creativity

The Potential of Apples

It is May in New England and the apple blossoms are exploding. It happens every year and marks the beginning of an extraordinary growing season, steeped in tradition, celebration and magnificent creation. I have always admired the trees for their uniquely twisted structure, cheerful flowers, and substantial fruit, but it wasn’t until this spring that I realized just how magical they really are.

Over the winter, my friend and I began walking one of the nearby orchards. The trail which leads to its gate is a challenging climb but once atop the sunny hill, we can see for miles, a vista of apple trees, rolling meadows, majestic farms, and distant mountains. We regularly comment on the grace of the location and the fortune of being able to gain access. We visit the land often and are awed by the unending enchantment of natural wonders.  

One day in early March we noticed some tiny buds forming on the tree branches and decided to have a closer look. The pods were so small that it was hard to imagine they could ever grow into the large juicy apples we were accustomed to picking in the fall. We wondered how it was possible for these miniature vessels to hold so much potential. 

I went home and looked up “time lapse growth of apples” on Youtube and found that indeed what started as a tiny bud opened to a leaf and flower and ultimately the fruit. It took months of processing light into energy, drinking available water from the earth, allowing bees to pollinate its flower, and fighting off invaders, but the desired result was a miraculous apple, beautiful, pure and delicious.  

I find the process fascinating and it makes me think about the potential that lies within each one of us. If the Universe gives apple trees this much creative power, wouldn’t it make sense that we would also be granted the same opportunity?

I believe we are and that we each possess buds of unlimited potential. Through self awareness, vision, belief, trust, hard work, persistence and continuous nurturing, we can begin to recognize and allow our true essence to come forth. With a commitment to realizing this potential, we can tap into new areas of growth and beauty and uncover hidden abilities and inner wisdom. The closer we get to this powerful energy, the stronger our will and desire to fulfill its opportunity. Like the apple tree, we can access the knowledge and ability to turn lead into gold, to recognize our potential and manifest it within our lives and the world at large.

Tomorrow (May 11) is the New Moon, and it is the perfect time to take stock of our lives, to look inward and reflect on the potential that lies dormant, ready to be activated. What makes us happy? What is holding us back? What would we like to do and be during our lifetime? What does our intuition suggest? 

Each day the apple blossoms unfold a little more, and this week they seem to be picking up speed. They are not hesitating or questioning their ability. Instead, they are moving forward with confidence, unleashing their power and trusting their instinct. They are accepting the opportunity and working to create one of life’s most magnificent miracles.

To begin manifesting your best life, visit my website here https://www.mysoulpurposeproject.com/.

Stepping Out of the Familiar

Each morning I pick a daily tarot card. 

In addition to honing my skills and understanding of the deck, this practice offers me the opportunity to look more deeply at the direction of my life, contemplate the choices in front of me, and increase my self awareness. Yesterday, I picked the two of Wands and its message was particularly timely and on point.

Ever since last week’s blog about the importance of creativity, I have been thinking about ways to break out of my comfort zone and attract new experiences that will be more fun and expand my imagination. I have been making lists of activities I’d like to try and places I want to bring my inner artist as suggested by Julia Cameron in her book, the Artist’s Way. 

It occurred to me that I had already started to experiment with a few new endeavors, like painting with acrylics while following a Youtube tutorial and concocting a variety of vegan dishes from a beautiful new cookbook I purchased a couple of weeks ago.  Both of these undertakings have been fun with surprisingly good results, and even though the outcome has been better than expected, I am realizing that the real reward lies in the process.

According to Cameron, we all have access to an unlimited supply of creativity. As children, we are open and able to easily tap into this source. Then, as time goes on, we become blocked by limiting beliefs and experiences and have an increasingly hard time conjuring up our imaginings. 

Most of us have a tendency to fall into repeated patterns and sink deeper into what is familiar. We seek out comfort and avoid pain. This past year, in response to the pandemic, we found ourselves shrinking into an even more limited existence with less stimulation and interaction. The grooves of our daily lives got deeper and smaller.

This week, as the sun continues to grow stronger and the world opens up, it feels like it might be time to break free and move into something novel and more energizing.

One way to do this is to make a list of new places to see and things to do, and then begin checking them off, one by one, even if they are outside our comfort zone. Having a regular and consistent time for these adventures is optimal as is doing them alone. It is also important not to focus on the outcome, like discovering the perfect destination, becoming an expert tennis player, or learning to play the guitar in 2 lessons. The process is what counts and it is what will attract more creativity and expand our experience as we continue down the road.

The 2 of Wands was a perfect pick because it encourages us to choose adventure over comfort. It tells us that envisioning our dream is good, but living it is even better. I love this advice as I am in the process of making plans for a few different experiences this spring and summer, like taking surfing lessons, mountain biking on one new trail each month, traveling to some local towns that are unfamiliar, and continuing to paint weekly. I have already planned a summer trip out west and have signed up for a beginner golf clinic. 

Stepping out is scary, but once we do and let go of the outcome, I believe our imaginations will grow and soon we’ll be tapping into unlimited ideas, expanding our minds and having a lot of fun in the process. 

To begin manifesting your best life, visit my website here https://www.mysoulpurposeproject.com/.

The Importance of Creativity

This weekend, my boyfriend and I watched a documentary called, “Long Strange Trip,”  which followed the Grateful Dead band from their beginnings in Palo Alto, CA to their eventual expansion as a worldwide phenomena. It was informative and inspiring and as we plowed through all 6 episodes, something notable began to happen.

We are musicians and before Covid hit, we were playing out regularly at a few local bars and restaurants. Our setlist was growing and we started bringing in other musicians and expanding our sound. It was always fun and the performances motivated us to dig deeper, practice harder, and experiment with new ideas. 

Once everything shut down and we were restricted to playing alone in our own space, we lost motivation. We tried recording some videos and posting them on social media, but it just wasn’t the same. Eventually, we found ourselves practicing less with minimal enthusiasm. 

Recently, we have felt a spark begin to re-ignite as the pandemic wanes and the promise of more abundant live music emerges. We have been looking at new tunes and considering a variety of styles, and after nearly a year of rest, something feels novel and promising. It is a growing ember and we are hoping that the flame will catch soon and we’ll be on our way again.

The documentary was perfect timing. 

One of the most interesting parts of the story was the Dead’s innovative approach…to just about everything. Not only did they merge several styles of music (bluegrass, blues, folk, R & B, jazz, classical, jug) into their own unique form of improvisation but they also had a singular approach to handling the business of the band. Instead of following the conventional models of other popular acts, they created their own methods, allowing the journey to unfold and the long strange trip to come alive. Instead of focusing on making money or selling lots of records, their goal was to connect with their audience and create something together, something that was fun and free form, and that’s exactly what happened. 

Innovation and creativity are strong values for me and so, this type of story gets me going. It makes me want to tap deeper into my own potential and find ways to allow more of what they had to flow through me.

As I began to think about ways to do this, I remembered a book I had read many years ago called, the Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. In it, she points out that everyone has an unlimited creative potential. It is part of our birthright. As children, our connection to this source is vast and unblocked. We easily move in and out of unique imaginings and creative experiences. We are open. We observe. We experience. We create. Then, as we grow and move through our lives, our creative essence is slowly eroded by society until we reach a point where we can no longer find it. Sometimes, we can’t even remember having it. 

Cameron’s book helps those committed to discovering and recovering their creative power begin to unleash this buried gift. She has several techniques like writing morning pages to drain out distracting thoughts and tap into more wisdom. She also talks about planning a weekly “artist’s date” in which the reader takes their “inner artist child” out on a playdate, seeking new adventures and mysteries. All of the experiences and observations gathered are added to our ideas reservoir and become resources for our imaginings. I also believe that when we seek out fun and joy, we find our true selves and in this discovery, our creative potential opens up.

It appears that during the pandemic, my ideas reservoir had been running dry. I had limited social interactions and not a lot of places to go and things to see. I had plenty of valuable walks in the woods but that’s where it ended. My access to new sights, sounds, smells, touches, and tastes was limited. My imagination felt dulled, and I was not bringing much to the music. 

Now that I have been vaccinated and the world is opening up, I plan to begin “stocking the pond” again and scheduling a “weekly artist’s date.” I am already a daily journaler and will continue that with the intention of clearing the way to my inner creative self. I may even commit to following the program outlined in Cameron’s book. 

And as I think about the lives and accomplishments of the amazing Grateful Dead band, I will listen to more innovative arrangements, spend quality time with my guitar, work on new approaches to a variety of musical styles, write regularly, focus on fun, and take my hand off of the wheel, allowing the journey to unfold. After all, there may still be a “long strange trip” within me, waiting to be born.

To begin manifesting your best life, visit my website here https://www.mysoulpurposeproject.com/.

Jumping into Free Play

Peter and I having fun during a photo shoot in 2017. Photo credit: Kelly Fitzsimmons

I am a musician and since the pandemic hit last winter, I have been unable to perform live. I play lead guitar and sing backup vocals in an acoustic trio called Wendy Darling and the Lost Boys and over the years we have built a following and secured gigs at a number of local restaurants and festivals. The live events are always a lot of fun as are the practices leading up to them, each giving birth to an abundance of laughter, cheerful conversation, delightful consumption, fluid movement to the music, and an overall relaxed and joyful experience. Working and playing with the band has added a great deal of happiness and play to my life.

Over the course of the quarantine, however, it has become increasingly difficult to maintain an energetic and creative musical practice. Where at first, we tried new approaches like putting out Youtube videos and sharing material through GarageBand, these methods eventually got old and punctuated the absence of the brilliance that can only be captured through live interaction, the interplay of sound, ideas, emotions, surprises, and improvised reactions. 

I have felt myself falling into a slump and have had trouble regaining momentum. 

A couple of weeks ago, I confessed my growing disinterest to my guitar teacher and he quickly offered me a book he said would help re-energize my approach. The book, called Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art by Stephen Nachmanovitch, outlines the benefits of using play to ignite passion, creativity, and progress. He gives examples of renowned musicians, artists, writers and inventors such as Beethoven, Bach, Picasso, da Vinci, M.C. Escher, Van Gogh,  Einstein, William Butler Yeats, and William Blake, all who have created in this way.  He talks about opening ourselves to divine play (known as Lila or Leela in Hindu philosophy ) in which we surrender our consciousness and need to control the outcome and open ourselves to whatever inspiration may come through. This approach allows us to tap into the spiritual collective and ultimately, join it with our own individuality to bring forth new and unique ideas. 

As distribution of the Covid vaccine moves swiftly and the world begins to open up, I am beginning to see the point as it applies to my life. I am realizing how much play time I have been missing. I miss performing with my band in front of a smiling crowd. I miss travelling, get-togethers with family and friends, team sports, parties, farmer’s markets, festivals, walking downtown with a street full of people, eating out in a lively establishment, watching the latest movie in a sold out theatre, laughing my head off with a group of friends. When I think about my pre-Covid self, I realize when there is play in my life, I am extra productive, a better learner, and relaxed. I have deeper and more meaningful relationships and increased imagination and creativity.

I am only part way through the book, but I have already begun to approach my daily guitar practice differently. Instead of making a to do list and going through the scales and songs with mechanical effort, I have been allowing the process to come forth. Some days, I play whatever happens to be on the music stand. Other times, I take a band standard and try it with an entirely different guitar tuning. I experiment. I create. I dance. I play. 

I am finding that all I need to do is show up and allow myself this opportunity, to lose all inhibitions and bring forth that which makes me happiest.  I am beginning to regain my enthusiasm and new ideas and accomplishments are starting to surface, just as Nachmanovitch promised.

As the pandemic cloud lifts and we are able to get together in larger groups, there will be more opportunities for play, and I recommend taking them. There may still be a period of waiting before it is safe to rush out into the world, but even now, we can begin to approach all endeavors with the child-like perspective of fun, surrender, curiosity and joy. We will certainly be happier and we may even discover a hidden treasure or two.

Other Websites.   Body: https://www.inbalancetherapeutics.net/   Soul: https://www.mysoulpurposeproject.com/  Music: https://www.wendydarlingandthelostboy.org/

Plotting Along Towards Your Purpose


While out on my morning walk, my mind turned towards a book I had read over the summer, On Writing by Stephen King. The book was in essence a memoir and writing course crafted as insightfully and engaging as you would expect from the renowned author. Among the many valuable takeaways, there was one in particular that I cannot seem to get off my mind.

“I distrust plot for two reasons,” says King, “first, because our lives are largely plotless, even when you add in all our reasonable precautions and careful planning; and second, because I believe plotting and spontaneity of real creation aren’t compatible.”  “My basic belief about the making of stories is that they pretty much make themselves. The job of the writer is to give them a place to grow.”

To me, this says it all. Not just about writing a good story, but about how we live and more accurately create our lives. It is a basic principle to the success of manifesting our soul’s purpose.

I am currently at a crossroads (middle age, empty nest). I have been occupied lately by not only reviewing my life to date (what I did well, what I could have done differently), but also with the challenge of creating a plan for the next half, one that will maximize my remaining time here on Earth.

I have spent countless hours envisioning and planning, looking at finances, measuring my strengths and weaknesses, honing in on my dreams and wishes, and running different scenarios. 

It has been hard to settle on one plan. 

There are so many ways things could go wrong. I could change my mind. My circumstances could shift. The world could throw another curve ball. All of these uncertainties have stalled my movement.

I am beginning to think that my problem could be in the plot. 

Maybe I don’t need to have it all figured out before I begin. Maybe if I focus on where I want to end up and my most important values and create a loving and nurturing place for them to grow, I will end up somewhere extraordinary. And the journey will always be exciting and fun because its direction will evolve. There will be unexpected twists and surprises and I may get further than I would have had I tried to plan it all myself. My life may be fuller and more meaningful if I allow the guidance of something greater in.

King wrote most of his best selling novels in this fashion. He showed up every day, put in the time (and much talent of course), and let the grace of his genius come forward. 

I intend to heed the words of the great writer and apply them to my personal journey. I am going to put my end vision out there and set the intention for creativity, adventure, magic, health, and love. I am going to create an environment that is nurturing and conducive to growth, and I am going to let go of the details and allow my life’s purpose to guide the way.