Cheryl Ilov’s Forever Fit & Flexible Program is an integration of the science of physical therapy with the art of movement. Her unique approach to fitness focuses on building a strong foundation of internal muscular activation, structural alignment, muscle elongation, joint mobility, and spine strength while truly engaging the power of the body-mind connection.
In this episode, Cheryl shared how she overcame sexual abuse and brought transformation into her life, as well as other people’s lives.
She talks about the different ways how a person can heal from the traumas they’ve experienced; from meditating, reading books, and seeking the help that they deserve.
As an author and a speaker who considered herself a middle-aged princess, she didn’t expect that she will be interested in martial arts.
Cheryl Ilove talks to Dr. Brad about how her books, “Forever Fit and Flexible” “The Reluctant Ninja,” and her podcast The FemiNinja Podcast” came to be.
Cheryl Ilove’s story is a powerful, spiritual, and transformational testament of one who has lived out the pathway of navigating adverse life events and emerged to a life of peace, prosperity, and purpose.
Episode ___ of The Beyond Adversity Podcast is a must-listen for individuals who are interested in hearing inspiring stories of transformation and finding joy in life. It may also appeal to those seeking motivation, personal growth, and insights into how to overcome adversity.
“The Beyond Adversity Podcast with Dr. Brad Miller is published weekly with the mission of helping people “Grow Through What They Go Through” as they navigate adversity and discover their promised life of peace, prosperity, and purpose.
Today, we have an awesome person with us here on Beyond Adversity. I'm going to tell you a couple of things. Just a couple of words that describe her and then I'll tell you who she is and what she's going to offer to you today. Some of the words that describe her are energy, vitality, empowerment, confidence, compassion, strength, grace, courage, health. She embodies those elements by being an author and a podcaster, and perhaps most importantly, a ninja. She is the creator of the FemiNinja Project, which is her coaching and Leadership Program and her podcast. Her name is Cheryl Ilov. You can find her at cherylilov.com. Cheryl, welcome to Beyond Adversity.Cheryl Ilov:
Why thank you so much, Brad. It is so wonderful to see you again. And I really appreciate you having me on your show.Dr. Brad Miller:
Well, it's great to be with you. It was a lot of fun when you had me as a guest on the Feminist Jaya Project a while back. And I have lived to tell the tale of encountering a ninja. Here we are because you have quite your own story to tell. And I just really love to hear, and our audience loves to hear stories of people who have faced some really difficult and challenging time in their life and have found a way to navigate through that and have something to teach others. If I'm understanding correctly, you had a time in your life when you were kind of cruising along and what you were a self-described middle-aged princess with subsequent suffering with a little bit south. Can you tell us a little bit about that story? And then get to set the stage for what we're going to talk about moving forward?Cheryl Ilov:
Dokey. Well, yes, I am or I guess I was a middle-aged princess. You know, I like the finer things in life. I'm a very girly girl. I like Pilates and pointe shoes and tutus and tiaras and pedicures. I like really girly things. And I'm the last person anybody ever would have expected, including myself, to study a martial art. And it's really interesting, too, because my father actually did have a black belt in karate. My father also had five daughters. And he would always try and get my sisters and me to come to the gym with him and do some karate and learn some skills and stuff. And he always got the exact same response, especially for me, there was no way I was going to go into a chair or to your feminine contact, no. Martial arts was just never in my DNA and certainly never on my radar. And I never went looking for a martial art, especially the art that I got involved in. It's called Ninpo Taijutsu, the art of the ninja. And I always tell people that I never went looking for the art of the ninja but it came looking for me. And when it found me, it was not going to let go, and it was not going to take no for an answer.Dr. Brad Miller:
So grabbed you and didn't let you go. But what got you there in the first place? What was the, for almost everybody, when they have a major turning point like this, something major has happened to cause you to react in such a way?Cheryl Ilov:
Before I get there, let me explain how I fell into the art of the ninja in the first place or how I became acquainted with it because I had no idea about martial arts. But I was looking for a new acupuncturist and one of my clients recommended this man locally, his name is Mark and said, "I think you would really like him, you know, why don't you give Mark a try?" And I said, "Okay," she was really picky so I felt I could trust her opinion. So I called this guy, made an appointment. The very first time I went to see him for an appointment when he started putting needles in my legs, he got a very faraway look on his face. And he said, "You know, with your legs and my coaching, I could teach you how to kill with these things."Dr. Brad Miller:
That's an awesome line, isn't it? My goodness. Wow.Cheryl Ilov:
"That's usually what the men say. They all say pickup line. And it wasn't a pickup line. The man was completely, totally serious. And I was horrified. I thought, who thinks like that? Let alone says it out loud. I thought I need to just grab my purse and run because this guy's crazy. But then I realized I was literally pinned to the table. So unless I wanted to try running with needles sticking out all over me, he had a captive audience. So I just politely declined and said, 'No, thank you. Thanks for thinking of me, but that's never gonna happen.' I kept going back to him because he was really good at what he did. He never would shut up about his art, his martial art, the Art of the Ninja. He had a dojo, his martial arts school was right next to his clinic. So it was like a little duplex. I would see people, men going in and out all the time, his students, and they would always smile and nod at me through the window as I was waiting for Mark for my treatment. They all seemed pretty normal and nice, but it was still martial arts, and I had just come from ballet class. It was like, that's just so icky. Well, he just kept going and going about his stupid martial art. Finally, what he did not know is that just a few months prior to meeting him, I had a trauma. I was a healthy, vibrant, 44-year-old woman, and I walked into a doctor's office just for a routine exam. When I walked out, I was a statistic. He was a predator, a sexual predator, and I was shocked, horrified, and physically damaged. Being a medical person, I thought I'm pretty savvy. I'm a medical person. If this is happening to me, I know this is not the first time it has happened. So my first reaction was okay, I'm going to report it to prevent any other woman walking into his office. I'm going to get help for myself, and then I'm going to move on with my life. When I tried to get help, the first person I went to was my best friend, but instead of support, what I got was basically a pat in the face. She said, 'you're exaggerating, you're making it up, move on.' Okay, well, that didn't work."Dr. Brad Miller:
Did she know this doctor?Cheryl Ilov:
No, she wasn't a medical person. It was just her assumption."Dr. Brad Miller:
How was your other friend prioritized?Cheryl Ilov:
So I went back to Kate to try again. And this time, it was even worse. What do you do when nobody listens to you? Especially the people that you're the closest to and they won't even acknowledge that something happened. The 20-pound weight loss should have clued them in that something was wrong. But I just stuffed everything deep down inside of myself. I pasted a big smile on my face, and I walked around like nothing was wrong. There was no denial. In my mind, I knew exactly what was happening. And I knew exactly what did happen. But once you know, the event itself or the incidence itself was bad enough. But I understand now why women do not report sexual assault. As bad as the whole incident was, the way I was treated afterward by everyone else, especially those that were the closest to me, was worse.Dr. Brad Miller:
How demeaning, how just not respectful of you and your person that you are, and that's got to hurt. That's just got to take in a different place.Cheryl Ilov:
It hurt really bad. You feel worthless and like maybe I'm not worthy. I knew what happened. I never doubted that, but I did doubt my self-worth. I doubted my value as a human being. I was going through my day every single day with a big ol' smile on my face and taking care of my clients because I had my own practice, my private practice. People would ask me every now and again, 'Are you okay? You're losing a lot of weight.' And it's like, 'Oh, I'm just fine. Everything's fine,' until about...and I kept going to Mark for acupuncture, just wishing he would shut up about his stupid martial art. Finally, I shut down. I didn't even go for acupuncture anymore. I was going through my life like autopilot. About a year and a half later, almost a year and a half later, I was retriggered, and everything just came spewing out of me. It was full-blown PTSD. It was so bad I was really worried about my sanity.Dr. Brad Miller:
No longer could you power through like you were before the second incident took you to an unhealthy place, it sounds like.Cheryl Ilov:
I call it sliding down the rabbit hole or falling down the rabbit hole. And as you're falling down this rabbit hole, there's nothing to hang onto, no branches, nothing. And at the bottom of that hole was this great big carnivorous rabbit just waiting to tear you apart. That's basically what it felt like. Out of desperation, I remembered that I had a client several years earlier who was a psychiatrist. She and I had gotten along together really well, we had a great relationship, and I helped her with her back pain. So she thought it was wonderful. And I thought, 'Ruth, I will call Ruth.' I made an appointment. Brad, this is almost unbelievable to wrap my head around, but it was 18 months later, maybe even longer, and it was the very first time I was ever able to tell the whole story to... Oh my goodness.Dr. Brad Miller:
So you had all this time, what? Two years plus?Cheryl Ilov:
"It's about 18 months.
Dr. Brad Miller 12:22:
But still, that's a significant amount of time. By pairing up with you, sure, I have even more appreciation now for people who have waited, in some cases, years or, in some cases, decades, to deal with a matter that was somehow triggered by something else, right? You appreciate that now, don't you?"
Cheryl Ilov 12:37: Oh, I certainly do appreciate that. And I even remember times that I like my lowest, I would think of my grandmother. I had one grandmother who was from Czechoslovakia, former Yugoslavia. The other one was from Czechoslovakia too. That grandmother had an arranged marriage. She was married very young, and her husband was a drunkard. He beat her, and he ended up dying in prison. Then she immigrated to the United States to stay with her sister, where she met my grandfather and got married. They had my uncle and my mom. But my grandmother had significant trauma because she had a son, and her mother was taking care of him. She was going to have him come over once she was settled in the new country, but it never happened because she met my grandfather, got married, and her mother kept saying through letters to wait until you're settled. He never came over, and he died in the war.
Dr. Brad Miller 13:48: So what you're describing here is all this unresolved stuff: continuity, family stuff, conflict, trauma that happened in your past and has happened to so many people's pasts. But you're saying here and now that Ruth is helping you deal with your particular trauma. So let's go there.
Cheryl Ilov 14:06: Okay, well, what Ruth did was she told me to write a letter to the medical board, a complaint. I looked at her and said, "Do you think it's going to do any good?" She hesitated just long enough to give me my answer. "Well, no, but at least it will appeal to your sense of justice." I went home and started working on the letter. Ruth recommended a therapist for me to see, and I made an appointment. I went twice but couldn't stand being in the same room with her. I figured I needed a different therapist, but I did write the letter and sent it out to the medical examiner's board, thinking I'm never going to hear from anybody again. So I figured I do need a little bit of help because I was just a total physical as well as mental and emotional mess. I went back to Mark. For some reason, I intuitively knew that if I told him the story, he would listen to me. So I went to him and told him what happened.
Dr. Brad Miller 15:27: Just to be clear, Mark's the acupuncturist who is the actual ninja guy.
Cheryl Ilov 15:32: Yes, the ninja guy that won't shut up about martial arts. Gotcha. Okay. I went to him and told him what happened. He said, "You know, I knew there was something wrong, but I wasn't sure what it was." He treated me through acupuncture points and some Chinese herbs. Then his campaign to get me on the mat and start training went into high gear. I still kept saying no. He said, "You don't understand Cheryl. There's an incredible healing power in martial arts." I looked at him and said, "Mark, I really don't understand how hanging around a smelly Dojo with a bunch of sweaty men is going to make me feel better." Finally, I got to the point where I had tried everything else. It took a total of three years. He finally broke me down, and I said, "Okay, I will take a few classes just to prove to you finally broke, he didn't. He finally broke me." My goodness, I thought I was stubborn. That man is more stubborn. And so 10 years later, I became his first female blackbelt.
Dr. Brad Miller 16:55:
"All right, and here you are now the FemiNinja. That's awesome. Well, what an incredible story. And then not only 20 years later have you had your own personal transformation, but you're also all those things that I mentioned earlier- an empowered woman, healthy, vital, and you're also offering some good things to others through your books, coaching, and website. But there are a couple of key things there that I really want our audience here on Beyond Adversity to hear. Not everybody does this- you became a woman of taking some action, even if it was imperfect action. Even if sometimes the actions you took didn't work out. Let's talk about that for a minute and how powerful that may be for some folks who are stuck in their situation, or all their own abuse, bad marriage, tough job, or disease. Whatever it is, what do you think are some of the keys to taking some action to change your story, change your pattern from where you're at?Cheryl Ilov:
Well, any kind of movement is positive. Movement is life. Taking some steps, some direction, and some action, anything at least is okay. I have a plan, even if that plan blows up in your face, it's like, 'Okay, that didn't work. Now let's try something else.' So there's always a way out. There's always a path to healing, there's always a path to recovery. My path might not be the same as yours. We're all different. What works for you, as an individual, no matter what it is that you're going through, there is always a way to recover. There's always a way to heal. And living well and looking good, I'm here to tell you, is the best revenge.Dr. Brad Miller:
Yeah. And I think what you said, movement makes a difference. It's not only the mental psychic part of it, if you will, but physical movement makes a difference, doesn't it? The physical movement?Cheryl Ilov:
Absolutely. You're going back to the laws of physics- a body in motion tends to stay in motion. But when you are in that state of fear, anxiety, stress, trauma, you're immobilized. It's the fight or flight situation. And when the trauma has been with you for so long, then it really takes a hold and controls your life. And it's basically all you know, and it is immobilizing. So anything that you can do, even if it's as simple as 'Okay, I'm going to get out of bed this morning. I'm going to make myself a cup of coffee. Now I'm in the kitchen.' That's movement. That is something to be celebrated. It doesn't mean that 'Okay, I have to get out of this situation. I've got to go get a black belt.' No, no, I never wanted a black belt. I never wanted a yellow belt. I never even wanted the stupid white belt. But it came with it.Dr. Brad Miller:
You never wanted to go in the first place, did you? I didn't want any, ain't getting me here. But here's what you did, which I admire so much- as you kept going, the physical action you took initially was going to Mark to get your actual acupuncture to receive some relief for that. You know, that's an action. That's scary to some folks- the whole needles and so on. But you kept going. You kept going. And I think you've kept going- tell me if I'm wrong here- not only for the physical relief, but you heard somebody to listen to you, and also somebody to encourage you and to prod you and push you a little bit. Even in an area that was a little bit uncomfortable, there was something addictive in a good way about that. Is that fair? Is that fair?"
Cheryl Ilov 20:37: That's fair. And I just want to add to that because of the way you put that is yes. Not only was somebody listening to me, he was hearing me. Yeah, I gotcha. Yes. So it wasn't just, you know, "Oh, yeah. Okay, whatever." All right now, as opposed—Dr. Brad Miller:
To someone else who, you know, your husband and your supposed best friend who would let the words come out of your mouth and hit their ears but they weren't really hearing. Fair enough.Cheryl Ilov:
Yeah. And that's fair. Even the therapist that I went to for two sessions, you know, she was listening, and you could tell she was so detached. She wasn't hearing me. But when I was in Mark's office, it was like when I was on his table, that was the only time, that one hour a week, that I would have complete... my guard was down. I didn't have to be hyper-vigilant, you know? I was able to just relax. Even though he was still talking about his stupid martial art, right? You know, it was okay because he was really supporting me.Dr. Brad Miller:
I just think it's so important. And one of the first parts of anybody who really wants to transform their life from being stuck...and I think that's where a lot of people are, including yourself, included myself in some of the things in my life, if you're stuck wherever you're at, then don't think about what you got to do to get unstuck. You got to get up and go. You got to get up and do something. Take a walk, read a book, do something and take some action. And so that's all good. But I want to talk to you for just a second here, Cheryl, about another aspect. I think it's important to your transformation. And we've talked a little bit about this in the past. I think it's important. What role, if any, did somehow connecting to something deeper or a higher power or some meditative state or anything along this line have to do with your transformation? Can you go there with me for a minute about anything along that line?Cheryl Ilov:
Well, again, at my lowest point, when I was thinking of my grandmother and going, "How did you survive?" Because how did you just survive? And I remember being at my lowest point, and I heard a voice saying, "Let me help you. I'm here to help you." And I don't know if it was audible, but it was definitely in my head. And it was very clear. And it was a man. And he was very, very handsome and attractive. If for some reason, the word Nicholas or the name Nicholas just kept...you know, reverberating in my head. And I thought, "I better never ever tell anybody this because then they will lock me up." So please don't tell anybody that I said this. But yeah, it was from that moment on, it was like, "Okay." And then I went back to my roots. I was raised in an Eastern European household. We were raised in a church that was Byzantine, if you understand that, yeah. And so I just kind of went back to that. Even there's a small Byzantine church here in Denver, and I actually went back to that a few times just to kind of get that connection of that higher power because once I started training in martial arts, there is definitely a spiritual quality to it. That we are growing our spirit as well as our mind and our body at the same time. And at first, it kind of put me off a little bit because there's a little ritual that we would do, we would rake in to the kami Donna, which represents the spirits, the people who have trained before us. And I thought, "That kind of feels a little bit not—"Dr. Brad Miller:
Like a lot of woo-woo stuff, that kind of thing.Cheryl Ilov:
And it was a lot of funny...I mean, it was like all of his bowing and scraping and oh my gosh, this is kind of silly. But then, you know, I realized that it was helping me tap into that inner strength and that warrior spirit that I think is in each and every one of us. And I know I've had that spirit of a warrior, I just never recognized it as I was growing up. But this gave me a way to connect with that spirit, connect with the higher power, and understand that there was something so much greater than I am.Dr. Brad Miller:
So, as you said, warrior spirit, and you just feel...if I'm understanding correctly, you cannot be optimized as it were to be a true warrior. To have, you know, to be empowered and be confident, so on, without the spirit part. You have to have the warrior and the spirit in order to be fulfilled completely. Is that a fair way of looking at your approach to things now?Cheryl Ilov:
Absolutely. And just for your listeners, I do want to clarify because sometimes when people hear the word warrior, it's like, oh, you know, that's fighting, it's conflict, it's aggression. It's all these things that are negative. And it's like, that is not the spirit of a warrior. A warrior has a very compassionate heart and a softness around them. The last thing we want to do is to fight. We want to take care of ourselves, protect ourselves, our families, our community, our environment. We want to be able to stand up for people who can't stand up and protect themselves. But we never want to fight. That's the last thing we do. You know, it's like, no, we don't want to fight. Well, no, no, you've stepped back. And finally, if somebody just keeps insisting and crosses the line, you have to say, "Well, you asked for it, okay, yeah." And then you pull up all the stops.Dr. Brad Miller:
You know what has to do, which try to be your best self, in many ways to coin a phrase. In order to do that, then you have to apply to taking action, and the spiritual element is connecting something greater than self. And you got to apply it to everyday life. I'd like to call this the cognitive part. You got to ingrain it through habits, through practices. You didn't become a, you said it took you 10 years along and becoming a ninja. And you said he became a black belt. I know enough about this. You don't become a black belt the first two weeks. You got to go through a long process and you got to get better through practice and so on. So tell me about some things you did. It may be transferable principles for people to begin to implement this, for your spirit as it were, into your life through practices or habits or transformations, particularly in your life. Now there are different than maybe you were when you were kind of, as you mentioned, you were a mess at one point.Cheryl Ilov:
Well, and I love the way you said that, that it's cognitive, spiritual, mental, emotional. All of that does come together in your practice. So it's really important to understand that. And people will think when they talk to me or they look at me, they say, "Oh, you must meditate a lot." And the answer is no, I don't meditate because I can't. I have a monkey mind. And you know, I can't really sit down and just empty my brain. And that's when the gurus say, "Well, then you're doing it wrong, and let me help you." And no, I can figure it out for myself. So my way of meditation is through movement. I know a lot and enough movement, even when I first started taking martial arts. And of course, I was terrified the whole time. But I knew enough movement patterns that I would go into either my living room or even in the backyard or sometimes down here in the girl cave and very slowly go through the movement patterns. And I would put myself in the dojo. I would say some of the symbols, like for our school, and I would just remember some of the images. And I would just think about that as I was slowly going through the movement patterns. And I took out the judgment, that no self-judgment, which was really? I had a whole lot of that, especially as a dancer. You know, we judge everything, but just to be lost in the organic, visceral feeling of moving in a way that we were meant to move. The way that we were created. I mean, our bodies are beautiful. And the way that God put it all together for us was just like, why are we trying to undo what he gave us?Dr. Brad Miller:
I think I love the way you put that there, Cheryl, because, you know, I've been around some artistic folks, dancers, artists, musicians, in many times they will speak about how there is a kind of spiritual or Aetherium element when they are able to do a dance or music or some sort of artistic expression that is beyond self and that is The amazing thing. So what you're looking for is people to try to integrate all this is what I'm hearing you say, to become a great person. Any tips for people who want to implement this in their life?Cheryl Ilov:
Oh, number one, first thing, please be patient with yourself. Everything takes time, every small little step that you take, it might not seem like much getting out of bed in themorning and making yourself coffee, that is huge. You need to recognize that, and you need to celebrate it. So just taking those small little steps eventually adds up. You get that cumulative effect, compounding interest. So nothing is too small. And just keep on going at it. If you find something that is helping you, and then all of a sudden, it's not, okay, it has served its purpose, it has given you what it needed or what you needed at the time, and then try something else. There are so many things out there that you can try. There are so many alternative healing methods available to us that 30 years ago, we really didn't have, or maybe it was there, but it was kind of like poo-poo well, no one's gonna pay attention to it. But there are so many things available to you that you can use to help you recover from whatever it is that you're dealing with.Dr. Brad Miller:
And you've implemented many of those in your life, and in the process, you made a few mistakes here and there. But they ultimately do through this roller coaster of life. And through traveling a journey, which is treacherous at times, you've come to a better place. And out of that process, then you've got some things that you've learned and can implement and can share with other people. Right. So let's talk about that a little bit. You've got, for instance, your book Forever Fit and Flexible. And you've got another book, The Reluctant Ninja. But I love the emphasis of your one book about dealing with aging and dealing with people who are focused on times you got to ravage make it tougher to take care of me. And that kind of stuffs. What are you offering to people through your books and through your coaching? And through your teaching? That's giving back to them? What are you offering there that you hope can take out of your experience, to speak into someone else's life to show your love and compassion towards them?Cheryl Ilov:
Well, the first thing I want to say is just to address something as you're saying in my journey that I made a lot of mistakes along the way. But I want to rephrase that. And that's part of the first step is kind of like changing the script. And what you're telling yourself too. So that's very important. I'll talk about that in a minute. But there's no such thing as a mistake. It's an opportunity to learn.Dr. Brad Miller:
Yes. Okay. Great. Well said.Cheryl Ilov:
And so that's the one thing when you're talking about the aging process, a lot of I went through a chronic pain syndrome, I told you when I was in my mid-30s, and I lived the life of a chronic pain patient for two and a half years. I was told by a lot of my physicians and physical therapists that, "Well, you're getting older, you're supposed to have aches and pains. You're supposed to be gaining weight. You're supposed to be doing this." Well, you have arthritis in your spine. You can't do your laundry and your grocery shopping in the same day because you'll end up being bedridden. All of those things they were telling me, and they were absolutely wrong. So that's the one thing I kept hearing that "You're a chronic pain patient, you're a chronic pain patient, you're getting old," I was 36 years old. Wow.Dr. Brad Miller:
Flip the script, change the script, don't see them as a mistake, but change the frame with how you frame it. Right.Cheryl Ilov:
I went home hit rock bottom for a few days. And then that's where that fighting spirit came back in. It was like, you know, I don't deserve this. This is not the life I deserve. I'm going to have to figure this out. For myself. I'm relying way too much on somebody else. I had a whole team of medical experts that were dictating how I was going to live my current life and my future life. And I just said no, I'm going to figure it out. I fired all of them. And that's I did my own work. And I also added acupuncture for the first time in my life and ended up getting out of pain. So what I tell other people when people come to me for help is, I am not going to fix you. I am not going to heal you. I'm going to give you the tools to heal yourself. That's why I wrote that first book on being forever fit and flexible, which is about how to bust the myths of aging, punch Father Time in the face, tell the naysayers and experts to be quiet and go away, and leave you alone because we are meant to be healthy, active, and vibrant throughout our lifetime. Some of the things that we're doing in our modern society are causing some of the problems that we have. But we can recover from anything. The first thing I always tell people is mindset. If you think you're old, you are getting older is inevitable. Being old is a choice. And we all have choices.Dr. Brad Miller:
I really resonate with that process or what you're sharing there, Cheryl, and as much as I'm too much from now, I'm going to 65th birthday. So what does that mean? That means I'm getting all these things in the mail about Medicare and Medicaid, and I just retired from a career last year. And, man, I know my contemporaries are about my age. There's kind of two different groups. There's the people who are Hey, I'm old, you know, I'm, you know, whatever retiring, go get the rocking chair and watch Jeopardy all day. And, and there's others, and I kind of hope I'm in more of that process. You say, Okay, this is just my next phase. Phase three, some people call it is calling, you know, to be engaged and active. And you know, they'll see it is all but see it is the next step. And next phase, would you make that choice, don't you and that's what I want you to help us out with you choose more than anything else. How you react to this, don't you?Cheryl Ilov:
Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. And, you know, I think I was fortunate because I have that kind of spirit. And I think a lot of people in our age group, baby boomers, have the same mindset. Don't tell me what, what to do. And the flip side of that is, don't tell me I can't Oh, what I can't do.Dr. Brad Miller:
That's awesome. You know, you're over 60. You can't take ballet class. That's ridiculous. It's like, well, I've been dancing since I was 20. Why can't I keep dancing now? You know, it's just really ridiculous. The things that people will tell you, even if they think it's for their your own good. And you know better than anybody else, your body, your wants, your needs, your desires, your dreams. And I think this I call it the third third, right? This can be the most beautiful time of life, if we approach it like that, but if you listen to the commercials on the television, it's like, Oh, my God, you know, really.Dr. Brad Miller:
I get a kick out of the commercials for the various drugs and they give you a 62nd commercial the first 1015 seconds what it does for you, and the last 45 seconds is all the things it's got to do bad for you. It's gonna hurt you.Cheryl Ilov:
So the last thing is death.Dr. Brad Miller:
Yes, yes. Yes. That's it. That's what's coming next. Yeah. So what awesome stuff here, Cheryl, tell us about as we kind of bring us full circle here. You started off as a woman who was cruising along pretty good. Did somebad things happen to you, you did something about it. I'd like you to put yourself now in the shoes of that person and maybe kind of in a similar place. Particularly maybe if they've been a student of yours. Maybe they've been one of your coaching students or read your books or had some connection with you. Tell me a transformational story about somebody that you've worked with. You've seen they were in kind of a bad place. And now they're in a better place, at least partly because they had been ninja-ized, feminine-ized by Cheryl Ilov.Cheryl Ilov:
Oh, yes, one of my favorite stories. I love this woman to death. She's a very petite little person. I met her when she was probably 40 or close to 40, and she had had a really severe car accident that messed up her jaw. She had a lot of jaw surgery, as she was actually going in for more surgery that would wire her jaw shut when I first met her. She came to me just to get some reinforcements, some tools, some resources for herself to take care of herself after the surgery. The woman also had three young children; their ages at the time, I think we're like two, four, and six. So, she was taking care of them too, and she was trying to take care of herself. I worked with her both pre-op and post-op. As she was starting to get better and starting, you could just see she was starting to change and starting to look a little bit more like herself, even though I hadn't known her before. I could just see the change in her. Finally, she was talking about, "Well, maybe I am well enough to go back to yoga." And you know, and you know, I said, "Never say never," and she goes, "But I'll never dance again." And I went, "Dance? Really? Are you a dancer?" And she says, "Well, I was, but you know what kind of dance? Ballet?" And I went, "Really? But I'll never go back. They told me I'll never do ballet again." And I said, "Okay, do you want to do ballet again?" And she says, "But it's not possible." I said, "That's not what I asked. Do you want to do ballet again?" Well, we kept working on it. She took some of my ninja classes, self-defense classes. And we got her back into ballet class. Just about two or three years later, we were taking a very advanced, challenging professional level ballet class together. I would look at her and say, "Did you ever think this was going to be possible?" And she said, "Honestly, I didn't. But anything is possible if you have the right mindset, if you have the right people around you to help you and support you. And trust me, they are out there. If they're distant on you like-minded, you know, find somebody else."Dr. Brad Miller:
"I call those stories." Well, first of all, as I look at you, we're recording this video as well as audio. As you tell the story, you got a big smile on your face. I bet your friend had a big smile on her face when she was able to accomplish that ballet class. We call these moments to turn the gram into the grin. Oh, I love that. So, I just love those kinds of stories. And I think that's what makes life kind of worth living to me when you see here and those types of stories. And I think that's what people can experience from you, Cheryl. How can people find more about you? There's people out there, there's people listening to our voices here today in somebody's going, "Wow, I want you to give me just give me some of that." So if they can want some of that, how can they learn more about what you're about?Cheryl Ilov:
Well, go to my website, CherylIlov.com. There was no E on the end of Ilov, it's just I L O V. So you'll also have access to three pre-recorded audio recordings, which I call "Meditation through Movement." It's kind of funny because I don't meditate, but I do move. And they're just really easy movement lessons that you can do on your own just to help you calm your body and your nervous system down and decrease muscle tension, that type of thing. You can always find me on Facebook, LinkedIn, all the social media. You can check out my feminity project podcast. I have fantastic guests. One guy that I thought was one of my best guests. His name is Dr. Brad Miller. That was a great episode. So, if you can't find me, you're not looking? Well, I'm pretty sure I'm the only Cheryl Ilov on the planet.Dr. Brad Miller:
Certainly, I love your name. Hey, out there, I'll throw the pod out there you've never heard of before, Cheryl Ilov, but we will certainly make connections to everything you're about, and our website, DrBradMiller.com. We'll also want to mention that you've got two books out there, "Forever Fit andFlexible" and "The Delicate Dojo," that you're going to want to pick up as well. What an awesome person, passionate, purposeful, a person who has so much to offer and what a great story of transformation. We'd love to hear those here on Beyond the Adversity, and you're going to be hearing more from her as we go along. She's a force of nature. I can just tell. So, it's super glad to have you as our guest today on Beyond Adversity. This is a podcast where we look to help you to grow through what you go through. Our guest today, Cheryl Ilov.