Cultivate a daily meditation practice. I am a Transcendental Meditation practitioner. The twenty minutes I devote in the morning and twenty minutes later in the day have helped me to purge my mind and body of old concerns and stresses that held me back in the past.
Resilience has been described as the ability to withstand adversity and bounce back from difficult life events. Times are not easy now. How do we develop greater resilience to withstand the challenges that keep being thrown at us? In this interview series, we are talking to mental health experts, authors, resilience experts, coaches, and business leaders who can talk about how we can develop greater resilience to improve our lives.
As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Beth Lauren.
Beth Lauren spent over a decade in the film industry as a writer, producer, and director. She poignantly and humorously documents the devastating journey to get her second feature produced in her memoir, Reeling: Misadventures in Moviemaking, Money and Love. She is a certified Ayurveda Wellness Counselor and is the owner of Sangha NYC, which offers virtual and in-person Ayurvedic counseling as well as a line of bespoke products. Beth is producing the Well-Tech World Summit in Dublin, Ireland in March 2022, a 3-day conference will bring the global technology and wellness communities together to reflect on the past year, and to share technology-enabled solutions, creating optimal holistic health for all.
Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your backstory?
I am a native New Yorker, sexual assault survivor, memoirist, Ayurveda Wellness Counselor, event producer and non-profit fundraising consultant.
Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?
I’m currently producing the Well-Tech World Summit, a conference that brings together leaders from the ecosystems of tech and wellness in Ireland in March 2022. I have been really successful in attaching brilliant and respected speakers. I have simply asked them and for the most part, I’ve gotten a yes! The takeaway is to just keep moving forward and ask for what you want, what you believe is meant to be yours! The worst thing that can happen is that you will get a no. So what? The world is full of brilliant people and amazing experiences. Keep going!
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
I believe in Eastern medicine, but I bring my European Jewish roots to my Ayurveda business. That is most evident in the food line I’m developing, Sangha Shtetl, which offers classic Jewish favorites such as matzoh ball soup and kreplach (dumplings) infused with Ayurvedic spices. That fusion is unique and represents the flavors and customs that are the most meaningful to me, blending the two worlds I inhabit.
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?
Dr. Jayarajan Kodikannath, known as Dr. J, is Chief Executive Officer & Chief Ayurveda Consultant at Kerala Ayurveda USA where I studied. He is the person for whom I have endless gratitude. Not only is he a supportive and brilliant teacher, but he encourages his students to take all the time they need to complete their coursework with as little stress and anxiety as possible. He is the embodiment of an Ayurvedic mind and spirit.
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. We would like to explore and flesh out the trait of resilience. How would you define resilience? What do you believe are the characteristics or traits of resilient people?
Resilience to me is the ability to keep moving forward, to see the value of your unique gifts and how you can positively contribute to the world, even when you’ve been knocked down over and over by life, but also when you’ve let yourself down. The latter has been a challenging task for me! I am harder on myself than anyone, and that includes people who have hurt me physically. Resilient people are forgiving and introspective. We know when to move on.
Courage is often likened to resilience. In your opinion how is courage both similar and different to resilience?
Courage can be a one-off experience. You can be courageous in how you handle one particularly difficult situation, but not necessarily in any consistent way. Resilience is how you choose to live your life, not letting challenges and disappointments stop you from going for the things you want and choosing to live life in the moment.
When you think of resilience, which person comes to mind? Can you explain why you chose that person?
It’s not one person. I work with Women for Afghan Women (www.womenforafghanwomen.com), a non-profit that has helped women and children in both the US and Afghanistan with a wide array of programs and services for 20 years. Their clients include women who have survived domestic violence, being married off as minors, who fled their native country with nothing but the clothes they were wearing, torn from their families. Yet, they have the strength to resettle in the US, study English, learn new customs, enroll in college, get counseling, and find the joy in creating new lives for themselves.
Has there ever been a time that someone told you something was impossible, but you did it anyway? Can you share the story with us?
No one has ever come out and told me any of my goals and plans were impossible to execute. But I’ve gotten plenty of questions and comments from people that were tainted with judgment. Right now, I’m producing the Well-Tech World Summit, a 3-day conference that brings together the wellness and technology ecosystems. This is a particularly challenging event, because it’s happening in Ireland, and I live in New York City! I’ve gotten the funny looks, and the sarcastic comments, which to me speak more to the insecurity and resistance of the person who is making them! I’m undeterred!
Did you have a time in your life where you had one of your greatest setbacks, but you bounced back from it stronger than ever? Can you share that story with us?
After a seven-year journey to get a $4 million feature film made, which had award-winning, brilliant actors on board amongst other amazing attachments, I was swindled by a fake financier. My career and bank account were wiped out! It took years of selfcare, which included meditation, yoga, therapy, an Ayurvedic lifestyle and writing a cathartic memoir, but nine years later I’m enjoying the best mental and physical health of my life.
How have you cultivated resilience throughout your life? Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Can you share a story?
When someone tells me “no” to a project, proposal, or funding — whatever it is, it drives me to work hard, look at more options to find success. I always want to prove to myself that I can get the job done. That tenacity is my way to cultivate resiliency.
The pivotal childhood experience that shaped my resiliency is not a happy one. I was abducted and sexually assaulted during the Thanksgiving weekend when I was 12. My family couldn’t cope and although they were educated people, they decided to pretend it didn’t happen as though that would allow me to forget the trauma! Processing the memories, seeking out therapy and ancillary modalities to heal my mind, body and heart was a singular journey that is the cornerstone of my resilience.
Resilience is like a muscle that can be strengthened. In your opinion, what are 5 steps that someone can take to become more resilient? Please share a story or an example for each.
- Cultivate a daily meditation practice. I am a Transcendental Meditation practitioner. The twenty minutes I devote in the morning and twenty minutes later in the day have helped me to purge my mind and body of old concerns and stresses that held me back in the past.
- Set workout/exercise goals: After menopause and Covid stress eating for months, I suddenly found myself inhabiting a body I didn’t recognize! Worse, I felt my stamina and flexibility weakening and my blood pressure and cholesterol reaching very unhealthy numbers. I began daily morning walks, starting at two-three miles. I had been a runner, completing several 5Ks and a half-marathon, but that was six years earlier. But soon the muscle memory kicked in and I started adding sprints and in weeks I was up to five miles, and now I run/walk six-seven miles four times a week. I started working with an in-home trainer, committing to three sessions weekly. In no time muscles I hadn’t used in years were replacing fat, and my strength, flexibility and stamina improved as my blood pressure and cholesterol returned to healthy levels. The body is extremely resilient!
- Express gratitude daily: Verbally listing, or writing down all the people, experiences, lessons for which you are grateful, is a reminder of how far you have come from past adversity. Even when you’re having a tough day, taking stock of what your grateful for in your life can help you remember just how resilient you can be!
- Seek out volunteer opportunities that put you in contact with people who have survived insurmountable odds: Working with refugees, people who have been displaced by natural disasters, or who lost their homes because of economic hardship helps to remind us that the human spirit can endure so much pain and keep moving forward.
- Finally, remember how far you’ve come! Giving yourself a moment each day to remember how much you have achieved in your relationships, career, personal growth is the ultimate gift of selflove. You can only be truly resilient if you love yourself.
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. 🙂
I would love to create a platform that offers survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence a place to just share their stories in both a group and individual setting. For decades, I didn’t speak about my trauma. Even my closest friends had no clue that I had endured such violence as a young woman. It’s easy for me to talk about it now, and whenever I meet another survivor, I always encourage them to speak their truth. Being heard, having the space to release the pain, is essential for complete recovery.
We are blessed that some very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them 🙂
Marianne Williamson! She is this incredible mix of shaman, activist, and spiritual leader. She knows who she is and is unapologetic about putting herself out there whether it’s to lead a congregation in meditation and prayer, or to run for President of the United States. She knows the power of her message and how to harness it to reach the greatest number of people for the betterment of the individual and the community-at-large. She is loved and appreciated by business leaders, politicians, celebrities, athletes, and thousands of people who have read her books, completed A Course in Miracles, or simply found her on the Oprah Show. I think I would learn so much from her, and it would just be so cool to hang out with her and talk about everything from politics to religion to men!
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Readers can read my memoir, Reeling: Misadventures in Moviemaking, Money and Love, and learn more about how resiliency saved my life.
If readers would like to learn more about Ayurveda and book a session with me, they can go to www.sanghanyc.com and they can join me and a truly engaging and brilliant panel of wellness and tech professionals in Ireland in March 2022 at Well-Tech World Summit.
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!