Posted by: bluesyemre | November 22, 2020

Patricia Garcia-Gomez: Pivoting To A Life More Creative

On assignment in Salta, Argentina, elevation 11, 341 ft.

It took break from life as usual for this artist and strategist to pivot her life and shift her resting state from high-strung to grounded.

Patricia Garcia-Gomez is a Mexican-American artist who brings creativity to everything she touches. From creating multimedia installations using video and sound to creating brands that move hearts and minds, she’s a true artist.

And it shows. Her art is part of the permanent archives of the Tate Modern in the UK; the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City; the Henry Buhl collection in New York City; the Santa Barbara Museum of Art in California and the Harwood Museum in New Mexico. But it wasn’t until after the global brand consultancy where she was Head of Creative Strategy closed suddenly that she discovered the power of leaping into the unknown. and living an engaged life.

When the agency shut down, she booked a one-month stay in Greece to get healthy and get-to-know to her thoughts and rhythms again. What she didn’t plan for is that the trip would be the trigger to bring her artist side to the center of her work and life. The trip turned into an artist-in-residency where she translated the spiritual history of a monastery and its surroundings into a live multimedia installation.

When she got back to New York, every decision she made led her closer to engaging with the things she loved, from being close to water to working at the intersection of art and strategic storytelling for some of the world’s most loved brands. Along the way she learned to shift her resting state from high strung to grounded.

She grants us a peek into how she spends her days at her home on the North Fork of Long Island, from the ritual surrounding her morning swim to how she creates an environment that stimulates creativity.

Morning Diary

Gomez starts the day with a coffee and a swim. It’s sacred time that she’s carved for herself. Once she returns home, she dives straight into her writing. Yoga, meditation and growing her own vegetables are also part of her rotation, leaving her energized for whatever the day throws her way. But to see the real story on how she starts her day, we have to start with how she got here.

Open water swimming, secret beach in Naxos, Greece.

Lark Files

Christina+%26+Geoff.jpg

Morning ritual: Wake up; coffee; suit up; cycle to favorite swim spot; pre-swim meditation; into the water.

Morning meditation; The meditation I do before I get in the water is super helpful in setting my intention for the day.

Morning beverage: Coffee. It’s always coffee.

Morning style: Writer Elizabeth Gilbert says, “You have to dress up for your ideas” (i.e., even they will get offended at the same old sweat pants and unwashed hair). It both made me laugh and feels right.

Breaking fast: 11 am

Creative exercise: Sometimes I’ll write for 15-20 minutes right upon waking, to catch that clean flow of thinking before I get into the day.

Yoga of choice: I love my yoga practice. Katonah Yoga was developed by Nevine Michaan and Abbie Galvin. It’s a longevity practice.

Self-care essentials: In Fiore makes beautifully crafted nutrient-filled botanical skin balms. I’m also a big fan of Saunas and as-hot-as-you-can-stand-it Epsom salt baths.

Mindalt moment: When I see the mindalt packaging it is like a little “hit” of mindfulness. I subconsciously respond with a smile. I love that’s it’s made with essential oils and lasts throughout the day.

Essential oil Rx: Oregano oil if I feel I’m coming down with something. Lavender oil in the bath. Before yoga, I like to rub a few drops of Frankincense in the palm of my hands and inhale.  

Drinking happiness: Anima Mundi makes handcrafted plant medicine powders. I drink a lot of hibiscus tea in the summer, and I’ll add a bit of rose powder. Rose is a great mood lifter.

Stepping into new opportunities: I went to Greece to produce my exhibition ended up staying an additional two months. Greece just kept opening up for me and presenting new opportunities. I met people who are now dear friends and creative collaborators, and I got to swim in the Aegean every day, which was a life-changer. My daily swim started out as a joyful break in the day and evolved into what is now my most favorite ritual. By the end of my time there, I was crossing entire coves, swimming two-plus miles a day. I felt so good that I marked it on my life plan, “This is how I want to live. I want to be able to swim every day. How can I create a life where I can do that?”

This is not a vacation: The summers in Greece added up to a realization that it’s not just a vacation that I want; it’s a more immersive, engaged creative life. Back in New York after the second summer, my apartment lease was up and everything in my body said, “Look elsewhere.” The stars aligned when I went to the North Fork of Long Island. The first three homes I looked at were not at all right. Then something that wasn’t even officially on the market came up. As soon as I saw the giant Linden tree in the yard, I knew this was the place. The unexpected magic was when we discovered that the land backed up to a nature reserve with trails leading to the sound. This is where I swim every day. It’s not Greece, but it is Greece. In essence. 

Video from Earth is a she installation, Bazeos Tower, Naxos, Greece

The creativity tipping point: Greece was formative for me because it was the first time that I was given the space to create an entire physical and sensory experience. I had four rooms in a monastery, each on different floors, that were mine to design. The result is Earth is a she, a multi-media installation composed of video, sound and environmental theater.

Merging business and art: When I was at the agency, I often felt like I lived a double life. There was a me that went to the office and a me that made things. My goal now is to approach everything as one whole person, channeling my intuition and creativity into everything equally.  My clients see the difference. Recently a client said, “Don’t become one of us. We want you to work your magic and tell us what you see.” It worked beautifully.  We reinvigorated their entire business by seeing it from a new perspective.

Better Mornings

Repetitive joy: Things that I enjoy, with repetition and time, become rituals. These rituals then become reminders of that joy. I hold onto them.

Reclaiming morning: When I go to bed, I’m already thinking, “In the morning I get to swim.”  I love starting my day with the thing that makes me the most happy. I have terrible insomnia. Bedtime used to be a trigger for, “Oh my God, I hope I can sleep.” Now, it has switched. I may still get up in the middle of the night, but having the morning ritual in place has made a big difference. It’s space that I’ve created.

Wake up time: My morning ritual, which is sacred and untouchable, goes something like this: 7:00  AM wake up; coffee while suiting up; cycle to favorite swim spot; a pre-swim meditation; into the water. Sometimes I’ll write for 15-20 minutes right upon waking, to catch that clean flow of thinking before I get into the day.

Trail to Long Island Sound

Swimming towards the day: The meditation I do before I get in the water is super helpful in setting my intention for the day. The swim too, can be a longer form of meditation. If I’m trying to solve something creatively, I’ll let that play in the background, to open a space for a solution to come in. I don’t actively think about it, though. I count strokes instead.

Starting the day: It’s always coffee. I have more coffee when I get home. Lately, I don’t have breakfast until around 11:00 because I’m in such a groove when I get back that I just want to sit down and write. I want to get right into it.

Photo courtesy of Patricia Garcia Gomez
Photo courtesy of Patricia Garcia Gomez

Finding your workday rhythm: Even before the pandemic, I often worked from home. Writer Elizabeth Gilbert says, “you have to dress up for your ideas”(i.e., even they will get offended at the same old sweat pants and unwashed hair). It both made me laugh and feels right. I work best in the mornings. If I’m on assignment, I’ll usually write from 10:00 AM to about 1:00 PM, then take a break. I’ll do another sprint in the afternoon, and often another after dinner. I’m learning how to catch my own rhythms. 

Making space to work: I’ve turned our guest bedroom into a new place to work. I moved  my desk by a nice bay window that looks onto the Linden tree that I love. David and I both work from home now, so having our own work spaces is important. We tried sharing the kitchen table. Not such a good idea. Fresh flowers also make a difference.

Breaking bad (mornings): A bad morning is when I don’t sleep. If I’m trying to solve something, my brain gets up between three and five in the morning. If I don’t do a long swim, I get wet anyway to refresh myself. For me, it’s about getting in my body to recover. I can’t start with my head because my head is the reason I haven’t slept. So, I do something physical to ground me; talk myself into a state of just saying, ‘This is where you are.’ I try to accept this moment in time and do whatever I need to do.

Self-care essentials: I love everything from In Fiore. In Fiore makes beautifully crafted and luxuriously nutrient-filled botanical skin balms. The smell of their products is exquisite, and it’s deeply healing for the skin. I’m also a big fan of Saunas and as-hot-as-you-can-stand-it Epsom salt baths.

Backyard medicine:  We started growing our own vegetables in our backyard.  We have tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, celery, cilantro, peppers, and lots of herbs. A big salad! Maybe next year we will graduate to something more substantial. It’s been fun to start from scratch.  I’m also getting to know the medicine that’s growing in my backyard. I’ve made immune-boosting tinctures, a yummy body oil from dandelions, and tea from the Linen blossoms.  I took a plant medicine class with Robin Rose Bennett and then started playing around.

Backyard medicine, North Fork, Long Island. 
Backyard medicine, North Fork, Long Island. 

Better Days

Staying grounded for the long run: I love my yoga practice. Katonah Yoga was developed by Nevine Michaan and Abbie Galvin. It’s a longevity practice. I’m interested in restorative yoga, and a reset of the central nervous system because I can run high anxiety. My natural resting place is a little bit high-strung, so I need to calm myself down, keep myself grounded.  For me, it’s really functional. And an endless learning curve. I’m not a lifelong yogi. It’s just been the last 5 years or so  and this one really works for me on all dimensions. 

Different oils for different moods: My staple essential oil for summer is peppermint. It’s refreshing and cooling, so I always put a few drops in my water bottle. I use oregano oil if I feel I’m coming down with something. In the bath, I add lavender oil. Before yoga, I like to rub a few drops of Frankincense in the palm of my hands and inhale.  

Drinking in happiness: Anima Mundi makes handcrafted plant medicine powders. I drink a lot of hibiscus tea in the summer, and I’ll add a bit of rose powder. Rose is a great mood lifter. It also makes it just a little more special.

The essentials
The essentials

Sound as transformation: Sound is an invitation. It invites us into new worlds of perception, both internal and external. A huge creative influence for me is Sarah Auster. I took an intensive art of listening/sound practitioner training with her, which led to so many great adventures. Most importantly, it gave me a practice of listening and an understanding of sound’s impact on our nervous system, emotions, and sense of place and memory. This is the area of sensation I like to play with when creating transformative experiences.

Relationship transformation: At the beginning of the pandemic, when things were highly uncertain, my partner and I took a meditation workshop with Ally Bogard, who I respect hugely. Ally shared practices that we could use every day, which gave us something to steady ourselves from the very beginning. There were meditations on forgiveness, being grateful, having a nonjudgmental mind. I would do my meditations out by the water, while David would do his in the yoga room. That was another big COVID project, turning a little-used room in the back of the house into a lovely little yoga ”studio.” It’s super simple and filled with plants.

Creating resonance: I love the work I do with my branding clients because I love listening to their dreams and ambitions and finding the language to tell their stories. There’s an aliveness that happens when you get down to the soul level of the story that’s really transformative.  I think all communication can be a form of medicine and aliveness. We don’t need to use dead words just because it’s business. I often begin with a simple question: How do you want people to feel? Then we get to work on aligning the business to support that feeling.

Channeling light and adventure:  I’m the Chief Adventurist of Ageist Travel.My role is to be out in the world as a curious, open-minded explorer and shine a light on people we admire who are creating a new North Star. For the last six months, all of our covers have been women. Not by design necessarily, but because their stories are great and have to be shared.=

A closing note. what’s next?: Last summer, I started a project on Medicine Women in Mexico. I’m in the process of evolving this. Oh, and next spring, I’ll be leading a wellness sabbatical in Greece! Want to join me?

Mindful Moment: The “Calling In My People” Meditation

This is a favorite meditation that I do at night when I am having trouble falling asleep, especially when the flavor of insomnia is that of restlessness or aloneness.

  • While in bed, roll over onto your back. Place one hand on your heart and one on your belly.
  • Take a few natural breaths. Really feel the breath come into your belly and fill you up to your collar bones. After an exhale, breathe in for a natural, comfortable count (3 or 4) and then exhale for double the count of your inhale (6 or 8). Breath at the lowest point in your belly so it feels as if your body is breathing you. Do this 10-20 times. Give yourself a number and stick to that number.
  • Return to natural breath and bring someone into your mind’s eye who you genuinely love or who creates a feeling of joy or positivity to you when you think of them. It can be a relationship, can be a pet. I have a favorite tree that I use sometimes. The most instant go-to is my dog, Sylvie. As you breathe in, make eye contact with this person in your imagination. Smile, acknowledge them, thank them for this quality of feeling that they bring to your life. Breath that quality into your heart and belly.
  • When you are ready to move on, keep that person there, and bring in someone (or something) else. Do the same again: Smile, acknowledge them, thank them for this quality of feeling that they bring to your life. Breath that quality into your heart and belly.
  • Repeat this until you have perhaps 3 or 5 people in your mind’s eye. It’s okay to stay with one person the whole time. Maybe they are sitting in a semi-circle around you in your imagination. Now, go back to the first person, gently begin to fade them out in your imagination. As they fade, breathe in the quality of the feeling again, until you breathe in just the feeling, without a visual of the person. Then move on to each person you called in and breathe them in/out in the same way.
  • When you finish, relax into a normal breath and keep your hands on your heart and belly. Linger there. Maybe one more nod of appreciation. By this time, I’m usually calm and settled, and I often fall asleep with my hand on my heart still. I find the weight and touch soothing.

Lark Files

Christina+%26+Geoff.jpg

Morning ritual: Wake up; coffee; suit up; cycle to favorite swim spot; pre-swim meditation; into the water.

Morning meditation; The meditation I do before I get in the water is super helpful in setting my intention for the day.

Morning beverage: Coffee. It’s always coffee.

Morning style: Writer Elizabeth Gilbert says, “You have to dress up for your ideas” (i.e., even they will get offended at the same old sweat pants and unwashed hair). It both made me laugh and feels right.

Breaking fast: 11 am

Creative exercise: Sometimes I’ll write for 15-20 minutes right upon waking, to catch that clean flow of thinking before I get into the day.

Yoga of choice: I love my yoga practice. Katonah Yoga was developed by Nevine Michaan and Abbie Galvin. It’s a longevity practice.

Self-care essentials: In Fiore makes beautifully crafted nutrient-filled botanical skin balms. I’m also a big fan of Saunas and as-hot-as-you-can-stand-it Epsom salt baths.

Mindalt moment: When I see the mindalt packaging it is like a little “hit” of mindfulness. I subconsciously respond with a smile. I love that’s it’s made with essential oils and lasts throughout the day.

Essential oil Rx: Oregano oil if I feel I’m coming down with something. Lavender oil in the bath. Before yoga, I like to rub a few drops of Frankincense in the palm of my hands and inhale.  

Drinking happiness: Anima Mundi makes handcrafted plant medicine powders. I drink a lot of hibiscus tea in the summer, and I’ll add a bit of rose powder. Rose is a great mood lifter. morning ritual

https://www.mindalt.co/the-lark/patricia-garcia-gomez-pivoting-to-a-life-more-creative


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