Balanced Woman: An Interview with Olympian Surfer Brisa HennessyMar 27, 2023
Patient. Beautiful. Tenacious. Powerful.
Brisa Hennessy possesses all of these qualities and so much more. As an Olympic surfer she is a fierce and awe-inspiring competitor and as a woman she is humble, warm, quiet, and perpetually adorned with a welcoming, contagious smile.
I spoke with Brisa recently and asked her how she so dexterously navigates the line between these yin and yang qualities and what advice an athlete of her caliber could offer women in regards to cultivating true balance. She generously illuminated how she fuels her body, mind, and spirit with nourishing foods, practices, and people so that she feels centered, cared for, and whole at every turn.
Over the years I've worked with lawyers, doctors, mothers, entrepreneurs, homemakers, photographers, athletes, researchers, teachers, and more. What do all of these women have in common? They all tend to have moments of feeling isolated and misunderstood on their healing journey.
Brisa is no exception. When we first met she was struggling with hormonal imbalances that left her frustrated, confused, and at times incredibly alone. She was gracious enough to sit down with me and answer a few questions about her own healing journey with the intention of offering support, guidance, and hope for other women who have encountered similar challenges.
H: What have been some of your greatest challenges throughout your personal healing journey?
B: I think the greatest challenges have been feeling like I am in a fight with my body and the big feeling of uncertainty. Healing isn’t always linear and there were times when I felt very isolated, feeling everything was out of my control and feeling misunderstood.
H: How did you overcome these obstacles?
B: I still fight these obstacles in some way but listening/trusting my body again, tuning into her wisdom, fueling with the right foods, implementing more self care and love and embracing the divine timing of healing. Also surrounding yourself with the right support crew is everything. I can’t emphasize enough what Hana has done for me to make me feel seen, understood, and given me the tools and love so that my body feels safe enough so that it can heal itself.
H: As a woman who travels the world nonstop, what are your key self-care practices that help you maintain physical, emotional, and mental balance?
B: Self care has given a whole new meaning when I began my healing journey especially in this fast paced world and my fast paced life. For me it's all about finding the quiet, safe, and peaceful space where I can drown out the noise and turn more inward. Going on nature walks, doing breathwork/meditation, poetry and cooking is a huge part of my self care routine.
H: What healing foods are you cooking these days? Any favorite ingredients or recipes you’re in love with?
B: I have been in cold places recently so I've been loving making homemade broths/soups like Veggie Pho, potato leek and coconut curry. My favorite ingredient recently have been Kaffir lime leaves, they truly elevate any dish!
*Note, if you want my recipe for Asian Noodle Soup stay tuned and I'll post it in this week's Holistic Wisdom Newsletter!
H: Who is the most influential and inspiring woman in your life?
B: My two grandmas. They have taught me to be unapologetically myself but that vulnerability and compassion is the biggest strength. How the greatest superpower is making the other person feel special and seen. That we only have “this moment” and as my Grandma T would say “Breathe in the mountain and Breathe out flowers.”
H: What advice would you give younger women for cultivating a healthy dynamic between being kind, open-hearted, and compassionate yet fierce, competitive, and determined?
B: To be honest I'm still trying to find that balance but one thing that has truly helped me is constantly checking in on your “why”. What sets your heart and soul on fire and what brings out the best in you? When I find my why and passion then do I really find a new sense of self and embracing all those things.
H: And finally, what makes you feel like the most beautiful, centered, and joyful version of yourself?
B: When I am on a wave - It's the perfect balance of letting you be the artist but humbling you with the present moment.
The takeaway? Be kind to yourself, be patient, listen to your elders, surround yourself with loving people, and live passionately.
Want to learn more about Brisa?
Follow her on IG: @brisahennessy
Click HERE to check out her Youtube channel for her delicious plant based recipes!
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