Welcome to my writing portfolio!
Looking for a professional, creative and dedicated writer who's passionate about helping people?
Writing evokes joy and is my first love.
I'm a seasoned writer with over twenty years' experience as a freelance journalist. I write features, editorials and reviews on self-improvement, mindfulness, yoga, health, and the power of music, mantra and rhythm on the human mind. My passion for writing began in high school and continued at UCLA, where I was first published. Since then, I've been published in Detour, Flaunt, Remix, Film & Video, LA Yoga, Mantra Magazine, Mixer Urb and more.
I expanded into Grant Writing in 2016, and more recently into Curriculum Development and Web Content, including SEO-friendly copy and articles. My Grant Writing portfolio focuses on social, environmental and mindfulness orgs and non-profits. My Web Content and SEO portfolio encompasses a broader field, covering the fields of health, medical, finance, fitness and hospitality. My Curriculum Development portfolio is in the works: I'm curating mindfulness content for at at-risk teens.
Click here for a sampling of my published articles. You may notice varied bylines, each reflecting incremental stages of being: Deana Morgan (college and early years), Deana Aria Mayland (early married years), Aria Mayland (later married years), Aria Morgan (current).
I look forward to connecting with you!
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Curious about my "Why?" We all have a story. Mine began with immigrant parents and heavy life expectations, which were all tossed into upheaval after I almost died. If it weren't for my car accident and a second chance at life, I would not be here, today...
Lightning In A Bottle 2018: What's your WHY?
"Hi Aria, Good morning from Melbourne, Australia. This is just a simple message across the oceans to say that I am moved by your beautiful words. I read your article on LIB in LA Yoga and was very moved by your overall message.
I am sure you hear this all the time, but you certainly shine an incredible light that has surely resonated with me. Thank you for sharing and inspiring. Have a wonderful weekend. Good vibes from me.
- Michael Thomas"
Michael - thank you. I don't hear this all the time and it warms my heart that you reached out and wrote me. Blessings to YOU!
Jai Uttal: The Journey from Disillusionment to Devotion
I interview celebrated Kirtan devotee and Grammy-nominated performer Jai Uttal Jai shares about addiction, his search for meaning in India and how he found devotion through his Guru. Spirituality and kirtan saved Jai and this is the message he continues to spread through song, mantra and chanting.
The Dream: Jai Uttal and his Guru meet at the Train Station
The Surgeon and the Yogi: 25 years later
In 2011, I wrote a story about my life and my journey from near death to thriving. My story made the cover of LA YOGA Magazine. I talk about my reunion with the man who saved my life, Dr. Richard Carmona, former ER Surgeon who later became the Surgeon General of the United States. Twenty five years after he saved my life, I fly back to Tucson to thank Dr. Carmona, who now presides at Canyon Ranch Institute.
The Dangers of Drift Nets and Our Dying Oceans - MANTRA
Mantra as Medicine: A Conversation with White Sun's Gurujas
I interviewed the incredibly radiant Gurujas in Venice Beach, just before White Sun II won the 2017 Grammy for Best New Age Album.
Funny thing... prior to meeting Gurujas, I spent years <and I mean YEARS> trying to love kirtan. I'm a yoga teacher. I should love kirtan and chanting... but I never quite "got it." As a writer, I'd occasionally review kirtan artists, though not for their music (shhhh!), more so because of the human being behind the music.
I almost didn't listen to this album. I was afraid I'd hate it and have to tell my friend her artist wasn't my thing. But this album struck gold within my heart. I have become a White Sun devotee. I don't even consider this music in the same genre as kirtan. It soars above. White Sun's music is blessed with an essence of the Divine. To this day, whenever I listen to it, I am bathed in peace and radiant love.
Lighting Lemony Snicket
"Plotting Lemony Snicket," starring Jim Carrey & Meryl Streep, made the cover of Film & Video magazine. At the time, I was a fervent documentarian who wanted to learn more about lighting. I was gifted with the incredible opportunity to study/work with future Oscar winning D.P. Emmanuel "Chivo" Lubezki on Paramount's Lemony Snicket: A Series of Unfortunate Events.
The Strength to Save Sea Turtles
Save the Humans Now
Kombucha: Wonder Food or Dangerous Yeast?
Lightning In A Bottle Rejuvenates and Inspires
My second article on super festival LIB, a yoga + music + art transformational experience, explores how the rhythm and ritual of the festival heals and harmonizes us in this modern life. As always, I bring my daughter with me and write from the perspective of a parent attending a family-friendly, kid-friendly festival.
The Gifts and Challenges of Empathy
In this article, one of my very first for LA YOGA Magazine, I explore what life is like for the deeply empathetic. I encourage anyone who's even mildly gifted with empathy to create a grounding physical practice and learn how to work with healthy boundaries.
Machine Gun Fellatio - FLAUNT
Designer Labels | The Story of Global Underground, dance music's most fashionable DJ-mix CD's - REMIX
One of the most fun writing assignments of my career! I was flown to the UK to write this story on the hottest dance music label at that time - Global Underground. Had the BEST time, ever! Andy and James were incredible hosts - funny and charming. Our interview started off with this true-life story. "I nearly crash landed a plane once...we were on a flight from Miami...and the steward straps himself into the seat in front of us and says, 'If I die, it's your responsibility to get everyone else off the aircraft.' "
Spinning in the Sun - Coachella coverage for DETOUR
Another super fun assignment: I covered Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival for DETOUR Magazine, back when Coachella was still a baby. Press Pass...backstage, all access, you name it. Once I got a taste of the VIP/Press experience, I couldn't go back.
One Tribe: Lotus examines the Tribal Gathering and its effect on Modern Culture
Ahhh... one of my very first "real" writing assignments. I was a self-taught writer. Never took a journalism class. Just started pitching and writing about what I loved - music, dancing, culture, tribalism. This was my first investigative piece. I interviewed. I wrote and I rewrote. Still proud of it to this day: One Tribe
Visual Bliss - REMIX
At this time, the art of visuals was still emerging onto the burgeoning US rave and club dance scene. DJ's like Sasha, John Digweed, Tiesto, Orbital, Jimmy Van M and DJ Shadow were pioneers in gifting their audience with a wholistic performance art experience: visuals and audio that synced and told a story, as opposed to simply the same loop over and over again.
Incense, Demons, Fire & Silence: The Balinese New Year - LA YOGA
The Balinese New Year is unlike any other. For a week straight, it's a party. Families return to their hometown village for a massive reunion and celebration. At the end of the week, it's 24hours of silence - Nyepi.. No talking, no cooking, no police presence. No airport. Everything shuts down. Nothing. Nada. It is the day to be silent and pray so that the evil spirits pass by your village...until the next year, when it begins all over again.
No Rest for the Wicked - LOTUS
The WICKED crew still rocks it. If you don't know who they are, you don't know your electronic music history. If you've EVER attended an outdoor full moon event and you don't know who they are, tsk, tsk...read this quickie interview and educate yourself, young music lover!
Can Eric Morillo use House Music to take over the World? - BPM
Eric Morillo is still making music and entertaining. I enjoyed interviewing him for BPM Magazine. My favorite takeaway from this: "Suits and ties will never understand. It's a culture they will not get." True dat.
The Politics of Dancing: Richard Humpty Vission - REMIX
How to Sparkle Everywhere - LOTUS
This was it. This article started my writing career. I was pissed at my boyfriend and I needed to write about it. The op-ed piece turned into a commentary on the late 90's LA rave scene....Oh, and that ex boyfriend? He's an awesome guy. We're still friends.
Event Reviews, CD reviews, Tech reviews....
Reviews are mini works of art.
I've felt so incredibly privileged to enjoy free music delivered to my door. I'd receive new releases MONTHS before they came out on the market and drown myself in the music for hours, listening for the heartbeat of inspiration that created this work of art. Sometimes, I commented on the history and technical production value...but for the most part, I wrote about what the album inspired in my soul.
Reviews never paid much, if at all, but that's not what motivated me. I did it for the music. I considered it a duty, and it was fun to write whatever the hell I wanted and see my words in print.
Come on. How many times can you write these words and get away with it:
"Succulent, sexy and sassy, Wax Tailor's Hope and Sorrow is part sunlit-Parisian cafe, part red-velvet Brooklyn jazz bar-- before the smoking ban..."
Review: Divine Mantras On White Sun III
Writing Resume - Just the High Notes
1994 - First published in the UCLA Bruin Newspaper.
1998 - My first "real article" is published in Lotus Magazine.
2000 - I move to London and book a gig as the West Coast Editor for UK-based DMI Global
2004 - At this point in my life, my day job lies in production and documentaries. While working on a documentary on dance music culture, I land a gig as the assistant to Oscar winning D.P. Emmanual Lubezki on Paramount's Lemony Snicket; A Series of Unfortuante Events. After we wrap, I pitched Lubezki's lighting setup to Film&Video Magazine and my story makes the cover.
2005 - I leave production and become a yoga teacher. My writing expands into health, yoga and environmentalism. I begin writing for LA YOGA magazine.
2008 - I become a mother and take many years off of music and production-related writing. I continue to write for LA Yoga.
2011 - I write another cover story, my interview with the former Surgeon General of the United States, the man who saved my life as an ER Surgeon.
2011 - present - I continue writing for magazines and expand into grant writing, curriculum development and web content.