Square Peg, Round Hole: The Universe is Listening

Over the course of my life my uncle has often encouraged me to “ask the universe for what you need” or to set my intentions (sometimes you need to close a door to be able to open a new one). And I’ll be honest, at first I thought it was all pretty woo-woo, so I was dismissive of the concept. In the nearly six years that I’ve been freelancing, the universe has guided me time and time again, and these days I’m a pretty big believer in setting intentions and trusting in what the universe gives me to work with. Although on occasion, I still find myself trying to force situations that just aren’t right. The old square peg in the round hole adage applies here.


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This will sound crazy, but last week a freelance client I’ve been working with on and off this year, terminated my contract well before the April end date, and… I was actually excited about it! A little backstory- I’d filled a very different role for them earlier this year, which was a great fit, so I was excited when approached to work with a different team. I had some reservations, but wanted to give it a go. I liked the manager, the company and the community so… long story short, it was NOT a good fit. Despite my best efforts, a good chunk of the work fell well outside of my wheelhouse (anyone else terrible at math and spreadsheets?), I got behind, felt overwhelmed, and instead of looking forward to the work I began to feel a sense of dread and self loathing for my inabilities.



I was chatting with my sister in law the day before aforementioned contract termination, and telling her about my shortcomings in the role. We talked about all of the things I had on my creative plate; all the art projects I was trying so hard to move forward (retreat planning, making work for holiday shows, updating my website…), and how I was wishing I had more time to simply focus on those things. I wrote the same thoughts in my journal (morning pages anyone?), and even told my husband I was regretting not taking a few months to focus on my work when he offered me the option. BUT I was committed to trying to learn the things that were preventing me from doing a good job in this freelance gig… and it was causing me to feel anxiety like I haven’t felt in a really long time. You know- the stuff that keeps you up at night and wakes you up early in the morning. Ties your stomach in knots and triggers that voice in your head that just keeps saying fail, fail, fail on repeat. #FAIL

I bombed an important meeting, got paralyzed by my self doubt, and feeling like I was failing my team, and as I was sitting there decompressing from said failure, my boss asked me to hop on a video call and very politely canceled my contract. I was so relieved that I agreed out loud that it wasn’t a good fit, and they actually thanked me for being so gracious about it.



Of course, I hung up the call and immediately cried. Hard.


I’ve never really been fired from a job before. I went through a range of emotions, but mostly conjured up personal failure over and over again. About an hour later, thoughts of excitement crept in. I’ve been working on goal setting and planning exercises to grow my art business, and the time commitment of this freelance project was the roadblock to almost everything on my to-do list. Yet, they’d just set me free! I’m allowing myself to feel good about this, rather than beating myself up over it. It wasn’t a good fit, and we all knew it, so why continue to torture myself with those woulda, shoulda, coulda thoughts?

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I gave myself the rest of the day to wallow. I may have smoked some pot, and laid in bed with the dogs watching mediocre shows on my laptop, but the wheels were turning in the background. The next morning I got up, walked the dogs, wrote my morning pages, and attended a live co-working session for an online course I’m taking. I took another look at those goals and tasks I wanted to complete this last quarter of the year and it all seems so much more doable!

So this is me, telling you, that the universe is listening. Not only is it listening but it will give you what you need, when you need it. You simply have to be open to moving the dial when the opportunity presents itself! If you’ve read “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert, it sort of lines up with her concept of being ready when the right idea hits you.

I am ready. Let’s do this. No more trying to fit square pegs in round holes.

Planning for Art and Yoga in the Jungle

For longer than I can remember I've been pondering ways to connect with other creative people and foster a community of sharing ideas and art experimentation. One day, the dream is to own a small farm off the beaten path, with studio spaces and cabins for art retreats and artist residencies. That's in the very early planning stages but in the meantime, I'm thrilled to be taking the plunge and co-host an art and yoga retreat in the jungle! Yes! Come January 2019, my friend Mandy and I will be hosting 10 guests at Tailwind Jungle Lodge, three miles outside of San Pancho, Nayarit, Mexico. (If you or someone you know might be interested, please get in touch to learn more or visit my retreat page)

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Why Mexico? Why the jungle? If you know me, you know I have escaped to Mexico for several weeks most winters for the last 6 years. Going back even further I have been lucky enough to travel domestically and internationally for the better part of a decade, and these adventures ALWAYS inspire me creatively. I carry a sketchbook and draw the people I see in restaurants, on mass transit or on the beach. Sometimes I bring watercolors or colored pencils. Other times I roll up un-stretched canvas, brushes, and my acrylic paints, and find a rooftop to perch on so I can paint the view... or something that the view inspires.

Moleskine Sketches

I find when I travel, I'm so much more open to life's possibilities. I talk to strangers (and have made lifelong friends). I journal and sketch more (every day I'm traveling). I read a ton, because many of my destinations don't offer reliable wifi, and it's nice not to have the distraction of constantly streaming video, emails and social media. And as I've already mentioned, I paint! Traveling me is the me I want to be every day, so it got me thinking more about this idea of art retreats and residencies.

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I love the idea of bringing together a small community and making time to be open and create in an uncomplicated environment. I know so many people, both professional artists and those who simply enjoy the act of creating things, who have one thing in common: they all wish they had more time to relax, reconnect with themselves and create. So this is me, inviting you to do just that! There is no skill level requirement. In fact, the less experience you have making art, the better! This is all about allowing yourself to experiment. 

My vision for the retreat is pretty simple: make space and time to immerse ourselves in nature, and the sites and sounds of the communities we'll visit, and let the creativity flow! We'll start everyday off with a gentle yoga session to open our minds and bodies, then we'll transition to the paint studio where we'll experiment with random mark making, collage, colored pencils, watercolors, stencils, paper, canvas and more. We'll go on daily adventures, with our sketchbooks in hand and share conversations about our daily inspirations. I'm still fleshing out the final "structure" but I know it's going to be a fun and inspirational journey! We'll keep it loose and leave lots of room for play. At the end of the day, it's not about creating a singular "perfect" piece of art, but more about creating a little something every day of the retreat. Allowing yourself the time for creativity to flow, learning how to use art making (doodling counts as art making too) as a tool to meditate and problem solve back in the real world... these are my goals for the retreat!

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The Jungle Lodge is booked, as is the chef, and two spots have already sold. This is so very exciting! I can hardly wait. Stay tuned for more details as the planning continues. And if you want to know more, don't hesitate to get in touch, or check the retreat page.