Interview 011: Megan Trusnik

After a lil mini-vay, Infrequently Asked Questions is back with a totally badass interviewee, the formidable Ms. Megan Trusnik. Megan recently opened up a Chicago yoga studio called Ohmculture after years in politics. I actually met her at a rooftop-poolside-midnight-silent-disco-yoga class (normal Tuesday night activity) when she startled me by adjusting my down dog as I sleepily attempted to focus on the voice inside my silent disco headphones/ not tumble into the pool/ casually enter a state of flow. Anyway. I thought she was some rando touching my lower back, but it turns out she's a total pro, and we've followed each other ever since.

Megan's also a really great writer, and so ferociously follows her own meditative drumbeat that I'm inspired to do the same. 

Here's Megan:


What character stuff have you had to actively work on over the past several years?

Perfectionism, vulnerability, boundaries, certainty... I'm constantly finding new character stuff to refine. Perfectionism is just my nature -- I'm a Leo sun sign and a Capricorn rising sign, so I've got perfectionism in spades. Unlike perfectionism, my aversion to vulnerability was a learned response to a former abusive relationship. It was one of those relationships that demolishes you to the core, and you have to re-build yourself piece-by-piece. I built a fortress. 

Boundaries are a newer challenge that really came to light in opening a business. Being an entrepreneur is, thus far, the greatest and most rewarding challenge of my life. It also means I can no longer isolate to restore myself, and the needs of a lot of other people require my attention. I've always thrived in uncertainty, and with a new business I do get a pretty hefty dose of that. However, for the first time in my life I can kind of tell you where I'll be in five years, and that is TERRIFYING for me. I've always been a runner, and I'm really trying to cultivate some ease with this whole putting down roots thing. 

How are you doing on that stuff now?

I'm the type of person that has to create the perfect environment in which to work, or else I can't get anything done. If all the pieces of my life are not all operating at their highest potential, simultaneously, I beat myself up about it and it can paralyze me. Yoga helps me let go, and I can then treat my life like I treat my yoga practice -- a continual work in progress. I'm teaching myself to understand that the journey is the masterpiece. I've been doing a lot of reading on vulnerability and implementing it into my teaching. Authenticity is vital for me, and I feel like when I teach the importance of being vulnerable, it helps hold me accountable in my own life. Boundaries are a daily effort, and enlisting the help of a life coach has been really insightful and helpful.

It's still kind of freaking me out knowing my life now has a plan and some stability. Am I really an adult now?

How would you describe your purpose?

That's a tough one. On a personal level, my purpose is experiencing as much cognitive ecstasy as I can. That means intellectual pleasure, or wonder, and for me that's travel, yoga, meditation, challenging my physical and mental limits, creative flow-states, inspiration-seeking and getting really good at connection {to self, to source, to others}. I think my purpose as it relates to others is to help raise the collective consciousness by either guiding, or holding space for others on their own journey of self-discovery and self-creation. Hence, OhmCulture. 

Define your career... Then tell us how it's different then you thought it would be.

My career is dramatically different than what I thought it would be. I studied Political Science and Arabic in college, for about 7 years I was involved in government and politics in a wide-variety of capacities. I've been a campaign staffer, political consultant, public sector management consultant. I've worked for President Obama and at one point was recruited by the CIA and FBI (I picked the FBI). I certainly thought I'd run for office. 

Now, I'm a yoga teacher, connector, entrepreneur, business-owner. I always separate entrepreneur and business-owner. My entrepreneur side is the big-picture thinking, grand-masterpiece manifesting dreamer. Business-owner is the day-to-day implementation of the dream; the creator and facilitator. For OhmCulture, I do both. I like one more than the other, but the latter is teaching me a great deal about myself. I also continue to teach, which for me comes most naturally, and in that capacity I connect people to themselves.
Do you feel like you've made it yet? Have things clicked? Explain.

I don't feel like I've "made it," and I'm not even entirely sure what "making it" would look like. What I've created with OhmCulture is certainly an amazing accomplishment -- anyone that steps into the shoes of founding a company is accomplished. I know this in my mind, but I have yet to feel it. I wish I could say it's humility that keeps me from feeling I've made it, but I think it's more like chronic dissatisfaction. I just have so much more I want to do. I'm ok with it - it keeps me curious about what comfort zone I can thrust myself out of next. 

How do you think others perceive your life path? Do you care?

I actually have no idea. I would imagine some people think I'm all over the board, and others are inspired by my dramatic shifts. Being a fiercely independent person, I can say that I do not care. There's a story my step-dad told me about one of his first interactions with me, I must have been about 6 years old. He came into the kitchen while I was making myself toast, and I was using about an inch-thick of butter. He said he asked me if my mom cared that I put that much butter on my toast. Without missing a beat, I replied "why would my mom care how much butter is on my toast ? She's not the one eating it." That was me at 6. My 30-year-old self is probably even less concerned with the perceptions of others. It's my toast, and I'm the only one who has to eat it. 

Speaking of others, how have your relationships shaped you?

Oh boy. I'm finally in a place where I can admit that they have shaped just about everything. I used to think I operated in a vacuum, and the influence of others didn't matter. I was stoic, strong, resilient. I am still those things. But, it took many years of working on myself to understand I was those things because of my relationships, not in spite of them. Now I'm working on letting my relationships shape me -- that whole getting better at connection and vulnerability thing. My view of relationships has changed from cool detachment, to actively engaging with them as a mechanism for personal growth. I'm by no means a master of that yet, but I'm aware of it now. 

What's your perspective on life like now as opposed to 5 years ago? 10 years ago?

So much has changed. Sometimes a photo or post will come up from just a few years ago, and I honestly don't recognize myself any more than I recognize 3-year-old me. It's like, sure, I know that's me but I can't really relate to that girl. Five years ago, I was in a very unhealthy relationship, working a job I was very good at, but not feeling fulfilled. I can't say there was much by way of a strong sense of self-awareness for me yet, and there was too much interference to have a strong perspective on life. Ten years ago I was in a really good place at Indiana University, studying things I was really passionate about, traveling the world and learning a ton about the human condition, spirituality and culture. I think that period was formative for my current perspective on life. 

Now, my perspective on life is all about authenticity, bliss, love, connection, transcendence and every other way you would imagine a yoga teacher viewing life. They sound like buzzwords, but I really am passionate about living them and helping others live them as well. Maybe it's the sort of existential anxiety that set in at 30, about time and death, but the concept of presence has become the crux of my perspective. 

What are you most looking forward to?

I'm looking forward to watching OhmCulture grow as a community. I'm excited to see what kind of action we inspire in Chicago and in the world. I'm also excited about small things like seeing my best friend who I haven't seen in months, decorating my condo, future travel, tattoos and starting the blog I have planned for OhmCulture. 

In your daily life, when are you happiest?

I'm really happy when I practice yoga and box (I used to box competitively.)There's also something about mornings for me. I rarely have the time for it anymore, but those mornings when my cats are being extra snuggly, I can cook a big breakfast complete with a fresh concoction from my juicer, and read or watch a documentary with my feet tucked under Jason's legs (I swear he runs at about 150 degrees) ... those moments are just the best. The worst start to a day for me is having to run right into work really early. 

Also, baths. I'm obsessed with really elaborate, scented, fizzy, bubbly, steaming hot, candlelit baths.  

On the other hand, how do you pull yourself out of a funk when you're in one? And how did you most likely wind up in said hypothetical funk in the first place?

If I'm in a funk, it's likely because I gave myself an ambitious to-do list and I'm anxiety-ridden for not completing it, or I'm worn out from completing it. The remedy for me is self care; massages, baths, decadent meals, meditation, acupuncture, sleep, inspirational Ted Talks, lazing on the couch, pants-free {this is important}, watching thought-provoking documentaries...just being unapologetically self-indulgent for a little while.

Any other questions you wish someone would ask you?

Q: How do you float into handstand? What helps you stay productive? What was your most profound experience? Where are you from? What is your spirit animal? What would you do if you became a millionaire? 

A: I wish I could tell you. Peppermint oil and Palo Santo. It's a toss up between my first trip out of the country to Indonesia and trying psychedelics. California. A white lion. Rescue lions. 

Read more about Megan + Ohmculture here.

Rose TruesdaleComment