If you’ve ever experienced a moral hangover from work or think being feminine and being in business don't have to be mutually exclusive, then I have an episode for you. I’m stoked to introduce you to my friend (and this week’s guest), Megan Offner of New York Heartwoods. New York Heartwoods is a Kingston-based business that makes furniture to grow trees. Yes, to GROW trees. (Tune in to learn how.) Megan deeply believes that business can be a force for good and that good design fosters a more resilient future.
In this episode, you’ll hear all about the work Megan is doing at New York Heartwoods and learn more about her philosophy on doing good work and being resourceful. We chat about making beautiful things by hand with love, gender issues at work, and honoring the feminine while doing business. We consider how we value ourselves in relation to others. We tackle a lot in what felt like such a short time!
A special note, this episode is rather unique because it was recorded live in what Megan and I referred to in this episode as “the makeout booth” at Radio Kingston. (We were practically sitting in each other’s lap!) Because it was recorded live, anything can happen; and it did. At one point, we were joined by a very agitated commercial washing machine in the adjacent laundromat.
Washer machine aside, we had an immersive and special conversation about feminine energy, being of service, and other stuff that really matters. Tune into this episode in any of the fine places listed below and be sure to support the work Megan is doing at New York Heartwoods. (Link below.) Take a tour online.
Selected link love + resources from the episode:
Radio Kingston (Thank you, Jimmy and Ida!)
The Growing Economy of Salvaged Urban Wood (article by Megan)
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Quotes + selected highlights from the episode
All of this wisdom is from Megan herself (with some minor edits for readability).
[00:06:07] [On her past career in set design] I had this moral crisis realizing that essentially trees were being cut down so I could build this thing that was so ephemeral.
[00:06:25] [On her past career in set design] I grew up in Montana around a lot of clearcuts. So, I had this very personal experience of where wood comes from, and the moral hangover of work was getting way too intense.
[00:20:23] From an early age, I put myself into situations that may have been atypical for a woman, where I wasn't afraid to just learn on the job.
[00:21:29] I think it's important to learn non-attachment and to live life with a beginner's mind or a learner's mind.
[00:21:52] I had an example early on that you could make things by hand with love.
[00:22:58] I have realized that a certain amount of the things that I've chosen to do have come from proving that I can do things as well as, or better than, a man.
[00:23:36] Sometimes strong women are strong because they don't allow for vulnerability. It's like pushing away where it may behoove me to allow support.
[00:38:38] I think that many women are taught to please other people and to not be confrontational and essentially not to value ourselves above others.
[00:39:19] [On speaking up] A muscle that is getting stronger - one that I've been lifting a lot of weight with - is to really, truly love myself. I find that it's easier to just say, “That doesn't feel good.”
[00:59:31] The breakdown needs to happen before the breakthrough.
[01:00:48] There is no accident to it. Trusting the process and allowing whatever is supposed to fall away and just make room for whatever is in greater alignment to come in.
[01:02:34] It's part of my work to recognize the changes in the environment. But I think that we're all working with this pressure that our planet is changing so drastically and so fast.
[01:11:01] I feel like we're all being called to do important work right now.
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