Category Archives: Handprint List

Your Secret Lives


I thought I’d share a fun little treat for your imagination. I’ve been playing with this all week and it’s actually led to some interesting revelations.

I got this idea from an exercise in The Artist’s Way, and then a friend of mine started a Pinterest board called “The secret life I’ve always wanted it to live!” and filled it with the most gorgeous, gypsy-themed photos. I’m planning to steal this idea and create my own “secret life” vision board, or maybe a few of them, or maybe a whole series of artwork of some kind!

So here it is:

If you had, say, 5 other lives to live,  who would you be in each of them? 

Just play with that for awhile. I don’t know about you, but my imagination went totally nuts.

Here’s what I came up with:

1-I’d live up in or by the mountains with a horse and some chickens. I’d go for lots of long rides and hikes, I’d grow a lot of my own food and make my own cheese. I’d do lots of looking and not much talking.

2-I’d be a contemporary dancer. I’ve always wanted to dance, I paint dancers a lot, and even though my skills are somewhat less than extraordinary, I don’t doubt that there’s a dancer in me somewhere.

3-A minimalist traveler, living out of a backpack and working my way around the world. I’d observe, write, draw, connect, and let things flow out of my life as quickly as they flow in. Drink it in, express it, move on.

4-A musician. I actually have a lot of undeveloped musical talent, I just don’t know what I’d do with it at this point. In this imaginary life, I’d be a drummer in a rock band, I’d carry a harmonica in my purse with a notebook full of song lyrics. I’d take the time to train my voice properly and keep my piano and composing skills sharp.

5-A geologist/rock climber. I’d travel to explore and study the world’s most beautiful landscapes and write all about it.

Then I got carried away and came up with one more:

6-A surfer, with long wavy hair and a beach shack. I’d surf and swim in the ocean every day, eat mangoes to my heart’s content and get around town on a skateboard in my cargo shorts and tank tops. I’d never run out of sunshine.

This is a silly, self-indulgent little game, but I learned that by doing this, I was actually tapping into neglected parts of myself that long to be expressed. 

I really encourage you to make a list of your own and then mine it for clues to what you might be secretly longing for in your life. Noticing leads to consciousness of this longing, and consciousness leads to plans, which lead to action. This doesn’t have to lead to a big drastic life overhaul though. I like my life and being an artistwriter and I chose that life for a reason.

However, here’s what my secret lives are telling me:

  • I need to get outside more. Several of these lives are all about the outdoors; rock climbing, surfing, hiking, and horseback riding. I don’t need to move to the country, but I can go hiking a lot more often, maybe plan a trip to a national park or a beach to learn to surf. I live in Utah for crying out loud, so I’m sure I can find a way to ride horses every once in awhile. That’s actually a big one. I grew up riding horses, but I haven’t ridden in years. This is a sign that it’s time to get back in the saddle, literally.
  • Just because I’ve chosen visual art and writing as my mediums doesn’t mean that I should let my musical talents go to waste. I took piano and voice lessons for many years and I used to compose, but I’m quite rusty. I feel very untrained, but music is a very intuitive thing for me and I know it’s an important part of my life. I could look into bringing my piano home from my parents’ house, or I could ask to practice on a piano at my church a few days a week.
  • I need to set up a separate savings account to save for trips. If you’ve seen my Handprint List, you know that travel is important to me. I’ve made it to China and New York so far, but I’ve got a long way to go. It’s unlikely that I’ll pull up roots to travel Eat Pray Love style, but this little action will help get me on a plane to somewhere. Baby steps.
  • Finally, I need to connect to my body. I’ve always been a very cerebral person, so I’ve spent my life as a brain riding around in a very awkward, unconditioned puppet body. I’ve ALWAYS wanted to dance, so maybe I should look into taking a class. The nice thing about me working full-time again is that I have a lot of extra wiggle room in my budget, so things like a dance class is feasible.

Look at your own imaginary lives and notice what you can do NOW to feed those parts of yourself. They can be as simple as picking up a library book about a topic you’ve always wanted to learn about, or visiting a local farm to milk a cow. You don’t have to pull up roots (unless that’s what you’re being called to do) but you can expand your horizon a  bit.

What are your secret lives? What are they telling you? 

Handprint List Item and an Announcement

I’ve been on fire lately, 2 giant items officially crossed off the Handprint List in two months! I say giant not because they’re crazy or expensive. Obviously, I still have a lot of traveling to do, but these two are completely up to me and my own power. No one else can do them for me. Just a few months ago, I didn’t think either of them were possible.

If you missed my last Handprint List update, catch it here.

So what have I done this time?

  • Sell a piece of artwork

Here it is:

"Rapture" acrylic on canvas, 24"X36"

Sold. Someone actually paid me for something I created, which is a dream come true for any creative soul who longs to turn their passion into a career.

And that’s not even the most exciting part. I real kicker is that I’ve decided  to pursue my dream of being a professional artist, not some time in the future, but right now. I’ve been covered in paint for the last two months and I have a body of work that I’m proud to display.

In the next few weeks, I’ll be launching a new website to showcase and sell my artwork. This site won’t be a replacement for Handprint Soul, but rather an extension of it. You can still read my posts about intuitive eating, passionate living and creative healing here on the main site, but if you interested in viewing my work and reading about my life as an artist, I’d love to see you on this new site. I’ll announce it when it’s ready to be unveiled, but until then you can catch me on Facebook and view works available for purchase on ebay.

Here’s a taste of what I’ve been up to:

"Memory" acrylic on canvas, 24"X30"

Available here.

"A Fire Inside" acrylic on canvas, 24"X30"

Available here.

"Contemplative" acrylic on canvas 24"X24"

"Step by Step" acrylic on canvas, 24"X36"

Available here.

So that’s a taste of what I’ve been up to. I’ll let you know when the new site is ready and I hope to see you there! Until then, I’ll be hanging around here and on Facebook.


The Handprint List: Two Huge Accomplishments

Today I finally checked two MAJOR items off my Handprint List:

Reach my natural ideal weight through intuitive eating and enjoyable movement.

Conquer my depression and anxiety

I’ve been working at these for years, struggling and learning all I could about myself and the causes of these issues so I could somehow solve the mystery of my mind and body.

I knew that these two were connected, that my eating habits and body were a reflection of what was going on in the inside. I put a ton of work into overcoming these obstacles, but eventually I realized that these issues had something to teach me, and they weren’t there to destroy me. They had to teach me about self-love and care, trust, gratitude, and courage.  I just had to let go and not try so hard to control everything around me.

Once I learned this, the demon fled.

I stopped eating  compulsively. I didn’t feel the dark shadow inside me anymore and I started writing and making art again. I felt grateful for what I had and for the lessons my struggles taught me. I didn’t think about food all the time. I felt like being social. The past few months have been amazing because I feel alive again and I can honestly say that I’m not depressed or anxious anymore even though my life is far from perfect.

The root of my disordered eating dissolved and I reached my natural weight in just a few months. I won’t post a picture of how I look now because A) I don’t have one at the moment, and B) I don’t think it’s necessary. I feel good and I think I look good too. I’ve defined my happy weight before, and my eating and activity level feels perfect to me right now.

Eating and emotional states aren’t static though. This doesn’t mean that I’ll never have the urge to overeat again or that I won’t have days or weeks when I struggle with my emotions. This means that I feel like I have the tools to handle things right now, that I’m comfortable enough to examine my emotions so they don’t harm me. I know that I tend to turn to food when I feel off on a deep level, and I can use that tendency as my personal alarm bell.

I could be jumping up and down excited. I’ve had those moments. I used to get super excited whenever I lost weight, and I know I was the last time I had reached this weight, but I actually feel calm. Peaceful. Grateful. I imagined fireworks and choirs of angels when I reached this point, but it’s more like waking up from a really nice nap and just relishing the delicious feeling of knowing that you have the rest of the day to lay there in the sunny room if you want, or you can meet friends for dinner, or go for a walk if you want. Anything is possible now.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Handprint List update

Good morning everybody! I just want to let you know that I updated my Handprint List. If you missed my post about the importance of evolving our Handprint Lists, catch it here.

It’s basically the same list. I added somethings, removed some, and got a lot more specific about some. The travel section got a lot bigger and more specific. Also, if you haven’t made your Handprint List yet, why not?! I’m giving you a homework assignment. Make one. Today. Then send it to me, or submit a link. I’d love to see it!  I’m also thinking of creating a special page for everyone’s Handprint Lists, so if you’d like to be a part of that, let me know!

My list will continue to evolve, so check it every once in awhile and you’ll probably see something different.

Aaaaand, you may have noticed that I finally got my own domain name so welcome to! Aw, my little bloggie’s growing up!

Thanks so much to all my readers for your great comments and support!

Love, Kella

Evolving Handprint Lists

I’ll keep this short, because that beautiful spring weather outside is calling my name! Perfect weather for a nice run, concluded with barefoot walking through the park, don’t you think? I think.

If you’ve read Handprint Soul for awhile, you know all about the Handprint List. You might have even made one of your own, which is awesome. I made mine last summer right after I graduated college and started to wonder what I wanted to do with my life. I always had a good idea of what I wanted, but I felt like I needed something more specific. As an obsessive list-maker, I made a list.

However, that was last summer and this was a year of huge change for me. Reading back over my Handprint List, I realized that I wanted to add a few things. I also wanted to remove a couple things. For example, I don’t want to be vegan anymore. Various reasons, but basically it just doesn’t work for me and I’m not going to do anything my body doesn’t like. Also, I no longer care about skydiving, learning to play chess, or going back and learning to use a pottery wheel. I’m a completely different person than I was last summer, and I have a much clearer idea of what I want to do in my life, so I’m trimming away the stuff that doesn’t interest me anymore.

You’re always changing, so your Handprint List should change to reflect that. It’s an evolving, fluid thing that grows with you and shapes as you shape yourself. Don’t get bogged down in a bunch of static expectations and “To-do’s” that no longer sing to you. Add things to your list. Cross off the things you don’t want to do anymore.

I’ll be updating my list little-by-little over the next few weeks as I refine it. It’ll mostly be the same, just a few more specifics and without some of the frivolous things.

If you haven’t made a Handprint List, I really encourage you too. You can either email me and I’ll feature it in a special page on the blog, or post it on your own site and send me the link. I’d love to see it!

And now, for that run…

High Expectations

I expect a lot of myself. If you don’t believe me, read my handprint list. I’ve always had big dreams, big ambitions and lofty goals that haven’t faded with maturity. Writing, traveling, making art, having a family, doing great things, being great things.

The problem is, having high expectations for myself means I tend to bite off more than I can chew. Sometimes I actually chew it and end up stressed and frazzled into oblivion, but the times that I can’t chew it I feel like a loser, a failure and that I don’t measure up to that ideal I’ve created for myself. I spend a lot of time writing down goals, planning my steps to get there, falling short and rebuking myself. I used to do this a lot with dieting, but now it’s money, my writing career, my fitness goals.

Have I set the bar too high? I have to remind myself, I’m only human and I’ve done a lot with my 22 years and I have another (hopefully) fifty at least ahead of me. No point in burning myself out now. I made the handprint list not as a list of dreams, but of goals. I look at it sometimes and think “How will I do it all?” but I forget that it’s a list to last my whole life, not the next five years. Even if I don’t complete them all, it doesn’t mean my life is wasted. Even if I don’t get to travel or if I never make it as a writer, I’m still McKella and that’s ok. If I never publish a book, get the hang of intuitive eating, sell a piece of art, or if I use the word “I” in a paragraph over twenty times (sorry) I’m still ok. The value of life isn’t measured by stamps on a passport or titles on a shelf, but by the way you lived and what you stood for. The best you can do is the best you can do. Come to terms with it so you don’t spend half your time stressing out about it.

Do you have high expectations for yourself or do you cut yourself some slack?

The Handprint List

The bucket list. 101 things to do before I die. The Barefoot List. I’ve heard it called different things, but it’s essentially the same and everyone has one whether they’ve written it down or not. They give us something to strive for and look forward to.

I call it my Handprint List, because it’s who I am, who I hope to become, and the mark I want to leave on the world, and it inspired this blog. I doubt I’ll actually accomplish all these things, but it’s a list of things I can do. It reminds me to aim high and keep an open mind. I add and remove things all the time, and I think everyone should have one of these. So here’s mine, and I hope it will inspire you to create your own. (The bold items are the ones I’ve done)

McKella’s Handprint List


  1. Work, teach, or volunteer in a foreign country
  2. India
  3. Japan
  4. Thailand
  5. 5. China
  6. Indonesia
  7. Do a family history tour through England, Ireland, and Denmark
  8. Italy
  9. The Vatican

10.  Germany

11.  Spain

12.  Greece

13.  Turkey

14.  France

15.  Scotland

16.  Eastern Europe (Romania, Ukraine, Etc.)

17.  Visit the Galapagos Islands to see wildlife up close.

18.  Egypt

19.  Hike to Macchu Picchu

20.  Visit Mayan ruins

21.  Australia

United States

22.  Road trip across America (On a bike if I want to get really brave)

23.  New England during the fall

24.  Visit Roden Crater

25.  Visit the Sacred Grove

26. New York

27.  Ferry on the Mississippi River

28.  Salem

29.  Washinton DC, to learn about our county’s history.

30.  Visit Native American pueblos

31.  Visit the Muppet stuff in the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta, Georgia.


  1. Earn a Bachelor’s Degree
  2. Speak Spanish fluently.
  3. Learn to belly dance
  4. Learn to surf
  5. Improve my piano playing
  6. Learn to play chess
  7. Improve my singing
  8. Juggling
  9. Sewing (enough to actually alter and design my own clothes)

10.  Photography

11.  Guitar

12.  Ice skating

13.  Bookmaking

14. Study abroad

15.  Learn to survive in the wilderness and test my skills

16.  Learn a martial art

17.  Learn to place Linus and Lucy in full

18.  Origami

19.  Bread making

20.  Learn to use a pottery wheel

21.  Make my own ravioli

22.  Meditation

23.  Study psychology

24.  Learn to not throw like a girl

25. Skip rocks


26.  Publish novels…I don’t know how many.

27.  Publish at least one non-fiction book

28.  Become financially independent and debt-free while doing something I love

29.  Write and publish a children’s book

30.  Create a whole body of art work and have a gallery show, even a private one.


31.  Sell a piece of art

32.  Change a tire all by myself

33.  Be vegan for a year

34.  Try African dance

35.  High-raw vegan for a month

36.  Name a star

37.  See the Spiral Jetty

38.  See Halley’s Comet

39.  Shower in a waterfall or in the rain

40.  Spend the night on a beach

41.  Scuba dive in a coral reef

42.  See the northern lights

43.  Touch a whale

44.  Watch a caterpillar emerge from it’s chrysalis

45.  Do 50 push-ups in a row

46.  Go an entire day without speaking

47.  Pet a tiger

48.  Archery

49.  Learn to live simply

50.  Skinny dip

51. Make a two-headed snowman, Calvin and Hobbes style

52.  Swim with dolphins

53.  Volunteer in an animal shelter

54.  Volunteer to help abused women and children

55.  Reduce my carbon footprint

56.  Throw a surprise party for someone

57.  Create a new holiday just for my family

58.  Plant a tree

59. Dance in a foreign country

60.  Ride a camel

61.  Get a golden retriever

62.  Try bikram yoga

63.  Reach my natural ideal weight through intuitive eating and enjoyable movement.

64.  Eat at a raw vegan restaurant, just to try.

65.  See Tears for Fears live.

66.  Run a half-marathon

67.  Run a race for charity

68.  Master the scorpion pose

69.  Ride a horse sidesaddle

70.  Try showjumping.

71.  Do a headstand

72.  Go rock climbing

73.  Ride in a hot air balloon

74.  Live without a car for a year

75.  Win first place in something

76.  Live by the ocean

77.  Go sailing

78.  Celebrate a non-materialist Christmas

79.  See a whale in the wild

80.  Grow my own food

81.  Do the splits

82.  Sing in a rock band

83.  Live a full-blown yogini lifestyle for six months. Asanas, cleansing practices, etc.

84.  Try fencing

85.  Get a pet pig

86.  Watch a meteor shower

87.  Own a home

88.  Trek through a jungle

89.  Write, play and sing a song


90. Get married in the Temple

91.  Become a mother

92.  Homeschool my kids through elementary

93.  At least try natural childbirth…this is a big maybe, I don’t know, I don’t know.

94.  Research my geneology

95.  Do temple work for my family members


96.  Conquer my depression and anxiety

97.  Learn to truly manage stress

98.  Conquer fear (driving, being away from my family, offending people, etc.)

99.  Learn to be happy no matter what my circumstances

100. Age gracefully. None of this wrinkle fighting or hair-dyeing stuff.

101. Finally, make an amazing scrapbook of all this

I plan on making a separate tab to post photos of these things as I accomplish them, a sort of visual “checklist.”

If you have a blog, consider yourself tagged! Post your own handprint list and send me a link. I’d love to see it! If you don’t have a blog, squeeze whatever you can into the comments.