Hi! My name is Stacie Tappen and this is the story of how Wild + Free Collective came to be...
My journey started on a farm in the northern woods of Alberta, Canada. A band of trees huddled around our little farm house, what my sister and I would like to call ‘the forest’. This ‘forest’ was more like a small bundle of trees a km long, but to us at the time, it was so much more than that, it felt like our whole world. With the great outdoors right at our door step and a barnyard full of animals, there was lots to see and do, with never a dull moment to be found. Like all farm life, there was always a long list of chores, there were only things that must be done now and things that could be done later. On the days we needed a break from the daily grind, we’d get up before sunrise, pack a lunch, fold a change of clothes into a brown paper bag and tip toe our way to the back window to sneak out. Once our feet hit the ground, we’d high tail it to the trees to run wild for the day. We spent a lot of time in those woods. Rain or shine, that’s where you would find us. It was a life full of imagination, fun and adventure.
A few years later, we ended up moving from the farm and into town. At first, I was resistant to this change, it felt like I’d been plucked from my farm girl life and dropped into a whole new existence. It was all for the best, but I had a hard time accepting that some things just weren’t meant to last forever. By moving into this new chapter, I was becoming more aware of a world I wasn’t sure I liked. Seeing the way people, animals, and nature were being treated bothered me, it made my heart ache and I felt alone in my pain. No one understood me and I didn’t understand myself, so I became an angry kid, rebelling against all types of authority which got me in a lot of trouble. In nature, is where I’d go to find my respite, my peace. I would sit amongst the trees and as I took it all in, a desire would come over me to one day make some kind of positive impact on the world. I just had no idea how.
As the years went on, the challenges and painful experiences became more relentless and I hit burnout. On a physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual level I was exhausted. There were patterns in my life that were causing stress and anxiety and it all had taken its toll. When I’d look in the mirror, I didn’t recognize the person looking back at me, even my smile had changed. I’d often think about making a difference in the world one day, but my own life was in such disarray it was hard to clearly see how I could be part of the change the world needed. Still, the longing to remained the same.
One day, out shopping and on a whim, I purchased a 10 min yoga DVD. The words “healing for the body + mind” stuck out to me, so, I thought, “why not? What did I have to lose?” I took the DVD home and committed to giving it a try. I was completely unaware at the time that this single purchase would have such an incredible impact on my life.
At first the changes were subtle, my body felt lighter, there were more quiet pauses between the thoughts in my mind, and my energy was coming back in spurts. In certain social situations where I would normally feel uncomfortable or get anxiety, I’d feel calm and contentment instead. I was also becoming more aware of the thought patterns that weren’t serving me and were holding me back in life. I wanted to creatively express myself, but there was this thought pattern that would trigger a strong emotional response in my body and it had the power to shut my voice down. It happened often, and in some ways, I felt powerless to it. Even though it was so overwhelming, I was determined to figure it out.
How It Started
My determination eventually led me to sign up for a yoga teacher training in Kelowna. Throughout the training I learned how to break through the limiting patterns that were holding me back. I was shown to look at the limiting thought patterns through a lens of compassion, non-judgement and acceptance and to listen to the messages my body was sending me. This is how I began to shift it. I remember a moment when one of the students was holding space for me while I shared my story. As I spoke, I looked down, my shoulders were slumped and my eyes were full of tears. It was hard to share a piece of my past, I had been through a lot of heart ache and felt like I wasn’t the perfect person I should have been, I thought she would judge me for it. I finished my story and as I slowly lifted my gaze, our eyes met and to my surprise, all she reflected back to me was love and compassion. She wasn’t judging me at all, she was accepting me as I was. In that one moment, I released a lot of pain I’d been carrying for a long time.
From that moment forward, I vowed to practice a heart centered way of living and to give that same kind of acceptance to whoever I encountered on my path. I graduated with 200 hrs in intensive yogic studies and 100 hrs in holistic health studies in eastern and western nutrition, modern health counseling and intuitive practice. And with that, a pathway to making a positive impact on the world opened up, and I went on to share what I had learned with my friends, family and community.
Since then, I’ve spent years furthering my studies – an advanced 300hr yoga teacher training in Bali with Julia McCabe where I learned how to access my inner fire + found confidence in my voice and creative self expression, an advanced yoga nidra + limiting beliefs training, and numerous other trainings + teachings. As more pathways opened, I travelled and experienced many different cultures which only fired up my desire to one day be part of the change the world needed. I could still see that we were still living in a world that felt so divided. Every time I’d find myself in nature, that longing to make more of impact only got stronger.
Through all these experiences, what I started to notice is that there was a self-alignment process going on – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. That when alignment happened in one or all of these areas of wellness, the limiting patterns would loosen their grip and a pathway to living a life that felt more authentic, creatively freeing and on purpose would open up. Taking the step forward on these paths still required bravery but now I had a rock solid support system backing me up and that made all the difference. I noticed that when you align to your true authenticity, then the ideas, people, and pathways that are aligned to you will start to show up too.
One day I took a pathway that led me to a yoga + surfing retreat in Nicaragua. I was there on a solo trip, to team up with new friends for some fun + adventure and to take part in a conservation project to build a turtle sanctuary and clean up garbage on the beaches. The work was hard, but very rewarding. One afternoon, after dropping our shovels for the day, I wandered down to the ocean and found a spot on the beach to watch the sun set. As I sat, I thought about the work we were doing, how we were giving back to nature and it made my heart beam with joy. The fulfillment I felt was the same fulfillment I could see in everyone’s eyes. We were creating connection by giving back. And in that moment, I just knew. I knew this kind of work would be part of my journey in the future. I didn’t quite know how, but I trusted that if I kept up with my self alignment that one day the pathway would open up and I would choose to take it.
Well, that day is now...
My self-alignment has brought me to another path, where I am choosing to shift my business to one that is more heart driven and to make the kind of difference I want to see in the world. I’ve created a new program called ALIGN, a 3-month holistic wellness program that’s designed to free you up! In this program we will explore the thoughts, behaviors and habits that aren’t serving your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. Together we will shift these patterns using powerful tools + supportive practices so you can align to your true self, unique contribution and start living the life you came here to live.
Wild + Free Collective will also be offering well-crafted Yoga + Adventure Retreats with the intention to heal the divide in our world by bringing people together for true connection, soul exploration, adventure + fun! Wherever we travel to, whether we are playing in the forest, swimming in the ocean, or soaking up the sun, the mission is to leave that place a little better than how we found it. This may mean by actively taking part in some of the humanitarian/conservation projects in that area or by sharing part of the proceeds of the retreat with a local project that’s focused on making a positive impact in their community. My plan is to share stories of the people, land, communities and to bring more awareness to the initiatives in that area that are focused on creating a better world. I believe a story heard with compassion builds a bridge rather than a divide and can lead to deeper connection.
I know our world seems like it’s in shambles right now. One day soon it will be time for us to rebuild and maybe what we need now, more than ever, is a world reimagined. To truly know as individuals and as a collective that we have the power to do that. That we don’t have to let the hardships of our past define the possibilities of our future. Whatever comes to be, I hope we can recreate it all with love + compassion and by aligning to and expressing our true authenticity. So instead of living in a world that feels so divided, we can live in one where we can all run wild + free in together.