Julie Piatt | Apiece Apart Woman

 Julie Piatt | Apiece Apart Woman

“Feminine energy is not necessarily peaceful and complacent and “feel good” — sometimes she’s a fierce lion who is protecting her children, standing up and saying what needs to be said…” 

When Julie Piatt speaks her mind, our typical response is a wholehearted “YES!” The above came from a recent conversation aired on the podcast hosted by her husband, ultra-athlete and author Rich Roll. Julie wears many hats — she’s a mother of four, musician, speaker, plant-based chef, meditation guide, and yoga teacher. Moreover, she is an all-around straight-talking, smart advocate for the ideas and practices that guide a life lived deliberately. She shares her truth candidly, and practices what she preaches in living a life of realistic balance (countered with a necessary sense of humor). Earlier this year, we spent a day with Julie at her home in Malibu, California.

A portion of the sales of each Apiece Apart Woman story are donated to an organization of the featured woman’s choice. Julie has selected a part of sales that run through the weekend to be donated to One Heart World-Wide.

Photos by Ye Rin Mok, styling by Jessica Gray, story by Leigh Patterson, jewelry by Lena Bernard

Apiece Apart Woman Julie PiattApiece Apart Woman Julie Piatt

You lead a life connecting to and with song, spirit, and food. Tell us more about your spiritual upbringing? How did your upbringing influence your connection to your path? 
I have always been focused on death, and what becomes of us after this physical existence.  I used to hitch a ride to church with the neighbors and I became born again without my parents at age 11. I’m not religious now, but deeply spiritual. I’ve just been one of those weird ones that wanted to know what was beyond this life. This awareness makes my life more meaningful. I am always aware of the fragility.
 
I continue to be inspired by the awareness that there is not another one of me in the entire multi-verse…if I fail to know myself and express my voice with pure authenticity, then I will never have existed. Life is sacred. The fact that we exist in a body at all is a divine miracle. Each one of us, all life.
 
How do you cultivate deep attention? 
A dedicated yoga practice develops what I call a second attention, where the body is moving through asana, and the breath is breathing, yet the observer is watching. Sitting in meditation focused on the breath or simply placing my attention in my heart cultivates deep attention.
 
You work with food, song, and spiritual connection. Can you speak to how these elements come together?
Food is the first portal to knowing yourself. Eating to feed the body as the temple that houses my spirit and soul is a shift that has transformed my life. I share food that is sustainable, plant rich  and as close to whole food as possible. Song is another form of energy: nothing has more power to heal than sound. It enters our beings without any processing from the mind. My songs came to me in meditation and they healed me
during a very painful time. 

Apiece Apart Woman Julie Piatt

Holidays are a time that I think we naturally reflect and look back. Do you have any particular rituals you look forward to sharing with your family during this season? 
The most important date for me is the Winter Solstice.

I make sure that I sit down for ceremony and ritual. It’s a time to review the year that has passed and let go of what doesn’t serve you in gratitude and then to open to receive and make space to co- create what you want to experience in the coming year.

You have made cooking a part of your family life — can you share more about these moments of connection around food and gathering?
In ancient times, the women kept the spiritual heart of the home in the kitchen with the fire. This energy is very powerful for me and I consider home, family, and community to be essential to living a connected and meaningful life.

In what ways are you constantly returning “home” to yourself? How do you personally recognize/know when you are home? 
I return home in every moment on my breath. This practice is simple yet profound. I also feel deeply home while drinking ceremonial puer tea — I like to think about joining together with people from all over the world who are drinking the same tea, connecting through that simple message. 
 
When you get off balance, how do you return to your center?
I get myself on the mat. One great yoga flow series is all it takes. I practice my own flow that I developed after twenty years of practice.  It’s a level 2 series that everyone can practice, even beginners. It’s a yoga that is strong yet very slow and connected to the breath.  It’s about breathing with your whole body and receiving life force as one wholistic organism.

Apiece Apart Woman Julie Piatt​​​​Apiece Apart Woman Julie Piatt

We’re all building a sort of internal repertoire/catalogue of our inner workings. We’re cultivating our inner life, in our own ways. Can you tell us a little bit more about how you understand yourself and your journey?
After so many years of studying with many different masters, chefs, and teachers, from many different traditions, I have come to understand that our life is about our relationship to experience and what we learn, share, and transform and transcend. Also it’s about having fun and celebrating our sacred life! At the end of the day, when you put your head on the pillow or at the end of your life when you drop your body, it better have been YOUR life you lived. We can’t say, ‘Well...this teacher said it was like this’ or ‘This race of beings said it was like so.’ It has to be from your vantage point. I am committed to have lived my life in full authentic expression. In other words, It’s MY life. And that is the only thing that matters.

I loved listening to a podcast interview you did earlier this year where you talked about ideas of divine love: loving people for who they are right now, and striving to love unconditionally. What advice do you have, or what practices or readings have been helpful for both you (and perhaps for what you teach your children) about loving in this way? 
Having respect for everyone no matter where they are in their journey has been a powerful experience for me. One never knows everything from our limited perspective. Food choices have to be developed individually and if you try to force your views on another — even if that is your child — they will likely rebel or not experience the transformation firsthand. Rather, educate on what is, and then cultivate an immense amount of love for those who can’t grasp that awareness yet. Stand very close to them with all the love you can muster...be a shining example of living authentically in service to the greater force. Don’t judge, just love more. Open more to share.
 
What have been some of your biggest cultural touchstones: the art, books, films, and music that have been most influential in shaping who you are today?
I have actually three that have greatly influenced my life…it has always been a deep recognition. They are: Paramahamsa Yogananda, Isek Denision, and Charlie Chaplin. I felt they all led lives that contributed to existence in special ways. They are very dear to me.