Dreaming Big

Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.

~ Harriet Tubman

I am FINALLY ready! It’s been almost a month since my epiphany and I’m taking baby steps toward my dream.

On July 7th, a friend of mine invited me to sit in on the Spiritual Counsel Meeting for her sanctuary. I had been to the previous month’s meeting and was impressed beyond words. Of course I wanted to stay!

In this meeting, we did a guided meditation to perhaps get a preview or gain some insight as to where the sanctuary is going.


Over the 20 years she has been helping animals and growing her sanctuary, there have been major exoduses just before major growth. When I say exodus, I mean to say many older rescued animals in her care choose that time to say goodbye. It’s bizarre how how it happens and before you suggest that she has a hand in “killing” these animals, let me assure you that animals are everything to her. If anything, she may have been guilty of keeping them alive longer than they wished. She has grown wiser over the years and has fine tuned her incredible ability to listen to the animals. It has been the pattern, though, that when they see large scale losses and they’re disheartened and mourning, somehow pieces click together and opportunities seem to appear out of no where. They suddenly were able to move to a larger property or branch out into other states or connections are suddenly made to further their rescue efforts.

The Spiritual Counsel Meeting

Anyway, we just faced a major exodus of several matriarchs within the past few months and we’re all feeling disheartened, lost, and mournful and my dear friend is able to lift her head enough to remember the pattern and wonder what is coming next. So she brings up the question in this month’s Spiritual Counsel Meeting.

I can be a bit skeptical when it comes to ANY spirituality. I grew up Christian, but didn’t see anything miraculous in anyone I met. I love the idea of smart women being in touch with nature and knowing the healing properties of herbs and meditation (aka witchcraft). I love the idea of creating my own magic. I want to be able to sense things on other levels that aren’t well understood by pedestrian science. I want to speak with the animals and understand the world around me. But who am I to have any kind of super powers or special abilities?

And I find myself here in a room with the most amazing healers who have been drawn in by the sanctuary. I’m in total awe and feeling so out of my depth wondering why I was even invited. And then we began the meditation.

I kept seeing a place that I saw about a year ago in a dream. I knew then this was the next sanctuary. This time, a white hawk was added to my vision. My hand itched to capture on paper what I was seeing: a cliff, tall grass, a stream in the distance, and the hawk. I wanted to paint it. I wanted to bring it to life! In this meditation, I finally embraced my identity as an artist and healer. My calling is to help people express themselves through art. I left that meeting with the goal of becoming an art therapist and bringing my skills to the school within the sanctuary.

The Plan

My first goal is to start out small. I will be joining art groups within my community and working on my craft. I will be posting my portfolio to my instagram account to remember where I came from.

Additionally, I’d like to create sellable art in honor of specific animals to raise money for their care. We recently took in a lost and sick grey tabby cat who we found on the street in the gutter on the edge of death. After taking her to the vet, she looked so bad and I wasn’t sure she’d make it through the night. I didn’t want her to die without a name, so I called her Primrose after Katniss’s sister in The Hunger Games. (We named the last cat we took in Katniss, who was also a grey tabby.) We have 5 dogs and 3 cats because we are horrible fosters and we can’t do more animals. But I can’t turn her away either. I’ve been posting all over social media and one lady commented that she wishes she could adopt her, but her husband is allergic. At that moment I wished I could send her a plush Primrose so that she could kind of adopt her and perhaps help with the growing vet bills. I also realized this would be a great way to fundraise for other animals as well!

To further my passive income efforts, I’ll create sellable clipart and designs that can be applied to merchandise on RedBubble, Society6, and Cricut.

My next step is to create meetups where people can gather and work on their projects or learn new skills. I’ll do paint and sips for adults and drawing classes for kids. I’ll create curriculums that can also be translated to online education.

Ultimately, I will make my way into an art therapist space where I help people express long buried emotions through art and creativity.

Published by Val Smith

Artist, writer, dreamer.

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