“You can do it!” – Anna Kellerman
Anna Kellerman is a curious engager of life who never tires of hearing people’s stories – something Anna has mastered as the founder of Mama Creatives – a community that offers a diverse range of TED style events, masterclasses, workshops and online membership to support creative mothers all around the globe.
I like being spontaneous. I love my role as mother to the most precious and adventurous little girl. I love using pastels and charcoal to draw from life. I find cooking very therapeutic and enjoy entertaining and hosting dinner parties.
As a mother and a clinically trained art therapist, working with children and families at the Sydney Anxiety Clinic, Anna is passionate about creativity and the benefits it can provide in almost any circumstance.
My parents divorced when I was 3. I saw them blaming and fighting for years and I never wanted this for myself. I learnt from a young age, that despite adversity, we all have the potential to take responsibility for our actions, to grow and learn and make things happen.
I have great compassion for people who are less fortunate than myself but I also greatly believe in the strength of empowering others to gain insight and take action to improve our lives by taking positive action and connecting with what gives us joy, is one of the best things we can give ourselves.
Anna had a successful career in the corporate world, working as a researcher, and while she just loved the career and felt intellectually stimulated and met amazing people, there came a time when she just didn’t get excited by it anymore.
I didn’t feel there was any purpose, and I started to resent the long hours, clients and projects. I always wanted to study a Masters of Art Therapy; then one morning I woke up and thought ‘I can’t do this anymore, something has to change’, so I got on the phone, rang the course coordinator and spent the next year doing what was required to get in.
Leaving her job, home and city, Anna packed her bags and moved interstate. Setting up her own consultancy so she had the flexibility to study full time. While starting all over was hard she ended up doing very well in both her career and personal life – three years later, she did it all again and moved to Spain with her husband.
Moving overseas is very different to moving interstate and travelling when you’re young and single or visiting a place on holiday is wildly different to moving somewhere permanently. I thought I would adapt much better, but I found the language barrier and culture clash incredibly challenging. It was a very difficult time; but in hindsight, I can see the amazing lessons I learnt in letting go of expectations.
Life is all about how we handle what is thrown our way, and the choices we make in overcoming the hardships. Once we make the decision to grow, which is not always the easiest option, we establish our own sense of self and we are in a much stronger position to help ourselves and others.
I’m very grateful for my experiences. We have so many opportunities in Australia, where in so many other countries it’s just not viable, especially for women. If we, however, have a clear vision and we work hard, we can follow our dreams and live a life with meaning and purpose.
I got my first job at 12 years old so I could be independent; and that independence has served me well in having lived and travelled overseas, a strong work ethic and knowing that with a clear goal or vision we can make plans towards achieving those goals – no matter what the circumstance.
I’m very proud of the thesis I wrote for my Masters of Art Therapy, which was both an exhilarating and challenging experience, but absolutely driven by my passion and belief in the power of art to create positive change. But more than anything, I’m proud of the amazing long term friendships I have and how those friends not only keep me grounded when times were challenging, but they too were the inspiration for Mama Creatives.
Mama Creatives has been the coming together of my most proud moments – surrounding myself with incredible friends and using the the power of art to bring about positive change.
My purpose now is to provide a nurturing environment for other creative mothers who may feel isolated or in need of extra support, with the opportunity to bring about their own positive change.
When I look back on my life, there have been so many incredible influences but I would have to say that my grandfather was a stand out for his work ethic – he lived to nearly 98 and was still working and writing books. He kept an active mind, seemed fulfilled with his work, and he would share this advice with tongue in cheek but a lot of wisdom:
“In life, try to choose good parents, if you can’t do this, try to choose a good life partner, if this doesn’t work, make sure you choose to do something you love doing, if you can’t do this, remember to breathe, if this doesn’t work then suck lemons”.
In many ways it’s inspired me to live my own life in a way that brings joy, opportunity and change for those who need a voice – our children, and knowing someone is on their side – our creative mothers.
The more I learn about the world, the more I see children have the greatest wisdom and opportunity – angry, anxious stressed out kids become aggressive scary and stressed out adults; so we really need to start teaching emotional regulation at home and in primary schools so we can grow a better adjusted future society – this can start with our younger generations, and finding ways to expand our education in this field is one of my long term goals.
My aim with Mama Creatives is to ‘create a thriving and sustainable global online and offline community for all things needed to support and inspire creative mothers’.
If you’re interested in connecting with Anna, visi Sydney Anxiety Clinic; or if you’d like to be part of the growing Mama Creatives community you can visit their website, follow them on Facebook and Instagram, or attend one of their upcoming events.
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