This series is by Cristin Smith of Saffron and Sage. Photos by Taylor Balding and Kyle Miyamoto.

Right out of high school, I had a successful career. I reached a lot of big financial goals early in my life, and while I enjoyed what I did, I longed to do something more meaningful. My energies were shifted into working with non-profits, and I became drawn to this idea of an emotionally-healthy spirituality. This was how I longed to live my life, but I was feeling exhausted and run-down. I needed a reprieve. I decided on a six-month sabbatical to Tijuana, Baja California in January of 2012 to spend some time resting and listening to my own deep internal rumblings.

Very soon, I felt my own discomfort. Those constant thoughts and fears that keep ringing in your ears can’t easily be pushed to the side when, suddenly, there’s not a meeting to run off to and nowhere else to be. I was immersed in a state of solitude.

As I began to adjust to the discomfort and instability of it all, I found out that I had four tumors in my neck and thyroid. Intuitively, I knew surgery and medication weren’t the answer. I felt determined to find a path towards healing that would identify and target the root cause of my problems.

My search led me through the desert that is our current “healthcare” system, and I emerged with a team of Practitioners who all came to the same conclusion about my health. The emergence of these tumors had very little to do with my thyroid, and everything to do with my thoughts, prior trauma, and toxicity. The masses in my throat were physical manifestations of emotional and spiritual issues.

Having adopted some new practices and rituals in my life, I was on a journey towards healing. It was at this time that I started meeting people who were struggling with other ailments. After seeing that green juice, essential oils and colonics were working for me, they began to ask me for advice. I referred these people to the Practitioners I was seeing, the places where I was going for treatments and therapies, the products I was using, and the practices I had ingrained into my life.

Before I knew it, Saffron & Sage was unfolding before my very eyes.

Saffron & Sage is a lifestyle brand that stands at the convergence of my experiences, my strengths, and my ever-evolving journey. We work to connect communities to various wellness resources: practitioners, places, practices, and products. We create therapeutic and educational spaces, host multi-sensory events in Southern and Baja California, and offer holistic healthcare services in San Diego. Soon, we will be opening our first Urban Retreat & Spa in San Diego as well.

Saffron & Sage is a social enterprise that dreams of seeing humanity live therapeutically and sustainably. Our mission is to create healing spaces for those who, like me, are looking for another way - a path that invites us to journey inward and move beyond cultural norms and health trends. Saffron & Sage wants to meet each person where they are on their journey. We want to be your companion as you move towards wellness, towards wholeness.

Over the course of this series we will explore my personal wellness rituals and practices for the Autumn season. Hopefully, they will be just as meaningful to you as they have been for me.