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Mobilizing Love

How an International Supermodel Pursued Love and Found Home In Boerne

Article by Rey Lopez

Photography by Paula VM

Originally published in Boerne Lifestyle

The first thing you notice when you meet Alison Canavan is the feeling you're catching up with an old friend. Alison invites you into her world with an Irish lilt and infectious energy. From Paris to London, New York to Sydney, that world used to be the glamorous life of a supermodel living in some of the world's great cities. So how did she land here in Boerne, of all places?

Starting at the age of 15, Canavan began her life of high fashion. For twenty years, she graced the covers of hundreds of magazines as an international supermodel. In 2005, she moved to Calcutta, where she began working in mental health, addiction, and children's charities. This began a journey that would eventually lead her away from the fashion industry. Her influence as a speaker grew as she chaired the inaugural conference on parental mental health in Ireland in 2014. Two years later, she authored her first book, Minding Mum: It's Time to Take Care of You. This led to live speaking events and workshops not only in Ireland but in the U.S. as well. But even then, she pursued change.

"I've lived in big cities my entire life," she explains. "And then myself and my son moved [to L.A.] at the end of 2019. We had three or four months of bliss. I was working at Unplug Studios, teaching meditation. I was doing workshops, living the life I had dreamed of as far as work and service." There in Los Angeles, Canavan pursued the things she’s most passionate about: serving others in the areas of mindfulness and meditation. During that time, Canavan reorganized her life and devoted herself to honing her craft as a speaker and teacher. But she could not have anticipated how a global pandemic that would put an unexpected turn in her journey.

"After leaving Ireland and packing it all in, I was at a dinner party, and a friend of mine said they were thinking of selling off and moving to Texas, and I was like, 'Now why would you do that?'" Canavan still seems surprised to find herself in the Texas Hill Country. "If someone had said to me five years ago, 'A few years from now, you'll be living in a tiny town in Texas called Boerne on four acres with chickens and a dog, and you're gonna love it,' I would have said, 'you are absolutely off your rocker,'" she muses with a chuckle.

"When I listen to the Universe, it's very interesting when I just say I'm looking for a bit of guidance," she says of her landing at the San Antonio airport. "We arrived into Boerne, and we were starving, and we saw Dienger's [Trading Co.]. Raymond [Lunsford], who owns Dienger's, came up to me, and we were talking when my son came up to me and said, 'Mom, I have to buy you something! I have to buy you something!"

As she continues to recount the story, she reveals the "God-wink" she received to let her know she was home: "So I went in, and the next minute James comes in with this beautiful bag. And I open it, and I take out this mug; it's a white porcelain mug with a gold wishbone handle and I started crying." Canavan is certain her friends wondered why she was crying over what seemed to be such a sweet, albeit random, gesture from her son.

"My grandmother, who had died a couple of years before, used to have a very special way of making each and every one of her grandchildren feel very special, and there were a lot of them," she explains. "On a Saturday she used to make roast chicken, and she used to keep the wishbone for me. James did not know this story. So when I got the mug, I felt like it was a message from my grandmother… That pretty much was the moment where I thought, ‘This is where we are going to live.’"

As a single mother, Boerne has proven to be an ideal base for Canavan and her son as she continues her work, helping people work through the mental health challenges so many face. "Our perceptions of the world are very different, how we think, what we've been through. I used to struggle with horrific depression and anxiety from a young age. I was heavily medicated for it."

Eight years into her sobriety, she wants to pass on the principles that have changed her life and help people move toward what she calls a "radical awareness of self."

"Without awareness, we can't change anything. Through doing the work, our consciousness expands, our awareness expands, we get access to more and more of who we truly are. That is where true liberation and freedom lie."

Distilling her work down to one thought, she offers this challenge: "Healing doesn't happen in separation, whether it's separation in the world or separation within ourselves. The most important part for us to understand is the power of love."

With a smile, Canavan concludes, "We have given fear so much power. If we mobilize love like we mobilize fear, the world would heal overnight. I firmly believe that."

To learn more about Alison's corporate and one-on-one work, visit her website Wardrobe provided by The Dienger Trading Co,

"We have given fear so much power. If we mobilize love like we mobilize fear, the world would heal overnight. I firmly believe that."