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Art[ists] Coaching Life

Article by Amy M. Frateo

The Persian poet, Rumi, stated, “The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” These words are used as an opening remark on Jessie Fahay’s page of Healing Arts Collective.

“What would it be like to claim and harness your innate magical power and transform into your higher self?” is a rhetorical question uttered by Yiqing Zhao. No, she is not a philosopher per se – well, she might be – but she in actuality is a dynamic actress and filmmaker. Fahay might be a scholar, hence her adherence to the Rumi quote, but, in actuality, she, too, is an actress and stage and filmmaker.

These two arts professionals have another duty in life as well. They are both life coaches. They use their own life experience as artists to help and heal others – in and out of their professions.

Zhao’s original aspirations were that of medical. “…no formula, just guts. I trusted the road-map would appear and it did,” she said in an article, belying her trademark exuberance. As a medical student in China, she performed … in two surgeries on real people as an assistant. Ironically, during a depression study on rats that made her depressed instead, she reconsidered her path. It wasn’t the physical bodies that attracted her as a doctor, it was the pain … in one’s mind that got her attention. She traveled to the United States alone to solidify this new aspiration. Ironically, this new path changed yet again. Now it was about embodying what the mind has to offer. Well, we, in the biz call that “creating a character.”

Yiquing Zhao became a working actor in New York.

Just like that.

During pandemic, when the venues of her now thriving profession were closed or on hiatus, she turned again to her medical training. There, she pivoted into life coaching – but with a twist. Her forte is coaching actors – on life.

Now, with coaching certification in hand, she set out to make life better for the New York artists.

She has written extensively on the topic of acting being more than reacting but also being proactive. Basically to grab that seat on the subway before others do. How acting exercises can help writers block; and – combining her stories of being an immigrant in NYC provides many life lessons for all people. She tackled a touchy topic of losing passion for one’s passion and how to build confidence in the face of anxiety by welcoming uncertainty. This is a philosphy shared by Einstein who once said “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.”

Maybe Yiqing is a philosopher afterall. Or at least in good company in her concepts.

Incidentally, all things in her life come full circle. This all began with her not having the heart to sadden rats and now she also fosters dogs.

Look for her on MEDIUM and on numerous industry sites and she is also a member of America’s oldest theatrical club, The Lambs. And be sure to visit her WEBSITE and get a sense of her dynanic presence on YouTube

She is not alone.

Jessie Fahay is a celebrated author and arts professional. Her organization, Ripple Effect Artists, is known across the globe for using art to help heal. Each season they premiere a new production or a new interpenetration of an established work that reflects a situation still be faced in the world today. They tackled immigration, hunger, unemployment and sex trafficking in just a few years. As its leader, Fahay walks the walk in her own life.

As a recovery coach (ARCS/NAADP certified) she has channeled her own experiences facing emotional abuse – which included being a caretaker to addicts – into a practice as a Recovery Counselor and coach. There is the Jungian philosophy of the wounded healer. With origins in Greek mythology, the centaur, Chiron, was just such a creature, possessing an incurable wound from one of Hercules’s arrows. While Jung connects this to chronic introversion, some allow their inherent bravery to take this wound and make is a salve for others. Fahay spent hours doing mindful healing and growth for herself and now, as she understands her own recovery, she loves to bring her  compassion, wisdom, and coaching to those going through their own Chiron-ic journey.

Fahay’s book can be found HERE; her work as a healer can be found HERE and her theatrical company is found HERE

If that be the case, one must consider going to life coaches who understand the human condition enough to embody it. Working in the arts is not a hindrance but an added value. Seems when they say they “understand” it carries that much more weight.


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