You Can Have Serenity and Health with Dr. Donna Chacko
How do you feel in your body when you hear these two words? Today's guest, Dr. Donna Chacko is helping us explore serenity and health. How do you feel in your body when you hear that?
Do you feel tension? Do you feel desire? Do you feel a prompting? Do you feel an openness? Do you feel rejection? Do you feel impossibility? You could feel these things literally in your gut or in your mind. Uou might get goosebumps, whatever it is, and however it is that you defined it, it's possible for you to define it by taking space, sacred space, which Dr. Donna is going to share her own journey to exploring and discovering this in her own life.
You have access to serenity and health every single day. Let's learn how in this episode.
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About Dr. Donna Chacko:
Dr. Chacko, author of award winning Pilgrimage: A Doctor’s Healing Journey, is a wife, mother, and grandmother. She practiced medicine for decades, first as a radiation oncologist and later as a family medicine doctor caring for the poor in Washington DC. Now Donna works in the ministry she founded, Serenity and Health, to promote health of body, mind, and spirit based on a foundation of faith.
Where to Find Dr. Donna:
Donna Chacko, MD https://www.serenityandhealth.com
Social Media Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/DonnaChacko
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Show Notes: You Can Have Serenity and Health
Okay. Two words, two words. I wanna know. How do you feel in your body when you hear these two words? This is an activation. Yes, right out the gate. Cuz today's amazing. Guest, Dr. Donna Chaco. She is helping us explore. Serenity and health, serenity, and health. How do you feel in your body when you hear that?
Do you feel tension? Do you feel desire? Do you feel a prompting? Do you feel an openness? Do you feel rejection? Do you feel impossibility? You could feel these things literally in your gut, in your mind, you might get angel bumps, you might get goosebumps, whatever it is. And however it is that you defined it, it's possible for you to define it by taking space, sacred space, which Donna's gonna talk to you about and her journey to exploring and discovering this in her own life.
It is one. Listening to, I mean, such wisdom, such sadness and grief even, but such outcome and outpour from the Lord. Oh man. Y'all you gotta get your hands on her book. It's called the pilgrimage a doctor's healing journey. Again, her name is Dr. Donna Chaco. She says we can email her directly. You can get on her serenity and health.com website.
All show links have what you need, where you need to get it. And I ultimately just want you to know that you have access to serenity and health every single day. Let's learn how.
Welcome to the fit and faith podcast fit is an acronym representing founders, innovators, and trailblazers who are looking to live a life holy, fully, authentically, and truly fit a space for us to connect on the raw real stories of mind, body, and soul alignment of entrepreneurs. And kingdom leaders. I'm your host, Tamara Andres.
And this podcast, isn't like the cookie cutter interview experience. I've been coined the entrepreneurial rabbi. And so we do go there unscripted, no matter how far wide, deep or high the, there is. My desire is to see people rise from the inside, out, into their greatest calling, by sharing their truest stories.
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Welcome. Welcome to the show. I am so excited to get a little bit of serenity and health today with our incredible guest Donna Choco. She said, I didn't have to call her doctor, but sometimes I feel rude. It's like not saying misses you've earned it. And so I won't call you Dr. Donna Choco. I'll introduce you as Donna, but y'all have to know.
She is one of not only, uh, integrity, but of wisdom and sound mind. And Lord knows we need more of that in our show and in the world. So, Dr. Donna, thank you so much for being here. Oh my goodness. It's a pleasure. Thank you for that introduction. That's our to live up to. no pressure, no pressure. We just get to dive into like who God made you.
Right. And I think that's often where people, when, even when they come on the show, they're like, my story is so huge. I don't even know where. Started even, you had mentioned it out the gate before we came on live and my heart, every single time we bring someone onto the show is one like, who is God to you in this season of life?
And how has that evolved in your different seasons of life? So let's jump in there and then I'm sure we'll go to the backstory of where you've been and, and all of that in the process. Oh my well, that's, that's a very good place to start. Well, now God is my purpose and my guide and my director, and I have a confidant in Jesus and some place to always turn.
And so it it's kind of the foundation and focus of everything, but it certainly wasn't like that because, um, though I was raised in a faith. I, I went to Catholic school through high school, but our family, we were. The family has talked about much of anything. And we certainly didn't talk about God or prayer or anything.
I mean, for me to even. Jesus out loud was very difficult, probably for 30 or 40 years. Really. So it's kind of odd that now I'm doing what I'm doing, but here I am. Yeah. Wow. That's incredible. Will you dissect that a little bit for us? I mean, obviously family dynamics, uh, always guide kind of the structure around that and sometimes become kind of a stronghold moving forward when you are out of that family nest.
Right? Tell me about how that continu. Well, we had, uh, I, I have two brothers and we, our parents were really wonderful parents. They came out of the depression world war II, and we learned to work hard and we just didn't go into the details of feelings in life. And so the things I learned were very valuable.
I learned above all to work hard and be productive. I work, I learned not to make a fuss to, you know, Uh, not complain, just go along, make the piece. And the other thing I learned, I, and I've appreciated this more, all of these things really in later years was this frugality stuff. And just, um, and so those, those kind of trench, you know, lead one to success.
Uh, I, I worked really hard. I became a doctor when I was young. I married when I was really young. I mean, I got engaged six weeks after I met my husband who was, oh wow. 10 years older than me. And I, I did that because I wasn't able to say what was on my heart, which is no, I think I love you, but I just need a little more time there.
There was no way able to say that. So we, so that was that . Wow. But, but everything in that relationship really ended up to be the creator of. The turning point in my life for one thing, we had three daughters, but the main thing was, it was a very difficult marriage. It was extremely difficult marriage. And I, I just always called it difficult and hard, and I had to work too hard and blah, blah, blah.
I didn't really accept until quite some time after that. Um, it was emotionally abusive, you know, and it just got so painful for me, especially worried about the children. I was, it just became this dark pit where I felt like I was stuck in. I had no options. I don't know why. I didn't feel like I had options.
You know, I couldn't change him. I didn't fully see anything wrong with myself at the time. You know how we lack insight about these things? Yeah. Yeah. I was just so worried about the children and, but all of this went on and on and led me to the pivot point in my whole life, uh, which is, was the off most awful part of my whole life, but really the best part.
And I know that's a common thing people say, but, you know, I just was so desperately concerned about the children. , but I didn't wanna get a divorce. I did wanna get a divorce. I went to the attorney. I came home. I didn't wanna get a divorce. I didn't know what I wanted, but I didn't have solutions. And so finally I turned back to my faith.
I never really decided I didn't want God in my life. I was just too busy and it was just at the bottom of my. And it just fell off . Mm. I feel like that's so common with the, the super Sonic speed that we all live at, you know, so much in humanity, especially now. I know. And if you never slow down and give yourself a moment to reflect on what you're doing, you just, you just keep on going until there's a crisis or something.
Yeah. Yeah. And, uh, anyway, but it, it led me back to God and, um, that the recovery from that. Uh, not a fast, this, this, this, my surrender to God was not like this. The sun burst natural. Yeah. no, we all want that. I want that. So often even being stage now, I'm like, God, come in like a flash and a flood. And I want all the things right now.
Right. That goes back to us. Not having. Something that you're, you speak to so much, which I can't wait to get into this part of your story in the dissection of that, the serenity piece. Right? So you're, I'm curious as you're sharing, I'm sure there's so much more to this. Were when you had that encounter with the Lord and, and kind of the coming back to faith and, um, that it's a slow and steady role in, in your experience.
Were you still married? Were you planning on staying married? No, I stayed married always because it didn't end the story didn't end the way I thought it was gonna end. See during this. The crisis. I mean, I was really angry with God because I kept hearing him say I was supposed to stay married, but I kept saying, well, what about the children?
You know, they're gonna be destroyed. How, how does one stay in a marriage? That's so dysfunctional. And that was shame and anger. It was just not a good place to be. And isn't it weird that I felt, yeah, I talk about this. Like, I was just a helpless pawn in the thing, but anyway, that's the way it was. Yeah.
And, um, When I finally decided that God wanted me to stay married and I, I, then I had to fundamentally make the decision to trust God with the family, with the children. And I, I called that cuz it was kind of the pivot point in the book that I wrote. And I called that my Abraham moment, cuz that's what it really felt like.
Like I was pretty much children on the, a alter and say, okay, I'm gonna stay married. You gotta fix this somehow. You know, that's what it felt like. That is wild and, and it's interesting. that I, I come back to the Abraham and Isaac moment a lot, not just in my parenting journey, but even in my own sacrificial elements of like false idols.
And sometimes even our children can become false idols. We worry more about them than we do about our faith. And we have to know, and I had a mom tell me this at some point has just been literally cemented into my spirit is that God loves my kids more than I do, which. Completely impossible, right? Like, no, you don't.
He made me to love them well, here on earth, but I know that he knows more about them. I don't know how many hairs are on my kids head, you know, a lot. And they're beautiful and they're curly and I brush 'em every morning, but he knows more about them than I do. Yeah. So I love that you had to do that. My, I know during the time.
Not an easy thing to do. And so I'm super excited to hear how it unfolds and where the, where the Ram was that God sent you. my goodness gracious. Well, you know, I, I returned, I tr I went church shopping, uh, and I, uh, but I ended up return. That's good advice, period. If you're listening church shop, that's good.
It's a good idea because I knew I wanted, um, A church community. Part of the story, part of the problem in the marriage is that we, I was so busy. My husband was not a partner in children, particularly. And we were really isolated. I was isolated. So I needed a community. I needed a church community I needed, and it was just so incredible to start having, you know, sisters in Christ and somebody to share all of this with.
It was, it was just my, the start of coming out. But once I decided to stay married and I told him I wasn't gonna go back to the attorney. There was a definite change in tone in our home. It wasn't like fixed, but it, it, you know, when you take that elephant and it goes away, there's more space. But what happened over the next few years is a, uh, some significant medical issues in the family, uh, with two of the kids and they're, they're now fine, but then my husband got leukemia.
So within several years after this whole thing, he died. oh, wow. Yeah. Wow. So, and when he died, I was 48. The kids were teenagers. . Mm. So by that time, I had, you know, was more starting to be in the church and being, trying to join church groups, which was, was the most special thing to have that community and faith sharing, which I'd never, ever had had.
So anyway, from, from there, I. Uh, it was kind of a remarkable thing. I, I, I even then, when he died, I didn't really understand what had just all happened. Right. I mean, I'm like processing all of the emotions that I would likely have, and I'm, I'm gonna be Frank cuz it wasn't my experience, but I'm thinking through like, Was there a sense of relief?
Was there like some guilt over the fact that there was a sense of relief when he was walking through leukemia? Did he like become softer? Did he like, did your love reignite during that season? I mean, I have so many questions about how you were feeling and also what actually transpired. Did you have an opportunity for forgiveness?
Did he have an opportunity for forgiveness? Yes to practically all those things. There was the, the best part of it was the, the last six weeks at home with hospice and the kids were all home from school for that summer. And, um, there definitely was some healing there. You know, I was, um, a radiation oncologist and so I always knew how cancer.
Affect the whole family. I thought I knew, but I didn't really know it until I, right. Right. And how crazy that that's what you did for a living and then it's in your home. I mean, you know, you can. Well, I guess you can thank God for all things, right? I mean, we should thank God for all things, because there's a lesson and a journey.
And your, your book that you ended up writing is about this pilgrimage and nothing about a pilgrimage is easy and oftentimes nothing about the pilgrimage, especially in the moment of the process unfolding. Are you in revelation? This is gonna serve me later. This is gonna serve my children later. Right now.
It's so hard, but yet we have to be in that concentrated renewing of our mind in order for us to have any sense of serenity or peace and ultimately health. So tell me, tell me more. This is exciting and, and not exciting. I'm sorry that you lost your husband. Of course. Well, I'm, I'm sorry. I lost him too. My, it was hard.
It was hard to put the whole thing together in process and my daughters and I have talked about it a lot and. You know, we concluded maybe that was the way he could find peace, because I don't think he was happy. You know, he, I think there was depression involved. I don't think he was a happy man. Yeah.
And it, I mean, there's no way you can explain or, or say that was God's plan. And I mean, I guess it was God's plan. I don't know. I never tried to really put it together cuz it's impossible. Yeah. But I stayed true to. Core in that instead of, and not necessarily a good weight. Now I understand I should have taken a significant break at that time.
This had been a pretty, we were married 27 years before he died. And, um, you, my mom and my father had died by that time, but my mom was on the other coast and, you know, anyway, what I did. Uh, what I usually do. I decided that I wanted to change medical specialties and I, when I was 51, I started a three year family practice residency, so I could switch and do primary care.
Cuz I thought I wanted to work in, in, in some capacity more like as a doctor. In caregiving instead of special care. Yeah. So then I just made myself way, way more busy mm-hmm and, um, I, I learned, you know, in recent years to think back, I never really understood how crazy that was. I should have just gone to stay with my mom for a year and catch up with, was there anybody that was like, maybe we should, we could evaluate, why don't we take a beat?
Was there anybody as a mentor, even within the church? No. And you know why? I think because these imprints I had from childhood. To work hard and make peace and, you know, watch your money and da, da, da. Mm. Interesting. They're all good traits. Interesting. Yeah. And they all have rewards so many rewards. See, that's the thing why I probably didn't have things balanced because I was being rewarded, you know?
Yeah. Anyways, it's interesting to look back and see, it's very interesting to process that, especially knowing that the concepts are like biblical concepts, right. And yet when God isn't at the forefront of the concept, even the, the good can never be great. Right? Yeah. Yeah. And so that's, that's what I think about, I think I see even looking.
Especially if somebody is walking through a huge trial or tribulation like that, I see them respond in things that might be good and quote, unquote healthy, but because they're not actually running after God's concepts of rest or God concepts of even grieving. they end up getting back into a cycle that in puts them into a place of unhealthiness.
Um, did you at any point, like, what was that revelation like as you pursued what was now busy, but good. well, I didn't have this insight. That maybe I should have taken a year off instead of jumped into something. So, so demanding is that at my age until the last five years, even after my book came out, that was one of the last things.
It was like, whoa, what were you? Oh, interesting. Yeah. But anyway, it, it was a great experience. It was very hard to switch from a specialty. You know, I was a competent, well trained radiation oncologist. All of a sudden I was a. Kind of old slow doctorate that didn't quite, couldn't keep all those immunizations, especially in training and oh yeah, the, my, uh, co-residents were so young one graduated.
No, what was it? I graduated medical school before he was born or something like that. I was like, oh, So it was pretty, it was humbling. Yeah. Yeah. It's awesome. But it really, in, in another sense was so broadening because I ended up moving from after finished, um, from Florida to Washington DC. Um, and I worked in the city caring for immigrants and homeless people.
I was, it was just an eye opening experience. Wow. To what people go through on this planet. And. And how, you know, stress and neglect and childhood trauma and poverty and lack of education and discrimination and how people's lives. I mean, you know, I, I, it, it's hard sometimes for me to. To have seen so much and know so much because it's like, I feel like a queen living in luxury, you know?
Yeah. Anyway, it was a yeah. There's and we think about that just from like our American mentality. And yet we see people walking around in that complaining mentality that you were. Forced out of when you were little, which is a gift, but simultaneously that I, I, whenever I go to other countries, I, I'm always amazed at the, the gratitude that they have, the joy that they have.
And it's. The less is more kind of concepts, but simultaneous they're living in a place of poverty. They're living in a place of hardship. There is that criticism, there is that discrimination. There is that force. Like they don't get to even sometimes experience the freedom of our, their relationship with the Lord, the way that we do cuz they can't practice in the same way.
Yeah. And so. It is. I, I could understand what you're saying of like, I feel spoiled, rotten, right. And, and yet a queen is responsible for the people that she knows and the people that she's surrounded by. And there's a gift in that, that space that you're in. And I know that you've stewarded it well in those roles.
Yeah. And I think it demands a lot of reflection and, um, a continual balancing and rebalancing. on all these issues that I've addressed the working, you know, that for me to just, that was a huge part of my journey to learn how to just be, to have quiet. Prayer was like the most weird foreign thing in the world.
When I first tried any type of meditative prayer, like. Impossible yeah. Balance and saying, you know, so working or not, or just being, being with the Lord or, you know, serving or being served. Uh, anyway. Yes. so, so you're at the point where you're in DC, you're going through this. And at what point did you shift into this, uh, book concept and.
Kind of the living and the being that you are in now, like, was there any like revelation or was it again that slow? It was a, it was a slow process, but the, the Washington DC experience and seeing the effects of stress and I could, and to see how people were healed of many ailments when they, when they.
Got hope when they got a job, when they started learning English, when the homeless finally had a place where somebody cared for them. Wow. You know, aside from the medical care, it was just love and respect and hope. And you could just see these dramatic changes in folks who had so many ailments and problems.
And then when, when their life started moving in a better direct. those ailments all went away. And all of this was in my head. I also, when I was in Washington toward the end, had my own stresses because it was extremely challenging for me, uh, and physically demanding. And I, I, I really had my own burnout to do with, by the time I retired, I retired when I was 64.
And, uh, so I was going to. And by this time, I had a little more understanding about my marriage. And I didn't tell you the, the other wonderful part of the story, which is that, uh, nine years after my husband died, I, I remarried and that's, and he's a man of, of deep, quiet faith. It's just beautiful. But anyway, professionally, when I left work, I, I had to get my health together, which I did slowly.
And I, but I wasn't ready to quit medicine. I really loved what I did. So I was going to write a self-help book. So for several years I worked on a self-help book, but a as I was working and, and working on, I started a program at my church called serenity and health to, um, offer programs, trying to address self care of body, mind, and spirit.
um, and it was during this time that I was trying to connect a secular mindfulness, mindfulness, uh, practices to Christian faith. I was trying to show folks that meditation wasn't just, you know, a Zen thing. Yeah, yeah. Don't just do it. and, um, and all the things dealing with, um,
What it takes to try and have healthy habits. I mean, you just can't tell somebody, you, you know, you need to lose weight and exercise. It just doesn't work like that. If you're your head's not there. Yeah. But, but as I proceeded with the book, it, I also realized it, it evolved anyway into a memoir. And then as I started to write the memoir, I realized I had so many questions about my past.
And that's when I started seeing a therapist for the first time ever. Wow. And it was really that process that helped me to get some understanding of, of, um, how, why and how I did the things I did for all those years, you know? Yeah. And it was, and then my book, I kind of rewrote it and it became the memoir that , that it is, it's a, it's called a prescriptive memoir.
So. It's not just my story it's meant to offer. I love that. I don't think I've ever heard that together. Is that like an actual category? Genre of book. Yeah. Apparently it is a prescriptive memoir. I love that. That's kind of essentially what mine is too, if I think about it. But you guys, if you are just listening to this and you're in awe or, you know, someone who this might benefit, or if it's speaking to you in the elements of, you know, burnout or suppression or coping mechanisms, cuz honestly.
Activating in the busy is a coping mechanism or because we've never been trained in the being element in the peace element, in the serenity element. And we've never realized the power of the connectivity between the mind body and the spirit. I mean, Donna, you've talked about so many different pieces to this puzzle, so it's called.
Pilgrimage a doctor's healing journey, and I want everyone to get their hands on it. You can also just go to serenity and health.com and you can find out more about her and how she's serving the world in her blog. But I know that there's, there's this revelation element that happens when you get into therapy because I've walked through it.
And I want people to understand the power of like how we can blend what is being sometimes pushed in the secular. Or as, at least as being spoken about in the secular, we talk about mental health a lot, um, on this show, but how important mental health is to God. And, and he talks about mind and the renewing of our mind and all of these pieces associated to meditation as well in the Bible and gave us so many examples through Jesus when he was here.
So I wanna hear like, just, what was that unraveling like for you and how do you exist now in your being rather in the. It was not very easy, uh, to, to go into therapy. You know, what happened? How did that come about? Okay. I, I had this, oh, I know what happened. I thought I, I said to myself, I'm gonna write change my book to a memoir.
And originally part of my motivation was. It, uh, it, more people would want to read it. It wouldn't be so boring because you know, a self-help book without stories sometimes if they're for sure, for sure. Engaged readers. So initially that's what I was thinking. Cuz I had read some very influential self-help books with a lot of personal story and I go, wow.
That's why I keep on reading this story. Not all the, yeah, that's true. That's interesting. Yeah. And so to do that, I. Out to the garage. And I got in this old trust and I found my old diaries and I read them. And that was shocking to me because they were from grade school, through high school through when I met my husband, I wish I had that at school.
They weren't long journals or anything, but they were enough. To make me realize that what I remembered about my youth in those years was entirely different than what was in that I wrote. Wow. And it was really disturbing. It's like who the blank are you doc? You don't even know who you are. yeah. Telling yourself.
Yeah. So I decided I would go to see a, I would have to find a therapist so that. The next morning at church, cuz by this time I was going to, uh, I was retired by this time I was going to daily mass and I knew this couple that were therapists. And um, so after church, the very next day I went up to them and they said, Hey, you guys, aren't you therapists, you know, I think I need a therapist.
And come to find out, they lived like six blocks away and their office was in their house. Nice. And I got an appointment and I was all set up. you're like, here you go. Right, right inside your neighborhood. Um, the thing about the therapy that was hard was that it's not a thinking cognitive. I'm gonna figure this out now and let me, you know, they're not gonna tell me the 10 step don't.
We want that though. It's like, I didn't comprehend that somehow. It's an opening up and letting I, I, I, I wrote a blog, which I didn't publish. Maybe I eventually will about how that process. Stirred up all this sediment that had settled in my unconscious and yeah, came up and everything was messy and dirty in my vision.
And I was confused. You know. Yeah. But it's a beautiful picture of it though, because that is exactly what happens. And you're like, wait, I thought this was how my story is. I thought this is who I was. I thought this is who I was even made to be. And there's like, There was a season, the first part of therapy for me because it, I was so shaken and everything was so dirty.
I wanted to find blame or cast blame to why things were so dirty, because it was easier to cast blame on our parents or PA pass blame to society or pass blame to all these things. But there is an element that, yeah, those things exist because they're infiltrating into your system, no different than a filtration system would.
But at the same time, there is an element of. And that us is also connected. If we know scripturally way back to the original sin in the garden, and you can't blame anyone in the natural or anyone who's alive here with us, or who's even passed to heaven. To say, it's this person or thing's fault, right?
It's this element of humanity. And that's what leans us and, and brings us closer to God. And his perfection in the story is so good. Right. Right. I think the biggest take home I got from all of the therapy and it's so useful for everybody is if you to start noticing. When you like with a conversation with someone, for example, say family member say my daughters, for example, you know?
Sure. Cause you, we all have more triggers with people who are, are closer and with whom we have really. So to start to be aware that your chest is getting tight or whatever is your thing, your jaw is getting tight. Your stomach is starting to churn. You're starting to talk fast, your voice is getting higher.
So if you, if you're not aware of that, the conversation will proceed and it may not end well, but it certainly won't be healing. Right. But if, if, if we can train ourselves and I guess this is the mindfulness piece. In any interaction or even just with dealing with our thoughts, like why did that upset me so much?
Why she didn't mean that she was just in a hurry, you know, whatever to tr to try and open ourselves to deep thoughts about the history or the childhood, or, you know, to at least give space for insights to kind of. Flow. I think that that is such sound advice for everybody to take. And it really circles back to the beginning of this conversation and it's, uh, associated to pace and it's associated to our being and it's associated to the element of busy that we all seem to trap into.
I always speak to because people will tell me or say I'm busy and therefore I didn't call you, or I just assumed you were busy. So I didn't do this thing. Or. I didn't ask you to come to the coffee because I just thought you were busy, right? That drives me. Absolutely nuty and I saw it and witnessed it from my mom first hand too.
And I, I shifted the language to I'm intentional with my time. And so I do have things that I are scheduled and they might be back to back, but there's also intentional soaking time. There's intentional worship time. There's intentional prayer time. There's intentional snuggle time. And I put all of that in my, in my calendar.
Intentionally so that it, it allows me that space and that freedom of thinking when you're feeling that space, that's not generally added to our calendar. That's not generally in there. Right. And so what she's speaking to is we can get in this habitual. Element of, um, not just suppression, but like responding.
Right. And, and really it's reacting cuz we haven't given ourselves time to effectively respond. And I really love the simmering of like, what is my body doing this moment? How am I feeling right now? What are my thoughts associated to what they're saying? And true vulnerability gets to the place where we're able to then share or conceptualize that with the person that we're with.
You know what you just said? I know you probably didn't mean this, but it was really weird. I felt this way when you said that, And I, I am imagining it's from this, is this what you meant? Right. And start creating conversation around that. So we don't leave the conversation in simmer, in anger, simmer in distrust, simmer in a trigger that happened that had nothing to do with that person
grow your business for God's sake. No, really. I mean, it grow your business for God's sake. That's right. Business is ministry and ministry is business. And it's time we take action in this belief and show up at our anointing with fresh fire. This is a cultivation conference. This is an activation conference.
I wanna see you reap the harvest, the promise that was predestined for you in your purpose and your calling. But you've gotta go back to the root in order to do that, come and let us water you so you can come. Alive and fully free every single day to make the impact you were born to make. So others can also reap the legacy of your harvest forever more.
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How has it affected your own personal timeframe with yourself? Okay. In, in, in big and little ways, there's a part of this mindfulness part that I wanna mention that, that I think facilitates this process of. Being aware and, and that is a committed time for quiet prayer. Mm. And you can I, now I use something called centering prayer, which is a, a, a Christian.
Meditative practice. It's basically the same as most meditation where you just devote time to be in the presence of your God and, and with, you know, a sacred silence resting with the Lord. And there's, it's a prayer without words and without thoughts, but I'm convinced that I was called to do that because I needed it so bad because my brain was so.
In charge and large and, and, and, and you, you just can't hardly be aware of, or even listen to other people if you're, you know, so the, the combination of the therapy and gradually understanding what mindfulness was and. The meditative prayer that I think somehow must have changed my brain just to make it a little tiny bit easier.
to listen to people. I think I, I, I, I work more at listening to people and listening to my body because when I started on this journey, I remember early on when I was running the self-help book or somewhere in there, I went to some retreat or another, and the lady said, okay, here's what we all need to do.
You need to think back in the last week of some experience where something was really bothering you and really stressed you out and upset you and where you felt that in your body. And I went, what? I mean, I had no concept at that point in my development, really? Gosh, that, that, that clutch meant something.
You know, or whichever everybody has something I think. Oh yeah. Yeah. And it's so interesting to me why I'm like responding like, oh my goodness is I think about like the immense amount of education that you had at that point. Right. Like you, you so much about the body, you do so much about health and yet you are not, it's a tuning in that has to happen.
Exactly. We're never trained to tune in even you were babies, right? Everything. Is is so like symptomatic, problematic answer, symptomatic, problematic answer, and, and associated to medicine even. And so it's like, you have an itch. Okay. Let's fix the itch. Right. And, and we'll heal it this way. And there's just, there's so much more to that.
There's so much more. And you know, the doctor, part of my message, it is based on this foundation of health because, um, I mean, if you just take the health doctor part, I think people don't understand how much power they have over their own health. And I mean, um, three quarters of all chronic disease could be cured or improved with healthy habits.
Now that's about the most shocking thing, but I know from my own life experience and from working in the clinic forever and. Just because you know, that doesn't mean you can just go change your habits and get healthy. It's, it's all mindset and finding peace and equilibrium and balance. And of course people's lives.
Are very, very complicated. And so it may not be that you get your half hour of meditation. It may be you get your two minutes of deep breathing before you dive into your stressful job or something. But any little thing you do is gonna help. So I'm curious, Donna, how do you take this? Cuz you're so right.
I know that you serve this way through a ministry element. Do you? I mean, cause I'm thinking of all the leaders that. I'm thinking of all the entrepreneurs that are listening to this call, I'm thinking of all the businesses that are represented in this space based on them being an employee or the leader in that space.
Do you do more of this? Like, do you have a pod? You need a podcast with silent, sacred space. I don't even know how you would create a podcast that's silent, but you should because we need it so desperately. The, um, I have, I mean, I have, I, I write a monthly blog and I do occasional what I call popup conversations.
They're not exactly a podcast, but, and I've interviewed people about, um, contemplation and centering prayer and stuff. It's, it's pretty fascinating. And they, I have. I started in as my own. And now it's kind of a group effort, a program called caring for body and soul, which is a women's group. Cool. And it's, uh, designed to they were working women.
So it's an early morning now, now is COVID and zoom time. It's a once a week thing, but as part of it, we have, uh, a teaching on a rotating basis of subjects rela related. Say, um, health of body, mind, and spirit. And then we take an abbreviated, uh, meditative prayer, like we, but we always do it 10 minutes, uh, as part of the hour.
And, um, and it's been very interesting to, to communicate with folks in the I've done small programs. I haven't done huge things, but the. The input in general, the people's issue in general is the stress and the busy mind. That seems to be the overwhelming thing. And it certainly was my issue that we deal with that interferes with health and serenity and it, and it certainly interferes with our relationship with God.
Cause if then you're in charge, I mean, you're kind. And I think even processing the amount of information we receive on a given basis on the times that otherwise when there wasn't as much connectivity, right. You probably heard that were the most connected society, but the most depressed were the most connected society, but the most stressed.
And if I didn't have access to podcasts or audible, or even have music in my ear, or I, we don't watch TV. So that's not an element. Um, for me that's affected me. Um, but. There's just this, knowing that if there was more silence, we could create more silence because it would be exampled better, but there's no example of silence in the world unless you get outside.
And so for me, that's a huge piece. And if I walk outside right now, I'm gonna hear a dump trailer from the neighbor. I'm gonna hear the dogs barking. So we as a. Really, really value being in nature and finding the spaces that we can create sacred silence. And that's one of my most precious times because I find like all of this revelation exists within my relationship with the Lord exists within me already.
When I take that space to explore it. And so I, I mean, even on retreats that I host with women, that's what we're doing. It's saying get outside of your typical rat wheel. That squeaky thing that you don't think is squeaky, but everybody else is watching you and you're like, that's so loud. right. So it just, I find it so inspiring.
And so interesting that you've been on the journey that you have, you're having this revelation now, but you're also passing it back. And so I can't imagine like the support that you've offered to your children, um, the support that they've now offered to the people they're connected to. And even everybody that you're touching on the show right now, including us above myself.
Um, it's just one of those reminder shows that we need to tap back into. Yeah. And, and folks are listening. You don't. Redo your life. You just have to take a small step. Like if all you have is five minutes in the morning, celebrate that. That's good. But change every day. , you know? Yeah. Really good. You can't exercise except walk on Saturday mornings.
That's okay. Walk on Saturday mornings. yeah. And that's where habits start, right? Because once you get a taste of it. Oh my gosh. It's why the people who you think are crazy because they wake up at four o'clock in the morning, like myself. I only do that because once I got a taste of the peace of what's happening during that hour, the sun hasn't even risen.
The birds aren't chirping yet. Nobody there's no sound. And so it's just me and God, and it has brought me so much peace to have those spaces. And when I don't, I feel drastically different in my morning routine. If I don't wake up early enough. My kids wake me up or something outside wakes me up or you feel friction right out the gate.
And so that was a habit that changed after I became a mom, cuz I couldn't figure out why I was standing in this place of postpartum and my kids coming over, like pull on me in the morning to wake them up and I'm like, I just need five minutes. But I found my time and my energy multiplied when I woke up earlier, because I was going to bed earlier, too.
It's not like I became superwoman by waking up early. I'm glad you definitely mindful. Yeah. But I was more mindful of the facts. That, that was valuable to me. And therefore my bedtime became earlier because I valued that sacred space so much. Mm-hmm right. And so even people who work out or, you know, drive to work silent or do things that are weird, honestly, it seems weird to most of us.
We're like, why do you do that? And it's because that's their space, their sacred space that they're taking. Yeah. So such value. That's wonderful. Yeah. No, that's huge. You've really made. Big difference for yourself and your family by doing them. My kids are much happier cuz I like get to welcome them into my arms versus being like one second, one second.
Right? Like it, you don't wanna have that friction and that's with anyone, your loved ones, anything. And so I love that. Even in that shift that you made when you're, um, past husband was alive with you and you shifted that mentality of okay. Divorce, isn't the thing that's put it like in your forefront all the time.
I. Stay married that you said that there was this space that opened up for you all. And so I think for me as you're talking, like that's one of the biggest things I've taken away is just the, the massive impact that space can have. Oh, absolutely. I, I, cuz I sometimes think what's the main thing. My message.
I think, I think that is it. You have to give time and space. To God and for yourself, and to thrive and live, you know, a life with serenity and health. And, you know, it took me long, long time to figure that out. So that's one reason I. Do what I do. Maybe someone else can figure it out 30 years earlier. well, Hey, you're passing it.
You're passing as a reminder to me today. So legacy done. Thank you, Donna. You've been such a joy to have on, and I hope that this has just impacted someone amazing. Um, I definitely, like I said earlier, once you guys to get your hands on her book, uh, it's Pilgrim a doctor's healing journey and you guys can get the pilgrimage book in all the links in the show notes and all of.
Sites and socials are also there. So you can read her monthly blog. You can get on her mailing list, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, all the places, serenity and health.com, Don, and feel free to email me too. I'd love to answer email. Hey, you've been better. Look at that. I love when there's a direct contact.
Y'all Donna, you've been a gift. I think you so much and continued blessings over finding space and serving space to others. Thank you so much. Bye.
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