The Practice of Creativity

Posts Tagged ‘Jump-start Your June series

Chronic exhaustion is a regular feature of modern life. Summer, however, presents the perfect time for us to slow down and get back in tune with our natural body’s rhythms. Until about a decade ago, I denigrated my body’s need for rest. Now I measure some of my success by my ability to get the rest I need on a consistent basis. And, I routinely advocate for people to explore restorative yoga postures and yoga nidra as powerful tools to experience deep full-body relaxation–which can lead to better sleep. For people who struggle with slowing down, I highly recommend creativity pioneer Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy’s (SARK) Change Your Life Without Getting Out of Bed: The Ultimate Nap Book. Carol Puchailo, a community health nurse, provides us with simple steps we can take to experience the power of deep rest.

Jump-start Your June: JUMP Back into BED


Ready. Set. Jump into bed!  Okay, so you are not asking for world peace at a bed – in like Yoko Ono or John Lennon, but you can find your own personal peace during your precious sleep time.  This will give you the most out of life and this summer season.  There are some simple steps and over the counter supplements that can assist you to getting a more restful sleep; along with sticking to bedtime routines that repair and rejuvenate your body and increase your daytime energy and vitality to enjoy your June. I know I can use more PEACE in my life. How about you?

The British Columbia Sleep guidelines (2004), places specific emphasis on sleep hygiene (bedtime routines) that assist in improving and maintaining a restful sleep.  First, ensure your room is cool and comfortable. If you share a bed with your partner and your bed heats up like a furnace, separate your covers so that you can have individual control over the temperature.  It will also help to put up a blackout curtain that reduces light from entering the bedroom. A dark bedroom will help the release of a hormone called melatonin. I will tell you more about this wonderful hormone in a minute. Fact: An adult needs an average of 7-8 hours of sleep per night, and as we age we produce less melatonin and that’s one reason why elderly people sleep less.

Second, ensure that you use your bed only for sleeping and sex.  If you were to read, watch T.V. or play Suduko in bed, these activities require a level of mental alertness that you subconsciously link with your peaceful bed and bedroom.  So if you must read, watch T.V., or play Suduko then I suggest you leave the bedroom and find a different location and come back to bed only when you are tired.  This separation allows your body to know where and when to rest and relax or where to concentrate and have mental alertness.

Third, for seven days of the week you need to wake up at roughly the same time every day since this reinforces your body’s internal clock (Circadian rhythm).  Going outside during the day and having the sun shine into your eyes helps to reset your circadian rhythm that will allow your brain to bath in a hormone called melatonin.  As I said before, you need a dark room at night time for the release of melatonin to occur. This wonderful sleepy hormone controls many bodily functions including: your sleep wake cycle, your body temperature,  enhances your immune function, and it also acts as a free-radical scavenger (looking for cells that are pre-cancerous). There is evidence that suggests melatonin has protective benefits as adequate amounts limit tumor growth (Brezinski, 1997). Now that is an amazing little hormone! I am so grateful that it acts so efficiently, it is just up to me to set the stage.

Melatonin is a precursor (the beginning hormone that becomes serotonin), and only when the lights are off and the room is really dark and cool can it do magical jobs.  Have you ever experienced jet lag? Jet lag happens because the internal clock (circadian rhythm) can get out of balance when we travel by plane or if our homes are too brightly lit at night. Too much light will affect when melatonin is released and this alteration changes your sleep pattern. According to Dr. A Brzezinski (1997), a melatonin supplement can be used to help alleviate sleep problems related to a disturbance in the circadian rhythm, and the earlier in the evening it is taken (before air travel for example), the better results you will experience. For example, if you were to take 5 mg of melatonin at 6:00pm before a flight your body would experience less jet lag. You could continue to take that dose at the same time every day for 5 days and this could hasten your symptoms of jet lag, help you feel drowsy and sleep better.

Fourth, to ensure you are ready for a good night’s sleep exercise 4 hours before you go to bed; exercise is best done first thing in the morning, but that is not always possible. Be mindful of timing your exercise routine to maximize your sleep hygiene and experience a more restful sleep. If you love your coffee then you are going to want to drink it 6 hours before bed to ensure it is out of your system and it does not interfere with your sleep.

Last, from my own experience, having a piece of paper and pen at the bedside has given me permission to record dreams that I have or to write about a problem that I am facing.  This dream journal gives me a place to write about my night time adventures or to reflect on what my subconscious has to teach me.  I look forward to bedtime and writing down what has been revealed to me during my dream time. I will dialogue about what is bothering me and how I have tried to solve it so far, but most amazingly I will ask for specific solutions to my request and be given an answer that I will understand. One of my favorite pastimes is dream interpretation, drop me a line or tell me your dreams.

Here’s hoping you hop into bed happy each night and wake up feeling rested, peaceful and enjoy the summer days ahead.

Carol Puchailo RN, BN and currently working on her Master’s Degree in Nursing to become a Nurse Practitioner. As a community health nurse, she has a rural practice in Manitoba, Canada and one day dreams of opening her very own wellness business. Email her at


Primary care management of sleep complaints in adults, (2004). British Colombia Guidelines.

Amnon, B. (1997).  Mechanism of disease: Melatonin in Humans. The New England Journal of medicine, Vol 336 (3), pp. 186-195. Retrieved online


Abundance is the bounty that comes from embracing all of your energy. Judith Orloff

Abundance holds different meanings for different people. For one person, abundance means having a certain amount of money in the bank. For another person, abundance means having time to curl up with a good book. I love Dr. Orloff’s definition of abundance because it acknowledges that we have a role in being aware of how we use and cultivate our daily energy. Dr. Hoff looks at joy as an important pathway to abundance. I’m happy to include her wisdom in the final days of this series.


Joy as a Pathway to Abundance

Abundance begins with cultivating joy. The energy vibration of joy is very high and this helps you attract what you really want in your life.  Find your daily happiness in 2013 by writing thank you thoughts in a journal, deliberately choosing happiness- affirming I am happy many times throughout the day, and surrounding yourself with other happy people. Have you noticed that your energy goes up when you are around happy people and it drops when you are around cranky people?  These three tips helped me move from a place of elusive happiness to a life of everyday happiness. The key is that you get to choose. You have the power- always.

Dr. Sheri Kaye Hoff, PhD, Your Inspired Action Success Coach. Sheri is a life, executive, and small biz coach.

Prosperity cannot be forced with will power. It must be coaxed with imagination. Dr. Ruth Ross, The Prospering Woman

How is your sense of abundance and prosperity doing mid-year? How happy are you with your finances? Are the things you are saying to yourself about money this year different than last year? Financial coach and friend Monique Edmonds offers guidance about how to construct the basic building blocks for financial success.

Seed, Time, Time, Time…then Harvest

As a financial coach, I have such pride and joy in seeing my clients prosper and enjoy the fruits of their labor. My clients succeed financially for many reasons, but mainly because of their willpower to succeed, their willingness to stick to their plan despite obstacles and also by consistently meeting with me as their accountability partner and expert with their financial matters.

In my line of work, you can imagine the number of people I speak with during one week or even a year for that matter. And despite the many people of various backgrounds that I speak with, the financial frustrations are the same–“Monique, I’ve created my plan but it’s not working”; “Monique, I can’t seem to make ends meet”; “Monique, every time I pay one thing off something else comes up”. To me, these comments confirm that money is not only universal but the issues that come with it are too. Also, it confirms to me that the way to conquer your financial issues is based primarily on the willpower (mindset) of the individual. This is where seed, time and harvest start the process.

Seed, time and harvest is familiar by most, including myself, in the spiritual realm. And by using this concept in your financial matters, you can reap great rewards. You see, seed can be viewed in this process as the effort (you planted) towards achieving your financial goals (deciding your goals, creating your plan, meeting with your financial coach). It’s where you:

(S)ubmit to the process of achieving your financial goals

(E)ducate yourself financially

(E)ngage yourself throughout the process as to stay in tune with your finances

(D)ecide to never go back into bad debt ever again

Next is the time factor. And I must warn you. This is the area where most people lose ground because we’re a culture of people that want to see instant results. But it’s with this process that patience truly is a virtue. This area is where you will stay the longest, and yes, it’s boring, BUT it’s where you begin to see the results of the work that you’ve planted. Next, is your harvest! You begin to see your balances decrease and then the bill is paid off. Yes! You begin to see your credit report errors go away while your credit score increases. Oh yeah!! And did I mention that you also get to watch your savings and investment accounts grow and begin seeing your goals realized? Nice job!!

So, remember. Plant your S.E.E.D and begin your process toward financial freedom. In time, time, time… guess what? You too, shall prosper!


Monique Edmonds is a financial coach who transforms your life… financially! She resides in Washington, DC and works with clients throughout the country. Visit her on the web at

A standard refrain that creative folk hear all the time is-‘A creative person has to get comfortable hearing ‘no’ often.’ OK, that’s fine, but how do we do that? How do we learn from hearing no? Entertainer Andrea Canny shares some helpful advice.


Know Your ‘No’

I have been told ‘no’ many different ways in my life: ‘no’ to an extra treat as a kid, ‘no’ to a role I wanted to play, and surely plenty of ‘nos’ to a relationship I wanted desperately to keep. But, if there is one thing I have learned in respect to a ‘no’ is that it is only temporary. As a kid, I could swipe a cookie when Mom wasn’t looking. A role not gotten in high school, could be mine in college. When a boyfriend dumped me, I could find another one even better! (or worse…but let’s move on, shall we? )

Being in the entertainment business for 28 years, I have learned a lot about the word ‘no’. Not just in all the roles I did not land, but in all the years of interactive role play and improv comedy with guests up close and onstage. It is an ART in itself to know when or when not to approach a guest, continue to play with a guest or just walk away. Now, when I hear a ‘no’, I respect it and the intuitive evaluation begins!! In this evaluation, I ask my instincts numerous questions like~

~ Is this ‘no’ definitive or can I turn it into a ‘yes’?

~ Are they saying ‘no’ because they were caught off guard and they need more explanation of what I can provide?

~ Do I think they could be swayed with charm or more quality time?

~ Can today’s ‘no’ become tomorrow’s ‘yes’?

These are just basic thoughts that fly through my mind in a hot second! Most importantly, of course, depending on the context of the ‘no’, is to take care of yourself & the client (the ‘no giver’). In my case, when I don’t get a callback audition, I certainly accept the ‘no’ & don’t cry begging for the job! That would make for a very short career indeed! But, if you are in sales, pitching an idea or proposal, you may want to go through those questions above & start making your evaluations. Being honest in this evaluation is your best tool to moving toward an even bigger and better ‘YES!’.

My personal philosophy is it is either “my” gig or “not my” gig. Use whatever philosophy works for you-religion, spiritual, universal or pragmatic. Use your creative juices to find YOUR path on that journey to accepting that not everyone, #1. thinks like we do. #2. not everyone wants or needs what we are offering. #3. we are here to BE ourselves, so we better be as prepared as possible to provide for our audience.

Embrace the ‘no’, people!!! It is not as scary as you think! After a ‘no’ or 10 or 20, there could be the best YES yet!! After all, I ‘know’ that in my past relationships, sometimes the ‘no’ was the BEST thing to ever happen to me!!!

Andrea Canny is a professional entertainer branching out into the world of writing with her dog blog coming soon!

Come play with her on Twitter: @andreacanny & go and like her Facebook Fanpage: Andrea Canny

I am so happy to welcome fellow creative entrepreneur, Florence Ditlow to the ‘Jump-start Your June’ series designed to bring you fresh ideas to support your goals and vision mid-year.

Trying to Build Your Creativity?  Use Your Own Humor!

I enjoy the way Arieti defines creativity: “Human creativity uses what is already existing and available and changes it in unpredictable ways. It brings about a desirable enlargement of human experience, liberating us from conditioning and usual choices. The creative work may make us laugh when we are confronted with something new, which is witty and comical; may offer us aesthetic pleasure when we are in the presence of works of art; may give us a feeling of transcendence, as in the fields of philosophy and religion; or may provide the qualities of usefulness, understanding and predictability as scientific innovations do.” Arieti, Silvano (1976) Creativity:  The Magic Synthesis.  New York: Basic Books


Creative ideas appear differently from one person to the next. They arise out of need, come along while doing exercise or pop out of nowhere in the shower. These spur the mind then the body to act, to build and form the new.

An open mind where flexibility fires imagination helps us create. However, stress overload, discomfort and distraction do the opposite and are obstacles to creativity- a resulting example is writer’s block. We need to play with most problems, to be able to step above the scene and get perspective like a doctor I knew who arriving to help others revive a patient, began by taking his own pulse.

How do you get playful or find hope wrapped in your “ha-ha?” Years of seeking humor in the forest of daily realities drove me to create a silly humor blueprint. I intended to get ease, get a laugh and revive a refreshing perspective, in order to leap obstacles and to empower myself. I needed not a joke, not a trick soon forgotten, but a road toward my humor. Here it is, my personal “Yellow Brick Road” to creativity. The search for humor or…


The Humor Quest      

Humor Chest– Open your chest. This is where you’ve been storing up laughs! Let ‘em out.

Humor Desk– Clean the dust off your desk and laugh at the mouse. She’ll invite you to enjoy working. Have you listened to your phone answering message? Are you smiling? People on the phone hear smiles and they have a nice effect on the smiler’s brain chemistry. Is there anything uplifting on your desk? Be creative and give yourself object d’ uplift!

Humor Fest– Use an object to create laughter. Juggle on your break; if you’re saying “That’s not fun, picture yourself juggling hot dogs, then do it in front of a dog. Guaranteed humor.

Humor Guest– Visit or phone a friend and ask for a laugh. You may invite more than one guest!

Humor Jest– Just kidding around! Letting out the kid inside you can be more than playful, more powerful than a gang of comedians.

Humor List– How long has it been since you read a hilarious book? Look for one in a new place; ask a friend what makes her laugh.  I recommend “The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid.”

Humor Pest– Feel angry or upset? Balance this through outrageous exaggeration. Example: “I’m late for a meeting…and this may be a news headline!”

Humor Request– Ask a friend for humor, knowing it resides in every one of us.

Humor Rest– Down time can be a podcast or video guaranteed to pull your spirits up.

Humor Test– Learn a humor skill, joke or even try cartooning.

Humor Vest– Wear funny socks or other humor  of your style.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               41116512f35680a996spiral 2

Turning  ha- ha humor into a creative ahh HA! may take practice, but will be rewarding. A playful mind is one delightful way to keep your perspective, your health and your cool.

Florence Ditlow R.N. is an advocate of humor in the workplace who authored “Long in the Tooth: surviving chronic illness with a sense of humor.” Contact her via, Twitter, Linked-in or Facebook.

Photo credits:, & Google Images

Michele Tracy Berger

Michele Tracy Berger

Author, Academic, Creativity Expert I'm an award winning writer.

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