by Jenny Leigh Hodgins
I had a great discussion (via the Zoom conferencing app) with friends recently that encouraged me. They reminded me that if I want to change my environment, I must first change my heart.
This year has challenged the best of us; pandemic restrictions and their toll on wellness, our nation’s clear divisiveness, and the economic and physical suffering for our entire planet have brought the reality of our shared troubles in this world front and center.
My discussion with friends illuminated my need for pausing to uncover what this situation is teaching me and how it can serve me to change something in my life, my perspective, and my actions. Taking responsibility is a strong catalyst for making things go more smoothly and improving or finding meaning in a problem.
We shared how our daily rhythm with self-care and personal growth efforts help us see solutions more readily when facing turmoil.
Our world mirrors us. It’s sending a clear signal we need more effort toward growing ourselves, overcoming our negative impulses, and taking care of our mind, body, and spirit. Taking care of ourselves allows us to be better for those we care about and build peaceful, prosperous communities.
A GOOD ENDING LEADS TO A GOOD START
How we end things this year will lead to what kind of start we’ll have in the new year. We cannot avoid the sufferings of our world. Burying our hearts and trying to ignore or deny the fierceness of our collective challenges creates nothing.
But we can make the causes for future victory and look forward to the new season of spring by facing ourselves and our challenges with courage and compassion. Doing this with perseverance brings hope into our hearts.
BEGIN WITH A SMALL SHIFT
It can happen with a seemingly small, insignificant shift in our hearts.
Facing relationship issues or communication problems?
Redirecting my heart toward finding an outcome best for everyone—can help move the dialogue in a more positive direction. When we strive to put aside our ego and our feelings for the greater good, a miracle happens: we create a bridge!
LOOK FOR A NEW WAY
In this weird holiday season when many of us are unable to hug our loved ones, especially heart-wrenching for our elders, those grieving a loss, and those struck with Covid-19, we’re given a beautiful opportunity to find the value and potential in this situation.
Creative solutions arise from limitations and even problems. Humans are innately creative. This skill or process is not reserved exclusively for artists. We each have the power within us to look outside the box to find a new way or a new perspective for this unique moment in history. This practice of gratitude lifts the heavy heart and brings its own reward.
When we can’t see eye to eye with someone, for example, we have the chance to look for the best in that person as valuable and good, instead of equating the worth of that person with their behavior in the moment or argument.
Difficulties—again—are mirroring exactly that we need to change something in our lives for the better. And to use them as a springboard with that intent.
REMEMBER THE KEY TO VICTORY
The point is that you and I can transform anything. Don’t get discouraged by this year’s depth of problems for us and the rest of the world. Instead, remember that how we face each moment right now becomes the cause for the seeds of our bright future.
Remember that the key to any struggle is perseverance. Let’s look to the new year of 2021 by first taking care of our spiritual wellness. Then, let’s set new goals and move forward toward our new victory.
Transforming our hearts first will lead us to improve ourselves, the situation, and encourage those around us to find hope. Our ability to win over our struggles becomes our mission for empowering others to do the same.
During this pandemic holiday season, I will be taking care of myself including mind, body, and soul. I'll be planning for the 2021 new year.
Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to you.
This week, some of my group members gave video presentations about grief support during the holidays. Click here to join the group and see these comforting tips.
by Jenny Leigh Hodgins
My podcast (check it out here) and blogs sometimes feature various creators about their creative process. Like many creators, I feel creativity is as natural to me as breathing air. I cannot live without it.
As a creative person, in sync with my brand's overall theme of nurturing creativity and inspiration, I'd like to personally share something from my creative side with you.
In interviews, I often ask creators what inspires them. Here's something that inspires me.
This reminds me of The Wizard Of Oz behind the curtain, furiously spinning those wheels to keep things afloat. But honestly, if you pull back the curtain on me, you'll find me most naturally immersed in writing words or music, or doing something visual with nature photos as a way of daily creative expression.
Today, I'd like to share one of my poems with you. Through my poem below, I share some of my personal inspirations; my Buddhist practice, and my mentor in faith--writer, poet, peace leader Daisaku Ikeda. Ikeda's writings have and continue to be an enormous source of encouragement for my life and my creative flow.
I wrote the following poem as a kind of appreciative reply to my mentor's incredibly wise, compassionate, generous guidance.
In the poem I share here, I refer to climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. This is about my battle against my weakness and toward bettering myself as a more compassionate, stronger human.
As a practicing SGI Buddhist* for 34 years, the concept of 'human revolution' is part of my daily practice. It equates with a polishing of the self toward becoming the best person I can be.
This poem expresses the process of and responsibility for developing the Greater Self. Most specifically in regard to fighting against negative tendencies, and toward deepening faith in both myself and the good in others. Especially when it's hard to do so.
Thanks for letting me share with you in this personal way. I hope you enjoy my poem:
Listen to the podcast here.
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Let me know what you think below by leaving a comment, or ask me a question! Thanks for joining me here today!
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
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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LEARNING TO BE CREATIVE
How To Open Your Heart To Find Beauty Within Suffering & Loss
Belief In Your Own Creative Vision
Keep Looking For Moments Like These To Celebrate & Appreciate
How To Use Nature To Reinvigorate Your Spirit
How To Maintain Body Mind Balance As Fuel For Your Creativity
5 Ways To Use Music & Nature For Self-Care
Believing In The Positive
How I Created The Ocean With Music
Find YourCreativeChord on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedinand Facebook!
by Jenny Leigh Hodgins
I struggle with my anxieties and fears. Everyone does in some way, right? But I’m managing to breakthrough to new levels of courage through developing a better understanding of my fears.
It’s important to recognize that being afraid is a normal experience and a positive indication that we‘re challenging ourselves beyond the norm. Whenever we explore new territory or challenge ourselves to do something bigger or different, it can bring out our fear. When we feel fear, it’s important to acknowledge that we are pushing ourselves beyond our comfort zone and appreciate our courage in doing so.
That’s something I tend to forget when I’m going through intense fear.
But I want to stop and acknowledge my bravery in continuing to deal with something that challenges my fears. Taking a moment to assess and acknowledge being courageous is in itself a way to relieve stress. Stress coping mechanisms can decrease fear and improve confidence. So take a moment to pat yourself on the back for continuing through a difficult moment!
I’m learning that fear is also an indicator of inner wisdom. I’ve learned to listen to my fear and try to address what wisdom it’s leading me to reveal. Fear is a normal function in human life that's intrinsically set up to protect our lives. It‘s up to us to do the inner work to figure out what fear wants to protect us against.
I find that once I work through the things I’m concerned about, I’m better able to pull up the wisdom to find solutions or ways to take action and move forward.
This is what fear wants me to do;
Take a look at the issues causing concern and use my problem-solving skills to open up a new vista.
When I do that, fear has no need to function in my life, and departs.
All of us have this inner wisdom. I think fear is a powerful catalyst for tapping into our inner strengths.
I often turn to historical figures for their wisdom and encourage-ment. I especially like Eleanor Roosevelt’s famous quote;
“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 have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do."
This means that we must use fear to develop TRUST in our own ability to handle anything in our lives. Experiencing fear shows GROWTH of our potential and expansion into new levels of our LIMITLESS capacity.
Sometimes this kind of growth comes through tragedy or misfortune. When I faced a personal loss in my family, I faced some of my darkest fears. But the inner growth I had to go through during that time was exponentially greater than other chapters in my life. Having gone through such a difficult internal challenge has made me stronger, more compassionate, and able to perceive life through a broader scope of rich meaning and gratitude.
I’m learning to look at fear as an incredibly positive barometer of my self-development! Each time in my life I‘ve felt most fearful was a period in which I was pushing myself to become a better human being, develop new skills, or challenge myself to more advanced levels of accomplishment.
Let’s aim to be grateful for our courage and for continually challenging our fears.
What lessons or inspiration do your fears teach you? Join the conversation with a comment below.
How To Live A Life of Joyful Creativity
How To Inspire And Drive An Artist’s Creativity
It's ALL Okay-Just Do YOU
Why Should You Dream Too Big & Harness Your Powerful Imagination?
Defeat Fear & Doubt with Your Courage & Capability
How To Decrease Your Anxiety & Live More Mindfully; An Empathetic Perfectionist Helps You Balance Your Life
How To Deflect Negativity To Become Happier
Believing In The Positive
How Can Memorial Planning Be Inspiring?
Your Troubles Are Your Progress Barometer & Catalyst For Your Full Potential
Find YourCreativeChord on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedinand Facebook!
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.