I'm writing this from a hotel room in Berlin, Germany. My husband and I decided to take a day off from sightseeing to rest our feet and our brains. It's been a while since I've traveled overseas, for obvious reasons, and it's caused me to think a lot about cultural differences (I've already been admonished several times for not knowing some of the written and unwritten rules here!).
I'm starting another online workshop soon based on the book "The Artist's Way." At the beginning of the book, author Julia Cameron talks about the negative beliefs we may have about what it means to be an artist, including being broke, irresponsible, and ultimately doomed. She doesn't talk about where these ideas come from, though, until later in the book. The usual suspects of families of origin and academia are addressed, though U.S. culture as a whole is largely left off the hook.
Lately I've been wondering: Do they need "The Artist's Way" in Paris? Or any other culture that isn't American? I haven't done any research on this, and I honestly don't think one culture is better than another (though I do have my personal preferences) because there are always tradeoffs with any system. I do think it brings up an important point, though: Maybe there's nothing wrong with you for wanting to be creative. Maybe the problem is that your surroundings don't support your particular skills and interests.
This is a concept I've been exploring as I've delved into the neurodiversity-affirming movement, as well. Although there is a bit of debate about the definition of neurodiversity, it generally refers to cognitive brain differences such as ADHD, autism, dyslexia and dyscalculia (difficulty with math and numbers). To be affirming of neurodiversity is to see these brain differences as just that, differences and not "problems" to be solved. The focus is put on supporting the neurodivergent person's gifts and needs rather than trying to get them to fit into a more neurotypical society.
Although creative people can also be neurodivergent, it isn't always the case. I do think, however, we can borrow the idea that being creative is simply a brain difference — some people are naturally good at engineering, while others have a talent for painting (or maybe even all of the above!). Being drawn to creativity isn't a problem to be fixed; it's something to be celebrated. The culture around us may or may not support it, but that doesn't mean it's wrong. It doesn't mean *you* are wrong, either.
To quote Kasia Urbaniak from her book "Unbound": "We don't create desires, and we don't choose them — they arise within us." If you desire to be creative, that desire will never leave you. You *can* choose how you want to express yourself, though, given whatever circumstances you happen to be in at this particular moment. Sing a little song, write a little poem, or support an artist you appreciate. Honor that part of you that sparks joy (Marie Kondo's advice doesn't only apply to organizing sock drawers!). You may also find accepting the part of you that wants to be creative will help bring balance to other parts of your life, too.
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If you want more support for your creativity this summer, consider joining us for the next Artist's Way Workshop, starting June 10, 2022. We will meet 10-11:30am PDT Fridays for 12 sessions (skipping July 15). It's a great way to give yourself a respite from the day-to-day world.
Wishing you the best in all your adventures!
I felt honored to be a guest recently on the podcast Before You Kill Yourself. The host, Leo Flowers, is a comedian who also has a master's degree in counseling. (Something that may be even rarer than a former-journalist-turned-therapist like myself!) Leo's podcast offers hope to folks who may be feeling hopeless, and I enjoy how he uses his own life experiences (like any good comedian does) to help inspire others. I hope you like our free-flowing discussion about EMDR, the brain and body's ability to heal, and other fun meanderings.
P.S. My favorite clip from Leo's comedy is here.
The next Artist's Way Workshop begins online June 18, 2021! Here are some questions folks have asked about the group:
Is it OK if I miss one or two group meetings?
It is totally OK! It's normal to not be able to attend all of the meetings, especially during the summer. Because we review a chapter each week, you are more then welcome to keep up with self-study during the time you may be absent.
How big will the group be?
The group will have a maximum of 10 participants.
Will you have a weekend or evening option?
This may be available in the future. For now, our next 12-week group will be 10-11:30 am (PDT), starting June 18 and ending Sept. 3.
What is the cost?
Your investment will be $360 for the entire 12-week group. You may also choose an installment plan of two payments of $180 (more info here).
What is the difference between going through the book by oneself or in a group?
I've only met one person who's said they have completed the book on their own! There seems to be something about the book that works best with the support and accountability of the group process. Plus, it's a lot of fun!
What is the structure of the group meetings?
We will review one chapter each week over 12 weeks. Each group starts with a check-in, followed by a discussion of the chapter. We also will talk about creative tasks from the book the group chooses to focus on each week.
I've been checking out the idea of morning pages from the book. Is it OK if the things I write are negative?
Yes! It is for sure OK because the idea is to get all of those things out onto the page so you can focus on other things during the day.
Also re: morning pages, do I have to always write three pages? Do they always have to be written in the morning?
As far as I'm concerned, it's fine to write as much or as little as you like (I say if you don't have availability to write three pages, write three paragraphs). This is a little different from author Julia Cameron's guidelines, and you can choose for yourself what works best for you. I also think it's OK to write the pages whatever time of day works best for you. In other words, give it your best effort and don't let the details hold you back.
I have some other questions about the workshop. May I contact you?
Yes! You may send me a message here or schedule a time to chat here.
How do I register?
For more info and registration, click here.
See you soon!
I had a fun time talking with Vinnie Enriquez on the Road to Growth podcast. We touch on topics that are near and dear to me — creativity, business, and the importance of the therapeutic relationship. Also, this was my first live interview — that was an adventure! I kind of want to do it more now... Hope you enjoy the episode!
I've been interested in doing more podcast interviews recently because I enjoy having conversations about therapy and creativity. I've noticed how exhilarating and terrifying it can be to launch my voice into the world. It's different than a one-on-one discussion, like I'm used to in a therapy session. It's also different from public speaking, where only a certain number of people hear what I have to say. A podcast can be beamed just about anywhere, and anyone can listen to (and have opinions about) what I have to say. Yikes.
My latest interview was with FIVE Minute Bark (although my episode is 20 minutes long, that's still a clever title!). I was surprised to realize this was the first interview I've done that focuses on EMDR therapy (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). It was great to get the chance to chat about what I do in sessions and delve into what EMDR therapy is. I felt nervous being a representative of sorts for EMDR, even though I am trained, have been practicing it for several years, and am in the process of completing my EMDR certification. Hello, imposter syndrome!
How did I deal with this imposter syndrome? First, I thanked the part of me that was feeling scared. I thanked it for trying to protect me. And, knowing this part probably came from a younger place, I reminded it I also have an adult part that has gained many resources, skills, and experiences over the years. I invited the younger part of me to go play and have fun, knowing the adult me could handle whatever comes up.
You can find my latest podcast interview here. I hope it's helpful, and if you have any questions about EMDR or anything else, please feel free to contact me and schedule a time to chat.
I've been watching a YouTube channel a lot recently called TwinsthenewTrend. I enjoy it for many reasons, one of them being the entrepreneurial spirit of its originator, Timothy Williams. Timothy and his twin brother, Fred, are 22-year-olds who live in Gary, Indiana. In their videos they react to hearing certain songs for the first time from all kinds of music genres they weren't familiar with, including jazz, blues, rock, and country.
Watching someone respond to music may seem as exciting as watching paint dry. Yet these two brothers are so sincere and engaged in the process, it almost feels like I'm hearing these songs for the first time along with them. It's addicting, and it's one of the only things bringing me true, joy right now in the middle of a pandemic.
The reason I feel inspired by Timothy in particular is because of his dedication to authenticity and his desire to achieve his goals. Especially in the earlier videos, he talks about doing things his own way and being true to himself and his vision. He and his brother have transformed their channel from a personal project to a 350,000-plus-subscriber behemoth in the span of one year. And they're only getting started...
Which brings me to my recent podcast interview with Lindsay Bryan-Podvin of Mind Money Balance. In the episode I talk about the challenges of finding my own way with my therapy business and sticking with it. I also acknowledge the privilege and support I've had from my partner and others in building my business and achieving my goals. I hope you find the episode inspiring (it was a lot of fun to record!).
Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions or want to chat about niching or marketing, whether you're a creative person, a therapist, or both!
Three years ago I wrote a blog post about how some white therapists view their role in discussing issues of race with clients. I thought this would be a good time to revisit the idea.
Race is built into who we are as Americans. Even when we don't notice it, it is there. I strongly believe it is appropriate to bring up in therapy because I also believe we as therapists should be treating the whole person, not just particular parts. And I also believe we have a responsibility to the greater society to address difficult issues. I know I can do better myself, and there is always more to learn and do.
The Light Stream exercise was created by Francine Shapiro, the founder of EMDR, in 2001. I recorded a version of this exercise recently and am happy to share it here — I hope it helps bring you a sense of peace of calm to allow you to continue to do what's important to you in life.
What a difference two months makes.
The photo on the left was taken Feb. 12 in my therapy office in San Diego. The one on the right is from April 24. I stopped seeing clients in person March 12. I moved out of my office permanently May 9. For the time being, I am now an online-only therapist seeing clients from my home.
I loved my office. I LOVED my office. After moving in a year and a half ago, I wanted to spend all of my time there. It was my biggest creative project ever, and I never took it for granted.
It was a joy to create a space I hoped would feel safe and comfortable for my clients. A friend said being in my office felt like relaxing in a garden. To me it was like being immersed in an underwater oasis – all blues and teals.
I loved it.
And then the pandemic hit. About a month later, a colleague mentioned she was looking for a full-time office space to conduct online therapy sessions — having roommates and a cat wasn't conducive to her home office. Even though I haven’t known this friend very long, I immediately realized she would love my space. It was meant for her, and offering it to her seemed like the best thing to do.
It also seemed like the worst thing to do. Another part was very much like: “What?!?! Why would you do that? You love your space. You've worked so hard for it." There were tears, there were consultations, there were responses during those consultations that looked like this:
Them: Well, it sounds like you’ve already made up your mind about your office...
Me: Yes, I think you’re right but, Noooooooo!!!!!
I allowed myself to grieve and let go, and it was all because of these reasons:
My therapy couches went to a good friend, and they now look spiffy at her place. I know she will respect all of the emotional hard work that happened on those sticks of furniture.
And that’s all that my office was in the end – couches, lamps, artwork, tea kettle, teddy bear. Now I have lots of cool stuff I get to enjoy in my home, in a different context.
There is one thing that hasn't changed. Early on in the quarantine when my clients and I first started meeting online, I reminded them that they were still them and I was still me. The most important part of therapy – our relationship – remained intact. Nothing will ever change that.
I may decide to have an office space again one day. Or maybe I’ll meet with clients occasionally in the park for walk-and-talk sessions if and when it’s safe to do so.
In the meantime, I’ve been able to do some good work online – even EMDR reprocessing has been effective over video, much to my happy surprise.
As a friend advised me when I was making my decision whether or not to keep my office, right now it’s important to have the ability to adapt. It feels strange not being able to make plans for the future of my life or my business because no one knows what the future holds. But we we're all trying our hardest and making decisions with the information we have on hand at the time. It’s the best we can do.
Rachel Moore, LMFT, is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapy in San Diego, CA. Rachel helps writers, artists, musicians, and other creative types overcome anxiety, trauma, and depression. She is trained in EMDR therapy.