Russell Markus discovers and delivers unexpected answers. That’s always been his gig.
The Brooklyn-based artist, strategist and entrepreneur has spent his career finding unique and authentic ways to approach everything from social action to consumer lifestyles, in this ever-changing world.
So, it’s not surprising that, while researching cures for his mother’s longtime fibromyalgia pain, he came across CBD as a potential solution—and he got on board. Ultimately, he launched Lily CBD, a healing oil sourced from local farms in and around New York using organic practices. (There’s even a functional medicine advisor on board to ensure integrity.)
Here, the innovator talks about why happiness and success hinge on keeping your eyes on your own paper:
Live The Process: What sparked your interest in alternative healing?
Russell Markus: I’ve always been curious about healthy alternatives, but it was really my mom that sparked a lot this journey that I’m on. For my entire life, she suffered with fibromyalgia and arthritis. As a young child, I couldn’t really comprehend how she was struggling.
As time went on and my empathy grew, I started researching to see what could be done to help her with her pain. I got her taking chia seeds for her gut and desperately tried to get her into a sensory deprivation tank in the hopes that it would help.
About five years ago, I heard a story about a friend’s mother who was juicing high-CBD, low-THC cannabis, and I started to consider this magical plant. I tried to convince my friend’s mother to mail me a pound of cannabis for my mother, but, after a few months, the plant never arrived.
Fast forward to October of 2018, CBD had started to appear in New York City and I bought some oil and shared it with my mom. The rest is sort of history.
LTP: After all your research, why did you choose to focus on CBD?
RM: The more I researched CBD, the more I found that this plant—that is naturally grown—can be tremendously helpful. The fact that it was non-addictive, non-intoxicative, a powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety had me sold. I had also started taking it for my own stresses and pain and saw firsthand what it could do.
LTP: What makes Lily CBD unique? How is it best used?
RM: We try and stick to the basics: sun-grown, organic practice hemp that is treated with love and integrity. The amazing thing about CBD is just how many ways it can be used.
I always recommend that our clients start low and go slow. That mean taking 15 mgs, three hours before bed. That said, everyone is different—some need less and some need way more. Ultimately, it’s up to you to figure out the best timing and dosing for your needs.
LTP: Are there any practices or rituals that keep you feeling balanced and healthy?
RM: Running a business can certainly take away from sticking to an exact routine, but here are a few rituals I try to stick to:
I try to always get a hot yoga class or two in at the beginning of every week. If I can get three or more classes in, that’s great. Anna Chung at Vida Yoga is a rockstar.
I take a lot of Epsom salt baths. I cook for friends and family. Doesn’t matter how big or small the meal. I try to swing by HealHaus once a week for some sort of beverage and a catch-up with Elisa, the owner.
But fire might be the most important piece, even if it doesn’t happen every week. Find yourself a friend with a fire pit. The act of building and decompressing by the fire allows me to compartmentalize everything going on. Get offline and go build a fire.
LTP: What does happiness look like to you?
RM: Supportive friends and family. A meal at Astoria Seafood. Healthy clients. Fires in Montauk. Quick trips to the beach. Fresh air. The unexpected.
LTP: What does it mean to you to “Live The Process” and how can we all do that more each day?
RM: The process is just those continual baby steps forward—accepting and then overcoming the mental blocks as we trust in our individual visions.
We need to stop comparing ourselves to others and focus on how we can keep moving forward. Make things that are real. That you can touch and feel.