What is your creative superpower?

If a child was asked what their superpower was, they would wonder why they had to pick just one? This child could easily convey their strengths, listing them off one by one. They would not feel too boastful. They wouldn’t worry what the person who asked the question thought about their unique superpowers. This child might even think it ridiculous to worry about such things.

At what age did we loose the ability to easily identify what makes us feel special? Why is naming our valuable contributions to the world such a vulnerable process?

I think a world where we knew what we were good at and what we struggled with would be a special place, maybe a utopia of sorts. Just think of what could be gained from this kind of honesty and co-operation. Instead of putting others down for admitting a weakness, we could match that characteristic up to another’s strength. We could act as if we cared for one another and that solving problems together, was of utmost importance.

Since it is a bit of a leap to think of a single superpower, let alone what a creative one might be, I’ve shared mine. You might wonder what this list of qualities has to do with creativity. I think these things are the foundation of my creativity. Without them, I would not know where to start. It is by knowing where to begin that I can eventually get into the flow state, where the magic might happen.

Superpower_web

As I look over the words on the left and compare them with the words on the right, an interesting pattern appears. If I practice a healthy measure of being ‘curious’, I am in a good place. It is when that goes too far with ‘too many questions’ that I get into trouble. Knowing when to draw the line seems to be the key, a skill I am always working on.

I have many other things I am working on. Ideas and practices that have become quite important to me as I move into this midlife phase. I have discovered, by accident that this is a highly creative time, probably more than any other time before. What a wonderful surprise to find that being more creative has empowered me in all areas of my life.

Join me for the unveiling of my creative journey so far. Here are the ways we can connect:

  • Sign up for my email list at Daily Creatives, the mail chimp sign up form is on the left side of the screen
  • Send me an email with your superpowers! Christine@dailycreatives.com
  • Share this post with like minded creative folks or anyone in your network, I have been surprised to see where creativity is hiding in some people
  • Take my survey – What does creativity mean to you?

If you have done all those things already, thank-you. I am deeply touched by the honesty of the comments and feelings being expressed about creativity. It is such a passionate topic to be discussing.

One final note – my book has launched! Join me at Daily Creatives and get your copy of Fruitless at 40: Rediscovering My Creative Power. (Yes, I almost did change the title to superpower!)

More information about Who is CW can be found at Daily Creatives, along with a bunch of other great content.

Happy Creating!

Great fun

“Childhood is a short season.”    ~Helen Hayes

“When we protect children from every possible source of danger, we also prevent them from having the kinds of experiences that develop their sense of self-reliance, their ability to assess and mitigate risk, and their sense of accomplishment.”    ~Gever Tulley

My sisters and I shared wonderful experiences in the 1970’s. This was a decade where children could be free. When the sounds, tastes and smells were wonderful with a heightened sense of joy. We did not have parents or grand parents running after us, urging caution. We were not fearful or worried. We skipped and jumped for the pure delight of it.

Maybe I was lucky to have an unusual family. Perhaps bordering on being hippies? Maybe my parents were too young to know better. But somehow, by luck or by sheer cleverness, we managed through without any serious injuries. In fact, we thrived.

I can remember, so often, being told to “go play”. Which, (I now know from being a Mother), was also code for “leave me alone for 5 minutes”.  But, we didn’t know that then. We took the directive to heart. Go play, have fun, be children. Do what kids do best, live in the moment.

Child_Duck

Imagine the joy of riding on a plastic duck?

Children_fire_marshmallowsChildren_camp chairs

Standing free and clear on those old school camp chairs? Cooking your own marshmallows over a fire?

Child_axe

Have you ever cracked open peanuts with the back of a hatchet?

Children_merry go round

Planting your feet to keep from sliding off the merry-go-round?

Children_trampoline

Trampolines with no cages around them?

Children_Slide

A slide that was 4 times as big as you?

I guess we weren’t the only family who experienced the 1970’s in this way:

Creative soul

After a very hectic couple of months, this weekend was my time to settle back into my groove. That means turning my focus to what matters most. Seems logical enough, and probably easily done for most. But I really have to practice turning off the world for a bit.

Started on Friday. We wanted to surprise the kids with the family pet, we had discussed, but not confirmed we would get. So we hoped over to the local animal shelter and had our new, old cat, Lynch unleashed into our life by surprise to our children. My daughter was so over joyed, she almost cried. That reaction was unexpected. Clearly she had listened when we had firmly told her, no promises.

Lynch_web

Saturday I started my knit along. Yarn, needles and pattern in hand, the first post also indicated I needed to create a space for my knitting. Well, that meant I needed to transform the chair in the corner into something a little more special. For that, I needed to do a little second-hand shopping. And this day turned out wonderfully.

Knitting Space_web

Sunday was about Annie Sloan paint. My newly found, old treasures needed some chalk paint love. So in between coats drying, I knitted rounds in my temporary digs. I’ll have to carve out time over the course of the week to get the wax on. Then there is the beret, which is the reason all of this started. Only half done the ribbing.

Annie Sloan projects_web

So little time, so many creative things to do.

Private School

2 weeks ago, our son started grade 8 in a private school. As they say, “timing is everything”. We had actually made this decision over a year ago. Today it seems like the most amazing thing we could be doing for a number of reasons. But a year ago, we were scared.

I have been a huge believer in public education. Like life itself, I thought your school experience is what you make it. You get out of it what you put into it. This philosophy works great for a certain number of students, but not for everyone. When I was in school, I had no perspective or tolerance for the struggles of the wide array of different learning styles and needs.

As I grew older and then had children of my own, I started listening to stories. Heart breaking tales of people who did not find public education so rewarding. My position started to soften and shift. Maybe, in its current state, public education cannot serve everyone. But I was still concerned about completely turning away from it.

Then the research began. When you start looking for information, or learn the first point of a new topic, it is amazing how the world opens up. I listened to lectures and watched videos. I read and read. What I have discovered is a paradigm shift in education is underway. The old rules simply need not apply.

But, still, as I dropped off our first-born for his first day of school this year, it was with some trepidation. Was this going to be that different from public school? He was already missing his friends. His typical day was going to be extremely different. Would he adapt?

Over the course of these first days, the answers are clear.

  • A weight has been lifted from our son’s shoulders. He comes home each night sounding strong and confident. Everyday we ask, “how did it go”? He answers, “great”.
  • Every week we get a detailed summary of what has been accomplished and goals yet to be achieved. There is a sense that these things will happen. There is hope.
  • The communication from the teacher has been focused only on our son. No comparisons to other students. No shame. Confidence is what we hear. Our son will get there, it is process along a winding path.
  • The faculty and other parents are very excited to meet us and share stories. The level of support is something I have not experienced before. (There is even a parent book club!)

We are realistic, though. There will be tough days ahead. Not all goals will be easily achieved. Mastery comes with intent practice and determination. What is worthwhile does not come easy. We will be tested in the weeks and months ahead. But with this level of support, I am so confident we will overcome the obstacles, eventually. I am more engaged in this school environment than I have ever been before. The future seems so bright for us.

A footnote – private school is extremely expensive. But I look at this as an investment. Over the past 8 years, since level K, our son has struggled with a learning disability in math and been unchallenged with his gifted classification in language. His unbalanced learning profile does not fit the mold in the public education system. We tried every type of learning support and amendment, nothing made a significant difference. So instead of continuing to do the same and hoping for a different outcome, we decided to make a change.

Education hacking

“In times like these, it helps to recall that there have always been times like these.”   ~Paul Harvey

There is a measure of comfort in knowing there are many others who have come through a situation like this before. In fact, there are 10’s of thousands of parents dealing with similar circumstances in rather uncharted waters.

The situation I am talking about is the BCTF job action with their employer the BC Provincial government. The bottom line is the school aged children of British Columbia are not attending class and have not done so since early June. My daughter thinks she has won the lottery.

What has been kind of interesting, as a result of all this, is our own education hacking program. First week of September, my daughter attended full days at her mixed martial arts club where she played games, watched movies and hung out with a bunch of much younger children, most of the time. As we headed into week #2, (actually week #4.5 if you count June), the realization became clear. Time to create her own education plan.

My daughter is only entering grade 6, so she has a limited perspective of how to create a proper plan, but she is taking guidance and following through. She is determined and fairly receptive to new ways of working. We are having a little bit of discussion about novel study. She wants to have all the questions ready to go for any novel of her choice, for example. With my schedule and my husbands to consider, we are barely holding on to help her with her planning, let alone create a novel study of her preference. So we are hacking it. I’ve grabbed a template online and we are working through a new way to novel study, which is mostly self-directed. She remains skeptical, “it is not the way my teacher does it,” she grumbles.

To show flexibility and keep engagement high, we decided on a block of self-study. In class last year, this was called “genius hour”. My daughter asked if she could study, “anything“? I said sure. It matters how one studies and the quality of the research, analysis and writing. So she picked – Superwoman. No, not Marvel comics. Someone far closer to her heart and her generation’s pop culture.

Breaking it down, here are the 4 blocks she is working on:

Daytimer_web

I think my daughter will learn a number of lessons as the days pass on. Probably, quite a few of them are not in the prescribed learning outcomes from the BC Provincial government. Valuable they will be in life, though. For that, this exercise will be worthwhile. And I am learning some things too. I am watching a young person adapt and change and blossom. She has impressed me with her enthusiasm and passion. I almost didn’t realize she had all that gusto inside of her.

 

 

The Good Beach Life

Just like the seaside, a lifestyle is not always calm. There are moments of quiet reflection, even meditation. But as the wind picks up and the atmospheric pressure changes, so will the internal storm rise. This kind of ebb and flow is how I enjoy my beach life most. For it is with fortitude we trudge through the low points making the highs so sweet.

I have to admit, we had mostly high points this past week. But, maybe my graph for this kind of chart is changing. The lows lifting up to more of a medium point and my highs becoming incredibly tall. Could be. That is my story and I’m sticking to it.

There were so many moments to be thankful for this week. I’m picking a few:

  • Weather – pleasantly warm, enough to work on our tan, (even a little sunburnt children who swore they had sunscreen on), but cool in the evenings
  • Food – excellent wherever we turned. Taco’s on the beach for lunch, cookout for dinner. Fresh seafood in Stanley Park, dockside in Steveston and on the rooftop patio of the Boathouse
  • Exercise – the kids sprinted after their skim boards we walked dozens of miles, up and down the 300′ hill to the beach
  • Space – we had enough for everyone. That is a luxury we often don’t have on a family vacation, but something not to be overlooked, particularly as the kids are teens and tweens
  • Activities – new and old. The kids kicked their skimming skills up a notch. My sister and I learned to add beads into a knitting project
  • Shopping – books, everyone got something, beach reading and beyond

We had a little bit of clouds and rain yesterday. Some might view that as a low point. My mood can sink low when the sun doesn’t shine, but we made the most of it. We combed the beach at Lighthouse Park and my nephew packed out quite a haul of beach glass.

I think we managed fun for the whole family this week. But, most important, I had a great time.

Beaded Cowl_web Books_web

Related posts:

 

Appreciate

Probably the same as gratitude, which I have written about many times before. But somehow, last night, when I was deep into the witching hour, I could not summon the tiniest bit of appreciation or gratitude. (The witching hour is what we call 5pm to about 7:30pm – the dinner hour when the whole day can seem to unravel at your feet. Leaves one in charge of children feeling very frustrated and hopeless).

So I’ve come up with a few things to appreciate on this fine morning.

  • The sound of the rain, heavy and nourishing to my garden. A rhythmic pitter – patter that has been absent for some time. Warm, summer rain, nice.
  • A break in the heat. While I love the summer and prefer it to any season by far, but we needed to take a breath. The dog days were at the height and everything was drooping.
  • My coffee cup. Small thing, I know. It is a signal that the day will at least start with a predictable pace. A beacon of hope.
  • These few minutes to myself. Making the coffee, preparing my morning smoothie, sitting for a bit. Waking up early to allow for this can set such a great tone for the day ahead.
  • My husband telling me he has my back. Even though I may have over reacted with the kids last night, (hormones may be a little to blame), he supported me and helped bring me back up.

Some people may wake up and see gloomy rain. I might have done the same thing, in a different mood. But not today. Your mood is 100% in your control. I know this. But it took a lot of comedy movie trailers to lift my spirits last night. A huge waste of time, but necessary therapy.

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