113: The Seeker's Journey with Daniel Aaron

So many of us are on a seekers journey—looking for greater knowledge, wisdom, healing, insight and transformation. And may even the ever-elusive holy grail of enlightenment, whatever that means. If you ask me, I believe we have three primary purposes on this planet: to learn, to love and to serve. And of course, to enjoy life along the way :) 

Daniel Aaron is a fascinating fellow seeker who describes his own journey as guided by a divine power, as he explores all variety of mystical and practical practices and shares them with thousands of others through yoga, sangha (community), and coaching. His mission is "to bring in a new era, where the new-normal is love and truth – kindness, authenticity and radiance – for all beings, of every species." I hope you enjoy the this week's conversation! 

Check out full show notes from this episode with links to resources mentioned at PivotMethod.com/podcast/daniel-aaron. Enjoying the show? Make my week by donating just $1 and episode at Patreon.com/pivot.

More About Daniel Aaron

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Daniel Aaron is a teacher, writer, and human potential coach with a half century of joyous seeking and more than 25 years of experience in yoga and personal transformation for thousands of others.

Creator of the world-recognized Daniel Aaron Yoga Teacher Trainings in 2005, Daniel also founded the Radiantly Alive Yoga studio in Ubud, Bali in 2012. He is a seeker of wisdom, mystical and practical, and how we can apply it to radically upgrade our lives.

From enlightened gurus to the deepest therapists, cutting-edge nutrition, fasting and cleansing Ashrams, centers and caves, Maine to Bali (with a few hundred vistas along the way), he has lived everything from an excruciating childhood (which was also full of love) to helping others find everyday, guaranteed joy and entrepreneurial brilliance (including his own massively painful lessons and mistakes). 

Topics We Cover

  • His chaotic childhood upbringing, a crucial realization at three years old: “There’s got to be more than this"
  • Being orphaned at a relatively early age amongst parents and siblings
  • How he pulled himself out of hopelessness and turned to a path of seeking
  • Discovering astrology in his twenties despite previously thinking it was ridiculous
  • Describing himself as “He is as ordinary as ordinary can be.”
  • We shine and are our best selves when we accept all parts of ourselves 
  • What inspired him to start Radiantly Alive—and how he knew it was time to leave
  • Seeker’s mission: awaken, heal, discover, learn 
  • Pain and difficulty as a signal to move on, no longer living his dharma (true path) 
  • Creating a virtual sangha, or community, to amplify individuals’ vibrant lives - creates an energy unto itself 
  • Buddhism, “It’s hard to awaken on one’s own” 
  • Satsang: “Gathering of people in the name of truth” - it’s about our intention when we come together 
  • To live a spiritual life in a way that is fulfilling and also contributing to the world 
  • What’s behind his philosophies that “his religion is his life,” and his passion in studying "The real yoga of life, beyond the physical fitness practices”
  • Patanjali’s teachings of ahimsa, doing as little harm as possible (non-violence), and satya, or honesty and authenticity—the key to it is to live both of those at the same time
  • His mission is to bring in a new era, where the new-normal is love and truth – kindness, authenticity and radiance – for all beings, of every species. 
  • "A world where an aberrant act of meanness creates a ripple of alarm that immediately engenders a response of love and understanding so powerful that it melts the pain and meanness and harmony is restored.”
  • What we are all needing to learn as a culture, the gifts of the darkness: we can’t afford to have division, what we need is inclusion
  • The Fantastic 4 of his daily rituals: The importance of daily practices to remember where he’s set his compass coordinates and stay connected to hope and positivity 
  • The Sun Breath exercise and why it’s so powerful to raise frequency or vibration

The Seeker's Journey with Daniel Aaron

Listen below or on iTunesSoundCloud, YouTubeOvercastStitcher, or Google Play Music:

Check out other episodes of the Pivot Podcast here. Be sure to subscribe via iTunesGoogle Play or SoundCloud, and if you enjoy the show I would be very grateful for a rating and/or review! Sign-up for my weekly(ish) #PivotList newsletter to receive curated round-ups of what I'm reading, watching, listening to, and new tools I'm geeking out on.

Want to support the show and become a founding member of the Pivot Podcast community? Join us on Patreon here.

112: Whose Voice is in Your Head? Perfection Detox Round Two with Petra Kolber

112: Whose Voice is in Your Head? Perfection Detox Round Two with Petra Kolber

I am beyond lucky to have the brilliant Petra Kolber as one of my best friends in New York City, and just delighted to celebrate her book launch this week!! It's been a long journey, and one that forced her to confront the very message of her book: overcoming the inner critic and imposter syndrome because "the world needs your voice, not your perfect silence."

As I wrote in the show notes for our first Pivot Podcast interview in January 2017, Petra just radiates joy and truly walks her talk. When she enters a room, it lights all the way up with her positivity, passion for life and joie de vivre.

But that doesn't mean she hasn't wrestled with her own dragons, particularly around perfectionism (as have so many of us). Coming from decades in the fitness industry, Petra struggled with the pressure to be perfect in looks, body, business, and beyond. 

As a two-time cancer survivor, she is passionate about waking people up to the precious gift of time. Her mission is to inspire people to move more and to fear less, so they can stretch their dreams, strengthen their courage muscle, and build an inspired life full of joy and gratitude. In this follow-up show we explore her book publishing process ups and downs, moving past the mirror, the platinum rule (a favorite new concept!) of self-compassion, and much more. 

111: Ten Thousand Buddhas and Unlocking Creativity with Artist Amanda Giacomini

111: Ten Thousand Buddhas and Unlocking Creativity with Artist Amanda Giacomini

One of the best parts of having this podcast is who I am fortunate to cross paths with, and the ongoing surprise of who reaches out to me. Some of you may remember when I was falling out of my chair (or rather, the closet that doubles as podcasting studio) to interview one of my favorite musicians, Trevor Hall. Well, one of the best side outcomes was getting to know his team better, Tim and Isabelle at N3W LEVEL Management. We met in-person for the first time earlier this summer, and the hours flew by! Instant kindred spirits and friends for life :)

So I was every bit as excited when they mentioned another one of their artists' ambitious projects: Amanda Giacomini's mission to paint 10,000 Buddhas around the world. Amanda has been teaching yoga for over 25 years, and she’s been an artist for almost the same amount of time. Ten Thousand Buddhas is her worldwide, highly sought after art project—including large scale murals and fine art paintings—that she completed last year after five years of steadily working toward her goal. In this conversation we dive into what she learned, how it inspired her to break out of her typical shell (and artist studio), and naturopathic practices that keep her sane while touring with her husband MC Yogi. 

110: Jesus, Mary and Joe Jonas—Jonathan Parks-Ramage’s Exploration across Religion, LGBTQ Equality and the Entertainment Industry

110: Jesus, Mary and Joe Jonas—Jonathan Parks-Ramage’s Exploration across Religion, LGBTQ Equality and the Entertainment Industry

I love serendipitous podcast guest recruiting. This one starts over coffee with my longtime blog-turned-IRL friend Rachael King, who recently founded a company called PodPeople to connect new shows with creative teams.

When I told her about themes I had been exploring on the Pivot Podcast she said, "You HAVE to talk to Jonathan Parks-Ramage." She had just helped produce a new podcast for Medium where he read his article aloud, Jesus, Mary and Joe Jonas: A Journey Into LA's Hippest Evangelical Church. I was captivated by his story, and by his intention to research and write about topics at the intersection of faith, LGBTQ advocacy and the entertainment industry. A man after my own unique pivot intersection heart! 

I hope you enjoy this week's conversation on what it was like to come out with two parents who are ministers, the colliding life crises that sparked his decision to pivot from Sundance as a television executive to freelance writing, and his unique perspective studying the quirks of the entertainment industry and the religious institutions that crop up around it. 

109: Personal Pivot Update—My Big News and the Decision-Making Process Behind It

109: Personal Pivot Update—My Big News and the Decision-Making Process Behind It

I'm sharing some big personal pivot news in this week's solo episode . . . I am starting a two year Masters program at Union Theological Seminary this fall! It's a partner school to Columbia here in New York City, and if it seems to come out of the blue for you, don't worry—it did for me too! I got the idea, applied and accepted in a matter of weeks earlier this Spring. It seems fitting to share now, given that my 7-year solopreneurship anniversary was just yesterday — I'm looking forward to seeing where these next two years take me :)

This week I take you behind-the-scenes into my own pivot process around how I arrived at this decision—unpacking tools like intuition, following hits of curiosity, weighing pros and cons, taking just the one next step, and accepting remaining unknowns. As I shared in Episode 100, I have no idea where this will end up, but I'm putting myself in the path of pivot—immersing myself in a new environment and seeing where it takes me :) 

108: Penney & Jenny Show Returns! On Spirituality and Small Business

108: Penney & Jenny Show Returns! On Spirituality and Small Business

I'm delighted to bring you the seventh (!) episode in a side series of this podcast we affectionately call the Penney & Jenny show :) It's a series of conversations with one of my dear friends and mentors (friendtors), Penney Peirce. We had so much fun during our first interview together that we added a second . . . which became a third . . . and so on, until it was a regular feature on the Pivot Podcast! 

This week we're riffing on the intersection of spirituality and small business—how we apply intuition, transparency, non-physical realms, and personal practices toward business-building, attracting clients, and earning a living in a way that feels easeful and joyful. You can check out all of our interviews here (and check for future episodes)—and for easier listening, tune in on our SoundCloud playlist

107: (Un)Medicating Grief—Recovering Feeling After Decades on Anti-Depressants with Brooke Siem

I'm so grateful to Brooke Siem for opening up and sharing her story with us this week. Not only is she a woman of many talents (ballerina! chef! Chopped champion! bakery owner! crossfitter! writer!), Brooke has spent the last two years sober. Sober from medications that doctors, the assumed authority figures of her life, had been prescribing for the last fifteen years and an estimated 30,000 pills.

It all stemmed from an attempt quell her initial grief at the sudden death of her father when she was just a teenager. Brooke assumed she was broken, that she couldn't function in society without the drugs. It was only recently that she began to question what life would—or could—be without these medications driving modulating her emotions. Listen in to this week's conversation for how Brooke is navigating her newfound life—re-learning what it means and how to be herself, if not truly figuring it out for the very first time.

Check out full show notes from this episode with links to resources mentioned at PivotMethod.com/podcast/brooke-siem. Enjoying the show? Make my week by donating just $1 an episode at Patreon.com/pivot.

More About Brooke

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Brooke Siem is a speaker, writer, and chef who spent a eight years in the New York City food and wine industry before an opportunity to travel around the world with Remote Year fell into her lap. Despite a career that included honors such as being named one of Zagat's 30 Under 30, becoming a Food Network "Chopped" champion, and co-founding Prohibition Bakery and authoring the book of the same name, Brooke's "successful" Manhattan life also fueled a lifelong battle with depression. Prescribed antidepressant and anti-anxiety drugs at 15 years old after her father's sudden death of pancreatic cancer, the opportunity for a life abroad sparked the realization that she had been heavily medicated for half of her life. She decided to make a massive change.

First, she booked a one-way ticket to Malaysia.

Then, she got off all the prescription drugs.

Two years and 17 countries later, Brooke's primary focus is on advocating for mental health and wellness without the use of antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs. Though she believes that these sorts of drugs can have their place on the road to healing, her own experience has taught her that these medications are often poorly monitored by doctors, prescribed without thought of the long term consequences, and prioritize the notion of "existing" versus thriving. Brooke's goal is to show that it is possible to live a joyful, centered life without the use of antidepressants, no matter how far down the rabbit hole we once were.

As of May of 2017, Brooke sold her half of Prohibition Bakery in order to continue working and writing remotely. She is currently working on her second book, a memoir, and is currently based in Vancouver, BC. You can also say hi on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter.

Topics We Cover

  • Deciding to detox after realizing she had been medicated for over half her life 
  • Pivot points of her inner landscape: being put on antidepressants to manage her grief "on a timeline that worked for everybody else.”
  • Don’t remember much, "living under the impression I was broken”
  • In her Legacy Show talk she shared, “When they first put you on the drugs, they don’t tell you that you’ll forget how to feel."
  • Taking 4-7 medications at any given time, 30,000+ pills over the course of her life
  • New York Times article: Many People Taking Antidepressants Discover They Cannot Quit (and the ensuing backlash) 
  • Detoxing at 30 years old felt much like going through a second puberty; became extremely sensitive to sounds, crowds, pain, tastes, music, clothing, everything - “I have no idea who this person is”  
  • Jealous of children who could express their feelings and anger out loud
  • Sleep had always been the antidote 
  • What carried her through the down moments of detox when it could’ve been easier to go back to the meds
  • Buying a one-way ticket to Malaysia, aha of starting to feel again - raindrops on her skin - little things to hold onto, started painting - felt creative for the first time in her life 
  • Finding a spiritual therapist - working with Edward Mannix; compassion key healing process
  • Growing up in a very spiritual environment - picking angel cards as a child 
  • “He didn’t try to teach me how to cope, that my brain was broken or the solution was in a pill - he told me he thought it was possible to heal. We have all these experiences in this life and past lives that converge together and influence all of our decisions.” 
  • On clearing past karma, wipe off the lens of our life through self-compassion and feeling some of the things we’re feeling 
  • Silver lining doesn’t always work, on wondering about the why of all this
  • All the issues of my life that I believed were permanent 
  • Self-compassion process: start with the phrase, “I’m so sorry . . .”
  • Now approaching the two-year anniversary of getting off her last drug  
  • Living in Vancouver with her boyfriend, move around every four weeks or so; priorities have really shifted, don’t feel the need to look for validation in external things when it’s so much more important to spend time with the people who are important to her
  • Created a much smaller life - love the idea of a tiny house
  • On winning Chopped with chocolate, crabs and caviar

(Un)Medicating Grief: Recovering Feeling After Decades on Anti-Depressants with Brooke Siem

Listen below or on iTunesSoundCloud, YouTubeOvercastStitcher, or Google Play Music:

Check out other episodes of the Pivot Podcast here. Be sure to subscribe via iTunesGoogle Play or SoundCloud, and if you enjoy the show I would be very grateful for a rating and/or review! Sign-up for my weekly(ish) #PivotList newsletter to receive curated round-ups of what I'm reading, watching, listening to, and new tools I'm geeking out on.

Want to support the show and become a founding member of the Pivot Podcast community? Join us on Patreon here.

106: Music Without Sound—How Mandy Harvey Rebuilt a Thriving Singing Career after Losing Her Hearing

106: Music Without Sound—How Mandy Harvey Rebuilt a Thriving Singing Career after Losing Her Hearing

It was love at first listen when I first heard Mandy Harvey perform at a fundraiser for Erik Weinenmayer's No Barriers summit coming up here in New York City in October. Erik, a previous guest on the Pivot Podcast (Turning Pain Into Purpose: Blind Adventurer Erik Weihenmayer on Kayaking the Grand Canyon, Climbing Everest and Building No Barriers), said Mandy was a must-meet, and he was right. Her performance was exquisite, and I was mesmerized by her signing while singing and sharing her inspiring story with the audience. 

With lifelong dreams of being a musician and music teacher, Mandy was devastated to lose her hearing completely ten years ago during college. You might already know her story if you are one of half a billion (with a B!!) people who have watched her America's Got Talent audition—that's a MUST before you even listen to this episode.

I cried when Simon Cowell asked what motivated her to be there, and she said at “After I lost my hearing I gave up. But I want to do more with my life than just give up.” I assure you, there was not a dry eye in the audience either as they give a standing ovation midway through, including the judges! Even Simon came out of his curmudgeonly shell to say, "I’ve done this a long time and that was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen and heard.” I hope you enjoy this conversation with Mandy as much as I did—which she did with the help of a live captioner while we were on video Skype. 

105: Tools for Transitions—Just Ahead Mentors, Jealousy Antidotes, and Powerful Small Steps to Find Jobs (or Clients) with Dev Aujla

105: Tools for Transitions—Just Ahead Mentors, Jealousy Antidotes, and Powerful Small Steps to Find Jobs (or Clients) with Dev Aujla

Contrary to popular belief that trolling for a new job or client is the drag of all drags, a process that should be hurried through as quickly as possible, Dev Ajula believes our careers can be avenues for inquiry. His book, 50 Ways to Get a Job has a hidden curriculum that stretches so far beyond the job-search, and is relevant to everyone, including entrepreneurs. “Our careers and the questions they answer are lifelong pursuits,” Dev says.

I thoroughly enjoyed this conversation and learning more about Dev's incredible long-term passion project: building a non-traditional Sorted Library based on the power of inquiry in DUMBO, New York (the Instagram account alone is a must-peruse!). 

104: (A Course in) Miracles at Work—On Spiritual Intelligence with Emily Bennington

104: (A Course in) Miracles at Work—On Spiritual Intelligence with Emily Bennington

Emily Bennington and I have been on parallel pivot paths since we first connected online in 2011. So imagine my surprise when I was searching on Google images for a visual depiction of the word "Grace." I downloaded my favorite and lo and behold, it was pointing to Emily's site with a landing page informing readers about her new direction: teaching others to live and lead with grace, based upon her interpretations of the Course in Miracles as it applies to work and careers.  

In this episode we talk about what the Course is, how we can apply spiritual intelligence to our day-to-day interactions, how to create miracles through powerful mental shifts, and Emily's pivot from entrepreneur giving mainstream career advice to an exciting new full-time role as Executive Director for the Circle of Atonement.

Check out full show notes from this episode with links to resources mentioned at PivotMethod.com/podcast/miracles-at-work.