Written by Kerrie Alexander
Animals molt to shed their outer layer and allow them to grow bigger or prepare for their next life stage.
Watching this incredible process gave one Hervey Bay mum a sign that it was time to move forward after struggling through a marriage breakdown and 20 stress-filled years of working to newspaper deadlines in the media industry.
When printing of regional newspapers came to a halt three years ago, Peta Johansen took a year off work to evaluate life and try to figure out what was next.
She had lost her mum nine years prior but only decided two years ago to head out on a bush retreat and spread her mum’s ashes in the hinterlands of the Northern Rivers.
This is where The Shedding journey began.
The Shedding is a shared community space on Fraser Street in Torquay for the purpose of providing opportunities for small local businesses and community groups to focus on all things creative.
“While I was scattering mum’s ashes I made a bit of a speech to myself to say, ‘if she’s here, give me a sign’, but there was absolutely nothing,” Peta said with a laugh.
“The next day walking back to base camp, on the same path, there was this Monarch Butterfly coming out of its cocoon and I sat down with it, put my finger out and it sat on my finger drying its wings.
“I felt that my mum was not only with me but knew this next part of my life was about shedding; growing my wings and doing something different… and this space is literally a shed!
“Everything I have done to create this has just fallen into my lap. It has been ridiculously easy. I feel like that’s my mum’s magic behind it. It was just meant to be.”
Peta has a background in teaching Zumba and knows only too well what hassle and cost is involved in hiring a big hall or a full-time office space.
So, Peta put the call out to the community to see if there would be any interest in hiring a comfortable space for a minimal fee, and the feedback was overwhelming.
“I got a lot of people come back to me saying we need something like this in Hervey Bay,” Peta said.
“It can be expensive for sole traders or women in business who don’t want an office space full time but still need somewhere away from home.
“I just needed to figure out a career that I would love but still support the lifestyle of a single parent.
“I needed energy at the end of the day to give my kids.”
Her friend’s hair salon came up for lease at the same time which was exactly the area she needed to bring the business to life.
She said it had great energy and was the kind of space that could support her vision of creating a supportive community of like-minded people.“The people
who use the venue for their sessions get great feedback and they love coming into the space, taking ownership of it, and using whatever they need.
“It becomes their own space, and they feel comfortable in it.
“If you’re just starting out and feel like you belong in the space, that’s massive.
“Your participants pick up on that, so it’s a big thing.”
The Shedding was a huge hit and is now home to a community of reiki, art and craft sessions, one-on-one counselling sessions, social support services, yoga, embodied dance, children’s storytelling and workshops of varying kinds.
“We keep it low cost and flexible especially people with one-on-one clients.
“I haven’t had any issues and everyone that has come in has been so positive.
“It’s not just hiring space – it’s a community. We are all on a path of personal development and there’s lots of people to connect with.”
The business has given Peta the freedom and flexibility to work the hours she desires and be available to her children who previously suffered from anxiety.
“I just want to be present and enjoy my children. I’m just starting to still learn how to relax.
“Deadlines always fell on school pick-up times. I’d be literally yelling at the kids to get in the car so I could get home and meet those deadlines.
“The kids were constantly rushing and had anxiety about going places with me because we were in a constant rush.”
Now, the whole dynamic of the household has changed, Peta said.
“When my marriage broke down, I was setting the tone of the house and it wasn’t healthy.
“They were so strung out, but now they are just going so great and pursuing the things they are passionate about.”
The Shedding is also home to Peta’s own movement class, Magic Nation. It offers embodied dance to adults and storytelling sessions to children with Fairy Waverley (a very close relative to Peta).
“Magic Nation, for the kids, is all about increasing their creativity by getting them to think about how they want the world to work. Their imaginations are limitless.
“So many activities are screen based now and they don’t get to explore options so this is a blank canvas for them to create whatever they want.
“I just love working with children.”
To find out more about hiring some space at The Shedding or to join in any of the activities visit the shedding Facebook page, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone Peta on 0400 255 116.