Free Stuff, Highlight, Practice
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Do you know these critics? PLUS a Shine! Mandala Template

New World Library sent me a review copy of Succulent Wild Love: Six Powerful Habits for Feeling More Love More Often written by one of my favorite authors SARK and her fiance Dr. John Waddell.

I first discovered SARK over 20 years ago. It was the year after I graduated from college and I had moved 1800 miles from New Hampshire to Colorado. I’ll never forget it! It was the first weekend of my grand adventure and what would be a major turning point in my adult life. I stepped into a charming local independent bookstore where I saw, “Inspiration Sandwich,” a colorful book filled with whimsical illustrations and handwritten text.


It was the three little words on the cover that stole my heart.

Eat this book.

Now how could I resist such an invitation?

SARK’s inspirational words inspired a very shy and creatively timid young woman to live a daring and juicy life. Over the years I gobbled up her other books and even took classes from her online.

The most magical and sparkly SARK moment was when I had the chance to talk with her over the phone. I interviewed her for one of my own online classes. It was amazing and just what I would have hoped for in an interview: her laughter was infectious and her wisdom was so inspiring. It felt like I was talking with my older sister.

But the magic happened after the interview during our private conversation. We chatted about all sorts of topics including our love lives. We had a couple of things in common: We both were in budding long-term relationships. We talked about how we chose to live alone for many years to focus on getting healthy and how we needed to fully embrace love, and accept ourselves first before we were ready to welcome a loving and healthy relationship.


Here is a picture of me and my Mr. Wonderful (my husband Fernando) from our first date. We are going on four years now. It feels like we’ve worked through the getting-to-know- you, oops I stepped on an invisible land mine stage. We’ve been through a ton as a couple with the loss of both of my parents and Fernando needing complicated eye surgery (there was a chance of him going completely blind in one eye) to some financial stuff. We’ve turned a corner and feeling closer than ever. Every person (coupled up or single) at every stage can use some support in the love and self esteem arena. I was eager to see what SARK and John had to share on this subject in their new book.


When the invitation to review her latest book on Succulent Wild Love came out, I was eager to pour through it. Ooooh my, I have to tell you that this book is jam packed with wisdom, stories, and joyFULL solutions for cultivating and nurturing loving relationships including the relationship we have with our selves.

Every book I read turns into a workbook. I highlight, mark up, and tag every book and this one was no different. For today’s feature I thought I would randomly open the book and focus on that chapter. Before I opened the book I held it close to my heart with my eyes closed and said out loud, “What message do I need to hear? What chapter will guide me?”

Much to my surprise I opened to chapter 9, “The Critics in Your Head Are Not You – Or Your Partner: Your Inner Critic Care System.” I was surprised because I thought I was doing really well with my inner critics. As I read the list of common critics, I realized that I’ve been hanging out with a few of them recently.

Do any of these inner critics sound familiar?

THE GOOD PERSON – a.k.a. the good girlfriend, the good wife, the good daughter…the one who sacrifices herself. She is looking for praise. She yearns to be liked and loved.

THE OVERACHIEVER OR PUSHING ONE – Ahhhh this is the critic who pushes you to do more – no matter what you do it isn’t enough.

THE PERFECTIONIST – Everything is constantly being polished and assessed for being “better” and nothing or no one is quite good enough.

THE COMPARER – Other people’s life, relationships, careers, art, is better than yours.

THE PROCRASTINATOR – If you do or try anything – especially love or relationships – it can be judged. Better not start or start later.

THE HOPELESS ONE – What’s the point? Why begin anything at all? Why try love? “I tried before and failed. Nothing will ever work. It’s all pointless…” This critic collapses before beginning, feels sad about not beginning, and will sabotage any attempts at starting.


I pulled out my art supplies and immediately set out to draw a mandala with a section for each of these critics. I thought about what I need to SHINE and be my best. For each critic, I wrote down affirmations and statements that I could use the next time they show up.



I am willing to give my all to what I care about.

It feels good to work towards a goal even by taking small steps.

It is better to try and fail then to not try at all.

I have faith in and believe in my skills, abilities, and gifts.2-comparer


I am comfortable being who I am.

I value the gifts that I have to give.

I look for the good in everyone including me.

I cultivate gentleness and patience.



I am loved and I am loveable.

I believe that m life is worthy of companionship.

I trust my deepest truth.



{we know each other really well}

I protect myself from the stress of excess.

I live gently and gracefully.

I resist the insistent demands of my ego.

I don’t have to do it alone.



I abide by my heart’s deepest promise.

I value what I need and desire and it may mean that I disappoint others when I say no.

I set healthy boundaries.6-perfectionist


I know that I am enough.

I am gentle with myself.

I overlook mistakes.

I am a work in progress.

Do you recognize any of these critics? What affirmations and positive statements will inspire you the next time your critic stops by for a visit?


In SARK and John’s book, they offer some powerful suggestions on how to work with inner critics. This is just one of many chapters that offer joyFULL solutions. It’s a book for everyone who desires feeling more love more often.

SARK has made a HUGE difference in my life and I know her work will do the same for you!

Succulent Wild Love: Six Powerful Habits for Feeling More Love More Often

Visit SARK’s awesome website:

This entry was posted in: Free Stuff, Highlight, Practice


Kathryn Costa is an instigator of soulful and creative living. Her passion can be summed up in three little words: “create and connect.” Kathryn’s programs help people to find clarity, let go of fear, embrace their dreams, and explore their creativity. Kathryn has been an online community developer, teacher, and soulful guide for 12 years. Her unique teaching and coaching style integrates tools and practices from her training in Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coaching, Soul Coaching, The Virtue’s Project, and Jaguar Path Shamanic Apprenticeship Program.


  1. I LOVE your critics mandala! I And I love SARK’s inner critic work. I’ve been outsourcing my inner critics to bigger and better assignments, and they are quite happy. Love your work!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dorothy Allison says

    Kathryn, I discovered SARK about 20 years ago also. I loved the creative display of text in her books – an expression of freedom. I am interested in the notion that at different points in our lives, different inner critics vie for the top spot. It has taken retirement for me to discover I have the power over the inner critics.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Carol M says

    An Affirmation Mandala to move beyond the Inner Critic?!… So simple yet needs some mindful attention to create my own new truths. Thanks so much… Now I need to figure out where it needs to go for easy reach!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Absolutely love love love this and I too am a massive fan of SARK! Eating mangoes naked is the thought that comes to my mind whenever I think of SARK LOL LOL! I was wondering Kathryn if by chance you make these mandalas to order? They are really beautiful Warm and Kind regards Syndi

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Anna Maria Westcott says

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!
    You are a breath of fresh air.
    I was meant to find you and 100 Mandalas.
    I am so very grateful and thankful.

    Huge hugs from Montreal, Quebec Canada 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love your shine mandala and how when I write in the circle form ,the act of creation impresses (clarifies)what I am feeling and thinking so I remember the lesson…💕💕hadnt heard of SARK…must look up her books …thank you for sharing your wisdom, Kathryn!


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