UAC 139 | Slowing Down


Living in the fast-paced world as we do in the present does weird things to our mental health. An inability to slow down would possibly only lead to burnout. Finding moments—short or long periods—to slow down is essential to give yourself the mental bandwidth to navigate the modern world. Kate Rentz is a Los Angeles-based director, photographer, and mental health advocate. Thane Marcus Ringler interviews Kate, who speaks about using nature as a sanctuary within which one can slow down, recenter, and find their footing again. If you feel like your mental health is suffering, Kate might have a few tips that you can take to heart for getting the help you need.

Listen to the podcast here:

Kate Rentz: Slowing Down As A Way Of Life: A Creative’s Exploration Of The World As Sanctuary

I’m excited about this episode, but before we get there, I wanted to remind you of a few ways that you can help us out. If you wanted to leave us a rating and review on iTunes, that takes about one minute of your time and it’s so helpful for us being found by more people. We have a rating and review I’d to share. It’s titled, This Show Fills a Specific Need. Five-star rating by Mitch Matthews. Mitch says, “Thane has designed this show for a space that has been wildly underserved. It’s for those people who are getting clarity on what they want to do and achieve and they’re on their way, but they need insights and strategies to keep them on track. Biblical wisdom that meshes with practical raw application. If you are an Up And Comer, give it a read. You’ll be glad you did.”

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I am excited about this episode with Kate Rentz. Who is Kate Rentz? Kate grew up roaming the woods, rivers and farmlands in a rural Ohio where she fell deeply in love with the natural world around her. She also spent much of her childhood and adolescents filming her friends and family, trying to create visual stories any chance she could get. Kate attended Ohio University and graduated early with a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Video Production. In 2007, Kate moved to Los Angeles, California to pursue a career in the film industry.

She works passionately as a video director and stills photographer. Kate’s imagery spans across the board providing a body of work that focuses heavily on light color and a passion to see the world anew. Kate spends much of her time outside working with various outdoor clients and exploring the mountains, deserts and beaches of California. In January of 2020, Kate began her Forest Therapy Guide practicum with the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy to be a certified nature and forest therapy guide.

Her passion for the outdoors and desire to help others find healing and connection in nature has led her to found Explore Sanctuary, a company that curates unplugged and holistic nature retreats. Kate is also a mental health advocate, sharing her experience with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder online and through relationship. Kate was also diagnosed with Lyme Disease in 2015, after fifteen years of misdiagnosis. Finding healing in nature has always been a part of her path to wellness and she’s excited to help open the door for others to find healing outside.

Kate is also an Enneagram seven, a lover of all animals, a ‘90s music junkie and a dreamer through and through. She spends too much time fantasizing about which country she’ll visit next, how much land she wants to buy, and what songs she wants to sing at her next visit to the karaoke bar. She’s deeply devoted to her friends, family and would sign up for communal living in a heartbeat. She loves history, science, psychology and art. It’s rare that you’ll find her reading fiction unless it’s written by Mark Twain or Louisa May Alcott.

She loves anything nonfiction that will help her gain insight to the deeper understandings of the world around her, but don’t be fooled by the seriousness of her reading lists. She loves to laugh, is deep down funny in the Larry David way, and wants to have a good time. That is a little bit about Kate. This was such a fun conversation. There are many themes we explore along with our story, such as slowing down, paying more attention. It’s a big theme, curiosity, being content, exploring in nature, the human experience becoming better observers and so much more. She has a fascinating story. I know it’ll encourage and inspire you. Without further ado, please sit back, relax and enjoy this episode with Kate Rentz.

Kate Rentz, welcome to the show.

Thank you.

It’s fun to have you here. Third time’s a charm. We had to reschedule a few times such as life when hectic and all the crazy things going on, and schedules can sometimes change. I’m glad it finally worked.

I’m so excited to be here.

I wanted to start with one of the things that you apparently have done quite a bit of research on and that is the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

It’s true. That is hilarious. Yes, I have.

Why did you spend so much time studying or researching this and what have you found out?

First of all, I do these deep dives into research like this because I have endometriosis. I get bad period cramps, full disclosure. A lot of times when I have these bad pains, I have to spend hours in the bathtub early morning hours. It’s 2:00 to 5:00 AM. I have nothing to do. I love history. Sometimes I’ll research the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. I love Lincoln. I love the Civil War. I love learning about all of that stuff. When I started with this research, I wanted to have an understanding of how that all went down, which I grew up going to Gettysburg, DC and going to Ford’s Theater and all of that stuff. I feel I have that general basis, but I didn’t have a full understanding of John Wilkes Booth or Robert Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln. I went down this rabbit hole of the whole thing. I also have this fascination with the conspiracy around the assassination. That was something I learned about in the seventh grade and became obsessed with it and became obsessed with Mary Surratt. Do you know who she is?

I’ve heard the name but I have no idea.

She was supposedly part of the conspiracy. She was hanged with four other conspirators for the assassination. Seeing the images when I was in the seventh grade of this woman hanging freaked me out and triggered this obsession with the whole assassination. There’s much to talk about. I can go there.

Is there a resource you would recommend for people who are extra curious?

UAC 139 | Slowing DownOn the one particular day where I went deep dive, it was through Wikipedia. I don’t know if that’s the most trusted source, but it’s curated very well. What’s nice about Wikipedia always is that it has clicks to other links that can take you there. I went through the Lincoln assassination, John Wilkes Booth and Mary Todd Lincoln, all of it. It was very fun for me.

In some of the research, you were described as being full of light, beautiful and such a ray of sunshine, but at the same time, she’s also interested in cults, wars and these dark subjects. What fascinates you about cults?

First of all, I love psychology and to understand cult, you have to understand psychology and what draws a person to a cult or even a cult leader. There’s something going on with their mental makeup. There’s power and dominance. I’m drawn to cults because one, I’m terrified that I’m going to join a cult. I want to research as much as possible so I don’t fall into the trap. Two, I find it fascinating that people can be searching for light. That’s why people are drawn towards cult or religion. People want to find answers and they want to find meaning to life, but it somehow leads to them to a dark place. That’s what fascinates me. I’m like, “How did that go wrong?”

There’s a book by Robert Levine called The Power of Persuasion. If you haven’t read it, I would recommend it because it’s talking about the psychology of influence or how you are persuaded. Pretty much almost all the illustrations he uses are cults because it is such stalwart examples of amazing persuasion. It’s scary and sad as well. It shows a power that can be wielded for good and bad.

I’ve read a couple of books where I’m like, “It’s mind-blowing.”

What would you say on the psychology side have been the most informative or mind-expanding books that you’ve read?

In association with cults?

It could be or it could be in psychology in general.

I don’t necessarily read too many psychology books per se, but I read more exploratory stories around let’s say cults or people with mental disorders. Two of the books that come to mind. They have something to do with cults is one is Under the Banner of Heaven. It’s written by Jon Krakauer who also wrote Into the Wild. He’s a journalist so he writes in that style. It’s this examination of fundamental Mormonism or FLDS.

The other thing that I was interested to know a little about is apparently before we’re going to do the interview what I heard was that you had to be outside for twelve hours straight, simply observing nature. Give a little bit of context of why? I’d love to know about that experience.

I was going to be doing that, but things got changed up because of work. I haven’t yet done it yet. It is for my Nature and Forest Therapy practicum. That is one of the assignments that I have to do. It’s basically to help me get in touch with nature, allowing things to come to me as an inspiration. Being able to hear the stories and the messages from the forest or nature, it’s getting to know the land. Almost having vision walks a little bit.

The certification or the practicum that you’re pursuing, how would you describe it?

It’s through the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy. This is to be a guide. I’m taking people out into nature, into the forest, helping them get in touch with their body, get in touch with their senses and connecting with nature. Not a lot of people know how to do that because we move in constant motion. We’re always stressed out. We don’t slow down to be in touch with our senses. As a guide, I’m taking people out to be able to do that and to be a doorway or a window into nature where nature is the actual therapist. I’m opening the door.

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What kind of opened door got you into this realm?

I do a lot of solo road trips, solo camping trips. Growing up I would go out into the forest behind my house. I grew up having OCD and anxiety. I didn’t understand that I had that growing up. I found that throughout my life and into my 30s. I found that every time I would go out into nature, whether that’s road tripping or through camping, I would feel completely relaxed. I’d feel much healthier. I was doing this five-day road trip by myself. I was lying on a salt flat. I felt God was speaking to me and being you can open this store to other people and invite other people into this space. There’s much healing that happens in nature. I felt called to provide a space for other people to have their own experience in nature. Whether that looks mine or that looks something different, but I don’t think a lot of people know that there’s access to nature and the way that there is. I don’t think a lot of people know how to do it.

When talk about accessing nature, obviously there are the environmental factors of our culture and our life. If you could put some words to the common things that act as obstacles for our ability to access what nature has for us. I would love to know some words on what those obstacles are and also maybe what that experience can bring in transformation?

The main obstacle is basically fear. A lot of people have fear of being alone, fear of wild animals, fear of other people outside in nature. Sometimes being alone especially people don’t know how to sit with themselves. A lot of times, too, a lack of curiosity is another obstacle. For me being curious, it allows me to go outside because there’s much to explore when you go into nature and not even having the ability to be curious about what’s possible outside restricts people from accessing it. A lot of people think it costs a lot of money. Maybe it’s a financial thing for some people. The way that I go outside is done in a way that is pretty cheap. For some people going into a national park, which costs money. There’s an entrance fee. If you want to get an annual pass that also costs money but there are ways to access it that’s completely free. Even going into your backyard, a lot of people don’t know that there’s much there that can be found.

In finding and observing it, what have you found for yourself? What do you see others finding in what accessing nature brings?

For me, learning how to slow down and pay attention to what’s around me. When I slow down, I noticed that there are little worlds within worlds. When you notice that there are other things going on outside of you that is operating and functioning in a cool and healthy way, it helps me to reflect on my own life. To see there are seasons or there are different ways of living life or different ways of things operating. Paralleling it with my own life and seeing that like an ant’s world is very similar to my own world. I find beauty in the simplicity and the little things. Even thinking of water for me. I like to think of flowing water. I see that as movement and health. If you see a tiny pool of stagnant water, that’s where sickness, illness, and death exist almost. Being able to go into nature and seeing it in that way, you can bring that into your own life and be like, “If I don’t continue to move or if I don’t continue to flow, then there’s going to be death inside myself.” Nature can bring that for other people to reflect on their own life and see parallels within themselves.

It helps us connect to the bigger picture of Life, not our own little tiny life that we think is the big life, but it’s the small life.

We’re all interconnected.

One of my favorite practices is what I call an evening reset, which is watching the sunset. Watching the sun up the patio up here. Even watch the sun go right over the mountain in the background. As you see the crest of the sun slowly move, you become aware of the Earth’s rotation. You’re like, “This thing is moving. I’m on something that’s moving, spinning and rotating.” It’s a trip. You almost can feel that sensation, which helps you, helps me see, “Thane, you’re not the center of the universe.”

You won’t be able to have that realization unless you slow down to do and see that.

Slowing down and paying attention is important. You hit the nail on the head with the two obstacles of fear and lack of curiosity, which go hand in hand. When we’re fearful, it’s hard to be curious. In the realm of curiosity, have you always been a curious child or where do you see that coming from? Was it from your parents, the place you grew up in, just natural?

UAC 139 | Slowing DownIt’s completely natural. I have always been curious. I’ve been lucky to have parents that have always allowed me to be curious and have supported that side of me. I love to ask a lot of questions. I love to explore. I don’t know if it’s possible for me to not be curious.

That’s a great trait to have. What is a favorite question of yours to ask?

For me, I don’t know if this is exact, but I like to ask myself, “What’s around the corner? What else is around this? What else can I see around here?” Especially when I take road trips and this is a metaphor for life in general. When I am driving on a road trip and I see a dirt road go somewhere, I’m always like, “Where is that leading to?” Maybe that’s my main question is. I want to see no matter. If it takes me to a dead-end, a scary place or if it takes me to a beautiful grove of trees or something. I’m like, “Where does that road lead?”

Speaking of roads leading somewhere, you grew up in Ohio and how did that road lead to being here in LA?

For me, growing up in Ohio because I was very curious, I felt alone there a lot. I don’t think that I grew up in a culture necessarily that encourages a lot of curiosity or progressive thought. I felt a little alone there. Wanting to discover and wanting to explore, led me out West. I saw the West as this expansive place of possibility.

The opposite of curiosity often is conformity. We’re influenced by our culture that we’re in, whatever culture it is, we are going to naturally conform to the culture we’re around until there’s a big enough need to change or be different than that culture. That’s true of any culture. It makes it hard and we don’t know until we go out and see something different or experience something different in that sense. Walk us through a little bit of that transition for you when you moved and the reasons were when that happened? What kind of living in those two different cultures has taught you or shaped you as a human?

When I was a little kid, I loved to watch movies. I knew deep down that I wanted to make movies or to work and film. I had this dream of moving to Los Angeles from a young age. It was almost every single thing that I focused on from a young age up until college was to get out to California. I graduated early from college. I eventually moved out here.

Where do you go to school?

I went to school at Ohio University.

What did you study?

I studied video production. My major was in communications. I had a minor in history and film. It was crazy because when I was at school, I wish I would’ve been there and appreciated it. I was focused on California that I was like, “This is wasting my time. I got to get out.” Moving to California to work in the film industry, I know a lot of people when they come to Los Angeles, they have a hard time because it is an adjustment for some people. For me, I was so excited. Everything was new and dreamy. I felt like this is where I belong. Growing up I didn’t feel I belonged in Ohio or in small-town Ohio even though there are some parts of it that I love. Coming to Los Angeles, I didn’t feel there was this culture shock for me. I feel I’m having a reverse of that and longing for the small-town life of Ohio. It’s interesting how that’s happened.

It is interesting the season in that because that’s a beautiful thing. It’s every culture does provide something beautiful. They serve different purposes. Sometimes it’s not right for us. Sometimes it is and it’s interesting how there’s a cycle to things. Sometimes things come around full circle. Out of the things that you did enjoy, love or missed, was raising pigs one of them?

I love raising pigs so much.

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What was raising pigs like? I have no idea what that would be like.

I didn’t have a massive pig farm. We had a small five-acre farm. We only had maybe two or three sows. It’s a female pig that has babies. There’s a gilt, which is a female pig that has not had babies yet. They had a bunch of litters. I love animals so much. I was excited to go feed them, go water them, lay in the pen with them. Pigs are sweet. They’re like dogs. They’re smart. I see pictures of pigs and I’m like, “I want one so bad.”

I love that you wanted to go and lay in the pen with them. Did you ever do that?

All the time, yes.

Are they playful like dogs?

Yes. Their tails will spin and twirl too when they’re happy like dogs. They’re sweet. I showed them in 4-H and they’re smart. They knew when it was time to leave the fair and time to go. They would show sadness and stuff. Maybe they were feeding off of my energy because I had to sell them.

Did they have names?

They did. I was thinking about this and I was trying to remember all the pigs’ names, but I don’t remember all of them. I do remember our first sow. Her name was Beverly. She was what we called a blue butt, which is a cross between the Hampshire and a Yorkshire pig.

How many different breeds are there?

I feel there are more, but I can’t remember. I want to say nine at the time that I was in 4-H maybe. My favorite was a Duroc. It’s a maroon brownish red pig with floppy ears.

I did hear that you also participate or were a part of the World Federation of Farmers?

UAC 139 | Slowing DownI was in 4-H not World Federation of Farmers, but they’re similar.

How many years did you do 4-H?

I did it from the time I was nine until I was 16 or 17.

What did the experience give you or what did you enjoy most?

The social life of 4-H I loved. The county fair was one week long. It was chaos, running around as a kid without your parents. We had campers. I’d stay up all night running around with other fair kids in my county. I loved doing that. I love the animals as well, but I was super social. I was crazy. It was into all the cowboys and pig guys.

I also heard that you always wanted to be a vet. Comparing how the career life has gone, do you still have those aspirations or dreams or are they faded?

Those have faded for sure. I came to the realization that I’d have to see a lot of animals die in that totally was like, “No, not for me. I don’t think I could handle it.”

In that realm, what are your views on hunting then?

I have a lot of cousins that are big-time hunters. I am okay with hunting. I personally think that I would have a hard time with it, but there is some beauty with hunting for your own food. Treating the animal with dignity and killing it in a way that’s humane. I’m definitely not for going and shooting animals left and right. If you do it in a way that’s humane and with respect, I’m for it more than I am for mass farms that abused animals.

My roommate had a hunting show. It’s comical sometimes the personalities on their shows.

There are some good ones.

One of the things that most people from research, most people don’t know about you. We’re going to get to your work and your photography, which has been very well-documented and very impressive. One of the things that a lot of people won’t know or don’t know is some of the struggles that you have had as we all do as humans, but specifically with health. It’s been an incredibly hard road in many ways. I would love to know what your journey with OCD has been like. I know that’s something that you’ve spent a lot of time learning about and also have dealt with. I would love to learn more about that from your experience.

For me, my first memory of having OCD was when I was seven years old. I might’ve done something that was what is considered bad. I could not stop confessing what I had done to my parents. I felt this insane sense of guilt and this nagging that would not go away. When I think about that moment, I’ll still feel I have to confess what I did when I was seven years old. At the time, I didn’t know that it was OCD. Growing up in the church, I was like, “No, this is guilt. This is the Holy Spirit convicting you.” From that age on up until probably even a few years ago, I confused OCD with the Holy Spirit or God convicting me.

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It wasn’t until 2009 that I was diagnosed. I had a bad flare-up. It was first triggered in 2006 but re-triggered intensely in 2009 to the point where I couldn’t function. I was having panic attacks every single day for two months, not eating, not sleeping, losing weight. I was sick. I started to go to therapy for the first time. I was noticing that being in therapy made things worse for me because I was getting psychotherapy. I don’t know if you know the differences between psychotherapies like Freudian therapy, talk therapy. For me, as someone who had what’s called pure OCD, which is a lot of mental obsessions and compulsions, analyzing a situation or analyzing behavior, analyzing thoughts was making things worse for me.

I was already doing that a million times in my head. I was doing a lot of research online as I do. I came across something online from the OCD Center of Los Angeles. They had this thing about Pure O on their website. They had a test there. I took the test. Let’s say out of 21 questions, I scored seventeen. That was like, “You have OCD.” I was like, “What?” I had this inkling that I might have OCD because I saw The Aviator. It’s with Leonardo DiCaprio and Howard Hughes. There were certain tendencies that Leo would do in the film. I was like, “That’s so much like what I do.” That’s what helped me to go check it out on OCD Center. The director called me and he’s like, “This sounds you have OCD. Ask your therapist about this and this.” I went to him. I asked him about it. He was like he had no idea what I was talking about. “I got to stop going to this guy.” I started going to a proper OCD therapist. It changed my life completely.

It seems like and the same for me, being naive and ignorant. You’re like, “OCD. You get obsessed about things. It’s a big deal, whatever.” We’re very dismissive when we don’t have it, know it, experience it or understand it. What have you learned and how did that therapist change your life? What did he bring or what did she bring in those sessions?

The biggest thing for me growing up in a religious household and in a religious culture, you perceive everything as sin. I always thought that having a mental illness or a mental disorder was because of sin. Going to a proper OCD therapist and learning about the biology around OCD. You have to have a certain biological makeup that brings OCD to the forefront. There are other environmental factors that also play into that. Seeing that, I was like, “This isn’t something that I’ve done. This isn’t because of sin that I’ve done.” It’s like, “Why I have this.”

That in itself was freeing and helpful because I was already struggling with what’s called religious OCD or scrupulosity, which is this obsessive thought about being a center or not having the proper feeling I’m saved enough or feeling I believe enough or you know, X, Y, Z. I already struggled with that so much. Having this outside view from the religious world, that a mental disorder is a sin made things much worse. Going to the therapist and being like, “No, this is an actual disorder like having cancer or having some disease.” It was helpful. Also, someone to be like, “This is real.” This isn’t like, “I’m so OCD or whatever.” Someone acknowledging that this is a real thing that is extremely painful. There’s a lot of fear around it that was helpful for me.

Isn’t it amazing the power of affirmation that you’re not crazy and you’re not alone? Those two things are game-changers. For people reading, what are the important things to know about OCD or if you have OCD, what is helpful for working through and being able to cope or manage it?

For those who do not have OCD, if you notice your friends or your family or somebody having OCD, it’s important to be a support. Someone who wants to listen and not give advice. Because trying to give advice to someone who has OCD isn’t helpful because their brain is not operating like yours is. It isn’t functioning like that. The second thing is don’t use the term “I’m so OCD,” because when people do that when they don’t have OCD, it diminishes the severity of the disorder. It also makes people think that people with OCD love being in control or they love arranging or they love tidying up. OCD is not about loving someone.

It’s not a preference. People are doing these things based off of a fear of uncertainty. Educating yourself and knowing the difference is helpful. For someone who does have OCD, for me anyway, finding a support group of other people that do have OCD is helpful. Finding a good therapist that practices CBT and especially a therapist that practices exposure and response therapy, which is exposing yourself to your obsessions and your fears, which is scary. It’s the best form of therapy for someone that has OCD. Also, taking care of your body and knowing what triggers you. For me, if I’m not getting enough sleep, if I’m not eating properly, if I’m working way too much that makes my body tired, which exasperates my OCD.

Finding a support group, finding a good therapist that practices the right techniques and knowing what fuels, what levers or triggers you can avoid or not involve or consume. That’s helpful.

One other thing too is the therapist that runs my support group do not try to fight OCD. The OCD thought is to accept it. You almost have to be like, “Yes, I might die and get in a car wreck.” That is a possibility. Whereas if you’re trying to fight the OCD thought like, “No, I don’t want to die. I’m going to research every single way of how to not get in a car crash.” That’s feeding your OCD. You want to accept it, let it sit in your body, ride through the anxiety and eventually your brain relearns to let go, which I’m not there yet completely.

Where would you say you’re at in the process?

UAC 139 | Slowing DownFrom where I was in 2009 compared to now, I feel way healthier. I feel I have an understanding of my OCD. I am learning every single day that my OCD has its hands on every single part of my life. There’s sometimes that I don’t recognize certain thoughts or behaviors as being OCD. Every day I learn that there’s something new that I have to practice. It’s a daily practice and something that I’m probably going to deal with for the rest of my life.

What would you say are cornerstones or important pieces of your daily practice in that?

For me, slowing down is an important practice and not allowing myself to get too busy because when I’m there, I don’t take the time to have those a-ha moments of like, “This is OCD.” With my OCD group is I have what’s called goals. It’s doing practices that trigger the OCD. One of my things is if I say no, I feel I’m a bad person. I will do anything at all costs to avoid having to say no because it makes me physically sick to do it. It means that I’m a bad person. My goal is to say no to people and it’s hard. It’s figuring out what your goals are and sticking to them.

Exposure therapy is like, how can I be more comfortable with doing the thing I’m uncomfortable with?

It’s hard.

I’m curious about this because you mentioned OCD and anxiety. How would you say anxiety and OCD are similar and different?

Both of them are driven by some fear, but with OCD, there’s the compulsion element as well. The compulsion is there to neutralize the obsession or fear. With anxiety, I don’t believe that there’s this compulsion element, where people are actively doing something to cancel out the anxiety. They’re existing in this freaking out state. With OCD, someone will wash their hands as a way to be like, “No, there’s no more germs.” It’s having this second part to it. I’m not sure if that’s 100%, but that’s my understanding.

Would you say that you experience both or is it more very related to OCD?

It’s mostly related to OCD because I think I do compulsions all the time when I feel anxious or scared.

That’s the hardest thing in many realms, not just the realms of OCD or anxiety. The reality of not fighting it but accepting it is such a useful tool in almost every area of life. There are so many things that if we would not fight it and accept it, we’d be better off. We inherently want to fight it. We want to say, “No, I can conquer this. No, I can achieve this. No, I can fix this.” It’s about accepting it.

We live in a society that wants certainty. It pushes it on us. All of life is uncertain. Anything can change at any time. When we have this belief that everything has to be 110% certain, we don’t know how to deal with uncertainty when it comes. That’s hard for us. It’s hard for everyone, but especially people that have OCD.

In the process of dealing with uncertainty or becoming more comfortable with uncertainty, are there any thoughts or certain ideas that have helped you in that realm? Regardless of if you have OCD or not, that is something we all face as humans, uncertainty and certainty. We want to be certain and we love certainty. We love black and white. What are the phases of that process been for you? What are some helpful thoughts or mantras or even ideas that you’ve come back to and have assisted you in that?

I’ll speak to my experience with religion and specifically with Christianity because this has been one of the most impactful things in my experience. Growing up, I was taught to always be lukewarm, to not exist in the gray, to be either black or white. That you’re going to be spit out if you’re not. That me living in that space of extreme, of having to be black and white was causing me to be sick. I came to a place where I was like, “I don’t know what I believe with God. I don’t know if I’m a Christian anymore. I’m going to let it go completely. If God is who he says he is, then He’s going to show up. I don’t know.” Seriously letting go of that. I don’t have control over that. I grew up thinking, “Are you 110% sure that you’re saved?” That was pushed on me all the time.

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I had to get to a place where it’s like, “I don’t even know if I believe in this. I don’t know if I’m saved.” If God is who He says He is, He’s going to show up for me. If He says he loves me, He’s going to guide me to Him.” I have to let go of everything else, all the things that have been put on me and trust God. I was always told to trust God, but when you’re fed all these things like, “You have to be 110%. Are you doing this? Are you doing that?” You’re not trusting God. I was forced to be in a place where I was like “This is the one time that I have to trust God and let go.” It was the help healthiest thing for me ever.

Getting to that space allowed all these other areas of my life to release it. It feels good to be like “I don’t know.” I want to speak quickly into the idea of sin with a lot of things within Christianity too. There is a verse in the Bible where everyone goes to Jesus. There was a blind man and they’re like, “Lord, whose sin is it that this man is blind? Is it the sin of his parents or the sin of this man that has caused him to be blind?” Jesus says, “It’s neither the son of this man or the son of his parents that this man is blind. The glory of God can be revealed.” Jesus heals him on the Sabbath, which was against the law. I feel I have goosebumps even thinking of that. That Bible verse honestly has healed me so much because I was told growing up that it was my sin that I had OCD. In this healing process, I feel the glory of God can be revealed of allowing me to be healed. Also, to love other people in the process and love other people where they’re at and give grace to other people. I still feel I’m in a place where I don’t know fully what I believe, but I believe that God is good.

To encourage you, in hearing from other people, one of the questions I was asked is, “What does Kate given you as a friend or how has she impacted you?” One of them said, “She’s one of the most considerate, thoughtful, tender-hearted women I know.” Your love and generosity in your friendships are inspiring to them. I want to encourage you that that is showing fruit in your life. Is that a needed message? Everyone would do well to say, “I don’t know.” What I do know is I’m going to love you because we’re not God. We don’t know. We can know only what he’s revealed and even that is just limited.

Even in that story, that was according to the law of black and white scenarios. You don’t do anything on the Sabbath and Jesus healed on the Sabbath. He went into the gray zone because he chose love. He chose to heal his brother.

Our show’s tagline is, intention in the tension because life is best lived in the gray. It’s in that middle area that’s the most uncomfortable, the most uncertain. It always feels hard. There are beautiful moments that don’t and we learn the most. We also honor God the most in those areas because we’re relying on him. Before we get to some of the highs, I want to go back to a low. One of the stories that I would like to know about relates to another thing that you faced with your health. It’s a story about going to the Huntington Gardens in a wheelchair. Tell us about that experience.

The reason why I went to the Huntington Gardens was this garden is in Pasadena. It’s very beautiful. I was in a wheelchair because I have Lyme disease and that happens shortly after I was diagnosed. I had been undiagnosed for about fifteen years up until that point. I was experiencing weakness and pain. I had this excruciating pain throughout my abdomen. I had one of my best friends was in town visiting. We wanted to go there. I wanted to go again. I’m not a person to say no. I felt I couldn’t walk. She was like, “We will push you in this wheelchair.” For me, my pride set in and I’m like, “No, I’m not going to be pushed in a wheelchair. That’s for people who can’t walk.” She’s like, “You can’t, you’re in pain.”

She helped me to accept her love. It was a hard moment for me, but it is sweet. I forget that I have friends that want to help out and want to love me. It’s hard to receive that sometimes. We went to the Huntington Gardens. I looked I was in a long maxi dress. We were taking pictures every once in a while. It was hard because I didn’t necessarily look sick. I wasn’t throwing up. I was this later twenty-year-old girl in a maxi dress. Deep down I was sick and in so much pain. It was a very interesting experience, but one that I appreciated so much being able to receive that for sure.

It is hard to receive love and help. That’s something I’ve learned a lot even with engagement and approaching marriage. Much of my own resistance is not wanting to receive love. That feels selfless, but it’s selfish, which is such a crazy thing to experience. I want to know more about, because Lyme if people read the blog for a while, Adam Setser, the Cofounder and co-host when we started, he battled Lyme for a long time and finally got diagnosed. There are many people that have to face this disease and are in that reality. The commonality almost as always years of not knowing. Fifteen years is a long time. Tell us about the journey of Lyme.

For me, it started when I was in eighth grade. I didn’t know that this was going on at the time, but looking back, I remember being school and feeling very confused with learning certain things. Being like, “Why is my brain going so slow? Why can’t I comprehend this?” Where my peers were getting it. I was a good student and so I’m like, “Why isn’t this clicking for me?” I took notice of that. I went on this road trip with my cousin. They rented an RV and went around the West. On that trip, me who’s the explorer and the person who’s always running around and highly active, I was so slow the whole time. They gave me the name slow turtle on that trip, which is sad but it’s also funny.

I was slow to wake up. I didn’t want to get out of the RV. When we would be on the trail, I would be lagging behind. All throughout my high school years, I was in a lot of pain. I had a lot of back pain. I had a lot of joint and muscle pain. I’ve always dealt with brain fog, which is scary. It’s always scary for me to go on something like this or have calls with clients. Being like, “I don’t know if I can remember words or be able to form sentences because my brain isn’t acting as it should.” Being in high school, because I was always sick, I feel I had coaches and teachers that were like, “She’s making it up.”

I felt I was a hypochondriac. That was hard to have that experience. I don’t know if people thought that, but it felt that. People thought I was making it up or making excuses especially being in sports. When I finally got that diagnosis, I was like, “See? I wasn’t lying. I had something wrong with me.” All through my college years, I was on pain meds, taking Vicodin, taking Percocet, nothing would work for the pain. I’d have to go to many different doctors to try to figure out what it was and nobody had answers. I didn’t get an answer until 2015. I cried after I got the diagnosis, not because I was sad about having Lyme disease. It was like, “Finally, this is it.” It was still hard to hear that, but like, “I wasn’t making this up for so long.”

What are the most common symptoms with Lyme? This is one of those things that I wish we could be better at addressing and also discovering. I know that it morphs and that’s what makes it so hard. What you’ve learned about it? What are the common symptoms that are faced in the journey of Lyme?

Common symptoms are fatigue, muscle aches, and pains. Also brain fog, insomnia, sometimes memory loss. A lot of people say flu-like symptoms, body aches, and that whole thing. For me personally, aside from those other symptoms, I experienced excruciating pain in my abdomen. Also, GI problems. It’s also called the imitator disease, so it can look other diseases like fibro or MS or many other things. It gets misdiagnosed so much because it takes on a form of its own.

Since being diagnosed, how have you managed and coped or even worked on addressing Lyme?

Right after I was diagnosed, I had parasites and SIBO, which is Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth, which causes a lot of inflammation in the body. I had to address those first before going on to treating Lyme. That took a few months. I found a Lyme literate doctor, which is important. Don’t go to any general doctor if you are diagnosed with Lyme disease or if you’re looking to find out if you have Lyme. A Lyme literate doctor knows what they’re talking about. I found one in Santa Monica. I started seeing her and the type of treatment that I did was Ozone therapy. Have you heard of this?

It sounds familiar. It took Adam three years of searching to find a doctor and experiences like a doctor saying “It’s all in your head” and those things.

I had that told to me too. A doctor in Arizona being like, “This is because you have OCD. I’m going to give you antidepressants,” which was very infuriating. There are a couple of different ways to do it. The way that I did it was they took out a big bag of blood through an IV. There’s this gas, which is O3 gas that they shoot into the bag. It’s adding three molecules of oxygen and mixing that up with the blood. Your blood goes from being very dark red to bright red. Slowly they put that back into your body and the oxygen helps kill the bacteria. There are other ways to do it. Going through UV rays, all of that stuff or doing direct to the vein, which I’ve also done one time, which was very intense. Initially, I did fourteen rounds of Ozone while also doing intense herbal treatment and also taking a million supplements at the same time.

It was a very intense 5 to 6 months. I did notice after the fourteen rounds of Ozone, I went from not being able to stand for long periods of time or to walk because of the pain to being able to stand for a half an hour. I remember being at a birthday party and I was like, “I haven’t had a sit down for 30 minutes, which was huge.” I treated that for a year or something. It costs a lot of money. Everything is out of pocket. Nothing is covered by insurance. I could only do so much as I could afford. I got to a place where I was like, “I feel I’m healthy enough to stop or take a break.” In 2016 or 2017, I did do that. When things would come back or I feel like I’d in an intense remission. I would go and get an extra boost of Ozone. I feel I still have symptoms. I have bad brain fog. I have insomnia that is annoying. Every once in a while, I’ll have the achy joints and muscles.

What has helped you live with that? Those are hard things. What mindsets or what approaches or how have you viewed it that’s been helpful for you?

For me being a very curious person and also being a seven on the Enneagram, which is the explorer, the enthusiast has helped me so much because I do love exploring and getting out there. That has helped me cope with it a lot because I’m driven by the curiosity or driven by wanting to partake in life that it helps me forget how sick I am. Sometimes I truly don’t realize how sick I am. It’s helpful to have friends remind you like, “You’re brave or you’re strong” because I forget. I’m like, “I’m having a hard time or whatever.” They’re like, “No, you have Lyme disease.” You’re doing way more than the normal person. I have to try to give myself a pat on the back and be like, “You’re pushing your body and you’re doing a lot of good things.” Also, remember to rest because that is one thing I’m not good at. When I do give myself the chance to rest, take baths, take my supplements, eat well or drink water, that’s huge too. My personality is honestly the thing that’s kept me going.

What I love about that, no matter who you are, you have something you face, we all have something that we’re facing and we’re going through. Usually, we either avoid it or try to cope with things that aren’t necessarily helpful. What I love about what you shared is, for instance with you being an Enneagram seven, exploring gives you life, energy, and refreshment. To overcome, deal with or cope with things that are challenging by giving yourself something that gives you life and energy, you’re helping yourself overcome what’s hard by giving yourself what’s best for you versus avoiding or coping with things that are detrimental to you. That’s one of the best reasons why things like the Enneagram are helpful because we get to better understand ourselves. The things that give us life and energy and then self-prescribed them especially in the time that we needed most. It’s a powerful thing. What else about being Enneagram itself has helped you in self-discovery and even in self-direction?

The Enneagram seven has helped me to realize that I need to learn to be content. Because my downside of being a seven is I am always like, “Happiness is somewhere else.” I’m always moving towards trying to find it elsewhere when I needed to be content, be present in and find happiness where I’m at. Being aware of that and being aware that I’m so easily distracted to go to those other places. The Enneagram has helped me learn how to re-center and be grounded.

Being content is truly a human struggle as well. What situations or when do you find yourself most discontent? What do you think leads for you to true contentment or produces that for you?

I feel like it’s in an activity. I always want to be moving, producing or doing something in social situations and also in work situations. I feel also one of my top five strengths finder is an activator. I want to keep moving. I get FOMO a lot, which is not necessarily being at parties, but I’m every day researching plane tickets to go to Italy, to go to Australia, to go to London or whatever. I’m always having these FOMO of other lifestyles. I need to realize that I already live a great life. I already live a beautiful life. Why do I need to escape to these other places in order to have the life that I want? I’m already doing the things that I already enjoy. That’s where I feel the most discontent.

It’s cool to know because from the outside looking in, everyone always assumes about you, about me, about anyone that we always assume about other people their life is great. It’s very rarely that we don’t assume that, but we’re all in the same process. Apparently, you’ve been to every continent except Australia and Antarctica. On this being content, do you think that innate understanding of that battle and your tendencies, do you think that ties into what you mentioned earlier about wanting to move back to a slower culture that longing for a simpler or slower phase?

If I’m going to be totally honest, I don’t think that my yearning to be back there is trying to find that contentment. It’s me being bored of having lived in Los Angeles for several years. I am drawn to the simple life, but if I were to have that I would get bored. I need stimulation. I need something to feed the seven.

What would be the next if you had to pick one?

I’ve been trying to think about that because I’ve been feeling very antsy these last few years. I have a lot of requirements in certain cities or countries that I live in. I fell in love with Italy. I went to Northern Italy a few years ago, so I feel maybe if I lived in Milan and had access to the Dolomites. I do love Munich, but I don’t think it’s sunny enough.

One of the things you mentioned is producing so I’d love to talk about how your journey with photography has led you to producing because that’s a thing from what I’ve learned.

I do produce, but I’m directing one now.

Photography, is that true love?

The true love is more storytelling. With photography, it’s a tool to be a storyteller.

What is it about storytelling that drives you?

I’m interested in the human experience. Being a curious person and realizing that each person has their own unique story to tell in their own unique experience and things that they’re driven by and things that they’re inspired by. I think that’s always been something that I have been intrigued by. Giving voice to other people that don’t necessarily have a voice or know how to share their voice is something that I’ve always wanted to do for them. Not that I’m the person who’s leading it or guests, but I want to help facilitate it and bring life into life.

I know you won’t to your own horns, but the work that you’re able to do and also in talking to people that know you well, you’re able to not only do amazing photography, but you’re also hunting down locations. A lot of time yourself pulling your own talent. Styling yourself as well and creating this whole niche for your work that isn’t done that much out there. How have you refined that process and gotten to where you are? Specific to photography, how would you describe yourself as a photographer?

UAC 139 | Slowing DownFor me as a photographer, I’m drawn towards the natural world. I’m drawn towards color. I’m drawn towards light and authenticity. Blending all those things together, whether that’s through a lifestyle shoe, a fashion shoot, an editorial shoe, or documentary photography, I want to somehow blend those together and I do love art direction. I’m fascinated by shapes, sizes and all the different things that make a picture pretty. Bringing all that stuff in together I think is so much fun.

What do most people not value about an image or about photography that’s well done?

I don’t think that they realize how much work it takes. There are different types of photography. As the photographer, you’re putting so much of yourself into that, whether that’s getting into the flow, finding the right locations, finding the right talent, or finding the right story to tell. That takes a lot of time. Separate from learning how to use your camera. A lot of people think having a good camera makes a good picture, which isn’t true. You have to learn how to see the world, to notice things and know how to bring it all together.

If you had to boil it down to one, what has given you the most benefit in your photography? What skill or even understanding elevated your photography to another level more than anything else?

It’s observing and going slow. Because to be a good photographer you have to go slow and take the time to observe what’s going on. Whether that’s the action that’s happening in front of you or the light changing in front of you. Also, the energy of the models that you’re photographing. It’s being an observer.

I was thinking about all the parallels to it too because I was listening to my fiance’s grandfather, who was a poet talk in an interview. What he was describing about poetry is fascinating and it’s such a helpful limitation because you have to sit with the words a lot longer than writing a book. Writing a book is you’re like puke words out and get them out there. Poetry is like, “How does this word sound, feel, taste, look, relate to the others?” You sit with it. It brings out this deeper poetic beauty that isn’t the same. I think about that in relation to what you shared that with the cameras. The camera is you can fire a million shots a second and you don’t want to miss things. You’re overshooting and trying to make sure you capture all the angles because maybe you don’t know which angle is best and all these things. Back in the day, if you only have one shot, you cared about all the other details so that you made sure that you got it.

Shooting quickly into shooting a ton of stuff stresses me out. I used to do that right when digital photography came out, I would go shoot nonstop. Now, I’m like, “No, I have to slow down.” I would call myself an empath. I’m affected by energy, whether that’s spatial or emotional. I have to be able to feel the energy of what’s going on and take the time to figure that out. Know how each of these things is at play with each other. I’m even looking at the lines on your walls and seeing how the sun is coming in and noticing the shapes. If you don’t take the time to do that, you won’t notice that stuff. For me, moving forward, I want to go slow and let the magic happen and capture it.

I love what you brought up to slowing down. That is important. What you brought up about being an empath because other people spoke. One of the questions I asked is, was the person’s superpower. Multiple people said that you have amazing intuition, can read and understand people in a very deep level. Would you say that’s been something that has always been a part or is that been refined over the years? Probably both ends, but speak a little bit to what that experience of being an empath?

I’ve been that way ever since I was young, which has been good for me, but also bad sometimes because sometimes I will go into a situation. I’m impacted by all the energy that’s coming in that I don’t necessarily know how to sort it or know whose energy it’s coming from. I’ll take it on myself. Sometimes if you come across a person that might have better energy or might be having a bad day or whatever, that stress can be passed on to you. I can physically feel it in my body. I start stressing out, not realizing that it’s not mine to carry. I feel that has been almost a thorn in my side. I happened to find this book at a bookstore that was called The Empath’s Survival Guide.

It was one of those things where it was guided there and there it is. I read it and it has helped me so much, be able to realize that about myself and know how to separate myself. I don’t think that this book is encouraging an empath to not have empathy for other people. It’s how can you be the most empathetic and the most powerful, healthy way possible. If you are spewing empathy, you’re going to drain yourself. You’re not going to be able to take care of yourself because you’re giving so much to other people. It’s teaching you ways to take care of yourself, be healthy that way you can love the world in the way that it needs to be loved.

It seems always, even in the movies, superpowers come with responsibility. Things that were exceptionally gifted that or can feel or see or experience in a deeper way, need to be used for good and not harm. A lot of times we have to learn how to do that. There are tradeoffs in that. As you’ve shifted but also added directing and not necessarily producing. From what I’ve heard, you’ve directed around six music videos. What’s brought about this shift and what do you see as your trajectory or vision going forward?

I grew up directing plays and videos with my friends growing up. When I came out to Los Angeles, I thought I wanted to be a DP, which is a cinematographer. That shifted for me. I was like, “I’m going to be a photographer.” I feel I had a bad experience working at a production company where I felt very stifled as a creative. That’s a long story, but I felt I wasn’t encouraged to be my creative self. I second guess myself a lot and I didn’t take that step to own the director inside of me. My parents were out a couple of years ago in Los Angeles and they were staying at our house. My husband, Isaac, who’s also a director, was directing a Honda commercial at her house and they got to see what happens at a production.

My dad said to my mom, “Why isn’t Katie doing this?” She was always doing this growing up. She could be a director.” My mom told me that. I was like, “Why am I not doing that?” It was cool to hear from my parents that they already saw that in me. It healed that side of me that was hurt by these other people that I experienced in LA. After hearing that from my parents, January 17th of 2017, it was the Women’s March where it’s that big march that happened in downtown Los Angeles. That was the day that I directed my first legit music video. It was mostly women. I felt so empowered. We knocked it out of the park. Since then, I’ve been going nonstop as much as I can. I feel I’m way more confident as a director than I am as a photographer.

Because of how much time you spent and I feel the two of them, at least professionally, that shows a lot of maybe the underlying natural ability or propensity towards it. What I’ve also heard is that pretty much in all that you do, you’re almost entirely self-taught. What is the benefit or even detriment of being self-taught?

The benefit is that you know all sides of production. That makes being able to communicate to the camera department, the editorial department, or your colorist so much easier. I sometimes do produce some of my music videos. The detriment of that is I’m used to carrying all the weight and wearing all the hats. I don’t necessarily know how to delegate very well or realize that you can hire someone else especially when there’s a budget where I can do that. The hard thing too also when you are wearing many hats, with producing and directing, for example, those required two sides of my brain. I can’t be fully creative when I have to also produce because I’m thinking of all the logistics and all the things that need to get done. That takes away from my creative side. Being able to hand that off to someone else and allowing people to do their job and for me to be a director is the thing I need to learn to do.

Even for me, with this blog and starting to delegate things, things aren’t done how you want it. You get so frustrated. Your baby is being misused. You have to let go. It goes back to letting go. We learned by doing it too. We learn how to be calm and be a good delegator by delegating, not by waiting until the right person’s in place. There are many processes. Before we end, I’d be remiss if we didn’t talk about Explore Sanctuary a little bit more and what it is, where it came from and what you hope for it.

Explore Sanctuary are these holistic camping retreats that I am starting. I spoke about doing these solo road trips and that came from a place where I was out in the middle of nowhere. I was laying on a salt flat, looking up at the mountains and realizing how much love and healing I felt from being outside. I have many people here in California like, “I want to take me out on these trips that you go on. I want to go camping with you.” Realizing that there was a need for other people where they also wanted to experience nature. For me, because I have had much healing with OCD or with Lyme disease even, which is hilarious because that’s where I got Lyme disease is being outside.

Having these experiences where I am soaking up the healthy benefits of nature and being like, “People need this kind of experience where they can slow down, connect, be in their bodies, be outside and realize that there’s this connection between humans and nature. We’re all connected and we’re all living off of each other. There’s this reciprocity. Nature is giving me healing and I need to also take care of the earth. It’s not because of the benefit for me, but because we’re in a relationship. When you’re in a relationship, there’s this love in this form of respect. Creating these curated retreats to provide a space for people to find healing in their own way.

What would be your vision for the long-term? What would you to see come from Explore Sanctuary?

Starting out, I know it’s going to be slow, but eventually, I would love to work with kids that are from inner-city that don’t necessarily have access to the outdoors. Even working with people. I’m thinking of where I’m coming from and there’s so much access there in Dayton, Ohio where I come from. That’s the epicenter of the heroin crisis and I’m like, “That makes me so sad.” Obviously, the heroin crisis is super complex as to why it’s an epidemic. A lot of stuff that starts with, where’s your heart at or how healthy are you? Where’s your soul? There’s much access to nature there. Maybe working with people who have access, but don’t know how to attain it or how to get there, how to use it or how to work with it.

Also working with corporations would be cool because we are such a tech-driven society and that’s where I’m forest bathing first happened was in Japan in the 1980s where they were having this epidemic of people being so stressed out because they were working so much. They needed to be outside in order to heal. That’s where the United States is moving more towards and trying to work with companies to be like, “Your workers need to disconnect in order to get healthy, reconnect with nature and they can be better workers.” I’m open to where the path takes me. That’s one thing with my practicum too and especially with the twelve-hour walk that I’m going to be doing. It’s seeing where the forest guides me. Being open to the forest or God or whatever. It’s seeing where I’m supposed to be called towards. I’m open to that.

Before we leave camping, one of the things that a lot of people want to know, myself included is what are the essentials for camping? We all overthink it. This is an obvious area of expertise for you. How do you go about packing for camping? Do you have favorite recommendations? What are the essentials?

First of all, this is my favorite thing ever. I pack three days in advance because I love it so much. If it’s going to go barebone essentials, you definitely need a tent or not. Sometimes I sleep in my car, a sleeping bag obviously, and I would get a good one from someplace like Mountain Hardware or REI. Big Agnes has good sleeping bags tent too. Finding one where you can have a fifteen-degree bag or something that. Also, a sleeping pad is a necessity because if you don’t sleep well while camping you will not enjoy it. I have an inflated big Agnes one that is probably four-inches high and it compacts tiny so you can backpack with it. Also, you want to make sure that you have a firestarter water and first aid kit. That’s the bare essentials.

What do people usually bring that they do need in your experience?

UAC 139 | Slowing DownToo many clothes for sure and then also too much food, cooking utensils and all of that stuff. For me, when I’m by myself, I’ll bring a tiny little burner and one pot. Maybe one sport and that’s it. When I’m by myself, I won’t use a camping chair, I’ll sit on the ground because there’s so much energy that the earth gives that will soak it up through the ground. Do that.

What book or books have had the biggest impact on you?

Two that come to mind is one, I love Little Women. I love a story about relationships and family. It dives deep. It hits the soul and hits the heart. For me, I come from a big family, but I have a bunch of sisters. Connecting with my sisters and my mom, I feel that book has hit me real hard. I also love the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. I’m deep down a little rascal. It’s such a playful book. I love Huck. He’s such a complex character, but his relationship with Jim. It’s cool to read it as an adult because you see how complex the story is. I love the struggle inside of Huck, of being told that life is one way or that you should think one way, which is obviously at the time is during slavery. Knowing in your heart that love is what needs to come to the forefront. I love reading about his struggle because he struggles throughout the whole story. He always chooses to do the right thing in the end. He loves Jim. Jim loves him. I love how authentic and how real that is. It shows a real relationship.

If you could teach a class for a semester, what would you teach them and why? You can also pick the age or grade.

I love connecting with elementary age kids. I feel I’m very youthful myself. One thing that I would want to teach kids is how to be curious and to create an environment for their imaginations to grow. I don’t know specifically what their curriculum would look like, but going outside and exploring nature. That’s a good place to start. I also think that teaching a class about cults would be fun. I have more stories about this like volunteered at a cult rehab center when I was in college. I’m not an expert, but it would be fun.

How do you find a cult rehab center?

I was in a class that’s called Passivism. We are studying Martin Luther King and Gandhi. As part of the class, we had to volunteer at an organization. This guy that was in my group, his mom worked at this cult rehab center. At the time, there were only two in the whole world. It was close to Athens, Ohio. We went there and luckily for me and this guy who was in my group because we are video production students, we got to film one of the people at the rehab center, who had come out of their program. Maybe this was the catalyst of my obsession.

Everybody else had sweep the rooms and reorganize stuff. “I got to hear the story of this woman who had come out of this crazy experience.” That is the thing that made me be like, “Any normal person can get sucked in. It can do so much damage.” There’s hope because there are these rehab centers. I remember the book, the Road to Jonestown. It’s about Jim Jones and it’s fascinating. I’ve watched all the documentaries. This book that I’m reading is beyond. There’s so much information. The author does such a good job at breaking it down. It’s so good. Go read it.

What can you not imagine living without?

This isn’t anything that’s tangible, but I can’t imagine living without freedom.

The last question that we ask every guest that comes on, if you could send a morning text reminder to every Up and Comer out there, what would you say and why?

I would text, “Be the bright star that you are and don’t hide your light.”

Kate, where can people find more about Explore Sanctuary, your work in directing and photography and etc.? Where is the best place to connect?

You can go to for these retreats and that is also the Instagram account, @ExploreSanctuary. To find my work, it’s

Kate, thanks again for coming on. This has been a blast. I know that a lot of people are going to benefit from reading your story.

Thanks so much for having me.

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About Kate Rentz

UAC 139 | Slowing Down

Kate grew up roaming the woods, rivers, and farmlands in rural Ohio, where she fell deeply in love with the natural world around her. She also spent much of her childhood and adolescence filming her friends and family, trying to create visuals stories any chance she could get. Kate attended Ohio University and graduated early with a Bachelors of Arts Degree in Video Production. In 2007, Kate moved to Los Angeles, California to pursue a career in the film industry and works passionately as a video director and stills photographer. Kate’s imagery spans across the board, providing a body of work that focuses heavily on light, color, and a passion to see the world anew. Kate spends much of her time outside, working with various outdoor clients and exploring the mountains, deserts, and beaches of California. In January of 2020, Kate began her Forest Therapy Guide practicum with the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy to be a certified nature and forest therapy guide. Her passion for the outdoors and desire to help others find healing and connection in nature has led her to found Explore Sanctuary, a company that curates unplugged and holistic nature retreats. Kate is also a mental health advocate, sharing her experience with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder online and through relationship. Kate was also diagnosed with Lyme Disease in 2015, after fifteen years of misdiagnosis. Finding healing in nature has always been a part of her path to wellness and she is excited to help open the door for others to find healing outside.

Kate is also an Enneagram 7, a lover of all animals, a 90’s music junky, and a dreamer through and through. She spends too much time fantasizing about which country she’ll visit next, how much land she wants to buy, and what songs she wants to sing at her next visit to the karaoke bar. She’s deeply devoted to her friends and family and would sign up for communal living in a heart beat. She loves history, science, psychology, and art and it’s rare that you’ll find her reading fiction, unless it’s written by Mark Twain or Lousia May Alcott. She loves anything non-fiction that will help her gain insight to the deeper understandings of the world around her, but don’t be fooled by the seriousness of her reading list. She loves to laugh, is deep down really funny (in the Larry David kind of way), and just wants to have a good time!

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