Paula Flinn is a breathwork practitioner, parkour coach, mother, and neurodivergent individual. She is an active member of the Perth Parkour community as a coach and leader in the women’s community. Paula is inspired by her three children to help shape her communities to become more inclusive, supportive, and compassionate for all populations.
Childhood role of movement
Always moving, loved running, climbing, monkey bars… knees were always grazed. Something needed, made her happy. Agile and small, climber, so she really took to parkour.
Loss of movement
Early 20s, had a phase of not moving much, not looking after body well during university. Returned to movement when she got a full time job. It was part of the job, discounted gym membership, so that led her back to movement. Living in the countryside, on a farm. Getting involved in the community’s movement scene, moved from the gym into playing a sport, net ball. Led to more outdoor movement, and reminded of fun to movement. Then had children, and there were some starts/stops.
Community creation and inclusion
Most people try to create something they would want, and forget to think about what others might want. Best thing is to learn about different types of people, get to know their why, what gets them to come or stops them from coming. Being curious, digging into these ideas. Starting where you’re at, showing up consistently… maybe not a ‘right’ way to do it, other than getting to know people. Putting yourself out there, so people get to know you, creating a space for safety, and a sense of connection. Being transparent, being yourself. About creating an environment that feels safe, real. Beauty of parkour is the ability to have parallel training; working on different things, together. Can take a while to feel comfortable for different people, this allows community, connection without having pressure to be social. Freedom and community. Safe to be who and where you are.
Place you want to train
With the Yamak. Her boys got to train with Chau, loved it. Definitely want to do it again, with her kids.
Memory feels too short. Craig’s answer: rock climbing trip. Maybe a weird answer, and somewhat torn about it… but reliving her first child’s birth. Unlike any other experience; can be fearful, but so much you can learn. She has regrets about how everything happened, and would relive it.
Books and reading
Currently reading a breathwork book, but doesn’t always get too much of a chance to read. Off and on, occasionally audio books.
Many ideas; not creating for herself, but making ideas reality. Usually around bringing people together, starting projects, programs, getting funding… Constant ideas, but they need immediate action. If not, the little voice picks it apart, slows it down. Takes much longer that way.
Self, zen, ocean
Sometimes people underestimate her; small, “sweet,” but people underestimate passion, fire, ability. People think she’s very zen or calm, especially as a parent, but it’s definitely not true. What helps bring back to that centered zen? Always movement of some kind, flow for parkour. Getting out of her head and letting body take over. Lately doing lots of dancing, just because it feels good. Visiting the ocean also does that. Intentionally living by the ocean? Yes and no; grew up in Perth, but this house ocean access was key. Likes the shore, standing in the waves, feeling the power of the waves… makes her feel alive.
Who do you think of…?
First person you think of ‘powerful.’ Brandee Laird, definitely powerful. Compassionate? Her 10 year old son. Became vegan when he was 6, caring soul. Way to learn empathy? Teaching empathy as a parent; helping kids notice, be curious, discussing others’ feelings. Learning about neurodivergence, having kids with autism, learning how people experience things differently.