We had the good fortune of connecting with Jared Bistrong and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jared, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
I am the second youngest of seven children born and raised in Miami. My mother’s side of the family were among the original “Conchs” (the first non-native Florida settlers) who emigrated from the Bahamas to Key West in the early 1800’s. Although I wasn’t fully aware of the impact that these two factors had on me while growing up, as a young adult they became the foundation for all that I would do and become. Until this day, everything I do, focus on or create, can be traced back to growing up in a family of seven children. My entire adult life has been focused on cultivating those sensibilities that come along with growing up in what felt like a small tribe. I have also spent my adult life trying to fill in the gaps and nurture those areas of self-development that were delayed due to growing up with so many siblings. My background has contributed greatly to my ability as a teacher and professor and as a facilitator of community sound healings. On stage or in front of large groups of people as a facilitator, entertainer, or sound healer feels like home to me and is where I stand in my strength.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Sound Healing is an art that gets better with age. What sets me apart in the Sound Healing world is that I was doing it 20 years before the term “sound healing” even came close to being used as a common phrase in mainstream culture. I wasn’t introduced to it in a safe, controlled and confined setting where people were already there with the intention of relaxing. I didn’t get into it to impress people on my instagram feed. There were no role models or videos out there for me to mimic, and when I began to use sound as a tool it wasn’t related to anything that people knew about and it definitely wasn’t associated with Yoga, “mindfulness”, “healing”, or “life coaching” the way it is now. I put in the time and the work and carved out my own path. I first began to use sound to impact and inspire people when I was teaching poetry workshops to homeless and pregnant teenagers living in youth shelters in the 90’s. This led to spending a year facilitating workshops in a woman’s prison where I integrated drumming into the entire process. Eventually, I began to get feedback from participants about healing that was happening on a much deeper level than I ever suspected. Participants were releasing real deep rooted trauma, sometimes going back to their own birth. Even though sound wasn’t at the center of my professional career, I knew deep down inside that utilizing sound could have profound impacts on people and communities in powerful ways, so I continued to integrate it into everything I did professionally, using sound in high school and university settings while working with at-risk populations. Over the years, sound healing began to move its way closer and closer into the center of my work. In the mid 2000’s with the advent of social media, eastern wisdom traditions like meditation and mindfulness began to penetrate the fringes of mainstream culture, and I began to design events and workshops that now had sound at the center of them with the intention of helping people relax and escape their over tech’d and stressful lifestyles. This is when my sound healing practice began to take off and I found myself doing sessions with 200+ people at a times. Since then, I have continued to cultivate my practice by studying with a local Acupuncture group and have facilitated events all over the world and have been featured on the radio, in print, on podcasts and on national television, and recently, I facilitated a sound healing session at an exclusive private retreat led by Deepak Chopra. The biggest lessons I’ve learned are that if you are truly passionate about something and continue to pour your heart into it, good things will happen. The universe works through the heart. My hopes with sound healing have always been that we get to a point where it becomes integrated into all aspects of our culture, from family to schools, churches, communities, and work places.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Well, of course the first thing they’d have to do would be to get in the water. Like I tell everyone, you haven’t officially arrived in Miami until you’ve jumped in the Ocean. You can’t navigate and enjoy Miami with a clear head unless you’ve changed your vibration to the right eco-system. The Ocean is the fastest and most enjoyable way to do that. Plus, the word, “Miami” means, “Sweet Water” and it’s the only remaining word we have from the Tequesta Indians, the indigenous tribe that lived in present day Miami for 1000’s of years. So yeah, of course, the visit would start with a sunrise swim at 3rd street, my local beach and back yard for the last 20 years. We’d hit the water for a swim and then stream a live morning Didgeridoo concert from my drone to facebook & IG. From there, depending on the wave situation, we might do a little surfing or take a paddle board cruise down to the S. pointe Jetty where there’d be a good chance of spotting some eagle rays, dolphins, or a family of Manatees. We’d finish off the morning with either some qi gong or a yoga session. Next, we’d hit the famous La Playa supermarket for the best cafe con leche in town which would prepare us for a nice cruise on some longboards over to locally owned, “Under The Mango Tree” for an Acai Bowl and Spicy Kale melt. Next we’d take a nice bike ride up the boardwalk and cruise up to 71st street where we stop and take another swim and maybe have a Cocktail by the pool at the Alexander Hotel. If time permits, we’d head back to South of Fifth neighborhood and make it to Monty’s for some eats, live music and a beautiful sunset over downtown Miami. Hit repeat for the rest of the week, occasionally leaving the beach to visit Upper Buena Vista in Little Haiti for a meditation session at world renown ModernOm meditation center. Friday night we’d hit the Kanikapila open mic night at Ironside Wellness hosted by local yogi and singer Emelia Garth. More than likely, we’d perform an impromptu session. Saturdays are for boating. We’d make it down to coconut grove and meet some friends at Shake-A-Leg Miami watersports center where we’d charter the “John Pearson” motor cat for a day out on magical Biscayne bay where we’d tour Stiltzville and anchor out at a nice sandbar at Elliot Key where we’d enjoy the water and make some live music. We’d finish off the day with a sunset cruise. Sunday morning we’d hit the Faena hotel spa (Tierra Santa Healing House) for a massage and steam bath. The week finale would end at the Sunday 3rd street beach jam with the infamous Sand band drum ensemble, who’s hosted the longest running drum jam in Miami (going on 20 years). We close out at sunset with local families dancing, drumming and getting ready to hit Monday with a bang.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
First and foremost, my wife and son, Ely and Ocean Bistrong are my day to day support and inspiration for everything. Next would be close nit family of brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles etc. that run at least 100 deep. In the healing arts realm, Dan Nevel-Atchison of NSEV healing has had a profound impact on my path as Sound Healer. Last but not least, the 1000’s of students that I’ve had over the last 20 years, have inspired me in profound ways that remind me to stay young, humble, and enthusiastic about life and growth.
Ely Bistrong, Anna Barnat, & David Bley