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Artist spotlight: Terry Mueller of Creative Changes Oak Park

<p>Courtesy&nbsp;Terry Mueller</p>
<p>Courtesy&nbsp;Terry Mueller</p>
<p>Courtesy&nbsp;Terry Mueller</p>

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Oak Leaves works with Oak Park Arts District to spotlight a local artist on our website. This week's pick is Terry Mueller, owner of Creative Changes.

Can you describe your business/the classes themselves?

The overall arching theme of my business is that I help people become their best selves.  I do this by helping people embrace change and transform their lives.  I teach three different classes and work with people one on one in coaching sessions.  The three classes I teach are:  Process Painting, Body Wisdom Cleanse and Transformation Goddesses.

Process Painting uses creativity and self awareness to explore the way we stop ourselves from full expression.  We learn to find freedom from the inner critical voice and open to greater and greater potential.  It is simple, really.  Most people experience some sort of self judgment when trying to paint.  That inner critic starts judging every brushstroke, color choice or drawing.  We identify it and use self questioning to find a way back to freedom of expression.  For example, we may ask, what would you paint if you could just be free, if you could paint with the freedom of a child, if you didn't have to worry about the outcome.  The studio environment is a safe space where people can explore and experiment.  The freedom they find eventually trickles over into daily life, resulting in more aliveness and authenticity.  No experience is necessary and we never analyze or critique the paintings.  We paint for ourselves.

The Body Wisdom Cleanse is designed to help people detoxify their bodies, but it also does more than that.  A holistic program, the Body Wisdom Cleanse also looks at daily habits and lifestyle to help address some of the habits that created issues in the first place.  We set realistic, doable goals and create strategies to help achieve them when the resistance starts to surface.  By the end of the four weeks, people usually experience a reduced chronic pain, greater mental clarity and new skills to take with them after the program ends.  We focus on reducing systemic inflammation, which is at the root of many chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

Transformation Goddesses is a program that addresses weight loss in a whole new way.  Participants do not receive a 'diet' to follow, but rather we work to transform their relationship with food and take the guilt off the table.  We explore our desire to be healthy and focus on that, rather than on 'losing weight.'  We use guided visualization techniques, stress management, eating guidelines and a super support system to gain health and lose weight while we are doing it.  We are offering a special Holiday Edition to help women manage the stress and out of control eating that usually occurs this time of the year.

I also offer one on one health and wellness coaching sessions which are geared to help people with specific issues, life transitions and personal transformation.

What inspired you to start this?
 
I have been on a path of personal growth my entire life.  I became a Massage Therapist and Wellness Coach in 1993 and worked for many years in a group psychotherapy practice, where I used a holistic approach toward chronic pain and stress.  I also practice body/mind integration therapy in the Hakomi method, which helps with people who have experienced trauma and/or abuse.  My focus has always been to heal chronic pain and relieve the suffering of those who have not been able to find an answer.  
 
What's something that people may not understand/already know about you or your business?  

In 2007, after experiencing many symptoms, I discovered that I had been eating off lead glazed plates for over 20 years.  My lead levels were literally off the charts and my health was really suffering.  I consider myself to be a 'relentless healer' and endeavored to find answers for myself.  What I discovered not only improved my own personal circumstances, but has a broad range of application in my work with clients.  I created the Body Wisdom Cleanse based on everything I had learned about detoxification and the impressive, positive effect it has had on my own healing process.  I combined it with my coaching expertise and 10 years experience in overcoming resistance in Process Painting to create a holistic program that has amazing benefits.

Everything I do is based on my own exploration and education.  I never ask anyone to do anything that I wouldn't do or haven't already done.  I know what it is like to suffer with chronic pain, deep seated resistance and feeling stuck.  I believe this is why my work is so effective.
 
What made you want to work in Oak Park, and more specifically the Arts District:

I am an Oak Park resident and wanted to be close to home.  I chose the Arts District because I enjoy the physical characteristics of the area (the quiet streets, big trees and easy parking), but also because I really like the feel of being in a creative community.  I am a member of the Oak Park Arts District Business Association and have served on the Board of Directors and as Vice President. 
 
What's your favorite part about the Arts District – how does it connect with the rest of the community?

My favorite part about the Arts District is the Summer Kids Art Camps.  I participate in them and teach Process Painting to kids ages 5-11.  It is so amazing to see the way the kids are so free when they create.  I provide a lot of structure in my studio and then I give them free reign to create whatever they want.  I am consistently awed by their level of creativity.
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