TRANSCRIPT: Ep. 082 Creating Calm


Hey there, Miriam Schulman, and you’re listening to episode number 82 of The Inspiration Place. Today we’re talking all about creating calm. So for that, stay tuned.

It’s The Inspiration Place Podcast, with artist Miriam Schulman. Welcome to The Inspiration Place Podcast, an art world insider podcast by artists for artists, where each week we go behind the scenes to uncover the perspiration and inspiration behind the art. And now your host, Miriam Schulman.

Hey there, this is your host, artist Miriam Schulman, and you’re listening to episode number 82 of The Inspiration Place Podcast. I am so thrilled that you’re here. So are you ready? Let’s breathe in and breathe out. Don’t hold your breath. I read that same thing on Facebook, that hold your breath test is totally bogus so stop holding your breath, and just exhale. Now, I know that we’re all a little bit on edge right now with the coronavirus, and what the implications are, and the fear that’s been happening, and the scarcity mindset. And if you’ve been following me for a while or just started, you might know, I do prefer to err on the side of optimism, but at the same time, I don’t want to do so at the expense of not sharing compassion.

So here’s the flip side of this. Although, of course, I could add my own tales of woe and how this is affecting me and my family, I decided what would be the most helpful thing to do today is to be part of the solution, and helping you still feel inspired, and uplifted and motivated, and help you work on your mindset. And adding to that fear and adding to that negativity does not help anybody. So this episode is for you.

Now, if you’re a little on edge and you need some calming down, I have got you covered. I have pulled together not only a powerful list of affirmations that will soothe your anxiety, but I’m also going to be sharing some of my best methods for creating calm in an age of uncertainty and chaos. Before we dive into this episode, I do want to say that I am never ever making fun of my husband again for stock piling on toiletries.

We’re all set. Thank you very much. And that was before the crisis. Lucky for us, as vegetarians, nobody likes the kind of food my family eats anyway, so we’ve got plenty of broccoli and beans. There’s actually an image floating around the internet of empty grocery shelves except for the pinto beans. So apparently New Yorkers would rather starve than eat beans. And by the way, it is okay to laugh a little bit. Whatever makes you feel better, whatever helps you get through this.

Here’s the thing, however you’re feeling right now, whether that’s a little better because you’ve laughed, or maybe you are feeling anxious, it’s okay, it’s because of your thoughts about what is happening in the world. Now, the biggest gift that we have as human beings is we do have the ability to choose our own thoughts, and that’s what I’m going to offer you today. So in this episode, you’ll discover four sure-fire ways to create calm and mist the chaos. I’ve also pulled together 10 beautiful affirmations to help you manage your anxiety, and just for the fun of it, I’m also sharing with you the three art supplies you might want to raid your stash for. That will be very useful for fighting this virus.

But before we got there, I wanted to address that I did make a few scheduling changes with guests that were beyond my control. So there was an episode about hand lettering that has been postponed to a future date. I’m not sure when. And I also wanted to address that last week I was talking about the New York City in person event. It’s not happening. It’s going to be a virtual workshop. It will be equally awesome. This workshop is for you if you’re struggling to sell your art and perhaps the problem starts with your prices. So if you’re looking to find the confidence to price your art perfectly for profit, this one day virtual workshop will help you. You will walk away with a step-by-step plan using my exclusive profit planning system. To learn more about that workshop just go to

And, because I love to give away for free things, I want to make sure you knew that I’ve created a freebie for this episode. I figured you’d want to have your own copy of those affirmations, so to get your hands on it, and it is 100% free, all you have to do is go to Just enter your name and email and I’ll send it your way. All right, now back to the show.

Let’s start with the basics. Here are the four sure-fire ways to create calm. I would say at the very top of that list is to limit your news diet. Now, that does not mean that you have to stick your head in the sand, but our brains are already in a fearful state. For those of us, like me, who are in isolation mode and social distancing, watching the news is kind of like peeking out of that cave to make sure that the tiger is still there. “Oh look, there’s the tiger.” There’s something about the television where we’re hoping the show’s going to wrap up within the hour, like a made for TV movie mystery. However, the networks, and by that I mean the news networks, have figured out exactly how to get us hooked, always teasing about the breaking news, and then it’s really just the same news. Maybe a different opinion, maybe a different doctor, maybe a different stat. Maybe they want to get you riled up about what this politician said or that politician said about it.

Here’s what I have to suggest. Limit your news. And one thing that’s really helping my 22 year old daughter weather the storm… By the way, in case you’re wondering, both of my college kids are home for the rest of the year, as is, my husband’s working from home too. My daughter removed social media off of her phone. That doesn’t mean she deleted her accounts, they will still be there, but they’re not on her phone, which makes a huge difference.

Now, you may have heard me mention more than once that I don’t have Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn on my phone either. I do have these accounts, and I do have Instagram on my phone simply because it is really hard to post on Instagram without the phone app. Even though I do have some ways of getting around it, it’s still more convenient to have that on my phone. But mostly, I prefer to keep that stuff off my phone because, first of all it’s a time suck, but also, it is a constant source of getting my feelings hurt. I mean, I really don’t need to see birthday parties that I wasn’t invited to and ex-boyfriend’s living it up in Belize. So I found that social media can be a real downer and the more I limit myself from it, the better I feel. It’s really less triggering and easier for me to stay in my own lane when I’m not on social media.

Now, as far as the news goes, my news diet is limited to front page headlines. The Economist, because that’s not an American magazine, so I feel it’s slightly more balanced. And I also enjoy Stephen Colbert, but I can’t stay up that late so I watch him on demand. And that pretty much, to me, is the news, but he helps me laugh about it. If, and when you do listen to the news, make sure you balance those negative inputs with positive ones. Like reading a book or listening to a podcast, or something else that gives you pleasure. So make sure you’re balancing those inputs. Limit them as much as possible, but when you do expose yourself to that, give yourself something positive to balance it out.

The number two thing that I would say is really critical for helping you stay calm, is to create before you consume. That’s the ideal. Or alternatively, focus more on creation than consumption. So not just news consumption, but any passive form of consumption. The news consumption is making us the most unhappy, but in general, as human beings we are born to create, especially if you’re a creative person and I know you are. If you’ve been finding yourself in a state of malaise, just lethargic and unable to motivate yourself to create, the affirmations I’m sharing today are going to really help with that.

Also, don’t judge how you should be creating at this moment. What I mean by that is just because you may be a painter, don’t feel you have to paint, or if you are a writer, don’t feel you have to write. You can mix up the mediums. So write even if you’re a painter, draw even if you’re a writer, cook, bake, make music, sing, dance around the house. Heck, write a poem. By creating something, you’re going to gain a huge sense of empowerment and control over your universe. It’s actually how I felt about creating this podcast today and writing this podcast for you. The act of creation gives you such a feeling of control.

Now, the third thing I want to offer to you that will really help lift your mood, is to go outside. What’s so wonderful is you’re going to notice that mother nature stops for no one. The museums might be closed, but when I walk outside my home in New York, I’m affronted by the bright yellow beauty of the blooming daffodils and the forsythia. When I first noticed them blooming, I actually caught myself thinking, how dare they? How dare they be so beautiful? Don’t they know how we’re thinking and feeling? But it’s so glorious.

Here’s the thing. Spring keeps on moving on. Mother Nature is moving on, which is a huge reminder that all of this, all of this, this too will move on and this too will pass. Breathing in fresh air, feeling the ground under your feet, and if you can bear it, take your socks and shoes off and actually feel the earth between your toes. And breathe in and breathe out. All right.

The fourth thing that is a sure-fire way to make you feel better, are the affirmations. And by this I don’t mean the mantras that people say in yoga class, I’m talking about positive thought statements. Whenever you’re finding yourself muddled with negative thoughts, it’s super powerful to choose a different thought on purpose. Remember, no one else thinks in your mind. But here’s the thing. It’s okay to acknowledge your negative thinking and your negative feelings. If you’re feeling blue, a little out of control or disappointed, have compassion for yourself.

I was supposed to be on a family trip to Mexico this week. I’ve never been to Mexico, by the way. This was a trip I had saved up for. Even though the airlines and the hotels have given me credit, they’re still holding onto my money, and I actually may never get to use those plane tickets. Plus, let’s admit it, I’m super disappointed that I’m stuck inside my house instead of meditating on a beach. And I really wanted to host that New York event for you.

But here’s the thing, I can continue lying on the bed feeling sorry for myself, or what I did the other day, yeah, I did indulge in my little pity party. I did, I admit it. But then I did push myself out of bed, I went to my studio. I pulled three canvases out of the pile of shame. By the pile of shame I mean canvases that I started and I don’t like the way they turned out, and basically, I told myself it did not matter what I made. In fact, I could just paint over these canvases white if I chose to or just glue things onto it, whatever I felt like was fine.

But here is actually what happened. One of them I did actually completely Gesso over. I think I spent a good 15 minutes putting on a coat of white Gesso over it. And the reason why it takes a long is because I am taking care of not to obliterate it so much that you can’t see the texture, that there was something already there to begin with. But that was really satisfying. On the other two canvases, I didn’t completely Gesso it, but I was using a beige paint, and also putting on layers of collage. And from that one defiant, creative act, I made a mark. And then I made another mark, and before I knew it, I had the beginnings of a painting.

So that’s what I want to offer to you. So let’s review those four strategies before I dig into the affirmations. So number one, limit your news diet. Number two, create before you consume. Number three, get outside. And number four, affirmations. Okay, so I’m going to go through these affirmations, but if one really resonates with you, will you do me a favor? Send me a direct message over on Instagram, I’m @Schulmanart there, or you can leave a comment on the blog, that’s Or, if you’re feeling extra loving, why don’t you leave me a positive review over on Apple Podcast, you know, that does help people find the show. And heck, I really like reading your reviews.

If you put your Instagram handle in the review, I do give shout outs over on Instagram, just so you know. Okay, so let’s dive into the affirmations. There are 10 of them. Just as I mentioned earlier, you can grab this as a freebie. The freebie will be available,, or in the show notes,, whichever is easier for you to remember.

Number one, I am fine just as I am. Ooh, this is a real powerful one, especially if you’re healthy, to just keep reminding yourself that you are healthy. I’m fine. I am fine just as I am. Number two, I am off to create. That’s so powerful. There’s something about making the declarative statement that, okay, I’m just going to do it. It’s kind of like the Nike. Just do it. I’m doing it. I’m off to create. I find it super helpful to set the mood by tying on an apron. Whenever I tie on an apron, which I consider my superhero cape, it instantly puts me in the mood to create art.

Number three, I trust my resources. Mm powerful. It’s so easy for us to slip into scarcity thinking. My husband has been going to the grocery store almost every day, sometimes more than once a day, and my 20 year old son still fears we’re going to run out of food. In fact, he’s worried that people are going to break into our house with guns and steal our toilet paper. I know it sounds ridiculous when I say it out loud, but that’s actually what he’s thinking. When everyone else around you is panicking and buying up all the toilet paper, and you’re not sure if you’re going to run out. Yeah, it’s pretty easy to slip into scarcity thinking, but that does not serve you. So, a beautiful mantra is I trust my resources.

Number four, I can handle this. I can handle this, I can handle this, I can handle whatever comes. I can handle this. Number five, first things first. Number six, I am capable and courageous. Such a good reminder, so much easier to find the courage when you declare yourself courageous, you declare yourself capable, you declare your courage. Number seven, I have everything I need. Number eight I am ready. Are you ready? You can feel ready.

All these affirmations, by the way, what’s so beautiful about them, they seem like they’re written for this crisis but they really weren’t. All these affirmations, they were written for creative anxiety. Just the regular everyday anxiety that us creatives have when we are faced with a blank canvas, and yet they are working so beautifully to help me calm my nerves during this time.

Number eight, I am ready. Okay, ready? This one sounds definitely more about art. Number nine, my creative self wants to come out and play. Yes. Invite that inner artist back out. Just because you’re hiding in the cave does not mean your creative self ones to hide. You can let that inner artist out in the safety of your own home. Number 10, I am spontaneous and I surprise even myself.

Do you want this list of affirmations sent to you? Don’t worry my friend. I’ve got you covered. If you head on over to, or you can visit the show notes, but let me just give you that URL again, You can enter your name and email and I will send you this list of affirmations on your way. Now before we wrap up, I did promise you that you do have some helpful gems in your art stash. At least I know my family raided my art supplies for these goodies that they found super helpful. So here are the three things that you may also have in your art stash that could be helpful.

Number one, latex gloves or barrier cream. You know what I’m talking about? These are the things you have on hand to keep the matte medium off of your manicure. So if that is something that you’ve been trying to do or you just have the barrier cream that helps, it makes it easier to wash off the paint, all these things are going to protect you. If you have this, go into your mixed media stash and grab those latex gloves. Very helpful for when you go shopping in the grocery store. Here’s something else you might have in your art supplies. I know I did. Rubbing alcohol. Maybe, also, wipes. Now, of course you know these guys sanitize the environment, but I like the alcohol because it’s also useful in helping pull back acrylic paint while it’s still wet, and ditto for the wipes, and that’s simply because of the alcohol, the content.

And number three. Finally, my son snagged my atomizer bottle. For art, I use it to moisten my watercolors, but my son created a vinegar solution for cleaning the vegetables. So, by the way, my son who is almost 20, has the fortune, or misfortune, depending on how you look at it, of studying microbiology and food science this semester. Subjects that are right on topic for what we’re dealing with. So meanwhile, he’s been the lecturing us in all the different ways that we should be combating the virus. Apparently, we were supposed to be washing the skins of all these fruits and vegetables all along. And I’m talking about things like the bananas and avocados. So, I think I knew that a long time ago, but conveniently forgot.

Also, I’m celebrating a little win. I just won a posthumous decades old argument with my late mother-in-law. She always insisted that you had to load the silverware in the dishwasher with the handles down. In other words, the part you eat with up to best clean the part you eat with. But I always preferred the handles up because I thought it made it easier to put the silverware away. So now, according to my son’s food science professor, it actually is more sanitary to wash your silverware with the handle side up so that when you put away your silverware you’re not contaminating it. Huh! I win.

All right. Finally, to wrap this all up, I’ve got a question for you. Are you subscribed to the podcast? Next week, Jennifer Rosenfeld is coming to chat about how she balances her career with her own creative practice. She’s a musician who also coaches other musicians, and she is writing her own musical. The content is slightly different than what you usually hear, but I know you’re going to love it. And since we recorded this episode some time ago, there will be absolutely no mention of corona. Not one word, none, zippo, nada. So I hope that you subscribe to the podcast and you tune in. That will be the same time, same place next week. All right, everyone. Make it a great one. Bye for now.

Thank you for listening to The Inspiration Place Podcast. Connect with us on Facebook at, on Instagram @Schulmanart, and of course, on

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