Tag Archives: mindfulness

Rising Appalachia at FloydFest

Rising Appalachia began years ago as the front porch project of sisters Leah Song and Chloe Smith to pay homage to their family. However, the dedication the sisters share to social activism started many years before through their involvement in community justice work and local food movements. Using their talent as a way to both share stories and encourage introspection, the sisters combined their interests to create an experience that is unique and inspiring. Joined by their beloved band, percussionist Biko Casini and bassist/guitarist David Brown, they share their colorful sound all over the world. Born and raised in the concrete jungle of Atlanta, Georgia, Leah and Chloe sharpened their instincts in the mountains of Appalachia, and fine-tuned their soul on the streets of New Orleans. This has resulted in a 6-album career that showcases a melting pot of folk music simplicity, textured songwriting, and “those bloodline harmonies that only siblings can pull off.”

Though it is not without challenges, Leah and Chloe stay true to their passions in the face of a fast-paced environment that has a tendency to push talented musicians into egocentric rockstars. They call their approach the Slow Music Movement.

“We’ve always explored sustainable touring ideas and options. We do everything from alternative travel methods like touring by train, to making sure as much local food as possible is brought to the green rooms and encouraging festivals to have a relationship with farm-to-table food. We don’t use plastic water bottles, and we avoid single-use plastic, encouraging the venue to take that on themselves as well,” explains Leah.

Fans will not find the band at strip malls or in hotel parking lots either. They make a point to seek out lodging near national parks, cabins, or stay with friends in farm homes. Additionally, they often visit urban gardens in the cities, and try to put their time and energy into neighborhoods, communities, and land-based projects.

“We are constantly trying to steal away moments for introspection, writing, and mindfulness. I walk every day, all over the place, wherever I am,” says Leah. “That’s kind of my movement meditation.”

Staying so close to the community keeps their desire to help others and be present as focal points in their journey. The band makes time during their performance to share the power of the stage and introduce audiences to those doing important ground work in social justice and equality efforts. Their tour schedule does not allow them to remain and nurture the impact in any one community, so it is important to Leah and Chloe to make sure the seeds they plant of emotional and environmental sustainability can grow even in their absence. Shifting the power to local faces helps ensure that will happen.

“Music is the tool with which we wield political prowess. We are building community and tackling social injustice through melody, making the stage reach out with wide arms to gather this great family. It has taken on its own personality, carrying us all along the journey,” says Leah.

“I’m really inspired by the beautiful, radical creative folks that show up in our audiences, “she adds. “Night after night, there are so many creative bright lights. We are inspired by our fan base. They have always been powerful, productive, and proactive folks in their communities. I think for our band and interpersonally, it has given us more purpose. We hope [our purpose] is reaching wider than us, and we are all grateful to have this vehicle to express ourselves.”

Rising Appalachia is touring all over Europe this summer, but FloydFest has a special place in their hearts, and is one of few festivals they will play in the United States in 2017. Catch them on stage both Saturday and Sunday, and follow up by learning how to support local farmers, seeking out sustainable resource options, and finding a quiet place to meditate on personal growth.

The best way to keep the feeling of a good show alive is to carry the inspiration from it with you and learn from it long after the audience dissipates. From Leah’s perspective, Rising Appalachia is going to do everything they can to put on a show that feeds your soul and lights that spark.

“At it’s best, [being on stage] is magical,” she explains. “We spend concerted effort trying to make sure we create a radical setting for the audience. We want to a take them on as much of a journey as possible.”

If you can’t make it to FloydFest this year, be sure to check out their new live album, Alive, this fall. Do yourself a favor when you do, and make it a truly immersive experience. Turn off the notifications on your phone, meditate, and enjoy the tapestry of stories woven into song by this talented band.

For more information about Rising Appalachia, visit www.risingappalachia.com.

Mindfulness in the New Year

Mindfulness is so important–especially as we approach the new year. The greatest gifts you can give yourself for the year ahead are those that help you be present and make the most out of your experiences.
chakra_boost_-_clarity_1That’s why we love ADORAtherapy products. Their essential oil roll on blends are great Chakra boosts. Our favorite is I See: Clarity. This proprietary blend of essential oils includes Sacred Tulsi, Frankincense and Myrrh in a base of Organic Jojoba.
It is great for those moments during the day when you need to focus and more coffee just isn’t an option. Visit www.adoratherapy.com for more information on Chakra Boosts and other great aromatherapy items.
AND pick up our January issue (available NOW!) for more information on natural products and helpful hints to stay healthy and get the most out of 2016!

A Few of Our Favorite Things

Fall is right around the corner and the holidays (aka the busiest time of the year) are soon to follow! You can prepare your body and your mind for the changing seasons and crowded planners by making a few small adjustments to your habits. You may be surprised at how much better you will feel!

Get Healthy
clarity_pink_frontStaying hydrated is the most important way you can pamper your body this fall. Drinking enough water each day will add to your energy levels, help with your appetite, and improve your skin. Pumpkin spice lattes are great, but looking and feeling your best at the pumpkin patch with your friends and family is even better! A cool water bottle might be just the inspiration you need to stick with it. Check out these unique colors and styles from Avex.

617qqRONuxL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_And, speaking of pumpkins, did you know that pumpkin seeds are technically a superfood? If you are interested in fueling your body with natural recipes that include pumpkin seeds, coconut milk, beets, and more, you are going to want to pick up a copy of Superfoods by Julie Montagu! Filled with suggestions for delicious creations, this book is the flexible approach to eating more superfoods.

Learn Something New
51yYpWj7XaL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_
Technology can be a little overwhelming and distracting–especially as your schedule fills up over the next few months. Instead of spending your evening at home, glued to the computer or your phone, pick up a book or take on a new hobby. Cath Kidston’s Sewing Book is great for those interested in learning how to sew. Plus, it gives you the opportunity to make a gift that your friends and family can treasure for a lifetime!

Be Mindful
Little-Book-of-Mindfulness3It can be very difficult to stay mindful during this time of year, but it is necessary to maintain your sanity and some sense of organization. We keep a copy of The Little Book of Mindfulness in our office, and recommend it to everyone. You can open this book to any page and find inspirational advice on hot to focus, slow down, and destress. And, after all, isn’t that the best way to enjoy life?

The Risks We Take

I’ve always admired risk takers. You know, thrill seekers in helmets jumping off bridges or flying through the air with GoPro cameras strapped to their heads. I envy their rosy cheeks and deep smiles and brightly colored outfits.

Everything about them screams “I’m alive!” while everything in me just screams at the thought of zip lining across a 400 foot mountain gorge.  My lack of risk taking has long been a dark spot on my soul. I even have a difficult time hitting on a guy in a bar.

Until I realized risks don’t always mean jumping off a cliff.

I have a good friend, named Kurt. I adore him. And as it happens, he adores me. One night over dinner he asked if I would join him in completing his global To-Do list. As soon as the question left his mouth, my brain became a vortex of possible complications… what about my dog? My apartment? My parents need me and there’s all those planes disappearing in that pesky ocean.

My late thirty-something self couldn’t do it. My girlfriends thought I was insane. Who would turn down a proposition like that?

Me. I would. The girl who doesn’t take risks. I wasn’t saying no to traveling all over the world, I was saying no settling for someone I adored instead of loved. Even if that person did come with two plane tickets to Bali.  I believed something bigger was waiting for me.

Not long after Kurt, I decided to do something really stupid: become an artist. Just me and my craft facing the world and my checking account! I would pursue my artistic dreams. When I told friends, they were in awe. I could see the gleam of envy in their eyes. Or maybe it was shock at my lack of desire to work in an office for the rest of my life with health insurance and a regular paycheck.

heatherAfter I downed a bottle of my favorite wine, I convinced myself I was indeed doing the right thing. But this kind of risk is terrifying. Everything in my life is a variable upon things I can’t control… like the weather or if my dog decides he wants to pee on my running shoes.

However, I’m breathless when I look back on my decisions. The risk taker would understand. The thrill seeker jumping off the side of a mountain to fly around like a bat on a summers’ day would get it. I’m one of them now.

 

Written by Heather A. Haines