Radio Host Wendi Cherry: “How To Develop Mindfulness And Serenity During Stressful Or Uncertain Times”

We have control over where we direct our focus. Making the conscious effort to focus on peace, pleasure, and things that make you feel good, go a long way towards serenity. Of course, bad things happen but choose to focus on what you can control and release the rest; it usually works out better than […]

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We have control over where we direct our focus. Making the conscious effort to focus on peace, pleasure, and things that make you feel good, go a long way towards serenity. Of course, bad things happen but choose to focus on what you can control and release the rest; it usually works out better than you’d planned.

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

Wendi Cherry is a certified integrative health coach, author, radio show host, and producer. She has been featured locally and internationally, on 89.3-WPFW, 93.9-WKYSFM, 96.3-WHUR, and 104.2-Elle’FM, in West Africa and is a contributing writer for the AARP Sisters Newsletter. When she’s not hanging out with her teenage daughter or bobbin’ her head to some Golden Era hip hop, she is living her passion educating, empowering, and inspiring people to unapologetically transform into their most authentic and healthy selves.

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?

Throughout the 25-years of working in the corporate sector, the stress began to affect my health negatively. First diagnosed by my primary care doctor, I partly blew it off, believing that stress was inevitable in every work environment. It wasn’t until my dentist co-signed that sentiment and warned that I was excessively grinding my back teeth that I began to take notice.

Unfortunately, it took my doctor, placing me on a brief medical leave for me to prioritize my health. I slowly changed my diet, mindset, and career, and that’s when the revolution began.

I was beginning to thrive in a new way, having made just a few lifestyle adjustments and wanted to share my success and path with others. So, I enrolled in the largest nutrition school in the world, The Institute of Integrative Nutrition, and became a certified integrative nutrition health coach.

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

In the summer of 2017, I embarked on a two-week solo trip throughout Southeast Asia. It was exhilarating, frightening, and intriguing. The most exciting part of that journey was learning to go within, to trust my instinct, intuition, and intelligence. That experience was a quantum leap forward in bolstering my confidence that I could create the life I wanted through entrepreneurship.

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

The sage advice our mothers gave us when we were young, still stands. “Treat people the way you’d like to be treated.”

My very first job after college was as a wardrobe assistant at the World-Famous Apollo Theater in Harlem, NY. My supervisor had little patience to teach me and mostly ignored me, as if I didn’t exist, which made me feel unappreciated. It wasn’t a great way to begin a career.

As I ascended into corporate leadership, I also kept Maya Angelou’s words close to my heart, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Though competitive compensation and fancy perks are appreciated, human beings authentically desire to feel valued, seen and heard. Once those basic principles are in place, employees will believe they belong to a ‘fantastic work culture.’

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?

Upon learning that I was engaged, my mentor suggested that I read a book called The Mastery of Love by don Miguel Ruiz. I’d never heard of him but figured it couldn’t hurt because though I was happy on the surface, I still felt deeply unsettled in the relationship. Only two years in, I wasn’t my usual fun-loving, spontaneous, and passionate self.

The Mastery of Love book was divine intervention. Every Thursday, my partner and I read a chapter and discussed the lessons. This book forced me to look at my unrealistic perceptions of relationships and, more importantly, my role in them and my expectations of them. I was way off balance. It started to illuminate my constant practice of seeking love and acceptance outside of myself. It was such an awakening! I was aware of my pattern, but don Miguel helped me understand it better. Inevitably we uncovered additional red flags and cracks in our foundation and mutually decided to end our relationship. I dodged a bullet!

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?

I activated the autopilot gear on my life beginning in my 20’s. I went along to get along, never connecting the subtle sensations (i.e., anxiety, fear, physical pain) in my body with the fact that I needed to pay attention.Once I became more connected to my feelings, thoughts, and added meditation to my morning routine, I slowly became more mindful and aware.

My success in remaining mostly mindful depends on how much time I have invested in my morning meditation. The most challenging part is not judging myself, my thoughts or feelings, and only allowing them to be.

On those days when everything clicks perfectly, I receive very targeted inspiration on the next steps for my life and business.

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?

I am grateful that my meditation practice was solid before this Corona crisis took over the world. These skills have allowed me to go deeper within and to recalibrate as needed.

Though like everyone else, my senses are heightened, I am carefully choosing the type of energy I am creating during this time. Remembering that everything is connected allows me to remain level-headed, which in turn keeps my nervous system balanced. I ensure I get enough sun, rest, water, and movement, which supports my physical, mental, and emotional health.

Perspective is everything, and I have decided to see this experience as more of an opportunity than a crisis. I am enjoying reconnecting with my friends and family more frequently and maximizing the time to create, purge, dance, veg out on the couch, and sneak extra snuggles from my teenage daughter.

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.

The main thing I want to relay is that we are all responsible for our own choices, reactions, responses, and inactions. Below are the five steps that I follow to stay in harmony.

Step 1: Begin Your Morning with Vitamin G.

Every morning, as soon as I wake up, I say, “thank you,” “help me,” and “wow!” Gratitude allows me to keep everything balanced and is nourishing to the soul.

I acknowledge that even in the toughest times, there is always a reason to be grateful and that I need divine help to guide me through the day’s challenges. My favorite part is “wow”…I marvel that all of my organs worked while I slept perfectly, without a single reminder from me.

Step 2: Choose Peace

We have control over where we direct our focus. Making the conscious effort to focus on peace, pleasure, and things that make you feel good, go a long way towards serenity. Of course, bad things happen but choose to focus on what you can control and release the rest; it usually works out better than you’d planned.

Step 3: Move Your Body

The body needs movement to prevent stagnation and dis-ease. Depending on the day, I mix it up with yoga, barre, and high-intensity weight training to get the heart rate up. My favorite exercise is belly-dancing. Between the choreography, intensity, and isolation of the muscles, it is a full-body workout. Having a whittled waist doesn’t hurt either. Find what works best for you.

Step 4: Eat Well

Food is medicine. Eating a rainbow of colored fruit and veggies unlocks the food’s intelligence, which in turn supports our body’s organs to perform their functions properly.

Humans are introduced to sugar at birth, whether through breast milk or formula. The sugar releases a chemical called dopamine (more commonly known as a natural feel-good transmitter), which gives the body a surge of pleasure. The stress of the times is driving people to comfort foods like mac and cheese, chips, and other carbs. I suggest limiting the carbs for a better health outcome post-Corona.

Step 5: Human Connection is Healing

Humans are tribal beings and crave connection. Take this time to be more intentional about reconnecting with friends and family. Focus on the ‘physical’ more than the ‘social’ part of the mandate. Humans who are socially connected are happier, less stressed, and have a better long-term outlook. Hug and touch your children and partner as much and for as long as possible. The skin is the body’s largest organ, and touch can be a healing balm when given in a loving and safe environment.

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?

Step 1: Provide a safe space for people to be able to share their true feelings. Many times, we desire to simply release our emotions and are not looking for anyone to fix it.

Step 2: Share inspirational quotes, meditations, and prayers. When I am feeling anxious, I quietly repeat, “Om Shanti,” which means, “I am peace” in Sanskrit.

Step 3: A simple embrace can help calm anxiety. The human touch has healing powers.

Step 4: Suggest a barefoot walk in the park or on the beach. Allowing the sun’s rays to warm your face and skin will significantly improve your mood.

Step 5: Dance. Blast your favorite song and get up and move your body. It sounds so simple, but the movement helps to break up any stagnant energy in the body, which releases stress and anxiety.

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

For quick, diverse, and easy access, I suggest YouTube. The catalog is vast, offering step-by-step instruction on wellness modalities, including yoga, qigong, breathwork, and journaling tips at different levels. What works for one may not work for another, so finding your groove is easy and cost-effective.

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

Quote: “If you aren’t at the table, you are the meal.”

A former colleague shared that quote during a particularly stressful season at work where some critical decisions were being made. It lit a fire under me to forge ahead with my entrepreneurial endeavors to have more control over decisions that impacted my life.

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 already have! When I saw the fear and hysteria amongst some of my family and friends on social media, I decided to gather some of the most powerful women that I knew and created the free Virtual Goddess Awakening & Healing Summit. Over seven days, we will gather to inspire, educate, and empower women as we navigate this pandemic. It will be a space for self-discovery and transformation into our most vibrant, authentic, and healthy selves post-Corona. The Summit includes a naturopathic doctor, a traditional physician, a pastor, a psychologist, a sociologist, and a Yogi.

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


IG/Twitter: @awakenandheal

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

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