Can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Sonja, I´m 35 years old and I live in Aachen. I used to be a yoga entrepreneur, I had my own little yoga studio and taught yoga, pilates and fitness classes. But coming from dance and always being interested in arts and broadening the mind´s perspective, I felt that something was missing. I found my way to approach life in a physical way through yoga, but I was looking for something more intellectual as well to find energy and inspiration resources. For 10 years I have also been working in a small publishing house called [SIC] Literaturverlag that works in a very small and idealistic niche of the literature market. It´s never about profits but always about the content, the design, the creation of something with substance. I decided to study sociology and economics to find my own lens through which I view the world, and enjoyed it a lot! I found more and more that using the mind and our awareness in an expansive way, through an artistic and reflecting take on the world for example, it can really be a source of energy that gets you through the challenge of living in the world as it is. So I am trying to find my own personal approach of looking at the world, being an observer, writing about it in my blog freiwillig denken and creating a strategy to incorporate art and creativity as a way of life and looking at things in everyday ‘normal’ situations.
What would you consider your distinctive achievement?
For myself, pretty much over the 10 years I’ve been working, I became aware of how important the balance between the content of your work, what you want to do and the structure you live in, really is. I am now able to consciously structure my days and my life as far as I can plan it. Off course you can’t never plan, but it´s always important to not neglect the structure that you live in, in favour of what you want to do. This can lead you into the wrong direction and make you very unhappy with what you are doing. I personally aim at finding a construction for myself that combines my needs, both structural and content wise.
What are the qualities needed to be able to achieve this balance?
Being a yoga teacher is an amazingly beautiful job, but it didn’t fulfil me because I was alone a lot and always working by myself. I became aware that I wanted to connect more with people and actually work in a team. Thus I think the awareness of what you need and what brings out your full potential is important to understand and create this balance.
What are you looking forward to?
I am looking forward to finding a work structure that meets these criteria. It´s been a work in progress for many years. I found a lot of content that I´d love to work with. And I found out which structures I’m happy with and I am really looking forward to building and developing these structures now and fill in the content. It’s at the horizon.
Which advice would you give to the other professional?
I am repeating myself over and over again, but being a sociologist as well, I always look for social structures, and it has been always in my nature. I´d say, be an expert in what you do, become a pro in whatever you´re good at and love to do. Follow your passion, whatever it may be, dance, drawings, writing or music, but never neglect the needs that you have as a human being, apart from your profession.
Do you need to be surrounded by people? do you need external structures in your daily life or are you happy without them, creating them yourself internally? Do not only focus on your crafts. Getting to know yourself and finding the balance between lifestyle and content is key.
You need a lot of dedication and strength to become a successful artist or any professional. And you need to be aware of what your resources are. Those resources are always embedded in and influenced by the structures.
What are the challenges that we need to overcome to make ‘cultural entrepreneurship’ more accessible?
The challenge is to minimize the boundaries between society and art. To make art a part of our daily life, like the unexpected encounter with the street art in your city that just instantly surprises and inspires you to look at a routine differently.
There is no separation between ‘this is your life’ and ‘that is art’, art is a form of awareness and a way to look at things, and we need to honour, communicate and integrate that interconnection much more.