From running a world revered restaurant in the US to modern meditation teaching in Melbourne, Alexis Guttridge is a brave woman carving her own path.
I have been a constant evolution my whole life. When I was a child I was strong, got in trouble all the time with my parents and I lied a lot.
Growing up with a lawyer and college professor for parents meant that being mediocre was not an option. My parents were divorced so I often felt like I was walking on eggshells and had to do whatever I could to make them proud.
I had this other side though. I loved fairy tales and could sing every Disney song (I still can!). But I kept that a secret because I didn’t want anyone to see that as a weakness. I think it’s fair to say that at a very young age I was concerned about perception.
Growing up I knew I wanted a different path. I wasn’t certain what that meant, but I knew I liked curating and being the boss!
Fast forward to adulthood and I had a restaurant that was featured on the front of magazines. My business got world wide attention. I drove a fancy car and had 60 employees calling me all the time for insights.
I had a board of investors all senior to me in age. They believed in me, gave me millions of dollars. I worked 14+ hours a day 6 days a week.
I was the Queen Bee! I had made it, right?
I was at the top of my game, and I thought I was exactly where I wanted to be but slowly I was falling apart on the inside.
I was a drunk. You would have never known. I hid most nights just how drunk I was.
I was so unhappy, so lonely, so stressed. And so I drank. A lot. For over 10 years straight.
Then, an injury during a cross fit session forced me to slow down. For the first time in 15 years I could no longer beat myself up in the gym and at work.
I tried taking a night off drinking one night and realised I couldn’t. I knew right then and there I needed help. I began seeing a therapist 2-3 times a week and she was amazing! She was brutally honest and held up a mirror for me.
For the first time ever in my life I had to slow down.
I tried yoga and the whole time I was thinking “what the f* are these people doing? I don’t have time for this Woo-Woo shit.”
I avoided the world of meditation + yoga for so long. The imagery, the leggings, the pretty girls. Retreats to fancy places. It never felt right or that I couldn’t do it because I didn’t look like them.
But, I kept showing up to this little studio in Boston, where a teacher named Ryan didn’t make me feel like a complete asshole. And this was the beginning of everything…
I started sitting in the corner of my bedroom floor every morning. I guess I knew it was a form of meditation but I was just so desperate for help and change that this 15 minute morning routine began to unveil a lot for me. And so once I began I didn’t stop. A new form of courage was birthed from those sits.
Eventually I sold my business and walked away from everything I knew. It was the hardest decision of my life. Just because you are good at something doesn’t mean that it is good for you. This decision was what was best for me.
I began traveling the world. My own little “Eat, Pray, Love” adventure if you will. After about 3 months in India, Vietnam and Indonesia with no real plan I decided at the last minute to check out Australia. My mum said “if you go you won’t come back…”, and she was right. I fell in love and stayed.
Now I am a teacher of meditation. I teach from a place of realness. Where it doesn’t matter one bit how you sit or what you wear. I teach that it’s ok to have thoughts. I want to create an inviting space for people to feel welcome to practice how they want. I teach corporate clients, as well as my own online groups.
My morning ritual is like my medicine, my daily vitamin. I get up before 7am and feed Axl the dog. Then, in my non-matching pyjamas I do 20 minutes of yoga followed by 25 minutes of meditation. It doesn’t matter where I do it or how I look. It just matters that I do, so I’m set up for a productive day.
It’s a long way from those early yoga classes in Boston, but it’s here doing it my own way in Melbourne that I feel like I belong.