[Featured in Mantra Magazine, 2015]
Interview: Maranda Pleasant
Maranda Pleasant: You live in New York City. What are things you try to do every day to stay balanced in a hectic environment?
Elena Brower: Meditation is a nonnegotiable must. Most days, it’s twenty minutes first thing; some days, it’s eleven or five minutes. I take a lot of very salty baths, both with Dead Sea salt and magnesium, and I sage myself and my space often. I spend time with friends a lot, even just during the days when we work together in the same space on different things. We cook and eat together with friends and usually kids at least once a week.
MP: What’s something you do at home that grounds you?
EB: I have a divination ritual: every morning, I get up before everyone else and pick a card from one of the many decks I have around the house—Voyager Tarot, animal Medicine Cards, Sacred Path Cards, goddess cards, Art of Attention Yoga Healing Cards—and invite and allow the highest guidance. I also cook daily, which helps me feel rooted and right.
MP: What’s your advice for strong women?
EB: Practice being soft and staying in your heart. When you’re hurt, stay in your hurt heart and communicate that pain rather than becoming angry. Let your heart speak before your mind has a chance to step in and make matters more complicated.
MP: What are your biggest passions?
EB: At this moment, offering and practicing meditation, breathing and resting more, learning traditional Chinese medicine, practicing guitar, and taking care of my family. One of my teachers, Nevine Michaan, upon being asked a similar question, responded, “Why am I here? To be a good mother, and efficiently use what I have.” That about sums it up for me right now.
MP: What’s something we probably don’t know about you?
EB: I’ve finally ended my struggle with addiction. With the help of dear friends, including recovery experts Tommy Rosen and Gabby Bernstein, I’ve realized that sharing and practicing meditation demands full clarity and complete surrender on my part. It’s been a huge blessing; I feel the freedom and the sweetness of being myself with no masks. I can still sense bursts of detoxifying happening—emotionally, physically, mentally. This new relationship with myself and the experience of actually feeling my feelings without numbing them is a huge relief. It’s inspired a few dear friends and students to clean up too, which is an unexpected and brilliant result. When I have a full year under my belt, I’ll share more. For now, it still feels a bit raw and fresh.
MP: What’s one of the hardest things you’ve been through? What helped get you through it?
EB: Watching my mom beat cancer is at the top of the list. Seeing her bravely make it through was a stellar example for me. My practice and my friends helped me through that time. It was right around then that I realized I needed to change something in my own life to be more creative, less busy, less overwhelmed, and more soft, especially with my son and my partner.
MP: If you could say something to everyone on the planet, what would it be?
EB: First thing that comes to mind is something Gabby said to me in one of our text check-ins. “God’s got you.”
PHOTO: PETE LONGWORTH