outings & adventures, sacred sundays

How I Celebrated…


Last week marked one year since I left the day job and set out to work for myself. I can hardly believe that I’m here a year later and still waking up on Monday mornings,  walking to a room in my home to work. Pinch me!

Celebration is so important! As a recovering perfectionist and a highly creative person with a brain that is often buzzing with exciting new ideas, I’ve learned that my spirit needs me to take breaks and to honor all that I achieve.

My husband and I like to celebrate over a good meal. Yesterday we decided to drive from our home in New Hampshire down to Rhode Island. With the help of Google, I found the Boathouse in Tiverton, RI where we found waterfront dining.


I appreciate a beautifully plated dish featuring a new-to-me recipe. I enjoyed the bed of polenta seasoned delicately with a seafood broth and topped with ribbons of carrot and celery and shrimp. One word – delish!

I’m so grateful to have my Mr. Wonderful who enjoys discovering new places to dine and celebrate. We toasted to a successful first year with pear martinis.


A Trust in Right Timing

Outside the restaurant were shrubs of tired hydrangea spotted with a few late bloomers. I’ve often thought of myself as a late bloomer but these days my mindset has shifted. I see myself as blooming at just the right time.


I didn’t see the rays of colored light when I took this photo, but looking at it now, it reflects the good energy that surrounds me these days.


Commemorative Gifts

On big milestones and accomplishments, I often pick out a commemorative gift. For many years, I’ve wanted a Tibetan singing bowl and Tingsha cymbals set. I used it for the first time this morning and I absolutely love the sound and the feeling of it resonating in my hand.

My intention is that I’ll use this bowl to tune into my intentions to build a successful creative and soulful business. With the help of the bowl, I’ll send out a call in the form of a beautiful vibration that will go out into the world and reach those who feel a resonance to work with me.

A Painful Lesson

As I think about my MO, modus operandi, and how I want to sell my programs and offerings, I truly want them to feel like invitations and opportunities. A recent experience at a conference sensitized in me how I don’t want to sell.

Here’s the story.

I signed up to receive a ten-minute sample of a healing practice that I’m curious to learn more about. I’m considering even investing in training to integrate it into my practice. The coach was smart, intuitive, and very good at getting to the heart of an issue that I’m worried about. The cord that she struck was around whether or not I can be successful and healthy. Can I be both? I’ve had a track record of diving into my work and neglecting my health. My calendar for 2019 is filling up with so many amazing opportunities to teach in New England, New York, and around the world! While I’m so excited and know that I’m ready for these opportunities I fear, “Will my health suffer?” Here I am down 30 lbs and my wellness journey is really just getting off the ground. Heavy tears flowed down my face as I faced this fear.

Truth telling isn’t easy. This year I’ve made a commitment to facing the truth. I know it’s the only way to transform and change. So far this year, facing my fear has proven to me that new doors will open up and I feel empowered and confident in saying “yes” to me.

The difference between the truth telling that I had been doing and the truth telling sitting here in the middle of a conference room was what happened next. After getting to a vulnerable place and time was up, the coach shifted gears using strong sales tactics to get me to buy a coaching session with her. I recognized her approach as I’ve been in trainings where they emphasize, “find their pain points and then sell them a solution.”

It didn’t feel good to be “sold to” especially when feeling so raw. It didn’t feel caring. I was genuinely interested in what she had to offer and recognized her talent, but I wasn’t ready in that moment to buy. This was a discovery session and an opportunity to learn what was involved so I could work it into my 2019 plan. My budget was not going to budge for her offer. When it came to selling, her intuition and smartness were thrown out the window. She made the mistake with me to try to convince me that I needed her services now rather than listen to what I thought I was ready for. She made it about the sale, not about the person.

I went home feeling so stirred up and angry. As I sat with those intense feelings I told my husband, “I hope that I don’t ever do this to another person. I don’t want anyone to feel what I’m feeling right now.” While it is important to convey how my programs will be helpful, my approach is to offer an invitation. The marketing experts say that I’ll miss out on sales. My feeling is I’d rather have people trust me and resonate with what I have to offer and not feel pressured. They say that excitement doesn’t motivate people and only pain does. I’m not buying it. Maybe I’m wrong? I’m willing to do an experiment in kindness in this next year and to see how it will serve my business.


Here I am looking out on the next year and thinking about how I’ll show up in your inbox, on social media and Youtube, in workshops and coaching sessions. I believe that I can be successful in business and at the same time caring, thoughtful, and honest. I’ll sing that song with my new bowl when I pick it up for my morning meditation.

Here’s to celebrating the next chapter in this creative and soulful journey! Thank you for sharing this adventure. I’m so glad you are here.

{soul hugs}



how-to, monthly mandala challenges

November Mandala Challenge – Dandelion Mandalas

For this month’s challenge I invited fellow mandala artist and teacher Louise Gale to share with us a project from her newest book, “Botanical Mandalas.”

The video above includes:

  • Interview with Louise Gale about mandalas, nature, and the featured project.
  • Louise and Kathryn share their dandelion stories.
  • Step-by-Step demonstration to create your own Dandelion Mandala.
  • Contest details


Dandelion Wisdom

  • Did you know that dandelions grow in every continent?
  • What’s your dandelion story?
  • The sunny dandelion is a fire element and relates to the solar plexus chakra which is about inner strength, courage, clarity, and cheerfulness.
  • Ask yourself, “What area of my life needs a light on it? Or perhaps a little warmth?”
  • The dandelion in the white, puffy, seed state is related to the air element. Air is about our mental state. Every thought is an intention with a vibration that doesn’t stay in your head! Like the dandelion seeds that float far and wide, the vibration of our thoughts travels far and wide. Check in and notice the quality of your thoughts. Are they filled with worry and anxiety? If so, shift to a higher, positive frequency by focusing on what you’re grateful for.

Contest Details

  • Download the Dandelion Mandala Project.
  • Create a dandelion mandala inspired by Louise Gale’s lesson.
  • Photograph or scan your mandala.
  • Post your entry in the Sharing Circle.
    Not a member? Join Here.
    Member Log-in
  • Include your “three wishes” when posting your contest entry.
  • You may create as many dandelion mandalas as you’d like. Try out different mediums, backgrounds, and design elements. Be inspired by the various stages of the dandelion from bud, to bloom, to a puff ball of seeds.
  • Post your mandalas on or before November 30, 2018.
  • One lucky winner will be randomly selected to get a copy of Louise Gale’s book, “Botanical Mandalas.

Special thanks to my dear friend Claudia Gray whose photography and friendship continues to inspire my creative and soulful journey. Her fascination for dandelions added to my dandelion story!


About Louise Gale

Louise Gale is a British mixed media artist and author of the book ‘Botanical Mandalas’. She creates in her art studio which is on the south coast of Spain overlooking the sea, tiny fishing boats and the Moroccan coastline in the distance. Louise loves to combine the healing power of nature with the meditative process of mandala creating which result in her beautiful Botanical Mandala designs.

Louise believes that nature is our medicine which helps us reconnect with our true selves. Her art is constantly inspired by the beauty that surrounds her in the natural world. So when she is not in her studio creating, hosting online classes or working with other creative people, you can find her on the beach collecting inspiration and putting her bare feet into the sand.

Louise’s work has been published in the New York Times and she has contributed to many books and magazine articles where she shares her creative processes and love for nature, mandalas and color. She also has a permanent art collection called ‘Sew Hoboken’ at the Hoboken Historical Museum in New Jersey, USA.

Learn more about the book here:

Connect with Louise’s art and online classes here:

chakra, monthly mandala challenges

October Mandala Challenge

This month’s mandala challenge is inspired by the beautiful colors of the Arteza fineliner pens and my fascination with chakras.

Get the contest details and watch me draw chakra mini mandala art in my journal in this quick six minute video.


How to Enter

  1. Draw a Mandala – Create one mandala or fill a page with several like I did in my journal, see video.
  2. Any Style – You may draw your mandala freehand, geometric design, or chakra inspired. Get creative and have fun!
  3. Only Colored Pens – No black pens. Use one color like I did in the video or have fun trying out different color combinations. There are many pen options like the fineliners that I used in the video, gel pens, even ball point pens.
  4. Outline Only – No coloring, blending, etc.
  5. Photograph or Scan your entry.
  6. Post in the Sharing Circle by October 31, 2018.
    Member log-in.
    Not a Member? Join for Free

Prize & Coupon

One winner will be randomly drawn to receive a set of 48 fineliner water-based pens from Arteza.

Get 10% off Arteza Products using the coupon code* 100Mandalas1, valid until November 2, 2018.

Here are some of my favorite Arteza products to use for drawing mandalas.

Learn How to Draw Mandalas

*AFFILIATE COMMISSIONS: Please note that I am an Arteza affiliate and get a commission on all purchases made using the links above and the coupon code. The commissions that I receive support the work of Kathryn Costa, 100 Mandalas and True North Arts. Commission revenue is used to purchase future prizes and/or to use for demos and lessons. Thank you for your support!


musings, outings & adventures, photography, sacred sundays

Planning Your Creative Lulls

Creative cycles are normal.

The ebb and flow of my creative cycles can be extreme, marked by times of high productivity and manic moments where I get little sleep. I love the rush that comes from a million ideas flowing and I’m energized by the insights and connections that happen. Maintaining this intensity is humanly impossible. Invariably the tide turns and the ebb pulls back the energy, crashing my body that demands sleep. Either I drop from exhaustion or I fall ill. The creative lull kicks in and it generally takes time to get my creative juices flowing again.


In recent months, I’ve been focusing on the chakras which has me observing my energy levels, noticing what gives me energy and what zaps my energy.

For many weeks now, I’ve been in that glorious creative flow.


I’m curious to know, “How can I sustain my creative flow so I don’t crash?”


While the answer may seem obvious and simple to some, changing up my habits, isn’t so easy. I’ve had a breakthrough thanks to working with the root chakra. I’m realizing that I need to not only eat for energy and get to bed early, but I also need to schedule my creative lulls.


When my husband approached me on Saturday afternoon inviting me to go on a spontaneous road trip to Maine for the weekend, I couldn’t resist. I quickly packed a bag and we headed to Camden, Maine where we stayed for two nights.

Here was my chance to do an experiment, to leave everything behind and enjoy some R&R. No agenda. No to do list. No expectations.

Could this overachieving, workaholic truly getaway?

Can you even plan your creative lulls?

Even before we left the driveway, I felt like a kid.

“Adventure is out there!!” I exclaimed quoting my favorite character from UP!


There were magical moments at every turn.

At the top of Mount Battie, we watched the sunset on one side of the mountain and the nearly-full moon rise on the other side. Since it was also the Autumn Equinox, I thought about my personal harvest, the many lessons and blessings since the Spring Solstice.

I’m sure you are curious to see the view. I promise to show you when I get my hands on my husband’s photos. He has a sweet Sony camera and a talent for capturing landscapes.


Most people know me for my work with mandalas. Rightly so as I paused a lot of my other interests and pursuits to focus on this one area. For about four years I’ve been studying and building a body of work around mandalas to include my book, workshops, and programs.

Before this all-things-mandala period, I loved going on outings with my camera and blogging about my creative and soulful life. While my husband has a knack for landscapes, I take the type of photos that you see in this post – vignettes, stolen moments, ordinary objects overlooked by most people – and where the elements of line, shape, texture, and color come together. Typically my subjects don’t move and are naturally poised in day light. In other words, I photograph still life.


Every sense was delighted on this trip.

We stopped in a yarn shop in Camden, Maine. I don’t knit or crochet, but perhaps one day I will so I can start collecting luscious skeins of yarn.

I adore color and I’m impressed with its healing properties; it can be energizing or calming. Each color has a vibrational frequency that corresponds to the chakra points in our bodies. I’ve been exploring and experimenting with the healing aspects of color in my chakra series.


On our way home, we stopped at Popham Beach, a location that has been on my bucket list for 7+ years. While others look for shells and other treasures to collect, I collect interesting shadows.


I also steal shots of Mr. Wonderful who refuses to pose for my photos.


Here’s a look at Fort Popham. Doesn’t it look so medieval? I love the lighting, colors, and textures.


Wherever I go, I carry a little notebook to record my ideas and creative flashes. This trip offered lots of inspiration for my upcoming workshops and programs, especially the sacral chakra which is about passion, creativity, and play.

Here I kicked off my shoes to show off my cute little iridescent blue toes. “Making Waves” was the name of the color and another example of a recent spontaneous outing where a friend and I took a morning off to have breakfast in Portsmouth, NH followed by getting pedicures. It felt so luxurious, nurturing, and decadent to pause the work to practice some self-love.

This stepping stone is one of several that you’ll find just outside the Camden Public Library.


I’ll leave you with this last photo taken at Peter Ott’s on the Water Restaurant in Camden. From where I was sitting, my view was of a fireplace with this fabulous distressed wood and jar of flowers.

For 2-1/2 days and two nights, I left my work behind. I unplugged from social media and savored time with my husband, camera, and the beautiful setting. I came back feeling so rested, rejuvenated, inspired, and ready to dive back into my creative work.

I also rediscovered my love for photography and blogging.

Now, I’m eagerly awaiting my next creative lull. I wonder where the adventure will take me?

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{soul hugs}



Blooming at the Right Time


For the last decade, I thought of myself as a late bloomer. This morning that story has changed. I had the realization that…

I am not too old.

I am the perfect age.

I am ready.

I feel prepared.

I have the experience & knowledge.

I love learning new things. It energizes me. Anything I need to know, I absorb like a sponge.

I have the maturity, wisdom, confidence, and heart.

I am not a late bloomer.

I am blooming right on time.

I know who I am and I really like myself.

I choose the best for me.

I no longer have to fit in places where I don’t belong or doesn’t resonate with who I am.

I say “Yes!” to me.

I can see Louise Hay smiling at me right now. I picture her bright, beautiful face and twinkling eyes. She agrees, I am blooming right on time and she is glad that I finally see it too.

What limiting beliefs are you ready to let go of? Join me for one of my journal workshops. It’s an opportunity to tune into what your soul wants you to know.

{soul hugs}
Kathryn Costa