Vitally You, Feeling Younger While Growing Older

Celebrating the Life Cycle of a Woman with Amy Boyle

Episode Summary

My friend, the renowned journalist and photographer Amy Boyle, and I discussed the expansive nature of a woman’s lifecycle, how curiosity is fuel for vitality and a growth mindset, and a photographer's lens on life.

Episode Notes

After catching up with my friend Amy Boyle recently, whom I’ve known since 2010, I felt compelled to share her full circle story and how it relates to a woman’s lifecycle. Amy’s story reminds me of how remarkable women are. At every stage, from mom to caregiver, from artist to teacher, from professional to being in service, women have the capacity to shapeshift to whatever situation presents at any given time. 

Amy vulnerably shares how the experience of caring for her mother as she prepared to transition became a treasured gift of service. Instead of halting her career or fighting what was happening, she simply allowed its trajectory to shapeshift. There’s so much wisdom in allowing for life’s great unfoldings.  

As a photographer, Amy recalls that the lens is an extension of her heart. Through it, she sees and captures the goodness, beauty, energy, and spark of the world. Her vision is contagious! She then walks us through how she decided to take a leap into journalism, first as a student and now as a teacher. 

The story of the courage and curiosity that runs through Amy’s family, from her mother to her son, will warm your heart. Don’t miss this positivity boost! 

If you are enjoying these conversations, please subscribe and spread the love by leaving a review and sharing it with your friends. We are jugglers, seers, and feelers. We are shapeshifting experts, and our bodies are literally designed to expand, contract, give birth, and repeat. 

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, TuneIn, or on your favorite podcast platform. 

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Episode Transcription

Dana Frost  00:07

Welcome to Vitally You, a podcast created to introduce you to the tools that will be your roadmap for feeling younger while growing older. I'm your host Dana Frost, a wellness expert, life coach and energy medicine practitioner. Here's what you can expect conversations about vitality from the inside out with guest experts in the field of health, culture and spirituality and solo episodes along the way from me where I do deep dives into the topics of aging, heart intelligence, energy, medicine, and your innate capacity to heal. If you want to feel younger, while growing older, this is the place for you. 

Dana Frost  00:52

Hi, everyone. Welcome to the Vitally You Podcast. I'm Dana Frost, your host coming to you from Chicago this month. I have a respiratory situation going on. So I know my voice sounds a little bit different. A few weeks ago, I was catching up with a longtime Chicago friend and entrepreneur who I met years ago in a female entrepreneurs networking group. Her name is Amy Boyle. She's a renowned multimedia journalist and photographer based in Chicago with over 18 years of experience. Her work is recognized for its vibrant storytelling. She's been featured in major news publications, elevating the visibility of businesses and events. Amy is passionate about highlighting unique stories, particularly those of women to efforts like the speaking of phenomenal podcast and the 52 phenomenal women project. 

Dana Frost  01:45

So while we were talking, I was congratulating her on her recent master's from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism media and integrated marketing communications. When I learned that she is becoming an adjunct lecturer at Medill this month, I was so amazed and impressed I had goosebumps. And I thought, isn't it amazing? A woman's lifecycle. Really, we are remarkable. And I was like, I really want to talk about this on the podcast. I met Amy when we both had children at home, I had five and she had four, she raised four boys. That's no joke. And we were solopreneurs at the time balancing families in our craft. We've seen different iterations of our work based on responsibility is our curiosities, meeting professional and personal needs. And this brings me to you the vitally you community of women, who I'm sure you share this situation of balancing the demands of home work and supporting multiple generations, following curiosities and seasons of life. 

Dana Frost  02:50

Women, we are jugglers. We are seniors, we see what other people can't see. We are feelers. And we are seekers. Our hands stir many different pots, we rise and fall through seasons of life shape shifting to what arises and calls. I'm going to tell you, I don't see men having the same capacity for shape shifting as women. It dawned on me that our bodies provide the gateway. And the gateway is our menstrual cycles. We are literally designed from a physiological perspective to adjust, expand, contract, give birth and repeat. We move through 1000s of cycles in one lifetime. A woman's life is nothing less than a miracle. Are you feeling me? Ladies? listeners? Are you feeling me? It's really remarkable what our bodies can do. If you've been listening to my podcast, you know that we can start with our breath. And we can begin to moderate our nervous system. And through our breathing patterns and scientifically proven breathing techniques. We can use our breath to connect in with the body. 

Dana Frost  04:13

The breath is the expression of the soul. It's the first thing you do physically. When you come into this earth. It's the last thing you do when you leave your heart rate variability is the greatest when you're born it flatlines when you transition our body show us the way through this. Inhale and exhale where we receive the we give, we take in we release. Our heart rate moves with that inhale and exhale with that flow. The cascades of hormones that get released actually also begin with this exchange between the breath the heart rate variability and the nervous system through the vagus nerve. And so our hormones system that's tied into To our cycle, it's all connected. It's a miracle. And it's how the body and the mind and the soul work together. We want it to work together in harmony, so that we can fulfill our mission on this planet. Today, I invited Amy to the conversation, so we could chat about her life cycle. And I think you will see yourself in her story. Join me and welcoming Amy to the show. Amy, it is such a pleasure to have you on the podcast this week. Thank you so much for being here.

Amy Boyle  05:38

Oh, my pleasure, Dana. It's, it's great to chat with you.

Dana Frost  05:42

Amy and I have known one another since 2010 2011. We were in crave Chicago, which was a female entrepreneurial networking organization. And both of us are managing navigating our desires, the things that we wanted in terms of our professions, and big families, Amy has four boys, if you can imagine she raised four boys. They're all adults now. And I was raising five kids, you all know that. And we had this understanding in terms of the reality of our lives. 

Dana Frost  06:18

And I've watched Amy, I wanted to have her on the podcast, because I've watched her navigate her photography, business and adapt to the different seasons of her life, and to always be in a growth mindset, no matter what was happening. And so recently, Amy and I were talking and she was sharing that she's now going to be teaching a class at Northwestern Medill School of Journalism. And I was like, Amy, that's so cool. Tell me more. And I was like, This is a story for the podcast, the trajectory of women and the way that we adapt ourselves for different seasons, and how we're able to manage our priorities in our personal world and our desires and priorities in our professional world. So, Amy, I would love for you to share. I don't know when I say all of that, what comes to mind for you, Amy,

Amy Boyle  07:12

I totally agree about the different seasons in our lives. And I think honestly, for me, the growth mindset comes to the fact that I am a very, very curious person, I need crave to know more, whether it's technology and how to utilize it, whether it's how to build community, and then with my photography, with the boys with that are now men, three out of the four of them are into photography, videography, teaching and journalism. So we have had this organic situation in our home, their entire existence, where I feel like we're always growing together and elevating each other. So it's been this really beautiful thing for me, actually decided 2017 that I was going to go back to school. And as life has it, you can make plans, but the world will have other plans for you and said, you're gonna be putting that on hold, because I took care of my mother while she was ill. But then eventually I you know, I started up the school in 2022, and got my master's degree in journalism, and it's just been going on from there. I

Dana Frost  08:25

don't want to miss because I actually it had slipped my mind that you were taking care of your mother. And that's another really important detail for the listeners for women, because so many women find themselves in the position of caring for an ailing parent. And at the time, you still had sons at home. And so you were juggling that. And oftentimes we have to put something that we really desire on hold to be of service to someone else. And it doesn't mean that we don't get to eventually get to what we want to do, which so that's just a beautiful lead in that you did eventually get to go finish your masters. Yeah. And

Amy Boyle  09:06

that without maybe even a little bit more of a introspective, is this really what I want to do. Right. So I had a very specific moment where for two years, I did a project called the 52 phenomenal women project where I profiled a woman a week with photos and her words, and my blog and social media, the pandemic hits about 80 out of 104. And somehow I manage through the grace of goodness and social distancing to be able to finish this project. And literally as this project comes to a close, I'm starting to get ready. The momentum is rolling and like I'm thinking about writing a book. It's going to be a book. I have all this wonderful, beautiful content that I need to share with the world. The Edit, came back from the editor. It was like a Saturday in May three years ago. And that same day I got a call that my mother had fallen, and everything stopped. And for the next nine months, it sadly, it wasn't any longer. But everything changed. And it wouldn't have had it any other way. But it was one of those, oh, you're going full steam ahead and one area, and then you reevaluate, and you figure it out. So I'm grateful that I was able to circle back and get under school and do the things that I was doing. But it wasn't without a whole lot of questioning of what's going on. Yeah, so

Dana Frost  10:35

tell me what's the what are the strengths, or the virtues or qualities that you had to draw on? Because that's a big, emotional scenario. From my perspective, it feels like that was that your experience? Amy?

Amy Boyle  10:48

I guess, in so many ways, I was very lucky that my mom was such an incredibly patient woman, I wish she put herself first more that someday if I could talk to previous her and say, Gosh, I really, but she was such a servant for others, willingly not as a martyr either as like this bright light that just gave. And so it was as though these days were long and hard. And I was up against things i terms, I didn't know things I wasn't going to know for a long time. Just the fact to serve her. And give back. It was a gift. I hope that explains it. Yeah, definitely the hardest days, but having my boys were mature enough, the younger two, were in their late teens. And it was also a really beautiful thing for them to witness right? How full circle moments come into our lives. My dad always just had the same like I pray for a happy death. That was his ultimate goal in life. And so to be a part of her exit, on her terms, to the best it could be was very, something truly tremendous. I have

Dana Frost  12:04

full body goosebumps right now. And I don't think we imagined that we would go to this place. But I think it's really beautiful because it speaks to, in our modern world, we chase the temptation is to chase so many different things. And when we talk about like, I wanted to talk to you about this desire and your growth and how you've adapted. And you see in the midst of life, there's always these opportunities, invitations to slow down and to be present for another person. And I would just want to say I see you and I honor you for how you took the invitation to honor your mom, and really make that a beautiful family experience. So thank you, Amy. Oh, gosh, yeah, it's one of those things that as she used to say to Shirley to quote, Dr. Seuss, don't

Amy Boyle  13:03

cry that it's over smile that to happen kind of thing. Wow. Yeah.

Dana Frost  13:08

Well, what were some other things that your mom taught you, I'm really loving this thread here.

Amy Boyle  13:12

Gosh, honestly, I think part of my Creek going back to photography, and on the show that you were just on with me, we talked about the the on the other side of fear. And she never had fear for trying new things. She was endlessly curious, picked up photography, crocheted calligraphy, oil, painting all these different things as a way to express herself. And when you see that growing up, it's not hard to want to copy or play with the tools and then find the one that resonates like sewing never stuck with me. That is just not my jam. I appreciate it. But idea of drawing or picking up a camera that has changed my life. That is who I am. That is how I see the world is a frame at a time because I say it's my superpower to freeze time and to give him memories back to people in the work that I do. So. Yeah. And I think that all stems from her. Yeah,

Dana Frost  14:11

I love that. Yeah. So now we see the threat of three generations in your family. Yeah, yeah, that's really beautiful. Okay, so this question is just like burning inside of me. What do you see on the other side of the lens? What do you see? Because you're like a renowned photographer. What are you thinking and seeing when you're capturing those moments? Well,

Amy Boyle  14:34

we were at a retreat in Miami, Florida. I however many years ago was now and I took the initiative was one of all of us that were in attendance had the opportunity to stand up and give testimony to like who we are what we work on what's our passionate about. And that was so not normally my thing to do. And one of the things I came to a realization was that I said that day and it's now become something I say all the time, as my lens is a reflection of my heart is an extension of my heart. And so what I see on the other side is, goodness, beauty, spark energy potential. I recently had a client come to me, and preface the whole introduction email with, I'm not comfortable in front of the camera, I've never taken a good photo lalalalala all these things, and I better say earpiece, and I wrote her back. And I said, it's my job and my honor and privilege to see you way better than we tend to see ourselves. And then like, and not posing you in weird ways, but to bring out you. That's the honor of what I see on the other side, just having connection. You know, we've had a handful of sessions together as well,

Dana Frost  15:55

while I was going to say, I've been on the other side of your lens. And every time you bring that out, and you disarm my inhibitions, you bring me out. And so Amy is the photographer of my podcast image. And, you know, most of the photos that I think all the photos I use right now that are professional are from Amy's lens. And so I know that to be really true. And that's, that's really a gift to be able to help people feel comfortable when they're having their photos taken. So that's really beautiful. Okay, Amy, let's talk about this big leap that you've taken, because you know, there going to be listeners who are wanting to branch out and do something different or expand whatever it is that they're doing. So tell me, I mean, you're going to be the professor for a class, a Graduate School of Journalism. And how did you take that leap?

Amy Boyle  16:55

What are the things I guess I didn't realize I was just talking to a friend earlier this week. When I applied to graduate school, it a fill out the application, but then you could submit a subliminally, you know, subliminal, subliminal, a secondary piece of information, I think, subliminal is wanting to say there are mistakes, right? Yeah. So I apparently I reread it recently. And in my statement, I said, I would like to join the faculty. I didn't even know I wrote that. I wrote that three years ago. That's like, wow. And then another interesting thing that should resonate with your listeners is I also had like, I have a university journal that I've done a university row, and I was writing some of my things down this year, at one of the things I decided to write in January, I'd like to get paid to speak. Now I do have a podcast. So that could have been that. But within a few weeks, I got a call and said, Would you like to teach this class coming up this summer? And I'm like, that's getting paid to speak. That's pretty amazing. I was like, All right. So yeah, did I have hope? I answered the question there. I kind of

Dana Frost  18:04

did. Yeah, I think that that's amazing. So how do you prepare yourself? Because, okay, this is just your unique situation. And it's, you're going to be teaching for the first time. But you could apply this to doing something else for the first time. Tell me how you prepare yourself for this new thing at I don't remember how old you are. I know you're past 50?

Amy Boyle  18:29

Yes, I have currently 53.

Dana Frost  18:31

Yeah. So how did you prepare yourself for this new position? 

Amy Boyle  18:36

Honestly, it's waking up with excitement. Knowing in my gut, I want more, and not giving that more a definition, and being more as fuel and energy and that butterfly excitement for potential and not knowing I've actually kind of like the nebula SNESs of what's next. I'm very hopeful person. I'm positive in the expecting that it will be better than previous not like because it has to be but just because that's the way I'm going. I feel like that's how I prepare is that I look forward to tomorrow with excitement.

Dana Frost  19:16

That's a great little nugget of truth. You get your mindset in a hopeful place. Yeah.

Amy Boyle  19:23

And don't get me wrong. There are days that are like wicked down and hard and reality sets in and you kind of wonder, is this the path? What was I thinking? Did I bite off more than I could chew?

Dana Frost  19:35

How do you support yourself in those moments? What are the tools that you grab a hold up in those moments?

Amy Boyle  19:42

I try to stop and like reassess. Like if it's a feeling that I just need to experience experience, but kind of give it like a shelf life like, okay, you've got 10 minutes to moan and groan get it out. Go blank. I can't believe this happened to me or Whatever the world served me that day, or I allowed it to take me down, but give it its space. And sometimes that can be 10 minutes. Sometimes it can be two days, it can be longer, but giving it like, this is not forever, right? This is a moment, it's maybe a redirection, maybe it's wake up and pay attention to something else. So those are things that I do, you know, when a funk were to arise and does.

Dana Frost  20:26

I love that that's very practical. And I love give it a shelf life I used to, when I hit a crisis in my life, I had the visual of the bookshelf. Okay, I cannot continue to swim in this, I need to put it on the shelf, go do something else. And I can come back to it at another time.

Amy Boyle  20:47

Yeah, I agree. I mean, because sometimes we're not, we're not able to address all the things that we're faced with at that moment. Absolutely. And acknowledge that and give yourself grace, because I don't think enough of us. I certainly haven't in the past, you know, just go on to the next thing, do it. But if we need to revisit it, or you need some quiet time, or however it is that you process or do you need a lot of people around you do you need, you know, your squad to cheer you on. But I tend to be more reflective and introspective, but that's just where sometimes I draw my energy from. So making sure that I do that.

Dana Frost  21:24

That's really beautiful. Amy, I am so excited for you. And this next venture and I love the nuggets that you've given us, I mean, this thread through your family line, it really touched me. And I just want to say thank you, because I'm really encouraged and inspired by the story of your mom and her curiosity and how that was planted in you and planted in your sons. And thank you. I feel like it's like this episode is a boost of positivity and encouragement. Oh,

Amy Boyle  22:02

I'm glad I could share. And it's another way that I get to thank her for being a part of our lives and now indirectly the part of your listeners live. So you know, I'd love to share stories like that. It's so beautiful.

Dana Frost  22:16

Okay, Amy, I'm going to ask you the question I ask all of my guests. What does feeling younger, while growing older mean to you?

Amy Boyle  22:24

I think most recently, it's, for me personally getting in touch with them. I like to call them my inner seven year old I was two years ago, I took a solo trip for a month. And I've never done that in my entire life. And it was one of the best things I ever could have done even though it might, how am I gonna fill my day is it's just me by myself. And one day I found myself under a tree sitting on the grass. And it was a beautiful warm day. And I was in France. And I mean, nothing gets better than that just by itself. And I was so excited by the thought that I got to be unapologetically me. And like, Finally, I'm a user. I've heard more and more people say this, like whether it's a certain age, or just a mindset, but like, gosh, that was so freeing. And I've never been I still can't do a cartwheel. But in my mind, I was doing cartwheels all the way up and down the field because I let myself go. You did that. That's so incredible. And I can celebrate that. That

Dana Frost  23:24

is so beautiful. And I have the visual and I have goosebumps. So Amy, thank you so much for sharing your positivity with us this week on the podcast. Oh,

Amy Boyle  23:34

thank you so much, Dana. I appreciate it.

Dana Frost  23:38

Thank you for joining us this week on the Vitally You podcast. Amy's links will be in the show notes. Be sure to check out her phenomenal women podcast. Now last week I mentioned a very special event that I am hosting on June 20. Well, I need to tell you that the details are changing and I will keep you updated as soon as I know more. If you are new to the podcast, please subscribe and review helped me reach 100 reviews in honor of my 100th episode. I've been on the 66 review for a couple of weeks. So give me one more review community I would love that that makes my heart sing it makes my face light up. And until next week. I am streaming love from my heart to yours. Bye everybody.