On Creativity, Following Your Heart and Mindfulness — Q&A with Emilía Rún

Emilía Rún is the Chef and Founder of Shanti Kitchen in Venice, CA, a paleo, plant-based and keto-friendly cake and catering service. An autoimmune diagnosis at age 12 brought Emilía onto a path of self-healing, both physically and spiritually. Today, she focuses on gut health and a low-sugar, plant-based diet with intermittent fasting as a powerful healing modality. Emilía instructs kundalini yoga and insight meditation at RUNGA, teaching self-compassion as the path to ultimate freedom.

 
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Q

What are some of your most loved kitchen essentials?

A

Good salt! Also good cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil. There are so many great salt companies out there, and I personally love importing Icelandic sea salt to bring a little bit of my heritage into the home. As for olive oil, I like La Tourangelle for everyday use, but my favorite is the Frantonio Muraglia extra virgin olive oil — it sits in its white and blue ceramic, abstract expressionist bottle on our counter next to the espresso machine, and has the perfect stout for light drizzling. But I’m definitely a little biased because of its beauty!

Q

Do you ever feel uninspired? What do you do?

A

Of course! It may seem like inspiration should come naturally to those in a creative role, but we all need to prime our bodies to let creativity flow through us in this modern world. Meditation plays an important role, because often we can feel uninspired due to stress, or simply something we are holding onto. I think about this quote from Rumi, “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” I see creativity as being very much the same.

There’s so much natural inspiration inside of our wise hearts, and so much creative energy that can flow through us. Practically speaking, I believe that anything that strengthens our sense of self is helpful in nurturing that connection, and that can be anything from journaling, to meditation, to singing! Even being out in nature. This is an area where kundalini yoga in particular has been incredibly helpful to me over the years — getting me into my body and unlocking stagnant energy.

Q

Is there anything you don’t do when you’re uninspired?

A

If I’m feeling uninspired, I absolutely do not go on social media. Inspiration and creativity flow when we feel safe and it doesn’t flow when we’re in a state of comparison, feeling like everyone else is already doing the thing, and they're doing it better. When we are focused on others and what we don’t have, we aren’t in a good place to let our unique creativity and purpose flow through. There’s no trust. And it’s a little bit of a chicken-or-the-egg scenario, because even if it creeps out, we simply aren’t in the headspace to trust it, to say ‘yes’ to it and bring it to life.

Q

What’s a risk that you’ve taken and you didn’t regret?

A

I spent four years studying law in London and Austin — and I walked away despite my earlier, very strong aspirations of becoming a successful lawyer and, of course, my family’s expectations of me. It’s not that I stopped enjoying it or that I lost my passion for justice, I just suddenly had nothing to prove. And it was what it was.

In truth, I struggled with the duality for a long time. When meditating on it, I realized ‘what a crazy way to live!’ and it felt very natural to me that we would part ways. I let myself live very true to myself for a little while to see what would come out. Within that time period, I felt so connected with myself and my surroundings, and I became so proud of my creative endeavors. Once I shed this thing that I used to see as part of my identity, I truly opened up into a world of infinite possibility. It was incredibly expansive.

To this day, I ask myself what feels expansive and what feels restrictive. And I follow that. You don’t need to know what’s going to happen next. Just let your heart and your gut guide you, and see where you land. You can always measure what you’ll lose, but you’ll never know what you could gain.

Q

How does mindfulness translate to the quality of the relationships in your day-to-day life?

A

I have to say that all of my relationships are deeper on some level. Within a romantic relationship, we of course have the potential to go really deep and I think in some way, this has contributed to mindfulness often feeling like a two way street for folks. You may experience success and deepening with those who are on the same path, but feel resistance with others — or, to correct myself, maybe mindfulness in relationships feels passive unless the other person is also engaged in the process in some way.

As real as that may feel, the truth is that we can improve any relationship by deepening our role within it. Usually, we achieve this by simply by being a good listener and reminding people of their goodness by seeing the good in them. By practicing seeing the goodness in those around us, we naturally get good at uplifting others and letting people know what we see, which of course, anyone who has ever received a compliment can agree, “Yeah that felt good, and it in some small or big way, shifted how I feel about myself.” And that’s how it starts. Meditation and mindfulness really are far from passive in this way.

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