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Craving guilt-free creativity that makes your heart sing and time fly?

Welcome to your Creative Oasis™!

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Creative Oasis™ Permission to Pause Manifesto – Part One

We interrupt your regularly scheduled hectic, hurried life to bring you an important message vital to the well­–being of your mind, body and spirit!

The Creative Oasis™ Permission to Pause Manifesto!
Full Disclosure:  This manifesto brought to you by a blatantly blissed-out, radically relaxed creative type. (That would be me, Jill Allison Bryan, singer, songwriter and creativity coach.)

Though, I’ll admit, not my typical day-to-day state-of-mind, immersion in the bliss-inducing nirvana that is Ten Thousand Waves (Santa Fe, NM) followed by a creative retreat in Taos (where daily napping is encouraged) has helped deliver me into my current state of repose and epiphany.  

Even before heading west, I’d been receiving not-so-subtle messages from the universe supporting this basic premise: 

“Taking time to do nothing 
is really something worth doing.” 
(Stick with me on this.)

Universe:  “Yo…Jill…it would be a fine idea for you (and your clients and your friends and your family and pretty much everyone on the planet) to stop attempting to constantly fill every waking moment with taking in something of some kind (food, drink, ideas, stuff, words, sounds, conversation, thoughts, media – social or otherwise) and/or putting something out.” (See above list…add more to each list as you see fit.)

Me: "Hmmm…interesting thought…but I really don’t have time to just sit around and think about that…so…"

Lo and behold, my travels through New Mexico have presented numerous opportunities to do just that, not to mention several serendipitous affirmations that confirm the universe may be on to something with all of this doing nothing stuff.

Ten Thousand Waves
First stop, Ten Thousand Waves Japanese­–style spa and lodging where the peaceful Zen-like vibe begins seeping into your being the moment you step foot on the grounds. When my husband and I arrived after two days of driving, although road weary, when I learned our room wouldn’t be ready for another hour or two, I immediately kicked into the “we need to do something!” mentality. “I guess we can drive back into town and check out gallery or two,” I said…feeling exhausted even just saying the words.

The lovely, laid-back woman checking us in tried her best to veil a look of horror/confusion as to why in the hell we would want to do that. She then politely suggested that another option might be to head up to the spa, trade in our clothes for kimonos and chill out in the relaxation room, communal bath area or near the koi pond. As she relayed our options I felt myself nodding and a smile slowly spreading across my face. “Yes…yes…I want to go to there,” as Liz Lemon would say.

After almost an hour of lying on comfy mats, listening to soothing music through headphones, meditating, and cat-napping I fell in mad love with the relaxation room and found myself wondering…why doesn’t everyplace have a relaxation room…a serenity lounge…a resting place?

Once settled into our lovely little cottage (Japanese-meets Santa Fe style casita) we headed back up to the spa for time in a private lagoon type hot-tub area and massages. Since we had a full half hour between these two spa activities, we actually contemplated bringing books with us. What the….?!?!?! (This need to do something all the time is insidious, I tell you!)

Thankfully, what happened naturally and wonderfully instead was after our private hot-tub, cold-plunge, and sauna time…we did what intelligent, well-adjusted healthy people would do…we sat in front of the koi pond and stared at it in a state of vegged-out euphoria until we were called for our massages.

Slowly making my way up the path to a private massage room, I couldn’t imagine it would be possible for me to feel any more tranquil than I already did. I told the therapist, “I don’t think I’ve ever gone into a massage feeling this relaxed already, so this should be interesting.”

Stairway to Heaven aka the Spa
Understatement. This is when I began to experience the pure “blissed–out” feeling that I will forever associate with Ten Thousand Waves (or Heaven on Earth, as I now like to call it.) As my husband and I floated back down to our place (I honestly don’t think our feet touched the ground) we both felt the amazing full-body/mind/spirit buzz that utter relaxation can bring…and it was good. And…it was only the beginning.

Tune in next time for Part Two of The Creative Oasis™ Permission to Pause Manifesto where we’ll find the universe fairly clubbing me over the head with signs and serendipitous events supporting the  notion that giving myself (and others) permission to pause is a worthy cause and perhaps my latest obsession. (in a good way)

The view waking from a nap on the futon
Until next time...all the best from my Creative Oasis to yours,

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Money, Awareness & Good Questions Raised at "Who Does She Think She Is?" Screening

Over forty women (and one very cool, supportive husband) ventured out in the crazy Dallas heat for our special screening of the documentary, "Who Does She Think She Is?" on Wednesday, July 13, 2011 at LaGrange in Deep Ellum. I'm happy to share that in addition to raising over $200 and awareness for Women for Women International, we brought together some wonderfully creative women to discuss the questions brought up by this inspiring film.

Full house at La Grange
After every barstool and seat was filled more tables and chairs were brought in, orders for yummy $2 tacos and drink orders were placed and then together we watched "Who Does She Think She Is?" by Pamela Tanner Boll and Nancy C. Kennedy.

The films shines with beautiful images and weaves together the stories of several female artists (painters, scupltors, singer/actress, film makers, activists and more) as they share their personal challenges and rewards that come with pursuing their unique creative paths.

After the film, I was joined onstage by a panel of four women artists and art-related business owners for a Q and A session. We discussed the struggles and joys we've experienced in our own creative journeys while attempting to balance our lives and honor our artistic endeavors.

Jill leads the Q and A session
From left to right:
Michelle Stroescu (artist, designer, mother)
Ashley Thames Brown (artist, writer and mother)
Victoria Webb Pendergrass (artist, art school owner, teacher, mother)
Mary Tomás (artist, gallery owner, mother)

The general consensus was no matter how difficult it can sometimes be, making time and space for our creative expression is essential to living meaningful lives. Many of us agreed with the women in the film who said they thought they'd go crazy if they couldn't get to their artistic process. Even if it means telling society to taking a flying leap...or risking relationships...or changing where and how we live...it's worth it! As far as trying to have it all while keep all the balls in the air and plates spinning, I love Annette Benning's take:  "Balance is overrated!" 

As a creativity coach, I also used this opportunity to remind everyone that even spending a small amount of time with our creativity is better than doing nothing at all. Ten minutes spent sketching, knitting, playing piano or working in the garden can infuse the remaining 23 hours and 50 minutes in our day with a renewed energy and joy that everyone in our life will feel. (What a great return on such a small investment of time!) 

I know personally that when I've made time for my music or writing I'm in a much better place to be the mom, wife, friend, and human being I want to be. As some wise philosopher once said, "If Mama ain't happy - ain't nobody happy!" 

Thanks so much to everyone who came out. I hope that you felt as inspired and supported by this film as I did. 

Also, a special thanks to Art & Seek, Lakewood Women in Business, the White Rock Lake Weekly, Women for Women International, the Dallas Morning News, Natural Awakenings and The Hidden List for helping us spread the word about the screening.

Until next time,
all the best from my creative oasis to yours,