Meaning to Share Podcast: Ep 004 - Alexandra Abbott
2:54PM Jul 7, 2021
yoga teacher training
Even if the whole world changed tomorrow, even if we went through another pandemic, and everyone had to isolate themselves again, the thing that makes people sane and happy are their relationships and how they connect with them.
This is Meaning to Share, the podcast where we explore the amazing gifts of seemingly average individuals, proving that everyone has a meaningful skill or talent or strength that is unique only to them, and which they are destined to share with others during this lifetime. I'm your host, Meredith McCreight. I spent decades painfully trying to fold myself into the boxes that other people, the media and society created for me, until I realized there's only one authentic version of me. And that is more than enough. In fact, it's divine. I want to show my guests and you, the listeners, that each of us is meant for greatness. It's already in you, you just have to choose to see it and embody it. Now my guest doesn't know ahead of time which gift of theirs is we'll be discussing, so please enjoy this unscripted, honest, delicious conversation with one of my favorite people. This is Meaning to Share.
My guest today is my very good friend Alexandra Abbott. She's a 20 something year old based in the Boston, Massachusetts area. She loves to read, exercise, cook, eat (and eat), spend time with her friends and family, travel and meet new people. Her affinity for pickles goes unmatched. She works at an energy focused startup where she talks to propane suppliers about their businesses. She recently completed her 200 hour yoga teacher training. And the one thing that makes her happiest in the world, as cliche as it might sound is making someone laugh or smile... and pickles. Some know her as Lexi, I call her Alex, and not unlike some of my previous guests, we met in orientation at work about five years ago. Alex is quite a bit younger than I am. But she's an old soul. And she's wise beyond her years. She has been a really incredible friend to me over the years. And it just kind of seems like maybe our souls knew each other in a previous lifetime, because we just click but then again, she clicks with just about everyone, which is exactly what we're talking about today. Alex has this really beautiful gift of being able to form connections with people and not just surface level connections, but really personal and meaningful connections, she puts people at ease and makes them feel welcomed and included. And she really nurtures the relationships that are most important to her. We're talking about all of that and more right now. Please join me in welcoming Alexandra Abbott.
Hey, Al, welcome to the show. Thanks for coming on.
Hi, Meredith. Thank you so much for having me. I'm so excited to be here.
Well, Alex, tell us a little bit about you. Where are you from? What's your cultural background and upbringing?
Sure, I am from a suburb right outside of Boston, called Newton. It is technically a city because it's not as small as a typical suburb or town. And my cultural upbringing was a mishmash. My mom is irish Catholic, one or 12. My dad was from Newton, Jewish, has one sibling. So it was a combination of those two things, and I feel very grateful for how I grew up and being around different sort of people and experiences and cultures. My mom was very focused on that.
That's awesome. And you're really close with your siblings, too, right?
I'm very close with my siblings and very close with my mom, my family in general. I the running joke is that the best president my parents ever gave me were my siblings.
I love that.
And you know, my siblings!
I do. I do. I texted two of them this morning. Yeah, so one thing that I like to ask all of my guests is just sort of rapid response, say the first thing that comes to your mind, what is something that you've been meaning to share?
Something that I've been meaning to share? That's a really tough question. So I think something I've been meaning to share, and I vocalize this quite a bit if we're if I'm with friends or whomever and we're already talking about the subject, but I'm annoyed by how often I think about my body. And as a woman of like, what I'm thinking about like how am I going to look and start outfit? Am I looking XYZ way? Is this too low cut. Is this too tight? Is this too bad? Like so many different... Is this too much of something? Or am I not enough of something when it comes to like my body awareness and space. And I recently was just driving by myself. I think I was doing errands and I was out probably for two or three hours and the entirety of my drive, I was thinking about my thighs. And I was so annoyed that that took up so much mental energy of my day. I don't think many of us are even aware that we think about it so much. I'm personally not. And even just like side remarks that my mom has never been a big person. But she has said things about her body that aren't kind or have indicated that she thinks that she's big. And I've heard that from a lot of women. And it's one of those things that I just wish it didn't exist to the same extent, or maybe at all.
Yeah, well, thank you for sharing that. And I totally can relate to that. I think probably most women and a lot of men can too. I mean, it's on my mind every day. And I don't like it either. But I it's something that we learn growing up from society and what were modeled and like you said, Your, your mom's makes those comments like, we pick up on that stuff, right? Especially when we're younger. And yeah, I wish we could all unlearn how to talk to ourselves like that, too.
Absolutely. I read a quote somewhere, a few years back, where was something along the lines of speak to yourself as if a younger version of yourself was standing right next to you as just like a little girl version of you like if it was a six or seven year old. And would you speak to yourself the way that you would speak to your baby self? And the answer is probably no. Like, I would probably course correct a lot of the things that I say in my head, if a littler version of me it was right next to me.
Yeah, that's so true. I mean, that's when we really form our beliefs about ourselves and the world, right? Like from some say, zero to seven, and sometimes zero to 14, those ages, but yeah, we're so we're just sponges, and we soak up everything, even if we don't realize we're doing it. And that's just how we learn to navigate the world. So of course, like, if you could go back and talk to that younger version of you, you could create new neural pathways and stop thinking the same way. So I love that. Okay, so do you have any ideas of what I want to talk about today?
I have two ideas. I'm not entirely sure if I'm gonna be in the ballpark or not. But I have two ideas.
Do you want to share them or you don't have to.
One of them is of my ability to make people feel included, and or my confidence?
Yeah, I think you're definitely in the ballpark. I suppose one of the gifts that we could have talked about is your ability to guess people's birthdays.
All right, we need to say this backstory.
Why don't you tell people?
Yeah, I'm going to tell it. So I know, Meredith from working at a company called Forrester. And we both had the same orientation date, which meant that we started at Forrester around the same time, they had this huge orientation for new comers where you go through every team, you figure out what other departments do, every table, like gets to know the other person across the table from them, and you do fun events and activities and marriage and I were in the same cohort. And so at one point during the orientation, we had to get up and go to a new table. And so I saw Meredith from across the room earlier. And I was like, Oh, she's so cool. Like, she's the only one in here who's not in like, this corporate outfit. And she like, obviously looks business professional, but she has like this cool dress on and she has a nose ring. And she's just looks awesome. So I sat down next to her, and we introduced ourselves. And Meredith was like, Yeah, I went to the bowling event last night. I've had I had a little bit one to many or something that along those lines. And I was like, Okay, cool. She's like, down to socialize and hang out. And then I just looked at her. And I was like, is your birthday in March, by the way? And she's like, yeah, it is actually. It was like, Oh, is it March 20. And she looked at me and she's like, how did you know that? Yes, it's my birthday. And it was because my best friend growing up Rachel Kleff, her birthday is March 20. And she reminded me so much of Meredith so I was like, why don't I just guess and see if that connects. And it did.
So wild. I was like who are you?! Get out of my brain!
You were like how long have you known me?
It's so funny, too, that you like remember? Or, or that you ever thought that I was cool? Because I got in trouble for not dressing professionally later. I don't know if you remember.
Did someone say something to you?
Yeah, I was basically told that I needed to look more like the other women on the marketing team that were closer to my age, but I think I've always I've always dressed younger than I am, because that's just a style that resonates with me. So...
You also look way younger.
And maybe that's why maybe, you know, it was an attempt to get other people at work to take me more seriously. But that was part of the toxicity that I felt from the corporate world too is like Why should I have to change myself and the way that I look for people to take me seriously? Which I think is back to those, you know, those things that we tell ourselves in that running narrative about the way we look and what people think about us. I hate that.
Absolutely. Did someone from leadership tell you that, or was it like a friend or peer and passing?
It was my boss.
Yeah. Well, anyway, that is you're guessing of birthdays is not actually the gift I want to talk about today. And there are so many wonderful things about you, it was honestly hard to pick something. And I really wanted to pick something that you like weren't aware of. But you're such a self aware person that I don't even think that's possible. So But anyway, you're, you're smart. And you're funny, you're really brave and outspoken. And you're an excellent teacher, you taught me how to knit many moons ago. And now you're a yoga instructor. And one thing that I really admire about you too, is that I feel like this is a really rare quality, but you simultaneously harness masculine and feminine energy at the same time. So I feel like you're able to be very strong and outspoken. But you're also very soft and feminine, too. So I love that about you. But today I want to talk about which obviously comes as no surprise to you is your ability to genuinely connect with people. And not only do you make friends with anyone and everyone that you meet, and we'll get into some of that you get strangers to warm up to you instantly. But you also continue to nurture the friendships that are meaningful and nourishing to you. And you're great at connecting new people that you meet to people that you already know if it's something that's beneficial to both of them. So how do you feel about talking about that today?
I love that. Thank you so much. Those those words, were so kind of you all of those words. So I'm excited to talk about that. And there is a running joke among my friends and Meredith and Audrey too, specifically, about my ability to make stranger friends, sometimes to a fault.
Yeah, well, what's the wildest memory that you have of connecting with someone like someone you either didn't expect to be receptive or so vulnerable with you? Or?
It's a really good question. I've had some weird like, across international waters connecting with someone and they know someone from either my hometown or like they grew up not far there are a few of those actually had one recently with my boyfriend or New Years, we ran into these strangers in an elevator hotel that we're staying at for the night, and we are going out to dinner. And that couple is going out to dinner and not close to the hotel. And so we just started chit chatting. And also mind you this is beginning of this year, where everyone's still wearing masks and kind of keeping their distance. And I really hit it off with the woman. And I was like her name was Kelly. And she just had great energy. And so we were chatting in the elevator and they're like, Oh, where are you guys going to dinner. We're like, oh, we're going to this restaurant, Alden and Harlow in Cambridge. And they're like, oh, we're going there, too. And so then we didn't eat dinner with them, because we're going on with a group and it was just the two of them. But we saw each other there like exchanged drinks for they sent us a bottle, we sent them some drinks. And then after New Year's like we went our separate ways. But then when we got back to our hotel, we went and hung out with them for like two or three hours. And it was just such a random and beautiful connection of strangers meeting in an elevator in a middle of a pandemic, feeling comfortable enough with each other to be able to hang out for a few hours after being out separately. And the way I thought about Kelly, I was thinking I was like, Oh, she had such great energy. She had said that same thing to her boyfriend. And she had told me that and we just talked for the next few hours about being like in our 20s and or late 20s. And what that meant and living in different cities. And we like sporadically or the boyfriend and my boyfriend sporadically like text, but I'm hoping that will reconnect soon. I don't actually have her number, but I act this reminds me I need to find her on social media.
I was gonna say it could be like serendipity, and you'll...
Right, maybe I should.
Oh, I love that. I think it's cool too. Because, you know, sometimes those experiences they don't need to continue. Like it's great if you are able to keep in touch and build a friendship there. But sometimes, like you said, it's just that beautiful exchange of spending time with somebody that has an energy that you know matches yours and just feels really good and comfortable to you and just letting that be a wonderful one time experience.
Have you always been really outgoing and friendly. Did you always just talk to everyone?
Yeah, I pretty much I've never stopped talking. I have always been friendly. I think I started to become more outgoing when I entered middle school and then High School and then college and studying abroad just I feel like with every year I got more and more outgoing. And then a few years ago, probably like three years ago it kinda have faded a little bit. Just because I was like, if I'm meeting so many people by the time I'm 30, I'm going to be going to like minimum of 20 weddings a year. And I can't keep up. And not to sound like not to brag or anything like that. It was more just like it takes energy to keep up with relationships and friendships and connect with people and making time for yourself too it's a, it's a tricky balance. So I think I've always been outgoing. And I, one of the words that resonates so much of my life is being bold, because I had peers in middle school who would say that to me, and in high school, when girls didn't want to go talk to the boys, they'd say, oh, send Alex send Lexi, she'll people my friends call me Lexi. My family calls me Alex and some other friends call me Alex. That's like double names, but they'd always say go send her, she'll talk to them. And it's really I'll go talk to anyone is not as long as I feel safe. There's no, there's no issue. And then same thing when I started this job and working out currently, for almost two years have been there. One of the first things my boss said to me, she's like, wow, you're bold. And that's just a word that I've heard a lot about me. And I haven't necessarily thought that about myself. Only because I didn't think anything of it. Like I was raised in a single parent household for the most part. And I didn't have any other option. Besides to advocate for myself.
Ooo, say more about that. I
I was raised in an environment where there were a lot of parents who either had a lot of flexibility or wealth where they could hire flexibility, because that's what money does, buys freedom and time almost. And I remember having friends and peers, when they forgot something at home, they'd call their mom and their mom would run to the high school or middle school and drop it off for them or could sign them out for the day, there was a lot more of a fallback, almost like a safety net. And I just didn't have that. And so because of that, when something like that came up for me in in middle school, in high school, specifically, I just had to get creative and vocalize for myself of what I needed out of a situation or what I needed help with. And during those times, it felt really isolating. I was like, wow, all these people have all of these environments where they are worried about certain things. And they aren't worried about money or their family, being able to pay bills, or even owning a house things that like we take for granted, I think if you grew up in like a classic suburb, and so it felt really isolating at the time. But now looking back and long term, I think it has been a benefit for me and being able to ask for promotions and not be scared about it or speak up when something is happening at work, that doesn't feel right, it just is second nature, I don't even think twice about it.
I love that. And that has to be so empowering to be able to embrace that more as part of who you are. And I remember when we were working together and you were kind of trying to figure out, you know how you could find joy at work, because it wasn't really coming for you with that particular role and maybe the company as a whole. But I think you were just sort of asking the questions and trying to figure things out. And I just remember you feeling kind of lost. And then fast forward to I don't know if it was a year later or so. But when you were interviewing for the job that you have now and you got the offer and you were like I'm going to counter the here's what I'm going to say like what do you think and then you and then I sat there while you call them to ask for more money. And it was amazing to watch you confidently do that. Because I think the person that I knew ya know a year or two before probably wouldn't have done that.
Absolutely. And you helped me through that conversation immensely. I wouldn't have been able to do that. I don't think without you. And I'm so grateful that you were there for that experience. And it's really a muscle because the worst thing that someone could say is no. And the person on the other phone didn't say no, they when I countered the offer. They said okay, yeah, I think that'll be fine. Let me just double check. And it was so much easier than I thought it was going to be. And it really is a muscle, it's like every time you ask, it gets easier and easier.
Yeah. And I I'm so glad you did that too. Because I feel like and I mean, tell me if this is true, but I feel like that sets the tone also going into that company of like, Okay, I'm somebody who, you know, they know, I'm going to ask for what I want, and you come in with a little bit more power than then you would have if you just sort of took the first thing they gave you.
Absolutely. And because my role is so customer facing. It also showed that I could advocate for myself who was the customer technically, and I would be able to do that with my customers, which I do.
Yeah. So you mentioned earlier like there's this balance that you have to achieve because it does require a lot of energy to keep up friendships. And when you have so many, that's obviously a really big to do list. It can feel like so how do you as you're getting older, as you're, you know, kind of navigating these relationships? How do you distinguish a more surface level acquaintance type friendship from one that is deep and lasting?
I really just go with my gut. For the most part, if I'm in a situation when I'm around people that I don't necessarily feel my best self or some weird, icky emotions are coming up, when I'm talking to them, or in a group with them, or whatever it is, this could be personal, this could be at work, this could be strangers, I then tell myself, okay, maybe this situation wasn't the best for our friendship, or this didn't highlight my best self, or maybe their best self, I'll give it another try, or I'll see what happens next time. But I'm not going to put so much effort into it, I'm going to let it happen naturally, like, I'm not going to chase people around, if I didn't have a great feeling with them. The first or second time around, the ones that I really tried to the friendships I really try to foster and stay in touch with and make deeper connections with are my friends where I have felt so good being around them, you being one of them, Audrey, being another, I have a few college friends like that a few high school friends, although I've gotten a little bit less close with them. And you know, just some friends I've met along the way. So a lot of times, it's just my gut feeling and reminding myself how I felt around certain people, and what that means for taking the time to reach out to those people. Because obviously, you want to reach out to people who make you feel good and want to be around them. That's not always the reality. But that's how I kind of figured that out. And a lot of times what I feel like I haven't talked to people in a long time, I take out my phone and I go through my contacts list. And I just go through it and like oh, my goodness, I should text them see what they're up to. Oh, I forgot to respond to their last text. Oh, this person, and this person would get along really well. Maybe I should connect them to things like that. It's been harder since I've deleted Instagram at the beginning of the year, because it's such an easy way to keep up with friends too. So I've had to do a little bit more forced texting, which is fine. I don't mind.
Yeah, I feel like too. And I'd be curious if you agree with us. But I feel like for me the friendships that are like you said, people that I just feel really good around, and they make me feel comfortable and safe and supported. I feel like those friendships don't take as much energy to upkeep. And we could go two or three months without talking. And it wouldn't be like, Why haven't you checked in like, there's no drama there. It's like when you do reconnect again, it's still all love and support. And so I find myself gravitating towards those relationships, too, especially now that I'm 40 I'm like, and I'm an introvert. You know, I'm different from you in that way, like, I feel like I do make a lot of quick friends. But I don't have the energy to nourish the ones that aren't comforting and supportive. So.
I hear you. Yeah, it's so true that they don't necessarily take as much energy just because you're around you feel good around them. The other qualification that just you, you talking about that, that I thought about hanging out with different types of people or connecting with friends or not connecting with friends is if I'm learning and growing from this friendship, am I learning about this person more? Can I connect to this person more? am I learning about myself? Am I growing as an individual? Is this individual helping me grow? And likewise, am I helping them grow? And if those things aren't happening in the friendship, then why even have it? What's the point, if you're staying stagnant, there's no meaning behind it. It's just flat. And so with those sorts of things, you keep up with them either because you have to or it's a colleague that you work closely with, then you don't have to connect on a deeper, deeper level that you have to be like kind to them. Those aren't friendships that I'm trying to nourish. And what I want to focus on are the people that I love, and they love me right back. And there's no question about it. And we're growing and learning from each other.
And I remember I watched you go through a really painful time where you are reevaluating some of your oldest and longest friendships and realizing that some of them no longer serve do it, at least not in the state that they were in. So if when you're talking about like learning and growing from each other and being stagnant, was that kind of where that became a non negotiable for you was through that process?
That's a really good question. I think afterwards when that friendship ended. Yes, I don't think I realized that immediately because I lost my two closest friends from childhood basically. And I felt as if I was putting way more effort and time and love and consideration into the friendship friendships it was two women than I was getting back. And I had done that for over 15 years. And so I felt really disgruntled and I took Get out on them and it was not cried. And I was going through a very, very rough patch my life I was really depressed, really, really depressed. And thank goodness for you and Audrey because I don't know if I would have made it out of that. I was really, really sad. And what I have now realized looking back, because that was the first heartbreak of my life. Maybe besides my parents separating that was like the real like, first heartbreak of my life. It wasn't a boyfriend, it wasn't some guy, it was my two closest girlfriends, and I felt destroyed. And looking back, I can see now, so many things, so many things in my life that have flourished since ending that friendship that I don't think would have happened if we remained friends, because I spent so much time focused on them and worrying about them and worrying about our cohort and spending holidays with their families and going on vacation with their families and being so engrained into their lives that I forgot about my own. And so once that friendship ended, and I just had more time to focus on myself and my family and what I wanted, I ended up accomplishing all these things that I wouldn't have guessed that I could have accomplished that year prior to ending the friendship because I was so sad. And so a really heartbreaking thing ended up being a really beautiful thing in the end.
Yeah, it's crazy how that happens, when we can learn to say no to something that isn't aligned with us and what we really need on a soul level, then we open up this like cavernous hole where all this stuff can flood in. So I feel like sometimes saying no to something, it's the most difficult thing you can do, but sometimes the most powerful. So kudos to you for being brave enough to do that.
Thank you so much. And you were really a point person in my life during that, like you were such a crucial person, because I think I you were there that night that everything went down my birthday party. And also, I went to you first when I was talking about like, just general friendship questions. What should I do in this situation? How do you feel about this and just getting your opinion and it was so so helpful, and something that you just mentioned, and it sounds cliche, but there really is lightness after darkness. The light does come when it gets so, so dark. At one point, the light does eventually come even if you forget it. It's there.
Ah, well, so I know I mentioned earlier you were you were trying to kind of find your joy in work, when I first met you and kind of into that, probably that next year or year and a half. But it sounds like you've been able to find a job that's a much better fit for you. Is that because you now get to use the skill of connecting with people on the job, do you think?
That's a good question? I think it was because I took time away from an office environment. After Forrester, after I paid off my student loans. I was like, I'm never going back to a desktop period. It's not for me. I want to be a free spirit. I want to travel to Hawaii when I feel like it. I was just like classic millennial situation. And I had started waitressing and nannying again. And I had done that. And I loved that for a little over a year. And then you realize, okay, actually miss being around after like holding these babies and talking with these toddlers are so adorable. But I miss talking to adults on a regular basis and like working on projects. And so I then realized that I would go back to an office job, but it would have to feel 100% right. And it would have to be for a smaller company. Not a corporate environment. But a startup which I had previously worked out before Forrester. And it had to be something that was related to the environment, because that was something that I cared about. And when we talk about, you know, sexism and racism, injustice in general, a lot of it stems from environmental justice that is usually like the baseline of everything and access. And so I was really focused on that. And I had applied to two or three companies in the Boston area that was focusing on environment and energy. And I interviewed with one and the interview process just went so well. And I was like this is it. There's no question, this is it. If I don't get this one, I'm not even going to go through the interview process with the other two.
Hmm, so what are what are some ways that you build rapport with people on the phone, when you have to call someone that you've never talked to before? How do you kind of crack them open?
I try to find something about where we talk about non related non work related things. So if a customer and I've been emailing for a little bit, but I've never talked on the phone and their signature underneath either has a quote or they had told me something about a food that they liked in the email, I usually try to open up with that I try to open up with a personal connection or where their located I have a customer who is located outside of Dayton and I have family in Dayton, there's a really good dairy farm called Young's dairy, they have the best ice cream. So that was the first thing I asked his customer about. It wasn't about work. And it wasn't about his business strategy and bottom line, it was about how have you been to Young's dairy? And so just connecting on a sort of personal level first has really been a nice way for me to then get to know someone a little bit deeper.
That's so spot on to because I know that you know, I'm listening to you say that I just, you know, I when I lived in Boston, I had friends come visit from from all over the place since I've hopped around the country. My itchy asshole can't sit still. But um, so people would come in. And I just remember everyone always saying your friend Alex is so warm. And like she asked me like so many good questions. And yeah, everyone noticed that you would take the time to actually try to get to know them. So yeah, I love that about you.
Nice. Thank you, you actually do that, too. I'm not trying to deflect that compliment. Thank you. But you do do that to whether you are aware of it or not. And I know you are an introvert, I don't think if you met someone for the first time, they would say that about you. Because you do give off an energy where it's like, I'm here to talk. And I would like to hear about you and your story.
Thank you. I think that in certain situations, I'm comfortable being that way. And certainly where I feel like there's a newcomer like I think I'm good at welcoming people. Because I know what it's like to be standing in a room where everyone's talking to each other and not you and that's so isolating. And I hate that which is it's why like don't like going to networking events and stuff like that, because I also don't like small talk fake conversation, I want to have a real conversation with somebody. But there's definitely situations where I'm not outgoing at all, like I would, I would say if you asked anyone in the run group that I go to two or three times a week, they would tell you I'm very shy.
I don't because there's so many big personalities there. I don't feel like I want to take up any space, you know.
Is that an active choice that you made while you first went to that group? Like how did that happen? Or is that just like a natural occurrence?
Listen, I'm asking the questions here. No, that's a great question. I don't think it was active. I was a shy kid. And I learned how to be social. It was like very much learned for me. And that's why sometimes when I'm in an awkward situation, I start like, I start going into autopilot and like sort of regurgitating learned things. And so sometimes it's very awkward. I sometimes question if I'm like, very slightly on the spectrum, because I was very socially awkward when I was younger. And I really did have to, like, watch other people and say like, what are other people doing in these social situations. And so I feel like with this with this run group, as as one example, and this happens in other circumstances, as well. But yeah, I just feel like I felt very shy. Like, I felt like I didn't want to say anything. And I just wanted to observe and listen and see where my spot was in that group if I had one, and I do feel like I have one, I've made some really strong connections there. And you know, I think people now know that I can be really silly and funny and wild and whatever. But but most people don't know that until they've known me for, you know, five, six months.
Got it? Yeah, that makes sense. You and I connected so quickly. That's why I'm curious about your take on that.
Yeah. And it's I think it connects back to what we talked about earlier, which is, you know, there's some relationships that just feel so comfortable from the start that they don't take any work. And so for me, those, I don't have to pull out my social tools from my social tool belt that I started creating, when I was younger, like, I can just be me, I don't have to be anything else. I don't have to try to fit into a box that is acceptable. And I think those are the people I gravitate towards. So I can be outgoing and have a conversation with a stranger for 10 minutes, and then never see them again. But if it's someone I know I'm going to see again, like with run group, I know I'm going to come back, you know, two days later, and two days later, and the next week. And I think that's where I'm like, Well, I don't want to start off on a fake premise or forced premise, and then have to like live up to that.
Right. It's a lot to live up to.
Yeah. Um you did something during the pandemic that I want to talk about. You got certified as a yoga instructor.
Thank you so much. It was a really great experience. I've been wanting to get my yoga teacher training certification since I was in college, so almost like eight years at this point. And I thought it would be a great thing to do during the winter during the pandemic, because we were all going to be inside anyway, again. It wasn't like the world was reopening. It was all virtual anyway, and I was like, You know what, I'm just gonna do it. I'm going to start it and do it virtually at least in the comfort of my own home and then see how goes. And ironically, it ended up being the busiest time during my pandemic time. COVID time because my boyfriend and I had started dating right before it started. And we were just hanging out a bunch. And there's like a lot of social events happening safe ones, of course, and it took up a lot of time, like you are dedicating your entire weekends to yoga teacher training. And at the end of it after the weekends done, you're pretty exhausted, especially also you're sitting in front of the screen or moving in front of a screen, I get energy from other people, so I wasn't physically around other people where I might have gotten a little bit more energy at times. So it was great. It was exhausting. And it was so worth it. But it ended up being a different experience than I thought it was going to be because of the business in time that I took it.
Yeah, yeah, it's a lot of work. And I remember I was every weekend, and I know sometimes those certification programs, the teacher training will span like months at a time in order to spread it out. But it did feel like it was pretty compact.
Right. Exactly. That's exactly right. It was six months, it was half a year, basically, maybe five and a half. And it was a lot of work and a lot of good grounding and practicing yoga in general. And I didn't spend as much time as I would have liked to outside of the certification and the teacher trainings like the courses, I suppose on my own personal yoga as I wanted to that came later. And I still don't spend as much time as I'd like to on yoga. And what I want to do with the teacher training also came after way after the certification ended, probably came like five months after that I just figured out recently, actually, so the whole thing took a lot of time.
Yeah, I'm so curious, because I always wanted to do yoga teacher training also. And I used to be super into yoga. I used to be able to do most of the poses except the like handstands. I was never good at those. But I haven't, you know, I haven't been going for a long time. But even if I went during the height of my practice, I think I still would have felt like I was good enough to be a teacher. Did you have any of those fears going into your training?
I think once I saw every different type of practice, and different types of people and movements and the bodies that went away, I don't know, if I consciously had that thought I, if I did, it was definitely dissipated once I actually started the teacher training, because we've talked about this a lot in our training and our courses about how Yoga is so much more than than physically doing the poses. It's also how you show up as a teacher, how you welcome the class, the tone, your language, the intonation is everything. And one of my favorite courses during the training was a diversity course and how we talked about who is yoga accessible to and at what type of studios and what does this look like? And who were the teachers? And are they welcome to everyone or just certain people. And in the past, probably 10-15 years Yoga has blown up in the United States and Western societies. But it's been a practice for centuries in other parts of the world. And so we've seen yoga as Americans in a very certain way. And it doesn't have to be that way. And it shouldn't be that way. And so I think we're at a point now, because Yoga is not just this brand new thing in America, it's been around for at least a little bit, not centuries, but at least a solid decade, 15 years, maybe even 20 years. It's come around to there are all different types of teaching. You don't have to be the most flexible, the most fit the most springy person you teach based on what's best for your personality and character. And that's how you become an authentic yoga teacher. That's it.
I love that that's so empowering too, like, I've definitely I probably the last few times that I've found a place to practice. I've kind of taken note of instructors that didn't fit what I thought like a typical yoga instructor would look like. And I really liked that. I mean, I really loved that somebody could model that for me and make it their own. And so yeah, I'm glad to hear that that is permeating the the teacher training world as well. You mentioned that you you just figured out what you wanted to do with your teacher training. Can you say more about that?
Sure. So something I've been thinking about recently is yoga and how we practice it in a studio versus how we practice it elsewhere. Because so much of practicing yoga in the studio, whether you're aware of it or not, there is a little bit of a competition. Sometimes you're looking at the person next to you, you're looking at the teacher, when you're in downward dog, you're looking at the person behind you. And so there's a lot more of like this, am I living up to what the other people are doing or am I feeling like I I can do what other people are doing, am I going as fast as the person next to me, there's a lot of comparison. And that's a natural part of life that happens. There's also a component of if I'm not wearing the certain thing, or looking a certain thing, am I excluded from practicing yoga, something kind of similar to what I was just talking about what the opposite is, like how you even enter yoga. And for example, I was at a studio my did my yoga teacher training in a studio in Boston that has multiple locations, and they're primarily in very white spaces. And the one closest to me actually has stairs to go under to get to the studio, and there's no access for someone who wants to practice yoga, if they are not a fully abled body, you either have to walk down the stairs and back up the stairs, or you can't go to that studio. And so I've been thinking about that aspect of yoga. And I've also been thinking about the mental awareness and Health that goes hand in hand with yoga, like a lot of times, if you see a therapist, or if you talk to someone in that space, one of the things that they recommend if you have anxiety, or depression is meditation and yoga. So I've been thinking more and more about starting a yoga nonprofit, or starting my yoga practice outside of the studio, more of like a personal business on the side. And using that to one be in open spaces where it's accessible not just to certain populations, and two where there's a really big focus on mental awareness and health and your own focusing on your own body and not necessarily on the person next to you and your own health in your own energy. And I would love to do it in a school setting like at first start in a public school setting, I could be the guest for that gym class that PE class that day, and sort of talk about how I practice and what my business is about, and then teach young kids of healthy habits in yoga and how they can use certain habits and poses to either de stress or just find their their peace again.
That's so important too, because as we talked about earlier, you know that that running narrative in our head that we pick up so young, you know, we also don't really have a lot of skills that we're taught to cope with that. So that's a really beautiful skill, especially for adolescents and teenagers. I mean, yoga is accessible to any age, really. So yeah, I love that. And I think you know, mental health awareness is such an important thing to focus on now. And yeah, accessibility obviously, is super important. So yeah, I love that.
Yeah, I'm excited. I just thought of it. In the past few weeks, I had a friend or my boyfriend's friend, I was meeting him for the first time. And he was asking me about the yoga teacher training, because he was really interested about yoga and just exercising, and he asked me what I want to do with it. And I don't think I had been asked that in a one on one setting with someone I didn't know so well, or even with someone I didn't know, well, because the assumption is that you are going to this teacher training to teach yoga in a studio. And there are so many other options and ways to use the teacher training. And a lot of people went into our training, knowing that they wanted to teach yoga, there was no other question. And then halfway through, we're like, oh, I actually don't think I want to teach at all. And so it's there's definitely a spectrum. And it's also a process, like there were definitely times where I was like, oh, would I teach in a studio, no, I don't think I want to teach in a studio, would I just do on the side. Maybe I could do it full time, things of that nature. And he had asked me and I had been talking about accessibility mental health piece. And then after that conversation, I was like, Oh, I can combine those two. And I could do that as as a business or as a practice and share it with other people.
Well, you know, now that you've had this, this ping this download from the universe, it's your responsibility to give it to the people that need it. So I hope that you do this sooner rather than later. I'm excited about that.
I love that. Thank you for that. I hope so too.
So you're obviously using your gift of connection all the time already. Did you learn anything today about this gift about how special it really is anything different that you didn't really consider before?
Specifically today? In this conversation?
Oh, okay. Um, I was like earlier today, what was I doing earlier today where I might have connected with someone studying for my GRE? Yes, I I definitely think I'm good at making sure people feel included. I didn't really know that connecting with someone was an aspect of that. Or maybe I was thinking, Oh, I I make sure that people feel included in a group and that's that, but a piece of that is connecting with them. So I learned that about myself. And thank you for that. And also that the only thing that has stayed the same in the past hundreds of 1000s of years, our people there have been different technologies. There have been different climates. There have been different businesses or have been different politicians and thoughts and theories and all of that jazz. But the one constant from the beginning of when people were people has been relationships and people and connecting, and how you connect with someone, or don't connect with someone. And every little connection or experience you have with that person, or just people in general, it makes you who you are, it is the embodiment of who you are. And it's how you go about your day. It's how you connect with other people. It's how you set your values, I think. And so even if the whole world changed tomorrow, even if we went through another pandemic, and everyone had to isolate themselves, again, the thing that makes people sane, and happy are their relationships and how they connect with them. And so I hope that coming out of the pandemic, and I haven't quite seen this, I see a little bit of the opposite, that we either can connect better or deeper or nicer than we did beforehand. I'm not sure if we're there yet, but maybe maybe we'll get there.
I hope we get there. I think we're definitely becoming a more aware society a little bit at a time, you know, the newer generations, and maybe even maybe ours included are just kind of starting to see life in a different way and understand how important it is to be mindful and present and build those genuine connections and kind of find more joy in life instead of going through the motions in this almost robotic sense that I think, you know, definitely my parents generation, that was the habit for them, the norm, but anyway, yeah, I love everything that you said, You're So Amazing. And where can people find you if they want to connect with you and follow you?
Thank you. You're So Amazing. I'm so glad to be on this podcast. I was talking about it all week. I am not super on social media, but people can find me on LinkedIn, Alexandra Abbott. And if they want to find me on Facebook, they can connect me on Facebook as my name. It's the same across all platforms. And once I start my yoga practice more seriously, I will be sure to send that over to you.
Definitely. Well, I can't wait for that. Well, I just adore you. I'm so grateful for our friendship and your wise and and comforting presence in my life. And thank you for coming on my show today and sharing your voice with us.
Likewise, Meredith, you're amazing. Thank you so so so much, and I can't wait to hear the podcast.
Oh, thank you.
This episode. I've heard the other ones.
Oh good good. All right, bye.
How cool is Alex? If you want to follow her you can find her on LinkedIn as Alexandra Abbott and you can follow her on Facebook. When she opens her accessible mental health and wellness yoga practice to the community. I will be sure to update the show notes with that as well. If you want to follow me Meredith McCreight You can find me on Instagram Pinterest and Facebook with the handle @createwithoutbounds. You can visit the podcast page at meaningtoshare.com and check out more stuff from my brain at createwithoutbounds.com You can find all of Alex's info, my info, all the social links and more in the full show notes, which also includes some fun photos of Alex practicing yoga and enjoying time with her most cherished connections, her family and friends. If you loved this episode, please consider going over to Apple podcasts and leaving a five star review. This really helps us connect with more listeners who might find our show meaningful. Thanks for tuning into this episode. Share something meaningful this week, friends. See you next time.