Day 5 – Creativity Workshop Retreat in Mexico – #30dreamdays

2 Sep

“Everyone is creative. Creativity isn’t learned it is released”.                                                                                   – Donna Estabrooks

Watch this video and see if you don’t feel the creativity exploding all over the place?   Can I get me some of that?

I own 7 Donna Estabrooks paintings and I have given 2 away as gifts.  The 7 paintings have lined the walls of my home for more than 5 years and I am forever indebted to them for daily doses of inspiration that are breath to my creative soul.

The painting to the right hangs over my kitchen table, where I sit and work/write daily, as a great reminder.


From the personal collection of Chris & Nicole Colter

I stayed connected to Donna through Facebook and had heard of her Creative Classes and her Mexico Retreat but I have never given myself permission to DREAM of taking the time for myself to do either.  I WILL DO the Mexico Retreat someday but it may not be the next one which is scheduled for January 2014.

However, I can easily do the group creativity classes which are held nearby in her Amherst, MA studio every 3rd Sunday of the month from 1:00 – 3:00 PM and cost only $25.00 per person per session, materials and refreshments provided.   Or I can do a private or group session with a few of my friends (hint, hint) and it is just as cost-effective.

So why have I known about this for years and never given myself permission to do this?

All work and no play makes Nicole a dull girl…at least to herself.

I’m not saying I don’t play.  I do.  Regularly.  However, I tend to “go with the flow” and do the things that my husband or kids want to do.  I enjoy this time with my family and when getting together with friends we do something “the group” wants to do and that is fine…to a point.

The problem is I don’t make time to do what I want to do even if I have to do it alone.  I don’t even mind doing it alone.  I’ve went to conferences alone and even went on a tour of Europe in my 20’s with a group where I didn’t know anyone.

So why don’t I make the time to do this stuff?  My life coach Deb Cwynar Miller has gently challenged me as to whether I feel UNworthy.   Without fail I always swear I don’t.

But on the heels of last night’s UNdenial post I have to at least consider that I might have residual junk from my past that makes me put my desires consistently behind everyone else’s.  I have known that I have some “people pleaser tendencies”  and that I get easily enlisted to fix things for other people.  This can sometimes take an extraordinary amount of my time and I really do like helping people (and I’m good at it) but then what is left for ME?

The reality is that there is nothing left for me and the well I draw from to sustain my marriage  and family gets depleted as well.  I need creative outlets like a fish needs water.  I am taking those needs seriously these days because it is an act of survival.

It may not be a matter of physical survival but I’ve come pretty close to extinction of Nicole, the essence of ME.

According to Wikipedia, “The moment of extinction is generally considered to be the death of the last individual of the species, although the capacity to breed and recover may have been lost before this point. ”

Slowly over time, by choosing to put my husband, kids, family, friends, businesses before ME, I have come fairly close to the point of no recovery.

I value my roles as wife, mom, sister, daughter, friend, business owner but I choose to value my role as ME too.

I’m coming to believe that when I value ME appropriately, there will be so much more of ME to give to others.  That’s a WIN WIN and I like that!!!

On a side note, I bought all my Donna Estabrooks paintings through a barter exchange BEFORE I started my own barter exchange, Barter Matchmakers.  So her work (and its inspiration to me) is part of my own barter story, just like the ones I frequently tell to demonstrate just how powerful participation in a barter exchange can be.   As you can see, it can be life changing 🙂


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