#VOZWOMAN | Lena Cole

Lena Cole is a performing artist, spiritual healer, and social activist. Through her design studio and spiritual practice, she explores the connection between nature, mindfulness, and self-discovery. Lena, together with her mother Paulette Cole of ABC Carpet & Home, has created and is stewarding True North, a sanctuary for personal and planetary transformation and alignment with nature's wisdom in Hudson, NY. Here, Lena shares her wisdom and insight on spirituality, craftsmanship and strengthening our connection to Mother Earth.   

What is your personal mission statement?

My mission is to continually deepen and discover what it means to walk the beauty way  in relation to all beings. This is expressed as a way of inspiring and inhabiting spaces….infusing them with elements of ceremony and sacredness. In this way, collective gathering to experience an evolving sense of home becomes the ultimate mission. 

How do we preserve spiritual connections in the modern age?

We preserve spiritual connections in the modern age by nurturing the sensitivity within us all. For example, the people in the Mayan civilization used to operate with 13 senses, and 9 levels for every sense. This upliftment of sensitivity allows people to utilize the gift and instrument that is our human body. As we create spaces where sensitivities and extra perspectives are welcomed into the conversation, we can amplify not only our spiritual inheritance, but also deeper listening with nature and all living beings. As we learn how to more intricately and intimately relate to our individual process, we become interwoven into the larger processes around us; which embeds a sense of interconnectivity and restores our collective wellbeing.

What role do you see craftsmanship playing in preserving the Earth?

When we preserve craftsmanship, we preserve the design intelligence of ancient cultures in our world. My mother spent her life traveling to villages and townships all over the world to seek connections to some of our most upheld design lineages that still exist today, and create bridges for visibility here in the center of Manhattan. She has no sense of smell, and so I always knew she had a sixth sense, but never knew how it was expressed. One day she was asked why she was attracted to things, and she pondered for a moment and said "well I can see a golden aura around things where the act of creation and devotion have been put into them." When I heard her say this, I knew in every cell of my being that items, craftspeople and art in general are deeply sacred things, and should never be overlooked by our modern day society.

Mass production might accommodate many people's budget and life, but its toll on the planet is astronomical. If we can re-localize our economies and stop the massive transportation and industrial costs associate; we can not only uplift creators all over the planet, but inspire bioregional awareness while stimulating creative solutions to regenerate culture, economy and agriculture. Inspiration and ingenuity have always been the things that draw our humanity closer to itself, and tapping into our creative capacities with purpose can offer medicine at both a personal and collective level.

How has travel influenced your work? 

Travel, for me, has been the single most influential piece of my life and my work. Having been born in New York City, I always lived in a microcosm of our world. And yet, every time I left the country, it was as if an entire cultural oasis was exposed to me. My mother, father and grandfather built ABC Carpet & Home, so I grew up living on the road just as much as being in New York. Most of the space was curated by incredible artifacts from all over the world, and in order to cultivate a space like that we had to travel to disparate parts all over the globe. I learned at a very young age how culturally infantile America was, and it's something I continually meditate on and try to create spaces that invite a more mature cultural experience.

I also learned that wealth, access, and modernity does not equal happiness, joy and simplicity, and I've always been in awe of the resilience and power in peoples all over the world (particularly First Nations people) who have their innate wisdom and intelligence intact. The way that we can be with the earth, of the earth, and an expression of the earth was something I never learned in my society, and yet is one of my core beliefs that I gained from traveling and seeing how people can relate to each other and the planet.