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*shared stories* (25) Catherine Just and Kat McNally

sharedstories

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Today’s *shared stories* come from photographer Catherine Just and artist Kat McNally

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Catherine Just

When I was 18 years old I was a senior in high school with a raging drug and alcohol addiction. I was deeply depressed and lost, and had no understanding that I had anything of value to offer the world. I didn’t relate to others around me and had a deep painful void in my soul that I was desperate to fill.

A required art class changed all of that for me. The art teacher, Mrs. Burke, told me that I was talented and needed to keep going with this art thing. It was the first time I felt like I had something I could do, that I enjoyed doing, that was uniquely mine. It was life changing.

After I graduated high school, I checked myself into drug treatment and then enrolled into a 4 year art college. I studied photography and it became a way for me to really dive into my inner world and figure out how to say visually through images what was so painful for me say verbally. I received a BFA in photography. More importantly, I had figured out that life was worth living, sober, and that I could express myself fully through my art.

Today I have 23 years of sobriety. I have a photography business that focuses on eCourses and Retreats for women who wish to get back to a Soul*Full way of living.  I’ve been honored with being published on the cover of National Geographic Magazine. There have been awards and kudos from Photo District News and other national magazines. I’ve showed my personal work in galleries around the country. I believe these awards, etc. are all just the universe sending me external evidence that I’ve been following my passion. I’ve also had the privilege of working with Miguel Ruiz , author of the Four Agreements,  as my Spiritual Teacher. This work continues to enrich my life, teaching me ways to love more freely. On top of all of that I am also married to a great guy that you can learn about on his website, and we have a 2 year old son, Max Harrison who happens to have Down syndrome. Max is the brightest light I’ve ever met. Yes, Max has a blog!

Doing what I love means – feeling very passionate about my artistic pursuits, losing track of time while working on projects, being totally focused and engaged. People come in to my office or studio and I can barely hear them talking because I’m so “in it”. I love creating, whether it’s a piece of artwork, a photograph or a new eCourse or retreat. I just feel filled up inside even when at times it’s hard work. The key to doing what I love is remembering where I came from and what a gift my life is now. I allow myself the time to create my art and to spend time being present with my family. When I notice I’m overwhelmed or stressed it’s usually because I’ve forgotten to trust my intuition, make action plans, reach out to my tribe of supportive friends and team of professional experts and take it one step at a time.

I have several big dreams right now. One is to show my series of Nap photos in a gallery soon. These are photos I’ve been taking with my iPhone during my son’s nap time.  I’m also excited about my Soul*Full eCourse that’s starting this Fall and leading my women’s retreat to Zion, Utah next Fall.

[All images courtesy of Catherine Just. To find out more about Catherine and her e-course Soul*Full visit her website here.]

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Kat McNally

 

I’m a lucky girl.

I get to do things I love

almost every day.

 

This might be: reading

or scribbling in my journal

or making collage.

 

It also might be:

long walks with my little ‘un

taking happy snaps

 

or wistful blog posts

with syllables resembling

haiku paper planes.

 

 

This is new for me.

Before this, many boxes

demanded ticking:

 

marriage and mortgage,

finishing my doctorate,

working up the ranks.

 

Doing what I loved

was incidental, almost

a guilty pleasure.

  

But now I’ve arrived

at this place where all options

are open to me,

 

I find myself at

a crossroads. Without structure,

without direction,

 

I feel somewhat lost.

No more boxes to be ticked,

it’s now up to me.

 

 

So all that’s left is

to do what I love and see

where it will take me.

 

I see myself doubt

this process. I see myself

doubt this is enough.

 

I see myself seek

validation from others.

This makes me anxious.

 

Beth asks: what would you

ask of the universe to

help you on your way?

 

So here I offer

a prayer: please light my path so

my purpose is clear.

 

Help me to see what

is mine alone to offer

in a world full of

 

writers and artists

and seekers and lovers and

thinkers and dreamers.

 

Give me the courage

to love whatever transpires,

especially if

 

it makes me anxious.

Vulnerability seems to

be the way forward.

 

[Images courtesy of Kat McNally. Kat is a passionate writer, secret blogger, haiku novice, enthusiastic amateur photographer, and describes herself as a 'tentative (if idiosyncratic) artist'. She lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband and daughter.  Every Wednesday, Kat posts a reflective prompt based on something she has learnt during her journey with worthiness, the word she chose as her companion for 2011. She hopes you will join her along the way.]

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See here for more inspiring *shared stories*

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“Life-changing”, “Revolutionary”, “Awe-inspiring”, “Transformative” – just a few of the ways former participants have described the Do What You Love e-course.

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The Do What You Love e-course is open for registration now. The adventure begins on September 26 but places are limited so book now to secure your place. This is the last time it will run this year.

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  • http://sherrysmyth.com Sherry Smyth

    Wonderful interviews!! I feel inspired this morning!