Author Archive | MCL Staff

Labor Day: Honoring Hard Work

In the United States, it’s Labor Day. It’s the day we honor the labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, laws and well-being of our country. In some ways, it’s a social holiday – the bookend to Memorial Day, marking the unofficial end of summertime and when we head back to school… and work.

All holidays allow us to revel in creative living. On this particular one, we honor the sacrifice of other workers, toiling for their art and their livelihood. We gather with loved ones for shared meals and mutual celebration. We bask in the last carefree rays of summer sunlight.

We also take the time to consider the ways in which we mimic those who have come before us, in honor of our art and for the pure freedom of living a creative life.

Here at Modern Creative Life, we won’t be offering you a new poem, story, or essay to celebrate Labor Day, but a collection of a quotes that reflect upon the value of hard work and the need be true to our creative souls as we look at both the light and dark sides of laboring and creating.

“It would be a great disappointment for you to give up on yourself before the appointed time to reap the fruit of your labor.”
― Edmond Mbiaka

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”
–Robert Louis Stevenson

“Keep expecting and believing that your due season is coming. Declare that the good you have harvested in your life will manifest.”
― Germany Kent

“Make a pact with yourself today to not be defined by your past. Sometimes the greatest thing to come out of all your hard work isn’t what you get for it, but what you become for it.”
― Steve Maraboli

“The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are, first, hard work; second, stick-to-itiveness; third, common sense.”
― Thomas A. Edison

“…talent means nothing, while experience, acquired in humility and with hard work, means everything.”
― Patrick Süskind

“It doesn’t matter how great your shoes are if you don’t accomplish anything in them.”
― Martina Boone

“The dictionary is the only place that success comes before work. work is the key to success, and hard work can help you accomplish anything.”
― Vince Lombardi Jr.

“What we plant in the soil of contemplation, we shall reap in the harvest of action.”
–Meister Eckhart

“There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.”
― Beverly Sills

 

Memorial Day: Refreshing & Restoring Our Creative Spirits

In the United States, it’s Memorial Day weekend. A Day of Remembrance, where we honor those who have paid the ultimate price for freedom.

It’s also become a social holiday, marking the beginning of a summer state of mind. For many, the holiday weekend marks the first time this year that they’ve been able to rest or simply… breathe.

All holidays allow us to revel in creative living. We honor the sacrifice of others and lay flowers and wreaths on the graves of our ancestors. We gather with loved ones for shared meals and mutual celebration.

We also take the time to consider the way these sacrifices have lead to our creativity, for how would we create if we were not free to do so, if freedoms did not inform our lives.

As a child, Memorial Day Weekend marked the end of the school year, a double celebration of freedom. It meant playing in sprinklers, eating ice cream, reading lots of books, going to the swimming pool, and finding myself SO BORED. And this boredom always led to finding new ways to refresh my creativity.

In honor of this holiday, we won’t be offering you a new poem, story, or essay, but a collection of a dozen gems of wisdom on creative living and honoring the need to pause as we refresh our bodies and restore our creative souls.

“We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.”
– Ray Bradbury

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, look to tomorrow, rest this afternoon.”
–Charles M. Schulz

“People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.”
–Marcus Aurelius

“Give light and people will find the way.”
–Ella Baker

“From time to time, one must release the grime built up inside them to to free their emotions like the ocean.”
― Suzy Kassem

“Ideas and philosophies have a shelf-life. They must be kept fresh and renewed or they will spoil. If left unattended, the same ideas and philosophies that once nourished you and helped you grow can poison you and make you sick. Become aware of new ideas that can refresh your way of life and be open to the fact that your old ideas and philosophies can work for you for some time, but when the shelf-life has passed, those ideas and philosophies could also harm you.”
― Steve Maraboli

“Patience is also a form of action.”
–Auguste Rodin

“Relish love in your old age! Aged love is like aged wine; it becomes more satisfying, more refreshing, more valuable, more appreciated and more intoxicating!”
–Leo Buscaglia

“Games lubricate the body and mind.”
― Benjamin Franklin

“Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.”
–Rumi

“In dealing with those who are undergoing great suffering, if you feel ‘burnout’ setting in, if you feel demoralized and exhausted, it is best, for the sake of everyone, to withdraw and restore yourself. The point is to have a long-term perspective.”
–Dalai Lama

“One of the things I learned the hard way was that it doesn’t pay to get discouraged. Keeping busy and making optimism a way of life can restore your faith in yourself.”
– Lucille Ball

New Moon Creative: Moon in Capricorn

We arrive at the last new moon of 2016: Moon in Capricorn. Can we see this time as holy for our lives and our creativity? Is there one last element you can sweeten your creative work with as we gaze into the darkened sky and this new moon?

How might you set an intention for improving your chosen craft? An intention. A prayer. A holy whisper.

Is a New Year simply a square on a calendar? Or is it full of magic?

What if we view this last new moon as part of the mystical threshold between the last days of one year and the first days of the next?

We offer a New Moon Creative Prompt to set you pondering and ask you to share with us a seemingly ordinary moment in your own life that is edged with magic so that we can be your witness.

Write a poem, essay, or short story. Take a photograph and leave us with the image alone. Create a photo essay. Or simply leave us a comment here, answering the question:

How will you honor your creative life in this mystical space as one year becomes the next?

Between now and 01/12/17, post your creation in your blog and/or share your work on Social Media, be it Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or all of those spaces. Use the tag #NewMoonCreative so we can find you and lovingly witness what and how you are creating.

New Moon Creative: Moon in Sagittarius

You sit at the table with your morning coffee and journal. As the words flow from pen to paper, you find answers you didn’t know you were looking for.

You try a new recipe for dinner and an average Wednesday dinner feels like a celebration.

You watch an old movie on Turner Classic with your husband and though you’ve been together for “forever”, the movie sparks a conversation and you learn something about him you never new.

You meet a friend for lunch and the waiter recommends the soup of the day. It’s so exquisite, it loosens both of your tongues and you have one of the most intimate conversations in your life. What was a casual friendship morphs into a new best friend.

Ordinary moments in every life. Magical moments in every life.

It’s easy to overlook how the ordinary events and activities are anything, but, well, ordinary. Yet once we become open to the idea that those ordinary moments have their own kind of mysticism, we become a witness to the magic in our own lives.

We offer a New Moon Creative Prompt to set you pondering and ask you to share with us a seemingly ordinary moment in your own life that is edged with magic so that we can be your witness.

newmooncreative_nov292016

Write a poem, essay, or short story. Take a photograph and leave us with the image alone. Create a photo essay.

Between now and 12/11/16, post your creation in your blog and/or share your work on Social Media, be it Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or all of those spaces. Use the tag #NewMoonCreative so we can find you. Leave a comment here (with a link) so we can read your words and lovingly witness what and how you are creating.

On the Full Moon ( December 13), we’ll post a collection of the work that was inspired by these prompts and post them here, with links back to the full work (and you).

Happy Thanksgiving: A Celebration of Gratitude and Creativity

thanksgivingdinner

In the United States, it’s Thanksgiving. A time to gather around the table with loved ones and celebrate our many blessings. We celebrate creative living in ever aspect of the meal: from setting a beautiful table to creating each delectable dish served upon it. We try new dishes to stretch our tastes and try to create the tastes of our childhoods with heirloom recipes handed down from grandmother to daughter.

It’s also a time to honor the harvest, gathering the fruits of seeds planted in fertile ground. And fertile minds. Because what is creativity but harvesting the fruits of the seeds we’ve planted?

In celebration of this holiday, we won’t be offering you a new poem, story, or essay, but a collection of two dozen gems of wisdom on gratitude and creativity.

“There is no better opportunity to receive more than to be thankful for what you already have. Thanksgiving opens up the windows of opportunity for ideas to flow your way.”
–Jim Rohn

“Artists are among the most generous of people. Perhaps inherent in the appreciation of creativity comes a deep, underlying love of humanity and our Earth.”
–Kelly Borsheim

“The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude.”
–Friedrich Nietzsche

“Gratefulness translates into a joy-filled understanding that informs art making – a simplicity that goes beyond preconceived ideas and moves us toward truth.”
–Dean Taylor Drewyer

“Art is the giving by each man of his evidence to the world. Those who wish to give, love to give, discover the pleasure of giving. Those who give are tremendously strong.”
–Robert Henri

“I’m very grateful for an entire lifetime spent involved in this creative process.”
–Ron Howard

“An artist gives. Gives visually, gives through courses, or with free advice, through generosity of spirit and through a need to share.”
–Veronica Roth

“Music and art both spring from a grateful heart.”
–Katie Wood McCloy

“I want to thank anyone who spends part of their day creating. I don’t care if it’s a book, a film, a painting, a dance, a piece of theater, a piece of music. Anybody who spends part of their day sharing their experience with us. This world would be unlivable without art. Thank you for inspiring me.”
–Steven Soderberg

“There is no one harder to live with than an artist. Therefore an artist is a real gift because he or she raises the sanctity of everyone else in the community.”
— David Steindl-Rast

“Gratitude is a many-colored quality, reaching in all directions. It goes out for small things and for large.”
–Faith Baldwin

“The thankful receiver bears a plentiful harvest.”
–William Blake

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”
–Albert Schweitzer

“Make a gift of your life and lift all mankind.”
–David R. Hawkins

“The essence of all art is to have pleasure in giving pleasure.”
–Dale Carnegie

“In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it’s wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices.”
–Elizabeth Gilbert

“We can live artfully through a thousand little everyday gestures, as well as a multitude of creative pastimes. I define art in the broadest sense-it is every possible medium of human expression. It is in what you say and how you say it.  It is in using the rich resources of your senses to connect with the beauty in life. The art is in the message and in the medium you use to express it. Art is simply the name for how you live your life and how you tell others what you think and feel.”
–Sandra Magsamen

“Everything is a gift. The degree to which we are awake to this truth is a measure of our gratefullness, and gratefullness is a measure of our aliveness.”
–David Steindl-Rast

“The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude.”
–Friedrich Nietzsche

“I am filled with gratitude for the ability to live the artist’s life. In my studio. Being an artist. Everyday.”
–Mickie Acierno

“Gratitude opens the door to… the power, the wisdom, the creativity of the universe.”
–Deepak Chopra

“I have walked this earth for 30 years, and, out of gratitude, want to leave some souvenir.”
–Vincent van Gogh

“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
–Melody Beattie

“The act of giving something to others is an art of flowering your heart.”
–Vinayak

Here’s to your personal harvest and all the ways you honor your own creative spark. We are so honored to witness the ways in which you you celebrate your creative life with a full and grateful heart.

With love from our creative table to yours.
The Staff of Modern Creative Life

New Moon Creative: Moon in Scorpio

As the season of harvest draws to a close, we may feel a need to draw inward and prepare for a time of rest during the dark days of winter. This month’s new moon in Scorpio offers the perfect inspiration for those times. It brings an astrology that’s dreamy and optimistic; it aligns with Mercury to focus on thinking and planning. As the leaves change to brilliant colors and fall to the ground, our emotional nature responds with changeable moods and heightened sensitivity, along with the call to plant seeds of new ideas.

What a perfect recipe to inspire wisdom and creative thinking!

We offer a New Moon Creative Prompt to set you pondering.

How do your dreams inspire your creativity?

 mcl_prompt_newmoonscorpio103016

Write a poem, essay, or short story. Take a photograph and leave us with the image alone. Create a photo essay.

Between now and 11/12/16, post your creation in your blog and/or share your work on Social Media, be it Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or all of those spaces. Use the tag #NewMoonCreative so we can find you. Leave a comment here (with a link) so we can read your words and lovingly witness what and how you are creating.

On the Full Moon ( November 14), we’ll post a collection of the work that was inspired by these prompts and post them here, with links back to the full work (and you).

New Moon Creative: Moon in Virgo

We say Goodbye to our Nourishment Issue, we say HELLO to a new theme: Wisdom.

If there is one piece of Wisdom we’ve learned here at Modern Creative Life, it is that we must create. It’s a part of our DNA.

What would happen if you were to commit to your own creative life each month? How would you feel if you listened to your own wisdom, inviting you, asking you, begging you to tend your creativity and life?

While all of us at Modern Creative Life hope that each of our readers is indulging their creativity (even if it’s in small ways) fairly frequently, we are also dedicated to the idea that we get to choose our own paths to creative living each and every day of the year, by writing, painting, cooking, or even making and artful arrangement of the books on our shelves.

As well, we believe it’s important to honor the cycles of life that form currents through all our lives. As part of our ongoing celebration of those cycles and currents, we continue our New Moon Creative Prompts with a twist: a single question to inspire you on your creative journey.

The New Moon is traditionally been a time of new beginnings; here is our 1st Prompt in honor of our Wisdom Issue (and in honor of the New Moon in Virgo).

newmooncreativeprompt_090116

Write a poem, essay, or short story. Take a photograph and leave us with the image alone. Create a photo essay.

Between now and 9/15/16, post your creation in your blog and/or share your work on Social Media, be it Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or all of those spaces. Use the tag #NewMoonCreative so we can find you. Leave a comment here (with a link) so we can read your words and lovingly witness what and how you are creating.

On the Full Moon (September 16th), we’ll post a collection of the work that was inspired by these prompts and post them here, with links back to the full work (and you).

Your New Moon Creative (Full Sturgeon Moon)

What nourishes you? How do you fill the well so that you can continue to create? How does connection and community nourish you and your creativity?

When it came to the desire to build connection and community here at Modern Creative Life, we decided to offer prompts to inspire your creativity. Our #NewMoonCreative Prompts  are shared with you as the moon cycles to “new”… this is the traditional time to launch new efforts and open ourselves to creativity.

And we circle back on the date of the Full Moon to see what was created.

The full moon will bless us tonight, which means it’s time to celebrate how our creative endeavors have come to bloom. We have a tiny offering this month in response to New Moon in Leo and here is a taste of what was created in response to our “New Moon Creative” prompts:

Prompt: Light

And here’s yesterday’s bloomer in today’s misty morning light. #newmooncreative for @moderncreativelife

A photo posted by Becca Rowan (@becca.rowan) on

The #light of this morning’s sunrise is shrouded in fog. Today’s #NewMoonCreative prompt is: LIGHT

A photo posted by Debra Smouse (@debrasmouse) on

Prompt: Tribe

Earlier this year, I began handwriting some of my blog posts and articles in my journal before typing them up. In some ways, I connect to the words differently with a pen in hand than I do seated at the keyboard. It’s allowing me to both shift and strengthen my writing voice. I have three journals now: my bullet journal, my journal-journal where the drafts are getting life, and my prayer journal This month, I picked up the WIP that has been laying fallow since spring. I opened my Scrivener file for the project today and dutifully typed all the journal scribblings in and happily discovered the project is further along than I thought. . . . . So today I mention it here to my digital #tribe: I am working on my next original book – a Day Book – and the plan is to finish it by mid-October, get it to an editor short thereafter, and publish it in November. It’s yet untitlted but will dovetail with my current work around choosing to create a nourishing life, loving your daily life and soul tending In between now and then, I will likely be retiring some of my coaching courses. Some will also be taken to book format this fall – and will be published before the current WIP – the Day Book. They are in “finished” formats, just awaiting a new life. The shift between who I was when I began my coaching practice and who I am today is palatably different to me, even if it isn’t to the outside. I am not the person I was, though, of course, many of us are vastly different today from who we were six years ago…. And that, my darling, is a beautiful thing. This is the art of creating a life: to work in the ways that nourish our soul and be dedicated to birthing our work into the world with earnestness , courage, and devotion. This is day 77 of #100daysofcreativeliving for the #100dayproject. #love #soultending #amwriting Today’s #NewMoonCreative prompt is: tribe The Day 3 prompt from #augustbreak2016 is #handwriting

A photo posted by Debra Smouse (@debrasmouse) on

Prompt: Energy

The doorbell rings shortly before 1 PM as we are finishing our lunch. It’s my postal carrier and as I unlock the door, she has already made it down the sidewalk and is getting back into her truck. I holler my “thanks” and we both wave. There on the porch is the day’s mail: a bill, a movie, an advertisement, a party invitation, and a small box. I rush back into the house and snag a knife from the wooden block and carry it all onto the porch where John is working. I hand him the party invitation (bring a swimsuit and a towel, it says on the back of the envelope). I gently open the box and inside is a gift I knew was coming: a piece of art. I know exactly where she will go: the altar space in my office. As I dive into my commitment to finish writing this new book, I need some guardian energy. She will be that talisman of inspiration and lovingly watch over me as I do this work. . . . . . . . . . . . “It is in our own idleness, in our dreams, that the submerged truth sometimes comes to the top.” – Virginia Wolfe. The art is “Virginia” and I am so grateful for the artist @swirlygirl18 This is the art of creating a life: to allow our friends to gift us with art and allow the spirit of their creation to shine a light over us as to inspire, guard, and support us as we do the work to shine our own light in the world. . . . . . . . . . . This is day 78 of #100daysofcreativeliving for the #100dayproject. #love #soultending #amwriting Today’s #NewMoonCreative prompt is: energy The Day 5 prompt from #augustbreak2016 is #Midday

A photo posted by Debra Smouse (@debrasmouse) on

Prompt: Nature

Our next New Moon Creative begins September 1st – when we will be launching our 3rd Edition of Modern Creative Life with the theme: Wisdom

We hope you’ll join us and share your creations with us.

 

New Moon Creative: Moon in Leo

As we draw to the end of our Nourishment issue, we’re can’t help but confess that we never tire of hearing about (or seeing) what nourishes YOU, your creativity, and your Creative Life. And, of course, that begs the question: ARE you nourishing your creative life?

What would happen if you were to commit to your own creative life each month? How would you feel if you nourished your own need to create? How excited would you be if you didn’t just create something, but also shared your creation with other people who were also stepping into their creative lives?

While all of us at Modern Creative Life hope that each of our readers is indulging their creativity (even if it’s in small ways) fairly frequently, we are also dedicated to the idea that we get to choose our own paths to creative living each and every day of the year, by writing, painting, cooking, or even making and artful arrangement of the books on our shelves.

As well, we believe it’s important to honor the cycles of life that form currents through all our lives. As part of our ongoing celebration of those cycles and currents, we will be releasing a collection of prompts to inspire you on your creative journey.

Since the New Moon is traditionally been a time of new beginnings, so here is our 3rd Round of Prompts for our Nourishment Issue in honor of the New Moon in Leo:

New Moon Creative Prompt (Moon in Leo)

Write a poem, essay, or short story. Take a photograph and leave us with the image alone. Create a photo essay.

Post your creation in your blog and/or share your work on Social Media, be it Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or all of those spaces. Use the tag #NewMoonCreative so we can find you. Leave a comment here (with a link) so we can read your words and lovingly witness what and how you are creating.

On the Full Moon (August 18th), we’ll post a collection of the work that was inspired by these prompts and post them here, with links back to the full work (and you).

Your New Moon Creative (Full Buck Moon)

What nourishes you? How do you fill the well so that you can continue to create? How does connection and community nourish you and your creativity?

When it came to the desire to build connection and community here at Modern Creative Life, we decided to offer prompts to inspire your creativity. Our #NewMoonCreative Prompts  are shared with you as the moon cycles to “new”… this is the traditional time to launch new efforts and open ourselves to creativity.

And we circle back on the date of the Full Moon to see what was created.

The full moon will bless us tonight, which means it’s time to celebrate how our creative endeavors have come to bloom. We have a tiny offering this month in response to New Moon in Cancer and here is a taste of what was created in response to our “New Moon Creative” prompts:

Daily Cup:

 

No matter how early or late I begin the day, it starts with this: a cup of coffee. It’s a grounding ritual: to sit and sip at least that first cup in an unhurried way. When I look at how I nourish myself and fill the well, it includes the combination of #coffee and #words: reading the words of others (Like today’s read: House of Secrets by @bradmeltzer ) and the words I inscribe on the pages of my journal. It’s a small thing, really. To spare at least 20 minutes each morning to sip and read and write. Yet, so many of us feel parched by the demands of life, drawing and drawing upon our reserves and never remembering that we need mental and spiritual nourishment as much as we need food. #love #soultending This is the art of creating: to remember to fill the well so that I don’t become too depleted. This is day 63 of #100daysofcreativeliving for the #100dayproject and in honor of the #NewMoonCreative Prompt for July 4th from @moderncreativelife : #DailyCup

A photo posted by Debra Smouse (@debrasmouse) on

Open Space

Necessary Supplies

Jeanie Croope: Today’s Modern Creative Life prompt for ‪#‎NewMoonCreative‬ is “Necessary Supplies.” Yes, these are!

NecessarySupplies Jeanie Croope

A Tiny Now

A summer storm is brewing and the air is thick with humidity. Four miles on the bike, and since I’m already sweaty, I head downstairs and tend the flowerbeds. I intended to only pull the weeds and grass encroaching the periwinkles, and find myself stripping away dead strands from the daylilies. It’s before 9 AM and I’m feeling pleased as punch about my morning productivity. Now to sit a moment, sip some sparkling water, and breathe before I head inside, take a shower, and start to work. This is the art of creating a life: to honor the holiness of a tiny now in our day. This is day 65 of #100daysofcreativeliving for the #100dayproject – and in honor of @ModernCreativeLife #NewMoonCreative prompt for 7/7 is: “A Tiny Now”. #love #soultending #creativeliving #latergram

A photo posted by Debra Smouse (@debrasmouse) on

Real Mail

Candlelight+Wine+Letter=Rejuvenation.

A photo posted by Becca Rowan (@becca.rowan) on

Last summer about this time, a friend and I decided to begin writing letters to each other about our Creative Lives. Taking paper to pen to share thoughts about this thing called Life and Creativity and how the two merge has been one of the most nourishing and inspirational things I’ve done for my creativity. Somehow, pen and paper allow me to share those vulnerable stories in a safer way. Letters have also forced me to be more thoughtful and introspective, has invited me to honor my need to create as a high priority, and has allowed me to connect on a deeper level with my friend and myself. I think about the number of hands my stories are touched by before the arrive in her hands: my post lady, the folks at my post office, the central distribution center, her central distribution center, her mail carrier, and then finally her. I imagine it gives each person a little pleasure that real mail still exists. When I saw @jbelthoff ‘s Love Note Project, I joined, happily sending postcards to pen pals (and maybe extras to folks who aren’t my official pen pal). More stories. More hands. More witnesses. More love. This is the art of creating a life: to realize that old-fashioned ways of communication still hold tremendous value in our modern times. This is day 70 of #100daysofcreativeliving for the #100dayproject – and in honor of @ModernCreativeLife #NewMoonCreative prompt for 07/08 is: “Real Mail”. #love #soultending #CreativeLiving #latergram ##lovenotesjb

A photo posted by Debra Smouse (@debrasmouse) on

A Warm Embrace

Our next New Moon Creative begins August 2nd

We hope you’ll join us and share your creations with us.

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