Who: Preston Smiles (IG: @prestonsmiles)
Occupation: Personal Freedom Coach (http://www.prestonsmiles.com)
Location: Venice, California

Preston is such a special gem in this world, and his energy is infectious. I first heard about him through a friend that was taking his course. He showed me a video where Preston was talking and I immediately felt comfortable watching and listening to him… because he was REAL. He wasn’t pretending to be perfect, or someone that he wasn’t. He was incredibly animated and positive, but from what I understand that is how he truly is most of the time. He was and is authentically presenting himself to this world. He is one of the new emerging leaders, in my opinion…because in these new times of social media, videos, blogs, etc…if you aren’t genuine, you are going to get called out.

I think the most powerful and clear way that I can demonstrate who he is, is by sharing what he wrote about himself in the “About Me” section of his website: “I could list a bunch of things that would make me look “important” and “successful”, but what I want you to know about me is I truly care about people, our planet, and about maximizing my potential… So whether I’m speaking, leading workshops, writing books, or making conscious content through social media, it’s all in SERVICE of the same thing….LOVE. It’s the answer to everything and it’s so obvious that some of us miss it. So I’m here as a messenger to remind us all that when we AMPLIFY our LOVE we automatically amplify our LIVES.”

I say, “Yes please to more of whatever he is having!” I hope you laugh, smile, and ponder his answers to my questions like I did.

Sat nam,

Elise

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1) Who are you?

LOVE. A sexy chocolate drop. A personal freedom coach. A messenger of love sent here to remind us all that no matter what the question, that love is the answer. That underneath all of our stories about each other, gay straight, white, black, Christian, Muslim… that love is what remains. We’re all dealing with the same stuff.

2) What is the greatest challenge you have overcome/are overcoming ?

Remembering my divinity. Remembering and moving from a knowing that EVERYTHING I’ve ever needed is already here….NOW. Sometimes the wounded-self/ego mind pops up and try’s to remind me of the conversation I’ve been having since I was 9 years old when I was ushered out of the “normal” classes and placed in “SPECIAL education” classes with 4 mentally ill children. Since then I’ve been in a process of remembering and tapping into that part of myself that’s still innocent, that part that has never been hurt, harmed, or endangered. Some days it barely comes up, while other days it feels like something is pulling on my shirt saying “You’re an imposter, there going to find out that you’re actually pretty stupid”. I know this is not the “truth” with a capital T. I know logically that, that narrative doesn’t serve me at all, which is why I make it my business to be with and practice habits that remind me of who and what I am…LOVE.

3) What have you learned?

That it’s not my job to MAKE it happen, it’s my job to WELCOME it. That what ever I practice more of, I get more of. That I AM WE ARE #LovesVoice

Who: Nathan Hedge “Hog”  (IG@nhedge_hog)

Occupation: Pro athlete, WSL surfer, surf coach and brand ambassador for Salty Crew and Mauli Ola Foundation

Location: Narrabeen, Australia

Nathan, “Hog” or “Hoggy”… is a legend.

I haven’t heard one person being described as the same one word over and over again as I have heard him being called a legend from everyone that knows him. He truly is one in every way.  Not only does he absolutely kill it in the surfing world, was  Top 10 on the WSL World Tour two years in a row, but he also gives back more than most people I know and is an absolute gentleman to every single person he comes into contact with.

Hoggy literally beams with light and brightens up anyone’s day that he comes across.  He is beyond humble and kind. He is always looking for an opportunity to ask you how you are doing or help you in any way. He is a man of service, in the most reverant way. He is someone that has gone through the darkness to get to the light, and now appreciates every single ray.

Boys and grown men alike look up to this guy for all the right reasons, and I personally hope you share this article with his advice in it to as many of them as possible because the more of them that read this the better off we will all be; he has some of the most simple yet complete advice for all of us.

I would also like to give a big shout out to his recent celebration of 5 years of sobriety!!!!  And also the recent marriage to the lady of his dreams, Stacey! Clearly this man is winning at life 🙂

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1) Who are you?

I’m Australian, 37 yrs young 😉

I’m someone who likes to live life to the fullest & have travelled the world many times over. Surfing has blessed me with countless cultural experiences & allowed me to connect with people all over the globe.

2) What is the greatest challenge you have overcome/are overcoming?

Overcoming alcohol & substance abuse.

My life had become a series of train wreck after train wreck, although from the outside things seemed ok. Sure I had my house on the lake, a BMW ( X5 ) in the garage, 6 figure contracts, a girlfriend, I was in the top 10 on the WSL World Tour for the second year in a row. Just came off most improved award for the following year. But, inside I was a mess.

I took 3 separate stints in rehab facilities. The final one being a 6 month live-in with an additional 2 months give back program to the community. I completed that life changing journey in June 2012.

My clean/ sober date is October 17th 2011.

3) What have you learned?

What I learned from that experience is that NOTHING outside of myself can fix me or make me feel good in the long run. No contest win or money or relationship or status or food or drink or gambling, nothing will be great until I get my relationship with ME right first. For me it’s been about allowing a loving God and higher power to work miracles in my life. But it’s no good just praying, you have to put the action in and take each challenge one day at a time and don’t feel weak about asking for help. There is a world of help out there and in my experience people are so willing to assist and elevate you to reach your potential once you show your commitment to yourself. The universe has a unique way of making things happen, doors open up and the path becomes straight… but you’ve got to want it enough, want it so bad that you’ll go to any length. If you’re not there yet, no one can help you and you’ll go through more tough lessons. Everyone has there time and special journey. I’m extremely grateful for each and every lesson

Who: James Sol Radina (IG:@jimmysol)
Occupation: CEO of BioCBD (http://www.biocbdplus.com/)
Location: Kauai, Hawaii

James is one of my dearest friends. Actually, he’s more like a brother. I wouldn’t know him if its wasn’t for Somer, my friend whom he is about to marry. I have lived with them for weeks on end in Kauai, and seen him in all different situations. Here is what I have witnessed: he is the first responder to help, he is kind and patient, he is creative, he does about 100 things in a day and does them all with care, and he always speaks with love and respect.

He is always growing, evolving and refining. He NEVER sees himself as the victim. He is on the very top of my go-to list for advice. He, Somer and I have spent many mornings doing Kundalini Meditations on the deck of their house in Haena that will forever be in my memory.

I love how authentic and vulnerable his share is and I can’t wait for to share it with you. This could absolutely read as an instruction guide to a young man looking how to go from being a boy to a man. Or a man to a better version of himself. I can’t think of anyone I would rather be the husband of one of my best friends in the world; I know he will take such good care of her because I have seen it, day in and day out.

Sat nam,

Elise

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1) Who are you?

I am seeker. A seeker of everything. A seeker of nothing. Mostly a seeker of truths. I am so curious to how life works and why we are here. I crave to know how this world works. I love more than anything, uncovering the inner truths of my own being while also learning everything I can about the outer world in which we all share. I have flipped my reality upside down so many times lately, which at first causes massive confusion, but usually rests in a new found “Aha Moment.”

For example, one day I realized I was constantly judging people. It was not on purpose, it was automatic. After much reflection and bringing awareness to this, I started to imagine what kind of life they might have had in order to be who they are and now I find myself sending compassion to people rather than placing judgements. I try to imagine myself walking in their shoes. The truth is, everyone has felt pain and suffering in their life, everyone has love in their hearts and we all feel the same emotions of anger, frustration, joy, bliss, etc. I have had many dark days and nights, so who am I to judge anyone? So when I seek, I seek to find greater love for myself and all of humanity, even when it is hard. And especially when it is hard.

I practice the Eastern Philosophies of non-attachment. So I don’t hold onto anything too tight. I have found that holding onto things keeps my mind closed to new discoveries. Since this was not taught to me growing up, quite the opposite actually, I stumble with this one. Yet at the same time, I can see the massive progress I have made. So you could say I am attached to being non-attached.

I love to play in the moment as much as possible, which is not always the easiest thing, but I have been on this path for many years now and I love the results that this has created in my life. Living in the moment, to me, means finding gratitude and grace inside of the way things are; exactly as they are. I have not always been this way, as most of my life I spent wishing I was different or the things around me were different. Now I practice active surrender each and every day mixed with lots of gratitude. Surrendering, yet showing up and walking my path.

I am a meditator and a yogi, yet someone whose path is not to sit silent in a cave, but rather show up and walk the earth supporting in anyway that I can. I am a supporter in my core, sometimes to a fault. Sometimes I find I will over sacrifice my own health and well being to support others. I continue to learn my lessons here.

Also, I am a lifelong learner. I’m a really good friend with a lot of really good friends. I consider my closest friends my family, my chosen family. I am a world citizen and traveler. I wish my passport said Planet Earth as my home instead of the USA. I am a surfer. I love just about every sport, am extremely active and being in nature is my church. I am an entrepreneur with multiple companies focusing on medicinal benefits of cannabis.

I am recently engaged and very much looking forward to a full moon October 2016 wedding and being an amazing husband. And finally, I am really looking forward to being a father!

2) What is the greatest challenge you have overcome/are overcoming?

Self Worth. I continue to find areas where I show up playing small. It’s a sneaky little trick that many times I don’t uncover until after the fact. Or I make a decision only for myself to look back and see how it came from a place of lack or scarcity. I have seen this show up in many different environments of my life. It shows up in the dynamics between my father and my brother, the two family members closest to me. It also shows up in my relationship with my fiancé (a whole lot less now as I have done a lot of work here, more on this later).

Mostly I find areas that I am operating from a place of lack in my businesses. To give some context, I find myself in the fastest growing industry in the US, with three companies where I am CEO, in which are all growing yet need an upgrade of teams and additional capital. Asking people to join your team or invest in your company, is an interesting process to say the least…at least for me. Many people I am sure are great at this, but due to my unique upbringing, my life’s history, failures and life lessons of my past, I continue to find my negative mind focusing on all the areas that could be “better” or “done differently”, instead of focusing on all the “wins” and areas of deep “gratitude” I have for where these companies have evolved. Every day I am constantly “checking in” with gratitude, otherwise my mind wants to create a story of lack. For example, on one hand the impact on our customer’s lives we are creating is priceless (over 23 pages of testimonials) and the revenue we are generating is great after just 15 months in business. Yet for some reason, my past conditioning brings in a story that I could doing “better,” we should have “more” market share or we should be growing “faster”. More, better and faster are desires that come from a place of lack, of not seeing the good in exactly the way things are, and I have found that this “tape” or “story” running in my head will never end by getting “somewhere” and there is no destination “out there” that will make me ever feel enough. Feeling worthy, or feeling MORE than enough, is an internal journey. It is the journey I am working on right now and probably the biggest one of my life as it is deep and stemming from some childhood traumas.

It’s an interesting process. I have read that I am not alone, as many people in the Western world are dealing with this sentiment as well. Yet I believe I am alone, as this is mine to do. I believe we are our own best doctor. We are our own best guru. And like so many other blocks in my life, once I am aware of them, I take them head on to uncover the truth behind all the fears.

3) What have you learned?

It feel like I am on two paths. One is to uncover the “inner world” truths about what makes me come alive versus what shuts me down. On this path I have uncovered so many walls & blocks, that have stemmed from my childhood, which were keeping me from truly being open. For example, I found myself in multiple long term relationships in my adult life, yet I always had one foot out the door. I would never truly allow my heart to open fully. I was always thinking the grass was greener “out there”. And I would always blame the woman I was with for why things were not working. This caused a lot of pain and suffering in my life. Well, it turns out, I wasn’t fully allowing love into my heart and I was so scared of losing the relationship that I would protect myself by running away. I would never allow myself to go all in. If it started getting too deep and serious, I would find a way to blow it all up. It took me until I was 34 years old to finally see this. Luckily I had been on a journey seeking the inner path, which led me to working on opening my heart, taking full responsibility for my failed relationships and coming to the realization I wasn’t fully letting myself accept love. This was a pattern I was stuck in that was no longer ok with me. My mother died when I was 4 in a car accident. So for most of my life, I have been unconsciously operating from where a scared little boy was calling the shots. I think that every time things got too close or I had a fear of loss, I would shut down. And it has taken massive amounts of inner work to get to where I am now; engaged and less than 90 days away from marring my dream girl. Whew, this was no small feat! And on the other side, I can say this was my greatest lesson. It’s amazing how our darkest hours are our biggest life lessons. Which sums up this point….when doing my “inner work” I seek to find the parts of me that are uncomfortable with the way life is. I bring awareness to these areas where I close down. Then I find my core root belief systems and unconscious patterns, let them go, no matter how long it takes, and re-write the script finding a new way to be comfortable in what used to make me uncomfortable.

The second path I find myself on, is my personal path to uncover how to best fully show up in the outer world. What is mine to do? I love the path of Paramahansa Yogananda, Jesus, Buddha, Mother Teresa, Nahko Bear, Michael A. Singer, Gandhi and so many other saints and sages. These are my mentors, as they are real examples of what success looks like. They all understood the importance of the inner world and how it directly impacted their ability to truly BE in the outer world. They all have found their unique expression in life and how they inspired millions by just showing up as themselves. I have found the same. Over and over I have found, that as I uncover my true nature, I am in turn able to show up more fully for my family, my relationships and for humanity. As a seeker of ancient wisdom, I learn first then immediately apply the lessons to my life. These Great Ones I mentioned above are my favorite examples of people that authentically walked and talked from a place that could only be discovered by going within and realizing their own inner truths.

For most of my life, I was seeking validation from the outside world. I grew up thinking success was based on how much money I made and what other people thought of me. I grew up on a small 40 acre farm in rural Kansas, went to a high school with a graduating class of 31, owned and operated two night clubs through college, then moved to San Diego in hopes to make millions in real estate. I found myself going to clubs 4 nights a week, Vegas once a month, and well, basically numbing myself.

Then meditation found it’s way into my life (which was extremely hard and even painful at first)….and then yoga. Now I find myself with all types of tools, such as Kundalini Yoga for the ultimate hack for quieting the mind, using mantras for manifesting experiences, mudras, breathwork, Hatha Yoga, guided meditations, Earthing and so much more. These tools are critical to my life. They all are needed in quieting my monkey mind, which is constantly trying to get in the way of seeing the inner and outer truths I so much desire to understand. The Bhagavad Gita, like the Bible and Tao Te Ching, is considered one of the greatest sacred texts ever discovered. It is about a war between good and evil, which is really one big allegory revealing the battle we all face each day with our ego, between fear and love. For me, I strive to be awake and stay awake, so that I may see when I get lost in the mind versus operating from my heart. I am in constant observation of when I might be operating from my child self out of fear versus my Higher Self out of love. I am constantly starving the “Bad Wolf” and feeding the ever thriving “Good Wolf”.

This is my path. It is an unknown, unwritten path. I am in constant exploration of new adventures. I surrender to the unknown that lies ahead and choose to embrace whatever life brings me next. I choose to walk heart open, heart forward and love more in all aspects of life. Enemy of none, friend of all. Taking full responsibility for my life and how this world affects me.

If you made it this far, thank you. I would love to hear from you, please share your comments about what you have found to be your greatest lessons in life. Please comment below. Aho!

Worthy Women is taking a hiatus while we honor the masculine for the next 6 months. I have had so much fun featuring women that I admire… but I thought it was time to balance things out. There are so many amazing men in this world, too!

Who: David Wolfe (IG @davidavocadowolfe)
Occupation: Rock Star/Indiana Jones of the Superfoods and Longevity Universe (http://www.davidwolfe.com)
Location: Where’s Waldo

I think I first met David (who introduced himself as “Avocado”, so that is what I have personally always called him)… about 7 years ago. He was speaking about Superfoods at the Worldbeat Cultural Center downtown. At the time, this was a buzz word, not the staple in nutrition vocabulary that it has become today. He was the first person to educate us about these mostly exotic foods and also make them available to us in the United States. Since then, he has expanded to health, beauty, herbalism, and nutrition.

But when I think of him, I immediately think of cacao (chocolate). Yes, it’s a superfood, my favorite one actually. But if you have met him or heard him speak… you know what I am talking about. I thought, “This guy has got to be on a lot of cacao.”

He has A LOT of energy. And it’s contagious.

He might or might not be on cacao all the time, few will ever know. But he is definitely a man on a mission to make this world a better place through the food we eat….what we choose, how it is sourced, planted, grown, and harvested. These are extremely important topics for the future of our health and if you aren’t concerned with these things yet, you should be.

He wants us to live longer, healthier lives and has no problem paving the way for us.

David has a great sense of humor, never takes himself too seriously, is fiercely passionate about his beliefs and loyal to the end. He has integrity when others have none and is not driven by money or greed. I am a fan for life.

Sat nam,

Elise

 

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1) Who are you?

An orator: I’m old school in this category: an original reincarnated classical Greek orator.

An adventurer and explorer: I’ve traveled the world relentlessly for 20 years without being in one place for more than 4 weeks.

A tree planter: I founded a non-profit Fruit Tree Planting Foundation in 2002 (www.ftpf.org) that has officially planted over 500,000 fruit trees worldwide and unofficially over 1,000,000 fruit, nut, and medicinal trees worldwide.

A spring water hunter: I was inspired by the Austrian Water Wizard Viktor Schauberger to hunt down springs at their source sometime around the year 2000. Since then, I have hunted down over 300 springs on 5 continents.

A drummer: I have no natural talent in this department, but somehow I’ve kept at it for 28 years making steady improvements.

A gardener: This is a deep LOVE connected to my soul.

A student of soil: What a subject to study! Dirt.

A student of Nature: Always studying and trying to comprehend Nature and reality.

A doubter of things claimed to be scientific and unquestionable: If it’s unquestionable, it’s questionable.

A medicine maker: Growing, harvesting, finding and/or picking medicine for myself and others is plant spirit medicine.

This is the first thing I thought of when I read this question, so I put it last: I am a spiritually oriented person: I believe and feel my soul is from somewhere else that is in a body here on the Earth plane.

2) What is the greatest challenge you have overcome/are overcoming?

My biggest daily challenges include two components:

1. Getting motivated to learn new skills and perform with those new skills in a way that gets the job done professionally and without having to re-do the job later. It seems like I am constantly having to learn new skills and execute those skills at a high level of performance without any previous experience. Whether it’s the computer, plumbing, electrical, house repair, automotive, interpersonal, family-related, this issue consistently comes up.

2. Efficiency and getting enough essential work, play, learning, exercise and relationship time in every day. Its non-stop all day long, every day. I don’t take days off. Its work, play, learning, exercise and personal relationship development non-stop.

By reviewing my life, the greatest challenges have always led to the greatest victories. That’s reassuring, so I focus on that concept when going through difficult times.

Overall, every day my goal is to have The Best Day Ever. That means that each day is: love-filled (people, places, plants) as well as physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, socially and financially fulfilling.

3) What have you learned?

Doing a thing with excellence is always important — and never trouble.

Karma is real. Help to make the world a better place with all your actions and you will be rewarded in this and future lifetimes.

Reincarnation is real. You take the results of your actions including your victories and skills with you into your next life.

Love holds the multiverse together.

Magic and synchronicity are real and an ever-present reality.

The Earth is a paradise; a heaven. The human dynamic on Earth indicates we are socially and spiritually residing in hell realms — if 0 = hell and 100 = heaven, the human dynamic on Earth is about a 23. However, as of recently, the undercurrent of the human dynamic is turning towards love, spirituality, cooperation, health, awareness, choices, freedom, happiness, open-mindedness, etc. while the momentum of the old ways: suppression, tyranny, destruction, competition, secret societies, materialism, close-mindedness, fundamentalism, faith-based belief in scientism is starting to come apart at the seams. We are headed up on the scale, which has to be a good sign.

Who: Heather Lindemenn

Occupation: Spiritual Guide and Bullshit Slayer

Location: Vista, CA

 

The first time I remember meeting Heather, it was about 7 years ago with a good friend in Lotus Cafe and she(pretty randomly) said to me that I had dark circles under my eyes and that I probably had a thyroid issue. If that happened to me now, I think I would be more intrigued than anything and (hopefully) say, ‘Cool, thanks…I will have that tested.”

At the time it really threw me off, (who knows, maybe it was the pendulum on her necklace she seemed to be referring to for answers?!) …and I was so astounded I don’t think I said anything!

I ended up having some things tested about a year later, totally unrelated to her comment, and low and behold…my thyroid was off. My first thought was of her and the courage it must have taken to think that and then say it to someone you barely know.

So…as much as I’m sure she’s not using the pendulum anymore…this is Heather in a nutshell.  She is pretty much always right. Not in the “I told you so” way. Don’t get me wrong, you might not(think you) want to hear it; but she is not so concerned with that.  What she IS concerned with is truth and healing and breaking through the well, err…bull shit(those would be her words, and frankly there is no better way to say it). And it’s normally with ourselves.

What you see is what you get; she’s a straight-shooter, and will tell you every embarrassing story in her life in an effort for us all to laugh and grow from it.  She is what I would say almost every single one of us needs, especially women! I felt close to her since I sat in one of her Women’s Circles long ago. I loved that she cussed and was sometimes loud and not always on time or “perfect,” it made me relax and feel welcome and relax enough to absorb what she had to say.  And you always want to hear what she has to say…TRUST ME.  She has the gems!  And she always shares!!!

I credit Heather for the beginning of me opening up to the Feminine, Women’s Groups and the power of women in general when we bond together. I credit Heather for a lot of things, and you will surely see why in the interview…by the way, you might want to take notes on this one!

 

Sat nam,

 

Elise

 

Heather

 

 

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1) Who are you?

I am bullshit slayer.

I am a beach born baby, raised on VG donuts from Cardiff By The Sea, Ca.

I am a crusader for the voice of the HEART.

I am a wife to the kindest man alive.

I am a daughter of a beautiful mamma who died from cancer when I was 23.

I am a sherpa to women who are being called HOME to themselves.

I am a stepmom to a brave young Goddess.

I am a devoted servant to the FIRE of real deal, life changing, HOLY SHIFTING, Transformation. (Mine and yours)

I am a fiercely loving and protective friend.

I am a Seducer of TRUTH. I use humor, love and maybe a few curse words to call women into a sacred SEEING of themselves that transforms their lives from the inside out.

I am a doggie mamma of two yummy rescued fur babies.

I am available to SEE myself fully. (and that means ALL parts not just the fun beach baby, donut eating, fierce sherpa, seducer of truth, good friend, happy doggie mamma parts.

 

2) What is the greatest challenge you have overcome/are overcoming?

SEEING that “I” burden LIFE with carrying the face of my wounds.

Experiencing the TRUTH of this statement was and IS a total game changer for me.

SEEING that my unresolved stuff is actually playing itself out in my life delivers me back into the driver’s seat, INSTANTLY!

No it’s not easy, and YES it’s worth it…

You see, I’m not much into wasting time and money and I like my “medicine” STRONG. So when my life started to completely crumble (divorce, failed business, total lack of faith in The Divine and myself) I realized that the core of my BIG repeating issues might just be in me…

At that pivotal point in my life I screamed to the universe, “I’m fucked and I need to get un~fucked… NOW”.

That’s when my first teacher arrived in my life and fast, fast, forward I was initiated into this POTENT way of experiencing myself. I was quickly SOLD on this navigation because not only did “LIFE” start showing up differently, my relationship with myself started to heal + my intuition was ignited and MOST important of all, my difficult, exhausting, repeating patterns began to disappear.

Now the challenge of this is that I will always have something inside I can’t see or feel, so when “stuff” arises ultimately I MUST arrive back in ME. (This IS my constant “walk my talk” practice)

And THIS is the foundation of the work I do with other women. No it isn’t a self blame game. This is a return to oneself where we experience a deep intimacy within… Dare I say Oneness within ourselves.

And from this place of oneness those well sought after experiences TRULY arise… You know those ones we affirm ourselves to death with, those experiences we “practice” ourselves into a dither about: like, Forgiveness, acceptance, gratitude, authenticity and the ability to be PRESENT. These experiences begin to “happen” without effort or practice…

 

3) What have you learned?

I have learned that an intimate relationship with “Life” (money, partnership, God etc.) starts with an intimate relationship with myself.

If “He’s not there for me” If “they won’t listen to me”, If They don’t love me” then I go directly to ME..

I am I there for me?

Am I listening to ME?

Do I LOVE ME?

It all starts and ends with me…

I have learned that Forgiveness, Gratitude, Acceptance of self and others and true Compassion, are all Grace filled, hand of The Divine style “happenings”, that start with me SEEING that I DON’T, Forgive, that I lack Gratitude, that I CAN’T  Accept myself or others…

It’s a “start where you are, not where you want to be conversation”.

THEN the fullness of the experience we desire can arise. (key word FULLNESS)

I have learned that RESISTANCE will rear it’s ugly head whenever I set out to do anything that that results in me living my dreams.

The bigger the dream the bigger the resistance! Like writing this Blog for example. I’m living my life with a passion to help women wake up and finally live life instead of merely existing… Elise invited me into the Worthy Women series and it IS A HUGE honor for me and an amazing platform to share my gifts AND I have resisted sitting my ass down to write for WEEKS!!!!

Having you here with me right now IS a huge GIFT! Thank you Elise for this amazing opportunity!

 

Amen, and a fanny spank…

 

 

JEP days

 

This photo was from when I owned a fashion boutique called JEP in La Jolla, about 10 years ago. It was taken for Riviera Magazine, I think because my store was on the Top Hot List (or something like that). JEP made a lot of money, was recognized in Vogue as one of the best Beach Boutiques in the world, and I was awarded one of the Top 40 Professionals under 40 during that same time frame… I was 26-30 years old. My life seemed incredible from the outside.  In many ways, it was.

 

But my point is that things aren’t always what they seem, as hopefully we are all aware of. I had worked a full time job, plus full time school during most of my college years. I pushed things in all areas of my life, including exercise and even socializing/partying. At the time of the photo, I was working 70+ hours a week for five years straight. I was “successful” but overwhelmed, exhausted and anxious. My adrenals were tanked, I had a parasite and started getting auto-immune issues. I didn’t know what any of those things were at the time and thought myself too busy to learn or care.  I am not saying that we shouldn’t push ourselves or be motivated, but that stressful time in my life, combined with an absence of tools to deal with it in balance, sent my health into a downward spiral. Even though I have been working on it since then, I am just now, ten years later starting to feel truly healthy again.

 

I got into Holistic Healing(to help others as well as myself) and started Rolfing around 9 years ago. I have been a Nutritional Counselor for about five years.  But even as I was eating healthy and “doing all the right things”, my health issues were slowly getting more serious, as were many of my clients’ challenges that were coming my way. This pushed me to complete my credential in Functional Diagnostic Nutrition and brings this story to the present… where I facilitate most of the tests your doctor would give you, but interpret the results and give different recommendations. There were some things going on internally with me that it didn’t matter how well I ate, how much I exercised or meditated… deeper issues needed to be addressed. The main theme is getting to the root of the problem instead of blindly addressing symptoms.

 

I wish I had made the time to learn about this type of work back in the day when I wasn’t feeling good but didn’t know why. I made the time and spent money on so many other things, but not my health.  I would have saved so much time and suffering and money later on. We are meant to feel vibrant and we are meant to thrive. If you are not feeling this way, I encourage you to contact me and get some basic testing done to quit the guessing game and telling yourself maybe this is just what getting older feels like.

 

Healing from the inside-out often takes longer than putting a band-aid on the situation, and takes behavioral modification  and dedication, but true healing frees you up for a healthy life for the rest of your life!

 

I hope you have a thriving, happy life… and if I can help, let me know 🙂 I work from Skype and can organize the testing anywhere in the U.S. and many other countries too. Just DM me or email: elise@integrationforlife.com with questions.

 

 

Sat nam,

 

Elise

Who: Stephanie Khalil AlGhani (IG: @khalilhijabi, @covertimemagazine)

Occupation: Founder/Editor of Covertime Magazine (www.covertimemagazine.com)

Location: Connecticut, USA

 

Stephanie Khalil AlGhani is an American Muslim, and she wants to put a face to a name. I am really happy about her sentiments, as I feel that Muslims have gotten a really bad rap in the media in recent years.  I prefer to judge each person on an individual basis, but if I were to generalize all the Muslims I know personally, for the sake of making a point, I would say that they are humble, grateful, giving and compassionate.

Stephanie stole my heart when I found her on Instagram. I actually do not know her in person, but I like who she is and what she stands for. She is a mother that puts family first, is highly intelligent, deep, sensitive, confident, and ready to speak to the entire world(when the time is right).

She says, “I think people should have the right to practice their own beliefs and religions as long as it doesn’t hurt other people. So I am against ISIS killing innocent people and using hate propaganda. But it goes both ways because the media has used hate propaganda since 9/11 against Muslims.”

She speaks of topics many of us can relate to and understand but don’t have the courage to bring up.  She is definitely not hiding anything or holding back; her message is clear and pretty simple: this world and everybody in it has some work to do. That means you, me, and she definitely includes herself.

Stephanie is raising her children to be the kind of people you would want your children to marry someday.  She is the kind of person you would want as your neighbor. She believes that just because you don’t understand something, doesn’t mean it is wrong.

 

Sat Nam,

 

Elise

 

SONY DSC

 

graziastephanie

1) Who are you?

I am a 32 year old married mother of 2 (boy and girl). I have been involved in Fashion since I was a young girl sewing my own clothes then going to the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC. After working in the industry for over 10 years and moving to Connecticut for my husband’s job I started an online and digital magazine Covertime for Modest Fashion and Pop Culture. As a woman of faith, I like many others are looking for less revealing clothes than mainstream brands have to offer.

My maternal grandfather was Cherokee Native American, my maternal grandmother was French, my paternal grandfather was British, and my paternal grandmother was Austrian. At 21 years old I found Islam by reading the Quran. I have always believed in one God not associating him with another being. My parents did not raise us any particular religion… telling us that we could decide for ourselves. After reading the Quran and taking my Shahada (my testimony of declaring belief in one God and that Muhammed was the Seal of God’s Prophet’s). I still keep ownership of my faith and will not blindly follow another human being without making my own conclusions and doing my own research. Recently I found out by watching “Spiritual Waters Running Deep” that I was like an Indigo Child. This was a major learning curve for me and I was better able to put together my life puzzle. It explained why I could not relate to most people even as a young child and also why I am extremely sensitive with my body and emotional feelings.

 

2) What is the greatest challenge you have overcome/are overcoming?

There are a few major purposes I feel like I have been training for my whole life:

Covertime Magazine was a very passionate project for me after giving birth to my daughter. I was looking at society and imagining my daughter growing up where women are treated with emphasis on sexuality. At 19 years old I was in the modeling industry, signed with Women Model Management, one of the top in the world. From my experience it is a very dangerous industry with some illegal activities happening. And the outcome of the images from this industry our society praises as having that high level of success. I do not think people realize what kind of things go on behind the scenes. It will take someone with a lot of guts and the right opportunities to speak out against this industry. I feel like I am this person insha’Allah (god willing). There are other women ex-models as well trying to speak out.

With all these divisions of people being created right now, I do not feel like I belong to one group, but I feel like all humanity is supposed to unite. Good VS Evil, but the important thing is for people to realize that we are all capable of creating evil thoughts and actions so it starts with ourselves and dealing with these issues. You cannot help others until you have helped yourself. Everyone is at a different part or level of their spiritual awakening so it will take time. I will start and try to do some speaking in communities to help people see things in different perspectives and break some of the fears. We all need to learn to think for ourselves because otherwise we are in a way brainwashed so easily by what media and others opinions are. A good example of this is the Muslim Women. Muslim literally translates to “submitted to God”. We are very misunderstood because of how media talks about us. Muslims are only humans, and you can not judge Islam by Muslims because everyone has a different interpretation or level of their faith. All religions teach basically the same thing of worshiping God, having self control and the peace of mankind. The differences come from the hand of man adding their parts or interpretation.

 

3) What have you learned?

I have learned that you have to become what you are seeking! Sometimes we wander so much looking for that person to help us or guide us, but in reality that person is our self.

I have learned that you have to choose to be happy and focus on all your blessings. This is hard when you are trying to make societal changes. You can only shed your light in the darkness for a bit of time, but you need to go back to the light so that you don’t lose your own light. It is a balancing act that I am still trying to get right.

Your vibe attracts your tribe. We all give off vibes and energy and are affected by others energy.  So we have to be aware of that energy we give off. I also learned to save my deepest thoughts and conversations for people that appreciate it. We lose energy when speaking, so energy conservation is important if you do not want to burn out.

Also, Expectations are Resentments waiting to happen. I am constantly trying to submit to God’s will as much as possible. You still have to patiently persevere, but at the same time pay attention to the signs. Some things are not meant to happen no matter how hard you try.

 

Asalamulaikum (Peace be upon you)

 

 

 

Who: Christa Orecchio

Occupation: Clinical and Holistic nutritionist; entrepreneur ( http://www.thewholejourney.com) (IG@thewholejourney)

Location: Encinitas, CA

Christa is a breath of fresh air. She is one of those people that you almost can’t believe is for real in the beginning- she is just that amazing. But tried and true, this woman is legit.  She is intelligent, fun, extremely motivated, shiny, happy, witty, deep, investigative, clear and most of all….compassionate.

If you can’t tell, I both love and admire Christa. We share many of the same interests, passions and beliefs. There is a funny story to how I first “met”  her. When I first graduated from IIN(Institute of Integrative Nutrition) about 5 years ago, it was part of the program to go to local grocery stores and hold tours, teaching people how to identify and pick the healthiest food.  This was fresh and forward at that time. Well… every single store I went in, Christa’s bright and beautiful face was posted everywhere…she already clearly had the monopoly on Grocery Tours.  I thought, “Who is this lady?  And how the heck is she everywhere already?!”

Little did I know that was just the beginning…she has created an amazing program called Gut Thrive, that I have actually participated in and highly recommend, is regularly on Fox New delivering holistic tips, and recently co-authored a book, “How to Conceive Naturally and Have a Healthy Pregnancy Over 30”.   She was and IS everywhere, and I am personally so happy about it.

We desperately need people like her in the world. She is one step ahead at all times, naturally. She carves the way for us, all of us-nutritional practitioners and also just health conscious people in general-using “food as medicine” to heal ourselves and others.  She is a leader, a clear communicator, a path forger, a hacker of theories and programs…and if it’s not obvious already…she is my (self-appointed) mentor.  I believe it is important to have role models in life, and she is one of my big ones. She lives consciously not in one area of life, but in all areas of life.

I hope you enjoy her answers as much as I did, as the questions she said herself caused her to “dig deeper that she normally does in public’.

Sat nam,

Elise

 1) Who are you?

I am a functional and holistic nutritionist and an entrepreneur; a healer with a passionate drive to use my life force for the highest good during my short time here on earth.

 

I’m an Italian girl from New Jersey who loves and needs yoga, meditation, and spiritual exploration. I love the ocean, nature, wide-open spaces, art and design, organic food (and wine), science, traveling, my friends and my family.

 

I am a light worker and instrument of God, disguised as a TV personality who spreads the message of how real food heals.

I’m a Vespa-riding free spirit with wanderlust and a recovering perfectionist.

I’m calm and grounded and also frenetic.

I’m decisive and also mercurial.

I am a dichotomy, depending on the day.

Passionate about helping others and as my company grows; I’m becoming more passionate about vigilant self-care because no one will do it for you and you’re not as valuable to others when you show up with an empty tank.

I am an authentic, highly sensitive, imperfect person who wants to surround herself with genuine, heart-centered people who strive to be present, make the world a better place, and better themselves.

 

2) What is the greatest challenge you have overcome/are overcoming?

Pacing my personal growth with the growth of my business.

It’s been a necessary component for entrepreneurial success and at times almost crippling when the company grows before you do.

 

I think when you do the work of your soul, there’s a requirement of extreme personal accountability and responsibility that forces you to face yourself again and again so that you are able to get out of your own way and unabashedly give your gifts to the world with self-assurance.

 

As my business has grown, it has demanded more and more of me, including aspects of myself that had not yet been nurtured or developed. It’s forced me to find strength and resolve and to consistently pick myself up when things “don’t work out or go as planned”.

 

Helping thousands of others heal in deep health processes requires strength, compassion, intuition, empathy, a certain degree of neutrality, and extremely clear boundaries.

 

It’s required me to temper my natural people-pleasing tendencies in favor of the greater good of the collective and my own personal peace and happiness.

 

Work-life balance is something I have always struggled with, but I’m now beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel, not necessarily because of the external things like the creation of turnkey systems, documenting processes, improving marketing, and leveraging technology, but rather as a reflection of the inner work and expanded partnership with life and spirit.

 

 

3) What have you learned?

 

The Top 10 Life Lesson’s I’ve learned thus far are:

 

  1. Patience is a virtue (and one I may always aspire to and chase ;). Aim for progress not perfection.
  2. Doing things right is better than doing them fast.
  3. Vulnerability is an incredible strength, not a weakness.
  4. Clear boundaries are healthy and essential in all relationships. However, they should not come from old wounds but rather from personal power.
  5. The human spirit is amazingly resilient.
  6. Being kind is more important than being right.
  7. When you judge others, it leaves no space to love them –this includes yourself.
  8. Every external situation, no matter how challenging is an opportunity for growth and evolution.
  9. Everyone is fighting their own battle and whether they are kind and gracious or angry and stubborn, they deserve compassion –which is the greatest healing force on the planet.
  10.  Acceptance of self, of others, and of “what is” is the ultimate freedom.

 

I love taking yummy, child-hood memory foods and creating healthier versions.

Eating things that make us happy are literally better for us than eating things we don’t like just because they are “good” for us. That’s a whole other blog for later, but for now let’s just simplify by saying that it’s important to put things in our body that are a) good for us and b) taste good and give us pleasure.

Well this modified recipe from @minimalistbaker does the trick!  Who doesn’t like PB&J?!

 

 

BENEFITS

wild blueberries– powerful antioxidant, great for the brain and heart, high in B6

chia-good for body and brain, loaded with nutrients and antioxidants, also most of carbs are fiber

coconut milk-builds up body’s immune system, lowers cholesterol, contains copper, magnesium and postassium-all minerals we need to replenish, especially if you are going through some sort of detox program

 

IMG_8370

 

 

COMPOTE

  • 1 cup (140 g) wild blueberries (frozen or fresh)
  • 1 Tbsp (15 ml) orange juice (not necessary, use organic if at all)
  • 1 Tbsp (12 g) chia seeds

CHIA PUDDING

  • 1 cup (240 ml) unsweetened plain coconut milk (look for one w/o carrageenan)
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) full fat, canned coconut milk
  • optional: 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 Tbsp (48 g) natural, non-sugared salted peanut butter (creamy or crunchy), plus more for serving
  • 1/3 cup (63 g) chia seeds
  • optional: Fresh blueberries for topping
  • I put coconut flakes and almost slivers on top, toasted for a nice crunch!

 

 

  1. To a small skillet or saucepan, add the blueberries (and orange juice, if using). Warm over medium-high heat until bubbling. Then lower heat to medium and cook for 2 minutes – stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and add chia seeds. Stir to combine.
  2. Divide the compote between three small serving dishes and set in the refrigerator to chill.
  3. In the meantime, add the coconut milks to a blender, along with vanilla (optional) and peanut butter. Blend on high to fully combine. Taste and adjust flavors as needed.
  4. Add chia seeds and pulse a few times to incorporate, being careful not to blend as you want the chia seeds left whole.
  5. Transfer to a liquid measuring cup or jar (or just set your whole blender in the fridge), and set in the fridge to begin chilling.
  6. Wait 10 minutes for the chia compote to cool. Then remove the chia pudding and compote from the refrigerator. Give the chia pudding a stir to redistribute the chia seeds, then divide between the three serving dishes right on top of the compote.
  7. Cover well and set in the refrigerator to chill for at least 1-2 hours (preferably overnight), or until chilled through and pudding-like in consistency.
  8. To serve, top with extra peanut butter and fresh blueberries (optional). Will keep covered in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
  9. Toast and add the coconut flakes and almond slivers only when you are ready to serve, so they won’t moisten.

 

 

 

I took out what I thought was unnecessary sugar and added good fats and crunch…and used organic, wild blueberries for detoxification benefits.  We are all exposed to harmful chemicals, EMFs, and pollutants in the air and our environment that affect our bodies and brains… we can mildly counteract these things in a very delicious way! Wild, organic blueberries  draw heavy metals out of brain tissue, healing and repairing any gaps created by oxidation when the heavy metals are removed. It is important to use wild blueberries, as they possess unique phytonutrients with special detoxifying capabilities.  (Anthony William)

 

Let me know what you think!  I am always interested in what you want to hear about, so please sign up for my emails on the front page of the the landing page…(website is under construction)…and let me know what recipes you would like to see or what you would like to know more about!

 

In Health,

 

Elise

Who: Chelsea McLean Casey (@chelsea_rising)

Occupation: Mother, Yoga Instructor

Location:  San Diego

 

 

I met Chelsea when we both had very different lives. She was the co-owner and editor of Nostika, a Latin lifestyle and fashion magazine, and I owned JEP, an upscale fashion boutique in La Jolla.  I had her as a model in several of my fashion shows, because Chelsea is absolutely stunning to look at…but the more I got to know her the more I couldn’t stop staring.  She is one of those people that keeps getting more beautiful the more you know her.  And let’s be real: she started out as a model. So now that I have known her for about 10 years…her beauty is pretty much stellar.

We are special friends.  We don’t hang out all the time, but have always kept in touch and when we do… we get right to the good stuff. The waitress hates us because we talk so much that we take forever to order. Chelsea’s outlook on life has always been right on point, no matter what happens in her life… she is going to rise above it. She is the kind of woman that handles a challenge. If something almost devastates her, she is going to see why it didn’t and concentrate on that. And build upon that.  And keep it as a reminder to rise above. That actually happened. It’s a huge, absolutely stunning color tattoo of a phoenix rising on her entire back.

This is Chelsea, and I haven’t even begun to tell her story…because she is going to tell it herself here, and many many other times in the future across many pages, audios, and videos.

Please, join her fan club with me. Search her out on social media(details above), take her yoga class, follow her story of love and perseverance…you won’t be sorry but will be fork-lifted up with nothing other than inspiration and light.

Thank you Chelsea. Bless you, Chels. We are with you, C.

Thank you for all that you have done, do today, and especially what you are going to do with what you have been through. I already see you transmuting the ashes and flying high like the phoenix on your back.  I just can’t wait to see how high you go!

 

Sat nam,

 

Elise

 

Chelsea

 

 

Chelsea Rising

 

 

 

Who are you?

 

I am a Wife, Mother, Sister, Daughter, Grand-Daughter, Niece, Step-Mom, Dog-Mom, Soul-Sister, Friend

I am a truth seeker, curious explorer, survivor and thriver, force of nature.

I am passionate. I am opinionated. I am interested in almost everything.

I seek and thrive on intensity. I crave raw, real experiences and relationships.

I love and revere beauty.

I feel the most connected in nature.

I think music is the language of the divine.

I treasure each of my scars. They tell the stories of my adventures.

I indulge lovingly in culinary arts.

I teach and practice yoga.

I am married to a Warrior King.

With my husband by my side, I gave birth to a prince at home on March 1st, 2014. Lachlan is his name. He is peaceful and robust. I love being his mother more than anything in the world.

I adore my life and treasure my blessings. I have purpose, connection, support, tons of love, a mission, and cancer.

I am a Queen, I just needed to discover my kingdom. I am a Warrior, I just needed a battle worth fighting. I am a Priestess, I just needed a reason to use my powers.

 

What is the greatest challenge you have overcome/are overcoming?

 

Stage IV Lung Cancer with metastases to the brain, lymphatic system, spine, kidneys, pelvis and colon – diagnosed July 2015, at age 35. Current status: my body is free and clear of cancer, although it remains in numerous small spots on the surface of my brain. But I am ready to let go of these now too. Cancer has led me home and reawakened me to myself. I am ready to take it from here. We proceed with treatment very soon, and with love and gratitude I will bid cancer a fond farewell.

From the beginning I knew that to fight this battle I could not get stuck on the weight of the words that describe it. Simple words cannot hurt me unless I allow them to make me fearful. They are just words. Instead I choose to focus on truer communications with my soul. My soul will not label itself. I am not a fixed creature, incapable of changing again. I can heal, I can shift. I can grow stronger.

This cancer experience is making me feel both more human, and more exquisitely infinite. There is an interesting satisfaction I feel from experiencing firsthand the very human struggle/hardship/fear of illness. At the same time I feel like it is so insignificant because I now know that the “me” I identify with is my soul, not my physical body, and my soul is made up of the same unexplainable infinite energy as Love and the rest of the divine cosmos. Simultaneously I’m feeling both hugely expansive and totally puny. This is such an interesting sensation! There’s so much richness and beauty in experiencing this duality firsthand. It’s helping me realize that I was allowing my mind to vastly limit me before this experience. Therefore, how can I be anything but grateful for the expansion that cancer is gifting me?

 

What have you learned?

 

Lung cancer can occur in perfectly healthy non-smokers as a result of random genetic mutations that occur during our lifetime.

Healing starts with the question: Am I willing to see this differently?

Devastating events are often blessings in disguise.

We have the power to choose where we pour our energy, and where we pour our energy is where growth occurs.

Wholehearted living promotes healing.

The biggest delusion/illusion we all live with is that tomorrow is guaranteed.

I am not sick. I am opening up. It is exciting and awe-inspiring. I am in reverence of the process. I have been awakened and handed my mission: to heal, to teach and to lead.

By connecting through meditation, devotional yoga, prayer, listening and paying attention, I have been awakened to the energetic force that is my soul and God. All I had to do to access it was ask for it sincerely. The challenging part is to fully trust this force that is of me and around me, and surrender to it. It’s one thing to get a glimpse of the divine and then to return to old patterns that shut off connection. It’s quite another to stay permanently connected. This is what I now practice. Fear seeps in at the most unlikely times and tries to pull me away from this light and clarity. It is daily work and commitment, but worth it because now I know I am deeply loved, I am supported, I am guided, and so is everyone else if they choose to be.

A relationship with God is a loving relationship with all that is around us. God is a source with which to give and receive love.

Prayer is an act of surrender.

Be kind. You never know how much someone else is struggling/suffering.

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity.” -Brown, Brené, Daring Greatly. She defines vulnerability as uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure. It’s not about eliminating fear. It’s not about eliminating darkness. It’s about breaking it apart and using the parts to assemble something different. Something useful and productive. In this way we use our fear to fuel our fire.

Humans are built for challenge. We are hard-wired for courage. We are hard-wired for purpose and meaning. We are hard-wired for community and belonging. We are never alone and we are never stuck.