Take 5 with... Natalia Zietara from Mycohood!
We met Natalia from MYCOHOOD during the amazing, inspiring MAMA Gathering in Poland in July, and she stroke us as a true power-bank! We heard her read out loud a sustainability manifesto that framed sustainability as more than a reusable straw or a solid shampoo in your bathroom. Sustainability was seen holistically, and we could not wait to learn more about Natalia’s projects and pick her brain about her sources of inspiration. Today, we are happy to share this long chat with you!
1. Tell us a bit about yourself, where are you from, where did you study, and what about Poland makes it special and makes you stay?
I’m 28-year-old sociologist, entrepreneur and artist. I am a freelancer, changing my professions like chameleon changes colors :) Mainly I am an event producer/manager, project manager, researcher and from time to time I work as production assistant on sets. I am also a co-founder of Mycohood, a project inspired by Wood Wide Web, Trees’ Energy and people’s need to be closer to Mother Earth. I also co-organize Sabat Kobiet (FACEBOOK & INSTAGRAM) - the beautiful women gatherings & retreats.
I was raised in small village in south-east Poland. I studied Sociology on University of Science and Technology in Cracow. I lived in this beautiful city for over 6 years and combined studies with work in hospitality and for music, dance, performance, film festivals. After university, I moved to Leeds, England for almost 3 years, where I’ve learnt barista skills in speciality coffee industry (from coffee brewing, latte art to basics of roasting coffee). I came back to Poland 2 years ago and moved to Warsaw where I live and run my own business at the moment.
I felt I need to reconnect with my roots to be able to find what I truly want to do in my life. Being close to Nature is what I love most in Poland.
Staying in Poland keeps my mind open.
2. What's important to you, and how do these values influence your professional choices?
I am people’s and dots’ connector, always searching for opportunity to change my own and others perspective and raise consciousness. I follow Mother Earth, its cycles and teachings and I cherish the child within myself.
I explore body movement (qigong, yoga, Lowen Techniques, Czechov Technique, Somatic Experiencing etc. ) and breathing techniques (such as Wim Hof Method, Qigong breathing, Yoga Nidra, Kundalini Yoga). Topics that drive my soul as well are sustainability, new technologies, biophilic design and coffee. I truly believe we all can find tools to bring back balance to our lives.
It is important to me that people I work or collaborate with share same values as mine. Sustainability and mutuality are always the key points for collaboration with anybody. I share my way of thinking with people, learn from them a lot and get into projects which are compatible with my beliefs.
I consult sustainable brands and do research for them.
My latest biggest passion is producing events-experiences to change people’s perspective, even a little bit. I managed to coordinate my own wedding ceremony in collaboration with my talented friends - artists and singers. Thanks to them, me and my partner were able to share with our family different approach to that important day. For many of our family members and friends it was a life-changing experience - but also for me as an event producer - very inspiring and uplifting!
I am co-founder of Mycohood project, run by myself, Maria Subczyńska and Olga Rutkowska. We started this project because we want to combine education with art and to show people that we all have beautiful talents to share with the world. We share our knowledge and different approaches to self-development journey. On our platform we share interesting articles, talk with inspiring people and publish our thoughts as well. During the workshops and lecturers we also address the issues such as pollution, bees extinction, mental health, biodiversity, sustainability and share with people our knowledge and educate them, as we believe that’s the most powerful way to change people’s perception.
Also on Sabat (women gatherings) I co-organize with Samia Mamaloona, Maria Subczyńska and Olga Rutkowska we share with other women knowledge about women cycles, spirit-mind-body connection, relaxation techniques, plants, sustainability and many more.
I create my own bodywork method. I show how to reach altered states of mind without substances, manage stress and cope with difficult emotions. I call it now IKIGAL (my alter ego) Qigong fusion (FACEBOOK & INSTAGRAM). I run workshops during retreats, festivals and fairs. I explore breathing techniques, different approaches of body work and body-mind- spirit connection such as qigong (movement meditation), yoga, lowen technique, czehov technique, energy medicine, EFT, somatics experiencing and more. I just can’t close myself in one method and want to show people that everyone needs different tools to be able to bring relief to their life. For sure, discovering what’s best for me and what works is so exciting that’s why I want to share this kind of approach to life.
3. Tell us more about Mycohood - how and why did it start and what is your role in the collective?
Three of us met in online world. First me and Maria started to exchange topics we were interested in such as nature-people connection, fungi, biodiversity, trees life, psychology. Paul Stamets, American mycologist, author and advocate of bioremediation and medicinal fungi, was our biggest inspiration. We started project called Siec Biofilia (translates to: The Biophilic Network) which made Olga want to join us and project eventually evaluated to Mycohood we all build together now. We wanted to start providing workshops that combine art and education where in more creative way people can learn something very important.
We are all creative souls. I use my logistics and organizing skills in the collective but also create workshops and lecturers, interview people, take photos. Our way of thinking about the collective is letting our light shine and do whatever inspires us together or each of us separately. So my role in the collective is making things happen. We love collaborating with each other - for example me and Maria Subczyńska provide workshops together called Rozmowy z drzewami & Qigong fusion - Talking with trees & Qigong fusion - by body work and breathing techniques I show people how to tap into their own energy and after that Maria starts mindful meditation & walk to forest and opens people for statements from trees and nature itself. This is such a beautiful experience I recommend everyone.
4. What’s your biggest source of inspiration right now?
Life itself has always been my biggest inspiration, people who I meet every day give me joy and lots of new perspectives. I am a doer and a shaker. I love gaining knowledge, always looking for tools to solve problems or just answer my questions. The biggest source of inspiration for me is nature and Internet where I gain a lot of knowledge! Forest always give me opportunity to learn something new, I love being inspired when walking or hugging trees. Digitally, I follow daily psychologists, educators, scientists, entrepreneurs, artists and many more to be inspired by them and change my perspective. Diversity both in nature and in people inspire me daily and gives me motivation day by day.
5. Who are your personal heroes and why?
There are many more, of course, because I admire people, and try to learn the most from them, but the ones below are my greatest inspiration.
Dr. Gabor Mate is a psychologist and author based in Vancouver, Canada born in Hungary. He teaches about toxic culture, traumas, addiction, parenting (also with his son Daniel) in very inspiring way. Easily, I can say he saved myself and brought huge relief to my own life.
Paul Stamets whom I mentioned earlier - a mycologist, scientist and author who changed my perception about forest itself, taught me how fungi works, how they can help human beings and how they can save the world. He also, as mentioned earlier, was an inspiration for Mycohood project.
Marti Spiegelman is a scientist, designer and an inspiring woman who provides gatherings in forests and teaches people how to understand their intuition. She combines science with holistic approach and learns from indigenous people.
Brene Brown teaches about vulnerability and courage in Western world and she completely changed my mind about self-care and need for setting our own boundaries and how important is it to have respect to my own sensibility.
Cas Holman builds toys for children that give them opportunity to learn great skills when playing. I admire her creativity and approach.
Finally, Neri Oxman combines architecture with biology, creates new technologies and builds while being inspired by nature. She’s an innovator, great leader and change maker. She navigates her talented team to new discoveries which are just remarkable.