Q & A: Lente Louw Schwartz, Social Activist & Cancer Survivor
1. Who are you? What is your name? What do you do?
Well, for start I am human. My name is Lente Louse Louw Schwartz. I was trained as a clinical psychologist in South Africa and consulted in career development, team building, cultural and diversity issues and organizational development. My key contribution in work life was as a change agent in South Africa in the 1980's, trying to prevent casualties in the progress of students from the disadvantaged communities to professional areas.
I pioneered a holistic education program in South Africa in Soweto called PROTEC (Protec.org.za) which still operates in South Africa. I believe “formal schooling” is not the whole of education; school works beat if it rests on a solid education base, created over time by an enriched environment that includes food, easy access to role models, outward bound experiences, technology, books, hands-on activities and so on. All of which are usually only available to privileged communities.
2. What are you fighting for?
I guess at the moment I am fighting for survival on many levels. I face advanced stage ovarian cancer and have beat the odds for many years. Essentially, I, now and in the past, have fought for participation in creating my own life and helping others to participate in shaping their own lives.
I read a quote by a physicist John Wheeler in the 1980's that I think has driven my own personal life and work: "May the universe for some strange reason come onto being because of the vital act of participation." I think we can all help co-create our own lives. Just actively participate--- one step leads to the next. Don't wait for a perfect solution. Whose solution? It's just another human that you waiting for.
3. Arjuna’s mission is to create sacred space for health, consciousness and peace. The word sacred means secret or set apart, as a sacred temple. We believe that this ‘setting apart’ is an essential ingredient to maintaining health and mental wellbeing. Do you have a ‘sacred space’ or time that you cherish each day or week (i.e. walking, meditating, eating, journaling, etc.)? What are some of the other ways in which you maintain strength and inspiration in your daily?
I was raised on a large farm of about 10,000 acres in the Orange Free State on the border of Lesotho in South Africa. I was born into a space that was a large stone farmhouse, with an expansive stone verandah. I saw a big sky and mountains in the distance.
There lived a stillness of Nature. The echoes of our voices pleased us. I felt space in my head, around my body all the time--- a freedom to play, to feel and think…
In the end I think we won't survive as a human species if we do not value the spaces we occupy, and create personal space to think and feel.
I use Arjuna products to help me participate in my own wellbeing on many levels: I use Arjuna to protect and create space for myself when I travel and at home. I wear the wristbands as my own personal acupuncture and have found that the wristband have helped nausea during chemotherapy.
Radiation can causes serious burns and once, after having an area of my body look like bacon, I used silver and it sorted it out pretty quickly. And after a serious chemo burn last year, I believe it helped heal by wrapping my Arjuna scarf around it.
4. What are some of the other ways that you maintain strength and inspiration in your daily life?
I walk walk walk! Try and walk rather than ride. I seek out paths that have trees. I light candles. And I always sit down to eat.