When Kristin Noelle emailed me recently, offering to share one of her drawings on this here blog, I was so excited. I really, really, really adore Kristin’s art. I also love her writing. And her message. She created this heartbreakingly tender sketch just especially for you, my dear readers, and I pretty much couldn’t handle my joy. Which brings us to the topic at hand: joy. Pockets of it. Kristin’s art (like this, and this, and this) most definitely brings pockets of joy to my life. I had the chance to interview her, too (yay!). EnJOY. (See how I did that right there?!)
. . .
KS: When did you start making these fantastic pieces of art? And why?
KN: Though I’ve made art since childhood, I started sketching in this form in 2008. At the time I was thick in midst of young-motherhood and had an intuition that my next life step would combine writing with art somehow. My early sketches were actually pep talks to my own self, as I felt a tremendous sense of calling but wasn’t sure exactly to *what*. I had a lot of fear of the unknown to work through and my drawings became comforting hands of support at my back.
(The next chapter of that story began in January of 2011, when I launched Trust Tending. This shifted my private sketch life into the public domain, where it’s become central to the way I communicate and try to contribute good to broader conversations.)
KS: Have you had any particularly memorable responses to your art? If so, would you be willing to share one?
KN: My most memorable responses have happened with the art I’ve created for Deep Listening Sessions. These are phone sessions with clients where my job is to listen deeply, and then to create a piece of art in response to what I’ve heard. Something mystical seems to happen as I sit to make those drawings – like I’m using my logic-mind as I process what I’ve heard, but like something from beyond that mode joins my image-making, too. Clients have reported feeling deeply seen and inspired by what gets created. I feel humbled and energized by the whole process.
KS: Do you ever have self-doubt when you share your writing or your art? If so, how do you deal with that?
KN: Absolutely! I’ve collected lots of tools to use with self-doubt, as that’s been a prominent emotion in my life (and is wonderful fuel for ALL the trust-tending work that I do). When it comes to my writing and art, I consciously try to do two things:
a) Stay humble about my capacity to know how something has been received. This means acknowledging that what might LOOK like a flop to me in hindsight, or according to benchmarks like purchases, post comments, social media mentions, etc, might have actually elicited wonderful shifts in someone (or many!). Even true-blue “flops” can contribute to the common good and further important conversations. I’m coming more and more to trust that everything belongs.
b) Take the long view. Being a beginner, making mistakes, looking foolish: these are all parts of a much longer story of growth and discovery. Mistaking the present for the final chapter, or the only chapter that matters, is always a set-up for me for getting my ego in knots. As much as I’m able, I try to (quite literally, in my body) soften into awareness of my story being long and ongoing. And beautiful. I haven’t ever seen a great movie or read a great book that wasn’t made so by the character’s WHOLE process of growth, including the victories AND the defeats.
. . .
Kristin Noelle is a writer, artist, and trust coach. She sees fear as the heart of every problem on our globe and the cultivation of trust as the antidote. Find her at Trust Tending, where illustrations shift writings from head to heart. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, two kids, and 7 chickens.