I’m in the midst of reading an absolutely wonderful book called “Be Your Finest Art: Awaken Your Creative Self” by Joanne Miller and Dorsey McHugh. It is a fabulous book and workbook that encourages you to re-learn to play, access the creative side of your brain and find the artist within you.
Yes, you are an artist!
I heard you, you said but I don’t ________. You can insert your own word here like draw, paint, sculpt, play piano etc.
No not everyone does draw or paint, you should see my stick figures!
But thinking this way is limiting and not giving yourself the credit you deserve.
Creativity is expressed in many different ways, like problem solving, entertaining children, cooking, baking, balancing a budget, decorating your home, brainstorming, entrepreneurship, and more. We all know the importance of art for children in school, what makes us think we need to stop as we get older?
Using our creative side stimulates the right brain part of us which in turn helps strengthen the left brain part of us. As entrepreneurs it is easy to get stuck in the analytical side of business and personally, I find that incredibly draining.
When we are feeling stuck and uninspired it is time to break out the creative side and start moving “the little gray cells” around. (Best said with Hercule Poirot’s Belgian accent.)
In the workbook for “Be Your Finest Art” there are challenges to help you play, think outside the box, and be intentional in your actions and decisions. I have worked through several of them and plan on tackling them all, but the next one I want to try is “Creating a Beauty Journal”.
There is so much terrible, no good news flying around us everyday, plus schedules that are so packed it is hard to think straight, and businesses that at times seem to have a life of their own. We get lost in the busyness of everyday and forget to open our eyes and be alert for the small moments around us and feel stuck with the “have-to’s and must-do’s” sitting on the to-do list in front of us.
The Start of my Beauty Journal – “Along the Trail”
I have a photo series on my Instagram account called “Along the Trail”. It is a series of photos that I began taking this past spring and summer when Bailey and I would head out for a long walk or go for a hike. These were little things I was noticing on these adventures, sometimes fascinating and sometimes funny or beautiful.
To be honest, the credit has to go to my cousin, she sent me a message and said, I’m enjoying your “Along the Trail” series. She was right! Until she said it didn’t occur to me that I had a photo series… so of course I had to start using a hashtag of #AlongTheTrail. 🙂 (I’m not the only one to use it but still fun!)
My Instagram series became my beauty journal. A reminder that there is something to be grateful for everyday, to take time to appreciate the beauty around me and to enjoy the incredible creativity of our Creator.
Knowing I had a place to share these discoveries helped me be more attentive and watchful for what I could photograph next. It helped me be intentional on these walks. My eyes were open and I slowed down to look, really look. If I hadn’t been on the lookout I would have missed so much!
As the days have gotten shorter, and I have gotten busier, it has been harder to find these opportunities.
In reading about this challenge it hit me how much I have missed this part of our walks. I also realized that I’m not looking, I’m not being intentional, and that my mind is elsewhere, not being in the moment.
As a result the creative right-brained side of me is not being fed. I love photography and when I’m not taking time to use my cameras I can tell. It is like a part of me is missing and I think that the left-brain part of me suffers as a result.
What will a beauty journal do for you?
1) Help you slow down and notice: When you intentionally slow down and look around you, you will make amazing discoveries.
2) Slow your racing thoughts: When we get crazy busy it get harder to think straight as our minds run a million miles a minute trying to keep up with everything. It’s exhausting.
3) Give you something positive: Between bad news on TV, the client who wants everything done now, the dishes and laundry piling up behind us, and, and and… we all need something positive in our lives.
4) Gives you something to share: I’ve had as much fun sharing my discoveries as I have had from taking the photos. Sharing beauty is a gift.
Taking the Challenge
What will you need:
- Camera: I’ll be using my iPhone
- A place to share: I’ll be using Instagram, Faceboook, maybe my new Tumblr blog too?
- Open Eyes: It doesn’t have to be much, a wet flower, a beautiful sunrise, a gorgeous meal, a sleeping pet – mine is snoring at my feet right now…
- Commitment: The workbook suggests you try this exercise for a week, a month or a year! I’m starting small, next week I am planning on taking this challenge for a full 7 days and not just occasionally as I have been.
Will you join me in this challenge?
Follow-me on Instagram to see how I do and what I find. And feel free to look for and use the hashtags #AlongTheTrail and #BeYourFinestArt.
And do yourself a favor, get the book and workbook “Be Your Finest Art”. Finding the artist in you and developing your creative side will help you in so many unexpected ways.,
Marta Goertzen is an entrepreneur, writer and nature photographer. She daily explores the trails and beaches of the South Central Oregon Coast with her buddy Bailey. You can follow along on their adventures on Instagram. She is also the author of several books including her newest, “Choosing Gratitude: A Daily Quiet Time Journal”.