Colouring within the Lines

… And he would know then that God was a kid with a box of crayons; that the orderly lines of existence were just there for reference, and that only adults colored within them.

R.K. Musings

By @rkmusings via @mytypewriterapp (Instagram)

The Other Side of Tonight

The moment that connects you to your true passion might be on the other side of tonight. – Lin-Manuel Miranda

Lin-Manuel Miranda quote


The CREATIVE CHANGE-MAKING Conference has been organized to showcase local heroes, individuals from within our own communities, who are creating their own path, leading by example, and following their dreams through purposeful work.

Intrigued? Come listen to the stories. Ask questions. Be inspired to change your life!

#WhenIGrowUp Wednesdays: Nicole McLaren

#WhenIGrowUp Wednesdays is an opportunity to feature stories of individuals whose journeys can be examples for all of us. Most often, these stories have popped up in my social media feeds, and although the randomness is amazing, there is a common thread connecting them all. Whether through a career reinvention, an unexpected opportunity, or an a-ha moment; because of boredom, or maybe circumstances, these individuals have followed their, often meandering, paths to find fulfillment through purposeful work.

PALEOBIOLOGY | cOMMUNITY & Economic devpt | RECONCILIATION

I have always had a passion for finding interesting ways to engage, inspire and motivate those around me. My mixed-heritage and Indigenous roots are what drove me to do this. – Nicole McLaren, Raven Reads

Nicole Mclaren, Raven ReadsNicole McLaren, Founder of Raven Reads, graduated from the University of Saskatchewan in 2006 with a Bachelor of Science in Paleobiology/Archaeology. Since then, she has worked primarily for mining sector companies in a variety of capacities in both Saskatchewan, and for the past few years, in British Columbia. Prior to her departure for BC, McLaren served as an elected Councillor for the Town of Langham, volunteered extensively, and also completed a Bachelor of Arts in Archaeology.

Much of McLaren’s work has involved consensus building for community and economic development initiatives between Indigenous and non-Indigenous interest groups. As an Indigenous Affairs Coordinator, then Advisor, for an international mining and metals company, and as a woman with Indigenous roots, Nicole has often wondered what reconciliation means, and what role she might have in it. Within the past few years, two things happened which, when combined, led to the creation of Raven Reads.

McLaren started a book club at work. Not only was it a way for her to read more, it was an opportunity to introduce her co-workers to Indigenous writers. “Almost none of the women in her book club at work had contact with Indigenous communities, so reading about Indigenous experiences created better understanding.” (CBC Unreserved) And, secondly, quite by accident, Nicole discovered the concept of subscription boxes. Although Raven Reads wasn’t conceived as a Reconciliation project, it has slowly evolved into one.

In honouring the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action, Raven Reads aims to inspire and create safe space for dialogue by expanding our understanding and perspectives of the relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people around the world, through the written word, from the past and into the present. – Raven Reads

Subscription boxes are mailed out seasonally throughout the year. Each beautifully packaged box contains one book by an Indigenous writer, along with giftware from Indigenous-owned companies. In the spirit of giving back, in 2018, Raven Reads will donate $1 from each subscription box to the First Nations Caring Society. For more information on Raven Reads, and their giving back activities, please click here.

Sources: Raven ReadsLinkedIn, CBC Unreserved

Photo via CBC Unreserved: supplied.

~ Debbie MacLeod


The CREATIVE CHANGE-MAKING Conference has been organized to showcase local heroes, individuals from within our own communities, who are creating their own path, leading by example, and following their dreams through purposeful work.

Intrigued? Come listen to the stories. Ask questions. Be inspired to change your life!

More Connecting the Dots

Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. – Steve Jobs

Poetry (Stories + Testimonials) + Photography + performers

Stories and first-hand testimonials from refugees, along with Brian Sokol’s photography project, ‘The Most Important Thing,’ inspired the spoken word poem, ‘What They Took With Them,’ by Jenifer Toksvig.

This 5-minute film was produced by the UNHCR – The United Nations Refugee Agency, and is performed by  UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Cate Blanchett, actors Keira Knightley, Juliet Stevenson, Peter Capaldi, Stanley Tucci, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Kit Harington, Douglas Booth and Jesse Eisenberg, and writer Neil Gaiman.


The CREATIVE CHANGE-MAKING Conference has been organized to showcase local heroes, individuals from within our own communities, who are creating their own path, leading by example, and following their dreams through purposeful work.

Intrigued? Come listen to the stories. Ask questions. Be inspired to change your life!

#WhenIGrowUp Wednesdays: Sandy Sharkey

When I began work on The CREATIVE CHANGE-MAKING Conference with Stacey, I thought we’d have a difficult time finding speakers for the event. Although, there was no doubt in my mind we’d have an audience interested in the subject matter, I wondered if there were really people out there who had pulled off a successful career change, or found a way to incorporate purposeful work into their lives. Now, not only have we lined up an inspiring and accomplished group of Speakers from a variety of backgrounds, but I continue to come across individuals whose journeys can be examples for all of us.

#WhenIGrowUp Wednesdays features stories of people who reinvented themselves, or who came to a crossroads and chose a different path, or who rediscovered, or returned to the pursuit of their youthful passion.

WRITER | RADIO ANNOUNCER | PHOTOGRAPHER

When you’re a kid, you have dreams, and as you start to get older, you learn you have to have responsibility, and you have to have a career… And somehow your childhood dreams just go away and they’re lost. – Sandy Sharkey

Sandy Sharkey, Founder of Sandy Sharkey Photography, grew up in Ottawa, Ontario spending much of her childhood free time exploring the outdoors, and the rest of it leafing through the Funk and Wagnalls Wildlife Encyclopedia series. She dreamed about seeing those animals in their natural habitats, and knew exactly what she wanted to be when she grew up: a veterinarian.

Instead, Sharkey spent more than 35 years in broadcasting, and it’s only been in recent years that she’s returned to the world of animals, her first love. Carol Anne Meehan, from the Ottawa area podcast series Coffee With, featured Sharkey in the 10 minute video below:

My job as a photographer is to show those interactions between the [wild horses], which are absolutely stunningly beautiful to watch; and hopefully turn people’s minds… there are pockets of people who want them gone forever. – Sandy Sharkey

Now, you must visit Sharkey’s website, which not only features beautiful photos of wild horses, but also stunning pictures of birds, animals in the wild, and assorted musicians, too!

Sources: Coffee With, Sandy Sharkey Photography

~ Debbie MacLeod


The CREATIVE CHANGE-MAKING Conference has been organized to showcase local heroes, individuals from within our own communities, who are creating their own path, leading by example, and following their dreams through purposeful work.

Intrigued? Come listen to the stories. Ask questions. Be inspired to change your life!

The Thought Outside the Box

Urban PathMake time for the creative process. Schedule a daily walk outdoors, in a park, along the river, through an urban area with interesting storefronts, a spectacular skyline, or a mountain view. Allow your mind to glide from thought to thought as your body takes the exercise. Often the answer – the thought outside the box – will appear unbidden.

Thinking is generally thought of as doing nothing in a production-oriented culture, and doing nothing is hard to do. It’s best done by disguising it as doing something, and the something closest to doing nothing is walking. – Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust

~ Debbie MacLeod

Photo: emlyn via morguefile.com


The CREATIVE CHANGE-MAKING Conference has been organized to showcase local heroes, individuals from within our own communities, who are creating their own path, leading by example, and following their dreams through purposeful work.

Intrigued? Come listen to the stories. Ask questions. Be inspired to change your life

Creative Framework for New Beginnings

Colin Winterbottom is a Washington, DC based photographer, well known for capturing the ‘soulful energy’ of local landmarks from unique perspectives. With a degree in Economics, and a Masters in Philosophy and Social Policy, Winterbottom worked in the city for 8 years as an economist before deciding to pursue his long standing interest in photography.

So as I trained myself in photography; I set some rules for myself… I mean, I had just left a “sensible” career track to make artsy photographs, so the last thing I wanted to do was duplicate other people’s work. – Colin Winterbottom

In 2015, Winterbottom held his first exhibition at the National Building Museum (NBM)Scaling Washington: Photographs by Colin Winterbottom, and was interviewed about his creative process by NBM curator, Chrysanthe Broikos. The article is a quick read, and in addition to explaining how he reached the decision to leave his day job, it includes his approach to creating original artwork.

Winterbottom’s ‘rules’ also provide an interesting perspective, or framework for creative thinking. Should you be considering a new beginning, the comments below might easily be re-framed for thinking outside-the-box about your own project / journey.

  1. “I’d literally think of every way I had seen it photographed and would just avoid repeating that.”
  2. “I always tried to avoid the obvious vantage points and to find a unique way to look at something.”
  3. “Defy expectation.”
  4. “Explore and observe and wait until you see unusual things.”

Winterbottom specializes in black and white photography, and had been photographing a scaffolding set-up in the interior of the Washington National Cathedral after the earthquake of 2011. While there, he noticed how the sunlight shining through the stained glass windows traveled across the interior walls. He had the idea to use the unusual vantage points (see no. 2 above) provided by the scaffolding to film the sun’s daily progress. The video, set to original music, is stunning in its beauty.

Stained glass time lapse, Washington National Cathedral from Colin Winterbottom on Vimeo.

~ Debbie MacLeod


The CREATIVE CHANGE-MAKING Conference has been organized to showcase local heroes, individuals from within our own communities, who are creating their own path, leading by example, and following their dreams through purposeful work.

Intrigued? Come listen to the stories. Ask questions. Be inspired to change your life!

#WhenIGrowUp Wednesdays: Kate Ming-Sun

When I began work on The CREATIVE CHANGE-MAKING Conference with Stacey, I thought we’d have a difficult time finding speakers for the event. Although, there was no doubt in my mind we’d have an audience interested in the subject matter, I wondered if there were really people out there who had pulled off a successful career change, or found a way to incorporate purposeful work into their lives. Now, not only have we lined up an inspiring and accomplished group of Speakers from a variety of backgrounds, but I continue to come across individuals whose journeys can be examples for all of us.

#WhenIGrowUp Wednesdays features stories of people who reinvented themselves, or who came to a crossroads and chose a different path, or who rediscovered, or returned to the pursuit of their youthful passion.

ACCOUNTANT | CFO | OUTDOOR ADVENTURE PROFESSIONAL

At first I found thinking about change hard. I didn’t know what the drum beat called me towards. I had gotten out of the habit of paying attention to what my intuition told me. – Kate Ming-Sun

Kate Ming-SunKate Ming-Sun, Founder of KMS Outdoors, writer, and photographer, spent a good portion of her childhood playing outdoors, swimming at the lake, and on camping adventures with the Girl Scouts. As a college student, hiking with friends became a regular activity, and once Kate began working, weekends were filled with rock-climbing, snowshoeing, kayaking, etc. with a multi-sport adventure group. Outdoor activities were a large part of Kate’s life… until they weren’t.

With undergraduate degrees in Finance and French, and a Masters of Accounting, Kate easily moved up the corporate ladder. Her financial career, which began in audit and accounting, eventually led to a plum position as Chief Financial Officer for a company in Toronto. Kate’s student loans were paid off; she and her husband enjoyed vacationing around the world, her partner even had dreams of becoming a house-husband but… Kate was putting in 50-hour work weeks, and was bothered by a niggling feeling of dissatisfaction that wouldn’t go away.

Kate’s company agreed to let her take a 5-month hiatus to figure things out, but that didn’t work. So, she hired a career counselor, which did. At the end of their sessions, Kate quit her job to register in the Outdoor Adventure Naturalist program at Algonquin College. Now, a few years later, she is “the chief adventurer and owner of KMS Outdoors,” a business that is bent on inspiring individuals to spend time outside. In addition to guiding, Kate is a writer, a photographer, and an entrepreneur. Through her website, she blogs, markets her consulting services, her photographs, as well as a line of branded products.

Five years into her new life, Kate’s resolution is this:

This year I’d like to… explore more consciously what my contribution will be to the world around me. How can I offer my time, skills, and strengths to my community or community organizations that will line up with my values and create value for all involved? – Kate Ming-Sun

Sources: KMS Outdoors, LinkedIn.

~ Debbie MacLeod


The CREATIVE CHANGE-MAKING Conference has been organized to showcase local heroes, individuals from within our own communities, who are creating their own path, leading by example, and following their dreams through purposeful work.

Intrigued? Come listen to the stories. Ask questions. Be inspired to change your life!

What Happens to a Dream Deferred?

Langston Hughes

Harlem

What happens to a dream deferred?
      Does it dry up
      like a raisin in the sun?
      Or fester like a sore—
      And then run?
      Does it stink like rotten meat?
      Or crust and sugar over—
      like a syrupy sweet?
      Maybe it just sags
      like a heavy load.
      Or does it explode?

 

Langston Hughes, “Harlem” from Collected Poems. Copyright © 1994 by The Estate of Langston Hughes.


The CREATIVE CHANGE-MAKING Conference has been organized to showcase local heroes, individuals from within our own communities, who are creating their own path, leading by example, and following their dreams through purposeful work.

Intrigued? Come listen to the stories. Ask questions. Be inspired to change your life!