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Creativity Pathway #101: Silence

Welcome to the New Year! A time to get going, commit to those action items, restart – but wait! Is all of this activity making you dizzy and out of focus?

We live in a noisy world – televisions blaring, cell phones ringing, emails beeping – and then, we create noise with our “To-Do’s,” “Should-Do’s,” and other self-inflicted anxieties. Even as I sat down to write this Pathway, I caught myself with the TV blaring and two interrupting phone calls.

Noise can, in fact, silence our minds. It is the static that stands between great inspiration, intuition and idea. So before you begin mapping out your year, take 15 minutes to do nothing. Turn off the television. Unplug the phone. Turn down the volume on the lists that are running in your head. Then, surround yourself in stillness to see what your undistracted, uncluttered mind has to say.

To quote Elizabeth Kübler-Ross, “Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself and know that everything in life has a purpose.” When you open the door to silence, inspiration follows it in.

Coaching Inquiries: What would you hear if you were only listening to yourself? What are you drowning out with the noises in your life?

To reply to this Pathway, use our Feedback Form. To learn more about our Creativity Coaching Programs and to arrange for a complementary Creativity coaching session, use our Contact Form or Email Erika.

May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Erika Jackson (Erika@LifeTrekCoaching.com)
LifeTrek Coaching International
Columbus, OH  •   U.S.A.

Telephone: 614-565-9953 • Fax: 208-977-7793
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Creativity Pathway #102: Curiosity & Creativity

I was tickled recently when a friend of mine developed a sudden interest in knitting. She is not a person who is naturally attracted to the arts and claims to have never taken on such a creative project. What inspired her to pursue this craft was curiosity.

Curiosity is at the threshold of creativity. My friend became curious about a scarf that someone was wearing and how the scarf came to be. Her curiosity led to “How?” questions, “What?” questions and, most importantly, “What if?” questions. Curiosity triggered her to ask “Why?” Then, creativity had her asking “Why not?” 

Perhaps humanistic psychologist, Abraham Maslow, had it right when he asserted that we learn to fear knowledge as we age. It certainly provides an explanation for our resulting fear of exploration and why we struggle to rediscover our creative selves in our adulthood.

Creative interest and inspiration is born out of a child-like exploration. For example, I notice that my daughter can take an empty laundry basket and, within minutes, turn it into a boat, a rabbit hole and a mountain. She sees beyond the limits I have set for what the basket is and the purpose it serves.

Coaching Inquiries: How would a child look at your project, idea or situation? What questions does the curious child in you have about your project, idea or situation? In your mind, climb over, under and around your project, idea or situation. What new things do you see?

To reply to this Pathway, use our Feedback Form. To learn more about our Creativity Coaching Programs and to arrange for a complementary Creativity coaching session, use our Contact Form or Email Erika.

May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Erika Jackson (Erika@LifeTrekCoaching.com)
LifeTrek Coaching International
Columbus, OH  •   U.S.A.

Telephone: 614-565-9953 • Fax: 208-977-7793
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services

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Creativity Pathway #103: Cookie Creations

The day we made disgusting peanut butter cookies was the best day I’d had in weeks. In a time crunch with my various business activities, it had been a period dedicated to output, product, and deadlines. I had not noticed how irritable and tense I had become. To add to the “list of things to accomplish,” I had promised my family I would make peanut butter cookies.

The cookies, thanks to a 4-year olds’ excitement to contribute salt to the mixing bowl, were inedible. The learning, however, was invaluable. In the act of creating, the process can be more important than the product.

That day, I chose to pay attention to each moment of the cookie making process • the sounds of laughter, the aroma of the peanut butter with a dash of vanilla, the texture of the dough, and the emotion of sharing the experience with someone I love. Had I not made the choice to appreciate the process, I may have felt bitter disappointment in the result. If there had been no meaning for me in the process of creation, having an unsuccessful product may have prevented me from trying again.

Such is true with the creation of anything • from the creation of an oil painting to the creation of a toned and sculpted body. We must not miss those moments between conception and birth of an idea. These too are sacred.

Coaching Inquiries: What do you miss when you focus solely on the outcome? What is perfect about your project / creation as it stands right now? What is to savor in this moment?

To reply to this Pathway, use our Feedback Form. To learn more about our Creativity Coaching Programs and to arrange for a complementary Creativity coaching session, use our Contact Form or Email Erika.

May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Erika Jackson (Erika@LifeTrekCoaching.com)
LifeTrek Coaching International
Columbus, OH  •   U.S.A.

Telephone: 614-565-9953 • Fax: 208-977-7793
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services

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Creativity Pathway #104: Gain Perspective

You know this person. You know the person, at work or in your family, who lives under a dark cloud; the one who is victim in every circumstance. Maybe it is you? Maybe it is you who is feeling like nothing ever goes your way, like circumstances always work against you. It is sometimes me too.

In January we were blessed with a five-Friday month. For my household, this means one extra paycheck, extra money that was going to be put to good use. Just as I was planning how to spend our “small fortune,” I realized that January is also a month that requires an extra mortgage payment. My first reaction to this realization was to feel sorry for myself, allowing disappointment to rule my thoughts. I questioned why good fortune didn’t come my way.

Amidst my pouting, I realized that I had not appreciated the situation that had been created. When I looked at the situation differently, I found myself feeling grateful that things had, once again, worked themselves out. No, we weren’t ahead of the game financially, but we did have just what we needed just when we needed it.

When we get stuck in a perspective (the “woe is me” perspective, for example) it shapes everything that we see around us. The paradigm becomes our reality and we miss the opportunity to expand, grow and see beauty. When one feels victim to circumstance, fear steps in and possibility leaves.

Man’s Search for Meaning is the chilling yet inspirational story of Viktor Frankl’s struggle to hold on to hope during his years as a prisoner in Nazi concentration camps where he endured unspeakable horror. One of the most inspirational thoughts that comes from his work is this: “Everything can be taken from a man but…the last of the human freedoms • to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

Coaching inquires: Name the perspective, or filter, through which you see the world. What are the gifts of looking at life through that filter? What are the negative consequences of looking at life through that filter?

To reply to this Pathway, use our Feedback Form. To learn more about our Creativity Coaching Programs and to arrange for a complementary Creativity coaching session, use our Contact Form or Email Erika.

May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Erika Jackson (Erika@LifeTrekCoaching.com)
LifeTrek Coaching International
Columbus, OH  •   U.S.A.

Telephone: 614-565-9953 • Fax: 208-977-7793
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services

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Creativity Pathway #105: Law of Attraction

“I hope everything that could go wrong for him does,” she declared into her cell phone, while casually selecting the appropriate deli meat. “She” was the woman standing next to me in the grocery store.

I am always amazed and grateful for the messages the universe creates for me when I am open to receiving. The conversation I overheard at the grocery store was a perfect example of someone creating, giving me a focus for this and future Creativity Pathways. That’s because creativity is not just about art, music and all of the usual artistic modalities. Creativity is also about what we create, and invite, into our lives.

We are creative in our every word, action and thought. And, with our every word, action and thought we create our own life circumstances. The more we think about anything, positive or negative, the more quickly it becomes part of our lives. That is the universal Law of Attraction, “That which is like unto itself is drawn.”

The woman at the store, whether or not “justified” in her anger and bitterness, was likely to be setting herself up for the same fate she was wishing upon the subject of her conversation. When we harbor anger, negativity and ill-wishes for others, those feelings hold our attention and our power. Our energy (aura, being, spirit…) becomes negative and likewise attracts negative energy right back to us.

On the other side, of course, is the positive power of this universal law; the power of optimism, faith and love. Spiritual teacher Sonia Choquette writes, “…love is the highest vibration on earth…it’s a positive vibration that draws people naturally into its sphere.” If you desire a change of circumstances, check in with your thoughts and examine the energies that would be attracted to what you are putting out there.

Coaching Inquiries: On what do you focus your energies • revenge or recreation? Anger or awakening? Do you focus on what you don’t want or on what you want? What is your essence?

To reply to this Pathway, use our Feedback Form. To learn more about our Creativity Coaching Programs and to arrange for a complementary Creativity coaching session, use our Contact Form or Email Erika.

May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Erika Jackson (Erika@LifeTrekCoaching.com)
LifeTrek Coaching International
Columbus, OH  •   U.S.A.

Telephone: 614-565-9953 • Fax: 208-977-7793
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services

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Creativity Pathway #106: It’s No Coincidence

While out running errands this week, I was feeling a slight touch of nausea and the kid in me began craving a lollipop to soothe my stomach. I noticed that I had orange Starbursts on the dashboard of my car but thought to myself, “No, what I really want is an orange lollipop.”

Heading home, I had one final stop at the bank drive thru. Lo and behold, there waiting for me in the canister at the drive thru was an orange lollipop! You might call it coincidence. You might say, “Well, some mother left it behind in protest against giving their child more sugar and you just got lucky, Erika.”

I don’t believe life and its circumstances are so trivial. I don’t believe that the universe is so accidental. You see, when I determined that it was an orange flavored lollipop that I wanted, there was no question in my mind that I would get one. I was intent upon it.

Intending is very different than wishing. To wish is to hope for, to desire, to long for. When we make a wish our minds often give up control and hope that “the powers that be” will grant it.

To intend, on the other hand, is to expect and to know. When you intend to receive something, be it an object or a circumstance, you begin to plan for it. Instead of demanding it, you can mysteriously focus your being on creating and noticing the circumstances that will make it so. Without intention, that lollipop may have gone by unnoticed.

Recently, a client decided that her practice needed to grow. On Thursday, she declared her intention to have two more clients within two weeks. On Friday morning, she declared her intention again. Within a few hours, she received an inquiry and had a new client. She continues to declare her intention to receive one more client and, I am certain, will be celebrating that fact within the next four days.

“There is only one power in the universe and that is the power of decision. All else follows.” • Ralph Blum

Coaching inquiries: What do you intend to have happen for you? What is undeniably about to be?

To reply to this Pathway, use our Feedback Form. To learn more about our Creativity Coaching Programs and to arrange for a complementary Creativity coaching session, use our Contact Form or Email Erika.

May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Erika Jackson (Erika@LifeTrekCoaching.com)
LifeTrek Coaching International
Columbus, OH  •   U.S.A.

Telephone: 614-565-9953 • Fax: 208-977-7793
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services

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Creativity Pathway #107: Color Outside the Lines

Through my work with children, I have the opportunity to witness many interactions between students and teachers. While these interactions are usually positively inspiring, they are, on occasion, maddeningly uninspiring.

It was in a preschool classroom, for example, that I observed a young boy being reprimanded for coloring outside of the lines in his coloring book. As a Creativity Coach, and artist, you could guess that I was horrified at the situation.

Such is the way in much of our adult experience, where our creativity is stilted by our own inability to color outside of the lines. We become trapped by habits and routines. We let others dictate our potential and we do not take time to dream.

Pablo Picasso once said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist after growing up.” One strategy for rediscovering the child-like creativity in you is to practice asking “What if?” questions. Asking “What if?” questions frees your mind of the walls you put around it, while at the same time allowing it to stretch and explore.

Here are some “What if?” questions to get you started:

  • What if life imitates art?
  • What if children ruled the world?
  • What if music did not exist?
  • What if red were green?

Coaching Challenge: First, create your own set of “What If” questions. Then, take your brain one step further, and answer your own “What Ifs.” What if this exercise solved the challenge you are facing right now?

To reply to this Pathway, use our Feedback Form. To learn more about our Creativity Coaching Programs and to arrange for a complementary Creativity coaching session, use our Contact Form or Email Erika.

May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Erika Jackson (Erika@LifeTrekCoaching.com)
LifeTrek Coaching International
Columbus, OH  •   U.S.A.

Telephone: 614-565-9953 • Fax: 208-977-7793
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services

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Creativity Pathway #108: To Sing is To Pray Twice

Music has always been important to humankind. It is a universal language that brings together cultures and generations. We use music to celebrate, communicate, soothe, bond, worship, and landmark.

For me, the experience of music is spiritual. Music is the external embodiment of my spirit, the vital principle or animating force within me. When I respond to a musician’s piece of work, I believe than I am not only responding to their mastery of the craft, but to their spirit as well. When I express music, I am revealing my soul.

This week, I invite you to play in a variety of ways by listening for the spirit of others through their expression of music, and by expressing your own spirit through music.

— Listen For Your Theme Song. This week you can expect to hear it, plain as day. When you consciously intend to connect to creativity, music’s messages will begin to present themselves. Keep your ears open to the music that you pass through. Listen intently to what the artist has to say, and why you are present at that very moment to receive it. What are the themes? What emotions arise? “Music is the art of thinking with sounds.” (Jules Combarieu)

— Make Music in the Moment. This is an opportunity to use your own voice by singing a song that represents the feelings of your spirit in this moment. Your song is to be shaped by your emotion, not by your words. Begin in a moment where you can connect with a topic you’ve been struggling with and the emotion associated with it. For example, a “fear” of leaving a comfortable salary, an “anger” toward a spouse, or the “exhilaration” of painting a flower.

Next, allow yourself to express that emotion through sound. Humming or non-sense syllables are all you need. Open your mouth and let the sound come out. It is likely that some of the sounds will surprise you. Some will sound dissonant and some will feel as they are expressing your soul exactly. Take as long as you need and continue making noise until the emotion is neutral. “After the silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.” (Aldous Huxley)

— Sing To Your Child. You may have a favorite lullaby from childhood, or may have discovered a lulling tune in adulthood. Begin each day this week by singing that lullaby to yourself. Don’t sing well, just sing. How can you use music to take care of soothing the lost, creative child within you? “Music has the capacity to touch the innermost reaches of the soul and music gives flight to the imagination.” (Plato)

To reply to this Pathway, use our Feedback Form. To learn more about our Creativity Coaching Programs and to arrange for a complementary Creativity coaching session, use our Contact Form or Email Erika.

May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Erika Jackson (Erika@LifeTrekCoaching.com)
LifeTrek Coaching International
Columbus, OH  •   U.S.A.

Telephone: 614-565-9953 • Fax: 208-977-7793
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services

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Creativity Pathway #109: Jump into Journaling

An advertisement for a writing workshop read, “In moments of ecstasy, in moments of despair, the journal remains an impassive, silent friend, forever ready to coach, to confront, to critique, to console. Its potential as a tool for holistic mental health is unsurpassed.” And, so our journey into the blank page begins.

For the next three weeks, I will share several journaling tools based in part on the book Journal to the Self: Twenty-two Paths to Personal Growth by Kathleen Adams. There are a number of great reasons to use journal writing as part of your life processes. Here a just a few:

  • To keep a record of how your life unfolds. Not only can it be a chronicle of your growth, hopes and dreams but can also serve as an observer that provides new perspective on habits and unhealthy patterns.
  • To engage in a therapeutic process. Your journal is a valuable tool for empowering you with problem-solving and self-processing skills as you come to new levels of discovery through your own question and answer process.
  • Access information stored in you subconscious and conscious mind. A journal shines a light on thoughts that are unknown to the conscious.
  • Explore your dreams. Both sleeping and waking dreams can be translated into written form for full discovery.
  • Develop your natural intuitive gift. Your “sixth sense” communicates through symbols and “hunches.” Journaling provides a path for translating coincidences and serendipities.
  • To discover the writer in you. When “performance” expectation is replaced with “enjoyment” expectation, you’re likely to surprise yourself with how much you like to write.

This week I invite you to explore the concept of “Springboards.” Symbolic of jumping off the diving board for the first time, Springboards encourage us to jump into journaling. Springboards are questions or statements that beg for expansion and exploration. Here are a few examples of Springboard questions for you to ponder:

  • What’s coming up in your life’s garden?
  • How are you fertilizing your growing dreams?
  • What is ready to burst forth in bloom?

Or, you could turn them into statements:

  • The seeds in my life’s garden have been sown.
  • I fertilized my growing dream today.
  • It’s become clear that (fill in the blank) is about to burst forth in my life.

Coaching Challenge: Date a blank page with today’s date and allow yourself 15 minutes to write in response to one of these Springboards.

To reply to this Pathway, use our Feedback Form. To learn more about our Creativity Coaching Programs and to arrange for a complementary Creativity coaching session, use our Contact Form or Email Erika.

May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Erika Jackson (Erika@LifeTrekCoaching.com)
LifeTrek Coaching International
Columbus, OH  •   U.S.A.

Telephone: 614-565-9953 • Fax: 208-977-7793
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services

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Creativity Pathway #110: Stepping Stones

I have written before about the practice of journaling as a chronicle of growth, a canvas for problem solving, and an entry point into the sub-conscious. One creative approach, called “Stepping Stones,” was developed by Dr. Ira Progoff in his Intensive Journal workshop.

“Stepping Stones,” writes Dr. Progoff, are “indicators that enable a person to recognize the deeper-than-conscious goals toward which the movement of his life is trying to take him.” They are the significant points of movement along the road of our lives, how we got from there to here, and what steps we selected along our path. Here are some examples of Stepping Stones:

  1. I was born.
  2. My sister was born.
  3. My father left.
  4. I got married.
  5. I began a career.
  6. I was unable to have children.
  7. I followed my heart.
  8. I remarried.
  9. I lost my job.
  10. I am being reborn.

OR

  1. Innocence.
  2. Divorce.
  3. Coming Home.
  4. Patterns and Cycles.
  5. Falling in Love.
  6. Motherhood.
  7. Creativity

Contained in each Stepping Stone is an entire phase of one’s life, with memories and stories of years. Each phase may represent a varying amount of time • perhaps only a few months and perhaps many years.

When creating a list of Stepping Stones, select those periods that seem to have had significance on how we are living our life today, letting no more than a dozen or so come into the foreground. Writing about a Stepping Stone allows us to find lessons that were incomplete or heal wounds that weren’t fully nursed. Note that Stepping Stones are neutral in that they do not designate failure or success; they simply symbolize the movement of our lives.

Coaching Challenge: Use your heart to choose a Stepping Stone to contemplate. Then, begin your writing with this Springboard phrase, “It was a time when•” Allow yourself to fully experience the story through your writing and write until you are finished.

To reply to this Pathway, use our Feedback Form. To learn more about our Creativity Coaching Programs and to arrange for a complementary Creativity coaching session, use our Contact Form or Email Erika.

May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Erika Jackson (Erika@LifeTrekCoaching.com)
LifeTrek Coaching International
Columbus, OH  •   U.S.A.

Telephone: 614-565-9953 • Fax: 208-977-7793
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services