I'm one of the co-founders of MNDFL, New York City's premier meditation studio.MNDFL exists to enable humans to feel good and we do that by making meditation accessible to all New Yorkers. We provide a space where all New Yorkers can better connect to their mind, body and heart through the process of meditation and, hopefully, their experience on the cushion will be applied to their lives off the cushion as well. If you don't live in New York, you can learn with us online through MNDFL Video. Basically, we give you space to breathe.
What made you choose this type of business? Why?
I worked in the independent film business for seven years and over the course of that career, I would listen to the way my colleagues would talk about film and realized that the only things I felt equally as passionate about were spirituality and the pursuit of consciousness. I knew I was looking at an unhappy future if I didn’t own that and listen to it. Couple that with the fact that all my free time was spent exploring, studying and learning about those things and I decided to quit my job in 2013 and travel around the world as a spiritual tourist to pursue mindfulness in a more meaningful way. When I returned, still unsure of what lay ahead in terms of my career, I enrolled in a New York University program to receive a certificate in personal coaching while picking up a few writing gigs on the side.
During that time, I was struggling with my meditation practice and finding it incredibly hard to meditate in my own home. MNDFL arose from a deep personal need. I wanted to meditate in a space that wasn’t religious and didn’t involve a weekend-long commitment. I wanted a space where I could drop in and be with a community interested in exploring meditation in a contemporary context. I loved the feeling of group meditation and I personally liked the format of boutique fitness studios — reserving a spot online or dropping in and joining class. I was also volunteering for Lodro’s non-profit, the Institute for Compassionate Leadership; we had become friends and I approached him because I knew I couldn’t build this special space on my own. I needed his expertise to support the integrity of the studio. We have complimentary skillsets and MNDFL is like our kid who inherited all of our best traits.
Success means… It's a word that our culture reveres. I just want to feel like when I get up every day I'm offering the best version of myself to world. Always a work in progress.
The best thing about being an entrepreneur is… creation, adaptation and evolution.
You can’t run a business without… knowing your own limitations and when it's time to ask for help or support.
In the next 10 years I wish to be… No idea. Who knows?! Such a silly question for a meditator! I prefer to focus on how I am occurring right now, in this moment.
What is failure? Do you think it’s a crucial step to success?
Failure is an unfortunate word we've come up with to measure, judge or classify something we consider negative experience where we felt like we weren't "enough" or didn't get something "right". I'm not interested in success or failure, I'm interested in how our consciousness expands and what we learn about ourselves through the diverse set of experiences life will inevitably throw at us.
What is one thing you find to be true that most people would disagree with?
"True control comes from doing nothing.” I repeat this like a mantra when my emotions are heightened in my personal or professional life. From an evolutionary perspective, our body doesn’t know the difference between a bear that’s attacking us and an angry email from a boss or client. When our bodies fill with adrenaline, we want to act out in various ways by fighting or flying. We do whatever we can to try and get a handle on our emotions and gain control of the situation. But in states like that, we end up making decisions with a total lack of clarity. Sometimes if we just sit with ourselves in the discomfort and let it move through us instead of acting out or responding right away, we start to feel empowered instead of powerless.
Are there difficult times you go through? What helps/inspires you?
Yes, of course. I'm a human which means my heart is going to get broken or I am going to experience disappointment many times over the course of my life. Whether it's the big stuff like the loss of a loved one, or the small stuff, like getting stuck on a subway for an hour and missing a meeting, I'm going to run into challenging situations on the regular. Keeping my own humanity in mind, I try to give myself the space to feel all those sensations and allow them to move through me without acting out, fighting them or shoving them aside. Meditation really helps with that. It takes practice.