Creator Spotlight: Sierra Vandervort
"If you want to be more aligned and peaceful in your life, listen to what your mind and body needs. Not what you think you need to be doing, not what others are telling you to do."—Sierra Vandervort
We've quickly become huge fans of Sierra Vandervort. Her energy and positivity shine through all of her stories, inspiring us and other creators to live a more mindful life. From lunar studies and meditation to stories about the best ways to uncover a city's true charm—she's given us plenty of stories to choose from when it comes to picking a favorite. Sierra has also already impressed our Challenge judges for Locals Only, scoring second place with her story, "A Local’s Walk Through New Orleans’ Hippest Neighborhood." We were thrilled to learn a bit more about her! Enjoy her Creator Spotlight below.
A little bit about Sierra:
I grew up in the Midwest, but I’m currently living in New Orleans. I studied music journalism in college, but also became enrapt with Eastern philosophy and yoga studies while I was in college. After graduating with my journalism degree I didn’t have an exact plan of where I wanted to go. I just knew I wanted to take my yoga teacher training, and that I wanted to get out of the Midwest. By the wings of fate I ended up in New Orleans, and I’m loving it!
Since moving here I’ve been able to study under so many awesome teachers, write about lots of great music, and pick up some moon magic and pagan studies as well.
I also love hula-hoop dancing! I’m a big house music fan; I love music festivals. I also love traveling, camping, and eating Pho.
On what writing means to her:
Writing has always been “my thing.” I remember writing a short (and a painfully awful) adolescent drama novel when I was in middle school. I wrote a lot of poetry, and journaled a lot. So when I got to high school I joined the newspaper staff. I figured I was good at writing—maybe I could make money off of it?
I published a few books while I was in college, studied journalism, and now I’m out here writing about music in New Orleans!
On finding inspiration:
Music has always been a huge form of inspiration for me—and dancing. It was my form of meditation before I knew what meditation was. On a personal level my mom is a huge inspiration for me. She hasn’t always been. There was a time in my life when we really butt heads and didn’t get along; we were both very stubborn and strong-willed women, and still are. But now that I’ve taken some space and look at her as a person objectively, she’s one of the toughest and strongest women I know. I don’t think I’d be half the person I am today without her.
On the importance of yoga and meditation:
They bring me back to myself. I got deep into yoga when I was in college, after a pretty crummy breakup. I got dumped and realized I suddenly felt like I had nothing. I realized I had given all my power and all my happiness away to someone else - and it sucked. I remember in the beginning going to classes and just crying on my mat. It was very cathartic. Then after awhile I started to feel stronger, not just physically but emotionally and mentally. All of a sudden the little annoying things about life didn’t seem to bother me as much. For the first time in my life I felt confident. I knew who I was, and I knew that I was the only person who could make me happy.
I remember at the time reading a quote that said “don’t wait for someone to bring you flowers, grow your own garden.” And I loved that. I lived it—and eventually I got a bouquet of flowers tattooed on my arm to symbolize it 😊
As for some meditation resources, Meditation for the Love of It by Sally Kempton is a classic, and one that my teacher first recommended to me. Also perhaps surprising to some, the book Eat, Pray, Love has really strong and inspiring spiritual undertones to it. On a more practical note, the app Insight Timer has lots of free meditations available (I have some meditations on there too 😉)
On what Lunar Studies are all about:
I practice a form of energy work, Moon Magic. It’s basically noticing and tracking the phases of the moon - and harnessing their different energies for different purposes. It’s a lot more tangible and scientific than it sounds. I started by practicing that “Law of Attraction '' while I was in college - and it fricken’ worked!! I manifested every job I wanted, every study abroad trip, book deals, scholarships, the works. (Obviously there’s other work that goes into it, like good grades, applications and whatnot. But visualization is an awesome booster!)
Then when I got to New Orleans I had a huge well of voodoo and witchy teachers to draw from. I began studying the phases of the moon and their energetics more in depth - and now I use them to schedule most things in my life and my business. I teach people how to utilize these lunar energies to manifest their goals in my Mystic Moon School on Patreon.
Spirituality is a huge part of my life. And it’s always evolving and growing.
Her advice for those trying to be more aligned and in tune with themselves:
Be gentle with yourself - and give yourself time. It’s a lifelong journey. But the best first place to start is always with your breath. You can do it right now. Close your eyes - and take five deep breaths. Notice your breath in your belly and your chest, and notice how you feel. That’s the practice.
We spend so much time as a Western society in our heads. We’re taught to be busy, to be “hustling,” and to prioritize money and material goods. We’ve totally severed our ties to the metaphysical. If you want to be more aligned and peaceful in your life - listen to what your mind and body needs. Not what you think you need to be doing, not what others are telling you to do. And know that everything you need is already within you. Sometimes we just have to wipe a little dirt away to find it.
On one of her latest stories:
I’m really proud of the beginner’s guide to yoga and meditation piece! There are lots of awesome resources and descriptions in there that I would’ve loved to have as a beginner.
Don’t think about it—first thing that comes to mind:
What is one thing you couldn’t live without? My dog!
Cats or dogs? Oh...I already gave it away.
What’s your sign? Scorpio.
Go-to coffee order? Hazelnut latte with almond milk
Meditation go-to app? Insight Timer!
If you could go anywhere for a yoga retreat, where would you go? Bali
If you could speak a new language, what would it be and why? French—I’ve been trying for 10 years and it still hasn’t sunk all the way in!
Favorite story you read on Vocal? I just read one recently about someone’s very first concert experience. I thought it was really lovely.
And there you have it! Sierra's spotlight was truly eye-opening—thank you for sharing your story with us, Sierra! If you'd like to keep up with her work, follow her on Instagram, and keep up with her stories on Vocal.