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. I'm Jolie Guillebeau, Artist, Child and Family Therapist, Voice of Reason for the World Domination Summit, Wife, Perpetual Learner, and Ice Cream Sundae Expert.
I grew up in Alabama and played in cotton wagons as a kid while my father and uncle worked in the field, which taught me that creativity can happen anywhere. We moved ten times before I was ten, which taught me how to connect with anyone, the necessity of flexibility, and the power of a good book, because they were always the cure for loneliness. Those books helped me become the first person in my family to graduate from college. I became a high school teacher which taught me to let go of my ego, moved to West Africa where I taught and worked for 5 years which taught me how to look for opportunities for empathy, and the importance of air conditioning and anti-malarial pills. Ten years ago, my husband and I landed in the Pacific Northwest for graduate school, where I learned that I love cloudy days and the smell of oil paint.
Q. What is your work?
A. I worked as a high school teacher for eight years, then as studio artist and art teacher for eight years while I helped create the World Domination Summit, then three years ago I returned to graduate school for a degree in Art Therapy Counseling. I now work as a Child and Family Therapist in one of the most diverse communities in the state of Oregon, while also managing large parts of World Domination which happens every summer in Portland.
Q. What is one project you are excited to be working on right now?
A. I always love working on WDS, but the past few months have been very busy, and my day to day work is pretty intense, so I'm working on self-care.
I'm also in the middle of a big personal project. At the beginning of each new decade, I establish a list of things that I want to accomplish over the next year. This year, I'm working on 40 things while 40 years old (https://docs.google.com/document/d/12btFD4G8PK3W0UcuiGz7Ct1bAN2Cw_uEl8SpLewMwU4/edit?usp=sharing) which for me is about taking risks, learning more about myself and making more space for things that matter to me.
Q. What is one thing you've done recently that's scared you and took courage, but you're glad you did?
A. Sharing my story at WDS was a new experience for me. I'm normally backstage, or supporting other storytellers on stage, so being in that spotlight was different. I loved connecting with the community in a new way.
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. My work as an art therapist with children and families is the work I was born to do. I love every part of it, even the frustrating and tedious parts. My continued challenge is finding time for my own art practice in the busy-ness of everything else that has to happen.
Q. What would you tell your high school or college self?
A. Relax. Don't be afraid to say what you need. Trust yourself more and take more risks.
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've never regretted being brave.
Q. What keeps you creating when you don't feel like it?
A. I know that if I just begin, I'll feel happier. The problem is in starting, so I set a timer, and promise myself that if I make stuff for 20 minutes and feel like quitting after that then I can. Once I get started, I never want to quit.
Q. What's your favorite yoga pose?
A. I'm a certified Pilates instructor, so I'd rather pick a Pilates sequence. I love Spine Stretch on the reformer, but if I'm picking a pose from both yoga and Pilates, I'd choose Swan. Chest openers are so helpful after days on the computer or hunched over while talking with little kids.
Q. How do you live a life of abundance?
A. I trust myself, work to maintain strong relationships with people I cherish, and resist feeling guilty about pleasure. And if that means eating ice cream for dinner occasionally, I embrace it!