Thursday, February 26, 2009

Hop, skip and jump through change. My interview with Jill Badonsky, author of Awe-Manac.

I had been searching for a coaching training program for a long time when I came across Jill Badonsky’s website. I was in the midst of my own major life transition, dropping my MFA program after leaving my marketing career behind. Now what? I had always wanted to coach others. But I needed to learn to coach myself first. When I spoke to Jill over the phone, I knew she understood exactly what we all go through when we’re trying to make any type of change—even if it’s writing that great children’s book that’s been living inside of you since you were six. You want to do it, but somehow you end up watching Project Runway instead.

I signed up for Jill’s Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coaching program and learned to overcome the overwhelming feelings that kept blocking me. Just like me, Jill is a corporate drop-out, and she’s now a successful author, coach and artist. During my training, I got to read her first book, The Nine Modern Day Muses (and a Bodyguard). Now she’s just completed her second—The Awe-Manac, A Daily Dose of Wonder. And she’s taken the time to answer some of my questions about it. Both of Jill’s books are fun, inspiring and give us simple tools that help us adopt more nurturing, compassionate and playful ways to handle whatever we’re facing—because that’s really the only way to keep hopping excitedly through change, make the jump over to the other side and continue skipping happily along.

Interview with Jill

Rita: One of my favorite quotes in your book is by Mark Twain: “Now and then we had a hope that if we lived and were good, God would permit us to be pirates.” So many of us don’t allow ourselves to play and, all of a sudden, our creative projects, and life itself, become way too serious. Did you always find it easy to connect with your child self and if not, what was that process like for you and how did it affect your creativity?

Jill: That's one of my favorite quotes too!
Playing has always been easy for me as a result of a screwed up childhood where my parents forgot I was there so I just decided to vanish into a world of my own making. I just recently came out of it with a harsh awakening at age 49 but by then the whole style of play, fun, and not getting too serious about ANYTHING was already installed. I have to thank my talented and negligent parents for this gift. It has served me in many ways namely my life is fun most of the time despite what's happening around me… except for those occasional inconvenient things like grieving, taxes, and keeping track of my keys.

I needed to make both of my books fun in order for me to write them. All my programs, services and publications have an element of humor which I believe contributes to their effectiveness.

I included a tool called KidStuff in the Kaizen-Muse creativity coaching curriculum I teach… which you just became certified in, because it's so important to our success in the creative process.

Rita: The Awe-Manac is so playful and fun, yet so powerful in its undertaking. By encouraging us to celebrate the things we’re not normally conditioned to celebrate, it helps us shift our thinking from those negative voices we all hear to gratitude, creativity, lightness and laughter. What inspired you to write this book?

Jill: Thank you! I was inspired by having the need to shift my thinking from the negative voices we all hear to gratitude, creativity, lightness and laughter … I wrote the book for myself as I slipped into a rough time in my life, knowing that I'm not so special that what would help me wouldn't help others as well.

Plus it was a hell of a lot of fun doing the research, inventing the potions, creating illustrations and basing it on a take-off of The Farmer's Almanac. It became a festive game of filling in the blanks once I had the structure.

Rita: How do you think the Awe-Manac can help people who are going through life transition or change?

Jill: Life transition and change are times of overwhelm where we can easily lose sight of the joy there is in small moments because we are caught up in stress. Having only a page to read daily breaks down a program of inspiration in doable doses that can over time keep someone grounded in a clear and relaxing place. The prompts and quotes suggest lightness of thought and I know that's what I need during life transitions.

Rita: What things did you do or say to yourself that helped you the most when you were transitioning from your corporate career to a creative life?

Jill: Great question.

  1. "Thanks for sharing but I'm doing this anyway," (said to voices of fear that were there daily for a few years)
  2. I never want to work for someone else again (said in a stubborn voice like a bratty child).
  3. I just looked at the small step in front of me and trusted that if I completed it, my intuition would lead me to the next step. That said, I needed to learn that the process is so not linear and to accept and welcome detours, lapses, bridge trolls, flying monkeys, dead-ends masquerading as opportunities and eventual, thorough-ways filled with the blessings inherent in taking risks in the name of a higher purpose.
Rita: I know you believe there is a strong connection between spirituality and creativity. Can you explain your thoughts on this?

Jill: To me: being a creator, listening to and expressing an inner call from a higher purpose, using some of the talents with which I was born, being immersed in a process that results in me being a better person, and sharing inspiration, humor, and wisdom are all both spiritual and creative.

Thank you Jill!

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