2008 was a magical year! It was a big unfolding for my mission, my vision and my work.
What made it magical? Trusting myself.
A few pieces of background. After my life burned to the ground, I picked up the pieces and started building again. In 2007, I was a single parent running my coaching business and living in Austin, Texas.
I was also doing A LOT of self-development. I traveled around the US teaching self-development courses. I had a two-week on, two-week off schedule. Two weeks a month, I would pack up my daughter and travel with her to teach. The two weeks we were back in town I would be running my business. During that time I definitely defied the conventional boundaries of what we think a single mother can do.
I met an amazing woman in 2007 who was also a single mom, Laura Shook Guzman. We became close friends, tied together by our parenting, our passion for entrepreneurship, our commitment to social justice and our ability to think outside of the box.
I had an intuitive hit and asked Laura if she ever considered living with another single mom. I talked with her about how we could share responsibilities and the financial burdens of being single parents. We moved in together shortly after, and I know that this was the best move I could have possibly made at that time.
If you are a single parent, I highly recommend finding another single parent to live with. It was one of the best times in my life.
I started to have a little more free time and committed to spending my mornings with a pen and paper. Every morning, I would head over to my favorite cafe, grab a coffee and sit for one full hour to write.
I let the pen move me. I let something bigger than me unfold in that journey. I was guided to see things, to envision what could be, to take my work and life to another level.
I did this practice for months and I still continue it today.
What dropped in was my life’s work. And it wasn’t calculated or constructed by my “thinking” mind. It rose up from somewhere much deeper.
I started to understand that the way we operate business is still very masculine. It is rooted in the same patriarchal structures that shape the rest of our society and perpetuate all kinds of inequality. I started to study the masculine and feminine and the ways they can complement and balance each other. I also started to consider how we could operate business in a new way.
I started to call my coaching business The Feminine Way, and honestly, the name didn’t really work. I think so few people understood the meaning of masculine and feminine that what I was getting at wasn’t translating. In 2008, the difference between masculine and feminine approaches was a familiar concept in the self-development world, but it hadn’t been introduced into business.
The door that my writing opened led me to a whole new world of work, work I am still rooted in 12 years later.
What also unfolded in that journaling practice was the idea for a work/life balance center. For those in Austin, this is how the idea for Soma Vida was born.
I had a passion for helping women in business, but as I said above, I wanted them to experience a feminine way to do business. I started to realize that they needed a physical space to support them.
This space would offer business education and support, a coworking space (Austin’s first!), childcare, wellness services and yoga. I wanted women to understand that a successful business was the result of space and care for the self.
I wanted women to be able to get work done and then get a massage or take a yoga class. I wanted there to be a space for a commitment to work/life balance. I had a soft spot for single mamas too, which is why childcare was an important part of the vision.
I had the seed of an idea and my journaling process allowed it to fully unfold. What if I really could create this space for women?
I told my roommate, Laura, about it. I lovingly “pushed” her into the idea. She could help me. We could do it together. We could operate our businesses inside of this new and groundbreaking space (my coaching and her somatic therapy).
The universe gave us both a big push. This was just a seed, but one day we passed a For Rent sign in the window of a beautiful little house in East Austin. We had to check it out. We planned on just browsing rental costs at the time.
As we walked through, we felt the “knowing” that this was it. We had four months to grow a business from seed to reality. It was intense, but I spent every extra moment building the brand, the business plan, and the model for how we would make it work.
In 2008, Soma Vida was born. We had created the first work/life balance center in the world and the first coworking space in Austin. I moved to Australia in 2010, but Laura kept this vision going until she closed down at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
So what is the moral of this story?
Giving yourself space to feel, to vision, to receive can bring in something bigger than you ever imagined. It is the path to direction, to knowing and to your mission.
What dropped in through my writing still sustains me today. It is a life-giving activity and one I will never stop practicing.