09/15/14 3:30pm

How to Honor Yourself During Creative Lulls

fd140915lullsHow to Honor Yourself During Creative Lulls
by BlackLion

We’ve all had moments where the blank page was a gaping maw hungry for words, or the canvas expectant of the swath of brilliant colors, or the next line missing from our tongue. During these times especially, it is essential to be kind to yourself. Even if the period has been longer than you can remember, creativity will come to you.

As with all natural cycles, we ebb and flow with our creative natures. If the dearth seems long, seek the heart to find the source. Our imaginative natures create revolutionary ways of thinking. Let yourself be perfect as you are now, regardless of your circumstances. Once you accept what is, then you can do something about it, if you desire.

Silence is a sure way to honor yourself. Let distractions go and follow your true inclinations. You (and everyone else) will benefit from your care for yourself. During a lull in creativity, the time for input may also be high. Read voraciously, play freely, and walk gently. Observation of yourself and your unique perspective on “other” beings allows for new paradigms of interconnection and translation.

If you want to rev up your creativity, phase in new practices like keeping a journal, a sketch pad, or laptop ready for any burst of newness. Even a ten minute improv dance break once or twice a day will get your juices flowing. Try automatic writing – let your thoughts flow directly to your page and bolster your spiritual conversation.

Regardless of where you are on the spectrum of creativity, you’ll become attuned to your creative flow more easily and consistently with the practice of self-reflection. Honoring who you are and acknowledging your Self will absolutely keep your connection viable, especially as your desire to turn inward increases.

09/5/14 10:47pm

Befriending the Muse: How to Enhance Your Creativity

beachrosesBefriending the Muse: How to Enhance Your Creativity
by Starcat

For all of us creative folk (and yes, I am talking to you!), inspiration is critical. In order for our creative work to flourish, we need to have ideas. Both those big, wow, can’t-get-it-out-of-my-head ideas, and the smaller but equally important ones that help us put the finishing touches on our projects.

Some of us are blessed with an abundance of ideas (sometimes I think I have too many, and need more hours in the day to explore them all), while others must wait patiently for inspiration to strike.

To further complicate things, creativity can ebb and flow like the ocean. Sometimes you might feel like you’re in the midst of the perfect creative storm, with waves of inspiration crashing to the shore. Other times you are lulled in a sleepy inward mode, resting and contemplating. Don’t worry, though – both of these modes are necessary to the creative process.

So, how can you enhance your creativity? How do your encourage unique ideas, make the best of when you’re “on,” and recharge fully when it’s time to rest?

Think about befriending a muse. When you hear the word muse, you might think of the nine traditional Greek muses that inspired the ancient poets. That’s a good start. The muse is experienced differently by each artist, however. You might get in touch with one of the same eternal spirits that inspired the ancients, or perhaps you’re accessing the deepest part of your inner self. Perhaps you’ll work with a spirit guide who helps you on your creative path, or the energies of one of the elements that you call on for inspiration.

The way you view your muse is largely up to you. Be creative (ha, gotcha there!).

How can you invite the muse to join you in your creative endeavors? Here are some suggestions.

Have a ceremony. Outside under the full moon, in your work space with some crystals and Tarot cards, or whatever appeals to you. Find someplace beautiful and solitary. Write a little rhyme asking for the aid of a muse in your work. Or simply quiet your mind and meditate on the type of help you’re seeking.

Show up. Many writers and other artists offer the advice of showing up at the same time each day to create. When you prepare the way, the muse knows where to find you. Sure, some days you might just sit there staring at a blank page, or creating something that you recycle later. But the more often you do this, the more frequently you’ll find yourself in the creative groove.

Be open. If you’re looking for creative ideas, walk through the world with an open heart. Keep an eye out for synchronicities and things that sparkle at you. The muse has a sense of humor, and will often drop something cool into your path when you least expect it.

Give offerings. Share something good with your muse – a piece of chocolate, a bouquet of flowers from the garden, or a song. Don’t feel silly; trust that the intention of delighting your muse will be fulfilled. You don’t need to tell anyone else what you’re up to. This is just between you and the spirits.

Be playful. The cool thing about creativity is that it’s childlike, in the best sense of the word. Why do we create? Why do muses offer us their assistance? Because it feels good! Let yourself be playful in your creative projects, worrying less about the outcome and relishing more in the process. The muses will be pleased.

Leave a comment below and let us know about your experiences befriending your muse!

08/31/14 6:30pm

Consciously Connecting to Nature

fd140831consciousnatureConsciously Connecting to Nature
by BlackLion

As a present moment practice, I choose to work and play in nature, being fully focused on the task or game at hand. When I am connected to the gentle energies of plants, insects and animals, I feel more fully myself here and now. I suppose it is connecting to my deep and intimate relationship with Life Force.

Much of this planet is full of Life Force, or Source. It is the energy that takes the components that comprise life – cells, atoms, molecules, etc. – and energizes them into a living being. Of course, minerals, rocks, sky, sun, and all other beings also have an energy about them. Tapping into this kind of vibe will keep you focused and energized.

When you are in alignment with your natural life force, the flow of your experience becomes powerful and beneficial. You live life on your own terms and the universe joins in willingly. Enjoying the natural world is a refreshing way to reconnect to your soul-level connection with All-That-Is.

Whether through nourishing your body with the plants, animals, and fungi of the world, or camping near a roaring river, you’ll notice the invigorating and uplifting energies that these beings embody. Intentional vibration and attuning with the natural world acknowledges the mutually-beneficial balance that you can maintain. You’ll know of any imbalances with this energy by the way you feel.

Your natural well-spring of life energy IS  your default setting. Only your mindset can diminish this flow of love and regeneration. To realign with the world around you, simply take a deep breath and hold it for four seconds. Then release that breath for another four seconds. Hold with empty lungs for four seconds. Inhale for four seconds. Hold and repeat. You’ll be rejuvenated and present in no time.

Why not add to the benefit of presence by breathing clean, clear, revitalizing natural air, straight from the trees, flowers, shrubs, and grass all around you? If you find yourself in a place with precious little clean air, adopt some plant friends into your windows or yard. Their gift of respiration will only be enhanced by your presence and attention.

Water is also a great cleansing liquid. Drink some clear spring water, fresh from the Mother. It is naturally sterilized and full of Life Force that no bottling plant could ever duplicate. Spring-fed lakes and streams are a great place to submerge and release any tensions that you may have built up. What better way to absorb some rays then floating in fresh water?

However you choose to interact with the natural world, remember to honor each of the beings, from birth to grave, that make your life possible. Saying a gratitude blessing for the food that is on your table is a great way of staying present with your body and the body of the beings you are transforming into yourself. Be present with every bite, savoring the flavors, textures, and subtle nuances of your meal.

As a present human being, you’ll fully embody the vital interrelationship between yourself and others. Your actions (and inactions) are the dance you step with the world around you. Your thoughts and feelings lead you to ever-changing vistas of open sky attitudes and deep dark caverns of concern. However you choose to be in the world, your natural allies are always available in each breath, bite, and beam of bright sunshine. Blessings!

08/14/14 8:24pm

Receive the Gifts of Presence

fd140814giftpresenceReceive the Gifts of Presence
by Starcat

BlackLion told me that it was my turn to write about presence. “Presents? I love presents!” was my reply.

August and September are big-time birthday months in our family, and I guess I was getting a touch of celebration fever. Yet August is also a time to focus on presence – it’s our Feline Dreamers theme for this month.

Presence does bring many gifts to those who practice it. To receive them, simply focus on the moment you’re in. Do it several times each day, until it starts to become natural. You might want to remind yourself – post-it notes or phone alerts, or however it is you remember the important things. Being present is important! Here are some of the gifts it can bring.

Gratitude. When you reside in this moment, you know that all is well. You recognize the people, places, and things that surround you, and often you’ll feel a wave of gratitude for them. Right now, as I write this, I’m thankful for my comfortable home, the lovely trees and blue skies I see outside my window, a fresh summer breeze, and sweet Percy cat, who is keeping me company. I’m thankful for silence in which to write, and the ideas that flow through my mind. Stop reading for a moment and look around you. What are you thankful for right now?

Relaxation. Sinking into the present moment allows you to relax and just be. Tension flows from your body as your muscles relax. You’re not worried about what else you have to do, or upset about what has or hasn’t happened in the past. You’re just here. Now. You’re safe. Your body will notice your mental letting go, and you might release a sigh, or reach upward for a big stretch. Ahhh…

Inspiration. By looking around you at what is going on right now, you see the beauty of our lovely world with new eyes. Being present for and open to the flow of life can be incredibly inspiring. While gazing at the sunset, you might have an idea for a poem or story. When you let go of your worries, often your subconscious mind will be freed up to design a solution to a problem. The amazing ideas that pop up might surprise you. What a gift!

Peace. Along with the physical relaxation of “living in the now” comes peace of mind. When you surrender to the moment, you aren’t focused on your expectations about what should and shouldn’t happen. You accept whatever arises. This is peace.

Affection. When you expand your practice of presence to include your interactions with others, your heart will open. When you focus on a loved one, really listening to them, or simply being in quiet companionship, you’ll notice your love and affection for them increasing. Accepting them as they are right now allows you to see all the delightful things that you enjoy about being with them. Share your affection, and chances are they’ll return it.

Empowerment. Once you’ve been practicing presence for a while, you’ll begin to see how it can change your life for the better. Ironically, when we let go of our expectations and let life flow, we are carried along more quickly to where we wanted to be. You’ll feel empowered to really go for your dreams. Rather than fretting about failure or wallowing in uncertainty, you’ll joyfully move toward your big goals, enjoying each of the steps along the way.

Confidence. A presence practice will bring you more confidence that everything really is okay. We humans spend a lot of time worrying needlessly. When you’re living in the now, there’s no space for worry. You’ll see that you are an integral part of the whole Universe. You’ll feel loved and nurtured. This will give you confidence that even when life is difficult, you’ll be all right.

Start practicing presence today, and you’ll soon find these joyful presents unfolding in your experience!

08/4/14 10:09pm

Why Be Present?

WP_20140614_001Why Be Present?
by BlackLion

When you focus on worries of the future or concerns of the past, you are forgetting about a very important aspect of your life experience – right now. Now is your point of power. Now is where you get to decide what will be your next focus. Now is the essential life force of living.

So how do you stay focused on the now? Right now you are breathing. And you do so all the days of your life, every moment, every day. Focusing on your breath is a constant reminder that life transpires in this critical moment. The transfer of oxygen and carbon dioxide, the mix of outside and inside, all happens while you breathe.

You can take an intentional breath and be present. You could simply observe how your chest moves up and down, that feeling in your nostrils as the air comes in and goes out. This is presence. Become familiar with this feeling of presence. What do you sense during this moment? Perhaps you’ll notice that you are hearing more than you had before. Are you seeing the world in a new light? What does the wind smell like?

Now that you are more familiar with the present moment, you get to decide what your focus will be. This is “the zone” that athletes and artists alike fall into when they become hyperaware. Every movement, thought, sense, and idea comes from this connection to your creative now. Inspiration comes when you are attuned to your everything – mind, body, and spirit as one.

To be present is to be truly alive. When you are living rather than the walking dead, you make a difference in the world in profound ways. You’re more aware of yourself, others, and your connection with them. You can be more conscious of others’ emotions while staying aligned with your own power source.

What truly matters to you? The Now allows you to become focused on the most important aspects of your life. Practice is essential to a fulfilling present moment, so return to this state as often as possible by setting up reminders and refocusing on your breathing when you notice that your mind wanders. May you have a joyful now, and many more to come!