Have you ever daydreamed of trading in the stability of your 9-5'er in pursuit of your heart's work? In December 2015 Tatum Fjerstad, creator of the Move Sit Write tour, a concept she uses as a means of healing and self care for herself and others, did just that. Here is the story of how she decided to make this bold move to leave a life of comfort and hit the road.
Can you explain what the Move Sit Write tour is?
Sure! It’s what I’m calling my first 3-month adventure around the country teaching movement (move) , meditation (sit), and writing (write) as means of self-care and healing. In addition to teaching, I’m meeting people along the way, asking them to share stories of triumph, loss, grief, transformation and growth. I take these stories and compile them for a series I’m doing with Wanderlust.com called Actual Humans of Yoga. When I’m not doing that and writing for other publications, I’m doing some deep self listening. I’m sort of at a turning in point in life where I’ve decided that the way I’ve been living is doing more harm than good. I need to decide what and who I want to include in the next chapter of my life and what I want to be doing and where I want to be doing it.
What was your turning point when you decided to give up the security of that stable income to pursue and create the Move Sit Write tour?
It was a really dark day at the beginning of December 2015. I was hungover, heartbroken and injured. I received a shitty email from someone I loved and some hard-to-swallow feedback from my boss at my day job. A close friend planted the seed and encouraged me to consider leaving New York City for a while to do that which makes me come alive: teaching movement, meditation and writing. Initially this sounded like something out of Eat Pray Love and while that book was fun to read, I’m no Elizabeth Gilbert. I, like many people, have a lot of fear around money and abundance. But I knew that if I didn’t do something in bold support of my dreams, I was about to succumb to the stuff of nightmares. I started saving money, picking up freelance income and when my job laid me off, I was a month away from hitting the road. Timing was perfect.
I hate it when people say shit like this but it really did feel as though my decision to show up for myself initiated a shift in the way others showed up for me.
What was the first step you took in order to turn this idea into a reality?
I made a lot of lists, spreadsheets and budgets and enlisted the help of a lot of friends. This was no simple undertaking. I booked 12 studios in less than 3 weeks because I got my shit together and worked my ass off.
What can attendees expect from a Move Sit Write session?
My workshops are split up in a variety of different ways, depending on what each studio had time for. My yin courses are all about how The Five Elements of Chinese Medicine show up in the body during each pose. My writing and meditation sessions are about listening to our thoughts, writing them down and deciding what we want to do with them. This is actually pretty serious work and requires really examining our internal landscapes with non-judgment and acceptance.
How many cities will you be traveling to?
I’m a month into the tour and I have two months and 5 cities left: Asheville, NC, St. Louis, MO, Denver, CO, Minneapolis, MN, and Cincinnati, OH. You can see a full tour schedule here.
What were the biggest challenges you faced when organizing this tour?
Believing that what I have to offer is enough or worth it. I don’t know that I’ve overcome that yet. I think that might just be a lifelong practice. I’m also very Type A and have a little bit of a patience deficiency. So when people don’t respond to emails in what I consider to be a timely manner, I get anxious and worry that everything is going to fall apart. Grappling with that and learning to breathe through it and deal with problems as they arise (rather than creating them out of thin air) will likely also be an ongoing practice.
What inspires you?
Pain and fear. These are two of the strongest forces in my life. Many of my most brilliant ideas and bold adventures have been born out of the darkest, most heart-broken phases of my life. I am also motivated by love, compassion and the sweetness of being helpful to others. But I’m tired of looking at pain and fear as the enemy. Rather, I believe I have two choices: I can choose to lean into those scary, ouchie places and figure what I want to do with it or I can keep running away from them and play out the same sad stories over and over again.
What are some of the things you’ve learned about yourself while on the road?
Oh, boy. Where do I start? I tell myself a lot of different stories about my worth and lovability to keep myself playing small. I care entirely too much about what other people think of me. Alone time is both sacred and terrifying. I need to work on being a better listener. I am at my best when I’m being really honest about what it’s like to be a human being having human experiences. Forgiveness is slowly becoming my new best friend. I can be both brave and terrified. Lovable and unkind. Joyous and sad. I don’t have to be one or the other. There’s room for all of it.
What are you hoping attendees take away with them after partaking in a Move Sit Write workshop?
A better understanding of who they are and what they want from life and a renewed commitment to a daily writing and meditation practice. Before this tour, I taught these workshops all over the country at different Wanderlust Festivals and in New York City. Many of my students still pop in from time to time to say they’re still at it and that makes my heart swell big time.
Photo Credit: Julie Hove Andersen
Favorite moments while on the road?
I love just sitting in unfamiliar places and listening to people talk to each other. People watching has always been a favorite pastime of mine. When there are no people, I like to watch birds or other animals and give them voices and make up stories about them. I have all these great memories that I can pull from, but this whole is like one big favorite moment, even when I’m broken down and crying and scared.
What would you recommend to those feeling unsettled and looking to connect but are unable to attend a Move Sit Write workshop?
Email me! Don’t be shy. We can talk about setting up a stop in your area or maybe just working together one-on-one.
What can we expect next from you after this journey is complete?
Great question, dude. I’ll let you know as soon I know.
Until next time keep spreading love, giving and being love.