Meet Lizzy Jeff, Creator of 'Mystical Theme Park for Adults' Zen & Kush

I'd never considered the full meaning of "sensuality" until I found myself wearing headphones and lying flat on a foam mattress that was synched up to internal speakers, vibrating, pulsating, and quaking with the rumbles and beats of its internal soundtrack. Being too young to have missed the heyday of the vibrating mattress, I found myself at ease with and in awe of the novelty. There I was, high and feeling the sounds in tangible form, as I lay still gazing up at the the people mingling nearby. From my floor-level perspective, they looked like giants.

When I finally mustered up the will to tear myself from the audible massage, a couple took my place and began to make out. Their "sensual" experience on the mattress was perhaps more traditional than the one I had, and got me thinking about what sensuality really means — perhaps, an awakening of the senses, an embodied activation, the pursuit of physical (and often, though not exclusively, sexual) pleasure. Of course, in my case, and maybe in the couple's case, the joint I'd rolled earlier enhanced all that.

Sol Grow

Photo courtesy of Kristina Bakrevski

I was in a wide open losft nestled within downtown LA's arts district at what we'll call an "experience" by the name of "Zen & Kush: Sacred Sensuality." This wasn't just any themed event, but the two year anniversary of the Zen & Kush arts curation series, hosted by medicine woman, rapper, activist, and all-around-wonder-woman Lizzy Jeff.

Lizzy, at her core, is a mastermind of refined intention and ultimate be-here-nowness. She speaks carefully, dresses impeccably, and is a purveyor of cultivated detail. When I caught up with her about what Zen & Kush means for the culture of Los Angeles, and what she has in store for the future, the answers to my questions began, really, with my first glance at Lizzy over breakfast at a vegan eatery called Sage.

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Photo courtesy of Curious Josh

The letters "CBD" dangled from a gold chain choker around her neck; her eyes behind a pair of rose-colored shades; and her ears adorned with big hoops, inside which a cannabis leaf was laid over the Venus symbol.

The motivation for establishing Zen & Kush, Lizzy told me, was to create an "intentional, sacred space," where artists like herself could share their craft. Founded upon "community, creative expression, plant medicine, and sensuality," Zen & Kush is about healing, she said, about fostering an environment where people could better understand each other. "I wanted to infuse this vibration of the divine feminine in the space, where men could also thrive while honoring and acknowledging women, and where we can all support each other," she said. "And I wanted to incorporate some sensuality into it, which drives our creative inspiration."

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Photo courtesy of Kristina Bakrevski

By offering aphrodisiac tonics, aromatherapy, exotic dance performances, live art, body paint, and other elements, Lizzy's goal is to create "this mystical wonderland of high vibrations, a space for people to be their truest authentic selves."

And granted, though it may all sound like hippie fluff on paper, she does a damn good job of it in real life, too. LA's all too full of people talking the talk — and Lizzy sure as anyone else has the talk down — but she's a rare breed in that her talk translates to action.

The vibe she's talking about, that sense of feminine divinity, is really there in practical application, keeping men at parties in check. And what I mean by that is, to be a woman navigating an event called "Sacred Sensuality," I find it a true accomplishment on the part of the host to filter out any creepers.

Lizzy

Photo courtesy of Kristina Bakrevski

In a space of bare skin, of massage, of luscious aromas, of play (there was an old school "Seven Minutes in Heaven" room, as well as a kissing contest), and of open conversations about sex (led by reps from cannabis lube company Foria), I was impressed at how comfortable it all felt, men and women holding space for these conversations, without feeding into the played out paradigm of men trying to hit on women in the way you'd typically find at bars or clubs.

"In order to even enter this space, you have to be on a particular frequency," Lizzy explained to me. "A lot of women will email me, 'What do you do about the creepers?' There are no creepers, I promise you won't feel harassed."

The event being booze-free helped, as did the "fairies" Lizzy assigned to flit about, serving tea, misting guests, and making themselves available to answer to any questions or concerns.

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Photo courtesy of Curious Josh

"The number one question I get is, 'Are men welcome?' and that's what I'm trying to change," said Lizzy. "Men can be sensual, and every woman who's told me about her experience at a topless event told me she felt seen and acknowledged and didn't feel like men were just staring at her breasts. There are incredible men who want to be their highest selves, and we have to create that atmosphere."

Like other "after hours" events in LA, "Sacred Sensuality" went late, till around 4 am. And that's part of Lizzy's goal — to extend the vibe as deep into the night as people want to take it. But unlike at regular after hours, where Lizzy says there are too many cigarettes, the music too loud, and the men too aggressive ("Every man is like, 'Can I get you a drink?' and then it's this whole dialogue about why I don't want to drink"), at Zen & Kush, guests can party in silk pajamas, in no clothes, or in whatever they want to wear into the wee hours of the morning; they can find a corner to nap in, all the while, maintaining a vibe that's comfortable for everyone.

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Photo courtesy of Kristina Bakrevski

Lizzy describes the Zen & Kush community as full of intellects and entrepreneurs, creative geniuses and thought leaders, "renaissance men and women." With themes like "Kings" (a dedication to the "divine masculine"), "Wet" (a pool party), and "Tease" (infused topless yoga), Zen & Kush offers its community diverse opportunities to step into different aspects of their highest selves.

In the coming year, she wants to turn the Zen & Kush experience, which now takes place in various venues, into a dedicated space. She also wants to host co-working hours, plant-based pop-ups, and a book club. And in the process of doing it all, Lizzy makes a point to support small, and minority- and women-owned businesses.

"Sacred Sensuality," for instance, featured vegan soul food by Soulistic Food and Hood Bruja's Kitchen, "pleasure stacking" by Pussy Power House, CBD candies by Pendy Company, handmade jewelry by Uniquely Wired, reiki, massage, and healing by Goddess Adorned, Re'Laks Tranquility Lounge, and Royal Treatment Wellness, and garments by Yasmeen Sa'eedah — just to name a few of the offerings. As a woman of color in the cannabis space, Lizzy does her part, too, to foster awareness and education, to give voice to the community where she comes from — while the industry, built upon the backs of (incarcerated) people of color, takes off at lightning speed.

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Photo courtesy of Kristina Bakrevski

In her own music, Lizzy raps about CBD, about the drug war, about being black at this moment in American history — while environments like Zen & Kush (a "mystical theme park for adults to choose their own healing experience," as she puts it) provide a platform for Lizzy and other artists to shine.

"Ultimately my goal is to use my voice and platform to push culture forward and to elevate consciousness around healing, by producing high vibrational experiences through music, art, and curated events," Lizzy told me at the end of our brunch at Sage. "And, to use cannabis as a vehicle to create alternative options for people to live their best lives."

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