This week, we are sharing our conversation with Justin Faerman, a writer, co-creator of one of our favorite local publications, Conscious Lifestyle Magazine, and a world traveller (his most recent trip being to explore castles in the heart of Tuscany), amongst many amazing endeavors. For Justin, consciousness, being present, and evolution of the self are all a part of his journey and we invite you along to experience his story...
Sun Potion: Where are you currently based?
Justin Faerman: Montecito, California. Just outside of Santa Barbara and down the street from Scott actually.
SP: What was your childhood like and how did you end up here now?
Justin: I had a pretty independent childhood growing up in suburban Southern California. My parents worked a lot while I was growing up and so I was left to my own devices which ended up being a blessing since I had freedom to explore and do whatever I wanted to. Instead of getting told what to do or be (like many kids are), I naturally defaulted to pursuing what I was interested in and passionate about. This lead me to start surfing when I was about 13 and I got totally hooked. I developed a really deep connection with the ocean and nature as a result that eventually inspired me to get a degree in environmental science studying sustainability, permaculture, renewable energy and other things of that nature.
However, before all that happened, I had a few trials and tribulations to go through. The shadow of growing up in the suburbs in the US is that they are typically cultural wastelands and food deserts. As such, I got hooked on fast food growing up and also couldn't wait to leave for greener pastures the second I graduated from high school. The summer after graduating I moved to London and spent 6 months traveling all over Europe and Scandinavia. It was incredible and completely changed my life in countless ways.
Photo by Lerina Winter
But I eventually ran out of money and had to come back home which was very difficult because I had changed so much but everything else was still the same as when I left and so I felt even less connected to everyone and more alienated than before. I also hadn't yet figured out how to take care of my body and was eating fast food constantly and really nutrient deficient. This lead to a situation where I was super depressed and things got pretty dark for a few years.
However, I genuinely wanted to get better and so in my search for happiness and health, I eventually came across a naturopathic doctor and the raw foods philosophy which together changed my life forever. Between those two I learned how to eat, how to meditate, how to take care of myself mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually and in two weeks I went from the lowest point in my life eating fast food every chance I could get and hopelessly depressed to literally experiencing waves of bliss rolling over my body from all the changes I had just made with the help of the naturopath and the raw food diet. I was eating an all organic, mostly vegan diet, meditating for hours a day, reading Osho and doing Kriya Yoga practices from an ancient Tantric lineage.
I felt incredible and quickly understood that this was the path to everything I wanted in life. And so I dedicated almost every waking minute I had to deepening my practice, my study and the understanding of anything and everything related to holistic health, personal growth and spirituality. This lead me on an incredible 15 year odyssey that has landed me where I am today. Those three things: focusing on my wellness, personal growth and spiritual growth have given me everything I could have ever wanted and so much more. I now run multiple companies focused on helping people live healthier, happier, more impactful lives and advise many more that are working to change how we live on the planet.
SP: You are a co-founder of the publication, Conscious Lifestyle Magazine! Can you tell us how and when this started and how it continues to evolve?
Justin: So this was one of the companies that birthed from my journey that I spoke about in the last answer. Since I was a child, it was so obvious to me that so many things were broken and out of balance in how we live as a species on this planet and I sought to understand why that was—why were we continually poisoning ourselves and our environment? Why can't we seem to get along in peace? And so on and so forth.
In asking the question why long enough, you eventually begin to understand that our actions and behaviors always follow our beliefs, or put another way, are an extension of how we see ourselves and the world, i.e. our level of consciousness.
Thus I saw that a major leverage point for helping to make the world a better place and help people live happier, healthier lives was through helping them raise their consciousness. Conscious Lifestyle Magazine was born out of a shared vision that my co-founder Meghan McDonald and I had to do just that: collect the most effective tools, practices, teachers and technologies for helping people raise their consciousness and bring them all into one place.
Over the years in my studies and research, I realized there was no one stop shop for all the best teachings and information on elevating consciousness—I had to sift through thousands of websites looking for all these puzzle pieces that were essential to really thriving at the deepest levels. So we decided to become curators of the best and brightest teachers, products, artists, ideas, health technologies, retreats, etc. that the world had to offer, bringing them all into one place so people could undergo rapid transformation in a fraction of the time it took me. And we wanted to make it a transcendent experience as well so we infused the magazine with timeless art and good design, which is too rare in our society!
SP: What does a conscious life mean for you?
Justin: To me it means to live with awareness of oneself and the impacts of one’s actions and behaviors on other people, other forms of life, the planet, oneself, etc. It’s about asking “How do I come into harmony with all that is?” and I believe you do that by living an examined life, in philosophical terms.
SP: Where is a place you've recently traveled to?
Justin: I was just in a 14th century castle in Tuscany, Italy for an event I was speaking at that is owned by one of the families in Dante’s Inferno. It was as incredible as it sounds and even more so… there were hidden staircases, hidden rooms and even a granite swimming pool overlooking the countryside.
SP: Where next? What is your dream travel destination?
Justin: Immediately next it’s going to be NYC and then Barcelona from the looks of things. In 2020, I have Bali in the cards for Spring and then a couple bucket list trips to the Pyramids at Giza and the Sacred Valley in Peru.
SP: What is your go-to Sun Potion herb and why?
Justin: That’s a tough one… there are so many gems. But I would probably have to say Ashwagandha, Astragalus or Chlorella. I feel better on those than anything else and I am always taking one or more at a time.
SP: Do you have a spirit animal/plant/embodiment that you feel connected to?
Justin: Oh yes, many. My first is the hummingbird. Have had so many wild experiences with these over the years that I could write a book about it. Same for dolphins. The next one that came to me was the coyote during a breathwork session on the beach in some far flung area of Costa Rica. Then the lizards started showing up and now hawks follow me everywhere. I am like the Dr. Dolittle of spirit animals.
SP: What is a challenging area/opportunity for growth in your life right now?
Justin: Balancing 10 projects that I love while traveling the world and still finding the time for self-care and spiritual practice throughout. It’s a good challenge to have, don’t get me wrong, but it can get intense at times.
SP: You write a lot about energy, healing and transformative practices...do you have a daily practice that you can't go without?
Justin: Yes, daily meditation and yoga have been the backbone of my practice and all my success in life. I consider them to be some of the highest uses of my time. For the last few years I have also been doing a ton of energy work and Nei Gong practice, which has also been invaluable.
SP: What are you currently reading, listening to? Any podcast or book recommendations?
Justin: I am constantly reading and listening to things. Current book is The Pathwork of Self Transformation and favorite podcast is the one put out by Neurohacker Collective.
SP: Tell us about your favorite food and the way you prepare it!
Justin: I have been really into organic sweet potato hashes lately—you take a sweet potato and a potato and cut them into small cubes and then sauté them in olive oil until crispy. About half way before that point throw in some chopped kale, onions and bell peppers. Season simply with sea salt and ground pepper a few minutes before you finish the sauté. So good and super nourishing.
Photo by Lerina Winter
Feature Image by Lerina Winter
If you would like to read some of Justin's work, click here to discover a piece he wrote about Mucuna Pruriens on Conscious Lifestyle Magazine.