In this world, where life is fast and furious and sometimes tough, there’s nothing more important than intimate and authentic connections with a loving community of sisters. This monthly Q&A series is all about sharing some of my favorite women in wellness and how they shape, shift and uplift others to live life more fully. This month features the stunning Summer Sanders of Local Juicery based in one of my childhood hangouts – Sedona, Arizona. Summer and I first connected years ago when we worked for Matthew Kenney, since then it’s been incredible to see the world she’s created around making high-vibe living accessible to all – both locally at her pressed juice shop, and globally through her blog, Strong & Radiant. You’ll love this woman’s words of wisdom and her conscious business vision. Grateful to welcome Summer here…!
Every great journey has a story, tell us about you and your journey towards holistic living and where you are now?
I feel like could write a book about this! But to make a very long story shorter… I was born into a family that was fairly conscious. My mom is a Waldorf Educator, long time vegan and health enthusiast. My god father is a wheatgrass growing, biodynamic loving man of the earth. I also was blessed to grow up in forward thinking spiritual mecca, Sedona, AZ.
I had a great foundation. Like many do, I deviated. I struggled with food addictions and eating disorders most of my teen years and into my early 20’s. I’ve been deep into medically diagnosed depressions, I’ve abused alcohol, food, credit cards and used relationships as a distraction from my deteriorated inner state. I tried a lot of diets, I saw a lot of therapists. None of it helped. When I turned 24 I had a major shift inside me. I became very interested in healing my wounds from the inside out. I started a journey to become healthy, balanced and aware…
What truly has lead me to what I believe is the healthiest happiest life was (is) studying A Course of Miracles, surrounding myself with loving people and influencers, breath work (so important for me) and meditation.
I approach wellness in a holistic way now. I don’t have any rules. I practice intuitive eating… I know my body, I watch my mind. It just so happens that my body craves a ton of plant based foods! I eat a ton of greens, I drink a ton of juice… sometimes I eat a croissant because I love them! Sometimes I have a glass of wine, I eat dessert and I exercise.
I’ve realized that life is not about a flat stomach (as my 18 year old self thought) or perfect skin, its about loving, connecting and listening to your heart and body… And what I have found is when I do this, the flat tummy and the pretty skin come. Your body speaks your mind. I’m ever moving, changing and learning!
At what point in your journey did you decide you wanted to make a career out of your experience?
After working in the music business and as makeup artist and feeling so incredibly depleted, tapped out and unhealthy. I realized I wanted a career that supported my body, my life and cultivated healthy relationships. This was right about the time when I started to really make healthy changes in my life…
I was always being asked by people in my industry how to be healthy, how to cleanse, how to work thought their breakups, this was a sign to me that I needed to reevaluate my life path… My heart has always been with helping people.
How would you describe your approach to wellness? What modalities do you work with?
I used to be very regimented, I had a set routine and I followed it. I thought that it was incredibly healthy, in one way and for that time of my life, it was. As a mother and a business owner my “sacred” routine has been changed. I guess I approach wellness in a more well rounded way for a lack of a better description.
When I was younger it was all about how my body looked, or how much I could produce and make happen. Now I consider the body, the intellect and my spirit. I don’t stick to a rigid diet, I don’t kill myself at cross-fit…. I’ve become very gentle in my approach to my body and my overall wellness. I use meditation, breath-work and forgiveness to keep as balanced as possible…
If you could name 3 women who shaped your life and work, who would they be?
Well my mom, Charity Cygal. A beautiful being. Mother to all. She is such a beauty and I’m so grateful that she has been my guiding light in the world. She’s gentle, kind, selfless and inspiring.
Marianne Williamson. I feel like a lot of woman say this, and for a good reason. Marianne is a force. I got the pleasure to prepare food for one of her events when she was campaigning. Meeting her was important for me. Feeling someones energy that you’ve looked up to for so long is powerful. I felt she walked her talk. She is a light worker for sure.
Nicole Branch. My best friend. She a beauty inside and out. We’ve been friends since we we’re 15 years old. We’ve had ups and downs, moments of pure love and times of not talking. We’ve been though a lot together and I love her dearly. I value her heart, her deep thinking, her class and her whimsical ways. She is the most talented person I know.
What ways do you nourish yourself daily?
- I start my day off with a reading from Course of Miracles. I’ve been studying the course for about 3 1/2 years now. Its been a god send. Literally.
- I do about 8-10 min of breath work, I use either breath of fire or the breathing technique from the Presence Process, one of my favorite books.
- I drink a ton of alkalizing green juice!
- Matcha is my favorite thing right now, Its soul healing. I say this because I truly feel that it nourishes me on a soul level. It’s comforting and reminds me to slow down and enjoy the process, the little things.
- I nap. With my son. This has been so important and probably healthier for me than any of the other routines and rituals. My body and my mind need the rest. Children pull on your ethereal bodies… they live off of our energy and it can be incredibly draining. By letting myself nap with Henry I’m so much more connected and productive.
- I do some form of meditation everyday. This for me is a connection to my inner guide. This is slowing down, listening to my heart, correcting my thinking and remembering the blessings. Sometimes is a quick session, sometimes it’s long. I don’t force it.
- I workout 3-5 days a week doing short HIIT workout or yoga.
….I couldn’t stick to 5!
How do you balance your work/personal life?
By throwing the need for balance out the door! I’m kind of kidding, kind of not. I sometime majorly fail at balance and can get really judgmental of myself. Somedays I work from 5am to 8pm without properly nurturing myself or resting enough. I am constantly reminded by my son of what truly matters. When I feel myself getting overly pulled into working, He knows just how to pull me back.
So I guess it’s a constant rebalancing.
How do you handle negativity or competition in your work/personal life? In what ways do you support women to rise above this pattern and uplift each other?
Sometimes not so well. But then I realign and practice what I know to be true. Each of us is here to share our special gifts. Sometimes our gifts overlap… When this happens, I just let it go because I know that when you win, I win and in the end we’re all one. I believe this to my core.
I’m in the business of health, how I see it is the more awareness that is spread, the better this world is for my son and his generation and those beyond. If I we’re the only one sharing health information and foods… how limiting would that be. My reach is so small. If someone is competing with me, that’s up to them. When they are competing they are in my business and no one is running theirs. The best way to be successful and to share your heart is to focus on your own being, your own business. When you share with authenticity, that shows’ through. People like realness, they can feel it.
Tell us about a dream project or collaboration you’re manifesting? What do you desire to (co-)create? What’s on the horizon for you!
You and I talked about a food/holistic health bloggers retreat. This makes me so excited! I live in Sedona and I often feel very far away from the awesome women I connect with online. It would be so beautiful to gather and share in person!
What I’m working on right now that I’m super excited about is our Local Lab product line. More to come on that!
Your parting wisdom…
There is beauty in the breakdown. Every moment you live is sacred. Share you heart, breath deeply, take a moment to recalibrate and remember your essence. By doing your work and working in your true strengths you support the world, the universe… Thank you. In darkness there is an opportunity for extreme growth and light. Lean in. By letting myself feel my pains, I finally moved though them. The way out is though….
@summer.sanders // @localjuicery
www.strongandradiant.com // www.shoplocaljuicery.com
*Photo credit to Danielle Holman & Jane In the Woods