Journal – Muri Lelu


Muri Muse: Author, Social Activist and Mother Jodie Patterson

Muri Muse: Author, Social Activist and Mother Jodie Patterson

First thing you need to know about Jodie Patterson (@jodiepatterson): Everything about her is a VIBE. We stopped by the writer, social activist and mother-of-5’s home in Brooklyn to spend the day with her and chat beauty, and instantly found ourselves drawn in by her easy smile and cool, welcoming attitude. The author of “The Bold World: A Memoir of Family and Transformation” — which details how Jodie’s perspectives on self, identity and motherhood shifted after her her three-year-old child shared that they were trans — is a woman who gracefully inhabits confidence and curiosity.

In her work as an activist for Human Rights Watch traveling to raise awareness for LGBTQ+ issues, it’s clear that she’s unafraid to be bold and address big issues. And stepping into the skylight bathroom sanctuary she’s created for herslf, adorned with vintage mirrors and pieces collected from her travels, it’s clear that she brings the same level of passion to the small details as well.

In a special Mother’s Day edition of Muri Muse, Jodie shares how important it is for women —mothers especially — to claim moments all to themselves. To stretch out in this life and care for themselves, without shame.

Meet Muri Muse Jodie Patterson, author, social activist and mother

Image Credit: Chanel Matsunami Govreau
Muri Lelu: For those who aren’t yet familiar with you or haven’t read 'The Bold World: A Memoir of Family and Transformation', how would you introduce yourself and your work? 

Jodie Patterson: I am a writer, social activist, lover and mother. Im never not doing one or all of those things. 
Meet our Muri Muse, Jodie Patterson. Writer, Social Activist and Mother
Image Credit: Chanel Matsunami Govreau

ML: One of the concepts that your book explores is the need to be seen for who we are. Many times, women find themselves immersed in the role of ‘Mother’ and other aspects of self might fall away. How have you found ways to be seen fully by yourself, your family and your community? 

JP: Sometimes I just separate myself from everything and everyone. Even if its only for a few hours... I try to disappear into thin air. That may sound reckless for a mom of 5, but hear me out. Mothers are always asked to be responsible, predictable, and reliable. We show up all the time for people. But sometimes I want to experience freedom, where Im not attached to anyone or anything. So I take freedom. I practice 'silent mornings' where I don’t utter a word, not even to the kids, for an hour or so [so] no one can penetrate my vibe. Other times I walk my Brooklyn neighborhood for 45 minutes by myself, love songs playing in my ears, with no specific route, just weaving in and out of streets, getting lost. I write in my journal about myself (not about my lover, not about my children, or anything other than me). I become the main character of my thoughts. A couple of times I’ve traveled by myself for a week to a foreign place, just to experience this world on my own.

For women, taking freedom is complicated because it challenges the way we've been taught to value ourselves (which is always in relation to others). But women have to clear space for ourselves  We have to stretch out in this life and do as we please and not be concerned about others, or if it is what a responsible 52 year old women should do. Be selfish, if only for a bit. I call it Starfishing — to stretch out in this life and to do as I please.

Meet our Muri Muse: Writer, Social Activist and Mother Jodie Patterson
Image Credit: Chanel Matsunami Govreau

ML: What does your daily skincare routine look like? 

JP: I love catering to myself. I love being selfish and self centered. I know that sounds counterintuitive to the vow mothers make, but let me explain… Most of the time I'm caring for others - my 5 kids and their robust lives, my puppy, I even care for issues like transphobia, LGBTQAI hatred, sexism and racism. There are so many ways I give of myself that when I can give to myself I feel no shame.

I spend a lot of time in the bathroom, more than ever before. Sometimes I just turn up my playlist of love songs, sing along, and care for myself in my beautiful bathroom. I clean my face with a soothing wash from Kat Burki, then press in her toner and lifting serum. My favorite part comes next - I massage my face (nose, cheeks, jaw line, eyes, temples, even my lips) with Muri Lelu’s Mauvaise Herbe Indica Oil. Sometimes I do this 2-3 times a day as a way to relax and reset. If Instagram is good for anything it's finding great facial massaging techniques!  

Meet Muri Muse: Writer, Social Activist and Mother Jodi PattersonImage Credit: Chanel Matsunami Govreau

ML: How have the many stages in your life — from working as a creative and entrepreneur, to motherhood and now stepping into a new life purpose as activist and author — shown up on your skin? What have you learned about supporting and caring for your skin over time?  

JP: I think my face shows exactly who I am. In my eyes you can see some of the worry that goes into being responsible for others, and you can also see the joy in my big, toothy smile. My hands are worn and aged just right because I’ve done a lot with them over these 52 years. I like that I don’t look brand new. I like that my tenure shows up on my skin in the most beautiful way, all over my body.

These days I travel a lot for work. I go from state to state with the Human Rights Campaign, talking with people who believe in equality and want to help course correct our country. Like right now, I'm on a 2 week stint. Travel can be brutal on the body. Airplane and hotel air, conference food, coffee, sugar, coffee - its rough. So I’ve learned to take the few important things with me in my toiletry bag (Muri Lelu’s Mauvaise Herbe Indica Oil night ritual is a no brainer) and I use it every day on my face to stay hydrated and a dab on my hands and cuticles as well. Anyplace that needs attention. 

Meet our Muri Muse: Writer, Social Activist and Mother Jodie PattersonImage Credit: Chanel Matsunami Govreau

ML: Favorite Flower? 

JP: I love bunches of wild flowers. Wild!

ML: Most subversive thing you've done lately? 

JP: Raise happy, healthy, proud, carefree, smart, confident, unified black children.

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Muri Muse: A conversation with Laura Chavez Silverman, Founder of The Outside Institute

Muri Muse: Laura Chavez Silverman, Founder of The Outside Institute

Muri Muse: Laura Chavez Silverman, Founder of The Outside Institute Image Credit: Elena Uryadova

Writer, creative director, branding consultant. All are infinitely interesting career paths, but when we were first introduced to Laura Chávez Silverman we couldn’t help but be intrigued by her latest life turn — Founding Naturalist of The Outside Institute.

Founded in the Upper Delaware Valley in 2017 by Laura herself, The Outside Institute is a year-round program offering guided nature walks, forest immersions, foraging, wildcrafting workshops and botanical mixology. The Institute’s mission is to nurture humanity’s original affinity for the wild and inspire a sense of reciprocity amongst all beings.

Just in time for Earth Day today, we're excited to announce Laura as our latest Muri Muse. In this timely conversation, Laura shares her tips on cultivating joyful connections with the planet, healing with plants and why it's impossible to pick just one favorite flower. 

Muri Lelu in conversation with muse Laura Chavez Silverman Image Credit: Arden Wray

Muri Lelu
: For those not familiar with The Outside Institute, how would you explain your mission? 

Laura Chavez Silverman: The Outside Institute fosters a greater connection to the Earth. By nurturing humanity’s powers of observation and innate affinity for the wild, we hope to inspire joyful awareness and an essential reciprocity between all beings, regardless of species or race. 

ML: You describe yourself as a Founding Naturalist. What is the technical definition of this, and what does your daily embodiment of it look like? 

LCS: As I see it, a naturalist is someone deeply enthralled by—and actively engaged in the study of—the organisms and environments that surround them. Every day, I venture into the landscape to observe and learn about whatever natural phenomena I encounter.

Muri Lelu in conversation with muse Laura Chavez Silverman
Image Credit: Kimisa H.

ML: We've been taught that to build intimacy with the natural world, we need to be fully immersed in it. How does your work challenge that notion? 

LCS: I stay away from the phrase “natural world,” because I think it sets up a false dichotomy between the world of humans and the world of plants and animals. There is only one world and we all share it—including wild creatures, which are everywhere, including the concrete jungles.

ML: We firmly believe in the power of plants — including the "taboo" ones — to bring us back into harmony and healing with ourselves. What are a few things that plants have helped you heal in body, mind or spirit? 

LCS: I have long looked to plants as my exclusive source of healing—as food, as medicine and as gurus that have revealed to me the beauty and fullness of life.

Muri Lelu in conversation with muse Laura Chavez SilvermanImage Credit: Noah Kalina

ML: What does your daily skincare routine look like? Does that change on days that you spend more time outdoors? 

LCS: The products I use on my skin are all plant-based and minimally processed. I am very attuned to fragrance and love essential oils and natural plant aromas like the flower-forward scent of Muri Lelu. Since I am outdoors all the time, I often wear St John’s wort oil for sun protection and essential oils such as rose geranium and cedar to repel ticks.

ML: The definition of self-care continues to expand and shift, sometimes drifting far from what it is at its core: a well-rounded practice of replenishing the self. When you strip it all back, what do you consider essential acts of self-care? 

LCS: Every act has the potential to replenish the self. Drawing boundaries, finding work that is fulfilling and letting go of negativity are as essential to me as meditating, drinking enough water and exercising regularly.

Muri Lelu in conversation with muse Laura Chavez Silverman Image Credit: Stephan Schacher

ML: Favorite flower? 

LCS: Who could choose just one? Favorite spring flowers are bloodroot, trillium, dogwood and black locust. 

ML: Most subversive thing you've done lately? 

LCS: Relinquished my fear of turning 60.

ML: When do you feel most beautiful in your own skin? 

LCS: When I am in the forest.

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