CREATIVITY — This is what puts you the closest to your creator. (Whatever that may be to you) By tapping into creative activities this brings you closer to your creator. That may be nature and stars and space or it may be a Deity in the Heavens. Whatever it may be, by tapping into your own creativity it awakens that power within you. Creativity looks different for everyone. For some, it may be basketball or tennis and becoming creative with different strokes or dribbles. For others, it may be dance or acting, or singing. It could be songwriting or cooking. It can also be art or painting. Whatever creativity looks like for you is what’s most important. We are not all designed to be alike, our differences are what makes us work so well as a large unit.
As a part of my series about the “5 Things Anyone Can Do To Optimize Their Mental Wellness” I had the pleasure of interviewing Janelle Christa.
She is a Holywood coach, actress, producer, and screenwriter and creator of “conscious entertainment”. Having come from a history of affairs, divorce, and family dysfunction as well as a bi-polar diagnosis, she strongly believes that happiness is a choice. Janelle’s level of expertise sees her coaching celebrity clients and people from all walks of life seeking to bring fulfillment into their lives. Janelle is also a founder of conscious production company Le Murian Dreams.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?
When I was a teenager, I experienced a pretty brutal sexual assault. At the time, my way of healing was to fantasize about becoming a movie star. At the time, I believed that by being a movie star I would be in a position where no one could ever hurt me again, and I could also inspire others to heal. I believed that I would take this experience and make something beautiful out of it, then others could too.
Except…I skipped the healing part.
At twenty-one, I was addicted to drugs, a college dropout, and working at what seemed like a dead-end job at the Salt Lake City Airport as a rental car agent — very far from my dream as a movie star. Then I became pregnant and my whole world shifted. I had someone growing inside of me that I could have the ultimate influence over. And although just one person — to her, I could be as big as a movie star. I suddenly had this audience to inspire.
So, I immediately got clean from drugs, I started to kick ass at my job, quickly breaking international sales records, and became the #1 sales representative. At twenty-one, and as a single mom, I bought a house and paid off my car, and was making over 100K a year in commissions. Soon, I was picked up by a consulting firm to coach others across the country in sales.
What a dream! My audience was growing. I was helping others and witnessing them grow and succeed, it was remarkable.
But — — I’d still never really healed from my childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood. I had put my entire focus externally and outward on other people. So, life had other plans for me.
I began to experience a major health crisis that would FORCE me into healing myself. After receiving no help from western medicine, I began to embark on a spiritual unfolding, where for the first time in my life I would have to heal for myself. Not for my child, not for some audience to inspire, not for clients.
So, I started to pursue a career in acting. I figured I had given that dream up for the sake of others so I needed to pursue it. But unfortunately, Hollywood taught me very quickly that to start a career in acting meant driving around to ten auditions a day unable to pay rent.
As a broke actor, I began a bunch of odd jobs doing photography, building websites, helping companies with branding, and doing random consulting jobs. I was miserable in my career but was mastering high levels of personal development in my private life. All of my money, resources, and extra time went into healing myself. I was spending tens of thousands of dollars on courses, therapy, teachers, seminars, audiotapes, workshops, coaches, and more.
Eventually, I got to a point where I started to coach others on spiritual and personal development. I realized this was the real reason I “wanted to be a movie star.” Yes, I loved acting and cinema, but when I actually went back and looked at that original adolescent dream, I wanted to inspire others that they could heal. But I needed to heal first.
I created my own production company and this year I produced two shows that I got to star in, wrote five other screenplays, wrote and produced two online courses, and wrote five books which will all be launched over the next couple of years.
Now, my spiritual coaching is really focused on helping people bring their creative dreams into reality, by breaking through whatever is blocking them and helping them to heal their dreams and create the reality they truly desire.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
When I was starting my acting career I started doing a lot of work with visualization. Much like basketball stars imagined getting their three pointers through the hoop, I imagined winning awards or getting calls from directors giving me the part. I know it sounds kind of cheesy. But, one day I imagined myself winning an award in a big red theatre wearing a gold sparkly dress. I saw it as if it were happening in real time. What was so amazing was that a few months later, I was acting in a movie and we walked into the FOX studios lot and the theatre was huge and red just like the vision. I laughed because I realized that in the scene of the movie my character was actually winning an award. My laughter went to tears when the wardrobe artist brought out my dress. It was gold and sparkly. I knew then just how powerful visualization is and how well it works. I wasn’t actually winning an award, but everything else fit beautifully.
Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?
As an actor I spent my last dollar on an outfit I felt was necessary for the part I was auditioning for. I didn’t get the part. Then I didn’t have any money for rent! I am all for living “as if” but this was just irresponsible and unnecessary. The outfit was never going to get me the part. My authenticity was. That goes for life too!
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I have had many people mentor me over the years. But honestly, as funny and strange as it may seem, the person that helped me the most during some of the more trying periods of my life is someone that I have never met. When I was a teenager and a young adult, Eminem’s music helped me to push through and survive. At many points in my life, I was deeply suicidal and Eminem provides me a hope that was larger than myself. In my younger years, I did not have any spiritual connection and was not raised with religion/etc, so for me, Eminem embodied the ability to go from rags to riches and create the ultimate reality — all while being wholly authentic. He taught me to be real, honest, and it was okay to be angry. He inspired me and still does today.
What advice would you suggest to your colleagues in your industry to thrive and avoid burnout?
Receive as much help as possible and always give thanks. This whole #selfmade movement is total bullshit and egocentric. We would be nothing without others. We are not meant to do everything and be everything. By receiving help from others and letting others be smarter than you in areas that they thrive and shine, you can thrive and shine at the things you are meant to do.
What advice would you give to other leaders about how to create a fantastic work culture?
Our modern world has been built on excessive ego, domination, control, and superiority over others. By redefining those values into co-creation, unity, and community, and by awarding status by your ability to give to others and your capacity to love and express gratitude, we can change the work culture and the world. The modern world exalts excessive independence, and while independence is great, interdependence is better — where we acknowledge our own individual authority and we also acknowledge the individual authority of others and our dependence on one another. By creating this type of work culture individuals can be valued as a singular unit and as a whole.
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. Mental health is often looked at in binary terms; those who are healthy and those who have mental illness. The truth, however, is that mental wellness is a huge spectrum. Even those who are “mentally healthy” can still improve their mental wellness. From your experience or research, what are five steps that each of us can take to improve or optimize our mental wellness. Can you please share a story or example for each.
Having been diagnosed as bipolar, I have dedicated my entire life (and my career) to mental health and healing. Mental wellness is not separate from physical wellness. Although they manifest differently, they operate as a team. Emotions are chemicals, and everything in our body is made up of energy. By keeping our energy aligned and our emotions managed — we can maintain homeostasis mentally and physically. Here are five ways I work with mental wellness to maintain balance.
- NOURISHMENT- this is the food/water, the beliefs, and the emotions that we feed our bodies with. This can also include breath. Food is not the only thing we feed ourselves with. Our beliefs and emotions feed us too. Our beliefs and our emotions also inform our decisions around food. By becoming more conscious of our beliefs and our emotions, we become more empowered to nourish ourselves with positivity. For example, perhaps we get in a fight with our partner and it leaves us feeling angry, unless we work with that anger, we will turn it inward. Many people have heard the phrase, that holding onto anger toward another person is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. This applies to any imprisoning emotions. We are literally nourishing ourselves with anger and as we know, that is not so nourishing. Using the example of the argument with your partner — perhaps you hold on to anger for too long and it turns into guilt (anger you don’t feel like you have the right to) you may take this out on yourself with poor food decisions, etc, and the cycle continues.
- DETOXIFICATION — this is how we detox the limiting beliefs, emotions, and food/environmental toxins that we consume. Let’s be honest, with every emotion, belief, food, or drink we put into our bodies, there are going to be some that are not going to be super healthy. So it’s important we take active steps toward releasing them. I actually created an entire emotional healing system called The Harmony Keys to help people release old stuffed emotions that I use daily. In addition to releasing emotions to detox, it is important to become aware of the beliefs that you are holding onto that are putrefying in your system. Beliefs such as “I’m not good enough.” Or “I did something wrong.” Or “I’m bad.” Or “I’m ugly.” By identifying these beliefs and working to release and heal them you can help your body to detoxify and heal. You can use simple NLP techniques or hypnosis techniques to assist you. It’s also important to detox physically. You can do this through exercise. Sweating and movement is vital for maintaining mental wellness. I am also a big fan of other detox methods such as dry brushing the skin, occasional cleanses, and I really like nano zeolites to help detox environmental toxins and heavy metals. I have found that the removal of heavy metals from my body helped massively with helping to heal my bipolar disorder.
- REPLENISHMENT — this is the sleep, meditation, the relaxation, the breath, and the water you put into your body. We live in a very busy world and we forget about this important piece, but it is vital for health and wellbeing. Having a regular breathing or meditation practice can heal you. It is also important to schedule a time for boredom. I know that sounds funny, but it allows time for your mind to slow down. Simple repetitive practices such as the laundry, doing the dishes, and cutting onions for your family dinner can be your time to slow down and let your mind go on autopilot. This is actually where creativity can begin to spur.
- CREATIVITY — This is what puts you the closest to your creator. (Whatever that may be to you) By tapping into creative activities this brings you closer to your creator. That may be nature and stars and space or it may be a Deity in the Heavens. Whatever it may be, by tapping into your own creativity it awakens that power within you. Creativity looks different for everyone. For some, it may be basketball or tennis and becoming creative with different strokes or dribbles. For others, it may be dance or acting, or singing. It could be songwriting or cooking. It can also be art or painting. Whatever creativity looks like for you is what’s most important. We are not all designed to be alike, our differences are what makes us work so well as a large unit.
- NATURE — this is a combination of all of the above, but medicine in its own right. By working with the elements such as fire, water, earth, the air you can work with energizing yourself and calming yourself down. Simply by being in nature your body begins to match its resonance. This could be a barefoot walk on the beach, a hike in a forest, a swim in a lake, or a walk through a desert. We are made up of all of these elements so by tuning into them we can balance the very energy of our bodies.
Much of my expertise focuses on helping people to plan for after retirement. Retirement is a dramatic ‘life course transition’ that can impact one’s health. In addition to the ideas you mentioned earlier, are there things that one should do to optimize mental wellness after retirement? Please share a story or an example for each.
As human beings, we are designed to “work.” We are designed to move and designed to have continuous action. In fact, in one of my books, the entire premise talks about how we have been miscategorized as “nouns.” Rather, we are verbs — we are action — all the way down to a cellular level. So, after retirement, it is vital to still have things in your life that keep you moving and passionate, and
CREATIVE. That can be anything from traveling to gardening to signing up for a singing group. Many of the women in my family live to be in their very late 90’s or even in their 100’s. I wholeheartedly attribute this to the strong pursuit of their passions after retirement. I also think it is a great time to deepen in spiritual practice because it gives a greater and higher purpose in life and living. And although no one wants to talk about it, after retirement, we are closer to the end of our life than the beginning of our life. This is an amazing time to start developing a relationship with something bigger than yourself
(whatever that may be) for increased comfort moving into the next phases of life.
How about teens and pre teens. Are there any specific new ideas you would suggest for teens and pre teens to optimize their mental wellness?
I have a teenage daughter, so this is an easy one. Kids these days have a lot of social stress and anxiety from time on their devices and social media. Tech detoxes are healthy and necessary. Just like after retirement it is important to have something you can put your creative passions into. Physical activity is also very important as it helps to release the overdose of emotions and hormones teenagers are inundated with. Other than the foundational stuff of eating, sleeping, exercising, working with visualization is especially helpful for teenagers. When you are a teenager it’s hard to get a sense of the future. By imagining and taking time to imagine during this powerful period when your brain is going through so much transition, you can truly embed a positive future into your brain and your mind. Teenagers are heavy on “absolutes” and black and white thinking. You can utilize this time to create harsh negative beliefs about the challenges, or you can reframe them into moments of prevailing and overcoming. Visualization can help with this.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story?
Ah! So many books!!! I am a HUGE reader so it’s hard to name just one. So I’ll start with the first book that made an impact on me and I think everyone should read. It’s called “The Giver” by Lois Lowry. I read this book in fourth grade and it changed my entire outlook on life. In the book, the main character, Jonas has the gift to “see beyond” the consensus reality. With the help of a guide, he begins to realize that nothing in his world is as it seems and he must help to awaken his community. He goes through a series of incredible challenges where he must question everything he has been programmed to believe. I think this book is incredible because it encourages us to break free of the modern world paradigm and begin to form our own beliefs around reality. One more book that has helped me massively has been Khalil Gibran’s book “The Prophet.” I go to this book as many people go to the bible. One line, in particular, has encouraged me in my darkest moments. He said, “the deeper the sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.” This has helped me tremendously when I am in depression or dark places. I know that the pendulum will swing with greater strength and I can be grateful for whatever challenge I am being presented with.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
I just completed a book that I am very proud of. It is called “Choice — How to Embody your greatest superpower.” I co-created it with my father in law Harvey Bottelsen. I believe that if more people were empowered with the knowledge and understanding and the great GIFT that is choice, the world would be a different place. When embodying CHOICE and allowing others to do the same, we can truly utilize this great gift to create transformation in the world. Right now, we are living in a world that is set up as a hierarchy where people willingly or unconsciously hand their personal power over to those in “power” to make decisions or choices for them (whether it be a church, government, teachers, spouses, bosses, etc.). By doing this, we become victims rather than conscious creators. I would encourage everyone to read this book when it comes out and I am REALLY hoping it will help to create a movement.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
The Obvious is that which cannot be seen until someone explains it simply.” By Khalil Gibran. There is great simplicity in the complexity of the way of the world. It is my life mission to demystify the mystical and make the complex simple while allowing room for mystery. We will never solve the “problems” in the world through complexity. We can heal by illuminating what can not be seen.
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Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!