“I have always felt that God… or the universe... tells you where you need to go. Sometimes you get a gentle nudge to go a different way, and sometimes you get a slap in the face.”
A yoga instructor, former front woman in a hardcore metal band, and executive director to a local nonprofit for children, Logan Thompson doesn’t fit within many stereotypes or boundaries. She is a compassionate nurturer, that comes from being a mother, and a warrior-like leader, that comes from being a cancer survivor.
Logan is a firm believer that there is a greater power guiding us all in the direction we need to go in, if you listen and respond to it - something that she has done plenty of over the years. From lessons she would tell (or YELL!) at her younger self, to uprooting a professional career path she loved. We were enthralled and inspired to learn about Logan’s journey.
What is the most meaningful thing in your life right now?
Absolutely my family. My son just turned two on May 7th, and he is the greatest accomplishment of my life. But, I couldn't have made it through the last two years without the incredible support of my husband. We have been together for seven years, and are partners, in every sense of the word. We truly do share the work of raising our son, and for that I am so grateful. When I get overwhelmed with my job, or want to put in more hours of work than are healthy, my family is a reminder to step back, enjoy the small moments, and take the time to truly experience each other. My family gives my life such purpose and meaning, and when I get sick and tired of all the bad things in the world, all I have to do is think of them, and it all comes back into perspective.
Favorite Part about your work:
I basically love everything about being the Executive Director of Welcome Home Angel, but if I had to pick a singular favorite, it would of course have to be our Big Reveal days, where we reveal a sick or injured child's new bedroom to him/her. The mom always cries, which makes me cry. The volunteers are so proud, and deservingly so. All of the months of hard work that are put in by myself and a group of volunteers all culminate in this one incredible moment in which a kid feels SO important, and SO loved. And even if they're quite sick, they manage to almost always say that their favorite part of their new bedroom is "everything". Gets me every. single. time.
Tell us more about what led you to this line of work.
There's a very clear path to my landing at Welcome Home Angel. When I was 25, I was working 80+ hours a week at a super prestigious boarding school in Asheville. I LOVED the work, I loved my students, but it was taking up my entire life. I would wake up at 4am to work on lesson plans, and stay up on-hall with my 25 girls until 10:30pm. It was life. I loved it, but it was very unhealthy for me. On the first week of a new school year, I was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer...later, I found out I have Lynch Syndrome, a genetic condition, much like the BRCA gene for breast cancer. Except I had a high predisposition to get colon cancer, and even higher (71%) chance of getting uterine cancer. So my world came crashing down. I had little resources that I knew of to help me. I tried support groups, but most people in the groups were older and I just didn’t connect with them... Some were even mad at me that I didn't lose my hair during chemo like everyone else.
I was totally isolated. I know exactly what it's like for your own home to feel alien to you, to lose all comfort, and to need help, without knowing who to ask.
So, I left boarding school life, moved to Wilmington, and began obtaining my MPA (Masters in Public Administration) at UNCW, with the goal of running a nonprofit that helped young people in dire health conditions. I didn't know what that looked like or how I'd do it, but that's exactly what I'm doing now. Four years after completing my degree, here I am. Welcome Home Angel renovates the homes of children with chronic illness, physically debilitating injury, and severe developmental disability, so that their own home is more functional, and also just a happier, more comfortable place to be. And we go over the top. We don't just widen a doorway...we give the kids the most fabulous bedroom their imagination could create. It's very special. So I feel like I've completed the circle:
I suffered, learned from it, and I took that suffering in a positive way to help others, all day, every day. I'm so very lucky to be where I am, and I know that. My illness gave me the most wonderful perspective to know what really matters, and work towards that, and to leave the other BS behind.
What makes your eyes light up?
When my son smiles at me, or tells me he loves me. Nothing is more special to me than those little moments with him, when I can tell that he feels supported, loved, and safe. In case you haven't seen him, he's basically the cutest kid on the planet. But I might be a little biased.
What is the way that you make your life more manageable?
I use a weekly planner, copied from The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. It forces me, on a weekly basis, to keep my eyes on the prize, my BIG goals, both personally and professionally. You start with your main roles: personal, professional (in terms of long-term professional development, not just your particular job), then break your job out into a few roles (for me, it's project management, fundraising, marketing, and outreach). From there, you determine a few overarching priorities for the week in each category, and then assign actionable steps that you can complete in the week, to move that priority forward. Super helpful and super simple, if you are a planner, like me. So when I have a few minutes, I refer to that planner, rather than throwing myself into something unnecessary or less productive. It just feels more comprehensive than a checklist, and keeps your eyes on your future vision, rather than simply being reactive and attending to the next easy thing that needs to happen.
What advice would you GIVE to your younger self
1) Don't waste your time with boys in high school! 2) Don't go to college immediately out of high school - work REALLY hard in a non-professional job for a couple years first, so you can understand your value, and the value of education and experience to your own personal career path. 3) Don't waste your time trying to find THE man (or woman) to marry until you're closer to 30... try to build your career and experience during your 20s, keep your focus, so when (if) you do start a family, you are secure in your career path, and have more mental and emotional energy to give to them. 4) Don't blame yourself for things you can't control...your health is only in your hands to a certain extent...there's nothing you can do about genetics, so don't beat yourself up for not preventing your body from attacking you with colon cancer at age 25...it's not your fault your first husband couldn't handle the pressure of a new wife with cancer and bailed...it ain't your fault, none of it is, and it never will be. You're stronger than all of that, so don't let it suck your energy or drive - move on and use it as fuel! 5) Don't ever run a half marathon - you'll blow out your knee and never run again.
Favorite way to recharge:
Yoga. I teach yoga at Wilmington Yoga Center and Salty Dog, but even more than that, I love my own private yoga practice at home, at around 5:00am. My entire day is different if I give that time to myself, before anyone else is awake. I'm more patient, I'm nicer, I'm more easy going. But if I miss it for a few days, you can tell...I'm much less pleasant to be around.
How do you think differently about work than your parents did:
My mom always told me that if you find your true passion, you'll never work a day in your life. I disagree with that, 100%. Work is work. It's hard, you don't always want to have that uncomfortable meeting, or make that phone call, or create that spreadsheet. But that's why it's called work. And that's okay. The important thing for me is to find meaning in my work that carries into my personal life. What I care about personally is what I hope to, and strive to achieve professionally, on a daily basis. Doesn't make it not work, but it makes it meaningful and worthwhile, when you have to do the hard stuff.
What woman do you most admire:
One of my yoga teachers, Frances Murchison. I've spent over 200 hours with her in a yoga teacher training, and would do it again in a heartbeat. She has taught me what it means to be present with every person, that presence is an act of love. She has taught me to respect my own path, and to listen to my own needs, rather than the dogma. She has the kindest spirit of anyone I have ever met, and she's also a total badass in every sense of the word. I totally recommend taking one of her yoga classes at Wilmington Yoga Center, but be ready to work hard, mentally and physically. Frances is also a wellness coach, so you can get into the nitty gritty details with her to improve your life, and she can help guide you to learn what you already knew inside, which is to listen to yourself, and to be present in the moment. Oh, and she's also written books, traveled the world, and is a fabulous mother to some really cool humans. No big deal. She's totally my hero.
The photos of you in your yoga positions are so powerful, especially the ones that show your tattoos. What are the stories behind them?
I have two tattoos that are super important to me, that mark very important parts of my journey in life. The purple orchid on my wrist used to say "VEGAN" - I was in a band, called Undying, for a number of years in my early 20s. We were a vegan metal band, and most of our lyrics revolved around being vegan. I was hard core. I didn't eat refined sugar (because often sugar is refined using bone black, which is literally made of charred animal bones), or honey, even. I was so hard core about it, though, that I didn't take care of my health. If it was vegan, even if comprised solely of chemicals, I ate it. I ate all the fake meat, fake cheese, etc. You name it. So I was vegan, but I wasn't healthy. Then I got colon cancer, and started to question everything. I realized that my body, maybe, needed some eggs, some cheese, etc. As soon as I started to eat those non-vegan things, my energy level started to shift. I felt better. So I stopped being vegan shortly after my cancer diagnosis. But I had this VEGAN tattoo to deal with. When I was in chemotherapy, I felt awful. I was trying to work, mostly from home, but really didn't have the energy to do much outside of the house. So…. I started growing orchids in my sunroom.
Most of my productive, positive, energy was spent tending to my orchids. So I thought, what better way to cover this tattoo, that for me symbolized unhealthy habits, and not putting myself first, with a symbol of renewal, growth, and putting myself and my health first.
My other tattoo, on my bicep, says "Carry the fire." This is a quote from my favorite book, by my favorite author, Cormac McCarthy. I got it when I was going through my divorce, moving to Wilmington with no roots there, and just knew that I was moving my life in a positive direction. The point of the quote, in the context of the book, is that this was something the father says to his son, every day. The setting of the book is a post-apocalyptic/post-nuclear war world where everyone is fending for themselves, harming one another to survive, because all resources are gone. The father tells the son that there are so many bad people in the world, but we're the good guys. We have to carry the fire. This, of course, matters to me even more now, because I do have a son. And one of the most important life lessons I want him to learn is that there are bad guys everywhere. But we have to carry the fire.
Logan, you inspire us!
Thank you for sharing your story with our community!
Do you know a woman who has overcome obstacles and shined through adversity? We would love to know them, too. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org