Question #10

Question #10:

I know you did a stack of reading on your summer sabbatical. Which book influenced you most?

Ah, so many books influenced me during my summer sabbatical.

In terms of creative works that greatly impact me,  Naomi Shihab Nye’s book Transfer: Poems, a book largely about the life and loss of her father moved me deeply.  As I continue to find ways to express the impact of my own loss of my father, I look to other writers as guides and inspiration. Nye certainly proves to be both for me in Transfer.

img_20130708_203319Most of the other books I read were business/ entrepreneurial books to help me figure out my new business path — books I still dip into for help as I continue my exploration of my creative healing path. Here are some of them:

The Fire Starter Sessions (Danielle LaPorte):

“Knowing how you actually want to feel is the most potent form of clarity that you can have. Generating those feelings is the most creative thing you can do with your life.”

Make Your Creative Dreams Real (SARK):

Creative dream making involves movement….When I can make it move, I can see my original commitment in action. Movement assists every creative dream in becoming real. Remember: the gift of inertia is the absence of movement. When we physically move, it changes patterns of energy and shifts the way our brains work.”

Grow Your Handmade Business (Kari Chapin):

“You need to recognize that you reach goals all the time. And, yes, the small ones count, too.”

The Right-Brained Business Plan (Jennifer Lee):

“Think about why you wanted to start your own business in the first place. If you’re like most creative entrepreneurs, your work is a labor of love, you crave more autonomy of life balance, and you want to have passion and purpose in what you do.”

A Big New Free Happy Unusual Life (Nina Wise)

“The question of how to become more creative is not about learning anything or even doing anything, but about allowing whatever arises to gain expression.”


firestartersessionsAll of these books helped propel me toward some deep insights and realizations. I feel like Danielle LaPorte’s book particularly helped me with realizing that I have a choice in what I do and that I can throw out any preconceived notions from others or myself about how to be (a healer or artist)  in favor of my own fiery visions, dreams, and ways of being in the world. And her point about knowing how you want to feel with/about the work that you do is what creates clarity, was powerful for me.

What if you did this exercise in your life? Instead of thinking of all the external things you want from you work or a relationships, sense in your body and heart how you want to feel inside. See how everything shifts? Instead of getting stuck in the gerbil wheel thought cycle of, for example, “I have to keep doing full-body massages because that is my main income stream and people tell me I am good at it so I can’t stop and I really, really don’t want to disappoint people and be poor,” I ask myself, “When you think about doing your work in the world, what do you want to feel?”

That last question is so much bigger! It’s a door that opens to a passageway called clarity. Try it yourself. What do you want to feel in your job, in your body, in your relationships, in your home environment?  Let the feeling you want to have guide you. If you want to feel calm and content, for example, state it, write it, claim it, and FEEL it. Then let that feeling lead you to action steps after you have fully gone swimming in its waters.

with fiery choices and creative dreams,


About Courtney Putnam

I first came to healing work through art and writing. Creating collage art and poetry in particular allowed me to deeply understand the benefit of self-expression in the healing process. But, I also began to see the benefit of bodywork (manual work in the form of massage and energywork in the form of Reiki) as keys to unlocking the emotional stresses we hold in our bodies. I became a Reiki practitioner in 2002, received an MFA in Creative Writing in 2003, received my massage license in the spring of 2006, and became a Reiki Master in 2010. In my practice I bring together these three areas -- the body, the mind, and the spirit (or energy body) -- so others may experience profound and positive change in their lives.
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