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November 22, 8:30am • The Nightwood •

OCTOBER’S THEME IS FLOW

It’s no secret that our modern-day world is full of distractions: Glowing screens. Notifications. 24-hour news cycles. At times, it can feel exhausting to try and get things done with all the bells and whistles competing for your attention.

In his book, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, psychologist and researcher Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi theorizes that people are happiest when they are in a state of flow. Flow is the experience of completely immersing yourself in a singular pursuit and effectively applying your skills to it.

When you’re in flow, your awareness of time momentarily dissolves. You’re in a temporary, but energizing state that helps you make progress with the task in front of you. So, how can you rise above the noise and get into flow?

First, quiet your mind and take a deep breath. Then, pick one task (yes, just one) and set clear goals for it. Move or put away any distractions around you. Lastly, take your first action. Whether it’s writing your first sentence, drawing your first stroke, or playing your first note — dive in.

Activate your flow and let it carry you where you need to go.

Our Mexico City chapter chose this month’s exploration of and David Espinosa illustrated the theme.

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SEPTEMBER’S THEME IS MUSE

Whether you’re a mathematician tinkering with complex equations or a musician pairing discordant notes together, searching for inspiration can often send you in circles. The longer you sit and wait for an epiphany to strike, the harder it gets to make progress.

What if you could get unstuck by turning to your muse?

Your muse comes from the deepest parts of your imagination and guides you to new ideas. It invites you to bring your dreams to life using the raw materials found in your daily life. Artist and director Oroma Elewa once said, “I am my own muse. I am the subject I know best. The subject I want to know better.” *

The next time you want to draw out your muse, stimulate your imagination in a different context. Leave your desk, take a walk outside, read something different, observe the ordinary, or try your hand at a new recipe.

Chances are your muse will come out to play.

Our Dubai chapter chose this month’s exploration of  and Shahul Hameed illustrated the theme. Presented around the world by our Global Partner, Mailchimp.

* Correction: We originally misattributed this quote to Frida Kahlo. Our community has since brought to our attention that these words belong to the artist Oroma Elewa. The quote has been widely misattributed as Frida’s and we want to do our part to correct the narrative and redistribute their accreditation to Oroma.

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AUGUST’S THEME IS JUSTICE

Justice can be a path to healing in fractured times.

When we envision moments related to justice, we often think of suits, a gavel hitting the surface of a desk, or people marching in the streets. Change happens when enough people raise their hand to work together.

Author Omid Safi wrote, “Justice is love, embodied. We cannot speak of love without linking it to justice, nor of justice unless it is permeated by love.” Justice is restorative when empathetic and innovative solutions are brought to the forefront.

Through generous listening, we all hold the ability to form moments where people can feel safe, strong, and at ease.

Our Bratislava chapter chose this month’s exploration of  and Simona Cechova illustrated the theme.

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JULY’S THEME IS END

Ends are unique opportunities in disguise. They allow us to make meaning out of our past relationships, experiences, projects, and seasons in life.

On the other hand, beginnings are romanticized and energize us to envision all the impressive things we will do. Headlines celebrate the latest rising startup or ‘it’ destinations travelers must see.

But reaching the end of something can also carry meaningful joy. Author Wes Moore once talked about the difference between our jobs and our work. Moore said, “Your goal should never be to start something. Your goal should be to end things.”

When we truly fulfill an ending, it reflects growth and real change. We can create projects to end loneliness, walk away from empty relationships, change habits, or choose a different career trajectory.

The secret about 'the end’ is that it actually contains countless possibilities.

Our Rio de Janeiro chapter chose this month’s exploration of End and Isadora Zeferino illustrated the theme.

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JUNE’S THEME IS WONDER

Our sense of wonder is the code for tapping into our most creative selves. It enables us to expand our horizons and encounter parallel universes that haven’t been explored yet.

According to the classical Greek philosopher Socrates, “Wonder is the beginning of wisdom.” By drawing us out of our typical patterns, wonderment reconnects us with our ability to marvel at new and beautiful things.

We all have the capacity for wonder; but why do we lose sight of it?

As our lives get busier, we tend to streamline our schedules and relationships to become more efficient. We want to know what will happen and when it will happen. But extraordinary things occur if we make room for the unexpected.

When we leave space in our plans, we create magical conditions for our imagination and thoughts to collide with one another. And it is from these sparks that our best ideas are born.

Our Copenhagen chapter chose this month’s exploration of Wonder and Rune Fisker illustrated the theme.

MAY’S THEME IS PRESERVE

The beauty in our world deserves to be cherished, sustained, and rediscovered. We share this life, and every day we have the opportunity to act as thoughtful participants in it.

What do we care about? What do we take for granted? Would we miss it if it disappeared?

Preservation begins with asking deep questions and turning our attention to the environment around us.

Marine biologist and explorer Sylvia Earle wrote in her book, The World is Blue, “Should we race to see how quickly we can consume the last tuna, swordfish, and grouper? Or race to see what can be done to protect what remains? For now, there is still a choice.”

Our daily habits are a mirror reflecting back what we truly care about. Our actions are key to protecting the wellbeing of our communities, cities, and planet.

Pause for a moment to notice what is being neglected and take an audit. We can break out of patterns, simplify our lives, and focus on the things that will last a long time.

Together, we can chart a brighter path into the future.

Our Charleston chapter chose this month’s exploration of Preserve and Chris Nickels illustrated the theme.

APRIL’S THEME IS INCLUSIVE

When different people come into our lives, they bring gifts.

We can blend the best of our wisdom with the best of theirs. We can teach and learn from each other to produce closer circles that foster community and commit to diversity. People who include with intention, raise their hand to do the work of embracing what is unfamiliar.

Inclusion is an attitude to consciously be open to ideas that come from outside of our settled ways of thinking or feeling. It’s about making a decision that comes from a place of love, of caring for others.

When you place inclusivity at the center of how you live, it has great power to heal, elevate new voices, and change the narrative of who belongs. As diversity advocate Vernā Myers once said, “Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.”

Our Grand Rapids chapter chose this month’s exploration of Inclusive, Libby VanderPloeg illustrated the theme, and WordPress.com is presenting the theme globally.

MARCH’S THEME IS WATER

It’s the main source of all life. The lifeblood element that makes up 60% of our bodies.

It’s the liquid that we don’t drink enough of, yet waste effortlessly.

It’s home to millions of species, mysteries, and undiscovered knowledge.

We know more about the stars in the sky than the depths of our oceans.

We can use it to save lives. If used foolishly, it can take lives.

We think there is an abundance, yet only one percent can be touched. If we don’t protect our waters, then what will happen to life?

Our Perth chapter chose this month’s exploration of Water and Sofia Varano illustrated the theme.

FEBRUARY’S THEME IS SYMMETRY

What do a planet, an attractive face, and a snowflake have in a common? Symmetry.

Symmetry is prevalent throughout life. You can fold a sunflower in half, stories have an arc, and the human body can bend and create mesmerizing shapes. There are also irregularities that enhances life; it adds beauty and complexity. If there’s symmetry in nature, then there must be a kind of symmetry in the way we lead our lives.

Symmetry cannot be possible without asymmetry, the same way sadness magnifies joy.

Alan Lightman wrote in The Accidental Universe, “I would claim that symmetry represents order, and we crave order in this strange universe we find ourselves in.” But chaos will happen whether we like it or not, it’s how we respond to it that either creates order or more chaos.

When in chaos, create your symmetry.

Our Saint Petersburg chapter chose this month’s exploration of SYMMETRY, Anna Fadeeva illustrated the theme, and Mailchimp is the presenting partner.

CreativeMornings Portland is back.


We hope you’re ready to help us get this going again. Because it’s not just an event. It’s a community.

And it doesn’t exist without you. (Or without coffee.)

Join us at our first event of the year on Friday, January 25 at 8:30 a.m., hosted by Portland Center Stage at The Armory.

Bring a friend. Drink coffee. Be inspired. Meet new folks. And most importantly, take the experience with you into the world when you leave.

You can RSVP starting Monday, January 21 at 9 a.m. Don’t worry—we’ll send a reminder.

This is a brand new volunteer team and we’re learning as we go. We’re still looking for:

  • Event photographer(s) for January, February & March events
  • Coffee and breakfast sponsors

Are you interested in helping out? Know someone who might be? Email portland@creativemornings.com and let us know!

We can’t wait to meet you.

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