Posts tagged Rituals
Why I Call Them Secret Projects

Hello beautiful people! 

Some of you may have heard me referring to projects that I’m working on as “secret projects”. In today’s video I’m sharing how this simple practice has made a huge difference in my ability to stay committed to and create success in many of my creative endeavors. 

To check out the video, click here: bit.ly/secretprojects

Enjoy! 

With love & creativity always,

Leah 

p.s. We've launched a new video production company called Super Simple Videos! Click here to check out our site. 

Creative Peak Times

I shared an important video on the channel this week and wanted to touch base about it here. If there's beens anything that's been a real game changer for me and my ability to tap into a state of peak creative flow, it's been becoming more aware of my peak creative times. This also came up in a creativity coaching session with a client recently and developing this awareness created a profound shift for her as well. I realized it was high time for me to talk about this with all of you.

In a nutshell, creative peak times are specific times times of day when you do specific creative work most easily and effortlessly. 

In my case, my daily peak creative schedule looks like this:

Mornings- best for really focused, individual creative work; like writing, reading or character work.

Afternoons- collaborative creative work like meetings, working with clients or filming.

Evenings- on your feet stuff like rehearsing or dancing.

I encourage you to start paying gentle attention to when you do certain types of creative work best. This can look completely different for everyone so allow yourself to be open to whatever reveals itself to you.

Once you've started observing a pattern, give yourself permission to honor your peak creative times. I call my morning creative times my "Morning Golden Hours" and protect these with a fierceness. Don't be afraid to do the same.

And that's it! It's really quite simple =)

If you'd like to delve a little deeper and watch the video, you can do so by clicking here.

And feel free to leave any comments or questions below. I will respond to them!
 

With love & creativity,

Leah

 

A Date with My Creativity
photo by:  Juliana Mariia Rose  

I've recently embarked on the journey of becoming a certified Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coach. As part of the training we're given the opportunity to choose and work on our own creative project. I was tempted to pick something that's related to this blog or my YouTube channel, since that's where a big part of my creative focus lies right now. But when I tuned in and listened to my intuition, I realized that something else was asking for my attention. My creativity is flowing beautifully in those areas, so why not focus on something that needs a little more love and care? The truth is, I've allowed acting, one of my other creative passions, to fall to the wayside for the past year, causing quite of a bit of creative turmoil for me. 

So I decided that this was going to be the focus for my creativity project. 

One of the fundamental tenets of the Kaizen-Muse approach is the importance of taking small steps. If we take small steps with our creative projects (or any projects for that matter), we bypass the fear and resistance that might normally lead us to a creative shut-down. 

With this in mind, I decided that not only was I going to take tiny steps to work through my creative project, but I was also going to choose a project that was sufficiently small and non-threatening to begin with. I felt that right now, going on an audition, or even taking an acting class would feel too overwhelming. So I decided to go back to the very basics and work on a monologue. 

This seems like a simple project, but it still held its challenges for me. In the past, whenever I set the intention to work on a new monologue, I found that I became overwhelmed simply by the idea of having to find one. You'd be surprised, finding a play or a script that resonates can be an unexpectedly challenging task. And once you've finally located one, it may not even contain a piece of text that works as a monologue. So yeah, I've always struggled with the whole "having several monologues in your back pocket" thing that you're "supposed to have" as an actor. 

Since I knew that I usually get stuck at this stage in the process, I gave myself a very small, non-threatening first step to work on:

Simply spending five minutes looking at the plays that are already in my bookshelf. 

What unfolded once I carried out this intention was a surprisingly emotion-filled, profound moment for me. Even though it only lasted a few minutes. After I experienced it, I took out my notebook and "stream of consciousness" style wrote out the experience. I feel compelled to share it with all of you, so here it is: 

I was home alone and I had just finished dinner. It was dark outside. Piles of dishes were waiting for me in the kitchen, but something else was calling my attention. Something about this moment felt sacred. So I brought out my favorite reading lamp, placed it by my bookshelf, and rolled out my yoga mat. I also put on this enchanted song that I'd recently discovered*. I let my eyes wonder over my beloved plays. My eyes started to well up with tears as I realized that I already had so many treasures, right here. Some things don't require so much effort, sometimes what we need is right in front of us. I allowed my eyes to continue their wandering until they stopped on "Anna in the Tropics", by Nilo Cruz. I gingerly pulled it out. I first came across this play when I used it for a directing class in college. I've always loved it. At this point, the five minutes had already slipped by. But I was already lost in the lure of my creative momentum. So I decided to sneak in another five minutes. I started combing through the play. Just reading the characters' words started to kindle up a spark within me. The tears from before were now rolling down my cheeks. I invited them in. But I also decided that it was time to step away. Small steps. Baby steps that keep the fear at bay. 

I'm not sure what the theme of today's post is. But I felt compelled to share some of the struggles and challenges I'm facing in my creative work. Just because I've become absorbed in the topic of creativity doesn't mean that everything is rainbows and butterflies and I live in a creative happy place all of the time. And that's ok. That's part of being a human being that's been gifted with the ability to create; an ability that each and every one of us shares.  

I'm also happy to share that I'm slowly and steadily creating a daily habit out of working on my monologue. Just fifteen minutes a day. But fifteen minutes that are giving me a lot. Most importantly, they're allowing me to tend to that part of me that has been yearning to act. And that's important. It's important to listen to that part within us asking for creative expression. 

much love to each & every one of you,

Leah
 

--

* Spiritual by Pat Metheny 

 

Evening Rituals, for a creativity inspiring sleep
photo by:  Ornella Binni

photo by: Ornella Binni

It's always been more challenging for me to master evenings than mornings. I have a tendency to build up a lot of energy throughout the day, so I sometimes have trouble switching gears and winding down in the evening. 

That said, it's much more likely that I'll function at my creative peak after a night of deeply restful sleep. So one of my intentions right now is to make friends with these rituals and commit to them to the best of my ability. 

If you want to check out the video that accompanies this post, click here. 

1) Enjoying a Light & Early Dinner

Even though this can be challenging sometimes (ha, note the theme :P), I'm mindful of enjoying lighter foods and not eating past 7-7:30pm  This way my body can digest before I go to bed, and my organs can focus on repair (vs. digestion) while I'm sleeping; which allows me to feel more deeply rested the next morning. If I still feel a little hungry later on, I'll have a small snack before going to bed. Some of my favorite bed time snacks are: soaked cashews, goat yoghurt, banana or a little bit of nut butter. 

2) Enjoying an Evening Walk

I love taking walks after dinner. This is my GO-TO tool for helping me switch those gears and go into chill-out mode. It also helps me release any additional energy that might still be buzzing in my system. I love inhaling the sweet evening air and looking up at the stars. It's also a lovely opportunity to reconnect with a loved one or a friend if you're taking a walk with someone else. Or with yourself if you're going solo. Note: your evening walk doesn't have to be long to be effective. Even just 15 minutes of basking in the evening glow can work miracles. 

3) Having a Relaxing Cup of Herbal Tea

photo by:  Ornella Binni

photo by: Ornella Binni

Herbal teas really help me tap into a deeper sense of relaxation. I buy a lot of my tea-making herbs in bulk, store them in glass jars, and then pick and choose to make my nightly concoctions. I always make sure to brew my  teas with spring water. Some of my favorite sleepy-time herbs are:

1) Chamomile
Chamomile tea increases the levels of the hormones serotonin and melatonin in your body, which leads to an increased sense of calm. It also soothes your digestive system. (1) 

2) Spearmint
Spearmint supports the digestive system, I love mixing it into my evening tea blends to give my tummy some extra love. 

3) Lemon Verbena
I love the scent of lemon verbena, it's so citrusy and fresh. It also soothes the digestive system and has an overall calming effect on the body. (2) 

4) Lemon Balm
Lemon balm lowers anxiety and has calming benefits that help your body wind down and go to sleep, especially when it's combined with other relaxing herbs like the ones mentioned above. (3) 

5) Linden Flowers
Linden flower tea is known for its potent stress & anxiety reducing properties. It gently affects your hormone levels, leading your body and mind to relax. It also has tummy settling properties. (4)
 

4) Shutting Off Screens 1 Hour Before Bed

 Research has shown that looking at a screen before bedtime prevents your brain from releasing melatonin, which is a key sleep hormone. This one can feel a little challenging at times, but when I switch off all my technology an hour or more before bed, I feel a huge difference in my ability to fall asleep and my quality of sleep throughout the night. As a result, I'll also feel more awake and more alert throughout the next day. 

For anyone interested in reading more about this topic, here are a couple of informative links:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/23/reading-before-bed_n_6372828.html
(admittedly, the title of this one is a little extreme, but it's a great article nonetheless =)) 

http://www.businessinsider.com/why-its-bad-to-use-your-phone-before-bed-2015-7

5) Reading an Inspiring Book

I often find that my mind still wants to engage with something before bed, since I'm working on not looking at screens, I opt for reading a book instead. I usually pick something that is inspiring and will fill my mind with good thoughts, so I can fall asleep in that headspace. I just finished reading The Code of the Extraordinary Mind by Vishen Lakhiani, which was truly extraordinary. I can already sense how this book will be a real game-changer for me this year. I'll very likely talk about it in future blog posts/videos =) 

photo by:  Annie Spratt

photo by: Annie Spratt

I'm still working on tweaking these practices and am definitely open to learning about new ones that will help me calm down & chill out in the evening. So please share your evening rituals in the comments below =)

Wishing you all nights filled with creativity inspiring sleep.

Much love,

Leah 

--
words: Leah Salinas

Sources
(1) https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/beverage/chamomile-tea-benefits-uses.html
(2) https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/herbs-and-spices/lemon-verbena.html
(3) http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/lemon-balm
(4) https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/other/linden.html
(5) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/23/reading-before-bed_n_6372828.html