Live Your Best Life: Kyleigh Orlebar
I’m delighted to bring you the next in my series of interviews with inspiring women who are living their best life. This doesn’t mean their lives are perfect or that they have it all figured out. It’s a myth, no-one does!
Living your best life is all about being the best version of yourself that you can be right now, at this moment. It’s about recognising the good in your life, striving to bring more happiness into the world and making the most of this one, precious life we have.
So, here’s what Kyleigh of Kyleigh’s Papercuts has to say on the topic…
Tell us a bit about yourself, what your life is like and the path you took to get to where you are today…
I’m Kyleigh and I am a graphic designer, type nerd, papercut artist, wife and mother of three lovely daughters. I live in Wimborne, Dorset with my husband, Gerald, a landscape gardener. What my life is like… I know this sounds really corny but I honestly love my life (pass me the sick bucket…). It hasn’t always been easy by all means, but I think I am naturally a glass-half-full sorta gal which helps. My path has been slightly winding to get where I am. Although my complete love and devotion to typography, graphic design and scalpels has been with me a long time. We fell in love at art college many, many moons ago. One sniff at typography and I was hopelessly devoted.
Paper cutting though, that took longer. I worked as a graphic/digital designer for years and I suddenly grew tired of my entire portfolio being in pixels. I decided to do some self-driven creative work – typographic, graphic and something I could hold and touch. Created out of an ordinary piece of paper. Creating something tangible again really appealed to me. Still does. I started selling my papercuts on Etsy.com in 2010, and then through notonthehighstreet.com and eventually my own site. I soon outgrew the spare room studio. I got a wonderfully bright and airy ‘she’ shed in the garden. I eventually outgrew that too. I now have a beautifully perfect shop/workshop in the centre of town in Wimborne. It brings me the MOST joy (aside from family life, obvs).
Do you have any favourite inspirational quotes or mantras?
‘Choose happiness’ has always rung true to me. Growing up and into young adulthood my life was no bed of roses, but I found peace and happiness in my 30s. Then I was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease but I still believe that life really is what you make it.
My condition means I never know how much or how little pain I’ll be in from one day to the next. When I was first diagnosed I really struggled to find happiness. Psychologically it was hard to get my head around having this for the rest of my life. There was one really low day. I was curled up in bed. My friend had done the school run for me. It hurt to walk, to move my hands, everything. And then it was almost like kicking myself up the bum. Weirdly, something switched inside my head. I chose to get up, shower and face the day. I really think a good positive mental attitude will see me through. I choose happy.
How do you recognise when life’s getting on top of you?
I have an internal pressure cooker, I think, I am a crier. If life is getting on top of me I can become tearful. And like a pressure cooker I have a little cry and can feel ten million times better afterwards. For all other things – LISTS! I am an avid list-maker. And this can include writing a list of Pros and Cons, as well as To Do, To Buy, Bucket Lists and Places to Travel or Visit (it is SO good to dream). Man, I love a list.
Also meditation. I have been on a couple of small weekend retreats with Burgs at theartofmeditation.org and my goodness, I have no words. Wonderful.
Is there anything else you do in that moment to get back to how you want to feel?
Big deep breaths always help. I find myself stealing away and lying down quietly and resting helps. Even for a few minutes. Another moment of peace in a busy day is always the daily dog walk. Being outside in nature, watching the seasons change gradually from one day to the next, listening to the trickling stream, the birds. Picking up dog poo. Oh ok, maybe not that. For me it all adds to a grounded feeling of 1) being small and insignificant in the grand scheme of things and the vastness of the universe (a bit of humility is always good) and 2) It makes me appreciate the moment. Even if said moment is in a force ten gale with sideways rain whipping at me. There’s always a hot cuppa at the end to look forward to on those occasions.
What plans, hopes and dreams do you have for the future?
I never stop dreaming. I think that’s what keeps me happy too. I love dreamy dreams. I would obviously LOVE to be mortgage-free… with a gorgeous house… wonderful health and enough disposable income to enable lots of travel, but I’ll take happiness if I had to choose.
I’ll take a daily hearty belly laugh at nonsense. AND mortgage-free 😉
I have got lots of ideas and fun designs keeping me busy at the moment. And I am completely in love with hosting my monthly papercutting for beginners workshops. We have such a laugh. And there is always such amazing mix of women around the table from all backgrounds and age brackets. So more of them for sure.
Work wise I have a BIG idea I REALLY want to pursue. And am beginning to begin that this year. Ooooh, cryptic, eh?
Finally, what does living your best life mean to you, Kyleigh?
Being true to myself. Not doing or taking part in anything that doesn’t ring true and FEEL right in your heart. It means waking up every day and saying a silent ‘thank you’ to the universe for another day here on earth. I’m a dork, I say it three times. It is about appreciating that 1) I have woken up, I have breath and life 2) I have comfort and a cup of tea to look forward to 3) I, and those around me, have health 4) I have the love of a good man and happy children. I never take anything for granted. Life can change in the blink of an eye. So I live in the now (so much sometimes that I can forget what happened yesterday!)
You can find Kyleigh on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter if you fancy connecting with her. She is available for commissions and you can find out more as well as browse her full range papercuts and cards at www.kyleighspapercuts.co.uk. To browse her work in the flesh, her shop and studio is located at 10 Mill Lane, Wimborne, Dorset which is also where she holds her ever-popular workshops and taster papercutting sessions.
If you would like to learn how you can bring more joy into your everyday and live your best life, take a look at my e-course, Choosing Happiness. It’s open for registration now and you can find all about how I use positive psychology research and my own experiences to give you the knowledge, tools and actions to build your resilience and increase the joy and contentment you feel each day on the course page here. You can join the course now and class begins in just a few days’ time, on Monday 13 February. I’d love for you to join me and start thriving in your life now.