Wednesday, July 12, 2017

21 Days to Creative Abundance

Or Does It Explode?
A few weeks ago, I signed up for Sebastian Michael’s “Photo Artistry” online course, basically a Photoshop course for digital artists. I liked it so much that, when the opportunity came to join the life-time “Awake” program, I jumped at it.

A bonus that comes with the “Awake” program is the “21 Days to Creative Abundance” course. I wrote it off as a non-starter. Been there. Done that.

A lesson that seems to come my way regularly, but obviously one I haven’t quite learned, is that when I resist something, it’s my old thinking wanting to stay in its comfort zone*. After reading comments from several people about how beneficial the 21-day course was to them, I relented and began the course. (*Caveat: does not hold for political challenges.)

The course is organized into a series of videos and Day 1 talked about getting organized with one suggestion being to set alerts on your phone. Not the normal, “do this and do it faster” prompts … things like “wake up,” “be here,” un plug,” “move."

Having jumped in, I set up some alerts as directed. I’ve never really played with this part of my iPhone and discovered that I could link a song to an alert, not just as a ring tone, but to play the whole song. What fun to suddenly have a high energy song get me out of my chair, dancing around the living room for a few minutes before going back to work.

On the first day a couple of things happened that make me think this might be an interesting 21 days. I was on my late afternoon walk, when my phone started playing Edith Piaf’s “Milord,” and showing the message, “Be HERE!” I didn’t listen to much of the song or dance around because I was in the middle of the street at a time when a lot of Mexican families were sitting on steps chatting while the children played. I didn’t want them to think “gringa loca,” but it did make me really pay attention to where I was, taking in the colors and textures, the sparkling green of the hills behind us and the friendly faces as they called, “buenas tardes” when I walked by.

The second surprise was an alert (with no song, just tinkling crystals), that said, “Wind down.” Sebastian suggested it as a before-bed reminder to shut everything down and prepare for sleep. This called for a break in my online-until-the-last-minute routine.

Walking away from the computer calmed my mind and I spent the allotted hour cleaning the kitchen, making coffee for the morning, straightening up bits of clutter, stretching and then reading. What amazed me was that even though my computer doesn’t make noise, what I noticed was the quiet. My mind felt calm and no longer flooded.

One recommendation Sebastian makes is to develop an accountability system, which could be a friend, but I’ve decided to make it this blog. So for the next 21 days, I will post thoughts about the course and the process and any art developed along the way.

The piece shown above was created after beginning the Photoshop Artistry course. After reworking it several times using newly learned techniques, I submitted it to Living the Photo Artistic Life, the incredible magazine featuring the work of artists in the “Awake" program. I do not expect to be accepted into the magazine yet but have made a commitment to submit one piece every week. If you would like to see some of the incredible work done by artists who are “Pushing Photography Further,” go to

This piece, “Or Does It Explode?” was submitted with this description:
The photo of this young man was taken by me at a public event in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Mexico. His brooding look reminds me of Langston Hughes’ poem “Dream Deferred” which ends with the title line. So many young people are being left behind by technology and a world moving too fast. What will they do with their pent up anger and frustration?

For more information about Sebastian Michaels or his photoshop artistry courses, go to


  1. Interesting and insightful I am looking forward to the next one:)

  2. Pat ... when I was listening to Sebastian, it sounded like he was channeling you! Talk about iPhone alerts!

  3. The discovery of Sebastian Michaels and almost immediate realization that this was the person I had spent a large amount of my life looking for, was not just another shiny silver object cure for what ails you , each one costing more than the last, but never delivering on their promises. Not long after joining Sebastian's Photoshop Artistry, the offer to join the second edition of the yearly AWAKE group opened up. I knew I had to join without even hesitating. Shortly after joining an offer to speed up the success of the program came, and the “21 Days to Creative Abundance” is just what the Doctor ordered. Looking forward to learning and sharing the success of this one in a lifetime program.

  4. Thanks for sharing this blog. I started then stopped and need to get back on track. Although other areas of my life are now falling into place. Love "Or Does It Explode!" I am inspired.

  5. I went through the "21 Days" a few months ago, and must say, it will take you to another level. Looking forward to watching your progress!

  6. Joyce, I look forward to these insightful posts. Thanks so much for sharing what you create AND what you learn. You bless us all.

  7. Hi Joyce, I just stumbled on your blog while I was deciding whether or not to sign up to the 21 days course, trying to find out more about it before I took the plunge! Long story shot (I agonise over these things for ages) I signed up and am now on day 2. I'm enjoying dipping into your posts about your experiences doing the the course ... I'm undecided how to go about the accountability thing because I don't really have anyone who I would be comfortable with asking. I'm thinking I could do it on my blog like you have :-)