Last month I added the space-making module to Dream Book, as a supportive practice along side the dream work.
I started working on it it because so many people are feeling way too overwhelmed to get into the work of dream-making.
But as I kept working on it, I realized that SPACE-MAKING is the thing that helped me navigate the pandemic with my creaive projects relatively intact.
Creative Genius Planning is happening on Instagram Live today (Monday) at 10 am (Central).
This is meditation, journaling and discussion about how to get support from your Creative Genius (the most wise, brave and creative part of you) to navigate your next steps. And it's a regular weekly practice that helps with space-making AND dream-making.
I am exploring the question: What helps me make more art, more often, from a deeper place?
I've gotten stuck most days, and in doing the Un-Sticking work I met with inner teenaged/early 20s selves. It's pretty rare for me that they show up, when it's an inner child it's usually much younger.
They're so sarcastic and annoyed at everything and JUDGEMENTAL!
But also, something really deep has shifted for me.
Those little conversations reverberate, things keep happening throughout the day, it's not over after my 10 minutes of sitting with it.
What's been happening now is me seeing my life now from my 17-25 year old perspective.
Hey! Look at what I did! Look at what I have!
I feel so proud of me.
And so excited to be where I am, with all of the SPACE I have to create what I want to create.
What also struck me is: I was not very sensitive at that time.
My teenaged-25 self is so annoyed and horrifying by me having so many FEELINGS and how those feelings can stop me from doing what I want to do.
She never experienced that.
As I've been sitting with that it's clear - she was so disconnected from her feelings that she experienced this all the time but didn't know it! In her experience, she was blocked by other things.
I am so much more powerful now.
Not being all filled up with un-processed feelings means I can face those other things in the way more effectively. AND it means that sometimes I do spend a lot of time processing feelings because that IS the path.
Even though most days I would be very tempted to trade emotional sensitivity for the ability to carry on functioning in the ways I want to while the world falls apart - I wouldn't REALLY make the trade.
Anyway - I woke up this morning feeling SO happy and grateful.
As I though about the question I am exploring - What helps me make more art, more often, from a deeper place? - I see something that was keeping me stuck with this:
I was looking for a way to be really organized and... I don't even know how to describe it... like always know what I am doing, follow very specific steps, like map it all out and then follow the path.
But that's not how art works.
The specific steps I can follow are to do THIS work. To meet my dream and look at what's in the way of connecting with my dream and work with that and out of this work always comes.... something.
So, one answer to my question is.... can I make space for that "something" that comes up?
Can I let go of CONTROLLING the process or wanting it to look a certain way?
A part of me wants it to look like - writing a blog post on Tuesdays and making new things for Dream Book on Wednesdays, etc.
CAN I JUST TRUST MY CREATIVE FLOW?
I know everything works better when I do.
But there is a part of me who wants to control the overall process. Make sure I am consistent with certain things.
I know I want to be consistent about being in the flow.
This part of me wants me to be consistent about newsletter emails, blog posts, social media posts, and promotional campaigns.
Bringing this part of me into the Un-Sticking Station:
(The Un-Sticking Station is only available to Dream Book members)
She shows up as me, in a beige suit, with a leather briefcase. She's quite thin and her hair is dyed light brown.
I have an overwhelming urge to hug her and try to help her be happier and more creatively alive but I am putting that aside to stick with the process and offer her some love.
She puts up a shield.
No thank you. I don't need LOVE. I need you to follow a schedule.
Oh wow. This is going to be harder than I thought.
Look at you! You're a mess!
No, I'm an artist. I'm a human who trusts her heart and intuition. And actually I am very organized - I've been running this business for a long time.
Not very well.
(But I can tell she's not completely convinced. She's starting to lower the shield and some love is coming in. I hold my hands up, palms aimed at her, and shoot rainbows of love her way)
I'm sending you love because I want you to know you are loved. I'd like to help you feel safe.
Excellent. I will feel safe when you are more organized. That thing you wrote - blog on Tuesdays, Dream Book on Wednesdays - that's a good start. Let's make a detailed schedule.
Can we start by just being with the quality/feeling of love and safety?
This is such an incredible waste of time.
Yeah, I see that you feel that way, and that making a schedule and getting to work feel like love and safety to you, but they are not actually love and safety. They are things that help you feel love and safety and I'd like to start by actually FEELING love and safety and then... we may come up with even better ways for you to feel loved and safe.
I don't want better ways. I want predictability and schedules and for you to stop this nonsense.
Yeah, but I am me. This is how I am going to do things.
I don't want to go in circles with you.
I don't want to go in circles with you either.
OK I think we can stop this meeting now.
It feels like something VERY helpful happened in meeting the part of me, but this is as far as it can go right now. I will check in with her again in a few days.
BUT I am going to make a compromise with this part of me. I will make a list of all of the things that she would like to see done each week. These are things I want to do too!!!
I'm also going to make some art around: following my creative flow vs being organized and following a schedule. Just drawing/journaling in my Dream Book and see where it goes.
There IS a balance to be found between the two. I want to be trusting my creative flow and also feel on top of things in terms of marketing my business and moving my projects forward.
I've been balanced between these before, and it feels like the best to balance them is shifting for me right now, so while things are shifting it's like both sides are vying for total control, lol.
Once I thought about HOW I would write/draw this in my journal, everything came together.
I saw how flow and structure each have their own place, and how they contribute to me having the experience I want AND moving towards the results I want.
And actually - this is what's in the Creative Planning and Project Management class, in the Dream Plan Kit. I know this, AND how I feel about the balance, and how the balance plays out, is shifting for me right now.
(The Dream Plan Kit is only available to Dream Book members)
AND this brings me back full circle to my question for this week!!!
Re-tooling this part will go a LONG way supporting me in making more art, from a deeper place, and sharing it more often.
It needs BOTH elements.
I feel like this actually answers the question. I can go into next week and implement what I've learned and see how it goes.
I write every day, Monday - Friday, about my own process of navigating the path between where I am and where I want to be.
I share these in the Daily Miracle Mastermind Posts inside the Dream Book community. I believe that showing HOW I walk my talk each day is one of the best ways of teaching.
Today's post, which is really messy and awkward, wanted to be shared out in public - which feels even more messy and awkward for me, but here I am, following my inspiration and seeing where it leads.
My goal this week:
I am exploring the question: What helps me make more art, more often, from a deeper place?
I really want to be making more art, writing more, sharing more.
I want it to all feel easier and more flowy.
There's also something in this that's like - I know I want something more but can't quite put my finger on WHAT it is.
So I am making space to sit with this question this week.
Today I am SO ANNOYED with the question.
I've got a blank page in my daytimer for this.
I filled in all the things I know that help me stay in my flow.
I'm so bored. I know this stuff. I have worked on this for so long. Why I am I here AGAIN?
Do I want to answer that?
I guess so, I don't know what else to do.
Why I am here again:
I'm not being as creative as I'd like to be.
As in, it seems to take more work to get into it.
I have more distractions.
I am more tired.
AND ALSO I feel more desire to be creating more. And that desire conflicts with what is happening and makes everything very uncomfortable.
So, yeah, I am here AGAIN. But... being here AGAIN is not a sign that I have failed, or regressed. It's just a part of the creative path.
Also - what helps changes as I change, as my life changes. Like, right now there are all of these specific things I can do to help with my peri-menopause symptoms that THAT helps very much with THIS.
OK this makes sense, I feel less annoyed that I am here AGAIN but I still feel annoyed in general, so let's bring annoyance into the Un-Sticking Station.
(The Un-Sticking Station is a class inside Dream Book for working through stucks - that link will only work for Dream Book members)
Annoyance shows up as my older teenaged - early 20s self.
OMG you are so lame. Look at all the things I make!! It's EASY to create, and you have all the opportunities I was dreaming of, and you're squandering them.
SQUANDERING?! I CREATED them.
I'm not going to justify myself to you. I am doing my best and I want to keep doing better and I need to know why you are so annoyed.
Because you're 48 and this should be easy by now.
*TEARS ALL AROUND*
Yes, I agree. This should be easy by now. And it's so hard for you to look 20-30 years ahead and see that it's not. Though I mean - often, it is. Sometimes it's not.
Sometimes it's not? Seems like more than sometimes.
Yeah! I mean - look at all the things I do!
I guess that's true.
Everything is just so HEAVY right now.
Annoyance is gone. Some kind of helpful guidance spirit enters the chat.
So what would help bring LIGHTNESS?
All the things I wrote on that list. Recognizing how painful the heaviness feels, recognizing how painful it feels to NOT be doing the creative things I want to be doing. Recognizing all of the conflicting feelings of everything.
This helpful guidance spirit points me to my art journal where I have been writing and drawing and painting my feelings as my Space-Making practice.
(Space-Making is a class inside Dream Book for making space to work on your dreams when working on your dreams feels like too much - that link will only work for Dream Book members)
It's like my creativity is in a bottle and all of these conflicting and totally valid feelings are kind of jammed in together, creating a bottle stop. I need to let them out before I can do the things I want to do.
So I took it to my journal:
Messy painting and angry journaling to let feelings out and what I came to was:
The indignity of being in the process of growth.
I need to open myself up to the process of growth and change and the possibility of healing.
Which means letting go of the places where I want to KNOW what to do next.
Being open. Following inspiration. Being willing to make mistakes, fail, and be surprised.
Today this all feels hard. But I'll do my best with it.
I just shared this photo on social media and I wanted to share it here too.
I turned 48 yesterday (had a really fantastic day which I wrote about here) and the thing I want most for my birthday is to make more art, write more, and share it more, and do it all from a deeper place.
This is kind of what I always want.
And it also always feels new because my creative dreams are always taking me to new places.
The reason why I wanted to send you this photo is my dress.
I do make all of my own clothes, I sewed and embrodered this shirt dress this winter.
This is the first in a new series of clothing I am making that are for the person that I am becoming next.
These clothes are a way of making space for this new version of me.
Space-Making has been on my mind a lot.
I created a new (very small and simple) program called Space-Making for people who want to join Dream Book and work with me but don't have the capacity for FULL ON MAKING IT HAPPEN right now.
Which, to be honest, is most of us these days.
Space-Making is this magical place of self care and restoration and healing - making space for the things you need and want, rather than Dream-Building which is the work of creating the path that leads to where you want to be.
I like to do both - Space-Making and Dream-Building.
But these days I definitely CANNOT Dream-Build if I don't Space-Make.
As stressful as it is to be alive on this planet right now, this is also a time of real potential for change.
We can create a better world.
I feel that more fully these days than I ever have before.
The intersection between creative dreams and activism feels lit up with possibility.
I wanted to leave you with a few journal prompts for the weekend.
How have your dreams changed over the last 2 years?
How have YOU changed?
How do you WANT to change next?
And think about joining me in Dream Book to give your dreams a boost.
I made a new welcome video on this page, explaining where we're at in the group right now.
As the world changes, we we change, as our dreams change, I keep making adjustments to make sure Dream Book remains a supportive growth-inducing space for everyone.
This is a discussion we've been having on Dream Book Zoom calls.
It starts with: How does a person hold space for themselves and their own process while also being a part of holding space for others IE working on dreams together in a group?
Which spawned the question: How do I, Andrea, do the work that I do where I hold space for myself and my own process as a part of how I hold space for others in my work?
We had Co-Dreaming a call where we got together to work on our next steps with our creative dreams.
This is what some people brought:
- artwork to work on
- admin tasks that they had been procrastinating on
- planning projects
- setting up new equipment
And one person brought a big painful stuck.
The stuck was about a life situation that was really hard and time consuming and it was bringing up a lot of stuff and that stuff was making progress on the creative dream project impossibly hard.
So we worked through it together.
One thing I REALLY want to do is normalize the stucks.
We feel alone in the stucks. We feel like we are "off track" or "not doing it right" so in these calls I really want to normalize understanding that these parts are all a part of the path.
When I say "bring what you've got to work on" I really do mean it. The thing that's stuck or the thing that's unknown are just as much a part of it as making the art and planning new projects.
At the end of the call, this is when the question was asked about how we are holding space.
One person who had been working on their own art while also listening to us work on the stuck and offer some ideas and space-holding was wondering - is this helpful for her? Did she focus too much on supporting the other person and not enough on her own project?
HOW do you hold space for others while also holding space for yourself?
There is a LOT inside this question.
The first thing is - how are you defining "holding space"?
Because holding space for other people, and for ourselves, is a place where A LOT of our unconscious behaviours and patterns can come into play, sometimes we think we're holding space but really we're doing something entirely different.
For the purpose of this article, holding space means:
- allowing space for the person to have the feelings and experience that they are have
- validating and honouring their feelings
- validating and honouring their experience
- supporting them in the ways that work for them, not bringing your own needs into it
But often, especially when people are being vulnerable, this can be tricky because of how we react to other people having feelings.
What happens there is we can become more focused on the feeling that's been triggered in us and how to get rid of it. Which means we are no longer holding space for the other person.
One common response in this scenario is to want to FIX or CHANGE what is happening. To offer ideas and advice and insights as a way of helping that person move through their experience more quickly because.... we feel uncomfortable with what they are sharing.
Another common response is the spiritual bypass. To feel uncomfortable with other people having feelings, so you kind of freeze out your own feelings, pretend you're not having any. Then you offer advice to help the other person stop having feelings too.
So, it's good to look at how YOU define holding space and where you may be struggling with it.
For Dream Book members - there is a 1 hour Q+A video on sovereignty that may help. The short version of that video, applied to this scenario, is:
Your feelings, experiences, and process are YOURS.
And other people's feelings, experiences and process are THEIRS.
Respecting the boundaries between those things is honouring sovereignty.
So if someone else shares something that upsets me, my work is to be with my own feelings, not try to rush that person out of their process so that I don't have to have my feelings about it. (Which is a fairly co-dependent response, and unfortunately really common in our culture).
It's not just dis-honouring of my own feelings that got triggered (because actually being with my feelings can help me heal) it's also dis-honouring of the other person's process because I am trying to get them out of their process ASAP instead of helping them move through its in the way that is right for them.
This is NOT holding space. But a lot of people really do "hold space" in this way in our culture. The new age tendency to spiritual bypass can really come into play here too.
Dream Book members: remember the Principles of Creative Dream Alchemy here, like: It takes the time it takes, Honour your process exactly as it is and don't wait or wish for it to be different, Feel the feelings that come up for you on the path to your dream.
Another aspect is the relationship between the people in the group, and the agreement about what we are doing together and how we are doing it.
In this group, I am offering group coaching. And our goal is to be able to move forward with our dreams.
The way I coach is all about drawing your creative genius out. I listen deep to what's being said and ask questions that help bring out more clarity. I generally don't bring in a lot of new ideas, but I will highlight things that are hiding beneath the things that are being said. You are a creative genius You have plenty of your own ideas.
I make this clear in the guidelines + policies for the group - we are working from the assumption that YOUR answers are in YOU.
Which means everyone else's answers are in them. So we're not about throwing advice at each other, but we sure can learn from each other.
The big thing about groups is that they have the potential to grow you deeper.
There is the saying: if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go in community. And that's what I believe happens in these groups.
So yes, we can go further and have a richer experience when we work in community. NOT BEING ALONE WITH YOUR DREAMS is big magic.
But also yes we can often go faster with our projects when we work on our own.
And it's NOT like you have to choose one or the other - you can do both.
Working on your own, you will find it much easier to avoid your own blind spots and not even know that you are doing this!
Working in a group, your blind spots can be shown to you through the mirror of the group.
(This is not the ONLY way to see beyond your blind spots. I actually set Dream Book up very deliberately so that the way you're journaling helps you see beyond your blind spots, working on your own, because seeing beyond your blind spots is integral to making any dream happen.)
The group can bring things up for you that don't notice on your own, but it's not really about the group. It's about your own relationship to group dynamics which are likely of course the family dynamics from your childhood and how you have internalized parts of them.
AND it's about your own relationship with yourself and your dreams.
So a lot of layers of internal stuff can be triggered for you while participating in any group.
This comes back to one of the principles I rely on: you notice/heal things when you are ready to notice/heal them.
You WILL walk around totally blind to the things about yourself that you would really benefit from looking at and dealing with.
We all do.
And you WILL start to notice it when you're ready to deal with it.
Which isn't necessarily when you FEEL ready to deal with it.
So you may notice it as a shock.
And it may be extremely uncomfortable.
And when we feel sudden uncomfortable feelings a natural tendency is to want to throw them back at whenever they came from.
But again - it's not about the group. You're seeing the mirror more clearly because you are ready to see it more clearly.
It's an invitation.
The great thing about a group where everyone is deliberately and specifically there to GROW INTO THEIR DREAMS is that when we plug into that shared intention it get stronger.
You're not holding your intention alone, everyone is holding it with you.
And so - things can shift. Just like you can be triggered by group dynamics or the things that other people share - you can also be inspired, healed and filled up by your interactions with the group.
I think it's magic.
AND it will push us to really look at our selves and our boundaries and our "stuff" in a new light.
So much growth.
Back to the question: How do you hold space for your own process while also holding space for others in a group?
The shortest answer is: practice.
And then also: presence. Notice in your body and mind where you engage and where you check out.
How does it feel to be fully engaged with the group, present with whoever is speaking, trusting them to navigate their own process, and holding space for them?
How does it feel to be fully engaged with your own feelings that come up, holding space for yourself?
Imagine those two points as a spectrum. Now where on that spectrum feels the most comfortable to you?
That answer may be different from day to day.
When it comes to Dream Book: you joined the group to work on your dreams. So that's the priority.
But that doesn't mean there isn't space to hold space for others in what they're working with - and sometimes that work actually helps nurture your dreams in ways you don't always see at first.
So. Show up to the calls and participate in the ways that feel right for you and I do believe you will find your way.
And onto the second question: How do I, personally do this, as the leader of the group while also participating in it?
One thing I do quite differently than most teachers in the personal growth space is that I do share my own process more deeply, openly, and consistently than anyone else I've seen.
I use myself as an example of what it means to have a daily practice of using what you have to create what you want. I write about this and share it EVERY DAY (Monday-Friday) in our private mastermind group.
I'm able to do this because I've been doing this work for so long that the container of my practice is extremely sturdy.
I KNOW I will work through stuff. Maybe not in 1 day or even a week, but I have enough experience to know that I'll get there. Having that trust means I'm not sharing from a place of trying to get attention or approval or hope that someone will come in and rescue me. It means people don't worry about me.
Say when things are rough they'll offer support but I'm not putting them into a position where they are concerned for me and need to put their own dreams aside to hold space for me.
That's the big thing. That boundary.
I am holding space for the group. This is my job. This comes first.
My own practice helps me be able to do this.
I'm DOING my practice for myself and SHARING it for others.
As I wrote about the spectrum of holding space only for yourself and holding space only for others, I have to remain aware of where I am on that spectrum.
A part of the work of me BEING ABLE to hold space for others in a consistent way (I have been running a membership holding space for others since the summer of 2012) is having a study practice for myself and clear boundaries.
There are some things about my practice that I don't share because my purpose in how I share is ALWAYS space-holding for the group.
So anything I can't share within that purpose - anything that I really need support on - I work on by myself, or with my support systems outside of my work.
I believe space-holders NEED a support system.
Because the new age/personal growth industry is unregulated, it felt important to me to have support from a licensed therapist. I told her one of my therapy goals is making sure I am ok to hold space for others.
If I don't have all of the support I need outside of my work, I AM likely to shift the boundaries and unconsciously start leading the group in a way that focuses on getting MY needs met.
I have a lot of training as a space-holder though that doesn't mean I think you need a ton of training. I know some people with no training have excellent skills and some people with a ton of training still can't effectively hold space for others.
Part of my training included having teachers who were not walking their own talk. By experiencing the stress this causes for their students, I learned that walking my talk - and showing people HOW I walk my talk - was really important to me as a teacher.
Those teachers were also not getting the support they needed. Because of that, they were using their students to try to get their needs met - ie: approval, admiration - in mostly unconscious ways that created more problems than solutions.
If you have an unconscious goal to receive something from your students you absolutely cannot hold space for them in an effective way. Your energy is split.
Again - my purpose in how I share is ALWAYS space-holding for the group - not that I never need approval or admiration or other things, but I work on having the support I need to get those needs met outside of my work so I am not unconsciously seeking them from my students.
Another aspect is - this is just my unique way of doing things.
Everyone has gifts to share. And making it a practice to share your gifts helps you figure out how to share your gifts.
You learn as you practice, you grow as you practice, and you apply that learning and growth to how you continue to practice.
As I have done this over the years, this is how the work has evolved for me.
When we do our monthly new moon intention setting calls, I am right there with everyone setting my intentions.
The first part of the call is a meditation + journaling session that I participate in.
The second part of the call is coaching for processing things that are coming up for people.
If I have a bunch of stuff coming up that I am struggling with - I know I have to work on that later. That the call time is time for everyone else.
It's that boundary that I know my job is to hold space for the group, so that's always my first priority.
And again, my experience means I KNOW that I will work through it, I have the tools, space and support I need to trust that completely, so it's fine to put it down and focus on the group for the rest of the call. I can work on my own stuff later.
I actually enjoy sharing the stories of when I fail because I REALLY want people to know they are not alone in those parts of the journey.
Even though I still fail all the time, even though I have self doubts and anxiety and inner critics... I also HAVE my biggest dream come true, which is to use my creative gifts to help others and to be financially sustained by that work.
I have a lot of the freedom, spaciousness, and ease that I dreamed of for so long while I was trying to figure out how to offer my gifts in a way that people would receive them. (I was a starving artist, and then a person working in a cubicle while dreaming of a different life, before I started doing this full time)
So I really want people to see that they can fail and stumble a lot along the way and that they can still get there.
There are lots of people who hold space by not sharing their own process at all.
A dear friend, and someone I admire the hell out of, Chris Zydel, teaches intuitive painting and almost never shares her paintings and holds space masterfully.
As I said, it's a spectrum.
We all get to find the right place for us to be on that spectrum.
There is no one ideal way.
And this is only one blog post, this is NOT everything you need to know about holding space for others and yourself.
We did go back to that question on our next live call.
I told that person that I had written this post with a bunch of my thoughts, BUT ALSO I didn't know how useful this post would be to them, personally.
So we talked about the feeling that came up when she felt that fear "did I just put my own work aside to be there for someone else - during the time when I had the intention of working on my own work - and is this good for me?"
Because in some situations - yes this is VERY good for you!
And in some situations - yes you DID just sabotage your own dreams.
So we talked it though, to the point where she said "Oh it's that damn onion of life again" and yes that's what it is. So many interconnecting layers of our stuff and how we react to things.
It all comes together with our dreams.
All of the things you need to look at and heal. All the things you want to avoid. All of your most important gifts. All of the things that matter most to you.
They're all together there in a tangle and that tangle IS the path.
So navigating that path is never supposed to look like smooth sailing.
I'm sending an email to all Dream Book members with just the important details, and writing this here for anyone who wants to read the whole story.
Let's start by saying: These are intense times.
When the pandemic first hit North America, I was delighted that the tools I was teaching for how to do Inner Work to navigate fear/unconscious sabotaging patterns/self doubt/those times when everything is foggy and you don't know why.... those tools were working for the new "pandemic overwhelm".
And then a little deeper in I saw - more and more people are not able to keep up with the pace of this program.
So I created a new option to turn off the lesson emails (and still get emails about live calls, etc) and just work through the material at your own pace. And an option to re-start the email series time you want.
And I was very encouraging about not following the timeline of the emails. I'm not teaching math here, this is 100% non-linear.
And not the neat and tidy "it's a spiral journey!" kind of non-linear but the actual total chaos of healing and growing your way into a dream. Being in your process matters so much more than following any kind of timeline with your dream.
And then 2022 happened.
It's harder than ever for most people to engage with the deep work that your dream needs from you.
AND our dreams are calling louder than ever.
I've been reaching out and asking Dream Book members to speak to me, to share what parts they struggle with.
And, since I know the whole program so well, I could offer them different approaches to take that would work for where they are.
And I could look at what was happening for people in a broader sense, to see what needed to change with the structure of Dream Book.
At first, I created three different "paces" for the program:
The current pace was re-named to this:
I am ready to blast off! I have the time and energy to do this!
There ARE people in the group that the current set-up is working for, and I didn't want to change anything for them.
And then I created a slower pace:
I am ready to begin but let's take it slow.
Which felt like it was honouring where most of our capacity actually is and created a balance between "not being able to do your dream exactly how you want" and "not giving up completely".
And then for the people who were too overwhelmed for that, I also created this one:
I want to do this but I'm overwhelmed. Let's start with space-making and healing.
This is completely different content. It's VERY content-light and self-care-heavy, to meet you in those places where you feel flattened and help you fill yourself back up.
Once I got into the creative process I refined this some more.
As I was deciding HOW slow the slow pace should be I realized - it's irrelevant.
SHOWING UP is all that matters. Getting you into your process is all that matters because once you're there you'll find your right way, and pace.
Now - Dream Book is a MONSTER of a program. It's EVERYTHING you need for the inner AND outer healing AND growth that your dream needs from you. AND it's a way of journaling that helps you turn your journal into a map that helps you get to where you want to be.
I always had checklists on the website to help you get started, but in these overwhelming times, just looking at a monster of a program can feel like too much, and make it hard to focus on the checklists.
Once you're INTO IT, of course you WANT the whole monster because one day the problem is self doubt and the next day you want to work on developing more momentum and the next day you're procrastinating and yes you need different tools for each thing.
So I simplified the checklist.
Going back a minute - at the time when people first wanted to do this self-paced without the emails, what I did was copy all of the emails (124!) onto the website and create a checklist out of them so you could always see where you were.
Going back further - I first created the Dream Book content AND THEN I created the year-long series of emails guiding you through the content.
But it's more complex than that because Dream Book draws from another program of mine - Creative Dream Alchemy. The way I describe it is: Creative Dream Alchemy is the magic that powers Dream Book.
Creative Dream Alchemy is a library of tools for Dream Work, Inner Work and Outer Work.
Remember when I said Dream Book is a way of journaling that helps you turn your journal into a map that helps you get to where you want to be. In order to walk that path - you are going to need these other tools.
So sometimes in Dream Book instead of a specific lesson about Dream Book I ask you to use a specific tool in the library of Creative Dream Alchemy.
One of the things I am doing there is encouraging you to create a practice of using the tools. If you're stuck - use the Un-Sticking Station, don't just stay stuck. If you're doubting your dreams, use the process for doubting your dreams, etc. I encourage you to remember that the tools are always there to use AS YOU NEED THEM, not just as they come to you in the Dream Book lessons.
Years 2 + 3 of Dream Book are more around using the tools to support you in going deeper into your own process.
Back to my point about simplifying the checklists:
Some of these email lessons pointed to Dream Book lessons. Some of these email lessons pointed to other tools on the website and asked you to work with them in specific ways.
So.... some of the lesson emails are not actually needed, for those I put those Dream Book lessons into the checklist instead of the email-turned-into-a-web-page.
Some of the lesson emails ARE needed, so I left those as they were.
It reduces the number of pages you are reading, and checkmarks you have to tick off.
As I said - it simplifies the checklist, which is a small thing but actually makes it feel different.
Then once I had that realized - the pace is IRRELEVANT so why create a slow pace?
Creating the fast pace and slow pace is still defining "fast and slow" and they're NOT relevant in ANY way.
Depth is what is relevant and each person measures that in their own way.
So then I decided to NOT create a specific pace for that middle option - the "let's take it slow" because everyone will just take it how they take it.
The original email option - the "I have time and energy and am ready to really do this" option - will still exist. It will be presented as "IF you have time and energy and IF having 2-3 emails per week lead you through feels helpful to you, then sign up here"
But NO pace - NO emails leading you through - can make it really easy to not follow through.
That's why I first designed Dream Book the way I did - with artwork and encouragement in the emails as consistent reminders about your dream and all the magic that it has for you.
Luckily in Dream Book there is another option.
I write on our private blog (The Daily Miracle Mastermind) every day, Monday - Friday, to share what I am doing in my process.
This blog used to be where we'd work together, in the comments, and members would share what was happening for them. But in the last few years it's gotten more quiet as more people have switched to emailing me when they have a question.
So I am going to encourage people back to the blog, and back to leaving questions/thoughts in the comments where they can connect with other members outside of the live calls.
It makes sense that so many people turned inward in the last few years. And it makes sense to re-connect now.
So I will encourage everyone who is NOT doing the Dream Book lesson emails to sign up for the private blog by email, and in those emails will be artwork and encouragement and links to join us in the comments AND a link to the Dream Book checklist which you can work through at your own pace.
And the Space-Making program:
There are times when we are just too overwhelmed to engage with our dreams, no matter how much we want to.
The work of taking care of ourselves and refilling the well IS THE WORK YOUR DREAMS NEED FROM YOU.
The way I see it, it's all the same. And you can use Dream Book for navigating the process of re-plenishing yourself.
When you're overwhelmed it's hard to find your way.
So I did create the Space-Making program, which is light on content and heavy on self care.
We focus on creating a space-making practice which can start as small as staring at the wall for 1 minute. If you can stare at the wall for 1 minute, you can begin the process of MAKING SPACE for yourself and your dreams.
It's got 8 lessons the help you find you way in to a gentle dream work practice.
And, same deal as Dream Book - you can guide yourself through it on the checklist or you can sign up for it via email - you get an email every 3-4 days.
This feels really good to me.
Dream Book ALWAYS wants to shift and re-configure to be able to meet people where they are.
YOU are the bridge between your dream and the world, your dream work practices need to be do-able where you are today AND transformative/generative so they help you create the future you want.
I recorded myself reading this blog to you! I LOVE it. Though - it's SUPER rainy and I thought the rain falling might add a romantic touch, it just sounds staticky. So - next time I'll wait for the rain to clear, but I am loving this idea of reading my blogs to you in this way:
I help people get un-stuck and yet I still get stuck.
I do have an inner critic who is all "Seriously?! How can you keep saying you can help people when YOU are so stuck right now?"
These inner critic voices are SO black + white that they miss what is actually happening. They don't care about truth, they care about saying something that hits in such a way that it STOPS you.
It's true, I've been feeling super stuck with a lot of projects lately.
And the people are work with in Dream Book are more stuck than ever!
Not all of them, but more people than ever are writing to me to say "OMG ARRGHGHSO I DON'T KNOW WHAT I AM DOING!!!!"
So I've been writing a lot about being stuck, and about navigating transformational times.
I've been creating a new program called Space-Making which is a super gentle and do-able way to start to make space for yourself, and your dream, in your life. A way to ease into Dream Book for those times when you are too overwhelmed to really get into the work of dream-making.
I'm creating this because I still believe in our dreams and want everyone to find their way in to the magic of really deeply working with your dreams.
And I love the ways that people's dreams have changed over the last few years.
But back to the stucks.
Yes, I'm stuck with a few things right now because being stuck is an important part of the process.
Being stuck is where you look at things from different angles.
Being stuck is where you make space to FEEL your feelings... process them, learn more about yourself, and find our more about what you're really made of.
Being stuck is where you get real with yourself about the ways that YOU get in your way.
Being stuck is where you get real with yourself about where people in your life are in your way, and if you're brave you will start to set new boundaries.
Being stuck is a pivotal point.
This idea that you can take one step after another and go all the way from where you are to where you want to be without ever getting stuck - this is a fantasy that is holding you back.
THIS IS ONE OF THE MOTHER STUCKS because it keeps you from starting until you can see that clear path. That clear path doesn't exist so you will never actually start, but you won't feel upset by that because you are believing the lie that you are "waiting for the right time".
If only our stucks came with neon signs that said "Transformational experience here! Stop and look more closely at this!"
Which is, actually, my job. I hold up that sign and offer the tools that help you transform the stuck.
And even still, sometimes we will look at the tools and say "Oh, no, no this isn't an "opportunity for transformation" this is an outer obstacle and I need to just sit here and wait for someone else to clear it for me. Surely life will be less crazy in a few months."
The only way out is through.
We can sit with a stuck for years.
I had one for about 15 years - it was this idea that "I'm just not into business" and "There isn't a way to do the things I want to do and make enough money to live well".
I had these ideas that people with amazing work GET DISCOVERED.
I had hope that one day some kind of manager would find me, and take care of the business parts for me.
So I kept doing my work, on the side while working in an office after the starving artist thing became too stressful.
Until the time came when I decided to look at that stuck more closely.
It's funny for me now to look back at when I was SO SURE I could never do what I do now as my way of earning a living. I've been doing it for 11.5 years, and it feels like the only way I want to be in the world.
We are wrong about SO. MUCH.
So I look back to that, remember how sure I felt and how wrong I was, and ask "What am I wrong about now?"
There actually are an infinite number of paths that lead from where you are now to where you want to be.
You can only see the options that your current perspective will allow you to see.
And your CAPACITY plays a big role in how large your perspective is.
And I think we're all struggling with capacity issues right now.
AT THE SAME TIME
When we can find ways to NOT let this shrink our dreams, this is actually a time of HUGE NEW possibilities.
To dream BEYOND what we've dreamed before.
It's really stressful to have inflation rising out of control and increased civil unrest everywhere and attacks on our democracies and a war that threatens to pull most of the world into it and a pandemic that rages on while watching climate happen right in front of our eyes.
When I say I'm excited about dreaming BEYOND what we've dreamed before...
I am not talking about DREAM BIGGER! Seven figures is the new six figures!
I am talking about DREAM TRUER! We can create a whole new way of doing this life.
I am seeing so many people doing this, like:
- Creating collaborative ways of working instead of trying to build the biggest business in the least time.
- Holistic practitioners taking an honest look at the cultural appropriation in their training, and working with Indigenous people to clean it up and create new ways of doing things.
- Art as a vehicle for activism.
- Coaching as a vehicle for activism!
Shifts are happening.
It feels like a whole new movement of healing and creativity is springing up. One that is focused on activism, anti-racism, disability rights, honouring everyone's unique gifts. One that is deeply rooted in anti-oppressive ideologies and consciously looking for how to be as intersectional as possible.
It feels, to me, that the new age movement (including holistic wellness, yoga, life coaching) was attempting to do all of this without doing ANY of the deeper work of understanding what white supremacy, colonization and privilege actually are, and so without ANY understanding of how we draw on these oppressive ideologies and systems in how we do EVERYTHING. And so all it was was the colonization of Indigenous spirituality in various forms.
But now, we are starting to wake up.
We are starting to see new possibilities, which were always there, but hidden in our considerable blind spots.
This is the time for dreaming the new world into being.
So, then I come back to where I started: holy shit I feel so stuck with so many projects right now.
But now - all I feel is possibility.
A stuck is an opportunity for healing and transformation. Doing this work frees up new energy for the dream.
As always, you are welcome to do this work with me in Dream Book. This is my comprehensive program for how to create the path that leads from where you are to where you want to be, by engaging more deeply and directly with the Inner Work and Inner Growth (I call the inner GROWTH the Dream Work) that your dream needs from you, and then using the energy freed up in that work as fuel for the outer work.
It's comprehensive. It's complex. It will help you heal and grow beyond what you believe is possible right now.
This was my practice this morning: painting my feelings.
I have a lot to say about this process of space-making. I was writing about it all weekend.
But today, that's not what's in me to share.
Today I want to share that I woke up anxious.
And so I made myself a latte and a green smoothie (well it came out red because I added a few slices of beetroot) and sat with my feelings and this is what came out.
I found the light. I followed it to a place where I was able to soften my body and mind, and offer myself some advice about slowing down and being more present with myself
A lot of people feel anxious right now.
I didn't have an issue with anxiety before the pandemic. I have one now.
Lots of people don't feel anxious but to worry or feel stressed or are just overwhelmed.
This is where we're at, collectively and yet a lot of people are feeling alone in it. I want you to know that you are not alone.
And the world is asking us to carry on as though this is not where we're at.
A space-making practice is a way to rebel against that.
It's actually a way to create a better world, both your own personal world and the larger world that we share.
Space-making helps us find the softness in the hard places. And those soft places do tend to come with dreams attached. Ideas for new things we want to create or new ways we want to be or experiences we want to have. The softness shows us the way.
The first step is to honour how you're feeling.
Give yourself the grace of making space to be where you are.
How do you feel right now? Where is that feeling in your body? Anywhere else? What's the story running through your mind?
Is there any light to be found? What might help this all soften? What do you need right now?
Tomorrow - Monday, April 18 at 10 am Central - I will be on Instagram live for Creative Genus Planning Sessions for this week.
We'll do a short feel-good meditation for starting the week and a discussion about navigating your next steps.
This week I want to talk a bit about those times when you have no clue what to do next.
These are not times to stop!! These are actually times of transformation.
I have a lot to share about this and I know it will be a great discussion.
The last few weeks I've been working more closely with the people in Dream Book who feel ready to give up.
With everything that's happening it's like why even bother?
But beneath that "why bother?" story are a LOT of complex layers of feelings.
And giving up is real fuel for our inner critics and their "See? I told you you shouldn't have tried. Of course you failed" stories.
Giving up is not your only option.
People are FEELING LIKE giving up is the only option because they don't have the capacity to work on their dreams in the same way they could 2 years ago.
And when you're overwhelmed it's easy to not notice that THERE ARE OTHER WAYS. You don't have to choose between doing things that feel impossible and giving up completely.
These times call for new ways of engaging with ourselves, our creative projects, and our biggest dreams for who we want to be and what we want to create.
We can approach Creative Dreaming as a HEALING practice.
We can approach Creative Dreaming as a SELF CARE practice.
We can approach Creative Dreaming as a SPACE-MAKING practice.
I have been writing all weekend.
For the last two years, my writing time has been really stiffled because I don't have the mental clarity + capacity to write like I used to.
This weekend, it's kind of back because I am SO inspired by looking at all of the places where people tell me they get stuck, and creating new ways through.
The places where we get stuck are opportunities for growth.
I have a free healing circle called The Hard Parts Are Where The Magic Happens where I show you exactly what I mean by this.
And this approach that I have been teaching for a long time has worked for a long time... But right now, with all the stress in the world, more and more people are just not able to get into it.
So as I have been working with those people more closely, I am seeing ways to add more gentleness, slowness, self care and magic to make the work DO-ABLE even when you feel absolutely flattened.
And as I did that I realised.... oh wow these are the practices I have been doing too!
I have been doing them seperate from Dream Book, but as I look back (hindsight is 20/20!) I see that this is the work that helped me, over the pandemic, continue to engage with the deeper dream-building work in Dream Book.
So I am creating two new options for Dream Book:
One is for when you are completely overwhelmed. The focus is healing, self care and space-making. Instead of giving up, you can focus on healing and self care as forms of MAKING SPACE for your dream.
One is for when you are ready to take your next steps with your dreams, but you've got a busy life or you're going through stuff, so you have limited time and attention for this work. You don't have to put your dream aside completely to take care of yourself.
And the original Dream Book will be called the "I am ready to BLAST OFF!" version for when you DO have the time and energy to dive deep into your next-level dream-making. This pace is ideal for wellness practitioners, healers, coaches and guides. But if you're new to this work and have a LOT of time and energy to devote and want to dive right into the deep end, this is also a good place to start.
It doesn't matter where you are are.
Your dream is always here to help you heal and grow.
To give yourself what you need now AND move yourself towards where you want to be.
I hope to see you tomorrow on the Instagram live.
Yesterday I made a new video about Dream Book and how we've been navigating everything since 2020.
The goal has NOT been to make sure everyone "stays on track" with their dreams and goals! Though anyone who has wanted to do that has been supported in that.
For most people though, the goals and dreams have changed, figuring out how to navigate the pandemic, physically and emotionally, suddenly became a priority.
But the tools stayed the same. The work stayed the same: Meeting yourself where you are and moving towards where you want to be.
It's just that there's a lot more overwhelm, exhaustion and heaviness to work through these days.
And I gotta say - NOT working through it feels like a really bad option. These last two years have been traumatizing, and doing nothing to process all of your feelings means they are going to be impacting you for a very long time.
Unprocessed feelings DO dull our dreams and our whole lives.
Lately, with where we are now, it's all gotten heavier, so I am shifting gears a little.
For the people who can engage with it - Dream Book remains a program that will help you build the path to your dream, handle all of the inner work of facing the places where you hold back, even all the stuff that's in your blind spots that you don't know about, and then help you GROW into the version of yourself that can navigate that path that leads to where you want to be.
But not everyone can engage with all of that right now and that is completely understandable.
For the people who can't engage with it because that's just too much - we're focusing on SPACE-MAKING.
I'm creating the new Space-Making program - though "program" is maybe the wrong word as this will be in VERY small doses so it can be done when you have NO capacity, because it can help increase capacity and make space from where you are. I guess "support system" is a better description.
And while I am creating that, I am inviting ALL Dream Book members to email me, let me know where you're at, and I'll help you come up with some tools/practices/support that are immediately helpful for your self care and help you shift towards where you want to be.
This is NOT a time to give up.
I have been working with a few people who had given up and are coming back to it and have all of the impacts of giving up to work through now.
Giving up on your dreams doesn't make everything else easier. It doesn't sooth overwhelm or bring lightness to the heaviness of the world.
What it does is add some new heavy layers of feelings. For some it's shame, grief, sadness, disappointment, that "see I knew you'd fail" kind of thing.
It's ALSO not the time to carry on as you had been.
I don't think anyone has that kind of energy and mental clarity right now.
But those are NOT your only options. This is actually an ideal time for CHANGE.
WHAT IF you were working on your dreams as a healing practice?
WHAT IF you were working on your dreams as a self care practice?
WHAT IF there was no pressure or timelines or perfectionism?
WHAT IF this was a way of bringing JOY into your life, right here right now, while also setting your future self up for MORE joy?
This is what our dreams have always been asking of us.
This is what Dream Book has been encouraging you to do all along. Your dream is here to HEAL you, GROW you, and bring you the JOY of being who you really are.
But you know that "how you do anything is how you do everything" thing? We bring a lot of shitty patterns into how we approach our dreams.
We can stop doing that.
In fact, not like I like to should anyone, but I think we SHOULD stop doing that.
There is a much better way.
So here is that video:
And here is Dream Book. Send me an email when you join and we'll work out your unique way of getting into all of this.