Archive for the ‘Life Skills’ Category

way through envyWe all know that envy is bad for us. We know that we shouldn't compare our insides to other people's outsides. We know that jealousy keeps us small when we really want to expand.

But it's just so darn hard to let go of, isn't it?

Personally, I feel like I am constantly getting stuck in the envy trap. Here are just a few scenarios that make my monkey brain go wild:

  • People who "fell into" their current, amazingly successful roles. They barely try and the world is breaking down their door to consume everything they make.
  • People who say that their Instagram followings started at 500 with just "family and friends."
  • People who develop thriving businesses using only word of mouth.
  • Basically, anyone who's success seems to come easily.

You might notice a theme running through these statements. They all rely on a story that I'm telling about how these people got to where they are. This story usually includes something along the lines of, "They're good at this and I'm not, they are succeeding and I'm not, they have something that I will never have so I should just stop trying." This quickly turns into "I'm not good enough. Nothing I do is enough."

I recently realized that it's this train of thoughts that follows from the feeling of envy that is destructive, rather than the envy itself. As a result, I'm working on dealing with envy in a constructive and positive way. Because these negative thoughts are based on stories that I tell myself, I can usually find my way through the negative feelings by examining and questioning these stories, and the beliefs that they're based on.

Finding a way through envy

If you find yourself in the grip of comparison and envy, here's something that you can try. Go for a walk or find a quiet place to sit. Take a few deep breaths and ask yourself these questions: (more…)

sound

When it comes to creativity, it’s important to have a constant stream of inspiration to draw from. If we choose to pay attention to them, our senses can offer bucket loads of material as we move through each day hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting, and touching. Paying attention to our senses helps us live in the moment, excites our curiosity, and can make us more in tune with our natural impulses. However, so many of us—myself included—go through our days without really feeling much of anything. To deepen my own awareness, I wrote a post on each of our senses, explaining some ways that we can focus more intently on that sense and wake ourselves up to the variety of experiences around us. This is the last one. Hopefully, they’ll help you too. I’ve also written about taste, sight, and smell, and touch.

Hearing

What do you think of when you think of your sense of hearing? Music? Birds chirping? Hearing loss? Next to sight, our sense of hearing is probably the one we use the most in an average day. It lets us communicate with our co-workers and loved ones, helps alert us when a car is approaching a crosswalk, and allows us to wake up on time when our alarm goes off. It also adds an incredible amount of texture and depth to our daily lives since we can pick up on so many different sounds at once: "Our hearing system does not blend the frequencies of different sounds, as the visual system does when different wavelengths of light are mixed to produce color. Instead, it separates complex sounds into their component tones or frequencies so that we can follow different voices or instruments as we listen to conversations or to music." (more…)

from the heartThis year, for the first time, I wrote out a sort of 'strategic plan' for my business. I decided what I wanted to accomplish for the year, what my top priorities were, and how I was going to achieve them. I decided that the one thing I wanted to accomplish this year, even if I got nothing else done, was to build a steady teaching schedule. I felt very good about my plan and my ability to make it happen, and for a couple of months, it seemed like everything was on track to work exactly how I had planned it.

Then it all fell apart. I spent two weeks tearing myself apart for a commission, rushed to try to prepare for my upcoming workshops, only to cancel them when no one registered. That's four workshops that I've canceled this year due to low enrollment. It seemed to me that my "plan" wasn't really working after all. (more…)

Edmonton Pecha Kucha 24 - scary thing

Photo by Edmonton's Nextgen

My scary thing

Last week I did something scary. I stood up in front of a couple hundred people and told them about something very personal and meaningful to me. I talked about the Drawing Project, which has just passed its halfway mark, and how it's changing my life. I showed my drawings, blown up on a giant screen. I was nervous, I was excited, I was happy, I was stressed - I was a big bundle of emotions in the weeks leading up to giving the talk. But I am so glad I did it.

I've done a fair bit of public speaking in my life. I did speech competitions all through elementary and junior high, I was my high school valedictorian, and I studied theatre in university, where I did some acting. It's been years since I've spoken to more than 10 people at a time but it's a little like riding a bike. While the nerves can be pretty intense, it does come back to you.

What I've never done is spoken about something so personal. I knew (underneath the anxiety) that the speech would go well. I knew that it was well written, that I had chosen good photos and that I could deliver it with confidence. What I didn't know was whether people would respond positively to my message or whether they would brush it off as being completely unimportant. This project and what it stands for - creativity, passion, living your best life, overcoming fears - mean so much to me and I was terrified that people would think it was lame. (more…)

touch a treeWhen it comes to creativity, it’s important to have a constant stream of inspiration to draw from. If we choose to pay attention to them, our senses can offer bucket loads of material as we move through each day hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting, and touching. Paying attention to our senses helps us live in the moment, excites our curiosity, and can make us more in tune with our natural impulses. However, so many of us—myself included—go through our days without really feeling much of anything. To deepen my own awareness, my plan is to write a post on each of our senses, explaining some ways that we can focus more intently on that sense and wake ourselves up to the variety of experiences around us. Hopefully, they’ll help you too. So far, I’ve also written about taste, sight, and smell.

Touch

I'm sure we can all agree on the importance of our sense of touch. Studies show that hugging someone you care about can reduce blood pressure and provide other health benefits and that babies who are not touched early in life don't develop normally. Touch helps connect us with the people we love, but it also helps us perform most of our everyday tasks. We rely on touch to find the keys beneath our fingers when we type, to find the lip balm buried at the bottom of our purse, and even to keep ourselves upright (this site says that elderly people might be more prone to falling because their feet aren't as sensitive to the ground as they used to be). Unlike other senses, which receive information from one small area of our bodies, we can experience touch in countless different ways, over almost every part of our body, which means there is plenty of opportunity to be inspired.  (more…)

sense smellWhen it comes to creativity, it's important to have a constant stream of inspiration to draw from. If we choose to pay attention to them, our senses can offer bucket loads of material as we move through each day hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting, and touching. Paying attention to our senses helps us live in the moment, excites our curiosity, and can make us more in tune with our natural impulses. However, so many of us—myself included—go through our days without really feeling much of anything. To deepen my own awareness, my plan is to write a post on each of our senses, explaining some ways that we can focus more intently on that sense and wake ourselves up to the variety of experiences around us. Hopefully they'll help you too. So far, I've also written about taste and sight.

Smell

Our sense of smell is probably one of the most overlooked and undervalued - until we don't have it any more. We all know how it feels to be congested and not able to smell anything (which is, oddly enough, exactly how I'm feeling as I write this). Everything seems flatter, and farther removed than usual. Our sense of smell adds texture to the world, giving us a more subtle sense of our surroundings. From unpleasant sewer odours, to the unique mix of flavours of our favourite restaurant, smells help us orient ourselves and even keep us safe. I had some sandwich meat in the fridge that hadn't met its expiry date yet, but one whiff told me that it was not okay to eat. Our sense of smell is also the only one that we can strengthen through exercise. Don't think you have a sharp sense of smell? With practice, you can become more sensitive to different scents and learn to identify them better. (more…)

 

simple truths

Years ago I read the book The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. In it, she made two lists of statements, of truths, that she lived by. She called them the "Twelve Commandments" and the "Secrets of Adulthood." They contained things like, "Be Gretchen", "Enjoy the process", and "Bring a sweater." These lists felt really important to me, so ever since then, I've been compiling my own lists of learnings to remind myself of what works in life, and what doesn't. I posted a list of things learned in 2014 here. Today I went through my list from 2015 and pulled out the best ones. These are simple things that, when I remember to use them, can make either a small or a monumental difference. Hopefully you find something useful here as well. (more…)

fresh eyesWhen it comes to creativity, it's important to have a constant stream of inspiration to draw from. If we choose to pay attention to them, our senses can offer bucket loads of material as we move through each day hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting, and touching. Paying attention to our senses helps us live in the moment, excites our curiosity, and can make us more in tune with our natural impulses. However, so many of us—myself included—go through our days without really feeling much of anything. To deepen my own awareness, my plan is to write a post on each of our senses, explaining some ways that we can focus more intently on that sense and wake ourselves up to the variety of experiences around us. Hopefully they'll help you too. So far, I've also written about taste.

Sight

In some ways, sight is the easiest sense to work on, since it's the one we use the most anyway. According to Psychology Today, more than half the body's sense receptors are in the eyes. But how much of your surroundings do you really see on a daily basis? If you follow the same routine every day, you probably have long since stopped noticing the buildings you pass, or the way the sky looks - unless something is drastically different. What if you could train yourself to look at the same old things with fresh eyes, seeing something new every day? (more…)

awakening the senses

When it comes to creativity, it's important to have a constant stream of inspiration to draw from. If we choose to pay attention to them, our senses can offer bucket loads of material as we move through each day hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting, and touching. Paying attention to our senses helps us live in the moment, excites our curiosity, and can make us more in tune with our natural impulses. However, so many of us—myself included—go through our days without really feeling much of anything. To deepen my own awareness, my plan is to write a post on each of our senses, explaining some ways that we can focus more intently on that sense and wake ourselves up to the variety of experiences around us. Hopefully they'll help you too.

Taste

What are some of your favourite tastes? When you eat them, do you power through like it's your first meal in months, or do you sit and quietly savour the flavours and textures? Do you chew carefully or do you swallow big bites nearly whole? Thich Nhat Hanh recommends chewing your food until it gently slides down your throat in an effort to be more mindful. It sounds gross to chew that much, but when I tried it even a simple hamburger became a thrill to eat. Tasting can be an art of its own and it's easy to lose yourself in all the amazing flavours of wine, cheese, coffee, or chocolate. Are you willing to let yourself get lost? (more…)

self-helpYou may or may not have noticed, but I'm a bit of a self-help addict. This week, I'm sharing with you some useful self-help tidbits I've come across on the internet. A lot of these writers are people I go to when I'm stressed, and I pull from them when I'm trying out new techniques to feel better and be more creative. If you want to make the most of your creativity, you gotta take care of yourself. Here are some ideas. Enjoy! (more…)