Our next C + W guest, Chara, is full of wild beauty and soul. She is a fellow yogi and incorporates into her work the tradition and philosophy of Ayurveda. She lives in East Ballina, a small seaside town in Australia, about 2 hours South of Brisbane. Chara gets real with us on living her truth, knowing and expressing her inner (and outer) beauty, and the passion she holds to help women truly feel alive. You will love her her too...promise.
Australia sounds dreamy...can you describe your abode?
I live in a 4bedroom house by the sea! It’s bright and airy and can be quite cold in the winter (we don’t have heating or A/C). My home feels like me… a little messy, very cozy and sprinkled with artifacts from all of my travels (and moves) around the world. It’s a lively house (I’ve got 11yr old twins) so there’s always music, or radio (we’re big fans of podcasts), singing, or just crazy conversations going on! My office is downstairs (all the other rooms are upstairs) so it feels a bit like my WO-man cave! I’ve got a lovely view of the sunrise and can hear the sounds of the waves out my window and I often see bush turkeys in the morning from my yoga mat as they cross the driveway! I really love this place!
What makes you a creative?
I get a TON of inspiration from teaching yoga. It’s my way of connecting to myself and others and what I’ve realized is that it feeds me in deep and expansive ways. I’ve always had a creative streak, I think all I really need, anytime is just the space to let it loose. And when I get that (my whole life feels like that at the moment), I can be pretty much non-stop! So right now I’m full of ideas about what I want to do and who I want to do it with, which is exciting. And what’s more exciting is that I’m finding all sorts of fun and interesting opportunities to collaborate with like-minded folks (like you Jacqui!). I think the biggest part of being able to realize your creative visions is making them known to the world. When we do that, we create an environment that pulls for us to express ourselves in all the different ways that we’re called to do that! It’s amazing and beautiful.
Where does simplicity show up in your life?
Diet and routine. Although I really LOVE variety, I tend to pretty much eat the same things from week to week (and I like it that way). When I start to get a little tired of something then we’ll jazz it up or change it up just enough to make it feel novel again. But for the most part meals are pretty simple around here. As far as routine goes… I’m a vata (with a dash of Pitta) , so my tolerance for routine is pretty low. Structure and rules are things that make me want to runaway, but I know that routine is one of the things that will keep me sane! So I try to infuse it into my life in VERY simple ways. Getting up early every morning. Having something warm to drink. Breakfast before 8am and then… pretty much anything goes! After that, the routine drops away, but the fact that it’s simple has pretty much allowed me to keep to it for years!
Have any daily habits?
Yoga pretty much every day. I also try to breathe a little or a lot. My kids are still young enough to want to give me lots of hugs, so that’s something I indulge in LOTS and LOTS of times a day!
How do you approach living well?
No stress! I’m often a little freaked out by the people around me who are SO regimented and strict about what they do and do not eat and how they will or will not take care of themselves. I’ve always been pretty laid back about self-care, and to be honest I think it’s served me well. Don’t get me wrong I know that self-care is vital, but my approach to it is to just do what feels good without stress, guilt or striving too much. At 45 I feel (and dare I say look), better than I ever have, so I’m thinking that it’s probably working for me!
What does balance look like for you in your daily life with being a creative + mama?
I’m pretty lucky to have an AMAZING husband and two pretty incredible kids. These three hold me together at times. They make it possible for me to do everything that I do everyday and still feel that I’ve got a connection to the reality of being a wife and trying to raise a family in this crazy modern world. My husband and I split all the chores (with the kids), we shop together when we can or apart when we can’t, we split everything to do with the kids (drop offs and pick ups to lessons, etc.) and we even cook together and or split the cooking. Every once in a while I forget about how amazing he is, and he’s lovely enough not to remind me. But I always come back to how blessed I am to have found myself such a wonderful man and to have created such an awesome family with him.
What is your style?
All my own. I used to do a lot of vintage store shopping when I was in college. I always had a love for the unusual. These days color is what excites me. So our home is filled with all sorts of interesting colors and patterns (not too crazy). If I had to describe my style in just a few words, they would probably be earthy, organic, quirky, cozy.
When/how do you feel most beautiful and most aligned with yourself?
When I’m in front of a class of students teaching. Those moments when I’m unabashedly speaking my truth into an open and accepting space of people who connect (you an always feel the energy of connection when it’s happening - it’s a like a hot air balloon that lifts you up!).
What are some of your imperfections and how do you embrace them?
How much time have you got…? Kidding. I’m a bit of a slob mainly just when it comes to putting my clothes away (nothing else really). So every chair in my room (and part of the bed) is covered with clothes most days. I’m also very challenged by being on time to things. I’m still trying to work out how my internal clock is broken so that I can get that back on track!
What is your beauty regime?
Super simple. I wear almost NO make up ( usually just lipstick when I’m going out, maybe a dash of mascara - since I have NO eyelashes!). I wash my face in the morning with water and a simple cleanser (combination of chickpea flour, triphala powder, rose water, and honey). Same in the evening and I moisturize morning and evening with either coconut oil or sesame oil depending on the season (and time of the month!). Hair gets washed and deep conditioned once a week (too much more and it will be a big ball of dried out hay!). Done.
What are you working on right now?
I’m working on two things at the moment. I’m in the middle of leading an amazing online cleanse program. Something that I do a couple of times a year in accordance with the recommendations of Ayurveda and the seasons. I’m LOVING it! (I always do). The experience of witnessing (and supporting) people discovering themselves will never get old for me.
The other thing I’m working on is creating a supportive community for women, like me, who are interested in feeling alive, and connected and powerful and expressive in their minds and bodies no matter what their age. I think a lot of women kinda give up the idea of feeling and being vital and amazing once they hit a certain age or find themselves in the struggle of motherhood. One of the things that I love most about Ayurveda is that it’s focus is both rejuvenation (how do we hold onto the juice that makes us, and life, fun, interesting, engaging, and enduring), and connection (how can we step into our authentic selves in order to be more open to relating and connecting to the people, and environment around us). So I think Ayurveda is a beautiful platform or foundation for women who want to feel and be more themselves and have the confidence to own that mind, body and soul. I realize that everything I’ve done in my life before this has brought me to this place and I’m excited to be stepping boldly forward into the creation of this community/offering in part because it’s my way of living what I preach (and teach)!
What are 5 things you cannot live without?
My husband and kids ( that’s three). I’m struggling to figure out another two. I’m a pretty resourceful person and I’m really not attached to things! I’ve done lots of moving around the world and I think that helps with the non-attachment.
What advice do you have for mothers looking to find balance in both being healthy and staying creative?
Be okay with not doing and being everything (in both areas)! One super important lesson I’ve learned in trying (perhaps a little too hard) to live a life without regrets is that having everything we want and being everything we can be requires one simple thing… for us to chill out and open ourselves up to receiving. Whether that’s love, good advice, the fruits of our own labor, a compliment or even just a beautiful day. Opening up to let things in is the most important aspect of feeling our way through life (and feeling really is the ONLY way to flow through life). Oh wait, actually two things… that, and embracing that everything takes time.
And there you have it...another wise, gorgeous soul here on C + W. Thank you Chara for hanging out with us today and sharing your wildly beautiful and imperfect life. If you would like to get to know our guest a bit more please check out all of her links below. Her ABOUT page is so so good. I actually cried the first time reading it because it really spoke to me and made me feel so beautiful and grounded. If you liked this interview hit that heart below and share it with your friends. See you next time. X