I’m absolutely beyond excited to share this interview with you. I’ve been a huge fan of Belinda’s for a while now, and for some reason, I was incredibly nervous about asking her for an interview. Luckily, she said ‘yes’ and honestly, I read this interview 5 times before putting it together for the blog. I particularly love her story about her book, ‘Living from the Inside Out’. Reading Belinda’s words reflects a lot of my own views about my illness- as she mentioned in our emails, we’re survivor sisters!
Belinda Anderson is a Certified Life Coach who guides, empowers and teachers her clients how to create a life they love from the inside out. She is the author of ‘Living from the Inside Out’, A Guide to Healing and Transforming your Life from Within, and a Law Of Attraction, Meditation and Pilates teacher. Belinda lives on the Gold Coast in Queensland with her husband and 2 precious sons.
Without further ado, may I present to you the gorgeous, vibrant Belinda Anderson.
1) Describe how you would love everyone to feel in 3 words.
Healthy. Happy. Validated.
2) Describe yourself in 3 words.
Honest. Loving. Grateful.
3) What inspired you to create your website, book and business, ‘Living from the Inside Out’?
As I mention above, I am honest, so I’m going to be honest with this answer: It all started with my book. Writing a book is usually the icing on the cake for most authors as it’s something that is created at the pinnacle of their career or after intense training or education. Not my book! Living from the Inside Out was not created from planning, logic or intellect. I was intuitively guided – the path was laid before me, and I recognised that, I listened and followed, and here I am. The story of how this all unfolded is in my book.
4) I know that you too suffered from CFS and Fibromyalgia. How did you feel during that time?
I felt chained down by my pain, exhausted. My muscles were knotted up, I had widespread pain and burning sensations throughout my entire body and everything was tense and stiff. My head ached and felt as though it was being held tightly in a vice. My mind and head were always foggy, which affected my cognitive function. However, I kept getting on with life as if it were normal, as I learnt to live and accept this way of life. On the exterior I didn’t look sick. Nothing appeared to be wrong, so no-one was really aware of my illness. I insisted on keeping it all together (at that point in my life I was incredibly stubborn!), battling on, but inside, every part of my body was hurting like crazy!
My husband who was my boyfriend at the time witnessed my pain and knew immediately the days I was really suffering. It was always written on my face, evident in my heavy eyes and in the type of mood I was in. It is incredibly hard to feel upbeat and energised when your body is screaming with pain on the inside.
5) Was there any one thing in particular that really accelerated your healing, or was it a combination of a few different approaches?
I am going to share some of my book here: I searched and tried every option, technique and avenue available. I had a massive network of people helping me with my symptoms. I could list every physical therapy, exercise, vitamin, mineral, herb, doctor and professional I relied on to help me find an answer, not to mention the large amounts of money I spent. What I didn’t realise was that I was searching for answers in the wrong place – I was focused on the body rather than the underlying cause of my pain.
I would later learn that my physical pain was connected to internalising thoughts and emotions of the past, which had been suppressed and locked in my subconscious. But until that time, the stories of my past were written in my body; my negative thoughts and feelings had become their physical equivalent.
As the years went by I began learning how to overcome many obstacles by dealing with the emotions connected to my past, and in doing so, my physical symptoms began to dissolve. Getting to the heart of the matter and changing my perceptions were huge steps in allowing me to move on and change my outlook on life.
Learning that “where the mind goes the body will follow” was also a huge milestone, as it allowed me to understand the mind/body connection.
The first time I noticed many of my symptoms subsiding was during my first pregnancy. This was a very happy time for me. My life felt meaningful, and I had such a deep love for my unborn baby. It was the first time I became aware of my positive emotions translating into an easier, more comfortable feeling in my body.
My Chinese acupuncturist later played a major part in furthering my healing. He truly taught me to take the focus off my symptoms and place it on the real reason: The cause. I later discovered and embraced the emotional connection and probable cause of my fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue in an online column by Louise Hay, author of the well-known book You Can Heal Your Life. In response to a reader with similar symptoms to mine, she wrote: “Stiffness is a result of rigid, stiff thinking. Tension, fear and holding on result in the body cramping and gripping.”
What a reality check! Before I read this, I had already learnt to let go of what was causing my pain and angst, and this letting go had cured me. What I read was simply the icing on the cake, a confirmation of my own experience.
6) You also teach Pilates and are passionate about active living. How did you come to trust your body again after being ill?
Even when I was struggling I still always felt I had to move my body because if I didn’t, it would cease up even more. Movement was necessary for me. Pilates and Yoga played a big role in my ‘physical’ recovery and still to this day they dominate my exercise regime, as I find they complement one another beautifully. They are holistic practices that give me the most benefit mentally, spiritually, and physically. I always feel stronger, more flexible and fabulous afterwards – never pained, strained or ready to pass out, but balanced and stress-free.
7) What are your non-negotiables when it comes to your health?
Quality family time. Me time. Meditation. Wholesome food. Movement. Every day when I wake up I say to myself, “My intention for today is to feel good.” So I ensure what I choose to do FEELS good!
8) How has fear appeared in your life and what do you do when it does?
Looking back on my younger life I can see how I always had high expectations of myself as I strived for excellence, but at the same time self-doubt (fear) stopped me from reaching my full potential. I built a brick wall around myself that hindered my growth. All of this sat in my subconscious waiting to be dealt with, when and if I ever became ready to smash down that brick wall.
I learnt from a very young age how to create an external facade. Even with the chronic pain my physical body was riddled with, no-one really knew, as I was very good at putting on a brave front in all areas of my life – my exterior was unbreakable. I may have appeared to be picture perfect on the outside, as I excelled in most areas in my life, but looking back, I was confused, hurt and wounded on the inside.
I now know that presenting myself in such a manner was not the right thing to do, but it was the only thing I knew. It created a false impression. Through my journey of self-discovery I realised that I was a hurt little girl inside and I had a lot of fear that I needed to release.
When I wrote my book, fear reared its ugly head again. Why? I wrote my book before I was a life coach and without a plan or strategy, in fact, I didn’t even know I could write, until I wrote, so fear would say things like: what does she know? Who does she think she is? What has she ever done? Who will ever read a book written by her?
Luckily, I had done a lot of inner-work on myself which helped me understand that fear is ego based, it is – FALSE. EVIDENCE. APPEARING. REAL.
I have learnt to choose love over fear. Whenever I feel my ego (fear) taking over, I know that I’ve turned my back on my inner guidance (love) and chosen to have faith in the ego.
Love is real. Fear is an illusion. As soon as my ego wants to bring in fearful, judgmental, or anxious thoughts, I tell myself, “Love did not create this thought and so it is not real; it is an illusion, it is your ego.”
9) What do you do or say to yourself if you’re having an ‘off’ day?
People complain about having a bad day, but is there really such thing as a good or bad day? Or is it simply how we choose to process what is happening? Why can two people experience the same type of day, and one see it as bad and the other see it as neither good nor bad – it simply is what it is? The simple answer is, you can have whatever experience you want to have in your day, based on the thoughts you choose to think.
Okay, I hear you saying, “But I really do have bad days!” Is it really a bad day or is it a bad moment that you chose to hold on to all day? If you’re adamant about it being a bad day, fine, a bad day here and there does not mean a bad life.
In saying that, I want to ensure you know it is okay to feel ALL emotions. Many people want love, serenity, peace and happiness, but they want to run away from sadness, fear and anger. Yet these, too, are emotions, just like all the others, so if you need to feel them, then do so. Process your emotions, but don’t stay bonded to them. The sooner you allow yourself to feel and release them (feeling is healing), the better off you’ll be.
10) What projects are you working on at the moment?
Lots of one-on-one coaching. My coaching is virtual (done via Skype or phone), so it allows me to work with people from all different parts of the word.
I’m currently in the middle of Round 2 on my 21-Day Mind Cleanse program. Round 3 will be released in September.
I’m finalising all the details for my Living from the Inside Out 5-night Fiji Retreat in January 2015.
There’s many other things I am working on, but am yet to release, so the best way to ensure you stay up to date is to subscribe to my website.
11) Any other words of support and encouragement to share with my readers.
You are capable of deciding at every moment who you are and what you want to be. But first you must free yourself from who you are not!
Didn’t I tell you it was a good interview?! I’d love to know your comments below- what did you learn from Belinda?
Love and ‘Living from the Inside Out’,