Creating a Green Office: The Before

Dear relatives,

My grandmother would have been 91 years old this week (Gemini love!). And this year, I’ll be celebrating her life in a way I never expected as I work toward opening an acupuncture clinic and mind-body center in my hometown. In between farm chores, I’ll get to design my dream office. I’ll be documenting the process and progress here, and hope to address some of the struggles that come with being a person of color and business owner. I’m also looking forward to educating myself on beginner Feng shui principles, which is an important part of Taoism, Chinese philosophy and cosmology. For now, I’ll ease into that conversation by sharing with a few “before” images. All of the photos you’ll see were made with my phone, so bear with me! Processed with VSCO with m5 presetWhen I first visited the office, I was immediately drawn to this open space. There is great potential here. I can see it so clearly: Qigong classes, community acupuncture, workshops, meditation… I get goosebumps just thinking about it! Processed with VSCO with m5 presetProcessed with VSCO with m5 presetThere are three rooms in total — the large, open room is located to the right when you first walk in. The images above are of the middle room. This will be utilized as an administrative center primarily. There will be a small sink and kitchen area in here as well. Processed with VSCO with m5 presetProcessed with VSCO with m5 presetAt some point, the middle room may need to transform into an additional treatment room. Until then, I’m just taking everything one day at a time.Processed with VSCO with m5 presetA random photo of me just to show you the mirrored ceilings, which are located in the entrance. This was the second thing I noticed, for many reasons. In particular, the symbolism that mirrors carry as a reflection of internal and external environment. I’ve also been trying to learn more about using mirrors as a design strategy. If you have any resources, send them my way!Processed with VSCO with m5 presetThe main treatment room is pictured above. This was the room I had the most challenge with in terms of envisioning what it could be. The room rectangular in shape; more long that it is wide, but it’s not narrow by any means. I’m really looking forward to seeing what this space has to offer once everything is cleared out. Processed with VSCO with m5 presetIn the last month, there has been so much progress already. I’ve slowly started to tell folks about the office, and the response I’ve received has been so warm and encouraging. The experience has been very humbling, and I’m thankful for the postive feedback. This has been a dream of mine for a long time now, and the idea of seeing it all come to life in community with others is more than I imagined.

Here’s to honorinng our grandmothers, and all the ways they inspire us. A blessed New Moon in Gemini to you and yours.

In Solidarity,




2015 Reader Survey

November 2015 Desktop Dowload

The other day I realized that I’ve been at this blogging thing for five years now! In 2010 I began the journey, and since then I’ve seen this community grow from 25 to 50, and now over 325 readers! As a writer, photographer, and blossoming healing artist slowly coming into my own, this means the world to me. You may not know it, but every like, comment, and follow inspires me to keep creating meaningful content that resonates with you—thank you for keeping this a community-driven space.  Continue reading “2015 Reader Survey”

Space For Opportunity


I recently made a big career decision to quit my job, and work for myself again. If you are an artist, freelancer, or budding entrepreneur, you know how crazy scary this is! Tomorrow is my last day at the current gig, and it’s been an interesting experience balancing ‘new’ and ‘old’ work. It was a hard choice to make, and even though I feel that I made the right one, there are residual fears that keep coming up. I’m worried about things like making rent, staying organized and on-task, supply costs, having enough for groceries, etc. I am not unique in having these fears. There are folks struggling with much more, and with greater responsibility. I acknowledge the privilege that I have being a student in an esteemed graduate program. I also understand the opportunity in front of me to focus on growing community around my passions.

The most odd, and challenging thing for me is trusting myself. This has always been the mountain I return to, and climb over and over again. I can be shy and introverted, so one of my biggest business fallbacks is self-promoting, self-advertising (eek!). It’s just not my strongest skill. Even having a conversation with people about my new job is daunting. I wonder (and worry, a little) how people will respond to hearing me say I am and artist and student. At the same time, those who know me will just get it, right? I consider that a relief, and a blessing. Small business is about community, and a part of trusting myself is trusting my community, too.

Keeping perspective will be integral to this journey. When I did my SWOT analysis for last quarter, it became really clear how much I need to work on nurturing potential opportunities. Although this road will not be easy, I can rely on my professional and personal reflections to see where there is abundance, and work from that space. Here is a short list of some things I am really grateful for, that I hope will flourish even more over the coming months as I delve into this path.

  1. My connections with people, organizations, and business doing transformative, revolutionary, and justice-oriented work.
  2. Growing my skills and knowledge of Chinese Medicine and Herbology
  3. Living in the Southwest for the first time in my life, and being able to travel throughout this region.
  4. A flexible schedule that I can create, or re-create when necessary.

Any tips on small business and blog success? Send it my way, friends!  ♡ In Solidarity, Christian

Photo Editing Progress 

This lovely lady is my cousin, and I had the pleasure of doing a photo shoot with her a few months back. I’ve definitely been dragging my feet with finishing up the editing (yikes!). To be fair, I’m curretnly using a combination of GIMP, and the basic Preview editor on my partners computer. I’m still navigating the ropes, so it takes me a while. Plus I like to edit several times over to make sure I am on the right track. My computer is over 7 years old, so I try not to overload it. I am in the market for an update, and have my eyes on Affinity Photo, a low-budget, high-end alternative to Adobe. Never the less, every time I sit down at my computer to get, at least, a few photos edited, the process instantly puts me in a better mood. As challenging as it, I love it! Do you use either GIMP, or Affinity Photo? Or are you loyal PhotoShop user? Perhaps you’re a pro at all three? ♡ In Solidarity, Christian

Freestyle Friday: Volume 4

Christian Totty Did you get to witness the glory of the Full Moon in Virgo last night? She was literally glowing. There are a few moons I’ve witnessed in my lifetime that have made big beautiful impressions, and March 5th, 2015 will be added to that growing list. And last nights lunar goodness was a great reminder that growth is a process, it does not end when goals are reached, or accomplishments are completed. Growth is about continual courage down to the bone.

I mentioned yesterday how healthy it can be to heal from fears with practice and patience. Today I’m really thankful for that gentle, loving jolt c/o the Virgo Full Moon. I have all the feels anyway, with March being my birth month, and this experience is just what I needed. In the spirit of practice, I’m sharing a portrait I painted a few years ago. It was actually a doodle, that tuned into something more, and was well received by the person who let me paint their image ;) I hope it inspires you on your journey. Just remember to trust and love your unique process of growth. Have a blessed Friday! ♡ In Solidarity, Christian

p.s. I took my practice a step further and posted a spoken word video on Instagram! I’ve been wanting to do this for a while now, and today I just couldn’t put it off any longer. I look like a geek, no!? Haha! It’s all good. I feel better for getting over that hill, and sharing it. Whew! Next challenge awaits! What are you bursting at the seams to share? ♡, C