Maritza Parra teaches her students how to grow as an individual through art and journaling. In this episode we chat about her professional journey and the components of her Heartwork Journaling method. Our conversation introduces a unique approach to personal development that emphasizes insight and understanding as the outcome.
- Maritza’s website
- Maritza on Instagram: @themaritzaparra
- Maritza’s Facebook page
- Heartwork Journaling Certification
- Doodle Your Emotions Workshop
- Heartwork Journaling University
- Aaron Beck Cognitive Behavior Theory
- Brené Brown (*)
- Dr. David Hawkins (*)
- Abraham Hicks (*)
*Affiliate links help to support the work we do, at no additional cost to you.
[00:01:03] Jennifer Wilson: Welcome to Scrapbook Your Way, the show that explores the breadth of ways to be a memory keeper today. I’m your host, Jennifer Wilson, owner of Simple Scrapper and author of The New Rules of Scrapbooking. This is episode 249. In this episode I'm chatting with Maritza Parra about her creative journey, the Heartwork Journaling method she teaches, and her belief that nothing you want is impossible.
[00:01:32] Jennifer Wilson: Welcome Maritza. I'm so excited to chat with you today.
[00:01:35] Maritza Parra: Oh, thank you so much for inviting me.
[00:01:37] Jennifer Wilson: Could you introduce yourself to our audience and just share a little bit about yourself? We're going to get into so much more, but some of the basics to get us off.
[00:01:46] Maritza Parra: Okay. My name is Maritza Parra and I am a coach and an artist and an author, and I created something called Heartwork Journaling. And I guess the beginning of my life looks nothing like what it is now. I started being a horseman and an equestrian. I had a whole horse business and a breeding business before I went with my heart.
[00:02:12] Jennifer Wilson: That's so interesting. Yeah. I can't wait to hear more about that. Um, and how that unfolded for you. And, and where do you live? If I could ask.
[00:02:21] Maritza Parra: Right now I live outside of San Antonio, Texas.
[00:02:26] Jennifer Wilson: Okay. Very fun. I actually went to college in San Antonio, so it's a fun place.
[00:02:30] Maritza Parra: Oh, wow. Where did you go?
[00:02:32] Jennifer Wilson: Trinity University.
[00:02:34] Maritza Parra: Oh, cool. Great university.
[00:02:37] Jennifer Wilson: Yes. Yes. So we always ask our guests what is exciting them right now? And one thing that's inside of your creative world. And then one thing that's going on in your everyday life.
[00:02:48] Maritza Parra: So what's exciting me right now is my Heartwork Journaling Certification. It feels like I am duplicating myself and just seeing what my certified instructors are creating in terms of helping other people. But not just that, but helping get their own results. I was just emailed this morning by someone who graduated and she's a single mom and her dream was to buy a house.
[00:03:18] Maritza Parra: She'd just been living in apartments and last year she closed on a house and she emailed and was like, I did this. She sent me pictures of her, you know, vacuuming, so excited in her own home. And I'm like, wow, I just, seeing them create things for themselves and create daily mental and emotional wellness in their students through creativity and play and the Heartwork Journaling tools.
[00:03:46] Maritza Parra: It's like, I am not just excited. I'm compelled. I'm driven. I'm like, having so much fun. It's insane.
[00:03:53] Jennifer Wilson: That's, that's so wonderful to hear. And what about your second thing?
[00:03:57] Maritza Parra: Second thing is, um, my husband and I are in the process of looking for a where we can have a second home. Which is so fun for us. Um, we live in San Antonio right now because my family's here and, but it's too hot. It's so hot in the summer.
[00:04:19] Jennifer Wilson: It is.
[00:04:20] Maritza Parra: Just can't even. It's so, and it's gotten worse. So last year we took a long vacation and we went to different places in Colorado and that wasn't it. Because he's a huge fly fisherman and the fishing wasn't good enough. He used to live in Montana, so this summer month, and we're going to go to look at different places in Montana. And look for our summer home. So that is very exciting. I have a giant visual in my office of all kinds of different homes in the mountains and I look at it and it just drives me and it excites me so much.
[00:04:56] Jennifer Wilson: Hmm. That's so wonderful to have like a, like a visual goal in mind. And I think that's going to be part of, of what you're sharing today in terms of how your Heartwork Journaling tools can really, uh, drive you forward. Before we jump into that, though, we also like to talk about creative bucket lists. Now, my audience is scrapbookers, as you know, and so we're typically talking about layouts and scrapbook projects that you want to do.
[00:05:23] Jennifer Wilson: But I'm curious, from your perspective, is there something that you would love to do or somewhere that you'd love to go, um, in something that kind of supports your, your creative life?
[00:05:34] Maritza Parra: Yes, there is. When I turned 40, I went on a meditation retreat with a friend and it was like silence and you had to go into yourself and visualize. And one of the things I saw was Heartwork Journaling. I didn't even know what it was. I just saw a lot of women following me with paint brushes and I didn't really know what it was.
[00:05:58] Maritza Parra: And then that's what became Heartwork Journaling. The second thing I saw was me in a giant gallery with gigantic paintings of women. And they were work that I had done, like, doing paintings of women that I know. And women who are extraordinary, but their lives, they're not like celebrities or anything.
[00:06:23] Maritza Parra: They're just women I know who I want to celebrate. And I love painting. And so I want to do like realistic paintings. So this year I signed up for a course on realistic oil painting, and that's kind of where I want to go with that.
[00:06:40] Jennifer Wilson: Mm. That sounds so exciting. That's one, like, I, I've loved painting for as long as I can remember, but I've I don't think ever even experimented with oils, but I've seen so many people kind of have that curiosity like you to learn something new with it. So.
[00:06:55] Maritza Parra: I loved it. I actually have used oils before about 10 years ago and I really loved it. But then. You know, so much work and now I have like more free time, so I can do that a little more of that play time.
[00:07:09] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, yes. Um, I can't wait to see what you create with it. So you've mentioned that your life today looks nothing like it did in the past. Can you tell us more about your journey as a creative and an artist and a business owner and how you got to where you are today?
[00:07:27] Maritza Parra: Well, I used to be crazy horses, more than I was crazy about art. And so thankfully I was able to have horses and I dove into classical dressage and I did all that. And I had a really thriving business doing workshops, in person workshops. I would bring in mentors and then I would also teach later on.
[00:07:49] Maritza Parra: And, um, and then I got married, I was kind of on the path, the prescribed path for me by my family and society. Got married. And we started not being children, but we just kept trying and kept trying and happening. We did in vitro about 5 times. And none of them worked. And so that was a lot of strain on our relationship.
[00:08:13] Maritza Parra: And one day he said, you know what, I want a divorce. So everything I thought that was supposed to be, you know, being the good person. Like having the kids, doing everything my family wanted me to do. Had brought me to a place of, I felt broken, because I don't break down easily. I was like, I can't believe what a regular woman is created to do, the number one job.
[00:08:40] Maritza Parra: Then also I was the first divorce in my Hispanic family, which was very dramatic for them. And so that brought me kind of to my knees. Because I would just felt like a failure in so many ways. And when I came back from divorce court, I really like literally fell on my knees out of the house and I was like, okay, how am I going to take care of all this?
[00:09:05] Maritza Parra: Like, I'm so lost and I heard a voice, no one to save you. And that started everything. I turned off in my home. I was like, I don't want any outside influence. I need to heal. And I spent a whole year with a journal and doodling and the doodling was to help me, you know, not want to check out basically. To, to have a reason to like, be positive to be like, oh, you're breathing today.
[00:09:36] Maritza Parra: Oh, the sun is shining today. So in that process of doing that for that year, I felt like a different person. And I said, I'm going to start a meetup and I'm going to teach this to other people. Like what I'm kind of experimenting with myself. And so the meetup, 1 person came to the 1st one, like, nobody cares.
[00:09:58] Maritza Parra: And I remember, like, so many times thinking over the years since then, I could have just said, nobody cares. But I didn't, I was like, okay, this one guy, I mean, it was a guy, my people, and it was a guy. It was so funny. And just like start teaching. And then it started growing. I had committed to myself to do the meetup for a year and it started growing.
[00:10:21] Maritza Parra: Somebody started asking me, this woman said, will you coach me? And I'm like, I'm not a coach. No, I will not coach you. I'm not a coach. And she just kept asking me and she wore me down. So I, had her hire me as a coach. And the first day that she was coming, it was in person, so she was driving my home and I was in the kitchen and I got on my knees.
[00:10:40] Maritza Parra: I was like, God, please help me. Help me help this woman. Help me. Give me the words. Help me. And I did. And so she coached with me for a while and I said, okay, I'm going to do more of this. And over the years I started integrating the creativity into my coaching. So I was not a certified coach at all at that time. And, but I use the doodles. Because me get different perspectives and see things differently. So I started using it and that's how Heartwork Journaling started.
[00:11:12] Jennifer Wilson: Could you share more about how you define Heartwork Journaling versus other practices?
[00:11:18] Maritza Parra: So, it has 8 keys and so some of them are like mindfulness. Some of them are. It, there are tools that are based on Aaron Beck's cognitive behavioral, theory. And, but it's for ordinary wellness. It's not for, you have to go to a therapist. It's for how do I help take care of my mental and emotional daily wellness?
[00:11:44] Maritza Parra: And it has to do with, um, philosophy almost. Like asking empowering questions. The brain wants to ask the most disempowering questions, questions that are going to keep Keep us small, keep us protected, keep us in the cave. So this is about asking, you're using those cognitive behavioral tools. And then in conjunction with empowering questions. And then the creativity is very important because the tools, there's something I created called the Doodle Triad. And that helps you organize life into five components, and circumstances, thoughts, emotions, actions, and results. And you doodle ify them and you get the observer perspective. So I've never before been able to process shame in such a way that is compassionate and gentle and kind with myself until I saw my little self in a shame storm in my doodle.
[00:12:48] Jennifer Wilson: Hmm.
[00:12:49] Maritza Parra: And it just gives you that witness perspective. And one of the things that the last key that I'll mention briefly is that I think that this Heartwork Journaling work can unlock so much personal development stuff. I had been my whole life reading all the books, doing all the therapies, and I still wasn't getting new results. But when I started using all of this and started changing the results I was getting, started changing who I was from an emotion level, then everything changed. Actually able to use all the other stuff like attachment theory, Daughters of Narcissus, all that stuff that had never, like it informed me, but it didn't actually create new results. And this, with this, I'm able to actually use all of this, the information and education that I had invested in over decades.
[00:13:46] Jennifer Wilson: So you just mentioned that it changed you. How much of that was changing you forward versus returning you back to maybe your, like, original self?
[00:13:55] Maritza Parra: Oh, that's such a great question. I think, I think it's half and half. Because I do think we come into the world we are curious. We're creative. We're brave. You look at any little child and most of them are like, let me at it. Let me at the, all the new things I would put in my mouth. I want to touch it, feel it, you know, run around. And we get stifled because of socialization because of our primitive brain that wants to be part of the tribe.
[00:14:22] Maritza Parra: It doesn't want to be, Um, you know, pushed out. So I think half is like uncovering who you were in the beginning. And then just as beautiful is like, who do I want to evolve to? Who do I want to grow into? And you can choose whoever you want. You can choose. I am not, um, I wouldn't consider myself an extrovert, but I affect so many people with my work now. And I do it, which is so fun from the comfort of my home
[00:14:57] Jennifer Wilson: Yes. Yes.
[00:14:59] Maritza Parra: I had to work on my brain to, to be brave enough to show up on all the live streams, especially in the beginning when nobody was there and keep showing up anyways. And just telling myself, if I keep showing up, people show up. So I think it's half and half. You uncover like who you originally were and then you get to mold kind of like that Michelangelo. I have a doodle that I do which is me like cutting the stone and like creating myself out of the stone. So I think it's half and half.
[00:15:32] Jennifer Wilson: At what point as you were experiencing this for yourself and sharing it with others did you realize that, like, this is more deeply powerful than you ever imagined. Are there any, like, specific points that just, like, really, like. stand out in your memory.
[00:15:49] Maritza Parra: Absolutely with certain one on one clients, when I would show them the doodles. And there was one in particular and I was showing her a doodle of it was about her relationship with money. And to show her like what her current relationship with money was versus different options. Like other people have different relationships with money and doodles I showed her that. And I just just even through at that time it was GoToWebinar, Zoom wasn't invented yet. But, um, seeing her have this huge aha, and then she was a, um, animal communicator, she had a business as an animal communicator, and she just started making so much money. And I'm like, Oh my gosh, she sees this as a relationship instead of as I have giant money blocks. So, I think that was a huge thing. Also, some of my 1 on 1 clients with their relationships, with their love relationships, their relationships. Relationship with themselves. I also saw people have giant breakthroughs. Then, so that was one layer of, Oh, I think this is really important. And then the next layer was when I launched Heartwork Journaling University, which is a membership that I have. And I didn't know if it would work. I was like, maybe I don't need to be one on one. Maybe I can teach people to use these tools for themselves and I can teach and they can just do it themselves. And I never have to talk to them.
[00:17:27] Jennifer Wilson: As a fellow introvert, I understand that.
[00:17:30] Maritza Parra: Totally. But I mean, think about if you have to tell everybody how to do something, your reach is so limited. Whereas if you're doing it once and lots of people are consuming it at any time, and they're changing their lives. And so the first year of HJU, I think that was my giant breakthrough. That was in 21 and I just kept showing up thinking, okay, this lesson, what do they need to know when I'm not there? What are all the answers I might get and then when people were emailing, I'm like, oh, my gosh, this does change lives. It changes lives. So, but you have to start with being the person who is confident you change lives before you can actually be the person who changes lives.
[00:18:20] Jennifer Wilson: Yes, yes, yes. It's, it's kind of, it's a, it's a tricky thing. So did, did your own practice, uh, kind of help You get there. In terms of visualizing, like in doodling yourself as that person?
[00:18:33] Maritza Parra: You have to really do something, a little mental rehearsal. That's one of the things I teach in HJU. And it's for people, a lot of people would tell me, I can't visualize, I can't visualize. So I would fill myself with things that I didn't, I hadn't experienced, I hadn't created. I would create the little doodle and then I would be like, okay, look at me, I'm there. And I would create the emotions and I would be like okay, what is this person thinking? And then, okay, this is what I need to practice to become that person. So, um, I think that answered your question. I kind of don't remember what the question was.
[00:19:08] Jennifer Wilson: No, it's all good. It's all good. I'm curious. What do you say to someone who maybe is like, I don't know how to draw. I can't draw a person. I don't feel comfortable. Maybe they're like intrigued, but they're just feel resistant.
[00:19:22] Maritza Parra: Yes, there's many, many people right now. We have, um, taught over 11, 000 people with Doodle Your Emotions, which is like an introductory class. At the time. People are like, but I'm not creating and Brene Brown, who is one of my mentors. She did scientific research that shows that I think it's about 85 percent of people who were in school have some kind of art scars, so.
[00:19:55] Jennifer Wilson: Mm hmm. Mm
[00:19:55] Maritza Parra: They some moment where they try to do something creative and either a peer or an authority figure was like, that sucks. Oh, my gosh, you should be so embarrassed. And then they just shut down their creative self. So I make it really easy because they can just follow along with me on the video. And tell them, it's not supposed to be pretty. It's not about your artwork. It's about your Heartwork. That's it. So even if it looks like chicken scratch, and sometimes I let my doodles look like chicken scratch. Because I wanted to show them, it really isn't. I, I allow the colors to go outside of the lines. I even, I love when this happens when I may do misspelling or I like give a doodle three arms and say like, see, this is fine. Nothing happened. It's that's not about at all. And so I think it gives people so much freedom. I remember once during one session of Doodle Your Emotions, um, a woman who had been losing her eyesight. Had been very creative and then she was like, oh, my gosh, my creative world again, because I was thinking this is terrible. And now I have the freedom to doodle and not make it be perfect. And so she was so grateful.
[00:21:13] Jennifer Wilson: Hmm. I noticed on your, on your Instagram in particular that you share a range of like art styles and approaches, different mediums. Um. You know, from, you know, simple doodles, to like more abstract, to very like, uh, I don't even know how to describe some of your figures that you've done. But do you recommend looking more inside or outside of your comfort zone when it comes to how you're approaching the process?
[00:21:41] Maritza Parra: Well, I mean, I think that depends on the person. If you're somebody who's already creative, for sure, push yourself out of, and like, try new things. I love, I think the page is a metaphor. So your blank page, it's almost like your life. And some people are so scared to make any mark.
[00:22:03] Jennifer Wilson: Hmm.
[00:22:04] Maritza Parra: And take classes about how to make marks on their page. And they buy products, they buy art supplies about how to make marks on their page. But they don't actually make marks. So, if somebody is like that, and they're not very creative or very brave. Just doing little doodles is perfect. That's like hugely brave for that person. And then they can use that bravery that they had on the page and translate that into in their life. And then somebody who's like, one of your people, a scrapbooker or somebody who's got more of a creative, you know, bones. They can try other things that make them feel out of their comfort zone.
[00:22:45] Maritza Parra: I think that's awesome. And I love it. I recommend people get uncomfortable with their artwork because that is you take all of those emotions into your world. I remember sometimes I would, when I was starting to use watercolor, so hard to control. And I would feel my body tense up when things were the way I wanted to, to, and I would go, this is the same kind of resistance that I have when something isn't. So I work on the page and just breathe and let myself feel the resistance and keep going anyway. And then, and then usually when I did that, I trusted myself, it would turn into something really beautiful. Which I was like, Oh my gosh, so I can do this in my business.
[00:23:35] Jennifer Wilson: Yes. So would you say inside your community you just have, you have a, uh, quite a range of those who, uh, create in different ways. Um, those who have making art all their lives to those who maybe are doing it for the first time.
[00:23:50] Maritza Parra: Yes, totally. Um, and in HJU, I actually, it's so interesting because even before I had the idea for the membership, I had started recording myself doing art just for my own fun. And so I turned on the overhead camera. And so when I started HJU, I was like, Oh, I'm going to have like an area where it's paint with me or doodle with me. For people who are more practiced in art so that they can do like other fun things too.
[00:24:24] Jennifer Wilson: Nice. Nice. Now, kind of stepping back big picture here as recording this at the beginning of 2024, is there a big overarching message you're really excited to communicate, um, inside your community and beyond this year?
[00:24:38] Maritza Parra: Yeah, nothing is impossible. Nothing you want is impossible. When I think about my certified instructor who emailed and she felt in the beginning, she was like, my one aim is to own my own home. And when I think about my own dreams and where I am now. And now knowing like what's pop for me and for Heartwork Journaling, Oh my gosh, I want everyone to know, like the reason results you have is because of your brain. And that's kind of the quote unquote problem. It's the solution, which is the best news ever because it's not the economy, it's your husband, it's not your children. It's not your past. It's none, none of these things. It's your brain And we can always bring back the focus of control to ourselves and nothing is impossible.
[00:25:40] Maritza Parra: I used to, like years ago, be in a lot of despair about my business. I would be like, you know, fits and starts and I would be like, I'm never going to create what I want. And then I realized, oh, you know, if I keep saying myself and creating despair in my body, that's going to be the truth for me. So I danced and with despair, I investigated on the page and in my body and that made me so brave to like go and create exactly what I wanted and I think that's available to all of us.
[00:26:19] Jennifer Wilson: What a, what a beautiful way to kick off the year. Um, I think that's definitely why I was attracted to having you on the podcast because I could sense that, um, that energy and positivity that you are bringing to, to so many, uh, women and beyond, um, out there.
[00:26:38] Maritza Parra: But I want to make a note about positivity. Because, definitely Heartwork Journaling is not about being positive. Um, I went through a phase in it for myself where I was like, no negative allowed. And it was just not helpful to me. Um, I mean, I do feel anything's possible. I also feel crappy emotions regularly. You know, I do. There's things that I don't want to do, but it changes, it morphs and it changes. I actually had a really interesting moment last week, when I came back to work. And I was doing something that I, you know, was scheduled for that hour. And usually I'm like, oh, tedious. And all of a sudden I was, I started coaching myself in my brain with what I usually do on the page. And like, okay, what, why am I doing this? And then the most amazing thought popped into my brain. And it was like the magic is mundane and all of a sudden then my whole body was like, yeah. That's why I'm doing this. Because when I sit down and I do the mundane things, I can create magic. And that's what the last 4 years have felt like. But, but I had to feel tedious going to that and allow it to when I show up to my calendar, which it still does half of the time. I really don't want to do the thing that I put on my calendar. I'm like ugh.
[00:28:12] Jennifer Wilson: I think there's sense of such a sense of kind of possibility and that and like embracing and accepting that there is possibility when you address the real feelings, the real emotions, um, and allow yourself to move like, through them.
[00:28:28] Maritza Parra: Yes. I love that.
[00:28:30] Jennifer Wilson: So can you share a bit more about what you're excited about for this year inside of your business, where we can find you and anything you might have new or coming up?
[00:28:39] Maritza Parra: Well, we are going to be doing a Doodle Your Emotions very soon. And we do, it's like an introductory class for Heartwork Journaling. And people can go to doodleyouremotions. com and either there will be a class that's live and you can enroll or there will be a wait list there. And my goal for this year enrolled 5, 000 people into Heartwork Journaling University. 5, 000 new people. And, um, that's the number one main goal under a lot of different goals. So that means that we are going to. I will be bringing in tens of thousands of people into the project, which I love so much. And because I use this work on myself, I've gotten good at Facebook ads. I've gotten good at marketing and anything's possible. So I think that we'll probably reach those goals.
[00:29:41] Jennifer Wilson: Oh, that sounds so exciting. I'm, yeah, I have never participated before, So I'm eager to, to join you for Doodle Your Emotions. Can you share more about the format of that? Like what, um, our listeners could expect if they enroll?
[00:29:55] Maritza Parra: Yes, they will get an overview, like an introduction to the Heartwork Journaling tools, and mostly to the equation of emotion. And they'll have a little introduction also to the Emotional Global Positioning System. And that is a map of emotions that I created that is based on the work of Dr. David Hawkins. And also the work of Abraham Hicks. I have something called the emotional. So the emotional is pretty basic, too basic to be like really usable for me in what I wanted to do. And Hawkins he did scientific research on the frequency of emotions and he mapped them all out. And that was too complex to actually be usable in everyday life.
[00:30:45] Maritza Parra: So over time, I just created this map that, from what I hear from HJUers many of them have it laminated and they use it with their kids, which I think is so fun. So that is, and of course we doodle during Doodle Your Emotions that people get the benefit of seeing how, um, how you get that witness perspective and a whole new view of your own personal development.
[00:31:13] Jennifer Wilson: Oh, sounds wonderful. We will definitely include that link in the show notes for this episode. Thank you so much for, uh, sharing your Heartwork Journaling process with us and spending time with me on the show.
[00:31:26] Maritza Parra: Jennifer, thank you so much.
[00:31:28] Jennifer Wilson: And to all of our listeners, please remember that you have permission to scrapbook and create and journal your way.
Sign up to receive email updates
Enter your name and email address below and I'll send you periodic updates about the podcast.
How to Subscribe
The best way to listen to Scrapbook Your Way is with a podcast player on your mobile device or with iTunes on your computer. You can subscribe via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or by searching for “Scrapbook Your Way” in your favorite podcast app.