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Know When to Zen
Make Time, Change Your Life
HuB Merges Business, Creativity


Know When to Zen

from This Week in Sarasota
By Megan Greenberg, July 16, 2011

This may come as a big shock to you, but I’m about as peaceful as a freight train. Hold on, hold on…that doesn’t quite encapsulate what I’m trying to say. That would be like saying that a broken arm only requires a band-aid. Let me try again: I’m as peaceful as two T-Rex’s battling in an action flick on a freight train that is derailing off of a bridge in between two mountains in the middle of a category 5 hurricane. I also like to exaggerate. I’m not sure if you noticed.

When I hit the big 3-0 back in May I decided that perhaps it was time to ditch my inner lunatic and focus on some inner peace instead. Turns out lunacy is genetic and there’s really no definitive cure, however, thankfully, there are steps you can take to dial it down a notch or two. By nature, my brain is like a clown car of over-analysis. Thoughts just stream out in a never-ending procession of abundant flair. I often think I feel things too strongly, as one minute I will be laughing uncontrollably at my beloved Jon Stewart and two minutes later I will be crying at the latest heartwarming Publix commercial about cake. Maybe that’s not the best example as I’m sure anybody can relate to bouts of hysteria over Stewart’s spot-on humor and who doesn’t tear up when that little boy makes that Valentine’s cake for his mom? I don’t even like kids and that commercial makes me want to breed immediately. You have absolutely no clue what I’m talking about right now. I can sense it. Here, watch this. I’ll wait, go ahead, it’s only a minute…….

You are in tears right now, aren’t you? Seriously, I am going to get pregnant tomorrow just so 6 years from now my kid makes me that same exact cake. I can hardly wait.

Ok, it’s thoughts just like that. Random streams of consciousness that tend to go into the ‘overboard’ category more than the ‘hey wow, that might be the most completely rational thought that any human has ever had’ group. I’m a big fan of pointing the blame at my family. We are like a sitcom on crack. ‘Modern Family’ looks like a PBS documentary about birds compared to the over-abundance of crazy that seems to run rampant in my gene pool. I often wonder if my parents stood next to a microwave for far too long as I sometimes react as though my brain went through a radioactive car wash.

That being said, I’ve been trying to live my life the WWSBD way. That would be the What Would Sandra Bullock Do theory on life. Unfortunately, it seems that my inner Joan Rivers seems to always beat her way to the front. And poor Sandra Bullock is just no match for Old Hag Rivers. So, I’ve been trying to find a balance between the two. There is no denying who I am at my core, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t strive to find a sense of Bullock-ness among the chaos, right?

Which is why I’m willing to walk around looking like a schizophrenic plastered my head with cut up band-aids. And why I’m willing to let my friend put rocks on my neck. And why I’m also willing to let my armpits breathe. You just totally thought ‘how peaceful’ when I just said that, didn’t you? Rocks and armpit breathing being the pinnacle of peacefulness and all.

Thus, I am currently sporting the latest fashion trend in all things peaceful: Acupuncture Ear Seeds. Or, at least, I think that’s what they are called. I like to just talk out of my ass and hope it sounds official. How am I doing so far? This is what ear seeds look like. Just add a few more and throw on some long brown hair and you’ve got me:

{Pic of ear}
To those not in the know, it looks like a teenager who’s got a severe case of angst and whose parents made her cover a multitude of irregular ear piercings. The past few days have elicited some very strange stares and several people actually willing to pipe up have flat out asked me what’s going on with my head. Apparently, the ear has over 200 acupuncture points that coincide with areas of the body. So, you just push these little babies onto the corresponding spots and Voila! You are healed. Ok, it’s not that simple. Let’s delve further, shall we? I’ve been getting acupuncture done by the amazing Hayley Enright of Open Door Community Acupuncture ever since I joined The HuB some months back. She is quite possibly the most calm person I have ever met, serenity personified. Compared to her I look like an endless fireworks display gone haywire. I’m not a big fan of going to the doctor’s office. I’m not a big fan of clinical environments, hell, sometimes I’m not even that into being healthy. But, Hayley is awesome. Even more awesome – she comes to the HuB once a week to treat patients in our airy lounge space for just $20. I highly suggest you contact her to find out how she can make you look like that guy from Hellraiser. Just in case you super anti-needle, as I am, you should know that acupuncture is actually quite gentle. Getting my lip waxed causes more of a sensation. Did I just admit that I get my lip waxed? I wish I could keep some things to myself. Oh well. And, by the way, acupuncture can treat a number of ails from weight loss to stress to reproductive issues. The ear seeds are like an added bonus. Use them in conjunction with regular acupuncture and chances are in six months you may be able to fly. Got a problem? Let Hayley fix you up. Check her out at or like Open Door Community Acupuncture on Facebook ORRRRR come on in to The HuB on Tuesdays from 4-6 so I can talk your ear off about the benefits of acupuncture while Hayley does her thing!

Ok, so onto neck rocks. I know you were perplexed. The fantastic Sharon Yeager, of Enlighten Up Life, has recently taken me on as a client. Poor dear. She should probably leave town because I am going to blow up her email and cell phone with a devastating amount of neuroses. Luckily, I am able to call Sharon my friend as well as my coach, so it should be slightly less awkward when she opens her front door and finds me camped out with a blanket and a bag of marshmallows. Enlighten Up Life focuses on your mind, body and soul by using Life Coaching techniques as well as Reiki Energy Work, Bhakti Massage, Craniosacral Therapy and a host of other Holistic Specialties.

Last week, Sharon and I did some Reiki work. I’m convinced that Sharon has unicorn blood in her veins because it was just magical. She is able to tap into your inner energy in ways that I can’t really quite explain. I’ll be doing a video with her later on, so keep an eye out for it so she can explain it knowledgeably and not the made-up descriptions that I spew out. Essentially, though, energy work is healing work – just from the inside out and it doesn’t require pills or a trip to the doctor’s office. For our Reiki session, Sharon threw rocks at my face. I’m just kidding!! She didn’t do that at all. In fact, quite the opposite – Reiki is relaxing to the point of becoming comatose. She had me lay on a massage-type table where she covered my eyes with a lavender cloth and placed special stones and crystals (rocks) on my body in order to channel into my energy. Her hands are like magic wands that sweep over your body, concentrating on specific areas to either remove negative energy or to restore positive energy, depending on what’s needed. Sharon is one of the most beautiful people that I know, inside and out. Just standing near her is restorative, so when she puts her focus into healing, the universe just aligns and your inner dynamic shifts into the correct position. She’s kind of like a spiritual chiropractor.

Look, you are either a believer in Energy and The Universe and The Secret or you’re not. For you cynics out there, I say give it a shot. You would be blown away by how powerful your inner source is and how amazing it is to live with positivity as your guide while giving negativity the middle finger. Wait, that was just negative wasn’t it? Ugh, I have sooo much more work to do.

Wanna know more about Sharon? Check out her site at or friend Enlighten Up Life on Facebook. She’s got a LOT of new ideas on the horizon, so keep an eye on her and her progress because it will undoubtedly be so amazing that the planet will explode.

Last week I told you about Elena Dielle and her extraordinary yoga class. Yup, she’s the one who makes my armpits breathe. She makes my eyelids breathe too. She also makes me breathe one nostril at a time. It seems like there is a lot of breathing going on. And for good reason. Breathing is one of the best things you can do for your body. You just thought, ‘Oh yeah really, stupid? Breathing is good for you? What a revelation, Captain Obvious.’ But, that’s not the type of breathing I’m referring to. I’m talking about breathing so deeply that you are certain that your lungs are going to burst. Breathing in until you feel like you could levitate and exhaling until your ribs almost crack. See, bringing your attention to your breath and the depth of your breath increases your oxygen levels. The more oxygen in your blood, the more nourishment your cells receive. Nourished cells promote relaxation and ridding your lungs of stale air detoxifies your entire body. Seems like that whole ‘apple a day’ thing was a farce. It should be ‘breathing until you could vomit keeps the doctor away.’ Yes, that sounds so much more melodic, doesn’t it?

Elena is such an amazing yogini that Lululemon just asked her to be an Ambassador. Any Sarasota athlete knows how incredible Lululemon is, so if the Lululemon team recognizes Elena as being a Yoga Rock Star, then you know she’s worth her salt. Wiki says, “Lululemon Athletica has seven core values that educators employed by the company are expected to articulate and embody. They include: quality, product, integrity, balance, entrepreneurship, greatness, and fun.’ What that means to me? Elena is yoga gold. And she’s great and it’s fun. And I’m always up for great fun, aren’t you?

People, if I can, I will find a way to sneak in Elena’s information in every article. Her classes have transformed my spirit and soul in ways usually reserved for the Dalai Lama. I am, by nature, an extremely happy and positive person, but her classes have me so tapped into something bigger, something mystical, something ultimate. Her classes are like spirit medicine. If you are interested in finding out more about Elena or where she teaches, check out her blog at

In my previous article, I told you how my thigh blob inspired me to get in shape and the benefits of being physically fit. I think it’s so easy to measure your physical form – between scales and tight pants and double chins, it’s easy to know when you’ve fallen of the physical health wagon. But there are far fewer ways to measure your well-being and your spiritual health. Sometimes you don’t even know you aren’t on the best path for your own happiness. Sometimes you are unaware that you are in need of a helping hand. Or, if you are like me, you are hyper aware of areas you could improve in and need a calmer person to tell you that it’s time to shut the hell up. Although, don’t you worry, they phrase it much more nicely than that.

These three activities have made me so freaking zen I could just scream. Perhaps they aren’t your style, though. Maybe a sunset beach walk is all you need to feel restored. It could be that a long soak in a tub with a good book and a cocktail is your secret to total fulfillment. But, what if there’s more in store for you than you realized? I mean, look at me. I often find that cuddling with my Pomeranian is enough for me to feel that all is right in the world. I’m pretty easy to please and I’m one of the happiest people I know. Working on your inner self does not mean that you have issues or you ‘need help.’ Although, I totally have issues and I totally need help, but that’s beside the point. The point is that total well-being is more than just having nice muscles. It’s about making your spiritual six-pack just as impressive as your abdominal six-pack. And to be clear, I am not talking about religion – where and what you choose to worship is your business. I’m talking about being plugged into the best version of yourself. Imagine a life where each day gets better than the one before. Imagine a version of you that smiles so much that you break your cheekbones. It’s a real possibility. Besides, it’s super fun to tell people that you are the master of your own universe. Sounds all Star Wars-y, right?

So, give it a shot. Let me know what you think. And while you’re at it, let me know what your favorite soul-fulfillers are. Then let’s meet somewhere and hug.

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Sarasota Acupuncture – Make Time…Then Change Your Life!

from Current Concierge
By Kevin Bonasera, January 4th, 2011

I am exited to introduce you to Open Door Community Acupuncture here in Sarasota because everything that they do fits into our mantra of Everyday Lifestyle Management. “Make Time, Live Life” is our motto and our services do just that.

MAKE TIME If you are struggling to find time in your busy schedule for your own wellness, we can help free up time with our Sarasota Personal Assistant Services.

LIVE LIFE Open Door Community Acupuncture focuses on wellness at a price you can afford. I love that! They work on a sliding scale ($15-45, pay what you want) because they know that Sarasota will only be strong when the people in it are.

Open Door Community Acupuncture has treated thousands of people and recently won the 2010 Best of the Suncoast Award for “Best Fee to Align Your Chi.”

(Chi or qi is similar to energy–it’s like the sum of the metabolic processes that run your body).

Hayley Enright, AP trained in New York City at Tri-State College of Acupuncture and practices balance method acupuncture, along with trigger point therapy, auricular acupuncture, TCM and Japanese acupuncture. If you’ve never had acupuncture, simply want a tune up, or want to get working on feeling better and reducing medication intake, their low fees make it possible to come check out this ancient Chinese medicine.

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The HuB Merges Business, Creativity

from Sarasota Herald Tribune
By Michael Pollick, November 29, 2010

{Hub pic}

Louis Levitt, left, and Frank Enright in The HuB recording studio.

It is a typical Tuesday at The HuB, a warehouse space on Boulevard of the Arts in Sarasota that has become a combination new-media incubator and gathering spot for hip people, mostly under the age of 40.

The HuB occupies a large space with high ceilings and one of those big roll-up garage doors leading into the middle of it. The two founders of The HuB — Rich Swier Jr. and former Michael Saunders & Co. Realtor Matt Orr — have retained large open spaces near the entrances and built a collection of cubicles and work stations toward the back.

Since it is Tuesday and lunchtime, acupuncturist Hayley Enright is conducting one of her weekly community acupuncture sessions in a comfy seating area — couches and cushioned chairs anchored around a coffee table and area rug. She moves deftly between six walk-in patients. One by one, she studies their pulses and any medical complaints they have noted on a one-page form, then places the sterile pins in an effort to encourage the life force within each of them to function as effectively as possible.

Meanwhile, her husband, sound engineer Frank Enright, is around the corner, involved in his own unique combination of art and surgery. Closeted inside his tiny but well-equipped sound studio, Enright is editing short musical segments he has created electronically to fit visuals and voice-overs in a proposed new commercial for “Ask Gary,” a lawyer and doctor referral service that has become a customer of HuB Studios.

That is a tiny slice of life at the HuB. It is a free-wheeling, hard-to-categorize business that deals in video and audio productions and in helping clients do Internet marketing with an emphasis on social networking sites such as Facebook and YouTube.

Oh, yeah, and in raising the collective consciousness of mankind.

Besides making money, the HuB lists for its members a parallel mission of finding ways to make Sarasota more interesting for people like themselves. They are younger, creative types who tend to live a large part of their waking lives in an Internet cloud, while at the same time loving music and being with their friends.

Along those lines, the HuB two years ago created the Vinyl Music Festival. This summer, the festival drew 6,000 visitors.

When search engine giant Google Inc. announced early this year that it would pick a U.S. community to receive ultra-high-speed Internet-to-the-home service, the HuB was behind the curtain, pushing all the right buttons to improve Sarasota’s visibility as a candidate. In other words, when the mayor jumped into the shark tank at Mote Marine Laboratory and created a hot YouTube video in the process, it was HuB co-founder Rich Swier Jr. who instigated the scheme.

The weekly acupuncture session is typical of the way the HuB’s founders try to make work life more interesting.

They also asked electric vehicle maker Pete Hansen to convert a van to run on rechargeable batteries. Hansen then installed his prototype for a charging station at the HuB as well. It displays sponsors’ videos while the owner plugs and unplugs his vehicle.
If you look a little closer at Enright’s relationship to the HuB, you can see how different this place is from a standard media/public relations shop.

Enright — whose audio credits include stints working on Sesame Street and Saturday Night Live — is a freelancer, but he has a permanent workplace within the HuB. He collects money when HuB Studios sells the final product to the client for use in television advertising spots. If he were broke when he arrived, the HuB itself might pick up his share of the rent. But as he establishes himself, the HuB gets a piece of his ongoing revenue stream. By being part of the HuB, he loosely commits himself to helping out on HuB projects.

So when Los Angeles songwriter and singer Lindsey Ray came up with her “I Love Google Fiber” ditty, it was the HuB that convinced her to come to Sarasota for a free concert at City Island, which it convinced City Hall to temporarily rename “Google Island.” Enright created a CD based on the concert.

The HuB’s social goal is to make Sarasota a richer, friendlier environment, one that will attract and keep younger members of the so-called “creative class.”

“Right now, we are very top heavy, in that we are perceived as a rich, retired area,” said Orr, the former Realtor.

He wants to change that perception into a more diverse mix that includes a healthy dose of younger creative people.

This is not just Orr’s goal. It is in fact a pillar of the region’s economic development strategy. The idea is that, enabled by the Web, creative workers can bring home big checks while enjoying the Sarasota lifestyle.

“We have the assets to capture any group we want, because the lifestyle is so attractive,” Orr said.

While a number of business units revolve around the HuB, the most vital components at present are LocalSocial and HuB Studios.

LocalSocial is an Internet marketing firm run by Joey Panek, an actor who found he had a flair for getting attention for clients using social networking. He works on a day-to-day, minute-to-minute basis with the guys from HuB Studios. Besides sound man Enright, that would mean Lucas Colavecchio.

Like many who live in Sarasota, Colavecchio is a refugee from the frozen north. In Portland, Maine, he was a hard-driving TV reporter, a fast-talking man in a suit and tie.

Thinking back on those days, perhaps adding a bit of hyperbole, he says he had an editor who might react to a concept thrown out at a story conference by commenting, “That is the stupidest idea I ever heard of.”

The predominant news angle, says Colavecchio, was “How are we all going to die today?”
After a decade of learning to tell a story well with video and sound, Colavecchio had a strong skill set. He was just growing weary of the way he was using it to earn a living.

At the HuB, Colavecchio, equipped with the same basic tools — a video camera and a computer running video production software — unleashes a steady stream of story-telling creativity, with nobody telling him his ideas are stupid. He does not have to worry about billing a customer. The HuB does that for him, taking its cut and giving him his.

His change in wardrobe matches the non-authoritarian tone of his new work mode. The suit and tie are gone. Colavecchio comes to work in sandals, no socks, sporting a three-day growth of beard.

His seven-minute history of Sarasota — music and sound effects by Enright — received a standing ovation at the luncheon commemorating the 90th anniversary of the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce.

Also feeding work to HuB Studios is LocalSocial, the even newer business Panek started within the HuB.

While he has spent most of his time as an actor, performing on tour in productions of “West Side Story,” “Hello, Dolly” and “How to Succeed in Business,” it turns out Panek also has a flair for getting clients’ names out using social networking sites such as Facebook.

While LocalSocial provides a client with a complete set of tools for making it big on the Web, what has put LocalSocial on the map is its ability to dream up ways to catch the popular fancy.

After only one year, LocalSocial counts among its clients the Sarasota Opera, the Sarasota Orchestra, Mote Marine and Doctor’s Hospital.
The way Panek launched what became LocalSocial says a lot about the flexible way that stuff happens at the HuB.

At first, as Orr and Panek explained it, they were just looking for a way to engage people in Sarasota with all the city had to offer. They hoped to draw a larger audience into one of the HuB’s original products, a Web publication called “This Week in Sarasota.”

Panek was looking for a way to meld his acting skills with the HuB’s need for publicity. Since it was the beginning of November, with the holiday season approaching quickly, he proposed creating a character called the Sarasota Elf, a guy who is taking a break from being Santa’s helper by visiting Sarasota for the first time. The videos in which the elf starred were posted as they were made, like much of the HuB’s work product, and you can find the multi-faceted Sarasota adventures on YouTube.

In one of the first video installments, Panek is on the phone, trying to stretch his stay in Sarasota with his boss, Santa Claus, on the other end of the line.

The part generated a lot of buzz for “This Week in Sarasota,” which people at the HuB call “twiz,” loosely based on its actual acronym, TWIS.

As Christmas shopping season beckoned, the elf got Panek into a series of appearances on the local ABC TV affiliate.

Along the way, he honed his skills with the basics of viral marketing — the various ways social networking sites can interact so one medium feeds the other and vice-versa, creating a snowball of interest.

“After the holidays were over, there was this moment of, ‘What do you do now?'” Panek says.

That is when he and the HuB’s founders decided to help Panek use what he had learned about viral marketing in a new, separate business unit.

In addition to its growing clout with local businesses and institutions, LocalSocial is starting to grab a few national clients.

Latest to join the fold in search of a media buzz is comedienne Diane Ford. For starters, she needed a tutorial on how to use Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and other social networking sites. Now, with Panek’s guidance, she is crafting entire routines around her lack of comfort with new media.

One of those who has been around the longest and seen most of the HuB’s shenanigans is Bob Poole, who has known co-founder Rich Swier Jr. since they were both kids growing up together in Sarasota.

He helps run Swier’s Fast Pitch, a HuB-based Web enterprise that is a Facebook for businesses.

Poole also helps keep the books straight — one HuB enterprise billing another while both chip in for the rent and so on can get pretty complicated.

But he is adamant that he is “not just the money man.”

“You’re not pigeon-holed into doing one thing,” Poole says. “This is by far the coolest place I have ever worked.”

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