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Miriam Amselem: “Man’s Search For Meaning”

What gives me hope is knowing that humanity has gone through so many difficult and hard times, and has persevered. Think about it — wars, starvation, plagues, viruses — and we are still here! The fact that people are taking care of others during this pandemic also gives me great hope, because no matter what, compassion and kindness are […]


What gives me hope is knowing that humanity has gone through so many difficult and hard times, and has persevered. Think about it — wars, starvation, plagues, viruses — and we are still here! The fact that people are taking care of others during this pandemic also gives me great hope, because no matter what, compassion and kindness are a big part of us all.


As part of my series about people who stepped up to make a difference during the COVID19 pandemic, I had the pleasure of interviewing Miriam Amselem. Miriam Amselem is the owner of Naturally Healthy by Miri. With a passion and focus on lifestyle transformation through nutrition, wellness, yoga, and meditation, Miriam is on a mission to help others live their best lives. Her mantra is “embrace the journey to a healthy you!” She has been featured in many media outlets including Authority Magazine, Thrive Global, Self Magazine, Reader’s Digest, Prevention, Apple News, Health Central, Yogapedia, Voyagemiami.com, and Miami Herald.

With a Bachelor’s degree in Holistic Nutrition and over 20 years of experience, Miriam works with her clients to customize a wellness lifestyle program which includes nutrition, stress reduction, disease prevention, alternative approaches to disease, women’s health, detoxification, and healing. Miriam specializes in educating and treating the whole individual — taking into account lifestyle needs and setting realistic goals. She’s been successful in helping clients achieve optimum well being and offers solutions to many health issues including chronic fatigue, digestive disorders, and hormonal imbalance. As a Life Transitions Coach, Miriam helps others navigate through life’s challenging moments through motivation, empowerment, and inspiration. Yoga, Mindfulness, and Meditation have been part of Miriam’s lifestyle for over 25 years and she’s committed to teaching the ancient practice by focusing on the mind, body, and soul. Her passion for helping others is contagious!

Miriam has combined her knowledge with her ability to connect to others and also offers mindfulness workshops, wellness retreats, corporate wellness programs, and wellness presentations.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit. Can you tell us a bit about how and where you grew up?

Certainly. I was born in Tel Aviv, Israel in 1965. Growing up in a metropolis such Tel Aviv had a great impact on my life because it was and still is a melting pot. During my young years in Israel, I was exposed to anxiety, stress, and fear due to the war in 1973. In school, we all had to learn how to hide under our desks or run to a bomb shelter. We also learned how to think outside of ourselves by creating art for the soldiers and helping elderly neighbors. There was a unity during that time that also had a great effect on me. Those memories and feelings are a part of me and shaped who I am. By the time I was 12, my family moved to South Florida and I welcomed a new life in a new country with a new language. While I didn’t have to go through war drills in schools anymore, I had to learn about hurricane drills and school shutdowns.

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?

Since childhood, I’ve been an avid reader–I love reading! But even though I’ve read so many books, it is easy for me to choose the book that made the most significant impact on me and my outlook on life. It is Victor Frankel’s “Man’s Search For Meaning”. The first time I read it, I was a senior in high school and it had an effect on me because it was about finding a purpose–I think most high school seniors struggle with finding a purpose during that time in life. I have reread it several times throughout my life but the time it had the most significance was four years ago and after I visited the concentration and extermination death camps. After visiting the concentration camps and death camps, when I reread the book, it was with a new meaning. The significance is that no matter the suffering when there is a purpose, a meaning, you can endure and still have the desire to live. If a Holocaust survivor could still have purpose and hope, then we all can.

Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life or your work?

Tough question! That’s because I have two favorite quotes: the first one is “I allow myself to trust in the process of life” and the second one is “This too shall pass”. They go together quite well and have helped me through tough times. One of the most challenging times in my life was being diagnosed with infertility and having to go through eleven years of many treatments to have children. Thank God, I have been blessed with a wonderful son who is now 21. The other most difficult time in my life was when my son was twelve and was hit by a car — it was a hit and run through a red light as he crossed the street. I was across the street and saw the accident which moved is such slow motion. My only son was non-responsive for a few minutes but thank God survived with an injured leg. These two quotes: I allow myself to trust in the process of life and this too shall pass have literally helped me stay sane during those times!

OK, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. You are currently leading a social impact organization that has stepped up during the COVID-19 pandemic. Can you tell us a bit about what you and your organization are trying to address?

The pandemic feels as if someone pulled the ground from underneath us and I wanted to make a difference in the lives of others. As a wellness professional, I work with clients to transform their lives through Holistic Health, Life Transitions, Meditation, and Mindfulness so I wanted to offer that to anyone who needed it. Within the first week of the pandemic, I saw the need to help others by motivating, encouraging, and inspiring them because almost everyone was full of fear and anxiety. I decided to use social media and Zoom as ways to communicate with others and bring back hope. I created a private group on Facebook that I named United Together in which I share motivational quotes, meditations, mindfulness moments. I also offer opportunities to join wellness and meditation sessions through Zoom–all free of charge. I’ve done the same on Instagram — but not as a group. I’ve created a large Whatsapp group in which I check in on people once or twice weekly to make sure they are OK and if they need help, connect them with what they need. Lastly, I collaborated with a friend, and we sent out weekly requests for donations towards meals for the Healthcare workers in our area — it was a great way to help the local restaurants stay in business and the Healthcare workers were so grateful.

In your opinion, what does it mean to be a hero? The definition of a hero is someone who is admired for courage, outstanding achievements or noble qualities.

In my opinion, I think a hero is someone who helps or does for others without expecting anything in return.

In your opinion or experience, what are “5 characteristics of a hero? Please share a story or example for each.

A hero possesses many characteristics — in my opinion the five that stand out are selflessness, humility, courage, helpful, and inspirational. And they all tie into one another because it is all about being concerned about the well-being of others, having empathy to see things from another’s perspective, having a moral compass by sticking to your values and having the ability to be inspirational and confident during a crisis, and of course, humility! I don’t have a story for each characteristic but I can definitely say that a hero doesn’t know that he/she is a hero — when you call them that, they don’t have a clue why. That is probably the best example of a true hero.

If heroism is rooted in doing something difficult, scary, or even self-sacrificing, what do you think drives some people — ordinary people — to become heroes?

Wow! That’s a loaded question! I think that for some it may be innate — a part of their personality. We all know children that show kindness and compassion from a very young age — so it can be something that you are “born with”. For others, it can be based on their life experiences and the growth process through it. We all go through challenging experiences in life — the questions from any experience are: what have we learned, how were we affected, and how did we transition and grow from them to help others.

What was the specific catalyst for you or your organization to take heroic action? At what point did you personally decide that heroic action needed to be taken?

My catalyst was the realization that the pandemic will completely change our lives. With the first step being a lockdown, I knew that people will go through a very difficult time emotionally. We are social beings and rely on one another — I realized immediately that the lockdown will have a significant effect on everyone. I saw this early on during the second week of March and started the group immediately. I also started connecting with others through “virtual zoom coffee dates” — just to make sure those who needed a conversation and an outlet to lower stress and anxiety had one. I shared pictures of the zoom dates on social media and others started doing it.

Who are your heroes, or who do you see as heroes today?

My heroes today and always are still the same people: my parents and other family members, first responders, teachers, spiritual leaders, inspirational people, and caregivers especially parents who care for their terminally ill children.

Let’s talk a bit about what is happening in the world today. What specifically frightened or frightens you most about the pandemic?

What frightens me is the climbing poverty rate due to people losing their livelihood, the depression and anxiety that the fear and panic have brought on which will take years to heal and sadly, the loss of hope that teens and young adults are feeling.

Despite that, what gives you hope for the future? Can you explain?

What gives me hope is knowing that humanity has gone through so many difficult and hard times, and has persevered. Think about it — wars, starvation, plagues, viruses — and we are still here! The fact that people are taking care of others during this pandemic also gives me great hope, because no matter what, compassion and kindness are a big part of us all.

What has inspired you the most about the behavior of people during the pandemic, and what behaviors do you find most disappointing?

I’ve been inspired by the people who have taken the lead to help others, to create organizations that distribute food and money to those in need and those who simply lift others. The most disappointing behaviors are the instilling of fear, panic, and misinformation through the media and social media; greed in the form of price gouging for masks and hands sanitizer; and criticizing the healthcare workers.

Has this crisis caused you to reassess your view of the world or of society? We would love to hear what you mean.

If I wouldn’t have read Anne Frank a million times (well, not a million), I would probably say yes, I had to reassess my views. But because this book is always on my coffee table, I can’t say that I had to reassess my view because Anne Frank said it best: “In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart”. And that’s the bottom line, people ARE good-hearted and it is only amplified during a crisis.

What permanent societal changes would you like to see come out of this crisis?

I would love to keep the momentum of unity and the lifting of one another instead of the division and conflict that was permeating the world.

If you could tell other young people one thing about why they should consider making a positive impact on our environment or society, like you, what would you tell them?

I would tell them that each and every one of them has something unique within them to make a difference in the world. And to always remember that this world was created for them!

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. 🙂

If only! I guess the movement would be called The Inspired pandemic which would inspire others and make that contagious!

Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

Yes! My spiritual hero, Rabbi Lord Jonathan Saks — talk about inspiring and illuminating others! I admire his teachings, philosophy, and influence in the world.

How can our readers follow you online?

www.naturallyhealthybymiri.com

https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=naturally%20healthy%20by%20miri
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1264363760435723
https://www.instagram.com/miriamamselem/?hl=en

This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!


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