#36 Creating Community & Connection - with Lucy Lichtenstein
The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast
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- What is community, what has it meant to us in the past and how do we re-create it in modern society?
- How do we find “our tribe”, where do we actually start?
- What the hell is Women’s Circle and what are they actually about?
- Resources to inspire your own community journey
- Letting go of old relationships to build new stronger connections
Women’s Circle Facililtator & Yoga Teacher
Welcome to The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast, where you’ll find the inspiration and answers to how you can become the healthiest, happiest version of you, using whole food nutrition, smart supplementation, movement, and lifestyle hacks. Your host, Natalie Bourke and Kate Callaghan, a degree-qualified Dietitians and Nutritionists, certified fitness instructors, speakers, and authors, with extensive knowledge and clinical experience in the wellness industry. So sit back and enjoy the show.
Natalie K. Douglas 0:40
Welcome back guys to The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast. Today, we actually don’t have Kate with us, but we do have my good friend Lucy. So, Lucy, is a Sydney-based wellness writer, women’s circle facilitator, yoga teacher, and host of the Reconnected.Me podcast, and the website www.reconnected.me. She is also a philosophy geek, poet, whole foodie, nature being, experiencer, ecstatic dancer, and mover. Lucy has spent many years down the path of health and wellness, which naturally progressed into a wondrous journey of heart and consciousness expansion. Realizing, reconnecting with, and remembering who she truly is, and who we truly are as humans and beyond. Lucy believes in spreading love, health, kindness, and inspiration. She now knows that her purpose and path of heart is to share from her experience to serve, support, hold space for, and walk alongside others on a simultaneous journey home to the self. She feels we are here to be in communities to connect, collaborate, co-create, contribute, and to express the innate travel part of our nature. I will link, I will link to Lucy’s social channels and podcasts in the show notes as well, so you guys can all get in contact with her. But Lucy, welcome to the show.
Lucy Lichtenstein 2:04
Nat, thanks so much for having me. And I have to say, it’s really interesting and kind of cool to hear someone talk about me while I’m listening in this way and read out my bio. Wow, thank you.
Natalie K. Douglas 2:16
No, thank you. And it’s a really, I’ll have to say a different bio to, you know, other ones that we would usually read out on on the on the podcast. For our regular listeners, Kate and I often talk about the power of nutrition, movement, stress management, and sleep. And we do kind of mentioned social connection, community, and play. But we haven’t really taken a deeper dive into that side of things yet. And I feel that it’s something super underrated. So I thought why not get someone on the show who is really passionate about the impact of community on overall health and who has experienced it as a personal transformation, and also whose mission is to see other people discover this for themselves. So thank you for being that person Lucy.
Lucy Lichtenstein 3:01
Oh, Amazing. Oh, it’s such a big wrap. Thank you.
Natalie K. Douglas 3:05
No worries. So I think where we will get started today is I would really like to understand your thoughts on the benefits of community? And where does this whole idea of community come from?
Lucy Lichtenstein 3:21
Yeah, it’s a great question. And it definitely is something that I’m super passionate about. It’s really been an area of my own exploration and experience for many years now, but especially the last couple of years. So what I’ve found is that it can actually be a missing piece to the puzzle when it comes to health and wellness. That community aspect, that social aspect. Because what I’ve experienced through different healing experiences and through the work that I do and for myself is that we are tribal beings. We have this part of our nature that is all about tribalism, and community, and being together. And you only have to look at from a historical perspective, tribes, and traditional cultures still living their traditional ways of life, whether together in communities, or together in a tribe. And in the modern Western world, what we see is when there’s a lack of this, which it can be, in many ways, so many of us growing up. And I say that from my own experience and my own perspective as to that when there’s a lack of this tribe, we have these concepts, like loneliness, and sense of belonging, and knowing where I fit in and also this idea of besides the idea of individualization as well in, in our culture where it’s like gotta do everything on my own. And I’ve got a rise above other people instead of doing things together. And look, I feel this is definitely changing, and it shifted a lot. But we can see that and feel that this tribal part of us really wants to be expressed and we can. I know that I feel so amazing when I’m around people that I love of when I’m in a community and when I’m I’m in tribe and and I actually feel like there’s a slight differentiation. At least for me when it comes to say friendships and then communities and tribes as well, because, you know, each of us has friends in, in many different places. But I feel there’s something really different about being part of this community that says like a collective. That on fantastic on many ways.
Natalie K. Douglas
So, I think it’s super important.
Natalie K. Douglas 6:08
Yeah, I completely agree with you. And I think it is really interesting, what you said about how we have kind of come away from that. And it is a bit of a bit more about, you know, doing things on your own and feeling empowered through that process, as opposed to feeling empowered within a community. And I think that there’s definitely a lot of drawbacks to feeling like you have to do things alone. And by viewing, doing things alone, as as strength and also viewing thing, doing things in part of community as weakness. And I think I yeah, it’s my mission as well to try and help people shift away from that. But I guess the first question that comes up for me is how, I guess for the listeners that are listening in and a bit unsure about, well, how do we actually create that in a modern world where we, we don’t actually have a lot of. For a lot of people, they don’t have very many traditions, or kind of like, gatherings that are regular within the same community? How do we recreate finding a community or how have you created finding a community for yourself in a world that has very much moved away from that traditional type of tribal community that we used to once have?
Lucy Lichtenstein 7:36
Yeah, great question Nat. I feel that, I mean, there’s many ways about this. Maybe looking at what do you love? What do you love to do? Do you love yoga? Do you love to go to the to the gym? Do you love to? Gosh, so many different things. Do you love to read books? Do you? Like, what do you love? And chances are, that if you if you look for a gathering or a community and something that you love, and then there’s going to be other people there, and I’ll just speak from my experience, which actually involves, you Nat, and it’s, it’s yoga. And I truly feel like I hadn’t necessarily found a community and a tribe until I started attending the yoga studio that we both now go to. And for me, what I found is, for whatever reason, my path was drawn there. And when I got there, there were all these different types of people that are very much, very similar on a similar wavelength, a very like-minded and like-hearted. And for me, what I found is I continue to go back there, and as I continue to learn and grow myself. It’s almost as if these types of people were attracted into my life. And from that, there was a yoga community, but then there were some women circle community because what I also found was, I was really wanting to connect with the community more. So, I started looking for, because I’m down this course health path, but also spiritual path, looking for different gatherings that I could go to. So I’ve started, this was last year, I think it was started just going to different types of conscious gatherings. So whether it was different ecstatic dances, or sound healing, and cacao ceremonies. And was even, we’re talking about healthy nutrition. I mean, there’s many different health meetups as well. And foodie meetups. This is how you and I met.
Natalie K. Douglas
And yeah, and so I feel like there’s something for each of us out there. It’s a matter of just exploring and finding what it is. And I suppose like, one practical thing is like, we found each other through a it’s a meetup group, meetup.com. And I feel like now, and it’s been many years later, there’s something for everyone on there. Well, any kind of interest that you’ve got, any kind of something that you’re drawn to, there’s probably a meetup word for it. So I feel like that’s a really good place to start.
Natalie K. Douglas 10:44
Yeah, totally. I agree with that. And I think, I think you made a really good point with the first question you asked, and it’s the first question that I often encourage people to ask is, what do I actually enjoy doing because you need to find what you enjoy because when you find what you enjoy, you’ll often find the people, the kind of people that, you know, perhaps you have a lot in common with, or you’re on the same wavelength to an extent. And for you, it was yoga. And for me, I absolutely feel the same about yoga but I also found that in, in CrossFit. So it’s really about finding what resonates with you and, and trying to connect and create a community within that space as well. And I think that it can be difficult when we haven’t grown up with that kind of mentality. And a lot of us kind of have our friends that we’ve gone through high school with or, or university with, and they were a kind of our world for a period of time, but then perhaps you start to drift apart, and you can kind of you’re being led to a sense of not belonging within those circles any more, and, and really struggling to find somewhere where you belong. And I know, you know, for me, that’s been part of my story and going to yoga and going to CrossFit. And, you know, going to these different kind of meetup groups just like you, Lucy, has allowed me to find that sense of connection and sense of belonging again, in in a different way to what I have had in the past. I still have a lot of strong friendships from high school but I also have a lot of new friendships, based on interests and the kind of journey I’m on at the moment. And it really does make you feel empowered. And I love your women’s circles, and I have actually been to them myself. But for a lot of people listening, they probably have no idea what a women’s circle is. So I thought that’s something we could actually touch on because I know I’ve mentioned it to people outside of this kind of health space. And the general consensus is that perhaps it’s something for hippies who can’t, who can sit perfectly cross-legged in gypsy pants, drinking herbal tea, but there’s so much more to it than that. I mean, I did actually wear my my gypsy pants to it, but you know.
I wear mine as well. So it’s so so good.
Natalie K. Douglas
Yeah, totally, but what exactly is a women’s circle? So what’s, what’s the purpose of it? And what actually happens? So break down some, some myths that it’s about what people might first think of when they think of a women’s circle?
Lucy Lichtenstein 13:22
Yeah, absolutely. And look there’s men’s circles as well. But from my experience, let’s yeah, let’s talk about women’s circles. So, look, women, women, and tribes, and communities have been gathering together for a very, very long time. In traditional cultures, I think maybe something in you know, Western culture, this is a bit of a new, newer or lesser known idea or ways to be together. But yeah, these communities have been gathering together for a really long time, to be together, to share wisdom, and to share stories. And just to be part of something that’s larger than themselves, it’s a really great way to just be part of a supportive community. And my experience of going to women’s circles and also facilitating my own is that it’s a really safe space for women to come together to take time out of their busy lives, to do something for them, to reconnect to who they are as well, and to connect with other women and just be part of this really supportive, loving community. And what I found is many women come and they share things in that space, that perhaps they might not even share with their partner, or their kids, or their best friends, or someone else in their life. And this can be for many reasons but this type of gathering is really safe and non-judgmental, and nothing or anything that is shared within that space doesn’t leave that space. So that’s in itself is really, really powerful. And it is a really amazing way to really realize things about yourself. And it’s another way of healing. And yeah, so it’s, it’s really, really beautiful. And every women’s circle is different, it’s going to be depending on who is running the circle, who’s facilitating it, and it’s really going to be an expression of that person and who they they are, and their experiences, and their interest, and what they can bring. For mine, this idea of reconnecting and everything that you mentioned in my bio, at the start, and everything I talked about on the podcast, and the website, it’s reconnecting to who I truly am as a human and beyond that, and to share this within circle with, with the women that come. And so, it’s definitely not a place, it can definitely have that perception of being a hippie or, or wishy-washy, or I don’t know, woo-woo, whatever you want to call it, but it’s really it’s not. And there’s women from all walks of life, you know, there’s mothers, there’s different types of professionals, there’s naturopaths, there’s, there’s so many different types of women. And the one common thing that I can say, or maybe it’s more than one, but it’s the connection, right? And it’s also, and this really understanding what it feels like to be a woman and to be there together. And yeah, I also find that every time I sit in circle now that it’s almost like this ancient remembering of what we used to do, and of who we are.
Natalie K. Douglas 16:51
Yeah, totally. And I definitely get that vibe. And what I found really beneficial about it, as you said, Lucy, it’s really about walking into a non-judgmental space and feeling like you belong there and can open up, because so often, we enter into conversations or situations where it is a bit of like the highlight real of our life, and no one really says what’s really going on. And I think it’s a completely different feeling or vibe, when you go to these women’s circles. And you’re in a space where there’s people there for the same reason, as you often and you feel safe to express what you’re feeling, and know that it’s not judged. And I guess that’s what’s stops a lot of us from expressing our, our thoughts, or our feelings is that we are going to be judged either by ourselves or by other people. And I think it’s really important to have a space like that where you don’t feel that pressure. And you can actually just be who you are and share with you. Especially in a world where or in a society where we are so busy, and so much of us do so much suppressing of our own feelings and emotions. I know a lot of my clients who are moms, especially I see it a lot in just suppress, suppress, suppress, and put everyone else before them. And I think it’s really healthy and and important to find a space where you don’t have to be the strong one that has it all together. And you can actually relate to other women and share what you’re feeling, and and experiencing in that moment, too. And yeah, I just, I think if you are able to find a space like that, it’s definitely worth going along. But as with every single thing in life, every activity, every kind of sport, all that kind of stuff, try a few different ones out until you find one that resonates with you because as Lucy said, not every women’s circle is the same and I wouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. If you go to one and you feel like oh, this is like didn’t really jive with me. Just try a few out and see. See what it feels like and see what resonates with you. And I think, Lucy, for people who are actually local, perhaps in Sydney, or even in the Sutherland Shire, listening to the podcast, when do you actually hold your women’s circles if people wanted to check out your circle in particular?
Lucy Lichtenstein 19:24
Yeah, thanks, Nat. So my circle is on the first Wednesday of every month, we’re actually at the time of recording now the next circle for March is tomorrow night or Wednesday, the seventh of March. And it’s at HYA yoga studio at Miranda. And it’s from 7:30 pm. And yeah, I highly encourage, I invite any women that are looking for some kind of community or social connection to, to check it out. And even if you’re not close by, I know that my good friend, and she’s also kind of a mentor for me Imogen Bailey, who trained me in women’s circle facilitation. She’s actually at the moment, she’s doing a lot of training around Sydney and around Australia. And she’s putting together on her website, a hub of find your local women’s circle. So that’s honoring heart.com. I think that’s still a work in progress. There might be a few different areas up there now all around the Sydney. But that’s a really good space that if you’re not nearby where my circle is, or perhaps maybe mine’s not for you, which is absolutely fine. But you can you can find other circles as well. And I suppose one thing that I just wanted to say, just what you was mentioning before Nat, and maybe one of the most important things, it really is a space where you are seen, you are heard, and where you are felt and understood, and where you are free to be yourself as you mentioned.
Natalie K. Douglas 21:03
Yeah, yeah, definitely. And I think that’s, that’s the key because that’s missing in a lot of our lives. Now, the other question I wanted to discuss with you Lucy was, say someone’s listening to this podcast, and they’re feeling like maybe they’re not ready to go to a women’s circle. But they look, they want to start to learn more about connection or community. Are there any podcasts, or books, or different resources that you’ve used to, I guess, help you understand more about the benefits of community?
Lucy Lichtenstein 21:39
Good question. Podcast, books?
Natalie K. Douglas 21:43
Yeah, I would say your podcast would be one. So I’m gonna throw that out there.
Natalie K. Douglas
Are there any particular podcast that you’ve actually done? Because I know you interview a lot of people, are there any podcasts that you’ve done, that you have discussed community or connection, or any of those type of things that might be beneficial for people to listen to?
Lucy Lichtenstein 22:05
Yeah. So, I did an episode with Imogen Bailey, who I just mentioned, all about several different things but we definitely touched on women’s circles and community and the importance of that. And I also did an episode with my good friend Fouad Kassab from the Quirky Cooking. And he, it was just him and I on the shows. It’s probably a few months ago. And even though I was kind of interviewing him, he also threw some questions back at me. And we did talk a fair bit about community and tribe and the importance of that for sure. I’m just trying to think of what other resources. I mean, I think, what I would also say to this is that it might be a bit of an esoteric answer or anything to say but I feel that this part of connecting a community is actually more about looking within than looking for external resources. And just, of course, that’s helpful, it’s great. But actually noticing what, how it is that it makes you feel, maybe what it is that you feel that you need, or that you’re looking for, that you’re searching for. And just know that it’s like what you mentioned before, Nat, about moving away from old friendships and different directions. And maybe this thing distant, stole, letting friendships go.
Natalie K. Douglas
Is that, it’s okay and it happens to all of us. It happened to me, seven years ago, and it continues to happen. I know it will happen throughout life because it’s just kind of the nature of things. So to know that you’re not alone, that we all experienced this. And also know that when you let something go, that creates space for other exciting things to come in, and perhaps maybe finding people that are of a similar on a similar path to you.
Natalie K. Douglas 24:30
Yeah, absolutely. And I guess, bringing that back, for everyone listening, bring that back to something that Kate and I talk about a lot is creating a supportive environment. So often, we’re talking about creating a supportive environment, in the context of achieving health and nutrition goals to I guess, encourage you and support you to have the best chance possible to reaching your goals. And it’s the same thing when it comes to feeling really connected, and like you really belong. And if there’s something or someone in your life holding you back from feeling that way, then there’s nothing wrong with doing a bit of a cleanout, and that sounds like a really harsh way to put it but it’s true. Like we all have had toxic relationships in the past, or we’ve all just had, perhaps relationships or circles that we’ve traveled in that haven’t really made us feel like we belong, or that what our goals, and what our morals, and what our beliefs, and what our mission in life is, is like is the right way, like sometimes we feel like that should be changed. And I don’t think it’s about changing your instincts and what you want. I think it’s about finding a group of people of like-minded people that inspire you to continue down that journey and challenge you along the way. And if you’re feeling stuck, and like you’re not in that space right now, there’s lots of different suggestions that we’ve made throughout the podcast to just try and bring that out. And it doesn’t have to be, you know, what Lucy and I have found helped us. It can be anything. So, I would just say start somewhere and start with something, an activity or something that you really enjoy, and go into everything with an open mind. And also the mindset that, you know, there is something, it’s just a matter of finding it and just try all these different things until you do find it because once you do, I know for me, and you know, perhaps you Lucy, but I’ll let you talk to this after I give my experience. When I found a group of people or groups of people that shared similar values or at least were kind of interested in personal growth, and we’re very open and non-judgmental to that process. It made me feel really empowered and really comfortable in vulnerability, which helps facilitate growth, which then just helps feedback into feeling connected and happy and content and resilient. At least for myself, that’s what I found. And it’s helped me a lot in all areas of my life. Lucy, I don’t know if what your experience of finding your tribe has really changed for you. I know you mentioned that it’s been a key thing to your health but in what way or in what aspect what aspects of your health or what changed for you in your mind when you found a group of people that you felt like you, you belong to?
Lucy Lichtenstein 27:44
Natalie K. Douglas
You belong with.
Yeah, great question Nat. So, for me, it’s kind of like a feeling that maybe it could even be hard to put into words, but it’s like this, this feeling and this knowing, and this understanding that all of that connection.
Natalie K. Douglas
And, and there’s so much joy in that. And I’m happier and just, yeah, it’s a feeling to show. And it’s, I’ve also feel that it has trickle, trickle into so many other areas of my life because it just makes life more enjoyable. And it comes back to what we were talking about before. It’s that it’s in our nature to be a part of something like this. And so, it’s very easy to see how that enables us to feel better, to be more healthy, mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually, all of it.
Natalie K. Douglas
And yeah, I think that the biggest thing is just that, that understanding and that joy. And actually something else that came up when you were talking before. This thing about belonging. For me, when I went through a time seven years ago, moving away from friendships that I had for 10, 11, 12 years, it was really, really hard. And I did have this couple of years of feeling like where is it that I belong? And who are my real friends? Who are my closest friends, I’m not sure at the moment. But what I’ve realized, as after just continuing to walk down a path and after growing and expanding so much, that belonging is internal. So, I feel now that if you belong within within yourself, that you can belong anywhere. And of course, I mean, there’s so much in that. And of course, but of course it makes a huge difference when, as you said you have people in your life that are on a similar path and that are like-minded, that understand you, that don’t judge you, that accept you. But I feel like yeah, it’s really key to, to continue to grow and learn and expand within yourself to get to that place of of true belonging within.
Natalie K. Douglas 30:31
Absolutely. And what an amazing point to actually wrap up the podcast with. And something for everyone to ponder, because I absolutely resonate with what you’ve said there, Lucy. And I think that it is, you know, a big question for a lot of us. And something that’s worth exploring and worth putting time and energy into because it is transformational when you, you get to that place. But hopefully, we’ve provided everyone with at least some things to think about and some strategies to use in order to get back to that feeling of having a community and knowing that, feeling that sense of connection and community is absolutely important in this whole picture of health that, you know, we talked about on the podcast so often. And I think it’s really good to bring this kind of. This kind of conversation into the context of people who are listening because they want to improve their health. I mean, so often, it’s it’s actually easier to focus on things like nutrition and moving enough. But, you know, to be honest, some of the biggest transformations in my health have had nothing to do with that. So, I think there’s some food before and thank you so much for joining us and for providing us with all of that information and insight and things to think about. I will absolutely link to all of your social channels and your website in the show notes so people can find, find you, and find out more about you. And if you guys are listening and a local you know in Sydney or even in the Sutherland Shire then definitely go out, go and check out one of Lucy’s circles. If not, I can highly recommend listening to her podcast. It’s she’s interviewed a lot of really interesting people. And Lucy, I have to say you are a very good interviewer. I think you asked some really interesting questions. So thank you.
Lucy Lichtenstein 32:32
Oh, Nat. Thank you so much for having me on the show. Thank you for your friendship. Thank you for saying these nice things. I really appreciate it.
Natalie K. Douglas 32:41
You’re welcome Lucy. Thank you again, and we will hopefully hear from you again soon.
Lucy Lichtenstein 32:47
Absolutely. Thanks, everyone.
Natalie K. Douglas
Thanks for tuning in to The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast. Remember, we love to make the show relevant to you. So, if you have any questions or topics you’d like discussed on the show, simply submit them to [email protected] or [email protected] and we’ll get them answered for you. Also, don’t forget to subscribe, rate, and review the podcast on iTunes and share it with your friends and family too. Need more personalized nutrition advice? Why not invest in a consultation to accelerate your journey to your optimal health. You can find Nat over at HealthByWholefoods.com.au and Kate at TheHolisticNutritionist.com. See you next time guys.
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