*That special book is Once Upon a Midlife by A. B. Chinen.

*That special book is Once Upon a Midlife
by A. B. Chinen.

I have a passion for Fairy Tales, Mythology and what they mean for human communities today!

Once upon a time there was a little girl called Pam. She grew up in the highlands of Kenya where her parents were farmers, and she was often given fairy tale books by her kind Godmother and Aunt for her birthday or Christmas. These she read and treasured and kept safely to read to her children one day. The books were packed up many times and followed Pam to different countries, to South Africa when she was an adolescent, and then far across the sea to Australia as an adult.

She lived in South Africa for eighteen years attending a girl’s boarding school followed by nursing training, marriage and three children. The oppression of South Africa’s apartheid regime led the Blamey family to migrate to Australia where since 1981 her enthusiasm for social justice is still as strong as ever.

Living in Australia greatly expanded Pam’s horizons and when her children were nearly grown up she decided to go to university. There she was introduced to the giants of the imagination in the West - Joseph Campbell and Carl Gustav Jung. She discovered books on the university library shelves, which looked so inviting – but more often than not she had to put her blinkers on and concentrate on the assignment at hand! Nevertheless the seed had been sown, and she found and joined the local C.G. Jung Society.

Many more inspiring authors followed, such as Rollo May, Marie-Louise von Franz, Clarissa Pinkola-Estes and Marion Woodman.  She obtained her degree in Social Science and decided she wanted to be a counsellor. She worked in an agency for a while and life went on. Fairy Tales receded into the background.

After some time, Pam enrolled to train as a Gestalt Therapist, and her interest in working with dreams was sparked. As she tried to find her way in the world of therapy, people told her she should have a speciality.

Well, one day out of the blue a friend lent her a special book – AHA! And that's when the embers of her passion for fairy tales and mythology that had glowed in the background all this time were re-ignited into a flame as she realized through her reading in books and online that dreams and fairy tales have fascinating similarities. She went round the house gathering all those books she had kept from childhood and read to her children and those that had popped out of the shelves at her in second-hand book shops over the years, trying to get her attention - she was amazed at the number she had accumulated – the pile came up past her knees!

Well, when Pam’s heart was set on fire through that book* she borrowed from her friend, she started to run workshops to share the warmth of that fire. She loves watching the inspiration and insights awakening and the empowerment unfolding in her groups. Then one day another friend suggested, ‘why not do a pod-cast?’ which led to another adventure on the fairy tale path of fascinating reading, research and skill.

Eventually Pam was drawn to study Art Therapy as a way of underpinning her work. She graduated in 2013, and as a life-long learner, she continues to expand her horizons and repertoire as she gains experience working for health and well-being at individual, group and community levels, with different populations and issues, though the healing lens of stories and storytelling and art-making.