This week on the podcast, I want you to meet the smart, creative, and organized Aimee Gardner. Aimee is doing some socially impactful work in our shared neck of the woods here in the Hudson Valley/the Catskills. Aimee is the Operations Director for O+ (pronounced oh positive). Over her time with the organization, she’s also helped launch spin-off festivals in San Francisco and Petaluma California. O+ works to build long-term relationships between creatives and health & wellness providers to help strengthen local communities. The O+ festival infuses medicine, art, and wellness in a uniquely engaging way.
In addition to talking about O+, Aimee explains how we can trip into new and galvanizing experiences - sometimes unexpectedly - even as organized planners (ahem, my Type-A friends) and live to tell about it. We also chat about ways she’s dealt with burnout, the importance of setting bite-sized goals, and how she spends her “free” time at Disaster Mansion. Oh yeah, we’ll also discover the satisfaction of slaying a star-farting cat. (PETA friends: Don’t be alarmed. No real cats were harmed in this conversation.) We geek out over that topic and more, in this episode of Le vital corps Salon.
If you’re in/near Poughkeepsie, NY (in the Mid-Hudson Valley) between August 3-4, I urge you to check out the O+ Festival! If you’re not around in August, make plans to check out the 8th annual Kingston O+ Festival on October 5-7.
Selected link love + resources from the episode
O+ Festival Murals 2016 (video)
Teuxdeux (task list app)
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Quotes + selected highlights from the episode
All of this wisdom is from Aimee herself (with some minor edits for readability).
[00:18:41] Part of the festival's premise is that artists and musicians and doctors and dentists are all valued equally.
[00:29:40] We put it [O+ Festival San Francisco] together in a few months. It was very exciting and scary.
[00:30:41] [About the O+ Festival] This to me was the thing I've always wanted - without really knowing what - I recognized it when I saw it.
[00:51:44] [About the O+ Festival] You really just feel taken care of. You can have conversations with other volunteers and musicians. A lot of networking also happens in there inadvertently.
[00:54:21] [About the O+ Festival] It’s hard to replicate this experience in other cities. Even with the best intentions and all the resources. If you don’t have the groundswell to execute it and appreciate it and be involved, it’s hard to replicate. It’s a microcosm of the country.
[00:54:44] There’s no social safety net here [in the U.S.]. It’s eroding. At least one weekend in Kingston, we can produce that - a fully fledged, self-reliant, strong community.
[01:13:12] [On what success what means to her] I think that means creating a goal that is manageable and actually following through on it - breaking them down into smaller [bite-sized] goals.
[01:23:20] I didn't ever believe that women can have it all. I think running a family and a career and doing all that is some unachievable thing. You can never give everything you're 100%. I think doing what you can is what a modern woman is.
[01:29:26] As I've gotten older, the more I don't care. I found people who I really trust and love. I don't hold myself to some impossible standard anymore.
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