Meet: Kristyn Pankiw

Kristyn Pankiw is a writer, youth librarian, plant-based nutritionist and jewelry designer based in West Virginia.  

As her varied interests suggest, she is a free spirit who is not afraid to wander and explore different creative paths.  Watching Kristyn's evolution has been an inspiration to me, and a reminder that our best selves emerge when we live from a place of curiosity and passion, rather than fear of the unknown. For Kristyn that passion is rooted in a desire to live mindfully and to help others do the same. Whether you're beholding a piece of her handcrafted jewelry, reading a passage from her thoughtful blog, or simply paging through her Instagram feed, you can feel serenity radiating from her work, encouraging us to slow down and savor life's little details.  

Read on below to learn more about Kristyn's journey, the daily ritual that helps her stay grounded, and the powerful quote that challenges her to live intentionally.

Can you talk about how your career has evolved over the past few years? What has changed? What has stayed the same?

I am always up for trying new things, and the past few years of my career have definitely reflected that. I previously spent two years running my own online jewelry business and lifestyle blog before delving into librarianship and a certification in plant-based nutrition. I currently work as a youth librarian and outreach coordinator in my community, and in my spare time, assist others on a path to wellness, through both individual consultations and my website and social media outlets. I also enjoy writing creatively. 

Although on the surface, these pursuits seem widely different, they are connected by my desire to lead a beautiful and mindful life; only the expression has changed. There is no one right path, and these past few years have been an amazing journey discovering what path is best for me. I'm grateful for the chance to pursue a variety of interests and believe it has helped me achieve greater balance and intention in my life. 

There is no one right path, and these past few years have been an amazing journey discovering what path is best for me.

What inspires your creative pursuits?

My desire for mindfulness influences most of my work, both professionally and personally. I am very enamored with the Buddhist concept of loving-kindness and how it translates into all aspects of life. Seeking this daily has awakened in me a creativity I didn't know existed; one that builds its foundation on substance rather than solely aesthetic. It encourages me to go deeper and wider, to create and connect from a place of vulnerability. 

To me, mindfulness is holistic--it encompasses our bodies, our minds, and our spirits, or souls. So finding wholeness through all of these is important to me and has inspired my continued creative path.

My desire for mindfulness influences most of my work...It encourages me to go deeper and wider, to create and connect from a place of vulnerability.

How do you stay grounded in the midst of a hectic week? Any rituals or habits that have worked well for you?

I am a firm believer in the ritual of daily meditation. I start my day by doing light stretches in bed, followed by a cup of herbal tea and ten minutes of quiet meditation. These ten minutes, however, look different every day, depending on where I am when I wake up. For instance, on mornings when my mind has a buzz of energy, I will often use kirtan or blessings to meditate on; whereas, if I awake feeling stressed or anxious, I will focus my meditation with the help of breath work; when my head feels clear, I keep things silent. Meditation is a beautiful practice that heals us and roots us in so many ways.

You are a prolific writer and reader. What are some of your all time favorite books and/or quotes?

A quote that has really resonated with me lately: "It's our job, as awake humans, not just as writers, to consider things. Ugly, uncomfortable things and beautiful, terrifying things." -Catherine Lacey. I think this translates well into what I believe. We have the ability to make this world a better place, but we can only do that when we look at the whole picture--when we seek awareness--and that includes both the good and the bad.

I have such a hard time choosing favorite books, though Pride & Prejudice is always a joy and holds a special place in my heart. Some of my favorite writers include Zadie Smith, Rebecca Solnit, Bell Hooks, Joan Didion, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, T.S. Eliot, Thich Nhat Hanh and Neil Gaiman. 

We have the ability to make this world a better place, but we can only do that when we look at the whole picture—when we seek awareness—and that includes both the good and the bad.

What does your piece of Everli jewelry mean to you?

The Keshi Pearl necklace is multifaceted in its meaning for me. It reminds me of summers spent at the ocean with my family, searching for treasures--a nostalgic reminder of childhood innocence. At the same time, I love its unique, abstract qualities; the idea that something can be beautiful and imperfect. To me, this is what mindfulness is all about: not seeking perfection, but rather, wholeness. Wearing the necklace will be a constant reminder to put intention over idealism.

A well lived life is. . .?
One of compassion, truth, and laughter.

Kristyn is wearing the Keshi Pearl Necklace. Say hello to Kristyn at @plantpoems and follow along her blog here.
Images via Elisa Bricker Photography and Josh David

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