"We are living on this planet as if we had another one to go to.”
– Terry Swearingen, Nurse & Winner of Goldman Environmental Prize in 1997
As I got ready to share with you this amazing interview and chat I had with Stormy, I got to thinking about how long I have known her; and out of all the friends I have had in my life, Stormy out of everyone is truly my oldest friend.
I met Stormy in Kindergarten at a park near where she lived, that was located down the street from where we attended Elementary School. Being just five years old, I don’t remember much more from that day except running toward the largest orange slide on the playground and tripping just close enough to it that I hit my face on the bottom; my nose started bleeding and I started crying in shock of it all. Stormy was near the slide at the time of my fall, and we bonded that day as she helped me to my Mom and sat with me until I felt better.
I think it would be accurate to say that we would play that role for each other from that day on, right up until we graduated from high school; if there was ever a time where one of us needed the other, regardless, we would have been there. Or at least I hope she knows I would/wanted to have been there. There were years through middle school and high school where we each become closer to another girl in our friend group and didn’t see each other as much outside of school (normal), or where boyfriends or crushes were the priority, but there were other years where we would have classes together etc. and be at each others side for weeks on end; alternating weekends that we slept over each other’s houses and driving our parents crazy.
It was in high school where I feel as though we were more distant, and where I feel we related to each other the least. I consider myself a late bloomer in many ways, but in high school especially. Where most of my girl friends were interested in boys, dating, sex, sports, and going out with friend groups, I was really content with just going to school, participating in dance and theater (which was most of my life back then), and going home to my family at the end of it all. By the time I felt I was truly “caught up” to everyone else back home, I was away at college and starting a new chapter of my life without them. For all these reasons, it made me happier than I can express to sit with an old friend and really reconnect a few months ago, as we now have so much more experience in “living life” and so much more in common. As Stormy put it: "truly a blessing to connect...almost like the years in between didn't matter! So much to catch up on but so much familiarity...” and she is so right.
Part of our “catch up” was my probing Stormy about her newfound journey in the realm of both spirituality and sustainability, two things that I have a passion for as well! I hope you all will continue and read below to pick up some inspiration, tips, and tricks when it comes to these types of things!
A: For those who don’t know you, could you just tell us a bit about you and where you come from?
S: I am from Laconia, New Hampshire. After High School, I spent four years as an LNA at a local hospital and started on my transformative journey when I felt the push to learn more about alternative medicine. It was soon after that that I found Meredith Whole Living Center and Float Therapy! I started there one day a week, and gradually made my transition as a full time float tech and general manager. In all of that is where I truly found my passion for sustainability and the care of this planet. I was driven to learn new ways of living that would support that!
A: When we sat together for coffee, we got to talking about what passions you have, and what inspired you to start your sustainable/spiritual journey in the first place; could you elaborate on that a bit for those who are reading?
S: You know its funny, in thinking about where it started, my abrupt answer is that I don’t really know! I got inspired when I took my new job, because I was suddenly surrounded by people who were conscious of the environment and the affect they have on it. From there, a door really opened a door for me, and I sort of fell down a rabbit hole! At least that is what it feels like.
From there I couldn’t go back. I had always been inspired to help people and ease discomforts, and in my personal life, I have been fortunate enough to learn what true struggle, suffering and addiction look like first hand. It hasn’t been easy, and has always been so painful having to watch and learn, but I am so thankful to know what I know because of it all.
I find it so exciting to learn new ways to be creative, and less wasteful. At this new job, I was also introduced to reiki and other holistic methodologies like EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), Float Therapy, and Thai Yoga Massage. I find it so empowering, and as I learn, I am learning more about myself; it helps me heal and grow.
A: Did you ever think 10 years ago, that this is where your interests would lie? Did you have curiosities back then? Or no interest at all?
S: No way! I had no grasp on the problem that is consumerism and waste 10 years ago. I did always have curiosities though. I was always fascinated by natural pain relief or making my own hair or face masks, I just didn’t realize it would later turn into such a deep passion!
As far as spirituality and helping people, I kind of always knew that that’s what I wanted to do, but I never really knew how I would do it! Even when I started my classes to become an LNA, I was second guessing; I am so thankful I saw through that and stuck with it!
A: What were the first steps you took to start this journey? I know you mentioned eliminating certain products etc. Could you elaborate for readers?
S: The first steps I took were pretty general; I stopped buying things just to buy them, and stopped playing that consumer role as much as I could in order to start shopping at more small local businesses that I could support over the large chain stores. (I have always enjoyed thrifting anyways!). I started buying my face washes, teas, and medicinal supplies from my local herbalist, and things really took off from there. One thing at a time has been replaced by something plastic free and I eventually made it to a plant based diet, where I buy all my fruits and vegetables from farms and my dry items from bulk stores using my own containers. It most certainly didn’t happen over night! It has been about a three year journey so far!
A: Do you have a role model that you look up to when it comes to sustainable living or spirituality?
S: Oh, there are so many! When it comes to sustainability I’d have to say I follow anyone who is in alignment with anti-consumerism and low-waste living. Greta Thunberg is a true inspiration, I’ll tell you that!
When it comes to spirituality, I can’t name just one person either! I have been so fortunate to be supported by many beautiful teachers that have lit up the path for me along the way. Gina McGuire has been a huge role model for me since she was my teacher as a Sophomore in High School. I am so blessed to still have her in my life today! Sara Woods Kender was my herbalism teacher and has been a truly amazing guide as well when it comes to plant medicine and spiritual development. My team at work as well... I am very blessed to work where we have created an environment like no other; I wouldn’t be the same without Kelly or the team at Meredith Whole Living Center.
A: What resources have been helpful or enjoyable for you during this process of discovery?
S: I would have to say connection to my community has been so key, and I believe it always has been when it comes to growth and development in any form! But every day I'm discovering something new and fun. I'd say the best resource as far as sustainability for me has been Pinterest! Its quick, easy, and fun to see all the different creatives on there!
Also asking questions! I love asking questions, though so I'm not sure anyone else would find that helpful or enjoyable!
A: Do you have a favorite location for buying in bulk?
S: Right now my favorite location is Peppercorn Natural Goods in Plymouth, NH. Their hours and prices seem to work best for me right now, and they are super accommodating when it comes to bulk buying!
A: Do you have any favorite products that you use? Why are they your favorite?
S: Yes! I love my shampoo, conditioner, and Facial bars! They last so much longer than any other products I’ve used. I currently get mine from a salon down the road from where I live, but so many people make them locally now! I love them because they are package free; the most satisfying switch I’ve made so far!
A: Where do you see your journey taking you in the future?
S: Hmmm... I don’t really know exactly! I know I will be doing something with educating people on why we need to do our part to love and nurture the environment, but I would also like to expose more people to Reiki. I will soon move on to be a Master Reiki Practitioner which will allow me to teach more often.
A: What benefits do you think come from the practice of Reiki?
S: Oh there are so many benefits of Reiki! On a very basic level, it assists both the practitioner and the receiver in relaxation. I also think since reiki is divine light energy, it can help with opening our Chakras and our connections to our true authentic selves. Reiki has also been shown to help with physical pain or ailments, and has been used in hospitals to assist in pre and post surgery care!
A: Do you meditate? And if so, why?
S: Yes, though not as often as I would like to. It takes discipline! I meditate because it brings me back to a state of still awareness and allows me to feel what my body, mind and spirit are telling me. I really believe we can all learn so much about ourselves and how we perceive the world with meditation! Even just 2 or 3 minutes per day of conscious breath or stillness can have such positive effects on your nervous system, eliminating anxiety and stress.
A: Would you ever open your own business related to sustainability or spirituality?
S: Yes, absolutely! Though I am unsure of exactly what that will look like right now, I am actively working on a plan to make it easier for people to shop in a sustainable way!
A: What do you like most about this journey?
S: I love the ever-changing challenge! Since releasing the need for attachment, and instead practicing gratitude, I’ve been able to see my world so differently. There is ALWAYS something to learn! I really enjoy looking at challenges that come up in life and saying "what’s the lesson here?”
A: What is something you find hardest about it?
S: I would say the most challenging part has been breaking old habits; deeply engrained habits that I’ve always lived by. I guess its more of finding self discipline... that’s a better way of describing it I think. I have ideas, but often find myself making excuses as to why I don’t need to follow through with them. With changing that comes patience. I would like to see effects from changes I make immediately, but I am constantly learning that is not always possible.
I hope that through reading through this interview, you have all gotten a glimpse of the beautiful soul Stormy really is; I feel privileged to be her friend, and to be able to learn from her and chat with her about all things life.
Stormy has graciously allowed me to post her email here for you all in case you have questions related to sustainability, reiki, etc. and I definitely recommend! She is super easy to chat with and will have you all looking for ways to contribute to saving our planet and taking better care of yourself; mind, body and soul!
Until next time,