journal

Do you have a muse?

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All my life, friends, family and acquaintances have said, “You are so creative!” I feel like I can’t take credit for my creativity. The creative process may look like a solitary act on the outside, but it isn’t. I often feel like a creative conduit where the ideas flow through me.

The best way to explain it is to share a story.

Each month, I host an interactive online journal class. Participants get an envelope in the mail with a few items tucked inside to use during our time together.

A new theme is explored where I work in one of the four elements, air, water, fire, or earth and I invite an animal ally to join us. The design of the envelope picks up on elements from the theme. Invariably these envelopes design themselves.

Sounds a bit crazy, right?

Read on as the story behind the latest workshop envelope may be evidence that the creative process is a co-creative act between the artist and something divine.

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For my next journal workshop, it was time to work with the element of earth and I settled on the idea of the “soul garden.”

I sat down to work up the envelope design a couple of times, but I felt resistance and the pieces were not falling together. When this happens, I walk away and return another time.

One morning last week, I had it on my to do list to get this envelope finally designed. I didn’t feel any pressure and in fact, started my day connecting with a friend on Zoom. My spirits were high and my outlook hopeful. The sun was shining and a wonderful breeze blew into the room.

Sitting on the arm of my futon in my studio were two journals. The journal on the top, a simple drawing pad, was filled with mandalas that I drew each day for 21 days while doing an Ayurvedic cleanse last spring. Having renewed my commitment to getting healthy, I had pulled it out to reread the entries.

After I finished the chat with my friend, I looked over and noticed how the wind had blown the journal open. As I walked over to the journal, I couldn’t believe what I saw.

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The title of the journal page read, “The Gentle Gardener.” It couldn’t have been more perfect! This was the very direction I needed for developing the design for this next workshop.

Excitement and energy coursed through my body as I read the notes in my journal taken from Collette Baron-Reid’s “The Enchanted Map” oracle deck.

“Be your own person. Be a conscious co-creator.”

I thanked spirit and my inner shaman for guiding me as I scanned the mandala and set out to design the envelope.

But wait, there’s more to this story of divine co-creating.

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I selected some painted paper that I had made about seven years ago. The color and pattern reminded me of a beehive and would look great with the vintage bee illustration. As I dropped the scan into my envelope design, the words, “trust that our souls are embraced” filled my computer screen. I paused in awe, speechless.

Trust that our souls are embraced.

I looked around the page for more messages and I found, “claim the sacred” and “soul sparks.”

These little messages were hidden within this painted paper design from seven years ago and waiting for this moment. I call these incredible moments examples of divine synchronicity.

This is how this workshop series has been for me, filled with spirit, inspirations, synchronicities, and co-creation. This is the same for the participants who find the Soul Journey guided meditations relaxing, the oracle card readings meaningful, and the journal prompts playful and fun.

In these journal workshops, I create an experience that allows participants to listen to the wisdom of their soul, trust their intuition, and activate their creativity.

What makes these journal sessions so special are the people who attend from various locations around the world. We delight in hearing and seeing each other as we share the stories of our experiences.

“You have something really special here,” said Yvonne during the last workshop.

I would agree, it’s indeed very special.

Would you like to join me for the next workshop in June?

Vision Journal Workshop #5
June 2018
Online Class

After your register, you’ll have the option to select the date/time that is best for you.

SESSION 1: Friday, June 22, 2018
6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., EST

SESSION 2: Saturday, June 23, 2018
10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., EST

Can’t attend live? You’ll get a recording of the event.

There are only 20 spots!

This workshop fills up so quickly!

$35 (same low price for US and International orders)

It’s recommended that you register before June 10th so you get your envelope and goodies in time for the event. Register sooner if you live in a remote location or outside the US.

>> CLICK HERE to REGISTER <<


Missed a Workshop?

There is a limited supply of workshop envelopes available. When you order, the envelope will be mailed off to you and you’ll get instant access to the workshop recordings.

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Journal Workshop #1
Topic: New Beginnings

New beginnings are so exciting. Tucked inside the envelope you’ll find a beautiful door, sparkly stars, and an antelope ally to play with in your journal as you explore the new beginnings and many possibilities in your life.

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SQUARE-VisionJournal2

Journal Workshop #2
Topic: Unexpected Blessings & Surprises
Element: Air

Unexpected blessings and surprises await you! When we open our hearts, slow down and listen, we notice the divine synchronicities around us. In this workshop, we are guided by bird spirit and given golden wings to help us to shift our perspective from being caught in the weeds to becoming the sacred observer.

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SQUARE-VisionJournal3

Journal Workshop #3
Topic: Grit & Pearl
Element: Water

I invited a starfish and nautilus to join us in this journal workshop as we explore the gritty parts of our lives and the pearls of wisdom. Tap into the wisdom of your soul in the Soul Journey and Oracle Card reading activities.

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SQUARE-VisionJournal4

Journal Workshop #4
Element: Fire
Topic: Follow Your Bliss

Following Your Bliss can require you to muster up courage. In this journal workshop, you’ll tap into your inner strength, confidence, and determination; recognize your strengths; and discover the secrets of lucky people.

Any time you are feeling like the scared traveler, return to the Soul Journey in this lesson. Know that you have everything within you to pursue your dreams.

Order Now

 

 

journal, mandalas

Tears for Fears

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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.

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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.

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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…

journal, soulcollage

Out on a Limb

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It’s been five months since I ditched the day job to focus full time on my business. In that time, I’ve been so busy learning new skills and attending trainings, driving long distances to teach mandala workshops, and building a new website and online courses. The last thirty days have been particularly intense.

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I’m often asked, “How are you doing?” and “How does it feel?”

The short answer is that I feel great.

What’s remarkable is in this time of greatest uncertainty in my life, I feel the greatest ease, calm, and inner peace. The woman, pictured in the SoulCollage® card above, sits calmly and securely on a tree limb; she reflects just how I feel, most of the time.

I do however, have my moments when the internal panic button fires off.

The train of thoughts goes something like this:

“Can I pull this off?” “What if I fail?” “I don’t want to go back (to the day job).”  “I can’t go back!” “Fernando, (my husband) believes in me, I don’t want to let him down.” “I don’t want to let myself down!”

Fortunately, I don’t have too many moments like these but recently, the panic button was stuck on for a few days. What helped me to ride through it was giving myself a pep talk. I reminded myself of all the things that I had accomplished and all of the great things on the horizon. “Kathryn, Omega Institute invited you to teach during family week!” “Look at your new beautiful website that you created all by yourself.” “You’ve only just started. This is a foundational year. You’re doing great and you’re right on track.”

The pep talks and a few good nights rest really helped to turn things around.

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Without any warning, it was if a light switch flipped on Sunday and my vulnerable feelings were replaced with a deep belief and strong conviction about what I was endeavoring to do.

It was a new moon on Sunday and the end of a long string of days in Mercury Retrograde. Could it have been these events that triggered the internal shift from fear to hope? I don’t know the answer to that but what I do know is that the new moon is a good time to pause, check-in, and set positive intentions for what you want to focus on until the next full moon.

the-alchemist

Your Personal Legend

Yesterday morning, I picked up “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho that has been patiently waiting on one of several stacks of books in my home studio. My intuition said, make time for this little story.

“The Alchemist” is a story of a young shepherd boy in search of his treasure, his Personal Legend. “Your Personal Legend is what you’ve always wanted to accomplish. Everyone, when they are young, knows what their Personal Legend is.”

Thinking back on my childhood, I didn’t know what my Personal Legend was, but what I could tell you was what fascinated me and what I loved to do. My sister who is older than me by 12 years tells me stories of how each Saturday one of her chores was to take a paper grocery bag or two and clear out all of the paper scraps from my bedroom while I was napping. I loved cutting and gluing paper and would create my own paper dolls by cutting up the fat JC Penney and Sears catalogues.

To this day I still have a love for paper and collage art. My dear friend Claudia recently remarked, “It really is your gift.”

When I’m creating a collage either by hand or digitally, I find myself slip into the creative zone. It’s a lovely place where time slips away and I delight in the shapes, colors, and images that I move across the surface in front of me. I almost feel like I’m not present when I’m creating collages. It’s as if they happen through me.

So here is where I feel like I’m really going out on a limb – could my passion for collage be my Personal Legend? It may just be!

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In February, I felt like I was out on a limb with an idea for an online journal workshop. I had no idea if anyone would sign up or if the concept would fly.

What I wanted to create was more than a workshop on how to work with collage in a journal. I wanted to create an experience. I wanted there to be some mystery and anticipation. I wanted to offer a space to awaken one’s creativity and precious time to tune in to one’s intuition and listen to the wisdom of the soul.

For each workshop, I pull out my collage making skills to design an envelope. I have so much fun planning the prompts and collecting the assorted goodies to put in the envelope. I keep it a mystery what I’m sending. When the envelope arrives, they can look inside but how we’ll use the items isn’t revealed until we meet up in a Zoom web conference.

As I read halfway through “The Alchemist,” I felt my heart pump with excitement. The story speaks of learning the language of omens and reading the signs and synchronicities in our daily lives. I found myself saying to myself as I read the book, “I get that. I do that. I read the signs. I notice the synchronicities. I even bring this element of magical living to my journal workshops!”

Tucked inside the envelopes that I mail to each journal workshop participant is an oracle card. As I prepare and stuff the envelopes, my intention is that each person will receive the message that will be meaningful and helpful to them. I trust in divine synchronicity. I prep up all of the envelopes and as I fill the orders, I have no idea which words or messages will be sent to the recipient. It is during the workshop that we explore the contents of the envelope and each person uncovers their own inspired message.

How do you know what your Personal Legend is? Here is another clue from the book:

“There was a language in the world that everyone understood… It was the language of enthusiasm, of things accomplished with love and purpose, and as part of the search for something believed and desired.”

“Whoa!” This little story is filled with gems that affirm what I’m doing with these journal workshops and other courses that I’ve developed.

I take heart in these words,

“When you want something, all the universe conspires to help you achieve it.”

How am I doing? How do I feel?

I believe. I have faith. I am so very grateful that I was brave and said, “yes!” last November. I’m not sure where this journey will take me but I’m going to follow what energizes me and pour my heart into it.

I’m also very glad that I followed my idea to create these journal workshops. Many participants are coming back for a second or third time! Each workshop is a stand alone so you can sign up for any of them. Each month, I’ll open up a new session.

“I can’t believe how much excitement there can be in such a little envelope.”

If you are curious to learn more about what happens in the workshops, click here.


IMPORTANT FINE PRINT
Amazon Affiliate – Kathryn Costa is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

SoulCollage® is a trademarked process created by Seena Frost. For more information on Seena, the process, or Facilitator Training please visit her website.

SoulCollage® cards are made either from one’s own art or from images found in materials which have been bought by or given to the SoulCollage card maker.

These collaged cards are used only for the cardmaker’s own inner exploration. SoulCollage cards are not sold, traded, bartered, or copied (except as a back-up for the cardmakers own use) as is stated in the Principles of SoulCollage®. Where SoulCollage cards are available to be seen by others, it is for the purposes either of demonstrating the SoulCollage process or of sharing the cardmakers’ inner process in the context of community. SoulCollage® is grateful to the artists and photographers who make this deep awakening process possible and in all ways SoulCollage® seeks to be respectful of their rights.

 

journal, mandalas, musings, photography, soulcollage

Celebrating Ten Years

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When asked, “How did you get to where you are today?” I reply, “I followed my curiosity and paid attention to what energized and excited me.”

It’s been ten years since my first blog post and I’ve come a long way. Those first posts were so awkward and dry. I didn’t know what to write but I showed up anyway posting photos of my art experiments.

I poked around Bloglandia and connected with other bloggers. We exchanged encouraging comments that inspired me to keep posting. I remember my very first comment came from a woman in Germany. I was impressed that my pictures and words were seen not only by someone I didn’t know, but someone living in a country so distant from my own. This exchange held the same awe and mystery that I felt sending and receiving pen pal letters some thirty years earlier.  Within a couple of months of blogging, my authentic voice began to emerge as I wrote about life as a single mother rediscovering the joy of creating for her own pleasure. The more I opened up, the more others connected with my words and ideas.

A whole new world opened up for me and my curiosity would lead me to try various mediums and techniques for expressing my inner landscape and philosophy on life. Within four months I found myself publishing weekly Soul Journal prompts and moderating a Yahoo board.

Now ten years later, I’ve published thousands of blog posts, offered a range of online courses, and trained with some highly skilled and talented facilitators. The best part has been connecting with kindred spirits from all over the world.

I’m grateful to have documented my soulful and creative life in blog posts, journals, photographs, and creative projects. This provided a record of where I’ve been and what I was thinking, feeling, and experiencing. To my surprise, I found evidence of an intention that would set the course to where I’m at today. In the very first year, I recorded my deepest wish: “My mission is to create and connect. My dream is to design inspiring hands-on activities that connect people with their Self and others.”

It’s so clear how all of the experiences and projects over the years stem from this one positive intention set ten years ago and today it remains true only with more clarity, confidence, and experience.

Highlights from the last ten years.

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  • The Collage Diva blog was named after my love for cutting and gluing paper since I was child. The name also reflects how I see life as a collage with random experiences coming together in a cohesive, unexpected, and meaningful way.
  • 04/06/08 – The date of the first post. It wasn’t planned but the month, day, and year differ by two.
  • For my 40th birthday, I hosted a SoulCollage® Tea party and hired a facilitator for a private workshop for my friends.

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  • Within four months of blogging, I started posting Soul Journal prompts and moderated a Yahoo board.

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  • After a year of blogging I launched the True North Arts blog. The first post featured mandala art created by people who were following my Soul Journal series.
  • Over the course of the next nine years, my artwork appeared in a variety of exhibits and published in several books and magazines. I documented in photographs many adventures and outings over the years.
  • In 2009, I began studying Ikebana, Japanese flower arranging.
  • In 2010, I completed the SoulCollage® Facilitator Training. I started a study of the Olympic Greek Goddess Archetypes.
  • In 2011, I hosted gatherings called Dream Circles for SARK fans in the New England Area.

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  • In 2012, I hosted a Virtual Wedding Event with my husband. It would be the first of many very creative online events.
  • In 2013, I completed the Virtues Project Facilitator Training. I learned the empowering practices of speaking the language of the virtues and the Art of Companioning.

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  • In 2013, I developed the Journey of the Heart Journal and online course.

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  • In 2017, I ditched the day job to focus full-time on my business. I traveled to Hawaii for the Ram Dass Open Your Heart in Paradise Retreat and piloted my Goddess Course.

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  • I began 2018 teaching a mandala program at Kripalu Yoga and Health Center.
  • In 2018, I opened the Sharing Circle as a free membership website. Started the monthly mandala challenges in January.
  • In 2018, I completed the Soul Coaching® Facilitator Training.
  • In 2018, I developed the Soul Journey Mandala Series.
  • 04/06/18 – I relaunched True North Arts to offer an array of creative and contemplative activities for connecting with the wisdom of one’s soul.

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Where do I stand today?

What is my mission? What do I see, hear, feel, do, and love? I took the figure from the center of my timeline mandala and answered these questions. At the heart of what I’ve been doing these last ten years is creating and connecting soul-to-soul.

With this new True North Arts website, I’m delighted to continue my exploration of the mandala and to return to where I began with blogging, vision journals, SoulCollage®, mixed media and documenting my soulful and creative life in photos and videos.

My latest curiosities are nature based as I explore the fascinating world of Shamanism. I recognize and celebrate that I’m a strong intuitive and want to guide others to listen and trust their own intuition using the expressive and contemplative arts.

It feels so good to have such clarity and conviction. I’m excited to see where my curiosity will take us these next ten years!

Celebrate with me!

Each month I host a mandala challenge and for April, I’m inviting you to celebrate by creating a “Celebrate 10 Mandala.” I talk about the challenge in the video above.

Challenge Details

Mandala Gallery: Celebrating 10 Years!

Fourteen members of the 100 Mandalas Community created these mandalas to kick off the celebration. Click on the images for a closer look at each mandala and to see if you can spot all of the ways that they worked in the number 10. I am touched by the messages that each artist sent along with their mandala. You can read them when you enlarge the view.