Olwen Wilson: Collective Care Interview Series

December 2, 2016

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 Olwen Wilson!

Olwen Wilson on the messy middle, ease, and practicing what you preach. Read the Collective Care interview! >> www.christytending.com

How are you changing the world?

(What is your change-making, healing, and/or creative work? This might be paid, unpaid or a combination.)

Thinking about how I change the whole entire world can feel very overwhelming. What I focus on instead is helping individuals bring change into their life because I know that there is a ripple effect that comes from it. Their transformations affect their families, friends, colleagues, and neighbours and that, in turn, changes the world.

I help people trust their own wisdom so that they can fill their lives with ease. I specifically give women a space to show up fully, to take up as much physical space as they want, and encourage them to speak up for themselves and for what’s important to them.

To be clear, ease doesn’t necessarily mean easy. It’s about finding what’s authentic and real to you – that’s sacred. But finding that place requires action, and having a place to safely practice what works for you makes a huge difference. When you find that spot you’re less jolted by the challenges of living your daily life. You’re capable of working through what life tosses your way instead of feeling stuck in a situation. So while ease isn’t always easy, this work can lead to you being more empowered and content.

The way I do this is through energy work, yoga and my refreshing intuitive guidance in classes and workshops, and some online offerings.

What challenges your heart in that journey?

Detachment. I see it often when fear is playing a bigger role in a person’s healing than they realize. It can look similar to the space someone might need to process new information or a different perspective. But it’s almost done defiantly.

Instead of honestly saying, “I need a moment to think about this”, or, “can you explain what you mean by that so I have a better understanding”, there are snide comments and remarks thrown about that are later laughed off as a joke. It can even take on the appearance of someone purposely sitting away from the group, or not participating in a class that they willingly return to week after week.

Now, there can definitely be more reasons involved if those reactions are present. But it’s frustrating when I’m confronted with a person’s lack of interest even though they’ve asked for my help.

It takes some extra effort to understand where they’re coming from, what fears may be present, and ensure that my ego doesn’t get in the way when I’m helping them navigate their wants and needs.

What inspires you to keep going?

Joy! I get a little high off of loud laughter that is shared willingly and often. The excitement from clients and students who are curious and eager to support themselves, and one another, is absolutely contagious.

How do you support yourself or tend to yourself and your heart in that process?

What nourishes and replenishes you?

I like to practice what I preach. So I schedule space on my calendar for some solitary time with myself. Sometimes it’s an extended walk home after taking my son to school and before I start my workday.

It could be a deeply therapeutic restorative yoga practice or meditation that sometimes simply looks like me lying on the floor.

Other times it’s finding a foreign film to watch on Netflix because I can’t multitask and read the subtitles at the same time.

I prioritize projects I’m working on by how they make me feel. If it doesn’t make me feel great it either gets dropped because I determine that is isn’t necessary. Or, I find a way to make it more enjoyable, or focus on what it’ll do for me or other people once it’s completed.

Really, I like to be open to being surprised by what nourishes me. So I’ll shake up my routine and take myself on mini adventures. It could be as big as a retreat for a few days, or as wonderful as a quick hike in the forest. I always return inspired and refreshed.

How do you experience care within community?

How do others support you in your journey and practice?

My care team includes friends who make time in their schedules so we can connect. It doesn’t matter if we’re in the same town, different countries or whether we speak in person, text or chat via video. I need an opportunity to talk through things, hear an opposing view, and I definitely need cheerleaders.

My husband, son and our two cats (my fur babies) are also a huge part of my support team. They love me even when I’m challenging, and they can always make me laugh. Plus I love cuddling with them all on the couch after a full week of school and work.

Then there are the various practitioners that I work with as well for my own wellbeing. I see my massage therapist and osteopath somewhat regularly throughout the year. Their work helps me feel loving toward my physical body. But I also include time with practitioners that help me care for my emotional, mental and spiritual health. It’s very much preventative care for me.

All of this support helps me show up in the best way possible for myself, my family, friends and clients.

What’s your best piece of advice you have for people who want to make a difference?

Don’t be afraid of the messy middle. It’s the place that can feel so uncomfortable that you want to run back to what you know, your sense of normalcy. But remember that this uncomfortable place won’t last forever. You have to go through it. Avoiding it won’t do you any favors, and may make it more difficult when you try again later.

Give yourself permission to take breaks and be gentle with yourself. Doing these things will only help to fortify your forward momentum.

Paint us a picture of the more compassionate world and future you imagine.

I’m writing this at a time when it’s taking more effort for me to remember that there is kindness in the world. It’s there, and it always has been. But sometimes it gets covered up and pushed aside by things that are less than compassionate and ideal. Differences don’t have to be divisive, but they also don’t have to be covered up so that we’re left with a boring sameness.

So I would love to see a world that includes more honesty, more awareness and recognition of your own bias and prejudice which I hope would lead to more inspired action against injustice and oppression.

About Olwen:

Olwen Wilson is a healing guide, yoga teacher and a supportive holistic energy practitioner with a joyful spirit. She provides a peaceful departure from the busyness of your everyday life so that you can feel rejuvenated and become more attuned to your needs.

How to connect:

You can learn more about her at http://echorootswellness.com/about/, and find her latest offerings at http://echorootswellness.com/services/. Olwen has also recorded two short meditations that you can download for free at http://echorootswellness.com/free-resources.


You can find all of the Collective Care interviews right here!

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