Today's special guest on The Accidental Pren-her Show, Stories of the Unexpected is Accidental Pren-her Dana Weekley. This 12 minute interview talks about Dana's interesting transition from being a traditionally employed accountant to how she recognized her inner artist and founded her successful small business, Nine Tomatoes. Dana is an artist who specializes in entertainment for the third eye.
You can listen to Dana's interview from your computer by clicking on the play button, download the MP3 file and listening on your iPod or other MP3 listening device, or read it in full below.
Welcome to another episode of the “Accidental Pren-her Show: Stories of the Unexpected.” My name is Susan Reid and we have as our special guest today Dana Weekley, founder and owner of Nine Tomatoes. Welcome, Dana. It’s great to have you with us today.
D: Thank you, Susan. I’m glad to be here.
S: I’m glad you’re here, too! So let’s talk a little bit about your journey into the fabulous entrepreneurial lifestyle that you’re living. At one time, I know, you were traditionally employed as an accountant – and now you’re an artist! What a difference between accountant and artist!
D: Yes. Big difference.
S: Big difference, yes! Those of you who are listening and reading, you’re in for a real treat as we hear about this journey from accountant to artist. Dana, take us on a tour and let us know how you got from there to here.
D: I’ve always liked to draw. I just never did anything with it, because I didn’t take it very seriously. I took art courses in school, but always focused on accounting because that was what you did 20 years ago – finding a traditional career that would provide you money and a traditional life. It’s just that I hated it, so after I figured that out, I quit. I’d always also been interested in all things metaphysical – channeling, mediums, astrology, psychics, things like that. So after I quit, I was introduced to Abraham/Esther Hicks, and that just set me on a path of exploring all kinds of philosophies about the universe, questions about why we’re here, and all that good stuff. I was reading books, listening to audios, watching movies, and doing anything I could to get into that. At the same time, I got married and I was raising two little boys. So I was spending a lot of time on the floor, drawing with crayons – sort of reconnecting with the artist side of myself, and I really liked that.
Then, about a year ago, I was working on a project with my husband and that’s when I met you. Luckily, we got a little time to work on me, and that’s when this all came out and Nine Tomatoes was born.
S: I remember that, about a year ago. It just seems like it was just yesterday, but I remember when we met and what a wonderful time that was.
D: It was. It’s been a long, long path – a great path.
S: It really has, but it’s been wonderful to watch you just blossom and grow. I’m so glad you can share this with our readers and listeners today. So, tell me when this all began.
D: I would say the pivotal moment was about six years ago when I ran into a really big obstacle that had me feeling really very low about myself and about life in general. It took a while from there for me to realize that in order to change my life, I would have to change how I felt about myself on the inside, because otherwise anything that I was able to do or have wouldn’t have any meaning to me. So I made it my mission to start feeling good about myself. Actually, a turning point there was seeing “The Secret” when it first came out a couple of years ago. None of that was news to me, but it did reconnect me with the things that I had already learned from Abraham 10 years earlier that I wasn’t practicing in my daily life. So I just started to practice those things again every day – mostly gratitude was the thing that worked. I kept a journal. I woke up in the morning and went to bed at night listing all the things I felt grateful for – especially myself. I’d like to point that out. That was the key ingredient there. I did everything I could think of to lift my vibration and just focused on what was in front of me. It gave me a sense of well being, and essentially it got easier and became a habit, and my life started to shift as a result of that.
S: You know, Dana, the interesting thing is it really started with your decision – that one decision to be happy or to be uplifting or to find something of gratitude and appreciation. That’s where it began.
D: Exactly. I wanted to connect to my heart. I didn’t want to be happy when things were going well and not happy when things weren’t going well. I just wanted a better connection than that.
S: That emotional rollercoaster is just so hard when we are attuned to whatever is external to us making us happy, isn’t it?
D: It is.
S: Let’s ask another question. Had you ever been a small business owner before?
D: I did. I don’t really talk about it, but before I got married 10 or 12 years ago, I was a personal chef for a year or so. It was fun, from the perspective that I was running my own business. Yeah, that was about it. The rest of it was kind of hard, and I realized that I didn’t want to do that either. Now, I see it as a pointer to my life as an artist because I just like to make the food look pretty on the plate.
S: Your family must really enjoy having you for them.
D: Not anymore. I quit!
S: So, pretty much you went from accountant, to somebody who was on the floor drawing artistically with her children, to personal chef, to finally Nine Tomatoes.
D: Right. Well, I was a chef before I was a mother.
S: Okay. So what made you decide to again try your hand at another small business?
D: I don’t know when that decision was made. It was really an accident. It really was. I was working on a project of my husband’s when I met you, and several months into it he got tied up with another project, so there we were. Rather than lose the momentum we had going – I wanted to keep going with you – and you sort of snuck it in there: “How about we work on your passions and see if we can find a business you’d like to run?” As skeptical as I was, I was very interested in doing that. But I didn’t understand at all how I would take my love of art and my love of energy and the universe and turn it into anything at all. That’s when you took me through some really powerful exercises that actually changed my perspective on a lot of things. Mind you, I thought I had all the answers already. I knew what my blocks were, I knew what issues I had in my life. These exercises, when I asked those questions, I just got the most surprising answers. Everything just moved really quickly after that. It’s been a wonderful, wonderful experience creating these drawings.
S: I remember the questions. I remember how we approached that, and one of the best things that I remember about you is that you said, “Yes.” So even though this exercise or any of the exercises we did looked really outlandish, you said yes.
D: I just thought if I followed through it was going to lead me somewhere. And it truly did.
S: I think that really speaks about your intention that you started nine or 10 years ago when you just decided, “Hey, I want something more than what I have right now,” and in order to get that, you have to say yes.
D: Yes, you do, but I honestly didn’t now what it was to the bitter end.
S: “To the bitter end” – I love that!
D: What I love about it is it’s an extension of who I am from the inside. It connects into my heart.
S: And doesn’t that make business so much more enjoyable?
D: Oh, it just makes it enjoyable. I don’t think it ever was before for me. Not nearly in the same way.
S: Which, of course, you found out by being a personal chef.
D: That, and several other projects that I was involved in.
S: Beautiful. So tell us a little bit about Nine Tomatoes. What is the goal of Nine Tomatoes? What’s it all about?
D: Initially, before it even ever started, I just wanted to be able to contribute to the freedoms that my family enjoys – time and money and things like that. But it has kind of evolved, because as I’ve gotten going and the drawings have gone out into the world and I’m getting different reactions from people, I kind of like that. I love what I hear people say. Most people have a unique response to them. It’s something that they feel individually about it when they see them. I know that because they’re coming from my heart, I feel like they’re touching something like that in the viewer. So I feel like my goal has become more like shifting people and helping them raise their vibration the same way I did.
S: And the testament to this is that over the last five or six years or so, you went through some really difficult times. Tell us what kept you going on this vision and this dream.
D: I’d have to say staying present. Staying in my Now moment. I know that everyone has started to talk about that, so it sounds a little cliché, but it truly is a freeing feeling to be able to do that. At the time, I didn’t have any means to plan my future and I couldn’t control anything. All I really had was the present moment, so I just practiced staying in it, right here, right now, no matter what I was doing. It was a lot of hard work, but I was committed to it and now it’s all habit. I’m so grateful that I learned to do that, and it has freed me from so many issues.
S: It really is freeing, isn’t it?
D: Yes. Yes, it is.
S: How has staying centered and being in the Now helped you with your new business?
D: Oh, gosh. When it first started, it was so easy to feel grateful and stay in my Now. It was really exciting. But as you get going with any business, there are so many tasks that have to happen behind the scenes that you can easily get overwhelmed with not enough time, or too many things to do, or don’t know how to do things, or need help with whatever it is. I just have all kinds of tools now, like what you just mentioned – gratitude and staying in my Now – that keep me from giving up and keep me from getting too stressed out. I always go back to gratitude if I need a quick shift out of any mood or bad place that I’m in. It just shifts me really quickly into my present moment, and I’m free there.
S: Gratitude does that for me, too, so I appreciate that in you. So here are the final five questions that we ask everyone. Here we go:
What one word describes your life today?
D: Free. I think I’ve said it a hundred times today.
S: What quality or characteristic is most important to you?
D: An open heart.
S: What turns you off?
D: A closed heart.
S: What inspires you?
D: Space. You just have to look at my drawings to see that, I guess.
S: What’s been the most precious thing that you’ve learned along the journey from Accidental Pren-her to entrepreneurial woman?
D: The most precious thing I think I’ve learned is that I had to fall in love with myself, because once I did that, everything else fell into place.
S: Indeed, Dana. And that is such a wise counsel for all of us listening here, to fall in love with ourselves.
Dana, thank you once again for being a part of the Accidental Pren-her Show today. I know that our readers and listeners are going to want to get in touch with you and see your marvelous art, and perhaps visit your website and download some of that art for purchase. Tell us how to get there. What’s your URL and how can folks contact you?
S: Perfect. Okay, Ladies and Gentlemen, you’re going to want to go over to Dana’s site. It’s www.NineTomatoes.com. Go visit her and see what delicious shapes and beautiful geometric art she has. Visit, e-mail her, let her know how much you like it, and while you’re there, purchase something, too.