When Whitney Freya was a little girl, all she wanted was to be an artist. But at age 9, a careless teacher told her, "While you have a great eye for color and balance, you can't draw." And with that remark, Whitney shelved her multi-colored pastel and watercolor dreams (as so many of us do). "I thought I hadn't inherited the 'artistic gene,'" she sighed.
It wasn't until she graduated from college that Whitney opened up to idea that maybe she could paint. Now the challenge she faced was finding an art class. Local universities all required prerequisites. An art center in Charleston, N.C., where she was living at the time, said she'd missed the registration deadline, and classes didn't begin again for another 13 weeks.
The good news is, her difficultly finding an adult art class gave Whitney her "aha moment" for starting her own business. She could open a creative fitness center! "Why isn't there a place where people can go to work out their right brain muscle, just like they go to the YMCA for work out their bodies?" Whitney asked herself. And that's how Creatively Fit was born.
"I aligned with a message from above that, yes, this is what I was supposed to do," Whitney said. She opened her first art center in Nashville less than a year later. It was a hit. It also brought Whitney great joy to watch her students, young and old, accessing their right brains and bringing their creative visions to life.
Furthermore, running Creatively Fit forced Whitney to address her own insecurities. "You can't own an art center and say you suck at art," she laughed. "I had no choice but to blow right through my self-doubts." Although she had no formal art training, she soon found others calling her an artist -- and assuming she had always been one. Soon enough, she was embracing that identity fully.
After a few months, Whitney realized that creating art lead many of her adult students to make changes in other areas of their lives. They would move, change jobs, start new educational programs -- all because of art making.
Whitney explained: "People in my classes send energy to the right hemisphere, which knows no fear and is fully present. They tap into their infinite, higher selves. Previously, when their desires to make changes in their lives came up, my students would repress these thoughts with their left brains. But once they started painting and journaling and drawing, it gave voice to the part of them that says, "Just do this!'"
Soon enough, Whitney was attracting attention from across the country -- writing a book about Creatively Fit, doing a show on HDTV, and offering certification programs for others to become CF coaches. "It was a powerful new message that people hadn't heard before," she said. "Art-making then was all about artistic talent and people who produce art that can sell."
This week (Jan. 13-17), Whitney is offering the Full Color You telesummit to inspire people to live their lives as artists. She said, "I'm so excited about this program. It turns me on to educate people about the fact that anyone can use art-making as a portal to accessing the part of themselves that embraces change; that they can pursue their joy shamelessly; that they can create the life they want. The images, symbols, and vibration of colors give our hearts something to connect to. We are visual people. When you consciously create what you want, it's really amazing."
Whitney shared the following story about her own creative journey. Three years ago, she moved with her then-husband and three children to a small town in Oregon with only 7,000 people and not a single traffic light. Around that time, she started painted owls. She didn't know why, but she just couldn't stop.
Then Whitney's marriage began falling apart. She wasn't happy and she knew that she had to make a change. She also realized that she had been hiding from the truth, keeping her feelings in the dark. The owl is a symbol of seeing through the darkness, illumination. Whitney dove deeply into her spiritual growth. And by the time she had made the decision to leave her marriage, her desire to paint owls had faded away.
WhitneyFreya.com launches Jan. 17. The website brings everything Whitney does under one umbrella. It is organized around the four elements. The earth pillar is Creatively Fit, which is about coaching your artist within. You can work with a coach, or become a CF certified coach. The fire pillar is art, and it offers rituals to ignite your creative fire, such as sacred stencils. The water pillar provides retreats and immersive artistic experiences. The air pillar is the community, where anyone doing the online programs can gather to discuss their creative journeys.
"You create your reality. You are a creator. That's what I teach in art, and I'm excited to link it to spiritual lessons. We are all artists," Whitney exclaimed.
Photo credit: Whitney Freya