the cure for stuckness

Thursday, February 27, 2014


Abstract No.1 - from my just-messin'-around series of small paintings - Susan Black 

“Oh, help!” said Pooh. “I’d better go back.”
“Oh, bother!” said Pooh. “I shall have to go on.”

“I can’t do either!” said Pooh. “Oh, help and bother!” 

A. A. Milne


The cure for stuckness: coaching for creatives

For the first time in months, and I mean months - since August/September of last year I don't have a deadline on my desk. Tuesday of this week was the first day of that deadline-less-ness and my expectation was that it would feel glorious, finally a chance to get to some of those just for me creative projects begun, get back to my roots or try to uncover some new roots. Wowee ! I couldn't wait to see what would come bursting forth now that I had space & time to just let my intuitive creative person rock & roll. Well ... you guessed it.

What came forth was/is a paralyzing stuckness. And I'm far from unstuck. I'm stuck between the devil of intention and the ever elusive muse intuition. Stuck between need (to make a living) and desire - what do I want to do ? what would I want to do if money was no object ? Stuck between financial scarcity and abundance. Stuck between my ego and my heart. It's exhausting watching them all duke it out, while trying desperately to mediate or referee as best I can.

Being stuck, feeling creatively blocked, not knowing which road to take when you find yourself suddenly at a busy multi forked intersection + trying to not make every creative decision be based on will this make me money ? (sad face) are the tres common trials & tribulations of being a creative sole proprietor - the only thing I've ever wanted to be. This stuckness is part of the gig I happily signed up for.

Thank goodness for the gals (sisters) at Braid Creative and their excellent blog & newsletter - sign up for it here & Kathleen Shannon's most excellent series Coaching for Creatives - can I have a freakin' hallelujah from my own personal choir of angels. Last night after what felt like a completely wasted day I went to Kathleen's blog and went back into the archives to begin with her very first few posts in the Coaching for Creatives series and came across this little gem early on - the text below excerpted from that great, encouraging post. 

Ego vs. Heart
I’m very certain that the part of me that wants to fix problems is my ego. Now, “ego” is a loaded word with negative connotations – but it’s not always a bad thing. My ego also gives me drive and is the part of me that gets shit done. My ego lives in my solar plexus – the soft space right above my stomach and just below my chest where my rib cages meet. I know my ego needs some checking when I feel tightness or fire in my solar plexus – and this often happens when I don’t have an answer. My ego can’t stand questions. So what do I do? I move north to my heart.
The heart finds answers in the questions. The heart holds space and endless amounts of compassion and forgiveness for uncertainty and the emotions that rise from insecurity. If I’m feeling like I don’t know the answer I direct the question to my heart – I literally move my thoughts and imagine that they’re coming from my heart rather than from my mind.  And this doesn’t just happen during woo-woo meditation sessions – if I can manage to think from my heart when I’m doing everything from working to cooking I get a lot less wigged out about life.
Try This:
The next time you feel stuck or come against uncertainty try holding space for the issue rather than trying to fix it. Get curious about it – ask more questions – feel free to have pen and paper handy to get some of those thoughts out. Then try holding the question in your heart (and I mean literally imagine it in your chest – wrapping itself around the chambers and valves of your heart) and see what comes from that. Try practicing holding space in your work – with your coworkers and clients – and see what it does for you.
I've signed up for Kathleen's Coaching for Creatives email subscription series a great tool for unsticking the stuck creative.







































Abstract No.2 - from my just-messin'-around series of small paintings - Susan Black

sam & winnie

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


















Sam & Winnie Dixon my dear snow dogs ;-)

made & unmade

Saturday, February 22, 2014














cheap thrills 3.99 miniature pink roses / building inspector's in the 'hood / first branches & blue, blue sky / office studio window sill / hydrangeas blossoms / from the grassy hill at Thinker's Lodge looking back into the inner harbour / golden sunset light + geranium love / icy branches / Samuel LeonBerger - one day he will be my dog ;-) / Mr. Fantastic - Oliver & more vintage florals / lunch at my desk / Miss Winnie Dixon her gorgeous Martingale collar from Etsy shop Mod Dog (Sam has one too) / 29 Black Street at sunrise

It's not all bad. Heightened self-consciousness, apartness, an inability to join in, physical shame and self-loathing—they are not all bad. Those devils have been my angels. Without them I would never have disappeared into language, literature, the mind, laughter and all the mad intensities that made and unmade me.

Stephen Fry

dealing with dragons

Friday, February 21, 2014










my favourite drawing tools + favourite drawing companion / the end of Water St. looking out into the strait / afternoon meeting with floral collage / love, love Miss D now in her 16th year / geranium blossom / Sam& Winnie / Oliver telling Virgil a secret / breakfast - veggie frittata with greens / virginia creeper stems/cuttings in water (for Rachel who loves stems in water ;-)

Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.

Rainer Maria Rilke

Oh Rainer Maria Rilke you are my fav … you say the best things ever.

I've been wrestling my many demons dragons, actually I've been trying to not wrestle with them. I keep forgetting  - no wrestling ! - the odd dragon slaying if necessary, but definitely no wrestling ! And to imagine instead that those dragons might be princesses, befriending them, accepting them, forgiving them, loving them ... by far the hardest work on my plate. Hard because it takes so much practice & self awareness, hard because it is counter intuitive for our species I think to approach negative thinking in this new way but I believe with all my heart that it is the path ... my path to more peace, serenity & ease.


I have learned so much this past year about the anxious mind - about my anxious mind. And what happens when anxiety ramps up & careens out of control like a runaway car, the brakes stuck and the gas - pedal to the metal. I'll confess I didn't cope well. I crashed & burned on repeat. Everything I've learned about me & anxiety this past year I learned the hard way which is sometimes the best way & often the only way you really learn those big important life lessons.

Trial by fire, a bit of rock bottoming - who am I kidding there was a lot of bouncing off the bottom of my life from September 2013 on. But oh my, some dragons slain, some dragons turned to princesses, my work load eased up considerably and with many brand new coping skills firmly in place I feel myself lighter, happier & way more confident then I've ever felt. I know I can & will deal with any & all dragons that come my way. I trust me. I have faith in me. Hooray for that !

cats, cats & more cats

Wednesday, February 19, 2014












Virgil lounging with orange Mama* / Oliver inspecting the stairwell renovation / BleeNessie loves mini pink roses / my office mate / itty bitty hairless Betty / Creative Director extraordinaire / brothers / the chocolate brown nest aver les chat / handsome / a welcome & constant fixture at the teak topped desk / upstairs hallway with cat penthouse & dog lounging look-out chair

Human beings are drawn to cats because they are all 
we are not — self-contained, elegant in everything they do, relaxed, assured, glad of company, yet still possessing secret lives.

Pam Brown

Oh my ! the dramatics psycho-dynamics of the 4 cat household, especially with the introduction of one petite drama queen  female cat - Miss itty bitty Betty. Remember dear Lulu (otherwise known as Squawk-a-molĂ© for her tendency to "meow/yell" at everyone - the boys & me. She was bossy !). Well Betty's got a little bit of a Lulu attitude which drives Virgil and especially Oliver to behave like 12 year old school boys, a-tauntin' and a-teasin' itty bitty whenever & however they can, the more she squawks & hisses the bigger rise they get out of "miss squawk-amolĂ©" junior, the more it eggs them on and I will admit that, yes, Oliver is the ring leader. Doug is Papa and the protector of all itty bitty cats, so Betty runs to Papa. Oliver gets in shit, Virgil escapes to his subterranean domain the basement and dear sweet Bleet stays out of it completely and hangs with his dog Sam - Bleet thinks he is a dog, but that's another story. And I have to remind Doug that Oliver is a cat, and a cat who's convinced he is running this joint 29 Black Street. He believes he is top cat, top dog, top top - so it's only natural that he feels the need, several times daily, to intimidate and harass itty bitty (insert mildly frustrated eye roll here).

Our vet is convinced that the cat bullying may be only one factor in itty bitty Betty's excessive, obsessive grooming & hair loss (see radiator photo No. 5) I'm still threatening to knit her a few tubes ;-). It might also be caused by winter (and her reduced outdoor time for hunting, carnage, killing & roaming), hence boredom, hormonal changes (she was spayed in May after having at least 3 litters of kittens), & her catnapping move to a new home … it's funny she doesn't appear nervous or skittish at all although she does give Oliver a wide berth and if Oliver bugs her she runs quickly into the arms of her ever protective Papa as needed ;-)

Who knew ?? + we're feeding another new cat, a velvety grey and white male un-neutered who we feed twice daily at the kitchen window cat-drive-through sill, we call him Al and he's definitely jonesing to come inside, he's been working his charm on Papa - just what we need 4 boys, 1 female + Sam & Winnie

* we call this vivid orange, bath mat like, nubbly, throw/pillow cover, a second had find, Orange Mama because both Virgil & Betty go into a drooling, loud purring, kneading madly, trance like state as soon as they arrive on this fav window sill spot ;-)