Healing Through Art

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The arts have been a major part of my life ever since my earliest memories of drawing, creating handmade cards, writing poetry, and illustrating storybooks.  Creativity has also been an outlet for me to express my emotions, from drawing to daily fashion.

“Keeping it simple” is something I try to embody on a daily basis- life is such a complicated journey that it is imperative to stay grounded in order to stay sane.  While I used to love more of everything and a variety of anything, today I adore simple beauty and minimalism.  I decided not to complicate things and stick with white and gold- less is more.

With every brush stroke, I gained a little bit of strength and began to let go of insecurity, fear, and doubt.  A coach of mine once suggested the “post-it practice”- sticking affirmations on your walls or mirror- and ever since I have been mindful of writing down positive thoughts to remind myself every day that I am, indeed, enough.

This coach even put me in a hula-hoop and told me that the only thing I could control what was inside that hula-hoop: me.

Since I began painting I have also been inspired by so many amazing women in my life.  Their love has helped me gain confidence and heal, so I have started to make art for them, too.

Together, no matter what our struggles, we can help one another by sharing our own inspiration and journey.

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More here and on Instagram.

Choosing Grace, Not Aggression

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“I want peace. I want to see if somewhere there isn’t something left in life of charm and grace.” -Margaret Mitchell

Life sure is funny.  Just when I was beginning to feel strong standing on my own two feet, the universe threw me a curve ball to test (and strengthen) my skills and strength.

This past weekend was challenging.  Despite the joy I was experiencing, the wonderful community I have found and my own practice of self care, outside forces triggered past pain and emotions- and this scared me.  Instead of self destructing as I have in the past, I took a deep breath, sat on a bench and called a friend.

Setting healthy boundaries has been a huge part of my own happiness and recovery, as I have experienced insecurities, pain and fear due to the messages I have received throughout my life.  This includes family members, teachers, peers, boyfriends and even public figures.  I have consistently questioned my worth, second guessed myself and backed down when I began to achieve some form of success.  I had no confidence- if what I was doing wasn’t “perfect” it wasn’t worth doing.  My self esteem and foundation were always a bit rocky, but old feelings of fear crept up on me when someone’s criticism and judgment set me off out of nowhere.

The defensive Kristin came back- and it was extremely uncomfortable.

I’ve always had a chip on my shoulder toward people who try to dominate me, thus acting out and being overly defensive and aggressive.  I have held on tightly to this defense mechanism through the years, only to realize how awful it made me feel.  I remembered traumatic experiences- bullying, sexist messages, abandonment and physical abuse.  I have kept all of this inside for years.  Had I been acting out for decades without realizing it?  Yes, I had.  It just took me thirty-some years to learn it.

After speaking with friends about traumas I suppressed (and failed to recognize as abuse- I thought it was all my fault), I am grateful for these triggers.  Old feelings of shame came to the forefront, and I was able to meditate on these uneasy feelings.  So, as always, I walked to the water for solace.

Water brings me such peace.  It is the closest way for me to connect with my higher power, so on Sunday I meditated on a rock and prayed for the courage and grace to get through the day.

I received just that- strength and hope.  I faced the day with grace, not aggression, and everything worked out just fine.  I tried not to let the negative messages affect my mood, so after leaving the pond I turned my negative energy into productivity.  Since art and writing has always brought me peace, I decided to stock up on art supplies to paint inspirational messages for my friends.  I’ve received endless love, compassion and hope from the friends I have made in Boston, so instead of living in my one-woman pity party, I decided to give the love back to those who have helped me.

As I go about my Monday, I will remember the feeling of peace and serenity I experienced by Spy Pond.  When I walk with grace, the world is a little lighter, a little freer.  If you’re also experiencing some aggravation, try a meditation to bring you back to center.  Remember, your true home is within you- everything outside of yourself is not in your control- but you can control how you react.  Once you’re able to manage outside factors with grace, not aggression, you will feel better- I promise.

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Embracing Feminine Energy

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Over the past few months I have started to notice a shift in my behavior and mindset.  My defensive, aggressive nature has started to lift and I am beginning to embrace my nurturing, peaceful side.  I have been provided many opportunities to focus my energy on caregiving; tending to plants, helping other women and learning from Clarissa the cat.

This may sound silly, but I have learned many lessons from animals and nature. These earthly blessings are also forms of my higher power; I believe we receive messages through other living things.  I have learned to open my mind and heart in order to receive these messages from the universe through spending time near the water, caring for Clarissa, and bringing my wilting plants back to life.  These simple, yet meaningful activities have also helped me to have the ability to have compassion for others, resulting in being able to lend a hand to other women who have gone through the same struggles as I have.

After a very full and happy day, I drew a Goddess Card last night to guide me in my “next step.”  I am currently in a career transition and have developed an amazing community here in the Boston area, but I still have wonders about where my path may lead.

Clarissa may have picked up on my energy, because she jumped right in to assist.  I focused my intention on my next move; where do I direct my energy?  While my life is very positive and whole, I knew there was something I was lacking or needed to embrace.

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Then, I drew Hathor.

Hathor: “Allow yourself to receive. This will increase your intuition, energy, and ability to give to others.”

Message from Hathor: “You have a maternal side to you that naturally cares for those in need, yet this must be balanced with receptivity or the flow is blocked. Receiving is the essence of feminine energy, and it means allowing yourself to receive with grace and gratitude. If you feel guilty when asking others for help, or if you feel bad about receiving gifts, then you block your feminine energy. Your receptivity is must as natural as your nurturing, giving energy. Receptivity allows you to better hear the voices of the angels. When you receive, you have more resources to give to others. Begin by noticing the hundreds of gifts you receive each day, whether it is seeing beauty in nature, witnessing a touching human moment, or being hugged by a loved one. Simply say “Thank you” for each gift, and know that they are filling up your store house, keeping the Divine flow going strong.”

The Divine flow!  Just last night I spoke with a friend (who is a therapist and mindfulness teacher) about feminine energy and having the ability to receive.  Accepting love and receiving positive energy used to be such a struggle for me.  She mentioned the “divine shift” of 2012, which was my first time hearing of this!  I got goosebumps once I dug into my own research on this shift.

In a world full of ego, power struggles and greed, I was amazed and inspired- perhaps this is what I am experiencing!  While I used to block love, help or nurturing as a defense mechanism from getting hurt or being abandoned, today I am beginning to live in faith, not fear, and allowing others into my life.  Each lesson, animal, day spent in nature or person who reaches out to me is a blessing (and a sign) that I do need to embrace my  feminine side in order to love, and receive that same love in return.

Learning to live in peace, not pride, creates such a bigger world for ourselves.  It is easy to get tied up in power, money and ego, but by allowing that feminine energy to flow, you can step out of the darkness and into a loving, content life.

This morning I am grateful- and I look forward to the gifts the rest of the day brings.

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