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Ayrlie MacEahern (Posted On: Monday, March 03, 2014)

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For local entrepreneur Ayrlie MacEahern being self employed started early.  She grew up with parents who are both entrepreneurial and self employed. Ayrlie's mom, Ginny MacEachern, has been selling real estate up in this 'neck of the woods' for 38 years. Her dad, Norm MacEachern, runs his business Information Packaging in Toronto and has had a hobby farm near Honeywood for 41 years.

"It is in my blood.", says Ayrlie.  "I think my first dabble at self employment was at the age of 12. I cleaned a few country homes and cut lawns during summer holidays." Ayrlie feels having the best of both worlds - school & after school curriculum in the city and weekends & holidays up north at the farm - gave her such a wide range of opportunities to grow and develop. Her city life and country life were very different. Her roots sunk deep into the rolling hills of Mulmur and in her early thirties decided to move up.  She knew the peace & quiet were a good balance to her 'busy bee' self.

Nine years ago Ayrlie made the move up. Although she felt very connected to the area and her family's farm she says the move felt big. "I was leaving a lot behind and was starting fresh in many ways. I felt a little lost although I knew this is where I wanted to make the next chapter of my life happen." She remembers being grateful for cross country skiing and the gorgeous country side. "When I felt ungrounded with all the changes taking place, I knew to get outside, connect with the beauty of nature and move my body. I remember when my siblings and I were children sometimes we would complain about being bored, my mom's response,  'You have 200 acres to play on, go out side!' "

Move her body is what continues to support Ayrlie's wellbeing. She has brought her love of movement to many of the surrounding communities through a dance practice called Nia. Through offering her classes in Collingwood, Creemore, Shelburne, Clarksburg and Flesherton, she has met so many wonderful people of ages and stages.

Nia is a sensory-based movement practice that leads to health, wellness and fitness. It empowers people of all shapes and sizes by connecting the body, mind, emotions and spirit. Classes are taken barefoot to soul-stirring music in more than 45 countries.  Every experience can be adapted to individual needs and abilities. Step into your own joyful journey with Nia, and positively shape the way you feel, look, think and live.

When Ayrlie lived in Toronto she took a 3 year training program in Expressive Arts Therapy. She uses these skills to host/facilitate seasonal retreats, workshops, women's groups and Big Heart Dance Camp.  She also brings her love of the arts to children by co-running a summer camp based out of Creemore called Imaginarium - Adventures in Art and through the artists in the schools program sponsored by The Dufferin Arts Council. 

Expressive Arts Therapy (EXART) is a unique interdisciplinary approach connecting the arts and psychotherapy. EXART incorporates both verbal and non-verbal communication.  It engages the senses; visual, auditory, and sensorimotor, through breath & body awareness, movement & dance, voice & music, painting & collage, sculpture, drama and creative writing.

"In all societies up to the present, the arts have played an essential role in enabling human beings to make sense of their world, to live with suffering when necessary and to be able to celebrate the joy of life." (Levine, S.)

The arts invite us to explore an inward journey and provide us with tools to create an outward expression of our perceived reality.  Each and every journey of self discovery and healing is unique, therefore the creative modalities one chooses is a reflection of their individuality.  Spontaneity, play, imagination, ritual, containment, and catharsis are essential elements in EXART. Expressive arts therapy opens up a space for each of us to find our own 'voice' & creative self expression.

Clearly Ayrlie is a 'busy bee' with fingers in many pots.  A 'pot' that she has been dipping her creative fingers in for many years is her company Hugs For L.I.F.E.. Ayrlie started this creative endeavor in her early 20's. She and a friend took a simple idea that caught the attention of strangers and made it into a successful little company. In 1998 their company was chosen to be part of a documentary about young entrepreneurs called 'Making It Happen'.

Our HUG scarves are made of arctic fleece and have large stylized hands on each end. They are designed as a simple gift full of meaning. So, when you gift a HUG to someone you care about, each time they put on their scarf it's like you are there giving them a warm fuzzy hug!

Our HUG scarves are an expression of:

- Your love and affection

- The fun of friendship

- Thanks and appreciation

- Congratulations for all occasions

- Your heartfelt sympathy

- Much needed encouragement

- Random acts of kindness, beginning with one's contribution to another.

Any new 'pots' being dipped into these days? Lit up, Ayrlie shares about her current training in Kundalini Yoga.  A 200 hour, level one course being taught by her naturopath, Sat Dharam Kaur in Owen Sound. One more facet to a vibrant and dynamic life! One more modality to share with our community!

To see what Ayrlie is offering locally please visit her website.   


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