Care For Your Creative: The Collection Launches and A Giveaway

I care for my creative by embroidering daily, just a little gets me there

How do you feed your creative spirit?

We all have different appetites; our creative selves hanker after different stimulation. It could be seasonal. In winter I crave quieter activity and savor the edge times. In summer, I make whatever I can out of doors in the boldest light I can find, colorful, noisy, and bright.

Since January, I have undertaken a small embroidery project as care for my creative spirit. I pick it up early when my meditation candle is lit and the sun is just beginning to rise. I learned about the #1stitchaday project on Instagram and it inspired me to do a little stitching every day. My friend Erica gifted me these denim pockets cut out of too-worn jeans last summer, and now they are the perfect size to stitch on. It is a judgement-free zone where I let myself play with color and texture, with new techniques and suggestions from the Universe. I just finished this pocket, perfect timing for this new month, which begins with a Full Moon and ends with a Blue Moon!

 

Probably my longest-time struggle in my inner life is to feel like I am enough.

Like Goldilocks testing beds, I have felt like I am either not enough for any given situation-not good enough, interesting enough, capable or pretty or skinny or talented or mature or gifted or you name it!  Or I have felt the reverse, too much–too crazy hair, too big lips, too loud, too messy, too many skills and not enough control or excellence, too much of everything not-good and thus, again, not worth the time. I suspect I am not alone in this. Hm?

When I picked up this denim pocket and considered what I would like to remind myself of daily, I pictured a teacup of enoughness from which I could drink every single day. Even though I would like to blame the world for telling me I am not enough, it is mine to re-calibrate, to appreciate, to tenderly love and care for myself. I aim to see myself as enough.

Thus, the Cup of Enoughness.


Next I will sew it on to an apron.

This is a big day, March 2. An important family birthday happens today.

And it is the launch of an anthology of stories that I want you to know about.

My International Women’s Writing Guild colleagues Anne Anthony and Cathleen O’Connor have published The Collection: Flash Fiction for Flash Memory. My story, Fresh Greens is included, along with a story by one of my Powder Keg Writing Workshop writers, Karlee Fain, along with images by Patricia Decker, another writer who is also a photographer and has several images that illustrate the stories.

This anthology is lovingly created. The book is a call to action to share these stories and images with those in your household or community who struggle with memory loss. These are stories you can gift to others and stories that you can read to those for whom the ability to read is now challenging. I have read the whole book this week and there are memorable stories of so many different styles, all very short, and very human.

March is Read Across America Month

and a great time to connect and read with some one you love. It’s more important than ever that we uplift each other and spend time together recapturing that magic that only wonderful stories and beautiful images can provide.

As we enter March, I hope you will Care For Your Creative in whatever ways suit you. But more than hope, I urge you to take action, because even a few minutes of your hands moving with something that brings you pleasure and fuels your inner fires will bring new joy and pave the way for more.

Tell me about your daily practice, what is working for you, what challenges you, what scares you about it, what you wish you could do, or about what is working for you and how your daily creative practice feeds you.

 

I look forward to sharing The Collection with you!

The Collection: Flash Fiction for Flash Memory with Suzi Banks Baum, a contributing author and photographer

Best,

S

 

 

 

 

 

 

PS  I have donated copies to the Great Barrington Public Libraries and I plan to donate to the Senior Center in town. Do you know of an elder who would love to be read to? Try The Collection!

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Showing 35 comments
  • Evelyn Asher

    My daily practice includes writing, doodling and meditation. This practice works best when my sleeping pattern is not broken, though when it is I write earlier in my bed rather than my living room sanctuary.
    What scares me about it is, as an introvert, I feel the foundation shifting, and finding my writing more bold with a heartfelt message rather than a stream of consciousness. I wish I could be brave enough to proceed with an ekphrastic art event with a local gallery that I have shared with one of the gallery artists.

    • Suzi

      Oh Evelyn, I send you all that you need to be as brave as you desire. Have you listened to Brene Brown’s conversation with Krista Tippett on On Being yet? The latest one is really rich, and they discuss bravery in a new way. I think you’d be inspired by it. I hear your tremors and I look forward to what they will reveal! xoS

  • Jan Phillips

    My daily practice begins with getting up one hour before i have to think about or do anything for anyone else. I bring a cup of coffee back to my bed, light my candle, and settle back in to do nothing but reflect on my dreams, open the door to the morning, and enjoy my steamy coffee. This takes about 20-30 minutes. Then I put my cup down, open my hands and announce to Mind-at-Large that I am now taking the call. I am officially in reception mode. For the next half hour I do nothing but receive—ideas come and go and I continue to focus on my breaths. It is perfectly calm. I seek nothing, desire nothing, for what is happening is all I ever want. Communion with my world. I experience this joy for about 30 more minutes. Towards the end, clarity arrives, thinking beyond duality occurs, ideas emerge about my next steps for the day. There is nothing that scares me. Nothing that challenges me. It feeds me completely every morning.

    We just started construction on a room addition next to my bedroom. Men now arrive at 7 am so there is music, drilling, hammering. I needed to be done with my practice before I heard them so i started setting my alarm for 6. Everything is the same, but i get into my office much earlier now. I’m actually loving it.

    • Suzi

      Earlier, eh? Even earlier than usual? Well, happy birthday dearest Jan. In Armenia, they speak of dear ones with an added “jan” or “djan.”
      I love thinking of you this way, Jan jan.
      Happy Birthday. I am putting your name in the basket!
      xoS

  • B. Lynn Goodwin

    Today, March 1, my daily writing practice involves writing for 10 minutes to a prompt and actually sending it somewhere. I keep a copy of everything and some pieces are still stirring in my mind.

    I’m reading every submission to Writer Advice’s Flash Memoir Contest and commenting. Sometimes I tap into my creative diplomacy, because everyone has great stories to tell.

    Then there’s the matter of marketing. It feeds my creativity because there is value in getting my stories into the world. Currently I’m trying to make the world aware that Never Too Late: From Wannabe to Wife at 62 is a unique story with a universal message.

    My eyes are independently creative. I thought this disappeared. Since it’s still here, I’m quitting while I’m ahead. Thanks for the opportunity to share.

    • Suzi

      Sure Lynn! I am so glad you stopped in here to comment! I am intrigued by you submitting work you generate from your daily practice. I will consider this. Much love to you! xoS

    • Suzi

      B. Lynn, I’d love to send you a bit of mail. Please email me your address or PM me on Facebook, okay? xoS

  • Barbara Aycock

    My daily practice begins with a reading and meditation. Until spring finally arrives in our beautiful mountains, I take advantage of every warmish morning to do this meditation on the front porch overlooking the farm. This centering opens me up the new day and a new beginning. and a way to work/play with my hands and heart.

    • Suzi

      Hello Sun in my Face, Barbara! I love picturing you in a blanket on the porch, having a conversation with morning. When do you start sewing?
      In your name goes in to the basket!
      xoS

  • Cindy Ricksgers

    I start my day with a short but pleasant yoga sequence, while the coffee brews. Then, over my first cup of coffee, I write “morning pages.” it’s an old habit that I practiced daily for many years, then let it go. I have reintroduced it into my life. If I were retired, a long walk would complete this morning ritual before shower, dress and go into the studio (Right now, it’s shower, dress and out the door for work). In the studio, my first actions are to gather the bits and scraps I’ve collected, and assemble a small collage. I think of these small, quick studies as gestural diary pieces. One every day, over the years I can see how my moods are reflected in the various pieces.

    • Suzi

      Oh yes, those gestures are so revealing! Thank you for commenting here Cindy. I am happy to hear about your practice.
      I think we are warmed by so little, it just takes a spark to generate so much warmth.
      In your name goes to the basket!
      xoS

    • Suzi

      Hi Cindy, If you’d like to get a bit of mail from me, please email me your address. You can use the contact form on this site. Much love! S

  • Marion Danforth

    My morning begins when I sink into my sanctuary, the sacred space in the corner when I can watch the season’s hold, and participate in their letting go. Today the fierce winds of change are evident in the dance of the cedars and spinning rhododenron leaves. I breathe slowly, deeply, – just for a few minutes – creating the emptiness from which I believe wisdom will emere. Then I drink in words – images, poems, chapters, messages (Today it is an encounter with suzi banks baum (my middle name is banks and i think of kinship. Admiring all you accomplish, your full participation in the creative processes I am touched that you too can fall into that “not enough” place). I draw from the living words an insight, a companion thought, a place of refuge, an encouraging push forward, an aha! And then weave into my own written reflections. Before I step into the day, I intentionally consider how to bless this day based on the abundance I am given.

    • Suzi

      Wow, Marion, what a beautiful practice. Is Banks your given name or your family name? I live down the street from a man whose last name is Banks. We both have family who originally came to the US to Virginia, pre-Revolutionary War. He claims we cannot possibly be connected, but I think otherwise. I am so very glad you commented and shared your practice of blessing each day. In your name goes to the basket! xoS

    • Suzi

      Hi Marion, I would love to send you a bit of mail. Please use the contact from on this site to send me your shipping address. Much love, S

  • Anne Hajduk

    I so so identify with what you wrote about feeling “not-enough.” I feel this often, especially exploring jobs at age 60 and feeling like whatever I say about myself, it isn’t “good enough”. I am happy to have learned of the Instagram hashtag, I have been doing an [almost] daily creative practice for a while, since doing the 100 Day Project, but I wanted to do something where I couldn’t complete a piece in one day. Now I am doing some hand-embroidery work and I look forward to stitching while watching guilty pleasure HGTV shows after my workday is over. (I am not a morning person!) When I miss a day, I feel bad.

    • Suzi

      Oh Anne, I agree, when I miss a day of hand work, I notice it. There is so much in this place of feeling like enough. I notice it daily and aim to lower my expectations. Jen Louden has this phrase “conditions of enoughness” for teachers, how you gauge what you absolutely would consider enough to have happen in a class. I apply this instigation to my day often. When I soften and let myself consider letting those conditions be less, rather than the ever-hounding MORE, I feel better.
      Thank you for commenting. In your name goes to the basket! xoS

    • Suzi

      Hi Anne! I would love to slip a bit of mail in to the post for you. If you use the contact form on this site to send me your address, I will get right on it. All my best, S

  • Margie Layfield

    Suzi, my writing practice is never set in stone. Once upon a time, I was organized and extremely stressed if I didn’t find time to complete my expectations for the day. A series of peronal events stopped me in my tracks. Loosing too many loved ones, all within a matter of just a few years, gave me a re-evaluation of what I had always thought was important. I needed this wake-up call. Life wasn’t about me and what I wanted. Sadly, I had been living in a world of expectations that no longer fit. The days of attempting perfection were over, the new beginning was to reach out and lift life from the drowning water. I finally stopped to smell those roses, hone in on what gifts I could give back to my surroundings. I relate with you and Anne about feeling, “not enough,” and that sense of weakness makes me realize it is time to draw into myself for a bit. Summer will have me back out in my organic garden, craving the arrival of the damel and dragon flies, bees, lizards and the lush new growth of things nurtured over time. And, daily I will practice my writing, always using Instagram as my medium. My favorite pasttime is in connecting with people, hearing about their adventures and vicariously journeying with them.

    • Suzi

      Margie, you are such an ardent adventurer. And so lovely that the damsel and dragon flies carry their stories to you and they away again. I love that. I so enjoy reading your thoughts on Instagram. I feel fortunate that we have connected. In your name goes to the basket. xoS

    • Suzi

      Hi Dearest Margie, Could you please PM me your shipping address on Insta? I want to mail you! xoS

  • Katherine LeDuc

    I am a crocheter. I use what time I can find (sometimes morning, sometimes late evenings) to work on my projects–yes I keep more than one going at a time. I have set myself a Lenten meditation which involves my making baby blankets for our crisis pregnancy center and with each blanket, I pray for the little one not yet born who will be wrapped in the blanket eventually. Each blanket is different and I often wonder what I will come up with to use the bits and pieces of yarn that remain when I am finished with this project.

    • Suzi

      Thank you for commenting Katherine! I am so very glad to learn about how you spend your hours, and the way you stitch with grace. Your name is fitting in to the basket now! With love, S

  • Sue Coleman

    My daily practice is grounded with a reading, and a time of stillness: time to sink into the silence and listen. Time to be filled with the gift of a new beginning; to rise and pour out a thimble, a cup, a drop of beauty and kindness back into the world. I reflect on gifts of friendship and set out to “sing up the earth” with paint, paper, clay and a smile.

    • Suzi

      Oh and Sue you do that with so much enthusiasm. I see you in the bowl of morning, held by that light. Here is lots of love to you! And in your name goes to the basket.
      xoS

  • Ann

    I love your video and Cup of Enough embroidery. It’s beautiful and inspiring!

    • Suzi

      You are a bit of an undercover wonder woman, here Ann Down Under. I am putting your name in the basket in thanks for your beautiful email and your presence here on this site. Yours, S

  • Teresa

    I won’t bother writing about my daily practice because It’s Not Good Enough! Insert the wink emoji here! I am commenting on the photo of you looking at the book because it gave me the biggest Ha! of the day. Thank you for your humor – it is More Than Enough!

    • Margie Layfield

      Teresa, great idea, thanks to your post! i think we should ask Suzi if she will consider gifting a copy of her photo as the runner-up prize. I had the greatest chuckle when I opened up her post. ????????????????.

    • Suzi

      Oh Teresa, humor is tonic and that image…well you have given me a bit of an idea along with Margie. Here is lots of love to you, who holds space for others with such grace. I will send you love when I light my candle in the morning. In your name goes to the basket. xoxoS

  • Kim Hitzges

    My daily practice is the same each day except when it isn’t. Upon opening my eyes each morning I begin with gratitude and prayers for others. This is the one thing that remains steady. I usually enter my studio with a mug of coffee, light a candle and read a little from one of several books in progress. I settle in with my journal then try to meditate. Except on those mornings when my husband is a little out of sync and reluctant to engage the world as usual. He is not a needy man and this doesn’t occur often, but on those days I adjust my time and attention. 34 yrs together has developed a fine tuned awareness of each other needs.

    • Suzi

      Oh now THIS is a topic, about our partners and our daily practice. Whether it is two or four leggeds–the ones we relate to, who draw us out, or challenge how we might use our time…I would love to talk more about this Kim. Thank you for writing. Do you know about Lectio Divina? I will add this to my list of things to share about in PKO this time around. I too dip in to a book or two early as a way to frame my thinking for the day. Much love to you as I put your name in the basket. xoS

  • Susan Fox

    For the last eighteen months my morning practice is one of contemplating an image usually a photo taken the day before on my daily dog walk. This becomes my morning therapy as l try to describe in haiku 575 syllable poetry what the image conveys as a reflection of time. I post this most days to lnstagram which in turn becomes my gallery and diary. When l look back at my postings l see my life reflected back beautifully in bite size. This is a wonderful calming way to start the day. @shoesandfrocksphotography

    • Suzi

      Thank you Susan. I found your images on Instagram and your poems. What a gorgeous practice! Your name goes in to the basket. Selection will be announced on International Women’s Day this week. Lots of love, S

    • Suzi

      Hi Susan, I would love to send you a bit of mail. Could you use the contact form on this site to send your address please? xoS