Who are you sister? Tell us a little about yourself.
Hello Stratejoy tribe sisters! My name is Erin and I am a Nashville transplant living in Jacksonville, Florida with my husband and two babies (who are dogs, ahem). As a tree hugging nature and wildlife lover, I adore North Florida for its mild winters and summers made for water sports, not to mention its unique natural beauty even if it is a far cry from the verdant hills I grew up in!
I am strong and sassy, but also extremely sensitive. I am an introvert who talks a lot (really, just ask my Elevate sisters!), but I am also a great listener. I come alive to the beat of a great song and dancing it out is my favorite emotional release. I am a former tomboy and football season is still the best time of year, but now I also have a love for flowy dresses and playing with makeup that teenage me would have rolled her eyes at. I come across as very calm and self-possessed even though I’m often feeling anything but. I’ve always been the good girl on the outside, but a rebel underneath.Stepping out of that good girl role and embracing my rebellious, free spirited nature is a huge part of my personal journey, but I still have a long way to go!
I am an emergency physician, which is an incredibly rewarding career, but also very difficult mentally, emotionally, and physically. You could say that it is a daily struggle to avoid burnout, especially since I have discovered just how much more there is to health and wellness beyond what I learned in those long years of medical training. My hobby of studying nutrition and lifestyle effects on health has led me to an interest in functional and integrative medicine. I can only use so much in my traditional emergency medicine practice, but I am planning on doing a fellowship in integrative medicine and one day putting it all to good use by opening a wellness resort and practicing the mind-body-soul health model I’ve come to believe in!
Let’s do some one word answers. Ready, set, go!
Morning drink: coffee or tea with heavy cream
Indulgence: Cozy mysteries
Lusting after: A beautiful mandala
Go to Gemstone: Moonstone
Spirit animal: Owl
Head space: Distracted
Heart space: Loving
Bloom of choice: Calla lily
Turn-on: Unrestrained laughter
Celebrity Icon: Maya Angelou
Favorite compliment: I love when people say “Thank you for listening.” Especially since I have a big mouth and am all too quick to start talking!
What does practicing joy mean to you? Being mindful and present to every moment and always trying to find beauty, even when it is not readily apparent. Always finding something to be grateful for, even when times are really tough. Sometimes this is really really hard, but that’s why they call it a practice, right?
Biggest life lesson you’ve learned lately? The biggest lesson I have learned recently is that we each have the ability to choose the way we experience the world. We don’t always have choice in what happens in our lives, but we can certainly choose how we react to events and how we feel about them.
What’s your definition of success? This question is the hardest for me! For most of my life, I defined success by achievement of goals. Then I achieved all my goals…but didn’t really feel successful. Clearly I needed a new definition of success! That was four years ago and I have made some huge strides since then, but this question still gives me pause. I think my personal working definition of success is to live a life that honors my core values, to feel content more often than not, and to be always grateful.
Name 3 things from your Life List that light you up.
Live in a foreign country
Hike the entire Appalachian Trail
Get my pilot’s license
What do you do when life gets messy?
Get back to basics of taking good care of myself with plenty of sleep, good food, and lots of gentle exercise. Spend lots of time with my husband and dogs and as much time as possible outdoors. And definitely get into a good novel; the best form of escapism!
3 Songs, 3 Books, 3 Instagram Accounts
Glass Animals “Life Itself”
The Head and the Heart “All We Ever Knew”
What do you love about yourself? I love my ability to empathize and see that there are multiple sides to every story. It is all too easy to judge others for not living life in the way that we feel is best. The ability to take that step back and withhold judgment has been huge in all aspects of my life.
What is the trait that you most want to improve in yourself? My tendency to worry and be anxious. I have made some big strides in the last couple of years, but still get so overwhelmed by anxiety
What has been your favorite journey? My favorite journey is probably that of building a beautiful and loving relationship with my husband. We were probably not a great choice for each other at the beginning and definitely suffered for it, but over time we have grown, compromised, and loved each other into something amazing.
What is your greatest regret? Not approaching my dad about his drinking relapse when I was a teenager. I thought I was too young and presumptuous to say anything, but by the time I had the nerve it was too late.
What are you doing in an alternate universe? I’m a veterinarian running an animal rescue and living on a working farm. My life is governed by the natural rhythms of nature and I am magically a rise-with-the-dawn morning person who winds down easily at night.
What’s your flavor of sexy? Hair down, barefoot, dancing in the kitchen
What’s your personal version of hell and heaven? Heaven is living in a mountain lake cottage and wintering on a tropical beach. Endless books, tea, and ice cream. Forever front row tickets to every concert I want to see and the ability to travel where I will without thought of cost.
Hell is being always cold and damp and never getting to be outdoors. Lack of freedom and free will define my personal hell.
How are you going to change the world? I practice loving everyone, including myself, all the time. This includes loving my friends, family, and coworkers the best I can every day. But also strangers, from patients to store clerks and parking lot attendants, and even people that are rude or hateful to me or those I care about. Not always easy, but it helps to remind myself they are people too, with stories I don’t know. If every person chooses love over the alternative, the world will surely change. All I can do is be that one small part.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given? Worry about yourself/Keep your eyes on your own paper! This is so hard for me, and probably most of us, in this world where we are constantly being exposed to everyone else’s highlight reels via social media. I truly believe that none of us is better or less than another. We are all equal, yet unique, and that is what makes the world beautiful. That doesn’t stop me from wanting to be a body clone to some supermodel, have the talent and skill of my favorite dancers, be as smart and acclaimed as Nobel winning scientists, etc. But, you know what? When I stop comparing my body, brain, and achievements to other people and just look at me for me, what I find is pretty awesome. So, I’m just going to have to keep listening to this advice every time the comparison monster and it’s ugly twin jealousy sneak up.
Word of the Year: Stretch. This year I wanted a word that pushed me a little bit, reminding me to stretch beyond what is easy or comfortable to find the amazing that seems just out of reach.
Book that made a Difference: Gabrielle Bernstein’s May Cause Miracles – I love the daily mantras and practical approach to spirituality. I go back to it when I’m feeling off kilter for a reset.
Can’t Live Without: My pups. They make me laugh every day and give the best snuggles when I’m feeling down.