Photo Credit: @sheenamannina
One of our go-to healthy living gurus here in the southern US, Sheena Mannina, is back and she’s talking all things spiritual health and well being.
Think your spiritual health isn’t as important as your physical health? We hope you’ll think again. As the owner of the celebrity acclaimed Raw Republic juice bar in New Orleans, Sheena sees her share of folks who are beyond committed to the physical side of their health (juices, healthy food, daily workouts, etc), but pay little to no attention to the spiritual side of things.
And she’s using her platforms, including Raw Republic and its sister space, The Space, as well as her podcast Raw Talk With Sheena, to talk about why she feels that spiritual development is the most important aspect of our health and well being.
Read on to learn more from our interview with Sheena…
MANY OF THE CONVERSATIONS YOU HAVE WITH GUESTS ON YOUR PODCAST INVOLVE THE TOPIC OF BETTER HEALTH AND LIVING WITH MORE HAPPINESS, THROUGH FIRST GETTING IN TOUCH WITH OUR SPIRITUAL SELVES. WHY DO YOU THINK THAT’S SUCH AN IMPORTANT PLACE TO START, CONNECTING WITH OURSELVES MORE ON A SPIRITUAL LEVEL?
I believe the spiritual self guides all of the choices we make. I believe the level of connection to a space beyond your logical thinking determines your capacity to make conscious, unique and individual choices that are in alignment with who and what you choose to experience in this world.
IT SEEMS THAT SO MANY PEOPLE CONFUSE RELIGION WITH SPIRITUALITY. HOW DO YOU DESCRIBE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WHAT BEING SPIRITUAL MEANS, AND WHAT BEING RELIGIOUS MEANS?
Being spiritual is believing what you choose to believe, in the moment, without attachment to ideals or stories. Religion is a particular system of set beliefs and a structure on how to worship those beliefs. I feel safe enough in this experience of life and consciousness to give myself an opportunity to experience and change my mind freely, to question that which I thought I knew and to be open minded to new ideas. This, to me, is freedom, and the way I have decided to experience my spiritual life.
WE SEE SO MANY PEOPLE HYPER FOCUSED ON HEALTH…THE FOOD THEY EAT (OR DON’T EAT), WHETHER OR NOT THEY WORK OUT EVERY DAY AND EVEN AT TIMES BEING BRUTAL TO THEMSELVES WITH SELF-TALK AND THOUGHTS WHEN THEY EAT A COOKIE OR MISS A WORKOUT. WHAT DO YOU FEEL IS MISSING WHEN WE ONLY FOCUS ON THAT PHYSICAL SIDE OF OURSELVES?
Everything! Living without a connection to something beyond the physical is like listening to music created by a computer. Without soul, emotion, intuition and depth, the capacity to question and FEEL — for what are we living? The people who I admire act courageously in this world on behalf of these nonphysical knowings, feelings and inspirations. Anyone can follow a set of rules or listen to a guidebook. The magic makers, to me, are those who create their own based on what’s happening in the heart and soul. Those courageous people who can use their heart and feelings to decide how to be healthy by connecting to what they need or what feels exciting in the moment, THEY understand the concept of well being.
WHAT DO YOU THINK IS MOST NEEDED NOW TO REALLY START HELPING OTHERS UNDERSTAND THAT IN ORDER TO CREATE A LASTING SHIFT IN OUR HEALTH, WE HAVE TO FOCUS FIRST ON WHERE WE ARE ON A DEEP SOUL LEVEL AND WHERE WE ARE SPIRITUALLY?
I think many people are finding the conversation of consciousness and spirituality through their own compromised health. That physical reminder of our mortality, pain and discomfort can often be our greatest teacher in deepening our experience of life, because after every medical intervention or diet, what is left to try to heal? I think there is some design behind this. In fact, every turn of my life that has made me discover a deeper sense of spirituality has been instigated by some pain whether emotional or physical. However people seek and find the path is okay by me. My hope is simply that they do.
DO YOU BELIEVE THAT IN MANY WAYS, MANY OF US KILL OUR JOY SO TO SPEAK, BY THE WAY WE LIVE OUR LIVES AND BY BEING OUT OF TOUCH WITH OURSELVES?
I believe we are in a very numbed state, reducing our level of emotion and feeling through food, drugs, alcohol, sex, Instagram, etc. I love this quote by Russell Brand: “This is the age of addiction, a condition so epidemic, so all encompassing and ubiquitous that unless you are fortunate enough to be an extreme case, you probably don’t know you have it.” Many people believe that if their addiction is legal and socially acceptable, it’s not a problem. I suggest that if you can’t be alone in an empty room for an hour, you become more familiar and comfortable with that initial feeling of “boredom.” That boredom often turns to peace. That peace often turns to inspiration. And that process cannot begin if you are scrolling through your Instagram.
WHERE DO YOU RECOMMEND PEOPLE START ON A SPIRITUAL JOURNEY? WHAT’S ONE THING A PERSON COULD START DOING TODAY TO HELP THEM GET ON THAT PATH IF THEY WANT TO?
My advice in a spiritual conversation is never to tell people what to do. That defeats the whole purpose. If I gave you a checklist of “How to be Spiritual,” you wold skip the most important first step of becoming connected to what inspires and interests you, brings you joy or your intuition guides you towards. I often suggest that people start with that: what feels most interesting in this realm of spirituality (and that includes EVERYTHING)? So your first step on the path of spirituality may be painting, meditating, going to a ceramics class, seeing a romantic comedy or redesigning your house. Connecting with and taking action on what’s on your heart is the first step to becoming a spiritual seeker. What most people find is challenge in discovering what you want in each moment, following through on that inspiration and remaining unattached to the fact that that same piece may not be your answer next time.
HOW DO YOU CULTIVATE YOUR OWN LIFE THAT IS CONDUCIVE TO PEACE AND MORE PRESENCE?
Personally, I try showing up for that which feels uncomfortable with a sense of knowing that feeling it fully allows the pinch to dissipate. At that point, I have the choice of bringing in a new mindset to not recreate an unwanted past behavior. Knowing that I have the power and understanding to do that brings me a sense of peace.
AS A WOMAN WHO OWNS MULTIPLE BUSINESSES, HOW DO YOU FIND BALANCE IN BEING IN YOUR SPIRITUAL SELF, AND BEING PLANTED FIRMLY IN THE BUSINESS SIDE OF THINGS?
I have to be courageous and live what I believe, which is that life can be abundant, successful and complete through ease. If I get wrapped up in “needing to do something” or “should be’s,” I can spiral into a state of fear and anxiety. That’s my old way of living, and to create what I wish to experience, I have to approach situations with that same level-headedness based in trust of self and a letting go, to allow what is meant to take place to unfold. If I believe there is a universal intelligence as our support, I can release the grip and falsity that I make things happen, and simply allow them to do so without my effort.
REGARDING THE POWER OF MANIFESTING AND THE FACE THAT WE REALLY ARE IN CONTROL OF WHAT HAPPENS IN OUR LIVES…HOW DO YOU USE THAT TO JUST LIVE A LIFE THAT FEELS GOOD AND PEACEFUL, BUT ALSO IN RUNNING YOUR BUSINESSES?
I believe manifestation happens when we align with what we truly want. Do we truly want a Ferrari or do we want exploration, adventure, abundance and freedom? I try to make very general yet poignant goals such as happiness, abundance, space, exploration and freedom, that are aligned with me and allow the universe to show me what’s right for me in physical form.