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And now, for something totally different…

Just last month I began a creativity coaching program. I’m exploring my creativity in a totally new medium—paint— and learning to bring new ideas, skills, and practices to my coaching work with existing clients. Maybe I’ll even offer creativity coaching as an elaboration of the Zentangle play and work that I adore.

What have you started, or explored more deeply, recently? What’s exciting in your life right now?

One of the exercises in this coaching program is to create a face collage. Surrounded with images torn from magazines, gel matte, paintbrushes, and more kinds of scissors than necessary, I set to plorking (playing and working) with jazz playing in the background.

Once complete, perhaps an hour later, as there is symbolism in everything element chosen for the final piece (and that takes time… all the sifting and sorting through images), I was delighted. I had created a rather startling image!

My big, beautiful face is surrounded by photos that called to me. All of these images stir my imagination… I follow a pathway through a forest, see gorgeous, weathered planks of wood,  imagine being a bird floating in the sky, and experience warmth and a sense of peace in the viewing setting sun.

The image of a beautiful bird reflected in the water invited me to invert the photo for this piece. The reflection is placed at the top of my head because that’s where I do my thinking, feeling, and musing. My very large eyes see both beginnings and endings—sunrise and sunset. They go beyond the contours of my face. My nose smells the flowers and all there is to take in, my cheeks are bright, sparkly red buttons of color showing life and vitality. My mouth is big, juicy, and open just a bit as there’s always something to be shared and talked about. My ears represent both the big picture, listening for big themes and the sparkle in the fine details of what people are saying. I sport a jaunty crown of an undersea delight. The monarch Butterfly is an anchor for me just reminding me of my tattoo/my connection to my father. The beautiful Spring owl soars, as I always seek to do myself.

If you were to make a face collage, what would you create? 

What ideas, beliefs, desires, questions, and more would be integrated into your creation? 

I hope you will experiment too. If you do, please share it with me.

If you’re interested in accessing, expanding, and evolving your creativity, I hope you will be in touch with me.

Zentangle, a lens for viewing my life

Zentangle is…

A simple, though not always easy, way to bring beauty, focus, and calm into my life every day with ease and a minimum of effort (re: time and materials).

A lens for viewing my life, a reminder to perceive my life with fresh eyes, understand that I will make mistakes—it’s part of living—because I try new things and I get them right and wrong. I am sometimes tired, my best efforts are not always my best work, and that working through the tangles (patterns)—by fixing them &/or moving on/making peace and learning from them is what enables me to grow. 

Art & a science… I bring my own special flair to the guidelines for working with the method.

A reminder to step back and gain a new perspective… there’s always at least one more way to view a situation. I’m always thinking to myself and saying to participants, “Hold your tile at arm’s length and rotate it—90, 180, 270, and then 360 degrees. What do you find as you do so? Which view is most interesting or appealing to you?”

Poke Leaf (the final stoke of the “Z”) invites new ways of working with a challenging pattern.

About both comforting and challenging myself. I LOVE and work with about two dozen patterns regularly—they feel easy and natural. The liveliness of Jetties, the wildness of Squid, the energy of Cadent, and the boldness of Knightsbridge delight me.

And, I’m always on the lookout for changing up the way I do one of my “go-to” tangles and for new patterns and media, to keep me sharp and humble… aware of my growing edge.

“What if, instead of just shading the leafy part of Poke leaf, I use my pen to color in the stem, shade the top of the stems, and use the tortillon/smudger to move the pencil lead into the body of the leaf?”

These four panels are 12-inch squares!

“How might I use/create on a larger area/literally a canvas—how do I need to adapt to the new dimension? What tools will I use?”

A reminder, that there’s a time to put down the pen and walk away from my work… because I have done enough, and doing more may overwork the tile. I  caution myself at times, “There’s a time to pause and reflect. Then, choose to leave it for now or pick up the pen or pencil again to continue.”

An opportunity to sink into the process, experience flow, and remain unattached to the result. There are times that I enjoy the drawing, learn a lot about the patterns and how they fit together yet don’t love the final look of my work and play. I counsel myself to walk away and return to the piece the next morning, knowing that I may feel differently about the tile then… or I will have learned from it and take that knowledge forward. 

Tangling on the inner surface of shells is delightful—it’s silky smooth.

Engaging in tangling is just like so much of how I live my life.

If you’re interested in exploring Zetangle, please reach out to me. I offer classes that cater to beginners and challenge those who are more advanced with a variety of media and long-term projects. I share most of my ongoing work on both instagram and FB.

What journey are you on…

and where are you on that journey?

Just recently, I began a new coaching relationship with a young woman from a country far from here/NY and a culture that I know very little about. It is exciting! 

While coaching in my practice is always an adventure, founded on co-creating the experience, this will be different. To borrow some of the language from my chaplaincy training, our

  • major life events
  • relationships
  • social location
  • cultural contexts
  • and social realities that impact our personal identities

have few similarities.

I have much to learn—by being particularly astute in my observing, listening, asking questions, pausing, and checking in… ensuring that nothing is assumed and time for reflection and conversation about the journey we are making together is a fit for her needs and wants. 

The more I think about it, the more I am reminded to be aware of false assumptions about similarities and perceived congruence with coaching clients who appear more like me (regarding the variables noted above).

My lens for all the work I do is Appreciative Inquiry. It is a path that provides a framework that is truly generative and in alignment with my vision of coaching relationships (and honestly, all the work that I do).

Similarly, last Thursday, I hosted two thoughtsketching sessions (a bikablo technique) for quite different groups of people mostly unfamiliar with visualizing/visual thinking: first for my colleagues, (known to me from my years at the American Management Association in my consultant roles as a speaker and instructional designer), and then for the AIF-NYC Facilitators Group, which attracted people from around the world, Vietnam the UK Belgium, the US, and Canada.

In all three instances (coaching + trainings), the majority of people joining the sessions were stepping on to a new path or in a new direction… whether tentatively or diving in with abandon.

In each encounter, my approach was Appreciative, engaging, and interactive in nature—

  • What is your foundation/what do you know about…?
  • What do you like about your work (what you are presenting that we are building on or what are you creating at the moment that you like/admire/are proud of)?
  • What do you believe to be your growing edge? (And, how will we keep your inner critic at bay? Focus on strengths.)
  • What more do you want to discover (about the topic, process, project) or… before moving forward?
  • What are you dreaming about?
  • What experiments do you want to design—to work and play with your new ideas?
  • How will you create what will be?

I am passionate about this work! If you’re curious to learn more about coaching with an Appreciative Inquiry approach, please reach out to me.

My curious mind wants to know…

What do you think?

Over the past few weeks, I have attended a number of events and classes. These experiences have caused me to pause and wonder. I find that my descriptions or definitions of key terms in my field appear, at times, to be completely different than how others enact their roles. I wonder what they’re thinking and so I imagined this visual of me, sitting, wonder, pondering…

  • Have you had these thoughts?
  • Have/Are you experiencing any disconnects?

What do the smattering of terms, titles, and interactions bring up for you? How do you define them? Have you talked about any of them with your colleagues? What did you discover—congruence, misalignment, something in-between? I’d love to know.

(Of course, if you are curious about how the misalignment played out in the real world—I’m happy to share!)

Mmmmmotivation!

Last Sunday I spoke at Brandy Agerbeck’s ENVISION event—it was fabulous and so much fun! Brandy had tasked with addressing, fully engaging with the topic of motivation. So, my question for you is…

What motivates you? 

Maybe the first question or the better first question is, what does motivation mean to you? 

How is it different from inspiration? 

And where do you “get” both of those things? 

Inspiration is exciting, it pulls me forward. I’m inspired/totally engaged in almost all my projects or endeavors. 

Motivation is the engine/energy that keeps me going because in most projects not only is there a beginning, middle, and end, there are also periods of excitement, immersion, flow, joy, and yet there are also those times of disappointment, feeling stuck, working through challenges, frustrations, making and learning from my mistakes and rising up again. 

 

One of the fabulous ideas from Brandy Agerbeck’s ENVISION 2021 Card Deck

So my question for you is, what keeps you moving forward (know that this is not a straight line) when it gets challenging?

For me, part of it is my philosophy of life. I’m steeped in the field of positive psychology and come from an Appreciative Inquiry perspective. In short, I endeavor to focus on the positive AND be realistic/acknowledge the things are difficult. Ultimately, I choose to focus my attention and energy on what’s going well, to amplify that, to work with the things that I perceive to be obstacles, concerns, or frustrations. 

So when I need motivation, I think about experiences I’ve had in the past that are similar. They/the learning and insights become the foundation to build on. And, I love turning to books, articles, websites, and, of course, my ever-growing network of colleagues and friends, who among them possess a vast amount of knowledge. Truth be told,  I’m also motivated by the deadline…

How about you?

I’d love to hear you’re strategies and tactics for generating and maintaining your motivation.