CG | Episode 35 - Roxanne Willems, Artist - Rising from the Embers

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Canadian Visual Artist Roxanne Willems was raised in a fundamentalist religious community that taught her her value in life was limited to serving her husband and children. She joins us today for a brave conversation about how with 4 young children, she found the courage to leave her family and community, how they ostracized her for it, and how she went on to set herself free from the limiting beliefs that had been the only thing keeping her prisoner all along. 


Canadian Visual Artist Roxanne Willems was raised in a fundamentalist religious community that taught her her value in life was limited to serving her husband and children. 

She joins us today for a brave conversation about how with 4 young children, she found the courage to leave her family and community, how they ostracized her for it. She tells us about how she ended up falling into a violent second marriage on the heels of that and how she ultimately set herself free from the limiting beliefs that had been the only thing keeping her prisoner all along. 

 Whether we believe we have enough or not, truly comes down to what we think - our thoughts are so powerful. Our mindset can be the difference between happiness and misery, joy or suffering. And so much of our mindset is inherited from the world around us which, unfortunately, is brimming with toxic limiting beliefs when it comes to things like what is possible for our lives, forgiveness, self worth, creativity,  happiness, abundance, love & joy in favour of damaging, paralyzing beliefs that centre around fear, power, and survival. 

It is possible though to break through the shell of our limiting beliefs to create something that is based on trust, fulfillment, generosity, joy, intuition and creativity.   

Roxanne worked hard to rewire her brain after years of being taught her life was only for serving others. 

Shares the thing she had to let go of that not only saved her life but led her to create a thriving career as an artist and a life that is filled with genuine abundance and happiness.  


-Developing a deep trust with the universe

-Everything in the universe is in a constant state of being primed for healing

-How she rewired her brain, neutralizing limiting beliefs that were the root cause of her minimizing herself

-Recognizing, examining and neutralizing harmful limiting beliefs (and how she did that)

-Real talk about the inevitable pitfalls along any transformative journey (and how to deal with them) 

-Learning to live from a place of grounded trust as opposed to fear, flight, flight and freeze

-What she had to let go of to truly step into a place of joyful curiosity that not only saved her life but led her into a life with a thriving career as a full time artist

There is this beautiful thing that happens when you have nothing to lose anymore - when failure is just not even an option



Recovering from fundamentalist religions

Domestic Violence Resources Canada 

Violence against women


Melody Beattie Codependent no more

Resources for Co-dependency



Kate Shepherd and Roxanne Willems 

Whether we believe we have enough or not. Truly comes down to what we think.

Our thoughts are so powerful. Our mindset can be the difference between happiness and misery. Joy. Or suffering. And so much of our mindset is inherited from the world around us. Which unfortunately is brimming with toxic limiting beliefs when it comes to things like what is possible for our lives. Forgiveness. Self-worth. Creativity. Happiness. Abundance and love. In favor of more damaging paralyzing beliefs that center around fear, power and survival.

But it is possible to break through the shell of our limiting beliefs. To create something that is based on trust, fulfillment. Generosity. Intuition joy. And creativity.

Canadian visual artist, Roxanne Williams was raised in a fundamentalist religious community that taught her, her value in life was limited to serving her husband. And her children. She joins us today for a brave conversation, about how with four young children. She found the courage to leave her family and community.

How she ended up falling into a violent second marriage on the heels of that. And how she ultimately set herself free from the limiting beliefs that had been the only thing really keeping her prisoner all along. Roxanne worked hard to rewire her brain. After years of being taught her life was not hers.

She shares the thing she had to let go of that not only saved her life. That led her to create a thriving career as an artist. And a life that is filled with genuine abundance and happiness. We talk about how she did it. Including how to recognize the inevitable pitfalls along any transformative journey. And how to deal with them.

I wanted to say a few things before we get into the show today, for the people listening to this who are having a hard time.

You know, almost everyone I've talked to in the last couple of weeks has shared that they're really struggling with something. And the common theme seems to be around getting stuff done. Making it happen. Getting there.

I think it's possible that part of this is seasonal. You know, it's winter right now for a lot of the world. And that's a time of stillness and not growing. It's a time of deep rest. Integration, recalibration. Gathering of strength, gathering of wisdom, gathering of our intelligence. And I think in contrast with the energy we're supposed to have around a new year where we're supposed to be. Creating resolutions and thinking of all the things I'm going to do differently. And. Getting going.

The truth is January is actually a terrible time, at least for half the world to be trying to start new things. It's just not what nature's doing right now. Nature's in a deep restorative, quiet introspective, restful time. And to try to fight against that is like trying to pull two rare earth magnets apart.

It's really hard.

ran into a fellow soccer mom on the field the other night, as we picked up our sons from a Sunday night game. For several years, leading up to the pandemic. We would always sit on the sidelines and I was wanting to be friends with her then COVID hit and it really prevented us from being able to, to bond into a friendship.

So running into her. The other day was really great. I always light up when I see her and she always lights up when she sees me. So out of the floodlights, in the Misty rain , we shared a little bit about what was going on for us.

She asked me how I was doing. And I kind of just gave her that , I don't know how to answer that question anymore. Look.

And she tells her head and she said to me, Do you feel like in this quasi post COVID world? Cause it's not over. But also the emergency is not happening anymore. Do you feel like you just don't know how to do all the things anymore. And my shoulders just relaxed and I kinda slumped a little bit. And there was this deep. Yes, I felt. That she had named something. That I didn't even know I was struggling with.

So I've been reflecting on her questions , you know, we had this forced period of rest for a number of years. But that rest wasn't from a place of deep easeful rest. It was like, you know, you've got fight and flight and freeze. the rest we were in over those years, I feel like was a freeze rest.

We couldn't fight. There was nothing really to fight in our individual lives. We couldn't flight. We literally weren't allowed to leave. And I think most of us just sort of froze. And this freezing isn't the same as resting. I wanted to just name that because I feel like where we are collectively right now.

Is in this thawing out time, you know, we were in this global freeze in this pandemic. We spent two years with our nervous systems on high alert, but not being able to go anywhere. It wasn't restful w we were frozen, but it wasn't restful. And when we start to come out of this freeze. We're not thawed right away.

It's a process. And it's a process that has to happen slowly. So I want to say that out loud for anybody who's finding themselves needing to still be in a deep period of rest. Or is maybe in the beginning stages of a great thought of their own. And needing to hear a loving voice saying it's okay, that you're not super productive right now.

It's okay. That you don't know the vision. It's okay. That you don't remember how you used to do things. It's okay. That you don't really have a clear path forward. It's okay. If you haven't figured it out. It's okay. It's all. Okay. You're where you need to be.

And spring is coming.

I want to tell you a little bit more about this conversation with Roxanne. She's from the prairies of Canada. She shares with us how she went from being a single mom in a fundamentalist Mennonite community. Where she was taught that her personal needs wants desires, just weren't even really a thing.

And in fact was taught that as a woman, it was her only job to serve her husband and her children. She shares with us how she navigated getting herself out of that situation.

The thing that really, struck me. So powerfully about Roxanne. Is her. Deep attitude of gratitude. Her deeply positive outlook on life. Her whole being seems to be steeped in a very big picture gratitude, and it seems to be woven through everything she thinks and feels and does. I believe that it's, that actually pulled her through a lot of the really incredible difficult things that she's had to go through in this lifetime.

A little bit of a trigger. Warning goes along with this episode, she references some domestic violence. She also references a murder that, , affected her family when she was growing up. We don't get into any details at all, but I just didn't want you to be surprised by that when that comes up.

A little behind the scenes for you here today. You know, I don't know if you know this, but I spend about 20 to 25 hours producing. Each episode. I do things like outreach to guests, researching the guests and their work in the world. Preparing for, and then conducting the interviews. I spend tons of time in post-production editing, creating transcripts, writing newsletters, website, copy, social media. There are also a lot of hard costs that come along with doing this, you know, web hosting and podcast hosting and editing software and equipment. . And as you know, I do this out of a passion and love there's nobody paying me to do this. And I am an artist and a single mom, you know, I've been working hard to get my self back on my feet. After I left a marriage in the middle of COVID. And I don't have an outside sponsor that little commercial you here in the middle of each episode is for my very own little jewelry company. Morning, moon nature, jewelry.

I think maybe it might be easy to just hear the show and think, oh, somebody's paying for that. And, uh, and there they are, but it's me. This show is helping so many people around the world, reconnect with their creativity and feel less alone. We're impacting lives here and enacting change. And I feel that we're on a rising wave.

This is important work. And when you choose to support me, Not only as a Patreon, but also by buying my work, you know, my jewelry or my artwork. You're contributing to something that has such a positive impact on others. And I believe. On humanity as a whole.

When you become a Patrion, which you can do for starting at $5 Canadian a month. You get access to a growing library of bonus Patreon, only content I do bonus episodes and worksheets and journal prompts. You're also helping me pay for all the things that will ensure that I can keep going with the show.

And every time a new person joins the Patrion, you should see the smile that washes over me. So if you've been thinking about doing it. . Please consider doing so. You can find out everything you need to know on genius podcast. And I'm thrilled today to read this review for you.

This comes all the way from Australia, from an artist that I've admired for a very long time. Her name is Ange Miller. You might know her. She's an incredible source of light and. Positive energy and beautiful artwork and deep soulful wisdom. She knows so much about intuition and how it works. She's an incredible teacher.

I interviewed her a couple of weeks ago. Her episode is coming up actually on the show. And so when I logged in today to see what new reviews there were, I was thrilled to see that she'd left one a couple of days ago and she wrote, oh Kate I can't thank you enough for this generous Providence of thought and wisdom. My house work practically does itself. I'm completely absorbed, delighted and soothed by the flow of expensive ideas and conversation. You feel like a sister to me by now. Thank you for that. Ange thank you for that. My sister, I know you're listening. I love you. I can't wait for your episode. And to everybody listening, take a minute right now to forward a link to creative genius podcast to a friend or a family member as you're listening today. , we're organic and grassroots and, , there's not a big marketing budget. You're my marketing. So let's get this out there to as many ears as possible.

And help other people feel less alone and more connected to this amazing energy that's already inside of them. And now I'm delighted to introduce you to our guests today. Roxanne Willems.

Kate Shepherd: [00:00:00] Welcome Roxanne. I'm so happy that you're here

Roxanne Willems: I am pumped to be here. Thank you for having me.

Kate Shepherd: Where are you coming at US from today?

Roxanne Willems: In the prairies I'm close to Saskatoon.

Kate Shepherd: For people who are just joining us today and maybe even for us, for setting, the context of this conversation, I wanna share my intent for this show. It really came from this yearning that I saw in people after many years of being an artist and being approached by, either new friends or customers or any, anybody really who would meet me and find out that I'm an artist and they would say, I wish I had that in me. I wish I, and then the sadness that immediately kind of settles over the person and the sadness is because they're disconnecting themselves from something that in truth is inside of them. . When I say creativity, I don't mean painting with a paintbrush or art thing.

Yes, it includes those things, but I'm more referring to. This internal intelligence that we have that isn't our rational mind, cuz we do have a nice rational mind in the day to day. But we [00:01:00] have this other

Depth. We have this intelligence that I call creativity that is our inner gps.

It's our source of inspiration. It's where lyrics to songs come from and ideas about colors to put together and gut instinct and innovation and curiosity and all these things. They're absolutely required for us to function properly as humans. But because we've mounted this pile , , of these limiting beliefs around creativity, and we inherit them from the world around us who can be good?

Who has it in them, who can be good at it, who's allowed to access it, who's allowed to even dare to be weird or different , there's this sort of narrative that following those little whispers inside you is at the very least weird and foolish, but is probably actually really dangerous and could make your whole life fall apart.

And so you probably just shouldn't do it. So there's all this fear around allowing themselves to explore and cultivate their creativity.

When I saw what it was about, I was like, oh my God, I may need to reorient my whole [00:02:00] entire life to be about helping as many people as I can in this lifetime reconnect with the truth about creativity, which is that it is in all of us, and that considering how much we're glitching without it, I maintain and I feel stronger about this every day, that it actually is the most important work we could do on the face of the earth before we try to fix any of the environmental stuff before we try to fix any of the addictions and if we don't mend this

Roxanne Willems: Mm-hmm.

Kate Shepherd: we ha that we have broken with this part of ourselves. there really is no point in doing anything else. And so that's what this

conversation is about. I wanna talk to people like you who have had big life experiences informed by this. It's a trusting relationship, right? That we create with this thing, with this intelligence, this living, breathing thing that's inside of us.

Who are you creatively and what is your work like, and what did you study in school? Tell us a little bit about you.

Roxanne Willems: I've always been an artist. [00:03:00] My number one form of creativity has always been in music. I started piano lessons when I was four. I ended up teaching piano in my twenties when my kids were little. And I've always been in, , some choir or some band it was huge, huge part of my.

and the circumstances kind of changed and I was asked to put that to the back burner for a while. I have had some pretty large traumatic experiences in my life. Big events when I think about where my art has taken me and what my relationship with art is now, and creativity.

It has been such a healing thing , one of the most invaluable things in my life. I can't imagine my life without it.

Kate Shepherd: when you were a kid, and the outlet for you was music was that because that was what was going on around you and was there a point where you're like, actually I prefer paint and art supplies and do you remember when that shift happened?

Roxanne Willems: In 2019, I was in a job, that sucked the [00:04:00] life right out of me. It was complete opposite of who I am. Looking back now, I go, oh, no wonder.

I was in finances for a lot of years, , and I know that works for a lot of people, but it doesn't really work with my brain.

Kate Shepherd: You find yourself there? How did that, how did that happen?

Roxanne Willems: There's always, a trace of who you really are. It's just always in you, right?, it creeps up into little ways. I had four kids in five years, in my twenties.

I started teaching piano when my kids were really little I had a business sewing handbags and making different kinds of things out of recycled material.

So that was my art at that period. I was in the Globe and Mail and mail some of my bags made into a movie called Scott Pilgrim versus the World. It was wild. It was just, like how did that happen to a little girl in Saskatchewan, I grew up in a really, when I say religious it's like a Stone's t throwaway from Amish kind of thing. Very fundamental. When I was 29, my youngest was very, young and I had this kind of a, I don't know if you wanna call it a spiritual [00:05:00] awakening or, what.

, it came alongside with me wanting to leave my kids' dad. And that was not acceptable in that community and within my family. So I was ostracized basically left to care for myself, , and my poor children.

I knew during that time that I would need to find a home for my kids.

And I knew I would need, , a regular job. Something that was going to take care and provide for my kids. My friends recommended, , this local credit union it was. . So good for me to learn all of that, those life skills, it did provide a wonderful income for me and my four children, we moved to a new community. We started from scratch. We lived in this tiny little house. It was 700 square feet. It was, , the five of us. ,

Kate Shepherd: I wanna just pause for just one second to say that I think it's so important to underline, I think a lot of the time the nar, the [00:06:00] story is like, Oh, I, I do, I, was creative as a kid and then I went off my path and I had this job that I, whatever wasn't, didn't fit my soul for my whole life.

And then I found my way back and it's really easy to throw the baby out with the bathwater, and be like that whole. job, but actually like when you look back, if you're careful and you're looking carefully, you see, oh my God, not only did I, the probably the support network of your, your office

Roxanne Willems: yes.

Kate Shepherd: were probably like moral support

Roxanne Willems: Oh,

big time.

Kate Shepherd: The money, the paycheck, the steadiness, the education you got about how to go on and then run your own business. Like, I just wanted to pause and say , , like, it's not all about, like, I feel like there is some sort of divine intervention even. in the times we feel like we're not on our

Roxanne Willems: Absolutely. Yes, , in those years, I was like I will do whatever it takes. And I was so grateful for the job and for the opportunities and all the things that I learned. I really, I really, was

Kate Shepherd: Was creativity still whispering to you at that time?

Roxanne Willems: [00:07:00] When I worked at the credit union, our branch manager, bless his soul, he, saw this, ridiculously creative person in this environment and he actually gave me some really great jobs. In addition to, , learning the basics of financial planning.

Like we now have a, branch newspaper that RS is gonna interview everybody and put together this, , beautiful graphic designed news, , just like stuff like that . He was so good to me. It was amazing.

Everybody's creative, right? Like we all have it in us, and it's, it's just a way of how you use it. It's not necessarily throwing paint on a canvas. It's, problem solving. It's like your creative brain comes up with solutions and comes up with different ideas and it's just, it's, it's in you every single day, and, so no matter where I was, I could use that, does that make sense?

Kate Shepherd: Yeah.

Totally makes

sense. . So you're at the credit union and you're doing all these amazing things. You've got this great boss. Your kids are getting bigger.

I'm guessing that there's something kind of

Roxanne Willems: Mm-hmm. .Mm-hmm.

Kate Shepherd:

that wants, [00:08:00] what's the next step?

What, what was the next step?

Roxanne Willems: The, next step was actually was getting remarried. I had a, a brief second marriage that ended up being really traumatic.

, there was a point, where I asked my children to grab a backpack one night and we have to leave this home and we can't come back.

We ended up going to my parents who took me in, and I was so grateful that at this point my relationship with them was feeling a lot more strong. They were so good to us. But for the next year or two, I will say, it was just I was in absolute survival mode.

Kate Shepherd: Mm-hmm.

Roxanne Willems: my nervous system really, really, really took a toll at this point. , I was living with complex ptsd, sleeping two to three hours a night. I'm, I'm really, really, really, really scared. , I was in that high adrenaline every single day.[00:09:00]

kate_shepherd: Was

Kate Shepherd: it leftover fear or was it, were you still in danger during the that time?

Roxanne Willems: I was in danger.

The reason why I feel like I need to still have this part of my story is because it, affected me so deeply, right? Like my nervous system, my mind, everything, all of those things needed deep healing from, , the trauma that I had been through. I had been through

Basically 13 years of conventional therapy.

Roxanne Willems: In 2019 I needed to leave my job my body basically just shut down. It shut down from , 17 years of single parenting, basically these four kids and just trying to survive, right?

Just in survival mode. And, and I really went into a place where I, I couldn't function anymore. I couldn't go to work. And yet, , I still, wanted to be here.

Kate Shepherd: You're still breathing and you've still got bills to pay and [00:10:00] you've still, , you'realive. And even, single parenting through trauma, like not just that, but also the, even though your mother was very wonderful and loving and gave you the arts, but that was also.

There was some trauma probably involved in that. I, always feel like, we come into this world with this, deep love and deep intelligence inside of us, and our job is to express it as much as we can. And then we get put into these situations and it's just, being human where there's trauma. I live in a very peaceful home, a single mother now, and that's why .as well. But there's still, I'm, I'm, I don't mean to laugh about it, but you have to kind of like, uh, I'm accidentally traumatizing my children every day, not letting them do whatever, Every, and it's, and it's relative, but, so, but for you, came into this world in a, in, in a way that there were such stronger, like so, so much stronger rules around what was okay and what wasn't okay From the get-go. So you're already right away in a prison and then you end up.

Roxanne Willems: Yep.

Kate Shepherd: Going through, just

the physical trauma, I can't, I have two children.

I can't imagine having four in such a short period of time. So there's the physical trauma of that on top of the fact that you're in this relationship that's really abusive and

terrifying. and then, and

Roxanne Willems: Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm.

Kate Shepherd: so, you know what?

There's a light bulb moment. You realize you have to, you, you get out and you're safe and your there.

But now there's the, the healing and the, so where was your creativity in all of that I feel like that voice must have been, cuz for all of us, that is the presence that

guides us through that And, we can talk about it like it's God walking beside you or whatever, the universe or the, but. We're all pointing to the same thing. There's presence that walks beside you and in inside you. At the

Roxanne Willems: Mm-hmm.

Kate Shepherd: traumas, you're still breathing, you're still there,

you still have to keep going. Where, what was your creativity saying to you and all that? Can you, when you look back, you, can you remember.

Roxanne Willems: It, it was telling me that, that who I was, was not a, an accumulation of trauma. That who I was[00:12:00]

Kate Shepherd: Hmm.

Roxanne Willems: was so divinely beautiful. and so powerful and so loving, and that who I really was, in essence, my core being was love and light, and I still had so much life to give and to live and, and it was, it's, it was still in me. I could feel that flicker the Burning embers, which I have painted about, , they were still there.

And, I literally could feel the force from the source energy just kind of blowing on those embers saying, we're gonna build here, we're gonna build, you're gonna come back, you're gonna rise

Looking back, it, felt like such a fluke. But I, pulled out some paints and I hadn't painted in so long, but I was just, I had these craft paints from the [00:13:00] dollar store, I think, and I just started. I'm not even kidding. I'm just like, I'm, I'm pouring them on the canvas and I'm just like, I don't know.

This looks fun. You know what, what would happen if I did this? What would happen if I did this? I was not working in a conventional job at the time. I was. I am done. I am all done with the world right now. I am just here in this moment.

I'm gonna be here with these craft paints and I'm gonna see what happens and not thinking anything was going to come of this, like literally nothing. I was just practicing being in that moment just healing myself with color and with. I didn't wanna live in a world that I didn't wanna wake up to, that I felt overwhelmed in, or that I felt like I couldn't be myself. I couldn't live there anymore. It was, I was all done with that, and I just, I literally threw everything out the window and said [00:14:00] I have to reach for something that makes me feel.

I, I have to reach for something that makes me feel joyful and alive. And, and in that moment it was throwing craft paint on a canvas .

Kate Shepherd: I love that.

Were there, were there things that you had to allow

yourself to. Either do differently or be with differently. That allowed you to step into that place of joyful curiosity and unknown. Cuz I, I think for a lot of us, that's a

really hard place to find.

And it sounds like through series of, of serendipitous events, you, you found yourself here with the almost, you didn't surrender. Were surrendered, And I know that sometimes you kind of can come

to from those moments and go oh, and then

how do I do that again? Were there

specific things that you had to consciously learn how to allow yourself to do differently in order to be in that kind of more open, receptive flow state

Roxanne Willems: Definitely a lot of curiosity And this is cute. My daughter used to say [00:15:00] she had this little lisp, but when she was little and she used to say what, but if she used to say that a little, what, but if this mom, what, what? But if this, now I use that. What? What if I did this? Just, what if I did this? There is. , beautiful thing that happens when you have nothing to lose anymore. Like failure is just not even an option.

I felt like I had failed on literally every single side of me. I was like, there's why not? Why not? What have I got to lose? Just go for it. Just go for.

Being raised in a really, really conservative town that I was raised in, okay. It's like a thousand people. We're, Mennonites. One of my friends who I grew up with now lives in Vancouver and he is married to a dentist and they are doing amazing.

He is following me on Facebook as I'm, , oh, look what I made today. Haha. It's so cute. This is fun. He says to me, and he's purchased a lot of artwork in his lifetime already, [00:16:00] and he says, is, are people buying this? What, what are you doing over there? I . I'm like, no, no man. This is just for fun.

And he goes you're good. I said, I really appreciate it. He goes, no, I'm, I'm serious rocks. You need to listen to me. You are good. That painting that you painted, I, I want to purchase it.

I said, uh, absolutely. He goes, do you know what you're gonna charge me? I said, no. I don't know what I'm gonna charge you. He goes, I'm going to tell you what. I'm gonna pay for that. And after that, you're never gonna take anything. . He's just the best. Oh, he's so amazing.

He pays me $300 for this painting and I was like, , bless your heart. He goes, did you put your heart and your soul into this painting? Said, dude, you have no idea. . This is my heart and soul. This is giving me life right now. This is making me want to be alive. This wakes me up in the morning and makes me want to be on the planet and [00:17:00] it's everything my heart and soul are, is in this painting.

And he said, that's worth everything. He said. Rocks don't, don't ever look down on what you're doing or, or not feel like it's valuable because it's incredibly valuable. The world needs more people like you. . So that was my first sale. a life-changing moment.

Kate Shepherd: As you were saying that, I wondered what that felt like for you.

What did that feel like in your body?

Roxanne Willems: that's a great question. It, felt like I was creating new pathways for my, body to learn I. just glad to be alive It was almost like there was this whole other part of my brain that I could just open up and shed light on and just go, oh, I can use this now. . It was so exciting.

Along with this period, I was doing intensive Reiki sessions as well, [00:18:00] so. I am opening up my healing, some deep wounds inside of me, and my energy is just shifting, shifting, shifting, and cleaning out. I'm just, I'm vibrating on a different level, and it was just, it was all just a very magical time, know?

And I don't really feel like I'm out of it.

Kate Shepherd: My impression from listening to you is that. You probably spent most of your life in, there's like

fight and flight and freeze, right?

And I feel like you probably spent quite a bit of your life

in a freeze

state and your

rational mind

and your protectors were

like on full guard and keeping you safe and keeping you, and you were in

you. so many

go through were.


Just basic survival. And so

when you come out of that, when we're lucky enough to still be breathing

at the end of those experiences, uh, and you have an opportunity, like I think our,

we're hooked up to heal. We [00:19:00] are primed for healing. It is everything in our psyche and in our bodies and the whole universe is primed for healing at any given time.


That's just a rule like gravity.

And so when you can take away the emergency, the

healing almost

floods in. And so when I, the image I was getting when you were sharing that was

There was a

thawing out,

Of all that survival stuff and then this

blossoming of your creativity.

And I think

that's, important to. Know, if you're


through something like that, is that you don't have to worry

about holding onto that

or it going away, because once that

thawing out happens,

that's kind of your new


now. And so if you're, if you're listening to this right now and you, I just, I feel

like that is important to say, cuz I think a lot of the

Roxanne Willems: Yep.

Kate Shepherd: we've had so much trauma,

we're always waiting for

the other suit to drop.

But when that opening. happens. It's open now. Like you have that pathway is yours. It's been trying to reach you and and actually never left You,[00:20:00]

Roxanne Willems: Mentioned something earlier about the relationship really depends on, . And that's, that is a huge part of what I was establishing during that time too, when I was seven, my first cousin, was murdered and broad daylight and by nobody that she knew

This event had affected my family. So deeply, and what I came to realize through my reiki sessions and through everything was that as a seven year old, I just believe that people just randomly kill each other. Now. That's what, that's what happens on earth. And it like, it's, crazy to say out loud, but that's, kind of what your system believes when something like that happens.

Kate Shepherd: Sure.

That makes perfect sense to me. Yep.

Roxanne Willems: So part of this whole healing time , when I took a lot of time to rest and do things that I enjoyed was developing a relationship with the universe that was built on trust and a faith [00:21:00] that I would be safe, that my kids would be safe.

That, the universe. Fact that things were working for me and not against me. This is when my mantra practice started and my meditation practice. And I really, had to start looking deeply at my belief system and how I viewed the world and how I viewed, , what I could hope for in life.

And, all of those things really, I just wanted to put them all on the table and go. What do I know and what do I wanna know for my future? Because whatever was happening , that is not going to define me. That is things that happen to me, but it won't be my final chapter. This is not how I'm going down, I just refused to let that happen.

So, Pouring all of my energy into, meditation and, filling my mind. Podcast after podcast, of, what a hopeful, bright, beautiful future could look like, and, learning to trust myself.

Kate Shepherd: A lot of the stuff that [00:22:00] I've even personally done, around reprogramming, cuz I had a very

traumatic childhood as well.

Traumas trauma , for the


In some ways it almost doesn't know. And I've

had a really hard time on.

those things. , and

of that mantras and meditation and but so I'm curious for you, , what are the things that you feel like maybe

the needle the most for you in examining and neutralizing limiting beliefs that were

really harmful to you?


as a separate question. Were the biggest obstacles.

Because you've done it, I it's so clear that you're just radiating this joy and this, , Transcended your past and you, you've made that statement that

you, that this isn't gonna define me.

You've done that. And so how did you do that?

Roxanne Willems: I'm blessed with being an Aries , so I'm a real go-getter. I got a lot of fire in me

I'm grateful for that, , cuz it's like I'm a real, like a fire starter, let's get things going and maybe I'm a little impulsive sometimes, so I will take risks when maybe[00:23:00] some other people won't. Because I'm gonna bet that this is gonna work out

Obstacles have been my own belief system that I'm not worthy. One of the things that I was taught as a child was that. success as a woman was just really all wrapped up in serving your husband and serving your children.

And so creating an identity apart from that was huge. I have had major co-dependent issues in the past, I really love to, help fix everybody else's life.

But when I. , really want to change my own. It felt really uncomfortable to do that those messages of being selfish that's really not your place as a woman. Those things came up really strong. . So I basically just had to practice ignoring them

I'm not a real big fan of that, fake it till you make it kind of thing. But it's like going to the gym and you don't want to, it's just I know this is good for me and I have to practice this is something I want.

and it feels wrong, and my body's [00:24:00] going, Nope, you're being selfish. Nope, this is too big. It's too risky. This isn't gonna work for you. Too bad because in the big picture, if I only have 10 more years to live, I know that this is what I wanna do. This is how I want to spend my energy. I have to use my creativity today , and hopefully every.

Kate Shepherd: , I feel like what you've just. Said is really important, and I wanna go back and underline it there's identifying your limiting beliefs and the things about you that you don't necessarily wanna carry forward. And then , there can be sort of a stagnancy of but that's just who I am and that's how I was raised and that's how I was built and that's my personality but then there's this other. Thing that came up in inside you that we're gonna do something differently and then here's what I wanna be. And I think a lot of

where we're like, here's what I wanna be. And then we get

stuck because we're like, why isn't it happening? And I think what you are saying is possibly. and I may be putting some words in your mouth, but that [00:25:00] the thing that may, that could get you stuck would be

being willing to feel the discomfort as

worlds. As you leave the old

and step into the new world, you, you can't really step into the new world until you're really willing to feel that discomfort.

Roxanne Willems: that resonates deep. Exactly. I'm a big fan of talking about ourselves as if we are like energy fields and using momentum, and I can tell when my momentum's dying and when it's kind of. just plateaued or going backwards maybe. And it's oh, we're going back into those beliefs.

Now we're going back into things that I'm all alone. Nobody supports me. I'm just here fighting against the world, me against the world. But those kind of things will come up for me often if I let them.

Kate Shepherd: And they do have an energetic imprint, right? Those thoughts, even if you just sit here, even if all of us sat here right now and said what does my energy

feel like when I'm accepting the [00:26:00] situation that I'm in? , whatever it is that I'm sitting in a chair and I'm late for the meeting that I'm going to, or that

Roxanne Willems: Hmm.

Kate Shepherd: it is.

The situation that you're in right now versus what does it feel like to rail

against that? there's an energetic imprint and you so you can start to get

familiar when you're sliding back into one of your old familiar


Roxanne Willems: That is, how I've, I'm such a visual learner and that is how I visualize myself. You have this powerful train. This much, I know that I am a powerful generator. I can manifest things like crazy.

Kate Shepherd: How do you, you do it? I wanna know

Roxanne Willems: right.

Kate Shepherd: inquiring minds, wanna know , what's the how of that?

Roxanne Willems: Honestly, it feels like this, like you just said, this deep acceptance of what is, but also getting into a place where I believe that I already have this, I will tell myself. that I am rich, I am abundant. I live in luxury. And you know what? This sounds funny because if you actually saw my [00:27:00] house or you saw my, medium grade, everything, a lot of people might question those things,

In who I am, I actually feel really, really rich. If I would ask my grandma who lived 103 years over three centuries, 1899, , 2001, . She would say, I live in luxury. She lived in the side of a hill. She was hauling water for miles. Our perspective means a lot.

I do really believe that, magic can happen every single day if you want to find it.

Kate Shepherd: When I think about where you came from

and where you

are in this moment now, what a transformation, right?

Roxanne Willems: right?

Kate Shepherd: at, look at, and if you're ever feeling like something's not possible, I feel like we just need to listen to your story and be like, no

Roxanne Willems: That's right.

Kate Shepherd: Everything is


Roxanne Willems: , that's something I tell myself when I'm afraid to use my voice because all those, limiting beliefs that I might have around saying the wrong thing or I was pretty [00:28:00] nervous to do this, maybe I'll say the wrong thing or, someone would be uncomfortable.

If I can just help one person, if I can help , one other, a woman who feels like they might not deserve better treatment or just even , a better life, it is so worth it, I will preach the still cows come home you are so worth it and you can do.

Kate Shepherd: you're gonna love what's coming next? . You

Roxanne Willems: Hmm.

Kate Shepherd: So before every show. And I've just modified it today. It was really wonderful. as I was, I do this little prayer. I say, , let what needs to be said, be

Roxanne Willems: Hmm.

Kate Shepherd: so that what needs to be heard, be heard.

And my intention is that, so that everybody listening to this , can be met by the

medicine of this sharing, of this conversation that you and I are having. And today I added. Let me hear what I need to hear so that I can say what needs to be said so that what needs to be So I, and then I smiled at myself cuz I was like, oh, it's all just one big loop.

We're all just serving one another. so there's that, and then

there's the,, you're gonna love this and it. [00:29:00] stopped shocking me about three episodes in. I would pick these words for the show, and I do it before the show. I do

it before I even let let you into the studio. Uh, and it sits here on my computer for the whole show.

But I pick a word

Roxanne Willems: Hmm.

Kate Shepherd: and I feel like the word is the blessing for this conversation or the, or the

medicine that this

Roxanne Willems: Hmm.

Kate Shepherd: guest is bringing to the show. And , the word for today's show is acceptance.

Roxanne Willems: Mm-hmm

Kate Shepherd: just feel like, I we've talked about that, right? Like it, there's so much of it is like accepting the

accepting the reality that you're in and pairing it with


accepting that there's discomfort in the transitions that you're making,

accepting you are enough, accepting that you can

Roxanne Willems: Mm-hmm.

Kate Shepherd: there's

Roxanne Willems: Mm-hmm.

Kate Shepherd: this whole

Roxanne Willems: beautiful. absolutely.

Kate Shepherd: There's another question, and again, you

probably know that this is coming, but it's the billboard question and I ask it, , at the end of every show,

if you had a billboard that every person in the world who [00:30:00] longed

to, and I used to say longed to be an artist, but I feel like it's more longed to

with this creativity inside them, which is curiosity


instinct and gut feelings and ideas and inspiration. but for whatever reason, and for all of the reasons we've talked about, believes that they're not good they're not creative enough, they're broken. I think a lot of

people feel like they're just broken and they're past the point of no repair,

but if you that they would read this billboard from you and that your message would reach their heart and

cause some of that thawing and opening to begin,

what words would you put on that bill?

Roxanne Willems: I thought about this for a while and, and it really, to me, it really comes back down to the universe has your back. things are always working out for you. I wanted that to be the message that you can settle in and trust that the universe has your [00:31:00] back and things are working for you, not against you.

Kate Shepherd: I love that.

Roxanne Willems: Oh, me too.

To me, it just opens up so many doors of wherever , your true essence really wants to go. Because I feel like when , we can sit in that trust and really believe that things are working out for us, and that there's a power that that has our.

What it's done for me has just given me the confidence to, just take those steps and, do the things that maybe I wouldn't have done before , it just opens doors for you.

Kate Shepherd: Is there anything else you, wish I'd

asked you

that I didn't ask you or that you wanna say?

Roxanne Willems: I really believe that the most important thing is to be yourself. I have I've been allowed to, be myself in the last few years. Like I have given myself permission to be, and it has just been the most joyful and peaceful experience for me. And to [00:32:00] me it's everyth. .

Kate Shepherd: feel so shared your story with us so vulnerably today. And I'm also, I say on a personal note, I'm so happy for you that. I wanna say there's a guardian angel. I just really feel there's a presence for you that, has walked you through all of this.

I think we all have that when we're looking closely, but , it's been, it's been a gift to witness you've shared your story with us today. Thank

you. and also I' that you, and that you trusted and that you. chose to trust.

I think Roxanne Willems: I feel incredibly grateful that, I've been able to be a full-time artist. , and I have a studio out of my home and it's been three years and it's just been the most amazing, just like a party every day. I'm just so excited to be here. I'm very grateful Thank you. I really, really appreciate speaking with you today.It's been awesome,

Kate Shepherd: Where can people go , to see your work

Roxanne Willems: Well, you know, I'm on Instagram. I am Roxanne, and I'm also on Facebook. It's r w Art in the Flow Studio.

ep35 outtro roxanne wilems


I'm struck by. The power. That love has to transcend even the darkest. Of thoughts and the darkest of experiences. Yeah. Some of the things that Roxanne has had to endure in her life have been truly terrible. There's something deep inside of her. knew better. That knew to take her out of those bad situations.

That knew to keep reaching.

That new to source gratitude. And perspective. You know, she's a right.

Realizing how much we have, even in the moments when we think we don't have enough. Is a powerful way to make us become. Fantastically wealthy instantaneously.

Roxanne's big gift to us. I believe.

Was reminding us of the importance of our mindset. The importance of recognizing and examining and ultimately neutralizing the harmful limiting beliefs we've been carrying around.[00:01:00] She gave me inspiration that it is possible to rewire our brains. That we can go from a place of fight and flight and freeze and fear.

To living from a place of grounded trust. In the universe in our lives in ourselves. And create ease and joy and true abundance for ourselves.

A lot of the time . In our culture. When we talk about rewiring our brain or making self improvements or doing this inner work. One thing that we don't talk enough about is the pitfalls. And I really appreciated the part of the conversation Roxanne and I had around recognizing one we're backsliding. When we're going back to old familiar limiting beliefs. And what to do about that and to actually expect those pitfalls to happen. It is two steps forward.

One step back, a lot of the time. I think there's a lot of, sort [00:02:00] of toxic positivity around always reaching forward. But sometimes you are going to slide back I felt it was really, useful to know what to do when that does happen. And that's actually part of any learning process.

If you take one thing. From this episode today. I actually hope it's what her cute little daughter used to always say to her. Hey. Well, but if, well, But if we do this. What, but if we do that, . What, but if you try something new, what, but if you let go of the beliefs that have been holding you back in your own life,

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