10/28/2015

Interview x Nitsa Citrine

Inspired Living // Nitsa Cirtine by Ashley Neese

Today I am thrilled to share an interview with one of my favorite artists and potion makers, Nitsa Citrine. I was introduced to Nita’s work through Sun Potion, her partners incredible herb company. Nitsa is their creative director and after being so impressed with the authentic way she managed their brand I reached out to say hello. We connected quickly over our love of contemporary art, Chinese medicine and the healing power of nature. It’s been amazing getting to know her this past year and we’ve had a blast collaborating on on recipes for The Chalkboard.

One of the reasons I adore Nitsa is because she lives with integrity. What you see is what you get and Nitsa is so tapped into her creativity that she shines really bright. Nitsa walks the talk and embodies her practice in all aspects of her life. She radiates from a place of wholeness and her honest interview reminds us that our bodies hold the answers if we are willing to slow down long enough to listen to them.

Inspired Living // Nitsa Cirtine by Ashley Neese

Do you have a daily ritual of “quiet time”? Please share what that looks like?
I love being in the silence of mornings. First thing upon waking I will drink a large glass of water and then prepare several rounds of tea to enjoy in silence,  before sitting for a Shinto meditation with my fiancé Scott. The frequency created by quiet and the clarity in mind and vision it invites is invaluable to me.  If I could get away with it, most days I would prefer not to speak until the evening….

How do you come home to yourself?
Photo meditations + gardening (must create more time for it these days!).

What impact do you want to have in your community?
My vision is to create beauty and a high quality of life for all beings… through art, education, healing foods, positive intention and expression, Spirit.

Inspired Living // Nitsa Cirtine by Ashley Neese

Name three plants that are inspiring you right now.

Redwood sorrel,  Oxalis oregano  – this is a little clover-like plant that grows underneath the Coastal Redwood and Fir forests. It is a humble, verdant, three-leafed, subtly beautiful native ground cover plant – which I have come to appreciate for its presence as an integral part of the healthy redwood forest system from my time living in Big Sur. It is edible,  with a bright, sour taste –  I love to toss a few leaves and blossoms into a salad or use as a garnish. Sorrel is also medicinal, a Native American remedy calls for a poultice of the leaves and stem to be applied topically to draw out infection.

Calla Lily, Zantedeschia aethiopica  – I am currently working on a photographic series which celebrates the form and textures of the Calla Lily… it feels like I have endless love  and eyes for this elegant, sensual, and exquisitely contoured flower! Apparently the Calla Lily (which is actually not a member if the Lily at all) is a symbol of resurrection, divinity,  rebirth… a connection I am excited about as it aligns with the intention behind my series precisely.

Camellia sinensis – the tea plant – or –  tree. I love her. I love her roots, her leaves…
To me, Camellia sinensis is so feminine, healing and mystical. My first serious film / art project was all about Tea…  years later the love affair continues…  even now,  as I write this I want to call her “My Queen” … is that very strange?!!  I can only imagine Tea as plant and a nourishing, multi-sensory ritual will be a life-long Muse of mine and look forward to visiting the old-growth tea forests in Yunnan and Taiwan one day!

Inspired Living // Nitsa Cirtine by Ashley Neese

How to you stay true to yourself?
I find authenticity to be one of the most powerful and attractive energies, so I tend to actively seek and cultivate authenticity in myself and others.

This being said, being aware of the information I bring into my world has been a key element in the practice of staying true to myself. With the blessing/danger of the expansive, connective potential of the internet these days, I make it a priority to be discerning of what I pay attention to in my daily life, how it makes me  feel, and how it may directly or indirectly influence my energy quality and levels as well as contributions. If I find myself feeling apologetic, self-critical, or just low-vibe,  I know right away that a shift ( of the internal or external) is needed. As I have made a conscious effort to nourish my body with the highest quality, organic, activated, whole foods…. I feel the same can be applied for energy, environment, and information – these are important foods too!

I am also sensitive to (and observe)  how the media can be used to create a story – a beautiful, powerful, and sometimes – an illusory one-  and so I am committed to bring a level of sincerity and transparency to all that I do and share… it feels so much lighter.

Beyond that, creating time for solitude and simply being in my own energetic field -with my imagination and inner world open for musing –  is so helpful when I want to re-establish a connection to myself.  If I am not spending enough time alone I will find myself  just feeling really off or (haha  and this has happened more times than I would like to count) saying something I totally regret in a social situation …  best avoided at all costs, for all parties!

Inspired Living // Nitsa Cirtine by Ashley Neese

What is your favorite way to relax?
Naps in the sun, with a good book and my camera, near a body of water….

Have you ever struggled with self care in your life? How did you navigate that?
Oh yes….

There have been several moments in my life where patterns of self-neglect, weak boundaries, anxiety, and low self-esteem have inhibited my ability to take care of myself… and to be honest I think that I have mostly learned to navigate through these patterns through (eek!) trial and error…

And so, a major part of growing a strong self- care practice has included paying attention to the major  signs and more subtle cues along the way that indicate when something is or is not in alignment with my life’s greater trajectory, then integrating and evolving with this feedback.

More recently,  balancing my work as the Creative Director of with Sun Potion with my ambitions as an artist has served as an opportunity for me to re-learn self-care on a whole new level. Being fully devoted to this business while having a personal creative agenda, I am often challenged with this concept of a “lack of time” which intensifies as the company grows and my personal projects simultaneously beg for more attention… Many of us deal with this “lack of time” scenario! I am still exploring the process of balancing and connecting the two roles in a harmonious, symbiotic and practical way… though the happiness I experience when I am fully present and in a creative state is so nourishing and powerful, I am certain it is an essential part of self-care, all roles, present and future.

Inspired Living // Nitsa Cirtine by Ashley Neese

How do you strengthen your intuition?
Finding the courage to listen, to take risks, and be vulnerable.

Sister wisdom.
Listen to the intelligence of the body and the heart.

Tell us one thing you haven’t done yet that you really want to do.
Oh! so many things!  At the top would be to create and keep a greenhouse for rare and magical plants and – also  right there at the top –  publish a book of poems!

What are you most grateful for?
Everything! my hands, my imagination, life, this amazing creative community, my dearest loved ones, Scott…

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Be sure to follow Nitsa over on Instagram too, so much beauty there!

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© ASHLEY NEESE 2018