#MMHM| Self-Care with #CreativeSmartGirl

Last Thursday was a tumultuous day for several of us. After a week of horrible, gut-wrenching reports of state-sanctioned violence, black men and women brutally murdered at the hands of law enforcement officers for petty offenses and retraumatized via the media–we really all needed to breathe. People of color, black women in particular, are not afforded a chance to recover from the shockwaves of violence, grief, and fear incited against our own. A collective Selah moment was in order–thankfully, Nia Phillips, founder of #CreativeSmartGirl, and her guests Brittany Josephina, Wilsar Johnson, Lauren Ash, Yetunde Ajayi-Obe and Chastity Cooper, offered us just that.

We discussed how to engage self-care in the midst of hustler culture, and political chaos:

On making self-care a part of your lifestyle:

  • Self-care is self-preservation. It’s restorative, allowing for a preventative release and affirmation.
  • It is imperative that we learn how to prioritize ourselves, our needs and work towards holistic health.

On prioritizing self-care as a creative and entrepreneur:

  • Allot time for self to regroup, renew and refresh. –Chastity Cooper
  • Take breaks from social media–it places too much emphasis on insignificant things.
  • Take time in your day before you are bombarded with work–establish a morning routine that smooths your transition into the day.
  • “Break down monthly goals into small weekly bullet points. Tasks are achieveable with time to breathe.” –Oheneba Sankofa

  • SLEEP!
  • Listen to your body/mind: Warnings I’m off-kilter and in need of rest: I’m snappy, strained, drained, juggling too many things, and lacking focus.

On managing guilt from prioritizing self over work, family and deadlines:

  • True friends honor your commitments to yourself.–Lauren Ash

  • Creativity suffers when your focus is divided.
  • Schedule and plan time to spend with friends and family to let them know they are still a priority. –Anekia Nicole
  • “‘No’ is a full sentence.” —Shonda Rhimes

  • Understand where that pressure is rooted: pride, perfectionism, attempts to manipulate, selfishness, insecurity, an inaccurate assessment of your worth (ie: performance-based). Give yourself and others some grace.

On making improvements since implementing self-care:

  • Workouts help get past the mid-noon slump; they reenergize you…Take care of your body! –Wilsar
  • SLEEP + LACK = SLACK. —Kiyla Monet

  • Self-care enables you to make time for the most important tasks and projects without overcomitting to satisfy egos, thanks to time management and boundaries. 🙂
  • “It doesn’t have me feeling like the world owes me something.” —Nefertiti Anderson

On the role self-care plays in maintaining mental health and wellness:

  • Breathing and taking up space allows you to find comfort in sharing your gift with the world. –Ashley J.H.
  • Be on purpose!
  • “The messages we get say that WOC are not important. That takes a toll mentally, emotionally…” —Shannon Franklin

 

The clincher question of the night:

What is currently missing from the self-care, mental health and wellness space for overwhelmed creatives and entrepreneurs?

  • Self-care is overused and losing its meaning, in need of personal redefinition.
  • Superwoman super-shero syndrome has GOT to go!
  • We’re lacking honesty and transparency. What about the bad days?
  • Sister circles…self-care can be practiced with others. –Brittany Josephina
  • Open forums to state if you are struggling with a lack of self-care –Chivon John
  • Unhurried conferences with break out sessions, few panelists, and lots of time to chill–Ingrid Green
  • Misunderstanding: POC, especially WOC suffer mental illness the most! Most WOC diagnoses go untreated.

  • Being unabashed and unapologetic when discussing mental health

I learned tons from some fabulous ladies. Safe to say we all felt a bit more loved and encouraged that night. 🙂

Challenge: What do you think is missing in the self-care, mental health and wellness space for creatives and entrepreneurs of color? 

Join me and #CultureFix on Twitter tomorrow at 3 p.m. EST/ 2 p.m. Central/ 12 noon PST, where we discuss Career, Anxiety, and When Art Is Not Enough. It’s gonna be a blast!

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#Flourish30| Day 7: BlogLovin’

<a href=”http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/14845199/?claim=3zwh8gq53sm”>Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

90 days of intentional focus on this blog, begins with 2 challenges at the same time: #WYAOApril, and of course, #flourish30. So be on the lookout for more miscellaneous thoughts; they’ll be here! 😀

Renewing commitments sometimes means returning to what you dropped, and reestablishing good habits.

In this case, I’m going back to the beginning of the #flourish30 challenge so I can work my way through the whole thing. No skips, just some Wild cards and a couple Draw 4s. 😉

Day 7: Using BlogLovin to drive niche traffic.

Step 1: Sign up. 
Step 2: Claim blog. So now, I’ve got a feed
Step 3: Share (tweet link etc)
Step 4: Connect. (Find, follow, share and talk to 3 other bloggers on whatever media outlet you’re using.)

Quick Resource Review: BlogLovin reminds me of Pinterest, in the way the categories are organized and posts displayed. You can even save blog posts that you like into “collections.” Mood boards for writers?
I’m not sure exactly how to get more of my posts onto my profile, since WordPress doesn’t support its widgets…
It didn’t take long to peruse through blogs already here from blogspot, Tumblr and other hosting sites, and find something that resonated with me:

  • All The Many Layers by GG Renee Hill: She’s not afraid to get introspective about her creative process, and she has such a gift with words! You may have been on her Tumblr a few times or seen her quoted on Instagram. (Can you tell I’m a fan? :D)
  • Right Brain Planner by stargardener: When I promote journaling as the optimal creative outlet, this person here knows what I’m talking about! Her gluebook images are some strong, vibrant examples of inner world cartography (exploring your own mind.)
  • Sprinkle of Jesus by Dana Chanel: Christ-centered inspiration, in a neat package= my jam

 

Will I enjoy this as much as I like using Tweetdeck? According to Brittany, this site rewards you with frequent flyer miles (my paraphrase, you get the idea.) Let the views come pouring in!

 

#Flourish30 | My TEDxAgnesScott

 

A few of you may be wondering how my TEDx experience went. For all of us, I kept a journal as the day unfolded. Here is how it all went down:

6:42 am: imposter syndrome attempting to set it at all time high. I can’t find my pants. Comfort zone is pants? Will try on dress I bought a yr ago and idk if it will fit.oddly that’s my biggest concern right now.
That and tornado advisory is it over? It’s def still raining.

6:46 The Dress fits pretty well, actually.
I will find a change of clothes though so I don’t sweat it out and get gross.

7:04 I’m in my backup outfit: white thermal and purple skirt.
Red shoes? Gold shoes?

7:24
Supposed to leave 15 minutes ago. Mom so patient
I’m pulling a Kia. Not at all relaxed

8:00
Mom had me listen to Rance Allen in the car, helped melt away some intensity
We prayed.

8:15
Been on campus 20 minutes. Floundered on social media, then got a sausage biscuit for 1.99. Ms Deb you rock.

8:42
Just spent 30 minutes walking thru Dana; showing thinking is up. I’m reminiscing. I like Nell’s haircut.
I’ve decided to bolt myself on stack 3 in the library to go practice and record and record and record.

11:42
After 20 more minutes chillin on Facebook, I got serious lol
In group study room going over slides again.
I deleted 4 or 5.
I read through and then ran with just slides (19:42) and then a fast pace run (16:02) which is the actual pace I need to go thru this speech!!! Ahh!
Guest net is so much slower than I thought. Maybe stop by ITS and get comp remediated so I can use regular wifi. Or I can go to Starbucks. I’m thinking Starbucks
I stowed my dress and shoes under a chair in Alston. Should prolly find someone to keep stuff safe. Oddly unfazed.
It’s 12. I gotta leave this part of the library. Maybe china in tps?
Will I unwrap my hair? Not before 2pm! I should try to knot it though. My curls are squished, but it’s raining.

11:54
Strange in between urge to sleep and desire to perfect. Lord remove this urge to be perfect and just let me find my strengthens courage in You.
I need to go buy a toothbrush. And grab lunch.
Purple skirt inspires courage.

12:13
Ran into Asha 😁

12:30 get lunch at chickfila with Asha. Cute spunky little girl w/ mucho personality At table next to us. Much needed decompress time + sharing abt the gold mine of opportunities available through social media

1:30 return to campus, run into Brittany Williams (Class of 2014–RedFoxes everywhere!)
1:45 change clothes, see more students
2pm head to Campbell
2-3 try to review, 2:15 edit slides, talk to Kia. I listened to the beginning of my talk over and over, never seemed to make it through the bits on fixed vs growth mindsets.
3:15 Snag some fancy eats from the faculty TGIF in the lobby. (To be fair, we really thought it was for TEDx. The blueberry goat cheese spread was fabulous.)
3:30 Answer calls, texts, tweets about streaming; post new link; find out the audio is out
Meet with friends to decompress.
4:05 Get called to return to give my talk; everyone was wrapping up early! Showtime (WHEEE! “Are you ready?” “No.” “You’ll do great! You got this!” (Thinking, am I the most nervous or just wearing it on my sleeves?) Hugs and votes of confidence from all the other speakers present– thank you all!
Are you ready? No. “To the moon, Alice!” I yelp to Kim, as we lead up to the steps.
She hands me a land mic and tells me to break a leg.

4:10ish I begin. My eyes find Paula Bloom in the second row. I hit my stride and even get a couple giggles from the audience. I finish in 16 minutes and saunter/ power walk off to the left.
How did you do? *dazed face*

“No one knows what you forgot or messed up on but YOU.” Thanks Honi and everyone.

It took me another 2 hours of answering the question, responding to messages, eating more steamed veggies, and having a glass of wine with Halden to leave the heightened state of frenzy and realize That I did well. There is nothing like public speaking, even in how you process it after you conclude.

I decompressed by chatting, explaining my talk to professors still gathered in the lobby, bouncing around Spring Fling fest, and then watching the last couple of talks. We took all the photos, all the poses, including with our infamous onyx rings and then I knew, we just made history.

The recordings will be available after edits, and I’ll be sure to post them here.

All the TEDxASC talks In a nutshell:
#Hashtag
#YesAnd
#Freak
#WhatDidYouJustDoToYourself
#MillennialPower
#Mentors
#VisionOverSight
#Depression

This has been one day in the life. 😉🦄

#FLOURISH30 Day 17: Exertion

As I type this, I am simultaneously preparing for many things.

Between events, interviews, some guest posts on other blogs (once I write and send the respective pitches), and my twin’s graduation, I admit my mind is just not [here].

How odd that we should expect that when our projects are bigger than us in conception, that we don’t factor in that potential overwhelm. It’s exciting; it’s provoking; it’s breathtaking; now, it’s suffocating…It’s really fun to watch the tsunami wave approaching, and also spellbinding and beautiful…

B R E A T H E. Do you have room to b r e a t h e?

Say out loud: I need to simplify. I give myself permission to ball up this piece of paper, and throw it.  Exert some of the pent-up energy. Release myself from the burden of unmet expectations and unreasonable demands on my mind, will, emotions, and body.

PSA:

I will be speaking at TEDxAgnesScott in about 2 weeks, on Friday April 1st.

“Happy Place: The Art of the Outlet”

Sounds pretty cool, yeah?

I am in the middle of whittling down my presentation, to simplify a whole lot of expressive therapy terminology and neuroscience and journaling excerpts full of my own capricious runaway trains of thought.

I may scrap it and start all over. It’s the creative process.

Streamlining is a thing. I cut down to redirect. onepointperslide, makeitcount. pictures pictures everywhere.

Exertion is also a thing, and staleness. If there is no more juice in the lemon you should stop squeezing.

I am waiting patiently and expectantly for the serendipitous moment, where God breathes on you so you can do a new thing, gain a second wind.

 

 

 

TherapyThursday | Ambiguity, Ambivalence, and Ambition

Welcome to Therapy Thursday! I’m so glad you could join me in this safe place. You can stretch, grab some water, sip on some green tea.
Have a seat and get comfy, because we are going to dig deep today, into our intentions.

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Ambiguity (n.)–
a word or expression that can be understood in two or more possible ways :  an ambiguous word or expression; uncertainty

Ambivalence (n.) —
 1. simultaneous and contradictory attitudes or feelings (as attraction and repulsion) toward an object, person, or action
2. continual fluctuation (as between one thing and its opposite)b:  uncertainty as to which approach to follow

Ambition (n.) —
1.  a: an ardent desire for rank, fame, or power b:  desire to achieve a particular end
2:  the object of ambition <her ambition is to start her own business>
3:  a desire for activity or exertion <felt sick and had no ambition>
What do these three terms have in common, besides alliteration?
They describe mindsets, states of mental activity, flowing thoughts, maybe even hyperactive thoughts, and they directly relate one to another:

An ambivalent person will most likely express herself in an ambiguous fashion, which hinders her own ambition.

How?

Say I am at half-court, dribbling a basketball, preparing to shoot, intending on scoring 3 points. I cannot make any points if I aim at the other team’s basket, if I hesitate between taking the shot and holding onto the ball, or if I aim underneath the basket—inevitably, I come up short. The same holds true for following through on an idea, a plan, or a strategy:

If I am fluctuating between two opposite ideas, then I am lukewarm on the subject, which will show up in the ways that I communicate about it, and my drive to make things happen—or a lack thereof.

Words do hold creative potential; that’s why reciting Scriptures that affirm your worth, value and purpose works. That’s why repeating negative and faulty ideas such as, I’m a failure; I can’t ____, also works. You instill belief in an idea and express the strength and magnitude of your conviction by saying it out loud.

(This is also the process of renewing your mind, that you may prove the good, perfect and acceptable will of God, according to Romans 12:2; that you may discern truth from falsehood and error, that you will be able to maintain righteousness by obedience and faith in the Word that saves you.)

James 1: 5-8 NLT
If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.

Do you find yourself constantly wavering between two opinions?
Consider carefully and nod your head if this sounds like you:
Yes, this is worthwhile; yes, I can do it; Yes, this will succeed and prosper in my hand–No, this isn’t a proper investment of my time, energy, faith, and resources; no, I cannot do this; no, this may fail, and I cannot bear the thought of failure.
(Nevermind that you are entertaining it at the very instant.)

I took some time to understand why we waffle around on essential, beautiful, novel, and expedient ideas. Why do creatives go back and forth between confidence in a product launch and gripping, terror-inducing worry and anxiety? Why do we cave into perfectionism and procrastination? Why don’t we always aim for the lofty, vertigo-inciting opportunities? Why don’t we get the things done?

We’re ambivalent in our thinking and our understanding. We pursue things that we halfway care about, stuff we “could” do, with a plan B and an itty-bitty committee-approved safety net of excuses, for when we don’t execute.
We deliver an ambiguous message, trying to be SuperWoman and Mr. Fantastic, tagging on title after title, role upon role…to sell everyone who will listen on all that we can do. We juggle way too many hats, because we won’t specialize, because we are ambivalent on standing out by being outstanding. At that. one. thing. We’re not clear on what we are doing, and neither is anybody else who reads our copy, hears our podcast, or looks at our presentation.
We then jeopardize our own success; we get lackluster results and back down, dim our lights, settle for a more dull “existence” instead of thriving. It’s a vicious cycle of poorly communicating to ourselves, and then to our our coworkers, supervisors, colleagues, classmates, family & friends, mentors, audiences, the world, and back to us.

This has been me.
This has been every black sheep who ever attempted to blend in to some generic bot role, and that backfired.
This has been everyone who has ever conceived something far greater than themselves.
This has been every underdog, every unconventional thinker, every person who ever dared think about going against the status quo, carving out a niche, doing what no one in their family, community, generation has done.
And if this has been you, then I encourage you, to let today be the very last day you were ambiguous or ambivalent about your life, wherever this resonates.

Acquire some executive, decisive language, and make some executive decisions.

Let your Yes be Yes, and your No, be No. Anything other than this comes from the evil one. Matthew 5:37

How are you doing? Have you been ambivalent, ambiguous, or just ambitious? Tweet using #TherapyThursday and let me know! 

#Flourish30 Day 3: Me & Community Building

Yo. Shoutout to Brittany for putting us on to great shortcut platforms! *cues applause*

Task: Focus on community self-care; provide information.

It’s easier for me to engage a community at large; participating in Twitter chats has definitely made me more confident in offering knowledge/help/connections. Personal favorites include #sidehustlechat, #blkcreatives, #createlounge, #ambitionista, and of course #mhchat.

Admittedly, I am still working on day 1, a matter of execution and the element of surprise. There are people that want to work with me, hear what I have to say? It catches me off guard at times even though I know I’m a talented writer, mainly because I’m not really out here looking for the accolades. Fiction writing and poetry were my first loves, before I discovered the liberation from spilling pigments onto substrates.
Today is the day I own that my voice matters. God will use you as His instrument, surely if you are yielded to be the conduit to be the vessel carrying His glory this journey will be so worthwhile, wow I am in awe, so accustomed—too accustomed, rather, to getting downplayed, ignored, denied access…I have been dreaming of a long corridor filled on every side with doors opening and closing and I know now I am only beginning to see and walk through some of them!

  1. By far my favorite social platform to use is Twitter. It’s the quickest way by far for me to fire off my thoughts in an instant, and even to summarize my main idea succinctly (that 140 character limit does serve to simplify.)
  2. As an artist, it’s essential that I optimize visuals (duh, Mia): Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Twitter are top network sites that come to mind. I have been using IG more effectively now than I was the last couple years I’ve been on it, but still would like more views…
    I am still figuring out Pinterest.
    All of my fellow nerds, gamers, and anime lovers urge me to get a tumblr account…I will at some point this year, after I get the hang of Pinterest.

    Cool thing that happened today:
    I teamed up with @TallGlassofStyle and @TyshiaShante to start a #blackpinterest board, #MelaninMarch and Beyond.
    We noticed that not enough black bloggers use Pinterest or recognize its value to building your brand/company visibility online. If you account for the fact that representation matters, this becomes more than a mere hobby. WE (black women especially, but all melanated folk) need to see ourselves reflected in many, many spaces, instead of being erased and assumed to be only consumers of other products. As more and more women of color enter the tech field, particularly in coding and front-end developing, we are raising a bar for our own level of activity.

    Sure, we can repin someone else’s brilliantly composed graphics, but we can also post our own compositions. This board can serve as a resource, even generate support for such companies as createherstock , full of images of women of color, and colorstock, a company who’s “changing the hue of stock photos with authentic depictions of people of color.”

    So, we shall be building this board up over the course of March and through the rest of this year. I’ll report on its progress here; check it out and feel free to add pins to it yourself! 

So, I’ve created a case study for this lesson! 😀

What is your favorite social media platform? How do you build your online community? Tweet #flourish30 and let us know!

#Flourish30 Day 1: When Rubber Meets the Road

My friend Brittany (@britdear of dearminerva.com) has just launched #FLOURISH30, a 30 day challenge to grow a profitable blog from the ground up.

Each day, these are the tasks I am to complete (along with one handy assignment):

  1. Write at least 500 words
  2. Post to Social Media at least twice
  3. Speak to 3 people in your audience
  4. Follow, and speak to, 3 people outside your audience
  5. Schedule 2 posts to social media

Brittany says all this can be done within ONE hour, every day. What?!
Transparent moment: I am still developing effective time management skills, especially as more and more opportunities to write, speak, and create projects come into play.
(Admittedly, some days I have shut down from being overwhelmed…the GIF of the monkey shoving the laptop across the table is my favorite for a reason :D)

So, after launching the first phase of the Happy Place Project, and while I’m planning the next phase, I am taking on this challenge to stretch myself. That way, I can serve you, my readers, crazy cool on a regular basis.

In the words of Chef Duff, “Make it bigger; make it badder; make it awesome!”

So get ready for some gear turning, mind blowing extra posts from yours truly, as I dig deeper; follow along with #flourish30 on Twitter, IG, LinkedIn… Whoohoo!

 

 

Revisiting Printmaking Spring 2012

I can hardly believe this was over 4 years ago! Making paste papers was really fun, and they sure came in handy when it was time to make book covers!

1.23.12

Our 1st active class session, I had oh so much fun!! We made paste papers, a simple process involving cooperation and collaboration amongst peers, easy if lengthy cleanup, and creative pattern making via..well, it’s fingerpainting.

  1.  Pick a paper: Strathmore or rice (which, contrary to misconceptions, is apparently NOT made of rice grains, i.e. food, but from the long fibers of the rice plant. Who knew?)  Strathmore paper is pretty smooth, sturdy, and durable, although I don’t think it’s a rag paper [will double check!] Another fun fact about rice paper: It is most vulnerable and delicate when wet, but stronger once it dries again–so when scoring, making patterns with tools, or stamping, you’re better off just waiting until it dries or just being really, really, REALLY careful.
  2. In a catfood can (or other bowl-like container; we just used cat food cans), Mix a fingernail-sized dollup of ink with a huge glob of wheat paste, enough to fill at least half the can. Stir thoroughly; try to “whisk” as many lumps out as possible.
  3. Dampen your chosen paper with a sponge or wet paper towel. With rice paper, you should probably wet the table underneath it.
  4. Liberally apply your mixed paste to your paper and smear with your hands. Feel free to add more ink for stronger hue, more paste to spread it out, little scraping tools to add paterns, etc.
  5. When you’re done, put the inked up paste paper on a sheet of neswprint and then put on the drying rack.

There were brayers, cork stamps and cut up plastic lids, laughter and comraderie. I began to sing the Brady Bunch theme song, which sparked a full 10-15 minute discussion of TV shows and the Brady boys….and feminism…across the room…

How to assess how much fun we had:

  • WE NEVER stopped laughing/chortling/giggling/moving
  • We collectively used at least a third of the pack of Strathmore, and ALL of the rice paper by the end of class
  • Many, many jokes passed around about the resemblance of the wheat paste to various substances: Nickelodeon slime, oatmeal, snot, ketchup, kitty litter, split pea soup, carrot souffle, BBQ sauce, ketchup and mustard…
  • Mixing colors was enjoyable because it kept yielding unexpected results, like sea foam green or Barney purple, or turquoise.
  • There was definitely clear exchanges of ideas, especially when it came to producing textures on the paper, sharing mesh and stamps, and leftover colors.
  • Teamwork!! I know in my case in particular, I ALWAYS needed help lifting my rice paper onto the newsprint–which I kept leaving on the blotting table on the OPPOSITE side of the room!!

In fact, me working with Gabby and Yehimi to get one of my aqua rice papers onto a sheet lead to a sort of crude printmaking opportunity: We tried putting the rice paper on newsprint–the rice paper, which was already torn and still trying to tear, had to be adjusted twice. Gabby suggested we move the rice paper to a piece of Strathmore instead, since it was stronger. That’s when we  noticed that the ink had bled thru and made this really fancy pattern on the newsprint . GASP!You could really see everyone’s lightbulbs come on: What if we placed a wet strathmore on the other side and pressed them together?  Anne called it a “Printmaking moment.”

So, yay! New discoveries were made and a ton of paste papers were created–plenty enough to cover any size book. We cleaned up with sponges or used razors to scrape the dried paste-ink off the tables. and thusly, my school day was over by 12:30. 😀

TuesdayTea | Running Out of Space

I shall run the way of Your commandments, for You shall enlarge my heart. Psalm 119:32

image

Pull up a chair and have a biscuit; it’s time for Tuesday Tea! Let’s talk about running out of space.

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Growth is the outcome of dedicating time, energy, significant effort into bringing something from seed form to a full, flourishing state of being:
From single word to presentation
From cute idea to product
From hypothesis to probable theory
From seedling to tree
From fetus to adult

Ideally, our creative ventures will expand, enlarge and become efficient, effective vehicles. Platforms to stand upon. Programs to implement. Profits bounding from the windows to the wall.
I’m getting macroscopic here. My point is that growth should be expected in life, and lacking growth is stagnation, death.

What becomes apparent when a person, place, idea grows?
It immediately requires more room.

That lily you planted a few months ago has to be moved to a larger pot.

Your child can climb out of the crib herself; she needs a new bed.

A simple to-do list won’t do anymore–that new initiative needs a complete project management system. Not a vision board, a vision wall.

You’ve got so many sketches, you’ve got to get a separate portfolio to keep them in. Your canvases are taking over your bedroom, and your bathroom, and the living room…

You have a thousand invoices to send and 2000 orders to fill before Friday…
You just can’t seem to get to the last 100 unread messages in your inbox…

Your hard drive is running out of disc space–every week.

You hear God whisper, and feel a familiar tug in your heart that it’s time to find a new place of worship, to go into ministry full-time, to teach, to move across the country…

Growth comes with its own pains: uprooting, saying goodbye, switching platforms, bringing on an assistant, learning a new language.

When you run out of space, you’ve got to carve out more room.
This must be intentional!

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been wrestling with my cloud-streaming computer. Although I had saved all graphics & photos to the cloud, I could not figure out for the life of me why the hard drive would fill itself up! It seemed to be happening on its own, like the magic brooms filling the fountain in Fantasia! And I just…wanted to (gingerly but forcefully) shove my laptop onto the floor.
This issue was holding up too many projects, occupying way too much of my time. What’s a frustrated creative to do?

I opened Disc Cleanup manager and to my surprise, my laptop had saved every single solitary update Windows had run since it was assembled in the factory. 162 updates to be exact, all consuming my limited free space.
I had to selectively clean out my system files and old updates to make room for new stuff.
Moral to this real life snippet?

Delete whatever is outdated and no longer beneficial to you.
Clear out all that is cluttering your headspace, even if it presents itself as useful information.
Some of the experiences and connections you have gained over the years were seasonal instructions and assignments, that are now completed. You’ve outgrown your old school of thought. You are no longer dependent on that relationship. That free website platform is limiting your expansion into e-Commerce. Those well-meaning family and friends just cannot grasp the scope of your vision because it was not given to them.

Celebrate your personal and professional growth!
Be thankful that you can now demonstrate greater faith, be more fruitful, more loving. It is a beautiful thing always to grow up, no matter what you let go of in the process; there’s so much more to make room for!

We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater.
2 Thessalonians 1:3

TuesdayTea| Ownership

We had a pop-up #blkcreatives chat this snow day- Saturday on making progress when circumstances aren’t motivating.

I’ve since had a few conversations about creative license, originality, imitation vs theft (brand designer and Director of Operations Auntee Rik shares more of that here )

For me, all these subjects lie under one umbrella: ownership.

Ownership parallels responsibility, and is usually related directly to a problem; you being the cause/catalyst, are also the solution.

To take ownership of anything, you must declare that you have created it. It’s yours by design; you did not attempt to ride someone’s coat tails or take credit for their efforts. (No Columbusing either)
You were present and essential to its conception; you incubated the idea; you desired to launch the product after approving all designs, and out it comes into the world–soaring past your highest expectations? Yes that’s my baby! 😊

A über flawed, hot mess? Yes….that’s…my baby.😅😪😔😒

The cool thing about ownership is learning. Based on overall response, good, bad, indifferent, you gauge success by impact, engagement or another metric. What went wrong? What is working? One thing you cannot do is waylay blame to another party. If the process is jacked up, it’s up to you to implement or modify your systems.
If the product disappointed you in some way, you get to return to the old drawing board and improve.
You could also bury yourself under the covers and scream, I’m not coming out to face this cruel world; I’m shutting down indefinitely!
But what good will that do for you, the creative? Surely, you came up with this outlet or platform because you needed it.

More importantly, who will you be letting down who needs your work? Your expertise, your product, your solutions, your encouragement?

Sometimes we must resist the temptation to look around us and get discouraged or complacent from our environment. We must push out of “comfortable,” take up the challenges (that we often generate for ourselves) and overcome.

In Proverbs 24:30-34, we find a neat tale about ownership:

King Solomon passed by a field owned by a sluggard: a lazy person, who lacked good sense. It was overgrown with thorns & weeds; the walkways were disheveled; tools in disarray and rusted; fences broken down, goats munching on all the plants! (Ok, I added that in there.)
You see, the lazy person owned the property by right; but did he take ownership by taking care of it? He chose to slack off on the important, everyday tasks, chose to sleep in and be undisciplined. Through a myriad of excuses, he ruined his inheritance.
Being irresponsible backlashes on you first. Then it ripples to affect those lives you’re destined to touch.
On the other hand, true, righteous ownership brings major opportunities!

Do not let us grow weary in doing good, for in due time we will reap a harvest if we don’t give up. You are planting seeds right now for your legacy; it’s yours to own.
What’s your harvest going to yield? Weeds? Or wheat? Cultivate what you yearn to manifest by taking ownership of what’s yours and staying disciplined!