Monday, October 29, 2012

7 Inspirations for Your Daily Practice: Creating and Giving

"I believe that we learn by practice. Whether it means to learn to dance by practicing dancing or to learn to live by practicing living, the principles are the same. In each, it is the performance of a dedicated precise set of acts, physical or intellectual, from which comes shape of achievement, a sense of one's being, a satisfaction of spirit. One becomes, in some area, an athlete of God."
~Martha Graham
Do you ever have weeks where a word, image, or idea keeps popping up? When it happens to me, it usually means that I need to pay attention, and tell your guys about it. For the past week, examples of daily practices around creativity and giving have been showing up, so I thought I'd share them with you.

I don't know what it is about November, but there are a bunch of challenges for creating and giving coming up:

30 Days of Gratitude

Carla Kay White, creator of the Gratitude Journal app, is encouraging folks to record 30 days of gratitude in their journal, with her app, or as a photo journal on Instagram. If you decide to share what you are grateful for on Instagram or Twitter, use the hashtag #novembergratitude

Art Every Day Month

The lovely Leah Piken Kolidas started Art Every Day Month 10 years ago as a challenge to herself to create art every day for a month, and post it on her blog.  You can sign up on this page, to join this year's AEDM. Most people post a photo of what they made on their blog, or Flickr.  If you share your posts, or photos on Instagram, or Twitter, use the hashtag #aedm2012.

You can listen to my October 2010 interview with Leah on the Arts and Healing Network Podcast, and view my Flickr set from participating in 2010.

NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)

Leah was inspired to create Art Every Day Month by NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). The first NaNoWriMo started 13 years ago with a group of 21 writers. Last year, 36,843 writers participated!

Check out their website. It's full of fun resources and ways to connect to fellow novelists. Lots of folks are sharing tips on Twitter with the hashtag #nanowrimo

I've also been noticing a number of books about 365 days of creating and giving (I haven't read any of them, by the way):

One Good Deed a Day (Diary) by Chronicle Books

Craft-a-Day: 365 Simple Handmade Projects by Sarah Goldschadt

365: A Daily Creativity Journal: Make Something Every Day and Change Your Life! by Noah Scalin

All of these challenges and books make me want to try a creative and/or giving practice during the month of November, or in 2013. Howabout you? Do you already have a daily creating or giving practice?  If not, do you want to try one?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Free Classes at Coursera: Be a More Educated Activist

Have you guys heard of Coursera?

A just learned about it last weekend, and think it's the coolest thing ever. It's a social entrepreneurship company that partners with universities to offer courses online for free. According to their website, part of their vision is to:
"[G]ive everyone access to the world-class education that has so far been available only to a select few. We want to empower people with education that will improve their lives, the lives of their families, and the communities they live in."
As of this writing, they offer free, online courses from 33 universities like Berklee College of Music, Columbia University, John Hopkins University, Stanford University, University of Melbourne, and Wesleyan University.

I'm ridiculously excited to start taking classes. Not only is it an opportunity for me to explore personal interests, but also to learn more about causes I care about. I've already signed up for a University of Melbourne course about Climate Change (date TBD), a John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health course, Introduction to the U.S. Food System: Perspectives from Public Health (January 2013), and a University of Florida class, Fundamentals of Human Nutrition (date TBD).

What courses are you going to take? 

Maybe we'll be in class together (:


 P.S. I have three blogging classes coming up in October:

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Art and Aging: Tim Carpenter of EngAGE

According to Pew Research Center's population projections, in 2030, all members of the Baby Boom generation will be 65 or older, and 18% of Americans will be at least that age.

I believe that new models of aging and senior life will emerge from this wave, and can't wait to see what is created, which is why I loved stumbling upon The New York Times article, For Healthy Aging, A Late Act in the Footlights. It profiles an innovative organization called EngAGE.

EngAGE is a nonprofit that changes aging, and the way people think about aging, by transforming senior apartment communities into vibrant centers of learning, wellness and creativity. One of its project is the Burbank Senior Artists Colony, a first-of-its-kind senior apartment community with high-end arts amenities and programs (how cool is that?). The NOHO Senior Arts Colony and the Long Beach Senior Arts Colony will open in 2012.

I truly believe that projects like EngAGE are models for happy and healthy senior communities, so I was thrilled when EngAGE's founder, Tim Carpenter, agreed to chat with me for the Arts and Healing Network's Podcast.  In 2008, Tim was named an Ashoka Fellow. In 2011, he received the James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award.  He also serves on the board of the National Center for Creative Aging, and is the host and producer of the EXPERIENCE TALKS radio show.

You can listen to the interview on the Arts and Healing Network's website, through iTunes, or on the player below.

What other innovative aging and senior living projects have you seen?

 P.S. I have three blogging classes coming up in October:

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

How Are You Unfurling? (Video)

What's unfurling in you right now?

Who (or what) are your allies as you unfurl in this way?

How do you get out of your own way?

What's the soundtrack?

Who are you becoming?

These are the five questions that the lovely Amy Kessel asks each person in her Unfurling video blog series — including me! You can hear my answers by watching the video below, or on Amy's blog.

I've never done a video interview before, especially with such deep questions!

Unfurling With Britt Bravo from amy kessel on Vimeo.

P.S. I have three blogging classes coming up in October:

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Playing Big to Change the World

"[W]omen playing big is a large part of what is going to bring the world out
of the mess it’s in." ~ Tara Mohr

Tara Mohr is a wise lady, which is why I asked her to share a guest post with you about Playing Big. I know that many of you have big visions for a better world, and that some of you are looking for guidance about how to "play big," so that you can realize that vision. My hope is that Tara will be a resource for you either through her Playing Big program, her blog, her videos, or her Twitter feed. Enjoy!

Playing Big
by Tara Mohr

A few years ago, I sent a survey to my blog readers and asked them, “What’s the biggest challenge in your life?”

My blog readers are a lot like the readers here – intelligent, socially conscious women who want to contribute something of meaning to the world.

I listed a whole bunch of choices for that “biggest challenge”:

__I just can’t find enough time to do all that is important to me.
__I don’t have clarity about what I want.
__I have unsupportive people in my life.
__I have major financial challenges.
__Work-family balance.
__My work isn’t satisfying.
__Health issues.

…and so on.

Then, almost on a whim, I added one more potential mega challenge:

__I’m playing small.

When the survey results came back in, I was stunned. Across hundreds of responses, by far the most popular answer to “what’s your biggest challenge?” was “I’m playing small.”

I was stunned because we don’t often talk about our playing small, but it turns out that quietly, inside so many of us, there is a pained sense of playing small.

Of course, we could chalk this up to our unrealistic expectations of ourselves, or our culture’s focus on everything being big, bigger, biggest. But after working with hundreds of people around the work of playing bigger, that’s not what I’ve found. Their sense of playing small isn’t coming from misguided expectations. What I’ve found in people is a wise knowing that they are holding back their boldest ideas and most radical questions, that they are still playing the skeptic in relation to their own big callings to serve. Fear and self-doubt are still running the show, way too much of the time.

Those survey responses helped me see the need for a training that would help women play bigger, that would take them step by step through the inner work and tactical training needed to really start playing big. Teaching the Playing Big women’s leadership program is now the focus of my work. More than 250 women have been through the program.

Creating and leading Playing Big has allowed me to have my own “have fun, do good” journey. For me, helping women play big feels like a crucial kind of service because I think women playing big is a large part of what is going to bring the world out of the mess it’s in.

So, here are two questions for you to consider today:

How are you playing small in your work right now? Where are you betraying your voice, your gifts?

What does playing big look like for you? If you set aside the world’s definition, and get real about what playing big really means to you, what images or ideas come up?



Visit HERE to learn more about Tara’s program Playing Big, or check out her free 10 Rules for Brilliant Women Workbook HERE.

P.S. I have three blogging classes coming up in October:
Oct. 14 (Berkeley, CA): Tea & Cupcakes with Creative Bloggers
Oct. 16-Nov. 6 (Virtual): Juicy Blogging E-Course: The Art & Play of Blogging
October 27
(Berkeley, CA): Blogging for Writers: Build an Audience for Your Work

Monday, October 01, 2012

Your (Free) October 2012 Big Vision Worksheet

The hubs is back from his work travels, and so are the Big Vision Worksheets. Yay!

The photo is from the roof of Gaudi's La Pedrera/Casa Milà in Barcelona, one of my favorite places we visited on our trip to Spain.

You can download a PDF of My October 2012 Big Vision worksheet for free from Dropbox here.

I wrote my big vision for the month under, "My October Big Vision," and then wrote my 4 actions steps, at a diagonal, near the numbers on top of the 4 funny heads. Obviously, you can write on it however works for you (:

What are some of your big visions for October?


P.S. I have three blogging classes coming up in October:
Oct. 14 (Berkeley, CA): Tea & Cupcakes with Creative Bloggers
Oct. 16-Nov. 6 (Virtual): Juicy Blogging E-Course: The Art & Play of Blogging
October 27
(Berkeley, CA): Blogging for Writers: Build an Audience for Your Work