Anna Arnold is an independent community muralist and art educator based in Northeast Ohio. She is known for her vibrant, expressive style and effervescent personality. Connect with Anna by visiting her blog or emailing her at annahnybns@aol.com.

Describe one of the most soul-opening moments of your life. The year and a half when my father was dying. Death of a parent or anyone close to you opens you up, tears you up, knocks you off your feet, challenges your faith and beliefs and crushes your heart because you are helpless to do anything. Nothing you do, know or learn can make a bit of difference in the outcome. It’s reality screaming in your face and you can’t look away, you can’t escape, you can’t ignore it. Death is a part of life and you have to let go and let the Creator take care of it although it may not be the outcome that you want or prayed for.

When do you feel your most soulful? I feel my most soulful driving with a friend to class and our conversations can go from the meaning of life to a gorgeous sunset blazing with color to what we had for lunch and it’s all meaningful and beautiful! I feel as if this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I know this is unique and I don’t take that friendship and bond for granted.

Where have you felt the most in touch with your own soul? Shaker Lakes and the Nature Center in Ohio. I feel the ancient wisdom of textured trees towering over me, making me feel so tiny and insignificant. They tell a wonderful story of resilience and longevity. I can also see a bigger view of the ever-changing sky there.

Who is one of the most soulful people you know? My friend is so in tune with the Creator and creation, nature and the people around him. He’s quiet, introspective and observant. He has deep empathy and understanding. His sensitivity allows him to be able to see and experience magnificent things and emotions that most people miss or disregard. He sees the tiny details as well as the big picture. He is wise and comforting and funny, too.

What qualities do you feel a soulful relationship has? Genuine affection, deep spiritual connection, open communication, truth, mutual devotion, a feeling of safety, trust and respect, understanding and acceptance of what a person has experienced, sensitivity to feelings and emotions, mutual encouragement and support to become the best possible, most happy and most fulfilled human being you can be. Humor, playfulness and laughter are essential to a soulful relationship, too.

What do you feel your soul’s purpose is? My purpose is to know, love and honor my Creator. It is also to give and share love, joy and sunshine to others through art, laughter, play and interaction.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with us? I am living the best possible life right now. Is it perfect? No! When I celebrated 50, my mind turned on! It was soul stirring, humbling and exciting. I realized that my time on Earth is truly limited and this is very exciting and motivating. I don’t have time for fussing and fighting. It forces you to focus and to think, ‘What do I really want to do with the rest of my life? What do I want to contribute?’ No more time to waste getting it right or doing things that are not right for me. I became a community muralist/educator after grad school from Case Western Reserve University in 2010 because I’ve always wanted to do this and now it’s happening!

Take the time to celebrate life, acknowledge and celebrate the little things like personal anniversaries, achievements and breakthroughs. Yes, make a big deal out of it! And most of all, keep dreaming and achieving for the rest of your life!