As human beings, we thrive to survive. And as we go through life, we face pivotal, traumatic, and dramatic moments that shape our outlook and beliefs. And oftentimes, we struggle to find our ultimate purpose. But not #1 international bestselling author, speaker, and motivation-builder, Lena Winslow. In this episode, Lena tells the story of adversities starting with the Chernobyl disaster and seeing first-hand the effects of the nuclear accident that happened just 70 miles from her home in Ukraine at age 7. Through the years, she dealt with personal tragedies like cancer, adjusting to a new community and language, and the complex health care needs of her child. Be inspired by how she has weathered through and taken those moments of weakness and use them as motivation to help others. So tune in and learn about the fundamental struggles we go through as human beings and how you can flip the script on any circumstance and find worthiness through purpose and harmony.
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Finding Worthiness Through Purpose And Harmony With Lena Winslow
I’m sitting here with our guest, whom I asked how to pronounce her name. She gave me the Americanized version, which is Lena but then she shared how she would say it in Ukrainian, which is beautiful. I would love to work on my Ukrainian language knowledge. I started studying it a little bit because as I shared with you, I have Ukrainian heritage. My mother’s father was 100% Ukrainian.
Growing up, I didn’t fully realize that. In 2021, I was visiting my grandfather’s brother who is still alive. It occurred to me as an adult. My great grandparents were full Ukrainian. They immigrated here. Hearing my great-grandmother’s story of how she came to the States, met my great-grandfather and ended up in Cleveland, Ohio where that side of my family lives.
It all started making sense to me some of the things that my mother used to say to me as a child and how important Ukrainian heritage is but she doesn’t speak Ukrainian. As an adult, I developed an interest in learning some words. I was a little amazed at how complex the language is. It’s beautiful to hear someone who speaks it natively as you do share this. Do you still speak Ukrainian? Does this come up in your family? Have you taught your children how to speak that language?
We tried to speak Ukrainian when my first child was born. It was the only language I spoke to her. As she started growing, we recognized some issues. My oldest child’s name is Catherine. She has an autism diagnosis. With the speech delay, we had quite a bit of a time trying to introduce two languages at once. I had to let that go and let her focus on the English language since she’s going to be living here. She can’t stop talking then.
To even have the language in the household is so beautiful. Both of my parents have an interest in language. My father studied German. When I was growing up, he would speak a little bit of German around me. He would visit Germany, bring back books and read them to me in German. To your point, as a kid, it can be confusing and overwhelming. I remember being curious but I didn’t want the pressure of having to learn another language. I also have some neurodivergence that shows up a lot in my learning style. Even my pronunciation, I wonder how much of that has been a challenge my whole life, the way my brain works.
I’ve had to push myself to overcome it. For instance, I studied French in high school. I was never getting good grades because I struggled so much but I loved it. I was very interested in it. I just wasn’t great at it. It took more immersion into different cultures. I noticed this a lot when studying something is hard for me but if I can apply it, be interested in it or have a reason behind it, it’s helped a lot. I’m curious as you’ve seen your daughter develop, are there contexts in which she’s leaning into the language or is she not at that stage yet?
It’s quite funny. My middle child, my son, is also starting to study French. At some point, we were at a conference and it was a typing conference. Catherine typed that she would like to go to France. We had no idea where France even came from. She said Paris. Eventually, I asked her, “Catherine, why Paris?” She goes, “Mom, for the food.” She’s heard about the crepes and the cheese. We’ve been to France twice because of Catherine. It’s a long journey to that wish that she had. She’s remembering French, Russian and Ukrainian words. It comes out in the most unexpected times.If you're going to survive, you have to believe that you're worthy. Click To Tweet
Isn’t it beautiful, first of all, as a parent to be able to fulfill a wish that your child has like that? Travel is something that I feel is such a privilege. To have the resources and people in your life that can guide you through that or provide it to you is something I try not to overlook with my family because I also had the privilege of seeing them travel a lot and then inspire that within me. It’s become a big part of my life.
I studied in Europe too when I was in college. That was one of the greatest things as your brain is developing, understanding different cultures and immersing yourself in them to better understand other people. That was part of what drew me to you, reading about your story, given my Ukrainian heritage but also the timeliness of what’s happening in Ukraine. Have you taken your children to Ukraine? How often have you visited since you were a child yourself?
I visited yearly before I had children. That was a routine with us. My husband came with me several times. I also have a sister who visited. Our grandmother was alive at that point. I have not taken my children partly because when they were young, there aren’t car safety mechanisms for young children like we have here. They’ve probably emerged on the scene but when my children were young, it was not there yet. I was waiting for them to get a little bit older. The climate changed and it became a safety concern. We’ve been to Europe. We’ve been close but never in Ukraine with them.
How does that feel given what’s been happening in the country? Do you feel a yearning to be back there? Have you been able to get involved with what’s going on? Do you still have family out there that is experiencing it firsthand?
I do. I have some extended family that lives on the outskirts of Kyiv. My father lives in one of the quieter corners of the city. His area has not been affected in terms of actual war but has been affected in terms of being able to get around the city with public transportation, the inflation, the prices of everything going up, this uncertainty of what’s going to happen in the winter, the heating and the ability for the city to survive. I hear that people are looking for almost a more primitive arrangement for living that includes fire-burning stoves and things that you wouldn’t normally see in a high-rise apartment building.
There’s a lot of uncertainty that also lands back into the name of your show. The uncertainty, on one hand, is discomfort but at the same time, through all of the journey, the struggles and things that have come up in my life, you learn to be comfortable with the discomfort because you know that’s where the growth happens. Isolating to the comfort of routine means that there’s not a lot of growth. That’s what I look for when I make peace with the fact that things are uncomfortable.
Speaking of privilege, in the States, there’s been a lot of privilege, although it feels like we’re tethering on the edge of this, not knowing what that war experience is like that they’re having in Ukraine. It’s easy to feel disconnected from it because we haven’t had to live that way, at least not for a while, although sometimes it feels like that’s right around the corner for us. That can feel uncomfortable. One of the greatest books that I’ve read is Man’s Search for Meaning.
Viktor Frankl.Dark times give us wide-open opportunities to address deep issues. Click To Tweet
I think about that as you’re describing, what’s happening in that war state because that’s how that book developed. It’s such a horrifying, heartbreaking setting for that book, which is not fiction. It’s all true. It’s the way that Viktor was able to find meaning in some of these horrifying experiences around him and whether that was his way of mentally surviving that or you’re going to make the most out of what you have. It sounds a bit like what you’re describing here of witnessing being connected to some of the more awful sides of humanity and still making the most out of life.
This is a perfect example of where you know how the light walks along the dark and you wouldn’t be able to fully appreciate the light without having experienced or seen the darkness. As you were speaking, I was reminded in my head about those three fundamental things that humans struggle with, which are abandonment and separation, the idea of worthiness, “Am I worthy to be on this planet,” and this inability and struggle to trust and surrender.
If you look at those three points and put that lens of a time of war on it, you can see how the abandonment and separation have to be filled with people who are right next to your shoulder, side by side, living in that tragedy and moment and in a way, banning together to form a community, survive and be closer because of that experience. Worthiness, you have to address that because if you’re going to survive that extreme situation, you have to believe that you’re worthy.
This trust and surrender, in my life, because I didn’t come through that specific situation, was cancer. I came face to face with this idea of surrender and trust. When something large is coming at you, you have to respond in a way that allows you to thrive through it. What better way than to recognize that you didn’t create yourself? There’s a force that’s living and breathing you that’s bigger than you. That is what I use to be able to come through that experience. I hope that people who are in the midst of a wartime situation can find that too. In essence, those darkest times give us the most widely open opportunities to address those deep issues that some of us may not be able to address in peaceful times.
That is so profound and eloquently said. I feel in awe of your ability to not only communicate that but to embody that. I feel a bit astounded reading through your history. You mentioned cancer. We talk about what’s going on in your home country but you also survived Chernobyl. I looked up the year. It feels like something that happened so long ago but it was 1986.
I was seven years old. It was springtime. After going through a long winter, spring always feels memorable in that part of the world. The school was getting ready to break for summer. My mother was a physician. She practiced in four different specialties. She was a pediatrician, a cardiologist, a neurologist and a sports medicine doctor.
We lived in this tiny little apartment with our dog on the third floor. We shared a bathroom and the kitchen with four other families. My mother never looked sad or in any way, tired, per se. She had this bubbly personality. She was always the life of the party. There was always a smile on her face. That day she came home and sat down on that little stool to take off her shoes. Something was different. She looked like she had shifted into this way of being that I have not seen before as a seven-year-old.
I’m observing. I have no idea what’s going on but because she worked at a hospital, connected with a lot of that coming through and it was kept secret for a time, I felt the shift. She told me, “I don’t want you to go outside.” It was fascinating to me as a child at seven years old because we live in this tiny little room. Most of my living was done outside because there was no room to live inside. My mom tells me not to go outside. I don’t understand. The next day, she comes home with his box with a wand. It makes a chirping noise. She measures the dog.After going through a long winter, spring always feels memorable. Click To Tweet
We had a Scottish Setter. Her name is Dana. My mom says, “Dana is going to have to live with somebody who has an outdoor arrangement in their homes so that she can roam free outside without having to go back and forth to our little room.” At this point, I can only assume that there was a significant amount of radiation that was coming in from a dog and my mother was concerned. Looking back at my granted childlike experiences, that was the time when I had to come to grips with the fact that something huge that you cannot see, feel, taste or smell can come and turn your life upside down and become something that you have to grapple with, even though it’s not a sensory experience.
It led me to major in Radiation Sciences later on in my college. That’s what I do when something big and hurtful comes at me. I want to understand it with my rational mind. I’ve had to shift that with my latest grapple, going back to cancer. For the longest time, my rational mind was the place where I went every time something big, major and hurtful happened.
I feel in awe of knowing that you experienced that firsthand, the way that you’re able to articulate it and tell this beautiful story around your experience as a young child witnessing this, the details that you noticed about your mother’s shift and how you learned to cope with it through your rational mind. I imagine I would have had a similar reaction. I tend to spring into action and think, “How can my brain understand this so that I can find a solution and survive this?” If I’m understanding correctly, it sounds like maybe the rational side doesn’t feel like always the right answer. Is that how I am interpreting that from you?
You are so perceptive on this. It’s not about the rational side not being the right answer. It’s about the rational side being useful only in certain situations. You can solve a rational problem with a rational solution. However, as humans, we are emotional beings. When you start applying a rational solution to an emotional experience, that’s where that breakdown occurs. You end up struggling, trying to figure out if that’s the right thing or not.
It’s interesting to go back to you as this little girl. How did you feel like your mother was responding when you were detailing the expression on it? I feel like you were witnessing an emotional reaction and that was followed by a rational reaction. Even as you were talking about the dog, for instance, it sounded like your mother had to make this choice to protect you and her to do something about the dog that probably her emotional side would rather not do but her rational side took over.
It’s interesting that it’s coming out. As you’re speaking, I’m gaining some more understanding of this. My mother was a physician and a scientist. That is how a scientific brain works. You make a decision based on rationality. Oftentimes, you hardly ever tap into those emotions because, in that moment and time, you either don’t have time or the bandwidth to deal with both sides of it. Going further into what happened later with my mother, I feel like that’s the first glimpse of that disconnect between your heart and your mind that people tend to have when they’re immersed in science. I discovered that disconnect in my cancer journey where my mother didn’t have that chance.
That’s observant of you. To see that comparison about how each of you dealt with cancer, was that coming out of witnessing your mother and deciding to do things differently? Was it a personality difference or life experience difference between the two of you that gave you a different way of handling something like that?
My mother was diagnosed around 1995 or 1996. I was close to sixteen years old studying as an exchange student in the United States. Through different channels, acquaintances and a miraculous turn of events, a hospital in Florida decided to sponsor my mother to come and get treated in the United States. This is where the set starts. I am here in the States and I get a phone call around Christmas time in the middle of my exchange year saying I am coming to the States for treatment.There is nothing about technology that is more powerful than being human. Click To Tweet
What happened was when she arrived in the same city, we were in the same city together, I became her translator and communicator because she did not speak English. At sixteen years old, the journey that I took with my mother through cancer was the most intimate and involved it ever could be because I was there for every doctor’s appointment and test. I was there to tell her to hold her breath during her CT scan because it had to be translated.
Not only was it just an observer but it was this intricate, involved view into how that journey went. This is about twenty years prior to my diagnosis. That’s where I feel like my view and take on the circumstances are a bit different than even my sisters and my father who wasn’t here in the States during that time. From that, I was able to draw those contrasts and comparisons twenty years later when my diagnosis came. I wasn’t that enlightened at any point. At that time, it was a matter of, “Here’s what you have now and how are you going to deal with it.” My first thought was rational mind. I started getting these images and glimpses of my experiences thinking, “This is how we did it then. None of us liked the outcome. We need to do it differently this time.”
Speaking of doing things differently, from what you’ve shared with me, it sounds like you had the option of the more conventional, maybe a Western approach versus the integrative, which I often associated with more of an Eastern approach. I’m not quite sure if you would feel the same way but from your perspective having moved to the United States, it’s interesting.
Many people talk about the United States as being the land of the free, with access to everything and so much privilege, which does but yet on the medical side of it, it seems like we’re way behind what a lot of other countries do. We have a vastly different approach that almost doesn’t seem to be working. I’m curious. Do you have that perspective on the States given how you grew up and given your experiences with cancer and your mother is in the contrast that you’ve seen between that?
Maybe going back before my daughter was born, I would say the United States healthcare system is vastly superior. That is because, at that point in time, my mindset was pretty much set and solidified in this rational mind explanation for humanity that everything had an answer. The machines and the technology that we have access to in the United States are vastly superior. If you disregard that aspect of a human that has to do with your emotions and ability to synthesize your health through living, technology is all you have left.
In my journey, through my daughter’s diagnosis first, I discovered some things that technology and conventional medicine were powerless to help me with. I started that process of finding other ways of connecting to help my daughter and it all carried over. It’s a beautiful way of looking back and seeing how every single struggle and hardship, everything that you might consider a terrible disaster ended up turning into a guiding light towards being able to survive my cancer. Also, getting to that place where I am able to open up the family unit that I have been pouring into for all these years and have something to share with other people
It’s beautiful to hear the way that you speak about these things. It has me thinking about this technology point. I haven’t thought about it that way. I’m very drawn to technology. I always have been. Something is fascinating to me, powerful and exciting about technological developments but as I’ve gotten older, I see the pros and the cons differently because they certainly give us access and are able to do incredible things.
You and I are talking through technology and I look at all the things. I have in place that I’ve set up to have a conversation like this. I’m grateful for it. That’s incredible but as a society, we’re finding that there are a lot of drawbacks of the same technology like the over-consumption, the over-reliance on it, the place that it has in our lives and the emphasis on stepping away from it and spending more time in nature and person with other people.When things are in harmony, you're able to draw out the best at the moment. Click To Tweet
You mentioned the power of community and relationships and how easy it is to distract and numb ourselves to some of the things that we need. We forget the importance. It’ll be interesting to see as technology becomes more prevalent and how children are growing up differently, which I imagine you think a lot about as a parent. It’s your point about balancing out that rational, conventional and technological approach to things. What is on the other side or the opposite of that?
One of the fundamental struggles as humans we all face is this idea of worthiness. This came into play with me when I first landed in the United States. I didn’t speak English at all. I was sitting in a classroom, looked over and automatically thought that no matter who was sitting next to me, they were smarter than me because they spoke English and I didn’t. It’s almost like that parallel where we look at technology and we see all the amazing things that it can do, we automatically assume that we are less. To me, it’s so far from the truth.
As a human being and from a scientific and spiritual point of view, I cannot tell you anything that comes from the technology that could be more powerful than we are. The power of thought, intention, being able to decide, having a choice in your actions and building your future simply cannot come from a synthetic form. That is probably the most important thing to address with our younger population. It’s not the technology is bad. It’s that we are worthy, powerful and capable of much more than it is.
If you break it down, it seems like technology certainly has helped us but it seems like a lot of the worthiness elements and challenges that people are facing maybe even stem from technology. I’m processing this in real-time and thinking about the comparison issues that a lot of people have. They are often related to social media because we are exposed to people all around the world. Through technology, more people have developed a sense of unworthiness because they’re able to compare themselves to many more people than they would without technology, for instance.
I’m sure we could go on and on in thinking through all of that. There’s that extreme response people have where they want to abandon technology altogether. That reminds me of something I know you’re also passionate about which is balance. On your website, you write at the top, “Harmony not balance.” I’m curious what that means for you, whether that’s related to technology or not but as a segue, why did you write that at the top of your site? Why is it key to you?
This is something that emerged not too long ago. I have talked about balance before. As a scientist, balance is good. You put one weight on one side, the other one on the other side and it balances out. That’s great. If you look at natural processes, the life itself, it’s not about sameness. It’s about harmony. When you have that balance, there is inherently no movement and growth because everything’s balanced. It’s not in motion.
However, when things are in harmony, you’re able to draw out the best at the moment for your situation from the best source and leave the others be for the moment. It’s not balanced but yet it is harmonized with your current experience. That shift is happening. My passion is mostly along the lines of growth and growth cannot happen when you’re in balance.
I’m writing that down. That’s interesting because I feel like so many people go to that word balance or maybe even confuse harmony with balance. Do you find that to be the case?Growth cannot happen when you're in balance. Click To Tweet
My first thought on this subject came when I was considering motherhood and the idea of how can you balance. Everybody says, “Let’s balance your career and home life.” If you balance your career and home life, then sensibly, you’re doing half your energy to one and half your energy to the other. In my experience, it cannot be true because when your babies are little, you are devoting more of your energy to your home life than you do to your work life. When they get to a place where mine almost have gotten to, you’re able to harmonize that differently but 50/50 doesn’t work.
I love that phrase, “50/50 doesn’t work.” That goes against so much of what people commonly share as advice. I am deeply fascinated. As a society and human beings, we tend to hear the same advice repeated over and over again and then start to take it as fact. Anytime someone can debate it or share a different perspective on it, that feels perhaps radical or people want to reject it. It feels hard to shift our mentality but I’ve learned over time to start questioning things that I hear repeated over and over again as facts because I’m wondering, “Who stated that? Why did they state that? How long ago?”
Thanks to things like technology. A huge benefit of technology is this access to information and tools to do deeper research, share it and define it. We see things like psychology constantly added. Your daughter was diagnosed with autism. Even something like that, in the past several years, we’ve seen major shifts, even in the terminology that is used around autism.
When you mentioned a diagnosis of some kind, when I first started addressing what was happening and with her things were pretty traumatic and dramatic in her early years, you land in that same place of worthiness. The most significant and tremendous shift between her and me through the journey was when I started being able to presume without a shadow of a doubt, her undisputed and complete competence. The minute I flipped the script to where I believe that she was capable of doing whatever it is that she wants to do or whatever it is that is in front of her in the present moment, then she started responding in a way that told me that she is.
That cycle of, “I believe that you are worthy,” I have seen in my experiences and will continue to see that even if I am faced with someone who doesn’t believe in their worthiness, if I sit there, hold space for them and know in my heart with my entire being that they can, some of that will transfer to them and they can start moving in that direction and growing that for themselves, it’s almost like sharing that light. Lighting another person’s candle doesn’t diminish your own and believing in someone else’s worthiness. Honestly, to me, it even makes you more present.
Another beautiful statement there. It’s helpful to pause and take in some of your words, Lena. You’ve learned so much. With the things that you’ve been describing, I feel like you’ve gone through multiple lifetimes. Do you feel that way about yourself? You break down the big things that you’ve gone through, witnessed and learned. How have you done this all in your life so far?
I went through this exercise. Somebody mentioned it to me and I decided to do it. If you take your age and divide it by 5 so you have those chunks of years, for me, it’s about 8 or 9 years, go through each piece. Look at some of those pivotal moments, those traumatic and dramatic moments. Write them all down in order and look at all the things that you have come through, especially zero in on the lessons, the growth and the opposite side of trouble that you’ve experienced. It almost becomes this guiding light. Your ability to have confidence in being able to handle whatever comes at you increases with time and this realization.
I have twelve items on my list through the years that I considered big in those chunks of time. In the beginning, when I first did it, I could only see eight of them as a clear positive turn of events that something good came out of this bad. It took me about a week to equalize and make all twelve of them, something that I have gained out of difficulty and Chernobyl was one of them.Believing in someone else's worthiness makes your own feel more present. Click To Tweet
Did any of them stand out as bigger than another? Do you find yourself ranking them or are they all equal? Do they have a sense of harmony for you?
When I first received my cancer diagnosis a few years ago, the automatic reaction is, “Let’s fight this.” There’s this paradigm of, “We’ve got to fight for your life.” In my heart of hearts from the beginning, it was never about a fight. It was about, “What is this thing here to tell and teach me? How am I going to come out on the other end with the maximum amount of goodness from this?” Looking at every one of those points in my life, at this point from my age, they are all equal and have all taught me something.
The most important lesson is it’s not about this fight against the struggles and the bad things that come at you. It’s about harmonizing them and getting to a place where you can extract the good while still grieving and mourning the hurtful part. At the same time, it catapults you to a new level of experience when you’re able to move through that. Every time you do something difficult, you’ll have more confidence next time and almost like a muscle that was built up to be able to handle the next thing.
Before we started, you were sharing with me what you’re focused on. I asked you, “What is lighting you up?” You brought up purpose. That seems to be such a thread. I’ve heard you use the word worthiness so much. I’m curious. Is honoring your own and other people’s worthiness part of your purpose? If not, what do you feel is your purpose?
The reason I speak about worthiness so much is that’s one of the older things that I’ve addressed in my life, before sixteen years old for me. My purpose becomes this drive to convey that message to others. I had a traumatic thing happen to me before I was sixteen years old to address this exact problem. I consider it a blessing. Not everyone gets to that point that early in life. Being able to truly stand in your worthiness will make for a better world for all of us. If we believe we are worthy, we can accomplish all the things that we are here to do. If we all accomplish things that we are here to do, then we’re there.
That is incredibly helpful for so many people. Although understanding and hearing that I suppose are different from living and deeply understanding that. Is this what you do in your work, supporting people and guiding them towards figuring out how to truly feel worthiness? That’s tough.
It’s tough and imperative to move forward to the life that you would love to live. It’s not about the life that somebody else would like or what somebody else thinks you should do. It’s about the life that you would truly love to live. You can only get there when you believe that you are worthy of that. In my work, I can’t place that belief in someone. What I can do is explore and ask some questions similar to what I did myself as an exercise. “Let’s list out all of those pivotal points and see how they have shaped your life.”
Let’s see how amazing you truly are because you came through them, you were here, on the other side of them, and speaking to me about growth. There is no doubt that you internalize all of the experiences that you’ve gone through. Let’s face it. You’ve gone through every single bad experience in your life with a 100% survival rate because you’re here. To be able to stop and attend to that, most of the time is enough. We’re busy. Circling back to technology, our senses are bombarded with all of these inputs all of the time. We don’t stop, think and notice all the things that we have done that we are capable of.If we believe we are worthy we can accomplish all the things we are here to do. Click To Tweet
Lena, you’ve given me and hopefully the readers many opportunities to stop, think and notice. It’s an important reminder to not fall into this comparative trap. Something that you’re sharing here is a tool that anybody could do after reading this episode, which is to sit down, break their life into these chunks, examine the tough times and not try to compare themselves to other people’s tough times. I feel like we do this a lot like, “My life is worse than theirs. They’ve gone through so much. Who am I to think that I’m struggling?”
This is something I think a lot about because somebody else might have gone through something relatively worse than you doesn’t invalidate the fact that you have had tough times and challenges. Sometimes if we get into that place, we almost feel like our trauma isn’t worthy. That gets in the way of us acknowledging our worthies or maybe feeds our feelings of unworthiness. I’ve thought about this a lot over time. “Who am I to complain when this person has it ‘much worse’ than me?”
Maybe somebody could feel that way after reading this episode. These huge experiences that you’ve had certainly could be perceived as relatively worse than the average person. That’s part of what puts me in a state of awe towards you. What you’re teaching is not based on that comparison. What you’re teaching is guiding each person to examine their life, tapping into their worthiness and not looking at it in comparison to others.
It’s interesting because, in the world of cancer, that comparison of somebody having things worse than me is so alive and prevalent. “What stage are you in? How long have you been battling this? Did you have this or that treatment?” To me, what’s important to understand is an experience can bring a tremendous amount of understanding. It is individual up to the person experiencing it to get there. As an example, having cancer is like diving into a pool full of muck. It doesn’t matter what stage you are in. You are in that pool.
The difference and the survivorship of it depend on you being able to grab that pearl of something that is there to help guide you and others in a way that only you can share, bring it out of that muck with you and shine that light into the rest of the world. It’s not about how bad it was. It’s about what you got out of it. You can get such a deep understanding. My first one was having my dog go live with another family. That doesn’t seem extremely traumatic but it’s shaped me in a way that cancer did. It stands on that same level.
I’m so glad that you highlighted that experience with your dog because I feel like we brushed over it quickly. Certainly, I’m attached to my dog. If I had to go through that, that probably would be a defining moment. I’m curious. How did you move through that pain of saying goodbye to your dog? What is the lasting impact of that for you?
That was the first time when I gave into my rational mind. The understanding and the life that I have chosen were being done through the lens of rationality rather than emotion. It took me into that circle of the scientific way, the way of numbers and formulas and having an explanation for everything. I had to go through my entire life and all the things until I got cancer.
That line was able to shift back into that ultimate connection of mind and heart, conventional and integrative, that you don’t have to pick a side. You can have it all. You can have your cake and eat it too. We all take our experiences in harmony. It’s a beautiful way to wrap it together because I can take some conventional wisdom and integrative wisdom. I put it together and it works right for me. For you, it would be in a different ratio.It's not about how bad it was, it's about what you got out of it. Click To Tweet
What tends to happen in the world is you’re either all conventional or integrative. If you pick one, then you can’t have anything from the other. As a challenge and I believe that you can and you should, I don’t like that word, but integrating those experiences, experiencing and doing things that equal the right thing for the individual is where healthcare is headed. I believe that to be successful in helping other people, you must be open-minded and aware of something other than your rational mind and your ability to measure and quantify.
Believe in that worthiness and the power that lives and drives a human being that we are infinite beings having a human experience. As much of the power of the full side that we have, we also have this human side that is prone to making mistakes. Those are okay and they don’t take away from our ability to be infinite. At the same time, it’s s such a confusing, beautiful and astonishing concept to me.
Those words, beautiful and astonishing, are things that I would like to use for this conversation and for getting to know you, Lena. That’s how I feel. I’m so moved by what you’ve shared with me and the reader, the way that you express this and thought about things. Also, the energy in which you hold space is so inspiring, calming and lovely. I’ve used the word awe a lot. That’s the best way that I can describe it. I’m deeply grateful for that. I also find myself wondering why you don’t have your podcast. Is that something you’ve thought about? What a gift you’ve given me and the reader. Is it something that you’ve contemplated? You’re a natural at this.
This whole conversation has been nothing but a synergistic experience for me. Before we got on, my sister called to touch base. I mentioned that I was coming on to have this conversation with you. She goes, “Why don’t you do your own?” My answer was, “That harmony of being able to do all the things that I do in my life doesn’t quite support me to learning a whole new way of tech yet but it is coming.” My website does have a spot for it that is not live or active. I will consider this another nudge in that direction.
Another awe-inspiring way of expressing your state. Stay tuned if she does decide to embark upon podcasting and continue sharing this beautiful wisdom. Whatever I can do to support you, I’m here to help, Lena. You have the power about you to teach lessons and do it in a profound, relaxing way. You’ve made a great impact on me. I’m so grateful to have been able to get to know you through this conversation and be able to share this. It is delightful.
Thank you for being open, listening, being receptive, holding space for me and your listeners and following your heart and what you love to do.
It’s my pleasure.
About Lena Winslow
Bringing together her own 18 years in health care, 16 years parenting a child with complex health needs, 10 years in home-education, advocacy and community service underlying it all.
#1 international best-selling author.
National board-certified Integrative Health Coach Speaker Motivation-builder.
Bringing logic and compassion together in service.
Lena connects her educational background in Nuclear Medicine and National Board Certification in Health Coaching with her own life of adversity. Starting with the Chernobyl nuclear accident 70 miles from her home at age 7, her mother’s cancer diagnosis, treatment and passing, her move to the the United States, becoming a parent to a child with complex health care needs, homeschooling 3 kids for over 10 years, then her own cancer diagnosis and successful treatment. Lena has mastered mindset, perseverance and ingenuity combining it all together with her scientific background. She helps healthcare practitioners shift their mindset and utilize their heart and soul along with hard science so they can help others without burnout.
She helps parents to harmonize life at home with multiple continuously evolving needs and a career so they can find fulfillment and feel success across all areas of life.
She helps people facing chronic, possibly life threatening conditions or the aftermath of extensive treatment to find their own unique way thru the challenge so they can re-frame fear, uncertainty and pain and extract the silver lining for themselves and others.
For everyone the result is living the life that you design yourself and truly love.