We had the good fortune of connecting with Tanya Edmonds and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tanya, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
I found this to be a most interesting question, considering the work I do, because I really do believe my upbringing and background has played a huge role in defining my values and chosen vocation.
I am British born although I also lived in Canada and St Lucia, in the Eastern Caribbean growing up. I have lived in Los Angeles for 30 + years now! My family liked to travel and explore different cultures when I was young and we were always on road trips to parts unknown. Most of these travels also included some component of being in nature. My dad’s wanderlust and my mother’s deep appreciation for the natural world and both parents’ sense of adventure definitely influenced me in positive ways.
I also grew up in a “religion free” family and I find this important to note only in as much as I felt like I started with a “clean slate” as it were, and I approached all faiths, religions, philosophies or perspectives with an open mind and fairly even handed approach. “To each his own” was deeply instilled. Also being at school for some of my childhood in mixed race situations where I was the minority had a huge impact on me. Definitely a “third culture kid” kind of upbringing where certain perspectives develop in terms of empathy, inter-connectedness, etc – perspectives that most children who experience this type of upbringing often feel compelled to share.
My extended family is one of many different ethnic, cultural and racial backgrounds and we all unite as one. I call us the “United Colours of Benetton.” (Readers may be too young to get this!)
So I am painting you this backdrop to show that it wasn’t a stretch to be compelled to find ways to introduce people to their wise and authentic selves and to find ways for people to connect more deeply to each other with empathy and discover more harmony and balance within. Compassion and connection begins within, and under all that beautiful diversity, we are all one. There are two areas in life where I believe we can all meet and feel supported: one is to look within to the infinite and eternal inner world, and the other is to look outwards to nature. Both landscapes help us align with our “true nature”, and this is the foundation of my work.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I have been helping others on their mindbody wellness journey for nearly 30 years. In the early 1990s, after a decade as a creative in the music video and film industry, I took some time off because of a “mystery illness” that had developed most likely, from some toxic substance I had inhaled on set while in London. I had been burning the candle at both ends and always prided myself on being the first to arrive on set and the last to leave. I was not taking care of myself and had no firm boundaries or any self-care protocol. I felt invincible and immortal and that if I just always worked really hard then everything would be ok. Don’t get me wrong, I loved being a hard worker, and I still do to this day. It’s just that I had to learn that hard work had to include self care. It’s been my life’s journey ever since to apply those lessons to myself and to share what I’ve learnt with others.
While spending a few months recuperating, I had a beautiful and profound dream that directed me towards helping others on their healing journey. I was instructed that if I started the path of healing myself, that I would be of service to others. I didn’t hesitate. I changed paths immediately. And I got well.
The path has been made easier because of my deeply held conviction that this is my life’s path, my dharma. Whenever I have tried to diverge, I’ve been (sometimes aggressively) put back on the path by the universe! That doesn’t happen much, if at all, anymore because I’ve learned to LISTEN.
My work as a mindbody practitioner has been fine-tuned over the years to be more and more instructional. When I was primarily a bodyworker, I got to the point where people just wanted to be “fixed”. As a mindfulness coach and a meditation instructor, I get to guide others towards discovering for themselves, the wellness and balance they are seeking. Big difference! Since I made that transition, things have flowed effortlessly. I spend a lot of time outdoors and incorporate nature into my sessions whenever possible; whether it be as a therapeutic setting, or as a model for our inner processes. I believe that there is a growing movement to “rewild” ourselves as humans and I wish for my work to encourage this movement too.
As an artist, I have spent the last 5 years taking portraits of trees and botanical wildlife. My art is an homage to the sacred yet silent world that we are letting slip away from us. I seek to help give that world a louder voice and more visibility!
At this time in our human history, we are more in need than ever of ways to connect with our own powers of healing, resilience and transcendence. It’s becoming imperative to know how to be more resilient against the backdrop of chaos that is our modern world. We need to learn how to “ride the waves,” because they aren’t going to stop – that we can count on. As important as our own healing, is the healing of our planet, of mother earth. The more connected we are to our “true nature” the better stewards we can be for nature herself.
I strive to help others connect to the their wise inner Self and with the natural world of which we are all an integral component. By being more mindful and aware and connecting with life in moment by moment, “bite sized” chunks of experience – by slowing things down – we can live more in a state of wonder and awe – a place where all innovation, creativity and interconnection resides.
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?
Oh boy! I love being a tour guide! Their week with me in L.A. would absolutely have to include experiencing some of the natural beauty. Some natural points of interest would have to include sunset on the cliff tops at the southern end of Westward Beach by Point Dume…followed by a stiff drink at “The Sunset” bar and restaurant. It would include taking a long walk with picnic provisions up the beach north of Paradise Cove in Malibu, where (at low tide) you can discover cove after cove of almost deserted beaches.
I’d have to include a Sunday afternoon picnic and wine tasting at Malibu Wines….or an incredible meal at Malibu’s “The Old Place” located in what was once a general store on what was once a pony express route! One of my favourites!
We’d have to go up to Mullholland and look out over the San Fernando valley as the lights start to flicker on in the valley below.
Downtown L.A. and the Arts district is another must in my opinion – perhaps a roof-top bar or wander in and out of boutique galleries and discover a restaurant that we have never been to before? I think they would need two weeks here!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Where to begin? The longer you live in this life, the more you can look, with hindsight, and see all the beautiful people who guided you or helped you walk your path, either through support and guidance, or through adversity and by showing you what you DON’T want. There are too many of these guides along the way to acknowledge all, but I believe it’s important to be open to the gifts and teachings that are offered through others every day of our lives.
Getting more specific, my two grown children have been and continue to be my greatest teachers, and I have been moved to always strive to be the best person I can be and to be open to daily growth, so that I can be a better role model and mother for them. Our children ARE our best teachers…it’s a beautiful thing! I love them dearly!
I’d also like to give a shout out to my partner, who I met at a time in life where I was happy to never be in a romantic relationship again. But out of the blue he just sort of appeared and has showed me all the rewards of keeping one’s heart open. He is the most generous, fun, supportive and unconditional partner I could have asked for. Very grateful!
Other: saatchiart.com/tanyaedmonds instagram: @sacred_and_silent