In what part of town do you live?
I live in South Miami.
How long have you lived in South Miami?
About nine years. I lived in various parts of Miami, but I grew up in Columbus, Ohio.
What brought you here?
I got a job that moved me here, but the real reason is I didn’t want to be cold anymore.
What keeps you busy during the week?
I have two kids and an amazing husband, so that keeps me busy. Outside of that is my organization where I work with individuals on incorporating mindfulness into their lives. I have a background in corporate wellness consulting. A few years ago, I started doing my own programming within organizations to incorporate a culture of wellness, specifically using techniques of mindfulness.
What led you to this role?
I’m a former college lacrosse player and I’ve always been very interested in how team dynamics work. When I graduated from college, I knew I wanted to stay in the wellness field. I went into sales for a while, and then went back to school and got my master’s in public health. I started doing corporate wellness consulting, but I felt like I wasn’t doing exactly what I wanted. Then, I had the opportunity to do a 10-day silent meditation, and realized that the principles of what I learned was what I needed to incorporate into the workplace. Obviously we can’t be silent at work. So I had to do a little bit of adjusting of the technique.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is very simple in its definition, but also can be challenging to implement. Essentially mindfulness is awareness. It’s being aware and present for what you’re doing while you’re actually doing it. Most of us tend to live in our minds. We’re thinking about something else while we’re doing an action. For example, if you’re washing dishes, are you actually present in your mind and your body when you’re washing the dishes or are you distracted thinking about something you have to do later? You miss that opportunity to be present for what you’re doing while you’re doing it. That applies to everything, whether it’s answering an email or you’re with your kids. Are you there in mind and body?
How is teaching mindfulness within an corporate structure different than one on one?
It’s really about starting at the top with leadership. Leadership needs to buy in and determine that this is something that they want focus on with their employees and then we need to get employee buy in as well. I do individual coaching as well, focusing on their unique life situation and how they can incorporate the principles and practices into what they’re doing on a day to day basis.
How has mindfulness helped you?
Mindfulness has influenced every aspect of my life. I say that with full honesty. It’s improved my relationship with my husband. It’s improved my relationship with my family. It’s reduced my stress. I’m able to be more compassionate towards others. I’m more productive in my work, more organized. It’s been a game changer for me.
What does a mindfulness practice look like?
A mindfulness practice is different for every person. The one thing that I think is beneficial for everyone is meditation. Meditation can come in many forms, but essentially I recommend to start out is to set a time during the day. I prefer the morning. Sit in silence and be alone with your mind. In mindfulness meditation, we focus on the breath. Anytime you become distracted by a thought, feeling, or emotion, come back to focusing on your breath as it comes in and as it flows out. That’s the formal practice of mindfulness. The informal practice is everything else that occurs in your life. So when someone cuts me off in traffic, am I immediately reacting in a negative way, or am I choosing to respond?
How has teaching affected your personal practice?
I learn just as much from my students and clients as I do from my own work. As I teach, sometimes I’ll learn different things that work for other people and I can incorporate them into my life. Having two young kids, a six and a four year old, things are constantly changing and evolving. My teaching has taught me to be flexible and fluid as we all grow and evolve. That’s the same as within my family.
What part of your business do you enjoy the most?
I love connecting with other people and seeing them implement these practices into their lives and see an improvement. I think my favorite part is seeing people connect with the people around them in a different way, like dads connecting with their kids in a way that they have never been connected, and wives and husbands reconnecting in a different way.
You’ve been visiting us for many years. How did you discover LNB Grovestand?
It was probably seven years ago and it was on Miami Beach, at a Slow Food dinner. You all had a stand and you were giving out jackfruit samples. I remember talking to you and thinking, I really liked your energy and what you were creating. Shortly after that, I had my first child and you all were at the Pinecrest market. We would always bring his little sippy cup, and you guys would fill his cup with Jackfruit smoothies.
What’s the expereinece like coming to the drive through?
I love the drive through. We have so many fun memories of when the pandemic hit and we were all in lockdown, we would drive down and wait in line in our car to get the Rainbow Smoothies. It was such a nice slice of joy during a stressful and very unknown time. Now, I live in an amazing community and neighborhood where my neighbors will go down to you and they’ll bring us smoothies and vice versa.
That’s really cool. What things are you picking up when you come by?
We always get the Rainbow Smoothies. That’s our go-to for sure. We get the turmeric tonics, we’ve gotten the cookies when you have the bagels, we do that. But, the smoothies are kind of the main event for us.
What other restaurants do enjoy that you might recommend?
We go to Whisk quite a bit, and Joanna’s market. And Cecile, the French bakery in South Miami.
What’s Miami’s best kept secret?
It’s hard to say a best kept secret, but we enjoy visiting the Coconut Grove Sailing Club when we can. Also, we visit a lot of the local parks. We just went camping in the Everglades and it was a very unique experience, family friendly, and we had a lot of fun. We went to Flamingo Natures Center.
What for you is a worthy splurge?
I’m all about education. If I can take a new class or learn something new, that’s something I enjoy spending my money on. Right now, I’m learning about family constellations, and I’m also studying the relationship between Ayurveda and yoga.
What is a family constellation?
Basically you think of your family as a system. Your system doesn’t just include you and your parents. It includes their parents behind them and it’s this idea of generational knowledge that has been passed down. In some cases, generational trauma has been passed down as well. We look at the family as a system and ask how does the system work together? There are some cultures around the world that if one member of a family is suspected of a crime, they will bring in the entire family and talk to them, because they see it as an issue in the system, the family system, not just as a unique family member.
Are there any community events or groups that you would like to promote or share?
I don’t have anything particularly that I am promoting at at the moment, but I think it’s exciting that there are a lot of events coming back online for people to engage and connect. I think that’s a lot of what we’ve been missing in the last few years.
Would you like to share a pitch about your business?
I work with organizations to improve the health and wellness of their employees through mindfulness. I do speaking engagements and workshops on topics related to health and wellness, both at the corporate and individual level.
What advice, challenge, or question would you like to pose to the community?
I challenge everyone to do one thing each day with full presence. Even when we’re alone, we might be listening to a podcast or a book or even on the phone with someone. I challenge everyone to take one activity for five minutes where you’re focused on that activity. Whether that’s making yourself lunch, brushing your teeth, or sending an email, do that activity with your full attention.
What question would you like to ask us?
(CS) What you all do for self care?
(A+W) We practice yoga together almost every weekday. It’s a practice that we’ve adopted from Ashtanga. We also practice meditation, but not yet as regularly as we want to. Our parents are meditation teachers. Walt’s dad teaches and write books about Kabbalah and mysticism, and Adena’s mom teaches Transcendental Meditation.
(CS) Which of your dad’s books would you recommend?
((W) The Seventh Telling is a wonderful novel with lots of learning woven into the narrative. The Curse of Blessings is a collection of short stories that be can enjoyed on many levels.
How can readers learn more and be in touch?