The following is an interview done via zoom with one of our Intentional Creativity Teachers, Kerry Lee, The Alchemical Artist. Kerry Lee is one of the earliest graduates of the Color Of Woman Intentional Creativity Teacher Training and for more than 9 years she has found the most original ways to bring Intentional Creativity into many different settings. She has guest taught with Shiloh Sophia, and fellow COW grads may recognize her from the session on creating a business plan.
The pandemic of 2020 prevented Kerry Lee from being able to host live events. This inspired her to significantly transform her business and develop her own on-line group program, The Self Discovery Wisdom School ~ A Creative Journey to Clarity, Confidence & Freedom. A self described “gregarious hermit,” Kerry Lee’s experience with Intentional Creativity is fascinating and inspirational. She has much wisdom to share, especially around being the protagonist of your own story through following your heart.
When I asked Kerry Lee my first question, “what drew you to the work of Intentional Creativity?” Her response was, “My heart. My biggest wounding ended up becoming my life’s greatest purpose.” Kerry Lee has spent a lifetime on a Shero’s journey of learning how to pull herself out of the shadows of the expectations of others in order to claim, embrace, and embody who she truly is by following her own heart. Now she has developed The Self Discovery Wisdom School, with the intention of supporting others to do the same. This is an innovative program which she describes as the “culmination of her life’s experiences and body of work,” but in order to fully appreciate her mission it’s important to more deeply understand her voyage.
When Kerry Lee described her early childhood experience to me, an image was brought to my mind of a star seed floating through the universe and landing in a safe, loving, well tended, but very unfamiliar garden. Early on she had a sense of herself as a spiritual being, an intuitive empath with a deep connection to nature and creativity. However, she was born to two very loving parents, one a logically minded scientist and the other, an atheist. As she grew into herself, she often felt “out of sync with the family culture”. Although now, as she looks back, there was foreshadowing of a different way of being. She recalls starting her first creative entrepreneurial business at the age of eight making fanciful frosted cupcakes to sell to her neighbors.
Over time, Kerry Lee tried to maintain a relationship with her creativity by taking art classes (little did she know she was in training for her future) and now feels she always had some sense of connection to the Red Thread in her life. In fact, recently her sister and brother- in- law unearthed a buried painting in the family home she grew up in that she painted at age thirteen. It’s profoundly significant to her life today, as it has turned out to be a foretelling of her future. A portrait of a girl’s face, drawn very similarly to the style that Shiloh Sophia teaches in her thirteen step painting process, made even more remarkable in that her hair was created out of red thread. Viewing the girl’s face as an adult, Kerry Lee has also taken meaning from the fact that the portrait is without eyes which she feels is “literally symbolizing her loss of vision for her future”.
**You can watch a brief video here to see the painting and a more detailed description about her observations of how it has born out to be very prophetic in terms of the context of her current life’s work*
By the time Kerry Lee started college, she still hadn’t given up entirely on her longing to be able to have a career as an artist. She took a ceramics class, but as she laughingly explained, “ I couldn’t throw a pot to save my life”. And as a graphic design major, she lost confidence as she was unable to draw as realistically as a photographed image (she now knows she is an intuitive artist and realism is not her style).
She ended up majoring in business administration and went on to have a very successful career working in the corporate world, along with some of her own entrepreneurial endeavors. However, she still carried with her the feeling of being a fish out of water, working in industries she found personally unfulfilling. She wanted to make a difference in the world.
Finding herself in yet another system where she felt out of sync, she decided to open a coffee house & micro-roastery with her then husband which turned out to be a very unexpected significant stepping stone along her creative path. After hiring a feng shui expert in 2003 to help them design the space and later seeing the difference it made, Kerry Lee became very interested in energy concepts and chi. She began experimenting – inspired by her family’s scientific roots – with what she calls “playing catch with the universe” to further test the principles of feng shui as well as what were, unbeknownst to her at the time, ideas about the law of attraction for manifesting what you want to bring into your life.
They developed a very loyal customer base who gave consistent feedback about feeling a “special energy” as they unknowingly benefitted from the unique and metaphysical elements she’d created in her cafe space. These included crystals in the walls and intentions written on drywall during construction. Her creative outlet was a monthly newsletter featuring cafe regulars, booking weekend musicians, and hosting an annual employee art show. In hindsight, Kerry Lee now knows that she was practicing Intentional Creativity even then but she didn’t yet have a language for it.
She found a way to utilize her business acumen in a more creative way featuring other’s art on the walls and music in the cafe, yet still felt “creative constipation” in creating her own personal expression.
At the age of forty-nine she came to a crisis point in her life. She and her husband divorced, and she was left financially devastated with literally $1000 to her name. But, like every good shero, she persevered and decided if this was her destiny mid-life, she would now reclaim that inner artist and discover how together they could make a difference in the world. She now views this as part of the Red Thread calling her back to her soul work, which she was about to discover through a series of unfolding synchronistic events. This time she decided to take a different approach and followed her intuition every step of the way, letting gratitude and joy be the guiding forces behind her decision making process. After meeting Shiloh Sophia at a Self Love event, she felt strongly compelled to dive into the Color of Woman Intentional Creativity Teacher Training without even having taken one of Shiloh’s workshops and became a Certified Intentional Creativity Teacher in 2013.
Looking back now, she can see that even before fully defining her work within Intentional Creativity, she was planting the seeds of intention for her future work, which included the desire to be an international teacher/coach.
One particularly powerful experience for Kerry Lee – then, a new COW graduate – was having a poignant teaching interaction with one of her students who shared that she was “there to heal”. Kerry Lee’s training sunk in deep as she realized the huge impact of the potential for healing this method had and she was now in the position to become a healer and make a difference in the world.
The student had been obviously struggling during the first part of the workshop and looked defeated. Kerry Lee described relying directly on the thirteen steps to help guide her through the process to beautiful and profound results. The woman had painted her own image in the background, shadowed and partially obscured by foliage. Kerry Lee guided her to add highlights to the face and five brushstrokes, and with this, the student was able to literally and symbolically move her self portrait to the foreground of her own story within the painting. Kerry Lee noticed a visible shift in the student’s physical body, from tentativeness and anxiety to confidence and joy.
This exuberance was captured in a group photo of the class at the end of the workshop with the woman holding up her fist in celebration. Later, as a guest speaker at a Color of Woman graduation ceremony in 2015, one of the graduates, Tracey Buist-Eastwick informed Kerry Lee that she was at that workshop, saw the healing and was inspired to learn this empowering healing method.
Those very first workshops turned out to be a pivotal moment in Kerry Lee’s development as an IC teacher and the first of many beloveds that she would go on to guide into the process of painting themselves into the center of their own shero’s stories. Just as she had learned to do for herself.
In 2015 Kerry Lee left her corporate career to become a full-time Intentional Creativity teacher to a large variety of groups and settings. She created a painting party business, facilitated public and private workshops, and became an ordained minister so that she could lead Intentional Creativity ceremonies. Kerry Lee also led workshops for her parent’s retirement community where she had residents paint their alter egos, and also brought IC into the corporate world with team building and professional development events for school educators and administration, focusing on resilience building and self care.
One of the major themes embedded in her work, regardless of the range of students she works with, is to “discover, embrace and enjoy what makes each of us unique and different, as this is where we discover what we have to offer ourselves and the world.” . After spending decades struggling with learning how to fully embrace this mantra for herself, she has now come full circle on her journey and does what all good Sheros must do, which is to offer what she has learned in service to helping others.
On a very personal note, Kerry Lee’s journey with Intentional Creativity has also lovingly impacted her relationship with her now young adult daughter. Kerry Lee brought the philosophy of “following your own North Star” into her parenting. Her daughter is one of her greatest supporters, says she liked the message, and surprised her Mom with an upper sleeve length tattoo of her mother’s “Talisman”- She Follows Her Own Stars painting on her arm. How cool is that?!
Over Kerry Lee’s Intentional Creativity career she has continued to pay attention to her heart’s desire and pay attention to where she felt the energy flow lead her. Along the way she became a self described “self discovery junkie and scientist” with art expression informing her intuition and inspiration. All along the way she chose to continue learning while remaining flexible and open to “whatever is next” and being willing to take the risk to continue to follow her heart versus what society commonly views as “practical”. As many “seemingly magical” occurrences and experiences came her way, she says she was “willing to surrender to the mystery and get comfortable in that fog.”
Flowing from a place of coherence between her mind and heart, she discovered how to make decisions based on her body’s feedback that were right for her, understanding her natural strengths, the things that give her energy vs deplete here energy and how to stay in the “flow” of life where joy and gratitude lead the way. With an abundance of additional skills gathered in her medicine basket, along with several collaborating facilitators in methods of self discovery, Kerry Lee created The Self Discovery Wisdom School ~ A Creative Journey to Clarity Confidence & Freedom. She launched her uniquely robust on-line group coaching program in the fall of 2020 to great success with the participating members not wanting it to end and requesting more. Because of this, she developed a “next level” program, The Living Lab ~ A Creative & Intentional Learning by Living Life Self Discovery Community. The spring admissions process is now open with sessions starting March 20.
Kerry Lee has described her program as a “creative journey to clarity, confidence, and freedom.” When I asked her to tell me more about the school, she described it as “an only needed once in a lifetime experience of discovering and creating a roadmap for your life that has your own personal fingerprint on it with the destination being a way to experience life differently. The five-month program is very gently held in a light and fun container that feels like a butterfly flying around the garden its been in its entire life, yet now the garden (and the butterfly) is looking more beautiful and expansive than ever. And the butterfly is seeing things never noticed or experienced before.”
Because of her relationship with Intentional Creativity, The Alchemical Artist has finally been able to create just the right whimsical, colorful, transformative, and connected garden she imagined as a child and is now helping others create their own.
Participants in the program will get to enjoy being able to engage in this playful, empowering and fun atmosphere with self explorations, integrated into life through creative expressions such a “starseed shooting star” – a personal expression of what thoughts and behaviors bring you into the light of your own personal energy (aka flow), what take you out of it, and how to get back in. See the Intentional Creativity art projects and learn more about the program in this interview.
The program lasts for five months and the group meets every other week so that there is plenty of time for integration while keeping the expansive and deep self discovery process fun and light. Kerry Lee encourages her participants to delve into insight around: resilience building, learning how to trust in the mystery and in your own true voice, getting comfortable with taking risks, developing a mindset of abundance, learning about the Red Thread and how it can provide support for you along the journey, and many other methods and practices of self discovery.
Kerry Lee views her style of teaching as that of “a guide, someone who will walk beside you, ask questions, and provide support versus someone who lectures from the front of the room”. When I asked how she works with groups whose cultural and spiritual traditions differ from her own, Kerry Lee said her approach is to remember that we are all coming from different world perspectives so it’s imperative to practice sensitivity, ask gentle questions, and refrain from making assumptions.
The Self Discovery Wisdom School program is designed especially for those who are feeling lost or stuck in some way in their lives, who are experiencing life transitions, and who would like to learn how to develop a more heart centered, intuition and body based process for decision making. The primary takeaway Kerry Lee hopes to impart to those who make the investment in themselves to participate in her program is that each beloved will walk away feeling more clarity about their life’s purpose and have a customized map for guidance on finding their way on their own Shero’s journey.
For those interested in learning more about Intentional Creativity with Kerry Lee and The Self Discovery Wisdom School, she has several events coming up in March including a MoneyTouchstones workshop with Sarah McCrum, author of Love Money, Money Loves You, a YouTube Live interview with one of the school’s Guides and more. Information for all events is available on Kerry Lee’s website.
On a final note especially with our Guild Members in mind; when I asked Kerry Lee about her advice for new graduates around finding their way to developing their own teaching/coaching style this was her response.
“Follow your own heart and intuition. Don’t try to do what others are doing. The world needs our differences, not just copies of each other, so recognize what is needed within to serve yourself as well as your beloveds. Dare to be different. You must then walk your individual path toward your unique Soul Fire work making sure that it truly resonates with your own compass led by joy and gratitude”.
Interview, Concept Development and Article written and co-edited by Jessica Richmond, M.A.
Jessica has a background in Counseling Psychology with a specialization in Expressive Art Therapy.
She is currently a Certified Intentional Creativity Teacher, and Musea Co-Curator – Museum Magazine Lead