Telling your story can be a form of healing. Recently, I was honored to be a guest on the Empowered Spirit Show with Teri Ann Heiman. 

I shared my story of childhood abuse, and she, in turn, shared her story. It was raw and unscripted and the perfect example of how we can empower others by sharing our stories. 

Follow along below with the transcript of our conversation. You can also tune in to listen as well. 

Terri Ann Heiman 9:00

My guest today, Cindy Benezra, is an author, inspirational speaker, entrepreneur, and sexual abuse advocate. She is the author of the newly released memoir, Under the Orange Blossoms. Cindy is the founder of CindyTalks, a platform where she discusses healing tools and stories of hope for other trauma survivors. She engages with her readers through honesty, humility, and a genuine care for those who have walked a similar path. Cindy is also the co-founder of a luxury event company where she spends much of her time creating beautiful spaces for some of the most important events in people’s lives. Her eye for style and design has won Elite Events, numerous awards, and spotlight features. Currently, Cindy and her husband reside in Seattle, Washington, and are parents of four adult children. So, let us welcome Cindy to the show. Welcome, Cindy.

Cindy Benezra 9:49

Thank you. Thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate it.

Terri Ann Heiman 9:53

Yeah, I really appreciate your work. And as we were kind of talking before, we hit record, your work is very valuable, it’s very delicate, and it is so needed for stories like this to come out. So, I’m very grateful to be able to talk to you about that today. Thank you.

Cindy Benezra 10:07

You’re welcome. Glad to be here.

Terri Ann Heiman 10:10

Yeah, me too. So, Cindy, what led you to write this book, Under The Orange Blossoms? What led you to really, actually, finally tell the story?

Cindy Benezra 10:20

It’s something that I’ve always wanted to share even since I was a little girl, but through the process, I lost my voice. I blamed myself for many years, just kind of beating myself up of, “Why didn’t say no? Why didn’t I share?” And then at times I shared and then I felt ostracized, lots of shame, hate. There was so many stages of this. And I think there’s incredible different layers to healing where you kind of embrace it, and then you’re all out there, then you feel exposed, naked is the best way I could say it. Vulnerable would be more of a word that most people would apply. But I would have to say I felt naked. I felt like I had no clothes on, and there was no place to hide. And I didn’t like feeling that exposed. I didn’t like feeling judged. And it is a really sensitive conversation. But sometimes I find some people that had a similar life that I had in maybe a narcissistic family or someone who had suffered sexual abuse as I did. So, there were different components to it. But especially narcissism, I mean, talking about narcissism or abuse and sexual abuse, it’s such a taboo subject. And when I became older, and I think I had already gone through, it felt like a lifetime of healing and counselors, and you name it, I felt I have done it, if I had to stand underneath on top of my head, you know, whatever it was to get me through to find a different way of healing, because there’s so many layers to it. At the end, I started sharing more. And when I started sharing, I realized that the statistics are actually correct. It’s one out of four girls, one out of six boys. And when I started using my voice and speaking up, I realized, because I’m an event planner, that when I would go to cocktail parties, I thought this was fascinating that a lot of men shared with me about what happened to them. And I thought, I would think like, “Okay, this is unusual,” like it was an unusual space, you know, where we’re all standing there, socially, completely in a large group of people, and someone would come up to me and men would say, “You know what, thank you, I was listening to maybe like, I read your book, or I like listening to your work, or I’ve been following you and I’m really glad you said something.” And I always would say, “Would you be willing to talk?” and they go, “Oh, my gosh, no, never, I would never be able to say anything. My wife doesn’t know, or my partner doesn’t know, I would never want anyone to know, and but thank you for doing what you’re doing.” And so I would find that just fascinating. And women wouldn’t typically share in a dynamic like that, but they would share, you know, online, reaching out to me in small groups, but really emotionally talking about it with other groups. So, I realized, too, that it was a different format of doing this. And some formats are more welcoming for other people. And I know I’m rambling here, but long story short, I always wanted to write a cookbook. And it was for entertaining. And when I started to write that cookbook down, I had flipped through my recipes and I realized that there were certain years that I had more trauma than others so, I’d write that recipe down, and then write on another piece of paper, that trauma that happened just so that I could go through all the recipes. And when I realized that I had multiple stories in there. When I looked at the five different notebooks on the table, I thought, “Gosh, you know, the one that carries the most weight, the one that has the most shame is probably the sexual abuse and then that’s what kind of carried me out and it was something I felt was a calling even as a kid. But I never had the courage to do it. And now that I’m in the thick of it, I am even more compelled to speak about it. I just feel like you can’t stop me.

Terri Ann Heiman 14:56

Yeah, so let’s do take a little moment here because you have talked about a lot and abuse, especially in the family, sexual abuse, especially in the family is really difficult. And I think we hear more about people speaking out about abuse and workplace or other kinds, even in the church, even in religion, we’re hearing more about that. But I do think that people still have a hard time when it comes to family. And I know I’ve suffered. And so this, for me is even a very tough topic, which I’ve talked about a little bit. And it’s so healing when you share your story. So, for you to be vulnerable, helps others to be vulnerable. And I know this through storytelling, and through being able to share parts of my story, how much does help other people. You know, I used to think my story started back in when I got divorced, you know, like a narcissistic man and all that. But as I uncovered more and more of my own history, it really went back further. And it went back to some very early childhood, and then again, at teenage ages, for me, just inappropriate behavior. And it is very difficult to talk about. So, I think that this is so needed, and again, applauding you for the courage, you know, to really stand up I mean, talking about within your family, I mean, most of us share don’t even share our family secrets anyway. So, you know, it’s like even money secrets or whatever. It’s like, we don’t talk about it. So, when you’re talking about this kind of situation, something with your father and then having to keep it quiet for so long. And then wondering, did you cause it or did you not? I think that’s where most kids especially in the family go to. And you know, I know I even did too. Maybe I’m making it up. Maybe it wasn’t such a big deal. Maybe I allowed. Maybe this, maybe that. And there’s so many of these questions, which are not wrong questions to ask. And so many of them carry so much weight. So, yes, it is a very difficult subject. And I think that you have opened the door for many others to come forward, and really start to realize, like, there’s so much deep healing that can come forward, you know, self-worth, especially. You know, I know, for me, I turned into an emotional eater always being like, “Okay, what’s going on,” and taking on family energies and like, trying to keep awareness of what it was, you know, out there. And then when I also pulled into myself and realizing like, oh, you know, let me just keep to myself, let me keep quiet. And that shapes personality that shapes our function and behavior. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, so definitely very delicate situation, but definitely one that is needed. For sure.

Cindy Benezra 17:20

I think sharing family secrets. My sister, I mean, we’re almost 60, and my sister’s 58. And she’s a therapist. And it was interesting. When I was starting to write this book, she felt that I betrayed a family secret, and she’s a therapist! I was like, “Wait, hold on honey. Like, really? You’re a therapist.” And she’s like, “Well, that doesn’t matter.” That was, you know, it’s kind of interesting how we reverse. She reverted right back to where she was, as a child. She was like “Mom said never to talk about what was happening in our household.” She said, “You kind of betrayed me, and I’m like, “Yeah, I have, but it is time to, you know, it’s time to speak up.” And she was like, “I get that, but a lot of ways you betrayed me.” So, it kind of opened up a window. I had an aunt say, “You know, we’re a wonderful family. Why would you ever say this?” And I’m like, “Well, that’s the point. We are a wonderful family.” Yes, you know, we are a fabulous family. But what happens behind doors, whatever the facade is, that is the reality of it. And I felt that people need to know this, that you can come from educated families, you can come it doesn’t matter what you, it happens in every social, economic, economic background, it doesn’t matter. It’s just something well, here in the US one out of four, and in many countries, it’s more or sometimes it’s less, and it is a common thing. It’s epidemic. And it’s something still that we just don’t talk about. And there’s so many other real issues in the world that are talked about, but this is something that is not, and I think it’s carries so much weight of family dynamics, and then those are imposed on us. And when you bust down that door, there’s, it’s it doesn’t create a lot of friendships in your household. Let’s just say that’s because you have destroyed their world. So, it is something that if you are planning on, well, I’m gonna use speaking your truth and trying to find a different way to heal. How do you how do you have, really how do you have what I would tell my sister. How do I have Christmas with a pedophile? Like how do I have my children in that household? Do I subject them to that? How do I protect them? And so, you have to find your own Truth and my way to navigate that. And I think that that is sort of like the stem of it, how do you navigate, maybe it might not work for another family member, but trying to work that out. And yeah, it’s going to be hard. And there’s lots of disappointments in that in pain. But if you’re really trying to soul search for ways to heal in a different level, not everybody has to go there, I had to go there. But if you really are searching, there might be some doors, windows and doors that you have to step through to go through to heal. And if it’s not for you, then I would not encourage that. But if it is something for you, it could possibly be another format or another door or window that you could step through to find, I guess, peace of heart. Yeah.

Terri Ann Heiman 20:52

Yeah. And I think peace of heart is important. And I think to like even what you said, you know, with your sister coming in, I know, when I reached out to my sister, she’s like, “Oh, my God, I never thought in my own household.” And so, it was very hard for even her to process the whole thing. But she did step up to the plate, and she really did help me approach my brother and, and really start to kind of work through. I’ve told my children, but I have not told his children, you know, and they were close to me, but I don’t feel it’s my place to tell them right or wrong. I don’t know. But yeah, I think it’s more up to him. But I don’t feel it’s mine. And I feel in all due times, if it comes out, it comes out for them. But he’s the one that needs to step up for that. And that’s just the way I feel about it. And I know my siblings were you know, that I know that they were concerned. Like, we don’t want to ruin the reputation in our community, either. I’m born in a nice white Jewish family in Alabama. Upper, you know, upper middle class, well educated, same thing. Actually, in this community, there were a group of boys, my brother’s age that were part of this, they got called out once for another situation that was similar, but not this one.

Cindy Benezra 21:57

Right. And it’s, it’s individualized, I really do believe in making that work for you. I thought it was an interesting story. As I was writing this book, my editor she had, she didn’t tell me what had happened to her. But her story came out. And it was the craziest thing. As I was writing this outage she was editing, the same thing was happening to her in her life in a parallel way. And it just makes me realize this happens all the time. And hers just happened to unfold in a different way. But she’s like, “You know, my family’s not talking to me right now. They think I’m the person who exposed this. And, you know, why me? Why are they looking at me?”  I think it is a very isolating situation. But I do believe if your family really wants to make it happen, they will, you will find a way, they will find a way to navigate through this. And I actually think it’s a very safe outcome. And I think there’s also alignments with certain people that you come out and go, “Okay, I’m not aligned with that person. But that’s okay.” I could see them. And in this format, or in this direction, we’ll have connections. But that’s also hard thing.

Terri Ann Heiman 23:25

Yeah. So, it is very hard to approach it. And I do feel though, well, especially for me, and for others, too, that do a lot of self-discovery, that keep coming up against the same wall over and over and over and you go, “What is that? What is that?” And then of course, I work in the Akashic records, and I look at past lives, and I look at all of this, and actually went in there and saw a past life for him. You know, and in some ways that helped me in the forgiveness process. But there’s still a lot of healing that has to come forward. And I do think we take it step by step, and we share what we can, and we don’t share what we can’t. But there is a lot to protect in this moment of me talking, you know, but on the other hand, it is part of my healing.

Cindy Benezra 24:08

And I also recognize, too, that my sister is not, she went through it in a different format in a different stage. And she could leave it, but I am just, that’s my personality, just dig, keep on digging and keep on digging. And once I was there, I could just let it all go. But I had to find that the end of that wall. Let’s just say that.

Terri Ann Heiman 24:34

And I think forgiveness you do talk about it in the book. And I think forgiveness is a very important aspect because it doesn’t make anybody right. But I know for me, it’s helped me to be able to be at a point with exactly what you just said, “Okay, I see you’re there. And this is where I am, I don’t agree. Right. And I don’t like how I’ve been treated in later years, you know, being taken advantage in other ways. That’s a carrying on and being taken advantage of boundaries being you know, overstepped, but I can take this where I am now and forgive myself.” And I think that’s the bigger part, which you do share a lot about in the book. And I think for everybody, it is different. But it is such a hard subject and especially like you said, like, betraying confidences or you’re the victim all of a sudden again, and that by no means is, you know how I want to feel. And I’m sure that’s not how you want to feel. But I think when we, as we say, when we shed light on darkness, you know, more light will come. And I think that’s part of why the healing is so important. And for so many other people to hear this story, it really is because, again, those closed doors are closed doors. But there’s so much that goes behind really is.

Cindy Benezra 25:37

And I also think that’s why, you know, if your intent is to create revenge, then to look at that, and get a perspective on why and figure out to what different degrees. And that’s all come that all stems from personal pain. So, to evaluate that, and I think this is a big thing, because if it happens in your childhood, there are stages and it doesn’t there’s no magic bullet for it. I wish I wish there was I wish there was a pill. I wish I really, really do, but also pain’s relative. So whatever happened to you, you might feel it 10 times more, or maybe 10 times less. And I think you have to recognize everybody’s healing process is different and you have to cater to your personal needs, and then stand in that. Go well, this is what I need and feel strong in that like, okay, this is my journey. As I it was interesting, because as I would look at my sister, and she was resolute, but she also understood now she’s, she’s like, “Okay, I get you, like I understand you just need to, like burn the house down. And all right. Okay, here we are. And now the house is burnt. Now, where are we going with this?” And it was a very good process between the two of us. And yeah, it’s cathartic. But I think it’s more, it’s more kind of like on a soul level. And that’s really kind of for me where I really want it to be, have it resonate in my body and release all of that the years of the grief in there. And I think that’s what I was searching for. And I feel that I got it. And I’m there. And I think more I’m very passionate about sharing my story and telling it because I believe there really are, in fact, I thought this was the craziest thing, was that we were promoting our books, we were at an author’s talk. And one lady right next to me, she said, “Oh, Cindy, you know, I can’t believe you know, you’re writing such a heavy topic. Can your book really sell?” And I’m like, “Well, I don’t know. Let’s see.” And then the next to me, she goes, “By the way, that happened to me.” She goes, “I have never shared that.” And then the lady next to me on the other side, she goes, “Wow, what a heavy topic. You know, this happened to me too. But I just can’t imagine ever saying that out loud. It’s just a place I would never go and she’s like, please keep that confidential.” I’m like, “Absolutely!” But it just kind of it was an affirmation. I’m in a room, just two people right next to me. And I really do believe, there are more people and there was an elderly man who was shaking his head as I was talking. And I realized, I thought, “Oh, he’s, he’s experienced this. He knows what I’m talking about. Yeah.

Terri Ann Heiman 28:35

Yeah. No, and I agree, I think finding the end of the wall are finding the place where you can create some healing, and for me to be able to now stand in my own light and stand in my own community do and I’m not gonna go shout it from the roofs or anything like that. And I know, I kept having to ask myself, “Okay, why do I want to talk about it? Where do I want to go with this? What am I trying to create out of this?” You know, and even those kinds of questions come forward, like, “What’s the healing for me?” Because when we start thinking about revenge, that’s not going to get anybody anywhere. And so we can’t do that we’re in the midst of that hurt, and that anger stored in the body. So it takes the ability to work with the energy and this is the work I do working in healing, working with tapping, working with all the many modalities that you talk about in the book, pausing and like you talked about the orange blossoms, how much they held for you, just the smell, and the orange and the safety they created. And these are the things we have to create for ourselves in order to be able to move through this and understand what’s the bigger picture. You know, my goal isn’t to hurt anybody. My goal is to heal. Right? And I think that sometimes that can be lost when we open up to these kinds of situations.

Cindy Benezra 29:41

Yeah, definitely. I feel. I’ve done lots of conventional therapy, and I’m always on a quest for what inspires somebody to be their best version of themselves. So that’s been something that I’ve been fascinated with. So, this was just sort of a healing journey for just trying to find, I mean, you could apply it to business, and you could apply it to other things. So wasn’t, it served me in different ways of life just even in existence. But it’s really come in handy in so many realms.

Terri Ann Heiman 30:17

Yeah. And I think that, you know, I know for me and did not know where this conversation is gonna go. But I think for me, it offered some validity to how I felt, and to just even your experiences of wanting to share and how it came out. So, I know for myself, it’s like, yeah, this is definitely a topic that needs to be talked about more and more. I think there’s just so much that’s behind closed doors, and I think it affects our behavior and how we show up in the world. Right? And so, there are techniques for help. There are many ways now I work in energy medicine, so I’m not so much of the mental therapist, but I’m working on the energy body, I’m working with tapping, I’m working with rewiring the brain. I’m working on, you know, meditation techniques, which you talk about in the book as well. I mean, I think that there are ways and I think people need to know that there are ways to move beyond that can really help you. I can’t say erase it, but it can certainly help the response that you have to it and help you to heal in such a greater capacity.

Cindy Benezra 31:13

Just finding a healing, like finding what that spirit is, like, what makes you want to go on and it’s really made me look outside of it. What’s that grit? What’s that tenacity? Where we just pick it up, and we just go, “Okay, I’m gonna go, I’m gonna figure this out.” And it’s, it’s amazing, our, the human spirit like how we want to thrive. And at what level? That’s up to you. But that is remarkable.

Terri Ann Heiman 31:42

Yeah, I agree how we want to thrive and how we look at our spirit, and really how that spirit can help us in so many ways. It’s there for us, it’s our spirit, we own it, we just need to be the ones that connect with it. And trust what we get trust the messages that come forward, trust the situations. And I know for me, it took a while to bring that out. But I think for me, and you talk about this a lot is the boundary work and really knowing that I need stronger boundaries. I’m very sensitive, I’m very loving, and I can let those boundaries go. And I didn’t know it for a long time. I didn’t know it, I just wanted to people like me, right? I just wanted to be like, I still want to be liked, right? But having stronger boundaries is so important. And I know that a lot of the work I do, you know, and that started challenges. Week two is energetic boundaries, really feeling the force of energy, that’s kind of how I go about it instead of just in the mental, but it helps in so many respects, it really does. And it makes you stronger, not weaker, and it will make you more loved, not less love. And I think that whole idea of “Oh, they won’t like me then,” that’s wrong. That’s not necessarily the truth. You know how it is, I think when you know your boundaries, there’s a lot more respect that comes in.

Cindy Benezra 32:51

It’s a hard road to take, but it’s incredibly freeing. It’s very empowering. And I think when you’ve lost your power, and you’re trying to find those boundaries, it’s like you gain that boundary and it’s also gives you a provides a lot of self-worth. So you’re able to put some pennies back in your piggy bank, where you kind of go, “Oh, okay, like I feel great about myself.” And just even little things like that you don’t know where they’re going to heal in your body. And I always try to think about little sores all over my body, maybe that one I just patched up, or that one felt like it’s, it’s healed. And I think that’s so important because it’s not just what it is here. It is really also in your heart but in your physical body of how you can heal your physical on a cellular path.

Terri Ann Heiman 33:48

Yeah, definitely. So, beyond the self-healing that you’ve been through, what is your bigger mission with the book?

Cindy Benezra 33:57

Awareness. I want to create awareness and make it less taboo so that people can talk about it. Like we talked about alcoholism, or we talk about substance abuse, where until we get to that stage, where you feel comfortable or we feel comfortable, I don’t think that it can, we need to break down barriers. And the more we talk about it, the more it creates awareness and the more awareness, I think it becomes more commonplace in our household. And with that, it also creates change. It creates change in the way we talk to our children. I recall, I didn’t know how to, I just didn’t want this to happen to my children, so that’s why I started to, they were like “Why can’t, you know, why does grandpa just have to sit at the table and then leave the house?” Because that was the way I could find a boundary where he would only be there and you know, I would get grief from him every single time he came to the house and other people thought it was weird. But I really didn’t feel that I needed to explain it to anybody else because it was my process. And when my kids became older, I shared with them and said, “Well, okay, your grandfather’s a pedophile, and I’m doing this added protection,” and then it was sort of like, “Aha!” But when I did do that, and I knew the cause and the effect of that, that their relationship would change with him. But it’s interesting, they had to find a way to also, I have a special needs son. I’d like to know how he says things because he’s, he’s missing a portion of his brain, and he’s missing his emotional side, so he says things super blunt. And he said, “Well, that’s okay. You know, this is just teaching me how to be with mentally ill people, or is it pedophiles, mom?” I’m like, “Oh, okay. That’s one way to look at it.” But I thought, “Yeah.” He goes, “Well you know, this is showing me how to be more accepting, and then maybe I could learn something from this.” And you know what? I thought it was a detriment, but I realized that that was something that served him well. And my daughter that I worked with, she said, “Well, actually, this is showing me that whatever obstacle in your life, I probably could get through one, too.” And I thought, “Okay!” And my other daughter, she was like, “You know, I’m still unsure about all of this, you know, I don’t, I’m still kind of murky on this.” She goes, “But I don’t think I could ever forgive him.” And I think it’s interesting. She’s a therapist. She’s a psychotherapist. And my son, who is my oldest son, he’s a politician, and he still cannot talk to me about this. So, I think it’s interesting that the four different personalities, they all had different perspective. But I do know that they were all appreciative that I did share with them. It did rock the world at one point, but I did feel I couldn’t live with myself if I did it. And I think that’s where I thought this is very uncomfortable. But I can’t not live with myself if I don’t do this.

Terri Ann Heiman 37:21

Yeah, but I do feel me showing up today is similar. Yeah, thank you. Yeah. One of the things that did occur, that I do feel created a healing was the only way my brother really realized what had happened is when we said to him, “Do you want your grandson to do this to your granddaughter?” And that made him realize, and that’s when he really realized what had happened. And so, to me, it was almost like at that moment, the generational energy switched.

Cindy Benezra 37:57

Wow, very brave of you.

Terri Ann Heiman 38:01

I think in that moment, and even in this moment, really, today of saying this, is that, Yeah, I mean, there was healing in that moment. And I think when that recognition came, that’s when some of the energy started to shift. Yeah, so…

Cindy Benezra 38:15

I believe that.

Terri Ann Heiman 38:15

Grateful. Grateful for this conversation.

Cindy Benezra 38:16

You’re welcome. And thank you for being brave enough to share this. I’m, it’s kind of crazy.

Terri Ann Heiman 38:22

I do speak my truth. That’s all I can say.

Cindy Benezra 38:26

You did speak your truth. And I know how hard it is. It’s just it’s a terrifying feeling. I hope you do keep this section in here.

Terri Ann Heiman 38:38

Yeah. Well, you know what you said something too and it just really said, “Yes, Terry. It is okay.” Because you said it right at the very beginning like we do have a great family. And I think in many ways, I’ve held a little bit of that shame thinking, “Well, what kind of family do we have?” You know, and my sisters don’t really even want to come here now and visit me because they don’t want to get in the interaction. And I think that’s really sad. You know, you know, so I sit here all along, all alone is if I’m the wrong one, you know, so anyway, there is definitely more healing, but I do feel being brave to have this conversation with you and to give credit to your book. I listened to every single word of it, and I have to say orange blossoms. I worked with a beautiful designer in New York, Michael Michaud and we did a collection of orange blossoms. We did. So, I knew I knew about the plant. I knew about the smells. I knew about the how beautiful they are. And so yeah, that resonated with me as well. Thank you.

Cindy Benezra 39:38

Oh, yeah. When I look at Cherry blossoms or things like I always think it’s like this giant flower but it’s just a teeny little, not so attractive flower, but it’s so mighty and fragrant. Just a mighty fragrant thing.

Terri Ann Heiman 40:00

Yeah, definitely fragrant.

Cindy Benezra 40:04

I always used to look at things, and I still do, where I look at nature and how things thrive. And I used to picture my childhood where I was trying to thrive in a muddy terrain, just like those orange blossoms, you know. Like sometimes drought, sometimes flooding, you know. So I would think like, “Okay, we are meant to thrive, we are meant to overcome.” And I do believe everybody can I really, truly, wholeheartedly believe that everybody can, it’s more the willingness to do the work. Understand it takes time, and it has layers to it, that there’s no right or wrong way. That you may feel brave today. And you may feel like hiding in the covers tomorrow, and that’s okay. But every time you do, you are bringing light to your world to yourself. And in that is just right, there is a miracle right there. Every time you do that. It’s love for yourself. And that right there, I mean, we’re all here just to love. Love, be accepted and be loving. And so that’s one place to start is just loving with, you know, being loving to ourselves.

Terri Ann Heiman 41:25

I agree. And it is definitely one step at a time. We’re each in, you know, her own path of healing and just remembering that and I think that’s really important for all those listening. And, you know, I think as you said to this is a personal journey, and I think many people will start to resonate with this personal journey within them and healing will come and you probably won’t even ever hear all the stories. You wouldn’t have heard mine. So, I’m just wanting to again, just congratulate you on this amazing work and know that in ways you don’t even know it will go on to help for sure.

Cindy Benezra 41:55

I hope so. Thank you like, seriously, thank you for sharing your truth and your story. That’s, that’s very courageous of you. I’m proud of you.

Terri Ann Heiman 42:05

And it does show. Thank you. And it does show strength within and I know my daughter says “Mom, you’re stronger than you think you are. You’ve been through so much.” She always reminds me if you can raise two children in New York on your own, you can do anything. I did  do that. I did do that, didn’t I? So yeah. So, I am gonna take this as a step up in my own, you know, strength of who I am. And just know that the boundaries are really important and knowing that, you know, when we have our voice and we connect, it’s because of my spiritual practice. And I’ll say it right now, I’ll say it again, it’s because I have a spiritual practice because I sit with myself, and they ask some of these deeper questions. And I think all of us need to hear that. Because sometimes people all too often people say, I’m too busy. What do you mean, I gotta sit for meditation. I’m too busy. I’m too busy. Are you kidding? You’re too busy for your own spirit. Because that time will come back to you. And I think it’s through situations like this when real deep healing comes forward. And I know I still have more to go. There’s a falling now. You know, it’s like, I know, I still have more to go. But I know you’ve opened the door through your story. And what a beautiful story and written so well. And yeah, I could follow right along with you. Yeah. And I do feel you look like how I was hearing you. I always find it interesting when we see people after hearing them. So, thank you. Thank you for showing up. Yeah, yeah, for sure. Definitely. So, you also have another part of your work. And let’s just go ahead and give you some more shout out. Tell us a little bit more about the other part of your work that’s kind of opposite of this.

Cindy Benezra 43:33

So, my daughter and I own event company. It’s a boutique, kind of boutique event company where we do special occasions, and weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, whatever there is in life to celebrate, we do those, it was crazy during COVID. But I found that everybody, no matter what, you cannot stop love. Like, we will find a way to get married. We will find a way to celebrate, even if it’s six feet, you know from each other, we’re going to find a way. And it’s kind of interesting when, and I think I mentioned this just before when I was writing the book that I have this one world where it’s fun, and it’s creative, and everybody has a cocktail in their hand and everyone’s so happy, where we’re all celebrating joy. And then I would go back to this, I want to say dark, dark past, a painful past, but it’s part of who I am. And I think we all have these different sides that we work within. And then I would write there and then my daughter would text me and go okay, “What’s the happiest pink flowers that we could get?” And I’m like, “Okay!” I’m naming then go back and work on my book. And in some ways, it would made me feel crazy, but it was something in that madness that I thought “No, I love this.” I love the, the light in the dark within myself. And that is who what makes up the complexities. And that is also what makes up the complexities of each individual that we have that. But it is a different world. And I always feel like I’m like a healer and Gucci. Not that I wear Gucci. But I mean this completely different world. And then I have this complete other side to me that’s very still and quiet and organic. But I bounce from world to world. And it’s a very interesting place. But I’ve kind of mastered it. So, over the years.

Terri Ann Heiman 45:43

I love that. And I love that you actually still even though the events is fun, and it’s making you money and all of this, but you still have this desire to reach out and help. You didn’t have to Cindy. You really didn’t. So again, applauds for you for really like having this mission and this passion within you that wants to help and serve. So, I love that. And I would look at it as vibration, the higher vibration, joy and fun and love that’s up here. Whereas some of the shame and the darkness is down here. And this will definitely help to lift the other. Yeah, shame perpetuates the cycle. So, as you find ways to lift yourself out of it, it’s very helpful. So, I totally get it. Yeah, I can totally get it. Yeah. How awesome is that? Yeah. So where would you like to direct people to find the book? What’s the best place for them to find you?

Cindy Benezra 46:25

You can find me on Amazon, Barnes and Noble. I also have a blog. CindyTalks, Also, I’m on Instagram on Cindy Benezra, and LinkedIn. Pretty much every social aspect I’m on. But you could purchase my book there. And I could also send you a link that maybe you could add on to this. I don’t know how that that works.

Terri Ann Heiman 46:54

Yeah, I will definitely put all those links in them. I’ve noted them for sure. And then are you doing any groups around it? Are you teaching? Are you doing anything? At this point? Do you have future plans for that?

Cindy Benezra 47:03

I’m definitely interested in doing some charity work to create some awareness around this. Fundraising, because I really do believe that this is there’s not a lot of resources out there, it just depends…

Terri Ann Heiman 47:18

I was about to ask if there was like an Association, some kind of national group or something?

Cindy Benezra 47:23

In the cities there are, but in the suburbs, there really isn’t. There’s not much to find resources. And it depends on where we are politically too. I think sometimes there’s more funding for social causes like this. And then sometimes the funding is taken away. And it’s sort of like an ebb and flow. So, it’s really dependent on a lot of nonprofit kind of organizations that can carry some of this through, but in the cities there are. So, I really want to look for a charity event or collaborate with other people who find this to be a greater cause or more of a common cause. And how you look at it.

Terri Ann Heiman 48:07

Yeah, for sure. And the healing is needed. I mean, it’s so needed things like this lead into other addictions. And it just it just become so complex. So yeah, I definitely agree. And yeah, I was wondering if there was some associations. So yeah, I will definitely keep following and see what comes out of it for sure. So, as we go to close the program, I like to come back and ask the question, and I know we’ve talked about a little bit, but just to leave our listeners with an uplifting thought. How do you feel, by writing this book, Under the Orange Blossoms and the work that you’re doing with this topic? How do you feel it can empower the spirit?

Cindy Benezra 48:44

Any form of healing empowers you. And I think if you’re willing just to pick it up and read it, that right there is a healing, you don’t have to share it with somebody else, just reading it. And whatever you take from it, if that’s some of the tools that I offer, I have a whole chapter on tools. And then I also have some of the tools how to show how I did this as a teenager, and then use them as an adult in a household. If you just take any part of that it will, I do believe if anything, it’ll just inspire you. Just give you inspiration, possibly hope. And we all need hope, hope to do hope to be our best selves, hope to do anything else. I think hope is such a key and crucial part of life.

Terri Ann Heiman 49:37

Yeah, and as you said before, you cannot stop love. Well, thank you so much for this amazing interview for the help that it even offered me and for all those that are listening to that perhaps this can inspire you to read it and to do a little self-exploration, discovery and find that healing for your own self. It is a big topic. The doors are closed all too often. But it is possible just as I’ve shared here today just even talking to Cindy about her work.

Cindy Benezra 50:14

Definitely, I will reach out to you on my blog. Happy to.

Terri Ann Heiman 50:19

Yeah, yeah. Thank you to your spirit.

Cindy Benezra 50:20


Terri Ann Heiman 50:24

Thank you. Namaste. Thank you. Yes, we all just want to be loved. Healing is a step-by-step process. And I know for myself, it has been tuning into my spiritual practice, my spirit that has guided me, my story is not the same as Cindy’s, and your experience won’t be the same as mine. But it’s still your story and just as valid. I share mine here today, not as a therapy session, although it seemed that way. But as a way to provide these stories to encourage your healing. I have worked with numerous other therapists, healers, EFT practitioners, some brain spotting, and even my knowledge of energy medicine, but reading this book, and talking with Cindy was extremely healing in a totally different way. It was one filled with compassion and understanding. If you are in need of help reach out to your local crisis center. If you are in the Birmingham area, reach out to one place a metro Alabama Family Justice Center. Their mission is to provide coordinated services to victims and survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault through a multidisciplinary team of professionals working together under one roof. Reach out to Cindy, get her book, check out her blog, and please share this episode with anyone you know that may need to hear this. Reach out to me if you find this helpful and would like some help for your spirit. You don’t have to do this alone. Thanks again so much for listening. This is your host, Terri Ann Hyman, to your spirit. Namaste.

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