Surround yourself with positive people. It is easy to absorb energy, like sponges. If you are in relationship with those who are Debbie Downers or Negative Neds, be aware that you may inadvertently take on those qualities. In my life, I have needed to detach with love and walk away from people who steal my joy.
Asa part of my series about how to live with Joie De Vivre, I I had the pleasure of interviewing Edie Weinstein.
Rev. Edie Weinstein, MSW, LSW is a psychotherapist, licensed social worker, journalist, interfaith minister, editor and speaker. She invites people to live rich, full, juicy lives.
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?
Igrew up in a family in which education, communication and being of service were valued. My parents encouraged my sister and me to speak our minds, respectfully, but were never silenced with the ‘children should be seen and not heard,’ trope that was common in the 1960s. They were also active volunteers in our community and modeled that for us. I was often the go-to person for friends who needed to vent or seek advice. When I went to college for a degree in Psychology (1981) and grad school to earn a Social Work degree (1985) , I realized I had begun to fulfill that purpose. I also loved reading and writing, but never intended to pursue a career in journalism. It was when my husband and I founded Visions Magazine in 1988, that I entered into that field. Writing is one of my greatest joys. Ministry came along when my husband was ill. He had been enrolled in the New Seminary in NYC. When he died, in 1998, I took his place in the class and completed the two year program in six months and was ordained in June of 1999. Dong public speaking and teaching adults and children felt like a natural extension.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
It occurred on July 17, 2008 as I interviewed His Holiness the Dalai Lama when he came to Philadelphia to offer a series of teachings. Being in his presence was a culmination of 20 years of setting intention, putting the desire out there to the Universe, creating Visions Boards with his photo on them, placing a postcard on my car dashboard, (which I still have all these years later), and the most challenging of all….surrendering the outcome. A dear friend who is an American-born Buddhist, named Greg Schultz was my ace in the hole as he was the event planner for the appearance and he was able to arrange the interview. Along with a journalist from the Philadelphia Inquirer, I was the only other interviewer given the opportunity. All these years later, it still seems surrealistic.
Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?
A few years ago, I was to appear at a Women’s conference in MD. I got up in the wee hours and got dressed in the dark. En route to the event, I looked down and saw that my shirt was on backward. Fortunately, I had time to make a quick stop in the restroom. After I turned it around, I was sitting on the toilet and noticed that my underwear was on inside out! I didn’t change that, but the episode made a good story from the stage. If memory serves, my presentation was about being authentic. Talk about peeling off the layers to reveal the real! The lesson was to turn the light on before I get dressed.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
There were many, from my parents, to teachers, to my mentor, Dr. Yvonne Kaye who believed in me beyond the beyond. One person, whose name I don’t recall, gave me stellar advice when I was growing my speaking chops. It was in the early 1980s when I was between college and graduate school. I was working for The South Jersey Council on Alcoholism and I was hired to offer classes to teachers on substance abuse prevention, so that they could teach the students. I was partnered with a man who had been doing this work for 10 years. Here I was, shuffling my cheat sheets/cue cards, stumbling over my words and he was polished and professional. After one particularly embarrassing episode, I asked him how he managed to do it so well. His one word answer stunned me, “Stories. When you have stories to share, you will be much more natural.” All these years later, totally comfortable speaking to groups of all sizes, in person, on line, on television and radio, I finally have stories. I wish I could thank him personally.
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. The United States is currently rated at #18 in the World Happiness Report. Can you share a few reasons why you think the ranking is so low?
In part, because many of us source our happiness from the outside. “I’ll be happy if… I’ll be happy when…” is a mantra. Unfortunately, it can be fleeting. As is so in the Buddhist tradition, all is impermanent. We are taught that material possessions bring happiness and that the behaviors of others can either detract from or add to our happiness quotient. Watch The Happy Movie as a way of counteracting those beliefs.
Can you share with our readers your 5 strategies to live with more Joie De Vivre? Can you please give a story or example for each?
- I call myself Bliss Mistress, so named by a dear friend/lover more than 10 years ago. He knew I was teaching people how to live their bliss, full out, inspired by Joseph Campbell who offered the perpetual wisdom, “Follow your bliss.” My friend added this instruction, “If you are going to call yourself that, you damn sure better be living it.” Each day I do my utmost to live blissfully.
- Surround yourself with positive people. It is easy to absorb energy, like sponges. If you are in relationship with those who are Debbie Downers or Negative Neds, be aware that you may inadvertently take on those qualities. In my life, I have needed to detach with love and walk away from people who steal my joy.
- Engage in activities that uplift you. For me that is listening to music, reading, writing, being with kindred spirits, time with beloved family, and exercising. I discover my bliss by opening to it in whatever form it shows up. I encourage people to do what lights them up from the inside and turns them into a human sparkler.
- Keep a journal. It is a powerful way of getting the thoughts out of your head and on paper. Think of it as a time capsule, as you can look back years later and marvel at your progress. I have journals that I penned in my 20s. I look at the words and am astounded at how far I have come in the relationship and self love realms. I encourage people to use colorful markers, draw images and cut and paste photos and words from magazines. Think of it as a Vision Board in book form.
- Connect with something bigger than yourself. For some, it is the God of their understanding, for others it is immersing in the natural world, spending time with children (I am blessed with my own tiny guru, my now 7-month-old grandson) who can teach us about living in a sense of awe and wonder, or being of service as a volunteer. In those ways, you may discover your passion and purpose.
Do you have any favorite books, podcasts, or resources that most inspired you to live with a thirst for life?
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman, Illusions by Richard Bach, the work of Joseph Campbell. I listen to SuperSoul with Oprah, TED Radio Hour, How I Built This, and On Being.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote” that relates to having a Joie De Vivre? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“All of life comes to me with ease and joy and glory,” is a mantra from a modality called Access Consciousness.™ A friend taught it to me several years ago and I recite it all throughout the day, including in the shower, when driving, when going to sleep and upon waking up. I have it on a laminated card that is on my bathroom mirror. I notice that it has a calming effect and reminds me that I have much to be grateful for. Even in the midst of challenges, I find it helps shape the outcome. When I am at peace, happiness flows more naturally.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I see myself as a role model and influencer, so being in integrity is essential. I follow through with commitments which encourages others to do the same. I feel comfortable increasing my income, since the more money I make, the more I can donate. As my visibility increases, I use it as a platform to spread messages of love, unity and cooperation.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
I am writing a book based on the organization I founded called Hugmobsters Armed With Love. The purpose is to shower the world with (at the moment, in the time of COVID-19), virtual hugs until the real thing can be shared safely.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire 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. 🙂
The movement is part of the Hugmobsters work I mentioned above. It was launched Valentines’ Day weekend of 2014 when a group of us converged at 30th Street Station in Philadelphia for a free hugs flash mob. Five months later, at the age of 55 I had a heart attack. As part of my cardiac rehab I combined hugging with walking. Since then, I have hugged folks in the U.S., Canada and Ireland. Hugging by consent, helps people to feel valued, it generates the feel-good hormones such as serotonin and oxytocin, and it meets skin hunger needs. More than ever, in the interim, it is important to reach out with in person hugs with those in your home and virtual hugs with others. Even though we can’t hug, we can still love.
Thank you for these excellent insights!