Finding Balance – Inside and Out

Finding Balance - Inside and Out

Lately, I find myself getting frustrated more. Feeling overwhelmed by the quickness of life and the constant moving. As I put my phone down, I feel disgusted by how much time it has just sucked from my life and the emptiness I feel. I promptly pick it up again. But this time, not to check another app, but to delete them. Goodbye Facebook. You’ve never done much for me anyway.

Ahh that feels good. What else can I simplify in my life?

This question rolls around in my mind for days as I navigate my daily life… almost to the point of complicating it more. Should I wake up earlier in the morning? How can I change my work projects to simplify them? What else can I change in my life?

As the weekend arrives, we gather up our towels and supplies to head to the beach. But it ends up not being so simple. The kids aren’t listening. Each task becomes a chore. We have three kids plus one friend. The house becomes a whirlwind of confusion. Get your bathing suit on! No, not outside! Where did your sister go again? Wait, your shoes! Where are your shoes!? Stop playing, I thought we were leaving!?

By the time we make it to the beach, my head is pounding. Why does everything seem to be so difficult? Is it just my expectations? The way I think about things? How can I simplify this? Am I thinking too much? Get over here, I’m trying to put sunscreen on you!

Ugh, I need some actual quiet time. I stand up, tell hubby I’m leaving, and off I go. The beach is busy today, but I know if I keep walking, it becomes quieter. I start my trek in search of silence, still pondering ways I can simplify my life.

Finding balance on the beachCan I really get up earlier than the kids? I’m always so tired. I’d have to go to bed way earlier. But then I lose out on my nightly quiet time. Which doesn’t seem to be much these summer days. That article says you should do the most important thing first thing in the morning. Maybe I should try. I should meditate. Yoga, I’d like to do yoga. I need more exercise. Man, I should really eat healthier too. Morning smoothies sound good. How hard can it be? I haven’t done much art lately. I can never find alone time to actually do anything. Creating with my kids is hard. I always end up helping them instead of being able to focus on my own art. Just one more year. One more year and they’ll all be in school. I can wait. How can I simplify my creating? I guess just continue in my sketchbook. That’s quick and easy. But not so satisfying as paint. Oh how I miss paint. Ouch! That rock was sharp.

I pause to look around. Not a person in sight. The sandy beach gives way to thousands of rocks. I breathe in the warm air. Listen to the waves hitting the earth. Yes. This. This is what I needed. I start to move slower, balancing on the larger rocks so I don’t hurt my bare feet. With arms stretched wide, and a smile across my face, my mind calms with each careful step I take.

Finding Balance

I stop when I could go no further. My feet are sore. But it feels so good. I rest myself on a nearby boulder and look out over the sea of rocks, enjoying the absence of the everyday bustling noise. My eye catches an odd shaped rock. I meander over to pick it up. It looks almost like a moon. Or perhaps a croissant. No, not a croissant. It feels sacred.

It feels warm in my hand, like it’s radiating love, or some mystical energy I yet to understand. It feels wrong to toss it back into the sea of rocks. To be lost again. Suddenly I know what I must do. Visions of balancing rocks dance through my memory as I rummage around looking for just the right rocks to hold this sacred piece of earth.

Finding BalanceMy mind and body become completely engrossed in turning the rocks this way and that, finding just the right weight and balance to make them stand upon each other. When three are in position, I gently pick up the sacred piece and carefully place it on top. It stays without fiddling. It rests upon those rocks like it it knew it was meant to be there. I breathe out a long exhale, realizing I’ve been holding it.

Breathing deeply in again, my body automatically turns to climb down the boulder to gather more rocks. I know just what I’m looking for… Round ones. With somewhat flat sides. Interesting color. Check. I grab as many as I can carry and head back up.

The edge of urgency is gone as I slip into a quiet, playful trance turning the rocks until they fit perfectly. And somehow, each rock I’ve chosen finds its place.

As I climb back down for yet another arm load, I realize… this is simplicity. Me. The earth. The quiet.

This is all I need to bring balance into my life.

Simple as that.

Later, as I slowly made my way back to my family, I felt like I had a treasure in my pocket. A secret to hide, or maybe to share. A few photographs and my memories of this day. Of the realization that I don’t need traditional meditation, or yoga, or smoothies, or hours of alone time to find peace and balance in my life.

All I need is me,

and the earth,

and a few deep breaths.






Psst! Our exploration in Earth is coming soon! Be sure you’re signed up for my mailing list to get the free Earth E-book which will be released on Sept 6th 2016. You can find AIR Here and WATER Here!



How Pinkie Pie Became My Word of the Year…

As I sat with my intentions for 2016 and worked through the process of finding my word of the year (using a brilliant workbook my dear friend Becky Cavender so lovingly created HERE), I began to see words such as love, connection, simplicity, free, silly, playful, open… but there wasn’t one word which stood out from the rest.

They all felt true. But I knew, trying to embody a handful of words is no easy task, especially when you’re looking for simplicity!

So I put it aside for the day to let it incubate. But every time I would return to it… I would just see images of Pinkie Pie.

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What!? You’re not focusing enough. I’ll try again later.

And again, images of Pinkie Pie.

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Seriously?

A few days later, my friend Bridgette asks, “Have you discovered your word yet?”

“I’m still pondering,” I replied. “Every time I try to work on it, an image of Pinkie Pie comes up!” I laugh.

I was laughing, at the silliness of it all – that I couldn’t focus, that I kept getting bombarded with silly, childish things, that I was having trouble pinning down my word. I expected her to laugh along with me, to shrug it off as I had been and say Oh, it’ll come to you.

But being the wise woman she is, instead she replied, “You know, horse is a symbol for intuition and freedom.”

“Time for musing!” she says.

It shocked me. It got me thinking…

I’ve been yearning for “freedom” for years now.

I’ve been learning year after year, month after month, that I should listen to my intuition more.

I recalled a scene from My Little Pony where Pinkie Pie expressed her intuitive, perhaps even psychic abilities…

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Whoa.. There’s more to her than just parties and balloons. On the surface she looks shallow… not valued.

WAIT… did I just say that? Does that mean I truly don’t believe in my own words, that there’s value in play and joy?

I had to sit with it. I’ve been so disconnected from joy this past year. I feel the heaviness weighing on my heart.

YES.

It’s time to lighten up.

It’s time to giggle and play – to remember the silly little “CooCooNut” my parents so lovingly called me as a child.

Kristal Norton

There IS value in simplicity, in the child-like nature of wonder and joy.

And as I softened into this idea of actually using “Pinkie Pie” as my word of the year, I realized…

Yes, this does encompass all that I yearn for this year –


Love, Connection, Silly, Playful, Free, Simplicity, Open, JOY.


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And now

I’m only left wondering… What other truths has my heart tried to show me that I’ve dismissed?






(My Little Pony images copyrighted by their respective
owners, found HERE, HERE, and HERE.)

Where It All Began

Oooh I’ve been waiting for this day for quite a few weeks now!!

As I mentioned before, I’ve been reflecting a lot these past few months. And within that, I discovered a new facet to my story: My journey of quitting my creative biz and starting anew was not just a story about a simple career change… It was about a huge life transformation.

This my friend, is where it all started (IT being: this big shift happening in me now. The deepening of my creative practice. The deepening of my soul)…

My story began well before my coaching. Well before I discovered art journaling.

It began when it all fell apart.

It began out of necessity to save my soul.

And this is the story I share in the latest release of Phoenix Soul Magazine.

I hope you check out this incredibly inspiring magazine and witness my beginning. You can grab your copy of September’s release, Catharsis here: http://bit.ly/phoenixsoul



With Love,




…Why I Haven’t Slept in Weeks

2015-08-30-cantsleep

Since I was young, I could never sleep before a big day. The night before school. The night before leaving for a trip. The night before an art show… no sleep. A few snoozes between tossing and turning at best.

My mind loves to run. I get so excited and pumped up I can’t possibly turn it off. I haven’t felt this way since getting ready to leave for my trip to California (alll the way across country alll on my own!) in January of 2014 to begin my coaching training.

So when I woke up this morning finding myself going straight to my journal to write down some notes, then realizing I hadn’t slept well in what feels like weeks now, I was like… Whooooaaa, so that’s what’s going on!

My body is telling me I’m on the right track. Something new is brewing. I’m waiting for something. I’m excited for something. And that something is BIG.

At first, I thought it was because of my latest adventure…

Was I just excited about my new Creative Soul Circles? If you haven’t heard, I just had a deep feeling one day that I needed to gather women in circle. I wanted to commune with women and to create with women in an intimate space. I followed that calling and we had our first circle last week… it was amazing! Sure, there’s still a few bumps to smooth out as there are with any new project, but oh my, the energy that was running through that circle as we chatted live on video together was so fulfilling and inspiring! I’m still brainstorming ways to host these circles consistently, so stay tuned for more information!

But my restlessness is bigger than this excitement to gather women.

Or maybe it was because of the secret I’ve been keeping…

After we had our circle, reflected, then began to focus my attention on other projects… I still wasn’t sleeping. Was it due to this secret I’ve been keeping? Was it because of this big project I’ve been piecing together for the last couple weeks? From secretly stalking artists, choosing just the perfect ones, and inviting them to collaborate with me on a dream I’ve had for years? A dream to have an actual, real life, touch-able book?

No, this restlessness is from something BIGGER still. (But more on that secret project later!)

What about my excitement to see where my artistic journey will lead next?

What was this feeling I was having? Why can’t I just sleep already!? I journaled and I journaled. Searching deeper for the answers. I’ve been growing. I can feel it. My body, mind, and soul stretching further each day. The training I’m currently working through with Connie Solera is not only teaching me how to hold space for woman and facilitate transformation; it’s been teaching me about myself. About my journey as an artist.

Through this class, I’ve realized that my journey is much bigger than I had ever known. I’ve been going through huge transformations in my life and in my creative process simultaneously. It wasn’t coincidence that I’ve been growing spiritually ever since I quit my biz of selling art products and started creating for myself. Our art and our lives are so much more deeply intertwined than I had ever imagined. With this new realization and the help of my amazing friend Becky Cavender, I rewrote my story. (And you’ll soon get to read it in an upcoming issue of Phoenix Soul magazine!) It feels so good to have this deeper awareness of the journey I’ve been on, and clarity on the journey ahead.

I’ve been getting really excited about where my artistic journey will lead next. I’ve broken free from the constraints of traditional creating, and have stepped into the world of what I now call “Creative Soul Expression”. I’ve learned and experienced so much, but still I’m an infant in this new stage of speaking to my soul through art. And when you’re new at something, you look up to others for support. I’ve had so many amazing mentors along my journey. In 2014 I dedicated my time to coaching training with Kate Swoboda. In 2015 I’ve been deeply immersed in learning about the creative process and how to create transformative experiences through teaching with Connie Solera and her IGNITE program. But I haven’t had much time to grow in this world of creative expression. So now in 2016, I’ve decided that I’ll be focusing my growth on deepening my creative practice.

But with who? Who can mentor me through this next phase in my journey? As you know, I deeply believe that we all have everything we need for this type of expression right within ourselves. There’s no need to search out new techniques or test out all the latest supplies. So I’ll be spending a lot of time getting quiet, learning from myself, and letting my own Soul be my mentor. But what I’d also like to explore is how different artists approach their soul work with art. What can I learn from others that will help deepen my relationship with my own Soul?

When I saw the lineup for 21 Secrets Fall and the amazing gift Connie is offering with the pre-sale, I knew this would be it. I’m especially excited to see the process of Chris Zydel (one of Connie’s mentors and a leader in intuitive painting!) and Orly Avineri (an amazing artist that I admire so much!). And oh my gosh the “Tree of Life” workshop by Jassy Watson feels like it will speak to me on so many levels. Andrea Schroeder is another amazing woman who I’m in love with. Her work always guides me to dig deeper; so I’m excited to see how she offers her gifts through this type of course. (Note, Andrea’s contribution to this Fall’s 21 Secrets is only available through the pre-sale gift that expires on Sept 3rd!)

Can this excitement to dig deeper into my creative practice be what’s keeping me awake all these nights?

No… it’s something even BIGGER!

Sure, it is part of it… as all this is. But the deep churning within me is part of a bigger picture: the totality of me claiming all of these experiences in one. Of me fully embracing this journey I’ve been on.

I’ve been growing and expanding in so many ways on the inside. It’s time to bring all of this out. It’s time to reflect the ways I’ve grown. It’s time to fully step into who I am today. To claim it. To reflect it. To share it. To TRUST in it.

It’s time to fully spread my wings and soar.

And what does this mean exactly? My business, my life, and my creativity all have to be taken to the next level. What this means for you, and for my business is this:

  • It’s time for me to release all ties to my old way of doing business. Which means, my Etsy shop will be closing. When what I have left is sold out, I will no longer offer my art or handmade journals for sale.
  • It’s time for me to fully claim and honor the worth of my work. Which means, my Art Journaling 101 $7 e-course will soon be taken off my site. (To be clear, those that have access to it will still have forever access to it, it just won’t be for sale any longer.) From now on, if and when I do offer something for free or reduced price, it will be done so with utmost intention.
  • It’s time for me to fully intertwine all of my new experiences, skills, and gifts in what I offer. My mission behind my business has gotten oh so much more clear over this past year (and especially over these last couple months!). It’s time for that to get reflected in what I share. As you know, I’ve never been one to teach art techniques, as one of my goals is to help you find the wisdom within. So, none of my future offerings will come as quite the shock, but you’ll notice a slightly more defined flavor in the way I teach as I learn to intertwine everything I’ve learned.

These are just a few of the changes you’ll find in my business in the coming months. Fully stepping into who I am on the inside isn’t just a one step process. It has already been seeping out over the last two years, and it will continue to expand in its own time. And I’m sure I’ll go through this again and again as I grow even more.

But for now, just know… I have big plans. Big visions which are finally formulating into something tangible. And many, involve YOU.


With Love,




The Secret to {Art Journaling} Happiness

The Secret to Art Journaling Happiness

When I first started art journaling, it was more disappointing than it was fulfilling. I was so focused on trying to make my pages look like other’s I’ve seen, that it left me frustrated when I couldn’t meet my mind’s expectations.

It wasn’t until I was able to put the focus back on myself and start having fun that I was finally able to find happiness in my art journaling practice.

But easier said than done, right?

Throughout my journey (especially in the beginning) I struggled with keeping that focus. But time and time again, there were three important reminders that helped keep me on track. I’m sharing them with you today in hopes that they can be reminders to you as well to guide you into a fulfilling (and happy!) art journaling practice.


#1. Don’t Compare – Yeah, I say that a lot… but we all need constant reminders. It’s just too easy to get lost on the internet drooling over everyone’s art and feeling not good enough.

But ya know what? Your own true creative voice is just as beautiful.

And striving to be someone else, or to create art exactly like someone you admire, is ignoring that voice. Not only that, but it takes away the pleasure, the excitement of living where you are now. Of enjoying your own journey.

We are all beautifully unique. You and your life and experiences are like none other. This unique perspective on the world should be what drives your voice, your artistic expression. And when we compare? We’re pushing that aside to borrow someone else’s. But no matter how hard you try, you will never be able to duplicate her work, her voice. And if you did? Do you truly think it would be as fulfilling as you’ve come to believe?

I’m not saying that sharing our work with others or admiring what we see is wrong or worthless… it’s what we do with it or how we react that matters.

So go ahead and look and admire. But instead of comparing it to what you create, celebrate it for what it is – a peek into his/her life. And remember that this is what their path looks like, not yours. It doesn’t mean that you are less worthy or that your creations are any less beautiful.

Be Yourself


#2. Embrace & Celebrate Where You Are – I like to think of life and our creative growth as a continuous journey. And even though our paths may look similar, each path is unique and some of us are further along than others.

But the great thing is, every stage in the journey is a wonderful place to be.

Your journey, especially in the beginning, is full of discoveries to be made, successes to celebrate, mistakes to learn from, and growth to witness. But when we compare ourselves to others, tell ourselves that what we create isn’t good enough, and wish for the day when we can create something “perfect”… we’re missing out on all of that. We’re missing out on our lives.

Your work as a beginner will be raw, messy, and imperfect… but there is so much beauty in that.

Don’t miss out on this wonderful experience you have right in front of you. Embrace being a beginner. Celebrate where you are. Laugh at your mistakes, learn from them, then try again. Revel in the experimentation of it. You’re only at this stage once. Tomorrow, you’ll be further along.

Don't compare your beginning to someone else's middle


#3. Choose Your Current Path – Each day you have a choice: Which creative path do you want to walk? If you don’t choose a goal or focus, you might just find yourself walking in circles; or worse, not even beginning.

You may choose to continue down the path you walked the day before, or start anew. But each day you must choose. What do you want to focus on now? What do you want to practice? What’s your purpose? Is it to express your feelings? Or to perfect your painted faces?

Whatever you choose, follow it with passion and openness. Keep in mind: mess-ups are mandatory. And above all, know that your path can and will evolve at every step you take.

Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.


Embracing your journey (in lieu of someone else’s) and having a sense of where your next step is, will give you the confidence you need to face obstacles along the way. And with this new found confidence and sense of adventure, you’ll find the enjoyment, fulfillment, and happiness you were longing for.

Your journey is like none other.

Your journey is magical.

Your journey…

is yours.

Are you ready to claim it?