Welcome readers to The Mindful Materialist’s first interview; Talking transformation and balance with Alanna Jane Hankey.
Alanna is a devoted lover, an intuitive mama, a songbird, a yoga teacher, a doTERRA leader, a humble poet and a woman in rising. Having recently uprooted and moved to Tasmania to start a new chapter with her beautiful family I thought this a good time to catch up with my universe Sister and lifelong friend to talk transformation, balance and mamma-hood.
So let’s get into it.
MM: My darling friend and wild woman, thank you for being The Mindful Materialists’ first interview.
AJ:Thank you for having me.
MM: As you know, my humble little blog The Mindful Materialist was born from my want to a) have a creative outlet and to b) share with others the balance in my life between the material and the spiritual. To remove the labels, and ask the question; why can’t we as women be both?
Over the last five or so years you have undergone a shift in your life’s balance between the spiritual and the material can you tell us a little about this ‘transformation’?
AJ: Hm. It’s a long story, but the short version is that I used to be a Creative Producer who lived in New York and I am now a Yoga Teacher living in Hobart with plans to build on our farm nearby, in the next few years. The journey here was long and at times confusing and painful, however now that I am here living life in a way that feels reflective of who I am, I see that my ‘transformation’ was simply the Universe moving the pieces of my life around, so that I could see more clearly. I am so grateful that I let go of what I thought I was meant to be doing and followed my heart to where I am now, because that transformation has been one of my greatest blessings.
Prior to 2012 I worked hard and fast. I was good at my work, pursued my interests, created solid connections and made dreams – like living and working in New York – a reality.
At the time I was drawn to things of intensity, beauty and excitement (beautiful clothes, fast life, lots of people, parties, drugs, alcohol, managing a thousand moving pieces, working hard, being the best, success success success!) which after years of living and working in Australia, led me to an internship-turn-job-offer with New York Fashion Week. After the offer, I returned home to Australia to complete my visa and upon my return home, something shifted. I felt like something was missing from the New York equation.
Something that I couldn’t ignore.
Something that I knew I had to find.
I felt that I had more to offer, deeper creativity to express and knew that I would not realise my fullest potential in that role. I wanted to bring people together. I wanted to create safe spaces where people could explore and realise more about who they were. I wanted to explore my own curiosity for being and allow that to inform everything I do. I wanted to be of higher service to humanity than producing for fashion shows. I wanted to sing, live in more alignment with nature and move through life consciously. I didn’t feel confident about who I would become working in the world of fashion and kept asking myself… how am I going to remain balanced travelling year round between Milan, Stockholm and NYC?
How does what I do as a Producer, add the greater good of humanity? The answers to those questions didn’t come quickly and certainly didn’t provide me with a new direction, however the feelings I was experiencing did give me enough momentum to say ‘no thank you,’ to New York and ‘yes please’ to a trip to India. I had been practicing yoga since I was 17 years old and suddenly, I felt called to return and commit to practice. Much to my father’s dismay, I packed my bags, borrowed money from friends and stayed in India for a few months practicing yoga, taking part in the Kumbh Mela and looking inward. I was also falling madly in love with a man who I had met a few months prior and as we travelled and practiced alongside each other…years of pain, unworthiness and disconnection began to surface, and over time, dissolve. It was a potent time of love, practice and transformation.
It’s funny, because on the outside I think I was someone who others always believed took risks, followed my heart and did what I wanted…and in part, that is true. However, we know ourselves best and I knew that if I didn’t surrender and allow myself to feel through my discomfort during that time, then I would return to a life in New York that would make me feel those things for a lifetime.
After my first trip to India, I returned the following year and completed my Yoga Teacher Training. Since then life has continued to unfold in the most divine and wondrous ways and I feel so blessed to be living the life I am. I know that I am where I am meant to be and I have full trust in the divine flow of grace available to me (and all of us) in all moments. From Australia, to New York, to India and now Tasmania…the Universe really does work in wild and wondrous ways and I believe it is our job to
Because the way, is constantly unfolding.
MM: I used it above but for me the word ‘transformation’ can sometimes seem too black and white, like “one day I was that and now I am this”. To me humans are constantly changing, influenced by our surroundings, moving with time and finding what speaks truth to us in each moment. Would you agree with this or do you feel that throughout your journey true ‘transformation’ has occurred?
We are a part of nature, so we are forever growing, forever changing, forever evolving.
That is our constant nature.
However, I do believe that there are some moments, more significant than others, that remind us that we are co-creating with the Universe here. We are not passive beings. We are alive and full of potential.
For example, if we tune in we’re constantly being led. If we don’t, then we forget that we’re being led. And in those moments when we forget… we’ll often receive a big nudge (like I did with the NY job offer) which aims to get us back on track, to check in and ask ourselves…is this the way I want things to go? Am I on my path here? Does this feel right for me? The answers to those questions can be really hard to digest and sometimes those nudges are deeply painful and we offer refer to them as trauma. However darkness does not exist without light and there is ALWAYS…
a silver living…
a lesson to be learnt…
a new awakening to occur…
When we’re nudged back into the realisation that we are an active part of this wide web and that we are responsible for the lives we live. We have a choice. Even if it doesn’t fee like it. We always have a choice. Which I believe is unbelievably exciting; that we can, at anytime, co-conspire with the Universe, change course and thrive.
That we can grow in whatever way we choose.
For me, transformation is about coming closer to your heart, listening deeply, realising your potential and consciously creating a life that reflects who you are and what you believe in.
That is what I think true transformation is.
MM: When you look in the mirror, who do you see? Is she the same woman you saw 7, 5, 2 years ago? is she a version of? Or completely different?
AJ:I see a woman.
Who, while gardening a few weeds, is rising into her soul’s purpose. I see a woman who is loyal, wise and good at heart. I know when I look in the mirror I can get lost in the superficial layers of beauty, societal confusion and a lack of identity but fundamentally I know that I am worthy, that I belong here and that I am full of potential. That’s a really good feeling because I haven’t always believed that. Loving yourself is the greatest gift you’ll ever know because its how we learn to give our love to others.
MM: My blog is all about balance, how do you find a balance between the material and your spiritual practice?
AJ:Yoga. Yoga allows me to find the balance in everything. Yoga is how I live my whole life.
I don’t care much for ‘material’ things anymore. Sure, I will always love art, poetry, architecture and things of beauty…however having ‘things’ doesn’t fill my cup.
Things are beautiful, but soul is everything.
That realisation, is my balance.
MM: Finally before we get into the fun 10 quick questions I have one more ‘deep’ question for you.
MM: What has becoming a mother taught you about life’s balance?
AJ:Ha. Everything! I have learnt an abundance becoming a mother.
In relation to balance though… well, Yoga! Yoga keeps me energised, flexible and organised with daily life. I have also learnt that when I allow myself to do what I believe is best for our child, I am guided to practice that same thing for myself. Which essentially, is learning to trust and listen to my own intuition. I now know that when I am in balance and making decisions with my heart, life is in full flow. However I also know that when I make decisions based on fear or look externally for guidance, my decisions fall short.
For me, motherhood has been my greatest yoga practice and the deepest transformation I have ever had. So much of what I was previously scared to share, say and do literally bubbled up and out into the world when I fell pregnant…and I though I felt that transformation rock the world around me a little…most people celebrated my new way and were in complete support of who I was becoming.
You can’t take everyone with you and if I’ve learnt only one thing it’s that I no longer have the energy or time to waste worrying about what other people think of me. As my belly rounded and I connected more deeply with my womanhood, I began to fall in love with myself in the most profound ways. Ways in which I don’t believe I would have without growing life in my womb.
It is a true honour being Rumi’s mama and to have welcomed him into this world in the way that we did (at home, on his due date, under water with his papas hands being the first to guide him into this world) makes me so confident in my daily decisions as a woman and a mother. Though I have my moments like everyone, I draw strength from Rumi’s birth ALL the time. That strength gives me the courage to stand confidently, the wisdom to see clearly and reminds me that there is such a deep power in allowing myself to be soft and led by my heart.
Being a woman is sublime.
MM: Now for some fun, if you could answer my quick fire 10 questions:
- Ashtanga or Kundalini yoga – Kundalini
- Guided or silent meditation – Silent
- Beach or Rainforest – Rainforest
- Hobart or NYC – Hobart
- Dogs or Cats – Dogs
- Gold or silver – Gold
- If you could take only one thing to a deserted Island what would it be? – my Family.
- Photography or paint – Paint
- Chocolate or Wine – Chocolate …I don’t drink much these days.
- Dancing or Singing – Singing …very closely followed by dancing…with you!
Thank you to Alanna Jane for her time, honesty and wisdom. Namaste darling woman!
To follow Alanna’s spiritual journey and connect, follow her on Instagram @iam.alannajane
Teaching at http://www.alceme.com/
You can also read her interview here with The Travelling Light
All blog post images are credit: Alanna Jane
Header image credit: To Bathe – Alanna Hankey and Nigel Brennan
To learn more about the couples stunning images from their exhibition To Bathe click here