Today I get to introduce you to talented, Toronto-based artist, jewellery designer and creative-mindfulness guide, Nicole Kagan. Nicole's layered and lush artworks offer viewers a meditative journey into external and internal 'landscapes', inviting moments of imagination, curiosity, and contemplation.
I 'met' Nicole during the pandemic when I stalked her online and begged her to bring back her creative mindfulness workshop. We learned that we share a lovely, mutual friend and have since crossed paths at my outdoor yoga class last summer and at her creative mindfulness workshop that re-started after the pandemic. I admire her art work, you can see it here, and sometimes follow it around the neighborhood from my naturopath's office to local shops.
Nicole's creative-mindfulness workshops and 1:1 sessions explore the sensory experience of connection, both to yourself and out into the world, blending inspiring creative prompts with awareness of breath and the present moment. Her unique approach cultivates the meditative power of intentionally directing the flow of your attention to elicit more creative expression, beauty and joy in your life. I definitely recommend attending one of her workshops when you have the opportunity. Join her list here to be the first to hear about spring workshop dates.
Where to find Nicole:
• Check out her jewellery at the adorable local shop, Poppyseed Creative Living (Rushton Rd. and St. Clair West).
• Visit her art studio (#161) at the Wychwood Barns, facing the children’s playground.
• Drop by the Wychwood Valentine's Market this weekend, February 10th from 8AM - 1PM, where she'll be showing jewellery, fine art prints and paintings. If you're in the neighborhood, go say hello!
Do you have any personal development books or podcasts that you always go back to?
I love the podcast ON BEING, by Krista Tippett, especially the episode where she interviews poet John O'donohue. I Also love Ross Gaye's "Book of Delights" -- It's along the lines of a book I'm working on currently about 'collecting the elevated moments in life'.
Tell us about your values; what do you stand for?
BOTH/AND -cultivating the ability to hold multiple complexities, perspectives, and narratives as true and valid. This feels more important than ever right now.
SEEING vs. LOOKING - What it is to actively SEE, vs. more passively LOOK -- ie. This looks like getting fully present in a moment to fully take in and appreciate my surroundings or perhaps a person I encounter. To really notice things, and to give others the felt sense of being 'seen' in my presence.
CREATIVE EXPRESSION + FLOW - I believe we are all inherently creative, and that creativity is a form of energy, an energy that wants to move and flow. It is incredibly life-affirming and inspiring to find ways for that creativity to be expressed in the world, in your own unique way.
THE BEAUTY OF IMPERFECTION - life is messy. Underneath the shiny surface, humans are messy and real — we are all just figuring things out as we go. I try to see the messiness within myself and in others as a beautiful and authentic thing, a sign that we are alive and human.
When it comes to mindset, are there any mantras that you live by?
2. “What's 'good' about this?” (ie. What is the learning, the lesson, the gift in this difficult thing?)
What is one piece of advice that you would like to give to your younger self?
Trust the unfolding of things. (Allow for the messy middle of 'process', things often have a way of working out one way or another if you give them time)
What are your most important feel-good routines and rituals?
An end-of-the-day-hot-bath (ideally with a candle, forest scented oil, lowered lights, beautiful music, and maybe even a treat, like piece of dark chocolate)
What is your number one indulgence? Dark chocolate with sea salt
Tell us about a feel-good product that you're obsessed with.
Hand-crafted herbal body oils + room/body spray by Sunday's Company. This is a favourite aromatherapy spray that reminds me of a walk in the forest.
Tell us about a feel-good habit, product or service that you're loving right now.
1. Animal Spirit Cards, by Kim Krans
2. The book, "The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse" by Charlie Mackesy. Both are go-to gifts for special people.
If I could wave a magic wand and get you 24 hours to do whatever you want, how would you spend that time?
Luxurious sleep-in, solo walk in a forest with an amazing coffee, lunch with a favourite friend at a delicious restaurant, browsing in some cool indie boutiques or galleries, time to read a great book somewhere cozy, an amazing dinner out with husband, going to a 5Rhythms dance class, ending with an extended sensory Epsom salts bath.