Interview with Michele Rae of The Center Within

Today I have the pleasure of speaking with Michele Rae, of the Center Within and author of Living From the Center Within: Co-Creating Who You Are Becoming. Michele is a participant in Brush and Pen: Festival for Artists and Authors,

Welcome, Michele! It’s an honor to spend time with you today!

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Katelyn- Let’s start off with you telling us a bit about yourself that isn’t writing related.

Michele-I have a passion for supporting humanity as we choose timelines that have the most positive outcomes for the greater good during this time of tremendous transformation. It has been my heartsong for many years now. I founded The Center Within, LLC in 2001 and provide intuitive holistic life coaching designed to accelerate and support personal, professional and organizational transformation. While working with me, clients tell me they become more confident and engaged as they enhance their gifts, talents, wisdom, and passions. Part of this process of transformation also requires we all gain clarity and power as we expose and unblock limiting beliefs, stuck patterns, and fears. As an empath, my abilities in deep listening, intuition, appreciative inquiry, spiritual practices, mindfulness, presence and emotional intelligence are supportive as clients create self-directed strategies to implement the changes they desire to create a life they love.

I also offer classes and retreats through the Center Within. In addition, I am a graduate faculty at the University of Minnesota in the Center for Spirituality & Healing, The Humphrey Institute and the College of Pharmacy. I teach about mindfulness leadership, Mind-Body Science, spirituality and human development. I will talk and teach about these topics wherever I get invited! Supporting people on their journey to wholeness and full discovery of their holiness is a true delight!

Katelyn- You are teaching powerful information which is so needed right now. People need to learn to be self-empowered to be able to navigate the waters of change we are in right now.

I am always curious to learn what inspires an author to write. Can you tell our readers what inspired you to start writing?

Michele- I had clients, students, friends and family ask if I had the information we talked about in one place so they could read more and share it within their circles. This prompted me to write blogs and articles that eventually made their way into this book.

Katelyn- I think a lot of authors start by writing a blog.  I know I did and it helped me to get more clarity on my thoughts before jumping into a book. I imagine your clients and students are grateful that you put your wisdom into Living From the Center Within!

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Do you have a genre that you prefer to write in and to read?

Michele-Spirituality, human development, self-care, transformation, the evolution of consciousness, mindfulness

Katelyn- Those are some of my favorites too. I have found that authors have all kinds of reasons for choosing to write.  I am interested in why you write.

Michele-I write because we are living amidst a huge shift and in a transformative period which is creating lots of confusion, uncertainty, and change. This book is a roadmap for us to utilize as we move towards a new way of being human. Cultivating higher consciousness in myself and others brings me joy. This book invites the readers to join more deeply into this conversation so that together we may build our capacity to live at higher levels of consciousness. I encourage all who read it to connect and build the community of people living with intention and expanding our awareness. I invite each of us to support one another as we co-create who we are each becoming with love and compassion.

Katelyn- I think it is so important for those of us who have been on the path for a long time to pass our wisdom along to others, which is what you are doing. Those who are newer on the path, as you say, are faced with confusion and uncertainty and books like yours will give them more of a sense of peace as they move through the change.

As an author and creative, I am sure you get creative blocks at times.  What do you do when you get a creative block?

Michele- In the book I have a chapter dedicated to transforming practices and have utilized all of them at different times when I have a creative block. In the book, I define transforming practices as activities designed to center, quiet, and open the mind-body-heart. They help us focus attention and awareness in the present moment. These mindfulness practices encourage open receptivity, accepting and observing without evaluation or judgment. Here are a few from the list:

  • Breathwork: patterns of breathing
  • Meditation: mindfulness, concentrative, moving, open
  • Music: listening to chant, singing, toning
  • Silence: binge in quiet
  • Smell: aromatherapy
  • Mindful eating: intentionally prepare and eat a meal
  • Body Movement: exercise, yoga, qi gong, tai chi, stretch, walk a labyrinth, dance
  • Guided Imagery: autogenics, visualizations
  • Journal: writing and reflecting, creating a gratitude journal
  • Art: writing, drawing, sculpting, creating mandalas, making collages
  • Biofeedback: using instruments that provide feedback on physiological changes  
  • Being in nature: walking, sitting, observing
  • Contemplation and study: sacred text, poetry, koans, myths, symbols, metaphor, archetypes
  • Ritual: a sequence of activities involving gestures, words, and objects that support an intention
  • Dreams: recording, contemplating, exploring meaning and insights in dreams

Katelyn- That is a fabulous list of ways to move through any kind of block.  Many of them I have used myself and know that they work.  It looks like there is a lot of valuable information in Living from the Center Within.

I am sure you have read a lot of books over the years. Do you have writers who inspire you and can you tell us why?

Michele- I am inspired by other’s who are visible in leading conversations and building community during this time of transformation. They are envisioning a new world and providing tools and insights for us all.  A few include:

Deepak Chopra, A.H. Almaas, Wayne Dyer, David Hawkins, Ken Wilbur, Barbara Marx

Hubbard, Gregg Braden, Bruce Lipton, Jon Kabat-Zinn

I also find great wisdom in the sacred teachings and poetry

Katelyn- A great list of leaders in the new world movement. Anyone of them would be a great place to start if someone is interested in exploring this field in more depth.

I imagine there are people reading this blog who might want to write a book themselves someday. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Michele-

Let your writing be a dance. Let it move you, show you new ways to know yourself and the material that is presenting. Let it transform you. Write from the heart, let the head, details and how unfold like magic to support your art expressing into the world. Create routine time and space in your life for your writing, just like setting aside time for spiritual practice.

Katelyn- That’s a beautiful way to look at. I love the metaphors you use. You are speaking my language!

As we end this conversation I would like the readers to know how they can support you in your work?

Michele- People can buy my book, write a review, share my book with other likeminded lightworkers, way showers and those interested in living a life they love. You can also support my writing by sending me feedback on the book, participating in one or many of the many classes I offer or come in for a coaching session.

Katelyn-What is your web address or where can people find your book and connect with you are coaching or speaking?

http://www.CenterWithin.com or contact her at Michele@CenterWithin.com or 612-465-9775

Direct links to more about my book:

http://centerwithin.com/book/

https://www.amazon.com/Living-Center-Within-Co-Creating-Becoming/dp/1557789290

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Interview with Local Artist, Jennifer Maroney

Katelyn-Today I am spending time talking with Jennifer Maroney about her art. Jennifer is another participant in Brush and Pen: Festival for Artists and Authors,  Good Morning Jennifer! Can you tell our readers a bit about yourself that isn’t art related?

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Jennifer- That is a hard question because my entire life is art-related. *wink *wink. I have a very spoiled 8-year-old Chihuahua named Sid. He is 6.5 lbs of pure love. He is my constant companion as I work from home as a graphic designer. I also collect tiny erasers shaped like food. My favorite is a tiny ramen bowl with ramen noodles inside. I am an avid reader and usually have about 3 books I am reading at all times.
Katelyn- It is so fun to have our pets around while we work to add moral support! I love your collection, I can see it as you describe it to me. Can you tell our readers what inspired you to start making art?
Jennifer- I have doodling and drawing since I could hold a crayon and drew on the walls at our home – yes I did that! Everything inspires me – early on it was my love of horses and animals and then it turned into everything around me, nature, dreams, things I’ve read or conversations that I hear or have had.  All of those things can inspire a drawing or painting. I am constantly doodling and keep numerous journals to hold all of my ideas.
Katelyn- I love how your love of art started early and didn’t stop!  It is so true that we can find inspiration everywhere.  Do you have a favorite medium and why do you like it?
Jennifer- Black ink. All of my drawings and paintings start with a sketch in ink, where that is a Sharpie marker or regular in pen.  After that, any medium with color, such as acrylic paint, watercolor, oil pastels and markers.
Katelyn- That’s interesting, I start with black ink too.  I have never even thought about it as my favorite medium but you are right. I see that you are a book illustrator too.  I love your work. I am always curious to know why a person chooses to do art. Why do you create art?
Jennifer- It makes me feel good and I can’t help it, I must create! Making art is my happy place.  It is meditative and the one thing I can do where I lose track of time and everything around me.
 
Katelyn- I went looking for a piece of art that I could add to this blog and found this one that demonstrates exactly what you are talking about to me. Your happy place!
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Katelyn- With all of that creativity flowing you still must get creative blocks at times. What do you do when you get a creative block?
Jennifer- I doodle abstract shapes, practice lettering, look up inspiring quotes, read, look through my photos and look at images of old toys and vintage advertising, that always sparks something.  Pinterest is a fantastic way to unblock. It is window shopping for creativity.
Katelyn- I love that idea of window shopping for creativity, and Pinterest is a good place to shop! I am curious about what artist/artists inspire you and why?
Jennifer- There are so many! When I went to college for Art, I LOVED my Art History Classes.  Wassily Kandinsky, Marc Chagall, Joan Miro’ Frida Kahlo, Monet, Picasso, Van Gogh, Matisse- all so inspiring!  I also love William Morris’ pattern designs and the Art Nouveau Movement.  All of these artists inspire me with their color and vibrancy as well as their individual narratives. Frida’s self-portraits, Chagall’s images from his childhood, to Matisse’s ever-evolving style and medium choices. They LIVED their art.
Katelyn- Those are some of my favorites too.  I especially see Kandinsky, Chagall and Miro’s influence on your work. I love all of the colors you use.  I know there are some aspiring artists that are reading this blog. What advice would you give them?
Jennifer- Just be yourself. Paint, draw, doodle, sculpt.  Whatever your passion is, do it and do it with our authentic self 100%. No one else can do what you do or create what you create. Not that long ago, I had put all of my art supplies away, convinced I couldn’t ” make it” as an artist, so what was the point.  A friend of mine encouraged me to just do a little art every day, just for myself, even if it was only 10 minutes.  That got me out of my rut, and help me see how much I missed creating. No matter where it takes me or if no one ever sees something I create, I create primarily for myself now and if someone else enjoys it is a happy bonus.
Katelyn- I so resonate with this advice!  I have done the same thing.  Put my art to the side and gave up because I thought what is the purpose if I was the only one seeing it.  We artist have to get to a healthy space where we create because we have to and not make it about “Making it”.  It sounds like you got there!
One of the reasons I created Brush and Pen: A Festival for Artists and Writers is to give local people who are talented a place to be seen. Where we can connect with other creative people and the community and make connections. I am so glad you are a part of the event.
How can people support you in your art career?
Jennifer- People can support me by liking my art that I post on Instagram or Facebook and telling me that it makes them happy! That is always the best! Also, buying my work is a blessing- to know that something I have created has touched someone so much that they want to have it in their home.  I also love to collaborate.
Katelyn- Thank you for spending time with me, Jennifer.  It was a pleasure to get to know more about you.  Where can people see your art?

 

 

My website and Etsy shop is at http://www.jennymaroney.com and I am on Instagram as Jennymaroney.

Interview with Local Author, Dawn Morningstar

Katelyn: Today I am interviewing another participant in Brush and Pen: Festival for Artists and Authors, Dawn Morningstar. Dawn and I have known each other for years.  We first met when I had my group, Magnetic Business Women Networking, and there was an instant connection.

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Katelyn:  Good Morning Dawn! Can you tell our readers a bit about yourself that isn’t writing related?

Dawn: I grew up on the East Coast and moved to Minnesota in 1990. My first winter here was unlike anything I’d ever experienced! Yet because of the enlightened people and quality of life, here I am 28 years later, loving being a Minnesotan!

I love connecting with people in authentic conversation, not surface stuff! This is a time when rich connection is essential–and hanging out with my tribe really feeds me.

Another thing I love to do is cook–and now that I’m vegan, it’s exciting to learn new recipes and plant-based alternatives to classic recipes. Eating this way I feel like I am doing what I can to minimize my footprint, support a healthy ecology, and be compassionate to animals. That being said, I carry no judgment about how anyone else eats!

Katelyn: I am glad you ended up staying in Minnesota despite the winters! I am always curious about what inspires authors to start writing. What inspired you to start writing?

Dawn: I’ve been writing and loving it since I was a little girl. In 8th grade, I won a bronze medal in a state-wide writing competition sponsored by the American Legion. I consider this medal to be very dear to me–and keep it on my writing desk!

Writing taps into a deep part within me and what I write feels sacred.

I wrote the book, “Venerable Women: Transform Ourselves, Transform the World” because I developed a rich and meaningful philosophy about women’s worth over many years and wanted to share that message with those seeking it.
Katelyn: What a great motivator to have the bronze medal to remind you of your writing abilities. I love your book, Venerable Women, which isn’t just a book but a movement as far as I am concerned!  Can you tell us about Venerable Women?

Dawn- Venerable Women is an organization, a philosophy, and a movement that connects and inspires those who choose to manifest a kind and loving world starting within themselves. Venerable means worthy of honor, love, and respect by virtue of wisdom and experience; profoundly honorable.

The heart of the Venerable Women philosophy is the 12 Venerable Attitudes (V-Attitudes).

The Venerable Women philosophy affirms that all people are venerable. Our mission is to elevate the spiritual, social, and economic well-being of humanity through the empowerment of women and girls. We do this best by transforming ourselves in order to transform the world beyond us.

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Katelyn: What is your genre to write in and to read?

Dawn: I tend to write in the areas of spirituality and self-help–and tend to read the same!

Katelyn: It seems strange to say with all the books out there on spirituality but the world needs more books like yours that provoke us to look within and find our true nature. Why do you write?

Dawn: I write to become more clear in my thinking and to offer provocation for others’ evolution.
Katelyn: That resonates with me because I use writing to get clarity too. I know at some point we all get creative blocks. What do you do to move past it when you get a creative block?

Dawn: When I hit a creative block, I meditate. If that doesn’t work, I take a walk, call a good friend, or watch something silly on Netflix!
Katelyn: Those are all great ways to shift and get out of your head, especially the silly Netflix one.  Do you have specific writers that inspire you and why?

Dawn: Elizabeth Gilbert inspires me, as does Sue Monk Kidd. Both use rich storytelling to inspire profound observations and lessons on life.

Katelyn: I love both of them too.  They are great storytellers for our turbulent times because the write from a deep, personal prospective.  I am sure there are aspiring writers reading this post. What advice would you give them?

Dawn: Don’t ever think for one moment that what you have to say is unimportant or already been said. No one will have the perspective you do and your voice is needed.

Katelyn: Dawn, how can people support you in your writing career?

Dawn: People can support me by letting me know what I’ve written that resonated with them, and what felt missing. They can also buy my books and tell others about my work.

Katelyn: I often think people don’t realize the importance of letting authors know they were touched by their work.  Where can people learn more about Venerable Women and find your book?

www.VenerableWomen.com

Local Artist Interview With Emily Engelhard

Katelyn: Today I am interviewing another participant in Brush and Pen: Festival for Artists and Authors, Emily Engelhard.  Emily and I met at a local art crawl and immediately connected. I learned a lot more about why the instant connection when we did our interview.
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Hi Emily, thanks for taking the time to share a bit about yourself with our readers.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself that isn’t writing related?

Emily: During a recent conversation with a painter friend, we both decided we were artists because “creating art feels like the most worthwhile thing to do.” But, four years ago, inspired by my friend Suzanne (who taught me to do something about it rather than just whine about it), I discovered something that feels even more worthwhile than creating art: taking care of wild birds. From mid-spring to late summer, I volunteer for The Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota in Roseville (wrcmn.org). You’ll find me in the crowded songbird nurseries, smeared with bird poop and loose feathers, dropping mealworms and crickets into noisy gaping beaks, and gently cupping tiny feathered (sometimes completely bald pink) bodies in my hands to check for dehydration and warmth. Nothing, I tell you, nothing feels more holy than healed wild wings flapping against your hands.

Katelyn: That’s wonderful that you are helping the songbirds! I know exactly what you mean by having wings flapping against your hand being a holy experience.  I volunteered at the Twin Cities Raptor Center for 7 years and I felt blessed whenever I was able to hold a bird.

Can you tell us what inspired you to start making art?

Emily: From the time I was a baby until about, say, (yes, I’m actually admitting this), high school, I wasn’t fully human. Although the duration of time shortened as I grew older, I spent most of my waking and dreaming hours as another creature living on another world. Nope—save for Halloween, I didn’t dress like an animal, especially once I hit middle school. My imagination was just that powerful. A week could go by, for example, and my Dad would don the same set of eleven-point antlers, my mom the same muddy brown and black wings, my sisters the same pointy ears that twitched toward sounds and drooped when they got into trouble. Since the time I stuck a straw in my diaper for a mouse tail, worlds other than this one were more appealing, richer with adventure, deeply saturated with kindness and magic. Those were the worlds I believed in, the worlds I trusted. When you have faith in something, and when you want the ones you love to believe in and be a part of it too, you write it down. And so, I picked up a crayon and began to draw.

Katelyn: You were so lucky to have parents who let you play in your imagination.  Imagination is was of our greatest senses as far as I am concerned.  It is more important than intelligence for a lot of reasons.

I am always curious about what an artist’s favorite medium and why?

Emily; Ballpoint pen. I love this medium because when I make a mistake, I can’t erase. Instead, I must choose between one of two options, both of which are challenges for me: just let it go and start again, or find a way to transform the mistake into something meaningful, maybe even beautiful, within the big picture.

Katelyn: I was really impressed with your ballpoint pen work.  Here is an example for our readers:

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Katelyn: Why do you create art?

Emily: Mostly, I create because it calms and centers me and makes me a more tolerable human. But on a deeper level, I create because I feel it’s what I’ve been called to do. The creatures I draw want to be born into this world to serve some purpose—whether to be a gift, to awaken something within the viewer, or to be sold to raise money for a cause—and they’ve chosen my hands as their portal into this world. When I deny my creatures this life, I deny myself, and I suffer. When I grant them life, I’m given a taste of the realm from which they came, and I’m filled with a bliss and understanding so divinely beautiful it’s beyond describing.

Katelyn: I imagine your creatures are very happy to come out of your pen onto paper! I can relate to it being a calling and almost having no choice but to listen and create.  Like most artist I also imagine you get creative blocks at times too. What do you do when you get a creative block?

Emily: Typically, I have a temper tantrum and avoid my studio for a month. But the world cleverly gifts something sweet when you grow bitter. Last year, I discovered Inktober, an international drawing event started by illustrator Jake Parker. During Inktober, which occurs every October, ink artists respond to a different one-word prompt each day. For example, my two favorite prompts last year were “screech” (to which I drew an owl) and “rage” (which came out as a wolf). I’d never before done prompt-inspired drawings, and I loved it! The pacing granted me permission to play, to let go of the desire for perfection in everything I drew. Now, when I’m derailed, I mindfully seek out some sort of prompt—I play my way back into the groove.

Katelyn: I would bet most artists have had a tantrum or two in their career!  Thanks for sharing about Inktober.  That sounds like a great resource for artists and even writers to use.

So what artist/artists inspire you and why?

Emily: First and foremost, my Mom (a painter and sewer) and Dad (a musician and carpenter/woodworker) because they have nurtured and encouraged me since day one. Also, my younger sister, Julia, the one who inspired me to dabble in ballpoint pen and to explore the stranger corners of my imagination. We are family and are made of one another, and so I find their work, above all others’, the most beautiful and inspiring. But I also, of course, love the work of artists whose skill astounds me and whose creatures, I imagine, might befriend my own. A few of these artists are Caitlin Hackett, Sarah Leea Petkus, Tai Taeoalii, Susan Seddon Boulet, and (a few locals) Paula Barkmeier, Annie Hejny, Lindsey Kahn, and DC Ice.

Katelyn:  You have some of my favorites on your list like Susan Seddon Boulet and I love DC Ice!  What a blessing to come from a creative family who understood the creative process and how to foster it! A lot of artists don’t have that kind of support growing up so what advice would you give to aspiring artists?

Emily: Do all that you do—including all things art—in the spirit of love. If monetary success is your only or primary goal, your art and all other personal endeavors will not be genuine, will not come easily, and will ultimately abandon you. Remember that love for your talents, your self, and others is the truest wave to ride. But if you get knocked in the wrong direction for a time, forgive yourself. In the end, what matters most is that you keep turning back in the direction of love.

Katelyn:  That is so beautiful!  It is so easy to get caught up in the making money part, I know I do at times, and forget that when it comes down to it we do create because we love to.

One last question before we go because one of my reasons for creating the festival is to help support other artists and writers so how can people support you in your art career?

Emily: Talk to me, collaborate with me, share with me opportunities that will allow me to more fully engage with and support communities through the avenue of art. Art is the way I feel most comfortable and empowered to do some good in the world—help me learn where and how I can do that good. And, of course, buy some of my art and help my creatures find their homes.

Katelyn: Thank you so much, Emily, for taking the time to share with the readers a bit about your creative process and thoughts.

What is your web address or where can people see your art.

emilyengelhardart.com

Local Artist Interview with Marilyn Indahl

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Katelyn: Today I am interviewing another participant in Brush and Pen: Festival for Artists and Authors, Marilyn Indahl.
Hi Marilyn, thanks for taking the time to share a bit about yourself with our readers.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself that isn’t writing related?

Marilyn: I’m a sports photographer.  Although art influences my photographs, I see sports photography more about skill and anticipation. One needs to know the sport well enough to anticipate how the play will proceed and capture action at its peak moment.  I began photographing sports because I found it challenging to capture a fast-moving subject.  Later on, I discovered I enjoy the intensity and emotion that most athletes experience.  Hopefully, I capture that in my photographs as well.
Katelyn: I looked at your photography and there are some amazing shots.  You captured the moment perfectly!  Can you tell us what inspired you to start creating art?  I encourage people look at Marilyn’s website.
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Marilyn: Since I was very young, I needed to make things, so I don’t really remember a  beginning.  I always loved art class in school and tried many media including acrylic painting, clay pottery,(not ceramics), photography and finally glass, fused glass, stained leaded glass and blown glass.
Katelyn: I think its true of many artists that it was something we started when we were kids and just kept doing it. Do you have a favorite medium?
Marilyn:  Glass is my favorite!  When I can’t blow glass any longer I’ll return to fusing and stained, leaded glass. My interest in glass began as a fascination with me since I was a child.  How something that captures and transforms light into a mixture of dazzling colors and nondescript shapes could start as a lava hot liquid was truly a miracle to my young mind.  Once the item cools, it is solid enough to hold.  Completely smooth, pleasant to touch and even more incredible to look through.
Katelyn: I find glass fascinating too.  I watched someone blow a piece one time and it was amazing.  Can you tell us why you make art?
Marilyn: I need to…  I can’t really explain why, but there is a strong yearning to create something I consider beautiful.  And it is extra special when others like what I create.  It is actually an honor when someone wants to purchase something I’ve made.  To know that my creations bring joy to others is a rewarding feeling of satisfaction.
Katelyn: I totally get the creative pull! You just have to follow it, don’t you?  Most of us get creative blocks at times. What do you do when you get a creative block?
Marilyn:  Good question…  I consider new colors and ways to apply them to my glass.  I also look through pictures of other glass artists.  Then I go back to making what I know and see what evolves from there.
Katelyn:  That’s a great way to move past it! Speaking of the work of other artists, do you have someone who inspires you and can you tell us why?
Marilyn: Lino Tagliapietra is whom I admire most.  He is from Murano, the small island in Italy where glass blowing has been done for centuries.  He can create the most delicate vessels and also create beautiful works on a very large scale.  Many of his pieces depict fluidity, almost suggesting motion.  And at the end of the day, he goes home and helps cook dinner!
Katelyn: Oh my gosh, I had to go and look up Lino Tagliapietra, his work is gorgeous.  What advice would you give an aspiring artist?
Marilyn: Find what you enjoy and work at it.  Work hard at your craft, skills come with practice and experience.
Katelyn: How can people support your work?
Marilyn:  I’ve never thought of that…  If people like what they see, I can only ask they share it with others.
Thank you, that was fun.  You had me thinking about things I hadn’t considered before.

Interview with Heidi Barr

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I am excited to introduce you to Heidi Barr, a local author in the Twin Cities who is participating in Brush & Pen: Festival for Artists and Authors. She is the author of two books, Woodland Manitou and Prairie Grown

Katelyn: Heidi can you tell our readers a bit about yourself that isn’t writing related.

Heidi: I grew up in eastern South Dakota, on the prairie and presently my family and I (myself, my spouse, and our six year old) make our home in the St. Croix River Valley, just to the west of the border between Minnesota and Wisconsin.   It’s a landscape full of lakes, rivers, bluffs, ancient glacial potholes, small towns, organic farms, and plenty of winding trails to explore all of it. We live in a little red house perched on the edge of a ravine on the shores of a tiny lake, with a large field just up the hill from the house that provides space for a large vegetable garden, several types of berry bushes, and an apple tree.  It’s all imperfect and takes a lot of work to maintain, but I love it here.

I’d love to say my lifestyle is all yoga, meditation, foraging for wild edibles, reading/writing, and raising my child, but there’s plenty more that goes on around here: I maintain a full-time wellness coaching job with a tech start-up, and we spend a lot of time gardening, hauling wood, doing laundry, preserving food, paying bills and maintaining/fixing the house.  We keep one television in the basement, though I haven’t turned it on more than a handful of times in the last several years. My spouse and I both rely on the internet and computer technology for our day jobs, but we do our best to not let devices take up too much space in life. (This is, of course, easier said than done.) As with all humans, my life is one of constant evolution, trial and error, beauty, destruction, and breathing into the spaces that exist in between where I am and where I want to be.

Katelyn: It sounds like you are super busy! It would be great if we could just do yoga, meditate, go for walks in the woods and do what we love! I am glad you find time for writing.  Can you tell us what inspired you to start writing?

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Heidi: I’ve always enjoyed writing – I wrote my first “book” as a small child and have been writing down stories and thoughts ever since.  When blogging became a thing, I jumped on it, and I’ve been maintaining several blogs and guest writing for others ever since. I think what inspires me is having a medium with which to express myself that doesn’t require immediacy – I have always been a soft-spoken and quiet individual who likes to think things through before offering an opinion, so being able to contribute my voice to the conversation of the world via the written word has been important.  I love the art that arises from of a well-placed word and the beauty of a poetic paragraph – the way that words can open up worlds has always intrigued me.

Katelyn: It sounds like you were a born writer. Do you have a genre you prefer to write in and to read?

Heidi: I like reading all sorts of things, and I read all the time…but my favorite genre to read and write are the memoir and nature-based nonfiction.  I also enjoy a good fiction book now and then, and I’ve recently started dabbling in writing poetry. Some of my favorite authors are Barbara Kingsolver, Mary Oliver, Michael Pollan, Katherine Center, Cheryl Strayed, Kent Nerburn, Alice Walker, and Elizabeth Gilbert…..among others.  This list could get pretty long, so I’ll leave it at that for now.

Katelyn:  I see some of my favorites on your list. I always like to ask authors why they write because everyone has their own reason.

Heidi: I write because it’s often the best way to figure out what I think about something.  Life is full of questions and contradictions, and mulling over what’s going on and putting pen to paper is an illuminating activity in many ways.  Sometimes I don’t really know what I think about something until I write about it. And as so many writers say, “I write because I can’t not write.” It’s just part of who I am.

Katelyn: as creative people, we all find ourselves with creative blocks at times. What do you do when you get a creative block?

Heidi: Go outside.  As a primarily nonfiction writer, there is new material happening all around me all the time.  I just have to be present to it and sometimes let it be for awhile. Even if it feels like I’ll never have another idea or sentence again, I always do.  Life has a way of continually providing the raw materials we need to be creative.

Katelyn: We kind of covered this in an earlier question but could you say more about what Writers inspire you and why?

Heidi: Well, all of the writers that I mentioned earlier are inspiring! Anyone who can take their experience, the truth as they know it, and write it down in a way that others can understand is inspiring.  Writers who don’t shy away from challenging subjects and take risks. Writers who keep an open mind and can see through the lens of the other (whoever the other might be)

Katelyn: I know there will be someone reading this who wants to write a book. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Heidi: What worked for me was starting a blog and publishing posts regularly.  Often times you hear the advice of “write every day, no matter what” and maybe that works for many folks, but it’s not been true for me.  I write when I have something to say (and granted, sometimes I have to dig for that something….) Aside from the logistics and how and when to write…..Tell your truth and don’t diminish someone else’s.  Keep a journal. Let other people read your work and read the work of others. Read a lot of books and essays and poetry. Write bad first drafts and learn to edit yourself. Practice letting go and allowing things to evolve, even if they aren’t following the path you think they should.  Don’t let rejection stop you from sharing your story – and write to write, don’t write to publish – writing to write is the only reason I continue – the publishing is a bonus.

Katelyn:  I started with a blog too.  I feel it is the easiest way to get started and often what you post can turn into parts of your book.

How can people support you in your writing career?

Heidi: 

Write reviews!  Buy books! Come to author events!  Some of the best things you can do for authors, in addition to supporting us directly with a book purchase is to share information about our work and books via social media or with folks you think might enjoy it/them. If you know folks in the media or in bookselling/promotion, make the introduction. For indie authors especially, purchasing directly from the author or via the publisher (rather than on Amazon) is always a good idea, as is asking your local library and bookshops to stock specific books. An old-fashioned “how’re things going with your books?” is always welcomed as well – it all makes a difference.


Katelyn: I love those ideas! Especially sharing on social media because recommendations are the more powerful way to promote someone.

Thank you so much Heidi, for sharing about yourself and your writing with our readers. Where can people find your books?

www.heidibarr.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HeidiBarrwriter/

Creating an Artists and Authors Festival

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I am heaven-bent on championing artists and writers by curating art-filled, fun events for artists and authors to show and sell their work and expand their reach in the community.  No more starving artists or authors!!!

We creatives have bought into the idea that because we have a gift of art or writing that we have to give it away.  It is easy for us to create so why should we ask a lot of money for what we create? Because we add value that no one else can add.  We have a unique way of seeing the world and expressing it through our craft that no one else can do.

Using the word “gift” to describe someone’s talent is part of the problem.  Yes, it is a gift that was given to us from our soul, God, Goddess, Spirit or the Universe or whatever you want to call it, but that does not mean we have to give it away.  If we underprice and undervalue our work we perpetuate the myth of the starving artist.

Have you ever been to an art show and someone next to use is selling their paintings for $20?  I have!  Not only are they devaluing themselves but they are creating an environment in the buyer that says art should be cheap.  If you think about it you know that a painting took more than say an hour, possibly 2 or 3 so, in essence, they are making between $5 and $15 an hour if you take off money for supplies.  So art is worth what you might pay for a Big Mac at McDonald’s and if it is any more than that it is priced too high?

That is the equivalent of selling your soul because you put your soul into what you paint.

Another thing I hear all of the time is “I have to mark it cheap so it sells because I have bills to pay.”  That statement comes from lack consciousness and a belief that if it isn’t cheap it won’t sell.   What if an art collector walked by, saw your $25, $75 or $100 painting and would have bought it if it was $1000 or more.  The same painting!  That actually happens!  Collectors like to show off what they buy and what fun is it to show off an amazing painting that you bought for $25.  $25 means it has little value.

So I am creating events where artists and authors are valued.  Where authors and artist support each other and the community takes notice.  For example, I will be interviewing each participant and posting the interviews in both of my blogs.  I will share on social media and ask each participant to share each blog on their social media.  Imagine the impact of 25 people sharing your interview on their social media pages.  That will touch a lot of people who the participant might never reach.  In order to build community before the event, I am having a gathering of all the vendors to get to know each other and brainstorm ways to improve attendance.

Brush & Pen is currently taking place at Blue Harbor Center for the Arts on Saint Paul’s West Side. The first event is August 18, 2018.  This is an intimate venue that will comfortably hold about 25 individual vendors.  Katelyn curates each show to make sure there is a diverse variety of artists and authors.  Individuals are invited to participate. There are no crafts in this show.

Imagine lots of people appreciating and buying art, strolling musicians, and lots of beauty.  Artists meeting authors and artists and authors meeting community! Followed by a meet the authors and artists networking event.

All the events are in the spirit of fun, creative expression, to showcase local artist and bringing the community together.

Is This Synchronicity?

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I love synchronicity. I even love the word. I am experiencing it more and more these days because of this place of non-resistance I am in.

My word for the year is joy, so every morning I pose the question in my journal about how to line up with joy today. So I did that and my higher wisdom said “keep doing what you are doing.”

so I have been playing with the word joy, and this phrase “I don’t know how ________”

Yesterday we got about 10 inches of snow and I had to move my car off the street before 8 AM this morning, because the city was going to plow our street. I really wasn’t looking forward to digging out so I said out loud. ”

***I don’t know how but it will be easy to move my car!” In my mind I could see my car moving easily down the street, through the snow.

I got bundled up warm, unlocked the door and walked out. There were my neighbors Roger and Mary removing all the snow from my car! I started the car to warm it up and Roger cleared the windows. He told me he would get it out of the snow bank and onto the road so it would be easier for me to drive. Instead he moved it out of the snowbank, down the street and parked it! At the same time another neighbor was shoveling my walk.

Synchronicity? Great intending? Who knows. All I know is it raised the joy vibration of my day 10 fold ❤️

All of this magic took place in 30 minutes!!!

Rewilding Yourself!

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What do you plan to do with your one Wild and precious life? Mary Oliver

Rewilding is not going backwards, to live in the woods – superficial stuff like that. It’s reconnecting to that wildness dormant inside you; the amazing, rich thing that’s there waiting to be engaged with.

What if you redesigned your life with your wild nature in mind? What would it look like? How would it be different? First we need to understand what is meant by “rewilding “.

Wildness’ is difficult to fully define, and so too ‘rewilding’ is not a fixed concept; more simply it could be an openness to truly being alive. It will look different to each individual. Some might be turned off by the word ‘wild’ because they think it means out of control and unruly but it is far from that.  The following quote is helpful in understanding it:

“To be fully human is to be wild. Wild is the strange pull and whispering wisdom. It’s the gentle nudge and the forceful ache. It is your truth, passed down from the ancients, and the very stream of life in your blood. Wild is the soul where passion and creativity reside, and the quickening of your heart. Wild is what is real, and wild is your home.”

― Victoria Erickson

I have always felt this powerful pull. We are connected to it when we are children and it is lost in the domestication process. Domestication is the opposite of wildness. We go to school and are taught rules for living in society. From there we go to work and learn how to live someone else’s dream for the sake of security.  We stop connecting with nature on a regular basis. We sit at computers, work alone, watch television, eat at certain times, learn how to fit in and be accepted.

That isn’t who we really are because through the process we forget who we are! We live in a world that is constantly pulling us away from our wild nature and out of sync with our true self.

Rewiling is a celebration of our true selves.

“For many people, a connection to nature is a good place to start remembering this sense of belonging. Nature also reminds us of how we need to both grow and be still. We need to move through all the rhythms of life – seeding, growing, harvesting, composting, resting – and not only strive to constantly produce. As we slow down, we become more present, and feel ourselves here, instead of struggling to get somewhere else.

“It becomes easier to remember who we are and what is important. Then we can make choices that are true to our essential nature, being ourselves, in tune with the world.” Jonathan Horowitz

Are you ready to start rewilding yourself?

More blogs to come…check the ReWilding Yourself tab on the list