One Family’s Story of Finding Purpose and Joy in an Ever-Changing World

It’s safe to say that, for most people, life doesn’t tend to follow a linear path. There are twists and turns, ups and downs, joys and sorrows, lots of uncertainty, and usually, where we end up and how we got there isn’t necessarily how we imagined it.

This universal truth is part of what inspires Quechee resident and entrepreneur, Marin Phoenix, to live a life with intention and heart, and to help others do the same. The founder of Embodypreneur, Marin’s professional talents align harmoniously with her personal values, grounded in faith, surrender, and service.

Through her business, Marin offers transformational coaching and childbirth education to clients, with an emphasis on empowering others as they find their authentic purpose, meet a certain entrepreneurial goal, or prepare for a sacred and foundational experience such as childbirth.

Marin and her life partner, Jeremy Wheeler, are passionate members of the Quechee community, and were drawn here upon discovering the Upper Valley Waldorf School (UVWS) because of its unique approach to learning and its nurturing educational environment.

Marin and Jeremy’s two children, Austin (a rising first-grader) and Allen (early childhood education),
both attend UVWS, and Marin serves on the development committee, helping to plan events and outreach that foster connections between the school and the local community. The school’s curriculum and approach meets each student where they are at, Marin says, and sets a good example in their mission to create a learning environment that respects each child and is inclusive to students’ unique personalities.

“I have two very high-spirited children,” Marin says. “The way that [the teachers] navigate [the students’] energy levels and meet them as exactly who they are just blows my mind.”

For Marin and her family, navigating the uncertainty of the past four years has led them on some interesting adventures. In early 2020, Marin’s family felt called to travel to the West Coast together so they could continue to serve others despite the limitations of the pandemic. Instead of traveling by plane, they discovered Spirit Bus, a remodeled RV that brought Marin’s family of four on a memorable cross-country trip from Vermont to California, and many places in between. Along that six-month journey, Marin and Jeremy continued to meet with clients virtually and in-person, while also creating new and loving memories with their two toddlers.

When they returned home to Quechee, Austin began at UVWS mid-year, and was welcomed with encouragement and flexibility that allowed him to thrive.

To help balance Austin’s energy and enthusiasm in his classroom, his teacher created a “meditation room” (an activity Marin and Austin had been doing together at home) as a space for all students to calm down when they needed a break from the classroom.

“She just turned it into such a loving and embracing gesture,” Marin says.

Similarly, Marin seeks the same outcome in her approach to serving others. Meeting each unique person
where they’re at, Marin guides others in “discovering [their] authentic purpose and bringing it to life,” she
says.

After growing up in Southern Vermont, Marin left home for the West Coast for college. In her twenties, she entered the corporate world of Finance working for Bear Stearns and later J.P. Morgan where she ran operations for a high net worth wealth management group. Looking out of the window of a 24th floor office in the financial district of San Francisco, she knew her path was taking her in a different direction.

“I still draw on that experience today,” she says. “I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do as a career…and I was
looking around me like ‘who can help me figure this out? Because I’m having a really hard time figuring
out my purpose on my own’.”

This deep questioning about her purpose in life began to pave the way towards Marin’s future career
as a transformational coach.

After seven years in the finance industry, Marin moved back to the East Coast to participate in a new
degree program at the University of Vermont, called SEMBA (Sustainable Entrepreneurship MBA). The
program was designed “to focus on sustainable impact and integrity at every level of business,” Marin said. After completing the program, Marin pursued a Master’s degree in Environmental Law and
Policy at Vermont Law School (VLS).

Marin and Jeremy, soon after they met for the first time at the Starbucks in Hanover.

At this point, Marin had a better feeling about her purpose: “I was so much more clear on my direction, I just didn’t know what job it was [yet],” she remembers. Marin liked the idea of starting her own business, and this was when what she calls “serendipity central” came into play.

Little did she know, while finishing up her studies and preparing for her law exams at VLS, Marin would
meet her future partner, Jeremy, at the Starbucks in Hanover. “This man walked in and sat down next to
me and struck up a conversation with me,” she recounts. “I felt like we already knew each other so well.” Jeremy was also just returning from a 15 year sojourn on the West Coast where he played a crucial role in the Human Genome Project and pursued a master’s degree in Philosophy, Cosmology, and Religion from the California Institute for Integral Studies in addition to a career in teaching and curriculum design.

Jeremy was from the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, while Marin was from Southern Vermont, and through conversation, they discovered that they had been following each other between coasts for years, but had just never crossed paths until this one serendipitous moment. “[Jeremy] was looking for a partner to build a life with that was conversant in both the expansive and vibe-sensitive sense of California…and someone who had the ability to be that deeply-rooted, hard working, East Coast Vermonter,” Marin says. “Finding each other was incredible and completely spirit-led.”

Marin and Jeremy decided to start a business together – Small World Networks, inspired by their desire “to create local to local connections between businesses that were in Vermont…and the local communities on the West Coast that we loved and knew so well,” Marin says.

This business later evolved to encapsulate Marin’s transformational coaching practice and her birthing
education course, Beyond Birthing, which helps prepare women for an empowered and more peaceful
labor and delivery experience.

Marin and her two children, Austin and Allen, on the Spirit Bus during their six-month cross-country roadtrip from Vermont to California.

After experiencing the overwhelming pain and exhaustion of giving birth to her first child, Marin wanted to find a better way to prepare for labor and delivery. “You can’t control birth,” Marin says. “It’s going to have its own journey as every right of passage does.” But with the right preparation and guidance ahead of time, the birth experience can be a fearless one, where women are “showing up in a way that feels empowering and confident and calm throughout birth so that no matter what happens, [they’re] feeling like it’s a positive experience.” The birth of Marin’s second son was nothing like her first. Shifting her mindset to be calm, positive, and trusting had allowed the outcome to shift as well.

As a transformational coach, Marin helps people at all different points in their life journeys, whether her clients already know what their passion and purpose are, or if they’re still trying to figure that out. “Honestly, everybody knows what it is, there’s just confusion around it or it’s cloudy,” Marin says. “People know when they want to be a writer, people know when they want to be a teacher; it’s this deep hidden dream within them and just bringing that out is such a beautiful process.”

Marin’s motivation to offer insight and coach individuals stems from experiencing transformational
moments in her own life – from childhood to feeling uncertain about her career path in her twenties, to the births of her two children, or navigating the stress and tension that ensued from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Being away from her home base doesn’t stop Marin from serving others. This setup is one way Marin continued to meet with clients while on the Spirit Bus journey with her family in 2020.
Together, Marin and Jeremy founded Small World Networks, an umbrella business to Embodypreneur

“Helping people to find freedom and joy within, to be able to do what they love, their authentic purpose, and to tap into a deeper source of faith” is Marin’s number-one priority and joy as a coach, she says. For this reason, Marin especially loves coaching other creative-minded, female entrepreneurs, and guiding people toward an empowered and authentic experience of life, even if that path may feel unconventional or intimidating.

Marin, Jeremy, and family also love their church community at St. James Episcopal Church in Woodstock,
teaching and participating in classes at Artistree, and being involved at the Waldorf School. In her day-to-day life, Marin embraces her purpose to live through faith, surrender, and service, and finds joy in guiding others to embrace their own unique gifts they offer the world.

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