In Conversation With Breen Splitt
Have you ever connected with someone that is such a breath of fresh air and that renews inspiration into areas of your life that have been gathering dust? That is what Breen is for me. We connected over a cup of coffee and talked and talked and talked for hours, like we were soul sisters just not discovering our level of connection. Breen is feminine, talented, creative, kind, thoughtful and a gem of a human.
I had this thought that the world needs to pull up a chair at our table and join our conversation, because Breen has so much to say and every sentence is layered with meaning and depth. She is not the kind of person you small talk in line at the grocery store. She’s the one you call up late at night to talk about the universe, and culture, and music, and food and the meaning of it all.
So grab a cup of coffee, pull up that chair and meet Breen.
Name: Breen Splitt (follow her on Instagram here)
Passions: Food and Wellness, Communication and Emotional Intelligence, Music, Mindfulness and Intentional Living
When was the first time you realized that you felt different than the people around you?
I remember feeling different for as long as I can remember. I dressed differently, thought differently, reacted differently than most people around me. I felt as though I was always observing what was going on around me, and I noticed so many things that no one else noticed. When I went on to study philosophy in university, it further allowed me to diversify my thinking, hone my mindfulness, and continue asking the complex existential questions. I always distinctly remember asking as many questions as I could when I was little, and that way of being has followed me into adulthood.
What does mindfulness + intentional living mean to you?
Mindfulness and intentional living is all about asking questions, and adopting the belief that there are always more answers than we thought possible. It is about caring deeply for the world around us, as well as the universe inside of your own mind. It is about staying tuned in to those around us: their struggles, emotions, circumstances, body language, habits and patterns. It is about watching yourself objectively and understanding the good parts, recognizing and addressing the tough parts, and living intentionally in order to become the best version of yourself. It is equally about living in intentional ways to also benefit the world and those around you, so that you act in meaningful ways wherever you may go.
How does cooking influence/impact your lifestyle? Tell me more about your love for it, where it began, and about your relationship with food in terms of sourcing quality produce, etc.
When I was in high school, my father, who had done much of the cooking growing up, left and never came back. From that point, I began experimenting with cooking, and with each meal I made I focused on self-teaching. I loved the independence and control of cooking - I felt so fulfilled after cooking a good meal. We had a beautiful garden in the backyard, and I made use of the fresh vegetables and planned meals around what had grown large enough to pluck for dinner that day. I also come from a long line of fantastic female cooks on my mother's side, so part of me believes that it's engrained into my DNA. I got older, and eventually passed the dark food days of early university, I began following a mainly plant-based diet. The atrocities of the factory farming industry made me question many things, including where all of my food was coming from and what was in it. Being lucky enough to have access to wonderful food resources in this area, I began visiting farmers markets, talking to the farmers, and paying close attention to...well, everything. The past few years have really been about coming back to both myself and food in this way. I focus heavily now on sourcing and sustainability, while making creative plant-based food that is packed with layers of flavour using a variety of herbs and spices. Cooking has been such a wonderful creative outlet for me, and has given me the ability to have confidence in my abilities.
How has the way you grew up/your circumstances affected your choice of lifestyle today?
Having a parent absent during my upbringing allowed me to become totally independent at a much earlier age than a lot of other people. Similarly, when I was in high school, I had numerous friends die by suicide, which I feel significantly influenced the development of my emotional intelligence. I experienced a lot of things at an early age that many people do not experience until they are older, if at all. This also meant that the only money that I had was my own, so I began to care heavily about where I was putting my money. I began to view my money as an ability to "vote". Every day, I could make choices about what I was bringing into my life, and what their origins were. Being conscious about my money made me also be conscious about what exactly I was buying, and why I was buying it.
What is an area of your life that you constantly need to revisit and revise in order to achieve the lifestyle your desire?
Financial freedom is something I seem to be revisiting in my adult life. Since I support myself fully and do not receive support from my parents, putting myself through school and living in such an expensive city has not been easy. For me, the concept of monetizing my strengths and passions is something I have been sitting with a lot lately. I continue coming back to the question of how I can make the money I need to comfortably sustain the life I desire, while also being able to pursuing something that sets my soul on fire.
What limiting belief about yourself have you been able to overcome in order to have the life you want?
A limiting belief that I've had about myself has been surrounding the idea of overcoming the circumstances you have been put in. I have always been confident in my ability to critically think, be creative, and manifest the things I want in life with hard work. However, I often revisit the fear of amounting to nothing due to the circumstance I am in. I fear that no matter how fantastic my ideas are, if I do not have the financial freedom to manifest those ideas, then they cannot come to life. I am still working on overcoming this fear, but it is exactly that - a fear, not a reality.
What is a book/podcast/article you've read or listened to that has changed the way you look at the world or at yourself?
I recently read Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. It was by far the most life changing book I have ever read. It focuses on Indigenous knowledge of the earth and plants, and how to peacefully and respectfully coexist with the world around us. I personally wish that I had of read it when I was even younger, because it has given me so much knowledge.
Who are some people that have greatly influenced the way you live your life today?
My mother has taught me so much about resilience, and how to care deeply about things, no matter what the outcome may be. She has taught me about self-confidence, honing my strengths, and trusting my gut. My partner Oli has completely changed my life. I am so proud of the life we have created together, and the mindfulness we exercise within our relationship. The relationship I have with Oli has taught me so much about teamwork, trust, compromise, objectivity, true love, and hard work. He gives me confidence, makes me feel heard, and he understands every ounce of my soul. The life I lead today would not be the same if I had not met Oli, and I truly believe that my personal choices are able to flourish and blossom because of the deep love that Oli shows me on a daily basis.
What does purpose mean to you?
I think that if we were taught as children to believe in our own unique ability to help those around us, the world would be a very different place. For me, purpose is about embracing the most unique parts of yourself. Once you begin to truly understand yourself, you can also understand what your purpose is. Your purpose is the unique gift in which you give the world. When you can find a balance between what your soul truly loves, and what can benefit the world around you and bring others that same joy, is when I believe you've found your purpose.
What does a perfect day look like to you?
A perfect day for me is when I can be alone and spend time with myself, work with food and cook a meal, and also have quality time with my partner Oli. Waking up early, going to the market, cooking a meal and creating a new recipe, spending time with Oli and having quality conversation, showering, getting a good night's rest. A day where I get to intentionally decide the events that take place, is a perfect day for me! I am a firm believer that we must rest and repose in order to show up as our best selves every day.
LITTLE KNOWN INSIGHTS ABOUT BREEN:
Guilty pleasure song?
Misery Business - Paramore
That one thing you could eat over and over and never get tired of?
Honestly, sushi is definitely an item I could eat daily. There is so much variety, the veg combinations are endless, and when made well, the flavours are so fresh, full of umami, and perfectly balanced.
If you could cook dinner for any woman, dead and alive, who would it be and why?
I would love to be able to cook dinner for my grandmother and great grandmothers. It would be really special being able to cook for my family line, who all were very involved in cooking and recipe making. I also think that being able to cook for a young version of myself would be so awesome, and would show my younger self to pay closer attention to the things that I was naturally good at from the very beginning.
I hope reading this has filled you as much as it filled me. I hope when you close this page, the words you read linger and inspire as you go about your day. I hope they come up as you’re standing over the stove, stirring dinner. I hope they come back to you when you’re in the shower, or walking to your favourite coffee shop. I truly believe that there are conversations that shift us, that change the way we look at the world. I believe in the power of words and storytelling to move us. I hope that reading Breen’s words has had that effect on you.
I’m thinking of creating a series around this concept, so if that’s something you’d be interested in reading, or know someone that you think would be a good fit, write me a line and let me know.
Until next time,