We interview people 30 and under for their take on life, and we hope their stories will inspire you. Contrasts and paradoxes are part and parcel of life – which therefore seems quite black and white at times. This issue we interview Casey Conroy.
Name: Casey Conroy
Born: Brisbane, QLD
Current residence: based on the Gold Coast and in South
What are you doing with your life now?
I’m a holistic and integrative dietitian, and have taught yoga for seven years. Last year I set up my first business on the Gold Coast and love the creativity, challenge and independence this brings. As an earthy type I started out as a veterinarian and environmental scientist and, although it was rewarding, I wasn’t satisfied with my career choice at a soul level. So I spent some time overseas soul-searching until I finally followed my heart and dived into human health.
Do you have other plans for your future life?
I get a rush from speaking at seminars, running health retreats and facilitating creative nutrition and yoga workshops. I also love spending time outdoors amongst trees or in water. I want to help people in becoming the healthiest possible version of themselves through reconnection with Earth. To me this means getting back to basics and embracing my core values of balance, compassion and playfulness! My studies and experience ‘from farm to fork’ have taught me that human health is closely intertwined with that of the environment; so embracing our earth connection is crucial. We are One with nature, whether or not we consciously acknowledge it. I envision running nutrition and yoga trainings for people in beautiful natural settings such as permaculture farms and outdoor health retreats all over the world.
Never-ending learning, living my values and being alert to opening doors. I’m going to undertake some leadership and facilitator training to further develop those skills, and continue to base myself both in Australia and overseas for work. I tend to remain very open to opportunities wherever I go and some amazing doors are opening for me right now, which is exciting! In this way I’ve always felt very ‘lucky’. I like to look down every alleyway I come across and that is how I’ve made most of the overseas connections I have now. I look forward to spreading my wings further and combining my passion for health with my love of travel. In the words of Helen Keller, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”
What do you think about goal setting?
I tend to be values-orientated rather than goals-orientated; while I have goals and think they are extremely important, I get a lot of satisfaction out of living my values day to day, moment to moment, using them as a compass on the way to achieving my goals. I find in our culture a lot of emphasis is placed on goal-setting, but without knowing your core values and overall direction I feel the fulfilment and learning you get out of achieving those goals isn’t as deep. The richness is in the journey, the goals are pretty sights you can stop off on along the way.
What’s the best thing that has ever happened to you?
This is a hard question! There are so many to choose from – the wonderful people I’ve met, the lessons – joyful or painful – I have learnt, the places and cultures I have been privileged to become immersed in. Often, those things that feel terrible at the time are in hindsight some of the best life lessons and doors to opportunity.
What’s the worst thing that has ever happened to you?
The ‘worst’ thing would probably be physical and emotional abuse while I was growing up, and racial discrimination from an early age as I lived in a very small semi-rural town and am half Chinese, half Australian. At the time it seemed unending; like there was no escape.
At the time I was painfully shy, uncertain of myself and had very low self-acceptance and self-compassion. As I grew older and discovered yoga and meditation, I started to understand that we can choose not to be victims, we can choose our perception of events and we can choose the way we behave and act.
Have you been able to see the gift in that?
Yes. I truly believe there are no mistakes. The temporary suffering I experienced and my hunger for healing lead me to yoga at age 18, and helped me to develop greater tolerance and compassion. Yoga empowered me to learn to be my own healer, to work through my stuff. I’ve learnt that to truly transform, you must practise self-observation. When you do that, you can never stop learning… it’s never over.
Do you have a sense of yourself as being more than your body and brain?
Yes. I feel as though these are just the temporary home of a spirit that is eternal and ever-evolving. Although I value health and will do my best to remain strong and fit as I grow older, I try not to get too caught up in external appearances as that wouldn’t allow me to scratch below the surface. The same goes for the brain – opinions, thoughts and perspectives change. However, your core – and I guess I call that spirit – does not change. Like yoga, the deeper you scratch, the deeper it goes. Body and brain are surface level fodder.
Do you have a feeling that there is an energy greater than you, something that might have all the answers?
Depends on what questions you are asking! Yes I think there’s an energy greater than us, but I don’t think it necessarily has ‘all the answers’. I think it’s a source we can tap into and channel to find our own answers in the right time and place.
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