The Beginning of Mishka Productions – by Liz Dawn
Over 20 years ago, I packed up my apartment, put everything in storage and headed towards mom’s house in Scottsdale. For most of my adult life I had been working as an actress either in the theatre or television. Work was getting scarce in Los Angeles, I was taking a two-month hiatus, my mother warned me about an impending earthquake, and I was tired and what better way to be taken care of for a couple of months but by a Jewish mother…especially mine! Completely exhausted and underweight I collapsed for the first three weeks and then so did the rest of Los Angeles after a devastating earthquake. I guess mom was right.
Upon arrival of my two month deadline to return to LA, I found myself resisting the journey back in spite of the temptation of the lovely man I had left behind. I was stalling for time, but had no clue how I would possibly make a living as an actress in a town where an audition popped up so infrequently. To add salt to the wound I was only landing about every other job I auditioned for in Phoenix…a severe blow to this seasoned actress’ ego.
Once again, mom came to the rescue and suggested that I take some part-time work at a friend’s esoteric bookstore. I mumbled and grumbled, especially at earning $4.25 per hour, but felt I had to do something to get my energy in motion. After a couple of months, the owner approached me with a proposal. She wanted me to organize an evening seminar with James & Salle Redfield author of The Celestine Prophecy. I looked at her and said “The Celestine what?” She handed me the book which I read in two days after which I returned with a contract to do the job. We ended up with over 1,400 people attending the seminar. It was phenomenal and completely exceeded any expectations of what was to come.
Shortly after the event, the owner of the bookstore and I parted ways. During the course of organizing the seminar I became friends with the Redfield’s. Several months later, Salle Redfield, suggested that I bring her into Phoenix to do a seminar. Time-Warner had just published her first meditation tape, The Celestine Meditations. I said to her “by myself?” and she said “course, you can do this on your own!” Without much thought I said “sure, why not”.
Without my conscious awareness, a little company was being formed. Friends urged me to name this so-called company New Dawn Productions or Dawn Presentations, playing off of my last name. I decided that was just too pretentious for my blood at the moment. However, during this time period, mom and I had just put to sleep our beloved dog, Mishka. She was, and still is an incredible beam of light, love and joy. I wanted to pay tribute to her thus the name Mishka Productions.
The event with Salle was fantastic. We were sold out with standing room only. After this event a dear friend, Therese Hartman, suggested that I contact Carlos Castaneda’s group who were doing the Tensegrity workshops. For the first time in history, Carlos was making public appearances teaching the magical passes that his shamans taught him. In the next breath, I received a phone call from Carlos’ representative accepting our proposal. I was dumb founded. Carlos had only done three other workshops and normally did not have anyone else but his organization coordinate these events. I found myself in the middle of a whirlwind of energy organizing a two-day event for one of the country’s most mystical and controversial legends.
The seminar was tremendous and people flew in from all over the WORLD to attend. Sometimes there are just no words to describe the magnificence and beauty of an experience. This event invoked a profound silence inside myself. Carlos, his staff, especially Kylie Lundahl, gave me a gift and taught me something so exquisite that changed my very being.
After this project, James & Salle Redfield then introduced me to their publisher at Time-Warner who also worked with Rosemary Altea and Dr. Brian Weiss. Salle encouraged me to continue organizing events and led me to contacts with other best-selling authors.
This was truly the beginning of Mishka Productions. Mom, (Ariel) had been helping me part-time with each event, her incredible organization skills go back to her days of running sleep away camps in Connecticut, except for at our events she didn’t have to hunt down boys sneaking into the girls bunks. At about the fourth event, I turned to her and said “how would you like to give up your career as a psychotherapist?”. We worked on some of the logistics, especially mom and daughter owning a business together and came to a very easy partnership. I could continue for pages with miraculous stories about how each of our events has unfolded and how I have become connected with some of our clients. Okay, just one more story.
We were organizing another event for Carlos Castaneda in Seattle. The phone rings and the voice on the other end begins inquiring about the event. He reveals his identity and it is non-other than Dr. Wayne Dyer. We schmoozed and then ended up organizing a workshop for Wayne.
I can remember a time when I thought that being an actress was the only way I could ever be happy. I fought and cried when my acting career and life began to change. I was losing the only thing that I thought would ever make my heart sing and that I was trained to do. I was so very wrong. I had no idea what the Universe had in store for me. In my wildest dreams I would never think to develop this kind of company let alone be an owner. It was “not with my meaning” as my littlest niece would say. Couples have met at our events, dear friends have been made and hearts and souls have been opened. I absolutely love what I do…and itmakes my heart sing! Every moment seems to be synchronistically orchestrated in leading us to the next project. I am in complete awe and humbled by the magic of the Universe.
So many people have been instrumental in assisting me on this journey in creating such a joyous entity. My mother, Ariel Wolfe, I publicly honor and thank you for the tremendous amount of patience, love and support you continue to give to me. You are my dearest friend. I thank all of the incredible staff and friends that continuously work with us and most of all to Lisbeth Applefield (who is often confused with me) who has been with us every step of the way. She is my soulsister. I thank all of you in the community who continue your own spiritual journey and come to learn and explore with us. And deep gratitude to James & Salle Redfield. Their work has impacted millions of people’s lives teaching us how to pay attention to synchronicity those beautiful messages from Spirit. And last but not least, to that darling beam of light, wagging her tail with delight and spreading her love and playfulness to all who experience her creation…Mishka.
It is with great sadness that our mother, Ariel, has transitioned. She is consistently described by loved ones as one of the most compassionate, insightful, courageous, joyous and loving spiritual teachers. Ariel was and still is an impeccable spiritual warrior, lighting up our lives with her wisdom and love. We miss you! Here is her part of the Mishka story.
A Mother’s Point of View – by Ariel Wolfe
Well– there I was with my life neatly structured and my psychotherapy practice allowing me to support myself, yet have lots of private time for my own spiritual practices and life. Now you KNOW that the MINUTE you think things are perfect and manageable, the Great Spirit shakes his belly, turns your world upside down, and says “okay Great Spiritual therapist, let’s see how you handle this one”!
ELISABETH (Liz Dawn), my youngest daughter, CAME HOME! (I must admit she did so at my urging about an impending earthquake in Los Angeles).
My office became her bedroom, my computer and phones her lifeline to her L.A. world, and my shoulder a place to vent. (What good Jewish mother could resist this drama?).
The story of how Mishka Prodcutions evolved was told by Liz in her story, so I won’t repeat it here.
My intention when this business became a business, was to assist in getting it started and organized and the just let Liz fly with it. Somewhere along the way that intention went down the tubes. It was obvious to both of us that we each had a niche to fill and that spirit intended for us both to be fully involved.
There Went My Nicely Structured Life!
Our paths are always conveniently “strewn” with the lessons we need to remember. And so mine was now “littered” with not only creating a working relationship with my daughter, but also cleaning up our Mother-Daughter relationship.
One of the first things I had to learn was to honor my daughter’s feelings and intuitions. Liz was always able to express her feelings instantly and demand that you meet her at that level. That was not easy for me-I’m a thinker, a philosopher if you will. I see and feel things on a more global level, but if we were to work together on a daily basis, I needed to meet her on that expressive level just as she had to learn to see things from another point of view.
It also became apparent that having 3 ex-husbands had also played havoc with Liz’s emotions and her attitude toward me. So we spent a lot of time working through those issues and letting go of the past.
You realize, of course, that all this time we were building a business together. (OY VEY).
There were and still are issues that we continue to work on together. The most important element in all of this is that Elisabeth never doubted that I loved her with all my heart, and I never doubted that she loved me. So all of the ups and downs, yelling and screaming (yes, there was that too) was done in LOVE. And where love exists Harmony and Balance follow.
This is a journey I take with much gratitude and joy, for my child and I have a relationship that is solid, honest, guided by Spirit, and constantly growing. What more could a mother ask for?