Hello and welcome to my creative soul sanctuary! I’m Merja Katriina (pronounced MARE-yah), the artist, writer, wanderer and seeker behind Katriina Ray. I have explored my creative spark in Toronto since 2013, after living in London, UK for three years, but my roots lie deeply in Finland, my home country, land of the light and airy summer nights, fresh air, timeless and simple design, forests, lakes, Sibelius and healing nature.
:: What does creativity mean to you?Creativity is an universal language that has the limitless capacity to cross any boundaries, it's a life force that flows through us in every moment. Like breath keeps our bodies alive, creative energy has the power to express feelings and emotions on a vibrational level, nourishing our souls on a profound level. Creating beauty around me makes me feel excited, alive and present by allowing me to find new solutions, gathering my experiences, filtering them through my senses and turning those moments into unique expression. Creativity heals and grounds me on daily basis. It also acts as a medium through which I'm able to connect with my deeper self, observe and reflect my journey, learn, experiment and grow but also provoke thoughts, inspire others and share beauty, insights, ideas and encouragement.
:: What makes you feel alive?Winter swimming. Walking barefoot on early morning when the grass is still covered by dewdrops. Sauna. Listening to the wind over treetops. Riding a bike in the countryside. The bass and rhythm vibrating with my heart when I hear live music. Simplifying. Making music with others. Connecting with my breath. Star gazing.
I also love: Empty spaces. House dancing. Dance and surf movies. The evening sun. Street art. Biographies. City lights. Blueberry banana pancakes. Sneakers. Woolen socks. Small details, colors and textures of the world around me. Cats.
:: When and where do you feel most at home?Of course Finland is always going to be my home country where I'm connected to my language, my cultural heritage and the climate and cycle of seasons. Then again, on some level I have always felt like not belonging. The Welsh word Hiraeth describes that very well. Hiraeth (n.) a homesickness for a home to which you cannot return, a home which never was; the nostalgia, the yearning, the grief for the lost places of your past.Then there are the moments of feeling at home, no matter where I am: while observing sceneries from car windows when the details blur into infinite movement of lines and shapes, walking along the seashore when the sun rises...
:: How does nourishment look like to you?Most importantly, connecting and doing things from a place of love instead of fear. I believe that true nourishment emerges from being able to connect with your wise and authentic self with true understanding and realization that only love has the ability to heal. How you prepare your food, how you talk to yourself, how you connect with others, how you move your body and how you honor an respect your time, energy and talents with love.
Connecting with the healing power and ancient wisdom of nature.As a deeply feeling and sensing individual it's crucial for me to really take time to listen, away from the distractions, learning new ways to simplify and create rituals and habits that allow me to connect from a place of acceptance, inspiration and joy instead of exhaustion and overwhelm.
:: What inspires you?Worldwide connections, learning from each other and through experimenting. People who trust their intuition and question traditional beliefs. Fresh ideas that emerge from different creative fields and come together as an unique creation, one example of this I recently saw in Toronto is The Flying Bach, a theatrical production that fused breakdance, contemporary dance and the music of J. S. Bach.
:: How has your creative journey unfolded this far?
I have multiple passions in the fields of creativity and holistic healing and I love learning, studying and experimenting with new things. I have studied music, fine arts, web design and advanced digital image manipulation and I have a Bachelor of Design in textile design.
I have also studied health, nutrition and mind-body connection at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition® from which I graduated as a certified Holistic Health Coach. Between the years 2011-2014 I wrote about well being, simplicity, sustainability and self-development for multipassionate creatives under my Glowing Balance blog.
Along the way I co-created Kindreds: A Journey to Self-Love, Creativity and Belonging, an e-course with a fellow expat and life coach Eithne Egan from True Essence Coaching.
:: How do you want to inspire and encourage others?I love rejuvenating life-energy with art, music, poetry and beauty of everyday simplicity.
By sharing my creative journey I want inspire deeply feeling and mindful individuals to ignite their creative side, nourish their body and mind on deeper level, overcome their self-defeating thoughts and bring color and joy to their daily life.
My passion is to bring awareness to living mindfully in the present moment by incorporating self-acceptance, appreciation and creativity as part of a daily nourishing practice and concentrate on conscious consumption on all levels of life.