Alisha Sommer: Writer + Photographer
How do you start your day?
In the summer months, I wake up before dawn to water the garden and the lawn. There is something so peaceful about being one of the first ones awake to see the arrival of morning. Once I've watered the garden and set the sprinkler, I drink a large mason jar of water and eat a simple breakfast before sitting down for coffee and morning pages.
What do you do when you are overwhelmed or stressed?
When I am feeling overwhelmed and stressed I double-down on nourishing acts of self-care. This means I try to spend extra time outside by taking the kids out to a park or by simply sitting on the front porch to do my work. I might take a short nap in the afternoon, schedule time to hang out with a friend, or dive into a book.
What gives you the feeling of true bliss within?
True bliss comes when I am able to truly stand in the present and notice all of the beauty the universe has gifted to me. I find bliss in gathering with women and sharing sacred space. I find bliss in quality time with my husband. I find bliss in the way the prairie grass blows in the wind, or in the way the first hot cup of coffee feels in my hands, or in the coolness of a cotton pillow in the summer time.
What are you currently reading?
I just finished the beautifully poetic book "Braiding Sweetgrass" by Robin Wall Kimmerer and am about to begin "Heart Berries" by Terese Marie Mailhot, in addition to other books about wine education.
What are you listening to right now?
On repeat is the special playlist made for this year's Fever Dreams Collective retreat participants. It's full of some soul-stirring, feet-tapping, hip-swaying music.
What does nourishment look like to you?
Nourishment looks like a satisfying meal. It looks like feet planted firmly on the ground and an open heart. It looks like plenty of rest and water, good relationships with loved ones, the right amount of decadence. It looks like lots of time for creative expression and inspiration. And I am always nourished by deep connection with kindred spirits.
How do you make space for play?
I play through self-portraiture. Every morning is devoted to a self-portrait in which I'm always experimenting with light and composition and story.
What are some favorite mantras you cling to?
I love this life now (via Hannah Marcotti).
I am living my soul's purpose.
I am free to be me.
I can do hard things.
Please share some words of wisdom you've learned over the years
This year I will been a wife and a mother for 11 years and when I look back at who I was in those early years, I can see so much courage in the heart of that younger woman. Whenever I begin to feel afraid or hesitant about a parenting choice or a life choice or whether or not I am worthy of pursuing a dream, I try to think back to that younger self that wasn't afraid of anything—or at least, if she was afraid, she tried any way. I think back to that younger self and remember all of the really difficult experiences I was able to overcome. I think back to how time and time again, I've shown myself that when I stay true to myself and use my voice, that when I stay committed to community and connection, that good things always come.
Alisha Sommer is a freelance writer and photographer in Chicago. She blends her love of words with a talent for creating visually stunning images to create authentic and engaging content. Alisha guides businesses and brands to their authentic voice, helping them connect with their audience through engaging storytelling. When she’s not helping clients, she facilitates in-person and virtual writing workshops. Visit her website here or follow Alisha on Instagram.