4 Slow Living Practices to Spice Up Your Creativity and Life

4 Slow Living Practices to Spice Up Your Creativity and Life

There is nothing better than a full creative life where we are using every aspect of our creative energy to thrive and prosper in this world.

If you talk, make, lead or work you are likely creative.

I talk a lot with my private coaching clients — creatives and heart-centered womxn who know they are more capable than they are showing up in the world — about how vital my creative energy is to me and how I work tremendously hard to maintain a strong sense of vitality and clarity in my work as a creator and coach.

And, with that, I am also a fan of slow.

The first book I wrote and published was called Savoring Slow.

Keeping and maintaining a slow life is becoming more and more of a struggle in this modern era of constant information and rushing around — especially now that the pandemic is over in some parts of the world and life is resuming to normal.

But, for me, keeping a slower pace means truly slowing down.

And now just what I put on my schedule — but in all that I do.

If you are mentally and emotionally zapped all the time, it may be time for you to slow down as well. And perhaps you’re wondering how to even do that with a super busy schedule.

At the start of summer, during our Emerging You Retreat, I vowed to myself that I would try my absolute best to maintain the same slow life that I had gotten to enjoy over the pandemic.

And I’ve managed to do just that — with a few exceptions out of my control such as needing to get my twin teenage daughters to and from work and heavy client calls during two weeks out of the month.

The truth is that if we want to create more space for the things we love — our YES projects and more — we need to have the emotional and mental bandwidth as well.

4 Slow Living Practices to Spice Up Your Creativity and Life

4 Slow Living Practices to Spice Up Your Creativity and Life

Slow Reading

This has been by far the No. 1 game changer for me. It began with slow reading my emails.

Yes, emails. I subscribe to a lot of beautiful email lists. I love to read what a soulful, smart person has put their heart and soul into and I always want to give them the time they deserve.

Until I adopted my slow reading habit, I often ignored most emails or delete without reading — which didn’t feel good. Now I subscribe to the best ones that fill me up, make me think and I take time on Saturday mornings to read through them, slowly.

The same goes for books. It’s easy to get caught up in the “what are you reading” spin cycle that leaves us rushing to get through books to get to the next one. Or, to have a pile of books on our nightstands that we snap an Insta about as a performative gesture. But the truth is that great writing is meant to be relished, savored and truly absorbed. You can sign up for my newsletter here.

Slow reading means being fully present for the reading experience. It means reading to learn, reading to reflect, reading to appreciate, reading to enjoy the act of reading.

When we slow down our reading habit, we may not rush through and meet our 100 book reading challenge or get to all the bests — that fear of missing out is real — but we will soak up the story or the information in a more pleasurable way.

My slow reading habit is now a part of my daily routines and, as a result, has influenced my own creativity. I find that I am picking up so much more details and great one-liners that I am using them more in my conversations and starting more conversations with others about them.

And by reading more deeply, I am also finding I am able to string together more creative ideas of my own — and my own love for writing has deepened as well.

Slow Cooking

Chop the carrots, the celery, the onion.

Sauté with some oil and spices.

Stirring together a few ingredients to make a perfect sauce.

Sipping a drink, swaying to the music on the speaker, embodying the moment.

Taking your time with layer after layer of a recipe that is more involved and more challenging, even, is a beautiful practice to slow things down and allow all of your senses to wake up. This sparks creative energy inside of you, especially if you are fully embodying radical presence.

In all the hype to get things done more quickly we forget that creativity thrives with space and spaciousness and there is nothing more interesting than getting an idea while stirring a pot of simmering soup or folding in the cream.

The benefits of slow cooking is the way it ensures that everhything

Slow Practice

When we expect to get things done perfectly the first time, we set ourselves up to not only fail but also to give up on trying.

Like this blog post.

There was a time in my life where I could — and would — write 2,000 words and not change a thing. Sometimes it worked. Sometimes it didn’t.

Now, I see a blog post draft as a starting point.

This is the practice.

The practice of showing up. Doing the work. Making it happen without any judgments of the outcomes.

This is how we let go of perfectionism.

Your creative practice — gardening, indoor plants, crocheting, painting, content marketing, planning out lessons, styling a room or baking a cake — needs your practice.

Slow practice just means you aren’t in a hurry to finish. You aren’t in a hurry to get to the end. You are enjoying the act of creating, making, writing, doing.

Slow practice includes a lot of breaks, breathing and boundaries to prevent you from giving up.

Slow Waking

I am a huge morning fan. I just love waking up and starting a new, fresh day. I don’t need much motivation to get out of bed. I hop out quickly most of the time.

But one of the things I’ve been playing around with lately — because I am at that stage in my life where I can — is that I am intentionally waking up more slowly.

I’m stretching in bed.

I’m moving more slowly when I step out onto the floor.

I’m spending longer time in meditation and yoga.

I’m journaling more slowly.

It’s all unfolding but at a pace that feels slow, nourishing and pleasurable.

Our creative energy doesn’t just show up spontaneously when we sit our butts in the chairs or grab the brush or try to solve the problems.

Our creative energy begins with how we wake up, how we move through our day, how we shape our lives.

What slow living practice will help you thrive in your creative work today?

A Dose of Inspiration for When You Feel Torn Between Doing and Being

A Dose of Inspiration for When You Feel Torn Between Doing and Being

Listen, my dear one, you absolutely, 1000% deserve to feel really, really good every single day of your life. Including TODAY.

And contrary to what you may see over and over on the Internet … doing nothing isn’t always what makes you feel good.

What?

It’s true.

I know because I doing nothing has about one minute of charm for me – a doer.

And, I also know because I am hired primarily to be my clients’ MIC – Motivator in Chief.

Our tendency as human beings is to rest. It’s actually quite hard to make ourselves work really hard.

And all that pushing that we do to keep up, striving and make things happen is what is utterly exhausting.

And that is what seems to be driving so many people’s desire to REST.

Years of languishing, striving for perfection, overworking, being the Good Girl and doing so much for others has got you to a breaking point of burnout and exhaustion.

But like usual, I have a lot to say about these conflicting thoughts between doing and being, working and rest and striving and settling.

I’m a big fan of building in sustainable rest, renewal and revitalizing in mind, body and spirit SO THAT you can do all the amazing things you want to do in your life without forcing it.

I’ve been talking about all of this for years because I know for a fact that we thrive when we’re in flow DOING.

But WHAT YOU ARE DOING is what matters most and when you put your own #UnshakeableResilience at the forefront you are stronger in mind, body and spirit.

I am a doer. I take very good care of myself. My well-being is a 10 6/7 days of the week. I am not problem free or struggle free. I work very hard for my family and my life.

AND

I want desperately to make a bigger impact, to disrupt the status quo that so many others are happy to duck out of and away from and to serve deeply in this world.

My inner fire is hot and rest is not really needed when your soul is on fire with passion.

So, I want to remind you that, yes, you need to take care of yourself AND that isn’t always doing nothing and resting. More often than not it’s actually more essential in choosing the sacred, conscious action that is going to send you into a flow state of joy, contentment and service to others.

Sometimes the Brave Yes is rest.

Listen, my dear one, you absolutely, 1000% deserve to feel really, really good every single day of your life. Including TODAY.

And contrary to what you may see over and over on the Internet … doing nothing isn’t always what makes you feel good.

What?

It’s true.

I know because I doing nothing has about one minute of charm for me – a doer.

And, I also know because I am hired primarily to be my clients’ MIC – Motivator in Chief.

Our tendency as human beings is to rest. It’s actually quite hard to make ourselves work really hard.

And all that pushing that we do to keep up, striving and make things happen is what is utterly exhausting.

And that is what seems to be driving so many people’s desire to REST.

Years of languishing, striving for perfection, overworking, being the Good Girl and doing so much for others has got you to a breaking point of burnout and exhaustion.

But like usual, I have a lot to say about these conflicting thoughts between doing and being, working and rest and striving and settling.

I’m a big fan of building in sustainable rest, renewal and revitalizing in mind, body and spirit SO THAT you can do all the amazing things you want to do in your life without forcing it.

I’ve been talking about all of this for years because I know for a fact that we thrive when we’re in flow DOING.

But WHAT YOU ARE DOING is what matters most and when you put your own #UnshakeableResilience at the forefront you are stronger in mind, body and spirit.

I am a doer. I take very good care of myself. My well-being is a 10 6/7 days of the week. I am not problem free or struggle free. I work very hard for my family and my life.

AND

I want desperately to make a bigger impact, to disrupt the status quo that so many others are happy to duck out of and away from and to serve deeply in this world.

My inner fire is hot and rest is not really needed when your soul is on fire with passion.

So, I want to remind you that, yes, you need to take care of yourself AND that isn’t always doing nothing and resting. More often than not it’s actually more essential in choosing the sacred, conscious action that is going to send you into a flow state of joy, contentment and service to others.

Sometimes the Brave Yes is rest.

Sometimes the Brave Yes is digging Sometimes the Brave Yes is digging deep and dusting off your inner fire for your life so you can start floating rather than swimming. and dusting off your inner fire for your life.

JOIN ME! You are invited. Register now for the upcoming Brave Yes Visioning Workshop. We’ll be spending 90 delicious minutes helping you dust off your inner fire and SEE your life more clearly. You’ll want to block off your calendar for this one and bring a journal and plenty of ink for journaling. During this workshop, we will focus on your personal vision as a creative, changemaker or leader. And we are ALL creatives, changemakers and leaders.

💥 Strategic & soulful coaching for creative entrepreneurs & changemakers
🦚 #UnshakeableResilience
🎙 Host: Brave Yes Show
🌈 #blm #translivesmatter
🌞 linktr.ee/BraveYes

On Designing a Foundation of Resilience In Order to Be a Changemaker and Leader

On Designing a Foundation of Resilience In Order to Be a Changemaker and Leader

When life and business are precariously stacked to work against each other, the best thing we can do is restack it all again and again.

On a retreat in October 2019, I began studying resilience and stumbled into a metaphor for a more resilient life.

Rock cairns — a group of stones carefully and often precariously piled on top of each other to create a tower.

I had heard of rock cairns and even stumbled upon a few randomly in my hikes along creeks. But it wasn’t until this several day retreat and sitting in silent meditation that I realized that our lives can be designed as a foundation of resilience just like these beautiful rock towers.

Designing a Foundation of Resilience is essential for living and leading more boldly and bravely. If we want to change systems and disrupt the status quo — as we should all be doing — we need to have the emotional resilience and physical energy to do so. 

But designing a foundation of resilience is not something we’re taught. We often figure it out too late — once a storm has hit.

In my work as a coach, I have created a foundation of resilience model that works like a charm. And the model reminds me of the rock cairns — towers that when built right are strong enough to handle anything. But when they are built incorrectly, they don’t stand a chance. 

When just one rock is misplaced, it can throw off the balance of everything else and our lives  — or our mindset — can fall apart.

When the wrong rock is chosen, we can feel less confident, and less sure of ourselves.

But when the just-right rocks are selected and stacked just right a solid foundation that can endure nearly any storm is created. 

When we can build a life with the wrong tools we can feel out of alignment. We feel shaky. Wobbly. Out of sorts. 

But when we build our lives — and businesses — based on intentional, purposeful decisions, our foundation is solid. We feel grounded and firm in who we are and what we are about, we feel strong and we can handle any storm that comes our way.

Rather than choose the wrong rocks that won’t create the right foundation, we must be intentional with each and every rock we put into our lives that create the ground we stand on each day.

What are 3 Elements to Consider when Designing a Foundation of Resilience?

JOYFULNESS

Every rock you choose should bring you joy. If it doesn’t, your foundation will be out of alignment and not stable. Rocks of negative energy will disrupt your flow and your creativity. If joy is at the root of every decision you make, you can’t help but create a foundation of resilience.

MINDFULNESS

The rocks of your life should bring more presence than drama, more calm than chaos, more relaxation than stress. Rocks that bring too much friction and choppiness will always cause shaky ground. Operating with mindfulness at the heart and soul of everything you do will create radical presence so you can listen and learn about what is working in your life.

STRENGTHS AND VALUES

The rocks of your foundation should be based thoroughly on your deepest, strongest values and strengths. As long as you always come back to what drives you and reflects your most moral obligations, you will always feel aligned. As long as you operate in flow and in your zone of genius, you will feel aligned and resilient.

Shawn Fink (she/hers) is a coach for creators & changemakers ready quit self-sabotaging & take up more space in your life, creativity and business. Host of The Brave Yes Show podcast. Learn more here.

5 Life Coaching Pep Talks to Help You Step Out of Languishing Mode and Start Thriving

5 Life Coaching Pep Talks to Help You Step Out of Languishing Mode and Start Thriving

As I wrap up and close — for now — my series on The Politics of Languishing, I am feeling called to offer some life coaching pep talks to you if you find yourself being One Who Is Languishing.

If you have been following along, I have talked in recent months about how women have been languishing for years. You can read more what languishing means and the premise of it all right here.

During this series — which has been presented in both blog post and podcast formats — I have talked about several causes of our languishing as human beings right now and for the past years.

I’ve talked about how we are caught up in powerful systems like patriarchy, racism and capitalism. And I’ve talked about how those systems have so many women feeling trapped and stuck on the hamster wheel of life.

Those systems include …

And, as I want to take a much-deserved and needed REST from performance striving such as recording my podcast while my girls are on summer break, I am bringing this series to a close, for now. I will be addressing these topics and MANY more in the coming days, weeks and months. But I’m putting this series to rest for now.

But first …

I want to give you some of my own life coaching wisdom — Shawn-isms — to help you get started on working to deconstruct and unlearn some of these oppressive power systems that have you — and most of us — languishing. The journey is long but if you begin today the closer you will be to making it to the other side.

—> You are invited to also receive MORE wisdom right now by signing up for my email list to receive my weekly-ish Brave Yes Newsletter AND as a way to help you get started on your own Brave Yes Journey, you will automatically get my 7 Days of Everyday Brave Yeses email course.

Listen to the more unfiltered, passionate version of this over on the Brave Yes Show podcast now or read below.

5 Life Coaching Pep Talks to Help You Step Out of Languishing Mode and Start Thriving

BREAKING DOWN OVERWORKING AND OVERDOING

The only way to stop overworking and overdoing is to know when you are. And the only way to really know is to check in with yourself. Only you can know what is too much and what isn’t. So start a daily — or multiple times a day — check-in with yourself. Find a way to talk to your body as if it’s your best friend. Your body knows when it’s in stress. Your body knows when it needs to slow down, rest, stop but you have to know what to do and when.

BREAKING DOWN PERFECTIONISM

Notice when you aren’t making progress in the parts of your life where you want to make change or experience momentum and ask yourself what perfectionism has to do with it. Is your binary mindset — all or nothing thinking — creating a situation where you can’t move forward out of fear of getting it wrong? Focus on the practice. The Journey. Not the outcome. And, see how your high expectations and extreme pressure to change people may be hurting other people as well.

BREAKING DOWN GOOD GIRL SYNDROME

Oh, yes. This is my favorite. Step into your power by reclaiming your needs, your purpose, your voice, your boundaries, your dreams, your desires and your deep, rooted joy. You do not have to follow the collective and wear the mask to fit in and conform. You can stand on your own. AND it will be lonely. Get support.

BREAKING DOWN SUPERHUMAN STRENGTH

Allow yourself to be totally honest about what you are capable of handling and when enough is enough on being strong. It’s OK to purposefully unpack your strongwoman backpack and lay it all down for a bit. This is all about giving yourself permission.

BREAKING DOWN SETTLING FOR LESS OR NOT GOOD ENOUGH

Fight for yourself. Fight really fricking hard. You are a human being who is 100 percent worth of belonging in this world and worthy enough to feel joy in your one beloved, beautiful lifetime that you have been gifted. Claim your right to your joy or reclaim it and find your freedom. Either way, fight for yourself.

The Pressure to Settle or Accept What isn’t Serving You (And how to Thrive Anyway)

The Pressure to Settle or Accept What isn’t Serving You (And how to Thrive Anyway)

“I guess I’ll just have to suck it up and do the job,” she said on the Zoom session.

These were the exact words from a client I just started working with who wants to find a new career — one that allows her to fully self-express the way she longs to be seen in the world — but who also needs money to get where she wants to be.

She is feeling the pressure to settle or accept a life that isn’t really what she wants …

She wants to wear a streak of pink in her hair. 

Or elephant pants to work. 

She’s happpiest when she’s fully aligned with her divine self.

But, when she’s working in a corporate job, she doesn’t feel alive let alone aligned.

What she feels in those 9-5 work hours — and the toll it pays on her life, time and energy — is called Languishing — a state in mental health that describes a condition where you are not depressed but not thriving either. 

Languishing is a no-joy land. It’s a no-pleasure space. 

And it’s also where so many women find themselves.

This is why I have been taking you deeper into the Politics of Languishing — to explain all the reasons why women have been languishing for years. We’re languishing because we’re stuck in a power system of overworking, perfectionism, being Good Girls and putting on a strong mask even when we’re totally burned out and exhausted.

Well, today I am diving into another political system we are trapped under and that is the — or sucking it up — that so many amazing, talented, star-powered women like you get stuck in stagnation and languishing rather than taking the risks — or, what I call Brave Yes Leaps — needed to show up more authentically and aligned in this unique journey of being human.

Listen to this on the Brave Yes Podcast or keep reading below! 

What happens when you feel trapped in your life or stuck in a bad job

We have all had to suck it up in our lives. Most of life, in fact, is about sucking it up — for at least the time being.

The question to ask yourself, though, is … “how long should I tolerate it?”

You may not feel like you are languishing because languishing is subtle. It can be evident to those around you or you may be the only one that knows. 

There are many signs to be aware of when you are truly languishing in a situation or career where you are not flourishing in mind, body and spirit. 

Believe it or not it is your right to thrive on this earth. You are worthy enough to feel good and have a good life. And to think otherwise is a sign that you need to make some changes to your inner belief system. 

When you feel trapped or stuck, though, there are signs that can help you snap out of the mundane survival mode you are stuck in. 

Those signs include:

  • Feeling like you are slogging through your days.
  • Exhaustion.
  • Waiting on perfect conditions to do what feels good
  • Resentment — what I call The Land of Bitter and Sour
  • Blaming Others or making excuses for your life
  • You have big dreams, but little follow through 
  • Low energy, low ambition
  • You’re just dialing it in at work and at home

These signs are little red flags to pay attention to to decide just how long you have to tolerate your circumstances.

Because the pressure to stay comfortable and not do big, bold things is so great that it’s easier to stay in place than to make a change.

The opportunities to advance and grow and move are few and the risk is too great and so we end up doing one of two things.

Settling or accepting.

And then, beyond that, we take it further to the extreme and decide to stick with it or leave it all together.

Thinking there are only two options — Leaning in or opting out — is binary way of thinking and only perpetuates the cycle of languishing.

The Pressure to Settle or Accept What isn't Serving You (And how to Thrive Anyway)

The Pressure to Settle or Accept What isn’t Serving You

“Never settle for less than you desire or deserve because when you accept crumbs people will assume that you are happy with scraps.” ― Stacye Branche

I’m always careful when I work with clients about one of my favorite practices: acceptance. It is what it is was a mantra I used for a long time.

Until I realized that sometimes it can work against you and cause women to settle too much into harmful, toxic situations.

For the record, I have NEVER been a settling type woman.

Settling is accepting less than you deserve or being treated in a way that isn’t serving you.

Settling isn’t the same thing as acceptance.

Acceptance is saying yes to an acceptable situation or circumstance with intention and purpose. You can accept a job that doesn’t go against your values while you work toward finding your life’s calling. 

You settle when you don’t feel you can do better. 

You settle when you don’t think you have anything more to offer.

You settle when your confidence is low or when you’ve lost sight of what’s most important to you and to your future self.

Acceptance, though, is about stepping into your power. It’s about making choices that are fully aligned and within your value system so while it’s not ideal it’s also not harmful or toxic. 

You can intentionally accept what isn’t serving you so long as you know that it’s for the short term.

But the goal of any situation where you are settling needs to be to get your to the next situation that is more acceptable.

And the goal for any situation where you are in full acceptance should be to get you to a place of thriving. 

All of these require you to move out of your comfort zone, though, or else you may remain in the land of land of bitter and sour and keep languishing for the rest of your life or career.

The Pressure to Settle or Accept What isn't Serving You (And how to Thrive Anyway)

Knowing when it’s time to leave your comfort zone

When I took the Brave Yes Leap to quit working my 9 to 5 job eight years ago, it would have been easy to stay in my comfort zone of that employer that offered great benefits and a decent salary.

However, like my client I mentioned at the start of this post, I was languishing. 

  • I wanted more time with my twin daughters. 
  • I absolutely wanted more time for my creative work. 
  • And I wanted freedom. 

To leave that job meant leaving financial security behind. It meant no more human resources and a steady paycheck. 

But to stay in a position that wasn’t helping me feel aligned in my life and creativity or making me feel good would have meant long-term languishing. 

At that point, for me, I knew I needed to choose courage over comfort — just like I did last year when I decided to change the direction of my coaching work. 

“Your comfort zone is the place where you can survive just fine. No harm done. But you don’t want to stay there too long. It can be a great resting space. A place to catch your breath. But after too long, it’s time to move.”

SHAWN FINK

Where you want to learn to get comfortable is in your stretch zone as it’s going to help you get to where you can thrive.

Your stretch zone is where the magic in life resides. It’s where you get to test your courage and your audacity — but not in a way that is too scary or too much.

If you ignore your stretch zone and jump straight into big, scary change you may end up in the danger zone. The danger zone is so overwhelming and so out there that you might quit before you get too far. This is like diving into the deep end when you can’t swim. This could have you sinking in a state of languishing before too long.

Start in the shallow end and move to the middle — that is where the stretch zone is.

But it all begins, first, with the second stage of change — understanding and being AWARE that there is, definitely, a problem and something needs to change.

That’s when you can start to prepare and set intentions to take action to address your challenging situation. 

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The Pressure to Settle or Accept What isn't Serving You (And how to Thrive Anyway)

Choosing Courage Over Comfort

When you choose courage over comfort, you will experience so much more than you ever could imagine.

You will no longer be slogging through the mud of life. Your steps will no longer feel heavy.

You will feel lighter.

A smile will pass your lips all day long.

You will be swept up in the current of your own bliss and joy.

You will be braver still because suddenly one scary brave yes makes all the others a little less so.

You will find new friends, new people who will gravitate to this new you. The more boundaried you.

But to do this, you must first choose yourself and invest in your own possibilities.

How many of us are women with little girls inside of us who had dreams that never came to fruition not because we weren’t capable but because we simply didn’t believe in ourselves or we didn’t have the stamina to keep doing the hard, uncomfortable parts of moving the needle in our life?

GET YOUR BRAVE ON! Sign up for the Brave Yes Newsletter

The Pressure to Settle or Accept What isn't Serving You (And how to Thrive Anyway)

Thriving in the Messy Middle between Settling and Thriving

If you are in a place where you are languishing or accepting what isn’t serving you, you are not alone and welcome to the start of your journey.

I work with women who feel ready for change in their soul. 

And, great news … you don’t have to languish — even if you are yet ready to make a change.

That is the beautiful thing about the journey toward wholeness. You can thrive right now AND work toward change that brings you full soul alignment.

Change is hard and takes time. It’s often filled with risk and uncertainty. 

It is actually a whole lot easier to begin by creating a beautiful life where you are right now so that you feel fully supported and resilient while you are working toward change.

So back to my client who decided she needs to suck it up and take the 9-5 job — her big worry was about losing herself — not just her time and creative energy –but her whole beautiful, authentic identity. 

And that worry is absolutely valid. 100 percent.

AND.

She can work on her thriving right now while she’s in the messy middle working toward her audacious, aligned life goals. And I told her I would absolutely help her with her time management and creative energy — that’s what I do — so that she doesn’t feel totally zapped by her day job.

And so I asked her about her frustration at not being able to self-express during her day job — what can she do to spice up her “vanilla work life?”

She had the perfect response …

“I will just go home and roll in sprinkles.”

brave yes coaching client

Rolling in colorful sprinkles is the perfect antidote to coping with a less than ideal — but acceptable — situation. 

You can thrive in place — so long as you know that you must keep moving. You must keep growing and changing and not giving up on yourself or your worth.

It’s OK to be in the comfort zone so long as you know it’s just a resting place, not a final destination. 

It’s OK to settle for a bit so long as you are working toward the life of your future self where you are the shining star.

If you need help leaving your comfort zone, let’s talk! I love to talk about your creative dreams, goals and ideas in my FREE coaching discovery calls. Learn more about my coaching philosophy here and book your FREE call so we can talk about YOUR path to thriving.