{Creative} Soul Truths #3: Breaking Through the Stuck


A creative block can show up in many different ways... Sometimes it's avoidance or procrastination. Or the opposite - getting caught in the research trap, constantly watching YouTube videos or tutorials. Or maybe you start buying all the new supplies, gathering so much that you feel overwhelmed by the choices. Perhaps you have a loud inner critic that's telling you that you aren't good enough, so why bother. Perhaps you approach your journal tentatively, so afraid of messing things up or doing it "wrong".

However you experience your stuck, if you try to force through it or yell at your inner critic to 'shut up' (or ignore it!), you're only digging yourself deeper into the rut.

Look, we live in a world where the logical mind is King. Our culture, especially here in the US, 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. Your mind is used to being in control. To let go, so that you can create freely, is really scary and threatening.

If you're feeling like there's a force field between you and your art materials, you're probably right. Your mind (aka ego, aka inner critic) will do anything to protect you. It will do anything to stay in control, the way you were taught to. It will do anything to protect your inner child or inner artist from getting hurt again. So yelling at it, or trying to force it to stand down so your intuitive, creative Soul can lead the way, will only make it stand firmer in place.

Your mind is only doing it's job. And it's scared to let go. The only way to loosen its grip, is to face it bravely with compassion. (The climax scene in Disney's movie Moana comes to mind!)



Much love to you!!



P.S. You don't have to go it alone. We'll be facing our inner stuck with compassion, together in the journey ROOTS, starting September 28th. In the meantime, try this: Start practicing compassion with yourself in the little daily moments. Then, start exploring: What would help your mind to feel safe enough to play in an art journal?




Your True Essence is Needed

For the last many weeks, I have been in shock as to all of the ways people are lashing out in hate and all of the ways the earth has been crying out in pain. I have been feeling lost and sick watching it all happen. I’ve been struggling through the heaviness of it all. And yet… there’s also a fire growing within me. A fire of anger, and strength, and determination. A fire that is calling me into action. To align myself with who I truly am. To stand firmly in what I truly believe. To speak up when something is NOT okay.

Through all this, I’ve been getting more clear on how inner work is intrinsically connected to society, family dynamics, politics, and all that is happening around us. It is all so tightly interwoven. If I am here to support our Souls’ liberation, then I must also be a part of tearing down the systems that keep us locked up. I’m not exactly sure what that looks like for me yet, especially because I have never been an outspoken person, I like to keep to myself in my home, and I never used to pay much attention to politics. But I’ve been really listening these last few months, especially these last few weeks. And what I do know, is that the more firmly we can stand in our own authenticity and what WE believe in, the more others will be able to as well.

Most of us have been taught not to listen to or believe in ourselves, which has made it easy for society to shape us. But no more. We are waking up and we are reclaiming ourselves.

In order for change to happen, we all need to be able to stand firm in who we are and what we believe in. If we are to change anything that is happening out there, we must stop dilly dallying and get to work. And by “get to work” I don’t only mean the actions the world needs from us, but I also mean get to playing, get to living, get to BEing – because that’s how we’re going to be more connected to who we truly are so that the actions we do take are more rooted.

We’ve been relying on our fearful, analytical, perfectionist, controlling brain too much. We have forgotten our Soul, our true essence; which is full of compassion, of knowing (and not knowing), of love, curiosity, courage, and clarity.

I can’t imagine what the world would be like if we were all living from our true essence, using our brain as a helpful tool, rather than letting it rule the show with it’s unconscious patterns that were shaped by society.

It’s time to reconnect with the pieces of ourselves that have been hidden away, and find harmony within. I believe art journaling can be the playful way in which we can begin doing that; but yet I see so many struggling against their mind to even get started. So, to support as many people to get moving on this path as I can, and in celebration of my upcoming class Creative Soul Roots, I’ll be sharing a series of Soul-Truths that will help you get clear on why you’ve been feeling stuck, and inspiration to start trusting in your Creative Soul once more.

If you’ve been yearning to express yourself freely in an art journal, but still feeling stuck, not good enough, not knowing where to start, or just not able to find joy in the process, sign up for this free mini series which starts Monday, Sept 18th.

My hope is that once you let these Soul Truths settle in, you’ll know exactly how to begin and keep moving with joy, courage, and authenticity.

Sorry, the Soul Truths series has now ended. Be sure to sign up for my newsletter below to get notified when I run the series again!

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!!

The Thoughts Behind My Silence…

Usually I spill my heart out in my emails, and leave only the well thought out actionable posts for my blog. Today, in my felt need to break my silence, I’d like to share publicly my recent email:

Title: I Don’t Like This…

This letter could go a number of different directions – there are many things I could say I don’t like right now. Especially considering all the things that have been running throughout the news.

About that… There’s definitely a fire brewing in my belly and a build up of emotions that I wish I could just rid myself of. I have a long history of being good at shutting down. I hide. I get quiet. I distract myself. But I don’t want to do that anymore. I’ve worked too hard to learn how to open up, to be more brave, to share myself. So I’m starting to feel this huge build up, feeling the need to say or act or DO something.

On the other hand, I don’t want my business to be a place for political discussions. What I’m here to do reaches far wider than any one group of people with one certain belief. The specific details behind our beliefs or passions are not what unifies us here in this space, it’s the fact that we’re all human. That’s what I want to focus on when sharing through these emails or on my blog or on social media.

So yeah… no, I’m not here to complain about what’s happening out there. And I hope my lack of commentary or leadership in the online world regarding political or worldly news doesn’t come off as not caring, because I do – deeply.

I don’t consider myself a leader, or an activist, or even someone who’s good with words. I consider myself a gatherer and a lover. I love you, no matter what you believe, or do, or say (or don’t). And I do want my work to make an impact on the world, but perhaps not in such an outwardly way as others do. I want to guide people to love themselves, in turn loving more of each other. I want to inspire stronger communities. I want to gather people together. And THAT is what I want to be talking about.

But right now I feel lost, and silenced. I feel backed up. It’s like the way I get stuck in my art journal (especially my more diary-like ones) where I hold myself back from jumping in with what I’m passionate or inspired about now, because I want to go back and record what it was that happened before that. But of course the passion there has already moved on, which throws me into a cycle of never fully being in the moment, in the passion.

What I’m trying to say, is that I feel pressure on myself to talk about creativity, and about my upcoming class Creative Soul Roots because I committed to teaching it again this spring. (And I am still excited to do so – we start Feb 27th!) At the same time, I’m inspired and feel moved to finally put into motion my bigger picture project that I’ve been brewing on for over two years now – a private community. And at the same, same time… I also feel immobilized by my overwhelming emotions regarding all that is happening around me.

I’m a whirlwind of conflicting thoughts and emotions. As I’m sure many of us, especially in the United States, are right now.

I began this letter as a way to communicate through my silence. I began it as a way to fight back the urge to shut down. I began it as a way to let you know my expectations for my communication with you in these next few months. But in my struggle to clearly articulate what is going on in my head, I can see now that nothing is certain. And that’s okay.

I do still plan on teaching Roots next month, that won’t change. But this will probably be the last time I offer it in the beginning of the year. I realize now that this time calls for more flow and spontaneity from me, as I’m not liking the forced start for action so early on.

But as far as my blog or emails or other communication goes… I don’t know. I’m struggling between wanting to shout out so many things and being quiet. I have so much to say, but too little words. I’m struggling between wanting to DO so much, but not knowing what to do or how to do it.

…I suppose that means it’s a good time for art making.

For now, I will remain in my quietness. For now, I will spill my emotions into my journal. For now, I will practice staying open in the safeness of my home and trusted circles. For now, I will start small with the intention to keep growing.

After all, BIG change is possible with small steps – (as I was so timely reminded of by my dear friend Mindy Tsonas, see below.)

With all my love,

P.S. In the midst of writing and re-writing this email, Mindy reached out with her offering of a week long adventure in art & love as activism – Tiny Revolutions. Timing could not have been better. Starting Feb 12th, she says we’ll write, paint, tell stories and get messy, all for the purpose of positive change. We will play in the questions of who we are to get clear on our most powerful mission for change, in our own life and out in the world. Sounds exactly what I’m needing right now. What’s even more amazing, is that in the interest of opening up this experience to all who wish to join, there’s three equally valuable ways to participate: {$5} You Belong Scholarship, {$19} Fire Starter, and {$39} Love Maker. So if you’re feeling like me, a little lost in what to do, I hope you join us for this week of play and exploration for clarity to take action, no matter how large or small. Find out more 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 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!!

Soul Circle CommunityP.S. If you’re ready to dig deeper and truly reconnect with all of the hidden parts of yourself, then I invite you to join us in the Soul Circle Community. Our circle is a monthly sisterhood to support each other in exploring the beautiful depths of who we truly are through creativity, playfulness, and connection. To be clear, this isn’t about learning more or doing more… It’s a loving container to inspire and remind you to be the curious explorer of your inner world, and to nurture your relationship to yourself. Because in this fast-paced world of today, it’s too easy to get caught up in the to-do lists and constant forward movement; we need reminders to slow down and reconnect. CLICK HERE to learn more and to join us!!