The Muse Is In...An Owner's Manual to your creativity by Jill Badonsky

Today I am going to review Jill Badonsky's newest book: The Muse Is In..An Owner's Guide To Your Creativity. Because this book is all about creativity, and how to get yourself to honor that side of you I am going to take the liberty to write this review in my creative way!

I bought my creativity car quite a while ago. What a beauty she was...all shiny and new filled with paints, pens, and all sorts of paper! Her engine was running on all four cylinders and her gas tank was filled with ideas. She was always taking me on long and satisfying trips. I could ride in that car all day long and into the wee hours of the morning. Her engine revving...her lights shining with me in the drivers seat smiling and happy.

But something happened along the route we were taking. She seemed to be losing some of her "shine"...some of her "get up and go"...some of her "gas". And then... she pulled over to the side of the road and stalled. I sat there with her for awhile...trying to coach her...bringing new art supplies to tease her with, trying to pump her up with the lure of a retreat or a new pen. But, NO she would not move. I was running out of ideas and knew it was time to bring her into the mentor for a tune-up. I opened the glove compartment and took out the manual, the owner's guide to my creativity.

After reading the introduction I started to find some of the ways to get this car back on her path. I did some of the exercises...found some fringe benefits and took a deep breath into the vastness of my being. My state of mind was ready...I was finding courage...patience...focus...passion...and willingness once again. There were gizmos, tools and lots of trouble shooting ideas within the pages. I was beginning to find my thinking cap motor was humming...and I was being fine tuned. Slowly that creativity car started to move...the motor turned sputtered a bit but with the day to day maintenance I am once again driving down the road to creativity. I am once again in the
drivers seat smiling and happy.

Every now and then your creativity needs a little tune up...a push...a little jump start. If you find yourself on the side of the road, in need of a little gas, a jump start or a full on tune-up, then I highly suggest that you grab a copy of Jill Badonsky's book:
The Muse Is In...An Owner's Manual to Your Creativity, to help yourself back on your path and moving in your creative direction.

Now it is up to you to fill your creativity tank! After I receive 10 comments, a copy will be available to win! So go ahead...COMMENT...let your creativity get the tune-up you just might be needing today!

(this fish is here and in the book to remind you of your passion for creativity. Swim deep...take a deep breath into your vastness...follow the flow with the manual!)

Richard Blancos poem ONE TODAY

One Today

One sun rose on us today, kindled over our shores,
peeking over the Smokies, greeting the faces
of the Great Lakes, spreading a simple truth
across the Great Plains, then charging across the Rockies.
One light, waking up rooftops, under each one, a story
told by our silent gestures moving behind windows.

My face, your face, millions of faces in morning’s mirrors,
each one yawning to life, crescendoing into our day:
pencil-yellow school buses, the rhythm of traffic lights,
fruit stands: apples, limes, and oranges arrayed like rainbows
begging our praise. Silver trucks heavy with oil or paper—
bricks or milk, teeming over highways alongside us,
on our way to clean tables, read ledgers, or save lives—
to teach geometry, or ring-up groceries as my mother did
for twenty years, so I could write this poem.

All of us as vital as the one light we move through,
the same light on blackboards with lessons for the day:
equations to solve, history to question, or atoms imagined,
the “I have a dream” we keep dreaming,
or the impossible vocabulary of sorrow that won’t explain
the empty desks of twenty children marked absent
today, and forever. Many prayers, but one light
breathing color into stained glass windows,
life into the faces of bronze statues, warmth
onto the steps of our museums and park benches
as mothers watch children slide into the day.

One ground. Our ground, rooting us to every stalk
of corn, every head of wheat sown by sweat
and hands, hands gleaning coal or planting windmills
in deserts and hilltops that keep us warm, hands
digging trenches, routing pipes and cables, hands
as worn as my father’s cutting sugarcane
so my brother and I could have books and shoes.

The dust of farms and deserts, cities and plains
mingled by one wind—our breath. Breathe. Hear it
through the day’s gorgeous din of honking cabs,
buses launching down avenues, the symphony
of footsteps, guitars, and screeching subways,
the unexpected song bird on your clothes line.

Hear: squeaky playground swings, trains whistling,
or whispers across café tables, Hear: the doors we open
for each other all day, saying: hello, shalom,
buon giorno, howdy, namaste, or buenos días
in the language my mother taught me—in every language
spoken into one wind carrying our lives
without prejudice, as these words break from my lips.
One sky: since the Appalachians and Sierras claimed
their majesty, and the Mississippi and Colorado worked
their way to the sea. Thank the work of our hands:
weaving steel into bridges, finishing one more report
for the boss on time, stitching another wound
or uniform, the first brush stroke on a portrait,
or the last floor on the Freedom Tower
jutting into a sky that yields to our resilience.

One sky, toward which we sometimes lift our eyes
tired from work: some days guessing at the weather
of our lives, some days giving thanks for a love
that loves you back, sometimes praising a mother
who knew how to give, or forgiving a father
who couldn’t give what you wanted.

We head home: through the gloss of rain or weight
of snow, or the plum blush of dusk, but always—home,
always under one sky, our sky. And always one moon
like a silent drum tapping on every rooftop
and every window, of one country—all of us—
facing the stars
hope—a new constellation
waiting for us to map it,
waiting for us to name it—together

in-between times

My son, whom I have been reunited with after 43 years, (he was adopted) gave me a wonderful Christmas card which he wrote in. One of the statements that he made in the card was: "What gifts could I want more than I already have?"

My heart tells me that there is nothing secrets held to unturn about the adoption silent wondering where we each were in searching faces wondering if this could be my questions about if we wanted to meet each other...

The gifts we have been given within this year have gone beyond my wildest dreams. We have celebrated and honored our momentous occasions ...all of the "firsts" we have so far experienced in this year of re-connection. Today, I am thinking about the in-between times and I am celebrating those. While moving from one moment to the next is seldom considered by many a very significant occurrence...I am honoring those times that I have tuned into life's most simplest joys with him.

walking the dog with him and talking...driving in a car alone together...watching him interact with his family...singing silly songs and doing silly dances...walking arm in arm through a parking lot...sitting next to him on a sofa watching a movie or talking...or just sitting in silence in the same room together...

These times are so worthy of celebration...they are not landmark moments to most people but they are for me...for I am spending time with my son...FINALLY...connecting...I am paying attention to these times as they happen...I etch them into my memory...I focus on them the way he does when he snaps a photo.  These moments that allow me to slow down and see in my heart the wonders of what is taking place...the miracle of my life as it is now.

Far to often we let these simple moments pass us by...but it is these times with him...these pauses in life that I honor as some of the biggest milestones...they show me how wonderful my life is now that we are a part of it together.

So, "what gifts could I want more than I already have?"

My heart tells me that we indeed have it all!  My heart tells me that I am truly blessed.

What in-between time can you celebrate today?

Creativity Tune-up!

My mentor, Jill Badonsky, has a new book that is out and I will be interviewing her later this month.
If you are in need of a creativity tune-up...if you need to jump start your creativity...or if you just need a little humor in your life...READ THIS BOOK! (you'll be glad you did!!) Here is a little taste of what is in store for you!  Act quickly, because Amazon is having a SALE!

by Jill Badonsky
Following her perennial-seller The Awe-Manac: A Daily Dose of Wonder, creativity coach pioneer Jill Badonsky returns with a fun new book that will help readers get their creativity working like a well-oiled machine.
THE MUSE IS IN: An Owner’s Manual to Your Creativity (Running Press; Hardcover; $18.00; January 2013) outlines how to power up one’s genius. Think of Badonsky as your mechanic—for creativity. Her new book is a quirky preventative maintenance and service manual that will help you take your creativity out for a test drive, troubleshoot problems along the way, and offer tips for its proper care and upkeep, safeguarding it from any hiccups so that you’re running in top form. She charts with humorous illustrations what you need to know to get through common creative malfunctions such as procrastination, perfectionism, self-sabotage, overwhelmed thinking, idea bankruptcy, and the dreaded no-clue-where-to-begin-ism.
From beating what she terms “The Duhs” by lubricating your common sense with what you already know, such as sticking to positive reinforcement instead of constant self-deprecation (duh!) and not comparing yourself to others (duh! again), to suggestions on ways to stay focused and step away from distractions, and how to fuel yourself into loving the creative process, Badonsky delivers the operating instructions needed for readers to spark their creative passion.
Also included are prompts for every day of the year, with quotes from some of the most well-known artists around like authors Walther Mosley and Ernest Hemingway writing about writing, to singer/actress Julie Andrews on discipline (for her it’s not a chore, it’s the path to freedom), and physician/essayist Lewis Thomas on worrying (note, things are always better in the morning); as well as exercises to really get the creative juices flowing.
And just as creativity is non-linear, readers can bounce around THE MUSE IS IN, opening to any page for inspiration. Everyone has creativity in them, and Badonsky’s new book will help readers reach their full potential by running on Muse control.
About the Author:
Jill Badonsky is an illustrator, humorist, nationally-recognized seminar leader, and creativity consultant. As the founder and director of Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coaching, she consults with filmmakers, comedians, artists, writers, business leaders, and anyone who is experiencing procrastination and other blocks to positive change. She is the author of The Nine Modern Day Muses (and a Bodyguard), and The Awe-Manac. She lives in San Diego, CA. Visit her at,, or on Facebook and Twitter.


Has it been that long since I last posted here? REALLY was it THANKSGIVING! WOW!

My life as you all know took such a turn this year with reuniting with my son and his family!
And here we are in a brand new year!

What is in store for me?!?

One thing I am committed to this year is restarting my journaling....I really haven't been very dedicated to it for the past 2 years...but I restarted on the 1st of January...and so far so good! I journal Monday through Friday in a small 6 by 6 journal that I am making...the word that I choose this year was....LISTEN.  For me that just means listen to the stirring of my heart once again what it whispers to me. Listen... to myself.
It has not been easy...actually it has been a little rough getting into the swing of it...being vulnerable enough to really listen to what I have to say. But I continue on...everything is worth it to get back to my voice!

May your voice speak loud and clear to you!

Another Bone Sigh that strikes a cord!

I think by now everyone knows I love the talented and wonderful Terri St. Cloud (the creator and artist of Bone Sigh Arts)...Although I have never met Terri in person I have had the honor to know her over the net for years now...and she has such a HUGE heart!! During the time that Michael was sick she was so supportive...sending cards and books my way to heal my heart..(as did Merry Me and so many others! I still can't thank these cyber space friends enough)

So here we are today...and I was reflecting on the upcoming Thanksgiving...and how much this year is different from all the others in the past...not the turkey...or cranberry sauce...but this is a year where I am thankful for so much.."the fullness...the depths...the journey... the DANCE OF LIFE."

she closed her eyes and thought of her year. it couldn't be just the "good" she was thankful for. it had to be the "all"... the fullness, the depths, the journey. the dance of Life. for these she gave thanks.


Elbow deep..

Elbow deep in paint...sealer...wire and beads!  It has been a long time since I have done this much work...maybe a year. I have given it a lot of thought over these past few days...why does one let the things that they love slip...take a back put on a shelf for another day?

It's not like over the past year I haven't had the time to follow my creative life. It's not like I haven't done anything creative either, because I have...making a wonderful treasure box for my little Lucy (the first gift I have ever given her!) and then there were the fund raisers that I participate in...among the few things I have done.

I use to do a lot more it seems...I submitted work to magazines...and I got published in quite a few. I use to have all sorts of projects going on at one time...wondering if I would really ever finish just one of them...

So, I wonder what direction I am going in...will I comfortably find my muse again to direct me? Will I be elbow deep in paint and pens and sealer...along with wire and beads after this project is done? Will I submit and jump back on my "get known nationally now" tour that started so long ago?

AHHHH...I wonder?

There are all sorts of possibilities opening up...

I am here...I am present...I am happy...


It is November...

For the past 43 years I have dreaded the month of sent me into a spiral of depression. It froze me...I disliked Thanksgiving, although I have gone through the motions of it somewhat like a zombie...waiting...waiting...waiting for the 1st of December so November would be over and things could go back to "business as usual".

But here it is November...I am happy...I am whole...I am looking forward to Thanksgiving and all the gratitude I have to offer this year. Here it is November...and I am rapidly approaching the 15th which is the day my son was born. Here it is November...and I can finally send a Birthday card...I can finally verbally wish him a happy day...and tell him that I love him dearly.

Here is part of a letter I sent to my son recently:

What does one do at a young age when their heart is directing them one way but a parent or adult figure is telling them it is the wrong way? How do you stand up for yourself at a young age? Can you? At what point does one become totally responsible for living their truth? When does ones own courage come into play? At what age do we give up the "need" or "want" of our parents approval?
Learning to stand true to myself has taken me some 43 years.  Having reunited with you this year I have changed, I have searched my soul, I have come to terms not only with myself but with those that directed me during that time. I ALWAYS wanted to parent you, it was my truth, but at 17, FEAR placed me in a situation where I believed others knew better what was right for me than I did. Fear takes away our belief in possibilities. Fear freezes us in the moment, holding us back from doing things we know in our hearts are really our own truth.
I think that there are those who never live their truth...they never follow their hearts calling to find their happiness, but rather continue to follow the direction others believe is right for them, that others expect from them. These are paths that they would not have choosen for themselves. Some never allow themself to experience complete happiness that their heart longs for.  Why do we put so much value on what others think of us? Why do we have such a need to be perfect or in control. That somehow by living by other peoples standards we might become better even happier when truly one knows this can't be true. Your heart, your spirit needs to be heard, needs to be honored, needs to be free in order to live your authentic life.

Placing a child for adoption carries a great many repercustions for many birth mothers. People who we thought once held our best interests turned out to be thinking of themselves more than us. We were made to believe if we did not follow the path they thought best for us we would be left on our own at a time when we needed so much. We were told that we were being brave, strong, doing the right thing, and that we would forget. Their disapproval of us came at a cost. But at what cost? Our happiness, our spirits, and our authentic lives.
I believe that with age I have learned to travel down my path. My true path, but it has taken many years and many turns to realize that I deserved to be happy. It has taken me a great deal of time to stop listening to what others thought I should be doing or not doing. Could I have done this at 17? My mind says I could not, my mind tells me I wasn't strong enough or wise enough, or good enough. As I sit silently today, my heart tells me differently, but it also tells me that "for everything there is a season" and I know that my season with you is NOW.  Love, Mom

So I grab a hold of this day, and I tell him that I love him, and I repeat that back to myself.  I take this day and make it mine and his and let go of the past so I can be ever present to NOW.


Follow your heart...

As I walk into my studio in hand ready to start my day I SEE and actually FEEL a poster that is on my wall...a poster that is a series of sentences...and it touches me today, I mean it really touches me.

Follow your heart...CREATE PEACE...Fall in LOVE...Show GRATITUDE...ENJOY the little things...DREAM BIG...Believe in MIRACLES...Discover your SPONTANEOUS...embrace every POSSIBILITY...BELIEVE in yourself...your life is NOW.

And although I see this every, it made me made me reflect...and it made me truly smile (deep in my soul). Perhaps in the wake of Sandy and all that is going on with so many people it caused me to really count my blessings...perhaps it is because I am very blessed and I needed to remember that...whatever the reason I am seeing and feeling this today.

Since Michael's passing my life has changed in so many ways...and so I reflect this morning on those wonderful things that have come my way this year.

1. I followed my heart and the book was published...I allowed myself quiet time...I reached out to others more...I went on a dream trip to France...I went to a retreat that has re sparked my creativity.

2. I am creating a peace in my life where I thought last year I would never have again. I am happy...smiling...and feeling alive.

3. I have fallen in love with my newly reunited family...and I have fallen back in love with other things in my life.

4. I try to remember all my gratefulness every day...I am still working on some of it!

5. The little things are so much more important to me than the big things...I reach out for them more and more each day.

6. I am once again DREAMING BIG!

7. I do...I do...I do believe in Miracles...For the biggest one of all has happened to me this year...I have been reunited with my son...43 years later!

8. My passion for creativity is being rediscovered...and there are many things that I am longing to do once again.

9. Spontaneous has never been a thing I did...planning is something that I always felt was needed. But with a shift in spirit I am giving myself permission to let the laundry stay put for another day if I want to do something else...I grab a hold of invitations without question now...and I let things be when they need to without worry.

10. Possibilities...I have started once again to embrace them...I am feeling stronger...and lighter...and I believe in so much again.

11. I DO BELIEVE IN MYSELF! It seems it has been a long time in the making, but it is happening again...I believe in my story...I believe in ME!

12. My life is NOW....this moment...this morning...and I am reading this poster and SEEING it and FEELING it loud and clear!      

Life is good!