Today we raise our fists high and put our hands together in celebration of our Feature Girl Warrior, the multi-talented artist, Nadia Munarolo-Kurjata, Creatively Fit Coach and Master Facilitator of Intuitive Painting and the Expressive Arts. Nadia’s creative journey began when her son started school and one of the other moms invited her to attend a rubber-stamping party, and after that she was hooked. She began making cards for all occasions along with other paper items. Nadia, along with her friend Debra, began working together and selling their wares at local craft fairs. She loved being able to create something from nothing and bring joy to people’s lives through creativity. As the years passed she began teaching and it was at one workshop where she had her first ‘a ha moment.’ One of the participants had cut a piece of paper from the prepared ready to assemble kit Nadia supplied to her students. She cut her piece and thought it was ruined because it wouldn’t turn out like everyone else’s. That was it! It was in that moment that Nadia knew that she could no longer guide people in creating the exact same thing and began exploring creativity through intuition. She began art journaling after being introduced to Sabrina Ward Harrison and Linda Woods. Both of these artists were examples of authentic expression and lead the path for Nadia to guide people in a whole new way. Through exploration with new materials and drawing upon everything she had learned she began using her own images and lettering and uncovering more and more about herself and how art was helping her in all areas of her life. Nadia discovered Inspired Living expert, Whitney Freya, and signed up for her Creatively Fit Coaching program. At that time her mom was diagnosed with a rare brain disease. Nadia took care of her for four years as she struggled through all the stages of the disease. In between taking care of her mom Nadia turned to art – whether it was for a few minutes or longer. Art was becoming her meditation. Eventually Nadia completed the program with Whitney and after her mom passed away she became a Creatively Fit Coach. It was after her father’s passing that she moved to the beautiful Dawson Creek, BC and completed her training as a Master Facilitator of Intuitive Painting and the Expressive Arts led by Chris Zydel focusing on working with women in healing through creative expression. Nadia still lives there today with her husband Michael and rescue pup Joey. She mainly sells original art, as she believes it holds the energy from its creation. Symbols in the painting that may support the person buying it – like a lotus flower, which grows in the muckiest of mucks and yet blooms into the most beautiful flower. A reminder when you look at it that you can make it through the muck and rise! And to that we say YES YES YES!
What makes you a Girl Warrior?
I am a Girl Warrior for I have taken what has happened to me and transformed it to what has happened for me. Each occurrence, an experience, a lesson and a spark that lit the fire in my belly propelling me to keep going. When they said I couldn’t do it I trusted the gift of the unknown and created the life of my dreams.
What is your fondest memory of your time spent with your dad in his workshop?
I remember spending hours with Papa in his workshop. In the beginning it was putting together pre-cut wood pieces with nails and a hammer. Then applying paint to complete the box structure. In the later years I would return to his workshop with ideas and he would ask me to sketch it out. Then he would build it for me and/or we would build it together. I remember him saying that had it been earlier in his life that we could have collaborated on some beautiful pieces. Music was always playing in the background. The sound of the table saw hum and the smell of sawdust in the air. To this day I love the smell of wood.
How did that influence your creative pursuits?
With his guidance and witnessing his creations from start to finish I saw that you could create something from nothing. From an idea in your head to a finished piece. I fell in love with the cycle of creation and the feeling of birthing an idea. This sense of possibility continues to influence my creations.
How did you deal with being bullied in school? What advice would you give to a girl who is going through this right now?
When I was bullied I began to withdraw. There were times when I also bullied others. Hurt people, hurt people. Being an only child I spent a lot of time alone and created my own little worlds to live in. I did things to try and fit in and to be like everyone else. I learned a lot of lessons from those experiences and in the end I saw that being different was actually a good thing. We are all different and those differences are what make us unique. We each have our own unique gifts and they are to be celebrated and shared. If I were to give advice to a girl who is going through this right now I would say to have compassion for the bully. You never know what their story is and how perhaps their bullying is a cry for help. Is there a way that you can ask what happened to them? Can you talk to them about how the bullying makes you feel? Find an outlet in which to express your feelings – art, dance, singing, etc. Surround yourself with people who will listen and create a circle of support. Tell your story of what is happening and keep telling it until you feel heard. Treat others how you wish to be treated.
What was that summer you spent in Italy after high school graduation like?
My summer in Italy after graduation was one of the best times in my life. I felt like I was home! I felt free! Spending time with my family and friends. Sharing stories, good food and exploring new places. It was feeling like I finally belonged. I could be myself and that was enough. I was loved and accepted for who I was. The walls came down and I was no longer afraid to be myself. I felt powerful and confident and clear on my future plans.
How did attending a rubber-stamping party change the trajectory of your life?
I remember walking in to the party and seeing all the beautiful creations. The smell of ink and the bounty of color. I could create handmade cards for loved ones rather than buy. It was simple and fun and there were so many possibilities!
What was your Eureka moment?
I began teaching rubber stamping classes where I provided all the supplies. Pre-cut papers, stamps to use and embellishments. An assemble yourself type of class. Everyone’s project was led by an example. Re-create the example. One woman cut one of the pre-cut pieces and was upset that hers was not going to look like everyone else’s. It stopped me in my tracks – why would we want to look like everyone else? From that moment I began creating classes led by a theme and it was up to the participants as to how they wanted to interpret it. The supplies may have been all the same, however the end result was their own unique expression.
What is a Creatively Fit Coach? How is that different than an art instructor?
Much like a coach in a gym who works with you to strengthen your physical body a Creatively Fit Coach guides you to strengthen your creative muscle. We have the tools you can use to go within and learn to create life your way, from the inside out. Through the work you will see that you have everything you need within you to create your most authentic and inspired life. This type of practice can assist in bringing your heart and mind into balance, the intuition and the logic and what is possible with what we have experienced up until now. It is less about creating pretty paintings (although those are great and good) and more about creating art as a way to practice creating the life we desire.
You’re a Master Facilitator of Intuitive Painting and Expressive Arts. Can anyone learn to paint?
I believe everyone is an artist and I welcome those seasoned artists and those who think they can’t even draw a straight line. This way of painting is more about the process. Expressing your emotions. It needs only to make sense to you. Your color choices, your shapes and images. A visual story. With this process we use cheap art supplies and big sheets of paper. We detach from the thoughts of ‘use it sparingly and it needs to be perfect.’ Freedom lies before you. We get into our bodies through movement or meditation and then pick up the brush and dip it into the paint and voila you are painting! You gain clarity, release unprocessed emotions and through it is birthed a better version of you. This process works for everyone!
How do we use creativity in our spiritual journey?
Creativity supports our spiritual journey through mindful exercises that connect us to our mind, body and soul. Feeling into our bodies. Connecting with our heart space. Perhaps we are unable to write our feelings and instead draw or paint them. I encourage people to create a sacred space for their creativity. It may be as simple as lighting a candle when you begin. Then move. Move your body, move the pencil across the paper, the paint on the canvas – move! Listen. Listen to that quiet voice inside that has been there all along waiting for you to come and play! Follow the whispers and trust the magic. Unfold the layers and drop the heaviness.
What’s the biggest decision you ever made?
The biggest decision I ever made was to leave my husband. I loved him and yearned for him to change. To admit that he had a problem. I lost myself, my self-worth and my joy for living. After my son was born I no longer had only myself to care for and I wanted it to be different for him. It was the hardest thing I have ever done. I had no idea what was before me and yet I knew that what I was living was hell here on earth. I took back my power and forged ahead slowly but surely to build a better life for myself and my son. I’ll always have love for my ex-husband as he gave me the greatest gift of all – my son.
What do we need to know “for sure” about the healing power of art?
The healing power of art is accessible to all. Everyone and anyone can benefit from this practice to find healing for themselves and the world.
What would you say to your younger Girl Warrior?
I would say, “Girrrl, you are seen, you are heard and you are SO loved! Never let anyone dim your light, shine brightly sweet one!”
What would you say to future Girl Warriors looking for inspiration?
I would say get up, show up and do the work. Tell your story. Get up and stand in your power. Show up and shine. Work every day to take care of those parts of you that need caring and share your experiences and knowledge with others. Move in the world with the intention of leaving everyone you encounter with hope, love, joy and peace. Find your people. Love them and support them. In lifting them up and celebrating them you will receive the greatest gifts.
Who is/are your Girl Warrior hero(s) and why?
I have SO many Girl Warrior heroes! In this moment I want to celebrate Mama as my Girl Warrior. At 21 years young coming from nothing, living in Italy and getting on a boat for a two-week trip to a country where she did not know the language or many people. I am in awe of the bravery that must have taken. At just over 40 years young she suffered many losses. Her father, brothers, sister, mother and many friends. Every day she rose with so much energy. She gave to others with so much love never expecting anything in return. In her last few years her body began to deteriorate and yet her mind was still in tact. It was heartbreaking to witness this vibrant women living in the prison of her body. Those last few years were the best years I had with her. I saw her guard come down. She moved from being the energy giving well to the recipient of help. It must have been so hard for her to let go and receive. Mama was a true warrior.
Blue Sky it. No boundaries here, just limitless opportunities. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Whoa! I have always wanted to live by the ocean. Living closer to my son. Continuing to paint and share what I’ve learned with others. A small home filled with only necessities. Simplicity and beauty all around. Explore the world through travel and spread peace and love to everyone I meet.
What makes you laugh uncontrollably? Cry out all the tears?
A good podcast – Smartless is a gem. Comedies – movies, such as Bridesmaids or sitcoms such as Schitt’s Creek. A fun game like Farkle.
What has been your biggest disappointment/triumph?
Biggest disappointment was not standing up to my mom when she came to get me while I was living in Italy. Although I was disappointed I would have never had my son had I stayed in Italy. From disappointment to dream come true! Biggest triumph was completing a marathon. Never in a million years did I think of doing it or think I could do it and yet I did!
Describe yourself in five words.
Creative, wild, free, authentic and caring.
If a Biopic were written about your life, what would it be called?
Trust the Mystery
Here’s a very special invitation to our Girl Warriors from Nadia…
Energy goes where energy flows. I invite you to join me for a few moments each day for 29 days. Let’s practice together and shift our thoughts and experience the power of gratitude and how it can change your life.
The videos for each day are pre-recorded making this a self-led practice. After registration you are invited to join a PRIVATE Facebook group to continue the conversation and share your feather creations.
PRACTICE gratitude – 29 days of practicing GRATITUDE through mindful art making
A practice of giving thanks through the mindful creation of “gratitude feathers.”
Each day a NEW video (around 10 minutes) will appear including:
- Words to ponder
- A mindful exercise
- Ideas for creating your “gratitude feather”
$25 off at checkout when you enter the code: WARRIOR
Expires June 30, 2021 (regular price $54)
You can learn more about this powerful online course at: https://nadia-munarolo-kurjata.teachable.com
Nadia also contributed her illustrations and meditations to an adult coloring book The Super Soul Flow Adult Coloring Book. Check it out at: https://www.amazon.ca/Super-Soul-Flow-Adult%20Coloring/dp/B01K15W5U6/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=super+soul+flow+adult+colouring+book&qid=1621276743&sr=8-3
Nadia created an oracle deck The Power of 3 Mantra Deck, which you can view here:
And her The Power of 3 Mantra Journal can be viewed here:
Both were inspired by a series of paintings Nadia created in which she was being given “3 word mantras.” All of this was created purely by playing and exploring color and marks and allowing intuition to guide her.
The Power of 3 original paintings can be viewed here:
To learn more about Nadia head over to her website at: https://nadiamunarolokurjata.com
Follow her on Instagram at: https://www.instagram.com/nadiamunarolo/
And Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/nadia.munarolokurjata/
Teachable at: https://nadia-munarolo-kurjata.teachable.com
Top feature photo courtesy of photographer Kevin Schlatt.