Heidi Shepherd of Butcher Babies: “Talking”

Talking.. Talking about an emotion to a trusted friend or family member can be a life changer and saver. The number on thing I wish I had done in my adolescence was talked to somebody about how I was feeling. Now, I do understand that this isn’t an option for a good amount of our […]

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Talking.. Talking about an emotion to a trusted friend or family member can be a life changer and saver. The number on thing I wish I had done in my adolescence was talked to somebody about how I was feeling. Now, I do understand that this isn’t an option for a good amount of our youth. Which brings me to my next habit, self-invocation. Or as religious groups would like to call it; prayer. Not in the kind where you’re speaking to a supposed higher being. But, in the kind where you are putting your positive thoughts and gratitude into yourself and the universe. Even as an adult, I find myself manifesting my own future by daydreaming. Which in turn, my mind finds ways to make these wants and wishes a reality.

Often when we refer to wellness, we assume that we are talking about physical wellbeing. But one can be physically very healthy but still be unwell, emotionally or mentally. What are the steps we can take to cultivate optimal wellness in all areas of our life; to develop Mental, Physical, Emotional, & Spiritual Wellbeing?

As a part of our series about “How We Can Do To Cultivate Our Mental, Physical, Emotional, & Spiritual Wellbeing”, I had the pleasure of interviewingHeidi Shepherd.

Born in Provo, Utah, Heidi Shepherd grew up as a misfit Mormon kid with big dreams. Growing up heavily involved in music and the film industry, she had her hand in creativity at a young age. Between track (for which she started training at the age of 7), gymnastics, cheerleading and dance, sports dominated her childhood. In 2003 she competed in a Junior Olympic event in Moscow, Russia. Her love for track and cheerleading carried throughout high school and eventually landed her a full ride scholarship to Southern Utah University where she studied Advertising and Broadcasting.

After school and a few radio jobs in Utah, she was ready to make the big move! Heidi packed her car with all she could and ventured to LA to pursue a career in Radio Broadcasting. Living in Los Angeles proved to be easier for Heidi to find acting work. Her TV work included Netflix’s “Slasher,” Spike TV’s “Manswers,” and network TV work as a stunt double for Jamie Pressley on “My Name is Earl” and roles in “The Ghost Whisperer” and “90210.” Heidi also had roles in movies like Animals, Fading Of The Cries, Screwball: A Ted Whitfield Story, Takers and Couples Retreat.

Many TV shows, commercials, movies and modeling jobs later, she decided to channel all of her focus into her one true love. HEAVY METAL! Throughout her life, she pushed all of her anger into metal music and writing. When Heidi linked up with her best friend and kindred spirit, Carla Harvey, she created the path she is on now. Their band, Butcher Babies, has been spreading the good word of metal for 10 years. Playing in front of crowds as big as 90,000+ people, Butcher Babies is just getting started dominating the Heavy Metal genre.https://content.thriveglobal.com/media/f0f115385d3785b47451752748dc0dab

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

First off, Thank you so much for having me. I was born and raised in Provo, Utah where I was the oldest of six kids. At a very young age, my parents introduced me to Track & Field in the hopes of following my father’s footsteps as a track star. Being raised in the Mormon religion, I was taught to follow the social norms from a very young age. This, for me, is how my rebellion began. Luckily, I had my sports and the love of music and writing to curb my anger as a young teenage girl. These activities helped me balance out my emotions enough to get through my young life.

What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.

As a child, even during the summer months when we were on summer break, I would set my alarm to wake up early and listen to the local radio station’s morning show. I loved the banter between the deejays and always thought it would be so cool to grace the airwaves myself. In the same breath, each and every song that came on the radio, I’d close my eyes and imagine that I was the singer of whatever band was playing. I would envision my stage moves and how it felt to have the crowd screaming the songs back to me. This was a dream that I never imagined could ever be obtainable to a girl from Provo. I opted to pursue my radio career, which as an adult, flourished. However, that little girl with a dream of being a rockstar never left my side. During my radio career, I had a few small bands here and there just for some fun but, nothing that stuck. Over time, that 11 year old Heidi, imagining her life on the big stage took over. She navigated me in ways that I feel like as an adult would feel irrational and risky. But, I learned that without the risk, there will never be a reward.

None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?

To be completely honest, I wanted to say, “my parents.” But, as I have thought about it, that wasn’t true at the time. I had more people than I can count that told me, “see you back here in 6 months” or “your chances are one-in-a-million”. This is why I chose my bandmate, Carla. When we met in 2008, we were both on the trajectory of success in other forms. However, we both opened up to each other that we shared the same dream of rocking giant stages around the world. Without really developing any sort of strategy or game plan, we believed in each other. I believe that for both of us, having that person to lean on and encouragement from one another really set us apart from anyone else. I’m so lucky and fortunate to say that we still have that today. That has been the main ingredient in any success that we have encountered.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?

It’s hard to look at anything in our past as a “mistake” because I do believe that each and every thing that happened was part of the overall path. But, in lessons learned, I would say allowing other people and their influences to infiltrate my goals. There was a particular time in my career that we allowed a toxic situation navigate our decisions for a couple of years. I know now, after experiencing that, that we should have cut the chord to that toxic relationship much earlier on. I mourn the loss of opportunities during those years, but I am very grateful for the lesson. Cutting people out of our lives that we considered to be like family at one point, is one of the hardest yet most rewarding things that could happen.

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?

A book titled “Dark Days” by D. Randall Blythe, the vocalist for the metal band Lamb of God, was a god-send for me. The book is about his career and the shattering moment that put his entire life on the line. The whole entire story is and was gravitating for me because, it could be me. It taught me gratitude. Gratitude for my life, my career and my experiences whether they are simple or hard.

Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?

I’ve always resonated with “Why Not?” as my life motto. Too many times, we hold ourselves back from out dreams or desires because of fear of non-existent things; such as failure. As soon as I started living by the “why not”, my career started to flourish and my relationships grew stronger.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

During the past year, when we have all been a little lost, I have found it best to be a good role-model in what is healthy for our mind and body. When the pandemic first hit, I was hosting Yoga classes on my social media platform. Staying positive with gratitude has helped me and hopefully can show people a silver lining. We are also releasing music at the moment and it’s been beautiful to see how people are so grateful for art and that influence during a pandemic. We’ve seen people pick up instruments that they didn’t have time to pick up before. We’ve seen people expressing their creativity in ways that they didn’t think possible. Being able to influence even a small bit of this is a lifetime achievement for me.

OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. In this interview series we’d like to discuss cultivating wellness habits in four areas of our lives, Mental wellness, Physical wellness, Emotional wellness, & Spiritual wellness. Let’s dive deeper into these together. Based on your research or experience, can you share with our readers three good habits that can lead to optimum mental wellness? Please share a story or example for each.

In order to keep my ultimate balance in wellness, the number one thing I practice is hot Yoga. Throughout my experience with Yoga, it hasn’t just shifted my physical wellbeing, it has completely shifted my spiritual and mental awakening. There is a moment for me to just sit in the heat and not focus on anything else in the world besides my body and breathing. There is a sense of gratitude that comes with that moment of total stillness. At the end of a yoga session, while laying in my last pose, I focus my thoughts on “Breath in (whatever I need), Breathe out (whatever doesn’t serve my wellbeing). Which brings me to my next habit for wellbeing.

Writing. As a songwriter, it has become my main sense of therapy. It doesn’t matter the topic, what matters is that I am honest with what I put into those thoughts. There is a sense of relief when emotions are released from our thoughts and onto a piece of paper. I have overcome some brutal memories and emotions from my past that were holding me back by simply writing about them.

The last habit that I would recommend taking the time to develop is making a gratitude list. Where, each morning, I write down 5 things that I am grateful for that day. Shifting your mind into a positive position at the beginning of the day can do wonders for your mental health. During a pandemic, this was a must for me. Where some of our livelihoods were stripped from us and we were unable to rely on friends and family, it was extremely important to use the positivity within myself to lift me up.

Do you have a specific type of meditation practice or Yoga practice that you have found helpful? We’d love to hear about it.

Hot Yoga. When the heat over takes your body and all you can do is focus on your breath, you realize that you can accomplish and overcome pretty much anything.

Thank you for that. Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum physical wellness? Please share a story or example for each.

Physical wellness is different for everybody. For me it was repairing my relationship with food. As a young girl, I was taught to look a certain way, dress a certain way, speak a certain way and of course, eat a certain way. To the point of where I felt little to no control over what I do with my own body. After dealing with anorexia and bulimia for a little over 13 years, I realized that my relationship with food was way off. Food is there as our gasoline, not as our enemy, and should be treated as so. When we give our body the proper foods, it rewards us with physical wellness!

Next, I would of course, mention physical activity. Good for the body and mind. Even a walk in the park to smell the fresh air is beneficial. For me, athletics were always a part of my life but, as I have gotten older, physical activity is used more to complete my circle. If my body feels right, my mind and emotions feel right.

Physical wellness isn’t about what the scale says. It’s about how you feel. I truly believe that mediation on any level can open up your mind to feeling. Now shifting that mindset into feeling positive about your life and situations in it, will psychologically make your body feel better. Like I said, it’s a circle that can’t be completed without all forms of wellness.

Do you have any particular thoughts about healthy eating? We all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, etc. But while we know it intellectually, it’s often difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion what are the main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives?

It’s difficult to put a blanket diet over every person and expect it to be healthy. We are all so very different and our bodies all need different things to make them tick. The hard part is finding what is right for you. Following a fad diet, or the diet of our friends typically doesn’t do us any good in the long run. We have to train our tastebuds and reactions in social settings. For me, the hardest is sticking to what I have learned about what my body needs, is being in social situations. Whether it’s having a drink or two when I know I shouldn’t, or if the hors d’oeuvre table has all of my favorite snacks. These are my biggest triggers to veering off of my path. Once we realize what our triggers are, we can more successfully find ways to recognize and combat them.

Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum emotional wellness? Please share a story or example for each.

Talking.. Talking about an emotion to a trusted friend or family member can be a life changer and saver. The number on thing I wish I had done in my adolescence was talked to somebody about how I was feeling. Now, I do understand that this isn’t an option for a good amount of our youth. Which brings me to my next habit, self-invocation. Or as religious groups would like to call it; prayer. Not in the kind where you’re speaking to a supposed higher being. But, in the kind where you are putting your positive thoughts and gratitude into yourself and the universe. Even as an adult, I find myself manifesting my own future by daydreaming. Which in turn, my mind finds ways to make these wants and wishes a reality.

Another habit that I would strongly recommend is throwing yourself into the power of music. Just listening to a song that brings back good memories, or invokes a positive feeling of belonging can and will brighten up even the darkest of days. I’ve built my entire career on it and believe that music is a direct line to our souls.

Do you have any particular thoughts about the power of smiling to improve emotional wellness? We’d love to hear it.

Absolutely! Early in my career, I looked very angry on stage. Mostly because I was very angry. As the years have gone by and I practiced all the things we have spoken about above, I noticed how I began to smile more. The more that I smiled on stage, it seemed the more fun the crowd had. However, the biggest teller for me is when I smile at people in public. You can see how one smile physically lights another person up. Which in turn, lights me up. It’s a beautiful cycle.

Finally, can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum spiritual wellness? Please share a story or example for each.

As opposed to what I thought in my youth, spirituality is completely separate from religion. My personal spirituality will always be different than anyone else’s. It differs from my partner, my family and my friends. The things that I find spiritual are and should be personal. For me, having an open mind to emotions and experiences has really heightened my own sense of spiritual wellness. An open mind to others’ ideas of spirituality is another practice that has helped me find peace in my own.

Meditation of any sort is a beautiful way to dive into what you really feel on the inside and how to tap into making yourself the best version of you. There are breathing classes that I like to take where we practice guided breathing exercises that become quite intense over time. Usually, there are faint sounds in the background but, for the most part all you hear and feel is yourself and others breathing. During these classes I have experienced some of the most beautiful imagery behind my eyes. I’ve seen colors that, from what I can imagine, are likened to a psychedelic trip. During which, I have felt small bits of fear or doubt melt away. It’s an incredibly beautiful experience where you truly get to feel your own spirituality.

Do you have any particular thoughts about how being “in nature” can help us to cultivate spiritual wellness?

There is definitely something to be said for fresh, crisp air and the scent of nature bringing out our most primitive selves, where the world that we have been nurtured to react to doesn’t exist. Almost like a reset. These feelings can pull us away from ourselves to see that life is so much bigger and more beautiful than the daily notions that we may go through.

Ok, we are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

As we spoke about before, a simple smile can make the biggest difference in the world. If we made a goal to consciously smile at strangers throughout the day, we might be an uptick in love, light and charity.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 🙂

Jason Momoa and his wife Lisa Bonet’. It is known that Jason, like myself, is a metalhead and I love the contribution and awareness he and his family have made towards the well-being of the Polynesian culture and for good around the globe. Their philanthropy as a family is awe-inspiring and I’d love to hear the passion behind it over some Eggs Benedict.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

My band, Butcher Babies is a heavy metal band based in the US. We can be found here:

Facebook: https://facebook.com/butcherbabies​

Instagram: https://instagram.com/butcherbabies​

Twitter: https://twitter.com/butcherbabies​

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/6Fcvj​​…

Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/us/artist/but​​…

Website: https://butcherbabies.com/​

Store: https://butcherbabiesmerch.com/​

Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.

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