REST with ANDI SCARBROUGH
The crown chakra is our connection to our higher selves, the universe, the divine, and all that is. In this interview, we connect with CrownWorks founder Andi Scarbrough, who helps people honor their crown chakras with intentional and healing hair rituals.
The more she lives, the more she understands that "the point of life is not in fact to reside permanently in the heart-aligned center, but to allow ourselves to forget or be ripped from that space from time to time in order to find as many roads back to it as possible." Here, she recounts one of those times when she desperately needed rest and was literally unable to see to help herself.
"As many women struggle with rest, the female entrepreneur is especially vulnerable to forgoing this vital act," Andi acknowledged. Additionally, she reveals the questions she asks herself in order to maintain balance as an entrepreneur. She also shares her personal restoration rituals and how we can undo generations of unhealthy cultural conditioning.
WHAT ARE YOUR RITUALS TO RELAX, REJUVENATE, AND RESTORE YOURSELF?
I have found time in silence is most essential for me to create mental white-space, the first step in really dropping into the space where restoration happens. Like the downbeat between tracks on an album, it’s impossible for the tempo to change unless there is a space between. We are so inundated with background noise, we often find it difficult to get past this initial transition into rest. Driving home with the radio off after a long day of work, sipping a cup of tea in my living room alone in the quiet, sitting outside for just five minutes with my eyes closed in the morning (or in my car in the middle of a hectic day) allows me the space to change the internal rhythm. I love time at spas or saunas, a ritual bath at home, massages and meditation, and yoga and dance are all ways I restore, but I find if I don’t have a moment of silent transition into these rich opportunities for rejuvenation, I often find it difficult to come present to the rich restoration available. I drive in silence to the spa. I sit in silence and watch the bathtub fill. I sit on my mat for a few moments and just breathe before I begin.
What is your advice to empower women to make time for (guilt-free) rest?
Rest is not a luxury. It is not a reward for good behavior. And this can go way beyond feeling guilty about taking the time to get a massage. I often have to remind myself that it’s OK to JUST sit and eat lunch, not use that time to catch up on some sedentary work. Or even waiting to eat (or go to the bathroom!) until we “get it done.” When I tell people I work for myself, they think that means I take two-hour lunch breaks and lay around in my pajamas all day. What most people don’t realize is when you are an entrepreneur, and there is no clock to punch, the danger is not laziness, but in operation like every hour of the day is a billable hour. The question that always snaps me out of it is a simple one breath and then asking myself: “What do I need RIGHT NOW?” A close second to that is, "Can I be OK with myself if I’m done for now?” If the answer is no-- I have to check and see what is motivating the push forward. If there is fear in any part of the answer, I know I need to pause. Fear is not who I want driving this ship. If the answer has to do with freedom, or expression, or creative flow, then I revert back to question #1 “What do I need RIGHT NOW?” And I try to give myself whatever that is, in whatever increment my resources allow, before it comes to a place of NEED. It’s OK to have a break just because you WANT IT. As women, we are fighting through generations of cultural conditioning that question any motive that is not for the tribe first and self last. We undo this by validating our own preferences, one choice at a time, before they escalate into physical need.
Please describe a time when you had to surrender to rest.
I’ve heard said “The Body is the Final Messenger,” after the mental, emotional and spiritual nudgings we receive. Last spring, I was on my way to work on a fairly average day, perhaps on the longer side, with personal appointments tacked on the beginning and end, but the 21st in a string of such days. There had been days off, but days dedicated to travel, to family, and not a single one where I hadn’t had a clipped sleep cycle, and subbed at least one meal a day for a bar and a juice. As I left the house, I felt like there was a smear on my glasses. I cleaned them and headed out. In the car, I noticed the smear was still there and figured it must be in my eye, so I pulled at the stray lash or whatever must be there, but it remained. Within a few minutes, my palms started to sweat, my heart raced, and I had to pull over on the side of the road. My entire scope of vision was an orb of light. I thought I was having a stroke. I could not see to dial my phone and used my voice call button on my steering wheel to call a friend. When she answered (thank God), I told her I was for SURE having a stroke. A trained facilitator herself, she calmly informed me that if I called her, it was highly unlikely I was in fact having a stroke, and she asked me some questions to drop me into my body and tell her what was going on. Very quickly, emotion surfaced. I was EXHAUSTED. Like a bank account overdrawn by a thousand tiny increments, I was suddenly deep in the red. This is where diagnosing the common ailment of self-abandonment gets tricky; often we looks for one visible cause, when frequently, the problem is insidious and cumulative. Small, dismissible forgoing of self-honoring choices that can pile up become a mountain seemingly out of nowhere. So much emotion flooded up, and wild fears surfaced about misbeliefs about what would happen if I cancelled clients and stayed home for the day. I mean-- it went ALL the way. It began with the loss of money, then quickly went to the failure of the business as a whole to “AND THEN I’LL DIE.” As soon as I gave voice to the root fear about the whole world crumbling if I took a day to rest, the ocular migraine started to dissipate. She insisted on coming to where I was and driving me home. Not only did I have to let go a of day's work, but I had to allow my friend to choose to take the time as well. And I had to receive it. My body literally put the breaks on me, and only when I was rendered unable to SEE to help myself, did I allow myself to accept the rest and the support I so desperately needed. She sat with me, and we processed though the deeper fears at play, and I cried-- and there is no more restorative sleep than after a good ugly cry! I slept for nearly 16 hours, and I woke up the next day with a clear head and a dramatically shifted perspective.
How do you tune into your body's wisdom to know when to rest?
For me, anxiety is always a key indicator that I am short on rest. REAL rest. I’ve heard it said that anxiety is the dis-ease of living in the future, rather than the present. Hence, myself questioning, “What do I need right now?” I always know when this is the case when I feel overwhelmed without a pointed reason, or when I find myself needing to compile and rewrite to-do lists. These little challenges around the illusion of control all seem to be indicators of the need I have for rest and re-centering. Even though I have built a life delightfully blurred in lines of what is work and what is play, I may still find myself as unreasonably disgruntled as a toddler at Disney Land. Even in the happiest place on earth, sometimes one just needs a snack and a nap to come back to the state of delighted gratitude for being-ness that is, after all our natural state.
Andi Scarbrough is a Los Angeles-based hair stylist, facilitator, and magic maker. She is also the founder of CrownWorks and curator of the CrystalComb™, a cross-point of beauty+wellness, and a modern meditation practice in and of itself.
She offers online booking for her ritual hair treatments, many of which include custom essential oil blends and a Reiki scalp massage.