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Creative Genius Episode 014 - Cat Rains: "The Importance of PLAY in Creativity"
Despite being known as the non-artistic one in her family, Cat Rains she would go on to become a professional artist not once but twice in her life, after a series of unfortunate life events derailed her art career the first time.
As you’ll hear, Cat had a chaotic & traumatic childhood. Rather than letting herself be a victim of it though, she chose to lean into her experiences and use them to make herself strong and resilient. Her dedication to her own self-awareness and mental health is inspiring.
Cat is a mindset master. There have been so many times in her life that things have gotten really, really hard. And she has consistently found ways to love and appreciate every situation she has found herself in. This living gratitude has ushered her through the creative droughts and the difficult times in her life.
So much of life seems to boil down to the decision that we get to make in each moment. How are we going to look at things? What lessons and gifts are we going to take from our circumstances - even the painful ones? How can we take what is in front of us in each moment and make it into the best version that we can?
I love how Cat believes that the universe is rigged in her favour - that difficult situations are simply guideposts nudging her in a different direction, and that instead of resisting difficulty she remembers her mantra “this moment is my destiny” and opens her arms to it to find out what it has to teach her.
Cultivating a sense of PLAY has been pivotal for the success Cat has created for herself in everything from manifesting her dream job to creating artwork that flies out of her studio into collectors hands.
I hope you hear something in this episode that moves you. Please leave a review for the show in Apple Podcasts.
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I hope you hear something in this episode that moves you. And if there is please share it with a friend and then with us in the reviews section of Apple Podcasts.
If you are moved to make a financial contribution to the production of this podcast, THANK YOU here is the link for our Patreon
FULL TRANSCRIPT OF EPISODE 14 of The Creative Genius Podcast with Cat Rains
Catherine Rains 0:02
I go into ego, you know, I go into, is it good? Is it am I gonna buy it? Is it sellable? And that ruins it, although I still do it and I'm not saying, oh there, but I have to that's, that's the resistance. You know, that's when I say okay, I think we're done. We're done, put that away. And then you can come back tomorrow, you know, it really is for me disciplining a child, you know, the side of myself that just wants to push make happen, you got to make it as opposed to just have fun, you know, and have fun making art.
Kate Shepherd 0:47
Today, I get to talk to Cat Raines. A deeply kind, humble and inspiring human being. Despite being known as the non artistic one in her family, she would grow up to become a professional artist, not once, but twice in her life. After a series of unfortunate life events derailed her art career the first time as you'll hear, cat had a chaotic and traumatic childhood. Rather than letting herself be a victim of it, though, she chose to lean in to her experiences, and use them to make herself strong and resilient. Please make today be the day you rate and review the show and Apple podcasts. It's so quick, I promise. And it would mean so much to me. It takes a lot to put together this show for you. I hope you'll consider supporting me through my Patreon program, or buying some of my artwork, like my gratitude birds, which are $25 original watercolor paintings, each their own unique name and superpower. You can collect them for yourself, or have me send one to a friend with your custom message on it. I've gotten so many reports of joy from both senders and recipients of these little bundles of love. I hope you'll send one to a friend or collect one for yourself today to find everything you need to know on Kate Shepherd creative.com. Toward the end of the show, you'll hear me share the word I pulled for today's episode with cat. It was so spot on that it took her breath away. Listen closely and see if you can guess what it is. Okay, get out a pen and paper. Cat has so many amazing things to say. I'm sure you're going to want to write some of them down. Well, cat thank you so much for coming on the show today. I've really been ever since we connected to each other a couple of weeks ago about you coming on the show. I've been kind of buzzing a little bit about this about this day. And I'm glad we're finally here. Thanks for coming. Well, I am honored to be asked to be honest, when you said would you like to is like course, at the beginning of each episode, I like to share a little bit with you. And also with any listeners who may just be joining us who are who have maybe forgotten what this creative genius podcast is all about. And what it really is it is a I think of it almost like a love letter from my heart or a message from my heart to anybody who's ever believed the thought. I don't have what it takes to be creative. I wish I could. It's not in me. Because Because over over my own years as an artist, I saw so many people saying that. And with that was this wish this, this wish to be creative. And I finally realized that that wish was actually creativity itself, trying to get your attention so that you would do something about it. Because when something's uncomfortable and you were wishing for something to be different, that's like a great mechanism for doing something about it. And so that wish was actually creativity itself trying to get people's attention and and so I wanted to devote my life It really feels like I've devoted my life now to this conversation having this conversation out loud about how dispelling these myths about creativity, it doesn't just exist in certain places, you know, painting or sculpture or the traditional sort of art ways. It isn't limited to just certain people who have some rare gift and and products of it certainly don't have to look a certain way. And I think those are kind of like the big three really limiting beliefs you have around creativity. So that's my mission. And that's the intention of the conversation that we're having with the podcast and and I was really excited that you graduated me and I found my way to you because in reading up on you to prepare for the show, I learned that you were one of these people who believed for a long time and you were sort of seen as the unartistic one in your family. I wondered if you could now you're this amazing, full bodied artist and I wondered if you might tell us how a little bit about that. What was it like to grow up believing that you didn't have an artistic bone in your own body?
Catherine Rains 4:42
Well, I didn't know that there was anything different so I you know, it wasn't like I was missing something because I didn't know supposed to be there. But my both my parents mother and father were both artistic. They were writers. They drew they painted sculpted, very creative. But my group has a lot of trauma in my house. My mother was schizophrenic, which is basically it makes the house look like an alcoholic house. So my life really revolved around this trauma of someone who was mentally ill. So although I was very crafty as a kid, I love to knit and crochet and I was one of the, you know, I scrapbook long before it was a cool thing to do. But I never thought I mean, it didn't even dawn on me that I would be an artist, or would even do anything with art because I couldn't draw that was the basic requirement in my mind. You know, you see kids in elementary school or high school, they're taking art classes, and they can draw amazing things. representationally. And I can't draw anything, at least I couldn't, I can now, but I realized I don't like to draw, you know, that's just not something that I want to do. So it wasn't something that I was missing, because I didn't know I was ever that was even part of my life. You know, my life project, my goal in life was to get a college degree, get a corporate job, carry a briefcase, wear a suit. And that's what I did. You know, I went into corporate life. And that's actually how I found creativity. Because I was so freakin stressed out. In that kind of environment, even though I was good at what I did. Ironically, I was a career counselor. So I went to school for career counseling, I got a Master's in Counseling. And I became a director of a career center. And eventually I went into corporate life from there. But I didn't like managing people, I hate it. But I didn't realize that that hate inside of me that anger, anguish, whatever you call, it, was actually my call to creativity. I just didn't know it at the time. So the anxiety or kind of the discomfort I felt around this job led me to explore other ways to be happy, because I certainly couldn't change my job. I had this I had to be in this job because I prepare my whole life for it. Yeah, and I think that's such an interesting point. That's worth underlining, because I think so many times we have these uncomfortable feelings or experiences or situations in our lives, and we kind of just want them to go away. And so we, we do a lot to sort of shove that down and make it go away, or, you know, just deal with it, or maybe numb it out or not feel it or whatever it is we do. But actually just like creativity that wish well you know, that negative feeling or that uncomfortable feeling are often like guideposts or signals or like beacons like, Hey, pay attention to this. I'm actually trying to show you something right. Yeah, it was it was interesting, because I because of you know, growing up with a mother who's mentally ill, I have a very high very low tolerance for being unhappy. So as soon as I get the least bit anxious, unhappy, sad, we're not going to. So I immediately jump on in try to figure out okay, why am I unhappy? And what what am I supposed to be learning here? So that's actually been a skill, like, that's the biggest gift my mother gave me is the motivation to be happy. porfa dive really happy, not fake, happy, you know, so when I'm feeling discomfort, I have to go do something about it, which is what led me to really exploring very deeply what it was I really wanted in my life. When I thought I wanted a corporate job, you know,
Kate Shepherd 8:24
How did she give that gift to you? I'm just trying to imagine I mean, I also grew up in a very dysfunctional home where there was a lot of, you know, awful things going on, related to mental illness and addiction and all those things. But I don't have any experience with schizophrenia, or mental illness of that kind of level. Would you be willing to say a little bit more about how that experience led you to not have a tolerance for being unhappy? Like what?
Catherine Rains 8:49
Yeah, well, I was kind of a, I watched the extreme misery of my mother, you know, I've watched her in mental hospitals. Um, and from the time I was, I knew her she was mentally ill from the time I was three years old, to you know, and then I eventually became her caregiver. until her death, and although she didn't live with me, I was constantly supporting her in and out of mental hospitals. So I know how you I don't know if you felt this, but you know, you sometimes you feel like you're acting like your mother, your father, like, Oh, that's my father. You know. So whenever I felt any kind of what I would perceive as my mother, you know, it's like anxiousness like, oh, no, we don't do that. Because, by the way, schizophrenia is hereditary. You know, you can catch it, you know, for your genes. So I knew this from a very early age that I had to be on top of it. You know, I had to make sure that I was mentally healthy. And it has served me incredibly well. You know, I am. I am healthy. You know, it's just being grounded and really aware of where I am? And what I Yeah, you, you've cultivated an incredible what I would call mindset, you know, for yourself like I read some of your guiding, you know the guiding principles of your life and a lot of those I think don't come from from a dysfunctional childhood environment. Those are the generally speaking, it's not the product of that it's you have to cultivate that for yourself. One of the things I did want to ask you is how, given that you came from there, what was the journey to create some of those, those beliefs for yourself, you know, about being happy and about, you know, you, you say some really nice things about, you know, saying yes to showing up for whatever it is, and how do you believe fundamentally, the universe is rigged in your favor, always. And you smile for no reason? You know, just because, you know, and yes, these are practices for you. But how did you cultivate all that for yourself coming from where you came from? I think the universe has given me opportunities to practice this over and over again, you know, so, you know, I've been doing what I what you just said, you know, from as early as I can remember, but you don't really know how to do it until you're put into a really challenging situation. I mean, what I've learned is that, when I really grow and thrive is when I'm in a challenging situation. Fortunately, you know, when I'm just in status quo, which by the way I am now, you don't really grow with the level, you know, so, I mean, I've gone through a series of kinda of dramatic things, since my mother, I'm trying to think of the first one, because we're emitting. So I'm in this job. One is my job. So I'm in this job that I prepared for my entire life, and I hated my job, I was miserable. So that was one of the first ones that really taught me how to do this in a real, grounded way. So I remember thinking to myself, I was way into the career, I was, like, 10 years and at this point, and I was miserable. And this phrase popped into my head that said, What you resist persists. And as a spiritual person, I've read it a million times, alright, fine. But all of a sudden, it, I realized, Oh, my God, I am resisting this job. Now, by the way, it's logical to resist a job that you're miserable. And, you know, when you're being, I'm always being yelled at all the time. I mean, there were so many things that were just logical, not like this kind of thing. But I was still resisting it. You know, as long as you resist what's in front of you, you're gonna, you're gonna stay there. So I realized, Oh, my God, I'd be here the rest of my life. So I started this practice, that was my first really big one. I've had a couple of smaller ones before that. But I realized that I had to find a way to ritualistically not resist something that is logical to resist. So I started every time I felt that tension in my body, like, why am I doing this? Like, this is ridiculous, you know, someone's yelling at me, or whatever it was, it didn't matter. I just didn't want to be there. As soon as I felt that tension, or those words in my brain that said, Why am I here? Oh, no, no, you're resisting, to and I would stop myself. And I had this phrase, and the phrase was, this moment is my destiny. And since I've lived my entire life, to be in this position, listen to this person, bitch at me. I'm going to my arms to it and see what it has to teach me. And so I did this for three solid months, at the same time, that I was playing this little game on the telephone. So I'm I at the time, I was a pretty well connected person. And so a lot of people call me all day long, because they needed something from me. And one of my friends also, in another job, a job like mine, that somewhere else said someone called her up and offered her a job out of the blue, and I went, Oh, my God,
well, I'm a connected person, why wouldn't someone call me and offer me that? So every time the phone, the phone rang, and it rang like 3040 times a day in my office, I would pick it up thinking, Oh, here's my job. And I would do it all day long. So I'm doing these these two games one game is this moment, my destiny, you know, I would not allow myself to base it. I call it monkey brain. You know, when you're really annoyed. You don't want to be here like this sucks. As soon as I started hearing that crap, my head gone. Oh, no, no, we're not doing that. So it was kind of self discipline, like it's disciplining a child having a tantrum. That's how I do it. So I would say no, this moment was my destiny. And I would settle into what ever was happening. At the same time, I'm playing the game on the telephone. So it's kind of like manifestation. Like I'm affirming, but I didn't realize I was affirming because I didn't know where I was going. So that's how it happened. And then three months after I started this kind of double process. And by the way, I wasn't trying to get anywhere. I was just trying to alleviate the discomfort I had from my job, right. I wasn't trying to get anywhere. There wasn't anywhere to go. I live in a small southern town. There was no jobs. So So I was just trying to be happy three months into this little thing I was doing, I was so happy, I couldn't stand myself. So happy that I didn't want to leave this job ever in my lifetime. And that's when the magic happens. So someone called me up out of the blue, and offer me the dream job now. Now, by the way, the dream job now is being a full time artist. But the time I was hollow was like 37. At the time, the dream job was to become a Myers Briggs MBTI, it's a personality tool, it was become to actually work for that company. I didn't apply for the job. They called me out of the blue. And it was like the most incredible job I'd ever had. And I stayed there for 20 years, it was amazing. Oh, where was creativity? Because I know you're talking about 33 being a sort of turning point for you. So this was a few years into where it was art, what was going on with your artistic side at that, at that. Yeah, so the creativity part, started in the job I hated. So I was miserable in this job. And I thought it was really weird to be a career counselor who hated their job. So I started doing career counseling on myself. And this classic exercise that I used to do with my students was make a list of everything you'd love to do as a kid, but weren't told to do it. So I had this monster list of Barbie dolls, kick the can making for to name and I had this list, you know, lots of stuff. And the middle of the list was the word collage. And I was 30 tests. And I was 33. And you know, I thought, well, I can't draw and paint, but I'm desperate. And I can't leave my job. There's no, there's no other jobs to be had. So why don't you try it. So I tried doing a collage, when Sunday with all the leftover magazines in the house, and I just fell in love. I made a horrible, horrible collage. And I kept making horrible collages for about three Well, actually, until the Myers Briggs shop showed up. And then eventually, I took one art class, from a magazine collage artist, that is a selling well known artists in Santa Fe, he sells in galleries. And in five days, I went from pretty juvenile to not bad. And that's when it all started. You know, as I Spy it, it took me a long time. Once I got some skill, it was probably like seven years from the time like Third Age 33 to actually age 40, I quit my job for the first time to become a full time artist. And I did do full time art for for four years.
Kate Shepherd 17:30
Wow, is it that just before we move on too much from it, because I want to talk about that too. But I'm wondering what's coming up for me as you sharing that is. And I just want to bounce this off you to see if how it lands for you. But in deciding to not put so much of your life energy into fighting with what is you know, the what is of your life, you took that energy away, and you diverted it to these other things. But in that space, these other things were able to pop up, you were able to have the curiosity, like because you can't put resources into you know, making a list of the things you like to do in your kid when you're so focused on being angry and upset and unhappy. And like, it takes a lot of energy to do so is that would you say, yeah, that's a fair sort of characterization of that? That was kind of like a important part of being able to let those things come out.
Catherine Rains 18:19
Well, it was, you know, when I made this list of what I like to do as a kid, it was part of my commitment to be mentally healthy. You know, I knew it was unhealthy to be unhappy in any way. So I'm not going to deny my unhappiness, but I've got to deal with it. So it's a decision. Yeah. So something was not being fulfilled in me. And I didn't know what it was. I know. I mean, art was the farthest thing of my brain. But this list, kind of that was the spark, you know, that started it.
Kate Shepherd 18:49
Yeah. And I feel like it was very light and playful. It wasn't like you didn't go home and say like, I need to? Yes, I think and I maybe we could talk about this for a minute, because I think myself included, and I think a lot of maybe our listeners feel like, as we're feeling around for our life purpose, or artistic voice even maybe it is there, there can be this sort of tendency to effort, like to put like, efforting like I'm trying, I'm trying to find it. I'm trying to do this. I'm trying it's me that's making all this happen. And I wanted to ask you, what is your view on the difference between being in a place of resisting things in which you knew well, versus surrendering to think like, what what is that? What is the magic that's happening there?
Catherine Rains 19:36
Okay, that's like the biggest question ever. And I don't have a simple answer, but I will tell you that so my first experience of surrendering, you know, of having no resistance really was when I was 33. And then it didn't happen when I was 37. But it kept happening. Like I had a whole series of events, like I had breast Cancer that I had a blindside divorce and I had a whole bunch of stuff that happened each time I took the thing from the time before. And I learned how to be in non resistance at a higher level. And to your question, when you apply that to creativity, I'm doing it now. You know, and when I, you know, I think I totally understand what you're saying, you know, because when I first when I quit my job, I've quit my job twice now big time in order to become a full time artist. So I quit my job a second time, in 2018, to go full time art. When I did this a second time, I literally went into surrender, then, because you know, collage had always been my thing. But I'd never had the time to really get into it and really find out what do you really want, you know, this is what you started with. But maybe there's something else. So instead of like going full force and selling the art I was making at the time, which was good. I let go of it all. And I took lots of classes, and I just kind of followed whatever was coming to me. But then at some point, I want to just get back into the business of it. You know, I want to sell my art. This is not, you know, a hobby for me. So how do you monetize?
Kate Shepherd 21:21
And is this the first time just so I can get it? Because because I know you've sort of had two big chapters of, you know, you you left that job and then got the new job. And then this after, you know, then then you set about building this career. And then that happened for a while and then it if I've got the chronology, right, you were sort of that you did get cancer and that you were sick, and you were and then that sort of derailed all of that, and you had to kind of come back and build again.
Catherine Rains 21:43
So we're talking about the second time you really know my story, Kate, I'm impressed. So basically, it's both times, you know, but both times when I was a full time artist, first time in second time, I had to really ramp up my surrender skills, because there is like exactly what you said. I mean, there's a push, you got to find it got to find your voice, you got to find the market, you got to know how to market it. And how do you push into render at the same time, I can't figure it out. That's the same thing as being in a job you hate it, you're not supposed to hate it, you're supposed to always be happy. So how do you go into non resistance, and I am constantly going back to those early lessons I had to bring myself to when I find myself pushing, you have to stop yourself like you're disciplining a child who's having a tantrum, no. Pushing will actually push back and you will not get anywhere. But this is not like an easy thing for me. You know, this is my life lesson. I am in fact I've signed around my office, I can see right now that remind me No, you cannot push through this. You know, there's only so many hours in a day you have to breathe, you have to you have to basically love every activity you're doing. Even though at the moment I'm not creating art, I am selling art, you know I am I am putting art out there into the world. I have to love that. I can't be in the state of oh my god, I have to get there. And that's the same thing of finding your voice. You know, if I sit there and go, Oh my god, I have no voice. What's my unique thing? I'm never gonna find my voice. But when I finally found my voice was when I decided, ah, let's just have fun. Let's just play
Kate Shepherd 23:26
tennis. Yeah, tell us about that. What how that happened?
Catherine Rains 23:30
Well, it's happened a few times, but the last time and I think it's gonna continue to happen the rest of my life, probably everyone's life, you know, because our voice doesn't stop evolving. But so I quit my job. 2018 gave myself two and a half years to play. And the two and a half year mark, which was actually last summer. I just had this thing that came I was selling, you know, like one collection a year, it was really really slow because I wasn't really, I hadn't really found what I wanted. The last summer, I went away on vacation brought ton of art supplies. And I said, here's the deal. I challenged myself to make one collage a day for one hour and just have fun. That's the only thing that required only requirement was to have fun. And you're not gonna do anything with this. It's gonna be it was gonna be in a what do you call those books? A sketchbook. And I every day for seven days, I made a collage and people on Instagram start asking to buy them. And I went whoa, no, these are crap. They weren't crap. They were actually were coming from the purest part of me, because I wasn't trying wasn't trying, you know, I was no longer like, The voice was coming from joy. So this round of it happened because I really sunk into creating from joy. And unless I was enjoy, meaning I was in a grounded, connected place. And it sounds so kind of like woowoo to say this but I had to actually kind of send love and receive love from the art If I couldn't feel that I wasn't gonna do it. And so the art made itself, I really describe it as having God create through me. And from that moment forward, that was just last summer. Now I've had other voices, you know, I've had a couple different voices as an artist. But the voice I have right now I'm totally in love with, you know, and it just keeps evolving and getting bigger, and it'll probably change again, you know, and I'll have to, like, allow the voice to evolve, right time, but at the moment, this past year, since last summer, so it's been a year and a half. Suddenly, you know, from not really sure where I'm going, I am laser focused.
Kate Shepherd 25:42
Wow, what would you say to the person who's listening to this and going, Wow, okay, that sounds right, that sounds familiar. I feel like I've had that struggle when I'm in the studio, or I'm in front of my journal, or whatever it is that you know, and I'm, I am trying to create everything that comes out just feels wrong, and like at that efforting and enforcing it, like, Okay, I acknowledge that and recognize that, what would you say would be a good place to start to, to, I don't want to say undo that. Because it's more it feels like it's more like lightening up about it or loosening up about it, or, like you talked about, I loved what you said about how you have to sort of send the art love, and then it can be this like, then there's, you know, that it's coming back to you. And then then you're creating from that place, are there things you can do to set yourself up to be in that place, or to generate that it's funny Kate's because, I have to remind myself had to get back there all the time. You know, because my brain wants my ego wants to, let's make good art, you make terrible art, let's go, let's make us make smart. And so I have signs in my studio that say they change all the time, because i i because the message is always the same. Like right now my my sent my phrases, I want to be in presence. So if I can't feel that I'm actually present with the art, I'm going to be making what I call transactional art, you know, it's not going to be something that's connected to me or anybody else, no one else is gonna want it. So I can't say there's a formula, other than what I would suggest other people do when people say they there, they don't know what to do or what to make is, if you can make anything, what would it be? Like if there really wasn't any rules? Well, it just sounds like fun to do. It's like play and that's actually how I found it last summer. Yeah, like, what if I really could just make anything as opposed to making what I think is sellable. Like my collection I made before this past summer, when I actually stumbled on my so called voice. I was making the same kind of collages, and I put birds in them. And I thought, okay, birds, they're sellable. If we make a collage with a bird, we got it. They weren't selling oh, by the way, they eventually sold within a year's period, but they didn't sell right away, and I was crushed. But now I'm creating from this very soulful place. And they do
So what's the magic there? How are people feeling that because you know it, you were there? You can you could, we could sit in your studio, and you could show me a piece that you made from your rational mind with the bird that was like, Well, this was the strategic part of you created it, versus a piece that came from this, this other place we're talking about, you know, the difference, because you were there. But how, as somebody who's over here, who's just walking in how do I know the difference? What's the what is the magic because people it's an it's undeniable, like, and from artists all the way like I've talked to so many people and there is such a different quality to a piece of like you said transactional art versus what is it?
Catherine Rains 28:45
A good question, you know, you know, Kate, I wish I could answer that. I think it's, you know, because I it's a it's something that happens and it surprises me. You know, it surprises me that the art that I made before which I thought was good. doesn't sell near like what I sell now because and I know the differences the difference is because I'm making it from joy you know when I'm making it I don't I will not allow myself to create if I'm in a poopy mood or if I like it any kind of if I'm in any other state from except then I'm present and joyful created. Otherwise I belong somewhere else. I belong walking, reading a book do anything else but do not create because it's a waste of my time. And somehow people connect to our is there's a essence in it. It's connected. To me. I don't know. It's like a magic thing.
Kate Shepherd 29:48
It is a magic thing. And I mean it's it's my I realized I don't know I've been an artist my entire life ever since I was a kid. And and I mean it's been a little Creativity, that energy as like, I mean, it's the love of my life I cry when I think about, Oh, how beautiful it is and how it's, it's the one thing that's never left my side. And it's just such a beautiful, joyful giving energy. Love that. And, and so, you know, I, my this, this podcast is a devotion to that itself, because I want to help it emerge in it and you and like everybody and every person that's out there I get that's. So it's this love for it. And it's so interesting for me because I also have these like, I have that deep, intimate connection with this energy. And I still don't understand how it works. Maybe what I'm supposed to know, maybe we're not supposed to know, we just thought that love like I was just crying What was I crying about? What was that? I like there's it's love, it's, it's an actual thing that is in the room, you can feel it. And I just wonder if through practice, we can conjure a connection to it, you know, like, because it's almost like we're where your attention goes, energy flows where your attention goes. And I wonder if it grew, you know, you're saying you, you know that you shouldn't create when you're in a bad mood. Right? You know that that's a self awareness. And so when you can bring that to your practice, you can say, well, I'm in a poopy mood, but it's only a six out of 10. I think I could shift it if I went and played with some, whatever materials or maybe I do need to go for a walk that like you know yourself well enough. But do you think that I mean, because I think what we're talking about is flow state, like getting into that place of that flow state where it's not that you're not creating from the rational mind, you're praying from this other place. I think another word for that might be flow state. And I guess one of the things I'm curious about is can we practice conjuring that? Or does it just come when it wants to come? Like, what's your sense of that? Does it have its own rhythm? Or is it always available to us? It's whether we want to tap into it.
Catherine Rains 31:51
Good questions. He's a great I can just say what how it happens for me, I just, I don't know if I can, I can't I know I can't conjure up a flow state. I have to instead set the scene though, for creativity to show up. So for me, it's why do you candle for just closing my eyes and praying for a few minutes and asking God to create through me, ironically, one of my best tools is to set a timer. So I set a timer for like 1015 20 minutes depends on what mood I'm in. And I put all my materials out, you know, it's I have papers of all different colors of whatever I'm whatever color palette I'm playing with. And I say okay, I'm going to give you 10 minutes to create a collage go. And for some reason, that gets me in, it doesn't always work, you know, sometimes that my my ego comes in and goes out of the ship, stuff is awful, then that's the time to stop, right. But if I play the game of you only have 10 to 20 minutes to create a collage. That's when magic does happen for me. And it's been a tool that I've been using consistently for the last Oh, well, probably the last year, you know, so by way when I say 10 minutes, I have 10 minutes to put the foundation of papers down. And then I put it away. And then I'll come back and I'll glue it down and then I'll put it away and then another time I'll spend another 10 minutes putting some paint on it. So in all in all total, it's probably an hour. But that's a total different experience from what I used to create which would be months and months for a single collage I've had collages that took me 16 months to make a collage and they didn't sell that well you know of course these are different these are smaller I make rather small moment so maybe that will change you know as I as I evolve and make bigger art but at the moment they're just made with joy. So what does it feel like when you're in that 10 minutes and I love that I think I've heard lots of people talk about different ways they get that part of their mind that the thinking judging mind to shut down I think that that it just you can it's 10 minutes you could get in and out before it has a chance to realize what's happening and get involved. So in that 10 minutes I'm really curious For you what does it feel like or you're like something like how do you know where to put things is it a feeling that you know what angle what well I think it happened to me last summer when I found my voice is because I'm only getting 10 minutes there's no time to analyze it's rip rip rip put you know, it's like it's like working like 10 minutes but I'm my brain is not on it's actually completely focused on throwing paper down. And my intention is not to make a good piece of art. My intention is yet 10 minutes to play or you have 20 minutes to pay you know I make it pretty limited though. And for some reason that turns me turns off my kind of ego a brain this is I have to make something good. I wish had another method that worked. I mean, I heard very frank say that she listens to podcasts. And that that turns her brain off. I wish that worked for me because I would love to listen to podcasts and books on tape. I know, I've heard a lot of artists do that. But that actually doesn't do it. It doesn't hook me in to what I would call a god state which is, or a higher self state, it doesn't do it. I have to have to work quick. In order for it to work for the first round, actually, every other round of applause to has to go quick or it does I, I go into ego, you know, I go into Is it good? Is anyone gonna buy it? Is it sellable? And that ruins it? Yeah, every time? No, although I still do it. And I'm not saying I don't go there. But I have to that's that's the resistance. You know, that's when I say okay, I think we're done. We're done. Put that away. And then you can come back tomorrow, you know, it really is for me disciplining a child, you know, the side of myself that just wants to push make happen. You got to make it as opposed to just have fun. You know, go have fun making art, and see what happens. And most of it will be crap. And that's just perfectly fine. Yeah, it seems so simple, but it is really it seems so hard for us humans to just have fun, just like we seem to have this. It's tricky. It is like oh, do you artists all the time like working in sketchbooks, you know, you see them on Instagram, they're like playing in sketchbooks. I would love to do that. And I guess might be my next kind of thing is, can I make just like shitty art in a sketchbook. I can't do that. I want to what happens is I make a shitty piece of art and sketchbook and I end up liking it. And I tear it out of the sketchbook and I sell it. So then all of a sudden the sketchbook has become something that is a sellable item. So that just ruins everything. So I gotta like figure out a way to use a sketchbook again, because I'm selling out of my sketchbook which defeats the purpose, you know?
Kate Shepherd 37:02
Yeah. Or maybe it's just like you said, I think you've got everybody's got to find a way that you can trick your brain into letting you create and so if that's another way, you know, ride that for as long as they will, because eventually that monkey mind will catch on and be like, Oh, she's got this sketchbook out. Oh, we're making good art, you know? And then you have to find another way to trick it for a minute. Yeah, and I love that I feel like that's kind of part of the evolution right is we're always going to try to stay one step ahead of that part of ourselves. This episode of creative genius is brought to you by mourning Moon nature jewelry, instantly familiar yet unlike anything you've ever owned. This extraordinary handcrafted heirloom jewelry is famous for its incredible detail of actual textures from nature, get 15% of your first order and feel the Wonder use coupon code, creative genius, at love morning moo.com.
What have you found out for yourself in terms of your own rhythm with creativity? Like do you go into the studio every day and create, you know, in the morning or in the evening? Or do you have are there days in the month where you're just like that two weeks? I just don't I know myself and like, are there is there a rhythm that you've noticed for yourself?
Catherine Rains 38:19
I've gone through different rhythms. For a couple of years, I challenged myself to do one hour a day. And it would be the first hour of the day. So as soon as I got you know, had my breakfast, I would do my morning routine. And then I would come to the studio and do an hour, that hour usually turned into three or four hours. And I would I had a calendar and I marked down how many hours I did. I think last year, I think I did something like 700 hours of art, just saying I was going to do one hour a day. And so you know, every now and then I would skip a day. But this year, because I'm really more focused in I don't want to be contradicting myself, I do want to sell what I make, you know, this is a business, this is not a hobby. But at the same time, I want to love what I'm making. So because I'm much more focused on the business of art, I'm more I'm not doing an hour a day anymore. You know, because there's a lot of business of art has to be done. You know, I am doing minimum 50% of my time. And what I'm finding now, because I'm much more focused on, you know, I will create a whole collection, which might take me a month or two. And then I really will be focused on art and I'll spend three or four hours a day just doing that. But then there's a season where now you have to market the art, you know, so it's this cyclical thing, you know, so I have all these things that I have to market now. And I love it. Marketing is art also. So I have to just be very focused on this is also creativity. I'm not creating new art, but if I just create art, it's just gonna pile up. At some point I've got to market the art. So I've just come to enter into acceptance actually I listened to a few podcasts I Betty Franks when I, when I heard her on yours, it's like, love her. Because she, you know, she loves her art. And it's very clear, she's in the business of art, you know, so she's in the studios where you're like, three days a week, four days a week tops, and the rest of its its marketing your art. And that's pretty much where I'm at. And I love it.
Kate Shepherd 40:23
You know, as you're saying that I'm wondering, you know, the this rational mind, and I'm carrying it with this idea of that, that what you resist persists. You know, if you're always trying to tell your rational mind to go away, it's going to be a way going, trying to find ways to come back. And because he wants to be useful and wants to be helpful, it wants to have a job, like, you know, I used to have a Border Collie, and the vet said, it just wants a job, you just need to just want to show it the sheep, because it had all this crazy behavior. And as soon as I gave it a job and just, you know, taught it how to do, you know, catching the ball over and over again, it was like, Oh, that's my job, I have a job and the whole system settle down. And I wonder, as you're saying this, how the business side of things is almost like, this is your job, no rational mind, you get a chance to be a part of this, and this is how I need you. Because if you're always trying to say go away, it's, it's gonna bubble up, it's like holding a beach ball under the, under the water, it's gonna come out and smack you in the face at some point. So I and I think the importance of rest, you know, we talked about creative block, as as a problem, you know, and, and I think it's related to this, like maybe, maybe those times are actually important, resting and important for other parts to come online and give their gifts
Catherine Rains 41:33
What I love that Kate is yeah, so the creative block is a form of resistance when you think about it. And so instead of like trying to force yourself past it, what do you want to do? You know, and to be honest, I actually like the whole business behind the art. I mean, it's kind of nerdy thing. I love the numbers of spreadsheets, I love it, what can I put my art on? What are the products I want to do? It's totally fascinating. So to me, there are seasons, there are seasons to create it. And there are also seasons to market it. And it's actually it doesn't feel that good to be forcing myself to make art, when I really want to put the art I have out there. Because you got to keep that you've got to keep the flow going too, right. Like you said, it'll just pile up. And then you have stagnant energy. And that's what I used to have, you know, I was I have a ton and ton of art that I use that I have made, but never marketed it for me, I marketed intermittently. So now I'm much more strategic about it, you know, make a collection, you put it out, make a collection, you put it out, you know, so it feels that way,
Kate Shepherd 42:45
I wanted to go back a minute to these chapters that you experienced in your life where you were maybe disconnected from that, that part of yourself the artist part of yourself. And because you talk about encouraging people to listen to that quiet or shouting voice inside them, sometimes it shouts I think you said that in something that you had written on your website. And I wondered if, if you might share from your experience to somebody who's maybe listening to this, maybe it's just dawning on them going, Oh, I've been living through a disconnected phase. Because I think you don't you don't realize it when you're in it. Right? You can wake up one day and realize like, oh, for six months, I have been acting unconsciously I'm not eating the foods I know, serve me not doing the things I know, like and you just kind of you can snap out of it one day. So for the person who's saying, okay, maybe maybe I'm, this is the first time in my adult life that I've realized that I've disconnected from my child artist or my inner artist or this. Or maybe this is like the third time I've just gone through a terrible couple of years. COVID has been really hard for everybody. We've gone to sleep for a multitude of really reasonable reasons. But for somebody who's just going, okay, what are some ways that you can find your way back?
Catherine Rains 43:57
It's funny because I've had to find my way back. So times. I think one of the least for me, how each time I found my way back was listening to some kind of uncomfortable feeling inside of myself. So, like, one of the times I found my way back. I had been in my job, my Myers Briggs job. I had been in there for 10 years, I've been back on my job. So I was I was I had a job. I left it became full time artists for four years, I went back to my full time job, which was actually just life events forced me back to work. You know, I had cancer divorce had to make solid income for a while. I just didn't intend to be back for 10 years. The whole 10 years I was uncomfortable. The whole 10 years. I love the job by the way. But the the morning of not having my art was very painful. Because I wanted to be a full time artist. I already knew that in this app happened to me in 2015. Not that long ago. So it was New Year's 2015, I just that the should hit the shit hit the fan in my head. It was like, You got to do something, you got to stop. But I didn't want to quit my job, you know how many people can have the luxury of quitting their job? I didn't, you know, I had to make an income. So the real question was, is how can you create a reality where you have a full time job, and you have art. So I figured out a way to make both the both happen, you know, I brought art back into my life while I was working full time. And the way I did it, this is I mean, this is just my journey. Everybody has their own, like, has to creatively find a way to do this. But for me, I realized I had a lot of little pockets of time. In the day where I probably could fit some art in if I wasn't watching TV or just playing on Instagram, whatever it is. So I came up with a very structured plan where by the way, my job was a traveling job. So I had to be on the road all the time. So I traveled with 250 pounds suitcases 151 50 pounds, was just art supplies. And outside 20 pounds of paint, I had, you know, substrates, I had a drop cloth, everything I needed for a any turn any hotel room into a art studio. So I ended up bringing art on the road for two and a half years. And that was kind of a kind of like sent messages, I think, to the universe. You know, it was like, I'm in this, you know, young working all day. And yeah, I'm really tired. But it's seven, seven o'clock, which is when I would actually open up my studio in my hotel. I was full of energy, man, you know, I was making art. And eventually this hurt my health. By the way, this wasn't like the, you know, it wasn't like an easy thing, because I did have health issues that kind of rent were ramifications of kind of basically burning on both ends. Having a job I loved and also doing the art of love simultaneously was actually, you know, rather challenging thing, but it got me back to full time art, you know, eventually. So my answer that was a long way of saying is that I think there's always a solution back. And the way we know we need to get back to where we want to go or even start where we want to go is to listen to the discomfort. I got to change this. You know, I'm not satisfied with this job. It doesn't necessarily mean quit your job. To me it means, by the way,what I did with this last time I had my you know, I was 12 years on the road was I just love the damn job. I mean, I didn't care. Whatever I was doing, you know, people would ask me all the time as I was traveling, I would say isn't traveling hard. Don't you just like, get so burned out traveling? I would not entertain that. No, I love the year. And by the way, I'm being truthful. Because I would find ways to love it. I love the airport. I love the Starbucks at the airport. I love my hotel rooms. I love the people I was teaching Myers Briggs to I just would not go into this like, Oh, this is so hard. And by the way, sometimes it was really hard. It's just I'm not going to stay there. No, I'm going to go to how can we make this the best version that I can because I'm not leaving my job right now. And eventually, because I did this very consistently, just like I did with this moment, my destiny the first time I did it, it all opened up. And I was able to actually leave my job a second time.
Kate Shepherd 48:37
It seems like so much of it is a decision that we get to make in every moment. You know, how am I going to look at this, I'm going to look at this. Like, I have to put my art on hold until the traveling days of this job are over. And I can be at my studio at home. Like that I have to let the story tell yourself because of a decision that you made of how you're going to look at it. Or you make a decision. This is reality. I love reality. It's happening for a reason, every moment of the not just your own life. But I love thinking about like every moment since the first whatever exploded for the Big Bang and all that. Like all the people that came before like all of that happened to lead you to this exact moment.
Catherine Rains 49:16
Exactly. All of it. The whole thing, all of it. So to resist even though it's logical to resist, yes, I would prefer not to be in a hotel room. I want to be in my art studio, but I'm in a hotel room. So what's good about it? What's good about the hotel room instead of like bitching about Yeah, room service. Yeah. And it's a choice. It's a choice that you can make you can feel like you're a victim to it but actually it is a choice. It is a decision and I love this image of you I feel I feel like we're soul sisters because I'm a little bit of a packrat and I when I travel. I often prefer to travel by car because I can pack more of my my art supplies and my rock collection and my whatever it is ridiculous. When I decided I needed to bring with me, but I love the idea of this, like, you kind of got a little scrappy with it. And you're just like, Okay, well, how can I make this work? I can bring, I'm not going to wait until I retire from this job or some magical force changes my fate. I'm going to insert myself however I can into this. And then it's like doing that you planted a seed. And you're telling the universe? Yeah, you know, that I want. I wasn't resisting where I was, you know, yes, my job was challenging. But I was finding what was good about it. And living with that, and living in non resistance. At the same time, I was living what I wanted, which was I had to find, I had to find time to make the art and everyone has an hour somewhere. You know, I don't care how crazy your life is. You know, by the way, the second part, when I was on the road, I would do it at seven o'clock at night. But when I was home, which was like, 1/3 of the time, I would get up at 5am. Seven days a week, I never, I always go to 5am by way, that's very hard for me. But 5am meant I was in the studio for like two or three hours before I started the day job.
Kate Shepherd 51:09
I get the sense with this energy, this magical energy that we've been talking about, that we could call creativity, or intelligence or God or we call it whatever we want. But the thing that I think we all know, we're talking about, I get the feeling that it's trying to either show us something or tell us something or and like for me it has this, like really jubilant, like excited, almost a little bit show offI kind of like, it's just so happen. But do you feel that? Do you feel? Do you feel like it's trying to tell us something or give us something or do something for us? And if you do, what do you? What do you think it is?
Catherine Rains 51:45
I've never heard of said like that. But I would agree with everything you said, I think, for me, it's listening, constantly, like taking an inner pulse, like every single day I have, how do you feel? What's going on? You feel kind of disheveled. I mean, it's not like I'm grounded all the time. You know, sometimes I'm like bouncing off walls, okay, how you gonna put yourself down? So it's like a moment to moment listening and then following. You know, and, you know, and then changing my routine. It's like, you know, changing your diet when your stomach exploded? Okay, well, I just brought back meditation. I haven't meditated in a while. I liked meditation. So I just brought it back into my life, because I need more groundedness particularly right now, because I am literally launching like six things simultaneously. So be here, you know, because it's really easy to go into like, oh, you know, like, to follow the excitement. But the excitements not necessarily God, or higher power. It's, you know, it's your ego, saying, You got to do this, and you got to do this, you got to do this, as opposed to know, if you can be quiet enough. That's why meditate. If you can be quiet enough, you can allow the higher power to talk to you. And you can always hear that, you know, if you're just running off your to do list to get it done.
Kate Shepherd 53:04
Absolutely. Yeah. And I feel like that quiet. Like, every time I've found myself in a place of that stopping. And I think there's an aversion for the busy mind to stop because it's terrified of nothingness of, you know, but every time I've experienced a real stopping, it's almost like I explode into this inner world of there's all this other stuff underneath there. So stopping has never actually been really stopping. It's kind of just like, allowing something else to Yeah, come and move through us.
Catherine Rains 53:35
Yeah. Right, slow down enough so that you can actually hear what's coming through you. Exactly. I think it's coming at us all the time. I think that's why we feel discomfort or you feel a stomachache, it's always coming at you, it just we don't always listen. So unless we get to me if I if I can slow my brain down or really be quiet. It's amazing what comes through, or my husband will come in and he'll just say to me, he's talking God. So I was gonna say, like, I'll give you an example. So today, I launched my ornaments, and I've made my the ornaments took a long time to make I'm in love every single one of them. And they started off really slow, like really slow. Like, it wasn't selling that well, the firt like the first morning, and I was like, oh, you know, that's my ego. My husband comes in, he looks at me, he goes, he looks me in the eyes. He goes, they're going to sell. And I went, Oh, okay. And for some reason, I dropped it. All right, and they all sold out. But, you know, my ego brain goes, they should sell in 10 minutes. Let's go. I want to be like Amanda Evanson. No, let's just make this happen. And it's going to happen in the pace it's going to happen. And maybe it won't, you know, I and I fully accepted that I could have been stuck with you know, a lot of ornaments and you know, not putting the pressure let not allowing the, I keep going back to it. It's a child having a tantrum, you know if I can stop my brain from going off, which is why I have all kinds of rituals to bring me back to the present moment. Meditation is just one of many, you know, I just need to quiet myself constantly. Because my brain is saying, You're not good enough, you're not going fast enough. You'd have to, like get more done in a day, you have to get up earlier, you have to stay up later. It was like, what are what are some of the things that you do to bring it back to the moment other than meditation? Well, one of them is, I have an alarm on my phone. It's an app called the mindfulness app. And it you can set it for anything you want, but I set it for every 30 minutes. And it has the most beautiful, like, it has a little child giggling. And then it has whales going off, just for like, you know, literally three seconds. And every time it goes off, it's a reminder to myself, Okay, stop, take a breath. All right. Just to quiet myself, because I've got a to do list like me, rivals anybody's, because I'm running, you know, no, quiet down. That's wonderful. You know, meditation, I literally just started again, like five days ago. And that really does set the tone, like the case set the tone for the day, I may go off, you know, by 11 o'clock, I may be on RUN mode. But then my app brings me back. I also have signs around my office. So I have one on my computer that says presence. And the word presence when I look at it, I go. So for some reason, it makes me stop and see, like just see your face, I can see my computer, I can see my coffee mug. Just be in presence with what's there, you know, but way way these rituals, they change constantly because they lose their juice. I have to change it up to get another one in there. But that's what I'm doing right now.
Kate Shepherd 56:53
That's yeah, we always have to stay one step ahead. I find that too. I pull a card before every episode from this really beautiful little deck of, there's just one little word. And today, the word that I pulled for our episode today was play.
Catherine Rains 57:06
Oh, you're kidding. And you know what? The, oh, the crazy thing about this, Oh, my I I've never ever done anything in my life that just felt like, I feel like just like the universe is like, here with me making this podcast happen, like in so many levels, and even just in the little like every single car that it's the perfect. It's absolutely the perfect. And I'll tell you I think it's fair, but maybe you could tell me why you're also singing when you hear that? Well, because well you would ask me to think about this billboard thing, right? You know, what would you put on a billboard? And I've been thinking about it, you know, ever since you asked me on the podcast, what would I say? The word that came up over and over again was the word play. And this morning, it came up again. I said, Well, I'm going to I was, by the way, I'm going to answer that question when you ask me. But I have a more sophisticated version
Kate Shepherd 58:01
tell me yeah, if you so here's the question. And I asked it at the end of every show. And it's kind of where we're at in the in our conversation, unfortunately, because I wish we could keep going. But if the question is, if you had a billboard that you knew that every single person in the world, who had somehow felt disconnected from this energy that we're talking about of creativity and joy and intelligence, all of this that wordless thing that we're talking about that we all know, we're going to just use the word creativity as. And you knew that this billboard would reach them and their heart and they would hear it, what would you put on it?
Catherine Rains 58:36
Well, over and over again, the first thing that came up when I was thinking about it was word play. But then I said, Okay, what do I mean by the word play? Like that? Seems kind of nebulous. I know what I mean by it. So what what I really lived my life by not only just with my art, but life period is the idea of following what lights you up, which, by the way, I think is play. And but I think following what lights you up, it's more fundamental thing is more concrete than the word play. Because following what lights me up, and that's what I put on the billboard is literally in every moment. What gives me the sense of like, you know, like, oh, what's next? You know, or, you know, sometimes what I really want to do is paint by number or I want to read a book, or I want to take a walk, or I want to make a piece of art. You know, it's not always I want to go make art sometimes that's the last thing I want to do or that's good for me. So falling lights me up is really listening in a very like, what really sounds good right now, which by the way, to me is play. You know if I could go play all the time. What will my child really want to go do? You know even my marketing feels like play You know what would be fun so far? What lights me up? would be my on my board, follow what lights you up would be on my billboard. I love that so much, but I can't believe you pulled play. That was pretty. I used to not believe it. And now it's just happened so many times that, that it's just I accept that there's something else that's giving me the card that can make your way over you said that because I like the word play is popped into my brain. I don't know. 50 times. That's amazing. That's probably what the billboard just say. Forgive. That. Just play. Yeah.
Kate Shepherd 1:00:32
Oh, wow. I just got the chills. Yes. I love that. Wow. Oh, I love that. Oh, thank you so much for coming on the show today. Really.
Catherine Rains 1:00:42
It's been a joy. I loved your questions. Truly. No, thank you. They were very, very connected. And very insightful. Gave me insights. Thank you. Oh, I'm glad that we could be at this moment together. That's real. It's been really wonderful.
Kate Shepherd 1:01:00
Cat is a mindset master. There have been so many times in her life, that things have gotten really, really hard. And yet she has consistently found ways to love and appreciate every situation she has found herself in this living Gratitude has ushered her through the creative droughts and the difficult times in her life. So much of life seems to boil down to the decision that we get to make in each moment. How are we going to look at things? What lessons and gifts are we going to take from our circumstances, even the painful ones? How can we take what is in front of us in each moment, and make it into the best version that we can. I love how cat believes that the universe is rigged in her favor. That difficult situations are simply guideposts, nudging her in a different direction. And then instead of resisting difficulty, she remembers her mantra. This moment is my destiny and opens her arms to it to find out what it has to teach her. The word for today's show us play. It took cat's breath away when I told her that cultivating a sense of play has been pivotal for the success that cat has created for herself in everything from manifesting her dream job to creating artwork that flies out of her studio into collectors hands. If you take one thing from this episode today, I hope it is a curiosity about what might be available to you if you let yourself play not only in your creative pursuits, but as you move through your whole life. Head over to Kate Shepherd creative.com/creative genius for the shownotes where you'll find links to Cat websites and her socials. Make sure you're signed up for my newsletter. I pick a random person from my email list at least once a month and send out an original piece of art to them. It's one of my favorite things. It takes so much to put together this show. As I mentioned earlier, I am a really independent person and it is a little hard for me to ask for help. But the truth is, I do need some support to keep producing this show. I hope you'll consider becoming a Patreon supporter for as little as $5 a month that you can think of like buying me a coffee, we'll get some perks and I will be able to keep bringing you these amazing guests you can visit patreon.com/creative Genius podcast. And you could also consider sending someone a gratitude bird. You can find out more about what they are and how they work. Everything I've mentioned on Kate Shepherd creative.com Thank you for being here, for opening your heart and for listening. My wish is that this show, reach into your heart and stir the beautiful thing that lives in there. May you find an unleash your creative genius