Tag Archives: creative

Exercising Your Creativity at Brainfest 2014

29 Mar

Last week I participated in the smartest event- Brainfest 2014.  Through a grant from Winter Park Health Foundation’s own Diana Silvey, the Alzheimer’s Association of Central Florida hosted a day-long event focusing on the brain.  Young and older than younger people gathered to hear about ways of protecting and preserving their brain power.  There were drumming circles (drumming helps synchronize the two hemispheres of the brain), Improvisational  exercises (thinking on your feet), and even brain Olympics.  Participants were presented with Brain Commandments:

Eat Smart- Health food keeps your brain running strong

Work Out- flexing those muscles strengthens the brain

Chill Out-Great brains love good company

Hang Out- Lower your stress level

Challenge Yourself- A happy brain is a hard working brain

Find Purpose- Living a meaningful life keeps your brain engaged

Needless to say, much was emphasized about the importance of physical exercise and good nutrition on brain health.  I weighed in with a session entitled, “Exercise Your Creativity”.  Research documents the role creativity can play in challenging our brains to better health. By their very nature, creativity and the arts encourage people to break away from habit and routines and explore new areas of experience.

Exercise Your Creativity

Exercise Your Creativity

As adults we have come to recognize the validity of exercising our bodies and minds, but somehow, once we get past the age of ten we generally start paying less attention to our creative muscles.  And, just like physical muscles that fail to be engaged, so can our creative muscles begin to atrophy.  So my job, as a self-appointed creativity evangelist, was to help people exercise those creative muscles.

The very word “creativity” can elicit fear and intimidation among adults, and my group was no exception.  There were the initial grumblings of “But I’m not creative at all!” (a statement that never fails to hurt me to hear).  But a kind of transformation occurs from the beginning of a creative exercise to the end of it.  My flock of fledgling artists suspended their internal critics for an hour or two as they sculpted their clay creations illustrating ways in which they could introduce more creativity into their daily lives.  A clay garden complete with watering can, musical instruments, an artist’s palette jewelry, and a little food art to boot, emerged from these creativity converts.

I felt so proud, even a little humbled, by their bravery.  The name of my blog and business is called Be Brave. Lose the Beige.  It does take a little bravery to create something out of nothing and hold it up for the scrutiny of others.  Fortunately for my flock, there was nothing but praise and encouragement all around.

As Picasso said, “Every child is an artist.  The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”   So, go out and flex those creative muscles!  Art Palette

Second Sunday Suppers

12 Feb

By Jackie Sorensen

In February our thoughts naturally turn to “LOVE”, often of the romantic nature, but I wanted to share some thoughts about creating loving family relationships, especially for those of us with blended families. First, a brief family history: I have a 28 year old daughter, and the man I have chosen to spend the rest of my life with (Mike) has 3 children, 30, 32 and 34 years of age respectively. His oldest daughter and her husband have a 6 year old son. Mike and I have been together 10 years. Two of our daughters got married in 2013 within 4 months of each other (Aug. and Dec.) so when it came time for gift-giving this past Christmas, both time and money was in short supply. So, in a rare moment of early morning silence only days before Christmas, I sat down to consider a meaningful and possibly creative gift for my family that didn’t involve the combat zone of the mall or maxing out the credit card.  I also wanted to in some way honor my ongoing commitment to trying to knit together our blended families so that our parents (ages 82 and 95), siblings, children, grandson, and hopefully, future grandchildren will know the blessing of a loving and well-connected extended family.

And so was born Second Sunday Suppers.  My gift to my family was to cook dinner for them all every second Sunday of the month for the year 2014.  An essential component of this gift was that there was absolutely no obligation on their part: no need to RSVP, no need to bring a dish or chip in money, no need to help clean up, and no guilt for just not showing up at all. Some of our family live out of town, but were invited in case they were ever in the area on that day. Transportation would be provided for our more elderly family members, but all others did have to get to our house by their own means.  This would be a simple meal with the sole purpose of enjoying each other’s company.  If no one came, we would have plenty of leftovers!

And now, a Second Sunday Supper progress report: In January, I served spaghetti and meatballs, salad, garlic bread and strawberry shortcake for a party of 7. Since it was our first meal I did send out a group email with a reminder and those who were coming were gracious enough to let me know.  My heart was gladdened when Mike’s daughter responded with, “Are you kidding? We already have all of the dates marked on our calendar!” Last night we had our second Second Sunday Supper with a different configuration of 8 family members. My daughter and her husband were attending an out-of-town wedding this weekend and texted, “Oh man, we’re going to miss Second Sunday Supper!”  I decided to use February’s meal (and future ones) as an opportunity to try at least 1 new recipe and so made a pot of roasted butternut squash soup, together with rotisserie chicken from Costco, potatoes and carrots, and make-your-own ice cream sundaes (big hit).  My family typically shows up right at 5:00 pm and stays until 7-7:30. Time has been spent around the dinner table catching up with each other, talking about how school and new jobs are progressing, reminiscing about the past, and….Papa and his grandson learning and performing magic tricks together!

At the end of the evening I choose to believe everyone leaves with a full stomach, ribs and jaws which ache from so much laughter, and a joy-filled heart and spirit.  I know that I do.  Little did I know that this would be not only a labor of love, but a precious gift of love for me as well.

Laboring Creatively

13 Jun

I’d like to share a laboring technique that doesn’t feel quite so much like labor.  I’m sitting under a tent on the beach, laptop in hand with my feet buried beneath soft, crumbly ivory colored sand. I really am working, I’m just doing it to the accompaniment of the rhythmic sounds of a summer ocean. I’m using technology in a way that is advantageous to me; I’m not allowing it to use me (at least not at the moment). My cell phone is near by, as are the sandpipers and ruddy turnstones with their punk rocker hairdos. (Seagull relatives)

Let’s face it, most of us have to work. Work can take the form of office labor or the labor intensive responsibilities of being a parent or other responsible adult. Whether we are filling out those endless beginning of school year forms for our children/grandchildren, paying bills or typing on our laptops, do one thing that makes it all more pleasurable.  Our parents taught us work first, play second. I think we are capable of doing both.  This is a photo of my business partner, Jackie

Jackie Sorensen and Liz Kitchens

Jackie Sorensen and Liz Kitchens

Sorensen and me working at Nichols Surf Shop Cafe in New Smyrna Beach, Florida.  This funky, bohemian café situated yards from the Atlantic Ocean provided a creative atmosphere for designing our series of Be Brave. Lose the Beige workshops. A Lady Boomer one table over snapped this photo saying how envious she was of our work environment.

If you can and when you can, perform your tasks/ work in an environment that is aesthetically pleasing.  It will qualitatively improve your production.  And besides, you might not mind doing it so much.

 

 

Labor Day Lessons

2 Sep

It’s Labor Day weekend, 2012.  Labor Day always represents
the closure of summer. Summer represents respite to me…days spent at the
beach; travel to vacation destinations; a slackening of schedules and to-do
lists. But Labor Day also commemorates our days of laboring. I’d like to
share a laboring technique that doesn’t feel quite so much like labor

I’m sitting under a tent on the beach, laptop in hand with my feet buried
beneath soft, crumbly ivory colored sand. I really am working, I’m just
doing it to the accompaniment of the rhythmic sounds of a summer ocean. I’m
using technology in a way that is advantageous to me; I’m not allowing it to
use me (at least not at the moment). My cell phone is near by, as are the
sandpipers and ruddy turnstones with their punk rocker hairdos. (Seagull
relatives)

Let’s face it, most of us have to work. Work can take the form of office
labor or the labor intensive responsibilities of being a parent or other
responsible adult. Whether we are filling out those endless beginning of
school year forms for our children, paying bills or typing on our laptops,
do one thing that makes it all more pleasurable. Maybe your scenery isn’t a
turquoise ocean, but it still could be a garden, a lake, or a breeze
brushing your cheek. Our parents taught us work first, play second. I think
we are capable of doing both. If you can and when you can, perform your
tasks/ work in an environment that is aesthetically pleasing. It will
qualitatively improve your production. And besides, you might not mind doing
it so much. As the poster child for laboring (literally and figuratively)
Rosie the Riveter said, “We Can Do It!” Yes, we can.  

Creativity Relieves Boredom

26 Apr

My little art company is called ideaLizms. Aside from being clay sculptures I have created, ideaLizms are intended to inspire and encourage people to live their lives creatively and with fun. This may sound like an intimidating concept to some, but the bottom line is this – creativity relieves boredom.

Don’t you find it to be excruciatingly boring to make the same recipe over and over again? To drive the same route each day? Eating the same food for breakfast each morning? (I can barely stand to brush my teeth in the same place each day) Some believe creativity is all about creating beautiful art and music. Creativity is also about taking the drudgery out of every day tasks.

Try varying one task you routinely do each day. Let me know how it feels.

Journaling Your Way to Your Ideal Life

12 Aug

 I believe we all need to choose to live more playfully.  Trying a new recipe can be creative; cultivating a patch of backyard dirt into a lovely garden;

little-mismatched-socks-smallwearing colorful socks; taking guitar lessons or a water color class.  These are all endeavors that can nurture a creative spirit – an essential aspect of our natures.   

One way to help discover what living ideally means is to put pen to paper.  Get a spiral notebook and spend 20 minutes, three times a week writing.  Do it when you are waiting in the carpool line or during your lunch hour.  Sit in the car during your daughter’s ballet practice.  Just write down whatever random thoughts come to mind.  There is no right or wrong way of journal writing.  Do it at 3 in the morning or 3 in the afternoon.  It’s all good. You will be surprised at how insightful these thoughts can be.  I’ve been a journal writer for ten years, ten years that have gradually transformed my life from being a professional in a very linear, left brain, field to being a full time artist and arts minister.  I’m convinced journaling has brought me to this place in my 55th (oops, just turned 56) year.   

Go ahead, Be Brave.  Lose the Beige in your life!  Let your journal be your guide.

Ideally Living

4 Aug

ideally-living

 

 

Running from meeting to meeting, checking off the to-do list – that isn’t really living.  Discovering the playful side of life. Spreading joy. Being colorful … clever … creative.

Now, that’s living.

And, that’s precisely what this blog space is designed to do.  I hope to encourage you to discover the playful side of life.  My company is called ideaLizms , which is founded on an art-based philosophy.  Aside from being clay sculptures I have created, ideaLizms are intended to inspire and encourage people to live their lives creatively and with fun.

ideaLizms says, “Go ahead, be brave, lose the beige”, and gently pokes fun at societal rules and norms. It says yes when the world around us says no.  idealizms encourages you to escape from stress and schedules even for a second or two and discover the playful side of life.   I’m glad you are here.  I would love it if you would tell me something you do that makes your world colorful.