It's Wise Women Wednesday, each week I interview a woman that I believe is inspiring, living abundantly and following her passions. These are all women who live a life of abundance and bring creativity into the world.
Q. Who are you? What is your background?
A. Formally, I am Dr. Erika Boysen, Flute Professor at UNCG. Informally, I am an artist who enjoys collaboration and cultivating human connection. Originally from the Midwest, I grew up enjoying performance in all of its creative capacities; acting, singing, dancing and playing an instrument. I chose to pursue performance in college and maintained that trajectory throughout three degrees.
Q. What is your work?
A. What I value most about my work is its diversity. I am a soloist, cross-disciplinary chamber musician and educator. Collectively, these three avenues of “work” provide great synergy and creativity for me personally and professionally. Connection and interaction with students, other artists and audiences is the underlying thread that knits these three pursuits into one. As an artist, I see my job as being a facilitator of community and human connection.
Q. What is one project you are excited to be working on right now?
A. Let it be known, I made a goal on Jan. 1, 2017 that I will run a marathon by Jan. 2018!
Q. What is one thing you've done recently that's scared you and took courage, but you're glad you did?
A. There is an element of fear and vulnerability in any performance or bid for human connection. Whether it be public speaking, a flute recital or sharing personal information on a Wise Woman Wednesday interview ;). Though I teach and frequently perform musically, live performance provides an element of ‘fear’ in that anything can happen. Nothing is guaranteed. But it is only in the risk and willingness to put oneself in the position of vulnerability that true growth occurs.
Q. What is the work you most want to be doing and are you doing it? If not why not what's stopping you?
A. I’ve got to admit, after I read this question, I paused and almost felt ashamed at the thought that, indeed, I AM DOING THE WORK THAT I WANT TO BE DOING IN THIS LIFE! How am I so lucky? There is nothing more fulfilling and gratifying than working with individuals from ages 18-25. The world holds so much promise during these years. It is a privilege to facilitate young women and men developing their creative voice and sense of self. On top of that, I get to make music everyday!
Q. What would you tell your high school or college self?
A. Trust the questions themselves and let the answers make themselves apparent on their own time. My mother passed along Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet, a gift she had received from a friend. One section resonated with great clarity,
“...be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”
Q. What's one piece of advice or motto you love and use in your daily life that you would like to share with my sweet readers?
A. I recently hung three quotes in my kitchen that help to provide perspective in my life.
“Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight” Benjamin Franklin
“If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.” Regina Brett
“Our life is frittered away by detail...Simplify, Simplify, Simplify! Simplicity of life and elevation of purpose.” Henry David Thoreau
Q. What keeps you creating when you don't feel like it?
A. The body has an extraordinary way of communicating its needs. When I feel lethargic and uninspired, I listen. I take a break. I trust that these feelings are only temporary and that inspiration will find its way back into my life in its own time.
Q. What's your favorite yoga pose?
A. Chair pose. It is uncomfortable. It is hard to hold for long periods of time. It brings up self-deprecating thoughts. But, it is also a personal reminder of one’s power of perspective. Similar to running up a steep hill, when I obsess over how long it will take to reach the peak of the hill or how much my quads are aching, I give up. Instead, by staying present with each step without concern of how steep the hill, I can withstand one more step, eventually reaching the top.
Q. How do you live a life of abundance?
A. It is my belief that aspiring for a life of abundance is being willing to honor the good and the bad; the dark and the light. Treating the continuum of emotions with care and gratitude.