We’re welcoming May blooms and longer (not warmer </3) days by considering the springtime shifts in our lives. We spoke with Kendra Austin this month about creativity, growth, and the importance of movement and rest for balanced productivity. Here’s to feeling like “melting ice” this time of year…
Kendra, for folks who don’t know, you’re a talented writer, model, diviner, “fierce hobbyist,” and last but not least, an Aquarius (<3). Oftentimes, it can feel as though creativity must take a backseat to the other pressing requirements thrown our way every day. We find ourselves so drawn to people, like us, for whom resisting creativity is not an option. Can you share with us where you find your creative inspiration, and how you bring artistry into your every day?
I started taking on hobbies because, well, I make money doing most of the creative things I'm good at. Thank the Universe for that. For every new project I take on for work, I take on an activity for joy. This keeps me inspired to continue to expand and engage creativity beyond physical constraint, money, and productivity. I am intentional about incorporating reading, singing, ceramics, painting, etc into my every day so sitting down to write my newsletter or showing up on set for a shoot feels less like a task and more like a mosaic part of my existence as an artist. I consume a lot of art and media. Podcasts, books, movies, and rest is my greatest creative inspiration. It's impossible to create from a place of authenticity when you never sit in stillness and learn how to discern your own creative energy or someone else's.
We can’t help but think in seasonal parallels – Springtime growth will always bring to mind inner growth, as we welcome changes, experience shifts, and embrace newness. How do you experience springtime growth within yourself?
I love this question. I feel I become more fluid, I stretch wider and reach farther, I exhale and let myself express messily - kind of like melting ice. A huge reason astrology really resonates with me is that it explains and provides grace to the natural shifts in energy we go through. It also grants permission to initiate major change where we may feel resistance in our lives. In Spring, I plant seeds. The season, kicked off by Aries, carries a sense of optimism, impulsiveness, and courage to me. I love to exercise self-trust by saying "yes" when I'm called to new projects, relationships, hairstyles. I ask new friends to go for dinner, I book that last minute vacation, get the ball rolling on ideas left in my notes app for too long. I accept the reality that they all won't make it to Fall harvest, and decide all of it is worth doing anyway.
The call of the body on these brighter days has been reminding us to take a break from the computer to walk around the block, or even just a pause for neck stretches and deep breaths. Do you have any movement practices you incorporate into your days? How do you carve out space for self-reflection, decompression, and movement?
Yes! All the movement! I actually spend the majority of my creative process in motion, to create a physical manifestation of shaking out stagnant energy. I do yoga, I love my Peloton, and I've been lifting since college. This is where I ideate and also find quiet at the same time. Self-reflection is the backbone of my work. I actually think it's much harder for me to sit down and physically execute assignments than it is to be on a walk, in yoga flow, or in meditation every day. Those are not obligations - they are my life and I regard them as such.
On your birthday, you said that “wisdom is not age, wisdom is experience, introspection, and empathy.” Your writings and videos are filled with affirmations, guidance on understanding one’s self, and finding and setting boundaries. We know this type of wisdom comes from experience ;-) If you could share some of this guidance with your younger self, what would you share, and do you think she would listen?
I would tell myself that the acknowledgement I was seeking from others would have to come from within, but the rejections and misdirections along the way would make my eventual self-acknowledgement all the sweeter. I would tell myself that it's okay to have to put your hand on the stove first - you were born to experience enough to tell vivid and imaginative stories and help people gain perspective on those same experiences, to find salve for those burns. She wouldn't listen because, well, that's how we are the way we are. I love her for making me....me.
Kendra on Instagram: @kendramorous
Photos by: Kelsey Cherry