In 2012, I journeyed to South Africa in search of interconnectedness. While there, I met an artist from Johannesburg who lives in a glass house. An anomaly in a city where every home is protected by high spiked iron gates and barbed wire. This woman's art was not a reflection of the violence in her world, but a celebration of the beauty and humanity which exists alongside the fear.
On this same trip, I drove alone along the tip of someone else's continent, irrevocably altered by the juxtaposition of human poverty and stunning natural beauty of places I never knew existed. I witnessed extraordinary kindness and aligned so deeply with the yellow sun that I lost my sense of belonging to anyone and any place, as I focused on what connects us rather than what separates.
This changed the stories I'd come to believe about myself, others, and the world we share.
A few years later, as a recipient of a university teaching award, I was asked to give a commencement speech. My manifesto was an invitation to create from a space of abundance... as I read these words, I recognized a gap between where I was and my own call to action. Once you know something, you cannot un-know it without a violence to your spirit that is eventually more corrosive than the fear that tempts you to forget. So, I left my job and created this company.
It's called A Hundred Ways North because life is not a direct route. What is north for one person may be south for another. To live your true north requires the courage of willingness to be more fascinated by your desires than your fears.
There's one more crucial element of the story... Brian Andreas. And a dinner in Indiana on April Fool's Day in 2015... One evening triggered a series of decisions... Within 6 months, we published Creative Anarchy; took a 6949 mile road trip through 14 states in 72 days in the middle of winter; and began a collaboration that will take a lifetime to fully explore.
A Hundred Ways North uses our unique process of align/partner/create to craft guided workshops and coaching sessions where you can:
- access your whole body/whole voice
- experience the difference between habit and choice
- coordinate your body with your intent
- consciously create a third space, in which the space between defines relationships and determines action
- choose the story you tell
Fia Skye - founder & teaching artist
Most people know me by Wendy Saver/Mortimer...
In 2016, to align with all the other big life choices I made, I legally changed my name to Fia Skye. It's not a mid-life crisis. It's clarity. A stepping in... (Having been through all the paperwork of a name change twice already, I can tell you this was not a light decision).
As 'Wendy,' I balanced a life in theatre & academia for almost 20 years. I am a member of Actor's Equity Association, VASTA, and P3/east. My MFA is in acting from the University of Washington's Professional Actor Training Program. I was a barista & baker at the Honeybear Bakery in Seattle & then a chef at a small catering company in NYC. I've been on theatre faculties of Marymount Manhattan, UConn, Wesleyan University & Ball State (where I was tenured); published articles on cross-culture storytelling, beginner's mind, and balancing analytical with with kinesthetic learning principles; traveled three times to teach & direct in the Gauteng Province in South Africa; worked in regional theatres across the country; been happily married & divorced.
Everything I was teaching young artists: to find their light, how to partner, how to take and give space, how to speak with clarity and conviction, how to believably compel an audience of strangers, and how to align so deeply with another's set of life circumstances that you willingly widen your own opinions and feelings in service of making space for someone else's story... is wildly useful in every day living...
I've come to believe that with each decision you make, you choose your life. So... I took a hard look at each aspect of my life, took full responsibility for my own joy, and remembered I only go around once in this body and form so if not now... when? So here I am... choosing a new path in life where nothing is at half.
I've been fortunate to work with extraordinary teachers along the way... influences of my process and way of working include: Cathy Madden (with whom I currently am a teacher trainee of the Alexander Technique); Robyn Hunt & Steve Pearson; Patsy Rodenburg;. Sources of deep inspiration include F. M. Alexander, Christopher Alexander, Yoshi Oida, Natalie Goldberg, Susan Griffin...
Brian Andreas - teaching artist
A lot of people know me as the writer & artist behind StoryPeople.
Thousands of stories & prints created over the years along with 13 books published at StoryPeople Press. (Two of them were nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry which was kind of a fun side benefit.) It has been quite a ride.
There’ve also been other books along the way, like my collaboration with photographer Lorne Resnick, “Cuba: This moment, Exactly So”. (This one turned out to be the winner of three independent book awards. See what happens when you just keep writing & making art?)
& now, there’s this whole new adventure of A Hundred Ways North. To those of you who know me, it’s actually not much of a leap to see how I’m moving into the creativity & life workshops that I’m doing with Fia. Or to see how my writing is changing. All of it has a simplicity & clarity that’s informed by loving the world (which is something that seems to come with the territory of how I see things).
Born in Iowa, raised in Chicago, I went to Luther College for my BA in Theater and English. Later on, after I figured out what I really wanted to do (HA!) I got my MFA in Fiber and Mixed Media from John F. Kennedy University in the Bay Area of California. Fiber? you say. I thought you told stories. Well, if you must know, I’d answer, my degree is in Stories As The Fiber of Human Community. (Notice how that’s all in caps because Stories are a Very Important Thing in my world.)
That said, my real education came from being in the world: short order cooking at Denny’s, apprenticing with a French chef in Chicago, running operations at a high-fashion mannequin factory in L.A., doing contract archaeology in the summer heat, dabbling as a tennis pro after college, writing plays for a small theatre company in Minnesota. I speak six languages, with my favorites being the Romance languages (not surprisingly) & that gave me an excuse to travel all over the world, so I could…umm…practice. Yeah. That’s it.
A Belgian Tervuren with the alias of Mooseboy, the Windherder. In defiance of his breed, he is a healthy 67 lbs. and regularly enjoys stomping about in fresh water streams. He is our guide & reminder of what it is to be entirely & perfectly present.