We had the good fortune of connecting with Molly Cusick and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Molly, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Risk, the possibility of loss or injury. Growing up, my mother often described me as a risk-taker. The moment she turned around, I was running out into the street or climbing the cabinets like a monkey. And later in life, as an adult, those around me still think of me as a bit dare-devil, a bit risky. I figuratively jump off cliffs, make bold life choices, that don’t necessarily have safety nets. And to many, that is full of risk. But to me, the “not making those choices” is where the true risk resides. Because what I hold most dear to my heart, would most likely be lost if I didn’t take what others call, “risks”. I’m a lover of wild, open-hearted freedom, deep connection and marveling in the wonder of the nature kingdom. And 3 years ago, I decided to shift my focus professionally, listen to my deepest heart’s yearning, and use all the money I had, to fund a project I created, The Tree Pilgrimage. Since then, for months at a time, I venture off in my van, to find Trees that send me images of themselves in my dreams. I follow my intuition to find them, then photograph them and listen to the wisdom they share with me. It has been utterly life-changing. It is beyond my wildest dreams, the magic of deeply connecting with and learning from nature, especially the Trees. The Embark (On Your Own Tree Pilgrimage) Program grew from my desire to share the wonder, magic and Wisdom the Trees have taught me so far, and to help people learn how to connect to the Trees and nature. So this life path and “career” never would have happened if I didn’t risk it all (according to others). But more accurately, if I didn’t listen to my heart and trust my intuition, and had played it safe, I never would have been gifted this beautiful life experience. So its funny, how perspective shapes the narrative of what’s risky. I suppose I risk take often, in the eyes of others but from my vantage point, I am just doing what I must to be true to my heart.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My passion and heart lights up most when capturing moments visually and deeply connecting with nature. When I shifted my focus professionally, from my Craniosacral Therapy Practice and Landscape Photography Business, to mainly work on my project, The Tree Pilgrimage, all of the study, practice and creativity I had accomplished in the past 24 years, finally culminated into one endeavor. From my college study of Teaching and then Photography, to my 14 year CST practice, I had all the tools I needed to jump off the deep end, follow the calling of the Trees and subsequently develop the program, Embark on Your Own Tree Pilgrimage. Using my Tree Portraits, recorded soundscapes of the surrounding forest, and specially crafted audio meditations, I connect my subscribers to the Trees of the project. It has been such a joy to creatively introduce others to the wisdom, magic and wonder the Trees and nature hold, as well as teach the tools I use to listen to the Trees. Through perseverance, trust, surrender, and more patience than I have ever had to hold prior, I was able to overcome the times of confusion, doubt and frustration of forging a path with no guidebooks or others to show me how to do it. The biggest lesson I have learned above all else is listen to your inner knowing, it will always lead you through the open doors.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I am all about adventures so I would jet us off on little getaways filled with plenty of nature time and some in-between moments staying local. First day, I would have to start with Brunch at Malibu Farm Pier Cafe. Then off to explore the coast with a low tide beach walk in Paradise Cove to take in the rainbow array of different colored beach rocks. I’d schedule a visit at New Horizon Studio at for a look at the amazing selection of quartz crystals of all sizes. And for dinner, the delicious Cholada Thai Beach Cuisine is a must heading back towards the city. Hikes in Griffith Park to the observatory, Malibu Canyon State park, Topanga or Nichols Canyon for sunset as well as a walk around the Santa Ynez Lake to see the giant Koi fish and swans at the Self Realization Fellowship are a must as well. A day of pampering and rejuvenation at the Korean Olympic Spa with a body scrub treatment, salt room cleanse and infrared sauna detox and jade floor meditation after all the hiking. Also have to catch some live theater as there is an abundance of remarkable talent on stage. The Road Theatre Company, Pacific Resident Theater or The Odyssey Theater Co are all great companies to check out! My other favorite live event is a Moth Storytelling Night, true stories told live with no notes. Next up, an overnight in the Santa Barbara area, just an hour and half up the coast. Camping out on the coast either in Carpinteria, El Capitan or Gaviota will make it more adventurous and affordable. Breakfast at Renauds French Bakery, then a hike on the Cold Springs Loop Trail, followed by made to order gourmet sandwiches from Metropulos Fine Foods in the Funk Zone. A bit of leisurely wine or beer tasting around the Funk Zone followed by a nice dip in the ocean at Mesa Lane Beach. And then dinner at Public Market, at either of my two favorite places there, Corazon Cocina or Empty Bowl Noodle Bar. Back in the city, on a Sunday, a trip to Santa Monica Farmers Market and a visit to the LACMA or Getty for the latest exhibits is in order. A couple other favorite spots outside the main part of the city is a stop in Antelope Valley if its wildflower season, and a stop at Vasquez Rocks, to check out the interesting rock formations that have been in so many films.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Without a doubt, I wouldn’t have bloomed into the confident, intuition-listening woman I am today without the unending support from my Mom and my woman’s circle, and my dear friends, Jill, Rana, and Rani”s continued encouragement and feedback.

Website: www.thetreepilgrimage.com/embark
Instagram: @thetreepilgrimage
Facebook: The Tree Pilgrimage
Other: mollycusickphotography.com

Image Credits
Molly Cusick

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