My Wildly Audacious Soul

polaroid from Persisting Stars by Madelyn Mulvaney

I heard a call and my wild soul responded with action. Late in September I gathered with a group of amazing Soul-full artists from around the globe in Somerset, England at the Majestic Croydon Hall. It took a plane ride, a train ride, a few taxi’s, more trains, a city bus and another taxi ride all with a toddler in tow, and oh it was worth every second of the sometimes-not-so-pleasant  travel!

Croydon Hall

I’m not sure words can ever explain the magic that was created that weekend with over fifty women, a few token men and a flock of babies all interacting, connecting, creating, and collaborating together.

View from our Room

We all showed up to answer Erin Faith Allen’s (Creator of Call of the Wild Soul Art Retreat) call for her tribe. She put a call out for Wild Souls to come and play at her artist retreat that she named, Call of the Wild Soul (COTWS).

The location couldn’t have been more sublime. Croydon Hall is laced with gorgeous, ancient trees that buzz when you walk near them. The lush gardens meandered deeper and deeper into the corners where roses whispered soft messages to my soul while stoic trees stood guard so we could let go and dance with our creativity and watch what magic would unfold.  The mushrooms that sprouted in abundance let us know that the faery folk were active on the sacred grounds and I heard of more than a few mystical encounters and visits (Maddie & Larry).

what is this mythical unfolding fungus?

Erin asked me to speak on the opening evening to all the wild souls. Feeling so honored, I jumped at the chance to share my ideas about art, healing and Audacious Ubuntu. The concept is to boldly, bravely even brazenly step into connecting deeply with others with soft eyes and an open heart because we can never fully know our depth until we see it in others. Ubuntu means, I am because you are! (I will blog more about the talk later).

I followed up the talk with a deep listening exercise that I hence forth will call “The Ubuntu Exercise” because those who participated with their heart and soul, despite the intense vulnerability, truly fell in love with their partners or at the very least they made a new connection to carry them through the weekend. My desired outcome for this exercise was for everyone to feel connected and not an outsider. I had seen the power of this exercise before in a large group of women so I was pleased to see how transforming it truly was for everyone at this retreat. After the exercise I invited everyone to go deep in every conversation they had this weekend. Skip over the trite questions and ask, “So what is your wild soul calling you towards?”


As a result of Erin’s intention, Croydon Hall’s energy and this invitation  I experienced a deepening that occurred amongst all of us present that I had never seen or experienced in other art workshops.

Marie, Maddie & Beccy in Persisting Stars class

I believe the best gift of all this weekend was what I learned about myself through the eyes of all those beautiful women present. We can all be such beautiful mirrors for one another.

Karina who lives in Switzerland but hails from Chicago has a husband that is working to eradicate polio in India (no small task – a true hero) asked me, “So besides being a public speaker, what else do you do?” I let out a guffaw and told her that I am not a public speaker, but her view of me opened a crack in my armor. She said that I seemed so natural up in front of everyone exclaiming we were about to have wild sex. I responded, “Did I say that?” I had forgotten my opening line. In this brief conversation with her after the retreat was over and most had left on their journey’s home, she mirrored for me an image of myself that I had definitely desired to see but hadn’t truly embraced. Thank you for that Karina.

Just one of the majestic trees gracing Croydon Hall

Another armor cracking event happened when I walked into the lounge on Wednesday before everyone arrived and saw Maddie Mulvaney sitting at the computer. Maddie is a woman I have admired through her blog and taken her course, Persisting Souls, but had never met in person. My heart started racing a bit as I approached her and when she looked up she shot out of her seat with a squeal, “Katariina!” She exclaimed, “Its me Maddie!” Then she threw her arms around me. I was in shock. How was it possible that she even remembered me? Me, little ol’ me? We quickly fell madly in love with each other over the weekend and I can’t wait to spend time with her again.

The Magical Madelyn Mulvaney

The depth of her soul and her ability to authentically live in alignment with her soul unadulteratedly without compromise brought tears to my eyes on a few occasions. While in her class Persisting Stars, I wrote in my journal, “Madelyn’s sharing is so deep and powerful. I’m cracking open, I’m going to cry but I’m not sure I want to right now.”

If you are not familiar with her blog or her e-courses, I highly recommend them for EVERYone. Her blog transports me to a time when life was simpler, more poetic and curious. I love checking in on her ever so often to see what journey’s she has travelled, what new discoveries tickled her interest, and what poetic image or experience moved her. She is truly a magical being.

So speaking of magical beings, Erin Faith Allen is a SUPER WOMAN! She puts out an invite for an art retreat (her first retreat) and fills it to capacity, births a gorgeous baby ten days prior to the workshop, shows up elegantly lounging with a baby on her breast, sells her artwork at the art show, is continually making plans for her next workshops, looking relaxed, gorgeous and emanating so much big love to everyone. I don’t know how she does it but she is a powerful woman that I feel honored to be orbiting around.

This is one of Erin Faith Allen’s mixed media images

She read my blog after I signed up for the art retreat last spring and she invited me to speak before she ever met me. She saw in me what I couldn’t pull together and by inviting me to speak she gave me the opportunity to step up and step out in front of an audience. I’m telling you, the putting together of the talk was incredibly healing and I learned that I do love being in front of people speaking about what I am passionate about and sharing my stories.

There were so many more women that touched me deeply by sharing what my talk stirred up or inspired in them.  Such immense soulful sharing.

What I took from this weekend was summed up in the words of Graca Machel (a Politician and Humanitarian now married to Nelson Mandela) in her Keynote speech to the graduating class of Oprah Winfrey’s Leadership Academy for Girls. She said,

“Here I am!

I claim my humanity

with no fear and no limits

and no one,

not no one, can take that away.”

She was speaking to South African Girls who didn’t have half the opportunities we have just by being born in a township and with dark skin. But I find this message universal for all women. I shared this in the closing prayer of my talk, but it is our time to get off the therapy couch, turn off the television, stand up and exclaim to the world, “Here I am! I claim my humanity with no fear and no limits and no one can take that away.”

This is my coming out year! Wooo Hoooo! Howling at that star filled, full moon sky!

I felt pretty lucky to be roomed up with two of the most handsome and soulful men I know; Larry and Finnegan. It was fun to watch their transformation from being present  around all that luscious creative feminine energy.  It was juicy for both of them which added more juice to my life. As a result, I came home pregnant . . . with possibilities for creative collaborations with some of the conscious creatives we met that weekend (tee hee).

So the message to me and all of you who have ears to hear, “The time is now, wake up and don’t go back to sleep!”


The End!!! :o)


the making of a happy house

Sara with her "Texas Birkin" by Cheryl Shulke

If you were starting new in a new home, in a new part of town with a new outlook (less baggage), new intention, what would you drag across town to join you in this new life in a “Happy House?”

My dear friend and fellow artist/designer, Sara, is in the middle of this process and when I visited her the other day, I was delighted to see that a sign clearly stated on the front door that I was entering a “Happy House” and that no fighting was aloud (allowed). I think this is a beautiful way to step into a new life, state your intention, make it colorful, post it on the front door for all who enter to know that they are now treading on sacred happy ground.

The next thing I noticed was that although Sara had very little in the new house, she did have her beloved collection of vintage Architectural Digests, which are not only individually interesting but when stacked like they are they bring texture and subtle color to the room. I love it!

I’ve been reading a little here and there about how after our basic needs are met we don’t really glean any happiness from acquiring things. In other words, more things don’t bring more happiness. The only problem I have with this idea is that the basic needs that they are referring to are food, shelter, clothing, etc. But as Sara and I sat in the happy house and admired the choices she had made thus far, we talked about how some people would not feel the essential need to have beautiful objects like stacks of old magazines or broken pieces of drift wood, or old bottles, but that to us it was essential to our souls to be surrounded by objects that feed us on that level.

It sort of reminds me of The Burning House website that chronicles what one would take if their house was burning. It was given to me as an assignment for a Madelyn Mulvaney’s e-course, Persisting Soul, which I totally recommend. It’s brilliant, inspiring, and a breath of fresh air. I actually didn’t do this assignment but still think about it often.

These are two very good questions for me to ponder; both similar but very different. I don’t think the things I would save in a fire would be the same I would bring to my new happy house. I like the idea of weeding out things that aren’t important and getting to the juiciness of life.

What are the essentials that truly feed my soul? I would love to get to a place where every plate and mug in my cupboard is a work of art that makes me smile from deep within. It would be magical to have every piece of furniture be not only useful but inspiring to look at. Lastly it would be wonderful to have  a closet with minimal clothing that was an expression of my inner life. Here is another site that is an interesting experiment to ponder (yet more to ponder), The Twenty Pieces Project. What twenty pieces of clothing would you keep to wear for a year?

I like how living outside of consumerism really is a breeding ground for creativity. I’m nowhere near here yet, but I love to ponder and flirt with the idea.

Art Workshop in Somerset, UK!!!

Alright, who wants to join me in the UK this coming September for wild creating with soul-fillled teachers.

Check this out!

The featured instructors are

I took an online workshop with Madelyn this past fall & loved it, I grew so much from her guidance, questioning & way of looking at the world. And . . . my Best Friend Ginger & I are taking a workshop from Flora Bowley at the Teahouse Workshops in Berkley for my Birthday in March. She is fabulous & her process is so intuitive & expressive. I can’t wait to work with her & learn from her.

And still this looks magical! How fun to be in the UK for art making. Who wants to join me? These events are always so much more than just learning some art tips and skills. These can be transformational because of the synergy that occurs when artists converge in one space for the purpose of expanding.

So who wants to join me this next fall in the UK?

The Tor in Glastenbury

& now a word from our sponsor, the color orange . . .

the market

I’ve been wanting to write for days now, but time seems to be flying by too fast for me to even catch up. Halloween whizzed by & now that it is November company is on their way for Thanksgiving, wait. . . . but first I am flying out to California for a quick visit, & Larry is off to a shareholders meeting in New Jersey. That feels like a lot.

I’m not even someone who has to be caught up in the energy of this season & here I am being pulled into its vortex. What I mean is I don’t have deadlines, a job or anything pressuring me to hurry up but still . . . I feel the sense of urgency in the air.

On Saturday night, we had a fabulously successful pumpkin carving party.  It was just a sweet night of sharing stories, listening to music, drinking great wine, dark beers & incredible food created by everyone, mostly Larry. He is amazing in the kitchen. So much Savor!!! The kids carved pumpkins & then swam their hearts out in the pool.

These pictures are just my way of catching up with all of you, sharing what’s going on in our hood. I’m taking an online e-course by Madelyn Mulvaney & she is sort-of, kind-of, really blowing my mind. I have only stuck one foot into the course holding onto the curb with my little toes afraid of what I might discover about myself. I’m two weeks behind on my photo taking that I am supposed to post on flickr.

One of the ideas that is swirling about in the recesses of my mind (thanks to Madelyn) is “where do I feel most myself?” I still can’t figure it out. It seems it is not so much a physical location as it is the convergence of many elements that inspire my senses & shoot right to my soul. Listening to a certain song, being in nature, being with Larry & my kids, dancing or travelling to exotic locations, tasting the perfect savory flavor or smelling roasting coffee are some of the elements that together can create this explosion in my soul & I am myself, home in my boots, with my soul dancing just under my skin. This is what I came up with so far, but still the question wanders & rattles around inside. After I figure that out I need to photograph it. Yikes!!

Enjoy the different shades of orange, until next time.


habibi & the pumpkins

our house in october

the captain steering this ship!



I made this one! Can you tell?

from rawfully organic co-op

these tomatoes are so good I had to post another pic

roasted sweet potatoes

finn's new old truck

we made this dress together!