5 Easy Ways to Regain Your Emotional Balance

These days, what’s happening in the world can have you on an emotional roller-coaster. I want to assure you that you’re not alone, and also to offer 5 simple ways to regain your emotional balance.

Photo by blueberry Maki on Unsplash
  1. Breathe. Super basic, right? Except I am talking about that mindful, purposefully deep, breath. Try it! Breathe deeply in through your nose, hold for a few seconds, then blow out slowly and completely through your mouth. Repeat two to three times and notice how much calmer you feel.
  2. Feel your feelings. No matter how messy they are, give yourself permission to feel them. It’s natural to want to bottle up emotions to “deal with later”, but you must feel them to get beyond them. Think of them like a train approaching, getting closer, right in front of you in all of its intensity and power, then speeding away down the tracks into memory.
  3. Tell yourself “of course I felt that way”. Validating your own feelings can help you move on from them. This is about being accepting, so skip trying to minimize them or talk yourself out of them.
  4. Remind yourself that in this moment you are safe. You may even piggy-back this one onto the deep breathing like a mantra. Your fight, flight or freeze reaction will respond to your conscious self-talk that everything really is ok right in this moment.
  5. Notice the things around you. Appreciate the sky, a tree, fresh smells, anything about your surroundings. This will bring you out of your head and into the present moment.

Remember that you are in charge of how you feel. Taking a few moments to choose how to feel puts you back in charge so you can focus on being your best self!

Looking for more tips on managing being an empath or intuitive? Register for a free webinar on April 9, 2020 here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/free-empowerment-for-empaths-and-intuitives-tickets-101576457920

Signs You’re an Empath/Intuitive

Here are some signs you are an empath/intuitive:

  • You feel the emotions of others.
    When you’re with someone, even a perfect stranger, you know how they’re feeling even before they say a word. This means that you may feel sad, panicked, excited, etc. for absolutely no reason at all.  You may notice this more strongly with some people than with others.
  • You can feel the physical aches and pains of others.
    You may notice a soreness or pain without having any reason for feeling it- then you hear a close friend is suffering from the same discomfort.  
  • Strangers open up to you about their lives.  Often with far more detail than you bargained for and within moments of meeting you.
  • You are the go-to person for advice and emotional support in every friend group. You often wonder how that happened.
  • You feel overwhelmed or exhausted from being in large groups of people. Being around a hoard of people experiencing a wide range of emotions in a confined space quickly produces sensory overload.  Maybe you routinely avoid or dread shopping on the weekend or before a holiday.  Alternatively, being at a live performance will create a positive contact high like none other. All of that intense excitement and anticipation can be wonderful!
  • You need your alone time, desperately. Feeling or being aware of the emotions and pains of others is draining, so you need to spend time alone to refuel.  The need for self-care and down-time is greater than for most people, even for extroverted empaths.
  • You are easily moved to tears, even by fictional tv, books, or movies. Since your ability to relate to people is so strong, it’s easy to get sucked in to the emotionally charged situations of fictional characters. Even those on commercials. Raise your hand if you cry easily at commercials, I see you.
  • You are easily overstimulated by multiple sources of information, sound, lights, etc. You may have noticed that you are more bothered by such things than others. You can chalk this up to being highly sensitive.
  • You tend to want to retreat rather than expose yourself to the onslaught of emotions in the public. You have a core group of safe friends and limit contact with others who have “loud” or intense emotions.
  • You know what someone is about to tell you before they say it. Being tuned in to emotions means you are also likely tuned in to thoughts people are formulating, as they are the dominant thoughts of the moment. You’re not weird, you’re empathic/intuitive.
  • You call people and they say “I was just thinking about you.” Thoughts are energy, and energy isn’t limited by distance. See above.
  • You may refer to yourself as clumsy. This is common enough that I’m including it here. Often out of self-protection, you may spend much of your time un-grounded, or somewhat disconnected to your body. This limits your ability to relate well to the physical world around you, which leads to tripping and bumping into things.  The bruises on me recognize and honor the bruises on you. 

So now that you know you’re an empath/intuitive, (you see now how those words describe the same characteristics, right?) what are you going to do?  This is where many people will begin to tell you ways to protect yourself by erecting a virtual wall, creating a bubble, or setting up other barriers to keep the emotions of others at bay. Well, I’m not going to tell you any of that. I’m going to tell you it’s a super power!

A Super Power?

Here at the Divine Energy Collaborative, we know that feeling like you need to protect yourself comes from a place of fear, and that doesn’t give you power, it takes it away. Blocking yourself off may keep you from feeling other people’s stuff, but it also isolates you and limits your ability to feel all of the wonderful emotions as well. Our perspective is that by opening yourself up to the never-ending flow of divine love and light, you remain fully filled to overflowing. With love and light flowing freely out from you, it’s impossible for any negative emotions to stick to you or cause discomfort, and any who need love will find it without taking anything from you. 

We’re all connected, and these connections to each other are vital, now more than ever.  Instead of closing yourself off in fear of how the intense outside emotions will impact you, try opening yourself up to divine love and letting it overflow.  In this way you can walk in confidence and ease and never worry about whether your “shield” is strong enough. Love conquers all.

Once you are filled to overflowing with divine love, it then benefits everyone you come in contact with, and even those you never see. In this way, you can make a positive impact on the world, everyday. I definitely classify this is a super power!!

Interested in more ways to step into your power as an empath? Join us for Empowerment for Empaths and Intuitives. A twice monthly online group to celebrate, manage, and magnify your gifts. Here is a list about how to have more ease as an empath/intuitive that you might want to share with those you love.

Visual Meditation

Visual Meditation Blog

What is a Visual Meditation? Will I be watching someone meditate? Is there going to be lovely vistas to lull me into a calmer state? These may be some of your questions, so I’m going to fill you in not only on what it is, but how it came to be!

Visual Meditation is a brand new (I think) form of meditating. If you have ever heard of or experienced automatic writing, that’s how this came to me but in abstract watercolor images instead of words.

I had an urge from spirit telling me to set up 10 pieces of watercolor paper taped to boards all around the table with my paints, water, spray bottle, flow medium, and my biggest brushes. I had no idea what was coming, but I had the time, so I followed directions and got everything ready.

Half way done!

Once I was set up I took a deep breath, fully connected to spirit, let go of control, and let the fun begin! In just a little over an hour I had 10 paintings completed!! It was clear to me that they were in order, so I took photos to remember their order.

Final one complete, bottom right, still wet!

Next, I shared them with a few close friends and received a little feedback on them. We understood that each image carried its own energetic vibration and together they provoked a sense of calm, peace, and clarity.

The next step was putting them into a powerpoint presentation each with a few words to guide the experience. I added music to one version, and finally a guided meditation to another. Both of those versions are offered here for free.

The combination of the energetic vibration of the images, soothing music, and guided meditation bring you quickly to a place of peacefulness. Each image will soon have its own individual meditation, and a Peace Journal with the whole series of images plus journal prompts is now available too!

Last Ireland Paintings in this Series

Although these 7 paintings complete the 24 piece series I set out to do for my solo shows in March, I don’t feel like I have said, artistically, all I want to say about my trip to Ireland. I feel inspired to paint a few in a looser style and at least a few with pen and ink. I considered doing that with a few of these, but opted to show my typical style throughout the series with lots of detail, high contrast, great texture and rich color. So- stay tuned for another show in late spring. Details about the two venues to see this series in person- and perhaps choose one to enjoy in your space everyday- are at the end of this post. I hope you can join me!

Oh how I love the ocean! The crisp shadows on the rocks and the contrast of the warm sand with the cool mountains and sea were irresistible. The Atlantic is so fierce there. Strandhill Beach, County Sligo. 20″ x 16″ framed $375

This view captured a fantastic crashing wave and the iconic Ben Bulben mountain. I enjoyed creating the softer shadows as the rocks curve towards the sun. Ben Bulben from Strandhill, County Sligo. 20″ x 16″ framed. $375

I began with a lovely stone building from Glenfarne and then added elements from our drive through that area that appealed to me. Almost Autumn, County Leitrim. 11″ x 14″ framed $265

My favorite things: rich color, striking contrast, diagonal lines, interesting textures. What fun I had enhancing the photo from the day! Green and Gold, Mullaghmore Inlet, County Sligo. 16″ x 12″ framed. $285

So much texture and intense color here, it begged to be painted! Gorgeous geraniums and cascading petunias soften the hard stone and brick. Rocks and Blooms, Aghaboy, County Monaghan. 11″ x 14″ framed. $265

This is one of the first scenes I painted. Here I explore it from a different perspective and slightly larger. I loved building up the texture in all of these elements. Weathered Beauty 2, Aghaboy, County Monaghan. 14″ x 11″ framed. $265

Another scene I couldn’t help doing twice. For the last painting in the series, I picked these great stone buildings with the warm glow of the setting sun. Afternoon Glow, Emyvale, County Monaghan. 12″ x 12″ framed $265

To see the full collection live, I hope you’ll join me at one of these venues: March 13 at Stonehill College or March 15-17 at The Irish Cultural Center in Canton, MA Both events are free and for those dates only. Paintings may be purchased prior to the shows, but must be available for display at the shows.

Continuing the Artistic Irish Journey

I have happily continued to be inspired by my Ireland photos. I have finished the 24 paintings I planned for this series. Below are 7, the rest will follow tomorrow!

I had to do at least one painting of Ben Bulben, which is iconic in County Sligo. The dark almost vertical marks on the side of this mountain are deep crevasses that people hike. Eek! This one is sold.

This is one of those sweet little scenes that was so common to see along my journeys around central Ireland. What can I say, I’m a sucker for a stone wall and all of that lovely dappled sunlight! Autumn Harvest, Aghaboy, County Monaghan. 13″ x 12″ framed, $245

Don’t you just want to knock on that gorgeous blue door? I thought this lovely home was very inviting with its meandering drive flanked by stone walls. The autumn colors and shadows made it impossible not to paint. Irish Welcome, Clones, County Monaghan. 12″ x 16″ framed, $260

This sturdy stone building in Northern Ireland was clearly built to withstand the fierce winds of the region! A lovely purple clematis had taken up residence and the texture and color drew me right in. Enniskillen Stone, County Fermanagh. 14″ x 11″ framed $265

Its a bit funny to think of islands within islands, but here you are! This is Lough Erne and Boa Island. I loved the contrast between the lush greens and the dark water. Boa Island, County Fermanagh. 12″ x 10″ framed $245

On our way into Newgrange, we spotted these thirsty cows surrounded by all of those wonderfully textured greens. This was one of the scenes I couldn’t wait to paint! Bru na Boinne (forgive the lack of fada) Newgrange, County Meath. 20″ x 16″ framed $375

Purplish clouds against yellow leaves and golden grasses compelled me to paint them. The sturdy building graced by a hardy red rose seem to have withstood untold trials, yet here they are in all their splendor. She Persisted, Blacklion, County Cavan. 12″ x 12″ framed $255

watercolor of rainbow over county sligo Ireland

More Ireland Images

I’ve been painting away and have more images to share with you from my trip to Ireland. I will admit that I haven’t been painting them in the order that I saw them. I am putting the county and town as part of their title so you may find the places that are meaningful to you.

watercolor of Tyrone County

Tyrone County View, 12″ x 18″ framed $375

This scene greeted me at the top of a hill while exploring the Ulster American Folk Museum in Omagh.

Dublin Ivy, 11″ x 14″ framed. $275

The two almost hidden pigeons enjoying a protected perch intrigued me. The crazy variety and colors of ivy adorning this weathered door in Dublin city made it irresistible.

watercolor of Castle Mullaghmore in County Sligo Ireland-by Kristi Johnston

Castle Mullaghmore, Co. Sligo. Approx.20″ x 25″ framed. $400

I shot this amazing view quickly after hopping out of the car alongside a VERY winding road. I love how the sheep are just casually in front of the massive castle and oblivious to the sharp cliff.

watercolor of autumn leaves and iron gate in Emyvale, Co. Monaghan Ireland

Autumn Gate, Emyvale, Co. Monaghan. 10″ x 13″ $265

The colors and textures stopped me in my tracks, and I had to try to capture it in paint. This invitation to step in closer embodies the feel of the place and the people.

watercolor of rainbow over county sligo Ireland

Sligo Rainbow, 10″ x 11″ framed $245

It wouldn’t be Ireland if there weren’t rainbows! After a brief downpour, this one dazzled me on our ride from Sligo and Strandhill. The colors danced in and out of view and played peek-a-boo with the mountains.

More are coming! These are available for sale unless otherwise marked with the caveat that they be available for the upcoming shows March 13-17, 2019. Contact me at kndjnstn@comcast.net to purchase.

Interpretations of Ireland, How it Came to Be

Watercolor of cottages in Ireland Kristi Johnston

“Along the Way” approx. 12″ x 10″ framed $205

*SOLD*

I’m so excited! I traveled to Ireland in September and enjoyed a week of being shown around by a friend who has lived there all of his life and it was AMAZING!! Before I talk about the paintings I’ve made as a result, let me tell you how this all came about. It’s all a result of a childhood connection, Facebook, shared interests and the internet. Here’s what happened….

I met one of my  best friends when I was in second grade in a tiny town in upstate NY. Her name is Kathy and her parents were both from Ireland (sadly, they have both passed away). Kathy’s older sister is Mary and when we were children, I would see her briefly when I visited their home- like most older siblings, she didn’t have much to do with the little ones. The family moved back to Ireland when we were in elementary school, but Kathy came back for our high school years. Like best friendships everywhere, we picked up where we left off, as if no time had passed at all. Unfortunately we then lost touch after college. Then Facebook made the world smaller and finding people easy and I was able to find her through one of her cousins, who was also an old neighbor of mine growing up. Of course, once Kathy and I re-connected there was an opportunity for me to become connected to her sister Mary who had remained in Ireland and married an artist named Nelius. Thanks to the wonder of the internet, Nelius and I were able to enjoy seeing and commenting on each other’s artwork and sharing our professional and family lives. Over the ensuing years, thanks to similar interests and connections, a friendship developed.

When I mentioned casually one day that I would love to see and pint Ireland, Mary and Nelius are such kind and generous people that they invited me to visit and stay with them!! I took them up on that incredible offer (how could I not??!) and that is how I ended up spending a week being shown around by a native Irishman who happens to share my artistic aesthetic and therefore enjoys the same kind of views and scenes that I do! It was heavenly!

Now I’m back and so inspired by the beauty, peacefulness, and ruggedness of the Irish countryside that I have decided to create at least 24 watercolor paintings to share my interpretations of that land. I’m on my way towards that goal and will be sharing the images and their locations here on our Blog.

The one above right is from Emyvale, Co Monaghan. I actually took the photo while riding in the car. I snapped a photo of these cute little cottages on two occasions I liked them so much!  Here’s two more from Emyvale:

watercolor painting of a stone building with red and green doors and a pink hydrangea

“Red Door, Green Door”, approx. 7″ x 10″ framed $180

“Weathered Beauty” approx 71/2″ x 10″ framed $180

You may guess by looking at these that I am captivated by texture and contrast. Ireland was full of these things- I felt like a kid in a candy store!

These two were done from photos taken after Nelius stopped the car and we were able to get out and walk all around. It happens that there were several views of this little area that I am inspired to paint, so you’ll see more from here!

“Bales”, Lough McNean, Blacklion Approx. 14″ x 11″ framed. $245

This one below is of the grounds of a lovely little restaurant called Ambledown in Glaslough.

“Ambledown Door” approx 9″ x 11″ $185 framed

To the right is a sweet scene that is to me the epitome of Ireland: many shades of lush green, gently rolling landscape with dots of sheep. This has the added attraction of hay bales and marsh grasses catching the warm afternoon light.

I have another nearly finished from my tour of Dublin, and another landscape coming hot on it’s heels, so stay tuned!

Releasing What No Longer Serves

I love fall in New England! I love the colors, the crisp air, the intense blue skies, and the crunch of leaves on the ground.

We talk a lot about the need to release things that no longer serve you. Autumn is a perfect reminder to let go.

The trees need to release their leaves in order to safely survive the winter. This happens annually because letting things go is not a “one and done” kind of exercise. It reoccurs as different things pop up. I used to think once I had released old feelings or patterns of reacting, they would no longer effect my life.

Oh boy, how wrong I was! Take my eating habits (please!) Years ago I realized that some of my eating patterns are from my childhood, and I set out to leave those behaviors behind. Recently I’ve realized that I’ve been letting my 5 year old self make food choices for adult me, and have been taking back the reins. Each time I understand a new facet of how my past is influencing my present, I deal with it.

Old stuff is buried in many spots and each one surfaces under different circumstances. I admit, it’s frustrating to have to wrestle with something I thought I had gotten rid of, but it’s always worth it to release another part into the earth. Just like with leaves, the earth takes old energy and transforms it into something beautiful. This season be like the trees and let that old, unwanted stuff go (again, if necessary!)

Overwhelm and Anxiety

Feeling overwhelmed and anxious is a pretty common complaint these days. Even a short time out in public spaces or listening to the news can be quite distressing.

Here is a process of focusing your awareness that you can do in just a few minutes nearly anywhere except driving.

1. Focus your attention on one body part at a time and really feel the surfaces that are touching you- clothing, seat, floor.

2. Notice the temperature of the air on your exposed skin, sense the darkness or light with your eyes closed.

3. Now expand your awareness to your energy that is outside the confines of your body- your aura. Feel how large it is and what it passes through or comes to rest against.

4. Now enjoy feeling yourself taking up all of this space, both physically and energetically. Stamp your feet and revel in your own solidity.

5. Take a few deep, slow breaths with your hands on your hips and your feet spread wide as you become accustomed to this expanded way of being.

From this place of confidence and self-awareness you can let love and compassion for others flow effortlessly out of you and towards everyone around you, without judgement or restriction. Practicing self-love and self-care in this way makes you more capable of helping others. It also makes you less likely to feel overwhelmed and more in control of your own emotions.

This is not intended to dismiss or minimize the issues of anyone dealing with panic attacks, depression, or severe anxiety disorder. It is aimed at those who are looking for a new tool to deal with situational anxiety.

It is also a terrific way of realizing your power to effect change in the world by sending out love. This is an active endeavor that can decrease your sense of helplessness with all that is going on around the globe.

Here is a fantastic talk on standing in your power by Amy Cuddy

photo of bunny Center for Holistic Healing and Art

No More Hiding

photo of bunny Center for Holistic Healing and Art

This week I have heard a phrase repeated several times: “no more hiding”. It popped into my head seeing this bunny in my yard. It came as I was commenting publicly about Monday night’s presidential debate, which is out of character for me. It showed up again in a group meditation where all of us heard it loudly and clearly:  “The time to be passive is far behind. Take charge.”

I saw a video of Gary Vaynerchuk saying that he thinks there is a silent majority of people who are happy and keeping it to themselves, but the tiny percent of unhappy, angry folks are loud and make it seem as if they are the majority. His video is called Positivity on Offense!! 

Here’s my takeaway: the time to speak up is now, to stop being afraid of angering the already angry, to meet hate with love and kindness. Many atrocities have happened in our history because well-meaning people kept silent, stood by and did nothing. I don’t want to be part of that silent majority who stood by and didn’t counter the swell of hate, misinformation and anger. I want to speak up and be heard as hopeful, loving and happy.

Are you part of the happy majority? To be part of that, every moment doesn’t need to be perfect sunshine and roses, but overall are you content with where you are in life and looking forward to the future?

I am happy and I’m excited about it the future! I know that I will get out of life exactly what I put into it and experiencing more joy is at the top of my to-do list.

Let’s change the presumption that unhappiness is the norm. Let’s be the voices of love and use positive energy to change the tide and bring healing instead of division. Say it with me: ” I am HAPPY!”