Creativity Coach - Artist Desiree East

You want to THRIVE and live in the PRESENT MOMENT. You want to CREATE THE REALITY YOU'VE ALWAYS DREAMED through CREATIVE LIFESTYLE HABITS.You want to tap into that hidden, CREATIVE POTENTIAL that is ready to be UNLEASHED to the world. When your inner voice, your intuitive heart --- YOUR creative genius --- is nourished and pampered, you know you can create profound changes in your LIFE that is the art.

Desiree East is a Soulful Entrepreneur, Certified Master Transformational Coach, Creatively Fit Coach and Visual Artist. Desiree facilitates live creative workshops and retreats, as well as, online art programs focused on personal and professional development. She inspires her clients to create meaningful change in their lives through creative ritual, using art-making as a modality for creative wellness and deep transformation (no art experience required). 

Filtering by Category: surf

From Maiden to Mother: A Humbling Transformation in the Sky and Sea

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Okay, so travelling in general could be very stressful at times, no matter who you are travelling with and no matter where you are going. Planes, trains or automobiles, kids or no kids, friends or foes, something bad is bound to happen, no matter how minor or major the incident. Travel incidents just come with the travel package, right?

Well, let me tell you, the first two days were hell. Ironically, it was not because we had a baby in tow. In fact, Kirra did soooooo well at the airport waiting in long lines, plodding through TSA, and she was a champ (in my eyes) on the flights to and from Hawaii. She got a little restless toward the end of our flights, but who doesn't? (You should feel my about workout).


American Airlines, you suck.

There were no clear signs of where to check-in, nor were there clear, designated fancy red line ribbon thingies. What happened to the fancy red line ribbon thingies??

There were no regular check-in lines to check into. The only thing available were these little self check-in kiosks, scattered throughout the floor, underneath the big American Airlines signage.

"No problem, I've got this shit. I'm a computer nerd. I've done this before, we'll be done in 5 minutes flat..."

The self check-in kiosks were not working properly.  1 out of 5 computers in our line were in working order. There was ONE employee that was available to assist our entire area (which was filled with a massive crowd of unorganized, helpless, desperate souls).

Then I looked outside to the Valet check-in. LIFE SAVER. We tipped our dude $20, worth every penny.

Because of said disorganized check-in lines, we were were one of the handful of people to get on the full flight. I even saw a guy sitting a couple of rows behind us roll his eyes, as poor Kirra started to fuss. In my mind, I was like, shut it, dude. Shut your rolling, judge-y eyes.

Yep. No matter how prepared we were and no matter how early we got to the airport, we were that family.

And NO time for a diaper change.

SO much drama for this mama. Sheesh.


Even though our trip didn't start off as smooth as possible (does it ever?), there is always that moment when you step off of the plane and breath in the tropical air that is filled with the scent of sweet plumeria leis...where everything slows down and everything is ooookay.


We crashed out pretty darn early on the night of our arrival, only to wake up at 5am the next morning to find out that there was a Hawaiian blessing and ceremony taking place on the beach where we were staying.


I took this as a sign, and decided to use this opportunity to introduce Kirra to the ocean water for her very first time, as well as, honor my transition into motherhood.  The releasing of being a maiden and honoring my role as a mother for Kirra (which was quite the journey, especially with her wanting only me during the entire trip) was something I've needed since she was born. Some sort of meaningful ritual to make it all legit.

And this was it.

Coincidentally, it was also the anniversary of my beloved furry family member, Moana (my other daughter - no, really) passing, and to add to that, the name of the chant was about 'Moana', and it took place in front of the iconic Moana Surfrider resort. Whaaaaaaaat?

I swear, I didn't plan it that way.

And the funny thing is, is that Brendon and I have always believed that our dog, Moana, was the one who sent Baby Kirra to us. That, my friends, is yet, another story.

This beautiful "Ho 'ala" (or awakening) was a Hawaiian ceremony of renewal of mind, body, and spirit, and it took place at sunrise, facing Diamond Head. It was a practice of getting into the correct mind-space, cleansing body, mind, and spirit, focusing our minds toward a future, filled with renewed vitality, hope, and happiness.

An ocean blessing of sorts.

Kirra loooooooooved the ocean water, and she had a big grin on her face when we took her past the shore break. It was such a special moment. Of course, we didn't get it on video or capture any photos, but it was definitely memorable.

At Dusk. Quiet. Still.

Diamond Head in the background.

Perfectly peaceful, as we chanted toward the sunrise:




Awake! The sun is in the East



At the ocean, the deep ocean



Climb to the heavens, highest heaven




In the East, there is the sun, arise, awake!


So, there was a point during our trip where Brendon and I decided to stop trying to plan and control every single second of our vacation time (because, naturally, that's what we had been doing all along to make the vacation happen, right?!).

We let go.

Let go of planning.

Let go of needing to figure what we needed to do next.

Let go of figuring out where to eat and when should we eat and what time should we eat and what about the baby?

So much pressure, man.

And once I decided to consciously let go of control (damn post-partum OCD. There is such a thing, isn't there??), all was good in the Hawaiian hood.

And I applied that to tending to Kirra the entire trip, too. Letting go of having to be the perfect vacation mommy. Letting go of having to be the perfect vacation wife.

And my, oh my. Everything just fell into place as easily as it could in paradise.


As I was sitting on my surfboard, salt water dripping from eyelashes and onto my lips, a dear friend and beautiful surf sister that I've known for many years gently shared this little piece of a truth-bomb that was given to her from another friend, on being a mom:

"Your life is no longer your own..."

What? Ouch! No, no, no. La, la, la,la, la, la, la...

"I know, how depressing, huh?" Thank god she shared the same sentiment as me.

I really didn't want to hear that, and my instant inward, silent reaction (being a life coach and all) was, "Pfffffft...there you have it, another limiting belief, disguised as wisdom, promising to hold me back from doing all of the things I want to do in my life."

But the truth was that I had only a small window of time to paddle out and enjoy my very first surf session since I became pregnant with Kirra. And the truth was, was that I was thinking of Kirra every single second I was out there.

What was she doing?

Is she playing with Daddy?

I hope she's not crying.

Is she having fun?

I missssss her.

And, it was true. I have been admittedly been playing this game of denial with my former maiden-self for quite some time now. "What?? My life isn't going to change that much. I wish people would stop telling me my life is going to change. Bah, humbug. Not happening over here. Because, see look: #TRAVELLINGWITHBABY"

And then, my break-time was up.

Long gone are the surf sessions that lasted for 2 hours at a time.

Long gone are the surf sessions that had me staring off blankly into the horizon with no care in the world.

Long gone are the surf sessions where both Brendon and I could surf together, wherever and whenever we want.

Long gone are the carefully planned surf sessions, perfectly synced with the tides, the wind, and the swells formed from stormy seas thousands of miles of away.

Yes, this is all true. BUT, it doesn't mean I have to give up the things that I love and stop doing the things that make me feel complete. Otherwise, I will really go insane. And that is not good for me. Nor for Brendon. Or for the Baby.

So, let's reframe this, shall we? ('Reframing' is an example of a pretty awesomely simple coaching technique, where we change the meaning of an unwanted situation in order to gain a more positive perspective on the outcome...incredibly useful stuff, if you're feeling stuck!)


Ahhhhhh...much better.

The flip side to this new mamahood thing is a whole 'nother world that has opened up in tremendous ways. New ways of being. New ways of seeing. Now I get to share my love of life, of travel, of the vast ocean and its blessings, with my little girl. I have a whole new perspective of ocean-life from the eyes of a child. And it has been magnificent. And soooooo much FUN!! So much laughter (Kirra is a really funny baby, guys!) And the LOVE, I can't even to begin to measure.


As soon as I got home, I had a conference call scheduled with my fellow Creatively Fit Coach Team members. And it was just what I needed to seal the deal of this whole transforming into motherhood thing (although, I suppose it never really is a process that ever ends, is it?)

In speaking with my colleagues, something kept ringing in my ears loud and clear:

“You can never lose yourself. Yes, there might be moments when you could feel yourself slipping away. From FREEDOM From INDEPENDENCE From SELF-EXPRESSION From SELF-LOVE But, it’s not forever. You always have the choice to come back to YOU. You might have a completely different palette splashed with hues you’ve never used in your life. You might even have a giant canvas that is overwhelmingly intimidating. But one thing is for certain. The only constant is that YOU will always be YOU.”

So, as a new mom (and your Creatively Fit Coach), I'm going to practice what I preach and go back to the canvas and commit to my personal painting practice for four months straight. So I could allow myself to re-connect with myself.

To make time for me (selfishly, how dare I do such a thing, that thing they call self-care?!)

To connect with creative, kind souls (are you ready?)

To connect with mother nature (I hear the ocean waves calling to me as I erratically type)


AND, I'm going to commit to my creative coaching practice and my clients, my people, I miss youuuuu!! Whew...cheers and big MAHALOS for sticking with me through my transformation. I hope to support you with the same.

it's official...we're in love

I'm gonna keep this one short. But, by all means, please keep the questions and emails coming. Our friends and family have all been asking if we've settled in; if Bali has been what we expected; if it's all that we've hoped for; if it's getting easier... Our two-month anniversary of living in Bali is here, and I can definitely say that we have found our groove.  A routine, if you will, and a very nice one. It almost deserves a Marvin Gaye soundtrack to go with it. Seriously. And I can talk for hours on end about what we did and didn't expect. I think I might save that for another post, because I will just get all philosophical about it, because that's just how I am.

That said, I have a gazillion photos to share, and we haven't even really done any touristy stuff yet. We are just getting I will keep shooting and promise to share more later.

Besides, the truth is, we just bought a bunch of pirated DVD's for super cheap (my apologies to my brother, Kalae, but that's all they have available to sell here, in the malls and everywhere...and somehow, it's completely legal???), and I just want to veg out in front of a movie in our cool, air-conditioned studio...aaaahhhh.

For now, here are some photos. This is a typical day for us: wake up, stretch, eat breakfast, check the surf, paddle out, eat again, and work on business/creative projects at home when the waves aren't good --- maybe go sightseeing, if we feel inclined. And then, Repeat. It's going to be hard to leave, and I don't know how we're going to break it off to beautiful Bali gently when the time comes...

it's official we're in love. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

everyone wants a piece of the action. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

where are we? i think we were supposed to go over there... bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

surf check. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

surf check from the cliff. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

entrance before walking through a tunnel. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

loving the adventure. sea cave at uluwatu, bali. desiree east

yes, it was that big. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

shooting from shade. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

brendon fave empty peak. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

bigger than it looks. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

cute little side-of-the-road calf. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

balinese woman in red. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

diggin the freshly blended fruit juices. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

we like lemon iced tea, too. bali, indonesia. desiree east

 lemon iced tea. photo by desiree east

one of our favorite places to eat. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

balinese seafood satay. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

time for ice cream. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

be careful what you ask for, you might just get it

the biggest wave brendon duck dove. bali indonesia. photo by desiree east For weeks on end - no, wait...months, actually - all I've heard from my darling husband is: "All I want is to get some, barreling lefts... just a nice, clean, hollow left." This statement is almost always accompanied with him posing in a front-side stance, along with sound effects of what it's supposed to sound like when you get barreled.

"Wow, babe, you're good. You'd make an excellent sound-effects dude, too." I always told him that he could go into voice-over acting. You should hear him, he's really good.

As you know, we are blessed with a wide variety of waves in Ventura County. Well, all of California, for that matter. And Mexico. And Hawaii. And we've had our share of travelling to other states and countries, as well, to seek out fun, rippable waves. It's what we do. Mandatory.

But, what we all love (we, meaning regular footers) about California and Baja are the plethora of right-hand point breaks...makes me all giddy inside, just thinking about it. However, being married to a goofy-footer makes me realize, well, how badly I feel for all the people who have to ride back-side on a perfectly, peeling right-hand point break. Like, all the time. (Can you sense the sarcasm?) No, but really, I feel for you...

Brendon has had a taste of the Mentawais, and he's been itching to spend more time in Indo. So, after a series of unfortunate events - coupled with the perfect timing of a down economy - we decided that after all was said and done, time is more valuable than any material wealth. So, we put our rose-colored glasses on and decided to stretch our dollar in Bali...and here we are.

Several weeks ago, the Bukit finally turned on. Seasons are changing, and the trade winds are blowing off-shore on the west coast of Bali. And what perfect timing: a significant swell hit the shores of Bali.

And Brendon lived to tell about it (because it was that big).

I bribed him to write a little blog post for us, just because. So, just grab a beer and pretend like he's all salty-dogged out, and doing his usual hand-gestures and sound effects. I wish I could have gotten his reaction when he came in from the water, but this is the best I can do for now. Hopefully, next time, I'll have the video cam on stand-by...

walking out to paddle out zone. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

Guest Post written by Brendon:

I think that was the biggest wave I’ve ever duck dove.

It was my first time paddling out at this spot, and it was firing. I was watching the other people jump off at the paddle-out zone. Some of them made it out clean, without having to push through too much duck diving drama. Others were getting caught at the wrong time and getting sucked down the break, while having to duck dive, like thirty pretty good size waves in a row.

I must have calculated fairly well before paddling out, because I didn’t have to duck dive a single wave on the way out - except for the one right when I jumped into the water; the current started sucking out so fast, I ended up dry-docking it with my fingers in between the board and the reef. Great.

So, I make it out and try to find my place in the lineup and noticed, along with my now freshly sliced index finger, that there are guys way outside and some on the inside. I know there are bigger sets, but I get antsy and try my luck picking off some of the smaller, head-high ones bowling up nicely on the inside section.

perfect inside balangan. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east.

lonely guy getting barrelled. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

That was a dumb move on my part. Out the back, came one of the biggest sets that I had seen all afternoon. Shit.

I started to paddle out to meet a giant wall of water that seemed to keep getting bigger the closer we came together. At that point, I started to think to myself, "Can I even duck dive this f***ing thing, or should I ditch my board?"

It was at least triple overhead.

Usually, I would just ditch my board and swim down, but I had an old leash on (another smart move), which could easily snap. The last thing I wanted to do at that point is take the rest of the set on the head without my board.

At the very last second I decided to duck dive it.

The wave breaks about ten feet in front of me, and I had about 10-12 feet, like ceiling high or more, of white wash coming toward me. I pushed down into the water super hard and tried to time it to avoid getting annihilated. I got bounced around pretty good, but somehow managed to hold onto my board.

After duck diving the next 15 waves and getting pushed further and further down the reef, it was over.

Out of breath, super hot and exhausted, I manage to make my way back out and sit on the outside corner for a couple. I was clearly under gunned that day but managed to get a couple.

cleaner day for surf. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

simplicity. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

a balinese hindu ceremony...offerings to sea. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

The next day, was a bit cleaner and smaller, but there were still some decent size sets coming through. I paddled out with my buddy, Ken, and he makes his way up the break past the crowd. I went the other way to try and pick off one of those wide, swinging ones.

Just as I get in the line-up, the first wave of a set comes right to me, so I turn around and take it. I don’t know what happened, but I think I caught my rail when I dropped in on the wave.

Snap. There goes my leash.

I started to make the long swim in with the rest of the set breaking on me, but it wasn’t too bad. This is where a pair of reef booties comes in handy, because the reef is sharp with urchins hidden in the cracks. Urchin fest.

Some ladies kicking it in a tide pool grabbed my board.

Oh well, at least I got some exercise from the swim in. I called it a day, went in and got a Bintang and took some video footage from the warung. It's true, be careful what you ask for...

close up from warung. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

view from warung. bali, indonesia. photo by desiree east

How I brought in the Balinese New Year: Part One

daily surf check. bali. by desiree east bali surf and exposed reef by desiree east

Thursday, March 22nd: the day before NYEPI 2012

Today, like most days, we went to look at the surf. It was low tide. It was a gorgeous day, post rain, with bright, clear skies and fluffy white clouds scattered about. The air was still and the sun was beating down directly overhead. Buckets of sweat rolled off of my forehead from the 10-minute gander at the surf. I'm sure I lost a couple of pounds of water weight.

There was a fast, little, bowly left, about shoulder to head high, sweeping past the half-way-exposed reef. The boys decided they wanted to paddle out. Me? Well, I'm a chicken. Especially, when it comes to shallow, tide-is-still-dropping reef breaks. Thanks, but no thanks.

Even if I wanted to paddle out, I couldn't. My board was out of commission. It's in the ding-repair shop. The first day I pulled my board out of the board bag, I discovered little fragile bits of resin and a huge chunk of crumbled foam among layers of bubble wrap and duct tape. My eyes welled up in tears for about a good 5 seconds. And then, I was over it. I accepted the fact that after so many years of traveling with surfboards, I had finally become a victim of luggage-handler-brutality. I shrugged it off. I guess it comes with the territory. But, that's another story...

pathway to beach. bali. by desiree east

stairway entry. bali by desiree east

We followed a little path that led to down to the beach. A short staircase brought us to a sea cave, adorned with umbrellas, offerings, and the sweet smell of burning incense.

I could hear a woman's voice coming from behind a wall of old lava rock. She was talking to someone else, but I couldn't see them; all I could hear were soft, echoing voices.

After coming down the last step, we stepped  onto soft, white sand, and almost immediately had to crouch down and make our way under the lava rock.

The Indian Ocean greeted us on the other side. Aaaaaaah...time to cool off!

the indian ocean greets us. bali. photo by desiree east

sea caves to the left. bali. by desiree east

dreamy coastline to the right. bali. photo by desiree east

hindu offerings at stairway entry. photo by desiree east

While the boys were surfing, I found some shade under a small  cliff side. I enjoyed watching people come down to the beach to leave offerings throughout the afternoon.

When I first arrived, an elderly Balinese woman left an offering, or 'canang sari' under one of the small sea caves. She came up to me afterwards and said something in Indonesian - or Balinese (I'm not sure).

Always with a grin on my face, I replied, "Maaf, saya tidak mengerti...Saya...ummmm...saya bukan orang Indonesia."

(Translation: "Sorry, I no understand...I...ummmm...I am not a person of Indonesia.") Then, I flashed an even bigger smile, a little embarrassed in my attempt at Bahasa Indonesian.

Smiling back, she responded with something else. Surprisingly, I totally understood what she said.

Just kidding.

What really happened next is beyond me, but I kind of bowed, putting the palms of my hands together and said, "Ma kasih...Terima kasih."

I don't know why I did that. I just said, "Thanks...Thank You." It just came out, whether it made sense or not (probably, because that's all I knew how to say). I had absolutely no clue what she said to me...

She smiled back as she returned to the other sea cave that lead back to the trail.

balinese offering in a sea cave. photo by desiree east

offerings out to sea. bali. photo by desiree east

light thru sea cave. bali. photo by desiree east

The local people often mistake me for being Indonesian, usually saying, "Oh, you have Indonesian face." So, a local Balinese bartender taught me to say, "Sorry, I don't understand. I am not Indonesian." 

So far, it's helped, especially when locals approach us and immediately start having full-blown conversations in bahasa Indonesian with me (while completely ignoring Brendon). It's pretty hilarious.

Back to my story. After the woman left, I could see the offering she had left from where I was sitting, along with the incense stick that accompanied it. It was unlit. Then I thought to myself, "Hmmmmm...maybe she was asking me for a lighter...duuuh."

Perhaps I should start carrying a lighter or some matches with me, just for these instances. And for the fact that everyone here loves to smoke - the locals, the international tourists, everyone, it seems, has a stogie in their mouth, even if it's raining cats and dogs. But that, too, is another story...

seaweed harvester leaving offering at sea cave. bali. photo by desiree east

monkey prints. photo by desiree east

The Balinese leave offerings for the Hindu gods throughout the day, on a daily basis. You can see them everywhere: in front of homes, restaurants, hotels, and businesses; on sidewalks, along roadsides, in the middle of intersections, and in cars and mopeds; in the forests and on the beaches.

They leave offerings to the good spirits, so that those spirits will continue to provide prosperity, good fortune, and good health. They also leave offerings for the bad spirits to keep them satisfied and quiet, in hopes that those spirits will leave the people alone. Daily offerings are a way to thank the gods and to keep the relationships between human beings and spirits in harmony.

With Nyepi approaching, it was a busy day. As the afternoon went on, more people came to leave an offering of their own.

First, it was the woman who didn't have a lighter. Then another woman arrived, alongside her tiny boat over-flowing with seaweed. About 20 minutes later, an elderly man, dressed in temple attire, left another offering. After that, another elderly woman approached with a teenaged girl - the elderly woman dressed in traditional attire and the girl dressed in modern-day fashion. They, too, left an offering, except the girl - like all teenagers - stared out to sea, ignoring the whole offering thing, as if she was daydreaming about her friends and the evening's ogoh-ogoh festivities. Finally, before I left, a young man came to leave an offering.

I sat quietly on the beach, keeping my distance, and exchanged smiles as people came and went.

It was a beautiful thing.

two umbrellas and incense burning. photo by desiree east

balinese offerings on lava rock. photo by desiree east

transformational creativity coach desiree east

Desiree East is a Soulful Entrepreneur, Certified Master Transformational Coach, Creativity Coach and Visual Artist. Desiree facilitates live creative workshops and retreats, as well as, online art programs focused on personal and professional development. She inspires her clients to create meaningful change in their lives through creative ritual, using art-making as a modality for creative wellness and deep transformation (no art experience required). 

desiree east - certified creativity coach - master transformational coaching method - creatively fit coaching - creativity coaching association.png

All images, illustrations, and artwork on this site are copyright © Desiree East unless otherwise noted, and may not be edited, reproduced or sold by any party without written permission. You may have permission to distribute and share posted articles and content, although credit would be greatly appreciated. If you would like to purchase or license any images, illustrations, or artwork, please contact Desirée East directly for more info.

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