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Hey! I’m Emily. Hello, I’m Sarah.

Bright Ideas Girls

We’re the . Here’s what we think of each other since we’re not good at describing ourselves. This could be dangerous. Emily’s personality is best expressed in her hair, which is curly and abundant. She loves hot tea and people who remember that she can’t eat gluten (if you send her cookies please keep this in mind). She somehow manages to wear scrubs and hippie earrings and make it look like the only natural way to accessorize.Emily has been known to wax poetic about light -- sending her outside during the Golden Hour may produce near-orgasmic reactions. She often spontaneously bursts into song; living with her is somewhat like living with Julie Andrews except that she doesn’t ask us to wear clothing made from the curtains...yet. Emily dislikes insincerity, condescension, and people who take their dogs through the drivethrough. She doesn’t hesitate to share her life story with new friends, please feel free to direct any further questions to her. Sarah loves trivia, sarcasm, and flirting. If she were an animal she would be a cat, no doubt about it. She loves to curl up in comfy furniture, or on comfy people, and if she wants your attention she will lay her head on your book until you start to pet her. Sarah’s Southern/Jewish-mamma upbringing comes out in her tendency to cook dinner regularly and in large portions and her encouragements to go to bed at a reasonable hour. She is a walking encyclopedia of random trivia, history, interior design facts, and thoughts about the beauty of Southern culture. Things around her become well designed or cease to exist. Sarah has a tendency to cartoon people and situations around her in her head, and occasionally samples of nerdy themed comics end

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up on our fridge (think protesting triangles). Dance parties in the kitchen are a regular occurrence and, let’s just say, her hips don’t lie.

Our journey toward Bright Ideas began when Emily facilitated a group to read through The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Guide to Higher Creativity in the fall of 2011. Sarah was part of that group and everyone in it experienced both personal creative breakthrough and the formation of a vibrant artistic community. Inspired by the success of the first group Emily began to make plans for a second round of the Artist Way. A few weeks before beginning the group two artist friends, Greg and Susan Card, approached first Sarah and then Emily to encourage us to join forces with each other, bringing together our creative and spiritual revelation to develop a new kind of God-centric creativity curriculum. Greg and Susan, both accomplished professional artists in their own right, offered their support, guidance, and even money to help us launch Bright Ideas. In fact the name Bright Ideas came from a comment that Susan made during that conversation that the two of us were, “just full of bright ideas!” and it stuck. Drawing from what we learned from the Artist Way, college classes, articles and books we’ve read, and our own experiences we’ve developed this field guide to a more creative life. Our hope is that once you’ve finished this you will have at the very least learned that you are creative, your creativity is God given, and you are free to live in it no matter what the expression of it looks like. While the themes will change each week there are a few things that remain consistent throughout including: Open Journaling, Artist Dates, Keys, the Journey Map, weekly Collective gatherings, and weekly readings and Actions. By now you’re asking yourself, what in the world are these things and why do I have to do them? Take our word for it, even when they’re annoying, they are helping you.

Open Journaling is three pages of stream of consciousness journaling every day. Yes, that’s right, every day. It can be at whatever time of day works the best for you, experiment until you find that prime time. It can be hand written or typed or you can use handy sites like 750words.com. We don’t care how you do it as long as you get it done. This is meant to be a brain dump/processing tool. It is not to be re-read (especially at the beginning) or shared with anyone. These are totally private. Open Journaling

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is a safe place for you to release all of the ideas, thoughts, and emotions that clutter up your head throughout the day and get in the way of creative thinking. If it’s all to do lists, that’s ok. If it’s all ranting, that’s ok too. There is no right or wrong way to do it. If it’s all in CAPS or all in lower case with no punctuation that’s ok too, we won’t tell your high school English teacher. It should not be well written, especially at first, this is straight stream of consciousness, if it pops up in your head, write it down.

Artist Dates now this is a fun one but often the hardest one to make yourself do ironically. These are about taking time for you. Artist Dates can be anything that inspires and refills you. They can be any length of time, but should probably be at least a good thirty minutes for full potency and an hour or more is best. This time is not to be shared with anyone or anything else, this is not a group activity. It is purely and unrepentantly about you. You do not have to spend money, but treating yourself in some way is essential. You can go out somewhere, or stay home; dress up, or take a bath, whatever brings you joy. Be creative! Don’t do the same one every week. Find new places to go and things to explore. By the way, Artist Dates are not about being “productive,” in fact, they will probably feel unproductive (aka restful), that’s the point. Feel free to enjoy a slice of time that is dedicated nurturing the creative person inside of you, this is a date. Most importantly, have fun! Enjoy yourself! Be inspired! Put on some mascara! Or don’t! But do something that makes you feel alive! And then come back and tell us about it! Artist Date ideas are always welcome.

Keys are truths, quotes, ideas, revelations, discoveries, epiphanies, doodles, and anything else that sticks out to you during the course of this journey that you don’t want to forget. This is where you note those, “ah ha” moments. When someone in your group says something that just clicks inside of you, write it down, here. We wanted to give you one place that you could easily refer back to when you need to be reminded of what you know. Feel free to take notes, highlight, scribble, and otherwise deface every part of this field notes book, but the Keys page is for the things that you want to remember forever. The keys that unlock doors and tear down walls inside of or around you.

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The Journey Map is that big roll of paper sitting next to your facilitator. As unassuming as it may appear at first glance, this will be the visual record of your Collective journey. The Journey Map is a place to write, doodle, cartoon, draw, mark, and otherwise note keys, inspirations, breakthroughs, thoughts, milestones, and inside jokes that you discover as you journey together towards greater creativity. At the end of each Collective gathering grab a marker and go for it! When you strike a landmark or chart a new territory, either during your week or in the group, write it on the map so that everyone can benefit from your explorations. When the course is complete you will be able to look back and see how far you have all come.

Weekly Collective Gatherings are the place where you meet with your fellow creative pioneers to discuss the weekly articles and Actions and Artist Dates. This is the place for developing community and watching total strangers become creative allies. There will be fun, and sometimes not so fun, Collective Actions to do and things to try that will push the boundaries of your current creative capacity. These weekly Gatherings are an essential part of the Bright Ideas process. While we understand that sometimes life can get in the way we strongly recommend making the weekly Collective Gatherings a high priority as you go through this course. Even if you are not able to do any of the Actions, or read the Article, come to the Gathering, the community alone will enrich you.

Weekly Articles & Actions are the practical side the Bright Ideas course. This is where the rubber meets the road. The Articles are the launchpad for each week’s Collective discussion while the Actions let you practice what you’ve discovered. You are not obligated to do every Action that we have listed. We would encourage you to pick 2 - 3 of them per week to complete. Some Actions will be fun, and some Actions may be painful, choose at least one that you feel resistant to doing. These Actions often turn out to be keys to new breakthroughs in your creativity.

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B.I. Week 1 Article - Intro