US counsellor + art therapist
My guest this week is Kate King, a licensed professional counsellor and a certified art therapist, and a mom of of 2 based in Boulder Colorado. USA
Kate grew up with a lot of art around her, her grandmother was always very creative as were her parents, her dad was a stone sculptor. Her family supported expression through creativity. Kate had a number of black sketch books that she would always carry around with her. Kate was actually doing a lot of art therapy already before knowing what it really was.
Her formal schooling began at the University of Denver where Kate graduated with a dual Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Art. It wasn't until she completed College that she googled what to do with these studies and found art therapy.
From there Kate eagerly pursued post-graduate education at Naropa University (a Buddhist-inspired school in Boulder, CO) where she earned a Master’s Degree in Transpersonal Counselling Psychology and Art Therapy. Kate is a Licensed Professional Counsellor and Board Certified and Registered Art Therapist. Her private practice is a colourful, creative, cozy space located in the Ken Caryl area of Littleton, Colorado.
Under the umbrella of her business, The Radiant Life Project, Kate offers a holistic, preventive health perspective which incorporates verbal, creative, and body-centred therapy skills and techniques. She operates from a perspective that considers each person in their mental, spiritual, physical, and emotional entirety. It is her genuine belief that each person is capable of choosing their life's path, and re-creating their story along the way.
Kate began writing her book The Authentic Mother - Creative Art Engagement to Support the New Parent when her son was 3 months old, as she was unable to find a book that could help her in the creative way she was seeking. Kate has also created a set of oracle cards, The Ink & Wings Oracle Deck, and I was fortunate enough to receive a reading from Kate in this podcast! If you are interested you can take a look at the cards she drew for me here
*** This episode contains discussion around mental health, anxiety, post natal depression and birth trauma. ***
If today’s episode is triggering for you I encourage you to seek help from those around you, or from resources on line. I have compiled a list of great international resources here
Music used with permission from Alemjo my new age and ambient music trio.
Podcast transcript at the bottom of the page
Thank you so much for tuning in to this episode of The Art of Being A Mum Podcast. I'm beyond honoured that you're here and would be grateful if you could take 2 minutes to leave me a 5-star review in iTunes or wherever you are listening. It really helps! This way together we can inspire, connect and bring in to the light even more stories from creative mums. Want to connect? Take a screenshot of this episode and share it on Instagram tagging me in with @art_of_being_a_mum_podcast
I can't wait to connect. And remember if you or somebody you know would like to be a guest on the podcast, get in touch! I love meeting and chatting to mammas from all creative backgrounds, from all around the world!
Alison acknowledges this Land of the Berrin (Mount Gambier) Region as the Traditional Lands of the Bungandidj People and acknowledge these First Nations people as the custodians of the Region.
Welcome to the Art of Being a mum, the podcast that's a platform for mothers who are artists and creatives to share the joys and issues they've encountered, while continuing to make art. Regular themes we explore include the day to day juggle, how mothers work is influenced by their children, mum guilt, how mums give themselves time to create within the role of mothering, and the value that mothers and others place on their artistic selves. My name's Alison Newman. I'm a singer, songwriter, and a mum of two boys from regional South Australia. You can find links to my guests and topics we discuss in the show notes. Together with music played, how to get in touch, and a link to join our lively and supportive community on Instagram. The art of being a mum acknowledges the Bondic people as the traditional owners of the land, which his podcast is recorded on. Thank you so much for joining me today. It really is a pleasure to have you. My guest this week on the podcast is Kate King. Kate is a licensed professional counselor, and a certified Art Therapist, as well as being a mom of two based in Boulder, Colorado in the United States. Kate grew up with a lot of art around her. Her grandmother was always very creative, as were her parents. Her dad was a stone sculptor, her family supported expression through creativity. Kate had a number of black sketchbooks that she would always carry around with her. And Kate was actually doing a lot of art therapy already, before really knowing what it was. Her formal schooling began at the University of Denver, where Kate graduated with a dual bachelor's degree in psychology and art. It wasn't until she completed college that she Googled what to do with these two modalities and found art therapy. From there, Kate eagerly pursued postgraduate education at Naropa University, a Buddhist inspired school in Boulder, Colorado, where she earned a master's degree in transpersonal, Counseling Psychology and art therapy. Kate is a licensed professional counselor, and board certified and registered art therapist. Her private practice is a colorful, creative and cozy space located in the ken Carroll area of Littleton in Colorado. Under the umbrella of her business, the Radiant Life Project, Kate offers a holistic preventative health perspective, which incorporates verbal, creative and body centered therapy skills and techniques. Kate operates from a perspective that considers each person in their mental, spiritual, physical and emotional entirety. It is her genuine belief that each person is capable of choosing their life's path and recreating their story along the way. If today's episode is triggering for you at all, I encourage you to seek help from those around you medical professionals or from resources online. I have compiled a list of great international resources on my website, Alison newman.net/podcast. This episode contains discussions around mental health, anxiety, postnatal depression and birth trauma. The music used on today's episode is from my new age, Ambient Music trio called LM Joe and is used with permission. Lm j is myself, my sister, Emma Anderson, and her husband, John. I hope you enjoy today's episode. Thank you so much for being a part of this. It's really it's lovely to meet you.
It's lovely to meet you. I'm grateful to be
here. Yeah. So whereabouts are you in the US?
I am in Denver, Colorado.
Yeah, right. That's pretty nice there, isn't it?
It's beautiful. And very close to the infamous Red Rocks. concert venue. So I don't know if you've heard of that. But it's really pretty place.
Yeah, right. So what time of year is over there now? You're in your summer, aren't you? Yes. This
is the hottest time of the summer for us. Yeah, right. So jealous of where you are. I would love to be winter right now.
Don't be jealous. It's horrible. Here. It is just fair. I just, we've just come back from a week up in Queensland where it's like nicer. Because it's just so gray. Like I can deal with cold but I just can't deal with lack of sunshine. Like it's just just gray. And it just makes me annoyed. And yeah, you're like in Colorado.
We have like 300 days of sunshine here.
Oh my goodness. Yeah. Don't tempt me. That sounds really.
Maybe it's time for a vacation.
Yeah, I've actually never been to America. So there you go.
And I've never been Where You Live either so I would love to
visit. Australia is pretty good. A lot Australia.
Yes, I've heard beautiful things
you after your name, you've got lots of letters. Can you just just tell us what, what you what you do?
Yes. So the M A is representative of my master's degree, which is in transpersonal, Counseling Psychology and art therapy. Transpersonal Counseling Psychology is a form of psychology that considers where the psyche and the spirit meet. And so there's a lot of influences around spirituality and just kind of open mindedness and open heartedness into different traditions and modalities. So that's the MA, the LPC is my Licensed Professional Counselor certification. So that's my therapy license here in the state of Colorado. And the ATR since I wrote this book, actually, I have a new credential now it's ATR dash BC, which stands for board certified registered art therapist. And so that's a art therapy designation.
Excellent. So going right back to the beginning, I guess, how did you first get interested in? Was it the art that came first? Or sort of the thinking about people? Like how did you sort of get drawn into this sort of area?
Yeah, it was the art. My my family is sort of creative at the roots. My grandmother was always very creative. My dad is a stone sculptor. And so I had a lot of art surrounding me growing up, and my family really supported just expressing that way. And I used to have these black sketchbooks that I just would fill with drawings, I would carry these with me everywhere I went, I had bookshelves filled with them. And, you know, they were, I wouldn't go anywhere with them. They were always with me. And so I think I was doing art therapy on myself before I knew what it was. It wasn't until I was about to graduate from college. And I had a Bachelors of Arts Degree and a psychology degree in a double bachelor's focus that I was like, What do I do with my life? And I actually Googled, what do you do with an art degree and a psychology degree? And that's how I first learned about art therapy from Google. Yeah.
And then did you sort of go, this feels very familiar to me, like, Was it something that just sat naturally with you anyway?
Yes, it resonated so strongly that I just, I stopped really looking and I just started looking for a graduate program where I could really studied what I wanted to study. And I ended up at a school here in Colorado called Naropa University that was founded by a Buddhist monk. And it has a strong background of meditation and different kinds of spiritual practices. And so the coming together of science and spirituality and creativity and psychology, it was just like, everything that I was interested in.
Yeah, that sounds amazing. I didn't actually know that places like that existed. That is really cool.
It is very cool. I did not know either, until I plugged them into Google.
So for people who aren't familiar, how would you describe art therapy?
Art Therapy is it's a form of, there's actually two different schools of art therapy. One is considered art as therapy, which is that the art is inherently healing, and you don't really need to talk about it, do anything, you know, just creating heals things within us because it helps us to sublimate or move the energy through our body and out from us in a way that's productive. And the other school of art therapy is art as psychotherapy, which is more of what I do in my private practice where I would provide specific directives, kind of projects for people that are designed with the intention of helping them investigate what's going on in their lives and have sort of a visual representation of that, rather than just the talking that we normally do in therapy, which can so often, kind of people can Avoid talking about certain things, or they can hide information from themselves from their therapists that way. But art therapy is just a really gentle kind of backdoor into the psyche that allows you to work through the metaphor of color, and line and shape and image. So you see what you're ready to see in your art. And the art therapist can sort of gently reflect like, wow, it looks like you only used you know the color blue today, what does blue mean to you? And then we can sort of have a collaborative dialogue about what this symbology looks like in your life and how your art can be kind of a roadmap for your psyche? Hmm.
Do you find then that people that what actually comes out of people is often it's it's things that you can't put words to generally, because it's so deep, maybe people don't even realize what they're bringing out of themselves? If that makes sense.
Yeah, sometimes, sometimes, people, they don't know, they don't expect the art to move through them in the way it does. But usually, once they do create something, it's easier to talk about it because it already exists in some form. Now that they've made it, it doesn't feel so pent up. And sometimes talking about things through metaphor just feels a lot safer. Instead of someone talking about their trauma, they can talk about the, you know, the lightning bolts that are in their imagery, and that holds the kind of energy of that trauma without it feeling so triggering that it shuts them down. Hmm.
Yeah. So it's a really good way for people to communicate without feeling. I don't know, scared, I suppose that. Yeah, wonderful. It's
like a natural titration process where they can, they can kind of go as deep or as as intensive as they want to go. And they don't have to do anything they don't want to do their art kind of helps to guide their comfort.
Yeah, yeah, that is really cool. Because I've had my fair share of, of therapy over the years, but I've never done art therapy. And it's sort of a kind of wonder, it's just to see what happens.
Especially as a creative person, I'm surprised that surprise, you wouldn't do that. Although, you know, you don't have to be a creative person to benefit from art therapy, I actually, I really enjoy seeing people come to art therapy, who have no art background at all, because they don't have any picture in their mind for making something beautiful or frameable. It's just expression for the sake of expression. And sometimes that takes a lot of pressure off. So for people who are already artists, sometimes we need to move through the layers of like, releasing some of the pressure. And so I'll have them make art with their nondominant hand or with their eyes closed, things like that, so that they don't have that pressure to make something beautiful. Sometimes you need to make something messy or ugly.
Yeah, cuz that's the thing is in a restaurant, you're not really addressing the issues. I mean, you're showing new issues, I suppose the the lack of letting go and control and the pressure that you feel and the expectation, whatever. But yeah, perhaps not then allowing you to go into that next layer of what you kind of might need to work through, I suppose.
Yeah, yeah. But it's all it's all good work. And I think whatever is ready to be worked on comes up in this session. And so we don't really have to dig too deep. It just shows up, because ultimately, our systems want to heal.
Yeah, I've heard that actually like that, that I can't, I don't know how to describe it. But it's like your, your inner, whatever that is, knows where it's supposed to be. And it will do what it needs to do to try and get you there. But then the humaneness of us and the ego stops us from getting there.
Right, exactly, yeah, we get in our own way, a lot of the time. Art is a really great way to help to sort of release some of those narratives and just let you connect with the part of you that knows what you need to heal and express and grow.
Yeah. Coming back to your own art, what sort of style or is there a way you can describe like the mediums you like working with what what's sort of your art?
Yeah, so my art has sort of changed over time. It's interesting. As an art therapist, I know now that the different kinds of art I made over time were reflective of how healed I was in my own psycho emotional process. So what I do now is I love watercolor and goulash like a like the pigmented like the tubes of watercolor, not the palette necessarily because I like it when it's really vibrant. And I also like to draw I like a lot of detail and I love just black rollerball pens, and then sort of working with them together with watercolor can be interesting. But in the beginning for the longest time, most of my life, I it was just black and white, really intense, patterned, organized drawings. And I now know that that was my way of containment and of kind of holding myself together. And as I went through my own therapeutic journey, I was able to explore more with, you know, watercolor that drips and bleeds and it's less than control. I also really liked colored pencil, just colors really vibrant colors are important to me. And lately, I've been drawing a lot of imagery about goddesses and the divine feminine and sort of the celestial. I have pictures with like a goddess with horns and wings and a sun, you know, solar systems. So it gets a little magical for me.
Oh, that's so cool. It's interesting, isn't it, there's probably people out there now thinking, they're thinking about the stuff that they make, that they're starving, they're thinking, Oh, I wonder what that means. Like, we can, we can draw so much from what we're doing. And it's interesting, you say how it changes like I, I have times when and this is just me personally, and I'm sure there's people, you know, we change all the time. But there's some days I really like to draw, and I can't draw like I'm not a draw at all. But I love coloring and I love the sound that it makes. And it makes me feel really grounded. Almost like I have an urge to write in lead pencil like that kind of feeling where I don't know back to the earth where you know, it's I don't know how to describe it anyway. And then other days, like the watercolor, you happy to let things just wish wash everywhere and you don't mind if something dripped somewhere? Or well, maybe then you do. And then you go, Oh, actually, no, I don't want to do this today, I need something that's going to stay more I want it to stay. So we sort of change, even, you know, day to day of what we're using, based on how we're feeling and what we're going through, I suppose.
Yes, the materials can mirror what we're feeling. And they can also be used to sort of like nudge us when we're ready for growth. So a really controlled person, when they're stable and resourced. Watercolor would be great for them, because it would sort of push them to become more comfortable with less control. And when you practice that with art, your brain starts to become more familiar with that. And then it's more likely to repeat that in other areas of your life that are not art, like maybe your relationships, you don't have as much control. And you're more okay with that. So it kind of pairs well with all of life.
Yeah, that just reminded me of a lady I had on the podcast just a couple of weeks ago, Fiona Valentine, and she's in Australia. And her and her husband do classes for businesses, like groups of employees, who want to try and extend their creativity. So they, they get them to draw, and it's something that's achievable. So it's not going to make people feel like alienated that they can do it. And then when they realize that they can actually draw, then it changes those neural pathways. And then like you say, it flows over to the other parts of their life. So the idea is that then it might help them in their work to think differently, or, you know, see things in a different way, I suppose. So it's absolutely a thing, isn't it? It's amazing. Yeah,
yeah, our brains are really malleable. And so if we can find some mechanism that helps to teach our brains to think differently, it affects our whole life, it has a ripple effect that reaches really far.
Now, I want to start talking about some of the things you've created. And I'm gonna start about your book fairs, which you've kindly sent me a copy of thank you so much. It's called the authentic mother, creative art engagement to support the new parent and I have read through this and it is sensational. It is really, really, like I was blown away. I really, I wish we shouldn't say things like this, but I wish I had had this when I had my first child because I think it would have made a massive difference to my mental wellness and my journey through mental illness. Can you see We've asked what the sort of impetus was to create it and telling us in your own words, rather than me, telling people what it is to share, share what it is all about.
Yes, absolutely. And thank you so much for your kind words, it really, it really is a labor of love. So, I wrote this book in the very beginning stages of my motherhood journey, after I had my first child, probably when he was, I don't know, maybe three months old, I started writing it because I needed a book. And because I was feeling really, like, shocked and lost and overwhelmed by motherhood, because it was not the beautiful picture that everyone said it would be. The birth was totally traumatic, like it was very, very challenging. And so I kept trying to find a support resource. And everything I looked for it was either kind of shaming or not really validating for the truth, it really didn't give a lot of creative support, which was very important to me at that time. And so I just started to journal and write about my experience. And one day when I was journaling about it, I had left it on my computer, and a friend of mine came over. And she saw it, and she's like, What is this? And I told her and she was like, Kate, you have to publish this. This is what so many moms need. And I'm like, no, nobody wants to read this. And so ultimately, that was the beginning. And she said, Yes, moms need this, for sure. And so because it's an art therapy book, it talks a little bit about the neuroscience and kind of the psychological aspects of what happens in the brain in the body when we become mothers, fathers when we all go through this, but it felt important to have real artwork in it. And so I sent out a beacon to moms and I ended up getting over 35 Real moms who don't identify as artists. And they I sent them the directives that I write about in the book. And they made art for the book. And so I have real, real pieces of artwork for the projects and directives that I've designed to help support moms, dads, just new parents, as they're navigating everything from body image stuff to mental health challenges to issues with your family and your in laws and boundaries, cultural expectations. So it's a really wide variety of directives. And the intention here is really just to support that the motherhood experience is very vast and broad and unique for everyone. And it's important that we have a creative outlet for that, so that we don't spiral down to a place where we feel isolated, and things get worse.
So literally, that was this book is what helped you and stopped you from doing just that. Man, thank you for sharing it with the world. That fringe, whoever you are, thank you. Because it is so valuable. It's I don't know, I, I, when I was flipping through it, I just kept thinking, I wish I'd known this, I wish I thought like this, I wish I'd had, I wish like literally I wish I had it would have even with my second child when I was seven years older, I had more experience in the world, I was now working in childcare. So I physically knew how to take care of a child. And I kept telling myself, it's not going to be the same, it's gonna be totally different, you know, for all these, whatever reasons, and my personnel depression was far worse than it ever was when my first child. So the talk that like, and you're saying, Hey, you talk about I guess, what's the word, the jargon? I don't know if that's the right word, but of your background, you know, the the psychology behind things, and you know, the neural pathways and what have you. But that's not overwhelming. It's not like you pick it up and you feel alienated by the words, if you know what I mean. Anyone can pick it up without having any understanding or any background or knowledge in that field. So that's really good. So you don't feel you know, you're already going through enough as a new mother. Like, I don't know this, and I don't know that. But you pick this up and it feels familiar. Which is lovely. It's like, if I'm getting really sloppy now but it literally it feels like you're right here next to me if you know what I mean. Like it feels like you're right here. So I'm getting really emotional. Really does it really feels like that and, and I love that you call it the authentic mother because it's you know, because we have all these, you know, versions of what a mom's supposed to be and the good mom and the bad mom and you're not doing this you're not doing that and you're not doing it right. It's like Get rid of all of that those labels, and you go back to who you are, in your core. You're this child's mother and how to sort of look after yourself and keep yourself well. Sorry, that was really blurry.
I appreciate it. No, I It really warms my heart that the book has touched you because that was, that was what I so needed. And that was my intention. I wanted people to feel with this book, like they were talking to a friend. And I wanted it to feel accessible to people who wanted to kind of understand what was going on with them, but didn't have the psychology background. So I'm happy to hear that it doesn't feel dense and jargony accessible to you. Because that's, that was my intention.
Now, it's lovely. Sorry, I've just raved on so much. But honestly, I just even as I'm sort of thinking that because I want I want to do this stuff in it, I want to use it in a way. I'm not gonna have any more children. But I feel like I could benefit from doing the the exercises and like you said, the directives in here, thinking it from looking at through another lens, perhaps as other issues going on in my life. So
Oh, yes, all of legally. All of these directives are applicable outside of early motherhood as well. I mean, I couldn't really honestly flip to any of them. I just flipped to one that was about just creating this called the insecurity image. It's on page 138. And this is just about creating imagery about what you feel insecure about. A new mom to feel insecure. This could be about your workplace, your relationship, your your new gray hairs, like I don't know, it could be about anything. Yeah, let's see, I've just got glasses. I don't want to wear them. Yeah, so any of these are applicable inside of motherhood, outside of motherhood in groups. I've done a lot of these directives with my friends. I've done them with my husband. I've even done them with children because they're really fun.
Yeah. So there you go, everyone, even if you're not having another child, you can definitely gain something from this. And something else you you've got that you've made, which you just shared with me before we went live is your I don't want to come to do a column tarot cards, or you call them Oracle Card, Oracle Card. Sorry, yeah,
this is the ink and wings, Oracle deck, because you know, my art is magical. And it includes wings. So there you have it. So this is a deck of cards that is comprised of my artwork. And it is very, sort of spiritually rich, and it helps with insight and just gaining navigation for your for your life. I I pull cards almost every day and my kids love it. We pull cards for what you know what's gonna happen today, or what do I need to focus on right now? And it seems like it's always really spot on.
I love doing my cards. I often do them overnight when about when I'm about to fall asleep. And I'll do the three card spreads. I will do like the past, present or future. And then other times just there'll be another card that's like poking its head out and like okay, yes, you obviously need to tell me something. And then I've just end up with like, all these. Oh, just one more, just one more. But yeah, I love them. We might. We might talk about them a bit later and possibly do a reading if you're up for that. Oh, yes. I would love to do a reading. That will be a first for the podcast to no one's ever done.
I love it. It's always so fun when I do those because I'm like, is this gonna work? And then usually it kind of does. So we'll see if it works. We'll
test it out. All right. Ready? Now you mentioned one of your children there when you said he was sorry, he or she I'm not sure was three months old when you started writing the book. Can you share a little bit more about your children?
Yes. So my son is named Bridger. And he's nine. So he in this book are about the same age. I birthed them at the same time at the same time they birth myself as a new mom. So I have Bridger who's nine and I have Heidi who is six, and no more babies for me because my hands are so full with those.
I can relate to that. So you said you you share your sort of experience with the oracle cards, you're obviously quite sort of open and communicative with the children and share a lot of your things you enjoy, I suppose. Are they into do some art. They do the artwork as well?
Yes, yeah, we have set up a designated art space in our home. And so sometimes when it's a weekend and we have some extra time we get Really excited about having our time together. And I had a teacher in graduate school in my art therapy program that always said, you have to lay out your art materials like like you're in a candy store, so that they all just look so enticing, that you just can't wait to dive in. And so we keep our room like that in our home where everything has its place, and it's colorful, and the boxes are open, and you can see what's inside. So the kids will just go into the art space with me, and some days will paint some days will make a big mess, some days will, you know, be very, very tidy and neat. And we'll do collage, we'll do everything. And it is such amazing bonding time. Even my husband will join us sometimes. And he I don't think he identifies as being very creative. But I think he really enjoys it when he's there.
What not what I would read it, yeah, and
you just kind of get lost in the art process. And we do have, at the end of every year, we have a family vision board kind of ritual where we all go through collages and create imagery about what we want to bring into the next year. And so that has become something my husband has really enjoyed. And he actually invited his father to join us a couple of those years. And it was so fun just having the whole family make vision boards. And then you put up all our vision boards. And it's interesting to see what everyone wants that's similar or different and how they overlap and how they kind of coordinate.
So when you had your daughter, then I don't want to say you breeze through it. But did you find it easier because you have those tools and you knew what you needed to do to incorporate your art to help you manage the transition to have?
I think it was easier for me? Yes, I think having the tools was a big a big deal. And it really supported me. And also, I think it also helped me that I had already sort of stretched my life around one baby. And so I felt like, you know, there's no, there's no selfishness left, like might as well throw another one in here. While we're while we're the bottomless pit of caregiving. Yes, but it definitely was interesting to have art. When I had my daughter, my son was two and a half. And so he was active in the art process. So we would be able to make art together at that period, which was really a kind of neat thing. So that when the baby was, you know, nursing or sleeping, I had something to do with my son that actually benefited both of us.
That's really important, isn't it? Because I feel like a lot of the time, pardon me, the the first child, depending on their age can sort of feel a little bit shafted, like there's a new baby here. And now I'm number two, and I don't like this, and then you can see the sort of perhaps some changes in behavior, you might not like putting it that way. But yeah, to be able to do that you keep your relationship really strong with him. And I guess to its, it allows him to realize that this new little person isn't a threat to him. So he's might be more anonymous and more accepting. But maybe I don't know, it sort of helps all of the three of you together to create, you know, a little unit as a three rather than a, it's me, it's mum time, or it's not my mom time, you know that that conflict?
Right? Yes, the art can be sort of like a joining force.
That's a really good word. Yes. That's really good word. I like that. I'm going to take that quote.
Yes, go for it. I also think it's good with when when babies are around moms who are creative, then creativity is a normal part of life. And so it feels more accessible to the kids. It's like, if you grow up, you know, eating vegetables, then vegetables are just normal and you just eat them, right? It's the same thing with creativity and moms get to model that by their own creative process and the inclusion of their kids through that and sort of joining.
Absolutely. And I think then as you as the kids get older, perhaps then realizing, seeing that deeper meaning behind the art, like sneaking into that art therapy sort of realm that it's not, I'm not just making marks on the paper. I'm not just painting I'm actually using this as a tool in my life, which is Powerful to give kids from a young age, isn't that,
right? Because we all have this tool, even the people who identify as non creative, we are all creative if we tap into it, and if we allow ourselves to be and it's, it can be completely free, you can go make art with nature, it does not have to be expensive, it does not have to cost really anything. And so I think it's accessible. And a lot of us just forget, or a lot of people are really traumatized by their kindergarten art teachers. So I get a lot of clients who come in and they're like, I am not an artist, I'm not artistic. My kindergarten art teacher told me that I'm bad at art. So I haven't made art since. And I'm like, Oh, my gosh, it's time for a corrective experience. Because art is about being expressive. It's about making, it's not about the end product. Yes, I'm
really glad you said that, actually. Because as you were starting that conversation there, something came into my head and what you just said to completely confirmed it. I come from a background of working in childcare, I was in childcare for nine years. And our center had this really big philosophy about, we had this art room that was available all the time to any child of any age, or like the candy store, like everything was there, you could pick what you wanted to. And you didn't have to have an idea of what you're going to make before you went in, which I think is really important, because I think some people can be like, to the children. Now what are you going to make, it's like, well, you don't really no till you there and you're experimenting and experiencing, then something might come out. But then a lot of kindergartens and I know a lot of like early, maybe reception in new ones, teachers would have just like a cut out like a printed stencil, each child will get the exact same picture, maybe just say it's Christmas time and everyone's got to make a Christmas tree. And it all has to be green. And it all has to have the same things on it. And it all has to be folded the same way. And we used to have this poster up in our staff room, and it was like a picture of a child created a painting of whatever. And then it had this, you know, repetitive, exactly the same image. And it said, This is art, this isn't and it sort of helps you realize that it's not about the end product, it's not about having that whatever looking tree to give to Mum and Dad, it's about, you know, I always valued like you can see behind me, you might not be able to cause the sun, but I've got I put most of my kids paintings around the room. And a lot of them are just I have no idea what they are. Or they might be just some whatever's on a page, but I love them and I value them so much more than I value, you know, that stencil carbon copy, because I know that they haven't done that. That's the teacher's intention is to make everybody make the same thing.
And I just think it's damaging to the little imaginations that want to run wild and be magical and be inventive. And maybe your tree has horns, maybe it's purple, maybe it has six trunks, you know, we need to be able to have that expressive freedom. Yeah,
maybe it's not actually a tree, maybe it's a rocket ship. Or, again, if it was my chart, if you like you're picking up. Right.
Right. And, and having a place where they can have, you know, the sky be the limit to their creative ability and capacity is so valuable for kids.
Absolutely. And I think I've spoken about this with a lot of moms is that fear that we can have about and probably coming from our sort of, perhaps issues with control and having things done. Right and not having mess is it's really can be really challenging to set your children up with with paints and sit there and not freak out because it's going everywhere. And it's on them. And it might not be on the paper that can be quite challenging for for moms to get over as well.
Yes, I think I tell moms who have that, that kind of issue with the messiness piece to go outside and make art in the grass or to have a designated set of clothing. That's art making clothing that we just don't worry about, or to put down a giant piece of tarp or a sheet that you don't care about so that you really you can let go of that. But it's also valuable for the mom to notice that that kind of anxiety around the mess, and to do her work around that too, because the art is actually helping her to see an area where she still needs healing. And so the art therapy is happening for her even if she's not the artist,
she's the witness.
But she she has a thing revealed. So it's notation back into herself.
Hmm, that is so true, isn't it? You're listening to the art of being a mom with my mum, Alison Newman.
Two topics that I love to sort of delve into with my guests on this show. One is identity. And we've spoken briefly about that, but we'll talk about it more. And the other thing is mum guilt. How do you feel about that?
I think mom guilt is a real thing. And I think most if not all, moms feel it. And I love that it is something that's out in the open as a real thing. So that it takes the shame out of it, if possible. And if you can name your experience of having mom guilt, I think just the power of naming it takes some of the charge out of it. But yeah, I think we, I mean, I think you're in a different culture than I am. But I think collectively, many cultures on our globe have these sort of predetermined rules and expectations and structures that mothers are supposed to fit into. And it really does us a disservice. Because it doesn't allow us to be who we are. And so that's a big reason why my jam is authenticity. Because I really, I want to see what, what is real for people. And if someone is inundated with guilt, about working a lot, or not working a lot, or not being creative or not lending baby food in their home, blender, whatever. I think it's really important that they not avoid that, and that they actually say, Gosh, I feel really ashamed and guilty that I'm feeding my kid food from a pouch instead of you know, homemade. And what's that about? Right? It's another example of how we can kind of turn the arrow back at ourselves, and really invite ourselves into inner work around. What is this guilt? What is it reflecting about me? Where did it come from? Maybe it's even a lineage pattern that has been alive for generations in my own family. And how many women in my family felt unsupported as mothers? I don't know, because they didn't talk about it until maybe this generation.
That's so true, isn't it? And I feel like because we're all talking about it, it takes the sting out of it a bit. You don't have to feel guilty for feeling guilty. You know, for one of a better description, it's, you know, it exists. I hate it. I think it's a load of, I hate it so much. I wish it didn't exist, but and I think that's why I like talking about it, because the more we talk about it, you know, like I said, it, it takes a feel like it takes the power out of it. Because once it's named, it's almost like I don't know, I'm trying, I had this thought come through my head, like, you know, like, if it's a monster, it doesn't exist, but it scares you. But then you discover that it exists. And then you realize it's actually doesn't have power over you. I don't know, that's a really long pole to try. And I've been watching a lot of Avengers lately. Like you said it, you'd name it, you own it, and then you can do the work on and it doesn't hold that control power fear over you because you like facing it head on and, and doing something about it.
Yes, I think even though so many moms are now talking about mom guilt in a way that's really supportive and compassionate, there still is a huge part of the world that isn't talking about it. And that's laying those old narratives on motherhood. So I think it's really important for moms to find their people who can support them, and who can align with the type of authenticity that lets you feel guilty and supports you in your guilt and helps you to not feel alone and to work through it. Because if you're an authentic person, in an inauthentic system, it's gonna feel really invalidating
and it's gonna, it's gonna crush you in you're not going to continue to express that because it's, it's not being validated. You just have to feel like you're pushed down. Yeah, that's really important. Isn't it about finding, finding the people that share your views? And have that, again, that authenticity? It's keep coming back to that word, but it's so true, isn't it?
Yes. And I think there's a lot there about aligned relationships. You know, people like the buzzwords like toxic relationships, or that person's a narcissist or whatever. But if you just take all the labels away, and it's just about alignment or misalignment, you know, it doesn't make anyone bad or wrong. It just makes them misaligned with you. So then you go find your people who you can be more aligned with so that you have that congruence. See and that feeling of resonance when you're with people who actually see you and support you for who you are not for some charade that you're pretending to uphold.
Yeah. Pardon me? That is That is so true. What sort of role do you feel like social media has to play in all this sort of guilt driving and judgment sort of thing?
I think it's kind of the both sides of the coin, I think you can find that support and that authenticity. I think there's people like you and like me who are on social media trying to spread this compassion and this authenticity. And I think you can easily get down the rabbit hole of really narrow minded, rigid thinking that is related to old narratives and a lot of guilt and shame. So I think you have to be discerning with social media.
Yeah, it's that same thing, as in real life is in finding those people, finding your tribe, and following the people that you don't allied with.
Right, yeah. And I also think it's important to remember that what you see on social media isn't always the truth. It's hardly ever the truth. So it's everyone that you see on social media is smiling with their new baby, and they look so happy. I think it's important to remind yourself like, maybe that's partially true. But what am I not seeing about what's hard for this person, and just know that the snapshots on Facebook or Instagram are just snapshots there, they don't have depth of reality. And if you want more depth of reality, find real live humans to go spend time with instead of social media feeds.
Yeah, that's really, really good advice. Because there are a lot of rabbit holes to fall down into, on social media. I find in terms of unfollowing, I'll go through phases where I felt I'll be on a different sort of tracks or follow a lot of people in that sort of area. And then all of a sudden, one day, I'll just go, Ah, no, I don't want that anymore. And I will just go through and unfollow, unfollow, and then another day, I'll find something. It's really interesting how you like, depending how your thoughts have evolved, you know, maybe you've been surrounding yourself with people that have allowed you to see things in a different way or opens your mind to a different way of thinking and then you go, Oh, actually, that stuff doesn't feel right anymore. You know, it's there's nothing wrong with doing that.
Yes, that's clearing, right? So when we grow and we learn new things, we see the world through a new way, we naturally need to let go of what no longer aligns, so that we can create space for what does align, because you can't just fill yourself and your social media feed endlessly, you have to clear to let in.
I once heard, I've had a few readings with psychic mediums over the years. And one of my favorites, he told me, you only have a certain amount of room in your backpack. So you know, you have to take out things sometimes to be able to fit those new things in. So I sort of use that sort of visual analogy that, you know, you can only carry so much.
I love that. And it's important to be discerning.
Yeah, absolutely. The other topic about identity and you touched on it. When you were talking about writing your book when your son was three months old. Let's just talk about that a bit more. So that shift that we go through. And I everyone feels this differently, too, which is awesome. Which, you know, we talked about earlier, everyone's motherhood journey is so different. Personally, the feelings you were feeling, can you sort of share a bit more about that?
About what felt hard at that time? Yeah. And I guess about
how, if you felt like, you know, your previous say, your previous self, you're still the same person. But, you know, you were changing into this, this mother role. How that sort of felt that transition?
Oh, yes. Well, I think what made it so hard was that it was so abrupt that you know, during pregnancy, I was so happy. I loved with both of my pregnancies. It felt like an immensely spiritual experience. I felt like a vessel I felt like oh my gosh, like if the aliens could see how we make people they would be amazed. It's just so it's incredible. So even when I felt nauseous or, you know, when I was 30 pounds heavier than I was used to being, I was like, This is amazing. Yeah, I had such a great experience. And then, right at the end of my pregnancy with my son with my firstborn, our midwife found out that he was breech. And they were like, Oh, well, we're gonna have to flip this baby. And I'm like, what is that a thing. And so I tend to get very urgent about, like, when something is abnormal, medically, I just have my own anxiety triggers around health and medical stuff. And so I was like, Okay, we gotta flip this baby. And it pregnancy stopped being enjoyable, and it started feeling stressful. And I kid you not, I read somewhere that I was supposed to do a handstand and go upside down in a swimming pool to turn my baby. So if you can imagine someone at eight months pregnant, like trying to do a handstand, in the swimming pool, in like, community swimming pool with all of these people, it was humiliating. But I was so committed, I'm like, You're gonna turn this baby. Like, it didn't work, you know, it's such a silly thing. And so I tried that I did Chinese Chinese medicine called moxibustion. And I was, it's like this little, like a charcoal lit charcoal thing that you put close to a chakra. And it energetically is supposed to help, whatever it didn't do it. But what it did do is it triggered labor. And so I went into labor, just in this really stressful state of being like, my baby's not coming out the way I want my baby to come out. So that went into a birth, that was a cesarean after I was really attached to the idea of a vaginal birth. And then my baby was born with a bilateral pneumothorax, which is a puncture in each of his lungs. And so he had to go to NICU and we didn't get to bond. And I didn't get to hold him. And I was like, strapped down on a table with a open surgical wound. And it was just so different than what I envisioned. And so I was set up for motherhood, like with this trauma. And so I think, I actually think now, you know, nine years later, I look back and I'm like, Well, I learned my first lesson of motherhood, right off the bat, that I'm not in control of everything anymore. And my rigid thinking and my attachment to what I want and how I want it needs to soften and it needs to be more flexible. And so that was probably the hardest transition for me was that it was just this very abrupt sort of message that was in my face, like you are not in control. And you have got to learn how to be more flexible.
Just while you're saying that I'm getting goosebumps, because that literally feels like the message that I was given. similar sort of, you know, I had all these expectations I had my first baby was a vaginal birth, but he was very quick. So I had this idea that this time my waters would break, everything would be, you know, planned and go to nap, we had a very traumatic scenario. And same thing, he was a, he was very tiny. But he, he was fully developed. But he was very tiny. Because it turned out my placenta had stopped working after 26 weeks, and no one don't know how no one discovered it. So then he was away from me for a while. So I had this, I just kept like, right from the beginning, he had to have formula. So that control I had in my last, my last baby, that I had to feed him against all odds, I was going to feed this child that was taken away from me. So it was like, Okay, you are really not in control of this. And you you're being forced to let go of these, you know, these beliefs that you are holding on to. And then when I got him back, I just had these, I just kept hearing in my head, just keep him close, keep him close. So I would just sit and hold him and nurse him and he'd sleep and I'd miss him. And it just was completely different to my first child. And I'm so glad that I was thrown all those curveballs because it just made me completely relaxed and and go, there is no routine, there is no predictability. And I was happy with that. And it was weird because I've never been happy with that. Like when I was five years old, on my first gig performing on stage, it was just at a school Christmas concert. The teacher held the microphone for me and she wasn't holding it in the right spot. So I pulled it closer. You know, this has been me my whole life. It's good. Try it Hmm, yeah, very suddenly and violently, and traumatically. That was all taken away from me. And I'm so grateful for that. Now, you know, in hindsight, the lessons that I've learned, although at the time was pretty full on that, you know,
I've always, I've always felt like the, like our babies, teach us the lessons that we would not learn from anyone else, we would not let anyone else get close enough and honest and vulnerable enough as we let our children get to us. And so some of our biggest issues will never come up for healing. If our kids don't reflect them back to us, you know, and control is a really big one for a lot of moms. And it's really healing to be able to finally sort of unpack it and work through the layers.
It's amazing, isn't it? Because I save the children choose us for the lessons we have to learn in this life. So
it's prevalent? Yeah, I think we choose our families.
So talking more about yourself in the work that you're doing? Can you share what you've sort of got coming up or anything you want to share about the work that you're doing?
Yes, I actually have a huge movement that I am in right now with my business, I am in the process of transforming my private therapy practice into a large scale mental health platform called the Radiant Life project. And the Radiant Life project is all about helping people find that radiance, and that glow. That is part of our human birthright. But we forget, and we get stuck in our mental illnesses, and we get stuck on autopilot. And so this is about really getting unstuck, whether you're a mother, whether you're not a mother, whether you're a man or a woman, or non binary, anyone, this is about lighting your life up from the inside out and feeling full and resourced. Not without challenges in your life, but with the challenges and feeling empowered to live as a whole person. So I have a new book that I'm working on, that's almost ready to go to publishing called the Radiant Life project. And it's a big download of my 15 plus years of clinical experience, plus some of my own personal journey. And I've also got some courses coming up that will be available on my website. And I'll be offering retreats and workshops that are all geared toward helping people build a radiant life.
Wow, that sounds awesome. I'm really excited for you. That's fantastic.
Thank you, I am so excited by it, I actually took a three month sabbatical from my therapy practice because I got really burned out working sort of on the frontlines as a mental health person in the pandemic. And I thought I was just going to spend my sabbatical like curled up in bed watching movies, but actually, I have felt so energized and so excited about the Radiant Life project that I am just writing, and building and creating and making art and talking to people like you and it feels, talk about alignment, it feels very aligned.
That's wonderful. I can just see your face like literally radiant, as you told me about it. It's just wonderful. Thank you. So share with us, what's the name of your website where people can best find you and find out more information.
Yes, the website is the Radiant Life project.com. And you can also follow me on Instagram at the Radiant Life project. I'm I'm posting reels every other day with little therapeutic tidbits and kind of helpful, helpful little gems for people. And I have a free newsletter that I'm sending out once a month that gives inspirations and little offerings and keeps people up to date with my new releases and the progress of my book. So if you want to be part of my mailing list, you can sign up for my newsletter on my website, which is the Radiant Life project.com And that's probably the best way to reach me.
Awesome. I'm glad you mentioned about your Instagram because I do enjoy your reels. And there's something very soothing about your voice too. I must say when you're sharing you know little tips about I think one was how you had to give a good apology like the three steps and there was another one about boundaries that I really liked. But the way you present them is just so it makes To stop scrolling and just go, ah, like, it's just so calming. And I don't know really connective, if that's not the word, but you know what I mean? Like, it's, again, it feels like you're right there, you're talking, you're talking to me. And you're saying, Allison, this is this is a thing you should be listening to.
Thank you. That is my intention. And I am trying to, I'm trying to give away free support for people and Instagram as a great resource for people. And so I really am, you know, these aren't like promotional videos that I'm trying to hook people, I'm really just trying to give away knowledge that people can use to support themselves. Because the Radiant Life project is not about using anyone else as a crutch or expecting anyone else to rescue you. It's about doing it from the inside out. And, and being so radiant, that it extends through and beyond you and affects the world.
Absolutely. We need to sit there about doing the work yourself. And there's no one's going to do it for you. When I was in the real depths of my postnatal depression, with my second child, I had that exact feeling I had, and it was incredibly daunting, and scary. But on the other hand, it was so empowering, it was like, no one can help me, and a fearful thing, but then it was like, Uh, no one can help me because I'm capable of doing this, I can do this. So it was like, flicking the switch. It's, it's scary, when you know, you've got to do it yourself. And when you're not in a great place, you know, in your own head, they can feel like the worst news in the world. Like, literally, you want someone to save you, you want someone to fix you. But working with someone like yourself, you know, a trained professional, you will have assistants, but at the end of the day, it is you that goes deep inside you and changes, you know, whether it's, you know, the habits or the way you think about you yourself, think about the world, all that sort of stuff is on you.
And I think I learned that during my sabbatical it, it took me 15 years of clinical practice to realize that, oh, I don't want these people to need me, I want these people to not need me. Yo, now I'll be going back to this Radiant Life project with the new perspective of I'm here as a guide and as a supportive resource. But ultimately, this is your show. This is your life. So reclaim it. Yeah,
let's see. So well said I love that. And also just a point I wanted to mention, you are trained and experienced, like you said, 15 years of clinical experience, it really annoys me when I see people on Instagram sprouting out do this, do that, whatever. And they know they have none of that. So just to point out the you actually know things.
Thank you. You're right, there are a lot of snake oil salesmen out there. So make sure you know as people are being discerning about aligned relationships and the right resources, make sure that the support that you receive is from credible places.
All right, well, I'll let you lead the way, Kate with this reading using your beautiful deck. Okay, thank you.
So what I always do with this is, I just want the cards to know that this is for you and not me. So I just sort of say to the cards. This is a reading for Alison. Okay, so would you like to stick with your your three card? Pull?
You do whatever feels right over there. But I'm gonna leave it up to you. Do
you have any specific questions or any specific? Anything that's on your mind that you're curious about?
Look, I'd like to just know that where I'm at right now I'm actually feeling because I see my full disclosure, I see my therapist monthly. So I do a lot of work. And I feel like right at this moment in time, I actually had a mental health check with my doctor this morning. And you know, we have this thing over here called a I think it's called K 10. And you check, no, based on the last four weeks, have you experienced different emotions or situations. And mine was the lowest score I think it's ever been ever so right now I'm going really good. So I guess I just like, you know, some feedback on that, I suppose. Yes,
that's perfect. How about like, why are you feeling so well? What's working? Yeah, And what are some areas of? Oh, I got it. Okay, what's working? What is an area of growth that you can work through now that you have so much strength? And I'm wondering if maybe there was something to let go of now.
So maybe I'll pull three. Yep, that sounds awesome.
Okay, so the first one is Why are you feeling so good? Okay, and the second one is what area of growth feels accessible now that you're so resourced?
Okay, and the third one is, what can you let go of? What do you no longer need? All right. So I'll give you these three. And then if we need an additional minute, sometimes we need one more card. So we'll see. So why are you feeling so good. This is the card that I pulled. And this is the card of companionship, this is a relational card. And for you, this could mean anything from like, either not being codependent, like just coexisting peacefully with people or it could mean that you have a new kind of support or a connection that's really sustaining and filling you up. But this is about kind of like peaceful coexistence and relationships.
Yeah. And I'll screenshot these these cards and put them in the show notes for everyone. But it's, it's a pair of Dragon is it to dragonflies and flowers, and then color that is my color, that background? That's like that aqua, sort of It's a mixture between throat chakra and the heart chakra. It's kind of that that really beautiful Aqua. Love that. That's beautiful, by the way.
Thank you. Okay, so number two, now that you're in a strong place, what work can you do? So this is the card that's about being both rooted, and also free. So the work now is kind of working with this binary that you don't have to be so grounded that you don't fly, and you don't have to be so airy, that you're ungrounded. So the work now is about having both
Hmm. It's finding that balance, isn't that? Which kind of Yeah, you should, one sorry to cut you off. I'm usually one way or the other, I made the Full Tilt one way or nothing.
So this card is telling you that now that you're in such a strong place in your life, it's time for you to kind of have a fusion of Mind Body Spirit, and not be only in one or the other.
Yep, yeah. So where can you can you describe that? That beautiful picture? Fairly? Yes.
So this is a an image of a figure that has sort of golden energy coming in through the crown chakra at the top of their head and moving through the body, and actually growing roots that reach down into the earth all the way down to sort of the molten lava core where there are pure crystalline energies and resources. And the figure also has large wings that are open and expanding and kind of taking off.
Yeah, I have a thing with wings, we fly with feathers, I collect a lot of flat Earth, this flower girl articulates a lot of flowers, too. But wings is a big thing for me. Yes,
I also love wings, well, then you're gonna like this one, too. So your third part, which is about what to let go of. This is an image that's about like magical thinking, this is about I think what this message is, is that you should let go of the sort of spiritual bypassing of avoiding things by being too kind of too spiritual, and not actually facing what's real. There is magic in the world. And there is spirituality in the world. And we can also use them as avoidance mechanisms. So I think that this card is asking you to release that.
Hmm, that definitely makes sense. I love how you're, you're female, I guess presuming it's a female figure there has got the wing on one side. And then it's sort of like it's reality, and, and sort of the spiritual world sort of shining one figure and if that makes sense, and the
columns and it's similar to your second card with sort of a feeling of grounding, but also flying at the same time. And I think that's part of the message with With when you don't want to let go of all of your magic, you don't want to let go of your spirituality that's important. You just want to let go of the parts that are keeping you from doing the work you need to do. Hmm,
yeah, that makes sense. It's almost like I can use it as a justification to avoid things. I think you just said that.
Yeah. Yes. John Wellwood has a term called spiritual bypassing. And it is just all about how we use spirituality to avoid things. And it's not that's not a healthy use of spirituality.
Yeah. I love that.
So do you need do you need another car? Do you feel like there's any anything lingering?
No, I don't actually, I feel like that's, that's actually incredibly spot on. That's, and it's really not, I've always felt really reassured after having cards pulled like, it just feels like a nice warm hug from the universe. And, you know, there's, there's never, I don't know, all the all the decks I've ever read. If they want to tell you, you know, to improve on something, it's always in a kind way, you know, they're never gonna pound you on the head with a with a horrible, you know, mean thing. But you know, they're looking after. So if there's things I need to say, they'll tell us, you know?
Yes, I talk about it as like the shadow side and the sunny side where everything has the shadow like Carl Jung talked about in his in his groundbreaking psychological work. But there's a dark side to everything. But there's also a bright side to everything. And if you can find the place where you can hold both and glean the gifts from both than that's like holistic, balanced living, right is not getting too lost in the shadows or too blinded by the light.
It's getting that union the Yang sort of just it's balanced. Yes. Balance. Yes. Oh, look, thank you. That is just, ah, I feel very special. And everyone listening, you should feel special, because that's the very first time we've ever had a reading on the podcast. So thank you, Kate, for sharing that with us.
You're welcome. And you'll be can people purchase your cards from your website as well?
Yes. So at the Radiant Life project.com There's a page where you can purchase the deck, you could purchase the book, the authentic Mother, you can also purchase prints of my artwork.
Oh, lovely. Excellent on thank you I have just had a such a lovely morning chatting to you. Thank you so much for coming on. It's just so
welcome. I've enjoyed it as well.
Thanks for your company today. If you've enjoyed this episode, I'd love you to consider leaving us a review, following or subscribing to the podcast, or even sharing it with a friend who you think might be interested. If you or someone you know would like to be a guest on the podcast. Please get in touch with us via the link in the show notes. I'll catch you again next week for another chat with an artistic mum.