The Fight to Return to Creativity

I had always liked to think that society didn’t play a big role in how I lived my life.

My parents were pretty open minded about what I chose to do, and my mom was always marveling at the way I never seemed to care about what other people thought of me.

But now, as I become more and more awakened to all the different parts of me within, I can see, I wasn’t that much different than all the other flocks of sheep.

Somehow it was ingrained in me that logic should always be valued more than intuition. That being in control was the smartest way to live. That if you want it done right, you gotta do it yourself. That sexuality is to be hidden. That play is only for children. That if you’re hurt, you should suck it up.

If you asked my parents about these beliefs, they probably would have dubbed them untrue (except maybe the do it yourself one!).

And yet, these beliefs formed deep within me as I grew. There was no escaping society’s carefully structured system. And this masculine, “left brain” way of thinking began to wear me down.

It was like a seed that began to grow within, taking hold, then quietly strangling my creative, intuitive, emotional side.

I found myself grasping for control in every part of my life… I was only able to fill my car’s gas tank if my usual pump at my favorite station was open. I would rearrange the dishwasher if someone else loaded it. I would shut down all of my emotions to keep my actions in check. My art became automatic and formulaic. And I even came close to ruining my best friend’s wedding because I wanted it done “my way”.

My internal dualities were shifted way to the left, and I was struggling to keep hold. I felt like I was fighting upstream just to keep afloat.

Then depression hit.

And I got mad.

What right did I have to be depressed? I had a wonderful, loving husband. Two (at the time) healthy, amazing kids. And I even had my “dream job” of selling my art. And yet, there I was… feeling empty, lost, and depressed.

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

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 this is how the majority of us learned how to live in this world. It was necessary to survive. For many years, society has only honored the masculine, logical side of us. It’s the only side that’s allowed to shine through.

But we are lucky enough to see the day where all of this is finally starting to shift.

Creativity is becoming more appreciated. It’s becoming more acceptable to talk about our emotions. Spiritual healers are coming out of hiding. Play is finally getting encouraged! (Have you seen all of those adult coloring books and summer camps and activity centers!?)

And as the world fights to shift out of our old patriarchal system, we too must stand for a balance within ourselves.

We must reawaken our innate creativity, our intuition, our feminine essence. And embrace the mysterious dualities within our selves.

Because yes we are strong, but we are also vulnerable and emotional.

Yes, we are logical, but we’re also intuitive.

Yes, we know how to take control, but we can also let go with grace.

We are rational AND we are creative.

It’s time we reclaim all parts of our selves. And creativity? Is the perfect way in.


paint


I know you know all of this. Whether consciously or not. You found your way here, didn’t you? Creativity is calling you. But perhaps you’re feeling stuck. Perhaps just learning art techniques isn’t enough.

Perhaps you’re having trouble shifting gears and fully awakening that “right-brain”, creative side of you. That’s where I can help.

I walked this path so I can know it deeply. I know what it’s like to be stuck in perfectionism and control. So, as I continue to awaken my own creative side, and find my own inner balance, it’s become a passion of mine to help others reclaim their creative selves as well. Because I know just how painful it is to be shut down. I know our society is far from healing this imbalance as a whole.

And I know, with all my heart, that you ARE creative, and you were meant to live your life in full expression of ALL parts of you.

We must step forth and reclaim our own balance. Reclaim the side of us that has been shut down by society. And that’s exactly what we’ll be doing together this September in my 7-week guided journey: Creative Soul Roots. If all of this has sounded a little too familiar, then I hope you join us in the online classroom for support in awakening your creative side.

But for today, what small step can you take to honor that neglected, creative, intuitive, emotional side of you?

Leave a comment below to share your story or claim your next step!



Much love to you!!




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…

[youtube]https://youtu.be/dwumW3XEStY[/youtube]

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.


1fullgroup

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.)

Squam ~ through the Eyes of an Introvert

If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you may have noticed that I snuck away to an art retreat this past weekend.

Squam

Ever since I’ve returned home, I’ve been trying to find words to describe my experience. But, there are none that will fully capture the mixed emotions and magic that flowed through me. All I can do is try to share my story as it unfolded…

Squam Dreamcatcher

Squam Dreams

As an introvert and someone who’s recovering from childhood shyness, stepping into this experience was SCARY. Sure, I’ve had practice showing up through You-Tube videos and over the phone doing life coaching – but this was IN PERSON and with people I’ve never met. This was the very first time I was leaping with faith to meet new people and show up as the “real me”.

Welcome to Squam

The sheer amount of people at Squam was overwhelming at first. Stepping into the dining hall almost had me spiraling back to my high school days of overwhelm and isolation. But luckily, our first meal had assigned seats. And every person I encountered greeted me with a smile and was genuinely interested in getting to know me.

I was trying to keep an open mind. To stay open to whatever experience wanted to unfold for me. But for the first day or so, I started to think this wasn’t for me. I was telling myself that I would do better with a smaller retreat. One where you’re with the same people for the whole duration. One where I am forced to be with the same group so I wouldn’t have to be thrown into the unknown so often. But of course, that was only fear talking. I was stretching my comfort zone.

Squam Magic

I was grateful that it was easy to honor my introverted nature throughout the trip. We were surrounded by fresh air, trees, water, animals, and pockets of quiet. Any time I felt overwhelmed, I was able to slip away to the woods or my cabin to find peace.

Squam Shadow

I continued to stay open, and allow myself to have the best experience possible; even though I was feeling that I would probably never do this again. As time went on, my ego mind began to realize that this environment was different than any I had ever experienced before. There was an overall vibe of inclusion and love and understanding that was refreshing and comforting. The community held each other up like we were all long lost sisters. There was no exclusion, or judgement, or drama – there was just love and excitement and openness.

Squam Dock Parties

And slowly I began to form bonds with the women that I saw most often – those that shared a cabin with me and the others nearby. The world of Squam began to shrink – in a good way. I was no longer lost in a sea of strangers. The closeness and connection I was seeking began to unfold naturally within the expansiveness. But it wouldn’t have happened if I had closed down, if I had run away in fear, if I had given in to the thoughts that I did not belong there.

Squam Friends

The magic and transformation I felt within has no words, for I still don’t even understand it fully myself. “It was amazing!” is all I can muster when someone asks me how it went.

I laughed, I cried, I connected, I withdrew, I created, I shopped, I danced, I painted, I ate, I hugged, I hiked, I swam, I stretched, I grew… I experienced what it was like to live in a world run by creativity and love.

Squam Class

And now that it’s over, do I feel like I would do it again?

OH, HELL YES!!

Squam Selfie



With Love,




PS I’ve been growing a lot these past few weeks… it’s been quite an adventure! I need to sit with it and let it all sink in. But in the meantime, my secret artist collaboration is coming up quick and I can no longer keep it a secret! I’ll be spilling the beans on Monday. I started this project months ago, and of course, had no idea the shifts I’d be going through now – but it’s a welcome distraction and something that will begin to ground me. I can’t wait to share it with all of you!



(special thanks to @ondakay, @pagesargissonjewelry, @gofetchgretch, and @fifieldhouse for the amazing photos!)

How Life Coaching Helped Deepen My Creative Practice

How I Deepened My Creative Practice

We’ve all heard that creativity can lead to self-discovery, healing, stress reduction, and more. But how?

How do you get to that point of being able to create so freely, your soul is able to speak clearly through art?

I guess it comes naturally to some. But it wasn’t that so for me.

Years ago, I had the need to have a sense of control. I needed life to be predictable. Not only in life, but in my creative process as well. When I created, each step was planned out.

And this way of life served me quite well – I built a successful business selling my art, and was even featured in magazines and on television. But it ran me dry. Until eventually I was feeling completely lost and empty.

Long story short, I quit and went on a mission for freedom.

I floundered, found my way, and floundered some more. Through following my inner guidance, I was able to release some of my perfectionism and comparison and step bravely into art journaling.

But it wasn’t until I started working with a life coach that I was able to truly speak to my soul through art.

Having my own personal coach, as well as training to sharpen my skills as a life coach has stretched me in so many ways I didn’t know was possible.

Here’s just a few ways coaching has helped to deepen my creative practice:


It Showed Me What I Was Missing

I had recently moved to a new town. My mother had just passed away. I grew up painfully shy. What I’m really trying to say is – I didn’t have anyone in my life to really talk to. Coaching showed me what it was like to connect with someone on a deep, soul level. It awakened me to how on the surface I was living. It showed me what was possible. It led me to wanting a deeper relationship with others and with myself. And so, the journey of getting to know my soul began.


It Broke Me Open

Before life coaching, I didn’t realize how closed down I was. It felt like life was fine. But really, my emotions were shut down. I was still slightly stuck in that “autopilot” way of living. Coaching gently pushed me to open my heart. It gave me a safe space to be vulnerable. Naturally, it spilled out into my life – beginning with my own safe space: my art journal.


It Peeled the Layers Back

From being so closed down, my ego naturally built walls around me – carefully constructed masks of a person I thought society wanted me to be. Coaching helped me begin the process of peeling those layers back one by one; until eventually I started to see who I really am without society’s labels and expectations. Each time I got a glimpse of this beautiful soul within, I let her spill onto my journal page with paint. And the more I saw her, the more easily I was able to connect with her.


It Removed the Guilt

Changes were happening all around me. Good changes. I began to see the effect coaching was having not only on me, but to my family as well. It taught me the importance of taking time for myself, so I can better serve those I love. With this new understanding, I was able to develop a more regular practice of having personal time with my journal – without the usual guilt.


It Taught Me How to Separate

As with any new beginning, my mind was full of negative chatter when I first started art journaling. Ugh, that’s so ugly! You’re doing it wrong! At first, I didn’t even recognize these voices within. I was so used to them playing in the background of my mind, I couldn’t even hear them clearly anymore. All I knew was that I struggled with fully expressing myself. Through working with a life coach, I learned to recognize which voices were coming from my pre-programmed ego, and which were coming from the real me – my soul. In turn, I was finally able to start seeing those negative thoughts as separate from myself. As something I can actually tangibly work with and transform; allowing me to finally let my soul lead the way in life, and in my journal.


It Showed Me the Beauty in Imperfection

Through coaching, I was learning to be more present in life. To view myself, others, and the world around me with a new set of eyes. It led me to see how we are all perfectly imperfect. This was especially evident when I began coaching my own clients. I saw how raw, vulnerable, messy, yet oh so beautiful each one of us really are. I fell in love with them not because they were perfect, but because of their imperfections. And through this new view on life, I began to embrace and even love the imperfections in my art. My perfectionism and comparison simply slipped away.


Our lives and our art are more intertwined than I ever would have imagined.

When beginning my coaching training back in January of 2014, I was simply curious with a passion to help people. But through my journey, I see now the misconception from society that creating is all about producing a result or product.

Our creativity is part of our innate magic.

It’s a gift we all possess that allows us to weave our souls into the tangible world. It’s bringing our essence to life. It’s making the invisible real – giving it a reality in this tangible, visual world.

The more that we can see and nurture our true selves, the deeper our creative practices become. And the deeper our practices become, the more we are able to heal, see, and love our soul – our true beautiful selves.



With Love,



PS Does this sound like a journey you’re ready to embark upon too? For the last two years, I’ve been coaching behind the scenes… But now, I’m ready to offer it to you as well. Click Here to read about my upcoming coaching program “Start a Revolution from within” and sign up to get notified when registration opens.


…Why I Haven’t Slept in Weeks

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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,