Bonita Clemons is an Integrated Holistic Coach. She resides in Columbia, SC. She is originally from Anderson, SC. I met Bonita when I attended her annual Dianna’s Call healthy living retreat held in Columbia, SC. We didn’t have much time to talk on that day, however, I was sure that she had a story that would be interesting and empowering.
Bonita is on a mission to empower women to live a holistic and healthy lifestyle. She shares knowledge that equip women to embrace healthy living from an integrated perspective: the spirit, mind and body.
Q1: What were the experiences that led you to serving others in your present roles?
Bonita: I moved to Columbia to attend Benedict College. After my sister, Johanna was murdered as a result of Domestic Violence, I moved back to Anderson, SC to care for my niece. Bonita Renee. During this time period, I met Cecilia who was conducting Sister Chat meetings with women from all religious background. The purpose of the meetings were to break down the divisive walls of religion and create understanding and respect within various faiths.
After having a car accident in the early 90s, which resulted in three major surgeries in one month, I knew that I didn’t want to live with chronic pain and illness. My mother died, at the age of forty-two, from a stroke. My personal experience from the loss of family members who died as a result of stroke and heart disease, and domestic violence inspired me to live a healthier lifestyle.
I didn’t want to get accustomed to taking medicine for the pain that I had after the surgeries so I began to search for natural remedies. I didn’t want to take medication for the rest of my life. I read the book, African Holistic Health. The author lived in Beaufort, SC. In the book, he recommends purchasing white willow bark for pain. I threw out my medicine after purchasing it from a health store.
Q2: What was the defining moment when you knew that you had to embark on the journey to becoming an Integrated Holistic Coach?
Bonita: I majored in business administration at Benedict College in Columbia, SC. I started working in business, but I wasn't really passionate about the work that I was doing. When I got fired in 92, I felt relieved. Matter of fact, today I'm so thankful for being fired because it placed me on the journey that I'm traveling now. I've always wanted to start my own business. I created a monthly calendar of black men which I sold out of my car. This was a successful venture.
After my car accident happened in September of 92, the time spent recovering from the surgeries rekindled my interest in healthy living. As a child, I had wanted to be a gym teacher. I returned to school for my Master's degree in Public Health. I attended USC-Columbia and finished the completion of my graduate program in two years.
After these experiences, I decided to combine my interest in business and health to become a Holistic Integrated Coach.
Q3: How did these experiences change your mindset?
Bonita: When I made the conscious decision that I didn’t want to live a lifestyle that would eventually lead to chronic illnesses and I didn’t want to take medicine for the rest of my life, I was able to take actions that made me feel better about myself and the direction of my life.
Q4: How has your work impacted your spiritual beliefs?
Bonita: For me, spiritual is being connected to God. Others may call their source by a different name, but the desire is the same, to be connected to something that is larger than oneself. That which gives us a sense of purpose for our lives. I believe God has given each of us the wisdom and strength we need for our journey.
When Bonita Renee was little, I started practicing mediation to manage stress. I am the Originator of SPICE Nutrition. S.P.I.C.E. stands for Spiritual, Physical, Intellectual, Cultural and Emotional Nutrition.
Q5: Did you have moments in which you felt like giving up?
Bonita: My journey led me through a process in which I had to learn how to surrender everything to God. Once I was willing to do so, my path became clearer.
Q6: How has this journey expanded your comfort zone?
Bonita: When I had the first annual pot luck meals with the women of Sister Chat, several of them inquired as to when we were going to have the next one. So, I started having them in different locations. I didn’t give the meetings a name until 2008 which is when I named the gathering, Dianne’s Call, after my mom. It reminds me to make life a priority.
I participated in a 10-day meditation retreat which was held in Jessup, GA. We were not allowed to speak. We were served only 2 meals each day. I eat healthy and I eat a lot. Two meals a day was certainly a stretch for someone with my appetite. [She laughs]
Recently, a friend and I traveled to Greenville, SC to see a waterfall. I had been saying that I was going to travel and see as many waterfalls as I could. I set a date and was determined to make it happen. Once we arrived, we had to hike a mountain which was supposed to take 30 minutes. The hike up the mountain was taking much longer than we expected. My friend decided that she would sit down on the side of the mountain and wait for me to return. I almost decided to stop, but she encouraged me to go on.
When I walked around the mountain, I realized that the bridge that led to the waterfall was only several more feet. I went over the bridge and came back to my friend to prove to her how close we were to the waterfall. She and I walked over the bridge and was able to enjoy the waterfall together. This experience just demonstrates that we can be so close to what it is we want to experience and if we give up, we’ll never know how close we were to actually experiencing what we want.
Q7: What do you envision to be the legacy that your efforts create in the lives of others?
Bonita: As I’ve stated, I believe that God has given us the wisdom and strength we need for our journey. Living a healthy and holistic lifestyle requires research so that individuals can find out what works for them. As an Integrated Holistic Coach, my experiences and knowledge provides evidence that this lifestyle is doable. As a Integrated Holistic Coach, I help people develop a roadmap to health that's doable and practical for their lifestyle.
Q8: Do you have any upcoming events?
Bonita: I am currently working on the development of a “Skin Café’ which will blend nutritional counseling and skin care. The objective is to show the correlation between the two from an inside/out approach.
Bonita: There are three commitments that I live by:
1. Save Yourself
2. Get Your Own
3. Do You
Bonita Clemons’s Contact Information:
Dianne's Call Info: http://www.diannescall.org
JB’s Note: I experienced first-hand the passion that Bonita has for her work with my recent attendance to her annual Dianne's Call healthy living retreat. In spite of the fact that I arrived at the meeting with fast-food breakfast items and a large Diet Coke, she welcomed me in a non-judgmental manner. J
Information provided by speakers and physical fitness experts motivated me to reduce the amount of processed foods that I eat. As a result, I’ve been able to keep the weight off that I've lost in the last nine months. I walk at least five times each week which has helps me manage stress and feel physically and mentally stronger.
Bonita’s commitment to empowering individuals with knowledge and tools to live a holistic and healthy lifestyle will continue to pay dividends in the lives of those who embrace these preventive measures to ensure we live long and healthy.
I’d like to know your thoughts about this post. In what ways have you been inspired to live a holistic and healthy lifestyle? What do you feel are the challenges of this lifestyle? Share your comments below.
If you would like to be featured in a Living My Legacy Now! blog post, or know someone whose story would serve as an inspiration for others, send me an email via my contact page.
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Until the next time…
B Fearless. See Where It Gets You!
Love, Jackie B