Living Loud with Parkinson’s – Heather, 47

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Heather’s our first KuelWomen to participate in ‘Share Your Story’ who didn’t ‘have to’ – as in she’s not a close personal friend of mine. I’ve never met Heather but I sure hope to get to some day! She’s a fabulous writer and go-getter and will be contributing to Kuel Life via her musings on an on-going basis. We are excited to have her.

There is power in story telling. There is power in community. There is power in sharing. The more we know about one another; the more we understand; the more powerful we become.

We invite all of the KuelWomen out there to share their stories with us.

This is Heather’s.

KUEL LIFE: What are you pursuing now, at 47, that surprises you or might appear to others as if it’s come out of left field?

HEATHER: To others a creative life looks a bit like chaos, unruly, and perhaps impulsive, but I’ve always been an artist and a writer. Art and music rooms at school felt like home.

KUEL LIFE: What’s a typical day like for you?

HEATHER: I have no typical days but I tend to write in the mornings next to my dog Augie and a giant cup of coffee. I cherish this alone time.

KUEL LIFE: With what do you struggle?

HEATHER: Oh that’s an easy question: Three F’s. Focus, forgiveness (of cruelty), and fundamentalism.

KUEL LIFE: How do you motivate yourself and stay motivated?

HEATHER: I remember we are all close to death.

KUEL LIFE: What advice would you give fellow women about aging?

HEATHER: What a privilege it is to grow old. We should all be so lucky!

KUEL LIFE: What does vulnerability mean to you? What has the ability to make you vulnerable?

HEATHER: I’m a big fan of Brene Brown’s work and agree with what she wrote in her book, Daring Greatly: “Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.” What makes me vulnerable?… Suffering. To experience it can be a cruelty, but it serves as a reminder to remain open and compassionate. We are all a step away from our own demise.

KUEL LIFE: What are three events that helped to shape your life?

HEATHER: When my two children were born. I experienced the fiercest love I’ve ever known. I was utterly ruined in the best possible way, because I realized in those tender moments, holding our babies that life was no longer about me. And, when my friend Matt went through the windshield of a car without a helmet and died… well, I’ve never fully recovered. He had a tremendous influence on how I perceive others and I hope to inhabit the best part of who he was. Being diagnosed with Parkinson’s was also a game changer.

KUEL LIFE: Who influenced you the most in life and why?

HEATHER: Empaths and healers, like my Mother and my best friends. They remind me to keep clear of the rat race and snap me out of any illusion of ego.

KUEL LIFE: What is the best advice you’ve been given from another woman?

HEATHER: Cheryl Strayed reminded me to “Always take the balloon,” during a brief chat after her talk at our local library. She was referring to feeling worthy of Tiny Beautiful Things, as her book and writing suggests.

KUEL LIFE: What woman inspires you and why?

HEATHER: Too many to mention, but if I must choose one right now: Anne Lamott. For her sass, unapologetic and brutal honesty and the way she inhabits her writing like a boss.

KUEL LIFE: Are you grown-up?

HEATHER: I hope not. Adulting is dreadfully boring and a bit dangerous.

KUEL LIFE: What do you do for self-care?

HEATHER: I like to go the YMCA and bang out a challenging workout to prove to myself I am still strong, but generally I go-go-go until I am depleted.

KUEL LIFE: And last but definitely NOT least: What are the top three things on your bucket list?

HEATHER: I want to know the freedom of complete forgiveness- with no residual or lingering regret, I want my kids to know love in it’s myriad of forms, and I want to walk where my ancestors once walked.

You can also follow Heather and her musings, directly, at Kathleen Kiddo.

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