Monica Laurence is a highly successful businesswoman with a degree in Computer Science and roots in Silicon Valley startups. However, she has now devoted her life to promoting sustainability and the importance of living a balanced life by running marketing for her family’s highly acclaimed private island in Fiji, Turtle Island. When I first met Monica I was impressed by what can only be described as her graceful and ultra tranquil demeanor despite the demands of her work and still consulting in the tech space. We hear so much about finding work life balance and it seemed Monica had this completely figured out. So, I recently sat down with her in Fiji to hear more about her thoughts on how we manage our time, our stress and our goals. I think it’s so important we learn from each other so here is what Monica had to say.
1. Tuning In
We hear a lot about work-life balance and getting away to ‘tune out’ but I’ve heard you talk about your philosophy of “tuning in” and how at Turtle Island Fiji you’ve created a place where people can actually ‘tune in’ instead. What do you mean by this?
What a lovely question. For me, getting away is a time to tune in to me. To remember how much fun I have simply being me. To turbo charge my creativity. And to delight in the pleasures of being with the one I love. On Turtle Island we ascribe to ancient turtle wisdom. The turtle is the oldest symbol for the earth, the shell representing heaven and the underside representing earth. So, the turtle unites heaven and earth. On Turtle Island, by slowing down and tuning in, our spirits remember how to dance. Our hearts remember how to love. And our inner child comes out to play with joyful abandon. Tuning in transports us to our personal heaven. And that is a very special place to be.
2. Being Balanced
You travel a lot for your job and are often between Turtle Island Fiji and the US. How do you stay balanced and grounded?
Just like everyone else, sometimes I fall out of balance, usually when I’m tired, stressed or overcommitted. In those times, I reset. I find a serene space, often in nature, and I start by giving myself credit for doing my best, even if that isn’t always perfect. I try to love myself for trying so hard, for being committed, for being passionate, even to the point of wearing myself out. And then I get centered by turning to my daily practices – meditation and journaling in the morning and jotting down five gratitudes at night. The morning pages are key – that’s when the transformative insights happen for me. After that I usually step outside, breathe deeply, and remind myself that life is not so serious. That it’s a grand adventure. And that I am so incredibly fortunate to be here now.
3. Take Time to Transform
I heard you talk about the idea of ‘transformational travel,’ this idea that we go places to transform ourselves into different or better versions of who we are. How do we all do more of this?
Travel invites us to discover anew, igniting our senses and shifting us from our routines. Places simultaneously ground us and reveal to us different aspects of ourselves. In Morocco recently I felt a reverence for feminine sensuality that is not obviously present in our Western society. In Fiji I experience true connection and a celebration of life’s simple gifts. I feel travel gives me greater perspective for my place in the world, appreciation for the incredible gifts and talents I’ve inherited, and is guiding me to be a powerful agent for positive change. Truly, we are all one.
4. Get Mindful Every Day
You talk about how important mindfulness is and I know that in addition to its place as a high-end resort with sustainable practices and great food, Turtle Island focuses on mindfulness and helping guests to activate their ‘playful heart’? How do we as travelers, guests and humans remain mindful in this way?
At Turtle Island Fiji we believe in the power of the playful heart – that when more people come home to their hearts, the world is a better place. When I was growing up, I watched guests leave Turtle Island in tears, hugging one another and their newfound Fijian family. It was the kind of goodbye you experienced when you left your grandparents as a child. As I grew up and started traveling myself, I realized just how unusual it is to find this joyful feeling of home – that deep feeling of belonging, unconditional acceptance, and love. It is the natural beauty of Turtle Island and the pure love of its global tribe that inspire passion and create a haven for the soul.
5. Create a System
I noticed you really detach from your electronics and have a policy on the island of no phones at meals so people can really connect. Tell readers about why this matters and why creating a daily system for when work occurs and when play occurs really matters?
I’m a tech geek with a degree in Computer Science and roots in Silicon Valley startups. So, I’m the first one to pick up a smartphone and fire up the latest app. However, I am also aware that our devices play into our primal desires to feel needed and important. And that checking our phones becomes an addiction, so very quickly if we lack awareness. True happiness comes from genuine connection, shared laughter, and poignant memories. When you’re distracted by your phone, even by the ping of a text arriving, you’re not present. On Turtle Island we want you to experience the gift of presence – and you feel the effect immediately. Time on Turtle Island has a very different quality. A few hours feels like a day, and a few days like a week. It is that relaxing, that renewing. Time moves more slowly, in concert with the ebb and flow of the tides, and in harmony with nature herself. It is in that space, the eternal now, that your true self emerges, and your creativity is enhanced. Give yourself the gift of presence. Unplug.
To learn more about Monica and Turtle Island visit: