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How To Live Well: My Interview With Petra Nemcova

I was instantly in awe, and yet felt completely comfortable while sitting down alongside Petra Nemcova. After she kissed me on my cheek three times ( I was ready for the two; I am French I know how this goes, but the third was a surprise!) I laughed and we introduced ourselves. I guess I should have picked up on that foreshadowing right there, being an English major and once upon a time AP English teacher. I guess I should have known that Petra and I were going to get along like we had known each other for years, but like that third kiss hello I was completely surprised! While we sat on the now empty stage inside Ann Taylor, after the panel discussion- part of the event that Glamour Magazine and Ann Taylor put together to celebrate International Women's Day, we laughed and became excited as we both realized we had so much in common. My interview quickly became real girl talk and I loved every second of it!

How can we better serve, celebrate and appreciate ourselves every day? How do you celebrate yourself in particular?
Petra: I start every day with what I am thankful for. For each person it is something different, but we always have a lot to be thankful for. Even when I was in the hospital, and I couldn't walk I was thinking about what I was thankful for the sky, to see the sunshine, to be able to have my arms, to see, to hear, for the loved ones that which are still with me. There are so many things to be grateful for in general. But I usually start by being grateful for the day before, lessons, and being thankful for the things ahead of me in the day. I think starting with gratitude we can empower ourselves and from that standpoint we can create positivity and create a life much better, and be more grateful for who you are as a human being. Sometimes I don’t think we take enough moments to just appreciate ourselves and I think having gratitude and giving ourselves that moment to recognize that I am beautiful inside; I am beautiful outside; I feel like I am growing and learning. Taking a moment for ourselves every day is important. 
Me: I think for people who don't do this every day, if they start one day, then it will become easier and easier to say what they are grateful for as well. 
Petra: Yes absolutely. And if you start your day with rush, rush, rush, it is very hard to go back to saying that you're grateful. But, if you start with gratitude you step out into the world in a different way.    
Me: Wow, yes thank you for that. I completely agree. It is very, very...
Petra: ...Practical! Yes it is very practical thing. Anyone can do it! 
Best advice for women who have a goal in mind, but haven’t achieved it yet?
Petra: Okay, the best advice is to believe it very strongly, say it, and visualize it.
Petra is so excited to share she leans in and I feel like we have been friends for forever and we are trading secrets and knowledge. And of course I want to hear what she is so excited about so I lean in too!
Petra: The more you say it the more people will start saying it as well and the more it becomes a reality. There is a huge power in that, the power of the mind, saying things and visualizing things. Slowly we can create a reality. But, be careful with that, because whatever you truly believe will manifest. Because you may say one thing, but truly believe another, and then if you doubt yourself the doubt may materialize too. So, you have to be clear in what you want. And actually it is not about wanting, because wanting leads to wanting. It is about really believing in yourself, visualizing, and sharing it with your loved ones and they start believing it too then you are creating your reality. 
Me: I can’t wait to go home and try that, actually I am going to try that right after I leave here while I am taking the subway. We both laugh.
Petra: Yes you have to try it! But, it won’t happen right away it takes time. I see it happen in my life and my friend’s life as well and some days I’m like oh my god I created this by thinking that! (She laughs) Just remember you have to be careful. 
Me: There is a warning label with this advice!
Petra: Yes. You have to truly believe it, not to doubt it, and have the best intention. The key is the intention, if the intention is pure then your results will manifest in your life in a beautiful way, but if the intention isn't pure your reality is going to be distorted. Petra moves her hands into a distorted pose and laughs. 
Me: I will make sure my intentions are pure. I can't wait to try it, because that's a great mantra even when you're just going about your everyday life.
As women many of us are born multitaskers and strive to achieve so much. How do you balance everything you hope to achieve and approach everything in your life new and old
Petra: This is the question. Myself I am asking this question to, to my colleagues and the people I look up to “how do you do it?”, to manage balance, because sometimes there is just a mass of things to do in one moment, in one day and it’s not human- it is not human! And it’s like you still have to go through it somehow. There is one thing that helps me and there was a cover story on Time Magazine this past January about mindfulness and how we can better balance a stressful life and it’s through meditation and through minding your mind, so watching your mind. 
Me: Because our minds travel! They go everywhere. I agree.
Petra: Part of your mind is always traveling, your mind never stops, and even during sleep your mind works. Your mind is a machine that never gets oiling, rest, or the check-up it needs. But, through meditation your mind actually rests and can become more powerful and re-energized. So that is the big conversation now since January. I have been meditating for the last sixteen years, and it’s about finding a way to balance a stressful life that is too overwhelming through mindfulness and meditation. It gives you a point of perception and strength that helps you deal with the rest of the pressure from the world. 
Me: Do you suggest meditating once a day, or a week?
Petra: There are so many types techniques for every person there is something different. Some people meditate for an hour, and I meditate for ten minutes a day. That is my technique and it is great. Some people do it in the morning, others the evening. I think the morning one is much better because you gain..
Me: ...Clarity.
Petra: Yes, at the end of the day you are so bogged down by information it's hard. But sometimes I do both. Whatever works. Or even just resting, sitting down in nature and breathing listening to your breath. Just finding something that centers you and counter-effects a stressful life.
Me: It was so nice talking to you! You are such a delight! 
Petra: You are so sweet. Thank you for the questions. They are beautiful. I like them, no, seriously, they were so practical. 
Me: Well I wanted to ask questions that women would find helpful to share why we should celebrate ourselves and support each other you know?
Petra: Yes. We don't have all the answers and somebody else may have already figured it out and you can learn and make it your own way. I wish someone could tell me what to focus on, even in school you are assigned a mentor and then throughout life you gain more mentors depending on what you're doing. We need more brains and hearts to bond from to learn from.
Me: Well if you ever need anyone to bounce ideas off of (we laugh).
Petra. Okay, Yes! Give me, give me your phone number. Here is my cell. Put it in there and I'll text you. You can send me anything you write, and we can share ideas. I love sharing ideas from others. 
Yep, like that third kiss hello she surprised me. Petra Nemcova asked for my number and I gladly typed it into her iPhone. She then texted me that it was a pleasure to meet me, so I have her cellphone number too!
It is funny how people can bond so easily over their thirst to learn, share, and better themselves. I hope to continue to talk to Petra and meet up with her the next time she is in New York City, so I can update her on everything I've learned, lessons, and mentors I have come across. After my interview I walked away even more resolute in my belief that women need to work with each other, celebrate one another, and support each other. It is so important, and I think it will lead us to not only live, but live better than we could have ever imagined! 
Stay Lovely,
Editor and Curator of
Dusk & Rubies 

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