Q and A with Claira from Helena, MT, living in Missoula, MT
“You deserve to thrive, simply because you are alive.”
Q: What are you passionate about?
A: I am passionate about pro-social living, ethical business, health, food, luxury, freedom, spiritual evolution, my long-term partner (Zac), our animal babies (bearded dragon, Shanti) and (axolotl, Cosmo), and Zac’s kids. I have two businesses founded on ethical principles.
My first business is called Holistic Contentment. It is a caregiving agency in which we offer a sliding fee scale, pay a living wage to everyone on the team, and give 20% of our profits back to the local community. I founded a care model called the Client Liberation Model. You can find out more about that here: https://www.holisticcontentment.com/client-liberation. When I started HoCo, it was on $125 and a dream. I was told that I was too progressive, offered too much for too little, that I looked like I came from a circus, and we would never succeed. The business has grown to 14 times its size in the last 10 months. I’d say that’s proof that those were false and limited beliefs on other people’s parts.
I have also recently started a second business called Claira Kruse Coaching. The premise is teaching bosses to level up their self-care, self-love, and their company culture. My theory is that bosses and workers have been taught to grind, to not take care of themselves, to take on responsibilities that are not their own, to place blame where blame is not due, etc. In that, leaders and teammates get burnt out. Turnover rates are higher. Health declines. This all leads to an overall leak in profits. As a boss, I can empathize with bosses, but as a progressive who came from poverty, I can empathize with workers. I help others in bridging the gap, to make business beneficial for everyone involved. I am here to change the world in serious ways.
I also love food and health. I had a binge eating disorder as a child and gained 130lbs between the ages of 7 and 8 (or 8 and 9, I don’t remember exactly). I went from 70lbs to 200lbs and started wearing my mom’s clothes because mine did not fit. Food was a means of control where I felt I had none. When I was 11, my only two friends decided we could not be friends anymore and I hit a hard spiral, completely losing my appetite and losing 30lbs in one month. After that, I dealt with the “yoyo weight swings” for a while, but I learned about vegetarian, gf, paleo etc. and have found better ways to enjoy food, while also taking care of my body. At this point, I expect to always be curvy, but between style, eating healthy, and daily movement practice, I feel great in my body. My partner and I primarily follow the Eat Right 4 Your Type food protocol.
Luxury and Freedom come after the above. If business isn’t flowing, and balance isn’t found, there is very little space for luxury and freedom. If you don’t have enough money to do what you want, and are not comfortable in your body, it is challenging to fully reach for either. I like the finer things in life. Vacation, travel, nature, fancy pants (literally, I love slacks in bright colors), jewelry, skin care, being able to do what I want, when I want. I love being my own boss and finding ways to implement healing techniques for what I mentioned above in my coaching profession. I am deeply spiritual. I was born and raised pagan and am completely non-denominational. I was sent to Sunday schools on and off as a kid, but it never stuck. My grandparents on my mom‘s side are pagan; my mom is now pagan, and my dad and stepmom are agnostic. I study spirituality, love spiritual podcasts, have a regular spiritual practice, and I am a spiritual channeler. At one point, I was studying to become a priestess, but I left that behind in part because I am not good at following other people’s instruction; I am a bit of a rebel. We are spiritual beings having a human experience, as they who are themselves say.
My direct family is Zac, who I have been with for over 4 years, and he is amazing. He’s so intelligent, funny, cute, and cozy. He also challenges me to be a better person and to always be true to myself and my principles. He’s really passionate about the game Dragon Dice and the community it comes with. It’s a great and diverse game. I love him a ton. We have a 5-year-old bearded dragon, a 1.5-year-old axolotl. Our bearded dragon Shanti loves to snuggle and gets sad if we do not snuggle him. He also loves TV, watching us do stuff, and the sunshine and garden. Cosmo loves to dance, eat, swim around, and be cute. Zac’s kids are 10 and 13, and they are both highly intelligent, creative, and hilarious. I am lucky that they love me.
Q: What were your younger years like?
A: My younger years were a can of worms. My parents separated when I was 4. My mom was pregnant with my little brother, and I was conditioned to be a disciplinarian to him. This was not healthy for either of us. My mom had a hard time with healthy relationships, but she did her best. My mom has always been playful, free spirited, and wanting to help everyone. My dad was a bit of a rocker, long hair, rock shirts, played in bands etc. My dad is helpful, soulful, and all about personal accountability. My dad and stepmom met when I was 7, and they are together to this day. I have two half sisters: an older sister and a younger one. I have my one full brother. I grew up with my big sister Ana in Oregon, but would visit her typically once a year (because I’m in Montana), and I lived with my little brother full-time until I moved into my dad and stepmom’s house at 14, at which point, I was living with my little sister until I was 18. I started planning ethical businesses at 11, but I was failing school from the time I was 8. I had a serious struggle between “I will change the world” and “I am incapable and no one likes me. I am a freak.” I struggled with self harm, codependency, substance abuse, challenges with gender identity and sexuality, failing grades, and serious anger and depression issues. I got into a lot of abusive friendships and relationships very young. My anger and depression started letting up when I moved into my dads, and my grades went from F’s to A-Cs within six months, but I did not have a genuinely happy year until I was at least 18. I have a belief that every year gets better than the last because I learn more, open up more, and live more as my authentic self. I did love when my mom would take me to Washington and Oregon to meet with her friends. They showed me a lot about being yourself, loving yourself, and loving humanity.
Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?
A: I would like for others to know that no matter where you start, what conditioning you are given, or beliefs you have about yourself, you can be open to support to heal, you can work on being kind to yourself, and in time, things change. You are capable. You are here for a reason. Find what you are avoiding in yourself, what dream you fear because it is too large, or because you feel unworthy, and go for it. You deserve to thrive, simply because you are alive, and scarcity is a lie meant to keep us small.
Q: What does feminism mean to you?
A: To me, feminism means true equality between all genders, female, non-binary and male. It means letting go of gender boxes and allowing people to be who they truly are. Not taking any gender away, but simply being you, and not being bullied or shamed for your true expression. It means Black Lives Matter, POC lives matter, and recognizing where women who are not white have less privilege than those who are historically, and to this day. It also means paying fairly for stereotypically feminine labor. It means supporting families and using pro-social means to allow everyone a fulfilling and supported life.
MORE FROM CLAIRA: I am in a monogamous relationship with my partner, but I continue to identify as a non-binary queer woman. I will always stand up for the rights of others, and I think that the planet is better when we and the planet thrive. Follow me at https://www.instagram.com/claira.kruse.coaching/ and DM to schedule an application call for Liberate to Elevate, my coaching program.
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