Spirit Sister Series - Gemma Rewcastle from Spirit People
I am so excited to launch our Spirit Sister Series with this first post today, featuring none other than Myself, Gemma, the visionary and creator behind Spirit People.
The Spirit Sister series is a fortnightly series here on our blog and social media channels.
Where every second Sunday we will shine a light on one of our beautiful sisters to allow her and her creations to be seen and supported by her community in all her beauty, to promote & support each of our sisters in all their sacred work.
Each fortnight we ask one of our sisters to share their Journey, their loves and lessons in order to inspire and celebrate one another as well as begin to bring together a community of like-minded Sisters who support each other in our work, our triumphs and our challenges.
To spark honest sharing of our experiences and to inspire collaboration over competition.
I decided (after much encouragement from my sisters) that I would be the first to share in this series, as a way to open the space for my sisters to follow, but also to allow myself to be seen here in this space that i have created.
Something I have put off for way too long now, for various reasons really, namely among them, Fear!
Fear of not being accepted or fear of not having anything of worth to share, but after encouragement from some beautiful beings in my life, here i am!
Below I answer the same questions I am posing to my Spirit Sisters in this series, its a bit of a long read so i apologise in advance if i lose you along the way.
Hopefully my honest sharing can inspire you in some way.
Let’s start with the basics, how old are you? And where did you grow up?
I’m Currently 37, turning 38 in April.
I Grew up in Byron Shire, I spent my younger years living on a farm in a Valley called Middle Pocket in the hills north of Byron Bay and my teen years by the Ocean around New Brighton and South Golden Beach, also just north of Byron Bay.
Where are you currently based?
I’m Currently in Burleigh Heads on the Gold Coast
What three words best describe you right now and your Intention/Essence/ offerings?
Spirit Inspired. Heart Centred. Community
Can you share with us a little about your Journey with Yoga and or Spirituality, whatever that means to you?
I was fortunate to grow-up in the spiritually aware mecca of Byron Shire, where I spent lots of time alone in nature, and I think that’s where I learnt how to really be with myself.
My mum is an Astrologer, and I grew up listening to her talk about the moon, the esoteric and mystical daily, if I ever had a problem she would look up my chart and tell me how all the various planetary aspects might be influencing my situation, or we would consult the tarot cards.
It was my mum who first introduced me to yoga, I remember trying to practice yoga and pranayama alongside her from as young as 7 years of age. She taught me “Salute to the sun” and “Nadi Shodana” and it’s those simple practices that stayed with me through my adolescence and into my twenties.
I am really blessed to be able to say that spirit inspired living has always been part of my life, which I am so grateful for now, but it’s something I guess I kind of took for granted growing up. I was always more interested in being accepted into mainstream and wanting to feel less like a weirdo.
It wasn’t until after “life happened” which for me involved 10 years in the fashion industry during which time I experienced several deaths in my family and survived a physically and emotionally abusive relationship, and being a single mother in the depths of so much inner turmoil.
It wasn’t until I came out the other side of all this that I really turned inward and began practicing and studying yoga seriously.
I began seeking out teachers and practices to support my healing journey and that is what it has been. I’ve experienced, Kundalini & Tantra, Qi-Gong, Shamanic Journeying and Vision quests, Past life regressions, Goddess & healing circles and retreats and trainings of many kinds.
My journey through yoga to spirit has bought me so much healing and growth, and to the realisation that ultimately there is only love and that everything that happens to us in this life, happens for us, so that we can ultimately move closer to love.
There are days that I forget that of course! Im human and that’s why its called a practice, something we can continually come back to, something we can continually grow and learn from.
Can you share with us a little about what led you to starting Spirit People?
I started Spirit People almost 5 years ago now, at a time in my life where I had finally gotten it all together. I was in a happy marriage and had done a lot of healing and work on myself but had been experiencing for a few years a deep longing for a higher purpose. I had recently finished my first Yoga teacher training and was teaching yoga (which was never the plan), I was also and still am running a pretty big window furnishings business with my husband which provides me with a very good life but doesn’t fulfil me.
I missed the creative expression of my work in Fashion, but could no longer reconcile my values with the fashion industry. I became a little obsessed with only buying ethical yoga clothing, discovering brands that were doing beautiful work in giving back to their communities and environmental causes. When i would wear them I would get so many compliments from students asking where I had bought them.
With most of the brands I was buying based in the USA, Europe or Bali and no real outlet in Australia to buy them from, I had the idea to start a store and curate an offering of all the best brands from around the world, and to make it a platform for giving back.
To create a business that gives back at every stage of the supply chain, that aligns with the values of living a yogic lifestyle that also satisfies my love for fashion and all the pretty things, and so, Spirit People was born.
What have been your biggest triumphs?
I set out to build the business on a shoestring budget, determined to do everything myself, I built the website myself, and had a friend design the logo, I did everything, including all the things that are not my strengths, it’s been a real process of continual learning that has continually bought me up against myself.
So, when I look at what I have learnt, what I was able to overcome and the partnerships I’ve formed with different brands and charities over the years and how much people love the brand and our message, that makes me really proud.
It’s a testament to the fact that you really can do anything you put your mind to.
What have been your biggest fears, obstacles and challenges along the way? And what has really helped you in overcoming them?
One of the biggest challenges has been overcoming the dogma around how we are taught to run a business, breaking free of that paradigm that says we have to open on these days at these times, and all the rules around promotion and daily posting on social media that really don’t support Authenticity or work life balance.
So, I’ve literally at times thrown the book out the window, and made my own rules, which I think is so important for women in biz, when you have children and family and well, a life! the strict system that’s become the framework for biz just isn’t supportive or sustainable for a one woman show. Letting go of that has been so empowering.
I’ve learnt to make my own rules as I go and adjust where needed and if anything, my business has blossomed as a result.
Staying aligned with the brands core values has also been a challenge at times, it’s easy to get sucked in to what’s pretty or popular, so staying true to those principles is a constant re-adjustment.
With the rise in popularity of sustainability as a marketing tool and more and more brands green washing their products and business practices, I have had to become more discerning with choosing products and brands that we align with, I am constantly researching and educating myself on all the various claims made by various brands.
Personally, my biggest challenge has been doing it alone, it can be hard at times to keep yourself inspired and motivated and there have definitely been times I have wished I had a business partner or a team to collaborate with and bounce off, and times where It’s all felt too hard and I’ve wanted to throw in the towel.
I also really struggle to put myself out there, which has conflicted with my dream to build more of a community around Spirit People in this space, even just this process of allowing myself to be seen here in this series has been a real process for me, but here I am! a work in progress.
What lessons are you most grateful for, in life and in Biz?
In business, letting go of the idea that I have to do everything myself and outsourcing work to others who specialise in that field has been liberating, and given me that sense of teamwork that I crave! Small business and entrepreneurship can be a lonely road, I am really grateful for collaboration and the gifts of inspiration and support that it brings.
For me personally, it’s been my trauma and grief that have allowed me to more deeply come to know my spirit and explore the deepest realms of my being, it’s taken a long time to arrive at this point but I can say that now I am most grateful for those challenges.
What advice would you give another facing a similar challenge?
Collaborate wherever possible, in my experience you get back way more than it costs you and if you’re doing it all on your own, that support and inspiration will feed you in so many ways that will all flow on into your life and business and your own personal growth.
Grief and Trauma are tough ones, everybody will be affected differently, I guess my advice would be to be gentle with yourself, and allow yourself to feel it, try not to put it back in the box and get on with life,(although sometimes that’s necessary for self-preservation) and don’t be attached to what you think your grief or trauma should look like, there are layers to healing, there is no quick fix. Allow your healing journey to unfold and soften into it, don’t push or force it with endless trainings, healings, retreats etc. As time goes on you will see the blessings that have grown from your fields of sorrow.
We all deal with fears and insecurities; how do you combat overwhelm and self-doubt?
Ahh this is a big one for me! It’s not easy, and I still struggle with this every day, but over the years I have learnt to sit with things, and acknowledge the fears and insecurities, to check in with my intention, my reason why? and that usually gives me the clarity and courage to keep going, to overcome that voice in my head that tells me I’m a fraud or that I’m unworthy or unlikeable. Journaling and meditation has also really helped me a lot to explore where these fears have originated from which I feel is also key to moving through them.
What do you currently most crave in life and in biz?
I most crave community and collaboration, which was the inspiration for launching this series, I know so many amazing women who are all walking their own path and killing it! But sometimes it can be a lonely road and when we bring our gifts together we can create something so much more amazing whilst also feeling supported and seen. So that’s what I crave most, both in my life and in my biz, Collaborative creative projects with likeminded sisters and brothers that bring me joy and fill up both my personal and professional cups.
What’s next for you and Spirit People, any exciting plans you would like to share?
Well as i mentioned above, community is what i am really wanting to call in, so that is where the focus is for me in life and in biz moving forward.
Focusing on building more of a community focus here online but also exploring the idea of collaborating with local spirit family on creating some beautiful events so that we can hopefully connect in person as well
Spirit Rituals, can you share with us any practices or routines that you do to keep you feeling inspired, grounded and connected?
I have so many and it will always depend on my energy and what I'm going through, but the biggest one for me is Nature! When I spend time alone in nature my spirit exhales and I drop right into my being, in those moments I feel so connected.
Also, Yoga, but I’ve struggled a lot with insomnia on and off in recent years so my practice looks very different these days, I have a very gentle and probably lazy asana/ stretch practice with more focus on pranayama and meditation.
I’ve also only very recently established a daily Japa meditation practice after being gifted a personal mantra from a meditation teacher and that has been life changing. It’s only a short 10 min daily practice that I actually do before I even get out of bed followed by 1-2 minutes of Nadi shodana pranayama and a quick download in my journal and that has been an amazing way to start the day and put me in a state of presence to see my daughter off to school, I’m really loving it!
Also Gratitude, Gratitude and Gratitude.
Who have been the most influential or inspirational people/ teachers on your path?
My Family and Relationships, Family really are our biggest teachers, they push all our buttons and often they have been the triggers for our fears, insecurities and traumas.
In terms of yoga and spiritual teachers there have been so many along the way, but I was fortunate to do a workshop with A.G & Indra Mohan in my early re-discovery of Yoga and their teachings direct from Krishnamacharya were key to me moving away from a western “Asana” practice toward discovering a more inward and feminine approach to yoga.
Also Chris Perkins and all the team at Yandara Yoga Institute which is whom I did my first Yoga Teacher Training with, their trainings are life changing.
What does #iamspirit mean to you?
To me #iamspirit is the embodiment of bliss or Samadhi, it means that I am the universe and the universe is me, that we do not need to strive or get anywhere in order to know spirit, the divine or whichever name you prefer. I am Spirit, I am the divine and everything I seek is within me already.