Michelle is an esthetician at a spa on the Oregon coast, not to mention a cool surfer chick and genuinely wonderful woman. I met her in December when I escaped to the sanctuary of Manzanita during a time of intense heartache, and she, through an hour and a half oxygen facial and easy conversation, gave me the gift of calm and comfort I needed so much. Can’t wait til the next time!
What or who inspires you most? I’m not just inspired by one person – I meet a lot of people and am inspired by anyone and everyone who is positive and full of life.
What do you turn to when you need strength? When I’m feeling weak and lost, I travel somewhere far and foreign. Putting myself in an unfamiliar and uncomfortable foreign situation makes me realize and learn a lot about myself and what I am capable of.
How can women best support and/or empower other women? Hmmmm… I think of my girlfriends and how I support and empower them. I try and be a really good listener and validate and support whatever they are feeling are going through (even if I think they are being a little crazy:))
What do you love to grow? What would you like to try growing someday? Well since I live at the Oregon coast I don’t grow anything. But once I lived somewhere where the weather cooperated with me, growing luscious vegetables and herbs. I loved growing my own food, not as interested in growing plants and flowers. I like the basics tomatoes, onions, carrots, potatoes, broccoli, lettuce, kale and squash. Something about growing my own food gives me such a primal feeling. If I could try growing something one day it would be anything at the Oregon coast.
What are your creative outlets? Is there anything you’ve always wanted to try but you haven’t? Cooking and baking are my creative outlets. Trying new foods and working with new ingredients. Nourishing and nurturing through cooking and baking for friends and family are my way of showing how I care.
In what environment(s) do you feel most in your element? I’m hands down most in my element in the ocean. I feel the most free, confident and independent. We are made mostly of water we were formed in the womb surrounded by water so I think it’s only natural that I feel this way.
Who are the top nonprofits you support and/or volunteer with and why? Surfrider Foundation – They were the first nonprofit to really start testing the ocean for water quality along the beaches. They travel all around the world and help keep the ocean clean. American Red Cross – I know they are considered by some a huge corporation, but it doesn’t change the fact that at any major disaster they are there with lots of supplies and help.
What recent “green” change have you made in your own life? What’s next? I’ve always been really good about recycling and trying not to waste anything. Recently though I have been working on not creating stuff to recycle. Not buying overpackaged things, bottles, cans, boxes, etc. Mostly stuff for the kitchen and in turn I eat more whole foods no frozen vegetables or canned beans I make everything from bulk or fresh.
Where in the world do you consider a sanctuary? Why? Any ocean is my sanctuary. It’s where I’m alone with my thoughts and where I am focused on something much bigger and more powerful than me. It’s very humbling to be flowing down the face of the ocean thinking I know it’s every move and then being tossed and sent to the bottom gasping for air the next. Then energy the ocean gives me when I feel it flowing through my arms as I paddle through it is what I live for now.
What advice would you give to your younger self? Don’t be afraid of not knowing what’s going to become of you.
How can we as a society be more radical in supporting a healthy planet? Educating others is the best way to support and a healthy planet. Change is made through knowledge and education what we don’t know keeps us from caring.
What sparked your interest in environmental issues? What’s the first “eco” thing you ever did? Learning about how endangered the food we eat was the first thing that sparked my interest. Making a change and not supporting companies with bad agricultural practices and spreading the word to friends and family.
How do you live simply? I moved to a small town on the Oregon coast in hopes of a more simple life. I surround myself with friends, family, good food and the ocean instead of material things.
Could you leave us with a favorite quote of yours? “For whatever we lose (like a you or a me), it’s always ourself we find in the sea.” -e.e. Cummings