It’s no secret that I believe authenticity is the ultimate path to living your most vibrant life.

But... what does "authenticity" really mean?

I hear that word thrown around a lot these days, but I'm not sure we do a great job at slowing down long enough to really define it and fully understand it.

I’ve always said that authenticity to me means finding alignment between who you are and what you do. Basically, it’s having your outward actions match up with your inward values.

BUT, the other part of the equation that I don’t talk about as much in that definition is what often STOPS us from doing that.

Why is it so hard to line up WHO WE ARE with WHAT WE DO?

That, my friends, is where the idea of FREEDOM comes in.

Being authentic means breaking FREE of who you think you should be so that you can instead be who you really are  -- just as Brené says in the quote above.

The world often delivers a picture to us of who we need to be in order to be accepted into mainstream culture. We are expected to be successful, agreeable, lacking flaws, professional, realistic, stoic... the list goes on.

By acknowledging these expectations for what they are and realizing that lasting satisfaction comes from true, internal acceptance regardless of the expectations of other people, that’s when we can really start to discover the benefits of freedom in every aspect of our lives. That’s when we can start to experience real authenticity and the sustained contentment it creates.

So, this month I'm going to ask you to Color Your Soul with FREEDOM.

Together we’ll explore three different sub-themes that will act as our "mindfulness mantras" throughout the month, all of which are ways that freedom has shown up in my own life. Those mindfulness mantras are: PLAY, POSSIBILITY & ACCEPTANCE.


Freedom is PLAY.

Play is something that we don't often think about as a necessary part of life. Play seems frivolous, lacking in priority, and decidedly unessential. BUT, as Greg Mckeown reminds us in his book Essentialism, it's in fact the opposite. Having a sense of play and giving our imaginations space to roam is absolutely essential, not just in idea generation and productivity but it also within our creativity, which needs freedom to roam and to encounter inspiration!

Freedom through play is about allowing yourself to do something “simply for the joy of doing it and not as a means to an end.” It's about giving yourself permission to have fun, to explore, to discover, and to liberate yourself from whatever constraints you’ve placed on yourself in the past.

Freedom is possibility.

Over the course of my life it has become clear to me that so many of us are held back not by any visible or tangible constraints, but by chains that are actually invisible and of our own doing. We decide what we think is possible and what is impossible for our lives, and by deeming something beyond our reach, we in turn limit our own potential. The more we can focus on what's possible, the more we can imagine and dream and ask “What if?”, the more we can expand our consciousness and find freedom from our self-imposed limitations.

Freedom through possibility is about stepping outside the perceived barriers that you have for what your life HAS to be or HAS to look like and opening yourself up to the beauty that it could be.


Freedom is acceptance.

Probably the hardest of the these freedom mantras to adopt is that of self-acceptance. Sometimes the most oppressive chains that bind us are hidden within the stories we tell ourselves about what we're lacking or what we've always been lacking. BUT, when we start to realize that we are ENOUGH as we are, that we are worthy of love and that we are beautiful as we are, we can start to free ourselves from the negativity that stems from our scarcity mindset. 

Freedom through acceptance is about feeling whole in spite of your perceived imperfections. It’s loving yourself where you are, not where you wish you would be. Through acceptance you’re able to free yourself from any lacking or comparison you may feel.


My hope is that by exploring these themes all month long, together we can unlock whatever might be holding you back from your best, brightest, FREEST life. 

I truly hope you enjoy the art, inspiration, digital goodies, and weekly journal prompts included in this issue. Know that it was all created and curated with LOVE for you! If you have ideas about what you like or what you want to see in next month's issue, let me know by emailing me! 

Thanks for embarking on this new journey with me! I can't wait to see where it leads us!




Inspiration is about sparking your curiosity & stoking your inner muse. It begins with a visual inspiration board that sculpted my vision for this issue, but it also extends to my own sketchbook where I hope you'll find pieces of art that speak to the big, juicy topics in this issue. 


the freedom issue is Inspired by:

Bright tones of pink, sunshine, and poppy retaining the vibrant remnants of summer, plus rich tones of turquoise ushering in the moodier vibes of fall. I channeled the idea of freedom through images of doors and birds, reminding me of the possibilities all around us and that feeling when your spirit takes flight. Finally, layered collage and paper art reminded me of the textured, complex, layered nature of our lives, and I found myself itching to incorporate the technique into my #ColorYourSoulSketchbook (check it out below!)

book cover / abstract painting / follow your enthusiasmsdoors illustration / birdsmiddle mojo web design / pink geodepaper collage #1 / flowers / memphis design fabric


These eight original art pieces were created through the lens of this month's theme. Hover over each piece to read more about its origins, and be sure to scroll down to The Gallery to download each piece in various forms to surround yourself with HEARTFUL art inspiring freedom all month long. My hope is that each piece serves as both a visual cue and a thought-stirring catalyst for self-discovery.

If you find yourself inspired by the topics in this issue, I hope you'll consider creating your own work and sharing with the tag #ColorYourSoulSketchbook. Tag me (@ckelso) on Instagram -- I'd love to see and share your work!

More fun stuff to get you inspired around Freedom:

  • TRY LISTENING TO: the Magic Lessons podcast with Liz Gilbert, Season 2, Episode 1 - one of my favorite podcasts and I especially love Liz's chat with Sarah Jones in the second half who asks what if JOY were our only metric for success
  • TRY READING: "Essentialism" by Greg McKeown - a year later and I'm still going back to this book all the time; Greg's chapter on PLAY feels especially appropriate for this month's theme
  • TRY READING: The Crossroads of Should & Must by Elle Luna - a beautiful post about freeing ourselves from the expectations of others so we can pursue what calls us from within
  • TRY WATCHING: The Little Prince on Netflix - a fantastical animated movie based on the worldwide bestseller Le Petit Prince, a novella published in 1943. Not only does the animation style and fanciful storyline totally inspire me to PLAY, but I think the theme of the movie beautifully illustrates the notion of freedom and the idea that play is indeed an essential part of a colorful, vibrant life. 

Do you have any videos, articles, books, poems, or pieces of art that inspire you to live more freely? Send them to us and we'll link it up here in the digital issue (with credit to you, of course!) Send your links to!



Instruction is about moving beyond the creative spark and taking ACTION. It's where I'm able to share with you a new practical skill or framework that applies to creativity, authentic business or personal growth. Each month I'll release one self-paced online class and one live workshop related to the monthly theme, and as a subscriber, you have access to both classes FREE!

New September Classes!

Remember, these classes are accessible to you FREE with your Color Your Soul Subscription!

Acrylic Explorations

Learn the basics of creating abstract art with acrylic paint! In this class, I'll walk you through my favorite supplies for painting with acrylics, as well as three different techniques you can use to create your own one-of-a-kind abstract art! 


Connecting With Your Core

Available 9/14! In this live online workshop, we discuss that elusive but oh-so-important voice in your heart: your intuition! I'll share with you my process for discovering the language of your intuition + how to put your values into action!




After enjoying the creative spark of INSPIRATION and the confidence that comes with INSTRUCTION, we finally arrive at the last part of the Color Your Soul equation: INSIGHT.  Insight is about diving deeper into your own identity and discovering revelations in your own life. Through "Soul Studies" -- an exclusive weekly email series -- I'll challenge you to investigate your own values as a means of understanding yourself better. You can visit "The Gallery" to download exclusive art and resources to surround yourself with visual reminders of our monthly theme. And finally, I'll offer up fun prompts and exercises so you can live out the monthly theme on a daily basis with the #ColorYourSoulDaily Challenge!

The Gallery

Click below to access exclusive printable art and wallpapers just for Color Your Soul Subscribers! Download each mindfulness mantra or sketchbook page as a desktop wallpaper, phone background OR a printable monthly calendar!

Use each piece of art as a way to let these messages sink into your psyche as you go about your month!


#ColorYourSoulDaily Challenge

Want some fun ways to practice freedom in your daily life all month long?

Check out the #ColorYourSoulDaily Challenge and workbook! I've got 30 prompts with different activities for you to explore play, possibility and acceptance. PLUS, there's a fun printable workbook with space for you to interpret each daily prompt with hand-lettering, art, photos, writing -- whatever you want!

Share your daily interpretations of each prompt on Instagram with the tag #ColorYourSoulDaily and one Color Your Soul Subscriber will be randomly selected to get a VIBRANT surprise in the mail from yours truly!

Soul Studies Journal Prompts

Bust out those writing journals, we're about to get DEEP! Look out for my Sunday emails with prompts and questions to help you interpret this month's theme in your life, your business and your creativity. (If you need to access them online at any time, you can click through the links below!)

I hope you've enjoyed the web version of this issue but you can also read it like a magazine using the Issuu reader here! (I recommend using the fullscreen option to flip through the issue, and make sure you have Flash enabled on your browser for the best experience!)

**If you don't see the magazine here, you can view on or the Issuu app by clicking here!

More to come in future issues! I'm working on a community directory for you to find other CYS Subscribers, monthly videos to get you inspired and community-created content around each theme. Stay tuned!