How Interesting People Stay Sane: David Sunshine

Posted 1/19/2011 by smartblackboy in Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,

It is more important than ever to focus on sanity and balance. At the start of the New Year, the Dallas Arts Community lost one of its brightest son’s, Frankie Campagna Jr., to suicide at the age of 24. As a person who has dealt with and advocated for mental health issues for years (and a person who is 24) this particularly hit home with me. One of the many reasons why the nonprofit 29 Pieces is so wonderful is that it encourages balance, joy, and mental health in a creative and open way. If you are interested in these issues or would like to learn more, please make plans to attend our kick-off event January 29th, called “Who Are You? A Masquerade Ball Benefiting Karen Blessen’s 29 Pieces.”
We are so happy to kick off our series about How Interesting People Stay Sane, with a lovely conversation with David Sunshine, owner of the Dallas Yoga Center, artist, and my favorite person to run into while gallery hopping.
29 Pieces: What is it that you do that makes you interesting?
David Sunshine: I am a creative and innovative soul that likes to explore life to the fullest. I have a background in Eastern Philosophy and Integrative Medicine and I have traveled extensively in Asia studying Buddhism. I have owned the Dallas Yoga Center for 14 years and have recently opened a holistic healing oasis called DYC Wellness here in the heart of Dallas. Plus I have a yoga related social website and blog called Yoga Modern which brings together notable thinkers from a variety of backgrounds to discuss yoga related philosophical themes. And I am an artist, currently working in the realm of photography and video.
29: Are you originally from Dallas?
DS: Born and raised.
29: Where did the interest in eastern philosophy come from?
DS: When I was a child I began questioning things like war and hatred and violence and my father gave me a book written by Herman Hesse titled Siddhatha which was the story of the Buddha and it made a lot of sense. That violence, hatred, and war can end if we understand the interconnectedness which makes up life. My Dad is a philosopher, mystic, poet.
29: Would you say your upbringing had a great deal to do with your eventual career path?
DS: Yes and no. On the one hand I have always felt that I am following a path that I was born into. This is my calling. And yet my parents are both very creative, open minded and caring people that brought me up with a sense of freedom. They always supported me in my exploration. When I was 15 they let me go to Europe with a backpack for 2 months alone. I did have some relatives to visit there but most of the time I was traveling by myself. So they were very generous in their trust and support. I am very thankful to them.
29: What made you decide to start a business?
DS: Business is also in my genes
29: How so?
DS: My father and grandfather are both incredible entrepreneurs. Both left law to open nurseries - Sunshine Miniature Trees. They taught me how to be a businessman. And I see business as a way to make good things happen in the world.
29: Did you ever want to rebel from the family upbringing?
DS: I rebelled late. Since I was given so much freedom I did not ever have a reason to rebel like lots of other kids. But there are always important family dynamics to address if you want to grow further so recently in the past few years I did some rebelling.
29: People often talk about calling. What have been some specific things throughout the years where you were like, "Okay I am still on the right path"?
DS: It mainly is a feeling inside that I am staying true to myself. But then there is an external reflection as well. I see it when strange serendipitous occurrences take place. Sometimes it is simply seeing the right person at the right time. Or maybe even larger signs like someone giving me a set of ancient Indian doors that fit the space exactly for the entrance of the Wellness Center. There comes that knowing - it’s a feeling that needs to be cultivates. It starts as a struggle and then eventually it’s like the wind is in your sails.
29: Can you think of three moments that really have helped shape how you think about the world?
DS: My birth, my initial meeting of the Dalai Lama, my first laser light show.
29: What did you learn from each of these events?
DS: I do not remember my birth but I believe that our birth is a major event in our lives. Vedic astrologers can tell you a tremendous amount about your soul path on this planet by the date, place and time of your birth. In meeting the Dalai Lama, I saw an incredibly gentle, wise, compassionate human being and I think we each need such a model. And when I was 10 or so I remember leaving a laser light show with a flood of questions running through my mind. I somehow became aware of myself and the world around me in a different way that day. It sparked my need to know which has prompted a quest for meaning ever since.
29: I know this is cliché, but you are a person who it seems have searched probably harder than most for meaning, what have you found thus far?
DS: That if you listen closely to your conscience you will find your truth and from there you should follow your bliss. We as humans need to correctly feed the body, mind and spirit to fan the flames of health, creativity, love and happiness and passion. And the more good you bring into the world the more good returns to you. It is important to question life and challenge oneself and constantly learn and grow and expand your horizons. And hopefully enjoy the path along the way!
29: What is the most painful thing that you have had to deal with in your life?
DS: Being Jewish I have dealt with pain culturally in a broad sense. I have dealt with the pain of losing family members and friends to illness and death. I have dealt with personal trauma from psychological abuse. But I have not directly had to deal with the level of pain that many people have had to.
29: Thinking about losing some of the people close to you or your own personal trauma, how did you get through it?
DS: Through deep personal investigation with the help of professional psychologists and close friends and family. Also yoga and other healing arts such as homeopathy and acupuncture
29: What did you learn from it?
DS: I learned that it is ok to make mistakes and be human and I learned to accept myself for all that I am.
29: Why is making time for ourselves important?
DS: We need to be good at both giving and receiving. If one is imbalanced either way then one burns out. Taking time for oneself is about respecting and nurturing ourselves. It relates to our capacity to receive. When we take time for ourselves we regenerate our minds and refresh our bodies so that we can give again.
29: What is joyful in the world?
DS: The human spirit has tremendous potential to bring joy into the world. Joy is friends, family, art, sharing and caring and all of that stuff Hallmark makes millions on. My joy comes a lot from my desire and passion. When I am learning something new I am passionate.
29: Who do you want to be when you leave your body?
DS: I want to be a good man that has brought some beauty and joy to the world. Perhaps die as an old tanguero living in Argentina and dancing with a sexy tanguera on the dance floor

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