SEPTEMBER’S THEME IS SPECTRUM.

A band of colors, expanding definitions, a broad array of identities — we all live within multiple spectrums, colliding and intersecting with one another. Like the diversity in our foods, styles of music, and the skills we exercise, our needs are distinct with no one size fits all solution.

Understanding and championing other realities normalizes saying: What I experience, feel, and notice may not be what you know to be true. “Design for the spectrum and not the mean,” said Michael Kaufmann in his CreativeMornings talk. “How do we move beyond courteous hospitality to courageous inclusivity?”

As individuals committed to artfully living, we can paint refreshing possibilities that are not just for ourselves but also for others. Assemble your tools: Listen, look within, embrace the weird, and take the prism and flip it on its head — you’ll likely find a breathtaking blend of opportunities to make a difference.

Our Las Vegas chapter chose this month’s exploration of Spectrum and Iandry Randriamandroso illustrated the theme.

August’s theme is STRESS.

Stress, in its most basic form, is a response.

The feeling of stress can often manifest as a palpable tension flowing through your body. Stress can creep into the corners of your thoughts and decisions — eager to cloud your clarity and take power away from you.

As a popular saying goes, “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom,” What can you do when stress manifests itself in your body, mind, and spirit?

Create your own mantras, get fresh air, meditate, write, play music, sleep, or stay still. Push away from the habits that add stress to your life. Get more familiar with the feeling of calm, so that when stress arises, you can gently guide yourself toward it. As Shannon Lee teaches us in her CreativeMornings talk, it is possible to “create and restructure life,” for yourself, based on how you’d like to live.

In the space between the stimulus and response, take some of the spotlight away from stress by calling in your breath — and ask it to walk out the door.

Our Warsaw chapter chose this month’s exploration of Stress and Shanee Benjamin illustrated the theme.

July’s theme is Underdog.

An underdog questions and expands what’s considered possible.

When others expect them to lose, underdogs must lean on their self-trust and hard won experiences to envision and fiercely assert new realities. They do not dwell on what’s expected of them, but instead focus on what’s not expected of them.

In “A Letter to My Nephew,” James Baldwin writes, “You were not expected to aspire to excellence. You were expected to make peace with mediocrity […] Take no one’s word for anything, including mine, but trust your experience. Know whence you came. If you know whence you came, there is really no limit to where you can go.”

Whether you’re an underdog yourself or you know someone who is, you can help raise the bar. Recognize that every day is an opportunity to participate in life-affirming problem solving and to, and that every moment is an opportunity to engage creatively with your sense of what is possible.

Call in and deploy your experience, your intuition, and your voice. The arena of change is calling.

Our Edinburgh chapter chose this month’s exploration of Underdog, Astrid Jaekel illustrated the theme, and it’s presented globally by Mailchimp.

June’s theme is Insecure.

Insecurity shrinks our optimism, beliefs around potential, and blinds us to how things really are or how they could be. We project our greatest fears when we succumb to the negative ways we are conditioned to react.

How can we start to overcome insecurity and strengthen ourselves?

According to author Leo Babauta, we can begin with a small dose of courage: “A bit of courage. Just in small doses, to start with, but it means a willingness to set aside all the distractions for a little bit, and just focus on what you’re struggling with.”

By observing and seeing, we can catch the early moments we allow our insecurities in. Pay attention to when you are being driven by insecurity and notice what exactly makes you contract. The secret is that the path out can be found in the patterns we have repeated thousands of times.

Ignite a small dose of your courage and fiercely protect its flame. Commit to breaking one limiting belief at a time. With good work and focus, you’ll soon be able to spread your wings and fly higher.

Our Louisville chapter chose this month’s exploration of Insecure, Rachael Sinclair illustrated the theme, and it’s presented globally by WordPress.com.

May’s Theme is Nature.

What can nature teach us about living with strength, vulnerability, and grace during these challenging times?

In the book Emergent Strategy. by Adrienne Maree Brown, Naima Penniman reflects on the decentralized strength of oak trees: “Amidst the whipping winds and surging water, the oak tree held its ground. How? Instead of digging its roots deep and solitary into the earth, the oak tree grows its roots wide and interlocks with other oak trees in the surrounding area.”

It’s natural to be feeling alone and scared when storms come our way.

But nature, in all its forms and stages, shows us time and time again that resilience comes from adapting, collaborating, and leaning on the support systems around us. By moving away from the idea that we need to be strong on our own, we open up possibilities in our lives and build our collective resilience.

Whether it’s in person or from afar, find the networks you can interlock with and ground yourself in them. Lean on those branches of support and hold on tight. Surviving and thriving in hard times requires us to bind together even while apart.

Our Salt Lake City chapter chose this month’s exploration of Nature, David Habben illustrated the theme, and it’s presented globally by WordPress.com.

APRIL’S THEME IS PURPOSE

You are here. Being here means you are alive, that you exist, and the mere fact that you exist means you have purpose.

“Purpose" does not have to be something grandiose. In fact, it can exist in all sizes and dimensions, separately, or even all at once.

Author and coach Martha Beck once wrote, “The ‘track’ of your life’s purpose has a unique character. It often shows up as a sense of joy and lightness in the body […] It may also appear as fascination, a strong desire to pay attention to certain topics or phenomena. More than anything, it’s a sense that what we’re doing is meaningful.”

Your purpose is made up of both the literal and the abstract, and its power is unmistakable. Those moments, memories, ideas, and conversations that you find yourself circling back to, with great fondness, make up the fabric of your purpose.

What makes you light up inside? What brings you peace? What are the big ideas that bring meaning to your days? And what are the specific details about each of these feelings that you’re drawn to?

However big or however small, draw your strength and inspiration from your purpose. Give yourself permission to approach your decisions with your purpose in mind. The more you do things in line with your purpose, the less you’ll default to what you’re conditioned to do.

When in doubt, take the steps you need to follow the path of your own joy. This path is your purpose.

Our Indianapolis chapter chose this month’s exploration of Purpose and Jason Ratliff illustrated the theme.

MARCH’S THEME IS IDENTITY

What makes you, you?

Your identity is made up of multitudes — the stories you carry, the music you love, the challenges you overcome, the books you read, the communities you’re a part of, and more. But your identity is a colorful blend of not only what you consume or create, but also the questions you ask and what you’re willing to learn.

In her CMPDX talk Lucy Bellwood shared, “When we box ourselves too tightly into a single identity or career path, we deprive ourselves of the nutrients necessary to remain connected to the world around us. We are lacking in vitamin curiosity.“

The things that make you unmistakably you are not just the eclectic edges, but the simple pillars, beliefs, and values that you simply can’t shake. What sort of spirit or energy do you bring to a room? How do you show up in the world? What are your pillars?

The most unique care and love you can give to your creative identity is to craft it with your own hands.

Our Jakarta chapter chose this month’s exploration of Identity and Nadya Noor illustrated the theme.

FEBRUARY’S THEME IS INVEST

Every day we give our time, resources, and energy to the world through our decisions. We might read certain books, join a new community, or pick up a hobby. And whether we acknowledge it or not, every choice we make is an investment either for or against ourselves.

Wise investing requires patience and awareness. It’s an art that combines our knowledge from past experiences with future aspirations to inform where we’ll put our energy and our heart. To live a sustainable creative life requires us to say ‘yes’ to the choices that bring richness into our lives, even when it seems risky.

In the Investment Theory of Creativity psychologist Robert J. Sternberg discovered: “The greatest obstacle to creativity […] is not exactly strictures from others, but rather the limitations one places on one’s own thinking.”

Take this opportunity to diversify your dreams. Convert your doubts into positive currency and bet on yourself. Without a doubt, you’ll see a worthwhile return.

Our Hong Kong chapter chose this month’s exploration of Invest and Bao Ho illustrated the theme.

JANUARY’S THEME IS ROOTS

A tree is made up of not only its colorful leaves, but also its bark, branches, and most of all — its roots. The roots exist to provide sustenance and a strong foundation for the rest of its body.

Examine your own ‘roots.’ When you retrace them, what do you find?

In his CreativeMornings talk, James Victore shares, ‘The things that made you weird as a kid make you great today. But only if you put it in your work.’ Identify the things that ground you and what you’ve carried with you over time. How have your roots shaped who you are today?

The start of a brand-new decade gives you the perfect excuse to dig up the old and to nourish the elements that sustain you. Courageous, creative work begins below the ground.

Our Québec chapter chose this month’s exploration of Roots and Félix Girard illustrated the theme.

MAKE YOUR 30 SECOND PITCH AT CMPDX

Apply to pitch your project, your idea, your anything creative at one of our upcoming events!

CreativeMornings/Portland is all about connecting with and learning from the people around us. By inviting our community to take the mic for 30 seconds, we’re excited to hear about more of the creative, inspiring things going on around town.

Are you launching something new into the world? Share! Looking for partners, collaborators or participants? Ask! Seeking feedback on a passion project? Let’s hear it!

We’ll select a few people to give their 30 Second Pitch at some of our events, starting with our first event of 2020 on Friday, January 31.

So go ahead. Apply through our 30 Second Pitch application form. We will review all submissions two weeks before the event.

more