I can’t wait to introduce you to Lillie Duncan. You know how the world just brings people into your life at random moments, and you don’t think much of it at the time, but you keep a mental note in your back pocket like, “Something tells me, I need to remember this girl.”
That was Lillie. Both of us from miles away, we met at a photography workshop in Nashville, TN. (her work is STUNNING by the way) I don’t think we figured out we were both seriously into holistic health until the very last remaining moments of the workshop, and I felt like our time was cut short on the thing that deeply connected us.
Long story short, we’ve stayed in touch through Instagram, and it’s been so fun to root each other on in our journeys as they each unfold a little differently, yet oh, so similar.
Tell us a little about yourself.
When I was younger, I felt as though our lives were meant to be lived in these neat little boxes. We were supposed to look a certain way, act a certain way, follow a schooling path that led to a successful job, get married, have 2.3 kids, then live happily ever after. That was the American dream, right? Something always felt terribly off to me. I felt like there was more to the story. More to me. More to others. More to life in general.
I grew up on a small beach town in Florida, did the college thing, kinda hated the college thing, moved to Oregon to travel around and experience life…and oh, did I ever?! This is where so much of my life started to change. I was submerged into another culture. I learned about food, intentional eating, making conscious food choices that were for more than my vanity but for the betterment of my health and body. I fell in love with nature and the healing connection that is held within, for no cost.
That was just the beginning, the ember that caught on fire, the fire that burns in me still. Fast forward 10 years, I co-own a Functional Medicine Practice called Stewarding Wellness in Texas and I recently opened the doors to my brand new yoga studio, Kairos. Technically it is “yoga and more” because we will be focusing on yoga, pilates, meditations, and connection circles.
When it comes to healing, we can only get so far if we separate the body and only address it in parts. The change and healing start to happen when you can look at your mind, body, and soul as one entity with three parts. Each of which needs healing, love, and attention. When one is affected, each is affected. I wanted a space where we could address the person as a WHOLE, literally, not just in some “ommmmmm” greenwashing way. The connection circles will be my baby. A place and space where community, movement, affirmation, and healing will occur.
This is what I do for others, my passion and calling as a “wounded healer” but what I do for myself is art. I am a professional film photographer and writer. I currently write for a paper being put out by Folk Rebellion. I will also be releasing my first book of poetry in 2018.
Favorite food? Treat? Indulgence?
My favorite food is chocolate. Eating Evolved chocolate to be exact. After that, I love Thai food!
Must have self-care item?
I am all about self-care. I treat myself to massages often. I make time so that I can read every day. I have a 4-year-old and a 2-year-old, so I have to do something for myself to make sure I am giving them my absolute best.
What type of movement brings you joy?
Dancing was my first form of movement that I fell in love with and still love to this day. Yoga, Pilates, Dancing, and as simple as it sounds…I love to just walk.
Share a bit about your personal health journey and what led you to where you are today.
From a young age, I learned very quickly to tie my worth to my body, my portrayed image, and how others saw me. I felt as though I was a slave to food, exercise, and others opinions about me. I had an extremely unhealthy view of myself until I had my first child, Rosalie. Everything changed after that. I had watched my body change, carry a life, sustain a life, then give birth to a life created in me. It was the first time I viewed my body as this beautiful, powerful creation, capable of so much. And yet, there I was in my postpartum body, 50 lbs heavier than I had ever been and I felt the bondage start to slip away.
When my Rosalie was 8 weeks old, one of my brothers died tragically and the grief that beset upon me became my trigger for an Autoimmune disorder called, Hashimoto’s. All of the dysmorphia I had once struggled with paled in comparison to this new struggle. Where I once was a slave to my thoughts about food, food now became my greatest healer.
It has been a long four years of experimenting, finding out what was right for my body to start to heal but all of it was worth it because I now know how to help others fighting the same struggle. There is no one size fits all diet. We were all created differently and need to be looked at and approached as an individual. Find a nutritionist or functional medicine provider who can treat you as one of a kind and walk this journey alongside you. And, most importantly, be gentle with yourself whatever your journey may be.
If you could give one tip to someone starting out on their own health journey, what would it be?
Learn to listen to your body and realize that there is no ‘end destination’, the journey is the prize.
Share your favorite quote or source of inspiration.
These are my two favorite poems:
When your eyes are tired
the world is tired also.
When your vision has gone,
no part of the world can find you.
Time to go into the dark
where the night has eyes
to recognize its own.
There you can be sure
you are not beyond love.
The dark will be your home
The night will give you a horizon
further than you can see.
You must learn one thing.
The world was made to be free in.
Give up all the other worlds
except the one to which you belong.
Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness
to learn anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive
is too small for you.
“WILD GEESE” by Mary Oliver
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
How can someone reach you if they want to connect with you?
If you could pick two words to represent your personal mantra, what would they be and why?
Soft & Stoic
To be soft, is to choose gentleness over and over. To be stoic, is to understand that today is all we have. Live it, love it, then let it go as you welcome tomorrow as a gift undeserved.
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