We had the good fortune of connecting with Benjamin Mathes and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Benjamin, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
I don’t embrace “work-life balance” as a concept. In my work as a coach and an organizer, I see this phrase ALL THE TIME! Everyone manages their energy to achieve balance between work and life, and it only adds a third thing to “balance”. I’m balancing my work with my life and with my ability to balance them– it’s exhausting! Instead, I prefer to see it as work-life ALIGNMENT. When who I am at home and who I am at work are aligned there is an effortlessness in living. Alignment, not balance, is my way forward.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I would say that everything I do is an art: that is, everything I do I hope to do with all I have and for the sake of others. Nothing has taught me more about art than Urban Confessional: a Free Listening Movement. For nearly 10 years, we have stood on street corners with signs that say “Free Listening” and we hold a compassionate and non-judgmental space for anyone who needs to speak. This has taught me about presence, acceptance, fear, pleasure, forgiveness– all the things that make good art can be found in the experiential reality of listening to others. I hope my art is reflected in the life I live– not just the things I make.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’d break it up into three days: a Beach Day, a Neighborhoods Day, and a Mountain Day. I actually love the beaches in Orange County, so I’d start with breakfast in Laguna, then lunch at Bear Flag Fish Company in Newport, and then dinner at the Cannery in Newport Beach. The next day, we hit the neighborhoods of LA– start in Venice and work our way east to Highland Park, where I live. The next day, I’d head towards Crestline to visit my friend‘s shop, Hearth and Sage, then lunch in Arrowhead. It’d be a pretty epic three day ride.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Any success I have is a direct result of the people in my life: my wife, Allison Pierce, my friends and colleagues Emma Sleath, Chiara McCarty, Aidan Rees, Daley Hake, Alicia Chandler, my family, my teachers… I could go on. I’ve never experienced a victory in my life that wasn’t entirely a group effort. I only hope I’ve let others know that enough.
Instagram: @urbanconfessional, @crashacting
Alicia Chandler, Geoffrey Donne