Project Luminosity: Taking Steady Steps Through The Mess of the Creative Process

March 6, 2018

(Photo from my journal using prompts from this week’s Year of Dreams journaling kit)

This is a continuation of my post from last week: Project Luminosity: Mapping Out My Next Steps. After 7 years of doing the Creative Dream Incubator as my full-time job, I am taking a step back, looking at *everything* and exploring how to make it all better. 

After writing that post I was on a real creative high and got a whole bunch of stuff done.

Then the next day I totally crashed.

It wasn’t like I was stuck or coming up against inner critics or self doubt, I saw what I had to do next and I just felt ill-equipped to start. When I explored how I could equip myself I saw that I needed to rest and slow down.

I also caught a cold, my 70 billionth one of the season.

(My husband was a social worker up north and when we got married last spring he moved to the city. Now he’s a social worker in the city and being around so many kids who are around so many other kids – well there’s been no shortage of cold bugs going around. After a lifetime of not being around kids, my immune system wasn’t ready for this but after this Winter Of A Zillion Colds I am sure I’ll have the immune system of a superhero)

I mean – from that purely logical standpoint it makes sense that I’ve been getting a lot of colds this year. But also from the “life is happening FOR you not TO you” viewpoint, I can also see that this winter I am deeper into my creative process than I have ever been, which uses a LOT of energy, and these colds are gifts in that they force me to slow down.

So I got a cold and binge-watched The Imposters on Netflix which I just loved.

Then I went out to my friend’s farm on the weekend and had a sacred fire for Starfish (my cat who passed on about 3 weeks ago).

I am so grateful for what my husband is teaching me about traditional Indigenous ways. Also grateful that my friend with a farm is also Indigenous (they are actually from the same First Nation and both lived there as kids but didn’t meet until I introduced them) so she understands and was happy to give us space for this. The full moon in March is one of the good ones for feasting the dead, so that’s why we went this weekend. My husband built a sacred fire for Starfish and we fed him his favourite cat food (a whole tin! he would have loved that) and some catnip and we spoke to him.

I felt like I was able to connect with his spirit and that felt like a relief and a blessing. It felt like he was grateful for the food and love.

Then on Sunday we thought we found our dream house! !And went to look at it and were just horribly disappointed. (I shared that whole story on the Facebook live video I did with Chris Zydel on Monday). That also took a lot of energy.

And that’s why I am just coming back to this now – there’s been a lot going on. So I ended that last post with this list:

  1. Put each section of the Principles/Rules/Manifesto of Dreaming on it’s own sheet of paper and look at it all together with the intention that this helps me know what to do next
  2. Do my personal Dream Book every day (make notes about The Dream Book as I do this)
  3. Make a list of all of the components of the Dream Book and list what each one will need.
  4. Use the Un-Sticking Station in the Creative Dream Circle to meet with whatever fears, doubts, limiting beliefs, un-helpful patterns and inner critics that come up as I take steps 1-3.

Here’s my update:

Thing 1: Put each section of the Principles/Rules/Manifesto of Dreaming on it’s own sheet of paper and look at it all together with the intention that this helps me know what to do next:

This was amazing! Playing around with the order, putting them into different groups, exploring all the different ways they can fit together. Definitely gave me the perspective I needed and I am happy with the process I am making with this.

Thing 2: Do my personal Dream Book every day (make notes about The Dream Book as I do this)

Yeah I kind of did this – it gets all fuzzy when I got sick though.

NEXT STEPS: Keep working on establishing this as a Solid Daily Practice. This will definitely be easier to do once I have made all the tools I want to make as a part of the Dream Book class, and can use them.

Thing 3: Make a list of all of the components of the Dream Book and list what each one will need.

Yes I did this! I have SO MUCH more clarity about everything than I did last week.

NEXT STEPS: Creating the basic structure of this to put it into the Creative Dream Circle soon(ish?!) so we can start using it there WHILE I add in all the stuff I want to add.

Thing 4: Use the Un-Sticking Station in the Creative Dream Circle to meet with whatever fears, doubts, limiting beliefs, un-helpful patterns and inner critics that come up as I take steps 1-3.

Actually I didn’t have much of this pop up – my main struggle was depletion + needing to rest more than I wanted to.

So where am I now?

Ha! Before I started writing this I was actually feeling much more confused + lost than I was last week, but now I see that actually I have a LOT more clarity than I did.

The creative process is just weird/messy/confusing at times but actually I am doing ok.

Looking back on where I was last week, I can see that I have taken significant steps forward. It’s so good to see this because I’ve been focused on the 57 billion steps I still need to take and feeling like I am hopelessly behind. But actually I’m just on a BIG journey and I’m moving forward.

So if I want to use last week’s steps as a guide for deciding this week’s steps, then my next steps are (from above):

  • Declaration of Creative Dreams needs more editing + work on the images to go with each principle.
  • Keep working on establishing my Dream Book as a Solid Daily Practice. This will definitely be easier to do once I have made all the tools I want to make as a part of the Dream Book class, and can use them.
  • Creating the basic structure of the Creative Dream Alchemy program to put it into the Creative Dream Circle soon(ish?!) so we can start using it there WHILE I add in all the stuff I want to add.
  • Use Un-Sticking Station as needed

Oh hey I just noticed that the Un-Sticking Station is NOT needed as often if I do the daily Dream Book practice. Oh! Yes! This is what I was hoping it would do.

I also have a busy week in other parts of my work, so I want to prioritize this stuff, let’s see:

  1. Keep working on establishing my Dream Book as a Solid Daily Practice. This will definitely be easier to do once I have made all the tools I want to make as a part of the Dream Book class, and can use them.
  2. This feels less important, but this is needed for #3 to happen: Declaration of Creative Dreams needs more editing + work on the images to go with each principle.
  3. This is actually the #1 priority but those other 2 things need to happen to make this happen: Creating the basic structure of the Creative Dream Alchemy program to put it into the Creative Dream Circle soon(ish?!) so we can start using it there WHILE I add in all the stuff I want to add.
  4. Use Un-Sticking Station as needed

OK that’s good. My first instinct was to focus on #3 because that is my priority – but listing it all made me see that I need to do #1 and #2 to support #3.

Do I feel ready?

Yes! I actually feel excited to get to work now that I see that I have more clarity than I thought I did.

I just have to remember to focus on the steps right in front of me and not get caught up in wanting to be further ahead than I am.

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Come hang out live on Monday…

March 1, 2018

Come play! My friend the Wildheart Queen Chris Zydel and I are going live together on Facebook!

It’s happening on Monday, March 5 at 1:00 pm Pacific/3:00 pm Central on the Creative Dream Incubator Facebook page.

Here we are a few years ago (before I stopped dying my hair!) at the Witch Store near Chris’ Creative Juices Arts Mothership in Oakland, CA.

 

Chris and I have so much fun every time we hang out, I know this will be no exception. See you there?

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Project Luminosity: Mapping out my next steps.

February 28, 2018

(Photo of the Year of Dreams journaling kit)

After 7 years of doing the Creative Dream Incubator as my full-time job, I am taking a step back, looking at *everything* and exploring how to make it all better. I am calling this Project Luminosity and I’ve decided to start sharing my project updates here on my blog because sharing my stories as they unfold helps me make sense of my own process.

Where I’m at today:

I’ve been giving my ideas space for the last 7 months. I am (finally!) coming to a place of having a bit of clarity and am feeling ready to start working on the actual project, as opposed to exploring all of my ideas of what I think this actual project could be.

I’ve been through a deep healing process with this as this dream has grown me into who I need to be in order to bring it to life.

And I’m ready now to actually do this. This is amazing!

What does that mean?

It means it’s time to do this!

Ummm, no I still don’t know exactly what that means though because I don’t know what my next steps are.  I mean I kind of know but it all feels vague still so let’s keep exploring…

I want to start 2 different projects right now which are the foundation of Project Luminosity. I feel sure that these are the first 2 things I need to do and that the other parts will come out of these.

  1. Principles/Rules/Manifesto of Dreaming
  2. Dream Book

(I am not going into a lot of detail about what these projects are right now since it all needs space to grow and change as I work on it)

What do these projects need?

More than anything – dedicated time + attention every day! Space to help them grow into what they want to be.

Ummmm that’s what I have been giving them for months. If I want to start making physical progress then I need some concrete action steps to take.

OMG this is kind of painful, like the fog of resistance comes in so smoothly I don’t notice how much it’s making it hard for me to see.

Staying with it though…

Principles/Rules/Manifesto of Dreaming:

I can’t just keep sitting with this and editing the list – I just feel like this is losing energy. So what does it need?

[just sitting with that question for a while]

I want to put each principle on it’s own piece of paper and look at them around me. That feels creative + fun and like it can lead to me knowing what to do next. Once I have done this I will come back and figure out the next step.

Dream Book:

Oh I feel so much love and enthusiasm for this. I need to keep doing my own Dream Book and learning more about it while writing the material that explains the Dream Book.

That’s still a big vague. What am I doing *exactly*?

  • Dedicated time each day to work in my (personal) Dream Book.
  • Take notes about The Dream Book while I do this.
  • Start to write up description + instructions for The Dream Book

OK that’s better but still feels a little vague like it’s not clear enough to generate momentum. Actually I don’t know how to “start to write up descriptions + instructions”.

How about setting some goals?

No too soon I still need to give this enough space to take shape how it wants to be shaped, not shaped the way my goals are shaped.

How about making a list of all of the components of the Dream Book and what each one will need?

Yes. Perfect.

OK let’s re-cap:

This is what I am doing now, and when this is done I will come back and do another update.

  1. Put each section of the Principles/Rules/Manifesto of Dreaming on it’s own sheet of paper and look at it all together with the intention that this helps me know what to do next
  2. Do my personal Dream Book every day (make notes about The Dream Book as I do this)
  3. Make a list of all of the components of the Dream Book and list what each one will need.

Argh! I just realised why figuring out some clear + small steps to take is so excruciating.

Having clear + small steps ready to take means there is no space to hide in fog/confustion/”I’m not ready yet”/etc.

By shining a light on everything and coming up with solid steps to take now AND a commitment to come back and do this again once those are done to figure out my next steps again I am really committing to doing the work.

The rubber is hitting the road for real which riles up all of the fears, doubts and inner critics.

So I’ll just make this adjustment to my list:

  1. Put each section of the Principles/Rules/Manifesto of Dreaming on it’s own sheet of paper and look at it all together with the intention that this helps me know what to do next
  2. Do my personal Dream Book every day (make notes about The Dream Book as I do this)
  3. Make a list of all of the components of the Dream Book and list what each one will need.
  4. Use the Un-Sticking Station in the Creative Dream Circle to meet with whatever fears, doubts, limiting beliefs, un-helpful patterns and inner critics that come up as I take steps 1-3.

OK I feel ready to go take steps then. Yay!

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When excitement for a new project + fear about that new project collide…

February 23, 2018

My beloved cat Starfish has been gone for almost 3 weeks but of course he’s still one of my favourite teachers.

On any sunny winter day (and we have a LOT of them in Manitoba) he’d get excited to go play outside. The loft has floor-to-ceiling wall-to-wall south windows on both floors. It is SUPER sunny in here. It’s also SUPER insulated so it stays SUPER warm.

So he would see the sunshine and feel warm and would want to go out and play. And at some point one of us would open the door to leave and Starfish would race across the room to get outside.

The floors are polished concrete…. verrrrry slippery.

As he would get close to the door and start to feel the -30 breeze or see the piles of snow he would try to stop, but his feet were still sliding along the slippery floor.

Half of him would be racing forward while half of him was trying to put on the brakes. Eventually his front and back feet would almost meet as his back arched way up and he would slide up to the doorway.

That’s actually how a lot of us approach our creative dreams. Our inspired creative selves are raring to go while our fears, old belief systems and inner critics are pointing out that it’s too cold to go outside.

I posted this photo on Instagram yesterday morning:

I’m diving in! With the journal that is big enough to eat all of my other journals for breakfast. 

(You can find that giant watercolor Moleskine right here. I’ve been using the same one as my “big plans journal” for years – I love flipping back through it to see how my ideas have evolved over time.)

I was so ready: journal pile, paint pens in every colour of the rainbow plus metallic gold, a fresh latte, candle lit.

I took out my dark blue paint pen and kept hesitating before letting it touch the page.

What am I doing?

I’m trying to figure out what I am doing by mapping it all out. Once I see how it all fits together everything will make more sense and it will be easier for me to just work on one thing at a time.

But my hand keeps hesitating.

No I don’t know how to do this.

Rough drafts are always easier. I grab a sheet of printer paper and draw out what I think I want it to be like. Sure enough, I am wrong.  I switch a few things around, then with a bit of a plan, I draw it out in my journal.

Before I am even finished mapping out the bare skeleton of the plan, my shoulders tense up.

I have a sip of my latte which suddenly feels like way too much caffeine.

I decide it’s time to figure out my direct deposit information for my health insurance, and get up to go do that.

And then, with the computer open and my focus shot of courses I ended up on Facebook.

Which is when I decided to come here…

I know I am not the only one who struggles with this.

I know that sharing what I am going through helps others who are in the muck with me and it helps me find clarity and a way through. So. Here I am. I’m uncomfortable but showing up.

This part is just hard and there aren’t a lot of ways around it. Mapping out the big picture for any new thing is hard because:

  • it takes AUDACITY to begin any new project and I’m not naturally a very audacious person, like I don’t just have extra stores of audacity sitting around that I can draw from
  • making things clear means not hiding in the fog of the unknown details
  • drawing a map with clear actionable steps means no more excuses
  • no more excuses is THE WORST because it means facing your actual fears + feelings, the ones that live underneath your excuses

The only way out is through. So what are the actual fears + feelings I am facing right now?

(Listing them actually does take away some of their power)

  • this is too big I can’t pull it off I am tired just thinking about it
  • what if no one gets it? Or what if they get it but they hate it?
  • I am SO lucky to have what I have what if I lose it by trying to make it better? (which is actually a mask for: you’re not good enough to do this)
  • what if it never turns out as good as I imagine it will be?

But the biggest feeling I have right now is: I’m tired.

Tired is usually a mask for resistance, which is the desire to not feel the fear that you actually feel. So many layers of circling-around-feelings!

So how do I make space for my fear right now?

Same as always: Honour it, listen to it, offer it love.

I close my eyes, sink into my feelings, let go of trying to be in control and give my fear the space it wants. It opens up, bigger and bigger and then something new starts to grow out of the center of it.

It’s another me! A little me with markers and journals and a big lightbulb over her head. Happily working.

OK in the center of my fear is my love + desire to do this work.

As I keep giving my fear space that love + desire starts to grow too.

I feel less tired.

I still feel unsure about a lot of parts of this.

And I feel like I may end up without enough steam to finish the journey.

These fears are valid! What do I do about them?

Oh! Ha!

Light bulb flashes. I see it now.

It’s my APPROACH that is off.

I’ve been thinking of building the whole structure right now, putting it out there, and then filling it in over the rest of the year or however long it takes.

That may seem logical but this is NOT a good way for me to work. I need space to shift, change and grow as I go.

Me from 8 months from now cannot be bound by ideas I have now! That’s the opposite of growth and creativity.

Also I work with transformation and healing – these qualities just naturally grow everything they touch. It’s like working in a greenhouse and dousing everything with fertilizer and then trying to stop them from growing so much.

So instead I need to put my ideas in order. Build the foundation first. And keep going as I am inspired to go… but allow the work I do today to inspire what comes tomorrow.

Let it grow and evolve and CHANGE as it comes to life. As creativity + dreams tend to do.

I don’t know if this makes sense for anyone else but this feels like freedom and magic to me.

I struggled in university (my degree is in fashion design) because my creative energy didn’t fit into the structure which is needed to get things done + shipped in the fashion world.

I need space and freedom for my creativity to evolve while I play with an idea – that’s the big thing I learned in university. I struggled for 3 years with really shitty grades, and then in my 4th year when I had more space to develop a collection on my own over the course of the year – I ended up in the top 10 of my graduating class.

Even though throughout my 4th year I had several teachers tell me that I was absolutely bound to fail because my process didn’t look like it was “supposed to”.

Anyway that was an important lesson for me and I need to draw on it right now and not create a structure that ends up suffocating me eight months from now!

This is the core of what my fears are about right now.

And I can do something about this.

See? Digging deeper into what’s going on with your fears is Magic.

Update.

After writing that out, I went to lay down for a bit, just to give all parts of me a chance to catch up with where I am now.

And then I went to my journal and did the next part: I wrote out a list of all of the things that are involved in what I want to do.

And it felt light and inspired.

And like I can focus on *just one thing* at a time and build it *just one thing* at a time and it’s all going to fit together in the end AND there is space for everything to grow and evolve along the way. Creative freedom.

I feel inspired. And ready. And supported. And like I have everything I need to take the first step. And like everything I need to take each consecutive step will come to me when I get to that part.

I feel free and ready to dive in…

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Everything is Changing and the Dream Lab is Closing

February 20, 2018

Since last summer I have been working on a new program about Creative Dream Alchemy.

The work hasn’t really looked like work. It’s looked like:

  • A lot of meditating and praying and just sitting quietly thinking about what I want to do and noticing how intimidating it is to begin such a big project.
  • Meeting with all of the fear and self-doubt that came up as I did that, offering them love and helping them feel ok about what I’m doing.
  • Journaling and doodling while connecting with my wishes and hopes for this new project. Writing out the same things over and over as though I am circling around something that I can’t quite see.
  • Asking my inner wisdom for guidance and getting really super vague answers and being forced to let this process take the time it takes even though I wanted to just get to work already.
  • Exploring all ideas that come to me and experimenting with them. Hitting lots of dead ends but picking up tiny pieces of information each time I try something new and gathering those bits together until they started to turn into something new.

Exploring something I can’t see yet is complicated and it’s been hard to keep showing up for this!

I am so relieved to finally be seeing some fruits from this labour and I am starting to see exactly what this new project is: a total re-working of all of my work from the past 7 years. A new framework that:

  • captures the complexity of the inner process of healing + transformation in a simpler way
  • links that inner work with the outer work of making dreams real (truly soul-powered: the inner work fuels + directs the outer journey)
  • makes it more accessible to dive in and just take the step that your dream is calling you to take
  • supports you more deeply, making it easier to take those steps

I am in love with it.

And now I start the “outer work” – the creative work of making it real.

This means a complete re-structuring of everything I am currently doing because the new work replaces my old work.

Creative Dream Circle members: yes you get this new program and no you aren’t going to lose anything.

The current classes will be moved into an archive and will remain accessible inside the Circle because I know you still like them and I think they’ll become even more helpful within the framework of the new Creative Dream Alchemy program.

So the Creative Dream Alchemy will take the “front seat” in the Circle and will be the thing we focus on the most but as always you are free to do whatever you want!

My main intention for this class is to make it easier to come in to the Circle and get exactly what you need right there in the moment to take your next steps. So it’s a support system for daily work of working/living with your dreams, no matter where you are on the path.

You may have noticed that I switched the header on my website last week.

This is part of the experiments I am doing to create a new visual look for the Creative Dream Incubator that supports the new Creative Dream Alchemy project.

This is not the final look or anything, but I wanted to put this on my site as an energetic placeholder to help me stay connected to the essence of it as I face and begin the practical work of bringing this idea to life.

The Dream Lab (my free class for exploring the miracle of your dream) is closing.

It will be moved into that archive of my older classes and available only for Circle members. It will NOT be available anymore outside of the Circle.

So if you’re a member of the Dream Lab and haven’t worked through everything yet – the time to do that is now. Or if you’re curious about it go check it out.

I don’t have a date yet for when the Dream Lab will close, but I wanted to give you as much notice as a can which is why I am telling you now, before I know when it will happen.

I know I just made the Dream Lab last year!

But it turns out that was a part of the experiments I was doing as I was learning more about this new Creative Dream Alchemy program.

There will be new free stuff to go with the new Creative Dream Alchemy program, I won’t take the Dream Lab away and leave you with nothing.

I am SO excited about where this is all going.

It is my hope that everyone who wants to (Circle members, Dream Lab members, people who casually read the blog or follow the Creative Dream Incubator on social media) is going to feel more supported in their dreams through this new work.

And now I need to get to work….

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