Acceptance doesn’t mean you like it.

by Julie Claire on October 16, 2014

julie daisies smallerA couple of weeks ago I gave a presentation to a group of Georgetown leadership coaches on ways to bring creativity into their coaching practices. I had two hours. It was the first time I was bringing pastels into a professional environment. I was nervous. Very nervous.

And two minutes before my time to start I notice that I have sizeable and caked on 3-inch diameter brown blob on my shirt. Was it mud? Chocolate? Or something from the bottom of my shoe? (OMG). I had no idea what it was but felt myself start to spin internally. Should I wash it off? But then there will be a big wet blob and its cold in the hotel…and I’ll be late!

I quickly realized that the only way to keep my very limited composure was to deal with it as it was: Dirty–but intact: No running around trying to fix things: Accept things as they were.

I remember myself thinking: “Okay this is the deal, I’m going in front of this group with this sizeable spot and that’s the way it’s going to be.“ Gulp.

The amazing thing to me (still amazing) is that as soon as I settled with that thought I found the moment shifted slightly -—I had found my sense of humor.

Acceptance Changes Things

For some reason this is the thought that  made me chuckle: “ Who in the audience would actually notice and who wouldn’t? “ My mood shifted out of the panic and into an odd sort of “take me as I am” kind of playful presence.

  • I didn’t like the mysterious brown spot
  • I didn’t want it there.
  • But I stopped trying to change it, fix it or hide it, I allowed it to be.

That’s the thing with acceptance:

  • We’re off the hook for not being perfect.
  • After taking a  reflective moment, we can decide to be with what is.
  • Sometimes it also means you can move on, continue, from a new starting place–Here–Imperfect.–As you are– Gulp.

Acceptance is in many ways the center-point of  your emotions,  a place of choice and new possibility.  It can  bring you out of the deeper darker states of emotions in the most profound times of your life.  In my own life and as a life coach I spend a lot of time navigating emotions that keep me and others hooked into the past and exploring those emotions that move us into the future in ways that we desire.

Is there a “brown blob” you would like to be able to accept in your life currently?

In what ways might acceptance bring you a new horizon?

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From the Inner Critic to the Muse

by Julie Claire on September 25, 2014

closeup ph

This past weekend, I led a two day intuitive painting workshop entitled: Finding Your Creative Flow. I had a blast. It was a beautiful gathering of six painters and me, everyone asking for greater connection to their innate creative energies.

Most everyone wanted to let loose and some participants particularly wanted to jumpstart their creativity with hopes of continuing to paint at home. Some wanted to grow personally, and others wanted to pick up a paintbrush for the first time with hopes that they might find they had a natural affinity to paint.

And amidst our beautiful intentions and open hearts, what became clear to all of us on the first day was that the inner critic was a force to reckon with.

The first day and the inner critic.


• The inner critic is great at stopping you from venturing forth into new ground.
• The critic tells you to go back to where you started.
• The inner critic is MEAN

And we did reckon with it. I shared how the inner critic is an archetype and not necessarily “personal”. Others shared the language the critic was using—phrases like: “That’s ugly”, “You can’t paint”, “You’re not getting this”, “What are you thinking, coming to this workshop?”

woman painting copyAnd we laughed. It’s amazing how enjoyable it can be to share the words the inner critic is using on us. We are not crazy, we are not the only ones, its just a fact of life….that when we show up to expand creatively we often have to work with the inner critic.

On Sunday morning as I was prepping for our second day of painting, I felt called to invoke an energy that was not at all in the camp of the critic, but an archetype of movement and flow. I asked my deeper self: what is wanting to be known in us today that knows how to experiment and explore? And my guidance brought me ”The muse. The muse is always in the room. Go there.”

So we went to the muse. We talked about who the muse is, we played with pastels for a few minutes as a way of releasing tension and perfectionism. We invoked her (the muse can be female or male), invited her into the painting time; I put music on that might call her forth; We danced…

How does the muse help us paint? The very nature of the muse is movement and flow. She is not the evaluator; she is the dancer, the singer, the painter–one step ahead of us (or many steps ahead), calling us to jump into the waters of creativity, asking us to let one word or one brushstroke, follow another.

wednesday morning hands adjustedWhat happened in the workshop? I am amazed by what people were able to paint. By the end of Sunday I felt like everyone had moved beyond their intellect and into a zone of creative exploration—new ground. There were paintings of expression, of color play, of personal meaning; One woman remarked how she is used to painting on one painting for several months, and that she had painted in two days what might usually take 6 months. Everyone had their own experience.

Where are you being stopped creatively these days? And in what ways might you invite the muse in to guide you into flow and ease, and beyond the cage of the inner critic?

If you’d like help experiencing your inner muse, sign up for a painting workshop and we’ll go there together. OR Try individual coaching with me and make it a priority to engage your inner muse.

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The gift of a little dream

September 15, 2014

Sometimes I distance myself from ideas of what my dreams are in life, because I want to be present to what is already magnificently showing up in my life.  At these times, the talk of “dreams” turns me off.  So often, so quickly, the conversation about dreams becomes too externally oriented–too “thingy”, too disconnected from […]

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You’re half way through your painting and you don’t like what it looks like, now what?

January 6, 2014

You’ve always wanted to express yourself creatively.  You decided to try intuitive painting.  You’re hoping something beautiful might somehow come out of you and become a painting. At first it’s a blast.  You’re using a big paint brush; You’re following your body’s rhythm; You’re painting! So much color, so much beauty.  It’s everything you thought […]

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The gift of allowing emotions in a painting session

September 27, 2012

                  Sometimes intuitive process painting is simply about having fun, putting color on a page; sometimes it is more about healing, self expression, or perhaps  an experience of jump-starting creativity.  It’s amazing at how many different experiences we can have when we invite our selves to a […]

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Exposing the Painting Process: My thick yellow authentic painting

August 14, 2012

One of my paintings. A unique experience. One that I know if I tried to repeat today would give me a completely different painting. I think of this one as my thick yellow authentic painting. Some months ago, I was in my Santa Fe studio and I decided to “go for it” with a painting.  […]

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Exposing the Painting Process: One Woman’s Painting

July 30, 2012

A process painting takes shape.  This is one woman’s process in a recent “Summer Saturday”.  We painted from 10am to 5pm with a nice lunch break, and lovely conversation and sacred circle. We were a group of five women, all willing to see what would happen if we brought ourselves to the paint and paintbrush. […]

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April 28, 2012

              Live Bigger I expect struggle. I expect to fall in love and lose you to another. I hold back. I protect. Until now. How can I keep this tenderness back? How can I not share this meeting of the heart? How can I not trust? The wind blows. […]

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Our Full Moon Ravens’ Nest

April 11, 2012

            Our Full Moon Ravens’ Nest and wet grass, carrying my friend’s book and my cup of green tea to the creek, hoping I have never been here before.

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Tuesday Morning

April 11, 2012

        Tuesday morning Our creek has become a river. It’s April and last year’s bridge has been broken. Wading through knee high water, my life requires me to trust the stronger pull of everything I know to be true. I’m 48 years old and there is nothing to hold onto.

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