What’s Love Got To Do With It?

Bhakti Fest 2019 Logo


I was eleven years old when Tina Turner released her album Private Dancer featuring the single What’s Love Got To Do With It that rose to #1 on the US Billboard Hot 100.

In 2012 the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame, in addition to claiming a prize at the MTV Video Music Awards in 1985 for Best Female Video.

What’s Love Got To Do with It also rose to #1 in Australia and Canada, #2 in South Africa, #3 in New Zealand and the UK plus top 10 in Austria, Ireland, the Netherlands, Spain, and  Switzerland.

You could say a large portion of the world has been trying to figure out what love has to do with it for a long time.

You may be wondering, what does love have to do with gut health, Inflammatory Bowel Disease(IBD), Crohn’s and Colitis

Based on my experience Love has everything to do with health

Physical, mental and emotional health all thrive when love is present and fail quickly when love is absent

In 2014, New York Times best-selling author Sarah Wilson wrote this controversial article titled “Could female self-hatred be the real cause of autoimmune disease?.

The article has gotten 6,000 shares while she received a barrage of criticism

However, today many Medical Doctors agree that Autoimmune disease can often be disguised as anger turned inward.

I first heard this from Dr. Vincent Pedre MD during our interview for
The Crohn’s And Colitis Summit.  Dr. Pedre is the author of Happy Gut , clinical instructor in medicine at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and an Institue For Functional Medicine educator.

Hearing this for the first time was like remembering something I always felt to be true but had never put it into words.

Having Crohn’s or Colitis can feel like you’re living in a body that has failed you.

I use to be extremely angry at my body. At my colon. At my gut-wrenching pain. The angrier I got, the more the pain increased.

The angrier I got the quicker I’d sprint to the bathroom.

The angrier I got more time I’d spent on the toilet.

I believe anger turned inward could easily escalate or be felt like hatred. When there is hate, it is pretty much impossible to embody and have love.

I believe that love is the most powerful medicine. 

When love is present, I mean deep present everything else seems almost meaningless.  Struggles and challenges are handled easier, life itself is easier. Love is a catalyst for success and happiness.

Take the same job, responsibilities, pay, and colleagues. Person A loves the job and person B hates it, which do you think is happier both at work and at home?

What is Deep Love? Well, it’s something I hope you’ve experienced with your husband, wife, girlfriend, boyfriend, partner or lover.

The Love Bubble as I believe I learned from Darren “DJ” Fuji, my first self-development instructor.

Darren was also a United States Marine Corps Sergeant and a black belt with over a decade of martial arts training.

The Love Bubble can be created in an instant. Such as during Love At First Sight, or more realistically, love at first connection and conversation.

With Love, all of life’s challenges are easier to tackle

Here are two-personal examples

Example Number One:

I once had a killer headache. On a scale of 1 to 10, it was easily a twenty-four.  I chose to sit still and visualize my interpretation of love.

I sent love to my headache in the strongest way I knew how. I took no drugs, no mediations, took no other prophylactics.

No Sumatriptan

No Imitrex

No Panadeine Forte

No Tylenol, Aceptamohin, Excederfd, Motrin or Advil  (All of which are bad news for your gut)

It was just me and this thing called love

Surprisingly, the headache started to dissipate.

The throbbing and pulsating on the right side of my head slowed down, the pain dropped from 24 to 22, to 18 and in just a few minutes it was below 5.

Simply by projecting my version of love onto this physical thing called a painful headache, I almost made it go away entirely.

Example Number Two:

On November 11, 2017 I posted this on Facebook.

I was driving home to Del Mar California from a friend’s birthday party when out of the blue my stomach started to hurt.  Maybe it was my colon. I was then coming out of an IBD Ulcerative Colitis flare and chose to fast at the party just to be safe. Yet here I was experiencing a stomach ache for seemingly no apparent reason!

I decided to try and use the power of my mind to help.

While I was driving I imagined I was in a marathon and everyone was cheering me on to win.

Every car I passed on the road were my cheerleaders

Wanting me to heal

To feel better

When I exited Interstate 5 and drove on the local roads near my home I imagined all my neighbors, most whom I’d never met, were now my friends. I imagined they were outside their homes , on their balconies, driveways and hanging outside of their windows cheering me on to win this battle with IBD.

I imagined them loving the shit out of me just because I was in pain.

Within just a few minutes all my pain went away.

Tina Turner asked what’s love got to do with it.

My answer is everything!

In Hinduism Bhakti literally means participation, fondness for LOVE

In just a few weeks Bhakti Fest returns to Southern California

From September 25 to September 30th, 2019 people will drive and fly in from around the world to celebrate this 11th year of Bhakti Fest.

The festival provides a drug and alcohol-free environment to experience educational workshops from the leaders in the field of personal growth, yoga classes from the best teachers in the world, dancing from world-renowned artists, including Kirtan music., 

Kirtan means narrating or reciting the idea or story.  I learned kirtan during my yoga and meditation teacher training at Pilgrimage Of The Heart Yoga.  Kirtan has opened and touched my heart deeply, especially during the darkest of times. Dark times including being in pain on the toilet, crying in pain at the hospital, or feeling the pain after the end of a loving relationship.

Kirtan is healing.

Kirtan is LOVE.

You see, I grew up in a Jewish household, born to parents who survived the terrible Holocaust Concentration Camps. However I eventually became Agnostic and for two decades I pushed away my roots, increasing internal anger, hatred and self-loathing – disconnecting me from my ancestors. I had very good “reasons” to hate Judaism however I did so at the expense of my soul, mental, emotional and physical health.

Rabbi Andrew Hahn, Ph.D, better known as Kirtan Rabbi integrated and connected my Jewish Roots and my new found love for spirituality since becoming a yoga teacher.  Just from chanting a few of his songs, his rendition of ancient Jewish hymns he saved me thousands of dollars in therapy, medical interventions and grounded me back to my roots –  under my terms, with love as the foundation. Hymns entitled Havayah, Salaam(Od Yavo Shalom Aleinu), Shema and Kaddish transported me back to the days where I was forced to regularly attend Shaarey Tfiloh Congregation in Spring Valley New York. The place where my parents could have written their own “Jewish Book Of Why” due to the number of questions I asked, as I tried to make sense of Judaism and how I fit in because I felt like an outsider. Shaarey Tfiloh, the place I attended years of Sunday Hebrew School. The place I performed my Bar Mitzvah and recited the Haftarah which is a passage a short reading from the Hebrew Bible, which follows the reading from the Torah on Saturday, or the Sabbath.

I didn’t do it for myself, I did it because I was told to. I did it because my father told me to. I did it to make him proud. Mission accomplished. I think my Bar Mitzvah was one of the proudest moments in his short life. We didn’t know it at the time but he would pass away just eight years later just one month after I graduated as an Engineer from SUNY Buffalo.

In choosing to attempt to give Love to my Father, I further disconnected from myself and built-up an internal fire of self-hatred. As did my confusion and anger towards my parents, shame for my Jewish upbringing, and embarrassment of being associated with the Jewish lineage simply because of a few misunderstandings.

Perhaps saddest of all is that the love I thought I was giving my dad wasn’t truly helping him. The deepest felt love comes from the inside, not from the outside. It’s self-generated, not given by someone else.

With Dad looking down from heaven, it was time for me to heal.
It was the music of Kirtan Rabbi who started to repair this seemingly irreparable damage.  During my first hospitalization in 2017, I needed a Blood Transfusion. Surprisingly I told the nurses that I needed to have a Rabbi present to bless the blood before we moved forward.  I found Rabbi Moishe Leider from Chabad Center University City to be the closest and he was generous enough with his time to arrive within minutes of the needed window.

Rabbi Moishe Leider also visited me during my second hospitalization at UCSD Thorton in La Jolla CA. 

I am eternally grateful for Rabbi Moishe Leider and Kirtan Rabbi for shifting my perception, unraveling stories that no longer serve my goals, and allowing me to be proud of my Jewish heritage. 

I believe Kiran music, and the deep love inherent in the frequencies, voices, energy, and heart of the Bhakti movement is what has played a big role in keeping me surgery-free from Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis. Which statistically is impressive considering 70% of those with Crohn’s need surgery,  50% of those with Ulcerative Colitis need surgery, and though I’m not a woman, this statistic is most shocking:  Fertility rates of women with UC post-surgery is one-third that of normal.

Can Love reduce the need for surgery?

Can Bhakti Festival reduce the need for initial or subsequent surgeries?

I believe the answer is yes, hopefully, scientific researchers can find a way to create a study to test this theory. If you have an idea on how to make this happen, please let the One Great Gut  Foundation know and we will get back to you asap.

Until then, join me at Bhakti Festival and experience the love yourself!

In just a few days you’ll reset your nervous system that will keep you flying high, naturally, for a long time afterward.

Bhakti Festival also attracts the best yoga teachers from around the globe. Yoga and Gut Health go hand in hand like Toilets and Squatty Potties. Hand in hand like sleep and productivity, hand in hand like constipation and feeling bloated.

One of the researchers we at the One Great Gut Foundation support is Dr. Christine Peterson Ph.D. from The Center of Excellence for Research and Training in Integrative Health, Department of Family Medicine and Public Health, University of California, San Diego La Jolla, CA, United States.

In 2017 her teams’ publication in “Frontiers In Human Neuroscience” showed that Yoga and Meditation improved mind-body health, stress resilience as well as positively impacting immunological markers of stress and inflammation. 

Though obvious to many it is worth mentioning that Yoga is not a religion

Yoga is secular and can support any and all religions.

For example, ChristiansPracitincYoga.com study at the intersection of yoga philosophy and Christian theology. They are Christians from a broad range of traditions: Baptist, Catholic, Episcopal, Lutheran, Methodist, Orthodox, Presbyterian, United Church, Church of the Savior and a variety of Free Church traditions. The breadth of their network reveals a truth: Christians connect instinctively with an embodied spiritual practice that inclines toward deeper prayer.

Will you join me at Bhakti Fest?

The food is delicious and healthy and surprisingly out of this world considering it is 100% vegetarian. For a few days, my body forgets how much it enjoys meat. 

The last two Bhakti Festivals we attended were in 2016 when I wrote this preview, and Joe Brachocki wrote this post-event writeup for One Great Gut.
In 2017, immediately after my
TEDx talk, which created a mess for my microbiome, I left the event and returned to homeostasis at Shakti Fest which is Bhakti’s sister festival in the spring.

All three times my gut felt great in that environment, eating delicious food and connecting with amazing humans.

Correction: TEDx did not create a mess for my microbiome. It was my perfection of the event, my mind that created the mess. I’ve learned a lot in the past two years to hopefully avoid that again – forever.

For 2019, if you’re in the know, you’ll smile reading this year’s lineup. If you’re not, trust me, these are the Grammy and Emmy award winners of the “Human consciousness and heart-centered revolution” movement.

Here’s who I am most excited to see:

Krishna Das who has played at the Grammys.

Kirshna Das Kirtan at the Grammys. (Photo by Bob Sinclair)

Radhanath Swami (born Richard Slavin in Chicago Illinois), who after losing his close friend just 3 years after his bar mitzvah wound up becoming a monk and spiritual activist for the past 50 years.


MC Yogi who with his wife Amanda (also known as 10,000 Buddhas) were named ambassadors by Michelle Obama for her “Let’s Move” initiative and have taught yoga at the White House four times since. Additionally, they have performed and taught yoga at Stanford University, The Smithsonian, San Francisco Asian Art Museum, and Dallas Asian Art Museum.

MC Yogi Elevating and Expanding












Poranguí from Brazil who infuses his cross-cultural background and ethnomusicology training at Duke University. His World Soul concerts have been hosted by Lightning in a Bottle, The Chopra Institute, TEDx, SXSW,  and many more. Poranguí recently worked with director Mitch Schultz (“DMT: The Spirit Molecule”) and executive producer, Aubrey Marcus on “Ayahuasca”, a documentary set in the Amazon.

My interest in Ayahuasca began when I interviewed Roman Hanis  for The Crohn’s And Colitis Summit. Roman cured his Crohn’s with the help of the Ayahuasca plant affectionately known as Grandmother, and my interest in DMT began with my own personal experience at a hospital in Mexico and the more recent Johns Hopkins study linking it and anxiety and depression reduction. Something I have experienced both of, as probably all humans have at one time or another. 

Girish who I was just introduced to this year by Virginia Rodriguez. Virginia is one of the visionary founders of the One Great Gut Foundation, along with myself, Dr. Inna Lukyanovsky, Tina Gehres, Alisa Rowland and Brad Brinkman. Virginia is currently Publisher at E.P.I.C. Empowering People, Inspiring Community Message as well as President and Co-Founder of independent conscious music record label Girish Music.  I regularly play Girish at home while I am working to ground and realign me with my center, my truth, who I truly am on the inside. Sometimes work gets challenging and I hit speed bumps however Girish’s music has the power to shift that for me almost instantly. Girish’s six albums have has been recommended by O, The Oprah Magazine, Yoga Journal, and The Guardian.


Joel Sprechman Danny Weininger

Sydney Australia 2013. Catching up with my cousin Danny after 17 years.

Chad Wilkins

Having fun with Chad Wilkins and friends during a video shoot

How I met Chad is a book worthy story itself.

In 2013 the FDA changed the rules around FMT(Fecal Microbiota Transplant) in the United States, and though I was already speaking to a few Doctors in the United States who were performing them on the regular, with great success, for those with IBD Crohn’s Colitis, I was then too sick, brain fogged, confused and scared  to make a decision quickly, so I traveled 7,508 miles to Australia to experience FMT at the Centre for Digestive Diseases(CDD) located in Great Lock just outside Sydney.

I was under the care of Dr. Antony Wettstein working under the luminary Prof. Thomas Borody. The whole experience “only” cost me more than $13,000 USD because I was able to stay with friends and family.  Kel and Mil Paljusic, Danny Weininger and Sue Blakeley were nice enough to allow me to stay with them during this difficult time in my health. After Kel and Mil’s wedding, and the poop transplants, I wanted to explore Asia but was warned against third world travel country during this time. Instead, I rented a car, found kangaroos and koala bears while driving up to Byron Bay where my cousin Danny met me and we caught up over two decades of lost time.

One Sunny afternoon In Byron we were having lunch with a new friend Mark Lee while planning my first day of surfing. I was introduced to Mark when I asked American friends who should I meet in Australia.  While sitting at the cafe Mark was speaking about his good friend Chad who he plays music with when “randomly” Chad walks up to put flyers in the window promoting his upcoming show. Then in 2015, Chad toured the US and we hosted him at our home for an outdoor backyard concert.  He became a regular hit at our backyard concerts and today Chad’s music is a regular in my household, especially his songs Give Thanks, No Judgement, The Power of Love, I Am A Child and The Spirit Of Peace.

Another time Chad once played live during a sacred ceremony I attended. I found tears unconsciously strolling down my cheeks as I realized how much his music speaks to my soul, speaks to the anger inside. His music puts out the inflammation fire inside my gut every time.

Saul David Raye who I first learned of at Wanderlust Tahoe Yoga Festival in 2011. Saul’s album 10,000 Suns: Music for Healing, Peace & Awakening is medicine. Saul is also a co-founder of Shanti House LA, a nonprofit providing food and healing services in Los Angeles

Aside from these artists, Bhakti Fest producer Sridhar Silberfein is bringing to you Mike Love, Dharma Mittra, Fannah Fi Allah, Sianna Sherman, Mas Vidal, Govind Das & Radha, Dawn Cartwright, Ram Das (via video),,, The Butter Thieves, Prema Hara, Raka Bandyo, Husband and wife, Rob and Melissa, Benjy and Heather Wertheimer as Shantala, Sita Devi, Samuel J, Michael Hathaway, Mike Cohen & The Shakti Groove, Fantuzzi, Madhu Das, Larisa Stow & Shakti Tribe, Krishna’s Kirtan, Ananda Devi & Shiva Das, Kirtaniyas, Kavita Kat Macmillan, Kamini Natarajan, Jacob Duran(Kalakar), Jim Beckwith, Jens Jarvie, The Hanuman Project, Gina Salá, Joss Jaffe, Kamini Natarajan, Mikey Pauker, Na Yoon Kim, Georgina Meister, AIReal Yoga™  with Carmen Curtis, Dr. Haridass Kaur Khalsa, Ph.D.

Many of these artists are also yoga teachers and will be bringing to you their best teachings, sequences, and learnings. Yoga will also be led by John Smrtic, MC YOGI, Sri Dharma Mittra, Sianna Sherman, Jai Dev Singh, Saul David Raye, Govind Das and Radha, Mark Whitwell, Kia Miller, Dj Drez & Marti Nikko,  Eoin Finn, Hemalayaa,Pandit Achala Arjuna, Oleg Flow, Johanna Beekman, Georgina Meister, AIReal Yoga™ with Carmen Curtis, Dr. Haridass Kaur Khalsa, Ph.D, Mas Vidal, Brian Campbell, Cheryl Slader, Dana Damara, Dharma Shakti, Emily Perry, Melissa Grisi, Monica Heim, Kristin Olson, HaChi, Mark Devenpeck & Newton Campbell, Leeza Villagomez and Dana Mitchell and Kayla Mulford bringing a unique SunChaser SUP (Stand Up Paddle) yoga experience.

SUP(StandUp Paddleboard Yoga) Photo by Aruba Flamingo SUP Yoga with Island Yoga

Who are you excited for?

Joel Sprechman, Maelyn Gandola, and One Great Gut Media will be there. Who else will be there? Would love to meet you!

The right way to poop in the woods LOL. Being silly with Maelyn Gandola because friends don’t let friends poop in pain.

Oh, btw. About Tina Turner, the 12 time Grammy Award winner Tina Turner know as the Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll from Nutbush, Tennessee. After being raised a Christian Baptist she turned to Buddhism in the 1970s when she was struggling to put an end to her abusive relationship with husband and fellow musician Ike Turner. “I feel that chanting for 35 years has opened a door inside me and that even if I never chanted again, that door would still be there,”

Turner chanting the Lotus Sutra is featured on Beyond, a CD available through New Earth Records that weaves together Tibetan Buddhist and Christian prayers

Maybe we’ll get to dance with Tina Turner at Bhakti Festival.

Hope you can join me.

The organizers pride themselves on running a green event, offering free water and mindful recycling practices.

Early bird festival pricing is available for Bhakti Fest 2019, plus there are discounted tickets available for local residents, veterans, military, seniors, and students. Tickets are available at https://bhaktifest.com/bhakti-fest-tickets/.

See you in the Bhav

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Categories: Events, LOVE, MOVE, and Resources.