“I think what makes us feel stuck is our limited beliefs. When I am stuck I go inside and often see things like: ‘I want it to be a certain way’… ‘I am not worthy of being creative’, ‘I feel guilty making time for creativity’. When I see this conditioning arising, this is the moment that I can change it.“
1. Describe your current family situation
I live with my husband-to-be and daughter (of 3) in a village house in the centre of Portugal. We are working on and dreaming about our future self-build house in a beautiful valley close by on a piece land that we recently became the guardians of.
2. In your eyes, what does ‘creativity’ mean and why is it important to you?
It took me a while to realise that for me, creativity is everything. It is not a separate activity that you do. It is how we do things. We can have a creative conversation, a creative way of responding to our children’s needs, a creative way of writing an email, even a creative way of doing the dishes! I don’t mean that we have to try to make everything special and creative but if we let go of our ideas about how we or things should be, natural creativity comes forward in the things that we do, big or small. It is important because it makes life so special with all that comes!
3. How do you carve out time and space within family life for your creative practice?
As I wrote before, I don’t want to make the distinction too much between the two, but in daily life I make time to focus more on certain practices. It’s all about priorities and about responding to what wants to happen. Sometimes family life takes more time, other times there is more space for practices. I join the local writing group every month, I put it in our agenda and I go, even if it does not make sense!
4. What kind of creative activities do you feel drawn to again and again?
I love to write. I don’t write regularly, but I always come back to it, again and again. I used to do acting, but I have not done it since I came to Portugal. And somehow a lot of creative sides always come out when I am organizing something or I have a birthday: making decorations with recycled materials, drawing and letter-designing, making games, little performances etc.
5. How do you get inspiration flowing when you feel stuck?
I think what makes us feel stuck is our limited beliefs. When I am stuck I go inside and often see things like: ‘I want it to be a certain way’, ‘It should be like how this or that person did it’, ‘I am not worthy of being creative’, ‘I feel guilty making time for creativity’. When I see this conditioning arising, this is the moment that I can change it. I I don’t take it personally and then I do something different and just start! What helps if you don’t know what makes you stuck is talking to someone close about it, often words come out that make it clearer.
6. In what ways do you sabotage your own creative life?
In the ways I described before, but also very practical ways: always having a lot of other ‘more important’ things to do like cleaning! When I clean too much I know that I am avoiding something.
7. Who or what are your creative allies or mentors?
My first response is: Life itself! The beauty, the horror, all that drives me to do what I am doing. I love being in nature. I always find myself passionate at the ocean and more and more I am creating a big love for trees. My teacher in life is Cynthia Bampton, who shows me how to be free, and all my sisters and brothers from the Sangha (spiritual group) I am involved in. I love to read, although I don’t do it so often (something about time!) and Donna Tart and Isabelle Allende have been my most inspirational writers from the beginning.
8. How would you describe the relationship between your creativity and your mothering?
Realising I was pregnant and the start of my spiritual path began at the same time. Being pregnant was a beautiful rich experience that made creativity and my love for life flow. It is sometimes more difficult to find time now, having a jumping&running-dragon-lion-girl around, but I know that making time to be with myself and do other things I love is too important to ignore. And also with her I can be creative; we look at the plants and the insects. I learn how to observe and to make fun out of anything.
9. To what extent does your creative work generate a financial income for your family? How does this reality compare to your aspirations around this?
There is some income from my second-hand shop but all the other things are voluntary at the moment. It would be great to generate more income doing what I love and I have trust that if I am open for what comes my way, it will! We are making plans for how to create an income with our land and the creative things we could do there. I am curious where this will lead!
10. What would you say to a mother who is struggling to express herself in the midst of her family commitments?
When I am in the midst of everything, getting contracted and needing some time, I stop and ask ‘What is the worst that can happen if…..?’ Often we have an idea, especially as women that we always have to be ‘the one’. No one can do it better then us. These ideas keep us from letting go and not having all the control. When we stop those limiting beliefs there is much more possible. We have to be vulnerable and ask for help, for example.
11. Big yourself up, sister – share your current / most exciting projects, web and social media links:
Next to artistic creative practices that I am keeping for myself for now, I have a second-hand clothing store and I do online marketing work for two projects: The Awakened Life Project and BatchRocket Portugal, my partner’s project that builds more sustainable heaters. As for The Awakened Life Project, I have been part of this spiritual project for 4 years and participating in women’s groups (there are men’s groups too) and regular meditation and spiritual practices. I feel a big passion for the spiritual journey and how we can be liberated men and women.
I was born and lived close to the beach in Holland for 28 years. I moved to the mountains of Portugal 3 years ago with my family to live a more sustainable and conscious lifestyle closer to nature. I love writing, reading, clothing, meditating, organising, being with women, helping projects I love to spread their message, listening to music, being a mother & being free!