Ellen Blum Barish

Ellen Blum Barish

As we close in on deep winter here in the Midwest, our days are back lit in gray and white and if we’re lucky, when the moon is full, silver.

These more muted tones can be beautiful in and of themselves of course, but this time of year I find myself craving color. Pattern. Texture.

Preparing for Thanksgiving, I found myself paying closer attention to the table. The meal’s main staples  – turkey, stuffing, gravy and potatoes – can be pale and monochrome. I wanted my table to pop! So I splurged on a new burgundy tablecloth to set them off and delighted in the cranberry and carrot-beet side dishes.

When I layer up to go out the door, I’ve been noticing a desire for a bit more pizzazz. How good it feels to wrap my neck up in a raspberry or shiny purple scarf or cover my head in a multi-colored woven hat to offset my gray, puffy sleeping bag of a winter coat.

Now that the leaves are gone, the branches of the ivy that cling to the side of my house remain. Against the brick, they make a beautiful lacey pattern, full of woody textures.

These may be small things, but I find them very pleasing to my color, pattern and texture-starved sensibilities.

We human beings not only lean toward what’s visually appealing, I believe we yearn for it. We appreciate the way our morning omelet or freshly baked cookies turned out. We notice the plating or the flowers on the table. Those one-of-a-kind earrings or bold scarf get our attention. Some of us appreciate it from afar. Others like to make it happen, inside and out.

‘Tis the season to dress up a tree, light candles, hang mistletoe, decorate or embellish yourself or your home.

A desire for creativity for creativity’s sake is what separates us from animals. They have their charms, but they don’t need to dot that nest with flowers or weave color into their webs like we humans do.

During this season of the subdued, consider accessing your creative instincts. They’re in there – we’ve all got them – they’re just waiting for you to bring them into the light. Invite them in for emotional nutrition; to adorn your soul.

Looking for an innovative holiday gift? Consider a coaching coupon gift certificate. Email me at for more info.

Thinking about a writing workshop in 2020? I’ll be teaching at several new venues next year. Check out the Workshop page of my website for details.



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