With technology and many other types of distractions around us, connecting back to ourselves has become difficult. Iyanla Vanzant, a highly acclaimed spiritual life coach, shares to us how we can be one with ourselves again through the MasterPeace Body Therapy. Iyanla and Erin discuss how to get back home through breathing, and the importance of being connected to something bigger than ourselves. Infuse your mind with Iyanla’s teachings as she presents a maintenance plan for us to reconnect with our spirit.
Listen to the podcast here:
Erin Goes To Baltimore And Learns How to Breathe With the Exquisite Spirit Who Is Iyanla Vanzant
That Girl from Jersey is in Baltimore with someone that I’m having this deja vu full-circle moment with Miss Iyanla Vanzant, welcome. Thank you for saying you’ll do this interview.
You’re on tour in MasterPeace. What is MasterPeace?
MasterPeace is a line of conscious body products that was started by my daughter, but I continued the line and it’s designed to help you clear your energy as you clean your body. It’s designed to help you have a better relationship with your body. It’s designed so that we can elevate our routine of bathing to a ritual of self-care.
I was a producer at The View as everyone knows. That’s where you and I first met. I was a producer for your first book and I was assigned to being a producer. Barbara says here, “Do this one, do that one.” You come up with your own ideas but in your case, the booking producer came through and I guess that your publisher had arranged it and they said, “Here you go. We don’t know this woman yet, but we know we’re onto something here.” I said, “I love producing we’re-onto-something-here guests.” There’s no risk there. I met you and I was so smitten because you connect so much with me personally with your vibrational tone and what my soul needed to hear.
I found myself reading your book, not because it was a work assignment. I read that book because I was like a sponge and I devoured every word you were saying. You went on and you did your TV show and now you have another TV show and you’re down doing MasterPeace. I was saying that when you have tough days in the entertainment industry, I sometimes need to shower. It’s interesting that MasterPeace now is talking because honestly, there are days where it’s such a negative energy and you’re around so many different personalities and not all of them are nice people.
Until we clear our energy, we will not be able to master peace. Many people are stuck in the divorce that happened ten years ago or the break up that happened five years ago or the trauma that happened three years ago because they may have moved out of the event, but they haven’t created their energy but we’re all energetic beings. I give praise to my daughter, Gemmia, to her genius. She started it. There are three things that are different about MasterPeace. One, it’s made with a base of African black soap. That’s because African black soap uses natural ingredients to come up with the base part of the soap as opposed to the chemicals. What you put on your body goes into your mind. We’re becoming more and more conscious of what we put on our bodies. Even if you go into Whole Foods or your organic market, you see a lot of soaps now because people are becoming more conscious.
The other thing that’s very different about MasterPeace is that it’s made with herbs and essential oils, which are Mother Nature’s medicine. Mother Nature gave us a medicine cabinet and we now go to the pantry or the drug store and we forget about nature’s medicine. I have it in MasterPeace. The other thing that is different about MasterPeace is each blend, each bottle, each formula comes with an affirmation. While you are washing, you are affirming or you are releasing or you are clearing or you are calling in, depending upon what blend you use so that you create a different energy in your mind. I’ll help you build a better relationship with your body. For the past 34 years, I’ve helped people clean up their insides. Now I want to help them clean up the outside.
How do we get in that moment where we all get so stuck? Prime example, I am launching this show, I’m a TV producer by trade and I’m a mom. I do a relatively good job doing everything.
Ask the kids, they’ll tell you.
I still get to these moments where I feel my body. It’s more of a jarring feeling than a crossroad. Sometimes I notice there’s a fork in the road and I’m conscious of the fork. Sometimes I feel I have to push myself through that door and I’m rewarded when I do. What is the pressure we’re putting on ourselves?
The need to be in control. The number one human addiction is not food or drugs or sex or shopping or cigarettes. It’s control. Whenever we are not in control or don’t believe we’re in control or have control over the various elements of whatever it is that we’re doing, there’ll be that hesitation because the little self or the ego-self want you to look for the danger and look for what’s wrong. If you think this is not going to work, I’m not going to be successful, you’re not a fool, you’re going to back up. It’s the other part. It’s the part of life that’s the part of greatness. It’s the divinity, the nobility that will push you through the door and override the ego’s fear of losing control.
Sometimes I’m worried that when I get that way, maybe I’m punishing myself because I might not be wanting it badly enough or I’m not doing something good enough or I’m not as dedicated. I’m doing all of that. It makes me feel like I’m lazy sometimes or I want to be on the couch. I don’t want to be on the couch because I’m afraid to do what I’m supposed to do.
That’s part of the problem as human beings, is we think about everything. That’s what the mind does and what we want to do is become more mindful of observing our thoughts as opposed to reacting to them. Sometimes you need to put your butt on the couch or in the tub or the chair. Sometimes you need to be in the basement by yourself. We want to give ourselves permission to do that. We’ve got to be busy, we’ve got to be running, and we’ve got to be doing all the time. We can’t hear the inside. That’s how we end up stuck in this energy of things long gone.
There’s nothing worse than being stuck in a bad energy or stuck in the energy of people doing something that somebody else wants you to do.
That means you’re not in your own energy. It’s amazing to me. I say this very often, the lights are on and nobody’s home. How many people are not present in their bodies? They’re present in their problem, the present in their work, the present in their upset, but they’re not present in their body. When you’re not present in your body, that means somebody else or something else is enjoying your life. When you’re not in touch with what your thoughts are, your feelings are, your needs, your desires. When you’re not clear about who you are and why you do what you do, you’re not home. The lights are on, but nobody’s home. We’re so busy out there.
How can we get back home?The number one human addiction is not food, drugs, sex, shopping, or cigarettes. It's control. Click To Tweet
Learn how to breathe. That’s the first step.
Breathing or meditating or both?
No, breathing. That’s what keeps us in our bodies. We don’t breathe. We sip air.
I do that a lot. I sip air.
As opposed to allowing your lungs to fill up with oxygen. That wasn’t a breath, because the diaphragm is here. The breath should expand the diaphragm. That has nothing to do with the chest. You’re breathing into your belly, your center. That’s where we want to breathe.
I get lightheaded, when I do that.
Oxygen probably. You haven’t had it in a while. It’ll get you high.
We noticed we were taking photographs and we all held our breath.
Not only do we hold our breath, but we also get quiet.
Why do we do that? Do you do that?
You used to.
I’m home with my body.
That’s nice. I want to be at home.
Whenever I’m doing anything the first thing I do is breathe and say, “Let me come home. Let me start from home base.” Learning how to breathe would be the first step. Meditation is always good. Before I say meditation, people think meditation is not thinking. No, meditation is learning how to be observant of your thoughts, not reacting to them or falling into that. More than meditation for me, I think it’s a connection. What are you connected to that’s grander than you? Is it the earth? Is it the sky? Whatever your religious or spiritual foundation. I have to be connected because my father’s deceased, my mother’s deceased, my older sister’s deceased, my older brother’s deceased. I’m the last one standing. I can be out here without adult supervision. I need help. I’ve got to stay connected to something bigger, grander than me. I say learning how to breathe, learning how to connect and connecting. Do your daily spiritual practice. That’s your maintenance plan.
You’re known for fixing lives and helping people and all amazing things. Does it start with a similar process for everyone that you go into work with?
Everybody, people would ride in with their challenge issue problem. What if, for me, it starts with the vision? What is it that I want to present to the world this year that’s going to support and help and heal the largest number of people with the least amount of effort? That’s how we find our topics for the year. We create a vision board and we put it on the board. Those are the stories that we look for. Sometimes we find gems along the way that aren’t on the board. Usually when we go into each production year, we have a vision of what it is that we want to accomplish. We get the stories and I pray about it because everybody’s not ready for primetime. People aren’t ready, but the power and the beauty is people are desperate for help. People are suffering now. They’re starving, they’re suffering. There is no need for us to suffer in this land of content.
What do you think we can do to help each other?
Can’t help each other till you help yourself. Put your own oxygen mask on first. People have to come home. We have to be willing to do the work to heal and we’re not.
I don’t think some people are aware that they’re not healed.
Are they aware they’re not happy? Are they aware they’re not at peace? Are they aware that nobody wants to be in the room with them?
They’re like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh, “It must be nice that he’s on and has her own show. She’s touring the country.” They don’t know the work that you’ve put in because they can’t identify it with themselves yet.
We’ve become so accustomed to being miserable, complaining and being unhappy. That’s not the way it’s supposed to be, but that’s because we worship the material over the spiritual. We don’t have time to be kind, to be compassionate and to be forgiving. That stuff will no longer be fulfilling. Some people get off on being upset and crazy and frantic. I can’t take it.
More and more people are getting to that place where they are unplugging. As I travel around the country, I’m surprised at the number of people who don’t have televisions. People are pulling out of that.
They’re pulling out of it. I’m trying to not be so obsessed with always having the phone on.
I don’t even know where my phone is.
I lose my phone every day. I think it’s divine intention.
I’m not a phone person. Anybody who works with me or for me can tell you, you may have to call me 52 times. I’m probably one of the only eight people left with a house phone. Do you have a home phone?
I do because it came with the plan. I don’t have a phone hooked up to the house phone number. My mom still does.
I do too.
I love that. There are days where I want to go back to that, which I didn’t even think that was a simpler time to be honest with you. Now I feel like to disconnect, to connect again.
Absolutely, that’s it. Disconnect, unplug in order to connect. It’s absolutely necessary because we’re getting more and more frantic, more and more distant. It amazes me. I live out in the country, but when I’m around people and how people walk down the street and they actually avoid your eyes.
Isn’t that crazy?Disconnecting and unplugging in order to connect is necessary because we're getting more frantic and distant. Click To Tweet
They won’t even look at you. We breathe the same air.
Even if it’s sniff.
It’s going to be in China. Let’s send them some good stuff last than I be sending them distance and disconnection and funk. Let’s not send them that.
Your advice is so profound. We all have bad days though. What do you do? Who’s there for you? Who’s your rock?
God, number one. Almond Joys. I’m in that deep. Sometimes you need some chocolate or you get yourself some chicken wings.
A cheeseburger is my counselor.
I’ve had them many and many of a blessed revelation with a chicken wing. I have a community of people who call me on my stuff and keep me on my game, who support me, who I support. We’ve been on this journey together for a long time, but it’s strange because my best friend from elementary school, we’re still friends.
That says something for people who have friends that long.
There were three of us and we lost one to cancer.
I still have my childhood friends. I only have three of them.
It’s nice to know though, because I think that a lot of people stay suffering in silence or stay thrilled and joyous in silence. They don’t share. They don’t communicate very well. One of the things I’m a big fan of is saying it like it is, or telling it like with me not meaning getting and commenting on somebody else’s business. I try to avoid that now.
If I’m making an opinion about somebody else to somebody, sometimes I don’t think it’s in the highest and best use.
I thought you meant talking to other people.
No, I live for this. I live for the connection and if I’m asked for my opinion, “Do I love to share it?”
How do you make it? What’s the distinction you make between an opinion and an observation? Do you make one?
I do for sure. It’s just knowing how it makes me feel. When I’m not asking somebody for their opinion and I’m going about it and somebody says, “You could do it this way better.” “I don’t know why you drive that way.” I finally start timing it out. If it’s my mom saying something or my college roommate, everybody in my world meets it with integrity and with love. I’ll say that because I’d like to think that the people that were telling me things that weren’t coming from that are now expunged from my life. For the people that are still there, I try to receive what they’re saying and say, “I can tell you love me. You must mean so much wellness and good for me,” but there are times where it’s noise. I don’t want to be noise for somebody else. I guess I do it with my son though. I might say, “Do you want to bring your backpack because you’re sleeping over tonight at a teammate’s house?” I might make observations like that suggesting you have a lot of stuff and I don’t know where you’re putting it. I’m trying not to like overly mother him.
It’s interesting because one of the things that I find in the work that I do when I’m with people is we have lost the art of having a conversation. We know how to rag each other and drag each other and cause each other on social media. Our thumbs have become our tongues, but we don’t know how to have a conversation and how to say to people things that I think are important to say. I’m seeing it in the world everywhere right now that there are things that need to be said that aren’t being said because people don’t know how to have that conversation. One of the things that I would offer people is to be willing because I think what you’re saying is you don’t want to cross boundaries and you don’t want to step in.
For the little things. If somebody’s doing something that I feel isn’t serving them or harming me or harming somebody else, I have to say something. How I say it is everything and I think I’ve mastered that conversation. I do think other people are ranting on Facebook or social media and they’ve lost the grace of the delivery.
I would encourage people to learn how to say when you see something, when you feel something, when you know something that someone you care about is off-center, ask them, “Are you open to some feedback? Can I offer you some feedback?” If they say no, no problem. If they say yes, then now we got to master the art of learning how to say it. Many people remain unhealed and disconnected because the people around them enable them to stay that way.
There are tons of reality shows.
Constituting pain. I don’t do reality television. I do real television.
There is absolutely a difference. There’s also something you and I have in common.
Our love of Law and Order? Which half-hour do you love the best? Is it when they do the crime, solve the crime or convict them?
I love the second half because I’m a frustrated criminal defense attorney. I started in the district attorney’s office in New York City. That’s where I did my law school internship.
Did you grow up knowing or feeling you wanted to go that route? How did you fall into that?
No. I wanted to be a nurse. I wanted to wear a white uniform and white shoes and a little white hat. I wanted to be a nurse, but I got pregnant at sixteen. I did finish high school and the day I showed up for nursing school and they do the orientation, they took us into the lab and there was a jar. It had pig in the formaldehyde. I asked the teacher the professor, is that ever going to come a time when me and the pig have to be introduced to one another? She said, “The pig, the frog, the hand.” I said, “I’m out. Let me go find something else to do.”
This isn’t breakfast.
The thing that I learned over the years, however, is that it’s not that I wanted to do the actual nursing, I wanted to be in the professional field which I am. I didn’t go to law school. I thought I went to law school to learn man’s law. I went to law school to teach me how to think. I had never been taught how to think, analytical thinking, and discretionary thinking, focus thinking. I didn’t know how to think. I went through school and did because I had so much trauma at home, it was everything I could do. I went to school to escape home. I didn’t go to school to learn anything.
You grew up in New York.
Brooklyn’s in the house.
When did you decide to move to Maryland?Our thumbs have become our tongues, but we don't know how to have a conversation and say to people things that are important. Click To Tweet
The last time I was slashing through the snow on Sixth Avenue and fell down and I said, “I can’t do this. I’m done. I’m out.”
In Maryland, you still get seasons.
We’ve got seasons, but it’s ten degrees warmer than New York. There’s no subway. You’ve got to drive everywhere unless you’re in the inner part of Maryland. My neighbors are cows, chickens and raccoons.
What advice do you have for anybody and everybody that wants to fix their life?
Breathe, connect and have a clear vision of what your life would look like once you master peace.
Where can we learn more about everything you’re doing with MasterPeace, you and your show?
Where can we buy that?
Online, MasterPeace Body Therapy.
I’m excited. I’m going to be your biggest customer.
Take a look at the New Beginnings, but what I think you’ll like is the Afterglow Shower.
I love me in afterglow. I’m always about afterglow.
Afterglow, you put it on in the shower and rinse it lightly and you don’t have to put any other product on.
Next time I have a bad day at work, you’ve got me covered.
Do a purification.
Thank you so much for being here.
Thank you for having me. Good luck with the show.
Thank you. I hope to see you soon.
We’ll make it work.
About Iyanla Vanzant
From welfare mother to New York Times best-selling author, from the Brooklyn projects to Emmy Award winner, from broken pieces to peace, Iyanla Vanzant is one of the country’s most celebrated writers and public speakers, and she’s among the most influential, socially engaged, and acclaimed spiritual life coaches of our time.
Dedicated to facilitating the growth and evolution of human consciousness, Iyanla’s body of work spans over three decades and includes 15 published books, six New York Times best-sellers (translated into 23 languages and with sales exceeding eight million copies), CDs, television, radio and stage performances.
A woman of passion, vision, and purpose, Iyanla embodies
a no-nonsense approach in her message and teaching style. Outspoken, fiery, transparent, truthful, and wise, she is living testament to the value in life’s valleys and the power of acts of faith. On stage, as she tours the country, Iyanla uses humor and straight talk to deliver her consistent message of love, forgiveness and living your best life.
Today, Iyanla is the host and executive producer of the award-winning breakout hit “Iyanla: Fix My Life,” the No. 1 reality show on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network. It is here that Iyanla goes behind closed doors and deep inside people’s lives to reveal emotionally riveting experiences where she applies spiritual principles to help people gain inner peace and healing by learning to “do the work.”
There is no better arena in which to experience Iyanla’s dynamic presence as teacher and spiritual guide than in one of her regular weekend retreats at Inner Visions Institute for Spiritual Development. As Founder of Inner Visions World Wide, Iyanla is actively engaged in personal development courses and on-going training programs for spiritual life coaches, and ordained ministers.