Friday, July 31, 2020

Expand Slowly

The universe expands outward at a small, but constant rate. It moves slow and that’s okay.

Our creative power develops slowly too. However, we don’t see big results, we can get discouraged.

Those little progressions add up. When we go slow, we can adjust along the way. It makes us stronger and more resilient.

We unfold gradually, not all at once. Keep expanding your creative power through small changes. Build your confidence as you grow into your potential.



Thursday, July 30, 2020

Harness Active, Summer Energy

Harness active, summer energy to expand creative power.

Summer is the time to go and do. This sun fuels our capacity to expand through change.

As we write, draw and create, we learn what works and what doesn’t. You will never know how to get better until you try.

The fear of failing can override this urge to act. Don’t let it!

Developing skills takes time. We get better through failing and learning how we can improve.

Flexing your creative muscles allows us to produce a substantial yield, one change at a time.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Don't Let Your Fear Response Become Habit {Mindful Musings}


“Watch your thoughts, they become your words; 
watch your words, they become your actions; 
watch your actions, they become your habits; 
watch your habits, they become your character; 
watch your character, it becomes your destiny.” 
  ― Lao Tzu


Don't let your fear response become a habit. 

I began a new project, but it did not go as smoothly as I would have liked. Then I quit. It isn't worth the effort, I told myself. 

My response was one of fear. 

I was afraid of failing, so I stopped trying. This has become a bad habit. 

The quote by Lao Tzu reminds me that each thought leads to a habit. Only by changing my mindset and my habits can I make progress towards my goal.

Lean in and find creative solutions. Step outside of your comfort zone and try something new. It's okay to fail, that is the only way we can learn.




Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Writing Tip #6 - Simplify the Story



Simplify the Story

When you don’t know where to start or get stuck in your story, take a moment to simplify it. Almost every story begins with someone coming or someone leaving.

First, decide what direction your story is going. Is your protagonist leaving a place? Is your protagonist being left? Is your protagonist going to a place? Is your protagonist meeting someone who has come.

Once you have the direction, you can begin to fill in the details.

By simplifying your story, you can clearly see where the characters are starting from and where they are going. The details give your story depth, but this initial plot line is the driving structure of your narrative. With your story line clear, the character’s actions and reactions will fill in the rest.


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Become a part of Balancing Tree Burrow, a creative community dedicated to emotional stability and connection, by supporting Balancing Tree Press on Patreon. Access bonus content, receive a weekly newsletter. You can also get extended emotional season guidebooks and a one on one brainstorming chat with Amanda. 

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Monday, July 20, 2020

New Moon July 2020

The moon cycle is a brilliant way to process energy and materialize goals.

As the new moon energy rises, take time to reflect on the past month and consider what worked and what didn’t. Release anything that is not serving your highest mission as you decide what intentions to set for the next moon cycle.

New moon energy provides time to renew and regenerate your energy.

The new moon is the time to create goals and start new projects. Brainstorm and expand on new ideas and define your creative ambition. As the moon orbits the earth our energy builds, we collect information and take the first steps toward our goal.

Spend some time reflecting on what is working and what needs to be improved. What emotional patterns or habits are holding you back from revealing your true self? This is the perfect opportunity to make a change. Accept what is no longer serving your purpose and release what is standing in your way.

July’s New Moon facilitates us to increase our confidence in our voice, vision and creative expression.

Voice - the sound produced through the mouth, the power of speaking, an instrument or medium of expression, a choice or opinion openly expressed.

Our voice is both how we speak and what we express.

What are you hesitant to express? Do you shy away from sharing your creative work?

When we hesitate to share our art we are limiting ourselves and restricting our calling. Others need to receive our creative expression as much as we need to produce it.

The expansive, summer energy propels us to act. For creative people, this means producing lots of work or wishing we were. Our craft is very personal to us. It makes us feel vulnerable to share it. Rejection of our art feels like a rejection of self.

Any type of rejection hurts, but it also helps us grow. Any time we fail, we have an opportunity to learn. A growth mindset transforms those setbacks into a compulsion to improve. Criticism gives us direction to refine our craft.

As we strengthen our voice and cultivate confidence in our craft, we will transform our lives and reach toward our higher Self. Take some time this New Moon and meditate on your voice. How can your define your vision and share your creative expression more freely?

New Moon Journal Questions
  1. What is the theme for this month? 
  2. Where do I need to focus? 
  3. In what ways have I seen personal growth? 
  4. What magic can I tap into? Reflect. Set Intentions. Where do I need to be mindful?

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Writing Tip #5 - Do Something Fun



Do Something Fun!

I find that I get too serious, too often. I get stuck in the stories in my own head and forget to laugh and have fun. Especially with the state of the world right now, it can be hard to find the humor in the situation. However, that weighted, severe attitude stifles creativity. Life is hard and complicated, but how much are we exacerbating our reality by not allowing ourselves enjoyment [pleasure, satisfaction]?

I am choosing my words carefully because I know there are some serious [heavy, impactful] events happening right now. A sense of humor is important, especially when the going gets tough. Get out of your own head and go do something just for the fun of it. As you release the tension, the creativity will have an opportunity to flow.


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Become a part of Balancing Tree Burrow, a creative community dedicated to emotional stability and connection, by supporting Balancing Tree Press on Patreon. Access bonus content, receive a weekly newsletter. You can also get extended emotional season guidebooks and a one on one brainstorming chat with Amanda. 

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Friday, July 10, 2020

How To Cultivate A Growth Mindset



July brings active, expansive energy. Expansion is the act or process of increasing capacity, the ability to stretch, or to unfold. It’s the time of year to reach out and make a move towards what you want.

How can you take advantage of this active energy to increase your capacity?

Allow yourself to grow.

Cultivating a growth mindset lets you expand and grow. Challenge yourself to engage in this active, summer energy to expand in the direction you want to go.

Here's how I am expanding...

Learn How to Cultivate a Growth Mindset

A growth mindset means to turn mistakes into learning opportunities so I can continuously grow.

I spent most of my life held captive by society’s expectation. This created a limited (or fixed) mindset. I would not trust my own opinions, instead, I felt the need to always be validated by others.

I had a horrible inner monologue that was always putting myself down. I knew I couldn’t do something, so I didn’t try. I’m not sure if this fueled my anxiety or my anxiety fueled it, but it was a cocktail of nervous energy that never got me anywhere. Once I began to understand what was happening and that I could do something about it, I wanted to learn everything I could.

The answer revealed a growth mindset. The ability to learn and change shifted my entire perspective. I didn’t convert overnight. Sometimes I still have to walk myself through meditations reminding myself of my power - the ability to choose and change.

I always chastised myself for making mistakes. “I’m so stupid, I should have known better.” “I’m never going to get it, why even try?” I told myself these things for years limiting my options and making myself miserable.

Once I allowed, even encouraged, myself to make mistakes, my entire world changed.

Instead of viewing mistakes as the proof you aren’t good enough, consider what you can learn and how you can grow.

Learning How to Process Change

Processing change means to act, assess, and adjust so I can learn to grow and expand my confidence.

Humans are great at adaptation. That is how we got to the top of the food chain and built our complex society. However, the society I grew up in made me fear change. Maybe it was my own body that rejected the idea of the unknown manifesting in anxiety.

The only constant is change. This is an old quote, but true. You change as a person over and over again. You like different things now than you did a year, three years, or five years ago.

With a limited mindset, these changes felt unsure and confusing. I spent a lot of time full of fearful energy.

Change can be scary, but staying the same in an unhappy state is even scarier.

Learning about a growth mindset has changed my perspective to one of curiosity and exploration. I have gained experience that shapes my views and my attitude.

I am no longer as fearful of the unknown. This is largely because I learned how to process change. It became manageable. Once I understood it, I could shift my perspective to accept it or make a different choice.

I process change by always looking forward. I meditate on what is going well and what needs to improve. If a method doesn’t work, it’s okay. It doesn’t mean I did something wrong or that it wasn’t worth trying.

Ask questions and seek answers with curiosity. Since we are always changing, anything that doesn’t work can evolve into the next iteration of something that does.

Change doesn’t have to be fearful, it can be liberating and inspiring when you understand how to process it.

Learn How to Act Mindfully
Acting mindfully means to overcome the fear of making a mistake by considering outcomes so I can move forward with a decision.

A limited mindset caused me to freeze. I couldn’t decide what action was best, so I would do nothing at all. This meant many decisions were made for me, without my input.

It took me a long time to stop pleasing others at my own expense. I feared hurting someone’s feelings or causing a conflict. I avoided all conflict at great cost, often to myself.

A growth mindset offers the ability to make my own choice. Acting mindfully means I look at the available information and make the best choice. I am not rash, but I also take the initiative to move forward in the direction I choose.

The fear of making a wrong choice is lessened because we are always changing. I can make a different decision at any time.

Learn How to Trust Myself

Trusting myself means to believe in my ability as I transform so I can tap into my highest potential.

Fear held me back from making a choice because I didn’t want to make a bad one. I wouldn’t do anything without knowing 100% that it was okay. This meant I didn’t do much of anything for a long time. I feared I would get myself into a situation I wouldn’t be able to handle or that I would upset someone.

As I learned about a growth mindset, I realized the crux was that I didn’t trust myself. I relied on everyone else to have a better idea, a better opinion, and a better way. I never believed my decisions were worthy of being acknowledged, even by myself.

It took daily mantra readings to convince myself I am strong. I am capable. I am worthy. I am enough.

As I make choices and keep moving forward, I learned to trust myself. This has cultivated my confidence. I believe I can make a good choice and handle what comes next. It is like a muscle that improves with use. The more I trust myself and put myself out there, the more capable I feel.

Learn How to Ground into Routine

Ground into routine means to repeat one daily action to find comfort in the uncomfortable as I constantly change.

I have a journal I write in every morning. I write down whatever is on my mind, dreams if I have them, and at least three things I am thankful for.

Since I do this daily, it is a routine that I can depend on. I can be uncomfortable on that page and release it from my psyche. I can find comfort by defining my emotions and concerns. This process allows me to understand my thoughts more clearly and possibly find a new perspective.

This routine doesn’t have to be journaling, that is simply what works for me. We are all different, embrace that! Find what works for you. It can be a workout routine, meditation, a meal, a self-care ritual, or whatever offers you peace and perspective.

What routine can you ground into to find perspective and comfort during the uncomfortable?

Learn How to Have Fun

“Don’t take life too seriously, you’ll never get out alive.” I heard this quote in college and it really stuck with me. I tend to get anxious and that makes me really serious. I fear every choice I make, convinced it will be a bad one.

Once I began learning how to have a growth mindset, I was able to see that stiffness as part of the problem. I would take something personally that was not intended that way at all. I lost a part of myself to constant doubt. I never believed I was good enough.

Smiling and having fun releases dopamine into your body that allow you to relax. This allows you to actively expel negative energy. The more you do this, the happier you feel.

Growth mindset shifts your perspective. It’s about enjoying what you are doing because you aren’t afraid anymore. All of the things I am learning about how to change and grow end with the goal to have fun.


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Photo by Ravi Roshan on Unsplash

Become a part of Balancing Tree Burrow, a creative community dedicated to emotional stability and connection, by supporting Balancing Tree Press on Patreon. Access bonus content, receive a weekly newsletter. You can also get extended emotional season guidebooks and a one on one brainstorming chat with Amanda. 

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Thursday, July 9, 2020

Fire Fuels {A Poem}




Fire fuels the physical with heat and nourishment through eating foods cooked over it.

                    - Physically Sated -

Fire fuels the emotional by offering warmth and safety.

                    - Emotionally Secure -

Fire fuels the mental by providing a space of stillness, a quiet way to process energy.

                    - Mentally Regulated -


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Become a part of Balancing Tree Burrow, a creative community dedicated to emotional stability and connection, by supporting Balancing Tree Press on Patreon. Access bonus content, receive a weekly newsletter. You can also get extended emotional season guidebooks and a one on one brainstorming chat with Amanda. 

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Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Writing Tip #4 - It's Okay To Be General First



It's okay to be general before you add details

It happens more than I like to admit that a scene doesn’t all come to me at once. Oftentimes, the scene unfolds in several sittings. Instead of waiting for the details to come, I write down the general actions first. I know this content will not go into my novel, but it keeps my flow moving and becomes a placeholder for the scene.

Many of my scenes start out with a series of actions, almost like stage directions. For example, my opening scene in Playing House started out like this:

Mack and Brady meet Selena at the pool. Mack goes to the bathroom and Brady scrapes his arm. Selena helps him. Mack recognizes her because he really likes her car. Selena and Brady get along really well. Selena has a big family and is good with kids. 


It seems simple, but it created the structure for the rest of the scene to unfold. The important thing is to not get bogged down in the details so you can keep moving.

You can read what this meager beginning became HERE.

Monday, July 6, 2020

How Can You Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone?

Your comfort zone is both a blessing and a curse. Our minds like to keep us safe. However, that safety can also feel very much like being stuck. 

Instead of gritting your teeth and forcing yourself to do something uncomfortable, try taking small steps.

1. Meditate
Take some quiet time to meditate or think about what you want to accomplish. Allow space for creative ideas to bubble up.

2. Go Outside. 
This can look different depending on where you are. It could mean a multi-mile hike, a walk through a park, sitting on your porch or opening a window to let some fresh air breeze through. Connecting with nature grounds you to the rhythms of the earth. This can open your mind to new possibilities as it comforts your soul to feel connected to the land that sustains you.

3. Laugh and play
I find when I get going on something, I get too serious. When I begin to snap for no reason, I know I need to lighten up and play. Laughter releases endorphins, which offers us relief from pressure. We put pressure on ourselves to do it "right," but this perfectionism often stops us from doing it at all. Laugh at yourself and make time to play.

4. Do Something "Just Because"
Our time is valuable and there is never enough of it. Taking time to do something just because you want to is a boost in self-worth. Put priority on yourself and your desires. You are worth the time and effort. This also allows you to relax and make space for creativity.

5. Try something new
What sparks your interest right now? What can you learn or do to help you grow? No pressure. Come from a perspective of curiosity. This is your first step out of your comfort zone.

Connecting mind body and soul through these exercises will allow you to move forward from a place of confidence and open up doors to explore. Give yourself a safe place to create from and spark new ideas.



Peace and Love, 


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Become a part of Balancing Tree Burrow, a creative community dedicated to emotional stability and connection, by supporting Balancing Tree Press on Patreon. Access bonus content, receive a weekly newsletter. You can also get extended emotional season guidebooks and a one on one brainstorming chat with Amanda. 

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Thursday, July 2, 2020

Follow My Heart {A Poem}



I’m pulled in two directions

One towards my head

Where logic and ego live

One towards my heart

The source of my intuition

My power lies within

This quiet, unseen choice

I always feel better

When I follow my heart


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Become a part of Balancing Tree Burrow, a creative community dedicated to emotional stability and connection, by supporting Balancing Tree Press on Patreon. Access bonus content, receive a weekly newsletter. You can also get extended emotional season guidebooks and a one on one brainstorming chat with Amanda. 

Connect with me: Instagram - Facebook - YouTube

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

{Book Review} "A Shining Thread of Hope"


“A Shining Thread of Hope” by Darlene Clark Hine and Kathleen Thompson is an insightful non-fiction of the history of Black Woman in America.

I picked up “A Shining Thread of Hope” as a library recommendation after “Blackout Tuesday” on social media in response to the Black Lives Matter call for justice against George Floyd’s inhumane death.

I didn’t know what to expect when I began “A Shining Thread of Hope.” I wanted to learn more about Black history to better understand the racist struggle still plaguing our country today. I acknowledge my privilege to be able to be silent about such injustices this long, but I awaken now.

To have a voice against racism, I must learn so I can understand the many struggles Blacks face in our society. “A Shining Thread of Hope” proved a great teacher. Reviewing Black history, particularly from the women’s perspective, allows me to witness the undeniable strength in a group of people that have been unceasingly oppressed. They relied on community, learned skills and creative solutions to provide hope in times of anguish.

“A Shining Thread of Hope” follows Black women from the time they sailed miserable on boats from Africa to become slaves in Colonial America all the way to the present day. Hine and Thompson unfold Black history like the weaves of a tapestry with women in the center. Black women’s names shape the history of America as leaders in the community and foundations for strength and hope.

The impact of Sojourner Truth’s words in 1870, are highly significant today. “So I am for keeping the thing going while things are stirring; because if we wait til it is still, it will take a great while to get it going again” (p 157).

The stirrings are happening again. Reading “A Shining Thread of Hope” opened my eyes to the realization that the prejudice and discrimination from days of slavery never really went away.

During the 1960s, Journalist Ida Well-Barnett stated, “we have at last come to a point in our race history where we must do something for ourselves and do it now. We must educate the white people out of their 250 years of slave history.”

Politics play a large role in “A Shining Thread of Hope,” as it does in Black history. However, Hines and Thompson also discuss the role of Black women’s influence in art, music and literature. Each time period and theme offers women leading the way in small communities and on a national scale. As time goes on, more names are added with more influence.

The hero in this story of American History is the fundamental values of the community led by Black women. True satisfaction comes from taking care of your family and those around you. Your purpose is to those around you; however, your self-worth, comes from within.

“The value another person puts on you is of no importance, unless that person is one whom you value and respect” (p 308).

The theme of self-worth spoke to me as a woman and as a creative personality. This inner confidence is one of the many inspiring lessons we can learn from Black women’s history.

I thoroughly enjoyed “A Shining Thread of Hope.” Hines and Thompson deliver a relevant, vibrant history of Black women in America. I recommend “A Shining Thread of Hope” to anyone wanting to learn more about the mentality and culture of Black women. When obstacles seem insurmountable, Black women show us the way to persevere. They not only survive, but thrive.

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