Baby Boomer Woman: Lise Kunzi

by Anne Holmes on November 23, 2011

A big NABBW welcome to Lise Kunzi, reflexologist, lifestyle coach – and citizen of the world.

Lise, whose friends refer to her by the diminutive nickname Lis, lives in Alberta, Canada, where she works as a an alternative health care practitioner and health & lifestyle coach. As such, she believes the best way to make healthy life changes is for everyone to take full responsibility for his or her own health — while seeking to reach your goals and capabilities naturally.

Lis has been a reflexologist for 13 years, and currently serves as Board Director for the Reflexology Association of Canada( RAC).  A few years ago, she and several  colleagues opened Alberta’s first Reflexology Chapter.

For those who are not quite sure what it is, Lis explains that reflexology is a holistic therapy which treats the body as a whole: body, mind and spirit. In holistic therapies much emphasis is placed on clients taking on the responsibility for their own state of health and healing. Reflexologists don’t claim to cure – as they believe only the body cures. What the reflexologist does is work with the subtle energy that flows in your body to revitalize it.

As she says,  her goal as a reflexologist and lifestyle coach is to “help my clients find solutions so they can move beyond their limitations, reach their goals and improve their quality of life. This of course, leads to a more fulfilling, healthier and happier lifestyle.

Lis explains more about her work on her website, and invites her NABBW friends to contact her via email with any questions. Meanwhile, please enjoy her answers to our favorite twenty questions…

Using one paragraph, tell us a bit about yourself?

I am Danish/Canadian, born in Montreal but grew up in Denmark. There, we lived on an island in the Baltic Ocean called Bornholm, just off the south coast of Sweden.

There, my father was a hotel owner, so I grew up in the hospitality industry. The hotel was located on a high cliff, just overlooking the sea. We were surrounded by trees and fields.

I remember always feeling safe because my parents were always “at home.” My brother and I had lots of friends and we spent most of our time playing outdoors. I have such fun memories of my childhood.

Tell us about your family; married, divorced, children, grands, boomerangs or parents living with you, etc.

I met my husband on a cruise ship. I was the purser and he was the casino manager. As the purser, I had to count the casino money at the end of the shift. And to tell you the truth, I was hopeless.

So as Rene and I started going out together, his first gift to me was a calculator. Nothing romantic, such as flowers or a teddy bear. But I was grateful as this sped things up with the count.

Rene and I have traveled extensively, but in 2007 we moved to Calgary. We have two teenage girls (God help us all), both still living at home. So no grandchildren as yet and no close family nearby.

What is your favorite childhood memory that is reminiscent of growing up in the 50s, 60s or 70s?

For me it was the clothes!!! The bell bottoms, the trumpet sleeve blouses and the platform shoes. As I am not very tall, with those shoes on my feet I grew inches instantly. ( I am not a tall, blonde Dane.)

Paul Anka,the  Bee Gees, the Beatles and Simon and Garfunkel are still music for us.

What qualities do you have that speak of our generation of women?

I would say we have more patience, perseverance and determination. We have a much more realistic outlook on life and are more down-to-earth.

What inspires you?

People who –  against all odds – “make it.” People who go against normal conventions, have original ideas and lots of courage to carry on living their dreams.

What brings you the most pleasure in midlife?

Helping others. Traveling, reading a good book. Cooking simple, healthy meals, walking with my dog. Sharing special moments with my family and friends.

Do you have any interesting hobbies?

I just love reading anything I can get my hands on. I do meditation and yoga and I go Nordic Walking with our wiener dog.

Do you have a favorite book or movie? If so, tell us why it’s your favorite.

No, I don’t really have a favorite movie or book that I can think of at the moment. But my all-time favorite song is by Louis Armstrong, “What a Wonderful World.”

Do you travel and if so, who are your favorite travel partners and where do you like to go?

Growing up in Scandinavia I had easy access to visit all the countries in Europe, which I did.

The first time I moved back to Montreal, I was 17 and searching for my mom’s family. I worked at Simpsons Sears, and meet my now lifelong friend, Margaret. She and I went to Kenya in 1979, working for an organization which did not work out for us. We stayed in Kenya for 8 months, traveling around.

Overall, we traveled over a 2-½ years period to Israel, Egypt, hitch-hiked all over Europe, worked in Athens, and in Holland and ended up in Denmark.

Some years later I meet my husband Rene on a cruise ship, where we both worked.

Later, Rene and I worked in Europe; then in  South Africa, where Rene’s parents had immigrated when he was a child. We stayed in South Africa for 10 years. Had our two daughters there, then went to Mozambique for a while.

When the political situation got bad, we had an opportunity to leave Africa, and went back to Denmark, where we worked in the casinos for a while.

By that time, Switzerland was opening up their first casino and Rene, by now a casino trainer and instructor, went back to his home town, Thun, to help train and open up new casinos. (If you’re not familiar with Thun, is about 30 km from Bern.)

Do you practice preventive medicine? Please elaborate.

I believe more in preventative food. My husband and I just bought waterless cookware, which should preserve most nutrients, allowing us to keep our bodies more healthy.

Our teenage daughter live on hamburgers and pizza for the most part. Our oldest is “allergic” to the green stuff.

But one thing we do not take is medication, per se. I believe in homeopathic remedies and give my family reflexology treatments to keep our body, mind and spirit whole and healthy.

What do you stress about?

Not having enough to retire on.

Is it important for you to retain your youthful looks, and if so, to what degree are you willing to go?

Well, I believe that most women would like to look and feel good. I buy anti-aging creams, but….? I do not see too much improvement.

I am just starting to do a facial exercise routine, so I will see where this leads me. I have also been thinking about having an “eyelid tug.”

Have you re-invented yourself, and if so, how?

I think all of us do. Things change all the time and you have to change with them. I always move forward to embrace the future. I don’t believe in living in the past. The present is a good place to be. I believe it is important to feel, to experience, to see and learn in the moment.

Do you plan to retire?

No, there are just too many fun things to do and try. Always people to help and new people to meet and share new ventures together. Our plan is to travel and work at the same time.

Are you doing anything to GO Green?

In Europe it’s a big thing, so I have just carried on. My garage is full of little green recycle bins for paper, carton, glass etc. I still have room for my car though.

We change our electric bulbs with the new low energy ones, as the old ones burn out.

Can you pinpoint major turning points in your life that led to your life’s work/play at midlife?

My current career sprang out of a great need to be of service to others, but also some of my major turning points were born out of necessity.

For example, when our plans to buy a B&B with a health studio fell through, I had to think of another way to make a living. I researched a lot and finally came up with this attractive option: Why not combine my reflexology practice with a career as a coach?

They go hand-in-hand beautifully. I find that many of my clients – once they start to feel better – often don’t know what to do with their lives. So coaching has become  a natural extension of my other service.

Do you still have unfulfilled dreams, and are you doing anything to accomplish them?

Yes, I most certainly have. I love traveling so when my kids are well-established, my husband and I will buy a motor home and visit the counties we have not yet had the pleasure of visiting.

Our plan is that I continue working with my coaching clients via the Internet, as most of the coaching is done by phone. When we stop for a period of time, I hope to help people with some reflexology sessions as well.

How do you make a difference in the lives of others, your community, and your world?

I volunteer. I contacted the MS Society and told them that since my mom passed away at the age of 47 from the progressive aggressive form of  multiple sclerosis, I would like to contribute some of my spare time to help alleviate the symptoms of MS with my reflexology treatments.

I also volunteer at Wellspring, which is a Cancer Support Centre. I go once a month and give my treatments there as well.

Who has had the biggest influence on your life and why?

I guess it would be my dad. I loved his positive attitude to life. He knew a lot of things, was always willing to share his knowledge. But most of all, I admired his uncanny ability to set up businesses with apparent ease. I wish I had more of his guts and focus to just hone in and do it.

One thing that did rub off was his determination, passion and perseverance. His motto was: “You do not fail at anything; you just do it again until you get it right.” Life is a learning curve.

If you were to have a personal mission statement, what would it be? Feel free to be as serious or fun as you choose.

Live like there is no tomorrow. Live in the present and enjoy the moment.

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