Getting To Know: Cathlin Walker of Walker Whole Health

 MaggieGentry interviews Cathlin Walker about how she started her health coaching business and how she helps others feel at home in their bodies.

You know when you first connect with someone online, and you think, "Wow, they're really cool." And then when you get ready to meet them in person, you're a little bit nervous because sometimes who they are IRL doesn't quite jive with who you thought they would be? Yeah, it definitely stinks, but this was absolutely NOT the case with Cathlin. 

We had the distinct pleasure of meeting IRL at Venture POP after a few months of connecting on Instagram and via Skype dates (she's the one in the middle of this photo booth pic), and immediately upon meeting her I knew that she was one of my people. She is whip smart, unbelievably kind, and wholeheartedly unafraid to show up as herself. She shoots straight, calls your on your BS, and is fiercely loyal. Cathlin is someone you absolutely want in your corner, and I am honored to call her a friend. Not to mention, she gives one of the best hugs on this planet.

Her devotion to showing up as herself is what drives her health coaching practice. She wants others to embrace exactly who they are and start feeling at home in their bodies. Keep on reading to hear more about what she's up to!

 

Let’s dive right in! Tell us about your background and how you landed here with Walker Whole Health, which is your holistic health coaching practice, all about helping others feel at home in their bodies.   

I worked for years in the restaurant industry; bartending, waiting tables, cooking, and managing with little to show financially for myself, crazy sleep habits that were dependent on substances, and a hatred of working for people who ignored the value I brought to their company and refused to pay me my worth.  It was with the encouragement of ones dear to me that I took a series of leaps out of my comfort zone.  I moved out of an housing situation I had been stuck in for 8 years, I left my job of ten years and ended up moving away from family and friends all within 9 months.  It is through that experience of searching that I found coaching and realized I could put all of the pieces of me into a whole that was self-sufficient, financially responsible, and thrilled for every day.

What aspect of your work is the most life-giving for you?

I love supporting people to see answers that they have known all along.  Often we know what we need, but it is terrifying to actually implement lasting change.  My life expanded exponentially with the smallest encouragement and space from a few dear friends.  I love to hold that space for others.

Was there ever a time when you happily ignored external validation or outside advice about your business so that you could follow the True North that you created for yourself? If so, how did making that choice to follow Your Why impact not only you, but your business?

I don’t Facebook.  Facebook makes me feel like a crazy person.  I know I am susceptible to the chokehold of comparison and the second guessing of the imposter syndrome looms large for me.   So, I have chosen not to interact with what I recognize as a main contributor and facilitator of these specific anxieties.  Many business coaches and online strategists tell me I am perfectly crazy not to use Facebook for my business.  In the end it may take my business a bit longer to grow or it impacts the breadth of my audience, but I find that the people who need to work with me, find me.  

Not only are you a certified health coach, but you are continuing your education by completing coursework at Urban Moonshine Herb School, as well as studying tarot with Lindsay Mack of Wild Soul Healing. How do each of these translate into your unique style of coaching?

I have used herbs my entire life.  I use them daily as medicine, in food, in sacred ritual and for beauty.  Most of my knowledge is intuitive, or passed through generations of women and community.  I found that when I started coaching, people wanted to know where or how I learned what I knew about herbs.  I was even asked for my certification in herbalism once.  

I decided to work with Urban Moonshine Herb School because I used their products, respected their ethos and wanted a more tangible study of herbs and medicine making for a future products line I am working on.  As for my study of tarot that is really a more personal experience that I came to as I started some deep healing work.  But as my study has progressed, tarot has become a tool I turn to as a business owner again and again.  I find it to be a strong tool for self-examination and exploration, which are tenets of my coaching practice, but it's a tool I feel most comfortable suggesting clients use themselves rather than a service I provide.  

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You share that the only way to feel at home in your body is through a daily practice. What does your daily practice look like?

There are a few big picture habits I have that allow me to be very intentional during my day.  I keep my phone out of my bedroom, I live without a television, I cook my own food, and I laugh with my partner every day.  These allow me to leave my daily practice up to my intuition.  Every morning after I have been at my desk for two hours, I do an energy scan and sort of check-in internally so I know what is going on with me.  Do I need to move? Go outside, pull a tarot card, take 5 mins for meditation etc.  Daily practice for me cannot be another item on my to do list it has to arise from my internal need.  

You recently took a break from Instagram for the entire month of November. Now that you are easing back into the swing of things, how was that experience transformative for you and how you approach not only your business, but your everyday life?

I wrote almost every single day for an hour.  Not content for my website or newsletter but just writing for the sake of moving a pen across the page.  It was wonderful; it opened up so much space in my head for project brainstorming, and it was really fun.  With that space I was able to recognize some boundaries I needed to create around how I consume information.  This has been a really vital piece of my business planning for next year and has also shifted my perspective about in-person connection and how I can bring my coaching practice to a broader audience in my physical community.  

Even from a very early phone conversation we had a few months back, I remember being so impressed with your ability to pick up on really subtle nuances and gently nudge me to go deeper. That has to translate to some honestly transformative work with your clients! But without completely putting words in your mouth, what would you say is your coaching superpower?

I don’t want to freak anyone out, but I am an observer.  I see minutia.  I always have.  I see really small pieces that often fall through the cracks.  It is what made me a great event planner.  I am detail oriented, I pay attention to how people talk not just what they are saying.  We say so much with our bodies and word choices, and I pick up on those nuances.  

I know you are working to launch Creative | Healthy | Growth chats and a subsequent zine. Can you share a little bit more about the inspiration for this project, and what we might expect when it’s released?

Creative | Healthy | Growth grew out of a desire to talk with women about their specific experiences of living in their female body.  I really designed it so that I could hear what women have to say about being female.  I also was in the process of getting over a fear of being on the telephone, so it's how I got out of my comfort zone.  I have hour-long conversations with women about everything from how they navigate health care systems, to not wanting to have sex with their partners, to gratitude practices.  I record the conversations and use bits and pieces of those conversations as inspiration for a quarterly zine.  

The 1st zine is in production as we speak.  I have the page layouts on my office floor!  Then I mail it to you.  It is going to be a thing that is pretty, and you can hold it, and it will make your mailbox happy.  I love the post office, I love collage, I love women, I love talking about being a women.  I love to share our commonalities.  This project does all of that.  

How do you define self care? And what is your best piece of advice for someone who is starting to discover what their own self care practice might entail?

The most important thing to remember when thinking about self care is to remember your self.  What my self care looks like will be completely different than your self care.  Just the way that I love extra onions on my pizza and you may be allergic to onions.  It is SELF care after all.  

With that said there are levels to my self care.  I love a bath full of herbal salts, hell I have even posted pics of my toes peeping out of my bathwater.  But I think the juicy opportunity we have with self care is the opportunity to dive into how we want to feel and then start to cultivate those feelings.  I am a huge fan of all things Desire Map, and I find that really paring our experiences down to their energetic essence allows us to find what is it we need to feel whole.  Being aware of our energy and how we use it, is what self care is all about.  

Is there a commonality amongst your clients with their struggles, worries, and fears? If so, what is your recommendation to help combat those universal challenges?

I see a struggle for articulation in a lot of my clients.  A sense that there is more to being human than how they live their daily lives.  Specifically, it feels like being stuck in an ugly body with no place to go, having to ask for a seat belt extender on an airplane, keeping clothes you once fit into but can’t wear anymore.  So this inability to pinpoint what is wrong manifests in trying to change our bodies to fit external standards and expectations rather than heal our relationships with our body.  

Recognizing our strength and resilience can teach us to celebrate our worth without looking externally for validation.  My own struggle with external validation found a home in new year’s resolutions.  My inability to keep a resolution for an entire year brought shame and frustration front and center in my life.  I thought it must mean I am a bad person because I couldn’t go to the gym every single day like everyone else.  I thought I was a failure cause I couldn’t lose weight.  So I let go of new year’s resolutions.  I ignored them.  I walked around telling everyone I didn’t make resolutions because I didn’t like to set myself up for failure.  

After years of cultivating a loving relationship with myself I realized I could make resolutions that felt good.  They didn’t have to be about losing weight or changing myself to show up in someone else's expectations.  I could make a radical resolution to love myself.  Which is how I birthed the #radicalresolution challenge.  This January 2018 I am hosting a #radicalresolution challenge on Instagram.  It is really an invitation to love yourself.  I am planning to share 31 daily actions, prompts and strategies to help you begin the journey of loving yourself.  If you leave your email address here I will be able to send you all the materials as our challenge approaches!

 
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