Are you ready to reclaim your true self? Like, really ready to change and shed all the baggage? Lona Cook wasn’t until she couldn’t ignore change any longer. It was when a gun was actually pointed at her chest.
In her new book, Reclamation, Lona shares her message, helping you see your life and your whole true self through a new lens.
Learn to recognize what the universe is telling you about who you are, what your purpose is, what you need, and where you’re going.
Drew Appelbaum: Hey Listeners, my name is Drew Appelbaum and I’m excited to be here today with Lona Cook, author of Reclamation: The Evolution of a Hot Mess. Lona, thank you for joining, welcome to The Author Hour Podcast.
Lona Cook: Thanks Drew, I’m excited to be here.
Drew Appelbaum: Let’s kick this off, can you just give us a little bit about our professional background?
Lona Cook: My professional background is I’m a chiropractor by day, I also love learning so anything human potential and human growth-wise I am into. I do a lot of speaking and hosting masterminds in the chiropractic world, but this is the first time I’ve reached out of that space, and really wanted to share with the broader audience some of what I’ve learned.
Drew Appelbaum: Sure, now, the book is very personal, it’s really about your life. Why was now the time to share these stories in the book? Did you find something inspiring, did you have an “Aha!” moment, or did you just have a little bit more time on your hands because of COVID?
A Baby and a Book
Lona Cook: Yes, probably all of those. I had a lot of “Aha!” moments over the last 10, 11, 12 years and I would say, COVID gave me a gift in the sense that I had some extra space and time.
I was also pregnant at the time, so I did give my body a little grace from adjusting so much and had more time at home. And by adjusting, I mean, chiropractic work. Physically, I wasn’t doing as much of my work and so, having that space to write offered the time for me to really sit and think about what I had learned the last 12 years and the juxtaposition to what my life had been like prior to learning some of these things.
So, I thought, it was time for me to birth this book that reached outside my comfort zones and sharing some of what I’ve learned.
Drew Appelbaum: Now, when you decided, “Yes, I’m going to write this book,” a lot of times, you’ll have the idea of the book rattling around in your head. You might even say, “Okay, this is going to be the beginning, the middle, the end.” During the writing process and sometimes by digging deeper into some of the subjects, you come through some major breakthroughs and learnings. Did you have any of these major breakthroughs or learnings along your writing journey?
Lona Cook: Because it is my story, and some of the breakthroughs I definitely feel like I had sat with for quite some time at that point, and also, because I’ve taught some of the stories in, again, more of the small niche group of people, instead of putting it out into a book format, I wouldn’t say that my story really changed. I will say that putting it down on paper and having to re-edit it and then also go deeper–you know, I wanted to hold back and not tell everyone as many details, but then going through the editing process, they were like, “Oh no, you need to tell people more in this spot.” I intentionally wanted to leave that part out and make it vague.
So, I had to realize that I’m asking people, by reading this book, to hopefully look at their own stories and to integrate some of the things that maybe we feel shame or guilt or reservation about in our own past in order to hopefully create a better next step for yourself. I needed to do that for myself. So, I realized, “Okay, be vulnerable, share more with the intent that hopefully, it helps other people want to do the same.”
For Her Younger Self
Drew Appelbaum: While you were writing the book, in your mind, who were you writing the book for?
Lona Cook: This is interesting because I have written other books for my profession, more in the chiropractic space. I really feel like I’m writing the book almost for myself but something that I would have wanted to read earlier in my life. So, I guess I was writing it for myself but a younger version of myself.
I do think it is meant for women who are in that graduate space or maybe earlier on in adulthood but there are certain parts of the book too that I’m sure are applicable if you’re not that person at this moment.
Drew Appelbaum: Now, you say you were a hot mess in your early days?
Lona Cook: Yes.
Drew Appelbaum: What does that mean exactly?
Lona Cook: I think it just means that I was on a crash course through life. I definitely was in an alcohol stupor at times in my early 20s and late teens, and making poor decisions, as well as not aware of people that I was bulldozed in the process of me making decisions in my life. I had way less awareness than I do now, which I think we all go through, that as we get older, and hindsight being 20/20, you realize there’s a different way to operate, there’s a much more aware and intuitive way to live. I had no way to know that at that time. It was like a crash course of life, and I had to break that open for me.
When I say hot mess, I do mean literally, I was making poor choices. If you would have found me on certain nights of the week–especially when I was bartending and things like that–you would have agreed I was a hot mess, and I also mean from the standpoint of not being aware of the power I actually had in my life to make certain decisions or change courses. I really looked at my life like it was happening to me, not that I was actively engaging in creating it.
Drew Appelbaum: Talk to us about the beginning of your new story or the new chapter in your life, it all kind of started at the end of a trip, and I believe you were working there when you were in Costa Rica?
Lona Cook: Yeah, I look at things in our outer world now from a standpoint of they’re speaking to us, whether we pay attention to them or we think they’re random. I do believe every circumstance, none aside, are meant for us to pay attention to, which can seem like a lot when you’re used to being not aware.
At the time, I was in Costa Rica, and I got held up at gunpoint. Now, thinking about how that was really quite an external indication that I needed to stop, I mean, a gun to your ribs is a nice place to stop. I look back and it’s so ironic that that’s also right around the same time within a month or two that my life really shifted. I made new choices, and I started to get on a better energetic path, I would say.
The book starts at that point. I go into some of the backstory leading up to my days as a hot mess, and I’m poking fun at it. Then what shifted was me realizing, I can make new decisions, I don’t have to engage in my life the same way that I’ve always done in the past. I think we get so in a rut of believing things about ourselves, whether they’re characteristics or behaviors, that sometimes I think the persona becomes so great that it’s hard to break from that rut. That’s part of what this book is about. How do you change that? How do you take control of your life in a way where you can steer it differently if you so choose?
Drew Appelbaum: I’d love to dig deeper into that because you do mention in the book that the book itself is meant to stimulate you to think. How is the average person thinking now and what needs to change?
Lona Cook: We all live in our bubbles, right? Sometimes I assume that other people live in a similar bubble as me, but I’m also aware that’s probably not a great assumption to make all the time, but I’ll speak from my experience.
Part of what I hope to offer the reader is that my life has truly taken off in such a more exciting, fulfilling, good-energy way when I realized that I could choose those things for me, I could choose to be in a better state energetically, and I could do things that lined up with a better state energetically.
Because I get into–this goes back to when you asked me about who I am professionally–the more I’ve gotten into healing and understanding why someone heals and someone doesn’t, the more I looked at the energy of that person and what they’re engaging in, and what they’re willing to shift, and what they’re changing and what they believe about themselves.
When we are thinking about what the average person maybe believes about themselves, I think the average person doesn’t know how much power they carry in the creation of their thought pattern, in the creation of how they make their choices, and their action steps each day. Even the smallest little change can make big ripples of change in your life.
I actively do little changes for myself, such as I go for a run, and I might run the circuit that I run backward one day, or I might drive a different path than normal because I think it’s really good for rewiring ourselves. These types of small shifts, those are just tiny little examples, are part of how I think we get out of ruts.
I wish I could share with the average person that, even if you believe something in your story, for years and years, it’s up to you to make a new decision about what that story means in your life, or what limitation you’ve maybe placed on yourself because of that and then use that as a new jumping-off point.
So, my hope is to help people see their life more from this inside out perspective, instead of life happening to you, it’s happening through you, and you are getting to attract what comes next for you in your life, based on where you align and where you put your energy, and how you go about making decisions about how you talk about yourself, how you think about yourself, how you think about the actions you’re going to take, and how you carry them out.
Time to Make a New Decision
Drew Appelbaum: Now, you stop and have reflections at the end of each chapter. Asking the readers to really step back and look into their own life. Can you talk about what readers can find in some of these reflections?
Lona Cook: I tried to take my story and some of the decades of work I’ve done, both with the healers and trying to work on my own stuff, and what I’ve done to neutralize some of the things that before I had labeled as a hot mess, or bad, or, you know, whatever. You can use it and apply it to your story. I know, not everyone felt like a hot mess, but they might have had other judgments based on their selves.
At the beginning part of the book, I talk about the holdup, the gun to the chest as a holdup, and pause. I think many of us have had experiences in our life where we needed to pause and make new decisions or see something more clearly or from a different vantage point. That’s an example that I use at the end of a couple of chapters to pull out some questions to ask, “Where in your life are you, maybe, getting a sign that it’s time to make a new decision? Or it’s time to pause for a second and look at something deeper so you don’t just keep going through the same motions and getting the same results?”
Drew Appelbaum: You also talk about where you started to allow things to come to you instead of pushing so hard all the time and from that, life started to take on some magical qualities for you. How did you make that change and then what happened afterward?
Lona Cook: Well, I definitely didn’t know I was making that change. It goes back to why I started with that example of the pause. I think so much of what my life was pre-having some of this awareness, was forces. I was always kind of the bulldozer, I would push things to happen, and because of that and in certain parts of my life, I was successful. I got decent grades, I went to a good college, things like that, but I wasn’t in tune when something didn’t seem like it was going to happen.
I would either force it to happen and it would blow up in my face or, as far as not being real socially aware and maybe hurting people’s feelings, because I would just have my forceful way of getting something.
Post getting held up at gunpoint, I had a humbling where I realized I was going about certain decisions in my life and probably not making great ones and I needed to change that. The pause let me slow down for a moment. It was in that slowdown since that wasn’t my normal modus operandi, I asked, “Okay, what else? What else could change here?”
I think there’s magic when we create a shift for ourselves. For some people, it might be the opposite shift. They might be someone who does not make quick decisions and doesn’t move on things, and they operate maybe too much in the, “Oh, I can’t make a decision and I’m wishy-washy.” Well then, making a quick decision might be the thing that gets them moving in a different energy.
For me, it was the opposite. So, the magic that happens then–and I know lots of other authors talk about things like law of attraction and serendipity and synchronicity–is that energetically, the shift allowed me to line up with some other ways of being. So, what seemed to happen is instead of fighting and pushing my way into whatever was supposed to happen next, I allowed myself to kind of sit and see what seems like was actually opening up for me, and it wasn’t the direction prior to my experiencing Costa Rica that I thought was supposed to happen in my life.
I ended up moving home, which was not where I thought I’d end up. It was actually the last place I thought I’d end up was back in Wisconsin. And then, there were multiple little things that were big things that found a place.
I got a business loan very quickly, my first employee literally called my parent’s house number and said, “Hey, I’d love to volunteer for free,” and it was the perfect fit. It was weird things, and I was thinking, “What is happening? What is happening?” Seeing that–and it really did feel like magic at the time–I didn’t have words for it. I knew that the way I had been living felt hard. I felt beat up, I felt exhausted, and I ultimately knew I wasn’t always making good choices. I knew that I still was engaging in them though.
Now, post learning some of this, I still made some of the same poor decisions, but I became more aware of the energetic consequences of them. It was easier for me to start to say, “Okay, I want to distance myself from drinking so much,” or “I want to distance myself from engaging in certain behaviors. If I am trying to line up with being a successful entrepreneur, how does that person behave? Okay, that’s how I’m going to start to move my life in that direction.”
Over time, it became easy to see, as I would make a better choice, a choice that was more in alignment with the life I wanted to live, these almost magical scenarios would happen where the right person would show up at the right time, or a door would open for the next business move I wanted to make, or the right person that I needed to hire would show up.
I realized there’s really something to this. Whether you go into the quantum energy, science end of things, or if you just stay in thinking of it in this airy-fairy way–there is something very real about energy and learning how to work with it instead of work against it.
Becoming a Mother
Drew Appelbaum: Did becoming a mother change your life, change your energy or change your outlook on life?
Lona Cook: Definitely, yes. And again, that was something that earlier, if you were to ask me while I was still in grad school if I thought I wanted to have kids, I was really not sure. Then as I became aware that I did want to, and then I had my first son–he’s five now, Jack–it was again, this cracking open started to happen for me, where it slowed me down a little bit more in certain ways, maybe just more in my ability to extend love and grace and give some of that back to myself too.
It also taught me a lot more about us as human beings being part of this natural world. We create life and the birthing process–whether you’re birthing a child or a book or a business or an idea–you know, there are labor pains and then there’s a push, and contractions, and then something new is born, and it geeks me out on the magic that is involved in our life–we are all magic.
We all came from two cells and the beauty of this natural world we’re in, I think sometimes we don’t have enough reverence for truly how miraculous our lives really are, and the strength and power that comes when you start to honor some of that.
Again, it doesn’t mean you need to be a mom, birthing out a child, to start to see that all of us birth things into this world and it changes us. So yes, I would definitely say having Jack and now Max–I have two little boys–has changed me immensely.
Drew Appelbaum: At the end of the book, you talk about doing something, even if it’s wrong, is actually right. Can you talk about the difference between just doing things, and then actually doing things with your full weight behind them?
Lona Cook: I think my grandfather used to tell me that. So, my grandpa was kind of this old hard ass, in the most lovely of ways. So, he would always say, “Do something, kid, even if it’s wrong.” And I think what he really meant was, “Don’t sit around, get off your ass.”
I really do feel like his permission to just go for it really instilled things not only in myself, but I know my cousins, and my brother, because it was almost like he had this twinkle in his eye saying, “You can’t do it wrong as long as you’re doing something”.
Now, I don’t mean that every action is something you should take by any means, but we all learn things even from our missteps, and our poor judgment calls, we learn things. Part of what I think I’ve learned is that you can’t really make the wrong action.
Yes, there are repercussions from our decisions, for sure, and there are lessons that are there to be learned. What I have learned is when you use that inner guidance system, which I talk about in the book, about how to connect with that and use that to line up your energy with something, that’s when I think you get more of this. I keep coming back to the word magical effect, but where you start to line up your energy and then things start to be pulled in. It is almost like a magnetic effect.
I’ll give you an example. We have a project here in our school district where we’re working with kids doing holistic care, and it’s been a project that seemed blessed from the beginning and the right people show up at the right time. We’ve got some really great brains working on this project that have magically come in when I had the gall to ask a question, and then that question opened a door, and then that door led to the next person, and then that door led to the next. That’s what I’m talking about.
It’s when you can get aligned and then take action with your aligned energy behind it, man, that’s when the fireworks go off because there is lots of energy there. I think that’s what a lot of us are after because aligned output feels good, versus spinning your wheels.
Drew Appelbaum: What steps do you hope that readers will take in their own lives after they read the book?
Lona Cook: First is I hope they can use the questions that I pose and integrate a little more of their own story and some things they might be working through–whether they acknowledge it to anyone else or not–but I hope it helps them process because we all have tough stuff we go through. Then I hope it helps them also looking forward to stepping into whatever is next for them, whatever they feel is their aligned calling, or things that they want to birth into the world, or actions that they can carry out what is good for humanity.
I really do feel that the more of us that are truly aligned with what our calling or purpose is in the world, the more this world changes for the better. So, that’s really why I wrote the book is to help people make that shift, just like I feel that shift has been so pivotal for me to look at my life from a different lens. I am so grateful for those that shook me awake and helped me. So, I hope this book helps someone else get the nudge to open some new doors.
Drew Appelbaum: Now, for readers and listeners, are there any other resources you can suggest after they finish the book?
Lona Cook: Well, first of all, I would love for you to come to visit me on my page, so drlonacook.com, and I’m sure we’ll have some cool things going on in there, and so it is just my name.
And then a book that was transformational for me- well, two, I’ll mention two that I love love love. One is Louise Hay, You Can Heal Your Life. That book is so beautiful when it comes to understanding your body and the messages your body is giving you. Again, this kind of goes back to first and foremost, I am a chiropractor and a healer.
The second is the book by David Hawkins, Power Versus Force. Again, it gets into when you change your state and you change your outlook, how much in your life shifts. Your reality of what you’re experiencing is so very different if you are operating in a state of love versus a state of anger, for example. Those two books are two of my very favorites.
Drew Appelbaum: Well, Lona, we just touched on the surface of the book here but I just want to say that writing a book that’s just really honest, and where you make yourself so vulnerable even if you hate the editing team, is no small feat. I know it’s a love-hate thing with them, you’ll love them at the end but during, it’s a really wild process, congrats on publishing your book.
Lona Cook: Thank you so much. I am excited to be at this point.
Drew Appelbaum: I do have one question left, it is the hot seat question: If readers could take away only one thing from the book, what would you want it to be?
Lona Cook: I think the one thing I’d want you to take away from it is to start to look at your own energy and where is it positioned, and is it really in alignment with what you’d like to see in your own life, and in your own world? And if it’s not–my example is I can rail against something I don’t like and I am just creating more energy around the thing I don’t like, versus being in support of the thing that I am actually for. If more of the world could see through that lens of where they’re placing their energy, that would be really amazing.
Drew Appelbaum: Lona, this has been a pleasure and I’m excited for people to check out the book. Everyone, the book is called Reclamation and you can find it on Amazon. Lona, besides checking out the book and your website, which you mentioned, where can people connect with you?
Lona Cook: You can find me on Facebook and Instagram under my name, Lona Cook, and then my website is just drlonacook.com.
Drew Appelbaum: Lona, thank you so much for coming on the show today, and best of luck with your new book.
Lona Cook: Thanks Drew, I appreciate it.