When we talk to women about their success, we like to ask them about their everyday rituals. What grounds them? What gets them through the day to day? What keeps them energized and moving despite all the resistance and fear and bullshit? For Molly, it was a hot bath and an evening meditation. For Haley, it was her green smoothie every morning; but for most of the women, it was lists.
And I will confess to you now, that I am a list maker myself. I prefer paper and pen to iPhones and iPads. Notebooks are my list vehicle of choice, but every Monday I make a business to-do list on my Google Drive. And my to-do lists help me. I can’t get creative when I’m trying to juggle chores and meeting times. I can’t write with the “fear of forgetting” hanging over me. So I make lists. And I love them. I make them before meetings and after meetings (a trait that Christina finds mildly disturbing), I make them in the morning before I begin my work and in the evening before I go to bed. I’m even the kind of girl who puts things on her list that she’s already done just so she can cross them off. There. I said it.
But, with creativity on our minds this week, I’d like to bring up a different kind of list. One with a capitol L. Every new years, my boyfriend and I come up with The List — intentions and goals for the year ahead. Sometimes, they’re totally dreamy (become a writer, take the Great American Road Trip), sometimes we repeat them (improve posture, drink more water) and sometimes they’re definitive (raise income by 20%, save $150 per month). We check The List throughout the year to see how we’re doing (and to remind ourselves about our posture). Two years ago, my list had on it “publish a piece I’ve written”. Now, writing is my job — full time. A year ago, our list had “visit the Redwoods” on it and last Summer we spent six days camping in the Redwood Forest.
This practice has taught me that dreams are as tangible and achievable as you decide they can be. The first step for me will always be saying them out loud; then writing them down, then giving them a time frame. There is no punishment for our unfulfilled New Years promises. And no shame for those things unachieved. Sometimes our goals and intentions change, sometimes we make them more reasonable (or more daring).
I’ve come to realize that The List may no longer be a New Year’s Eve exclusive activity. As I grow as a businesswoman, friend, traveler, partner, creator and writer perhaps I will update my List more frequently. Perhaps, I will spend a moment to dwell on my wishes and ambitions two or three times a year. How can I move forward if I don’t ask myself where I’m going? So today, or this week, or this month, or this Summer, I encourage you to make your List. (No errands or emails allowed.)
“Rule of thumb: The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it. Resistance is always lying and always full of shit.” – Steven Pressfield
In the spirt of our week of creativity, the quote above is from an amazing book called the The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield. Basically, if you need a good ol’ fashioned ass kicking pep talk about just doing the damn thing you have been thinking, dreaming, fantasizing about, this is the book for you. And let’s be real, who doesn’t need that? Creativity and bravery go hand in hand. Be brave and make time for your passions!
This week, inspired by the women we’ve interviewed and their collective pursuit of an authentic and fulfilled life, we’re exploring creativity. Where we find it, how we nurture it and what we do when our lives are lacking it.
When you’re craving inspiration and you’re usual sources are coming up dry, it often means it’s time to try something new. Here are a few of our favorite suggestions:
Baked In Brooklyn is a charming pottery shop that hosts ceramics nights, mosaic classes and throwing lessons. (Plus, their clay making classes are BYOB!)
Kinfolk, a beautiful magazine but also a great source of inspiration for compelling activities. Whether it’s an essay on the art of ice cream making or a photo story on floral arrangements, it’ll get your creative juices flowing!
Darling, one of our favorite blogs and magazines for classes, recipes and essays.
After The Jump, a great radio station from the lovely Grace Bonney of Design Sponge. Grace interviews some of the coolest and most inspiring creators and crafters about their work, their journey and where they look for inspiration!
The new Discover app from WNYC – a curated selection of stories from our favorite radio station.
Pinterest: Granted, you could loose hours of your life creating a board dedicated solely to typography, but you could also discover a new blog, a delicious recipe or a cool DIY tutorial.
Over the last few months, we’ve visited studios and kitchens, restaurants and store fronts, bars and boutiques. We’ve chatted business plans and brave moves with ice cream entrepreneurs and shoes designers. We’ve discussed marriage and motherhood with bridal boutique owners and Brooklyn bloggers. We’ve talked flavors and femininity with jam makersand cocktail connoisseurs. And with just two episodes left to air, we’ve begun to notice a trend.
Though each woman’s success has been remarkably different, with some taking place all in an instant and others percolating over months and sometimes even years, they all tell a similar story.
“A journey marked by the bravery to say yes, the courage to respond to opportunity with action and a deep connection to creative sensibilities.”
Each woman has kindled their creative spark and worked it into a roaring fire. They have taught us that creativity is not something reserved exclusively for Summer weekends and afternoons with our children. That in fact, it’s something we must actively nurture, encourage and, during those times when we lose touch with it, pursue.
So, where does your creativity live? How do you foster it? What do you do when you feel disconnected from it? We thought through these questions and have shared a few tools for cultivating your creativity below!
Morning Pages: The book, The Artist’s Way recommends free writing every morning to start your day. A clean mind and an open heart are much more receptive to inspiration.
Meditation: A moment in the day to reset, let go and even share your wants and fears with the Universe.
Classes: There are so many cool ones available and we promise, they can lead to truly incredible things (next week’s episode is a testament to that!)
Make It A Team Effort: With book clubs, new moons and sports teams. A group activity is a great way to stay accountable to your creativity.
Listen To Your Friends: Sometimes they can see those things that we’re a little too afraid to!
This week on the blog we will be highlighting some of our favorite places to source inspiration and get creatively motivated!
“The psyches and souls of women also have their own cycles and seasons of doing and solitude, running and staying, being involved and being removed, questing and resting, creating and incubating, being of the world and returning to the soul-place.”
― Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women Who Run With the Wolves
I read a copious amount of baby books during this pregnancy. On nutrition, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, attachment-parenting, sleep it out parenting, french parenting, indigenous parenting, vaccines, childbirth, elimination communication (thats’s a really fun one) the list goes on and on.
Having never really been around babies or children before, full discloser: (I am 2 weeks from birthing our little bear and have never changed a diaper! ), I wanted to be prepared for this looming unknown about to rock our world. What I took away from my self-imposed curriculum, was a deeper clarity about how I want to parent and the ability to clearly hone into the advice and styles that resonate with me. There were a lot of philosophies that I respectfully and quickly dismissed. Mostly, I learned to start paying attention to what I instinctively felt to be true and as a result have come away instinctively feeling that this parenting magic is an on the job training situation. But I am truly thankful for some of the information I have learned through this process. Of all the books I read there were 3 gems that I highly recommend to anyone interested.
1. Nina Planck’s Real Food for Mother and Baby
Really thorough and awesome advice on nutrition from pre-pregnancy all the way through to your child’s toddler years.
2. Ina May’s Guide to Natural Childbirth
This is just a classic must read for anyone interested in an alternative to the way our culture defines and markets child-birth. If you want to skip the read and watch something instead, The Business of Being Born will also do the trick!
Of all the parenting books this one by far was the most helpful and grounding in trying to navigate parenting, boundaries and raising happy, healthy, socially responsible, self-reliant children.
I hope this helps, and if you ever need more reading recommendations you know where to find me!
“Start each day with a grateful heart.”