YBY ep 251: Making discoveries with Kelly Hopkins!
This week on Yes But Why, we talk to Kelly Hopkins, founder of Soul Exploration Through Art.
Kelly Hopkins is a life coach as well as an experienced speaker and facilitator with decades of experience working with groups large and small. Kelly has been working to help people for her whole life. After a career in social services burnt her out, she moved her family to Costa Rica. To connect with her new neighbors and to begin to heal, Kelly started an art connection group. They worked on journaling, meditation, visualization, painting, drawing, dance, and movement. The exercises Kelly developed during this journey eventually led to her coaching business, Soul Exploration Through Art.
Through art therapy and community building, Soul Exploration Through Art helps people reconnect with their authentic selves. Kelly Hopkins works with clients all over the world to help them get unstuck, to clarify their creative purpose and to unleash their artistic passion!
In our conversation, Kelly teaches me about how creative projects can provide a source of healing. Through the act of making art, we can process our feelings about an experience. Kelly tells me about the play she wrote just after college called “Triggered,” that was inspired by art therapy she had done with traumatized children.
Kelly talks about the fact that theater people are absolutely the best kind of people you want to employ because of our work ethic and breadth of skills. (It’s true.)
And yet, we discuss how we theater people (me) are trained to do it all ourselves and so we always do it that way, even if it breaks our back. Kelly talks about building your team and finding the support you need to make your dreams a reality. She reassured us (me) that we don’t have to go it alone. We talk about making art, life coaching and how to spin it all into a successful business.
Support Kelly Hopkins by connecting with her at Soul Exploration Through Art. She can really help you with what you’re going through.
UPCOMING EVENT —Sign up NOW for Kelly’s upcoming Soul Exploration Through Art Group for women! Starts on 3/3. Here’s the link for that: http://soulexplorationthroughart.com/soul-exploration…
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(production notes: recorded zoom call via Rodecaster on 1/20/2021)
TRANSCRIPT by Otter.ai
Hello, Yes But Why listeners, this is your host, Amy Jordan. Welcome to Yes But Why episode 251 – my amazing discussion with Kelly Hopkins. But first, let’s talk about our sponsors. Today’s episode is sponsored by audible. Get your FREE audiobook download and your 30 day free trial at audibletrial.com/YESBUTWHY. Who was singing Itsy Bitsy Spider in the car with their toddler today? Yeah that was me. And how did I do it? Audible! Audible is available on your phone. Yes, that thing in your hand right now. Go now to audibletrial.com/YESBUTWHY to download the app and sign up to get your free audiobook today. Our other sponsor is my company, PodcastCadet.com. My husband, Chris and I run the company, PodcastCadet.com. We provide advice and production help to any podcaster who needs it! We can give you a little push or we can help you with the production of all of your podcast episodes! Contact us now at PodcastCadet.com and use code YBY20 to get 20% off the first service or workshop you buy! This week on Yes But Why, I chat with Kelly Hopkins, founder of Soul Exploration Through Art. Kelly Hopkins is a life coach as well as an experienced speaker. Through art therapy and community building, Soul Exploration Through Art helps people reconnect with their authentic selves. In our conversation, we talk about making art, life coaching and how to spin it all into a successful business. Support Kelly Hopkins by connecting with her at Soul Exploration Through Art dot com. I now present to you: yes but why episode 251: Making discoveries with Kelly Hopkins! Enjoy! I’m Amy Jordan. And this is Yes But Why Podcast. Yeah.
Kelly Hopkins 02:27
I was always really creative. And one of the things in my childhood, my my parents situation was a little off. And my my mother and my stepfather and my brother, my sister and I moved to the east coast from San Francisco when I was five. And I remember spending a lot of time alone, we were lower income and higher income community were the only kids in the school that were on public assistance lunch. And so I have a lot of trouble making friends in this new environment. Also my mother curse like a truck driver. And so I curse from the time that I was born. And I didn’t know that everyone didn’t. And we also we lived in about an 80% black housing project in San Francisco. And we moved to montgomery county in Maryland, which at the time was very affluent, I don’t know if that’s still the case or not. And we were like fish out of water. And I remember having a really hard time making friends and spending a lot of time alone. And I started to make up stories in my head. Like I was a spy and you know, like all these different stories when I was out, I would be out, you know, in the we lived across the street from the school and I’d be in the school, there was a big field next to the school and I would play in and make up all these stories because I didn’t have a lot of friends and I would make up stories in my head and have imaginary situations going on. And and I really enjoyed it, I always really enjoyed imaginative play, and my older brother, he was always just really fun. And we would go out the three of us would go out in the forest near our house, like all day, and and come up with these crazy games. You know, like we were Robin Hood type games and, and different things and and I remember that from from that time, like, you know grade school in particular, that imagination and, and having a very active imagination and an imaginary life was kind of like a life blood for me. And at the same time during that same timeframe. My father sued for custody of only my sister and an older brother and older sister and I were all two years apart. And he sued for custody of my sister only and my brother kind of left to spend a lot of time with his friends. My mother was in San Francisco, fighting the custody battle. And my stepfather was in law school. And so I was alone with our dog. And I remember the same thing that imagination and, and playing and the dog and I would have like tea parties and, and and that that whole creativity really helped me survive that period of my life which was very emotionally challenging and, and socially challenging. And from that time on, I really, really, really strongly wanted to be an actor. And so and i didn’t i don’t think i really even ever told anybody that. And I went to we moved back to the west coast and ended up in Southern California. And when I was in junior high school, the first year of junior high school, I was in the fine arts track. So I was in acting and singing and drawing and I can’t remember what the other maybe I don’t remember what the fourth one was. And when I think about junior high,
you really, you’re like super detailed already. I’m
big art in junior high. I’m with you.
Kelly Hopkins 06:17
Yeah, no, but there was there were two tracks, there was like the fine arts track. And then there was like, kamek, woodshop, you know, that was that track. And so the first year I was in the fine arts track, and I was like, I felt great. I loved it. I felt like I was with my people. And, and then at the end of the year, they said, you know, well, you can’t sing, and you suck at art. So we’re putting you in the in the gen pop, or putting you in, in woodshop and homework, and I was devastated. I was crushed. I was complete, and especially about the art. I didn’t draw for like 20 years, because of that. Like, nothing like nothing, nothing at all. And I and it was completely devastating. And I kept doing actually the first year of high school, I didn’t even do drama, because I was like why suck. So I shouldn’t even do that. I did speech, but not drama. And then my sophomore year, I got into drama, in high school, and I and I was in theater all through high school, and I was a theater major at UCLA for college, and did plays all through through through high school and college. And then I started a theatre production company when I got out of
college way, way too fast. Hold on. I have a question. Sorry. No, no,
I have a question about your this idea that these teachers like decided you weren’t good enough and moved you and that like really affected you is terrible. And sadly, the thing that breaks my heart Even more is that you are not the first person to have told me such a story. And so I’m like, are you kidding me right now? What are we doing with these children? Like crushing dreams? You know, oh, yeah.
Kelly Hopkins 08:03
Oh, yeah. No, it’s a crime. It’s a crime.
It’s just not okay. I mean, organize it in such a way that everyone can take part, right? I mean, I can’t tell you how many kids theater camps I’ve taught where I was like, yeah, none of these people are going to Broadway, but we’re having a good time. Like, come on, you know?
Kelly Hopkins 08:23
Well, and, you know, based on the work that I do now, it’s 100% about the process, the outcome is literally not involved in any way. And so that taking the opportunity, of creative expression, and all that it brings to people’s lives, you know, away from children, you know, especially like junior high school, the worst, that’s the worst possible time in life, you know, to have somebody tell you that you suck at anything, you know, but they told me two things, two creative things I like, oh my god.
So what was your guiding light that got you into theater? I mean, somebody had to have been kind and, or, or inspiring enough to because you said you start doing theater, in high school, and college and stuff. So like, who broke the spell?
Kelly Hopkins 09:19
Well, you know, was actually the speech teacher that I had my freshman year of high school. He was very cool. And, and he was, and I told him about, you know, wanting to be in drama, and I told him about what happened in your high school. And he was like, those people are idiots. You know, he’s like, you, you should go out for drama. You’ll you know, and he’s like, he like, you know, just start just start small and just, you know, go through the class and, and see if you like it, but don’t allow those teachers to keep you from something that you’ve always wanted to do. And, and I was, he was great. He was a great speech teacher and I did really well in speech. He was like, usually you’re gonna be really good at this. So it was, it was, yeah, totally. And the in drama, it was great because I did I think my sophomore year I had like, the role of like, woman. And then, and then my senior year, I had the lead in the, in the play in high school. And so I was able to see that, you know, that progression of if you and, and I and I really didn’t like school in general, but I loved theater, and I loved you know, like, I mean, the great thing about theater is such a, like, hard working culture. And that was school never really gave me a work ethic. But theater gave me a crazy work ethic, you know, which I’ve used my whole life. Because nobody works as hard as people in theater, you know, especially like in college, or like building the sets and, you know, sewing the costumes, and then getting on the stage and, you know, working crazy long hours.
It was great done that my adult life as well. So,
you gotta make it all. Yeah, you got to put it all together. That’s what I always appreciated about when we were in high school is that like, they, we’d have rehearsal, we’d be doing the things and then they’d be like, Alright, guys, we don’t ever herstal tomorrow, but you all still need to come in because these sets need to be painted. So it was like, Okay, cool. There wasn’t like our own. There’s the set painters, and then there’s less to ours, which happens in a lot of schools, but I’ve noticed. But no, when I was when I was in high school, we definitely had to do all of it. So yeah, the doing all of it, getting it all done making it happen out of nothing. That’s my favorite part about theater. I love that whenever,
Kelly Hopkins 11:44
as an as an employer, when I I ran a big social services program in LA and whenever somebody had theater, theater, Major, anything theater on their resume, I was like, already sure I was going to hire him before I even went in the interview. Because the all the skill sets involved with that, but especially the work ethic, to me is, is phenomenal. And every person that I know that was in theater has, you know, because you have no choice. And especially in your formative years, when you’re when you put in those long hours when you do every aspect of it. When it’s like you make it happen no matter what. And if you’re on stage, and somebody goes up on their lines, or I was in a play and that lights didn’t go down. This is like you just keep going. And it gives you that, that that ability to be flexible and to go with whatever happens and make it work. Totally. Oh, man. I can’t imagine expecting a scene to end and then the light.
So where we are
drinking my coffee.
okay. That was Yeah. And on that really intense line you just said but no now.
Kelly Hopkins 12:57
Let’s keep chatting about the whatever we’re doing here taking over this and I guess. Oh, I got an exciting Yeah, whenever those kinds of things happen is totally exciting. Yeah, like, oh, wow, there’s people here. I gotta do something. They’re looking at me.
Oh, man. I love you saying that. Yeah. Anytime you saw theater on a resume, you hired them. That’s like my secret dream to like, have found out that like that actually happened. Because I always think that I’m always like, I don’t understand, like, in fact, I was talking to somebody about how, you know, COVID there’s no theater. So there’s a lot of people I know whose full time job was theater, and now they’re like, do I get another job? And I was like, I don’t know the answer to that question, to be totally honest with you. And they’re like, do you know how to write a resume? And I was like, resumes? So let’s investigate, you know, and he was like, how are these? How do I translate everything that I’ve done into something that normies understand, and I was like, you’re gonna have to be really detailed in the what you did part. But like, that’s the crazy part. You’re totally right, a person’s job. They could be like, Oh, I was the education director at this theater. But that meant coordinating events, talking to local schools, making sure interns did their job. Like, it’s not like it’s one thing so like, oh, no Haitian Yeah. Oh, she taught theater. No, no, the education director has a kabillion jobs. And then they have 1000 different things. You know what I mean? So it’s, it’s interesting. I’m so glad to hear you say that you have that respect. And that you brought it into your like, corporate world job, because I’ve always been like, Yeah, I don’t know why more people don’t just say like, oh, theater experience. Yeah, come in here because then that person will do whatever, because they’re just used to like, Who am I now? I’m a scientist. I got it. I’m a science.
Kelly Hopkins 15:03
Now and then hours and the Yeah, I mean, that to me always just spelled, you know that that person would get make it happen, whatever it was, you know, they would take care of it and and I wouldn’t need to worry about whether or not they were doing their job.
Yeah. Man I love that hire people with theater on their resume.
So did you did I hear as I was cutting you off and telling you to go back to your junior high story that you went to college at UCLA?
Kelly Hopkins 15:41
Yes. Yes. I was a theater major at UCLA.
Wow. That’s pretty good theater program.
Kelly Hopkins 15:46
Yeah. It’s a great theater program. How I enjoyed it. Love it. Yeah. It was great. Yeah. And it was, I think, you know, it was, it’s a huge school, but the theater program was very small. And so it was nice to have, you know, within that very large environment have a very small community of people. And, and it was, it was I loved it. It was great.
Yeah, awesome. That’s my favorite part about like theater departments and colleges is that they’re always going to be like that. Like, it’s like, there’s this huge other school all around me. And then I go to my little crowd of friends that I’m like, Hey, guys, what are we doing? Oh, yeah, we’re doing as you like it again. Let’s do it. Absolutely. As the first thing I did when I went to college was like, I walked in and was like, I got work study, can I work at the theater? And they’re like, Oh, yeah. And I was like, great. I’m gonna head over there now by and like, that was it. I was just there. 24 seven, and they were like, great. Oh, I love that stuff. It’s so fun. So you mentioned that. So I appreciate this speech teacher for empowering you. I’m so glad that you were able to find a way to, you know, work on your creativity. You mentioned right after UCLA, you started a theatre company, and I cut you off. So tell me about that.
Kelly Hopkins 17:10
Yeah, so I started a theatre company, and with a friend. And we we did a lot of different and this is a totally off topic. But when I was in high school, at the same time, that I was, you know, getting into theater, I actually worked with children that had been ritualistically sexually abused in preschool. And I know, and so that obviously screwed me up. And, and I, there was a, there was a molestation case in the community where I live in Southern California. And so that and, and the prosecution of it didn’t not go well. And so it was probably after college, that one of the first plays that I did was a it was a play that I wrote about that experience, because I had gotten really interested in ritual abuse and in everything sort of related to it. So I wrote this play called triggers, which was about a woman who had been ritualistically abused and had buried it in her subconscious and was being triggered. The memories were being triggered intentionally by the people who had abused her. And, and it was interesting, because it was a very cathartic experience. And it kind of closed that chapter for me. And I was able to kind of let everything related to that go as a result of writing and producing and acting in this play. After I was out of college, and that was the first thing it was the first thing that popped in my head when you said that
no, please. Great story. I love that, that you know that. First of all, horrific whoever was like, yeah, let’s get some high school kids to work with these these kids was messed up. But like, like, bless you for taking it and finding a way to like, process it. You’re like my job now is to help them. And now and then later after I realized that it’s, you know, seeped into my psyche. I’m going to solve that for myself, which is such a great way to get through things by not only writing them down, I’m a big proponent of writing things down, but performing it, there’s something extra, that really just gets it going, especially if you do it more than once. You know, like, the more you rehearse it, the more it’s like, it’s like taking power away from something. It was so scary. But now it’s not scary because I’ve said it 47 times, right? Yeah. And like I I when I was in my 20s I lived in New York City and I can’t tell you that the number of you know one person shows that we’re Just about stuff like that, where it was like, you know, people working through major childhood trauma in the form of, you know, really intense dramatic pieces, but in fact very similar to what you’re talking about. So I was like, man, goodness, California sounds like a terrible place.
Kelly Hopkins 20:22
It’s so interesting that this came up, because I have not really thought about the impact of that on the work that I do now. But now that I know that I’m looking at it in the context of talking with you about it, even though it’s not theatre, it’s very much the same, the same idea of utilizing creative expression to first it was support myself and then support other people in processing, the things that are going on with them that they’re disconnected from. And so it’s interesting, because that was probably the most significant time that I did that in my life. And, you know, the first time that I did that.
So it’s interesting that you’re connecting these ideas right now, because I personally was, in my mind thinking like, Oh, well, this is clearly what led her down the path of No,
no, we haven’t gotten there yet.
Fascinating. Interesting. Yeah. Wow. Okay,
so but we haven’t gotten there yet
said, I feel like that just means this has been inside of you forever, like you’re calling to do what you’re doing right now has been a skill set that’s been inside of you forever. And that, like, it just waited until the time that you’re ready to use it. Right. But like, the fact that you wrote this, and now you’re, you know, helping other people to write out their traumas and, and help them to sort of get past it in that way. Oh, man, it’s so interesting how these things come together, like like patterns in our own lives that we can’t even see. I love it. I’m also deeply loved the idea of this now this show triggered, was it a one person show? Or did were there multiple characters and a whole cast?
Kelly Hopkins 22:17
No, there were there were multiple characters. It was the the woman who had been abused, and then her husband and her therapist because the husband thought she was going crazy, which was part of the reasons I’ve done this research around, this actually happening to people. And one of the reasons why people would trigger them intentionally was to make them appear insane, because they were there that, you know, they were, and there’s this, there’s this whole process. And Sam talks about this and years and years of sort of reclaiming of reclamation of people that had been raised and abused, and in that type of situation. And so the characters and they were all fictitious, they were solid, came from stuff that I had read in combination with the work that I had done with these kids. And, and we didn’t actually know what was going on with the kids, when we sort of started a preschool over a weekend, I was the receptionist at a counseling center, and we started a preschool in an open room over the weekend, because their preschool had been closed. And then like we would we put out paint, thinking, Oh, that, you know, the preschool kids, they want to paint. And the kids would see the red paint, and literally, like an obviously didn’t happen more than once. Their eyes would glaze over, and they would run in a circle, and they’d start chanting, and there were all these triggers, and we didn’t know what the hell they were. And so we were, you know, left and right, triggering these little kids and figuring out what their triggers were. And when they would, when they would, you know, their eyes would glaze over they would, you know, get violent and, and it was it was really, I mean something you just, you can’t even comprehend. And and so that piece of it that piece of of what what it what it was like for me to watch it but then in the play embodying that that element of literally your your control being taken away from you in that way. So it was it was the woman and her husband and the therapists man
that trio of people to to tell that story is an interesting group. Certainly to present a story of this nature, you know, the husband and the wife and the the therapist to come all together makes me think of the play that I did for my senior year in college. thesis, a play called death and the maiden which is a play about Chile and set in Chile and There was like an overthrow of the government and people were being, like, questioned, like, interrogated Oh, do you like the the president? If you do, then we don’t, then then you’re out that kind of thing. And this woman had been tortured, and it was in the future. And a one day, regular day, she’s at home with her husband, a guy knocks on the door and says, hey, my car broke down. Can I come in and use your phone, and, you know, get a tow truck. And as soon as he comes in the house, she’s like, I recognize your voice here, the guy that tortured me and ties him up, and like, holds him captive for the play. Like, but she has been triggered by his voice, right? So when you’re telling me this thing, I’m like, Oh, my God, I totally did the same thing. And to be honest, the girl who played the character in my play, doesn’t do theater anymore, I think because it was too intense a play to be a part of right, it did not help her. And instead, she was like, This is horrifying. And then didn’t want to feel those feelings anymore, which I get, I get the breadth of human emotion felt by an actor has got to be, you know, super, super intense for them to not only be themselves, but to be all these other people is is a wild ride. So speaking of wild rides, take me further along yours. We can if you like, I’m interested in how this play that you did. Now makes you connect the ideas with the work that you do and how you got inspired to do that. How did you get into the work that you’re doing now with soul art exploration.
Kelly Hopkins 26:49
So I am by all all any anyone’s opinion, a terrible, terrible artist. The people in junior high school were not wrong. And listen, and, and but in, in, in an objective view, but from a process perspective, what I found I was in my 30s, and I had a boyfriend and he was like, you know, you need to, he was in, he was a filmmaker, and he was like, you need to do you know, fine arts and I’m like, Oh, I can’t do that I suck. And he was like, No, you’re, you’re an artist, you know, and, and you that’s, that’s a form of creative expression. And it’s really important that you do it. And he’s like, I’m going to commission a piece from you, I’m going to pay you for it. So you have to do it. And he’s like, I want you to draw your feelings. And he knew, you know, like, that’s my jam, draw my feelings, okay. I was like, Alright, I’ll do it. And so I got a piece of foam core, and I got big, fat markers. And he’s like, drying your feelings. And we had just taken a trip on the highway one in California. And there are these amazing bridges. And whenever I drive, and I was in the passenger seat whenever I drive it on the bridges, and on highway one, there’s this, like, you know, like almost another world feeling because you’re, you know, you have the ocean on the side and you’re, you’re high up and there is just this phenomenal feeling of exhilaration. So that’s I decided I was going to draw the exhilaration of the bridges in California. And so I drew my interpretation of bridges. And then I poked holes in the back of the foam core, and I stuck Christmas lights through the front and I plugged my picture in. And, and it was awesome. And I was like I love this. This is like, I feel this, I feel what I you know, like I feel the exhilaration, making the picture and looking at the picture. So that was a really big piece of that connection. And then I did community building work, I worked in a counseling program for like 11 years. And then I worked in a community building program that I created in, in LA, it was a countywide community building program where we worked with small groups of residents all around the county, coming together and building relationships with people and then with their neighbors, and then deciding what their core values were. And then we would give them small group grants to be able to like actualize their values through action in their community. And what I noticed was that whenever, particularly in the relationship building faces, these were all strangers coming together. And we were trying to form a group and whenever we did anything related to art, everyone shared more, everyone connected more, everyone had more empathy for each other. And the group process, the group building process of relationship building process was that much deeper and that much faster. And so that was the sort of second piece that fell into place. And then I had been working 26 years in social services. And I adopted two children, and I was a single person. And so I was like, well, I work, you know, 1000 hours a week, I can’t have two little kids and work 1000 hours a week, I’d been saving and saving and saving. So I was like, okay, quit my job, I’m gonna move somewhere that I can afford to live with them, take a work break for like five years and not work. And so I moved my one and three year old kids to Costa Rica, to the jungles of Southern Costa Rica by myself. And when I got there, what I realized was, I had been using work to avoid all kinds of things. And they all you know, in the day, we would play, we’ll go around, you know, the jungle and hang out, and then at night, all this stuff would come for me, you know, everything that I had been dealing with, and, and it was really overwhelming. And the development that we had moved to was screwed up and wasn’t going to get finished. And there were supposed to be a lot of people there, they’re supposed to be kids there. And it was like a handful of people and almost no kids. And so I felt very alone and very overwhelmed. And I was like, Okay, I, I, you know, obviously, I’m here for a reason, I’m in this position for a reason. And I, I want my life to be, I want to be who I’m supposed to be, I want to really fully finally fully because I’ve been hiding, you know, I tried, when I tried acting, the reason that I wasn’t successful, was because I was hiding. And I was not willing to be fully seen. And so, you know, you have to be fully seen to do that, especially in the audition process. And so I, I was like, you know, this is really my, my last chance to deal with myself, and really own who I am really connect with my authentic self and not hide anymore. So I moved from that development to another one that had families and people. And I was like, I’m going to use art, because I remembered that I had been using art to express my feelings since that time with my boyfriend, and I remembered what art did with the people I had been working with. And I was like, I’m going to take art, and everything I know about how to, you know, work with people, and I’m going to do it to myself. And I’m going to figure out what the hell’s wrong with me. And I’m going to, I’m going to help me myself, you know, find myself connect with myself and be myself for real because I don’t want to live, I don’t want to die, never haven’t fully been myself. And so I started an art group with my neighbors. And I started to put together these exercises, utilizing journaling, meditation and visualization, and drawing to process a lot of different things. And it worked. And I was able to reconnect with my authentic self and heal myself and work for my neighbors. And it changed everything.
that sounds great that you were able to, like, reverse engineer the skills that you had to assist yourself. I mean, I feel like that’s like everyone’s life goal is to try to figure out like, wait, what do I bring to the table? And then how can that benefit myself and others, right. But like, the idea that you put all these things together is great. Now, one thing I will say is that I wish that you had like a moms group to talk to at this point, because I was like, Well, of course you felt lost and alone, you had a one year old and a three year
Kelly Hopkins 34:10
old. That is how you feel alone in the jungle. Yeah.
I mean, you can be you can have a one year old and a three year old in the middle of, you know, a bump in city and you still feel alone, you know, it’s a weird experience to have small children until they can really connect with you back. There’s a lot of like, so it’s me. And this thing, like so that can make it really, really hard. puts us all in an existential crisis. But you haven’t really found a way to like, work that existential crisis into helpfulness, right? How did the neighborhood where you like totally bonding with your new neighbors? They were like, Oh, thank God, we have this new neighbor that showed up to have fun.
Kelly Hopkins 34:56
Well, I think you know, in thinking about the place And thinking about triggers, which I have not thought about in a really long time, that I think that that was somewhere in there, that idea that that creativity had had really helped me. Because Because that whole experience had put me in a very dark place. And, and triggers was the thing that helped me to move out of it. And, and that must have been in there somewhere that must have been in there somewhere that that creativity is a source of healing that must have been in my, in my subconscious. And, and the great thing about the community is that I was not the most kind of out there thing going on, like it was it’s a very spiritual community. And there were a lot of and I think that’s one of the reasons why I felt comfortable to get into this with my neighbors was because there were a lot of different kinds of offerings, there was women’s circle, there was men’s circle, there was a lot of different activities going on that were about healing and personal growth. And so my art group really, you know, just kind of fit in as one of the things that people were doing in the community to support each other’s growth. But yes, people, people absolutely, and I actually still meet with that group, via zoom every week, because that to me that like, that’s my, that’s my group, you know, like, that’s my group, like, I run groups for other people, and I have individual sessions with other people, but that’s my group, you know, that’s where I do my art. And, and so we still, we still meet every week. And that process really became about, you know, actualizing, my true self. And then when I, because I took a work break, when I, when I went to go back to work, I was like, I was thinking about getting another social services job. And I was like, but that’s not what I want to do. You know, and I, and I fully intended to do this, and I was thinking, like, oh, I’ll start a nonprofit on the side, you know, kind of like a, you know, a passion project. And then I was like, but this is what I want to do, you know, and this is, this has this helped me so much, it’s helped my neighbor so much, I believe that this can help other people as well to process through and, and what I have found is that many women, throughout the course of their lives get disconnected from their inner wisdom from their authentic self, and there’s just a lot of crap that has happened to them, you know, that has buried that piece of them. And then a lot of really negative messages, you know, going back to my junior high school experience, but from parents from the media, from teachers and other authority figures, just really negative messages that that have them shutting down parts of themselves. And, and when you set down parts of who you are, you do get disconnected from that authentic self, because your authentic self needs to be all of who you are, does can’t it can’t leave out big chunks. And so you just, you end up with just this, like thread this tiny thread between you and who you really are. And so that’s really been my, my joy in work is to support particularly women, but I also do work with men and teenagers, but particularly with women to help them to reconnect with that inner wisdom to reconnect with their authentic self. By processing things through these art exercises, I’ve got, like about 75 different exercises that access different different either emotions or aspects of life. And, and I’ll also when I’m working with someone individually, all make, and it’s weird, because I’m not, I wasn’t a spiritual person at all. And, and then I, you know, went through a kind of spiritual awakening, at the same time that I was doing this process, but I still don’t consider myself super spiritual. But like, when I’m doing the visualization, I don’t ever prepare anything. And I don’t, I don’t think at all. And it’s like, it just comes and it just comes out. And so when I’m with an individual client, I’ll frequently prepare, you know, like, I’ll turn on the work on zoom, and I’ll turn on the recording. And I’ll just record whatever comes out, and then I’ll send it to them in a video so that they can do it. Sometimes it takes more than one time, going through that experience and drawing and different drawings coming out in order to really fully let it go. And so I’ll record it for them just a completely unique experience, unique visualization, that’s, that’s just for them just about their particular situation. And they’ll, you know, they’ll draw it and then and then they’ll do it multiple times to really kind of fully flesh out whatever that whatever that thing that was hindering them was. Yeah,
man, that’s so great. I’m I’m just my mind is reeling with so many, like thoughts and questions about the whole thing. I’m like, this is so interesting. Okay, I, the question I’m gonna go with is what I think is what I think the audience needs to hear, which is, how did you turn this into a business? That sounds great, and like a beautiful life that we all want to live and like, be out of touch with ourselves, but like, you’re not just like, Hey, guys do this journaling, you’re like, Hey, I have a business. And I’ve seen your website, it’s well put together, right? So like, is a business? How did you do it? How did you turn it into a business?
Kelly Hopkins 40:39
Well, I got a business coach, number one, because that really was not my area of expertise at all. And so, to me, I really believe in getting the support that you need in order to actualize whatever your dreams are. And so for me, the the art part, and, and working with clients, and all of that comes very naturally, because I have the 26 years of social services, and then all the work that I was doing on my own with this, and with my neighbors, but how to turn that into a business. And I and, and I had previously in my life thought about being a life coach. And so that’s the umbrella that that my work comes under is life coaching. And I did a happiness coaching certification, because I really wanted to have a coaching certification, I also, you know, always been a very positive person and feel like no matter what, no matter how dark, the the moment is, or even the stuff that you have to work through, the goal is to is like, I believe that in our, in our authentic selves, we are positive, and we are joyful, and we are interested in, in, you know, being in touch with our sense of love and appreciation and gratitude and sharing. And so that’s the, from a coaching perspective, that was what I wanted to focus on was, was happiness and, and how to support people in that. And so I got the coaching certification. And then I looked into Well, how do people go about becoming a life coach beyond the certification piece, like the business part. And so I got a business coach, and I started, you know, looking at, at a lot of different ways to connect with people. And, and part of it is, you know, using social media, to get your message out there, I do a lot of videos, because I think that people like to, you know, be able to see you when you’re talking to them and, and, you know, hear from you and see you as a real person. And I started a Facebook group. So I can do work with people that were interested in my work, and they would know where to find me and where to find, you know, how to stay connected with me. And I just started out reaching for clients through those social media networks. And there’s also you can run ads on Facebook, and I started getting clients clients all over the world, because I have connections in Costa Rica and Brazil, and all throughout the US. And then I started getting clients from Australia and, you know, Canada. So it just kind of grew that way from from word of mouth, from social media. And with Facebook advertising, you can reach very far beyond your own networks. And, and that’s how that’s how my business grew.
Kelly Hopkins 43:37
I like there’s a lot of tech, which I’m not good at. But I like you have to have a lot you have to have? Well, no, like there’s a male thing, you know, Active Campaign handles, you know, emails, and then there’s a calendar one, and there’s one for payments, and there’s one for, you know, advertising. And so I got a lot of help from my business coach, and then and now I have a virtual assistant. And so she helps me with all the tech stuff. But again, I would highly recommend because many creative people are like me, and that’s not their strong suit. Reach out for that help, because that those things should not prevent you from creating a business out of your abilities, because somebody else has those abilities. And you can leverage them. You know, you don’t have to be able to do everything you can leverage, leverage other people’s abilities, and really focus on what do you have to contribute? What are your gifts and talents? And how can you translate them into something that somebody needs?
That is a great point. I feel like the number one thing that I’ve been talking to people about since COVID, shut down theater was the idea of how theater businesses are run and watching different theaters close and seeing like whom I wonder if they had handled it a different way would it have worked out differently, like, oh, what kind of a business? Are they? How do they do it. And I think that’s something that I’ve noticed from a lot of improv theaters, especially, but some, some, you know, theaters that do plays as well, is that, you know, the creative people are going in trying to do all the things like we were talking about the great work that they want to do all the things, but you are so right, you’ve got to find the people who have the skills and give them the job. I mean, it’s as kind as somebody hiring you to be the spokesperson, they can’t be the spokesperson, so they need you, because you’re real good at talking. And people like listening to you, right? And that’s a skill that you have. But this other guy, he’s great at accounting God, he wants to help somebody with some accounting. You know what I mean? Like, if only some cool person doing a cool project could call me and then I can work on that stuff, all this boring stuff. Right? Great, wonderful, right? Give them a job divided up in a way that’s like, not, you know, I think that’s, that’s something that certainly I and a lot of my theater friends have this chip on your shoulder feeling like you should know how to do everything. Feeling like that skill thing that we talked about, where it’s like, yeah, you learned that you have to, you know, do everything soup to nuts, you want to play, put it up, you got to write it, you got to get the costumes, you gotta get the place, you got to get the permit, like all the things right, you got to do it yourself. So this idea of asking for help. So hard to, like, break in to this sort of, like, fierce out, I can do everything kind of vibe is excellent.
Kelly Hopkins 46:51
Excellent. And I think you know, theater, people are also very collaborative. And so if you think about, if you reframe it that way, this is my you know, these are my, this is my team, this is my crew, you know, for this job for this, this, you know, production, this is the team, you know, because that’s really what it is that that you need, you need the gifts and talents of other people, especially when you’re an entrepreneur, you know, everyday kind of bleeds into the other one, and there’s no, there’s no shortage of work. So you’re going to have plenty of work, and you’re going to have, you’re going to need to stretch yourself. So you don’t need to worry about that. But for the parts that really, that you don’t like and or don’t know how to do, you know, because I like I remember one day, I spent like four hours trying to build a sales page. And then I just cried. I called my coach and I was like, I cried, I cried. And she’s like, Oh, my God, don’t do that. And she, she ended up putting together this training, where it was like, step by step. And for me and some of her other clients. And so, and then when I got my BA, I was able to give that to her, and she uses it also. But that idea that that you should do everything. I think when you when you run a business like to me every time I have to do something like that, I’m taking that energy away from the creative work, I’m taking that energy away from helping someone and I don’t want to do that. And there’s somebody else you can do. What I took me four hours to end up not being able to do in a puddle of tears. Somebody else can do in five minutes. You know? Yeah. A
slight change in topic, but of course related. What? Like you worked in social work. You did all this help for community building, and now you’re trying to help people heal themselves. With art What? What makes you want to help people like what inspires you and motivates you? to help other people? It seems like that’s your effort
Kelly Hopkins 48:53
all the time. My older brother, so I my older brother, when when we were little. My my mom was, as I think I mentioned earlier, she wasn’t super available. And my stepfather was not a nice person. And we moved from San Francisco to Maryland, which I also mentioned. And so my older brother, he’s four years older than me, actually to the day. And he’s always been my hero. But when we moved in during that time when I was particularly struggling, he got three jobs. He got a job as a dog walker, he’s nine years old dog walker, paper boy mowing lawns, and he would save all the money from these jobs. And then I have an older sister two years older named Michelle. And every two or three months he would either take Michelle or I out separately for what he called a special day. And he would take us out and he was nine years old and he I would sit on his bike seat, and he would stand on the pedals of his bike and he would Take me out, when we would go out for the whole day, we would sometimes we would go to ferals or we that was an ice cream place when I was little and or we would go out to miniature golf or to the movies. And he, you know, we would spend the whole day talking and, and he specifically called it a special day.
That’s so nice.
Kelly Hopkins 50:22
Yeah, well, he’s, he’s the most generous person that I’ve ever met in my life to this day. And he always thinks about how he can support other people. And so I’ve always that he’s always been my role model. And that sense of like, you know, when you like, we, we have a need and a an obligation and a responsibility to care for each other. Like, I got that from Billy. And I always think about that I always think about, you know, how, how can I contribute? How can I support other people, whether they’re personal friends, or clients or strangers, but I, I feel like that’s really the best way to be of service and to be part of the community. And I’ve always, that’s always the way that I’ve led my life because of my brother.
Man, and that is so amazing. I’m so glad that you had that brother and that you have that brother and yeah, he’s, he’s, they’re inspiring you. I hope he knows that. He inspires you. You know, like, cuz you have such a like, what an output like, with, with what he inspired you to do, you’re now like spreading that kindness and love to so many people all across the world. Like, that’s, that’s immense and amazing. I hope you continue your global, you know, connection with people because these days being globally connected is a lot easier. You know it Oh, yes. You know, not as crazy as it used to, as it used to be, it seems so much easier. Like, I’m right now I’m doing a in one of my little improv Facebook groups, there were like it was about it was about cooking is the improvisers who liked to cook. And they were like, do you guys want to meet somebody from across the world and give each other recipes to make? And I was like, Yeah, I do. So now let me ask this guy who lives in India are like swapping recipes to like, make in our house. And it’s like,
how can I connect you with this
random guy. And yet, somehow this like global connection is bringing people together, showing them, you know, that they can be friends and like, hang out and do cool things together. And, you know, be healed and work on art and and talk it through with a great life coach, like, so fun. So fun. You mentioned something earlier, too. And I wanted to say I wanted to talk about the business thing, because I think that’s really important, especially for my audience to hear. But also when you were talking about how, you know, you, you try to talk to them, talk to your people through you know, that your clients through like the experience that they went through and try to help them reconnect with their like, you know, the the true person that they are they the authentic self, sometimes to be honest with you, like when you said that, and immediately was like, Oh my God, that’s what I’m doing. Like, like when I do these interviews when I talk to people on the phone, and I talked to them about their whole life, about creativity. I love when we get moments like we’ve had in this conversation where you’re like, Oh, I had no idea that this play that I did, connects directly to what I’m doing now as a job. And like, this idea has been in my psyche for forever, right? Like, the patterns that you develop that that you realize that you’ve been putting out there to the world can only be revealed when you’re like talking to somebody else about it. Right? And that Yeah, like that’s a magic you are doing with your people. But like when you mentioned it, I was like, Oh my god, sometimes I feel like that happens with this conversation that I do. So like,
love it. It’s
like goosebumps so exciting. Yeah, yeah. Oh, I
Kelly Hopkins 54:42
completely agree. I think that that’s the you know, conversation is such a therapeutic healing tool. And and having this type of I mean, the way that you run your your show is so fluid and and far reaching and usually when people I’ve done a lot of podcasts, and it’s pretty cookie cutter. And and it’s kind of the same questions. And so the way that you do this really allows for people to discover things, because it’s it’s very fluid and very, you know, you’re you’re, you’re kind of following the flow of their lives. And so that allows, in the same way that the work that I do allows for people to make discoveries because of the of the structure that you’re using. It’s really good.
Totally, man, I love it. I love being on the same page with my
Kelly Hopkins 55:33
guests. This is a great conversation.
Oh, man. All right. So we have been talking for a good long time. You’re fabulous. I’ve enjoyed chatting with you. But my final question that I want to ask you, is, you know, if a person listening to this is like, this is how I want to help people I have these skills. I mean, like, what would you tell them to empower them to, you know, create, and an art group like yours, or use these kinds of exercises? You know, what advice do you have for these people?
Kelly Hopkins 56:09
Well, and I think it’s, you know, really, anyone, any creative person could devise a method of supporting people with their creativity, that, you know, could be very much turned into a business. And so what, what I would say, and this is kind of my experience, both when I was doing the community building work, and when I created my coaching business, when we started our community building work, we were building a brand new model, and, and we didn’t know what the hell we were doing, and we just failed and failed and failed. And, and I didn’t, I didn’t, I didn’t have such a far reaching thing when I started my art group. But I would recommend starting, like, don’t just think about it, because you really can’t create, and I’m sure your audience does this, because they’re artists, you can’t create by thinking about it, I would start but start really small, you know, don’t don’t quit your day job and like, try to try to start something, you know, a business from the start, I would start something small, in your spare time. And start, first of all, kind of looking at at your own self? And what what have you used creativity to support yourself with? Maybe what have you used creativity to help your friends with? And what what how does that translate into something that many people might need? And how could you practice that? You know, either with yourself or with yourself and friends, or, you know, neighbors, or, or some small group of people to really work? Because that’s what I did I really worked through what the hell is this with my neighbors, you know, I know I want to heal, I know, I have the skillsets. But I don’t know what this looks like. And we were just, it was almost like play, you know, every Tuesday morning at 830. They come over and you know, I’d get to play with them. And with art. And and so, you know, really kind of take some time to improvise around with your skill set with your ideas about how it could be useful and helpful to others. Also, think about who you like to work with, you know, do you like to work with kids? Do you like teenagers? Do you like to work with adults, men or women, you know, what kinds of problems that people have? Because usually, a business is created to solve a problem that someone has. And so if you can figure out what kind of people do you like to work with? What kind of problems do they have that your creativity could help them solve? And then try to work out, you know, a structure and a system in a small way, and then try to build it from there, that would be my advice.
Totally. This is great. I feel like I just got a free life coaching session. And it’s just great advice. Just even just the idea of opening yourself up to like actualizing what your own skills are, it is such a big deal that we all need to recognize and one hopes that the shutdowns involved in this past year have given some people some time to realize what they want to do and and how they want to do it. You know, I have a lot of friends who had just spent so much downtime that they had major realizations about like, Oh yeah, I know I can never do this one job that I had been doing ever again because it’s just not the kind of lifestyle I want to lead anymore. And it’s like, it’s crazy how like big deal things can shake you out of your this is what I got to do. This is what I got to do. This is The only way I can do it, you know, and then something crazy happens. And you’re like, Oh, I had no idea that the world could be seen in a different way. Man, but to do this work for yourself, this creativity work, you know, like, there’s a lot of creativity work that’s out there that people will suggest that you do in the artist way and all that some of it’s just like so heavy. And you’re like, ah, I could do that. But I like the idea of this, like expressing your feelings through art. Like, that’s fun. That’s cool. That’s my project tomorrow with my kiddo. I’ll tell you what. Like, for sure, he’s he doesn’t do art very often. And I’m always like, I’m always like, Yeah, let’s do some drawing. And he’s like, Yeah,
So I’m like, Alright, what can we do? What do you like, you know, how can we work it out? But, but yeah, man, it has been a such a great chat with you, Kelly. I have really enjoyed talking to you. And I’m so glad that you came on the podcast and just shared your career path with my audience, because I feel like it is a path that I have not yet discussed. And it is so just spot on with every person who listens to this and the whole vibe of, you know, creativity in this podcast. So thank you so much.
Kelly Hopkins 1:01:28
Oh, you’re so welcome. Thank you for having me on. I really, like you said, I had a realization that that is important in this conversation. So thank you. Yeah.
I am just like, still soaking it up. I’m you. That’s your
You’re so good.
I really enjoyed my time with you, for sure. You’re you this conversation has been, you know, really wonderful and, and a great. I feel like it’s just exactly what people need right now to like, as far as like. The unfortunate part about COVID shutting down theaters, is a lot of people are giving it up. A lot of people like the no up can’t do it. Not a thing anymore. Like No, no, no,
hang on, hang
on, stick with it. You never know. You can do theater even when they don’t pay you other things, you know, but this like, conversation that we’ve had about really connecting with your own personal skills, what do you bring to the table? And then what do you want to do with that? And then building your team to accomplish it? I mean, chefs kiss for sure. It’s just like exactly it’s like on point I hope you make millions. Thanks for listening to Yes But Why Podcast. Check out all our episodes on yesbutwhypodcast.com or check out all the content on our network HC Universal at HCUniversalNetwork.com