J: You’re listening to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast, episode number 8.
S: I felt like nothing could touch me and that everything was okay, and I kept looking over my shoulder to see where Sue Lachman was because this Sue Lachman was not shouting and screaming and wasn't panicking that the school bus was going to come any minute and the children weren't… weren’t ready.
Intro: Welcome to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast, stories of vibrant women living happy lives. And now, your host, Jen Riday.
J: On our last episode I spoke with the amazing Melanie Banayat about her journey of healing from trauma and abuse. Melanie gave us so much uplifting insight that you'll want to be sure to go back and catch that if you haven't already, and you can find that by going to jenriday.com/7. On today's episode, I'm speaking with Sue Lachman. Sue is a mom of 5 children, 2 of whom have Down syndrome. Sue grew up in the UK but has since moved with her family to live in Israel. Sue is also a spiritual teacher or a practitioner of the 3 principles movement. She works 1-on-1 and in groups with women who want to find greater peace in their lives. The 3 principles are mind, consciousness, and thought. The 3 principles movement teaches that thoughts have no meaning or power except the meaning or power that we attach to them. So without further ado, we'll go ahead and get started and hear about Sue's journey.
Welcome to today's episode of Vibrant Happy Women, I'm so excited to introduce my guest today, Sue Lachman. Sue is the mom of 5 kids, 2 with Down syndrome, a wife, and international speaker and an entrepreneur. Sue, how are you doing today?
S: I'm really good. I'm very pleased to speak to you, so thank you for inviting me.
J: I'm so glad to have you. So I gave an overview about you and I would love if you could take a minute and tell us how did you get from England to Israel.
S: Well, as you quite rightly said, I have 5 children until of them with Down syndrome. And I’d actually been helping parents in the UK to get what they needed for their special needs children in school. And having done that for about 15 years, I realized that my children were sort of growing up and needed to go to a school that really would be able to see to them even past basically all the way through school years and onwards, you know, living life. And so Israel actually has the most incredible special schools. So, in a nutshell, that's why we came. (Laughs)
J: Oh, I didn't know that. How long have you been there?
S: 10 years, coming up for 11, and my children are doing absolutely amazingly here. So…
J: Hmm, that's wonderful.
S: … a good move, yeah, very good move.
J: Oh, good. Well, tell us more about your children.
S: So I have 2… well, 3 mainstream children, 2… the oldest 2 are marriage with their own children. So we are Orthodox Jews and so my eldest 2 are learning Torah all day and their wives work to help keep them there; that's their choice. And my third son who's 19 is in the Air Force at the moment because, you know, here, we have… all the… all the boys have to go to the army and my son ended up in the Air Force, which he's very happy about. So, yeah, then of course… well, I call them the little ones, but my daughter with Down's is 17 and a half and my son were downs is 14 and a half.
S: So they're still at school and my daughter actually lives in an apartment with 5 other girls now and comes home every third weekend to see us.
J: Oh, that's nice, some independence.
J: Does she like that?
S: She loves it, she's doing so well there so, yeah, a really good move. We decided the we wanted to do it, not because we didn't want her at home because I love her dearly and I love her coming home, but because we felt that it was… we were holding her back and that she needed to grow. And we just couldn't give her some of the things that she was getting in the house, you know, in the apartment.
S: So that… that's the reason why we… we’ve decided to do that at moment.
J: Here on Vibrant Happy Women, we start off every show with our guest’s favorite quote or a personal motto, do you have one to share with us today?
S: So I have a very interesting quote that I heard from someone called Keith Blevins; I think he's Dr. Keith Blevins actually. And he said (which really resonates with me)… he said, “The ego collapses whence insight occurs.” Just to explain that, I love that because what I've discovered is a new psychological paradigm. And we've discovered that actually what happens is that, when people are in their ego, they're so out of the present moment, they're so thinking about themselves and how they're doing. And it's interesting because, when the ego goes away, and it doesn't always and it doesn't often (certainly not in my case anyway; I'm being very honest here)…
S: But when the ego does go away, when it collapses, that's when insight can occur because the only time it can happen is when we’re in the present moment. And of course, when we’re in our ego, we're very rare… well, we're not in our… in the present moment. So that's my favorite quote.
J: Delving into our next topic, your lowest moment. So we know every woman all over the world struggle sometimes, and tell us about a time when you struggled.
S: Okay. So as I mentioned before, when I was in the UK, I was helping people with their special needs children and I really didn't take much notice of me and spent all my hours (waking hours and more) determined that I was going to fight for everyone else's rights and changed the world, basically. And along the way, when people with special needs children were coming to me, they weren't telling me about their difficulties in schools or how to get into school for their children, but they were telling me about their relationship with their husband or, if it was the hus… the man, he was telling me about his relationship with his wife and with all their other children. So I thought that that's… that's what I had to take too. I thought I had to take everyone else's problems on my back, which I did, and I became very burdened, very, very low and I really, really wasn't looking after myself. So I was snapping, shouting at everyone, my family, wanted to be out the house as much as I possibly could. So I ended up taking on some interesting behaviors, let's say, and it was not a very good time for me. I was at my… I was literally on my knees not knowing what to do, but wanting to get out of it. So those… those were my lowest moments and I think it was about… about 12 years ago now.
J: Mm-hmm. And at that time, you were a mom, did you also have a career?
S: I… yeah, well, that was my career, helping… I mean, I'm… I’m a qualified teacher by profession, but my career was helping mothers with special-needs children get what they want. People used to… first of all, I gave it out for free, but then after a while, parents actually told me, “You need to charge us.” So I was… yeah, that was my job.
J: And what title did you give yourself at that time?
S: So I was parental supporter.
S: That was sort of an official term that they used in the UK at that time for people like me. And there weren't many of me that do what I do.
S: So, you know… so that's why I… I sort of took on between 30 to 40 cases each week.
S: So you can tell how a burden I was. And… and there were deadlines; paperwork deadlines. I represented people in what they call tribunal, which is like a lower court, but it was nonetheless a legal establishment. I’m untrained as a lawyer, taught myself absolutely everything by reading up on it for own children to fight initially for them, and then eventually took some courses. But, yeah, that's in a nutshell how I got into it all and… and stayed there for many years. So…
J: Wow, advocate for the parents and advocate in the legal system; that's a lot, no wonder you were drained.
S: Yes. (Laughs)
J: So… so you hit this really low point emotionally, tell us more about the things that occurred previous to that light bulb coming on and helping you see that you needed to change?
S: Well, it's very funny because actually, initially, I didn't think I needed to change, I everyone else did (Laughs). You know, I was really in denial about it for a long time. And someone actually told me that I should go in to listen to someone that was speaking in England to all sorts of different people and having a huge impact, and I thought, “You know what? I'll sort of go and listen to them because why not?” And… and when I went, I thought, “This is great for everyone else, not for me.” So I went out and told a load of people about it, but, you know, I didn't… I really honestly didn't think I needed it, until one day when I was literally, literally on my knees and I thought, you know, “I do need something, maybe I better sit up and listen to what I think is great for everyone else.”
J: So what did the speaker teach you that… that impacted you?
S: So actually it’s funny because I went to see this person for quite a while and in… in-between that, I listened to someone (I'm sure you've heard of him; I hope) called Wayne Dyer, who's no longer alive.
S: And… and I was listening to this CD in the morning every morning, and I don't know why, but there was something… there seemed to be something underlying him or he was talking about, some truth that made sense to me and I couldn't put my finger on, so I just listened every morning while I was exercising. And the most incredible thing happened is that, one day, he said my name and changed the CD because he could of course. And he said something completely different than was on that CD every other morning, which I found quite incredible, and he said, “Let go.” I’m being a bit flippant, but I… I'm sorry about my English humor, but…
S: … what I really mean is that he was saying the same thing obviously every morning, but that particular morning or one particular morning, I heard him say something different; I hadn't heard it the way I heard it before.
S: And he… and the words were, “Let go.”
J: Hmm, I love that.
J: So, “Let go,” what does… what did letting go look like?
S: I was upstairs exercising and he said, “Let go,” and I thought, “Yeah, that makes so much sense!” And then I felt like a well… welling up of peace and a comfortable feeling of, “Well, I don't need to know anything, I just need to be me and be present.” And I came downstairs to deal with my children… to help my husband because it was quite interesting in the mornings to get the 2 little ones up and out for school. And when I came downstairs, I… I felt (and this is the only way I can describe it) as if I was almost in a bubble. I felt like nothing could touch me and that everything was okay. And I kept looking over my shoulder to see where Sue Lachman was because this Sue Lachman was a not shouting and screaming and wasn't panicking that the… the school bus was going to come any minute and the children weren't… weren't ready. Yeah, I had a… I had this incredible feeling of well-being, this peaceful wonderful feeling. Needless to say, it didn't last because thankfully, I'm a human being like everyone else.
S: So, you know, we go out… in and out of that. But, yeah, that… that's really what happened to me when I came downstairs. And… and that spurred me on in that moment to sort of want to share this understanding with other people and to learn more about it and also to… to see for myself, to experience it for myself, because this is experiential, you can't… it's not… it's logic and wisdom together and it's not like learning something in a classroom and writing notes. It's… you know, it has to impact you and touch your soul deep inside.
S: And when that… when that happens, then then there's a shift… you know, a shift is created within you and then you change. So, yeah.
J: So let's say a mom comes to you and wants to know how to achieve that… that state you talked about, what would you advise her to do?
S: So this is going to be really interesting because, I guess, I'm going to say something that may not have been heard before. I don’t actually advise anyone on anything in particular, I just explain and describe how life works. And the understanding of how life works that there is only one way that it works, and actually it's not the way that I was taught certainly as a child, not just by my parents, but by friends, by teachers, by colleagues, by my husband, anyone around me. And so I share with them how life works, and it only works one way, that we have thoughts and our feelings are one in the same. And that unless we have… unless thought is included in this present moment, then we're living either in the past, the future or our ego, and that basically, circ…circumstances can't hurt us. And that's quite a huge thing when people hear that, but when they settle down and they prepare to listen to something and be open to hear something very, very different from whatever they've heard before, they feel a quietness and the complexity of life and their busy minds sort of as an implication, not an application, tends to sort of quieten and then they become not judgment… non-judgmental, not only of other people, but themselves and they're able to listen and communicate.
J: It sounds like it involves introspection and connecting with one's thoughts and feelings and… and then getting to that quiet centered place where the ego isn't a part of the equation, would you say that's accurate?
S: I’d say that was quite a good shot.
J: Part of it.
J: Okay, but…
S: Yeah, I know it's hard in a few minutes, obviously.
J: Well, so you made it through that low point, let's talk about your current life today. What does a vibrant happy life look for you in the present?
S: Well, at the moment it looks like, for me, it's just a matter of being okay even when I'm not okay. And that has been absolutely phenomenal for me, that I don't always have to be absolutely amazing and I don't have to be ecstatic or even so happy. And so my life now is much, much more pleasant, much easier, that means I have all the emotions like everyone else and I go up and down just like everyone else, I have just the same thoughts and feelings like everyone else, but I embrace them rather than… and not always. I don't want to get… give this impression that I'm superhuman or anything because I really am not and I'm certainly not… I'm certainly not perfect. But, you know, what I loved to see is that there's… I just know that my life is much more… it's calmer for the most part, and sometimes it isn't, but I know also that those times when it isn't so wonderfully calm that that too will pass because the weather never stays the same.
J: This too shall pass. (Laughs)
S: Yeah, absolutely.
J: I've been sitting here thinking you strike me as an Unorthodox-Orthodox Jew. So…
S: You’re quite right!
J: So tell us how you measure your spiritual beliefs and the things you've been describing with your religion; that's so interesting to me.
S: Yeah, well, actually it actually goes hand-in-hand, interestingly. There is nothing in what I speak about in, you know, spiritually about this psychological paradigm that is not in alignment with the way we look at our religion, you know, Judaism. So that's really, “Whew!” (Laughs) a bit of a… you know, a help for me.
S: But also… and it is backed by people, religious rabbis, you know, who back this and see that it's helped people. And I think one of the main things is because it's not about religion, it's just about before religion, it's before all of that. So it is, as you said, extremely spiritual, but it does go very hand-in-hand with… with Judaism. So…
J: Okay. So you mentioned this goes hand-in-hand with Judaism, tell us more what the ‘this’ is; I haven't put my finger on that yet. Is there a… a name for it?
S: There is, it's called The Three Principles, and some people call it Innate Health, and the reason they call it Innate Health is because it is innate; it's inside us all the whole time. It's… we were born with it, and if you look at children, you see how close to the source they are. But they are so close to the source and it's getting really curious and interested in… in seeing the health inside us, that we are not broken, that there's nothing to fix, that we are completely healthy and well. So when people come to me, I really, really see… see that in them. I really see that there is nothing for me to fix, they just had some misguided thinking, and just like me when… before I heard this I didn't realize how life works.
J: So The Three Principles, we’ll link to that in our show notes. And so when people come to you, what would you say is your title now? Are you a teacher, spiritual teacher?
S: Yeah, that's a really good question because I'm not a therapist, I'm not a coach. I think what I say… you know, I don't even call myself anything particularly, but if I had to put a name to it, I guess I'm a Three Principles facilitator.
S: Yeah, that's… I think that's what I’d put on it.
J: A lot of moms listen to this show, and what advice would you have for moms who are struggling with the same issues you mentioned of not taking care of themselves and being really frazzled and stressed? What advice would you have for them?
S: I would say, you know, when you go on an aeroplane, one of the things that the stewardess or the steward says on the aeroplane is, “You know, if something happens..” you know, he give you this whole talk about if something happens and the oxygen, you know, is lowered in the cabin, then the oxygen masks will come out… come down and you need to put them on to you first. And there's a very, very good reason for that, the reason is because you cannot look after anyone else or do anything unless you look after yourself first. And… and I don't mean going out and sort of, you know, going on holiday or something crazy, you know, big, you don't have to look at something big, but it's even maybe just taking 5 minutes out. And I do that often, you know, when things get a bit het up a home and I still have my… my youngest son at home and there's a lot of things happening here. And, you know, I… I might even just say, “Right, I'm just going to sit down for 5 minutes or for 3 minutes or something,” you know, that's, it is just an… but to realize that it's not the actual doing of what you're doing, going out of the room or something or… it's… it… that… that's the illusion of… of it all. It's not the circumstance that's changing things, it's you're thinking about, you know, what's going on that changes your… your perception of how it is. And sometimes when you just step out, for example, then, you know, your mind is able to quiet for a few minutes and then you see things differently; they look differently.
J: Mm-hmm, I'm thinking, the word ‘spirituality’ keeps coming to mind.
J: I'm Christian and you're Jewish and also a Three Principles practitioner, but I think what's amazing about all religions is the opportunity for people to be still and just contemplate something greater than self. But this goes really well with what you're saying about taking those quiet moments just to center your thoughts and slow them and kind of create that that different reality; a different perception of how you're viewing what's going on in your life. So…
J: So it's really beautiful that we have so much in common, no matter…
S: Yeah, it's very true because, you know, there's… just to go on very quickly in what you were saying. You know, there is a system that works and a higher intelligence (and I don't care what anyone calls it) that knows how to run the world better than I do certainly.
S: And… and that's, I think, what, you know, referring back to what I said earlier about letting go, that's what happened, you know, when you let go and you realize that, “Actually, there's nothing for me to do because I'm not in charge here. I don't know what's going to happen,” and there's that freedom, that the lessening of a burden that comes up. I mean, that's why I said, you know, so of course, we're all going to be able to connect; we are all one.
J: I love that. Sue, we have reached my favorite part of the show where we talk about a few of your favorite things. First question, share a favorite personal habit that contributes to your success today.
S: I can't tell you that I have a personal habit actually because I sort of got rid of them in a way… (Laughs)
S: … with… with understanding this. So I don't have any habits anymore, which is interesting because I think one of the things that I used to feel was, if I had a one-stage that I would have a habit and then I'd almost obsess about it, so I really don't have any personal habits anymore.
J: Hmm, that sounds liberating.
S: It is.
J: That's nice. I might have to try that sometime when I'm not clinging to my habits so much just to survive.
J: So your favorite easy meal that you like to eat.
S: So I love to make black bean vegan burgers; my favorite, yum.
S: And it's easy; so easy to make.
J: Do you have a recipe we could share on the show notes?
S: Yeah, I do agree, yeah.
J: Oh, great. What's your favorite household possession?
S: Again, I know it sounds crazy, but I don't know if I do. I… I don't know if I have a favorite possession because I just love everything in my house; I just love everything. And anything that I don't find exciting to me anymore, isn't in my house. I just know… you know, I remember reading once about clutter and I decided that I should be clutter free. So I… you know, anything that isn't in my house is… is not my favorite and everything in my house is favorite. I mean, I have a whole bunch of things. I have loads of books that I love, I have the most amazing lights in my house. I just… yeah, I just… I have, you know, my own desk, I have… really, everything is… is just… I love my house; I just love it.
J: I really appreciate that energy that's coming out of you and that gratitude. I think more of us would be a lot happier in our lives if we could do the same.
J: Mm, nice. Favorite book that you'd recommend.
S: So I would recommend every lady to read a very new book that's recently come out called ‘Exquisite Mind’ and it's by a lady called Terry Rubenstein. And she went from com… like someone said to me, “From complete crazy to complete normal.” She had a really crazy life where she has 6 boys, she got completely depressed and she talks about how she came out of it through understanding The Three Principles. But it's just a lovely book to read, it's very light, very easy to read, and I would really recommend people to read that lovely, light book.
J: Hmm, nice.
J: I'm wondering what The Three Principles are.
S: I'm happy to share them with you, but I want to tell you that it probably hasn't got any meaning to anyone at all, and we very rarely actually (although it's called that) talked about them per se. But they are mind, thoughts, and consciousness. And without any one of those, we’re basically not alive. Mind is, not mind as our head, but mind as in the intelligence that we spoke about earlier that in… knows far better than I do. Our consciousness is really our awareness of life and thought is, as you know, there's personal thought and there's divine thought. And the divine thought comes from the source of intelligence, and of course, personal mind is what we make of it afterwards…
S: … and how we sort of, you know, chew it all up and… and analyze it and do everything else. So in a… in a way, they're all one so they… because they're all mind, they're all God or whatever you want to call them; chi, cha, whatever, you know?
J: Mm-hmm. Okay, thanks for sharing that; so interesting. What's a favorite item on your bucket list and why?
S: I… again, you know, this just sounds crazy, doesn't it? But I don't have a bucket list.
S: I'll just take life as it comes every day…
S: … at any moment. And so that can change and that kind of, you know, vary and I don't have a list or anything of what I want or what I like or what I prefer to have or do. And each day I sa… you know, something else crops up and then we say, “Well, let's do this,” or, “How about that?” or, you know, “Do like this?” or, you know, “Do you want to do this?” So…
J: I think it's beautiful, you're living in the moment and not in the future.
S: Yeah, yeah.
J: Yeah. What's the best advice you've ever received?
S: Without a doubt, to let go.
J: Oh, nice.
S: Just let go is just let go of being… you know, of being so in my… into myself…
S: … into my ego. Just let go of… you know, of all my problems because really, when we die, is it really going to be… or when we're dying, is it really a problem? And I know it looks like it's a problem in the moment, but really, if we let it go, as I said, there is a system that works far better than… than we know how to work anything.
J: Mm-hmm. Looking back in your life so far, what's your happiest memory?
S: Oh, having my children. You know what? Even better actually is having grandchildren.
S: Because you can give them back.
J: Yes, you get to enjoy the best moments and then…
S: Absolutely, and then you say, “Excuse…” then you say, “Excuse me, can you take them home?” or, “Could you deal with this child?” No, really having a grandchild has been… oh my goodness, I never realized how absolutely amazing it is, and… and I hope everyone here, you know, listening will get there someday. But other than that, my… having my own children was… I was so happy, I love those moments of having all of them. I didn't have my 5th one by the way, he's adopted, you should know.
J: Oh, that's nice, you have a really great family.
S: I do, I'm very lucky.
J: Yeah. All our listeners should know that they can find links to ‘Exquisite Mind’ and everything else we've been discussing by going to the show notes, which can be found at jenriday.com/8. And for the final but most important question, Sue, if you had to create a 3 to 5 part formula of actions that maximize your happiness, what would that include?
S: If I could bottle what I was… what I talk about, it would be to live life in the moment, to know that actually your thoughts come in to your head completely neutrally without any power, and that we give power to every thought, we take thoughts seriously and it's our choice; so we have a choice whether we take thoughts seriously or not. So I guess that’s sort of like 3 points, isn't it really?
J: Great, thank you. So, Sue, you've given us a lot of food for thought, give the Vibrant Happy Women community a parting actionable challenge that we can work on in the weaker or month ahead.
S: So I would… I would say to people, it would be really helpful if you got really curious at where you think your feelings are coming from in the moment, and… and to look and not to analyze, but just to observe and get curious and see, “Are they actually coming from this very moment or is it coming from something in the past that's happened, something in the future?” and see where that takes you.
J: Sue, thank you so much for being generous with your time and for being on the show; I'm really glad you could be here.
S: I wanted to thank you for allowing me to be here and to give me a voice, I really, really appreciate it so thank you.
J: Take care.
Thank you so much for joining me today on Vibrant Happy Women. And be sure to join me next time as I speak with Jodi Danen and she shares her journey from Couch to 5k to marathon and how she's teaching her children to live a healthy lifestyle as well. She really inspired me, so much that I have planned my own 5k. So if health and nutrition is something you're interested in or wanting more of in your life, be sure to join us. Talk to you soon.
Outro: Thanks for listening to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast at www.jenriday.com