We were lucky to catch up with Kristen Rud recently and have shared our conversation below.
Kristen, appreciate you joining us today. Naming anything – including a business – is so hard. Right? What’s the story behind how you came up with the name of your brand?
I get asked this question a lot! I named this journey “The Mermaid Movement” back in 2016. I was 23 years old with bright red hair, and a lot of people assumed I just loved The Little Mermaid! While I am a big Disney fan, this does not have much to do with the Mermaid Movement.
I think of a Mermaid as a woman with depth. She is a woman who isn’t afraid to dive into the depths of the darkness to claim whatever it is she is searching for- her purpose, desires, passions, love, etc. She is adaptable, resilient and leads with strength. The symbolism of the mermaid represents this archetype that lives within all of us.
‘Movement’ is a play on words. ‘The Mermaid Movement’ is a social movement towards women’s empowerment and leadership, AND ‘Mermaid Movement’ is also the name of our signature dance medicine program. Movement of the body is definitely a huge piece of what built the whole movement. ;)
Since I’ve added birthwork into my wheelhouse, I have loved seeing how this theme grows with me. Depth, resilience, adaptability, strength, and movement are all components of the maiden to mother experience, too.
Kristen, before we move on to more of these sorts of questions, can you take some time to bring our readers up to speed on you and what you do?
I’m Kristen Rud, mostly known as ‘Mama of the Mermaid Movement.’ My experience in serving others began with a college major in early intervention and childhood education. I worked with children in preschool settings and special education classrooms as a teenager and young adult, which I feel tapped me into intuitive abilities and non-verbal communication via connection.
My work now revolves around the women of my community. We offer resources and support in unique and creative ways, with a focus on self & community care. My most inclusive offering is the yearly Mermaid Movement Leadership Academy. The intention is to take women on a journey of re-membering ancient wisdom, unlearning societal limitations, and co-creating the next wave of feminine leadership. The journey moves through six phases of 22 online workshops- covering themes in Wise Woman care and women’s wellness, Yogic philosophy, esoterics, personal inquiry, business & branding and more. We finish out the Academy with a 5 day integration retreat in Southern California.
Currently, we are preparing for our biggest annual event- Spiritual Summer Camp. This uniquely designed experience facilitates deeper connections- with self, with nature, and with community. We have nearly 50 women gathering in the mountains of San Diego this summer solstice to be a part of this year’s camp festivities!
Outside of Leadership Academy and Summer Camp, my passions lie in the birth world. The most sacred transitional rite of passage a woman may experience is pregnancy and childbirth. Our country has some of the most devastating infant and maternal mortality rates for developed countries. I am currently studying wise woman practices and traditional home birth midwifery to broaden my services available to women – creating more opportunities for women to have informed consent and intuition back at the forefront of their birth experiences.
Have you ever had to pivot?
I think a fair share of us felt the need to pivot once or twice over the last couple of years, ha! Before all of the big 2020 changes, we experienced a big shift that really set us up for success when the world shifted.
In 2017 and 2018, we were mostly an event based movement. We had a yoga loft on five acres of land where we hosted our classes, workshops and retreats. In February of 2019, a storm hit that damaged a lot of our land and eventually led to us having to shift our vision. We remodeled and moved into a bus by April of 2019, and the Mermaid Movement went mobile. It was a really challenging time for me. I was grieving the land and the vision we had worked so hard for, but was so excited about the opportunity to travel and spread our message. We spent the summer of 2019 traveling up the coast of California, spent some time with friends and fellow yogis in Reno, and then made our way back home to the Temecula area.
The following three years up until this point has been pivot after pivot, honestly. It’s been a beautiful journey that has landed us right here in the now.
Let’s talk about resilience next – do you have a story you can share with us?
One recent story sticks out! I was hosting a certification retreat for my Leadership Academy. It was the first day, and the attending women flew in from different states. We settled in at the retreat with dinner and a yoga session, and started to prepare for bed. I got a text that a mother was in labor, and the midwife was heading to be with her. I quickly said goodnight to my retreat guests, and made my way down the mountain and across the valley. When I arrived, the midwife was sitting with the family of the birthing mother, patiently waiting and supporting everyone through the process. We were at their home into the wee hours of the morning before the mother felt a natural urge to push, and work with her baby to bring her earthside.
While she was pushing, I got another text! It was another mama, preparing to meet her baby. This mama said she was having contractions that she couldn’t sleep through, and she thought today was the day to meet her baby. I nervously smiled at all of the excitement happening in one night, and crossed my fingers that timing would all work out! Within a few minutes, the mother we were with delivered her baby and the ‘birth bliss’ filled the room. A couple minutes later, another text from the second mama came in… “My water broke,” she said.
I said a prayer of gratitude that time was on my side, and made my way to the next home. I was not there for more than two hours before another baby made their way earthside, and into their mother’s arms! We celebrated, settled mom and baby in, and as the sun rose I drove back across the valley and up the mountain. I made it back in time to teach and create with the women on retreat, with a little bit of delirium and a whole lot of home birth bliss!
- Website: https://www.mermaidmovement.online/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mamamermaid.movement/
Tia Esther Creative