Cultivating Creative Genius

This year, I have been participating in a wonderful online art community and art course called 52 Paintings, run by the gorgeous Faith Evans Sills and Mati-Rose over in the US.  Recently, Faith invited me to write a post to share with our group about a practice that I do in the middle of the day to cultivate creative flow in my work.  I’d love to share that article with you guys too, I hope you enjoy!

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On most days, about an hour after lunch, I find myself yawning and lacking energy, can you relate?  I could put it down to having two young children, my habit of rising early, perhaps even my need to quit sugar.  My need for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up is always there.

I have been a meditator for many years now, on and off, and I’ve long been sold on the benefits of having a regular practice.  For me that regular time is in the morning, before the household rises, I sit and connect in, with myself, with the divine, with nature.  It’s the most brilliant way to start the day and feels me with beautiful energy.

So when I realised that my body and my sprit needed an energy injections around the mid-afternoon, I sought a way of going about it that would meet two needs – my need for body rest, and my need to pep up my spirit.  I instinctively developed the following practice which helps me to both rest AND cultivate the feeling and attitude that I want to bring to my work after my little rest.

First I lay down on my bed or on the window seat in my studio.  I plug in my earphones to my iPhone [...]

The Space In-between

There is a place in life that many of us come to at least once and often more.  It is the space after you have defined yourself as ‘something’ in the world.  You’ve had some kind of success.  Defined some kind of identity around it.  And then life makes it obvious that it is time to move on from this way of being onto to something new.

But that something ‘new’ is nebulous and shady.  It is embryonic.  It has not yet taken form.  And it takes a good period of unpredictable time to incubate.

This moment is what I like to call the space in-between.  I’ve just been in one and it’s why you haven’t heard from me in a while.

The space in-between is where all possibilities lay.  It is exciting and petrifying all at once.  But it can also be lonely, because it exists only in your imagination so no-one else can share it with you yet. And no-one else can assure you that it will ‘all work out’ because they don’t know and you don’t know if it will.

And yet the space in-between, if we really understand it correctly, is possibly one of the most special places to be in life and your creative journey.  It is like a magical land of possibility from where you can conjure your destiny.

I’ve conjured many an incredible journey from this place – each perfect for it’s time.  And for the past few months I have found myself in this space once again, this time for a time longer than my urge to ‘make stuff happen’ usually allows me.

This time I made a conscious choice to slow the process down. To allow the gestation to really take root.  [...]

Interview with Clare Bowditch on Being Resonant

Part of being creative is that I LOVE trying new things.  As I’ve been creating my new e-course, I’ve been recording podcasts and video interviews galore, which has been new to me and so much fun. And I thought, since the early bird prices end on the course registration this coming Monday 9th Feb, that I might give you a little taster of the general awesomeness that you will find in the Holistic Business Mapping e-course that starts on March 2nd.

This little interview with singer/songwriter and entrepreneur Clare Bowditch was such a treat for me to do.  I’ve long thought Clare was pretty ace, from way back at my CERES market days in Melbourne when I would sell my clothes at my little market stall and she worked the organic fruit and veggie stand.  From little things big things grow!

Late last year, I had the pleasure of spending some time with C.B. Bali.  I think there are very few creative professionals out there of such calibre as Clare that are so generous with their time and information.  But you see, Clare is one of those success stories who remembers that once upon a time, she knew nothing about being a creative professional either.  This was one of the big inspirations behind creating her labour of love Big Hearted Business, to help others connect with the information they need to make their creative dream a business reality.  And it’s one of the reasons I love her too, as it was at her very first conference that a fire was lit under me to start Creative Conversation.

If you have been reading my blog for a while now, you will know that I often focus on how important it is [...]

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    Why We Need to Give Up ‘How To’ Thinking for ‘Resonant’ Thinking

Why We Need to Give Up ‘How To’ Thinking for ‘Resonant’ Thinking

Recently something has become very obvious to me.  I have been in the online business game for a while now and what I see is a little disturbing.  It generally runs something like this.

Person decides that they need to go ‘legit’ with this business they are in.  Thus, they need a website.  They also need to do a business course or two to get a handle on the mechanics of ‘how it’s done’.  They look around at how others are doing it and see if there is a mould and method out there that might fit theirs.  And then the go about replicating it – with, of course the stamp of  ‘me’ on it.  Then they open up for business.

Now some people really hit the nail on the head, and business flows immediately and builds momentum.  But what happens to the vast majority is the deafening sound of crickets as they launch their blog / website / business to the world.  That online store that took months makes few sales.  That consultancy business brings in one or two clients a week max.  A lovely start, but nowhere near enough to make the ‘full-time’ income they were hoping for.  No matter how they tweak it, they just can’t quite hit their stride.

And then people become stuck.  They feel like they have done all that they can do and that it hasn’t worked, so maybe they are a failure.  Maybe they are not meant for their dream.  This is a confronting and heartbreaking phase to go through, I know, I have been there, and if gone unchecked can lead to the self-fulfilling prophecy of giving up and closing up shop.

What is really called for in this [...]

Resonance- The Hum of Knowing…

In my 15 years of selling clothes to women I have seen a phenomenon happen over and over.  It is so mundane, that I can guarantee that you yourself will have done it. But the significance of this phenomenon could easily be missed.

It usually goes something like this: woman spies something nice in the shop.  It’s usually the first thing that takes her eye (Dudes, imagine you are at Bunnings!). She comes in and asks to try it on.  It’s perfect. It fits a treat, the colour is right and she looks like she was born to wear it.  What does she do next?  She then proceeds to try on everything else in the store just to see if there is anything better.  None of these are right. They all fit badly, the colour is wrong, we don’t have her size. She feels like her hips are too wide, the tops of her arms are flabby and she has ugly knees. And then, eventually, after an hour or so of torturing herself, she buys the first item she tried on.

Sound familiar to anyone? You might do it in a clothing store, or you might do it in your business- questioning that first instinct only to torture yourself with an unnecessarily overwhelming myriad of choices.

The interesting thing to notice in this scenario is that 9 1/2 times out of 10, the woman intuitively chooses the item that is right for her, IMMEDIATELY.  She is magnetically drawn to it, she loves it, it feels right, it looks right.  Something in her senses its perfect dimensions and qualities for her before she even lays her hands on it.  She resonates with it.

Let me say that again, SHE [...]

What is it about Creativity?

What is it about creativity that so fascinates us? What is it about creativity that makes us feel so deeply satisfied when we practice, and makes us revere it when we see it expressed clearly and unabashedly in others?

When I started my clothing label some 15 years ago, stuck at it, and made it a success, I can’t tell you how many times I would find myself looking into the starry-eyes of someone saying how wonderful it must be to be creative every day. When I started out, this was the very thing that spurred me on – my love of the creative act and my desire to earn my living from it.

At the time, I was being creative by making clothing, so that is what I built a business around. That business allowed me the scope to investigate my creativity in a number of ways, far beyond the act of designing and making clothing. It also taught me that making a business out of something you love can take you away from the act of being creative more than bring you to it, but that is story for another day.

In a way, the act of creating a business is one of the ultimate forms of creativity. You are creating your life and your living on so many levels, from every single decision that you make, that sometimes its actually hard to make a move, in case you create the wrong thing.

I’ve been really taking my time with the development of Creative Conversation, partly because I am aware that I am capable of creating what I set my mind and heart to, so I want to ground my mind in my heart in the [...]

Is Creative Business A Spiritual Path?- Part II

My last blog post on this subject generated some really interesting comments. One of these, from Samara Greenwood, expressed a view that I think is shared by many, so I wanted to expand on that in this post. Her insightful comments were:

Hi Susan,
Loved this post. Interestingly, I am one of those people that shy away from the word spiritual in general (can’t explain exactly why) yet I totally agree with everything you have said here! I was wondering though, could you describe a bit more about what you mean by ‘spiritual path’? In the sense that it means personal development & growth – & being our most honest selves in the world – I’m completely onboard. I wonder what else you might be alluding to when you say it though – would you be happy to expand on this? Thanks! Sam x

The question of my creative business being a spiritual path is a deeply personal one, and one that it has taken me a really long time to come around to.  I have in fact avoided saying this very thing because of the weirdness that people can have around the word spiritual, or the notion of a spiritual path. But I can think of no other adequate way to describe how my business experience is for me.

For many years – most of which I was running Manque Design (my clothing label) – I was trying to grow according to traditional business wisdom, but my gut was increasingly telling me to move in a different direction. I resisted this for a really long time, because who the hell walks away from successful clothing label, when you’ve slogged your guts out on for years, and [...]