The best calling for Carmen Oliveira (@Cardol10) came unexpectantly. I don’t think anyone could have imagined it, and I’m sure it took her by surprise, too.
There she was, not only taking care of her body but also committed to studying it – in medical school!
Little did she know, from being so attuned to her intuition, and purpose in life, Carmen was quickly steered in another direction.
The best part?
Carmen surrendered and let it all unfold.
Carmen Oliviera, is a proud mentor in my book Get up, where she answered the question: WHAT WOULD I TELL MY TEENAGE SELF?
I bet you can’t wait to dive into this interview to find out how the heck she shifted her path and most importantly, why.
And of course, to answer that very famous question, that is full of wisdom.
Who is Carmen Oliveira?
A lifelong learner, passionate about living. I am aware of the small and meaningful moments that make up my everyday experience. I’m working on understanding how intricately connected I am (and we all are) to nature, each other, and the world around us. The sense of wonder and excitement that I’ve had since I was a child has not been lost. I’m flawed but I’m learning to accept and love myself just as I am. I consider myself an educator and student at the same time, with the hope of bringing a love of nature and well-being to my students. Travelling, cooking, reading, sailing, yoga, mindfulness, and gratitude are some of the things that bring me pure joy and peace.
Why did you decide to become a teacher?
My love of learning has been present from the time I can remember existing on earth! I believe that educators are at the core of society’s need to evolve, innovate and make the world a better place (it may sound corny, but I truly feel that). Being present each day in a classroom, workshop or any learning experience can be challenging, but to witness the growth, or spark of wonder in a human being is magical and miraculous for me. I always knew my mission involved being of service to others which is why I first went to medical school. However, a few years in, I realized that it was teaching that my soul recognized would most fulfill me and my purpose on this life journey. The was the best calling for Carmen, indeed!
Why do you choose to practice health and healing, and how do you do this?
Growing up and into my twenties, I felt like I knew the importance of eating well, exercising, and taking care of myself. I surrounded myself with positive people and experiences in order to support my health. Looking back now, that was a very simplified way of approaching wellness.
In my late 30s, a very serious diagnosis completely turned my understanding and practice of well-being upside down. I learned the importance of feeding and caring for my body, mind, and soul on multiple levels. Today, I am practicing a series of rituals. Immersing myself in learning about and practicing a cleaner diet. Practicing restorative movement (yoga). Connecting to nature. Quieting the mind through meditation and breath work. Giving thanks and spending time with people who inspire me while working on accepting myself as I am and enjoying the simplest things in my day-to-day experience.
What does the “state of surrender” mean to you?
Goodness! This has been the greatest area of growth in my life that I am still working on! Being a typical “type A” personality, allowing things to be as they are have always been a struggle.
I remember how frustrated and upset I’d become when things didn’t go exactly as I planned. I thought I could control everything because I knew what I needed or wanted to be happy.
As life unfolded, a series of events, including the health crisis, came to prove the exact opposite: learning to let go is actually the greatest skill we can practice to create room for peace, creativity, productivity, and a sense of joy in our lives. A “state of surrender” for me means that I still have intentions, goals, plans, hopes, and dreams, but try to accept and move on when things don’t flow naturally into my human experience. Trusting that everything and everyone is in my life for my growth and betterment allows for the practice of surrender.
How do you relax?
Depending on how I’m feeling. What is happening at any given moment or what my body, mind, and soul express a need for, relaxing can take on many different forms in my life.
Moving through yoga, a brisk walk, riding a bicycle, hiking in nature or sailing are activities that are perfect for me to relax. Reading, gardening, listening to music, enjoying a coffee in a cool cafe, journaling, meditating, or just sitting quietly observing the outdoors.
These things bring me so much peace and joy. Snuggling with my dog, watching a funny movie or inspirational documentary, cooking, baking, and creating art always makes me happy. Anything I can do to bring about a state of connectedness to self, to others, and to the world around me, helps me relax.
Time to unpack your quote!
Looking back at my adolescent self, I vividly remember feeling like I had to have everything figured out. The answers to my questions and doubts would be found outside of myself. By this, I mean that I had no idea how important and powerful it was to work on understanding who I truly was in order to feel fulfilled, happy and confident in my decisions. I’ll never forget the moment a mentor asked me what sounded like a very simple question, “Who are you, really? Who is Carmen Oliveira?” I was stumped, grasping at straws… Why was this so difficult to answer?
Working on ourselves is a lifelong journey that, like all heroic feats, is worth it in the end if we have the courage to go inward before heading out into the world.
Let the best calling for Carmen be a lesson to all of you. No matter where you are on your path in life, there is always room for growth, that may lead to change. And yes, it may feel uncomfortable, but if you surrender and let it unfold, you will be looking back and feeling relieved.
I am so grateful to have such a diverse group of people who share their knowledge that carries the best lessons. Thank you, Carmen, for sharing your story.