Establish the daily practice of giving gratitude. I try to do this often throughout the day. Gratefulness for a warm cup of tea, gratefulness for my family, gratefulness for the opportunities and experiences I have. Gratefulness for things big and small.

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 Cindy Benezra.

Cindy Benezra, an author, inspirational speaker, entrepreneur, and sexual abuse advocate, has channeled her experiences into a platform called CindyTalks, fueled by her memoir, Under The Orange Blossoms. Recognized for her resilience and compassion, Cindy is driven to raise awareness about sexual abuse through meaningful dialogues. Having undergone years of therapy and self-help practices, she possesses comprehensive knowledge of various avenues for healing from trauma.

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?

Currently, my daughter and I own a luxury event company. She’s my boss, and it’s been an honor to establish and watch her dream come to fruition. How many parents can say they have helped create their dream career? I told her I would give her five years, and in the meantime, I would create my goal of writing a book on my childhood and journey through abuse and sexual assault.

The book initially started as a cookbook. I took an entire day to gather and sort out my recipes for the book, along with time-saving tips for decor and entertainment. As I was sorting through these recipes, memories began to flood my mind that took me back to the place and time of the recipes–some beautiful and others traumatizing. I recalled what happened through the timeline of recipes of life, and to rid them from my memory, I categorized them and wrote them on five different notepads. They were titled Recipies, Decor, Childhood Trauma and Sex Abuse, Grief and Loss of Brian (my special needs son), Inspirational Quotes and Hope, and Tools of Healing. I ran my hands over all the notepads, and the one that felt like it had the most shame, the thing I could not share, became the book I wrote, Under The Orange Blossoms. It was the secret I held inside and closest to my heart because it was so painful. It was a subject of taboo, the one that others stereotyped as broken and one of shame.

Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?

One weekend, I was participating in a book reading of my memoir along with other authors at a local bookstore. Some were authors of fiction, children’s books, and other memoirs. As I listened to everyone else share, I gripped myself to share my memoir, knowing that the topic of sexual abuse would be quite a heavy shift from the other stories. I got up and confidently shared, but I could see people uncomfortably shifting in their chairs. I’ve always told myself if this book impacts just one person, it has accomplished its goal. After sitting back down, one woman on my right, who seemed very stoic, turned to me and said, “I have a similar story.” Not long after, the woman on my left said, “I know someone who has faced that too.” Before the event was over, I had numerous women and men quietly come up to me and disclose their connection to sexual abuse. While I am familiar with the statistics and know it’s a silent epidemic, that day was a true picture of those statistics. It taught me that even though we have come a long way in talking about sexual abuse, we have a long way to go. So much healing must take place to change things for the next generations.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

We are a small, diverse, women-owned and operated business based in the Pacific Northwest that stands on the belief that our experiences, good or bad, are to help others. While my childhood experience of sexual abuse drove the founding of this company, we are passionate about helping others prosper and heal through storytelling, shared tools, and our lived experiences. We most likely have all experienced some form of trauma in life, and we hope to provide you with inspiration, hope, and healing, no matter where you are on the journey.

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?

Brian, my son, believed in me the most. When I told my son what had happened to me in my childhood, he said that he related to me more than to me prior to sharing my history. He feels that, as humans, we all suffer and need to see that those who struggle can be just as relevant as those who have not and that the struggles establish ways to find the path to resilience, happiness, and healing.

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?

The pursuit to survive and thrive, coupled with a drive for excellence in oneself. Resilience requires humbly celebrating and expressing gratitude for every significant step and arduous crawl. Our greatest purpose can be on the sideline, perhaps supporting someone else, but we must recognize that the ordinary is often the extraordinary of doing the mundane. My favorite step is permitting myself to consciously soak in the win with every cell of the body, free from any regrets or bitterness from the journey. It’s a complete euphoric win and a celebration of oneself.

Courage is often likened to resilience. In your opinion how is courage both similar and different from resilience?

Before I feel courageous, I feel fearful that I won’t be able to take the next step. The fear of doing something unfamiliar can feel like jumping into an unknown world. For me, resilience feels like a mindset — an unstoppable force of knowing that you will navigate through it no matter where life takes you. Courage and resilience become intertwined and dance together, trading off on the lead.

When you think of resilience, which person comes to mind? Can you explain why you chose that person?

It is many things, including people. I think of the movie Unstoppable, Brian, my son, every human who keeps waking up to find a better day, the resilient love from my husband, and the beauty of nature is resilience to me.

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?

As a child, I struggled with dyslexia, and writing didn’t come easy for me. Because of it, I earned the name “Spacey Cindy” from my teachers. Many of the messages telling me what was impossible were implied by those around me and eventually internalized by myself. There were messages to keep quiet, keep my story to myself, and move on in life. I choose the opposite. I wrote my book, I spoke out, and I spoke up.

Did you have a time in your life when you had one of your greatest setbacks, but you bounced back from it stronger than ever? Can you share that story with us?

When Brian was a baby, and we were dealing with all of his health complications, I lived from hour to hour, day by day, not knowing I would have him in my arms alive the next day. The dread and fear of not knowing if life would be in his little body the next day was too much. Each day together, my strength and courage grew, and so did my tenacity to fight for his life and our future.

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?

Surrounding myself with like-minded people who feel like sunshine has been a desire of mine as far back as I can remember. Often, we are afraid to create distance from others who negatively impact our mindset. We carry relationships that are not always uplifting. I routinely do a little emotional housekeeping. I ask myself who allows me to grow and who are those who feel like sunshine. Through this process, I create a little space for those who take from me emotionally — gracefully creating a place where I can be my best self, too. I honor myself in the process and often find myself returning to those relationships that happen to be going through a toxic time. Finding the light in the darkness has been a survival tool that has cultivated resilience throughout my life.

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.

1. Establish the daily practice of giving gratitude. I try to do this often throughout the day. Gratefulness for a warm cup of tea, gratefulness for my family, gratefulness for the opportunities and experiences I have. Gratefulness for things big and small.

2. Equally celebrate the small and big wins on a cellular level. Allow yourself to surrender to your joy completely. I engage all my senses, breathing in, looking with intention, opening my heart, and embracing my feelings.

3. Resilience is owning a mindset of perseverance and knowing that you will land on your feet in any direction. The direction is often out of my control, but knowing that I will land on my feet and keep moving is most important.

4. Resilience is love for oneself. Knowing it’s okay to be loved by some and not all. When you exhibit love for yourself, love becomes and takes ownership of you.

5. Be humble and authentic. Resilience needs a healthy foundation to grow.

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. 🙂

My dream is to inspire a movement of hope that through trauma and sexual abuse, you can become whole.

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 🙂

Michelle Obama, Gayle King, and Oprah Winfrey are the movers and shakers I’d love to sit down with. I recall the moment in time when Oprah shared her sexual abuse story. Frozen, mouth wide open, I stood beside the ironing board folding my laundry and thought I could never be brave enough to break my secret. While my mind thought that, a part of my soul said yes, you can. Dismissive of the voice in my head, I cried alongside Oprah as she publicly unfolded her story. Listening to her began the spark of the words, yes, you can.

My hope is to collaborate with other like-minded people who want to create more awareness and financial resources for those who are suffering from sexual abuse. We have established great organizations around the country, but funding for services is limited. With limited funding, resources dwindle along with prevention. Without prevention and education, we don’t learn facts like 90% of children know their offender, and 1 in 4 females and 1 in 6 men suffer from some form of sexual abuse.

I believe that our children are worthy of living in a safer world, but it begins with educating ourselves about these issues.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

They can follow me at as well as the following social media platforms.

Instagram- @cindybenezra

Facebook- /CindyBenezraAuthor/

LinkedIn — /cindy-benezra-932560158


This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!


  • Savio P. Clemente

    TEDx Speaker, Media Journalist, Board Certified Wellness Coach, Best-Selling Author & Cancer Survivor

    Savio P. Clemente, TEDx speaker and Stage 3 cancer survivor, infuses transformative insights into every article. His journey battling cancer fuels a mission to empower survivors and industry leaders towards living a truly healthy, wealthy, and wise lifestyle. As a Board-Certified Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC, ACC), Savio guides readers to embrace self-discovery and rewrite narratives by loving their inner stranger, as outlined in his acclaimed TEDx talk: "7 Minutes to Wellness: How to Love Your Inner Stranger." Through his best-selling book and impactful work as a media journalist — covering inspirational stories of resilience and exploring wellness trends — Savio has collaborated with notable celebrities and TV personalities, bringing his insights to diverse audiences and touching countless lives. His philosophy, "to know thyself is to heal thyself," resonates in every piece.