"Let's rewind to December 2021. I hosted the first-ever watercolor workshop at a local coffee shop. I invited my friends and co-workers to join me for a relaxing night of painting, sipping wine, and creating together. I knew people would enjoy painting and sipping; after all, everyone goes to paint and sip parties with their friends and has fun doing it.
But what I didn't know was that I was onto something different, something extremely special.
What happened at the workshop that night was truly magical.
Not only was I teaching how to paint with watercolors, but I was also teaching my workshop students how to rediscover their own inner world of creativity.
As children, we are all naturally creative! We have no fear of making mistakes or creating "ugly" artwork.
As children, we didn't care what people thought about our scribbles; we simply moved the markers around and had fun doing it!
As we grew older and went to middle school, we started being indoctrinated about what "good art" was.
"Good art" was considered realistic, technically challenging, and representational.
We were shown paintings by the masters of art history, and our fear of not being "good" enough started to creep over us.
So, in fear of messing up or not creating a photorealistic work of art, many of us simply stopped creating art altogether.
At least that's what happened to me. I stopped making art because I was scared I wasn't good enough. I was embarrassed to even try drawing or painting anything because I thought it would look "bad."
What I didn't realize at the time was that my creativity and imagination were getting buried deep within me as I progressed through Jr. High School and High School.
It wasn't until my sophomore year of college when my life felt overwhelming, and I had no other way to cope with the challenges of choosing a path for my future, along with personal challenges in my family and friends' lives.
Art was the thing that saved me.
By painting with watercolors, I was able to reshape my thoughts and bring calm to my body, mind, and soul amidst all the turmoil I was experiencing in my external life.
I started looking up silly pictures of giraffes and elephants on Pinterest and began painting them for fun, giving the paintings to my friends.
I posted them on Instagram as a fun outlet to share my work.
I didn't know it at the time, but posting those little watercolor paintings would evolve into the art page and the career I've built for myself today.
It's crazy to think that if I never started painting with that cheap set of Walmart watercolor paints, I would have never become a full-time artist.
Now, back to the watercolor workshop story.
As I sat at the table watching all my students return to that child-like state of creativity, I could sense that something magical was happening.
Every single person at that table was reconnecting with the creative child that got lost in the sea of adulthood.
The brushes floated effortlessly across the paper, and a feeling of pure bliss and happiness radiated from everyone's soul.
By the end of the two hours, no one wanted to leave. Everyone was engrossed in the state of flow and creativity.
As I continued to host these paint parties throughout the following spring, the same phenomenon kept happening.
Every single person who sat at that table continued to be inspired.
Someone even told me that they felt as relaxed as if they had just completed a yoga class.
Creating art is so healing. It's therapeutic, calming, and transformative.
Nothing in life has brought me greater joy than providing you with the space, the confidence, and creative freedom to reconnect with your soul's inner child.
Painting is the vehicle to creating a new life, a life full of abundance, peace, and love.
Creativity has the power to transform our lives, to create a life of purpose and meaning, to express our inner world freely onto the canvas, to reconnect with our true selves, to process our bodies' deepest emotions, and to speak in the visual language of our soul.
This is the beginning of creating a life of Eudaimonia.
The philosophy of Eudaimonia isn't just about experiencing sustained happiness; it's about embodying a lifestyle that serves other people, a lifestyle that is truly authentic to your soul's purpose on this earth, a lifestyle that encourages you to grow as an individual every single day, a lifestyle that keeps you chasing your curiosities, and a lifestyle that makes you the most elevated version of yourself you can possibly be.
A lifestyle that fosters your inner creative spirit.
Now, let's delve into the details of the upcoming Retreats!
My goal for hosting the CREATE EUDAIMONIA retreat is to help you transform your life, to give you the tools, the strategies, and the confidence to fearlessly pursue your soul's passion.
In order to meet your fullest potential, discipline is required.
Intentional daily movement is crucial on your journey to personal mastery. Movement stimulates your brain to think more clearly and creates a mind that is more alert to create.
This is why I decided to start incorporating Pilates into the retreats! Every morning for the past two years, I have been waking up a little earlier, spending 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes at night doing simple Pilates moves on my living room floor. Typically, I'll throw on a video or just improvise the movements myself.
Once you know a few simple Pilates flows, moving in the morning becomes second nature. A key difference I've noticed in my own life is changing the word "workout" to "movement." When we tell ourselves that we are able to "work," we automatically don't want to do it because it sounds hard. The true secret is to make movement super fun and easy for yourself! That way, starting and sticking to your new routine becomes a mindless, consistent effort every single day.
The second part of the retreat involves a delicious Mediterranean-style meal from a Greek restaurant. Growing up, my yiayias would always cook homemade traditional Greek meals. The diet we ate was clean and nutritious, made with love. I'll provide you all with recipe cards and a grocery shopping list to take home, inspiring you to try cooking a home-cooked meal inspired by the Mediterranean diet.
As homework, I want you to watch the new Netflix series called "BLUE ZONES," explaining how people on the Greek Island of Ikaria live to be over 100 years old through a lifestyle of Eudaimonia.
The next session involves indulging in the act of creativity together. I will guide you to create your own original abstract work of art that comes straight from your heart. I don't want to give away too much because I want you to experience the feeling of creativity for yourself when you come to the retreat!
Finally, the last session of the retreat will always offer something special. At our La Grange retreat on October 21st, we will be at the lovely Bloom3 floral boutique to create a whimsical floral arrangement.
You may not know this about me, but I used to work at a floral shop all throughout college. I have a serious love for plants and nature in general, as you may have already noticed. There's something so calming about touching natural materials and getting your hands a little dirty! Don't worry; this floral arrangement party will not be messy, but we will have lots of fun together learning how to create a beautiful floral arrangement to take home with us. I might even encourage you to gift your arrangement to someone you love in your life to brighten up their day!
The floral team at Bloom 3 will give us personalized instruction on how to make our arrangements, so no worries if you've never done this before! Trying new activities and stepping out of your comfort zone is how you grow and start to create Eudaimonia.
An extra bonus of learning how to make a floral arrangement is that you will gain the confidence to pick up a bunch of flowers at Trader Joe's and try it on your own. I promise you that making these arrangements will boost your happiness by 100%.
Now, let's discuss the details of the November 4th retreat!
By now, you've probably heard me talk about the power of gratitude. Practicing daily gratitude is transformational. When you write down every blessing in your life, you train your thoughts to constantly look for more things to be grateful for. Gratitude is scientifically correlated with sustained happiness; you can look it up on Google if you don't believe me.
At the last session of our retreat, we will be writing letters of gratitude to the people in our lives who mean the most to us. Letters are powerful because they allow us to express things we might not feel comfortable saying verbally. Writing brings out our true feelings about the impact others have had on our lives.
My hope is that this session will encourage you to take time in your everyday life to pause and sit down for a few minutes, even just once a month, to write a letter of gratitude to someone you love. It will be therapeutic to express these emotions, and it will brighten the day of the person receiving the letter. It's a win-win situation in my book!
Are you ready to join us in this one-of-a-kind transformational retreat?