do you ever stop to ask yourself how you got here? how you got to the very place you are today?
I do. often. because where I blissfully stand today is quite different than — and somehow altogether the same as — the place I spent most of the time imagining myself in. I do believe in the inexplicable power of words, and I do believe that what you think (and especially what you speak) has manifesting power over the path that you take. and so, I asked for all of this! in some form or another, without even realizing it — until now.
recently, while living in NYC, I went from a lonesome fashion-obsessed workaholic to a still lonesome health and wellness editor. although I went from a fast-paced environment to a start up celebrating sleep, there was something about spending my mental powers working on someone else’s dream that, as they say, burnt me out. I had an unquenchable desire to be my own boss. so six months ago, I moved completely off-grid to the Big Island of Hawaii with a man I love more than words will convey, I’ve chillingly forfeited all paychecks from NY, and I’ve begun building a fine jewelry company.
now, I sit here wondering what it was exactly that led me from such conventional city life to such an unconventional, spontaneous life? I cannot help but contemplate this, as how I go about my day today could not be more different than how I went about it six months ago.
some background: I was once was a hungry fashion student at the Savannah College of Art and Design — planning to graduate early and dive straight into the industry. there was nothing that fed me more, nor pushed me into unconscious oblivion quite like this planning, this work, this dream.
but that dream became a nightmare in a matter of a few collegiate years — graduating early, much less “on time” put a ceaseless pressure on my mind and body that no night out or quiet night in would relieve. simultaneously stressing about getting the best possible job straight out of school not only created a girl I couldn’t recognize, but a girl who I equally disliked and became, frankly, afraid of. all along, the lack of ethics plus the over-abundance of industry politics saddened me more than I often allowed myself to believe. of course, I didn’t want to be sensitive. I found myself invariably surrounded by so much shit — fast-fashion in plastic packaging — on shelves, in hallways, on runways, in closets. I found myself forgetting how to be at peace without things.
my dishonesty had gotten far out of control. I was sleeping with someone I really should not have been, and hiding it from absolutely everyone that I should not have been. I couldn’t even be honest with myself. it was utter exhaustion, mentally and emotionally, that led to a decompression in Paris. it was this time abroad that nearly killed me, but inevitably marked the beginning of a more truthful life.
the day I got home from the trip, I broke down so deep that I was put in a gross hospital for a week — an unloving sexual encounter lead to a serious abdominal infection (and know that even writing this much takes all my courage). through this, my mind no longer worked well enough to create suffering. this physical deterioration allowed my metaphysical reality to emerge loud, clear. for the first time in a really, really long while, I heard my loving intuition before hearing my ego. that was the first of two very profound occasions in which I’ve experienced my own death and somehow emerged significantly more alive.
I then began my entrance into wellness — intuitively going plant-based to heal my body, and letting the research take me further. I began running an online wellness publication (gorgeous health food, exercise, science and spirituality). and this job was fun! but it’s not like working in health meant that industry saturation disappeared — it kind of got worse, only because I now saw that no matter the industry, vicious consumption cycles never end. I saw so much plastic and packaging go anywhere but the recycle bin. I saw beautiful food being tossed, not thoughtfully composted to soil or given to the hungry. simply, I saw through my own superfood facade of it all. it really is no one else’s fault but my own! I take responsibility for what I choose to see. and so gravity took me — I must return to nature to simplify, to subtract. I must return to nature to remember. I got out of the city, and into the jungle. I could brag about how I now try to grow and forage food and live in a more minimal way, but I know this is not the answer for everyone. that being said, this off-grid lifestyle has helped me balance my love for luxury. it's not all rainbows and butterflies, I often use a compost toilet and have no solar power to cook dinner. still, building a life out here has been such medicine for this city girl.
take those realizations and that big leap, throw in a ceremony sitting with ayahuasca, and you’ve got my second ego death. this plant medicine is no walk in the park. it is sacred universal intelligence within the chemical compounds of two plant parts — the medicine I imbibed was grown by an elder and loving neighbor. I experienced a very direct confrontation with myself, with God — with the truth of the no-thingness (and yet complete fullness!) of all that is. and much like my first ego death after Paris, ayahuasca required nothing of me but the surrender of my mind and “the story” of how I thought life should unfold. when the veil of my physical suffering fell away, I (in one eternal moment) knew what I was here to create! I swam in, and I simultaneously WAS, the ocean from which all stories emerge. I remembered my origin as sacred geometry. furthermore, I remembered my sovereign right to create allegories that imbue this geometry with significance — with purpose. the creative force, the creative shapes, pulling all the strings and making matter real, is the same as the force that gives life to my mind and heart.
and so, I have created it all, because I am it all. and so are you. I saw you too. I surrendered in humble reverence to my one-ness with you. and from this place, it was clear to me that everything is made in Beauty, and Perfection, and Love. there is nothing that is not Love. and anything (any experience) that does not feel like Love is merely a choice we have made, that we’ve inflicted upon ourselves, in order to have perspective — in order to come back to Love, and in order to know Beauty in it’s holy entirety.
I do hope that this story gives you the briefest sense of where I’ve come from, and why I have journeyed on to create Steele Henry. I do hope that this story gives you an idea of how much Love I have for this universe, and why I choose to celebrate Beauty. tangibly, this has manifested in wearable heirlooms that I hope you may infuse with your stories and your spirit.
if you’ve made it this far, I trust the aesthetic that connects us. please don’t ever hesitate to reach out and converse! we do come from the same shapes, after all.