Holistic Creative Life

how you interpret your creativity through time forms you | Creative Practice Care

How You interpret your creativity through time forms you | Creative Practice Care with Hali Karla Arts

It can be extremely nourishing and revitalizing to your creative practice and process to take the time to revisit and reflect on what you have created in the distant past and not so distant past. Markers in your own creative timeline, so to speak.

If you’ve taken a creative practice class with me, you know we often reflect at all points in the process to remind us who we are, who we were, where we come from, where we are right now and how we’d like to move forward.

When we finish filling a journal or art journal or sketchbook - it can be insightful to flip through and identify what themes, patterns, interests or subjects keep coming up for us, for instance. Or what colors, textures, shapes, media and imagery.

One thing leads to another… and how we root (or uproot) our focus really does matter. By doing a little conscious retrospecting, we can often see what has been right under our noses, so close… too close sometimes to bring into focus unless we do so intentionally, with a posture of openness to surprise.

Because it is so common to forget or lose sight of those inherent things that make each of us who we are, or to find our focus and energy diverted while those parts of us go unnourished.

Or to interpret our journey so critically or one-pointedly, or from such a big picture, that we fail to see the shining golden threads of who we are (becoming) woven into our ordinary marks, encounters, perceptions, makings and scribbles of our daily life.

Even in those stolen moments that can so easily feel like ‘not enough’ at the time, but are part of the bigger tapestry of our creative energy emerging and forming into something yet unseen.

How we see our practice and process matters.

Every act of interpretation
is also an act of formation.
— (unknown source)

So today, I invite you to take some time soon to recall and reflect on what you have created in your practices and life - in the distant past, the not-so-distant past, more recently… and what you’d like to remind yourself moving forward.

Don’t search too hard or make a big ol’ project out of it, though - I want you to actually get to it! You are worth it, I promise.

Just look around, flip through some of your boxes, stacks, photos, books or what-have-you, to trigger your memory. See what wants to be seen again, to be remembered and acknowledged.

Maybe you have a lot, or a little… just give it a go.

Notice what you finished, what felt good or not, what surprises or resonates now, and what wants to be picked up again... or what new leads you get just from considering. And always feel free to thank and release anything that does not serve who you are moving forward. Marie Kondo approved.

As you do this, don’t discount all of the creative energy that you put into the art of showing up and engaging with your actual life and relationships either - this is not just ‘art’ or craft or productive results we’re interested in, but in how we see creative spirit alive in all aspects of our lives, backward and forward in time.

Below, I share just a few of the paintings I was revisiting and reflecting on in January to center in the New Year cycle. They range from awhile ago, to more recently.

Then I share a reminder about guarding the tenderness of beginning and bringing something to life in our creative process and awareness.

This first is from seven years ago, not long after I made my way back into art-making…

mixed-media prayer painting on paper, Hali Karla

This painting rests on a top shelf in my studio in a large cardboard folder, with some other pieces from a gateway time of returning to art after some intense years in grad school and end-of-life nursing.

What I found when I returned, unencumbered by the weight of art school and 'fine artist' connotations that weren't helpful for my path, was an unleashing of creative energy in connection to healing, joy and intuition, and a grounding, sometimes trance-like zone or state of prayer.

This is still a strange thing to put words to... words will never touch it. Nonetheless, in the midst, I woke one morning with a sort of 'directive' in that state between sleep and waking. To ask for prayers... to listen, trust, pray, surrender... and paint what came of it. So even though it made me nervous as heck, I asked a very small readership online at the time if anyone wanted to submit a prayer from their life, for me to hold with them and pray over, and to add to a collective prayer painting.

And much to my surprise, over 40 women responded with in-depth stories and prayers.

I printed out those prayers and prayed for every one submitted, collaged them onto this 18x24" paper and began to paint. This is what came of it.

Some of you may remember this, or contributed, or may have one of the limited simple prints from that time. If so... (((thank you))).

It is just one intuitive painting, but it is a collection of prayers given lots of love and something visible to show for it, and it was a resonant turning point within my heart and direction.

Something in me began to see more clearly, wake up a little more, to parts of myself I had lost touch with and denied or had yet to express, to trusting that inner voice within, Holy Creative Spirit herself.

{this was my musing from day 11 of Tara Leaver’s #21daysinmyartworld challenge in January}

Here is another, a piece from 2017:

a commissioned intuitive birth chart mandala, mixed-media, Hali Karla

I sort of stumbled upon making these intuitive birth chart mandalas a few years ago because I was translating more birth charts than ever before for people.

(If you're not that familiar with astrology, it's not just memes, fortune-telling, cookie-cutter horoscopes or personality descriptions at all. It is a nuanced and dignified language that speaks quite well to the human experience and our interconnectivity with all of creation and Creative Source. Some call astrology the parent of modern psychology.)

Anyhow, I was in my head space with the analysis a lot, and needed an intentionally creative, intuitive approach to drop into my heart process with the bigger picture and get out of the way of what really wanted to be seen and shared via the tool of the chart.

So I would make these mandalas for each chart I was looking at. I didn't think much of it, but then when I shared them with others, people really seemed to like them, so occasionally I offered custom orders and sets for individuals.

They feel like little surprise 'celebrations' of each beautiful, unique, wonderfully made person that the respective chart speaks to. Each is one-of-a-kind, by the nature of my process with the chart that inspires it.

This one was a custom order.

{day 18: "celebrate" in #21daysinmyartworld}

And another, finished at the beginning of this year:

mixed media prayer painting on paper, Hali Karla

creation and contemplation. transformation. presence and seeing. withness. listening.

the moment of connective resonance, forgetting myself just long enough to be moved beyond myself and into the rivers of participation, emergence, expression, insight, unity.

inspiration (the noun) IS everywhere as our senses and associations delight and respond accordingly to what is before us in our inner and outer experiences - backwards, forwards and right here right now... we know inherently that everything is connected.

but INSPIRE is a verb... and this is what fills and fuels me most. the breathing of it - to be inspired, a reciprocity of sorts, between the observer and the observed - no matter the object of its incarnation.

i am inspired when i remember that all life and love done well and given our all is a sort of prayer like this. and that creative practice and prayer or contemplation is so often, for me, the ground where stillness breathes honestly, no more and no less, vibrating with the whisper of creation and Creator, into the moment of my own participation and activation.

the layers of inspiration and wholeness and engagement are infinite... what a gift to be alive to this.

{form day 8 #21daysinmyartworld challenge, over on Instagram}

Finally, a reminder for your practice and process, just in case this is the balm or nudge your creative heart needs today:

Creative Practice explorations with Hali Karla Arts

Your creative process, practice and art is first and foremost a sacred gift between you and Creative Source, worthy of healthy boundaries in honor of just how precious its incubation, first expressions and initial moments of formation can be.

Get a feel for the energy and relationship before you invite outside perception, perspective and distraction in. Let the true message or revelation of the encounter show itself.

I learn - and have to remember to remember this one - again and again, and find the dance to look different in different seasons, but mostly I feel best when I treat the whispers of my ordinary practice or unfolding creative vision and work with great care and respect, no matter how excited I might get to share in the early stages.

{from day 13: #21daysinmyartworld}

How you SEE and interpret your Creative Practice and energy matters, my friends. Backwards and forwards in time.

Who you let see and interpret your creations - and when - matters as well.

We get to learn about this with trial and error, as we figure out and evolve our own personal WHY for what we feel called to explore, experience and breathe life into.

How do you keep your creative heart, eyes, mind and spirit guarded with the care it deserves, and yet still wide open to what wants to be seen anew or for the first time in your process and life?

if you believe you are not creative enough {or at all, or anymore...} | Creative Practice Care

if you believe you are not creative {enough, at all, anymore} | Creative Practice Care note from Hali karla Arts

A couple weeks ago I asked my subscribers to share with me the current struggles and obstacles they face in their Creative Practice(s).

Much to my delight, I received way more replies than I expected.

I am often reminded of the simple truth that we creatives share many of the same struggles... different details, unique circumstances, and at different times… but similar themes.

It’s one of those reasons that we need each other - us consciously artistic, creative types. Because not everyone 'gets' it… and that can sadly include those people closest to us sometimes.

Today, I am going to address a challenge that is foundational - and so often keeps many of us from our call to make art, pursue a dream, or even just establish and stick with our Creative Practice.

The challenge, the disconnect - a powerful, but false belief - is that something inside us believes maybe we really just aren't naturally creative when it comes right down to it.

That we aren't as creative as ________ (fill in whatever or whoever comes to mind for you).

Or that we aren’t creative anymore. Or even creative at all. As if we weren't given the creativity seed at the human-making factory... but others were.

Like we’re broken or lacking something essential to creativity somehow, or not good enough, or un-chosen for this particular gift.

There is a long list of possible reasons and experiences why each of us may go through this deceptive and paralyzing belief at some point.

And then, there are even some artists who, on the outside, never really seem to struggle with this issue at all. And that can make it even harder when we are faced with it. But I'll tell you the truth - I have yet to meet an artist/creative who hasn't faced these sneaky doubts at some point.

Some of the reasons we struggle with this DO need and deserve singular attention, unpacking and healing. For the most part though, they usually point back to something basically wonderful, that we can all too easily forget...

... that creativity permeates within our very nature.

That you can’t not be creative.

You may fall somewhere on a spectrum of creative expression, skill, ability or capacity, but that creative seed is there. Maybe it's dormant, waiting for the right environment, food or light to wake it up… but it's there.

It's so simple, really... and yet it's something that our fearful, over-protective, busy-body, egoic minds can keep hidden from our awareness in this upside down world.

Maybe because if we remembered it regularly, if we believed it deeply, we just might have to arrange to live by that truth a bit more. And then, in the midst of staying true to our creative impetus, we just might have little choice but to transform, heal, or grow - or risk changing some things, being seen in a new way, or shocking some people in our life.

And that can feel really, really unsettling to our comfortable self (consciousness).

But I'm here to tell you it is worth it to remember that part of you daily. It can be nerve-rattling, odd and even hard sometimes, you bet. But it is a liberating truth that only improves the quality of life.

It could be said like this (try it on, see how it makes you feel):

You were created and in-spired into life in mysterious ways we still don't fully comprehend. That is some Holy shit. I like to call it God - you call her what you will.

You are not creatED, and then done with, on your own for life. You are still being created. And when you leave your body and pass on, that is a part of this ongoing matrix of Creating that you cannot be separate from, too.

You are (a part of) the miracle of the cycles of creation, and there is no way out of that creative energy continuum. Even if you try. Even if you don't believe in it. You can't mess this part of the truth up, dove. You ARE because it IS.

It has been given to you, and can be multiplied and given through you, with an overflowing… and if you get real quiet and listen close, I bet this is also part of the directive placed in your heart…

To care for and take part in creation and creating. By the very nature of your Life, energy and attention.

To embrace and shine forth your creative awareness and expression in acts of beauty, love and truth.

To give yourself to making visible and experiential something within you that is invisible but so very real, even in the moments of its first imagining and revelation within you.

And that's it.

mixed-media art journal detail, Hali Karla

Creative energy flows through the unbreakable interconnectivity of us all, and when we wake up to that abundance we see how it overflows in ever-present exchange and transformation between all of creation, and into every facet of our lives - even the mundane.

Some people may find this idea to be ‘out there’… yet it is so very real and basic. And that may be why it can be so easy to overlook, take for granted and forget. To convince ourselves otherwise for more conventionally-accepted ‘practical’ matters.

There is a web here, loves. You don’t have to (re)make or (re)imagine anything to be creative. Though the imagining can help us remember sometimes.
You are a part of its very structure and wholeness, by body, spirit, mind, breath.

So this is post today is just a reminder for those of you that struggle with not feeling creative at all.

For those of you that have been told you are not, or have decided you aren't because your expressions and creativity looks different than others around you or what the world rewards or because of something someone said once. Or because it doesn’t result in productive time spent, or consumable stuff or entertainment for others. (Our capitalistic culture just loves to try to put art and creativity into that box, now doesn’t it?)

This is for those of you that have struggled with the belief that only a chosen few are actually creatively talented, and you just weren't chosen or blessed in that way.

I want you to know… that why you carry those beliefs and deceptions does matter, and may very well be important for you to work with. But you don't have to figure all that out before you get to the doing and making of your Creative Practice.

What matters more is that you see the lie in it and don’t let it keep you from exploring and identifying the creative impulses and inspiration planted within you.

So I'm calling out some of the I’m-not-creative lies for you. Do try to stop telling them like an automatic response to your aching creative heart, ok?

Let the curiosity and the longing you feel to bring things to fruition, to engage creatively and expressively with your life be what it is: put there for a reason, and meant to be cared for and cultivated.

The question is, will you accept the invitation to explore what that means without assumption, comparison, perfectionism or expectations stifling you?

Are you consciously open to strenghtening your creative awareness and expression? Bringing what is invisible into the visible, sharing what is within you with how you relate outwardly in the world? (and I'm not talking about sharing on social media here, friends)

Because this willingness to see ourselves creatively is where so much of our vitality and spirited energy comes from. Any change we want to make in our life, it starts here, in a posture of acceptance for our own beloved creative nature.

Made to make. Given breath to express. Imagination to enjoy and honor and realize.

A regular Creative Practice is an access point to this. A way to strengthen, stoke and stay warm to those life-giving fires within.

So here is today's takeaway:

Let yourself be how you were made to be.

You are creatively made, with bones and vision and love.
With creativity infused right into your blood.
(And it doesn’t matter if you deny its presence - it’s there)

You don't have to try or prove or earn the right to call yourself Creative.

You have it by birthright and breath.

Maybe your way with it will look like your current concept of ‘art,’ and maybe it won’t. That doesn’t diminish it.

It might just look like acts of Love and presence and doing the right thing with creative perspective and attitude.

It doesn’t even really matter how it looks (or sounds) at all, if you are staying true to your creative energy and perspective as you experience it.

And even if that creative seed of awareness, connection and energy in you feels small or fragile or hurting - or hard to access today - you can nurture and grow it and keep it alive and well. With sweeping changes or quiet continuous care and practice, whatever is right at this time.

Just try not to forget, no matter the struggles and doubts and seemingly dry spells:

You are innately Creative - and called to your creative practice, ways, experiences and perspectives - for a reason.

And that is something in this crazy world you can trust.

Thank you to my subscribers for your replies to the last Creative Practice Note!

If you would like to add your current Creative Practice struggles to the mix, your honest response is appreciated and it matters - I would love to witness you and add it to the fodder for this year's collective exploration and reflections. Use the comments below if you like, or my
contact form (more confidential).

We creatives need each other - and sharing about our current process and insights is one way we can encourage, support and inspire one another.

to arrive where we started

…to arrive where we started… Hali Karla Arts: Cultivating Creative Practice with Spirit
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
— T. S. Eliot

If it’s a journey - this thing called life - and if that journey had a shape, it’s shape would be a spiral, I believe.

We can find ourselves drawn to and wrestling with themes that only become apparent, as a pattern of sorts, with some decades behind us. Hopefully each return to a personal life theme brings us to it with new depth and perspective, and it to us with new revelations we have been prepared to receive.

Hopefully, we can meet each encounter with our life themes with a wisdom that does not lose the wonder of seeing with fresh eyes and participating with our whole self.

I have become less and less enamored by the shift of one calendar year into the next, but I do love the chance to reflect, re-center and refresh my awareness and focus with intention. It’s all too easy for me to just float by through the days, otherwise.

And I have to say, as far as 2018 goes, I’m rather happy to see it behind me.

It was a year of internal healing and slow-processing in a very deep, personally transformational way. A return to revisiting old, deep wounds, trauma and conditioning. A tough patch on the spiral in a way I didn’t have words for, and still don’t… but that eventually dissolved another layer of unhelpful debris picked up along my way.

I could say the healing was strictly due to my brilliant, determined effort alone - or someone else’s support - but the truth is, it was a timing and grace that had nothing to do with what I would’ve preferred or planned. And while I did work hard at it at times, my uncertain efforts to just get through the grayness in one piece, still able to show up to the stuff of daily living, would not have been enough… I was down deep in the rabbit hole, my friends, just focusing on getting by without dropping the balls most important to me.

So this feeling of being on the other side finally, of the spell being lifted and my creative drive returning… I can attribute it to nothing other than the indiscernible but infinitely wise rhythm of Creator’s will, and the little kindnesses and tidbits of wisdom placed in the hearts and words of those put on my path this past year or two.

So in moving forward with this New Year - and with a revived creative energy that I thought would never come, I think a little Hali Karla Arts retrospect and projection is due, to ready the way for the vision of sharing and connecting that has been placed in my heart.

my top nine from my creative process - Hali Karla Arts

I like the what went well/what didn’t review model. It’s simple.

As I began to list mine out, I noticed the same things were often on both lists, with a twist - ha! Nothing is black and white.

Perspective and nuance is everything… and everything is connected, after all.

Here we go… (this is a tad long, friends - consider yourself warned and invited. Cuppa tea?)

2018 :: what went well + what didn’t


The participants in my year-long program of 2017 and 2018 filled my heart again and again… the conversations and questions behind-the-scenes and when we got together… so good and real and deep. My kind of conversation.

The exploration of astrology, leading us to practical ways of being better people, accepting and celebrating how we were made, encouraging our growth as needed, and connecting with our spiritual truths… so good. I ran this year-long program for two years, and it gave me the chance to deepen my learning by sharing it, and to learn from the brilliant creative souls who showed up to learn with me. I got to be a more diligent student and become a better teacher.

I am so so grateful for the exploration time and all it has inspired, healed and re-awakened in me and others.

I also learned that teaching a year-long program that weighed heavily on the information side of things is not what fills my own creative well, long-term… so I don’t plan to run this program this way again.

I need more balance/emphasis on the creative side of things… with the esoteric, deep, healing, spiritual stuff, for sure! But astrology is a huge field, and it can easily keep us so in our analytical heads, especially when we are trying to learn how to speak the nuts-and-bolts of the language - because there are many.

Astrology is a beautifully rich tool when it’s used wisely with discernment, and has enriched my perspective and what I have to offer as a teacher and creative encourager, but it ends up that teaching the language is just a part of my journey, not the ultimate what-I’m-here-to-do thing (if there is even such an ultimate one-thing for folks like me).

Just because you’re good, doesn’t mean you should… Wise words I once heard; seems to be a theme in my life.

I’m an immersive, intuitive soul… and it seems I’m being led into the next phase of my journey - another twist and return on that spiral of my life - so I need to stay present and true to that guiding energy and allow space for the next immersion.

As for birth chart translations (readings) - I discovered I really love doing them for other soulful creative types, and connecting via this symbolic language that speaks to the heart of how we are each made beautifully whole, are how we are for a reason, and carry certain gifts waiting to serve and shine into our lives and the lives of those we encounter. It is a healing tool, I have no doubt, because I’ve witnessed it time and time again. Feedback for my readings has been equally fulfilling and insightful.


I moved my website to Squarespace from self-hosted Wordpress… best.decision.ever.

When I started on WP it made way more sense with what was available, but now it’s a different game online. I no longer have to worry about updates, plugins, the hack issue that seemed to happen 1-2 times per year, or paying someone else thousands of bucks to change, fix or update my site as needed. Seriously… this was a bit of work to transfer a 7 year old site + blog with hundreds of posts and thousands of pictures, but a really good move for someone who wants more time creating with less overhead and stress in the biz side of things.

Other good changes on the creative business side: ConvertKit! I used to use Mailchimp, but ConvertKit (now Seva)… well, converted me completely. It costs a few bucks more, but every function it gives me is beyond worth those extra dollars.

[Is this business stuff boring you to death? I get it! Skip down to the next topic.]

I also switched a few things over to a simpler, safer payment processor - Gumroad - that seems to actually care about small-scale creatives and artists. They are great for digital/audio goods, art products, integrate with sites well, and payments happen every two weeks with some of the lowest transaction fees you’ll find. Oh - and they handle VAT for you, too - yes, please. I highly recommend checking out Gumroad if this is something that relates to you.

I tried out Teachable for my online courses in 2018 - which is a pretty great learning platform with some good perks, and great for some online teachers, I’m sure - but not for me right now. Every class on Teachable looks the same within, and I start to get that feeling of stepping into a class in a flourescent lit room in some old high school or something… a bit generic. I’m also always a little nervous about loading my content files onto someone else’s platform… what if I want to leave? Can I export easily… doesn’t appear so… glad I hosted my stuff elsewhere - phew! And they don’t handle VAT for you - or will, but you have to upgrade upgrade upgrade. It hasn’t helped my business necessarily, and certainly hasn’t helped my time management as a one-woman show who wants to stay small-but-sustainable. Just more admin back-end upkeep, in another location, increasing my screen-time. I can offer great ecourses and ebooks way simpler. Seems like starting your own “school” site with memberships and such is all the rage… there are SO.MANY to choose from (helllloooo, overwhelm… anyone feel me here?).

It’s a fine path for some, but for now, I like to think of HKA as a little mom-and-pop sort of diner… some of those really do survive when we support them. And they’re usually the best places for a good meal and more personable interaction.

So come on by, have a seat and enjoy yourself - I’m so glad you’re here - and do kindly tell your friends. ;-)

Those are just a few examples of my simplify-the-creative biz/focus mission in 2018… if you are interested in learning more about some online creative biz decisions I’ve tried, made and changed over the past 8 years, let me know in the comments or via the contact form. I’m open to doing a call about that if there’s enough interest. It’s not something that interests everyone here, but this is the real behind-the-scenes shit for those of us figuring out and changing with this new territory for creative livelihood.


This is more personal, but it’s also the basis for how I run Hali Karla Arts and what I’m being led to create or be present with. And how I navigate… life.

As I mentioned, 2018 sucked for me in some big, internal ways you would never see just by looking at me or my feeds… but what kept my head above water, as I went through these changes within, was my weekly gatherings here in Asheville with the elders in my EfM spiritual formation group, and staying more committed to my daily prayer practice than ever before. This is not a part of the path I saw coming - at least not in the way it has - and that’s part of how I know it’s true to something bigger for me. The surprise + surrender + resonance + love.

I remembered how much I love the depth, connection and creative perspective of small, committed groups, as well. Especially in-person - even though a little goes a long way for this introvert.

Straight up meditation just never took hold of my heart the way centering prayer has. And the deepening in my prayer practice may be a part of letting myself fall into dark places that needed tending….

By hitting a low this past year, I found the survival strength in me to heal hurts and shift perspectives, and to fully commit to and embrace what has always been the greatest drink of water for me and my internal experience. Even when I might not have identified it as such consciously, or when I didn’t feel I had a right to claim it for various reasons and lies… and that is, my faith and relationship with Creator. Game-changer.


If you told my twenty year old self that someday I’d be singing praises for how routines and structure can liberate your life, she would’ve laughed, cussed out a joke about conformity or something and went the other way.

But really… scheduled weekly cleaning hours with the hubby (what a turn-on!), regular gym visits and swimming, accounting and tracking routines, to name a few.

Freedom, vitality and better use of time is the fruit of these very simple efforts. For Real.

Structure and less clutter in the practical stuff of life just gives me peace of mind and space in my creative wandering soul, heart and mind.

I need loose structure, but structure nonetheless (says the smooshy, mutable, go-with-the-flow Pisces) - duh.

Learning by living over here. Don’t judge.

But you know what didn’t work - and surprised me a bit because I got off to such a good start with it? Bullet journaling.

There can be too much customization and freedom apparently. ha!

I noticed it became another chore I put off each week, taking up some of my creative energy in a way that wasn’t necessary or efficient. Uck.

I mean, am I a painter/artist or a bullet journaler? Where do I want my creative energy flowing, after all? It seems to work well for some, but not me.

So I ditched it for the loose, spacious structure of a disc-bound, re-fillable Happy Planner. Best move in my planning life all year. And the new year has come blissfully, without hours of planner prep, because sometimes you don’t need to reinvent the wheel that’s working for you.


Sometimes we forget what we most need to remember.

I don’t know why exactly… I can see a series of reasons, disappointments, decisions, lack of boundaries and distractions that caused it… but after finding my way to the path that feels true to me, to what I’m here to do, I got lost again. Or maybe just needed to sidetrack for some more learning for the big picture of my work. That’s probably most true.

Back in 2012-13, I had found a strong conviction with Creative Practice for healing, faith, art, joy and transformation. My whole windy life seemed to lead me there and speak to that. Prayer Art filled me up and resonated with others. Encouraging others through heart-healing and creative-truth telling did the same. Intuitive or process-oriented art-making, as a practice for myself and a way of working with others made sense in my bones.

Then, I let too many voices in, too much outside influence. Shared too soon. Put too much on my plate. Compared myself too much. Paid too much for the wrong guidance. Got hurt, disregarded and disillusioned along the way by people I held in high esteem. I didn’t see the value in my vision/gifts/dreams as much as the value in the vision of others. So I abandoned my own vision at times. I got caught up in the bigger-is-better lie for a time - and let the ball drop on some of my own real connections, probably hurting others along the way.

I became discouraged by the curated life and income-making lie(s) that so many artists online buy and feed into or sell, knowingly or not, and often under the guise of some high-value vision or system… as well as the disconnect between values proclaimed-like-advertisements and values lived in actual interactions and relationship….

And yet, in terms of livelihood, this is tender territory for a group (like artists) who so often have to juggle many things ot make ends meet and fight to be seen with value at all in this culture.

We are all learning, after all. May we all remember to value relationships over transactions. People over profit.

I AM an idealist, a bit romantic, and definitely aching for a woke, better world. I wanted the promise of the internet world to be as good as it seemed for creatives and connection (and so much of it is! - don’t get me wrong)… but like all things, a dysfunctional capitalistic culture will seep in and take over when provision for our families and personal livelihood is a factor to be considered.

We have to remain diligent with our why and how we work through each decision with our values, especially in the noisy, cafeteria-like market-place environment of social media and online learning.

There’s a lot here that I have been wrestling with, as have many others… things that are cultural dysfunctions or were personal patterns, things that I needed to live in and dissolve, or relate to with new awareness and conviction for myself (see spiral reference above)…

but I’m happy to say, I’ve circled back to clarity with newfound strength, with a re-focused and polished lens on why I share and teach about Creative PRACTICE. How it can help us navigate our perspectives, relationships, these times and issues… or at the very least, bring us a little joy and respite in the face of the crazy-making all around us.

If I’m telling the truth, though, that came after serious doubt and ruminations, and considering scrapping everything from 7 years of Hali Karla Arts to go back into nursing. There was more time than I care to admit spent scrolling nursing jobs this past year… and feeling a little more sick about the possibility each time. It would not make me happy in the least. It is NOT what I’m here to do… I know that in my whole body.

But apparently I needed to reconnect with remembering that. Nursing was another long, very important leg of my journey. One that was so soul-touching, it has been hard to let go of, and the letting go has left many questions at times - but it is not my calling. Even if sometimes, on hard days, it seems like things might be easier if it was.

Being an artist - and trying to make your livelihood creatively - is not for the faint of heart….


I mentioned this above a bit. Trauma, abandonment and lack of stability or a sense of protection in my childhood crept back up for some healing attention this year in a big way. With loads of anger (justified) and questions and hungry, hurt parts of my inner child’s soul.

I had someone dear to me say to me this year… “I had no idea those things still effected you so much.” That’s the thing about childhood sexual trauma, abandonment, family dysfunction+addiction, no sense of reliable stability in your home environment or rootedness as a kid, with no chance to develop strong peer relationships… you don’t ever get to be the person who didn’t go through that as a child. You don’t get to heal yourself into some sort of normalcy as if you lived an entirely different experience in your most important, formative years.

I share this here because I know many of you went through some form of hell in your childhood as well - and I want you to remember, in case you need to remember it today: you are not alone, you are not crazy, and wherever you are in processing all of that shit - it’s ok, love.

This is where my deep healing work is for this life. This is where much of the medicine I am able to offer to others as they heal comes from. It is ever-connected, even when the specific details may not be.

Occasionally, things from really tough pasts rise to the surface for a re-visit, and your own shadows, patterns and illusions reveal themselves. It’s always an invitation to see them for what they are, to just give love and acknowledgment to yourself for all the reasons you had to learn to cope and survive the way you did, to let them go or shape-shift them into a healthier perspective or purpose, and to remember your innate, untouchable wholeness and sacred connection a little more deeply.

2018 was one of those invitations for me… you know: Dive down deep, let the uplifting begin again.

Transformation and its healing power requires a descent, a death of some sort… its cycle is terrible and beautiful, all at once. And with God’s help, the love of my closest people, and the desire to thrive - not just survive - I am better than ever with this twist and return on the spiral.

Are we in 2019 yet?!

2019: what to look forward to & what I’m lit up about…

Short version (because, wow - you’re still here!):

I am deeply (re)committed to the power of Creative Practice as a way of guiding us into deeper knowledge of our true selves, relationship with one another and our spiritual journey, as a medicine of healing and expression, and a path toward inspired acts of love, joy and transformation in our living experience.

What can you look forward to here at Hali Karla Arts?

Well, I’m going to keep some of this to myself, but here are a few things upcoming…

  • Creative Practice tips, encouragement and connections for you here at the blog and via my Creative Practice Notes (free to subscribe)

  • Creative Practice Invitations and Offerings… to help you cultivate a meaningful, joyful and resilient practice and perspective for living as your true creative self in this wild world… more details coming later

  • Many of you have asked… so content from IN THE STARS will be split up into smaller, self-guided bite-size portions, by sign+planet, and made to fit your own curiosity about your astrological signs. This will include in-depth, soulful looks at the invitations and wisdom of each symbol, with a Creative Practice invitation to take it deeper.

  • I learned these last 3 years how much I like making audio reflections as a way to talk creative energy and inspire your own contemplations and practices… so, there is a good chance that a regular Creative Practice podcast - or some variation on that idea - is on its way. (eeee… I notice I’m rather excited about this one as I type it - I’ve been incubating this one for awhile)

  • A Hali Karla Arts studio sale - art and other keepsake or interactive tangibles are in-the-works to be listed for special, limited time sales, starting later this year. It’s a little accountability game with myself for my art practice, my piles of art and a let’s-see-what-happens experiment.

So what ELSE am I lit up about?

My practice(s). The truth is, I make art to be closer to Creator, to you, to me.

Whether it’s art journaling or painting or whatever has lit up my curiosity for a time… it is for healing, love, dreaming, honesty, beauty, truth… and ultimately, Presence.

To clear away the rubble of the world that builds up between our interconnections. To stay alive to the creative spirit implanted in this body, this perspective, this life becoming.

To remember the power of beauty and transformation and the invisible being made visible.

And I’m so in love with my prayer and faith practices. My soul-food, y’all.

Inspiring and encouraging your Creative Practice, healing perspectives and trust in the mystery and processes of life. This is where my service lies. Straight from my creative heart to yours.

Connecting… with other creatives, the dots in our lives, the meaning-making moments of the past to the realities of the now and dreams of the future. More connecting one-on-one and in small groups sounds really exciting, too.

Learning every damn day. Always, yes, please. And sharing what I learn with those who find their way to listen and share with me.

Seeing. With fresh eyes. With my eyes and truth.
Seeing what Creator wants me to see and savor and serve and share.

And more Listening. The holy quiet of listening well.
Deeper listening. In all the ways.

2018, thank you for the hard healing, soul-deep connections, insight and internal transformations. I’m glad our time is over.

2019, I’m glad you’re here… and that my creative energy is finally feeling uplifted again for our time together.

What went well - or not - for you in 2018?
What are you lit up about for 2019?

If you made it this far, thanks for being here.

Leave me a note below if you feel inclined.

May your New Year be exactly what you and yours need most as it begins.

And if it isn’t yet… never forget that you can always begin again. Right now. Or tomorrow, after a sleep.

Hali Karla Arts - Creative Practice for navigating life’s explorations and transitions