Q: Tell us about yourself!
A: I am from Toronto and northern New York originally, but I’ve lived in a lot of places. I think I thought being nomadic was part of becoming an artist – something I can openly admit to being without breaking into hives these days.
I moved to Portland from Chicago three years ago, having finished my fancy art school MFA in creative writing. For years I wrote and taught poetry, contemporary art, fiction, and essay. Not long after my first daughter was born, my husband and I were very ready for a change, so with toddler in tow we packed up. Soon after a second baby, we found that Portland was the home we were seeking.
I have two beautiful little girls. Tuesday is five and Calliope is two-and-a-half. We have a doodle puppy and a tabby cat, a lovely little house, and most recently chickens. Gratitude for these things has become a big part of who I am and who I want to be.
Q: How long have you been practicing yoga?
A: I have been practicing yoga on and off since I was sixteen, mostly off unfortunately. I used it for stress relief more and more recently over the past year.
I got back to a regular practice in November as I began to realize that I had to step away from a stressful job. Just after we arrived in Portland, I got into content marketing, and most recently I was working for a commercial film studio. I had been consulting on stories – creating professional development storytelling workshops and directing tutorials for filmmakers. That meant that I was away from my family a lot, long hours, and travel. After a while, I just felt like I was missing balance in my life.
The Friday before Thanksgiving was the day after I left my job, and a friend invited me to join her for a class at The People’s Yoga – sort of as a stress detox. It was a class all about courage and self-protection, and it felt like such a good omen.
Q: Why did you start?
A: I think I started originally as an exploration of self, but my recent restart has been more about finding balance and cultivating intentionality.
Stepping away from full-time employment meant I would be caring for our daughters on an almost full-time basis while I decided what was next. Intensive parenthood meant I needed to cultivate a deeper relationship with patience. It required that I find a place of balance from which to operate. This is a thing that none of my parenting books, nor my amazing midwife, nor my grandmother, despite all their good advice was able to prepare me for: just how much patience full-time parenthood of toddlers and preschoolers require. I’ve had a little experience with this over the past five years and it takes some serious breath work just to stay sane.
I found that yoga was a way to start a consistent patience with myself and my body: that daily practice of consistency so that I would have it to offer to the people around me, especially the teeny ones; a patience begets patience sort of philosophy.
Q: How has your practice changed over time?
A: Well. I got sort of addicted to it. I started going to class more regularly over the course of the winter. On February 1st, I challenged myself to 100 hours of yoga in 100 days.
I’ve been watching myself become stronger day by day. My practice has become slowly more spiritual as well; mindfulness has suddenly become the subject of most of my reading and podcast listening. And miraculously I have become more relaxed and perhaps more observant in other parts of my life, too.
Q: What brings you back to your mat day after day?
A: A couple of weeks back one of the many amazing teachers I’ve encountered at People’s invited us into practice with this: “You’ve already done the hard part, you have arrived.”
So that’s what I love about yoga. I show up to class and even on my really cranky days (on the days where at least 30 minutes into the class I still feel angry and sweating and swearing in my head at the world and the postures I absolutely do not feel like doing) it slowly, or sometimes all at once, just goes away. I start to feel better. By Shavasana, no matter what else is going on, I feel better.
So in my regular everyday life, I am making a commitment to mindfulness. A commitment to patience, contentment, and satisfaction. And, work that makes me feel good about who I am in the world. I am finding that showing up every day – my daily yoga practice – is the foundation of that commitment.
It makes the other commitments I’ve made easier to keep returning to. It makes them feel less like work and more like something I want to do. More like the promise of something wonderful.
Q: How long have you been coming to People’s?
A: Since November 2014.
Q: What is your favorite thing about People’s?
Ha. The poet in me loves this. It’s the people. The people of People’s!
I’ve been to a few different studios in town over the last year, and the teachers at People’s have the best combination of care; both for the spirit and the body. And it’s not just that instructors remember my name and help me to pay closer attention to being careful with my body. There is spirituality and humor in equal parts, and I love that, it is what I aspire to be on the regular.
And one other thing also, it’s affordable, which is pretty important to me on both a personal and community-minded scale.
Q: Are you working on any projects outside of the studio?
A: So it’s really exciting. I am starting a company.
With all my experience in story consulting, teaching storytelling and writing, content marketing strategy, and now my deepening exploration of mindfulness, I am starting a brand and story consulting business.
The idea is to look inward to define the art, service, or product you want to offer the world. The entrepreneur Seth Godin, has this great premise that any work you do in the world should make you feel like you’ve made art. I taught contemporary practice in fine arts for years, it’s all about integrity of intention, drawing all the parts together to make an integrated whole. I love this concept, that we are all artists so long as we are doing work that has integrity.
The work that I’ve cut out for myself in Theory Consulting is to assist entrepreneurs, small business owners, non-profits, and creative professionals in the articulation of their own integrity. The story is already inside you, and it is just waiting to be told. With a series of helpful tools and regular practice at using them, anyone can successfully communicate their story to their desired community, be it local or global. And in the age of information, the story of any product or service or work of art is just as important to any consumer or client as the quality the work itself.
Private consultation in storytelling is available to entrepreneurs, non-profits, small business, creative professionals, artists, writers (and whoever else you may be despite breaking into hives when you say it aloud). Creative retreats and classes in entrepreneurial, business, and creative writing will also be available at affordable prices.
Build your brand from the inside out. Genuine stories for authentic ideas. Visionary brand building for ideas with roots. I’m still working on a tagline, but you get the picture, and it’s a big one.
Check us out at www.theory.consulting or www.theorycreativespace.com They may be different paths, but they’ll all get you there just the same. You can even vote for your favorite tags or suggest others.
Thanks to Heidi for being April’s Peoples of People’s! We enjoyed getting to know you better.