Taking time to make decisions based on the understanding that there is a consequence one way or another, allows us to step back and think twice before making choices that will affect us.
Often when we refer to wellness, we assume that we are talking about physical wellbeing. But one can be physically very healthy but still be unwell, emotionally or mentally. What are the steps we can take to cultivate optimal wellness in all areas of our life; to develop Mental, Physical, Emotional, & Spiritual Wellbeing?
As a part of our series about “How We Can Cultivate Our Mental, Physical, Emotional, & Spiritual Wellbeing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing spiritual wellness author Connie Cord. Connie Cord, Author of “ Messages From Love; A Journey of a Lifetime; Breaking Free From Religion’s Box,” utilizes her personal journey and extensive study of spirituality and enlightenment to guide her readers on their own journey to Spiritual Awakening. An Esthetician by trade, Connie has owned her own skincare business for the past 33 years. Combining her love for spirituality and her designated career, her passion is helping her clients feel beautiful inside and out.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
First I’d like to thank you for allowing me to be a part of your series on the importance of combining physical health and spiritual well-being. It’s such an important topic and I definitely feel they are deeply connected.
My childhood was great. I had wonderful and loving parents and a brother and sister that I am still very close with. There were two significant experiences in my childhood that made a lifelong impact on me. Ironically they happen to fit this very topic!
First, I was raised in a strict organized religion that didn’t always resonate with me, especially as I got older and I eventually rebelled a bit in my teenage years. Secondly, I was overweight as a child and very aware of feeling that created for me. I knew that I did not want to continue in that direction. Eventually in my teenage years I grew a couple inches and lost weight. I made a promise to myself that I would always do the best I could to stay in shape and be healthy. At the age of seventeen I decided that “The Church” was not for me which triggered a lifelong quest as a “Truth Seeker.” Consequently both things sent me on a path of health and wellness and searching for Spiritual Truth.
What and who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.
At the age of twenty six my dad randomly put together a wonderful weekend for me and his wife at the Ritz Carlton in Laguna Niguel. We had two days of pampering set up for us at a near by full service salon. It was my first experience having all these amazing services done. Everything from hair, facials, lash and brow tinting to body care, body analysis for styling, color analysis and makeup etc. It was such a wonderful experience that I decided I wanted to get into that field and eventually went to School and got my Esthetician license.
None of us can achieve some success without help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help and encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?
I had amazing parents growing up. Both very different, however in their differences I have always felt very grateful to have learned so much from both of their diverse ways of living. I feel like it made me more well rounded, experiencing the best of both worlds.
My parents divorced when I was 11. We lived with my mom full time in a small college town in Northern California. My growing up years in Chico Ca. were very casual and down to earth and we were very involved in our religion. My mother was a wonderful hard working single mother who dedicated her life to us kids. We always had everything we needed and she created a safe, loving and secure home life for us. I am very grateful for her, what she stood for and have only good memories of growing up.
Once my parents divorced my father lived in the Bay Area. He lived a much more worldly life. It seemed very exciting! I always looked up to him. He was an amazing man. Very successful yet so humble in his demeanor. He was kind, gentle, ethical, adventurous and always inspiring others to live their best life. His life was tragically cut short at the age of fifty in a private plane accident. I still draw upon his life legacy to this day.
I am grateful and inspired by both for different reasons.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that that occurred to you in the course of your career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?
Five years into the the salon I worked at I had the opportunity to take it over with another stylist I had worked with for many years. We were good friends. I’m not sure how funny this is but I did learn a big lesson! I learned in business the importance of really knowing who your combining your business efforts with! It was not a good partnership and it dissolved within about a year and a half. Although it was a tough lesson at the time I learned so much. It did end in a positive way however for both of us. He got another salon with the same company in a different location and I took over the one we had previously owned together. We became friends again!
Is there a particular book that made an impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
My dad had passed away and that really stimulated my search in regards to questions involving God and the afterlife. I started to think again about my childhood upbringing and the questioning began. I was “randomly” given a book by Neil Donald Walsh called, “Conversations with God.” It was the first in the untangling of my organized religious upbringing. I read the whole series along with most every other book he’s ever written. It was extremely impactful and my search for “Truth” began.
Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?
Oh boy! There are so many! I think my favorite would be, “ Always take care of Life and Life will always take care of you.” It is my belief that God is not just some personage in the sky that looks down on us and judges our every move but that in fact God is Pure Unconditional Love and the Energy that encompasses All Things. Therefore, Life and God from my personal perspective are synonymous. This is why I love this quote, it is simple but so profound in a Truth that encompasses so much.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?
It is my passion to help people live happy lives. Writing my book was very cathartic for me and has allowed me to be entrenched in my passion of Truth Seeking. I feel it is also my personal contribution to humanity. It residually has sparked numerous ideas for new projects that are fun and exciting for me! I am currently working on book two which will be written in the same format as my first book. My books are meant to stimulate people to go on their own Spiritual Journey and “Awakening” finding a perspective in Life that creates love, peace and ultimately joy. I also aspire to create a clothing line with the inspirational quotes from my book. In addition I have found that I love to paint! I plan to make an Oracle card deck utilizing my artwork, again combining it with the inspiration from my book.
OK, thank you for all that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. In this interview series we’d like to discuss cultivating wellness practices in four areas of our lives, Mental wellness, Physical wellness, Emotional wellness & Spiritual wellness. Let’s dive deeper into these together. Based on your research or experience, can you share with our readers three good habits that can lead to optimal mental wellness? Please share a story and example for each.
First off I absolutely believe that all four arenas are tied together. For this particular question in regards to mental well-being I would say my number one answer/habit is positive thinking. Your thoughts create everything. For me I try very hard to keep my “Bubble World” (a term I use in my book referring to our own personal world within the world) positive and peaceful. You achieve this by being mindful of your thoughts and in tune to your personal perspective, the lens you view life with. This leads into the second habit which is creating a daily practice that allows you to have a firm foundation and perspective that is congruent to your authentic self. Lastly and very importantly it is living your truth. Whatever that is for you, do that. One thing we have control over in this life is creating it to be whatever we want it to be merely by the choices me make. Taking time to make decisions based on the understanding that there is a consequence one way or another, allows us to step back and think twice before making choices that will affect us.
Do you have a specific meditation practice or Yoga practice that you have found helpful? We’d love to hear about it.
I don’t do Yoga on any regular basis but I am a big advocate of it. I keep saying that I would like to make it part of my lifestyle. I tend to choose traditional workouts over yoga but I definitely feel it would really enhance my overall body “Lightness” if I did do it.
I do however wake up every morning and take the time to connect, pray and meditate. For me meditation is listening to the voice within that comes through after I pray. This is where I get Higher Perspective guidance in my life. We all have that “Voice” in our head that talks back to us. When we are receptive and tuned in, we begin to hear it in the “silence.” I believe it is the voice of God, our Higher Self, the Holy Spirit etc. It has many names. This is where the “Messages From Love” come from in my book. They are beautiful, loving and kind messages directly from Source. Everyone has the capability of channeling these messages through their direct connection with God.
Thank you for that. Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimal physical wellness? Please share a story or example for each.
That’s an easy one!
One; Exercise at least 4 to 5 days a week. I suggest a moderate mixture of cardio and strength training. Two; Eat good clean healthy food. I personally am what is called a “pescatarian.” Basically no animal protein with the exception of seafood and dairy. This is what works for me, others prefer to go strict Vegan and some do just fine eating meat. Most importantly stay away from sugar, gluten and processed foods. However you “tweak” your own diet I believe it’s so important to listen to your own body. I don’t think there is a “one size fits all” regime. Three; Get plenty of sleep. Our body rejuvenates and heals when we sleep. The term “beauty sleep” is a real phenomenon. It is suggested to get a minimum of 7 to 8 hours a night if possible for optimal health. I will add one more, take supplements. It’s really hard to get everything you need just from the food you eat, you would have to consume a lot! I’m a big advocate of supplementation.
Do you have any particular thoughts about healthy eating? We all know it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar etc. But while we know it intellectually it’s often difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion what are the main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our own lives?
It takes a tremendous amount of determination and self discipline to be mindful of your food choices on a daily basis. For me, what seems to help me stay on track is thinking about the way I will feel afterwards when making different food choices. I also love the quote from, I think it was the weight watchers campaign years ago which really stuck with me, “Nothing tastes as good as thin feels”. It’s just a good reminder when you need a little extra help! In addition, we are living very fast paced lives and it takes quite a bit of planning to stay on track with eating healthy consistently. Convenience, time and money play important roles with the success of keeping on target. For many work life and family obligations don’t always allow for good choices to be made on a regular basis. Overall, for these reasons, it really just has to be super important for one to be consistent with healthy eating on a regular basis.
Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimal emotional health? Please share a story for each.
Good emotional health stems from perspective, the lens one views life with. I love the word “Allowance.” We tend to be very hard on ourselves when we don’t live up to our own or others expectations of us. Guilt for not being perfect creates unstable emotional health. This leads to another favorite word, “Non Judgement.” Simply put if we don’t want to be judged don’t judge another. Relief from others opinions is very freeing. Lastly, Forgiveness.” When we understand the concept that everyone is here in this life doing the best they can from whatever hand they’ve been dealt, we are released from the heaviness of judging another and again other peoples judgements and expectations on us. If we adopt the perspective that we are all just all trying to get it “right,” doing the best we can, with good intention, we are relieved of the expectation of being perfect. This has been a life long lesson for me stemming from my religious upbringing. So many have to’s, do’s and don’ts, can and cannot’s. I was constantly under pressure of what the religion told me was right and wrong that I eventually rebelled. I personally don’t believe in “right” or “wrong” because everything is an experience with an opportunity to learn the different lessons we are here to learn. When we can give ourselves and others grace to make our mistakes and not be perfect we are set free. All we can do is strive to sincerely do our best at any given moment in time. Allow, don’t judge and forgive. Instead live each day with eyes of love and forgiveness for ourselves and others and there is an internal shift and relief that takes place. For me, viewing life with this perspective contributes to a peaceful and healthy emotional state.
Do you have any particular thoughts about the power of smiling to improve emotional wellness? We’d love to hear.
I think the best answer I can give is to think about how it feels when someone smiles at you. In my experience it feels amazing! Our body automatically smiles back! How wonderful is that! I personally believe that either way, receiving or giving a smile releases serotonins and dopamine’s which are the “feeling good” hormones. So I say yes, it can make all the difference in the world in the way we feel emotionally.
Finally, can you share three good habits that can lead to optimal spiritual wellness? Please share a story for each.
I feel the most important habit is taking time daily to connect with Spirit. Personally, I do this first thing in the morning when my mind is fresh and the world is quiet. It is my favorite time of day and a wonderful way to start your day. Secondly, I love to read. I always have my newest favorite Spiritual book on my nightstand readily available. Reading inspires me to pray which leads to listening. As I mentioned earlier there is a beautiful voice, without exception that we all have that talks back to us. We find it in the silence and it is always loving and kind. When we find our direct connection to this Divine Voice we always have a tangible avenue for guidance and inspiration. Another important part of Spiritual wellness is having faith and trust that there is a Higher Power beyond our sight that hears our prayers and answers. Our job is to learn the language of the Universe. Our answers come in unconventional ways, I talk a lot about this in my book. There are so many amazing tools nowadays to explore the subject of Spirituality. I encourage everyone to take the time to search and find a belief system that resonates within.
Do you have any particular thoughts about how being “in nature” can help us to cultivate spiritual wellness?
I believe the energy of God is everywhere. When you spend time outdoors, in particular in nature there is a sense of peace and freedom that is felt that fills your soul in a way that nothing else can. I’d just say to really pay attention and be mindful of the beauty that surrounds you when entrenched in nature. Take full deep breaths and breath in its beauty. The energy will fill you up in a way that is so rejuvenating.
Ok, we are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that could bring the most amount of good to the greatest number of people , what would that be? You never know what your idea could trigger.
I would like to continue being apart of the movement that inspires Spiritual Awakening. This was my intent when publishing my book, “Messages From Love.” I prayed for it to land in the laps of those that were ready and needed to hear it’s message. It’s all about Love, Unity, Honoring each other and finding our direct connection with God and the Divine Realm which exists beyond our sight. I hope to continue this quest through my books and everything positive that will be inspired through this work.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in business , VC funding,Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world , or in the US, whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch with and why? He or she just might see this, especially if we both tag them:-)
I would love to spend time with Neal Donald Walsh. His books were life changing for me at just the right time in my life. “Conversations with God” landed in my lap in the early 90’s and was so influential for me on my Spiritual Journey. I love his story and I think he is an amazing man!
How can our readers continue to follow your work online?
I am working with a social media coach. She is helping me with my social media accounts to create a platform and presence online. I am somewhat new to this world! With that said I do have a FB page, Instagram, Twitter and am working on creating a YouTube channel. I am also planning to be more interactive on my website. You can find all of these by searching my name, Connie Cord or my book title “Messages From Love.” If anyone is interested in reading my book it is sold on Amazon, Balboa Publishing, Barns and Noble and I believe Hay House Publishing.
Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with us. We wish you continued success.
Thank you so much for having me. It has been a pleasure.