M: I remember when we were first together you were at a fun stage in your life because you were learning more about who you truly were and revved up to start a company and take your personal training to the next level. Because we enjoyed creating healthy meals together, that was one of the first things that we discovered - our love of 'real' food. I suggested One-Step-Health, as a name and it became the first name our company had. (and we still have a few clients who remember those days.)
D: yeah... and it became a partnership pretty quickly... and when we became an LLC - we created the name: Livin Now. "Life is Now" was my mantra at the time, and you loved the concept, so the name was a perfect fit for us both.
M:and I loved how you were always about getting back to the basics...
D: though I got a bit militant about it... "until you can drink the right amount of water for 30 days, don't even talk to me." ha ha!
M: yeah... you've definitely mellowed out... though you still keep your core values.
D: I'd been through the fitness world of pre-workout drinks and the latest crazes and it was all about quick fixes which believe me, I tried! They just don't work in the long run. I wanted to get back to what fitness is: Real health. How much water do you drink? What do you eat? The basics.
M: And I was grounded in that because of my work with La Leche League International. One of the things we did as a Leader was educate women about nutrition. Their concept of nutrition is eating foods in as close to their natural state as possible.
D: And when I met you, you brought that holistic side to me. You used to call me 'chemical man' and yeah, I had a deep love of bleach at the time, but now that I educated myself about it...
M: I have to call you "natural man!" But you did have some "natural" in you from your parents, right?
D: when I was growing up, I learned to take 'honey for your throat' when I was ill, and use 'baking soda and vinegar' for the drain - so, yes, 'natural' was planted in me. What I like about your philosophy is eating 'real' food. I grew up eating healthy foods, but plenty of junk as well, I wasn't a believer in organics, but now I can taste the difference. Good, natural food tastes better and helps our planet... which is important to me having grown up in the beauty of Oahu.
M: And then we decided it would be fun to work with individuals and couples to share the joy we've found in creating a a thriving life...
D: and it was funny that we both had the Conscious Loving Book by Gay and Katie Hendricks and felt a connection with it.
M: So we looked online to see what resources they might have and next thing you know we were signed up for a coaching program. And how can we begin to describe how Kathlyn and Gay Hendricks have helped transform our lives?
D: Hallelujah! ha ha ha ha... And that's what inspired our latest company, Michele and Dean, LLC and our exploration of Engaging Ikigai. And now the journey continues...
on the emergence of a book
M:There’s something joyful and whimsical about having these characters emerge, and their first names became apparent rather quickly. Yasu was your dad's nickname and since we met, I've felt a connection with him even though I never got to meet him, and started to call you that.
D: ... And 'mich' was your mom and brother's nickname for you... and 'bug' comes from your dad...
M: ... Yeah... my bro and dad still call me by those names. When we decided to say yes to these characters... ta-da... our nicknames had a home!
D:And then your idea for a book came... M: I'm excited to see what these two get up to... it's going to be a fun ride. As the book has developed, the characters have too, and MichBug is now named Mai, which is a Japanese name meaning "dance." I love it since it came to me out of nowhere and I had no idea it was of Japanese origin. So many of the characters names have come through in magical ways.
D:Like during the Hendricks Training after Gay Hendricks told us about a chapter in his book The Joy Of Genius which talked about honoring your creativity, and wooing it, giving it attention.
M: Yes, and I remember I had these characters hanging around for months, I had no idea what to do with them and when I went to bed that night, I said to the characters: I am grateful you're here, and willing to bring you into the world, I had a fluttery sensation around my neck and an image of these two little beings, flying around my neck.
D:And when we woke up you told me you had a dream that night... and I told you I had one too.
M: Yes! I dreamt about 4 names and I had a baby that I was breastfeeding. In the dream there was some kind of baseball diamond image with the names, and I kept trying to remember them, especially one of them, which I said over and over again, and when I woke I only remembered that name: Anais. I knew instantly that I had dreamt a main character in the book.
D:Then I told you I had a dream too and we both could hardly believe it. I dreamt that we had a child, around 8 years old and it was boy whose hair was 1/2 black and 1/2 white horizontally. You remembered we were walking together, hand-in-hand towards a palace somewhere in Asia.
M: I remember I felt confused because I was sure I had dreamt the name of the character and she was a girl but I knew something very special had happened. It took months before the story revealed a new character and then I knew that this was the boy in your dream.
D:And then led to something else that was wild... I remember coming into the room where you were working on the book and you told me that you had just realized the boy I dreamt was going to be called Ikigai, since you wanted to honor my Japanese/Okinawan heritage.
M: Yes, I remember spending time trying to find an Okinawan name, and was having difficulty finding one since the language isn't spoken in much of the island anymore. I even considered buying a book about Okinawan history and then the idea of Ikigai popped up which was a concept that loosely translates to "reason for being" or purpose.
D:And then walked in and you told me about the name and I told you that I had just seen that word when I was online...that Katie Hendricks had just posted it on Facebook. I remember we looked on her newsfeed and found the post...it was explaining what Ikigai meant and how people in the Blue Zones in Okinawa practice it... So you were in one room, naming this character and I was in the other room reading that word.
M: Pretty wild! From the beginning this book and its characters have had a life of their own. I remember the morning that I woke from my dream about Anais' name, that while I was in the shower, the whole book came to me, I cried and laughed as it became very clear that this book, these characters chose me. I have struggled with giving it the attention it deserves and practice recommitting over and over again to its expression in the world.
D:Just like we share with our clients. Recommitment is how we make anything happen.
on going plant-based...
M: Well this was a surprise!
D:Yes it was... if you said I'd be doing this 5 years ago...
M: Yep... me too, really. Even though I always felt a pull towards plant-based eating, I resisted the heck out of it.
D:Yeah, we avoided watching "those food shows" until we were ready... and really, it was not about the show, it was something that suddenly felt right to us both.
M: It feels really good. I can't explain why exactly, but it feels in alignment with my whole system.
D:I love how it feels too, and to trust that it's right for me, feels especially good. Following impulse is something we're both studying and exploring...the thing that means the most to me is the positive effect of plant-based eating on our earth.