We had the good fortune of connecting with Sitara Taddeo and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sitara, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
This subject hits home for me. Finding balance, or shall I say creating balance, is a fine art I’ve learned to dance with over time. When I was younger, I was so ambitious and used my mind to overcome many challenges. It fed my ego and sense of self to be accomplished. In high school, I was in advanced classes and started going to college at 17. In college, I double majored in Neuroscience and Political science, graduated in three years, taught myself my 4th foreign language “on the side” to win a scholarship and study abroad, graduated Cum Lade, and got a full ride to grad school. It all hit me about 6 years ago, when I was almost two years into my PhD. I was so unbalanced. I had no social life, no time to do anything. My health started suffering after years of pushing myself to manage Herculean workloads, financially support myself, go through school at lightning speed. I was living only ‘from the neck up’, as they say. I remember the day I was in my office, getting ready to start office hours and see my students, and it was like a light switch flipped on. I remembering thinking “Ohhhhhh! I’m totally miserable! All I do is work…. To be here, living this life, is my dream; and I hate it!” I stepped down from the PhD within a week, graduated with a Master’s degree instead, and began my journey into holistic health. The psychology and physiology courses I had taken supported my understanding of the human psyche, immune system, and endocrine system and I learned how stress affects the body. I found a new passion of sharing tools for emotional wellbeing and mental health. I managed and apprenticed in an Ayurvedic clinic for 3 years, where I learned a lot about natural medicine. At this point I’ve learned deeply to apply discretion of when to act, and when to pause and align within. Just because I can do ‘all the things’, doesn’t mean that’s the best course of action. I’m lucky to be motivated enough by passion, and also by wanting to avoid the anxious feeling of having things hovering over my head or not being completed on time. The magic happens as I learn to also take time to rest. I will absolutely schedule in time to walk on the beach, meditate, take a bath, read for pleasure; the things that really make my heart and soul feel nourished. It’s important to prioritize balance when we can. Now I understand that I cannot give to all the amazing people, projects, and passions in my life if I’m running on an empty. I’ve learned that it’s just as ‘productive’ to take a night off when I need to as it is to plow through the to-do list. Those moments are so full of inspiration, healing, and are things we remember for a lifetime. Understanding the subtleties of when to create time for rest, and balancing time to work comes from a new ability to pause before acting. As I’ve trained myself to do that, I’ve discovered that I can gauge the motivations behind my actions to consciously choose what’s truly in alignment for me. It took a while to get into the habit of pausing and looking at myself, but its resulted in such a greater sense of happiness, clarity, and balance. I think when we are balanced, we find all the joys of life – good health of body, mind, heart, and spirit.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
One of the many things I do is create custom crystal meditation beads. This is the most creative of all the things I do, and the ‘woo’ of it balances out all the other aspects of running a business. These meditation beads, a traditional 108 mala, are crafted with incredible intention, intuition, and love. Each one is created with your prayers in mind. I meditate deeply, tune into your highest self / the future you’re calling in, and a vision of the crystals, colors, and pattern appears. Each bead is placed in a singing bowl that is played to bathe the crystals in a sound frequency of 528 hz, which is associated with the heart. Each mala is prayed over, smudged, charged in sun or moon light. I am excited to bring all the love and magic I possibly can into my art. I’m proud to say every person I’ve worked with, which are in the 100’s, has absolutely loved their malas. I often get feedback about how perfect they are, the joy good luck and love they bring, and how accessible meditation can be while using them. This particular business started organically. I was struggling to learn meditation several years ago, and heard about malas. I’ve been making jewelry my whole life, so I decided to make my first mala. and try this meditation technique of using mantra, chanting, or affirmations. Not only did it finally make those amazing meditation benefits I’d be reading about accessible and real to me; a lot of people who saw me wearing my mala took interest. I started making them for friends and family, as gifts, and then expanded into something more professional. I had the opportunity to sell them at festivals and events like Lightning in a Bottle and Soulestial Carnival. Since this was always a ‘side job’, and it was one of the only creative outlets I had, for years it wasn’t my primary focus. In the past year I’ve made video and photo content with my partner, Joshua De La Garza, and started advertising them on instagram. That’s been taking off beautifully. I get orders every week. All my clients come through social media or referral. I think my main challenge is how to scale the business. Since I craft each one with prayer and intention, it’s hard to automate or streamline any further. Each one takes about 4-5 hours to make start to finish. Balancing that with my other streams of revenue like creating online courses, coaching, leading womens’ circles every two weeks and the rest of life can be challenging sometimes. I’ve found organization is the key to staying on top of it all! And honestly, each time someone places an order my heart fills with so much gratitude and joy, it’s easy to channel that motivation into making it all work out. I created this brand because I”m passionate about giving people tools for better mental health and emotional self-regulation. Meditation always seemed out of reach for me until I started chanting or using affirmations with these meditation beads. It’s something I do every day now in the morning, and any time I need to recalibrate. Having tools that are accessible to you anytime, any place, is the key to creating a shift when we feel out of alignment. If I can do it, anyone can! As a trauma survivor I know how thoughts and emotions can rob us of being in the present moment. Meditation comes in many different forms, and meditating with these beads has really been a turning point for me. I hope to continue to share this passion and my creations. I hope to inspire others to try something new, enjoy crystal energy, and live their most fulfilled and healthy lives.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Favorite spots in nature: Marina del Rey beach, Topanga Canyon, El Matador beach, Griffith Observatory & Park Favorite spots to eat: Butcher’s Daughter, Cafe Gratitude, Gran Blanc, Sage, Home, Society Kitchen, Mama Shelter Favorite spots for a drink: Flying Embers Brewery, The Continental Club, many of the above spots too Favorite spots for coffee / tea: The Palm, Millcross, Cha Cha Matcha, Blue Bottle, Bohemia Favorite spots to hang out: The Last Bookstore,, Abbot Kinney, Echo Park, the Arts District, Eighty Two
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I give thanks to my incredible Aunt, and my Dad, who have believed in me and supported me like no other people have in my life. Thank you to my beloved partner, who has helped me fine tune my ideas into realities and is always there to be a loving supporter. Thank you to my soul sister Hannah, who bravely lives in alliance of her loving heart and blazes new trails of career and service to the world. Thank you to the most incredible people in my life I am honored to call friends and tribe, to the women who gather around the moon with me every month, to the people who support my business, and the mentors & teachers who have touched my life so deeply.
Other: For malas, that instagram is @indigo.malas
Joshua De La Garza