What does soul+work mean to you?
Soul+Work is where work meets play and where the day job becomes the lifestyle.
How did your former life prepare you for this work? What's your why?
In my former life I worked as an actress. Starting in my teens I began my hunt for a creative life and enrolled in the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. After graduating I was grateful to work opposite spicy talent such as Paul Rudd and Ryan Reynolds. Little did I know at the time how much theatre school prepped me not only for the set but mindful living.
The practice of present moment awareness , which is at the base of all great theatre training, helped me befriend my body and was my entry point for self-healing.
Throughout my acting career, I kept running into issues with psoriasis, covering my face and body, making it really difficult to have consistency in the business. The practice of present moment awareness , which is at the base of all great theatre training, helped me befriend my body and was my entry point for self-healing. Somewhere along the way I went back to school and studied Ayurveda and yoga therapies, thinking it would just help get more acting gigs - turns out it changed my career.
Share with us your most difficult moment and how you came out shining?
Transitioning a few years ago from L.A. to New York City was a lot tougher than I thought it would be. My LA business was built completely on word of mouth, I had no website let alone a business card and here I was trying to take on Manhattan. Making the move out East however I knew was an opportunity to shake up my business model, but it wasn't until I came across Carolyn Herfurth's five pillars and thebiztruth.com that could I articulate what that needed to look like. Based on having to start from the ground up and along with an over due remodeling of my protocols, plus my daily quest to connect with earthy remedies, FOLK Ayurveda was born.
Where do you like to travel and what is your most inspired work setting?
Around nature I become affected, clear and unshaken. So every year I take a pilgrimage to the great Canadian wilderness, to live on old family property where I grew up, to be wild and align. This land is life-giving and robust, she is everything wonderful to me. No matter how I arrive, I ascend towards better and better feelings. Joseph Campbell refers to this kind of sacred space as a "creative incubation." The wilderness culture is just that for me, a place where I can bring forward my raw, unfinished thinking and dance with my devils till they tire themselves out. Here is where I find my hum.
The small things that tie me to what Jack Kerouac calls, the golden entity, are undoubtedly of earthy elements, the smell of waves, moody weather, flirting with the smooth lines of an arbutus tree. I walk on snow and hear the hard crunching of the ancestors lessons. I collect rocks for nuzzling - after all, I am my Mother's daughter.
What are your daily practices for mindful business and your daily practices for soulful living?
My daily practice for mindful business is to start off with TM meditation and then while sipping my morning earl grey, I write out my to do list along with recording accomplishments from the previous day. I'm also getting into the practice of setting 90-day goals that can be qualified in numbers. Recently, I was at one of Marianne Williamson's weekly lectures on the lower east sideand I was inspired by one of her rituals of "sending love ahead" before any meetings and phone calls.
What helps you be a soul+worker?
What supports me being a soul-preneur is surrounding myself with the right people and with the world the way it is. My team is globally hand picked. I am so grateful for this accessibility and the great collective mix of influencers that I collaborate with. I love how the world is so available as I am able to have brand designers based out of Stockholm and L.A., my label artist lives in the countryside of Europe, and my business coach and marketing gals are in New York City.
With more people getting online everyday and with having virtual offerings, I need a collective perspective. I am also learning a lot these days from a women's entrepreneur group called, Evolve Accelerator, and terrific free advise on social from thought leaders such as Ryan Holmes :: @invoker:: and Marie Forleo :: @marieforleo::.
What’s one thing you’ve learned recently?
Knowing where I need help and asking for it. And I have come to realize it's okay for things to take longer than expected. Like all births of creation, these babies come when they're ready.
Words to live by?
Your life, fearful and immense and blossoming, so that, sometimes frustrated, and sometimes understanding, Your life is sometimes a stone in you, and then, a star.
Leila Johnson is a creator, humanitarian, advocate and Founder of FOLK Ayurveda.