I first met Keri about 4 or 5 years ago. She was the owner of Xtend barre in Encinitas, which I really wanted to try but was intimidated for whatever reason. I will never forget walking in the first time. All the women were perfectly groomed(at 8am!), wearing make-up and hair perfectly done, and…well, to be honest I felt like I stuck out like Judd Nelson in the Breakfast Club! I also felt like I was the only one sweating like a pig. But I loved Keri, the instructors and the class so much I have continued to go at least once pretty much every week since then. (And still, I’m still the only one sweating during class by the way).

 

Keri’s warmth and encouragement clearly attracts so many people, as she now owns four studios (now evolved into Therapy Social Fitness). She is one of those people that is so magnetic and seemingly perfect that you wonder if she is for real. Well she’s real. She’s not perfect, thank God. Who is?! But I have known her long enough and through many life twists and turns and challenges to see how she responds. And she always ends up on the positive side with some wisdom to spread.

 

She’s a hard worker, a direct talker, multi-talented, absolutely freaking hilarious, and one of the most resilient women that I know. Enjoy her insights…

 

Sat nam,

 

Elise

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1) Who are you?

 

This question made me take a step back for a minute as it probably does to many people I would assume.  Who am I?  I am definitely my mother’s daughter.  I was taught from an early age to be independent, hard working and strong willed.  I try to lead by example in all areas of my life.  I believe in several important things including the power of positivity, the value of a strong work ethic, and of course …the golden rule.  If we would all just remember to treat other as we wish to be treated, what a wonderful world it would be!  I am a single mother to two brilliant daughters who I enjoy to no end and to whom I hope to instill the same values that I was raised with. I am fortunate to own several fitness studios and I have been so extremely blessed with the strong community of intelligent and inspirational women that has been created around these businesses.  I guess I consider myself a business woman, a role model, a sister, a mother, a daughter and a friend until the end.

 

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

 

I went through a divorce about 6 years ago when my daughters were very young. Having been raised by a single mother myself, I was petrified and felt that I was doomed to repeat history.   I had prior to that put my real estate career on hold and stayed home with the babies for a few years.  I had always identified myself as a career woman and it was the first time in my life, that I could not support myself by my own means.  So when I made the decision to get divorced I also had to figure out what my future career path looked like. It was a very scary and painful time in my life and I am so very thankful to have been surrounded by the most amazing family and friends who encouraged me and supported me through the ups and the downs of those times.

So, I dove in and started trying to figure out what I truly wanted to be when I “ grew up”.  I have a degree in Finance and have always considered myself a very left brained person: mathematical and analytical sometimes to a fault. I love golf and I love kids so I flirted around with a business concept that could marry those two passions.   When the opportunity presented itself to open a barre studio, it seemed like a good distraction and sort of a “ pet project” to get me by and maybe have some fun.  I could never have predicted that I would own 4 of them in a few short years time!  I also could have never predicted the pros and the cons that come along with owning your own business!  The up side of the industry that I am in are the flexible hours that allow me family time (and me time), a chance to be creative and explore a side of me that I never really knew existed, and hands down the best perk of my job are the people!  My amazing team of partners and instructors, and my many clients who have changed my life in so many wonderful ways.  The women who I have the privilege of being surrounded with daily inspire me, educate me, support me and allow me to return the favor!   The downside of owning your own business would be that you definitely take your work home with you.  It is NOT a 9-5 job to say the least.  It can also be difficult to manage the various relationships that form in an all female studio environment such as this.  I have about 60 women that work with me…  all ages and walks of life.  It is a constant balancing act between partner, boss and friend.

 

3) What have you learned?

 

Overall I have learned that as strong as I am, it is equally as important to be vulnerable.  I have learned the value of open communication and honesty in all relationships…business and otherwise.  I think that as an independent woman in 2017 sometimes we can feel the need to put up a hard exterior and “ stick to our guns”.   I have learned that it is just as important to listen with an open mind and heart as it is to stand up for what you think is right.  We have so much to learn from each other.  We just need to be still and silent long enough to hear what is truly being spoken.  I have become a much more patient person in the past few years and I love knowing that my children will be the beneficiary of that skill. I have learned that a good work ethic is crucial to survive and succeed in this ever changing world.  I will continue to work towards making sure that my children know that they are not entitled to anything in this life and that hard work and commitment are their tools to success.

 

Who: Alexi Panos  www.alexipanos.com, IG: @alexipanos

Location: Digital Nomad

Occupation: Conscious Creator

 

Alexi: she is a sweetie; she is strong; she is present; she is committed; she is soft; she is kind…she is everything she seems to be on the outside and much more. I met her through a friend that introduced us because she was interested in getting some Functional Diagnostic testing and she became a client. The more I talked to her and got to know her, the more I liked her. She is one of those people that gets more and more beautiful the more you know her.

The most obvious and lasting quality about Alexi is her P R E S E N C E. You feel it for the rest of the day after talking or seeing her. She is totally with you when you are around her.  She is not looking around, at her phone, or multi-tasking. This is my favorite quality to find in people, especially those with extremely full lives like her. She is not only in the moment but also empowered by it …and that translates to full engagement and no excuses. For anything.

She is the co-founder of a non-profit called E.P.I.C. that has been in action for 12 years, which focuses on bringing clean water and community development to those in need in rural Africa. You will hear more about this in her audio share below, and I highly encourage you to play around on her website as there is much to offer.

She has been through a lot but she is not a victim.  She has done a lot but she is not a martyr.

I am excited to provide the answers to her questions as an audio file because so much of Alexi you might not get from written word.  She is so energetic and dynamic, and I am filled with joy that you will get to hear her voice and feel her vibrance as she answers the 3 questions. I know you will honor her as the Worthy Woman that I do.

 

Sat nam,

Elise

 

(I would be grateful for you to let me know by comment below or on social media what you think of the audio format.)

 

 

 

 

Press play to hear her answers (below):

This is the article posted on FDN, my school’s website in August, honoring me as practitioner of the month.

Practitioner Spotlight – Elise Purcell

 

Elise Purcell, H.H.P, FDN-P

 

Like many FDNs, Elise understood what it felt like to go through the “cycle of trial and error” with her own health challenges.  Over the last 10 years,  she had been diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriasis, borderline Auto-Immune disease, Gout, Lyme Disease, a parasite that took 5 years of treatment to get rid of, leaky gut, extreme heavy metal toxicity and food sensitivities, adrenal exhaustion, two forms of long-term pneumonia…  and the list went on and on!

Elise had been practicing Nutritional Counseling for seven years prior to finding FDN.  She found that, though her clients did have significant health success, in more recent years, were starting to present deeper challenges that were not being healed by diet alone.  She yearned to help them find the root cause and avoid the guessing game like she had experienced, thus her journey to FDN began!

“I feel some of these were mis-diagnoses, but to say I have “been through the ringer” is an understatement.  This is why I am so passionate about helping others find an easier way.”

Elise believes that we can’t just address one aspect of our health and expect to truly heal.  She added that labels and diagnoses are sometimes important and helpful but often pigeon hole the person into sickness mode.  And she was pretty sure that is what had been happening to her, despite all of her efforts to stay positive, most doctors still kept telling her how “sick” she was.  Through FDN training, Elise had learned how to support key areas of her body including the adrenal glands, mucosal barrier, detoxification systems, metabolic processes, absorption and assimilation, immune and defense mechanisms and steroid hormone balance.  She admits that she is still working on her health but can finally say that she is feeling great and leagues ahead where she had been. Also added that she just keeps feeling better and better with this model of health!

“FDN’s a model of rebuilding health instead of only treating disease is truly holistic in that we look at ALL aspects of the person and help the whole person, not just the “disease.”

Elise’s biggest challenge during DRESS(Diet, Rest, Exercise, Stress Reduction and Supplementation), from her perspective as a “retired” Type A personality, was not over-exercising.  She had always been a very active person and happy to move.   She had to learn to cut out certain types of exercise to nurture her body and heal. A major take home from FDN training for Elise is that empowerment is everything!  She feels that if a person knows what’s going on inside their body and why, they are more inspired to make the commitments to improve their health.

Elise shared, that FDN has proven to bring remarkable improvements for her clients health and faster than she had expected!   While it took Elise many years to get to the root of her own dysfunction, she finds that it is a joy to see just how easy and fast it can be when armed with a the right knowledge and a clear path.  Elise added that FDN sets up a container to truly help the whole person.

“Working with a client in this way is a constant reminder that we are all different and special, and that is a good thing…each one of us is an intricate mandala that should be treated with love and care. We should not and cannot rush healing, but we can make it as beautiful a process as possible, and helping someone to see it in that way is purely a pleasure.”

Elise has a thriving practice and shared her clientele is mostly 30-50 year old entrepreneurs, but does get clients of all ages.  She finds that most of them have adrenal concerns and gut imbalance or dysfunction of some degree.   Elise graciously let us in on how she structures her business services.  First she offers a free twenty minute consult, after the consult, if the person still expresses interest and is a 10/10 commitment level she will share her program details.  She added that she requests a down payment upfront and that finds that her clients are motivated to complete the process faster when they have invested themselves financially.  Also, her programs are structured as a three month minimum commitment of meeting every other week and finds that most clients continue well after that to further advance their health.  Way to go Elise!

Along with FDN, Elise is certified as a Nutritional Counselor, from IIN.  She also has certifications in Advanced Rolf Method of Structural Integration, Upledger Craniosacral, KRI Kundalini Yoga Teacher. Elise is a H.H.P. and has been practicing several Holistic modalities for the last 10 years.

Elise’s top tip for her fellow FDN-Ps, is to talk about FDN as much as possible and trust that your clients that need you will find you!

Check out Elise Purcell’s Website: www.integrationforlife.com

 

 

Who: Keri McGuire (IG: barregirl) (therapysocialfitness.com)

Occupation: owner of several studios

Location: Encinitas, CA

 

I first met Keri about 4 or 5 years ago. She was the owner of Xtend Barre in Encinitas, which I really wanted to try but was intimidated. I will never forget walking in the first time. It seemed like all the women were immaculately groomed(at 8am!), hair perfectly done, some wearing make-up, knowing exactly what to do and…well, to be honest I felt like I stuck out like Judd Nelson in the Breakfast Club. I also felt like I was the only one shaking like a leaf and sweating like a pig. Keri made me feel at home anyway.  The instructors were great and I loved the class so much I have continued to go pretty much every week since then. (And I still shake and sweat during class by the way).

 

Keri’s warmth and encouragement clearly attracts so many people, even shaky leafs and sweaty pigs, and she now owns three studios (two now evolved into Therapy Social Fitness). She is one of those people that is so magnetic and seemingly perfect that you wonder if she is for real. Well she’s real. She’s not perfect, thank God. Who is?! But I have known her long enough and through many life twists and turns and challenges to see how she responds. She’s genuine; that huge smile comes from a very deep and real place. No matter the challenge, she always ends up on the positive side with some wisdom to spread.

 

She’s a hard worker, a direct talker, multi-talented, absolutely freaking hilarious, and one of the most resilient women that I know. Enjoy her insights…

 

Sat nam,

 

Elise

 

 

 

 

 

Keri and the barre girls(see what I mean?!) #babes

Keri and her two beautiful girls

 

 

1) Who are you?

 

This question made me take a step back for a minute as it probably does to many people I would assume.  Who am I?  I am definitely my mother’s daughter.  I was taught from an early age to be independent, hard working and strong willed.  I try to lead by example in all areas of my life.  I believe in several important things including the power of positivity, the value of a strong work ethic, and of course …the golden rule.  If we would all just remember to treat other as we wish to be treated, what a wonderful world it would be!  I am a single mother to two brilliant daughters who I enjoy to no end and to whom I hope to instill the same values that I was raised with. I am fortunate to own several fitness studios and I have been so extremely blessed with the strong community of intelligent and inspirational women that has been created around these businesses.  I guess I consider myself a business woman, a role model, a sister, a mother, a daughter and a friend until the end.

 

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

 

I went through a divorce about 6 years ago when my daughters were very young. Having been raised by a single mother myself, I was petrified and felt that I was doomed to repeat history.   I had prior to that put my real estate career on hold and stayed home with the babies for a few years.  I had always identified myself as a career woman and it was the first time in my life, that I could not support myself by my own means.  So when I made the decision to get divorced I also had to figure out what my future career path looked like. It was a very scary and painful time in my life and I am so very thankful to have been surrounded by the most amazing family and friends who encouraged me and supported me through the ups and the downs of those times.

So, I dove in and started trying to figure out what I truly wanted to be when I “ grew up”.  I have a degree in Finance and have always considered myself a very left brained person: mathematical and analytical sometimes to a fault. I love golf and I love kids so I flirted around with a business concept that could marry those two passions.   When the opportunity presented itself to open a barre studio, it seemed like a good distraction and sort of a “ pet project” to get me by and maybe have some fun.  I could never have predicted that I would own 4 of them in a few short years time!  I also could have never predicted the pros and the cons that come along with owning your own business!  The up side of the industry that I am in are the flexible hours that allow me family time (and me time), a chance to be creative and explore a side of me that I never really knew existed, and hands down the best perk of my job are the people!  My amazing team of partners and instructors, and my many clients who have changed my life in so many wonderful ways.  The women who I have the privilege of being surrounded with daily inspire me, educate me, support me and allow me to return the favor!   The downside of owning your own business would be that you definitely take your work home with you.  It is NOT a 9-5 job to say the least.  It can also be difficult to manage the various relationships that form in an all female studio environment such as this.  I have about 60 women that work with me…  all ages and walks of life.  It is a constant balancing act between partner, boss and friend.

 

3) What have you learned?

 

Overall I have learned that as strong as I am, it is equally as important to be vulnerable.  I have learned the value of open communication and honesty in all relationships…business and otherwise.  I think that as an independent woman in 2017 sometimes we can feel the need to put up a hard exterior and “ stick to our guns”.   I have learned that it is just as important to listen with an open mind and heart as it is to stand up for what you think is right.  We have so much to learn from each other.  We just need to be still and silent long enough to hear what is truly being spoken.  I have become a much more patient person in the past few years and I love knowing that my children will be the beneficiary of that skill. I have learned that a good work ethic is crucial to survive and succeed in this ever changing world.  I will continue to work towards making sure that my children know that they are not entitled to anything in this life and that hard work and commitment are their tools to success.

Who: Dr. Somer Nicole (IG: @yogadoctors.tv)

Occupation: Founder of YogaDoctors.TV, Doctor of Physical Therapy, Kundalini and Hatha Yoga               Teacher (yogadoctors.tv)

Location: shares time between Kauai and Encinitas

 

 

This entry really excites me to share with you all because a) she’s one of my very best friends and b) this girl seriously has the best advice and is one of the most clear-headed and unaffected people I have ever met.  Somer is highly intelligent and naturally left-brained, yet innocent and pure like almost only a child can be. That might only make sense if you know her. But add in the wisdom of someone who has worked out a lot of trauma and hardship and the peace of someone who has put in the time and energy to get there, and you have a small idea of what this embodied woman is all about.

The first time I met her, about 5 years ago she was walking out of yoga and I was walking in. I thought, “Wow that looks so much like my mom when she was young.” And although she is nothing like my mother, we have gotten so close she might as well be a member of my family.

I do not like talking on the phone, yet Somer and I talk every week, sometimes more than that and sometimes for hours. She has this uncanny ability to cut directly through any fluff or distortion or distraction and get right to the truth of the matter.

She is my teacher in self-care, and has absolutely mastered nurturing herself as first priority, no matter what. We often take classes, workshops and travel together and she is a consistent role model for me to take it easy and not do too much. Even when I’m purposely trying to slow down and cut back, she is my mirror…showing me that I still have work in that area.

We have been asked if we are sisters more times than I can add up, mistaken for each other many times, and she actually got called up on stage on my birthday (instead of me!) in India for Kundalini teacher training.   I’m not sure what that’s all about but I know we met to become Soul Sisters and I thank the Universe for her every single day.

 

Sat nam,

 

Elise

 

 

 

 

 

1)  Who are you?

It’s an interesting time in my life to be asked this question, as I have distanced myself internally from my old identities more and more over the last year or two. Somer as the Physical Therapist. Somer as the Yoga Teacher, the CranialSacral Therapist, the SomatoEmotional Release practitioner, the Reiki Teacher, the meditator, etc…. Those are all things that I do.

Who am I? I am the pure consciousness that observes it all. I am a Spirit having a human experience. I am someone who stands in my Light, so others can find their way out of the Dark. I strive to be a blessing to those I meet.

And in this life, I am someone who dives deeply into my body to experience the full spectrum of my emotions. I seek to bring the unconscious into my conscious awareness. I explore belief systems instilled in me by family and society, so that I can unravel what is not True for me. I am a Truth seeker. I am a director of my own energy. I am an explorer of my inner landscape.

And in my experience, the only True constants are Love and change. I am Love. And I embrace change to the best of my ability.

 

 

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

I am currently recovering from a lower back injury, where my L1 and L5 nerves are involved. It’s been a total change in perspective for me, especially a Physical Therapist because I was treating it wrong for many years. It never felt “nervy” to me, so I was treating it like a muscle strain and didn’t realize the repetitive hip flexor and hamstrings strains I’d had (A LOT of them!) were related to my spine. It wasn’t until I had someone objectively look at me and I got my own biases out of the way that I could see the bigger picture.

It’s been challenging on many levels, one being it’s the most physical pain I’ve ever experienced. I was asked to avoid forward bending of any kind and do only passive extension (backbending) exercises, until I could experience 7-10 days without referred pain into my sacro-iliac (SI) joint. After which, I could them begin forward bending again. This has been more challenging than it sounds.

I am inherently a mover, I get up and practice 1-2 hours of Yoga every morning, I hike, I swim and I am used to feeling strong and flexible in my body. And as my body has been asked to be more still, the louder my mind has gotten. I see now that it has been the perfect storm to allow many unconscious patterns to come to the surface.

And as when I’ve experienced any injury in the past, I go into exploring what energetic imbalance and suppressed emotions may have manifested this physical pain into my reality. I know at the highest level, I’ve created it for a reason. So many emotions have come up with not being able to move my body the way I am used to. Wanting to get pregnant this year, I freaked out thinking I was heading into pregnancy and a natural labor with this injury. To me, that’d be a worst case scenario. I had so much fear come up that I wouldn’t be able to handle both of those things together. In addition, many emotions that are related to the root chakra, which also governs the spine. I’ve felt it all deeply.

Fear that I’m not safe in my body.

Fear that I’m not safe in the world.

Fear of being hurt more.

Fear of not being supported.

Fear of not being nourished the way that I need.

 

 

3)  What have you learned?

I’ve learned if I don’t stand in my own power and speak my own Truth, it physically makes me sick. I’ve learned that my body will feel safe when I always choose to do what is in my Highest and stop responding to what other people want first or what they think is best for me.

I’m learning to listen to the intuitive intelligence of my body 100% of the time. Not just 99% of the time. Even when I get an initial gut instinct, my mind has the tendency to give me all the reasons why it would make sense to do something different. I have learned to stop reacting to the mental pressure. I realized the mental pressure is not ever going to stop, so the only thing to change is my reaction to it.

I have learned I am a highly emotional being. I’ve learned I have emotional intelligence and when I listen deeply and navigate it fully, I make better decisions. I’m learning to be more patient and to WAIT TO RESPOND until I am emotionally clear about any personal or business decision. I’m learning to remain still and practice a calm state of BEing, instead of doing more in reaction to the mental pressure. I’ve learned the feeling of needing to DO more, create more, strive more, contribute more and be useful more comes from a societal conditioning. I’ve learned everyone’s path isn’t to reach millions of people and put themselves out there publicly. For some, it’s simply to be a mother or just being absolutely present and kind with every person who crosses their path.

I’ve learned it’s less about what I DO and more about my state of BEing. I’ve learned that being in a feminine, receptive state attracts my desires to me like a magnet. I used to think I could do it all on my own, I’ve learned to reach out more. And I’ve learned that BEing my own medicine sometimes means listening deeply to my own intuition and other times it means asking for support.

 

 

Who: Tom O’Bryan (thedr.com)

Occupation: Host of the Gluten Summit and expert on Celiac and Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity

Location: Encinitas, CA

 

I heard about Dr. Tom through taking a  The Whole Journey course called Gut Thrive. He not only broke up a lot of misconceptions I had about gluten but shed even more light on just how damaging it is now for pretty much everyone, even if there are no obvious symptoms. I wrote about this topic a while ago on The Inertia: Health and I’m sure that will not be the last article I write about it, especially after learning from Tom. The information he delivers is not fun or what most people want to hear, but it needs to be considered for future health.

Dr. Tom taught me that over 300 auto-immune diseases have been associated with a sensitivity to gluten. His talks lit a fire in me to learn more, as my health has been affected by some auto-immune issues starting later in life… and was elated to find the 7 part series he created called Betrayal: the Auto-Immune Disease Solution They’re Not Telling You.  His passion for health and wellness and reaching out to help people suffering was beaming out of the computer.

It wasn’t even a few weeks later when I was walking up to a yoga class in Encinitas and I saw him sitting outside, probably just trying to get his yoga on in peace.  I had no idea he lived in California, much less my small hometown of Encinitas!  I immediately recognized him and could not help but go up to him…to tell him thank you for the work that he has done. I didn’t pause long enough to think about how many people probably do this to him every single day, but at least it was BEFORE I got all sweaty. He was kind and humble… and I was late to class because he has a lot to say, and I didn’t want to miss any of it.

He is truly tireless to serve the well-being of others. I have heard that he even starts helping people with their health at the grocery store. I hope you enjoy his interview and (even more) hope it inspires you to check out his site and teachings for you or someone you love with celiac disease, auto-immune issues, chronic illness… or really just anyone who wants to secure his or her health now and in the future.

 

Sat nam,

 

Elise

 

 

Tom with his children

 

 

Tom dancing with his wife, Marzi

 

 

 

 

 1) Who Are You?

 I’m a perpetual middle-aged guy doing my best to make the world a better place. In a profoundly impactful Men’s Weekend I took part in a number of years ago, the question was asked ‘When you transition off of this world, how do you want to be remembered’? After going through the grief, and the loss of not seeing my kids again, it became clear to me that the bottom line message I’d want inscribed on my tombstone was:

‘Here lies a kind man who was of service to others’.

I personally believe the world can use a great deal more kindness. If there is a conscious theme to my life, the Tibetan word Maitri best summarizes it- ‘loving kindness, and an unconditional friendship with One’s Self’.

 

 

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

Being kind with my self and remembering my heart in this crazy world we live in. In 1999, I had the privilege of being part of the Team doing research for the book ‘The Mystic Heart: Discovering a Universal Spirituality in the World’s Religions’.

We interviewed representatives of the top (by number of followers) 20+ religions (all Bishops or higher) and asked them a series of questions. The answers were remarkably similar, and the bottom line message across all religions was

‘Do Onto Others As You Would Wish Done Onto You’.

Living by the Golden Rule is not always easy, but always fulfilling when I can do it. If more of us lived our lives from this premise, I believe we’d see more kindness, more of a ‘Pay It Forward’ mentality just wanting to make the world a better place for all.

 

 

 3) What Have You Learned?

 Two things:

  • That every day is heaven on earth and it’s my choice to see the beauty and Divine Order to it all, or get blocked, stuck and animated by the moment-by-moment challenges and opportunities that come my way. The secret to maintaining my sanity when I feel really pressed is Maitri-Loving Kindness, and an unconditional friendship with my Self, knowing that I am doing my best.
  • I spent 30 years in Chicago raising a family and creating a business. There was an icon in those days who represented the heart of the city. A writer, Studs Terkel was loved by all and empowered hundreds of thousands to be a better fair-minded person. His common-sense approach to life represented in his books and newspaper articles represented the best of the city. In his later years he was known to hang out in a local tavern. When he’d get up to leave, as he was walking out with his stogie in his teeth and his fedora angled on his head, he’d turn around and say “Take It Easy, But Take It”.

And I’d say that’s my message to the world, “Take it easy, with loving kindness, an unconditional friendship with your Self, BUT TAKE IT!”

 

 

Who: Akira Chan (IG: @akirachan)

Occupation: Founder of Rare Media(raremedia.tv)(akirachan.com)

Location: Depends on what day you ask!

 

Akira is a friend, client and basically… a Super-Man. He is such a special soul. He is one of those people that has 1,098 things going on at one time yet somehow makes each person that he comes into contact with feel like he or she is the only thing that matters. I call it extreme presence, and he has it.

Akira owns a company called Rare Media with his partner, Renee, whom I have had the privilege of knowing even before I met Akira. They are a powerhouse couple doing great things for this planet, and I feel honored and grateful to get to see them, even for a quick second around Encinitas when they aren’t traveling around the world.

Akira’s work can represent who and what he is all about more than my words. One of the things they have up their sleeve is a documentary and art platform called “Artists for Addicts”; the trailer can be seen at www.artistsforaddicts.com. It sheds light on the highly avoided topic of addiction by using art as a force for good to not only help people who have developed addiction problems, but also to increase understanding about what addiction actually is, where it comes from and how to truly heal it. Most people have been touched by addiction of some sort- whether themselves, a friend, partner or family member… and I highly recommend checking it out.

Another original video that I consider a must-see is “Where are the Men?”, which is a call and tribute to the Modern Man and provides inspiration and insight into today’s top social issues. Men and women both can get a lot out of the piece, and it can be found directly on his home page: www.akirachan.com

Thank you Akira, just for being you and doing what you do. It affects us all in a big way.

Sat nam,

Elise

 

 

 

 

 

1) Who are you?

I’m a mixed race (Half Japanese, Quarter Chinese, Quarter White) explorer and lover of life, using my capabilities to contribute a little more beauty in the world.
I currently do that through my production company Rare Media, with the help of my wonderful partner Renee Airya, and our amazing team.

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

My greatest challenge is maintaining my center, my essence, through large waves of personal, professional and social growth.
Growing a business can feel like building a little log cabin in some raw and wild land, where you’re constantly dealing with seasonal shifts…feast, famine, glorious sunrises, followed by monsoons.
And with that comes learning many new skills and conquering many fears – like public speaking and having tough conversations. It’s been challenging to not lose myself, or my identity, through all of this.
There are #winning days that feel triumphant – where I’m in awe of the team – satisfied with my leadership – days we’ve pulled off massive feats like delivering a dozen projects on time and within budget. Then there are the #fail days where I feel like I’m lost – fires are starting everywhere – days that I’m longing to return to being a solo freelance artist, running around at festivals and collaborating with friends on simple video projects. But at the end of the day, I know I’ve made a permanent and powerful decision to hop on the path I’m on – and I like who I’m becoming with all of the temperance.

3) What have you learned?

I’ve learned to build on my strengths rather than strengthen my weaknesses.
I’ll share a personal story here. One of the reasons I became so enamored with filmmaking in the first place, was a beautiful experience I had at 11 years old. I had a class assignment to interview a grandparent, and I decided to sit down with my strong, proud and stern grandfather – a man I highly respected but knew little about.
Instead of writing down the answers, I set up the family camera for a video interview. My first question to him triggered an emotional response….and he broke down crying. It was an incredible moment of bonding between us, but it also taught me about the power of listening to people, and recording stories.
So these days, I’m focusing on my strength of listening and producing emotional stories.
It’s a place I love to be, and a constant demonstration of the human spirit in action.

 

 

**photo of Akira by Arturo Everitt

**photo of Akira + Renee by Malek Houlihan

 

 

 

 

Some women have naturally thick, strong and shiny hair.  I can’t say that I am one of them.  I have fine hair and I’m in the ocean a lot(which can be challenging for the hair), so I was looking for some quick fixes for healthy hair.

I had noticed over the years that the less I wash my hair, the healthier it becomes.  That might sound weird and even gross to some of you. But it grows faster and is stronger when the natural oils have a chance to penetrate into the hair shaft.

I use a boar bristle brush that a friend (one of the really thick, strong and shiny hair people) told me about. Brushing from root to end every night truly makes a difference. In fact, I believe it is the real reason behind the myth of “brushing your hair 100 times” that we heard as girls growing up. Women have been using these brushes since the 1800’s, including glamorous old movie stars like Rita Hayworth.

The boar bristle takes the sebum, the oil produced by the scalp, and transfers it from the scalp all the way through to the end of the hair shaft. By coating each strand with a very small amount of sebum, a boar bristle brush repairs dry hair and adds lustrous shine. The bristles also stimulate the scalp, improving circulation and encouraging hair growth. You can get away with more days in between washes because the brush prevents build up of oil at the scalp, which weighs it down and makes it look more greasy.

Hair powder or “dry shampoo” helps the longer gaps between washing from being so obvious. This absorbs any excess oil at the scalp that might remain even after the boar brushing. The only problem is that most brands are filled with potentially harmful chemicals: aerosol propellants,  absorbing and conditioning agents and fragrances (which themselves are made up of toxic chemicals that can act as hormone disruptors and cancer causers when absorbed through the scalp).

So I make my own! This is one of the easiest DIY projects ever.  If you have light blonde hair, all you have to do is put about 1/4 cup of organic arrow root(or corn starch) in a jar or plastic squeeze tube.  If you have medium colored hair, use 1/4 cup of the arrow root and about 2 tablespoons of organic cocoa powder. If you have dark hair, use the cocoa powder only. Yes, your hair will smell a little like chocolate.  It’s amazing!

I personally just use a (bpa free) plastic squeeze tube and apply directly onto my scalp and brush it through until it blends in.  But if you would like to be more fancy or you have already-styled hair, you can use an old make-up brush and apply it to the scalp with that.

With these two helpful hints, your hair will be sure to grow and become healthier than ever and you will also avoid any harsh chemicals or toxins.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 🙂

hog-1024x607

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