In this week’s episode, Billy talks with Venus Lau, a mindful movement coach, fitness trainer, sports performance coach, fitness model, and former NCAA Division I athlete with over 15 certifications ranging from National Academy of Sports Medicine, Animal Flow, Yoga Alliance, kettlebell, TRX, breathwork, & more. Venus values strength at every angle and adaptability, so we can move to live with an incredible body, mind, and soul.
Billy and Venus discuss:
–How this idea of “strength at every angle” goes beyond just the body
–What life events shaped the person she is today
–How she got into personal training specializing in mobility and flow
–Why it is so essential to incorporate flow and mobility into our workout routines, especially as we get older
–Why our passions the outcomes of your strengths and not a driving force
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Billy: Coming up on The Mindful Midlife Crisis
Venus: People focus on passions and people don't know what their passion is. Your passion is the outcome of your gift. Your passion isn't something that you're trying to do. Your passion becomes an outcome of the gift that you already have inside of you, and then you just exploit it, explore it, fine, tune it, seek more out, and then you're like, Oh, I'm pretty fucking good at this now.
It's my passion.
Billy: Welcome to The Mindful Midlife Crisis, a podcast for people navigating the complexities and possibilities of life's second half. I'm your host, Billy Lahr, an educator, personal trainer, meditation teacher, and Overthinker who talks to experts who specialize in social and emotional learning, mindfulness, physical and emotional wellness, cultural awareness, finances, communication, relationships, dating and parenting all in an effort to help us better reflect, learn and grow.
So we can live a more purpose filled life. Take a deep breath, embrace the present and journey with me through The Mindful Midlife Crisis. Welcome to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. I'm your host, Billy Lahr. Thank you for tuning in wherever you are. The purpose of the show is to provide a platform that gives people the space and permission to share their expertise and life experiences in order to help others navigate the complexities and possibilities of life's second half.
And remember this free and useful information is helpful to people of all ages. Wisdom is not about one's age. Wisdom comes from our ability to reflect, learn and grow from our own life experiences. We're also learning from the experiences of others, regardless of what stage of life wbie are in, because you just never know what life is going to throw at you.
So there just might be a conversation or two from past episodes that help you feel better prepared for the challenges you might face in life or that you're facing right now. Whether those challenges be your emotional, mental and or physical health, your relationships with others, including your partner and children, your career, your finances, whatever curveballs life is throwing your way right now, just know that you are not alone in your experience.
And the conversations I'm having here are with people who have been there before or have done the research to help you navigate these situations with more awareness, openness, curiosity and compassion so you can live a more purpose filled life. And trust me, I take all of these conversations. I'm having the heart as well, and I try to apply what I'm learning from these conversations to my own life, which is why I do solo episodes the first Wednesday of every month, because I think of the show as a running dialog between me and you, the listener, because my hope is that you can see and hear the growth I'm making in my own life.
So that inspires you to seek out the connections between our shared experience this so that you too can take intentional and inspired action. So if you're looking for some ways to help, you better navigate whatever you've got going on in your life from someone who's been through it before, check out some of our other episodes at WW dot Mindful Midlife Crisis dot com or wherever you get your podcasts.
This week's episode not only focuses on fitness, but understanding other people's life experiences as well. So if you're looking for more episodes like that, check out episode six, which is our two part conversation with Maurice Buchanan and Daleco James about how their work Jim is transcending what it means to be Jim. Owners Check out Episode 50 with Aaron Boike, who talks about why it's important to maintain muscle mass as we get older.
Episodes 48 and 49 with Breathwork Specialists Kolin Purcell and Anna Schlegel, who talk about the importance of reexamining our relationship with our breath. You can also check out episode 44 with Jodi Pfarr about the need and urgency for cultural awareness and also check out episode 30 withCoach Scott Welle about how to outperform the norm. So with that, let's meet today's guest.
Our guest today is Venus Lau. Venus is a mindful movement coach, fitness trainer, sports performance coach, fitness model and former NCAA division one athlete with over 15 certifications ranging from National Academy of Sports Medicine, Animal Flow, Yoga Alliance, Kettlebell Treks, BREATHWORK, and more. That's a lot of certifications. She was recently featured in Oxygen magazine POPSUGAR Fitness and Bravo TV.
She has been a guest lecturer at California State University, Northridge and Pepperdine University and has been a contributing writer for Muscle and Fitness magazine. Venus values strength at every angle and adaptability so we can move to live with an awesome body, mind and soul. And that's what she's here to talk about today. So welcome to the show, Venus.
Venus: Wow, Thank you, Billy. How is it going?
It's going really well. I sort of feel like a teenage girl outside of TRL on Backstreet Boys Day because this is yeah, this is this is a big deal for me because you absolutely are one of my heroes. And I really, really flattered and honored to have you on the show today. So thanks for joining us.
Well, thank you so much. You know what? I'll give you the high five to enter teenage girl you.
Billy: She greatly appreciates that. She does. So the inner teenage girl is one role that I play. We like to ask our guests ten roles that they play in their life. So what are ten roles that you play in your life?
Venus: Honestly, I just selected the first ten that just came on my mind. I'm sure there are more roles, but these are the first ten that came out and I wrote students because I feel like I am a student of life, not just for movement and I am a coach, but in order for me to be a good coach or teacher, I have to be a good student lover, not a fighter.
Although when I was younger, I was definitely more of a fighter. But for friend five a flowy star six I consider myself a seeker slash investigator. Seven A future partner. Eight A fun buddy. Nine I'm a fine tuner and ten is question mark, question mark, question mark. More to come.
Billy: Oh, I like that. I like that. And you even included that in the three roles that you're most looking forward to in the second half of life. So we're going to circle back around to that a bit flowy still. We're going to talk about this a little bit later, but what do you mean by flow, Easter Flow Easter.
Venus: So I'm known for teaching body weight flow, body weight movement, animal flow, yoga flow, primal movement flow, kettlebell flow. I can do it with any weight or whatever, but it's basically it's a blend of movements.
Like if you were to combine yoga with breakdancing and martial arts and movement is movement regardless of the category. And it's just about the intention of the movement.
So like martial arts, it is supposed to help make us strong and better movers and be quick and swift and understand power like gymnastics. It's meant to be sport and it's meant for developing lots of skill and strength and mobility and like dance. It has its own rhythm and each individual performs those things the way that, you know, really brings them the rhythm, the joy or the emotion that they are seeking or what they are in at the moment.
So it's a combination of all those things, but I like to put it in a fitness aspect and I like to do it where it's very teachable from beginner to an advanced mover. So you have a practice that you can do for the rest of your life, even if you don't identify as a dancer or if you don't identify as a martial artist, you don't identify as a gymnast or anything like that.
Billy: There definitely is a choreography to it, and that's something that I've admired watching when you'd post your Instagram videos and just watching you flow. So smoothly at through there's movements. It's a lot like watching somebody who's a really good dancer because there's a choreography to it and the other day a friend of mine and I, we were just like, Hey, let's just YouTube a hip hop dance routine that they'll walk us through.
And we laughed a lot through it. But it's hard because there's a mental component to it as well, because you're like, you got to think about the movements and then at the same time not get too much into your head about what the movements are and allowing yourself to just flow and enjoy it.
Venus: Yeah, for sure. And that's the hard part. And it's like any anything you learn if you're learning to be an actor, let's say, and someone gives you a script and they're like, you're this character. These are your lines, these are their lines. Now act it out with somebody. First of all, you've got to like, understand the character, right?
You have to understand the script and then you have to memorize the words. But then if you memorize it too much, it's kind of a tonic because you have to feel used to memorize the emotion and then you have to perform it. And like, dance is the same way. Learning flow and anything body weight is the same way.
Any kind of choreography or anything is like any skill at all. What I like to call it is whether you're learning to trust me. I'm not a dancer. I did not have a dance background. I'd taken dance classes as an adult, but I was not a dancer growing up. I was an athlete. And just like a sport, you have to learn everything by its foundations and you have to learn the coordination.
Then you have to learn how to do this, this and this and this and all these different layers. And then you learn how to perform it.
Billy: Well, then you have a lot of certifications as well. I imagine that tells us more about why you are a seeker, an investigator, and that's something that you're looking forward to in the second half of life. And I think that connects to this idea of being a fine tuner as well.
Venus: Yes. So I'd say I usually a go to what people say. What's one of your skills that you have that you're really good at? I'm really good at finding patterns and understanding patterns and not always like, like mathematical patterns, everything like that. But I mean, like I see movement patterns, anything physical or movement, I will see people do something and I'll find the pattern.
And then I want to go in and I want to fine tune that pattern. So like when it comes to seeking, I love looking at patterns of people, of things, of movements, and then untrained understand, like, why is that happening? Is that a good thing? Can that be made better? What if I tweaked it? What would happen and then kind of go from there and know it doesn't always have to be movement?
That's my expertise right now. I'm also fascinated with like human and human connection and the patterns of that as well.
Billy: Well, then as a seeker, it sounds like you're also seeking to be a future partner, as you listed that as one of the three roles that you're most looking forward to in the second half of life. So what does that tell us more about that?
Venus: Okay. First of all, I'm gay. I do not come out of the closet or even really acknowledged myself for being gay or being interested in wanting to date women until about 36. And I didn't really, really start dating till, like, didn't have my first girlfriend until I was like 37. I'm now 43. And it was such an interesting thing for me because I had done a lot of speaking in my life and trying to get over like my parents, both Catholic and cancer, and understanding what my purpose was.
Because for the longest time I was the good kid that just did what my parents wanted me to do. I went to a good college, I got a golf scholarship, I graduated, I moved to L.A. and my parents had passed away from cancer. My the the first second year I was out in L.A. and I actually moved to L.A. because I was seeking something different than what I thought I wanted to do.
Anyways, fast forward, after doing so much seeking for career and healing my own body and all that stuff, I was like, okay, I seek a partner and I dated a good amount of people and I want to be a great future partner. I read a really great quote the other day is for heterosexual people, but I really thought was a great quote and it was like, ladies don't find a man who wants a wife, find a man who wants to be a good husband.
And I thought that was really great. And that's why I was like, yeah, I'm trying to reframe it of like instead of me being like, I want a partner, I want someone in my life to share it with, which I do. But I think it's a really great reframe to go, I want to be a great partner. So whoever that is.
Billy: So it sounds like, you know, it's about six, seven years here that you've I don't know if embrace is the right word, but to be fully true to yourself and to seek out a partner that is gay as well. And is that still new? Are you still figuring out this dating game? So is that part of the seeking?
I'm curious about that.
Venus: Great question. It's always new. I mean, at least for me, I am a believer of that cliche when they say, you know, if all of your partners are the same, all of your ex partners, or they're very similar, that means you're not learning a lesson. Not that I'm such a great learner, but I feel like every person I've dated has been extremely different.
Yes, there are definitely some similarities, but for the most part I feel like I've really learned a lot from every ex partner I've ever had. No matter how short or long the relationships been. And you learn a lot. And I think even people who come and go in your life, you know, the ones that don't stay, like there's really a beautiful lesson there.
Although let's just be real. There are a few of them. Like, what was that about?
Venus: That was a waste of time. No more Now. I'm just kidding. I'm kidding. But yeah, I think that it's important to constantly learn and I'm hoping to be a good partner and to find someone that I can continue to grow with. I think that's been the hardest part is like dating and then being like, Cool. I learned a really great lesson.
Now I get to start over with someone new, but I'm in a place in my life where I'm like, Cool. I want to like, learn lessons and continue to learn lessons with one person. Everyone's different, but I know that that's my makeup. I know that at least for now, that's where I'm at in the present moment of what I want in the future.
Billy: You and I are kind of in the same place and we're around the same age and we are also both Leos. So do you ever look back on your past relationships and think to yourself, Maybe I'm just too awesome for anyone to handle me? Sometimes that comes to mind as I think about like how awesome I am just as a Leo.
Like that's I know I present that way. Does that ever.
Venus: Not going to lie. I definitely have had moments where I'm like, Why would you not want to be with me.
Billy: Exactly like me? Why are people so stupid? It always just come on to come. Don't you see what.
You got here right in front of you?
Venus: Yeah. I mean, I don't know if it's stupid or it's the universe, the divine timing and the universe coming in and being like, this timing's not right, or it's not right or it's not cooking right. You put the vinegar in too soon, you know, too much sugar, not enough salt. But I think that they get all this divine timing I love about love and love stories is that there's so many stories out there and there's no one way to do it.
And I love listening to like some love podcasts and romantic advice and dating advice. But at the end of the day, if people just be themselves and they're really honest and have those difficult conversations and link up with somebody who can do that with you, that's the beauty. That's the gold right there. Is that hard? Yeah, I'm still learning how to do that.
I'm like, Fantastic at it. I'm definitely getting better at it and becoming more aware of what I'm doing. After every relationship has ended, I've always look back and been like, Oh man, I wish I was more direct and I wish I was a little bit more upfront about what I meant when I said that. Or it's like, Well, I did talk about it, but it's like I kind of skirted around the issue versus like, Hey, this of Jesus, this is really where is this coming from?
It feels good when you walk away from a relationship and you're like, Okay, I really was as near as I could be and honest. And it was very clear there was nothing left with a question mark. Honestly, like most of my relationships though, there's always like a question mark afterwards.
Billy: But I think that speaks to how important it is to really know yourself into really do the work on yourself so that you can be able to be your authentic self as you move along. I think it's really hard to be your authentic self at the beginning because you're still kind of in I'm trying to impress you stage.
So sometimes I balk yet always be your authentic self and like, well, that's hard. But over time I think if you're around somebody, they make you feel comfortable enough to be your authentic self. But then it's important to maybe not become so enmeshed in your relationship with that person that you start to blend and then you become like Bennifer or, you know, something like that where you're not two individual people, you're a couple together.
And so I don't know, sometimes I go back and forth on that, but then maybe that's why I'm in the situation where I am now. But you have three question marks here with more to come or something else you want to add to that?
Venus: I think the hardest part about being in a relationship is truly being your authentic self and showing up that way. And when you do the work and not that I fully done the work, I'm still in the work, but the goal is to do the work, to where even that first date you're so yourself and that you won't get enmeshed when you trust yourself, you don't get enmeshed even if you and that other person are like so fucking perfect and amazing together.
Yeah, you're going to do a lot of things together and share life together, but you're not enmeshed if both people really know who they are and more just volunteering to be together because it's better with other people. Both my parents passed away from cancer. The biggest thing I learned was that your life means more when you share it with other people.
And that's the biggest thing. And the whole fear of enmeshment thing, It's like that's just when you don't know yourself. You don't trust yourself. You know what I mean? That's like the inability to gauge yourself, right? It's like a wild stallion versus you tame that stallion, that stallion's rideable, you know? And so you have to make yourself rideable.
Because if you trust yourself, no matter what situation you're in, if someone is a jerk to you, you're going to know how to respond and you're going to respond in a way that makes you trust yourself more. Or if someone with a lot of people on social media now talk about breaking boundaries or, you know, creating boundaries, dude, I think that's the wrong way to look at it.
Yes, boundaries are important, but you're going to have them If you trust yourself, you won't have to write out every freaking boundary because it won't be crossed if you trust yourself. And that's it. And I think people are complicated.
Billy: I like that. I like that idea of if you trust yourself, then you don't have to shout out your boundaries because you'll just be comfortable in knowing what those are. So when we take a look at these three question marks here with more to come, what's to come for Venus Lau.
Venus: I don't know this where the question marks.
Billy: What are you manifesting?
Venus: My favorite way to respond to people when they say, What is it that you want in life is I don't know how to say it specifically. And that's something I'm still working on. There are definitely things I want, but I know how I want to feel and that is what guides me. I want to feel fulfilled. I want to feel strong.
I want to feel trust with myself. I want to feel love for myself and other people. And I want to feel the ability to receive. I think people leave that one out a lot, and I want to feel like I'm having a fucking blast and I want to feel those things. And whatever package it comes in, I'm open to that.
Billy: No, I like that. I think that's beautifully stated there. Just I don't know what's to come, but I know how I want to feel when I'm there. So that's a big reason why I'm heading back to Korea, because I liked how I felt there and I want more of that in my life. So let's do this. We're going to take a quick break and then we come back.
We're going to continue talking to Venus now and we're going to dissect this strength at every angle philosophy. Thank you for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. Thank you for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. If you're enjoying what you've heard so far, please do me a favor and hit the subscribe button. Also giving the show a quick five star review with a few kind words helps others find a benefit from this podcast just like you are.
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Welcome back to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. We are here talking to Venus, loyal Mindful movement, coach, fitness trainer, all around badass. You can check her out on Instagram at Venus to be fab. You can go to our website at WWE dot Venus fit dot com. She's on Tik Tok and YouTube at a Venus fit. We'll make sure we put all of that in the show notes.
I tell you guys, all the good stuff is in the show notes. Make sure you take a look. Venus I've been following you on the Instagrams here for I think it's like four or five years. It feels stalker ish. And I apologize if it's felt that way to you. The reason why I started following you is because I saw a video of you doing Animal Flow, and I was just blown away by how silky smooth you were doing these moves and your flow programs stress this idea of strength at every angle.
And we're going to get into that in terms of the physical part of it. But I think because I've followed you for so long and because, you know, you've been so great about corresponding, it's one of the reasons why I really enjoy our connection here. I've gotten to know a little bit more about your story. So if we take this idea of strength at every angle and make it more metaphorical and talk about it in in terms of resilience, what events in your life and you've mentioned a few of them already have made you strong at every angle.
And how so? What have you learned along the way?
Venus: Where do I start? I could start with how I was a kid. I was really shy and I got bullied when I was really little. And then as I got older, I started having more friends and I started finding my friend group like in junior high and high school. But by the time you're in junior high, high school, you pretty much developed your internal shell personality.
So and being an Asian kid named Venus in Texas is rough. Venus rhymes with Yeah.
Venus: And then as I got older, my parents were all about me becoming a professional golfer, and I trained with the people who taught Tiger Woods. I trained with the guy who taught David Ledbetter. He taught David Ledbetter. I don't know if you know golf or not, but in the golf world, David Ledbetter at one point was training like half the PGA Tour.
It was a really big deal. And golf was a big part of my life. And then I got a golf scholarship to go to Baylor University. And I went there. And then while I was there, my dad got cancer and he died by the time I was a senior in college. And then my mom was diagnosed a year after that, after I graduated or actually kind of during.
And then she passed away when I was 25 and I moved to L.A. because I thought I wanted to be a comedy writer. Promise I can be funny. And then I got into personal training just because I needed a side gig. The rest was history. But to go back to strength at every angle strengthened. Every angle to me is Body mind.
So of course, as a trainer in that aspect, the physical strength at every angle is being able to know that I can handle whatever life throws at me physically, mentally or emotionally. But on the physical aspect, with mobility and range of motion and when we go back to talking about flow, but I very much do still believe in heavy weight training and making sure your structure in your system, your bones, your ligaments, all that stuff, your muscles are strong, so you age well and so you can live a good long life and enjoy it with the people around you and do the fun things and not be scared.
Like, Oh, how many times I've seen people who are older and they're like, scared to go do something because they're afraid they're going to hurt themselves. And so when I train on a physical level, I'm trying to get people to feel comfortable in their bodies and not just esthetically, esthetically. It's great to be a fitness model. So I like esthetics so people feel confident in what they're doing, and then that confidence carries over to other parts of their life, whether it be emotional stress or just how they carry themself in a room.
And the strength at every angle is my motto in that I know it's as a trainer, if people are going to see that as physical, but it is the spiritual, the emotional and all the other things as well.
Billy: Before we started chatting part of your program, you do a private Facebook group and you were talking about breathwork and mindfulness, and I think that encapsulates that also. What were some of the things that you discussed in that group today?
Venus: I had recently taken on a seminar last week called Art of Breath, and then also the skill of Stress. And it was an amazing overall view of how we look at Breathwork when it helps us with actual human performance on a physical or an athletic level and also as a life skill in general, how we handle stress. And it was a two day course.
The first day was more about performance in athletics and working out fitness. The second day was more about life skills and skill of stress and how we handle and how we upregulate our nervous system and downregulate. And what I taught in my lab today was I had my people go into some upregulation because normally right before you're online watching social media or generally when you are, you're sitting right, you're not not many people are like working out as you're watching social media.
Some are. I don't recommend that you're going to work out in your workout. So I understand that people are sitting. So I'm like, okay, let's do some upregulation. But it was really quick. And then we focus on Downregulation because that's really what people really need. Well, I'd say 80%. There's 20% of people who definitely need upregulation. So we did Breathwork that allowed that to happen.
And then with the breath work we went into self speak and how the brain sees yourself and all its systems and whether it's present time, past and future, and how each part of the brain system identifies as either it I or you. And so I created some journaling topics and then I had them infuse that into their movement, practice and so I like to do stuff like that with my students every week.
I always do a like flow class, like a movement class. And then on my Facebook every week I'll teach something different, whether it's mindset breathwork maybe it's a physical skill, maybe it's a flow, maybe it's a workout. It just depends.
Billy: Who you talk about. So speaking, you had some challenging, formidable years there, especially in your early twenties and then coming out as gay. What was some of the narratives in your head during that time and how did you navigate those to be like, Hey, I am a strong, resilient person at every angle here? What were some of the things that you said were for self-talk that was able to keep your head above water, so to speak?
Venus: I had to drown a few times first. I didn't just like breathe through that, obviously, but one of the things that I fell into kind of like a I don't know if I would call it a depression. It was probably a depression. I wasn't diagnosed at the time or anything, but after my parents passed away, I was there really dark period where I was really angry.
And one of the books that I don't know, someone gave it to me, I it but it was called The Language of Letting Go by Melanie Beatty. And I opened up to the middle of the book and it said, Sometimes we have to reach our peaks and sometimes we have to reach our valleys in order to find our middle ground.
And it really spoke to me because I felt like I was going up and down and up and down and I was going to high peaks in one Lolo Valley. And I was like, God, I just want this to get more simple. And I got to a place where I had to accept that it was okay to be in an extreme places and that I that it's not permanent.
Nothing's permanent. That was a lot of the wisdom that my parents taught me before they passed. So it's like as awful it is to lose your parents in your early twenties, there's so much wisdom that I gained. Luckily with my parents, they went from being like super Asian type people to before they passed away. I had a lot of really deep conversations with them about life and what mattered.
And my dad always said, If I die today, tomorrow, next week, five years, ten years, 20 years, you're never going to feel ready for it. It's going to hurt. It's going to suck, but you're going to die to one day make the most of life with what you got. Get as much as you can, work hard, have a lot of fun, find people you love and celebrate your life with them.
It wasn't exactly those words. It's the words have changed over the years of my memory. But that's basically what he said, and I understood it at the time, but I didn't really get it. It didn't really sink in until having failed. Things happen with business, relationships, friendships, hobbies, even failure really teaches a lot. And failure isn't really failure, or failure is just learning what works and what doesn't work.
And it becomes a success when you can transfer it over and carry it over to some other part of your life. It doesn't always feel like that, though. I have definitely felt like deadly failure in my life.
Billy: Well, then you're a college athlete. Along with that comes with a sense of, Hey, I'm accustomed to winning or I'm accustomed to being really, really good at something. So then it's even more difficult for people who are high performers like that to deal with setbacks, or is it easier for them to be able to deal with setbacks because they already have those skills?
Or is it kind of depends on the person?
Venus: I think it depends on the person because I was a high performer, but I had to work really hard at it. So I think for someone like me it was probably easier maybe. I don't know. I know that I had habits already that I could lean on, which resilience was a big part of it. Golf is not a team sport, even though it can be, but golf really is an individual sport and every little minute detail matters and every little shot counts.
And there's a lot of thinking. There's a lot of like precision involved. So that in itself gave me the skillset to get specific and to have habits. And golf is not one of those games that you can just go and you're good and you're going to win tournaments. I mean, how many people have you heard of? Like, Oh, my buddy so-and-so is a scratch golfer.
He could be professionals. Like, No, he can't. It's a whole nother thing when you're performing, you know, and you're actually in a tournament with other people who are just as good as you does. I give people an edge sometimes, but really what matters is how do you handle failure in general? And that depends on how you were raised, what you were around, how you what your own personality is.
I know people who are amazing athletes and they do not take not winning well and they're extremely competitive with everything in their life. I don't find that to be something of a strength. It's actually kind of a weakness. I think being competitive, but also seeing how you can learn from it and how you can also share it with others and where it's not about beating other people, it's being your best.
To me, that's the kind of competitiveness that if you're that kind of athlete, then like, cool, yeah, you're going to be able to handle things. I don't think being an athlete makes it easier or harder. I think it's just different.
Billy: Well, I'm always fascinated by the fact that you were a D1 collegiate golfer, and I'm curious what your experience was like as an Asian woman on a golf course in the heart of Texas, because I don't imagine you had a lot of people who looked like you out on the golf course back in the day. Did that just never come into play because you were so focused on being the best golfer that you could be?
Venus: Well, that's a very interesting question. I never really thought about it that way, to be honest. I mean, I definitely thought about it. But I think as a kid, I wasn't thinking about it. It was interesting. I felt more accepted as a performer, like an athlete being a golfer, even though, yeah, there not a lot of women, not a lot of Asians there are now, but not when I was growing up, especially in the South.
I felt like I was more spotlighted and I was more special because of it. But in my personal life I felt like a total dork. Without the title of athlete attached to me, I was insecure in my story. Being an athlete, it was a mess. Sometimes a good one, sometimes not so good one to hide insecurity. But it's interesting because I taught workshops around the world and every time I teach a workshop at the end of it, I always say, you know, if you have any questions about anything, you can ask me anything.
And I usually expect people to ask me about the movement and what it taught. And for me to go over certain concepts and they do that. It's always interesting. There's always a few women who will come up to me, whether they ask me in the group or they come up to me personally, and they always ask me how are you so confident in an industry full of men?
Because when I go to the gym, men treat me like I'm just like the yoga instructor, when really I'm here to teach people how to be strong. And not that yoga instructors are strong because they are. I am also certified yoga instructor, but in the gym atmosphere it's very pro like kind of camaraderie. And I like to say that like that's something a lot of women have to deal with, and that's rough.
The best advice I can give and it's hard is that you get to see yourself as strong. And when you do, just like when we're talking about relationships earlier, you trust yourself, you walk in there, it's not a big deal. And you also realize that a lot of people who are judgmental are really insecure, and that's really the biggest thing.
Billy: So when you talk about feeling comfortable, especially when you're in a situation where maybe not necessarily that you're the odd person out, but that you're not as represented or you're seen different in some way, shape or form. Did you feel that when you came out to become a comedy writer, what was the reason for coming out to be a comedy writer?
Did that come naturally to you? Because it seems like you just made this very smooth, the transition into a fitness trainer. So I've always been curious about what that comedy writing experience was like for you.
Venus: The comedy writing experience was the fact that I love laughter. Anything like it made me laugh and I'm a shit talk. LAUGHTER I'm a dad. Humor, laughter. I'm a dark humor, laughter. I just fuckin love laughing. That's what got me through a lot of my dark shit, my life. And I luckily had a lot of friends growing up.
And my best friend, who is so one of my is my best friend and my business partner, she also is still a writer and all we ever did was laugh. And that's really what got us through a lot of like the heavy, dark stuff, especially in our twenties. And we would write scripts together and and then we were just like, Hey, let's move to LA and let's do it.
And it wasn't like this, Oh, I'm a writer. It was just like, I like it, let's do it, you know? And that's kind of how I've led my life. I like it, I investigate it, I seek it out. I try to fine tune it, just like all my roles in life and I try it. And if it works, great, if it doesn't, I fine tune it some more.
And if it's still a struggle, it's not meant for me. And so I was doing that for a while. And the first six months that we moved out here, me and my best friend, we actually auction a script to New Line Cinema and had a star attached and we were like, What? We did that in six months. What?
You know, that was pretty cool. And then we, we kept doing it and there was a struggle. And also I was in my twenties. I've gone through some hard times. My mom just passed away. I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life and I loved the party.
Great. I was a bartender at some wild places and had a lot of fun and so I just let myself have fun. And then when I got into my later twenties, I was like, Oh, if I need a serious job. And here's another thing I did not mention. I had a serious job before I moved out here. I was a pharmaceutical sales rep and I had work in marketing.
I know I did a lot of things and then I quit all that because I was like, fucking, I want to enjoy my life. So then I moved out here and I did the bartending scene and had fun and my friends were like, You should be a trainer because you work out all the time anyways. And I did, and I was an athlete and I had a strength coach.
I really understood how to workout and I was like, Oh, I do not want to be a trainer. They're like, Why not? I was like, Why would I be a trainer? And I just thought of like the trainer, Gary Stereotype trainer and was like, That's not me. And they're like, Well, you can make some good money doing it and then you'll have more free time.
They say it's not true, by the way, we do not have more free time. And I was like, Yeah, great idea. And then I walked into Equinox and I auditioned and they're like, Are you certified? And I was like, No, you're like a certified. And I was like, Okay, So I got certified. They still hired me, though, and I didn't train anyone until the certification was cut down through and the rest is history.
Like, it was one of those things. And I did a post about this on Instagram and TikTok and all the things. But I think that your gifts are what we should focus on. People focus on passion, and people don't know what their passion is. Your passion is the outcome of your gift. Your passion isn't something that you're trying to do.
Your passion becomes an outcome of the gift that you already have inside of you, and then you just exploit it, explore it, fine, tune it, seek more out, and then you're like, Oh, I'm pretty fucking good at this now. It's my passion. And that's what happened to me. Fitness became my passion once I understood it as a gift.
And I don't know what the original question was, but I'm here, I am going on this train.
Billy: I don't even care because you just gave the greatest mic drop moment of all time. Because. I hate, hate, hate, hate, hate. Follow your passions so much. In that store, we had Jordan Harbinger on the show to talk about why that is such a toxic self-help statement. And I hope that there are Instagram influencers who are just withering to pieces right now, having heard that because you just stated that so beautifully, like it's not our job to follow our passion.
Our job is to figure out what we are good at. And then as a result, if we listen to that, then we pursue it because we become passionate about it. You don't really know if you're passionate about something unless you're willing to do it on a weekend for free. You know, you just made me feel so happy.
Venus: Yes, Passion is it result. Passion is an outcome of dialing into things that already are your gifts. And yeah, not everyone's natural. Guess they know about them, but for those of you who are like, Well then how do I start? Spend a lot more time alone because you're not going to figure out what you're good at when you're constantly influenced by other people, right?
Maybe even take some time off social and go do things that interest you and see what you're just kind of naturally good at, or see a pattern of what you're good at and then explore that if you're like, You know, I could be a good trainer, okay, go figure it out. And maybe you take a classroom course, right?
Go ahead and get certified, take the jump, take the leap and try it. See if you're good at it. And also you're not going to be good at it overnight. It took me a few years before I was comfortable coaching people without a clipboard with a preplanned workout. Now, when I coach people, I don't write anything down. I just look at them and I just kind of know like, Oh, this is what their body needs today because their days change from time to time.
And then you just remember what you did last time. You know, I mean, sometimes you write it down. I generally will remember because I don't I'm not teaching like thousands and thousands of people like I am online. It's different. Or if it's like, Hey, I've always wanted to learn how to play the guitar or whatever, Just start, be patient and then ask yourself, Am I really good at this?
If you're good at it, makes you feel good. That's another thing. If you're good at it, it makes you feel good. It boosts your confidence. You're like, I fucking crushed that. I thought to myself, you know, that's when you're like, I'm good at it. I know a lot of actors in L.A. and like, I am so passionate about acting and you watch them and you're kind of like, But do you work on your craft?
You know, it's like if you're really passionate about something, you work it and it makes you feel good. If you work on it and it doesn't make you feel good, you're wasting a lot of energy on something that could be put to something that can make you feel good. And and I don't mean feel good like I did so good at it.
I mean feel good like I learned I'm acquiring a skill kind of good.
Billy: Because it can be frustrating to it can still be frustrating, but you're like, Oh, that was so hard. But I feel really good. It reminds me of any time I have taken a course that you have offered and there I am trying to do some sort of animal flow role, scorpion reach that you're teaching us. And I'm dripping in sweat because I've never moved my body like that before in my life.
And then when I'm done, I'm like, That was so hard. I hated every second of that. When can we do it again? It's just one of those feelings right there. So, no, you knocked it out of the park. So I think that's a good spot here to take a break and then we come back, we're going to continue talking to Venus and she's going to continue dropping more truth bombs.
Thank you for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. Thank you for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. New episodes come out every Wednesday to help you get over the midweek hump. If you'd like to contact me or if you have suggestions about what you'd to hear on the show, visit WW dot mindful of midlife crisis dot com and click Contact us while you're there Don't forget to sign up for the newsletter to get free weekly meditations as well as free resources from a reflective learn grow program.
You can also click on the show notes for links to the articles and resources that re referenced throughout the show. If you want to check out my worldly adventures, follow me on Instagram. Get mindful, underscore midlife underscore crisis. My hope is that my trials, tribulations and successes will inspire you to take intentional action to live a more purpose filled life.
And while you're at it, remember to show yourself some love every now and then, too. Thanks again. And now back to the show. Welcome back to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. We are here with Mindful Movement coach fitness trainer Venus Lau. We love having her on the show here. If you're enjoying this conversation, you want to get more of this good stuff from Venus, go to and follow her on Instagram at Venus to be fab or you can go to her website W WW dot Venus fit dot com.
She's got programs there that you can check out that you can enroll in and you can get more of this good stuff from here. You can find out all about animal flow. It's actually a lot of fun. It's a heck of a workout. You can check those out also on Tik-tok and on YouTube at Venus Fit. Let's go pay attention to that stuff again.
We'll put it that in the show notes so it's easily accessible for all of you. We haven't talked much about fitness yet, Venus, so it's been a very fascinating conversation. And I imagine you kind of get tired at talking about fitness. But I do have some fitness related questions for you, so I thought I would throw those out here.
So you talk about strength at every angle. Regarding physical fitness, we've talked to several personal trainers in the past about the importance of strength training through weight lifting as we age, but why is it so important to incorporate flow mobility into our workout routines, especially as we get older?
Venus: Because flow and mobility is a form of strength. It's just not a form of strength that people talk about and it's not as easy to measure. So scientifically people are like, Oh well, that's not strength. It is strength to have good flow and fluidity. You have to understand acceleration and deceleration of strength, right? For good mobility, which is range of motion, that is also a form of strength.
And that also makes us more resilient in our bodies. And the more flow and the ability you have to go, stop, go, accelerate, decelerate, breathe through it cognitively, change transitions energy and the mobility of moving your body through different ranges of motion at different accesses. You're going to get stronger as well. With general fitness strength. I am stronger now in my forties than I was in my twenties when I was a D1 athlete lifting 3 to 4 times a week.
And I'm stronger because I had more access and also what it does is it allows your nervous system to feel safe. When your nervous system feels safe because of ground based movement, because it knows its range of motion, because your body knows that I can go fast, I can go slow, I can go medium at the drop of a dime.
You're going to be able to access more power and more strength. I can lift heavier now than I could in my twenties and I can move better and I can think while I'm doing it and I can talk while I'm doing it. So the capacity to move on an athletic level, whether if I want to perform or if I'm just hanging out with friends and just trying new activities, I nervous system is going to get wrapped up.
I'm not going to be full of cortisol and stress when I'm trying things and I can enjoy life more as well as get it easier.
Billy: You have a client that you regularly post about on your Instagram and I think she is maybe like 68 years old. I feel like you've been working with her ever since I started following you. What development have you seen? What growth have you seen? What mobility have you seen in her having worked with you over this time?
Venus: So when she first came to me, she had just had cervical surgery on her spine, which is her neck, and she had had an accident. And so she had to get certain parts of her cervical spine removed and fuzed. So she was really stiff. And because that's so close to your brainstem, everything was scary to her. We started with bodyweight tricks.
Rope Suspension. She wasn't even leaning back that far, and she was scared because your nervous system is all racked up. So I started with her by doing ground based movement where your nervous system, you'll say, We started with rolls and we went into crawling and then we did some mini baby flows. Nothing too crazy. She wasn't super strong at the time.
She had been strong before. She wasn't an athlete, but she has had trainers before and then she kind of didn't work out for a while when she started working with me. She's 59. She's now about to turn 69. So we've been working together for ten years. When we first started, everything was scary because of ground based movement. She started trusting her body and her body's ability to do things and to learn cognitively.
And then she got really excited it and she was like, This is the first time I've loved working out so much. And that's what I always get from my clients. By the way, they always say, I hated working out and now I love it. Well, they don't always hate it. Some people loved it, but then they love it more because now they are connected and aware and they get stronger, faster, easier.
So over time she became better and she was still robotic. You could even look at my old Instagram post where I've posted her. You can see how she used to move very mechanically and now she moves very fluidly. And then I started teaching her how to use kettlebells. Then I started teaching her how to use the steel, mace and clubs and ropes and we've done battle ropes and she's 69 and she moves better than people in their twenties.
Billy: Blow is so humbling too, because, listen, I'm Abro, I do the squats, I do the deadlifts, I do the bench press, right? I don't do a lot of yoga. I talked about this in the Facing the Sun podcast with Samantha Adams that I wish back in the day that maybe I want to have such a bro mentality and I probably should have done some yoga back in the day because my body is feeling a little bit rickety.
And now I'm doing this morning mobility routine. And quite frankly, having followed you a lot of the morning mobility routine that I do now is based on some of the things that I see you do, just much slower, much more basic. And what I like is you start people at a very basic level, like one of the first things that you have them do is just crawl on all fours so you can see how their body moves in that way.
Venus: MM Yeah, I very much like to start people with crawling before we get them into doing anything else and the crawling is too hard. I get them started rolling but really crawling and rolling go hand in hand. Because the closer you are to the ground, the more that your brain says, Oh, this is safe. Like I can't fall right?
And the more hands and elbows and knees that you have on the ground, the body's nervous system is like, ooh, I'm like double safe. I'm already in the catch position if I fell down. So now that just opens the brain up for activity to do more, to access more strength. So can actually feel what's going on in your core in those little minute movements of crawling in your ligaments.
So it's not just like, ooh, this is upper body, this is lower body. We're getting a little bit of everything in the body.
Billy: You know, it's funny, I remember doing one of the classes with you virtually, and I had three contact points, maybe even more, because I had my knees on the ground and I had I think like my left heel was extended on the ground. And then I was leaning back and and I toppled over because, like, that was a movement that I had never done before.
But you're right, there was a safety in it because it was just like, Oh, here I am. I'm right on the ground. And I realized that, you know what? Maybe can't move that fast because you've never done that kind of motion, even though it's just a body weight movement right here where you're reaching back behind you. You probably have to do that with a little more intention if you're going to do this safely, if you're going to do it correctly.
So I've always enjoyed the step by step process. And me, I am definitely someone was like, Speed along, Venus, Let's go. Come on. I got this part. I got this part. But then in hindsight, I'm like, No, I really don't have this part. You just want to be done with it that kind of thing. So, you know, I have to slow myself down and remind myself that it is, in fact a process.
And that is not always easy for me to do.
Venus: Well, that's the world we live in, right? Insta gram, right? We want instant access. Tik tok time time, right. We want it now, Right? You Tube, it's you. It's all about youth too, right? Like we we want it now. We want it immediately. But we all know that mastery takes time. And I was just say to people, Hey, just take three months with me, master or the beginner stuff.
I've got beginner programs, just do it step by step. I have someone who is a subscriber of mine. He's been a subscriber mine for like I think four years now. And I just saw on my private group, he said, I'm doing the beginner concept program for the third time this year because I like to go back to the basics.
And he had a car accident and it ruined him. And then so when he finally got better, he's like, I'm going to go back and do the beginner concepts again. And it helps him every time. And I get my members tell me that all the time. And it's like whether you're member me or whatever it is, always go back to the foundations, which is ground based movement.
You teach your body and your nervous system how to ground down and feel safe. When you feel safe, it gives you access for more cognitive learning and thinking and building up physically more strength and giving you more access to power. And this isn't woo woo stuff. The actual science.
Billy: As people progress along, then you're able to incorporate some more movements. And I've noticed that you've started to incorporate kettlebells more and more into your floor routines and it feels like you're pulling away a little bit from the straight bar barbell kind of work and working more into kettlebells how do kettlebells and flow complement each other so well.
Venus: Great question. The reason why they complement each other so well is like when you're holding a kettlebell and I don't know if there's video on this podcast or not, but if there was if I had a kettlebell on the other side of me over here, right, I'm holding this kettlebell, then my wrist flexors have to turn on to maintain that kettlebell.
All right, so we're working on this wrist flexors. And then when you're doing the movement that is most common and kettlebell work cleans, it's a pulling mechanism. So when you're doing ground work, it's more of a push in. My hand is in this position pushing when I'm holding the cowbell, it's in this position, turning on this side of the arm, the flexor versus the sensors.
Okay, so we're already getting the balance of ground work and then the pulling. So we're getting push, we're getting pull. And that's why they're really great mechanisms to combine together. There are other things. I think Steel mace is fantastic. I think club bells are fantastic. I think ring work like Olympic rings or hanging from a bar and things like that is great work.
I think barbells are great as well, but you've got less capability to flow with the barbell because of its size, right? So there's nothing wrong with barbells and things like that. It's just more limiting because of the size of it. The couch weighed £20. I know Couch is way, way more than £20. This is really cheap. Well, play couch.
Okay, But imagine a couch that weighed £20. But it's a big couch. It's like six feet long. Even though it only weighs £20. That's going to be a lot harder to carry than a kettlebell that weighs £20. So you're going to have a lot more movement capacity. And if you want to be strong, movement capacity is what also in a lot more neurons up in your brain.
Sure, you're going to get a lot of neurons lighting up when you're doing heavy, heavy weight with a barbell. But imagine if you could take that same weight or maybe even half that weight and to move that around. And then with the combination with gravity and velocity and force, you're getting so strong very efficiently and that's going to carry over to day to day activities.
And that longevity is fantastic.
Billy: I know that you really value your community. And how is your fitness community? How has your client community filled your bucket, so to speak? How did they make you a better person? How do they make you a better trainer? Because we always talk about the importance of your network equals your net worth. And how has your network made you feel like $1,000,000 or even more?
Venus: Well, I feel that it first it pings you on the inside. You get a ping of like, I belong here. And when I feel like I can contribute to my students and to the business community, it feels fulfilling. And no matter how many successes you've had, fulfillment is like the biggest thing. I was on a cover of magazine and is awesome.
It felt great, but that's not as filling as when someone says, Hey, you know what a thing that you taught me in that class. It really helped me. And I kept doing it. And now I'm a better mover and I feel good about myself. Like, that feels so good to me when I hear that. And your network is your net net worth because also, like my friends, the people in my life, oh my God, the fact that I love them.
You guys are watching or listening. I love you all. I have been extremely lucky. I have lost both my parents to cancer, but I gained so many friends because of the lessons I learned from that loss. And I really have amazing people with really good hearts who truly want to help other people. And they're also extremely smart and talented business people as well.
And whenever I need advice, text them, call them, Hey, I really need your help. What do you think about this? They immediately reach back and they tell me what they think. We share a lot and it's really awesome because we understand that it's not a competitive atmosphere. Most of my friends are also in the fitness and the wellness space, and there are millions of people in the world.
It doesn't take that many people to run a business. It doesn't take millions. I just have like a couple of thousand people who just want to dial into what I teach. That brings me a good business. There's still competition there, and also I always encourage people and even my clients. My goal is for you to not leave me anymore.
But as we all know, the lost traction. When you say, Hey, my goal for you so you don't need me, they want to say and it's not like a reverse psychology thing I'm doing. It truly is what I believe because I know more is coming and I know more people want this help because it's true. I'm not doing it as a gimmick.
It's not just for fitness, inspo, hashtag, blah, blah. It's so I can really help people move better and feel better. And this stuff just works. And so when you have a network of other people who do the same thing in the craft that they're in because we're all different, we all have a different unique thing about us, whether someone's following me because of my personality or the way I teach, or if someone find someone else who might teach similar things, but they've got their own take on it.
And I think it's really important for us to explore everything and then just kind of like, okay, but this works for me. And then that's your camp.
Billy: When I think because you are so genuine and because you have mastered your craft, that's why you're starting to blow up here lately, because you've got your programs. I'm seeing you on magazine covers, you're on Bravo. I think you're doing some work. What? Tonal. And if you don't know what tonal is, Google it. I can't explain it all.
It's a device that you plug into your wall and you can get a really good workout. And Venus is doing some work with that. But this has been a 15 year professional progression. And one of my favorite quotes comes from Rich Bracken, which is in episode 59. And he said that he is a six year overnight sensation and you've been doing this for 15 years.
So can you wrap this all up in a flow metaphor for us that you can create that summarizes this journey as a flow?
Venus: Wow, Flow metaphor. Here's something I've said in different posts over the few years, and sometimes I forget about it, but I like to use analogies and I like the use analogy of writing poetry and verse. You start and let's start with the very basics. You first you learn how to spell correctly, then you learn grammar. Then you learn how to put it all together in conjunctions and create a sentence.
And then those sentences become paragraphs. And then eventually those paragraphs become a story, and then you go back into the story, you edit it, and you start to learn how to give it. It climaxes. It's that beginning the first act, second act, third act, the conclusion. And then eventually you learn how to even whittle it down more into poetry.
And then you can whittle that even down more with the rhythm and tempo with song. And I think that is what life's about, and it's really learning very foundational things, whether we're talking about movement or whether we're talking about understanding stresses in life and career and relationships. It's really understanding all those basic things and then adding on on top of it and then having some structures in place and people get stuck is they get stuck in a structure because that keeps them safe and then they have to let go of that structure and not meet proper perfect grammar.
And it's okay to throw in the slang and the curse words in order to create poetry and song and rhythm, but that is all individually based. And so I think that at the end of the day, that's where we're left and that's where when we're an adult, like if you're like, I know you're spice, you're an adult, you're 18 and over.
I don't consider that an adult. I consider you. I consider I felt like an adult at like 33, 35, 33, the youngest. I'm just going to say I know there's people out there younger not talking shit on you, but I promise you, when you hit 33, you're just going to feel different. And then when you're like 33 plus, you're like, Oh shit, how do I turn this structured writing, structured stuff I've learned and let go a little bit and add my own flavor to.
And that's all about building trust.
Billy: So the English teacher in me 15 years of being an English teacher really, really appreciated the way that you blended that all together into a very lovely flow metaphor right there. Thank you so much for dropping that bit of knowledge. Venus, talk about your programs. What do you offer in your programs? Where can we find your programs? What are we going to do in your programs?
Venus: Check out venusfit.com. And there, you will find you can either become a benefit member with a subscription or you can buy my programs individually. If you become a member, you get access to everything the Venus feed world. And I recommend starting. Even if you're an advanced practitioner, start with the beginner programs. It's going to really help you build a foundation to what comes next.
And then I have multiple programs that go from beginner, intermediate and advanced, and then I also do a monthly workout program and I always name it something fun and funny. And I'm realizing it's just making people confused. So I'm just going to start calling it monthly. But every month there are workouts and you're going to be doing breathwork.
You're to be doing flow and mobility and strength training and decompression and a little bit of journaling prompts. And I'm always telling people to make sure they go on daily walks. That's a big key as well. And you can go to Venus, BET.com, or you can check me out on Instagram @venus2bfab or I am on Tik Tok and YouTube as Venus.
Billy: And I assure you it'll be entertaining. You will be impressed. You will walk away being like, I want to challenge myself in that way too. And Venus, I want to thank you for being here today. Before the show, you challenged me on something, so now I feel like I need to get after that. So you son of a bitch.
So I appreciate the push. And, you know, hopefully, we'll get to that point sometimes, though. Thanks for being a coach to me here today. I appreciate it.
Venus: No problem. For those y'all listening. I told him he should have video format because people like to people talking.
Billy: I think it's because Venus did her hair today and she looks nice and that's why she was the 50.
Venus: Second great here. I'm just saying.
Billy: You do what you do. It looks amazing. And you do too. And you are just an amazing individual. And once again, I want to thank you for being on the show. Hey, if you enjoyed this week's episode, be sure to look in the show notes for all of Venus's contact information. Don't forget to subscribe to the show wherever you get your podcasts.
If you're an Apple listener, you can do that by clicking the plus sign in the upper right-hand corner. Also, please do me a favor and leave a five-star review with a few kind words. Or if you're a Spotify listener, click those five stars under the show Art after you click the follow button. If you'd like to share your thoughts on this week's episode, you can find all of my contact information in the show notes as well.
Feel free to email me your takeaways from this conversation at MindfulMidlifeCrisis@gmail.com. You can also follow me and DM on Instagram @mindful_midlife_crisis. You can find me at LinkedIn at Billy Lahr or you can send a message to the contact page at www.mindfulmidlifecrisis.com. While you're there, feel free to sign up for the newsletter so you can get access to the free meditations I send out every Sunday.
Finally, I know Venus, and I would greatly appreciate it if you would share this episode with the people in your life who may benefit from Venus's expertise and life experiences. Remember, the purpose of the show was to help you navigate the complexities and possibilities of life's second half. And I hope this conversation provides some insight that will help you reflect, learn and grow so you can live a more purpose-filled life.
So for Venus, this is Billy. Thank you for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. May you feel happy, healthy, and loved.
Take care, friends.