WWB WISE GURU SERIES: Q&A with Dr. Rachel Carlton Abrams–Author of New Book ‘BodyWise’ Discovering Your Body’s Intelligence for Lifelong Health & Healing

Jan 3, 2017 by

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WWB Wellness Wisdom Book Selection: BodyWise

Wise Guru & Author: Rachel Carlton Abrams, MD

Author Profile: Rachel Carlton Abrams graduated PHI BETA KAPPA from Stanford University and received her MD from UC San Francisco. She also has a Master’s Degree in Holistic Health from UC Berkley, and is Board Certified in Family Medicine and Integrative Medicine.

In 2008 she opened the award-winning Santa Cruz Integrative Medicine Clinic. Dr. Abrams treats many of the world’s most influential people, from CEOs to billionaire entrepreneurs to Nobel Peace laureates. She has been voted “Best Doctor” in Santa Cruz County every year, from 2009–2016.

 

 

 

 

Lauroly Opening: I will admit I am generally excited to introduce experts and authors here at World Wise Beauty, but this book in particular really resonates with me big time! I think my readers can guess why, by looking at the title of the book ‘BodyWise’ Discovering Your Body’s Intelligence for Lifelong Health and Healing. Anyone that follows World Wise Beauty or even WWB’s Facebook page knows my mission is to encourage inner-wisdom and wellness. Most importantly, I am always reinforcing the idea of being your own guru. This doesn’t mean to reject knowledge or expertise, but to recognize that your own bio-individuality is truly unique. What is good for someone else may not be good for you. Knowing and understanding yourself (mind, body and spirit) is key to a life of fulfillment, happiness and wellness. This featured book shows you how to truly live with yourself in harmony. When you read more about her work below, you will understand why I have selected Dr. Rachel Carlton Abrams as the 2017 WWB Icon. It was an easy selection because she truly represents a World Wise Beauty who is comfortable in her own skin, and she educates all women to do the same.

 

Dr. Rachel Carlton Abrams

Dr. Rachel Carlton Abrams

 

Integrative and holistic health practitioners offer alternative options to treat conditions and disease differently than main-stream doctors, but my role is not to recommend one over the other. I only seek to encourage people to explore and discover what works best for them. I happen to prefer integrative doctors and DO’s personally because I believe in addressing the underlying cause of dis-ease. I also believe in the resounding message of this featured book. ‘Know thyself’.

We can all be ‘Body Wise’ and we all know our own bodies better than anyone, if we only take time to listen to it. I have a unique personal story that makes me particularly passionate about this subject of this book. I grew up with two sick parents, and this life experience really challenged me to look within. My mother through living with her own auto-immune disease experience taught me to listen to myself and body. As a young teen I didn’t always listen, but her constant reminders eventually clicked, and I learned to develop a healthy relationship with myself and my body. I hope everyone reading this buys Dr. Abrams book and no matter where you are in your wellness journey, you become comfortable in your own skin and BodyWise…

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Lauroly Welcome: Thank you so much for joining me Dr. Abrams! I am honored to chat with you and so excited to share some of the ideas in your new book ‘BodyWise’! As said, I am particularly excited about sharing your book with others and especially women, because we generally have so much extra stress added to our lives in the roles of mother and caretaker. To compound this, we now have full time careers in addition to our roles in family, as you share in your own personal story. I think a good place to start is to help us understand the overall trajectory of body wisdom. I love how what you said in the book, “think of it as gathering information about our well-being from the outside in.” I always talk about inside out wellness, but when we live complicated lives, we have to start with what is going on right now in our lives and work our way back in. Tell us more about the four levels of body intelligence. This is a blog so we can only touch on ideas, but I am positive almost everyone will be rushing to read your book for the full comprehensive read.

 

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Dr. Rachel Carlton Abrams

 

Dr. Rachel Carlton Abrams: Thanks so much for inviting me, Lauroly! And for your excitement about the book—I so appreciate it! In response to your question, I think that the most powerful diagnostic tool I have in the treatment room is my patient’s own body intelligence. I often say that we will order tests, but that the best test I have is your insight about your own body—what you feel and why, when you are likely to feel that way, what makes your symptoms better or worse. Listening to what you knows about your experience is the key to unlocking the puzzle that causes you pain or suffering. When my patients pay attention to this natural intuition, the results can be quite extraordinary. No expert lives in you, other than YOU! Which is why it is so vital to learn to speak the language of your body, and begin to follow the guidance that you receive from within, in regard to diet, diagnosis, treatment and even selection of health care providers or even friends.

In BodyWise, I teach women (though this process is completely applicable to men!) to begin to listen to the signals that their bodies are giving them. This happens in four steps.

MEASURE: Gather measured observations of health (such as blood pressure, weight or labs)

SENSE: Attend to body sensations (become aware of what you sense inside)

FEEL: Note feelings or intuitions about your body (what feelings might those sensations be connected to?)

DISCERN: Look for patterns of experience that are trying to tell you something, including those influenced by the unconscious mind (dreams, visions, symbols) 
 I think of these four steps as learning the language of the body. Sensing is the basic vocabulary, feeling is metaphoric expression, and discerning involves telling the story of the experience.

Lauroly Q- Your four steps are so important, because when we pay attention to all parts of ourselves, we begin to see the interdependency of mind, body and spirit. This is not only a very insightful and wise book, it is also very practical and grounded. I love all the charts and mini-test you offer throughout the book. I also appreciate everything you explore is approached with medical expertise, and the humble recognition that every patient is different. You demonstrate this, by acknowledging both natural and pharma supplements have their own dangers and each individual responds to different substances differently. You share stories about how many patients walk through your door who are on several drugs and supplements and have no idea how they interact with each other is incredible. What is one wise takeaway you can share about taking natural or pharma drugs and supplements? Is one truly better than the other, and what should we explore before taking anything?

 

Dr. Rachel Carlton Abrams: Great question. 🙂 It is always my preference as an integrative physician that my patients feel well putting as few pills or concoctions into their mouths (other than food!) as possible. This said, there is much to fear about pharmaceutical medications which are, catch this, the third leading cause of death in the United States. No joke. And, as a physician, I still love medication when we truly need it. We just need to optimize self-healing and minimize medications for optimal health. Many supplements and herbs can be safer than medications, but not all! Which is why I think it is important to listen to your body and either be very well informed or have trustworthy guidance about what to take. And is it possible to take too many supplements? Absolutely.
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Dr. Rachel Carlton Abrams

 

Lauroly Q- There is a really interesting story in your book about intuitive body wisdom and how one women had a dream that was really guiding her about her illness. I don’t want to give away the story, as I think it is worth reading in the book. You really do a wonderful job of covering the sensitive subject of how much we are responsible for when it comes to our own health. Immediately people think “Oh you are going to blame me for my illness? I made this happen to myself?”

I always think our bodies often are trying to communicate something we are struggling with. When I was taking care of my dying mother, I literally came down with a frozen shoulder. I felt like I had the world on my shoulders and my shoulder just stopped working! Of course there were other external factors, but I got the message! I knew I was struggling. Just going to Physical Therapy was remedy for me. I had to stop and think of myself if only for that time in treatment. I passed on the pain drugs and committed time to Physical Therapy. I healed and magically the pain is gone. My body forced me to face my feeling of overwhelm. My body (and in this case my spirit) has cried out before in my life and because of my Mom’s early influence, I usually can connect life’s circumstances with my body ailments. Tell us more about the fine distinctions of this very sensitive subject. How does our mind, body and spirit work in tandem?

 

Dr. Rachel Carlton Abrams: After decades in clinical practice, I do believe that the body can speak to us metaphorically and manifest physical illness, discomfort, and pain. Your ‘frozen shoulder’ is a perfect example of this. I also firmly believe that not all illness or pain has emotional or psychological roots. It is true that how we think and feel, our responsiveness to our bodies’ clues, and the behaviors that we choose absolutely affect our health. And ignoring the obvious cues from your body that something is wrong can manifest in more serious illness. But it is not true that we are personally responsible for the illnesses that we have.

What I mean is, some- times “shit happens.” This was my not-so-eloquent response at a public talk to a very spiritual, healthy young woman who was diagnosed with leukemia. The panel I was sitting on included experts on the mind-body connection and its impact on illness. The young woman at this talk was very upset by the implication that if you are ill, it’s your fault, and she wanted to know if we believed that she had caused her own cancer by her thoughts or behaviors. This is a subtle distinction, but the fact that we can influence pain and illness with our thoughts and behaviors does not mean that we cause all of our pain and illness. My vegan meditation and yoga teacher patient got cancer last year. Sometimes, shit happens. Blaming illness on the person suffering (especially if that person is you) is never helpful. If someone, including you, wants to make meaning of the illness—I need to take more time to rest or be with those that I love or eat more healthfully—that is perfectly legitimate. That is not the same as “I caused my illness by not doing those things.” We should listen to our bodies and discern the meaning of pain and illness. We must not get bogged down in the cycle of self-blame or shame about having the illness.

 

Lauroly Q- Thanks so much for addressing that sensitive subject Dr. Abrams. Another great line in your book is “Everything you put into your mouth has complex biochemical messages for the body.” This is a pretty intense idea, but falls in line with ‘You are what you eat’. It must be such a hard idea to get across to patients. Food is such a complicated topic for us humans. Our family and culture shape our eating habits and we are all so different. Science is already confirming that a plant-based diet is generally better for everyone, yet many experts will tell you protein is necessary and each person has different nutritional needs. It gets confusing. Unpack this just a little bit for us…

Dr. Rachel Carlton Abrams: No matter who you talk to in the health and wellness field, they will agree that more fruits and vegetables (and the more brightly colored the better), are good for you. And no one would argue that you need a healthy source of protein. I would argue that it is ideal if that source is organic (if plant sourced, such as nuts and beans) and also “grass-fed” or “free-range” if animal sourced (eggs, cheese, milk, yogurt and meat). I do think that most vegetable sources of protein are good for most of us. And some of us do better with more animal derived protein. Those are individual decisions to be made based on your personal experience, your body intelligence, and your values. And I really don’t think anyone would argue that you should avoid fast food and fried food, and limit refined grains (white flour and white rice). Many people feel well eating whole grains, which are rich in nutrition. And some people react to gluten or other grains—again, it’s a place to use your body intelligence to see what works best for you.

 

Lauroly Q- The burgeoning trend of yoga and meditation has connected mind, body and spirit and has put the practices at the center of wellness. You state in the book, that from a health point of view, the particularities of meditation and spirituality don’t matter. This is another fine example of how you recognize our diversity and difference while also finding the common. Ultimately finding time for silence and reflection is a healthy ritual, and we all have our own practices. What matters is how these rituals help our individual health and well-being. Why are things like prayer or meditation so important to our overall health? What is happening in our bodies when we do? I always feel nature is my church and I can feel the positive changes in my body when I take time to be quiet in nature.

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Dr. Rachel Carlton Abrams

Dr. Rachel Carlton Abrams: You are very much in line with the latest research, which shows abundant health advantages from being exposed to nature, from lower stress and cortisol levels to lower blood pressure to less anxiety and depression. I think that the purpose of meditation, prayer or simple reflection is to reduce stress and cortisol levels, in a world that is far more stimulating than our bodies are built for. Manifold studies show the impact of meditation and prayer on reduced cortisol levels, reduced depression and anxiety, reduced risk of heart attack and stroke, etc. And these simple moments of reflection allow us to gain perspective on our lives. To extend the beneficial effect of slowing down to contemplate, to the rest of our life, as we take the insights gained and apply them—honking less at other drivers, yelling less at the kids, berating ourselves less.

 Lauroly Closing: Thanks so much again Dr. Abrams for writing this much needed book, and for joining me for this Q&A.  ‘BodyWise‘ is a ‘wellness bible’ and one I would recommend for everyone’s wellness library. I’ve only touched on a few topics covered in your book. It is truly comprehensive, and you show us just how ‘doable’ living healthy can be, when we tap into our body intelligence. Once we start listening to the wisdom of our bodies, we can begin to take care of our mind, body and spirit holistically. While all of us have different lifestyles and challenges, we all retain the gift of being able to tap into our inner-wisdom. How lucky we humans are!

Dr. Rachel Carlton Abrams Closing: Thank you so much for this opportunity Lauroly, and blessings to all of you reading this!

 

 

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WWB’s Fall Book Wise Pick: Imbolo Mbue Author of ‘Behold the Dreamers’ Visits World Wise Beauty and Inspires Dreamers Around the World

Oct 12, 2016 by

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BOOK WISE FALL PICK: Behold the Dreamers

CATEGORY: Fiction

CULTURE SPOTLIGHT: Africa/New York

AUTHOR: Imbolo Mbue

OF NOTE: Book has been optioned for film

Book Wise Pow-Wow: It’s a tough political climate right now in the United States and the immigration topic is a hotbed of conflict between both political parties. Which is why I chose this particular book for our Fall pick. The power of this story takes us out of an  ‘idealogy’ mode and grounds us in real authentic human experience.

The author’s personal story is one we don’t hear enough about in our public discourse about immigration. IMBOLO MBUE is a native of Limbe, Cameroon ( Central Africa). She holds a B.S. from Rutgers University and an M.A. from Columbia University. A resident of the United States for over a decade, she lives in New York City and genuinely loves her city she calls home. Her book’s characters capture the immigrant experience in a raw and emotionally charged way, and is sure to get you thinking about the American Dream in a much wider context. At World Wise Beauty, we love books that offer worldly perspective, make us feel and think deeply, and perhaps make us just a little bit more wiser after reading. ‘Behold the Dreamers’ delivers it all and will not disappoint you. I am honored to do this interview with Imbolo and hope she is an inspiration to any young girl with a dream, but especially to the young immigrant girl or woman who has a gift and a story to share with the world…

 

 

 

Lauroly Introduction: Welcome Imbolo to World Wise Beauty. You are truly an epitome of a World Wise Beauty! Like the characters in your wonderful book you too are an immigrant and came to America from Limbe, Cameroon. Central Africa is a long way from New York and you only moved here just over ten years ago. You are not only a World Wise Beauty, but also a fine example of an immigrant achieving the American Dream! Since our readers have just been introduced to your book, I don’t want to ask too many questions that will be spoilers. I’m very interested in you and believe so many will be inspired by your story. My first question is a series of three! Did you find the America you conjured in your mind as a young girl in Cameroon? What exceeded your expectations? What disappointed you?

 

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Author. Imbolo Mbue ‘Behold the Dreamers’

Imbolo Mbue: Thank you so much for your kind words, Lauroly! World Wise Beauty is a fantastic website and I do appreciate this opportunity to talk to you. Growing up, what I knew of America was mostly based on what I saw on American-imported TV shows. These shows, like “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air,” and “Dallas,” generally depicted people living in material comfort, so I got the impression that there was very little poverty in America and that it was a place where with hard work, anyone could succeed. And I can’t blame this on the shows—it was just my way of analyzing the world.

My understanding of America was also shaped by people from my town who’d migrated to America and returned home to visit with very nice clothes and shoes, and an air of affluence that I attributed to the fact that people were just generally well-to-do in America. Of course, when I came here, I learned very quickly that there are millions living in poverty, and that for many in this country, immigrants included, hard work is simply not enough to live their version of the American Dream. And it’s a tough reality to swallow. That notwithstanding, I do believe this country provides tremendous opportunities to immigrants like myself, opportunities many of us would not have gotten in our homelands.

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Czech Edition of ‘Behold the Dreamers’

Lauroly Q- Did your own experience find its way into your character formations? What many reviewers are saying about your book, is you did such a great job of capturing the immigrant experience as well as a multi-dimensional depiction of the American characters in your story too. All your characters come to life and are fully humanized.

 

Imbolo Imbue: Thank you. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that I’m an immigrant, and I’ve spent a lot of my time in this country around immigrants, so I know what it’s like to leave home and confront the challenges of building a new life in a foreign country. Like the Cameroonian main characters in the novel, Jende and Neni Jonga, I’m from Limbe, Cameroon, and I also lived in Harlem, in a similar neighborhood like where the Jongas lived. I know what it’s like to be low-income in this country and struggling to stretch that last dollar as far as you can, like the Jongas sometimes have to do. I think the challenges the Jongas faced have to do not only with being immigrants but also with being working-class, especially in a place like New York City. While the Jongas and I share a similar background, their story was, however, mostly inspired by various immigrants and working-class Americans who I had opportunities to converse with—friends and acquaintances and strangers who I found myself sitting next to in parks and bus stops, all of whom gave me a great gift by telling me their stories.

Lauroly Q– You have been working hard since you arrived in the United States. You hold a Bachelor’s degree from Rutgers and a Master’s degree from Columbia University in New York. Were you one of those lucky girls who knew you wanted to be a writer from a young age and set your sights on a writing career? Did you receive a lot of support and encouragement from your family back in Cameroon? What shaped the trajectory of your personal success story?

 

Imbolo Mbue: Oh no! I never considered being a writer as a young girl. I didn’t even know that being a writer was a career choice because I’d never met anyone who was a writer until I moved to New York City in my early 20s. I knew there were people who wrote books, because I read a lot of books, but I never thought about who these people were, and how they came about to write a book. Even after I read Toni Morrison’s “Song of Solomon” and became inspired to start writing, it wasn’t so much to become a writer as it was to just enjoy writing the same way I enjoy reading. I’d been writing for 12 years before my first short story was published and then about two years later my novel was published. So it basically took 14 years from the time I first started writing fiction to the time my first novel came out. And in that period, I wrote hundreds of pages that are still sitting my computer.

If I had a publishing goal, perhaps I would have done some things differently—maybe take a few classes or workshops—but then again, I believe it was best for me to take my time to slowly develop. “Behold the Dreamers” took five years for me to complete, from when I first got the inspiration to when I did the final correction, and I think I needed that amount of time. Excellence is every important to me. Simply completing a task is not enough—I want to look at what I’ve done and believe I did an excellent job.

 

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French Edition of “Behold The Dreamers’

 

Lauroly Q-  Wow! I am always impressed by the time many brilliant authors like you commit to their book. I’ve read your book is being optioned for a film. Who would you trust to produce and direct the film? It must be so hard to let go of your ‘baby’ and hope the story translates well to film.

 

Imbolo Mbue: Yes, the “baby” is gone! I think this “baby” now belongs to the reader, and every reader is going to have his/her own interpretation. If the book ever becomes a movie, the producers and directors will have their own interpretation, and some of their interpretation might surprise me, but I’ll be too happy seeing these characters come to life that I don’t suppose I’ll think much about it.

 

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Dutch Edition off ‘Behold The Dreamers’

Lauroly Closing: What a beautiful attitude to have about releasing your story to the readers and interpreters. Thank you so much for joining me Imbolo. I am thrilled to featured your book as WWB’s Fall ‘Book Wise’ selection and honored to have the opportunity to chat with you here. Wishing you the best with all your future endeavors and continued happiness in America..

 

Imbolo Mbue: Thank you, Lauroly. The honor is all mine!

 

 

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World Wise Beauty Presents the ‘WWB Icon’ for 2015. Meet ‘Thorbjörg’ the Hot Anti-Aging Queen from Scandinavia

Apr 16, 2015 by

 

ICON: Thorbjorg Hafsteindottir

EXPERTISE: Nutrition, Fitness, Longevity

AUTHOR: ’10 Years younger, in 10 Weeks (Your Best Self).’

PROFILE: Thorborg is Scandinavia’s anti-age queen and has reached cult status with her natural and empowering approach to aging. She is a trained nurse, nutritional therapist and certified health coach with 25 years of experience in nutrition therapy. Focused on behavioral and integrative lifestyle changes, her work specializes in sugar addiction, obesity, diabetes, women’s health, healthy pregnancy, healthy children and especially anti-aging.

IDEALS: “Just because you’re technically getting older doesn’t mean you have to feel that way. Women are beautiful, inside and out, regardless of their age.” ~Thorbjorg

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Welcome Thorbjorg to World Wise Beauty. I truly feel ‘World Wise’ talking with a beautiful woman about ideal wellness who lives across the globe in Iceland and Denmark! You are originally from Iceland and now currently living in Copenhagen, Denmark. Denmark is the home of the happiest people on earth according to many research studies! I have to say, having visited a few times for work, the Danes are lovely people, and the word that comes to mind for me when I think of the Danish is ‘relaxed’. But I admit you are my first real encounter with an Icelander!

For many of my American readers, you are more than likely  just learning about Thorbjorg but she is quite a celebrity in Scandinavia and has an almost cult like following. She is considered the ‘Anti-Age’ queen and I guess we could compare her a little to Suzanne Summers here in the states. In fact Thorbjorg recommends one of Suzanne’s books in her book. What they both believe passionately is you should not have to grow old, weak, and sick just because you are getting older. On the contrary you can live a very active life full of vitality if you treat your body, mind and spirit well!

Thorbjorg, I will be honest with you. When I saw the title of your book ‘10 Years Younger in 10 Weeks’ (Your Best Self) I thought ‘oh here we go again–another diet book perhaps selling miracle potions!’ After reading your book and learning more about your story I must say ‘don’t judge a book by its title!’! But in your case definitely by its picture! It was refreshing to find that your book is no gimmick, but rather a practical and comprehensive longevity program, that would normally cost thousands of dollars if you went to a wellness retreat or center. What I love about it is you look at women holistically and your prescriptions for looking younger are all related to nutrition, fitness and healthy lifestyle. It won’t be a spoiler alert for the readers to know your program is no easy peasy but totally achievable if you commit to revitalizing your habits and mindset.

Lauroly Q- So to begin, Thorbjorg you’re 54 years YOUNG, mother of three and most people think you are at least 15 years younger! Just look at your book cover! Wow! What is even more interesting is you worked as a nurse for some years. Is that when you were addicted to sugar? Let’s start by telling us what the catalyst was that sent you on your wellness journey. Did you suddenly turn yourself around or was it a gradual step by step process? I love how you tell us how wonderful you currently feel and how you plan on feeling this way well into your advancing age. I’m with you and sign me up!

Thorbjörg: Thank you Laura for your kind words and great welcome greetings. I am honored to be here and thank you for the opportunity to be here with you. What a blessing! I have a slight correction. I did not work as a nurse for very long. In fact you can count the time working in the white uniform in hours only! My focus was always on health and nutrition, and I thought obtaining a nurse’s education would facilitate my work, so that is what I did. And I have never regretted it.

I learned how the body works; anatomy, biochemistry and physiology and the experience working with patients was very helpful. I was the oldest in class and a rebel I guess. I remember having strong opinions about several things regarding treatment and the food of course. Didn’t see much ‘healing’ and nourishing food around the hospitals in those days. But nevertheless I left school with the highest score and three years later I finished my degree as a nutritional therapist at Institute for Optimum Nutrition. I have been my own boss in my own company ever since.

I have been sugar addict ever since I was a little girl caused by several circumstances. When I was 23, expecting my first girl, I sort of woke up from my sugar blues thinking that this wasn’t fair. I no longer wanted to hurt my own body and jeopardize the chances of giving birth to a healthy strong girl. So I quit! In a sober moment I found the energy and the will power to change my sugar habits. I’m not lying to you! I remember it was very hard and there were times I felt like I was going crazy! I needed my fix! But eventually I felt much better, the less sugar chews in my brain the more clarity I had. With a clear mind it is much easier to make good choices. It took me some years to find out what made me mind fogged, miserable, depressed and bloated. I was still eating starch from bread which is basically the same as added sugar. I eventually cut out all sugar and I also cut the gluten. Amazingly my joint pain vanished. My journey towards optimum health and sobriety took some years and I learned so much about food, the human body, and most importantly my body! The more I took care of myself, the more resolved I became about what I wanted in my life. I wouldn’t have missed being a sugar addict for anything in the world! I use to congratulate my sugar trapped students for being exactly where they are, because their ‘life bliss’ was still yet to come. Quitting sugar, loving your body and taking control of your health is that kind of feeling.


 

Lauroly Q: Thank you for being so honest. Many people don’t even realize they are ‘sugar addicts’ and just don’t make the connection. Your experience as a nutritionist definitely contributes to your 10 week plan and I love all the medical tests you include in the book and on the ‘Pine Tribe’ (your Publisher) website. These tests would be exactly what a wellness retreat or wellness center might have you take when participating in a wellness program. I know because I was formerly Marketing Director for one of the leading longevity centers in the country here in NJ. When you create wellness programs for people you have to consider that every person has their own unique bio-individuality. How did you come up with your three different fitness types? Each type has a different temperament and requires different wellness rituals. Tell us more…

Thorbjörg: For years I have been blessed with the opportunity to know beautiful women, in all shapes and sizes, visiting me in my private clinic, attending my lectures, and they all have been my grand teachers. By listening to their stories, how they feel and what they eat and at the same time observing how they look, talk, behave and the color and texture of their skin well, I got to know them pretty good.

I began to see a pattern of similarities in behavior, body shape, health condition and symptoms. For example, I often see rather skinny or not overweight women, full of high energy, ambitious, often hard cardio trainers, seeking stressful things, drinking a lot of coffee and on the go. So I named those types “To Go”. They are adrenalin, cortisol dominated women with physical and mental symptoms that reflect this kind of control or lack of it! Ha ha 🙂 Well I’m one of them. Typically this type can send their immune system into overdrive and all kinds of symptoms will confirm this. Rashes, dry skin tendency to wrinkle, besnier’s prurigo, sleep disorder, digestion problems, joint problems and sugar cravings are all the body’s way of saying I am out of balance.

Then the type which appears to be the opposite has slow metabolism, slow digestion, low energy, tendency toward depression, overweight, especially around the stomach and hips, and dominated by hyper thyroid function. This type is more into hot chocolate with cream and she will ‘stay’ while enjoying it.  She is my second ‘To Stay’ type. The third type is yo- yoing between the two; a metabolic dysfunctional type feeling up and down. All of the types have a challenge to deal with, and the journey to balance is a bit different in terms of the type of food and exercise they choose. The ‘Adrenal type’ needs to calm down and take it more easy. She can learn from her calmer chocolate drinking sister! Each type can actually learn from each other. It’s finding the balance for your type. This is not bulletproof science but my observations are based on experience, knowledge and wisdom.

Lauroly Q-  I love the quote from your book  “your second youth begins in your fridge” because you really believe the secret to staying youthful is the fuel we give to our bodies. I like your book in particular because it offers a little ‘tough love’ and confronts ‘truths’ which maybe too many experts dance around. Each of us is ultimately responsible for our own wellness. I would add that sometimes no matter healthy we are, things can happen due to no fault of our own. Yet, many ‘old’ ailments that many have succumbed to can be avoided. There is a heading before one of your tests in the book that says ‘what you eat can be seen and felt’. How true that is. You really crystallize the whole aging concept when you focus on ‘Chronological age’ vs ‘Biological age. Some people at the age of twenty already have the body of a 40-year-old and some people at age 85 feel like they are 60! Isn’t that something! You spend a lot of time talking about sugar and are pretty strict in your program about not having it. Why is it so bad and why do we have to be extreme about not having it all?

Thorbjörg: First I want to make it clear that I really believe that we are responsible for our own life and health. Every bit of junk food and every sip of sugary sodas, the hours you’re not sleeping while you should be in and all the times you bailed out of your exercise class or the walk you promised yourself. This is on you. That said I do not believe that all “bad things” are on us. Let’s talk about cancer, “the great white” in the sense of the fear many of us have for this condition, with good reason because cancer can indeed be very serious. And it strikes randomly or so it seems. Healthy lifestyle or not, it invades your body, your life and challenges you and your love ones. I have witnessed and worked with many women and men with different kind of cancers taking responsibility and it changed their life. They begin to take better care of themselves through food, exercise, mindfulness and love. It’s not coming from guilt and shame and the notion “I got cancer because I have been a bad girl and now I’m being punished”. No this is about facing facts and the using the healing power of taking action and stepping up for yourself. In some odd way, it can be a great and wonderful journey. And lifesaving! Why wait for a serious disease to improve your sense of well-being?

So why am I anti-sugar? Because getting rid of it, or most of it, is a part of being sober, feeling energized, focused, and awake. Getting rid of it can slow down inflammation in your body, and ward off serious conditions like type 2 and 3 diabetes, several types of cancer and heart problems. Also, sugar makes you old in a hurry and your skin wrinkled. If that is what you want you can keep it! But if you want something more out of your life, not just now, but in 10, 15 and 30 years from now, you want to quit sugar and all the products with added sugar and starches. And you find it everywhere! In all kind of products, including some that claim they are healthy just because they are organic or “natural”. Do not let them fool you. Read the labels!

Lauroly Q- I found this book to be one of the most comprehensive health books for women I have covered to date and it’s simply because you cover health, wellness and anti-aging from an integrative perspective and you practice what you preach. You spend a lot of time covering bio-chemistry in the book and really delve into the importance of managing stress and our hormones. This is such an important part of your program. Hormones can wreak havoc on your health and cause all kinds of imbalances in the body. But as you spell out on the book, if you are taking care of your ‘ total system’ hormones seem to have less impact on your overall health. What is the biggest misconception women have about their hormones?

Thorbjörg: I think many women have no clue how their hormones work, such as what estrogen does in the body and the importance of balanced progesterone and testosterone. They all effect your energy, balance, sex, weight, brain and skin. Also I find it disturbing that far too many women think pre-menopause and menopause is supposed to be about suffering. Some believe, the only thing to relieve the suffering is Hormone Replacement. Ok of course there will be changes in how you feel when your hormones change in production and the balance in ratio between them. It’s it natural to experience mild symptoms such as tiredness and hot flushes. But suffering for months and even years is not to be accepted. Eating authentic and real food that communicates with the body will allow menopause and the years to come to be the best time of your life. I believe you can be beautiful and a wise woman in balance with yourself. I’m still a rebel but in peace! A true Vitality Warrior! (the title of my next book!)

 Lauroly Q- I am excited about your next book! I can’t let you leave us without asking you about ‘Cultural Diets’. The two big regions in the world who have gained most of the attention for their longevity diets are Japan and Greece. Suddenly in just the last year ‘Scandinavia’ has become the new ‘hot diet & region’ trending around the world! Did you start this trend with your book!? What do you think the magic is in the Scandinavian diet? For Greece it’s the oil, Japan it’s the fish and seaweed, and France it’s of course the wine. Is it the berries in Scandinavia? I simplify I know! But tell us what you think? I think every culture has its super-foods but it’s generally the overall ‘culture and lifestyle’ that contributes to longevity and centenarian status. Do you agree?

 

 

Thorbjörg: I do agree Laura. Every culture has its own super foods. And the Nordic food is very much about the food our grandparents ate for generations. Back to the basics so to speak. Wild blueberries and black berries, all kind of kale and root vegetables, wild salmon and fish, lamb game grass fed, butter and cream and the Icelandic skyr which is also is available in Whole Food Market in the states. And yes, I believe some of this is on me, since I have been talking and writing about eating real and local grown food for the last 25 years! This is superfood! So is turmeric, astaxanthin, spirulina, chocolate and goji berries, just to mention a few. When the food works with and supports the natural function of the body I’m all in. I want my food to support my hormones, bones, joints, brain, glutathione and serotonin production as well as nitric oxide. I eat food for this purpose, take supplements and patch meridian spots in my body to support my body and I eat smart dark chocolate with turmeric and camu camu every day.

 

 

Lauroly Closing: I am so honored to have spent this time with you Thorbjörg! You are an inspiration and I am thrilled to announce you are now officially my first 2015 WWB Icon! You are a WWB Icon because you share your wisdom and expertise and are totally committed to advancing wellness culture. Through your work, publishing projects and personal example you teach us how we can all celebrate ideals for wellness culture from the inside out. Bravo!

I am going to share this book with everyone I know! I encourage all my readers to visit your website and learn more about your 10 week program, then order the book as fast as you can, so you can get started with ‘REVITALIZING’! I hope you will visit us again and I invite you to come back as often as you like to share your wellness wisdom! P.S Keep on riding those bicycles! 😉

Thorbjorg: Thank you so much Laura. I’m so honored. It means a lot to me. My work is truly my passion. My mission is to help women revitalize and live long healthy lives. My purpose in life is to teach and inspire. Thank you for supporting me with my mission. I would love to come back. There is so much more to share. And yes! Biking is a part of my lifestyle in Copenhagen where I live most of the time. In Reykjavik, Iceland I have a bike too, but a bit more robust off roader. A true Viking needs a mountain bike! Ha ha ! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

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WWB Introduces a ‘Positively’ Beautiful ‘Ideal Find’ and Our Next 2014 WWB Icon…

Jul 30, 2014 by

 

Ideal Find: The Positively Present Guide to Life, Every Day Matters Diary & Pocket Diary, & Positively Present Digital

 

Founder: Dani DiPirro, Author, Blogger & Illustrator

 

Authentic Dedication: Committed to helping others embrace the idea of “living happily ever after NOW, and living positively in the present moment.

 

 

 

 

2014

 

Lauroly Welcome- Welcome to World Wise Beauty Dani! You are now an official WWB Icon and I am so proud to make you one! You’re in very good select company! Our Icons celebrate inner beauty, seek wisdom and are truly dedicated to educating and enlightening other women. I am honored to have you join us. Wisdom comes from life experience and our willingness to learn from both and good experiences. And it also takes some excavating as I like to call it–a willingness to look deep within ourselves. Once we take that personal journey we can be ‘Comfortable In Our Own Skin’ and spend more time in the ‘present’. How is that for a perfect segue!

 

Lauroly Q- Before we get to your beautiful book and diaries, I would love if you would share a little bit about your own personal journey and how you became ‘comfortable in your own skin’. Tell us in your own words with the space limitations of a blog, how you found your way out of a dark place in your life?

 

Dani DiPirro: Before I share a bit about myself, I have to say thank you so much for including me in the selective world of WWB Icons. What an honor!

Getting to where I am now—living a positive and present life—has been quite a journey. In 2009, I hit a low point in my life and I knew I had to make some changes. It felt like everything—my career, my friendships, my love life, etc.—was going wrong. I’d tried everything I could to make myself happier, and nothing seemed to be working. One day it suddenly hit me: nothing outside of me could change me. I had to change myself—and that would have to start with changing my attitude toward life. At that point, I started spending a great deal of time thinking about what I really, truly wanted in my life, and I came to the conclusion that I wanted to be positive and I wanted to be present (two things I’d never really been before). It was then that the concept of Positively Present was born.

I started documenting my journey online at PositivelyPresent.com. As the site grew and I received so many positive responses, I became even more passionate about what I was doing on the site. I’d always wanted to be a writer, but I would never have imagined I’d be writing about positivity. (As a kid, my nickname was Eeyore due to the fact that I tended to see the world from beneath the negative haze of a rain cloud.) As the years past, I realized I wanted Positively Present to be more than just a hobby. I wanted to make it a career.

In early 2012, I left my full-time job doing marketing for a financial services company to pursue Positively Present full time. And in October 2012, I published my first book, Stay Positive: Daily Reminders from Positively Present. (You can check out the book—and watch the video trailer!—on StayPositive365.com.) Since then, I’ve written multiple e-books, signed a book deal, and even started doing some graphic design work (something I’d never even considered doing until I opened up my mind and life with more positivity).


 

Diary & Organizer Calendar

Lauroly Q- What a beautiful inspiration you are Dani. I think it’s wonderful how you have taken your artistic talent and combined it with a communication platform that helps others to live positively. What sets all your creative projects apart is you go beyond ‘positive sentiment’.  You help us see that it’s more than just a positive mindset but also how we use our positive energy to seize each day. Your lovely ‘Every Day Matters’ Diaries are beautifully designed and highly organized. What I really love is they offer inspirational tips and exercises throughout the calendar year to help us tackle each day with small positive actions.

 This leads me to your upcoming book to be released in December. Tell us what we will find in your new book “The Positively Present Guide to Life–How to Make the Most of Every Moment’.  I can’t wait to read it and I will be sure to feature it in my ‘Ideal Finds’ Holiday Gift Guide.

Dani DiPirro: Thank you for your kind words about my website and the Every Day Matters diaries. I’m looking forward to keeping inspired and organized in the New Year with them. As for my new book (available late December 2014), I’m thrilled to share some information with you about it. The Positively Present Guide to Life is a handbook for those looking for action-oriented, inspiring advice to help them live more positive and present lives. On the surface, it’s practical wisdom for making the most of every moment. But on a deeper level it’s about how choosing to live a positively present life is a skill that can be learned and, once put into practice, can transform every aspect of one’s life—including home, work, relationships, romance, and change.

Pocket Diary & Calendar

By the end of the book, readers will have learned the six essential principles of living a positively present life and will know how to use those principles to create a nurturing home, build a fulfilling career, develop great relationships, appreciate true love, and embrace change. Best of all, readers have excellent opportunities to practice these principles via the exercises featured in each of the book’s 30 sections and be inspired by the many uplifting illustrations featured throughout the book.

Lauroly Q It sounds like the perfect guide! And I like the word ‘guide’ too because often positive sentiment falls flat if we don’t know how to translate them to our everyday living. Before you go Dani, I have one last question. I am starting a new ritual in the form of a very personal question for all my experts, authors and gurus who join me at WWB. What one profound quote inspires you personally in your life and why does it resonate with you so much? 

Dani DiPirro: As a writer, I adore words and quotes so it’s difficult for me to choose just one inspiring quote, but I’d have to say that one of my favorites right now comes from the book Wild by Cheryl Strayed. In the book, she writes: “Trusting yourself means living out what you already know to be true.” Sometimes it can be difficult to dig deep into yourself and identify what’s true. For me, I think I always knew, deep down, that living a positive, present life would be the best way to be happy, fulfilled, and at peace, but for so long I was hesitant to believe that truth, favoring the quick fix of negativity instead. If I’d really listened—really trusted myself—I would have discovered that I could, in fact, live what I knew to be true. Living out your truth—whatever that truth might be—isn’t always easy, but it is the best way to trust, respect, and love yourself and your life.

Lauroly Closing: Thanks so much for visiting World Wise Beauty and hope to have you back soon Dani!  My readers can pre-order Dani’s book via Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com and will be in stores and online December 30, 2014.

 

 

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Wisdom, Greek Philosophy and Cooking–Introducing World Wise Beauty’s First 2014 WWB Icon, Maria Benardis of ‘Greekalicious’

Jan 16, 2014 by

Maria Benardis, Author and WWB ICON

 

WWB Icon: Maria Benardis is a Gourmand Award winning author, health coach, teacher, chef and Founder of Greekalicious.

Maria published her first book titled “My Greek Family Table” (Penguin), which won the prestigious Gourmand World Cookbook Awards – Best Mediterranean Cuisine Book in Australia 2009 and this was followed by her ebook, “A Greekalicious Feast”. She also recently published her new book “Cooking & Eating Wisdom for Better Health” (Balboa Press) – How the Wisdom of Ancient Greece can lead to a longer Life.

She is a slow food advocate and regularly appears on radio, television and the print media to enthusiastically share the Greek heritage, its food and healing wisdoms that create vibrant health, and a balanced and peaceful life.

WWB Healthy Epicurean Featured Book: Cooking & Eating Wisdom for Better Health’

 

 

Lauroly Opening: Welcome Maria, I am so excited to have you join us at World Wise Beauty. You are the epitome of a true World Wise Beauty and I am honored to declare you our first 2014 WWB Icon. You can see the simpatico we share just by looking at the title of your new book “Cooking and Eating Wisdom for Better Health”.  Greek culture offers so much wellness wisdom to draw upon and I love how you weave so much of the Greek ancient wisdom into your new book. The sub-header of your book is ” How the Wisdom of Ancient Greece Can Lead to a Longer Life” and I think this important to emphasize because this is no ordinary cookbook! So let’s start with the first sentence in the introduction of your book “The past has much to teach us about the value of our food and the spiritual rituals surrounding its consumption”.  Tell us more about how the ancient philosophers and doctors of Greece influenced your approach to health and wellness.

 

Latest Book from Maria Bernardis

 

Maria Benardis: My ancient Greek ancestors believed that healthy eating and a healthy mind were the two key components to be practiced to ensure healthy living and longevity – “Let medicine be thy food and food thy medicine”. The natural force within each of us is the greatest healer of disease” Hippocrates. Many people during these times lived up to the age of 200 years old a rare occurrence now days. I felt compelled to study these profound words and the wisdoms and philosophies and to adopt them at my cooking school Greekalicious, my health coaching practice and in my ever day life. Most importantly it was important to resurrect them and to share them with the world. My book provides the tools and know how to cook intuitively and how to use the Farmacy not the Pharmacy for healing. Positive affirmations are also included as they were important in everyday ancient Greek life. I also practice affirmations daily.

 

 

Lauroly Q- Chapter one of your book is just beautiful.  It is amazing how much wisdom comes from Ancient Greece. You begin your opening chapter with a quote from Aristotle “Love is the cause of unity of all things”.  Your book is not just a cookbook and you manage to teach us so much about “life” and connect it all with cooking. Tell us how important this quote is to cooking and life.  I love the whole section on the theory of circular energy…

Maria Benardis: The central approach to health and wellness is to live and do all with agapi (A Greek word meaning unconditional love) and with good energy (derives from the Greek word energia). Love or agapi (unconditional love) is the most important ingredient when cooking and in life. It completes us and the dish. The ancient Greeks believed that the purpose of love was to unify things. When you cook with love, all things come together in the kitchen. Your recipes work out and it brings you great joy and happiness. When you cook with stress or anger, you become separated and disconnected.

The ancient Greek philosophers recognized that the universe was circular, symmetrical and harmonious and so for human beings to coexist in this universe they had to achieve balance and peace. This was sometimes referred to as ‘cosmic equilibrium’: a oneness with all. Love and the circulation of energy is circular and it moves in a circular motion — the energy flow is never-ending and we are all connected.

Observe how so many things in this world are circular — the human head, many of our fruits and vegetables, the moon and the sun. This theory of circular energy was incorporated into the ancient Greek kitchen, in other areas of the home and in day-to-day living. For example, the Greeks had circular ovens, tables, cups, frying pans, saucepans, plates, utensils, cakes, breads, jewelry, furniture, home and theater designs.

Lauroly Q- Another great passion I have at World Wise Beauty is to focus on “inner beauty from the inside out” and Chapter three of your book is in complete alignment with WWB’s mantra “to be comfortable in your own skin”. You open with this quote “Knowing Yourself is the Beginning of all Wisdom” by Aristotle. This is another great chapter and might I add while they are short, they are chock full of wisdom. You share “in ancient Greece they believed different individuals have different needs, at different ages in different seasons. No two people are the same and nor do they have the same requirements.” Wow! This is the secret to wellness right here! Can’t believe how many of us have lost sight of this important wisdom.  Share with us the meaning of the Greek word “Filotimo’ which there is no exact English translation for.

Maria Benardis: In Greek culture living in a connected loving state is also referred to as living with ‘filotimo’. The filotimo in a Greek makes one stand tall in all of life’s good and adverse circumstances. Growing up Greek, it was instilled in me to have respect for myself and others, including nature, and to have a sense of duty to my country, Greece.

A sense of humour was also essential when things were not going according to plan. Filotimo is used by Greeks to guide us. For it to work the vibration of love must be present and celebrated. This vibration is always present in my life whenever I do something, especially when I am cooking. ‘Filotimo to the Greek is like breathing. A Greek is not a Greek without it. He might as well not be alive.’ (Thales of Miletus).

As outlined in my book let your true inner beauty shine and radiate outwards and let it translate into your dishes. Adopt an approach of filotimo in the kitchen, understand the benefits of fasting and always believe you are the magician of your life and that you create your own miracles. It does not matter what others think of your dishes; what matters is what you think and how you feel. Your vision will only become clear when you look within your heart and yourself. Everything you need to know will come to you with ease.

Lauroly Q- I could explore so much with each of your chapters Maria but I think everyone should run out and get your book! Chapters four and five are wonderful too and focus on what it really means to be a “Healthy Epicurean” ( the name of this content department at WWB).  Moderation, harmony, music and colors are all part of the Greek approach to cooking. Reading your book makes me want to go back to Greece just thinking about the dining experience. What would you like to share and distill for us from these two chapters. Give us a teaser…

Maria Benardis: Firstly it’s important when adopting a healthy approach to your cooking, to always season and add ingredients in moderation. Allow each ingredient to speak for itself, to tell its story and to shine. Let each ingredient be its own bright shining star. Observing this wisdom will ensure balance and harmony in the dish and balance and harmony in our bodies and soul when we eat. The dish will always taste better. Exercise moderation and nothing in excess in all aspects of life, not just when cooking and eating, and you will lead a balanced, peaceful and joyous life.

Secondly as they did in ancient Greece keep it simple, and using the right combinations of music and colour therapy will assist you in cooking harmoniously. Most ancient Greeks practiced the principles of simplicity, balance, harmony when cooking for healing purposes. Plato believed that food should have simple flavours and wrote that ‘even sweets should sing with their simplicity’. In ancient times the principles of balance and harmony are taken a step further when colour, numbers and music therapy are incorporated into a dish. There were many therapies (The actual word ‘therapy’ comes from the Greek therapia, meaning ‘to serve or help medically’) adopted in ancient times for healing, and many of these are still practiced today that I have included in the book and they include chakra clearing, sun therapy and aromatherapy.


Lauroly Closing: Thank you Maria for gracing the World Wise Beauty blog with your lovely wisdom. Your new book ‘Cooking & Eating–Wisdom for Better Health’ is wonderful and I encourage our readers to learn more about your other books and visit Greekalicious.com to discover Maria’s world of cooking and wisdom. You are all the way on the other side of the world in Australia but hope to see you soon when you visit New York!

To learn more about Maria’s work and you can visit her website Greekalicious’ and follow her on her Facebook page. As a special TREAT you can view Maria’s YouTube video where she shares her Ancient Greek recipe for DONUTS!  You’ll love her “Aussie” accent!

Truly Herself,
Lauroly 

 

 

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“I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends” A Q&A with Shasta Nelson Founder of GirlfriendCircles.com

Mar 28, 2013 by

 

WORLD WISE BEAUTY ICON

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2013 World Wise Beauty Icon: Shasta Nelson, Life Coach, Author of “Friendships Don’t Just Happen” and Founder of GirlfriendCircles.com

INTRODUCTION: We all have heard of on-line dating but who knew you could shop for friends on-line! It sounds cold and awful when I say it like this, but Shasta Nelson’s book and website are far from cold and detached. Put simply her book is all about making friends and keeping friends. The book “Friendships Don’t Just Happen” has received national attention by all the women’s magazines and just recently Shasta appeared on the “Katie Couric” show! I love the circle idea but must admit I find it difficult to navigate the circles and this where Shasta’s book is so useful. Her book is chock full of good advice on how to create and nurture lifelong supportive friendships which too many of us have not been taught or shown. I dedicate this post with love to my dear friends Shelly and Debs who have taught me the true meaning of “through thick and thin” constancy in friendship.

Welcome: Thank you Shasta for stopping by World Wise Beauty and for making friendship your mission! You are truly a World Wise Beauty Icon and I am thrilled to give the title! You join a few other outstanding women who like you, have made it their mission to encourage women to value and honor their inner lives.

Lauroly Q- I can personally say, as you age and life circumstances change, so do your friendships. When I was young in my mid-twenties, I was in a committed relationship and then married when most of my friends were single and hunting! I felt a little out of sync. Then as time would have it, I got divorced when everyone was getting married and having kids! To be honest I was kind of out of sync a good portion of my life. Let’s not leave out that most of my career I was traveling and I missed out on a lot of social rituals which would have nurtured my friendships. I am your perfect case for almost every friendship challenge! How important is “lifestyle” when it comes to making friends? I ask because as you have learned I just seem to be out of sync! Maybe others feel the same?

 

Shasta Nelson: Others definitely feel the same! We’re almost always “out of sync” with our friends because it’s impossible to fall in love, get married, have kids, find our meaningful jobs and all other life stages at the same time as someone else. And this stays true all the way up to retiring at a different age than our friends, becoming widows at different times, needing to move for grandkids, etc. The truth is that if we come to peace with living our own life, letting it unfold in its perfect timing, then we have to let go of the need that all our friends’ lives need to mirror ours. In the 5 Circles of Connectedness, there is only one Circle– that of Common Friends– that we might build up to support our current life stage. The rest of our friendships give us ample opportunity to find other things in common besides life stage. In fact, when research has been done to see what bonds us to each other, data shows that our bonds are just as strong if we both like the same music as whether we’re both moms. More important ultimately than having our life stage in common is finding 2-3 other commonalities that serve as glue to our friendship.

 

Lauroly Q- Your personal story is so interesting and I can’t tell you how much I related to your story about peering into a window watching a group of women laughing together and wishing you could just walk in and join them. You compared it to like being a puppy in a pound peering through the glass. You touched my heart with that story because it was so honest and you really showed vulnerability. Tell us more how you evolved from that lonely day and how you became our “friendship” expert.

 

Shasta Nelson: At the point of that story I was a pastor and life coach so I had long been teaching healthy relationships, facilitating small groups, and creating community, but it goes to show that, often, to no fault of ours, we will frequently find ourselves needing to make new friends. That time it was because I had moved and finally admitted I needed friends that weren’t all long-distance. But it can just as easily happen when we change jobs, go through a break-up or divorce, or move our youngest kid out of the house. So taking my own life experience, and that of so many others who shared their stories with me, I started to become way more fascinated with our friendships. Believing there had to be an easier way to meet other women who valued new female friends, I woke up one morning convinced I needed to start GirlFriendCircles.com to help us all find other local potential friends. And in that space, since I was reading everything there was about the subject, interviewing women about their experiences, and developing helpful relationship models, definitions, and diagrams, I became a teacher of this subject that is such an area of passion. I’m thrilled to see the subject of platonic friendship get more and more attention as I think we live in a culture where we need it more than ever but are having a harder time developing the depth of friendships we really crave.

 Lauroly Q- In your book you touch on an important necessity about friendship which doesn’t get discussed enough in our society. You share that experts assert supportive relationships improve our odds of survival by fifty percent. You cited a landmark study of 3000 nurses with breast cancer where they found that women without close friends were four times more likely to die from the disease than women with at least 10 close friends. If that doesn’t speak volumes on how mind, body spirit is interconnected I don’t know what would! So I think your billboard idea mentioned in your book “make a friend, save a life” is timely and sorely needed in our culture today. But back to the title of your book “Friendships Don’t Just Happen”, what are the three major steps we can take to improve our current friendships and develop new ones?

Shasta Nelson: Thanks for pointing those stats out. It’s SO important for us to realize the significance of our friendships so we feel more justified taking time for friends, initiating get-togethers, and being willing to be more vulnerable. One study points out that if we feel disconnected that it’s as harmful on our bodies as smoking 15 cigarettes and twice as damaging as being obese! And look how much energy we put to those areas of health! So the first three steps I’d suggest would be:

Step 1First, do your friendship evaluation using the 5 Circles of Connectedness– it’s like a check-up so you can see what types of friends you most need to cultivate right now. For some of us we’ll need to meet new people, whereas for some of us we may just need to deepen some of the relationships we’ve already started. Based on which Circle someone needs, the 3 first steps might be different.

Step 2

My second suggestion though would be, once you see which Circles you want to intentionally foster, one of the best ways to do that is by adding consistent time together. That regular time spent together was what made our school friendships feel so automatic. Now as adults we need to figure out the best way to see each other often enough that we can eventually go beyond “updating” each other into what I call “sharing.”

Step 3And third, if there is someone we need to forgive, then this is the time to do it. Our lack of peace with how we’ve been disappointed by other friends will bleed into our current experience. We want to show up now not just ready to create meaningful friendships but also grateful for those we have had and at peace with those that have ended.

Lauroly Closing- Thanks so much Shasta for sharing your work and creating an important conversation in wellness culture too. May your circles widen and deepen as you continue your journey in life…

I could talk to Shasta all day about her wise and enlightening work but I highly recommend you read her book “Friendships Don’t Just Happen”and also join her community called GirlfriendCircles.com. If ever there was a gift to give to yourself, these are two that should be at the top of your list. So don’t buy the designer bag and treat yourself to a good book and a friendship service that will lead you to a life full of love and nourishment. Objects will never bring personal fulfillment but loving friendships will. Just ask yourself—how is it that the cultures with the longest life expectancy generally are living in modest to low-income communities? Their secret is having supportive friendships and community. The research is there but we don’t need research to tell us what the Beatles already said “all you need is love and we get by with a little help from our friends”.

Truly Herself,
Lauroly

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