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Studio Notes

Filtering by Tag: inspiration

Create 1x100

Leah Badertscher

"A small act is worth a million thoughts."
-Ai Wei Wei

In the spirit of this wisdom, I'm going to do one small act of creativity a day, for one hundred days, and then share it.  I most likely won't blog everyday (hahaha, who am I kidding?!  I KNOW I won't blog everyday!), but I will post to Instagram (and maybe FB and Twitter, too) using the hashtag #create1x100.  If you'd like to get your creative juices flowing, I'd love to have you join me!  I am feeling the need to create some new patterns in my life and break up some old - so the small act of posting this and beginning this one hundred day journey is one way I'm going about that.

My small act today is the first draft of this poem that was inspired by our family's first visit to the ocean while here in Portugal.  I've been to the ocean many times before and have long known that I'd like to live near a big body of water, but there was something about this particular visit that was more profound.  Here is my first stab at place-marking and trying to figure out what this experience was about:

The Ocean

I know now that this

this water
this depth
this color
this expanse
this room for sky
this sun glittering on the surface
this unknown power that drops so deep
this home to life
this mystery


is what I have been missing


And just like that...I'm sharing something.  Something that feels incomplete, something that my ego wants to rear up and say "Oh my GOD!  STOP!!! Do not share - it is not good enough yet!"

But I'm so tired of that song and dance - it's always the same- me and my stuff?  We aren't ever good enough. 

Okay, so fine.  I'm going to proceed anyway.  That voice has been saying the same thing since I was 11, and no matter what I've done, it's never enough for that voice. 

I've tried arguing with the voice, I've tried proving it wrong.  I've tried coaching, therapy, hypnosis, overachieving, law school, marathons, triathlons, degrees, programs, classes, certificates, you name it.  None of it has ever been good enough. 

So, whatever "good enough" is, I've decided I don't need it and I don't need to be it.

I do know I need creativity, I know I need to create.  If you need this as well (and I believe we all do), again, I'd love to have you join me.  Just hashtag #create1x100 and share to IG. 

You don't need to be good enough, you just need to get moving and make something.  One small act. 



FILL LIFE WITH BEAUTY (and an email full of updates!)

Leah Badertscher

                                                                  FILL LIFE WITH BEAUTY                                               Leah Campbell Badertscher, All RIghts Reserved                      I'm finding it's entirely too much work to fill life with beauty AND try to have it          all together.                      Something's gotta go... one guess which one it'll be.... ;)

                                                                  FILL LIFE WITH BEAUTY
                                              Leah Campbell Badertscher, All RIghts Reserved
                     I'm finding it's entirely too much work to fill life with beauty AND try to have it          all together.                      Something's gotta go... one guess which one it'll be.... ;)

In today's post I share an email I just wrote to a dear friend this morning.  I realized after I wrote this that it actually hits on a lot of the updates I've been meaning to share with my community of readers, people that follow my art work, and people who follow my coaching work.  I had the thought, "hey!  That was easy!  Why don't I just post THAT [email] to my blog!"

And then came the, "Oh no, you can't do that!  It's not nearly complete enough, good enough, what HAVE you, enough...."

But actually, I CAN do it.  And the whole protest in my mind is so laughable because in the past I have AGONIZED over writing a blog because it felt so impersonal - and then I felt like the writing just felt off, not like me at all. 

And what is MORE me than what I, earnestly, dash off to a trusted friend? 

I definitely want more me and I want that for you, too, so let's experiment with that here....

Below I talk about needing to shift, once and for all, from a paradigm of overwhelm to just playing bigger and flowing with things.  You can read a little bit below about my theory around one of the reasons I believe I experience overwhelm (I know this is a common thing for many people, and there is a particular flavor of it for highly creative people).  And this post and experimentation with this type of posting is one of my anecdotes to that overwhelm. 

Because I am so onto myself - one of the sources of my overwhelm is that I can feel such a powerful surge of ideas and inspiration, which is awesome, but for so much of my life I've tried to channel it through tiny straws.  Tiny straws with names like, "this has to be professional," "I don't want to waste people's time, so I should make sure this is really sparkly and tight," "there is ONE RIGHT WAY of doing this," "you're not good enough yet," "protect your(ego)self" - or just that oldest, most tired straw of all, "PERFECTIONISM." 

So anyway, let's get rid of the straws and all the other ways we filter ourselves in the name of being professional or having high standards.  I am all for high quality work, but I also know that so much heart and soul is sacrificed on the altar of trying to preserve the ego's appearances of being all grown-up, professional, normal and everything.  I have experienced it for myself and see a lot of other people waste precious time and energy trying to "get it right" or "be ready" or "be good enough."  I've had enough of that. 

So, here is the barely edited email I wrote to my friend and in it you'll see a bunch of updates on somethings I've been working on and thinking about lately!

Dear Friend,

It would be so wonderful to have a conversation over a glass of Rioja or tea (make mine a cappuccino :), but I will be grateful in the meantime for the wonders of modern technology!

Because I don't know how long I have to email... B [my husband] takes his students for a field trip to a soccer club and then goes to LSE in the afternoon to present a workshop - Blaise is currently "washing dishes" in the kitchen, and the boys are drawing pretty nicely.... I will hit the main points first!

One, are you feeling the ground beneath your feet yet?  Any more opportunities for your own space, quiet settling time, and reflection?  

Two, for the Blackberry Farm retreat date I am looking at November 10-12.   Am strongly feeling the nurture, nourish theme.  In spades.  Would those dates possibly work for you?  

Three, when my friend Mollie, the CEO of the National Resilience Institute was in town, I had a chance to get more caught up on all things NRI.  Among other things, I wanted to share with you these two dates - The NRI Summit is in Chicago on Nov 2-3 and she said the Africa retreat in collaboration with Tererai Trent and her foundation is also happening.  The dates are the end of Sept-beginning of Oct.  Both events are going to be incredible! For the African trip they are using a travel company and also partnering with a women's business/professional network in Zimbabwe.  There will be a a couple conference-type/learning days with community and business leaders/seeing the work that needs to be done/can be done, and there will also be adventure excursions - like waterfalls, safari, wonderful accommodations, and the opportunity to meet and network with leaders/kindred spirits in Zimbabwe and from within the group of retreat participants.  I think it is going to be around $10K to go for the week - both of which are things that will make it a challenge for me to go (being during the school year when Brad is teaching), but I am setting the intention and not closing off unforeseen possibilities.  I know you have your big Africa trip not long before this but I wanted to let keep you in the loop!

Fourth, Mollie also said she saw [ a friend] last week (she was at a university giving a talk) and that she said she's almost finished with her book [a book with a major publisher and I am featured in this book!] and will be sending my section back soon for any final edits.  

Fifth, I signed up for a workshop myself in Nashville in mid-September with an artist whose work and process I admire and am very fascinated in ( Felicia Forte).  A step in the direction of finding the right mentors and nourishing spaces and experiences.  

Sixth, I sent a letter to Almine Rech and Ai Wei WeiI haven't yet been able to find actual email address/physical address for either of them (not surprisingly) so have had to do my best so far just sending it via social media contacts and crossing my fingers....but also still looking (and trying to not feel like a stalker) for an address that might increase the likelihood of actually connecting with them.  These are just a couple of the many things I've been doing as a part of Susan's [Hyatt and Ellen Fondiler's] program - and I am equal parts excited about just reaching out, overcoming the "I'll never be ready" mental hurdle, and also working then on letting go of the outcome.  

Seven, continue to work on concept journal for THE show and other art.

Eight, experiencing overwhelm - deciding that NOW is the time for me to shift into a new paradigm.  Overwhelm is the old, and I think for me, the result of trying to squeeze myself into a very masculine, logical approach to things. I just need to let it rip. So, one thing I've done is start the Renascence FB group, of which you are my first member.  I will explain more about that soon, but that was the first step to take - creating a space and community, even a virtual one, where this kind of paradigm can have room to be.  A place for people who want to express the fullness of who they are, however that comes, moment by moment, and where people can put down the burdens of trying to appear or seem and can instead be, and grow and flower and flourish, as they were meant to.  A garden, of sorts.  I've got a ton more of thoughts on this, but am just going to get started without trying to have it fully formed....more sharpening the saw....

Nine, plan is to pull together soul revival at-home retreat book in portugal.  

Ten, trying to stay in the mode of soaking up every last bit of our time in London - and not wasting my energy being sad that it's drawing to a close.  Because I am also excited, though, to get the kids into a good structure and fun environment for them and to PAINT again!

Okay, sorry for the very long email!  Believe it or not, that is a shorter update than all I have in mind!  Gah!  

Please do let me know how you are doing!  Miss you!




And if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me or leave a comment.  All events I mentioned here - The National Resilience Institute Summit in Chicago (which I emceed last year in Iowa!), the Zimbabwe adventure/retreat, and my Blackberry Farm retreat- are going to be AMAZING!!!  If you'd like more information on these, just let me know.  You can also sign up for my newsletter as I"ll be sharing more info on these soon.

As for the Renascence FB group - that is evolving (and it is free) but I am taking applications to join.  I want it to be a very nurturing place - which is not to say that it won't be challenging in all the ways necessary to grow, though! Please contact me for more information if you are interested! 

Thank you, as always, for reading and for your support!





A Letter About Creativity

Leah Badertscher

                                                            "YOU ARE NOT ALONE"                                        Leah Campbell Badertscher, All Rights Reserved

                                                            "YOU ARE NOT ALONE"
                                       Leah Campbell Badertscher, All Rights Reserved

Dear Readers,
If you've been following me, I think you'll start to notice that I've started to do things differently.  This is going to continue, in every possible way, anyway, that supports me in expressing- as fluidly, efficiently, honestly, effectively, and powerfully- what I feel I am meant to express.  I'm sure I'll explain more in coming posts and what not, but for now I'll just give you a brief intro to today's post. 

What I'm sharing today is a personal message I sent to a friend who asked a great question.  I feel like one of the best parts about what I do as an artist and a coach/mentor/teacher/facilitator/what-evah-you-wanna-call-it is the opportunity to have amazing, meaningful, useful conversations.  And I have many of these conversations in the form of emails; I feel like I do my best thinking when I'm writing responses to great questions or when I'm engaged in a fascinating conversation. 

I want to share more of these conversations with more people.  These are the conversations where I feel most at home in my heart and like I am, potentially, most useful. 

I might not always have something to teach (and I don't want to be confined as always being the teacher or coach), but maybe something here will affirm what your heart or your gut has already been telling you.  Or maybe it will spark a question or make you realize you know something or have a position you didn't know you had.  Maybe you will just feel like you are not the only one thinking these things, dreaming these dreams.  Maybe you will know you are not alone.

I do hope there is something useful here for you. 

The following is part of the message I received:

"You are an artist, first and foremost, yes?

And your coaching training and skills...and the support you seek out, like, for example, this workshop you participated in is in support of your art, yes?

I have come 'round to this for myself. That my art and self-expression must come first. And that all the rest of it is in support of that.

And then there's this from Elizabeth Gilbert, re motive:
"Oh, and here's another thing: you are not required to save the world with your creativity...."

If I am mistaken, let me know."

And then my response:

Dear Friend,
So great to hear from you!! And your question is timely - because I've heard it argued for both sides- should you make art for self expression or to help others, and I read and loved Liz Gilbert's book "Big Magic"*, but I guess when it gets down to it, I do believe that we are all essentially one, and a cell expressing itself fully and healthily and robustly is good for the cell and good for the body as a whole.  Does the cell have to think about motivation? I don't think so...(but we are just now learning more and more about the individual "intelligence" of cells), but if it helps us as humans to have one motivation or another, then I say "whatever works to set you free until you're off and running and you no longer have to think about it, your intended nature becomes second nature." 

There are aspects of making art that feel entirely like "ME ME ME!!!'" to me, though ironically it's in this delicious self-forgetting way- I feel like I have God's full presence and then again, like I don't matter at all (in the most liberating, sublime way).  And there are also times when the intersection of other people and my art feels like one of the greatest gifts I could ever have-to create something that connects and is useful to another, that helps another be uplifted and better off. But even if I didn't have those gifts, I know I'd have to make art anyway.

To your question about how I'd identify myself, that's also timely. I've had plenty of time and cause to think about that.  And while this answer would get an F from the marketing coaches/experts [because I'm being too broad, not specifying a niche], I know fundamentally what my life is about- and sometimes the best medium for translating that is painting, sometimes it's poetry, sometimes it's writing a novel, sometimes it's coaching, sometimes a conversation, sometimes preparing a meal, sometimes the way I dress or dance, and almost anytime it can be just the way of being with someone. 

I think I've almost driven myself crazy at times trying to "define" it because defining confines.  That's so the wrong answer as an entrepreneur, I know, but I'm coming to understand that's what's best for me is the understanding that I'm always an artist (or artist-mystic if you want me to get REALLY specific) and part of the amazingness of that is the freedom- I get to make it up as I go!  I don't know if that helps at all, but let me ask you- do you feel you have to choose? Xoxo

PS- another thing to consider, I know of countless artists/authors/creatives who have had an amazing positive impact on my life, and there are certainly countless more who have made many things about life I love but they are anonymous to me.  Their creativity was a gift for which I'm grateful. Their creativity makes life more worth living.  Do I require them to have had the intention to help me? Does it help me less if they just created bc they needed to?  Then, on the other hand, you have people who created terribly destructive things. So, the question of motivation /intention is a good one.  But going back to the cell analogy- a healthy cell doesn't express in a way that is unhealthy for the body...

*Big Magic is Elizabeth's Gilbert's latest book and for those who haven't read it, I highly recommend you do!   And what I'm referring to here is a part in which she talks about creating for your own sake and not because you are trying to help humanity.  That's a really quick and dirty explanation that doesn't do the book justice, but for our purposes here today, it will get you through.  Again, I'd encourage you to get the book- whether you consider yourself creative or not, you will be glad you did.  Your mind and self will grow.  I don't agree with absolutely everything, but that makes complete sense to me as there isn't just one way for all people.  But I do feel it is a special book, it's not just regurgitating what everyone else is talking about when they talk about "creativity" in the mainstream, and I've implemented many things she espouses since reading it.  I didn't bring many books with me to London in my one suitcase, but I did pack Big Magic!


So, there you have it!  The first letter post - I have (no joke) hundreds and hundreds of pages of correspondence like this, so I'm sure it will not be the last!

Thank you for reading and have a beautiful weekend!




Leah Badertscher

Leah Campbell Badertscher, All Rights Reserved

If you have been following me awhile, I'm sure it is no surprise to you that I believe Art heals and is soul work.  But what I experienced last week at a small workshop with a man name Frank Kane, a master voice coach, affirmed these beliefs in a different and deeply profound way. (more on that in a bit....)

I also believe that art, in its many different mediums, is able to be different mediums of energy, thereby affects different aspects of the human spirit and even has the capacity to touch, activate, and evokes different aspects of human fullness.  So, for example, talk therapy can be awesome for many things, but talking cannot often touch a place that poetry, music, visual arts, story, are able to.  We too often "think" we are just our thinking minds and forget the depth and many dimensions of us - art touches and awakens and helps remind of us of these dimensions of ourselves (and art can go beyond to healing, nourishing as well....but these are different blog posts for a different time). But suffice to say for now this is not an airy-fairy concept.  It's real.  And that's one of the special powers of creativity and art - channeling the intangible (which too often gets discarded as "airy fairy") and creating something spiritual that resonates through our physical selves. 

The soul of the artist comes into greater fullness when creating in this way, and, too, the soul of the beholder can be beckoned to rise up as well.  I also witnessed this in action at the workshop I attended last week. I don't want to be melodramatic, but the word that comes to mind was, "miraculous." (again, more on that in a bit...)

And so, "Your voice matters" has been a theme that inspires my art and often times comes through in symbolic and literal ways.

It was a theme very much alive in the painting I did above for a remarkable woman, Angela Lauria, whose work - whose art- is to liberate the inner artist/author of her clients and help them bring their message to the world.

Until last week, I thought I completely understood this message, "your voice matters."  Of course I know I needed for myself to believe that what I have to share, my creativity especially, with the world matters, that I'm not just "an extra," and I also strongly feel that part of my mission is to inspire and empower other people to own, liberate, and share their own creativity/voice.  I'd been thinking about voice in a very symbolic sense, interchangeably with creativity.

I'd often sensed there was a piece I was missing, I just couldn't quite (ironically) give voice to it.  Particularly it would come up at times when my creativity wasn't flowing and I could feel that I was holding back and dimming down.  I could feel it in a tightness in my heart, chest, throat, head, neck, especially on my left side.  Over two decades of mind/body experience and over a decade of exploring all kinds of energy/body/healing/coaching/therapy work, over a decade of teaching yoga, five years of coaching, and I am well-versed enough to know what was likely going on and I did plenty to heal and release the constriction in this area.  It had become a focus area of inquiry for me, not only for myself but especially because many (almost all) of my coaching clients have expressed experiencing something similar - feeling that the essence of what they are and the energy that they have to share is so much bigger than what they are currently sharing with the world.  I've heard it said that pain is the difference between how you are in the world and who you know yourself to be.  I've found this to be very true and it's one of the reasons I am so passionate about helping others unleash their creativity.

Almost all of us have heard the saying, "Don't die within your music still inside of you,"  but almost all of us would also love to do that but something within us seems to be standing at cross purposes with that.  So, it was an incredible gift to attend Frank Kane's (beautifully hosted by a lovely artist I met recently named Ali Warner) workshop and not only witness the truly masterful way he helped to liberate the powerful, resonate voices of the other attendees (in a very short time) but also to experience this first hand for myself.  I'm realizing this post is already running long and I know I'm not going to do justice to the experience in this one post, but I wanted to start. 

What struck me maybe most of all was the way I was, in a very real way, deeply affected by hearing/experiencing the full, true voice of the participants.  I felt - no, I knew- I was in the presence of someone truly sacred and holy when I heard their true voices (Frank would say that there is no "authentic" voice, so I would describe it as there being so much more of THEM, of their essence, their soul, filling up and filling out their voice). 

The experience was that of bearing witness, through the experience of their voice, the breath-taking magnificence of a human being.  And one of the realizations that has had me just dumbstruck as I've been mulling it over since, is that we always really are this sacred and holy and powerful - and it is so close to the surface, so ready to be called up, evoked, released...and we are the ones that hold it back, because, just as Marianne Williamson said, "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.  It is that we are powerful beyond measure."   

I've long loved this quote (even my own personal mission statement was greatly inspired by it), though I will admit I've also held some skepticism about it - I long to come into the fullness of who I am and to do what I came to do - so why on earth would I fear my power? 

But when it was my turn, I got to experience the absolute truth of this.  When Frank asked what I would like to focus on, I had a thought of holding back what I really wanted and instead saying, "My speaking voice.  I've always been told my voice is so quiet, so that."  But I'm glad that instead I just, blushing beetred and all, asked for what I really wanted, even though it seemed over the moon.

What I said was:

"I've always so, so admired singers who can really belt it out.  Women like Adele, Aretha Franklin, Florence (from Florence and the Machine).  And I also heard a woman speak once who spoke with an energy so powerful and great that my bones were vibrating - she reminded me of Martin Luther KIng, Jr., but more powerful as herself.  I feel like I've got such a big desire to belt something out like this, but my voice always seems too strained and small."

What Frank said was:

"So, you feel like your energy is much bigger than what you're currently allowing your vibration (voice) to be?"



So then he asked me a few more questions and then we went to work.  Again, too much to explain here, but it was one of the most incredible things I have experienced.  Me.  Unleashed.  My own voice, for the first time ever, maybe.  And that was just the beginning.  My mind was blown.  (And I always love it when the spirit pulls off one of those... :)

So you.  You sense you have more in you.  You're not imagining it.  Stop discounting it.  It's true.  You have so much more in you.  And it is sacred and holy and powerful and healing and the world is waiting to hear and feel the magnificence that is your voice.  So, sing, write, dance, build, make love, raise your families - whatever dream is calling you, straining against your throat and chest, wanting to break out - belt that song out.  In whatever way you can, just keep going until you feel that soul-satisfying, "now that's more like it" feeling of belting it out. 

Your voice matters.

More than you can know. 





The Lotus and The Rose

Leah Badertscher

Leah Campbell Badertscher, All Rights Reserved

I believe that the energy with which something is created (paintings, in my case), is the energy that flows through to the beholder or recipient of that creation. 

Part of the energy in this painting had very much to do with the process of spiritual growth and evolution.  A necessary part of this journey is to have a vision and then to trust that vision and then GO FOR IT.  Sometimes that journey seems linear, but at other times, when we are able to release the limits in our minds and allow ourselves not to be defined by our limits, but by the essence of our souls, by our limitless, that journey is less like a ladder or step-by-step and can feel more like leaps - or like you've discovered you've had wings all along.

Some of the messages that came to me while creating this piece (and which are still visible in the final layer) are:

You are not your limits.



Move beyond your limits.

If you have a vision in your heart but are currently feeling weighed down or like your dreams have even become the burden - consider that you are focusing too much on your limitations and mistaking them for who you really are. 

A couple other things I like to remind myself of during challenging times like this are that,

"If I can dream it, I can achieve - TINOGONA!" (Thank you to my remarkably inspiring friend, Dr. Tererai Trent, for this one!)


-again - Have a vision, go for it, and then....

"Do not take no for an answer from anyone - especially yourself!"



P.S. This original has already sold but if it speaks to you and you'd like an infusion of it's soaring, transformatively inspiring energy, please check out my Society6 Shop at