We discovered Nadia through her incredible accessible and interesting books. She’s a gifted Ayurvedic consultant based on the far North Coast of NSW in Mullumbimby. We highly recommend downloading her books (our favourite is “Living Ayurveda: A Practical Guide to Ayurvedic Nutrition & Deeply Healing Your Body & Mind”) and reading her very informative blog. There is a brilliant free book online at Mudita too. Her enviable lifestyle hardly compares with our busy city lives!
Where do you currently live?
In Mullumbimby, Northern NSW, 20 mins out of Byron Bay.
What currently keeps you busy?
Two energetic Australian Shepherds (Gus and Nooshka) and the business I run with my husband, Kester Marshall. We founded the Mudita Institute & Health Clinic with our Buddhist Teacher in 2008 to make Mindfulness Training and Ayurvedic Medicine more accessible to everyone.
What do you do to stay healthy, and live a balanced lifestyle?
I was going to start with a lovely long list of all the things I do but really the most important answer is – I spend a lot of time with my Zen Teacher, Michael Doko Hatchett. Being around him is a constant reminder to relax and meet the world in a different way. My husband (also a Buddhist Monk and Ayurvedic Practitioner) and I live with Doko, his wife Justine (a Buddhist Psychologist and Psychotherapist) and their three kids. They live upstairs and we live downstairs. We like to call it the ‘house of exposure’ because you just can’t hide your ‘stuff’. Sooner or later (usually sooner) it will come out and you have to deal with it! But rather than dealing with it in a serious way, it is always brought to light with a sense of fun and laughter! In addition to this I follow the principles of Ayurvedic Medicine, meditate regularly, practice mindfulness and go on a lot of retreats (we run three Mudita health retreats and attend several Zen Retreats each year). I’ve also practiced yoga on and off for many years…
How do you approach meditation?
I try to approach my meditation with warmth and patience. I’ve always found it very difficult to stay awake when I meditate so I need to be very warm and patient with my practice or I will either give myself a hard time or give up. But, more and more, I’m focussing on the quality of precision, particularly with my posture – a strong spine combined with a soft heart is what I work on with each breath. Doko teaches these three qualities of Warmth, Patience and Precision and their importance in any approach to health, happiness and longevity.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I get up at about 6.30am, feed the chickens, take the dogs for a long beach walk, get home and cook breaky then get to work by 10am. I spend the mornings doing admin or marketing, usually cook lunch for our staff then do my writing in the afternoon, depending on what’s on. I finish at 4pm then head home for some relaxing which may involve another dog walk, slack-lining in the backyard, a class, or more cooking. Twice a week I go to the Zen Temple at 6am for 2 hours of sitting. On those days everything else just starts a bit later.
What do you do daily that is non negotiable?
Most things are up for negotiation except tongue-scraping, teeth-brushing and showering. I’m also rather attached to my morning cup of tea, daily dog walk and telling my hubby that I love him at least once.
How do you define creativity?
I guess I see it as the desire to express beauty. I believe that everything we do can be an expression of creativity… from the way we make the bed in the morning to the way we approach an exam question! I think I see form, light and colour in everything I do and always seek to create (or appreciate) beauty.
What brings you the most joy in your life?
‘Mudita’ actually means sympathetic joy or finding joy in another person’s happiness. This is what brings me the most joy – watching someone else find happiness. I feel this when Doko and Jussie’s kids experience something cool for the first time, when our dogs eat pizza crusts and when we run our retreats and watch people transform before our very eyes. Mudita is very cool. I also get a lot of joy out of being creative – graphic design and writing in particular.
What do you define as happiness?
Deep, deep relaxation, slowing down and letting go to the point of just feeling all the love of creation pouring into you. I really felt this deeply for the first time about a month ago after a particularly awesome Zen Retreat. In lieu of this,watching an episode of ‘The Office’ is pretty great too. I love Dwight.
What do you consider your greatest achievement to be?
Quitting my cushy corporate job to start the Mudita Institute and write my book, “Living Ayurveda: A Practical Guide to Ayurvedic Nutrition & Deeply Healing Your Body & Mind”….and having the guts each day to keep it going. Also… marrying my hubby. That was a good choice, he’s awesome.
What qualities do you seek in people?
I like spending time with people who are honest, present, kind, generous, vaguely calm, considerate, slightly self-depricating, not too earnest and funny. I also quite like people who are relatively blunt…. or at least are okay with my bluntness.
What is a saying or motto you live by or that is relevant to you right now?
‘Seek Beauty, Not Solutions’. This is one of Doko’s sayings. We all tend to exist in a ‘problem-solution’ dynamic from the moment we wake to the moment we go to sleep… scanning for problems and then searching for their solutions. This is particularly prevalent when searching for tools to be happier and healthier! But all of the things we can do from an Ayurvedic and Mindfulness perspective to be happier and healthier are actually really lovely, beautiful things to do. So it is about shifting our motivation…. to do beautiful things for ourselves because they are beautiful, not because we are trying to ‘fix’ something! This is a much yummier way to live life.