Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Creativity Tips: You are a Marvel

A thought for you, from the brilliant Pablo Casals:

"Each second we live is a new and unique moment of the universe, a moment that never was before and will never be again -- and what do we teach our children? We teach them that two and two is four, and that Paris is the capital of France. 

"When will we also teach them what they are? We should say to them, 'Do you know what you are? You are a marvel! You are unique. In all of the world there is no other child like you. And look at your body ... what a wonder it is. You may become a Shakespeare, a Michelangelo, a Beethoven. You have the capacity for anything. Yes, you are a marvel. And when you grow up, can you then harm another who is like you, a marvel? You must cherish one another. You must work -- we must all work -- to make this world worthy of its children.'"

(Thanks to JewBelong for bringing this quote to my attention.) 

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Creativity Tips: Connect

Feeling down? Concern shifting into panic? Never fear. The cure is here. 

Well, maybe not a cure, but I do feel better now that I signed up for President Obama's texts. Having his smiling face in my iPhone list of contacts makes me happy. Maybe it will cheer you too?

If you can't read that ... people in the U.S. can send him a text at 773-365-9687. 

P.S. Is this really a creativity tip? Absolutely. The people we choose to connect with can spark all kinds of creative ideas. And, for some of us, happiness is creativity inducing. (I do know people who are their most creative when miserable. I ain't those people.)

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Creativity Tips: Lessons from the Loaf

Over the weekend, I baked a circular loaf of challah for the Jewish New Year, and posted a photo on Facebook and Instagram. I was understandably proud of the finished product; it was the prettiest loaf of bread I've ever made. 

Then, I cut into it. 

Sad to say, the challah looked a lot better than it tasted. Apparently, I measured the sugar wrong. Or the honey. Either way, it was bleh. Not sweet enough to be yummy-delicious-get-in-my-tummy challah. 

On the bright side, that gives us two creativity lessons to "challah" about!

1. If something doesn't work as planned, change the plan. I cut the challah into slices and used it for French toast. My French toast recipe includes honey in the batter, and cinnamon on the slices, so I figured that would take care of the lost sugar. The results? SCRUMPTIOUS. Possibly the best French toast I've ever made. 

2.  Don't believe everything you see. It's easy to create images on social media that reflect our lives as we wish they were. I want you to think everything I bake is delicious. You want me to think that vacation was one long sunny day at the beach. 

The truth is more complicated than that: Our lives aren't picture perfect. But, with a bit of imagination and creativity (and syrup), we can make them better!

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Creativity Tips: Simple Self Care

These are crazy times, peeps. That makes it the perfect time to take better care of yourself. How? Start with one of these five simple ideas:

  1. Buy yourself a bouquet. This cutie cost me $3.99 and it's still fresh, beautiful, and smile-inducing a week later. 

  2. Sleep in. If you don't have an early meeting, go ahead. Hit snooze on the alarm. Grab an extra 30 minutes. 
  3. Luxuriate. Whatever that means to you. Long nap. Long bubble bath. Long ... whatever. 
  4. Unplug. Go without social media for an entire evening. One evening. That's all. You can do it!
  5. Look up. There's something you love and have ignored at home. Could be a book. A hobby. A human. Whatever, while you're unplugged and all relaxed, focus on the goodness right at your fingertips. 

    Do it for you. Because you deserve the best!

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Creativity Tips: Get a Grip

Look at this! I went to Trader Joe's for some of life's little necessities. You know, flowers and wine. Unexpectedly, I found two of life's big necessities: creativity and kindness. The woman who was bagging my purchases gave me a grin, grabbed a nearby carton, pulled out her box cutter, and quickly made handles on both sides so I could carry everything with ease. 

Genius. Creative genius. Took her about 15 seconds. 

Look around you, peeps. What "little" thing can  you do today that would make someone else's life easier? Do it! 

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Let's Play: Create a Holiday

It's September! Prelude to the holiday season. But why wait for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, etc.? Create your personal holiday today -- and all the falderol that goes with it. Are there decorations? Special foods? A signature cocktail?

My new holiday is Walloween. It's the  one day of the year that I get to wallow in whatever bad mood I choose. I celebrated Walloween early this year, and went full self-pity mode. So far, Walloween doesn't have decorations (I'm open to suggestions), but there is a costume: ratty old sweats and fuzzy warm socks. Naturally, the traditional Walloween foods include chocolate. And more chocolate. Wrapped up with a potato chip chaser, because Walloween is, after all, a salty holiday. 

Your turn! 

Don't you love words?
I forgot that "wallow" can also be a physical depression.
Think of happy, happy hippos in their wallow. 
Hmmm. Now I'm thinking mud pits. 
That opens the door to completely different Walloween traditions ...  

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

#CreativityTips: Happiness Hacks

 How are you doing? No, seriously. How are you doing?

It has come to my attention that a lot of my friends/peeps/readers are struggling, and the end of summer isn't helping. Some of you are doing your best to cope with heartbreaking grief. Some of you are grumpy from too much time inside, too much uncertainty, too much solitude, too much together. Too much. 

Whether your reality is grief or grump, telling you to, "Look on the bright side!" isn't going to help. Fortunately, I have more than platitudes up my sleeve -- I can share a few happiness hacks, double-dog guaranteed to stir up the chemicals that accompany happiness, including serotonin, oxytocin, and dopamine. Heck, with these hacks, you might even get the old endorphins going. 

  1. Be more like Milo, the pup. Snuggle up. Get your rest. Hug someone in your circle -- I read a story that said hugging might be safer than shaking hands. It's certainly more fun. If you really want to feel better fast, pet a pup. Cuddle a kitten. Have a baby nearby? They're almost as good. ;-)

  2. Refocus. Get your mind off your life. Watch something on TV that makes you laugh. Go for a walk and look for something you've never seen before. What could that be? You tell me. I tried this on my walk Saturday, and noticed a design on a political sign that indicated the candidate was a doctor. I had walked by the sign dozens of times, but never really saw it before. (Does it matter? No. But my mind was happy to be searching for something new and not focused on ... whatever. And that matters!)

  3. Do something for someone else. Mail a postcard to a friend. Bake cookies for the neighbors. Tell that masked clerk at the grocery store that you really appreciate all she's doing. 
When Mom used to tell me and Harry and Eva to Look Up, when she encouraged us to always find the best in a situation, she wasn't dismissing reality. She was reminding us that we have the power to choose our response. 

If you can, dear heart, choose happy. 

Friday, September 4, 2020

Friday Fun: Toy Story Drop

How have I maintained my sparkling sense of humor throughout the 9,435,672 days of the pandemic? Every night -- and I do mean EVERY NIGHT -- I block out all reality, including my dear husband, and play Toy Story Drop, a free game undoubtedly designed for 6-year-olds. 

Roll your eyes if you will, but it's fun. The graphics are gorgeous. Woody congratulates me when I make a good move. "That was pretty brave, partner!" And there are absolutely no politics involved. 

Ahhhhh. You're starting to see the appeal, aren't you?

Here's to a lovely long weekend -- find time to play! 

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

#Creativity Tips: Look Down

 I know, I know. It's counter-intuitive and off-brand for me to encourage you to "look down" rather than "Look Up." 

But look! After a big storm blew through, I saw this on the deck -- raindrops captured in a spider's web. How cool is that? 

Life. It's all a matter of perspective, peeps.