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How to Be Healthy in an Unhealthy World
With Pilar Gerasimo
While many of us have the desire to be healthy, the unfortunate reality is that our culture is not set up to make it easy — and often makes it really hard. That does not mean it’s impossible, just that it requires intentionality. Pilar Gerasimo, health journalist, author, and founding editor of Experience Life, shares why her work is centered around helping people become “healthy deviants,” including tips for breaking against the norms of society so you don’t break yourself.
Pilar Gerasimo is an award-winning health journalist, podcast host, pioneering social explorer, and author of The Healthy Deviant: A Rule-Breaker’s Guide to Being Healthy in an Unhealthy World. She’s best known for her work as the founding editor of Experience Life magazine.
In her work, Gerasimo talks about what she’s coined as “nonconformist competencies,” which describe the territories she believes we need to become experts in to set ourselves up to be healthy in a world where being unhealthy is the easier choice. These nonconformist competencies include the following:
- Amplified awareness. This is becoming attuned to what’s going on inside you and around you. We live in a culture filled with distractions, but it’s helpful to have the awareness of both what triggers and excites you. For example, what situations make you want to stress eat? Or when you have a better than average day, what conditions led to that? You can then take action based on what you’re noticing.
- Preemptive repair. This is the idea of getting ahead of the damage that’s done to you just by virtue of living in an unhealthy culture. This could include things like eating healthy food before you’re ravenous or taking a break before you feel frazzled. If you do these things before they become critical, you’ll have more available energy and resilience.
- Continuous growth and learning. This is acknowledging that being a healthy person in an unhealthy world requires skill and a certain knowledge base. Strive to learn about healthy living, search for things that might help you, and experiment to uncover what works best for you.
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Transcript: How to Be Healthy in an Unhealthy World
Season 3, Episode 3 | May 3, 2022
[MUSIC PLAYING] All right, welcome back to Life Time Talks. We have a longtime friend and mentor and colleague of mine with us today. And I’m so excited to Pilar Gerasimo, the founding editor of Experience Life, the author of The Healthy Deviant. Pilar, hi. Thanks for being here.
Hi, Jamie. Hi, David. It’s so great to be here with both of you.
Awesome to have you.
So we’re going to check in first and foremost, Pilar. How are you? What’s new in your world?
I’m doing great. And like everybody that I know, I’ve gone through the classic pandemic pivot the past couple of years. My book came out in January of 2020. That’s The Healthy Deviant, A Rule Breaker’s Guide to Being Healthy in an Unhealthy World, which turned out to be exactly the book for these times because we’re all waking up to the fact that all of us being less healthy than we could be is hurting us not just individually but collectively and affecting our life chances in big ways.
So my big pivot was that I went from doing everything out in big groups of people, teaching and speaking and having a book tour and consulting, to doing everything from the studio at my farm in the middle of nowhere. And I had to learn how to do internet everything, just Zoom, video editing. But I launched a membership program and started putting all my courses online and connecting with communities online. And I realized it was actually a real gift for me to be able to go directly to people in real time with the information that I felt like they most needed and that I most wanted to share.
So the past couple of years have actually been pretty magical for me, along with plenty of difficulty like everyone else. And it’s been hard to see a lot of people I love going through real struggles. But I’m really glad to be here with you. And I’m just glad to get a chance to share more about the stuff we all care about so much, getting healthier and happier. Let’s do that.
Wow, and that’s the thing. It’s like we have– I’ve been so lucky to have worked with you for so long. I mean, I started Experience Life back in 2005 as an intern. And I got to grow up with you as my leader and kind of come to know there’s different way of thinking about health. And so we’ve talked about it in a lot of different ways in Experience Life Magazine. You really brought that to the forefront through the magazine at Life Time as well. But I’d love for you to talk through how that has evolved for you and how it came to be the work that you’re doing now that’s known as The Healthy Deviant.
Thank you. What a generous question, Jamie. Well, and thank you so much for being part of the team that made Experience Life work. And, David, it’s so great to see the cover with you right there in the background. It has taken a village. Well, I think through line for me from Experience Life to the work I’m doing now has been a couple of things. One, seeing health in a whole person context, that it’s not just physical or mental health. It’s physical, mental, emotional, social, spiritual.
We’ve seen how much social health is really affecting us or the lack thereof. And things like trauma, things like lack of opportunity, things like feeling constrained by the norms of your society in ways that don’t let you show up as who you really are, those are big, big sources of stress. And they cause downstream health problems.
So Experience Life always had that point of view built into it. I just didn’t realize, I think, at the time when we launched the magazine in 2001, how important that shift of perspective was going to be to our whole culture changing. The Healthy Deviant in some ways is an evolution both of Experience Life and the secondary project we worked on together, Revolutionary Act.
The idea that being healthy is a revolutionary act was actually the tagline for the magazine for a while there. And I felt like I needed at some point to carry that forward into a body of work that spoke in an even more brazen bold way about what it actually requires to be a healthy person in the context of a culture and a society that is producing unhealthy outcomes for most people most of the time.
Well, I love how you tapped in to all the different forms of health when you said mental, social, physical. We have all these different forms of health. And when we talk about The Healthy Deviant and a lot of things you just spoke on, you noted that 97% of US adults are not even practicing the four basic healthy habits. So what are some of those habits that we are not doing? And why do you feel it’s a challenge for so many people to maintain?
Well, the research that you’re referencing, David, came out of some reports that– they were reported by the CDC. Those statistics were reported by the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, which is a peer-reviewed journal. And the data that they looked at evaluated factors like eating a reasonably healthy diet. And their standards were like the USDA guidelines, that kind of myplate.gov standard, which I think a lot of us wouldn’t see as the best standard, but that’s what they used. So eating some vegetables and fruits and eating healthy combinations of them in some way.
The other factor they looked at was moderate exercise. And by that, they just meant moving your body about five times a week for 30 minutes a day. They looked at not smoking, and they measured that. So the final factor was based on body mass. And I think that’s a real chargy topic that we’re now really rethinking what body composition is. It’s a causal or a correlated factor in health?
But they considered maintaining a reasonably healthy body composition as measured by the fallible DEXA scan and BMI combination. And what they found out was that 97.3% of people are not doing those things. What they didn’t consider and which I think is really important to note are a bunch of factors, like, getting enough sleep, having healthy supportive social connections, having a good stress management plan. And those factors, we now know are actually as important or more important than some of the factors they did measure, for example, smoking.
And so I think what we have to ask ourselves is if only a single digit percentage of people is managing to do the diet, exercise, and smoking thing, not doing those things in a bad way, what percentage of people are doing all of the things we need to do to be healthy and happy for the long haul? And it’s out there, we don’t have peer-reviewed research on all of those factors combined.
It’s impossible to do that research, but in my book I posit that it’s probably less than 1% of the US adult population. And if you think about what that means, only 1%, 2%, or 3% is healthy and happy and on track to stay that way. It means virtually everybody is in trouble. And all of us as a culture, in our shared communities are in trouble because you can’t have one person taking care of 99 other people. It just doesn’t work.
Starts on a stable as far as what we speak on, our pillars when we talk about mindset, sleep, nutrition, movement, and the management of stress. The one thing that stood out to me that you said because I became a victim of it, if you will, is the BMI. A 6-foot individual roughly should be around 170, 180 pounds. According to the BMI, I’m 210 pounds. I’m considered obese. So even those scales are off. So I like the body composition as it relates to body fat percentage because now you can correlate a little bit more health risk factors within that.
Yeah, and I think it’s really important to note that we live in a culture that is so fat-phobic and in some ways has become so obsessed with numbers like, body composition numbers and numbers on the scale that has become a source of anxiety and stress for a lot of people. And it can drive not just things like disordered eating but dysmorphias and obsessions, which you’re chasing all those numbers.
To me that’s part of what I call our societal unhealthy default reality that between the pressures to be obsessed with the appearance of health and fitness and the difficulty attaining health and fitness, you really have a kind of perfect storm where you’re darned if you do, darned if you don’t. And a lot of people feel increasingly helpless about being able to achieve any level of sustainable resilience and vitality. And what I think of as important is just enthusiasm for their lives. How do we reclaim our joy in living in the midst of all of that pressure?
Well, I think the pandemic has amplified that, I mean, because you’re hearing all the time– there’s a lot of debate in our culture right now, like, if we just made healthier habits, this would be easier. And it’s like it’s really hard to get healthy when there’s not a pandemic and then add a pandemic on top of it. I wonder if you want to speak to that a little bit, Pilar.
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, in some ways, it’s like the basis, the foundation for a major health crisis has been forming for the past several decades. When I was a kid, levels of chronic illness, obesity, depression, anxiety were a fraction of what they are now. And we have been putting more and more pressure on ourselves to try to achieve and be and do all the right things. In a context, that’s made it increasingly difficult.
By that I mean that we’ve been peeling out the off time. We’ve been peeling out things for kids like recess and playtime and art and music. And for adults, we’ve been taking away break time, taking away fun time, and forcing people into more and more productivity. We’ve been having people do more and more isolated activities and passive entertainments.
So we were isolated and stressed out and freaked out and undernourished and oversedentary before the pandemic hit. And when that hit, I feel like for a lot of people, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. It was just the end of our coping mechanisms. There was just no way to do everything we had to do and like homeschool our kids and be on Zoom without breaks between meetings.
So I think where we’re at right now is that we are going to have to do a major reassessment. And I think we’re seeing this already inside of the workplace world where workplaces are having to renegotiate their agreements with their people. Individuals are having to renegotiate agreements with their families and partners and schools. And I think in some ways, well, it’s a terrible thing for anybody to have to be enduring the stresses that we’ve been under these past few years.
I argue in my book and a lot of my talks these days that this is really nothing new. The makings of this crisis have been forming over the past several decades of us leading increasingly unsustainable and unsatisfying I wouldn’t even call them lifestyles. Jamie, we always talked about that word experience life. It’s really our way of life has become unsustainable. And I worry a little bit that people right now, some folks are still enduring the unendurable really. And it’s coming out of their cell tissue. It’s coming out of our body’s ability to cope.
You said something along the lines as far as we’re incredibly hard on ourselves when we don’t stick to a plan and we break the consistency. And I remember as one of the quotes like an intro part of your book, “If you aren’t breaking the rules, you’re probably breaking yourself.” And I absolutely love that.
When you think of– there’s so many different individuals that I work with, and they give a scenario. And what’s usually associated to that scenario is a controlled environment. And when we look at our environment, it’s so many different variables around us that are not within the control, but the things we can control, we don’t even control those. So when you think of the willpower and you think of how someone may be overwhelmed or just depleted of energy, tell us why these individuals that struggle with sticking with these healthy habits are having these issues because how they are overwhelmed.
Yeah. Well, there’s a cycle I talk about in my book, David. I call it the vicious cycle of the unhealthy default reality. And I describe it as, first of all, you just get set up by our society. And if you go along with what I call the crazy that passes for normal and take the path of normalcy, what’s presented as the path of least resistance, the automatic easy choices are going to be mostly unhealthy choices, processed food, sedentary pastimes, overscheduled schedules.
And then you get in this real weird situation where now you’re presented with a whole bunch of solutions to your problems like, go on this diet, buy this pill or this powder or this program or this charm bracelet or whatever it is. And you keep accumulating these proposed solutions, most of which don’t really work for you. And they can’t work in the context of the lives we’re living. They can’t work when we don’t have focus and energy and time to maintain them. But what happens is we end up blaming ourselves for being failures at the program. Like what is wrong with me that I can’t find the willpower to do this?
What’s interesting is that that try-fail cycle itself sets us up for more failure because we can become depleted by our efforts. And our sense of self-confidence or what psychologists call self-efficacy, the belief that you can do what you set out to do, that gets diminished. And it leads to a state that psychologists called ego depletion, which isn’t about you having a big ego getting depleted. It’s about you being depleted in your ability to do the things that you set out to do.
So this is kind of the condition I think most of us are in right now, chronically depleted, underslept, undernourished, overstressed, undersupported in our societal communities. And then when we throw a new goal or program on top of that, so many people are setting resolutions and embarking on these really aggressive plans from a place of depletion and overwhelm already.
So it’s a setup for failure. But I’d say when we are depleted and overwhelmed, we’re also terrible judges of our own capacity. We tend to think that it can’t be done. My counsel to people is if you have been struggling with setting aggressive goals and not being able to follow through with them or you’ve been signing yourself for programs that sound great in principle but in practice you can’t do, consider the fact that you really may need to work first on replenishing yourself and reclaiming your sense of inner calm and sanity, what I call your mojo. That ability to do the things you want to do.
For most people, recovery is necessary before they can really mount a new effort for yet another goal, yet another program, yet another ambition. I think I would say again, 97% of people don’t have a baseline level of health and vitality from which they can pull to achieve a next goal. We just have to remember to be more gentle on ourselves and think about it as an upfront investment, putting deposits into our energetic account before we try to pull anything bails us back out.
So with all of that in mind, Pilar, how? It’s the how. How do we do this? And you outline some really amazing strategies in your book. And you’ve written about it for the magazine as well. But there’s two things. There’s developing nonconformist competencies, you call them, and also renegade rituals, which are things you’ve been talking about for as long as I’ve known you.
So I’d love to dig into those a little bit because those are the things for somebody who’s listening, like, well, now what? I hear myself. I’m feeling the way that Pilar is explaining here. How do I start? How do I start making some shifts? Let’s start with those nonconformist policy or competencies.
Yeah, they shouldn’t be nonconformist policies.
I’d love to make a policy where we valued these things. Yeah, the nonconformist competencies, there are many of them. But the three that I talk about as being the top three most important ones are, first, amplified awareness. And that is becoming attuned to what’s going on inside you and around you. We live in a culture that encourages us to tune out of our own authentic experience and pay attention to a million distractions.
And that ability to pay attention to both what triggering experiences are making you want to, for example, eat unhealthy food or skip a healthy workout or opportunity to move or work without a break all day long. What is going on that is setting you up for that? That’s one form of amplified awareness.
The other is when you are feeling good, what are you doing right? When you have a better than average day or start to feel better about yourself, what good things have been happening around you? What conditions were important to that? So amplified awareness is about knowing what’s going on inside of you and around you. And then deciding what action to take based on what you’re learning and noticing. Who stresses you out? What situations make you want to stress eat or drink? Those kinds of things.
The next nonconformist competency is preemptive repair. And this is the idea, preemptive, getting ahead of the damage that is done to you just by virtue of living in our unhealthy culture. If we are all running around depleted and overwhelmed and freaked out, we are just creating a lot more trouble for ourselves and creating inflammation, for example, that causes us to be less capable and less resilient and more dependent on our health care systems, on people to help fix us.
So preemptive repair in my mind includes things like eating healthy food before you’re ravenously hungry, knowing that you’re going to need to eat on a regular basis, knowing that you’re going to need to hydrate before you get crazy thirsty or can’t think straight or have a migraine because you’re dehydrated. It’s things like resting before you’re exhausted. I know the other day I was back to back zooming myself. And I realized, I think I’m getting frazzled and my back is starting to hurt. I need to take a break now.
Learning to trust that instinct and listen to that voice rather than the voice that says, you have to keep going. You’ve got to just get this thing done no matter what. That’s preemptive repair. And being around people that you love that make you feel good, that’s a form of preemptive repair, being outside, getting some sunshine and fresh air. Those are things that if you do them before they become critical, you will find you have more available energy and resilience. And you’re able to keep your focus on your healthy goals better.
So that brings me to the third nonconformist competency, which is continuous growth and learning. And this is acknowledging that learning to be a healthy person in an unhealthy world requires some mad skills and a knowledge base that– in podcasts like yours, Jamie and David, you guys are always bringing in new people to talk about new aspects of healthy living. You’re always searching for the next thing that might help you. You’re swapping things in and out and experimenting. That experimental mindset, that beginner’s mind, is so important in health and fitness and healthy living because we are living in a way right now that no other generation in the history of humanity has lived.
There is no generation ahead of us who has been in the middle of all of the circumstances we’re in now. So there isn’t a map for how to be healthy in this context. We’re having to figure it out. And there are so many aspects from food and movement and stress and sleep to just figuring out how to build healthy community, how to overcome the traces of trauma that exist in our way back, in our ancestry and our culture, and learning ultimately how to navigate toward our own highest choices in a culture that is constantly attempting to bring us down to a lowest common denominator of awareness and choice.
And so those three nonconformist competencies just describe the different territories that I feel we have to become expert in. The renegade rituals then become actions or interventions that you can do to help build your mastery of those nonconformist competencies. And they include a morning minutes practice, which is not like the miracle morning where you’ve got to do 100 things before you go to work. It’s like three minutes. Three minutes when you first wake up before you go for your phone, before you go to email or the news or anything digital or media-oriented.
I just light a candle. And I sit with a cup of coffee and look out the window sometimes or maybe read a passage in a wisdom literature book or pet my dog or play my guitar, do a little yoga, do a little meditation. But I just connect with myself for three minutes before I let the rest of the world come at me. And that’s probably the most popular place for people to start with healthy deviants.
Here’s the thing that’s funny about it. When you attempt to take the first three minutes of the day for yourself, you’re going to notice that it is surprisingly more difficult than you expected, right? The temptation to reach for your phone to see what happened overnight. Who liked me? Who unliked me? What do I need to know?
That is one of those habits that when you realize that it’s challenging, you also realize the thing that’s making it difficult for you to take even three minutes for yourself in the morning, it’s the same set of mindsets that make other healthy changes difficult. So each of the Renegade Rituals is set up to help you practically make a change in your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. You get stronger as you do them.
It’s also designed to help you become aware of where you need to build your strengths and capacities. And you develop the nonconformist competencies by doing the Renegade Rituals. And by doing the Renegade Rituals, you discover more about what it really means to be a healthy deviant, a deviator from the norms of our society because most people don’t do these things.
The ultradian rhythm breaks is the second Renegade Ritual. Get this. That means taking breaks every hour and a half to two hours for 15 to 20 minutes to just again recover from, preemptively repair yourself so that you can do the next hour and a half well. How many people do you know who even take one reasonable break during the day? It’s rare. So we have to think about that.
I’m sitting here going, I need to get up after this podcast ends because we’ve done this. And it’s so easy, especially right now when so many of us so much of what’s happening in our lives for a lot of us is happening on a screen. And it can just– you don’t have to move between a meeting. It’s just here. So it’s easy to get stuck.
Yes, that’s right.
We’ve been conditioned to associate our value to how much work has been done, right? It could be not even rewarding work. I just ended up completing X, Y, and Z, so can check that off, and I’m accomplished. But what really moved the needle there? Did I just complete something or did I actually create impact with people and individuals? And that’s how we have to rewire ourselves.
So I’m going to recap what you said. So you said three. You had amplified awareness, preemptive preparedness, and continuous growth and learning. I want to make sure our listeners heard that. We ended up taking your quiz, both Jamie and I.
Yeah, I scored a 89. It says I’m a hardcore healthy deviant. I like that. I’ll go with that. I’ll go with that.
I love it.
Jamie, what did you get?
OK. I’m a little– I feel like I should be doing better on this, but I got a 78. I’m still a healthy deviant, but I think I’ve been juggling a lot. And I am figuring there’s things I’m balancing. And I think that’s probably pretty relatable for a lot of people.
I love that. Yeah, I created the Are You a Healthy Deviant quiz to show folks where on the spectrum of healthy deviance they are right now from not at all. I’ve got a category called decidedly nondeviant deviant. There are people that really just don’t relate to this at all or aren’t here yet. And then there’s the hardcore healthy deviants like David over on this other end.
We can move back and forth on these phases, depending on the conditions of our lives and what we’re up against. But my goal with the quiz– it’s so great that you guys took it, thank you– is to help people understand what the variables of healthy deviance are in terms of mindset and behavior and actually be able to develop some steps toward improving their score over time.
I have a program right now called Healthy Deviant U that I’ve got about 100 people who’ve been going through for a year or more. And they’ve seen their scores moving 30, 40 points, 50 points in one case, where it’s like this isn’t about tracking the numbers on the scale. This is about tracking the numbers that indicate how you are relating, poorly or well, to the circumstances that you’re in and helping you understand that if you’re struggling– like you said, Jamie, you’ve been handling and juggling a lot– that’s not about you being a not good person or a not good enough healthy deviant. That’s about you being a real person in a real world that makes it really freaking hard to do the healthy things most of the time.
So I’m hoping that we can together– those of us who are really working to advocate for people who want to get healthier and happier– give them some new framework, some new perspectives. And if there’s one thing that I could suggest to folks, once you become aware that you have a desire to be healthier and happier, you’re already winning. You’re already ahead of a lot of folks who just can’t even give that any thought space.
And all you need to do from amplified awareness is move toward preemptive repair. That is the next step, learning how to take better care of yourself and replenishing your lost energy before you end up in a place of reactivity or you break down. Jamie, you know my personal story.
I broke myself before I figured out how to get better. And sometimes that’s what it takes. So be gentle. That’s the big thing.
I like the evolution piece that you have within this quiz to retest again maybe in a month or so because so many variables change, right? Whatever’s going on in the month of January and February might be different when you get into March and April. So I like that evolution approach. And then something you said a little earlier, the individuals that you surround yourself with, that’s powerful.
And sometimes people cannot resonate with what it is that you’re saying. Hey, I’m checking in on Jamie to make sure she got her work out. And, hey, how did everything go this week? And it might be crickets or it might be like, hey, I’m glad you actually reached out. That channel me or reminded me that I’m going to go get after it today. So your community, your tribe is huge.
That’s right. That’s it. Yeah, environments drive behaviors. And that isn’t just physical built environments. It’s our psycho-emotional and social environments, what’s considered normal or what level of attention we have on each other, how much available energy we have to be empathetic with each other and support each other and to notice if someone’s struggling, if I have just enough surplus energy and enthusiasm and care to be able to say, oh my gosh, I bet you this seems like a tough time. Do you need some help? Do you want to talk? Hard to do that when 99% of people are over the edge and freaking out. We can’t be there for each other as much as we’d like to be.
So building new social supports is a really big part of this. And that’s one of the reasons I wanted to create a concept like healthy deviance to help people recognize each other, those of us who are deviating this way and choosing to rise to the challenge of being healthy in an unhealthy world. We can reframe that not as some stock photography-driven perfection ideal, but like there is real– there’s dignity in this challenge. There’s dignity in doing it together. And I just think that’s something we don’t honor enough in our society.
What I think, Pilar, too, you’ve talked about this a lot as well, but once you start seeing more people take on some of these healthy deviant behaviors, it often inspires others. They want to know what you’re doing and how you’re doing it. And then they ask questions. And it becomes the healthy kind of contagious that we want to have moving out and distributing in the world.
Absolutely. Yeah, and I use a lot of visual aids that people won’t be able to see on an audio podcast. But I have healthy deviant stickers and healthy deviant mugs, not to sell people more stuff but because I think people want to begin owning their own healthy deviance and identifying that way and celebrating it really.
I remember back when we started Experience Life magazine how it was considered to be such a strange thing. People thought it was too woo-woo or granola. And a lot of folks tried to kill it before it started. No one’s going to want that. Surprise, about 3 million people wanted that. We need to out ourselves with more of what we really want and need. And yeah, it’s like about honesty with each other and ourselves. I’m proud of that.
Well, Pilar, we have to keep an eye on time here. So I want to just give you one chance. Is there anything else you want to add before I hand it over to David? Because he has his normal two-minute drill that we end every podcast with. So anything you want to add prior to us starting this drill, as David refers to it.
I’m so excited. Well, thank you. I would like to invite people to consider whether they might like to take The Healthy Deviant quiz and whether they might want to think about reframing their efforts. It’s not just about losing weight or getting into shape but about showing up with more of what’s best within them and rising to these challenges in a bigger context that really does honor what they’re doing.
So I have a lot of resources at my site, healthydeviant.com, if folks want to connect with a quiz or a free preview of my book or find out more about my communities. I have a Healthy Deviant Facebook group with about 2,500 people in it now. I think it’s just about finding each other and finding this part of ourselves and developing it at a pace that works for us. And I’m excited about this drill. Should I be nervous?
No, excitement is what’s–
Let’s do it.
–about to come your way.
So we do a quick two-minute drill, 10 questions. You try to obviously answer the questions under two minutes. Totsy questions, all fun, nothing that should catch you off guard. And once again, name of the game is fun. You’re ready?
All right, let’s do it.
OK, all right. Question number one starts off nice and easy. Where were you born?
Lake Forest, Illinois.
All right. All right. If you remember this, what was the first word you spoke?
Mama? It’s a classic one. OK. What’s your middle name?
I don’t have one. My parents thought Pilar and Gerasimo was a weird enough combination and a mouthful. They didn’t bother giving me a middle name.
Well, we’re going to put Deviant in the middle of that right now.
OK, I’ll take it. I’ll take it.
Love is accepting and appreciating the best within another person or yourself.
All right. Biggest fear?
Well, we’ll want to unpack that if we have more than two minutes, but OK. Hold on. Childhood hero?
Ooh. Joni Mitchell honestly has been my hero since I was a small child as a creative person doing beautiful unprecedented work that was way ahead of her time. 50-year anniversary of the Blue album, everybody. She turned 80, and I just still say Joni is my hero.
All right, so that’s your hero. Who was your celebrity crush?
You know, I had a thing for the protagonist guy on Sigmund and the Sea Monster. He had an English accent. I don’t remember the name of the actor. And I was probably like seven or eight years old when I was watching these things. And I was like– H.R. Pufnstuf maybe. I don’t remember what to say. I don’t have no idea who this kid was, but it was the first time I actually remembered having a little heart flutter. And it’s total nerdy character, so it makes perfect sense.
All right. Question number nine. You only got two more left. The origins of your name?
I love telling this story because my mother named me after a small town in New Mexico, not far from Taos. And at the time she was pregnant with me. And they were traveling. My parents were traveling in New Mexico. And my father was convinced I was going to be a boy and didn’t seem interested in coming up with any girls names. So my mother said, what about if it’s a girl we call her Pilar after this place?
And I feel like I’m a walking souvenir of not just that trip but out of my mother’s creative willingness to help my father envision me as a small girl child. So it’s a spiritual place. It’s kind of a Dust Bowl in the Rio Grande. And it’s a beautiful spot I got to visit once. So I’m proud to be named after Pilar. Pilar also means pillar in Spanish. And it’s sort of about being a pillar of a community or being a kind of force of strength and support within a larger context, which I like.
Yes, that is you.
That is you. Yes, very fitting.
All right, last but not least, what legacy do you want to leave this world with?
I have had the same goal for my legacy for a long time. And it’s really the legacy for Experienced Life I hope too. Hordes of healthy, happy people that are lit up and giving their best gifts and transforming this world of ours into a regenerative set of systems that feel good, that look good, that smell good, and that help our planet and our communities heal together so that we can create more beautiful experiences for everybody.
Awesome. Well done.
I love that. And I’m so grateful, Pilar, that you came on and shared that because I feel like, for one, I’ve been lucky enough over the years to have been– just be able to sit with you firsthand and hear you and learn these things from you. So thank you. And we will make sure to link to your website and all the quiz and everything at the podcast page when this goes live. So thank you, P.
Oh, it’s my pleasure. Jamie, thank you so much for having me, and David. It’s so nice to connect with you in sort of pseudo Zoom person. I feel like we’re all on the same team doing the same sacred work together. And I’m really honored to be in your pod today and hopefully going forward forever.
Well, we’re honored to have you. Thank you so much for jumping on with us.
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