About Moxie Girl Musings

Moxie Girl Musings is about starting over from square one after tragedy impacted my young family. It's filled with stories of triumph, struggle, snafus, hopes, and dreams. Sometimes there will be features from other writers that I like and every so often I'll include an original short story, but normally I simply write what's on my mind at the time. Welcome to my unfiltered true-life story as I figure out this thing called life. http://www.amberleaeaston.com

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Silencing Your Inner Critic for a Stronger #Creativity Mindset

photo courtesy of Comfreak via Pixabay

**You'll need a pen and paper for this exercise. 

Creative people are designed to over-think. It's in our DNA. Due to our ability to imagine worst-case scenarios, we often use this talent against our own best interests by creating a negative mindset that sabotages our success.

Mindset work is the rage these days. Go online and you'll find a plethora of workshops designed to get to the root of your mindset issues, which is a good thing. I have had great breakthroughs from delving into my own root-causes for negative thinking and self-sabotage. Today, here on this blog, however, I'm speaking to the creative professionals who are prone to a self-destructive mindset more than most.

Have you ever looked at your finished painting or manuscript or sculpture and called it crap? Have you ever said the words, "what's the use? I suck?" Have you ever told yourself that you don't have time to be creative because your day job saps all your energy? Have you ever scolded yourself for choosing the hard path of the creative soul? Have you ever told yourself that it's okay to suffer for your art, that it's normal to scramble for every dime?

If you answered yes to any of the above, it's time to find out why those words come into your brain, confront them, and replace them with a new thought pattern whenever they arise.

As a creativity coach, I teach my clients to go waaaaaaay back to when they first started doodling on napkins, painting on walls, or scribbling in notebooks. What did the people around you say? How did they treat your artistic aspirations? Maybe you're only a five year-old with play dough in your cute little hands--did they scoff? Did they look at your masterpiece, pat you on the head, and dismiss your joy as silly? Or were you praised and encouraged? Free write what comes into your mind and how that made you feel--and how you would have treated that five year-old you differently, if that's the case.

What emotion comes up from those early memories of you expressing your creativity? Did you feel shame for being different or joy at being seen?

Do you hide now? Are you keeping the creative part of you a secret from anyone? Are you trying to legitimize your creativity by having a "cover job" so you gain approval from someone? Do you make excuses for your art? Do you disguise your pride in your work with self-depreciation? Why? Examine this without judgment--I am not judging you. Write it all out, be very honest with yourself.

Now write down all the criticisms you have of yourself and your work in the present day. Be harsh. Let the inner critic have his or her fifteen minutes of fame in the spotlight of your mind. When you're done, look at all of those things and, next to each one, replace it with a positive statement, one that encourages.

Example:
Most people don't make any money from writing, it's a ridiculous farce. (inner critic bitch statement)
A lot of writers make a good living from writing, it's actually easy when you put in the work. (replacement statement) 

Your replacement statements need to be factual, not delusional, or else your inner critic will mock you from the recesses of your mind. Seriously. That bitch loves her power and isn't going to relinquish it without a fight so combat each of her (or his) attacks on your psyche with realistic, positive counter statements.

After you're done, ask yourself this question: which is true--completely true without a backstory shadowing the thought? What is true--the critic's version or the replacement statements? Which one serves your highest good? My bet is that the replacement statements are your truth. 

Going forward, whenever you hear any of those negative statements start chattering away in your mind, stop them immediately and replace them with an encouraging truth. If you don't have a replacement statement at the ready, then simply listen to the negative statement and ask yourself, is this true? Is it really, really true? Am I am absolutely certain that's true? By the time you get to the third question, you'll most likely realize it's NOT true and is simply born from a past story that no longer serves you.

We as creative professionals must do the work to combat the inner critic who stands between us and ultimate success. Listen closely to your own thoughts and examine if they are helping or hurting you. If it's the latter, dig in and get to the root of why that's showing up so you can eliminate that thought pattern from reoccurring. Because depression is also a common theme amongst creatives, we need to be super-vigilant in recognizing our destructive thought patterns before they have a chance to send us into a downward spiral.

This will take awhile, don't rush it. We as creative professionals are too hard on ourselves in our pursuit of meaning and validation. By getting a grip on our minds, we actually change how we feel, how we create, and how we relate to the world around us.

You're not powerless. In fact, you are an incredibly powerful person who has the ability to control your inner chatter, create beautiful art via painting or writing or photography because you see the world through a unique perspective, and who is brave enough to risk traversing the unconventional path. You, my dear, are amazing.

Go forth and create!

Write on!
A.L. Easton
http://www.moxiegirlwriting.com 



Amber Lea Easton is a multi-published author of nonfiction, thrillers, and romantic suspense. A professional editor and freelance journalist for nearly two decades, she created Mountain Moxie Publishing & Creative Services to assist authors in mastering the writing craft. Her memoir, Free Fall, is dedicated to spreading suicide awareness, has topped international best selling charts, and has been named by Dr. Prem as fourth on the "Ten Most Inspiring True Stories Everyone Must Read" list. Easton is also a speaker regarding parenting through trauma and suicide awareness. To discover more about Mountain Moxie Publishing & Creative Services, please go to http://www.moxiegirlwriting.com. For a list of all of Easton's books, articles and interviews, go to http://www.amberleaeaston.com.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Protecting Your #Creativity in Times of Turmoil #writing


In times like these where emotions are running high across the world, where fear and uncertainty are consuming social media chatter, how do creative professionals protect their energy to actually create? It's not easy and lines need to be drawn. There are ways to stay informed on global issues without being bombarded every day and without negativity dragging down your creative energy. You simply need to take back the power and realize that you--and only you--are in control of where you put your focus.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Prioritize your creative work above social media. Those of us who create for a living are prone to being sensitive to our environments, which means being utra-sensitive to energy. Limit social media interactions to work only--we all need to promote ourselves, which leads to opening that dreaded Facebook app and risking seeing the mass of political commentary. Go directly to the groups you need for work purposes and interact professionally only. Then sign off. Set a timer if you need to in order to prevent yourself from drifting onto that timeline, reading those articles, getting fired up, commenting on things that make you upset and ultimately DRAIN your creativity. 
  • Be more disciplined than ever about the projects you need to complete. If you don't have a planner, buy one. I'm talking about a good old-fashioned pen-to-paper planner that does not involve going online at all. You cannot control world events so focus on what you can control: your business. Write down the projects you need to complete per quarter and then break down milestones you need to achieve each week and month to stay on track. Keep that planner on your desk or within reach so you can check on it daily. 
  • Nurture yourself every day. We creatives need to take care of ourselves in order to create. Whether it is a walk in nature, going to the gym, meditating, listening to our favorite music, reading for a few hours a day, or immersing ourselves in a silent house while we decompress--if it calms your spirit and focuses your mind, a self-nurturing activity is a must do on your daily priority list. Don't neglect it, don't tell yourself there is something more important to do. Even if for only fifteen minutes, you need to do something that makes you feel good. 
  • Use your DVR or watch streaming networks like Neflix or Amazon Prime for entertainment. Escape commercials and constant bad news by being ultra-selective on what kind of programming you allow into your mind. With the DVR, you can fast-forward through commercials and skip the news. Amazon Prime and Netflix as well as Hulu or SlingTV offer original programming and so much more that can entertain you without the negativity of mainstream television. Don't have a smart TV? You can buy a smart TV box that hooks up to your existing TV for only $75 at Walmart (as an example) and stream away! 
  • Make no apologies for removing yourself from toxic people or situations. Everyone is entitled to their opinions but you don't have to listen. It's okay to distance yourself from people or situations that distract you from your purpose. You don't need an excuse. Your creativity is the most valuable asset you possess--especially as someone whose livliehood depends on it--and you owe it to yourself to stay away from anyone or anything that harms that. 
  • FOCUS! What is your purpose today? Is it a specific word count? Is it to pitch a certain number of potential freelance clients? Have you owned your time or has time owned you? At every given moment, you have the power to choose what you are focussing on--have you chosen wisely today? 
  • Back to social media--set that timer. I bring this up twice because it's so important, especially in today's world where bad news seems to be happening every day. Become a tyrant with yourself regarding social media use. Ask yourself why you're scrolling and how it's impacting you. How do you feel afterward? Are you flustered? Have you wasted an hour where you could have been writing? What was achieved by all that scrolling and commenting? Be firm with yourself and set a timer for an hour or so. When that bell rings, go do something else. Play with your dog. Go for that walk. Write that damn book. 
As creative professionals, we've been given a gift that's worth protecting. Our energy needs to be focused on our projects, not the latest fiasco going on in the world. This doesn't mean we aren't sensitive to the issues at large, but no one but us can create our projects. Most of us are soloprenuers and can't afford to have months of non-productivity because of events beyond our control. If we feel the need to volunteer, then put that time on the planner and contribute to society in that way. In all things, there must be balance. With our creativity, we must protect it at all times--that's our duty to ourselves. 

Write on!
Amber Lea Easton



Amber Lea Easton is a multi-published author of nonfiction, thrillers, and romantic suspense. A professional editor and freelance journalist for nearly two decades, she created Mountain Moxie Publishing Services to assist authors in mastering the writing craft. Her memoir, Free Fall, is dedicated to spreading suicide awareness, has topped international best selling charts, and has been named by Dr. Prem as fourth on the "Ten Most Inspiring True Stories Everyone Must Read" list. She has also created a line of inspirational journals to add in the creative process. Easton is a speaker regarding parenting through trauma and suicide awareness. To discover more about Mountain Moxie Publishing Services, please go to http://www.moxiegirlwriting.com. For a list of all of Easton's books, articles and interviews, go to http://www.amberleaeaston.com.

Friday, January 27, 2017

You Channelled What Now? It's Getting Freaky Over Here


I've been into the woo-woo stuff for years. I've dabbled in crystals, tarot cards, spiritualists, psychics and mediums, ghosts...you name it and I'm open to learn about it. So last week when the opportunity to attend a channeler presented itself, I thought, 'why not?' Off I went.

In the basement of a historical home in Denver's Governor's District was a cute office space lit with candles and incense and earth-toned walls. Although small, twelve of us fit perfectly in the main room. Out came a petite gray-haired woman with a New York accent, our hostess for the night. She explained that she channeled spirit guides and spoke in their light language. I nodded, sipped my water, unwrapped a Hershey's kiss (I'd secretly pocketed a handful when I entered), and prepared to be open-minded.

She started by talking about love and shedding our stories of what we believe to be true. This resonated with me as someone who's studied self-awareness for over a decade. I am reading on the subject of perceptions and universal connection all of the time. I honestly believe that we can tell ourselves a story so many times that it becomes somewhat skewed and that the truth lies between the lines.

As I'm nodding and sitting there, thinking I'm giving off a peaceful vibe as I allow the Herhey's kiss to melt in my mouth, she spins her head toward me and says, "why are you here?"

My eyes probably bugged out a bit at being put on the spot amidst twelve strangers, but I answered, "I'm looking for clarity, it's been a confusing twelve months."

She rolls up to me (she had a stool with wheels), stares at me and starts pulling at her shirt. One hand yanked at her shoulder while the other yanked at her mid-section, and she says, "You are chaos, you are being ripped apart by everyone in your life, you are bouncing from here to there like a person caught in a tornado, why is this happening to you? This is how I see your energy--chaos."

By now I've swallowed the chocolate and am sitting at attention. The rest of the room fades into the background as I stare at this petite older woman who is suddenly pulling at herself as if trying to get free of a net.

And I wanted to cry.

She was right.

She goes on to say, "What is that you want? Why don't you know? You need to get still. You need to be courageous. You need to become the eye of the storm. You need stillness. You have too much responsibility on your shoulders, what can you let go of? You need to let go to find the clarity you seek."

All of those books I'd been reading, all of the practice I've done, all of the years of study where I'd truly believed I'd made progress and had gotten in touch with my soul went out the window. I become agitated. I said, "I can't let go."

I'm a single mom, a solo-preneur, with two kids in college and a mortgage! What exactly am I supposed to let go of exactly? Responsibilities are responsibilities, right?

She looked at me with piercing, knowing eyes and said, "You can but you need to be courageous."

What the hell are we talking about? I'm thinking. How am I not courageous? I'm a fucking warrior!

But maybe I'm not? Maybe I've been telling myself a story of how I am and what is and what is not?

What truth lies between the lines of my story that I haven't acknowledged?

She then wheeled over to another woman and I--as quietly as possible--unwrapped another Hershey's Kiss and plopped it in my mouth. My hand was shaking. I'd said I wanted clarity but was actually more confused. I'd gone there feeling peaceful and happy, excited to try something new. I'd thought I presented a laid back vibe--certainly not one of CHAOS.

Out of the blue she starts speaking in the 'light language' of the angels and (in translation) talking of peace and our stories and of love and connection. Soon the ninety minutes are over and I'm one of the last to leave. She grabs my arms before I can hug her goodbye, looks me in the eye, and says, "you need to get quiet and ask yourself what it is you really want---not what you tell people you want, or what you've told yourself you want, or what you think others want to hear, but what you really want, until then there will be chaos."

Well, fuck. That's not what I wanted to hear!

And then she slipped me her business card as if to silently say, "you really need a lot of work, lady." (she gave no one else a business card...I know, I'd been observing as I prepared to leave.)

Maybe I don't know myself as well as I thought. Perhaps I do give off an energy I'm not aware of even when I'm feeling peaceful and open-minded. Maybe this is why people react the way they do to me sometimes that leaves me confused.

Maybe she told me exactly what I needed to hear--the truth between the lines of the story I have created for myself.

Do you know what YOU really want your life to look like? Not the story you tell others, but the secret daydreams of your soul. Are you brave enough to look inside, to get quiet, and to embrace your truth?

I think I am--I thought I was--I guess I need to get clear on what dwells in the silence. Perhaps there is more exploration to do.

And, no, I'm not going to her for a personal reading. I tucked her card away and will think on what she says, but the whole 'light language' chatter threw me off a bit. I cannot deny, however, that she shook me up! And, sometimes, we all need to be shaken a bit out of our comfort zone.



Amber Lea Easton is a multi-published author of romantic thrillers, contemporary romance, women's fiction, and nonfiction. She also writes five different blogs, works as a professional editor and author coach, creates a line of inspirational journals, volunteers for children's literacy, and advocates for suicide awareness. In addition, she is the mother of two extraordinary human beings who lives in a small cabin high in the Rocky Mountains where she is completely aware of how lucky she is. To find out more about her books, please visit http://www.amberleaeaston.com



Friday, January 6, 2017

Putting on My Walking Shoes and Finally Letting Go #SelfCare #Inspiration



I've been widowed eleven years. I've grown accustomed to my own company and the freedom of not being accountable to anyone. I really like being solo, actually. For New Year's Eve, I was in heaven sitting in front of the fireplace, reading a good book, drinking wine, and listening to music alone. I'm not "just saying that" either--I genuinely mean it.

To some, however, they look upon me with pity. When I told one friend I was alone on New Year's Eve, she practically called the suicide intervention hotline thinking I was crying into my pillow. I wasn't. I was very content.

When I met a bunch of friends--all married and pretty well off--earlier this week and told them I am selling my house, moving to Santa Fe to start a new life, buying a house there that is much smaller but within walking distance to all the fun shopping and bars in the city, you would have thought I had just confessed to murder. The looks on their faces confused me.

How can you leave Colorado? You have the perfect house! In the perfect place! How can you give all of that up? Have you gone insane? 

Maybe I have. Maybe I went insane the moment I cut my husband down from where he'd hung himself in the bedroom I've continued to sleep in for the past eleven years. Maybe I went over the edge by seeing the same people who knew me as a married woman who continue to give me that look of pity whenever I make eye contact. Maybe I go a little bit mad every time I go anywhere in this city and state where I dated and married a man who died--I see him everywhere. Maybe I went crazy holding myself back from moving long ago out of a sense of obligation to the kids to keep their lives stable--they're adults now, though. Maybe I snapped after lugging wood indoors to heat the place for the millionth time--why did I ever think that was a charming activity? So, yes, maybe I have gone insane. So what? Can you blame me? Maybe a little insanity is a good thing.

A person can only deny their souls for so long before life intervenes and pushes them into action. That's what's happened here. I am no longer satisfied existing in this perfect little house with its magnificent view. I crave more. 

More adventure.

More laughter.

More discovery.

More life!

Before I got married, some called me a gypsy. I traveled the world, lived in a new apartment every six months, moved to new cities that called to my soul, and never once thought this would be the last stop on my journey.

Yet the judgment comes from all sides when I say I'm selling my house--alone--and moving to another city in another state--alone. None of the people doing the questioning can relate even remotely to my life--they're married, financially secure to the point where some of them only work as a hobby, and have close family members as well who interact with their lives. That's fine. No one needs to get me--but I do ask that they back off from the interrogation.

I can honestly say I resent the questions as to why. Perhaps it's because I have been solo for so long now that I don't like answering to anyone, but I think my annoyance is based on something deeper--my sense that they are doubting my rational thinking despite all the years I've called my own shots, parented solo, and built a career from nothing.

It's easy to say that I don't care what others think and that I don't need anyone's approval--which are both true statements--but at the core of my being I crave support from the people in my life. I crave someone saying, "good for you, enjoy the adventure!" I crave someone saying, "if anyone can do it, you can" or "you've been through enough, sacrificed enough, now go live your life on your own terms."

I tell myself these things. I root myself on because that's what I've learned to do. But, perhaps, I truly crave hearing those things from someone else whether I want to admit it or not.

Because no matter how good I get at being alone, I remember what it was like having a life partner, a permanent cheerleader, and a sounding board--and that ghost of a memory reminds me of what I miss. It reminds me of the kind of relationship I deserve--the kind that pushes me forward rather than holds me back.

Change is good. If we become stagnant, we become boring. I may be a lot of things, but I've never been boring.

Will it be sad leaving this place? On some levels, yes, but I'm very excited to go someplace new and start exploring and discovering and laughing and living! It really is okay to let go of the good and leap into the unknown. Who knows? It might be better than my wildest imagination can visualize--and my imagination is pretty spectacular.


Amber Lea Easton is a multi-published author of romantic thrillers, contemporary romance, women's fiction, and nonfiction. She also writes five different blogs, works as a professional editor and author coach, creates a line of inspirational journals, volunteers for children's literacy, and advocates for suicide awareness. In addition, she is the mother of two extraordinary human beings who lives in a cabin high in the Rocky Mountains where she is completely aware of how lucky she is. To find out more about her books, please visit http://www.amberleaeaston.com