Friday, July 17, 2009

The Art & Soul of Dancing Barefoot

This has been a long time coming but I finally published my book, The Art & Soul of Dancing Barefoot. Dancing barefoot is a metaphor for living life in a juicier place where you fully feel and are consciously engaged in every step of creating a sumptuous life.

I wrote this book while living in Temecula, CA for the suburban housewives that were dying to break out and express themselves more fully. We all have an inner housewife within us - so that is whom this book is written for.

Here is my first review:

"The Art & Soul of Dancing Barefoot" is like an illustrated glimpse into corners of my own soul (and that of most women, I imagine)! Katariina's beautiful artistry, poetic prose, and luscious insights have been skillfully woven together in a rich tapestry of life that will awaken parts of you long forgotten. Step in. Step in...

- Heather, Salida, CO

Here is the link to where you can sneak a peak and purchase a copy:

It's been an incredibly juicy year and I can't wait to catch you all up.

Big Love, Katariina

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Naked-ness and No Turning Back

It has been an exhilerating past week beginning with the opening of my photo exhibition and followed by a soul-full weekend in Portland where I gave a talk to 60 people who have witnessed my journey over the past 15 or so years.

Over this period they have watched me travel to Taiwan, marry, have a baby in a bathtub, divorce, move in and out of the Marine Corps and go to war. But these are merely the events that I participated.

On Sunday I opened my heart and took off all the layers and shared the underlying journey about the reasons why I made the choices I made and the repercussions that followed. It felt as if I stripped off all the layers of my clothing and stood there naked trembling but with no apologies. I shared with them a story of a women who traveled through abuse, war, and addictions and still never arrived at the mountain top but instead continues to walk, dance and run barefoot along her path refusing to be devoured by the monsters that haunt her.

Now that I am naked I can't put the layers of clothes back on. Thank you to my SPT family and all my friends who witnessed this unfolding over the past few months and were so present and supportive.

I went to a gallery opening last Friday here in Santa Fe and walked out filled with a swirling sense of possibilities. There was something about the spirit of Robert Stivers' photographs that reminded me of a vision from long ago - perhaps from before this life.

I came home and worked on some old images I took last fall. Just wanted to share.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Gallery Opening

Hello Fellow Explorers ~

I am excited to announce the very first gallery showing of my photography at Verve Gallery in Santa Fe. My work will be exhibited in a group show of five local artists. This body of work is a collection of 12 photographs from Iraq. I went to Iraq to be a witness to the depths of aggression, despair and love that humanity is capable of so that I could comeback and tell the stories. This body of work is just one story. In the depths of my own struggle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) I want to share this story of the million or more Marines and Soldiers who are silently living in the borderlands between war and home.
The opening is May 16th from 5-7pm. Here is a link to the gallery in case you are out of town or cannot make it to the exhibit. . Click on the link to Amici della Galleria to see all of my images and the images of the other exhibiting artists for this show.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Birth of Katariina Fagering

On Friday April 18th the judge at the Santa Fe court house granted my request to change my name to Katariina Agnes Fagering. This decision has been a long time coming. I have wanted to change my name for over 15 years but the timing was never right until now.

Why did I do it? There are many reasons behind this decision but I guess I just wanted to take on the persona I knew was lingering just under the surface of my skin waiting patiently to come out and express herself. To me a name is like a new pair of shoes or a new car, it allows you to take on a new energy that matches the shoes or the car. I guess in a way we should be able to choose several names throughout our lifetime to best fit the different evolutions of our life. Katariina Fagering, to me, has a distinct and exotic heritage. She is an artist and an audacious revolutionary.

How did I come up with this name? Katariina was the name given me by the Iraqis I worked with while serving in Iraq. They couldn't understand nor pronounce Karen, so Katariina it was. I then changed it to a Finnish spelling to match the heritage I have been told I hold. My grandmother's last name was Fagering and I have many ancestors still living in Norway where she was born.

There have been some unexpected surprises of introducing myself with this name. One is watching how much fun it is for others to say. They roll the "r" and linger on the double "ii." It brings a smile to be able to say it and then there is always curiosity about the origin and a conversation that follows. I have found many women who are inspired by this decision and as I explain the process of my decision I can see the gears clicking in their head thinking of a new name they could wear. Another surprise is that people feel compelled to share their experiences and love for Norway. This has happened so often that I think that I need to go see for myself.

Katariina Fagering

Monday, March 3, 2008

Band of Sisters Prints


I have put the cover photo of Band of Sisters on Cafe' Press, for everyone to purchase and put on their walls. Put one in every room and buy one for everyone you know in honor of the courageous and beautifully audacious women who serve in our armed forces!

I took this photo out of a desire to represent all women in the military in our true essence. We are warriors who put up with so much to be able to stand side by side the men. I joined the Marine Corps at age 17 in 1983 and cannot seem to get too far away from its ranks. I leave every few years but miss it so much I have to come back. My last big adventure with the Marine Corps was to serve a year in Fallujah, Iraq.

While in Iraq I heard there was a need for a photo of women serving for a book. I knew I had to take the photo so I gathered some of my friends together and we went out and shot this image for Kirsten Holmstedt, the author of the book, Band of Sisters (if you haven't read this book yet - go buy it).

This image is dedicated to all the women who serve and have served in the military. I applaud you for your courage and endurance to put up with so much that those who have not served can never comprehend.

You are my heroes and I stand in awe at the history we have made together.

Check out my online store to find the framed prints and posters of this image and many more inspiring products for men and women!

Katariina (Karen)

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Tide is Turning

The tide is turning and I'm seeing the perfection in all that has transpired throughout my 42 years. I am making my way towards the light as I shed layers of memories and traumas that I have previously just stuffed away or disconnected from.

Today with spring just around the corner I can see all the abuse, the trauma, all the choices and experiences were perfect and all led me to this point in my life. Everyone played their role perfectly and molded my character and stretched my soul towards compassion for those who have experienced trauma. My entire life has been leading me to be able to reach out and speak up and bring awareness to those who are suffering but are afraid to admit to themselves or others for fear of being viewed as weak or broken.

I spent a week with the Marines out at Camp Pendleton talking to them about their experiences in Iraq and how they were dealing with being back in the "real" world. This photo I took of a vacant motel off of Interstate 40 depicts the feelings I heard - all pretty on the outside, but feeling a bit empty and distant on the inside.

I want them to know that this is a normal reaction to an extraordinary circumstance.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Some Wounds Too Deep

I haven't contributed any of my thoughts to my blog in over two months. The weight of the war and the immense loss of lives and souls washed over my heart and held me under my tears of sorrow and grief.

I haven't written out of shame and guilt for feeling so deeply and out of fear of being labeled weak. I am a Marine and should be able to suck it up and move on. Perhaps it is my age or perhaps it is because this is my second war experience.

At any rate, I'm swimming through a river of memories I can not reconcile, feelings of absolute betrayal, and deep sorrow for all those that remain here with me in the borderlands between war and home. Many of us long to go back to Iraq where life is easier and simpler and well defined. Here nothing seems real or relevant.

But I can't go back and leave my daughter again for an entire year. Nor can I leave the country like I did after Desert Storm. This time I am forced to face this hollowness, this cavern of sorrow that seeps between the cracks of my numbness.

All I know today is that some wounds go too deep and you can't pick up the threads of an old life once you've been over there.