wisdom

Contemporary Soul Teachers Share Sage Wisdom. {interview}

{Photo credit: Mitchell Manz}

{Photo credit: Mitchell Manz}

 

“Follow the love.” ~ MC Yogi

MC Yogi and a group of pioneering soul teachers open up about passion, purpose, love and life. Their answers in this revealing Q&A inspire us all to dig deep, dream wild, live purposefully, and uncover the meaning of life for ourselves.

“Whatever that one thing is, go do it.” ~ Izzy Arkin, The 30-year-old Ninja

Life presents us with soul teachers every day. What will we choose to learn from ours?

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Participating soul teachers: MC Yogi (Hip hop musician & Yogi), Izzy Arkin (Real-life Ninja & Life Coach), Biet Simkin (Meditation leader & Musician), Kacee Must (Citizen Yoga), Jill Dailey (The Dailey Method), Julie Santiago (Transformational Life Coach), Cathy & Todd Adams (Zen Parenting Radio), and Maureen Muldoon (Spiritual Vixen).

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Lorna: What is one of your wildest dreams?

MC: Flying through space.

Izzy: To be one of the greatest martial artists in the world… to embody that mindset and philosophy, and be able to use martial arts to transform people’s lives.

Biet: My life.

Kacee: Creating a nonprofit that spans nationally to help people learn effective coping skills, and creating a lifestyle clothing line.

Julie: My wildest dream of all time is to move to South America and open an orphanage where the kids learn to cook, garden, and work in our attached restaurant. Yep, not kidding! Long-time dream.

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Lorna: What is one of your biggest fears?

MC: They would start developing a new Death Star.

Kacee: Not fulfilling my potential.

Jill: The fear of messing up my kids. It sucks. You try so hard to do it right all the time, and then you say something off the cuff and a voice says in your head, Well done, that’s $5,000 worth of therapy they’ll need after that comment. I know I’m a good mom, but nothing in life can possibly train us for the responsibilities of being a parent and the role model requirements that come along with it.

Julie: Being stranded in the Arctic with no fire. I realize how silly that sounds, but I’m not scared of a lot of real-life things. I’m mostly just afraid of being cold. I was born and raised in Louisiana, so snow scares me.

Todd: Finding out my kids ended up being mean people, because mean people suck.

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Lorna: What is something in your life right now that you feel grateful for?

MC: The practice of Yoga.

Izzy: The awareness of how I’ve been judgmental of myself and judgmental of others.

Jill: My community of Dailey Method owners, employees, friends and students. They’re amazing, and support me even when I’m at my lowest.

Cathy: All the people I love, and the present time.

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Lorna: What is something in your life that challenges you?

Izzy: The blending of coming from a place in my heart, developing a relationship with God, and taking meaningful strategic action.

Biet: Caring what others think, forgetting my primary purpose is service.

Kacee: Helping people understand that one person’s success is not dependent on another’s failure.

Julie: I’m challenged by not working. I really love what I do. It lights me up and inspires me, and because of that, it’s hard for me to turn it off. I have to set serious boundaries with myself so that I’m always balanced and able to shift from one gear to another.

Maureen: I think of life as classrooms that take us to lessons that we may not have chosen. I am currently grateful for the classrooms that my children bring me to. One of my children struggled with depression. I had no idea of the depth of the disease till I witnessed it erode my child’s spirit. This opportunity helped me gain greater compassion for those who struggle. Another of my children identified as transgender. Being liberal and open-minded is easy when it’s someone else’s kids. But when the conversation sits down at your table, things can get real interesting. Children are amazing teachers.

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Lorna: When do you feel loved?

MC: Whenever my wife is around. Whenever the sun is shining. Always! It’s just slowing down and connecting with the truth. The Earth is loving us through gravity. The Universe is loving and kind.

Biet: When I remember I am one with God, or what some people call God. I am not religious.

Jill: When I’m teaching a class, and I look around and see everyone in the room in their bodies, intently focusing.

Julie: When I’m being really vulnerable and honest.

Cathy: When I’m heard and valued.

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Lorna: Where is your Happy Place?

MC: My external place is my man cave (The Yogi Cave). My internal place is the cave inside.

Kacee: At Citizen Yoga, in the studio.

Jill: What’s really ringing true for me right now is my bed. Especially when I’m in early, before I need to go to sleep, or awake early, before I need to get up. That time of relaxation without obligation.

Julie: Outdoors. Anywhere outdoors!

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Lorna: What is the best advice you ever got?

MC: From a fortune cookie in San Francisco: Follow The Love.

Biet: Remember that you aren’t your machine, i.e. you aren’t all the things that are broken about you, self-pity, jealousy, anger, or resentment. Remember that, but take responsibility for everything.

Kacee: To Hell with Me. My teacher in India explained to me that the source of all my anxiety was based on my own selfishness. He explained that I needed to approach everyday with a To Hell with Me attitude, and the anxiety would naturally decrease. All anxiety is rooted in our own selfishness.

Jill: To follow my heart, not my fears. It’s not always easy, but it’s what I’ve always done, and I love what I’ve done.

Cathy: Do the next right thing.

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Lorna: What is something you hope to learn?

Izzy: How to be able to combine unconditional love with powerful, meaningful action.

Biet: I would love to crystallize to never taking anything personally ever again. Not just getting that sometimes or on an intellectual level, but really holistically surrendering to that process completely.

Jill: How to sit still, be quiet, be alone and content.

Julie: I’d love to learn more about what allows some people to really follow their hearts, break through their fears and take chances with their lives, while other people seem to stay scared and stuck in unhappiness.

Cathy: More about how to do the next right thing.

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Lorna: What is something you’d like to unlearn?

Izzy: That my way is right, because my way is just an option.

Kacee: Fear of failure.

Jill: Self-judgment. That would be amazing!

Julie: I would love to unlearn all the twisted things I ever learned about what it means to be a woman. That includes what a woman’s body should look like or how a woman should act. I want to unlearn doing all the things I thought I was supposed to do.

Todd: My value is predicated upon how much I get done each day.

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Lorna: In your own words, what do you think is the meaning of life? What is the point of all this? Why are we here?

MC: To live a life with meaning, which is up to each individual person to figure out for themselves.

Izzy: To develop an intimate, real, sincere relationship with God… To experience the unconditional love of God… and to practice unconditional love with God… To be on that journey.

Biet: Love. The experience of complete connection and love.

Kacee: To learn the right value for the world. To learn true introversion, shifting focus from the world to my inner self.

Jill: Love and happiness. Simple, but not easy.

Julie: The whole purpose of being alive is simply to make someone else’s journey a little easier. It’s to learn that we’re all the same and deeply connected by our need to be loved, heard and seen. Our purpose is to heal our own hearts, and then to help other people heal theirs too. It’s to smile at a stranger, to open our eyes, and to be grateful for every single moment we are given. The simplest of simple, we are here learn that we’re all doing the best we can and to love ourselves and each other in our own imperfections.

Cathy: To experience a place in human form, appreciate the limits and limitlessness of humanness, and recognize we are all connected.

Maureen: Love more, fear less, and don’t forget to laugh.

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Lorna: How do you get unstuck when you find yourself in a funk?

MC: Yoga, meditation, mantra, music, art, comic books.

Izzy: Vulnerability and transparency with those I trust most.

Biet: Meditate, drink water, breathe, pray.

Kacee: Use the power of perspective to reflect on how all moments shift and change.

Jill: Therapy. God bless her!

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Lorna: What lights you up?

MC: Electricity.

Izzy: God, Aikido, nature, the wilderness, physical challenge and experience that’s about personal transformation.

Biet: Oceans, friendships, writing, speaking, guiding.

Kacee: Vedic philosophy.

Jill: Dancing.

Cathy: The study and practice of self-awareness.

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Lorna: What turns you on?

MC: Being around really creative people who aren’t needy.

Izzy: The truth. When someone’s body expresses the truth, and my truth and their truth are in alignment, I love that.

Biet: Measuredness, refined behavior, slowness.

Jill: Intelligence and confidence.

Julie: Love.

Todd: Anonymous giving of money for charity.

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Lorna: What pisses you off?

MC: Attention to things that don’t bring healing. Visceral reaction to things that appeal to base mentality, like gossip. I’m less interested in what’s shocking and more interested in Shakti.

Izzy: Accepting without question, and how this impacts an entire society. For example, I get very frustrated with the current educational system because I don’t believe it works anymore, but we’re selling it, especially to lower-income communities, saying if you do this you will be successful. Another thing that really pisses me off is victim mentality, when people don’t take personal responsibility in their own relationships for the problems they are having.

Biet: Loudness, crudeness, and that not everyone gets a real education.

Julie: Judgment and hate.

Cathy: The unwillingness to be self-aware, and intentionally harming others.

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Lorna: What is something you wish everyone knew?

Kacee: Collaboration is always the best route.

Jill: That when you toast, you’re supposed to make eye contact.

Julie: You are more than your body, more than your mind, more than the physical life you can see around you. So. Much. More.

Cathy: That they belong, and are inherently good.

Maureen: With God, all things are really possible.

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Lorna: What do you know to be true?

MC: That the more love you give to something, the more it grows.

Izzy: We don’t actually know anything. Security is not an external thing; true certainty is an internal experience.

Julie: What I know to be true is that life isn’t always easy. It’s confusing and heartbreaking at times. It’s inspiring and exciting at other times. The darkness and the light are both sides of the same coin. We are here to feel it all. It’s the contrast and the ever-changing landscape of life that makes it so beautiful.

Todd: Technically, we’re all stardust. That’s crazy, yet true.

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Lorna: Desert island book?

Izzy: The Earth’s Children series, by Jean M. Auel.

Biet: Anything by Maurice Nicoll.

Cathy: Gift from the Sea, by Anne Morrow Lindbergh.

Maureen: A Course in Miracles.

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Lorna: Desert island album?

MC: Exodus, by Bob Marley.

Izzy: Hillsong (Live) Cornerstone Deluxe Edition.

Biet: Anything by Bach.

Todd: Siamese Dream, by Smashing Pumpkins.

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Lorna: Guilty pleasure?

MC: Reading comic books in my beanbag chair in my Yogi Cave.

Izzy: A super carnitas burrito.

Jill: Dark chocolate and Bourbon. Do I get two?

Cathy: Chocolate cake and French fries.

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Lorna: What is one superhuman/amazing thing you will do today?

MC: Go vote!

Izzy: The Golden State Warriors are playing tonight. I’m going to watch the game somewhere with my woman while she’s (physically) in her Master’s program. She’s gonna be doing that, and in this whole experience of us each doing the thing that we want, we will still — within that space — connect, and more deeply love each other and support each other. We’ll appreciate each other and grow in this way.

Jill: Encourage mind-body connection to a large group of women.

Julie: I will smile at every stranger I pass on the street, and make eye contact.

Maureen: Refrain from eating sugar. Being a cancer survivor, I have taken to giving up sugar. It takes every ounce of my being to find sweetness in other things.

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Lorna: What is one human/flawed thing you will do today?

MC: Sleep in.

Biet: Gossip and/or just talk about other people as if I know anything about them.

Cathy: Self-criticism, which causes me to be critical of others.

Maureen: Judge myself.

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Lorna: Be vulnerable and brave, and share something that you usually hide from people. What is one thing you are afraid people will see?

Izzy: That people will think I’m full of sh*t, and that I’m insincere.

Biet: I am afraid people will see that I get mechanical and insecure sometimes. That in having been rejected in my youth (ever) means that I am not worthy and if anyone sees that I ever doubt myself that they will likely reject me as well.

Jill: That I yell at my kids.

Cathy: People and experiences can overwhelm me, and I fear being perceived as weak and incapable.

Maureen: My stretch marks. How stupid and shallow is that!

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Lorna: What is something you often say No to?

MC: Invitations. It has to be really good for me to leave my house!

Izzy: Hanging out with people in any capacity where there is not any desire to live a more fulfilling life.

Jill: Volunteering at the kids’ schools. I just don’t have time.

Todd: My kids’ requests to help them with something that they can do themselves. I love saying No and make no bones about it.

Maureen: Animal products, alcohol, sugar and guilt.

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Lorna: What is something you often say Yes to?

MC: Food!

Izzy: Any type of physical activity, especially if it has a spiritual component.

Jill: A dance party.

Cathy: Any idea that comes to me while I’m in the shower or during Yoga.

Maureen: Creative urges, things I have never experienced before, coffee.

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Lorna: One favorite quotation right now?

MC: “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” ~ Muhammad Ali

Izzy: “Being without doing is merely wishing.” ~ Jason Goldberg

Kacee: The quotation that I live by everyday: “Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings while the dawn is still dark.” ~ Tagore

Julie: “Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others.” ~ Pema Chödrön

Cathy: “We’re not on our journey to save the world but to save ourselves. But in doing that you save the world. The influence of a vital person vitalizes.” ~ Joseph Campbell

Todd: “Worry pretends to be necessary.”~ Eckhart Tolle

Maureen: I have a million from ACIM. But this quotation is my all time favorite: “Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.” ~ Frederick Buechner

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Lorna: One popular quotation or saying you disagree with?

Kacee: “If it’s too hard, it’s not meant to be.”

Cathy: Any quotation that says working harder is the only key to success, because sometimes letting go is just as important.

Todd: “Kids need to toughen up.” No, they don’t. We need to soften up.

Maureen: “I can’t.”

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Lorna: What excites you most about being a part of Soul LOVE Fest?

MC: Connecting with people, sharing Yoga, practicing and meditating with a lot of people because I love the energy.

Izzy: Every single point of contact I make, I really enjoy the people! There’s a particular energy! It’s different from most events like this.

Biet: Um, everything. I love people, community, and doing what I came to this planet to do.

Julie: I am so excited to be around the energy of all of these amazing people! Just thinking about being with an incredible group of buzzing, soulful, inspired people outdoors for two days makes my heart so happy.

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Lorna: If you had only one sentence to express one message… one offering… one call to action — right here right now — what would that one sentence be?

MC: Follow the love.

Biet: Listen, get quiet, ask your soul what it wants to do, and then pursue that with a willingness that hurts.

Kacee: Be consistent, have concentration, and cooperate with others.

Julie: Don’t wait. Your life is too short and too precious to settle. You get to decide. How will you live? How will you die? Everything is a choice. What Life will you choose?

Todd: Just be cool. Keep truckin’.

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“Be love. Give love. Share love. Spread love.” ~ Julie Santiago, Soul LOVE Fest Mistress of Ceremonies

For more inspiration, and connection with these spectacular soul teachers, check out Soul LOVE Fest.

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LornaSamatas01Lorna Samatas
is a Yoga teacher, motivational speaker and life coach, who is passionate about personal growth and transformation. Her brand Wyo & Free is all about empowering people to embody their ultimate ‘happy place’ (hers is the Wyoming Tetons!) and tap their inner compass to find — and stay on — their biggest, boldest path. You could contact Lorna via email or Facebook.

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