thoughts on “Big Magic” & getting your creativity back

big magic

Elizabeth Gilbert’s newest book, Big Magic, launched last week and I inhaled it.

Maybe it’s a little dose of big magic but this book release felt timely for me, personally, just as I was starting to ask the universe where the heck my creativity ran off to. When I was in 5th grade I wrote derivatives of R.L. Stines Goosebumps books and illustrated pictures to go with them. One in particular that comes to mind is of a skeleton who circled suburban cul-de-sacs on roller blades terrorizing the children of the neighborhood. You did not want to live in that cul-de-sac.

It was ridiculous, terrible, and amazing; I’d kill for that creativity today.

As we grow older and life happens, it’s so easy to throw yourself whole heartedly into your work or your career and if that work or career doesn’t happen to be innately creative or feed your soul, finding a creative outlet becomes work on top of your already all consuming work-life balances and you’ll find your once creative self describing your new self has not all that creative.

Well, that’s what happened to me. I’ve actually said the words over the last few years; “Im not all that creative.” I think my rollerblading skeleton would disagree.

Within the first few pages of reading “Big Magic”, I felt this gravitational pull to grab my notebook and start writing before all of the thoughts left my head. I began scribbling memories that I must have locked away somehow — a memory of being published in my high school literary magazine and submitting my poetry to poetry websites. I had no inhibitions, confidence that I’d kill for today, and simply put? Creativity.

Elizabeth Gilbert’s book demystifies creativity and that’s a beautiful thing. Why? because demystifying it, makes it accessible and it should be accessible because we all have our own version of it – even if it’s just locked away somewhere.

and the magical way to access it?

Is to put in the work. Inspiration can certainly hit you in a magical way but taking inspiration, following through, and turning it into something that fills you up creatively (whatever that may be) will always require you to be disciplined, sit down, and do. the. work.

If you want to feel inspired to create something (anything!) I recommend reading Big Magic.

It certainly got me writing again.

Thanks for reading!

Amy K Hall

my top 3 tips for getting out of overwhelm

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Yesterday was the first day of spring and here in New York, it snowed.

Despite the snow, there was still something about the start of spring that got me really excited and motivated for a change.

I’ve been hibernating all winter and in true hibernation form, i’ve been very resistant to exercising, eating nutritiously, and well, just any kind of movement at all. It’s also time to spruce up my spring wardrobe and I’ll need to do some shopping. Now that Im thinking about it, it’s probably time to give my apt some love; i’ll need to clean, get some plants, new throw pillows, some fun new decor. The start of spring is also a good time to revisit my goals… There becomes so much to do that I don’t even know where to begin so I…

don’t. do. anything.

I know I can’t be alone on this one so I’m sharing my 3 uber simple strategies for getting out of my obnoxious overwhelm, and getting sh*t done.

TIP #1

Make your bed. Seriously. Stop everything you’re doing right now, make your bed, and continue to make your bed every morning. Let it be the first thing you do each day. Making your bed every morning will give you the same satisfaction as crossing something off of your list. What better way to start your day than feeling accomplished. I know it seems small but trust me, it is the little things that matter in this life. Also, if you haven’t seen this Navy SEAL’s commencement speech to the 2014 graduating class of the University of Texas, watch it. He sums up the importance of making your bed every day much more beautifully than I ever could.

“Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that the little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you’ll never be able to do the big things right. And if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made — that you made. And a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.”

– U.S. Navy Adm. William H. McCraven

TIP #2

Empty your brain. Ok, full disclosure? I actually call this exercise a “brain dump” but there has to be a more eloquent name for it, right? Suggestions welcomed!

Supplies needed:

  1. You
  2. Something to write with (This something that you choose should allow you to write freely, easily, and quickly!)
  3. Something to write on (This something that you choose should be roomy enough to fit all of the thoughts in your brain right now.)

How to do it:

First, just start writing. Write everything that comes to your mind that you feel is something you have to do. I mean everything. Even if it’s something you don’t think you don’t need to do for another 10 years, if it popped into your mind, it must leave your mind so, write. it. down. When I do this, I usually fill a few pages of a journal and it sounds a little something like this:

eat healthy. cook more. grocery shopping. plan my wedding. buy a house. plan trip to thailand. finish tip sheet for work. email grandma back. drink more water. sign up for a new yoga studio. boot shopping. pack up winter clothes. order book from amazon. make my bed. wash dishes. laundry. make eye doctor appointment.

and the writing goes on and on until I feel like Ive squeezed every possible to do off of my list, big or small, near or far.

Then, I pick 2-3 things that I can do right now (ex: make my bed, schedule eye doctor appointment) and I do it and cross it off my list.

Lastly, I mostly just stare at it all completely humored at the ridiculous many things that pop into my mind, contribute to my feeling overwhelmed, and prevent me from getting many amazing things done. If I’m still feeling overwhelmed, I prioritize the list and start crossing some other things off but usually, just writing it all down is a weight lifted for me.

TIP #3

Minimize your activation energy. Activation energy is a chemistry term. According to dictionary.com it’s defined as “n. the least amount of energy required to activate atoms or molecules to a state in which they can undergo a chemical reaction.”

For the sake of getting out of overwhelm, we will define activation energy as the energy it takes for you to initiate an action and therefore, get some serious stuff done. cool? 

So, think about what is creating so much overwhelm and strategize a way to decrease the activation energy to get whatever it is you need to get done, done.

For example: If I want to start running in the mornings. I know that waking up in the morning, struggling to find clothes in the darkness of my room, deciding what pre-running snack I will have to fuel me, and locating some H20 are all things that will ultimately, prevent me from even bothering with the run in the first place.

to decrease my activation energy, on Sundays, I can lay out my running outfits for the entire week, ensure that I have water bottles filled, and refrigerated and even pack a breakfast snack for each morning that I plan to run. Boom. I’m way more likely actually go for my morning run.

What tips do you guys have for getting out of overwhelm? Id love to hear. Share them in the comments below! 

Thanks for reading

Amy K Hall

choose wisely

choose-wisely

I had a tarot card reading* last week and received some very well timed and beautifully simple guidance; choose wisely.

I have a lot of interests and just like everyone else in the world, I have a lot of distractions that I allow to steal time right away from me.

I’m not sure about you but when I realize I’ve let these distractions get the best of me, I come down really hard on myself and you know what?

Feeling sorry for yourself is the biggest time suck of all. Just forgive yourself, and move on!

So, people, my message for you (and me) today is simple.

Choose wisely!

Choose wisely how you spend your time, who you spend it with, and most importantly, how you treat yourself because our time in this life is limited, It’s precious, and you’re worth it.

Thanks for reading!

Amy K Hall

*tarot reading was done by the lovely Danielle Mercurio

meet Shirley, the center of my vision board

shirley

That’s Shirley. In case it’s difficult to see, she’s in a swimming pool, on water skis, surrounded by beach balls, smiling, waving and most importantly?

having the time of her life.

I have some really big plans on that vision board.

Plan a wedding, write a book, start a business, travel, the focus this year is intense and Shirley is there to remind me of two very important things.

  1. Take your dreams, goals, ambitions seriously but never take yourself too seriously.
  2. If you’re not having the time of your life, whatever you’re doing, probably isn’t worth your time.

To be clear: Shirley is not a reminder that if things get challenging or scary, we should give up. Not even close. Shirley is a reminder to stay connected to why and remain passionate about what we do. When we are connected and passionate, even the most monstrous of challenges, won’t shake us.

They will inspire us to keep moving. 

Here’s to hoping you all have a Shirley in your life visions.

Thanks for reading!

Amy k Hall

gratitude in the dark

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I’m convinced that learning to show gratitude for all of our troubles traumas and misfortunes is the hardest, and most crucial practice of gratitude there is.

We each have our own personal definition of trauma and misfortune so I”ll let you define it for yourself.

Losing my dad was nothing short of a stomping crush to the soul. That’s the best way to describe it. Even now, just typing that, I can feel it in my chest.

Slowly and all to quickly following my fathers sudden death, was the disappearance of my mother. Not from this world, not into the unknown, but from my life.

Harder to process than those two soul stomping events was the scary reality of just how fragile we are to be human. 

I could go on with the ups and downs that followed but the point of painting your Sunday with this picture is to share that 10 years later, I am truly grateful for those tragic experiences.

Those events ignited my deep curiosity in the human spirit.

They led me to deeply understand that all we can change and control is ourselves and how we respond to all that occurs, and when you truly change yourself from the inside out, it’s contagious. 

Happiness really isn’t a destination; it’s a choice that you make many moments throughout the day, wether you realize it or not. 

There is freedom in learning to forgive without expectations.

We are our own worst enemies and also our own greatest warriors.

Nothing is ever as difficult as our mind will convince us it is. 

And that we are stronger than we will ever know. 

I don’t wish tragedy on anyone; the unfortunate truth is that it exists in many forms and we will all feel it at one point or another. 

I wouldn’t be me without my experiences and you wouldn’t be you without yours, and that includes the darkest of moments.

I’m challenging each of you to look back into the dark in search of what you can be thankful for even if it’s just gratitude for who you have become. When you can be grateful for these moments, the daily habit of gratitude becomes easier to sustain.

If you cannot yet look back and see light or look at your present and see your progress, then I urge you to look back and just allow yourself to feel.  

“though we might wish to run away from these people or situations that trigger us, what will ultimately heal us is running toward them. We don’t want to do this. Every fiber of our being wants to turn away. We don’t want to feel But triggers are present in our lives in order for us to come to a greater level of self- acceptance.”

—Panache Desai, Discovering your Soul Signature

and then maybe read his book 😉

With so much gratitude,

Amy K Hall