Stories Within: Julie LoGreco

For my second interview I had the privilege to sit with the lovely Julie LoGreco. Julie has been married to her husband  Shane for 13 years.  She is mother to two children, a 7 year old daughter and 5 year old son.

 If you don't know Julie you are missing out on such a present, gentle, heart opened soul. I have had the pleasure to know Julie for a couple years now and every time I see her I leave feeling a bit lighter.

How long have you lived in Bend?

We have lived in Bend for two go rounds. We moved here in the very end of 2010. We lived here for about 2 years. My son was born here. Then, Shane got a job offer back in Portland in October of 2012. So, we moved back to Portland and did that whole thing and missed Bend. Then,  I got a job where I could work from anywhere. So we just decided, let's get out of dodge. We came back out for a look around trip and ended up putting an offer on a house that weekend. So this coming July we will have been here two years. So we lived here for two years, left for two years, and we've been back for two years.

What was it about Bend that drew you?

 Shane was born here so we had vacationed here and  I love the landscape here. Initially, it was that feeling of being on vacation.. Once we moved here that continued to appeal to me. Just the ease, everything here feels easier to me. Especially since we lived in the suburbs of Portland. Even when we moved back the second time, it shocked me again. When I go to the doctor it takes me five minutes. So I end up showing up everywhere 30 minutes early.  So, we spend a significant amount of less time in the car. It puts time back into our lives. Which is good because things seem a little more simple. Activities here in community tend to center around outside. It's a lot less going, doing, and buying. It just seems simpler for us.

Sounds like you value simplicity?

Simplicity, yes. I really value simplicity. Also too, I had a really good girlfriend that lived in Portland the same time as us. We lived on opposite ends of town. We never saw her because she lived in Milwaukie and we lived in Hillsboro/Beaverton. We had to be serious about wanting to see each other. They just moved to town last year and w still live in opposite end of Bend. She lives in NW and we live in SW, but we see each other all the time. It's so much easier to connect and be connected.

What's your community like here in Bend?

That's a good question. I think I'm still working on building that. That's been the hardest part because we left family behind. We have friends and we're meeting friends. However, there is something about family that you can call and just say, 'hey, I just like need to leave my kids for two hours,.' you know? You have to try to build that here. We're slowly doing that. Having that friend move to town was great and meeting other moms. With the kids being in school I have started to build some of those relationships. You know those friends that also give support. My friendships are still in evolution.

Would you say you are building most of your community with people from your kids schools?

Yes, school or I've meet people through activities I've done in the community. You know, you meet people, but taking the leap to invite them into my life, my home can be hard.

Actually, when we moved here I was working from home in a very corporate job. I didn't interact with people. That was hard because I didn't have a work place to go to. Since I've started a business that's allowed me to connect. I still work from home, but I am so much more out in the community and people are in my space more too, a lot more.

Tell me about this business.

It's LuLaRoe. It's direct sales. I had a girlfriend that was doing it in town. When I first thought about doing that I had the hebegebes. I don't want to sell anything to anybody. Which is funny because in my adult career I was a recruiter. Which if you strip it all away I'm a sales person in a way.

So, I watched my friend sale LuLaRoe for awhile. People who know me well, like my best friends are shocked that I did it because I am risk adverse. I've done the same thing always. It just seemed like it would be fun in a way that I have not had fun in a really long time. There was something that really nagged at me to just do it and go for it.  You feel that little space inside yourself that feels a little giddy when you think about doing something. I can't push that aside, but at the time I had been having a lot of health problems. It just felt like I needed to follow the good stuff. I need to seek out joy a little more in my life. For me it didn't seem as much like a business opportunity. It seemed like a way to pursue something that would bring me joy and playfulness in my life. So yeah, it turned into a legit business now. Which is amazing and life changing and we're still trying to figure out what all that means.

Thinking about doing LuLaRoe you had that excitement in your body. Since you weren't feeling well you wanted to find that excitement and joy? Now that you are doing it, do you still feel that excitement and joy doing it?

I do. I was just on the phone with a friend this morning talking about this. I think, I do so much with it being a full fledge business, now there are piece I do feel not as excited about. I'm shipping things, you know, some of the administrative things. I've started to think about hiring somebody to help me. The good pieces still feel really good. There will always be things that feel like doing laundry.

Tell me about the good pieces.

For me, it woke up a piece in myself that I forgot was there. I've been doing this job I didn't love for so long. I was good at it, but I just didn't love it. I didn't feel super engaged. I think I forgot that I'm good at connecting with people. I think I forgot a lot of pieces of myself that I was good at. Which is probably what attracted me to recruiting in the first place. So, getting to see myself in a different way has been powerful. I have connected to so many people and I feel I've been able to make an impact in people's lives through dresses and leggings.  Just that connection and building community with people in that way. It's been a transformational experience that I didn't expect.

I love how you help women to feel beautiful.

Yeah, thinking about my experience with recruiting, sometimes you go through the motions and you lose connection with yourself. At least I can be that way, walking through life getting to the next place. I think that the ability to connect with other women and  to feel beautiful in your clothes shows you there is a place for everyone. You know I carry things that are all sizes and shapes.

I just think for me its important to connect with people from the place of authenticity. I think that's a big reason why I can be successful and engaged.  I am making this really authentic connection with people. I've been face timing with this woman in Tennessee. She's older and she said she hasn't liked to shop or get dressed in over 20 years. She said I make her excited to do that again and those are the pieces that motivate me. To be able to bring a little bit of that into some peoples lives. Going back to those pieces I forgot about myself.  That ability to connect and have a meaningful, authentic interaction. This is with something that brings in income. So to have that all wrapped up in one package is kinda cool.

It sounds like you've had a lot going on with moving, having kids, health challenges, starting this new business.  What has shifted and changed in you from all of these transitions?

Oh, gosh....everything. Well,  to start off with having the kids. I truly feel motherhood, with my first child, that moment of giving birth to her was my one major transformation moment in my life. In my psyche, my spiritual life, in everything it was really powerful. I guess it seems obvious. So much of my personality and the way I see the world shifted. It was a spiritually transformational experience. Not just becoming a mother, but the physical act of childbirth too. Something just shifted inside of me. It almost feels like I've been two people or lived two lives. That was the start of the second part for me.

With the health challenges I've had, that's been a huge shift. It forces you to slow down. This a big reason why I took this risk on my business and shifted my career. When you have an illness it pushes you into places you normally wouldn't go.

Yeah, motherhood has been an incredible transformation and these last couple of years of navigating through who am I.  An illness will strip you of a lot of the things you think you are. For me, both of those things were huge catalysts of moving into the next place I need to be.

Are they bringing you closer to yourself?

Oh yeah, I think so. Certainly with my children, they bring me to my most center of myself. I don't know if everyone experiences this where their kids do this to them, they are able to melt away insecurities and structures that I view myself as. They kind of just melt away a lot of that.

What is it like for you to be a parent and have health challenges?

It's hard. Just from a physical standpoint. the physicality it takes to be with kids and be present for them, the energy.

I had my daughter and she is such an easy child. She goes with the flow, go anywhere with me, she likes to be with adults, likes to be quiet. My son is a ball of energy that can really push the limits for the capacity I can handle. I think physically it can be really challenging. Also, the uncertainty that comes with an illness, especially one that is mysterious and can't quite put your finger on. It strips you of the ability to be certain about anything. My personality is one where I want to be certain about things. I want to be in order and know what to expect. All those things make me feel secure. Going through this has been a teacher that life is not certain. Being able to be with my kids and be with myself when everything isn't prescribed and stable when I don't know what next week looks like.

That makes me wonder what it is like for you emotionally? You are in the place of having to surrender constantly, having to really be in the moment to appreciate it or even give into it. Has that been hard for you emotionally?

Yes, tremendously. It had not been in my nature to do that when it comes to the nitty gritty of doing that. I think kids do that to you, but to a whole other level. When things were first going on and we didn't know what was happening my brain was like a caged animal. I was constantly racked with a lot of anxiety. All I wanted was to know what was going on. Circling over that, over and over again you get to the point where it's an exercise in surrendering. I'm certainly not perfect at it, but it's amazing to look at what that was like two years ago and what it's like now. I am more able to find a place of peace in my mind.

Are the extracurricular activities you are doing helping you? Does it help you to feel more centered?

Yeah, totally.  I think coming here everything was happening at once. So I really sought out opportunities in community, ways to connect back with myself. A lot of those activities felt like work to me. You know to sit and be still. I'm the person who in my natural being wants to go, go, go and achieve, achieve. So to sit and be, and look at it as worth while work is challenging for me. But, no doubt all of those things have helped me.

What has been the most impactful spiritual practice you have adopted into your life?

Oh goodness. I think that this group I go to twice a month. We call it a presence in healing group. It's other women and one man. I think the opportunity to sit in circle with other people and drop into myself, be present with others as they do that was a very uncomfortable practice for me to begin with. It has now become something I crave. Its interesting, I'll be away or have shifted enough that it becomes painful again. It's constantly evolving, but it's been a really valuable tool for me. Learning how to tune into myself and sit with things.  Things that are uncomfortable is so much about the illness.

That's powerful. 

To not make things go away. I tend to be like, I need to fix it. I need to make it go away or solve it. So learning to sit with things and be with things is my practice.

It's ok that it's not perfect. It's ok when it's messy.

Yes. Even when it's really uncomfortable, painful, and bad I think the lesson is to muck through that and be with that, instead of avoid It, has been powerful.

Have you found a community within this group?

Yeah, I've found some community with people who are consistently there. Although people ebb and flow out too which is part of the lesson too. You know, how do I react to that new energy that just came in. 

Coming back to what about Bend, in Portland everything was just so spread out. It was harder to find those places of being. There is just so much more opportunity here to find space with peopleand to connect more intentionally.

If you want to check out Julie's LuLaRoe threads here is her Facebook page.