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10 Minutes To More Creativity

Only 10 minutes to more creativity? That sounds doable, right? It is, and it’s as simple as sitting quietly and focusing on your breath.

For the past several years I have been recommending meditation to my private clients. It has been significant to most. 

At our Creative Arts Business Summit, I would lead a guided meditation. For some of my clients, this was a powerful exercise.

Today in our times of stress with the coronavirus, meditation can have a profound effect on us.

I also have my own meditation practice that is part of my morning ritual. I was around meditation for a long time before I started to practice. My sister has taught mindfulness meditation for more than 15 years after many more years of a personal practice, and my husband has also had a long-time practice.

Despite their encouragement, I could not think of myself as someone who meditated. After all, I couldn’t possibly sit still that long. The first time I tried, I stopped and looked at the clock and barely two minutes had passed. And, I could not shake the long-held idea that meditation somehow was for hippies or new-age types.

I somehow got over that.

Read, I stopped self-sabotaging myself.  And, I began a meditation practice. I have found that it has a positive impact on my life. I can see this in my everyday activities and in my own creativity.

Especially in today’s uncertain times, I find it grounding.

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Is your inner control freak freaking out?

Are you feeling less in control these days?

Who isn’t?

Like many of you, we are under a “stay-at-home” order. Even if you are not under an order, you are likely practicing “social distancing.”

Along with being “stuck at home” comes feelings of not being in control. It is acutely aware to all of us.

The truth is that we have very little control over things all the time. We just don’t dwell on it on a regular basis. Our brain is focused elsewhere the majority of the time. Right now, our brains tend to go to the lack of control.

And we worry about this lack of control. And we can get carried away with this.

What can you do?



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COVID-19 got you down: 7 actions you can take now

Last week I wrote about “Business as Unusual.”

We are in uncharted waters. More of us are now under self-quarantine or shelter-in-place rules. Those of you who aren’t, you likely will be at some point. This is serious times.

Artists tend to look for ways they can help. As a quilter, I’ve seen the masses of textile folks make masks for hospitals and healthcare workers. You can find numerous resources online, particularly on YouTube. One resource I’ve found a good place to start is the page put together by artist, photographer, and writer Gloria Hansen. In addition to Covid information, she has links to sewing masks.

A second resource is specifically geared to teaching artists. It came from a webinar put on by the Teaching Artists Guild. Here’s a link.

Yesterday I held a coaching call with my Members’ Studio tribe to talk about the Coronavirus and how it was impacting our businesses and what we could do about it. Here are some of the tips based on the call.



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Business as Unusual

We are in the midst of unprecedented times. You’re watching the news for the latest information from the CDC and from local and national authorities about COVID-19.

I really am at a loss for good words. We are not going about our daily lives in the same manner. Some of you are quarantined. Schools, stores, and churches are closed. Restaurants and gathering places are closed. We aren’t really sure when they will open.

All of us who can are practicing social distancing. A new concept.

I’m trying to be more grateful than usual. Grateful that I’m safe and healthy. Grateful my family is, too. And, I’m exceedingly grateful to healthcare workers and the people who are working in grocery stores. Just grateful.

Restrictions, while essential and necessary, are having a definite impact on the art industry. Here is a resource for free-lance artists that you may find helpful.



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Here a Chunk, There a Chunk

What does your to-do list look like?

I just added a book to mine. Admittedly, I did not just add it; it has been there a while. I just cannot get to it. More realistically, I don’t make the time to get to it.

Let’s get real honest.

My list includes lots of other things of varying import from ziplining to a trip in June to Ireland to working on my latest social media campaign to polishing my Photoshop skills to making a quilt for my niece who graduates from high school in May to …. Lots of business and personal goals.

How about yours?

If your list looks as lengthy and varied as mine, where do you start? Here are some ideas.



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Is Your In-Box Running Your Life?

InboxJail

Do you ever wonder if you can actually have zero emails in your in-box?

I do know some people who have empty inboxes. I will admit I never have. I fully expect my inbox, virtual and not virtual, to be full when I die.

If you are trying to move in the direction of a less full inbox, here are eight tips, plus a bonus reflection, that might just help.

Send less email

Doesn’t that seem obvious? If you send less, you will get less.

Consider whether you need to start an email chain or if a simple phone call might answer your questions.



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5 strategies to get your work done

Have you ever found yourself procrastinating, overwhelmed, or just plain stuck when it comes to getting your work done?

Recently I did a webinar called “From To Do to Ta Da Done!” about how to get more — and the right — work done.

I think of it as a simple five-step process. Of course, simple does not always make it easy.

Step 1 — Clarity

Are you clear on the big picture?

If you do not know where you are going or why, you are going to stay stuck.



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Valentine’s Dinner Thoughts

Did you enjoy your Valentine’s Day?

My husband and I went to a fabulous dinner at Volt in historic Frederick, Maryland. Volt is housed in a 19th Century brownstone mansion. It is the creation of Brian Voltaggio. Reality show fans will recognize him as a finalist on Top Chef Season 6 and Top Chef Masters Season 5. 

As I was watching the staff handle the evening’s activities, I was reminded about how our businesses are like a restaurant.

When you own a successful restaurant, it’s divided into two areas: front of the house and back of the house.

Front is what the public sees, i.e., the host/hostess, the waiters, the dining room, the meal.

And the back of the house is where the work takes place.



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Happy Valentine’s to you and your business

Traditionally Valentine’s Day is about relationship love.

We often think in terms of someone that we love — a partner, a child, a parent — when we think of relationships.

I think our most important love relationship is with ourselves.

When you love and take care of yourselves, it shows up in a positive way in both your lives and your work.

So, why don’t you prioritize your relationship with yourself?

I think it comes down to a belief that if you take time for yourself, you are somehow taking something away from the others in your life or even the growth of your business.



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Everyday lessons

I recently got back from two weeks in Aruba.

I had a lovely time. Sun and sand, good meals, good books, new friends.

Just as each day at home, I was open to any lesson that was waiting for me. Here are four.

Start where you are

One of the things I love about the resort where we stay is its focus on making wellness available. I can choose from 3-4 exercise classes every day. I usually workout in the gym, take a mile walk along the beach and then go to a yoga or stretch class.

The second day I was there I went to a stretch class with Alex. He is a mixed martial artist, and I had taken his class a couple of years earlier.

In fact, I’d been to his very first class.

When I told him this, he said to me, “I’m so much better now.”

That was such a good reminder that you have to start where you are. Don’t compare yourself to others. You will get better or more knowledgeable in good time.



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