She Gave Herself Permission To Drown


When I turned 20 my friends and I flashed our fake ID’s and spent the entire night dancing on bar stools and drinking ourselves into oblivion. That pretty much set the stage for the unraveling of the decade to come.  At 30, Hansel and I sold all our belongings and drove across the US of A landing in Arizona where we still live happily today with our greatest surprise ever: our son Phoenix.

So before I turned 40 on December 28th, I started asking myself how do I want to welcome in this new decade?  What intentions do I want to plant? How can I begin the way I wish to truly continue?


On the day of my birthday I mindfully spent it doing the things I love the most — being with my family and friends, spending time out in nature, cooking a slow delicious meal, squeezing in a nap, and painting in my art journal.

It felt good.  It felt complete.

But as a 40th birthday gift to myself, I decided to ask my dear friend Chris Zydel if she would so generously lend me her studio for four luscious days — and with an exuberance of joy, Chris immediately said yes.


I arrived Wednesday night by a taxi driver named Monday and all the photos you see here are from my first night and morning here.

My painting suite comes complete with lodging and an abundance of painting supplies — so basically I never have to leave.

To welcome in this new decade of mine I have given myself full permission to drown. Definitely not in alcohol or in the adventure of leaving everything I ever knew behind — but rather in the bliss of returning to what is True.


Before I was ever a mother, a wife, a teacher, an entrepreneur, even an artist — I was a painter.  I have always been a painter.

Painting is my first language. It’s how I learned to speak, express myself, and most of all — it’s how I’ve learned to listen.

I’m blessed to have a beautiful painting studio of my own and to have crafted a life that fully supports my passion.  To be honest, I paint almost every day. But I’m here, 750 miles away from home, because it’s time to shift the energy — to actually own this Truth of who I am: a FEARLESS Painter.

Morning Collage IMG_6650 2

In 2009 when I started teaching intuitive painting online, it just made sense to call my process FEARLESS® Painting.  Facing fear willingly and blazing my own way has always been my thang, I guess you could say.  Though the last four years of my thirties were really difficult.  So when Phoenix was born in 2012 I decided to retire my FEARLESS® Painting classes online.  I needed to step away from holding that sacred space for others, I told myself, so I could be more fully present for my family.

But that was just how I kept things neat and tidy on the outside.  Now, finally feeling like I made my way through that hellish period, I can see that these past four years have been an initiation.

Believe it or not, for awhile I was thinking of letting go of FEARLESS® Painting altogether.  I even told many of my friends, such as Chris Zydel who would look at me very strange every time I said so.

You see, the thing about FEARLESS® Painting is that it makes you look deeper — and during those challenging years, I really didn’t want to look deep.  I didn’t want to keep embracing the fucking pain.  I didn’t want to have to actually feel it.


But last year, I finally surrendered.  I finally stopped running away from myself.  I finally gave in.

And as you may know, I wrote a lot about it HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE.  But what I didn’t share is how I finally accepted that this is who I am . That FEARLESS® Painting is my medicine that I’m here to share.

A month ago I sat down and re-wrote my FEARLESS® Painting page HERE on Dirty Footprints Studio.  It’s still not perfect, but it feels honest.  The part that gives me the most thrill is where I state that I’m bringing BIG, DEEP, and SHINE back.   It feels so great to announce that I’m opening myself up again to share this process with others and I’m even more excited because my understanding of FEARLESS® Painting has incredibly evolved and strengthened since those early days of teaching it online.

I realize that I didn’t go through hell and come out the other side with my paintbrushes waving for nothing.  I had to step away from teaching FEARLESS® Painting — because I had to understand and embrace it’s role in relationship to suffering.

And now, the reason why I’m here by myself in this studio, is to say yes to the gifts I’ve been granted.  I’m here to give myself permission to drown in what I believe and know as True.  I’m here to embody my calling and with great faith, begin to lay the foundation for a new life that will fully honor it.

If you want to see more of what I’ve been up to while here at my private painting retreat, be sure to follow me on Instagram.  You’ll find me, of course, as @DirtyFootprints and I’ll be writing more about it on my blog too — so sign up below to receive my musings in your inbox.

And hey, thank you for baring witness to my journey.  I’m truly grateful.


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