The Awake with Fahrani Pawaka Empel
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Meet Fahrani Pawaka Empel

Fahrani Pawaka Empel is a muti-hyphenate creative based in Berlin. Fa’ channels diverse influences into her contemporary lifestyle — she’s known for her work in fashion, but also offers one-on-one spiritual tunings and mindfulness sessions, as well as leading community-based group meditations. She teaches us how to find our energy again in everyday life. What tools are there and what rituals help her.

Fa’ first started working in fashion from a young age — she started modeling for Elite Models when she was 16, and she still works the occasional modeling gig for the likes of Henrik Vibskov, Collina Strada, Acronym and Marcelo Burlon County of Milan. She also runs her own line of Japanese-made eyewear, Pawaka (meaning “fire” in Sanskrit), which fuses artisanal craftsmanship with wild, adventurous silhouettes. She draws a lot of influence from her Indonesian heritage — she traces her roots to the Dayak tribes of Borneo and points to her spirituality as a key anchor and inspiration in her lifestyle, which is equal parts creativity and self care.

A lot of people suffering with low energy because their life is not in balance. And the practices that I think would help to give them more balance is to attain the state of active and the state of being still.
This is self-care.

You would think that with so many different endeavors, Fa’ would struggle with maintaining energy and focus, however the truth is quite the opposite. She explains how her embrace of a rigorous five-times-a-week workout regime has not only helped her physical strength and endurance, but allowed her to keep a steady focus on her professional and creative work, too. That’s not to say that Fa’ only focuses on her physical health — she keeps her mind healthy with meditation practice, both in her personal space but also leading and guiding others.

She also points to spirituality from her Indonesian heritage as a key influence on her contemporary take on wellness — as well as physical workouts, meditations and sound healing, Fa’ also explains that her heritage keeps her in touch with energy and vibrations around her, keeping her in tune with her surroundings. This combines with gratitude practice and the occasional use of tarot, both of which Fa’ uses following the lunar cycle.

Tell us about your relationship to low energy.

I used to deal with low energy differently than I do now, because I made a commitment to myself to experiment by doing a lot of physical work in terms of fitness. So, the last couple of years, I feel like I have strengthened my spiritual muscle, and then I have strengthened my immune system, my gut system, my inner work and this year, I wanted to expand it into the actual muscle of my body.

So I made the commitment to do crazy training, five times a week. And since that is happening I feel so much more energized just in general. I rarely feel low energy for an extended period of time. Of course you get this dip throughout the day but that’s mostly because I’m actually fatigued from the training but it’s not necessarily low energy. I think it really has a lot to do with how active you are in the physical body. And of course, if you work so much you’re also using your mental capacity and you don’t do as much physical movement.

 

So, yeah, in the past I was never this active. I like to do yoga, but not necessarily like this high level of intensity. And so from this year I really noticed a huge shift in my energy level. I have more endurance on jobs or projects that usually I would have crashed on. I see that very much. So I think to have better energy for a longer period of time, you really have to get yourself active.

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Any traditions in your life that you hold on to? 

It really shifted. But for just my general well-being, I like to drink Jammu. It is a traditional Indonesian herbal drink that’s made out of Kurukuma and honey and lemon, and then I meditate every day. That’s not necessarily a tradition that I brought from home but it’s something that I learnt along the way and that’s what keeps me grounded every day.

 

Also, I think what really helps with focus on top of my physical training is that I do meditation with a collective. So this is something that I’ve been doing for a while the last couple of years.

Is there anything else from home that has really inspired you?

Maybe not in the particular ritual, but just like the way I view things, the spirituality I hold and how I feel connected to the elements and the spirits around me. That’s mostly what I take from home, because this is how we grew up, we believe there are things that are unseen.

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Do you have any habits apart from meditation?

When it’s a new moon and a full moon I also do an additional little thing, which is putting my intention down, seeing what I want to get in this new cycle, and then I release it and on the new moon I write a new intention. And sometimes when it’s necessary, I burn the papers that I write, and sometimes I pull a tarot card as well.

You mentioned your spiritual muscle. Tell us more about that.

I was very strict for three years, like really, in a monk-like state. I stopped drinking, stopped caffeine and any stimulants and really deepened my practises with meditation and doing a water fast.

And so in these three years I was being really hard on myself. I mean, it was an incredible time because there was a lot of wisdom that I gained within these three years. I can say I’m more in balance at the moment but yeah, I was basically doing everything that I can to keep my body clean so that I could support my practice on a deeper level.

What do you think causes people to have low energy?

It’s because they really forget to pause. I feel that doing exercise is actually a pause for yourself, just focus on you. This is self-care, right? I think we forgot to pause to do self-care and our brain is just so wired to do things that we need to have a conscious decision to make a pause, you know? And that’s why I think meditation is very important even if it’s just five minutes a day to really release yourself from this burden of constantly thinking. And that to me causes low energy. It’s also when you’re doing something that doesn’t inspire you, right? Like when you’re doing something just because you have to do it. It’s not because you love to do it.

So that’s also why we need to be mindful about the things that we do. Sure, we don’t all have the privilege to always do something that we like, it is a huge privilege to be able to do that, but maybe then you have to counterbalance it with doing something else for you as well, that your soul desires. So then it charges you instead of taking from you.

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