Better Than Self-Love?

It’s that time of year again – where hearts and cupids are everywhere we look, and the self development world is plastering quotes on self-love. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for love. But why does it have to be centered around buying more stuff, and what the heck does self-love mean anyway?

Love can mean very different things from one person to the next. And the road toward self-love can be long and hard, and is very personal. Yet, self-love is often spoken of as if it were a switch that could be simply turned on. And even more so, we often paint the picture that self-love is an idealized state where we only feel positive feelings towards ourselves.

But nothing could be further from the truth. Loving ourselves does not mean our inner critical voice is suddenly shut off, or that we never suffer, or that we don’t become disappointed in ourselves.

And from my experience, you can’t just decide to love something or someone and immediately have it be so. It takes intention, nurturing, and most of all time. Trying to force an end result without first focusing on the steps to get there can be disheartening.

What happens when you fail at something, or don’t meet your own expectations? What happens if you kind of hate a part of yourself? What happens when you decide to love yourself, you struggle with it, and then perhaps you start to think thoughts like: “Why can’t I? What’s wrong with me?” What happens when you think overly critical or hateful thoughts, then turn it around and say something loving – but it only makes you feel worse because you don’t truly believe it?

It’s exactly in moments like these where telling ourselves to be more loving might actually backfire.

So what then?

What if instead, we focused more on being compassionate toward ourselves?

Doesn’t that already feel oh so much lighter? Self compassion doesn’t ask us to judge ourselves, it’s simply a way of relating to ourselves kindly. It allows us to embrace ourselves as we are right now, flaws and all. It gives us permission to feel the way we feel without shame. It gives us a more solid sense of self worth because it’s there for us when we fail. It deeper connects us to others because it reminds us that to be human is to be imperfect.

You already have the roadmap and the skills to be compassionate. I can bet that you at least try to be compassionate with your good friends and loved ones. So there’s nothing more you need to learn; it’s simply a softening in to include yourself in the encouragement, understanding, empathy, patience, and gentleness you offer others.

I believe that once we stop treating ourselves so differently and show ourselves the same compassion as we do others, we will come to truly acknowledge our shared nature of our imperfect humanity – thus opening our hearts even wider to others and ourselves, in turn creating a more loving world all around.

Will you join me in this quest?

This month in our private Soul Circle, we’re exploring compassion, forgiveness, nurture, and patience. But this work is too important to keep to ourselves.

I’d love to extend an invitation for you to join me for 7 Days of Self-Compassion, where I’ll offer inspiration and a simple integrative activity each day for seven days to help you cultivate compassion for yourself – for FREE. If you’d love to get this daily dose of compassion in your inbox, simply CLICK HERE to register and we’ll start, of course, on February 14th.



Much love to you!!




{Creative} Soul Truths #5


You already have everything you need. Your authentic Soul voice is bright, beautiful, and patently waiting to freely express itself.

Its quiet voice is always speaking to you, through what we call intuition, even if you can’t quite hear it now. We all have intuition… it’s our inner knowing, or what I like to call the language of our Soul. It’s the part of you that speaks the truth about who you are and what you want. So basically, it’s your life road map to living your purpose, and your most fulfilled, joyful life!

If we get present and follow its urges when we sit down to create, we will develop an art journaling practice that can ultimately bring us more confidence, happiness, self-awareness, healing, and a newfound sense of wholeness.

If doing that feels impossible for you right now, then for one reason or another, your mind is trying to protect you from letting your creative spirit free, from letting your intuitive Soul lead the way. (You’re not alone! It’s a totally natural part of being human.) The key then, is to go gently, with compassion, and start to build trust between your mind and your intuitive Soul.

Your mind is so used to being in control and predicting outcomes. For us to truly get present and follow our Soul’s whims one step at a time, means to step into the scary unknown. That place of unknowing, of uncertainty, can feel dark and filled with monsters. We will hold on for dear life and fight tooth and nail not to be thrown off the edge into that scary space!

So the only way in, is to start slow, start gently, hold that compassion for the part of you that’s scared sh**less, celebrate yourself every step of the way, and build trust that when you listen to your intuition, everything will indeed be okay.


TIP: Practice being present and becoming an observer of your thoughts. When fears or judgements come up, acknowledge it without running away, then choose courage – what one step are you willing to take next?


I so hope that you have found this Soul Truths series to be helpful and inspiring!

If you would love to get more support around connecting to and building trust with your creative, intuitive Soul so that you may express yourself more fully in your journal (and in life!), then I invite you to join me and a community of other Soul Seekers in my 6-week program Creative Soul Roots. (We start October 2nd!)

In it, I’ll guide you through a series of fun, creative exercises that will help you to put these Soul Truths into action, nurture your creative Soul, and develop the skills needed to get out of your head and into your heart.
Click Here for more info & to reserve your spot!

Whether you decide to join us or not, I know for certain that if you’re here, then creative expression is the path you were meant to take to help liberate your Soul. I know you can do this, don’t give up!



Much love to you!!






Let’s Go Deeper (NEW Changes Happening!)

Over the years of diving into art journaling and supporting others to fully express themselves, I’ve always felt a deeper current happening beneath the surface. It has always been hard for me to name with words, but over the last couple years things have been getting more and more clear.

And this year, I am finally making the shift to fully embrace this deeper current, exploring it and expressing it through my emails, articles, videos, and offerings so that you too may dive deeper into the healing and transformation of it to live a more vibrant life.

So what might you expect from here on out?

Let me start by first sharing more about my journey of coming into clarity about this…

You may have heard my story of how I shifted from creating and living a life of control and perfectionism, to living and creating more freely and intuitively. I’ve written about this numerous times on the blog (HERE and HERE) and in my free AIR Book – how I got so burnt out with creating products with a step-by-step formula and always trying to perfect things, that I had to quit my job and rediscover the joy of creating.

And the more I told and retold my story, especially as it was unfolding, the more I could see the bigger picture of what was really happening.

That shift from struggling with creativity to falling in love with the process using play, curiosity, and most of all, my intuition, has been such a huge life changer for me. Not only with creativity, but within myself as well. Through this way of creating from the soul, I rediscovered parts of me I didn’t even realize I had lost. And I continue to discover more every day.

And as I awaken these parts of me within, I can more clearly see how disconnected I truly was to myself, and how it was all due to an imbalance that still plagues the majority of the western world today.

Our society relies so heavily on the mind and the "left-brain" way of thinking. We honor logic, structure, speed, control; so much so that we often let our minds run on auto-pilot and we forget that there’s this whole other part of us within – this gentler, kinder, wiser, creative, feminine part of us.

We tend to live on the surface of our mind, experiencing our fears and scattered thoughts. We can so easily get caught up in the to-do lists, the constant forward movement. And this masculine, "left brain" way of thinking really wore me down to the point of depression.

At the time, I had no idea what was wrong. All I knew was that there was something more. Something I was missing.

We as humans, the lives we lead, and the world around us are all made up of infinite dualities. But our culture is only looking at one side of the coin.

Looking back, I can now clearly see that I was suffering from imbalance. I had completely shut down my "right-brain" way of thinking – the part of me that is intuitive, emotional, feminine, and oh so creative.

I was only living from half of who I truly was.

And through creativity I’ve been unconsciously reawakening this other side of the duality. But I am ready now to bring more light to these feminine, "right-brain" aspects.

I want to start consciously exploring not just creativity, but also intuition, sensuality, emotions, play, beauty, and all of the other pieces of ourselves that may be shut down or hiding.

With this in mind, I’ve been quietly building something new… And my heart is fluttering like crazy just thinking about sharing it with you.

I have been creating a space for women to support each other in bringing more life into our day-to-day by exploring and bringing more awareness to the beautiful depths of who we truly are through creativity, playfulness, and connection. I’ll be offering it as a monthly community in which we’ll explore all of the different "right-brain" aspects of ourselves.

—> (If you might be interested in joining me, send me an email at hello{at}kristalnorton.com to let me know. I’ll be opening the doors on Tuesday to a select few women to become the founding members of this blossoming community.)

Throughout our explorations over the year and beyond, I’ll be sharing my stories and insights with you via email and my blog so that you too may gain a deeper connection to yourself.

Creativity will still be my main focus for what I share (and it will be the connecting thread throughout our private community explorations), but it will now be flavored with deeper insights around ALL of the feminine, "right-brain" aspects of ourselves. :)

I hope this shift will continue to inspire you and enrich your life, as much as it has been enriching mine.



Much love to you!!




Exploring Dualities by Tipping the Scale

Something interesting happened yesterday… so many things came into alignment and clarity as I was searching for answers – and it all came through after a big frustration in my art journal.

For the past two weeks I’ve been working on paintings of body parts for Connie Solera’s #21embody challenge. At first, I used photos as a reference, making sure each piece accurately represented the body part I was focusing on in terms of line, shape, perspective, and shadow. (Perhaps this was my way of proving to myself that I still knew everything I learned back in art school.) As my series progressed, and I felt more confident in knowing I could do realistic work, I began to loosen up.

I stopped relying so heavily on reference photos, letting it be more playful than rigid. I started to move quicker and quicker with each piece… until yesterday, when I moved so quickly that I lost all control to create a recognizable image. I was so frustrated, not knowing why it wasn’t working and being angry that it wasn’t "good enough" – that I painted over it with white.

Later, as I was reflecting about the classes I teach and the community I’ve been dreaming up (more on that soon!!), I realized that much of my work in this world is all about tipping scales into the opposite extreme, so that it may bounce back and find balance. And it came as such an "Ah Ha!" moment when I saw that this is what had happened in my art journal – it was just me tipping another scale. I had to see where too much was too much. Where the balance between creating something recognizable and letting it be a free expression becomes unstable.

Creativity always has a way of awakening me to deeper truths. It’s always a mirror for what I need to see or learn. So it shouldn’t have been a surprise that what I was working on in "real life" would show up in my journal. And so, instead of starting over or trying again, I decided to write "Play with the Balance" over the top to help me remember this lesson.

This idea of tipping the scale to find a balance can be seen and used in so many areas of our lives. (Perhaps unintentional tipping could be called “going overboard” or “hitting rock bottom”?)

When something doesn’t feel in alignment, perhaps you’re tipped too far in one direction and it’s time to explore that duality.

For example, I have come to the realization that my class Creative Soul Roots is all about tipping the scale of perfectionism all the way over to messy play. We shift our focus from the inner critical thoughts, toward our wise intuitive voice. We let loose and make big messes to break through the barriers that hold us back in our journals, in creativity, and in life. And it’s not that playing and making a mess is necessarily the end goal overall – it’s just a catalyst to move out of perfectionism and stuckness, in order to find our balance. We use the mess as a way to experience what it’s like on the other side.

There are two sides to everything. Life is full of dualities: day/night, waking/sleeping, black/white, sorrow/joy, male/female, past/future, ocean/shore, work/play, movement/stillness, all/nothing, life/death… and one cannot exist without the other. We cannot know easy without first knowing hard. We cannot honor beauty without the ugly. We cannot appreciate our joy without knowing the depths of our pain.

The dualities of life can be shifted heavily to one side, or we can find a rhythm to allow both to exist in harmony. We are both light and dark. We are both tender and fierce. We are both fearful and courageous.

If you’re working to shift something in your life, what would the opposite extreme be?

(Of course, it’s not always safe to actually act out these extremes, but it gets your mind thinking if you explore that idea in your journal!)



Much love to you!!




Noticing Fire

As we continue our journey of exploring the elements and shift into FIRE, let’s take a moment to call it into our lives, bring awareness to our passions, and reconnect with the fiery Soul within.

Feel the warm sun shining upon you.

Feel the passion bubbling up inside you as you think of something or someone you love.

From now until April, keep your imagination active as you filter your life through the lens of FIRE. How does fire show up in your life physically? How do the qualities of fire show up in your life metaphorically? How can you use fire to help you in your day-to-day? (For example, fire can be the perfect energy to help you take inspired action, or to transform something in your life.)

FIRE

As we begin to notice fire in our lives, we’ll not only gain a deeper understanding of the world around us, but we’ll also start to gain a deeper understanding of who we are.

Using FIRE as our lens through which we see our lives, we’ll begin to see things in a way we may not have otherwise, gaining clarity on all aspects of our BEing.

To help us hold this lens in place, it’s helpful to place reminders around our spaces and infuse our activities with fire. Here are some ideas you can use:


#1. Journal or Ponder About Fire – Taking some time to reflect on what you already know about the element of fire is a powerful way to begin our journey together with intention and trust in your own inner knowing. Journal, write, paint, doodle, or think about fire and how it plays a role in your life. Here are some prompts to get you started:

  • What are some words you would use to describe fire?
  • What symbols, lines, forms, or imagery do you associate with fire?
  • How are you a natural expression of fire?
  • What is your personal relationship with fire?
  • What gets you excited or passionate? How you can you connect with that feeling more this month?

#2. Create a Pinterest Board – Pinterest is full of inspiring fire images, and a perfect place to create dream boards, energy boards, and more. Create a board full of fiery images that inspire you to take action, get cozy, or to reconnect with yourself. To get started, take a peek at my Fire Inspiration board HERE.

Fire Pinterest Board


#3. Update Your Desktop and Mobile Backgrounds – Changing up my desktop and mobile background images is one of my favorite ways to remind me of a feeling, mood, or energy I aim to embody that day/week/month. What side of fire do you want to embody this week or this month? Do you want to call in passion? Or perhaps a sense of warmth and solitude? Keep this thought in mind as you search for an image that reminds you of this feeling. Images are powerful in evoking certain feelings and responses in us!

Here are a few of my favorites (click on the image to be taken to the original source for download):

beach fire wallpaper fire girl wallpaper
fire wallpaper fire wallpaper


#4. Infuse Your Creative Practice – Whether you art journal, create mandalas, draw, paint, dance, or whatever… infuse it with the energy of fire. Perhaps even use some charcoal!

fire art


#5. Create an Altar – Creating a space to celebrate fire is a beautiful way to honor the element and to remind you of its presence throughout your day. Simply gather a few things that remind you of fire and display them together in a space that you’ll see during your day. Perhaps your nightstand? Or a shelf next to your desk? Some items you might consider adding to your altar are: candles, incense, crystals, yellow or orange items, photographs, etc.

fire altar


Some other ideas might be: sit quietly and watch a flame dance, write down something you want to release in your life then burn it, let yourself wildly dance, go on a Soul Date, find ways to reconnect with yourself, clear space in your home, create, take action on something you’ve been meaning to do, close your eyes and feel the warmth of the sun on your face, follow me on Instagram, read my FIRE E-Book, explore a new passion or hobby…

What other ideas do you have? Which of these will you try? Share in the comments below!



Much love to you!!