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

Welcome to your Creative Oasis™!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Cheers to Resolution Substitutions!



What if rather than making the usual list of New Year's resolutions we made an "I Get To!" list for 2014? How would they differ? Perhaps instead of telling ourselves we have to lose ten pounds, balance our budget or eat more kale we could shift our focus to things that energize and delight us. 
Here are some of my "I Get To!" possibilities for 2014:

I Get To Ride My Bike More Often

I Get To Learn To Make ZenTangles

I Get To Try New Restaurants

I Get To Host Game Nights

I Get To Find Fun Art Classes To Take

I Get To Read During The Day

I Get To Meet Friends for Lunch More Often

I Get To Make Up Songs With My Niece

I Get To Bake With My Daughter

I Get To Visit More Museums

I Get To Host More Dinner Parties

I Get To Make Music With My Husband 

I Get To Have More Massages

I Get To Write More E-Books

I Get To Plan A Trip To Paris 
(I may not be able to take it this year - but oh what fun the planning will be!)

Any time spent with these wonderful options would find me smack dab in the middle of my Creative Oasis™ – anything that makes my heart sing and time fly! How about you? What if you took the next two minutes and let yourself come up with a quick "I Get To" list for 2014? How might that feel different (better?) than a list of New Year's Resolutions?  

Of course, I know setting some goals for the new year is a good thing. Click here to read my recent article "Kaizen-Muse Goal Toolkit" written and published exclusively for the Business Bohemia Membership of Artella. Click here to sign up for your FREE sample Business Bohemia Adventure from Artella: Technology Trolley, which includes lots of fantastic tools, downloads and creative business inspiration.



Here's to resolution substitutions and the joy and satisfaction they can add to the new year for us all!
All the best from my "I Get To" Oasis to yours,
Jill

Jill Allison Bryan



Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas from my Oasis to Yours!


…a few of my favorite things from our oasis to yours this season!

M - dolls from my trip to Bhutan made by disadvantaged young girls in a program that allows them to use their creative skills to empower and employ themselves. (www.bhutanyouth.org)

E - from the cover of one of my favorite Creative Oasis journals

R - silly santa doll

R - magnet from the amazing Nick Cave Sojourn show we saw at the Denver Museum of Art this summer

Y - colored pencils

C- prayer flags from our hike in Vail to raise money for 
Love, Hope Strength this summer

H - crayons

R - is for Riley Anna (my daughter)

I - nutcracker we've had for ages

S - a longtime favorite scarf

T - a clay cross purchased from a local artist on the White Rock Artist Tour

M - old metal sign

A - peanut nativity scene Riley Anna made years ago modeled after one that my brother made decades ago and still hangs on my parents' tree

S - part of the YES logo 

H - from an old holiday comic book

A - the little Christmas tree in Riley Anna's room

P - Riley Anna's first point shoe

P - the arm of a Santa mug from our dear friend Miss Ruth who passed away this year

Y - BATMAN

2 - from our advent calendar

0 - Disco Snowman Riley Anna made at Studio Arts years ago

1 - Virgin of Guadalupe candle

4 - pastels

Hope your day was merry and your New Year is happy, healthy and bright!

All the best from my Creative Oasis to yours,

Jill

Jill Allison Bryan

www.creativeoasiscoaching.com

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Creating with Love for Gifts from the Heart



My dear sweet Aunt Suzy made this beautiful ornament for my birthday. In addition to being gorgeous and handcrafted using the pages of an old hymnal, this extraordinary present holds the greatest gift of all –  love. In fact, each and every fold (and there are dozens, if not hundreds of them) was made with a special prayer for me by my aunt. Wow! Amazing, isn't it? 

This unique gift is called a prayer ball and as you can see it must have taken quite a bit of time to create. The fact that my aunt shared her love for me in this special creative way fills my heart with joy and gratitude. She couldn't have given me anything in the world more precious and I will cherish this as a family heirloom always. 


As if I weren't blessed enough by my aunt's thoughtfulness, I next received this large paper snowflake made my my daughter, Riley Anna. In addition to being a pretty paper sculpture, she took the time to write things that she loves about me around the edges. Again, there's nothing in the world she could have purchased at a store that would even come close to how precious this gift is to me. 

These thoughtful presents have me thinking – how might we infuse our holiday gift giving with a little more love this year? What might that look like? And though I'm doubtful I have the skill (or patience) required to create something as beautiful as this prayer ball or snowflake, I can think of several ways I might sprinkle my holiday gifts and messages with a hearty dose of love.

#1 – Send a positive thought, love and light with each fold I make or piece of tape I use as I wrap gifts.

#2 – Take a moment to truly wish the recipients of each card I send a healthy, happy New Year and actually visualize their smiling faces as I do.

#3 – Do the same thing with each Christmas card I receive. 

#4 – Add a dash of love to each and every holiday goodie I make. (My sweet daughter has claimed for years that she can taste it when I add love to my recipes!)

#5 – Dedicate my morning run or walk to someone special. They don't even need to know about it. I think it's enough to hold them in my (rapidly) beating heart as I enjoy my morning jaunts around the lake.

What do you think? How might you add a dash of love to your holidays? Whether it's making homemade gifts, goodies and cards or simply taking a moment to send extra love and well wishes with each present or message your share, creating with love means gifts from the heart for the special people in your life.

All the best from my blessed and joy-filled oasis to yours,
Jill






Tuesday, December 10, 2013

5 Tips to Jumpstart Holiday Happiness


Click here to print out your free holiday mandala to color or paint!

Wow – the holidays seems to have come out of nowhere this season! With such a brief amount of time between Thanksgiving and the first of December, like many people, I feel a bit unprepared and overwhelmed.

Luckily, I know that the best thing I can do to defuse those feelings is to dip into my bag of Creative Oasis™Coaching tricks. Since I use these techniques myself, I thought I'd share them here to help you jumpstart some holiday happiness of your own.

5 Tips to Jumpstart Holiday Happiness


#1 – Reward Yourself with Short Creative Breaks

I printed out the free holiday mandala above to use as a fun and easy way to reward myself each time I spend a some time on a project or check something off my to-do list. I've been playing with it throughout the day in five minute bursts. It's great way to stay motivated and reward myself with a little creative play. If you like, why not click on the link under the mandala up top to print one for yourself? 



#2 – Say Ho-Ho-No

What if you take a look at your to-do list each day this month and chose at least one thing to let go? If we tend to have somewhat unrealistic expectations for ourselves, chances are that's even more true during the holidays. In addition to all of the things in our usual routine we're heaping on extra social outings, shopping excursions, baking, cooking, school and dance programs and the like. Toss in the unexpected weather snafu or two and you've got a recipe for instant holiday stress.

The truth is the world won't come to a grinding halt if we skip a thing or two especially if we've filled our to-do lists with more than we can realistically handle. How do you think it would feel to release at least one "to-do" each day and gave yourself the gift of letting go?



#3 – Take Elf-Like Steps

Any holiday happening, project or party – no matter how big – can be broken down into smaller steps. Planning the holiday get-together for your family is a large undertaking, but think of all the tiny steps you can take along the way. Does the thought of addressing and stamping all of those Christmas cards have you feeling Grinchy? What if you just did five at a time? Focusing on just one small piece of a project at a time or tackling a task in short ten or fifteen minute bursts helps diffuse feelings of overwhelm and increase feelings of comfort and joy.




#4 – Ask Yourself These Small Questions

Whatever the holiday event or project on your plate asking these two questions can be a big help:
"How can I make this a little easier?"
"How can I make this a bit more fun?"
Often we're running on autopilot and simply taking a second to ask these questions can shed new light for us. Even if it's something as simple as realizing, "Addressing these cards would feel a lot nicer if I was listening to my favorite holiday CD and drinking hot tea." Or realizing, "Hey - I have a teenager who can help me wrap all of these packages!"



#5 – Remember to Breath

This one sounds simple, but how many times have you found yourself holding your breath as you put the finishing touches on a present, project or pie? What if you add to the holiday decorations around your home by placing colorful sticky notes here and there with this gentle reminder: "BREATHE"
If you're anything like me, you tend to actually stop and take a deep breath when you read the word. Enjoying just two or three nice deep breaths will give you a refreshing pause, send much needed oxygen to your brain and rejuvenate you!


Here's my completed holiday mandala. I hope you enjoy creating one of your own this season. Here's to jumpstarting your holiday happiness!

All the best from my Creative Oasis™ to yours,
Jill


P.S. – If you'd like to have Mid-Week Oasis Moments (bite-sized bonbons of creative inspiration) delivered each week please sign up here: http://www.creativeoasiscoaching.com/newsletter.html

You'll also receive a free copy of "Permission to Be Creative 101" – my short e-book that will help you take the first small steps to make the time and space for creative fulfillment – your Creative Oasis – in  your busy life!



Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Do Stuff…Even Without Inspiration's Shove


Holy moly, how I love this quote! There's a "teachable moment" (says the mom in me) in every single line. This quote shines (hence the star at the top) as an example of the wonderful tools and techniques we use in Kaizen Muse Creativity Coaching. Let's take if line by line, shall we?

Do stuff.

This one is fairly straight forward. Do stuff. Do the stuff you daydream about doing. Do the stuff you see other people doing and think to yourself, "I could do that." Do the stuff you used to love to do and haven't done in ages. Do the stuff you can't even imagine how in the world you'll possibly ever do, but you know if you do you'll be better off for it. Do stuff.

Be clenched, curious. 

I have to be honest. "Be clenched" threw me for a bit of a loop. To my mind, she's reminding us to always reach out for new experiences. In the spirit of "being curious" I did some research to see if I could find other interpretations of Sontag's meaning and discovered this wonderful blog post. The author of the post even prints Sontag's speech in its entirety which is absolutely inspiring! 

Be curious. Keep asking questions of yourself and others. Keep learning new things. Keep traveling to new places. Keep searching out new experiences. Better to be killed by curiosity than boredom, right?

Not waiting for inspiration's shove...

Ahhh…not waiting for inspiration. That was a powerful lesson for me when I first discovered KMCC. You mean I can just sit down at the piano, play around and see what happens? I don't need to feel any particular angst or joy? I don't have to wait for the muse to visit me complete with a gray, rainy day and candles to add to the ambiance? I can create pre-inspiration strike? That novel concept soon found me playing at my keyboard almost daily – writing new material because I wanted to write. If I'd waited for inspiration's shove, my solo CD, Dancing in Limbo would quite likely never have been born.

                              or society's kiss on your forehead.

That was another thing I didn't wait for when writing and recording my CD. This was about the time "they" started to say "don't bother making a CD - everyone releases music digitally now." Well, I had waited many moons to finally release my own CD, so I didn't listen to what "they" had to say. 

I've also met many people who don't seem to see the value in or understand what creativity coaching provides. But that's hardly going to stop me from continuing to follow my calling as a creativity coach. (Great news! That means I have more time to coach, teach and write for those of you who do get it. Yay!)

Pay attention. It's all about paying attention.


Attention is vitality. 


It connects you with others.

When you follow your creative curiosity you tend to meet some pretty fabulous people. Sign up for a class, join a group or visit a place you've never been before and let the connections begin. 

It makes you eager. Stay eager.

By all means, stay eager. Eager to learn. Eager to create. Eager to explore. Eager to discover. Eager to connect. Eager to be energized and delighted by life. Stay eager.

Until next time, all the best from my Creative Oasis to yours,
Jill


Jill Allison Bryan

P.S. – If you'd like to have Mid-Week Oasis Moments (bite-sized bonbons of creative inspiration) delivered each week please sign up here: http://www.creativeoasiscoaching.com/newsletter.html

You'll also receive a free copy of "Permission to Be Creative 101" – my short e-book that will help you take the first small steps to make the time and space for creative fulfillment – your Creative Oasis – in  your busy life!


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Embracing Lull With All My Heart



I post this in-between a lull-filled week in Santa Fe and a lull-filled Thanksgiving weekend with family.
I've been embracing Lull with all my  heart and it's done my heart (and soul) so much good!
So far, my restful time of rejuvenation has included:

*  lots of reading in front of a roaring fire

*the delight of being snowed in for an entire day (which meant mimosas, more roaring fires, hot chocolate, more reading, naps, staring out the window at the gorgeous white-tipped landscape in a blissed out state, languid conversations, etc…) 

*an incredible massage and private hot tub/sauna experience at Ten Thousand Waves

* meandering through Santa Fe with no particular plan being led by serendipity and my nose

* heemeesheemees galore (my word for serendipitous experiences) 

* and probably the most relaxing time my husband and I have shared in eons 

Now I'm off to spend more lull time with my family, catching up, seeing photos from far-flung adventures, enjoying magical time with my three-year old niece, and dipping my toes into the holidays with my enthusiastic teenage daughter – we would have put a tree up two weeks ago if it had been up to her!

My intention is to remain resting in the lovely state of lull for a few more days. 

I am so grateful for this time…for my family…for my friends…and for you!

Wishing you some lovely lull time of your own this Thanksgiving weekend even if it's something as simple as closing your eyes right now and enjoy three deep breaths and a stretch to the heavens!

From my restful Creative Oasis to yours,
Jill

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Taking Creative Risks – Win or Lose, It's All Good!


What if you took a small creative risk? What might that look like? How might that feel? We're not talking about a life threatening risk here, simply taking the chance to stretch your creative muscles a bit and experiment with something that sounds fun to try. 

Here's why I say experiment: your creative risk might end up producing something kind of ridiculous. On the other hand, you could create something surprisingly brilliant. Either way, how will you know unless you give yourself permission to go for it?  

If Tony Cragg, the artist who created the above sculpture using thousands of dice, hadn't taken the risk and experimented with using this classic game piece as a medium for sculpture, we'd have been denied several fabulous works of art. Lucky for us, early in his career Cragg took a risk by embracing the use of cheap 'everyday' materials which ultimately led to his sumptuous dice sculptures. I have never in all my museum going years been so tempted to break the rules and touch a piece of art than while viewing his exhibit at the Nasher Sculpture Museum "Seeing Things" in 2011. (Not to worry,  taking the photograph above sufficed.)

Here's to taking creative risks...to painting with splatters rather than strokes...to adding a dash of peanut butter and a chunk of dark chocolate to your next batch of veggie-chili recipe (It's scrumptious!)...to visiting a part of town you've never even driven through before...to writing a haiku in your sweetheart's birthday card...to trying anything that sounds different, interesting and fun! 

How might you roll the dice and take a chance on a new creative experience in the coming week?

Until next time, all the best from my Creative Oasis to yours,

Jill





Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Creative Clues Found…What's Next?



Last week I invited you to embark on a creative scavenger hunt with me. (Click here for my post: Do the Muses and FairiesHave Your Attention Yet? and your free printable map.)  


Paying attention to the muses and fairies (as Elizabeth Gilbert suggests ) or, in other words, to the little twinges of excitement and wonder we feel, can lead to some telling discoveries about ways we might embark on our own Creative Oasis journey.

Whether or not you use the downloadable  "My Creative Clues" map I shared, if you simply bring your awareness to the things that energize and delight you on any given day, you take your first small step towards following your heart and uncovering your creative passions.

So let's say you now have a nice list of creative clues. What's next?

I'll use the examples I shared last week to give you an idea of what next small steps might look like for each of them.

*You feel a surge of delight everytime you walk past the beautiful veggie garden in your neighbors yard. (perhaps followed quickly by a "I could never do that" inner critic voice) 

To nip your inner naysayer in the bud your next small step might be to plant some seeds of your favorite herb in a little pot on your windowsill. (There may be a tomato plant in your future yet!)



* You realize that you love driving around town because that's when you get to belt out your favorite tunes along with the radio. 

What if you plan a night out for karaoke with friends? If that doesn't feel doable, could you turn on some music at other times of the day when you can have fun belting out tunes in the privacy of your own home?(Perhaps while vacuuming? This could be just the ticket to making housework feel almost enjoyable!)



* Seeing a photo of a women doing downward facing dog in the magazine you flip through at the dentist office fills you with the desire to stretch and breathe. 

No need to sign up for a class right away. What if you search YouTube for some quick and easy "How-to" yoga moves to try at home and just see how that feels? 




* You receive a card from a friend and keep it out on your desk because you just love its watercolor image. 

If you happen to have some watercolors hiding in the back of a closet, why not pull them out and play with copying the card on your desk? If that feels too difficult (or you can already hear yourself saying "But I'm not an artist!") what if you lower the pressure by giving yourself permission to paint the way a five year old child might? (*Hint - most 5-year olds believe everything they paint is a masterpiece and they're right, of course!)

These are just a few examples of the many small steps that you could take. If you like, why not try to come up with one or two other small steps for each of these scenarios. It's a great way to practice breaking things down into doable steps and releasing the "all or nothing" attitude that many of us go to as a default.

It's nice to realize we don't have to plant an entire organic vegetable garden to experience the joy of making something grow. We can start by planting a couple of herb seeds on our windowsill. We can even make a home-cooked veggie stir-fry and imagine what it would feel like to eat if the vegetables had come from our own garden! (Click here to learn more about the magic of mind-scuplting techniques like this.)

I'd love to hear about the Creative Clues you discovered on your scavenger hunt. Please feel free to share them in the comments section below. If you need some help coming up with possible small steps to move forward on the creative journey let me know and I'll be happy to share some ideas with you.

Until next time, here's to following your heart and embracing the joy and satisfaction that appears when the universe conspires to help you discover your own Creative Oasis.

Jill

P.S. – If you'd like to have Mid-Week Oasis Moments (bite-sized bonbons of creative inspiration) delivered each week please sign up by clicking here.



You'll also receive a free copy of "Permission to Be Creative 101" – my short e-book that will help you take the first small steps to make the time and space for creative fulfillment – your Creative Oasis – in  your busy life!




Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Do The Muses & Fairies Have Your Attention Yet?



When I read these words by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love and the recently released The Signature of All Things, I light up like a kid in a candy store or maybe better put, a kid on a scavenger hunt. In just three sentences she manages to evoke the kind of inspired thinking that adds a dash of magic to our everyday, ordinary lives. 

So do they? Do the muses and fairies have your attention yet? Is there some creative experience that's been tugging at your heart strings to explore, play with or visit? 

If the answer is yes, but you feel too busy and embroiled in grown-up real world obligations to invite those muses and fairies in to see where they might lead, I have a proposition. What if you take Gilbert's idea and run with it? What if you go on a scavenger hunt in the coming week and stay on the lookout for creative clues…things that give you that little twinge of excitement? That energize you? That if explored a bit further, could potentially lead to some amazing creative fulfillment and fun in your life?

Click here to download your own printable version

If this sounds good to you, why not give yourself one week to gather as many clues as possible? You can use the My Creative Clues map above to jot down any hints that you notice.  For example:

*You feel a surge of delight everytime you walk past the beautiful veggie garden in your neighbors yard. (perhaps followed quickly by a "I could never do that" inner critic voice) No matter - doodle a zucchini or write "veggie garden" somewhere on your map.

* You realize that you love driving around town because that's when you get to belt out your favorite tunes along with the radio. No need to worry about how, what or when you'll sing. For now, just doodle some musical notes or write "singing" on your map.

* Seeing a photo of a women doing downward facing dog in the magazine you flip through at the dentist office fills you with the desire to stretch and breathe. Before you can talk yourself into the fact that you're much too busy to add a yoga class to your schedule, doodle a little yoga symbol or write the word "yoga" on your map.

* You receive a card from a friend and keep it out on your desk because you just love its watercolor image. Release the thought that you're not an artist and doodle a little painting palette or write the word "watercolor" on your map.

At the end of the week, take a moment to look over your map. Put a star next to the three clues you found that fill you with the most delight when you think about actually doing them.

Meet me back here next week when we'll explore how to move past any inner critic voices you may be hearing and take your first small steps toward inviting the muses and fairies into your life and taking action on the clues they've been leaving for you.

How does it feel to imagine all of the wonderful possibilities for creative joy in your life?

All the best from my Creative Oasis to yours,
Jill

Jill Allison Bryan

P.S. – If you'd like to have Mid-Week Oasis Moments (bite-sized bonbons of creative inspiration) delivered each week please sign up by clicking here.



You'll also receive a free copy of "Permission to Be Creative 101" – my short e-book that will help you take the first small steps to make the time and space for creative fulfillment – your Creative Oasis – in  your busy life!




Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Diamonds in the Dew and Rainbows on my Wall


As I stepped into the backyard to let out our dog and enjoy a breath of fresh air and bit of sunshine, I caught a glimpse of something sparkly in the lawn. Shimmering droplets of dew clung to a gossamer spiderweb that looked for all the world like a handful of diamonds spilled out on the grass. I bent down to get a closer look. It was such a beautiful sight that I ran in to grab my phone and snapped a shot to share on Instagram. (You can follow me there at: http://instagram.com/creativeoasiscoach.)

I stood there and stared a while longer…entranced by the simple and ephemeral beauty of nature. I knew the scene would soon cease to exist. The sun would dry up the dewdrops or my dog would unwittingly crush the work of natural art under his bounding paws. The moment felt as exquisite and temporal as the highly detailed sand mandalas created by the Tibetan Buddhist Monks. Their intricate designs are created over the span of a few days and scattered on the winds – released into a body of water as a blessing to the world. (Click here for gorgeous photos and more about this experience.)

I've been tuning into fleeting moments of organic beauty such as this more often lately. Recently I noticed a vibrant prism shining on my living room wall. Again, I was stopped in my tracks by the simplicity, beauty and transient quality of the natural art.

Indoor Rainbow Moment by Jill Allison Bryan

These experiences and others like them serve as a beautiful reminder that we can experience vast amounts of creative satisfaction in relatively short amounts of time. My interaction with each of these "natural art" occurrences lasted only minutes yet the magical feeling of joy they brought me lingered for hours and stills lights me up when I revisit the photographs I took.

The same fabulous return on our own creative time investment holds true. When I play the piano and sing for five or ten minutes my entire afternoon is lifted up. When we spend a few minutes making a collage or picking green beans in our garden or writing in our journal or trying out a new recipe or playing with watercolors the positive energy created by those experiences can stay with us for hours.

I know I say this a lot, but that's because I believe we can all use the reminder. So, I'll say it again: we can easily enrich our lives, feel happier and be healthier by giving ourselves permission to enjoy our own Creative Oasis (whatever makes are heart sing and time fly!) for as little as five or ten minutes a day. The more often we tap into our creative bliss for even a few minutes, the more we want to experience it and we organically build our creative habit just like we build any good habit.

How might you spend the next five or ten minutes immersed in your own Creative Oasis? (*Remember – even daydreaming about what you'd like to do counts!) I hope you'll consider giving yourself at least a brief amount of time to enjoy something that energize and delight you today.

Fleeting Morning Pattern by Jill Allison Bryan

Here's to discovering diamonds in the dew, rainbows in our living rooms and 
the treasure of creative joy wherever we look!

Until next time, all the best from my Creative Oasis to yours,
Jill

P.S. – If you'd like to have Mid-Week Oasis Moments (bite-sized bonbons of creative inspiration) delivered each week please sign up here: http://www.creativeoasiscoaching.com/newsletter.html

You'll also receive a free copy of "Permission to Be Creative 101" – my short e-book that will help you take the first small steps to make the time and space for creative fulfillment – your Creative Oasis – in  your busy life!






Tuesday, October 22, 2013

What Lights You Up? (*Hint: for brilliant results ask often)


If you've been reading my Creative Oasis™ blog or receiving my Mid-Week Oasis Moments for awhile now, you know that I'm a big believer in the power of asking ourselves small questions. It's one of the "super-simple-yet-super-effective" tools we use in Kaizen-Muse® Creativity Coaching. Here's one small question that I turn to time and again for quick creative realignment and a plethora of possibility producing ideas: (try saying that 5 times fast!)

What lights me up? 

This is a great question to ask when you're feeling stuck, are running out of ideas, are looking for something exciting to explore or even are pondering a new place to visit. Asking this one simple question can uncover a multitude of fabulous options and remind us of what we really want to do. 

Why not try it now? 

Want to give it a try? It's easy. Take out a pen and paper, set a timer for one minute and let yourself come up with as many different answers as you can to the question "What lights me up?"Of course, if you're really on a roll after a minute, just keep writing! I'll do it with you. Ready? Set. Go!

What did you come up with?

Here's what came to me off the top of my head: playing with my 3 year old niece, playing piano, making music with my husband, running and walking by the lake, creating collages in my Creative Oasis Journal, reading inspiring books and magazines, trying out new recipes, visiting with good friends, writing just about anything, travel and dreaming about travel, coaching, getting a really relaxing massage, visiting museums and art happenings, seeing concerts and taking photos.


What's next?

What if you posted this list near your computer, in your day-timer or on your fridge or phone – any place you'll be likely to see it at least once a day? Then, the next time you decide to give yourself a five or ten minute Creative Oasis break you can choose something from the list and enjoy!

What I found interesting was the things that didn't show up on my list that I actually spend quite a bit of time doing like checking e-mail, Facebook, twitter and Pinterest. Which leads me to another thought. What if the next time I'm about to hop on Facebook or twitter, I first scan my "What Lights Me  Up?" list and then give myself five or ten minutes to enjoy one of those experiences first? 

To make our lists more visually appealing, I've included a free printable to download below. If you'd like to write your list on this be my guest. And as always, I'd love to hear from you if you want to share what lights you up in the comments section below.


Last weekend I had the opportunity to experience something that lit me up as well as the entire downtown Dallas Arts District - Aurora Dallas 2013.

The Aurora Project was a free contemporary art exhibition in the rapidly developing Dallas Arts District. The project presented interactive new media artworks such as light , video, performance, and sound in exciting and unexpected public spaces that transformed 68-acres of downtown Dallas into one of the nations largest outdoor exhibitions of this cutting-edge medium. It was an amazing experience that left me energized, inspired and definitely lit up!



This is a photo I took of one of my favorite installations of the evening. 
I only wish that I'd remembered to write down the name of the artist!

Until next time, all the best from my lit up Creative Oasis to yours,
Jill

P.S. – If you'd like to have Mid-Week Oasis Moments (bite-sized bonbons of creative inspiration) delivered each week please sign up here: http://www.creativeoasiscoaching.com/newsletter.html

You'll also receive a free copy of "Permission to Be Creative 101" – my short e-book that will help you take the first small steps to make the time and space for creative fulfillment – your Creative Oasis – in  your busy life!



Tuesday, October 15, 2013

What Do You Really Want To Do?



When's the last time you asked yourself "What do I really want to do?" Whether in the grand scheme of life, as in, "What do I want to do when I grow up?" (no matter what your current age!) or on a much smaller scale, as in, "What would I like to do tonight?" asking ourselves what we really want is an important step toward living a happy, fulfilled life. And, I might add, it's a step that many of us often forget to take!

As Percival's quote implies, it can be all too easy for us to jump on the hamster wheel of life and keep running, never stopping to ask ourselves, "Is this what I really want do be doing?" And, if the answer is "No" asking ourselves, "Well then, what do I really want to do?"

One of my favorite tools we use in Kaizen-Muse® Creativity Coaching is asking small questions. It's such a simple yet powerful way to tap into our own inner wisdom, spark awareness, and clarify our desires. And yet, how often do we take the time to ask ourselves what we truly want? Isn't it easier just to stick with the status quo? To do what we usually do?

I'll use myself as an example. On any given Friday night, you'd be likely to find me and my husband watching a movie while enjoying one of my famous homemade pita pizzas and a bottle of wine.  
Feeling fried around the edges after a long week of deadlines and commitments, the easy thing would be to slip into default mode and do what we usually do. 

But...when we remember to ask ourselves, "Is this how we really want to spend our evening?" other options come to light. We become aware of all of the possibilities and our night may take a very different turn. We may decide that rather than vegging out in front of a movie, it would be fun to play and sing a few songs together at the piano or dabble in some low-pressure art fun by drawing, painting or making a collage. We may decide to sit on the back patio and talk while the relaxing sounds of the fountain gurgling and splashing and the cicadas chirping help us to wind down our week.



We may still choose to watch a movie later, but by asking the question "What do we really want to do?" we've given ourselves the option to change things up a bit, reset our "default mode" and enjoy our evening in a more fulfilling, intentional way.

What if you asked yourself "What do I really want to do?" once or twice in the coming week? You may find that rather than saying yes to that party invitation that feels more like a "Have To" than a "Get To" you choose to stay home and do a puzzle or let your daughter give you a pedicure. You may realize that a quick trip to a museum during your lunch break sounds much more satisfying than gobbling down a salad at your desk. You may decide to open that paint-by-number kit you bought for yourself last year and have some low-pressure creative fun with it. You may choose to throw that impromptu happy hour for your neighbors you've been thinking about for months now or to curl up with a favorite book and read the entire thing in one sitting while drinking hot tea and eating gingersnaps. 

Whatever you decide, you can be sure of one thing, by taking the time to ask yourself what you really want to do you'll be treating yourself with the respect and practicing good self-care by giving yourself permission to jump off that hamster wheel and into a more authentically satisfying life!

Here's to all of the Creative Oasis moments (the moments that makes your heart sing and time fly!) that await when we remember to ask ourselves, "What do I really want to do?"


Click here to learn about how I had the opportunity to meet one of my favorite artists, Nick Cave, in person when I asked myself "What do I really want to do today?" and ended up experiencing one of the most amazing creative moments of my life! 

Until next time, all the best from my Creative Oasis to yours,
Jill

P.S. – If you'd like to have Mid-Week Oasis Moments (bite-sized bonbons of creative inspiration) delivered each week please sign up here: http://www.creativeoasiscoaching.com/newsletter.html

You'll also receive a free copy of "Permission to Be Creative 101" – my short e-book that will help you take the first small steps to make the time and space for creative fulfillment – your Creative Oasis – in  your busy life!




  

Sunday, October 6, 2013

You'll Love this Fab, Fun Coloring Experience

My Baby Blue by Jill Allison Bryan

I'm always on the look out for new ways to experience low-pressure creative play so I'm thrilled to share a fabulous new e-book that offers that up in spades! The Collabyrinth Challenge by Tina Gray-Siebers combines thought-provoking Creative Questions plus Musings and Meanderings with free-form abstract black and white coloring pages. Gray-Siebers, a certified Kaizen-Muse® Creativity Coach and artist, says Collabyrinth is a "unique blend of intuitive expression, labyrinth, mandala arts and problem-solving to help color your world in a different way." 

I'll go one step further and say it's an absolute blast! Gray-Siebers has created a wonderful method of giving us permission to experience creative play in a meaningful way. For the affordable price of just $15 the return on your investment for your creative spirit will be tremendous! (Click here to purchase your own copy.) 

I had so much fun creating My Baby Blue piece above! The title can be attributed to my Breaking Bad obsession and the fact that the last scene of the series finale has been playing over and over in my head along with the tune, My Baby Blue by Badfinger. (Click the image below to listen to this classic rock tune.)


Her Creative Questions such as "What if you used more than one medium?" and "How might you add texture?" provided the perfect balance of creative freedom and gentle structure to spark my creative process. After reading the first several pages of her book I felt completely open to playing with my creative supplies in a non-judgemental way. It felt wonderfully freeing to simply sit down and pick up my colored pens and pencils, pastels, crayons and watercolors and add them to the page I'd printed in a playful way. (Hint: Printing the coloring pages on card stock is a good idea if you're going to use watercolors or thick markers.)

Even though I'm a big believer in focusing on the enjoyment of the creative process more than the end product, I have to admit, I'm in love with my piece. It makes me smile every time I see it and I'm looking for the perfect place to hang it in my office. I know it will serve as a colorful reminder that I can experience soul-satifsying creativity in as little as ten minutes! 


I know that I'll be reaching for The Collabyrinth Challenge often to add more Creative Oasis Moments to my life. I also think this will make a super present for friends and family and is a great idea for teacher gifts as well. 


* You want to try something different
* You're in a mental rut and need a jumpstart
* You want to step out of your comfort zone
* You want to be creative, play and have fun
* You want new insight
* You enjoy coloring mandalas
   
If you do purchase a copy for yourself, I'd love to see your creations and hear about your experiences. Drop me a line at creativeoasiscoach@me.com to share. And last, but not least HAVE FUN! 

Final note: though Gray-Siebers kindly shared a free copy of The Collabyrinth Challenge for me to review, I'm not being paid to give my opinion or sell copies. I just adore this book and believe everyone should know about it!

P.S. – If you'd like to have Mid-Week Oasis Moments (bite-sized bonbons of creative inspiration) delivered each week please sign up here: http://www.creativeoasiscoaching.com/newsletter.html

You'll also receive a free copy of "Permission to Be Creative 101" – my short e-book that will help you take the first small steps to make the time and space for creative fulfillment – your Creative Oasis – in  your busy life!



Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Practicing What I Preach 5 Minutes at a Time



Lately I'm giving myself permission to enjoy creative play even more than usual. The quickly created spread in my Creative Oasis Journal above is an example of how I've been practicing what I preach. Of course, I never wanted to be preachy – but I do love reminding you how  even just a short bit of  creative time can lead to great big creative satisfaction in your busy life!

What does that look like?

* Setting a timer for 5 or 10 minutes
* Opening up my Creative Oasis Journal
* Diving into low-pressure creative play without over thinking things
* Cutting and glueing images, painting with watercolors, writing quickly and freely

How does that feel?

* Fantastic * Freeing * Fabulous *Fun

What happens?

*I experience a huge amount of creative satisfaction in a short amount of time.
* I feel energized for hours afterward in all aspects of my life.
* I'm reminded of why I love my creative time and am more likely to get to it again sooner than later.

Why is this important?

 * It's a quick, easy and fun way to add joy to my day, especially if I'm having a bad day.
* Every part of my life (work, family, friends, personal) benefits when I make time for creativity because I'm a happier, healthier person when I do.
*It's a wonderful way to take a break from my never ending to-do lists and rejuvenate myself.
* Being in the creative flow relieves stress and enriches my life in amazing ways.

As a Kaizen-Muse® Creativity Coach I know this to be true and share this with my clients all the time, still I continue to be delightfully surprised when it's reaffirmed time and again in my own life! 

Some Gentle Reminders

 * It doesn't have to be perfect.
* You don't even have to know exactly what you're going to do when you begin.
* You get to just go for it and have fun.

*Creativity comes in many forms - in addition to painting, collaging, crafting, knitting, making music and writing there's gardening, cooking, entertaining, sewing, yarn bombing, crafting, scrapbooking, dancing, doodling, canning, making cards, taking photographs, enjoying nature...
Like I always say, your Creative Oasis is whatever makes your heart sing and time fly!

What if?

What if you gave yourself the next five or ten minutes to dive into your Creative Oasis?
What might that look like? How might that feel?
I'd love to hear from you.

Until the next time, all the best from my Creative Oasis to yours,
Jill


P.S. – If you'd like to have Mid-Week Oasis Moments (bite-sized bonbons of creative inspiration) delivered each week please sign up here: http://www.creativeoasiscoaching.com/newsletter.html

You'll also receive a free copy of "Permission to Be Creative 101" – my short e-book that will help you take the first small steps to make the time and space for creative fulfillment – your Creative Oasis – in  your busy life!