Back in 2004 I attended the first ever in-person retreat for Artella, the art magazine founded by Marney K. Makridakis.
One of the speakers at the retreat was the very funny and inspiring Jill Badonsky, whose latest book is entitled The Awe-manac: A Daily Dose of Wonder. Based on the idea of The Old Farmer’s Almanac, The “Awe-manac” contains 365 days worth of prompts, quotes, and exercises to help inspire your own personal creativity. Here is today’s entry:
I am fortunate today to be the featured stop of Jill’s “Awe-manac” blog tour, so please make sure to give her a very warm welcome here to “Using My Powers For Good”.
Hi, Jill, and welcome.
I have had the privilege of meeting you in real life, so I know what a funny person you are. But in the preface to The Awe-Manac you write that, “While writing this book I experienced one of THE darkest shadows of my life in terms of loss, hardship, confusion, estrangement, renegade bio-chemistry, mental gridlock, and failure to use my emergency brake.” What role, if any, did humor play in helping you to survive this period in your life?
Surprisingly, sometimes I take things way too seriously. However, when meeting up with the perfect storm of family drama-laced abysmality intersecting with turncoat biochemistry when I was writing the book wasn’t one of those times.
The writing of The Awe-manac was like an escape into bliss-filled mirth, something I perfected during a rather screwed-up childhood for which I’m ever-so grateful. I sometimes think the greater difficulty I experience, the more raw and available my humor is. When I don’t use my energy to suppress the rancid darkness, it is available for lightening up. I was laughing out loud as I wrote the book, rather surprised at the humor I was being delivered and wondering if others would find it as funny as I did. Additionally, watching Ellen, The Daily Show and The Colbert Report was like fueling my funny bone. All three of which I would watch in order to put me in the appropriate mood for writing.
How do you see the relationship between creativity and spirituality? Do you think the practice of creativity could be considered a spiritual practice?
Creativity is a spiritual practice in my opinion. I believe we create our reality with the thoughts we choose to paint our existence, our attitude and our perspective. And it’s so clear that our ability to be creators is our divinity.
When we are in the creative journey we are most fulfilled, the timelessness and flow seems to be provided by a higher power and our creations have the potential of making an incredible difference in the lives of those who sense, see, hear, and touch them. When we overcome the demons that surface frequently when we are engaged in creative endeavors, we are strengthening our spirit with grace, patience, confidence and resourcefulness.
Spirituality comes into play in the Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coaching Model by facilitating our higher self in accordance with our creative call.
My favorite Awe-Manac observance so far this year has been January 22nd, “Cat Appreciation Day”. Cats feature heavily here on my blog, and I know that you are a cat lover yourself. If cats could speak, what do you think they would tell us, for example, about “How to use our powers for good?” or “How to live with more awe and wonder in our everyday lives?”
I believe that cats are wonderful role models for Zen-thinking and forgiveness. I stepped on my cat’s tail by mistake this morning and he instantly forgave me and forgot about it when I held him.
Cats would tell us to be vigilant about being present, be ready to swat a low-flying idea when it passes within our batting range, and when in doubt, wash. Nap frequently so these things are easier..
Jenny, thanks for asking such thought provoking questions and for having a blog that uses its power for good. I enjoyed being here.
It was my pleasure!
Jill Badonsky, M.Ed., is an internationally recognized workshop leader, keynote speaker, creativity-coaching pioneer, multimedia artist, storyteller, humorist and business entrepreneur. She has creatively consulted with Seventeen and Bust magazine, filmmakers, comedians, storytellers, artists, business CEOs, writers, women in business and groups through-out the country. Her background is in occupational therapy, writing, performance, marketing, educational media and instructional design. She is an award winning public speaker, writes a monthly column for Creativity Portal and is editor of the monthly Muse Flash.
Jill is also founder and director of Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coaching – a ground-breaking model for coaching resistant and sensitive creative people or anyone wanting to create a positive change in their lives. She is author of The Nine Modern Day Muses (and a Bodyguard): 10 Guides to Creative Inspiration for Artists, Poets, Lovers, and Other Mortals Wanting to Live a Dazzling Existence and the upcoming book for Running Press, The Awe-manac: A Daily Dose of Wonder.. She wrote and performed the one woman show I Can’t Always Handle Reality, But It’s Really the Only Place to Get a Good Cup of Coffee. Jill lives in the San Diego with two cats and a bougainvillea.