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FIND BALANCE AMIDST THE CHAOS, WITH CO-AUTHOR OF THE INNER FIX, PERSIA LAWSON

Meet Persia Lawson, co-author of The Inner Fix, co-founder of positive lifestyle movement addictivedaughter.com, speaker, meditation guide & love-coach that helps people attract & sustain happy, soulful relationships.

You recently published The Inner Fix. Can you tell us a bit about it?

My friend Joey and I set up positive lifestyle movement called Addictive Daughter in 2012, and we wanted to write a brutally honest memoir/ guide that would meet people who were struggling through a quarter-life crisis where they were. Mainstream media tells us that to be happier we need to start making better choices - do more exercise, cut out the junk food, get eight hours’ sleep and end relationships that are bad for us. Which is, of course, exactly right. But it’s very difficult to make better choices when you’re a mess on the inside. The Inner Fix shares our own relatable (and intensely personal) stories from darker periods of our lives, followed by practical, solution-based guidance to help readers move towards the life they most want to create.

How did you first discover meditation?

Following an extremely destructive and hedonistic year in 2010, I put on 2 stone while on an acting job in Shanghai - after I’d been sexually assaulted in a strip club that I was working as a hostess in. Sensing I wasn’t as ok as I was claiming to be, my dad took me on a yoga/ health retreat in Thailand where we practiced meditating every day. It helped me so much that I started bringing the practice into my life when I got home to the UK, too.

What does meditation bring to your life?

As well as massively reducing my anxiety and stress levels, it helps me to feel spiritually and emotionally connected and more compassionate to myself and others. Also, I use it to help me visualize and manifest all my goals and dreams – which it does extremely effectively.

When did you decide to build a career in wellness?

I am the daughter of two addicts and had quite a chaotic childhood until my parents got sober when I was in my teens. This mostly affected my love life - I’d cheat on every boyfriend I had, and also dated guys who were mostly drug addicts/ dealers and not all that good for me – I was absolutely terrified of intimacy and commitment, so I subconsciously picked people I knew would never be able to give me either. From an early age, I found myself partying too much and jumping from toxic relationship to toxic relationship. After uni, I also decided to train and pursue a career in acting to try and get some sense of validation and approval because I felt so bad about myself. In 2012, the visa company I’d given all my life savings to so I could move Stateside to act went bust and I lost all my money, meaning I had to move back home with my parents (for 5 years!) This was just after I got cheated on, dumped and left heart-broken. Realising that the pain of staying the same was now worse than the pain it would take to change myself and my life, I started reading every self-help book I could get my hands on, as well as attending therapy and meditating and doing yoga daily. In mid-2012, me and my friend Joey from drama school (who’d had some similar experiences to me) decided to set up Addictive Daughter to share our experience, as well as the tools and techniques that had helped us become happier and healthier.

How do you find balance among the chaos?

Balance is a bit of myth, in my opinion, but there are things I do that certainly help me get as close as I can to it.

I start every day doing the following ‘Quiet Time’ practice (inspired by Tim Ferriss) without fail:

  • Make a cup of Green Tea/ coffee.
  • Get back in to bed with it + do a daily inspirational reading from Melody Beattie’s ‘Language of Letting Go’ app while drinking my tea/ coffee.
  • Get out my journal and write 3 things I’m grateful for (e.g. an opportunity or something I have to look forward to today, something great that happened yesterday + something simple such my warm duvet or being able to afford heating). Then I write down 3 things that would make today great. Next I write 3 positive affirmations (e.g. “I am focused, productive + in flow,” or “I expand in abundance, success & love every day, as I inspire those around me to do the same” – which is from Gay Hendrick’s book ‘The Big Leap’ – great book, worth a read.) I used to think affirmations were a load of old hogwash, but every single thing I have affirmed (including having a published book, a happy relationship with a wonderful man, getting out of debt + tripling my income) happened within months of me saying those affirmations out loud every day. IT WORKS.
  • I then do 10-15 mins of meditation.
  • Next is my 20-30 mins yoga practice.
  • Then brekkie.
  • Then I’m ready to start the day, feeling bloody marvelous, most of the time. All in all, the above takes around an hour, but it really is worth the time + effort.

Before bed I write in my journal:

  • 3 amazing things that happened today (I read over these at the end of each month – helps keep me focused on what’s working in my life).
  • 3 ways I could have made today better (this helps keeps me moving forwards + making progress.)

I implore anyone reading this to try the above morning + evening practices for a month. You will not believe what a difference it makes to your mental, physical and emotional state – and you’ll be shocked by the synchronicity and little ‘successes’ you start to experience. Trust me.

What tips do you have for someone who wants to meditate but is low on time?

American self-help author Gabby Bernstein always responds to this question with: “do you have time to feel like shit?” – I really agree. Even just five minutes a day will RADICALLY change how you think and feel for the rest of the day, and I guarantee you’ll be far more productive, because you’ll be in a better headspace. Head to addictivedaughter.com – you can sign up for our 5 minute meditation on the homepage – it’s perfect for beginners or those short on time.

What is your favourite way to stay fit?

I’m all about little, often + consistent, as that’s the only way I stick to it. Most mornings after meditating, I’ll light an incense stick in my kitchen, roll out my Artogi yoga mat (beautiful artistic mats from my friend Samara Morris’s company, check them out at artogi.com – they’re so gorgeous+ colourful, they’re sure to inspire you to practice more regularly!). Then I light a few candles, whack on a bit of classical music and do around 20-30 mins yoga practice, sometimes free style or following a YouTube video (Ali Kamenova does brilliant vids, as they’re really dynamic and include some HIIT and interval training mixed in with yoga poses). I also try and walk everywhere I possibly can in London (around 1.5 hrs a day on average). I listen to music or audio books and catch up with friends while walking. Without a doubt, this is the easiest and most enjoyable way to stay fit/ tone up/ shed pounds, plus it’s so great for the mind + spirit, too. I heartily recommend trying to walk to and/ or from work if you possibly can – try it for 2 weeks and you won’t believe how good you feel as a result.

Who is your inspiration?

I have literally hundreds, but here’s my most current: Glennon Doyle Melton, author of ‘Love Warrior’ + ‘Carry On, Warrior’ – she’s brilliant in more ways than I have time to list – just google her + read ‘Love Warrior’ (it’s a kind of Eat, Pray, Love vibe, but looking at how she handled finding out her husband had been cheating on her for the entirety of their decade long marriage – they had 3 young kids. HARD.) Also, Cheryl Strayed – I just finished her book ‘Tiny, Beautiful Things’ while I was in Thailand – cried + laughed my way through it - it will warm the cockles of the biggest cynic, truly. The two biggest inspirations, though, will always be my parents who overcame drug addiction and alcoholism against the odds and have completely transformed their and our family’s lives immeasurably. Absolute bloody legends through + through.

Where is your happy place?

I have several; I love going to a wellness retreat place called ‘Vana’ in the Himalayas in India with my mum. India in general is incredible – the people are the kindest, humblest + most gracious I’ve ever met. Closer to home, it would be sitting by Pen Ponds in Richmond Park where I sometimes walk my parent’s dog and go to meditate (this spot has seen me shed many a tear after break-ups throughout my life.) When I was younger I used to horse ride in Richmond Park all the time too, and our family homes have always been near the park, so it holds a special place in my heart. I also love going to my boyfriend’s family’s house in the countryside in Worcestershire – they have two dogs and a beautiful wood, so we go walking a lot there and then snuggle up with the dogs watching movies by the fire in the living room, before a Sunday roast (cooked by my boyfriend – I’m a hazard in the kitchen) with a lovely glass of Malbec.

What three things would you take to a desert island?

My boyfriend so he could hunt, cook + keep me ‘entertained’, my Kindle full of lots of books for the days when my boyfriend annoys me and probably Bear Grylls to keep us alive if/ when the shit hits the fan.

What’s your favourite joke?

Oh bloody hell, I’m rubbish at this! I just hit up Google and found this one which made me chuckle:

Last night in bed, I was gazing up at the stars and thinking to myself…

Where the fuck is my roof?

What one thing can’t you live without?

Feel a bit bummed out to say this, as I’d rather it be something romantic like The Complete Works of Shakespeare, but in reality it’s probably my Mac, as I’m a writer and hold my life-coaching sessions over Skype – also my iPhone, as I record my daily Facebook livestreams on it (soz, that’s two things – need ‘em both!)

Which is your favourite chill-out track?

The theme tune of my all-time favourite movie Jurassic Park, without a shadow of a doubt. I met my boyfriend (sorry to keep harping on about him!) at Wilderness Festival in 2015 + told him that I want that song played when I walk down the aisle, then he told me that he wrote his dissertation on that piece of music. The next evening at the festival – unbeknownst to us beforehand - they happened to have a full orchestra play that song with scenes from the film projected on the screen behind it. A week later, him and me got into a lift at Shoreditch House and Sam Neill got into the lift with us… Needless to say, dinosaurs, Jurassic Park and that theme tune have become a big part of our relationship - whenever I hear the music it makes me cry.

Tell us your hidden talent?

I’ll give you two: I play the guitar (not particularly well, but enough to write songs) + I can do the splits (only on the left side though).

What can we expect to see from you in 2017?

My new website persialawson.com will be launching mid-Feb, along with my new love-coaching program that helps people attract + sustain the soulful relationship they’ve always wanted. I’ll also be speaking at some festivals and of course running my weekly candlelit meditation sessions at ONE LDN on Tuesday evenings. Got some other stuff in the pipeline, but you’ll have to watch this space!

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