Initially, I have to tell you - I was drawn to the design and aesthetic of Conscious Magazine before delving deep into their stories and finding more inspiration of people out there living consciously in work, life, play and also bringing stories to light that needed some light shed upon them. Founders - Rachael & Elena created Conscious Magazine to empower & change the conversation on what is happening right now AND in a way that is accessible to the web-generation. At The Bharani Effect we are full supporters of helping shape the way people think more consciously, especially for those who live in cities. Thanks Elena & Rachael for taking us around to some of your favourites spots in New York and sharing your vision!
How was the idea for conscious magazine born?
RB - Many things inspired the launch of Conscious Magazine , but I’ll mention our top three. First, remarkable people, nonprofits, and businesses that have gone above and beyond their everyday responsibilities to make an impact. Second, we wanted to do something that inspired all generations (especially young people) to strive for their greatness. Finally, we were excited to jump into an industry where we could become an empowering voice while changing the conversation from sensational news to stories that matter. We also wanted to be part of documenting history. It all started because blogging caught our attention. We were inspired to see people use their voice on the web and gain influence doing so. We thought, we have an idea, let’s share it with the world!
We started out with a vision, wrote it down on paper and shared it with friends. We had no real resources just an awesome group of friends who gave their time to building the idea online through our website and facebook page. Overtime, we took our idea offline and hosted intimate events to connect with people. Friends of friends and coworkers would come out, enjoy drinks and snacks, and we would even invite guest speakers to share about their cause. Through this we were able to build meaningful relationships in New York City.
At one point, we scaled back on hosting events to focus more on attending social good events and conferences, as well as, listening more on twitter and watching livestreamed events being held around the world. The more we engaged in the social good community, the more we learned, and our ideas evolved. At a point we felt confident of producing a print magazine, but we didn’t have the resources, time, or even expertise to followthrough. So, we took about a year to find our way, save up enough money, and went for it. By the time we released Conscious Magazine, many friends and fellow social entrepreneurs were supportive of our launch.
What was the aha moment in your lives that made you understand what living consciously meant ?
EB - Though I cannot speak entirely for Rachael, I do believe we share a similar moment. For me it was the instant I learned about human sex trafficking. It was something I couldn’t believe that actually happened and not just overseas, but in the United States as well. The moment was very sobering. I wasn’t just made aware of these horrific crimes, but my whole perspective on life started shift. It all became very big picture for me, and that is when Rachael and mine’s wheels started turning.
And what does it actually mean to you today to live consciously?
RB - Conscious, the meaning, and the reason why we named our magazine, means to be aware of what’s going on around you, your community, and around the world. To live consciously is to take action by using your knowledge in a powerful way to help others and make a difference.
For those who live in cities, they sometimes might think its harder to live consciously but what are some of the thoughts & actions people can take to lead a more conscious lifestyle ?
EB - This is a great question, however, as someone who is living in New York, I find that it is the big cities that are starting to pave the way for conscious living. From where people are sourcing their food, to the clothing they purchase and to volunteering, there is a great deal of opportunity for conscious living. I would say that the biggest challenge of conscious living.
There is a huge movement at the moment for people to support their local communities and businesses why do you think it important to encourage this growth and how does it correlate to living consciously?
RB - I am constantly convicted by what’s happening in society today with over 20+ problems around the world, we cannot afford to not support the great ideas, movements, mission work, and businesses that support causes. And while there are billions of people with the intelligence, the passion, determination, the skill we have to jump in and take part. And, I am inspired by those individuals who are doing so even within their communities. We also need to consider the future, which is why it’s so important communitiesand businesses are thinking consciously, and why consumers shop consciously.
What are some of your favourite stories you have unearthed whilst publishing Conscious Magazine ?
EB - This is the most challenging question of all. I can’t possibly begin to pick a favorite. Because human trafficking is always a very sensitive topic for me, I am quick to share a story on it. However, I am blown away by those who have uprooted their lives to help those in developing countries (The Kula Project, Akola Project), and equally inspired by those who take a tragedy they’ve been through and use it for good. I would say not being able to pinpoint is a good problem to have.
What are some of the leading cities in the USA making conscious changes and how ?
San Francisco is buzzing with endless talent, artists, entrepreneurs and activist all working to create change within their respective industries. San Francisco has paved the way for the sharing economy with innovative companies such as Airbnb, CouchSurfin, Shareable and Lyft, to name a few. From shared work spaces, bike shares, farm shares and courier services, the idea of sharing has become a new way to get us thinking about how we can pool our resources, share our talents/skills all while saving money,helping the community, and making an impact. This peertopeer collaborative spirit has changed the way modern businesses think and operate. While not all businesses in the sharing economy are “conscious”, per se, I think it has fueled a global conversation about what a “traditional” business looks like.
What is next for Conscious Magazine and your vision for the future?
RB - I love to talk vision. What I would love to see us accomplish is becoming a worldwide name in the media industry and expand to radio and TV while rallying the world’s next generation of storytellers and journalists to pursue positive media and solutions journalism. We’d also love to attract the world's leading voices and top leaders and collaborate on mission work and projects. This would give us so much room to tell even more stories. As for what’s next, we’re going to focus on our 3rd print issue and continue expanding our Editorial Collaborators program. Also, because community is everything to us, we’d like to host more events forour readers to connect offline.
Personally, as the magazine’s EditorinChief, and I know my team shares this with me, we want to experience firsthand some of the stories we tell. Hopefully one day, we can tour the world and visit the individuals we consider heroes and changemakers by going alongside them to serve their mission.