Over three years ago, my sister Ave Maria, moved from the sunny state of Queensland, Australia to Toronto in Canada. She left behind her home, her family, friends and her job as an architect to start a brand new life. Personally, I thought she was crazy- why leave your high paying job and career? Your newly purchased home? Your friends? Your family? All that you hold and love dear? To move across the globe where no one know you? Where you have no job? And no clue!
"Fulfillment comes from the journey of self-growth...."
But the heart wants what the heart wants, and when we ignore it we come out of alignment and live a life that feels foreign to us. This was certainly no rational decision, but it's one that she felt compelled to follow. For this reason, Ave is one of my greatest inspirations. She was able to create something from nothing and live a life that is authentic to her.
Fast forward almost three years later, Ave is living the life of her dreams. Every day she gets to wake up to do the thing she loves most- making art and travelling the world. Read below to find out more about her journey.
1) When did you start practicing yoga and what compelled you to start?
After leaving a long-term relationship in 2013 I felt very heart-broken and lost. What I didn’t know at the time, was that all I needed was a bit of soul-searching. Yoga was the perfect way to do this and I started trying different hot-yoga classes all over Brisbane. It was the start of a beautiful healing process and important relationship with my higher self, which I continue to cultivate today.
2) Where did the idea of starting an online art business come from?
I’ve always wanted to run my own business and become my own boss – I just didn’t know what kind or how I would do it. One day, the architect inside me wanted to hand-draw the Toronto skyline on my bedroom wall, so I did. When I shared my art on Instagram it received over 2,000 likes and 200 comments. I realized that my art was worth sharing with the world, and I began exploring ways to sell my art online. In March 2016, I launched my Etsy store and started to create minimalist skyline designs on home décor and travel accessories.
3) How has yoga helped you to create your business and how does it help you with coping with your businesses everyday stresses?
Through yoga, I discovered the art of meditation and how something as simple as breathing can help you to get focused and connected. When I first started I would wait until I had a yoga class scheduled to meditate. But now I meditate daily even when I don’t have a class because it creates the right mindset for the day. When I skip meditation, I notice a big difference in my attitude and energy, so now I always make time for it, even if it is only 10 minutes in the morning.
4) How do you start your day?
Every morning is different, but I feel like I am at my best performance when my mornings consist of meditation, journaling in my gratitude diary, and doing a simple home work-out. Recently I have been saving money by practicing yoga at home; from simple yoga stretches, to practicing my head-stand. Although these actions can seem small and insignificant, I believe that small actions of good daily habits can eventually lead to greatness.
5) What would you say to someone who wants to start something from nothing?
Just do it! Most of us are held back from starting something simply because we believe that there is a lack of resource – no time, no money, no knowledge etc. However, the biggest barrier is simply from the inability to make decisions and act. Resources are always available to us, we just need to look in the right places. So, start looking, learning, and take action!
6) What has been your most important lesson thus far?
I have learned that fulfillment comes from the journey of self-growth. Yoga, meditation and the idea of self-development can sound like a bunch of BS to many. However, I think the world would be a better place if we all just made a little bit effort to be a better person than we were yesterday. When we help ourselves, only then can we start to help others. This is where real happiness comes from; making a meaningful contribution to the community / family / or the world!
7) If you could change one thing about your journey so far, what would that be?
I would try harder to be more financially knowledgeable so that I can make smart investment decisions.
8) Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Inspiration happens when you least expect it, so everyday I am open to any new ideas. However, this does not mean I sit and wait for inspiration to come. It means I am always experimenting with my art, trying new things, even if it means creating something that is a complete failure. Because the more failures you can experience, the closer you can get to success.
9) Who has been your biggest influence/greatest teacher?
I make it a daily habit to listen or read to material from a person in the creative industries that inspires me; whether it is a life coach, inspirational speaker, oran author I love.So, I have many role models that I admire. However, I think the biggest influence would have to be founder of Kikki.K brand Kristina Karlsson. I read about Kristina’s story & her success with Kikki.K when I first moved to Canada in 2014. She inspired me to look for opportunities to create a business & life that I am excited about. Without the inspiration of how she started from humble beginnings, to a global boutique empire, I may have never begun my art venture.
10) Where can we buy your art?
On social media, I am mostly active on Instagram, but you can also find my art on Facebook. Link to my web pages below: