Creativity and the fountain of youth. What if the fountain of youth is to be creative and tapping into this source will keep us young in heart and mind?

What if the fountain of youth is to be creative and tapping into this source will keep us young in heart and mind. Creativity and the fountain of youth.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Creativity is contagious, pass it on. Albert Einstein

What if creativity is the fountain of youth and we all have access to it? We choose to find ways to use creativity in our lives.

I was at the bookstore looking for a book for my son for his birthday. On a podcast, I had seen a book called The Practice by Seth Godin. When I looked at it I thought it was a better fit for me so I bought something else for my son.

Seth Godin has been writing a blog for twenty years. He has written nineteen bestselling books. He has been walking the walk of the practice. He has been making creativity, a practice, and putting it out into the world. On the podcast, he said, “Do you know why I’m putting out a blog post tomorrow? Because it’s Friday.”

He tells us we should be generous with our ideas, our art, and our creativity. He calls putting our work out into the world “Shipping the work.” It may take us a long time before we feel ready to “Ship the work.” It took me until I was fifty-five to hang my own paintings on my own walls. What was I afraid of? It took me until this year to publish the novel I’ve been writing since 2012.

I need to get back into the practice of painting. I’ve cut my blog down to two posts a week so I can write my second novel in the mornings. I’m working on learning Adobe Illustrator so I can finish a children’s book I’ve started. Time needs to be carved out for painting. Nothing gets done if we don’t take the time to do it. We don’t get better if we don’t continue to practice.

He tells us not to focus on the outcome. That is what we cannot control. It is like planning a picnic but we have to work with the weather. I remember when we were kids we used to go to my Uncle and Aunt’s place at the lake for picnics. We had many picnics inside roasting hotdogs in the fireplace and I remember some of those the best. We can let the rain ruin our day, or we can find a way to have fun anyway.

The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt. Sylvia Plath

Life is about choice and we have created our lives by the choices we have made. He suggests keeping our expenses down so we can afford to be creative. Has he looked at rent lately, or the price of buying a house? But, truthfully keeping our expenses in line is always the best solution because consumer debt is one of the big problems of our time. Debt is not a new problem, a widow was left with the prospect of her sons being sold into slavery in the bible because of her dead husband’s debts. That is when she was told to fill all of her vessels with oil from the small amount of oil she had, and she sold the oil to pay off her debts.

Not needing to live off the proceeds of my writing or art is freeing. Poverty is never something I’ve aspired to and it is a good position to be in to be able to do something for the love of it without having to depend on it for sustenance.

This was the advice given to the character Philip by his art instructor in “Of Human Bondage” by W. Somerset Maugham, to not pursue art as his calling if he wasn’t of independent means because money is like a sixth sense without which you cannot make complete use of the other five.

We can find a way to make art, writing, quilting, dancing, singing, playing instruments, or any other artistic endeavor part of our life and earn a living at the same time. We don’t have to choose to only make a living or only be creative. Sing, dance, and learn something new. Life is an adventure if we make it so. We can learn new things and we can share what we learn with others. What if this is the secret of those who say they don’t feel old because the creativity they use in their lives keeps their mind and heart young?

A rock pile ceases to a rock pile the moment a single man contemplated, it bearing within him the image of a cathedral. Antoine de Saint-Exupery The Little Prince

Life beats down and crushes the soul and art reminds you that you have one. Stella Adler

There is a fountain of youth: It is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap into this source, you will truly have defeated age. Sophia Loren

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The Practice: Shipping Creative Work Hardcover – Nov. 3 2020

by Seth Godin  (Author)

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Secrets and Silence: What if your biggest secret became public? Paperback – Large Print, Aug. 29 2020

by Belynda Wilson Thomas  (Author)

Creativity and self-expression are good for the soul. Are we feeding our souls?

Are we feeding our soul? Creativity and self-expression are good for the soul.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

The answers you seek never come when the mind is busy, they come when the mind is still. Unknown

When we do something, we might want to do it as well as we can, perfection might be our aim. This can leave us stuck and worried that the next action we take will ruin it.  A pottery teacher told his classes I can grade you on one or two pieces you take a lot of time with or I can grade you on the sheer weight of the pieces you create. He found that the students who went with more volume created the best pieces overall.

The more we create the better will be some of our creations. We may labor with writing a great sentence. The more sentences we write the more good sentences will be in the mix. The more cakes we bake the more fabulous ones we will produce.

Isn’t quality supposed to matter more than quantity? What if it is better to sift through quantity to find quality than to agonize over everything trying to make things perfect? This might be where writer’s block comes from. We are trying to be too perfect. Just writing anything that comes into our head and then deleting it later if it doesn’t fit may be the way to move things along.

We may think we aren’t creative enough to do something creative every day. Maybe we are using too narrow of a definition of what creative is. Some people believe that tapping into our creativity is good for our mental health. When we immerse ourselves in a creative activity we often enter a meditative state where we are so engrossed in what we are doing we temporarily forget the things that are troubling us.

Normality is a paved road: It’s comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow. Vincent van Gogh

Have you ever tried to tell yourself to quit thinking about something? It seems almost impossible to get our minds to quit churning over something we are sick of thinking about. If we start doing something like cooking, drawing, photography, art, music, or even crossword puzzles we enter a meditative state where our brain releases dopamine, which is a natural anti-depressant.

Adult coloring books are a way to relax and enjoy the creative process. Zentangling is a form of doodling that can be meditative and helps us be creative. Intuitive painting is an opportunity to explore our inner self through creativity. The main premise of intuitive painting is to tune in to our own unique creative process without attaching meaning to the end result. The more layers we add the more likely we are to find something in the end that we love.

One expert said to use warm colors on the first layer, cool colors on the second layer, and to create as many layers as we want but to let the canvas dry between layers so we don’t muddy our colors. As the colors below and above mingle we can use white if we want to paint an intense color over it. We may see images show up we didn’t plan. We can paint everything onto our canvas and by covering it up with another layer we can lay our soul bare but in a way that is recognizable only to us.

On this canvas, we could lay all of our hurts, troubles, fears, and hopes in whatever image, scribble, words or symbols has meaning to us. People are paying artists to do this for them but we can do it for ourselves. One price I saw was for a 36-inch by 36-inch canvas for $17,497.00 done over a one to four-week consultation between client and artist. Check out Dominique Hurley’s website to see some really beautiful work. I’m thinking of doing a large size eventually but right now I am working on smaller canvasses and watercolor paper.

The idea is we have no idea what the finished work will look like, what colors will be dominant, what images may surface, or at what point we may feel we are done. The more layers we use and the more colors play against each other the more interesting it will be. In the end, we may feel there it is, the mosaic of our life, the dark times, the bright and happy times, the worry, the excitement, the fear, the joy, and the love.

We are told the more we do this the more we will find to express, the more chances we will be willing to take, and the freer we will feel.

Are we finding ways to bring creativity and self-expression into our lives?

Do things that feed your soul, not your ego, and you will be happy. Unknown

Feed the mind good wisdom, the body good nutrition, the soul good vibes, and the heart good love. Elevation for your situation. T.F. Hodge

The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new. Socrates

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Creative Revolution: Personal Transformation through Brave Intuitive Painting Paperback – Nov. 1 2016

by Flora Bowley (Author)

Baking and eating while we are standing and waiting. Can we make someone laugh today?

Can we make someone laugh today? Baking and eating while we are standing and waiting.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

As long as you know how to bake, life is sure to be sweet. Unknown

Everyone seems to be baking up a storm during our stay-in. To join the baking club I made banana bread yesterday. When we cook we take a few ingredients and turn them into something else. It is a form of alchemy, chemistry in action.

When we think of alchemy we may think of wizards brewing up concoctions and isn’t that what baking is? Flour sugar and fat becomes a cake.  Some researchers see alchemy as the forerunner of modern science particularly chemistry.

Trial and error lead us to become good bakers. It helps if we keep good notes on what we liked, what we added the next time, or what we took away.

What a discovery it must have been when bread was first created. It is believed the earliest bread was baked around 8000 B.C. in the Middle East specifically Egypt and would have been a flatbread like chapattis (India) or tortillas (Mexico).

The first leavened bread was made with wild yeast (sourdough) and dates back about 1000 B.C. Louis Pasteur in 1859 discovered how yeast works and nine years later Fleischman’s Yeast was founded and the modern baking era was born. The bread slicer was invented by Otto Frederick Rohwedder in 1912 and the first automatically sliced loaves were produced on July 6, 1928.

Many people are learning to make sourdough bread and creating their own sourdough starter or getting it from someone who has some. I’ve never tried to make sourdough bread but the starter sounds pretty easy to make just water and flour left to ferment and then you feed it equal parts water and flour until you are ready to make a batch of bread leaving ¼ cup of the starter for next time.

Cakes are like books, there are new ones you want to read and old ones you want to reread. Ellen Rose

Whatever we bake when we are done we have something to show for our efforts. In a time like this feeding people is something we can do. It feels wholesome, nurturing, and loving to provide food and there is something about the smell of baking that adds something extra to our day. If we want to sell our home we are told to create the smell of baking by boiling cinnamon and sugar or actually baking something to give our home that homey feeling and scent.

Maybe we are soothing our fears in an uncertain time by creating a safe and nourishing home filled with good food. We are once more gathering around the kitchen table drinking coffee, eating bread or cake, talking and laughing.

If we don’t have a house full of people we can put our creation on FaceBook or Zoom and eat our creation with a friend while they eat theirs. We may have to make an effort to connect with people but technology makes it easier. There is always the phone if we can’t get our computer to work with Zoom or other programs.

Reach out and touch someone through technology. We can have a laugh, break some bread and talk about what we’ll do when this is over. We can think about those keeping everything together while we stand and wait. We can offer up prayers for them, give thanks for them, and be grateful for what we have in our lives. When this is over we will all reflect on the part we had to play, and if we did it as well as we could. Will we be proud of ourselves?

Sometimes me thinks “What is a friend?” And then me say, “Friend is someone to share the last cookie with.” The Cookie Monster

Today I will live in the moment unless it’s unpleasant in which case I will eat a cookie. The Cookie Monster

If baking is any labor at all, it’s a labor of love. A love that gets passed from generation to generation. Regina Brett

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Recipes and Wisdom: by Martha Markey by [Martha Markey, Mary Earp]

Recipes and Wisdom: by Martha Markey Kindle Edition

by Martha Markey (Author), Mary Earp (Editor)

Creativity and self-expression. Should we find a way to bring creativity and self-expression into our lives?

Should we find a way to bring creativity and self-expression into our lives?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

“Some said, how’d you fly?” I said, from not being afraid of trying to fly.” Jay-Z

Wow, our life is moving right along. How can we slow it down? We can’t, but we have just as many hours in our day as those people who accomplish what we wish we could accomplish. How do they do it? One of the biggest things in life is perseverance; nothing can take the place of doing the next thing and not giving up.

Jay-Z says he knew the record company would be my bridge to those people I could connect with, but they didn’t give me that bridge, so it was a very important part of my career that we didn’t give up right there. That belief in myself, and belief that I had something to offer, so we built our own bridge, and I started my own record company. Jay-Z

There are enough Jay-Z quotes that my whole post could just be one great Jay-Z quote after another. He says most of the people who became successful where he was from never went back. So, there was no mentoring program, no going back to teach someone what they knew.

There are so many people we can learn lessons from. Somehow we have to find our own way, use our own gifts, and be moved by what inspires us. Even if someone doesn’t mentor us they can be an inspiration from afar. If they can do it, maybe we can too?

When we realize we don’t fit in, it may be the biggest gift we receive. “You don’t see things how other people do, there’s something wrong with your thinking,” we may be told. That’s just another way of being told: “You don’t think inside the box.” Don’t we want to think outside the box?  Isn’t that where the magic is?

If we want to be originals then we won’t fit into a group. By definition, an original is on the outside. Sometimes originals end up with a following. Sometimes they just end up going their own way, thinking their own thoughts, creating their own life. When we learn to embrace ourselves, idiosyncrasies and all and embrace all of ourselves we can make the best of what we have to give to the world.

The truth about talent is first, that it’s God-Given. When you want to unleash that talent, your mind lets it go. Because it’s there. You have to have that belief that when you draw from that well of talent that it’s going to be there. Jay-Z

One of the joys in life is surprising ourselves with our creativity. We didn’t know what we would write, how the painting would look, or how the garden would bloom and look in each season. What we had was an idea but sometimes the reality becomes so much more than the idea. We are surprised by what something has become.

Making room for creativity in our lives allows what is in us to be expressed. We never quite know what that will look like. Some people make their living with their expression of song, art, dance, or other creative endeavors. Many of us don’t, but allowing creative expression feeds our soul if not our family. Everything worth doing is not only worth doing if it brings in money.

Money is great, we need it, we use it, but creativity and self-expression are important and just as creative if no one sees it but our self. Some people’s gift to the world is their self expression, for others this is their gift to themselves. No matter what we do in life, we should find a way to allow creativity and self-expression to be part of our life.

Is there something in us calling out to be expressed? What is the medium our self-expression can best be expressed through?

“There are 2 possibilites: 1 is that there’s more to life than the physical life, that our souls ‘will find an even higher place to dwell’ when this life is over. If that’s true, there’s no reason to fear failure or death. The other possibility is that this life is all there is. And if that’s true, then we have to really live it – we have to take it for everything it has and ‘die enormous’ instead of ‘living dormant’, as I said way back on ‘can I live’. Either way, fear is a waste of time.” Jay-Z

The motivation for me, was them telling me what I could not be. Jay-Z

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Decoded Hardcover – Nov 16 2010

by Jay-Z (Author) 4.8 out of 5 stars 12 ratings

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Self-expression through painting. When we find our voice, we find our self.

When we find our voice, we find our self. Self -expression through painting.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

I can’t think of anything more rewarding than being able to express yourself to others through painting. Exercising the imagination, experimenting with talents, being creative; these things, to me, are truly the windows of your soul. Bob Ross

Last night I painted with a certified Bob Ross instructor. I didn’t know certified Bob Ross painting instructors existed. Bob Ross is a personality many people are familiar with who wanted everyone to believe they could be an artist. There was another artist William Alexander who taught this technique of wet-on-wet oil painting on television long before Bob Ross.

The story goes that when Bob began his own show William Alexander made a promotional commercial where he handed off a paintbrush to Bob as a symbolic nod to Bob as his painterly heir apparent.

According to PBS, fewer than 10 percent of the viewers painted along with Bob. Although the show was about teaching painting techniques they tuned in for Bob’s soothing tones, the quiet place of happy trees, happy clouds, and in general creating your happy place.

Bob’s curly hair we are told is because when he wasn’t making much money he permed his hair so he’d require fewer haircuts. The story goes he came to hate his hair but because this was his trademark and on all his products, he kept it. He even wore a wig when he lost his own hair to cancer.

Bob Ross’s TV show ran from January 11, 1983, until May 17, 1994. These shows are now available on YouTube as well as others by certified Bob Ross instructors.

I first encountered this wet-on-wet technique when I came to Toronto in 1976. At the exhibition, there was an artist named Varga who quickly painted one painting after another. I was enthralled watching him paint so quickly and beautifully.

I type Varga into the computer and up comes “Fall Forest Scene” antique oil on canvas by Varga 4ft x 6ft selling for $4000.00. The Painting was recently obtained from an estate sale. Original receipt in possession from almost thirty years ago and the price it sold for then was $5000.00. The date this work was painted is unknown. Obviously, this was not art to invest in. It looks to me like it is probably done by the artist who enthralled me at the exhibition.

My husband called me downstairs last night. He had YouTube on and a Bob Ross certified instructor came up. I have a Bob Ross book and I found the painting they were painting in it. Then my husband put the show on a computer tablet so I could watch it in my studio and paint to it. It was the same show we thought but I soon realized it wasn’t, but I painted along anyway. It was a fun night of painting. I didn’t know what I was going to paint, and by painting along I actually painted something, instead of spending the night thinking about painting. I’ve dabbled with Bob Ross techniques but never painted along with him or one of his certified instructors.

I don’t paint in oil, instead, I use acrylic but the techniques translate, although acrylic dries much quicker. I don’t have the palette knives so maybe a trip to the art store is warranted. Not a hardship since art stores are one of my favorite places to visit.

All you need to paint is a few tools, a little instruction, and a vision in your mind. Bob Ross

The certified instructor was good at explaining the techniques but he lacks Bob’s personality.  They had a class set up they were filming, and it was interesting that everyone was painting along but every painting was different. The colors were subtly different, the placement was different, the trees were different, and the intensity of lights and darks were different. The mood created by each artist was different.

This is the thing we sometimes don’t realize, even when we paint along, we are creating our own art. We are expressing our own feelings, desires, and viewpoint. Do we paint “Happy little clouds?” Art is expressing our self, the subject doesn’t matter. Every artist painting along created a unique painting. No one had an exact replica of the instructors, and that was the idea.

Bob Ross wanted each person to be an artist, to express their own ideas, to tease out their own clouds out of their own skies. He was teaching techniques so everyone could create their own art. His instruction was a starting point.

Finding a way to express our self is important. We can write, sing, sew, draw, make pottery, wood carvings, garden, cook, or any other form of self-expression. Neuroscience is teaching us that “self-expression” might be one of the most important ways people connect, navigate, and grow. It might be important that our voice is heard and acknowledged, but maybe it is more important that we acknowledge our own voice and our own creativity.

We have something inside us that longs to be expressed. We often feel shy that our expression won’t be enough. This is the beauty of painting along with anyone, or singing or writing with prompts. We are still expressing ourselves, but we are not as alone. Many times we sit and look at a blank page and don’t know what to write. We stare at our blank canvas and don’t know what to paint. We need a starting point, once we start, we are on our way.

The fact that so few of Bob’s viewers painted along with him is a testament to how we hold ourselves back. How many wanted to paint with him but thought someone would think they were stupid for thinking they could paint? We hold ourselves back all the time. We censor ourselves, we let others censor us. If we aren’t letting those feelings and thoughts out, what happens to them? How are we making our life smaller than it needs to be by not finding a way to express ourselves through some form of creativity? It isn’t about singing because we are great singers, or painting because we are great painters. It is expressing ourselves and getting what is inside of us out.

Maya Angelou told us in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings that it sings because it has a song. We have things inside of us that long to be expressed. As we find a form of self-expression we find ourselves. Will our form of self-expression make us money? Who knows, we’ll never know unless we put ourselves out there. If it does, the money is not likely our biggest payoff. Sometimes when money comes into play we are no longer expressing ourselves, we begin to express what we think we should, must, and what is expected.

Maybe even if we make money with one form of self-expression, we should have another that we do only for ourselves.

Believe that you can do it cause you can do it. Bob Ross

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, creativity, and love.

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Best of the Joy of Painting Paperback – Sep 20 1995

by Robert H Ross (Author) 4.2 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

Owning the greatness within. Becoming the best we can be.

Becoming the best we can be. Owning the greatness within.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

There is vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you try and block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost. Martha Graham

It isn’t becoming famous or rich that makes someone great. Becoming rich or famous doesn’t mean they are using their gifts, nor does it mean they are not. Sometimes it seems that people who don’t have much in worldly goods are the most creative. Designers watch what the poor wear to get inspiration. When we can afford to purchase a designers line and where it how they meant it to be worn, where is the creativity in that?

When people go to Value Village or thrift shops, Salvation Army, or other used clothing shops and with a little artistic flare put clothes together worthy of being on runways, now that’s artistic flare. I watched my mother sew clothes when I was growing up. She could take remnants and turn them into something nice for us kids. I remember when she was going to one of my sister’s weddings, she sewed what we now call a capsule wardrobe for herself.

Quilting has evolved, but it had its start in using up every last scrap of material, nothing was wasted. If you’ve ever watched a documentary on Victorian times one of the things we see is how everything was used, reused, and used again. Thrift was a virtue.

It bothers Mom to take whole bolts of cloth and cut it up into bits and pieces for quilting. The greatest art of quilting may be that it was making something from almost nothing. True creativity was finding a way to put scraps together in an artistic way.

Necessity is the mother of invention. We don’t have as much necessity so maybe we aren’t as inventive. We have so much entertainment we don’t have to make our own fun. It is great to get together as a group and entertain ourselves. To throw a potluck where each person’s offering makes a feast.

No man has the right to dictate what other men should perceive, create or produce, but all should be encouraged to reveal themselves, their perceptions and emotions, and to build confidence in the creative spirit. Ansel Adams

Creativity is all around us. We see creative gardens where someone didn’t go to the garden center and pay to have everything put in at once. Many of their plants are not only beautiful but have a story. These are Sandra’s poppies. That peony came from Uncle Fred’s. This is a shoot off of Mom’s rose. This cherry tree was given to me by a neighbor. This rose garden is all the Mother’s day roses my children have given me.

We are all creative, but unless we make creativity part of our life it is an unused and unappreciated gift. When you watch little children play you know it’s true. They exuberantly play with paint, building blocks and any medium put before them. We give up our creativity at our peril. When we let creativity move through us we give life to things we didn’t know were in us. Perhaps they aren’t in us, but only come through us, if we are not the conduit through which life expresses itself does it find a more willing conduit?

We tell our self it doesn’t matter if we broaden our self by using our gifts. We tell our self our gifts aren’t great enough. People will laugh at us if we try and present our gifts to the world. The joy that springs up within us as we express ourselves is a joy we get no other way. The joy of writing a novel is not in putting it out in the world. The joy is in the doing. Even if it never gets out into the world if you are a writer, write. If you are a painter, paint. If you are a singer, sing. If you are a quilter, quilt. Creativity is expressing life’s joy.

When we learn to express our self through our gifts we find our self. We say through our art what calls to be said. We find the truth, expressing what we cannot express any other way. It thrills us to hear a song well sung, a painting well painted, a carving well carved. Viewing art expands us, invoking feelings we too long to express.

It does matter if you use your gifts. It matters to you. We make ourselves small and insignificant when we don’t express ourselves. Self-expression is a gift, use it, develop it, and own it.

We don’t serve our self or anyone else by keeping ourselves small. We do our part when we do the thing that calls out to be done and express what calls out to be expressed.

Are we owning the greatness within us?

Don’t let your special character and values, the secret that you know and no one else does, the truth – don’t let that get swallowed up by the great chewing complacency. Aesop

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, creativity, and love.

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The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life Paperback – Jan 6 2006

by Twyla Tharp (Author)

4.4 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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Self-expression. Finding the beauty and joy in life is part of the journey.

Finding the beauty and joy in life is part of the journey. Express yourself.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Without self-expression, life lacks spontaneity and joy. Without service to others, it lacks meaning and purpose. Laurence G. Boldt

The joy of self-expression is the true joy in life. It is when we express our thoughts, feelings, and ideas as beautifully as we can that we find true joy in life. When we feel, see and experience the expressions of nature and other people we feel a connection to others, the greater world and even to ourselves.

How great it is to go for a walk and see the first flowers of spring. The sunshine, the spring flowers, a blue sky with fluffy clouds, the first shoots of green grass, the chirping of the birds. Regardless of what is going on in our life this expression of new life, of a new season gives us a sense and feeling of joy.

When we express our self we explore who we are. We examine our thoughts, beliefs, goals, dreams, ideologies, fears. Through self-expression, we may find out what is most important to us, our purpose.

It doesn’t matter how we express ourselves, only that we do. Humming, singing to our self, doodling is all self-expression. It isn’t important if our self-expression is shared with the world. It is important that we do it.

We may hesitate to put our self forward as an artist, but when one looks at the works that are put forward there seems to be room for everyone. A painting may look like a mess but when we notice the title “Feelings” we realize they captured the subject perfectly.

We hear journaling, art, music, and dance is recommended as therapy because they are forms of self-expression. They help us get what we are feeling on the inside, outside of us.

Painting is self-discovery. Every good artist paints what he is. Jackson Pollock

The first thing we all worry about is, are we doing it right, instead of worrying are we doing it at all. We judge and second guess our self, we are our worst critic.

We can get into trouble if we express ourselves in inappropriate ways. Just yesterday I was shown a video of a young woman expressing herself outside of her house with nothing on her bottom half, the police were called. She looked full of joy but obviously was having an episode of some kind.

They say the second regret of the dying is they wished they’d let themselves be happier. Even on a bad day, we have so much to be grateful for, so much to enjoy, yet we sometimes wallow in self-pity, misery, and despair. Even if life isn’t always what we make it, it is probably how we see it. We hear people in the depths of despair finding the positive in the life of their son or daughter no longer with them.

We can be happy, we were fortunate to have had someone in our life, even if they are no longer with us. Had they not been in our life, we wouldn’t have this hurt, but we wouldn’t have the joy they brought us either.

Often people who have been to the depths of despair have much to teach us. They have a depth and understanding of life that comes from facing the worst, rebuilding their life, going forward from the darkness into the light.

Many people find a way to express themselves after a tragedy, they find it healing. It doesn’t matter how we express ourselves, only that we do. There are many ways to express our unique self; they aren’t just singing, dancing, writing and art. Can we sing, dance, hum, doodle, paint, knit, quilt, play an instrument, write, do public speaking, photography, fashion, coding, plan a special event, build something, bake or cook, journal, make a comic book, write poetry, quizzes, create games or anything else we can think of? Just do it!  Can we express ourselves and make our self and the world better?

A labor of love is exalted because it provides joy and self-expression to those who perform it. Dennis Kimbro

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude and love.

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Painting Abstracts: Ideas, Projects and Techniques Paperback – Nov 1 2008

Set new goals, and dream new dreams. Explore your creative side.

Explore your creative side. Dream new dreams, and set new goals.

Your creative work will tell your story. Pamela Slim

Yesterday watching a makeover show a woman was talking about letting out her inner self. We can call it our inner diva, Goddess, artist, entrepreneur, poet, comedian, or spiritualist. Whatever part of our self has been put on hold or not yet developed while we did the important job of looking after home and hearth, husbands and children. We can be in the workforce and not have this hidden self-developed, maybe because we are in the workforce. He or she is longing to come forth, sometimes we don’t know what is missing in our life and this is what is missing, the part of our self that isn’t being expressed.

We think it is a simple thing to get a new hairdo and makeup. It might be best if we can do the two together but it is so easy now to get a new hairstyle and many makeup places will do full makeup for a reasonable cost.

When my daughter was getting married everyone encouraged me to get highlights. I was making do with a little box of hair color from the drug store and doing it myself. What he has done with my hair is so much better than what I was doing, so I’ve kept it up. When we find the right hair stylist they make us feel more like our self.

Men may decide to change their facial hair, grow a beard, mustache, or shave off the beard or mustache, or even shave their head. A new look isn’t only for women.

When a makeup artist shows us what a difference a little makeup can make and how to apply it, our life can change. We look at our self differently; we get a spring in our step. They highlight our best features and play down the ones we least like.

That little change can begin to show up in the rest of our life as well. We may realize it is time to bring something into our lives that didn’t fit in when our life was so full of child rearing.

What art offers is space – a certain breathing room for the spirit. John Updike

We can take ourselves out for creative exploration dates. Visit art galleries, art shops, spoken word venues, comedy clubs, maybe a choir is looking for members, we could visit local churches to join a choir, or maybe a local band is looking for musicians or singers. Check out our local Toastmasters, the library book club, take a class in something that has always interested us, attend a seminar, come out to a local club, visitors are usually welcome. We can join the local arts group.

At the writer’s group, we are mostly people who built a life doing something else. Becoming a better public speaker increases our confidence, and gives us the courage to explore other areas of our lives. When we find our voice we find our self. That may be our singing voice, artistic voice, whatever avenue we explore changes us in some way. Taking a dance class, or Zumba at the local gym can change our body image. We get over being self-conscious as we gain confidence and love the way we feel when we move our body.

This is a journey no one can do for us. We have to take it for our self. We have to accept we will not be good at anything new in the beginning, once we silence our inner critic we can enjoy the process. It doesn’t matter where we start if something doesn’t seem like a fit we can look at something else. There are so many ways to be creative, so many ways to express our self.

It may be clichéd but shouldn’t we all be on a journey of self-discovery? This is our life. Can we find what feeds our soul? Find what is the contribution we are to make, the one that leaves everyone poorer, especially our self if we don’t make it.

Is there something you’ve always wanted to do, learn, experience, or understand? Is the time to do it now?

The world needs your art. Go forth, and create it. Brian Gardner

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Use your talents to make a better world.

Photo of pink roses by Belynda Wilson Thomas

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Use what talents you possess: the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there but those that sang best. Henry Van Dyke

Tomorrow is the first writer’s group meeting of 2019. If I’m lucky one of the members will have read my novel and give me his feedback. I got feedback from an accredited editor over Christmas. Wow, I didn’t think I had so many errors. Her feedback is helpful because she didn’t just say, “I like it, she gave me things to do to make it better. One of her suggestions is to reduce the number of characters.

Ouch! I know she’s right; it makes it hard to get into a story with too many characters. She even gave me a suggestion of how to do it by using a character map. I need to tighten up the beginning because she said it was hard to get into especially with so many characters to remember and to lengthen the ending. This is specific, actionable information I can use to make my novel better.

If we want to get better we need honest critiques and actionable suggestions. Someone to look at our work with new eyes.

I’d been putting off doing the next edit until I got the critique over Christmas. It’s time to quit procrastinating and move to the next level.

Eventually, I’m going to have to say this is as good as it gets. Editing and re-editing can be a way of putting off putting our work out there.

Emptiness is a symptom that you are not living creatively. You either have no goal that is important enough to you, or you are not using your talents and efforts in a striving toward an important goal. Maxwell Maltz

I was watching a musician on youtube the other day. He had a chance to do a music session and he didn’t feel like doing it. He had no money, he needed to use the bathroom, and he was hungry. He thought going to the session he’d get food and a bathroom, so he went. Later when he played the song for his mom and sister, they were dancing. Then he put it on YouTube and it went viral. The song he wasn’t going to make has made him famous.

If he didn’t make that song, maybe he would still have no money and be looking for a bathroom and food where he could find it. We worry what if our work isn’t good enough? What if what we hesitate to put out there is something someone wants to hear, see, read, or experience?

Sing your song, paint, write poems or novels, start that business, do the thing that calls to you. What opportunities do we miss because we’re scared? Are we scared of failure, scared of success, scared of other people’s opinions?

Why do we even care about other people’s opinions who aren’t trying to do what we want to do? I’ve heard people talk about one hit wonders in the music industry. I’ve always thought, where’s your hit?

Do we think we aren’t naturally talented enough? Talent is a small part of success in most endeavors. Hard work, perseverance, and dogged determination are more likely to determine someone’s success than mere talent.

Not using our talents is robbing others of enjoying what we would have created. Don’t we enjoy Edison’s light bulb every day, computers, music, television shows, and movies?

Gallup research shows people who use their strengths and talents every day have improved health and wellness. They experience less worry, stress, anger, sadness, and physical pain. Positive emotions are boosted. They have more energy to face the day. They have higher engagement levels on the task.

If we use the inspiration we have, more will come, if we don’t use it, it will disappear. We don’t know where what we haven’t done or put out into the world can take us. We’ll never know unless we do it. Are we hiding our light under a bushel? Do we have a talent we should be sharing with the world?

We have unique abilities. Our talents are like our fingerprints. Lots of people may have the same ability but how we use it will make our expression of it unique.

Your talent is God’s gift to you. What you do with it is your gift to God. Leo Buscaglia

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We Inspire Me: Cultivate Your Creative Crew to Work, Play, and Make Hardcover – Oct 2 2018


Make something. The world belongs to the makers.

Make Something - Photo of pink flowers taken by Errol Thomas

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Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. Steve Jobs

That can’t be true. Don’t we always think almost everyone is smarter than us, doing greater things, leading more exciting lives? Our life is up to us, no one will give us permission to do something we want to do. We just have to do it.

No one asks you if we are smart enough to do something. If we want to do something then do it. Most things we touched today were made by someone. The art on the walls, the items in the stores, the cars on the road, the clothes everyone is wearing.

There isn’t anything special about the people who made these things. We don’t have to take a test to prove we are worthy of making something. We don’t need permission to create. We don’t need to be gifted, brilliant, or a genius. We just have to do it.

Thousands of people may read a book we write, view the photo we took, or experience the painting we painted. What if they hate it, what if they laugh, what if they judge us? If we let the fear of failure control our lives we will stay stuck. If we don’t do anything until we are assured of success, we won’t do anything. We will look at things someone else did and say, “we thought of that.”

There is no doubt that creativity is the most important resource of all. Without creativity, there would be no progress, and we would be forever repeating the same patterns. Edward de Bono

When we take the chance to create something, we’ve already won because we didn’t let fear stop us. It isn’t about how great what we create is, it’s about creating, the journey, the accomplishment, and the growth.

Too many of us die with our ideas still inside us. What if no one bothered to make the washing machine, the sewing machine, the light bulb, the automobile, the airplane, the wheel?  We don’t know what we can create until it is finished.

If we have something we want to do, do it. If we think we are too old, where will we be in ten years if we don’t do it? Ten years older. Every one of us has something to share; some will share with ten, some with a hundred, some with the world.

We don’t know who we may touch with what we do, who we might encourage, or who we may help. Think of the inventions we use every day. What if the inventor didn’t bother?

The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself. Alan Alda

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Ingenious: How Canadian Innovators Made the World Smarter, Smaller, Kinder, Safer, Healthier, Wealthier, and Happier Hardcover – Mar 28 2017