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.

DECEMBER’S THEME IS SILENCE

As the end of the year draws near, life can get humorously hectic. We rush to finish up projects, try to squeeze in appointments with loved ones, and can easily lose track of ourselves in the process.

Is this inevitable? Or can we find ways to ground ourselves amid all the chaos? In this busy season, create moments of stillness where you can.

When silence is intentional, it is valuable and restorative. It brings us back to our senses and is essential to our holistic well-being. Acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton defines quiet as a ‘presence’ and ‘think tank of the soul.’ Silence is a powerful tool that allows us to take a step back from the atmosphere around us and realign with our intentions, our hopes, and ourselves.

This December, set aside time to tune out the noise. You can go for a walk outdoors, find a cozy corner, or simply close your eyes. The magic of silence is that we can access it wherever we are.

Your beacon is the light that blazes within you, a signal made up of your values, dreams, and priorities.

The essayist Anaïs Nin put it best when she wrote: “The unknown was my compass. The unknown was my encyclopedia. The unnamed was my science and progress.”

Shine your light. Ask for help and let go of the idea that you have to make a perfect choice. You may feel lost, but you are not alone.

Our Montevideo chapter chose this month’s exploration of Silence and Dani Scharf illustrated the theme.

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NOVEMBER’S THEME IS LOST

When you’re wading through the unknown, it can feel scary and risky. You float around wondering if you’re going in the right direction and want to know what’s next.

Being lost is a collaboration between possibility and uncertainty. It’s an excuse to get one step closer to a more fulfilling life. What you were comfortable with may not be there anymore, but you will have the remarkable opportunity to reconnect with yourself and embrace discovery.

In these “in-between” moments, turn to your inner beacon and pay close attention to where it’s guiding you. Your beacon is the light that blazes within you, a signal made up of your values, dreams, and priorities.

The essayist Anaïs Nin put it best when she wrote: “The unknown was my compass. The unknown was my encyclopedia. The unnamed was my science and progress.”

Shine your light. Ask for help and let go of the idea that you have to make a perfect choice. You may feel lost, but you are not alone.

Our Milwaukee chapter chose this month’s exploration of Lost and Melissa Lee Johnson illustrated the theme.

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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