healers highlighted interview no. 10
A little background on our featured healers
Alanna is a 25-year-old Bay Area native, who came to Los Angeles seven years ago to pursue a degree at Loyola Marymount University. Inspired by her love of music, she went on to DJ school and has been DJing ever since. She’s performed sets at various events across the world and has honed a unique understanding of the way art impacts collective energy. It was this awareness of directing group vibe that drew Alanna to the medicine that is cacao. More than anything, Alanna can set a tone — uplifting hearts and creating a vibe everyone can feel. So it felt very aligned when she encountered its rich history of ritual. Her curiosity about the ancient practice further grew into a spiritual sojourn to Tulum and, most recently, Guatemala, where she discovered the enormous love the plant medicine offers. Now, she guides people through cacao ceremonies, focusing on the power of ceremony, community, movement through music, and above all the abundance of LOVE. Nature truly heals, and Alanna can attest that cacao is the most loving plant teacher of all.
Hailing from the Midwest suburbs of Chicago, Illinois, Lauren headed to Los Angeles with a vision for the screen and a love of performance, studying both screenwriting and dance at Loyola Marymount University. It was while exploring various movement methods there that she encountered somatic movement, which is an incredibly effective way to reinform the mind-body connection. Following a series of efforts to learn more about healing sexual assault trauma through embodiment, Lauren became a Yoga Alliance certified instructor and now guides flows, in addition to her newest undertaking of facilitating ecstatic dance events. While film and performance remain two of her major loves, she has found that they culminate with her healing modalities best in the form of digital content — where she shares her personal life revelations through direct-to-camera dialogues. Above all, Lauren cherishes connection and longs to make others feel seen, safe, present, and celebrated in their journey of becoming.
If you were stuck on a desert island, what medicinal plant would you hope to find while scavenging?
A: Lauren and I can probably both attest to the beautiful medicine Bufo Alvarius as an amazing spiritual healer and one that would be great to discover while deserted. This medicine is extremely powerful and life altering and has subsequently shaped a lot of what Lauren and I think, feel and integrate into our daily lives. I believe if I were deserted I would want the most powerful and potent plant medicine to help me surrender, decipher my journey, and find insight into otherworldly realms.
Everyone has a folk healer in the family—the grandma with the onion chest rub, the uncle with the hot toddies. Have you picked up any healing traditions from your bloodline?
L: When I felt under the weather as a child, my grandmother Adele would take great care to prepare Lithuanian Borscht, which is made with red cabbage and beets. Together, the plant elixir, often served cold, reduces inflammation in the body and delivers antioxidants. But more than that, the experience of eating it became a soothing ritual during which my grandma would pour me a bowl of pink soup, then lean beside me. “It’s going to make your cheeks rosy,” she’d whisper, in a loving voice I can still hear so clearly. It’s only now, researching my family history, that I’ve learned my Lithuanuan ancestors relied on nearly 2000 various plants for healing.
The digital life is a vibe killer in large doses. What do you do to disconnect?
L: When the vibes are off, it’s usually because I’m not honoring a state of presence. The digital age has been enormously fundamental to the connection and growth of so many communities, but like anything, too much is poor mental health hygiene. To disconnect, I find both movement and nature to be my most effective touchstones. While of course, it would be lovely to maintain a daily yoga practice, there are days where getting to the studio and setting aside time is harder. In those instances, I’ve been enormously grateful to have the simple practice of “grounding.” I find a patch of grass outside somewhere, usually beneath a tree as personal preference, and I lay in stillness. No music. No barrier between myself and the Earth. Just absolute embodiment as I inhabit my vessel. While the practice may seem small, scientific literature indicates that “direct physical contact with the vast supply of electrons on the surface of the Earth” can reduce inflammation and cortisol levels, while improving sleep. No wonder we all took to the ground as kids! Laying in the comforting green of the park near my apartment feels like honoring my inner child.
What first step do you recommend to newbies who are just starting out on their wellness journeys?
A: To newbies that are interested in wellness, I believe the first step is trusting your gut and intuition and I would recommend starting with cacao. It is a non-psychoactive, gentle teacher that will guide you to listen to your heart-space. Once you can tap into this feeling of freedom and love, many things that you are searching for will become more clear. if you are willing to first open your heart the rest will follow!
Healing is all about community, and finding the people you trust. Who are your go-to gurus?
L: My beautiful best friend Alanna put it best when she told me “you are your greatest teacher.” While I truly believe that inner knowing is the guru I must repeatedly return to for guidance, I find inspo in healer @plantifulsoul and intuitive guide @sighswoon. Their revelations on the non-physical always resonate so deeply. At a far deeper level, I find a huge guru in the essence of Lord Gautam Buddha. As I re-emerged from my bufo alvarius experience, I saw the face of the Buddha on a tapestry in the teepee. The look of blissful awareness and undisturbed elation inspired a very central theme in my healing that I keep returning to: the natural expression is joy. While Buddha was certainly a prophet of this message, I emphasize that the guru is the essence, rather than the person, as a nod to the incomprehensible scope of conscious beingness that expands beyond the human form. We are all energetic expressions of that greater oneness.
We think about everything in terms of plants. What's your spirit flower?
A: Jasmine is my spirit flower...I grew up smelling it everyday walking along the cobblestone street to my house. Every time I walked by I would take a deep breath in and smile at its sweet aroma. Jasmine is the sweetest smelling flower and I like to think it's a lot like me — sweet and delicate but also powerful in its presence and spirit.
L: So hard to choose just one TFP product! I’ve personally benefited enormously from the Stress Finesse tincture by Homestead Apothecary. While I take this to cope with anxiety, I’ve found it enormously beneficial to take before getting intimate. I recommend this product especially for those coping with sexual assault trauma, as the divine trio of skullcap, nettle, and milky oat tops do wonders to help me relax and soften before midnight mischief.
Music as medicine, what's your current or forever go-to album?
A: Oooh that's a hard one. Music is my soul and heart, so choosing one album is a challenge. My favorite type of music makes me feel and frees me to embody myself through movement or any other type of expression. It sends chills through my being and bursts my heart open with joy! I will have to say Porter Robinson is my favorite artist of all time. I have been following his journey for almost seven years now and you must listen to his original album "Worlds" and, following that, tune in to his newest album "Nurture."
*DEALERS* CHOICE: Are there any projects you're working on, fun factoids about you or PSAs you'd like to share with our community?
A: Stay tuned! I am working on a big project to create my cacao brand and ultimately my lounge and creative expression space in LA. This is in the works but I am so excited to share the magic of cacao in a beautiful community space where people will have the opportunity to expand their hearts and minds! Also, I will continue to host cacao related events in LA so please join when you can!
L: I am currently focusing my love of wellness into small community settings as we re-emerge from the pandemic. One of the various formats I’m most excited about are group yoga flows at Clover Park in Santa Monica on Saturday mornings for children ages 7-12. Young beings have so much wisdom and joy to share, and they can benefit enormously from healing modalities like yoga. Please contact me via IG DM @laurendelisle to reserve a spot for your child!
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