“What is this life, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare.”
William Henry Davies’ poem elucidates that our constant urgency and multitasking have left us with fewer moments for solitude.
Elizabeth “Betty Lou” Reynolds champions the cause of helping people take a pause in their life through her Lifessence Wellness Workshops.
Being a teacher for 40 years, the most satisfying aspect of her job was seeing students succeed in achieving their academic goals. Using techniques such as visualization, meditation and journaling, she was able to help them overcome obstacles and reach for their goals.
Through her latest business venture, she now helps parents, working professionals and geriatrics that are looking to combat confusion or pressure to realize their objectives.
Reynolds leads by example and her interest in wellness was triggered after she met with a car accident and developed a long term chronic health condition. She fought through it and today is extremely empathetic to her participants. She has even tailored her wellness workshops to meet the specific needs of individuals. And it is not boring lectures: the class includes journaling cafes, as well as creativity seminars. The aim of the workshops is to de-stress and clarify the values and aims partakers have for their life. “Through group work, sharing, fun and interactive exercises, the participants gain greater insight into their ideal lifestyle and how they can achieve it.”
Her inspiration and lucidity comes from her teacher-training education, where she says, “I was taught to be open minded, optimistic and a critical thinker. My training for teachers taught me that big changes happen when one starts with small adjustments. It is very important to keep your eye on the eventual outcome, never losing sight of your long term vision.”
The consumer industry is booming with cosmetic quick-fixes to keep us looking younger; Reynolds’ aim is to improve people’s ideas about aging. She believes that it is possible to age while still being active, healthy and fit as we grow older.
What sets her apart from the many wellness centers mushrooming through the city is her holistic approach. Reynolds begins with the inner self, asking the most difficult questions: What is happening inside your head and your body? How do you feel about yourself and your health? How do you want to feel?
In spite of the alarming statistics in mental illness, she has experienced a visible shift in thinking. In her recent workshop of 45 teachers, about half of whom were men, she claims, “More men are starting to take their own health and wellness seriously. Many of them related that they practice meditation and yoga regularly and put their families as a priority, when considering work/life balance issues.”
Reynolds turned entrepreneur at a stage in life when people decide to throw in the towel, so for her the challenge to succeed is one level tougher. Her entrepreneurship advice to anyone moving careers is to have a lot of patience. “All those who plan on starting their business must take time to develop the connections and opportunities that will fit the best with their product or service.”
The year 2013 looks exciting, as Reynolds expands her Lifessence wellness workshops to Mississauga. She says the words of Julia Child keep her going: “The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” And the same holds true in business.