Archive for May 2012 | Monthly archive page
Last EcoHour, DC EcoWomen learned a great deal from Kimberly Wilson, director and founder of Tranquil Space yoga studio. This successful young woman has managed to create a business plan that integrates tenacious entrepreneurship with the zen that only yoga provides. Wilson is currently working to finish a master’s degree in social work and has little business experience but shared with us how she acquired her savvy. Read below to hear her story and learn why “running a business is a lot like yoga.”
When starting up a business, Wilson first found her center. She planned, gathered resources, made lists, and mentally prepared herself for the tasks ahead. Next, she honed in on her intentions. What was it that she wanted to create and offer? Once she developed her plan, she created momentum and started with foundational marketing products such as business cards, a website, and a location. Finally, she generated customers and established a consistent flow. In her mind, she envisioned these steps as the stages of a yoga class, where participants find their own centers, warm up and build energy, and find their crescendos before winding down into relaxation.
Wilson did not always have this peaceful approach toward business and life. Before Tranquil Space, she was stretched thin with a full-time job, part-time yoga instruction from her home, and dreams of empowering young women through movement and artistic endeavors. Just as in yoga, Wilson found her center and focused her energy on growing her passion into a viable business. She reminded us of the importance of taking a stepwise approach, because “the biggest reason for failure is trying to please everyone.” Once you have one product, you can expand and connect it to other areas of expertise within yourself or in your community. In 2006, she wrote her first book and had set the foundation for her own eco-friendly clothing line.
Wilson showed us all that running your own business isn’t easy, but well worth the hard work. Her recommended reading includes The Artist’s Way, The E Myth, The Right-Brain Business Plan, Wherever you Go There you Are, Generation Earn, and Savvy Girl’s Guide to Money. She left us with a poem from Marianne Williamson, below.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
By Kate Seitz
Hi fellow EcoWomen. I’m Kate, a mid-twenty’s Midwestern transplant to DC and self-proclaimed
environmental enthusiast, perpetually on the lookout for new ways to “green” my routine. My kitchen
cupboards are exploding with glass jars that previously held jam, pickles, you name it. Can’t get enough
of ‘em, and continually find new ways to re-use ‘em. I think I may be allergic to wasting food and throwing
recyclables in a non-recycling bin. I’ve dabbled in the creations of homemade, organic face wash, face
scrub, and hand soap. I persistently scour the web and chat with like-minded individuals about ways to
reduce consumption and make a positive impact on our natural world. I’ll be sharing my successes and
inevitable failures (my first batch of hand soap resembled a giant booger…still workin’ on that…) here,
as I continue to put my lifestyle under the magnifying glass and discover ways to incorporate eco-friendly
practices into daily life. Hopefully, a DIY idea will strike your fancy, or I’ll succeed in intriguing you with the
wonders of bike commuting (see below). Read on, and stay tuned…
Each and every day, we make choices about how to transport ourselves from point A to point B. Which
mode of transportation we select is something we can all zero in on to reduce the stress that we as
human beings exert on the natural world. My own “ah ha” moment hit me after living in DC for a few
years. The commute from my first DC residence to work was relatively painless. I biked three-quarters
of a mile to the nearest Metro stop. The Metro was about a 15 minute ride, after which I’d exit at my stop
downtown and walk one block to work. Thirty minutes door to door. Boom.
Here’s the thing. DC summers make any Metro commute a little more interesting, and by interesting, I
mean sweaty and uncomfortable. I’m talkin’ daily summer Metro rides where each passenger is sweatier
the last, and what seems like every other Metro car has a busted air conditioning unit. On more than
one occasion during my summer Metro rides, beads of sweat literally trickled from this dude’s…OK OK,
I’ll stop there. Point is, Metro commutes in the DC summer heat and humidity does not a happy person
make. This unfortunate reality aside, I always had the thought in the back of my mind: could I make it to
and from work in one piece on a bicycle? And if I could, how much of a positive impact would this change
lend, both on my own lifestyle and on the environment?
It wasn’t until my husband and I moved into our second and current DC residence that I took the
possibility of becoming a bike commuter seriously. Our place is off of the Metro grid, and while the
Metrobus does stop right outside of our house, well, don’t get me started on the woes of the Metrobus.
After our move, I planned out my bike route, got my ride tuned up, and purchased several articles
of clothing that may or may not blind anyone who looks my way (but hey, at least they decrease the
chances of a clueless driver nonchalantly running me off the road). Despite my preparations, my worries
as a cycling novice loomed. What if I get honked at? What if I go the wrong way on a one way? What are
those hand signals again? As I prepared for my first official bike commute and nervously pondered these
questions, my husband offered to spend his morning off to accompany me on my first ride to work (can
you say “swoon”?). Not only did I make it all in one piece, but I did the trek home all by my grown-up self
(ta da!). And thus began my love affair with bike commuting.
I now bike every day to work, rain or shine, 10 miles roundtrip, and would not have it any other way. I
suppress the temptation to yell out “see ya, suckers!” as I (safety) make my way right on passed the
inevitable traffic jam. What I love most is that I spend 15 minutes of my 25 minute commute on the Capital
Crescent Trail. Have you been on the CCT on the weekend? Ya, not the same. Don’t get me wrong…it
is a great trail regardless, and I love to see so many people out and about on the weekends. But the trail
on an early weekday morning is so calming. Peaceful. The other cyclists are friendly, almost neighborly.
Many nod their heads to say good morning. And I once got a thumbs up…how’s that for a start to your
My bike commute is the perfect start to my day. I look forward to getting on my bike each morning and
pedaling to work, passing the serene Potomac on my right, no cars in sight. It gets my heart pumping.
I consciously draw in deep breaths of fresh morning air. I’m on my own schedule, free of worries about
Metro breakdowns and traffic pile up. Plus, I’ve tapped into the environmental advantages of cycling,
which include avoiding gas and electricity consumptive modes of transportation. If only I had discovered
this joy years ago…
May 18th is the Washington DC Bike to Work Day. No better time to discover this delightful means of
transportation than when you’re sharing the streets with thousands of fellow cyclists! So get out there!
Yours in greening,
On Sunday, DC EcoWomen gathered for delicious sandwiches and smoothies in Cleveland Park to discuss the inspiration, humor, and amazement we found in the book, Miles from Nowhere. The story chronicles the incredible adventure of Barbara Savage and her husband, who set out from California to travel the world by bicycle. The journey begins almost immediately, as the couple adjusts to the idea of leaving their modest lives and familiar routines behind as they start up the U.S. west coast. Through rain, high winds, and killer inclines, the pair endures hardships and experience delight in unexpected places as they meet interesting travelers, see the world, and cement their own relationship.
This story includes several themes that are central to the lives of many DC EcoWomen: world travel and wanderlust, cultural experiences, friendship, kindness, and the great outdoors. One of the topics we discussed was how to bring these values into our own lives as a way of shaking off the happy hour cobwebs and mixing up our routinized urban habits. Whether you’re a long-time resident or new to the city, it’s always important to seek out new groups, new activities, and new communities that will expose you to neighborhoods, parks, or events that you might not have found otherwise.
Our discussion also included many questions about the logistics of their two-year adventure. Aside from financial concerns, Barb and Larry had to find safe lodging and sufficient food each night, repair their bicycles, and cope with illnesses in foreign and developing countries. While we acknowledged that traveling as a woman can present special challenges, many of us agreed that our fearless storyteller matched her husband in strength, courage, and savvy. In fact, she inspired many of us to think about upcoming travel in our own lives. Whether the next few months see us biking around town or flying off to see Russia for the first time, this story inspired us all to look for compassion and generosity in others and make the best of the challenging situations we face.
A big thanks to Hawthorne Homemade for letting us sample their delicious butternut squash soup and green goddess smoothie! If you missed this event, check back in for our mini Book Club meeting in June, where we’ll continue discussions of wanderlust and traveling.