Jungian analyst, writer and harpist Kathleen Wiley on how a System brings confidence and clarity to your creative journey. Kathleen also shares how she overcame initial feelings of insecurity starting harp 9 years ago as an adult and accomplished professional. When she realized the same Purpose behind her joyous writing, analysis and speaking career also flows through her harping, everything fell into place. Be sure to listen to the end for a tremendously empowering message from Kathleen!
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Kathleen welcome to Bright Way podcast. Thank You. I'm so glad to be here with you. Where are you? And Cheryl's Ford North Carolina, which is about 45 minutes Northwest of Charlotte for anyone who's flown through Charlotte or visited the area. Lovely. And can you tell us a little bit about your background? Yeah, so I, I grew up in the South,
so I have this Southern accent that some of you you will hear. And I learned to, I learned to spell phonetically. So I always tell people when I pronounce their names or words, it's comes from fanatics, you know, so it may or may not be right. You know, I let's see, what do I want to say about myself?
I'm a young psychoanalyst in private practice, and that has been really the direction of my life ever since I was a child and had a spiritual experience that was real. And I started trying to understand what it meant outside of theological dogma and what it really meant experientially to me as a person and what it meant for my life. And so that ultimately led me on a path of getting a degree in Christian education and then getting a degree in counseling and going into private practice as a marriage and family therapist and licensed professional counselor and addiction specialist.
And then having one of those fateful dreams when I was in my own personal union analysis that got me into analytic training. So that's really been the trajectory of my life that I feel so grateful that my professional work has also been an Avenue of personal development and helping me really learn how to live more fully from who I am authentically and how to move day in and day out from that place.
So you've created this really beautiful hybrid between Christianity and union philosophy. Could you tell us a little bit about the union perspective for people who might not be that familiar with it? Yeah. Carl Young lived in, gosh, he was born in 1875 and died in 1961. And Freud was the founder of the unconscious. He discovered that in truth, as I was saying to you before we got on camera,
we really not in control of who we are, the unconscious. And for those of you who don't know what the unconscious means, just think about what you did today and what kicked in that distracted you, or when maybe you had an accident or you had a dream or you how to create a burst of energy. The unconscious is that other half of us that really holes for me,
the essence of who we are as the Ray of the divine we were born as, and our ego self that we identify, I think of sometimes that's the laser point that we've become in this world in this lifetime, but the largess of who we are is the soul, our God within. And so for me, part of what I realized is that this experience I had had and a very conservative,
fundamental church, Protestant church really connected me to a world that transcends any thought. It transcends any one Christian denomination or Christianity or any spiritual teaching, because all the paths lead to the same place. They're just different paths. And so Young's work embraces that spiritually Buddy grounds it in the body, mind of our psyche. And so his understanding of our psychology is rooted in that we are not just physical,
chemically driven being, but that we are spiritual and energetically connected to source beings. And his work looks at how those two things inform one another. So it was for me, the perfect marriage of what I had experienced and my appreciation for the symbolic and the mythological of the sacred stories and my own tradition I grew up in, but also all traditions and that understanding of what it,
what that really means when the rubber hits the road. I mean, how does that really play out? What does that, what does that really mean? Experientially? So I love how you create a framework, a system around your connection between Christianity and union philosophy and how that has really informed your entire life journey, your entire creative journey. I think about course,
your beautiful, heartbreaking, I think about your books. So you already have published a couple of books, a Christian meditations. You have another one in the works. Could you tell us a little bit about your books? Yeah. So when one of the things that young says is that when we individually Way, which is his primary concept of what, what the goal of union analysis is,
and the sh the cliff notes definition of individuation is that we begin to live authentically that our ego lives in conscious relationship to the larger self, which is unconscious and that in doing so, we begin to live in alignment between head, heart, gut, and soul. We're moving in one direction, harmoniously instead of torn apart in inner conflict, which of course then plays out an outer conflict.
So one of the things he says is when we individually, we have to leave the collective because we have to find our way, the way of our soul, but he says to leave the collective is a high privilege, and we then have a responsibility to help those who are still caught in the collective mindsets to move forward. So I have a passion for writing meditations based on the today or Christian scriptures,
looking at the stories as pictures of internal movements of what goes on in our psyche. And again, what that means in terms of our emotions, our body sensations, our feelings, our thinking, our actions. And so it's a way that I think about had I had that when I was in junior high studying and trying to understand what was happening that was natural because I'm a human being and light of these stories,
the difference that might've made. And I get that feedback from people all the time who read my writing, that it really helps them. It's like, it's a relief to know that, that we are a really created in the image of the divine source, whatever name you give the devil. And it is all good. We just have to find that seed and dance with it,
to flush it in the beautiful way that our soul wants. So my books are about helping people do that in the context of the stories they may have grown up within their own church traditions are that you hear the collective because the Western world revolves around the Christian calendar, you know, Christmas, Easter, those holidays. And my new book is entitled emerging from the darkness out chemical transformation through the scriptures.
So we have this love that we share of Alchemy. And for young Alchemy was a metaphor for the individuation process. He says that when you look at these processes that the outcomist talk about and that they were performing in that laboratory, that really what they're telling us is about internal processes that we go through in order to leave the collective. We grew up in to be able to recognize what is my adaptive self,
what's my ego. And then what's this larger self in me that wants to manifest, and that we have to go through these processes that are not always fun, desirable, or pleasant, but that in the, in each of those steps, we get to something more of the essence of who we are, and then we can live it. So I'm looking at 1200 chemical processes in this book and pairing them two stories from my life and my lives of people I've worked with,
and then stories from the Holy Bible that exemplify that. So Can't wait for that book to come out and look at your other books. They're just so comforting and beautiful. They're so lifting for some people, you know, they call this the hero's journey, you know, that's the shorthand for it that we go through the hero's journey, and we are the hero of the story and,
you know, go out in the world to find our truths active and creatively. And then we come back and share that knowledge with the collective. Yes. And, you know, and the dragon that we slate really is our own unconscious, but the beauty is it's like the Phoenix that Roz's, you know, we, we get that bit of consciousness that we need and then something new emerges and takes off.
And, and that's the process of what it means to live authentically and to individually. And I think it's also the process of making music. Absolutely. It's a one-to-one correlation, I believe. Yeah. So both of us really appreciate having a system, a high-level framework that you can call upon because life is so complicated, We're really complicated, Way complicated.
And so having a system that we can draw on, and for both of us, we're using Alchemy as a primary framework. And one of the beautiful things about Alchemy of course, is it's nondenominational. It's not set to one particular belief system, or even a particular culture, or even a period of time, right. It's, it's a very universal system.
And as you were sharing earlier with me, when you were even in middle school, I believe you found yourself speaking and teaching and feeling very, very confident about that, developing that confidence more and more as you did conferences and things like that, when you felt very in your Element, and then it was a bit of surprise to you when you took up the Harp about nine years ago,
and you didn't always feel that way. Could you share a little bit about that experience? I used to never feel that way. I mean, this is the gift for me of becoming a part of the Bright Knowledge Harp Guild and really getting in touch with my Purpose and beginning to utilize centering. I sent her all my life when I would go to speak when I would be getting ready to present,
or when I'm sitting with an analysis, I do it all the time, but I would sit down at my heart and it never occurred to me to do that. I mean, that, even when I say that out loud, that really sounds crazy. And I guess it was crazy that here was something that was so much in a part of my date and day out lie.
But when I came to the Harp, which I was Learning knew my insecurities, my lack of knowing my, you know, I mean, I was a beginner. My first Harp lesson was nine years ago in April and it's, you know, next month. And so I think the not knowing and the not trusting I could learn it well, the,
you know, they're just not having the skills having to start from scratch. And so I think that, you know, for whatever reason there was this disconnect for me. And one of the things that happened is when I began to define my purpose and connected and refund my Purpose down to, just to be with the beauty of the moment, which for me,
beauty, hearkens, not just to that, it's not that, but it just lovely, but it's that, which is imbalanced. And in sync, I think of on the tree of life, the spear of, to fare, which is the Spirit of all of the sacrificed gods. So it's a Spirit for Christ consciousness, but it's also the spirit of Cyrus and Horace,
you know, it's all the sacrifice guts. It is that place where our ego does begin to consciously know and reach for that larger self. That is the connection to source or what I call God within and smell shorthand for, you know, shorthand for it. And that, you know, when we connect to that, there is something that flows. And so beauty for me is really about being in that spear of consciousness.
And that is always what I aspire to when I present, you know, it's, it may sound crazy, but when I go to present, even if there are 250 people in the audience, one of my, my prayers is that Spirit work through me. So that I say at least one thing that each person in the room needs to hear, well,
now there's no way I can do that consciously. No, there's no way I could ever set out and prepare a talk for speed. But, you know, I trust that in the moment we pick up subtle energies and these things get mixed up in our own alchemical vessel of our body, mind, unconsciously and things come out that are bits of wisdom.
So beginning to play with what, how maybe I can happen when I'm at the Harp too. Yeah. Yeah. It started happening. Yeah. And I mean, and you did that so beautifully in the shock run meditation, you did a couple of years ago. I mean, that's what I'm imagining. Yeah. That's exactly what happened. So that was an 18 minute long.
I, it turned Out 18 minutes. I hadn't planned anything because I was like, it's going to take as long as it takes. And I O centered, which is a primary practice of what we do. And again, part of the framework that we both liked to use, so I centered and then would open up to the energies as I went up the chakras and yeah.
You know, it's surprising, isn't it, when we know that something works, a system works and then as time goes on and we achieve a certain level of excellence in that field, when we try something new, number one, we freak out that we're not as excellent at that thing. And then we throw the system out the window at the same time.
Yeah. I mean, it is truly, I think a place where there isn't, there is an unconscious disconnect. I mean, I think that this is one of the things that I so value your work in the Bright Way and I've gifted it to a lot of people, but other Way, that was one of the books that everybody close to me that for Christmas this year,
because, you know, one of the things that I think this was so true for me, and I'm imagining it maybe true for other people too, is that even though I have a lot of confidence in, how am I speaking in my professional life that my heart Plan because I was so new to it just nine years ago. And I was an adult learner living with a professional folk musician,
always having professional folk musicians in my living room who were chanting. And here I am just starting as a beginner and you could hear my voice go down. It's like that my own judgment on posed on that and all the insecurity that he immediately ushered in. So I think that, that, that judgment that's the other thing I got is I had to get in touch with my Purpose,
then that wasn't as important that I be able to, to fit there. It became more like, okay, then what's the right place for me. And I think that's something that happens when I brought the centering, when I began to center and come back to myself with my heart is I could get clear, what do I want with heart? What does muscle want?
What do I want to be able to offer? And it's so interesting that the more you do that, the more specific you are in getting in touch with what you want, the greater experience, you have, the deeper experience you have, the more progress you make. And then when you do share your music, people love it even more, you know,
you cannot go wrong on really focusing in what do I love and why do I do this? Not how do I please other people, if it's about how to please other people, we could stay at a very fundamental and unsatisfying level on all aspects forever. Really? It really has to be this inside connection. Yes. Yeah. You know, I I'm,
I'm a little more introverted by nature. So I've never been one who was competitive. And I was, I was not athletic as a child at all. I mean, I'd never, I was the last one chosen for the teams or anything. So I'm just confessing up front. I've never been much into competition, but one of the things that I think really has helped me in all areas of my life is that it isn't about comparing myself to someone else.
But it's about really comparing myself to me. It's like where, where is what I'm doing in relationship to what I want to be doing and what muscle was calling me to. And I think that when I could take the heart for me and the kind of music I want to play, instead of trying to learn all these quick, you know, Irish,
jigs, and reels to play with my terrific husband, Fiddler, I finally decided I wanted to learn how summons petite pursues. Wow. A novel idea of peace actually written for the heart. And every time I play it, when I first started playing it, John would say, wow, that's beautiful. You don't play anything else like that. And I would say,
yeah, this is the only piece of life that was written for left heart. So I think there was, there was something about that when it, when it becomes about us, not in a way that we don't care about other people, it's not about that, but in a way that it's about how, how is this an expression of my soul and how is Spirit embodying in me in this,
whether it's my talk, my writing, or my Harp plane, then something does shift. And we do get clearer about what is right for us. I absolutely agree. And I think one of the benefits from having a system is it helps you go through that process because it's all well and good to say, well, you should play for yourself and you should understand what you like.
It's like, well, okay. Oh yeah. Like, what's that kind of be right. Right. You know, as we're talking, I'm thinking about how the system also, and the Bright Way system for me, I've used not only with my heart, but I have used around my writing because that to me is one of my creative, it's a creative project.
And there is, there is a creative juice there for it. However, I have a full-time private practice of seeing an Alison's I present regularly once or twice a month publicly. So I have a full schedule. It's not like I'm sitting around with three or four hours trying to figure out what to do. And the other thing I think about as the principle of compensation,
which is, you know, everything conscious and unconscious compensate one another. So if I have this really highly focused time of work where I've got my schedule set and I'm doing these things I have to do, then if I don't have a way to hold onto my purpose and intention with my Harp or my writing, then the unconscious opposite will kick in, which is to not be focused,
to be diffused, to be scattered. And so in a way, having the system in place, the system of Purpose and Intentions, and Practicum, Plan really tracking Fulfillment and letting that be the starting point. These are things I've gotten from the Bright Way having those then helps me say, okay, I'm not ready to just go scatter, brainless and mindless.
Yes. I have done these eight hours of work here, but I have an hour of focus. I want to put in over here. And it's driven not by should muster all to, to get something done, but it's driven by the connection to the desire that stay, that flows through the purpose and the intention. So I think it's also a way of honoring these unconscious dynamics that are just part of how we work.
You know, we've got to have diffused time to balance the very focused Tom, but we don't want the, I don't want my creative processes to get lost because there's so much focus time on my professional paperwork. Yeah. So by using a system, you really can make the most of that creative time that you have, which is not endless hours in a day,
as much as you would like it to be, and actually optimize that, that time and get a lot out of it. So beautiful. What you're saying. I think this really is a big message of hope for people who do have full-time jobs, children looking after the house, all the things that go into a life these days, that there still is a way to have a creative life and to manifest your creative projects in your harping,
in your extensive writing. Cause I know that you're getting this book a third book. Now I believe said that your third one getting that really rolling, which is such an all consuming project. Yeah. There, there, there actually is a way to do it. And of course, you know, we can use our systems for everything in our lives so that we still are on our Purpose when we're seeing clients,
when we're teaching, when we're cooking, we can still have that through line of the Purpose and the same. Fulfillment always, you know? Yes. Yeah. You know, I was thinking today, as I was swimming about when you talk about cross training. And so the last few times that I've swam, it occurred to me. Okay. Back the back runs the show,
which you always say in the flow Harp, Technique, it's all that. Okay. My back, my arms are moving from my back, not my shoulders. And so I think those kinds of things that are what I'm going to call, just kind of sacred operating principles when we start to see them in all areas, then the next time I'm sitting in the Harp,
I'm probably going to think about that back a lot more quickly. Yeah. And I think this is another big benefit of, of having a system. I just love that we both love systems is it helps you see the connection between things that seem different swimming and Harp, well, those seem very different, actually. Not really, you know, I have been cross training this whole time.
So then, you know, you can go swimming guilt-free because it is playing into your Harp and just talking a little bit about the cross training. I always say that our Harp teach us what we need to know whether we knew it or not. It teaches us always something surprising. And so it's interesting that the Harp gave you the opportunity to go even deeper into your practice and to commit even more to what you knew.
Yes, yes. Yeah. And I was thinking I was gifted a Harp at the first of the year. I actually, January 2nd, I was gifted a heart. That's a 15 year old Heartland. Dragonheart Harp for those of you who know the Heartland now, Heartland, Dave only makes carbon fiber, but this is when Harp and the shape of the Harp is such that you don't lean it back.
You just sit you snuggle up to it. And it's been very interesting going back and forth between that Harp and my Merlin or heart. I have a Rick rebar Merlin that I've had for nine years now. Well, I guess it came probably in June, but in, so it's been interesting playing with the different body positions, where with the Merlin leaning back against my shoulder and then with the Dragonheart,
I'm kind of nestled up sitting right behind it and experiencing my center since we were talking about in the practices of century and where you say, identify your literal physical center and the idea sometimes I play when I'm trying to sound more musical instead of, so just flat, because I'm so worried about the notes. I try to actually sway a little bit of my heart pinch to feel the,
you know, to feel the rhythm. And I've, I've found that it's so much easier to do that sitting behind the Dragonheart without it on my shoulder. It's kind of interesting. So here I am in a way doing cross training between these two different hearts, because when I approach them, I approach them a little bit different physically. And so each one's helping me feel and experience nuances of the other one in a different way.
Yeah. Oh, you know, you're reminding me of the practice of centering is an active practice and happens in real life, in different circumstances. You know, we cannot recreate exactly the same circumstance in our life, 24 seven. And we want to really, and it reminds me of meditation. And when they say, well, the goal would be that you could get into a meditative street state on the street in Mumbai.
Yes. And you could actually get there, you know? Yeah. Yes. I always say to people when I'm teaching and some of my, I consider my writing kind of a psycho-spiritual perspective, it's a marriage of the two. I always say to people, whatever spiritual practice you're doing, the whole purpose of the practice is not what you're experiencing in the moment you're doing it.
But it's so that you develop the psychic muscle. So when you really need to do it, it automatically kicks in. So the street or whatever it kicks in, because you've done it in the practice so much that you have this muscle, that's there to help you connect and access what you need in the moment within yourself and in the source. That's always,
I believe flowing in us. I love it. I love what you're saying. Oh. So if there were one misperception that you would like to share with people that you find pretty common around creativity, what would that misperception be? That you have to have a big block of time to be creative. And I still have to work with myself on this misperception because part of what I've realized is that if I wait until I just have really big blocks of time to play my Harp or do my writing,
it'll never get done. So one of the things that's helped me with my heart from day one is I keep it. I have a great room. And so it's always out in my great room. And if I'm cooking and I have 10 minutes, something's on the stove. Then in that 10 minutes, I can go sit down at my heart and I can practice for 10 minutes.
I'm learning more. I have a harder time with writing in 10 minute increments, but I have begun to learn that if an idea comes into my head, I can take my phone out and dictate and that's been invaluable. So I think the one misperception on still working to combat, and maybe some of you all are too, is that it takes a big block of top,
whatever big means in order to be created. When in truth, we can be creative. If we've got a moment, I love it. I love it. And if there were only one thing that you could tell people about creativity, what would you like them to know today? Oh, that creativity is an instinct and archetype that flows in all of us.
It's there. We don't have to fund, we will, we don't have to fund it or cultivate it. We do have to connect to it. We have to forge a conscious connection to it, but we don't have to discover it in the sense of going outside of ourself and looking, you know, that creativity is an all of us. And in fact you'll said that creativity is one of the primary instincts are archetypes that are at work in the human psyche.
Yes. It makes me want to cry. I mean, I really wish, wish, wish people knew this. It would change the entire world if people knew this. Yeah, yeah, Yeah. He has this little essay and I'm always having the training candidates read it when I'm teaching candidates that I'm, I'm in a program where we train union analysts and is called S youngsters says there are five psychological factors or instinctive factors at work,
hunger, sexuality movement, or the drive to activity self-reflection and creativity. So he puts it on par with hunger and sexuality and movement, which we know is natural if we watch babies and self-reflection and creativity. So that's what I want, would want people to know. Wow. Thank you so much. Kathleen has been a delight talking with you as always.
And where can people find you? Oh, I, my website is Kathleen Wiley Umi, an analyst.com. And my writings are at inner Davon Spirit dot com. So if you go to inner Devon Spirit dot com and I do have a Facebook page and my introvert itself has not done a lot on social media. So I'm going to be working on that lately,
but enter Davon Spirit dot com. And that I do have, you can sign up there, here, interested in my writings and periodically send things out. So yeah, I would love that. Wonderful. Oh, thank you again for spending the afternoon with me With this. Great. Thank you. I'm inspired now. Yay. The Circle flows. It does.
Yes. Bye for now. Bye bye-bye.
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