Turning Forty and Rediscovering Your Magic

Mindy Ruddock grew up dancing, earned her bachelor’s degree in dance and spent many years as a dance teacher until an injury ended her career. She pivoted and became a licensed massage therapist and an aesthetician and followed what she thought was the logical career path to a leadership position at a school that taught both disciplines. She thought she was doing the right thing but Mindy, who is by nature energetic and outgoing, was becoming ‘dulled’ and her husband diagnosed that she was completely burned out. Mindy talks about how she worked her way out of burnout and found her magic again.

Guest bio

Mindy Ruddock is a 42 year old mother, wife, teacher, daughter and finder of magic. Following intuition is something Mindy has always done and it has led her to Wellness Coaching for women. Her passion for wellness and helping others long predates her professional career. Mindy uses the tools she has in her toolbox to help her clients but most of all she teaches her clients to trust their intuition and guides them to discover the magic they have inside.

In her spare time Mindy enjoys spending time with her family. She loves being in her garden with her toes in the dirt and creating new products and programs for her clients and students.

Witchy Woman

Mindy Ruddock calls herself a ‘witchy’ woman. She is a Massachusetts native who received her bachelor’s degree in dance. Mindy started dancing when she was five, studying ballet, tap and jazz through her childhood. When she got to college she was introduced to modern dance and learned how to connect her body, mind and spirit into movement.  

In ballet, tap and jazz dance, you are given precise movements to perform. In modern dance, the dancer uses their intuition along with the choreography. In learning to let go and find intuition, and learn the language of movement through her body, Mindy found her magic. 

After college, Mindy moved to Ohio and taught dance for a year and a half then moved home and took what she thought was the next logical step and married her college sweetheart. That lasted a year and a half. She was divorced by the time she was 25. 

She met her now-husband and had two children before they got married, a week after her youngest son turned one. They just celebrated their 13th anniversary. 

Throughout this time, she continued dancing and teaching dance until she tore her calf muscle at age 29 and learned that her body doesn’t heal the way it did when she was 20. She grieved her loss of dance. 

Shortly thereafter, Mindy went to massage school.  As a massage therapist, she found a whole new way to use her body knowledge, transposing it into working with clients on the massage table. When a client pointed somewhere and said it hurt, she could pinpoint the muscle and solve the puzzle in her head. She used to call her clients puzzles because it was her goal to figure them out. She fell in love with her career. 

Mindy also got an aesthetics license and became a skincare specialist. Through these two professional avenues, she began to understand self care. While she preached it to her clients, she wasn’t doing a great job of practicing it herself. She feels like she’s still learning what works for her, though she knows she loves taking baths.  

She became a member of the state massage therapy license board and took the next logical step in her career and became a teacher, since she always loved teaching. She taught massage and aesthetics and eventually became the director of education at a massage and aesthetics school. 

Burnout

Then Mindy hit burnout. 

She thought she was taking the next logical step in her career. She thought she was doing the right thing. She found herself getting to work two hours before school started to get things done and eating lunch at her desk. She wasn’t feeling supported by her direct supervisor and wasn’t getting the training she needed. She also wasn’t getting the sleep she needed to stay healthy. She described her burnout as “dulled.” 

Mindy is normally an energetic, outgoing person but she wasn’t feeling happy. She had lost her spark. She went inward, but not in a reflective way. She turned inward to criticize herself and to hide and deal with what her self-critic was telling her. She said her magic was gone.  

When she was in the middle of it, she didn’t know she was in burnout. Her husband had to point it out to her. Looking back now, though, she can see how she got there. She had let her boundaries go. She was checking work email while at her sons’ karate tournament in Maine. She was on edge. She says she was not a nice person. But her husband had to open her eyes to it all and at first she couldn’t admit it.  

She was short with everyone, snapping at her sons and yelling a lot. Her husband pointed out that all she talked about was work, and not in a good way. She was becoming something she didn’t want to be. 

On a Thursday evening, her husband helped her write a resignation letter. On Friday morning, she went into work as early as she always did but snuck into her supervisor’s office to leave the letter. She had a video meeting with the owner of the school who was initially trying to save the situation but realized that Mindy was doing what she needed to do. 

She went back to massaging clients on her own at one of the spas she had worked at so she could continue to work while she figured out what was next. As she watched her sons study karate, it looked like so much fun so she started practicing it herself and – ever the teacher! – started teaching karate. 

The weekend before her 40th birthday, Mindy treated herself to a yoga retreat in Western Massachusetts with a friend from college and some former coworkers. She spent time in nature and started to heal. That was Labor Day 2019. Six months later, the world stopped. 

Then the Pandemic Hits

Mindy is very clearly a ‘doer’ but now she’s forced to take some quiet time, which she uses to spend time with her family and really start healing. This included meditating and focusing on mindfulness, including a course in mindfulness. Always a teacher, Mindy took a course on teaching meditation. After many years of focusing on wellness modalities that were outside the body, the ‘inward’ parts of the wellness world were speaking to her. 

She reconnected with her “witchy self” and her crystals and found time to spend in nature and she found that her 20-year-old self that was so lost is no longer lost. She started moving again. As much as she was enjoying karate, it was similar to her early dance experience in that she was following the steps that she had been taught. 

One day during the pandemic, she went to the karate school, locked herself in, turned up the music and started to move, which brought her to tears. It was a profound experience to remind herself that she was capable of movement. In movement, she found she was able to let go of external perceptions or expectations. She said she feels like people think one thing of us, and she was able to let that go. She let go of her own perceptions of people having issues with her. 

Mindy started working with affirmations. The one that really spoke to her was, “I trust myself.”  She used the affirmation to quiet the “annoying brat” who sits on her shoulder. The voice that lies to her and tells her people have a problem with her. She wanted to trust herself. She knew she needed to follow her intuition and to listen to the voice in her heart, not the mean one on her shoulder. 

Once she started listening to the voice in her heart, she felt walls coming down, healing and, ultimately, relaxing. She has a tendency to keep people at arm’s length. She realized she put up unnecessary boundaries to protect herself. 

A friend posted something on Facebook during the pandemic about telling people “I love you” more. Mindy realized that she only said those words to her husband, children and close family members. She doesn’t tend to share them widely. But then she wondered, why? Why aren’t those words for everybody else in her life? Why was she holding her love back from other people in her life? That was a boundary she didn’t even realize she was holding. 

Mindy learned what her body moved like as a 40-year-old. 

From Go! to Slow Flow

During the pandemic, Mindy earned her 200-hour yoga certification and now teaches yoga. The style of yoga she teaches she calls ‘slow flow.’ Instead of one breath per pose, it’s four breaths per pose, which allows her former-dancer body to get into some poses because she can move slower in and slower out of them.  

This time she’s taken for herself has made her realize that she has more than one speed and more than one pattern of movement. 

Through her 20s and 30s, Mindy moved at – GO! – speed, not only in her movement, but also in her thought processes. Now she’s ok with things taking a little longer, even making dinner. 

It used to be she thought if she didn’t get something done -rightnow!- she wasn’t doing it right. But then she started to wonder, right according to who? 

This evolution from Go! to slow flow isn’t something she’s done totally consciously, but something she recognizes as she looks back – and as she works as a wellness coach with other women healing from burnout. Working with women reflecting on how they are internalizing burnout has helped Mindy reflect on what she went through. 

She has created group sessions at her dojo she calls Mojo at the Dojo in which she creates a space for physical release, either yoga or punching bags, and then meditation. As she creates those nights, she goes through the process and the exercise before she takes the group through, so she experiences the class as well. Working with other women has helped her continue her healing process. 

Getting Witchy (Again)

During the pandemic, Mindy “came out” of the broom closet as her witchy self, which reopened her to people in her life. She started a group for women on Facebook called “The Positivity Project,” because everything felt so negative and she didn’t want that to consume her mental space. 

She started reconnecting with people in her life who reflected back on her how they remembered her. Her memories of herself did not match their memories of her. Mindy’s fourth grade teacher always used to tell her, “good things come in small packages and bad weeds grow fast; do not worry about what other people think of you.” 

Mindy posted a picture of her sons and her fourth grade teacher commented, “I knew you had this in you,” and Mindy thought, “I wish I knew I had this in me!” She’s amazed that her teacher can still see the person she was in fourth grade – and glad that Mindy is visible again, since she was hidden for so long. 

Mindy was introduced to Wicca her freshman year in college by a friend in the dorm. Though she doesn’t practice Wicca or any particular religion, she says that opened her eyes to the metaphysical world. 

She dabbled for years, and she meditated, but she never connected the two. She had a box of “goodies” she kept in her closet that no one else could see. Even when she had her own apartment, she kept her crystals in a box in the closet and pulled them out when she needed them. Over time, the box slowly got closed off and pushed further to the back of the closet. Then she became a mom and they got pushed even further back. 

She would occasionally spend time in nature, which she found refreshing, but she wasn’t in touch with that part of herself anymore. During the pandemic, though, she found time to reestablish that connection. She redid her office, which was previously a craft room. Now she’s surrounded by crystals and a bowl for burning incense and herbs. She’s loud and proud of her witchiness now. 

In fact, now she creates a monthly subscription box called Witchy Wellness. She makes most of the items in the box and feels good about getting back to making things, crafting and imparting her intentions and energy and spells. Now Mindy feels complete and balanced and aligned. She feels like she’s doing what she’s supposed to be doing. 

“It’s my life and I’m finally ready to live it.” 

She started by sending a message to a few people telling them that she recently learned that she had an intuitive healing ability. These people responded by asking if she was finally realizing this aspect of herself – something they already knew. She told her brother, who responded by encouraging her to finally start helping people. 

She wasn’t expecting to be so accepted since she still had judgment of herself in her head. She didn’t fully trust herself yet. She started speaking her truth, using her true inner voice. 

And now when she does events, she wears a boho witch’s hat and a pentagram necklace. She says “now everybody can see more of me.” Coincidentally (or not!) people have been telling her lately that she’s glowing, which is fulfilling since she had felt so dull during her burnout. 

Showing Herself

Even though she’s comfortable with who she is now, Mindy would have been too scared to show those authentic parts of herself through her 20s and 30s. When she started massage school at age 29, she was scared to tell people in her life that she was pursuing an “alternative” profession. 

She knows she’s not meant for a traditional 9-to-5 career. She learned that when she became the education director at a school. She can’t sit at a desk in an office. She’s a helper, a teacher, a doer. Her career path illustrates that clearly. 

She launched her business, The Wellness Path, during the pandemic when she found the internal aspects of the wellness industry were resonating strongly with her. She calls herself a ‘finder of magic,’ the spark, the joy, the light inside each one of us. Sometimes it goes out. Now that she’s found her own again, she wants to help other women rediscover their own spark. 

She calls it our ‘pilot light’ and says it exists inside each one of us. She helps women journey back to the place where their light is strong. Back to our fourth grade selves where we followed our own counsel without a care in the world. She wants to help people unlearn all the things we’re told we can and can’t do or should or shouldn’t be. 

Working with people, Mindy tends to look for commonalities, even if it means boiling things down. Once you do that, it’s easy to see that people are on a very similar journey. 

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Transcript

Stephanie: Hi, Mindy. Thanks so much for joining me.

Mindy: Thank you so much for having me today.

Stephanie: I'm very excited to have this conversation. You have characterized yourself to me as a witchy woman. and I love that and I am a somewhat closeted witchy woman myself. So I'm very excited to delve into this conversation, but before we get started, tell me a little bit about your background and your journey up to 40.

Mindy: Um, Journey up to 40. Hmm, wow, not that it was that long ago, but I gotta take a minute to reflect. I did the typical high school. I'm from Massachusetts, decided to move out a little bit and went to college up in New Hampshire, up in Rindge, New Hampshire. I got my bachelor's degree in dance. I've always wanted

Stephanie: Did you dance as a child?

Mindy: Yes. I started dancing when I was five years old.

Stephanie: Okay. I started, I think I was seven, so, and I danced for about 20 years.

Mindy: Yeah, I, think I did the math recently with one of my karate students and I've danced for about, I danced continuously for about 25 ish years.

Stephanie: Wow. And what did you study growing up for dance and, and what did you specialize in as you went to college?

Mindy: Growing up was ballet, tap and jazz.

Stephanie: Yeah,

Mindy: 'cause that's what we did with those fancy jazz hands and those

Stephanie: Absolutely.

Mindy: And those funky tap

Mindy: steps.

Stephanie: Yep..

Mindy: Went off to college and got exposed to the world of modern dance.

Stephanie: Mm-hmm

Mindy: And learned how to connect my body, mind, and spirit and everything into the dance that I did.

Stephanie: Mm.

Mindy: And found a whole new world of movement, of dance,

Mindy: I mean, growing up ballet, tap jazz, they tell you the steps to do. You learn that step. You repeat that step.

Stephanie: Yes.

Mindy: That is it. Modern dance, you kind of, you do a little more improvisation. You do a little bit more following your intuition, following what your body wants, with some choreography thrown in.

Stephanie: Of course. And with technique.

Mindy: Yes, always with technique.

Stephanie: Of course.

Mindy: But that learning to let go and finding that intuition and learning the language of movement through my own body. Really. That's where I found my magic.

Stephanie: Wow.

Mindy: That's where I really, I mean college. I mean, we can all say college is where I learned about myself and I, I definitely can attest to that. Absolutely.

Stephanie: Okay. So you said you went to college in New Hampshire, which is up in my neck of the woods. Where'd you go?

Mindy: I went to Franklin Pierce in Rindge, New Hampshire.

Stephanie: Mm-hmm . And then from there, where did you launch to?

Mindy: I lived in Ohio for a year and a half. Taught dance out there, moved home, made the next logical step and got married to my college sweetheart. That lasted a year and a half.

Stephanie: I was gonna say you were making a lot of faces when you said got married and you used air quotes with this, with college sweetheart. Just for those people who can't see there were, there was a face and air quotes.

Mindy: Yes.

Stephanie: Okay.

Mindy: Experienced that whole going through a divorce at a relatively young age. I think I was 24, 25.

Stephanie: mm-hmm

Mindy: Had to learn again, new things about myself. Had to realize that it was okay, what I was doing. There were words that, that are in my vocabulary now that hadn't entered my vocabulary yet. Self love and self care really weren't, I was just making my way through.

Stephanie: mm-hmm mm-hmm.

Mindy: I had two boys, then we got married?

Stephanie: Oh, okay.

Mindy: We got married a week after our youngest son turned one. We just celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary, couple weeks ago.

Stephanie: Congratulations.

Mindy: Thank you very much. And I continued dancing, I continued teaching. Teaching something I've loved. It's a part of me.

Mindy: It's a, a gift I was given that I wanted to pass on when unfortunately I tore my calf muscle. I was 39. Yeah, your body does not heal the way it did when you were a 20 year old in college. And I had a two year old and an eight month old at home.

Stephanie: Wow.

Mindy: So I was allowed to grieve my loss of dance.

Mindy: My husband was very amazing with that whole process. And I went to massage school and I started learning a whole new way to use my body knowledge. It was amazing. Taking my movement and body knowledge and transposing it into working with clients on the massage table. And when they would come in and they'd be like, oh, this spot right here hurts.

Mindy: And I could pinpoint that muscle and I could kind of play a puzzle in my head. I used to call my clients my puzzles, cuz I would try to figure them out. I was on a high now, because I'm doing what I love. I'm surrounded by people I love and my career and everything were just growing from there.

Mindy: I ended up also getting my aesthetics license. I became a skincare specialist. So now I'm understanding self care a little bit. I'm teaching it. I don't know if I'm practicing what I'm preaching all the time yet. So it's still, I'm still learning what I want and what I need. I do know at this point that I love taking baths and that is my downtime, and that's something I enjoy.

Stephanie: Mm-hmm

Mindy: I also became a member of the massage therapy licensed board. And I sat on the board for a couple years. I took a logical step in my career and became a teacher cuz I love teaching. So I started teaching massage and aesthetics and I became the director of education at a massage and aesthetic school. And then, I hit burnout.

Stephanie: No surprise, right?

Mindy: No surprise. but I was taking the next logical step. I was doing what was right. I was doing what I thought I needed to be doing for my journey, my life.

Stephanie: And I think that in that decade as well, in our thirties, we feel like we should be cranking on our careers and on the things that we're doing. And so we just, crank and and maybe don't listen well enough to ourselves.

Stephanie: Yeah, so massage and then teaching and aesthetics and then teaching and the state licensing board and being a mom to two young ones. I mean, that's a full plate for anyone.

Mindy: Yep. And two active boys. My sons are active in martial arts

Stephanie: Mm-hmm

Mindy: And they're 22 months apart. So they weren't necessarily always in the same classes. So, doing what most moms do while trying to juggle? Yeah, the burnout happened. School began at nine o'clock. I started finding myself there before seven, to get things done, to take care of things.

Mindy: I was eating lunch at my desk. I wasn't getting the support from my direct superior that I needed. I wasn't getting the training I needed. I love my sleep. I wasn't getting the sleep I needed and I just, I dulled.

Stephanie: Tell me what you mean by that.

Mindy: I feel like when you looked at me, I wasn't happy. I wasn't full of my typical spark. I'm a very energetic, outgoing person and I went very inward, but not inward in a way to reflect. Inward in a way to self- criticize, to hide, to deal with that inner critic. I'm a perfectionist. That's the Virgo in me. My magic was gone.

Stephanie: how did you know, I mean, other than your magic being gone, that that's a symptom. What did burnout feel like to you? How did you know? How were you able to determine that you were in burnout?

Mindy: I actually wasn't, it was my husband. He had to bring it up to me. Now, looking back, I can see everything that led to it, but in it, I was so blind to it. My boundaries were gone. I was checking emails in Maine at a karate tournament. Why? There was no need for that, but I thought I was going to get in trouble if I didn't. No boundaries existed. I was on edge. I was not a nice person. We will leave the word out of it, but I was definitely her.

Stephanie: Oh.

Mindy: Yeah, he had to really open my eyes. Like he didn't physically shake me, but he had to shake me. He had to make me realize what was going on and, at first, I didn't admit it.

Mindy: I'm like, no, that's not, you're not seeing that. I don't know what you're talking about. What do you mean? Oh, I'm doing everything I'm supposed to do. This is my job. These are my responsibilities. And then that light was shed on it and I'm like, oh, okay. Maybe there is some truth to this. Maybe there is some reality to what he's saying and yeah, he was right.

Stephanie: Mm. What kinds of things was he telling you about yourself that you didn't wanna hear?

Mindy: I was a brat. I was getting short with everyone. I was snapping at my sons for no reason. I was yelling a whole lot and I grew up with a yeller, so I don't like being a yeller.

Stephanie: Mm-hmm.

Mindy: So as soon as I started almost seeing the things, I didn't wanna be, that I was starting to become. Yeah and he said, all's I did was talk about work and it wasn't in a good way.

Stephanie: Yep.

Mindy: It was all the negatives. It was all the, this is what happened today. And that is what happened today instead of, oh, I enjoyed the day. Yeah.

Stephanie: Yeah. Yeah. So this was six or eight months before you turned 40, that you were coming up against this burnout and your husband trying to put a mirror in front of you.

Mindy: Absolutely. Absolutely. So I eventually, what ended up happening was on a Thursday evening, he helped me write my resignation letter. Friday morning. I let myself into my office as early as I always did, but snuck into my supervisor's office, put the letter on his desk. Had a video conference with the owner of the school, who mid- conversation said, all right. I was trying to save you, but we're turning this into your exit interview. Yep. You're doing what you need to do.

Mindy: And, I packed my office up in my car before anybody showed up and just waited... and left. I went back a couple days later cuz some of my students were graduating and I couldn't not say goodbye. Made an appointment with my boss at one of the spas I worked at, went back a couple days a week, started massaging on my own because I needed to do something. Started healing a little bit.

Mindy: The weekend before my birthday, I treated myself. A friend from college was doing a yoga retreat out in Western Mass and I went out for a couple days with one of my former coworkers and a couple people from college, spent time in nature flowing and starting to heal.

Mindy: That was Labor Day 2019. The next week I turned 40.

Stephanie: Wow.

Mindy: A few weeks after that I started teaching karate.

Stephanie: Karate has not even been on the list of things you've told me. Is that something you had studied previously?

Mindy: No, no, my children took it and mom decided it sounded like fun. So I started taking it and then the teacher in me couldn't sit still.

Stephanie: So, okay, so you turn 40, you're shedding some of your responsibilities that are feeling like too much. And you turn 40 in September of 2019, and then six months later, the world stops.

Mindy: And the world stops and I'm in Massachusetts. So it stopped. It was a hard stop.

Stephanie: Yep.

Mindy: it was a very hard stop. And I'm a doer. I mean, you can tell by everything I've said so far, I'm a doer and here I am being forced to not do. And forced to kind of take some quiet time and be with my family, and now I'm really gonna start the healing process.

Mindy: I started meditating more. I started focusing on mindfulness. I took a course in mindfulness. I took a course in teaching meditation cuz now this side of the wellness world is, was really beginning to speak to me.

Stephanie: What do you mean by this side?

Mindy: The inward, the focus in, the finally practicing what I'm preaching.

Stephanie: Okay. Okay. So a lot of the things you had done previously were on the exterior of the body,

Mindy: Yeah.

Stephanie: and now you're starting to go inward.

Mindy: Yes. I focused on the, the massage, that side of the self care world. And now I can go inward and I can reconnect with my witchiness self and reconnect with my crystals. And I have time in the day to sit in nature. And I really started feeling like that lost 20 year old again. Like that 20 year old is no longer lost.

Mindy: I found her again. That girl that got to just move in college in dance. I started moving again. When I was, when I left the dance world, it broke my heart and I didn't move. And I didn't allow that side of myself to happen anymore. And movement reentered my life in a way. I had been a martial artist, but again, I'm following the steps that were taught to me. I'm going through the motion of what my instructor is telling me to do.

Mindy: During the pandemic, I went in and I locked myself in the karate school. And I cranked the music. And I moved. And I cried. And I healed.

Stephanie: Tell me what that felt like.

Mindy: I'm gonna cry again right now.

Stephanie: Okay.

Mindy: It was, it was amazing. It was so powerful to remind myself I was capable of those things. I have a thing, I think a lot of us end up doing it. We, we think people think one thing of us. And moving and doing that, I was allowed to let that go. And I was allowed to say it doesn't matter what you think of me cuz you haven't told me. If you really have an issue with what I'm doing, how I'm living my life, then you're gonna say something to me. I can't think you have an issue with me.

Stephanie: Right.

Mindy: And , that was a turning point for me. I started using affirmations a lot and the one that really spoke out to me was, "I trust myself."

Stephanie: I feel like when you start using that one it's it's an affirmation, you, you almost start that one trying to convince yourself you believe it. That one takes a while to settle in usually.

Mindy: That one, I, I started using it to keep the little annoying brat that sits on my shoulder quiet. That little imposter who talks you out of everything. Who is the one telling you all these people think these things about you. But that's no, I, I have to trust myself. I have to follow my intuition, not the voice on my shoulder, but the voice in my head, the voice in my heart.

Stephanie: Mm-hmm

Mindy: And once, now those walls start coming down again and all those unnecessary boundaries I put up could heal and respond, and finally, relax.

Stephanie: Like, what? What kind of unnecessary boundaries did you feel like you were harboring?

Mindy: I have a tendency of keeping people at arms length. I'm an open book. I have no problem sharing my story, but I'm not always the first to be like, "oh, come in."

Mindy: I have a, a friend, he posted something on Facebook during the pandemic. And he said, we need to say the words "I love you" more. And I realized I only say it to my husband and my children and my close family members.

Mindy: I don't share those words. That's not for everybody else. And then I was like, but why aren't they for everybody else? Why can't anybody feel my love? And that, that was big. That was like a whew. Okay. Yep. Didn't realize that one was in there.

Stephanie: Yeah. I wanna go back to you, locking yourself in the karate studio and turning on some music. When you say you moved, can I assume that you were dancing?

Mindy: Yes, I was.

Stephanie: And did you go back to something you had worked on previously or did something new bubble out of you? I'm I'm just curious as a former dancer myself,

Mindy: It was just intuitive, natural movement. I put on a couple songs by Casey Musgraves. I use Butterflies and Umbrella. And then I have a feeling some Miley Cyrus Climb came on. All those inspirational, I could sit and listen to them all day long songs. Now I'm finally moving to them. And I did. I climbed that mountain.

Mindy: I climbed that ladder. I came down, the colors were beautiful and it was just, yeah, I just moved. I didn't jump so much cuz I'm older now and jumping hurts. But I, I definitely just kind of let my body, I learned what my body moves like as a 40 year old. I knew what she moved like as a 20 year old. And I, I wanted to try to revisit some of those moves, but they were not happening.

Stephanie: I can only imagine. Yeah. It's interesting. When, when I was dancing as a kid it was ballet and jazz for me. And then, when I went to college, there was a modern dance company on campus. And so just to keep dancing, I joined that. And at the same time I went to college in Boston. You know, you could take adult classes over at Boston Ballet.

Stephanie: So I did that for a couple of years. That was always fun. But I remember being in an environment of modern dance and I just, it just, I could not, I could not connect. I literally was like, just tell me what to do. What do you want me to do? I want you to improvise. No, no, no, but what, what would I see everybody else improvising. Where would you like me to be? What would, what do you want me to do? I just, and it's so interesting that you say, that when you got to college and were doing the modern dance, it really helped you connect with your intuition and I know for a fact that my intuition was not available to me at that period of time.

Stephanie: So, no wonder improvisation and modern dance was not something that I was really resonating with.

Mindy: And modern dance is not for everyone, just like meditating and yoga aren't for everyone. It takes, a special, crazy mind. I guess.

Stephanie: Yes. Yes. Now when they choreographed modern dance, I was happy to do it. We did a couple of shows and you know, that was great, but yeah, I remember, and I loved, you know, whatever once or twice a week, you'd go in for a class and it was half ballet, you know, ballet warm up and, you know, that was always great for me. I loved it, but but I, I have a vivid memory of an improvisation day where they were like to put on some music and was like, oh no, I, I was useless. It was like, like hysterically useless. Not hysterically. Meaning it was hysterical how useless I was.

Mindy: I gotcha.

Stephanie: Yeah, yeah. But I also, much like you, you know, stopped moving at, actually mine was more recently. But you know, five or six years ago, I I got diagnosed with Lyme disease and have been struggling with that ever since. Five years before that actually right around the time I was 40, I found aerial circus. And I started doing silks, studying on aerial silks, and just fell absolutely head over heels in love with it. And of course it's funny, right? Being the 40 year old in the room of all the 20 somethings and early 30 somethings and seeing them being able to do X, Y, and Z. And you know, a little bit more limited than them, but still just loving it. And I had to give that up a couple of years ago, so I, I understand that sadness of giving up a form of movement that you love so much.

[Intermission]

Mindy: It's been interesting, through the pandemic I've been able to take a few different courses and things like that. And I actually got my 200 hour yoga teacher certification and now I teach yoga.

Stephanie: mm-hmm

Mindy: And the style of yoga I teach is, I call it slow flow. Instead of one breath per pose, it's four breaths per pose. It's much nicer to my former dancer body, but it allows me to do some of those moves that I did because I'm slower to get into them and slower to get out of them.

Mindy: And it's funny, people close to me are like, you? Slow? And I'm like, "Well, I also teach Tai Chi now, too, so yes." Yes. This healing, this taking the time for me has real- made me realize- I do have more than one speed. I do have more than one pattern of movement, I guess.

Stephanie: I love that. You have more than one speed, meaning for several decades, let's call them your twenties and your thirties, your speed was

Mindy: Go!

Stephanie: all the way. Yeah, it was, it was do it all and do it great.

Mindy: Yep. Absolutely. And I mean, not just, not just physically, not in just the things I did in my life, but my thought processes. The way I, I processed anything I did, the way I cooked dinner, the way I, I did everything, and now I'm like, okay so, so what if it takes me a little bit longer to do something? And I'm okay with that.

Mindy: I actually would rather take a little bit longer to do something now. Where before it was like, no, if I don't get this done now I'm not doing it right. And now it's like, what is right?

Stephanie: That is consistent with a lot of other folks that I've talked to around, who says? Whose authority? Who am I living up to?

Mindy: It's not right. Like.

Stephanie: And was this something that you were conscious about shedding, or was it something that you realized after you did it and you sort were looking backwards? I'm just curious around the thought process of getting from go, to slow flow.

Mindy: It, it's kind of a, a reflection back now that as I'm working with more women. I I'm a women's wellness coach and I work with women through burnout. I kind of help them identify, but I, I don't touch that side of it. I deal with the healing. I deal with the internalizing of it and reflecting on with my clients, what they're entering into, kind of forced me to reflect on what I went through and where I am now.

Mindy: When I create a program or I have a night at the dojo, I call it Mojo at the Dojo. It's two hours. It's a physical release. Typically yoga, can be punching bags, depends on where we're going with it, in the middle there's kind of like a group coaching, and at the end, we'd meditate.

Mindy: But as I'm creating those nights, I'm going through the process of everything. So if I'm creating a night, say on confidence and I'm writing my script, I'm taking myself through the class. So I'm experiencing it before they do. So then when they experience it, I can reflect a little bit differently,

Mindy: I can say, "Oh, when I read this quote, this is what I feel. How do you feel now that I'm reading this quote?" Or something along those lines. And it's working with other women has helped me continue my process. Thankfully, it hasn't really brought anything to the surface that I was like, "Oh, yeah, kinda pushed that away."

Mindy: But it definitely has allowed me to reprocess, to revisit, and to slow flow. To sit with things for a little while.

Stephanie: That sounds a lot like when I turned 40, I had 40 drinks with 40 people in 40 different places. And a lot of those people that I met with were folks who had known me at different parts of my life, and who maybe I hadn't seen in five or 10 or 15 years.

Stephanie: And so through those conversations with them, they were reflecting back things at me that I didn't know, or had forgotten or had buried. And so, I'm really relating to what you're saying about why I created a lesson for someone else, but by going through it myself, I got some of the benefit of, what I was trying to achieve for them.

Stephanie: And it wasn't quite as conscious and thought out, what I did, but but there was, there was a similarity to that of being with other people and having reflections and having conversations and then coming to breakthroughs and "Aha moments."

Mindy: So I can, I can actually even more relate to that, cuz during the pandemic, I actually came officially, fully out of the broom closet. And in coming out of the broom closet - witch world - I reopened myself back up to people in my life. I started a group on Facebook for women. I call it "The Positivity Project", cuz everything went negative and I wasn't going down that road again.

Mindy: And it started connecting people I knew from elementary school and college and they're reflecting back, "Oh no, Mindy. This was always the way I remembered you." My fourth grade teacher is in the group, and she's like, "but this is how I remembered you." And it's like, "Your memories of me are not what I remember of me." is

Stephanie: Oh my god.

Mindy: And it is amazing.

Stephanie: Tell me about this. Tell me about your fourth grade teacher. What did she say to you?

Mindy: She has always told me that good things come in small packages. I am five feet tall. I am short. In fourth grade I probably weighed maybe 40 pounds. So she used to always tell me, "Mindy, good things come in, small packages, bad weeds grow fast. Do not worry about what other people think of you."

Mindy: I'll post a picture of my sons, and she's like, "I knew you had this in you." And I'm like, "I wish I knew I had this in me." And I actually sent her a message a while back saying, thank you for being there the way you were and the way you continue to be. I, I sell crystals and stuff and she actually has purchased from me for family members and different things.

Mindy: And it's just amazing to know that the Mindy in fourth grade, she still sees now. And probably, hopefully, sees even more, cuz that in between period, that that Mindy was hidden for so long. But, yeah, it's just, it's crazy.

Stephanie: Yeah. So one of my drinks was with two girls that I went to grammar school with. We were very, very good friends in grammar school and through high school. . And I, I moved to this rural town outside Manchester. My family moved there when I was in second grade. So I met one of the girls. I met Karen in second grade. And then Ginny moved into town the summer before fourth grade. So same era as you're talking about. And the story that Ginny told me when we had our drink was, and back up two steps. Where I lived, in this very rural neighborhood, I have two younger brothers and the neighborhood was all boys.

Stephanie: So lots of boy energy, which was fine and great. And they were friends. Um, but somehow I heard that there was a family with three girls that had moved in up the street. And this is where Ginny comes in. She tells me, one day I put my dog on a leash and said, I was gonna take the dog for a walk and I walked up to the street and basically was loitering out in front of their driveway until, some parent saw me and said, "Go outside girls and go meet this person." Apparently I was very obvious about it. So she's telling me this story and we're sort of laughing and haha.

Stephanie: And it, it stuck in my brain. So later when I got home, I, I looked it up and the, the distance between my house and her house was almost a mile and a half. I was 10. I was 10. And so the thing that I didn't know, as an adult, as a 40 year old, I knew that I was sort of wild and outlandish and bold and adventurous in my twenties, and in my thirties. I did not know I had it that far back. I did not know that it was fully ingrained and on board with me as a human being, versus something, I just decided in my twenties, " You know, I'm gonna be bold and adventurous." Oh no, I always was. So yeah. Yeah. So fourth grade remembrances for the win. Huh?

Mindy: Right? Crazy.

Stephanie: Maybe we should teach all of our fourth graders that, that you're, you're just your truest self in fourth grade.

Mindy: You might not be wrong. Absolutely.

Stephanie: Yeah. So tell me a little bit about you. You said you came out of the broom closet and you're a witchy woman. I is this new? Tell me where this comes from. Tell me how...

Mindy: This, this started coming about my freshman year of college. I met a girl in my hallway who opened my eyes. I don't classify myself any particular religious following. just follow my intuition and do what feels right. And she kind of laid down the groundwork and really opened my eyes to the alternative side of things, the metaphysical world.

Mindy: And I dabbled with it. I worked with it. I meditated always, but didn't connect a lot of that stuff. They were separate. I had a box in my room that I kept my goodies in that no one else could see. Even when I was old enough with my own apartment, it was a box, literally in the closet, that no one else could see that I would pull out.

Mindy: My crystals lived in there. When I needed them, I would pull 'em out. And then that box slowly got closed off and that box got pushed further, further into the closet. And Mom things happened and not lighting a candle around a baby and all that mindset came in and I would dabble with things here and there.

Mindy: And I would definitely ground myself in nature and I would spend time and stuff, but I wasn't fully immersed anymore. Where during the pandemic, I was allowed to take that time. I completely re-did my office. It was a craft room previous, and now it was gonna be turned into a room where I could spend time that wasn't my bedroom and I am 360 degrees surrounded by crystals at this moment in time. They're no longer in the closet.

Mindy: I have a big bowl for burning different incense and herbs. I have my moon waters everywhere. I'm loud and I'm proud and it's not quiet anymore.

Mindy: I actually create a monthly subscription box. Witchy Wellness is what I call it, and I make almost all the products in it. So I'm getting my hands back into the making of things, the crafting of things, that adding my intentions and my energy and my thoughts and my spells. I guess you could say? My poems, all that stuff back into all this, and now I feel even more complete and balanced and fully aligned. Living and doing what I'm supposed to be doing.

Mindy: I mean, don't get me wrong, I have my hiccups. We all have our moments and whatnot, and I've also now learned that I don't judge those moments. I let them happen. I don't stress over those moments. Those too shall pass.

Stephanie: Right.

Mindy: And I post what I wanna post on social media, and you can unfollow me. It's my life and I'm finally ready to live it.

Stephanie: What made you finally ready to live it?

Mindy: There was one day where I just had to say it out loud. I started out with sending an email or a message to a few people I know saying, listen, you've probably already know, always known this about me, but I've recently learned something about myself. That I have this intuitive level of healing that I do. And I sent it to people who were close to me, clients, different people like that.

Mindy: And they actually, yeah, they responded back and they're like, "Yeah, You're finally realizing this?" And it was interesting. I sent it to my brother and he, he was like, good. You can finally really start helping people and doing what you do. And I wasn't expecting to be so accepted and everybody to be so okay with it, because in my head, that judgment of what other people thought was still there. I wasn't fully trusting yet. Yeah, I just started really speaking my truth, using my true voice and not just being loud.

Stephanie: I love that. And is that recent or is that throughout the last couple of years? Is,

Mindy: That's throughout the last couple years, but has gotten even a little bolder. It's even a little more, not in your face because that is not the type of person I am. But now I set up at, I do popups at different events around and stuff, and I wear a little boho witch's hat. And I have a pentagram necklace and I'm decked out and I'm still Mindy. Now everybody can finally see more of me. Instead of

Stephanie: And that feel?

Mindy: Feels amazing. I've been getting a lot of "You're glowing" comments lately from people, and that's really cool because I had mentioned I was dull before. So now to hear that I'm glowing, I'm like, okay, something's right.

Stephanie: Something's absolutely right. Yeah, I resonate so much with all the stuff you're saying. I'm curious, in your twenties and your thirties, how do you think you would have felt about showing these parts of yourself? Would you have been able to? I mean, I know you didn't, but, and I didn't either.

Stephanie: So I'm curious, you know, as you look back, like what would've happened if I had shown myself during those times?

Mindy: I was scared out of my mind. Even when I started massage school, to show people close to me that I had an interest in an alternative profession. I'm not made to do a nine to five, which I eventually learned when I be became the director of education. And I burned out. I've, I'm not physically the type of person made to do a nine to five, sit in my office job.

Mindy: I'm a helper. I'm a teacher. I'm a doer. And my career paths have always kind of spoken to that.

Stephanie: Yeah,

Mindy: Except when I became director of education.

Stephanie: It's so interesting. The strength of the pull of traditional. This has come up in almost every conversation, but the strength of should and us feeling like we should match a picture in somebody else's head.

Mindy: Yeah,

Stephanie: Or we should meet somebody else's expectations.

Mindy: I should take this position cuz it makes sense. When there was no logic to it.

Stephanie: Or it was all logic. There was no feeling to it.

Mindy: Yeah. True. Mm-hmm

Stephanie: Yeah. Yeah. Oh, I, I just resonate with this so much. Tell me, I think when I was looking, you launched your wellness company, it's called The Wellness Path. You launched that during the pandemic, is that right?

Mindy: Yes.

Stephanie: Tell me a little bit about what you do.

Mindy: Just before the pandemic, I opened up and I did my first Mojo at the Dojo event. And I actually invited a coach in to do a portion of it because I didn't have the confidence in myself, and I didn't know I had that part of myself to do yet. I was about to do my second one, which would've been 100% me and we literally, it was the Friday we locked out.

Mindy: So I obviously canceled.

Stephanie: Mm-hmm

Mindy: And I sat with my husband and I was like this side of the wellness industry, the not physical side, the more internal side of the wellness industry is absolutely speaking so loudly to me right now. And I just feel like there is a place for me to help these women. I call myself a finder of magic. That spark, that joy, that light that is inside each and every single one of us. But goes out sometimes. Now that I have found mine, I feel I am here to help other women rediscover that.

Mindy: To find that, and to journey back to that place. It exists in each and every single one of us. I sometimes compare it to a pilot light. It's there, but it's not always super strong depending on what we need it for, but it it's time that we, I guess we don't do the shoulds. We don't necessarily follow along with what we're supposed to do.

Mindy: There's more to the world. When we're little kids, when we are those fourth graders who walk that mile and a half to their new friend's house, we have no care in the world, we just do. But as we get older, we're told don't do. Don't go do that. Yes, do this. And I'm at a point in my life where I am ready to help other women do. Do for you.

Mindy: Don't, don't think of it as being selfish that I don't even like that word associated with self care because it's not in any way, shape or form. We need to be on our list. We don't, I mean, not all women can make themselves their number one on their list. And that is okay.

Stephanie: Yeah.

Mindy: Cuz we don't have, there's other things. My, my list is always changing.

Stephanie: Right,

Mindy: Who's where, and it should, it shouldn't be this, this, this.

Stephanie: I had a friend once who said "balance is an illusion. What's probably a little bit more meaningful to strive for is harmony." Meaning the list changes and some days, and some weeks, or some eras, you know, work needs everything or the kids need everything or home needs everything or your marriage needs everything, but, you know, and that's fine, but it's that harmony around the different elements of your life and being able to understand and be flexible enough to let them change positions on the list.

Mindy: I say a lot of times, give yourself grace. Give yourself the okay to shift.

Stephanie: Yep.

Mindy: And that makes a big difference. And that's kind of where The Wellness Path, I called it The Wellness path, because everyone's path to wellness is different, is my little catch. But it, I mean, it's so true, it's not just a saying everyone's path is different.

Mindy: Yours might have some parallels as we have found ours does, but it could have some completely, way off the cuff, but you can still relate and generalize. I'm huge on commonalities when I'm working with people, especially large groups. And when it comes down to it and you strip it all away, the commonality that I work with is women.

Mindy: If you can't connect with other people, then just strip it down to the commonality. Okay. We're women, we're mothers. We have children. How old are your children? How old are, like that whole and everybody starts relaxing and settling down and you realize we are all on a very similar journey.

Stephanie: Right, right. Well, Mindy, this has been an amazing conversation. I, I so appreciate you sharing so generously about your story, about your burnout and about your path back from that to finding you. If our listeners wanna find you, how would they do that?

Mindy: I've made it relatively easy.

Stephanie: Good. I love that.

Mindy: So, my email is thewellnesspathwwc@gmail.com. My website is that same beginning, thewellnesspathwwc.com and all my social media, Instagram and Facebook is thewellnesspathWWC.

Stephanie: Easy.

Mindy: Yeah, I, that took me a while to figure that out though.

Stephanie: Well, you got there and now you've got this great consistency. And so thewellnesspathWWC on any platform, anywhere is how you find Mindy. Yeah. Yeah. That's great. Well, thank you so much. I appreciate you sharing so generously with me and I wish you the very best.

Mindy: Thank you so much. I appreciate your time.

Stephanie: It's my pleasure.

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