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“Acknowledge how you feel.” With Dr. Ely Weinschneider & Erica Lasan

Between our hustle mentality, social media, the pressure of working, demands of parenting, and all of life’s other distractions simultaneously vying for our attention — things like sleep, exercise, stretching, and technology-breaks quickly fall to the bottom of our priorities. The good news is that our current COVID-19 scenario has granted us time to relax […]

Between our hustle mentality, social media, the pressure of working, demands of parenting, and all of life’s other distractions simultaneously vying for our attention — things like sleep, exercise, stretching, and technology-breaks quickly fall to the bottom of our priorities. The good news is that our current COVID-19 scenario has granted us time to relax at home and reflect. In this time, if it’s done right — it’s possible to make it through the pandemic with a better sense of self, a more radiant glow, peace of mind, and a reminder to spend time loving yourself regularly.


As a part of my series about the things we can do to remain hopeful and support each other during anxious times, I had the pleasure of interviewing Erica Lasan.

Faith-Fueled and Purpose-Propelled, Erica Lasan is an Alignment & Empowerment Strategist… but you can simply call her a Vision-Pusher!

As a multi-passionate creative, and stay-at-home mom, Erica’s “Live Rich” motto is a cry for everyone to use their gifts and live within their JOY — doing less of what they “have to do,” and more of what they WANT to do. How? By envisioning the spectrum of possibilities when it comes to what a happy, healthy, purpose-filled life could look like; and then strategizing the steps needed to get there! #LiveRich, and Happy Dream Chasing!


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?

I’ve always been someone who is inspired by the individual creative process, and people being bold enough to unapologetically pursue their dreams. But after graduating from college during the 2009 recession (with no real job prospects), I found myself settling into a life that I didn’t want for myself. I had just turned 20 and was already willing to sell-out my aspirations for a job at my college internship — simply because they were offering me monetary compensation. Yes, it was a job, but I wasn’t excited or passionate about it at all. I felt like my creativity, ideas, and gifts were not being used; not only this, I couldn’t see how they would grow within the company.

I found myself taking extended bathroom breaks just so I could escape my desk. I would sit on the toilet and cry for ten minutes, then I would wash my face, put on lip gloss, and then head back to my workstation. But it didn’t end there, the misery continued! On my lunch break I would take a walk around the office building, and call my boyfriend crying and complaining about how undervalued and unhappy I felt. I felt stuck. I wanted to do something different, but I wasn’t sure how.

After a full summer of this routine my boyfriend made a simple statement that changed everything, “well Erica, just do something.”

… and so I did! I went back to the drawing board and considered all the things that I enjoyed doing before going to college: Photography, jewelry design, singing/songwriting, and engaging in conversation (to name a few). At one point, this led me to create a YouTube channel and develop a couple of digital series where I was doing street interviews all over New York City!

In the years since then I’ve worked in a myriad of industries, but my interests and intrigue have always landed back with people. I would find myself having hours of conversation with strangers about their life aspirations, dreams, goals, and giving ideas on how they could arrive there. At some point it dawned on me that I’d been working for free! I’d been so busy looking for a job, when all along I’d unintentionally built one for myself… as a consultant! So I made it official and started my company the Live Rich Movement (LRM) in addition to the freelance work I’d been doing through my site EricaLasan.com. The Live Rich Movement has been a culmination of everything I am passionate about: people, faith, purpose, creative execution (in many ways); while living each day intentionally, passionately, and in joy!

…Oh, and that wise (and supportive) boyfriend? I married him! 🙂

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

There are tons of books that I’ve read over the years, but as cliché as it may sound, The Bible is the one that continues to make the most significant impact on me. For me, the Bible is the book of books — it covers anything and everything you can ever imagine! From the creation of humankind, stories of miracles, the telling of time and things that will happen in the future (through prophecy), historical love stories, and more — the bible touches on it all! But what I appreciate most about this book through its written script is the message of FAITH.

No matter what we as humans encounter, FAITH is the one thing that we can never deny. Even if you’re not affiliated with a particular religion or spiritual practice, everyone practices faith in some way, shape, or form. How? Because faith is, “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1). Faith is simply believing. Believing in something — even if it is just yourself!

The Bible is FULL of countless examples of faith — and how the mindset of believing (that comes with faith) has been able to shift impossibilities into the realm of reality since the beginning of time. This faith-based mindset shapes how I chose to live my life, and the way I am able to impact the world (and help others) through my work because I choose to believe that anything is possible!

Everything I mentioned above is why the bible inspires me, but I’ve been most impacted by how it inspires me. The words in the Bible have an uncanny way of speaking to me when I need them most. It’s my life-map. When I have a question, I pose it in prayer, and in a matter of time my mind, eyes, and Spirit are eventually guided to a scripture with the very answer I need. It doesn’t always happen immediately, but sometimes it does. I find the Bible (as a body of work) to be so much more than a book — it is the living word!

Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. From your perspective can you help our readers to see the “Light at the End of the Tunnel”? Can you share your “5 Reasons To Be Hopeful During this Corona Crisis”? If you can, please share a story or example for each.

This too shall pass.

I know it’s probably so hard to see beyond all of the news, media updates, social posts, and experiencing the eerie ghost-town effects that COVID-19 is having on our ways of living, but it won’t be this way forever.

The Black Plague (1350), Smallpox, Cholera, and Spanish Flu (1918) are just a few notable pandemics that have occurred in the past. As terrifying as they may have been in their respective eras, they all came to an end at some point — and through each of those pandemics, as humans we learned and became better prepared for future threats.

Coronavirus is not the first pandemic to occur in the history of human existence, and sadly it probably won’t be the last. While this is the case, we can take comfort in knowing that what we considered our old “normal,” was once upon a time a “new normal” too. We can look forward with the hope that we will be better prepared for future outbreaks: to better detect, prepare for, and manage future health crises as a result of this COVID-19 experience.

Another thing to consider is that worldwide people are healing and recovering from the virus. Numbers from some of the countries hit earliest and hardest by the virus, like China (where it is said to have started) and S. Korea — show evidence that the spread of the virus can be slowed down and decreased. These examples give us insight, data, and play-by-play instructions into which practices we need to implement in order to get to the other side of the current crisis.

Reconnecting w/ self & self-care.

Odds are, this time of self-isolation has made you more aware of just how negligent we have all become in caring for ourselves. Why? Because of the constant “lack of time.” The idea of “self-care” usually consists of massages, facials, and body scrubs, and mani/pedis. While that picture isn’t inaccurate, what we’ve lost sight of is that self-care is just the act of creating time to indulge in yourself — and that can happen in several ways. Sometimes the simplest, least expensive, and most natural forms of self-care are the ones we need most, but in our “old normal” if it came at the cost of our time, the price was too high.

Between our hustle mentality, social media, the pressure of working, demands of parenting, and all of life’s other distractions simultaneously vying for our attention — things like sleep, exercise, stretching, and technology-breaks quickly fall to the bottom of our priorities. The good news is that our current COVID-19 scenario has granted us time to relax at home and reflect. In this time, if it’s done right — it’s possible to make it through the pandemic with a better sense of self, a more radiant glow, peace of mind, and a reminder to spend time loving yourself regularly.

Personally, as a mother of two, this period of quarantine has connected me with nature in a way that I’ve always wanted. Getting outside with my kids for 30 minutes doesn’t feel like an obligation; now when we go out on our walks we savor them! We take our time, talk, sing songs, and soak in the sights along the way. There’s no longer a need to rush through our “outside time” to get back for bedtime prep and school the next day. I love it! At 2 and 4 years old, they just recently went on their first hike — that’s an experience I didn’t have (or was even aware of) until I was in my late twenties!

Quality time getting reacquainted with family and friends.

This time of quarantine and separation is making us closer to the ones we love… but not in a superficial way — in a deeper, more intimate, and connected way. No longer do we have the excuses of not having the time to communicate with members of our friends and family (outside of social media). Once this health crisis has passed, we will emerge with a greater sense of community, and responsibility for one another.

I’m close to my family, but on any given day, it’s hard for us to have prolonged conversations just based on the demands of everyday living: school, work, parenting, etc.. COVID-19 has made it where we are engaging in conversations that go beyond quick routine check-ins and phone calls. Whether we realize it or not, now we’re allowing ourselves the time to be engaged, invested, and enrolled in what’s currently going on in the lives of our loved ones. Not only do we want to know how they’re spending their time, and what they’ve been actively working on, we also want to know what they have planned for the future. We want to hear about the intricacies of their greatest ambitions, dreams, and what inspired them.

These conversations and calls are concluded differently too. Given the uncertainty of things these days, more likely than not (if it wasn’t done before), the end of those conversations are being concluded with deliberate and sincere “I love yous,” rather than a nonchalant and rushed “I’ll talk to you later.”

Just this week alone I’ve called my youngest sibling (my little sister Beverly) 3 times in less than 5 days. It’s probably a record for us! One of those times was a Saturday morning, and we unexpectedly ended up talking on the phone for over four hours! There is a seven-year age difference between us, and while we’re close and always end family conversations with “I love you,” these quarantine calls have allowed us to level-up our sisterhood bond, simply because we have time (on both sides).

The next day, the same thing happened, but this time with my best friend from college. One Sunday I called to simply say hello. Almost four hours later we were still on the phone laughing and talking. …Something that we haven’t had an opportunity to do in years! Not because we haven’t wanted to, but simply because between juggling our children, work, and other “life things” our conversations never seemed to last beyond 20–30 minutes.

Technology!

This may not seem like much, but thanks to this pandemic we can look forward to having more freedom — especially those who’ve had dreams of working remotely. If there is one thing that the COVID-19 lockdowns and quarantines have shown us, it’s how much we can still manage to accomplish without being in an office. This may not come as to news millennials, but for their parents, the light switch is finally starting to go off.

Pre-coronavirus, the idea of “serious work” taking place outside of the typical 40-hour workweek (and corporate office) was something widely misunderstood and disregarded by older generations. For those who’ve been asking to telework, and always met with excuses as to why it wasn’t feasible — congratulations, because those excuses are probably longer valid. Additionally, for those Millennials and Gen Xers, who have online/mobile businesses, maybe now their parents understand that the enterprises they run from their phones constitute as valid forms of business and work. I’m hoping that what we’re currently experiencing causes a formal re-evaluation of traditional employer-employee expectations and how we as a country treat work-life balance in general.

It can be argued that one of the main reasons why the entire economy hasn’t completely shut down is because of technology, online business, and the ability to connect virtually!

…and when it comes to technology, things can only get better from here! Outside of keeping us connected and in business, technology itself may be what stops COVID-19 in its tracks! I was recently watching a story on NBC about the race to find a vaccine for Coronavirus. One of these companies explained just how much technology is helping in this battle against the virus. It was also shared in that episode that thanks to the advancements made in technology, they were able to develop code for a Coronavirus vaccine within 3 hours of China publicly sharing the sequence of the virus’ genetic makeup. This was later confirmed by Dr. Anthony Fauci during a Whitehouse Press hearing where he shared that the initial phases of Coronavirus vaccine trials were being used to treat humans — only 65 short days after starting the vaccine process (in mid-March). It may still be another 15–18 months before we have a finalized vaccine, but there is so much hope and reassurance in knowing that we’re already way ahead of the curve given the resources and knowledge that we have at our disposal.

You have today. Use this time to get excited!

With everything I’ve mentioned so far, the greatest reason to be hopeful through this Coronavirus crisis is this: You still have today. Each day that you wake up can say “I still have today,” is a day to be hopeful. Getting excited is just my way of saying that each day should be met with gratitude for the promise it holds. Your very presence on this earth is another day to create something amazing. So rather than living crippled by anxiety of things that may be, try to do at least one thing to make the most of it! Savor the day — create a memory with someone you love, a piece of art/self-expression that helps you cope and brings light to someone else’s day as well. …Or simply do nothing! Enjoy the day laying under the clouds and contemplating all of the wonderful things you will do once the quarantine period has ended. Whatever it is, just make sure you enjoy little moments throughout the day!

Once I started to understand the gravity of this pandemic’s spread, I prayed. I prayed for all of the lives lost, and for those still fighting, but I also prayed for those who will be here once the crisis has passed. My prayer is that we (as a people) will be awakened to how we have been ruled by distractions rather than purpose. So in conclusion, I’ll summarize it like this: the light at the end of the tunnel is the hope that you at home [reading this] will rise into your purpose and choose to live in joy!

From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to effectively offer support to those around us who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?

Acknowledge how you feel.

It’s so easy to feel as though now isn’t the time to complain given everything that’s happening in the world around us. While this may be true, suppressing those feelings keeps you from being able to fully process them. No one is judging you for feeling like the current situation sucks — because it does! But know that as you acknowledge how you feel you’ll then feel free to do the next thing…

Surrender how you feel

The truth of the matter is this, all of this is beyond our control. We can’t blame anyone, we can’t just make it go away, and we can’t magically turn back the hands of time to do anything different. Right now, all we have access to is the present. So do what you can with the moments that you have, and surrender the heaviness of it all. Leave it to a higher power and recognize that you are doing the best you can, in the ways you can — — and that’s enough.

Recognize that you’re not alone

As you surrender how you feel, also take the time to realize that you aren’t alone! Everyone has feelings about what is happening, and it’s okay. Don’t dig yourself into thinking that while you may be physically isolated (as far as spatial location), that you are isolated in your emotions about what is happening. As you acknowledge how you feel, surrender it, and accept that you’re not alone, then the next thing that you may naturally want to do is…

Engage in conversation.

This is where the greatest healing occurs. Engaging in conversation is the gift that keeps on giving — and it allows the opportunity to give as much as receive. The conversation piece can magically blend the three points already mentioned. You’ll find that as you’re openly able to share your thoughts, you’ll feel free-er, lighter, more supported, and understood. You may also find that you get great tips, tricks, and resources to deal specifically with what you’re feeling.

Don’t Force it.

On the other hand, the last thing I would suggest in offering support is to avoid forcing the subject. If you’re looking to be supportive and learn about how/what someone may be feeling, try to help them find new ways to express themselves. Perhaps they don’t want to engage in a conversation, maybe they just want to go on on a walk, or sit together in silence. Ultimately what’s most important is that you’re there. This act of making yourself available (even if it is just being on standby) shows that you’re ready to listen, talk, cry, dance, and support in any way necessary — once they’re ready. That alone makes all the difference!

What are the best resources you would suggest to a person who is feeling anxious?

Get out in nature! There is so much mental freedom that is experienced in nature — you can get lost in its beauty. In addition to this, it’s probably one of the most simple, quick, easy, and tangible ways to get grounded. Anxiety is usually a result of worrying about potential things that will take place in the future. So get present.

Take time to appreciate the micro-details seen in the world around you: Petals on flowers, the fragrance of fresh soil, or even identifying the directions of bird noises. This simple act helps you see the care placed in the tiny things. As you capture these minuscule details in real-time, contemplating how they play together symbiotically in nature, you’ll feel your anxiety melt away!

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

“You get in life what you have the courage to ask for” — Oprah

I love Oprah. She has been an inspiration to me since I was 7 years old. I came across this quote while I was at a Leadership workshop five years ago. We were asked to bring quotes from people that we are most inspired by, so naturally I looked for one by her. The most beautiful thing about it was the timing in which the quote came to me.

I was going through a life transition in my career, my relationship, and my life where to get to the “next level,” I realized that I was trying to avoid being “annoying.” When really, the truth was this: if I never asked, I could never receive! The concept of being an inconvenience was a story and belief that I’d created for myself because I didn’t feel worthy of being in some of the spaces where I found myself. Luckily, I came to accept that those thoughts weren’t rooted in facts, and it was freeing.

Less than a year later, I found out that I was pregnant and this quote took on a whole new meaning. It was a note-to-self of how I wanted to show up in the world as an example to my young daughter. I would want her to be brave enough, and feel worthy enough, to know she should ask for everything her heart desires. Even in a world that doesn’t always value the lives of young black girls as much as it should, I want her to know her star is meant to shine. Her thoughts are worth sharing, her desires are worth pursuing, and there is room for her to craft the life she chooses for herself.

Since then, this short simple quote continues to serve as a gentle reminder that I’m in charge of my destiny — bold requests, get bold results. What’s the worst that could happen? I get a no. On the other hand, if I can get a yes, it puts me in a position to receive God’s promise of “immeasurably more than I can ask or imagine!” (Ephesians 3:20) …and who doesn’t want that?!

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I believe that we’re all people of great influence. We each have the ability to influence, change, and positively impact lives by simply showing up in our purpose!

Luckily, God has put me in this position of being Faith-Fueled and Purpose-Propelled. This has led me to the process of starting my movement years ago… The Live Rich Movement!

The message and mission behind LRM boils down to that same position of being Faith-Fueled and Purpose-Propelled… Knowing that a lot of times you can Live Rich, and do MORE while having with less. You don’t need to be a millionaire to be happy, make a difference, or touch lives — you just need to Purpose, Passion, and FAITH! With those three main ingredients (and a dash of creativity) you can change the world!

What is the best way our readers can follow you online?

Site: www.EricaLasan.com

IG: @EricaLasan

FB: Facebook.com/QuEricaByEricaLasan

Youtube: http://Youtube.com/QuEricaTV

Newsletter: http://EricaLasan.com/newsletter-subscribe

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!

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