meet us

liza pascal

nothing excites me more than collaboration. nothing inspires me more than courage. nothing makes me smile more than a truly happy child. nothing fills my spirit more than natural beauty. nothing warms my heart like a true act of compassion. nothing feels as clean as truth. nothing is more fun than breaking social norms. nothing feels better than connection. nothing is made more real than when experience trumps knowledge.

the sound of musicians who have practiced and performed together for years; the abundance of a biodynamic and permaculture ecosystem where farmers & animals nourish the land and are rewarded by an even greater bounty that can feed many; the mission-based business created by risk-takers with a common vision; the eyes of a child that double in size the moment they get your real attention; watching David beat Goliath; the flavor that emerges from a kitchen of a tight-knitted crew; the color of the first wildflower of the season; the sea change that happens when a group of people stand up for what they believe in and speak truth to power; the deep green that survives all forms of weather; the ripple effects of a few actions taken by many; the sweetness of success after many failures; the feeling of realization, the aha;  – these are the joys of my life.

below are my qualifications: (for the private investigator in you)

Certified in Plant Based Nutrition by the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies. Tribal Leadership Coach as certified by Dave Logan & John King. Master of Science in Acupuncture, The Swedish Institute School of Acupuncture, NYC, founded by Jeffrey Yuen; Certified Pilates Instructor, Kane School of Core Integration, NYC; Music Producer, acoustic jazz album with the famed jazz saxophonist Arnie Lawrence; Director of Marketing for Dancemaker, a documentary about the Paul Taylor Dance Company nominated for an Academy Award; third grade public school teacher in the East Palo Alto district, Teach for America; Bachelor of Arts, Barnard College, Columbia University, NYC; Volunteer for Dr. Yeshi Dhonden, former Tibetan medical doctor to His Holiness the Dalai Lama; study and practice in both Iyengar and Ashtanga yoga traditions; study and practice of Qigong Healing; 3 months of solitary meditation retreat; violinist since the age of 3 with experience performing as concertmaster at Tanglewood & assistant concertmaster at NY Youth Symphony in Carnegie Hall, literate in scriptural Tibetan; fluent in English, Hebrew, French and Spanish; entrepreneur,  mom; student for life.

In process:  Certified Plant-Based Professional, Rouxbe Cooking School. Strategic Intervention certified by Tony Robbins & Cloe Madanes.

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ayan rivera

Most importantly, a commitment to engage life full on is truly what matters most. I have lived far too many years contracted in a fearful shell only to find the world a much brighter place once I emerged. This path of shedding one’s shell is a path of awareness, of facing one’s truth without judgment, of setting one’s self free and thus allowing everyone a similar space. I have found that engaging life openly is exhilarating, full of possibilities, and a boatload of fun. I have found a habit of honesty that is often enough to break through any thoughts and emotions that separate me from experience or other beings. I have found a lightness that comes from not even taking my own thoughts too seriously (when I can catch myself.) Ultimately, I am drawn towards whatever will peel off layers of conditioned thinking and the freedom that ensues.

My Who, What, Where:

After years of training in White Crane Kung Fu and Kali (Filipino martial arts), I decided to take up a more meditative art form in Sumi-e (Japanese ink brush painting).  I began training with Koho Yamamoto in New York City and continue this practice until today. My interest naturally led me to the study of Chinese Medicine.  At the Swedish Institute School of Acupuncture, studies with Jeffrey Yuen, 88th generation Taoist priest and master of Chinese medicine, taught me the importance of a life of cultivation.  What is cultivation? Cultivation is studying the mysteries of internal pathways that tell a story of how we relate to ourselves and to the world around us.   Cultivation is painting the same strokes over decades until the rice paper bears witness to a fleeting moment of unspeakable inspiration. Cultivation is watering the grass in my own yard so it is always greener where I stand. Cultivation is always a work in progress.

After graduating from Georgetown University, I found myself in the restaurant business in an attempt to make a life as an artist.  One thing led to another and I became partner at Blue Ribbon Sushi in New York City as well as Blue Ribbon Bakery and Blue Ribbon Sushi Brooklyn.  In addition to working every aspect of the business, I acquired cooking skills and techniques through the environment of the restaurant kitchen and exposure to talented chefs.  I also opened Forbidden City Restaurant in 2001, the same year I entered acupuncture school.

I practice ink painting as both a creative and a mindfulness practice. What does this look like? First it looks like a lot of time spent rubbing an ink stick onto a stone. Admittedly it looks tedious from the outside. Why not just use pre-made ink? What happens on the inside is the real attraction. It feels as though the grinding sloughs off the crusty chatter of my mind. Then a slow slide into stillness. And when I get lucky, a little clarity. From this emanates an ease that springs through the hand that wields the brush.

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