Journey Like a MerPreneur

Through the Lens of Writer and Poet, Tanya Markul: A MerPreneur's Journey

Hey Beth here, I had the great privilege of interviewing an amazing writer, poet and author of several published works including “The She Book”, Tanya Markul creator of Thug Unicorn blog and the the Eat My Stardust" writing course.

I wanted to interview her because after watching her work evolve for the past years, I dubbed her a bonafide MerPreneur who is being valued for her authentic life’s work.

She takes the adversity she’s been faced with in life and makes it, not only a thing of art and beauty, but also very much helps others, holds space for others and becomes a container where they can heal of what keeps them stuck in hopeless and imagine-less places.

From our chat today, Sunday morning for me, evening for her in Denmark...

Beth: I’ve watched Tanya’s work for a number of years now, and I’ve seen her go through a series of different incarnations, I’ve seen her go through trials and tribulations and do nothing but deepen into her life’s work.

Welcome Tanya, it’s such a great pleasure to have you here!!!

Tanya: Thank you so much, I’m grateful to be here and totally excited to connect with you.

Beth: These questions I’m going to ask you represent the MerPreneur’s Journey. This is something that I’ve had some revelations about in the past years.

When we go through trials and heal, it can precipitate new knowledge, especially if that’s your goal. Do you notice that Tanya?

Tanya: Absolutely, yes.

Beth: That’s my favourite game. I experienced a lot of life’s trials, tribulations, losses and intense moments and signed up for a lot of transformation. But it’s not a given, it comes back to the fact that it’s the choice of the soul.

The MerPreneur’s Journey is the Hero’s Journey with a Mermaid twist. It’s the archetypal, human journey. This is what every human on earth is going through. I’ve known about the Hero’s Journey for many years, but it wasn’t until my mom passed away that I took it into my bones and my blood and felt like I could take people on this Journey in a conscious way.

We are all going through it at some level, and when you get conscious on that Journey, BOOM, magic can start to happen.

Tanya is a beautiful example of being ON her Journey, because she has answered her call with a sparkly vengeance.

This is the journey the women in my community are going through to live their life purpose and be valued for what they came to this earth to do.

These questions are an archetypal map of the MerPreneur's Journey, the heroic journey for slaying the demon-mermaid-dragons, for returning to community with the gold and being valued for it so it's a sustainable movement.

{O.k. here we go.}

Beth: This first question is about the Nature Child - that innocent perspective of the Child as a force of Nature.

Was there a time when you had to overcome feelings of being naive, in denial or being afraid  of betrayal in order to jump into your work full time and with such purpose? And how did you get past it?

Tanya: Yes, every single one of those, lol! I could see this started as a child, but I think I’ll jump in and show as an adult how jumping into my soul work was something I knew what it was as a child. I knew that I was going to be some kind of writer, some kind of poet because I started writing when I was six years old.

I stopped writing because of tremendous loss and a realization of what I was born into. Those were things like rejection, abandonment, abuse and neglect. So writing and creative expression stopped for a very long time in my life, for self-preservation and needing to protect myself.

So fast forward to the adult years, just within the past 5 years had experienced a tremendous betrayal. And I had been working on a project that was so close to my heart I was working on it 24/7, it was my life. I could see all the red flags from the very beginning, but I ignored it because the vision was so beautiful and so aligned with what was in my soul.

But then the night that it was taken away from me while I was sleeping, literally....

I woke up and my part of that project was no longer mine. And I had to sit with myself for a really long time after to understand who I was without it.

Because I had put so much of myself into this project that I didn’t know who I was without it. I had offered what I consider my genius and my whole authentic and creative self, and when it was gone I was like, “Who am I?”

It was a tremendous fire in my life and a tremendous stress.

It was a complete ‘360’, and in the way it was done it was completely unexpected. There were tons of emotions, a lot of anger and sadness… Looking back of course things could have been done, I believe, differently and better and with more compassion and love.

But, I’m thankful for that process now, because if that didn’t happen, if my whole entire empire wasn’t burned to the ground I would never have found myself.

And that is when I was truly re-birthed as a writer and a poet. Because I had to find myself again, I had to find my voice, I had to find my creative outlet. It was almost like I had broken a dam and the waters were flowing and I started writing not for this other entity, I started writing for myself.

Page 72 from The She Book - Tanya Markul

The magnetism of that was something I didn’t expect and wasn’t even looking for either.

I just needed to tell my story and I needed to figure out how to find my way back to me and back to what I wanted to be offering the world.

Beth: Wow, that’s amazing Tanya because that is the whole message of the Nature Child, that we actually have to get betrayed. The shadow isn’t that we got betrayed, the shadow is the avoidance of the betrayal which sometimes we can avoid and sometimes, it’s like you say, you wake up in the morning and the deed is done.

Tanya: Literally, that’s how it was for me, and I love how you’re saying this and I wish someone would have told me this a long time ago, but in the moment and for a long time after, there are barely any tendrils. They will occasionally come back and I’ll feel like there are whips in my heart, but I’m completely healed from that experience.

My feeling about it for a long time though was, “F- you, f- the whole thing, f- this person who betrayed me…” but now I am completely like, “Thank you, thank you so much!” I’m so glad that happened. It was such a blessing.   

Beth: Well that’s the thing, awakening is the blessing. So the very thing we are putting off, it represents the blessing of our freedom.

I watched how you carried yourself through that transition, and felt I could witness that once you were your own sovereign being you were at a completely different level. So much just came exploding out of you, and in that freedom there’s so much magic.

What you’re saying about not even wanting to change that betrayal you went through leads so naturally into the next archetype on the MerPeneur’s Journey, whose name is the Rebel.

Women especially can avoid at all cost getting into their anger and being royally pissed off and have that fire move them to a completely new place.

Do you feel like you’ve discovered a cause, something that you let make you mad enough to do something about it, or be part of a change you want to see in the world?

Tanya: Absolutely. I believe that’s what I stand for… I want my poetry, prose, and thoughts to be a way for others to share their emotions. I want to stand for this emotional revolution, emotional empowerment, emotional literacy. More than anything I want to hold space for all of that.

I really believe that as women and humans of the world we are so repressed with our emotions and with our expression. We’re taught that particular emotions are “bad” and “good” and there’s so much taboo to feeling anger and rage, and it just doesn’t work in the world any more.

It’s an obsolete way of being and living.

~I want to liberate as many people as I can by sharing my own personal stories of pain, and what has caused me so much shame, stagnancy and stuckness in my life.

Maybe if someone reads some of my words that they will start to think differently about what has happened to them and start to think about the possibilities and the imagination of what they can do with that story of pain, trauma and betrayal.

Beth:  Amazing, because that’s the whole trajectory of the MerPreneur’s Journey, is to turn around, and based on what you have overcome, sometimes instantaneously help someone else do what you did!

You’ve already come full circle and we still have 6 archetypes to go, LOL!

Tanya: LOL

Beth: The next phase is the 'build' phase, I feel like I’ve seen you in this place a lot. When you and I first connected you had a brand new babe in arms and yet you were writing a book and running a blog and you were editing and had this huge wheel turning.

The Warrior is about where you have put in the muscle, the time to create and manifest, and what it takes to be that container for others to get the meaning [and benefit] of your work.

How have you put in the muscle and time to get ‘er done and come out a champion for others as a result?

Tanya: Oh my god, lol, I am like the original ‘forest fairy’, the queen of multi-tasking and I have a ton of energy.

I think where it all comes from is I have repressed myself for half of my life. I have repressed my craft that came so naturally and was such a blessing at such a young age.

I knew what I wanted to do, I knew I wanted to write books, and I wrote my first book at six years old. When I repressed it, it became this huge… I don’t want to say ‘pressure cooker’, but it just got stored away. It got stored in this giant locker somewhere. Now I feel as if I’m catching up.

But I’m not using it up, it just keeps coming and coming.

~The more I reach what feels like truth to me, the more keeps coming out.

I have two young children. I have an 8 month old, a 4 year old, I have a husband, we live in an apartment, I’m part of my community, I do women’s circles, I’m writing books like you said.

It’s as if I have to do those things to survive. I write every single day no matter what. Even if it’s just a list of words, or one sentence, every single day of my life I’m putting something into what I know is healing and expressing my soul.

Beth: Amazing, this Warrior phase is the time to create that discipline, which is a word that everyone can run away from, but that’s the Warrior place. It’s about putting the time in and getting steady and solid, taking on fights that you can, and then from there you move on to the next place, which is the Nurturer phase of the MerPreneur’s Journey.

Having done the Warrior work and build, you can now fly on the sails of the discipline that created muscle for you. You can fall back on it, and you can move into a softer place with it.

Because women get scared that it’s going to be so much work and it’s going to be that level of work into infinity, as if they will always be in that ‘muscle’ mode.

This stage is really about helping people as a business. The Nurturer is an opportunity to move into a softer, caring place which unfortunately is not always soft for the Nurturer, especially in their shadows.

So what are the challenges of helping people as a business?

And when in your career have you struggled with boundaries and 'killing' yourself to be there for others?

Tanya: Yah…there are several things. I used to have that tendency, so I have to be very careful, not to burn myself out physically and emotionally for others. People will ask a lot of me. And I felt like I had to say yes to everything, every question, every invitation that came my way. I used to feel I had to say ‘yes’ or I would be disappointing someone or losing out on that opportunity, and that isn’t the case.

~I realized that even though I can tap into the Warrior side of myself and open myself up to the energy of the Universe, it’s not always necessary.

I don’t have to be building 5 things at the same time and it’s healthy and replenishing to take breaks.

And it’s also healthy to do one thing at a time. And that can be hard,  because I do feel like this life is precious and it is short and I feel like once I got the taste of my soulful work, I just wanted to do it 24/7.

But it is more empowering for it to come in healthy doses.

I really have to watch myself. There are a lot of questions and suggestions that come in, and I used to want to take every single one of them on. I used to feel like I had to respond to every single comment in social media, and I used to feel like it was a stress and a struggle.

A part of holding space for yourself and your craft is to feel like sometimes you can just hold space for people’s questions, by not responding. And letting them express and not responding to whatever they want to suggest or express.

Beth: Oh my god, that makes perfect sense and you’re just singing through the archetypes here.

The gift of having created that container for yourself, those boundaries is, first of all it gets you out of the secret resentment we often feel when we are working outside of our own boundaries. Once your work is in healthy doses, second it’s like graduating to the soul of your business, which is the next step in the MerPreneur’s Journey, the Lover archetype.   

How did you discover the soul of your business, so it became a voice for your truth, the beauty of who you are and love you want to see in the world?

Tanya: It really comes down to my own personal story of pain. And I know that it is my work to share that story of pain. And there isn’t just one element to my story, there are many things that happened to me before I hit 18 years old.

My mother was only 15 years old when she had me, so I have all these layers - abandonment, rejection, addiction, divorce, alcoholism, death, loss, abuse, being sexually assaulted, I have so many things that have happened to me at such a young age. And the fact that I started writing when I was age 6. I was writing about how I felt and I would leave little scribbles and lines for my grandmother to find.

The first book when I was 6 was called ‘Little Baby Boohoo’. It was about a little baby who cried all the time, and that baby was me.

The next book I wrote when I was 7 was about a princess who was going to take an adventure into the forest to find her prince. That was a story about my mother who went into the forest, she never found her prince and she never came home.

So I know my soul’s work, and I knew it from a young age, that despite what I had been born into, despite what was going on around me, despite what had happened to me, that I had something else to offer.

~And I knew I wasn’t going to follow in the footsteps of my ancestry. I was the black sheep, I was the weird one, I was the odd one out, I was the one that was completely different, I’ve always known that and knew it from a young age.

Beth: So beautiful. That’s the magic act of the Lover, to take either nothing, or something that’s ugly or negative and to find the beauty in it. Not as a way to cover over it, but through art make it beautiful. You’ve made it a thing of beauty, and Tanya, you’ve made your life a thing of beauty, out of your spirit having come through all these negative experiences.

That Lover experience gives rise to the next level of the MerPreneur’s Journey, the Hedonist archetype.

This archetype tends to have a bad rap in our society in general, because pleasure seekers can run amok and we have a very unnatural layer of pleasure seeking and promoting right now in the world.

That can muddy the waters in the relationship of people with their own pleasure.

But this is when your life’s work can turn into a thing of beauty first and then deep, deep pleasure. You get to do what you want. Most people in this slave society don’t have that luxury, or haven’t created that luxury for themselves as you have.     

How have you struggled with pleasure (too much or not having it) in your business and lifestyle? Where did this show up for you in your life’s work and how did you have a break through around it?

Tanya: Yes, when I started to write for myself and started to share my work, I got a lot of followers and a lot of ‘likes’ really fast. And it was really unexpected. That feels good, there’s a lot of pleasure in being seen and being approved of and being liked.

I found myself starting to share my work and then I would look for the numbers and the ‘likes’ and comments. That can be such a natural pleasurable high, and I can allow myself to feel that. I allow myself to be loved and liked and even criticized. It’s all a blessing, it’s all a gift.

But there was a fine line for me where I ask myself constantly, “Am I writing for these numbers, or am I writing for the truth of my soul?”

~I have to come back to writing for me, because that’s where the deepest pleasure is and that is where the deepest healing is because that’s what I ultimately want, to keep healing this body, healing this life and following the direction of my soul.

Beth: Amazing answer and so true! Awakening the soul is the deepest pleasure, that’s the thing, that’s the magic of the Hedonist to get to that place where not compulsively seeking the approval of others.

It can be so addictive in a business, that we end up in an utter trap because of it. It’s a trap like any comfort zone, because the moment you step out of it and someone disapproves, or you lose likes or whatever it is, then you’re not going to go forward with the core truth of your soul.

And it leads us very naturally into the next archetype who I have named the Maternal Leader, the Royal archetype. It’s not the one that rules over, but the one that leads like a mother in the family, community or culture at large that she’s taking responsibility for.

Was there a time when you decided you were going to take more responsibility in your work? 

At what point did you allow things to grow out of a more manageable level and into a greater heights for your people, your tribe of followers, your clients and those that consume your work and buy your books? Also how did you manage being followed and being adored, when as a leader you attract that?     

Tanya: Yah, I knew I wanted to do something more because of the response I was receiving. And it’s not just because I was receiving a hundred comments, just a few sincere comments and questions made me want to go to a different place.

I offer an online creative writing and expression course, for my second year now. And one thing that has taken me deeper is I wanted to serve the women in my community. So about 2 years ago I stared hosting women’s circles with another local woman here. It has become very intimate, and it invites me to cross a threshold of, 'Am I walking my talk? Am I living what I’m really offering the world?'

It’s been so rewarding, revealing and challenging as well, to put myself out there. Because I’ve also been really repressed, shy and afraid of being seen…and afraid of being successful. So it’s just taking me to the next level of what I want to be doing. And just in the past year I've been doing a lot of public speaking, which is extraordinary.

And how do I handle being followed and adored… It’s an amazing feeling, but for me I just want to be myself and I don’t want to change myself to fit any kind of image. To fully accept that love and adoration I feel like I have to be fully grounded. I just want to be myself and be loved in that way, not because I’m trying to be someone else.

Beth: There’s such freedom in that, I can really hear it in your voice. It’s so fearless to walk awake. You’re saying, “Ok, take me as I am or don’t take me, but I’m still doing this.”

Tanya: YES

Beth: So we’re coming to the last leg of the MerPreneur’s Journey.

Once the Maternal Leader gets past those tests of power, she can call on the Alchemist, because the Alchemist has a very high value for social justice in addition to all the magic powers that start to show up.

It’s not the time of muscle anymore, it’s not the time of being a servant to look after people, it’s not even the time of standing to be the leader and have people follow you and take your example. With the Alchemist it turns into a much more magical journey.

And Tanya, you are a magical creature! It’s the first thing I saw when I got connected in your world, it sparkles.

To me the most incredible magic trick of all is wholeness. That’s the basis of alchemy, to marry the opposites. To take what we think to be not only separate, but what is in opposition in our selves, and come into wholeness.

Was there a time when your business and your work took on that quality of wholeness, where you could be that unique self you’re talking about already?

Tanya: Yes, I feel like this started with motherhood for me. And I feel like I’m still blossoming and revealing this wholeness. The beauty of motherhood is that, while it’s not easy, you’re raising another human being and it takes a lot of your time, your energy, your body, your spirit, with respect to your craft, there’s no time for BS.

So being a mother has really allowed me to polish my work, my vision and my words and has made me into a real compassionate person. It’s also given me the confidence to want to stand for people who don’t have a voice or whose voices aren’t being heard.

Since I’ve had my first child I’ve been involved with women’s groups, I’ve been doing work in Scandinavia to give a voice to immigrant women. I just did a fundraiser for hungry children in America and I don’t want to stop.

~I feel like my artistry, my creativity, my words can absolutely be woven and braided with the action of helping others to really make a difference in my community and broader community in the world.

Beth: That’s so beautiful because that’s the capacity you have at this stage. You’ve seen magic and transformation in yourself and you’ve seen your work transform others, and so you want to be the instrument for social justice for others that you’re describing right now.

I have one more question for you, this is a biggie. And it’s the whole purpose of the MerPreneur’s Journey, just awakening into seeing all is not right in this world especially where nature is concerned. The world has been turned upside down, it’s run by psychopaths who are trying to kill us.

Given the state of the world, how do we turn turn it around and bring humanity back to a natural pressure, LOL?

Tanya: LOL, it’s a big one! I feel like there are 2 things:

One is them is my theme, I truly believe that...the pain that makes us the odd one out is the story that connects us to a healing world.

If all of us could really invite the possibility of acknowledging, feeling and understanding our pain, no matter what it is, it is what truly connects us to a world that wants to heal.

Our pain doesn’t want to bring us down, and yes it has a gestation and incubation period, but it is something that can turn into soulful purpose  - and can make a difference for the way we live our lives personally and how we live collectively.

The second things is the use of our imagination. 

I do this too, I go nuts on Netflix sometimes. But what we see on TV and hear on the radio, all of the ads and the societal norms are really so without imagination.

They’re so obsolete and stagnant and based on fear, they’re based on scarcity, they’re based on repressed rage and 'not-enough-ness'.

~If we used our imagination every single day, we could create a better way to live and a different way to live.

I think that most of us feel stuck and hopeless. We don’t have the confidence to use our imagination to get to the other side of pain, and the way we are all living right now.

Beth: Spoken very succinctly and truly through this Alchemist. That’s exactly the script of this archetype… that the pain and the imagination is the door to get past this stuck place.

We just habitually run and escape from our pain. And then as a result we run and escape from our imagination, which is what you’re saying.

And that’s how humanity got here in the first place, we stopped imagining for ourselves what the possibilities could be.

Tanya: Yes, yes, yes!

Beth: What an incredible life you’ve had, and what an incredible woman you are. Such a pleasure hearing your sincere and artistic life that started when you were 6 years old knowing that you were going to be a writer and live for your soul and for others. Because whatever we have struggled with is a very natural way to help others.

Thank you Tanya for joining me for this AMAZING talk today!!!

Tanya: Thank you for reaching out to me and giving me this safe space to share, I feel so honoured. You know how I feel about you, I think you’re an amazing woman and I love you. Thank you so much!

Beth: [deep bow]


Listen to the Whole Interview:

Tanya Markul’s 'MerPreneur’s Journey' story here

And if you see yourself in Tanya's story, journey with the MerPreneurs to be valued for the reasons you came to this planet...

Jump in with the MerPreneur's Journey course that maps out the value of a woman's life purpose. Here's a link to follow. ***

AND to find the works of my magical guest, writer and poet, Tanya Markul!

Discover her work, social media, books and her awesome writing course! @tanyamarkul @thugunicorn

To Learn more: 

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