Episode 30: Unraveling Creativity and Toxic Productivity with Azalea Moen

As most of you know, I’m not here for toxic productivity and hustle culture anymore. I’m here for working and creating in a way that feels generative and life-giving wherever possible. And my creativity is no different.

In This Episode:

I jam with my good friend and co-creator of the Coven of Creativity, Azalea Moen, about all things creative and how we can approach our creativity in a way that feels GOOD.

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Episode Transcript:

Episode 30. Unraveling Creativity & Toxic Productivity with Azalea Moen


Azalea Moen, Kelsey Mech

Kelsey Mech  00:05

Welcome to the Unraveled Life Podcast. I’m Kelsey Mech, a registered clinical counselor and creative coach. On this show, we’re committed to unraveling the stories, expectations and beliefs of our capitalist and patriarchal society, and reconnecting to who we were before the world told us who we should be. I’m so excited, you’re here. Let’s unravel this together. 

Hello, and welcome back. I’m so excited for this episode. Today, I have the great honor and joy of introducing you to one of my closest friends, Azalea Moen, and also a co creator now of a really cool online space called the Coven Of Creativity, which we’ll be sharing a little bit more with you throughout the episode. But today, we’re going to be diving into talking about creativity and toxic productivity, culture, and how we’ve all been taught to create make do at the expense of our health and our wellness, and so many other things. And how Azalea and I are really trying to flip this on its head and explore creativity in a way that feels so much more generative and life giving, and puts our care of ourselves first. And also exploring how we can create in ways that just bring so much magic and wonder and and enchantment to our lives. 

So Azalea is, as I mentioned, one of my closest friends, and also just such a brilliant source of inspiration for me. I am so grateful to get to hold her in my sort of constellation of close folks in my life. And I’m so excited to get to share this conversation with you as well. So Azalea does a wonderful job of introducing herself so I won’t go into the nitty gritty here of who she is and what work she does in the world. I’ll leave that to her. But just wanted to say I’m thrilled that we get to chat on the podcast together about creativity. And without further ado, here we go. 

Hello. I’m so excited to be recording a podcast together.

Azalea Moen  02:35

Me too. I feel like this has been Me too.while in the making, but I’m so excited about it.

Kelsey Mech  02:39

Totally. So obviously I know you fairly well, but some listeners may not know who you are, do you mind by starting with a little introduction of who Azalea Moen the wonderful is and what your work is in the world?

Azalea Moen  02:53

Yes. So hello, everyone. I’m Azalea Moen. Um, what do I want to say about myself? Um, I am obsessed with creativity. That’s my big work in the world in all of its forms. I am a pretty multidisciplinary creator and creative. One kind of lens of my work is a combination of coaching, leadership development and graphic design. To help small business owners create brands that feel like a true extension of themselves and businesses that feel like a true extension of themselves. And to help them work in ways that are actually most natural to them. And to kind of reject the stories of what work needs to look like to craft something that’s really right for them. So that’s kind of one lens of my work and the other is running an online community called the Coven Of Creativity with Kelsey. Yeah, and I do facilitation. I do coaching. I also have like many personal creative practices. I like to make a lot of things. I’m a cat mom. I’m a powerlifter. I don’t know anything else. Seems like a good introduction for now.

Kelsey Mech  04:22

That’s awesome. Yeah, I’m serious power lifter, oh my gosh, the amount this woman can lift blows my mind. I’m also, full disclosure because we all know I’m all about full disclosure all the time, Azalea actually used to be my coach. So some of you who follow me fairly closely and like maybe read my emails and stuff might have actually seen her name a few times because I’d occasionally quote the say something like, Oh, I just my coach’s alias had this thing. Again, just mind blowing genius. So I’ve definitely referred to her, but then we sort of became friends through that process. And now run the Coven Of Creativity together. So super fun how these things can all happen. And I think it’s just like such a testament to how beautiful like community care and making these connections can be, and not having to sort of go it alone and do things alone all of the time. Because I would say some of the most wonderful work I get to do, has come from connecting and community, which I know you’re also really passionate about Azalea,

Azalea Moen  05:30

all about it all about it.

Kelsey Mech  05:33

So today, I think we’re gonna talk mostly about creativity, which you mentioned, you’re obsessed with. And so to start us off, just so we have kind of a common understanding, at least of how you see creativity, what’s your kind of working definition? In whatever form that comes out of your mouth? Yeah. of creativity.

Azalea Moen  05:58

Yeah, um, great question.

Kelsey Mech  06:03

Kind of not an easy question. Sorry,

Azalea Moen  06:08

sir. With a softball. Yeah. Hi, this rod human concept, it’s gonna be great.

Kelsey Mech  06:15

Or maybe like, I mean, how do you like, what do you think about how do you work with creativity? However you want to answer that? Yeah, great.

Azalea Moen  06:23

Um, what I will say is what creativity I’m going to start with what creativity is not in terms of what it’s not just. And so I think a lot of the time people, when they think of creativity, they think of like painting and drawing and sculpture and like the fine arts or acting or like, like traditional Fine Arts, and yes, those are creative, massively creative things. But creativity is not reserved for capital A artists, it’s not reserved for capital C creatives. Creativity is literally like the hallmark of our species. It’s all we do every single day is create things. It’s we have ideas. Ideas come to us, we say yes to them, and we create them into the world. And sometimes that looks like you know, giant rock opera. Other times that looks like I want to make French toast this morning. Other times that looks like I’m going to code this thing to like, do a different thing this way on the server. Sometimes it looks like, I’m going to rearrange my bedroom to like, get a different feeling like I think creativity is really about being sensitive to your urges to transform the world around you. And listening to them, and saying yes to them, and then making them happen.

Kelsey Mech  07:56

I love that. Yeah, I think it’s so important to break down that idea that creativity is so restrictive or reserved for certain people with certain talents or abilities, and to just make it accessible. And to everyone, like you said, a hallmark of being human. I love that.

Azalea Moen  08:13

Yeah. And I feel like it’s the thing, like everybody says, Oh, I’m not creative. And I’m like, like you, you’re a human. Like, how do you think we got here? How do you think we got here with these big houses these big, you know, cities of these big? Everything like this wasn’t? This wasn’t an accident, like all of us are creative humans. Everything that we do is creative. Yeah. period, full stop.

Kelsey Mech  08:39

Yes, everything we do is creative. And so I mean, you’ve already kind of picked on one of those beliefs in identifying that narrative. So many of us have that. Like, I’m just not creative. But I’m curious when we think about creativity. What are some of the main beliefs expectations, stories that we have about it in our capitalist society that we need to debunk unravel? thrown out the window?

Azalea Moen  09:08

Huh? Yeah. Oh, my God. So many. All right. Big question. I just gotta be quiet for a second and think about what I want to say. Huh? Yeah, I think a big piece is obviously that piece of like, I’m not creative is the first myth. It needs to be lit on fire. Um, I would say anything about like, what creativity has to look like. And anything tied to like output or production? Yes. I think that’s a big one. Huge. Yeah. And I think like capitalism, our school system, which is, you know, training ground for capitalism. All of those things have really ingrained in us that we’re not a good human if we’re not producing. Um, and that’s just simply not true. And I think it’s probably most of the work that I do with clients one on one is unraveling. Kind of that the, the narratives that come up in our brains about that, like, had us feeling a lot of shame, because we’re not producing or it’s not perfect, or it’s not done, or it’s taking too long, or it’s like, you know, whatever, whatever, whatever. That like creativity in and of itself has nothing to do with capitalism has nothing to do with producing is simply the way that our brains work, when we’re allowed to exist, the way that we are built, or built to exist, and not having to, like fit ourselves into these boxes of what this looks like. Um, so I think that’s one of them. I think another another big myth is that like, we should be producing all the time. Because I do think that creativity is like an aspect of creativity. And the goal of it is to make things in the world. And part of that is, is producing, but that’s not all of what creativity is like creativity, takes spaciousness takes iterations takes time to like, dream and digest takes the discretion, destruction of previous things to make space for new things to come through. And all of those, you know, maybe 80% of the time. When we’re being creative, it’s not, quote unquote, productive. And so I think that that a big challenge that we have, is this, like obsession with productivity?

Kelsey Mech  12:04

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, that’s so huge. And obviously, something I talk about a lot here, but I love what you said about, you know, creativity is really about I mean, process versus product, right. And that creativity is actually our default, natural state. It’s just that like, other things are constantly getting in the way of us accessing that. Whether that’s having to fit the way we do things into sort of a certain confines or box or just being like, so burnt out and exhausted that there’s nothing left. But I think it’s yet so it’s, it’s such a shift we make from our like childhood to adult version of creativity, as you were talking, I was just thinking about, you know, as a kid, making art or coloring or just like, you know, I don’t know, playing in the sand and so much of that feeling just so free and like it was all about the process. And yet, we lose that. At least I know, I have almost completely and I’m trying to reconnect with that now. And have swung so far to making it all about the product.

Azalea Moen  13:07

Yeah. When does it go from place to work? Yeah, yeah. And how can you maybe be a little bit of both?

Kelsey Mech  13:14

Absolutely. Right, because I think that’s one of the pieces too is like for many of us are creativity as a part of our work or our work requires us to be creative. And so there is this element of being a part of the capitalist system and having to have a certain output. And is there space within that to also approach it in this different way? Yeah, yeah. How do you Oh, go ahead.

Azalea Moen  13:38

No, no,

Kelsey Mech  13:39

I was just wondering if you could speak a little bit more to that, like in your own work in your business, in your offerings for clients? How do you approach your creativity so it feels or even outside of work like so that it feels more generative and life giving for you rather than just exhausting and depleting

Azalea Moen  14:01

yet? Yeah, great, great question. Great question. It’s a lifelong journey. Forever evolution Yeah, I think one of the biggest perspectives and I think we can talk about this later, but is he like really looking at my work as creativity like the work as a creative endeavor? It’s first of all, like the biggest shift and then also that I and we could talk about this later but the that I hold that like, creativity is magic. Those are the same thing to me. And so my like personal spiritual practice, my witchcraft, my like, all of that, that is all woven deeply with in this together. And so there is kind of like a I approach my work. My work is my creativity is my spiritual practice, like the Are are all one in the same to me and they’re not like separate boxes in my lives, they’re like overlapping layers and lenses of looking at, you know, the way that I spend my energy in the world and how I put food on my table. And the service that I do. So I think that that that’s part of it is that I don’t keep things in their own boxes in it, you know, sometimes they need to be put in their own boxes to create more space or to like, create better practices for myself, but there’s like a blend between all of those. I think given that I I think a big part of it is allowing spaciousness, and allowing process and allowing inspiration to like, lead my work. And that sounds cute. But it’s very hard. And it’s taken a lot, a lot of years of packing all of the ways that you’re like, quote, unquote, supposed to run a business and supposed to be a girl, boss, and hustle and grind, and like, go out and get it done and smash your goals. Clearly, I have some judgment around all of those phrases. But it’s been a lot of a lot, a lot of unpacking that have a lot of yet trusting, trusting that my work is going to take care of me and that I’m going to take care of my work and being in relationship with it. And allowing it to shift and change and not forcing it when it’s not coming through. And approaching the way that I create my offerings, the way that I create my systems, the way that I do my work with the same, you know, approach that I do my own writing practice, and, you know, coming up with a design for a quilt that I’m going to make or whatever it is, but in my own personal creative practice that’s separate from that. So like bringing that approach to it. And I think a big part of that is seasons that like seasonal creation, and really understanding that I am not separate from nature, I am nature, I am deeply impacted by the natural cycles, and that I am not supposed to be in production mode all of the time. That is like one of the seasons of my work is the production time is the like being public is the creating work in the world. And then there’s also, you know, time when I play and time when I harvest and time when I rest and time when I burn it all to the ground so I can build something new. And yeah, so I think having a really strong sense of how the seasons impact my brain and my body, and how my menstrual cycle impacts my brain and my body and my ability to create and starting to kind of build the way that I work around those instead of trying to do my work in spite of those.

Kelsey Mech  18:18

Yeah. Yeah, that seasonal piece is so important, and the spaciousness to around your creativity in your work. And obviously, that’s something those are elements that I’m working on incorporating into my approach to work as well. But I imagine there are some people listening who are maybe not and such not in a position where they have that much freedom and flexibility. And whether it’s the fact that they work a nine to five in corporate or they’re busy moms, and are just like scrambling for their whole day. Or they do both work and and mother or father, or parent in whatever form. Where would you like, how would you suggest? Or where would you invite those folks who can’t incorporate this into like the day to day of their work? Use to start shifting how they see themselves or how they see and work with creativity?

Azalea Moen  19:15

Yeah, I mean, I think the one of the most powerful practices I’ve ever really done is to really like track my energy for a long time track my energy in terms of my like menstrual cycle, and then also seasonally and like. So I can see the patterns in where I have energy to do things and where I’m not where I’m extroverted, where I’m introverted, where I am, like, great at verbalizing things, and when I really shouldn’t be talking to other humans, and like all of all of those pieces so that then with that kind of data and knowledge I can take advantage of the time that I do have and so I like I feel like that’s a great place to start with people. I think they’re really, really important part of that is that it actually helps us remove the shame, which I think is like the biggest, the biggest blocker of people’s creativity is not a lack of time. Um, it the shame that often comes up under two names that it like, it has, like, costumes that it wears, and one is perfectionism, and then the other is procrastination. And so I think that like, even if it’s, you know, five minutes a day, everybody can find and make space for their creative selves, but most of us don’t, because it doesn’t look good enough, or we aren’t good enough, or you know, it’s not going to produce well enough, it’s not gonna be perfect enough, it’s not going to be we don’t have the right energy inspiration isn’t here. You know, there’s a million a million reasons that we give for that, and what actually like tracking, tracking your cycles and tracking your, you know, seasons, and all those kinds of things does is, it takes away the shame of when you’re like, not actually meant to be producing, like our bodies aren’t meant to be producing all the time. Um, and for me, procrastination is not actually procrastination. It just means like, if somebody’s not doing something, it’s because they don’t have what they need to make that happen. Whether it’s the energy, whether it’s the time, whether it’s the money, whether it’s the information, whether it’s the like, skills, whatever that piece is, like, procrastination is not a like moral failing, and you’re not doing a thing, it’s not a moral failing, it doesn’t mean that you’re broken or that you’re bad, it just means that you don’t have what you need to make this happen. And so oftentimes, it’s just like, Oh, I’ve actually like trying to write this great Opus, well, I am on the first day of my period and have really bad cramps. Yeah, like, maybe this is not the time to expect that of myself. So I think kind of, like, removing that layer of shame. And using those times to like, instead dream about it, and like, you know, create desire around it, and do research and the kind of kind of like background stuff that we don’t call creativity, because it’s not production, but it is creative, and is actually the stuff that we need. So it’s like gathering all your materials together, gathering all your resources together, so that in those moments when you have a beautiful spare hour where your children are asleep, and you actually have some energy, and like you can make it happen, that you can take full advantage of that, and that you’re not having to like, start from scratch. And so it’s also I think, yeah, including all of those other parts of creativity in what we call creativity. And for me, like production is maybe 20% of what I do, like 80% of the work is in research isn’t simmering, isn’t creating designer isn’t questioning is in talking about it isn’t like, all of those other aspects of that is creativity.

Kelsey Mech  23:21

Yeah, I’m so glad you said that. It’s actually one of the things I’ve been getting a couple of my clients who are working on writing projects to do is like writing down all of the different parts of that process that are not normally like that not or not actually just sitting down at their computer, typing words, like going for a walk and thinking about you know, your character or an idea or letting yourself just daydream or doing some research or listening to a song for someone writing a memoir from their high school years that like, makes you feel like a teenager again, like, and being able to sort of count all of that, as part of the creative process is so important and not something we do or allow ourselves nearly enough. And I love when you think about it from that seasonal or cyclical perspective of recognizing like, Okay, on those days when I’m not, when I’m really struggling to write, can I still tap into and connect with his creativity in a way that feels supportive and accessible to me, given my, the spoons I have today? That’s such a beautiful way of thinking about that. And I mean, obviously something that that I’ve been working on in in our work together.

Azalea Moen  24:28

Yeah, there’s one more piece I wanted to say too, about that. And just when it’s not just like the seasons of the year, but it’s also like, what season of your life are you in? Yes, it’s a really important consideration with this. This is something that comes up with my clients all the time, because we are all you know, getting constantly marketed to you about how we can make six figures in three months and like do all the things really fast and all of that. There’s there’s this energy and this urgency around creativity that It is so toxic. And I get it from a perspective of like, needing to make money to take care of yourself. That is one lens. Yes, that but like bringing that to a personal passion project is like a great way to kill it. And I’m so good at that. All right, are we rated that like, it’s, it’s nice? Yeah,

Kelsey Mech  25:24

I am excellent at being like, this is a fun thing. How can I make it a job?

Azalea Moen  25:29

Yeah, how can I make this really hard for myself? So I hate it. Yeah, yeah. Um, so I think part of part of that is recognizing also that, like, your life’s work, is your whole life’s work. It’s not today’s work. It’s not this week’s work. It’s not this month’s work. It’s not the seasons work. It’s not this year, it’s not even this decades work. It is your whole life like there is time. There is space, you have time. And I think that’s a really, really important thing to remember, especially if you are in a season where you don’t have a lot of spoons. I am just coming out of a season of that I was, you know, primary caregiver for both of my parents, and my grandmother, as all three of them passed away in the span of 11 months, got sick, in the span of 11 months, and then deeply grieved all of this all before my 30th birthday. That was not a time of like a lot of creative production in my life. And I think whether you’re caregiving, whether you’re sick, whether it’s the fucking pandemic, and you just can’t, whether you have small children, like sometimes we are in seasons of our life, where our personal creative practice takes the backburner. And these really important things are at the forefront. And, you know, they can be creative projects in and of themselves. And sometimes they’re just hard work and shit sandwiches that we have to eat. And so also, yeah, recognizing like, now is maybe not the time to push the super hard or like, expect from myself that I can do this. And it has been honestly, it has been the biggest teacher and patience for me. Because it’s taken me, you know, before all of this, even just the brain that I have on the other side of it, that’s gone through trauma and grief and works very differently than it did before, you know, things that took me three months to build, before all of that have taken me two years to build on the other side of it. And just, yeah, learning and accepting the person that you are the brain that you are the bandwidth that you have right now. And not resisting that. And surrendering to the reality of the season that you’re in. And then saying, given all of that, what can I create right now? What do I want to create right now? In a way that’s not going to make me hate my life.

Kelsey Mech  28:17

Yeah. And on that note, just to add to that, I think our perception of how long it should take us to, quote unquote, recover, although I don’t always know that word, depending on context, because we’re never going to recover things like the losses you’ve experienced. Yeah. But to get to a point where things feel like semi normal or the new, normal, it takes you longer than we think it does. For them. We’re talking Oh, much longer. Yeah, so much drama, or, you know, even just like having a really rough couple months at work, or like whatever it is, we’re like, Okay, fine. Now, you know, it’s been a year it’s been whatever depends on the scale of the event. Yeah. But it takes so long for our bodies for our nervous systems to come back from these things. And so I think that’s something to keep in mind, too. I have some clients who have like, been through a lot of trauma recently, and they’ve sort of shifted situations and are out of it for a couple months. And they’re like, Okay, I should be good. And I’m like, no, no, no, no, no, no,

Azalea Moen  29:13


Kelsey Mech  29:16

No one in this room was expecting you to be good now. Right? Yeah, yeah. And something that I’m constantly learning too, is that, you know, I grew up with such a high expectation of my own capacity and of what I could juggle both in part from how I was raised and my sort of family dynamics but also just the capitalist society that we live in and the ablest society that we live in. I’m in this I’m, I have been for the last few years and I’m still in this deep reckoning with what my actual capacity is, and it’s brought up a lot of grief. Because I cannot do it all. And I can’t, and I you know, other than the pandemic we’ve all been in for the last A couple years I’ve been I haven’t had you know, those instances of trauma or grief or loss in a way that’s acutely affected me, but I still am in this place of like, very much struggling to recognize and accept, oh, my capacity in a way that feels good and supportive and nourishing to me is actually probably like, 50% of what I want it to be. Good days even. Right. Yeah. And that is like, fucking hard to know. Yeah. Yeah.

Azalea Moen  30:33

And it takes so long. Like, I feel like I’m, you know, I’m four years into the beginning of all of that loss. But I’m still learning that and I’m still reckoning with that and be like, Why can’t my braid work the way that it used to? And like, Why can’t and and even like, and also being like, Oh, right. And doing it then was still unsustainable? Yeah, it’s just then I could, like, push harder. Without my body pushing back.

Kelsey Mech  31:04

Yeah, yeah, I know. I mean, like, you and I have so many ideas for things. And we’re like this, and this and this, and this. And then like, okay, so that is now like a 510 year plan. Yes, this is not reasonable.

Azalea Moen  31:15

It’s not happening this year.

Kelsey Mech  31:18

And I think, I think that’s just really important to know that like, there is grief mixed up in creating in a way that actually feels more generative, generative and more nourishing, because you’re not gonna be able to do all of the things. I think I love that quote from Mara glatzel. She says, You can do anything, but you can’t do everything. And I remind myself of that often.

Azalea Moen  31:45

Mm hmm. Yeah. And or like, you can do all of it. But you can’t do it all right now.

Kelsey Mech  31:51

Yes, yeah. Which comes back to your life’s work is your whole life’s work, which ever since you said that to me, like, I don’t know, year and a half ago, I just I like because my mantra repeated all the time, such a good reminder. And for folks, kind of coming back to people who are in this situation, being really busy not having a lot of space to like, add creativity. I want to just return to that in this context a little bit. Because I think something that, you know, we talk about a lot in the covenant creativity, and you’re so great at weaving in for people is that creativity, like you said earlier, doesn’t have to be getting out the paints, you know, or starting to get by in a pottery wheel, it can literally be something we bring to the activities we’re already doing. Yeah. So can you tell me are all of us listening, not just me a little more about how you kind of approach that? Creativity in the mundane?

Azalea Moen  32:46

Mm hmm. Yeah, I think. I think the big perspective is also like, what I am creating is a life. Like that is my big project is I am creating a life and that is my overarching, big creative projects. That is my life’s work.

Kelsey Mech  33:07

You just blew my mind. Okay.

Azalea Moen  33:16

Yeah, and that there, it’s all part of it. And it’s all a dance and it’s all you know, different aspects taking priority at different times. And sometimes it is creating art, sometimes it is creating quilt, sometimes it’s knitting, sometimes it’s cooking, sometimes it’s gardening, sometimes it’s, you know, approaching doing my taxes as a creative project. And yeah, I think that it’s just so much more interesting, personally, and fun, and engaging, and romantic, and delicious, and scrumptious. To approach all of the all everything as a creative endeavor as magic, as you know, something that I am crafting. So some of the ways that that looks like in my life currently right now. I have had some, like, intense chronic health issues the last couple years as a result of things that happened and many other things. And I’m having to do this really intense. Like auto immune elimination diet, basically. And that has become a creative project for me. So like, part of that is like doing the research and like going out there and looking for like yummy recipes. And then you know, if it’s if I can’t find the exact thing that I’m wanting, how can I go and find like two things and start tweaking it and that’s how it gets to be creative and playful. and like, you know, figuring out how to feed myself nourishing food that helps my body heal has become this like passion project, and not just this thing that I like have to do, but can be something that like, I enjoy doing. And so you know, when I’m doing it, I, you know, pour myself a glass of something scrumptious and put on delicious jazz records. So that it’s like romantic experience for myself, because I love to romance myself. And yeah, so much of it is just about how you approach it and like, how can you make it fun, engaging, creative. Sometimes it needs to be social, like you need to, like, bring in somebody else to do it with you to make it more of less of a slog, and more of a like, adventure,

Kelsey Mech  35:53

right? So there’s both kind of a mindset shift there or like a curiosity or an exploration of like, what would happen if I saw this as a creative project, instead of like, a grind or a drag that I have to do? Yeah, and there’s also those tangible elements. It sounds like you add in things that feel pleasurable to you, and also things or people that feel supportive to you to help you in getting that done.

Azalea Moen  36:18

Yeah, well, and I think it’s really like, this is a phrase, like the like your life’s work is your whole life’s work. That was mind blowing for you, Rick Tamblyn, who’s this, like amazing CTI coach, instructor, wonderful human, uses the phrase, it’s all made up. And, like, if you actually like literally everything that we do language, culture, gender, food, houses, like, literally everything around you is made up, somebody’s made this up. It is the like process of many people making things up. And this is what I mean, about like us being the creative species, like that’s our homework is that literally everything around us from laws, from taxes from how all of that done, like all of it to meet up everything, all of the norms, all of the rules about how we’re supposed to live, how we’re supposed to do if it’s all made up, given that you also get to make it up for yourself. And so if you look at all of these things as like, pliable extensions of somebody else’s imagination, you then get to build on them and say, like, Yeah, this is what, you know, this is quote, unquote, what we’re supposed to do, which is like, what, who said, like, according to who that’s just like, a bunch of people do that, that doesn’t mean that you have to do it that way. How do you want to do it, what would feel like a good way for you to do it? What would feel better. And I think one of the biggest stories that we have coming back to the piece about like not being alone, and it is that we have this obsession with like hyper individualization right now in our society, and it is one of the most damaging things in the world. We could record but fix bugs go deeper into that. But I think for creativity, especially in business, especially to and family and all of it like we are social community oriented creatures. We don’t We are not built to do all the things alone. And many of us are not built to do creativity alone. And many of us are definitely not built to like, do our bookkeeping alone. Like that’s better done with friends at a coffee shop with like cake and a lot of coffee and a lot of a lot of a lot of a lot of breaks to whine about it. But yeah, like that, that there’s this story that you’re somehow deficient. If you can’t force yourself to do it by yourself in a room with your computer in silence like that. Somehow there’s something wrong with you. We’re like, no, like, nobody’s built to work. I mean, there’s a couple people, but they’re like wildly wildly introverted people.

Kelsey Mech  39:01

Yeah, yeah. Yeah. It’s been such a fun exploration for me to just continuously be in that process of asking myself, like, how can I make this like, I have to do this sticky, icky thing? Or this kind of like, mundane, boring thing? How can I either support myself to do it, so it feels okay, and bearable, and maybe even like, good? And, and or how can I make it fun? Or creative? Yeah. Yeah. And so yeah, like just thinking about, I mean, for me, my taxes, I’ve been like, I cannot sit down and do this all in one chunk, because I have left some of my stuff for a while. Um, and it’s like, I can do this for 10 minutes a day. Like I can sit down and go through my spreadsheets or whatever, for 10 minutes a day, and it’ll get done when it gets done. And that’s how it feels supportive to me. Mm hmm. And with cooking recently, I’ve been kind of in like a little bit of a funk with it. And so I’m like, How can I make this fun and playful and I love watching cooking shows. So I masterclass here and I’m like watching Gordon Ramsay Cook. And I’m watching those Baker’s bake. And they’re teaching me things. And I’m like, Oh, this is fun and playful, because I get to, like, have someone in my kitchen with me teaching me how to cook and like being super energized. And it’s just totally variance because I asked those questions like, Can I do this in a way that actually feels good, supportive, fun, whatever the word is for you. changes everything.

Azalea Moen  40:22

Yeah, well, I think a lot of that a lot of that is to is just like, understanding that all of those are mediums, like creative mediums. And so if you aren’t able to creatively explore that medium, maybe you just don’t have enough of the like, skills to make it fun yet. It’s like, you know, like, when you start painting, like, you’re gonna be terrible at it until you understand a little bit about the materials and the technique, and then it becomes fun, because then you’re like, oh, and then I could do this with this. And then I can do this with this, but you don’t understand it. So in the same with, like, taxes, and I feel like that’s one of my huge creative projects this year is money, generally, and I’m doing courses on it. I’m, you know, working with people, I’m reading about it. And I’m like, understanding it both on like, doing deep research on like, a higher level on a personal level on different frameworks for like working with it and understanding it. So then I can, it can be a creative expression for me. But I think that like, yeah, like, in the same way for cooking, like, if it’s not feeling good. Like, go get some inspiration, go see what other people are doing. Go get on Pinterest, go watch a show. Go do whatever.

Kelsey Mech  41:32

Yeah. And let that be part of the creative process.

Azalea Moen  41:36

Yes. Yeah. And it’s been a central part of the creative process. Yeah.

Kelsey Mech  41:40

Yeah. So if people are listening to this and are like, okay, totally on board. This sounds great. But I don’t really know like, where to start or feeling a little overwhelmed. Especially if we’re wanting to kind of tap into that feeling or idea that creativity is magic. Like, what do you feel like is a good little bite size piece? Let me just pause here real quick before Azalea gives her answer, because she has some great ideas. But I also think one of the best ways to start this process is to do it in community. So I wanted to share a few words from a good friend of mine, Ariana, who participated in the cabin of creativity last season, about what that space was like for her just so you can have a little taste of this for yourself. And then we’ll dive right back into the conversation with Azalea.


Hi, everyone, my name is Ariana and I participated in season two of the Covenant creativity. I am a lifelong member, I will participate however I can whenever I can in the future, because I had such an incredible experience. Both Azalea and Kelsey are incredible people and somehow figured out during these virtual times how to create such a yummy, beautiful, magical space that really emphasized the sense of community, with a focus on safety and authenticity and active listening, that I’m forever grateful for. So for those of you who’ve never done anything like this before, don’t worry, I barely did myself. And to be honest, I was a little hesitant to join at first, mainly because at that time in my life, I was so disconnected from my creative self, I was feeling overwhelmed, so sluggish and convinced myself I was incapable of coming up with a project in capable of being creative. And why would I join this group of, you know, smart, inspirational collaborators, and feel inadequate? That’s really what I told myself. And what I learned was joining this Coven was exactly what I needed to get out of that mindset. And to stop telling myself that I am only as worthy as what I produce in this world. I’m only measured by my productivity and and the outcomes as opposed to honoring the creative process and really being patient with yourself and seeing what comes out of All That Beauty. We did so many fun, magical things like meat, the soul of our projects. We participated in gorgeous guided meditations where we met our ancestors. We made tinctures we played with clay. We did so many rituals, we celebrate the equinox together, and within the community, we shared music and readings and our own work and no one was fearful of the response they would get because the understanding when join in this coffin is I’m going to give and I’m going to receive and it really was whatever you made of it. Everything from the aesthetically pleasing In super detailed field guides, which I’m obsessed with, to the cadence of our sessions, to the prompts within the community, we’re just really organized and helpful. Thanks to the Coven, I finally understand that I’m enough, that just showing up is enough that just being present is enough, that just starting is enough. And that we’re all made of magic. It’s just such a beautiful place to be. And I’m so thankful to this experience and this community. And I know you won’t regret it

Azalea Moen  45:43

I would say that probably heard this conversation, you have an idea of like a thing in your life where it feels like a kind of like a chunk that needs to be worked on in some way. And you’re probably resisting this in your life somewhere. Right now, whether it’s Texas or cooking, whatever, whatever that thing is. To like, let go of the having to do it. Like, let’s put that off for a while, like you don’t have to do it yet. What if you just went and gathered some inspiration. So if it’s cooking, go find some shows, go watch some shows, get on Pinterest, go find, you know, get some cookbooks out of there. Out of the place with the books library, that’s the word. Um, go find some inspiration start to like, start the fire. And the fire I talked about within my within my practice, I kind of have like steps that I approach everything. So the first one is grace, which is about releasing the shame. And like giving myself some ease and like, gentleness for not having done this yet, or whatever my shit is around that thing. And then I get into the desire and desire is like how do I want this to feel? How do I want this to look like actually dream into it? Do a little visioning about it. Think about it for a minute, like, What is the vision here? What is the dream? How do I want us to feel in my body? What do I want us to look like in my life, and then go and like, start to like fuel that fire by gathering inspiration, make a Pinterest board, you know, take out a bunch of books about bookkeeping, whatever, you know, sign up for a course that you’re excited about whatever that piece is to start to, like fuel that. And then only then when that’s like feeling like you can’t not start like that’s how much fueling you need to do. So that you’re not forcing yourself to start. You’re just like, I can’t not start because there’s so much excitement and so much fuel here that I’m just like, I need to get into it. So fuel the fire. And then what’s the inspired action? Like then what is the next right step to move forward into that?

Kelsey Mech  47:57

Grace, desire, action,

Azalea Moen  48:00

action. And then the other ingredient, I was used as mystery and just allowing the creative process to be it’s weird and wild self.

Kelsey Mech  48:12

It’s funny you say that, because those also happen to be some of the souls of Kevin, should we talk about the covenant? Are we talking about it? What is the covenant creativity? I mean, I guess I answer these questions to you.

Azalea Moen  48:33

Yeah. So the covenant creativity is a magical community of humans, who are gathering together to make things in community because it’s more fun and more delicious and more scrumptious. And it’s a community that I started was that last year here before was the first season

Kelsey Mech  48:57

what is time here?

Azalea Moen  48:59

What is time? Last year, and what Kelsey into in the midst of last year, and now we run it together?

Kelsey Mech  49:08

So fun. So fun. Yeah. Yeah.

Azalea Moen  49:11

And what specifically do you want to talk about? Yeah,

Kelsey Mech  49:14

I mean, I think what’s important for people to know is that it’s an online community that really digs into all of these conversations and sort of topics we’ve been talking about here and and more. And so this season of Creation, that will be beginning. I think doors open the day this this podcast drops on the 21st. Yes. This season of Creation will run for the next 13 weeks. And we will be sort of guiding you through a process of engaging with your creativity, differently, of removing sort of the shame and pressure around it in the ways that Azalea talked about so beautifully today and also giving you Some sort of practical ways of working with it, that start to weave in a little bit more of this magic and something called animism, which we didn’t talk about today. But we will talk a lot about creativity. Yes. But more than anything, it’s a community.

Azalea Moen  50:15

Yeah, more than anything, it’s a community. We’ve had our last season at about 40 people in it, and they’re just like, oh, my god, you guys, the caliber of humans, who are in this space, the entire enrollment period for the last creation, but we would just get a questionnaire and like, be like voice messaging each other, like fangirling. So hard about the people who are coming into the space, it’s just, everybody is so wonderful. And so like, cool. And everybody works on different things. And it’s just, which can also be very intimidating. But also like everybody who comes into this space is also intimidated. So like, we’re all in that space together. So it’s just it’s so scrumptious. It’s so magic. It’s so delicious. And I also just wanted to like mention, so Coven Of Creativity is this, like, broader community organization that we’re creating. And Kelsey and I have, as we mentioned, this, like, basically 20 year vision of where we’re gonna take this thing that we’re having to, like, slow ourselves down on.

Kelsey Mech  51:21

Our own life’s work is our whole life’s work their whole lives

Azalea Moen  51:25

where. And right now, the offering that we have is this, it’s the seasons of creation. And so what we do, basically, we are really, really embodying the seasonal aspect of creativity. And in my last, you know, 10 work, 10 years of working with clients around this and my own creative practice. And watching all my friends around me, I noticed that we tend to be not super productive in midwinter and mid summer. And we tend to have a lot more like juice for this stuff in the spring in the fall. So basically, as a group, we gather for 13 weeks, every spring and every fall to grow our creative projects together.

Kelsey Mech  52:09

Yeah. Yeah. And so just logistically, it looks like there is, you know, we’re not we’re holding the space, I wouldn’t say we’re like, teachers, I don’t like to use that this is not a course for Yeah, but there’s lots of content that we offer. Yeah, yeah, we also see that, you know, we’re also there to participate and to learn from everyone else in this space. And there’s so many people as Azalea mentioned, with like, such valuable knowledge and wisdom and ways of being to share. So it’s just very juicy that way, but we do have regular calls at staggered times. So they tend to work for every time zone. We have calls to sort of meet and dive into the content of Coven, or the seasons of creation together, we have co working calls, we have a couple of really cool workshops on astrology is one of them coming up. So there’s like a lot of different connection time as well as the content and the sort of community space. And you can find all of the details, obviously, on the website, which I will make sure to link to in the show notes, but it’s just covenant creativity.com.

Azalea Moen  53:18

I mean, yes. Okay. Well, that’ll be the homepage. Sure.

Kelsey Mech  53:22

I mean, it can be can have

Azalea Moen  53:24

a recording, before we felt this.

Kelsey Mech  53:27

It might be slash something else. So just look in the show. It’ll be linked

Azalea Moen  53:30

in the show notes. And it grabs everywhere you will be able to find it. Yeah,

Kelsey Mech  53:36

and this is how things go inside Kevin and creativity to you. We’re a little messy and imperfect. So as long as you’re down with this vibe, you’re welcome. And if you’re like, wow, these people don’t have their shit together, then I don’t know, you can still come

Azalea Moen  53:49

blah. secret, nobody has an issue together. Everybody’s making it up as we go. And that’s a big part of like, the ethos of covenants we like Coven is also a creative project for Kelsey and I and we share our creative process as we’re building it that include the community and our creative process. And like, a lot of it is taking feedback and building it like every This is a third season that we’ve done. And every iteration looks different. And it’s a kind of constant evolution and honing. And we talk about our experience with that as we go through it and do our own creative projects that we’re working on, because we’re working on it alongside you in there, and it’s so much fun, so

Kelsey Mech  54:31

much fun. And it’s been such a nourishing, juicy, inspiring community. So if you feel Yeah, at all called to this, then we’d love to have you and also totally happy to like answer any questions or just like jam on this and talk about it more. So feel free to reach out I think to either of us. Yeah, by Instagram or email or whatever. And I’ll make sure to drop those in the show notes as well. If you don’t already know where to find us. Any any final words? You want to leave our lovely listeners with today? Azalia

Azalea Moen  55:07

final words

Kelsey Mech  55:16

that’s so much pressure. I know. Sorry.

Azalea Moen  55:18

No, I understood internal processor. So it was a moment. Um, yeah. I think just like an invitation, whether you feel called to come and join us and the seasons of creation or not, whatever it is just an invitation to like, open up a little more room, in your head, and in your life, for creativity and for the things that are calling you right now to be created in your life. And just to like, listen to that invitation and see where it takes you.

Kelsey Mech  56:09

Beautiful. Thank you so much for chatting with me today. Azalea, this was so fun.

Azalea Moen  56:13

Thank you for having me.

Kelsey Mech  56:14

I hope you loved this conversation with Azalea as much as I did. And just one final invitation to you to join us inside the Coven Of Creativity. It’s gonna be really juicy and really delicious and really magical. So if this conversation has sparked anything for you, I would love to see you there.