A creative heart/life update

Aug 31, 2021 | Life in Progress

I went to Portland couple of weeks ago and had an experience that felt like a mixture of grief, awakening, and creative bursts all at once. Intense, illuminating, and ultimately really really GOOD.

First, the grief. It’s been so long since I’ve been back and I wasn’t expecting the heavy sadness that arrived almost immediately upon entering the city. Oh, these trees! These neighborhoods! My old garden! And studio! And house! Oh, and that favorite store and restaurant! It felt like being reunited with a piece of yourself that lives in an important part of your heart, but you hadn’t checked in on her in awhile. I didn’t realize how much I missed Portland, but also how much I missed that old life, that previous version of myself, that previous version of our family.

I got engaged there. Found my creative callings there. Built a thriving art business there. Created community, started a family, and on and on. 20 years of living and loving and learning and growing and stumbling and creating a life I loved. I’m known for my delayed reactions to big life events, and my goodness was this a delayed grief response – three years after packing up our belongings and moving on. I sobbed my way through my first 48 hours of our visit. And it was good, needed, and a long time coming.

In the end, I’m very happy we made the decision to move to sunnier, small town Sisters, OR and I love what we’re building here, but I also now know that Portland will always be home and that I need to make more time to visit. So glad there are airbnb’s to visit!



Second, the awakening. I was SO inspired in my old city. The trees, the landscape, the people, the creative energy – it all had me stirring in possibility, like the kind I always seemed to have when we lived there. In some ways, my visit felt like I was getting reacquainted with myself.  Oh this is who I am! I think travel, especially back to our home spaces – the places where we were formed – does this to us. Reminds us of our essence, of our undeniable selves waiting to be revealed again and again. That’s what it felt like. A little like a reawakening, like a spark lit, like a treasure being found.


(New art! Available here in a variety of sizes)


Then, creative burst. With grief and awakening stirring in the soup of emotions, I was having many conversations with my Portland friends and with myself around what’s next for me (another book? a different signature course? etc?). You know how we feel the call toward something, and sometimes we’re not sure why the call, but we Trust it, make moves toward it, and then we sort of wait for life to adjust accordingly? All the while, we’re just sort of in The Mystery, fully trusting that we made the right call? The last three years or so since moving from Portland, I’ve definitely been in The Mystery.

Being in The Mystery has looked like this: Listening  to the call and moving out of the city and into a tiny town. Retiring all of my e-courses. Scaling back my licensing, getting off social media, and super simplifying my life. Meanwhile, I’ve been humming along over here in The Mystery soup, sort of wondering what this next season of living will hold.

And then I went to Portland and I’m pretty certain I received the answers to those questions. Oh, this is what I’m supposed to do now? Oh. Oh! Of course! Now I understand why that happened, and I made that decision and how being in The Mystery has lead to now! And you know how once you get the message/the aha/the gift of clarity, all sorts of synchronicities and messages from Spirit began to arrive? That’s the part I love, and they started popping up EVERYWHERE!

It makes life living so fun and meaningful when we are in deep consideration of a path to take and then the signs from Spirit arrive, affirming our inclinations, “Yes, this way!  Yes, yes, yes!”  



So that’s where I’ve landed, friends. I’m learning so much about myself right now, about life really. And I’m so so glad I’ve got some clear direction for what’s next while also integrating all that I’ve learned from my previous seasons into the one I’m headed into. Art and writing are what’s next, so not a huge shift, but also a big shift from what I’ve done before. I’ll share more as the weeks unfold, but for now I’m so grateful to have you witness this journey. I adore this community more than I can say.



If you’re feeling a little bit in The Mystery, consider getting reacquainted with yourself. So somewhere – anywhere – where you feel deeply alive. Maybe it’s visiting a city where formative years were spent. Maybe it’s visiting with an old friend that knew you when. Maybe it’s visiting older journals. Either way, allow this version of yourself speak to you from where you are now. Allow her to guide your next move while also celebrating all that you created in that previous season of your life. If you need, grieve that previous season/version. And then let the gifts from that season help you pave the next path. Life is magical.

XO, Kelly Rae

Sending much love,

Show/Hide Comments (24 comments)
  1. Natalie Smith

    I can so relate to this post. I moved away from Berlin, Germany to the countryside 2 years ago following a deep hunch of my heart. Even though I was not born there, Berlin is the city where I feel the most alive and energized, and I need to go back from time to time and reconnect with that part of myself. However, I believe that my little countryside town is where I’m supposed to be right now, even though I’m not quite sure of the *why just yet.

    • Kelly Rae Roberts

      Yes, yes, yes. This feels very true for me, too :).

  2. Janie Hall

    I think you will return to Portland! Your heart is there and you’ve tried the space but it isn’t working!
    Listen to your heart!

    • Kelly Rae Roberts

      Life in Sisters is indeed working and we love it here.

  3. Bonnie Juma

    I deeply resonated with what you shared in this post Kelly. Delayed grief responses are also how I navigate changes and transitions. And returning to places that are “home” to me is always stirring, healing and rejuvenating–connecting me to my deep inner places of peace, love, and passion. Thank you for sharing this part of your journey <3

    • Kelly Rae Roberts

      Thanks, Bonnie. I’m so glad I’m not alone in my delayed responses. Here’s to the continued journey of going inward <3

  4. Angel

    Thank you for reminder that there are ‘new moves’ awaiting

    • Kelly Rae Roberts

      Yes, always new small steps to be taken.

  5. Judene Marchetti

    I love reading all your sentiments. Love your artwork too but love your way of living.

    • Kelly Rae Roberts

      Thank you, Judene 🙂

  6. Pam Consear

    Hi Kelly! I enjoyed this read, partly because I was accidentally involved in your Portland visit. I cycled past you on N. Williams on my aqua cruiser bike wearing overalls, while you were in a hot pink dress eating at a sidewalk cafe, and I circled back to say hi (even though you don’t know me). You were gracious and friendly to this stranger/reader. 💚

    I’m in a similar post-transition period, having moved back to Portland 4 years ago after 20 years in Oakland and more around the Bay, getting married, raising kids, getting divorced, shifting from schoolteacher to artist, starting a small biz, and undergoing so many other life transitions there. I was there visiting last week feeling the nostalgia and familiarity, some longing, and lots of gratitude for what Oakland gave me that I still carry with me. And I felt solid in my decision to move here, where new chapters continue to unfold, still deep in the wonder-and-mystery phase. May it last forever – with little glimmers of aha! and ‘this is why I’m here!’ to keep us from burning out. 😉

    Thanks for your heart-felt sharing of your journey.

    • Kelly Rae Roberts

      Pam, that was such a serendipitous treat to meet you. I’m so glad you circled back around on your cute bike with your cute overalls :). It’s such a strange thing to have lived some big and deep and wide life somewhere only to be sort of starting entire new chapters somewhere else. Thanks for getting it and for the little burst of joy on that day in Portland 🙂

  7. BB

    This really touched me today. I’m taking a solo trip to LA next month and I’m a little hesitant about it but now I feel really inspired to focus on all the beauty joy fun and growth I’m going to experience on my trip. Thank you for sharing this.

    • Kelly Rae Roberts

      Yes, there’s nothing like traveling alone – esp after all that we’ve all been through this last year+ – that helps renew our perspectives. Enjoy the new inspiration that is surely to arrive!

  8. Cherilyn Clough

    Fit over ten years, I’ve enjoyed following you across media, buying your art, and taking classes from you online. As a fellow Oregonian, I’ve watched your move with interest because I love visiting Sisters! I was living near Medford and just moved up to Portland area where my family is from.

    I agree with you that going places and getting in touch with ourselves, brings out our creativity.

    I believe making art helps us access our inner child too. Making art with your courses allowed me to access emotions from my childhood so I could write a memoir about it.

    I too have been in wonderland. (Wonder is my word for 2021). Most people have lost s sense of wonder due to all the pandemic stress and social upheaval in the last few years.

    I too, loved the good ol’ days when we sat with a hot drink and soaked in blogs.

    This last year, I’ve spent a lot of time dreaming of what next after my memoir.
    Now I’m writing a historic fiction about some real-life Oregon pioneers. I’m literally in love with with my protagonists and in awe of what they managed to accomplish. Wonder can only describe it!

    Thank you for sharing your journey. You don’t know me, but to me, you feel like one of my besties!

    Blessings and light on your next project! I’ll be watching! 😄

    • Kelly Rae Roberts

      Hi Cherilyn! I love that you and I have travelled some seasons together – 10 years is a long time! I can’t agree with you more on all the things – the days of tea and blog reading, the major need for Wonder (so excited about Andrea’s book > perfectly timed for the world we’re in at the moment), the accessing our childhood for eons of wisdom, and all the ways our creativity blooms when nurtured. Excited for your next book!

  9. alex

    Love this post, Kelly! Xo

    • Kelly Rae Roberts

      Hi old friend. SO LOVELY seeing you here. I’ve been thinking a lot about the old days of blogging and when we would read each others thoughts and blogs before social media. I miss those days! Sending big love to you and your sweet family.

  10. Jennifer

    So excited to see a new unfolding of possibilities! …I am also in the delayed response camp- I see you!

    • Kelly Rae Roberts

      Oh thank goodness I’m not alone. I’m not totally sure WHY I’m like that, but helps to know I’m not the only one!

  11. Ginny Ballou

    Kelly Rae, A wise post. I am grieving my young & middle age self when the world was truly my oyster. Now I’m grappling with old age and still wishing to be relevant, creative and content. I will follow your posts with interest.

    • Kelly Rae Roberts

      Dear Ginny,
      As I enter my late 40s, I can see and sense how truly strange aging is and must be. Something tells me you are and will always be a creative soul. I wish you peace and knowing of your vibrancy, at any age. xoxox

  12. Lisa Hetrick

    Thank you! I really enJOYed this post and the honesty you’ve shared. It filled me up and I’m grateful. I also felt a moment of stepping back to an earlier time when I would savor the reading time of blog posts from my favorite artists. I sat here with a cup of tea and remembered that THIS is how it’s supposed to be. Getting an email, clicking through to a post and relaxing in to the wonder of what is being shared with me.

    NOT mindlessly scrolling the latest slice of video where someone is pointing to a word and dancing about.

    This is the juice! Thank you for sharing your heart. I feel lighter.

    • Kelly Rae Roberts

      Oh I so remember those days, Lisa! The tea and reading of blogs that were longer than an Insta/FB update. I suppose there is value to all of it, but like you, I treasure those earlier times, too! Thank you for the kindness and community 🙂


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Hello + welcome!

I’m Kelly Rae Roberts

Before I picked up my first paintbrush at the age of 30, I was a medical social worker. I followed my creative whispers, and today I’m an artist & Possibilitarian. I’m passionate about creating meaningful art and experiences that awaken and inspire our spirits.

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