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Natural Awakenings San Diego

Letter from the Publisher

Elaine Russo

I’m writing this publisher’s letter for the October issue with an extra pep in my step. The day after the file uploads to the printer, I’ll be heading to attend Bhakti Fest for the first time. This amazing six-day festival, being held in Twentynine Palms, celebrates the devotional paths of yoga, kirtan and meditation. I will be posting stories on our social media platforms as I continue to take the plunge into our complicated and necessary digital world. Not a bad way to learn. It will be a lot more fun and hands on to move away from my computer and immerse myself into the festival.

          I love, love, love attending my community partners’ events. My trip a few years back to Rythmia in Costa Rica with my editor, Erin, changed my life forever. I’ve made it known that I’m an advocate for plant medicine as long as you know your source and you are well informed and consulted. It’s not like you can microdose alcohol. Or is that doing a shot? Alcoholism destroys families and lives every second. Plant medicine can mend that destruction, and yet we deny it. I say instead of picking up a drink, pick up a book or go online and educate yourself.

          Thankfully, the stigma for plant medicine is swiftly vanishing as it gains momentum in helping with all kinds of mental and physical illnesses. Most of us have an ailment of some kind. I recently attended a free substance abuse educational film titled The First Day that we featured in our September issue. It was extremely powerful and needs to be shown in all our schools.

          It boggles my mind why we must fight so hard to get the truth out there. I remember when yoga had a hard time getting approved in the school district. Yoga is a healthy way to tune in to your mind, body and spirit; it’s not a religious cult. The above-mentioned film depicted an authentic view on the preventive side to substance abuse. There was an interesting interaction after the film with the young substance abuse counselors' panel on stage and the audience. The statistics on substance abuse are staggering in the U.S. and our youth. We need to ask ourselves why this is happening, and better yet, how we can prevent it. Denial is such a factor. Easier to close our eyes than open them. It starts in our homes: you can be poor or affluent. It doesn’t matter what your race, gender and/or your economic status is. Substance abuse is an inside job.

          Last night, I saw the movie The Hustlers (based on a true story). I loved the ending line by Jennifer Lopez. “It’s all a strip club; you have people tossing the money and people doing the dance.” My other favorite quote was the line “hurt hurts hurt.” It explains our world.

          The book briefs and film highlights in this month’s issue are strong and influential. I’m especially excited about Dr. Judith Orloff’s newest book, Thriving as an Empath. Her previous book, The Empath Survival Guide has become my Bible in many ways. It explains why empaths feel and behave the way they do, and how to use that behavior in positive ways. While being an empath is actually a great blessing, oftentimes, it can feel more like a curse. It’s all about our own personal perception, growth and how we choose to manage our selves. Knowing ourselves and being protective of our personal energy and boundaries can help us share our gifts with the world in a way that is empowering.

Shine on this month!


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