MGU 207 | Mental Healing


The path towards sobriety is also a story of mental healing. Since it directly impacts our minds, dealing with anxiety and depression is also a huge factor when getting rid of addiction. However, treatments for such a diagnosis are primarily dependent on a huge amount of medication. Jason Wrobel and Whitney Lauritsen talk with Rynda Laurel to share how her pursuit for natural-based solutions to overcome her own addictions led to the creation of VRYeveryday. She talks about her work on educating people on how to lessen hard medication in favor of organic herbs and holistic nutrition. Rynda also looks back on how she dealt with the absence of willpower when she was still struggling to heal, how to surrender to other people, and why prominent people must not be afraid to show a bit of humanity by talking about mental health.

Listen to the podcast here


Recovering Out Loud: Achieving Mental Healing In The Most Natural Way With Rynda Laurel

Our wonderful guest, Rynda, brought up this Netflix show that she said reminded her of me and Jason. It’s called Midnight at the Magnolia, which didn’t sound familiar. I looked it up. I’m loving the description. It says, “Longtime friends and local radio hosts fake it as a couple for their families and listeners in hopes of getting their show nationally syndicated.”

Sounds about right. It also sounds like we’re the White Stripes of podcasting because that’s part of the lore or origin of the White Stripes. Being from Detroit, they had this whole image that they were brother and sister, Jack and Meg White, when actually they were married.

What? I still, to this day, thought that they were brother and sister.

No, Jack White is Jack Gillis. He and Meg White married, they started the White Stripes and he took Meg’s last name.

MGU 207 | Mental Healing

Mental Healing: At the very beginning of mental healing, it’s just like walking a new path long enough until you create a new pathway.


Did they purposefully plan to be perceived as brother and sister or did that happen and they just ran with it? How does that benefit their music career?

I believe it was purposeful from what I understand. This will lead into a lot of conversations with Rynda about the music industry, but I had the pleasure of meeting and hanging out with Meg White when I was playing in bands in the early aughts and the late ‘90s in Detroit. From what I understand, it was a purposeful positioning of their band. Once it caught on, the media was like, “Are they brother and sister?” I remember the Detroit Free Press digging into it and going like, “No, we have their marriage records. This is weird.”

This is fascinating. I will also drop one little piece of trivia. When I think of Meg White, I think of the Ray LaMontagne song that he wrote about her, which is one of my favorites because it’s so catchy. It’s phenomenal. You must know that song, Jason?

Yes. Ray is one of our all-time favorites. Using this as a segue into our wonderful guest, Rynda, who we had the pleasure of meeting. Back in 2018 at the Wellspring Conference in Palm Springs. Initially, Rynda, we met you under the umbrella of mental health and emotional wellness and your wonderful brand called VRYeveryday that we will dig into. The other layer was we quickly learned our mutual affinity and history in the music industry. That was like, “This woman is my sister.” It’s a long-awaited thing that we have you here because of your energy, knowledge, wisdom, and the stories of being in the trenches of the music and entertainment industry. You consistently, over the years, have blown me away, and I’ve had so many holy shit moments with you. I’m hoping for a lot of holy shit moments on the show, no pressure.

I got them. I got all kinds.

I want to dig in with this overlapping with music and entertainment talking about this Netflix show and the White Stripes. Rynda, you come from a background of being deeply entrenched in the music business with so many great stories and wonderful artists you’ve worked with. Now, you’re coaching and your incredible supplement line of helping people with their mental health and emotional wellness. One thing I’m curious about because it’s been a minute since we’ve had a chance to connect and drop in deep.

I feel like we’re having a catch-up in real-time here on the show. Over the past years, artists, touring musicians struggle with mental health, isolation, loneliness, and a lot of different things that you’re a lot more well versed than I am. With COVID and the quarantine, people’s tours getting canceled and their album release is getting delayed, what kinds of things have you seen in the music and entertainment industry firsthand or through good friends of yours? How the hell are artists coping with this shitstorm that we find ourselves in?

We're not in the same boat. We're in the same ocean. Some of us are in life rafts and some are in yachts. Click To Tweet

First of all, thanks for having me. I’m excited to get to know you guys, again, here on the show. It depends on where you are as an artist on how it has affected you. Some of my clients were like, “The entire tour got rescheduled and my record got derailed. I had to cancel everything. My bars are closed. What am I going to do? I’m going to go and make a new record.” That’s what Greg Dulli from the Afghan Whigs did. For him, it’s like, “Let’s go create.”

Another one of my clients, Jesse Dayton, kind of the same thing, although he completely made his living off touring. We did get him a book deal to write his memoir. He’s also had to diversify. You have to go like, “What else beyond the live space can I do to create income and still create?” That’s what the industry itself has been grappling with. It’s how to keep creating and then also monetize it. As far as mental health goes, from 2020 COVID and also the political climate, no matter what your feelings are about it, have taken a hard toll on all of us. It’s definitely been a rough year. I feel like everybody is starting to feel light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak, this 2021.

It’s been a curiosity because many friends of mine who were depending on tour money, ourselves included. One of the reasons we met was I had a speaking appearance at the Wellspring Conference where we met. It was also a massive pivot because every single year, I rely on a pretty significant portion of my income from doing live speaking appearances. It was a holy shit moment of what am I going to do to replace this income?

A lot of musician friends who are also relying on tour income because they don’t necessarily get that many royalties from selling albums or not from streaming on Spotify, Title, or Apple Music. It’s pennies for them. It’s been interesting to see how a lot of friends have shifted into things like vocal coaching. One friend of mine started to teach cooking classes because she wasn’t on tour. Myself, I started out of nowhere teaching guitar lessons, which was like, “We’re going to go with this.”

It’s been interesting to watch people get super creative. From a survival standpoint, I figure out how to manage all of this. Nobody directly in my life, but it’s also been tough to see the rate of suicide and depression. We did an episode. Whitney has been doing a lot of great content on TikTok. She unwittingly stumbled into this space of non-alcoholic spirits, drinks, and how many people are wanting cocktail alternatives because they’re sober.

In that episode, we found out that binge drinking has seen a massive uptick in the 2020 particularly in women. Rynda, because you do have a background in sober living and in helping people to recover from alcoholism and addiction, has that been something that’s been brought up to you by friends or clients? Have you seen, personally, an uptick in people in your life battling addiction or falling off the wagon of sobriety during 2020?

I do know that it’s been hard for some people and I have heard friends of friends who have not made it through this due to that ODing or suicide, but no one in my life. There is a massive movement way before this for sober spirits. Laura Silverman, who you met with us in Austin at South by Southwest, has the @WeAreSober handle, and they do all kinds of stuff about sober spirits. There’s the sober bar movement that we also went to in South by Southwest.

To back up a little bit, I’ve been clean and sober from drugs and alcohol for many years. It’s a way of life for me. It’s not right in my face anymore but I still see a lot of it. I transitioned and I’ve been clinical depression-free for years. I see mental health and depression, and the two of those go hand-in-hand with alcohol addiction and drug addiction. It’s been hard for a lot of people. The isolation has been hard. In the 12-step communities doing Zoom meetings has been hard.

This whole pandemic and life have been hard on everybody. We’re not all in the same boat. You keep hearing we’re all in the same boat. We’re not. We’re in the same ocean in the middle of the same storm, but some of us are in life rafts and some of us are in yachts. It’s been interesting to watch how different people are being able to cope, advise, help, or to be of service to different people and how they’re coping.    I spent a lot of time alone, which is fine. You have other people that have families. They’re homeschooling and then you have the artists that have to recreate their lives or us that have to recreate our income streams. This is, in a way, have been like almost a cocooning for good or bad. Hopefully, what will happen is we will come out the other side of this as pretty beautiful butterflies.

It’s interesting that you bring that up because my perspective on this time has continuously shifted. Perhaps, life is always like that. It’s not a stable experience. It’s interesting to be at the beginning of a new year 2021. This episode is coming out around the year mark of the pandemic when it started to impact the entire world. In the US, it was about mid-March 2020 when things started to get serious. We had quarantine, mask-wearing, and all that stuff was starting to develop.

We’re recording in January 2021 and going into this new year and reflecting on what 2020 was like. What’s shifted a lot from me is no longer looking at COVID as the short-term thing that’s going to go away but more of, either, it’s going to be a long time before it ever feels like it’s going away or maybe it doesn’t, and it dissipates, but what’s left behind is the transformation that’s happened for us as a country, as the world, and all of these lessons.

The cocooning has happened in a major way collectively, which is interesting because we as individuals will go through various forms of transformation based on the highs and lows of our lives. Every once in a while, things happen to us as a nation or as the Earth collectively together. I feel like it has such a different impact. It’s like on one side, we’re all in this together, but to your point, Rynda, people are experiencing this in radically different ways.

I’m so glad that you pointed that out because to assume that we all understand one another is not necessarily the truth. People experience different things based on so many different factors of who they are, what stage they are in, what their background is, and what resources they have. I’ve noticed an increased sensitivity to that. I want people to feel included, but also, I have to recognize that we’re not all able to be included because of all these different factors.

MGU 207 | Mental Healing

Mental Healing: Nutrition should be the base before anything else. Before adding yoga and mindfulness, you first have to breathe, eat, and sleep.


It’s definitely for everybody. Some of us are doubling down on our personal growth and having to sit still after running around the world, attending events, and doing all this stuff. Some people don’t have food on their table. This is no joke. The economic crisis that’s happening, the mental health, people that don’t have food, and people experiencing homelessness are higher. This is serious.

It’s hard to balance out because what I try not to do is compare myself to others, good or bad. I’m lucky I’ve had income, I’ve been able to pivot, I’ve been resourceful, and I have my consulting company that’s good. I still go through depressions or downtimes about it. I can own those feelings and still acknowledge that there are other people that have it way worse than all of us. There are people that is not hurting at all and the millionaires that have made gazillions of dollars off of it.

It’s all over the place. We have to acknowledge that for us to all heal. To your point, this is January 2021, we had a new administration takeover and vaccines are coming. It’s going to get worse before it gets better as far as COVID. I’m hopeful that we’re going to start to get out of this state. I do think that we’ll thrive in different ways after this. That’s what I’m looking forward to. I’m looking forward to March 2021.

I’m curious about talking about transformation, Rynda, because Whitney brought it up. You have certainly had so many different versions of yourself over the course of your life. Knowing a little bit about your life story, which I’m excited for you to share tidbits of, whatever you want to share here on the episode. Transformation can have so many components to it. We’ve had some episodes that we’ve talked about the idea of willpower and why is willpower doesn’t even exist. We’ve talked a lot about shame and guilt.

If we rewind a little bit and we go back years ago when you decided to adopt this sober lifestyle and maintain it, what were the mental and neurobiological components? Years ago, the conversation around neurobiology, behavioral shifts, cognitive dissonance, and some of these things we may think of as buzzwords in the transformational community were not talked about as much.

Back then, what was that like for you? Was it about cultivating more willpower? Was it your proverbial rock bottom? Was it leveraging feelings of shame or guilt and saying, “I can’t do this anymore?” I’m curious about what was that mental process like and how the hell did you do that for yourself? If you could take us into the details of that, it would be fascinating to break down how you did it, and how you’ve maintained it for many years?

Let me go back. I was born in San Francisco nine months after the Summer of Love, I always like to joke. My mom took me to see Jim Morrison in her womb, which explains everything about me. As a teenager, I didn’t know how to deal with my emotional state. When alcohol and drugs got introduced into the picture, they were a solution to change the way I was feeling. If I wanted to feel more confident, the confidence at the bottom of a bottle is a real thing. If I wanted to feel brighter or more exuberant, speedy drugs were the answer for me. Later, when I wanted to shut it all down and not feel at all, opiates were a solution for me. I moved to Southern California and when I was 22, I up and moved to New York City. I got my first job in the record industry in Los Angeles. When I moved to New York, I got my second job in the record industry. These are important because you’re talking about what state of mind I was in when I made this transformation.

Here I am in the music industry, a young A&R girl, which is Artists and Repertoire. It was my job, along with my bosses, to look at new talent. I was out scouting talent in ‘89 all the way through the ‘90s, but we’re specifically talking about recovery. I was drinking every day, and I fell into opiate addiction. I was doing heroin, which was normal for the music business in the early ‘90s. When you’re doing that, you can’t fool yourself anymore. As my addiction develops, even though there was some sense of normalcy allowing that to happen because of the industry I was in. My self-esteem, self-worth, and my emotional state became worse. I hit what we call an emotional bottom.

When you're in active depression, willpower is meaningless. It doesn't exist. Click To Tweet

I was using every single day at this point and I knew that there was no fooling myself anymore because when you’re using heroin, you cannot fool yourself. I hit a series of bottoms emotionally where I reached out for help. The last time when I reached out to help, I called a detox center. It was an emotional bottom. It was like, “I just can’t do this anymore.” I had this moment of hope, and I reached out for help. The man that answered the phone said to me, “It’s time for you to surrender.”

I didn’t know what that meant, but I checked into detox the next day. That began my journey with the 12 steps, recovery, and understanding what surrender means. Understanding what willpower means. Understanding that when you’re in active addiction or in active depression, willpower is meaningless. It doesn’t exist when you’re in that active state. I began the journey. I was lucky enough to stay in the music business. I moved back to Los Angeles. I was surrounded by my family and my friends, and I started on the path to recovery. That’s the deep down and dirty part of that.

I appreciate you sharing so openly and viscerally, Rynda. You mentioned willpower doesn’t work when you’re at that point. In this process of surrender because I’m curious, especially in this context, but also generally speaking, what surrender means to you, and how that shows up in your life. When you said willpower didn’t work, I feel like that goes against a lot of the common rhetoric we see in society of like, “Push through. Conquer this thing and use your will to overcome whatever it is.” In this state, you’re saying that’s not going to work. I’m curious, instead of willpower, what touchstones or aspects of that recovery were you able to leverage? Beyond that, dig into surrender a little bit more. I want to know a little bit more about your perspective on that.

It’s the biggest myth, specifically about addiction or substance use disorder. It’s addiction. You can control addiction. I believe the same with depression and anxiety. “Snap out of it, choose to be happy,” and stuff like that. Once you got a little time under your belt, either you’ve been abstinent from recovery, you’ve been tackling your mental health issues, and you have a little time, you do have more choices, just to be clear.

Eventually, you get some of those choices back and you’re able to take some of that power back. But at the beginning, in active addiction or active depression, you don’t have that choice. It’s literally not a choice. I’m going to get real and visceral again, you know? I would wake up in the morning or I would go to sleep on Friday night after working and be like, “I’m not going to use this weekend. I’m not going to do it.” I would want, with every cell in my body to not do it. And five hours later, I’d be down at 2nd and A copping dope. It’s not willpower. It’s just not.

Once you hit that surrender point that I did when I called the rehab or when you do when you are in active depression and you’re finding to pick up the phone and call someone and say like, “I’m not okay?” Once you’ve surrendered, there’s this sense of relief that someone else is in control and can guide you. Eventually, what you want to do is have enough support systems where you can have other people guide you through it until you can support yourself again. Once you’ve got there and you’ve got a little bit of time under your belt or a little bit of recovery, then you can trust yourself a little bit better, and then you get some of your power back. Does that make sense?

Yes, it does. I’ve heard that other power could be a mentor, your relationship to God, and the 12 steps. When you talk about this power other than yourself, what was that for you? What was that other power?

In the beginning, it was the 12 steps. Without question, the 12 steps for the first five years of my recovery, specifically, helped guide that for me. Now, when you’re working the 12 steps, one of the guidance is to find a power greater than yourself. I automatically went into this, “What is God? Why are there starving children? Why is there disease?” I got intellectual about it because that’s who I am as a person.

I came out with this quantum physics, universal love, and the higher power that worked for me. It made the most sense logically, as far as why we’re here. If you tap into the power that’s positive and not tapping into the negative, then you have more hope, and it keeps going. That’s the same with changing your behaviors. It’s the same concept. When you want to change your behavior, whether it’s addiction, depression, exercise, lifestyle, or any kind of lifestyle changes, you have to tap into the positive things and keep reinforcing those. Creating the new neural pathways, and of course, we get into cognitive changes, cognitive therapy, neuroplasticity, and all those wonderful things that I love to talk about. In the beginning, the idea is trying to walk this new path long enough so that you create a new pathway.

You touch on some of the science. I’ll call it science geekery that we love to dig into. I’m glad you brought that up, Rynda. One thing that I was reticent in my own mental health journey at the beginning, there were a lot of things that delayed me from seeking help in my own life. One of the things you and I bonded over when we met was me talking about my own clinical depression, suicidal ideation, anxiety, and some of the things we’ve mentioned. My reticence when I was younger was, I didn’t know that holistic mental health and emotional wellness solutions or therapies existed because the only experience that I had from observing some people in my family going through their own mental health struggles was pharmaceuticals and talk therapy.

I thought, “Is that the only two options out there?” I’m not throwing pharmaceuticals or talk therapy under the bus with that comment but my resistance to seeking help and telling my friends and family that I was struggling was I thought it was this automatic thing of, “You’re going to be put in a 5150. You’re going to get put on SSRIs. You’re going to have to sit on a black leather couch and talk to someone about your feelings.”

My initial reaction was like, “There’s got to be some other options here.” With that as a framework, I’m curious how you got into your therapy or healing cycles around your mental health and your depression. Of course, it led you to creating this wonderful company that I’ve been blessed with taking your supplements for many years. I’m wondering, as you were uncorking this, were you faced with a similar thing of like, “Take a pharmaceutical and go talk to someone.” How did you get into the more holistic side of things? What was that discovery process like for you?

MGU 207 | Mental Healing

Mental Healing: People who drink don’t necessarily have a problem.


I love talking about this and it’s important. The other thing in that is you have medications and talk therapy. In the recovery world, you have 12-step program. One of the things that used to drive me crazy and still do to this day is, if you were struggling, you weren’t calling your sponsor enough or you weren’t doing your program right. You didn’t work the steps right. Go to more meetings and help other people.

I was doing those things, I was doing 12 step work, the best I could with all that, and trying to do everything, I’m still miserable. Doctors put me on SSRIs. I made a decision after 2.5 years of sobriety and I was still struggling with my mental health. When Kurt Cobain shot himself, it triggered me. If we go back, I’m sure we’ll talk about my crazy music business later. I saw Nirvana before they were signed. To me, there were a lot of music people that I worked with that went on to become famous. I saw them as almost like peers, in a way.

Kurt Cobain, when he committed suicide, it affected me greatly. I decided to get on pharmaceuticals. I did that for a long time but that didn’t work either, honestly, Jason. Pharmaceuticals didn’t work and 12 steps didn’t work. It all worked a little bit, but I still had so much disease. I started, which is in my nature, investigating. What else is there? How does this SSRI work? Why did Wellbutrin work better for me than Prozac, which didn’t work for me? It’s because it worked on dopamine. What is dopamine? What does that mean?

I investigated and dug in and read tons and tons of books. There were a couple of pivotal books. Julia Ross’s The Mood Cure, which talks about amino acid therapy. Dr. Hyla Cass called Natural Highs, also about amino acid therapy and all these natural versions. I was blown away as I investigated more. Thyroid issues can cause depression. Low vitamin D can cause depression. What is it? I became this big sponge of all this knowledge and information.

I went on my inner journey and made a choice after almost twenty years on antidepressants and doing all the modalities. I had an experience where I got to live out here in Joshua Tree. I live in Joshua Tree now, but at the time, I didn’t. I came out here and was house sitting. I made a decision shortly before that to lower my medications and to try these natural solutions. I was able to get off my medications. I did it all with natural solutions. It was such a wow moment. I was like, “I don’t want everybody to have to go through what I went through of ten years of learning to do this. I want to bring this back out to people in a simple way.” That’s when I started VRY.

I started with the five supplements that do the most for mental health. The goal with VRY is to expand it into education and coaching so that people that need more help besides the supplements can come and get more information, sort of downloading the information. That’s why I do these podcasts. That’s why I do talks. You and I, Jason, did South by Southwest. That’s why I go and do these things so I can bring the information back to people so that they know that it’s out there.

When I started looking for it in 2000 or 2002, it was definitely not there. Thank goodness, it’s starting to be more and more there. There are opportunities for people to understand holistic, natural solution-based remedies. To that end, still, people are better at talking about yoga and mindful meditation, and all of that. That’s important, but we still haven’t got into the things that you and I bond on, Jason, the most. Nutrition, mood food, and supplementation. It’s not at the level it should be yet, but it will be.

The haves should be supporting the have-nots. Click To Tweet

Whitney and I have a couple of great friends that hopefully will have here on the show, who are clinicians. They’re psychotherapists. I was having a conversation with one of them. Her name is Ariana, and she lives in Philadelphia. We were discussing nutrition for mental health, at least in her field. Her background is in the Hakomi therapy style of psychotherapy. She was saying that even with her clients, her system of psychotherapy that she studied, and with her colleagues that nutrition and food, even in 2021, is still not something that’s discussed. It’s not something that is being talked about as a link to anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, and etc.

Moreover, the thing that I get excited about is not just cracking open this idea of talking about more of the links about nutrition, which I definitely want to talk more details about because you mentioned dopamine, serotonin, and neurotransmitters. How certain states are approving psilocybin and entheogens. These are psychedelic natural solutions. Psilocybin is a psychedelic mushroom. States like Oregon are making them legal to be used in therapeutic settings along with things like MDMA.

I’m encouraged to see the expansion of the mental health field beyond some of the traditional things that have been clung to for so long. Seeing, “We’re going to talk about nutrition,” even though it’s not being talked about. “We’re going to talk about expanding this into somatic experiencing. We’re going to talk about the role of psychedelics in mental healing.” It’s like the Wild West in some ways because there’s still not mass adoption of these types of therapies.

Whitney and I have discussed we’re not on this show or in our coaching. We’re not licensed psychotherapists and we’re not licensed nutritionists, but we do have years of research and knowledge in our own personal experience. I don’t know if I have a question in here, per se, other than laying it out to both of you these bold new frontiers of exploration where people are like, “Nutrition doesn’t have an effect on your mental health.” “Psychedelics are for hippies and Burning Man people. We’re not going to take those.” It seems there’s a lot of resistance to any kind of new therapies that are introduced in this field. Does that something that comes up? Do you see a lot of resistance with that? People being like, “No, this isn’t something that works?”

I want to step back for a second and say that I’m excited about all the different therapies out there. There’s nothing new about nutrition. Nutrition should be the base before anything else. You have to eat, you have to sleep, you have to breathe, and you have to drink water. Eating and nutrition should be the basis for all of it. You have to have that base then you add yoga, mindfulness, and psychedelics. I’m sorry but if you do psychedelics with a therapist and you have MTHFR gene mutation and your vitamin D isn’t working or your methylfolate is off. If your biochemistry is off and you’re going to add another layer of biochemistry through CBD, THC, or psychedelics, I don’t think that’s a good idea.

I would say that all of those things should be done after you’ve had a good chat with a good nutritionist and a functional medicine doctor so that you’ve got your levels checked. You’ve got those things checked and you’ve got that balance. If you’re still not feeling great, and you want to explore some of these other options, that’s more power to you. That’s what I feel about that. Some of these things are dangerous if they’re not done with the right setting and they’re not done when you’re not looking at some of these other things first. Opinionated, wasn’t I?

No, it’s good to talk about this. One thing I want to loop back to a little bit. We talk about shame a lot here. It’s something that Whitney and I brought up in previous episodes. The role of shame in addiction and behavior change. We have a guest here on the podcast. His name was Nick Jaworski, and he talked a lot about shame. How, in certain contexts, it can be useful for behavior correction and behavioral change.

Whereas, in our culture, we’ve talked about how shame can automatically be a negative thing in every single context. We shouldn’t shame people and ourselves. In opening this conversation around addiction since we’ve talked about it in previous episodes, is there a benefit to feeling ashamed of our actions in this context when we’re talking about mental health, addiction, or healing from it? Is it not necessarily a good thing in terms of behavioral change with all of this?

I differentiate strongly between those that are in active addiction, active depression, or active mental states where it’s like, “That is different.” There’s no way you can’t feel shame when you’re in active addiction and clinical depression. As a human, you feel shame there. There’s a point where you can’t get out of it, you’re struggling to get out of it. You feel shameful because you should feel better, or you’ve got the moral things that everybody put on you. “I’m awful because I’m an addict.” “I’m a piece of crap because I’m an addict,” and those moral issues that have been placed upon us.

That’s why the recovery community and the mental health community have tried so hard to smash the stigma and shame involved in that. When you’re in active addiction and active depression, you can somehow utilize that and use that as power towards freedom because you’re struggling to get out of active addiction. As you get out of active addiction, some of that shame dissipates because you’re not in that active state.

In that case, it can be used as a positive. I’m speaking on the fly here. I haven’t gone deep on this before. When you’ve got your life together, you’re going along in your recovery, or you’re feeling better in your mental states but you’re still not feeling great, then I don’t know where shame is. It then can be detrimental. That’s when it’s time to dig deep and look at what you are shameful about and how can you do some cognitive therapy around places that make you feel shameful. Making sure that some of the reasons that you did have active addiction or depression. If there’s some trauma that you have to look at and other things like that. I don’t think shame is useful at that point unless it’s almost activating you to try and feel better. Does that make sense?

Yes. It’s interesting to think about shame in the sense of wanting to be more proactive with making changes in your life and context is important. In terms of context, I wanted to loop back to something we briefly mentioned in terms of sobriety because shame sometimes bleeds into some of the peer pressure that we face. I mentioned that Whitney had put out some TikTok videos around non-alcoholic drinks and some of the comments that were popping up that she was sharing with me were fascinating. People may be discussing some of the things that they go through as a sober person trying to relate in a social context to people that aren’t sober. It’s made me reflect on life situations.

I’m not 100% sober but I rarely drink. I remember so vividly situations where I would be out at a bar or even playing a show as a musician, not wanting to drink alcohol, and feeling peer pressure. I don’t know if shame is the right word around peer pressure. Peer pressure is a very interesting thing where I felt like people wanted me to drink so they could feel more connected to me or more comfortable with their choice.

MGU 207 | Mental Healing

Mental Healing: The more well-known people come out and talk about depression, the more they can help a lot of their audience.


I remember vividly a lot of situations where people are like, “Are you sure you don’t want to? It’s on me. I’ll get it. Just have one. We got to celebrate. We got to do this.” Whitney’s journey through TikTok of all these comments that have been coming up in her videos and this conversation brought back a lot of those memories of reviewing the peer pressure I felt in my life to either drink or do drugs with people. The psychology of why peer pressure exists in those contexts. It’s really interesting.

I would say two things. One is, the first year that I got sober, there were a couple of times when people are like, “Why not have a drink?” I’m like, “Because I’m sober.” I might be an exception to the rule, but for me at that point, I’m like, “I don’t give a crap about what you think about me. I am sober. I am going to die if I drink.” To me, I didn’t have a problem with that and I still don’t. I ended up working in the music business early sobriety and my job was to go to bars five nights a week and watch bands.

Luckily there were enough sober people around me. I had that support. I latched on to a lot of sober bands. The Cadillac Tramps, I ended up working with them. They were all sober. The guys in Social Distortion were all sober. I moved to Los Angeles and a lot of the LA ANR community were sober. What I would say with people that do have that feeling of insecurity around that is surround yourself with people and take buddies with you.

It’s okay at this point to own it. I remember the first time someone brought drugs out in front of me. I was a little shaky, but I was like, “No, that will kill me. It’s not worth it. I don’t care what you think about me,” and I removed myself from the situation. To be fair, I also want to share that I’ve never been one of those people that thinks everybody that drinks have a problem. I have no problem going out and hanging out with my friends that are drinking. There’s a certain time at night where I’m like, “They’re not going to remember this in the morning. I’m out of here.”

I don’t think that everybody that drinks a lot needs to get sober. I might be an exception to the rule in this case. I do know a lot of people struggle with that. I do you know a lot of people struggle with peer pressure and they struggle with like, “What will I say at the office party?” I say, “Get a mojito without alcohol and call it a day.” I don’t mean to downplay the people’s experience because I do know that it exists and I’ve been made aware of it by my friends in the sober community that has a lot of trouble with that. I would say take a buddy with you. That’s when you can own your power. When you’re not in active addiction, you’re not in active depression, you’re in a situation, you can own your power and say, “Not for me today.”

It’s interesting because similar to Jason, I’m not sober because I drink from time-to-time, but I’m sober curious, which is a term that I’ve been seeing pop up more. I’m re-evaluating my relationship with alcohol and even drugs, I suppose. I’ve never been into recreational drugs. It’s different though because I don’t experience addiction with either of those, so I feel like I can’t fully relate to what it’s like to be addicted. I don’t feel that addiction plays much of a role in my life. I haven’t been around a lot of people that I can think of that have struggled with addiction.

That’s an important realization because we can’t assume that our personal experiences are the same thing that somebody else experiences. That’s exactly where this peer pressure or bullying comes into play. Somebody else is trying to put on you, their way of living. They’re trying to say like, “Why don’t you do what I do?” “The way I’m doing it is the right way. The way that I’m doing it is great. You should try it.” We put this weight on other people because we want them to behave in the same way that we are and maybe that’s about inclusivity.

Sometimes on the peer pressure side, the person putting on the pressure might not want to feel alone, so they’re like, “Let me try to get as many people to do the things that I’m doing so that I don’t feel like I’m the outcast or I don’t feel bad about my decisions.” That’s something that I can relate to. I wouldn’t call myself a bully. I wouldn’t say that I peer pressure in the cliché way, but I feel like I’ve exhibited those behaviors of trying to convince someone to do something that I want to do because I don’t want to do it alone.

Taking ownership of that and then realizing that I don’t want to go about life trying to control, manage others, and I’ve noticed that I have a tendency to do those things. That tendency helps me better understand why people might put on that pressure and might try to bully or say things. I’ve noticed this as Jason was talking about the comment sections online and it’s fascinating to me. It’s coming out of ignorance or lack of awareness from these people that don’t want to accept somebody for living a life differently than them.

What’s neat is it’s so cool that there is a growing movement of sober options. Somebody like yourself and us too on occasions who wants to go to a party, bar, or restaurant when socializing and events happen more frequently, for example, that are often filled with alcohol, perhaps we want something different than water or soda. It’s so exciting to see that there are now non-alcoholic spirits, non-alcoholic wine, beer, mocktails, and all of these wonderful things. If it’s not quite so obvious, remembering that you could ask the bartender not to put alcohol in a drink like a mojito and you still get to enjoy that experience and the appearance of a drink without it containing something that doesn’t suit your lifestyle or needs.

Generally speaking, as a society, we're overmedicated and under-informed. Click To Tweet

Absolutely. The company I want you guys to check out is called Zero Proof Nation and they cover all the spirit-free drinks and that’s their jam. They’ve got a cool Instagram that you can look and it’s got all kinds of things. Whitney, I want to say that one of the things that’s incredible in my 28 years of recovery, for me, as I’ve made it very clear, it’s a life or death situation. My first twenty years were all about 12-step work because that’s all that you had. Of course, I branched out into all these different modalities and what’s really exciting about the recovery and space now is that not only has it got multiple pathways is it does have sober curious. I think that’s great.

Sober curious trickles into wellness and it’s like, “I don’t feel good when I drink too much and I want to change that.” That is such a great thing that’s a part of this movement. You don’t have to go to the lengths that I did and do it all. It’s amazing that people are embracing that and there are all these multiple pathways now for abstinence-based recovery too, not just sober curious. Everybody is learning to support each other. That’s important and fantastic. That goes back to live and let live, own your own power and your truth, and not try to bully anyone into doing anything that’s not their jam. That’s how we should be. We should all strive to be that way in all areas.

I like the sober movement in general. Also, the idea that more and more people are recovering out loud. They used to be so secretive. Now, it’s like, “I’m sober for many years. I’m on a podcast talking about it because I’m not going to be ashamed about it and I’m not going to smash the stigma. At some point, I’ll help somebody that has bad drug addiction problems, and you’ll help somebody now that says, ‘I’m sober, curious, I don’t want to drink that way anymore.’” That’s what’s so great about the opening up of this movement.

I’m curious to get into some of the deeper psychological aspects of artists, entertainers, and people who make their living touring, performing, and entertaining others. One thing that we’ve talked about is the twisted mentality we have in society where we encourage people to hustle, grind, live their dreams, get to these states of living the life that they want, being successful, rich, and all of these things.

When we find out they’re struggling or they come up publicly, as you said, there’s this more public conversation around sobriety, mental health, depression, and anxiety. I’m certainly bolstered by the fact that a lot more celebrities, pro athletes, and public figures have been publicly talking about this. As Whitney said about in the comment section, I dig into some of these posts about people’s reactions to the celebrities, athletes, leaders, and artists coming out with their struggles.

Many of the comments are supportive saying, “Thank you for this. I’ve been struggling too. Thank you for speaking to this.” On the other side, for lack of a better word, schizophrenia reaction is, “What do you have to be depressed about? Why are you addicted? You have everything. You’re a millionaire. You tour the world. Everyone knows who you are. What do you have to be sad and depressed and addicted about?”

It’s almost like, we don’t allow people once they reach a certain level of fame, influence, success, or celebrity to have a human experience anymore. I’m super interested in your work, being in the music industry for so long, and obviously still having solid friendships with many great musicians and entertainers. What is that about? On the one hand, it’s like, “Keep hustling, grinding, go for success, we celebrate you, but don’t be too human and don’t show us your flaws because you have no reason to be sad and depressed.”

The conversation around that changed drastically in 2018 with the death of Anthony Bourdain, Kate Spade, Chris Cornell, and Chester Bennington. I think those were all around 2017, 2018. That conversation, on a broader scale changed, because people understood it. People started to come out more and more about it during that time. People started being more vocal about it in the hopes that they would help people. As far as someone coming out and talking about their depression and having the yes and the naysayers, the reality is that’s going to be with everything.

People are so opinionated on social media and everybody has to say something all the time. To me, I would say, “The more that these well-known people come out and talk about it, the more they have the ability to help those people that are feeling that way.” If we focus on those people that they are helping, hopefully even the naysayers will get at some point that’s the point. It’s not about fame. It’s not about money.

Do you have more opportunities to get well, so to speak, when you have money? Yes, you do. It’s one of the things why I keep my supplements at a very low rate and why we need to make sure that wellness is not expensive for everybody. As far as musicians, celebrities, and people coming out about mental health, if they let the naysayers control the conversation, then we’re not going to change the stigma in the first place. I’m so happy when they do come out and talk about it. It’s important so that if that one person heard that happened, it changes their life and helps them or that someone is being honest about it.

People want a little bit of mystery with their celebrities and their musicians but I also think that’s changing because of the role of social work media. Now, it’s more like they want a piece of you constantly all the time. They are expecting you to put out content and give you a piece every time. They’re going to engage in the way that they engage and that’s going to be the way it is. I want to encourage more and more people to come out. Celebrities, non-celebrities, everybody. Be honest and open about it. It’s important.

I love that you touched on the subject of making wellness affordable and more accessible because I think one of the knocks and with merit, things like organic biodynamic food, superfoods, spin classes, yoga, Pilates, meditation, etc. It seems that these are catered toward people that have the privilege, the wealth, and the disposable income to be able to engage in those things. That oppressed communities, people of color, people who are not in an economic bracket to take advantage of those healing modalities are in many cases in Metro areas, left out in the cold. Sometimes literally.

It’s interesting to uncork this because for holistic solutions and wellness modalities, it seems that it’s this accepted thing that they are, and I know this subjective “expensive” to each individual person. You bring up a good point, and it’s something that Whitney and I have observed after working and being in this collective industry for years. It seems to be catered to, demographically speaking, economically advantaged white women. It’s like, “Why is so much wellness directed at that specific demographic?” I’ve heard people say, “Because they can afford it and we’re in a business. Wellness is capitalist.”

To your point, how do we start to unravel this accepted notion that wellness has to be this expensive thing? It just seems like it is in many cases, make it more accessible and affordable, but also some people have a resistance to like, “I’m going to take these herbs? What’s this going to do for my brain?” I’m wondering what your thoughts are on shifting that, not only the narrative but the course of seemingly most of the industry.

MGU 207 | Mental Healing

Mental Healing: Food is tricky. What is super healthy for one person might not be healthy for another.


I’ve thought a lot about this. A massive solution is going to be structural changes to help people across the board. One would be to change the system to Medicare for all and then to add alternative modalities into that bigger system. Now, is that going to happen in this country? Who knows? That would be the solution. To add the wellness modality ability through Medicare for all so that everybody could afford to do that type of therapy if they want even with rehabs or mental health. That’s why everybody is on medication.

The healthcare providers or health insurance will pay for medication, but they won’t pay for supplements. Even when I was like, “Let’s get my supplements into the rehab centers that were forward-thinking.” They’re like, “We’re not going to buy these supplements.” The health insurance will pay for the SSRIs. It’s a big structural change that needs to happen if you’re going to tackle something so big like that.

The other thing that you can do is little different things here and there. For example, when COVID started, I had a lot of wellness practitioners that couldn’t practice their own sound bath and yoga teachers. People that did sound baths and stuff like that, that used our product. I came up with something called the mood support funds. When you go to buy something on VRY, you can donate $15 to $30 to the Mood Support fund. You get a discount code for your next purchase and whoever puts money in that fund, that goes into a central fund at VRY, and then those people that couldn’t afford the supplements during COVID, I will send it to them.

I’m small enough that if they would send me a message that they were out of work and I’d be like, “Here’s your PINK CLOUD. Go for it.” Other people that did have the money we’re paying for that. That’s another solution we can do, like one for ones. I’m riffing now on ideations, but for every one consultation I do, I’ll do one for someone that needs it that can’t afford it. I think the only other solution is the haves should be supporting the have-nots across the board in this country, period. We could do it on a small level with each one of our wellness practitioners. We can each do that. That would be a really good solution.

The thing that I get concerned with is that, as an industry, wellness is catering mostly to people who are in this income bracket or even not just income. It’s also an awareness thing. It’s offering natural alternatives in a way that’s approachable. This comes down to education too, because if you talk to a neuro-transmitter function to the average American, I don’t know this, this is totally anecdotal, they may not have a basic understanding of neurobiology or what neurotransmitters even are.

To go back to the supplements, I’m curious, with your formulation and how you put these together, what was your thought process, Rynda? Were you focusing on this particular blend of herbs, vitamins, and natural ingredients that are going to help this one particular neurotransmitter? What was your thought process and how did you begin to formulate? Why did you formulate your products the way that you did?

I was looking to replace pharmaceuticals, to be quite frank. I don’t market it that way and I don’t sell it that way. It’s not FDA compliance say that but that’s what I was going to try and do and how I did that is I chose the neuro-transmitters that I had studied that I knew had the most effect on mood, serotonin, dopamine, and GABA, specifically to start with. I sought out formulations with the best-backed science. My stuff is the best in science combined with remedies that are like the wisdom traditions. Everybody knows St. John’s Wort works for depression. It’s been studied but it’s also a wisdom tradition in herbology.

Combining those two spaces and I’m sad about trying to work with those three neurotransmitters to start specifically. My DOPA MINDs, which is an herb called Mucuna pruriens is the one that I specifically use to help me get off Wellbutrin. Wellbutrin is an SNRI, so it works on dopamine and serotonin. That’s why it worked for me. I was looking at how do I replace that dopamine in my body? I found tyrosine does it, but it didn’t do it fast enough for me and the Mucuna did. I went about setting about trying to do those three things. Anxiety, depression, and two forms of depression.

As I was developing it, I realized a lot of people have sleep issues, so I added a sleep formula and then I added the L-glutamine to help with hypoglycemia, alcohol, and sugar cravings. That’s another form that gets you off balance. I launched with five formulas that I’ve thought would stop gap the most important things for mental health. Sleep, depression, and anxiety. What I do with those formulas is combine the combinations of the two different bottles of things to address certain things as well. For example, the ANXIETY NO MORE DUO is PINK CLOUD which works on serotonin, and SERENITY, which works on GABA. Those two together are the best for anxiety.

Whereas PINK CLOUD and REST WELL, which is a sleep formula, they work really good for long-term insomnia because PINK CLOUD works on the serotonin levels. Serotonin in your body converts to melatonin and melatonin is what helps you sleep. If you don’t have enough serotonin in the first place, melatonin won’t even work for you. I did the INSOMNIA NO MORE pack, which is the two formulas together.

That’s where I started with those. I worked with a US-based manufacturer that was very versed in manufacturing and they do make supplements for other companies, so I trust them. Non-GMO and all quality sourcing made here. That was my methodology there and it all went back to the beginnings of those that I talked about before. Me studying and being a sponge through all the books of Julia Ross and all the amino acid therapy stuff. Understanding the neurochemistry of the body and the gut, and how these neurotransmitters are made.

I want to thank you for that, Rynda because I was on Wellbutrin for a short period of time. I don’t remember exactly for how long, but I took that when I was in college. I went to see a psychiatrist because I was struggling with a number of things. Initially, I was referred to the psychiatrist to support me with my disordered eating. Through our sessions together, I recognize that there were a lot of deeper things going on.

I remember that I was feeling very panicky. I was feeling what I perceived as depression at that time. It was my first year of college and I felt out of control with my emotions. I felt like I was going through suffering for the first major time. Looking back, I wonder, was that just me coming to terms with myself for the first time? Is that a common experience that freshmen in college have? I don’t know if I needed to go on medication, but I tried it. I don’t remember what it was like. I went through this phase of feeling like, “Do I even need to take this?” I didn’t know what else to do because, my psychiatrist, I don’t think she was pushing it on me by any means. She was supportive. I was looking for a quick fix because I was in this panicked mode of suffering.

I distinctly remember making the switch from Wellbutrin to St. John’s Wort, which was the only thing that I knew of at that time. It was trendy. I remember my dad was experimenting with it too, and it was like, “I need to try something else because I don’t want to be on this medication.” I don’t remember if I was experiencing any symptoms of Wellbutrin. I think it was this like inner knowing that I didn’t want to be on a medication. I wanted to find a natural path. I’m grateful that you’re sharing this story because even knowing that someone else is on Wellbutrin, knows what that experience was like, that you develop this product out of that experience, and the desire to help people in a more holistic way is wonderful. I wish that I had known that there were more options out there when I was taking it.

Thank you. That’s the goal here for me. We have a lot of customers that are choosing to try our supplements first. It’s very different. Depression and anxiety, there are varying levels of it. Of course, I would recommend everybody if they’re, to a point, need help. They’re suicidal, they have suicidal ideation, or they’ve been down in the dumps for ages, seek help and guidance. As a society, we’re over-medicated and we’re under-informed.

The psychiatrists and the doctors are well-meaning, but they don’t even understand that you might have had low vitamin D at the same time. You might have needed St. John’s Wort and some other things. You might’ve needed some little tweaks in what you were eating. There needs to be a way that we’re educating the educator or the medical profession at some point too like, “There are all these other things that can cause depression. You don’t need to throw someone on an antidepressant until you explore all those other options.”

We do have a lot of people with their doctors and their permission, they’re are coming off medication and they’re choosing to use VRY products to come off the medication and then maintain it so that they don’t crash. I’ve done that. I have a handful of naturopathic doctors that are now using the products so that people want to use them instead of medication. I have people that have come to me and said, “My doctor wants to put me on Prozac, but I don’t want to go on Prozac. What do you have?” That’s how PINK CLOUD came about. I worked with someone that was having that exact experience. I developed PINK CLOUD for him. He’s still on it and it’s maintained him. He doesn’t have to go on SSRIs. I’m not anti-medication. If you need medication, take it. It can be life-saving but again, we’re over-medicated and under-informed about the risks.

I want to leave the readers with some takeaways around nutrition, Rynda. You mentioned gut health. In addition to whatever a person’s particular protocol is, besides pharmaceuticals or the holistic supplements that you have with your company, what are some foods or adjustments that people could add into or eat more of from a food or nutrition perspective? Aside from supplements and pharmaceuticals that you have seen beneficial for your clients and yourself, what are some things that people could eat? Also, talk a little bit about the connection between gut health and brain health.

A large percentage of your serotonin is created in your gut. If your gut isn’t healthy, you have an issue there. You can also have gut permeability. I don’t like to say leaky gut, but that’s what they call it. If that’s the case, your body isn’t absorbing all the nutrients so you have to take a look at that. Food is tricky, Jason, because sometimes what you think is super healthy for one person is not healthy for another. In general, I would say, lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. I do a lot of olive oil. Of course, avoid processed sugars including processed white flour, glutens, and those types of things.

If you are gluten intolerant, some people are and some people aren’t, you can do food sensitivity tests if you have the money. Those are really expensive. If you’re not in that position, eat a bunch of gluten for three days and then don’t and see how it feels like. For example, if I binge on sugar for 3 or 4 days, I start feeling really bad. I would say the best thing to do there is to start creating a mood food journal. That’s the least expensive way so that you’re not spending a good zillion dollars on food testing.

Create a mood food journal and take notes that if you eat certain things and you start feeling bad, what happens? I do a lot of olive oil. I found out I was allergic or had food sensitivities to a few things, food mood journal is important. You can think something is helpful for you like I’m not supposed to eat almonds right now and those are super healthy for you, but they were causing issues.

You have to be mindful of food. I prefer a vegan lifestyle. I like cheese every once in a while, but any extreme diet, watch out for that. Keto versus this versus that. I’m a proponent for a balanced diet and basically eat a rainbow every day because I figure if you eat all the colors in the rainbow every day, you’re going to get better off getting more nutrients that you need. That’s my big food speech. Organic when you can, of course.

I love that Rynda. When you were saying about the rainbow, I thought you were going to say that if you eat all the colors of the rainbow, you’ll feel more happiness like the rainbow represents, which I think could also be true.

That is true.

I’m sensitive to almonds too and the way that I found that out was through a little bit of food journaling. I did an elimination diet and I was so surprised when I realized how almonds were having an effect on me. I found the same thing out through gluten and soy, and it was the process of removing the food and then seeing if I felt better. There were so many surprises for me because I had taken a test years ago that claimed I wasn’t allergic to anything and I don’t think I am allergic. I think I’m sensitive and it was that process of experimenting.

I’m also glad that you brought that up because one thing I’m working on more, is making health and wellbeing more accessible because so much of it is high priced. That’s been a big theme of this episode and I want to emphasize that a bit more including options for people that don’t have the money or don’t want to spend the money on some of these things either yet or ever is so important because we don’t want to leave anyone out.

In fact, I saw an enlightening video on this on TikTok specifically addressing the environmental movement and how a lot of the “quick fixes” out there are related to these high-priced products. Like, “Instead of using regular toothpaste in a plastic tub, you should use these tablets that you can chew on.” It sounds like a great idea but some of those products are really high priced. We can’t judge somebody for using a less eco-friendly product if we don’t know the full reason that they’re using it. It could be a knowledge issue because not everybody has access to the resources to learn or not everybody feels comfortable learning because their history didn’t support them in getting an education.

Also, not everybody wants to go out and spend the money or is ready to make that big transition. It’s an incredibly important thing to remember for all of us when we’re approaching somebody with a suggestion to change. How can we make it easy for them and how can we make it accessible for them so that they’re able to do it in a way that compliments the resources that they have at the time?

I’ve had people say, “Just go get acupuncture.” I’m like, “That’s fine.” Especially all my fancy musician friends that have a lot of money. I’m like, “That’s nice. Are you going to pay for that?”

It’s funny you say that because as part of my food journey, I had severe health challenges that no doctor could help me pinpoint. I spent years going to doctors and taking tests and trying a different medication. One of the things I tried was acupuncture. I will say I found a way to do it low cost. I went to an acupuncture clinic and it was really affordable. I got very good at finding inexpensive ways to figure these things out too.

If you’re willing to go check things out and find low-cost options, you can stumble across products like your own, Rynda, that offer either things for free because of your financial situation or at a lower cost that is more accessible. I’m so grateful that people like you offer that. Thank you so much for coming on the show to talk about it because Jason introduced me to your products and I’ve always got such a great feeling about them. Now that I’ve gotten to know you, your story, and what you’re offering, I feel incredibly happy that you and your products exist.

Thank you. I’m inspired to keep going every day because somebody sends me a message or posts on social media. The good parts of those social media posts where they thank me for the products. I had a mom that messaged me privately that was like, “I wanted you to know that my daughter takes your SERENITY product and now she doesn’t get anxiety before cheer practice.” I’m like, “That’s life-changing.” I’m honored that it’s helping people in a way that is meaningful. By the way, I did also go to the acupuncture school for less expensive. You can find stuff out there that’s inexpensive.

There is one thing that I want to bring up at the tail end of this episode, Rynda, and Whitney, this is for you too. We mentioned South by Southwest, which I had the great pleasure of being invited by you render to speak on a panel about holistic mental health solutions for touring musicians. One of the highlights of my career. When we were there, you showed me a video and you told me about this incredible event that you had orchestrated. A live mashup concert with The Afghan Whigs and Usher. I don’t know if I told you about this but we have an inside joke about how Usher is our spirit animal with our business. There’s more to tell with that, but the fact that you had this experience of mashing up one of the greatest indie bands and one of the greatest R&B singers together. It was one of the dopiest, most amazing mashups I’ve ever seen. Kudos to that Rynda and your brilliance, because it was so incredible.

I cannot take credit for that. I was absolutely there and I will share my experience with you. Andy Cohn was the head of the magazine called FADER and Andy is a huge Afghan Whigs fan. FADER FORT every year had FADER FORT Converse. That was Andy’s idea. It was so incredible to be a part of though. I’ve worked with the Afghan Whigs for years along with a ton of other artists but that was an incredible experience. I will share with you since you’re such great Usher fans. I was one of the few people that were lucky enough to go to the rehearsal for that. It’s me, some stagehands, roadies, and Afghan Whigs on the stage, Usher walks on stage, and he’s got no audience except for me.

He literally sang the entire song straight to me, like dancing and eyeballing me the whole time, because I was the only girl in the audience. It was incredible. He’s amazing. A couple of months later, he appeared at one of the Afghan Whigs show in New York. I ended up making sure he got to his seat and everything like that. He’s a kind person. He influenced the Afghan Whigs. They had got back together as a mini-reunion tour but once they did that mashup, they may made a choice to make a new record and they’re now on their third new record. That’s the story. I have other ideas that were all mine, that I’ll own, but that one, I won’t.

I feel like we could do a sub episode. I’ve been the recipient of so many of your mind-blowing stories over the years that we could fill a three-hour episode easily aside from that. We are at the conclusion of this one Rynda, and I am so grateful for your knowledge, your heart, your wisdom, your contribution to helping people feel better every day. You’re an absolute blessing. It’s been a pleasure to reconnect and having you on the show. Thanks for being here with us.

Thank you so much for having me. It was my pleasure!


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About Rynda Laurel

MGU 207 | Mental HealingRynda Laurel has an extensive background in the entertainment, brand, and online space. She has helped expand and monetize numerous careers, companies and ventures by focusing on the core strengths of a project then generating new opportunities for discovery and growth. Her network is vast and she has a knack for combining creative concepts with the right partners to get executable results. Rynda is a sought-after speaker, moderator, and mentor.

In 2018, Rynda launched VRY everyday, a wellness brand supporting mental health and well-being. She has been an outspoken holistic mental health and recovery advocate and appears as a speaker, teacher and moderator in the world of Mental Health Nutrition.

Rynda continues to expand VRYeveryday and works with a select number of clients.


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