owner, Belinda Davis-Lesniak.
Infusing A New Spirit
With Connection & Compassion
In sync with Downtown Frankfort, Inc’s vision and website slogan, “there’s a new spirit infusing downtown Frankfort,” Kentucky, I felt it for myself in Davis-Lesniak’s welcoming shop at 234 West Main Street (Frankfort, KY 40601), “where new age meets Bohemian with a wanderlust flair.”
I popped in to meet the owner, for what I expected to be a short visit to see her store, Wicked Glass & Wanderlust Designs. Two and a half hours later, I reluctantly gathered myself and my mother for the short drive back to Lexington.
This woman business owner is an incredible inspiration, oozing friendly vibes and opening her heart in conversation to a depth that instantly makes you feel you’ve been friends for many lifetimes. She has a spirit of compassion and creativity that resonated immediately with me (and my mother). The size of her heart was evident as she showed us the stray kitten in a box she had just rescued from the streets.
Her newly opened Frankfort shop is a smorgasbord of spiritually positive products and experiences ranging from native American Indian photography, to metaphysical philosophy books, crystals, tarot cards, pagan, Buddhist and holistic nature-revering practices, to self-care offerings of massage and Reiki treatments, and even Tea Leaf and Tarot readings, ‘Make and Take Earring’ workshops, and guided shamanic journey adventures.
There’s also Alchemy of England jewelry, ‘alternative,’ handcrafted designs from Leicestershire, England, and sterling silver gemstone jewelry. For the Bohemian flair, there are handbags, dreamcatchers, musical percussion instruments (hand drums, thunder makers, rainsticks, egg shakers, and African thumb pianos) and windchimes.
Her shop is a haven for self-care products, including essential oils, handcrafted candles, incense, soaps, uplifting books, notecards, banners, window stickers and a range of calendars.
What I especially love is that local artists’ works, including painting and photography (and my new 2020 calendars) are uniquely featured, infusing the store with an air of vibrant inspiration. The owner’s creative energy enlivened our visit as she shared like a flowing fountain, her ideas to expand the shop’s back section into an area for community workshops, and a way to feature a local artist with a commissioned ceiling mural.
Downtown Frankfort renovations are underway to draw more local artists and business owners to provide a boon of attraction for locals and tourists. Davis-Lesniak’s new, colorful store is a perfect addition to fit this downtown vision.
Click here to learn more about Wicked Glass & Wanderlust Designs, FIND THE SHOP on Facebook, or call 859-693-4426.
CLICK HERE TO FIND MORE upcoming Wicked Glass & Wanderlust Designs' events.
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Photos, music, video content ©2018 Jenny Leigh Hodgins
by Jenny Leigh Hodgins
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We know the importance of balancing our lives with self-care. There are research-based blogs, news, videos and magazine articles stressing this point everywhere you look.
The benefits of taking time for yourself to do something you enjoy, play, relax, rest, or simply do nothing are powerful. Studies prove that doing nothing or taking time to play games or just relax leads to better productivity, inspired creativity, and greater wellness overall.
How To Change Your Old Habits With New Proof
However, getting more accustomed to taking a break for yourself takes practice for those of us who aren't used to it. For people like me, changing old thought processes can feel counterproductive. But I am challenging my mindset habits like thinking, "doing nothing is lazy" or "will cause me to fall behind", because science proves the opposite is true.
Proactively Look For Easy Self-Care Opportunities
Both the success of my entrepreneurial life and my mother's health depend on me being in the best shape. So I'm becoming more proactive toward finding more opportunities to take care of myself.
The truth is that when I feel good, I have more positive energy, take better action and am more compassionate for others. So self-care is becoming more of a priority.
5 Self-Care Ideas To Try
I've found several things work for me. Perhaps some of these suggestions will be helpful for you to embrace a bit of self-care in your life, too.
1. Pool or Garden. When I lived in Florida, I found relaxing in my saltwater pool while enjoying my tropical garden of flowers, fruits, plants, butterflies, bumblebees and dragonflies brought me great relief. Now that I've moved back to my Kentucky hometown as caregiver for Mom, I enjoy the pool here only during summer months.
If you have a chance to swim, whether in your backyard, at your condo or apartment, a local YMCA or gym, take advantage of it. Swimming is great exercise, and even better if you have your own oasis to enjoy while floating in your pool.
2. Cycle. Here in beautiful Lexington, I have found cycling on the Legacy Trail to be another self-care practice. If you are able to ride a bicycle, find a local trail or even just cycle around your neighborhood to refresh your energy.
Pedaling gets your heart rate up, and the fresh air against you while rolling forward feels great. If you're lucky enough to have a beautiful greenway like Legacy Trail, or Tarpon Springs and Dunedin, Florida's Pinellas Trail, take advantage of the adventure.
3. Take A Walk. During cold winter months (when there is no ice or snow on the sidewalks), taking a walk outdoors has become my short, meditative practice. It's tempting to avoid going out into the cold weather, but every time I take a short walk I come back invigorated.
4. Be Still With Yourself. Meditation is another form of self-care and can include anything from watching the sun set, listening to a guided audio meditation, reading upon first waking up, sitting silently with your thoughts, or chanting. For me, just being in nature is meditative.
When I lived in Florida, meandering through my tropical private garden, looking for Monarch eggs or caterpillars, weeding, harvesting pineapples, squash, lettuce or kale, or planting new wildflowers was my meditation.
The quiet of the morning, with the sun just rising, surrounded by greenery and colorful plants eased me into the day. Nature's abundance and life cycles never ceased to encourage me.
5. Explore Creativity. Nature or meditation often may lead to self-expression through a creative outlet. Creative expression is good for the soul and often considered another form of 'play.' Creative play boosts wellness, cognitive function and productivity.
Time in nature inspires me to create. Nature walks and my cycling adventures led me to start taking nature photos with the simplicity of an iPhone button push.
Explore creative outlets like playing a musical instrument, composing music, drumming, taking photos, painting, knitting, writing a poem or a journal entry. Taking an acting class or experimenting with stand-up comedy, or a dance class are all fun options for tapping new creative paths.
Standing Still With Yourself Inspires New Creative Energy
When I take time for nature's beauty, I'm inspired to create music and take photos. Initially, I gratefully absorb the textures, sizes, colors, lighting, shapes, silences, and sounds from the wind, animals, and in the environment.
Being still with my spiritual core while experiencing fresh air and taking in nature's vibrations and visual stimulation, fills me with appreciation and calms my thoughts. This does wonders for stress relief.
Take A Moment To Relax With Nature And Music
Below is a nature video I made as a kind of self-care meditation for you. Even in the coldest of wintry elements, nature is abundant with pleasing, meditative, healing force. Take a moment to relax while watching my nature music video below.
Click on the play button below to enjoy my winter scene nature video and hear my original music, "Moonlight In My Heart".
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 join the conversation below to let me know if you find this blog helpful or if you have questions or suggestions!
My Pinterest boards have more self-care ideas. Please check them out and let me know if you've found any of my ideas helpful.
You may also find some lovely nature photos & self-care mini-blogs at my Instagram account here.
Also connect with YourCreativeChord on:
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