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!!




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!



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!!




(More) Lessons in Stillness

I believe everything happens for a reason. And if not… well, at the very least I know that we can learn something from the experience, whether or not it was put on our path “purposefully” for that lesson or not.

I feel like I’ve been sick for all of 2016. (Yes, I’m sick again after my short spurt of energy last time I checked in!) And ya know what? I’ve never journaled more or learned more about myself than in these last two months.

I have grown so much.

Learned so much.

And I’ve filled more than half of a journal I just bought weeks ago. (A rarity, honest!)

lotus journaling

But it wouldn’t have happened if I wasn’t forced to slow down. I am grateful for this sickness, to God/Universe for making me slow down.

That’s not to say I don’t complain either. Ask my husband and my friends – I am tired of feeling like crap. My mind and mouth rambles off and complains whenever I’m around others.

But when I get still… OH, when I get still… My heart speaks.

My heart tells me this is good for me. Sure, I had to throw my business plan out the window. Sure, I had to cancel plans that I was looking forward to. Sure, I’m in pain and tired of blowing my nose every few minutes…

But my Soul has never felt so nourished.

I’ve been waking up slowly, taking time to pull an oracle card for me and each of my daughters. I’ve been drinking my tea in front of the fire instead of in front of the computer. I’ve been yelling less because my throat hurts. I’ve been noticing my surroundings more. I’ve been taking time to sit in silence, take naps, or journal as my heart desires… (because frankly, I have no energy to do anything else!)

journaling by the fire

And it’s in this silence that I become aware… aware of the patterns and habits that hold me back from being my best self. Aware of the gifts that surround me. Aware of all of the love that fills my heart.

I have learned that DOing more and fighting hard isn’t what is going to bring me the happy fulfilling life I want. I’ve tried that route. It doesn’t feel good at all.

It’s only in the slowing down, and the listening, that I can clearly see the beauty of this moment, of this life right now.

But let me be the first to tell you – it’s not all sunshine and rainbows taking this path of stillness and awareness. You’ll begin to see your ways of being that aren’t so ideal. You’ll begin to remember the moments in your life you didn’t fully experience. You’ll begin to fully feel the emotions you were trying so hard to avoid.

There cannot be light without the darkness. There cannot be expansive joy without the deep sadness. There is no lotus without the mud.

And in the awareness of ALL of it, you’ll need compassion for yourself most of all. For it’s in the compassion that you’ll notice the gifts. You’ll notice the ways in which you can grow. You’ll notice the possibilities of RIGHT NOW.

Your heart, your Soul, speaks to you in the silence. Are you ready to listen? Are you ready to truly LIVE?

<<>>

Sitting in silence, taking a walk, or doing the dishes mindfully are a few of the many ways you can honor the moment and listen. But if you’re here, I’m guessing journaling is a favorite tool of yours as it is mine. If you’re in need of some inspiration, here’s a few prompts to get you moving:

  • I know as truth, right here, in this moment to be…
  • It lights me up when…
  • I need to give myself permission to…

These are excerpts from my upcoming new journaling prompts book: The Soul Journal. I hope they open a doorway to help you listen deeply within and express yourself with words or color and shape. I know they’ve been helpful for me in these times of silence!



All my love,