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How Would You Answer Joan’s 4 Questions?

September '19

Joan Dwyer is the co-creator and owner of All That Matters (ATM), a Yoga and Holistic Health Center in Wakefield, RI.  As their website notes, “ATM began in 1995 with a little yoga studio and a big vision, which—under Joan’s guidance—has grown into the largest holistic center in New England.” When I lived In Rhode Island, I often attended classes, and even taught a course, there.

I always found the 4 simple questions Joan asked folks seeking support to be fruitful. And as I compose this month’s newsletter, I’m wondering if these questions may have unconsciously guided me as I wrote Midlife Magic: The 7 Day Self-Care Plan to Boost Your Energy and Make You Smile, because this book provides specific ways to develop answers to Joan’s four questions, which are listed below. As you read each question, I invite you to consider an answer for yourself before reading any further.

1 – What are you doing to move your body?

Were you satisfied with your answer? If you’d like to improve your response to this query, DAY 2: Happy Body in Midlife Magic provides a “How to Develop a Happy Body” section, as well as ten possible action steps, so you can choose one you’d like to implement right away. This simple format characterizes each of the seven days.

2 – What are you doing to quiet your mind?

I don’t know about you, but my first response to this question was meditation. Calming the mind seems critical in this world in disarray where everything continues to move faster and faster. I included a brief mindful meditation in DAY 1: Self Compassion and returned to meditation again in DAY 2: Happy Body with some more mindful approaches.

3 – What are you doing to nourish yourself?

What do you do to nourish yourself? There may be a number of ways you answered this question. One way might be the food you eat, which is covered in DAY 2: Happy Body. Another could be what nourishes you personally. For me spending time with family and friends is at the top of my list, which is why Day 3: Supportive Connections includes family and friends along with books, meetup groups, and pets. DAY 4: Nourishing Environment outlines ways to create an environment at home, and at work that feeds your soul.

4 – What are you doing to stay inspired?

This question sent me to the dictionary to find a definition of inspiration: “the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative,” or “a sudden brilliant, creative, or timely idea.” On reading this definition I recognized that cultivating self-care, itself, is a necessary foundation for inspiration. For example, DAY 1: Self Compassion suggests you become aware of that judgmental voice in your head that holds you back. DAY 4: Optimal Organization helps you free up time for greater things than trying to remember what you are supposed to do and where you are supposed to be. In addition, DAY 6: Time on Your Terms helps you create a schedule with space for those moments of inspiration and time to pursue them. And finally, DAY 7: Completion/Celebration reminds you to acknowledge and celebrate the completion of one of your inspired projects before diving immediately into another one. If you like, you can learn more about Midlife Magic here.

I’m wondering how you answered Joan’s 4 questions? I’d love to hear your response to any one of them.

Hope you’re enjoying inspired days!



  1. Roberta Taylor said on October 9, 2019:

    Hi Bonnie,

    I think the way to keep inspired is to do your best to help people. In my case, I facilitate a bereavement group. I offer hugs and love to those who have the terrible grief of having lost the person they love most in the world. I tell it like it is: this terrible thing has happened to you and you have to live through it. There are no shortcuts with grief. If you push it down, it will pop up later. You just have to push on and gradually things will get better. You will never stop grieving your lost loved one. Life will always be tinged with your grief and will always seem flatter than it was when you were a couple. Helping others keeps me going.

  2. Bonnie said on October 16, 2019:

    Hi Roberta!
    Thank you for this thoughtful consideration of Joan’s fourth question. Love this notion that helping others keeps you going. I suspect this may be true for others as well. I know it is for me.

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