Category Archives: Interview

Living With Intent: My Brother, Gotham Chopra. And My (Somewhat) Biased Review of Kobe Bryant’s Muse

muse

I have a memory of a family lunch at a famous seafood restaurant in Boston. I was 14 years old and my brother, Gotham, was 11. After ordering our food, members of the Boston Celtics basketball team marched through the entrance, scattering themselves among tables near us. Larry Bird, Dennis Johnson, Kevin McHale, Danny Ainge, Robert Parish – they were all there. Gotham stopped breathing. Not because he had choked on a piece of swordfish – but because he could not contain his excitement. His eyes went wide with disbelief. He literally could not speak.

My father was appalled. “These are just kids who can throw a ball in a hoop,” he chastised Gotham. “Doctors, scientists, humanitarians, these are the heroes you should be worshipping!” Gotham ignored my dad. He was in a sacred place, and nothing could take away his joy. The fact was my brother’s Religion was Sports, and these were his gods. Continue reading

An Intentional Q&A with Tara Stiles

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Yesterday we got to share about the brand new book from Strala Yoga creator Tara Stiles, “Make Your Own Rules Diet”.  Today, she’s sharing her fears, must-haves and techniques for keeping up with intentions in a Q&A with our community. Check it out:

Continue reading

One World: Josh Siegel on Maintaining Financial Community

Josh SiegelAs humans we are drawn to other humans. We find comfort and strength in bonding together to form close knit groups that keep in mind the interests of the entire group rather than focusing solely on the needs of any one individuals. We call these groups communities and we create them in nearly every aspect of our lives; our neighborhoods are communities, at work we may have another close knit community and via the web, we can have communities based on common interests not bound by geography. With community playing such a key role in our lives, it seems like a natural step to create financial communities. This was the vision that Josh Siegel had in 2003 when he founded StoneCastle Partners which has grown to be one of the largest and most respected firms in Community Banking.

“It’s the purest of banking,” Siegel explained recently in an interview with Deepak Chopra for the series One World on Newswire.fm. “All they do is they collect the local dollars of people like us, they put in together and give it to a person in their community; its very community oriented.  Its starting a business, it’s buying their first house. It’s doing something very connected and personal.”

These community banks are not only better in terms of the personal touch that they provide; they also tend to do a better job fiscally as well. “They lose less money, believe it or not, than the money center banks, they earn a better rate of return for their investors and they do more good,” says Siegel. In other words, they do everything that the larger mega banks do but on a manageable scale which allows them to be more successful.

It’s a simple and refreshing model; one that keeps a community’s money in that community and making sure those dollars are working for the people who need them. Josh recounts unusual stories of community banks helping in towns where natural disasters have hit without focusing on how they will recoup profits. Why? Because the banker is a member of that community and has a personal connection to the people with whom he does business. It is the humanization of fiscal responsibility. Banks don’t have to be the huge, profiteering machines that they so often turn into. Banks can and should treat people like people. It’s not just a pipe dream. Josh Siegel has proven that it works.

You can see Josh’s entire interview here.

One World: Michelle King Robson and EmpowHER

Michelle King RobsonAfter being given an unnecessary hysterectomy at the age of 42, Michelle King Robson saw a dramatic shift in her health. She went into menopause overnight, gained weight, experienced hot flashes, joint pain and memory loss. “I got so sick that I didn’t want to live anymore,” she recalls of the experience.  Her struggles with the procedure and the long road to recovery that followed, lead her to create her website EmpowHER.com

Michelle recently sat down with Deepak Chopra to have a discussion on her experience as part of the One World series on NEWSWIRE.FM.

As Michelle struggled through recovery, she searched for someone who had been through something similar. After visiting hundreds of websites and reaching out to doctors across the country, she couldn’t find a single person who could tell her what to expect, recommend a course of action or even give her any words of encouragement. “I got sick, I got well, and then I got mad and that’s when I decided to start a company.” Michelle explains.  EmpowHER was created to ensure that no woman has to go through the struggles that Michelle went through around her health.

“What happened with me was I didn’t advocate for myself, and most women don’t. We advocate for everybody else…but we don’t do it for ourselves.” She told Deepak for the One World episode. EmpowHER allows women to not only find support when they are dealing with a variety of health challenges; but also helps women (and men alike) take control of their health with condition-specific medical information and access to a dynamic community.

EmpowHER offers resources to women around what questions they should be asking of their healthcare providers and what things they can be doing to advocate for their health. “I wanted to make sure women have valuable information and support because that’s what I was lacking.” This is how EmpowHER’s 24-hour promise was born. Anyone can log into the site, ask a question and they are guaranteed a FREE answer within 24 hours. In this way, Michelle can ensure that no one gets left behind. “We all deserve answers, validation and support around our health.”

As caregivers in most societies, women are taught to put their own wellbeing last. With EmpowHER, Michelle seeks to turn this trend on its head. “It’s ok for you to be first in your life. Because if you’re not first guess what happens? The whole family suffers.” Rather than becoming bitter as a result of her own experiences, Michelle has created the support system and tools she wishes she had. EmpowHER brings credible health information and women together in a safe trusted community. “When you have information, you have the power to change outcomes in your life and every life you touch.”

Since establishing EmpowHER, Michelle has become a nationally-recognized women’s health and wellness advocate spending her time speaking before women’s groups, health care organizations, political leaders, regulatory bodies and the media about women’s health and the importance of women advocating for themselves and their loved ones.

You can see Deepak’s whole conversation with Michelle at NEWSWIRE.FM

Learn more about Michelle and EmpowHER.com: http://www.empowher.com/michelle

Download Michelle’s Free HER Health Toolkit: http://www.empowher.com/toolkit

One World: Arianna Huffington on Viewing Life with a Wider Lens

Arianna HuffingtonSo often in modern society, we look at success as being defined narrowly as attaining money and power. Particularly in the business world, there is a tendency to forget that there should be other measures of success including health, well-being, empathy and morality. These are the things that make up the Third Metric and there is a move by many in the business world to ensure that more emphasis is places on these things. Arianna Huffington is one business leader who is speaking passionately about this move.

When Arianna recently sat down with Deepak Chopra for a One World discussion regarding the Third Metric, she emphasized the importance of her mother in introducing the concept of the Third Metric to her. “She had always lived differently by putting relations and the heart and connections at the heart of everything and I had to catch up with her and to recognize why this is the only way to live.”

The entirety of that conversation is available now on NEWSWIRE.FM and one of the more striking points about the interview is that despite Arianna’s successes in digital arena, she is fully aware that being too wrapped up in technology is not conducive to well-being nor is it conducive to continued creative success. She explains to Deepak Chopra that “It is no longer possible to dismiss the value of meditation, sleep, learning to unplug from technology and reconnect with ourselves.” Human beings need more time alone, more space for self-reflection and a time to find the sources of creativity within ourselves.

Adrianna’s new book Thrive: The Third Metric to redefining Success and Creating Life of Well-Being, Wisdom and Wonder, which will be released this month, focuses on the ways in which we must take care of their own bodies and minds to achieve success. Without our health and well-being, money and power will never be enough to satisfy us.

The Third Metric does not however only focus internally. Rather, as Arianna explains in the One World episode, giving is also a critical part of what makes a person thrive. “We can now see how giving and compassion are one of the fastest ways to happiness.” So much of what makes a person stressed is their inability to look beyond themselves and at the bigger picture. Conversely, when we focus on being giving and compassionate people, we are viewing life with a wider lens which more often than not is a way to put our own stressors into perspective.

So much of the purpose of the Third Metric is ensuring that we are viewing our own lives from the right perspective. “Very often, life has a bigger imagination than we have and we just need to be open to it” Arianna explains. Not everything will always go as planned but finding happiness and truly being able to thrive requires openness to the changes in life and a willingness to face them with genuine intentions and a clear mind.

Paul Tudor Jones on a Higher Purpose Towards A More Collective Goodwill

paul_highAs one of the highest earning hedge fund managers of his generation and the founder of the highly successful Robin Hood Foundation, Paul Tudor Jones is no stranger to success but it is his faith and passion for enhancing the conscious mind that have made him a true maverick. In fact, he attributes much of his success as a businessman and a philanthropist to his spirituality.

As a person of deep faith and spirituality, Jones feels strongly about the connection between the health and wellbeing of the mind and the health of a person as a whole. As a philanthropist, he has a passion for giving back. Paul Tudor Jones and his wife Sonia have been able to combine these two passions by introducing the contemplative sciences more fully to the religious studies department at the University of Virginia.

The model that Paul Tudor Jones has provided at UVA is a great example of the ways in which giving back to the community can and should focus on more than just one aspect of the human experience. As an alumnus of the University of Virginia, Paul Tudor Jones first set out to introduce yoga to the UVA community and ended up creating something much larger.

“We found this enormous thirst, this unquenched thirst for anything that can help people better themselves,” say Jones in his interview with Deepak Chopra. “Not just physically through something like yoga or tai chi but also mentally through meditation and a variety of other mind-body techniques that help people become better individuals mentally, spiritually, emotionally and then tap into the larger collective good.”

Paul Tudor Jones believes that being able to look beyond everyday life to a higher purpose, will lead not only to personal growth but will result in a more peaceful and just society overall. When individuals are given the time for self-reflection, they have the ability to connect more positively with their fellow man and the world around them. He embodies this in his charitable work, like that done by the Robin Hood Foundation. The idea behind the Robin Hood Foundation was to create a successful charitable organization that was enhanced by interaction with the free market. Using sound investment techniques, Paul Tudor Jones has made the Robin Hood Foundation a leader in the fight against poverty in New York City.

The Robin Hood Foundation is an example from Paul Tudor Jones’s own life of how self-reflection and an understanding of the conscious mind can lead to “more collective goodwill” in today’s society.

What is your higher purpose?

You can watch the entire interview with Paul Tudor Jones here.

How to Teach Our Kids About the Perils of Lying

This week’s episode of “Perfectly Imperfect Parents” on The Chopra Well is all about lying and how parents handle it with their kids. Deepak Chopra makes a guest appearance to discuss the grey areas, but one voice remains adamant that lying is never okay: Dr. Cara Natterson is a pediatrician and author of The Care and Keeping of You. We interviewed her on her firm stance against lying and how parents can model the merits of honesty to their kids.

The Chopra Well: What’s your view on kids lying – sometimes okay, never okay?

Dr. Cara Natterson: The best advice I ever got, ever in my whole life I think, was this:

Never tell a lie and then you won’t have to remember what you said.

As a pediatrician and as a mom, my rule is that lying is never okay. This is a boundary – and an important one at that – because it keeps kids safe. I don’t really care what my kids might be lying about. For me, there are no gradations here. A lie is a lie, and teaching the importance of honesty trumps the subject matter. Now that said, all kids lie. At least, at some point they do. It is a developmental right of passage. And so it’s not so much that lying is entirely preventable (because it’s not), but rather that parents shouldn’t tolerate it. Your kids will do it, and they will seek your reaction. In my house, the response is pretty firm.

CW: Isn’t there kind of a fine line between kids embellishing/using their imagination and outright deceiving?

CN: Sure there is. This is part of that developmental phase. Kids must explore the concept of consequences. And they need to learn how to draw a line between reality and fantasy. I think it gets increasingly hard from generation to generation as there are more visual cues (TV, video games, movies, apps) that further blur those lines. But by the time a child is in grade school – certainly by 2nd or 3rd grade – embellishment turns to deceit. And I think many kids are asking to be caught because they want to know the limit. Their job is to push us and test us, and our job is to respond consistently.

CW: Can you tell us an anecdote about catching one of your kids in a lie and how you handled it?

CN: My daughter is a horrible liar. Gotta love that. She has no poker face and she bursts into tears when she thinks she has let someone down. So I would have to dig deep to find a story that involves her lying and not just melting and revealing herself within 30 seconds.

My son is craftier than his older sister. Not in a bad way, mind you, but he just watches and learns. So he does not fear stretching the truth like she does, and precisely because she doesn’t do it that much he doesn’t fear the consequences either (because she doesn’t really have any). His most frequent lie is about thumb sucking. I will be reading with him at night and see him slip his thumb into his mouth – a habit he’s been trying to kick since he was four, but at seven-and-a-half he just loves a drag or two on that thumb. I will see him do it, or a shiny, moist digit will pop into my peripheral vision while we are reading. And at this point, I don’t even say anything. I just grab at his thumb as fast as humanly possible because it’s a race to see if I can feel the moisture before he wipes his thumb dry on his pajama bottoms. When he wins the race, he smirks at me. When I win, I smirk back. And either way, his thumb gets covered with a Band Aid, which is the only deterrent that keeps it out of his mouth. There’s the consequence, and he just keeps checking that I am going to follow through. Every single night.

CW: How have truth and deception played into your work as a pediatrician? Do your patients ever lie to you about their health and habits?

CN: Parents lie much more than the kids do. Parents are invested in making life look perfect, or at least in putting their best face forward, so they will shower me with positives about how their kids are always in car seats or there is no soda in the house or whatever it is they think I want to hear. And most of the time, the kids will out their parents. “We do too have soda, mom!” When people lie about their health choices – like when a father tells me he has given up smoking and I can smell the cigarette fumes wafting from his clothes – they usually do it because they have shame. So it doesn’t help to further shame them. When I know someone is lying, I will ask the questions in a different way or try to explain why I am asking in the first place, and oftentimes I get the truth out.

CW: As parents, what’s the greatest lesson we can teach our kids about honesty, and how can we convince them that telling the truth is always worth it?

CN: It’s simple: honesty keeps you safe. And it really does. It keeps you from getting in trouble, it keeps you from getting hurt, and it keeps the story straight. I try to point to real-life examples of how lying creates bigger problems. We talk about events in the news related to lying or something that happened to a friend who lied at school. Recently my mom was driving one of my kids and she used the cell phone while driving. My daughter knew that I had asked her not to, and so when she did it my daughter said something. She said, “Nana, mom’s rule is no phone in the car. And there’s a reason for that rule – everyone drives better when they aren’t on it.” An amazing thing happened. My mom isn’t always perfect about following my rules, but she became perfect on this one. She hasn’t picked up the phone in the car since. I think it’s because my daughter told her why. She gave a rationale, and it made sense. It reminded me that explaining the reason for the rule is as important as the rule itself.

Subscribe to The Chopra Well and don’t miss next week’s episode of “Perfectly Imperfect Parents”!

Past Articles:

Teaching Our Children About Body Image (And don’t forget the boys!)

Should Parents Allow Their Kids on Social Media?

Doctor’s Advice: How to Talk With Your Kids About Sex

How to Trust Intuition for Inner Guidance

“I believe in intuitions and inspirations…I sometimes FEEL that I am right. I do not KNOW that I am.” ― Albert Einstein

“Intuition is the voice of our soul,” says intuitive Scotti Putnam Holloway.open Scotti is the founder of SP Divine Explorations. She has studied with incredible teachers including bestselling authors, Sonia Choquette and Doreen Virtue, and she travels worldwide to do readings and teach about intuition. I’ve watched her trust her intuition to grow her business and to use it as a way to be of service to others. In the following interview she helps us understand what intuition is and ways to allow it to guide us especially during challenging times.

Q: More and more people are realizing that there’s something more than just the rational mind that guides and prompts us. Some of us call it soul-Self, Higher Power, Spirit and it nudges us into action through intuition. How would you define intuition?

Scotti: I define Intuition as that ancient old wisdom or “knowing” that we are all born with and as we learn to listen,develop and act upon the messages from this beautiful higher power, we rediscover that which we have always known. Simply put, Intuition is the voice of our soul.

Q: What are some of the best ways to develop intuition and to learn to trust it?

Scotti: There are four separate steps that I talk about in my classes that help one tap into and develop their intuition. The first is to simply be open to being intuitive. Many of us block this gift from our everyday life fearing judgement from others. The second is to expect to hear this knowledge as we ask Divine Spirit for information.The next is to trust the information that you receiving when it comes to you in it’s many forms of arrival. And the last would be to Act on the information that you have been given. The more that we respond to this information from our higher self, the more information that we will receive.

Q: What have been some of the ways that your intuition has guided you?

Scotti: My intuition truly guides every moment of my daily life very much like having my own personal GPS system. By listening to and being in tune to the subtle messages  from Divine Spirit, I have made healthy decisions in different areas of my life  including finding the new building for my business, creating and surrounding myself with a community of happy,healthy like minded soul family, and have most recently found a beautiful house in a wonderful neighborhood that I have long admired. Yes, this sacred guidance system has never led me astray.

Q: A lot of people seem to be experiencing tough times especially with finances, jobs and the economic challenges. How can intuition help guide the way through this?

Scotti: It does seem that the fear base of the collective whole is at an all-time high which leads to a tough time in staying grounded and centered and truly listening to our intuition. It is important during these times to check in daily with yourself and tune into how you are feeling. What areas in your body are perhaps a little “off”? When trying to get through the tougher times in life and especially when faced with a difficult decision, simply stand still for a moment, take a deep breath in and and ask yourself out loud whatever you are looking for an answer about. If the feeling that you receive after asking the question feels exciting or expansive, then you should proceed forward. Likewise, if the feeling that you feel after asking the question feels constricted or fearful, then it may not be the right move for you to make in that moment. For me personally, I think that the best way a person can stay in- tune with their higher self, is through the ritual of daily spiritual practice. This should be a part of your morning routine just as combing your hair or brushing your teeth are. Keeping in mind that everyone’s definition of daily spiritual practice vary’s greatly. For me it is a simple, “Thank you,Thank you, Thank you” before my feet hit the ground, followed by a beautiful prayer from A Course in Miracles that states “Where would you have me go? What would you have me do? What would you have me say? and to whom?” Giving myself to the service of others and truly expecting great things to happen during the course of my day.

Finally, I do a morning and an evening meditation. Please remember that It’s not so much about  what you do to connect with your higher self, it’s just important that you take the time to make the connection.

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Debra Moffitt is the award winning author of Awake in the World: 108 Practices to Live a Divinely Inspired Life and “Garden of Bliss”. A visionary, dreamer and teacher, she’s devoted to nurturing the spiritual in everyday life. She leads workshops on spiritual practices, writing and creativity in the U.S. and Europe.

More at http://www.awakeintheworld.com and on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/DebraMoffittAwakeintheWorld

Recipe for a Healthy Family (and delicious sangria!)

Family life today is challenging. In the majority of households both parents work long hours. Feeding your family nutritious meals and keeping them active can seem like a daunting task at times. It’s becoming more and more rare to see families that eat together, play together, and laugh together. We are all inspired when we see how successful families keep it together through childbirth, mortgages, and life’s ups and downs.

We spoke with the Duers, an All-American family of five living in New York, on how they stay connected, sane, and healthy while juggling family and work responsibilities. We love Betty Duer’s suggestion for a “good, old-fashioned, super hearty belly laugh.” She also shares her yummy Apple Cider Sangria recipe below:

Joe, as a professional model and a family man, how do you maintain balance while juggling all your responsibilities?

My Family is Priority #1. I’m fortunate to be in a profession that provides the time and flexibility to be a provider, as well as help my wife with our children and their crazy schedules.

I coach both of my sons’ teams for baseball and basketball, and I enjoy having a hand in developing their skills while spending meaningful time with them.

I maintain balance by staying fit and healthy, not only for my job, but for the mental and physical benefits of taking that time for myself so I can be better focused as a Father as well as a Husband.

Who would you say is the most inspirational person you know and why?

Honestly? My Wife. I am truly inspired by how well she wears so many hats with being a nurturing Mother, a loving Wife, and an awesome career woman. She’s also a fantastic cook who loves to laugh. She takes such great care of all of us in every way and challenges me to keep up.

Betty, how do you manage as a busy mother of three and stay sane and healthy yourself? If you only had 30 minutes of downtime for yourself, how would you spend it?

With work, after-school activities, a preschooler at home and countless commitments on my calendar, I find balance in keeping things trimmed down to the bare minimum. I can’t be everywhere all the time, so I must say “no” to anything and everything that is not essential or doesn’t add value to my family’s life. I am so much more happy and productive when I’m not overwhelmed, thus keeping my sanity intact. I find if I keep watch over my mental health, my physical health follows suit.

Finding time for myself is definitely a luxury – but I think I would do absolutely nothing if I had only 30 minutes of downtime. I would just be thinking of more ways to spend my time with my family. I suppose that would be considered “meditating” – but it really does make me happy to really connect with them, as they are the most significant people in my life. It is always a bonus if I get to spend quality time with my family and great friends. There’s nothing better than having a good, old-fashioned, super hearty belly laugh.

What are your favorite ways to use ginger powder cosmetically?

As I am now in my forties, and after three pregnancies, I noticed my hair was thinning. I love taking the WP organic ginger powder and mixing it with olive oil and honey and massaging it into my scalp. It smells divine and stimulates my hair follicles as I leave it on as a hair mask before shampooing. It is a wonder root!!

What are your favorite ways to use ginger powder in your kitchen? Can you share a simple recipe with us that our readers can try at home?

Ginger is my favorite way to add “depth” to any of my dishes I make at home. I add it to my homemade wontons filling, my fast fried rice, and my roasted butternut squash soup, as well as into my cocktails.

For Thanksgiving I made apple cider sangria:

 

Recipe: Apple Cider Sangria

Ingredients:

- White wine

- Apple cider

- Ginger Powder

-Seltzer Water

- Diced fuji apples and fresh cranberries

1. Mix  equal parts white wine, apple cider, and seltzer water (or ginger ale).

2. Add WP organic ginger powder to taste.

3. Garnish with diced Fuji apples and fresh cranberries.

 

It was a huge hit. The ginger powder really gives it a holiday zing.

What are the kids’ favorite sports? Who are their heroes?

Jake and Rock love baseball and karate. They both say their Daddy is their Hero. Jake even wrote a report when he was in 2nd grade about how he “looks up to his favorite guy who is brave, handsome and smart.”

How do the kids help you out when you’re having a busy day?

Rocky likes to tell funny jokes he learned from his big brother, and GiGi likes to help Mommy in the kitchen by handing her the food to chop and cook. Jake pours Mommy a glass of wine. They are all Mommy’s biggest helpers.

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Now is the time to stock up on Ginger Powder — whether you’re buying it for your own kitchen or to share as a stocking stuffer. Wakaya Perfection Ginger Powder has been featured in the New York Times Gift Guide and as one of Oprah’s favorite things. 

Save 20% on Wakaya Ginger Powder by entering promo code: INTENT.

Follow Wakaya Perfection on Facebook and Twitter

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This is the fourth post in a series of interviews with a variety of food, wellness, and beauty experts on the benefits of ginger and the many ways to use it. We’ll be sharing recipes, health, and beauty tips with you that are unique to each expert’s specialty.

Photo credit: Betty Duer, Wakaya Perfection

photo by: TheCulinaryGeek

California Christmas and All Things Inspired: An Interview with Brandon and Leah

Leah Felder, half of the musical duo Brandon and Leah, just released her album, California Christmas featuring unique, beach-inspired re-makes of holiday classics and an original title track. The tracks are infused with her honeyed vocals and the distinct sound of the ukulele, perfect balmy sweet sounds to light up the season. Inspired by my recent conversations (ranging from being finding joy in the awareness of the present, liberation and music and mindfulness) with this socially conscious and talented couple, I decided to inquire and find out what inspires them and keeps them churning out good vibes and beautiful tunes.

People love your newly released album, California Christmas, and the self-released video for  “Life Happens” has reached close to a million hits. And many of your fans frequently mention how refreshing your music is, how inspiring your lyrics are and how distinct and unique Leah’s voice is. Can you name some of your musical influences?

L: When I was a kid I would go down to The Warehouse…remember that place? I’d get CD’s, come home, slam the door shut and I would listen to Etta, Nina, Billy and Aretha. And then I started getting into Erykah Badhu. I loved her for her, like… I think I was 12-years old and I loooved her “Call Tyrone” was my favorite song ever. I’ve grown to admire Nick Drake’s song writing and, of course, I love John Lennon and Dusty Springfield and the list goes on. And during my teenage angst there was a lot of Rage Against the Machine. I still keep that around, just in case. And I’d also like to add Edith Piaf. I think I am in love with her.

So how did a little girl from Malibu get into all of this old music in the late 1980s?

L: My sister listened to New Kids on the Block and my brother was into crazy speed metal. My dad didn’t really listen to a lot of music, he just played a whole lot of music. My mom listened to The Gypsy Kings and stuff like that. And I got my introduction to “real music” and the music I fell in love with at a young age from the woman that would help take care of all of us. Her name was Dolores and she was about 65-years old and when she’d pick me up from school would have Frank Sinatra on. We’d get it into her car and we’d blow up the speakers with Frank Sinatra and Nina Simone. And Dolores had this taste… I started listening to this at about 7-years-old and listening to how it felt and she definitely got me into that era. And that’s when I really fell in love with music.

What a gift. What about you, Brandon?

B: I initially grew up listening to a lot of the very the beginnings of hip hop. Bands like A Tribe Called Quest, Brand Nubian…things that were hip hop based and funky at the same time. I also loved Al Green. I remember when I first heard his music and it was just so great. I can still listen to that all day and I’ve heard it a million billion times.  And, Bob Marley has to be mentioned, of course. I always loved Marley but then I just saw the documentary Marley recently and it was just awesome. I also listened to a lot of blues stuff like John Lee Hooker. Sublime was a big influence.

What was the last great book you read? Why?

B: I’ve been reading this awesome book called How to Train a Wild Elephant. It’s strictly about how to be present and gives you simple tasks that build mindfulness.

L: A book that I just finished, but keep re-reading and re-reading is Leonard Cohen’s Fifteen Poems. I have absolutely fallen in love with it. The book I read all the time and keep next to my bed is Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet. Another book that has expanded my perspective is Eckhardt Tolle’s A New Earth.

What does a typical day look like for the two of you and what sorts of things do you do to stay balanced and present?

L: I meditate two times a day, 20 minutes in the morning and at night. That helps. And hanging out with my dog.

B: Yeah, actually the dog is a big deal. There’s surfing and exercise. But more than anything is keeping a certain perspective about things whether they’re good or bad. I remind myself that things may seem one way one second, but they may seem a completely different way another second. It’s about being flexible and accepting.

L: “Blessed are the flexible for they will not be bent out of shape.” And a typical day, if we don’t have any meetings or anything, is waking up, taking a shower, taking the dog out, meditating and then driving to the studio and spending the day there. Whether we’re starting songs, finishing songs, or recording songs, we’re just working. It’s about being in the environment and having our energy present in that room so when little bits of creativity come, we’re right there to pounce on them. It’s important to us to have that repetition and a rhythm.

B: I’m a big believer that if you have any job that is sedentary and the studio very much is so…there’s a lot of computer work, that you have to switch it up and take little breaks. So we take little breaks here and there. We throw the ball for Gus or jump in the ocean.

L: Jumping in the ocean really helps with lyric writing.

I bet. It literally and figuratively washes you clean.

Photo credits: Hillary Cramer

 

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