ORIGIN. The Conscious Culture Magazine
Erykah Badu ARTIST. VEGAN. MOTHER.
120 YOGIS WE LOVE
WOMEN ARE RISING
16 POWERFUL WOMEN 31 COOLEST COUPLES
MEDIA MOGUL + MEDITATION
Richard Branson UNPLUGGED ON NECKER ISLAND His best decisions. Business advice. Love. Causes.
SAVING THE AMAZON. WILDAID: SHARK FINNING. TABOO: LOSING THE DRUG WAR JOHN CAGE. DON LETTS. MELVIN VAN PEEBLES. BILLY CORGAN. JEFF CORWIN. DEEPAK CHOPRA.
CHASING ICE: CLIMATE CHANGE ENDANGERED WILDLIFE
LaPlacaCohen Publication: Insertion date: Size: 212-675-4106 ORIGIN MAGAZINE NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2012 8.5" x 11" 4C BLEED MAG OLUKAI.COM
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The only thing that gets me through any type of pain, emotional or physical, is to make it worthwhile by putting it into my work.
JS: No hot love scenes, but maybe a lil’ tongue action.
supported my artistic side. She still has the stick-figure drawings framed.
LD: You were nominated for an Emmy for your work in Dexter, a show that gives me nightmares every time I watch it. How did you deal with swimming in those kinds of dark waters, artistically?
LD: What’s inspiring you these days?
JS: I really enjoyed it, even the dark stuff, up until about episode ten, when things got pretty grim. I think the saving grace for me was that Lumen got to enact vengeance, so I wasn’t playing the victim the whole time. I loved what they wrote for me. I think I became an actress to tackle those dark things in a safe place, using my imagination. It’s all one big pretend game, and I get paid to play dress-up! How lucky am I?
JS: The Little Death, forever! Papercranes, no joke. And Andrew Bird is an absolute genius.
LD: Again with that level head of yours. But still—no residual checking of your closets before you go to sleep or any post-serial killer neuroses?
JS: Everyone has their coping mechanism, right? I’m still searching for mine.
INTERVIEW PART I: LAURA DAWN
Julia Stiles Julia Stiles is a NYC-based actor and activist. She first hit the stage at New York’s renowned La MaMa Theater Company at the tender age of eleven, and hasn’t stopped since. Known for her films 10 Things I Hate About You, Save the Last Dance, The Bourne Trilogy, Mona Lisa Smile) and stage work (David Mamet’s Oleanna, Twelfth Night at Shakespeare in the Park), she was nominated last year for both Emmys and Golden Globe awards for her unforgettable turn as Lumen Pierce in Showtime’s Dexter. In October 2012, Julia performed with political cabaret troupe The Citizen’s Band at the Abrons Arts Center at the Henry Street Settlement in New York City. The show, co-sponsored by MoveOn.org, was described as a “melodious rallying call to the polling booth.” I met Julia back in 2001 when she attended a performance of “Rene Risque & the Art Lovers,” the now defunct musical comedy act I was a part of at the time. She came backstage to say hello and tried on the white fluffy coat that was a part of my costume. We became fast friends. Through the years I’ve always been impressed with her intelligence, heart, incredible talent, and [ability to be] levelheaded in an industry not exactly known for those qualities. I caught up with her on her current shoot in Boston.
Laura Dawn: Ms. Stiles!
Julia Stiles: Please, call me Steez, or Stiles, or J. Steez. Or Julia. LD: I’m always calling you Hooliah but I think I’m gonna switch to Steez. What the heck are you doing in Boston?
JS: A movie for ABC called “The Makeover.” It’s basically Pygmalion or My Fair Lady set in the world of politics. I play a girl who has [unsuccessfully] run for congress in Boston, and [tries] to refine this working-class guy into the perfect candidate in the run-off election. But because fundamentally women and men are different, she ends up getting schooled by him! LD: Does he teach her the ways of love? This is ABC right? Should we not expect any hot love scenes?
LD. You are a yoga fiend, right? That’s a good coping mechanism. What role has yoga played in your art and in keeping [you sane] in a crazy business?
My brain and body can go into overdrive— yoga teaches me to focus on the moment and not get ahead of myself. JS: Yoga has stopped me from destroying my joints after running. It slows me down. My brain and body can go into overdrive—yoga teaches me to focus on the moment and not get ahead of myself. LD: I know for a fact that you are an awesome tap dancer. What other talents are you hiding?
JS: [laughs] Well, as with everything, I’m still learning. Other talents include a must-see Jim Carrey impersonation. And I’m pretty great at “name that tune.”
JS: Music, music, music. LD: Wanna name any names?
LD: What makes you vulnerable, and how do you keep that vulnerability close to the surface when working?
JS: I feel particularly raw these days, so my challenge is more to keep the vulnerability at bay. I try to sing, hum, make jokes when I’m on set to keep the mood light—I’m working on a rom-com, after all. LD: Good, I’m glad the rom-com is treating you right. You’ve worked on some seriously tough pieces, like your amazing turn on Broadway in Oleanna. That was extremely rough terrain to live through night after night. How do you put that away at the end of the night and make the transition back to “real life”?
JS: I’ve really turned a corner recently in terms of not taking work too seriously, so it is much easier for me to not take my work home. I used to struggle a lot with dwelling on how the day at work was, and I would dwell on my performance. Now, I’m like, “Well, that’s over and done with, and I can’t control the outcome, so move on.” I just remember that it’s entertainment I am making. I know it sounds earnest, but I do really feel in my bones that acting is just a small part of the equation when you are making a movie. The director really is in charge. Actors are as important or unimportant as the rest of the people around them. LD: Do you feel theater is a different beast [than film]?
JS: I bruise easily, this I know is true. Theater is like going to the gym for actors. I am forever grateful that I got some training in the theater—it reduces performance anxiety. Theater makes working in movies or TV seem like a cake-walk. LD: What causes you pain? And what do you do with pain? How do you utilize it in your work?
LD: What inspired you to become an artist?
JS: The only thing that gets me through any type of pain, emotional or physical, is to make it worthwhile by putting it into my work. Seeing other people in pain causes me pain.
JS: I think I was born an artist. But the key is that I have a mom that encouraged and
LD: Speaking of funneling pain into work, what issues, causes and
organizations are you passionate about?
JS: Education is huge for me. I went to public school until I turned thirteen, and was lucky enough to afford college once I became successful as an actress. I cannot believe that quality education costs as much as it
I know it sounds earnest, but I do really feel in my bones that acting is just a small part of the equation when you are making a movie. does in this country. Ghetto Film School is a remarkable public high school in New York City where students get to learn to express themselves through filmmaking, and have hands-on access to equipment. We can become very short-sighted in terms of objectives. The first thing to go during times of economic crisis and budget cuts is funding for things that are essential and not quantifiable, like the arts. Save Big Bird! LD: We just posted a video of Mr. Rogers defending PBS on MoveOn.org and it literally made me cry. He was that important to me as a child. Who are some of your heroes, and why?
JS: Famous heroes: Jimmy Carter, Yoani Sanchez, Hillary Clinton, César Chavez, Gloria Steinem, Naomi Wolf, and Jane Fonda. Not-so famous heroes: every doctor and nurse, EMT, firefighter, and police officer that has ever helped or saved anyone. No longer living heroes include Nina Simone. TO BE CONTINUED...
LAURA DAWN is the Creative and Cultural Director of MoveOn.org. Laura is a writer, director, editor, producer, artist organizer, national campaign strategist, singer, songwriter, and expert on the nexus of art and social change. Her work with MoveOn.org has helped to grow the organization into a 7 million-member progressive powerhouse and her media work for MoveOn has garnered over 50 million views online. Also an accomplished singer and recording artist, Laura regularly collaborates with worldwide electronic artist phenomenon Moby, most notably as the featured singer on his multiplatinum album Hotel and subsequent world tour, and on their noir/blues project, “The Little Death”
JOHN CAGE: A P P + A RT = R H Y T H M M A C H I N E
“There is no such thing as an empty space or an empty time. There is always something to see, something to hear. In fact, try as we may to make a silence, we cannot.”
PAUL D. MILLER/DJ SPOOKY
“When we separate music from life, we get art.” —John Cage
John Cage was one of the foremost composers of the 20th century. For many years, he looked to Eastern compositional methods in order to develop a bold and refreshing approach to how music could be generated. Randomness has an incredibly powerful place in our culture. If you think about it, you can see it driving the algorithms that run our information economy, patterns that make up the traffic of our cities, and on over to the way the stars and galaxies formed. Reality itself is [made up of] chance processes linked to sets of rules—this is what drives the world, the universe, and just about anything a human being can imagine. Imagine if every moment we spend listening to Radio, Spotify, Turntable.fm, etc., was a composed moment taken from an instrument? That’s what the new John Cage app is about. John Cage was one of the foremost composers of the 20th century. For many years, he looked to Eastern compositional methods in order to develop a bold and refreshing approach to how music could be generated. Throughout his life he used the I Ching to explore chance processes, taking the notations he made and coming up with new compositions. To celebrate John Cage’s 100th birthday, the John Cage Trust has commissioned a new app, which plays an iOS or Android mobile device with the actual materials used by John
Cage in the preparations for his Sonatas and Interludes (1946-48). One of Cage’s many major achievements was his creation of the “prepared piano,” in which he placed objects beneath and between the strings of a grand piano to create an entirely new instrument. Sample that! Similar to Marcel Duchamp’s ready-made objects that had such a transformative impact on the artworld in the 20th century—but in instrumental form. The idea of altering an instrument’s timbre through the use of external objects has been applied to instruments other than the piano. See, for example, the turntable that we DJs use to produce beats that we select and mix. It’s just another “chance operation.” Cage first prepared a piano when he was commissioned to write music for “Bacchanale,” a choreography by Sylvia Fort in 1938. Cage had been writing exclusively for a percussion ensemble—in fact, he arguably wrote the world’s first composition for turntables in 1939, simply titled “Imaginary Landscape.” The story goes that the hall where Fort’s dance was to be staged had no room for a percussion group. The only instrument available was a single grand piano. Cage improvised and made that become an instrument that could make any soundnoise. Cage said that he realized it was possible “to place in the hands of a single pianist the equivalent of an entire percussion orchestra...With just one musician, you can really do an unlimited number of things on the inside of the piano, if you have at your disposal an exploded keyboard.” More recent composers, such as Jason Moran, have used prepared pianos. There are other composers, like Iannis Xenakis and Pierre Boulez, who have done “prepared works”—but none of these musicians have a commemorative app!
Whenever you play a song, you’re basically playing with a lot of zeros and ones. These are Western compositional models that other cultures have explored in so many ways. John Cage was one of the few Western composers to approach music that was rooted in well-researched materials from China. If you look at other groups that have used the “Book of Changes,” like Wu-Tang Clan, there are some interesting connections. An app is a series of zeros and ones, too. What happens if you take both concepts and make an app that can generate many combinations of samples? That’s exactly what this app does. It takes permutations John Cage’s most famous works, and makes a sample bank out of them. The I Ching or “Yì Jīng”, also known as the Classic of Changes, Book of Changes, or Zhouyi, is one of the oldest Chinese documents. The book contains a divination system that links chance process to actions— the equivalent of Western geomancy or the West African Ifá system. The text of the I Ching is a set of oracular statements represented by sixty-four sets of six lines each called hexagrams (卦 guà). Each hexagram is a figure composed of six stacked horizontal lines (爻 yáo). Each line is either Yang (an unbroken, solid line), or Yin (broken, an open line with a gap in the center). With six such lines stacked from bottom to top there are twenty-six or sixty-four possible combinations, and thus sixty-four hexagrams represented. Try doing that with an app or a keyboard! The John Cage App points out that it’s not just the mathematics of the world and universe that make life interesting—it’s how we put the numbers together. As John Cage once said, “There is no such thing as an empty space or an empty time. There is always something to see, something to hear. In fact, try as we may to make a silence, we cannot.”
CHASING ICE: DIRECTOR: JEFF ORLOWSKI
When I started following photographer James Balog, I was not planning on making a ﬁlm—I just wanted to document his adventures around the world. And I knew that his idea—to shoot time-lapse videos of glaciers for multiple years—could potentially create groundbreaking imagery of our changing planet. Over the course of the ﬁve years that I [spent] traveling with Balog around the Arctic, I learned ﬁrsthand just how fast the ice is melting. It is changing faster than the scientists predicted. The consequences of man-made climate change are real and very signiﬁcant. I did not consider myself an environmental activist before making this ﬁlm, but having learned, I feel a responsibility to get the truth out into the world. In roughly my grandmother’s lifetime, sea level has risen eight inches. A child born today will experience an increase in sea level of about three to six feet. The rate of change is so remarkable and so dramatic. We are already seeing the consequences of man-made climate change. The scientists have been telling us for decades to expect more events like Hurricane Sandy. Climate change isn‘t a distant threat. It‘s already
I challenge our viewers: don’t ask us what you can do. Instead, ﬁgure out how you can make a difference and share those stories and actions with us. PHOTOS: JAMES BALOG 8 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
Help us preserve a sustainable and healthy planet for all future generations. changing the way we live, and it cost the global economy a massive $1.2 trillion last year alone. We don’t know how bad things might get down the line, but the predictions are very dire. The question is not, “Is climate change happening?” Nor is the question, “Is climate change man-made?” Rather, we need to realize it‘s already here, and start asking, “What are we going to do about it?” In Chasing Ice, James says that he wanted to honestly say to his daughters, in twenty to thirty years from now, that he did everything he could—with the skills and tools he had—to make a difference by confronting climate change. As a photographer, he wanted to reveal the truth through innovative visual evidence. I believe deeply that every one of us has an individual talent or trait that can be used to make a difference in some way. Everybody on our team brought their different skills and resources to the project, whether it was the lawyer, the producer, the designer, or composer—each trying to make a difference. We can and must use our combined skills at every opportunity available to address climate change. I challenge our viewers: don‘t ask us what you can do. Instead, ﬁgure out how you can make a difference and share those stories and actions with us. I am humbled and honored to be a part of this mission. I am indebted to our team, the ﬁlm festivals who have supported us, my family, and
to the people who watch the movie. It is because of each of you that our story has continued to be shared around the world. When one sees the photographs, they can‘t deny the evidence. We hope Chasing Ice continues to have opportunities to be shared, and that it continues to shift perception amongst our audiences. Please join our team. Help us
preserve a sustainable and healthy planet for all future generations. Jeff Orlowski is the director of Sundance award-winning ﬁlm, Chasing Ice. In theaters now. Visit www.chasingice.com for more information.
CHASINGICE.COM ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM 9
Breaking the Taboo The Truth About the Drug Trade Sam Branson
I believe the medium of film is one of the most powerful tools in the modern era to create positive social change. It has the ability to put big, complex, and controversial subjects across in an easy-to-understand and digestible form. It has the power to change someone’s perspective on the world in a very short space of time—film has the power to change the world itself. This belief is what inspired me to set up my production company, Sundog Pictures. Sundog is dedicated to exploring new ways of telling stories and bringing new audiences to important subjects. Whether through TV, film, online, app, or web, we will find ways to tell our stories with authenticity, and engage with our viewers beyond traditional means. Research states that we have a two-week window to act after being inspired by an experience, before the brain is compelled to move on. I have always thought [that while some] documentaries I have seen have educated me, [they] have failed to engage and drive me to act in support of the message. Sundog aims to give our audience the tools to share and really engage with the subject matter of our stories on and off the screen. Our most recent project is a story that screams to be told. It is a feature documentary about the failed war on drugs, called Breaking the Taboo. Many years ago, my good friend Cosmo and I were discussing the war on drugs, and how the current policies and laws around drugs actually
have more of a negative impact than the drugs themselves. Never did I think I would be sitting here writing an article about the war on drugs, having made a film with him about the subject.
If we heavily regulate the market, we [take] control—it becomes our responsibility to make sure our fellow human is looked after and cared for. [These people] are our children, siblings, friends. People we want in society. Breaking the Taboo uncovers the UN-sanctioned war on drugs, charting its origins and its devastating impact on countries like the USA, Colombia, Russia, and Afghanistan; it features prominent statesmen including Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter; it follows The Global Commission on Drug Policy on a mission to break the political taboo and expose the biggest failure of global policy in the last forty years; Morgan Freeman [signed on] to [narrate] the film.
Why would all these prominent people puts their names to such a controversial topic? Well, for the exact reasons Cosmo and I used to discuss it endlessly: something needs to change. People should care more about the lives ruined and lost by the war on drugs than the futile goal of creating a drug-free society. There are 230 million drug users in the world and 90% of them cause no threat to society. This is an illegal market that cannot be controlled—the free-for-all is what is happening now. Drugs are available to those who want them. And where are those profits going? Into organized crime, [to criminals] who spend their profits on the destruction of whole societies. If we heavily regulate the market, we [take] control—it becomes our responsibility to make sure our fellow human is looked after and cared for. [These people] are our children, siblings, friends. People we want in society. If you have a drug problem, you should be sent to a doctor, not a jail cell. In 1970, there were approximately 330,000 prisoners in the U.S. Today there are 2.3 million behind bars—more than any country in the history of the world. In 2009 alone there were 1.6 million drug-related arrests in the U.S. 1.3 million of these were for possession of drugs alone. Over half were related to marijuana. The forty-year war on drugs has cost $2.5 trillion. Incarceration has become a business. It is in the interest of the police and the prisons to keep locking people up.
Fernando Henrique Cardoso:
“I am not proposing to replace war with peace. I propose to replace war with a smarter fight. A fight using other instruments, more intelligent instruments to convince people not to use drugs. It is why we have to break the taboo.”
a chance for change I was raised with the belief that everything happens for a reason. My dad, David Burrus, MD, was hit and killed by a car on September 2, 2009. He was a perinatologist, which is a specialized doctor concerned with high-risk terminal pregnancies. There is a higher demand for the kind of doctor he was in Minnesota. He commuted every week from California to Minnesota and back, so that he could do what he loved and still be with his family.
[As in the case of] alcohol prohibition, illegality has driven organized crime, sent countless people to jail, and killed many thousands. Repression does not work. In the words of the former President of Brazil, Fernando Henrique Cardoso: “I am not proposing to replace war with peace. I propose to replace war with a smarter fight. A fight using other instruments, more intelligent instruments to convince people not to use drugs. It is why we have to Break the Taboo.” President Cardoso is a part of the Global Commission on Drugs Policy (GCDP), the purpose of which is to bring about an informed, sciencebased discussion about humane and effective ways to reduce the harm caused by drugs. The GCDP is made up of high-level individuals, including ex-presidents. The GCDP has made the world sit up and listen. In 2011, President Santos of Colombia became the first serving president to break the silence and publicly declare that the world needs to look for new solutions. My measure of success is to walk into a restaurant and hear a table debating drug policy. Once the public starts the conversation, the
politicians will join—that is when we can create real change. How do you create a film that can reach millions of people and engage them in the subject? You have to take risks and try something new. This is why we have partnered with YouTube for the release of the film on our own dedicated channel. Even the best documentaries reach tens of thousands in their cinematic window. I believe that by launching online, we could potentially reach millions. Through social media, we can start a global conversation. This creates an army of advocates—the power really is in the hands of the viewers. I have a vision of a world where we don’t continue down senseless paths, where we care for our fellow human as much as we care for ourselves. I believe the mere striving for such a world is in itself a part of the liberation, and a foundation for inner and global security. www.samsblog.org breakingthetaboo.com #breakthetaboo youtube.com/user/breakingthetaboofilm/featured www.sundogpictures.co.uk twitter: @sambranson
We had moved to California so that my mom and I could continue to work in the entertainment industry. I remember the night I got the call from my mom that he was dead. The next twenty-four hours of my life all sort of blended together in series of painful moments. There was a lot of confusion and bureaucracy at the hospital. We kept getting different stories from different people about how it happened. There was no grief counselor there to help us with our loss, just hospital officials who kept telling my mother she couldn’t see his body. My dad had safely crossed the same intersection of Century and Sepulveda at LAX every week to get to his car, but this time was different. It took one moment to change everything in my life. My dad always told me to enjoy life, to make the most out of your present moment, and to be grateful, because you never know what the future holds. Today
I see that his death had purpose. I choose to believe this so that I don’t become bitter. My mom and I realized that we couldn’t be alone in this experience, and we wanted to help others going through the same thing. We started Safer Passages with the mission of working with pedestrians and motorists to educate and advocate for safer streets, with the hope of effectively decreasing the yearly pedestrian death and injury toll. Roughly eleven people a day died crossing the street in 2009. Safer Passages is in the process of becoming a non-profit organization; we hope to make positive change on the streets, in loving memory of my dad and the other special lives that have been taken. I continue to live by my father’s rules and will always strive to make him proud. My mom and I own a production company that we named 42 FILMS in honor of my dad. In 2011, 42 FILMS signed on to executive produce a film called Pawn, starring Michael Chiklis, Forest Whitaker, and Ray Liotta. Growing up, I loved watching movies with my dad; we liked cop dramas and Mafia movies a lot. My memories of watching these types of films really influenced my desire to be involved with Pawn as an actor and Executive Producer. I believe that my dad brought Pawn to us. I believe that he is still working his magic through the people whose lives he touched while he lived. I owe all my blessings in my life to my dad. SAFERPASSAGES.ORG
My dad always told me to enjoy life, to make the most out of your present moment, and to be grateful, because you never know what the future holds.
TWITTER : @CAMERON_DENNY ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM 13
INTERVIEW: ELISA KREISINGER
I first met filmmaker and Webby Award-founder Tiffany Shlain at SxSW in Austin, TX, where we shared a table at the Huffington Post’s Women’s Dinner. We met up again, this time in New York, to discuss her new project, Let It Ripple, which provides nonprofits with free video content.
able to make one hundred free versions of the films in one year. For the next film, “Engage,” we had one hundred requests in three days. Our new film, “Brain Power,” explores new research on how to best grow a child’s mind and links this research to ideas about how to best grow the global brain of the internet.
Elisa Kreisinger: I am dying to know: why make an expensive, beautiful film and then give it away for free to nonprofits?
We are also experimenting with “Brain Power” by releasing a TED eBook that goes with the film, expanding on the ideas and research in a way a short film could never do. Everyone can watch these films at www.letitripple.org.
Tiffany Shlain: I saw a huge need. So many nonprofits are doing this amazing work for humanity. Often they didn’t have any films to go with it. If they did, [the film] didn’t match the quality of the work they were doing. I went to a foundation and proposed the following: “How about I make short films that speak to the highest aspects that connect us as humans, that everyone could agree upon—that could easily be tailored to any nonprofit working to make this world better?” I am so grateful that they took this chance. The experiment is exceeding all of our expectations. Creatively, it is very much a call-and-response with people all over the world with the web. In these films, we invite people to contribute artwork and videos from their mobile phones. We then mash it all together with original animation, a strong script, and music—[then we] make a short film. The series is called “Let it Ripple: Mobile Films for Global Change.” We make them with everyone and then invite everyone to help translate the films as we are making free versions. We call this “Cloud Filmmaking.” Our first film, “A Declaration of Interdependence,” with music by Moby, was translated into sixty-five languages in six weeks. We were
FOLLOW: @TIFFANYSHLAIN 14 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
EK: One thing I really appreciate about your work is your unique B-roll and archival footage choices. Where does the footage come from and have you had any rights issues with it?
TS: My filmmaking style of remixing came out of necessity. When I was a film theory student at UC Berkeley in the early 1990s, there were no film production facilities. The only way I learned to tell stories on film was by re-cutting and splicing together celluloid of old movies, early animated films, home films, sound slug—anything I could get my hands on. The idea of recontextualizing images from different eras to express larger ideas about modern times was very exciting to me. That archival aesthetic is the foundation of my filmmaking style. Most of my recent feature documentary—Connected: An Autoblogography about Love, Death & Technology—is comprised of a combination of archival images from many eras sewn together with new original animations. [It’s] my attempt to understand our world, where we came from, and where we’re headed.
For most films, one of the biggest line items is the cost of shooting, but ours is licensing footage and creating animation. Today with the Internet, I search for film and video archives online. It’s an evergrowing moveable visual feast of delicacies from all around the world. EK: Origin is split in half and this split reminds me of Connected, where you argue that we need to blend the two sides of the brain, the art and the science, to really tackle problems holistically.
TS: Yes, there are so many similarities. My father, Leonard Shlain, wrote Art & Physics: Parallel Visions in Space, Time & Light, [which] really explores how artists and scientists throughout history are often talking about the same ideas in their work—one with images and one with numbers and equations. Connected explores the history of connectedness, our desire to use technology to sustain connection, and my father’s ideas in the last year of his life. Elisa Kreisinger is a video artist remixing Mad Men into feminists.
WWW.POPCULTUREPIRATE.COM ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM 15
Tyler Blackburn from Pretty Little Liars INTERVIEW: MARANDA PLEASANT
I know this might sound a little cliche, but I feel like everybody is searching for the same thing, and that is truth.
Maranda Pleasant: What inspires you the most?
Tyler Blackburn: I know this might sound a little cliche, but I feel like everybody is searching for the same thing, and that is truth. I think that’s sort of the journey to define that which is most inspirational. Even in acting, when I watch an actor who I find to be so truthful in their craft, or a musician who gets up there and sings so truthfully—I like that. I really like individualism based on truth. That’s something I try to think about. What do I actually think about that, what do I actually feel right now? As opposed what should I feel. MP: Love that. Powerful. What is it that makes you vulnerable?
TB: I’m very sensitive. It’s always been something I’m very in tune with. I am very emotional. Sometimes to the point of where I just want to hide away, because I can’t get a handle on myself. I don’t mind that idea. Vulnerability is kind of one of those things of, how do I really feel in this moment? Wow, this is when I’m the most vulnerable. Obviously when I’m put in a situation where there is a lot of attention on me, it’s this weird dichotomy—I like it, because I feel like I’m a natural born performer. But I do feel the most vulnerable. As life goes on I’m learning to trust myself more, so I am more comfortable— you have to be, doing things in front of people, especially when there’s lots of pressure. I have to make decisions. When you’re put in a position where you’re having to decide, Is this a good decision? Is this the right decision for everybody involved? It makes me feel a little unsteady, unsure. PHOTOS: NICK SPANOS | SPANOSPHOTO.COM 16 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
MP: Wow. I really appreciate that level of honesty. How do you process pain?
TB: I don’t have one go-to way to deal because circumstances change. One thing I’m recognizing more and more in myself—and looking to change—is going down more of a self-destructive path when I feel pain. I’m trying to avoid that as much as possible. That is an impulse, when I feel out of control. We don’t really understand why we feel what we do in that moment, so it’s almost like I’m trying to take control, even if it’s bad control. I do try to experience the emotions as they come, but sometimes it becomes just too much. I lost my cousin. It’s been about a month. He’s a year younger than me. He OD’d. It was three days before my birthday. I grew up with this guy. It was such an intense scenario. I went through so many emotions. It kind of ran the gamut of anger and sadness and self-destruction and all those things. MP: I understand.
TB: Even just talking about it, that’s very cathartic, too. That’s one way of doing that. Actually putting it out as a truth as opposed to trying to conceal it from yourself. MP: I’m with you. I tend to isolate. Put on the Damien Rice and go paint and isolate for days and drink too much. [laughing] I get it. I’m learning more positive ways of handling myself.
TB: Absolutely. I don’t know about you but I look back at my sort of wilder days where I was doing lots of drugs, and I thought I was just trying to have a good time, but I was covering up so much pain. TYLERBLACKBURN.NET ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM 17
I haven’t done any drugs for five years now. Now I’m actually presented with these problems and I’m looking at them differently. I see even the small things. Like you said, Damien Rice—he’s perfect for those moments!
It’s just so funny—as soon as I did that, that’s when I started booking acting work, which was my dream. So many things have gotten so much better. My life is just in a completely different place and I’m so happy about that.
MP: You can get really f*cked up on Damien Rice!
MP: Deep bow. That is not an easy thing to do. Tell me what you’re passionate about? I heard you speak out against bullying?
TB: Oh my god, I know! I love the album O. MP: When you run out of Damien Rice you always switch over to Glen Hansard. You said you’ve been clean for five years?
TB: I haven’t done any drugs for five years. I don’t even smoke pot anymore. MP: That’s great. How was that process for you? Was there a wake up call?
TB: It mostly starts with a decision. I was inching towards making that final decision but I would always retract. It became a vicious cycle. I started realizing that I was no longer having fun with it. It was allconsuming. I had support from my girlfriend at the time. She didn’t do drugs. That was really helpful. I did do a sort of a detox program. I didn’t go to rehab or anything like that. It was a lighter detox program that really eliminates drugs and toxins from your body. Keeps the cravings and stuff from coming back. That made it a lot easier. And then just really reshaping myself.
TB: My interests lie in nurturing children. That’s part of the reason why the bullying thing has become an aspect of my life. I was bullied a lot growing up. I know firsthand the amount of life that is sucked out of you every time that happens, and how it affected me as a young adult. I was asked if I wanted to do a campaign through Seventeen magazine. And I was like, “Wow, yeah, I would like to.” It was one of the first moments that I realized that being on a TV show didn’t stop when the director says, “Cut.” There’s a responsibility level that comes along with being a public figure. I can use this for really cool things. That really [allows] me to be very honest about my experiences. I used to want to kill myself because I had lost so much of who I knew I was because of all the other invalidation from people. It sends you spiraling where you’re like, Wait, I know I have this quality, I know what my integrity is—until you’re being fed all this false information about yourself. You start to wonder why. You don’t feel good about yourself because you no longer believe in yourself.
I think children need to be nurtured for what they are as opposed to what you want them to be.
It’s so important for everybody at every age, but especially kids. High school is a really strange time—you’re not a kid, you’re not an adult. You’re about to be an adult, you’re going to have to make some really intense decisions. It’s a really pivotal time to have as much selfconfidence as you possibly can. Even if that means you have one friend who supports you completely. I’m sort of ranting but... MP: I like your rant! Keep going.
TB: Thanks! I just feel like that spoke to me a lot. I know that the demographic for the show [Pretty Little Liars] is pretty much high school students. Not all, but I know that’s a big part of it. I find that again, it’s beneficial to be as truthful as possible. I know that when that magazine issue came out, I got so many tweets about that, saying, Thank you for being honest. It was just really great. I got to go to an anti-bullying rally in Washington, DC. That was really cool. Parents spoke whose kids had killed themselves because of bullying. It makes me sad. I was there and all the people on the panel were there to raise awareness about that. It’s fulfilling to me in a way that I had never experienced before. I love to act, I love that aspect of my life, but the fact that that sort of parlayed into this other sort of feeling of fulfillment was unbelievable. Now I’m Global Ambassador for Stomp Out Bullying. I don’t get to do as much work with them as I would like to. MP: Thank you for that, by the way. I was suicidal for years in my teens and even almost up into college. Just because of bullying. It doesn’t take long to start believing that stuff. Just
living in fear and all kinds of self-worth issues—you don’t shake that off. It takes years to clear that.
TB: It does. In a lot of ways, certain things, it feels like they’re never going to go away. The best thing to do is continue to ask questions, look that fear in the eye. I feel like from a very early age, we know who we are as individuals. I love when I see parents with their kids in these crazy outfits and they’re like, “That’s what they wanted to wear.” Those small things are so important. That’s why I think children need to be nurtured for what they are as opposed to what you want them to be. I think that’s when those ideas come into your head of like, What should I feel in this moment? It’s because someone told you, “Your instinct was incorrect.” And you’re like, Why? Why is that wrong? MP: What projects can we support you in right now?
TB: We just wrapped up the season of Pretty Little Liars. We’ve been working pretty hard on that. I am working on music presently, also through ABC Family. I’m recording some really great tracks right now. MP: That’s right, you’re a musician.
TB: Mostly a singer. I just recently started writing lyrics. It’s been a new venture for me. I’m really proud of [what] I’m doing musically. The new season of Pretty Little Liars comes out around January 5th.
THE ABSTRACTIONIST A Conversation with Baratunde Thurston + Paul D. Miller/DJ Spooky
hop world now [that] I don’t pay active attention to, but to the extent that I represent some flavor of what’s happening in hip-hop—it’s subconscious. PDM: Let’s talk about Harvard vs N.Y. Was school as important as real life experiences?
BT: My perspective was forged in the fires of my DC childhood and in my experiences at Sidwell Friends School, 7th-12th grade. My family life and early political life—being exposed to the news constantly, being enrolled in an Afrocentric education program, and doing the extracurriculars I did—played a huge role in me finding my path. By the time I got to Harvard, I feel like I knew who I was, and my job there was to throw as much against the wall as possible, to see what would stick. Harvard was a field testing ground. When I look at what I’m doing today, I see [the] roots in my college life. I was the online editor of my college paper and an active member of the Harvard Computer Society. I abandoned a summer internship at the Washington Post due to injury and instead did theatre. I found my comedic voice through satirical
There are so many ways to be and to be black at the same time, but we’re finally seeing that full range expressed much more widely than before. Paul D. Miller: Hey, Baratunde. You’ve been in the middle of so many situations in the last couple of months. You’ve even taken on a regimen of doing yoga, under the aegis of your How To Be Black (Yog!) vibe. What’s up?
Baratunde Thurston: I am not a yogi yet, but I aspire to have more balance in my life. My connection to yoga came from my sister. I was living in Somerville, Massachusetts (just outside of Boston) after graduating from college, and my sister Belinda realized I lived a few blocks away from Baron Baptiste Yoga, which meant nothing to me. She was like, “You have to go!” After our mom passed in 2005, one of the first things we did together was go to a yoga session. It’s something I increasingly need as I bounce around the world. My sister has stepped up her yoga game in serious ways. She launched the first donation-based yoga studio in Michigan, and has a nonprofit which is about expanding the benefits of yoga to communities that don’t often get targeted by the yoga marketing matrix: poor people, big people, folks in recovery. It’s so damn inspiring. I’ve also found excitement and peace in surfing. Both of these help balance out the intensity of the other crazy moving parts of my life— launching a company, touring to promote my book, helping re-elect the president, and living on planes. You can call me namastunde or surfatunde. Either works. PHOTOS: MINDY TUCKER
PDM: You have always had a good sense of humor, and a really incisive approach to how humor can raise awareness. Do you think that that Black culture is ready for an era where people like you, Reggie Watts, and Saul Williams represent some of the more progressive aspects of contemporary hip-hop? Are you post-hip-hop? I, for one, am making music for Penguins in Antarctica at this point (seriously!).
BT: I don’t know that I’m post-anything. I’d like to think maybe I’m post-bullshit. “Black culture” is ready for whatever. I sense some momentum and excitement around black artists (especially in comedy, which is where most of my own art resides), really pushing the bounds of what has generally been expected as black. I don’t think it’s a revolution so much as an exposure of what has always been there, and now that the production and distribution means are more accessible, people can more easily find each other. There are so many ways to be and to be black at the same time, but we’re finally seeing that full range expressed much more widely than before. I’m so inspired by projects like “Awkward Black Girl,” The Eric André Show, and “Brothers With No Game,” and people like Aisha Tyler and W. Kamau Bell. As far as hip-hop is concerned, I’m no expert and rarely think consciously about how I “represent” hip-hop. I came of age under the influence of Big Daddy Kane, Poor Righteous Teachers, Leaders of the New School, and Nas. There’s certainly a lot of noise in the hip-
newsletters in college. The actual discovery of a path that could become a life was something I didn’t experience in a tangible sense until Harvard. New York has been the best gift, in that the city pushes me to so many next levels. College is a safe space where it can be hard to truly fail. The institution is rooting for you because your failure makes them look bad, too. New York City has no such mandate. I’ve had to hone and sharpen and refine my work here at a pace which may not have happened in other cities. The raw number of people doing cool things in this town. My ability to bump into them and challenge and collaborate is astounding. PDM: The world is changing so quickly. How do you think about the role that you are playing in changing people’s perceptions of what it means to “be black?”
BT: Mostly I try to be the best example of me that I can be. Knowing that “me” is inextricably linked to blackness, [I try to enjoy] the process of expanding beyond the expected boundaries set by existing culture, norms, and media. I hosted a television show on the Discovery Science Channel about the future. It wasn’t about “the future of black people.” It was just about “the future,” and that was mad cool. To implicitly be a part of a message that said, “Yes—there will be black people in the future, and they
might be the ones explaining it to you.” I’ve had a chance to visit parts of the world as a member of political and humanitarian delegations. I work in comedy, journalism, media, and technology, many of which don’t have a lot of black faces in visible positions. I walk through Brooklyn with a surfboard. It’s fun to challenge and expand people’s expectations. It’s even more meaningful to bring other folks with you, both from outside the black community and within it. I think we are part of a wave that is saying, “Look, we are all of these things, and we are also black. It has always been this way, but now you can more clearly see and celebrate it.” PDM: What’s next in Baratunde Thurston’s world?
BT: I’m focusing my energies on building the company I started after leaving The Onion. It’s called Cultivated Wit. We combine the power of comedy to explain with the power of digital to build immersive stories. I’m excited about what’s on our slate in terms of consulting, events, and original productions. I think we can be a part of something much bigger than any of our individual selves. I continue to tour but less so, and I’m exploring more visual creative outlets like TV and video (both on camera and behind the pen), to continue promoting ideas and values I believe in while using humor and wit to expand the audience at the table. Hopefully sleep, too. I’m really tired. For real. I need a nap. Like, now. Baratunde Thurston is a politically-active, technology-loving comedian from the future. He co-founded the black political blog, Jack and Jill Politics and served as Director of Digital for The Onion before launching the comedy/ technology startup Cultivated Wit. Then-candidate Barack Obama called him “someone I need to know.” Baratunde travels the world speaking and advising, and performs standup regularly in NYC. He resides in Brooklyn, lives on Twitter and has over thirty years experience being black. He writes the monthly backpage column for Fast Company, and his first book, How To Be Black, is a New York Times bestseller.
Mostly I try to be the best example of me that I can be. Knowing that “me” is inextricably linked to blackness, [I try to enjoy] the process of expanding beyond the expected boundaries set by existing culture, norms, and media. BARATUNDE.COM
I can’t read or write music. When I want to remember something, I try to remember all the keys on the piano. Which is what I still do. I put the numbers on the keys. And that’s got to become music again. I explain to all the band members— Oh you mean that? C minor, B this—I don’t know! I just say it and tell them to play it.
Paul D. Miller: Melvin, hey, how you doing? Last time I saw you, we went to go see David Henry Wang’s theater piece Chinglish. And right now there’s another theater piece, by Ayad Akhtar, called Disgraced—I want you to check out. It’s brilliant.
MELVIN VAN PEEBLES INTERVIEW: PAUL D. MILLER/DJ SPOOKY
Melvin Van Peebles: David Henry Hwang— his theater piece seemed very right now. I think now would be a wonderful time to redo that piece. I thought it was terrific. PDM: The way people are redefining identity, and looking at the new ways of expressing progressive issues around people of color in a multicultural context—you led the way for a lot of that. You did Sweet Sweetback’s Badasssss Song as a kind of theater, looking at cinematic style applied to theater, and then reversing that. I would love to hear you talk about when you were doing your band, because the band had a kind of theatrical soundtrack component mixed with the way you recorded it.
MVP: I was approached by a band who had been approached by the French, and it went from there. I did a remake of Sweet Sweetback’s Badasssss Song in Paris for the Festival Sons d’Hiver in 2010. The piece in 2010 was with Greg Tate and his band Burnt Sugar. But in the original, you see, Earth, Wind & Fire. That was the beginning. Earth, Wind & Fire, this was their first album. They’d never really done anything before they did Sweet Sweetback’s Badasssss Song. I was working with musicians to play my music. My secretary, her boyfriend had a band. And that band was Earth, Wind & Fire. PDM: Miles Davis had scored a couple incredible films, like Ascenseur pour l’échafaud in 1958; the Modern Jazz Quartet scored Sait On Jamais; and later, aside from Woody Allen, you’re one of the few directors I know who was able to think about scoring the film and being in the film and directing the film. You’re
the DJ of the whole situation—mix, edit, and on top of it, have all the characters come alive in the song.
MVP: Not at all! Not at all. What I did was much more traditional. Of course, this was my third movie. And I wanted to do music for it. So I wrote the music. And I was already in Brer Soul in 1969. I’d done the music for Watermelon Man, for Columbia. I’d done music with Nicky Baker for a French film of mine. In this case, I was in complete control. I told them the songs. I knew how I wanted to adjust it to the film. They were excellent! Wonderful musicians. They played what I told them. PDM: They went on to define a lot of the sound of the ‘70s. Everybody from Wu Tang Clan on over to A Tribe Called Quest has reflected off of their sound. You like to use the German term sprechgesang, which means an expression somewhere between singing and speaking. A lot of people look at that as parallel to the origins of hip-hop. What’s your take on some of the contemporary things in film that you’re looking at?
MVP: I’m not a cinematic cinematic person. I go to the movies like I did back when I was a kid. I go to the movies and I sit down. If the music works, hmm. If it doesn’t work, hmm. The whole concept of the thing, not as one piece here or there. For me, music is a large part.
Directors love to do music, they’ve been doing that all along. Music is for theater like theater is for scripts. It’s total: it’s cyclical. Music or sound in a film is a character as important as another character. That’s the way I approach it. That’s the way I explain [it] to the musicians that I’m using for such-andsuch a scene. PDM: Would you edit the film first or would you make the sound first?
MVP: It depends. I usually use the visual aspect of the film first. PDM: You hum the melody and then watch the scene? Sometimes they’ll have an orchestra play in front of the movie screen.
MVP: Yes, sometimes they do. But normally, I talk to them about it when they’re watching the screen, for tempo. PDM: And they have to play slower or faster if it’s an action scene, or if it’s a chilled-out scene?
MVP: You would think so, but it’s not true, at least in my case. Sometimes a slow scene, I’ll have them playing fast. I have had the fortune to be the boss. And I just do it the way I feel.
When I went to Broadway and did musicals, I did it the same way. I can’t read or write music. When I want to remember something, I try to remember all the keys on the piano. Which is what I still do. I put the numbers on the keys. And that’s got to become music again. I explain to all the band members—Oh you mean that? C minor, B this—I don’t know! I just say it and tell them to play it.
MELVINVANPEEBLES.ORG 22 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
Audio Anarchy in the UK! DON LETTS:
Sixty Years of Rebellion: Subculture Film Series for Fred Perry
INTERVIEW PART I: PAUL D. MILLER/DJ SPOOKY
It’s not every day that you have an iconic fashion design house commission a renowned filmmaker to do a cool web project about the history of fashion and design. Prada commissioned Yang Fudong to do a history of Shanghai. BMW commissioned directors John Frankenheimer, Ang Lee, Wong Kar Wai, Guy Ritchie, Alejandro González Iñárritu, John Woo, Joe Carnahan, and Tony Scott to do its renowned The Hire series on mini-films. And now Fred Perry has commissioned legendary disc jockey and documentary filmmaker Don Letts to update the game with a series of web-only films entitled Sixty Years of Rebellion: Subculture. Don Letts has been a highly respected name in music ever since his days as a DJ working with The Clash, the Sex Pistols, and other seminal bands like Big Audio Dynamite. Subculture is a collection of web “cinema” essays that explores the myriad changes fashion in the UK has gone through in the last fifty years. Heard the terms ROCKERS, MODS, SKINHEADS, SUEDEHEADS, SOULBOYS, PUNKS, CASUALS, INDIE, SKA, NEW WAVE, RAVE, or BRITPOP lately? Probably not. But they are more important than ever as the 20th century recedes further and further from view. Origin Magazine caught up with Don Letts to dialog about his latest views on art, music, and film.
I do think the internet has killed the mystery of the planet. Paul D. Miller/DJ Spooky: It’s a pleasure to see you in New York. Let’s catch up about your new project, Sixty Years of Rebellion, commissioned for the 60th Anniversary of Fred Perry. What’s the connection?
Don Letts: In England, where I come from, fashion and music go hand in hand. They’re integral to each other. Fred Perry is celebrating their 60th anniversary, and approached me to make a documentary about British youth subculture. Because lucky enough for Fred Perry, they’ve been a large part of that journey, which is a rare thing for a brand. More interestingly, the whole subcultural thing is a large part of who Don Letts is. I’m fifty-six years old—I’m as old as rock ‘n roll. And every one of the movements that I address in the film, I have been directly involved with, or they’ve had some impact on me. It’s very much a personal, cultural journey. PDM: What bands would you say were key or critical? Because fashion and music obviously always go hand-inhand; Hugo Boss, Agnes B—that’s a different dynamic. Fred Perry, because of the class structure in the UK, he was coming out of a “high-culture” for a while, but it was always appropriated by youth/underground culture.
DL: He was a working-class kid himself, actually. Sport is one of the few ways, in the UK, that the working class could [use to] better themselves. Funny enough, sport and through clothes. PDM: The style became popular in Japan—the Japanese are fanatic for Perry. In the U.S., with hip-hop on the other hand, you had people wearing Versace, Fila, and whatnot in the early days. What would you say are some critical moments in the Subculture films that reflect the cultural change? Brixton Riots? The first large scale arrival of Jamaican immigrants to the UK in the WindRush boat in 1948?
DL: My story starts in the late ‘50s with the Teddy Boys, who in my story really kick-start the whole thing off. After the Teddy Boys,
Actually rewind that thought—there is a downside to affordable technology, and that’s mediocrity. I mean just ‘cause you can afford it don’t mean you can do it. In fact, I sometimes think art was generally better when shit cost more! The bottom line is technology’s great; people are shit and that’s the truth. we’ve got rockers, Mods, skinheads, punks, the two-tone thing, casual—the whole thing goes a bit pear-shaped around rave, where it really becomes more about dancing and less about style. And there’s sort of one last ditch attempt to bring the whole style thing back with the advent of Brit Pop. But that whole journey of style-driven subcultural movements is finished now in the UK. The internet kind of killed it. Another interesting thing about this whole project was, from the moment the Afro-Caribbean immigrants came over in late ‘50s, from that moment to where we are today, [they] made an impact on nearly every one of these subcultures. They’ve been a large part of every one of these movements, to the extent of really changing the identity of what it means to be British. That was pleasing to see how it could make white kids hip.
PDM: But at the same time, rebellion is very problematic and, in the UK and Western culture in general, very marketable. The internet switched the way people think of revolution. If you see what happened in Egypt with Tahrir Square, they were using text messages, organizing flash mobs, stuff like that— how does that affect what you’re thinking about with the near future of film and fashion?
DL: In a way technology kind of killed those style-driven subcultural movements. I’m not saying that’s necessarily a bad thing. You’ve got to understand why these subcultures formed. Basically the subcultures formed in the UK because the mainstream was not satisfying the needs of certain people like myself. So through music and through style, we found our tribe, we found like-minded rebels. [In] the 21st century, the mainstream can satisfy your every whim. I guess the idea of walking around with groups of people
dressed the same and saying, “I’m only into ska” or “I’m only into whatever—” is kind of restrictive in the 21st century. I don’t know if it’s a bad thing that these movements have run their course. I think what I miss about it is the collective experience. The very fact that it brought like-minded people together. I don’t have a problem with technology. I do think the internet has killed the mystery of the planet. It’s removed the pain, the passion, and the struggle—I firmly believe they’re all part of creativity. In other words, shit’s too easy. Don’t get me wrong—I’m not a Luddite, I’m all for it. I don’t think there’s any problem with technology. Actually rewind that thought—there is a downside to affordable technology, and that’s mediocrity. I mean just ‘cause you can afford it don’t mean you can do it. In fact I sometimes think art was generally better when shit cost more! The bottom line is technology’s great; people are shit and that’s the truth. Look at Facebook in the West, and look at what it did to the Arab Spring. You dig what I’m
saying? It ain’t Facebook, it’s people. PDM: Have you checked out much of the rock scene in Asia? They’ve inherited a lot of styles like Martin Atkins, for example. He was the drummer from the band PIL (Public Image Ltd) and he moved to Beijing and got caught up with the Chinese rock scene. In Beijing there’s a really good record label called Modern Skies Records, and with stuff like his China Dub soundsystem project, or hip-hop turntablists like DJ Wordy— they are still getting the echo of these kinds of things. But rebelling in that culture might be much more of a fashion statement, without the politics.
DL: We’re in a period of confusion, where we’re trying to get the balance between the organic and the technical. And the shit will work itself out. But I do think we’re in a period of confusion.
Jane Fonda INTERVIEW: MARANDA PLEASANT
Maranda Pleasant: What is it that inspires you the most as a human being?
Jane Fonda: I am blessed beyond reason with women friends. One of them is Eve Ensler, who wrote The Vagina Monologues and has a new play on Broadway called Emotional Creature. I’m on her board and I’ve known her for twelve years. When I am with her or Pat Mitchell or some of the others, it’s like I have a little rocket put under me and I kind of orbit. They put starch in my spine. Every time I’m with them it’s an a-ha experience. And I cry a lot. MP: What is it that makes you the most deeply vulnerable?
JF: When things are going bad with my daughter. MP: I understand that well. How do you process pain when it comes in?
JF: Wild in passion or calculated in expression. You could be wild with expression! [laughs] Well, I like to think both—it’s not either/ or. It’s and. I like to be wild in passion and calculated in expression! I’m both. I like to be wild in passion more. But I think the balance is what’s essential. As a yoga magazine, you know the balance is the key. I don’t like the word ‘calculated’ because it sounds pejorative. Intentional. Intentional is better, I think. Wild in passion and intentional in expression. MP: What are some of the principles that guide your life?
JF: I meditate.
JF: It’s better to be interested than interesting. It’s never too late. And do unto others as you would have others do unto you.
MP: Is there a particular type of meditation that you practice?
MP: What are some of your daily habits that help you stay centered?
JF: Zen Buddhist meditation. Mindlessness.
JF: Well, rituals are important. I get up. I take the dogs on a walk around to the front and then I pick up the papers. Then I walk around to the front door, then me and the two dogs come in the house and I give them treats. I make coffee. It’s the regularity of these kinds of rituals that I find deeply satisfying. Preferably alone, I eat breakfast (which is my favorite meal), and I read the paper. I love that routine. I read three papers, actually.
MP: What is the love of your life?
JF: Hiking at 14,000 feet. MP: What is it that you know for sure in this life?
JF: Nothing lasts forever. PHOTO: FIROOZ ZAHEDI 26 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
MP: Now you’re going to make me cry. Do you think it’s wiser to be wild in passion or calculated in expression?
MP: If you could say something to women now, what would that be?
JF: Seek supportive, strong women mentors. Oftentimes you can find them by watching the TED conference for women, which is called TEDx. Seek women mentors. If you’re a businesswoman, look at the TEDx conferences. There’s a lot of businesswomen that speak on there. I find them extremely inspiring. MP: What are some of your most cherished accomplishments?
JF: Through therapy and a lot of thinking and writing my memoirs, I’ve been able to use my life as a lesson. I am able to talk about my life in a way that helps other women—and men, but mostly women—understand their own life. I feel real proud of that. And then the fact that my children are okay. You know, you’re only as happy as your least happy child. So if your kids aren’t okay, you’re not good. MP: That’s why I only had one! What are some of the causes or things happening on the planet that you are most passionate about or most concerned about?
JF: There’s three areas that I focus on. One is stopping violence against women, and I do that through the organization V Day, which I sit on the board of along with a host of totally amazing women. Many of whom, by the way, are businesswomen: Sheryl Sandberg, Pat Mitchell, Carol Black. A lot of really powerful, feminist, successful businesswomen. Eve JANEFONDA.COM ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM 27
Ensler founded the organization. It grew out of The Vagina Monologues and became a global organization that’s raised over $90 million to stop violence against women globally. I do my feminist work with that organization. Eight years ago, I co-founded (with Gloria Steinem and Robin Morgan) Women’s Media Center, which is an effort to try to make women’s voices heard in the world. Women don’t make the decisions in the media. Even if you see women on camera, they have to answer to the person upstairs, which is mostly men. Women only hold 3% of the decision-making offices in the media. We’re trying to help women’s voices be heard. Magazines, books, novels, TV, internet, movies—all of those things is what creates our consciousness. And if women don’t have an equal voice—the news is not gender-neutral, but it’s usually reported as though it’s gender-neutral. But a lot of things affect women differently than men, and women get left out. So that’s another focus of mine. In the state of Georgia, where I lived for twenty years, I have two nonprofits that
work with adolescents. Mostly the focus is on reproductive health and sexuality, but also healthy relationships. These are very disadvantaged teenagers. Adolescence is a stage of human development that I’m very interested in. MP: I am so impressed with you as a human being. I feel like you’ve been a role model to so many of us. You empower women and amplify our voices. Do you feel like things are shifting for women globally?
JF: Well, you know, December 21, 2012—12/12/12—according to Shamanic projections and the Mayan calendar, that day is when there’s going to be a cosmic paradigm shift. I believe that it will be toward the feminine spirit. Along the lines of Marianne Woodman, Marianne Williamson—that direction. I happen to turn seventy-five on that day, too. I view it as very auspicious! MP: I think if there’s only one thing that will ever save this planet, it will be women.
JF: We have to lead the way. Women and feminist men, or it ain’t gonna happen. MP: I think when women start taking their own voice back and start demanding more —I think that males always respond to that, and we need to really understand how powerful we are.
JF: I think what’s happening in the world— there’s nothing more dangerous than a wounded beast, and the patriarchy is wounded. Women are rising. And I think that’s all the violence and war—it could be the last gasp of the patriarchy, actually. MP: I don’t think I ever thought of it in that context.
JF: It’s very dangerous. It happened in this country at the elections, both in terms of making our voices heard in reelecting Obama, but also more women elected to government. MP: Which they’re already attacking, by the way!
JF: Of course. They always will. Because it’s
The goal is kind of like meditation, is to be totally present in your body in the moment. That’s when the most profound effects of yoga can happen. That’s what I urge people to try to do. It’s very important to be in your body.
...there’s nothing more dangerous than a wounded beast, and the patriarchy is wounded. Women are rising. And I think that’s all the violence and war—it could be the last gasp of the patriarchy, actually.
extremely dangerous for them. Reproductive freedom is a real danger for the patriarchy, because it means that women are empowered. I’m going to Brazil on Sunday—they have a former revolutionary woman as their president in Brazil! Women are rising. It’s going to get harder before it gets easier, but we can do it if we realize that we have the power. Women will always be the leaders of change. Eve Ensler has a new play called Emotional Creature, it’s for girls. And so when I say women are the agents of change, I really should say women and girls. MP: You’re turning seventy-five on the most auspicious day in my lifetime. I want to talk about this new DVD. You’re going to be seventy-five and you’re releasing a yoga/Pilates DVD.
JF: Physical fitness is a three-legged stool: strength, aerobic capacity, and flexibility. I left the workout business for fifteen years, but when I was researching and writing my last book called Prime Time, about aging, I was really mindblown by all of the experts [who] said the most important thing is stay physically active. But then I thought, how to get people active when they’ve never worked out or they’re older or they can’t do what they used to do? People then tend to say, “If I can’t do what I used to do, well then I don’t want to do anything.” All the DVDs that are out there are for younger people that can turn themselves into pretzels like I used to be able to. I thought, who better than me to get back in? I think I’ve done five under the new brand Jane Fonda’s Prime Time Workout. They are for Baby Boomers and older, and people who have never worked out, even if they’re younger. Everything is slower, it’s easier. It’s very, very
safe, and yet it gets everything going.
fearing getting hurt.
I’ve done aerobics, I’ve done weight work. I’ve done a number of different things, but I hadn’t done yoga. I decided that I wanted to do yoga. Not an absolutely pure yoga, but kind of a combo—as I said, a yoga that’s marinated in Pilates. And I wanted to do it in ten-minute segments, because people can do ten minutes. And it’s called A.M./P.M—there’s two tenminute segments that you can choose from for waking up in the morning, and two tenminute segments for cooling down and getting ready to go to bed at night. They really work everything and I really like them—in fact, I do them.
MP: When you practice, do you notice not just the physical effects, but is your mind clear?
MP: When did this start? When did you start practicing?
JF: Yoga? In the mid-‘90s. As is my way, when I start something that I’ve put off doing, I always start with the hardest form. So I started with Ashtanga. I was married to Ted Turner at the time and we traveled around all the time, so somebody told me about this teacher, and she was fantastic. She just traveled with me for maybe four months. Every single day, we would do Ashtanga, and she would teach me. I had never done yoga. This was the most extraordinary way to do it, because I really learned everything that I needed to know. For four years, I did Ashtanga. Until I began to dread it, because it’s really hard! Then I went to Iyengar. And now, I don’t know what the name of this would be. I’ve had a knee replacement and a hip replacement, and pretty intensive back surgery in March—in fact, two days after I finished my DVD. I used to be very, very flexible, and I still am given my age, but I can’t do the lotus position and things like that anymore.
JF: Well, that’s the goal. You can do yoga and be thinking about going shopping. The goal is kind of like meditation, is to be totally present in your body in the moment. That’s when the most profound effects of yoga can happen. That’s what I urge people to try to do. It’s very important to be in your body. MP: When is this released?
JF: December. MP: The most powerful, auspicious month, and it’s your birthday!
JF: It’s also a good Christmas present! [laughing] MP: Where can we find it?
JF: You can buy it on Amazon, you can buy it at Target. All the usual suspects. MP: Fantastic. Are you doing a film right now? With Oprah, Lenny Kravitz?
JF: It’s a film called The Butler, directed by Lee Daniels. Forest Whitaker plays a butler. Oprah plays his wife. And he goes to work in the White House starting with the Truman Administration. All these stars play cameos. Robin Williams plays Truman, John Cusack plays Nixon, Alan Rickman plays Reagan, I play Nancy Reagan. It’s just a great movie. Vanessa Redgrave is in it. There are a lot of fantastic actors in it. I’m also doing Newsroom, the Aaron Sorkin TV series. MP: Now I feel lazy.
I think that what I can do and what I did is something that most people can do without
INTERVIEW: MARANDA PLEASANT. GINA G. MURDOCK. KELLY SMITH
Richard Branson UNPLUGGED A CONVERSATION FROM NECKER ISLAND
Maranda Pleasant: What is it that inspires you the most?
Richard Branson: People. All kinds of people. We’ve got 60,000 people who work for Virgin and they’re inspirational. They are extraordinary people all over the world and I’m privileged to work with [them]. Through the right people focusing on the right things, we can, in time, get on top of a lot, if not most, of the problems of this world. And that’s what a number of us are trying to do. MP: What is it that makes you come most alive?
RB: Being fit and healthy. There’s nothing like the endorphins from being fit, and the incredible endorphin rush that goes with that. It beats drugs, drink, and almost anything else I know. I live a very full-on life, but then when I come back to Necker [Necker Island, Branson’s private island], I try to recharge the batteries. All of us have just got to find that time to look after our bodies. That helps us make sure that our mind is sharp. I know that when I’m feeling great and really fit, I can get [in] three or four hours more of really productive work. Which is one of the reasons I sometimes sneak off. Because on Necker every night is a party, so I try to keep a balance. MP: Do you have some sort of daily routine to keep your center?
that really can make one feel vulnerable. I just sent a note to my wife saying, You’ve got to start taking an aspirin a day! Because a friend of ours yesterday had a heart attack. Apart from that, every aspect of life is magnificent and wonderful. It’s so important to keep fit and healthy. MP: What is love to you?
RB: I’ve been very lucky. I come from a very close family. I’m also in a relationship that’s been really good. Lasted a long time. We’ve got wonderful kids from that relationship, and they’ve had the benefit of being together. It’s fantastic to have that sort of togetherness. It’s a rarity these days. Something you have to fight for a bit. If you’re lucky enough to have it work, I think it’s well worth striving for. We’re just lucky. We have so many wonderful friends. We’re lucky to have a wonderful place like Necker, too, which is a pretty good magnet to draw all the friends and family together. One of the best decisions I ever made was when we found this derelict island in my twenties and nobody wanted it. We fell madly in love with it. It’s been a wonderful place to bring up the children, to share with friends, to sit in the hammock and come up with wonderful ideas and brainstorm with fascinating people from all over the world. A lot of our best ideas have come out of Necker. MP: What does commitment mean to you?
RB: Things like kitesurfing, surfing, tennis, running. We also set ourselves family challenges. Climbing Mont Blanc and having to train for it; trying to kitesurf across the English Channel and then having to train for it; trying to break a transatlantic sailing record and then having to train for it. I think it’s quite great to set yourself a big challenge and then you’ve got another reason for keeping fit. As a family, we all ran the marathon about three years ago. It’s fantastic to have something like that to aim for. MP: What is it that makes you feel most vulnerable in your life?
RB: I think the opposite of what we’ve just been talking about. And that is if family or friends are unwell or ill—it’s perhaps the only thing
PHOTO: KATE HOLSTEIN 30 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
RB: Commitment is not letting people down. That’s very important in life. If you say you’re going to do something, make sure you do it. Just try never to let people down. MP: What’s one of the best decisions you think you ever made? One of those life-defining choices or moments.
RB: I saw this island from a little helicopter. In the helicopter was Joan, who was the girl I was trying to persuade to come live with me. And there was the island. Being able to pull off the two in one trip was pretty spectacular. So I suspect that was definitely the best weekend of my life, a good one.
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MP: What are some of the biggest issues facing us on the planet right now?
RB: I think there are a lot of issues. I think that an awful lot of them can be overcome with enough commitment from enough people. First of all, if you have conflicts, everything breaks down in society. Kids can’t go to school. Basic health can’t be looked after. Every aspect of society falls apart. We’ve all got to do everything we can to avoid conflicts. Conflicts often stem from a couple of leaders on both sides that are badly brought up. They’d rather go to war than compromise. And in business, you’re competing with other companies all the time, but you don’t end up going to war with each other. And just watching Israel bombarding Palestine and Palestine sending one or two little rockets over to Israel—it’s just too sad for words. In Syria, if [Bashar al-] Assad had just been a statesman and handed over the reigns in time, Syria would not be heading down the nightmare that it is today.
One of the things that we’re doing through the Global Drug Commission is trying to campaign to get governments to change course and treat drugs as a health problem, not a criminal problem. I think if they could do that, we could soon get on top of the problem, as is happening in Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, and Germany. [We] just need to try to get some of these horrendous Far Eastern countries, who lock people up for life or execute people. And [for] America to stop filling up their jails with people who’ve got drug problems. On a positive note, I think the Global Drug Commission is beginning to get their message out. There is a mood to change. Hopefully, over the next four or five years, we can see some successes there. If in business you see a country like Portugal or Spain doing really well in a rival business, you’ll then adopt their ideas, and hopefully we can persuade governments to do the same. With species protection, we’re involved in something called the Ocean Elders, who are trying to work hard to protect species that are in peril. We’re having some success on the shark-finning but there’s a long way to go. Costa Rica just signed a law prohibiting the killing of sharks for the fins. Guatemala’s just done the same. The rest of the central region of America has followed suit. RICHARD AND AL GORE LAUNCHING THE VIRGIN EARTH CHALLENGE
On conflicts, generally speaking, the world is a hell of a lot better to live in today than it was thirty years ago, despite what’s going on in Syria. There are definitely hopeful signs that the world is moving, decade by decade, in the right direction. And it is fantastic that Algeria and Egypt and Libya have moved to democracy in the last three or four years.
If you say you’re going to do something, make sure you do it. Just try never to let people down.
Global warming is another big area that we need to get on top of. [And] diseases in Africa, which we’re also working on and seeing if we can make a difference on. And there are lots of issues that governments seem to be blind about. We talked about drugs and the war on drugs has gone on for about forty-five, fifty years—and it’s been a complete failure. If you had a business that was failing so badly, you would change course. And it’s just incredible that governments continue along the same course.
VS EVE BEFORE MAIDEN FLIGHT
a wholesale slaughter of Manta rays going on. That’s another battle that’s being fought. But the Ocean Elders hope to create more marine reserves. We just instigated an award for the top five countries in the world that look after their oceans the best, and the bottom five, as well, which we’ll present next March. That will give us some clout, a weapon to use with countries that are misbehaving.
Australia just brought in a blanket-ban as well. The Chinese have now started turning to Manta rays, and believe that there’s a little substance in the Manta ray that is good for medicinal purposes. Sadly, there’s
Slowly but surely, there are hopeful signs. What’s happened in Myanmar, in Burma, is wonderful—the fact that the generals have started moving towards democracy there. It’s a wonderful country. The Elders are there to try to work on conflicts. They are twelve wonderful men and women who go into conflict regions and try to resolve conflicts and help other organizations that are trying to resolve conflicts. Often, if you can actually get in there quick enough, you can stop a major conflict [from] flaring up. In Kenya, Kofi Annan, Graça Machel, Archbishop Desmond Tutu—[they] went in there when a civil war was developing and got the president of Kenya and the leader of the opposition, knocked heads together, and things have been pretty peaceful ever since. There are some nasty, nasty incidents taking place in the world, but [it’s] much better than it used to be. Carbon War Room is an organization that we set up to try to work with the eighteen most polluting industries, to see if we can actually work with them to get the eighteen gigatons of carbons the Earth needs to balance its books, without damaging the industries. Working with the airline industries trying to come up with clean fuels to power the planes. Working with the shipping industry, working with cities, working with the internet industry, et cetera. Sharing ideas. We’ve got a meeting of all the Caribbean heads of state here on Necker in about four months time, to talk about how we can work towards the Caribbean being carbon-neutral. MP: What advice would you give to women in business, bringing a vision into reality? A couple important things to live by?
RB: I’m not sure you need to give separate advice for women than for guys. I think the same rules apply to both men and women. You just get on and do it, like you’ve done with your magazine, [and try] to create a product that is noticeably the best in its marketplace. By just getting out there and doing it, you’re going to learn all the pitfalls. It may succeed, it may not succeed, but unless you actually try it, it’s definitely
not going to succeed. I think the slogan “Screw it, just do it”—I think the same applies to women and men. Get on and give it a go. Learn from it if it doesn’t work out. Pick yourself up and try again.
MP: You have this light and you lead with your heart, and you’re doing things that nobody else has ever done. There’s this spark in you, there’s this wild man—“Let’s just live from the heart, let’s just go and do it.” Tenacious with high integrity. Did you always have that?
To get the respect of people, I think you’ve got to roll up your sleeves and lead with your people. The absolute key is treating your people well. I have interesting debates with women. In Scandinavia now, they’re forcing the situation of 50% women and 50% men in public companies. I was having a debate with a lot of women in L.A.— Maria Shriver gets tons of women together every year—and asked them what they thought. I thought most women would stand up and say, “It’s a good idea.” Interestingly, about 90% said they didn’t think it was a good idea. They thought women should earn their place in the boardrooms. My worry with men is that unless something proactive happens in fifty years time, we’ll still have a minority of women in the boardrooms. I quite like the Scandinavian way of doing it. What do you think? MP: I’m Swedish. Yes, I like the idea.
RB: Are you? You look like a Viking. MP: You should see my costumes.
RB: [laughs] MP: I remember you saying once, “I’m never going to ask you to do anything I’m not willing to do.” When you lead people, when you have that many employees, is there some creative motto, is there something you try to live by? Your leadership skills are admired globally.
RB: I think leading by example is extremely important. If you go back into military history, the person who’s leading the troops ought to be in with the troops and not just standing on the backline sending them into battle. To get the respect of people, I think you’ve got to roll up your sleeves and lead with your people. The absolute key is treating your people well. Looking for the best in your people. Lots and lots of praise, no criticism. I think quite a lot of companies don’t run their companies in that way. Which I think is very sad and could be a great mistake. Leading by fear is a lot of companies’ approach, and a horrible way for people to exist in their lives, when most of your life is spent at work. I’m sure you get the best out of people if you look for the best in them. People don’t need to be told when they’ve done something wrong—they know it without having to be told.
RB: Well, look, I love a challenge. I love trying to create things which I can be really proud of. Some of those things are quite wild, like the space project: “I want to go to space one day. Let’s see if we can find someone to help build us a spaceship.” Sounded too unreal to be true initially but then you just go for it and get on planes, go around the world, look for technicians, look for engineers. Hopefully find the person who’s going to be able to make that dream become a reality. If you’re out there asking and out there searching, out there trying to make your dreams become a reality, sometimes you can pull it off. We didn’t have the resources to do something as big as that, but once we’d actually created the possibility of it happening, other people were willing to put money into the project. If you create something really special, you get the best people wanting to come and work with you. We got the best 200 engineers in the world—from NASA, from all over the place—to try to make it all happen. It’s just believing that everything’s possible, I suppose! Just getting on and doing it. And then one thing leads on to another, which is so exciting. Keeping an open mind all the time. Gina G. Murdock: In your new book, Screw Business As Usual, you write about 24902. I think it would be really awesome if you defined what that is. What is 24902 Community, and what are you trying to achieve with that?
RB: If we can get every business leader in the world to adopt a problem—I think because they are slightly more entrepreneuriallyminded than social workers and politicians—between us all, we should be able to get on top of an awful lot of problems of the world. That
Leading by fear is a lot of companies’ approach, and a horrible way for people to exist in their lives, when most of your life is spent at work.
BRANSON WITH PETER GABRIEL AND THE ELDERS
would be good for the companies and it would be good for society. So 24902, or the B Team that we’re just setting up, is basically a group of business leaders. [We’re trying] to look at the way business is currently being run to see if there are better ways of running it. Business has evolved, capitalism has evolved. But capitalism has never stood back and examined itself properly. I think everybody knows
that capitalism is the only thing that works, but is the current form of capitalism the best way of it working?
more satisfied if they’re working for a company that is making a real difference in the world.
There must be better ways. For instance, should public companies have to be judged on every quarter’s results? Why not have a system where they can think for the long-term rather than think for the short-term? I think if you can get a number of really great business leaders together, we can try to come up with ideas which can try to guide the business community into a better way of thinking. Should we, when we audit our accounts, should there be an environmental audit as well as just a pure bottom profit audit? Should there be a social audit? What are the companies doing to make the world a better place, apart from creating jobs, which is very important in itself? It’s just trying to awaken the business community to realize that their employees will be much
GGM: Would you tell us where you got the 24902 term, for those few who haven’t read your book?
RB: “24092” is simply to say the circumference of the Earth. It’s 24,902 miles. Let’s look after everything that takes place in that Earth. Now we’ve got Virgin Galactic—I suppose we’re going to have to expand the number a bit! [laughing] And now we’ve registered Virgin Intergalactic, it’s going to have to be even bigger, too! GGM: No shortage of big thinking here.
MET MUSEUM PRESENTS
I know it’s easier said than done when you haven’t got much money and you’re struggling to build a business, but as soon as you feel you can, try to put yourself out of business personally, so you’re freed up to do the bigger picture, and also start looking after yourself.
THE MET REFRAMED:
PAUL D. MILLER aka DJ SPOOKY IN RESIDENCE RB: We’re surrounded by big thinkers on this island this week! Kelly Smith: Your relationship with yourself. What is it that you love, that’s most nurturing for you, that you do for yourself?
RB: Keeping fit and healthy. It’s the best thing ever. And trying to make sure you keep your family fit and healthy. You can achieve so much more.
business you’ve got to, as soon as possible, you’ve got to try to find somebody who’s as good or better than you to run it on a day-to-day basis, which frees you up to sprinkle the fairy dust, and concentrate on the things that matter. I know it’s easier said than done when you haven’t got much money and you’re struggling to build a business, but as soon as you feel you can, try to put yourself out of business personally, so you’re freed up to do the bigger picture, and also start looking after yourself.
The Nauru Elegies
Friday, January 18, 2013 at 7pm
Getting the balance in life is just so important. People do not learn the art of delegation. People try to do everything themselves. If you’re running your own
Saturday, January 19, 2013 at 4pm
PHOTO: KATE HOLSTEIN
DJ Spooky in the Oceanic Galleries
Of Water and Ice
Saturday, March 23, 2013 at 7pm Art and the Environment
Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky © Giancarlo Minelli
Sunday, March 24, 2013 at 2pm Civil War
Friday, May 10, 2013 at 7pm iPad Mixing Piece
Friday, June 21, 2013 at 9:30pm
The Met Reframed is made possible by Marianna Sackler. VIRGIN UNITE AKANI CRECHE
metmuseum.org/tickets • 212.570.3949 36 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
INTERVIEW: OCEAN PLEASANT, GLOBAL YOUTH EDITOR:
A CONVE RSATION WITH RUSSE LL SI M MONS
Humanitarian visionary. Media mogul. Author. Yogi. Russell Simmons talks meditation, mainstream, and the power of giving back.
Ocean Pleasant: You have an extremely powerful presence in mainstream media. How do you use that platform to try and instigate positive change in the world?
Russell Simmons: Well, I try to use my voice. I know that celebrity is valuable, and people do listen. I jokingly refer to Kim Kardashian as more powerful than the President because she actually has 500 million more Twitter followers than the President. I have 2 million Twitter followers. Some of those people are also yogis and activists and people who really go out and make a difference. I do as much as I can with my voice. It’s effortless in some cases. I try to remind everybody that they have that kind of voice. And really, I don’t know that God favors the person who has a greater reach than those who have a small reach. It’s the intention. I try to keep a positive intention, and use whatever resources I have to benefit others. I try to create businesses that I think are not hurtful. I try to do things that I think are helpful to the environment, to the animals, and to the planet. OP: We’ve had Global Grind in the magazine and we’re really invested in your work. I wake up every morning to your tweets! Are there any organizations that you’re involved with or support?
RS: Oh, you could go on forever. I run Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation. I’m the chairman of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding. The Foundation for Ethnic Understanding has [facilitated] dialogue between imams and rabbis all over the world, including Israel and Palestinian territory. We are really working on creating dialogue, and we’ve got hundreds of programs [in] thirty countries where that work is being done. I’m invested in Diamond Empowerment Fund, which provides higher education for Africans in places where diamonds are a natural resource. We extract from the industry and give to the people. I’m involved in so many other things—the Happy Hearts Foundation. I work as an advisory board member. I work pretty hard for the David Lynch Foundation [for ConsciousnessBased Education and World Peace], giving meditation to kids. I use my voice. It is really a gift to have resources like this to give away, and celebrity happens to be a good one. OP: I’m invested in learning how people who have such powerful voices are working to engage youth [to become] more proactive in shifting this society.
RS: The reason that I have Global Grind is to communicate ideas to people who might otherwise not be listening. I think I will always have a connection to young people, to try to bring their voices to the polls, bring their voices wherever they can make a difference. Even to protect their own interests or the interests of the planet or the animals or other individuals, which is critical. I try to keep it. As I get, I give. Giving as you get is critical. It has everything to do with being happy for yourself, and making others happy is the cause of making yourself happy, and it’s the cycle of giving and getting. Gotta keep it moving. OP: And you’re big into yoga, right?
RS: Every day. Ocean Pleasant, 15, works to empower youth through film, humanitarian lifestyle, and the arts. Learn more about Ocean’s projects: www. pleasantprojects.blogspot.com
I try to keep a positive intention, and use whatever resources I have to benefit others. I try to create businesses that I think are not hurtful. I try to do things that I think are helpful to the environment, to the animals, and to the planet.
INTERVIEWED AT THE GREEN FESTIVAL: LOS ANGELES
GLOBALGRIND.COM 38 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
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WE BOW TO BA DU A CONVERSATION WITH MUSIC LEGEND, WISE WOMAN, MOTHER, VEGAN, AND DOULA
Erykah Badu INTERVIEW: MARANDA PLEASANT
PHOTO: PHIL KNOTT
I’m inspired by just about everything. My feelings and relationships, my family, Scooby-Doo. A teacher’s opinion of my work. Everything.
Maranda Pleasant: Hey Erykah, how are you?
Erykah Badu: I’m good. MP: This is a long time coming. I’ve been talking to Heather about you for about eighteen months now. It finally happens.
EB: That’s great. MP: I like it when it all comes together.
the same thing every day. I get up. Drink a lot of water. Have a wheatgrass shot. Drink some green juice. Eat as healthy as I can. I’m not trying to win an award for being the best vegetarian, just want to be healthy. Take a salt bath. Do things that my parents were never able to do. I’m blessed to do anything I want so I decide to take the best care of my body and my family in the same way. Holistically. Vitally.
MP: What inspired you to become a vegan?
MP: How long have you been a vegetarian?
I never call myself a “vegan” or anything like that. I call myself that for the sake of the foods that I eat. But I really don’t like to be associated with an organization or a team of anything. I’m just eating as healthy as I can, and I think I define it as “vegan” because I don’t eat any sugar or eggs, meat or dairy, or products that are made with chemicals.
What inspires you the most?
EB: That’s real general. MP: [laughing] What are some of the things that inspire you, how about that?
EB: Okay. I really can’t say what inspires me the most, because I’m inspired by just about everything. My feelings and relationships, my family, Scooby-Doo. A teacher’s opinion of my work. Everything. Not just one thing. MP: What is it that makes you come most alive, makes you feel most alive?
EB: Water. Drinking it or submerging in it. MP: What is it that makes you vulnerable?
EB: My art. Or the empty platform that my art will go on. MP: What do you do with pain, emotional pain?
EB: Not one particular way. It depends on the severity of it. For the most part, I go with it. I let it happen. MP: How do you keep your center? How do you stay grounded in the middle of chaos?
EB: I guess it’s the daily routine. I don’t have any particular thing I do ritualistically. I do
EB: Let’s see. I’m forty-one. I’ve been a vegetarian since I was nineteen. How many years is that? MP: [laughing] That’s a long time.
EB: Yeah. I’ve been vegan-vegetarian from about the time my first album came out, so it was 1997. I eat like a vegan-vegetarian, more than anything. MP: I just went blank. I’m very rarely ever nervous when I’m talking to somebody but I’m a little nervous now.
EB: Okay. Well, let’s stop for a minute. Let’s stop for a minute. Take a breath real quick, because I want you to ask your best questions. For clarity.
EB: The diet, really. Honestly. I was already a vegetarian, I was studying to be a holistic health practitioner. I just learned a lot more. I went to a different degree, or level, of health. And I started to study and understand how the body actually works, and what was best for it. That’s really how I started eating that way.
That’s why I eat the way I eat. That’s the reason why I choose to nurture myself, because I learned it was the best way. MP: It’s probably why your skin looks so good!
EB: Thank you. MP: I had my daughter naturally at home, in our bathroom, with a doula. The doula was probably the most important person in that room with me. What led you to become a doula?
MP: You’re a very loved woman.
EB: [laughing] MP: Do you have any wisdom or advice for women who may be in negative, unhealthy or abusive relationships? Do you have any wisdom for those women?
EB: Mm. I have advice for people—period— who are in unhealthy relationships: Follow your heart. It will get you to where you need to be. Sometimes it’s hard, sometimes it’s easy, the places that your heart takes you. But continue to follow it. Where the train leads you—you’ll get there.
EB: Let me see. It was 9.11, actually. Around that time. One of my girlfriends was in labor, she happened to be the wife of stic.man from Dead Prez. MP: He writes for us!
EB: They’re my best friends, both of them, stic.man and Afya. I was actually flying from somewhere, doing something. On my layover, stic.man called me and told me Afya was in labor. I just redirected to New York, because we’re friends, and I just had Seven a couple years before. I just wanted to be there and we just all wanted to be together.
I happened to be the person, one of the people, that stayed up with Afya. Didn’t sleep. Never got tired. I could feel every emotion that she had. It was just a very natural, intuitive experience. I just knew how to open myself up to the baby and be the welcoming committee. And Afya was in labor for fifty-two hours. Day and night. She’s my hero. And she finally had the baby and put my finger in his palm, and I kind of felt like, I like being the welcoming committee. I just continued to be present at different people’s births, and I started studying on my own, different techniques, and the variables of what being a doula is about. I learned to originally be like water, in the place that I was, so that I could be a container for whatever they need. I love being of service in that way. I’m an official doula, and I am working to get my midwifery license right now.
Follow your heart. It will get you to where you need to be.
PHOTOS: (TOP) KENNETH CAPPELLO , (RIGHT) PAIGE PARSON 42 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
I walk and breathe in meditation. ...when I walk I count my steps, so I’m really in the here and right now. Another meditation I do is try to stay out of my mind as long as I can, as an exercise, so I don’t believe everything I think.
MP: My midwife and my doula shaped my entire experience. It was beautiful. Have you had a homebirth?
EB: All my children were born in my bed. In my home. I had a midwife and doula each time. MP: I chose the bathtub. They could not get me on my back. [laughing]
EB: I had my first child in 1997, his name is Seven. My second child was born in 2004, her name is Puma. My third child was born in 2009, and her name is Mars. They were all born here, about six years apart. I breastfed until they were too old. MP: I got a little flack about breast feeding until my girl was three years old.
EB: Right, right. When they can talk and say, Excuse me? That’s when you know, okay, now this is getting ridiculous. MP: What has shifted for you, what is the thing about motherhood that flows through you? Is there something in you that is different, or that you have learned?
EB: I don’t know. I’ve got to think about that. I’ve never been asked that. MP: You probably just live it. You’re not used to answering it, you just live it.
EB: I try to. Well, I just learn as I go. There’s no set way. I have a lot of faith in my abilities and in my children. I like them a lot, you know. They’re really good people, and I like them. MP: Are there people in your life that have been a huge inspiration to you?
EB: People in my life. I guess I’ll go with the most current people in my life I’m inspired by. Right now I’m inspired by Frank Ocean. You should listen to Frank. Tyler, the Creator—have you heard of him? Odd Future? This group of kids who are telling their stories. Frank Ocean is a singer. Tyler, the Creator, he’s a producer and rapper. They are very inspirational to me because I think we have a lot in common. We have different stories, but they’re just so honest about their truth, they’re so direct, and pure about their stories. I’m just talking about music right now, I guess. I’m also inspired by Trinidad James.
This part is going to get me kicked out the magazine. Trinidad James is a new rapper from Atlanta. Very ‘hood, very street. But it’s his truth. And he’s sincere about it. I think that’s what art is about—to create that kind of dialogue. To believe someone is what we want to do when we are critiquing art. The artists that I’m naming, I believe them, and I feel them. And it feels very familiar—it inspires me and reminds me to be me. I need that every now and then. This is a good time for me with music, because these people are in the airwaves and they exist. MP: What is one truth that you know for sure?
EB: Everything must change. MP: Do you practice any kind of yoga or meditation?
EB: Breathing is my way of life. As a vocalist, just as a person who’s main focus is evolving, breathing—that’s my meditation. I enjoy yoga classes. I walk in meditation. I dance. I’m a ballerina. Modern jazz and tap. But I would love to get into a good yoga class if I can stay focused and breathe. I love the connection I have with myself every time I take a yoga class. It’s a very nice remembering, remembering the
PHOTOS: (TOP LEFT) KENNETH CAPPELLO , (BOTTOM LEFT) MARC BAPTISTE 44 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
I can be nice to any stranger but it’s a real challenge to be a higher self around people that you know and accept you no matter what. parts of me. You know what I mean? But I walk and breathe in meditation. Another meditation I do: when I walk I count my steps, so I’m really in the here and right now. Another meditation I do is try to stay out of my mind as long as I can, as an exercise, so I don’t believe everything I think. I do many different things. Many different exercises that keep me focused. MP: I like that you said, “So I don’t believe everything I think.”
well-being right now. My daughters and my son. The kids is in their community, their school. My uncle, his wife, their kids, their activities. My two grandmothers who are in their eighties and are very much alive and very much opinionated. I care about making sure that they can give me their opinions. My mom. My sister, my brother. The people who are very close to me—that’s my cause right now. I can be nice to any stranger but it’s a real challenge to be a higher self around people that you know and accept you no matter what.
EB: [laughing] MP: What a great answer! Too soon to say.
EB: Yeah. I don’t want to get ahead of myself. MP: It ain’t over yet!
EB: No. No. This is just a demonstration. MP: [laughing] This is my warm-up.
Are there any causes or anything happening on the planet right now that you’re passionate about, or that concerns you?
EB: My family, my immediate family, and my secondary family. I’m concerned about their
MP: When I asked some of our readers what words came up for them when they thought of you, “strength,” “warrior,” and “poetry” were a few that we got. Where do you draw your strength from?
EB: I don’t know. Too soon to say.
PHOTOS: (LEFT) PHIL KNOTT, (TOP) MARC BAPTISTE 46 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
EB: And that’s how you end it right there. Period. [laughing]
ERYKAH-BADU.COM ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM 47
INTERVIEW PART II: SHARON LONDON
a conversation with
Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins Sharon London: Where are you?
SL: Or a discussion.
Billy Corgan: Wallace, Idaho.
BC: I’d rather not discuss the name The Smashing Pumpkins. No matter how many times I tell the story of the origin of the name, I still get asked the question. I’m at a point now where I just don’t want to repeat the origin. It’s like you repeat something so many times, you’re not really even sure it ever happened.
SL: How did you end up in Wallace, Idaho?
BC: I’m on an antique sojourn. SL: Did you buy anything?
BC: I always buy stuff. SL: Do you want to say what you got?
BC: I bought a 1940s gum ball machine, I bought some [Japanese] horseman figurines. Nothing else is jumping into my mind. SL: Let’s talk about the name The Smashing Pumpkins.
BC: Is that a question?
People making jokes about pumpkins around me is like pointing out that Prince Charles has big ears. It’s a level of obviousness that has nothing sublime in it for me. I’ve had to endure twenty-five years of headlines that allude to the pumpkins. It gets old after a while. It’s a little bit too obvious for me at this point. SL: I heard something that it was not about actual pumpkins, too. And the myth of it.
BC: That’s the great thing about rock n’ roll:
the myth is ultimately more important than the reality. And that’s what you learn—you just learn to go with the mythology. The mythology in rock n’ roll is that I’m a bit of a loose cannon. Yet I’ve produced more music than anybody in my generation. So how much of a loose cannon am I? But the general public believes that I’m a loose cannon, so let them believe it. I’m not going to correct them. It brings to mind the Shakespeare quote, He doth protest too much. At some point, you protest too much they think you’re guilty just because you’re protesting. SL: Well, you don’t seem to be a loose cannon, but I’ve had no musical experience with you, so it might be totally different.
BC: I’m an experimental artist in a field that doesn’t celebrate experimentation. It celebrates self-destruction, which I guess you could say is a creative endeavor. But
I’m an experimental artist in a field that doesn’t celebrate experimentation... My intent is always for artistic effect. But usually the intention of the artistic effect is too sophisticated for most people to understand, sort of like a joke that they don’t get so they don’t think it’s funny.
I’ve rarely done anything that’s overtly selfdestructive without consciously knowing what I’m doing. And then of course, the astute journalist jumps forward and says, “Why are you being calculated?” Calculated seems to assume a sinister intent. My intent is always for artistic effect. But usually the intention of the artistic effect is too sophisticated for most people to understand, sort of like a joke that they don’t get so they don’t think it’s funny. I’ve had a lot of things rendered as not being effective or as some indication of my lack of sanity, only to be praised ten, fifteen, twenty years later for what I did once in this overt consciousness. SL: You were before your time, it sounds like.
BC: No, I don’t think I’m before my time, I just don’t think I’m in my time. SL: What do you mean by that?
BC: I rummage around in artistic things from the past. If you don’t understand the context, they wouldn’t make any sense. I rummage around in conceptual ideas of the future, but if you don’t know the source of the thinking, [it] wouldn’t make any sense. The music business—and I guess you could say any artistic endeavor—usually rewards those who are on the leading edge of where everything is going, but you can’t be too far. I read a book by James Cabell. He wrote a famous book called Jurgen, which was banned in many countries. It basically reads like a Surrealist piece of ‘60s stoner culture literature but it’s from the ‘20s or ‘30s. So it didn’t do him a lot of good to be thirty years ahead of his time. But it did Burroughs a lot of good to be ten years ahead of his time. SL: There’s that whole concept for fortyyear cycles. Do you believe in that? That things go by decade and then they start
over again, after forty years or so?
BC: I think that those time factors are changed. I believe in the cycles, I think the cycles are accelerated. Hence people expecting me to be a greatest hits band at forty-five. My point is, the expectation is there because the cultures are accelerating. You can look at rock n’ roll history and see where fifteen years after, everybody has their sentimental moment. That’s basically two seven-year cycles, so it sort of makes sense. Now the expectation is that, once the public decides that the artist is gentrified, the public demands that the artist stop growing. And [the public] actually puts all their energy into reasserting or reestablishing what the artist has long ago left behind. Because that’s what they want. The source of creativity, the gift that’s been given, be damned.
PHOTOS: PAUL ELLEDGE 48 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
INTERVIEW: MARANDA PLEASANT
“I question everything. I question authorities. I question norms, I question the mainstream. And I wonder how that relates to me, because that should be my world. I shouldn’t have to fit into the world that is presented to me.” Maranda Pleasant: Hey Peaches, how are you?
Peaches: Good, how you doing, Maranda? MP: What is it at the heart that inspires you so much, with your work and your life?
P: Just to get to my own truth. To always be able to speak my mind and do it creatively. MP: You’re so full of life and color and passion. Where does that all comes from? What place do you pull from in your work?
P EA C H E S
P: I question everything. I question authorities. I question norms, I question the mainstream. And I wonder how that relates to me, because that should be my world. I shouldn’t have to fit into the world that is presented to me. The world—and all of us should do this—should reflect not what we should be but who we need to be. MP: One thing I love about you: there’s not a lot of masks and bullshit. What is it that makes you the most vulnerable?
P: I put myself out there in a very vulnerable way, actually. I [pray] to people’s good wills, that people have the sense that they use [it] the right way and not destroy themselves or me in the process. MP: I’m working on that one! [laughing]
P: It’s hard, it’s hard. PHOTOS: ANGEL CEBALLO 50 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
MP: How do you process pain? I know a lot of artists channel it, use it. When pain comes in, how do you work with it?
P: The first part is, you try to process it. That’s actually the most difficult part of all. Because to really deal with it, you really have to understand that it is a process, that you’re not going to understand right away. It’s going to be different. You can have different feelings around it, and it’s going to change, and you’re going to have to go through a lot. It’s really about the process, and letting yourself process it. MP: Do you ever use it in your work?
P: I definitely do. Part of pain or feeling, not feeling whole—whatever it is, you have to process that. You have to find a way to deal and question why that is, if you can find a way to overcome that pain. MP: When I watch your work, it’s like you invite people in and then we come on this journey with you, and you take us to this world that is possible. Where does that come from—this beautiful, surreal, edge-pushing passion? The costumes, the fire behind it?
P: I’m in a really good position. I never signed on to be any sort of mainstream star. I never had the goal of winning a Grammy or being the number one person at Glastonbury or being on the cover of Vogue. That set me free from adhering to any sort of beauty standards or anything like that. My goals are more to express myself and say, Look at the
possibilities. Don’t be like me, but I want to show you, by modeling—not modeling like fashion model—modeling my behavior. To say be yourself. Do your thing. MP: Have you always been so colorful? Have you always pushed ideas and limits?
P: I think we’re all born that way. That’s how you learn, right? You push. That’s what you’re like when you’re a kid. That’s why they call it the “terrible twos”—because you can finally push buttons. And we have to continue learning and growing. I’m not interested in really being an agitator as much as inclusive. I’m always surprised how shocked people are by that, and how close-minded people can be, and how they find what I do maybe angry or exclusive. MP: What is it that drives some of your work?
P: It’s definitely a feminist perspective, and not in an old-school way, where it’s like, Don’t do that, don’t do that. It’s more like, Oh, you’re doing this? So I’m going to do it, too, and I’m going to do it harder, and I’m going to do it stronger. That’s my post-feminist direction: questioning the mainstream, questioning authorities, questioning religion, questioning people’s relationship with their own body, and [questioning] people’s relationship with their age. You know? MP: WOW. I’m inspired. Are there any particular issues or causes that you’re passionate right now? PEACHESROCKS.COM ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM 51
Is There Still Room for Magic in Our Lives? CONFESSIONS OF A MAGIC EXPERIENCE DESIGNER
The goal of magic is not to deceive people, but inspire them to live life in a state of wonder. —S.H.Sharpe We live in a very interesting moment in human history: our technologies have topped the best sci fi movies, an overwhelming abundance of information is just a click away, and humankind has discovered the existence of a vast reservoir of cognitive surplus that could potentially solve global challenges.
I believe people should believe what they want and religion is fine, but organized and extremist is really an incredibly hurtful thing, and takes away from the meaning of what religion should be, which is just loving your fellow person, neighbor, people.
P: I put a lot of work in for this Pussy Riot debacle. I made a song and a video because there were big celebrities writing letters. And then there were a lot of artists and underground people who were doing incredible actions and weren’t getting any attention, which is what it was for—to get attention, to show. People need to be creative. I felt like I was the middle ground and the missing link. I am appalled with American politics, Republicans, and how nations are run. Organized religion—I believe people should believe what they want and religion is fine, but organized and extremist is really an incredibly hurtful thing, and takes away from the meaning of what religion should be, which is just loving your fellow person, neighbor, people.
PHOTO (UPPER RIGHT): LUKE AUSTIN 52 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
MP: You live in Berlin?
P: Yeah, but I’m on an American tour right now. MP: Let’s talk about that. What projects are you working on right now?
P: I just finished a movie called Peaches Does Herself, which is a fantastical rock electro-opera based on my music. A fake biography that deals with all the myths and misconceptions that people have thought I should be or who I am throughout the years. That’s my biggest project right now. It was a stage production that I did two runs of. We filmed every night, and then I would bring people in in the afternoon for filming close-ups. It’s basically a film of the stage production. I wrote, directed, starred in it, produced it.
(LOWER LEFT): ANGELCEBALLOS
I have a single that just came out a few days ago and the video will come out next week, which is super dark and awesome. I’m really excited. The song is called “Burst.” MP: Love it: Super dark and awesome.
P: We have a lot of pictures from the film. The video single has fantastic images, too. Now I’m on a DJ Extravaganza tour, which means I can’t keep from behind the decks. I definitely mix but I’m jumping around and singing and spraying people. It’s exciting. It’s also commenting on deejaying and the boys’ club of deejaying. And how my show is really way more fun—it’s not just a video of fun, it’s just really interactive.
However, this techno-utopian state of affairs can have a side effect. The high dosage of technological marvels we engage with, combined with the fast-paced information overflow we are exposed to, leads to a sort of psychological anesthesia—we start to take many of these things for granted. We quickly get accustomed to the latest gizmo or app, and we come to believe that everything can be known and understood. More than ever, our time is characterized by rationalization and intellectualization. As a disenchanted society, we don’t stop and smell the roses—we are gradually being stripped of the primal feelings of mystery and wonder. My vocation is in the art of performing Magic. My profession is to design “magical experiences,” contexts where people can experience a combination of mystery, surprise, astonishment, and wonder. On good days, someone even undergoes a transformation, and catches a glimpse of non-ordinary realities. To paraphrase Tom Robbins, you can’t manufacture wonderment, but you can pull people out of [their] context so dramatically that they gawk in amazement at the ubiquitous everyday wonders they are culturally conditioned to ignore. Whatever the tools, we need disruption of the profane so that we can engage with the extraordinary, and so that we can experience Magic. Far from the trivialized clichè of clownish kids’ shows, Magic is a fascinating performing art—when it works—[capable] of moving us beyond our perspectives, assumptions, beliefs, and our certainties. The realm of Magic is a liminal space ripe with possibilities: things appear and disappear at command, people fly, broken pieces can be restored into a coherent whole, thoughts and words can be transferred from mind to mind—all without the aid of an iPhone5. This is the domain of the mercurial Trickster, playfully shuffling and reshuffling the fabric of reality, spicing it
...we need disruption of the profane so that we can engage with the extraordinary, and so that we can experience Magic. up with ambiguity, deception, paradox, and continuously shifting awareness by blurring the boundaries between what’s real and what’s perceived. Ultimately, a Magic performance is a celebration of the deeply mysterious and wonderful nature of the universe itself. The play of symbols points toward the numinous and transpersonal dimensions, awesome places where there’s more than meets the eye. My mission as a Magic Experience Designer is to remind people that, along with our Promethean technological achievements, our
lives are still surrounded by Magic, and that mystery is something irreducible—meant to be experienced, not explained. As religious scholar Lawrence E. Sullivan beautifully put it: “The horizon of the unknown moves outward with the horizon of knowledge.” Such flowing interplay of the known and unknown, I deeply believe, is the source of true Magic and eternal aesthetic delight. Ferdinando is a Magic Experience Designer. He consults and performs worldwide, designing “magical experiences” for individual and corporate transformation.
WWW.FERDINANDO.BIZ ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM 53
Rachael Yamagata INTERVIEW: MARANDA PLEASANT
As I grow older, what I find interesting is that I get experience with pain, different types of pain, and I start to see the lovely hilarity of life. Things that were once so crushing take on a different essence.
Maranda Pleasant: Hi, Rachael. You’ve gotten me through every break up I’ve been through in the past seven years.
Rachael Yamagata: I love it! That’s what I like to hear. Hopefully, my tears are worth something to the outside world. I sit there sobbing when I write this stuff. I’m like, What am I doing? [laughing] It always helps me to hear that. MP: I just did thirty-five minutes of cardio with “Worn Me Down.”
RY: Oh, sh*t! You have a love triangle going on, dude. It’s the worst. [laughs] MP: This might turn into a therapy session. It’s my first [love triangle], and I was like, You know what? I have a song for that. I know where to go!
RY: [laughing] I keep branching out. I think, Okay. What aspect haven’t I covered? Every time there’s a new breakup for a different reason—Oh! I never felt this way before. I hope things work out for you. I’m always here. [laughing] MP: Your music is real and authentic. It’s just a girl’s heart breaking open, spilling onto the page. What is it that inspires your work and your writing?
RY: Definitely connection. The connection between people on all levels. Whether it’s romantic, friendship, country to country. Why are we connecting and why aren’t we? The challenges that come with being authentic with ourselves all the time. The sociology of interactions. Finding our own center. Always expressing our higher self, our
own truth. And why aren’t we doing that? In love relationships, there’s such intimacy, and the potential to be the most vulnerable and honest and raw with another person. Why can’t we have that transparency with everyone in our lives and reach that higher connection? Then, why does it go sour? MP: What makes you deeply vulnerable as a human being?
RY: Probably attention. It’s easy for me to be vulnerable and craft songs when I’m being a hermit in my woods loft, secluded. When I get attention for it, whether it’s on stage or in life—I have sort of a love-hate relationship with all of it. That makes me feel really stark naked. MP: I can’t imagine what’s it like to write your heart and then present it to people. I’m a painter and I have shows. I get a panic attack when I hear people talking about or looking at my work.
RY: Isn’t it crazy? It’s really so deeply personal. Any kind of reaction to it, you can’t not take it to heart. MP: How do you process pain?
things to the fullest. There’s something about [pain] that excites me. If I’m feeling really awful about something, it’s because I haven’t experienced it before. There’s something I need to learn from it. As I grow older, what I find interesting is that I get experience with pain, different types of pain, and I start to see the lovely hilarity of life. Things that were once so crushing take on a different essence. I move through it at a faster rate. It’s like traveling: it opens my eyes. My process is to allow myself to have it and to not judge myself or the situation too much, and then to create something with it.
Am I going to sink into depression over this
MP: When it comes to letting go, when you’ve had enough hurt, what’s your process?
thing that I just can’t get over, or am I going
RY: That’s something that everyone needs a guide book on. I don’t know if I’ve mastered that. I think you let go of the anger associated with something bad, or you let go of the emotions that weigh you down. That’s the letting-go part that I’m getting better at. I don’t let go of love for people, though. I don’t let go of the nostalgia.
RY: Pain is a huge gift. It can expand you like nothing else. If you can embrace it and sink into it, you’ll get to the point where you can bend and transform your experience of it.
I read books. I go to nature. I write it out. I write songs. I talk to friends. I think, eventually, it just happens. I don’t know if it happens completely. Something triggers a memory, and you’re right back in it again.
Having some sort of creative outlet to do that is another gift. If you can’t ask, How could this be good for me? What can I learn from this?, if you can’t start to bring clarity to that pain, you’re just walking around with a film of sadness that will block you from experiencing
I’m a big believer that there’s a reason for everything. I’m a hopeless optimist. If you hold on to certain things that are comfortable and maybe a bad pattern for you psychologically, then you rob yourself of the experience of the next thing that happens
to start feeling grateful for the experience and watch the next thing come through the door?
when you do start to let go. It’s only by trusting that, and by the leaps of faith, that you remember that’s true. Am I going to sink into depression over this thing that I just can’t get over, or am I going to start feeling grateful for the experience and watch the next thing come through the door? I do have faith that something better is always coming for you. MP: Are there any causes or organizations that you’re passionate about right now?
RY: I did a Pledge Music campaign. Animals are dear to my heart. I’m a supporter of the ASPCA. Anything with cancer research— that is all over my family. I’ve been keeping in touch with this friend of mine who’s looking to build eco-friendly, sustainable hospitals in Africa. MP: What are you doing right now?
tour. After that, I’ve got some Asia dates coming up, possibly some European dates. This September, I’m doing this residency in New York City, at the Rockwood Music Hall. Find Rachael Yamagata on iTunes and in local record stores.
RY: I’m working on a new EP that will come out in November, to coincide with the U.S.
RACHAELYAMAGATA.COM 54 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
I’m intrigued with figuring out the places [where] the horrible and the beautiful meet— that aesthetic fascinates me.
Neil Gaiman INTERVIEW: NANCY HIGHTOWER
Nancy Hightower: I saw a tweet from October 24th. It said that you had met with an ad agency, and you were going to make art with people using Twitter. Can you say anything more about that?
Neil Gaiman: I can’t say too much since we’re working out the details, [but] I can say it was one of these weird things when someone gets in touch with you and you think, That sounds silly and too good to be true. I turned up at a meeting with this ad agency and said, “This is what I want to do, expecting them to explain why I couldn’t.” And they said, “Yes, it’s brilliant, we’ll love that, go for it.” It builds on things that that I’ve done [in the past] that were enormously fun—like the 8 in 8 project, where instead of going out and having dinner, we (Ben Folds, Amanda Palmer, and Damian Kulash), made a record. We wrote and PHOTOS: KYLE CASSIDY 56 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
recorded six songs in twelve hours. It had that kind of madness. NH: How has social media changed the nature of creativity and [the nature of] giving back to the audience?
NG: People can get involved in wonderfully creative ways that have nothing to do with you, but spark off things you begin with. What I wanted to do with this project was try and look at the different strengths of social media. Twitter has one set of strengths. Tumblr has a whole different set of strengths and weaknesses. Then you have Vimeo and YouTube, which have their own weird and wonderful worlds. It’s a matter of trying to figure out where the balance is. NH: Do you have a favorite social media
NG: Probably Twitter. I’m interested in looking at what are people using this for, and how we [can] make it easier. NH: Speaking of technology, you’ve been tweeting about your novel Neverwhere being dramatized. What can you say about that?
NG: Some time in the first quarter of 2013, BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 4 Extra—which is their digital channel—will together be broadcasting a big, hefty, awesome audio adaptation of Neverwhere. I can also say it has a dream cast. Obviously, you would want Richard Mayhew played by James McAvoy—so he is. Obviously, you’d
want the angel Islington played by Benedict Cumberbatch— and so he is. It goes on from there. Bernard Cribbins is obviously the world’s finest Old Bailey, so we got Bernand Cribbins. Christopher Lee is the Earl of Earl’s Court. The fact that I am now, in a weird way, one degree of separation away from Christopher Lee—how cool is that? Anthony Head, Natalie Dormer, David Harewood, Sophie Okonedo, and Andrew Sachs are all in it. It’s being put together by the wonderful Dirk Maggs, who produced The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and is a genius. It’s this thing of glorious happiness. NH: I think Neverwhere is my favorite book because you bring attention to the people who have been marginalized and made invisible. It’s one of the things I admire most about you—you bring attention to people that we don’t think about. I notice this ethic plays out in your Twitter presence—more than any other writer I’ve seen—you RT (retweet) causes and social justice causes, especially. Do you have a philosophy about that?
NG: I’ll go through phases. I’ll throttle back, then throttle back up. I’ve recently started my own little charity, the Gaiman Foundation, which every year gives chunks of money to social causes that are good and deserve it. We have given a chunk to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund to start their education program and get it rolling. [The Foundation] is funding a lecture series and literacy courses, and some medical programs. It’s all part of the same thing. Twitter gives me access to 1.7 million people; Tumblr gives me access to another 100,000; half a million people subscribe to my Facebook page. If there’s a cool cause that looks like it does good, I’ll plug it. On the other hand, I can only plug 10% or 15% of the requests that come in. Otherwise, it turns into noise. NH: I am always interested in this intersection between art and literature. You’ve said that the artist Joel Peter Witkin had influenced your work.
intrigued with figuring out the places [where] the horrible and the beautiful meet—that aesthetic fascinates me. I am not by nature the kind of creator who is transgressive in order to be transgressive. And I love those guys and are proud of them, and think they’re wonderful. On the other hand, I am fascinated by a) transgressive art and b) what happens beyond the boundaries. And so, [I] frequently will head off beyond my own comfort zone into zone transgression, and Witkin was definitely somebody who, while I was creating Sandman, would push me a little bit further. NH: That, to me, is like the grotesque: using transgression in order to promote redemption, in order to see people with eyes of love, rather than creating a sense of otherness.
NG: I think that is something that I always like in my work—the sense of inclusion rather than the sense of otherness.
NG: Witkin is someone who I think I discovered through Dave McKean. I bought myself a copy of Gods of Earth and Heaven. I’m NEILGAIMAN.COM ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM 57
ORIGIN. The Conscious Culture Magazine
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Reach beyond your limits in 2013.
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Deepak Chopra, M.D.
Get Focused and Inspired to Live Your Dreams
The following exercise will help you explore what you truly want and choose the area of your life that you’d most like to transform or enhance. Then you will be able to focus your attention and your intentions to fulfill your dreams and desires.
STEP 1: WRITE IT DOWN
STEP 2: DECIDE WHAT IS MOST IMPORTANT
Consider the following aspects of your life and write down everything that you’d like to experience or create in each area. It’s important to actually write your desires and intentions rather than just thinking about them. Writing (sketching, listing, or otherwise putting your thoughts into form) is a powerful first step in clarifying what you really want.
Now that you have a clear idea of what you’d like to see unfold in your life, it’s time to choose the one or two desires, dreams, or goals that you want to focus on first. Maybe your top priorities right now are to take care of your health and focus on your relationship with a spouse or partner. Or perhaps you realize that what you really want most right now is a feeling of connection, to nurture your friendships, to be part of a supportive community.
Be as specific as possible and don’t limit yourself. What do you really, really want? Let go of any thoughts of what you “should” want. Your heart knows your deepest desires—give yourself time to meditate, become still, and connect to the authentic voice of your true Self. Material Abundance: What do you want on the material level?
Your own house with a garden? Write that down. Do you want to pay off a loan or take a vacation? Also consider your desires for sensory gratification—sound, touch, sight, taste, and smell.
Relationships: Write down all your desires for your relationships—
with your romantic partner, friends, children, parents, co-workers, and any others.
Spiritual Awakening: What would nourish your heart and soul?
Do you want to go on a meditation retreat? Start a journaling practice? Write down the spiritual intentions you have for yourself.
Personal Goals: What areas of your life would you like to nurture
this year? Do you want a new intellectual challenge such as studying a language or learning new software? Would you like more time to play or develop a hobby? Write down what you truly want.
STEP 3: COMMIT TO ACTION
Community: What do you want to contribute to your neighborhood,
Now consider one step you can take today that will move you closer to your desired outcome. The action can be as small as doing a web search to find classes in your area, buying a journal, or doing ten minutes of yoga. Then tomorrow, take one more step. By committing to regular, consistent action, you will tap into an unexpected momentum and discover the universe conspiring in your favor
country, or the world? Consider how you might use your unique talents to serve others.
In the first few days of 2013, you may be feeling energized and ready to embark on new challenges. Yet at the same time, you may be unsure about how to get started and where to focus your attention. As recent scientific studies have found, many people abandon their New Year’s resolutions within weeks—not because they lack willpower but because they try to make sweeping changes in every area of their life, all at once. As it turns out, the brain area that governs our willpower (the prefrontal cortex) is like a muscle that is quickly exhausted when asked to perform high-intensity tasks such as making many changes at the same time. For example, attempting to quit smoking, lose fifteen pounds, find a new job, and organize our financial life all in one month is likely to overwhelm our brain’s ability to adapt new behaviors and exercise control. The scientific research suggests that focusing our efforts on one or two goals at a time is much more likely to result in success. Consistently concentrating on small changes strengthens and expands our brain’s willpower capacity, enabling us to take on increasingly greater challenges.
Choose two goals, knowing that doing so doesn’t mean that you have to give up all your other desires. They will be there waiting for you to cultivate once you have fulfilled your current most important desires. Focusing your intentions creates a ripple effect, and you may find that your other desires are spontaneously satisfied..
Health and Wellbeing: What are your goals? Do you want to learn to meditate? Exercise regularly? Get more sleep? Attain a healthy weight? Are you ready to let go of emotional pain from the past? Write down everything you desire for your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Deepak Chopra, M.D. is a bestselling author, physician, and the co-founder of the Chopra Center for Wellbeing in Carlsbad, California. The Chopra Center offers a variety of signature programs, events, and teacher training certifications, including the Seduction of Spirit meditation and yoga retreat, Journey into Healing (offering continuing education credits for healthcare practitioners), and the Perfect Health Wellness Program. Several times each year, the Chopra Center hosts a free 21-Day Meditation
Challenge, where each day for twenty-one days, participants receive a daily guided audio meditation and guidance on establishing a regular meditation practice. The meditations are led by Deepak Chopra and other master meditation instructors. To learn about special offers and upcoming events, please visit www.chopra.com or call 888.736.6895
DEEPAKCHOPRA.COM 8 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
LEILANI BISHOP MODEL. FOUNDER OF LEILANI BISHOP FRAGRANCES.
INTERVIEW: RACHEL P. GOLDSTEIN
Rachel Goldstein: What inspires you most?
Leilani Bishop: Finding the Nectar—in life, in relationships, and in the feeling of falling into the flow. Living life to the fullest expression of what is possible as a human being and being the student of that life. RG: What makes you happy?
LB: Overcoming obstacles, trying hard, and being rewarded, in all facets of work and play. RG: What makes you vulnerable?
LB: Meditation, in the best possible way. RG: What made you decide to create a perfume line? What was the inspiration for the flowers you used?
LB: I love oils and the thought of a woman adorning herself, and why. There is so much that goes into the thought behind adornment and scent that intrigues me. Fragrance has such a lineage to medieval times. I felt drawn to bringing the old ways of wearing scent into the present, while keeping with the decorative packaging and the process of application. The flowers I chose are all powerful scents yet uniquely different from each other, They also represent three diverse places that I love: Hawaii (Pikake), the Hamptons (Lilac), and the Mediterranean (Orange Blossom). RG: How would you guide the youth of today in hopes of providing a platform of genuine honesty?
LB: I would encourage the youth to get in to their bodies as much as possible through sport or exercise, and to embrace their unique expressions as individuals and freethinkers. They are lucky enough to grow up in a time where the individual is celebrated—it is their
duty to find their voices so that they can be heard. It is time to practice compassionate communication.
do you feel accomplished that you are making a difference in the world? Tell us about what makes you smile most.
RG: Do you spend time away from the internet? If so, where and what do you spend your time doing?
LB: I have been involved with charities and have taught yoga to beginners. Both of those made me feel great, but it has been a while since I have done either. I have been hard on myself since I launched my fragrance line. I have not had the capacity to do as much as I would like. Then I stop myself and have a talk—I am accomplishing so much on a personal level now, breaking down boundaries and growing in to the person I want to be. Right now I am the change I want to see it the world—that makes me happy!
LB: Yes. I try and do as many tactile activities as possible: knitting, guitar, reading books, being outdoors, yoga, writing. RG: What do you do to stay balanced? Mind, body, and spirit?
LB: My Yoga practice is number one, straight physical exercises are number two, and when I can do neither, I focus on the breath. Make sure I drink enough water and get enough sleep. RG: When you go to sleep at night,
RG: What is your guiltiest pleasure?
LB: Sun! Love it but know I should not be in it so much. Wah!
LEILANIBISHOP.COM 10 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
By learning and practicing Wabi Sabi Love, you begin to accept the flaws, imperfections, and limitations—as well as the gifts and blessings—that form your shared history as a couple.
Wabi Sabi Love ARIELLE FORD
One of the fastest ways to begin to apply Wabi Sabi Love is to realize that no matter what crazy-making thing your partner is doing, they did not wake up with the thought, “I plan to drive my spouse insane today.” Just like you, your partner wants to be loved for who they are, in spite of their shortcomings. Make an effort to let them know they are loved, even if some of their behavior is not. Work towards co-creative solutions. The simple act of being willing to find the beauty and perfection in our own imperfections—especially the imperfections, quirks and weirdness of your partner—that is the essence of Wabi Sabi Love.
Wabi Sabi is an ancient Japanese aesthetic that honors all things old, worn, weathered, imperfect, and impermanent. It seeks to find “beauty and perfection in the imperfections.”
I was a first time bride at forty-four. I had never even lived with anybody. And after running my own business for many years, I knew how to be the boss—but I had no idea how to be a good partner. One day early in our marriage, I found myself standing in front of my husband, Brian, with my left hand on my hip and my right index finger in his face, ragging on him about something (I can no longer remember what it was). I was appalled. I thought to myself, how did I become that woman? I stopped. I said to him: “The next time this happens, and unfortunately there will be a next time, could you kindly, sweetly say to me, when did Sheila arrive?” Sheila is my mother. I love her to death. She’s the coolest woman I know but she can also be a bit overbearing and bossy. Brian instantly got it and said, “Yes, and the next time I get too patronizing, just say to me “Hello, Wayne!” That was his Dad. Instantly, we avoided what could have been a World War III meltdown by creating playful code names to lighten up and have fun with. And, over the years, as conflicts large and small emerged—as they inevitably do in all relationships—we found creative ways to shift our perception. Eventually I gave this practice a name: Wabi Sabi Love. Wabi Sabi is an ancient Japanese aesthetic that honors all things old, worn, weathered, imperfect, and impermanent. It seeks to find “beauty and perfection in the imperfections.” For instance, if you had a large vase with a big crack down the middle of it, a Japanese art museum would put the vase on a pedestal and shine a spotlight on the crack!
Arielle is the author of eight books, including her latest Wabi Sabi Love: The Ancient Art of Finding Perfect Love in Imperfect Relationships and the international bestseller, The Soulmate Secret: Manifest The Love of Your Life With The Law of Attraction. She lives in La Jolla, CA with her husband/ soulmate, Brian Hilliard, and their feline friends. www.soulmatesecret.com and www.wabisabilove.com
Why would you take the time to learn how to apply Wabi Sabi Love to your relationship? Because 50% percent of first marriages, 67% of second marriages, and 74% of third marriages end in divorce! We aren’t born with the innate knowledge of how to “do” relationship. Even worse, we’ve been brainwashed by modern day society to look for and
...we’ve been brainwashed by modern day society to look for and seek perfection, which leads to an ongoing state of frustration and dissatisfaction. seek perfection, which leads to an ongoing state of frustration and dissatisfaction. I believe the word “perfection” should be changed to “pure fiction”—it’s just not possible! Seeking perfection just ends up creating ridiculous amounts of stress and disappointment. By learning and practicing Wabi Sabi Love, you begin to accept the flaws, imperfections, and limitations—as well as the gifts and blessings—that form your shared history as a couple. Acceptance and its counterpart, understanding, are crucial to achieving relationship harmony. It is sacred love, the highest form of love, and like most things worth striving for in life, it requires patience, commitment, personal responsibility, and practice. Imagine how great you will feel when you know your partner loves all of you, all the time. The good, the bad, and everything in between!
INTERVIEW: RACHEL P. GOLDSTEIN
Leaders SHIFTING the Planet
Danielle LaPorte M U LT I M E D I A A U T H O R . S P E A K E R . P O E T.
Author of The Fire Starter Sessions: A Soulful + Practical Guide to Creating Success on Your Own Terms
Phnom Penh. Founder. Cambodian Children’s Fund.
I work with the most impoverished, bleak, and dysfunctional communities anywhere. Several thousand families surround an eighteen-acre garbage dump near Phnom Penh, living and working on the refuse of others. Contrasting this dire environment are children with a resilience and hope that is remarkable. Given the opportunity to attend school or better their future, they seize it and excel. Given care and safety, they transform completely, with the joy, hope, and anticipation that every child deserves. To play a part in this transformation, to see these daily miracles, is an irresistible source of inspiration.
DEAR YOUTH OF TODAY: YOU ARE IMPORTANT, YOU ARE NEEDED, YOU ARE LOVED. YOUR SUCCESS WILL BE DETERMINED BY THE QUALITY OF YOUR RELATIONSHIPS WITH PEOPLE. BE CLASSY ABOUT IT ALL.
Toni Verstandig Washington, D.C. Chair. Middle East Programs. The Aspen Institute.
As Chair of Middle East Programs at the Aspen Institute, I am inspired by the work of my colleagues and the commitment from our international partners to increase understanding and promote peaceful relations abroad. Our Partners for a New Beginning (PNB) initiative is a public-private partnership to increase economic opportunity and catalyze exchanges. Based on ten locally-driven chapters, PNB facilitates partnerships between our private-sector partners and local priority projects. PNB proves that a locally-led model works. Since September 2012, PNB has impacted more than 330,000 people! ASPENINSTITUTE.ORG
Osprey Orielle Lake Mill Valley. Author. Founder. President. Women’s Earth and Climate Caucus.
The thrumming of raindrops gently falling on a lake and realizing our own bodies are made primarily of water; thunderclaps reverberating with the power of a storm; watching a sunset and grasping that we are on a sphere moving about 67,000 miles an hour around our home star, and in the mystery of this dynamic system, we don’t even feel the transit; leaders who are protecting and defending our Earth’s ecosystems. IWECC.ORG OSPREYORIELLELAKE.COM PHOTO: GABRIELE SCHWIBACH
Rachel Goldstein: What makes you vulnerable?
Danielle LaPorte: When I’m speaking on stage I feel my most empowered and my most vulnerable. So much could go wrong. That tension is such a rush. Apologizing makes me feel vulnerable. And strong. Expressing gratitude makes me feel vulnerable. And strong. Maybe there’s something to this vulnerability/strength connection, eh?
chord with people. I could see the relief when they figured out that inner attunement has to come before outer attainment. RG: Where do you see yourself in five years?
DL: More in love. Publishing awesome stuff— my own work and that of others. Preaching more poetry. More well traveled. Kinder. Philanthropic. More to give in every way. More cashmere in my closet.
RG: What made you create The Desire Map?
RG: How would you guide the youth of today in hopes of providing a platform of love and honesty?
DL: This is going to sound rather dramatic, but I felt I was born to make The Desire Map. Yep. Had to get it out. Compelled. You couldn’t pay me to not release it. It’s been incubating for a while.
DL: Dear Youth of Today: You are important, you are needed, you are loved. Your success will be determined by the quality of your relationships with people. Be classy about it all.
It all started about seven years ago. I was doing some goal-setting on New Year’s eve and I realized that I had it all backwards. I was going after things for the wrong reasons, in the wrong way. Goal-chasing was burning me out.
RG: Define these words: True Passion.
Over time I started using what I call my “core desired feelings” to drive my to-do list and big vision. It turned my ambitions inside out. That approach, desire mapping, hit a deep
Life balance is a myth. It’s an illusion and the very pursuit of it is driving us crazy. For me it’s about proportion—it’s really a work hard/play hard equation. I focus for periods of time on creative work and I’m very insular during those times—not a lot of socializing. I play when I want. That means I can take off on a retreat, catch a matinee, make friends. My core desired feelings are my time management system. RG: When you go to sleep at night, do you feel accomplished that you are making a difference in the world? Tell us about what makes you smile most.
DL: I’m usually launching something or thinking about something to launch, or making the most out of what I launched a while ago. Living to create, with plenty of space for being empty and stuck when I need to be, which is essential for creating. RG: What makes me smile the most?
DL: My Life. RG: Do you spend time away from the internet? If so, where and what do you spend your time doing?
DL: Hot baths. Yoga mats. Snuggling. RG: What do you do to stay balanced? Mind, body, and spirit?
DL: My kid having an a-ha and being really proud of himself for it. RG: What is your guiltiest pleasure?
DL: People magazine with a bag of sour cream and onion chips always makes be feel a bit trashy. But good trashy.
DANIELLELAPORTE.COM 14 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
proper manner, which is personally. I like that. I also, of course, use social media. I do interviews with wonderful people like you, Ocean, who are spreading the word. Young people who really understand. I’ll be long gone before the worst of these effects is felt, but you will be around to experience what is good about this planet—if we do it right, if we fix some of the problems. And we must. OP: I’m really passionate about engaging youth to become invested in our planet. Do you have any tools to engage young people? Do you have anything to say to them?
I try to put that phone
EB: I think people love nature after they experience it. I know I experienced it as a young man—I took a lot of hikes, I was involved in scouting. There are many different ways now to experience nature. Get out there and hike. Do Outward Bound. Do these other wonderful programs. Do it just yourself, alone. Do it with a group. Be out there to experience nature. Then you know why it’s worth protecting.
down, put the computer away, and get out there and hike in the woods; feel it in my feet, feel it in my hands; get out in the garden and feel the soil under my fingers, my fingertips, and my fingernails.
SAVING THE PLANET
w/ Ed Begley, Jr. GLOBAL YOUTH EDITOR: OCEAN PLEASANT Ocean Pleasant: I want to know about your latest project, why you’re passionate about it, and what inspires you.
just do one of the things, because it won’t be enough to combat the climate change that we’re already starting to experience. It will only get worse.
Ed Begley, Jr.: What I’m doing environmentally now: I’m working with Al Gore on something called the Climate Reality Project. Also working with Bill McKibben at 350.org. It’s important work. I’m doing that kind of global stuff, but then I’m doing stuff locally. I’m trying to green up a lot of homes. Urging people to do everything that they can.
We have lots of other problems with plastic in our oceans. There are five different big gyres of plastic out in the ocean. There are problems with air pollution around the country that we need to deal with, and around the world. We have a great many problems to overcome, so I work on a lot of different boards trying to help in those important areas. Being here at this Green Festival is wonderful, because you get to see a lot of people up close and personal and interact with them in the
It’s going to take action from governments, from industry, and individuals. You can’t
PHOTO: TRICIA LEE PASCOE 16 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
That’s no reason to go out—since you have the microphone, since you have your moment in the spotlight—there’s no reason to go out and say, “FIRE! Everybody run for your lives!” You don’t want to alarm people. But also you cannot be quiet about things that you know. If you know there’s a fire smoldering in the basement and the fire marshal has told you about it, and you say, “Row by row, we’re going to begin to evacuate, we have to take action, the fire marshal just told me”—I have heard from those fire marshals. They are Bill McKibben; they are Henry Kendall, who is no longer with us, a Nobel Prize-winning scientist. These are people talking about the environment in an important way. That’s the fire marshal that told me, and I can’t just do a song and dance—I have to spread the word. OP: Wow, very powerful. Thank you.
When you’re in the public eye ...you have an opportunity, and I think also an obligation and a responsibility, to disseminate good information.
We have our face down in these little devices a lot of the time. I own one myself. To be a modern person in 2012, you are often required to have some electronics in your life. And I do. But I try to put that phone down, put the computer away, and get out there and hike in the woods; feel it in my feet, feel it in my hands; get out in the garden and feel the soil under my fingers, my fingertips, and my fingernails. I try to be involved in nature in a very tactile way. I think that’s important. It’s something I passed on to my kids. They really love the earth because they’ve experienced it from the youngest age. They know where food comes from—it doesn’t come from the Safeway bush or the Ralph’s tree. It comes from the earth. And water and sunshine and nutrients. My children understand that because they’ve experienced it. I feel successful as a parent, having done that. OP: How do you use your platform as an actor to spread the word about ways that people can instigate positive change?
EB: When you’re in the public eye—whether it be entertainment, sports, medicine, politics, whatever way—you have an opportunity, and I think also an obligation and a responsibility, to disseminate good information.
PHOTO: LISA FRANCHOT
RACHELLE & ED BEGLEY, JR.
INTERVIEWED AT THE GREEN FESTIVAL: LOS ANGELES
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Her Majesty of the Deep Blue Sea: An Interview with Dr. Sylvia Earle PART II: DAN LINEHAN
When it comes to sticking up for the oceans, renowned undersea explorer and marine biologist Dr. Sylvia Earle stirs up passion with more power than a typhoon. Check out Origin Issue 9 November/December for Part I of this interview. Dan Linehan: You had a hand in adding some blueness to Google Earth?
Sylvia Earle: [The Google Earth Ocean] was inspired three years before at a conference in Spain, when I met John Hanke [who was then head of Geo Products at Google]. I had the opportunity to point out there was something missing in Google Earth and to suggest that perhaps Google Earth should be called “Google Dirt”—because it’s all about the land. And then, with great grace, [John] invited me to come down to the Googleplex and talk to the Googlers, and to gather together about thirty experts from around the world to advise Google on how to [include] the blue part. DL: Ocean acidification is something you’ve spoken about with a bit of spunk.
We really need to think about the world, the ocean, and nature as our life support system and do everything we can to protect it. It underwrites our economy, our security, our health—our very existence. SE: If you change the chemistry of the ocean, you change the chemistry of the planet. Everything changes. We can see the trends, anticipate what the outcomes may be, and exercise the precautionary principle. DL: Can you explain what the precautionary principle is?
SE: Evaluate before you undertake something that has a destructive potential. Understand
the consequences to the best of your ability, before doing something that is sure to have an impact. DL: How can the precautionary principle be applied to the areas where Arctic ice is disappearing due to the drastic melting?
SE: An area like the Arctic has never before felt the bite of a dredge or trawl or hooks. It’s virgin territory. Deep sea mining is another example. Here’s a place that has never been mined before. You don’t know what’s there. We haven’t explored it. But never mind! Let’s go fish it. Let’s go take whatever is there without knowing the ecosystem. Let’s just go extract and hope that the consequences will be fine. Or [you take] the precautionary approach— let’s not do that. We’re doing drilling without knowing the consequences. We do know that the consequences are not likely to be good for us. We shouldn’t risk the potential for its value as an intact system against the short-term use of what we can market—the oil, gas, shrimp, fish. Things that we understand have a short-term market value. DL: How do you confront indifference?
SE: I want to share what I know, to let others see what I see about the ocean. Just because we don’t know about [the ocean] doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter. Of course it matters. It’s like saying my heart doesn’t matter. I’ve never seen my heart, so it [doesn’t] matter? The ocean does matter. The deep sea matters. The ozone layer matters. The atmosphere matters. The sunspots matter. DL: The oceans are really getting nailed from all sides. You can’t even walk on the beach without seeing garbage.
SE: Most of what comes on the beach is trash. Throwaway plastics. Pieces of fishing nets. You see straws and bottles and bottle caps and cigarette butts. Things that float. And underwater—it’s just an avalanche of garbage there, too. Even more worrisome are the things you don’t see. The toxins that are going into the ocean, the excess nitrates and phosphates from agriculture, the PCBs, the toxic materials, the pesticides, the herbicides. Things that are put on our fields and farms that flow down rivers and in groundwater, and [then] ultimately to the sea and back to us. If you do consume wildlife from the sea, the further up the food chain you go, the higher the concentration of the things you don’t want in you, whether it’s pesticides or fire retardants or PCBs. We haven’t yet made policies that reflect the reality. We’re still living with policies that are fifty years old or a hundred years old, attitudes that go back ten thousand years as huntergatherers. DL: What’s it like as a National Geographic explorer-in-residence?
SE: National Geographic has 125 years of history of exploring and supporting the exploration of the natural world and the human place within it. I don’t know of another organization, historically, that has dedicated itself to understanding the nature of the world and communicating it as widely as possible. It’s not an advocacy organization. It’s a reporting organization. I don’t regard myself as an advocate, just as a reporter, an observer, a witness. I feel compelled to share the view. That’s been the National Geographic’s purpose in being, as well. DL: You founded a new organization called Mission Blue.
SE: [Mission Blue’s] goal has been to empower organizations that are doing great things, to be a voice for the ocean. The 2009 TED Prize helped me make [this] wish come true: that [we] would use all means at [our] disposal— films! expeditions! the web! more!—to ignite public support for a global network of marine protected areas, hope spots large enough to save and restore the blue heart of the planet.
If you like to breathe, you’ll protect nature. If you don’t breathe, the economy doesn’t matter. If our health is declining—and it is—then what else matters? DL: How much of the ocean should be hope spots?
SE: I say, how much of your heart do you want to protect? We really need to think about the world, the ocean, and nature as our life support system and do everything we can to protect it. It underwrites our economy, our security, our health—our very existence. We haven’t been as acutely aware as we are at present. We are changing it through our actions. We still have time to alter our actions to protect the natural systems that keep us alive. If you like to breathe, you’ll protect nature. If you don’t breathe, the economy doesn’t matter. If our health is declining— and it is—then what else matters? Do we not also wish to be valued by future generations? Or do we wish to be scorned as that generation of people who were alive during this critical point in history, when we knew and failed to act?
© PHOTOS: NATALIE B. FOBES/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC 18 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
The Extinction of Endangered wildlife ECO EDITOR: ANDREW CURRIE
Here we spotlight four animals who are fighting for their existence and in three cases are being killed directly for profit. BUT THERE IS HOPE. There are valiant, passionate people working to protect them and solve the root cause of the killing. Our wildlife don’t have a voice in how they are treated or what happens to them. Like children, they depend on us for their survival. It is our responsibility and opportunity to take care of them. We can learn to coexist peacefully with our fellow non-human beings. These groups are showing us how. WILDLIFE IS BEING DECIMATED AROUND THE WORLD.
Save the Elephants When poachers slaughter an elephant for its ivory, they tear out the coveted tusks and leave the animal’s carcass to decay. More and more elephant carcasses dot the African continent’s landscapes as poaching escalates rapidly to fuel a growing demand for ivory from China’s booming middle class. At least 25,000 elephants have been killed in the past year, although the number may be much higher.
WildAid : Sharks Sharks have helped maintain the balance of life in our oceans for the past 400 million years. Humans, however, are pushing them to the brink of extinction. An estimated 1/3 of open-ocean shark species are currently threatened with extinction as fins from up to 73 million sharks are used every year for shark fin soup. WildAid has been at the forefront of shark conservation, working with Asian celebrities such as Yao Ming. These efforts reach up to one billion people each week through public service messaging that urges them to reduce their consumption of shark fin. Following the recent shark campaign in China, a third-party survey indicated that 55% of people recalled seeing our PSAs. Of those, 82% admitted to reducing or stopping consumption of shark fin soup. And just this past July, the Chinese government announced it would remove shark fin soup from the menus of government banquets, sending shockwaves through the shark fin trade.
Sharks are vital to our marine eco-systems. Populations are being decimated, all for a bowl of soup. By educating consumers in order to reduce demand, we can continue to reverse this trend and save our top oceanic predator.
TO LEARN MORE, VISIT:
Cheetah Conservation Fund
Dr. Iain Douglas-Hamilton, founder of Save the Elephants and one of the world’s leading authorities on African elephants, is working in Africa and China to stop the killing. In Kenya, Save the Elephants fights poachers using aerial surveillance and strong bonds with local communities.
In the early 1900s, over 100,000 cheetahs roamed Africa and Asia. Less than 10,000 remain today, occupying just a fraction of their former range. An apex predator on which many species depend, the cheetah is Africa’s most endangered cat, mainly due to loss of habitat and conflict with humans. Without help, the cheetah could be extinct in twenty years.
AT LEAST 25,000
on conservation and sustainability. CCF’s Bushblok, a clean-burning fuel log made of overgrown thornbush, restores cheetah
habitat and creates jobs. The open-to-thepublic CCF Center in Namibia includes a clinic and genetics research lab.
TO LEARN MORE, VISIT:
ELEPHANTS HAVE BEEN KILLED IN THE PAST YEAR,
WITHOUT HELP, THE CHEETAH
ALTHOUGH THE NUMBER MAY
COULD BE EXTINCT IN
BE MUCH HIGHER.
However, the ivory wars will not end until demand for ivory drops. Many of the Chinese consumers who buy ivory products are unaware that elephants must be murdered to produce ivory. Save the Elephants recently hosted Chinese basketball superstar Yao Ming, China’s top celebrity, at their Kenyan camp, where he viewed firsthand the bodies of elephants recently killed by poachers. Following his trip, Yao has spoken out publicly against poaching and has written passionately about the horrors he saw on his blog (www.yaomingblog.com), which received 800,000 views in just one week. PHOTO: (TOP) LUCY KING 20 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
TO LEARN MORE, VISIT:
The Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) is dedicated to saving the cheetah and its ecosystem through education and conservation programs based on its scientific research. One of CCF’s success stories is its Livestock Guarding Dog Program. CCF breeds and places Anatolian shepherd and Kangal dogs with local farmers to protect their flocks and livelihoods. Farmers who use CCF dogs report an 80% decrease in predation rates, which reduces the number of cheetahs that are killed or captured by farmers. Programs like CCF’s Future Farmers of Africa educate youth and farmers PHOTOS: (TOP) SHAWN HEINRICHS, (BOTTOM) J BOWERS ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM 21
WildAid : Rhinos In 2011, the Western Black Rhino was declared extinct. Now, only five rhino species remain. All are listed as endangered or vulnerable. Most are confined to national parks and reserves.
ONE RHINO IS
Only one predator poses a real threat to rhinos: humans.
ONLY FOR THEIR
In the past forty years, poaching has reduced rhino populations 95% worldwide. One rhino is killed every day in South Africa, only for their horns. If poaching continues at current rates, the rhino could be extinct within our lifetime.
Via public service announcements and short form documentary pieces, WildAid is working to educate consumers and reduce the demand for rhino horn worldwide.
WildAid is also developing a multi-faceted political and consumer awareness campaign in partnership with the African Wildlife Foundation. We recently filmed former NBA player and Chinese star, Yao Ming, on his first trip to Africa. Yao Ming helps shine a light on the current rhino crisis in order to educate consumers in a burgeoning Asian market.
KILLED EVERY DAY IN SOUTH AFRICA, HORNS. IF POACHING CURRENT RATES, THE RHINO COULD BE EXTINCT WITHIN
TO LEARN MORE, VISIT:
With our unparalleled media distribution network, our collaboration with some of the most influential role models in Asia, and our proven ability to launch highly leveraged, effective public awareness campaigns that produce meaningful change, we can work together to save the world’s rhinos.
PHOTOS: (TOP) GRAEME WILLIAMS, (MIDDLE AND BOTTOM) KLAUS TIEDGE AND ELODIE A. SAMPÉRÉ 22 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
Our health as a society, our robustness as a community, as a nation,
Jeff Corwin INTERVIEW: MARANDA PLEASANT
Maranda Pleasant: What is it that drives you and your work?
Jeff Corwin: In my heart, ever since I [was] a little kid, I’ve been an explorer. Whether it’s exploring the woods around where I grew up, or even today exploring the coastal habitats and environments where I live in New England, or in a remote wilderness we’re featuring in one of my series—I love to be in the field and I love to explore. And also by a great concern for the state of our planet. I am really sobered by what’s happening to ecosystems around our planet and to the wildlife that is to be found there. We live in uncertain times when it comes to the future of life on Earth. MP: What is it that inspires you the most?
JC: What inspires me is you two little rugrats that are in the backseat of my truck right now. My daughters, Maya and Marina. You guys want to say hi? Maya Corwin and Marina Corwin: Hi! Hi!
BOTTOM: JEFF CORWIN RELEASES A STELLER SEA LION NEAR PRINCE WILLIAM SOUND, ALASKA WITH THE ALASKA SEALIFE CENTER RESEARCH AND VETERINARY TEAMS AS PART OF A 10-YEAR STELLER SEA LION HEALTH AND MONITORING PROJECT
as a people, is not only dependent upon fiscal stability, military might, political strength—it’s also dependent on a healthy planet.
have hope, I would be doing something else. I am really inspired when I am in an experience, at the front lines of conservation, and I see someone—a woman, a man, a child, a person—who has given up an opportunity to have a family, an opportunity for financial riches, even an opportunity for security, [to] put their whole life on the line to protect a species. I love people who have died trying to save wildlife. When I see that passion, that gives me hope. We live in, some would argue, the dark days of conservation. During this whole debate [with] the potential candidates and the President of our country [in the 2012 presidential elections]—there was never one conversation about the state of our planet. There was not one conversation about climate change, about endangered species, about habitat. That really pissed me off. Our health as a society, our robustness as a community, as a nation, as a people, is not only dependent upon fiscal stability, military might, political strength—it’s also dependent on a healthy planet. The natural resources we’ve depended on, if the places where they exist are not stable, our own livelihood and our health is put at risk.
JC: We’re just going for a drive, getting off the island while the weather’s still good. Checking out some woods. I’m really worried about what the world is going to be like when they’re young women, [when] they are young leaders or mothers or businesspeople— whatever they’re going to be. I’m afraid they’re going to have a less healthy and less biologically rich planet.
When we see these
MP: What is it that gives you hope?
animals disappear, they are a beacon that tells us our planet is in
JC: Well, I have great hope. If I didn’t
BELOWL JEFF CORWIN WORKS WITH STAFF FROM MONTEREY BAY AQUARIUM’S SEA OTTER RESEARCH AND CONSERVATION TEAM TO ASSESS THE HEALTH OF A SEA OTTER PUP
We live in a generation where we have children experiencing the highest levels of obesity, of behavioral issues. We actually have a generation of children coming into the world today that, for the first time in our nation’s history, are less healthy than the generation that preceded them. And I believe a great reason for that is our failed connection to nature. We live in a time where we have more extinction happening on our planet than since the dinosaurs were wiped out 50 million years ago. Many scientists would argue that we are now in what is called
Extinction, and it’s caused by this perfect extinction storm: climate change, habitat loss, pollution, unsustainable exploitation of species and habitat resources, and of course, human population explosion. All of these factors work together and conspire to drive a species to extinction on our planet, every half an hour. But I have hope because we also live in a world where thirty years ago, the bald eagle was on the brink of extinction. But today they’ve recovered. The American alligator was pushed
to the brink of extinction—we now have millions of alligators. We know that when push comes to shove, [we can] drive ourselves to save our planet. We have great evidence of that. But we are not far away from the point of no return when it comes to life on earth, and we have some radical choices to make. MP: I’m just taking all that in. I love what you said: “We’re close to the point of no return and we have some radical choices
to make.” That’s powerful.
JC: You can look at something like an amphibian. Amphibians have been on the planet for 350 million years. They have survived five major extinctions. Amphibians are the ultimate canary in the coal mine when it comes to nature. Amphibians are disappearing faster now than any group of animals on our planet, in the history of our planet. We will likely lose 3,000 of the 6,000 amphibian species on our planet within three or four decades from now.
ALL PHOTOS COURTESY OF: OCEAN MYSTERIES/GEORGIA AQUARIUM 24 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
BELOW: JEFF CORWIN HOLDS A RESCUED HARBOR SEAL PUP AT THE ALASKA SEALIFE CENTER DURING FILMING OF OCEAN MYSTERIES IN SEWARD, ALASKA
People could say, “Why? What does it matter?” Right? That’s the big question. “That’s pretty sad, but who cares about little frogs? We have bigger problems to deal with.” But remember, they are the canaries in the coal mine. They are sensitive to the state of our planet. They are sensitive to water quality, temperature, and air quality. When we see these animals disappear, they are a beacon that tells us our planet is in trouble. Many of the medicines we use today, to fight everything from AIDS to cancer, originate as a toxin in an amphibian skin. When we lose these animals, we lose resources. We lose keystone species in the environments where they live. MP: What species are you most worried about?
in Africa, and we actually got caught up in a firefight. It is very, very bad right now. The number one issue that Ocean Mysteries has opened my eyes to is, no matter where you are, whether you’re on a beach in Hawaii, you’re diving in the Pacific, you’re in a remote archipelago, or you’re in the middle of nowhere—I am blown away and sobered and crushed, emotionally crushed, by the amount of marine debris, of garbage, that is now in our ocean. When you’re in the middle of nowhere, when you’re on this tiny little island, probably one of ten people ever to step foot on this island, it’s taken you a week to
the best part of my job— the travel. I’m on the road about ten months out of the year. I may travel to fifteen to twenty-plus countries in one year. That gets pretty taxing. The other challenge is with this series that I’m working on now, Ocean Mysteries, it’s actually
... we are not far away from the point of no return when it comes to life on earth, and we have some radical choices to make.
the number one series in its time block right now. It’s the top third-rated series for new syndication series of 2012. The challenge is that we live in a time where there’s a lot of crap on television. I’m really excited that we can have the theory, that it’s not only the journey, the adventure, the discovery, the fun—but it’s also possible to [talk] about actual history, ecology, conservation, and the role that we all play as environmental stewards. JEFF CORWIN FILMS SEASON TWO OF OCEAN MYSTERIES NEAR SEWARD, ALASKA.
JC: I am very worried about amphibians. We don’t talk about them. Amphibians are so important. I’m very worried about the killing of species in Africa. The lion population is crashing. Everyone thinks they’re okey-dokey but the lion population is free-falling because of human-animal conflict and habitat issues. The poaching of rhinos and elephants is at a high not seen since the days of Idi Amin. It’s gotten so bad that many of these animals require armed guards 24/7 just to survive, and even then it doesn’t work. I was doing a story
get there by boat—and you step near to an albatross nest. It doesn’t even look at you as the enemy. You get this great nature moment. Until you realize the albatross, along with the thousands of other winged albatrosses next to it, has constructed its nest of trash. And that it is feeding garbage to its baby. And that is my next big campaign. I’m trying to crystallize that now and change the state of how we use our planet’s oceans as liquid dumpsters. MP: What is the hardest part about your job?
JC: I think the hardest part about my job is
I do a tremendous amount of diving. We just came back from six weeks of filming in Alaska and a lot of that was diving. I love to dive, I love the experience, but it just beats your body up. You’re diving with water temperatures that are in the forties. It gets hard! MP: What is the best part of your job? You touched on that but what is the absolute best part?
JC: I’m not just a television presenter and producer. I’m a biologist. At my core, I’m a naturalist. What drives me is that moment of discovery. I love the unknown. To be with another scientist and make a discovery and share that with a global audience, or working with bear biologists in Alaska, by helicopter—
JEFF CORWIN KAYAKS IN AIALIK BAY, NEAR KENAI PENINSULA IN ALASKA TO GET A BETTER VIEW OF AIALIK GLACIER
[it’s] really what I’ve given my whole life to. And I get to do that just about every week. Whether it’s being on a glacier with a U.S. Fish & Wildlife biologist as he’s capturing a giant Kodiak bear, or whether it’s [being] with scientists [while they] extract salmon eggs and sperm in the wild to bring a new generation of salmon into the world, or working with manatees in Puerto Rico—we get to have incredible experiences. MP: We’re all fired up here. You just get people going.
JC: I had to beg my kids to go out on an adventure today. Literally, I dragged them out of the house kicking and screaming. So I’m glad I’m inspiring somebody. For me, Ocean Mysteries is such a joy. I love the series. It hasn’t been since Jacques Cousteau that you’ve had a series like this on TV. To have it perform and [be] embraced by the environmental community and the audience that watches it is awesome. The other big project that I’m launching now
is The Jeff Corwin Explorer Series. It’s a series of books all about nature. We’re launching our first book, on sharks. What’s really cool about the books is that they’re all interactive. It’s not only just a book, it has video elements. And we partnered up with some of the number one filmmakers in the business who actually give you a fully immersive, interactive experience about nature. I basically narrate the journey. It’s the best—combining the mediums of television, documentary, and books, to give you this transmedia experience for kids, for families, and for teachers.
ANIMAL.DISCOVERY.COM 26 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
THE URBAN CONSERVATIONIST Urban Sky Islands BILL ULFELDER
Executive Director: The Nature Conservancy of New York
like Rick Cook’s, are about restoring nature and bringing things to life. These roofs can grow food and help restore wildlife habitats in cities. Once you plant a roof green, the first wildlife to arrive are the insects. Important pollinators like beetles, butterflies, and bees begin to buzz around their new oasis. Birds follow, feasting on the buffet of insects. And just as the birds are getting comfortable, predators, much like the falcon on Cook’s roof, swoop in, completing the cycle of life in the heart of the city that never sleeps. We have big parks here in New York City, like Riverside, Pelham Bay, and Central Park. We can connect them with mini-parks on top of our city’s buildings, creating a network for wildlife. These sky islands will allow our urban wildlife to fly or be carried among them, pollinating crops, flowers, and trees, producing honey, and serving as prey to predators like hawks and falcons. Rick Cook knew he had something special when, out of the corner of his eye, he saw a cloud of feathers. A peregrine falcon had just seized a small bird from the rooftop terrace that his architectural firm, Cook + Fox, built on their hundred-and-ten-year-old office building in Manhattan. Cook + Fox, who also worked on the first and largest LEED Platinum skyscraper in the world at One Bryant Park in Manhattan, had created not only a green roof, but a living roof. It was a reminder of the opportunities we can find within forgotten parts of the city.
in a variety of colors: black, white, blue, and green. Black roofs hold solar panels. They can generate abundant, clean, renewable energy. White roofs cool their buildings and reduce energy consumption. In urban areas like New York City, roofs that are painted white reflect the sun’s heat, rather than absorb it as conventional black roofs do. Blue roofs catch rain water. Buildings like Cook + Fox’s LEED skyscraper cycle rain water into the building for use in cooling systems and bathrooms. Other buildings channel water to irrigate vegetation or store it for later use.
There are many kinds of roofs that are good for both people and nature, and they come
But living green roofs are the most exciting for The Nature Conservancy. These roofs,
PHOTOS: THEO MORRISON 28 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
We have 14,000 acres of rooftops in New York City. That’s plenty of room to generate electricity, reduce energy consumption, capture rainwater, grow food, and restore nature.
Yoga in a Bottle. “We don’t compromise ingredients. TumericALIVE sources the highest quality organic herbs to give your body what it needs to burn clean and strong.” Daniel Sullivan — Founder, TumericALIVE
And we can have fun along the way. My family and I recently went to a party held on a large, living terrace 16 stories above the street. It was planted with grasses, bushes, and 20-foottall trees. At the party, my eight-year-old daughter approached me with a sheepish look and said, “Daddy, my clothes are a mess. I’ve been playing in the dirt all afternoon.” Let’s add people to the list of species who will thrive on urban sky islands. WWW.NATURE.ORG
Available at select Whole Foods Markets and health stores nationwide. Now taking orders online at tumericalive.com ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM 29
ERIC JOHN SHAW
HITCH NILS JUUL-HANSEN McDERMID
Austin. Founder. HELM Boots. Founder. Progress Coffee.
Bend. Co-founder. YogaSlackers.
Portland. Yoga teacher.
Brooklyn. Founder. MindBodyGreen.com.
Berkeley. Yoga teacher. Lecturer..
Texas. Creative Director. Artist.
San Francisco. Fearwalk Success Coach.
San Francisco. Yoga teacher.
Commitment is my willingness to live life fully, equally accepting of successes and failures; the truthfulness of holding myself to the same standards of exploration and expansion that I hold my students to; and having unending inquisitiveness and desire for intellectual and experiential understanding.
Commitment is such a powerful word. When I commit to anything—a project, relationship, or a goal—it is a promise I make within myself to bring my highest level of attention to whatever outcome I am manifesting. Commitment is what drives me to become a better teacher, healer, artist, and being for myself and my the loved ones.
Commitment means doing what you set out to do. Every day.
My primary commitment in life is to yoga. That means maintaining integrity with everyone I deal with in the yoga world, with my daily practice, and with daily creative efforts in the field. It means trusting yoga’s still, small voice—and its shouting one!—as my guide in this lifetime.
Being a parent has been the scariest yet sweetest commitment that I [have] ever chosen. It forces me to man up. It’s love and it’s hard work. It’s a vulnerable enterprise! What a great commitment! What an honor wrapped in a well of personal lessons. I learn from my children and I teach them from my experience and perspective. Sometimes a success. Often failing. Oh the joy! Oh the constant challenges! Oh the rewards! I am a proud daddy to my daughter and son. We’re together on a collaborative journey. Never alone. Never off the hook. That is commitment.
When I commit, I breathe integrity and high regard into my being. Fear, indecisiveness, and inaction dissolve. Other attractive options beckon, yet I am proud and content with my choice. I relax into self love and am guided by my chosen path. Choosing to commit, however, is my greatest challenge.
The source of Commitment is Compassion in action. Compassion on an individual level: when there is commitment to the true us. Compassion on the collective level: when there is equal commitment expressed in partnerships of all kinds. It’s to see yourself clearly and entirely, in all beings and all existences. Where there is Compassion there is Real Commitment.
Commitment is staying true to who I am and to those nearest to me. It’s following my heart even when it’s so dark that I cannot see. Commitment is being sure that love and patience and grace lead me in making all of my decisions with family, friends, and businesses.
PHOTO: MATTHEW RAINWATERS
PHOTO: RICH VAN EVERY
PHOTO: COLLEEN WACHOB
PHOTO: MATTHEW RAINWATERS
PHOTO: LILLA NIKOLICS
FEED THE PEACE TURK PIPKIN
LEFT: BLAKE AND HEATHER MYCOSKIE, WITH PAUL D. MILLER, TURK AND CHRISTY, FOLLOWING PRESENTATION OF WILLIE NELSON “FEED THE PEACE” AWARD BELOW: NAMASTE! - THANKS FROM TWO NEPALI GIRLS AT OUR REMOTE EYESIGHT CAMP WITH THE SEVA FOUNDATION
SHEPARD FAIREY SAMANTHA HARRIS
F E E D I N G “There is only one way to eat an elephant...one piece at a time.”
“Feeding America provides food to hungry people coast to coast. Not only that—through their various affiliate programs, they also teach people how to provide for themselves in a healthy way, just like my Yum-o! organization.” — Rachael Ray
— Desmond Tutu, Nobelity
Each year, The Nobelity Project presents The Willie Nelson Feed the Peace Award to a person whose life and work moves us to [create a] more peaceful and just world. The inspiration for the award came from my conversations with Nobel Peace laureates Jody Williams and Desmond Tutu, and with our favorite Peace laborer, Willie Nelson. “Peace is not a vision of a rainbow with a dove flying over it,” Jody Williams told me in my film Nobelity. “Peace is hard work in millions of different ways to make the world a better place for everybody.” In my next film, One Peace at a Time, Willie Nelson advised me that, “Peace is something that has to be taught. We all have to Feed the Peace.” At The Nobelity Project’s Artists & Filmmakers Dinner in 2010, Willie was the first recipient of the award named in his honor. Others have followed: the twelve-yearold Kunik Triplets of Austin—who helped us build a kitchen that feeds 650 students at Mahiga primary and secondary Schools in Kenya—and Blake Mycoskie, the founder NOBELITY.ORG 32 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
of TOMS shoes and TOMS Eyewear, with whom we share a mission to help restore the sight of millions of needlessly blind people around the world. The 2013 Willie Nelson Feed the Peace Award is being presented to musician, actor and activist Kris Kristofferson. You may know Kris as a Rhodes Scholar, an Army helicopter pilot, a prolific singer and songwriter, and the star of over seventy films. But you may not know that Kris has long been willing to lay that hard-earned star power on the line by speaking and singing out for social justice and human rights issues. From the rights of American Indians and Latino farm workers to the voiceless millions who suffered under the oppression of short-sighted American foreign policy in Central America, Kris has never hesitated to speak truth to power. In response to those who took issue with his criticisms of our government, Kris says, “If you believe in freedom, justice, and humanity, you believe in the same things as the founders of our country.” Following in the footsteps of Tutu, Jody, Willie, and Kris, The Nobelity Project
is feeding the peace at seventeen schools across rural Kenya, [in support of] Universal Secondary Education. Our latest film, Building Hope: The Story of Mahiga Hope High School, is now available on iTunes. The full color companion book of Building Hope is at the iBookstore. The Willie Nelson Feed the Peace Award will be presented to Kris Kristofferson on February 10 at The Nobelity Project’s Artists and Filmmakers Dinner at the Four Seasons Austin. For more information on The Nobelity Project or the all-star musical tribute to Kris, visit www.nobelity.org. Join Turk Pipkin and Origin Magazine for a NYC screening of Building Hope at the TriBeCa Cinemas on Tuesday, February 5. Tickets are available for purchase at www. nobelity.org.
“In these tough economic times, it’s more important than ever to make sure every American has access to essential nourishment. Hunger is often suffered quietly, and I feel strongly that we can only solve it by calling attention to its gravity and acting not only with generosity but also with a determination to eradicate this hardship.” — Shepard Fairey “Imagine not being able to feed your child. We can do something to help by making time in our lives to join Feeding America. We can donate our time and our voices to support this cause however we can, as much as we can.” — Samantha Harris
“1 in 6 Americans—including more than 1 in 5 children—struggles with hunger,” I said into the camera of the local TV news. It was these staggering statistics that led me to leave my agency job and put my skills to work toward a good cause.
A M E R I C A
At the time, I was twenty-two years old and working for a global public relations agency. My job was to promote the cause-marketing program of my client, which benefited Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger relief charity. As I mastered the talking points of my client, I also grew to understand and believe wholeheartedly in the charity that it supported. When a job opened up at Feeding America, I jumped on the opportunity to show the organization that I believed in the cause and wanted to work to help end domestic hunger.
support of Feeding America via public service announcements, media opportunities, volunteering, participation in cause-marketing programs, and social media campaigns.
More than 50 million Americans, including nearly 17 million children, are considered food insecure—meaning they live at risk of hunger. It’s the dilemma of keeping the lights on or eating three meals a day; paying for medical bills or feeding the children. Even families that are fortunate enough to have employment may not have the hours or wages they had before the recession, straining the budgets of poor and middle class families alike. Through its nationwide network of 200 member food banks and 61,000 food pantries, soup kitchens, and emergency shelters, Feeding America helps provide food to more than 37 million people each year.
To find out more about Feeding America, visit www.feedingamerica.org.
Through our Entertainment Council of more than fifty celebrities, we are able to raise awareness and elevate the issue of hunger to the broader public. Entertainment Council members actively mobilize the public in
PHOTOS (L-R): GLEN E. FRIEDMAN , ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT / CBS
Hunger is a serious problem in the United States, but the solution is easy. Each of us has an opportunity to help our neighbors in need. Help Feeding America fight hunger by donating funds or food, volunteering your time, or advocating for policies that protect families from hunger.
Donate: www.feedingamerica.org/donate. Every $1 donated to Feeding America helps provide eight meals for people in need. Volunteer: www.feedingamerica.org/ foodbank Advocate: www.feedingamerica.org/ takeaction Shannon Traeger is Communication Manager at Feeding America. She works on the Entertainment Outreach and Media Relations teams. Shannon also manages the Feeding America Blogger Council, a group of amazing people who are true advocates dedicated to promoting hunger relief in their social media spaces.
FEEDINGAMERICA.ORG ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM 33
POWERFUL WOMEN Faith Hunter Washington, DC. Yoga instructor.
Being a powerful woman means having the confidence to speak from my heart and stand in my truth without apologizing for my personal choices and decisions. I feel comfortable expressing my love passionately, and being open enough to share my love with others while feeling vulnerable. I know with certainty that my purpose in life is to share my gifts with the world, and hopefully inspire others to live full, abundant, and powerful lives.
WHAT DOES MEAN TO YOU?
Aarona Pichinson Bee Bosnak New York. Yoga Teacher..
Jenny Sauer-Klein Berkeley. Conscious Business & Relationship Coach. Co-founder. AcroYoga.
Being a powerful woman means that I honor my intuition. I let go and am continually reborn by trusting my infinitely creative nature. I take responsibility for my own happiness, and celebrate relationship as a juicy catalyst for my own spiritual growth. I acknowledge strong women and create a web of sisterhood and empowerment. I love myself unconditionally so that I may unconditionally love others. I embrace my vulnerability as my strength.
Power is the ability, courage, and strength to walk away from anything that makes you feel like you’re stuck. We all get stuck, paralyzed about a decision, unsure of what choices to make, stuck in resentment or disappointment. Stuck in a plan that’s not working as anticipated. Stuck in a destructive, unhealthy relationship. Things feel immovable, entrenched, even hopeless. As human beings, especially yogis, we are actually extremely adept at getting unstuck, at seeing the same things in new ways, discovering new insights, and changing our attitudes. It’s called practice and following your heart. That is true power. BEEBOSNAK.COM
New York. Yoga Teacher. Creator. Curator. Yoga Soundscape.
Being a powerful woman is a journey that’s evolving daily. Am I too much? Am I enough? Power means allowing space for it all: strength, beauty, courage, vulnerability, and leadership. I’ve gone through phases where one or the other was more dominant, and realize now they can co-exist, which is so powerful and magnetic. Real power has a balance—remaining open and transparent with healthy boundaries, focused yet surrendered, able to flow presently within the realm of chaos, and encouraging others to shine.
Gina Marie Dunn Dallas. Artist. Art educator. The Dallas Museum of Art. Yoga teacher.
YOGAOFNOURISHMENT.COM PHOTO: HANNAH THIEM
Whether with a paintbrush in hand or on a yoga mat, I strive to find that state of flow—the place where my mind is quiet and my body becomes a conduit for energy. A mother of three and a teacher to many, I stay centered by finding inspiration from the children and yogis in my life; by taking big risks, letting go, and creating from a place of freedom. I am privileged to share my two passions with the world through teaching.
PHOTO: DANIELLE DOBY
C.C. White Los Angeles. Vocalist. Producer. Musician. Heart healer.
I embrace my womanliness, my purpose on this Earth. Celebrating that exquisite combination of gentleness and strength. Exuding the Ma, Mother Earth, full of Shakti, Feminine Power, and Love. We must continue to encourage, inspire, lead, celebrate, and create. I love to sing and chant Kirtan. That’s my path, my purpose, my life force, to touch hearts, share my gifts, and stir the sweet devotion that lives within my soul. PHOTO: DABLING HARWARD
Communication Manager. Feeding America. Yoga teacher.
I am fortunate to work for two great organizations that, I believe, are bettering the world. By day, I am Communication Manager for Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger relief charity. You may not know, but 1 in 6 Americans lives at risk of hunger. I’m driven to speak out for those facing hunger in silence. From the everyday American who has recently lost his job to the single mother working to put food on the table for her kids. By night, I am a yoga instructor at CorePower Yoga. Yoga infuses my life with a greater sense of calm in this chaotic and fast-paced world. I hope to teach my students that through asanas and a steady breath, the possibilities, both on and off the mat, are endless.
Shakti Sunfire San Francisco. Trailblazer. International Hoopdance Movement.
Cristi Christensen Venice. Yoga teacher. Director. Exhale Center for Sacred Movement and Body.
I am blessed with the opportunity to create an environment for teachers and students to come together to connect, move, and heal. As a teacher, I empower students to create and express themselves through the embodied practices of yoga, dance, and meditation. Every day I get to see people’s hearts come alive and awaken to the grace of who they are. CRISTICHRISTENSEN.COM EXHALESPA.COM PHOTO: STEVE CRAIG
As women, our bodies teach us first that existence thrives on rhythmic, cyclical change—what was once the perfect structure will eventually fall away. Often we fear letting go of an old paradigm, or the closing of a chapter. But when something dies, something is born. I have found that true power as a woman is to move with courage, which means to “have heart.” To rest into our innate, intuitive capacities for deep listening and to heroically sync with the great cycles of life’s free play. SHAKTISUNFIRE.COM
PHOTO: HEATHER GENE
Florida. Yoga teacher. Writer.
Melissa Hall a.k.a. ALIA San Francisco. Women’s Empowerment Coach & Musical Artist.
A powerful woman is tribal. Where weak people see a threat, she sees the potential for growth and community. Powerful women support each other by recognizing themselves in other women’s struggles and triumphs, instead of indulging in jealousy and competitiveness. It’s my duty as a powerful woman to be myself—honest, quirky, empathetic, accessible, and unabashedly me. Strong women are beautiful way beyond their skin—it lies in their drive, discipline, compassion, and willingness to shine and share. KATHRYNBUDIG.COM PHOTO: ROBERT STURMAN
I ﬁnd a woman powerful when she knows her own truth and charts her own path. She is vulnerable and also ﬁerce when needed. She speaks up and reveals who she is. She befriends her shadow. She gives the gifts she’s here to give. She is just as radiant and switched-on as she is brilliant. She revels in being a woman. She values people and honors life.
Janet Stone San Francisco. Yoga teacher.
As a yogi who’s also a Mama and a Mama who’s also a yogi, I find power in surrender. My girls are my greatest teachers. The beauty of this journey of yoga and mothering is that it returns me again and again to the pure potency that exists in the simplest of practices: planting my feet on the earth, inhaling and exhaling a complete breath, opening my ears, and surrendering to whatever’s arriving right now. JANETSTONEYOGA.COM PHOTO: MARIO COVIC
FEMVOLUTION.COM ALIARHYTHMS.COM PHOTO: DARREN MILLER
New York. Yoga teacher.
New York. LAc. MAOM. E-RYT 500.
New York. Yoga & Pilates Instructor.
Seane Corn INTERVIEW PART II: MARANDA PLEASANT
Everyone has power. It’s how we use our power that matters. Asking, “How can I help?” over “What can I prove?” Choosing to empower those who forgot their power. Respecting yourself and your gifts enough to contribute to the world in a graceful way. Respecting the individuality of others. Organizing people around systems that provide security, elevation, and expansion. Respecting consciousness and working to sensitize personal humanity and compassion.
Power is showing up courageously in the moments that we shine and in the moments that we fall, equally. It is displayed most vividly when we are vulnerable and exposed. Only when we know ourselves intimately can we fully embrace it. Our true power is portrayed in our ability to stand firmly in what we believe and still bend over backwards, without losing site of our vision.
True power is kindness. I feel the most powerful when I am kind to myself and to others. Through practicing yoga, I learned to respect my mind and body. By honing my skills as a yogi, teacher, wife, daughter, sister, friend, writer, and role model, I gain the power to open my heart. To be skillful is to be powerful and to be powerful is to be kind.
Maranda Pleasant: What would you say to the woman struggling with an eating disorder or a body image? Is there anything about the way we treat our bodies, our innerdialogue, any of that?
Yoga helped me to connect with
Seane Corn: My hope is that anyone who is dealing with an eating disorder or body dysmorphia chooses to find support and help. There are so many different kinds of therapy to support this, because the disorder is coming from something else. From trauma. For me, there’s control. There’s something so much deeper going on that must be addressed. This is a situation that’s impacting so many of our young girls because of the perception that very often the media and celebrity culture is putting on young women: that their value runs side by side with the way that they look. And there’s a real attachment to that perception. We’re not educating our children well enough to not buy into this rhetoric or this trance.
repressed my bigger feelings were and
MP: What makes you vulnerable?
Kelly Green Florida. Yoga teacher.
I believe true power is allowing others to learn their own lessons on their own time. In the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, aparigraha (non-hoarding) instructs us to never take away someone else’s lesson. It teaches us to refrain from passing judgement or pushing our views on anyone else. Being powerful is to be passionate and understanding. We have no idea what a person might be going through. We can, however, seek to understand ourselves better through our own work and be brave enough to set an example for others to follow. A true teacher—a powerful teacher—simply guides with love. KELLYGREENYOGA.COM
SC: Vulnerability has been something I’ve had to work on. I was raised in an environment with all men. Not my mom, of course. I have brothers, male cousins, uncles. My environment is very male and they’re men men, you know? New Jersey men. Being vulnerable in my household was considered a weakness and if I wanted to play, I had to learn how to play with the big boys. I had to learn how to fight. I’ve never gotten emotional over things easily. No pain, no gain. I know how to just fight through things. I’m not suggesting this is healthy, but it is the way I was raised. Yoga helped me to connect with my body, to understand how deeply repressed my bigger feelings were and are. It helped to create a space where I could safely release the emotions without feeling ashamed or afraid of their power or even their messaging. I rely now on my vulnerability. It’s still something I have to work [on] with my natural
my body, to understand how deeply
are. It helped to create a space where I could safely release the emotions without feeling ashamed or afraid of their power or even their messaging. mechanics, which is to quickly shut down. It’s yoga that has taught me my vulnerability, but what makes me vulnerable is honesty, is intimacy, when I’m in the presence of injustice or suffering. What makes me vulnerable is when I’m also in the presence of other [people], especially young women, who are shut down. I feel very empathetic to that defense mechanism and that can bring up my own vulnerability. I identify with it. Those are things that make me vulnerable today and I’m very grateful that I do have a tool that allows me to process my bigger feelings so that I’m not shoving them down. I believe that it’s going to be my vulnerability that will make me—that is making me—a more effective, more empowered leader. Without my vulnerability I’m just one other person trying to tell other people how to live their life. With my vulnerability, I’m simply sharing how I live my life and hoping that perhaps it can inspire others to want to see their own experience through a different, and hopefully more vulnerable, lens.
PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER HEDLUND PHOTOGRAPHY YOGAVOTES.ORG 38 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
THE STAR WOMAN: NOTES FROM THE XINGU STORY AND PHOTOS: CAROLINE BENNETT
Tears swirled with drops of sweat as smoke spiraled up the corner of a dusky hut, its inner walls pierced by a cascade of rays that shot through cracks and cast a golden glow on her crimson-painted face. “For strength!” she said in her native Kayapó chant-like tongue, and gestured [at] me to follow. She took my hand with strong fingers, weathered and black with fresh paint, and curiously twirled a lock of my foreign blonde [hair] with the other hand. I sat cross-legged next to her on the earthen floor. Her wise eyes caught mine and softened as I smiled. She began to paint my body.
In the Kayapó myth of the Star Woman, a legendary heroine, the metamorphosis from star to human being is realized through the use of body painting and decoration. In the Kayapó myth of the Star Woman, a legendary heroine, the metamorphosis from star to human being is realized through the use of body painting and decoration. Red and black insect and animal-like markings zigzag and speckle the tan skin of Xikrín men, women, and children, who believe that painting their bodies allows them to more easily connect to the spirits. I closed my eyes and envisioned her, a goddess wrapped in the same intricate pattern emerging on my right bicep. Earlier that day we arrived in Potikrô after navigating the vast waters of the Volta Grande to reach the heart of Xikrín territory on the bank of the Rio Bacajá, an affluent of the Xingu south of Altamira in the heart of the Amazon of Brazil. The Xikrín are a subgroup of the Kayapó, the westernmost group of the Northern Gê. The Kayapó—who call themselves “Mebengnôkre” or “people of the big water”—are divided into fifteen autonomous groups, each with its own name
and distinct cultural characteristics. Our invitation had come from the Bacajá Xikrín, who live in eight communities scattered about the river’s lofted clay banks. Scrambling up a grassy hill from the river, the village is a central plaza bordered by spacious thatched huts leading to the surrounding forest. Homes create a nearly perfect circle around a central “Men’s House”—a political, juridical, and ritual meeting space that is said to represent the center of the universe. It was there that I realized the tragic dimensions of the physical threat to the very pulse of the Xikrín people posed by the looming construction of the Belo Monte dam. The day before, I had stood on the bank of the newly constructed cofferdam, a precondition to permanent damming. Its menacing red clay wall barricaded the life flow of the mighty Volta Grande, the “Big Bend” of the Xingu River. Communities to the east already faced flooding, and were forced to flee their homes as water crept up through their floorboards. Southern tributaries like the Bacajá would soon suffer opposite effects as the dam sucks them dry.
With projects like Belo Monte looming, I wondered if the Xikrín ever wished they weren’t trapped in these human bodies, faced with a deteriorating physical world. If the dam is built, healthy, clear rivers will be replaced by impassable creeks and stagnant puddles full of dead fish that will become the breeding grounds for malaria-carrying mosquitos. Rural riverine communities who rely on fish for nourishment and livelihood will be forced to the shanty outskirts of nearby Altamira, an industry boomtown that is already alarmingly overcrowded and taxed by a rapid influx of migrant workers.
It is likely that the Xikrín will no longer be able to navigate the Bacajá River to the city, cutting off access to a world they’ve become dependent on, and making medical help unreachable. Having pushed indigenous peoples closer to dependency on the outside world, the Brazilian government now plans to sever the connection, assuaging the region with meager gifts and misleading promises. “Caroh-lee-não,” she whispered. Her rendition of my name sliced through the quiet with a melodic Kayapó accent that surprised us both. My mind was buried deep in the sounds and smells of the rainforest, and lulled by the methodical stroke of a wet reed on my skin as she painted. Visions of the Star Woman. With projects like Belo Monte looming, I wondered if the Xikrín ever wished they weren’t trapped in these human bodies, faced with a deteriorating physical world. Take me back to the sky! Back in the smoky hut, I opened my eyes to find intricate networks of celestial constellations dancing down painted arms. Caroline Bennett is an award-winning storyteller and the Communications Director at Amazon Watch, a nonprofit organization working to protect the rainforest and advance the rights of indigenous peoples in the Amazon Basin. Amazon Watch works directly with indigenous communities and at the regional and international levels to protect ecologically and culturally sensitive ecosystems in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru, where millions of acres of rainforest and wetlands are under threat from oil and gas development, mega-dams, roads and other unsustainable infrastructure projects. Join Amazon Watch to stop the Belo Monte dam and work to protect the Amazon rainforest and its peoples! www.AmazonWatch.org/take-action
AMAZONWATCH.ORG 40 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
THE POWER OF
OUR FAVORITE COUPLES WORKING TOGETHER TO SHIFT THE
DAVID LIFE SHARON GANNON CO-FOUNDERS JIVAMUKTI YOGA
DEVA PREMAL+ MITEN
ACUPUNCTURIST. AYURVEDIC COUNSELOR. YOGA TEACHER.
JESSIKA SCOGLAND BAILEY YOGA TEACHER
NEW YORK SANTA MONICA
There is always a struggle between the forces of darkness, or ignorance, and the forces of light, or intelligence. Imbalance in this internal struggle manifests in the outer symptoms of war, hatred of the Earth, jealousy, cruelty, poverty, and greed. My vision is toward the light. Life in balance is really what I’m talking about. This intelligence includes intuitive knowledge as well as analytical knowledge—and a life in balance reflects those two aspects of consciousness.
Mantras are scientifically-created healing sound formulas. Soul food. Our work is to share the benefits of their energetic properties with as many people as possible.
James: The vision of my work as a healer and yoga educator is to share the possibility of a life process that is true, authentic, and real; to inspire an awakening to authenticity as the highest expression of faith in oneself.
For the past twenty years, we have traveled the world (over twenty countries per year), playing in festivals, cathedrals, theaters, schools, and prisons— bringing people together to chant and to participate in sacred community.
Jessika: As a yoga instructor and student of psychology, I aim to guide individuals to their unique balance by blending the ancient traditions of yoga and mindfulness together with the scientiﬁcally validated evidence we discover through modern psychology.
Even though we’ve been exposed to mantra practice for many years (Deva was born to the sound of her father chanting the holy Gayatri Mantra to her and consequently she chanted it all through her childhood), the transformational quality of chanting the mantras has never ceased to amaze us!
GINA MURDOCK FOUNDER AND DIRECTOR, ASPEN YOGA SOCIETY. TRIP COORDINATOR, VIRGIN UNITE CONNECTION TRIPS. BOARD MEMBER AND CONTRIBUTOR, ASPEN CENTER FOR ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES (ACES), AND CENTER FOR LIVING PEACE.
JERRY MURDOCK FOUNDER OF INSIGHT VENTURE PARTNERS. BOARD MEMBER AND CONTRIBUTOR ASPEN INSTITUTE, SANTA FE INSTITUTE, ACES, SHAMBHALA.
THE POWER OF
DR FRANKLIIN ROSE
ROB THOMAS FOUNDER. PRESIDENT. SOCIAL(K)
SUE THOMAS NURSE.
PLASTIC SURGEON. DIRECTOR AND FOUNDER OF THE HOLLY ROSE RIBBON FOUNDATION.
MRS CINDI HARWOOD ROSE SILHOUETTE ARTIST. DIRECTOR AND FOUNDER OF THE HOLLY ROSE RIBBON FOUNDATION.
JUAN RUIZ NAUPARI
Gina: My core belief is that we are stronger together than apart. My work is about building up and nurturing community, collaboration, and fun! By sharing experiences, learning, and growing together, we evolve as a species and will create a better world. Love thyself, each other, and the earth!
INTERNATIONAL DIRECTOR. INKARRI MULTICULTURAL ASSOCIATION. CREATOR. PNEUMA SYSTEM.
CIELA RUIZ NAUPARI CREATOR. PNEUMA YOGA.
ASPENYOGASOCIETY.ORG VIRGINUNITE.ORG SPRINGFIELD
Rob: We enjoy living in a sustainable community. Started with Co-op daycare almost thirty years ago for our three kids. Found a way to do the same with my work. Built 401(k) with more “green” fund options than previously offered. Currently building model to move pension funds to community lenders.
Dr. Franklin Rose: Individuals who have breast reconstruction after a mastectomy have higher self-images, quality of life, and live longer. The Holly Rose Ribbon Foundation also offers reconstructive surgeries, psychological support, and a platform for wellness through empowering others.
Juan: My vision is that humanity will experience a reconnection with the unknown God. This God is not the God of the masses, it is the Deep Inner God. The center of Love, Peace, and Inspiration for a new world.
Sue: I love to teach our children, and others, the value of sustainability and responsibility toward each other and ourselves. To teach nutrition and self-reliance at a young age, I brought gardening to the schoolyard for 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders. Seeing the kids brag about the vegetables they grow and eat is a great feeling.
Mrs. Cindi Rose: Inspired by my sister Holly Harwood’s battle with cancer, my goal is to help cancer survivors globally through a raw foods approach to give them a longer, healthier life. By offering free postreconstruction, wigs, and meaning though healthy living, opportunity translates into a longer life.
Ciela: It is within my deepest prayers that humanity will awaken to the truth and have the courage to go beyond the ego towards illumination, surrendering to the Divine Mother, walking the path of a celestial warrior, and allowing God to express through.
ASPENINSTITUTE.ORG SANTAFE.EDU ASPENNATURE.ORG
Jerry: Having recently retired after a long career of investing in innovation and technology companies, including social media companies that are changing the world, it appears to me that we are at the dawn of a new era [in which] a vast majority of humans will be directly connected to each other. Through social media, we are working together to create a world where we can share our wisdom and life experiences with each other [in order] to foster greater empathy and understanding in the battle against ignorance, fear, and hatred.
VIKI PSIHOYOS COMMUNICATION ENABLER. EARTHVISIONZ.
LOUIE PSIHOYOS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR. OCEANIC PRESERVATION SOCIETY. DIRECTOR. THE COVE.
Viki: I love the intersection of technology and activism. Now that we have the tools to connect, inform, and inspire, thoughtful people everywhere are creating a world that they truly want live in. Louie: I want to create a legion of activists inspired to save the world from the impacts of burning fossil fuels by using the most powerful weapon: a great film.
PLASTICSURGERYROSE.COM HOLLYROSERIBBON.ORG SILHOUETTESBYCINDI.COM
INKARRI.US PNEUMAYOGA.COM OCEANACTIONTRACKER.COM
KIA MILLER RADIANT BODY YOGA
TOMMY ROSEN YOGA FOR ADDICTION RECOVERY
TARO SMITH AVID EARTH CONSERVATIONIST. HEALTH ADVOCATE. CO-FOUNDER. 90 MONKEYS.
AMY IPPOLITI AVID EARTH CONSERVATIONIST. ANIMAL ADVOCATE. YOGINI. CO-FOUNDER. 90 MONKEYS.
BOULDER WWW.AMYIPPOLITI.COM 90MONKEYS.COM
SIANNA SHERMAN YOGA TEACHER.
THEODORE KYRIAKOS INTEGRATIVE TRANSPERSONAL PSYCHOTHERAPIST. SAN FRANCISCO
Kia: I see the pain that comes from disconnection and the deep healing made possible through the path of yoga. As within, so without. There can be no peace in the world until we find inner peace. We must build a bridge to each other’s hearts.
Tommy: Every spiritual tradition talks about a shift in consciousness. For me, the world of my dreams is inhabited by people dedicated, for real, to the common good. This becomes possible when we overcome all addiction and embrace love. My work is focused there.
Amy: My vision is to help create a “yogarmy” of conscious, awake, alive humans who know how to live on the planet sustainably, [and] how to treat each other, nature, and animals with compassion and respect—all while courageously having an adventurously good time! Taro: My vision is to create neverseen-before art that raises awareness for health and wildlife. My lifelong passion is to help people become healthy in their bodies, hearts, and minds. I enjoy coaching conscious entrepreneurs to reach their potential, get empowered, and gain stability to fully give back to the planet.
I envision a world where love leads the way in our hearts. My sacred play is to help others shift from fear to love, see obstacles as opportunities, and expand at each new edge for the benefit of All Beings.
I see All Beings like the many facets of a perfectly cut diamond reflecting One light in a multitude of ways. Through transpersonal psychotherapy, I focus on integrating all aspects of oneself so we reflect, shine, and manifest that light.
LIGHTING ARTIST. OWNER OF BENTLEY MEEKER LIGHTING AND STAGING. AUTHOR. LIGHT X DESIGN.
ELENA BROWER YOGA TEACHER. CO-OWNER OF VIRAYOGA. AUTHOR. ART OF ATTENTION.
SCHUYLER GRANT FOUNDER, DIRECTOR. KULA YOGA PROJECT. CO-FOUNDER. WANDERLUST
THE POWER OF NEW YORK
Bentley: If I created a relationship between humanity and its light, I would be very happy with my work here on earth. If we had a greater understanding of how light affects us, both physically and spiritually, a lot of magic would unfold for us as individuals and collectively. Elena: I want to create context for families to talk more freely, and to help us make space in our bodies so we can be nimble in our minds and present in our hearts.
PHOTO: DR. MARK HYMAN
Our primary mission with Wanderlust is to create community, specifically to bring people together around mindful living: yoga, personal spirituality, organics, environmentalism, and ethical consumerism. We believe a more mindful society can address a wide array of our worldly challenges, and [can] also lead to happier, more balanced lives. We are blessed to work with the most talented people and in the most beautiful places in the world. Because of this, occasionally, a little magic happens. We yearn for Wanderlust to be a place that is at the very least fun, and at the very most, personally transformative. Schuyler started KULA Yoga Project over ten years ago and that community has been our muse—dynamic people passionately engaged in their practice but also in the process of trying to live good lives that are also good for the earth and those around them.
PHOTO: MARIO COVIC
THE POWER OF
JOE THOMPSON OWNER. JOUNETSU DESIGN.
LES LEVENTHAL YOGA WITH LES.
MARCI ZAROFF SAN FRANCISCO
Joe: I have been blessed with a passion for design. I believe my purpose is to be of service; to transform people’s homes; to create comfortable, nurturing environments that are unique, fit [my clients’] lifestyles, and allow their souls to be rejuvenated. Les: I endeavor to inspire people to practice yoga by offering them a safe, sacred journey to transform their lives, to live their dreams, and break down barriers that separate us from each other. [I endeavor to] elevate all the qualities already inherent within.
FOUNDER. UNDER THE CANOPY. FASE. CMSO. PORTICO BRAND GROUP. PRODUCER. THREAD DOCUMENTARY.
FOUNDER OF CONQUERING LION YOGA.
VICTOR JUHASZ ILLUSTRATION. MEMBER. JOE BONHAM PROJECT.
FOUNDER. METABRAND CORP. CO-FOUNDER. STEAZ. CO-FOUNDER. I AM ENLIGHTENED NUTRITION.
PRESIDENT. MATTHIESSEN STRATEGIES, LLC.
TERRI COLE LIVE FEARLESS AND FREE.
SANTA MONICA NEW YORK
Marci: Empowered by the protection of life, human health, the environment, social justice, and future generations, I coined the term “ECOfashion” to define the interconnection of food, beauty, and fiber by fusing ecology and fashion. My mission is to revolutionize the global fashion and textile industries. With a passion for love, consciousness, and commUNITY, my vision is to live in a world where organic/eco-friendly products are the norm, not the alternative. Eric: My vision to change the world for the better “one-sip-at-a-time” was founded in a deeply rooted upbringing based on the Universal Law of Attraction, whereby thought and intent create one’s life reality. Millions of individual bottles carry my messaging of Positive Intention, like a megaphone meant to inspire and ignite the individual to strive to be conscious and connected, to not only follow humanity, but to follow our Mother Earth and our father sky.
MARCIZAROFF.COM PORTICOHOME.COM THREADDOCUMENTARY.COM METABRANDCORP.COM THINKIAM.COM
Kelly: I marry people to the Earth. May we come to know our futures are forever bound. May we care for Her as deeply as we care for our own children. May the Earth heal us so that love may reign supreme.
Victor: I use the power of witness art to bridge the gap between the public and our catastrophically wounded returning veterans. Telling their stories through art brings understanding, empathy, and healing.
Alex: The single most important thing we can do and must do to save the planet is impose a tax on carbon and other forms of pollution so that the true costs of polluting our environment are reflected in the costs of the products we consume.
Terri: Fear is a feeling, not a fact. I envision a world where people are informed and inspired to action by their fears rather than paralyzed by them. This shift in perception can and does expand all possibilities.
PHOTO: LINDSAY MORRIS
KATE HOLSTEIN OWNER. KATE HOLSTEIN PHOTOGRAPHS.
MATT HOLSTEIN ASPEN SNOWMASS SOTHEBY’S INTERNATIONAL REALTY.
Kate: Through photographs, I seek to share the incredible beauty I see in every aspect of the world, even in the most hidden places. All that is going on around us at every moment is a miracle. We are often moving so quickly that we neglect to stop and take it all in. My wish is that my photographs help people slow down, to feel a deep sense of gratitude and awe for the immense beauty that surrounds us. I believe that the more gratitude we have for our world and those in it, the more peaceful we will act towards our fellow human beings and all living things on the planet Earth.
Matt: I live life by the mantra of BALANCE. Whenever something is unhealthy, unhappy, un-fun, and un-cool, it is because it is out of balance. When it comes to matters of the mind, the body, the economy, or the environment, we all need to take the time to slow down and ask the simple question, “Does it feel in balance?” Whether you are surfing a wave, managing relationships, or running a business, things can’t stay out of balance very long before all hell breaks loose. Too much play is no better than too much work, and too much money is just as big a problem as too little. Balance is beauty.
AMY CRONISE-MEAD MFA. YOGA TEACHER. CO-FOUNDER. CO-DIRECTOR. YOGADHARMA.
WILL MEAD BFA. BSN. CO-FOUNDER. CO-DIRECTOR. YOGADHARMA.
Amy: The mission is to help bring about more kindness, a world of authentic kindness. It creates room for a multiplicity of perspectives. It creates a deep thriving, and greater happiness. “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” HHDL. Will: I’ve been blessed to see that intentional service to others creates the world we live in. Through relationship, work in the world, work on the mat and cushion, I shed biases and obstacles to joyfully, generously love. This we teach.
HILLY FLORA YOGA TEACHER. VEGAN CHEF. CO-CREATOR OF NADI YOGI TEACHER TRAINING.
CRAIG DAVIDSON ENGINEER.
RACE CAR DRIVER. ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVIST.
LMT. YOGA TEACHER. CO-CREATOR OF NADI YOGI TEACHER TRAINING.
Hilly: I teach from my practice. Yoga-asana and bodywork are the containers in which I practice equanimity in the face of fear, doubt, joy, epiphany, and release. My practice shows me that through all the trials of embodiment and spiritual evolution we can cultivate peace, awareness, and simplicity. Practice yoga and practice kindness to all beings, even those you have not learned to love yet. Ben: My vision is to help people tap into the happiness that lives within each of us. I teach yoga and do bodywork as a way to help people break free from the blocks that prevent them from knowing themselves and living a happy, meaningful life of service.
THE POWER OF
Craig: The world is at an interesting cross roads. There is an increasing acceptance of global warming; however, greed is also becoming a key factor in the health of our planet. I see the need for the masses to buy into our crusade, and this can only be done via innovative education, and putting forward a plan to make green ($$$) through going green (eco). As an engineer, I look at this challenge as an exciting time full of amazing opportunities to develop solutions through technology and process development. It is up to us focus the great minds of the world on finding these solutions. Leilani: Charles Darwin once said, “It’s not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It’s the one that is most adaptable to change.” It’s time for us to adapt how we are living. This generation must answer to the most noble of duties: to ensure the survival of future generations with the most basic of survival mechanisms—adaptation. We need to move from fossil fuels to renewables, address overpopulation through education, and conserve the biodiversity on Earth and her oceans before it’s lost forever. My goal is to utilize my role as a driver to spread awareness outside the environmental community. If we only address those who already agree with us, then who is going to change the minds of those who don’t?
PHOTO: ANGELA PURSELL PHOTO: FAITH ESSARY
DEB CHAMBERLIN ROBERT WYNN CO-OWNERS. ESAH MUSIC.
DEBCHAMBERLIN.COM ROBERTWYNNPRODUCTIONS.COM THETIMEHASCOMEFORPEACE.COM
Deb: Through my songwriting, screenwriting and live performances, as well as the coaching of other singers and artists, I seek to contribute to a world where airwaves carry heart-opening, mind-widening, spirit-lifting entertainment to elevate and inspire audiences everywhere. Robert: To create, produce and help others create—through music, video and multimedia— artistic expressions which convey passionate performance, unique voices and visions, for a greater good.
JEREMIAH MCELWEE CANDICE HOLDORF
KK LEDFORD YOGA TEACHER. CELESTIAL COUNSELOR. ASTROLOGIST. SAN FRANCISCO
NATURE DREAMWEAVER ARTIST. LOS ANGELES
WRITER. PERFORMER. SEX & LIFE COACH AT THE ORGASMIC LIFE. KK: My heartfelt vision is steeped in freedom of wild individuality and radical authenticity, living so fully and shining so brightly that it blesses the cosmos, and my work is to empower others in that realization and activation. Nature: The intention of my art is to love, serve, heal, educate, entertain, and free all sentient beings from the illusion of separateness. The vision of my art is to create a dream reality that manifests heaven on earth.
CHELSEY+JASON MAGNESS YOGASLACKERS.
Chelsey: My goal in this life is to create more play, freedom, and consciousness by pushing myself and others to constantly reassess what is possible. Through my relationship with Jason I am inspired, challenged, and loved so much that it feels easy to continually share with others. Jason: My goal is to personally focus more on relationships and inspire others to do the same. The idea of “I” has such limits, while “we” is infinitely expansive, whether in relation to other humans, all beings, or nature.
THE POWER OF
ADAM GORDON TRANSFORMATIONAL COACH.
EXECUTIVE WHOLE BODY COORDINATOR. WHOLE FOODS MARKET.
ANGELA MAY GUERRANT
OWNERS AND DIRECTORS. BHAKTI YOGA SHALA.
VICE PRESIDENT OF SALES. GAIA HERBS.
Candice: My vision is a world where women are celebrated for their appetites; where love and sex are not treated as currency; where prayer is medicine; where vulnerability is revered; where play, pleasure, desire, and orgasm are noble principles.
Jeremiah: Vertically integrated, transparently labeled products that people are proud to purchase and our children will not have to clean up after in the future. A loving environment for our children to thrive in and grow into powerful, healthy individuals.
Adam: I believe that we are already our own greatest teacher. I help people let in their deepest experience by moving past learned shame, judgements, and fears. From this place of acceptance, true genius is revealed.
GOVINDAS + RADHA
Angela: Aligning consumerism with conscious choices, and growing a brand that honors people and planet with every bottle. As much as I love what I do professionally, co-creating a home filled with laughter, love, truth, and learning for our family is my most important work. The two are often in synchronicity, which is a beautiful thing!
We live for love. As our guru Neem Karoli Maharaj says, “Love is the strongest medicine.” The time is now! 2012 is a great time of awakening. We are blessed to have this sacred time together. Say yes to love, truth, service, healing, and the celebration of this gift called “life.” Reach as deep into your Heart as you need to find the nectar. There are so many challenges during these times, but there are so many more blessings. Make the choice to see it. Live from your soul. Live in an unlimited universe. Grace is Everywhere if we choose to see it. Find your inspiration in Love.
THEORGASMICLIFE.COM CANDICEHOLDORFCOACHING.COM GENERATIVERELATING.COM ADAMGORDONCOACHING.COM
PHOTO: KARL BABA PHOTO: MARIO COVIC
PHOTO: SHAWN RAECKE
DENISE+ ERIC ANTONINI
LILY CUSHMAN + JEREMY FRINDEL
CO-FOUNDERS. YOU AND THE MAT.
FOUNDERS OF THE BROOKLYN YOGA SCHOOL. NEW YORK
Jeremy: I strive to use my body and mind as a vehicle of love in the world. Planting seeds in the shape of movies that take root in hearts. And when necessary, running through the city in only underwear and a cape.
Collective Vision: We celebrate visual poets, melodymakers, storytellers, and soundtrackers of sunsets. We aspire to share the art of yoga with everyone who has ever longed to unwind, unplug, and connect with a deeper, more authentic version of the self. We create moments of calm, glimpses of now, and flashes of inspiration. YOUANDTHEMAT.COM
Lily: My aim is to realize the full human potential and to help others do the same. To embody compassion, wisdom, and happiness. I currently own and operate a donation-based yoga school where I teach Classical Yoga and lead chanting.
ONTRACKHEARTMOVIE.COM SUBSTRATUMFILMS.COM BROOKLYNYOGASCHOOL.COM
PHOTO: PETER BALOGH
THE POWER OF
JEREMIAH WALLACE+ SEAN HALEEN
ROGER+ ALBINA RIPPY
ACTOR + YOGA TEACHER
CO-OWNERS. YOGAONE STUDIOS.
SAN FRANCISCO HOUSTON Jeremiah: I’ve always wanted to do something important. As an actor, I thought that meant something big and obvious. But small things make people smile too. For now, I do what I can with the little things—but I’m getting bigger! Sean: My vision through teaching Yoga and philosophy is to heighten awareness of how we treat each other, the planet, and ourselves. I believe Yoga and Buddhist philosophy are the catalyst for compassion, mindfulness, and the respect that seems sometimes obsolete. .JEREMIAHWALLACE.COM SEANHALEENYOGA.COM
Vision: To change the world, one breath, one body, one person at a time.
YOGAONEHOUSTON.COM IN-POWERED.ORG FODICEFOUNDATION.ORG
Dreams Come True Through Laughter
Just last week, I was running around the Tonight Show Studio taking pictures with the likes of Jay Leno and Sarah Silverman. This is something I thought would be impossible—me being the oldest of five kids from South Central L.A., having a schizophrenic mom, going into foster care, and not knowing how to fit in. How could I ever be making my Dreams come true?
RACHEL P. GOLDSTEIN
I don’t start the cyber part of my day until I have meditated, consumed green juice, and exercised. Sunday is a no-tech day. Rachel Goldstein: What inspires you most?
Terri Cole: Being a witness and a catalyst for clients to embrace their pure potential and create happy, meaning-filled lives.
RG: Do you spend time away from the internet? If so, where and what do you spend your time doing?
TC: Loving deeply makes me vulnerable to feeling loss deeply.
TC: I don’t start the cyber part of my day until I have meditated, consumed green juice (that Vic usually makes), and exercised. Sunday is a no-tech day. We split our time between the New York Berkshires and the East Village in Manhattan. If we are in the country, we hike, snowshoe, do yoga, spend time with my sisters and my mother, cook the bounty from Vic’s organic garden, and read. If we are in the city, we walk, spend time with friends, cook, and exercise.
RG: Where do you see yourself in five years?
RG: What do you do to stay balanced? Mind, body, and spirit?
TC: I see myself continuing to empower people to expand their idea of what is possible through writing, speaking, and media. I see Vic and I spending a few months a year traveling around the country visiting our ever-growing blended family. I see myself rocking a hardcore daily yoga practice with an incredibly flexible, healthy body.
TC: Every day I meditate, do an energy routine that my friend Lara Licharowicz created, and use Emotional Freedom Technique (The Tapping Solution) to stay balanced. Four times as week, I do a combination of yoga, Intensati, and Zumba. I have mentors, am in therapy myself, and have incredible friendships that I count on to keep me sane. I also put a high priority on having fun while doing everything.
RG: What makes you happy?
TC: Being anywhere and doing just about anything with my husband, Victor. RG: What makes you vulnerable?
RG: How would you guide the youth of today in hopes of providing a platform of love and honesty?
TC: I would challenge them to think for themselves, look within, find a mentor, be kind, and volunteer their time. TERRICOLE.COM 56 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
RG: When you go to sleep at night, do you feel accomplished that you are making a difference in the world? Tell us about what makes you smile most.
TC: I have no doubt I am making a difference, as I see my clients and students transform their lives. Like many conscious people, I want to do more and reach more people who are in emotional pain. My awesome blended family makes me smile most. Fifteen years ago, I married a widower with three sons. I don’t use the word “step” because there is no step between us. Creating my family with Vic and the boys remains the single most important defining experience of my life. RG: What is your guiltiest pleasure?
TC: My subscription to People magazine just might be my guiltiest pleasure.
When I was nine, my mother was involved in a really bad car accident that my siblings and I should have been in. Thanks to me getting my mom to give me some responsibility, we were not in the car. I told her, “Let me babysit. I can make hot dogs, rice, eggs, and all kinds of food for us kids. You can go to work and not have to worry about us.” With a menu like that, all she had to worry about was our lack of fiber. She worked the night shift, so most of the time I spent babysitting, my siblings would be asleep. Off my mom went, to work, trusting me with the kids. I was so proud then. Three days went by and my mom did not come home from her job at the post office. You can imagine the stress. I was nine years old. I started to worry. We were running out of food; as the one in charge, my sisters and brothers were really working my last nerve. My mom eventually came home, after having had an accident and going through the windshield of her car, but she was never my mom again, and I was no longer a kid. My relationship with my mother deteriorated as the physical and verbal abuse escalated. By the time I was 13 it got really bad. We were split up and put in foster homes. After being shuffled around, we all got to live with Grandma. I kept getting into trouble at school. The social worker finally got tired of coming to my school and said, “Tiffany, you have two choices this summer...you can go to the Laugh Factory Comedy Camp or you can go to psychiatric therapy.” I was like, “Which one has drugs?” She didn’t give in to my joking around. I decided to go to comedy camp. The Laugh Factory gave me a voice and an outlet for my pain. I would not realize how much I needed comedy until many years later. If I could talk to the me I was fifteen years ago, I would say, “Tiffany, keep doing what you are doing and be yourself, no matter what they say. You will hit some hard times but if you just believe in you, so will everybody else.”
My awesome blended family makes me smile most. Fifteen years ago, I married a widower with three sons. I don’t use the word “step” because there is no step between us. TWITTER: @TIFFANYHADDISH ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM 57
One of the greatest gifts in becoming a father was that it opened me up to a whole new perspective and sense of
IGNITING POSSIBILITY: FOR YOU & OTHERS
responsibility for others.
BARON BAPTISTE For me, living greatly is not born out of solitude but in standing for others. I’ve heard plenty of people talk about how they aren’t sure what they want to do with their lives. [They are] unclear as to how they [might] attain purpose, dissolve stagnation, or otherwise move their lives forward. I’ve also heard from some who insist on how organized or perfect their lives must be before they’ll have the freedom to really live. What’s missing here is standing for others and the magic of opening up to something bigger than oneself. Before I had my kids, my life was pretty mefocused—my yoga practice, my relationships, my view of the world. It’s not that there is anything wrong with this. My experience, however, left me feeling alone, isolated, and disconnected. One of the greatest gifts in becoming a father was that it opened me up to a whole new perspective and [sense of] responsibility for others. The magic that emerged from there was rattling, full of energy. It provided the opening for growth and vitality. As a teacher, it’s pretty remarkable to stand at the front of the room and share from a place of standing for reality, possibility, and humanity. It’s not about how great the words coming out of my mouth are, but about the emergence of future teachers and leaders. These are the teachers and leaders who then
go out into their classrooms to ignite new realities and possibilities for their students. It is incredible to witness so many Baptiste teachers and leaders emerge from their shells and contribute so powerfully to their local communities and the entire planet. We have teachers in the trenches of Nairobi slums, dissolving barriers and building an empowered future for hundreds of thousands of Kenyans a year, through the Africa Yoga Project. All over the U.S., we have teachers leading yoga classes for soldiers who have just returned from overseas. And in the year ahead, we’re partnering with Yoga Journal to bring more than a dozen Baptiste teachers to share their love of the practice with hundreds of yogis at the Baptiste Power Flow Immersion in Colorado. I’ve lost count of how many times people have
expressed their gratitude for Baptiste Yoga and the global community that continues to evolve and find expression in the world. It’s a reality that emerged out of the possibility of connecting and sharing this practice with others, and allowing the expansive results of the practice speak for itself. Working with people, building relationships, and creating community is a real, empowering place for me to live and stand in. It’s the context where possibility and empowerment thrive, for myself and for others.
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INTERVIEW PART II: MARANDA PLEASANT
ROD STRYKER In the end, yoga for me is all about three things: more joy; being able to collect your capacity so you can have more of what you want in real terms; and ultimately—this may be the most important of it all—less fear. Maranda Pleasant: With new beginnings and fear, how do people get stuck?
Rod Stryker: Expectations. There is this expectation that as January 1st dawns, we’re going to do it differently. Moreover, there’s this kind of pressure, that even if I’ve been trying to be different for a while, January 1st, from here on in—I have to be different. There’s a cultural expectation, there’s a personal expectation. I think it’s worth just taking pause for a minute and talking about that. Because it really, once again, comes back to fear. Fear is what inhibits us moving forward. According to the yoga tradition, fear is the source of dis-ease, decay—physical harm, when we’re not thriving. And then finally, it’s even the cause of death. That kind of fear that accompanies us at every step of the way, even when we’re ready to move beyond fear—we have a fear that we can’t get past it. In the end, yoga for me is all about three things: more joy; being able to collect your capacity so you can have more of what you want in real terms; and ultimately—this may be the most important of it all—less fear. That part of us that is meant to lead us in life, from which we are meant to lead, and from which we are meant to have guidance. The very thing that compels us to breathe, compels us to find hope in the midst of darkness—that part of us gets buried and overshadowed by fear. And my hope and my prayer for people would be to find and gather themselves such that their self-understanding, their willingness to act in the face of fear, [imbibes and imbues them] with enough faith [that] is bigger than their fear.
stopped being about poses decades ago. The word for it in Tantric tradition is shakti. Collect the shakti. Collect the power. Because our fear has power. And our fear is paralyzing, and our fear sets us off course. So it’s about gathering and collecting that power, waking it up. And dedicating your life to honoring it.
I love this idea. For some people it may be kind of off-putting. But the idea that fear accompanies us at every step: the point is that our courage has to be bigger than our fear. Our self-acknowledgement, our dedication has to be bigger than our fear. As 2013 dawns—and this has kind of been an age where in itself, there’s fear around 2013, this big number, the end of the Mayan calendar, et cetera—can we gather all that we need to overcome these expectations and let conscious guide us to a place beyond the fear? That’s, for me, what yoga is about. It
PHOTO: CARL KERRIDGE FOR WHERE IS MY GURU 60 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
WWW.PARAYOGA.COM ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM 61
Working with my students challenges me to express love in many different ways—including refusing to indulge my students’ bullshit.
Ana Forrest INTERVIEW: MARANDA PLEASANT
Learning to love is one of my advanced asanas. I am still discovering new depths today. I am enchanted with the myriad ways to express and feel love.
Internationally acclaimed yoga teacher, author, and creatrix of Forrest Yoga, Ana Forrest has been changing people’s lives for thirty-eight years. We talk to her about life lessons, love, beliefs, and what delights her Spirit.
Maranda Pleasant: You had a traumatic childhood. Was there a turning point in your life?
Ana Forrest: There have been many incredible turning points in my life. At age eleven, I caught my mother’s fist in mid-swing and realized that I could stop her. That action changed the violent patterns. I turned from being terrified, to stopping the monster—that was a powerful moment! I once jumped off a cliff to end my suffering but—impossibly—didn’t die! Failing suicide, the next turning point was making my jump for life. I leaped into a yoga teacher training course, leaving behind the horse world, the drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, and who I had been. A powerful gift that came from the many turning points in my life is the ability to learn from anything. I realized that my own moments of truth could help others to deal with emotional and physical trauma, and teach them to quest into their own life adventure.
That’s one of the reasons I wrote Fierce Medicine. Which leads me to another turning point—to live my life in a way that makes me proud of myself. To choose actions that brighten, not dim, my Spirit. MP: What does love mean to you? What do you love?
AF: My prelude to experiencing love came from working with horses. They taught me the foundations of good relationship; touch as a form of communication; respect and curiosity; listening and observing; and clearly communicating what I want. The horses taught me different ways of touching—how to stroke gently on their soft velvet nostrils and vigorously scratch itchy spots, like on their belly. I learned to use grooming the horses as a physical expression of affection.
Animals are good teachers. In the Native American way, we call the animals Sweet Medicine. The horses showed me that affection and tenderness was possible—that blew my mind. Today, I grow my love in teaching and practicing yoga. Working with my students challenges me to express love in many different ways—including refusing to indulge my students’ bullshit. It’s a miracle that I feel love every day. Having lived without love, I cherish how precious it is. I love ceremony—the act of connecting to the sacred and communicating. I have a deep love for Earth and Sky. My spirit gets deliriously happy when I am touching the starfields. When I lay my hands on a student, a friend, my Beloved—my intent is to touch with the spark of love moving through my hands, [enriching] us both.
I love exploring the mysteries of life, death, and the cosmos. I see myself as a passionate scientist, testing for what works and what doesn’t. Learning to love is one of my advanced asana. I am still discovering new depths today. I am enchanted with the myriad ways to express and feel love. MP: What do you believe in? God?
AF: Instead of God, I use, “Wakan Skan.” Wakan means the Great Sacred. Wakan Skan is a Lakota word, which translates as: “[The Great Sacred] that moves in all things.” Wakan Skan is a truth I can encompass. “That which moves in all things” is a fact that I feel is true. I’m wedded to living in the truth. MP: What has life taught you?
AF: There are other options to end suffering, besides suicide. [Life has taught me] to open my senses beyond my conditioning. [To] perceive the Beauty and Mystery all around and within me. Life has taught me that I can make a difference by teaching the people how to heal and quest for their own Spirit. This begins the
cleansing of the rivers of humanity. I have devoted my life to my Spirit pledge of Mending the Hoop of the People. I see many things that need healing: The acts of violence that we do to ourselves and each other— genital mutilation, beating and raping our children, killing over different beliefs and the myriad ways that we destroy this beautiful planet. The Forrest Yoga team is giving our people tools—and the skills to use them—to heal the anguish in their life. By walking this Good Medicine road we learn respect for ourselves and others. As we heal, we get more generous of heart. I encourage each of you to quest for finding your part in Mending the Hoop. Join us in making a difference. MP: What do you hope for?
AF: I have high hopes for the People. I know that we have just barely begun to tap into our potential. I hope that the tools of Forrest Yoga and Fierce Medicine get our people enchanted with learning to use all of their brain and whole body in a Good Medicine way. I hope we get more fascinated with connecting to our own spirit and actualizing
our potential, rather than having our life dictated by fear. I hope we learn how to live in balance and beauty with Earth and Sky and all the other inhabitants. I hope that we focus our considerable brain and heart power on how to clean our air, waters, land, and relationships— to mend the damage that has been done. I know that this is possible. On a personal note, I hope to ride my motorcycle into the wilderness!
I have high hopes for the People. I know we have just barely begun to tap into our potential.
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eco-conscious clothing hand-made in the USA
Jonny Kest INTERVIEW: TRISH KING
photo by Andy Richter
Trish King: What inspires you?
where there’s a sense of beauty and truth.
Jonny Kest: I’m constantly inspired when I meet someone who is vulnerable, someone who opens up their life and is true to themselves, even if that means disappointing others.
TK: What do you do with pain?
TK: What does home mean to you?
JK: I try to see it, feel it, and experience it as a sensation that doesn’t own me, and that arises and passes away. TK: Does that change with practice?
JK: What’s coming up for me is love. Just unconditional love. That can be anywhere. It could be right here with you, and it could be with my family at home.
JK: It takes work. I’ve gotten to points in my meditation where I’m able to observe it, sometimes even smile at it, and see how long it lasts. At some points, even enjoy it.
But it’s rare. Most love is conditional—it’s given expecting something back in return. Maybe we wouldn’t even call that love. Maybe we’d call that craving.
TK: What is the thing that’s most on your heart right now?
TK: What is commitment for you?
TK: What makes you vulnerable?
JK: Being around others definitely gives me permission to be vulnerable. Stepping out of my own box of comfort. It could be going on a rollercoaster. It could be trying something that I haven’t tried before. Starting again. TK: In class today, you talked about going to the edge of those boundaries. Is that part of vulnerability?
JK: It’s allowing yourself to step into the unknown. To breathe and relax around uncertainty. That happens when you’re vulnerable. It can happen really in any relationship. Your relationship with your lover or your relationship with food or the earth. TK: What does relationship mean to you?
JK: It means to be intimate. It’s a level of intimacy where you don’t hide anything, CENTERFORYOGA.COM
a more conscious decision, and see how that turns out.
JK: My children. Being there for them and being a light, rather than a judge. Being a model for them. TK: Do you see yourself in them?
JK: It’s being in truth and not wavering. Obstacles come up and there’s a tendency to want to run or go a different route. Commitment is really staying [on] the path that is true. TK: What is your personal commitment?
JK: Seeing myself in them, absolutely. But almost seeing a better self, a lighter self, a stronger self. You know how we all wish to go back and do our lives over again? To me, kids are our opportunity to start again and have them come to those same roads that we came to, and maybe make a different or
JK: I came to a point where I realized the commitment is really to myself—to be honest, to be truthful in every moment. That extends to my family. But if I just do it for my family, it’s not enough. The commitment’s not strong enough. It has to be to myself.
One Man’s Humble Quest to Heal His Colitis, Calm His ADD, and Find the Key to Happiness “This awesome book made me laugh out loud. I kept thinking, it’s high time that a man told his Eat, Pray, Love story.”
— Desirée Rumbaugh, creator of the Yoga to the Rescue DVD series
A CELEBRATION OF SUN, SEVA & SANGHA
Montego Bay, Jamaica Jan. 31–Feb. 3, 2013
“From its first hilariously humiliating image to its closing words of grace, Brian Leaf’s memoir is an unfolding miracle.”
— Rebecca Pepper Sinkler, former editor of The New York Times Book Review
| www.newworldlibrary.com www.misadventures-of-a-yogi.com
Caribbean Yoga Conference
For more info & registration, visit
caribbeanyogaconference.com ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM 67
David Romanelli INTERVIEW: TRISH KING
Trish King: Tell us what inspires you.
David Romanelli: I’m inspired by human beings acting human these days, and what it means to express your humanity instead of your technology. Everybody is so techfocused, including myself, that I think we’re losing access to certain joys and pleasures, and certain parts of our capacity to experience life. TK: What makes you vulnerable?
DR: Fear. The quote that I always use is, “What are you running from, what are you running to, and why?” TK: What are you afraid of?
DR: I am afraid of not enjoying life to the fullest extent possible.
DR: I am working on creating this movement I call the Momenteer Movement. Inspiring people to take a pledge to try to live more deeply in the moment with the people they love. It’s really simple. But doing it right is really important. TK: You were just in New York for Hurricane Sandy. How [was] your philosophy about living in the moment affected by the Hurricane?
DR: You had to really speak to people to get the news. It showed us how little we speak to people these days. Everything’s more and more automated. We know more about what’s going on in Syria than we do about what’s going on with our neighbor. So it was good to get back in touch with people, because you had to get back in touch with people.
People confuse love with this process of needing to find someone, having a healthy relationship—it’s more about just letting go and being open. DR: Someone bringing out in you what you need to see about yourself and vice versa— which is both exhilarating and super painful. Khalil Gibran said, “As love shall crown you, so shall he crucify you.” TK: What is your relationship to chocolate?
Ideal Flooring Solution for the Permanent Yoga Studio
i@ze bram ats.c om
TK: What do you do with pain? TK: What does love mean to you?
DR: I saw this special on RFK, Robert Kennedy. When JKF died, RFK was obviously in so much pain, and he made it a point, according to his wife, that he was going to lead from a place of pain. He was going to feel the pain and not numb himself to the pain, and make that a part of his expression and DNA and being. I was really inspired by that.
DR: “Don’t seek for love, seek to find and remove the barriers that you’ve built against love.” It’s opening ourselves: opening our minds, hearts, muscles, and joints. People confuse love with this process of needing to find someone, having a healthy relationship— it’s more about just letting go and being open.
TK: What is the thing most on your heart right now?
TK: What does relationship mean for you?
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DR: It’s been a great way to have people experience how yoga is relevant. All your senses are heightened, and this little piece of chocolate is a symphony of flavor in your mouth. It’s not just pleasure—it’s ecstasy. TK: What does home mean to you?
DR: Home is being present in your body and in the moment. Wherever you are at any given moment is home. Otherwise we’re always longing to get home. YEAHDAVE.COM
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Tell us the meaning of Catherine Allen
Houston. Yoga teacher.
Love is the ultimate strength that drives me to protect the ones I love and stand up for what is precious to me. Love allows me to see the beauty, mystery, and struggles that we all share, no matter how different or separate we think we are. YOGASUBLIME.COM
L OV E . Miami. Yoga teacher.
Lifestyle of YOGA deep into AHIMSA. Planting seeds of love and unity. Business owner of Brickell Hot Yoga, sacred space in ONE mission of awareness within community. Animal/nature lover. Founded Petsoul rescue to help animals in need. Be the change you wish. BRICKELLYOGA.COM
PHOTO: SOFIA VAN DER DYS
Chicago. Yoga teacher.
When my son was two-and-a-half, he spelled LOVE on our refrigerator. Everyone inherently knows what love means. Even seeing, saying, or thinking love invokes the feelings with it. I can never give too much love, I never run out and the more I love, the more love surrounds me.
San Francisco. Yoga teacher.
I think that love is the way we exist in our purest form—without fear, judgment, or insecurity. Love is warmth, kindness. It the greatest and most powerful gift we can give to each other. Life is fleeting and precious. But love? Love has the power to last forever. PRADEEPYOGA.COM
YOGAVIEW.COM PHOTO: MARIA PONCE
Boulder. Yogini On The Loose.
Love is the ﬁre of the emotional universe. At times it warms and guides us, and other times it burns and leaves a permanent scar. It is our fuel. It is ferocious. It begins as a spark and bursts into a ﬂame—like ﬁre, love transforms everything it touches.
McKinney. Yoga teacher.
Love is the greatest gift we can give to others, and the hardest gift to give ourselves. To me, love means sharing myself completely, openly, and honestly. It means being open to the pain and faults of others [while] still accepting them as they are, unconditionally—and accepting myself the same way.
PHOTO: RICK CUMMINGS / DESIGN: LISA FIREFLY
Los Gatos. Yoga teacher..
Love is living with the question “How can my thoughts, words, and actions benefit everyone and everything around me?” And then offering the best I have to each moment, again and again. Love is a practice. The more I practice, the more love there is. I love this practice!
PHOTO: LEILA CRANFORD/AADYA ARTS
Cedar Falls. Yoga teacher.
Mary McInnis Meyer
As a kid, when scary things tried to get me in my dreams, a part of me would emerge right there in that unconscious realm to yell, “I have love!” And I would dissolve my foe in short order by radiating love. All my life I’ve known it—love is the real superpower.. FIELDOFYOGA.COM
PHOTO: WILL KERSLAKE
PHOTO: MOLLY WADE PHOTOGRAPHY
San Diego. Founder. Jeans 4 Justice.
For me love is about deep connection and dedication to practices that create vulnerability by interweaving self-expression with sacred service. Jeans 4 Justice is a channel for love, compassion, and devotion to our human family, and it holds me accountable to my own self-love while choosing the imprint I make on the world.
Houston. Yoga teacher.
Love is patient, kind, unconditional, non-judgmental. Love is being able to forgive and encourage those around me. Love is the glue that holds my family together, the butterflies that I get when my honey comes home, the force that drives me to share my passion daily. PHOTO: RANDI TRUMBO
Jill Allen Knouse
Denver. Founder. YogaDates.
Boulder. Yoga teacher.
Encinitas. Studio Owner. The Nest Retreat.
San Diego. Yoga teacher.
Chicago. Yoga teacher.
Portland. Yoga teacher.
Albuquerque. Yoga teacher.
Denver. Yoga teacher.
Love is the state we are born into and remains our highest joy in this human experience. I’ve always said yoga is love in motion. When we connect with our true selves, we have the power to transform not only our lives, but also the lives of those around us.
Love is to give. To give is to have. To have is to give love. This chant turned up on my iPod yesterday (thank you, Sat Kar Tar) reminding me that love is more than feelings. It’s the active process of serving another person, and making the commitment to keep it up.
Love is all around us and lives within us. Love is unconditional, intimate, real, magical, warm, abundant, nurtured, sacred, and cherished. Love grows when you have the ability to forgive, to accept, and to nurture your self first. Love is a paradox: it’s what everyone looks for, yet the most difficult emotion to find.
Love is emotion: passion for someone or something. When we are fully engaged with a person; when we really listen; when we share not only strength, joy, and light, but also sorrow; when we are truly compassionate. Without love, we are not fully alive.
My practice for years was love. Over the last year [my practice] has turned into worth. I am worthy of being in a space with another, [with] nature and [with] myself. I am worthy of giving and receiving kindness, compassion, and affection. Love reminds me of new phases, leaps of faith, and trust.
Love is a bear hug from my husband; the sweet sound of my mom’s voice; the nuzzling in of my dogs with their waggy tails and wet noses; belly laughs with family and great friends; quiet times shared in nature; hearing “Aunt Jillie,” followed by just about ANYTHING! Love is the most important thing in my life.
To me, love is something you are, not something you fall into. It creates, it nourishes, it energizes. It answers just about any question we may have. True love is given without limits or conditions. We have an endless supply of it—so why hold back on sharing it? Life is for living and loving!
YOGA-DATES.COM PHOTO: CARL KERRIDGE
OCEANSOULYOGA.COM PHOTO: MAMASTE PHOTOGRAPHY
PHOTO: C PEDERSON PHOTOGRAPHY
Denver. Writer. Yoga teacher.
Love is just like yoga. You have to be willing to try over and over until you get it right. I am not afraid to try, to stand up, speak the truth, and love fearlessly. I am also not afraid to fail, because I can always try again in the morning—after my coffee. WWW.YOGIMUSE.COM PHOTO: SHANNON MARIE CASEY
Chicago. Yoga teacher.
Love is feeling deep gratitude for everything in this gift of life. I constantly work on love—it’s the most rewarding and most challenging yoga practice. Love is genuine relationship with myself above all others. Love is true vulnerability and trust. Without love, I’m not alive. I love love! PHOTO: JIM NEWBERRY
BUFFYBARFOOT.COM PHOTO: ANDREW CLARK
PHOTO: MATT FOSTER
PHOTO: KIRSTI HOLLEY
Topanga. Yoga teacher.
Love is being fully myself and standing in all my stories with courage. Love is about embracing others with full understanding. Love is softening around the edges so I can become a better listener and learn to both give and receive. Love is a practice and a conversation.
L OVE. Tracee Stanley
I experience love as the ability to hear, see, and feel another person without judgment, with compassion for their human experience, and the understanding that on some level we are having the same experience. If we can open our hearts to each other, no matter the circumstance, we can be healed by the energy that emerges. WWW.TRACEEYOGA.COM PHOTO: LESA AMOORE
Connecticut. Yoga teacher.
I see love in acceptance, awareness, and support. I celebrate love with community and connections. I feel love with my breath. I find love in my kids’ smiles, my guy’s humor, and my students’ trust. I hear love in words and in music. I give and receive love. I love. FLYINGYOGINI.COM PHOTO: JOE LONGO
Brooklyn. Founder. YoGirls.
San Francisco. Yoga teacher.
Love in my life has been wild, mad, fierce, and compassionate. There was a time when I didn’t think I knew love. But I was wrong. Love, it turns out, is the only real Guru, the only thing that can turn the light back in towards the heart. STEPHANIESNYDER.COM
Love embraces diverse communities as ultimately reflective of one another. From personal experience to Developmental Consciousness to Quantum Physics, I know balance within myself harmonizes relationships with family and strangers alike. If my YoGirls bicker with each other I say, “Talking to yourself again?” They laugh. They understand. We’re interconnected.
Boulder. Business Coach. Freelance Video Journalist. EveryBody Inspired Media Group.
Love is the willingness and eagerness to see what is real. To embrace, enliven, and elevate it to its full fruition. Love is the implicit promise to our beloveds that we will support them as they move toward fruition; moving seed to blossom, blossom to fruit. LISAMUNGER.COM
PHOTO: FRANCESCO SAPIENZA
I walk down the sandy aisle, making a path to my husband-to-be, looking out into the eyes of my community, feeling my father hugging me, and releasing me to create my own family. The sun glistens on the expansive sea as a living altar. I breathe salty air, knowing that this is love all around me.
PHOTO: BEN EASTER
PHOTO: AUSTIN DARA
Boulder. Community Love Maximizer.
Chicago. Yoga teacher.
Chicago. Yoga teacher.
Kuala Lumpur. Yoga teacher.
Boulder. Yoga teacher.
New York. Founder. KarmaKinetics.
New Jersey. Yoga instructor.
Love is far more than adoration, affection, compassion, forgiveness, and caring. Love is an undeniable, undefinable truth. It simply exists beyond our control. By allowing myself to be more vulnerable to the joy and pain of love, I become more blessed by this truth, this Light, this thing called love.
In the midst of this divinely orchestrated collaboration called life, love is constantly taking all shapes and forms. Love can evoke warmth and spaciousness. Love can be absolutely consuming. Love can change your perception. The true blessing of love is the capacity to have the experience. It is a gift.
Love is the feeling of being complete, of oneness, of wholeness. Love is union with my deepest Self and all of creation. Love is unconditional. Love is giving myself without expecting anything in return. Love is wanting what’s best for another person even if that isn’t me. Love is freedom.
I experience love as warm light emanating from within, connecting everything. Love pervades all. Like the sun at night, it’s there even when we don’t feel it. When love isn’t felt, something hasn’t been fully processed. The final result of any experience completely distilled is love.
To behold the kind of love that touches the space between my breasts, where my soul resides, is the humblest form of love. And if that love can be tenderly layered with an abundance of compassion, it is nearly perfection. Yet I strive to become more, better than I am, because of love.
Anyone can offer his or her own experiential definition of what love is, of what is required to be the best lover or beloved. So then what is it? Love is the ultimate emotional and metaphysical paradox. It is refreshing, restorative, rejuvenating; disordered, divisive, and destructive. Ultimately, love is curiously intangible to our minds, and undeniably intuitive when it is embodied.
There is no power more intellectually overwhelming, commanding, or transformational than that of love. It is utterly distracting. Love can compel us to act without thinking, to f**k without protection, and to say yes instead of no. Why? Love conjures trust; we want to fall into it, to surrender.
Nuanced listening. Offering from the greatest power of vulnerability. Accessing buoyancy simply by walking towards truth. Sitting beside another’s suffering without attempting to resolve. A thread which cannot be broken through space, time, betrayal, or death. Admitting and forgiving our shadows. Honoring another’s emotional timeline. Inspiring the unfolding of grief or joy with tenderness. Pure generosity. Bowing to the past.
CAROLINECOLLINS PHOTOGRAPHY.COM PHOTO: KELSEY PAINE
HNATIWYOGA.COM PHOTO: ALEXIA BAUE
MARCELYNCOLE.COM PHOTO: DAVID SPRECHER
SARAHPOHLYOGA.COM PHOTO: RICHARD CUMMINGS PHOTOGRAPHY
KARMAKINTETICS.COM PHOTO: PATRICK BERTOLINO
YOGAFAROFFTHEMAT. BLOGSPOT.COM PHOTO: JILL BACHARACH
YOGA& VEGANISM PROTEIN, IRON, CALCIUM Q: Where do I get my protein?
Yogi SHARON: Meat isn’t the only source of protein. You can get all the protein you need from a varied plant-based diet. Protein is found in greens, veggies, beans, grains, nuts, seeds, avocados, and so on. There is no need to consume these foods in any special combination. The RDA (recommended daily allowance) is fifty to seventy-five grams of protein per day. On average, most people consume between 100 and 120 grams of protein per day. Not only is that unhealthy, it’s extremely dangerous, as the majority of the protein consumed is animal-based. To find out how much protein you need, take your weight and divide it by three. Rest assured, a whole foods, varied plant-based diet will give you all the protein you need.
you eat dark green leafy vegetables like kale, collards, and mustard greens, you can get enough calcium from a vegan diet. Beans, tofu, cabbage, sesame seeds, seaweed, and broccoli are additional sources of calcium. Calcium from vegetable sources is more easily absorbed by the human body than from dairy products. It’s important to understand that calcium isn’t just about what you eat; it’s also about what you keep. Acidic animal products mine calcium from our bodies. In fact, the countries that consume the most dairy have the highest rates of osteoporosis. If you doubt that you are meeting the thousand milligram
RDA, include calcium-fortified foods like fruit juice, soy or grain beverages, or take a supplement. Also, the weight-bearing aspect of yoga asana practice contributes to bone density and health. Sunlight is essential to the body’s ability to absorb calcium from the food you are eating. Make sure you receive adequate vitamin D every day through sunlight. Sharon Gannon is the co-founder of the Jivamukti Yoga method and the author of Yoga & Vegetarianism: The Diet of Enlightenment.
Q: What about iron?
SHARON: The most healthful sources of iron are leafy greens and beans. These foods also contain calcium and other important minerals. In fact, studies show that vegans tend to get more iron than meat eaters. Vitamin C from fruits and vegetables increases iron absorption. Meanwhile, dairy products reduce iron absorption significantly. Q: Can I get B12 from a vegan diet?
SHARON: A vegan must rely on getting adequate vitamin B12 from a supplement or from eating foods that have been fortified with vitamin B12. If we weren’t so dirtconscious, we would obtain adequate vitamin B12 from soil, air, water, and bacteria, but we meticulously wash and peel our vegetables now—and with good reason, as we can’t be sure our soil is not contaminated with pesticides and herbicides. Today, aged foods, like sauerkraut and miso, are fermented in hygienically sanitized stainless steel vats to assure cleanliness, so we can no longer be sure they will provide us with the B12 we need. Vegans should not mess around with this issue. To ensure that you are getting the tiny amount (2.5 micrograms) you need per day, take a supplement and/or drink fortified soymilk or rice milk. Q: Don’t I need to drink milk to get enough calcium?
SHARON: No. In fact, drinking milk and eating dairy products can rob your body of calcium and contribute to osteoporosis. If JIVAMUKTI.COM 76 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
NOT FOR YOU, NOT FOR YOUR FRIENDS Altering my
SARA ELIZABETH IVANHOE For some of us, it is hard to imagine that there is still a majority of the country that thinks yoga is either a threatening form of religion or “just stretching.” When I speak to friends and students about this, I often hear in response, “That’s not true; everyone I know does some form of yoga.” Correct. Everyone you know. In the year 2000, when I was approached to create the Yoga for Dummies DVD, the goal was to reach out to a demographic that had no idea what yoga was. The creators of the program sat me down to explain: “This is not for you, and it’s not for your friends. It’s for people you will never meet.” It was an aha moment for me. Having done yoga since I was fourteen years old, talking about it to other yogis was easy for me. But now, my mission was to see and speak to the bigger picture. At first, I resisted the thought of “dumbing down” the teachings, as if doing that wasn’t the “real yoga.” The irony, of course, is that in expanding my perspective, I was able to feel more union, connection, and Yoga than ever before. Altering my language to speak to a broader audience didn’t make me feel like less of a real yoga teacher; it made me feel like more of one. Yoga for Dummies was a huge success, selling in the range of four million units worldwide, and it was translated into several languages. To this day, I still receive emails from people who watched it on Netflix, got it from the local library, or picked it up in a rural supermarket. These are people who would never have gotten near something with a Sanskrit title but felt comfortable with the Dummies brand. Because of that, they have begun a consistent practice, and usually, these students move on to deeper practices of yoga at a gym or studio. Many of them have even become yoga teachers, having started their journey with a simple Dummies video. Many contemporary yoginis feel disconnected from our families or childhood friends
because we have become immersed in a practice we know to be so valuable. We feel that because we practice yoga, we are different from them. We feel separate and cut off from others, the opposite of what yoga is meant to teach us. If we want to include our loved ones in our practice, we should speak to them in a language they understand. When someone who is new to yoga asks you about the practice, don’t balk at their ignorance. Instead, calmly yet enthusiastically share a few simple benefits and ways they might get started. Maybe just show them how to take a nice deep breath, or do a simple shoulder stretch. This is not to proselytize, but to connect. “Yoga” means “connection,” and it is meant to be shared. It is not meant to be shared just with “you and your friends.” Yoga is how we make new friends.
language to speak to a broader audience didn’t make me feel like
Aspen Yoga Society strives to Unite and Ignite the yoga community to create positive change locally and globally.
less of a real yoga teacher; it made me feel like more of one.
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HEALING FROM ANOREXIA JENNIFER PASTILOFF
It sees my ugliness, realizes it is becoming part of me, I of it. I am breaking it. I am breaking. For a while, I am still, not yet rooted. Feet still arched over the earth, I talk to my tree. “You are lucky,” I tell it. “You can live on air.” The tree is tired, sags like an uneven breast, One limb lies flat on the stomach of the tree. My body attached to unflinching tree fingers. Its humanness astounds me. It wants to know if I’ll fall off soon? And I will. My bones too are snapping, I tell it, ready to break. Pale and brittle: they lack me. Somehow they can’t carry me. Slowly I am the cedar, willing myself to bark, to puncture the earth, to push forward with no sense of leaving or growing. I will fall off like old cells, bracelets, people trying to keep to a certain rhythm. Like them, I will fall out and off, by accident, or at night while asleep, or without realizing it. I will slip into the hole in the earth, swimming through dark, wet mud, stones, roots. But while here I dangle pendulous, I tell the tree what I am, what has made me, why my bones break, and why, suspended by thin wrists, I hang.
For many years I hated myself. Once I was seventeen years old, I had discovered the addictive drug of anorexia. My self-hatred grew and flourished. It was my badge of honor. Then: yoga found me. The space in between my mind-chatter. Through the yoga
practice, I would find that I was in a space in between my thoughts. I was used to being at the gym, where all I would do was stare at myself in the mirror as I was on the treadmill and criticize myself. In yoga class, I started to find the piece of me I lost when I became so sick. I started to return to who I really was without the mantra of I am so fat, I am a monster. It didn’t happen overnight. I would still feel my rolls as I was in a twist and go into a panic attack. I would all of a sudden remember what I ate and start hyperventilating. The spaces in between got longer—until that was all there was. Until I was living in the space in between, which is who I am.
Teaching taught me. Suddenly I felt accountable. I realized I was talking about acceptance and love—if I had any integrity, I would have to literally be acceptance and love.
People were coming to me for support even before they knew how much I had suffered. I made them feel safe. How could I go back to starving myself or hating myself when people are looking to me for hope?
Mantras or affirmations. I started to teach with mantras. This week’s mantra was, I am peace. When the hands come to prayer in my class, we have a silent mantra. My hope is that we rewire our brain and our thoughts. I always tell my class, “If you don’t like this mantra you can always use, I am fat or I am broke.” It is always up to us. Always. Joyology. I call myself a certified
joyologist. One of the main focuses of my class (and my own yoga practice) is joy. Yoga has again given me that space to play, to be free and silly.
Release. I had stored so much in my
body, so much pain and sadness, that when I practiced yoga I would often sob. I wouldn’t know where the tears were coming from, which used to scare me. I realized I was softening my grip. I was letting go of who I was in order to become who I am.
Yoga did all that. If anyone reading
this needs support in overcoming an eating disorder, please reach out to me or find me at one of my Manifestation Yoga Workshops in a city near you.
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For details visit: www.heldinlight.com 80 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
W H AT I S YO U R
Vinnie Marino VENICE. YOGA TEACHER.
FO R T H I S Y EA R?
VENICE. YOGA TEACHER.
2012 was a very rough year for me. I’m really looking forward to a fresh start in 2013. I’m excited just to be healthy and strong again, and to practice and teach yoga. [To feel] the joy of being alive and privileged enough to share the yoga practice with other people. I want to keep a sense of gratitude in my heart and a sense of humor, always. I’m excited about teaching at the Yoga Journal conferences this year. Teaching my students at YogaWorks Main Street makes me happy every day.
I am continuously humbled by the open hearts of students who acknowledge fear and doubt about our path. May my faith in the practice be a lamp for others! Yoga is a practice of paying attention and of holding attention steady, with compassion—no matter what enters our immense field of awareness. May we all know in our hearts that everything—the good, the bad, the neutral—are equally pointing us to peace. ANNIECARPENTER.COM
Sri Dharma Mittra
SANTA FE. CO-OWNER (WITH SURYA LITTLE). PRAJNA YOGA.
NEW YORK. YOGA TEACHER.
This year, I hope to teach as many as possible to cultivate compassion. In yoga, we achieve this through the practice of ahimsa, or nonviolence: the foundation of yoga. Ahimsa can be thought of as ultimate love for all. Everyone will evolve if they practice in this way. DHARMAYOGACENTER.COM
In my teaching I would like to help people live their dreams, both literally and figuratively. Dreams are important gateways to accessing the spirit realm and dreams help us pose the question, what is real? By getting in touch with dreams, we work with the samskaras of our personal and collective histories. So my goal is to help students travel in the dream-time and live their dreams. PRAJNAYOGA.NET
TEACHERS @ YOGA JOURNAL CONFERENCE JANUARY 17-21, 2013 SAN FRANCISCO
TEACHERS @ YOGA JOURNAL CONFERENCE JANUARY 17-21, 2013 SAN FRANCISCO
Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa LOS ANGELES. FOUNDER OF GOLDEN BRIDGE YOGA CENTER.
Self-forgiveness will create self-love, [and] that will free me to love more. I’ve been gifted in this lifetime with teaching Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan. I pray to live in the presence of love with a self-forgiving heart, serving the world all the time in any way that is presented to me, [and] to help others to become teachers.
David Swenson AUSTIN. YOGA TEACHER.
“A Yogi is one who leaves a place a little nicer than when they arrived.” This simple statement sums up everything that I wish for others and strive to achieve personally. We may each ask ourselves this simple question as the New Year begins: “Is the world a better place by our presence in it?” May we all strive to become a yogi! ASHTANGA.NET
GOLDENBRIDGEYOGA.COM PHOTO: JOE LONGO
SAN FRANCISCO. YOGA TEACHER.
I serve as a vessel of love, practicing yoga so I can see myself fully and truly, and see myself in each one of you. We are meant to collaborate and awaken alongside each other in a wide horizontal embrace. Our wounded places are our magic places, where all transformation begins. Together we walk side by side on this beautiful planet—with love leading the way. OPENTOGRACE.COM
Kathryn Budig FLORIDA. YOGA TEACHER.
Aside from wanting the world to get daily free foot massages and big bowls of pasta that don’t come with any guilt, I’d want the world to be empowered to be themselves. I see people striving to be like others instead of being inspired to be a stronger version of who they already are. It’d be great to see people loving the skin they’re in and sharing their talents with the world. KATHRYNBUDIG.COM PHOTO: APRIL BENNETT
Deborah Burkman SAN FRANCISCO. YOGA TEACHER.
Every time I re-read the Yoga Sutras, I’m in awe of how something so old is still relevant and helpful in everyday life. I feel passionate about not only teaching asana but sharing the philosophical underpinnings of the physical practice of yoga. I want to continue to give my students a context for asana, and therefore give them some of the tools that may enable them to lead more skillful lives. BURKMANYOGA.COM PHOTO: DAVID BURKMAN
TEACHERS @ YOGA JOURNAL CONFERENCE JANUARY 17-21, 2013 SAN FRANCISCO
TEACHERS @ YOGA JOURNAL CONFERENCE JANUARY 17-21, 2013 SAN FRANCISCO
SAN FRANCISCO. CO-FOUNDER OF LAUGHING LOTUS YOGA CENTER. I’m in the process of major change and transition in almost every aspect of my life—mostly [with] being pregnant with my first child at forty-three years old! Growth to me is completely surrendering to this huge life change in every possible way. Like Chogyam Trungpa once said, “The greatest Mantra is: Om Grow Up Swaha.” I continue to work on being a more loving human being to my friends and family. I wish to serve my students and community with joy, courage, creativity, wisdom, compassion, honesty, humility, and [through] learning from my mistakes. These are a few divine qualities I wish to foster within this new being coming into world, [and] through my own actions. SF.LAUGHINGLOTUS.COM
BERKELEY. YOGA TEACHER. This year I am working on forgiveness. In those moments of meditation when the faces of those I’m unresolved with arise, I am pouring out forgiveness for myself and those I’ve misunderstood. My energy is tied up in these knots in ways that I only realize when I’m released. That release—forgiveness—is asked of me every day.
LOS ANGELES. YOGA TEACHER. I am working on greater awareness, on a moment-to-moment basis. As I move through my daily responsibilities, I am working towards being more consistent with my connection to my inner spirit. I embrace peace and contentment with who I am and where I am right now. Through this presence, I am discovering new ways to serve humanity and enjoy my connection to all living things and the world that surrounds me.
SAN FRANCISCO. YOGA TEACHER. My mission is to share the practice of yoga on and off the mat. To weave in the practices of sharing our lives in every way. Uniting communities both in need and in abundance. To teach others that giving back is the greatest gift. No matter who you are, where you come from or what you’ve done—regardless of others judgment—we can all love, heal, and be happy. YOGAWITHLES.COM
SAN FRANCISCO. YOGA TEACHER.
CAMBRIDGE. YOGA TEACHER.
All I can offer is my evolving self through the service and creativity of teaching and practicing yoga. It’s in those moments when I’m most exposed, alive, and connected to my humanity while also standing in the light of infinite potential. In volunteering that honesty, it provides a space for others to do the same. When we can [collectively] touch that deep well of wisdom within us, we create a better world.
This year, I’d like to put myself out of business. I’d like to empower people to become their own yoga therapists. We can’t have world peace without inner peace. My top priority is to help create emotional balance in our global community. On a personal level, I want to stretch my risk-taking by being more willing to not belong, and more vulnerable in my teaching and with loved ones.
PHOTO: MARLA AUFMUTH
TEACHERS @ YOGA JOURNAL CONFERENCE JANUARY 17-21, 2013 SAN FRANCISCO
TEACHERS @ YOGA JOURNAL CONFERENCE JANUARY 17-21, 2013 SAN FRANCISCO
SAN FRANCISCO. FOUNDER. DIRECTOR. MAMA TREE PRENATAL YOGA SCHOOL. With my heart and soul, I commit energy, passion, and love to the teaching of prenatal and postnatal yoga. I believe that honoring women at this transformative time is vital to the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing of all mothers and babies. As a prenatal yoga teacher and midwife, it has been my great privilege to honor and stand witness to this awesome rite of passage.
LOS ANGELES. YOGA TEACHER.
I am working on greater awareness, on a moment-to-moment basis. As I move through my daily responsibilities, I am working towards being more consistent with my connection to my inner spirit. I embrace peace and contentment with who I am and where I am right now. Through this presence, I am discovering new ways to serve humanity and enjoy my connection to all living things and the world that surrounds me. JASONYOGA.COM
Janet MacLeod SAN FRANCISCO. YOGA TEACHER.
As a yoga instructor, dividing my time between personal practice and my students’ needs has been tricky. I love my students and want to help them. The demand on me is compounded by the fact that I am mentor to many certified and trainee teachers. The more I delve into my own practice, the more I will have to offer. This year I am going to make it happen.
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Richard Rosen PIEDMONT. YOGA TEACHER.
My studies lately have focused on little known books of traditional Hatha Yoga, such as the Siddha Siddhanta Paddhati, the Avadhuta Gita, and the Yoga Upanishads. I’m interested in reviving forgotten practices and adapting them for the modern West. My hope is to move forward by going back—that is, to restore appropriately adjusted traditional methods that will expand the transformative potential of our asanacentric practice. .PIEDMONTYOGA.COM
My heartfelt desire, as always, is to remember we’re all brothers and sisters, not separate; love everyone as myself; serve [by] supporting [others] to engage in ways that end their pain and suffering. I’m training teachers to do as I’m doing: delivering iRest Yoga Nidra to active duty military, veterans, the homeless, those in chemical dependency centers and hospital settings, and to youth around the world.
PORTLAND. YOGA TEACHER.
Gary Kraftsow OAKLAND. YOGA TEACHER.
There are two areas of focus for my work over the next year that I am very excited about. First: In early 2014, the American Viniyoga Institute will launch the first accredited Master’s degree program in Yoga Therapy in the U.S. Second: I will be expanding my offerings of the deeper inner teachings of Tantric Yoga through public and personal Heart-Mind retreats, as well as in seminars and national conferences.
TEACHERS @ YOGA JOURNAL CONFERENCE JANUARY 17-21, 2013 SAN FRANCISCO
By the time I reached my late twenties, I had pretty much figured out that I wasn’t going to be able to singlehandedly save the world. Instead, I opted to help ease some of the suffering in the world by using yoga [and] my physical therapy training to help solve musculoskeletal problems—one person at a time. Going into the New Year, I renew that commitment to use the practice of yoga not only to ease physical suffering but also to provide a moment of peace and calm to those who are suffering emotionally and spiritually. GUDMESTADYOGA.COM
TEACHERS @ YOGA JOURNAL CONFERENCE JANUARY 17-21, 2013 SAN FRANCISCO
WHAT DO NEW BEGINNINGS MEAN TO YOU? How would you like to shift the planet?
Cyndi Lee New York. Founder of Om Yoga.
This autumn has offered complete change to nearly every aspect of my life. I’ve learned that beginnings don’t always feel welcome or arrive with clarity or seem manageable. Which is what’s so good about them—the eye-opening vibrancy of getting thrown off your game! Years of vinyasa practice are helping me remember to sit in the middle of not-knowing; neither running away, nor running toward. Hanging out with new beginnings is not easy but it is alive!
EuGene Gant Miami Beach. Yoga teacher.
I’m shifting this planet with Sound, Breath, Movement, and Divine Spiritual Wisdom. I use these practical and basic tools in playful ways so every age and size can access the power and wisdom of their own hearts and change the face our planet! Love and Light.
Santa Fe. Yoga teacher.
New Beginnings always follow endings. They are the windows that open after doors close. I try to remember this whenever I feel afraid or when I feel that I am too old to start again. My life can never be ruined by events that happen—it can only be changed. If something comes to an end, it simply means that now there is something else for me to do.
Los Angeles. Yoga teacher.
Every breath is a new beginning. Every day is a new beginning. We have the opportunity not just to act and react upon the experiences of the past and our deeply embedded memories, but to create and empower ourselves and our experience of the world. Yogic practice has this power: the power of a consciousness to know itself and to create itself, even as we are simultaneously created by bigger forces. NOAHMAZE.COM
Ashley Turner Marina Del Rey. MA. MFTI.
New beginnings require trust. When we let go, release what is no longer, and begin anew, we put our faith and trust squarely in the unknown. We dive into the mystery. I’m not great at letting go, especially in relationship. But I’m working on it. I pray. Practice breathing deep and visualize the future and how I want to feel. ASHLEYTURNER.ORG PHOTO: JAMES WVINNER
PHOTO: BENJAMIN THACKER PHOTOGRAPHY
PHOTO: BOBBI FABIAN
Lauren Jay Toolin
Sue Elkind Co-founder. DIG Yoga. Author. DIG Pregnancy, Birth & Baby.
Each time I have taken the risk to leap courageously in the direction of my heart and birth something new, I have manifested more joy and abundance in my life. I believe that every new beginning is an opportunity for me to stretch my creative potential, to trust more fully in myself, and continue to deepen all the relationships in my life that truly matter. DIGYOGA.COM
What makes you come most alive? Worcester. Yoga teacher.
I find myself absolutely (and somewhat irrationally) enthralled by the smallest, most meaningless things: when sunlight through my kitchen window strikes my teapot just so, eating a perfectly ripe banana—wow! That’s when I fully appreciate the gift of being me, and breathing right here, right now. LAURENJAYTOOLIN.COM BE-A-YOGATEACHER.COM
PHOTO: ANGEL BEESON
COMMUNITY LEADERS TELL US
Miami Beach. Yoga teacher. Balancing, aligning, and expressing masculine and feminine energies is my passion. I connect to my own divine powerful strength through movement and teach my students how to do the same. Together, we can all shift the planetary imbalance by first choosing sustainability, and by patiently working on balance within ourselves. WWW.JENNIFERPANSA.COM
WHAT INSPIRES THEM
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Mimi Rieger Washington, DC. Yoga teacher.
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My students are my inspiration, my foundation. They feed my spirit, encourage and propel me to be a better teacher, seeker, daughter, sister, and friend. WWW.PUREFITNESSDC.COM
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Mill Valley. Yoga teacher.
My gay, single, yoga teacher dad who adopted a one-year-old at forty-one because he felt it was his path. [He] is raising a beautiful, unabashed, tireless s on. [He] inspires me to be less concerned and savor this moment more. My grandparents’ marriage of 50+ years. My teacher who can do poses I can’t pronounce—[he inspires me] because of his commitment, not the poses.
Yoga is my passion. I genuinely care about every student that walks in the room. I love empowering students to develop and enjoy the benefits as I guide them to deepen their practice physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Sharing the benefits of yoga by connecting breath to movement and releasing thoughts is how I learn the most as a teacher. It is gratifying to watch my students grow daily, building strength, endurance, flexibility, and a sense of inner peace, helping them to discover their highest potential. Namaste.
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Edie Weinstein a.k.a Bliss Mistress. Pennsylvania. By Divine Design. This opti-mystic wants people to share all the gifts that life offers, to become mistress or master of their own bliss. People who experience themselves in that way can be a greater force for good in the world. WWW.LIVEINJOY.ORG PHOTO: TERREE O’NEILL YEAGLE
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Elizabeth “Ela” Wojtowicz West Milford. This life I have been given inspired me. This disability of Cerebral Palsy has inspired me. I am a very unlikely person to be doing Yoga, let alone be teaching Yoga. I feel that Yoga came to me at a time in my life, as a breakthrough lesson. PHOTO: ROBERT STURMAN
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steve gold “ C O M M U N I T Y I S T H E N E W C U R R E N C Y– COUNT ME IN.” Steve Gold: Ask me anything. What do you want to know? Zoë Kors: Boxers or briefs?
SG: None. They get in the way. ZK: So you have an underwear sankalpa?
SG: Yeah, I’m shedding layers—as many as possible, as quickly as possible. It’s just more laundry. ZK: Nice.
SG: When I show up, there’s never an intention to entertain. The intention is to connect with people. Music and singing are my tools for doing that. Along with that I tell my story, which is the archetypical story of the person who’s wandering in their dark night of the soul, and meets teachers along the way who bring him back to the truth. If I’m really teaching anything it’s simply that “I am and so are you. And let’s all sing about it.” It becomes a highly spirited hootenanny. It’s celebratory of our connection back to source. ZK: Tell me about your teacher.
So I saw you playing at the Chopra Center recently and one of the things that I didn’t realize was how much teaching you weave into your music.
The Maestro was my voice teacher in Seattle. He’d had a very rich history at Carnegie Hall and his students were Bing Crosby, Bob
INTERVIEW: ZOË KORS
Hope, Judy Garland, and many others. I happened to meet him at the end of the road, when he was in his eighties. I didn’t realize at first, but he was a metaphysician. One day he looked at me very enthusiastically from the piano accompanying me, and declared, “I love you.” My reaction was total silence. And then he looked at me and said, “The problem is you don’t love yourself enough.” And in that moment I felt like glass. I felt broken. At the same time I felt his love. And he said, “No one’s going to love you as much as you love yourself.” [laughs] And of course that was incredibly disappointing! At this time, I was starting to sing in the yoga world. I’d go to him for lessons and every time I showed up he’d ask, “Are you speaking while you sing?” And I’d say, “Oh, sometimes.” And he’d say, “Speak more.” He was encouraging me to share his teachings. ZK: What was the Maestro’s most powerful teaching?
SG: Most people lie to themselves in the negative
“Most people lie to themselves in the negative often, so why not lie to yourself in the positive?”
often, so why not lie to yourself in the positive? As you affirm, God confirms. It takes some practicing. Go tell yourself how wonderful you are. Tell yourself you’re the best at what you do. Tell yourself how much you love yourself. Of course, it feels odd to begin that practice, because you’re so used to telling yourself otherwise. And until I met him, I hadn’t fell in love with my own voice, and I hadn’t aligned myself with my larger purpose in life. Because it was really all about me and my self-limiting beliefs or the negative lies I had been telling myself. What he taught me was so powerful. He said, “What anyone else thinks about you is none of your business.” This was hugely liberating. He gave me permission to be my authentic self, stand in my purpose, and to do it in front of an audience. ZK: And how does this serve them?
SG: They, in turn, become reconnected with themselves and the feeling in the room is inspiration. They feel fulfilled again. They feel that they’ve been bridged back, and I imagine it serves them because they feel a lot better than when they arrived. ZK: One of the things I was struck by the other night—I don’t really know how you do this—you seem to have an ability to personally connect with each of the few hundred people in the room.
SG: It’s a combination of intention to do that and willingly stepping into a place of incredible vulnerability. By taking that step first, I invite them to come play with me. I could stand there in front of everybody and get all tripped up and think any number of negative thoughts—“I’m going to screw up, nobody’s going to like it.” –whatever. Or I can say, “Honestly, I don’t really care what happens here.” My intention is to sing openly. Allow my heart to sing. And when I do it, people join me. Even if they think they can’t sing. That’s the most beautiful part. I sense that they’re being fed or healed. They’re finding their own voice again. ZK: And by the end you have a room full of people singing like they’re children.
SG: Five years old and under. [laughs]
PHOTOS: AMIR MAGAL 94 ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM
I tended to sing with my eyes closed. It was kind of self-involved. And one day the Maestro, looked at me and said, “Sing with your eyes open and look at people. Connect with them. They want to be seen and they want to see you.” Well, of course they want to be seen. I want to be seen. And I want to see them. One thing I’ve woven into my live performances when we do “So Much Magnificence” is, at the end I will often incorporate George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord.” And the lines are so beautiful: I really want to see you, I really want to be with you, I really want to know you, I really want to show you. And everyone connects with each other. How can you do that with your eyes closed? [laughs]
“What anyone else thinks about you is none of your
ZK: It all comes back to connection and community…
SK: Yes it does. Community is the new currency—count me in. This is my motto for living. And it comes from the knowing that I am connected. If I ever have a sense that I’m not, I know I’m lying to myself and I need to turn the ship around. So for me, if I remember who I am – I am love, I am peace, I am light – I am inspiring others to remember who they are. We are connected to ourselves and to each other. That is the true source of abundance. ZK: Tell me about your affiliation with the Chopra Center.
SG: Earlier this year I was invited to participate in the Seduction of Spirit Music and Meditation Retreat with Deepak Chopra. It was a wonderful opportunity to support the yoga practitioners in their asana and meditation practice. Through leading them in song I became the vehicle that brought them into a deeper feeling of the teachings. That association now is expanding. In 2013, I’ll be accompanying Deepak at a number of retreats and of course my teaching is integrated into that, too. It’s been a wonderful surprise for me, and a blessing.
ZK: So there is power in vulnerability?
ZK: Thank you, Steve. As you like to say, “You are wonderful!”
SG: When I used to sing as an entertainer,
SG: [smiles] Yes I am. And so are you!
business.” “ Receive a special discount when you register for:
The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga Retreat January 17–20, 2013 La Costa Resort & Spa Carlsbad, California http://www.chopra.com/ yogaretreat-jan2013# Discount Code: stevegold
Steve Gold creates powerfully positive music that heals and inspires. His rendition of “So Much Magnificence,” the title track of his first album, can be heard in yoga studios around the world. Steve teaches Mantras for Manifestation and Voice of Magnificence workshops, showing people how to use music and intention to actualize their deepest desires. His latest album, Let Your Heart Be Known, has been called “a soulful genre-buster, destined to be a classic” by LA Yoga magazine. STEVEGOLDMUSIC.COM ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM 95
ORANGE ROBES, RED LIGHTS AND SAINT FRANCIS: A Conversation with Lilias Folan ANDREA MARCUM
Master Teacher Lilias Folan has been teaching her thoughtful style of yoga for over forty years. Recognized as the “First Lady of Yoga” since her television show debuted on PBS in 1972, she has an audience that includes housewives, executives, artists, seniors, members of Congress, Olympians, and at least one former president. Also a prolific author, she released Lilias! Yoga!: Your Guide to Enhancing Body, Mind, and Spirit in Midlife and Beyond in 2011. Lilias continues to teach throughout the U.S. and abroad.
Andrea Marcum: How did you first find yoga?
Lilias Folan: My first experience with yoga was watching Richard Hittleman [“Yoga For Health” television series] while I was nursing my second child. I then went to my first yoga class in Stanford, Connecticut, at the YWCA. They didn’t even have yoga mats, so it was quite primitive. I had two kids, a wonderful husband, a golden retriever, and a boat on Long Island Sound, yet there was this sort of gloom cloud hanging over me. I was tired and smoking about a half a pack of cigarettes a day. My family doctor said, “Madam, there’s nothing wrong with you. Get involved with an exercise program. You are suffering from a case of the blahs.” So, I got more involved in the yoga classes at the Y. It was there I encountered one of my first great teachers. She would talk about vitamins and how you could change the color of your hair. She often forgot to relax us after a rather vigorous class. I can remember thinking, Gosh, that doesn’t feel very good. She’d berate older students for not being able to do it the right way. I thought, That woman’s seventy years old. If you could just change it a little bit. We’re all different here. I say she’s one of the great teachers because she taught me how not to teach. I’ve always known, from the beginning, that doing it all one way isn’t for me. If you can’t do it this way, try it this way. She left, and the YWCA asked me to take it over. How could I teach a class when I felt I knew nothing? I was involved with Ananda Ashram in Harriman, New York with Dr. Ramamurti Mishra. It was there I was given this great advice: “In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed is king.” I’ve told this to other teachers when they’re feeling jittery about teaching. It was 1962, and the best of India was coming to NYC. I got it drummed into my head that the words Love, Serve, Meditate, Realize were carved on the temple doors in Rishikesh; I knew that to teach was to serve. With all the hotsy-totsy things going on with yoga in our country today, I still go back to the simplicity of it all. It is what’s authentic.
AM: Time Magazine called you the “Julia Child of Yoga.” Tell me about your groundbreaking television series “Lilias! Yoga and You.”
LF: It was my first time in front of a camera. I was talking to a red light with no students, no queue cards. The composite was eighteen to eighty years old. So, I learned very quickly to pull the postures apart, to do everything that was safe. I only did headstand once, and I have no idea what provoked me. Peter Sellers saw it and put it in his movie Being There. He’s on the bed doing the headstand, Shirley MacLaine is under the bed pleasuring herself, and I am on the television guiding the headstand. It ‘s a stitch. AM: There’s been some suspicion about yoga over the years.
LF: I had to deal with it in my own home, this business of the distrust. My wonderful husband, Bob, of fifty years said, “I do not want any shaved heads, orange robes, sandals, and monks to come and stay with us. I’m sorry, I really don’t.” Sri Swami Chidananda,
The great teachers like Sri Ramakrishna asked us to ask ourselves, “Who am I?” Am I this perishable body? Am I this busy mind? Of course not, I am the observer. And that has been a gift to me, Lilias Folan, developing the witness, the place within that judges not. AM: Do you find this element in the yoga being taught today?
LF: I think we’re evolving, and we’re all in the dance right now. I prefer not to judge it. Sri Swami Chidananda would always invoke the Saint Francis prayer: “Lord, let me be an instrument of thy peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love.” I give this to our teacher training students and remind them that St. Francis was a great yogi. The prayer is about our teaching, being gentle, and making ourselves an instrument. It helps me look back on my days in front of the red light and realize, I thought I was alone, but I was never alone.
These days, we’re bombarded with stimulus, and it’s feeding something that’s pretty insidious within our energy body. President of the Shivananda Divine Life Society, Rishikesh, India, was going to come to Cincinnati and stay with us for a week. So, Bob reluctantly went to the airport to meet him. It was my first meeting with this saint-like man, but as we stood together on the tarmac, he didn’t even look at me. He put his hand over Bob’s and said, “Hello, Bob.” I looked at my husband, and tears were running down his cheeks.
Most recently, Lilias has been reminded that she’s not alone as she recovers from the breast cancer she was diagnosed with in January. “People have been so wonderful, Andrea. I have heard from all over.” To me, it’s clear that is because they know that Lilias Folan is herself a light brighter than any
AM: And what of today’s suspicions?
red light or candle, one that will
LF: If I were to talk to author William Broad [The Science of Yoga], I would tell him, “Sir,
penetrate all darkness that might
I taped five hundred yoga classes, and to my knowledge, I never got a letter saying, ‘I injured myself.’” I found his chapter on injuries fascinating because it opened so many doors of conversation in the yoga world. I want every single yoga teacher to read it. These days, we’re bombarded with stimulus, and it’s feeding something that is pretty insidious within our energy body. I think we need to really take care. Try to find classes that are soothing, where there’s laughter, challenge, but no pain in postures (sweet discomfort maybe, no pain). Find confidence in the teacher, plenty of breathing that’s healthy, and a long relaxation at the end of every single class. I have a ritual of lighting a candle at the beginning of my class to remind us that light and love always overcomes darkness. Ritual means bringing art and order to the moment.
try to cross her path.
WWW.USTUDIOYOGA.COM ORIGINMAGAZINE.COM 97
DHARMA BODHI Maranda Pleasant: How are you?
Dharma Bodhi: Very good, thank you. MP: Awesome! So, what is it that makes you most deeply vulnerable?
DB: What does vulnerable mean to you? I want to answer what you want to know, so I’d like you to tell me. MP: Well, actually that’s the better question. What does vulnerability mean to you? I’ve never even thought of asking that.
DB: Vulnerability. It speaks to me of the necessity that people stay guarded from, obviously. Armored around issues, around things. Then they have to let the armor down and become vulnerable. So really, it pretty much describes the whole process of Tantric yoga in that we’re all trying to be more vulnerable all the time. MP: Wow.
DB: So, that’s why I’m finding it difficult to answer because it’s sort of our raison d’etre: we’re always trying to be open, more open, more open, more accepting, more vulnerable. Any kind of position that we take as an ego structure or some kind of self-image-making machine, we’re always actively trying to deconstruct it. So, I’m searching for what makes me more vulnerable. Is it life? [laughs] Every moment, I hope, is making me more vulnerable. I have to answer it in a general way like that. MP: Profound. So how do you process pain?
DB: [laughs] Sure. It’s a great question. In the process of Tantric yoga, pain is essential. I think this is what’s missing in Neo-Tantra. Everything in Neo-Tantra is about either avoiding pain—having some kind of fantasy of everything is love and light and bliss all the time—or so getting into pain that they turn it into some objectified process. Really, it’s nothing like that at all. For us, pain is pretty much the substrata of life, [so] for us pain is defined as the constant resistance
So, we have a way of understanding the spiritual growth process, which is really important to understand today. We have to have some selfreflective moment or moments. We recognize our situation, realize its limitation in some way, which is causing us pain, and feel the pain completely. We might already be in pain, which could also be the impetus to move us into recognizing the limitation of the situation we’re in and how we’re resisting it. Recognize that pain, embrace it, realize it is the substrata of life because things are always changing, and we’re always having to let go. And there we get that little peek of sunshine on the other side, where we go, “Aha! This is wonderful.” The so-called spiritual awakening that everybody focuses on, which is very short-lived. [laughs] It’s going to go real quick again because my mechanism of self-image-making, which we call ahamkara in Sanskrit, is gonna grab onto the next little situation, turn it into the next object instead of a process. So, pain becomes essential in recognizing the cycle of growth. But we don’t want to self-indulge in it. We don’t want to become overindulgent in it. We don’t want to turn it into a New Age processing thing where you process a little painful experience for eight hours when it could be processed just by simply relaxing and not resisting it. You know what I mean?
INTERVIEW: MARANDA PLEASANT
that we’re putting up against the transient nature of phenomena, the transient nature of life. Life is constantly shifting. There are no solid objects. There are only processes continually coming and going. We say, “Form is constantly coming out of form.” Shakti is constantly manifesting out of Shiva and being resolved back into Shiva again. So, pain is constant because as human beings, we’re always grasping onto those forms. We always want to turn process into form. Let’s say we have a loving relationship, you and I. You’re my sister, and I love you dearly. I say, “I love you.” And we say we have a loving relationship. We turn everything into nouns instead of, “There’s this loving experience going on.” That’s the human condition. Until we’re enlightened, we’re going to grasp onto all kinds of beautiful processes in the world, including dying or whatever. And we’re going to have pain when we realize we truly can’t grasp them, and they’re going to shift into pure spaciousness.
MP: Oh, yes, I have a Ph.D in pain. [laughs] Feel free to deconstruct the question. What is it that breaks your heart?
DB: Oh, man. That’s a big list. That question doesn’t need to be deconstructed. My heart’s breaking all the time—all the time. And it’s a beautiful thing, and it keeps me real in life, and that’s what makes me want to still teach the Dharma. What breaks my heart is seeing people know that they can change and then not do it. What breaks my heart is seeing people obviously able and desirous of hurting other people. I just don’t understand it. I mean, I could never say I really understand how someone could hurt a child. We see human trafficking in our area of Thailand, and we’re getting involved with that a lot. There are mothers who sell their daughters for ten dollars. I don’t understand how that can happen. It breaks my heart. It just breaks it wide open. There are so many situations I see in the world that force me into deeper compassion. Force me into deeper contextualization with what’s really going on in the world. So I’m grateful for all these painful heartbreaks, and at the same time, they’re extremely painful, and that’s the spiritual path, too. We have to be able to live with that in order to be an inspiration to serve deeper, at the same not being destroyed by that pain. My heart gets broken on a daily basis. [laughs] People not wanting to change when they see they can make their lives different. People actually wanting to hurt other people. It kind of blows my mind and blows [open] my heart at the same time.
I’m grateful for all these painful heartbreaks, and at the same time, they’re extremely painful, and that’s the spiritual path, too.
Dharma Bodhi and his wife Ajama live with their children and a community of students in the mountains of northern Thailand at Kailash Akhara, a sixty-acre tropical oasis, residential community, artist colony, and training center dedicated to the study, practice, and preservation of non-dual cultural arts and religion with special emphasis on the yoga and meditation systems of Saiva Tantra and Yungdrung Bon Dzogchen. There he serves as Spiritual Director of DHARMA INC International and works on the numerous service projects associated with Dharma Humanitarian Foundation. He leads retreats at Kailash Akhara and travels extensively, teaching programs in the U.S.A., Japan, Europe, and Brazil. He is currently working on translating multiple ancient Sanskrit and Tibetan texts of Tantra and Dzogchen. Brendan Lynch
An essential thing to recognize in life and the spiritual process, which should just reflect life action.
Origin Magazine - Issue 10