February 28,2013
Value Being Different

Being a creative spirit has its challenges. We may feel that we are misunderstood or operating outside the norm or not accepted for our outside thinking at all times. Being creative means taking risks – it means looking at things differently, re-examining old ways of doing things, trying something new, being open-minded, challenging the status quo, being avant garde…

So, while it is uncomfortable to be different when we are part of a structured world full of rules, norms, values and judgements, without thinking differently, we are unlikely to make a difference.

I am reminded of the following quote, which hangs on my studio wall…

"The person who follows the crowd will usually get no further than the crowd. The person who walks alone is likely to find oneself in places no one else has been. Creativity in living is not without its attendant difficulties, for peculiarity breeds contempt and the unfortunate thing about being ahead of your time is that when people finally realize you were right, they'll say that it was obvious all along. You have two choices in life. You can dissolve into the mainstream or you can be distinct. To be distinct you must be different. To be different is to strive to be what no one else but you can be." –Unknown

© Carla Weaver 2013


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February 26,2013
Be a Clear Channel; Stay on Course

If creativity depends on mindfulness and a healthy connection to the Univese, it stands to reason that a healthy lifestyle free from addictions clears us to be better connected to the Source to express our creativity.

In the well-known prayer of St. Francis, he prays about being a clear channel for the Universal energy or energy of God to flow through us, asking to make ourselves "an instrument of peace."

"Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy (St. Francis of Assisi).

To be a clear channel for the Universe's energy, we can improve our bodies, minds and souls by being healthy and in balance … by doing everything in moderation, exercising our bodies and minds, meditating and being in the present moment.

It is easy to become distracted or diverted from our paths, but we must remind ourselves about the true path that we want to follow and then make corrections to stay on course.

Reflect today on your true path. Are you following your vision, or do you need to make some corrections to get back on course?

Reference:

Prayer of St. Francis, retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prayer_of_Saint_Francis, February 26, 2013.

© Carla Weaver 2013


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February 23,2013
Another Invitation - Rewrite Your Story Group

A few days ago, I posted an invitation to an upcoming group session for Creativity. I'd also like to advise you about another group that will be starting in mid-April:

A 12 week intensive working of the 12 steps for members of families of alcoholics.

If you have lived with the disease of alcoholism, you will benefit from these 13 weekly meetings. Each session will consist of discussing one of the 12 steps in depth and between meetings there will be reading and homework to work the week's step and prepare for the next session. Through this process, you will search your past and present to observe how the family disease of alcoholism has affected you and your life; then you will rewrite your story to recognize and emphasize the positive parts of your past and be free to move forward in life by making better choices to cope in difficult situations.

I will be the facilitator, and in addition to being an artist, I am a doctoral student in clinical psychology. I also have 27 years of personal recovery in the Alanon Program, and I have developed and delivered workshops for over 20 years. This group will be based on 12 steps ; however, it is not an Alanon group. I will be guided by my supervisor, a registered psychologist, who may or may not attend any of the sessions.

Little House, 5061 12th Avenue in Tsawwassen, BC V4M 2A7
Wednesdays 7-9 PM, (13 sessions on consecutive Wednesdays starting April 17).
Cost: $90.00 plus HST

Visit www.CarlaWeaver.ca or www.CarlaWeaver.com for more workshop information. Register at www.CarlaWeaver.ca by double clicking on the copy of the poster for the workshop and then "Payment Options."


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February 22,2013
Life is Consciousness

When we entertain thoughts of fear and personal judgement, what we are creating are fear, negativity and judgement, not art. In fact, we manifest what we think about, so thinking about our worst fears or making negative judgements about ourselves or our art serve as affirmations for exactly what we do not want in our lives. Think carefully about what you want to affirm and create in your life and then focus on it. Make that pathway in your brain about which Thoreau speaks.

"To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives (Henry David Thoreau)."

"Life is consciousness. Our outer world of form and experience is a reflection of our inner world of thoughts and feelings. As without so within (Unity of Vancouver, 2012)."

Reference:

Unity of Vancouver. (2012). Forty Seven Day Prosperity Prayer Program.

© Carla Weaver 2013.


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February 22,2013
Remain Focused

In a recent discussion with another artist, she mentioned that sometimes she has to put so much energy into dealing with the petty problems and unhealthy attitudes of a couple of people around her that it distracts her from doing her art. Yes, sometimes this is true. The world is filled with victims, martyrs and drama queens who can suck our energy and take our time. We need to remain focused on our visions and choose the relationships that we want to maintain that support our visions. Surround yourself with supportive people. Set boundaries in unhealthy relationships so that you don't get distracted. Communicate and be clear. Make a promise to yourself not to be distracted by the drama of others.

© Carla Weaver 2013.


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February 21,2013
Persistence

For several years now, I have had the following quote by Henry David Thoreau on my desk:

"If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with success unexpected in common hours."

I have always liked this quote, and I like to think that if we inch ever forward toward achieving our dreams, then everything will turn out well. Sometimes, it seems challenging and difficult to work toward and achieve our dreams, but we must stay focused.

Today, as I was thinking about Thoreau's quote and encouraging myself, I decided to do some further research, and I found another quote by Thoreau:

"As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives."

This quote emphasizes how important it is to be persistent in working toward our dreams. Thoreau says that a single footstep will not take us there; we must make a deep path to get there, and this is achieved by putting one foot in front of the other. This outer reflection of putting one foot in front of the other results from inner work to make deep paths in our thoughts. We must be determined and continue to march in the direction of our dreams.

© Carla Weaver 2013


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February 16,2013
An Invitation

I'd like to invite you to participate in a Creativity Group Session:

Creativity Group Sessions ($165.00)

SKYPE group - Tuesdays 6:30-8:30 PM Pacific Time, April 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, May 7, 14, 21.
Delta/Surrey BC group - Thursdays 7-9 PM, Pacific Time, April 25, May 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, June 6, 13.

Explore and discuss your own creative process in a series of 8 weekly 2 hour meetings with a small group of 5 to 6 individuals. Work on finding your process, inspiration and setting personal creative goals through a series of discussions and exercises to free and stimulate your creativity.

This workshop is suited for anyone who wants to be more creative or innovative, whether at work, in the arts, sports or hobbies.

The workshop will be facilitated by a doctoral student in clinical psychology who is also educated in business and fine art and expresses her own creativity through writing and painting. She will be supervised by a Registered Psychologist, who may or may not be present at the workshop.

I will also be announcing some 2 day intensive Creativity Workshops that will take place in the Vancouver Lower Mainland area on weekends. Stay tuned for more information.

If interested, click on ABOUT THE ARTIST above, and then SEND AN EMAIL.

© Carla Weaver 2013.


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February 16,2013
Set Boundaries

In a recent discussion with another artist, she mentioned that sometimes she has to put so much energy into dealing with petty problems and unhealthy attitudes of a couple of people around her that it distracts her from making her art. Yes, sometimes this is true. The world is filled with victims, martyrs and drama queens who can suck our energy and take our time. We need to choose the relationships that we want to maintain. Surround yourself with supportive people. Set boundaries in unhealthy relationships so that you don't get distracted. Communicate and be clear. Make a promise to yourself not to be distracted by the drama of others.

© Carla Weaver 2013.


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February 14,2013
Giving and Receiving

We receive many things in this Universe – love, money and prosperity, friendship, skills and abilities, shelter, security, etc. While the Source of all abundance is God or the Universe or whatever you choose to call your Higher Power, these gifts come to us through many channels, such as our employers, investments, spiritual advisors, friends, family, etc. This energy is strengthened by exchange. For example, good customer service is the energy that gives back to customers in appreciation for their business. Love, gratitude, appreciation and thanks are how we respond to friends and families who give their love and kindness to us. Pay, benefits, recognition and promotion are examples of how employers give back to employees.

It is important that we give back through the same channels from which we receive in order to increase the energy of the channel. This is expressing gratitude at a causative level, sometimes referred to as the law of increase. We get what we pay for.

© Carla Weaver 2013


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February 13,2013
Creativity is a Habit

"You sit down, I say. You try to sit down at approximately the same time every day. This is how you train your unconscious to kick in for you creatively. So you sit down at, say, nine every morning, or ten every night. You put a piece of paper in the typewriter, or you turn on your computer and bring up the right file, and then you stare at it for an hour or so. You begin rocking, just a little at first, and then like a huge autistic child. You look at the ceiling, and over at the clock, yawn, and stare at the paper again. Then, with your fingers poised on the keyboard, you squint at an image that is forming in your mind-a scene, a locale, a character, whatever-and you try to quiet your mind so you can hear what that landscape or character has to say above the other voices in your mind. The other voices are banshees and drunken monkeys. They are the voices of anxiety, judgment, doom, guilt. Also, severe hypochondria (Lamott, 1994, p. 7)."

When we want to improve anything…piano playing, sewing, carpentry, making pottery, model building…we make it a habit to practice it. We do it over and over again to get better at it by developing our experience, knowledge and dexterity.

Annie Lamott says that when we practice at the same time every day, it trains our subconscious to `kick in creatively. It also ensures that we have set aside that time each day for our creative practice so that we do it, rather than procrastinating.

Twyla Tharp, well known dance choreographer, and author of The Creative Habit, states, "Creativity is not a gift from the gods bestowed by some divine and mystical spark. It is the product of preparation and effort, and it's within reach of everyone who wants to achieve it. All it takes is the willingness to make creativity a habit, an integral part of your life: In order to be creative, you have to know how to prepare to be creative (Tharp, 2003, cover jacket)."

Tharp states that it is not a gift from the gods….I believe that everything is a gift from the Universe; however, I agree with her that we must act on our gifts…we must prepare and practice to be able to effectively express any ideas, talents or skills that we have.

References:

Lamott, A. (1994). Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, Anchor Books, A Division of Random House, New York, NY.

Tharp, T. (2003), The Creative Habit: Learn and Use it For Life, Simon and Schuster Paperbacks, New York, NY.

© Carla Weaver 2013.


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February 12,2013
Just Show Up

This morning, I did not feel inspired, yet I wanted to write. I have been reading "Bird by Bird" by Annie Lamott, which is about writing. She says, "People tend to look at successful writers, writers who are getting their books published and maybe even doing well financially, and think that they sit down at their desks every morning feeling like a million dollars, feeling great about who they are and how much talent they have and what a great story they have to tell; that they take in a few deep breaths, push back their sleeves, roll their necks a few times to get all the cricks out, and dive in, typing fully formed passages as fast as a court reporter. But this is just the fantasy of the uninitiated. I know some very great writers, writers you love who write beautifully and have made a great deal of money, and not one of them sits down routinely feeling wildly enthusiastic and confident. Not one of them writes elegant first drafts. All right, one of them does, but we do not like her very much. We do not think that she has a rich inner life or that God likes her or can even stand her. (Although when I mentioned this to my priest friend Tom, he said you can safely assume you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.) (Lamott, 1994, p. 22)."

"One writer I know tells me that he sits down every morning and says to himself nicely, "It's not like you don't have a choice, because you do-you can either type or kill yourself." We all often feel like we are pulling teeth, even those writers whose prose ends up being the most natural and fluid. The right words and sentences just do not come pouring out like ticker tape most of the time. Now, Muriel Spark is said to have felt that she was taking dictation from God every morning-sitting there, one supposes, plugged into a Dictaphone, typing away, humming. But this is a very hostile and aggressive position. One might hope for bad things to rain down on a person like this (Lamott, 1994, p. 22)."

Today, I showed up on my balcony with my coffee, pen and notebook as I do every morning, and most times, this works. In fact, last week, I needed to write some summaries of some workshops that I intend to offer, and I had been blocked in writing them, so instead of writing my BLOG one morning, I showed up at my usual writing time with the workshop data and miraculously was able to get the descriptions written in a first draft after several previous unsuccessful attempts. Twyla Tharp refers to 'the creative habit' in her well known book of the same title…she makes creativity a habit.

Like anything, if we want to develop creativity, we must get in the habit of practicing. To get physically fit, we go to the gym or run or exercise daily as part of our routines. To get creatively fit, we must create every day-write, dance, do a few sketches or gesture drawings…just show up.

References:

Lamott, A. (1994). Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, Anchor Books, A Division of Random House, New York, NY.

Tharp, T. (2003), The Creative Habit: Learn and Use it For Life, Simon and Schuster Paperbacks, New York, NY.

© Carla Weaver 2013.


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February 10,2013
Purple and Orange

A single purple flower dared to bloom amongst a field of orange lilies…to show its purple-ness in all its glory. This is what artists must do – dare to be purple when everything else is orange…dare to be different, for it is in daring to be different that we discover other combinations of color, sound, line, texture, direction not previously expressed or thought about.

In our society, there is great pressure to conform to what others think is the right way to be. Corporate advertising bombards us with messages to use the right brands so that we fit in. Group pressure tries to impress on us group values and norms. Corporate culture tries to mould our behavior. But nothing in the world moves forward without independent thinkers, adventurers and those who are just a little different.

© Carla Weaver 2013.


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February 09,2013
We Are All Limited

This morning, I visited with a friend who is recovering from illness. She said to me, "My life is limited." I did not ask specifically what she meant. She is right – all of our lives are limited. Our time is limited by our life span and other demands on it. Our lives are limited by our abilities and by our awareness. But, when we are not immediately threatened, we seem to forget about these limitations and act as if we have forever to accomplish our goals and dreams. There is always tomorrow, we say. Perhaps we should ask ourselves, What if my life was threatened? Have I done what I came to do? Is there more that I need to express?

By keeping ourselves motivated, defining our creative goals and maintaining our daily routines of creative practice, we move forward to accomplish our creative projects. Try to set aside some time each day to express your creativity.

© Carla Weaver 2013.


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February 06,2013
On The Passing of An Artist Friend….

Yesterday, I learned of the passing of a dear artist friend. To describe her simply, she was a beautiful person. Those of us who knew her will miss her friendship, her spirit, her sense of humor, her luminous smile, her positive attitude, her caring and her sense of fun. Having worked with her on a board of directors, she brought wisdom, balance and fairness to our board discussions and decision making. In the last few years in the face of her illness, she demonstrated great courage and was an inspiration, continuing to serve on the board while undergoing chemo therapy, painting and attending workshops, even when she had to use her left hand to finish work in time for a show. She was an amazing person and a good artist who expressed deep feeling in her paintings.

I spoke to her on the phone not that long ago, and she told me how much she appreciated the calls, cards and messages that she received from her friends and how important friendship was to her. In the last while, she experienced a lot of pain. Yesterday, I was walking my dog just after I read the email letting me know that my friend had passed, when I ran into a long-time friend who survived a serious car accident many years ago. I told him that I was feeling sad because I had just learned of a friend's passing, and he told me that all those years ago after his accident, he experienced a near death experience, and he said that it was such a beautiful feeling that surpassed anything that we have in life, that sometimes he feels just a little envious of people who have passed who have that experience. I found that comforting, so, let's hope that's how it is, and that my dear artist friend is now in some state of bliss in that better place.

© Carla Weaver 2013


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February 06,2013
Mean People

As artists, we are deeply sensitive, and that is a positive characteristic because it allows us to describe, see, feel, hear, interpret, express… Yet, as deeply sensitive individuals, we are also vulnerable to the negative emotions of those around us. Not everyone is kind, good or gentle. Some people are harsh, mean, abusive, bullies. We must set boundaries to avoid being hurt or distracted from our purpose by these people. If we are coming from a place of love, sometimes we are blind-sided by bullies because we don't expect people to be mean to us. But, the cold, harsh truth is that there are bullies and mean people in the world and we need to stand up and protect ourselves from them.

When others' harsh words and bullying behavior affect us, we must speak up and not allow ourselves to be crushed by others. We need to stop it now so that we don't spend our creative energy in battle with a bully. Let us not be distracted by unacceptable behavior and continue to create.

© Carla Weaver 2013


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February 04,2013
Elephants

"There's an elephant in the living room." Have you heard that phrase? It means that something obvious is happening and everyone is ignoring it, as if it isn't there. It makes you feel crazy because you start to wonder why you can see the elephant but no one else can. We see it and everyone else is in denial. We wonder what's different about us because no one else seems to notice, and, it's so BIG, so obvious, so distracting. In fact, it's hard to focus on anything else. Maybe we wouldn't even mind the elephant being there so much if others in the room acknowledged that it was there and then somehow the responsibility of keeping the room safe and clean and feeding the elephant could be shared.

I say, acknowledge the elephant. Speak directly and clearly about the fact that the elephant is in the room. Make note of its behavior and how it is impacting you. Talk to the elephant gently and kindly so you don't get it all riled up and stampeding around the room breaking things. Let it know how it can act in your presence. The elephant might not like being noticed; the others might be a bit annoyed now that they have to deal with the elephant. But, in the end, you will feel better. Either the elephant will leave, or it will behave, or you will leave.

© Carla Weaver 2013.


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February 03,2013
Faith

Whether we are creating art, music or prose; whether we are parenting children or healing from illness or injury; whether we are creating prosperity, managing our finances or running a business; whether we are working on healing current relationships or developing new ones; it is helpful to believe in something greater than ourselves and to know that this Higher Power, God, Force, Nature or Universe, whatever we choose to believe in, will take care of us, love us and help us to be the best we can be. After all, we know that the Force of Nature is certainly beyond our direct control. Plants grow, mountains move, storms rage, and we are powerless over these forces. Rather than going against the flow, we must have faith in the wisdom of the Universe and flow with its good.

“I have faith in the healing, prospering power of God as it works mightily in me now. I have faith that all things are now working together for my good and I am working with them in the wisdom and power of Spirit. I have faith in the perfect outcome of every situation in my life, for God is in absolute control! My faith now makes me whole (Unity of Vancouver, 2012)!ť

Reference:

Unity of Vancouver. (2012). Forty Seven Day Prosperity Prayer Program.

© Carla Weaver 2013.


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February 02,2013
Pure Potentiality

Each of us is part of the unlimited and unbounded sea of particles that make up our Universe and all of creation. Recognizing that we are part of this oneness brings us in synch with the Universal flow of Love and energy. It aligns us with the “pure potentiality” of all possibilities that Deepak Chopra writes about. It makes us ready to create.

I believe that when Christ said that He was the son of God, that he was reminding us that we are all sons and daughters of God, the Universe and all that is. We are all ONE and all connected. When we align ourselves with the sea of pure potentiality, we make available to ourselves infinite ideas, possibilities and inspirations. Remember that we are all ONE.

See the quote below from Deepak Chopra, which tells us how to allign with Pure Potentiality:

“The Law of Pure Potentiality

The source of all creation is pure consciousness . . . pure potentiality seeking expression from the unmanifest to the manifest. And when we realize that our true Self is one of pure potentiality, we align with the power that manifests everything in nature.

I will put the Law of Pure Potentiality into effect by making a commitment to take the following steps:

1. I will get in touch with the field of pure potentiality by taking time each day to be silent, to just Be. I will also sit alone in silent meditation at least twice a day for approximately thirty minutes in the morning and thirty minutes in the evening.

2. I will take time each day to commune with nature and to silently witness the intelligence within every living thing. I will sit silently and watch a sunset, or listen to the sound of the ocean or a stream, or simply smell the scent of a flower. In the ecstasy of my own silence, and by communing with nature, I will enjoy the life throb of ages, the field of pure potentiality and unbounded creativity.

3. I will practice non-judgment. I will begin my day with the statement, “Today, I shall judge nothing that occurs,” and throughout the day I will remind myself not to judge (Chopra, D. http://www.chopra.com/laws/potentiality, retrieved February 2, 2013).”

Reference: Chopra, D. http://www.chopra.com/laws/potentiality, retrieved February 2, 2013.

© Carla Weaver 2013.


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February 01,2013
Use the Past to Move Forward

All of us have baggage or issues or fears or past traumas that could hold us back from moving forward to express our creativity if we allow ourselves to get bogged down or to use our past or our troubles as excuses. Instead, we can use these events as subject matter, inspiration or lessons to create new art. We can draw upon the strength of the Universe to guide us and to turn these past lessons into something that could help us or someone else. Say, for example, you were bullied at work, or went to war, or overcame an addiction. The same strength that you used to deal with these situations and overcome them can be turned toward expressing feelings, knowledge and lessons about these events in your art, writing, acting, etc. Even if these expressions do not turn into your best work, expressing these difficult issues and getting the feelings out can free you for continued expression and improved work in the future. Draw upon your inner strength and wisdom and your belief in something greater than yourself to overcome blocks caused by past traumas.

“My awareness of the Spirit within me as my unlimited Source is the Divine Power to restore the years the locusts have eaten, to make all things new, to take me up to the High Road of abundant prosperity. This awareness and understanding of Spirit appears as the good my hear desires (Unity of Vancouver, 2013)."

Reference:

Unity of Vancouver. (2012). Forty Seven Day Prosperity Prayer Program.

© Carla Weaver 2013.


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