Kate is an acupuncturist expressing the healing combination of Libra (aesthetics, harmony, balance) with Capricorn (grounding, practical, results-oriented). I asked Kate to respond to these questions as someone working in the healing arts, because I am fascinated with discovering and reframing the overlap between the political or collective impulse and the individual one. As a new mom, Kate is living in the center of these questions with a lot of grace as a healer and I’m so happy she has shared her beautiful perspective here.
Kate Maxey was born on a new moon in October, 1977. She has a bunch of stuff in Libra with a Capricorn rising. She changed her last name in 1998 to her maternal grandmother’s maiden name; once the last name of an only daughter, it now lives on as the second last name of her own daughter, Azul. Kate has lived in over 30 homes in her life and as far as she can remember, usually took well to being the new girl. When she was growing up in Akron, Ohio she went to an all girls Catholic school and dreamed of becoming a lawyer and maybe going to Harvard- ha! Boy, did things not pan out that way (thank god). When her family moved back to California her life changed directions and she found her real self in the forests and oceans of Santa Cruz, in the liberal arts education that blew her little mind wide open and uncovered the Feminist inside, and in the diverse Goddess-loving community that destroyed insecurities left and right and implanted the wisdom that self-love and acceptance is key. Kate moved to SF in 2000 during which time she was a worker-owner at Other Avenues grocery store in the Sunset, went out dancing at least three nights per week and co-hosted “The Little Sister Show,” a pirate radio show out of her friend’s parent’s basement which focused on radical political announcements and raunchy or underground female Hip-Hop. She moved to NYC and then Barcelona in 2003-2005 where she worked as a life-drawing model, lived as a nanny and sold champagne and strawberries on the beach. The Shiatsu massage course that she took in SF in 2001 planted the seed of Yin/Yang Theory, so at 28 she moved back to the Bay (this time Oakland for 8 years) and embraced grad school for Chinese Medicine. She was lucky enough to find her acupuncture mentor at House of Qi in Bernal Heights with Joseph Chang with whom she worked and played from 2008-2017. Kate now posts up her practice at The Root in Noe Valley with her idols, The Midwives. She is married to a Basque Rock n’ Roller named Iban and they dream of one day making their home in the Basque Country on the Bizkaia coast. Kate is inspired to continue studying Chinese and Ayurvedic Medicine, Hatha and Yin Yoga, Astrology, Tarot, Buddhism, Spanish and Post-Partum love and wellness. She also has some creative ideas up her sleeve that involve alchemy, chandeliers and international handbooks that she one day hopes to share.
When do you experience the most joy?
I have experienced the most joy watching my, now 11 month old, daughter laugh and squeal… and separately, on the dance floor with friends. My daughter, Azul, is an incredibly joyful spirit. Sometimes her laughter seems so knowing, like real experienced laughter of someone who realizes the value of a good time. We joke that she is the reincarnation of a 17th century little fat prostitute in a brothel (with her chubby knees and wrists and just a few teeth) who has no self-consciousness and just wants to have fun! Ha! Dance floors are few for me these days, but I have experienced bliss many times in the company of some of my favorite people as I vibrate to the music, the crowd and hours of nothing but purely buzzing around and enjoying. Hand and hand with Joy, but different, is peace. And Peace I experience in Nature (ocean, forrest, hot springs), hands down.
Can you talk about the relationship between your own healing and your clients' healing? How do they intersect? Where do they diverge?
I consider myself fortunate that I have chosen a work path that intersects with my own spiritual and healing path. In an essence, this is why I chose Chinese Medicine: because I knew that I would never get bored, that it is a way of looking at the world which mirrors our bodies and visa verse… the lens is always applicable to me. I experience healing every time I work with a patient, simply by quieting my own mind to listen and focus on the moment with them. It becomes a welcome meditation- to slow down or become more alert, depending on what my day was like leading up to my work time. Either way, I know that what I am emitting becomes a part of my patient’s experience, so my first step to my own healing always begins with my breath. At the very least, if I allow my breath to be deep, slow and clearing then I can be open to my intuitive self as I choose points to hold or acupuncture for my patient. It is a gift that I have a job that reminds me to do this.
Do you relate to the Libra tendency to think about other people so much that you don't know what you want or need? Or being conflict-averse? If so, how do you manage those tendencies?
Hmmmmm…. I definitely spend a lot of time thinking about the needs, desires and struggles of the people that I love, or those that I feel responsible to. This can get jumbled in my needs and can often translate to me spending a TON of time staying in touch and getting back to people so that they feel my support or presence. While my relationships give me so much (the world, really), it does at times get taxing and perhaps keeps me from having more energy and time to get quiet with myself and create from there.
I am conflict-averse, especially when it comes to good friends. It can make me nervous just thinking about it. That being said, I can tend toward direct communication, or as my friend Timmy once said, “Kate drops truth bombs.” While I do follow the Libran tendency of diplomacy, seeing both or various sides of a situation, and having empathy… sometimes someone else’s patterns or stance appears very clear to me and it seems better shared than sugar-coated. Sometimes with my Libra sun and moon and Capricorn Rising (among other Air and Earth planets) things can boil down to a matter of logic or justice and I need to realize that others might have completely different motivations or truths in their worlds… or just need me to be patient with them. I’m still working on when it’s the right time to drop truth bombs and when to “un-relate” or disengage and allow the ones I care about to live without knowing my point of view. Libras like to share, you know, so just staying quiet is hard!
How has becoming a parent affected the above tendencies and/or your default habits?
Well, to be very honest, parenthood has heightened my anxiety (a long-present default) which has me searching for even more efficiency, more strategies that work, more fairness and more “rightness.” So, obviously, my husband gets the brunt of this. I think the hardest thing hands down about becoming a mother for me has been that all of the tools that I have collected over the years to ground my anxiety, decrease body pain, connect to Spirit, create magic, or sort through my feelings became almost out of reach for me due to extreme fatigue and minimal time alone. Of course, you can theoretically say that “spending time with your baby can be a meditation,” “stretch on the ground with your baby while she’s playing,” or “meditate before you go to bed,” and this is all true, but the time and ability to focus or look inward becomes so side-lined when it can fill a whole day just covering the basics for you and your baby. Ha! You gotta laugh. Now that Azul is coming up on a year, I feel the portals to time for myself opening again. I began to feel it when she was 9.5 months out of my womb. She has been sleeping through the night for the last couple of months, so that makes a big difference on the mama-zombie factor. Relationship wise, my husband and I are constantly navigating how to support each other getting the alone time that we need to feel sane and authentic, as well as relay our needs within the relationship. That’s where the management of truth-bombs gets hard when I feel like I (as a woman, as a mother, as a manifestor, as a witch) can see the bigger picture, feel responsible to manage it somehow so that it’s not forgotten, and want everyone on board with a vision (in a collaborative way, of course)!
Do you feel any tension between healing / transformation on a personal level and a collective level, and if so, how do you deal with that? How does your work factor into that?
I don’t think we can heal on a collective level without simultaneously healing on personal levels. Just as we know in Chinese Medicine and other holistic modalities, you can’t separate parts of a whole without taking into account how they reflect and influence each other. In the macrocosm of the universe we are microcosmic representations of the imbalances or synchronicity of the bigger picture. Just as I can treat shoulder pain by considering your diet and putting needles in your foot, I believe that we can affect the vibration of the planet and other beings in it by looking at our own health, a seemingly separate affair. The more joy, peace, connection to the Earth and to our own hearts that we feel the more respect we will know how to show each other and the more aligned we can all become in supporting a collective healing. Self-care really shouldn’t be a luxury, but should be supported as a good deed for society.