Shop launch & other surprises! 📖
What happens when you let go of that need for control and trust your intuition
First off, big news.
I launched my tiny and happy online shop! 🎉 Woohoooooo~.
At the moment, I’m making it available just for friends and family, ie. wonderful people like you who’ve subscribed to my newsletter and lift me up with so much love. To thank you, I’ve added an automatic 10% off for everyone! (If you don’t see the discount at checkout, you can type in HUG as the promo code.)
If you are part of my Instagram community and helped me choose these artworks to get printed, a big THANK YOU to you! If there’s enough interest, I’m thinking about getting other Cosmic Comics works printed, or perhaps it’s time to make a door hanger for introverts? Hmmm… will keep you posted here.
Learning to loosen that grip, even just a little bit
These past few months, I’ve been deepening my relationship with my self through compassion and trust. There’s a part of me that is intense and fiery 🔥 which I love, but sometimes, she can take over my entire being when activated by fear.
She says things like, You’re a failure if you can’t get all the things on your to do list done by tonight. You’re not allowed to take a shower unless you’ve exercised first. You have no chance of getting accepted into this program unless you go above and beyond and sacrifice rest and chill time to make this application EXTRAORDINARY. 😵
Oof. Those are some harsh words. This script got me through high school, college, difficult bosses, big presentations… but does it really help me? I want to have a more loving, caring relationship with my self. One that isn’t based in fear or guided by external pressures, but one that allows me to be the loopy, funny, imaginative me.
And guess what, loves… whenever that need for control came up, I tried loosening my grip, trusting myself more, and little flowers started to blossom here and there. 🌷 I’m including how each opportunity came to be, as that can be quite helpful to know!
A book deal. Yeah, I know. WTF right?!
How did this come about? My elementary school friend who is a talented witch and cookbook author asked if I’d be interested in an illustration project for her USA publisher. When I had a call with the publisher, I showed them samples from an unpublished children’s book I started writing and illustrating with my art school friend back in 2014. So instead of doing the illustration gig, I’ll be putting out a children’s book with them! Wowza.
My first artist collaboration with a big company, GoFundMe. I’ll be creating comics for them this month, all about kindness and joy.
How did this come about? A high school friend sent me a link to apply to the opportunity. It seemed like a perfect fit, so I applied!
My first Instagram Live with an artist I admire, Vida Rose of Comics and Selfcare. You can check out her work at @comics_and_selfcare!
How did this come about? I saw her work on TikTok, noticed that our illustrated characters could be “art cousins” because they kind of looked alike, messaged her on Instagram to tell her how much I loved her work, and asked if we could collab sometime. A few weeks later, I was doing a live draw session with Vida, sketching pineapple friends and third eye fish while talking about past lives. My ideal kind of hangout!
A block party I organized with my husband and our neighbors.
How did this come about? We’ve been wanting to have a party on our historic block since we moved into our apartment almost four years ago. We developed a wonderful friendship with one of our neighbors, Ralph, who already knew a lot of the residents on the block. We worked with him to collect signatures, secure the permits, and make this community event happen. The block party even got covered by our local paper! You can check out the article here.
An ah-ha moment with our move to Portugal: Wait, I can RENT a place to live before I go all in and buy a house there!
I was so attached to the idea of becoming a homeowner in Portugal that I hadn’t considered renting first. When I asked myself, “What’s rushing you, Haruka?” My response was, “Me. I’m putting pressure on myself to find the perfect house quickly.” How did this ah-ha moment come about? I was surfing through the interwebs doing some Portugal research and came across a blog by an expat who lives there. She kindly reminded her readers, perhaps it’s worth considering renting for 12-24 months to get a feel for different cities/towns, or understand what the location feels like in different seasons. I really liked her “why not try it out?” perspective, which felt so much kinder than my initial “Find the perfect house ASAP” approach.
I look at these lovely moments that have quietly floated to the surface, and I remember, this time last year, how scared I was to take a break from the full-time job that was crushing me. I truly thought I “had” to earn at least six figures and have a great benefits package to be happy and successful, because that is what so many adults told me and modeled to me as I was growing up.
The six-week break from work became a five-month leave, and the five-month leave became a resignation from the job, and the resignation became an opportunity to figure out what I want to do in this one precious life as Haruka Aoki.
Since the beginning, it was to help people through art and compassion. I was just too scared to admit that to myself.
Thank you all for listening to my story, and for supporting me with your kind messages. I believe in you, just as you believe in me. 💞
Soul spark ✨
What’s been inspiring me lately
It can take time to figure out what can help you when you’re feeling dysregulated or a bit scattered. Is it a hot cup of tea, singing along to Queen, taking a walk? For me, it helps to listen to slowed down music. It signals my brain to focus, calm down, let go. Here’s one I like to visit often, Radiohead’s Pyramid song slowed down 800%.