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“Being mindful.” With Beau Henderson & Sherry Richert Belul

Being mindful is being willing to move from a “me to we” way of living. It is remembering that “I” am a part of Life and that I can surrender to being lived by life — no efforting, no struggling, no grasping for things “I” want — simply receiving the countless beautiful gifts coming my […]

Being mindful is being willing to move from a “me to we” way of living. It is remembering that “I” am a part of Life and that I can surrender to being lived by life — no efforting, no struggling, no grasping for things “I” want — simply receiving the countless beautiful gifts coming my way now. And now! And now!


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

Sherry Richert Belul 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, confidence, 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.” You can find Sherry at Simplycelebrate.net.


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?

In1991 I had just broken up with my boyfriend after a recent move to San Francisco. I was broken-hearted and grappling with a depression that had been nipping at my heels for years.

I couldn’t kick it off this time. I fell into what I called the “pit” — a dark hole without any sign of light. By luck, a good friend of mine gifted me with a book by Zen teacher, Cheri Huber. This book led me to take a meditation class.

I still remember how I felt walking into that first class. I was in such a place of pain and darkness that it felt like an iron wall closing in on me. There was no relief. The instructor had us focus on our breath, breathing in. Breathing out. Breathing in. Breathing out. And a tiny miracle happened.

I will never forget this.

I was breathing in and I realized in that full breath, there was no pain.

It all came rushing back right away, of course. But in that single moment, I saw a crack in the iron all around me.

It was like a tiny pinprick of light.

The next day I had a moment in which I saw a wide blue sky. I had a moment in which I lay in the sun and held my cat, feeling her purr. I tasted the blueberry jam on my toast. Each of these felt like more pinpricks of light in that iron wall. And those experiences helped me realize that I could consciously turn my attention to moments of joy.

And then, after some time passed practicing looking for those pinpricks of light, I realized that I didn’t have to wait for these moments to occur in my life. I could seek them out. I could CREATE moments of well-being and joy. And perhaps, these moments would multiply, creating a life that felt colorful, alive, and free.

The real transformation happened when I got out of my own head, looked up and around, and realized that there were so many other people who were living in the dark.

I could offer light to them or support people in offering light to the world!

I realized that in offering light, we are the first recipients of that good feeling. It doubled the joy!

I’ve spent the twenty plus years since then exploring what it means to deliberately seek out joy and what it means to consciously create appreciation and celebration.

I’ve learned that joy doesn’t just land on me; joy is a practice. And celebration isn’t just for what we call special occasions.

Celebration is a way of life.

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

A pivotal story in my career is one that was devastating to me at the time, but in retrospect it gave me a newfound confidence and feeling of empowerment.

About 15 years ago, I wrote a book called “Simply Celebrate: 101 Simple Ways to Turn Ordinary Days into an Extraordinary Life.” At that time, I had been practicing creating joy and light, and I very much wanted to offer what I had learned to others so they could benefit from everything I’d been through.

I learned everything I could about the book publishing world. I spent a long time writing — and rewriting — a book proposal. I attended events for writers. I reached out to agents. And I got an agent!

My agent shopped around the book and a small publishing house that I loved expressed interest in my book. They said they were definitely interested and to hold tight — they’d come back with a bid.

Woot woot! I was jumping out of my skin with joy.

I thought, “this is it.” I thought I was on my way to the life I’d always imagined. I thought that finally the world was saying YES to me.

Well, fast forward several months later and still no offer from that publisher. In fact, they got back to my agent eventually and told her their marketing team had decided the market was flooded with this kind of book.

She tried what felt like a million other publishers, but the answer was no, no, no.

I was so deeply disappointed. I spiraled into what felt like my old dark pit of depression. That ole iron wall of despair started to close in.

But then something happened.

I found a spark of light and grit deep inside of me.

That little light whispered to me, “You do not need permission, approval, or accolades from anything outside of you to pursue your dreams. No one gets to tell you what is possible. This is your chance to create your own dream life. Self-publish your book. Go, live your dream!”

Self-publishing is very popular now, but back in 2005 it wasn’t so easy. But I did it!

All of those NOs from the outside world changed my life. They planted a seed of YES in me. That YES was aa promise to myself to keep going with my dreams, “by hook or by crook,” as my grandma would say.

And in all of the years since then, I have fueled that spark inside of me. Whenever I have gotten too focused on whether the outside world supports me, I turn my attention inward and listen for my own YES!

I am the steward of my dreams. I am the keeper of the flame!

I no longer let anything from the outside world dictate my journey. I live my dream life, because I create it!

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

In my experience these are the things that create a fantastic work culture:

Live the dream. No matter what is happening on the outside, spend your days being exactly who you dream of being. (i.e. you want to be a writer? Commit to writing. Share your writing. Dress like a writer. Reach out to other writers. Eat foods your dream writer would eat. Read books. Write, write, write.)

Listen to Life. Whatever it is that animates us and gives us our energy/spirit, is brilliant. Get quiet and listen. Follow any guidance that comes from that source, no matter how silly or outrageous. Let go of the reins. Believe and follow something bigger than you. (Life will never let you down!)

Leave ego behind. Do not listen to the voices in your head that drive you to succeed. This is not about success in the conventional sense. This is about eager participation. This is about enthusiastic jumping in to serve. This is about loving the moment. This is about being fully engaged in every task and letting the joy of that moment carry you into the next. This is life, fully lived, moment by precious moment.

Look for the pinpricks of light. Throughout the day, look up and out and around. Notice the beauty of that butterfly flitting by. Notice the way the light looks on the green leaves. Notice the sound of your mother’s voice on the phone. Notice how happy that song makes you. Notice that you are grateful to be able to walk. Notice how it feels to hug your son. Notice the taste of lime. Breathe in magical moments.

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?

When I was in the darkest of places, thinking so much about how to get off this planet, I was given a book by Cheri Huber, called “The Key: And the Name of the Key is Willingness. “

This book — and that teacher! — changed my life. No, more accurately, they SAVED my life.

That book was the first step to the meditation class in which I saw a pinprick of light in that iron wall of depression.

That meditation class led me on a 29-year journey (and still counting!) of ending suffering.

That journey has led to all of the yesses in my life and to all of the promises I’ve kept to myself to love myself, love the people around me, and love the shape of my life — even when none of them look anything like I’d imagined!

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?

To me, the state of being mindful is a state of connection. It is no separation. It is “coming to” — waking up to see, hear, feel, and love what is true.

Being mindful is a conscious (or grace-full) movement from living in a made up story to living in LIFE.

Being mindful is “what is” (that tiny purple flower, that warm breeze on my face, my heart beating, the soft fur of my cat Zoey) and being mindful is ever changing (now this. now this. now this!)

Being mindful is being willing to move from a “me to we” way of living. It is remembering that “I” am a part of Life and that I can surrender to being lived by life — no efforting, no struggling, no grasping for things “I” want — simply receiving the countless beautiful gifts coming my way now. And now! And now!

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?

Oh, yes! Being mindful is like swimming in a pool of water that is warm as a bath. Being mindful is like a colorful sunset, which just keeps deepening in its peaches, its golds, its roses, its violets. Being mindful is like eating a healthy meal and feeling the energy of the nutrients, energizing and enlivening. Being mindful is soothing as a purring kitten, it is thrilling like ascending into the air on a Ferris Wheel, it is as possible as a lottery ticket, it is as cozy as that quilt your Grandma made you.

Being mindful helps me feel clear, calm, confident, guided, and energized.

Being mindful helps me trust my communications and connections with other humans.

Being mindful is a well of creativity.

Being mindful keeps me kind.

Being mindful helps me love better.

Being mindful brings me to my senses.

Being mindful allows me to feel like I am living the cinematic life.

Being mindful makes me “not me” and “also you” and simply “this.we.us.”

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?

Get quiet: Before we offer support and love to others, it is essential that we get quiet and listen to what is true for ourselves. This might look like formal meditation. It might look like a walk in nature. It might look like listening to classical music with your eyes closed. It might be sitting outside in your favorite spot, doing nothing but listening to the birds. Go inward, no matter how uncomfortable it makes your Squawky Polly ego mind!

Take good care: The next step, again before we support others, is to follow whatever nudges of self-love or self-care we get while being quiet. Did we hear a call to sleep more? To be more creative? To eat more healthy foods? To jumpstart that yoga practice? Whatever ideas drop in during quiet, go-inward time are the very first missions to support others — by taking impeccably good care of ourselves.

Ask for guidance: Once we are in a place of health and wellness ourselves we can simply ask Life to show us who needs support and how we might offer it. This step entails being as mindful and open as possible. It is a process of deep paying attention. Go about your day, trusting that Life will whisper what to do to offer your love and compassion. Maybe your aunt pops in your mind and you remember she lives alone and that she loves books. Maybe Life drops in that you can send her a copy of the book you are reading and set up a virtual coffee klatch to talk about that book.

Act at once. When Life whispers an idea to us like, “call her” or, “send him a card,” or, “drop some groceries off on their porch,” or, “write her a list of all the reasons you love her,” your job is to do that thing — as immediately as possible, without question. If you pause too long, Squawky Polly mind will convince you that you are too tired or that is a dumb idea. Life knows, Life guides. You trust and follow marching orders!

Appreciate yourself. After you’ve followed your guidance from Life, pause to offer gratitude to yourself and to notice how good it feels to be connected to the source of goodness, compassion, and unconditional love. Let yourself feel awash in joy. Celebrate that you are, as Mother Theresa so beautifully put it, “a pencil in the hand of God.”

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

I truly believe that each of us is given all of the resources, teachers, and guidance we need to learn to be more mindful and serene.

I know countless amazing teachers. I have read dozens of helpful books or articles. I know so many places that offer classes and workshops.

However, none of that matters for someone else.

Here’s what someone else could explore and pursue: what sparkles for you? When you are talking to someone or searching online or going about your day, what has a tingle to it? What feels like it is lit up in neon? What catches your attention?

Maybe you see a social media post about a book and something makes you pause? Get that book!

Maybe a friend mentions a course he is taking and something about it stops you in your tracks? Take the course!

Maybe you suddenly remember how much you loved to play guitar as a teen and the idea drops in to pick it up again? Do it!

Each of us has so many resources that are all around us, at the ready. We just need to put on our special “I’m paying attention” glasses that allow us to see the glimmers and sparkles!

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

This is a quote that I wrote to remind myself of who I want to be and how I want to live my life: “In the shadow of so much anxiety, violence and fear, let me be a pinprick of light that offers a moment of love, hope, and possibility.”

I wrote these words years ago, when public mass killings seemed to become commonplace. Every day it seemed we were hearing about new violence in unimaginable places — schools, churches, synagogues, music festivals, etc.

I wanted a reminder for myself of how I could respond to these horrors, as well as all the other traumas and tragedies in life — with light and love.

This quote reminds me that the most important job I have every day is to BE LOVE, BE LIGHT.

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. 🙂

My movement would be called, “Say it Now!”

I would love to inspire 1,000,000 people to create what I call a Love List. The Love List is a part of my very large treasure collection one-of-a-kind gifts of love that express our appreciation for people and let them know the impact they’ve had on our lives.

The Love List is simply a brainstorm of the specific reasons we love someone.

A Love List is sweet, funny, sexy, or serious. It can include any number — from five to fifteen to fifty — of loving attributes, characteristics, or memories about someone. A few examples: “I love that you always bring me coffee in bed in the morning and we get to start the day together.” “I love the way you care for our children and that you listen so intently when they tell you things.” “I love the way you look in that red dress you bought when we were in Toronto.” “I love your goofy laugh; it always makes me laugh!” “I love that you support my dreams of becoming an artist by buying me paints and finding beautiful places for us to paint together.” “I love that you take your mother to dinner every Sunday and bring her such joy with your humorous anecdotes.” “I love that old plaid jacket you wear when we go for our morning walks.”

People can present the Love List written out on a sheet of pretty paper, printed out with some photos added for extra delight, on slips of paper in a Joy Jar, inside fortune cookies, tied to stems of flowers, in an advent calendar, or a thousand other ways!

I believe that what everyone wants most in the world is to be seen, known, and loved for exactly who they are. People long to know that they matter. We can express our love in a way that others get to relax into the pure joy of who they are!

Here’s the secret magic of Love Lists: the first recipient of all that love and joy is the person making the gift! It is impossible to be depressed, anxious, or unhappy when we are focused on love!

That’s why this movement is so important to me. It lifts everyone! Love Lists are like spotlights — shining wide and far!

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

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

https://www.youtube.com/sherrybelul

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

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