I’m so happy to share this episode with Lori Portka. I came across Lori a few years ago when I fell in love with her artwork. Each image has such an uplifting, loving and positive message that you can’t help but smile. I also loved her Gratitude Project and bought the cards. I also can’t wait to get a copy of the upcoming Infinite Purpose, a wonderful collaboration with Liv Lane. Get yours and extra bonus packages here!
Lori Portka is a licensed artist whose mission is to spread love and happiness through the art she creates. Utilising bright and colourful imagery, her messages are about gratitude, being true to yourself, and extending kindness to others. She creates artwork by sitting quietly in front of a blank canvas giving thanks for sacred time to create.
Lori believes that artwork carries energy and feels she’s called to spread love and healing through her paintings. She illustrated Crazy Sexy Love Notes, an inspirational card deck, published by Hay House and was featured in a short documentary film called, “Gratitude Grows” about her hundredth painting Gratitude Project. She’s about to release a book titled Infinite Purpose. Lori’s greeting cards, prayer flags, and stationery gifts are carried in more than a hundred locations in the US, Canada, France, and Australia. See here.
For Lori, being childless was a combination of personal choice and circumstances.
What were the subjects that you explored during that process? What were some of the questions that arose?
“A big question for me was that I wondered if there was something wrong with me. I went through a lot of years of ‘why am I not like how I thought all other women were?.’
Now I know it’s not true. There are lots of other women who feel the same as I do. I went through a phase of ‘what’s wrong with me?’ and ‘will I regret it?’ I remember having a period of fear around the possibility of future regret.
Did you feel any pressure from family or friends?
“My mother felt like she lost a lot of her life in having kids and she would voice that from time to time. I know that I was a mistake and she was devastated because she felt like she was going to be free until she got pregnant with me. This was stuff I was aware of early on. I think my mom felt, ‘Go Lori! You’re free!’ Although she’s never said that directly to me, that’s the underlining feeling I have.” It’s true that the majority of pregnancies are unplanned.
What compelled you to stay quiet about the topic?
It brought up a lot of shame. Lori had the fear of what people would think. It forced her to face all her feelings. There was much grief involved, even though she felt clear that she didn’t want kids from the time she was young. She also had to grieve ‘not wanting’ and ‘not having’.
Were you letting go of the possibility of that reality?
“It was letting go of the need for life to be any different. Letting go of what society thinks a woman’s life should look like and also accepting myself for how I am and my life for the way it is.”
Looking back on her life, Lori sees that it made perfect sense that she didn’t have children. She’s now remarried and her husband already had children. She’s now a step-parent and her relationship with her stepdaughter, Katie, is very strong. Although she identifies herself as a woman without children, she’s able to connect with Katie and build a close relationship and strong connection with her. Her stepdaughter is a huge gift in her life and feels that she wouldn’t be this close to her stepdaughter if she had her own biological children.
Lori’s divorce was a huge life-changing event. She was teaching and counseling at the time but wasn’t feeling fulfilled and was starting to get burnt out. When everything was turned upside down, she was devastated and felt that she needed to take care of herself or she was going to fall into a pit. She knew that it would be beneficial to start being creative.
Shortly after her husband left, she went to the art store, bought supplies, and poured her feelings out on paper. She started creating art and she really loved it. This was how her art started. Very soon after she read the book The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. She felt she was a “shadow artist”, as her ex-husband was an artist and many great friends were artists, but she never created anything until after her divorce.
What advice would you give to women who want to explore their creative potential?
Creativity is healing so go toward what you are drawn to.
Don’t be afraid to take that first step.
Do it for fun.
Was there anything that held you back from creating art?
Lori loved creating when she was little (she made greeting cards) but believed that you couldn’t make money as an artist. She thought you needed a secure, stable job. She was intimidated by people who had art degrees and she doubted that she could ever make a career out of it.
What are the other ways that you nurture yourself?
An important way was to accept her feelings. Lori has a tendency to want to feel good all the time so she would push down the feelings that aren’t so good. “If I let myself feel the way I feel, stop all the craziness, and let the hard feelings come, then it would be a peaceful way to mentally be with myself. It’s loving myself through it. Giving myself permission to feel the feelings.”
How did you decide to create the Gratitude Project?
“For me doing my artwork is all about spreading love and happiness. I believe that my purpose in the world is to hold a space of love.” Lori is very sensitive and open. She saw that as a negative thing for a long time. Now she see herself as a peacemaker in the world and she believes that’s part of her job. Artwork to her is spreading love and healing and happiness around and she knows a huge part of that is gratitude. She wants to live from a space of gratitude.
What else are the major benefits of not having children?
Lori believes a big benefit of not having children is having freedom and open space. She loves how convenient it is not worrying about school districts or making sure she provides a good place for them. Therefore, she’s able to focus on her husband and have quality time with him. Lori also enjoys the financial benefits and is extremely grateful for that too.
“Being a person filled with love and spreading love.”
Lori believes that her artwork is a part of her legacy.
“So many women feel that they’re on their own and isolated and you realise that they’re not. It’s just that so many people don’t talk about this openly.”
I do hope you have enjoyed this episode and invite you to share with anyone you feel would benefit.
I would love to hear any comments in the box below. Thank you!