Inspiration, Mandala Stories
Comments 22

Spreading My Wings

“You’re fired.”

These were the words that were in my head as I was writing my letter of resignation.

It’s a dream that so many have and here I was doing it – firing my employer!

Nine years ago, I started blogging about my creative life. Collage, art journaling, mixed media, photography, Ikebana (Japanese flowering arranging) were some of the mediums that appeared over the years.

More than the creative projects, it was connecting with people from all over the world that changed my life. Readers loved my art but loved even more my words and reflections on life. I found that when I was most vulnerable, others resonated and found comfort in my words. To my amazement, deep, meaningful connections were happening.

I was a 40 year old single mother when I started blogging while working at a day job that barely paid the bills. It’s what I needed at the time. Being a single mom was scary and exhausting and this day job was easy. I needed easy.

Those first blog posts were awkward as I didn’t know what to write. I kept showing up and after thousands of posts, I discovered my voice and writing style.

“What if?”

This was and remains my favorite question. “What if I could make a living out of creating and connecting? I’m having so much fun with this blogging experience.”

“What’s next?”

This is my second favorite question. Over the years, I followed my curiosity which eventually led to where I am today – I’m an author, artist, educator, and community developer.


{{Pinch Me}}

Today, I’m living my dream of working full-time at my dream job, doing what I love – creating and connecting.

“What happened? How did you make this decision?” asked Leslie Sturgeon who runs Women Inspiring Women, an organization in New Hampshire that lives up to its name. Leslie had seen me a couple of weeks earlier at one of her conference days. It had been a couple of years since we had seen each other. When she asked me how I was doing, I felt a huge weight on my shoulders. “I really need to change my day job,” I told her. She beamed a huge, lovely smile and said, “I think it’s time you just quit the day job and work for yourself.” My first impulse was to make an excuse. I smiled still feeling heavy – heavy hearted and heavy in my body. It seemed so easy for Leslie to say “quit your day job” and it felt so hard for me to just do it.

So how did I go from feeling so heavy to making the leap?


Here’s what pushed me forward:

I was tired of my boring 13 year old story.

I hated the sound of this broken record skipping over the words, “I need to drop the day job.” It was a story that I had been telling for way too long. And turning 50 next July was motivating me – I couldn’t fathom hitting that milestone and being stuck in the same place.

I was ready for a new and inspired story.

I was afraid that my body would quit for me.

The last three years have been intense as I worked full on non-stop on my first book project, building an online community, running epic social media events, designing online courses all while punching in to the full time day job. There was little time for self care. The weight has been piling on and the anxiety building up. I felt like a time bomb.

I wanted to deactivate this bomb and what I need to do it is time.


The day job no longer felt like a comfort zone.

For years the day job felt comfortable. I had a 10 minute commute. I learned the culture, lingo, and cycles of events. It was easy to design for the various departments. I was on cruise control which helped me to have the energy to pursue my side projects. Now while I never belonged, I managed to fit in until recently when the landscape shifted and new management came in with a very conservative mission and values that clashed with mine.

It was time to rethink the comfort zone.


My perception shifted and I finally BELIEVED in myself and my dream.

This was perhaps the most important turning point for me. Each year I select a word-for-the-year that will inspire me to stay focused on my life’s purpose. This year I knew I needed to truly BELIEVE in myself, not just say it, but feel it if I were to realize my dream of working for myself. Throughout the year I kept my word BELIEVE in the forefront of my mind and noticed it everywhere. More than noticing it, I took a hard look at my limiting beliefs and I finally recognized the amazing gifts and talents that I have. It became so clear like a light switch was flipped on to illuminate a very dark room. I could see that I was not a right fit anymore for my day job. They were too small for my BIG talent and my even BIGGER ideas. Add to that I didn’t want to bring my gifts to their service any more, I wanted to work on a bigger mission and serve many more people.

Here are some of the signs that led me here…


My 2017 Dream Wheel

Each year I create a vision board only mine is in a circle and I call it a dream wheel.


At the center of my board is a house made of various currencies. This clearly states my central goal to make money from all over the world from home.

In order pursue this goal to work for myself, I needed to commit to it full time. The Statue of Liberty was the sign declaring my independence.

My dream wheel is a visual that helps me to remember my intentions and work with them throughout the year.


My 2017 Vision Journal

I kept a journal made of a recycled catalogue where I gathered inspiration, thoughts, and notes about my dreams and goals as well as quotes relating to my word-for-the-year. This journal helped me to focus and define my action steps and it was a place of inspiration.


My 2017 Word-for-the-Year

I’ve mentioned several times how my word was a key element in my decision. This was the year to finally BELIEVE.


Two of Wands

Over the summer Mindy Tsonas invited me to design a Tarot card for one of her online classes. The two of wands speaks to a decision that I had to make. Was I going to hold onto the wand that was firmly planted where I’ve been all of these years or was I going to reach for and walk in the direction of where the second wand was pointing? The second wand points at an expansive horizon where a new life awaits. There is a range of rugged mountains to climb that may be hard yet lead to new vistas and adventures.

After making the card and reflecting on it, I felt excited to reach for the second wand. Staying with the first wand would keep me stuck and limit my potential.


Casting Gemstones

My friend Carol Caring recently invited me to toss several gemstones and tell her what I saw in how they were arranged. I first noticed the black stone which represents to me a barrier that is blocking the red stone, my passion, from moving forward. I instantly thought the black stone represented my day job. What struck me was that the black stone was the smallest of the set and yet my experience felt as though it was bigger and heavier. This perspective lifted some of the weight that I was feeling. “Perhaps, I’m giving this day job too much importance,” I thought.

Now doesn’t the yellow stone look like a face? It almost looks like it’s watching to see if I’ll jump past the block to follow my own unique path.

This was a fun activity and one that Carol says you can do with any collection of objects. The stones themselves don’t tell the story, it’s you who tells the story of what is seen by tuning in and listening to your intuition. Cool stuff.

What is even cooler is that I can now post on topics like my Tarot art and casting stones without fear of losing my day job. That’s right, I’ve been censoring all of these years. Watch out folks, I’m coming out of the closet and sharing how alternative I truly am.


It feels so good to finally be here.

What’s Next?

In the short term, I am pouring my heart into two new online courses that open up later this month: Mandala Drawing I and Color I.

I have workshops lined up at The Painted Dog Studio in Brunswick, Maine.


I’ll be at Kripalu for New Years Weekend presenting a mandala program.


I’m the first listing on page five in Kripalu’s winter catalogue.


I’m getting the new {{free}} 100 Mandalas Sharing Circle all set up for January 1st. Pssst…if you haven’t joined already, you are invited!


I’m reshooting some of the videos for the Inspired Vision Retreat and incorporating what I’ve learned in these last few years. One new concept will be great for those of you who come to the online course with a word already selected. I’ll have activities to help you consider the many facets of the word and I’ll also show you inside my vision journal so you can start one for yourself.

Another common mistake I see people make is that they pick a word in response to the moment often revolving around self care and not a word that holds a bigger vision. These days I’m reading Evan Carmichael’s book, “Your One Word” which focuses on your one constant word. My constant companion word is CONNECT and I’ll share more on that in my Inspired Vision Retreat. The word “connect” speaks to my core value and that which excites me and drives my decisions. I found Evan as we both share a connection with the word BELIEVE. Be sure to check out Evan Carmichael’s YouTube channel for heaps of inspiration.

I hope you’ll want to play with words and create dream wheels with me in 2018!


I will be heading to Hawaii in a couple of weeks for the 10th Anniversary “Open Your Heart in Paradise” Retreat – Ram Dass

It’s one of those miracles that happened since I gave my notice. I’ll tell you all about it when I get back. If you look at my dream wheel above, this trip is right there! If you told me when I designed this board that I was going to Hawaii for a retreat with Ram Dass, I would not have BELIEVED it.


More miracles are on the horizon like an invitation I received from the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY where I’ll be teaching next summer. Watch my newsletter and this blog for more details.

And the last nugget that I’ll share is a new website that I plan to launch in April on the occasion of my 10th Blog Anniversary. I’ll be bringing back my True North Arts domain/brand and will be opening up a wider range of projects that will include mandalas and so much more. Think vision journaling, mixed media, collage, SoulCollage, photography…

Wow!!! So as you can see no grass is growing up and around me!

If you made it down this far. I’m impressed. Thanks for sticking with me. I’d love to hear your thoughts, ideas, a-ha moments. Was there something here you want to learn more about? I’d love to know if you are inspired to follow your dreams. What take-aways are you pulling from this blog post. Mention them in the comments below – not only would I love to hear what is inspiring you, but it will inspire other readers too.

As always thank you for connecting with me here on this blog. The journey is always best when shared with others.

{soul hugs}

~ Kathryn


This entry was posted in: Inspiration, Mandala Stories


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. Wow! It seems that by letting stuff go, you’re opening the way for new stuff to come in. I’m so pleased for you that you can now be who you were born to be! I’m loving the crystals, and tarot, and the brightness of your soul as you step out in a new life! Enjoy!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you! It is so true that when we break the chains and let go of what drains our time and energy – we free up time and energy for new endeavors that bring us joy. I feel great that I can focus on what I love. Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. You’ve brightened my day.


  3. Nancy Dubuc says

    I am so glad you can return to your blogging. I’m looking forward to seeing where this journey takes you next. How exciting to have doors opening so quickly, but then again you may have been in the hallway for a bit of time. Enjoy the ride!


  4. It does feel so good to have these AMAZING opportunities happening at the heels of leaving the “safe” day job. It shows that I’ve been doing a good job laying a foundation before leaping. I too am so happy that I have time to return to blogging. These posts take me a while to write, so it is great to have more time for it. It is one of the best ways I know to tell my stories and connect with you and our mandala family.


    • Thank you Jane. I’ve been reconnecting with SoulCollage. I’ve made some wonderful cards during this transition. It seems like another lifetime when we did the training.


  5. Anna Maria Westcott says

    Oh my Gosh Kathryn!
    You are one huge amazing individual.
    Your charasmatic way will guide you.
    You are an inspiration, and wish you only the best 🤗🤗🤗


  6. Kathryn,
    Congratulations on your success, wow, I am so inspired by it! I love watching your videos and soaking up your energy and learning coloring techniques (though I don’t feel the visual arts are where my creative genius is). I launched into my own consulting business without the careful preparation you’ve done and, 2 1/2 years in, I can say it’s working – you are so much farther ahead than I was when I started my dream full-time. You are an example of “doing everything right” as an entrepreneur, plus your product is just plain beautiful and inspiring! I wish you great success and look forward to learning and growing with you!


    • Thank you Gwen! It is great to hear that you are thriving at your consulting business. Way to go! I have so much still to learn, but believe as you noted, that I have a good foundation for launching. The key to getting to this point is patience, trust, and determination!


  7. Catherine says

    I am so excited for you! I know I have been connecting with you for a very long time. You have inspired me to create so many amazing things over the years. What I love the most is how each project has caused me to go deeper internally so I could grow more healthy externally. Know I am cheering you on. I hope to participate as much as I can. Congrats! I know you will follow your dreams well.


    • Thank you Catherine. It has been wonderful to have long time connections with people like you. It means so much to me that my creative path has inspired yours. Keep creating and connecting!


  8. Sandy Boreen says

    Wow, a lot of things happening. So happy that you can live your dream. Looking forward to seeing more exciting things! I have been so happy to be part of the Mandala community.


    • Thank you sweet mandala sister. I have lots of new things in development for 2018 that are just emerging! Thank you for your support! {soul hugs}


  9. Kathryn, you are so awesome! I love that you’re being brave enough to do all this and I’m intensely jealous of your focus and drive at the same time. I am very much looking forward to seeing “just how alternative” you really are — I LOVE the idea of creating my own tarot cards, and would like to learn more about that. I’m also thinking about the dream wheel, specifically, using visuals like that to keep your goals and motivations on your mind instead of letting things slide (like I tend to do). I’m really excited to see where this new journey leads you, and grateful that you’re sharing and letting us tag along. I know it will be inspiring!


    • Hi Charity, Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment rich with details about your interests. Before I became super busy juggling so many things, I would create a collage monthly on the full moon. What started out as “vision boards” turned into what I called my stepping stone collages.I’ll be bringing that practice to my new offerings in 2018. The January Inspired Vision Retreat will set the tone for some new practices and offerings. I have a flood gate of new, fresh ideas that have been waiting to emerge! Stay tuned!!!


  10. Sally McLennan says

    Congratulations Kathryn 🎉 You have effectively squashed that little voice in your head that was describing all the ghastly things that could happen if you left the ‘security’ of your last job. When the values and ethics of the business one works for are not in sync with one’s own, other sorts of terrible things can happen. There will be challenges in your new life, but because you are now on your own solid foundations, you will find your way through. Your journey over the last couple of years, during which I have been privileged to be in your Sharing Circle where I have learned so much, is an inspiring example to all of us. 🌟


    • I couldn’t agree more about the discord that happens when one’s values clash with the employer’s. While on the surface, there is some common ground, there are too many that clash. I couldn’t keep up the facade any more. I’ve learned so much over the last few years and I’ll continue to test and experiment as I build my business. Thank you for being a bright light in our community. I’ve so enjoyed your mandalas and reflections. I feel a kinship with you.


  11. Urieli says

    I so admire your courage and your will. You worked very hard to get where you are and you continue to explore new horizons very successfully. I am so proud for you ♡. Congratulations.


  12. Angela says

    Kathryn I have learned so much from you and it has done wonders for me personally. I’m so glad you are able to expand and live your dreams. You have inspired I’m sure so many to expand their journey. I love your book your online classes you have a way of providing knowledge and your teaching brings about a sort of calm to me. You have a calming voice. Thanks for all you do. Can’t wait to follow your journey.


    • Thank you Angela. It is always good to hear what one’s work means to others. I’m hoping to use my calming voice more in the future by resuming my podcast. I’m not sure when I’ll get it relaunched, but it is something I’m very much interested in as I love to tell stories. When my dad was declining, he said my voice soothed him. When I read to him or told him stories it was like a lullaby and he felt reassured. During the last year of his life, I would call him every morning. I was his “wake up and greet the day” call. Have a lovely day!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s