My WHY ❤️. The Real Beginnings of You&Meow.
‘’The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.’’ - Lao Tzu
This quote deeply resonates with me. Life if full of mystery and constant surprises. I would never have thought, that my path would lead me towards so many blessings, where one of them would be opening Bristol’s First Cat Cafe. [Approx. 7 minutes read]
Before I share my story with you, and the real reasons why I opened You&Meow, I would like to express my deepest gratitude for this opportunity. I have been asked by so many of our visitors, why I decided to start this business, so I decided to write a blog about this. The journey has been deeply profound for me, but also one of life’s greatest teachers. I wanted to communicate this message in the most unfiltered and honest way possible. And this message needs time.
So please stay with me.
I arrived in UK (London) in July 2012, during my University’s summer break (I studied Business Management at University of Warsaw), with an intention to save up some money working as a waitress and return to Poland (the British Pound was strong back then ;-)). It was challenging at first, because like many Polish immigrants, I could barely speak any English. However, I was eager to learn as it went.
I still remember that day when I was standing at Canary Wharf in London looking up the sky and thinking. It was a pivotal moment for me, as I realised I am no longer interested in returning to Poland. I confirmed my decision with the Dean, and organised to complete my final 3rd year of my University studying remotely. And that was it. I have begun a brand new life, in a foreign country, far away from my family.
Despite the fact I lived in London with my boyfriend, I was still feeling lonely. The language barrier took me a while to adjust to, and I didn't yet feel confident enough so I could start looking for a more serious job position. I wanted to start building my career, but I didn’t know what industry I was truly interested in. However, my boyfriend was very supportive in taking the pressure off of my shoulders, whilst I was trying to have everything ‘’figured out’’ (I was 21 at the time).
On the outside - my life looked perfect. I lived in London, one of the most interesting cities in the world. I had a supportive partner, who has been very successful in his career, and that enabled us to have a lot of financial freedom. We could travel on a regular basis, in fact we have visited some of the most amazing destinations in the world. Yet, I was becoming depressed. I was missing a deeper meaning & purpose in my life. I was getting lost in my overthinking, and gradual isolation was taking its place. My unhappiness was leaking on all areas of my life, my relationship including.
‘’When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.’’ – The Buddha
One of my dearest friends mentioned to me about this very mysterious brew (at the time!) called Ayahuasca. Didn’t know what to make of it back then, but I began my research. I was so fascinated in learning more about this plant medicine, to finally realise it was ‘’calling me’’. I was so lost in my life; I was deeply looking for answers. I needed to go within.
For those of you who have never heard about Ayahuasca before (or any other plant medicines), here are some interesting sources:
Ayahuasca is becoming extremely well known worldwide, and thousands of people are making trips to foreign destinations, to participate in retreats to experience this sacral medicine. I have experienced Ayahuasca over 4.5 years ago. Since then, I have noticed a progressive shift happening, where many world’s ancient medicines, ayahuasca included are becoming more accessible than ever before, helping people awake to their true being. And I have been blessed to witness and experience this process myself.
*Please be mindful, that path of self-healing, and self-exploration through various plant medicines is a big responsibility, so safety is paramount. Plant medicine is a truly different and unique experience for everyone, and not everyone might be ready or feel calling for it. You need to find out what works best for you. I only share my own individual experience (which can be different for everyone) as this led me towards opening You&Meow.
For me an Ayahuasca was a painful and challenging experience, but simultaneously a true blessing. It showed me my biggest fears, and walked me through my deepest wounds. It took me back to deeply hidden, however most traumatic and painful memories, which were taking place in my early childhood. So I could look in the mirror, and be honest with myself about the pain I kept carrying on as an adult, which in reality, was no longer serving me in my life. Looking back, ayahuasca was a doorway to my spiritual awakening and healing childhood traumas. I was never the same person again.
[During Ayahausca ceremony, as you connect with your higher self, you receive many insights and new perspectives on current matters in your personal life. As also any actions needed to be taken in order to improve your life, and be more in alignment with your highest self. But the integration process is the most important part here. Having the courage, discipline and the strength, to follow through what you have seen during your journey, and implement the lessons in your real life is not always easy. Because sometimes what you see, is uncomfortable. It hurts your ego. However, this is the playground where the real ‘’work’’ begins, and the treasure is hidden. Once you follow through, things start to shift very fast for your greatest good, and blessings start to flow. Your outer world begins to change, as you change your inner world and continue to do the inner-work.]
After Ayahuasca ceremony, and reflecting upon my profound insights, I decided to make some changes in my life. I started improving my daily habits, I began a meat free diet, started healing my old patterns, and spending more time in nature. As an outcome, I started to see such a powerful improvement in my own life, that I wanted others to experience the same. However, the most critical change I needed to take responsibility for - was standing up on my own feet, and finding the strength and courage to leave my life in London behind. Despite the fact, I was facing many insecurities, and was SO terrified of the unknown, I made the jump. Once I took action, I met an amazingly supportive people in my life, who are today dearest friends of mine. I attracted great opportunities and ideas to allow me to open You&Meow. (In short, once I started following ayahuasca ''messages'' and taking actions, things started to flow, opportunities started to happen and they manifested very fast).
I started to be more in touch with my intuition, and my heart’s desires more than ever before. I had a burning desire to create a business, focused on well-being, as a result of my own inner transformation. Be authentic, raw and honest, and touch people’s hearts and emotions. I also started noticing: from the biggest technology advancements, and awakening on the planet, we were also experiencing the biggest stress, depression, loneliness and anxiety than ever before.
As I always felt connected with animals, I knew there was something there worth exploring. I knew cats are highly intuitive, and have many spiritual gifts, which our human senses cannot see. Cats are true friends and protectors of ours. They can provide relaxation, and support the healing process on so many different levels (I will write another blog on this topic, so please stay tuned). It was no question for me to work with them closely, and create a business, which could enable people to lift their mind, body and spirit in face of today’s stressful and challenging times.
[The mood board of You&Meow, I have created for our crowdfunding campaign.]
Of course, there were some logical reasons too, why I wanted to start You&Meow. Once I started exploring the idea, cat cafes started to blossom rapidly across UK. In addition, I had some prior experience in the industry, due previously working in a cat cafe in London. I was also self-aware, that if I am about to embark on this entrepreneurial journey, I better be passionate about it, as opening a business is a marathon. I loved animals, nature, and taking care of my well-being. Looking back, I see all experiences as the small puzzles coming together into one beautiful picture - to enable me to create You&Meow.
It has been such a powerful, and incredible personal journey to open Bristol’s First Cat Cafe.
Opened in February 2017, we have rehomed 22 cats to date, which deeply touches my heart. So proud, that Bristol has its own personal haven of peace and tranquillity, because You&Meow is all about well-being.
However, I wouldn’t want to fail to notice some important steps on this journey too. I have experienced so many blessings, but also some big heartbreaks and disappointments along the way. Yet, they are all part of the journey, and I am grateful for all of it. The experiences have helped me to grow into the strongest and best version of myself, and I have learnt difficult life lessons which paradoxically can turn out to be our best allies.
I am beyond grateful for founding You&Meow which is the most authentic expression of my higher self, and for being of service to others (and our fluffs!).
Thank you for your presence.
Ewa (You&Meow’s Founder).