WHY I MEDITATE : Tatum Fjerstad
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Well, when I was a kid, I was a child actor. So I got to be whatever I wanted all the time.
Where is your most favorite place on earth?
Honestly, every new place I travel becomes a new favorite place. But my grandparents’ summer cabin on West Silent Lake is a most favorite. It’s the only place I can go in the world where I have childhood memories. It allows me to connect to a part of myself that I am always trying to love up on more and more.
What are you most passionate about right now?
It’s hard to pick one thing! I’m one of those type A, super active overachieving types that likes to pursue an assortment of passions. My two major passions right now include my studies and a big shift I made in my approach to teaching yoga and meditation.
I’m in my second-year of grad school at Northwestern Health Sciences University, pursuing my masters degree in Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine. Learning the ins and outs of this medicine is giving me life and challenging me in ways I didn’t know were possible. It’s been so fun to translate what I’m learning at school into my personal yoga and meditation practice. It’s also changed the way I take care of myself and move around in the world.
I also recently decided to quit teaching drop-in yoga and meditation classes at traditional yoga spaces. After 7 years of teaching, Something was feeling off and misaligned and I wasn’t sure why. So I took a month off of teaching. Almost as soon as I decided to do that, a lightbulb went off. I decided to just not teach drop-in classes anymore. I found a space and put together a six-week intensive, where the same cohort of people would come to class each week and work through a theme. We move our bodies, we meditate, sometimes we journal and the students are sent home with homework to do before the next week’s class. When I announced this offering to my community, it sold out in 5 days.
I learned a big lesson about the value of doing what you feel called to do vs. what everyone else is doing.
What does meditation look like for you?
My meditation practice is in flux, and I’m getting better at being okay with that. My best days start with 10-20 minutes of Vedic Meditation in my home office/treatment room, with a second, shorter meditation during the afternoon, wherever I am. On the weekends, I use Sarah Faith Gottesdiener’s Many Moons Lunar Planner as a guide for how to approach my week, work with the moon, and explore what magic means to me. I also use The Wild Unknown Tarot for inspiration, and I love reading poetry.
When / why did you first start meditating and how has it impacted your life?
My introduction to meditation came at the start or end of various yoga classes. I liked the idea of it, but I was always a little apprehensive. I grew up in a religious home and the church we attended was incredibly exclusive and fundamental. It took a long time before I could heal my relationship to anything that seemed to mimic prayer.
It wasn’t until I met Thom Knoles that I started to feel a connection to this practice in a way that felt sustainable because of its immediate and long term effects. I took one of his introductory workshops when I lived in NYC and, as vanilla as this sounds, it changed my life.
My sleep cycles, my relationship to substances, my boundaries, my professional goals - all of it shifted because I gave myself some time to be curious about myself.
Do you have advice for first-time meditators?
Like life, meditation doesn’t always feel good or make sense and that’s okay. We do this because we are interested in creating space for that exact notion.
If you could change one thing about the world today, what would you change?
I’d destroy the patriarchy.