MUSE TALES: Serena Evans
Sometimes we get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of the day to day that we forget why we’re really living. We become disconnected from what inspires us, what makes us smile, what makes us feel most alive. It’s easy to feel stuck in the mundane of everyday life and feel that creating anything different or anything more would be impossible.
Serena has dared to create life on her own terms by chasing adventure. She has made countless, what many would consider, unconventional choices, but the life she has created is her own. “Success is loving the life you have built for yourself while being aware of the opportunities that are there to help others along the way.” She hasn’t compromised her own adventure and does so in service to people, animals and the environment. She is a beacon of possibility, beckoning you to build a life, rather than just live what gets handed to you.
She grew up in a small community in eastern Arizona, raised by two hard working parents. Her brother was her hero as she committed herself to performing strongly academically and playing soccer. Her parents instilled the importance of kindness and a strong work ethic, which provided a strong foundation for the adventures that would come.
During college she volunteered at a equine therapy program and fell in love with the work she was doing through animal assisted therapies. She researched various animal assisted therapy programs and discovered a nonprofit in Mexico doing dolphin assisted therapy. Fearlessly she packed a bag after graduation and moved to Mexico, hoping to volunteer for the program. She was immediately given a job working with families that were coming in for therapy. She spent all her free time with the dolphins, falling in love with them. Eventually she was offered a job as a trainer. She spent three years in Mexico before learning about a facility in Honduras that allowed the dolphins to swim free in the open ocean before returning back to the gated lagoon. Knowing that that would be a place she would love to work, she packed a bag again and moved to Honduras and waited until a position opened up for her.
What’s remarkable about her story is that she doesn’t wait for an opportunity to arise. She makes her decision and then trusts that it will all work out ok. She works hard and refuses to take the easy, safe road. “I spent many years giving all of the love, care and enrichment I could to these beautiful animals while training them in an open water program that allowed them to leave the facility and come back when they wanted. I was able to help develop great educational programs for people to understand the importance of caring for the ocean and the animals in it as well as developing dolphin assisted therapy programs for children with disabilities.” While giving selflessly to the program, she also was volunteering at a spanish speaking orphanage; a role she maintained for 3 years.
Serena continued to pursue adventure, spending time in New Zealand, Australia, Thailand, Antarctica, and the Bahamas. She has rock climbed her way through the United States’ northeast and southwest. The last I heard from her she had just returned from another New Zealand trip and upon her return to the states, completed a wilderness medicine course. She relentlessly refuses to allow life to be dictated or determined for her. She actively creates the life she is going to lead through big, wild choices and small everyday choices the life. She does so with intentionality and remains open to possibility. “I believe in an energy that connects all living things. I believe that no matter what or who we believe in, we should treat each other and other living things with respect and kindness.”
Serena knows that there is always a way to combine your heart’s desire with service. Her adventures have led her all around the world, but in one way or the other she always finds some way to give back; whether it’s with animals as a dolphin trainer, playing soccer with orphans in Honduras, or honoring the people and culture of New Zealand, supporting science endeavors in Antarctica. Following what’s truly in your heart will always lead you to be in service of others and the world. Following your heart will touch others in ways that you can’t conceive of or readily understand. There’s no need to understand, the truth is spoken in whispers, but the guidance is always there.
Frequently people in our lives don't understand our dreams, let alone support choices we make to pursue them. Serena’s life is a result of saying yes to what is in her heart and having the courage to bring it into the world. Don’t allow the fear of others to shut down your dreams. Dare to trust where your heart is leading. There may not be a clear path or an obvious solution, but when you believe, you will co-create greatness with the world. Had Serena said no to her desires and her ideas, think of how the world would be different. The lives of young orphans in Honduras would be different, our oceans would be less cared for, the animals of the world would have one less advocate.
Serena’s commitment to herself and her truth show us that anything is possible. “Through my careers and travels I have found that in a world dominated by financial incentives that appeal to a consumption mindset, simple acts of kindness and generosity provide far more than wealth and material possessions.” Because she dares to take risks, she is living an extraordinary experience. Her pursuit is about living her true self, not chasing certain outcomes and so service is easily woven in. She says yes to herself.