Meghan Sullivan is part owner and operator of Paris? Optimystic Movement dance and yoga series as well as ambassador of the Paris Kindness Project. Part Maltese, part kick back Colorado hippie, part United Kingdom and all American she won’t leave Paris until the seeds of PkP are in full bloom and she has every man woman and child planking for seven minutes straight.
You have an outstanding British accent, but when asked where you re from you represent America, with thug life pride, expliquez?
I spent my life between both countries, however America captured my soul & spirit truly. She gave me confidence, taught me the importance of believing in myself, the power of entrepreneurship & perseverance with extremely hard work. She opened my eyes to true and untouched beauty layered deep within its amazing, amazing national parks. She also gave me freeways for days through canyon lands and mountains that blend into magnificent oceans.
In the wake of what’s happened (paris attaque, the extreme right taking over politically) what’s happening in this city, what do you go as an individual to persevere?
You go to your tribe and then welcome people in. Paris still grieves, exactly a month later, people are turning to one another more and more. Life is short and precious, life’s pain–that everyone goes through confirms this, but it’s through this darkness we can find a light within us all that doesn’t stop burning. And in regards to politics; the extreme right Political parties in France are a mild comparison to what Americas putting forth.
What are the best places in the city to perform acts of pkp?
The metro, there are endless opportunities to perform act of kindness! From assisting a mother and her stroller, to giving up your seat to someone who looks like they need to sit down, to feeding the homeless, allowing people to hop in for free with your ticket ( at their own risk of course but who hasn?t been there )–to connecting with strangers.
And it can all start simply, with a smile. With your friends, if they need help, assist. From moving flats, covering one another with work, providing emotional support, our friends are the best place to start practicing compassion for one another. And lastly, yourself.
How many kind acts a week do you do to benefit your mental and emotional well being ? Kindness starts with loving yourself, and when you love yourself unconditionally you can then love others in the same space of radical acceptance.
Tell me three of the most rewarding experiences you’ve had in Paris, pkp related or not.
I am a full believer in the more you give the more you get, and you get by giving without expectation darling. That said, the blessings I?ve had return my way since PKP started have been amazing: free museum entrance, complimentary drinks everywhere from Starbucks to Strogoff?so many random acts of kindness being thrown back my way has made me doubt this city needs any kindness incentive!
People in Paris have been so incredibly warm I?ve had nothing but support along my journey, it has been humbling. I wouldn’t have been able to do what I love without the generosity of the people who believed in me, including a very special Laumonier family who provided a roof over my head when it was impossible for me to do so freelancing independently.
And my students! My students and my friends are the best ambassadors of PKP. They report to each other on the daily what goodness they have witnessed.
So I would challenge you, this week, to give back to your community and see what happens. The sheer act of giving makes you happy. And through enriching others experiences in your day to day life with you enrich your own life. ?We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give? – Winston Churchill
Favorite places to eat, drink coffee, and drink?
I stay loyal to the 9 & 10eme neighborhoods?conveniently located by Studio Bleu where I teach, and there are some amazing hidden treasures of restaurants located in this fun, ghetto-fabulous vibrant hood.
Bulma – Have you ever had a bo bun in sandwich ? It is divine. This is my Friday lunch tradition apr?s yoga with the girls. Asian fusion, healthy, fresh and Fred (the chef) will give you the perfect recommendation if you have no idea what to order. This is the best banh mi I’ve ever tried and a damn good twist on a traditional baguette.
French American Bakery aka FAB ? THE BEST cheesecake in Paris and coffee ( if you can handle the strength of their espresso). Vincent does Passionfruit, Lime, Chestnut Rhum! and just kills it, so light and fluffy, oh god darling this has become habitual.
Last but not least the new and the heavenly Strogroff.
Impeccable shabby chic modern interior, gorgeous layout, fun staff ( Hello Nikita )–the best tartare and ceviche I?ve had in the city. I’m also bias because they play nothing but underground hip hop, a rarity in the Paris dining room. There?s a Sunday night tradition forming. Order the Thon and avocado Taratre with the bengale sauce paired with the Menetou salon wine, thank me after.
With that kind of consistently, tell me about the relationships you’ve formed with your loyalty to these haunts.
I’m a creature of habit. Once I?ve found what I like, and established relationships why venture elsewhere. The food is as fresh as the customer service, I absolutely admire when who greets you sincerely, prepares your food with passion and takes care of you also happens to own the establishment! They care!
So a huge thanks to the staff of all of these places and their conceptual creativity. My girlfriends and I feel taken care of ev-e-ry time.
Have any entrepreneurial endeavors transpired because of this?
From being so open with people where ever I go?I?ve definitely made some great connections, life is good with that Give! Definitely in the world of yoga and dance, I’m surrounded by talented artists and hard working individuals.
It?s always inspiring to find out what my students do for a living especially in a city like Paris. It?s also been an honour to work with a yoga family of teachers I admire and respect. We all support each other.
On a social platform I want to promote as many musicians, local business owners and teachers as I possibly can! Essentially, create a tribe dedicated to creating change.
To dream a dream, no limitations, what does pkp look like in two years, five, ten?
I hope that within the year PKP is hosting monthly donation based yoga & meditation classes, each to profit a different cause. This a great way for our community to get together to support charities we believe in.
PKP is definitely open to students sharing what they are passionate to raise awareness for.
I could personally just teach yoga to save the whales for the rest of my career. In five, ten years I hope Im still here on starting kindness projects in other cities. But ultimately we have no expectations.
Optimystic Movement is run by both you and one Danielle O?Reilly, how did you meet and conceptualize your now flourishing business?
I met Danielle through teaching at a lovely studio in the 6eme Rituel. Her mystic mamma, gorgeous soul, indie hippy spirit captivated me immediately, not to mention her immense classic And contemporary dance talent, incredible. Our very first meeting Optimystic Movement was formed: 2 girls, 4 glasses of rose and a dream.
Who’s your favorite student?
I love every single one of my students but I certainly have some favorites that make me smile? In no particular order: My first time yogis that come to me in jeans with no mat. Mad love and respect for all of you that have done a 90 minute vinyasa class in denim.
My sock wearers, regardless of my light suggestion to practice barefoot you insist on keeping the socks on, I love you all, I love your warm yogi toes and I love that if you don’t want to take off your socks then you don’t. It?s commitment in its finest form.
My tight wearers! Tights are not yoga pants and your underwear is showing. This always gives me a smile in our first down ward dog, I am sure you are my boys favorite students too.
And Estelle, sweet wild Estelle, who once turned up late to a full 50 person yoga class?not a problem I give her my mat in the front center of the room. It’s not until her first posture did I realize she was rocking a straight up thong leotard– This was by far the best class I?ve ever taught I don’t think I stopped smiling once.
I teach Vinyasa fusion, but Estelle comes from the wonderful world of Ashtanga. So what?s a girl like Estelle to do in a power yoga class? Her own ashtanga advanced series, front and center darling! I honour her authenticity. If I see in your eyes you may be crazier than I am, I support you.
What is your ideal Sunday?
Lobster eggs benedict with grapefruit mimosas, in bed, followed by some afternoon delight. Perhaps a siesta. Realistically, I am a working woman. I stay committed to sexy Sunday?s Ballet Barre and 90 minute Urban Flow.
Chanel, Champagne, Sancerre, Chevre, Pierre Herm?s.
What is the point of a plank?
Google the muscles used darling. If you want to eat that croissant, that croque Monsieur, that Paris New York burger, and god knows I do, plank every day. For the rest of your life.
Were you apart of the planking in public trend?
No, I jumped on the bandwagon years after the 2009 craze– that started in the UK– and planked consecutively every day for many months in 2011. Then I forgot about it. My students and I have been back on plank for 6 months, it sounds like a drug?we started with two minutes and have graduated to six.
Plus 100 push ups, I?ll retire once every woman in Paris can do them ensemble with grace and ease. The point is: waistline is only getting smaller, my posture is getting stronger, my yoga practice has more control and I haven’t had to decrease my chocolate consumption. Winning.
Can I get a photo of you planking inappropriately between two cherubs over a Greek mosaic in a mus?e?
You can get a photo of me planking inappropriately anywhere.
With so many years of yoga training and teaching, can you balance a tray of champagne on your foot in dancer pose?
I have yet to try, but there are a few things I can do with champagne so I’m up for the challenge, you are buying the champagne?
What’s your worst fear?
Other than a surprise spider, nothing I would put on paper or say out loud to the universe. If you root everything you do in Love then all fear will be demolished, or at the very least counter balanced.
What’s the Mona Lisa smiling about?
All the tourists lined up to see her. And people wearing socks in yoga.
And that perseverant flame inside. Life is fleeting, you’ve got to rage against the dying of the light, she certainly has.