Monthly Archives: October 2013

Five truths about creativity that can help expatriate women

I’ve written at length before on how creativity can be augmented by becoming an Intercultural creativityexpat (see here) but having spent the last few months working on the Re-Discovery process for women and having recently seen the video on How to Be Creative from PBS, I realized that there are five (5) very important similarities to both processes.  Similarities that can be of great help to anyone in transition – and in our case to women who are about to embark on their re-discovery journeys.

There comes a time for many of us when we find that we suddenly have enough space in our lives to start something that belongs only to us. It may be that our children have grown up enough to give us those extra hours; or it may be that we have repatriated; or it may be that we have been living in one country long enough to have the time to pay attention to us and us alone. And so if before our all-consuming task as accompanying spouses of expats was to care for the family; organize the moves; lessen the impact of settling in/of stress/of frustration — now we feel free to explore. Explore who we are and what we want to do with the rest of our lives; re-discover things we’ve forgotten/neglected about ourselves; and perhaps re-create our journeys forward in a completely new and unexpected ways.  

I call this exploration a Re-discovery Journey because a big part of it usually turns out to be going back to who we always were, re-learning what has always been important to us, and applying it to our future lives. And so, without any further ado, here are five truths discussed in the above-mentioned video that apply very well to our own Re-Discovery processes:

(1) Creativity is a process, not a destination. Expanding our capacity for uncertainty is a wonderful preparation for creativity. Same goes for Re-Discovery. Re-Discovery never stops – every day we can re-discover something about our paths and our lives and being at ease with the unknown helps make this process exciting, adventurous, and fun.

(2) There is such a thing as negative capability in creativity – and in Re-Discovery — a space where you don’t know what will happen next. You may chase ideas that will not lead anywhere, you may encounter frustrations, or even blocks. But stay assured that experiencing and following any idea will lead you somewhere else. And that somewhere else may be what you were looking for.

(3) Creativity and Re-Discovery are both spirals of excitement and despair and, when you allow yourself to be with despair, it leads to new things. You just have to keep at it. “Inspiration is for amateurs, I just get to work.” (Chuck Close)

(4) Creative process consists of different stages that are simply a reflection of different neuro-networks acting in our brains (different areas of the brain communicating with each other).

  • Preparation stage – where you spend time looking into the idea;
  • Incubation stage – where you allow your mind to wander from the current idea and return to it later;
  • Illumination stage – where the light bulb suddenly goes on and you say “Yay, that’s the idea!”; and
  • Verification stage – where you find out how to communicate and bring forth your idea.

Your Re-Discovery process follows pretty much the same pattern and you have to make sure to give all of those stages the place and the time to occur.

(5) And finally – collaboration. Working with others, and especially working with people who have very different from you views, makes both the creative and the Re-Discovery process better. Which is to say – don’t go through Re-Discovery alone. Get together with others, discuss, brainstorm, support one another. Take advantage of being an expat, of knowing people from different cultures and backgrounds, and of having had exposure to diverse ways of doing things. Collaborating not only makes it fun but it also makes it effective.

What do you think?

And just in time for this blog post, we are unveiling our #Re-Discovery #Re-Create #Re-Join Workbook and Guide based on a recent workshop that offered strategies and tools for women embarking on the re-discovery journey. First 30 people who download this guide will get a free one-0n-one coaching session! To find out more and to download, visit here.

Expatriation and Relationships — Intercultural Blog Carnival

by Margarita

The fourth Intercultural Blog Carnival is finally here and today we will be focusing on ExpatRelationshipsExpatriation and Relationships. A huge topic for sure since it can include relationships with just about anyone (and anything!) — and luckily for our readers, today’s collection does. So without further ado, here are our participants:

Learning a language for love — Cat Gaa starts us off with a personal story of how learning the intricacies of a foreign language can make your romantic relationship evolve and flourish while also saving you from those awkward moments when you think they said/meant something that they actually didn’t.

In an appropriately titled Expatriation and Relationships, Susan Cross explores what it’s like to make a friend while an expat, then say good-bye to that friend, and then have to make friends again. A regular expatriate conundrum, isn’t it?

The topic of friends — and especially girlfriends — is the focus of The Importance of Expat Girlfriends by Judy Rickatson. Her personal experience with moving and making female friends confirms that our expat girlfriends often come to occupy the place of BFFL in our hearts forever.

Yours truly continues this carnival with a look at Expats and Broken Marriages–Who is to Blame? Since we, humans, tend to assign blame in almost every situation that troubles us, here is a good way to step away from blame and see how else we can either prevent a dissolution of a marriage or make our peace with it.

Orphan Spouses also focuses on the topic of marriage (or partnership). In this very interesting piece, Anne Gilme discusses the pitfalls and the effects of short-term expatriation where one partner goes on assignment just for a few weeks/months while the other one stays home.

Moving on to relationships with children, Reflections on the Expat Life by 3rdCultureChildren touches upon the difficulties that children experience when following their parents around the world — and the approach that parents can take to make those moves easier.

Improving your relationship with your children is the focus of Why we moved: Part 3 post by Noemi Gamel. Becoming an expat can certainly be one of the roads that allows us to focus on motherhood and being there for our kids.

Moving on to the topic of relationship mistakes, Norman Viss covers Three relationship mistakes you may not know you are making.

Relationships can certainly be helped by our ability to start and hold a conversation and Tania Desa provides us with a few pointers on The Secret to Sparking a Conversation with Anyone. 

And finally some humor — not your regular kind of contribution but something an expat may want to know:

Written by an English woman living abroad (NicolaJane) — How to date like an Englishman

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoyed this Intercultural Blog Carnival!