chOices, recOvery, and art


One of my biggest fears in life is to be thought of as selfish. Where I come from, it is one of the most serious of “sins”. And sins are those terrible black marks on your soul that stop you from getting into heaven. Pretty heavy stuff for a child to deal with and make sense of. (Not that this is even possible, mind you.)

Over the years, as I’ve slowly recovered from a childhood filled with fear, unrealistic expectations, alcoholism and neglect, the issue of self-care has repeatedly been the focus. But how do I truly take care of myself without being a sinner? How do I take responsibility for myself first, without adding more of those ugly marks on my soul?


The truth is, my wounded child self and my soul have been dying for my attention for many years. The more recovery I have, the more I’m finding that codependency and addiction are driven by the deep pain of despair that we feel when we stop listening to the needs, wants and desires of our beautiful and authentic hearts. So how do I reconcile the message of “total self-sacrifice is of highest importance” with my knowing that “self-care and self-responsibility” is the healthier, more balanced way to live? Is it time to give up the promise of heaven?


Addiction and codependency run rampant in my family tree. It’s like Dutch elm disease, but worse. These two demons are a very toxic and powerful tag team. They truly suck the life out of everyone and everything. One demon speaks of self-importance, manipulation and an indulgent ego, while the other speaks of total self-sacrifice and “bleeding out” for others. I bounced back and forth between those two places many times in my life, until I realized there was no peace (for myself or the people I love) in either place.



Over the past 2 1/2 years, as I had more time to go inward and listen, I began to hear some profound (and sometimes scary) truths:

  • I am solely responsible for my happiness. (Not my husband, not my sisters, not my parents, not my friends, and no, not even Jesus.) Good riddance codependency! (I will be practicing this for the rest of my life.)
  • It is my job to choose myself. It’s nice to be chosen by others, but the real healing happens when I choose myself. (Who knew?)
  • Help is available, but it is up to me to ask for it. (Still working on this ; )
  • There is no such thing as perfection. (Excuse me!?) Now, after many, many lessons, given the choice between perfection and love, I chose lOve, hands down, every time! (Perfection is a very painful standard to hold yourself, and love ones, to. And there is truly nO peace in it. Trust me, I tried. My dear husband has been my greatest and most patient teacher on this one. Thank you, Honey!)
  • The Reader’s Digest was right – laughter is the best medicine:

this made me laugh Out lOud!



I knOw, right?

So, to answer my own question – yes, it is time for me to give up the promise of heaven. I know this choice is not for everyone, and I’m really ok with that. Coming to this conclusion, I am feeling relief and a deep sense of happiness and peace. The unbearable pressure has been lifted. I will continue to do my best by showing up, loving deeply and letting go. Because another of my truths is:


I am grateful beyond words for my art – the process, the lessons, my teachers and the outcome. My creative artist self is so darn happy, and I am so grateful that I have had this time to explore my own heart and my own truths. I highly recommend it! Thanks so much for all your lOve and encouragement. Want to be an artist?


lOve this!

SO, as Batman says…


 Be gentle. Be brave. Be true.

lOve, vickiO


check Out mOre new vickiO art HERE!


  1. Jan D

    You and your art touch lives you are not even aware of yet nor may ever know. I believe that is all a part of the bigger plan. I know I will see you in heaven!
    I love you!!
    The Oldest Sister :0)

    • vickioart

      Dear Oldest Sister🌷 Your love and support mean the world to me! You have helped me put my truth out there, and then to let go of the outcome. Your heART has touched mine, and I will never be the same. I love you!! And I know you will be in heaven some day : ) Save me a seat if you can❤️

  2. Angie

    You are one of the bravest I know.
    Just putting it all out there I am so HAPPY for you. Keep it up.
    Your Fan, Angie

    • vickioart

      Thank you SO much, Angie❤️ I felt pretty vulnerable posting this, and you calling me brave brought a huge smile to my face. I’m one of your biggest fan, too, my dear. Hugs!

  3. Hilary

    Hi Vicki, I found your blog through your Facebook post on the Hello Soul, Hello Mantra class. Thank you for sharing such an honest and courageous post. I can relate in many ways. I pushed my dreams aside for a long time because I spent so much energy being a “bleeding heart” to others. I’m still working on finding a balance that allows me to be true to myself and my voice, while still being present for others. I am looking forward to following along on your blog.

    • vickioart

      Hilary – Thank you so much for visiting my site and reading my post! I so relate to your “bleeding heart” reference – it gives such a clear picture, doesn’t it? Not good for the heart at all. I visited your blog and love your work – keep being your true self – your mantras really speak to me, too❤️ I’ll be following your blog, too. Have a great day!

  4. Becky Stattelman

    Holy Honest Smokes, Vicki! I’m smiling at your excellent and well thought out post. Self therapy. . . .going within and having a good talk with yourself. . .nothing like it. Also, scolding your perfectionist tendencies(learned or just there somehow) to keep quiet and stay out of the way of your ‘good’. Love peeking into your world through your great art sharing. It is really a blessing to have new contacts to keep an eye on and gain inspiration from. Wishing you a big dose of peace and grace to stay open and fly! beckyredbarn

    • vickioart

      Thank you, Becky! Your words bring me much comfort and smiles, and I love your “stay open and fly” wishes for me❤️ I’m a Minnesota girl, too (living now in Arizona) and love your website and creations. Your recent photos on the farm are amazing! Here’s to continued inspiration and creating from our hearts! Hugs, vickiO

  5. Karla

    I am going to be doing a lot of interpretive dance. Vicki, you are my inspiration everyday. I have learned so much. Thank you for being so brave!!!
    Love ya,

    • vickioart

      Dearest Karla, you are one of the reasons I am still walking this path. Thank you for sharing your honesty and bravery with me. I will be practicing my interpretive dance for the next time I see you❤️ Can’t wait. Love, Vicki

  6. Lisa M.

    HOly uh-Oh Batman – if you aren’t getting into heaven than that is not a place I want to end up! Love should be the number one criteria for entrance into the pearly gates, and I don’t know anyone who covets love the way you do! Our “Minnesota nice” will prevail by being a better person to be around because of learning to love ourselves first! This is your ‘truth’ – you’ve earned it and deserve it!

    • vickioart

      Dear Lisa, you have been a huge part of my recovery and finding my truth. I love our “Minnesota nice” with healthy boundaries! Very powerful and attractive : ) I will keep choosing love, and see where that gets me. Thank you for being yOu❤️

  7. amber

    Beautiful post! I tend to fight for everything…. but something has to be said when you are on the right path and flow smoothly. Your inner self grins so much you feel like you may burst. Creating art does this.

    (By the way, I LOVE your work! Mixed media is a dream of mine… I’m too rigid. Loosening up is my next challenge. 🙂 )

    • vickioart

      Hi Amber! Thanks so much for visiting. I lOve your “when your inner self grins”! I’m still learning to pay attention when that happens❤️ Your artwork is very magical and lovely. Keep making art💜

  8. lilylulu

    Well – VickO you are not selfish – but we all have to love ourselves – and I can promise you that “perfection” is highly overrated. I always see things as a “work in progress” and you’re progressing just fine.

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