“Express your truth.” With Beau Henderson & Freya Dobson

Express your truth and remain in touch with how you feel. Society teaches that business and feelings are meant to be separate. Business is an exchange and our energy matters. As a part of my series about “How To Develop Mindfulness And Serenity During Stressful Or Uncertain Times”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Freya […]

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Express your truth and remain in touch with how you feel. Society teaches that business and feelings are meant to be separate. Business is an exchange and our energy matters.

As a part of my series about “How To Develop Mindfulness And Serenity During Stressful Or Uncertain Times”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Freya Dobson, Co-Founder of Hudson Hemp and Treaty.

Freya Dobson is the Co-Founder of Hudson Hemp, a regenerative farm and among the first companies licensed to grow industrial hemp in New York State, and Treaty, a line of four tinctures that have been developed according to nature’s prescription and use organic hemp extract from Hudson Hemp. Freya is passionate about cannabis as a way to democratize plant medicine, food, fuel, and fibers while mitigating the effects of climate change.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?

Iwas born to an organic farmer and a poet in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts. My father’s farm was an integral part of my childhood. I understood from a young age that the health of the earth and the health of the individual were intrinsically connected. As a child I was more drawn to the creative world of ceramics, theater, dance, music and that is what I went onto pursue in college. I was going to school in New York City and my sister, Melany, was living in Northern California where she had joined the cannabis industry. I was completely lost and depressed going to school in the city. When I hit a breaking point I called Melany. She told me to pack my car, move out to Humboldt County and work with her, so that’s what I did. For the next year I lived in Humboldt and then Mendocino. I managed two cultivation sites and became an administrative assistant for a brand called Humboldt Brothers. I was witness to and participated in an industry that existed illegally for many years, there were outlaws, back to landers, hippies, and criminals. I was so far away from my reality and part of this wild story that existed in the cannabis mecca of the USA, the emerald triangle. It was November of 2017, when our brother, Ben called. He was managing an organic farm in Hudson, NY that received a permit to grow hemp. They had just completed their first harvest and wanted Melany and me to come back east and assist him in creating a product line. Shortly after that phone call we packed our cars and headed back home, in December 2017 we founded Hudson Hemp alongside our brother and a small team and began the development of Treaty.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

The most interesting time in the beginning of my career in cannabis was in the mountains of Mendocino living without electricity, hot water, phone service, where wild horses and bores ran free. We lived in unison with the land and found stillness working with cannabis. It was during that time that the name Treaty was found. Treaty came to life phonetically with the word “Tree” and the word “Tea.” Tree references the Tree of Life, bowing to the versatility of hemp, a plant that provides, feed, fuel, medicine and shelter; and Tea references the ritual and culture of tea time, and the ceremonial aspects that relate to hemp. Treaty is about finding peace between nature and humanity.

What advice would you give to other leaders about how to create a fantastic work culture?

Express your truth and remain in touch with how you feel. Society teaches that business and feelings are meant to be separate. Business is an exchange and our energy matters.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

When Women Were Birds by Terry Tempest Williams. I read this book when I was on a three month expedition in Baja, Mexico when I was 17. I was with a small group predominantly dominated by teenage males who were experiencing masculinity issues because the females on trip were equally as capable. It resulted in extreme bullying and harassment. It was the first time in my life that I felt belittled because of my gender. I did not know how to stand up for myself and took the abuse. I even fed into it and assumed the role of a mother on the trip, doing other peoples dishes, giving up what was mine. I read When Women Were Birds during the last month of the journey, we were waking up before sunrise and kayaking miles on the Sea of Cortez to get to our next beach camp before the winds began. My hands were calloused, my arms were sore, my legs covered in bug bites, I was the physically strongest I have ever been, and Williams helped me develop my mental strength. Her words encouraged me to find the power in my voice, and tune into my resiliency. There is a quote from the book that has stuck with me throughout my personal and business endeavors, “When we don’t listen to our intuition, we abandon our souls. And we abandon our souls because we are afraid if we don’t, others will abandon us.”

Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. From your experience or research, how would you define and describe the state of being mindful?

Being mindful means being in touch with [my] intuition; knowing what serves me and when.

This might be intuitive to you, but it will be instructive to spell this out. Can you share with our readers a few of the physical, mental, and emotional benefits of becoming mindful?

Mindfulness allows me to find balance within body and mind, listening and respecting its needs. As a result I find my anxiety, depression and stress is less prevalent. I am more in tune with the present and acceptive of whatever may come my way.

Ok. Here is the main question of our discussion. The past 5 years have been filled with upheaval and political uncertainty. Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have only heightened a sense of uncertainty, anxiety, fear, and loneliness. From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to develop mindfulness and serenity during such uncertain times? Can you please share a story or example for each.

1. Limiting screen time — Technology can suck you in and make you feel hopeless and helpless. When we step away from our screens and root ourselves in reality, that anxiety can dissipate.

2. Cooking — I have found a lot of peace through cooking. I am lucky to live in The Berkshires with access to lots of food from local farms. Connection to my ingredients has excited me in the kitchen. I have been cooking new dishes and playing with old ones. Because I am in control of all of the ingredients that go into my cooking I have felt a lot healthier during this time.

3. Moving your body- One of the best ways to get out of our heads is to get into our bodies. I have been taking a lot of walks, dancing in my kitchen and taking zoom yoga classes here and there.

4. Water — From hydrating to taking a bath or shower. Even when we don’t feel dehydrated we usually are, so drink a glass of water whenever you can think of it, I like lemon in mine. Whenever I feel mentally foggy or stunted, I jump in the shower or take a bath. The sound of running water has soothed me since I was a child.

5. Writing — I have been trying to put pen to paper everyday. During this collective time of uncertainty and anxiety, I find writing to be helpful to process. I keep a notebook beside my bed as a reminder to write before bed and when I wake up.

From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to effectively offer support to those around us who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?

1. Listening

2. Empathy

3. No Judgement

4. Support

5. Communication

I grew up with a mother who suffered from mental illness so as a child in moments I assumed the role of the adult. What my mother was always aching for was someone to listen to her, show empathy, not judge her, support and have open communication. There were no boundaries in my house, my mother never created a false sense of reality, she brought me into her chaos because she knew that no matter what I would always be on her side. As an adult I find that people feel safe to always confide in me because of my innate ability to listen and empathize. Sometimes my heart is heavy, weighed down with anxiety, pain and suffering of those around me, but my strength carries me through. My joy comes from helping and supporting those I love.

What are the best resources you would suggest for someone to learn how to be more mindful and serene in their everyday life?

Spending time in nature, if you live in a city volunteering at community gardens or ecology centers. Developing a routine that you do everyday in honor of your body and mind.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

“Only boring people are bored.”

My mother told me this when I was 9, the first and last time I was ever “bored.” We live in a culture of constant go go go, so when we stop our immediate response is that there is nothing to do and that we are bored. Stillness is a time to let creative expression in, rest, write, read, spend time in nature. The mind is boundless and can lead us to beautiful places if we are open to it.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

It may sound cliche but I would lead everyone to grow / raise their own food.This requires great sacrifice because you would not have access to all of the goods we do now and could only eat what is in season and grows in your climate. The ripple effect would be incredible, lower emissions because food would not be transported, factory farming would be obsolete, less waste, healthier people!

What is the best way our readers can follow you online?

Via our websites and Instagram feeds:

www.hudsonhemp.com / IG: @hudsonhemp

www.ourtreaty.com / IG: @ourtreaty /Personal IG: @freyazdobson

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!

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