remembering why

Remembering Why - Jo Klima - Maps to Herself

There are moments where any one of us can find ourselves stuck or unclear when following our dreams or passions. Sometimes we’re not sure what our next step is, other times we know exactly what we need to do but face resistance. You may have found what you love doing, and want to spend all your time doing it, but it’s not working out how you wanted it to. You may keep pushing on with the best of intentions and hopeful plans, but something doesn’t feel right. I think we all go through periods like this. For me, it’s often because I’ve lost sight of why I began in the first place.

It’s so easy for us to get trapped in the pursuit of the goal and making it as far or further than someone else you perceive as successful in a way that you would like to be. As soon as I become too fixated on numbers (sales, likes, followers, shares) my motivation and creative work suffers. I don’t want to spend my time wondering why or how other people got to where they are, and what I’m missing and doing wrong. I’m certain those people have other people they look to and wonder the same thing. One of the most difficult aspects of being part of the online world is not comparing ourselves to the lives that other people selectively and deliberately choose to show us. Let them be an inspiration to a certain degree, but not an indication of where you should or need to be right now, or maybe ever.

'Let the beauty of what you love be what you do' - Rumi - Maps to Herseld

Your journey will most certainly take on a different path to what you think it will, and where it leads you is not as important as where it is now, and what brought you here. If your present situation is not feeling good or making you happy, ask yourself if you are staying true to the idea or passion that initially captured your heart.

Today I was reminded again why I began this blog, to play and be present in the moment.

Remembering why you started allows you to feel the flow and joy that comes from simply doing what you love, without expectations or objectives. Just you and the essence of your purpose. Magic.

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lunar gaze

Jo Klima - Maps to Herself

I am loving the energy of this month so far. After a oddly passive month of June that felt like it disappeared into the ether, I was encouraged to keep my gaze forward. Mercury in retrograde can be a good time to retreat, reflect and reassess. I was just waiting for what I felt was a period of high energy, action and progress approaching.

Jo Klima - Maps to Herself

So far that has turned out to be true, with many internal and external signs indicating that it’s time to step into a new cycle. On the first of the month I moved into my new little studio which I love. It has such a beautiful energy which inspires me to create with refreshed confidence and bigger dreams. I feel that some amazing things will be created here, by my own hands and in collaboration with other beautiful souls who find themselves walking a similar path to me.

Jo Klima - Maps to Herself

It’s not only the new space which has shifted things for me this month. After a couple of months of being too much in my head and neglecting many things, I’m easing back into a more regular routine of journal writing and meditation, and feeling into my body again after signing up for aerial yoga classes. We know these things are wonderful for us and help us immensely, but somehow I always find myself in these periods of distraction without realising it, until I am once again guided to take notice and give them priority.

I’m excited to share with you what takes places over the next few months as they unfold.

The first artwork above is available as an art print in the shop! If you have your eye on a particular print be sure to get your hands on it quickly as it may be a while until it’s reprinted (if it gets reprinted), as I’ll be focusing on making new art!

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raving lunatic

Jo Klima - Maps to Herself

This would have to be one of the craziest paintings I’ve done so far. Even though there is so much going on, it does have a wonderful energy in it. I do wonder why most of my artwork tends to become very detailed in it’s marks and patterns. Sometimes it’s hard to know when to stop, other times I just find creating those patterns to be quite meditative. I love many abstract artists that have a beautiful minimalist style and just like I am aware of it in the design world, I know it’s not an easy thing to do well. But I’m choosing to follow my intuition when creating my art, rather than have a plan or set process that instructs most of my design work. When I first created this blog, I had no intention of fixing on a particular style, but to explore many different techniques and mediums. There are moments though when I look at all the pieces I’ve created over the last few months and wish there was more coherence and flow, it would certainly make it easier to decide what to create next. But I also understand how that can become a comfort zone, and Maps to Herself is here for me to explore the edges, the wild unknown.

Over the last few months of sharing my work, I’ve received so many supportive and encouraging comments and emails. Quite a few people have said something along the lines of ‘I’d love to be able to paint like this’, and I definitely understand that desire to produce something that has a similar quality or feel about it. But that artist was meant to create that piece just as it is, and you are meant to create something that is uniquely you. Please don’t feel like your art needs to compare to others, if it brings joy to you in making it, and a smile or connection with another person who sees it, then that’s all that matters.

This artwork included some mixed media and on one piece of paper I stuck onto the canvas, which is highlighted now in the triangle to the top right, read the words ‘raving lunatic’. I laughed when I picked it out of a random packet of ephemera, and it was perfect to add to the artwork. Not because of it’s visual ‘craziness’, but that it reminded me of the ego. When it’s voice is strong, our minds can be quite accurately the mind of a raving lunatic. We are so hard on ourselves and often on others. It’s made me realise that unwanted patterns of thought have been creeping back in a lot lately, and that I need to get back into a regular meditation practice which I haven’t been allowing time and space for lately. It’s little reminders like this that help me when I’m off track and haven’t realised it yet. There is meaning in everything we create, whether it be big or small, and know that the universe wants you to keep listening, creating and sharing it with the world.

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blooming true

Canvas 1 - Bloom True Bali - Jo Klima

My oh my, more than a month has already passed since I returned home from the amazing experience that was Bali and Flora’s Bloom True painting retreat. It’s taken me a little while to be ready to write this post. Every time I sat down to write it I struggled to find the words. I think my heart arrived back home much later than my body did, choosing to inhabit the warmth and beauty of those memories for as long as it could. As you read, I hope you can place yourself there with me, just for this moment, and let it inspire you as it profoundly did for me.

Beyond the necessary planning ahead of the trip, I didn’t actually think too much about what was in store. I wanted to arrive with an open mind, without any preconceived ideas or expectations. I knew it was where I was supposed to be and I trusted the journey would unfold as it should. As soon as I arrived late at night at my gorgeous villa in Ubud I think I was already under it’s rich and mellow spell. Exploring this vibrant town and it’s many beautiful differences to other places I’ve travelled was fascinating. After foraging the colourful markets and culinary offerings, visiting the bali spirit festival and amazing rice fields, keeping cool with quick pool dips in between outings, and trying to cross the streets safely, I was ready to make my way to the quiet little fishing village of Amed to join my fellow true bloomers for a week of connecting and creativity.

Canvas 2 - Bloom True Bali - Jo Klima

There’s something pretty magical about feeling an instant kindredness with not just one person but a whole group, and for myself, kind of unusual. To be in the company of a group of women who I hardly knew and feeling at ease is by no means my default setting. But that’s what happened, and it has everything to do with knowing they had all made the decision to be there, and had been carefully selected by Flora. To me it meant that we were free to just be ourselves, far away from who we think we are or aren’t back at home. Free from the usual responsibilities or pressures of daily life. It’s safe to say that we were all ready to let go of all that, and breathe into this beautiful sacred space that had been created for us.

I could write a whole post just about how wonderful Flora and her two brilliant sidekicks, Lynx and Rachael, were during the week. They each possess such wisdom, vulnerability, magic, creativity and strong voices in their own authentic way. They were the absolute perfect trio to hold this space for us, and being in their company and learning so much from them is something I will always hold close to my heart.

As the week went on, filled with lots of swimming, delicious meals, a few bintangs (which went down surprisingly well for a non-beer drinker, it’s definitely the heat!), late night chats and lots of laughs, there was of course lots of painting. I think it was a rare treat for many of us to have a huge block of time just to paint. And paint some more. It was the first time in a long while that I truly felt immense flow and joy of just creating, and letting go of everything else. It’s how I want to feel all the time, and I’m so grateful to have experienced that fully. I think I could have easily continued on for another month or two! I can definitely visualise more creative sabbaticals in my future.

Canvas 3 - Bloom True Bali - Jo Klima

Shared here are the three finished canvases that came home with me. I was hoping to have at least one finished piece, and to me each of these felt like they had completed their journey in Bali along with myself as we approached our last day. The elephant was the third canvas I worked on, trying to use colours that I hadn’t used much in the first two, and wouldn’t normally use either. And I absolutely love it. A beautiful lesson in letting go of what you’re comfortable with, and finding something you love even more.

What stood out to me the most from the week is how deeply I wanted to be part of this kind of creative community after I returned home. It’s something I have wanted for a while, but to experience it like that brought new perspective and clarity to making it happen. And for my friends in Brissie and nearby, this is the first manifestation of that. For those further away, I hope you are enjoying the online community and Make Art Monday’s.

Thank you for reading this far! I wanted to get these thoughts out before I moved onto other new posts, and I’m looking forward to sharing more art and other contemplations here very soon.

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hello from bali

Bali - Jo Klima - Maps to Herself

Shortly before I launched this blog in November I applied to join Flora Bowley on her Bloom True painting retreat in Bali. I (not so) patiently waited to find out if I would be one of the lucky few who were selected to go. I scheduled the trip in my calendar and absolutely knew that if I was meant to go that it would happen. Almost 3 weeks later I received the email offering me a spot and I was overcome with gratitude to be going on this trip, unsure of how I could wait another 4.5 months.

Well it’s finally here! I arrived in Bali a couple of days ago, leaving Ubud to travel to Amed this afternoon for what I’m sure is going to be an incredible experience. When I decided to enrol in Flora’s Bloom True online e-course in May last year, I had no idea that it would lead me to painting with her in person in such a magical place.

Doing Flora’s e-course is what inspired me to follow my creative heart back to making art. It’s why this space is here, where I can share it with you. It’s been so wonderful to hear all your lovely words about the artwork I’ve created and have you with me in spirit during my travels through Bali.

This place is filling me up with so much inspiration already, the temples and carvings, flowers and jungles, the energy and beauty. I can’t wait to see what shows up on the canvas over the next week, and connecting with a gorgeous group of women and artists. I’ll be posting lots of photos on Instagram!

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love now

Prescence - Jo Klima - Maps to Herself

Where are you right now?

And by that I mean where are you introspectively. Are you lost in your thoughts, stuck in memories from your past or imaging dramas in the future? Does it feel stressful, constricting, icky, negative or boring? There’s a way out of this place that often feels like the current truth of your life, and the path is so simple yet requires pure dedication and practice to make it work.

I was pretty late to the party when it came to reading Eckart Tolle’s brilliant book The Power of Now, and I can certainly see why he is such a well loved author. After watching some of his videos I just adore him even more! The book explores the idea of presence, awareness, consciousness and explains the workings of the ego. Yes, that attention-seeking, drama-creating, self-criticizing part of your mind that tricks you into existing in an unconcsious and often unhappy state. While other books I’ve read have touched on this, it was this book that really embedded this realisation within me because I genuinely saw it as the truth and understood the freedom that comes with living a more conscious life.

While my own level of awareness of the present moment is far from habitual, I find that it crosses my mind a lot more as time goes by. I am reminded to check in with myself in a moment when I might be angry or stressed about something. Unless I can take action in that moment to sort the issue out, I try to clear the negative emotion by letting go of my attachment with it and the egoic need to be right, justified or understood. Instead, I can take that moment to focus on or doing something positive and enjoyable, be it who I am in the company of, the cup of tea I’m drinking, or giving my dog a cuddle. It can definitely turn your mood around quickly.

“Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future. Live the actual moment. Only this moment is life.” ― Thích Nhất Hạnh

What it all comes down to is the ego. The ego thrives on holding onto these old stories and devising new ones about ourselves and the people we interact with, even people we’ve never met. It creates separation and misunderstanding. What would it mean to detach from every one of these stories? Every single one. Well, it leaves a whole lot of beautiful space to just be. It transforms every problem in your life into a passing moment. It means we are all meant to co-create and coexist in a peaceful and happy world. It allows you to be grateful for everything in your life, but also understand that even if it was all taken away you would still be ok.

So whatever you are doing right now, stop, breathe, clear your mind even for just a moment, and know that in this moment everything is just right. Your inner self will thank you.

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