Author Profile: Nita Sweeney

Author Profile: Nita Sweeney

Author Profile: Nita Sweeney, Write Now Columbus publisher and award-winning author of best-selling books

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Nita Sweeney is a lot of things to a lot of people. On top of the important and varied hats she wears, including wife, writer, author, coach, mentor, mental health advocate, marathoner, devoted dog ma, (decaf) coffee addict, and one-time attorney, she is also a meditator.

As it happens, she met the love of her life before she realized her love of meditation. It is endearingly sweet how Ed Sweeney, her husband of 29 years, not only stole Nita’s heart but also introduced her to an ancient ritual that has become central to her life, both personally and professionally.

“There was this guy,” she recalls, a slight blush rising on her cheeks nearly three decades later, of her early days with Ed. One day, her then-boyfriend asked if she would like to “sit.” He was actually inviting her to meditate. Because she liked the guy, she went along with his request. He set the microwave timer for five minutes.

“Try not to fidget,” he instructed.

But Nita is a fidgeter, and simply could not sit still the entire five minutes.

While he may not have been impressed with her meditation skills at the time, Ed both married that writer and introduced her to an activity that served as a mental lifeline for decades to come.

Her newest book, Make Every Move a Meditation, is aimed at readers both new to meditation and those with experience in the exercise. “While I give specific, detailed instructions a beginner can follow, some of the techniques might also be unfamiliar to people who have practiced before,” says Nita. While most meditation techniques suggest sitting or walking while practicing, Nita focuses on movement meditation.

Book - Make Every Move a Meditation

Although movement meditation is not new, it is not commonly taught, says Nita. “There is an assumption you must sit still in order to develop the calm and concentration necessary for effective meditation practice. I agree that a still body can create conditions to help the mind calm on its own, but stillness is not necessary.”

While she had been exposed to the concept of meditation prior to meeting Ed, Nita admits she viewed it as “bold” and “exotic.” However, as she continued to practice meditation alongside “that guy,” Nita eventually experienced the calm and concentration that can result from meditation.

Nita’s interest in mental health grew as she became more endeared to meditation and the soothing benefits she enjoyed from it. Penning Make Every Move a Meditation is a culmination of her years pursuing mental and physical health for herself coupled with her desire to share with others what she has learned along with way.

Writing about mental health “helps me process my life,” says Nita.

She says, “I enjoy writing about mental health and meditation based on my own experience because putting words on a page is a way to digest what happens to me. It helps me understand life on a deeper level.” She says writing a book combining her loves of meditation, exercise, and mental health has been a long-term goal, but it took years for the idea to percolate in her mind.

 

Nita Sweeney speaking at Garcia Street Books in Santa Fe, NMNita is excited to embark on an abbreviated book tour that will take her to several locations in the coming months including Columbus and Cincinnati. She will participate in virtual events around the book, too. Check our calendar for further information.

Beyond promoting her book, blogging, running, meditating, and sharing adventures with Ed, Nita is also looking ahead. “I’m nagged by an unfinished novel about a unicorn barista who unknowingly joins a troop of homeless forest people trying to save some ancient trees. There are also memoirs about some family members. And, poetry beckons.”

“I want to write it all.”

 

 

 

(c)Tami Kamin Meyer, 2022, all rights reserved

Author Interview: Brenda Knight

Author Interview: Brenda Knight

 

I interview wellness authors to find out what makes them tick and why they write the books they do. 

I call Brenda Knight my “Fairy Godmother.” And I’m not really joking. After the years of rejection I experienced, when Brenda told me that Mango Publishing Group wanted to publish my first book, Depression Hates a Moving Target, it felt as if she had flown down from the sky, swooped me up, and made my wildest dreams come true.

As the Associate Publisher at Mango, Brenda is a gifted powerhouse, wrangling authors and juggling publishing details with a firm, but gentle touch.

Brenda also writes.

A prolific, successful author, she is published under her own name and several pseudonyms. Mango recently updated and released one of Brenda’s best-selling books, Random Acts of Kindness: 365 Days of Good Deeds, Inspired Ideas and Acts of Goodness.

Selfishly, I wanted an excuse to spend some time with her. I knew you would want to learn about her as well. I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did.

Nita Sweeney (NS): What prompted you to write Random Acts of Kindness?

Brenda Knight (BK): My inspiration for the book starts with childhood. I was raised in my mom’s religion, First Day Adventist, which is very different from Seventh Day Adventist. I remember being jealous of Catholic, Baptist, and Jewish people, and people of all other faiths because their beliefs seemed so much more interesting. They had angels in heaven. They had hell and all that. First day of Adventist is very plain. The bottom line is “Be a good person.” Then, when Jesus Christ comes back at the Advent, if you’ve been a good person you get to stay in Heaven which is actually here on Earth.

I remember thinking “That is so not exciting.” I wondered why all my friends’ religions were more interesting and had more bells and whistles. But those early teachings of “be patient,” “be generous, “be kind with no expectation,” “be a good person, and “that’s just what it is to be a human on Earth,” worked their way in there. They got on the hard drive.

Those early teachings worked their way in there. They got on the hard drive.

When I worked at Canari Press, and Random Acts of Kindness was first published back in 1996, it went on to become a two-million copy bestseller. That was quite thrilling. I especially loved it because I love book publishing. I love working with creative people, writers, and designers—every step of the process.

But when you combine publishing with a purpose where you’re helping people, to me that’s the ultimate. I wanted to return to that purposeful publishing feeling. I wanted to share acts of kindness that I recommend, but I’ve also included some new stories where I don’t necessarily come off that well. But in those, I’ve learned a lesson and I share those lessons.

When you combine publishing with a purpose, that’s the ultimate.

NS: What a wonderful backstory to that book!

NS: In one sentence, what do you hope the reader will take away from Random Acts of Kindness?

BK: Be mindfully kind. Have that as part of your being. I do think people are inherently good. You could argue the opposite, that the jails are full to bursting, and there’s all that bad news I see on cable news channels which might make me think we are not inherently good. But there are studies and documentaries about toddlers that show that as soon as they can crawl, their inclination is to give, to help. That’s been proven.

We start off kind. And all of us, including me, get beat up by the world.

Over the years, that innate kind helpfulness can get stripped away. You start to think I just need to get through my day. I just have to survive today. But if we just take a breath and reorient, open our eyes, there are still opportunities to be kind every day in ways big and small, even in pandemic America.

Maybe it’s something like adopting an elder cat which I recently did because it never occurred to me that no one wants to adopt really old cats so they get moved out for the kittens that are highly adoptable. And the old cats are herded into old cat homes which is quite sad. I don’t know why I didn’t know that before but when I discovered it, I thought “Oh! I’ll adopt an old cat.” I sort of feel like an old cat myself. We can keep each other company. And we do.

Be mindfully kind. Have that as part of your being.

Adopting an elder cat is one example of taking action. I learned something and immediately wondered “How can I help?” Then, I took direct action. Of course, not everyone can. Perhaps your landlord doesn’t allow pets. But there are just ways to be kind. Ask the barista at your coffee place how they are doing. Really stop to listen. Then you’ve created a relationship. As we go through our day, try not to let the spinning of this old world wear you down. Be mindfully kind. It really becomes effortless.

Brenda Knight

NS: With practice it certainly does. And that leads me to the next question.

NS: Writing and life can be stressful. How you take care of yourself?

For me, writing is a kind of self-care, and I bet that is not too foreign an idea for a certain Nita Sweeney. This week, I don’t have anything that I’m writing personally, but I’m probably going to start a new project next month. I reserve writing time usually during the time the Rachel Maddow show is on. But I don’t watch Rachel Maddow when she comes on. I have it DVR’d. It could be 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. or 7:15 to 8 p.m. I reserve that time.

And it’s very meditative. My writing desk is by my garden window. I can look out right now and see the azaleas having their second bloom of the year. The beautiful fuchsia of those, the green of the newly rained upon lawn, the plantings and the apple tree are very peaceful. I look at that and drink in that peaceful, natural beauty.

Even if it’s raining, I will run out and do a little wedding. Wedding is my therapy. It brings me so much restoration and respite. It may come down to a little bit of Feng Shui, but I oriented my writing desk by something that I love to look upon, just gaze upon it. Because it’s in such a beloved peaceful spot that feels like a retreat, my heart feels writing is something I look forward to.

Weeding is my therapy.

Then I’ll light a scented candle and a stick of incense and then plop myself in front of my writing desk, and I usually know what I’m going to cover, so I have my section planned. I’ll also do some free writing. The way I’ve set up my writing area brings me a soulful sustenance. I hold onto that and don’t let anything get in the way of that.

There are two desks in the front of the house for my day job with Mango Publishing Group. I have a separation of church and state. This writing is just for creative self-care.

NS: That’s so helpful! I love the separation of church and state. Thank you.

NS: Let’s change gears a bit and talk about your business path. I once heard you say that when you were a little girl, if someone asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up, you said “an international business woman.” Will you tell us more about that and how that led you into publishing?

BK: Oh yes. I grew up up a holler on a dirt road on a farm in West Virginia on a farm which was lovely and tranquil. I had awesome access to Nature 24/7 and took full advantage of that. But I was a voracious reader from the minute I could read. And I knew there was a big bustling world out there. I wanted to get out there and see as much of the world as possible. Especially as a teen, I spent a lot of time thinking about how I could get a job where I can get paid to travel. I pondered that because those options weren’t exactly in my neck of the world, in southern Ohio and western West Virginia.

I was a voracious reader from the minute I could read.

When I moved to San Francisco, I actually got a job the first week with an import-export company. It thrilled me because I was surrounded by people from all over the world, people from Taiwan, mainland China, Brazil, Mexico, Malta, and the Philippines. The lunchroom was full of people speaking all these different languages. I would try to learn how to say “Good morning” and “How are you?” and “How’s your lunch?” in different languages. I can’t begin to tell you how exciting that was.

I did whatever it took: answered the phone, took orders, even drove a forklift in the warehouse.

But I knew in order to become a buyer which is that job where you go around the world stop on somebody else’s dime, I needed to take an executive path. So, I asked to be mentored by the executives. I was, and I did well. As I’m talking to you, I’m looking around my home. I see objects like from that time. Some of the nicest things I own, imported from Italy and India, are real treasures from that job. I hold onto that memory in that way.

I was super excited to finally be tapped to be a buyer by the founder of the company. He was a Merchant Marine who bootstrapped the company up from nothing. He said “Tomorrow we’re going to look at the factories. We’ll visit India, Mainland China, Taiwan, and, if we can, we’ll work in a trip to Italy.” I was on fire and couldn’t sleep, champing at the bit to get out there. I was in my early 20s and had not traveled at all, had never been outside of the United States. This was my dream job.

I was on fire and couldn’t sleep, champing at the bit to get out there.

Then he brought in photo albums of the factories in India and Mainland China. My chin dropped to the floor. The photos showed children making the products. That’s how I learned that, unbeknownst to me, I had been exploiting children for the five years I’d had that job. I was horrified. I said, “Those are children.” And he said “Uh huh” like it was no big deal. He’d visited those factories billions of times.

Unbeknownst to me, I had been exploiting children for five years.

As I looked at the photos, I remembered my summer job in high-school. I worked for a car dealership. I was one of the only females who worked there and I drove cars and worked in the parts department. The mechanics who repaired the cars and worked in the body shop were my lunchtime buddies. They were like artists. They took great pride in how they painted the cars.

One of them, the oldest guy, closest to retiring, didn’t want to wear the masks and protective equipment they had to wear when spray painting the cars. I always checked to see if he had on his mask.

When I caught him spray painting a car without his mask, I scolded him in a caring way because I wanted him to live. But one day he started coughing and he coughed up blood.

Because of this, I knew firsthand what would happen if you were lacquering products without ventilation and masks. It would harm your lungs very severely. And I knew the kids in the plant in India lacquered the silver tea sets and all of the other things that was lacquered. I asked my boss, the owner of the company “Where are the fans? Where’s the ventilation? Where are the masks? They are lacquering those product.” He said, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” And I said, “Well I do. Without ventilation and masks, they’ll be coughing up their lungs before they’re twelve.”

It was like an out-of-body experience.

Some aspect of me was watching me engage with my boss, the founder of the company, in shock about like how he was exploiting children and harming them. And I said “So you’re telling me like there’s no masks, no fans, no ventilation system to protect these children?” And he said, “They’re happy to have a job, and you should be too.”

I said, “I will not exploit children and you shouldn’t either. I quit.”

All these years later, I still can hardly believe I did that. I didn’t have very much money. Every month when the rent came due it was a big stressful deal. I didn’t make much money. Maybe I was being exploited too. I went home and called my best friend Maria, and cried and cried and cried. She was a great shoulder to lean on. Then she said, “All you want to do is read and talk about the books you’re reading. Why don’t you get a job in publishing?”

Then she helped me research local publishers one of which was Harper Collins in San Francisco.

After two informational interviews, I talked my way into a job in publishing and I have never looked back!

Publishing was so exciting to me. I couldn’t believe I got free books!

But thanks for asking about that experience. It’s important. Even in the face of hunger or total impoverishment, I made a value choice. It was instantaneous. There was no question. I was not going to exploit children. And I brought that sensibility with me because once I got a job at the executive level at Harper Collins, I formed a committee where we made sure that no children were working on the books especially in China and India. And on the rare occasion where we’re having books manufactured overseas, I always make sure of that too. It’s important because it’s still happening.

NS: Thank you for standing up, and for that reminder.

NS: Today, do you have a motto or a slogan that you find helpful in your day-to-day life or business?

BK: The title of the writing journal you and I collaborated on “You Should Be Writing” is my motto. Even if you work in tech or you have an organic farm, you should be writing for many reasons. First, it’s a form of self-care, at least in my life and it is for many other people. Also, you can pass down things to your children and your children’s children.

Let’s say you run an organic farm. You could write in a journal about the experience, the pleasure, and the difficulties and how you face them. People hunger for those real stories. And that’s what we are. We are our stories. We’re like vessels filled with stories. No matter who you are or what kind of work you do, you should be writing. You should be should be telling your story. Record it whether by journaling or something more deliberate like memoir. Or perhaps poetry is how you express.

“You should be writing” is my motto.

I have had people come back and tell me, even relatives in my family say, “I didn’t believe you about the writing. I didn’t think I had any anything important to say, but I found the process very enjoyable.” And, almost invariably, something else happens. As people write their story and retell it, more details come through. They are helping themselves remember. They put together pieces of stories and aspects of life. That’s important too. Writing can help you actually land on a more complete picture, a more complete story of your life. And that’s important too.

NS: I love that advice as well. Thanks.

NS: So, what’s the worst wellness or mental health advice you’ve ever been given?

BK: I have ups and downs with weight. I think it’s part of my DNA combined with having a job that requires me to be pretty sedentary where you’re locked at the laptop for zoom meetings and writing. The most recent horrific advice I got was “Don’t drink coffee. You’re poisoning yourself.”

I have to tell you, if I didn’t drink coffee, which I greatly enjoy—I’m enjoying an oat milk latte right now—I would not have a job. I’d be living in a homeless shelter. Coffee is enjoyable to me. And whether it’s just an idea in my head or if it really is caffeine power, it makes me feel like a “can do” person. Now that I have a latte, I can totally handle the five more hours of stuff I have to do. So, no. I cannot accept that advice. I have to have my coffee!

If I didn’t drink coffee, I would not have a job. I’d be living in a homeless shelter.

NS: Oh goodness. I couldn’t take that advice either.

NS: What is one wellness practice you wish you had learned earlier?

BK: Walking. From growing up on a farm, I associated walking with work. Of course, I took all kinds of little walks when I was a kid. I gathered pretty rocks I found in a creek. I had a rock tumbler and made some sad looking bits of jewelry for my sisters and mom. You’re allowed to do that for a certain number of years and then walking had to be purposeful.

My dad walked the fence line to make sure there were no holes. Walking always had to have a task attached to it. Walking didn’t have pleasure, fun, or relaxation associated with it. I had to rediscover it. And I think a lot of other people did too, especially during the pandemic. Just walking. Walking for no reason other than walking. To just blow the cobwebs out of your head. Or run a little errand. I reembraced walking and let go of the idea that it had to be chore-related. Now, I enjoy walking for no other reason than walking!

I had to rediscover walking just for walking.

NS: I can’t love that enough.

NS: How about a writing tip or a bit of advice for the writer types?

BK: I hope this isn’t too stale, but assign yourself a word count. It doesn’t have to be 2000 words a night. I’ve done that to myself and it can be stultifying. Maybe it is 250 words which is pretty doable. Then, if you go over, you’re ahead for the next day. Whether you’re writing your November novel, or a self-help book or memoir, have that very achievable daily word count and stick to it.

Brenda Knight reading in a pink room in pink light

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by a writing project, especially if you’re a little bit of a newbie. Writing a 55,000-word personal growth book sounds unachievable. You think “Oh my goodness. I can’t do that.” But whatever you’re doing—I find this applicable to all kinds of projects—map it out into small doable chunks. When you meet your word count or exceed it every day, mentally reward yourself. Take a moment to feel proud of yourself. Acknowledge that, and that will give you momentum to keep going.

Assign yourself a very achievable daily word count and stick to it.

And here’s another thing. There’s a lot of bad advice out there. Don’t try everything you’re told. There’s more bad writing advice out there than there is good, especially at writers’ conferences. And I feel a little naughty saying that because I’m usually at writers conferences every year except for the pandemic time.

But I have heard some atrocities being hurtled out at writers. And they’re so earnestly like drinking it all in. Sometimes I think “Oh my God, No! Please don’t do that.” And I can’t scream out and say that, but I can tell you to listen to what resonates with you and then even double check that with somebody you really trust.

And just don’t listen to everything you’re told.

NS: Can you give us an example, maybe the worst piece of writing advice you’ve ever heard?

BK: Some writing conference presenters tell writers to just get a list of editors and send them all the same email. Well, we can tell! And you wasted your time. We can tell instantaneously. That time you spent cutting and pasting the names of fifty editors would have been better spent going to Publishers Lunch, and looking at the top five editors and publishers who publish in your category, and querying them, and doing a little research about them.

When you reach out, you say:
“Jane Doe, I noticed that you were the acquiring editor of the book Wild. I love that book and found it life-changing. Because you work with non-fiction women’s narratives and do it very well, I’m contacting you. I have one I think you might be interested in.”

Take time to research the people you want to query. It makes such a difference. Taking ten minutes to do that research will actually get your query looked at. We can all tell and we appreciate when you’ve done your due diligence. You will be seen if you just take the time to do that research.

That’s what you did, Nita Sweeney, when you knocked on the Mango door.

NS: Thank you. And yes, I did my due diligence.

NS: We’ve covered a lot. Is there anything you would change about your journey?

BK: It was definitely important for me to have had that experience being an “international business woman” which took me down the road not taken and into publishing.

I’m even glad I worked for Rupert Murdoch, since News Corp owns Harper Collins. At the time I worked there, in the 90s, nobody knew who Rupert Murdoch was. He was just an Australian newspaper man, the mysterious global figure we didn’t have to pay any attention to. Then when he started Fox News, I began to wonder “Who is Rupert Murdoch?” so I left at exactly the right time. I joke that I went from working for the worst man in publishing to working with the kindest people in publishing with Canari Press, especially with them publishing Random Acts of Kindness.

At the time I worked at Canari, nobody knew who Rupert Murdoch was.

But there is one thing I might have changed. As that farm girl who as going to be an international business woman, I had the idea that I needed to have a high title. I thought I needed to be vice president and then president. I had this trajectory in my mind that I somehow developed while living on a farm!

Eventually, I did get a job where I was vice-president of an international publishing company. I don’t even have it on my resume because it was a nightmarish experience for me. I’m sure other people had a very different experience, and I wish them all the best. But it was very male-oriented. There was even a little bit of a “bro” mentality, and I do not mix well with the “bro” mentality. I don’t think most women in business do well with the “bro” mentality. It was miserable for me.

And once I achieved that vice president level, all I did was put out fires and deal with really boring paperwork. I didn’t get to do what I really like which is acquiring books, developing books and book programs, working with authors and creative people. I just shoveled paper from my desk to others’ desks.

While I wish I hadn’t had that job, at the same time, I learned an important lesson. Titles don’t matter, not in the least. When I left that job, I became publisher which is also a nice title, even though I had gotten over my obsession with needing a fancy title. On my business card, I had them put publisher and office composter. And I was more proud of “office composter.” I worked out a whole system, and got all the tenants in the building involved. I even got the Berkeley trash and compost people to come over and meet with us. I took it very seriously.

Titles don’t matter, not in the least.

NS: I can absolutely see you as the office composter. Brava!

NS: So, the last serious question. “What’s next?” You hinted at the next writing project. Do you want to tell us about that?

BK: All I will say is that it is Tolkien related. It goes right back to the farm.

When I was nine, someone gave me The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. I started with The Hobbit and there was no turning back. My mom drove me all over, including many trips to Columbus, Ohio, for books. Once I got into it, I had to read every biography of him ever written, and stories he had written that weren’t nearly as popular. I was a Tolkien completist starting at the age of ten. My love for his writing and the world he created, Middle Earth, only grows. So, I’ve got something up my sleeve that’s a little Middle-Earthy.

NS: And finally:

NS: Mermaids or goddesses?

BK: Mermaids. Double Pisces.

NS: Of course!

NS: Toast or bagels?

BK: Toast.

NS: Ocean, mountains, or forests?

BK: Forests, preferably Middle-Earthy ones.

NS: Leggings or jeans?

BK: Leggings.

NS: Dogs, cats, fish, guinea pigs, or horses?

BK: And you can’t say all?

NS: You can say all.

BK: I’m going to say “all” because when I lived on a farm, we had all of those, and more!

About Brenda Knight:

Brenda Knight Random Acts of KindnessBrenda Knight began her career at HarperCollins, working with luminaries Paolo Coelho, Marianne Williamson, and Huston Smith. Knight was awarded IndieFab’s Publisher of the Year in 2014 at the American Library Association. She is the author of Wild Women and BooksThe Grateful TableBe a Good in the World, and Women of the Beat Generation, which won an American Book Award. Knight is a poet, writer, and editor. She also served as President of the Women’s National Book Association, San Francisco Chapter, and is an instructor at the annual San Francisco Writers Conference, Central Coast Writers Conference and wherever she can be with fellow writers. A scholar of medieval literature and modern poetry, she lives in San Francisco, California.

Follow Brenda’s blog, “Lower Haight Holler.”



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Author Interview with G. Brian Benson

Author Interview with G. Brian Benson

 

I interview wellness authors to find out what makes them tick, and why they write the books they do. 

I met G. Brian Benson a month before our publisher, Mango Publishing, released my first book, Depression Hates a Moving Target. He and I shared a booth with several other authors, at the L.A. Times Festival of Books. Like the other authors, he was friendly and welcoming to me, a newbie author, just getting her feet wet. The author of several books, he has a lot of experience and insight to share. I wanted you to hear it from him.

Nita Sweeney (NS): Tell us about your most recent book.

Brian Benson (GBB): My latest book was Habits for Success: Inspired Ideas to Help You Soar, which was published with Mango. And which was how we met! I’m so proud of how the book turned out.

I tried to write it creatively, consciously, and with heart. My goal was to guide the reader to their own personal version of success and happiness, while giving them permission to take their own journey and build a foundation of strength for the long run. So, I tried to be authentic and vulnerable. I shared my own relationship with the habits I talk about, and used ideas and stories to entertain and inspire the reader along the way. I was so pleased that the book was a Grand Prize winner in the 2019 Book Excellence Awards.

NS: What made you want to write this book?

GBB: It just wanted to come out. I have always honored what needs to come out–whether it’s a book, spoken word piece or short film–I don’t sit around and try and come up with an idea for a project. I don’t really have a choice! It comes to me and I look at it as a way to grow, be creative and hopefully help others all at the same time.

NS: What message do you hope readers take away?

GBB: Ultimately with everything that I create, I want folks to come away feeling better about themselves and the world. I know how important self-acceptance and self-love is and if I can empower someone to feel inspired to step out of their comfort zone and begin to see what they are capable of, I have done my job. The beautiful thing is I am gaining so much from it personally as well.  I feel like I am a conduit and the words I am writing and sharing, are for me also.

NS: Writing (and life) can be stressful. How do you take care of yourself?

GBB: Lots of things! I don’t think it was an accident that my first book was on a whole bunch of different ways to stay in life balance. It really gave me the opportunity to become more self-aware in this department. I love to move/exercise and it is one of the main ways that helps me stay grounded. Meditation, clean food, boundaries, self-awareness, hiking, plenty of sleep and movies also help.

NS: Do you have a writing tip for the writers out there?

GBB: Sure!  Be true to yourself when writing. Write honestly and truthful. Write what wants to come out, not what you think you should write or what you think people want. Folks inherently want authenticity. They may not know this on the surface, but they do. It gives us permission to be authentic ourselves. We all subconsciously crave authenticity, because deep down trying to fight through all of the false modeling that we have been presented via society, advertising, social media, it is our true nature.

NS: What’s the worst piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?

GBB: To be honest, I can’t think of anything. I am kind of a self-taught/intuitive writer and haven’t really garnered much advice since I started writing by accident 13 years ago. I think I may have tripped myself up in a variety of ways as I learned how to become a better writer as I progressed though. Expectations, perfectionism are a few that come to mind.

NS: And the best?

GBB: I learned this the hard way. The book or project is for you first and foremost. Let the growth that comes from the journey of creativity be the gift and anything else that happens with it, just be icing on the cake.

NS: Tell us more about your wellness work.

GBB: Sure…thanks!  In addition to the 3 self-improvement books I have written, I am also a project and clarity coach and love to help folks realize their goals and dreams. Whether it’s writing a book, creating a presentation, starting a podcast or what have you. I have learned a lot (sometimes the hard way), from all of the projects I have birthed over the course of the last 13 years.

NS: What led you to this path?

GBB: Intuition. I mentioned earlier that I accidentally wrote my first book. In the process of leaving my family business in 2008, I headed into the unknown. I felt out of balance. I sat down one day and wrote 5 things that I knew would help me…and they did. My intuition screamed expand the list and write a book. So, I did!

It won a few awards, which shocked me and I realized that if I wanted to share its message, I needed to overcome my fear of speaking. One thing lead to another as I stepped out of my comfort zone. Before I knew it, I was writing more, moved to LA to act, and began to create a lot of positive media (books, short films, spoken word videos and TEDx presentations).  It’s been exciting and surreal.  I never would have imagined any of this would happen. I just kept following my gut.

NS: Do you have a motto or slogan you find helpful? If so, how did you arrive at that?

“Be yourself to free yourself!”

GBB: Definitely!  “Be yourself to free yourself!” I started using that a long time ago in my work and it consistently reminds myself to live this way.  I even have the domain!

NS: What’s the worst wellness (mental health, self-care) advice you’ve ever heard?

G. Brian Benson

GBB: Folks give other people’s advice way too much credence. While some advice is warranted and great, a lot of time people are just sharing their own fears and passing them on to their friends and family. I see it on social media all of the time. Very co-enabling with little chance of really breaking through.

I believe we have most of the answers already inside of us. We just need to get quiet and listen and trust. The more you do it, the easier it gets.

 

NS: Is there something about coping you wish you’d learned earlier?

GBB: That life is like a big rollercoaster. There are always going to be peaks and valleys. In the past when I would hit a valley, I would try to scratch and claw my way out of it, instead of just sitting with whatever was happening, learn from it and trust that I would move out of it.  We always do.

NS: Has your life turned out differently than you expected? If so, how?

GBB: Yes.  I never planned on being a writer, creative or actor. And it still is evolving.

NS: Is there anything you would change about your journey?

GBB: As easy as it would be to say yes, I don’t think I would. Everything that I have gone through has made me the person that I am and instilled the spirit and creativity that comes through in my work.

NS: What are you currently reading for inspiration?

GBB: I love history and biographies. I am currently reading a book about George Washington called His Excellency.  Very interesting!

NS: Is there a wellness or inspirational book you couldn’t finish? Why?

GBB: Hmmm…there have been some that I didn’t finish. Can’t really think of them right now.

NS: What wellness book could you not put down?

GBB: I read Seat of the Soul, by Gary Zukav about 30 years ago. It felt intuitively spot on for me. Reading that book opened up my thinking and helped me re-remember things that I felt like I knew prior to this incarnation.

NS: What’s next for you?

GBB: Lots!  In addition to project coaching, I am working on a new book that is a road trip memoir and using a 5 ½ month RV trip across the USA that I just finished as a container for it. I am also getting my podcast going again, as well as some other creative video projects.  Thanks for asking.

AND FINALLY:

NS: Mermaids or Goddesses? (Superheroes or Gods?)

GBB: Neither (?) Give me Babe Ruth, Eleanor Roosevelt or Teddy Roosevelt any day. They’re interesting and larger than life in their own ways.

NS: Toast or bagels?

GBB: Both

NS: Ocean, mountains, or forest?

GBB: Forests

NS: Jeans or slacks or sweatpants?

GBB: Blue jeans and boots

NS: Dogs, cats, fish, guinea pigs, or horses?

GBB: Dogs

About G. Brian BensonHabits for Success

G. Brian Benson is an award-winning and #1 best-selling self-improvement and children’s book author, actor, filmmaker, project coach, podcast host and TEDx speaker. As a 4x Ironman triathlete and cross-country bicyclist, Brian knows the value of hard work and never giving up on his dreams, a message he shares with audiences through each of his creative expressions. Brian’s latest book Habits for Success: Inspired Ideas to Help You Soar was an Amazon #1 Best-Seller and was selected as a 2019 Book Excellence Award Winner in the Motivational book category.

Websites:

www.gbrianbenson.com
www.habitsforsuccessbook.com

Social Media:

Twitter – gbrianbenson
Facebook – gbrianbensonmedia
Instagram – gbrianbenson
YouTube – gbrianbenson
LinkedIn – gbrianbenson

Giveaway:

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Author Interview: Sherry Richert Belul

Author Interview: Sherry Richert Belul

Author Interview: Sherry Richert Belul

I interview wellness authors to find out what makes them tick, and why they write the books they do. 

At the beginning of the pandemic, Sherry Richert Belul, founder of Simply Celebrate and author of Say It Now, along with Brenda Knight, Associate Publisher of Mango Publishing Group, created the Heart Wisdom weekly author panels. Sherry and Brenda felt people needed “Heart Wisdom” to help us all get through. Sherry’s vibrant presence, smart questions, and playful personality makes these Wednesday panels glow. I knew you would want to meet her.

Nita Sweeney (NS): What inspired you to write Say It Now?

Sherry Richert Belul (SRB): All my life I’ve attended funerals where people tell loving stories, show photos, and express their appreciation to the person who has died. It is beautiful and moving. I love those tributes. However, inevitably, loved ones would always express regret that that hadn’t said those things to the person when they were still alive.

I would always nod and say, “We need to say it now.”

I decided to do something about this. I decided to make it easy for people to express love and appreciation NOW. I decided to offer people creative, fun, simple, and inexpensive ways to show their love. That’s why I wrote the book!

NS: What message do you hope readers take away?

SRB: The main message, of course, is: Say it Now!

Seriously, life is fleeting and we never know how much time we have here on this planet. We never know when someone we love might suddenly pass away. I don’t say this to be morbid, but rather to ignite the part of us that wants to be more expressive, but is waiting for a special occasion, waiting to have more free time, or waiting to feel inspired before we step out of our comfort zone and let someone know how much they mean to us.

Life is challenging and uncertain. Many people we love are struggling to find more joy. Our love and attention are essential … RIGHT NOW.

interview: Sherry Richert Belul - woman holding book

Dear reader, please stop worrying about buying the perfect gift or finding tangible items to celebrate someone you love. What people want most in the world is to be seen and loved for exactly who they are. People want to know that they matter and that they’ve made a difference. The world stresses the importance of accolades, awards, and promotions. The world stresses material gifts. Those joys are fleeting. The best way you can celebrate someone is to show them how much of an impact they’ve had on you. You can let them know why you are so darned glad they are alive and in your life.

NS: Tell us about your company.

SRB: My company is called Simply Celebrate. My work is all about helping people find creative, intentional, and impactful ways to celebrate life and to express love for family and friends.

All too often, we’re taught to focus on goals we want to attain or tangible successes.

But most people at the end of life realize that what really matters is the relationships we’ve had and the moments of our lives when we’ve been present to the simple joys of life.

In the end, we hold dearly in our memories the family dinners when we laughed together over small stories of the day. We recall sitting in a café with a close friend, sharing books we love. We savor the memory of grandma’s apple strudel, mom’s beehive hairdo, the camping road trips in the rain, the scrawled-in-crayon love note from our child, kind words whispered to us on the phone.

We can get lulled into thinking that it is the “big events” that matter most — weddings, graduations, milestone birthdays. Sure, those are great to celebrate. But most of our life is about our day-to-day experiences and connections.

So why not cherish those moments now?

Our life moments are gifts. We can choose to be present to them and to celebrate them as they are happening. We can also choose to create magical moments as gifts to others. Celebration is not about some result we’ve earned or a state we’ve reached or a special occasion. Celebration is a practice. It is a way of life. Celebration is here, waiting for you, right now.

Don’t wait. Celebrate now. Say it now.

NS: What led you to this path?

SRB: Often when people hear the name of my company, Simply Celebrate, they think it’s all about confetti and balloons. They think I’m the sort of happy-go-lucky person who jumps out of bed in the morning, a grin on my face and a sparkle in my step.

Nope. Not true.

My work grew out of darkness, depression, and anxiety.

What led me to this path is that self-hate and extreme anxiety nearly killed me when I was a young woman. I was so tormented by thoughts in my head constantly telling me that I wasn’t living up to my potential, I wasn’t living the right life, I wasn’t doing or saying the right things, I wasn’t the right person. Basically, all my thoughts were always about what was wrong or missing in my life — and in me.

All I could think about was a way to get myself off this planet and out of all that pain. It felt like an iron wall was closing in on me.

By grace, I was led to a meditation class. During that class, I remember taking one deep breath in, and for a split second, I had a sense of okay-ness. I remember thinking, “I don’t want to kill myself.” That moment of relief was like a tiny pinprick of light in that heavy iron wall around me. (If you’ve ever been in the dark, you know that a tiny light makes all the difference.)

That moment made me realize that depression and anxiety are not solid. That my life is not one big thing. That it is comprised of tiny moments. And that I could see each moment as separate from the others.

I started practicing finding well-being in tiny moments.

Holding my cats and feeling them purr. Tasting the blueberry jam on my toast. Wrapping myself in the quilt Grandma made. Feeling the sun on my face. Hearing a bird chirp. Watching a butterfly flit by. Smelling the taste of lime.

Each of those moments I would think, “I’m okay. I don’t want to kill myself. Everything is okay right now.” After many months of practicing that, those moments became, “This is nice. I feel good. This is joy.”

After enough time passed, I realized that I didn’t have to wait for those moments of well-being or joy to land on me, I could create them. I started intentionally bringing more love and light into my life.

interview: Sherry Richert Belul - woman clasping glasses

I scheduled artist dates for myself where I got dressed up, went to the art museum, and treated myself to a chocolate popsicle fashioned after a sculpture on the rooftop garden. I bought myself bubble bath and candles and read great fiction while soaking in the tub. I took myself to the beach and created uplifting audio recordings for my future self to listen to. I went on walks and promised myself I’d find at least ten beautiful things.

Time passed. I kept practicing. My whole life changed.

From there, the best part of all happened: I got to a place in my life in which I could look up, look around, and see that there are a lot of people in the world who are in the dark and in need of a pinprick of light. People are grieving deaths, divorces, illness, and loss of all kinds. People are scared. People are anxious or worried.

I realized that I could offer pinpricks of light to people to help them in their own moments of darkness.

I sent surprise notes to friends, and tucked in funny photos to make them smile. I started writing love letters to strangers who were grieving or ill. I made dozens of lists of reasons why I love people and gave them to those people. I intentionally smiled at people I passed on the street. I hid money with kind notes for people to find in public parks or restrooms. I became a better listener and used my whole body and heart to be present with people during their hardest times.

That’s where my true work began. And today, I still need to practice finding pinpricks of light for myself.

Fortunately, often the best place to find that light is when I intentionally give it away.

NS: Writing (and life) can be stressful. How do you take care of yourself?

SRB: One of the best things I do for myself is to take myself on silent retreats. Back before the pandemic, I would go quarterly to a little cabin with no phone service or internet. I have to be more creative now, but I still prioritize finding ways to get off the grid, get off social media, get out of other people’s conversations and get quiet and still.

On a daily basis I give myself that stillness through formal meditation and also audio guided meditations.

I also make sure to start my day with quiet and with movement. I don’t look at emails, news, or social media for the first couple hours of the day. Instead, I dance, do yoga, write, meditate, read inspirational books, and practice gratitude.

For me, the best self-care is when I connect deeply to myself and listen as if I were my own best friend.

NS: Do you have a motto or slogan you find helpful? If so, how did you arrive at that?

SRB: “Never underestimate the power of a single pinpoint of light in the darkness.”

When I live by that motto, which was born out of necessity when I was deeply depressed, I can see that it is possible to drop fear, disappointment, and distress and take just a single moment to feel or offer love. Just one tiny moment of turning my attention to love and light sets me off in a new direction, if only for that moment!

Every moment is a chance to feel successful. Every moment is a chance to notice the color orange or see the hummingbird or hear the breeze through the trees. Every moment is a new chance to reach out to someone I’ve neglected or to start writing the next book.

interview: Sherry Richert Belul - smiling woman in front of parasol

I do not have to carry any stories from the past or future into this moment. When it stands on its own, it feels fresh. I feel new. Life feels possible.
Rinse and repeat!

NS: What’s the worst wellness (mental health, self-care) advice you’ve ever heard?

SRB: “Turn that frown upside down” can be the worst possible advice, depending on the circumstance. Sure, there are times when we may be suffering over made-up stories in our heads or because we are re-telling stories that don’t support us, however, there are plenty of times in life when what is called for is to let ourselves feel the grief, sadness, disappointment, or fear.

When well-meaning people try to “cheer us up” it can often be because they feel inadequate to sit with us in the pain. It has to do with them, not us.

We are human beings who feel a whole range of emotions. Cutting ourselves off from our feelings is not the path to happiness. It may sound counter-intuitive, but I’ve practiced finding joy within the hard times, within the sorrow. I call it “celebrating in the dark.”

Instead of trying to smile when I feel bad, I ask myself, “Honey, what do you need?” I try to be my own best friend. I might draw a hot bath, put in some eucalyptus oils, and set out a cozy robe. Or, I might call a good friend with whom I can be authentic and vulnerable. There is a quiet joy in being loved this way.

Being human is a complex and multi-layered experience. Each of us is the only person who knows in any given moment whether it serves us best to dive into the pain we feel or to try to move into another state of being. There is no one-size-fits-all for how to be in life! Letting yourself frown may be what moves you into an authentic smile after time. Or “faking it til you make it” might be the trick. Life happens in moments, remember! We can pay attention and act from there.

NS: What is one thing about coping you wish you’d learned earlier?

SRB: I wish I’d learned to ask for help earlier. I never want to be the person to bring other people down. I didn’t want to be the dark rain cloud overhead. But as I’ve grown older, I understand more and more what a gift it is when people ask for help and we get to show up for them. It feels good to be strong for someone else. When I ask for help, I give someone else the gift of strength. I never saw that aspect of coping before.

NS: Has your life turned out differently than you expected? If so, how?

SRB: Funny thing is, the content of my life looks very much like what I would have wanted it to look like if you’d asked me 40 years ago. I longed to be someone who wore hats and whimsical clothing, to live a creative life, filled with quirky events, art, music, bubbles, and dance.

I wanted to live in a city and feel like “That Girl” when she twirled in the street and threw her hat in the air.

(Sorry, you have to be over 50 to get that reference!)

Astonishingly, I somehow landed right where I longed to be.

However, the process of getting here was completely different than I’d imagined. I never would have guessed that depression and anxiety would be my life’s guides.

I thought I would effort my way to being who I wanted to be in the world. Instead, it took complete surrender.

I thought I’d write down my goals and feel happy when I checked things off the list and got to the end. Instead, I found the happiness in the tiny moments along the way. The process of becoming who I dreamed of was where the real riches live.

NS: Is there anything you would change about your journey?

SRB: Not a thing. I’ve practiced Zen for long enough to truly understand from an experiential place that everything in my life has supported and served me in getting to this moment. Every “failure,” every “humiliation,” every “misstep,” every “wrong turn,” every “waste of time,” helped me to know myself better and to recalibrate so that I could turn my face toward the light.

NS: What are you currently reading for inspiration?

SRB: I’m re-reading Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown for the third time. I am constantly honing in more deeply on the impact I want to have during my short time on this planet. This book is the perfect guide for that process.

On my morning and evening walks, I also listen to inspirational books. I just started Twla Tharp’s audio book, The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life. I’m ready for the next stage of my creative life to emerge and I suspect this book will help!

NS: Is there a wellness or inspirational book you couldn’t finish? Why?

SRB: One of the most popular books for pregnant women is called, What to Expect When You’re Expecting. I hated this beloved-by-so-many book. I read part of it and then donated it to Goodwill!

To me, this book seemed to be selling people on the idea that certain things might —or are likely to —happen to us on our journey. (And most of them were painful, scary or bad, if I recall correctly!)

I remember thinking, “I want to have my own experience of pregnancy. I don’t want to have it in my head that at a certain stage my ankles are likely to swell. Then, I’ll be examining my ankles, thinking, “Ouch, yes, I think they are swelling, just when they’re supposed to according to my book of how my life is going to unfold.” (My ankles never got swollen when I was pregnant!)

I know that book is super popular, but it seems dangerous to me for any of us to offer a blueprint of any kind to another human being. Once someone has it in their head that something is likely to go a certain way, it is really hard for that person to have their own experience.

NS: What wellness book could you not put down?

SRB: Oh, goodness! Hundreds of them! My shelves are well stocked with wellness books that have been lifesavers at just the perfect time.

Two books started me on my personal growth journey, so I will give an appreciative nod to them. The first is The Tao of Pooh. This book was recommended to me by a stranger late one night when I was in college and feeling completely lost in my life. I was straddling trying to be like everyone else (unsuccessfully!) and trying to find the “real” me.

Reading The Tao of Pooh started me on my now lifetime commitment to Eastern thought and meditation.

The second book was one that I was given during that suicidal period I talked about previously. This is the book that literally led me to that meditation class in which I had the “pinprick of light in the iron wall” moment. It is a book by Cheri Huber called That Which You are Seeking is Causing You to Seek. Cheri is a bit of a renegade Zen teacher and she has a wonderful sense of humor. She focuses on helping people get it that there is truly nothing wrong with them.

(Can I repeat that? THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU!)

That book, her meditation class, and her guidance over the past 30 years have literally transformed my life.

NS: What’s next for you writing wise?

SRB: I’m starting work this week on a newfangled gratitude journal. This is a gratitude journal like no other! I’ve developed more than a dozen practices that go way beyond the “write three things you’re grateful for each day” philosophy. I think the planet needs some fresh, creative ideas for bringing more appreciation and practical gratitude into people’s daily lives. This isn’t just listing things we’re grateful for, it is about putting gratitude into action. You’ll see!

NS: Do you have any other tips for how to cope with depression or sadness or a sense of failure/regret?

SRB: Nita, thank you for asking that! I do!

At one of my low, low points in life, when I was feeling like a failure as a writer (pile of rejection slips on my desk!), a failure in my marriage (splitting up with hubby when our son was only two years old), a failure as a friend (I felt like that dark rain cloud I mentioned up above), and just an overall a big loser … I took myself to the Santa Cruz Boardwalk and just sat and sobbed and sobbed.

However, I LOVE all of the smell of boardwalks — the cotton candy and apple fritters and pretzels and popcorn! And I LOVE all the colors of the boardwalk and the sounds of the boardwalk. I LOVE Laughing Sal with her hearty guffaws and fancy apron.

At one point I stopped crying, looked around, and said to myself, “You know what? You don’t have to be a successful anything.

You could get a job here at the Boardwalk at the Apple Fritter stand and ride a rusted, orange, fat-tired bike to work. Shery, you could wear flowers and plaids and not care that they don’t match. Or, you could wear whimsical hats and spend your days trying to make people laugh. You could hear people’s stories all day long and listen intently. And at night, you’d go home to piles of great books and two purring cats.

That day my alter ego was born: The Apple Fritter Lady.

And whenever the voices in my head start to clamor and clatter about how not this and how not that I am — i.e what a loser I am — I remember that I could just quit everything and move to the Boardwalk to become the Apple Fritter Lady.

interview: Sherry Richert Belul - woman laughing

Here’s the real secret: I don’t really have to quit everything and I don’t really have to move. I just have to change my perspective and align with the spirit and values of the Apple Fritter Lady. Then, I feel better! My definition of “success” gets recalibrated to who I really am and what I really want.

So my tip is, find yourself an alter ego! (I’m serious. Really. Make that happen for yourself!)

AND FINALLY:

NS: Mermaids or Goddesses? (Superheroes or Gods?)

SRB: Neither! Hummingbirds please.

NS: Toast or bagels?

SRB: Both! Yum! Jam, too, please.

NS: Ocean, mountains, or forest?

SRB: Oceans enchant and entrance me. Oh, yes, please, let me walk on the sandy beach beside one or on the cliffs that tower above the waves.

NS: Leggings or jeans? (Jeans or slacks or sweatpants?)

SRB: Dresses every day! Or maybe some funky, wide-legged capris.

NS: Dogs, cats, fish, guinea pigs, or horses?

SRB: I love the mystery and independence of cats. Though I have had several very dog-like cats who love to be petted and tummy-rubbed.

About Sherry Richert Belul

Sherry Richert Belul, founder of Simply Celebrate, helps people find creative, intentional and impactful ways to celebrate life and to express love for family and friends. As a certified high performance coach, Sherry supports people in living their best lives, full of joy, success, engagement, and meaningful relationships. She is the author of Say it Now: 33 Creative Ways to Say I Love You to the Most Important People in Your Life. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, Town + Country, and The Wall Street Journal.

Website: http://www.simplycelebrate.net

Offer: Express Your love + feel good today with this LoveList Toolkit

Social Media:

https://www.instagram.com/simplycelebrate/

https://www.facebook.com/simplycelebrate

https://www.twitter.com/simplycelebrate/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/sherryrichertbelul/

https://www.youtube.com/sherrybelul


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Author Interview: Kim Colegrove

Author Interview: Kim Colegrove


Author Interview: Kim Colegrove

I interview wellness authors to find out what makes them tick, and why they write the books they do. Kim Colegrove, another Mango author, and I met when she invited me to endorse her book, Mindfulness for Warriors: Empowering First Responders to Reduce Stress and Build Resilience. She’s also a frequent guest on the Mango Heart Wisdom panels. Given my own meditation practice, and my husband Ed’s membership in our local citizens police academy, her book was a great fit. Kim shares a powerful story of tragedy turned to good purpose. I knew you folks would want to get to know her.

Nita Sweeney (NS): I know your story, and I’m going to dive right in. What prompted you to write this book?

Author Kim Colegrove


Kim Colegrove (KC)
: In the fall of 2014, I lost my husband to suicide, less than three months after he retired from a 30-year law enforcement career. David’s death led me on a journey of discovery about how chronic stress and accumulated trauma impact our first responders.

 

Kim and her late husband, David

I was shocked to learn that we lose more police officers and firefighters to suicide than line of duty deaths, and that approximately 22 military veterans take their own life every day.

I felt compelled to do something to help.

So, I started an organization to help first responders cope with stress and trauma, and I wrote the book to share my story and reach people in these professions who are struggling with mental and emotional issues.

NS: Please tell us more about that work.

KC: My organization, Pause First Academy, offers resilience training to first responders. We focus on holistic wellness and work-life balance. Most of our trainers are military veterans and first responders, and have experience speaking or teaching on wellness topics in their own professions. We offer online courses and in-person training for individuals and organizations.

NS: You’re probably heard it all, But what’s the worst mental health advice you’ve ever heard?

KC: In my line of work, “suck it up, buttercup,” has been the traditional mental health advice given to first responders. Thankfully, that is beginning to change.

NS: I’m very grateful to hear of that change. What is one thing about well-being you wish you’d learned earlier?

KC: I wish I’d known then what I know now, and that I could have saved my husband.

NS: Given what you know now, do you have a go-to wellness practice you would like to share?

KC: Meditation. I’m a 45-year practitioner of meditation, an enthusiastic proponent, and I’ve been teaching professionally for a decade. I know a lot of people shy away from meditation for various reasons, not the least of which is that it can be difficult to practice and commit to. However, the benefits far outweigh the sometimes-challenging learning curve.

NS: Has your life turned out differently than you expected? If so, how?

KC: 1 million per cent. However, I’ve accepted that the loss in my life created a new, important path for me, and I just keep taking the next step.

NS: What wellness book could you not put down?

KC: The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. I believe I read it for the first time in the late 90s or very early 2000s, at a pivotal point in my personal development and evolution.

NS: What’s next for you writing wise?

KS: I’d like to write a follow-up book for spouses and family members of first responders.

AND FINALLY:

NS: Mermaids or Goddesses? (Superheroes or Gods?)

KC: Goddesses. But it’s nearly a tie.

NS: Toast or bagels?

KC: Toast

NS: Ocean, mountains, or forest?

KC: Ocean, ocean, ocean.

NS: Leggings or jeans?

KC: Sweatpants and pajama pants.

NS: Dogs, cats, fish, guinea pigs, or horses?

KC: Oh my goodness, dogs! I want all the dogs! Dogs are my favorite people!

ABOUT KIM COLEGROVE

Kim Colegrove, author of Mindfulness for Warriors, is a 45-year veteran of meditation, the creator of Pause First: Mindfulness for First Responders and the founder of Pause First Academy – Resilience Training for Frontline Workers.

Colegrove is the widow of a first responder who died by suicide. She previously taught mindfulness in corporate settings such as Garmin International, United Way, Department of Veterans Affairs, and The National Court Reporters Association. After her husband’s death, Kim turned her full attention to helping first responders cope with stress and trauma through mindfulness training.

By pulling from her own life experience and applying her relatable, mainstream style, Kim developed curriculum first responders could trust. She now leads a team of instructors who offer resilience training, holistic wellness, and work-life balance courses in-person and through Kim’s online platform: Pause First Academy.

CONTACT

Kim Colegrove
kimcolegrove@pausefirst.com
913-972-2548

SOCIAL LINKS

Website: www.pausefirst.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/pausefirstacademy
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kimcolegrove
Instagram: kimcolegrove_author
Subscribe to Newsletter: https://pausefirst.com/contact/

 



If you purchase something through the affiliate links on this page, Write Now Columbus, a collection of resources for central Ohio writers and readers, will receive a small percentage of the sale.