musings, sacred sundays, soulcollage

Turning 50: My Story is Changing

The Mystical Shaman asks, “Can you impartially observe the stories you tell yourself and others? Who would you become if you stopped telling the tales that have defined you up until now?”

For weeks now, I’ve been reflecting on my life and where my journey is in this moment. Tomorrow I turn 50 years old and I feel as though I am crossing over a threshold and stepping into a new life.

MysticalShaman-Reading50

I gave myself a couple of birthday gifts including the beautiful oracle deck and book set called, “The Mystical Shaman” by Alberto Villoldo, Colette Baron-Reid, and Marcela Lobos.

Pictured above are the three cards that I pulled this week. The luscious, mysterious images and soul awakening questions invite me to pause before crossing the threshold of my next decade.

What have been the stories that I tell of my life to others and myself?

There’s…

  • the single mother for many years
  • the string of losses
  • the unfulfilled worker not living her truth

While each of these stories have their wounds, they also have their gifts like how my grief led to tapping into my creativity to explore the mandala as a tool for self expression and healing; or how I followed my heart and ditched my day job.

The Mystical Shaman’s second question strikes a cord in me, “Who would you become if you stopped telling the tales that have defined you up until now?”

It may seem obvious but I’m realizing that I am no longer the single mother, in the depths of grief, or the unfulfilled worker. Yes, these are stories that led to where I am now, but they are not who I am.

“What if there were no need to explain you to anyone, not even to yourself?” asks the Mystical Shaman.

Next week I’ll be meeting many new people during my stay at the Omega Institute. What stories will I share? Do I need to explain myself?

Who am I?

I am Kathryn the kind-hearted.

I am connected to spirit.

I am a path finder, soul traveler, and a maker of magic.

I see beauty every where and in every one.

I am a dream weaver.

I follow my curiosity.

I make meaningful connections.

And, I am full of love, gratitude, wonder, and awe.

The Mystical Shaman adds, “The way to your extraordinary life is to become a blank slate and allow the form of your dreams and desires to show up, as it will. This is a sign of manifesting a life beyond your wildest dreams.”

QueenCups-Desmarais

Hanging on the wall in my studio is this assemblage of the Queen of Cups designed by my late friend Don Desmarais. When he was working on this series, I told him that I wanted the Queen of Cups. He thought of me as he created this piece. I see reflected back at me my round face.

Abruptly, the Queen came crashing down off the wall one day this week. I was focused on my computer and was startled to tears. You see, I believe Don is one of my guides who often wakes me up in the middle of the night whispering creative ideas or nudging me to shake off my fears and dive into my creativity. One night last week, in a moment of fear, I asked for a sign. “I’ll be looking tomorrow for it.” I said to the dark night.

heart

The crashing Queen certainly got my attention. As I picked up the Queen to hang her back up, I noticed that the word that was on the heart had fallen off.

sacrifice

When Don created this piece, I was a single mother and he recognized in me a warm, loving woman who sacrificed and put others before myself.

I’m realizing that both Don and the Mystical Shaman have the same message for me that I no longer have to sacrifice. I no longer have to live as though I’m the single mother, in the depths of despair, or as the unfulfilled worker.

Now I get to decide what word rests on my heart and I can even change it, if I want.

fire

The second card that I had pulled was Fire. As a Leo and with Aries in Chiron, I love the fire sign. While others may be afraid of the intensity, heat, and its ability to burn, I see fire as powerful tool for transformation. It will quickly burn and release what we offer up.

In the guidebook that goes with this oracle deck, there is an invitation to “warm your hands and your heart by your inner fire. Let it burn away your hardships; let it consume your pain and your sorrow…Light a candle or make a bonfire, and toss into the flames everything that has become stiff and painful.”

lantern

A little lantern has sat on a coffee table in my studio waiting for this moment to shine.

light-be

I pulled off the shelf a votive candle that I had designed several years ago for a conference gift that bears a label reading, “be salt & light.” Now felt like the perfect time to light this candle.

I dedicated the moment to forgiving a family member who I’m estranged from. In my heart, I had already come to terms with the situation but felt this was an opportunity to ceremoniously honor and release any lingering feelings. As I lit the candle, I sent my sincerest blessings and love.

I thought about the messages from the fire and mystical shaman cards when I lit this candle the second time. What stories, old hurts, and disappointments am I ready to let go of? I closed my eyes and in my imagination, I saw a swirl of colors leave my body and flow toward the flame. I watched as the flame turned from yellow to a beautiful array of colors as it transformed any pain and suffering into love and healing energy.

I opened my eyes and the message “Be salt & light” shines before me. It invites me to simply be me and to share my unique gifts with the world.

SoulCollage-Reading50

One night this week, I met up with my dear friend Maureen to create SoulCollage® cards. Ten years ago for my 40th birthday, I hired a SoulCollage® facilitator to teach me and several of my friends including Maureen about this expressive arts practice. It felt like coming around full circle as we sat at Maureen’s dining room table cutting, gluing, and chatting.

Pictured here are three cards that I made.

The first one is I am the one who makes the time to pause and reflect on my life. I learn from the bird to be the sacred observer. I look, I listen, and I sense the world around me without getting attached to any outcomes.

The second card is I am the one who is taking care of myself. As I turn 50, this is a time to cleanse by body, mind, and spirit. I am one who is curious about many modalities to support my health journey. Note – This card captures my intention for this next year and I’m on the right track down 19 lbs already! I’m taking an integrative approach that incorporates nutrition, exercise, energy work, and the expressive arts.

The third card is I am one who recognizes the spirit within me. I am a lover of beauty. I am one who follows my passion. I am one who pauses often in awe and wonder of my creative and soulful life.

completion

The third card, Completion, speaks to endings and beginnings. It couldn’t be more perfect.

As I step into this next decade, I feel like a blank slate, open to new opportunities. There is so much more for me to learn about myself and this wondrous world that we live in. I’m eager to see what’s next, where my curiosity will take me, and who I’ll meet along the way.

Here’s to turning 50 and stepping into the best years of my life.

{soul hugs}

Kathryn Costa

Related Links

Mystical Shaman Oracle Deck & Guidebook – This is a must-have deck for all soul travelers!

Root Chakra Journal Workshop – The root chakra is known for getting grounded, feeling safe and connected. This is a unique workshop that combines soul journeys, oracle cards, and creative prompts. Limited Spaces. It’s filling fast. Learn more here.

Great Round Course – Explore your stories in this fascinating series where we create mandalas and immerse ourselves in the world of symbols, colors, numbers, and metaphor. Starts August 26th. Join me here.

SoulCollage® – Check out this practice of creating collages for insight and meaning.

 

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.

new-moon

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!

Promo-VisionJournal-3-Envelopes

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

Mandala10-Timeline-1200

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.

collagedivablog

  • 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.

SoulJournal-Header

  • 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.

2012-VirtualWedding

  • 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.

JHJ

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

MandalaGuidebook

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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.

2018Offerings

  • 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.