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chasing my friends: meet katie rogers

April 4, 2012

Last week, I mentioned that I was growing weary of listening to my own voice drone on, day after day.  To combat my dissatisfaction, I decided to interview a few extraordinary people who inspire me with their tenacity and spirit.  Below is the first of these interviews.  I hope you enjoy Katie’s voice as much as I do.

Nobody who meets my friend Katie Rogers soon forgets her.

She’s got a real shine to her.  It’s not just her ebullience that makes her memorable, although she’s never met a stranger she couldn’t charm.  It isn’t merely her distinctive Alabama drawl, persistent despite years living everywhere from Sun Valley to the Bahamas.  [Hey, don’t take my word for it… check out this teaser from her documentary Carless in LA to get a taste of her cuteness.]

I’ve known Katie since college, and I believe it is her full-sprint, open-armed engagement in life that makes her such an unforgettable character.  She is someone who has followed her art with energy and chased her maybes without excuses.  I’ve never met anyone like her, and I’ll bet you haven’t either.

From her home in Birmingham last week, she carved out some time to talk to me about energy flow, passion, and shutting up the “shoulds.”

Katie Rogers -- feng shui practitioner, artist, writer, certified arborist, and all-around rock star.

We’ve known each other for a long time, and every time I hear the term “free spirit,” I think of you.  How do you feel about that?

Yes, I’ve been called a free spirit a lot.  I do think I have a particular personality that tends toward adventure, exploration, and the unknown.  I kind of like the thrill of life.  And I’m an extrovert.  I like people and I love talking to them.  And I pretty much have to live inspired.  

I do resonate with the theme of Freedom; freedom is important to me.  I don’t know if I identify with the term entirely, though.  I remember thinking once that in order to be a free spirit, one has to FEEL like a free spirit, and whatever I was going through at the time did not feel so free!   I guess I sort of think of “free spirits” as those who aren’t really touched by life’s pains, you know?  That’s not me.

You are a writer, a documentary filmmaker, a certified arborist, an artist, a feng shui practitioner, a reiki master, a blogger, and the mother of a toddler.  With so much creative talent, how have you decided which of your passions to pursue?  When focusing on one creative outlet, how do you keep your other interests alive?

I get so many ideas.  I always have ideas.  Sometimes it is overwhelming because there is so much I want to do.  I have found that I can get excited about a project for a day, but it doesn’t “stick.”  Then there are the projects that have almost an obsession behind them.  The idea of Carless in LA, for example [Katie’s in-the-works documentary about living in Los Angeles for 80 days without a car], would not leave me alone.  It was as if it was nagging me or haunting me.  It was something I just knew I had to do. 

If I’m struggling to figure out which project needs my attention most, I simply go towards what is inspiring me most in the moment.  It’s a balance between discipline (because all creative projects have to have that at their core — if you can’t sit down to do it, it doesn’t get done) and what is nourishing my soul most.

I know exactly what you mean.  I think you know that this blog, Chasing Maybes, was inspired by my desire to live more fully.  I don’t want to be held back by old assumptions about what I should or shouldn’t do, like, or feel.  From the outside looking in, you seem like someone who isn’t held back by those kinds of assumptions.  Is that true?  How have you been able to do this?

The “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts.”  Ha!  Of course I still struggle with those.  I just think I got to tackling them early on.  I have a rebellious streak that sort of drove a lot of my choices in my teenage years and in my twenties.  But now, being a mom and being in my late 30s living in the South again, I’m finding those deeply instilled “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts” creep up from time to time.  I think the key is to be aware of them when they come up, and once you recognize them for what they are (i.e. old conditioning, your mother’s voice and not yours, society’s pressures, et cetera), you can take control and make choices that are healthier on all levels.

"Strength" by Katie Rogers

Currently, you are a feng shui practitioner.  Can you talk a little about what that means?

I discovered feng shui while living in Austin just after college in the mid-nineties, and it’s one of those obsessions/passions that has only grown since!  I absolutely love working with people in their homes and work spaces with the intention of helping them improve their lives.  I feel so happy after a consultation.  Therefore, I’ve chosen to make it a big part of my life’s work.  It is so much fun to see the amazing results that come from someone simply clearing out their clutter or moving a piece of artwork to another wall.  It’s a constant reminder of the mystery, magic, and grace of life.

What changes have you seen come about in your clients’ lives when they follow the practice of feng shui?

In general, people come more alive after implementing feng shui in their homes.  Feng shui can give you a different perspective on yourself and help you discover buried talents or wishes.  I’ve had people laugh and cry in consultations at what we uncover together.  Single people have gotten engaged, people struggling with money see their finances improve quickly, and clients who are “stuck” in general start finding more momentum and joy in their lives.  Our homes really are mirrors to our deepest selves.

Can you give us three quick tips for using feng shui to improve your home?

The front door or entrance to your home is considered the mouth of Chi.  This means energy flows through it, so you want to make it as inviting and welcoming as possible.  Imagine something good is coming to you:  you want it to find you and to come in.  Your house number should be clear and visible, your door should be in good condition, you should have working lights, and maybe flowers. Secondly, clear out the clutter in your house.  It drains energy, represents a block in your life, creates a sense of overwhelm, and keeps you from moving forward.  Clutter can represent holding on to the past, to things in your life that aren’t serving you.  Every item in your home needs a home.  Finally, fix broken things in your home.  Broken items represent the fear that you don’t deserve something that works; something better.  There is a balance to everything, though.  Your house can’t be too sterile.  Sometimes, people who have homes that look like museums experience issues with control.

You’ve had a lot of amazing adventures in your life so far.  What is next on the horizon for you?

I’m really focused right now on my feng shui business.  I’m hoping to reach a larger audience with the internet.  I’ve always been content with word-of-mouth, but I’m excited about the opportunities the internet provides.  I’m also working on what I call “The Miracle Paintings” — a series of children’s paintings for a church in Mobile, AL.  I’ve done about 17, and I have about 13 to go!  They are large works on loose canvas (4 feet by 3 feet) that will hang scroll-like in the children’s sanctuary.  Besides that, I’m playing with the idea of raising some money to finish Carless in LA on Kickstarter.  As always, there is so much that I want to do!

"Creation" by Katie Rogers. One in the series of "miracle paintings" Katie was commissioned to paint for St. Paul's Church in Mobile, Alabama.

Many thanks to Katie for stopping by Chasing Maybes today.  If you are interested in learning more about her services, pay her a visit at her website, follow her blog, The Spark Lit, or send her an email at katierogersfengshui@gmail.com

Katie Rogers is a certified feng shui consultant through the Feng Shui Training Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.  She has been certified since 2003.  She invented the Color Readings, a form of divination using color theory, psychology, and the feng shui ba gua.  She is a Professional Member of the International Feng Shui Guild and has been a featured speaker at various wellness festivals and events.  Katie grew up in Mobile, Alabama and graduated from Vanderbilt University with a major in English Literature.  She recently moved from Los Angeles back to her home state of Alabama.

Today, I’m grateful for inspirational friends and a day filled with possibilities.  Thanks so much for showing up.

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