I want you to meet Liz Smithers and her radical, empowering platform, Eli Keaton. Liz and her plant partner Kristal are total culinary chemists, plant alchemists, shining bright lights of balance and positive understanding. Liz is a fellow Hawaiian Islands sister — I Big Island, she Kauai. We fell in love with each other over our connection to our Mama — Earth. All the ways we worship Her, handle Her, thank Her, and infuse Her essence into our creative works. Liz has multiple new projects churning (of which I myself am stoked to find out about), The Sister's Almanac, a daily Ashtanga practice (of which she also teaches) and . . . THESE. Try the Macadamia Shroom, mahalo me later.
Read Liz's heart and story below.
How did you grow up? How has that impacted your journey thus far?
"I come from a pretty open-ended independent upbringing. I remember stepping on my first plane solo at the age of seven and feeling totally comfortable. All I needed was to pay attention to the signs and I eventually would end up where I needed to be. My parents raised us in the lush countryside of Virginia on the cusp of Washington DC and I strongly believe it is the most lovely place in the world. My mother taught me how to be a lady and how to take care of myself and my father taught me how to be a boss lady and be creative. I have images of him standing over the end of our island with an IPA in hand dishing out the ups and downs of his day to my mom as she cooked us chicken pot pie for dinner......I would do something super obnoxious every night before dinner like breakdance in the middle of the kitchen working up a sweat cause I was having so much fun and I was probably high on Pop Tarts. Metaphorically speaking, the open ended-ness of our home encouraged risky + creative behavior growing up. I was on a loose leash in my teenage years and roamed my experience wildly, freely.
My parents straight up taught me anything was possible if I really wanted it. I watched my dad work his ass off to get what he wanted and never allowed himself to take hand outs. They taught me that the personal growth attached to drive and integrity shines over everything. And that the people you choose to surround yourself with can truly make or break your future. And that dishonesty is extremely low vibe. And that you should give everything that interests you in the slightest your best shot. Without a choice, whether this is good or bad, my parents set a standard for me and everything I did. I now value quality over quantity and can laser beam right through farse people or situations. I raise my bar high and I will rise to that bar every time. What my parents didn't show me how to do is mend interpersonal problems, like body image + negative self talk + body abuse + toxic patterns. I learned all of that myself."
What is your work?
"As cliche as it sounds......I am fully an alchemist. Food AND fashion alchemy. I really never cared what was in style or if black went with brown and I really would like to take credit for bringing fringe boots back but it was totally Sam Edelmans' doing circa 2008!
I probably do too much work.....but I love it. I love being 24 and opting out of hangovers so I can get up and make double matcha lattes and CBD pop tarts. It feels good knowing that I am working not for money but for the sake of a collective movement. My work is in creating flow. I teach Ashtanga yoga full time to subsidize my start up, so a great deal of energy is targeted towards teaching others how to take a bunch of different elements (breath, energy locks, vinyasa, body awareness, organ sensory) and synchronizing their own dance on the mat. A dance that doesn't feel like a heart-wrenching backbend or a bad Zumba class. I teach flow through my plant business by taking substances that are extremely potent on their own and piecing them with equally potent yet seemingly unfit substances that still work, simply because it's new, fresh, and out of the safety net. I teach myself flow through smoothing over what seems like a rigid lifestyle to others but makes my cells sing on the inside. Clocking hours on practicing fluid living in the form of intrinsic thought, figuring out how to make a dank-city-level meal with the 6 ingredients I have in my house, and reminding myself it's okay if I don't get my to-do list done. Chances are, I will be fully recharged and ready to rumble come morning. I teach flow through my online woman's collective I just launched in December (The Sisters Almanac) by consistently being as raw as possible in my language and showing people how to let go of what the Internet says and to just do what feels good.
My early 20s were such a rough time. Consciousness dropped on me like a bag of bricks, in a geographical place that was so out of alignment for me, leaving me with an unhealthy level of order in my life. I ate a processed diet my entire life until 18, and once the toxic waste started filtering its way out I came into what I now know as a state of pure awareness. It terrified me so much that I numbed myself in so many ways and every decision felt like a sharp turn in a boxy car. I developed an eating disorder, horrible anxiety + depression, and a bad case of indecisiveness. So out of flow! Food + movement was what I was drawn to and I quickly realized this was my medium for helping others. Consciousness can be a weird thing, especially if you aren't used to the way you feel off of a high vibrational diet. The high of the experience is radical. It can be scary when your vibration goes from a 1 to a 10 in a matter of months. I didn't see it coming but that is why flow is so important, so you can adapt to your situation and think on your feet."
What do you currently feel compelled to create?
"I feel drawn to creating sexy educational platforms that help take people out of a muted existence they unconsciously keep themselves stuck in! Something that teaches them how to live intuitively, live a life of rawness, and give themselves permission to check out of constrained living.
My vehicle to creative power is food, so politely going head to head with the processed food industry is my first plan of attack. I was raised on Pop Tarts and Lunchables, so coming up with enzyme rich, brain power evoking alternatives to feed the keikis (editor's note: this is Hawaiian for baby, or child) is super important to me. I want to help teach people how to transfer energy appropriately, and it most definitely starts with what you feed your children. First, it's food.....then everything will fall into fluidity."
How did you learn to tap into your intuition?
"First off, I just heard it a lot, from others and within myself. It's like all my life, through my processed childhood, my spout of violent partying / control-freak era, from my yoga instructors, my sister, I heard a voice that felt nice to me and reminded me to keep going. I dropped off for a while from 2010-2013, when I decided to regain my wholeness, lost touch with a lot of friends, family, the whole shebang. I allowed myself to be alone a LOT. Like day in day out. I loved it, I was peeling away layers because I was following that voice I had been hearing. I got better and better at weeding out what wasn't in alignment with me the more I sat with myself. It sounds cheesy but we are the Divine.....it is SO THERE!! I sought out of body experiences through meditation and plant medicines so that I could discover that I wasn't all of the toxic patterns I convinced myself I was. When you realize you are pure love life is actually one big love puzzle and the secret piece is stillness and flow, She (the Divine) will find you. Just be stiiiiill, baby.
I live by my own rule of 70/30. 70 percent of the time spent by myself being wildly creative, 30 percent connecting and sharing my energy with others and enjoying the life outside of me. Without my Ashtanga yoga practice, I would have no safety net. It is like my warm blanket on a cold night. I know that every single time I step onto my mat, I will be reminded of why I am here in the first place. It floods my system with love and creativity and if you ever receive via text message an entrepreneurial breakthrough, reasons why I value our friendship, or a intensely dramatic root of encouragement....I probably just finished primary series. I practice intuitive cooking, writing, and alchemizing daily. If any of the results of these are off (my food tastes so bad sometimes) I know I am doing something out of alignment and I need to re-root and re-source inspiration."
What does "Beauty" mean to you?
"Beauty means being nice and looking people in the eye. Don't cake on makeup if it makes you break out. Give something to a stranger every day. Don't say yes to things you want to say no to, be real. Take care of your body. Trusting that you will find yourself where you need to be in your raw state is beautiful to me. Sing at the top of your lungs to Wu Tang clan in traffic because you can (and you probably need to exercise your throat chakra!) and definitely don't get hung up on the perfect diet, it doesn't exist. Refrain from comparing your achievements to others. The most beautiful people are in their own world and no one else's. It doesn't matter what other people are doing, do you and trust that beauty will unfold because of the fruit of a massive collective effort. Beauty is recognizing your potential to deeply nourish another being and reminding your loved ones of their fullness. Beauty is choosing something or someone with flaws and committing your love to it. Beauty is the paradise inside your mind. Day dream, hard."