journal, mandalas

Tears for Fears


Truth telling will set you free.

It sets you free from what’s haunting you, what’s keeping you up at night, and what’s percolating under the surface of your daily comings and goings.

What truth have you been avoiding?

For me, I’ve been neglecting my body and taking care of my health. Lately, I’ve been feeling stuck. I know what I need to do, it’s just doing it that’s the problem.


Yesterday, Facebook reminded me of how I’m not taking care of myself when it posted this photo, a memory from six years ago of one of my first dates with Mr. Wonderful. Wonky, windswept hair aside, what I see is a healthier me. It was a time when I was feeling so good. I had lost a lot of weight by eating healthy and exercising. And, I had so much fun those days buying new clothes. When invited to an event, I didn’t panic thinking, “What will I wear?” I felt more comfortable in my own skin. I had energy and I was radiant.

Comparing the today-me with the 6-year-younger-me actually came at a good time. Thank you Facebook.

It’s been a stressful week. I drove down to Boston (ugh) for my first appointment at the Tufts School of Dental Medicine (double ugh). I no longer have dental insurance and the dental school offers reduced priced services. The tradeoff is that I have to drive down to Boston and the appointments are super long. Time is what I have these days with my new working arrangement and keeping up with my quarterly cleanings is a priority for me.

I came close to chickening out. A voice in my head served up a lot of excuses why I should cancel. But I showed up anyway. On the drive navigating the tunnel and the swarm of cars, I kept saying, “Kathryn, you’re doing a great job.”

I’m so glad I showed up. When I started my health journey years ago that led to a 60 lb. weight loss, it began with my oral health. Not only is one’s oral health vital for the health of the entire body, but our mouths are an important vehicle for communicating our truth.

Since my initial dental appointment this week, I’ve scheduled an appointment with a Naturopathic doctor, started daily walks with a dear friend, and prepared healthy meals including my favorite, wild caught salmon.


The Gift of Letting Go

Truth telling is the art of naming the unnamed and letting it go, releasing it, and surrendering it. My need to surrender anxiety that I was feeling this week came at a good time as it helped me to prepare for a new lesson that I’m working on for my Great Round mandala course. The theme for the lesson is about letting go and one of the mandala exercises is to give a safe place for our fears.

In my “Tears for Fears” mandala, I drew a circle with a strong, solid boundary to create a safe place to let the tears flow.

I pulled out some new watercolor brush markers to use for this mandala. (I’m crushing on these markers from Arteza.*)

The element of water is connected to strong emotions and I like working with water color paints or markers when exploring my feelings. Working with watercolors is tricky. There is an element of unpredictability with them and you have to let go of control. Use too much water and it will bleed out. Colors combine and move in the watery surface in unexpected ways. When you let go and accept the nature of watercolors, it’s fun.

I filled the circle by scribbling in some watercolor ink and then pushing it around with a water brush. The gray colors reflect the foggy unknown and lends a haunting feeling that surrounds my fears.

“What do my tears have to say?” They are asking me:

“Will I succeed in my business?” “Did I make the right decision to quit the “safe” day job?” “Can I find the energy and motivation to get healthy again?”

I like to create pockets in my journal to tuck in pieces of paper with journal writing that I don’t want to share publicly. Here I cut the top of the mandala and taped the side and bottom of the page to the next page.

Here’s what I’ve learned about how to let go.

Naming the fear helps to disarm it.

Telling a dear friend releases it further.

Creating a place to put the fear, in a journal or work of art, takes it out from rattling in the head.

Taking a step, even a small one feels empowering. It gets you moving in a positive direction.

Letting go feels so good.

At the start of the week, I was racked with anxiety anticipating the dental appointment and knowing that I needed to get honest about what I was doing and not doing for the health of my body. I was also feeling uncertain about my business.

Today, I’m feeling relief, ease, and excitement. I feel a renewed commitment to my intention to say yes to me and my creative dreams in each moment.

How about you? What truth are you ready to tell? What fears are you ready to release? What small step will get you started?

Spill it in the comments below or shoot me an e-mail. I’d love to hear from you.

If creative journal keeping is your jam, or would like to get started, consider joining me for my next online Journal workshop.

The Great Round mandala course is a fascinating series. I offer it each January. You may want to put it on your bucket list for 2019. I’m thinking I may develop and offer a “lighter” version sooner. Subscribe to my newsletter to get updates on when new courses release.

Of course I couldn’t post about Tears for Fears without a little music…

8 thoughts on “Tears for Fears”

  1. Wooow, Kathryn, that song just took me way back! So many memories flew to the surface, both good and bad. My drawing today is really gonna be affected. Great article, great reminder.

  2. Hi there Kathryn… What a fantastic, honest post you shared. It really helped me know that I am NOT alone in my fears. What I am differing in with you is taking a step… Just any ole step! I’m so stuck in the mud that its driving me nuts! I think that’s good, though. Shows I am conscious and I do care about myself. I did start getting my hair colored again and painting my toe nails for some self care. I have a beautiful art studio that was my project from last year and almost finished moving in and I want to be in it so bad!!!! I’m close to a break, I can feel it! Its up to me to let go of the past behaviors that served me at the time as a child. And now design my self and life into the joyfilled person that used to be when I was working. I’ve always defined myself through my work, over achievements throughout college and even while in grammar school. I understand why I’m the overachiever… Years of therapy helped. But I’m now in a new struggle of not being able to work do to poor health and redifining a life I did not plan on at this age. Its steal8ng precious time!

    1. It is so good to hear from you Peg! You’ve taken a big step here in naming what you are feeling. I’m so happy that you are finding ways to treat yourself. I had my hair cut this week and I feel so refreshed. I totally get the overachieving for reasons that don’t serve our best interest. Do you have an interest at all in creative art journaling? It is a way to spill out those icky feelings that need to be released, let go of limiting beliefs, open up to new ideas, brainstorm next steps, and celebrate the successes all the while activating creativity and making something beautiful. Wow…now that was one long sentence. I haven’t opened up registrations yet for my June journal workshop but the theme is Soul Garden and the element is EARTH which is about manifesting in this physical realm. I don’t know about you but sometimes I can get caught up with so many ideas that making them happen can be a challenge. This workshop is an opportunity to make time for getting creative, planting some seeds in our Soul Gardens and learning some lessons about patience. If you feel too shy to attend live, you’ll get access to the recordings. Everyone gets a sweet envelope in the mail with goodies to use with the lessons. I’d love to share this experience with you. {soul hugs}

  3. Hi Katherine. I have been following you for many years. Never took the step to connect until now. My life changed on March 8, 2018 when I was diagnosed with an aggressive Breast Cancer. Now I’m fighting for my life. It is time to invest in myself. My hope is to sign up for one of your workshops to help me through this difficult path that so many women have journeyed. Thank you for sharing such talent and inspiration. You inspire me!

    1. Hi Betsy, Thank you for connecting now. Art will give you a place for all of the emotions that you are feeling and at the same time give you the opportunity to create some beauty. Feel free to write to me directly at I would be happy to help you decide which of my classes may be the right starting place for you. {soul hugs} Kathryn

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