Flip Your Funk: Finding Your Creative Shift

The other night I was in the shower trying to force ideas for this exact blog post.

“Come on Danielle, think… Okay, just think. There’s got to be something in there…You need an idea, just one before the shower gets cold.” Queue rambling thoughts of grading papers and old blog topics and, wait… where was I going with this? “Okay, this is ridiculous. Hurry up. Ugh, the water is freezing now…”

After reflecting on my icy cold shower, turns out, there was an idea in there after all: to write about my creative block.

The truth is, I’ve been in a creative funk. My ideas haven’t been popcorning. My energy hasn’t been bouncing. My projects haven’t been forward moving. Can you relate? Perhaps you’ve picked up the pen, guitar or spatula but your creative process wasn’t as smooth, soulful or artistic as it usually is. 

I’m sure this whole pandemic thing has something to do with it, but I’ve been down this road dozens of times, trying to find my spark, trying to get back to me again. It’s lonely. It’s aggravating. It’s demotivating. And then I remember: the lightbulb turns on and the warm fuzzies fill me as I recall the lessons I’ve learned on my not-so-creative journeys. I then feel centered and a bit creative again, like I am now as I write to you.

Finding that spark can take time and effort. Here’s a few of the things I’ve learned along the way that have helped me and others make a creative shift:

  • Our bodies are smarter than we give them credit for. If our brains and hearts want to go quiet for a bit, we need to let them. We may need the rest for our next big thing.
  • Very rarely is forcing anything a good idea. Seriously. Can you think of a time you forced something, and it was for the better? Forcing should be a red flag to do the opposite of what we’re doing. Instead we need to allow what is. Our intuition may be trying to slow us down so that we see something different, so we can change our perspective and fuel our creative purpose at another time.
  • Sometimes all we need is an energetic change. Stuck in your home office? Try working a couple hours at your town library. Instead of writing on the porch, go to the coffee shop. Rather than reading and reflecting on a book alone, sign up for a book club. I’ve signed up for a few extra writing groups; joining other aspiring writers with similar goals always gives me a boost of word-adrenaline.
  • Distance does make the heart grow founder. We can put down our work and get inspiration from other sources. Are you crafting a speech? Play UNO with the family every day this week. Do you want to find the drive to finish that needlepoint? Go for a hike. A change of action and scenery can do wonders.
  • Reconnect with yourself. If there’s something weighing us down, we need to work that out. Revisit things and activities you love: for some, this looks like a 45-minute hot yoga session; for others, this may be volunteering at the local wildlife conservation.
  • Remember: our creativity always comes back. It’s never lost for good.

And now I’m off to take a shower where I plan to belt out some tunes (as opposed to think about what to write next!). I know the right idea will come in perfect timing.

Join me in spreading my messages of breaking judgement habits and strengthening intuition even further: forward this newsletter to a few family members and friendsThe greater the shares, the greater the impact – They can subscribe here.  

Sincerely,
Danielle

PS – Here’s an affirmation to help you boost your creative confidence, “Creativity flows through me. My imagination and abilities are unlimited.”

PPS – Here’s a fun one to get your creative juices flowing. Get out your journal and write a short story using the following words: New York, tiger, flawless, apple, gum, love. Were you able to do it? See, I told you our creativity is never lost for good.

Liar, Liar, My Pants Were On Fire

On Good Friday, I walked into the kitchen and saw my fourteen-year-old son Aaron on his phone. Unbelievable. On his phone again when I just asked him to do the dishes. My blood boiledI puffed out my cheeks and squinted my eyes as I walked past him.

When I strolled by glancing in his direction, Aaron looked up and stuttered, “Mom, I was just picking a new song to listen to while I do the dishes. I promise.”

My heart melted. By his tone and his body language, I knew my sweet boy (who doesn’t even use his phone that much!) was telling the truthShit Danielle, not cool.

I softened my face and cracked a warm smile, “Huh? I didn’t say anything,” I lied.

Aaron looked to the ground and said, “You didn’t have to. You got me really upset. I could feel you were mad. I’m sorry.”

Stubborn and embarrassed, I quipped, “Nope, that’s all you. I wasn’t thinking that, and I wasn’t mad. Maybe you’re just tired.”

I booked it to my office, closed the door, and let the tears trickle down. Danielle, first you prejudged him and then you lied to your son… What is going on?

As I thought about the situation, I realized I let my pride get in the way of being honest. I wanted to be right, but I unfairly assumed that Aaron was avoiding dishes for scrolling through Instagram. I also had an epiphany; my lying could have a big impact on Aaron. Not only could my actions jeopardize our relationship, but it could also prevent him from trusting his intuition.

I started to worry even more. What if Aaron believed me when I said I wasn’t mad in the moment? Maybe next time he won’t trust his gut and his ability to read people deeper than their spoken words. This scared the crap out of me. As someone who regularly uses her intuition in work and personal life, I know how important it is to decision-making, protecting myself from people and situations I don’t want, and fostering more authentic relationships with others.

When I couldn’t take it any longer, I had a chat with Aaron. Blinking away tears, I took a deep breath in and said, “Aaron, you were right this morning. You did sense I was mad. I made a snap judgement when you were on your phone. I realized that was unfair of me, but I was too stubborn to admit it so I tried to make it seem like you were the one who was reading the room wrong. I am so, so sorry. I always want you to trust yourself. I love you so much. And I’m sorry for lying.”

Aaron chuckled, “You’re so dramatic. I knew you were lying. It’s all good. I forgive you.”

I grinned, “It was immature of me and I’m going to do better. It makes me so stinkin’ proud that you trusted yourself.”

We hugged it out.

What’s the moral of the story? There are many here. Try not to judge others. Try not to fib. Own up to your mistakes when you can. Remember, you’re not alone if you’ve made a parenting blunder.

In my eyes, the most important lesson to carry with you is to be like Aaron and trust your intuition always. Sometimes, people won’t tell you the truth, either because they’re embarrassed, scared, or their ego has taken over. Don’t doubt yourself for a second. Your intuition is a powerful and needed tool in this world.

Join me in spreading my messages of breaking judgement habits and strengthening intuition even further: forward this blog to a few family members and friendsThe greater the shares, the greater the impact – They can subscribe here.  

Sincerely,
Danielle

PS – Here’s an affirmation for those days when you question your reality (i.e. you feel one way but someone else claims differently), I am grounded and aware.”

PPS – Do you want to start trusting yourself more? If so, here’s a writing activity. Set a timer for 2 minutes. During that time, list as many things as you can that you’ve ‘done right’ over the years; small or big decisions you’ve made that have worked out well for you. Did you pick a comfy couch that has held strong for years? Did you suggest the last restaurant you and your friends went to and the service and food was awesome? Did you marry the love of your life? Once your two minutes are up, you should be left with multiple examples to remind yourself that your intuition and judgment are strong; that you have the power to trust yourself. Remember this the next time the world is trying to tell you differently.

Right Brain Secrets: Unlock Your Intuition

For many years, I’d always known there were two sides of the brain, and that each side contributed differently to how we function. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I began to dive deeper into this information. I realized quickly that I leaned hard on my left-brain: the side defined by linear thinking, facts and logic. My right-brain – the side responsible for creativity, imagination and intuition – was not the side I normally tapped into, if ever. I knew it was time to shift my dominant side. I received a calling (an intuitive hit of sorts) to exercise my right-brain; I accepted that challenge; and I’m so glad I did.

To strengthen my right-brain, I took classes and read books on things such as creative writing and spiritual development. I then started putting my learnings into practice: I now meditate, write for fun, pay more attention to art, talk to nature when I’m outside, and think more about ‘What if?’ than ‘What is?’.

Hopping into my right-brain more has resulted in me feeling complete – and less stressed. I’m no longer hyper focused on the destination and instead enjoy the journey along the way. Because of this, regardless if I am working or spending time with family, my days are spent more childlike in the best way possible. I’m curious. I daydream. I take risks. I stop to smell the roses (literally and figuratively).

One of the many benefits I’ve experienced from exercising my right-brain is a heightened intuition. My thoughts have much more clarity: I can clearly define how I feel about a person, what’s the highest good for me and others; what food, movie, situation will best serve me short and long term. This clear knowing removes that intense and exhausting analytical debate in my head, freeing me up for things that matter most (yes, that’s you Ron, Aaron, Amy, Charlie and Nicee).

With my instincts sharp, I make decisions with ease and confidence, and I want that for you too. If you want to activate your intuition to help you make clear decisions consider ways you can learn more about your right-brain: What books can you read? What conversations can you have? What classes can you take?

You can also try this activity:When you have a decision to make, check in with how you’re feeling about it. To get a sense of your true emotions (not the ones our mind creates like fear, anger and toxic worry), get somewhere quiet and comfy. Bring a journal with you so you can jot down whatever comes to you. Then, follow these steps:

  1. Close your eyes and visualize yourself turning your mind off (I picture myself turning my brain off, just like a light switch).
  2. After a few deep breathes, ask yourself (silently or out loud) how you’re feeling about the situation at hand. For this activity, I like to place a hand on my chest to help me tap into the heart-centered answer I’m looking for (remember, this is all about getting our intuition to ‘talk’ to us, not our mind).
  3. Keep focusing on your breathing and if thoughts pop into your mind, don’t get discouraged, just ask them gently to leave.
  4. Once you’ve settled into a calm state, focus on how your body is feeling. Is it tight? Is that tightness telling you something? Do you feel warm and supported? Is that sensation telling you something? Are you seeing anything, perhaps with your third eye? Visions of you doing or not doing whatever it is you’re questioning?
  5. Once you’ve received the information (whatever that information is), don’t overthink it. Instead, simply honor it (this is the most important step) by thanking your intuition and going down the path your intuition wants you to follow.

The more you tap into your intuition (through this activity and others), the stronger you’ll get. You’ll be able to turn your brain off faster (it will be thankful for the rest), get into that zen-like flow faster, and you’ll begin to recognize and understand the way your intuition talks to you (those sensations and pictures you’re being sent). As with anything, practice is important.

Join me in spreading my messages of breaking judgement habits and strengthening intuition even further: forward this newsletter to a few family members and friendsThe greater the shares, the greater the impact – They can subscribe here.  

Sincerely,

Danielle

PS – Here’s an affirmation to get you trusting your intuition more, “I trust my own wisdom. I know the truth by the way it feels.”

PPS – Do you want to add more right-brain fun into your life? If so, grab your journal and get outside. Here’s a creative writing prompt: Based on what you see, smell, hear and feel, write a story using your intuition, not your mind. Don’t edit for typos. Don’t judge your work. Just write as you let yourself go into your imagination.

Learn by doing

For the last few years, I’ve been intentionally hermitting, focused on going inward so I could finish my memoir about my Dark Night of the Soul. My debut book is about my spiritually guided journey to heal past wounds, mend important relationships in my life and rekindle my marriage after I lost my job unexpectedly. Now that the first draft of the book is complete, I’ve started coming out of my shell to offer the world my wisdom and healing from my Dark Night through a variety of means such as this newsletter, workshops and private 1 x 1’s with clients.

A 2021 goal of mine was to start guest-appearing on podcasts to share my messages of forgiveness, healing and love even further. Although I was nervous to put myself out there over the airwaves (especially after the hermitting), I began listening to podcasts with audiences I hoped would connect with my message.

That’s when I came across The Quantum Shift podcast and noticed a friend of mine had been a guest. I listened to her episode and knew I wanted to be a part of that heart-centered energy, an energy filled with curiosity, support and empathy. I reached out to my friend to connect me to Shawna Pelton, the host. Next thing I knew, I was filling out forms to be featured on her show. I swear it was meant to be because Shawna connected to my message and invited me on.  

On the big day to record Episode 40, I felt prepared for our Zoom session. I made sure I looked the part (hairspray to tame my crazy fly-aways, foundation powder to control my oily face). I ensured there’d be no distractions (Thank you, Puppy Palace, for taking care of Charlie!). And I tested my equipment ahead of time.

During the podcast, I was in heaven. Shawna created a comfortable environment, asked thought-provoking questions and beautifully added her own wisdom and touch to the conversation. But by the end, I had mixed emotions.  I was proud of putting myself out there. Proud of speaking my truth. Proud of doing what I could to help people navigate their darkness to find their light, but…

I was also embarrassed. Among many things I could have done better (note to self: don’t clap into the mic and don’t overtalk about yourself) I interrupted the calm and patient Shawna at least twice.

For the next few days, all the ‘good’ my message would achieve didn’t matter to me. Instead, I walked around with a yucky feeling in my stomach. Even drinking my favorite tea couldn’t settle me. I gave myself pep talks in hopes of finding calm, “Danielle, this was your first podcast appearance. Brush it off! Shawna knows your heart. The two of you left off in a great place. The audience will understand your enthusiasm.” Although I was saying the right things to myself, the messages weren’t hitting the spot.

Finally, after mulling around my disappointments for days, I finally pieced together the pep talk I needed thanks to Dan Blank’s podcast episode ‘Why I Create and Share’ that focused on the importance of learning by doing. The words of wisdom I finally gave myself sounded like this, “Danielle, you went in with love, not ego. You interrupted out of excitement and inexperience (and being a hermit for a few years). You were a kid in a candy store, jumping for joy, elated to be speaking to a like-minded individual… Your intention was pure.”

Once I reminded myself of my intention, my mistakes no longer mattered as much, and the self-judgement melted away.

What are you beating yourself up over? Was your intention pure?

Did you enjoy this post? You can subscribe here

Sincerely,

Danielle

PS – Here’s an affirmation to encourage you to “live and learn”, to enjoy and reflect on what brings you happiness without falling into self-doubt: “I am trying new things and creating a brighter reality; I believe in what feels good to my soul, and I am intentional in all that I do.”

PPS – It’s so easy for us to hyper-focus on our mistakes and fixate on what we could have done better in the moment. Here’s a journal prompt to shift your focus a bit and put you in a positive growth mindset: Think about some of your most recent accomplishments and write them down. These could range from winning an award at work to adding an extra mile onto your daily walk. Then, consider the efforts that went into achieving these things and jot those down. Did you work late a few nights a week? Did you give yourself daily pep talks? Did you sacrifice TV time? While you’re journaling, do your best to not let self-criticizing thoughts pop into your head, such as ‘I could have done better.’

Annnnnnd – Don’t forget to support my first ever podcast appearance and get to know the talented and soulful Shawna. Be sure to listen to Episode #40 Move Beyond the Dark Night of the Soul on The Quantum Shift.

Believe In Your Worth, Not The Numbers

After I write an article and share it on social media, I find myself all too eagerly awaiting the likes, comments and shares. I know I shouldn’t need validation that I’m putting out meaningful work, but it usually takes my ego 15 or so (okay, more like 30) minutes to remember that.

During that ‘window of ego’, sometimes I’ll spin out in a mental frenzy. Are people reading? Do they like it? Will I make an impact?

When I finally stop obsessively checking my social media stats and come to, I breathe in and remind myself of a few important things: what matters is sharing my truth and connecting with others; that the numbers will never matter more than the lives I impact. Some days, pulling myself out of a social media spiral seems impossible, my worry about trying to make a difference sends me reeling. And some days, the ones who pull me out of that spiral are exactly those lives I’ve impacted (and nine times out of ten, I had no clue I’ve made a difference in these people’s lives).

Last week, when I least expected it (i.e., when I wasn’t mid-frenzy and desperately refreshing my social media apps), a long-time friend posted a raw, vulnerable, unconventional post on Facebook. This person, who usually doesn’t go deep on Facebook, spoke about his grief and mental health struggles over the last few years and how 2020 was the year to give him love, healing and happiness. My friend wrote about how he went inward and got to know himself in a new way. He also bought a house in a community he loves and spent precious time with his wife and his dog. All of these helped him to move forward from his trauma and darkness. But although my friend had a beautiful year and a desire to share his experiences, he hadn’t because he felt guilty because many others had a difficult year.

Reading about his brave ‘coming out’ of sorts – the courage to share his story with others – gave me hope for deep healing in the world and reminded me of how much I love him. With happy tears in my eyes, I responded to his post, telling him how proud I was of him. I let him know that his words were beautiful – and I mentioned that I’d known him for close to 20 years and never knew him to be a writer.

He responded, saying he thought of me as he wrote his post thanks to the amount of vulnerable sharing and writing I’ve been doing lately. I was shocked to learn he’d been reading my work. I don’t recall getting a like or a comment from him in the past, but perhaps I have. I was honored to know that the work I’ve been creating spurred someone else to create meaningful work. With every new piece I write and choose to share with the world, more people will be thinking about the world differently, healing, bravely telling their stories and perhaps creating their own work too.

Take this as a reminder that while “Atta girls” (or boys), awards and social media love are important and feel great, they are not the whole picture and they don’t define your worth or impact. You’re creating value. There are many lives you’ve impacted that you don’t even know about and there will be more too.

Did you enjoy this post? You can subscribe here

Sincerely,

Danielle

PS – Here’s an affirmation to remind you of your worth when putting your ideas/work out there: I trust my work can and will make a difference. I believe that it will be received by those who need it most; I can feel my impact taking place.”

PPS – Do you want to kick your insecurities to the curb? Spend a few minutes journaling. Here’s a prompt: Think about a piece of work you’re putting out into the world: your food, your coaching, your writing, your music, your artwork – whatever that work may be. Imagine a few different people taking in your work: an older man with cancer, a young girl whose parents are moving through divorce, a mother of four suffering from depression, your ideal audience. How does your work help them? If you were with them 1×1, what would they say about how your work has impacted them?