Guest Q&A: Laura Rubin of AllSwell
What is your current state of mind?
Transitory. On a plane I’m literally in the in-between, suspended in a liminal state. I find the otherworldliness of it calming (there’s nowhere to be but be here) though in this manufactured, technological realm I find myself daydreaming about things that are grounding - loam and soil, rooted & growing things. I try to get close to some nature after a long flight to balance myself out.
As you are writing this, what is the nearest plant that you can see?
A peppermint tea bag steeping in hot water, on my flight between London and New York. I forgot to bring a charger but I remembered to bring organic tea. Priorities.
What is your strongest or fondest memory of plants from your childhood?
Sneaking off to an apple orchard in Vermont which overlooked a hay barn by a lake. It is still one of the places I go in my mind when I’m craving comfort. I can hear it, smell it.
How do you include plants in your daily routine?
In so many ways. I live in Malibu. In the morning I like to water the plants on my terrace in my robe, with caffeine in one hand and a hose in the other. My dog watches me. It’s one of our rituals.
I also do what I call mindful noticing when I go for walks around the neighborhood. I just pay attention to my natural surroundings, appreciate what’s happening all around me and engage my senses. It sounds simple and it is. Most profound truths are.
How do you show your love for plants and/or the environment?
I say hello. I pay a compliment (if warranted, I’m no flatterer). I pay attention. It’s just basic good manners.
Have you ever hugged a tree?
I don't kiss and tell, but I've had some moments with redwoods.
Tell us about the last time you felt light, happy and in your flow state.
This morning when I wrote in my journal in bed. I self-created a set of prompts:
3 things I’m grateful for; 3 things I’m looking forward to; and 3 things about myself that I like. It took me about 5 minutes total and it’s really hard not to be in a good mood after that.
What’s your go-to way to feel grounded when you’re feeling unsettled?
I do a journaling exercise I call a sense check. I simply write down what sights, scents, tastes, textures and sounds that are occurring around me in that moment. It helps me get present and embody my body - drops cortisol levels, slows my breathing. Give it a try.
Do you drink alcohol? If so, tell us about what a pause from alcohol looks like to you.
I’m a cocktail nerd. I have beautiful vintage glassware, special ice molds, all the stuff. But as a cancer survivor I’m particularly aware of my alcohol consumption. So I take breaks frequently throughout the year. It isn’t about sacrifice. On the contrary it wipes the windows clean so everything sparkles a little more.
Please dish on your favorite mushrooms. From magic to morels, we’d love to hear your thoughts on any and all.
Ironically, I’m mildly allergic to all edible mushrooms except for fresh truffles and psil0cybin. Only the best ones made the cut, I guess?
Personally I’m a fan of micro-dosing. I experimented with weight-based protocols, using pre-measured capsules, etc. But I ended up getting unproductively high a few times, which is definitely not the point (and you sound like a lame L.A. trope cancelling plans because you accidentally got yourself too high.)
What works for me is trusting my gut and being in dialogue with the plant. It’s how I choose how much to take and when. Intuition for the win.
What is a song that you play to change your mood? And how does it make you feel, what does it make you do?
The Pata Pata by Miriam Makeba. I challenge you to be in a bad mood listening to this song.
Laura Rubin is a creative coach, journaling expert, founder of AllSwell, dog mom and friend of Little Saints. Find her on Instagram at @lauralrubin and join one of her journaling workshops at @allswellcreative.