Inspiration

You Are Creative

For anyone thinking that Creative Soul Weekend isn't for you because you aren't artistic - consider this your friendly reminder that being creative does not mean you need to be artistic!

Creativity is defined as "the ability or power to create". You can create something, we know it! You can create a meal. You can create change. You can create memories with your friends and family. And we have faith that you can create a stick person drawing if you really are stuck on this artistic thing ;)

So please remember you are so welcomed at Creative Soul Weekend, just as you are.

Want to join us for our first ever Mini Creative Soul Weekend? Click here to get all the details and to register!

 
csw-stick-person

Stating Who You Are. Our Manifesto.

Welcome to 2019! And welcome to year 5 of the Creative Soul Weekend. We’re going into this year on fire with creative ideas, a new one-day mini retreat for March in the works, as well as big plans for our “original flavour” retreat in September.

Part of that creative fire is setting monthly themes for our blog and social media. Kicking things off is January’s theme:

Stating who you are and standing by it in the world.

So to that end we’ve written a manifesto for the Creative Soul Weekend. We’ve long loved the idea of having a manifesto written but it was only two months ago that we decided to finally put pen to paper. Leah wrote it out by hand first, then typed it up, shared it in a Google Doc with Emily and got her feedback. After a few edits, Leah then made a collage (one of her preferred mediums). You can see the behind the scenes process in our Instagram Stories.

We would love to see various takes on our manifesto by various artists and creatives. So sometime in the next little while Emily will share her take on the manifesto with us and then we may tag another artist in and see what they do with it.

So here without further ado is our manifesto! We’d love to hear what you think of it.

Collage: Leah Noble



A Look Back at 2018 & Look Ahead to 2019

We find the end of the year is such a good time to reflect and set some goals.

Is it the shorter days that invite you to get cozy and journal out your thoughts? Or just the fact that Christmas and the changing of the year are such a powerful time culturally, that you can’t help but think back to “this time last year” and compare how far you’ve come in 365 days? We’re not sure, but on our respective sides of the island we’re both feeling reflective. So we thought we’d each share individually our look back/look ahead, and then also do it for Creative Soul Weekend!

PHOTO OF PORT HOOD BEACH:  STEVE RANKIN

PHOTO OF PORT HOOD BEACH: STEVE RANKIN


Emily

What are you proud of from 2018?

Finding answers within myself. I've always been an independent person who values freedom but for a long time I found myself still looking outside of myself for the answers. For some kind of permission that it was okay to make that move, take the leap or write those words. In 2018 I trashed that habit and really went within. I created a deeper relationship with my intuition, found my inner strength and was able to trust. Trust in the "process," the universe, and myself.

What did you want to do more of but didn't get to?

Photo walks with Steve. Camping. Yard work. Looking at that list I guess the theme there is more time outside. More time just walking in the woods. Sitting in the grass. Beach combing.

What are you looking forward to for 2019?

A road trip to Newfoundland. Steve and I are planning a camping road trip across Newfoundland in 2019. I have family roots in Petty Harbour so I'm excited to visit and explore where the Chafe's came from, hitting the road with loose plans and exploring a province we've never been to. I'm also looking forward to creating space, in my schedule, my home, my brain - just more space. And finally finishing our deck! More time outside!

What are you worried about for 2019 (and bonus points for what's your plan to deal with that)?

I have so many ideas and can have a hard time saying no. I love being a part of things and helping in any way I can. But the first thing to suffer when I say yes to everything is myself and my personal time. I’m worried that the momentum I’ve built with boundaries will disappear. I’m worried burnout will creep back in. I plan to deal with that by creating time in my schedule for down time and reflection - just like I would for a client meeting or event. I need more quiet space to realign and make sure that what I am working so hard on is getting me to where I want to go.


Leah

What are you proud of from 2018?

I’m proud of myself for making a new home for myself, and my son. I’m proud of myself for recognizing when I needed to go back to work early, and then taking the steps necessary to make that happen. I’m proud of myself for parenting my son, and co-parenting with my ex.

What did you want to do more of but didn't get to?

Creativity! Most specifically, creative writing. Also reading. There’s a time and a place for Netflix, for sure - and I needed it to binge-watch Grey’s Anatomy in the depths of looking after a newborn - but I miss reading books. And I didn’t even try and garden this year.

What are you looking forward to for 2019?

I’m so looking forward to working on Creative Soul Weekend, for one! As you’ll read below there’s some fun stuff in the works. I’m also looking forward to having a garden again, having monthly writing dates with a couple of friends who also want to write a novel, and a trip to Nashville with my new boyfriend. Not to mention, watching my son grow and learn to walk!

What are you worried about for 2019 (and bonus points for what's your plan to deal with that)?

I’m worried that I’ll take on too much and that I won’t follow through on my creative projects or commitments. Which is pretty much always my worry, haha. My plan to deal with that is to make a list of all the stuff I’m doing or committing to, and asking myself, “Is this manageable or is this too much?”


Creative Soul Weekend

What are you proud of from 2018?

We’re proud of hosting our fourth Creative Soul Weekend retreat this year! We’re also proud of planning it during a year when we weren’t sure we would be able to (Leah had a new baby, Emily had left her paid job to go full-time freelance). We’re proud of the quality of the event we put together, and of the good time that the participants all had. We’re proud too of collaborating and working together as a team.

What did you want to do more of but didn't get to?

Social media and newsletters… it’s so easy to let this slide. We’re hoping to step up our game next year.

What are you looking forward to for 2019?

Our first “offshoot” event! We’re planning something fun for spring 2019. Stay tuned for news on that in January! We’re also looking forward to Year 5 of the Creative Soul Weekend in September.

What are you worried about for 2019 (and bonus points for what's your plan to deal with that)?

Certainly it’s easy to let paid work and other obligations take over a small passion project like this, and we both worry that we’ll let it slide to the back burner. We’re both planning to book time each month to work on CSW events and newsletters, and stay in touch with each other more consistently.

creative_soul_weekend_line

Coming Full Circle & Not Giving Up

Real Talk: Our First Year We Heard Crickets

Four years ago, Emily and I launched the first Creative Soul Weekend offering and heard… crickets.

We had put together the weekend of our own personal dreams - there was yoga, there was creativity, food was all included, and there were two lavish nights in a dreamy cabin. The price tag was around $400. Although we had lots of friends interested in coming, no-one signed up. Too pricey, was the feedback.

Well, fair enough. I mean, who were we? No-one had ever been to a “creative soul weekend” before. (Except the two of us and our friend Aleena the year before, the proto-CSW in St Peters). Personally I wouldn’t plunk down $400 either if I didn’t know what I was getting in return, no matter how promising and shiny the website looked. (And it did look great.)

But the cabin was already booked, we’d already paid for it. We couldn’t just cancel! We really wanted to make this work. So we regrouped and decided to eat the cost of one night at the cabin, and just stayed there ourselves. We cut the retreat back to one night, got rid of one of the workshops, and said that food would be potluck - each participant would be responsible for bringing some food. The cost dropped to $200 and we sold out.

>> And then we actually DID the retreat. And it was even better than we had imagined.<<

And we did it again the next year, and the next. Each time, we listen to the participants’ feedback, learn from it, and change the retreat slightly, expanding it slightly each year. And now here we are, four years later, and this year’s offering is pretty much what we dreamed of in that first year! And we’re one spot away from selling out.

So what does that tell us?

It tells us that the old cliche “if at first you don’t succeed, try try again” is true. Only it’s more like, “if at first you don’t succeed, tweak the offering again and again.”

It tells us to put the work in, one day and one year at a time.

It tells us to TRUST your gut. We felt there was magic in this idea, there was something there that other women would want too. Isn’t that what’s at the core of creativity, anyway? You create something out of nothing… and to do that you have to trust yourself.

I feel there are more lessons in this than just those three… if another one jumps out at you, feel free to share it with us!

womens_creative_reatreat_cape_breton

--- 

We're on retreat tomorrow!

We'll be gathering beach side for a weekend of creativity, connecting, goal setting and complete relaxation. We'll likely be quiet over the next few days as we soak in as much as we can. But we'll be sharing all the goodness and magic with you next week when we are settled back in at home. 

Bummed you can't make it this year? Try to take a moment for yourself this weekend and see what you can do to bring a little Creative Soul Weekend inspiration into the mix! 

Take Care,

Leah and Emily 

Update & 2018 Details Launching Next Week!

Hey all! Leah here, coming out from the rock I’ve been under the past six months, to start off this update for all of you. Emily will chime in, in a bit, and then we have some news about this year’s retreat to share!
 
So some of you know this already just from knowing me in real life or following me on Instagram, but I had a baby this year! My son is a sweet little fellow named Aidan. He was born 5 weeks prematurely on January 10th, but he was in good shape for a premie and is now almost 6 months old and 20 lbs! It’s been amazing watching him grow from a small, 6 lb newborn to the long and chunky and lively 6 month old he is now, but it’s also been a tough go and I’ve discovered there are about a million lessons to be learned.
 
My partner and I split up during my pregnancy, so along with becoming a mom, I’ve also moved into my own apartment and been navigating life after a 6 year relationship, as well as the joys and compromises of co-parenting. It’s been a trip, to say the least.
 

CreativeSoulWeekend

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned these last 6 months is: When life throws a huge bunch of changes at you, it’s super, super easy to let your creativity fall right to the bottom of the priority list. Especially when caring for a newborn! The baby needs constant care, so even something as simple and necessary as taking a shower gets put off way longer than it should. Much less something “frivolous” like writing or designing or drawing… even reading! I did NOT think of reading as a creative or self-care act until this past year, when having 20 minutes to read now feels like a total luxury. I’ll often choose sleep, or mindless Netflixing, or doing the dishes, over sitting down with a good book.

So what to do when months have gone by and I haven’t written in my journal, haven’t written a blog post, haven’t made a collage, haven’t done any of the creative things I loved to do before Aidan was born? Well, I start off by berating myself… I mean, don’t we all? It’s a knee-jerk reaction, to use these lapses as evidence that we’re failures at life and will never accomplish anything, will never live the creative life we dream of or see on curated Instagram accounts.
 
But then I get tired of that. And I drum up just a little bit of courage. A little bit of “oh what the heck” spirit. And I open the computer, or turn to a blank page - or more realistically, I schedule some time in the future when I’ll have childcare or I know the baby will be at his Dad’s - and I try again. I put fingers to keys and type, or I jot down a few words. I open the novel. I sketch something.
 
Or, if I don’t have time for those things, I try to see creativity in the other things I need to do on a daily basis. I dance when cooking, or I see creative joy in setting up my new apartment and unpacking, deciding what will go where. Or I take photos while I’m out walking Aidan in the stroller. Honestly, my Instagram Stories have been my creative outlet lately! Seeing and noticing how things shift in your creative life is also part of having a creative life, I think.
 
So I guess what I’m saying is - take heart, if you too feel you have been neglecting your creative life. Chances are you have been caring for something else just as important, which has taught you lessons, lessons which you can now take back into your creative practice. Ebb and flow, right? It’s all about that ebb and flow. And you’re doing better than you think.
 
Alright, over to you Emily!
 
----
Thanks Leah!

Ebb and Flow is right! Everything has a season. This too shall pass. Trust the process. It's all progress.

These are all ideas I've been holding on to tightly over the past few eventful months. One of the biggest (and most thrilling/exciting/nerve wracking) changes is that I've stepped into full time self employment this Spring. It's been a long time coming, always holding down another job because of financial reasons, enjoyment or by the end of "side gigging it", because of a desire to keep helping my father and what I didn't realize were very, very cold feet.

But there's been a shift. In my self confidence and awareness of my energy. I only have so much to give and I know I can give higher quality to my clients when I put myself and my business first. So now I'm making it do! Working with some of the coolest, big hearted businesses around helping them brand and grow their businesses and designing logos, websites and marketing that will get them noticed! I'm still photographing weddings with my husband Steve and we have lots of big things planned for the future. I'm in love with my work and am excited to do creative things every day.
 

There's a whole level of freedom now that I've never experienced before. However, it's also never been more clear to me, the importance, or rather NECESSITY of strong boundaries and clear routine to allow for the magic to happen. But no matter how much I try and "put myself first" it's super easy for my blinders to go up and fall back into work addiction.

EmilyBeach

Days go by, then weeks and I can find I haven't gone to play with my nieces lately. I can't remember the last time I read something that wasn't glowing on a screen. And my bone's are making some weird noises because I haven't stretched my joints since who knows when and the couch has become my desk.

But because of those boundaries I mentioned before it's happening less and less. For the first time in my life I truly understand that taking moments, slowing down, and putting my own needs at the top of the list is not only a nice thing to do, it's also a game changer for my business. Getting outside, making art for the fun of it and taking time to connect with other creatives needs to be on my to do list just as much as client work, marketing and bookkeeping.

The common theme of this post is to not be so hard on yourself. Do what you can. Where you are. With what you have. Different times of your life call for different priorities. And just think of how you'll feel 3 months from now, if you start adding small, attainable, ENJOYABLE acts of creativity into your daily life. Don't think about it too hard, just let it flow. Then ebb. Then flow ;)
 

> On to the Creative Soul Weekend details! <

We've been working hard behind the scene putting together a weekend full of rest, fun and creativity! We're really excited to share everything with you. We'll be sharing the news with everyone on Wednesday the 11th but our inner circle of Creative Soul newsletter readers you'll be getting first access.

We'll be sending out an email with all the details you've been waiting for and opening up registration for newsletter readers only on Monday the 9th! That's two whole days to considering things before we go public. If you'd like to be one of the first to get the scoop then you can sign up for our newsletter here. You'll also get further updates from Creative Soul Weekend and musings on creativity from Leah, Emily and others who are living creative and inspiring lives.  

Have a creative weekend everyone!  

Leah and Emily xo