Allowing Myself

…to feel, to love, to be.

Tag: creativity

What I Really Need

Received a newsletter from Michele at Hot Love Revolution. In closing, she writes, “So please, get on board with your own needs, even if you’ve been judging yourself for having them.”

Even if you judge yourself for having them.

And I realized that’s exactly what I’ve been doing.

The past few days, I’ve been laying low. I’ve read, exercised, worked on Project Life and journaled. Oh, I’ve journaled more than I have in a while, and soaked up this alone time in all its deliciousness.

I’ve needed this. Creativity and time alone. And then I wrote this:

I am craving living a life a little deeper and more meaningful than the one that exists when I’m running on steam, doing an excellent job at my career, but not spending any time on myself. I do spend a good bit of time on self-care – exercise and morning pages and lowering the bar…

But I’ve lost a drive for something that’s MINE. For my own creativity and for my own expression. I believe in my existence – I believe it matters and I’m doing well by the time I have here – but I feel there could be more.

There could be… ART.

This is not the first time I’ve come to this conclusion.

I keep circling this feeling, this topic, this mood – like a lion paces the border of his fences at the zoo – knowing that he’s trapped.

I do not know what it is that I can offer the world. What I do know is, I need to offer something. I am searching for my place, my community, my own art manifested. Mind you, this all feels like a bunch of BS when it comes to the part of me that shows up dutifully for work every day, but to my soul… it’s there.

And I thought about another blogger, Esme Wang, who’s website has grown in gorgeousness since I first found it and I think, “I have so not turned pro yet”. She’s raised the bar on her own work. It’s sincere, real and creative. And basically, I’m jealous, in the best way. She’s doing it. I’m not.

Energy and hours have brought me to a place where I can take time for myself without judging. But taking time for creative pursuits? For work that isn’t “work”? Creating for the process of it?

Haven’t made it to that yet.

But that’s what I really need.

– – – – – – –

How about you? What do you really need? xo


Hello Story or My Introduction To Scrapbooking

I’m in the third week of Ali Edwards Hello Story – a 12 week scrapbooking class – and I’m loving it. 

Total noob here. This is my first scrapbook 12×12 page… EVER. It’s a timeline of important events in my life. It’s actually missing a photo still – I’ll add that once it’s printed.

But excuse me while I take a moment to jump up & down with excitement that I was able to create this page. It felt so creative and engaging to make something. I was totally in flow and was racing against the clock to finish it before a dinner date.

I was surprised by how much color I wanted. And that I added the water-color background not having a freakin’ clue what I was doing. When I thought to use feathers as a symbol for my own trust / lifeline, my heart jumped. And I am so so so proud of myself for cutting those colored paper feathers from a patterned paper – and not feeling frustrated that I didn’t have the “perfect” embellishments.

I loved getting paint on my hands, following where the layout went,  telling my story and improvising. 

I’ve been working on Project Life since January but I’m still not sure about it. While I’m printing WAY more photos than I ever have, it seems like an awful lot of paper to be accumulating as the years go on. I’m committed to documenting 2013 via the 2-page weekly spread, but I may rethink this for next year. 

And the Hello Story class is so inspiring. Ali does a really great job of offering scrapbooking as a vehicle to dig deeper into your life story. She says “scrapbooking is an opportunity to tell stories that give perspective to our overall life experience”. 

This is why I journal, take photos, keep this blog… I want perspective, understanding, deeper meaning made out of my life experiences. And I want to read / hear others’ stories too.

So, there’s magic here. As I wrote yesterday, trying my best to keep the supplies low and the production high. But I think I’m on to something.

Day In The Life: Live Is Being Lived

Lately, I’ve been up and down emotionally. When this happens, I never know exactly why and therefore randomly try things to help me feel better. Most don’t seem to work and the best plan is just to wait it out. Monday was anxiety, Wednesday was frustration, and Thursday was something close to depression.

But when I remembered it was June’s “day in the life“, I perked up. Here was something that could anchor my day. Something that would remind me to notice the moments and to choose the “better” task hour to hour.

So, I went through my day, taking photos. And I remembered my horoscope from Astrobarry last week:

In case you haven’t noticed by now, Pisces, the horoscopes I’ve been writing you lately have been pretty fucking awesome. They have mostly centered around accepting yourself for who you are, right here and right now (instead of mooning over what could’ve been or might someday be), and just reveling in the giddiness and gorgeousness and general good-time feelings wherever and whenever you can find ’em. Now, I don’t want to be a sugarcoating bliss-ninny and give you the mistaken impression that everything in life will be sunshine and rainbow and tutti-frutti ice-cream cones from here on out—hell, I bet even at the best of times, there are still some things that are functioning poorly and/or mainly serve the role of ‘giant pain-in-the-ass’. And yet, here comes a year full of Jupiter-in-the-5th, starting early next week, which is one of the loveliest astrological happenings a sign can experience: an increase of encouraging planetary energy in the house of love and romance, children and child-like wonder, pleasure and play, and all leisure-time activities which bring creative self-fulfillment. Raise the roof on that one, dear fishy! While this will not magically remove all bumps-in-the-road or thorns-in-your-side, it does support you whenever you take steps to improve your appreciative enjoyment of the world. Knowing you, the hardest part just might be determining what you most genuinely enjoy… without unduly considering everyone else’s preferences and pressures. Doing more of what you really really love, by the way, is an incredibly attractivequality.

And I focused on doing what I wanted to do.

This is the hardest thing for me. I may seem all bad-ass and confident, but sometimes the slightest look from a friend or word from H can send me off into the hustle for worthiness.

This week had plenty of that as I prepared for my annual review. Even though I just received a promotion, even though I rock my job, it sent me into a panic. Thoughts swirling about if I’ve done enough and will make the cut. If I’m liked

But I kept my focus on taking those photos. And the ideas from above: “just reveling in the giddiness and gorgeousness and general good-time feelings wherever and whenever you can find ’em… pleasure and play, and all leisure-time activities which bring creative self-fulfillment“.

And I realize now as I write this that the act of taking these photos, of noticing my life, gives value to where I’m at, allowing myself to do what I want with these precious minutes I’m given each day. And it brings creative fulfillment, which brings me deep happiness with myself and my life.

*The picture of the 3 of us on our family walk is my fav

Ali Edward’s Day In The Life
Susannah Conway’s e-courses, especially Unravelling
Liz Lamoreux
Brene Brown


I’m taking things slow. Focusing on me. Allowing creativity to come through.

How are you? xo

Creative Play

This week’s been full of meetings, discussions, talking, listening, spacing out, feeling overwhelmed and skipping out on To Dos. And yet, it seems this week is just the right turn of the dial to click me back into place. All of those events, traveling, people – ugh. March 18th through April 20th was high energy, it was productive, driven, busy.

Notice how it aligned right with Sun in Aries. And as the Sun shifted to Taurus, so did my energy.

I can feel my energy settling (almost too much – exercise is way down and feeling a bit heavy is up). I am sleeping well but a tad too much. I am skirting responsibilities, indulging in art, craving whole foods and wanting to slow down. My brain feels sans of thoughts, and then, a burst of information will come pouring through.

When feeling particularly blah this week, I pulled out Danielle Laporte‘s Fire Starter Sessions and took notes with colored markers. Inspiring and relaxing – and totally indulgent. This may seem like such a whatever activity, but for me to shut off the computer, leave the laundry in a pile and focus, man – good things can happen.

I spent most of the week either wasting time on other people’s schedules or trying to un-knot a problem. I’m confident the knot is unraveled (for now). I processed 90 emails, did two loads of laundry and gave the dog a bath. Also started a class (Clean & Simple– which I’m super excited about), went to trivia night and basically enjoyed the quiet of having my apartment to myself. Just letting things go along, indulging in some creative play and chillin’.

Looking forward to a relaxing weekend with friends xo.

I (Don’t) Create Music (Yet)

I attended the ASCAP I Create Music Expo in Hollywood, CA last week. This year’s event went a lot faster than previous ones, but it felt less inspirational in the sessions. That doesn’t mean I didn’t leave inspired. Katy Perry, Stargate, Ne-yo, Mike Posner and composers James S. Levine and Michael Brook shared their stories, careers and songwriting experiences. But what challenged me was something someone said during a lunch I hosted for work.

The event was for 10 people and had basically finished. The check was paid, most of the attendees headed off to their next panel. But I stayed chatting with an older guy. And as he spoke, I could hear a Philly accent. And he started to tell the story of what a teacher said to his class back when he was a student. Then he said my name (which people do not tend to do). It caught my ear.

Justine. Now I’m paraphrasing what this guy said, but he basically told us ‘Don’t be intimidated by this anymore. It’s just music. These are just tools.’

I felt the world slow down. Anyone else feel that?

It didn’t seem so. Even the man telling the story carried on to his next thought. But I felt like this was a direct message from the Universe. And the SECOND ONE of the week for that matter. The 3rd picture up top is from my girl’s day in Ventura, where a friend pulled a few Goddess cards for me and that’s what came up:


I mean, come ON.

It’s been a long time since I’ve written songs or even thought of myself as a musician. It feels too complex to get into now (I explained some here). But I’ve felt the struggle come up between work and creativity again. How I spent the past 5 weeks dumping my creative and physical energy into my job, without leaving any time or space for my own creative work. And while I need to do my job to the best of my abilities, going above and beyond seems to be an excuse to ignore deeper creative work.

And that’s what I think I’m being hit over the head with by the Universe.

So I took that photo above with the “I am a songwriter” speech bubble on purpose. Y’know, the whole fake-it-till-you-make-it thing. Guess we’ll see where this goes.

Time For Some Deeper Work

This week was a quiet week. It was a go to trivia and happy hour week. It was do a lot of cleaning and laundry week. Mostly, it was a good to be back home week.

I’ve rested, wasted time and not done work when I should. And then I did a ton of work in a burst. So much of my own energy is sifting through my body, my days. Like I can’t hold it in my hands. There is drama, red-tape, roundabout conversations that lead to no action items or conclusions.

After one such round of emails today, I thought, I can’t keep doing this. I need something more.

More creative. More in-depth. More challenging.

And not to actually leave my job or anything outrageous, but to shift my energy. I am becoming too complacent. Work is easy and the hours roll by. I’ve been living the good life for the better part of 3 years now. Doing what I want. Struggling with my own issues, yes, but really learning to manage myself and enjoy my life.

I think I’m done taking in. This is not to say I won’t need rest periods or inspiration. Everything has a season. But instead, I’m feeling that it’s time for some deeper work, to put some things out into the world.

If I only knew what those things were.


Met a friend for coffee today and we hung out a bit, chatting about work and then deeper stuff. I shared with her some of my hesitations / hang-ups around music. I respect her as a musician and I really like the songs she writes, even though pop music isn’t my go-to choice.

She encourages me (and I quote) to write an EP, record it and then do a two week tour with her this summer, which seems so ludicrous that I’m actually toying with the idea. Here is someone I like, who I believe has talent, and is interested in me finding music again.

When I really think about it, I miss it. And anything related to it feels scary as hell. But I also feel like I have a few songs left in me.

It’s been so long since I’ve written anything… like 8 years.

But last night we were at dinner with a bunch of people who live in our neighborhood, organized by a musician and a comedian, and I chatted with a choreographer, and dammit – if I don’t miss the creative spirit. If I don’t want to have something to contribute.

I don’t know. Just using this space to throw a marker down, as I sit in my bed with the Bon Iver station on Pandora on a Friday night. So I can look back as say “What a crazy idea” or “This is where it all started”.

Asking For Help

Thursday I took the day off. It was bliss, as each day day off is. To lift the burden of work from my mind is really something. It’s not just the relief of not having to go to the office or check email or meet with people, it’s that my brain can relax, all thoughts (aka panic) about what needs to be done when can be placed in a different corner of my mind. I feel calm, yet giddy. And I feel loved.

I’m struggling again.

Thursday was pretty awesome. I wrote, jogged 2m alone, took myself out to a cafe to write / read / draw, went food shopping with my sister and relaxed. Crazy enough I found snowflake dishes for a steal at the thrift store AND even won a Polaroid camera from Impossible Project! An awesome day, for sure.

But the demons, or whatever you want to call them, are there, lurking. I feel this fight between my righteous Type-A self and my loving soul – one wants perfection, routine and Success, the other wants to be alone on a beach or indulge in a creative project. I certainly don’t have the energy for the first. Everything feels like an energy-suck right now. And I keep ignoring the latter in order to placate the former. (Note: this is not smart)

It all piled up into painful words and tears Saturday morning. Another Saturday with work, more of my time sucked away from me. I picked a fight with H, as I always do in these moments, believing somehow that if he could just help more, love me more, listen more, I wouldn’t feel so terrible. And while I would love more of all of that from him (what girl wouldn’t?) it’s not his fault I feel this way.

It’s my fault. Or at least, it’s my responsibility. I’m the only one who can make me happy.

Getting my words out into the open with H relieved some pressure, as did a small text convo with my sister about feeling so blah. I don’t feel entirely healed, I know this is just something that comes and goes. My friend said, for her, it’s 3 months on, 3 months off. For me it seems 2 months on, 1 month off, but maybe there’s a larger cycle there I’ve not pin-pointed yet.

Writing this is asking for help. Talking to H and my sister is asking for help. Taking a day off is helpful. But I know I’m struggling with something. I know intuitively I have the answers, but my brain wants to rule the argument, pick things apart (me) until it comes to some logical conclusion…but there probably isn’t one. I have good weeks and bad weeks, we all do.

To quiet my logical mind, I need a brain-dump of To Dos and projects. Then, if I have the energy, I can break those items down into one thing per day. But mostly I need to give up the ghost, trust things are going just the way they should, and focus on creating, even if it’s at a very small level.

What do you do when you’re feeling down? How can you tell the difference between the blues and something more? xo


Intuition Ignition

I spent a good part of my 5m run with a friend picking her brain about visions, goals and aiming for what you want. 90-day plans. Being direct and clear with dates and measurements. How does she know? What do I do next if there’s silence in my head when I ask? What kind of warning shots (as she calls them) can I send out? What am I looking for?

On Monday I had coffee with another awesome friend; I found myself talking about the same ideas. He posed the whole “if you could do anything you wanted, what would you do?” question. My answer comes back “I would do this“. Sit and have good conversations with someone I really like. Just show up and listen to people. Help them. Create art…

…but that seems soooooooooo indulgent, I said.

As we talked, I realized that I’d been skirting something in these conversations. Essentially, I was complaining about not receiving any intuitive hits, about the silence on the radio dial. Instead, it seems, I’ve been ignoring my intuition, because the request just seems ridiculous.

And here it is: I just want to sit and create all day. Create what? I have no clue, but I can tell you at the basic level it feels like – doodle in journal, glue things to paper, sketch out a poem or two. Nothing drastic, probably nothing worth keeping, but the action, the sweet feeling of cutting paper and holding a pen and putting something down, is what my soul seems to be craving.

And then all hell broke loose at work for a day. I felt manic; talking to people, dealing with drama. I am proud of myself for handling it with an even attitude, but by the evening I was spent. A glass of wine, a bathtub and bed were my answers.

Today I woke up with that old feeling of panic – the thought of answering emails and going to a coffee meeting made me want to cry. I felt exposed, too sensitive, and really wanting to go hide out alone.

And then I left my keys in the unlocked car, IN THE IGNITION.

So I called out of work tomorrow. I’m taking the day to recharge and indulge myself a little. So much of my horoscope encourages introspection and envisioning the future. So much of it asks me to focus on myself and rest.

The ache to take a trip alone is back. To get away, to be in silence, to walk streets I don’t know and sip coffee in new places. It may just be what I gift myself for my birthday.