Heeding the Call to Create

For many people the idea of creating something on a regular basis is full of barriers.  “I’m not creative enough” or “I don’t have time”  are two of the main excuses we use.  I used both of them for many years and yet I kept feeling called to be creative. When I was still teaching I had opportunities to be creative with the children I taught, but I never gave  myself permission to go beyond art projects suitable for a class of 4-5 years olds.  While I kept journals for many years it wasn’t something I was willing to share with anyone. I didn’t feel like I was creative enough for anyone to want to read what I wrote.

The more I reach out to people, the more I realize that I wasn’t the only one with those blocks. I see people on Instagram who are just beginning to dare to share their work and I know they feel vulnerable. What if someone is critical? What if no one “likes” it? I read others’ blogs who are just starting out and I recognize that feeling of wanting to apologize before I even hit send. What if no one reads it or what if it’s boring or what if there are spelling or grammar errors and it seems


The first time I went into Blick art supplies I was completely intimidated. I felt like a fraud! Only real artists were allowed to shop there! But everyone was nice and I even stuck around for a demonstration and bought some watercolor pencils. The first time I published a blog post I was terrified! It took all my courage to hit the “send” button.

But sometimes I hear from someone that my words made a difference for them. That in combination with someone else’s words or an image or an idea that had been floating around they became inspired to make a change in their life. And it’s bringing them joy.  That reading my book with their child was fun and they stayed up past their bedtime to finish it. Or I might hear back from a friend that a picture I shared on Instagram reminded them to feel gratitude for the little things.  And that’s all it takes to make me realize that my fear is just fear. That sharing our creative ideas is good not just for the person creating but also for those that receive it.

Most of the time when I paint something  (on canvas, with acrylics!) I don’t share it, but invariably when I do people are kind. There is a community of people who create for the joy of it. Some of them are making a living at it and  others dream of making a living at it. But the real reason we’re creating is because it lights us up.  We create because we love it. And because we are called to.

If you’re feeling called to create, what’s stopping you? Is it fear? Are you creating but not feeling “good enough” to share? If you have blocks and want help getting over them I’d love to talk with you about it. And if you’ve gotten over your fears and are sharing your gifts I’d love to celebrate with you!

My next post will be about the second excuse; “I don’t have time.”

Until then, Happy Creating!



Perfect is the enemy of good

There are all kinds of reasons for not finishing something and getting it out into the world. For more years than I care to count, I’ve had a vintage metal lawn chair that belonged to my grandmother, Dean Donovan, on my dad’s side of the family. It found its way to my house in Miami, a little worse for the wear, but still a very serviceable chair. It’s comfortable, rocks just a little when you push with your feet against the ground, and brings a lot of good memories.

I forgot to take a picture before I started sanding, but you can get a good idea of what it looked like.

For a long time it has sat on my back porch, covered with a towel, slightly rusty, sometimes used by the cat. I rarely sat in it and it always made me a little sad to see it there. Many years ago my husband stripped off the original navy blue paint and another layer of forest green paint and sprayed on a coat of primer. And for some reason, it never got finished. I kept telling myself I would paint it someday but I was worried about getting it right.

I love the lopsided smile that says “Yes! Paint me!”

This week I got a sudden desire to paint the chair. Monday afternoon I went to Home Depot (site of my previous run in with the roofing project!) and bought a beautiful light aqua color of Rustoleum spray paint. My husband has a nifty little electric sander and collection of sand paper. The primer and rust came off pretty quickly and in two days the chair was sanded down to bare metal.  On Wednesday I sprayed on the first coat of paint and although there were a few drips and a bug or two flew into it, it looked pretty good. Today I put on the second coat and let the chair dry in the sun.

The paint job is not perfect. If it were, I’d probably be afraid to sit in it! But it’s done, it’s good enough and I will enjoy it for many years to come.  As I’m starting my new business I find myself getting caught up in the same kinds of procrastination. What if my website isn’t perfect? What will people think? What if my intake form is missing something? What about scheduling and blog posts and having the right niche?  So I’m putting it out there as I build it, knowing it’s not perfect, but realizing that sometimes it’s more important to have a comfortable chair than a perfect chair. Is there something that you’ve been putting off because you want it to be “just right”? I’d love to talk with you about it, and if the weather is nice I’ll be doing it from my back porch, sitting in a comfortable chair that’s been around for a long time.

p.s. Speaking of imperfection, my friend and fellow coach, Tina Peacock, let me know that she wasn’t able to respond to my last blog post because the contact information wasn’t set up correctly. I tried to fix it but I don’t know if I did it right! So if you want to contact me just send me an email at mialotus@yahoo.com 

I would love to hear from you!

I did it!

As of 9:58 this morning I am a certified Martha Beck Life Coach!

It’s been an amazing year and I’m so grateful to have found my way to this path. Thank you to everyone who allowed me to practice my tools with them. Thank you to all of you who have wished me well, referred me to friends and written wonderful testimonials! Thank you to my fellow life coach cadets who have joined me on the journey and are out there in the world doing wonderful work. Thank you to the Martha Beck Life Coach Training teachers and support staff who made this process so awesome. Thank you to my family, my in-laws, and my husband and son who have supported me every step of the way. And now for a pink drink! (Well, maybe not immediately, but at some point today!)

Brave does not equal Fearless

This summer I’ve had the opportunity to speak to a couple of groups of students about my book, The Secret Labyrinth.  The main character of the book, Halley Armstrong, is brave.  At one of the schools we talked about what it means to be brave and some of the brave things that each of the students had done. Some of the stories were pretty scary, from holding a (large) snake, to jumping off a roof into a pile of leaves (ouch), to speaking in front of your classmates (gulp). When we started discussing synonyms for brave a few of the students suggested fearless. 

I disagreed and here’s why. Being brave doesn’t mean that you aren’t afraid. It means that you ARE afraid and you choose to do it anyway.  If you’re fearless you don’t have to brave. If it doesn’t bother you to hold a big snake then you don’t have to be brave to do it. If you’re calm when you think about speaking in front of a room full of people, you do it and enjoy it, no bravery required. It’s the things that frighten us that require bravery.

My friend and fellow life coach, Sarah Curnoles, is running a 40 day challenge to help people face their fears. I haven’t fully participated but I have taken on some of her challenges and it’s been eye opening to notice how many things in my life require bravery. Some of the things don’t scare me at all and may be things I already do, like going somewhere alone. Others are really scary, like #11 Fail On Purpose or #17 Lie on the Floor of a Mall for 60 seconds (what?!)

I’m curious to learn about what you’re afraid of. Sometimes our biggest dreams are what scare us the most. Fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of not being good enough, all of those fears can prevent us from doing what we really want to do.

If you’re letting your fears stop you, maybe I can help. I’m not saying I can make the fear go away, but by using some of the tools I’ve learned I can help you find your own inner bravery.

Be BRAVE, not fearless. Your dreams will thank you!