Tag Archives: inspiration

Personal Territory

19 Jul

The 4 Chicks Chat about Julia Cameron’s Walking in this World: The Practical Art of Creativity – Chapter 5: Discovering a Sense of Personal Territory

Recently, my dear Chicks set out to create more boundaries.  That might sound counter-intuitive.  After all, creativity is about going to new places, drawing outside the lines, right?  Yes, but these boundaries are the ones artists must put in place to ensure their energies are not sapped, misdirected or squandered.  If you want golden eggs, you must protect the goose who lays them.

Our First Guest Chick

24 Jun

The 4 Chicks are delighted to welcome their first Guest Chick!  Shelby is a talented photographer in the Orlando area.  Here, she discusses with the Chicks how she ended up on this creative path and what she loves about it.  To see some of Shelby’s amazing work, visit http://www.simplyshelbyphoto.com.

The Joy of Discovery

21 Jun

Last week, I finally went to a place I’ve been wanting to visit for years.  Each time I drove by, I’ d think, “someday I’m going to make time and go there.”  Well, that ‘someday’ finally arrived.  It was the second day of summer break and we had the whole day to play with. 

The place is the Albin Polasek Museum and Sculpture Gardens.  The museum is small and the gardens are large.  Perfect for kids.  And they have picnic tables down by the lake.  What could be better?  So, Vivi and I packed sandwiches, and then the kids, into the car and off we went.  I’m so glad we did!

What a cornucopia of delights.  The gardens are beautiful and everything is in bloom.  They slope from the museum and house down to the shore of Lake Osceola.   There are winding paths, sunny lawns and plenty of shady spots to rest under the trees.  I felt lighter and more creative the moment I stepped into the gardens.  Honestly, I couldn’t wait to get back home and write.

We enjoyed our picnic under the trees by the lake.  Then, crafty mothers that we are, we managed to extend our lounging time and sneak some learning in for the kids by challenging them to a scavenger hunt for various types of sculpture.  We sat and chatted while they ran off in search of sculptures in bronze, concrete, terracotta and more, reporting back to us with the name of each sculpture to prove they had found one. 

Then, the boys led us on a tour of the gardens, showing us their found treasures.  Last, they tried their hands at becoming part of the exhibit, as you can see in the picture here. 

Another pleasant discovery was the exhibit in the museum gallery.  It was the work of a father and son.  The father, Arthur Jones, creates wood art and the son, Sam Jones, uses mixed media.   I love wood art and this was amazing – whimsical, educational and so smooth, you just want to reach out and touch it. (Of course, we didn’t!)  We even got to meet Mr. Jones (the father), as he was there that day.   The son’s work was both fun in some cases and insightful in others and sometimes both.   Mr. Jones (the son) had worn a magnet on his shoe for one year, and there was a display of what he picked up day by day.  Funny to see how many safety pins and bobby pins there were along with screws, metal filings and the occasional leaf stuck between objects.   

I personally felt synchronicity at work, as I found out the son lives in my hometown of Houston and we are around the same age, and the father lives near Orlando, my adopted town.   It was fun learning of these two artists.  To see some of their work, check out  the exhibits section of http://polasek.org/ and Sam’s work at his gallery at http://www.ivgallery.com/

So many enjoyable discoveries were made that day and isn’t that what art is all about?       

 Art is a path to the superior ~Albin Polasek

The Upside of Falling

18 Jun

There are worse things than falling. Giving up when faced with adversity, for example, and living safely within one’s certain boundaries of success, as another. I recently learned of these through beautiful and tangible illustrations worthy of sharing.

Last weekend, I went to see some friends perform from Delibes’ famously charming ballet, Coppelia. You may recall my friend Caroline and our ballet mistress, Stella, from my past posts about breaking the Guinness World Record. So the first excerpt was a lovely duet with Caroline and another dancer. Next came a male solo by Stella’s young and talented grandson, Lashard.

Then, at about (3:20) in this video, Lashard’s music stopped. For a second, my heart stopped with it. But then something truly remarkable happened: Lashard kept dancing. For what seemed like a frozen eternity but was really only another seventy-five seconds, he kept dancing. Even though the music played only in his head, Lashard orchestrated every leap, jump and turn on beat, causing a stunned and appreciative audience to applause throughout. Their spontaneous clapping punctuated the intimidating silence, during which could only be heard the deft workings of Lashard’s feet, as they landed in their prescribed positions on the vast and empty stage. I was incredibly proud of my young friend and deeply moved by his courageous perseverance.

Next came Caroline’s solo, which was executed gracefully and flawlessly. Finally, the three dancers joined together on the stage. After about four minutes of challenging choreography, however, the unthinkable happened to Caroline. As seen in this video, she fell to the ground. It was only for a second, and she was back up again in her final pose as if it had never happened, but I was devastated for her. An otherwise perfect performance had been ruined at the very end. Or had it?

When I afterwards attempted to console my friend, expecting her to be very upset, she surprised me yet again with her casual, good-humored reaction. She laughed and explained how falling is actually a good thing. While not ideal for a performance, of course, it does help you know that you’re stretching the limits of what you can do. She had gone for the double pirouette, feeling it within her grasp. This time, it didn’t work out, but that was okay. Or to grossly misquote Lord Tennyson: ‘Tis better to have tried and fallen than never to have tried at all.

What’s more, Caroline’s theory means that never falling is actually bad, a sure sign of complacency. Yikes! The metaphorical mandate for my life is clear. I must reprogram my brain accordingly.

FALLING IS NOT FAILING. They are two different things. Trying and then falling is growth, and hence, succeeding. So here is my challenge–and yours, if you want to take it: Let’s see if, the next time things don’t go according to plan in our lives, you and I can embrace falling with more perspective and, yes, with more grace.

MaryBeth – Orlando, Florida

1 Jun

This Chick Story comes straight from the heart. It addresses the opportunity to create despite and amid times of painful change. As MaryBeth reminds us, any creative action forward is better than “Kybosh”!

Did you ever notice how creativity sometimes (more than not) comes from some kind of adversity? Maybe it’s the human penchant for curiosities, or maybe it’s just me. The most popular TV shows are ‘reality shows’. We slow down and watch accidents on the roads. And if you look at music lyrics, some of the most popular songs for an artist are written at the worst or lowest points of their lives.

I am no exception. It seems that I have loads to say when things don’t go right for me, or when I’m at my busiest. It’s then that I always seem to have the time and inclination to write it all down, every swirly thought in my head. It pours like water down a mountain. Pulling and pushing other things along while forming indelible creases in the ‘face’ of my spirit and along the trails of my soul. You’d think when things are ‘good’, or at least not full of turmoil, it’d be a peaceful place to be in, and to create from, but I typically don’t have much going through my head to keep the swirl going I guess. Sounds vapid I know, but it’s like a storm needs to churn up the water to get things moving. It’s funny, I use lots of water imagery in my thoughts but I was afraid of the water as a kid! So I’m trying to re-focus and come at my creative process from a place of peace and contentment rather than angst, yet it doesn’t seem to be the wellspring I was hoping for!

So I journal, and that helps to get it all out. I can extract some interesting thoughts later like, “I write when I’m angry, I clean when I’m nervous, I craft/create when I’m happy. It’s like my spiritual mood ring”.

In all of this I find my outlets and paths that constantly change. My focus for the last few years has been directing theatre, or even facilitating opportunities for others to excel or contribute their talents in new places with my introduction, (I’m an artistic Yenta!), while writing and crafting have been secondary, and acting had been kept at a far away last place. This is where the phrase “_____ is my middle name” comes in for me.

Unlike my siblings, I wasn’t given a middle name at my adoption. I remember once my mom saying “…you don’t need one, I don’t have one…”. So much for explanations! Well, not having one officially, it changes, and lately mine is Kybosh, because it’s become ingrained into my vernacular as surely as my name! Kybosh is actually a word (it may be used more in Yiddish, to my Irish/Slovak Catholic upbringing it’s not common, but I tend to glean and retain lots!) meaning: to put a stop to, halt, to prevent from continuing.

Not that I’m self deprecating or crying out for sympathy, I just tend to face the realities of my life as a pessimist in attempt to not get hurt when things out of my control change my path in life.

In my 42 years it’s been a long climb to independence as a person in an earthly sense, so I still need to work my moves emotionally as well. As I try to make plans and do some creative work, it always seems that’s when kybosh happens. While waiting for ‘what’s next’, pretty much everything is changed. It seems my directing aspect is going to be taking the backseat forcibly, and my writing and acting sides are moving back to the forefront right now. A short story from a vague idea a friend asked me to expand and write about is actually being pitched to animate! From that, other related stories are stepping into my head. Along with that, several auditions have come up and no matter what else is going on for me, since I was old enough to talk and walk, I was singing and dancing and acting like other people, so there is nothing like being on stage or in a show!

Having made the cut for one part, I’m very happy to be acting again, and the excitement of these possibilities has been giving me some positive aim as I once again seem to be perpetually changing my “middle name” to something…anything is better than kybosh!

Inspired by The Artist’s Studio

22 May

I found another post on Freshly Pressed and was absolutely inspired by it!   It includes pictures from inside the studio of a successful NYC artist.   Though I don’t consider myself a visual artist (well, not drawing, painting, pottery, etc,) I love, love, love being in their workspaces.  I love the ideas made visual, the shapes and, most of all, the colors.   The site it’s posted on is called Underground Biz which makes me want to go visit NYC. Right. Now.  And Paige, the author, seems like a supercool Chick.

Check out the post here:    http://undergroundbiz.net/2011/05/12/inside-the-artists-studio/#comment-300

Here’s a pic of another “studio” though I won’t say whose.  Do places like these inspire you?

Vision Board Resurrected

9 May

Like my fellow Chicks Eva and Tracey, I finally saved my vision board from a dusty netherworld.  Mine was in the corner of my office behind my sofa side table. 

What does it mean that I relegated it there?   That I am not taking my own vision seriously enough?   That I fear others will scoff at my dreams?   Maybe and definitely yes and probably much more.  I now have it by my bookshelf where I can see it more easily.  It’s not mounted, framed and lit, but if  others look around when they come into my office, they can see it too.   And now, anyone who looks at this post can see at least a corner of it.

I love looking at it.  Every picture on it speaks to me.  Which is why I guess it made it to my vision board in the first place.   What will others think when they see it?  It doesn’t matter.  What matters is what I see.  And that I’m inspired by it.

The Art of Motherhood, starring the “A-Muse-ing” Kids

7 May

This miniature-staffed episode of Chick Chat recognizes the fine art of motherhood.  For moms the world over know that creativity is essential to survival.  How else could they hazard the occupational perils– from time-outs and tantrums to wipe-outs and, well, still keeping their marriage interesting?

Yes, besides searching for memotherhood is something all four of my Chicks have in common.  Not only that – they’re each the mother of a ten-year old; in fact, the 4 Chicks came to know each other all together through these kids.  So now, in honor of Mother’s Day, these young artists have a chance to muse about their moms and share some insightful thoughts on creativity – both theirs and their moms. Join them now and find out what advice they have for everyone on how to find their inner artist.

Hellena – Los Angeles, CA

3 May

This week’s Chick Story comes from a very good friend of Eva’s (hostingthemuse).  She is a life coach and a very talented jewelry maker.   Read her story about going through life challenges and still being able to conquer your dreams.

The Leap…

I had hit rock bottom. I doubted my abilities. I had the feeling that people were looking at me behind my back and shaking their heads with pity.  I was not satisfied with my life and my work standards suffered for it.  That’s when “she” came to me. She had been patiently waiting, giving me subtle hints that she was on her way and now “she” saw that I was ready for a change.

It was August 2006 and after just two months of marriage to my husband Peter, I was in the hospital having a hysterectomy. Needless to say I was devastated – but not lost.  “She” guided me to a therapist who helped me tremendously and “she” also placed a book in my path – Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t by Jim Collins.  Although this book was directed toward companies, it had a profound effect on me.   When the author instructed companies to find 3 things that they are really good at and focus only on them, I did that for myself.  My 3 greatest assets: my ease with public speaking, the ability to connect with people and my gift for helping people solve their problems were the things I decided to focus on and improve. These 3 things helped me to take my leap – and become one with her.


I realized that by focusing on my 3 greatest assets, they would connect me with my deepest values: trust, integrity, creativity, to be of service and to honor my self-worth.    I had finally turned on the lights in my life and saw for the first time all my gifts waiting to be tapped.  Being conscious of those values made it easier for me to see when I was not honoring them.  I got mad at myself when I hadn’t done something I knew was best for me or when someone else said or did something negative to me.  Think about your values and how they connect with the work you do. If your work is engaging, challenges your intellect, is exciting and you look forward to it every day, it doesn’t seem like work.  But when your work is uninspiring and creates dissonance, you’ll find yourself dreading each task.  “She” knew my values and that as soon as I connected with them my journey would begin.

My Future Self

You see “she” is me – Hellena, my future-self.  That part of me that didn’t see me as less than but more than I could ever imagine.  It wasn’t that Hellena was boastful, it was that she knew that in every situation, good, bad or indifferent, there was something I could learn as I moved forward in my life. The key phrase being “moving forward”.

We all have a future-self – we just need to tap into it and have that discussion.  It is that part of us that does not live life by lack or limitation but by abundance and endless resources.  It does not see obstacles but rather opportunities for growth and learning.  It remembers how to dream and does it on a daily basis. It keeps life exciting.  It creates scenarios with the connector word “and” not “or”, “either” or “but”. As in “I can be successful and have a great relationship” versus “I can either have a thriving career or a great marriage”.

Yes…you can have both and much more. The key to this success are your values.  It’s also knowing your boundaries and when it’s OK to say no to take care of yourself instead of saying yes to please someone else.

Making the leap

In January 2007 instead of making a resolution, I made a declaration. From now on I would be open to whatever the universe brought my way. I also made a conscious decision to honor my 3 assets.  First, I joined Toastmasters.  Not only did I become a better speaker, but when I joined the board and served my club, I also became a better leader. Secondly, after a short track with psychology, I decided to become a Life Coach.  I wanted to work with people and help move them forward in their lives. This career path addressed assets 2 and 3 simultaneously. But as with Toastmasters, I got so much more.  I found Hellena again and she introduced me to my creative side – designing jewelry.  Creations by Hellena was born from the freedom I gave myself to believe I had a creative outlet.  And it was further enriched by knowing that creating is not about perfection – it’s about allowing something to be.

These two career choices were a major shift for me because up until then I had only seen myself as nobody special.   How could I have the audacity to think someone would trust me with their most intimate fears and dreams?  That someone, other than my family and friends, would not only love my jewelry but pay me for it?  That wasn’t my future-self making those comments.  Alas, my saboteur aptly named Mr. Fear Procrastinator started whispering nuggets of self-doubt and worry in my ear.  I admit, for a while it kept me stagnated but because I was now connected to my values, Hellena had ammunition with which to battle those fears.  She said “Send out an email blast to family, friends and colleagues and tell them about your new coaching profession. What’s the worst that could happen?”   “Email pictures of your jewelry to that boutique.  It’s only an email, what harm can come from it?” Hellena took away the doubt and allowed my talents and gifts to speak for themselves.  In both instances, I was greeted with the word YES!  And what happens when you hear that word?  You want to hear it again!  Now that my fear had gone, I could approach perfect strangers and talk to them about what I did without fear of rejection because my PASSION was leading the discussion.

And now…

My coaching practice, Core Illuminations www.coreilluminations.com has made the leap to workshops and group coaching. Creations by Hellena can be purchased in two boutiques: Twig & Willow, Long Beach, CA and Mindfulnest, Santa Monica, CA (more stores to follow). You can also find my jewelry online through my Etsy.com shop https://www.etsy.com/shop/creationsbyhellena.  As I continue to dream, my dreams continue to grow.

I look back and thank my future-self for her patience and steadfastness. I look back and thank the Universe for allowing me to fall – so that I could learn something new. I look back on those 5 years and see the many leaps I’ve taken and the growth, adventures and rewards I’ve received.  Now, Hellena and I make those leaps together…

I leave you with this: Discover and Nurture your 3 greatest assets.  They hold the keys to your sanity, health and happiness.  It is here that your future-self is waiting to take the next leap with you.  Don’t keep him/her waiting!

Hellena Jones Elbling, CPCC
Core Discover Life Coach
Core Illuminations
Discover your True Passions and
Use them to Illuminate your World!

Hellena Jones Elbling
Jewelry Designer
Creations by Hellena
Find Your Spirit in my Creations

Believing Mirrors

2 May

The 4 Chicks Chat about Julia Cameron’s Walking in this World: The Practical Art of Creativity – Chapter 2: Discovering a Sense of Proportion

Recently, my dear Chicks sought out self-definition as they discussed mirrors. No, not the mirror on the bathroom wall. The mirror that reflects who we are meant to be as an artist. What they found is that they share something in common – each other as Believing Mirrors.  If they look hard enough, they will see the possibilities of what they can become, of what they truly are.

Try looking into your Believing Mirror and find the inspiration, the creativity, the artist within yourself.

%d bloggers like this: