Shauna Ahern throws her head back, laughing, the picture of joy.

Hi there!

My name’s Shauna. Lovely to meet you. 

Are you new around here? Let me introduce myself. 

I’m a storyteller, an editor, and a doula for other people’s stories.

I’ve written you a letter. 

Dear incredible women who are exhausted, 

I created this work, and this site, for you. 

You see, I was once where you are — constantly overwhelmed, exhausted, and anxious. 

For decades, I seemed highly capable and successful. I was a high-school English teacher, an editor, a writing instructor, and then the author of a food blog and three award-winning cookbooks, with my husband. We have two wonderful kids we adore. To anyone looking at the surface of my success, I seemed to have it all. 

Inside, I was anxious and doubting myself. I ran non-stop, trying to please and do more. And more, with less sleep every year. No time to exercise. I certainly didn’t take an hour off to do what brought me joy. I worked and worked harder. 

Seven years ago, I suffered a mini-stroke. It terrified me. As I healed, I realized this was my chance to wake up. On my doctor’s order, I began to name what brought me unnecessary stress, then let go of it. 

When I began to understand the volume of neurological stress stored in my body from a deeply difficult childhood, I began to heal.

When I realized how much energy I had put into shoving my round shape into a tiny square peg, I started getting curious about my story. 

That’s why I  wrote my memoir, ENOUGH: Notes from a Woman Who has Finally Found It, in which I wrote an essay about everything in my life that had made me feel like I wasn’t good enough.

Writing that book and publishing it for other women to read transformed my life. 

That process set me free. 

The pandemic, combined with social and political upheaval, made it clear to me: joy had to be the first priority for my family. 

That changed my life again. 

I’ve been practicing meditation and mindfulness for more than 20 years, even in the darkest times. I have a lot of hard-won wisdom to share with you. 

And I’m not afraid to be silly. Play is the deepest form of learning. 

Look, I know this feels like a rotten time in the world, in many ways. But I still have hope. I know that communities of like-minded and joyful women create community, almost immediately. We talk, we share our stories, and we get shit done.

Then, we create solutions together. 

We are the way forward. 

I’d like to guide you to more ease and joy. 

See you at Camp Curiosity

In joy, 

Shauna

P.S. I’d like to share some of my joys with you. 

The physical delight of the first bite of dark chocolate. The sound of someone playing the guitar like an attack as she sings her story to the world. The sight of a baby finding their toes for the first time and giggling as they sway back and forth on their backs. The smell of fresh ginger just after it’s peeled. The feeling of my husband’s heart beating beneath my ears as we lay in bed together, still.

Neuroscience, and in particular the discoveries of different parts of the brain that are built for joy, fear, and making habits. The existence of neuroplasticity, the neural reward pathway in our brains, the frequency illusion, and knowing that the neurons that fire together wire together eventually.

Also? Ted Lasso, bell hooks, and Captain Marvel. Telling stories about my kids as they grow. Poems by Mary Oliver and Maggie Smith. Playlists of songs by the Beatles, the Linda Linda Lindas, Fleetwood Mac, Kendrick Lamar, and Joni Mitchell. The power and confusions of the ADHD mind in particular and neurodiversity in general. Doing everything in my power to ensure that every person I meet feels included and welcomed. Everyone. The authors who write the moving stories about the hard parts and the joys of being human. Feeding people butternut squash soup with a walnut gremolata topping, a radicchio salad with pickled red onions and feta, and a gluten-free huckleberry pie.

Or, a shared bag of Cheetos and a Dr. Pepper. Food is a wonderful way to connect us. It’s the connection with the people sitting at my table that matters, not the dishes on the table. 

Laughing. Dancing. Connecting with other humans.

Being alive.

If you’d like to learn more about my work, visit my Linkedin profile, my Instagram feed, or my subscription newsletter, Getting Curious About My Story.

Or, keep it simple. Email me. 

shauna@getcuriousaboutyourstory.com

 

Want to join my mailing list to receive stories from me every week? Subscribe today and I’ll send you a gift. 

 

Finally, remember this.

Your story matters.

We need to hear it.

Your joy matters too.

 

JOY!

Shauna