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Daily Art Practice Photo by Shelley Klammer
Shelley Klammer Interview : Part 2 (Page 1 of 2)

Shelley Klammer Interview

Therapist, Coach, Expressive Art Facilitator

By Molly Anderson-Childers

Shelley Klammer Shelley Klammer is an online expressive art teacher, creativity coach and a registered psychotherapist with a strength for coaching women to express their deeper feelings and life purposes through creative spiritual practices. She specializes in supporting women find their way out of fear, inertia and depression into inner strength, self-reliance and self-expression through expressive art.

In June we discussed Shelley's creative journey (see interview part 1). Now, after a career transition and some important re-focusing, Shelley is back — and better than ever! Shelley, thanks for joining us for part 2 of this interview. It's a pleasure to work with you again. Your online courses have truly inspired me — and awakened some interesting ideas!

Q: What is your greatest strength as a creative soul?

A: I think every person's greatest strength is in overcoming their greatest weakness — of finding ways to personally heal and then sharing what they have learned with others. My particular area of strength and purpose is in encouraging women to find their spiritual core and authentic self-worth through creative practices.

Creativity is really just another word for the spiritual, larger part of our nature. We all come out of our human families and our ancestry with a conditioning towards a particular kind of weakness and our soul qualities are indeed the exact opposite of the very weakness that we struggle to overcome. It is quite a beautiful and exact puzzle. In my own life story I have struggled with passivity and self-diminishment as a woman. I have struggled with even wanting to have and express a strong authentic self.

Starting regular creative practices first helped me in my 20's to develop my own strength of will. And as I committed to expressing myself regularly, I learned about my authentic nature in the process. As my self-worth grew, I found that the strength of my heart-centered self-expression in my spiritual core was proportional to the degree of my apathy on the opposite end in my conditioned self. I share this to encourage people who are searching for purpose and meaning and the will to express it. We all struggle with our higher and lower natures but our struggles and suffering have some great spiritual strength as its opposite. This is the unique gift that we give to life and the key to our purpose.

Q: Let's talk about some of the little things that trip you up as you walk your soul's true path…

A: I sometimes forget how much I have developed my intuition and my deeper understandings over the years. I still find myself holding back when I actually do know just the right thing to say to people. My old conditioning kicks in and I worry about offending people with a truth I see. My clients have been teaching me recently that that they are stronger than that and they want the truth. I have come to understand that each moment we live is inviting a truth that needs to be seen and expressed. We can either ignore it or express it. I always need to remember to ask myself, "What is the truth of this moment?" and "Is there anything I need to honestly express in this moment?" To do this without fear of consequences is a great service to life.

Q: What are your best strategies for balancing your creative time with other responsibilities (both professional and personal)?

A: Professionally I have eliminated all of the excess creative work I used to do and I now only do what feels absolutely essential. When I was trying to find myself I was expressing myself all over the place. I maintained several daily creative practices and I worked full-time. I wrote to people from all over the world and helped them understand their collages during my spare time. This took a toll on my family.

Now I am more focused on taking time for love, relaxation and relationships rather than the inner need for such a wide range of creative expression. My focus is naturally moving towards reaching out and sharing what I now understand. I am also valuing what I have worked so hard to understand and embody in my professional life. I am valuing my time and charging for my services and this contributes to my family's income.

On a personal level I am much more incisive with my creativity. I can go very deeply and quickly into my own creative work now. My intuitive drawings have become their own living language. If something is bothering me I can let my pen roam. I can work out a psychological or emotional blockage quickly and intuitively.

Q: You recently shifted the focus of your career. Can you talk about the reasons behind your decision to take a new direction?

A: Understanding what I uniquely give to life has been an organic process of expressing the truth of myself and receiving feedback from clients, and then deepening my understanding of the creative and emotional needs of women in our culture. I work with women who want to express themselves creatively and who want to understand themselves on a deeper level through creativity.

Through my work with women over the years, I have seen that we are all looking for something larger to help us move out of our limited patterning. I see that women are looking for some greater purpose and meaning to live into. What I have discovered in looking at other women's collages, writings and drawings, is that they were spontaneously and perfectly expressing what they were searching for. We all have our visions and purposes encoded within us.

Expressive art is spontaneous art and it reveals things that our conscious minds do not want to see. Our everyday conditioned minds actually want to keep us in our "smallness." The women I work with are struggling with some particular "weakness" even as they are often highly functioning or have been very productive in their lives. Many of the women I work with are struggling with illness, burnout, depression or a lack of energy or motivation to live into their visions and dreams.

The shift in my work has been to focus on what is revealed about their purpose or larger vision through their art, writings and drawings rather than in trying to delve into and focus on the wounds of the past. So the focus has shifted, yes. Even though I registered as a counselor this past year my focus has moved more towards a forward movement — much like a coach. I still visit the past with my clients with the compassion of a therapist but more to understand how the past is blocking the forward movement.

Continue to page 2 »

Updated 1/10/14