*Are you happy at the moment?
I’m happy because I’m present – I’ve been so numb for years after 27 surgeries and a decade of medical trauma, that for me, when I can feel, I feel at peace and happy – I would rather feel everything than nothing at all.
*If you could go back and say anything to your 16-year-old self now – what would it be?
Things might not always go as you plan them, but that’s okay. *Make* things happen for a reason. Learn to find the beauty in the detours, and above all, remember how amazing it is to be alive – find the miracles in every day. Try not to stress out about the little things. Always remember what is important to you – the values that ring true in your soul. Use those values as arrows to navigate your course when life feels uncertain – your values will always lead you back home to your heart.
*What’s the most important thing you’ve learned this year?
Don’t be afraid of failing – be afraid of not trying at all. Listen to your instincts, trust them, and experience the liberation and excitement that comes to saying “yes”. But also don’t be afraid of “not trying everything” – the boat will always come around, and will be there for you when you are ready. Push yourself to take that risk, but don’t push yourself so far over the edge that you forget what YOU really need.
Balance is everything!
*What do you most want to achieve in the next 12 months?
I want to get my story out there and keep inspiring other people to find beauty in their own obstacles and detours. I want to take the one-woman show I wrote about my life not only to theatres, but to hospitals, women’s shelters, support groups – anywhere I can make a difference and help others. I also hope to start putting together a book of my writings and my mixed media art.
*What’s your secret to happiness?
Gratitude and presence – that’s it. Just being thankful to be here, feeling whatever I am feleing, in this very moment It’s a beautiful thing to be alive.
*What one ritual or practice keeps you grounded?
Going down to my art studio, blasting the radio and painting for hours.
*What’s your biggest regret?
My 27th surgery was an elective one to reverse a colostomy bag I had. Because my anatomy is so complicated, it ended up going horribly wrong and left me in worse shape than I was starting out. Of course I wish I had never attempted this surgery, but for the first time in my life, my life feels bigger than my medical circumstances.
*What’s the most important lesson you’ve taught your kid(s)?
Love who you are. Follow whatever your heart is singing to you.
*What bad habit would you most like to change about yourself?
Working too much – I don’t feel fully comfortable putting work aside and just relaxing, mostly because I love what I do so much.
*Aside from motherhood/fatherhood and marriage what are you most proud of in your life?
I didn’t let this decade of medical trauma make me a victim. It’s made me stronger – a resilient warrior with a deeper purpose and more to give.
*When were you happiest?
When I was a carefree innocent teen. The happiness I feel now is a deeper one though, a wiser happiness. Harship makes you stronger.
*What ten words best describe you?
Joyful, silly, creative, contemplative, passionate, quirky, stubborn, resilient, sensitive, determined
Amy Oestreicher is a 28 year old actress, musician, teacher, composer, dancer, writer, artist, yogi, foodie, and general lover of life. Surviving and thriving through a coma, 27 surgeries and other trauma has inspired Amy to share her story with the world through her passionate desire to create and help others. Piecing her life together after her initial dreams of performing musical theatre took on a beautiful detour into broader horizons. Amy has written, directed and starred in a one woman musical about her life, Gutless & Grateful which she has performed in theatres, for conferences, support groups, workshops and fundraisers since its NewYork premiere in 2012. Amy has flourished as a mixed media and acrylic artist, with her art in multiple galleries and mounting dozens of solo art shows, and continues to share her story through her art, music, theatre and writings. Through creativity and her own journey, she hopes to inspire others to find the blessings in every day.
More information on her unique story, as well as her creative ventures can be found at amyoes.com, and visit her blog for her newest art, music and inspirational musings. You can also visit her Etsy shop.