Adelle Archer of Eterneva: How To Develop Mindfulness And Serenity During Stressful Or Uncertain Times

It’s also important to pay attention to the way you talk to yourself internally. That voice in your head shapes your perspective of the world. If you can’t quiet it, practice meditation. If it’s a negative voice, challenge it. That’s the first place to start to begin making progress toward mindfulness. You have to set […]

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It’s also important to pay attention to the way you talk to yourself internally. That voice in your head shapes your perspective of the world. If you can’t quiet it, practice meditation. If it’s a negative voice, challenge it. That’s the first place to start to begin making progress toward mindfulness. You have to set boundaries and be kind to yourself.

As a part of my series about “How To Develop Mindfulness And Serenity During Stressful Or Uncertain Times”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Adelle Archer.

Adelle is the co-founder and CEO of Eterneva, a grief wellness company that celebrates remarkable lives by turning their ashes into diamonds, through a storytelling journey as special as the loved one and diamond itself.

Adelle is the co-founder and CEO of Eterneva, a grief wellness company that celebrates remarkable lives by turning their ashes or hair into diamonds as another memorial option. The process takes 7–10 months, and is surrounded by a storytelling journey as special as the loved one and diamond itself. The goal is to help those who have lost someone important in their lives move into active grieving, focus on the life their loved one led and how it impacted their own, and encourage sharing stories about them that teach us all how to live better now.

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?

All the females in my family are enterprising, stereotype-busting ladies, so I feel that it’s in my DNA to pave my path as an entrepreneur. I’m also a very impact-driven person, so there was no question I wanted to do something meaningful with my life and give something back with my work.

I did a phenomenal MBA in the Entrepreneurship program at the Acton School of Business and then met my business partner Garrett working at an Austin tech company. Garrett and I saw an opportunity in the lab-grown diamond space and quit our jobs to start a company.

Around that time, though, my beloved business mentor Tracey Kaufman passed away to cancer. Tracey was an executive at a tech company in Austin. She was never married and never had kids. She was incredibly close to those she mentored, though. And I received some of her ashes after she passed.

That’s when I quickly learned that there aren’t a lot of good memorial options when you lose someone special.

Urns, caskets, funeral homes — so much of it feels uninspiring and morose. I wanted a better option. Fatefully, one of the diamond scientists we were working with proposed growing a diamond from her ashes. Garret and I were so enamored by the idea, that we ultimately pivoted our business. I couldn’t have found a more beautiful way to honor my friend, and now our business is focused on eternalizing remarkable people and pets by turning their ashes into diamonds.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

I thought when we first got into this work that we were starting a memorial business. A big part of our business from the very beginning has been about updating customers at every step of the way, showing pictures and videos and really just encouraging them to talk to us about their loved one. That part of the process exists because it is what I wanted when I went through the process for Tracey, whose ashes I had turned into a black memorial diamond. I built everything to be what I wanted and what I needed, which was to talk about her and to do something active with my grief.

Soon after our first memorial diamonds went home, I started hearing from our customers that their entire relationship with grief had changed. They loved their diamond. It was beautiful and bright, and more than they expected. But they were enamored with the journey because it got them to open up to us and as a result others in their life. They talked about their loved one all the time, about who they were, the funny things they did, and other numerous anecdotes. A lot of them started writing books, and filming movies, and starting petitions to change laws and cultural stigmas, like supporting the move to get the DEA to limit the number of opioids allowed for distribution in the US.

I realized after about two years of running Etereva that we weren’t just delivering a memorial option, we were helping people shift their perspective on grief in a way very little else in our society does.

What advice would you give to other leaders about how to create a fantastic work culture?

It’s all about mindset, and how you can teach mindset best practices to your people, and give them the necessary resources to do so. When the COVID-19 pandemic began setting in around Austin, Texas and we knew we’d have to start working from home, I immediately called together a team meeting to prepare the team as best as I could.

We are a company built around the idea of leaning into hard situations and conversations. We always talk about putting on our own oxygen mask first before helping others. You have to do that. But with as much uncertainty as a pandemic brings, I wanted to prepare the team for something unprecedented in our lives.

I explained that this is the time to lean into the hard things, to talk with friends and family, to practice gratefulness, and build new routines and habits in the wake of those that have been disrupted.

Now, we have a daily stand up where everybody says one thing they are grateful for, or one positive thing that happened to them in the last 24 hours. We’re also doing weekly digital happy hours — giving each other tours of our homes, playing two truths and a lie, and just continuing to get to know one another better.

We do this regularly and not just in a pandemic, but it’s even more important now to do what you can to foster a connection between the team.

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 so many, but recently I re-read The Seven Habits of Effective People. It’s amazing how re-reading books at different times in your life and under different circumstances can really change the lessons you learn from a book.

This time, what resonated with me most was that humans have a special gift — and that is the gift to be able to choose our response to situations. It isn’t a gift given to other animals. For them, something happens, and they respond. Humans do that too, but we also can make a choice. We can choose to see what happens, take a moment, and then decide how we will respond to it. It’s self-consciousness. And it’s a responsibility for us all to take on. In fact, responsibility is really just a response and ability combined.

It’s a great chapter in there that felt particularly relevant for our times right now.

Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. From your experience or research, how would you define and describe the state of being mindful?

The state of being mindful is all about controlling your thoughts. In reality, our own minds are really the only thing any of us can control. It takes practice though, the same way mastering a sport or new hobby takes repetition. Meditation can help as well as just being more aware of what you are feeding your brain and how you talk to yourself.

In times of stress or anxiety, do you let yourself go deeper into a news hole? Or, do you turn on an uplifting movie, call a friend, or pick up a favorite book?

In the same way that your physical body reaps the rewards of the nutrition you feed it, your mind reaps the rewards of the information and the perspectives you feed it.

It’s also important to pay attention to the way you talk to yourself internally. That voice in your head shapes your perspective of the world. If you can’t quiet it, practice meditation. If it’s a negative voice, challenge it. That’s the first place to start to begin making progress toward mindfulness. You have to set boundaries and be kind to yourself.

This might be intuitive to you, but it will be instructive to spell this out. Can you share with our readers a few of the physical, mental, and emotional benefits of becoming mindful?

The benefits are countless. Being mindful affects your entire life. The more mindful you are, the more you can recognize self-limiting belief systems. Then, you can begin to break those down one by one by setting small goals that give you small wins that help to encourage you and propel you forward.

Those small wins add up, and overtime gives you the confidence to set and achieve even bigger goals. And, of course, things don’t always go our way and sometimes we aren’t able to hit the goals we set. Mindfulness comes back to being kind to ourselves, trusting that we are smart and capable, and giving ourselves breaks when we need them to recharge, feel what we are feeling, and step back up to the plate next time ready to go again.

Mindfulness is cultivating the physical, mental and emotional ability to fail 1,000 times — and keep showing up. Becoming mindful is becoming resilient.

Ok. Here is the main question of our discussion. The past 5 years have been filled with upheaval and political uncertainty. Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have only heightened a sense of uncertainty, anxiety, fear, and loneliness. From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to develop mindfulness and serenity during such uncertain times? Can you please share a story or example for each.

What we are all feeling right now is a type of grief. Grief around the loss of normalcy. And, for our customers already grieving, this kind of event can feel even more overwhelming. They have lost their person, and now, they are losing a physical community which we know is so helpful to healing.

The only thing any of us can control is our own mind. That means that the language we use to talk to ourselves is important. It is what we believe. It is who we become. It also means that what we feed our brain matters — whether it is frightening news or a nice book by someone we admire.

These things change our mindset, and as a result, how we show up in our lives for ourselves, those we love, and the people we are trying to help.

Here are the 5 tips I have given our team during these times:

Limit news intake and don’t watch the market: Know enough to be informed, especially about your local area, and do what you can to not let it become an obsession. The market is going on a rollercoaster and so is your 401K. Just remember, the economy on average returns 8–9% over the long run! It’ll self-correct.

Be careful about your language and focus: Stand guard. Be conscious of what you are telling yourself — and focus on a mantra that reminds you that you are resilient, strong, and capable of anything, including hard things.

Work on emotional mastery: I learned this from LeBron James’s Calm series. He has such deep experience in stressful situations and has done incredible work to consistently master those situations and deliver unbelievable outcomes. I’m personally paying for any Eterneva employee’s Calm account if they want to use it. To listen to LeBron, to meditate, whatever they need it for! I highly recommend it.

Simplify and maximize: Days of abundance will come again, as will days of less. How we live in each of those times is important, and understanding our essentials versus our nice-to-haves is, too.

Gratitude is the antidote to fear: Gratitude is the great antidote to fear. It focuses your mind on what you have, and all the positives this life brings — both from good and bad events. To strengthen this muscle, because gratitude is a muscle, practice writing in a gratitude journal.

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?

My company typically works with folks who are grieving the loss of someone they love. Grief is grief, no matter what you are feeling it from, and community is so incredibly important to help you through it. Here is what I’ve learned helps folks the most when they’ve lost their loved one, and can apply now as well:

Hold space for the grief: Call people. Talk to them. Listen to them. And remind them, and yourself, that what you are feeling is normal and OK. This sucks. It does! Say that outloud. Hold space for the grief. Give it a name. Let it exist. Ignoring it will only hurt more.

Tell stories about the times before now: Talk about what you miss. Tell stories about friends and family — times they made you laugh, times they annoyed you, and times that you just wish you could have right now. Focus on how the people you miss have shaped you, and encourage your friends to tell stories about how they were changed by their relationships with those they can’t be around right now. Doing this moves us into gratefulness, and honors the time and connection we have with others. It also helps us to avoid focusing on the anxiety of the current moment. There were better days before. There will be again.

Activate your grief and support the ways others are activating theirs: Whether you start a GoFundMe or order flowers to be delivered to a friend, do something, and support friends who are doing things, too. Can you knit face masks? Can you donate to a worthy cause? Can you raise awareness and funds for a group of people who need help or are overlooked right now (for me, that’s funeral services!)?

Move your body and breathe: Grief gets stuck in our bodies. It is why so many of us often feel paralyzed in grief. So, move. Walk outside if you can. Do a little bit of yoga. And take deep breaths to move the emotion through your body. To help friends, do a virtual yoga session, or deep breathing session. Play calming and soothing music. Get all the senses involved, and move the emotion throughout your body so you, your friends, and wider community can better process the situation.

Foster a pet, if you can: This one might seem like it’s out of left field, but so many of Eterneva’s customers say that after the loss of a loved one, getting a pet helps. It adds sound to the house again. It gives you a new routine. It gives you a companion. There are so many pets out there that need a loving home during this time — and you are home at this time. Foster, or adopt, if you can, it will change your life!

What are the best resources you would suggest for someone to learn how to be more mindful and serene in their everyday life?

I absolutely love the Calm app. It has been incredibly helpful for me, so I’d highly recommend that. I also watch a lot of Ted Talks. Recently, my boyfriend and I have been taking 5-mile long walks. That routine has helped, especially after a hard day when you feel immobilized. I’m also attending (and hosting) a lot of Instagram Live sessions. It’s fun to see folks use the tools we have at our disposal to connect.

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

Oh yes! The mantra that rocked my world is, “Life doesn’t happen to you, it happens for you.” It’s SUCH a powerful reframe. I tell myself this anytime I’m in a state of stress, a period of uncertainty, or facing an obstacle or hardship. It gives me a sense of ownership over the challenge and makes me appreciate that on the other side, I’ll be a stronger person.

This quote is evergreen for me, but one time it was particularly relevant was when we had to go through the process of buying a business partner out. There was a tremendous amount of uncertainty around how to go about it, how everyone would respond, what would come of the business, etc. At the time, it was one of the most emotionally difficult things I had faced, but rather than focusing on fear or being a victim, I reminded myself this was life happening for me, and calling for me to step outside my comfort zone and show myself what I’m capable of. And it couldn’t have gone better for everyone involved.

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 want to bring death and grief rituals back to the United States. I want us to all recognize that grief is inevitable and that ignoring it or leaning away from it doesn’t help anyone. Grief gets such a stigma — and it’s isolating for people. I think the COVID-19 pandemic and all of the Shelter in Place orders can really shine a light on the issue. We’re all grieving something right now. And, we are all trying to be there for ourselves and others. When all of this is over and done, I hope that carries on for grief moving forward.

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

You can find us on InstagramFacebook, and at our website of course!

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

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