Singer-songwriter, experience curator, writer, storyteller + wholehearted chef. Sonja Seiler is a creator + connector. Sonja is the founder of Nurture: a creative sanctuary for entrepreneurs via retreats, and (coming soon!) a ‘Coworking B&B.’ Sonja also leads the Tuesdays Together meet-ups for the Rising Tide Society in Toronto. Luckily for us here at MINDSHIFT NINJA, Sonja has crafted an amazing organic brain-based menu for our upcoming “Your Best Work” + “Your Creative Best” workshops! We sat down with this creative powerhouse to learn more about how she creates at her best + what failure has taught her.
What is your superpower, and how do you use it?
I have a knack for creating the kinds of spaces and environments (both literal and figurative) that nurture and invite connection and conversation around the real, meaningful things in life in a way that is safe, creative and nourishing. There is usually delicious food around too – it’s my power tool.
What is your driving force, why do you do what you do?
I do what I do to feel fully alive and to inspire others to join me as fellow seekers in their own path to loving themselves, as is. The truth really motivates me and I love the journey within – all of its peaks and valleys. I love the adventure of it!
How do you measure the impact of your work?
My biggest measure of success has been to see the connections that constellate from my own gatherings – watching people who have attended Nurture events meet one another and collaborate on other creative projects together as a result. Creative cross-pollination is an area of passion for me and it makes me beam to know that the environments I create and curate set the potential for these collaborations. The authenticity in these connections creates real community, and that thrills me.
How do you believe your work connects you to others?
I believe fundamentally in discovering, living and sharing what is real. My own creatively- expressed experiences, whether shared via a candid harvest table conversation at a retreat or via my blog or Instagram, have often provided me with a mirror back to myself. It’s incredibly humbling and deeply rewarding to put myself out there in a vulnerable way and hear so many ‘me, too’s.
Why do you think it is important to fail?
As a recovering perfectionist, I have a dodgy history with failure. Messing up and seeing my flaws used to slay me; put me out of commission for ages. Now, it’s like a compass to me.
Anywhere I can sense I’m ‘failing’ is simply a call to love. It’s an arrow from my soul saying: bring love here please.
How do you use your body + movement to optimize your thinking?
I’m a walker. As someone so attuned to the emotions of others, my own can sometimes be a bit muffled and confusing to sort out (classic INFJ!). I find walking helps me process and refine and get to the core of things. Walking as metaphor really resonates for me too, ever since I hiked the Camino de Santiago in 2013 – an 800km pilgrimage across Northern Spain.
Lately, I’ve been incorporating expressive dance into my processing as well. Sometimes there’s music, but often there’s not. I tend to be an over-thinker, so grounding into my emotions via dance has been transformative. It’s not anything anyone would buy tickets for, and sometimes I feel like I’m crazy alone in my apartment pretending I remember what I learned in ballet, but it’s remarkable how sometimes the best way to unlock those stuck emotions is to move your body just so, and out it pours. Plus, it’s fun!
How do you use your space to enhance your performance + creativity?
One thing I am so particular about is aesthetic. It’s been a thing with me my whole life. My body starts to itch and get anxious around horrible lighting or unappealing environments. I’ve dedicated a lot of time, study and a good dose of play and intuition to the development and appreciation for aesthetic, design, and what constitutes comfort and inspiration in an environment. My own spaces – my home and the retreats and events I curate are very sensual spaces, full of colour, texture, scent and sound.
I think environment matters deeply in enhancing and inspiring performance and creativity – that belief underlies any creative or personal project I’m involved in. It’s the foundation of Nurture: appreciation for beauty; attention to detail; respect for natural cycles. It’s environmental self care.
What do you do when you need to MINDSHIFT?
I pray. I journal. I move. I sing. I walk. I talk to trusted friends. I get curious.
What has working with a MINDSHIFT NINJA taught you? How do you think differently?
People would describe me as more heart/spirit/intuition-based than science-based. However, when
I connected with Ayla and Yashar and the MINDSHIFT NINJA approach, I relished the opportunity to have a new tool in my toolkit; a new, evidence-based approach to working on old issues.
The most profound, and immediately applicable, insight for me has been the opportunity that this MINDSHIFT approach brings to disconnect from the subjective relevance of ‘my story.’ I’ve always loved creative writing, and I’m someone who crafts stories professionally through my writing and songwriting, so you can probably imagine the ones I’ve ‘written’ to accompany old hurts, issues, patterns and resistances are expertly and convincingly scripted (and well lit!). What a relief, then, that this science of mind offers a simple and effective way for me to disconnect from the need to tell them, believe them, or live from them as-is: I was thrilled to discover how I can be my own agent of change. Ironically, learning that my story is ‘irrelevant’ (aside from providing necessary context when relating) has made me a better writer, creator and human.
Connect with Sonja + Nurture:
- Website: http://www.nurtureretreats.com
- Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/nurtureretreat
- Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/nurtureretreats
- Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/nurtureretreats
At MINDSHIFT NINJA we are in the business of helping people do better by thinking better, and one of the best ways to do that is to showcase people doing great things. If you are a MINDSHIFT NINJA (or know someone who is), let us know!