Alumni Profile: Laurel Holland ’79, Holistic Life Coach
On February 1, the Women of WPI are hosting “The Secret to Lasting Wellness ~ Women, Presence and Power,” a virtual fireside chat. Facilitator Laurel Holland '79 will share a simple but transformative exercise and simple keys to creating lasting wellness in your life.
Prior to the event, we caught up with Laurel to learn more.
Q: Tell us about your life after WPI. What led you to wellness? Were there any experiences or lessons learned at WPI that shaped your life and career?
A: My path to wellness began with physical activity. Looking for a way to keep active with a desk job in cost accounting, I started taking aerobics classes to keep my body moving and fit. After I started my family and was home raising children, teaching aerobics was a fun part-time job that kept me learning about physical fitness. A few years later I began my mind-body fitness exploration taking Tai Chi and quickly training to become a Tai Chi teacher. Through this pathway I became interested in Chinese Medicine, explored acupuncture and Feng Shui, and realized the world of energy and emotions deeply affected wellness. I began my daily meditation practice which I’ve continued for more than 30 years.
WPI gave me the confidence and skill set to tackle a big project without fear. As a Life Coach and Counselor, I’ve taken on many projects as a way to share my understanding of wellness and holistic health, for examples - writing books, creating a website and digital products, creating a podcast, and sharing my meditations through apps like Insight Timer. I realized at WPI that I was an out-of-the-box thinker, and I felt supported through the WPI curriculum to be just that and enjoy it.
Q: What does wellness mean to you? Why do you think it’s important for the WPI community to incorporate it into their lives?
A: I love remembering that the root of wellness comes from the word “whole,” and so I consider wellness as a pathway to discovering a never-ending sense of wholeness as both a physical and spiritual being.
I think it’s so important for the WPI community to incorporate wellness into their lives because we often get caught up in our minds, and we can get what I call “head-centric.” We begin to think that our heads are the center of our being rather than our hearts. This creates imbalance that can lead to all kinds of dis-”ease,” making us prone to anxiety and stress. Wellness that includes the whole being can ameliorate this tendency, expand our thinking and contemplation beyond just head thinking. This awakens us to deeper aspects of ourselves that can be explored throughout life.
Q: What do you hope people will take away from your presentation?
A: I invite anyone to come to my presentation and get curious about their own wellness. If you're feeling stress, anxiety, lack of excitement, or sadness/depression about life, consider paving your path into wellness right now. Know that you can change your state by changing how you show up, how you relate to yourself and your body, and that you have the power to shift your perspective about life and who you are in any moment. You have an inner power that can be tapped more deeply throughout your entire life.
Q: Tell us about your involvement with the Women of WPI. What does it mean to you to stay connected with your alma mater in this way?
A: I’m so thrilled to be connected to the Women of WPI and to serve as a member of their Steering Committee. I want to contribute as a woman who found her confidence at WPI, built a fulfilling life, and has the luxury and joy to give back now.