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Archive for the 'Play Dates' Category

I look back and it seems like magic—2020 in review

Monday, December 21st, 2020

This year was hard, but my clients and I found creative ways to succeed. In what has been a hugely stressful year for all of us, I look back at some of the highlights of 2020 and it seems like magic. In March we were deliberating whether to go to Tonga. Signs of Covid-19 were distant rumblings on the horizon. We all thought it would blow over. A friend, who is very senior in the Foreign Ministry, said with no small degree of urgency, “If you are going to go, go now and hurry home.”

New Zealand customs were not what they are now. Everything was normal. Yet when we arrived in Tonga the customs people there were dressed in full-body blue protective suits. It seemed strange. Surreal. A little over the top. Someone close to our Prime Minister told us she had said, “It’s just media hype.”

So we continued on. As normal. So, yes, as I look back now at our wonderful time at Fafa Island Resort, it does seem like magic. Because it was! 

 

 

Playing with my watercolours, creating art in the most beautiful eco-resort, with very few people around and even fewer technological trappings was opium for my creatively parched soul. The Internet was intermittent, but we didn’t care. We just wanted to switch off. It was the first time my partner had been without his phone or email for DECADES.

 

You have been wonderful guests which Fafa Island needs and is there for and you really “got” our little island. Speechless to hear that Laurie didn’t turn on his phone once – that’s exactly what we want for our guests!! Go back to nature and enjoy BEING as you wonderfully said Cassandra.

I am personally very sorry, that we couldn’t say “See you soon” to each other as I went to town with my little one.

But we hope to welcome you in the near future back to Fafa Island

Till then we wish you all the best

Warmest greetings from our little island
Julia and your Fafa Family

 

Several months ago we learned the Island is to be sold. I doubt we will ever be back.

We returned to a still-in-denial-New Zealand rejuvenated and committed to BEING.

Which I’m sure helped when two weeks later New Zealand went into a tail-spin, sirens blazed, and cellphones quaked with emergency alerts. New Zealanders were now in lockdown and no one was to leave their homes—under threat of arrest.

There was very little warning. EVERYONE was thrown into a tailspin. Not all families handled it ‘kindly.’

Lockdown unlawful for first nine days, High Court finds

The first nine days of lockdown were deemed unlawful, the New Zealand High Court ruled. New Zealanders were not actually required by law to stay at home in their “bubbles” until April 3, more than a week into lockdown, the ruling found. Too late. We had been locked in by then.

You can read the rest of the article here: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/covid-19-coronavirus-lockdown-unlawful-for-first-nine-days-high-court-finds-but-says-action-was-justified

The decisions taken by the New Zealand Government in March to “go hard and go early” closed many businesses. Some people never recovered their livelihoods. Not everyone is agreed that the decision was the right one. Simply closing the border much, much earlier may have been better. Simply closing the border could have saved lives.

Simply closing the boarder may have meant that sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, grandparents, nieces and nephews who lost their loved ones to stress-induced suicide would be hugging their beloved this Christmas and in the years to follow.

Simply closing the border may have deescalated the horrendous rise in New Zealand’s already shameful domestic violence statistics.  Stay-at-home orders, intended to protect the public and prevent widespread infection, left many victims trapped with their abusers. Alcohol sales spiked and so did rage.

For many, 2020 did not, and does not seem like magic.

LOOKING IN THE REVIEW MIRROR

Sometimes looking back provides perspective. My partner and I were discussing, how much of our stress was incurred in the decade prior. Check out 2018 in review for a snapshot of the good, the bad, and the ugly a mere two years ago. Below is an excerpt:

One of my clients described 2018 as annus horribilis, roughly translated this means it was an absolutely horrendous year. Perhaps you can relate to that. 

And I’d have to agree. What a beastly year! I had copyright craziness, scary moments with certain industry giants, and drama galore—including narcissistic bosses and bullying builders during our home renovation process. But, as I once read, “you need chaos to give birth to a dancing star.”

Through all the mayhem I’ve emerged stronger. Where others may have given up in despair or drowned their angst in a bottle or a sea of pills, I’ve gone through it all unmedicated and sober. I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression and even collapsed. But I bounced back and I’ve thrived and grown. And I have been blessed to have been both supported and able to support others.

I’ve benefitted from integrating and applying many of the strategies I share in my self-empowerment books—most importantly:

 Bounce: Overcoming Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy

Mind Your Drink: The Surprising Joy of Sobriety (Control Alcohol, Discover Freedom, Find Happiness and Change Your Life)

Stress Less. Love Life More: How to Stop Worrying, Reduce Anxiety, Eliminate Negative Thinking and Find Happiness

How To Find Your Passion And Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want and Live the Life You Love

and my Art of Success Series, inspired by Coco Chanel and my mentor Leonardo da Vinci.

 

 

It was ‘magical’ in 2020 to be ordered, enforced, and mandated to isolate in our little bubble—hard-won and well-deserved.

Sometimes, clients write to me and say with well-intended envy “I keep thinking of you up there in your piece of paradise.” I remind them that it wasn’t always this way—and as with anything you want, there is a price to pay.

 

 

 

Sometimes when life throws mud in your face you have to laugh. Laughter truly is the best therapy. I shared this in my one of my newsletters and a psychologist in America sent a toxic reply!

And now the house is finished, the lawn looks like a golf course and will be featured in New Zealand House and Garden in the New Year. The feature comes out 16 January and is the February edition. My advice to anyone embarking on a major (3-year) home renovation is…BUCKLE UP, BRACE FOR THE STORMS AND HANG ON FOR THE RIDE—IT’S WORTH IT!

 

And you need to surround yourself with people who believe in the beauty of you and your dreams.

During times of uncertainty, you need to surround yourself with people who believe in the beauty of you and your dreams. Which is what I try to do with my self-empowerment books. I try to share my story and those of other men and women overcoming obstacles to live and work with passion and purpose.

Some of the stories I share are about changing careers and finding happiness again.

 

 

 

Some of the stories I share are about breaking free of the tribe. 2020 marked the expansion of my Transformational Super Kids stories.

This year I wrote and narrated and painted the cover of Lulu is a Black Sheep—one of my favourite stories about ignoring people who try to discourage you and stomp on your dreams. As you’ll read toward the end of the blog, I released three new books in the series in 2020. 

 

 

 

 

In December 2020 I wrote a new book, Cassie is a Giraffe (for release in 2021). I share my love of giraffes and how they lead me to overcome fear, doubt, anxiety and shame—and start a publishing company, Blue Giraffe Publishing, in many of my self-empowerment books.

The logo was drawn by my niece when she was just six-years-old—playfulness and embracing your inner child is a hallmark of my spiritual approach to life and work. In 2020, I created a course, Play Dates to take my message to a global audience. It was exciting that a woman in the UK in her 70’s was the first to enrol!

 

As I share on my blog, Does talk therapy actually work?

 

I have trained in a technique called Interactive Drawing Therapy and have found it to be an incredible tool in my own life and in my sessions with others. The simplest of drawings, a line, a colour, a scrawled phrase or word can powerfully access parts of the psyche we often repress, bringing unhelp subconscious belief to light. In an alchemical process, wounds are spun into gold.

When I first trained in Interactive Drawing Therapy the teacher asked for a volunteer. No hands were raised so he picked me. What harm could it do, I thought, being as skilled as I was at keeping a lid firmly on my feelings.

“Draw an animal,” he said.

Sure, I thought. Great. Harmless. I drew a giraffe.

“Put some colour on the page,” the teacher gently guided.

My giraffe became pink with green, purple and yellow spots. What fun I thought.

“Where is she?” the teacher asked. “Draw this on the page.”

I drew large grey and black rectangles, symbolizing office blocks, cars belching smoke, and a road, not unlike Lambton Quay, in Wellington, New Zealand where I went to work in a job I hated every weekday.

“Put some words on the page,” the teacher whispered.

“She doesn’t want to stand out.”

And then it dawned on me, just as the words slipped onto the page. That giraffe was me. And the fact was I did stand out—naturally. I had always been different. And I had struggled unsuccessfully to belong.

“She can’t help but stand out,” my tutor affirmed. “It’s who she is.”

For me, this awareness was so new, so potent, so transformative, that I knew instantly there was work to do. I began to understand the deep social anxiety I had felt as a child and carried with me through adolescence—and with it the drinking and reckless behaviour I had adopted to belong, to bolster the confidence I never felt, to hide the discomfort of living in my own skin.

 

My greatest joy is helping you bring your dreams to life. One of my favourite quotes is, “passion is the fire that drives us to express who we really are.” Whether you’re 40, 50, 60+ it’s never too late to be happily, joyfully, beautifully you.

 

 

I’m a renaissance woman with many passions—artist, storyteller, intuitive guide & mentor—all united by a love of providing inspiring, whole-hearted worklife solutions which spark joy. I’VE HELPED HUNDREDS OF MEN AND WOMEN around the world free themselves from doubt, guilt and fear to achieve the life they wanted. I’ve created art for the soul that’s changed lives. Creativity is my superpower.

I believe in the transcendent power of beauty, joy, love, purpose, and creativity to change careers, elevate your health and transform your life. Why? Because it has mine.

 

 

I have created my Transformational Super Kids stories to appeal to both adults and children. If you, or your child, could do with an inspirational boost, Please accept my free gift—Billy is a Balloon. I hope you enjoy this short, empowering story. Click here for the free audiobook – written and narrated by me>> https://dl.bookfunnel.com/znooq2ocme

 

 

 

CASSANDRA THE PROPHET

People often call me visionary—it helps that my name is Cassandra (the ancient princess given the gift of prophecy). Besides envisioning our move from Wellington to the beautiful and warm Bay of Islands, and later our home renovation, I’ve enjoyed providing spiritual readings and sharing my love of oracle and tarot cards. I’ve loved reading the Akashic records for clients. And I’ve loved sharing the simple things that give joy.

 

 

 

 

GRATITUDE IS YOUR SUPERPOWER

I feel blessed that over a decade ago I made the decision to pursue a location-independent career—and have helped other passionpreneurs do this too. The picture below was taken on Fafa Island Resort in Tonga after I jumped off a coaching call with a client in Australia.

The great blessing of already being location independent was lockdown was less stressful. Clients, old and new, reached out from all around the world for help to manifest their dreams. Many new clients had read Mid-Life Career Rescue and wanted individual help, tailored to their dreams.

I love sharing everything I have learned—including how to create a publishing empire.  Several moons ago, a beautiful lady (but then frustrated) writer, Heather, contacted me for help to publish her children’s empowerment stories. She’d been penning her healing words for years but no one was able to read her beautiful stories. They were all in her head, her notebooks, her computer.

After her mentoring programme, she now has her own boutique publishing business and her books can be enjoyed by children, parents and teachers ALL OVER THE WORLD.

A beautiful side-effect has been the increased exposure as an expert that sharing her teachings has given her. She quit her salaried job and is now flying solo with her own business – Kaleidoscope Solutions.

 

2020, also the audiobook release of How to Find Your Joy and Purpose co-written with my daughter and narrated by Hannah Joy too! This is a fabulous book for anyone struggling right now. As you’ll read, (or hear) even tiny moments of joy can be healing.

 

 

 

 

After a 12-year-hiatus, I’ve started painting again. The gift of our blissful time at Fafa Island Resort was the quiet time to paint. I took a tiny box of watercolours, a few sheets of paper, and flowed! I was so inspired by the trees, the flowers, the birds, the sea, the climate, the people my output was prolific. Staff went in search of more watercolour paper. No easy feat to find on a remote island in Tonga pre-lockdown! Sunny, the assistant manager, was more thrilled than I was when the boat arrived with more paper!

 

Albert Einstein once said, “Creativity is contagious. Pass it on.” Genius! So I did just this with one of my artworks which I gifted in 2020.
I painted and named the painting, Te Ataroa (The Long Morning), after the beautiful baby born three months ago to a very proud young couple. Her name is Te Ataroa and she is the younger sister of the little girl who died before she was born. Te Ataroa is an added blessing. Translated her name means “the long morning”.
Their angel babies name is Te Ahikā Heta. Te Ahika translates to The Home Fire. Its meaning is to keep the home fires burning.
Traditional Maori believe that the spirit continues to exist after death and that the deceased will always be with them. Once someone has died they will go to the spirit world. Their loved ones do not disappear from their lives, or reincarnate as someone else, but live amongst them still, in the spiritual realm.
As I painted, I imagined Te Ataroa’s sister, Te Ahikā Heta, shining down on her from the heavenly realms sending her, her mum and dad, brothers and extended family her love and light.
I was so delighted that this painting was exhibited in The Beauty of Resilience exhibition and to have been able to gift it to Te Ataroa’s and Te Ahikā Heta’s mum and dad and to the family.
It was especially beautiful to receive this reply when I reached out to offer the painting,
“Awwww thank you soooo much we would absolutely love it! Im in tears right now it means sooo much.”
Originally they had planned to place it in Te Ataroa’s bedroom but are now planning to place it in the lounge because ‘we want everyone to see it when they walk in the house. And again thank you soooo much we deeply appreciate it and we love it soooo much.”
This is why I love to paint. Art heals, art connects, art sends love letters to the world.
THE SCIENCE OF HAPPINESS AND POWERFUL CREATIVITY
Neurobiologists have found that creating and viewing art results in the release of dopamine—your happy feel-good chemical. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that controls the brain’s pleasure and reward centres.
Isolation and stress caused by coronavirus have made many of us feel depressed, fatigued and despondent. Others feel overwhelmed. and lethargic, painting can calm the body to help you feel more grounded and clear in this confusing and overwhelming time.
Happily, scientists have found that creating and observing art can reduce cortisol, known as the ‘stress hormone.’ Creativity, whether you are the creator or the appreciator, releases uplifting endorphins and can even increase hopefulness and heighten your ability to problem solve!
If I’m to label myself it is as an abstract expressionist – expressing often feelings I wish to take away, or rather transcend, like sadness or grief or overwhelm. Replacing them instead with beauty, compassion and transcendence.
I hope that people who look at my works will feel the same sense of beauty that I have infused into them as they were created.
Here are a few examples, to illustrate:
“True love”
True love is complicated, multi-textured, layered. So it seems appropriate that my current work in progress is taking on multiple dimensions. I never know where or how the painting is going to end, I just work intuitively and try to put my feelings on the canvas. The definition of abstraction, I’ve come to learn, means to take away.
“Te Ataroa”
As I shared above, this painting was named after the beautiful baby born three months ago to a very proud young couple. They had lost a little girl earlier who passed before she could be held in their arms. Te Ataroa is an added blessing. Translated her name means “the long morning”.
I enjoyed transcending the feeling of sadness into those of spiritual protection, empowerment and joy.
“When our mother saw that painting she cried,” the couple told me.
“Serene and beautiful and makes me feel like I’m in a spring garden. Love it!” Another lady wrote.

“A fine work of art—music, dance, painting, story—has the power to silence the chatter and lift us to another world.” ~ Robert McKee

 

Painting, writing and creating, is an opiate for me. Even when I feel sad, when I create I feel transported to a happier realm. My wish is that people who hang my paintings in their home or office will feel happy too.
Commissions are welcome – especially for large scale work. I love BIG!
Discover the joy of your own creativity….check out Play Dates>>

 

 

 

 

As I share in Play Dates,

I love to write paint, take photographs and have dabbled in a great deal many other things during my life—including making stained glass Tiffany-style lampshades, pottery, knitting, crochet, cross-stitch. You name it, I’ve tried it. They take me out of this world, out of my mind, into the realms of the divine. I find great comfort there.

Get drunk on creating—yes, please! It’s a positive addiction I’m happy to feed.

“I love the chaos. I do everything I’m not meant to do. I used to drink like an animal, but now I use my art to express the chaos in my mind,” says Sir Antony Hopkins about the joy he finds in painting. “I used to take myself so seriously. I have an obsessive personality. I do everything fast. I want to do everything I can because time is running out”, he says. “I want to express colour. Maybe it’s reaching for some sort of divine.”

Don’t get caught up in the classical definitions of an artist when you think about creativity, you don’t have to be an artist, painter or sculptor to be creative. Expressing your thoughts or imagining what doesn’t yet exist and then bringing it into being lies at the heart of creative expression. You could harness the transformational power of creativity by:

• Imagining or dreaming what could be, for example, your life of sobriety

• Challenging the status quo, as I am in the writing of this book, or generating solutions and new ideas

• Designing new products or services, perhaps instead of drinking you will pour your heart and soul into creating something you are proud of

• Expressing thoughts and feelings, visually, that are too big or too difficult to put into words

• Or doing something else that helps you deal with life and creates joy in your heart.

One of the most liberating features of the creative process is that it triggers moments of vitality and connection.

“The arts address the idea of an aesthetic experience,” says Ken Robinson, an internationally recognised leader in the development of creativity.

“An aesthetic experience is one in which the senses are operating at their peak, when you are present in the current moment, when you are resonating with the excitement of this thing that you are experiencing, when you are fully alive.”

Being fully alive is part of the enchantment that creative expression holds. This transformational process connects you to your authentic self. But to free yourself you must act. As Shakespeare once said, “Joy’s soul lies in the doing.”

How can you harness the power of creativity in your own life?

In 2020, I illustrated several of my own books—playfully!

 

And, I gave Billy is a Balloon away too—making it free so children of all ages going through the challenges that COVID-19 has created had something to keep their spirits up.

It was awesome too, to see so many people reach out and seize the opportunity to truly transform their lives. People like, Brett—a tiler—with a passion for helping others who decided in his young 60’s he wanted to make life and career coaching part of his career.

I take to heart, “I like the diversity of projects Cassandra is involved in….a sense that Cassandra is constantly challenging herself but giving herself permission to grow and change.”

Giving myself permission means not all my seeds are ripening into fruit. Like you, I have to be patient, I have to keep watering my new career plants, and swiping the predators away. Recently, I’ve decided to open my own gallery—a major new direction. Like any new venture, it is unlikely to yield profits immediately. Long-term, as domestic tourism increases and the Bay of Islands continues to be a hot spot, the outlook looks good. The fact is, there are seldom iron-clad guarantees. Which is why so many people stay stuck in a rut.

 

 

If Brett Could Change His Career At 60, So Can You

“I feel like I can say to people in a huge range of situations – ‘Yes, I see you.'” 

~ Brett Muir, Point of Change

 Brett Muir’s personal story of reinvention is an inspiring call to action for us all. At a time in life when many midlifers believe they are too old to change, Brett is challenging convention. “I want to make this my best decade yet,” he told me when I asked, “Why now? Why change careers and train to become a Worklife Solutions Certified Career and Life Coach?”

As you’ll read, Brett first embarked on training with another provider, only to find it didn’t meet his growing needs. But that’s not the real story. The real story is his vision for her coaching business, Point of Change and his deep desire to help others make a change for the better. And within weeks of started his training, ran toward another aspect of his vision, a forum to bring like-minded people together. 

I will let Brett tell his career reinvention story, but one of the things I most love  (as you’ll read below) was the way he did his due diligence before making a leap—but more importantly, when life threw a few financial hurdles in his path he used out of the box thinking and found another way. Read how Brett change careers in his 60’s here>>http://worklifesolutions.nz/if-brett-could-change-his-career-at-60-so-can-you/

Who knows when we will travel again. But as I look back on 2020 (and those previous) I’m glad we chased our dreams. We didn’t wait for perfect timing, we took extraordinary risks, and we lived, and still do, with audacity. So many friends have said to us, “We’re waiting until we retire to travel.” These people now live with regret.

Clients have said to me, “Don’t you do what you love when you retire?”

After years of reaching out to me but never taking any action, Lisa*, Lisa is now midway through her transformational coaching programme with me.

 During our first session she was in such extreme anguish she spent most of the call crying and sobbing. 

 “I’m sorry. I’m sorry,” she cried.

 “Crying is great. Crying is therapeutic. Crying opens the floodgates to healing,” I told her.

 A common response to trauma is emotionally numbing. As I write in my short book, The Boy Who Cried,” some people are so buried in pain that they can’t cry.”

 I know, I was once like that myself. It took a Chinese acupuncture session to release the tears trapped inside. (the needles pinned around my eyes may have helped!).

 There are times Lisa feels as though she is not worthy, not living her purpose—not, not, not…

 Self-love is a major life lesson for her. Isn’t it for many of us?

 We have come into this life to learn love, compassion, and to know our own power. As I reminded Lisa, the fact she had the courage to contact me and ask for help—and then act on it—is a massive sign of strength. So many people are like a man I once met who told me,

 “I’ve spent 40 years looking out the window wishing I was somewhere else.”

 Courage is heeding the call of your weeping heart and embarking on the hero’s journey to transformational change.

 

SOME NEWS I DIDN’T CELEBRATE

Not everything was roses and chocolates this year. But nothing was fatal. I missed my self-imposed deadline for Word by Word: Lessons on Writing, Love, and Life and also my romance Love Me As I Am—and super disappointingly, I also missed my deadline for my humongous Rennaissance-inspired art-related fiction novel.

It’s important not to beat yourself up when things don’t go to plan, but acknowledge what you have achieved as well as the obstacles overcome. There’s plenty of time to make it big in 2021. Which is why I like keeping an Achievements or “I DID IT” section in the back of my Passion Journal. Grab your FREE passion journal tip sheet here>>

Here are just a few things I noted:

 

4 Feb Created and held “Creative Unblocking Course”

11 Feb Sold my watercolour “The Sun Also Rises” and two other paintings

14 Feb created the concept for my art gallery

14 Feb Released my RomCom Sex With Strangers (after ten years!)

 

16 Feb Created more “flow” paintings—The Cosmic Heart and Infinity and experimented with encaustic art using pure pigment and NZ beeswax

 

17 Feb Invited to join a group exhibition – later opening during COVID and called The Beauty of Resilience (my first group exhibition in 12 years)

Feb- March  Went to Fafa Island! Created many, many new works including ‘Waterflowers”

19 March sold my first painting via Instagram

23 March wrote and narrated published Jojo Lost Her Confidence

30 March wrote and narrated and published Lulu is a Black Sheep.

25 April  wrote and narrated and published Billy is a Balloon

18 May NZ House and Garden came to photograph our house

28 May Sold two more watercolours

11 June Commissioned to write two pieces for New Zealand House and Garden

15 July Started writing a screenplay

06 August Entered an art award

August Successfully set an intention and provided oracle readings for clients

8 September Beauty of Resilience exhibition opened and my painting was the lead. Sold three paintings

17 November Launched Play Dates course

20 November Exhibited paintings in Pure Day Spa and sold Sunday Surprise

 

So all-in-all, along with coaching clients, it’s been a tremendously creative year.

But a few dirtbags have sullied things. In our hood, a group of developers has embarked on an aggressive campaign of lies and bullying to promote their plan to profit at the expenses of locals. When I spoke up at a meeting I was targeted. Later, they resorted to calling me a ‘scary woman.’ That’s fine by me. Scary says, “don’t f*ck with me!” If you don’t stand up for things that are just plain wrong you may as well be a vegetable. What kind of vegetable? A cabbage! (I’m borrowing from a line I love in the movie The World’s Fastest Indian.)

 

I think it was around then that my ‘achievements’ took a bath. You’ll note above, between Sept and November I was less productive. A lot was going on—much of which I can’t share as it impacts others. What I can share is my lesson. As filmmaker and fellow Transcendental meditator, David Lynch wrote in his excellent book, Catching The Big Fish,

“It’s good for the artist to understand conflict and stress. Those things can give you ideas. But I guarantee you, if you have enough stress, you won’t be able to create. And if you have enough conflict, it will just get in the way of your creativity. You can understand conflict, but you don’t have to live in it.
In stories, in the worlds that we can go into, there’s suffering, confusion, darkness, tension, and anger. There are murders; there’s all kinds of stuff. But the filmmaker doesn’t have to be suffering to show suffering. You can show it, show the human condition, show conflicts and contrasts, but you don’t have to go through that yourself. You are the orchestrator of it, but you’re not in it. Let your characters do the suffering.
It’s common sense: The more the artist is suffering, the less creative he is going to be. It’s less likely that he is going to enjoy his work and less likely that he will  be able to do really good work.”
It’s been a good year, but a stress year with much uncertainty and some horrid behaviour. This year Laurie and I decided to stay in our bubble more and avoid getting caught up in people’s stress. We waved “ta-ta-see-you-and-your-drama-later” to some people.
And I said a big, giant hello to new friends and clients. I feel blessed to have connected with incredible people all around the world through my books, my courses, and my coaching programmes. You inspire me! Thank you for following me and reaching out and sharing your troubles and your joys. So many of the things I created this year, and those previous, were inspired by you.

GOOD NEWS TO END THE YEAR

In December we rescued a native wood pigeon… a Kereru… who flew into my studio and was thrown by the glass. There was no way we could leave her in the garden to await her fate. We live on 10-acres and there are many, many natural predators.
So we carried her into our bathroom and began the search for a suitable animal rescue person the following morning. After a round-trip of over an hour, we left her in the care of Raewyn, a retired lady with a passion for saving animals. To say my heart was glad was an understatement when we received the good news of ‘Kiri’s” speedy recovery. It was lovely to receive her feedback too.
💕💓 Makes my job worthwhile. Thank you for saving her”
Saving the baby Kereru was a team effort. We were so pleased to see Kiri fly like the wind. Especially as we saw her mother looking for her. The baby came home on the 18th of December and was released back where she belongs.

Raewyn did a fabulous job staying in touch with me and letting me know how things were going and then telling us what to do when we released her. I popped her on a branch and after a few seconds she just took off

On the 20th of December, I looked to the sky and at that moment she flew over my head:)Good news to celebrate!

WHAT DOES 2021 LOOK LIKE?

If you put practicality aside for just a moment, dream a very large dream of what you would ideally like as an artist, an author, (insert your burning desire) with your career having gone in the direction you like. Imagine it is three or more years from now and everything has happened to you that you desire. What does that mean exactly? How much are you earning, where are you living, and all the details?
If you’re struggling to clarify your dreams or just don’t believe you can make them come true…

My biggest joy is making your dreams come true.

 

Until, then

 

Wishing you and those you love a very peaceful, happy, and healthy Christmas

 

P.S. The flyers for my gallery just arrived—in time for Christmas!
AND I HAVE SOME EXCITING NEWS TO SHARE WITH YOU IN THE NEW YEAR
Thank you Naomi, for emailing me the below feedback after you read the blog!
DID YOU ENJOY THIS POST?

You may enjoy:

Emotional alchemy—the spontaneous healing power of joy

 Why Being Inspired Matters: The Spontaneous Fulfillment and Healing Power of Joy

 

Online Courses: 

Find Your Passion and Purpose with my best-selling self-paced course made for busy people>>

Play Dates: Online Creativity Workshop>>

Have fun, explore, enrich your life 

Art by Cassandra:

Cassandra’s Gallery

 


Keynote speaking: Hire me to speak to your organization or team about Resilience, wellbeing, innovation, and motivation.

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For personalized help schedule a session with Cassandra here >>

Why playing small is your success strategy

Tuesday, December 15th, 2020

Why play small? 

 

 

I recently shared why playing small with not a great career option. But here’s the thing. All advise can be negated!

Especially when it comes to going on a Play Date…

Create something small just to play and see if you enjoy it. I set my timer to twenty minutes, sourced some paper from old romance novels and had a play with paper collage. The image above is the result. I’ve called it “Sweet Tart” (read the insert from the novel and you will see why!) Sweet Tart is a collection of original collages combining used and found papers as well as whispers of original paintings.

I loved it. It was very meditative, quiet, and completely absorbing. Best of all it has sparked a desire to explore this further (also fitting unexpectantly with my paper butterflies.) From my initial unstructured play, I am now going to explore how to bend paper gently, and how to fix and frame these delicate pieces. And guess what, creating this project only took 12 minutes.

I also created these two artworks – again, in less than the time it takes to buy a coffee!

Here’s Angela inspiring career change story…because sometimes small ‘aint where your joy is at!

 

Playing small? Angela’s story- moving from boredom to career fulfilment

Angela was 41 and a single parent of two young daughters. At the time she came to see me she was working as an air hostess, a job she had been doing for over 10 years. She was feeling stressed by the shift work and her inability to care for her daughters as much as she liked. Her self-esteem and confidence were also suffering. She had been adopted and never felt she had achieved anything significant in her life. This was especially the case when she compared herself to her siblings who had done well academically.

The desire for a better future for herself and her daughters spurred her on to make some dramatic changes. “I went back to school and retrained to be a counsellor because I wanted to do something different and to truly help people. I wanted to be a specialist but I didn’t feel like I had any skills because I had only been an air hostess for the last 10 years.”

Helping Angela to visualize her preferred future was an important step in preparing her for the challenges of going back to study as a mature student. “I am nearly finished my diploma now and so many times I felt like giving up. My vision for the life I want both myself and my children to have has helped keep me on track. And I have surprised myself with how well I am doing academically. I’m feeling nervous but excited about what the future holds,“ she told me.

I reminded her that she is the creator or her future and that as she nears the end of her study now is the time to revisit her life and career goals. Together we agreed that the following strategies would help her stay on track as she moved toward her preferred future:

Write her ideal job description, including hours of work (flexible and part-time so she could drop off and pick up her children from school); benefits – including ongoing training; work environment – supportive and friendly

Updating her passion journal and dream board with inspiring pictures, quotes, affirmations, feedback, and looking at it daily to keep her passion alive

Continuing to gain work experience in the industry of her choice and cultivating helpful networks and alliances

Setting mini regular goals to break her future goals down and plan out each day

Scheduling ‘me time’ and looking after herself, including using stress management techniques

Talking to people who are already living her dream and asking her way to success

Collecting positive feedback and surrounding herself with positive role models

Actively working on building and maintaining high self-esteem and confidence, including actively challenging her fears and unhelpful beliefs such as “I’ll never be able to find the perfect job,” and “Nobody will hire me when I am finished studying.”

Happily, Angela found a full-time job working for a family-friendly, government agency, providing career transition support services for the unemployed.

How could you move toward your preferred future?

Work with me! I’m taking last calls for 2020 and scheduling bookings for the New Year. Get 2021 off to a flying start. Book today.

Gift yourself or your loved ones some visionary art

Simply email Cassandra@cassandragaisford.com

xxx 

 

p.s.

 

PLAY DATES

 

Would you love to explore a new hobby or resurrect one you’ve neglected? Is stress draining your joy? Would you love to do something—just for fun? Or are you a pro who has lost their mojo? Whatever your reasons, whatever your motivation, no matter how experienced or inexperienced you feel Play Dates is perfect for you.

 

Would you love to embark on play dates with me?

I’m Cassandra Gaisford—an award-winning artist, bestselling author and creativity coach. I love painting in the style of abstract expressionism inspired by nature. I create flowers and landscapes using acrylic paints, watercolours, encaustic, pastels and pencils (and other art-making tools). I am fortunate to live in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand.

Follow all my creative adventures on Instagram or Facebook (links below). Feel free to ask questions below and let me know what part of this blog was most helpful to you.

Sign up for my email list and receive a free gift: http://eepurl.com/bEArfT

JOIN ME FOR PLAY DATES – online, anytime..totally self-paced

Discover more, and join here: https://www.cassandragaisford.com/play-dates/

 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cassandragaisford (this is the best place to see all my artwork and behind the scenes videos, etc.)

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Powerful-creativity-135671939933468/

The Science of Happiness and Powerful Creativity

Tuesday, December 8th, 2020

Neurobiologists have found that creating and viewing art results in the release of dopamine—your happy feel-good chemical. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that controls the brain’s pleasure and reward centres.

Isolation and stress caused by coronavirus have made many of us feel depressed, fatigued and despondent. Others feel overwhelmed. and lethargic, painting can calm the body to help you feel more grounded and clear in this confusing and overwhelming time.

Happily, scientists have found that creating and observing art can reduce cortisol, known as the ‘stress hormone.’ Creativity, whether you are the creator or the appreciator, releases uplifting endorphins and can even increase hopefulness and heighten your ability to problem solve!

If I’m to label myself it is as an abstract expressionist – expressing often feelings I wish to take away, or rather transcend, like sadness or grief or overwhelm. Replacing them instead with beauty, compassion and transcendence. I hope that people who look at my works will feel the same sense of beauty that I have infused into them as they were created.

Here are a few examples, to illustrate.

 

“True love” True love is complicated, multi-textured, layered. So it seems appropriate that my current work in progress is taking on multiple dimensions. I never know where or how the painting is going to end, I just work intuitively and try to put my feelings on the canvas. The definition of abstraction, I’ve come to learn, means to take away.


“Te Ataroa” Named after the beautiful baby born to a very proud young couple. They had lost a little girl earlier who passed before she could be held in their arms. Te Ataroa is an added blessing. Translated her name means “the long morning”.

I enjoyed transcending the feeling of sadness into those of spiritual protection, empowerment and joy. “When our mother saw that painting she cried,” the couple told me.

“Serene and beautiful and makes me feel like I’m in a spring garden. Love it!” Another lady wrote.

“A fine work of art—music, dance, painting, story—has the power to silence the chatter and lift us to another world.” ~ Robert McKee Painting, writing and creating, is an opiate for me. Even when I feel sad, when I create I feel transported to a happier realm. My wish is that people who hang my paintings in their home or office will feel happy too.

Commissions are welcome – especially for large scale work. I love BIG!

P.S. Join me for Play Dates—you never know, you may just discover a talent you never knew you had

ONLY ONE SPACE REMAINING.

ENROL HERE:

You can feel like Beth, “I feel excited about my journey so far.”

Too ‘Pooped” to begin Play Dates. I get it! Other clients felt the same when it came to taking time out to nurture their playful selves…

until they found that by doing this they gained more energy, felt less depressed and more excited. Like Beth, who after completing one module shared that as a result, she was making the following changes:

What are you going to stop doing?

Procrastinating.
Putting other things first which aren’t as important.
Feel less guilty spending time on my work.

What are you going to do more of?

Invest more time in personal growth.
Play at my colour combinations
Set aside more time to play
Explore more techniques in my printmaking.

What are you going to do less of?

Putting my work last on my daily to-do list
Negative self talk
Using my energy in a non-productive manner.

 

Here is a sneak peek of something I created yesterday in just under 30 minutes….it’s a draft…but I can’t begin to tell you how less stressed I felt after stepping away from my computer

 

 

Work in progress “Ode to Georgia O’Keeffe”

 

I recall reading Georgia saying that she felt that people are so busy …too busy to stop and look at a flower up close and that is what she wanted to give people in her paintings the joy of the beauty of a flower

 

I hope you enjoy this beautiful orchid which is sitting in my studio and inspired this painting

 

350mm x 460mm 40mm

 

DON’T MISS THIS OPPORTUNITY TO PLAY

ENROL HERE or drop me an email – cassandra@cassandragaisford.com

How I found my passion. . .and you can too

Sunday, December 6th, 2020

 

“Only when we are at our most playful can divinity finally get serious with us.”

 ~ Elizabeth Gilbert, Creative Living Beyond fear

During a visit to the United States, I was very lucky to have been able to stay in New York and to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I was even luckier because while I was there I unexpectedly rediscovered a passion I had forgotten. I share the following excerpt from my Passion Journal at that time (which, incidentally, was bright red!) in the hope that it illustrates some of the strategies I am encouraging you to try.


‘To see these paintings makes my heart sing, my eyes sparkle and a smile settle upon my lips. I feel a shortness of breath and my heart rate quickens. I want to take them all in. I love the ones with texture so rich you can almost feel the paint. I have to stop myself from reaching out to touch them. I am flushed with excitement and a thirst that cannot be quenched.’

 

And so it was that my ‘body barometer’ reminded me of the deep joy and love I feel when I paint with oil. I had traded my passion for the convenience of acrylic, but I found it joyless and plastic. I thought it was a great confirmation of the power of passion when an art gallery owner, who bought some of my paintings not long after I returned from New York, said to me, ‘You have a rare ability to capture an emotion.’

What makes your soul sing?

 

For many, many years I didn’t recognise myself as an artist. I painted, created, sculpted, made stained glass lampshades in the Tiffany style, crocheted, knitted, made pottery—you name any of the arts and chances are I have done it. But I still didn’t see myself as an artist.

It wasn’t until a violinist in Venice, Italy, told me, “you have the soul of an artist,” and I took stock of other feedback, that I woke up. “Oh, that’s what I am. I’m an artist.” And finally years of feeling so different from everyone else made sense! ‘That’s why I’m sensitive. That’s why colour affects me so profoundly. That’s why I am compelled to create. That’s who I am.”

But I still didn’t think I had a voice. By connecting the dots of my past I now value art for its healing power. It is this voice I bring to my creations—including art, coaching, and writing.

I encourage you to find a feedback partner or a way to engage with other people to talk about you, your natural knacks and talents—who you really are. 

Taking classes and working with a coach will always help the development of your authentic self. Conveniently many classes are provided online. Take a class just for fun. Sometimes doing something that doesn’t appear to be related to your career can provide significant shifts.

Come play with me and discover who you really are. Come play with me and upscale your health. Come play with meand forge a new, fab, career. Sir Antony Hopkins recently traded a negative addiction for a positive one by losing the booze and getting drunk on painting. “I love the chaos. I do everything I’m not meant to do. I used to drink like an animal, but now I use my art to express the chaos in my mind,” he says about the joy he finds in painting. “I used to take myself so seriously. I have an obsessive personality. I do everything fast. I want to do everything I can because time is running out”, he says. “I want to express colour. Maybe it’s reaching for some sort of divine.”

  

 

His collection of vibrant, wildly exuberant canvases has won fans across the world. “I had no idea that I’d end up being a painter and having exhibitions.” He explains his passion for painting as,  “Something I love to do. It’s a form of meditation.”

Join me for Play Dates—you never know, you may just discover a brand new, fun, kind of you.

ONLY THREE SPACES REMAINING.

ENROL HERE:

You can feel like Beth, “I feel excited about my journey so far.”

In fact, ‘exciting’ is my theme for next year! If it doesn’t feel exciting. I’m not doing it!

FEEL EXCITED TODAY
DON’T MISS THIS OPPORTUNITY TO PLAY

ENROL HERE:

 

Enjoy a preview

 

 

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