Total Health: Kendra Martin of Craft Lab Co. On How We Can Optimize Our Mental, Physical, Emotional, & Spiritual Wellbeing
Integrating creativity into your routine spurs innovation: I strongly believe that doing creative activities creates innovation in a person. If your desire for your mental performance is to come up with new and great ideas, then I’d add at least one creative activity to your daily routine. You could start small, buy a pack of Playdough and use it to mold with your hands each morning. Or if music is your thing, spending ten minutes a day devoted to that. My best ideas for Craft Lab Co. have come at random when I’ve been spending a lot of time nurturing my creativity. One of my favorite product ideas came to me when I was singing! What’s happening when we are creative is that we are tapping into different parts of our brain, and that allows us to see problems and solutions in a unique way.
Often when we refer to wellness, we assume that we are talking about physical wellbeing. But one can be physically very healthy but still be unwell, emotionally or mentally. What are the steps we can take to cultivate optimal wellness in all areas of our life; to develop Mental, Physical, Emotional, & Spiritual Wellbeing?
Kendra Martin is the CEO & Founder of Craft Lab Co.™, a company that provides Creative Wellness Experiences, which are hands-on activities designed to stimulate the senses. Kendra’s intention is to help move modern female warriors from “fight-or-flight” mode into “rest-and-restore” by giving them opportunities to relax, be present, and get creative.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
I grew up in a small town in the Mojave Desert in California (so small you’ve probably never heard of it), Ridgecrest. The desert was my backyard, my prickly playground. I was immersed in flora and fauna since I could walk. Play time was outside, and I had to get creative since there was nothing but open desert landscape. The lizards were my pets, the dirt was my molding clay, and the rocks became my special treasures. That’s basically still my life! Because of that time as a child completely engrossed in nature and forced to develop my creativity, I still find contentment from those elements; touching them, seeing them, hearing them. I’ve incorporated so much of that into my company, Craft Lab Co. All of the Creative Wellness Experiences I’ve developed are curated to stimulate the senses and invoke creativity. I found that creativity and experiencing things hands-on takes me out of fight-or-flight mode and moves me into rest-and-restore, the parasympathetic nervous system state. It helps me avoid those awful feelings of fear and anxiety that crop up naturally in the human experience. So I created a company devoted to offering people that same opportunity. It’s sort of abstract, but when you actually make a candle with one of our candle making kits, or you string gemstone beads onto a string to make a necklace, you drop right back into how you felt as a kid — relaxed.
What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.
The decision to start my own company happened slowly over the period of a year. Yes, it took an entire year for me to get the courage to leave my kush corporate job, liquidate my retirement savings, and just go for it. And that’s because… it’s TERRIFYING! Fear drives so much of what we do as humans, whether we are consciously aware of it or not. Most unpleasant emotional responses stem from fear in my experience. So there were lots of fear moments I had to move through. I had an incredible support system from my family and boyfriend, to my friends, to even former bosses and coworkers. They all inspired, supported, and believed in me. Throughout that year of existential self-discovery I also did a lot of research. I took a week off of work to write my business plan, and during that week I got a feel for what owning my own company might be like. That freedom to work at a coffee shop, to transpose my creativity into company vision. It was exhilarating, and I was hooked. During that year I also read and listened to women who have walked this path before me. Women like Oprah, Marie Forleo, Lacy Phillips, and Gweneth Paltrow and Elise Luhnen from Goop. Those are a few names that stand out because they offer not only examples of success, but their paradigm of exploration and deep self-awareness is really to me the key required to be able to do great things.
I always had the entrepreneurial itch, but thought it was too risky to listen to my intuition. When I was able to hear, see, and feel what life could be like for me, it became a matter of when, not if. I had some unfinished emotional hurdles I needed to overcome before I was ready to take the leap of faith. So I took my time and tackled some serious ghosts in my emotional closet. Lots of panic attacks, crying, meditating, physical exertion, and creative expression exercised the demons. Then I was ready, and I jumped head first with no safety net. I went all in because I didn’t want to have an easy way out to rely on in moments of insecurity. Certainly not a conservative approach, but I’ll tell you what, I’ve never been happier or more fulfilled in my life than I am now because I had the courage to live the life I actually wanted to live.
None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?
I feel so much love and gratitude for the connections I’ve experienced, there are many people who helped and encouraged me. All the people I previously listed fall into this category. But one thing I’ve learned is that the most powerful shifts in who you are as a person come from within. I say that not to discredit any external relationships, but the most critical relationship of all is the one with the self. When we talk about wellness, in essence that’s what we are talking about afterall. Becoming who you want to be comes from your own soul. And I’m referring to holistic wellness, not just physical “oh I look great today” wellness. No other human can create the change within you, any external motivation or validation is ephemeral. It has to stem from within. For me that’s where it came from. This yearning to be more, help more, do more.
I have a daily journaling practice as a part of my self-care program, and each page has a quote at the top. Today in my morning journaling session a quote from Elizabeth Gilbert read “the universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.” I think the secret to becoming who you want to be is embodied perfectly in this quotation. The light shines bright in each and every person, it’s a matter of finding the light and letting it be your guide. When your spirit is able to light the way for your human experience, that is when you can live your most fulfilling life.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?
One of the biggest mistakes I’ve made was to consider mistakes as failures and fear them. I used to be a perfectionist, and my need for external validation ran deep. During that year of soul-searching, before I started Craft Lab Co., I realized that I’d rather “fail” at being an entrepreneur than not try at all and stay unfulfilled in my career. I knew that if I was going to be an entrepreneur I would make mistakes every single day (and trust me, I do). Now each day when I make a mistake I see it as me getting stronger, more nimble, and more helpful to my customers and the world around me. When I fail each day, I’m failing forward and I’m doing it with all of my heart and energy behind it. My intentions are pure, so I accept my mistakes now. Years ago I would allow myself to get so overwhelmed and embarrassed by mistakes I’d make at work that the insecurity and fear was paralyzing. I didn’t want to live that way anymore, and now I don’t.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
I have two that were so crucial in my personal growth I just have to list both here :).
The Seat of the Soul by Gary Zukov — Two main concepts I took away that shifted my perspective: 1) the role of intention (the intention behind my decisions) and its effect on how I show up in the world, and 2) the relationship between the personality and the soul. I could go into depth on how these ideas changed my life, but I’ll do my best to summarize. Zukov’s words on intention serve as a reminder for me to practice metacognition (thinking about my thinking, being aware of my thoughts and why I make the choices I make). Secondly, his separation of the personality (what drives my emotions) and the soul (that light within me that is omnipresent and pure) offered me such a relief. To understand that my emotions ebb and flow, they are not who I am, is paramount to feeling a sense of contentment.
The Power of Now by Eckart Tolle — This book is very aligned with the value proposition of my company, which is that our experiences allow people to be grounded in the present moment and feel relaxed through sensory stimulation. Tolle talks about the power of presenteeism, how today is really the only relevant notion of time required for happiness. He discusses the pain body and that really ties back to somatic awareness. Listening to these ideas some years ago before I ever came up with Craft Lab Co. likely expanded my own awareness of these concepts, and I think without that awareness the thought of my company intention might never have manifested.
Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?
My mom says this to me all the time, “progress is perfection”. So simple and yet it has the ability to combat fear. I don’t have to be perfect, I don’t have to be happy all the time, I just need to keep progressing. My goal is growth, however that shows up in my story, for better or for worse. I will make mistakes, I will “fail” at things I try, but I will keep showing up and bringing the best version of myself that I can today. All I have to do is be my best self today. That’s the only thing I really have control over anyways, so why stress on the rest of it?
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?
I just launched a new product that I absolutely love, it’s an experience designed to stimulate your sense of touch by allowing you to make your own mala (beads used in meditation to help clear the mind). I call it the Buddha Bead Kit, and it comes in two variations currently, Turquoise for balancing the chakras and Rose Quartz for love energy. The goodness is twofold: when you make your buddha beads you are focused on the present moment, the task in your hands is to touch and create, and you are using your hands to create something that is uniquely yours. It is very relaxing and gratifying. Then at the end of the experience you have something that can be used to further your meditation practice. I love 2-for-1 functional concepts, so it’s exciting to be able to offer people a relaxing experience but also enhance their personal wellness moving forward (i.e. meditation). Imagine a world where self-care is a top priority and people are spending more time creating and relaxing in the simple pleasures of life, think about for a second how the collective paradigm might shift, the ripple effect that could have on how humans interact and the innovation it could lead to. When humans are calm and creative, great things manifest, and that’s my vision.
OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. In this interview series we’d like to discuss cultivating wellness habits in four areas of our lives, Mental wellness, Physical wellness, Emotional wellness, & Spiritual wellness. Let’s dive deeper into these together. Based on your research or experience, can you share with our readers three good habits that can lead to optimum mental wellness? Please share a story or example for each.
Mental wellness is all about connecting to your purpose in life, to be able to think clearly, manage stress, and contribute to society. In order to do that some things need to be in alignment.
- Performing a pulse check on your energy levels: this is the habit of asking yourself how you are feeling and stopping for self-care before you get too depleted. This has the power to prevent mental, physical, and emotional collapses. When I worked in the corporate world most days my calendar was full and I was hopping from meeting to meeting the entire day. Because I was so stressed and focused on productivity, I wouldn’t be able to hear my body’s subtle signals asking for food, water, or bathroom breaks. When we are in fight-or-flight mode our normal body to brain signaling can be disrupted. After even two hours pushing like that my productivity levels would start to decline at rapid speed, and then I’d have to play catch up pounding water and inhaling food to get back up to acceptable mental performance. The key to this habit is preventatively checking energy levels so your mental performance doesn’t ever dwindle. That means doing self checks and just pausing to listen to your body. It’s ok to get up during a meeting because you need to go to the bathroom, and you should bring water and snacks with you everywhere you go. It’s not rude to eat during a meeting so you can give your optimal brain power to the conversation. This is really simple, but goes overlooked because we prioritize our performance over our basic human needs without understanding that when our basic human needs are met, our performance is much higher.
- Integrating creativity into your routine spurs innovation: I strongly believe that doing creative activities creates innovation in a person. If your desire for your mental performance is to come up with new and great ideas, then I’d add at least one creative activity to your daily routine. You could start small, buy a pack of Playdough and use it to mold with your hands each morning. Or if music is your thing, spending ten minutes a day devoted to that. My best ideas for Craft Lab Co. have come at random when I’ve been spending a lot of time nurturing my creativity. One of my favorite product ideas came to me when I was singing! What’s happening when we are creative is that we are tapping into different parts of our brain, and that allows us to see problems and solutions in a unique way.
- Do work that inspires you: To be truly connected to what you’re doing I believe increases your attention span, which is a huge issue today with the overabundance of technology just waiting to distract us. Especially now that so many people are working remotely. No one is watching and it can be too easy to get distracted with that Instagram notification, am I right? If I’m passionate about something, I can focus on it for hours. If I’m not, it will lose me in a few minutes. I look back on my lack of interest in my work before I started Craft Lab Co., I wasn’t inspired each day when I showed up. There were too many degrees of freedom between myself and the company mission. I just couldn’t connect the dots easily enough to feel truly inspired and motivated each day, and even though I tried hard, it was that forced feeling of effort. I was doing work because that’s what I was paid to do, so I completed the deliverable and earned my money. But when I’m inspired by my career, like I am now, work comes to me instead of me pushing to squeeze it out of myself. It manifests naturally because I’m connected to the work, I’m inspired by the work. For me, it wasn’t enough to work at a company in the medical industry that was helping to save lives each day. I wasn’t close enough, I needed to feel the impact of my work. Now I do, and my mental wellness has never been better. The habit is, asking yourself if the reason why you show up and put your brain to work is truly inspirational to you? If the answer is no, then close your eyes and imagine what inspiration might feel like if you had it. Keep your eyes closed and see what pops up next in your mind’s eye, it might just be your next job.
Do you have a specific type of meditation practice or Yoga practice that you have found helpful? We’d love to hear about it.
I practice both meditation and yoga pretty much every day, it’s a big part of my preventative self-care program. I do guided meditations, I love the ones from Deepak Chopra, or I just lay in silence with my eyes closed for a few minutes each morning and focus my attention on my breath and try to relax all the muscles in my body. The more stressed or upset I am, the longer the meditation. I upscale my self-care to meet my current mindset. The more emotions I have, the more self-care I do. I have to get back to homeostasis before I can be of the utmost use to society. My goal is to be even keeled each day, with a mindset of contentment for how my life is today and today only. If my thoughts run into the past or future, I recognize them and then bring attention back to the here and now. For yoga I practice both heated vinyasa and bikram. I am a certified vinyasa yoga instructor, so I love flow-based sequences. I often set an intention or choose a mantra for my practice, to keep my mind from wandering. Yoga is my number one form of physical exercise because it’s a practice of both physical and spiritual wellness. In both yoga and meditation I am able to connect to what I like to call source energy, the energetic current that connects us all. This is gonna sound really woo-woo, but sometimes when I’m fully in the zone of a yoga class I can physically feel the collective energy flowing from the people around me. It’s like a sixth sense that sets in, to feel energy, it’s wild and exhilarating. I become full of love and compassion. That’s one of the most satisfying feelings in the world to me, to be immersed in a current that is greater than my own. I can’t get enough of it, and oftentimes the focus of my meditations will be centered around connecting to that. It’s representative of something bigger than the self, the removal of ego and the immersion into life purpose.
Thank you for that. Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum physical wellness? Please share a story or example for each.
When we think about physical wellness I’d venture to say most people think predominantly about food and exercise, but it is so much more than that. Right now we are living in an era that can be acutely overwhelming, especially in this past year. There have been a lot of fear-causing events, and what I’d really like to give people is habits to cope with those feelings of fear, worry, and anxiety — they all manifest physically in our bodies and have a ripple effect into other areas of physical wellness like our food and exercise habits.
- Pay attention to what your body is telling you, then act accordingly: A fancy word for this is somatic experiencing, to have a heightened awareness of the body. Within that is becoming aware of fight-or-flight vs rest-and-restore nervous system states. Here are some questions to ask yourself regularly: Is my throat tight and constricted (sign you are in fight-or-flight and your cortisol levels are spiking)? Is my heart beating fast, do I feel anxious? When you answer yes to these, you are in a state of fight-or-flight, so try to take a pause and do an act that is self-caring to get yourself out of that mode. Remember that being in fight-or-flight is a primal state, and it consumes a tremendous amount of energy whether you realize it or not. You want to pivot to get out of the ASAP, and recognizing when you’re in it is the first step. Another profound somatic experience is to listen to your stomach: does it like the food you eat today, or is it telling you no? The stomach sends signals to the brain, it will tell you when it’s happy and when it’s sad. It took me years to start listening. Becoming really aware of our bodies subtle cues and direction is key to optimal physical wellness. It’s not about this diet or that diet, it’s not about how many calories you burned this week. It’s about how your body feels on a regular basis. For example, if you are having headaches (not migraines) regularly, could that be a sign from your body that it needs more water? Pay extra attention from now on to your body, it will reveal so much to you if you just listen.
- Remember H.A.L.T.: Never let yourself get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired (H.A.L.T.). In my experience bad things happen when I don’t HALT. As one countermeasure, I try to take healthy snacks in my purse everywhere I go. Think of your wellness as a piggy bank, you want the bank to stay full so you are never “running on empty”. If you’re feeling lonely, call a friend and ask them how their day is (holding space for other people feels good). If you’re tired, plan the next 24 hours around getting more sleep to get yourself back on track. If you’re angry, temporarily or permanently (depending upon the circumstance) remove yourself from the situation causing that emotion. Today, my well-being comes first, no matter what. I’ve seen what happens when I don’t do that, and it didn’t make me better at my job or in relationships. It made me grumpy, agitated, and in a lot of physical pain.
- When overwhelmed, say “VOO”: This is one of my favorite tricks to pull out of my self-care toolbox when I’m feeling like I’m on the brink of breakdown. When you are just about to reach your limit and you feel like you’re gonna blow, literally out loud say the word “VOO” for as many seconds as you can. Take a deep inhale, then VOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO until you are out of breath. Repeat at least 3 times. This is magic for calming you down. It works, it really does. In doing this exercise you are stimulating your vagus nerve and activating the parasympathetic nervous system (that rest-and-digest or rest-and-restore state of calm). Try it next time you’re about to have a meltdown.
Do you have any particular thoughts about healthy eating? We all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, etc. But while we know it intellectually, it’s often difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion what are the main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives?
Most people associate the notion of healthy eating with some diet or eating style: Whole 30, Paleo, Keto, Vegan, etc. We like the idea of diets, because they promise results. The issue in my experience is that dieting isn’t practical, it doesn’t fit into my life as my life is today. I was Vegan for 8 months, and I was sick once a month for 8 months. I probably wasn’t getting enough nutrients, and was eating a lot of processed vegan foods. This isn’t to say veganism is bad or that any diet is bad or good, I’m just sharing my experience with them. I love the idea of all of them, I just have a really hard time sticking to them, and here’s why.
I’m not willing to plan life around the food I eat, I want the food I eat to integrate into my life and I want it to be a pleasurable experience. Diets take a lot of time and energy, and I’d usually prefer to spend that energy or time another way. So diet after diet there’s always a breaking point where I say “screw it” and I eat the cupcake (it is usually a cupcake or some dessert, I have an insatiable sweet tooth). I’ve tried and failed so many times, and now I don’t diet. I simply listen to what my body is telling me, back to that notion of somatic experiencing. If I’m starting to feel full, I stop eating. If I notice my energy levels are low, I eat something green, high in protein, or healthy fats like an avocado. I just give my body what it wants, I listen to it. It’s about finding a practical balance, extremes don’t work for me. Everything in moderation, including moderation, as they say. Most of what I buy at the grocery store is organic produce (mostly green), lean organic proteins, and nuts. I don’t eat dessert every day at home, but you better believe that if I’m out at a nice restaurant having a culinary experience, I’m not depriving myself from an incredible dessert. And because I moderate but also give my body those treats, I enjoy the treats more than most people (from what I’ve seen). I get so much pleasure from a slice of pie with whipped cream on it, I’m telling you I’m like a kid in a candy shop. I go crazy with dopamine, and I love it! Of course the caveat to my personal relationship with food is that I exercise almost every day. Exercising every day allows me to worry less about calories. Even if it’s just a thirty minute fast-paced walk outside, I have to get the blood flowing. By pairing the two, eating and exercise, I’m able to do both in a less extreme way. Extremes aren’t sustainable, and wellness isn’t about short-term gains, it’s about long-term wellbeing.
The best thing I can say is if you’re struggling with food, don’t go all-out and make drastic changes all at once. Start small, change one thing at a time. If you notice that your stomach is always upset after you eat dairy products, then cut dairy out for thirty days and see how you feel. It takes 30 days to form a habit. Compartmentalize the challenge, if you don’t it becomes too overwhelming and restrictive.
Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum emotional wellness? Please share a story or example for each.
- Implement a Practical Self-Care Program (PSCP): I developed this concept of the PSCP a while back and it’s paid me dividends ever since. Emotions tend to get the best of me when my self-care routine is not prioritized. It can be high points of obsessive thinking followed by low points of let down or regret for getting too excited. Or just low points when something doesn’t go the way I want it to, which is a natural part of the life journey. Think of the PSCP having two main components: preventative self-care and painkiller self-care. Preventative self-care is all the things you do on a cadence in your life to prevent yourself from ever getting to the tipping point where you become overwhelmed by your emotions. Conversely, painkiller self-care is what you do when you have met that tipping point and you’re about to lose it. Preventative self-care for me looks like regular creative wellness experiences, epsom salt baths, meditation, etc. Painkiller self-care is those quick tricks like the “VOO” aforementioned or sensory stimulation (touching the bark of a tree, seeing the stars in the sky, smelling a candle). The idea of the PSCP is you want to have a robust toolkit of self-care rituals you can rely on to keep you in equilibrium. Ideally you would habitualize your preventative self-care so that you need the painkiller self-care less often. This has been a game changer for me, and I do notice that I need my painkiller tricks way less often than I used to.
- Don’t Future Trip: This is conceptually simple, but requires awareness and effort to turn into a habit. Focus on today and today only, telling yourself “today all my needs are met”, if that is in fact true for you. Most of the time, when I really think about that statement, I realize it is true for me today. Of course I don’t have every desire met, but the core needs are present today, and that is comforting. I have shelter, I have food and water, I have beautiful relationships. Bring it back to the basics. I frequently write that statement down during my morning journaling routine to remind myself that today I am good. I don’t reside in my past mistakes (and I’ve made so many) or the uncertainty of my future. I live in today. My work is centered around what I can achieve today. That’s not to diminish long term goals and vision. Those have value, but those are to remain in the corners of your mind whilst you focus on the day you are in. This concept of being present is foundational in Buddhist philosophy, and in the value proposition of Craft Lab Co. Our experiences are designed to be activities that focus your attention on the here and now. When we can do that, be truly present, we are in much less fear and anxiety. Imagine fear (which causes anxiety) as a sleeping tiger on your shoulder. She’s always there sleeping, just waiting for you to allow her to awake, and when she wakes she takes over and causes chaos, destroying your ability to think clearly and see the good. Think of being present as a means of keeping the tiger asleep. Allow her to sleep peacefully, be aware of her, and let her rest.
- Take Princess Days: Ok, this might sound really lame, but I’m telling you this works. When I was a kid my mom would randomly surprise me and my sister with what she called a “princess day”. It was a day where we got to ditch school and she would treat us to whatever we wanted. No rules on Princess Day. In adult form, it’s basically a self-care day you schedule out in advance. You block it on the calendar and make NO plans for this day. You don’t set an alarm, you wake up when your body tells you, you exercise only if you feel like it, you eat whatever your body wants, and you treat yourself. My Princess Days as an adult usually comprise waking up later than normal, a few hours of reading with coffee, a massage, a bougie brunch, maybe a nap or a walk on the beach, a manicure or some shopping, you get the idea. I have nowhere to be and no one to please but me. After that day I am totally rejuvenated emotionally. It’s a powerful self-care tool that has prevented me from becoming overwhelmed with emotions many times. I aim for one Princess Day per month to keep my self-care piggy bank full. Pro Tip: this is a really fun one to do with a significant other! My boyfriend and I started doing it together and it’s both rejuvenating and bonding. And don’t worry, you can give it a different name, we call ours the Peach Milkshake Day.
Do you have any particular thoughts about the power of smiling to improve emotional wellness? We’d love to hear it.
I believe in the power of manifestation, in a human’s ability to create what they desire for their life. I’ve done it in my own life, and I never thought I could. Since I believe that, it would follow that smiling could improve emotional wellness absolutely. Take action each day that is in accordance with your highest and most authentic self, and if your highest and most authentic self is someone who smiles often, then smile frequently! At the same time, I do believe it’s important to allow yourself to feel what you organically feel. If a person lost a loved one, I wouldn’t say to them “YOU SHOULD BE SMILING!” It’s important to have compassion for ourselves and allow ourselves the space to be upset if we are upset. I think the key is the awareness of those emotions prior to taking action on them. When I’m in a pissy mood, tiny things can really grind my gears. Now that I have this habit of emotional awareness I can recognize that something unusually small is irritating me, and think to myself “oh, that’s a bit abnormal for me to be in such a tizzy about this towel being damp, I should probably pause for a bit before I interact with anyone so I don’t seap out sideways.”
Finally, can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum spiritual wellness? Please share a story or example for each.
One of my favorite topics, the spirit and the self.
- Regularly Connect to Source Energy: Collective Consciousness, God, Universe, Source Energy, whatever you like to call it, this habit is about getting out of the “self” and tapping into the “we”. To be spiritually well is the antithesis of being spiritually sick. Spiritually sick means to be deprived of or without connection to the spirit. I think of the spirit as something that lives within us all, that connects us all. I also refer to it as the soul, and when I speak about it as the collective I often refer to it as source energy. The idea of source energy is that we are all connected and that is a power greater than the individual self. That power of connection and unity is omnipresent, miraculous, wondrous, and interdimensional. So now that I’ve explained my interpretation I’m sure you have an idea of your own (or if not then now is as good a time as any to think about what this might mean to you). Here’s where the habit comes in: connecting to this energy as much as possible will lead to a more fulfilling existence. Whether it is in meditation, through prayer, if you feel it when you are out in nature, whatever works for you, nurture that connection and do it as often as you can. The more you do, the better you’ll feel. For me it is in all of the above that I am able to connect. It took me a long time to feel comfortable with this idea, I had a lot of preconceived notions about religion. But then I realized that connecting to source energy doesn’t have to fit in one religious box, and it doesn’t even need to include the word God if you are atheist. It’s the “we” and not the “me”.
- Create a spirit space, and use it: I created a space in my home dedicated to making time to connect within (to connect to the spirit). I call it Spirit Space! Spirit Space is where I go to meditate, be creative, and feel inspired. It is my little at-home sanctuary. I try to be in the habit of using it at least once a day. It has the perfect lighting and energy, and I decorated it with all my little spiritual tchotchkes that make me feel grounded: sage, candles, cactus, and crystals. I invite you to create a place in your home (or yard) designated for your special peaceful time and incorporate it into your daily routine.
- Practice Altruism: Giving back and doing acts of kindness for other living beings is one of the best ways to maintain spiritual wellness. To be clear, this doesn’t mean you need to donate money or time at a shelter (although if you can that’s wonderful!). Altruism might show up in the form of simply holding space for someone else when they need to vent, which can be really hard to do because we inherently want to relate by sharing how we have had a similar experience. But that’s not really holding space. To hold space for someone else is to actively listen to them, without thinking about what you’re going to say next. Be there next to them. You can also practice this by getting into the habit of starting a conversation with the person checking you out at the grocery store. I get lost in my own thoughts and world, it’s easy to forget that they are people too, and so I go out of my way to ask them how their day is. You’d be surprised what people will tell you, and you will feel energized and connected!
Do you have any particular thoughts about how being “in nature” can help us to cultivate spiritual wellness?
Nature in my opinion is the embodiment of spirit. It allows you the chance to see, touch, taste, smell, and hear in this expanded way. It’s intoxicating. I am the best version of myself when I’m in nature, free and uninhibited. Nature connects us again to that concept of source energy, something greater than ourselves, and we just feel good when we are in it. I walk along the coastline a few times a week to keep close to nature. I touch everything I can when I’m in nature, I just fully embrace it. Again I go back to those childhood memories of being in the desert, completely immersed in nature, and think about how it made me feel. It’s a childlike wonder that nature brings to the adult psyche, and that absolutely cultivates spiritual wellness.
Ok, we are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
A movement of self-care. I’ve touched on it so much throughout this interview, and it’s at the epicenter of my company, because I believe in it that much. I’ve seen it work in my own life, and in others. If we all took better care of ourselves we would treat each other better, be more productive, more innovative, and do greater things as a civilization.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them :-)
It’s an honor just to be asked this question, my goodness! So I will absolutely put the plug out there that I AM looking for investors who would be the right fit and are aligned with my company’s intention. But also, my life would be made if I sipped an oat milk latte with Oprah Winfrey or Gweneth Paltrow and talked about all things wellness. Those two were so pivotal in my paradigm shift to be able to start Craft Lab Co.
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