From Loss to Triumph

This episode teaches us how to find the light & lesson behind everything we experience & reminds us that we all have the power to rise from Loss to Triumph through the power of kindness. We also talk about: 

  • How (and why) making time to be kind while experiencing loss is so important
  • How forgiveness & kindness are intertwined 
  • How to free yourself from the prison of your mind and find the gift and lesson in loss 
  • How to (really) be productive with your time right now


Visit www.SheenaEizmendiz.com

Follow on Instagram @sheena.eizmendiz

Buy Sheena’s Book on Amazon

Path of Emergence: From Loss to Triumph

Click here to join my Kind Qrew for your chance to WIN a FREE SIGNED COPY!

Episode PARKner : Chris Colina Realtor

Interested in sponsoring Time to be Kind with Marly Q.? Click here for PARKnership Opportunities


Hi, I’m Marly Q, and you’re listening to Episode #9 with Sheena Eizmendiz.

Before we introduce our guest, I’m so excited to spotlight this Episode’s PARKner who immediately offered to sponsor our podcast after listening to My Abuela in Miami’s bonus episode #8.

You may or may not know this, but a lot of real estate agents out there work on the “Always Be Closing” method of business. But our PARKner, Chris Colina, redefined the ABC model to mean, “Always Be Caring”. As a veteran, dedicated husband and father of two, Chris understands that buying and selling a home are huge life decisions that you shouldn’t have to make alone. Chris is a service driven PARKner who gives clear guidance, trustworthy information, personal communication and most of all KINDNESS to help you sell or find your next home. To learn more and connect with Chris, visit www.chriscolinarealtor.com or follow him on Instagram @chriscolinarealtor.

We’re so grateful to have people, companies and organizations joining our Kind Qrew and supporting our mission to inspire and ignite kindness worldwide. If you’re interested in exploring PARKnership opportunities, visit www.marlyq.com/sponsor

Today’s guest is definitely someone who Performs Acts of Random Kindness (PARK), and she’s an expert in shifting mindsets. I’m talking about Sheena Eizmendiz, she’s a high-performance leader, corporate trainer and keynote speaker on the topics of emotional intelligence, stress, leadership and positive psychology. As the best-selling author of her own memoir titled Path of Emergence: From Loss to Triumph, Sheena uses her experience of being sentenced to 21 months in a federal prison, for a crime she never committed, as a tool that can help people experiencing times of fear, uncertainty and loss, which so many of us are experiencing today.

In this interview, Sheena not only gives us insight into her powerful story, she teaches us how to find the light and lesson behind everything that we experience. And she reminds us that we all have the power to rise from loss to triumph through the power of kindness. Let’s listen.

Sheena, welcome to the show. Thank you so much for making the time to be kind today.

[02:28] Sheena: Marly, thank you. I’m honored.

[02:30] Marly Q: I feel like you’re such a great example of practicing self-love and kindness and kindness towards others and kindness towards the world. So, you’re like a perfect guest to have on the show.

[02:41] Sheena: Aw, thank you.

[02:42] Marly Q: Just kick us off with your story. I know you wrote your book Path of Emergence: From Loss to Triumph, and in this podcast we really like to highlight superheroes, and I totally see you as a superhero who has been able to create your own path from loss and betrayal almost to finding triumph and success again. And I think you did a lot of that through kindness. So, please share your story with us.

[03:11] Sheena: Thank you. So, back in 2012, I was given, I say now, it was an amazing opportunity, you know, I always believe that challenges are gifts and it’s an opportunity for us to take a really hard and deep look at ourselves and being in a situation where I was pretty much stripped from everything as I knew it, and what I mean by that is, at the time, I had already been in business for 14 years. I was in a very stable and very successful place in my career that I had built all on my own, it really took some time and a lot of obviously, like anything else, you know, trials and errors to get there. I experienced a situation where everything shifted, everything was sort of flipped upside down. I was charged with a federal crime that I had not committed; it was a money crime. It gave me an opportunity because everything as I knew it had changed at the moment to, you know, to really go within myself and question a lot of things. I questioned things outside of me, I questioned things about me, about choices I had made in terms of my personal life, being a single mom pretty much my entire life with two young girls at the time, and, you know, questioned the way that I was showing up in the world, and specifically in my business, I think more than anything in my business.

I definitely was not practicing a lot of kindness towards myself at the time, I was working about 10-12 hour days a day, you know, running a practice with multiple employees, a lot of things going on at the time, a lot of community activities, which I absolutely loved and enjoyed, but I was really at a level of exhaustion and depletion that was just, you know, to the outside world, you couldn’t see it. but internally, I was feeling it. I was definitely feeling it. I was 35. At the time, if I– if my clock is correct, it’s been a few years now, and you know, and I was really pretty much removed from everything. I went to prison, I was sentenced to 21 months, and during my time there, I had an opportunity to show up differently and just practice, I think kindness is such an important and valuable thing, and I had to learn that and kind of rewire myself in learning how to be kind to myself, because I felt that I had been practicing kindness to others, but not so much to myself. So, I was able to do a lot of things that I didn’t have time to do, or, I’ll rephrase that, things that I didn’t look for the time to do them such as, you know, I took yoga, I took an art class, something that I had never done before, you know, I used to run seven miles every day in– we had a track and so, I did a lot of little things that added up, and it really gave myself an opportunity to make different decisions when I was, you know, when I had the opportunity to leave that place, and show up differently, more than anything.

[06:25] Marly Q: And did you see, I mean, I think that that’s, wow, first, that’s not a fly past that incredible story, I think that it’s so relevant right now, so many people may feel that their whole world has crumbled, that they’ve lost so much, so many people right now, with the current health crisis and the pandemic feel an immense sense of loss, loss of certainty, loss of financial stability, loss of a job, loss of relationships or human touch. I mean, I think a lot of people may even feel like they are in jail in their home while they’re being quarantined. You know, not to make a direct comparison but I think that a lot of people can relate to your story and finding or, making the time, like you said, making the time to, “How can I incorporate some more self-love and kindness to get me through this, to get me through a dark time to get me through loss?”.

[07:26] Sheena: Yeah, no doubt. You know, I think that every situation is different and it’s not so much as the situations that we go through, it’s more the way that we digest the situation, the way that we process, right? A circumstance. And loss is loss, you know? There’s no such thing, we can never compare and say, “Well, you know, this is a worse loss than this”, I think loss is loss and it weighs and it brings upon a lot of pain, it, you know, it brings a lot of fear. And so, yes, I think this is a time where, I think as a community and as a– just globally, everyone is experiencing in some way or another, and it’s kind of like you said, whether the loss is through their health, or even loved ones who unfortunately are passing because of this virus, you know, financial loss, job loss, career loss, and then for me, I think the biggest loss of all, is the loss of the self. You know, and I mean that in terms of still being alive, and yet losing yourself, where you lose touch with who you are, touch with reality, and kind of hitting that rock bottom.

[08:35] Marly Q: And I know you help individuals and you help corporations and teams with some of this, right? I mean, it can translate into giving, you know, our listeners and our PARKers who are making the time to be kind right now by listening to this podcast, some tips on how to make time to be kind to themselves, how to stay free of the distractions and the noise that’s going on and then the fear that’s being promoted almost, how to remain calm and focused on themselves and their goals, their family or their business. Do you happen to have any tips to share?

[09:08] Sheena: Yeah, certainly, and I agree with you, fear is viral, right? It’s infectious. So, it’s something that spreads and right now, it’s really easy because I think a lot of us are so, whether we’re glued because of our work or profession, or simply because, you know, it’s sort of a means to connect, we’re all socially in all these platforms, a lot of times a lot of the information that’s out there is very scary, right? It’s very fear inducing. And so, what– some of the things that I can probably offer in terms of some tips would be, you know, we have to begin with ourselves. I think that all kindness begins with us, and a way of not just distracting yourself from it, but of also being, coming from a place of productivity, being really productive with our time right now. It’s about turning inward more than anything else.

A lot of evaluation of who we are, you know, that self-evaluation, that assessment, not coming from a place of judgment or critique, because then you’re not being kind, it’s really more about coming to terms where we are, you know, what are the things that we can look at that all of this situation has brought that is challenging, but yet at the same time can propel us in a direction of growth, and so much positivity. You know, I– a lot of the things that I encounter when I’m reading a lot of these articles or just kind of looking at people’s social media platforms is a lot of negativity, when in fact, I think there definitely is some negative, you know, components to this, such as the health, the, you know, the economic crisis, loss of life, but there’s also a lot of really positive things that come from this. I think if we look for the positive, I always say, you look for the light, you’re going to find it, no matter how dark a room may look, you know? No matter how dark your situation may look.

[11:01] Marly Q: And if you don’t find it, you can always be that spark of light for yourself.

[11:05] Sheena: Yeah, absolutely, yeah. So, it’s starting with ourselves more than anything, taking a good hard look at us and seeing, “How can I show up differently?”, you know, “What can I do today?”, because you can’t change overnight. So, it’s a process, you know, and making real commitments and being very loyal to those commitments and committed to making it part of your reality.

[11:28] Marly Q: I think that right now, you know, for some people, they may be struggling with not feeling productive, right? I know, this is something that for me personally, has it been a big challenge. I sent an email today to my Kind Qrew about this specifically, just being real and grateful and honest, you know, weeks in quarantine, with a 21-month old toddler and trying to figure out how to co-parent and tag team with my husband so that we both try and get some work done and be productive while I’m 21 weeks pregnant, while I’m trying to come to terms with the loss of my business. I mean, as an event producer, my entire business was gone in the span of a week, for the whole year, and really allowing myself to not distract myself from that or just focus on what am I going to do and buy into or allow myself to jump on the train of fear, right? Just so easy to do, and I’m not going to lie to you, I did have a little bit of an emotional breakdown when all of my clients cancelled within a week, like, what am I going to do? I’m pregnant, and I have a baby and what, you know, I definitely had that moment.

And this is where I think the self-love and kindness came in, allowing myself to feel that, not making it wrong, not beating myself up for having that “emotional breakdown”, giving myself the space to feel that fear, and that uncertainty and that sense of loss, and then be in a place where I can ask myself, “Now what? How is this serving me? How can this serve me? How can I find a light in this darkness right now?”, right? And making the time to actually ask those questions and self-reflect, which is what you were sharing, right? Is just, making this time to go inward and see where is the light in this opportunity?

And for me, it’s resulted in a great big light, and while it’s a real challenge and difficult and I can acknowledge that it is, I can also choose to focus my energy on what can I control? What can I create now? How is this loss shifting me into a possible triumph, even if I can’t see it yet? Right? I’m now, for the first time ever offering virtual yoga classes, I just finished teaching one right now before jumping on this interview. I started my podcast which has been on a shelf for three plus years. I’m like, “Now’s the time to get it done.”, and feeling you know, uncomfortable and scared all along the way, but allowing myself, the kindness to feel that and move forward at the same time. And that’s how I interpret your tip and what you just shared, and how you created your own path from loss to triumph, right? Is through allowing yourself to sit in that darkness and sit in that cell, literally, in your cell and say, “What can I do for myself to refine myself?”, you take up yoga, you take up reading, you take up, you know other things that are positive and productive to move you forward.

[14:30] Sheena: Absolutely Marly. And, you know, and I think when we speak even of productivity, because a lot of times I know that can bring upon a lot of pressure, especially in times like these where, you know, we’re so emotional and then some days we wake up and we want to conquer the world, right? We have like this to-do list and all these goals and we want to tackle all of them, and we have all this energy and then there’s other days where it’s totally the contrary. We are feeling maybe bummed out, we’re feeling tired, we’re feeling like we have no energy, we’re kind of low in– our moods are low or, you know, all these different things are happening. I think that productivity is very relative, and even, I think everything adds up at the end of the day. So, even if the steps towards being productive are small, or if we pause, and like you said, just pausing is so important. You know, there’s that moment where in order for you to move forward, maybe later on tomorrow, it means you need to just sit and maybe watch TV or do nothing, then by all means, you need to honor that, we all need to honor that. It doesn’t mean that because you did that you have set yourself back, or you’re not being productive, that is a way of you being productive; you’re producing. What is productivity at the end of the day? It’s producing, so you’re producing a state of mind that will ultimately give you a better result. And perhaps the next day when you wake up, you’re going to feel a lot better and now you can tackle other things from a different space and a different energy.

[16:00] Marly Q: Absolutely, 100%. That was the essence of what I was trying to share, you did it so much more succinctly than I did. Thank you, Sheena. Just reminding ourselves we’re doing the best we can, right? And if we start with that acknowledgement, then we stop being so hard on ourselves, we can show ourselves some more compassion, and humility, right? That we don’t have control over many things happening right now. But what we do have control over is how we are showing up for ourselves and for the people we interact with and for the world, and we can always make time to be kind, which is the whole essence of this podcast and what we’re talking about. Now, I think that’s what your book teaches, your book teaches that you don’t really control anything, right?

[16:46] Sheena: We don’t control anything. We think we do. We’d love to control and listen, this is coming from someone who, you know if I give get to–

[16:54] Marly Q: Who loves to control.

[16:56] Sheena: I love to control. My family will, you know, tell you, they will attest to that, they will say that I am a control freak. But in actuality, I know that it’s really just part of the illusion and my ego, trying to control situations, you know, trying to be in the driver’s seat all the time, leading, because I’m such a believer, you know, in leading that I try to control more than I can handle. But, you know, in reality, I know that we don’t control anything and that the more we try to control, the less out of control we actually become.

[17:30] Marly Q: Yes, absolutely. Would you mind, I know you wouldn’t want to give, you know, the book away. I know it’s a memoir, and it’s, you know, your story. But would you like to share any little part of your path of emergence with us?

[17:44] Sheena: Sure. So, I think that as a whole, the intention of writing the book, and I did write the book while I was going through the journey, through the process, meaning, you know, while I was incarcerated, I wrote the core of the book and then, you know, once I was released, I worked on the editing and whatnot, and I will tell you, it was a love and hate relationship, that is the best way to describe it. There was sort of this bitter sweetness to the book, even to the point where I published it and I made bestseller list, I still was kind of struggling with that dynamic and relationship with the book because I do believe we have relationships with everything and anything in life. And so, there was this really profound relationship with the book, the book was really intended, at the time that I was writing it, it was really more documenting a lot of the things that I was seeing within the justice system, a lot of things that I felt were necessary for my readers, my audience to become aware of and sort of awakened, right? Because I think we have all of these sorts of misconceptions about people who go to prison or people who are charged with crimes. And so, I kind of wrote the book at the beginning with that intention, and then found myself in the writing of the book, that it was so much more than my story or even the collection of stories of the people whom I did interview while I was there, because I was trying to collect their stories and, you know what brought them there, what their lives, you know, we’re like, and so forth. It really became more about a tool or sort of a set of tools to not only help, you know, identify how we’re co-creators of everything that happens to us, right? Nothing happens by coincidence, there’s so much purpose, even if at the moment we don’t see it, but also in the power of forgiveness.

You know, and I think forgiveness and kindness is sort of intertwined because you can’t truly be kind if you don’t forgive and I think all forgiveness really begins with ourselves. So, my book really was, if I could kind of just pinpoint more than anything, it really was more about forgiveness, because I did spend my time there with the main person involved in my case, so in sharing time with her, because I had worked prior to actually self-surrendering, which is basically just, you know, turning myself in, and I had to plead guilty because I had no choice, to either plead guilty and serve 21 months, or I was facing 30 years in prison. So, being able to share that space with her, that time, really gave me an incredible, profound, I think, more like realization or almost like an epiphany in how powerful forgiveness is because I had completely forgiven her for kind of what led us to be there in the first place. And I think that, you know, in completing the book, that really was my message, it was about, you know, we– prison isn’t a place that we go to, it’s really a place that we live in, primarily inside our own heads. So, it’s not really a place you go to, it’s a state of mind more than anything.

[21:00] Marly Q: Right. That’s how we started the conversation, right? I feel like so many people might, you know, relate even if they’ve never stepped foot into an actual jail cell, you’re living in a cell and in a prison of your own mind many times and you’re not even aware of it.

[21:15] Sheena: Yeah, that’s really the strongest and most difficult confinement that we can live in. And then really, I wrote the book to help people, you know, it ended up being this sort of an idea that I just unfolded into, you know, this book, “Maybe, I don’t know, even if it just helps one person, it can help someone you know, look at their lives, look at whatever situation they’re going through, this situation for that matter, and even assessing whatever they want to label as a loss, and looking deeper.”, you know, and really coming from a place of forgiveness and acceptance and looking at the purpose. You know, I think even for you, as you just shared earlier, what incredible opportunity, right? That you’ve had that because a good part of your business completely, let’s just say for the sake of it, collapsed on you, right? At the beginning of this pandemic, you had all these maybe cancellations, all these things that happened, gave you an opportunity to now be able to put out, you know, this amazing podcast, and probably attend to other things, even in your own personal life and enjoy your pregnancy even more than when we’re just tied to the hamster wheel and, you know, going from project to project and client to client and goal to goal.

[22:27] Marly Q: Yeah, thank you so much for saying that and bringing that up, because it was not an automatic thing. I had to intentionally go there, it is a practice, right? It’s a practice. So, people think because I, you know, I preach the power of kindness that I just, you know, wake up, you know, with this superpower. No, I exercise it, we get stronger the more we practice it, and the one person that we need to practice it the most with is ourselves, from that place, we have the power to be the spark of kindness for our immediate family, for our– the people that we work with, the people that we interact with on a daily basis, the stranger on the street, and the world, the planet and animals, it’s–everybody benefits if we turn that inward, and you’re just such a such a shining example of that. I really respect and admire you a lot before I even knew–

[23:26] Sheena: Thank you my friend. The feeling is mutual.

[23:30] Marly Q: And it was before I even knew like, the depth of your story and before you came out with your book, I already had that opinion and after, you know, your book, and that vulnerability, and just that courage, it’s just on a whole other level. So, I really wanted to bring you on to the show. I appreciate you offering and always making yourself available to make the time for, not just me, but for others. I’m going to include the link to your website, I know that you coach people and you give out tips, you know, for people to get through these stressful times. Is there anything else that you’d like to share with our PARKers listening on how to connect with you or or how to, you know, how to get some of the Sheena love?

[24:10] Sheena: Definitely appreciate you sharing the website. I’m constantly trying to develop things where people can download, there’s a lot of free audios that they can download, there’s several for stress right now, fear, self-esteem, it’s on my website.

[24:28] Marly Q: www.sheenaeizmendiz.com, and I know it’s a beautifully complicated name so, I will spell that for people.

[24:36] Sheena: You got it, you got it. You know, there’s just a couple of things there that they can definitely, I think if anything just to offer support during these times, also my Instagram. I love coming up with just different challenges, different things, whether it’s a 21-day journaling challenge or gratitude challenge, things that, just try to offer support, I think more than anything and encouragement and help people get through these times because I completely understand where everyone is at because we’re all going through it together. There’s no such thing as, you know, me, myself and I, this is a “we” thing.

[25:11] Marly Q: It is such a “we” thing. Yes.

[25:14] Sheena: It is, which makes it great. I think that’s one of the things that we can check off and say, you know, what’s a really positive thing about this, is that we’ve become we and we’re no longer me. I think that in itself is just so incredible.

[25:26] Marly Q: Absolutely. You know, I’m all about the we, #wePARK folks, #wePARK. It is all about the we, I truly believe it is the only way we’re going to change the world is by coming together and as a collective, being more kind to ourselves, each other and this world. And yes, the current times that we’re living in can be fearful and uncertain and filled with loss and there’s also a lot of hope in what we’re experiencing if you look for it. And your book is just a shining example of that, we will definitely include links for people to check it out and purchase it on Amazon, Path to Emergence: From Lost to Triumph, and I’ll include your website and your Instagram as well for people to connect and just receive some of your wisdom and your kindness because you’ve got a whole lot of it, my friend. Thank you for taking the time to be kind.

[26:19] Sheena: Thank you. My pleasure.

[26:21] Outro:

I hope you enjoyed today’s episode and found it as enlightening as I did. Sheena was so kind and generous to give us a signed copy of her book to give away to one of you listening, and believe me, you want to read this book!

To be eligible to WIN this FREE BOOK Giveaway, just follow these three simple steps.

  1. Make sure you’ve joined my Kind Qrew
  2. Leave a kind review on iTunes
  3. Take a screenshot & share it on Instagram tagging me @MarlyQ


Celebrating PARKnerships

Inspired by our mission to ignite kindness worldwide, The Cuban Laverne & Chur-Lee, who make up the hilarious sketch comedy duo “My Abuela in Miami”, offered to become our first official PARKner! ⁣


⁣What’s a PARKner, you ask? Great Question!

Listen to this BONUS EPISODE to find out and get ready to enrich your day with inspiration, laughter & joy for celebrating life – even in the midst of loss.


Episode PARKner & Featured Guest:

My Abuela in Miami

Visit MyAbuelainMiami.com to sign up to their email list for a FREE GIFT and check out My Abuela’s 12 Days of Christmas & other hilarious videos

Interested in sponsoring Time to be Kind with Marly Q.? Click here for PARKnership Opportunities


Hola. I’m Marly Q and welcome to Episode #8. I’m so excited to share this bonus episode today because we’re celebrating our podcast’s one month-versary, can you believe it?

I’ve got a big announcement and not one but two very special guests to help us celebrate today. Joining us is the Cuban “Laverne and Chur-Lee”, the hilarious grandmother granddaughter duo who star in a sketch comedy series called My Abuela in Miami.

I should clarify, she’s not really my biological grandma, but she’s become my abuela and hopefully yours too by the end of the episode. She’s actually my best friend’s grandma who after listening to our show was inspired to reach out to me and offered to sponsor our podcast. That’s our big announcement my friends. Just one month into our journey together we have our very first podcast PARKner!

And what’s a PARKner? Great question!

Way more than a sponsorship of dollars, we’re looking to create lasting PARKnerships with people, companies and organizations who give the currency of kindness. Our PARKners, not only generously contribute monetary resources to support our podcast, they also live our mission to inspire and ignite kindness worldwide.

Which is why today I’m so excited to make time to be kind with My Abuela in Miami to celebrate our first podcast PARKnership and invite you to consider becoming a podcast PARKner too. If you’re interested, just visit marlyQ.com/parknerships and connect with me because I’d love to explore PARKnership opportunities with you too!

So, without any further ado, allow me to introduce our two special guests today. My Abuela in Miami stars, Louise Alvarez, she was born in Havana, Cuba and fled to New York when she was only 16 years old. She married her love and had three children before moving to Miami with her growing family, which now includes grandchildren and great grandkids too.

Monique Alvarez is the “Chur-Lee” to her grandma’s “Laverne”. She’s a classically trained actress, writer and filmmaker from New York who grew up on cortaditos and pan Cubano in Hialeah Florida, in the heart of Miami, where we both went to high school together and have been best friends since. I hope you’re ready to laugh, be inspired, and let My Abuela in Miami enrich your day with the currency of kindness. Let’s listen.

[02:32] Marly Q: So, just thank you so much for making the time to be kind today and just sharing some kindness and positive energy with me and our PARKers listening today. I’m just so happy to have you both on the line because I think you have such a beautiful story to share and I just kind of want to jump right into it. Who are Laverne and Chur-Lee? And how did My Abuela in Miami come to be?

[02:59] Monique: Well, first we want to say thank you for having us here because your ongoing spreading of kindness, you know, has always come from such a genuine place, and building relationships with our community, with our family with friends and so, that’s kind of very similar to what the inspiration was that started my and my grandma’s shenanigans of being Laverne and Chur-Lee. We just kind of wanted to celebrate joy and celebrate that it’s never too late to go have fun. We wanted to celebrate our community, you know, my grandma came from Cuba, and long story short, landed in New York City, and then became a resident of Hialeah for 45 years where my dad and his brothers were raised, and Hialeah, Florida is where me and my siblings were raised. And so, it’s a place that is, it’s such a part of our life story. You know, when it all started Marly?

[03:58] Marly Q: What was that? That’s what I want to get start with, what was that spark of inspiration that started these shenanigans?

[04:03] Monique: Well, it was my beautiful grandpa Charles Alvarez, grandma’s late husband, who passed December 2015. And I– you know, he lived such an amazing, amazing, great, long life, what a joyful life he lived and is in our hearts present every day. But I remember that when I went back to Miami, you know, when it happened, when grandpa passed, and I stayed with grandma, and that was our first Christmas together, starting our new journey really. And I remember sitting in grandma’s room and I slept over her house, and we sat there on the twin beds and grandma was next to me on her bed and I was sitting on the bed where grand pop used to sleep, and we looked at each other, and we said, “What now Laverne?”, and she goes, “I don’t know Chur-Lee.”, and we said we should go put some rollers in her hair and go have some scotch and ginger ale in the living room and watch some Laverne and Chur-Lee.

[05:10] Louise: Oh, my goodness, yes, you cannot put it any better.

[05:17] Marly Q: Oh, my goodness. Well, you started off by saying how, you know, the whole purpose of My Abuela in Miami series was to celebrate life and spread joy, and what a beautiful acknowledgment of that. And in that moment when there’s sadness and there’s grief, to be able to share that moment and that spark of just, joy and celebrating life, I am so inspired by that.

[05:40] Monique: So true, huh Grandma?

[05:42] Louise: Yes, that’s right. And Monique, this one inspired me because she’s such a great granddaughter, and this, doing what we did, it was some of fun, and at the same time, that was something that she wanted to do.

[06:02] Monique: And you know when it happened organically Marly, like it’s exactly what– it’s exactly what the three of– we’re saying the same thing but what you said about, you know, in a moment of grief is when we can find great joy, and we held on to each other, huh grandma? We said, we’re going to get through this together, and it gave us a reason to keep– because grand pop always liked celebrating life, you know, if there’s a problem, turn the music on and dance and deal with it, but dance, and we just, it was her– can I say the beginning of a new chapter in your life? Huh, Grandma?

[06:38] Louise: Yes. I will say yes, especially at my age.

[06:43] Marly Q: Well, I think what you just mentioned right now, Louise, you know, especially at your age, I think that many people that are listening, and that can relate with family members, whether it be their mom or their grandma, sometimes when they reach a certain age, they start to think you know, that they’re too old to start something new, maybe when there is death and passing they think that you know, “Am I ever going to find joy and happiness again? And you know, do I deserve to have this new chapter in my life?”, and that is super inspiring to me and it’s I’m not about your age, right?

[07:17] Louise: Yes, that’s right. I forgot about my age because of something that I was doing with my granddaughter that I love very much, and that was fun, and we accomplished everything we wanted to do. And I never thought that I can do it at my age, but I really enjoy it, and Monique was because of all that.

[07:37] Marly Q: If you don’t mind sharing, what is your age? Is that okay, if I ask directly?

[07:42] Louise: Well, I tell you, please, just between you and I–

[07:49] Monique: No Grandma, this is going on the air.

[07:52] Louise: Oh, this is going on the– Oh, my God, can I lie? Listen, I’m 91 years old.

[08:03] Marly Q: No, I don’t believe it.

[08:07] Louise: I don’t believe it myself and I’m very– if I can feel like I feel at this age, I think I can be 100 but don’t tell anybody please. Too late.

[08:26] Marly Q: I’m sorry I put you on the spot. But honestly, the reason what I did is because I feel that it is so awesome and inspiring. Sometimes, not everybody has a you know, the blessing and the privilege that Monique does to have a grandmother at your age that is such a positive role model at your age. Sometimes when we think of old people or our senior citizens, we think of you know, “Oh, the little old lady that’s, you know, like, in her house not doing anything.”

[08:55] Louise: No, no, no, no little old lady here.

[08:56] Marly Q: Exactly, and that’s why wanted to share it because it’s so important to have a positive role model and when I think of you know, who I would like to be like when I hit 91 years old, it’s going to be you, it’s going to be you Louise.

[09:13] Louise: Well, I don’t feel my age, I still have all my mind and everything. I think I am blessed in having to, at my age, doing what I did with Monique, it’s incredible, and I enjoyed every minute let me tell you.

[09:31] Monique: What we did– we decided to put on, I mean to take it back for a moment you said like, what inspired the concept of grandma and I running around making sketch comedy videos and funny videos, and it was you know, grandpa passed and then a few years, we just wanted to celebrate the moment, celebrate life. So, her showbiz, her entertainer came out and I would just be there next to her with my camera, on my iPhone, recording a lot of these hilarious moments and the most mundane things that we’d be doing around Miami, I would end up capturing and it would be a lot of fun.

So, then November of 2019, we decided that we were going to make a series of sketch comedy videos to celebrate exactly what grandma is saying, right? That saying, being young is a state of heart, it’s a state of mind, she can speak better to that than I can. But that really was this joie de vivre, this seizing the moment was really what inspired us to like, go make these sketch comedy videos and just to have some fun and shoot some funny stuff guerilla-style.

[10:45] Louise: And I tell you, I have never had so much fun that I did those five days, that’s what I can tell you. I was myself in, just, changing clothes in a room and running and doing so much in the middle of the street, she and I, dressed up. Let me tell you, oh my god, I have never had so much fun in my own life.

[11:12] Monique: What was the schedule? Do you remember what the schedule was like Grandma? We would wake up, it was serious work, we would wake up at 6AM, get ready, Marly’s, little sister, Melanie Quincoces was our cinematographer.

[11:23] Louise: Oh my gosh, she was great, that girl.

[11:27] Monique: And we would wake up at 6AM and get there highly 8:00, we’d be shooting till 6:00, 7:00, changing locations from the arts district to Hollywood Boulevard, you know–

[11:39] Louise: Running all over the place.

[11:42] Monique: Running everywhere. We would– what was that– like, I remember grandma woke up like on the third of our six shooting days, and she says, “I think I broke my toe but no matter, that’s okay. I can still walk, let’s keep having fun.”

[12:00] Louise: I have never had so much fun in my young age.

[12:05] Marly Q: I love that so much. How can people check out these videos and bring some spark of joy in their life today?

[12:13] Monique: Myabuelainmiami.com. And while she’s My Abuela, I will share my abuela with you, Louise Alvarez.

[12:22] Marly Q: Oh, I feel like she’s my abuela. She’s everybody’s abuela.

[12:27] Monique: Grandma, you know what was amazing? Marly, you know what we discovered along this journey? Because I just was like, “Grandma, you’re hilarious, you’re a comedian.”, and then she says, “Oh, well, you know, I used to act in New York, a bit.”, and then she revealed to me this in a sense, huh Grandma? This lifelong dream of being an entertainer.

[12:48] Louise: Yes, yes.

[12:50] Marly Q: So, were you inspired in a way because you know, your granddaughter, Monique is an actress and a producer, and story writer. So, how cool was it for you to have that experience all these years later, to have your granddaughter be the spark of you being able to kind of relive this dream that you had? How was that for you?

[13:11] Louise: Oh, incredible. First, I didn’t expect it, and you know, like everything came out, every day is very natural, we just went along, and the things that Monique did, and has helped me to do, that was incredible. I never thought I was going to stay in the middle of the street, stop the car and talk to Monique like, the people were looking at us, they were laughing, they were having fun. This was not work, this was fun from day one. So, I enjoyed every bit and Monique is the cause of all that because she was the one guiding us in like, I said, we were dancing in the middle of the street, on top of what was there, and the cars start honking because we were making noise and we start running.

[13:56] Monique: In Abuela’s 12 Days of Christmas starring Ryan Rodriguez, that made the cover of the Miami Herald, that was hilarious.

[14:04] Marly Q: That one, I truly enjoyed that video. I enjoyed that video greatly, being that I’m also Hialeah, and I know those streets, and Ryan Rodriguez is one of my very best friends as well. I truly enjoyed the 12 Days of Christmas, that was really fun. And now, you’re a star and you’re on my podcast, think kindness and positivity, and I’m so grateful. Is this your first zoom experience? Is this your first time being on a podcast interview?

[14:37] Louise: Oh, yes, yes. Well, I’ve been there but I was younger.

[14:41] Monique: She’s talking about the podcast now, Zoom.

[14:44] Marly Q: Yeah. So, right now, Louise, you are on a podcast which is going to be reaching an audience, potentially a worldwide audience, who will tune in and listen to this. In essence, it’s kind of like a radio station, if you will, but that you can listen to–

[14:59] Louise: Oh, I see. I understand what you’re saying. Yes, this is great.

[15:03] Marly Q: Yeah, so, you’re a guest on my podcast, and not only are you a guest on my podcast, you and Monique are my very first PARKners!

[15:15] Louise: Thank you so much to choose us to do that. I love it.

[15:23] Marly Q: Thank you for choosing me. And Monique, first, thank you, so much gratitude for you reaching out to me and supporting my podcast and supporting me and everything that I’ve done for all these years that we’ve known each other. I know that we are each other’s biggest fans and we support everything that we do. But this in particular, this podcast was a brand new and kind of scary venture for me. In essence, it was a calling that I decided to pursue, a dream, if you will, that I didn’t even know I had, is to start this podcast. So, when Monique reached out to me and offered to be our first sponsor for the podcast, it truly made me emotional and it brought me to tears and I’m not going to blame it on my pregnancy, it wasn’t hormone tears; it was true and genuine, just gratitude. So, I’m really thankful for your support and for you guys being this bonus episode where we get to share some fun and positivity with everybody listening.

[16:16] Louise: Well, thank you. Thank you so much. We are so happy that we can do that for you and for us because this moment too is incredible, and I have so much fun with Monique and I know that you’re very good friend of Monique. So, you know, whatever we can do.

[16:32] Monique: And, that’s exactly it. It’s– I remember when you first told me about wanting to do this podcast and it was something that would be a real adventure to take on, right? You get on that boat and you have your compass, but you’re not really sure what you’re going to find along the way, and then you go anyway. I just think that it’s amazing. Just the word kindness, right? And the mission of spreading kindness. What better way to communicate that than through people’s individual stories and how they’re doing that, how they are living the spreading of kindness through what they do and in different ways. I think when anyone just follows their calling, that is spreading love, anything that is coming from a place of love, gives love, you know. You be the light; you spark the light in others. To me, your podcast and the spreading of kindness is what I feel grandma does in these videos too. She’s sharing her love; it just brings joy to one’s heart and we could use a lot of that these days.

[17:30] Louise: You cannot put it any better way.

[17:33] Marly Q: In these times that we’re experiencing worldwide, this health crisis, this time of quarantine, so many of us, are quarantine maybe at home with our families, but some of us are quarantined alone, and I know that you’re quarantined alone, and I’d love to hear just your experience as to how you are keeping yourself positive during this time.

[17:55] Louise: Well, first of all, I hear from my kids every day, the three of them call me. And I got involved because of my sister, soap operas, and believe it or not, that all I’m doing, watching all day, and they and so nice. And so, that made me forget what’s going on because I’m happy, I’m usually happy anyway, but listen for my kids every day and watching these soap operas, I don’t need anything else.

[18:26] Marly Q: The month of May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and I’m just so grateful that we’re having this conversation right now because some people have a practice of keeping their mental health healthy, right? And I think you have, the reason that it sounds that it comes so naturally to you is because you have a practice of keeping your mental health healthy. And for those people listening who may not have an aware or a purposeful practice of keeping themselves mentally healthy, I think that what you shared is very important, is asking or making it known that you know what? Phone calls throughout the day from people that you love and care about you is really important to mental health, would you agree?

[19:07] Louise: Right. Yes. Oh, definitely. And watching something nice is nice too. I don’t want to listen to the news, I watch the soap opera, they’re very funny, they’re very nice. And like I said, I’m pretty positive, I have to be, and as long as I hear from my kids, I’m fine.

[19:24] Monique: And people could also watch you in some funny videos on My Abuela in Miami.

[19:30] Marly Q: Exactly. That’s exactly right, that’s why this is being offered as a bonus episode in my podcast so that while people are quarantined, while people are maybe consuming more negative news, and they should, here’s an opportunity to have a spark of kindness, to have a spark of positivity and to watch something that’s going to make you laugh, because laughing is healthy for you.

[19:53] Monique: And I love that people can take this and what I love about your podcast is that anyone can be the spark, people can take and they can be the spark that ignites joy and kindness in the hearts of someone they love just by maybe picking up the phone and saying, “Hey, how you doing? Let’s FaceTime, let’s WhatsApp, let’s make a home video, let’s use our iPhones, let’s express ourselves.”. It’s amazing because anyone can make a positive contribution.

To be a PARKner feels like a no brainer. I mean, for companies, individuals, organizations, entities, to be able to sponsor positive programming, that’s just the direction that we’re headed in, and it makes such a huge impact on a person to person level. So, I’m so happy that we got to join forces.

[20:41] Marly Q: Thank you both so much. I’m giving you a big, big virtual hug from our virtual living room here where we are together. Thank you for making the time to be kind today. Thank you for sponsoring our podcast and bringing– being that light and that spark of joy for everyone listening today. Big hugs.

[20:59] Monique: Right on. Thank you for having us.

[21:01] Louise: Okay. Bye-bye.

[21:04] Outro:

That was so much fun. I hope you enjoyed this interview as much as I did!

To connect with My Abuela in Miami just visit marlyq.com/8 for this episode’s show notes with the links to connect with My Abuela, and watch the 12 Days of Christmas video and others which will surely spark laughter and make you want to adopt My Abuela too.


Calm amidst Chaos

How can you access your calm center, when there’s so much noise outside of us?

How can we be more mindful in everyday life?

What are the direct benefits of life coaching and empowering self-love & kindness?

For answers to these Q’s and (so much) more, listen to today’s enlightening interview with Jasmin Terrany who teaches people how to create a calm & nurturing space within which we can always access & return


JOIN Stress Less & Love More: 14-Day Reflection Challenge

Check out Jasmin Terrany’s Books:

Extraordinary Mommy

Extraordinary You: Master your Feelings, Master your Life

Follow on Instagram @jasmin_terrany 

Interested in sponsoring Time to be Kind with Marly Q.? Click here for PARKnership Opportunities


Marly Q: Hi PARKer. I’m Marly Q and welcome to Episode #7 with Jasmin Terrany.

Our guest today is a PARKer who helps people learn how to be calm amidst chaos.

Jasmin Terrany is the inventor of life therapy, a combination of psychotherapy and coaching, plus mindfulness and meditation. She holds two master’s degrees from Columbia University, she’s written two books and has been featured on numerous media outlets, including CNN, PBS, Parents Magazine, and has even hosted an advice show in addition to her own YouTube channel. Jasmin is an inspiration to me, not only because she’s successful in business, but more so because she’s successful in her personal life as a dedicated wife and mom of two kids who knows how to create a loving and calm home amidst any chaos going on in the world. For the past 13 years through her virtual coaching practice, Jasmin helps high achievers be successful in their personal lives by teaching people how to love better, and that’s precisely why she’s here with us today, to teach us all how to be better at loving ourselves.

[01:18] Alright, Jasmin, welcome to the show. Thank you so much for making the time to be kind with me on our PARKers today.

[01:25] Jasmin: Of course, thank you so much for having me; I’m honored to be here.

[01:29] Marly Q: I know you’re such a busy mommy to your precious children, Zen and Liv, and we’re both at home, quarantined due to this COVID-19. So, I really appreciate you squeezing this in because I wanted to have this conversation with you and share with our listeners, just in service. I think so many people are in need of your help. There’s so much that you can offer as a life therapist, as a psychotherapist, with your coaching, with your mindfulness, with your meditation, with this awesome 14-day challenge that you invited me to be a part of and I’m really been enjoying. So, we can just dive into the conversation. Why don’t you first tell me, if you remember how we’ve connected and stayed connected through all these years? And what inspired you to reach out to me after all this time and invite me to your 14-day challenge? Tell me about it.

[02:24] Jasmin: Ooh, that’s a good question. Well, we met at the Women’s Success Summit, right? And I was a speaker and we were both on the board and then I think we’ve just kind of been in and out for the last, how many years ago is that? It’s got to be at least like, eight years ago.

[02:40] Marly Q: Right. About eight or nine years ago.

[02:41] Jasmin: Yeah. And so, you know, you’re always in– the periphery of my life being another person committed to kindness and love and being the light. And so, I created this 14-day mommy challenge for all of us mommies who are quarantined at home with their children and how to deal with the stress and the anxiety and money and the kids and all these things. But really, it’s how do you return to the calm? You know, how do you find that space within yourself to be okay amidst all the chaos? And so, I just created this challenge and invited the world. So, you’re part of my world. So, that’s how you got into it.

[03:26] Marly Q: It’s meant to be of service. So, sometimes when we hear, you know, 14-day challenge, we’re like, “Ugh, you know, right now, I don’t need something else to do. I don’t, you know, I have enough or.”, right?

[03:37] Jasmin: Right. That’s a really good point. Yeah, no, this is– we take a moment each day to commit to ourselves to pause, you know, whether it’s a minute or 10 minutes or five minutes, or whatever, just, that when we’re going, going, going, going going, we’re constantly reacting. And so, the idea is like, how do you pause? How do you recenter? How do you come from a more divinely connected space so that we’re interacting with particularly our children from the most loving place that we can, you know? When we’re all stressed out and frazzled, and there’s so much noise outside of us, inside of us is, how do you return to that center? So, it’s not supposed to be some like, you know, go go, go go go kind of challenge and you know, hold yourself accountable, it’s not like that at all. It’s really the intention is just, here are some prompts, three questions a day to just sit, to be with yourself, to breathe and to reflect and to recenter yourself.

[04:26] Marly Q: Well, you mentioned something really beautiful. I love that your whole practice, basically, you specialize in helping people love better, love themselves better, love others better, pour love into their families and their kids, but also the community and the world at large, right? So, one of the questions that I’d love to get your insight on is, why do you believe that now is the time to be kind to ourselves, others and the world?

[04:50] Jasmin: Well, you know, a lot of people think of the word love as like some like sticky thing like, “Oh, I love it. I want it. I need it.”, you know? And to me the word love is really an unconditional acceptance, which is like an open hand, you know, instead of like holding on to something with like tight fist, it’s like an open hand, letting things come in and things come out. And to me the idea of loving yourself is being able to accept your fullness, your wholeness, that we have all these amazing parts of ourselves, and we’ve also got these pains, darkness, challenges, kind of like the yin and yang of our planet, right? It’s not always a sunny day, there’s also stormy weather, and the same goes for inside of us. And so, our practice is learning how to create that space to allow that duality to exist within us, and to let our wholeness be enough and to see that as our perfection; the same way that our planet is perfect because if it was always a sunny day, it wouldn’t function, is also understanding that our pain and our fears and our challenges and our anxiety and all these things inside of us are also part of our perfection. Our job is to learn how to handle it and take care of it, and part of that is becoming a loving parent to that pain. And when you talk about kindness, it’s really being kind to your pain, being kind to your fears, being kind to your darkness, and creating a different relationship with it, rather than letting it take over you and being in charge, or pushing it away and saying, “I hate you, and I’m not listening to you.”, but it’s really being kind to all of you. And to me, that love, and acceptance is what we all need for ourselves because when we can do it for ourselves, is then when we can do it for each other. But the way that we love our kids and the way that we love our spouse is largely dependent on the way that we love ourselves or don’t love ourselves, and that’s where the spiral or the ripple effect continues. So, I really believe, particularly with moms, that if we can be doing this kind of work, then it has an impact globally because we’re affecting our children.

[06:54] Marly Q: Absolutely. And I love the way that you put that, you know, how we can practice becoming loving parents to our fears, how we can practice, I mean, creating a relationship with them. I know in one of your books, the one that you gave me while I was pregnant, before I gave birth to Jude, was Extraordinary Mommy, it’s this is loving guide to mastering life’s most important job, and one of the secrets that you share in the book was basically this, right? How to, in essence, become aware of what, you know, the fears and the doubts and anxiety that we might be experiencing, and I don’t want to make it so specific in this conversation as just in parenthood or in motherhood, but just in our current world, what we are all currently experiencing globally, it applies, right? So, it’s not just in parenthood, but in your– in this current situation, and in life, right?

[07:47] Jasmin: Well, and I think that’s the biggest realization that I keep having over and over, right? Is that, we have no control, you know, and I really believe that life gives us exactly what we need to wake up, and that we become very controlling, and we think that we have control, and we think we have control over the thoughts, we think we have control over our feelings, we think that we have control over our circumstances, we think we have control over money, we think we have control over everything, right? And on some level, we have, but it’s really been an illusion. And now, all of a sudden, we’re being faced with the fact that we really legitimately don’t have control, we have no idea what’s going to happen, and now, we have to deal with ourselves, right? We have to deal with the fear of not having control, we need to deal with all the anxiety that comes from not having this illusion of control anymore. And I think that this is just a huge reminder of how to live our lives in general. You know, I think the reason for the book was because my Extraordinary Mommy died suddenly in a car accident, right? So, one day she was here and one day she wasn’t, and I was really faced with the fact that this life is– we have no control over it, anything can happen in any moment. And I think that when we have– that we have such a fear of mortality, that it like, makes us crazy when we think that, “Oh my god, we’re going to die.”, right? But if we can live with that awareness that yes, we are going to die and we don’t know when and we don’t know how but if we can live with it, with that awareness close enough to our consciousness that it helps us live more fully, it helps us enjoy our moments more, it helps us be more grateful because we see that we have no control and therefore we get to cherish and be alive and breathe and base our success on our ability to be present and live more than whatever it is that we’re focusing on for some future time.

[09:37] Marly Q: Absolutely, it goes back to how we started this conversation about acceptance; it is an inevitable part of life, is life and death, right? So, the more that we can be kind with that and accept it, the less scary it becomes. So, I just, I love how you raise that, I love how you just give insight not just in the book but you’ve been through, you know, your your personal practice when you’re helping people one on one, just kind of face this and even name the fears, right? And just from a place of love and kindness and acceptance, like you would with a child and help them understand that this is what you’re just feeling right now, it’s not who you are, it doesn’t define, you know, you or the rest of your life. It’s just what we’re currently going through and what we have to face, and that allows us to bring the attention inward, rather than pointing outward to you know, “This is your fault.”, or pointing like blame or you know, like, “The government needs to fix this somehow.”. No, it’s like, “Wait.”, that does give you some sense of like ownership or quote unquote, control over yourself.

[10:32] Jasmin: Exactly. And that’s really the only thing we can do when we have no control over circumstances is, start to look within, “How is this my gift? How am I supposed to be learning right now? What is it? If I were to assume that life is happening for me, instead of to me, then what is it that I’m supposed to be learning?”.

[10:52] Marly Q: That’s a great perspective. You know, one of the questions that I received from a friend when I posted on social media that I was going to get started with this podcast and I was asking for questions from my community was, how can we be more mindful in everyday life? And I think that’s always a great question, and you know, that you could provide a lot of insight on and maybe some specific tips, you know, but how can we be more mindful today, right now with what’s going through, which is also applicable to how we can be more mindful in everyday life?

[11:22] Jasmin: You know, have you heard this, Hoʻoponopono thing? This Hawaiian practice that there’s four questions, not questions statements, and I’ve used this in my practice historically but someone just like rebrought it up to me as like, from a different perspective that actually has been in interesting but this, I’ve always seen it as these four statements that you either say to yourself, you say to somebody else, you say to the universe that, to me feel softening, that they soften us and open us. And so, when you say these statements, it feels kind of like an awakening or an opening to receive and so, the four statements are these. “I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, and I love you”, right? So, even I’m saying right now and it’s just amazing how the feeling changes so much when you just say those statements, you can be saying it to yourself, you can say it to your inner child, you can say it to your whoever. I’ve recently started saying it to the divine, like, “I’m sorry that I’ve been ignoring you. Please forgive me. Thank you, I love you”, you know, like that, that there’s something that feels very profound about just repeating those four statements.

And so, that, I think is very poignant right now in this time to really just keep softening yourself and to repeat those statements to yourself. And also just start to just pay attention to how frequently you’re getting stuck in your head and whenever you do is coming up with some strategy to shift outward and into the present moment because I think so much of the chaos that’s happening is in our minds. I mean, granted, there’s a lot of chaos happening in reality, but a lot of us aren’t experiencing chaos in our reality. We’re actually just hanging out at home. You know, and so, what if we were to, every time we feel we’re in the chaos to just come back to the stillness of our home, of the moment, of– I love connecting with the sun, going outside, just feel the sun on my face, feel the wind on my face. Do whatever it takes to get your physical sensations connected to this present moment, touch something, listen to something, bring your attention to this present moment intentionally whenever it is that you catch yourself being caught up in your sensations or in your anxieties or your thoughts.

And then the last thing is always just ask yourself, “Where’s my breath right now?”, like, if that’s the only thing I tell my clients, if you only learn one thing from me, it’s just that, where is my breath right now? Because when we’re feeling calm, our breath is deep, and it goes all the way down. But when we’re not, and we’re stressing, we’re in our head and we’re in our thoughts and anxieties and feelings, all these things, it gets shorter in our chest. So, simply bringing your breath all the way down is the best drug there is.

[14:29] Marly Q: I have a shirt on right now that says, “Breathe”.

[14:30] Jasmin: I know, I love it.

[14:32] Marly Q: It’s like, if it’s one thing that I feel that I can control when I can’t control anything is just coming back in the awareness of my breath, and I can control how deep I breathe and how I feel it and I love how you mentioned connecting with the stillness of your home, right? And if you think of our home as not our physical home, of four walls, but our home, our inner home, our heart, our being, your breath is your anchor to that stillness in your home. For me, I mean, I grew up with asthma, for me, I am so connected to my breath. I’m so grateful, even when it’s shallow and anxious I, if I can connect with it, I’m aware of it. I’m like, “Oh, look at that you’re breathing that way that’s causing you stress and anxiety, let’s breathe deeper.”, and all of a sudden, I feel like I have a sense of control over something, even if the world around me feels so chaotic. So, I love that you mentioned that, it’s a great practice to being more mindful in everyday life.

And then you said, connecting with your senses, right? Using your senses of touch and smell and sights and sounds, to connect with this present moment. Because once we come inward and connect with those senses, then everything else just kind of fades away. Like, you begin to detach from whatever the chaos and the madness is outside of your home. So, those were really wonderful tips and the Hawaiian practice that you just shared, I’ll make sure I find it and you know, spell it correctly. So, because I don’t really know how to pronounce it either. It’s called Hoʻoponopono, I think, Hoʻoponopono, and the four steps there were, I’m sorry, or the four statements. I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you, you can direct those inward, you can direct those outward. It is a beautiful practice. So, thank you for sharing that.

[16:18] What are the benefits, the direct benefits, of counseling and empowering self-love and kindness practices in your life?

[16:27] Jasmin: Hmm. Good one. So, it’s interesting, in my practice, I integrate these four different modalities, right? I call it life therapy because it connects traditional psychotherapy and coaching with mindfulness and meditation. And to me what it is, is that our life is like a tree, right? And our tree has fruit. And so, sometimes our fruit is not growing or sometimes we have lemons and we want oranges and for whatever reason we often look at the branches or at the fruit themselves and try to change them as if that is going to work, right? But in order for there to be a change in the tree, you need to go to the roots, right? Or plant another tree. So, the idea is, is that what goes on inside of us directly affects everything in our lives, all of our circumstances, are not an accident, they’re directly correlated with what’s going on inside of us. And so, if we can deal with our roots, then it affects our fruits, right? And so, the idea of committing to that kind of practice is really doing the inner work. So, I like to think of our inner space, like a bedroom, right? And so, what happens is, if we have a messy room, we need to have a practice to figure out how to clean it out, right? So, that to me, is the psychotherapy, that’s doing a deeper dive. Where did these feelings come from? What happened in my past? What happened in these circumstances? What are these reoccurring things? What’s all these piles of dirty laundry stacked up in my room? How do I clear this out and clean out my inner space? Right?

And then a coaching practice is about how do I keep it clear, right? Because when our inner space is clear, then we can flow, then divine energy can flow through us, right? But until it’s clear, we’re all cluttered inside of us, and we’re just responding and reacting to all the clutter that’s inside of us. So, then the coaching practice and it’s coming up with, I like to call like, your inner workout, right? Is how do you set up your day in your life to be able to put things away? You know, my mom used to always say, “It’s easier to put your clothes in the dirty laundry now than to deal with a pile of it later.”, you know? Just those little moments and like this challenge that we’re doing, is those little moments every day to clean out that inner space so that It is an open vessel for that light and that love and that divine source to come through us. And then the mindfulness of meditation is learning how to be okay with the emptiness, right? I think that we have a big problem where we think, “Oh my god, I’m bored or something’s wrong, I need to something.”, and then like, all sudden, it just keeps getting filled in with other stuff. And so, the idea is, how do we let that space be clear and let that space be open and stop filling it up with other junk and be okay with the openness?

[19:31] Marly Q: What a wonderful opportunity to practice that now.

[19:33] Jasmin: Yeah.

[19:34] Marly Q; Right. We’re being given that gift, should we choose to see it that way.

[19:38] Jasmin: Yeah. I mean, I do think that life happens for us, right? So, that this is a shift, this opportunity, this awakening is to look within, to love more, to smile more, to connect more, to treat our kids as if this is our last moment, to eat this meal as if it’s our last meal, you know, to really come back to whether matters most in life; we’ve really fallen off.

[20:04] Marly Q: Yeah, I think we’ve really just disconnected or detached from that home base, if you will, and from the basics and this is all, you know, if you want to see the light in the darkness that’s, you know, currently going on, it’s that. We have given the gift of the opportunity of cleaning house in essence, right? It is spring cleaning time, if you will, but coming inward, and I think that, you know, seeking counseling or life therapy is a way of getting outside help to look inward, right? Because sometimes when we’re in our own head, in our own life, in our own mess, so to speak, it’s really difficult to see the label of the jar that you’re in, you need somebody outside of the jar to read to you, you know, the label and say, “Hey, you know, you’re standing, you’re not in quicksand right now. You’re not drowning. You’re not going to die. You’re actually in a jar of honey. It’s sweet. And it’s delicious.”. And you’re like, “Oh, okay, I’m not dying.”, right? So, I think that’s a very clear benefit of counseling or coaching from others is, having that outward perspective.

So, then, I think the benefits of empowering self-love and kindness, I mean, based our entire conversation are endless benefits of empowering self-love and kindness, not only does it directly impact you positively in your mind, in your emotions and your spirit, but there’s that endless ripple effect of how it empowers your family, your kids, your friends, your co-workers, the people that you, you know, interact with every day in the street, at the grocery store, and the whole world in this ripple effect, right? I would see that.

[21:39] Jasmin: Totally. And I think, you know, part of what I think is so valuable in this idea of being kind is understanding that being kind isn’t an avoidance of darkness. It’s not an avoidance of pain, it’s not suggesting that those things don’t exist and that they’re not happening. I think that’s really fundamental in this kind of work, is that we’re just learning how to treat them differently, and to not be stuck in it as if it’s the only path but I like to see it as like the glass can be both half full and half empty, and we’re not just focusing on it being half full, we’re focusing on being the glass, we’re focusing on being the space that allows both to exist and that we’re lovingly accepting both.

[22:31] Marly Q: Only from that perspective can we make, you know, enlightened or empowered choices, right? When we’re not a victim to one.

[22:37] Jasmin: For sure. And it is not easy, it takes lot of work, it’s a big commitment, but I haven’t been able to find another way that works any better.

[22:46] Marly Q: No, that’s why I love that you mentioned that because you know, sometimes all this talk about kindness and I mean, I’ve been called “a Polly Anna, you’re just so bright and cheerful, you must wake up and shoot, you know, fart rainbows and butterflies.”, and it’s like, “No, absolutely not”! You could ask my husband if you want some proof or my family, those closest to us. It is a practice, it is a daily, if not moment to moment practice, of being aware and relating to yourself, all of you, the light, the darkness, all of it, the yin, the yang, sun, the moon, all of it with more kindness and the time to be kind to ourselves, one another, and this world that we all share, it is our world, and if it’s one thing that we’re all currently going through right now, I think is the very clear realization that we’re all connected and we’re all in this together, which means we all got to get out of this together and rise up stronger, and I think the answer to that is through kindness, creating more time to be kind.

[22:48] Thank you so much for making that time again today with me Jasmin and with our PARKers listening. I know you’ve got your babies in the background, my baby too in the background, we’re going to get back to them. But I just– I’m just really so grateful, and I hope that you can come back for another episode. I think you have so much more to offer.

[24:09] Jasmin: Yeah, of course. To be continued, I love being connected with you. You are a wonderful, bright light in this world, and we all need more of that so, thank you so much for having this and doing this, and sharing.

[24:20] Marly Q: Big hugs– big hugs to you, we’ll talk soon.

[24:24] Outro:

So, there you have it PARKER. Practicing self-love and kindness allows us to create a calm and nurturing space within us, which we can always access and return home to, it just takes some awareness and practice.


Abundance of Positivity

How different might your life be if you knew how to manifest ABUNDANCE everywhere you went and believed that believed Every Day is a Good Day?

Our guest today lives, breathes and shares these messages with others every day which makes him a PARKer (someone who Performs Acts of Random Kindness).

Like us, he believes the Time to be Kind is ALWAYS NOW.


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Interested in sponsoring Time to be Kind with Marly Q.? Click here for PARKnership Opportunities


Hey, hey! It’s Marly Q and welcome to Episode #6 with Sebastian Hart. Our guest today is truly one of a kind. He believes every day is a good day and lives, breathes & manifests abundance everywhere he goes! Sebastian Hart is the founder of Abundance & Things, and the creative director of Blind Color Hats, a unique brand of positive head wear, and the only kind of hats I’ll wear!

Not only is he a PARKer who loves Performing Acts of Random Kindness, but he believes the time to be kind is always NOW.

His favorite act of kindness is generously giving his time and positive energy, and he joins us today to do just that. So, sit back, relax and get ready to receive an abundance of positivity. [01:12] Marly Q: We are live! Thank you for making the Time to be Kind Sebastian. [01:16] Sebastian: Thank you for allowing me to be kind in your kind podcast. [01:21] Marly Q: Yes, yes! In these weird times that we’re living in … I always appreciate kindness and people that make the time to connect and engage in positive ways but more so now, than ever. I think that it’s very timely to have, not just this podcast but these conversations to try and spread some positivity, and some kindness and some abundance and there is nobody in the entire universe who I could think of that is better suited to spread abundance than you. [02:00] Sebastian: I’m here. I appreciate you for thinking of me that way. [02:05] Marly Q: Yeah, I want to kind of back things up and hear about, really a little bit of your story and how you even, you know, fell in love with this mindset, and this lifestyle that you live, breathe and share every single day of abundance. [02:22] Sebastian: Well, I believe that this is inside all of us. But I’ll tell you when it was sparked out of me, right. Because I believe every human has this spark inside of positivity and wanting to inspire it in a positive way and light and all those things. But somehow through the world and everything we hear and personalities around us, they just kind of mold us in a direction which we kind of, you know, we leave that pureness of a baby, of a kid, because if you look at all babies, they’re all pure, they’re all loving, they’re kind, they’re just beautiful. So, I was reminded. If I can pinpoint a point in my life, before that, I believe my life has always been abundant, you know, in the sense of love, I’ve always had a lot of love for my family. We lived a life where there was a lack of, it’s not like I’m rich, or my parents are rich, and you know, there was a time when we lived in Costa Rica, we all lived in a kitchen in the back with my sister, my mom and dad, but I was a kid. And in my head, it was always abundance, it was, I was just happy, I’m out in the street, doing my thing. My parents are going through a million things in their head, but I’m a kid, and I feel abundant. So, abundance has always been inside of me, and I’ve been able to just live in my head with that. But one day in college in ENC1102, a professor by the name of Warren Dittmar, and I will never forget his name, in fact, the day I have a son, I am throwing the name Warren in there somehow, in the middle, in the end or in the beginning. And this professor introduced to me the law of attraction, which I’m sure a lot of people have heard about, the law of attraction, think, manifest with your thoughts, whatever you think of, you attract. And this professor, it was the first time that I’ve ever heard this thought, this idea of think positive and positive things will happen. Maybe I’ve heard it before, but I never really applied it. And that day, ENC1102, Professor Dittmar in a class full of individuals showed us the movie The Secret, which is a popular film and I’m sure a lot of people have heard it, but it was the right time for me to hear it. That’s what it’s all about, it’s timing. If it’s not the right time, it’s not going to affect, but it was the right time. I was in a point in my life where I was going to school, just to– they’re just doing their own thing. So, I can tell at that moment that, this was just for me, it was just for me. And I remember leaving that day class, just high on life, super high, the highest I’ve ever been. I was singing, I was pumping gas on my way home, just singing, and happy. I had no idea what I was going to do next, I had no idea where I was going to take my life, but I did know one thing, that if I kept my mind in the right place, positive things will happen for the rest of my life. And ever since that moment, I just think of solutions, never a problem. I started changing words. For example, negative words like, negative phrases, I just, I became obsessed with just changing them, like expressions like, “Oh, that’s so sick.”, that kids like to say, I was like, “I’ll never say that again.”, that’s unhealthy. So, little things like that, that people will look at me is like, “What is that?”. In my head, it has a big effect and in my head is where I live, and that’s all that matters. So, in my head, I started changing all those things, and little by little, positive people just kept coming into my life and people who weren’t about that lifestyle, started leaving. And that was the organic process of that. Basically, years later, this is where I am today, just continue to focus on that, change negative tones, apply positive ones, and abundance. That’s what it is. [06:27] Marly Q: And it is a practice, right? It’s not like it just, it just happened overnight. It’s a practice. It’s been years. [06:35] Sebastian: It’s something you need to practice, something you need to exercise, it’s not just– it was a switch, but it was– [06:42] Marly Q: It was a spark. [06:43] Sebastian: It was a spark. But there was definitely an application from my part, I couldn’t just watch the video and continue to allow the lifestyle I was living. I had to call my friends out, I had to call my family members out, anything negative, anything and everything, gone. [07:01] Marly Q: I love it. I love that. I think it’s so important because many people, and I’m sure many people listening to this, have seen the secret and have heard about the law of attraction and understand, you know, positive thinking and, the manifestation process, and they also don’t realize that it’s not just in our minds, right? That there also has to be a place in our hearts where we are believing in the power of our positive thoughts, and there’s a place in our hands and in our body, in our actual actions, in our words and in our deeds, right? That have to be aligned. [07:35] Sebastian: Everything. [07:35] Marly Q: And that takes practice in order for it to cement and become a lifestyle and become, not something that we just talk about or share on social media and like some kind of fad, but genuinely live and breathe this every single day. And you are most definitely somebody that from the very moment that we met, I can tell that this was who you were, this was who you showed up in the world as, a PARKer, that I would call PARKer, somebody that not just Performs Acts of Random Kindness, but also does that for themselves in their own life. [08:16] Sebastian: I appreciate that. And that’s very well said, exactly how you said it. You not only have to do it for the world, but most important for yourself, you have to apply that positive energy to yourself. [08:28] Marly Q: So, on that note, I know that you are a believer that we live in abundance, we live in the age of abundance, and that the world is on our side, and that we’re always at the right place at the right time. And in these times, this current time in 2020, as we are experiencing this massive kind of transition, and very difficult times for many, many people. [09:00] Sebastian: It’s just a weird time. [09:01] Marly Q: Weird, right? How are you staying positive in these days? Is anything– are you applying any kind of different practices? [09:08] Sebastian: No different than any other time in my life, you know? Times are weird all the time. It just happens to be that they’re weirdest right now where we’re living in, but on planet Earth, there’s weird things happening all the time. And just because now we’re being affected doesn’t mean that weird times weren’t happening before. But you know, if you look at social media, for example, what’s happening in Italy, it’s beautiful to see the people who are quarantined, just singing to each other and playing music to each other. So, you can find light in that. Just find light in things, find light in staying at home and connecting with your family, find light in connecting with yourself, you know. If you are the person who says, “Oh, I don’t have time to work out.”, well, here’s your time, work out. [09:56] Marly Q: “I’ve been meaning to start this new project that I don’t have time for.”, now you’ve got the time. [10:01] Sebastian: Everybody has time right now. And there’s really nothing different that I’m doing now, it’s just focusing on the solution. I know it’s going to be all right, and I know for a fact that we as a nation are going to be stronger than ever after this. So, that’s just what it is, it’s unfortunate that we’re going through this, I wish we weren’t. But there’s also cells in my body who believe everything happened for a reason, and that’s something that I ingrained in myself. When something good happens, when something bad happens, everything happens for a reason, and you can’t just dismiss that thought when something bad is happening. You have to apply and understand that the universe loves you and is on your side, and whatever is happening, it’s supposed to happen. [10:47] Marly Q: And there’s some light in it, and it’s our job to find that light, and if we can’t find that light easily, we could always be that light, because we all have that within us, which I just I love that message, Sebastian, thank you. I think that many people need to hear it. It’s really easy to get wrapped up in, you know, in the madness of all of this in the, you know, in the negativity of all of it, and it’s just messages like the one that you’re sharing that remind us, there’s light in every situation, that we may not see it right away, but we can look for it, we can be that light, we can make the best out of any time that’s going on. [11:32] Sebastian: 100%. [11:32] Marly Q: And even though we don’t understand, you know, the consequences of what is going on in the world right now, just having like the belief and the trust that the universe is always on your side and universe is kind and loving, and somehow this is something that’s going to bring us together and be good. [11:56] Sebastian: Yeah, that’s what it is, we have to think of the solutions and the positive things. Because we can sit here and be like, “Oh my god, everything’s going bad. I’m going to have to pay rent at the end of the month but, you know, we can’t work.”, and listen, just relax. Just relax. Everybody’s going through it, it’s not just you. This situation specific, it’s very easy to actually be calm because it’s not just a personal thing, it’s the world. So, we are all going through this, it’s not one person. [12:26] Marly Q: And isn’t it interesting too to notice what you just said right now? Just to harp on that, is how once we can create just a little bit of space and distance from what we are individually going through and really think about the collective, the global sense of humanity as one mankind, we realize that even in a situation like this, we’re more connected than ever, right? So, when the social media and the news and the government is telling us about social distancing, you know, that phrase doesn’t really sit well with me because we’re really talking more about physical distancing so that we don’t catch this thing. But it’s more about social solidarity and social connection more than ever, right? [13:15] Sebastian: Absolutely. Especially in the age of abundance and the age of social media, which I believe it’s the age of abundance and the age of social media, it’s one thing, the fact that we are able to just grab the phone and I am connected to Italy right now. I can send a message to somebody in Italy and tell them, “Hey, it’s cool, it’s alright, we’re going to be okay.”, that’s the age of abundance. And just being a spark, you know, being kind to somebody can just change their entire day, and that’s a beautiful thing that we can just do, for free. It’s free. [13:52] Marly Q: Exactly. We have the opportunity to be doing this interview right now, and that is abundant. And one of the things that you, I know that abundance is your favorite word, but a phrase that I think maybe is your favorite phrase because I hear you say it all the time, and I love it. And sometimes I find myself saying it, and I’m like, “Ah!”, and I think of you because it’s not my phrase, it’s your phrase, but I love how you just share it every day for all of us that are lucky enough to be friends with you or to follow you on social media, “Good Day, Every Day.”. [14:25] Sebastian: Good Day, Every Day. That’s our motto, that’s the Blind Color Hats motto. You know, it’s a company which I work with, I am the creative director. Marcus James created a company it’s called Blind Color Hats, and I met Marcus James through social media, and the message of his company was, “Good Day, Every Day.”. And he literally reached out to me on Instagram and he said, “You need to wear this hat. You are this message, like, I need to send you a hat.”. And when he sent me that hat, I looked at the hat, I read the message and the message pretty much summed it up for me. It’s everything we just talked about, the world being positive, think of solutions. If you focus and you believe every day is good day, it’s going to be alright because if you get the opportunity to wake up the next day and try it again, do it again, yesterday was a good day, which means every day is a good day. And it’s true, my favorite phrase besides– [15:31] Marly Q: Abundance! [15:32] Sebasian: My favorite word, my favorite phrase is Good Day, Every Day. It’s just what it is, it’s a Good Day Every Day, you can find the good in any day, and you can find the good in today. [15:44] Marly Q: Thank you. I did want to touch on that, and I do really want to emphasize that because that does sum it up. And it’s something that we can all choose to believe, and we can all choose to practice every day, and you are just such a shining example of that. And I appreciate you again, I have to– I’ll say it again and again, we’ve known each other for a few years now and I think I express just how much I value and honor, and celebrate your attitude, your positivity, and how you don’t just keep that to yourself, you’re so incredibly generous to share that with others every single day. And, you know, maybe there’s some people that are like, annoyed by the fact that you say, “Good Day, Every Day”, and they feel like they’re having a bad day, and you say, “Good day, every day”, anyway, because it is, right? [16:43] Sebastian: Yeah. And you’re right. The choice, it’s exactly what you said, it’s a choice. You choose to say it, you choose to believe it, you can choose to say, “My life sucks.”, and this would probably be the only time I actually say those words back to back because my life doesn’t suck. I will never say that because I don’t believe it. No life sucks. All life is great. Life is beautiful. And I do choose to say, “Good day, every day”, because I can. And I will continue to say, “Good day, every day”, till forever and ever and I will make sure that I create enough content in this world that my grandkids’ grandkids will just move around, walking and saying, “Good day, every day, hey”. [17:24] Marly Q: I love that. I absolutely love that. I think the world needs that. And I hope that all those listening, adopt that phrase because you’ll give it to them generously, right? [17:37] Sebastian: For free. It’s free 99. [17:39] Marly Q: Free 99! How can people connect with you & your awesome positive, uplifting content? Where can people find you? [17:49] Sebastian: Well, social media is a great place to start. I mean, you can follow me @Bluehart and you can go down the rabbit hole from there. We have different accounts for different things. You can go down the YouTube rabbit hole, I have like six YouTube accounts, the blind color channel, you have the blue heart channel, we create content for different companies all around and we always apply our energy into everything we work for. So, any company we work for, it’s not just for money, I only take on projects that apply with what I’m working on. So, let’s say if a violence company wants to hire me and my services to create content for something negative and they want to pay me good amount of money, I can’t do it. I can’t do it. I can only work with things that go in my life and I can apply my energy to. So, I need everybody do the same, don’t just work for money, work for for energy, to receive that energy and give energy and that’s how I maintain this energy flow. [18:55] Marly Q: Absolutely. What a great tip. What a great strategy also, it’s a really valuable life philosophy, but also business practice. And I know, I feel, you know, my husband and I feel incredibly fortunate to have connected with you. Again, not just for our wonderful, you know, relationship and friendship, but also from a business relationship. Because once we shared with you about our PARK Project and our 5K PARK Fest and what we were working on, and our vision and our mission for what we’re creating, you immediately opened up and said, “Yes, I’m in.”, because of exactly what you’re sharing. It was aligned with, who you are, what you put out into the world, and we were, you know, amazingly blessed to receive your energy and I think that PARK Project was also an outlet to give you some energy that’s aligned with what you share every day. [19:49] Sebastian: Absolutely. It was a no brainer when you told me about PARK Project. I was I wish I could have done more at the time. I mean, that was, when we did that first festival, it was a while ago. [20:01] Marly Q: 5 years ago. [20:01] Sebastian: I’m looking forward to you like, kick starting another one because I really enjoyed that festival and I know that I’m in a place where I can definitely give a lot more back in wage to that festival, but perform acts of random kindness goes hand in hand with my lifestyle, it’s a Good Day Every Day and to have a good day, you must perform acts of kindness, not only to people but to yourself. And I love PARK Project, I’m looking at the trophy you guys gave me in that festival and it’s a constant reminder of what great people do out here and we must continue to attract that. [20:38] Marly Q: Thank you so much. I feel that we definitely attracted each other’s energy to create great things and it’s just the beginning. You know, even seeing that sign behind you, you know, we’re doing this interview virtually via zoom and seeing that dance sign behind you just brings back so many awesome memories and wonderful images in my mind and definitely the desire and the spark is there to bring our 5K Park fest back. So, this podcast is my virtual way of continuing to spread this message and having, in essence, online, virtual events until we’re able to to bring these babies back because they must exist. [21:18] Sebastian: They must exist. [21:21] Marly Q: Awesome. Well with that, Sebastian, I want to thank you so much, again for making the time to be kind. I hope that this isn’t our first and only interview. I hope that there are many more if you’re willing to come back. [21:33] Sebastian: Absolutely. We must do this, and once the world stops being a little weird, we’d come back and do it live with some cameras and. [21:41] Marly Q: Yes, we have our in-home studio and there will be no social distancing laws, keeping us from hugs and high fives. [21:51] Sebastian: We can do a hug like this. [virtual hug] [21:56] Marly Q: Thank you so much. We’ll talk real soon my friend. [21:59] Sebastian: My pleasure. Thank you for the energy you put out into the world and all the great things you create, everything you said about me, I say about you and I am grateful to have you as a friend, for you coming into my life, your beautiful little ones that I’m sure you want to create great positive things in this world. So, I am excited, and I’ll continue to inspire, keep inspiring people to succeed, which is an acronym, which I know you’re fond of acronyms, and keep doing what you’re doing my friend. [22:28] Marly Q: I love that acronym for KIDS. I will make sure to put that in our show notes, and I have totally added that to my list of favorite acronyms. Keep Inspiring Dreaming Succeeding. Go KIDS! [22:43] Outro

I sure hope you felt a spark of abundant positivity after listening to this episode. Sebastian encourages us to find the light in all that you see and focus on the positive side of things because it’s a Good Day, Every Day. To learn more, you can visit blindcolorhats.com and follow him on Instagram @Bluehart Leave a comment on his latest posts using #wepark to let him know you’re also a PARKer and part of my Kind Qrew. And if you haven’t joined yet, head on over to www.marlyQ.com/kindQrew We’re waiting for you!


Why Smile?

Today’s BONUS episode serves as a powerful testimony of what can happen when you make the Time to be Kind & SMILE at a stranger (in a public bathroom)!

Our guest today courageously shares her personal story & journey with mental health issues from young age & how practicing self-love & kindness helped her transform darkness & chaos into a choice to be LOUD. 


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Hi PARKer, I’m Marly Q. and welcome to Episode # 4 with Adrianna Foster.

If you’ve been part of my Kind Qrew for a while, chances are you already know our celebrity guest today and if you don’t, I guarantee you’ll never forget her voice if you stay through the end of the episode.

For almost 2 decades, Adrianna Foster has been called the VOICE of MEXICO by legendary singers and after moving to Miami, she’s become known as the first motivational singer of our time.

With over 73 thousand monthly followers and millions of downloads on Spotify … and even more on her YouTube channel, Adrianna Foster is clearly a superstar but the reason I invited her on our show today is because she’s a superhero too!

Not only is she a successful singer-songwriter, she’s also a hypnotherapist, a mom and a PARKer, someone who Performs Acts of Random Kindness, just like you and me!

To kickoff Mental Health Awareness Month, I was inspired to share this bonus episode and invite Adrianna to shine the light on a question I’ve been asked, several times, and perhaps one you’ve even asked yourself given the current health crisis we’re experiencing around the world.


Adrianna shares the story of how we met through the power of a smile and also vulnerably shares her own journey with mental health issues from a young age and how practicing self-love and kindness helped her transform darkness and chaos into a choice to BE LOUD.

What does it mean to be LOUD? Here’s a hint – it’s an acronym and a really good one!

So sit back, relax, and stay through the end of the episode because Adrianna will give us all a reason to SMILE!


Marly Q: So why smile? Smiling is a very important part of my life and I have a guest here with us today that just makes this point so clear as to why it’s so important to share your smile with others every day. Adrianna Foster, thank you for making the time to be kind.

Adrianna Foster: Thank you so much, Marly. I love you and I am so proud of you and I am so grateful and humbled to be here with you today.

Marly Q: Oh, thank you. And all of our PARKer’s listening are in for a treat. You stay all the way to the end, you might hear it, you might hear the treat. Adrian would you be so kind as to share how we met. I think it was already like what, 6 years ago or so.


Adrianna Foster: It was 2014 and this is what I called, when I do my concerts and I speak, I call the bathroom story.

Marly Q: That sounds so great. Stay with us!

Adrianna Foster: What do you mean? I’m like, yeah, like your life can be changed in a bathroom. Like for real. So what happened is that in 2014 I was coming back from this year and a half trip to Mexico when I released my second album and I started the promotion of my album and my CD and it just, it all went to hell and it failed terribly. And I lost all my money and everything. So I came back November 21st, 2014 and I was homeless for three months actually. So in that event, it was probably a week after I came back, my friend she knew that I had no money. I didn’t know anybody. I was like just looking to see what opportunities I could get. And she gave me a ticket for this event, and I went and of course, it’s like a 350 women event and they’re talking about businesses and funnels and marketing and your profit. And I’m just like there, I have no money to eat lunch. Like I have no money to Uber. Like, I don’t have a house. I don’t have anywhere to sleep. So I just started getting super overwhelmed and I feel like “what am I doing here”? I don’t belong and I just go to the bathroom and I started crying. Like it’s just this major panic, anxiety attack of what am I going to do with my life? How am I going to get back in my feet?

And then this beautiful curly hair, sparkly lady comes into the bathroom and I’m just cleaning my tears because I don’t want anybody to see me. And she looks at me and she takes the time. Cause that’s the thing, Marly, you took the time. Anybody else could’ve just ignored me or just be like, Oh I’m just going to leave or whatever.


And you were kind enough. You took the time to look at me and to politely ask, “are you okay”? And I was just like, look, I’m getting goosebumps. And that was a moment where I really felt supported. I felt heard. And I don’t remember exactly the words that we said, but we ended up having a conversation and I share that my, at that time, husband was a musician and your husband too.

And it just, it was literally a two-minute conversation where your smile was so beautiful, and it really gave me peace. And not only that, it gave me hope, it sparked a piece of hope that I was not alone and that good things could happen, good connections could happen and that doors could be open in my life and that I was on the right path.

Like I was starting over. And you were like the little, when people are like navigating in the sea and they’re looking for that star that shows them the North, you were that North star for me. Your smile was that North star for me. And after that we connected and then literally everything else started happening. And I met a bunch of people that knew you and funny enough because when I knew that they knew you, I was like, “Oh I can trust them”! Cause your smile made me trust you and you were literally that North star that just showed me the way. So that’s my bathroom story.

Marly Q: I need a moment. My goodness.


Adrianna Foster: Every time I share this all the time, as you know. And the reason why I share, I mean despite the fact that I love you and I love our friendship, I share it because it is so important. Like you don’t know the impact that you will create on people’s lives if you take a second to see them and to acknowledge them. And maybe all you have to do is just smile and say, have a great day. And you don’t know how much of an impact you can make in people’s lives. You don’t know how you can change everything. I was ready to leave that event. I went to the bathroom; I was crying, and I was ready to just go. And because of how I felt with you, I stayed, and I met a bunch of people that were literally determined facts of where I am today. It’s just, it’s incredible. So look, I get goosebumps.

Marly Q: To be able to witness, to be able to first thank you for sharing that story. Not just for me to hear it again. I just, I get goosebumps too. It really does fill me up with joy and with purpose. I mean the name of this podcast is Time to be Kind and the importance of making the time to be kind to ourselves, the people we interact with, not just people we know, but the people that we run into in the bathroom and the street and take the time to notice them, even if it’s just a smile. I mean, I was ready to be rejected. Who says that you are going to want to talk to me and it would have been okay? You would have been like I’m fine and left. That would have been okay. But for me what was more important is just making that time to PARK for a moment, acknowledge you and be like, “I’m here if you’d like to talk”. And you did, and exchanging our business cards and having that brief conversation resulted in this beautiful friendship and also us working together. I saw you a couple months later and you were like, this brand-new woman. Like you had life and you had a smile of your own. And I’m like, “wow, are you at the same woman I met in the bathroom a couple of months ago”?

It’s just been such a privilege and honor, humble, honor to see you grow, to see you shine, to see you flourish on your journey and coming from a real big crisis in your life in that moment and being able to stay with it and have that kindness for yourself to honor where you were at and be able to go to events and seek support from community and from other people and have that develop into everything that you’re doing today. Can you share with us a little bit about what you’re up to because it’s super exciting?


Adrianna Foster: Thank you. Well, it’s so funny because really it all was born in that event. This is a true story, after the bathroom story that you gave me light again and you like filled me until like, “okay, I can do this”. I went back to my table and I started listening to all the speakers and then I just came up with it and I just realized I had like an Epic breakthrough moment and I’m like, “I am a motivational singer”. That is what I am supposed to do. I’m supposed to share my story and the passion that I have for life and the resilience that it’s, I think my biggest quality and characteristic as a human being and also do it through my gift, my greatest gift, which is my voice, what I love to do, which is singing.

I had no idea how I was going to do that. Like at that moment I was like, I have no idea, but I’m going to do it. This was in 2014 and today in 2020, I’m doing it! I have this beautiful project that’s called Foster Nights, which is an immersive concert experience. So what I do is that I go to people’s houses, people’s events, people’s groups, corporations, nonprofits, whatever you want to do. Any event that wants to have an epic signature, personalized entertainment, a concert that will touch people’s lives and that will nurture your soul. That’s what I do. The purpose of Foster Nights is to foster a feeling of connection and community between whoever it’s attending. And I personalize the songs and I create a script based on your event and what you want to celebrate. And it’s really, really, really cool. People love it and I love to do it. It’s an immersive concert experience. It is really what it is. And I enjoy it so much. It’s so much fun and that’s what I do. I motivate and inspire people and I connect people. I bring people together through my music and my voice and my story, which I think it’s really important to share. And also what I believe.


What you said is so important and I believe that, every new beginning is often disguised by a painful and chaotic ending. And I think that we have such a misconception about what those crisis or chaotic moments in our lives mean. We’re raised to believe that we have to avoid them, or we have to feel the shame of them. We have to hide them or something’s wrong if you’re going through a problem. And that’s not true, that’s actually not true. This is exactly how awakenings and how new beginnings work. It is chaos, transformation and choice. You go through the chaos; you are in the darkness. If you’re able to hold it and to stay and to really ask yourself the question, “what’s the purpose of this”? Not why this is happening to me, but “what’s the purpose for this. How is this serving me”? You will go through a transformation process that hurts, that it’s in pain, but this is where people like you come into play and support me or you can attract the tribe and the opportunities and the solutions. And the tools that will support you. And then you have a choice. You can choose to stay in the darkness, and you can choose to believe that this will define you for the rest of your life. Or you can choose to be reborn. You can choose to embrace your truth. You can choose to remember your voice and be loud. What is loud? Loud is just showing up in the world and being in integrity with your truth, with who you are and serving the world through your gifts. And that is what foster nights teaches, that is what I teach, and that is my purpose.


Marly Q: And I love how it’s been a journey to get right to this purpose because I remember you said something super important. Everything that you just shared was super important and true and so relevant to so many people. I mean it’s mental health awareness month and I think that it’s vitally important for people to have the courage and be loud to share their stories of struggle, of crisis, of trauma and how really allowing yourself, I see it as practicing self-love and kindness through that can allow you to see that light. You said it yourself to attract the right people in the right opportunities because after you got out of that bathroom, you study yourself. You went to the bathroom; you were ready to cry it out and leave. And because there was a little spark of kindness, it was a little spark of a different energy that you chose to receive. You chose to receive It. Allowed you to go back into the event with a different mindset and attract the ideas, the aha moments, the answers, the opportunities that you were looking for. “How am I going to get back on my feet”? “How am I going to find a place to live and make a business out of what I want to do”? You are asking the right questions. You were in an open, receptive mode. And that’s why I believe so strongly that kindness is a superpower. And that currency, that energy of kindness, if we are open to give it and to receive it from one another can truly change. Not just your perspective, but your path, your life


Adrianna Foster: And think about it. I think it’s like a ripple effect. Because it’s a chain reaction because you gave me that spark and I chose to receive it. And because of that, it is exactly what you’re saying. I got ideas, opportunities and connections, tools of more support that slowly, little by little throughout the years have been allowing me to build up. Right after that, I met the platform where I started creating my, at that time, one on one business, which is hypnotherapy. That gave me the opportunity, the monetary currency for me to get back on my feet and do this and then that allowed me to expand. And I started doing the motivational concerts, which I did them with you!

Marly Q: Yeah, we helped you kick off the motivational concerts.

Adrianna Foster: You kicked off the motivational concerts. And then you know, that opened up even more and more opportunities. And then I met this other coaching program that we were together in and that gave me even more opportunity. So think about how important it was that time that you took to be kind and the chain reaction that you’re giving, not just to me, but to all the people that I’ve been able to serve. Like I often ask myself, what would have happened if I would have left that event?

Marly Q: I know for me, I mean obviously not only would I have missed out on a great friendship that we’ve been able to develop and nourish, but also, I remember the first time that you ever sang publicly in the United States was on my stage, at the 5K PARK Fest and there was tears and you “just sang the National Anthem” and there was people crying at our event and that wasn’t a motivational concert, you were just singing the National Anthem! And people are crying like, “wow, who is this woman”?

Adrianna Foster: But again the reason why I decided to do that is because it was you. Because I trusted you. So I felt compelled to ask you, “Hey, can I sing the National Anthem at your event”? Because again, because you gave me that time to be kind, you took the time to be kind to myself. So I created like that bond with you and again, like it’s exactly what I’m saying. Like imagine what would have happened if A, I would have left the event or B, which is my whole purpose with what I do, I would have chosen to not receive. I would have chosen to be like, who the hell is this person? I’m not going to talk to this lady. I’m fine.


Marly Q: “What the hell are you so happy about coming in here smiling? There’s obviously nothing wrong with your life”. Which I’ve gotten that before. It’s like, wow, it’s a problem for me to come in with my light. Okay, you don’t have to receive it. You don’t force it on anyone, but you received.

Adrianna Foster: That’s exactly what I’ve learned and what I preach and what I practice and what I teach people. It is okay to be in the dark. Within the dark is where light is born. All you have to do is to make the choice, to make the choice to see it, to make the choice to receive it, to make the choice to believe that everything is happening for you, that you’ve been taking care of all the time, and that is those moments are the opportunities where you reclaim your voice, which is your purpose in life, who you really are meant to be, and you have the opportunity to start choosing to be loud. For me LOUD, it’s an acronym.

Marly Q: I love acronyms! Here we go. Share, share!

Adrianna Foster: What I created around being loud in my experience and what I’ve seen with my clients and all the people that I work with is when you get to the point that you give yourself permission to be LOUD; Loving, Open, Unapologetic, and Deserving.

When you really, truly embrace your greatness and allow yourself permission to be Loving, Open, Unapologetic, and Deserving is when you A, show your truth and share your voice with the world; B, you inspire others with the gift that you are inherently by being born in this planet and C, you give others permission to do the same. By you taking up space with your light and being loud with your voice, you give others permission to do the same and PARKers that are listening, this is how we’re going to change the world. Now I really want you to, like if you’re listening and you’re feeling this energy that we’re feeling here, just close your eyes for a second and just think about it.


Like you don’t have to do big things. You don’t have to be the CEO of a company or become the greatest public speaker in the world or no, you can be LOUD at home with your family. You can be honest, loving, open, unapologetic, and disserving with your kids, with your clients, at your job. Whatever activity that you choose to do, whatever it is that the lights your heart on fire, whatever it is that you choose to create in the world. Just do it in honesty and honesty with who you are and an integrity with your purpose in life because that is how you will serve the world. And that is how you will make a difference. And that is how we will all collectively at the same time make a difference and change the world.

Marly Q: That’s how we’re all superheroes. I absolutely love that acronym. Can I add it to my list of favorites?

Adrianna Foster: Of course.

Marly Q: I love it. I want to be LOUD. I actually really see, even the journey of creating this podcast as my own journey of being loud and honoring my own voice, and having that unapologetic and deserving, loving and open, I know I messed up the acronym, the letters, but it’s okay. And going back to my purpose and my why and being reconnected to how important it is to do those small acts of random kindness. It’s all about the small acts of kindness that have the power within us all to make a huge difference in not just the world, in your everyday life, the people that you interact with, the people that you talk to, the people on the street, you just never know. And I hope that everyone that’s listening to this episode and this podcast today, again it’s mental health awareness month and there’s people that might be listening that are going through a dark time in this moment. And they hear us all successful and she’s got her business and she’s all going, but it wasn’t always like that. And we’re here to remind people, that sometimes the reason that you can show up in life with joy and with energy and with spark and with light for others is because you’ve been through some darkness and you’ve honored that.


Adrianna Foster: Absolutely. And I think one of the biggest acts of kindness that you can do is give yourself permission to be in the dark. At least that has been my experience. I always share in my talks and every time that I’m on stage, I share my personal story. When I was eight years old, I was diagnosed with chronic depression, anxiety and I suffered from bullying and other types of mental and physical abuse for many, many years. And in the adolescents, because of my living situation and everything that happened, the depression kicked in such a really, really strong way. I suffer from panic attacks and anxiety attacks and just massive, massive depression. And when I was 18 years old, I tried to commit suicide. So yeah, people ask me all the time, were you always this bubbly?

No! I think that for me, what has gotten me to where I’m at right now, the reason why I’m able to be sitting here right in front of you with this beautiful presence of yours is because I have given myself over and over and over again the gift of kindness. I have given myself the opportunity to just be on the dark and to understand that the darkness was serving me. It was not attacking me. It was not trying to destroy me.

Marly Q: There was nothing wrong with you to deserve being in this darkness.


Adrianna Foster: Exactly. It was not something that would define me for the rest of my life. I remember, after the attempted suicide, I had a few weeks, of course my family was concerned and going to doctors and this and that and at one time I just, I was just literally meditating and I had this like spark of truth that it was like, there’s a purpose for this. Like this is not going to be my life. I refuse to believe that this is how life is. So I get to find, and first of all, understand why this is happening, which is, being kind to myself, my story, not defining like, “Oh, there’s something wrong with you”. And second, knowing and finding the tools and the knowledge and the lessons of how to change this, how to transform it. And I think that was a moment where I chose to reclaim my voice, to rediscover it and being LOUD. It’s a daily choice. At that time of my life, being LOUD was showing up to my therapy, showing up to my courses, finding transformation, asking for support. I went to the Camino de Santiago, Santiago’s way in Spain, like showing up to all these opportunities, embracing transformation, embracing pain, being in my darkness, that was my way of being LOUD.

And as time passed by, and as I’ve evolved and as I’ve grown, my way of being LOUD has been different. Today, my way of being LOUD is standing up on a stage and speaking about my truth and sharing with people. Yes, I tried to commit suicide when I was 18 and today, I am in peace and I’m going to show you how to do that. I’m going to show you how to reclaim your voice and be LOUD. That is my way of being LOUD. Right now your way of being LOUD is nursing your home and being a mom and doing this podcast and maybe the way of being LOUD with my neighbor is just being in an office and serving clients in the way that she does. Like there’s not a specific way. It’s the intention and the context that we do things.

If we do things with the purpose and in integrity with our truth, we make a difference and we give ourselves the opportunity to just be great and show our greatness.

Marly Q: To show up as yourself.

22:21 Adrianna Foster: And let me tell you Marly, there’s no greater feeling or more addictive feeling in this world than feeling free to be yourself. Like that’s my experience.

Marly Q: Yeah, it feels pretty good!

Adrianna Foster: It’s amazing. It’s just this like complete ease. I feel like that’s heaven.

Marly Q: Ease is the right word. I think ease is the right word. Because you’re not fighting. There’s no internal battle with yourself.

Adrianna Foster: There’s no internal battle. It’s just, I feel good. I feel good to be myself and I feel loving to myself. I feel open to receive more and more opportunities. I feel unapologetic to just show who I am, and I feel deserving, like I’m worthy. That’s what being LOUD means.

Marly Q: Oh, thank you so much for sharing this. There’s so much gold in this conversation. Please tell all our PARKers listening how can they connect with you? How can they learn more about Foster Nights?


Adrianna Foster: Absolutely. So if you go to my website, www.adriannafoster.com, you can find all the information. I would love to connect with you or follow me on social media. I’m always sharing my crazy stories with my daughter and my life. Being a mom and being a Latina in the United States and learning how to speak a language that’s not mine and how to share my stories in both Spanish and English. And then I do videos. I do acoustic videos of my songs. I’m pretty crazy. So if you want to have fun with me, follow me on social media and Instagram, you can find me as @adriannafosteroficial, in Spanish, or my YouTube channel, which I have more than 17,000, I’m so grateful. 17,000 followers in my YouTube channel.

Marly Q: That is amazing!

Adrianna Foster: Adrianna Foster on Spotify, I have a lot of people. I have like 85,000 listeners a month. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, 85,000 listeners. I love you. I’ll give you more music soon, I promise.


Marly Q: Could you give us a little music today, make a little gift, a little gift once we wrap up. Ooh, I get my own little private concert here!

Adrianna Foster: So every time I hear this song or I sing this song, it reminds me of you like I mean it and because your smile literally was the light that I needed to just keep on going, that little spark of oxygen that I needed to just one more step that totally created the momentum to where I’m at. So this is for you Marly Q. [Signing – Nat King Cole – Smile]

Smile though your heart is aching Smile even though it’s breaking When there are clouds in the sky, you’ll get by If you smile through your fear and sorrow Smile and maybe tomorrow You’ll see the sun come shining through, for you

Light up your face with gladness Hide every trace of sadness Although a tear may be ever so near

That’s the time you must keep on trying Smile, what’s the use of crying? You’ll find that life is still worthwhile If you just smile.


Marly Q: What a gift. What a treat. Thank you! I’m going to have to wrap it up now so I can have a good cry. Thank you so much for making the Time to be Kind. Thank you for the gift of your voice. Thank you for the gift of your story and everything that you shared today. I feel that we can talk for many, many, many more episodes. So is it okay we invite you back?

Adrianna Foster: Of course. Oh my God. I can be here every day, so you just let me know.

Marly Q: Awesome. Thank you so much.

Adrianna Foster: Thank you.


I don’t know about you, but I’ve got a big SMILE on my face!

I really hope today’s interview inspired you too and serves as a powerful testimony of what can happen when you make the Time to be Kind and SMILE.

Your SMILE has the power to be the spark that YOU or someone else needs to feel seen, heard, connected and encouraged to keep going … and as you heard, it could even be someone’s North Star to light the way through a dark time and be guided back home.


What makes manKIND?

Do you believe people are unkind, or do you believe in manKIND? I believe this is the single most important question we can ask ourselves because our answer gives us the foundation for how we relate with ourselves, each other and the world. 

Dr. Eva Ritvo, psychiatrist and Co-Founder of the BeKindr Global Initiative, is back on the show to give us all science-based evidence on what actually makes manKIND.

The answer … may not be what you think! 


Click here to learn more & join the BeKindr Global Initiative

Click here to purchase hard copy of Bekindr Book

Read Dr. Eva Ritvo’s Article on How to Remain Kind during COVID-19 crisis

Interested in sponsoring Time to be Kind with Marly Q.? Click here for PARKnership Opportunities


Hi PARKer, I’m Marly Q. and welcome to Episode #3 with Dr. Eva Ritvo.

Do you believe the world is a friendly or hostile place?

It was Albert Einstein who said this was the most important question facing humanity and, 65 years after his death, I think you’d agree it’s still a very important question.

It inspired me to reinvite one of my favorite PARKers who you hopefully remember from Episode #1, Dr. Eva Ritvo. She’s a highly sought after psychiatrist and founder of the Bekindr global movement, a nonprofit dedicated to fostering more kindness in the world by educating and empowering people to think more about kindness. Last time she was here, she generously donated a signed copy of her Bekindr book, and I have to give a shout out to our first Kind Qrew winner all the way from Ohio, Christine Fabre-Rose. I hope you’re enjoying your Bekindr book!

If you want to be eligible to win free podcast prizes and giveaways, join my kind crew at www.marlyq.com/kindqrew

I’m so happy and grateful to have Dr. Eva back on the show today to give us awesome insight and science-based evidence on what I believe is the single most important question that you, me, and we could all ask ourselves.

Do you believe people are unkind or do you believe in mankind?


Dr. Eva Ritvo: Thank you, Marly. First, thanks for having me back. It’s a pleasure to be here again and see you and your husband. It’s a very good question and it’s complicated. Let me start backward. So what I want to talk to you about today is the reverse. The other side of that coin, which is what makes humans kind.

Scientists believe that a particular region of our brain called mirror neurons had a massive expansion around 40,000 years ago and that’s what allowed this development of humankind or mankind. Mirror neurons are a part of the brain that fire, in other words, get triggered when we see somebody doing something or we can sense a feeling from them. So if you’re tired or hungry or angry, our mirror neurons that correspond to that will fire. And if you are aware of mirror neurons, so much makes sense. It makes sense how we catch each other’s emotions. It makes sense how anger escalates so quickly. One person walks into the room angry, the next person catches it, boom, we’re off to the races. Same with the flip side of that with sexual excitement. One person’s excited, and the other one, and it spirals to really great place. So our mirror neurons are very active yet we’re not aware of them. And sometimes our own behavior can be very confusing to us because we’re not in awareness of our mirror neurons.


Classic example. If you sit down to lunch with someone, you’re having a great time, you’re about 20 minutes in, you look over and you’re sitting exactly the same. Why? Because your mirror neurons are firing. You’re watching each other’s body movement and those mirror neurons are firing and you’re synchronizing. So humans are actually designed to connect pre-verbally. We always think like, oh Marly, it’s great to talk. But no, we are transmitting so much information by looking into each other’s eyes and we know how each other is feeling. Really intuitive people can almost sort of guess what you’re thinking, finish your thoughts if you know somebody very well. So understanding that our brains are designed to synchronize helps us understand why man is so kind. Because if you’re in a difficult situation and that triggers my mirror neurons, then I feel uncomfortable too. So then when I step out of that to try to help you and you feel better, I feel better.

So we are wired to be kind. And if you think you are a new mother, you know how much of your relationship is there before your son ever said a word. You know, if he’s tired or you know if he’s hungry, you know what he wants, you know how to make him laugh. All this, it’s without words. So how do you do that?


Marly Q: That’s what I believe is the currency of kindness, right there, being tapped into those mirror neurons firing away being passed into that electricity or that current, if you will.

Dr. Eva Ritvo: Well, so you’re using slightly different words. You know, I went to medical school, so I’m rooted in that. Okay so what we have in our brains, we have neurons that fire and they release certain chemicals and they communicate with one another. So the mirror neurons in my brain are being triggered by, fired by, what I see you doing. And yes, that does change the energy. And so much of human interaction is pre-verbal because our most important members of society, our most dependent, ones we need to understand the best are our infant and they can’t talk.

So you can see that without mirror neurons, humans wouldn’t survive because we wouldn’t know what they needed. All animals, by the way, have mirror neurons in their brain. But what’s different about humans is around 40,000 years ago we got lots of mirror neurons. And then if you look, cultures took off from there because you could imitate and you could learn and you could transmit information, you could develop language and arts and sciences, etc. continued to flourish over all these thousands and thousands of years.

So humans are designed to be kind. That is in our name, mankind.


Now, I will tell you something though, it’s very interesting that I didn’t know until I was researching this book, which is there are certain receptors in our brain that are more responsive to kindness, and those are called are oxytocin receptors. Oxytocin is nicknamed the love or cuddle hormone. And when you hug somebody and you get that ooh, really good feeling, that’s because of oxytocin. If you see a little baby or you see a little puppy and you’re like, so cute, that’s oxytocin receptors. Oxytocin firing and then getting eaten up in your receptors. So what’s fascinating is about 1/3 of humans have more oxytocin receptors, which means they’re more sensitive to oxytocin. So about a third of our population is going to enjoy kindness more. They’re going to get more bang for their buck.

Marly Q: Maybe those are the people listening right now! Those that would make time to listen to a kindness podcast, maybe you’re one of the one third!

Dr. Eva Ritvo: Well, I would say almost undoubtedly. Because we’re sitting here with each other and we’re like, she’s so cute. She’s so smart. I love this girl. And that’s oxytocin. We didn’t even have to verbalize it. It’s not verbal, it’s pre-verbal. That’s what we’re both feeling. We are in sync with one another. Hopefully your listeners can intuit that and feel good. The ones who have extra oxytocin receptors are going to get it more, so they’re not only going to be the ones who listen, they’re going to be the ones who come back because they’re going to be like, wow, that podcast was cool. Whereas if somebody else’s brain is clicking away in some other part, they’re going to be like, I don’t get, it. Wasn’t that fun for me, didn’t really enjoy it.


Marly Q: Interesting there to go back to the initial question from one of our listeners, why are some humans unkind? Why does it seem to be that there’s so much unkindness in the world? So that’s the other side of that coin. Is it because people aren’t aware or tapped into their mirror neurons? Maybe that’s why you need to be the spark and make eye connection with someone and smile. Maybe if you have your arms folded, that’s body language that you don’t want to talk or your ear buds in your ear. You’re telling people you don’t want to connect.

Dr. Eva Ritvo: Well I love what you say, because you said something so important there, which is if they’re not tuned into this, it’s your opportunity to get them to tune in. And we do know our brains are what we call neuroplastic, which means they can change. And so if you’ve grown up in an unkind environment or you haven’t been exposed to that, that doesn’t mean game is over. And what I see a lot of times in young adults is getting an animal can help them rewire their brain. They learn to love and nurture animals because humans and animals were designed to live together. They’ve been living together for a long, long time and our brains wire up and synchronized very well with them and animals are great oxytocin triggers. That’s why puppies and kittens are so popular in YouTube because you can just trigger your own oxytocin and feel a lot better. So we can help people’s brains change. That’s the whole idea of the Bekindr global initiative and your spark, because we want everybody to be on board with kindness, and you certainly can train your brain to think more about kindness. Really, that’s our mission together. That’s our shared mission.

09:40 So if you are that natural 1/3, great, help others, if you’re not, please don’t despair. That’s an opportunity for growth and an opportunity for change and for you to elect, hey, how do I want to live my life? Just because it’s hard doesn’t mean you can’t do it. I always refer my patients to the movie, The King’s Speech, when he went from being stutterer to being an eloquent orator. Because so often we turn our weaknesses into strengths because we work on them. And so I think that was really very kind of you to point that out that no one should feel like, gee, I’m in the good camp or I’m in the bad camp. No, it’s not that.

But the initial question was very different, which is why does it seem like people are so unkind? And actually this is at the heart of what I like to talk about and the answer to that to me is simple, which is we look back, 40,000 years ago we lived in groups of a 100-150 people. Super easy to know how to be kind and super easy to know how to be unkind because you knew these people as basically as well as you knew yourself.

Okay. Fast forward to about 2007 when the social media explodes. All of a sudden you are aware of 7 billion people. Well, I don’t know about you Marly, but I do not have the capacity to be kind to 7 billion people.

Marly Q: Our ability to care has gone haywire as you like to say.


Dr. Eva Ritvo: I remember one time I was about to give a speech, so I was a little bit nervous and like four people came up to me and told me horrible things were happening in their life. I’m like yeah, I can’t, like I don’t even know what to say right now. So it’s impossible to know how to care about 7 billion people and our brains are very overloaded. Our brains were designed for a lot rest, a lot of downtime. We’re not getting it. So we’re short circuiting our brains. And so what we’re doing is we’re going to that arousal part of our brain, which has very primitive responses, which is fight, flight or freeze. And when we’re bathing our brains and cortisol, you are scared and you get paranoid and then you resort to simplistic thinking, which is “us versus them”.

And when you don’t see somebody’s face and you’re not really connecting with them, you’re not really understanding and It’s very easy to be out of sync. And you know what? It’s actually easy to be mean because you’re not feeling their pain when you say something mean.

So technology has so fundamentally altered who we know, how we know them, and then how we interact with them. And we removed mirror neurons from the equation, which is what made us human.

Marly Q: That’s the connection! We are so “connected,” now through technology. But we’re more disconnected than ever. And what you’re talking about with mirror neurons touches on exactly why there’s so much “unkindness,” it seems so prevalent is because people have disconnected from their innate kindness superpower. People have disconnected from actually connecting with other people in their eyes and in their body language so that those mirror neurons can actually be fired and be reciprocated. I think that this is such an important topic.


Dr. Eva Ritvo: Yeah. And also the problems are really complex. It’s one thing to solve a problem in your neighborhood because you’ve lived with it and you know it. But when we see images, you know, across the world of horrific things, it’s very overwhelming because we don’t have solutions. And then that puts us into that freeze state, and if we do that repeatedly, we just become numb and we don’t act.

I think this is a little bit what we’re seeing now with the climate crisis, which is we kind of knew it was coming, but we didn’t really know what to do and we weren’t being given the tools. So we kind of just tuned it out. And that’s human nature when you don’t know how to do solve a problem. And when there are 7 billion people and all the problems that go with it, it’s really a natural response.

I think it’s super important not to be critical of where we are as a humanity right now and not to despair, but to understand that this is a very natural growing pain of introducing a new way of living and being so rapidly. Really, it’s just not even two decades that everything has gotten altered.

So of course they’re going to be growing pains. Of course it’s going to seem that people are unkind, but that’s actually not true. And the fascinating part of technology is, technology is really just a way to connect because humans are at their core trying to connect. So it’s about using technology as a tool and as your friend and limiting your exposure to it, because our brains can’t handle all this information. And that comes back to what we talked about in our last beautiful time together, which is self-care and recognizing is technology being my friend right now or it turning me into something that I don’t want to be? An unkind person, a person whose got the earbuds in, so they didn’t hold the door open. Some of the drivers are incredibly unkind to think that that tech should prioritize over public health safety.

So I think we just need a lot of guidance, a lot of education, but to continue moving in this direction of increased connectivity because that is the essence of humankind.


Marly Q: Absolutely. And really a big purpose of why this podcast even exists is to be able to leverage and use technology for good. Let’s use technology in a way where we can actually connect with each other through this use. That’s why these podcasts episodes always have a question that someone has either asked me on social media or has submitted to me. And then we have amazing guests that can bring some insight and perspective into these questions that we all have. So thank you for reminding us again about our innate superpower of kindness and how easy it can be to tap into that and not despair by just looking at one side of the coin and believing that humans are unkind, cause the complete opposite is true when you’re tuned into that currency of kindness, right?

Dr. Eva Ritvo: Correct.

Marly Q: So thank you so much for coming back on the show. You’re always welcome. There’s so much to talk to you about, so you’ll be coming back, right?


Dr. Eva Ritvo: Absolutely. Look forward to it Marly, thank you so much.


Marly Q: So I’ll ask you again. Do you believe people are unkind or do you believe in mankind? Hopefully this interview helps shine some light on what makes mankind. Because believing in mankind gives us the foundation for how we relate with ourselves, each other and the world.

With all that’s going on in the world today, may you be reminded that your superpower of kindness is innate within you, and all we need to do is simply be aware of that power and be the spark so that we can trigger our mirror neurons in one another and synchronize not only our brains, but our hearts, our hands, and ultimately our world together. If you’d like to connect with Dr. Eva Ritvo, you can do so www.Bekindr.com.


Earth Day, Every Day!

Let’s Celebrate Earth Day’s 50th anniversary making Time to be Kind for this fun interview! You’ll be inspired & learn a few practical ways we can all be kinder to this one planet we share.


Visit bigblueandyou.org

Follow on Instagram @bigblueandyou

Interested in sponsoring Time to be Kind with Marly Q.? Click here


Hi, I’m Marly Q. and welcome to Episode #2 with Michelle Swaby-Smith As PARKers (people who Perform Acts of Random Kindness) we believe …

It’s Earth Day, Every Day! Our guest today is incredibly passionate about our planet and empowering young people to make a positive difference in the world. As the Co-Founder of The Big Blue & You, together with her daughter Danni Washington, and their mighty team of volunteers work passionately year round to educate & influence our youth about ocean conservation through Art and Media. The Big Blue & You is a non profit dedicated to providing a GLOBAL PLATFORM for our young generation to CREATIVELY EXPRESS their passion for the ocean and empower them to take ACTION to protect our blue planet.

What would you do for the big blue?

This interview will inspire and teach you a few practical ways we can all be kinder to this one planet we all share because the time is now!


“May I have five minutes of your time?” this was the question that sparked a beautiful relationship with my guest here with us today. Michelle Swaby-Smith, thank you so much for making the time to be kind.

Michelle: Thank you. Thanks for the invite.

Marly Q: I will tell you today we’ll take a little more than five minutes. I’ll be honest, this time.

Michelle: Always does Marly, it always does.

Marly Q: So let’s backtrack. Really what sparked our meeting and our relationship. Couple of years ago, I think it was 2015, I was planning our second annual 5k PARK Fest for park project and we were looking for a new venue. A new place to host our event. And it was suggested to me that I should reach out to miss Michelle Swaby-Smith over at historic Virginia Key Beach Park in Miami, Florida. And I’m like, “oh, okay. I don’t know this person.” I didn’t google you. I just reached out right away. I think I called, and I left the voicemail.

But I checked the address. I was like, “I’m not that far away. I’m just going to show up.” I’m going to show up here unannounced without an appointment. This woman doesn’t know me, but I’m going to just show up there in all my positivity. And I’m going to get to meet her and talk to her about my event.

And so I went, and I showed up at your office and the receptionist was so kind. She said, “do you have a meeting?” I was like, “no, but I just need five minutes of her time.” she was like, okay. And you were so kind to stop what you were doing. You were on the phone, you were busy, you were planning. I mean, you’re an event producer, like I am, and you’ve got a lot of events going on and this was like the beginning of the year, so I know it was eventful and you stop what you’re doing. You’re like, “hi, come on in.” and we sat down and I went like million miles an hour talking to you. Do you remember that?


Michelle: I remember, I remember. It was great. It was like a burst of joy came into my office. It was great.

Marly Q: Thank you for saying that. Not an overwhelming tornado, but joy. Thank you. Then when I was talking about this event and I just felt your energy was so… You were actually sitting there genuinely listening. And I just really always remember and I’m grateful for you genuinely opening your office and making the time to be kind and listen to someone like off the street literally, that you’ve never met before, that just had something exciting that she wanted to share with you. And you gave me way more than five minutes if I remember. And that sparked a beautiful relationship.

Not only did you help us host our 5k PARK Fest at historic Virginia Key Beach Park two years in a row, you were an integral part of our team. You helped us market the event. It just would not have; we are both event producers and events don’t happen without people. And without a strong team. And you were just such an important part of our team. And I’m so grateful for those five minutes and all the minutes after that.


Michelle: Me too. It’s wonderful that when you can experience things like that where someone comes in for business and then they end up being one of your dearest friend. You just have a beautiful, I knew from the moment you came in with your five fingers up, five minutes of your time please. And I’m like, “okay, this is going to be real fun right here.” and Marly, you are just amazing. And park fest that happened was just an amazing event. The concept of it, the energy of it. If people could just fold into that initiative, it would be amazing.

Marly Q: Awesome. Thank you. I feel like our podcast that we’ve started now is really an extension of that effort. As an event producer that’s my art. That’s my self-expression. I was to create an event to try and inspire people to park and bring them together in real life and experience kindness with strangers and friends and family alike. And I feel that this podcast again is an extension of that in some kind of virtual way. So thank you for being a part of it. And one of my very first guests.

Michelle: Thank you. Thank you for inviting me. Marly knows that I don’t do a lot of these. I like to be behind the camera, behind the scenes, behind the planning. And when she asked me, I had no hesitation where more times than not I would say “no, I’ll send somebody else,” who’s going to do this. But I’m here because I know that it’s going to be fun and we’ve already had like a lot of fun.

Marly Q: Oodles of fun before we hit record.

Michelle: So it’s always great. So I’m very happy to be here. Thank you so much.

Marly Q: Thank you. And you were so generous and really just being completely focused on me and my mission and my cause and wanting to support. And it wasn’t only until maybe a few months into us knowing each other that you really started telling me. I think during our first meeting you mentioned to me that you had a nonprofit with your daughter. And I think saw in me like a little spark of you. You relate it to me, not just as an event producer, but also, I think that you saw a little bit of your own cause and your own passion for what you do with your nonprofit and how I was sharing it. So would you mind please sharing with our listeners about your nonprofit?

06:16 Michelle: So the nonprofit is called the Big Blue and You. My daughter and I started it in 2008 and actually made it a nonprofit in 2009. And she graduated from university of Miami with her marine biology degree and did not want to work in the labs. She said she had a bigger mission in life, and we realize it now. Fast forward all these years. How many years is that? I don’t even know. So the mission of Big Blue and You is really to inspire and educate the youth and do it through art and science. And a lot of organizations go out there and they want to change the world, which is a great initiative. But we don’t want to change the world. We just want to educate the youth to help the world to be a better place.

Marly Q: Which does change the world.

Michelle: Eventually. But it’s such a daunting task to say we’re going to change the world. Cause a lot of times the world is not ready to be changed and a lot of people don’t think that the world needs to change. They’re happy with it as it is. We only have one planet. So we have to educate and inspire the youth right now. And even some older people that are open to it. To make choices, make better choices, do better things in life. Just using less invasive things for the planet. We can start with straws, as simple as this plastic straw that we can stop using. We can go to a restaurants and really ask and be mindful to say, “we don’t want a plastic straw.” thousands, millions, millions and millions of plastic straws end up in our ocean, which is over 50% of our oxygen comes from the ocean.

So the biggest message I think we want to give people is that 50% of your oxygen, the air you breathe every day comes from the ocean.


Marly Q: So we should be expressing some love and gratitude and kindness towards our ocean and what a simple way. One of the things that I love about the Big Blue and You and the way that you educate and inspire our youth and young at heart alike, is really by giving people kind of practical, simple ways that in your everyday life you can be better about or my mindful about protecting our planet that we all share. Protecting the world that we all share. And what you just mentioned right now about just not using plastic straws or where you go to the restaurant, just saying “don’t bring me a plastic straw.” sometimes they just bring it to you automatically.


Michelle: They do. They do. So I’m glad you brought that up. Because that’s one of the things that we kind of spiraled. We would go to restaurants; we would see all the single use plastic utensils they were using. They would bring a straw in your drink. You didn’t even ask for it. And so we would get a little angry, my daughter and I, and go about its kind of the wrong way. And so we finally realized that it’s very simple. We go and we say, “can we see the manager?” we say to the manager, it’s a very simple fix. Not saying that you should throw away all your plastic straws. We’d prefer that you have paper straws, but could you just ask the surface not to bring a straw and wait till the person asks for a straw and you’ll see the difference.

You’ll see that a lot more people are more aware of the fact that they shouldn’t be using plastic straws.

Marly Q: Instead of just assuming that we should bring one out. Just waiting to be asked if the customer would like that. That’s such an easy way to make a difference.

Michelle: And the hardest thing is when they actually bring the straw to us. What do you do now? Do we use it? Our conflict is, do we use it? Cause it’s already there. It’s already in the drink. We could take it out and put it to the side. That was a fight, but now we take it out. Because we really don’t want to be seen using a plastic straw.

10:09 Marly Q: It seems like such a small thing, but when you add up all the straws and all the people making the choices to use them, they make up a large portion of all the plastics in our ocean. So I just love that. I think it’s important. I think that’s something that’s a tip. It’s a practical way that we can all help our planet, help our world, our environment, save the oceans. And it’s something that a child can very easily understand and embrace, which to me is really important because when I found out that kindness was my super power, I was 10 years old and I had someone make me believe or make me feel that I could in my own little ten-year-old self without any money, without any power, influence, a car. I mean, nothing I can make a difference. With these small acts of kindness every day.

You can make a difference by picking up paper and recycling it by recycling plastic bags. Not using plastic bags when you go to the grocery store.


Michelle: Zero plastic bags. We’re in 2020 now and I think as a whole, the united states is starting to realize that they have to be a part of that difference. And so New York has banned plastic bags now, California of course, always the first to do these environmental movements. California has banned it. And one of the solutions that I find with plastic bags, we have the reusable bags in our cars. And even I sometimes go to the store and I get in the store. I’ve gotten all my items, I’m at the cashier and I’m like, “oh, my bag is in the car.”

Marly Q: I know that’s happened to more than just you and I and people listening. You’re like, “it’s in the car. I’m a good person. I care about the planet. I swear!”

Michelle: But I’ll just take a plastic bag.

Marly Q: I’ll just take a plastic bag. How can we better?


Michelle: Oh my gosh, it’s so easy. Everyone listen. Your reusable bag is in the car. So put the items back in the shopping cart, go to your car and put them in your bag.

Marly Q: “just a moment, I’ll be right back. It is right outside.”

Michelle: No, you pay for everything and you put them back in your shopping cart and you wheel that out. Like you’re at Costco, at Costco you don’t get a bag. Should we say those names?

Marly Q: I don’t know, would you like to sponsor? Please call us.

Michelle: They never give you bags or anything like that. They’ll give you a cardboard box, but just put your items back in your shopping cart, wheel them out and pay for your items and wheel it out to your car and then put them in your bag that’s sitting there waiting for you.


Marly Q: Michelle, that sounds so obvious and I have never thought of that. I’d be like, “oh no, I can’t do anything about it.” and it really is so simple. You can really just roll your cart out with your items and right there in your trunk. Fill them up into your usable bags. Thank you. I swear like I had not thought about that before and it’s a very easy way.

Michelle: It is so funny that no one thinks of it. Not even the cashiers at Publix, and part of my education is telling, when I go in, I’m cashing out at these stores. I say to the cashiers cause they’re like, “you want me to put it back in your cart?” I’m like, “yeah, just put it back in the cart, because I have a bag in the car.” and they’re like, oh! And the light bulb goes off.

Marly Q: Thank you for that light bulb moment for me and anyone listening, it really could be a lot simpler than we make it. And I love that. I think everyone can agree that we all need to take better care of our planet. But sometimes the way that the message or the education is delivered is not in a way that people want to receive it. It’s not in a very kind way. Sometimes you want to avoid the environmentalist that are like kind of jamming down your throat what you should or shouldn’t do and making you feel like a bad person for not doing that. And I just love that the Big Blue and You doesn’t approach education that way.


Michelle: We don’t. One of our biggest questions is, if people have another planet that they can go to, we’d love to know. We really would. Because 90% of the population is treating the planet like they have somewhere else that they can go once it’s destroyed and we’re heading in that direction. I hate gloom and doom, but we’re heading in that direction if we continue to do the things that we’re doing now.

Marly Q: You’re right. You’re absolutely right. So I do think it’s a matter of education, awareness, mindfulness. And it does start with our youth. Just bringing that to light, that it could be so simple to make a difference and to help our environment. That’s why I was such a fan of the captain planet and the planeteers. I know it’s a little cheesy, but that’s why also they made it seem like I can make a difference. So please keep doing the great work that you’re doing. Could you please share with us, I know you have an annual event that’s amazing?


Michelle: We do a signature event called Art By The Sea. And we do it once a year. It’s a really heavy lift as far as planning an event. Cause we are perfectionist. And so what it does is we bring art and science together. So we have usually about 10 booths that have artists and 10 booths that have scientists. And what we do is we correlate, there’s an artist booth, a science booth, and it goes all the way through and whatever the science message is and that could be something about why do dolphins strand themselves? It’s the biggest mystery that people don’t understand. So scientists are looking into it.

And what I didn’t mention was the science booths are done by university students. They come up with the ideas, they put the activation together and they put the message together. And once the kids go through that, or the youth or families go through that booth, then they go to the artist booth next to it and they create some kind of art that correlates to whatever they learn in the science. And it is so eye-opening for so many kids. And especially underprivileged children. We find that their whole world is about survival in underprivileged areas.

And so part of what we do is, we know that transportation on a Saturday maybe a little bit hard for parents to do that. So we rent buses and we send buses out.

Marly Q: Yes, I was going to mention that how you all facilitate that. Like a big family field trip on your buses and you all do that. I think it’s such an amazing effort. Because again, as an event producer, I understand the logistics involved with renting buses and shuttling people in. And it’s a whole lot of extra work that you all take on from your heart to do in order to make this event accessible, make this education and this experience accessible to underserved areas.


Michelle: Absolutely. Few years ago we decided that we want to make this worldwide and take Art By The Sea worldwide. So we created the Art By The Sea popups. So we’ve done quite a few, la, St Croix, the Bahamas. We want to go to Jamaica this year.

Marly Q: Of course you do, my Jamaica fans.

Michelle: And so we just want to take it everywhere. We’ve been invited to Boston to do an Art By The Sea popup. We’ve done one in Washington DC at a really big event that had 362,000 students and we did a pop up there that was so amazing. And just for an organization that’s volunteer run.

Marly Q: Yeah, that was started by a mom and a daughter.

Michelle: Mommy and daughter. Because we’re volunteer ran, we came up with Art By The Sea popups because it’s a lighter lift for us. Because planning a signature event, of course as you know, is arduous and a lot of moving parts and the popup, the brilliant idea that Danni and I came up with was that we could take Art By The Sea into an event that’s already created by someone else and they did all the work. We just have to create an area of space.


Marly Q: It’s being resourceful and it’s also adding value to someone else’s event. That’s what I call a beautiful PARKnership. And I want to thank you so much for just allowing me to be a part of Art By The Sea, part of the Big Blue and You and in a small way that I’ve been able to thus far, it’s been just such a joy to see just how far you’ve come in the short amount of time that we’ve known each other. And I had just seen growth and it’s all heart driven. It’s all super purposeful, meaningful, impactful work that I am just incredibly proud of and I’m just so happy to be able to shine the light on a little bit and celebrate.

Michelle: Thank you so much. I do want to give kudos to my daughter of course, Danni who is very driven, hasn’t swayed from the mission. She knew she wanted to do marine biology and marine science since she was six years old and she hasn’t swayed. And so with the Big Blue and You, we put together a great team of people.


Marly Q: Absolutely. Talk to me about your team and I know that you just recently have expanded your team and you have an executive director now.

Michelle: Yes. Amen. Hallelujah for Kim Jones.

Marly Q: And shout out to Kim and your volunteers and your amazing committee that comes together every year, not just for Art By The Sea, but to put together your popups and just spread your mission and your message year-round.

Michelle: Absolutely. To find people that have the same drive, have the vision. You don’t have to lead them, I’m talking about Kim in particular. Kim came to us and she was working on a lot of projects. She’s actually an event producer as well.

Marly Q: Oh of course, us great people, event producers!


Michelle: She came into my office as well. She was working on an event and I’m like, “this girl has something really special.” and it evolved into today. As of last year she became our executive director of the Big Blue and You and has just done amazing thing. There’s a lot of moving parts to it and she is tackled all of them and is driving us in the right direction. So kudos to Kim, kudos to our board, Ellen Woods and Orvill Dwyer, and they’ve been with us since the beginning. They have never swayed. They’ve been a part of our board and we brought in other board members, but they have never left us.

Marly Q: It is so important. People, our PARKers, our partners is really what keeps it all moving forward, what keeps the movement moving forward and keeps us really focused on the mission and the drive. Because if not, it would just be you. It would just be you and your daughter. It would just be us. And there’s an expiration date to that. There’s burnout. We’ve experienced it over and over again. So big shout out to the team at the Big Blue and You. How can people listening connect with you all and be a part of it?


Michelle: Very easy. So thank goodness for the worldwide web and you can go to our website, it’s www.bigblueandyou.org and or you can put thebigblueandyou.org. Either one will work and there’s a lot of information on there and you can definitely click on there to volunteer, to be a part of our board, to reach out and send us emails to find out about the signature event and the popups and anything else that you may want.

Danni’s now an international speaker. She does science communications, marine science communication, and does science communication as a whole. And so she can go around and, if you want somebody to come out and speak to you about, just storytelling I think is her biggest thing. And her storytelling tells you how you can do something that seems daunting as far as being somebody special in the world that make different, to make good choices and to help kids inspire kids to do better with what they do for the environment. She goes out and she’d speaks from ages 4 to 90; can really understand her stories and really have what she tells them resonate in their lives.

Marly Q: Absolutely. Please follow. Is it @DanniWashington?


Michelle: Yes. Danni Washington.

Marly Q: There you go. And check out the www.bigblueandyou.org. Follow them on social media. Please connect and reach out. There’s really so much that we can do for the planet, and our oceans together. So thank you so much for making the time to be kind today, it was a joy to have you here.

Michelle: A joy to be with you, Marly Q. Thank you so much and thanks everyone for listening and definitely continue listening to Marly’s podcast because I know they are going to be so much fun and interesting.

Marly Q: It’s our podcast. Thank you for being a part of it right from the beginning, in the beginning of so many things. Thank you.

[Outro Music]


So now what would you do for the big blue? I know I’m going to be more mindful about not using plastic straws or plastic bags, that’s for sure. I hope this interview not only inspired but empowered you with some practical tips on how we can all be kinder to our planet. Not just today on earth day, but every day. I encourage you to connect with the Big Blue and You and learn how you can participate in Art By The Seat and their pop-up events as a volunteer. Visit www.bigblueandyou.org and follow them on Instagram @bigblueandyou


Overcoming Self-Doubt

If you’ve ever let self-doubt stop you from following your calling then make Time to be Kind for this kickoff episode where I share my personal story overcoming self-doubt & anxiety starting this podcast & how you can BeKindr to yourself too!


Click here to join BeKindr Global Initiative

Click here to purchase your Bekindr Book

Read Coping with Anxiety during COVID-19


Have you ever let self-doubt hold you back from starting something you really wanted to do?

If so, this interview will share the story of how I overcame my own self-doubt and anxiety when starting this podcast. It’ll inspire you with real life stories about the power of kindness and you’ll learn a few tips to “BeKindr” to ourselves, each other and the world.

So allow me to officially introduce our very first guest. She’s got an impressive bio, but the first thing you should know is she’s a PARKer, someone who Performs Acts of Random Kindness, just like you and me!

Dr. Eva Ritvo is a psychiatrist with more than 25 years of experience practicing in Miami Beach, Florida. She’s the founder of BeKindr, a global movement to foster more kindness in the world. She’s also the co-founder of the Bold Beauty Project, a nonprofit that pairs women with disabilities, with award-winning photographers and creates inspirational art shows all across the US.

She’s an international speaker, frequently seen on TV, radio and in print. She’s co-authored several books including the BeKindr book, which I’m honored to have contributed my own story to!

Which reminds me stay till the end of the episode because we’ve got a special giveaway, but you have to be part of my Kind Qrew. It’s quick and free to join. So do it now at www.marlyq.com and with that said, thank you for making time to be kind. Let’s listen!


When I first announced that I wanted to start this podcast and actually answer the call to grow and magnify our message of kindness, the first question that I received from one of my friends on social media was … how do you overcome self-doubt?

And I felt like such a phony or a fraud because in that moment I felt so much self-doubt about starting a podcast, about using my voice to spread this message in a bigger way and as a new mom, I’m like, am I even going to have time to commit to starting a new podcast? How can I give somebody else advice about overcoming self-doubt when I am riddled with it? And in that moment, I realized I need to be kinder to myself and who pops into my mind when I think of being kinder is my good friend, Dr. Eva Ritvo, who I picked up the phone to text immediately. I happen to be in Miami Beach leading a yoga and meditation session at an event and I texted her, “Hey Eva, are you available for lunch by any chance”? And within an hour, Eva had rearranged her schedule and made the spontaneous lunch happen. That lunch was the spark of actually starting to record this podcast. And I am so grateful to have Dr. Eva Ritvo here at my home recording our very first podcast interview.

So, Eva, if you would be so kind as to share, your insight on how to overcome self-doubt and how you helped me overcome self-doubt in that one hour or so lunch session.


Dr. Eva: Well I think you were going through a very natural transition. You’ve always had a very productive, busy professional life and I think you had overcome most of your self-doubt and you’re out there and spreading messages of kindness and speaking to people and inspiring so many people. But then you did a turn and you got pregnant and you had your son. And I know that your choice was to dedicate your whole first year to your son.

So getting back to something is always difficult and it’s a really difficult transition for women who’ve been in a professional role and then switched to motherhood to integrate that. And each woman, you know, comes up with a different answer for that and that answer can certainly vary throughout your children’s lives. But the initial transition back to work is always difficult. I think giving yourself space to have self-doubt, to be insecure, to not know what the right thing is really important because you’ve never been in this position before.

And we talked at lunch about how to balance those two things and I’m really proud of you that you decided to go forward and share your message of kindness because now is the time we’re about to be in a new decade in a very, very new world. And as you know, I’m very committed to kindness, because I think that’s really the solution to a lot of these complex problems that we’re facing as a society. I also think it was the solution to your problem that day at lunch was just to be kinder to yourself and give yourself space for being anxious and not knowing how to balance your motherhood responsibilities, your work life. And you also have a very important marriage, which deserves time and nurturance, and you’ve got a big extended family and you love yoga and working out and you’ve got lots of friends. So it is genuinely hard to balance all these things.

Marly Q: Well, I really appreciate you being the spark of getting me out of my own way. And just by taking a small action, you start to gain confidence and you start to empower your voice. So I’m really grateful for that. And you weren’t just the spark of this, that’s happening right now, but you are also the spark of me putting into writing my story of kindness .Why I believe that kindness is your superpower. Why I spend all of my time and my professional career the last 15 years or so, speaking, creating events and teaching and even the yoga is about self-love and kindness.


So your book, BeKindr book was the first time that I ever put into writing this story that later became my Ted talk “Kindness is your Superpower”. So I know we started off talking about me here, but I definitely want to switch gears and talk about you because the work that you do in your profession for the last 30 years, I’d love for you to share about the work that you do, but also how you sparked to the BeKindr global initiative, how that all came about.

Dr. Eva: Well, thank you Marly. It is a pleasure to be here with you and to be speaking about this topic. So backing up a little bit, I am a psychiatrist, as you said in your introduction. I’ve been seeing patients for almost 30 years now. And at times I like to get out of my office and like you’ve, you know, find a bigger voice and a bigger message and I think kindness is something that’s universal. And over the last several years as technology has infiltrated our lives, I think kindness is getting altered. In some ways, we’re kinder than ever. Now all of a sudden, we know about 7 billion people and we know about traumas, catastrophes all over the world. And when something happens, an earthquake, a fire, money can rush in from everywhere. People rush into help from everywhere.

I think there’s a real raising of consciousness around equal rights due to technology and everything we know. So I think overall technology has been very positive, but the negative is, it’s removing us from our one to one interactions. And unfortunately, I think we’re losing some of the kindness that needs to be in our day to day lives. So my initial plan was to write this book about kindness, and I was actually inspired to do that because of kindness that I received.

08:00 Marly Q: Please share, please share your kind stranger story!

Dr. Eva: You and I both know that kindness is so powerful and when we receive it, it’s so touching. And then we want to give back. So the book is my way of giving back and it’s dedicated to a man named Louie and of course to my daughters as well. Who’ve taught me so much about kindness. But Louie and I met actually in 2008, a very similar way to you and I talking, but not face to face. We were on radio. He’s in Cleveland. I’m based in Miami beach. And we talked about my previous book, The Beauty Prescription, and he started the interview with a very open ended and he said, “tell me about yourself”.

And at that moment in 2008, that was actually a very tough question for me because it was about yeah, about six weeks before my 20-year marriage ended, and we were sort of in the thick of trying to decide what to do. And ironically, I had this book coming out on women’s empowerment, right, “the complete formula for looking and feeling beautiful”. And yeah, I didn’t feel any of those. So I did my radio interview and kind of muddled through it.

And at the end he said, “would you ever like to come back on the show or would you like to talk off air”? And that sentence ended up changing my life because over the next 11 years, it’s been 11 years now, he has been really my greatest supporter. And at the time of my struggles going through the separation, going through the divorce, I would picture him like that life vest thing they throw in the water. And you kind of grab on and then they pull you back to shore. He had a gift with words. We actually still have not met in person. Our entire relationship has been on the phone through texting, on the air multiple times throughout now, the decade. And Louie was my kind stranger.

10:00 And he said that he could feel my pain and identified with that and just wanted to help and was so helpful to me. And I thought, well this is sort of strange cause I do have friends. I actually had a therapist, I have parents, kids. Why is a complete strangers so helpful to me? Why would he take his time to do that? Why would I open up to him? And how did that situation become so transformative? So being a curious person, scientist, I asked for stories from other people and in a pretty short time got about 220 of them.

Marly Q: Yes. Mine being one of them.

Dr. Eva: Absolutely. The hard part was not publishing all of them. That was really tough. But sorting through. And then the idea was to just let everybody know how impactful kindness can be. And it can be something very, very small. You know, as there’s one beautiful story in here about a girl who had just come from the grave site of seeing her father and she went into Einstein’s bagel and he gave a smile and kind words and it just meant everything to her at that moment. Or it can be really complex things. Like one man who decided to educate kids in the Philippines, and he ended up educating almost a hundred children in the Philippines, not just through elementary, but many of them through college and graduate school. So he now, on Father’s Day, literally gets cards and Facebook messages from around the world, from all of his surrogate children.


So kindness can be something tiny, something huge, something complicated, but it’s something so powerful…always so powerful.

Marly Q: Absolutely. 100%. I remember, that’s how we connected initially is a friend, a mutual friend of ours shared with me your call for stories and she said, “Marly, you’ve got to put your story in writing and put it part of this book”. And at first, I was like, my story is so small. Like it was really just basically this one sentence that my fourth-grade teacher told me that when I was 10 years old, really made an impact in that particular moment and changed the course of my life.

Because I started to believe that kindness was, in fact, a superpower. And it could be as easy for a child to start Performing Acts of Random Kindness and making a difference in the world, and you don’t need any money right? That’s when I talk about the currency of kindness, a lot of times people feel that they can’t make a difference because they don’t have the money or, you know, in order to be a philanthropist, you need to donate thousands and millions of dollars to have your name on a wall or on a plaque. And it’s really not about that at all. So I’m just so grateful that you created not just your book, but a platform for people to be able to share an essence, promote all kinds of kindness makes an impact. So tell me a little bit about how the BeKindr book and the launch somehow sparked to this global initiative. How did that happen?

Dr. Eva: Well, the book came out in November of 2017 and at the time I had different people assisting me. One whose name was Patrice Samara and she was down from New York. And as you know, New Yorkers are always thinking big and changing the world cause they’re New Yorkers. So we had about 300 people at the launch and right before I was about to give my speech that you introduced me, right before my speech with all these eyes on me, Patrice hands me a poster that says BeKindr global initiative and she says, “here, go ahead and announce this”! And I am like what? She goes, “Yeah, this isn’t a book launch. We’re launching a global initiative.”

Marly Q: And I saw your face. “Global initiative?”


Dr. Eva: Talk about self-doubt. I’m like, “what is she talking about?” But I was literally in front of everybody now with this poster in my hand. So I’m one of those people who always tells the truth. So I just told the truth. And I said, well, I just got handed this poster so you’re all learning with me…

We’re now all part of the BeKindr global initiative.

And that’s the point. Obviously, it’s not something I could do. It’s not something you can do. It’s something that we can do. And that was 2017, now we are almost 2020, we are in 2020 and I think consciousness has shifted that everybody sort of gets that and this climate crisis has a silver lining, which makes us recognize, wait a minute, we actually are all one family. We actually all have one home and therefore everyone has to contribute. And I don’t think we’ve been thinking that way. I think we’ve all been thinking very siloed, which is, “Hey, I want to drive here, I want to fly here, I want to get this plastic, whatever.” And we’re not really thinking about the bigger impact of our behaviors. And the climate crisis has given us an opportunity to really say, “wait a second. It’s not true. It’s not true that what I do doesn’t impact you. It does impact you.” And we do need to think about us as a whole, as humanity, as a whole. What are we doing? Where are we going? How do we want that to look? And you can see the kids get it. The kids who’ve grown up in this flat world with digital technology, they get it. Older people, it’s sort of a new paradigm for us. So I think that kindness is something that people are understanding at a more deep and fundamental level, even just in the couple of years since this global initiative was launched. And I see that as very positive.

Marly Q: I agree. I agree. What I love about the BeKindr book as well as the initiative is that really the philosophy behind it is you are encouraging people to think more about kindness.

Dr. Eva: And that’s it. And it’s really important that you just said that Marly, because that means that every single one of your listeners now is already part of the Be Kindr global initiative.


Marly: Welcome!!

Dr. Eva: You’re on board. Because it’s what you said, it’s not about buying or giving or doing, it’s about mental state, about altering your mental state so that you see things through a lens of kindness. And the reason I say all of your listeners are on board is because they already chose to listen to a podcast on kindness. So clearly, they’re part of the BeKindr Global Initiative. And then for me as a psychiatrist, it’s really important that I don’t tell people what to do because that would really go against my profession. You know, somebody comes in, well, you know, should I marry them? Should I take this job? Should I move here? The last thing your psychiatrist should tell you is, what to do. They should help you explore what you want to do and make the best choice for you.

So that’s sort of the same way I approach kindness. I’m never going to tell somebody what to do. I’m just going to say you ought to think about it a little more and maybe function from that space and see how it feels for you. And usually it feels pretty good. So then people want to do it again and again and it becomes really reinforcing. But for every single listener out there, you can take home something different. One can decide to smile more. One can decide to go to yoga like you and I are both really doing, another can decide to be vegetarian to help the environment and other can write a check for $1 million if they have that skill and ability. What’s important is that they start to see the whole and how they are connected to the whole.

And I was at a recent political rally where I heard an old quote that I just love, which is “we all do well when we all do well.”

Marly Q: Yes, yes.

Dr. Eva: And if you embrace that, then your choices become different.

Marly Q: Right. Through the lens and the perspective and the mindset of kindness.

Dr. Eva: That’s it.

Marly Q: And your BeKindr global initiative talks about not just kindness towards others, right? You’ve got kindness towards self.


Dr. Eva: Well self is number one and I think it’s really important that our listeners hear that.

Because sometimes people give when they’re depleted and that ends up backfiring and not working. As adults, not children, as adults each of us is responsible for our self and we’re responsible for our own life. And no one really can do that for us unless we’re in a debilitated or sick kind of a state. But when we are well, it’s our obligation and responsibility to take care of ourselves. And that’s the balance you’re trying to find now as a mother, because Jude has rewired your brain and has made you think, wait, I got to take care of him before me. I can’t take a shower now because he’s hungry. Which is true because he’s a child and he’s your responsibility. But when it comes to your wellbeing, you still have to be in charge. And only you know what that means. How much sleep do you really need? How often do you need to take a break? How much creativity do you need to bring into your life so that you can be your happiest, healthiest, because Jude needs you basically for the rest of both of your lives.

So I think oftentimes new mothers’ kind of get caught up in the sprint of it because it’s so difficult at the beginning when you’re not sleeping, it’s hard to get your proper nutrition. You don’t get your time with friends; you’re not nourishing your intellectual side with work. So the first year is quite depleting. But once we move past that first year of motherhood, it’s vitally important to take care of our self.

In the book I talk about on the airplane. We all know the oxygen mask drops down and we all intuitively get it. Okay, put it on yourself first, because then you can think and then you can problem solve and then you could help people. But it’s got to be that way all the time. You’ve got to be doing what you feel happy, good, productive, rested, safe. And then when you’re strong like that, it’s very easy to give cause you’re almost overflowing.


Marly Q: Yes, absolutely. And it is a practice. It’s so easy to kind of fall off that, you know, that train of thought or fall off the wagon if you will, of self-care and self-love and self-kindness. Dr. Eva: I don’t think it’s embedded in our culture.

Marly Q: I agree.

Dr. Eva: I think we’re sort of in a busy kind of a culture that wants you to spend and wants you to look a particular way and Instagram, etc. So I think it’s actually hard for almost everybody to do proper self-care because we’re pulled in so many directions. So really to do it and to own it and feel good, you know, we’re not going to get there seven days a week. It’s just not going to happen. So I don’t want listeners to think, “Gee, I didn’t take good care of myself today. I’m a failure. No.”

Marly Q: And how can I be kinder in that moment? We’re saying, you know, I failed in that moment. Well now you can make with that awareness, you can make a new choice.

Dr. Eva: You know what, if you get a false start, try something else.

Marly Q: Yeah. What I love about what you’re teaching because you are teaching, but it’s not something that you need to tell people, like you said, what to do. It’s more about just reminding people of who they are. Reminding each other and reminding ourselves of our innate man-kind-ness. And how can we amplify that? How can we share that some more? How can we nurture that in ourselves and in others?

So with that, Eva, I’m so, so grateful again for you, for all that you do, for all that you are and all that you give every single day. Thank you again for being part of our show today. We have to have you come back multiple times because you have so much more to give, so much more to offer and if it’s okay with you, we’d love to invite you back for future episodes.

Dr. Eva: Of course, I can’t wait to come back.

Marly Q: Well thank you so much.

Dr. Eva: Thank you Marly, it’s always a pleasure to be with you and your husband and next time, hopefully Jude too. Thank you.

[Outro Music]


I hope you found this interview as inspiring as I did. To learn more about the BeKindr Global Movement, visit www.bekindr.com, that’s WWW.BEKINDR.COM and share your kind acts and stories on social media using hashtags #Bekindr and #wepark.

Dr. Ritvo generously gave us a signed copy of the BeKindr book to give away to one of you Parker’s listening! So if you’re not part of my Kind Qrew yet, the time is now to join at www.marlyq.com/kindQrew for your chance to win this & future giveaways.


Welcome PARKer, I’m Marly Q.

If you’re making time to be kind with me right now, I know one thing about you …

You’re a person who Performs Acts of Random Kindness and that makes you … a PARKer!

Perhaps, it’s the only thing you need to know about me too! and well, one more thing …

I LOVE acronyms!

In fact, I’ve been called a serial acronymist (as in someone who creates and uses way too many acronyms) so you’ll want to listen closely and maybe even have a pen and paper handy because you’ll be speaking my lingo in no time!
This blog & podcast was created for YOU and all PARKers who are using their superpower of kindness in small and big ways to make the world a better place every day!

And just in case you don’t believe you’re a PARKer (yet) … stay with me … my goal is that this podcast will inspire you to become one, in no time! 🙂

Here’s my promise to you … if you make Time to be Kind with me, every Wednesday, my intention is for each episode to inspire and ignite your superpower of kindness by sharing personal stories, insightful interviews and valuable tips to enrich EVERY area of your lIfe with the currency of kindness.

My mission is simply to be the spark that inspires you to PARK because I believe that together, we can create a World where Everyone Performs Acts of Random Kindness.

I just dropped two more acronyms on you & our hashtag for the movement so remember it … #wePARK We Perform Acts of Random Kindness!

Because you see, it’s not up to ME to change the world … it’s up to WE and the innate power we all have to be the spark of kindness no matter who you are, where you were born, how old you are, how much money, education or resources you think you have or don’t have.

After dedicating over a decade of my life to being the spark through public speaking, teaching and creating hundreds of philanthropic events in South Florida, this podcast is my next humble (yet boldest) attempt to create the kind of ripple effect I believe our world desperately needs.

Why boldest? Because this has been a calling that I ignored and put away on my shelf for about 3 years before I worked up the courage to get started.

I could give you a dozen reasons :: ahem :: excuses why, but the bottom line is, I was scared.

I was paralyzed by self-doubt and anxiety and overwhelmed by perhaps the biggest lie most of us tell ourselves … “I don’t have time” … can you relate?

Well, I finally decided that TIME is no longer an excuse for not following my heart’s desire …

TIME became another acronym that I secretly baked into the title of this podcast …

This Is My Experience.

Because if it’s ONE thing my life has taught me time and time again it’s this …

There’s ALWAYS TIME to be kind to ourselves, each other and the world.

We just have to make the TIME. This Is My Experience.

“no act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted” –

To be clear this isn’t a podcast where I’m just going to share my favorite acronyms and quotes (although, fair warning … I most certainly will)

But I’m not here to simply preach the PHILOSOPHY of kindness. I’m more interested in learning the SCIENCE of kindness and more importantly in sharing how we can make the PRACTICE of Kindness part of our daily lifestyle and culture as ONE manKIND.

Because I firmly believe that kindness has the power to transform our inner world, outer world and the WHOLE WORLD … when wePARK together!

This is why I’m so excited that you’re here and am looking forward to being on this journey!

If you’re ready to become an “official” PARKer and join our growing community of people who Perform Acts of Random Kindness worldwide .. then WELCOME to my Kind Qrew!

It’s super Quick and Free to join visit www.marlyQ.com/kindqrew

While you’re there, if you want to learn more about me, check out my About page which also has a link to my Tedx Talk titled “Kindness is your Superpower”. 🙂

ThankQ for making the time to connect with me and listening to this welcome episode!

If you haven’t already, please Subscribe so you don’t miss the latest episodes and feel free to be the spark and share with a friend who would love to make more time to be kind too!

You see how easy it is to be a PARKer? You’re a natural!

Kindest hugs,

Marly Q.