new year words

One of my favourite things to do, and I know a lot of you are with me, to celebrate a gorgeous new year is to set new intentions and pick my word/s of the year. I tend to pick three that encompass what I’d like to bring into my year. Last year they were Energy, Opportunity and Implement, which I feel really did guide me beautifully into making choices and learning what I needed to learn to bring about many of the changes and goals I desired.

2016 has a whole different energy to me. I feel like the path ahead is a little less certain (partly why I’ve chosen my first word) but allowing it to unfold and trusting that it will be ok is important. This year feels like it’s wide open to go in any direction. I’m excited to see where it goes! Here’s a little peek into the words I’ve chosen and why.

Clarity - Word of the Year 2016 - Maps to Herself

After making some significant changes in my business in 2015, I’m stepping into this year with more space to explore new projects, new art, new collaborations, and really, anything is possible. I want to bring forth more clarity in which direction to go, how I can bring out the best in myself, and what I can create for my community.

Freedom - Word of the Year 2016 - Maps to Herself

This word has been coming up for a couple of months now, I shared a little about what it means in my last post, but I feel a strong desire to dig deeper into what freedom looks like for me and how I can live my life by my own rules, not ones that have been ingrained in me as I’ve grown up.

Spirit - Word of the Year 2016 - Maps to Herself

My spiritual practice over the last couple of years has been sidelined much more than I’d hoped so I am devoting myself to making it more of a priority this year, learning more about the ways I connect with my intuition, higher self, spirit guides and the universe, and creating a daily spiritual practice that aligns with that.

Interested in a free printable graphic of your word of the year? Last year I had almost 200 requests for these, so amazing! All you need to do is comment before the 19th of January with your word or words and which colour you’d like from the examples above (sorry, no custom colour requests) and I’ll send you a high res graphic next week to print and stick up on your wall, vision board or in your journal as a reminder. The email you include in the comment will be where I send your graphic.

May all your words come to life in 2016!

*Comments are now closed, thank you everyone!


let your free spirit fly

Let Your Free Spirit Fly - Jo Klima - Maps to Herself

Let your free spirit fly. What would this phrase mean to you? I feel like many of us don’t actually allow ourselves to do this, simply because we feel there are so many reasons that it’s not possible, or ‘responsible’. Relationships, jobs, money, health. If you really wanted to take off on an adventure for months, how many things could you put on that list of why it’s not possible? I’m not saying jetting off overseas is the only way, but even if you wanted an extra few weeks to retreat or work on a special creative project, you may have many similar things blocking you from thinking you are able to do that.

There are many moments while travelling that I have the experience of feeling free, but what I’d really love is to encapsulate that into every day of my life, not just a few weeks of the year. Stepping back from client work has given me this feeling more abundantly in the last few months, and expressing my creativity in different ways is such a crucial part of this. It was what I needed, and it has allowed by inner spirit to feel more free.

What I want you to think about however, is what on that list of reasons for ‘not being able to do something for yourself’ is due to other people, or other situations and circumstances. Do you think your kids won’t survive without you, or a partner doesn’t want you to spend money on a solo adventure, or that you’ll annoy someone, or there’s noone to take care of things the way that you would. I will take a wild stab in the dark that most of the things you worry about happening wouldn’t happen, or not in the way you fear. Maybe the other person will actually surprise you and be supportive, your kids will be happy and having fun, your work colleagues handle your share of the work just fine. What you may find is that your biggest issue is letting go of things being done ‘your way’. But they will be done however they get done, and by then you’ll have had your time to explore, retreat, create or whatever it really is that helps your free spirit fly, that even if things didn’t go perfectly in your absence it won’t be such a big deal.

So go on, how can you devote more time to doing this for yourself and your spirit, and when will you let it happen? Don’t hold back on that part of yourself that craves freedom, adventure, retreating, slowing down, changing things up or taking a bigger risk. If you’re doing it for the right reasons and in the spirit of love for yourself, it will be an incredible gift to your inner spirit, and you won’t want to go another minute without tapping into that, or another day of not inviting your free spirit to stretch her wings and fly.

Free Spirit Progress - Jo Klima - Maps to Herself

Above are some progress shots of this artwork, prints are available from Society6.


my vibe my tribe


When I think about all the incredible people I’ve met and gotten to know over the last couple of years I just have a moment of awe. I created this blog a little over 2 years ago, at a time when I was craving a different type of connection that I hadn’t known or experienced much of in the past. I was holding onto so much baggage and negative emotions about being around other people. Usually feeling drained at the thought of spending time with others, let alone the actual experience. I wanted to be around people that made me feel uplifted, inspired, and who would allow me to bring out more of my real self. It did take moving location again into the city to actually get me out of the house and create more real world connections. I would never have imagined how much it would impact me in the best way possible.

I was very active on social media before this and for a period of time it felt like enough. But after a matter of years of still being quite the hermit, things needed to shift. I still get to meet and connect with amazing people through these channels. It’s where I continue and adore ‘meeting’ people who become real life friends too. I love that I could visit almost any city in the world and be able to catch up with someone, no matter how well we may know each other, as long as there was a genuine resonance there.

I love the communities I am lucky to be a part of now, and it grows more and more each day. I have been wanting to create a special online community which encourages myself and others to live our best creative life. To share our experiences and expressions of art. It’s been on my mind for a few months now, but I recently had a lovely vision of bringing it to life sooner than expected.

I can’t express how fortunate I am to be witness to, and a part of, the lives of some incredible women. Women who hold no bars to just putting who they are out there. Doing whatever they need to do to align their life and work to who they truly are, what they believe in and who they are here to help.

I’m also thrilled when I hear stories of so many lovely followers of The Darling Tree and Maps to Herself who have begun to include art, creativity and passion back into their lives. To hear it’s given them a new and beautiful way to express themselves, or discover more about the essence within them, is incredible. It blows my mind to be a small part of that, and it drives me to keep doing what I’m doing.

Thank you for being here with me and thank you to those women who are now in my life. It’s a true blessing, and I still feel like things are just getting started!


invoking joy

Invoking Joy - Jo Klima - Maps to Herself

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about creativity especially after reading Big Magic, which I’m sure quite a few of you have also read over the last month, but in particular the way we interact with it. I am definitely someone who thinks that engaging in or expressing creativity is not something that should create angst and anxiety, and if it does it’s most likely because you are doing it for the wrong reasons.

One of the biggest lessons I’ve taken from the book is the simple idea that creativity doesn’t owe you anything. Not money, success, fame or answers. It simply invites you to come play with it, and it will continue to engage with you if you continue to respond back. This becomes pretty interesting when you desire to build your business around such interactions. Quite often Liz mentions that you need to do whatever it takes to make time for your creativity but that doesn’t mean you get to pressure it with needing to make you an income. Which might mean for some people that their job has nothing to do with their creative passion.

While for myself I believe it is both and it can be, I am definitely finding more and more that I can sense when I’m creating just for the fun and joy of it, regardless of whether is becomes a source of income, and when I’m trying too hard to make creativity fit into my own neat and convenient plans. And it’s primarily when I don’t feel joy or flow. Resistance is more of a difficult one to decipher at times. On one hand it can either be because it’s scary but absolutely something you are meant to do, or on the other because you don’t actually feel aligned with it. It might be one of those things you think you should do, instead of want to do.

Last week while I was working with the ‘Joy’ alchemical oil from Sacred Self, I was receiving a lot of messages to remind me to relax, not be so serious, grab some paints and get messy, just for the hell of it. Because it’s fun. And I had a lovely couple of hours painting this bright and happy floral inspired artwork. It helped me to experience that feeling of simple creative joy, and reconnect back to doing the things that give me this sense of creative freedom and energy.


realigning with a vision

Realigning with a Vision

It’s been almost two years now since I created this blog. Around the same time it launched I signed up to an online writing course to learn more about starting, planning and writing a book. Having never really identified with being a writer I thought it was strange that this new blog stirred something within me that thought at some point there could be a significant piece of written work that would evolve from it.

I’m not suggesting I’m about to embark on writing a book, not just yet anyway, but in the course I only got so far as the completing the first assignment in which I was just brainstorming the idea of what it could be. It was and still is something that I really want to bring forth in my creative work and offerings.

Here’s what I submitted when asked to give an outline of the subject area I intended to explore:


My goal is to help others create a more fulfilling and joyful life through art. I want to share ways in which creating art intuitively opens up a new way of learning about yourself and your desires. I feel that in a world that is so hungry for technology and the constant output of information, it has disconnected us from ourselves and each other. Everything is designed to be consumed quickly and efficiently, we are told how we should look and feel, what we should desire and what makes our lives enjoyable. But it leads us away from what we truly need and want, and we find that the harder we aim for what society tell us to aim for, the unhappier we become.

Everyone is capable of being creative. I would like to encourage and inspire people to just experiment different techniques and have fun with it as a method of removing them from their computer screens or smart phones and tapping into their own imagination. By accessing your intuition and using spiritual and other creative practices like meditation, visualisation, and journalling you can begin to receive messages that also appear in the art you create. This unlocks a deeper understanding of yourself, which allows you to begin implementing things into your life that align with what you want. You also begin to connect with other beautiful souls who are on a similar path to you. This opens up a supportive network where you can learn from and share with each other. It really can open you up to creative a beautiful life.


So much of this still rings true for me and just reading this back has me excited to explore this further, who knows what form it might take, but I can definitely feel myself aligning with the desire to encourage any woman to intuitively and artistically create maps to herself.

Artwork available as a print in my Society6 store.


creative output

Mandala Canvas 1 - Jo Klima - Maps to Herself

By now I’m sure, or I hope, that we all understand that everyone is creative or has the ability to add more creativity into their life no matter the job, task or situation you’re in. Something I’ve been thinking about lately is what makes one person create a huge amount of work/art/content while another struggles to begin or find flow in their work or in pursuing their passions. I think there’s a lot more to it than just finding what you’re passionate about because that alone, at least for me personally, is not a magic pill that gives me the drive and energy each morning to get up early and be productive all day.

I’ve always admired people who work on their craft each and every day, it almost seems like they were born that way and aren’t as easily distracted by everything else going on. I’m sure some people are built that way, but in the interests of finding hope for the rest of us, I think we can each find a way to create consistently that works for us. There’s lots of ideas and methods and books on this topic, which is great because I think for each individual the way to increase their creative output is going to be different. We each have different beliefs and levels of confidence about our work which will also affect how much of it we bring out into the world. One negative comment might be enough for one person to stop what they are doing for fear of more negative feedback, another will shake it off and keep creating for the countless others who do love what they are doing.

I think one of the key issues we have is making everything much more complicated that it needs to be, creating page long to-do lists and saying yes to too much. What if, for one day, or series of days, there was only one thing on your to-do list? It would feel pretty great to tick that baby off and then choose how you want to spend the rest of the day or evening. Just one task completed, one baby step, can be all it takes to lead into becoming motivated to take on another, or grant you permission to say ‘I’ve done enough, I’m proud of my progress, I’ll now go read a chapter of that book that’s been sitting beside my bed for weeks’. I think that even doing a little can lead to doing a lot more. Completing even a small task can make you feel better about yourself, and more confident to continue on.

Mandala Canvas 2 - Jo Klima - Maps to Herself

Thinking back to recent years, the time where I most felt connected to what I was doing and could easily sit down and be truly focused on what I was doing, was when I took part in a month-long social media rehab. No Instagram, Facebook or Twitter for 30 days. Even if I did procrastinate, it took the form of doing chores around the house, which is far better than losing a few hours on Facebook. It really did amaze me how awesome I felt for that whole month and I’ve always wanted to do something similar again. Hmmm… maybe a September Sabbatical should be on the cards?! And while I really love connecting with others, sharing with and supporting each other, I just wonder how to do that in a way that doesn’t impact my own thoughts, beliefs and confidence as much.

When I’m not freely creating, I can quickly fall into what feels like a lengthy hangover. It leads to self-sabotage, unhealthy habits, negative thoughts, and low energy. So it’s really important that I don’t fall into that space, because doing even a small amount of work each day is much easier than getting back out of that again. What helps me is to always carry a sketchbook around with me and write and draw anything, even if it looks crappy, because it will eventually lead to the next step or idea. I’ll often go into my studio over the weekend to just play around which always makes it easier to get going on Monday. At times when the last thing I feel like doing is to stare at my laptop, I’ll ask friends to meet me in a cafe to work which always makes it more fun.

I’d love to hear what helps you become more productive in your work or increase your creative output, please comment below!