I always find it so inspiring to hear about the way that different families create their lives and this is certainly the case with Siri, Gus and Liv Nola. With an emphasis on creating a life that is both creative and considered, this family is certainly a great kiwi family! And I’m loving this great family picture! 

Let’s start with telling us a bit about you – what do you do and what are your interests?

We are relatively young family, adapting our lifestyle to an 11 month old baby. As we are adapting to Liv Nola she is, inevitably, adapting to us.

We laugh a lot. We travel a bit. We do Yoga, daily. We create and perform.

In past year or so Siri has been heavily focused on being a mother. Having a baby has profoundly influenced her and she dedicates her time to raising our baby, as well as actively supporting and helping other young mums in NZ and Norway. She is an actress, a dancer, and a clown. She also does body work: massage, aromatherapy and reiki and has just completed Hypno-birthing training. Check her website: The Body Tree. She is involved with “The White Wall” an improvised-movement troupe and will be joining the team of Clown Doctors at Starship Hospital, as soon as Liv Nola is grown up a little more.

Gus is an arts practitioner at Printable Reality: writer, poet, performer, educator, creative entrepreneur, producer, event organiser, promoter. His passion is to establish poetry/spoken word as a vibrant and popular art form in New Zealand through education and performance. Through community organisation “Splice”, Gus is involved in number of  initiatives – helping bring people and communities together and encouraging use of art in addressing some of the most important issues in our society.

And, we both love, practice and teach Yoga.

Apart from creative and body work, our main interest is sustainable  living and community building. We recently got involved with another lovely initiative through Child Connection Trust in introducing, promoting  and educating children to massage children. We actively look at every possible way of how to improve our, and others, living conditions without harming the mother earth and other living beings.

Tell us a bit about what makes your family great

We think all families are great! What works for us might not work for others.  We are fortunate to have a mum who is very well educated and dedicated to healthy living, so we really only have to follow her guidance. The way(s) she has chosen to carry her pregnancy, birth and our baby’s upbringing, has made our family journey most delightful. For example: Liv Nola has been using a potty (elimination communication) from her day 6, and she started eating solid food when she was 6 months old (baby-led weaning) – completely on her own, eating the same food we eat – without us having to feed her ever.

Our relationship also rests on a maximum understanding and support for each other’s choices and personal freedom.  And, most importantly… we are minimalists, we live a very simple life. With a focus on the life experiences, not on material possession. We have made a conscious effort to not fall into a trap of 9 to 5 jobs and having huge-mortgage-life-style. We don’t accumulate, spend or waste; we save, grow and up-cycle. Our time and freedom is much more valued than any belongings. We don’t have a TV and are, as much as possible, far removed from any source of mainstream consumer-society propaganda. Extended family and the community are very important elements of our life and we are blessed  to have family and friends in all four corners of the world. The transferable nature of our work enables us to live and work in different places and enjoy a lot of time spent together, as well as allowing time and space for being apart, when we want to.

What your family’s favourite thing to do? 

Clown Olympics. When we are out in the nature, beach or in the swimming pool we invent silly games, play and “compete”. It’s fascinating that we have been playing this “game” for a quite a long time now, four years, and we always come up with new and new clown disciplines.

We are addicted to spending time outdoors; and also, we take every opportunity to attend arts, performance and community events.

Our feature at the moment is ‘creative families’ – what creative things does your family love doing?

Absolutely everything we do feels as if its a part of “the creative process”. From making food – we don’t use recipes, so meals are always a surprise; to planning our week, month, year … and trying to fit and juggle all our interests and commitments. Gus writes, performs and continuously organises performance events, arts projects, comp­etitions, runs creative workshops. His new book of poetry “Allowed and Aloud” is coming out in June. Siri composes, plays, sings and dances.

Before Liv Nola was born, we created number of stage performances and toured our shows extensively. Most recently we engaged in a collaboration project called “Isotopes” – a performance troupe morphing together music, movement, visuals and spoken word. “Isotopes” are set to take audiences on a zen-like journey into the meta-universe where air is filled with a virtuoso magic of Zane’s middle-eastern sounds – forming a soundscape that gives space for the velvety words of poetry by Gus, to linger … while Siri´s song and kinetic-sculpture brings you to the pure presence – letting the ambience change the movement, change the feeling of the words, the sounds … the world.

Our little one, Liv Nola, is an active part of the troupe and appears in all shows.

What advice would you give anyone who wants to start making their family like a bit more creative?

Put aside a lot of time for playing with different concepts, and allow for them to develop in unexpected directions. Chose an art discipline that is familiar to you and, at the same time, take a genuine interest in forms of expression that are totally unknown to you – the right mix of the two, will do its magic and provide inspiration. Do Yoga every day, and: observe, observe, observe.

This year is election year – what changes could the government make that would make a difference to your family?

Statistics about the state in which some of NZ kids are growing up are very disturbing. The issues arise from the very core of how our society is organised and a growing gap between rich and poor. I would like to see  government that is really dedicated to our children, and – all of them.

The government that will think and act beyond next-election-”vision”. Simply, right? Simply: stop being an instrument of corporations / profit-making establishment and mentality, and pay more attention to real peoples needs, families … the community.

Anything else you want to tell us?

For the next spring/summer ( and beyond), as Liv Nola grows up, we are looking at expanding on some of the lifestyle practices and further exploring various sustainable living ideas. We just bought a gorgeous little camper-van off a friend and planing a big outdoor adventure: traveling around NZ, biking, performing, running workshops, promoting Gus’s new book, selling home made pies at markets and festivals, planting gardens at numerous places, connecting with different communities, wwoofing, foraging …

We are considering starting up a blog that would spotlight some of the stories and encounters along our way, in aim to be at the forefront of the global movement and continuously contribute to the principals of consciousness, mindful living and building a strong network of likeminded people.

And … anybody interested in Clown Olympics, get in touch.

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Rochelle is mum to three gorgeous daughters. She wishes she had more time to garden and read the newspaper in peace!

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