Jamie Ridler is a creative living coach. Her website, Jamie Ridler Studios, is a valuable resource for anyone who wants to pursue their creative dream or even just incorporate a little more creativity into their life. Jamie provides one-on-one and group coaching, hosts online communities, offers creative courses, publishes a weekly podcast and writes a wonderful email newsletter. Everything she does seems grounded in kindness. She is truly one of the nicest people I know. Jamie resides in Toronto, Ontario, with her husband, Justin, and their cat, Jinx. She has inspired me many times, so it gives me great pleasure to feature her here.
1. Jamie, you’ve written that you were a late bloomer and detoured around your creative path many times—that it took awhile to reach the level of creative success you’ve achieved. When your life circumstances were pulling you away from your creative path, how did you manage to keep your creative spark alive?
In a word: journaling. Journaling has been a constant and a lifeline during the difficult times, particularly when I was finding my way. During one major turning point, I worked passionately through The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. I wrote morning pages (3 pages of long-hand freeform writing) every day and that’s what started to shift things. I could see in black and white what I was yearning for, what I was upset by again and again. I could see what had to change and the direction I had to go. In my writing, I came face-to-face with my self and with the “me” I wanted to be. Journaling helped me see, acknowledge and commit to my creative path.
2. Many in the creative blogosphere have gotten to know you from your wonderful online community, Wishcasting Wednesday, and the accompanying Wishcasting Journal. For readers who might not be familiar with Wishcasting, can you explain what the process is? Can anyone participate?
Absolutely, everyone can participate! On Wednesdays, I share a prompt for wishing. It might be, “What do you wish for your body?” or “What do you wish to create?” or “What do you wish to say no to?” You can answer in your journal or answer in your heart. If you have a blog, you can answer in a post, share your link and you’ll find other Wishcasters coming by and supporting you with our shared phrase, “As you wish for yourself, so I wish for you also.” A beautiful, loving community has grown around this weekly ritual. It’s magic.
I also created the Wishcasting journal as an offline way of developing this powerful practice. The journal has 52 prompts that you can answer at your own pace, in your own way. Open the journal at random in the morning and make a wish! Bring it to life by writing it out, drawing it or gluing in pictures of what you’re dreaming of. By developing a regular practice of checking in with our hearts and expressing our desires, we invite magic and possibility into our lives. After years of Wishcasting, I’ve seen the truth and beauty of that again and again.
3. Each Tuesday you publish your podcast, Creative Living with Jamie, where you interview inspiring people who are following creative paths. How has conducting creative interviews deepened your own creative process?
Amazingly so! I feel so blessed that I have this opportunity to chat with people at different stages and in different disciplines about their creative journey. There are moments when we’re both nodding our heads (and I know the audience is too!) because we recognize the same places, the same fears, the same joys. And there are times when someone shares something and it opens up a whole new way of thinking, a whole new range of possibilities. This happened for me when I interviewed photographer Tracey Clark. She opened me up to whole new ways of playing with my camera. I had in my mind that I needed to understand f-stops and apertures before I could use them. Tracey helped me see that I could experiment. I could take a shot, shift the settings, take a shot and see what happens. That was a revelation!
Being in conversation with great guests and amazing listeners helps me discover what our core concerns are. As creative spirits, where do we get stuck? What strategies help? What do we adore? What questions keep coming up? What inspires us? I find this wildly creatively exciting. It sparks my curiosity, fuels my sense of vision and inspires me to help. It drives what I do at Jamie Ridler Studios, helping me share great content and design classes, products and services that are really rooted in what my community wants and needs.
For example, the number one challenge I heard from everyone was time. That’s why I created my new e-course, Sparkles. It is a series of 31 simple daily creative prompts brought to you by an amazing group of inspiring teachers and designed to spark your creative spirit in 5 minutes (or less!) a day. I keep telling everyone – it changes everything when you Sparkle!
4. I really like the way you use social media. Your Twitter feed and Facebook page are both brimming with positive inspiration, and you seem to genuinely enjoy engaging with your followers. As a self-employed creative professional, how has social media benefited your business?
Thank you so much, Marilyn! I just love social media, especially Twitter. For a solopreneur, it is such a gift to be able to connect with all of these amazing people every single day. It’s like stepping into the coolest lunchroom and having fun and fascinating conversations with inspiring people all over the world. How good is that?!
And yes, it has absolutely benefited my business. I have received invitations to teach workshops, guest post, participate in events, contribute to products and be on podcasts, all from people who’ve come to know me through social media. I have also developed inspiring entrepreneurial friendships. Every month I meet with an amazing group of women innerpreneurs here in Toronto; we all met through social media. I have gained a community, clients and opportunities and had a great time meeting, connecting and sharing with the most amazing people from around the world. I love it.
5. Let’s talk about The Elder Sister Project at Roots of She. We don’t typically see a lot of conversation about aging at creative sites. What compelled you to tackle such an important topic under a creative umbrella? What sorts of themes do you hope to explore?
This project has been stirring in me for the past couple of years. I’d been thinking a lot about aging myself and didn’t really feel like I had anyone to have a frank, compassionate discussion with. Conversations about aging seem to be limited to self-deprecating jokes. I wanted to feel connected to other women. I wanted to know what they were going through. I wanted to know if I was alone in feeling what I was feeling. With The Elder Sister Project, I quickly found I wasn’t!
The conversation has been amazing, inspiring, thought-provoking and real. No doubt there is a lot of tenderness and privacy around the topic. The rawness of what people shared with me behind the scenes has been deeply moving. I hope that the series has at least started the discussion. I encourage anyone who’s been inspired by it to continue – write an article, write a story, write to the media and say you want more real stories on this, create a photo series (I did one of me from when I was a baby until now). I’ve written about what our worries and questions are, about our relationship to our bodies, how we see ourselves, how we change over time, how we can empower ourselves through shifting our questions. I covered a lot of ground in the series but it’s only a ripple on the surface. There’s so much more that needs to be explored!
6. Dance is typically perceived as a young person’s medium and activity. As a dancer who’s also exploring the shifting landscape of aging, can you suggest a few simple ideas that Elder Sisters can incorporate into their daily lives to experience the joy of dance?
Dance is my first love and helping people come to their dance is something I’m called to do. The simplest thing of all is to pick a song, just one song, and dance. Just dance. Don’t worry if it’s just a shuffle. Don’t worry what you look like. Close your eyes. Close the door. Let your body feel the music and move. We are born to move. Look at babies, how they move all the time – wiggle, wiggle, wiggle. That impulse brings us alive.
If it feels really awkward and you don’t know what to do, choose one part of your body to dance. Put on that song and say, today, I’m just going to move my hips. I’m going to let me hips respond to the music. Or today, I’m just going to dance with my hands. I’m going to lie here in bed with my iPod on and let me hands do the dancing. Or my feet. Or my fingers. Just start. Your body will thank you – and so will your spirit. Dance belongs to everybody. And it belongs to us for a lifetime.
7. I love that sophistication is one of your style touchstones. How does city life in Toronto enable you to unleash your sophisticated side?
I love you, Marilyn! I’m a city girl through and through. I love coffee shops and book stores, galleries and movie theatres, museums and amazing restaurants. Toronto has all of that and more. There are so many events in Toronto you couldn’t possibly do them all! You could go to a book launch one day, dragon-boat racing another, take a hooping class, grab a meal in Little India and finish your week off with a candlelit night of storytelling.
So how does a girl dress for all that? I’m a big lover of simple elegance. I want the same outfit to take me everywhere, (okay, I’ll change for hooping) and I want to be able to move. I love walking through the city and seeing what’s going on, so comfortable, awesome boots are always a win! It often surprises people too that I’m pretty formal. I’m not a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl. Not even at home. I’d rather sparkle. I like to dress up. I like special occasions. I like a sense of event and grandeur and I love to create opportunities for that.
8. You’ve shared that one of your recent goals is to be a more adventurous traveler. What destinations are you hoping to visit in 2011 and how will those trips help you to meet that goal?
This whole traveling thing has been absolutely amazing! Early last year when I set the intention, all of a sudden I had so many places to go! I went to the Kripalu Center to assist Jennifer Louden on retreat. I went to Portsmouth, NH for a fantastic workshop with Alicia Forest and visited some awesome blogging friends in the Boston area. I spent an incredible week in San Francisco for my brother’s wedding! I’m still beaming over how it all came to life!
This year I’m planning to go to Portland for Chris Guillebeau’s World Domination Summit (and thank you, Marilyn, for your awesome Portland recommendations!) I’m going to Nova Scotia to visit my sister, Suzie the Foodie. (You can imagine how spoiled I’ll be with good food there!) I’m going to Portsmouth again in the fall and Justin and I are thinking of a weekend jaunt to Chicago!
Travel has become a part of my life and I love it! The next big challenge for growing my traveling confidence will be going someplace where I can’t rely on English!
9. You’re always so sunny and positive, yet everyone has off days and needs downtime. When you’re feeling depleted, what steps do you take to nourish and recharge yourself?
Absolutely! Shifting gears is a big part of it for me. I’m incredibly driven and can really throw myself in, so when I’m getting depleted I need to “slowly step away from the computer, Ms. Ridler” and go for a walk, hang out with my honey, read a book, go to a movie, take a Nia class, watch some bad TV, crochet. But my ultimate favourite refresh experience is to go to the spa. It gets me outside of the house, so I can’t get tempted to do more work, and connects me to my body, reminding me to love and take care of my life and my self. A half-day getaway - a relaxing facial, a delightful lunch, lounging with a book in a quiet, beautiful environment – is like a mini vacation for me. I always feel like a new woman when I walk out the door.
10. Let’s end the interview with some Wishcasting. Jamie, what do you wish to manifest in your creative life in the next year?
I have so many wishes! I wish to build a loving, talented team at Jamie Ridler Studios so that I can get even more amazing inspiration out there and serve even more creative spirits! I wish to spend more time in my body, dancing, running, finding my way into yoga. I wish to expand my knowledge of video making so I can bring more ideas to life – maybe even a documentary. I wish to invest in beautiful jewellery. I wish to relearn how to drive (I’m scared to say that one out loud because then I’ll have to start doing it!) I wish to spend more time in studio spaces. I wish to fill my practice with creative breakthrough sessions. I wish to launch a new offering called “Studio Time with Jamie” where you come play in the studio with me and we discover your vision and create a plan to get you into action. I wish to shine a light that inspires more and more people to awaken their creative potential. I wish to be a light in the world.
Website and Blog: Jamie Ridler Studios
Workshop in a Box: Soul Reflections – The Home Edition
Podcast (every Tuesday): Creative Living with Jamie
Wishcasting Wednesday (every Wednesday)
Full Moon Dreamboards (Monthly)
Facebook: Jamie Ridler Studios
Shyne Like a Star Virtual Dance Party (Every May 1)