2016 JLLB LUNAFEST® Women in Entertainment Q & A Interview Series – Jacqueline Carroll Interviewed by Elizabeth McCann

In connection with our 5th Annual LUNAFEST Film Festival event, which took place earlier this month, the Junior League of Long Beach (JLLB) has created the LUNAFEST Women in Entertainment Q & A Interview Series. It features interviews pairing JLLB members making a difference in the Long Beach community with women making a difference in the entertainment industry.

Follow updates to the Q & A Interview Series campaign and find out about new JLLB activities at twitter.com/JL_LongBeach. For more information about the traveling LUNAFEST Film Festival, which highlights women filmmakers and their short films, visithttps://www.jllb.org/support/lunafest/.

 For our seventh and last interview in the series, JLLB President Elizabeth McCann will be interviewing Jacqueline Carroll, who is the Head of Sales at Thunder Studios here in Long Beach.

 Elizabeth, who is a second generation native of Long Beach, joined the Junior League of Long Beach in 2009 to reengage in community involvement after years of leadership in other service organizations in Long Beach. One of a number of highlights in Elizabeth’s league career has been her Advocacy work on JLLB’s Public Affairs Committee — specifically, serving as both Junior and Senior Delegates for the Junior League of California’s State Public Affairs Committee (CalSPAC). Her other key roles in JLLB have included working in the Fund Development areas for the league and holding the Board of Directors position of Treasurer in a prior year to her current position as President.

 Outside of the league, Elizabeth is a Nonprofit Fundraising Leader who works with organizations in the Southern California area. She received her Bachelor of Arts in English and American Studies and her Master of Public Administration degrees from the University of Southern California.

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 Photo caption, from left: Elizabeth and Jacqueline both participated in a video shoot to discuss these questions on camera last month at Thunder Studios.

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 Elizabeth McCann (EM): What was your first job in the entertainment industry?

Jacqueline Carroll (JC): My first job in the industry was at Creative Artists Agency (CAA). I worked there for about five years and I decided to take a different route. I realized that I wasn’t going to be an agent – I just didn’t have it in me – so I started looking around and a friend told me about Thunder Studios.

 EM: What does your typical day look like?

 JC: A typical day for me here starts off with lots of emails, which are mostly inquires from clients who are looking for production space, or from clients who are already in on a project. It’s not just sales – I do a lot of operations as well. We’re kind of a small team here at Thunder and we all wear many hats.

 EM: What are some of your favorite projects here at the Studios?

 JC: I would say Nine Eleven is a favorite project that we just started filming last month. It’s our first co-production as a studio and it stars Charlie Sheen, Whoopi Goldberg, Luis Guzman, Wood Harris, and Olga Fonda. We have branched out to do our own thing, and to take control of our destiny, as the CEO says.

 EM: How has the studio grown over the years?

 JC: It became Thunder Studios in 2013. Previously, it was a third-party rental company and we were only renting out to production companies that had jobs. When Rodric David took over, he decided to branch off in a couple of different directions. We started our own production company in-house to take advantage of the fact that we have this huge studio and now we are also bidding jobs to clients and creative agencies.

 In addition, we launched a digital media platform and are getting more involved in digital content, with two stages that are dedicated to YouTube creators. So if you sign up with our multi-channel network (MCN), then you’re able to come in and take advantage of all of the resources that our facility has to offer.

 EM: What are the key aspects of your job that you enjoy the most?

JC: I just love working with different people, whether they’re with our own in-house production company or with a third party. It’s also that I like being part of something major. I didn’t really have an appreciation for commercials until I started working here and didn’t see all of the work that went into them before they were made: You have about seven days to make 30 seconds of television and a brand has probably given you $1 million to $2 million for it, so it has to be great.

EM: What qualities do you attribute to your success?

 JC: I would say that I’m diligent and relentless. And I’m also a master networker – I can’t stress that enough. It’s getting out there and meeting people, and always being gracious and cordial and keeping those opportunities open.  I think that’s very important for anything you’re going to do, especially in entertainment.  I think this is one of the key components that makes me good at what I do.

EM: Who would you say has inspired you the most?

JC: My grandmother, who was a professor at USC for four years, was a huge inspiration to me. In entertainment though, it’s really anybody who goes after what they want. And if they don’t give up, and they do it in a positive way, then that’s an inspiration to me.

EM: What words of advice would you give to women who want to work in the industry or do what you do?

JC: We’re at this threshold where we’re about to enter into a different way of life, so for women, there is still a bit of a battle. But it’s being relentless. You have to believe in yourself, and rely on yourself, and know that the things that you have to offer up are worthy and valuable. If you believe in what you’re doing, then I don’t think anything can stop you – I think it’s mostly relying on who you are and not giving up.

Find out more about Jacqueline Carroll below.

http://www.thunderstudios.com/

https://www.youtube.com/user/ThunderStudiosInc

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4917224/?ref_=nv_sr_1


This interview was edited by Lynda Miller, Public Relations Chair of the Junior League of Long Beach. She transferred from the Los Angeles league to Long Beach in 2012 to continue working in the community after a career change. When she’s not doing JLLB activities, Lynda is a PR, Sales & Fundraising Consultant who specializes in helping companies gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace.https://www.linkedin.com/in/lyndamiller1

2016 JLLB LUNAFEST® Women in Entertainment Q & A Interview Series

2016 JLLB LUNAFEST® Women in Entertainment Q & A Interview Series – Jann Goldsby Interviewed by Janice Merriweather

In connection with our 5th Annual LUNAFEST Film Festival event, which took place earlier this month, the Junior League of Long Beach (JLLB) has created the LUNAFEST Women in Entertainment Q & A Interview Series. It features interviews pairing JLLB members making a difference in the Long Beach community with women making a difference in the entertainment industry.

 Follow the Q & A Interview Series at twitter.com/JL_LongBeach to find out when the next interview will be posted. For more information about the traveling LUNAFEST Film Festival, which highlights women filmmakers and their short films, visitwww.jllb.org/lunafest.

 For our sixth interview in the series, JLLB Sustainer Janice Merriweather will be interviewing Jann Goldsby, who is an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter working on the set of the TV show Switched at Birth.

 Janice joined the Junior League of Long Beach in 1988 when she was encouraged to do so by a Past President of the Junior League of Los Angeles. “She explained to me the Junior League’s mission as a training organization that helps develop the potential of women. Thus, after training and working on various projects and fundraisers in the league, a member would have exceptional skills to take that training out into the community and make a difference where she saw a need,” said Janice, who herself became a President of JLLB and served in this position during the 1995 – 1996 year.

 After nearly three decades of service in the league, she is still active as a Sustainer. Janice’s numerous accomplishments with JLLB include her role as co-chair of the organization’s 80th Anniversary Celebration Committee, which raised $30,000 for The Children’s Dental Clinic, the Junior League of Long Beach’s first project after its founding in 1931. Janice also produced a historical video that gives viewers a comprehensive overview of JLLB’s contributions to the community over the years.https://www.jllb.org/about/our-history/

 Janice is a recently retired General Manager/Executor for an aviation pioneer and cattle rancher with offices in Long Beach and Beverly Hills. She has served for several years on Casa Youth Shelter’s Board and as a Board Trustee member in Los Alamitos; as a member of Phoenix, a support group for the Long Beach Museum of Art; and as a member of The Links of Orange County, an international, non-profit organization of women committed to educational and civic programs. She has also served as a member and mentor in Cameo, an auxiliary of the Assistance League of Long Beach.

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Caption for photo above: From left, Janice and Jann also discussed these interview questions on camera during a video shoot held last month at Thunder Studios in Long Beach.

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 Janice Merriweather (JM): What is your current job/title and what was your first job in the entertainment industry?

Jann Goldsby (JG): My current job title is American Sign Language (ASL) Interpreter on the set of the TV show Switched At Birth (SAB). My first theatrical interpreting experience came from ASL interpreting off-Broadway shows in New York City.

JM: What does your typical day look like?

JG: A typical day at Switched at Birth or any other film/TV production usually starts with the make-up and hair people.  At SAB, while in the make-up trailer, I will often run lines with the actor until he or she is called to set for rehearsal where at that time I will often speak the actor’s lines for the director…who is hearing and does not know the language. I will often cue the actor during the actual filming and interpret when the director has specific notes to give. I am also there to facilitate the social banter on the set as well. 

JM: What are the key aspects of your job and the qualities that you believe make you successful?

JG: Whenever possible, I will leave any questions regarding Deaf culture and language up to the actor to give a response.  When anybody on the set wants to know a sign I will direct them to the actor.  There is often a “family” feeling on the set after many months and years, and so I will often answer some questions regarding culture and language when it is necessary or the actor isn’t available at that moment, but it’s always in an effort to create more awareness and sensitivity to the Deaf community. This job requires having no ego. I’m just there to facilitate conversation and make it go as smoothly as possible.

JM: What is your favorite part of the job?

JG: My favorite part of the job is…just being there (smile). I love the creative aspect of the atmosphere. Also, if I’m there, then it means that an actor who is deaf has work!  And while forming friendships is a wonderful by-product of my work, again, it means there is a production that has been willing to showcase an actor who is deaf

JM: Who or what inspires you?

JG: In my particular job I am mostly inspired by the actor who is deaf.  I am always fascinated to see how they will interpret the script and thus their character.  And when I am witness to a hearing director who has never worked with an actor who is deaf before and has himself or herself become more aware and inspired from it, that is also very gratifying.

 JM: What advice would you give to women who want to work in the industry or do what you do?

JG: My advice to anybody who wants to be an ASL interpreter on a set is to leave your ego at the door!  The job is in no way about “you.”  The interpreter is an extra body on an already crowded set so to be able to deftly navigate yourself well on said set is a plus!

Find out more about Jann Goldsby below.

https://twitter.com/goldsbylocks

This interview was edited by Lynda Miller, Public Relations Chair of the Junior League of Long Beach. She transferred from the Los Angeles league to Long Beach in 2012 to continue doing community work after a career change. When she’s not doing JLLB activities, Lynda is a PR, Sales & Fundraising Consultant who specializes in helping companies gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace. https://www.linkedin.com/in/lyndamiller1

2016 JLLB LUNAFEST® Women in Entertainment Q & A Interview Series – Anna Schumacher Interviewed by Alex Weiss

2016 JLLB LUNAFEST® Women in Entertainment Q & A Interview Series – Anna Schumacher Interviewed by Alex Weiss

 In honor of the upcoming April 10th LUNAFEST event, a film festival highlighting women filmmakers, the Junior League of Long Beach (JLLB) has created the LUNAFEST Women in Entertainment Q & A Interview Series. It will feature interviews pairing JLLB members making a difference in the Long Beach community with women making a difference in the industry.

 Follow the Q & A Interview Series at twitter.com/JL_LongBeach to find out when the next interviews will be posted. For more information about LUNAFEST, visit www.jllb.org/lunafest.

 For our third interview, JLLB Vice President of Fund Development Alex Weiss will be interviewing filmmaker Anna Schumacher, who directed, wrote and appeared as an actress in Finding June, which will be screened at LUNAFEST. The short fiction film explores communication’s role in understanding one another through the eyes of a deaf women who has just been diagnosed with breast cancer.

 Anna will be participating in the Q & A filmmakers’ panel taking place directly after the screening. The panel will be moderated by JLLB President-Elect Virginia Zart.

 Alex joined the Junior League of Long Beach in 2010 and for the past six years has had roles including Chair of Community Impact Programs, Vice President overseeing Community Programs and Advocacy, and now most recently, Vice President of Fund Development. Alex has always known that an innate part of herself has the need to give back to the community to make a difference and foster change. Professionally, Alex is the Corporate & Community Partnerships Manager for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and leads fundraising and corporate support for the western United States.

 Alex Weiss (AW): What is your current job/title (along with top projects in your career) and what was your first job in the entertainment industry?

Anna Schumacher (AS): Technically, I’m an American Sign Language interpreter by day, and an artist by night. I came to L.A. at the encouragement of a Deaf Studies teacher of mine from Berkeley City College to connect with Deaf West Theatre. At Deaf West I worked with the production team and quickly became immersed in the community. As I settled into L.A., I found more and more work as an interpreter, learning as I went and loving the language more and more. Through this I met an actor on the television show Switched at Birth, which became my Hollywood industry gig. As an artistic ensemble member of the theater and art production company cARTel: Collaborative Arts LA, I was also spreading my wings from theater actor to director, writer, and even clowning. I did my first film in the spring of 2013, about a year after I moved to L.A.

 AW: What does your typical day look like?

AS: It varies, though it certainly always starts with walking three whiny puppies earlier than I’d like! Freelance interpreting means on any given day I could be working in a school, court, or doctors’ office. This work takes me all over town with all kinds of folks. I make time every day to connect with me, via yoga and writing. I have an almost daily habit of reviewing previous writing exercises to re-write and re-imagine. My favorite days are when production is imminent and I’m in producer mode, tying up loose ends by scouting, making shot lists, and getting notes from those I send my work to.

 AW: What are three key aspects of your job (e.g., producing, developing relationships) and what are three qualities that are key to being successful in it (e.g., persistence, flexibility)? 

 AS: For this question I’ll call my job filmmaking as it’s a piece of what makes me tick. Three aspects of this work are candor, tenacity, belief. The people who succeed respect the time and talents of their team and believe in the work being made, full stop. They aren’t above sending email after email asking for help when they need it.

 AW: What is your favorite part of the job?

AS: Watching a project you love take tangible shape is humbling and empowering — two of the best feelings there are.

 AW: Who or what inspires you creatively?

 AS: I think a lot in pictures. An example I often use: sometimes I’m out and maybe it’s raining. I’ve forgotten a jacket so I’m feeling bemused, and then I see a woman at a bus stop with a plastic bag full of socks and a cat on a neon green leash. (I live in Hollywood!) What a scene. So I think, whose socks are those? Who is this woman? Who walks their cat anyway? And then my mind goes. Like the non-Spanish speaker watching a telenovela, I begin to imagine the life I’m seeing. It’s so cool to know that I can literally look at the world around me, pause longer than most do, and be inspired to write a scene, a life, a story.

 AW: What advice would you give to women who want to work in the industry or do what you do?

AS: Please do what moves you, and be kind while you do it, but without apology. As women we are conditioned to say sorry, or even to question ourselves and our ability. People will push back, they’ll require more from you. It can feel bleak out there, but I believe that if you embrace your true self, you can be a formidable player and make your mark. Or to say it another way, and to paraphrase fellow filmmaker Meg Smaker: Regardless of anatomy, if you’re embracing your femme self, you’re being a badass extraordinaire.

Find out more about Anna Schumacher below.

http://www.lunafest.org/the-films/details/finding-june

This interview was edited by Rachael Rifkin, a Public Relations member of the Junior League of Long Beach. She has been in the league since January of 2012 because she believes in positive community programs. When she’s not doing JLLB activities, she’s a ghostwriter/personal historian who blogs about the traits we inherit and the qualities we find only in ourselves.

2016 JLLB LUNAFEST® Women in Entertainment Q & A Interview Series: Sarah Feeley

Interviewed by Summer Smith

In honor of the upcoming April 10th LUNAFEST event, a film festival highlighting women filmmakers, the Junior League of Long Beach (JLLB) has created the LUNAFEST Women in Entertainment Q & A Interview Series. It features interviews pairing JLLB members making a difference in the Long Beach community with women making a difference in the industry.

Follow the Q & A Interview Series at twitter.com/JL_LongBeach to find out when the next interviews will be posted. For more information about LUNAFEST, visitwww.jllb.org/lunafest.

 For our second interview, JLLB member and LUNAFEST Event Chair-Elect Summer Smith will be interviewing Sarah Feeley, director and producer of Raising Ryland, a documentary that will be screened at the 2016 JLLB LUNAFEST Film Festival. The film takes an intimate look inside the transgender experience as lived by a 6-year-old boy and his loving parents. Sarah will be participating in the Q & A filmmakers’ panel taking place directly after the screening. The panel will be moderated by JLLB President-Elect Virginia Zart.

 Sarah Feeley is also the creator and executive producer of My Side of the Sky, a breakout Hulu Spotlight series, and has worked on the Corpse Bride, PBS’ documentary series This Emotional Life, the documentary TV series The Freedom Files, the movie Warcase, and a variety of commercials. In addition, she writes for film, television, and advertising.

 Summer Smith joined JLLB in 2013, ready to roll up her sleeves with other committed and caring women, and eager to take advantage of the leadership development opportunities the league has to offer. Summer’s day job is in non-profit fundraising and administration for an outpatient behavioral health care provider, servicing foster care youth in Long Beach and surrounding areas.

 Summer Smith (SS): What is your current job/title (along with top projects in your career) and what was your first job in the entertainment industry?

 Sarah Feeley (SF): Filmmaker. Top Projects: Raising Ryland, My Side of the Sky, Iraq for Sale, and Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride. My first job in the entertainment industry was a paid internship at Hanna-Barbera.

 SS: What does your typical day look like?

 SF: It depends on the day. Every day is a little bit different. I could have an early call time and be on set or in the field. I could be losing track of time writing, editing, or creating. I could be in back-to-back meetings trying to sell a project. I could be leading my team through a difficult production or creative challenge. I could be managing the health of my business.

 SS: What are three key aspects of your job (e.g., producing, developing relationships) and what are three qualities that are key to being successful in it (e.g., persistence, flexibility)? 

 SF: Three key aspects of my job are creativity, abstract thinking and connecting-the-dots. Three qualities that are key to being successful in the entertainment business are drive, resilience, and optimism.

 SS: What is your favorite part of the job?

 SF: I have two favorite parts of the job. The first is getting the greenlight, and the second is seeing the impact my work has on audiences. All the parts in between are exhilarating, excruciating and wonderful, often at the same time.

 SS: Who or what inspires you creatively?

 SF: I recharge every week by getting out on a trail and reconnecting with nature, myself and the love of my life. I am blown away by the staggering beauty of this planet and amazed at the sights I can see by exerting some effort. Our hikes are an excuse to daydream for hours on end. They are also a lot like the entertainment business. Each project is a slow, hard climb that takes a lot out of you. But, the payoff can be beautiful and that makes it all worth it.

 SS: What advice would you give to women who want to work in the industry or do what you do?

 SF: Dream big and go for it! Keep an open mind. Stay curious. Work hard. Have integrity. Ask for help. Help other women. The pay gap, opportunity gap and power gap are real. Become aware of the explicit and implicit biases that are holding you and all women back and change the system. Be bold. Be brave. Be yourself.

 Find out more about Sarah Feeley below.

 Company website: www.milemarkerentertainment.comFilm website: http://www.raisingryland.com

Follow Sarah on Twitter: @Sarah_Feeley

This interview was edited by Rachael Rifkin, a Public Relations member of the Junior League of Long Beach. She has been in the league since January of 2012 because she believes in positive community programs. When she’s not doing JLLB activities, she’s a ghostwriter/personal historian who blogs about the traits we inherit and the qualities we find only in ourselves.

2016 JLLB LUNAFEST® Women in Entertainment

2016 JLLB LUNAFEST® Women in Entertainment Q & A Interview Series: Karen Foster Interviewed by Ashley Hopkins

 In honor of our upcoming April 10th LUNAFEST event, a film festival highlighting women filmmakers, the Junior League of Long Beach (JLLB) has created the LUNAFEST Women in Entertainment Q & A Interview Series. It will feature interviews pairing JLLB members making a difference in the Long Beach community with women making a difference in the industry.

Follow the Q & A Interview Series at twitter.com/JL_LongBeach to find out when the next interviews will be posted. For more information about LUNAFEST, visit www.jllb.org/lunafest.

For our first interview, JLLB member and LUNAFEST Event Chair Ashley Hopkins (for the second year) will be interviewing Karen Foster, a producer at DreamWorks Animation and her husband’s aunt.

 Ashley is in her third active year in the league. She joined JLLB to serve her community in a meaningful way alongside other passionate, community-minded women. Outside of the league, she works as an executive assistant at a financial services firm.

 Karen Foster is a DreamWorks Animation producer who works on animated features, theme park rides, and live entertainment. She has over 16 years of experience in feature animation production and development. She started her career in theater, both as a behind-the-scenes person and an actress.

 Ashley Hopkins (AH): What was your first job in the entertainment industry?

 Karen Foster (KF): My first job in animation was as a development executive at Walt Disney Feature Animation. I had been working at a nonprofit theater that supported the development of new plays and the careers of the playwrights who wrote them. It was a fabulous organization, but funded by octogenarians. I knew that the theater’s lifespan was only as long as the funders’ lifespans, so I started fishing around for work. I told my friends that I needed a new profession, but didn’t know what it was. I hoped they would tell me. Sure enough, a few months later, a friend recommended the position at Disney. After five months of interviewing, I got the job.

 AH: What does your typical day look like?

KF: The nice thing about my job is there is no typical day. But in general, my days include a series of meetings with either artists and directors, or production people and executives. I am either reviewing scripts, recording actors, sitting in the edit bay reviewing footage and artist’s work, or sitting with production managers, accountants and production executives reviewing schedules, production strategies and budgets. If I am working on a theme park installation, I’m on site. But mostly I am at the studio where most of our animation is produced.

 AH: What are three key aspects of your job (e.g., producing, developing relationships), and what kind of qualities will help you succeed in those areas?

 KF: All of the aspects of my job are producing, but three key aspects are creative review, budgeting and personnel management. Keys to being successful in those areas are imagination, resourcefulness, patience and empathy.

 AH: What is your favorite part of the job?

 KF: I have lots of favorite parts. I work with amazing people, who are both talented and fun. I am challenged on a daily basis in many ways. I am always growing, using my natural creative skills and gaining new skills that are less natural for me. I feel incredibly lucky to have found such a demanding and rewarding profession.

AH: Who or what inspires you creatively?

 KF: I get a lot of inspiration from my colleagues. But the challenge of any given task is also inspiring, especially when it really is challenging. What is more exciting than creatively tackling the impossible and succeeding?

AH: What advice would you give to women who want to work in the industry or do what you do?

 KF: I have been fortunate to work at a company with many women in leadership roles. As a result, I may have had less barriers to success than women elsewhere. So, I am grateful for that.

 The advice I would give women is the same advice I would give anyone seeking work in the industry: follow your passion. Don’t let anything stop you from pursuing your dream. Don’t listen to people who tell you how hard it is. Sure, it may be hard, but some people break through. The only people who make it into the industry are the people who try to make it in the industry. That is the first step. After that, I would recommend relentless effort. Make calls, ask for informational interviews, do your own projects.

 The industry is rapidly changing. The methods of delivering entertainment are radically different than when I was growing up. The DVD market is dying and young men aren’t driving movie ticket sales anymore, they are playing video games. Young people looking to break into the industry should study the entertainment habits and appetites of their peers. That is the future market. Figure out the market and how to satisfy that market, and you will have a leg up on the people keeping their eyes on the past.

 Find out more about Karen Foster below.

http://www.dreamworks.com

https://www.shreksadventure.com/london/

http://www.dubaiparksandresorts.com  (Dubai Parks has a DreamWorks section in their Motiongate Park)

This interview was edited by Rachael Rifkin, a Public Relations member of the Junior League of Long Beach. She has been in the league since January of 2012 because she believes in positive community programs. When she’s not doing JLLB activities, she’s a ghostwriter/personal historian who blogs about the traits we inherit and the qualities we find only in ourselves.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

breast-cancer-awareness-month

October marks #BreastCancerAwarenessMonth and people around the world are wearing pink ribbons to show their support for those battling this awful disease. When you aren’t well, there is nothing more important than taking care of yourself and devoting time to your health. The Junior League of Long Beach’s largest fundraiser each year donates a portion of the proceeds to the Breast Cancer Fund, which helps expose and eliminate the environmental causes of breast cancer.

Below a member shares her friend’s alternative healing journey against breast cancer.

Mind, Body and Spiritual Healing vs Modern Treatments

When my girlfriend was diagnosed with breast cancer the doctors assumed Western medicine would be the choice for care and quickly began describing the process of a mastectomy, the follow-on treatment involving radiation and chemotherapy and the quality of life that should be expected during this treatment course.  Little did they realize that she would only hear one-third of the words, not because English was her second language, but because the concepts paralyzed her.  The blank stares fueled by emotions lead by fears, questions, procedure protocols and medical terms went unnoticed by friends and family.

In a state of suspended disbelief, she was afforded by her loving husband the time to seek answers to her many questions and explore the emotions concealed inside her. Consulting many books, doctors and reverting back to her childhood teachings that “we are what we eat”; she explored the alternative medicinal paths including herbal medicine and spiritual healing.

Research has proven that more and more medical credence is being given to alternative medicinal approaches for illnesses such as breast cancer.  Although there is no documented cause for this illness, there are several document treatments.  Western medicine prescribes procedures and treatments that span from minor surgery to a full removal and reconstructive approach.  Several drugs and therapies are accepted in the medical communities as well. The internet is full of information about how to diagnose, treat and recover from breast cancer, most of it being backed by solid research and science.

There is another approach that is less understood, less researched but potentially a better choice for some. Spiritual healers, medicine men, shrinks – call them what you will.

Traveling to Bali, Indonesia this summer helped me understand the draw to Bali for healing alternatives and overall better health. Famous for its long history of traditional healing, the rich Balinese culture includes herbal remedies, message and energy healing as well as customs and traditions that continue to thrive today.  The lush Indonesian landscape produces a wide range of herbal medicines known as “jamu” and the Balinese continue to lean on traditional spiritual healers.  The Ubud Yoga House, a favorite of mine, sits in the middle of a beautiful rice field between tower volcanoes.  People travel from all over the world to consult with the practitioners, relax and rejuvenate in this home environment. The Sacred Wellness Institute is promoted as a space of healing and love where the sick rejuvenate the mind, body and spirit.  The Institute specializes in individual self-awareness programs that radically change one’s aliveness.

Medical hers are consistently available and are promoted by healers and practitioners alike. The Balinese traditional medical treatment is known as “usada”.  The word is formed from the Sanskrit word  “ausadhi”, meaning medicinal plant.  There are more than 500 species of documented medicinal  varieties found on the island of Bali today. These plants are recognized globally by the medical and scientific communities and are actively prescribed by holistic healers in Bali and other countries.

I am not recommending an exclusive path of choice for anyone suffering from breast cancer. There are various types, various degrees and various health factors that make the diagnosis and the treatment plan an individualized choice.  Fighting an illness of this magnitude often times requires a life change.

Embrace the change as positively as possible and open your heart and mind to an aliveness that alternative approaches offer.

-KML

[This is a guest contribution and not a medical opinion. While there are many ways to take care of your health, you should always seek a medical professional’s advice.]

5776, My Year of Connection

happy-new-year-2015-beach-1

September brings lots of new years’ for me. It’s a new year of work, school, a new year for the Junior League, and the new Jewish year, 5776. Jews spend the 10 days between Rosh Hashanah (the New Year) and Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) to reflect on the past year and make resolutions for the year ahead. They are called the Days of Awe, and I am definitely finding inspiration in them, without even intending to do so.

Since Monday, the first year of 5776, I have found that the universe has made me more connected than productive. On days that I would normally get a lot of computer or administrative work done, I have had one meaningful, deep, and insightful conversation after the other. Making my days not so productive, but very emotionally connected to the people around me.

I’ve been there for the colleague whose wife just called to tell him their marriage was over. I’ve had an extended chat with my girlfriend on how we make our marriages work with our busy lives.  I even connected with an old high school friend on what’s truly important, what we would change if we could and how much our friendship is valued by each other.

This might sound like a normal week for most, but not me.  I’m more of a “down to business” kind of gal, who’s not cold, per se, but definitely not the warmest coal on the heap.  Or at least I haven’t been, until now.  5776.  Oh, and did I mention my anniversary fell on New Year’s Eve? A coincidence I have tried not to overlook and even been more patient and attentive with my husband.

The other day, instead of worrying about how I was going to keep my boys busy for an hour I had alone with them, I just decided that cuddling and watching TV in the short hour that we had was enough. I want to relish these days when the boys are young and want to cuddle with me, instead of worrying about them getting too much screen time.

I plan on resolving this year to prioritize those meaningful conversations I have with people about the relationships in their lives over getting work done. I plan on taking the extra minutes I have to cuddle with my boys and just relax and recharge and let them know that I am physically there for them.

In 5776, I will let go of the need to plan every minute, to make every activity structured, to worry about what my fellow mommies and my husband would think. What matters is that I spend my time with my boys, my husband and my colleagues, connecting in ways that really matter.

5776, My Year of Connection.  May the Schwartz Be With You

-Mary S.