We're so honoured to have interviewed Milja Trueman from Milja Trueman Illustrations for our TRIBE TALKS series – a segment that focuses on conscious souls who inspire & cultivate a purposeful life. Take a seat, grab a herbal tea & read on.
1. Tell us a bit about yourself & the work that you do.
I am an illustrator, Reiki Master and Pellowah Practitioner. I love working with people, helping them to realign with their true selves and igniting their inner being.
As an illustrator I am inspired by the day-to-day life, nature and my spiritual practice. I sell cards and prints in my web-shop and do commissioned pieces as well.
I love rituals, the slow practice of mindfulness that allows you to be present in everything you do. Being curious, chanting, conscious conversations, smudging, sitting by an open fire, crisp country air. Baking. I love reading and learning about the healing powers of the universe. Sunrise is a magical time. I’ve been vegan for nearly six years, for the animals, my health and our beautiful planet. My darling dog, Freddy, has my heart. Animals are great teachers of living in the present moment. Observing their stillness, curiosity, joy and adventure. I find their approach to life is beautiful.
2. How did you first foray into Reiki and illustration?
Mum and dad are very creative and their illustrations from their childhood inspired me as a kid. I remember mum teaching me how to draw big eyes and female faces and dad drew beautiful buildings. Mum used to own an imported designer fabric store so I would spend afternoons at the shop designing clothes, which mum would make for me. I studied Fashion Design and worked in the industry briefly but it wasn’t for me. Drawing was the path I wanted to pursue.
Mum taught my sisters and I how to meditate when we were young, the ‘white light’ mediation. It was used mainly when we were ill. I remember lying in bed breathing deeply and letting my body become weightless. I’d begin to imagine the white light expanding slowly throughout my entire body until it reached the point of illness. The light would burn brightly until the illness had eased. I’d fall asleep quickly after this mediation and wake up in the morning feeling lighter. From then onwards I felt a connection to something far greater than I could comprehend, however, I never explored it further until I started seeing an energetic healer in my early 20s. I had just returned home from a year of travelling overseas. Her name was Angela, an angel. The healing was incredible. Each treatment was an experience of pure love and light. At the time I was studying full time, working in retail on the weekends then spent the evenings partying and staying up until dawn.
It wasn’t sustainable and because I wasn’t committed to doing the spiritual homework she gave me we parted ways. I continued to push my body to the limits, I was depressed and started to experience panic attacks sporadically but it wasn’t until 5 ½ years ago, Christmas night, soon to be 30, the universe gave me my greatest assignment. The panic attack was severe. The strongest I had ever had. I remember I was in the bathroom, lights off, thrashing my head on the tiles wanting to escape my body so desperately, crying, gasping for air, ripping my skin with my fingernails in hope to break free of my body. I hated everything about “me” I no longer wanted to be part of the physical world. From then on I was lifeless. Just breathing. Everything felt like a struggle. The panic attacks wouldn’t stop. Some days I had 3, but I had them almost every day. I could no longer function. I wasn’t able to work and suddenly I was frightened of everyone in my life except my husband. I couldn’t leave my bedroom. My world became a small one.
Seeing a therapist and psychologist weekly I learnt about mindfulness. I eventually picked up a pen and began drawing again. Newly vegan, I found pleasure in baking, and excitement in trialing healthy, healing recipes. It kept me busy and nourished me creatively. With the love and support of those around me, healing began. I was diligent about the homework my therapist gave me. Suddenly I had a craving to live. I could taste a life far better than I had imagined but I felt I still had a long way to go. Two years later I slowly came off my medication and continued to challenge myself. Not long after I found brief moments of stillness and I was able to start meditating again.
I began the spiritual homework the energetic healer gave me years before. An inspired thought of Reiki came to me during a meditation session and I quickly booked myself in to do the course that day. The healing I received from the Reiki was life changing and it is the reason I do what I do. A year and a half later I completed my Reiki master level, and Pellowah training and I haven’t looked back!
3. How do you stay grounded (e.g. meditation, cooking etc).
Moring and afternoon self-Reiki + meditation, journaling, making nourishing healthy plant-based food, walking in nature, sunrise yoga, the sunrise in general…wow pure magic right there! Self-care, being present, living in the now.
4. 3 Instagram accounts and/or blogs you are loving right now?
Yumi Sakugawa, Shoku Iku, The Broad Place. Beautiful energy in every post.
5. If a song could describe your life, which would it be?
Recovery by New Buffalo.
6. What are your top 5 non-negotiable life values?
Love, spirituality, joy, creativity and growth.
7. If there was one thing you could tell your 13-year-old self what would it be?
Read ‘Women Who Run With The Wolves’.
8. What makes you come alive?
First light in the morning, greeting the moon before she bids farewell, the leaves falling in autumn, self-Reiki, meditation, watching my clients bloom, connecting with likeminded people, feeling the earth beneath my feet, sun on my skin, the sharp chill in the air, laughing, dancing, singing in my car, observing life and the wanders of it.
9. If you could have dinner with 3 people alive or dead, who would they be?
Ohhh there are so many, but in this moment it would have to be:
Abraham-Hicks. So many questions!
My grandparents. No longer in their physical form, I want to indulge in their stories and cherish their wisdom one last time.
Nayyirah Waheed. Her poems make me tingle.
10. Who is your greatest inspiration? My loved ones are a huge source of inspiration, however, Gaia: I’m in awe of her. Ever changing and nourishing. Brutal at times, but forever inspiring.
11. How important do you think having a spiritual connection with oneself is? For me, it’s vital. Sadhana is my lifeline.
12. If you could have a superpower what would it be? The alignment with source energy feels like a superpower, however, flying is something I always dream about. Soaring high with the birds in the clouds touching the tree tops and finding a mountain to perch on to watch the sunrise.
13. What do you want to be doing/feeling in 5 years time?
I would love to open a wellness clinic, hold group mediations, Reiki + Pellowah treatments along with other like-minded souls offering a range of different healing modalities. I’d love to have illustrated an adult picture book about depression, anxiety and the road to healing. I want to be feeling full of love and light, that’s my intention every day.
14. If you could be transported to any destination in the world right now, where would it be?
India! The culture, the food, the colour and the spiritual essence have been on my mind for a while now. This year will hopefully be the year.
15. Can you provide some of your best tips on energetic realignment?
Breathe: Take note of how you breathe. Most of us only practice shallow breathing. When you breathe deeply, just below your belly button you’re breathing into your Ki, Qi, Lower Dantian or Hara, which ever you prefer to call it. This is your Life Centre. Breathing deeply will cleanse the blood and slow you down and help to lift your mood.
Choose good feeling thoughts: Be mindful of what you’re thinking at every moment. Thoughts are sneaky, it’s important to keep an eye on them. Felling any contraction in your body means that you’re out of alignment with your true self. Refocus your attention on what you want and how you want to feel instead of focusing on what you don’t have, and any negative emotion you may be experiencing.
Meditate: Even if you do it for 5 minutes a day, it’s a great way to pause, refocus, and realign. Guided meditations can be useful if you find it hard to focus.
Move Your Body: Walk, stretch, yoga, swim, dance, run, hike, ride a bike. What ever your body responds to the best, whatever lights up your soul, do that. How do you know if it’s soul-movement? Do you expand or contract when you think about it? Expansion is the key! Movement will help to eliminate stagnant energy and release endorphins and produce serotonin, the happy hormones, but what will really amp up your connection is if you’re loving the movement you’re doing. Love is the highest vibration!
Eat high vibrational food: Eat real food, simple. Plants especially vibrate at a high frequency so the more fresh organic veggies and fruit you consume will get you closer to aligning with your best self.
Gratitude and appreciation: When you are in a state of gratitude and appreciation, it’s coming from a place of love. Feel the essence of what you appreciate and the love vibrations will strengthen and you’ll be closer to your true being. Be love, radiate love.
16. What is your favourite full moon ritual?
Cleanse myself, and my space with combination of Reiki, sage and palo santo, mediate, journal, walk in the moonlight early in the morning consciously letting go of all that I no longer need, drawing, a foot soak followed by a massage focusing on the acupressure points. Always focusing on self-care, diving in deep within.
17. What are you working on at the moment?
I am excited to be part of the New Moon Workshop with the wonderful ladies, Rachel and Courtney from ‘Rock & Co’ and ‘Courtney + The Babes’ at the end of this month. I’ll be giving the attendees a group healing treatment. I’m also working on some illustrations that have been commissioned.
18. Finally – what has your experience with Hanako elixirs been like (if any)? I love the philosophy behind the brand. The products look beautiful and I’m excited to add them to my staples.