Collective Care is a written interview series with people who are changing the world. Most often, these folks are working at the intersection of creative, healing, and/or activist work.
I’m in love with the idea of amplifying the work (and self-care practices) of people who are building a more compassionate world. In this series, I get to chat with people who inspire me like whoa.
Today we get to meet Meg Kissack!
Meg, take it away…
How are you changing the world?
(What is your change-making, healing, and/or creative work? This might be paid, unpaid or a combination.)
I’m changing the world by creating a movement of multi-passionate, creative and unconventional women who are doing the work that sets themselves and the world on fire. I’m doing this through my blog, That Hummingbird Life, and The Couragemakers Podcast, which were inspired by my belief that everything changes when you believe you matter.
My website and The Couragemakers Podcast are about inspiring, encouraging and rebel-rousing, doers, makers and world shakers – people like you and me – to put their uniqueness into the world and also keep their own light lit at the same time. For the podcast, I interview a different Couragemaker every week. Diving into their journey, the shit and the glitter along the way and how they’re working to make the world a brighter place.
My definition of changing the world has changed so much. I come from a feminist activist background – working to end violence against women. A nd ended up severely burnt out and disillusioned. That forced me to stop and get curious about who I am, what I have to give and how I can make a difference in the world, as me.
Now, instead of carrying the world on my shoulders and feeling like it is up to me alone to fix the world, I focus on what joy I can bring to the world and how I can use my strengths and passions to make the world a brighter place.
What challenges your heart in that journey?
I think of all the wonderful things, the stories and the creations, the experiences that are missing from the world because someone didn’t believe their story was important. I think of the fact that most of us think we should turn to the experts and don’t even think of turning to ourselves first.
And I think of all the people who have so much to give the world but feel powerless, feel unworthy or feel that becoming visible is terrifying.
That’s what challenges me and also keep the fire burning.
What inspires you to keep going?
On a big picture level, there are three main things:
1) The immense power we all have to make the world a more interesting, brighter and compassionate place
2) The innate feeling that this is the work I’m made to do
3) The belief that we can all work together to make this world do better. Horrific atrocities and tragedies happen every day, and it’s easy to forget that more people are kind than cruel, that we do have the power to change things and the world could be a good place if we had more courage, conviction and hope.
On a daily basis, I keep myself inspired by actively doing things to make me feel alive, appreciating the small things and celebrating the shit out of my small wins. I think all of us would give up if a) we didn’t celebrate all of our wins, no matter how small and b) we didn’t appreciate ourselves and the people around us. My surroundings play a huge part in keeping me inspired. I surround myself with colours, quirky illustrations, lovely quotes and things that make me smile.
I also give myself permission. Permission to do what I can, to be imperfect and to make a mess. Permission to go against the grain and not to worry about dreamshitters. And a huge permission slip to do my best, whatever my best looks like on that day.
How do you support yourself or tend to yourself and your heart in that process?
What nourishes and replenishes you?
Regular dance breaks, walking through a park and soaking in the endless enthusiasm and joy dogs have, laughing with Mr. Meg about silly things. Being creative, singing in the shower, discovering a new writer, listening to performance poets (like Shayne Koyczan) that make my hair stand up on the back of my neck. Getting lost in a good book, duvet days, making colourful patterns in Photoshop, drinking copious amounts of hot chocolate, getting lost on Pinterest, and planning future travel adventures.
How do you experience care within community?
How do others support you in your journey and practice?
I consciously surround myself with people who ‘get it’ and share similar values. Through The Couragemakers Podcast, I’m constantly surrounded by women who are putting wonderful things in the world and acting on huge leaps of courage.
I’m honest about my struggles and I think when we all start to share our struggles from a place of honesty and compassion, we can heal each other and move forward stronger. I’m really grateful to have a community of people I can be honest with, who remind me of who I am, and believe in me on my behalf on the days when I can’t do it myself.
It’s taken me a long time to find like-minded people who share similar values, but I can honestly say that my life has changed with them in my life. I feel less alone, I feel braver and I feel able to be myself, unapologetically.
I’ve found since I’ve started treating myself better, other people have too. I am really open with my family about my dreams, and their support means the world to me. They trust my gut and intuition and they help guide me back to that in times of struggle.
What’s your best piece of advice you have for people who want to make a difference?
Choose yourself first. That might sound counter-intuitive or selfish, but I’ve learned the hard way, that when you do things purely for other people and don’t yourself a second look, things can end up being more harm than good.
You can end up burnt out with nothing left to give and end up resentful and disillusioned. How you change the world has to set you on fire as well, so find the things that set you ablaze, the unique strengths and abilities you have and find a way to make the world a better place using them.
Try and do the things only you can do. And do it unapologetically, because you are nothing to apologise for. The world needs you, and the world needs your story. And remember, you have everything you need inside you already to make the world a brighter place.
Paint us a picture of the more compassionate world and future you imagine.
For me, the picture so far has huge blobs of courage and creativity, paint flicks of self kindness and huge wonky lines made out of honesty and understanding.
Instead of being hidden, all the stories we try to hide are brought to the surface. The world looks like somewhere you’d want to be instead of hide from. This picture is being added to, a brush stroke at a time, a day at a time.
Meg Kissack is the Founder of That Hummingbird Life and The Couragemakers Podcast. Through her work, she aims to encourage, inspire and rebel-rouse fellow Couragemakers to believe they matter and to do the work only they can do.
How to connect: