What is LifeStyle Design?
It is the choice to live life as creatively, consciously, and resourcefully as possible.
It is the belief that all living things are interconnected...
and that when our choices are rooted in this knowing, even the smallest ones can have a big impact.
LifeStyle Design, was born through a series of paradigm shifting projects turned business plans during Grad School. After years of studying and applying various therapeutic modalities (both personally and professionally), this lens has developed into a comprehensive set of creative coaching practices empirically guided by social-emotional, cognitive, behavioral and psychological models. Built upon a lifetime of creative practice and intense personal transformation, I now consult with parents, teach kids and help organizations create experiences that foster growth in alignment with true principles.
The seeds of this work have been with me since I was a kid, but the conscious arrival at it work began in 2012 while studying in the Arts and Consciousness program at JFK University in Berkeley, CA. Through careful self-reflection with the guidance of caring, skilled professors, I came to understand every aspect of our lives as an art form filled with limitless potential for learning, overcoming, and meaning-making. We all get stuck. Sometimes we just need an outside perspective, the right kind of input, and a little synchronicity to spark the next step in our journey. Through simple kindness to ourselves and others coupled with a strategic growth plan, we can actively support essential life change in a way that makes us feel alive.
We can choose to boldly embody the creative, adaptive people we need to be to meet life's inevitable shifts with resilience, courage, and joy. When we embrace struggle, when we choose to show up in it, the net result is more gratitude and deeper trust. By embracing the creative genius of our beginner's mind, we can align with the infinite natural cycles surrounding us to grow through challenges and find deeper meaning in the process. This work operates from a clear understanding that the arts offer us a vehicle for renewal, education, and ultimately, community transformation. The work itself continues to evolve with each intentional project and partnership. There have been so many, it's nearly impossible, nor necessary to share it all, but I hope to give you a glimpse. Each step has helped me awaken to a purpose greater than myself.
and authentically connecting with compassionate people while making that art SAVED my life...
and now creativity is my lifeline to building a stronger connection with myself, my community + the Earth.
Since I was a little thing, I've always felt that I was meant for something really, really big. I was constantly creating and I felt a love so large inside, I wondered who and what could hold such immensity.
I used to dream about the clothes and art I would make, the people I'd help, the places I'd visit, the classes I'd teach, the books I'd write, the family I'd have... life seemed so open and full of possibility. I've always felt destined for greatness. Can you relate?
But, somewhere along the way through college, I'd lost sight of it. I got so caught up in the fear, anxiety and 'shoulds' of it all that I lost track of my connection to my creativity, myself, and my belief that amazing things were in store. I'd lost my spark.
In 2008, when the recession hit, I was in a dark place that had very little to do with the economic crisis. I was stuck in a life that may have looked like the typical college experience, but was so far from the life I was meant for, that I was unrecognizable to myself. I was deeply depressed, terrified of nearly everything, and self-medicating in toxic ways that I wouldn't wish on anyone.
It's wild how a just a few (seemingly) small decisions can massively impact one's life... and it's staggering to behold how the amplification of those choices, one way or another, can drastically change the trajectory of our path.
It works both ways and luckily for me, it has. Through a dedication to understanding myself and how to heal the trauma loop I was living, I set a course of change in motion.
When I left (fled) my home state of Texas in 2010, I was carrying with me some serious baggage. I was not only 70 lbs overweight, but I was recovering from heavy addiction, deep depression, paralyzing anxiety, rape, abortion, and a car accident that left me with a fractured jaw (but also possibly the physical pause necessary to reevaluate my life).
My first few years in Cali were deep, dark-night-of-the-soul type struggles. They also, quite fittingly, became the foundation of a radical transformation. I threw myself into my work at the time (as a Behavioral Therapist for children with divergent developmental needs) and quickly realized that I was not equipped emotionally or physically to keep up with the quality of service I wanted to give. I put myself in therapy, began weekly yoga and kickboxing classes, and (to combat the loneliness of not knowing anyone) started making art again.
While I had chosen to move with the intention of making changes in my life, I hadn't anticipated the struggle of it all. It was an abrupt change and it forced me to sit with feelings that I had been numbing and avoiding for years.
Two years of holistic detox later, I had built a new body of art work and enrolled myself in a graduate program for Transformative Arts. Professionally, I had no idea where it would take me, but my intuition wouldn't let me pursue any other programs.
Ten years after moving to Oakland, I am a different person. Not just physically (I've lost 80lbs), but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I found my spark. Returning to my art saved my life. Serving others and being served by others saved my life, without exaggeration.
My soul's sole mission is to help others find their way; to be a guide post in your journey. Surely, there are many things I do not know, but I do know this: Your dreams are your dreams for a reason. They are a calling on you to fulfill your purpose and the world needs you to listen, now more than ever. You have unique abilities (maybe you don't even know what they are yet) and we need you to answer the call.
So, be your weird, wacky snowflake self. Make a mess and trust yourself to learn a ton while you clean it up (perhaps even joyfully) ... and know, that I'm here, cheering you on.