Emily A. Smith on Love, Life, and Living Your Dreams


Image of Emily A. Smith PhD copyright 2010,  Emily A. Smith PhD and used with permission.

By Melanie Marquis

To say Emily A. Smith, PhD, co-author of Thank You Mr. Wrong, is inspiring is an understatement. This woman seriously puts sunshine to shame with her loving and bright personality, but she hasn’t come from a life of hearts and rainbows and butterflies. She’s struggled with severe anxiety and has also suffered through her share of bad relationships. But Emily doesn’t believe in giving up, not on life or on love. She spreads her message of healing and compassion through a variety of channels, driven to help others understand that they are not alone in the world. She’s a motivational speaker, an experienced workshop leader, the author of several books including Anxiety Sucks! and Awaken, and she won a gold medal in the US Open in Tai Chi in 2001. She’s also a licensed massage therapist, yoga instructor, and lymphydoma treatment specialist, and she loves her dog more than most people would even think possible. She likes to sit outside at night and talk to the moon. She’s an interesting woman, to say the least. As she kindly shared an excerpt from Thank You Mr. Wrong with our readers this month, we wanted to take this opportunity to introduce you to this short, cute, and funny force to be reckoned with.

Tarot Reflections: You’re the author of six books, with a seventh due out this spring. How did you first get started in the book writing business?

Emily Smith: I first published Stretch Therapy: a Comprehensive Guide to Basic Stretching to get my feet wet in the publishing world. I have been a gymnast since I was 3 years old, I cheered on both the competitive and collegiate level, and my undergrad degree is in Exercise Science and Wellness. I also have a knack for taking something that may come as difficult and simplifying it. This is apparent in all of my books. I had secretly been working on my book From Fear to Faith and had never done anything like writing a book, so while I was behind the scenes writing my way out of years of anxiety and fear, I put out Stretch Therapy to introduce myself into the scene with something I knew best.

I followed up with Stretch Therapy II: a Comprehensive Guide to Basic Assisted Stretching because I wanted to teach other therapists the easiest ways to stretch your clients. I have trained in various stretching styles including intensive yoga, Thai massage, active release, active isolated, PNF stretching and more. Being that I am only a whopping 4'11'' I knew how to use my body to facilitate a great stretch for even the big men without putting any pressure on myself.

Because of these two books, I now teach for the NCBTMB (National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork) in Stretch Therapy.

I then decided that if I was really serious about pursuing writing my From Fear to Faith book, I should go back to school and get some letters behind my name to back it up. I went to the University of Sedona in distance learning for a Masters and PhD in Metaphysical Philosophy specializing in Comparative Religion. The dissertation led me to publish my next book Awaken: to Expanded Consciousness.  My dissertation was titled, “A Way of Peace,” a common thread among religions. I added some to it—and took away some as well—and created Awaken. I truly believe that if we as a world could stop trying to get people to see the Divine through our own eyes, that the wars would stop. Being in line with the Divine means allowing others to find their own path. I don't discourage faith, I encourage the expansion of faith and generally speaking, this transcends all religions and goes far wider. The judgments have got to stop. The more knowledge we gain and the wider our mind can see, the less we get entangled in pettiness that perpetuates hate and fear. I wrote Awaken to make people curious. It is a pretty basic book, but does inspire the reader to go on a quest of their own choice.

I followed up with ANXIETY SUCKS! because I had still not put my From Fear to Faith book out and wanted to get something a bit lighter hearted and straight to the point with the one subject I know the best: anxiety. I have been through hell in my own personal life and it is all about the anxiety. I have for a great many years let my fear consume me and it resulted in having my life be put in slow motion if not totally on hold. It sucked. Anxiety sucks. It really does. If you feel like no one could understand, please know you are not alone. Read the book, gain some perspective and lighten up the load. 

kris and meAnd then we have the infamous Thank You Mr.Wrong! This seems to be my book de jour. Everybody loves this one, mostly because the title really does say it all. This book was inspired by my best friend, Kris Bush who ended up being the co-author on this journey. I had already gone on a dating sabbatical after my last boyfriend decided to start a new relationship with someone else, without ending things with me of course, and getting her pregnant. I realized as I was on my own healing and spiritual journey, I was still playing the martyr when it came to my partner. Alcohol was his love and he was mine.  More accurately, that statement should read as it is in the book: “Alcohol was his addiction and my addiction was him.” So, I stopped dating altogether and took the time out to work on ME. While in my super productive dating sabbatical, my best friend’s boyfriend was sleeping with numerous women while on their time off to work on themselves and prepare for marriage (this makes us sound so Jerry Springer, doesn't it?) We were out to eat and she was saying that what she was going through was something you would likely see on A&E—not real life for two cute girls who are overall good people! When the server came out with the food, I had already conceived Thank You Mr. Wrong. We also had 7 other women write their stories and then condensed them down to offerings. This book has a story for everybody. Moral of the stories? There is only one constant in any of your relationships and that my friends, is YOU.  

TR: Have you had many "Mr. Wrongs" in your life?

ES: Yes, I am sad to say that I have had some Mr. Wrongs in my life that were actually book worthy. I realized that I liked being the 'good girl' of my little dating scenarios. I loved the 'bad boys' to a fault. I stayed way past the expiration date of so many relationships. I put myself behind the needs of some of these men, and the only person that I am left to change, is ME. 

I have spent the last two years of my life as the observer and I have learned so much about relationships, our communication styles, even our sexual styles. (In my time out I have also not been having sexual relations either. I never would have known that learning about relationships could come so easily when you're not actually in one!)

I now have a hard fast rule with dating: No one is invited to this already beautifully decorated table unless they have something to bring to it!

TR: How can women tell a Mr. Wrong from a Mr. Right?

ES: A Mr. Wrong sets off warning bells. You see the red flags, you hear your inner voice talking to you, but you somehow dismiss them all and go with your guy and not with your gut. A Mr. Wrong requires many excuses on your part. This is a man made up of your own excuses. We justify why this guy really is a good guy when his actions may not always reflect that. A Mr. Right makes you want to step up your own game. He makes you feel honored to be with him and even more so, honored to be YOU. The reflection of yourself through his eyes should be one of love and acceptance. Not of insecurity and fear. On the other hand, I have to point out beyond a Mr. Right or a Mr. Wrong is: who are you in this scenario? Are you Ms. Right? Have you done your own work to be the best person that you can be? Or are you waiting for someone to fill something in you that no one else has the power to fill? Because in my own calculations, until you become Ms. Right, you are not going to be able to notice when that Mr. Right actually comes along.

TR: What is the worst date you've ever had?

ES: I've had some interesting suitors, I can tell you that, but the worst date? This one is a no brainer! Kris and I (my co-author and best friend of 16 years and counting) went on a double date set up by a very close family friend. We met these two guys after talking with them on the phone and making sure that we all knew that there was no pressure and the worst that could happen is we would make some new friends. I called dibs on the HOT, shorter one and handed the very tall man off to Kris. Kris is 5'8'' and I'm only as I said earlier, 4'11''. My date was H. O. T. and we were all having a great time together. We hit the jackpot with these former football players from a well known Northern School! So, off we go to the next bar to play pool...except, no, we followed them not to a bar, but to their place. See, already—big mistake! So, we go inside knowing that we all share this close family friend in common, right? So, we all four walk to the back bedroom to see how close their place backs up to the train tracks as we watched the train go by. Next thing I know, Kris and Dude are gone and I'm alone with Hotty-smooth-talky. He dives onto the bed as I stood still by the window. He pats the place next to him for me to come and sit. I walked slowly over near the bed, buzz now wearing off and awareness kicking in. I sit on the very tip of the bed and he sits up next to me. He goes to put his arm around me and tries to grope my breasts as he leans in and whispers softly in my ear...”so, do you want to go down on me?” Needless to say, I was out of there and he landed in Thank You Mr. Wrong!

TR: Have you ever been in love?

ES: Abso-freaking-lutely. I am a Scorpio after all. It's in my nature to love and to be fiercely loyal and vengeful as hell if I am crossed. I have a Scorpio Sun and a Libra Moon and Rising. Love is in the air, I'm just more choosey about it these days.

TR: Do you believe love is a choice, or is it something that's either there or not there?

ES: I believe that chemistry is either there or not there. I believe love is something that is ignited through many lives between people and the ones we are destined to love have been there many times before in many other ways. How we choose to behave is another story. I believe that commitment and hard work to keep a relationship is a choice. What I failed to realize is that it is a choice that has to be made by both parties and agreed upon. One cannot have enough faith or love for both. 

TR: Your books are self-published—what is the most challenging aspect of that?

ES: Well, I can certainly say that going the self-publishing route is challenging. You have to write it, get it edited, get it formatted, get it designed, get the cover figured out, get your own ISBN number, put it together and get it out—not to mention, you have to pay to get it all done! But, the rewards are that you make it happen. You didn't just sit on your ideas, you make them happen. It is harder, and you don't have a team behind you of experts and financial backers to book you on your TV interviews. It's you out there by yourself and it is vulnerable and challenging, for sure. But when the day finally comes when your book arrives at your front door—the months or years of work and diligence and your attitude of not giving up is now sitting in your hands! The feeling is so unbelievably sweet and makes it all worth it. For anyone who wants to publish but doesn't know how to do it, figure out a way to make it happen if you are truly drawn to do so. Don't let anyone stand in your way of making your dreams and visions a reality. The self-publishing route is simply a test to see how committed you really are to your vision.

TR: How do you handle challenges and deal with conflict?

ES: I duck out for a bit to collect my thoughts and organize my words and plan of action. I am honest, and if confronted, I will answer honestly and tactfully. I hold to Don Miguel Ruiz's agreements pretty strongly—Be Impeccable with Your Word is an amazing gift that he shared, and I have worked on being in alignment with that for many years now. I still do not like being in conflict. At this point, I try not to put myself in situations where this would be an issue. Overall, I would say that I face any challenges and conflicts as well as fears head on, but with the forethought of the impact that what I say will have an effect all the way around.

TR: What is your idea of a better world?

ES: A better world would be where the money gets spread out more evenly. Where animals are treated with respect and kindness. Where children are not taught fear. A place where children are catered to in terms of schooling and not by good grades or bad grades, but by effort. A place where hard work is rewarded and loving hearts are felt. Where people are gentler and kinder not only with others, but to themselves. A place where cancer and viruses didn't live. Where people live their best lives in whatever time is provided to them. I understand the value of balance, and having hard times is what gives way to the appreciation of light. I'm not looking for a false world of perfection, just simply more presence and mindfulness. 

TR: Do you have any psychic or intuitive abilities? 

ES: I do have several intuitive abilities as I believe we all inherently do. I communicate regularly with my angels and guides. I also practice Reiki, Karuna Ki and Seven Rays, so I am very good at working with emotional release with people. I like to get to the root, way down deep and let it leave the body through tears, or coughing, or anything that makes room for love to fill back in its place and restore something that was lost to them long ago. If spirits need to get a message across, many times I serve as the communicator. Would this mean that I would call myself a psychic, or a medium? Not so much as I would call myself simply intuitive and aware.

TR: What do you hope to bring to the world through your books?

ES: I carry the same message through all of my offerings: You are not alone. We all run around trying to act 'normal' and the truth is, we are all a little freaky, we all deal with something and no matter what that something is: You are not alone.

TR: What's next for you?

ES: I just published a book with my fourteen year old client who has a health condition called Lymphedema. I am a lymphedema therapist and after writing my Anxiety Sucks book she asked if we could do the same for her-write about her own secret, get it out, and never have to talk about it again. And so we wrote A Leg Up! On Lymphedema. Myself and sweet Courtney Blaire Day. We realized that we have the same mission in life: To make a difference in our time on this planet. Now our greatest secrets are our strongest ally. It is after all, the vehicle in which we do put ourselves out there, face our own fears and share it with others. 

Up and coming is the book that has been woven in through my discussion of my other books: From Fear to Faith. After many writes and re-writes and even an endorsement from Neale Donald Walsch (Conversations with God and The Secret) it is finally coming out. It is my own personal journey from the day I hit the bottom and the years of struggle, and victories to get out of my long and debilitating battle with Anxiety and Panic. Please be looking for this jewel at the first of the year definitely before May 2010. This is by far my most vulnerable piece and my most treasured.

TR: What is your greatest, most daring ambition?

ES: To do what it is that only lives freely in my own imagination and dreams: to go big with my books and spread my mission to people in big numbers. To be up on a very large stage, knowing that my anxiety still gets me, and throw it to the side and do it anyway. To speak and lead by example that we are never alone and our best life is waiting for us to live it. I imagine myself on Oprah, live audience and me having that choice in that exact moment—do I let fear and anxiety plague me and make me nervous, or do I enjoy the hell out of it and look straight at the audience and do a back handspring in sheer excitement that I DID IT! I made it! And, now I'm sharing it all over the world! See, once I get there, I can do what I really want to do, which is open a healing center. Buy a lot of land, live on that land and invite others to come and stay as long as they need to in order to claim and maintain their health. 

TR: What is your greatest fear?

ES: Leaving this planet too early. Not fulfilling my mission. Not making a true difference. Letting fear get in my way again. Not knowing and truly embracing the fullness of what this life can offer and who I am in it.

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Tarot Reflections is published by the American Tarot Association - Copyright (C) 2010

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