Leah Candace Rettenmeier.
Co/ founder of Future Dreamers
Photography by Natalie Grono and interview by Michelle Shearer
I’m 37 years old and I’m Aquarius in the sun and my moon is in Leo.
Main passion and inspiration
One trait I truly admire in other people is self-expression. It doesn’t matter what it is, I just love people being 100% themselves in an authentic way – that really excites me in life.
My personal passion is working with young women to find their authentic selves through true self-expression.
There’s something really intangible, potent, exhilarating and passionate that happens in this unbridled time of youth. I love the sensitivity and over reacting to things that can happen in those years as a young woman. I love how they can so passionate for a cause beyond reason and I love that their sense of spirit is in that explorative phase. I think if we can tap into this time of unlimited potential and guide them and celebrate them and support them to keep experiment g with who they want to be it will be a catalyst for a great future for all of us all. I believe this is such a special time as a young woman.
Maybe I love being around that age group because it also gives me permission to be myself and to act like a teenager forever!
What would you say to your 20/100-year-old self?
20: I would just love to tell her to just love yourself a little bit more and be little bit kinder on yourself. You are fantastic and I wish you knew how great you are!
100: I wouldn’t want to say anything to her but I would definitely listen. I would love to hear from an older self-perspective that of the world and nature and of humanity. That would be so extremely interesting for me.
Oh, one thing I would say to her would be: “Thanks for keeping your hair long!”
Your house is your sacred space. What does it represent to you?
Safety. Definitely safety. And security and love. I feel like when you have safety, security and love, anything is possible. You can take risks if you know there’s security behind you – you can be open if you know you are loved.
I’ve given birth to all of my children in this house. I met my husband in this house because he walked through the back gate one evening. The house itself has been built on top of a crystal grid created by all my children. It has absolutely become a sacred place holding those three factors of safety, love and security.
How old are you if you didn’t know?
I’m probably a bit older than what I am – probably energetically about 42. I definitely feel older than my age maybe because I had my children young.
What breaks your heart and what mends it?
I’ve never had my heart broken in love. I’m fortunate for that.
The thing that break my heart is a tone that I hear people using to one another at times. To describe the tone, I guess it’s somewhere between frustrated and rude and despondent. For me, that tone represents a not wanting to connect. If I am ever on the receiving end of that tone or I hear it, maybe in a coffee shop, it definitely breaks my heart. I’m very sensitive to others’ emotions.
I heal from that through solace in nature. Sometimes that’s hard to find in my life as a mum and working but I’ll take half an hour to decompress somewhere and it can be anywhere – even the bathtub.
What questions would you like answered in your life?
I love rhetorical and philosophical questions that have no answer and contemplating the question and possible answers. Preferably over a long dinner and wine. Forever!
One woman who I really look up to: my muse.
I adore my Grandma. She passed the same night my son was born. Her name was Joy. She’s probably the most crazy woman in the world and probably I am too! So thank you to her for giving me permission to be myself. She was the kind of person who, in order to make scones, you would have to throw flour all over the kitchen before you’d even get to making scones. It was her to make everything a game, and playful and carefree and expressive and sensual. She was colour and life and plants and paint and rocks.
I remember the freedom to explore her world. I remember, as a young girl, sitting on her pink fluffy toilet seat going through all her brightly coloured beads: aqua, blue and green beads. And as a young girl, she allowed me to wear all her jewelry all at once every time I went there and that was really special to me.
Even though we didn’t have as much together as I would have liked, she was definitely my muse, someone I greatly looked up to.
Defining Moments: dark and light
I guess I always had that feeling that I was a little bit crazy but in Byron it’s accepted as being a little spiritual, being a witch, or creative, or outlandish; so definitely coming to a place where I was allowed to embody full self-expression and actually be celebrated for that has been a really big healing from where I came from. That was a place where everything was created where you had to fit in a box and if you didn’t fit you would feel lonely and an outcast. It’s been an amazing journey to feel held and supported by the family I’ve created and the community I live in.
And especially being with my husband! For example, last weekend I came home covered in chalk and paint and he just celebrates that and I think it’s nice to be somewhere where you can be your true, authentic self. What a change that has been for me.
What are your dreams and aspirations?
My dream: I’m very simple-hearted. All I ever wanted to do is to be a Mother. I am so fortunate, blessed and honoured to have been able to become a mother at a young age. My family and community shape my passions and my dreams – a sense of belonging and connection was so rife when I had my children with my husband; I realised how special and amazing that could be. So my dream is borne from that. My children are now growing up, I have a bit more space and freedom in my own life so I am now pursuing that connection and belonging for others on a wider scale through my community work – so really echoing the same values.
My dream really is to simply have my family and be truly present and to celebrate that; and now I do that on a community level too.
Routine or ritual?
I have a deep fear of routine and deep love of ritual.
As a sensitive person it’s really important to have ritual in my life – I can lose my sense of self very easily through absorbing other peoples’ emotions and stories.
In the morning, I usually say a prayer and light a candle, light some incense and walk around my room. It might be just 30 seconds to come back to me before I launch into my day and be a mother, wife, worker, sister and a community member. I just check in with myself and set a clear intention for day. It’s not outcome based, it’s around an emotion I may have woken up with that I’d like to hold or honour.
I find ritual a great antidote to not taking on what’s not mine.
You have a lot of religious iconography around your home, tell us about that.
I wouldn’t say I’m religious. I have studied many religions and personalised what I’ve learnt into my own kind of spirituality.
I’m a big believer. I believe in magic and fairies, spirits and the ocean and entities and the stars.