I first met Veronica Fernmoss at Beloved Music Festival in 2010. She was open and friendly, kind hearted and present. I felt happy meeting Veronica and I sensed then that we would become friends. She has been my teacher, my counsel, my confidant and my dear friend for seven years. We have enjoyed festivals together, creating together, exploring the human condition together, and most of all we have shared our love for nature together.
Veronica is an amazing mother, wife and member of the community in the Seattle area and beyond. Even through life's challenges, her default has always been holding love and compassion for others. She is a life couch and she leads personal retreats. veronicafernmoss.com
This is our first photo blog interview together. Look for some podcasts from us in the future as well.
Kyer: Tell us a little bit about the culture you grew up in and the culture that you live in today.
Veronica: I grew up in a conservative east coast suburb. I pretended to fit in, but I felt like I was on the wrong planet. I dreamed of being part of a community where I was inspired and encouraged to authentically express myself. Today I live on Vashon, a rural, progressive little island in Puget Sound, Washington. I’ve been part of a creative community of for over 20 years. Dreams do come true!
Kyer: What life events and connections have helped shape your view of the world and how we connect (or disconnect) as humans?
Veronica: I spent my early 20s trying to find happiness and fulfillment by pursuing the American Dream. I achieved success only to realize how empty I felt. My focus was on external wealth and I hadn’t done much to get to know or develop myself.
I unplugged from the matrix by leaving everything behind and backpacking around the world. That was the beginning of my life long journey of self-discovery. Soon thereafter I began having the deep and inspiring connections that I had always wanted, and the deeper I cultivate my relationship with myself, the deeper and more fulfilling are my connections with others.
Kyer: We have a lot of shadow—addictions, drama and pain in our world today. The hungry ghost always wants more and negative drama often replaces connection and a healthy fulfillment. What are the causes of this shadow?
Veronica: Shadows are caused by the traumas you experience, as well as, the ancestral and collective traumas you inherit. We all have shadows. Even people who seem to have it all together have shadows and challenges. Shadows are a part of being human. They’re there to help you grow, to help you crack open and become more compassionate with yourself and with others.
The problem comes when you don’t take 100 percent responsibility for your shadows. When a challenge arises, if you blame other people or circumstances or numb out (addictions) and don’t heal what the shadow is trying to show you, it will persist and grow. When you step up to the challenge, you grow and find the gift in the wound.
Kyer: What brings you joy and a healthy life, and what do your teach in your conscious living workshops?
Veronica: There are lots of things that bring me joy and keep me healthy, dancing, singing, and being playfully silly. But when distilled to its essence, my joy and wellbeing come from deep, loving connections. Joy and wellbeing come from deep, loving connections with myself, with others with Spirit and with Nature.
As those connections have deepened over my life, I realize how inter-related they are. When you strengthen one relationship, it supports all the others. For example, my relationships with other people can only be as loving and healthy as my relationship with myself.
My husband Baruch and I teach individuals and couples how to cultivate and deepen healthy and loving relationships.
Kyer: Tell me about the acronym POET. How can we use this to relate to everyone we come in contact with- family, lover, community- in a healthy and fulfilling way?
Veronica: Life is all about connections to your self, to others and to something greater than yourself. In order to have healthy, fulfilling and enjoyable relationships with yourself, your family, lovers or anyone, you have to cultivate these qualities.
I use the POET acronym to teach these essential skills: presence, open-heartedness, embodiment and truth
Presence is essential to fully participating in life. The past is gone, the future not yet here, only the present moment exists. If you’re not present, you’re not “here.” How can you participate in life if you’re not present?
When you’re openhearted, compassionate, loving, and accepting of yourself and others you naturally feel safe. When you feel safe you naturally open, and when you open you connect. When you connect you feel safe. This is a positive feedback loop that supports wellness in all aspects of life.
Embodiment refers to occupying your entire body, feeling comfortable in your own skin and being able to express yourself physically. When you live in your head you’re only accessing a part of your entire intelligence. For example, much more can sometimes be conveyed with a hug than in hours of talking. You’re body holds a treasure trove of wisdom and pleasure. It is delight to explore and experience it!
Truth refers to being in touch with your authentic self. Knowing your true nature leads to freedom and transformation.
It’s a game changer when you relate to everyone from a place of presence, open-heartedness, embodiment and truth. Relationships naturally grow, deepen and flourish and life becomes easier and more satisfying.
Kyer: Let’s talk about something that you and I enjoy very much: the wisdom, joy and nurturance of nature.
Veronica: One of my favorite mantras is: Nature is my greatest teacher, my greatest healer and my greatest lover. It’s amazing to have such a powerful ally who is always there to offer support. Whenever I go outside, to take a deep breath, look up at the sky, at the trees, and listen to the birds, I relax and I feel better, simply by connecting with nature.
When I see a beautiful flower or sunset or fern or moss, I’m reminded that the beauty and harmony I see in Nature is also in me. It is so simple, yet profoundly healing and nourishing.
Then there’s the overflowing joy and wonder during epic natural encounters. Recently I was blessed to swim with a whale shark, wild dolphins and eagle rays! One of life’s greatest joys is embodying and connecting with Divine Nature.
All photos are created by and copyright Kyer Wiltshire and published with the permission of Veronica Fernmoss.