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Natural Awakenings Greater Boston - Rhode Island

Kim Childs: from Panic to Purpose as a Creative Living Coach

Jul 31, 2013 05:17PM ● By Casey McAnn

Kim Childs

Kim Childs spent a decade working in public radio journalism before a dramatic event redirected her life and career in 1997. A panic attack, in the middle of a newscast, sent Childs on a healing journey that transformed her into a Kripalu yoga teacher and creative living coach. Today she leads workshops and coaching sessions based on Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity, helping others to live more joyful and authentic lives. Natural Awakenings wanted to know more about Childs’ path to purpose, and how she guides people to find and live their own.

Looking back, can you explain the panic attack?

It was a big wake-up call. I loved working in public radio, but I’d lost interest in reporting the news. My favorite moments in radio were when listeners called to say that they’d heard a story of mine and felt inspired to take positive action. The panic attack also forced me to examine some unhealthy lifestyle habits, turn the microphone on myself and hear what my soul was calling for. I’d fallen into a negative rut and it was time for a big change from the inside out. Not that I would have chosen something so dramatic to kick it off, but that’s what happened.

How did that change unfold?

After the panic attack, I sought out myriad healers, committed to therapy and became a voracious student of personal transformation. I eventually quit my radio job to do some freelance writing and producing. A few months later, I signed up for a volunteer program at the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, to gain some clarity and spend the summer in nature. I ended up staying for two years because I met people at Kripalu who shared my values and felt like family. We did yoga together, laughed and cried, sang and chanted, danced, drummed and trained to become teachers. I also assisted some of the best teachers in the world while I was there, and soaked up everything I could about holistic health, personal development and yoga philosophy. I left Kripalu as a certified yoga instructor, an essayist and a workshop leader.

How did you start teaching The Artist’s Way?

I was a student of the work in 1997 when I had the panic attack. The Artist’s Way reacquainted me with my soul’s yearnings to write, sing, explore my spirituality and live more authentically. I was always a creative person, but I often misused that energy to create unnecessary drama in my life, the kind where my neuroses took center stage. The course gave me positive direction for that energy, emboldened me to take risks and made it absolutely okay for me to follow my heart and say no to what wasn’t aligned with my desires. In my last few months at Kripalu, I began leading others in the work. Twelve years later, I still get excited to share this powerful process with my students and clients. It’s a sacred privilege to support people on a journey of creative recovery and self-discovery.

What happens to people on that journey?

The Artist’s Way offers principles and practices that help people tune in to themselves and turn down the noise around them. In fact, one week we commit to a media fast that includes no Internet surfing, which is an enormous challenge these days. The course also sends people out on weekly play dates, invites them to de-clutter their lives on many levels and gets them in the habit of daily journaling. The exercises in the book help people to clarify their desires, identify time and energy wasters, get into action and trust that what they want to do is what they’re meant to do. And it’s not just for artists, because we all have innate creativity that can take many forms. My students become clusters of inspiration and support for each other, too, which is crucial to lasting change. Many stay in touch to update me on their creative unfolding and I feel like a proud mom.

For more information about fall workshops and coaching based on The Artist’s Way, call 617-640-3813 or visit