The AllCreation Podcast

Dina Kunin is an empathic healer and dog-trainer based in Minneapolis, MN. She begins by sharing about the long-challenges of immigration and ends up elucidating some essentials of positive transformation -- for any person.

Show Notes

Achieving Transformation: Dina Kunin. “It shifted my perspective that my life did not have to stay that way.” Reiki healer, harmonious dog trainer (family & child education, animal behavior improvement & relationship building), empath, stenographer, and more, Dina Kunin came to the US as Ukrainian Jewish refugee in her teens. In this interview, Ms. Kunin shares some of her personal story on overcoming that transition, takes us through one of her personal healing miracles, and shares powerful wisdoms related to personal healing and social progress (see Quotes section, below). Coming from a childhood where her grandparents “knew every leaf, plant and berry in the forest,” Dina goes on to share personal food and folk medicine regimens, talk about her work as a healer and dog trainer (aka. dog whisperer/human trainer), and much more. In this expansive conversation Dina is interviewed by guest editor and friend, Rev. Louis Tillman,  and AllCreation exc. editor, Chris Searles, as part of our Envisioning Transformation collection.

Learn More

0:00 Intro
1:30 Hello, what’s your story 
2:30 On migrating to the USA from Russia 
4:30 What is Reiki?
   > Definitions
   > 6:30 Her practitioner’s perspective 
  > 6:50 Her Reiki-healing miracle 
11:00 On achieving personal-healing / transformation 
13:15 To “envision transformation” one has to believe it’s possible; experiencing transformation helps…  
   > 14:30 Manifestation & visualization is such a beautiful thing; We are so powerful and we don’t even know it
   > 15:45 Breath. Matters.
16:15 How has Heath & Wellness impacted you, what do you recommend?
   > 17:00 Dina’s regimens 
   > 18:20 Fasting, Resting, Sleeping, Healing, Regenerating 
  > 19:40 On natural, folk & food medicines and healing 
   >20:30 Dina’s kitchen/health staples 
21:00 Louis asks about honey, food, community gardens, and … Crickets???
   > 24:30 What is keeping us from protecting our environment 
   > 25:00 Our Actual connections to the environment
  > 27:00 Meat & crickets 
   > 29:00 Wild locusts & honey 
   > 30:15  Crickets for manifesting good 
  > 31:00  Crickets for food…
32:20 Ahem,,, :) What institutional changes do we need?
   > 33:00 Dina’s mantra in life 
   > 33:30 Framing her opinions
   > 35:00 How do we bridge divides 
35:45 Positive change is intergenerational 
37:00 Are our Comforts creating despair? How do we move into being a convoy of hope as a Faith community?
   > 39:15 Connection, Community, & Community-knowledge
   > 39:50 Valuing our Elders    
   > 41:45 Give positivity
42:55 Is “Kinship “ the right thing to go for?
45:30 Louis inspired & grateful,,,  
   > 46:30 Yes: the essentials… We all have the same needs. > 47:30 Reconnect to our breath, our similarities   
   > 49:45 Connected care feels better   
   > 51:50 Breath: How to breathe 
   > 53:00 Creating peaceful feelings 
       > calming the dog  
       > breathing from your belly
55:45 What is your message to the world?
  > Choose: Connection. Choose: Positive Mindset. <
56:25 How can we help carry that out?
   > Choose: Kindness. < 
   > 57:30 Choose to do something good. 
 > 48:15 One action does make a difference. 
58:45 What keeps you going? 
   > 59:45 Re-connection; Coming back into focus 
   > 1:00:25 Vision: That We Realize Our Power as a Human Community.   
1:00:45 Wrap up


Being compassionate is the key to all of this.

I have not been sick in years. 

We take breathing for granted and most of us don’t know how to breathe correctly...

We all just want to be happy, and we want to be secure, and we want to be free. We all have the same needs, every single person in the world.

For me to get to a peaceful state I picture myself sitting by the ocean, and listening to the water, and feeling the breeze and wind in my air, and smelling that salt air, and taking those deep breaths. . . I’m able to transition into that actual state. . . We are so powerful and we don’t even know it.  
It is always a balance of Western & Eastern Medicines coming together, but if I’m able to heal myself using natural foods that are available to me, that will always be my first go-to. 

I do feel the younger people will prevail, but we have to help them.   
Sometimes it’s just so overwhelming you don’t even want to think about, you don’t to even be there, so that’s why a lot people just numb themselves to this, because they feel if they can’t affect change then they just need to focus on themselves.
I know it’s cliche but, (our) similarities are so simple. You know, just listening to someone without having the need to respond, and just hearing their story — because our reality is only based in our perception and our experience of how we envision the world.

Even though it may not be your experience, and even though you may never be able to relate to exactly what they are going through…the humanity in all of us and just being compassionate — that is the key to all of this. Gratitude is the key to happiness, you know, being just mindful and grateful for things elicits peace for me.

Choose connection. Choose happiness. Choose gratitude.  Choose positive mindset — because a positive mindset does not change your situation, but it does change the way you respond to things. That will help you transform your life.

Choose kindness. Choose to take a deep breath before you react in a situation. Choose to do something good, whether it’s on a small level, on a one-on-one level, just do something that is good that you can handle. We just choose to not leave our comfort zones.

I feel that we are all responsible for how things are going to turn out. And, because we are so interconnected, one action does make a difference. 

Thanks for listening.
This podcast is one of seven interviews from our Winter Solstice
2022 collection, "Envisioning Transformation." It was produced &
edited by Chris Searles. 

What is The AllCreation Podcast? Faith • Spirit • Biodiversity • Connections

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Rev. Louis Tillman 0:00
Hey Grace & Peace , everybody. It's your boy Lewis, I want to welcome you all to another amazing denied dynamic opportunity to be a part of envisioning transformation. And I'm so blessed honored hippopotamus, happy peacock proud, if you will, to be with an esteemed, illustrious, phenomenal woman. You all do not want to press pause on any of this. It's about to get real. It's about to get deep. You all just need to be here to listen to it. So without further ado, our amazing guests. She goes by name Dana, is she the motivator, or harmonious dog trainer, and a Reiki healer. She has a passion for natural medicine, and helping people learn about alternative options available for their health and well being, you know, focuses on bringing balance and harmony to canines and their families. It is proven that animals have a very high level of intelligence. And she works to assist people and understanding and relating to their animal partners. She's also a cinematographer, which I'd look at that work of they work with a lot of syllables going on right there, but I learned it. But without further ado, I just want you all to give a warm welcome to our friend. Dina, thank you for being with us.

Dina Kunin 1:19
Thank you so much. I am very grateful and blessed to just be a part of this.

Rev. Louis Tillman 1:27
Awesome, awesome. So Dana, just real quick. Just tell us. Who are you? What's your story?

Dina Kunin 1:35
Well, I was born in a different country. I am Ukrainian. But I was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, and I grew up there. And I came here as a refugee. My family is Jewish. So Jews were persecuted in former Soviet Union. And we emigrated when I was a teenager. And so we ended up in Minnesota, because we had family here. And I came here and not knowing any English and have since developed, you know, all of the things that you have mentioned, as well as other various interests. So I'm just ready to share.

Rev. Louis Tillman 2:29
That's what's up, I want to lift up something that you just said, to make sure that I'm hearing it correctly. So English is the second language, correct? Yes. Did you talk about like, I guess, emotionally and even metaphysically? Like, what was that? Like coming to the US? How did you adapt to that?

Dina Kunin 2:49
You know, immigrating, and growing up, where I grew up being Jewish was very difficult in its own right, and all of my experiences as a child and all of my family's experiences, because of it, were very intense and traumatic, but coming here, and not knowing any English and coming here at an age where, you know, kids were entering teenage hood. And, you know, kids were mean to me, absolutely. And I would, you know, go home and cry. But there was one girl that took it upon herself to become my friend, and her and I would hang out. And she was, you know, my age, maybe a little older. And she would literally point to things and say them in English, and I would repeat it. And that's kind of how that started. And I would also, you know, watch Sesame Street. I'm also in the school system. Not every school had English as a Second Language Program. So I actually had to be bused to another school. And that helped, of course, to be part of that. I also sing and play the piano. So a lot of people wonder why I guess it worked because a lot of people can't tell that I am from another country.

Rev. Louis Tillman 4:25
That's nothing that we have in common. We're bilingual. So you know, different languages and the English language. I know Ebonics and English, and I also know some profanity, too, so I'm very glad that some of them trilingual on certain days. What are you currently working on? We talked about the dog training the reggae. I don't even know ri K was Chris, do you know what that is? I kind of know down here they

Chris Searles 4:52
call it Reiki. I don't know if sure it's the same thing. Rei k i? Yes. Yeah. Yeah. So I don't know. rica or whatever you said rigging, whatever it's called. It's an energy healing modality that's kind of somewhere between Qigong and massage is my understanding.

Rev. Louis Tillman 5:09
Yeah, so break it down for our listeners, because I feel like there's some other folks like me out there that the first time they are hearing it, and they're not as educated as you and Chris, so I broke it down for us, because this is very exciting information, especially about the healing aspect.

Dina Kunin 5:27
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I believe you know that the best medicine should be integrated between the eastern and the western, I think it's very important to have the options and not just be told what you should believe. And so Reiki is a Japanese form of a healing practice. And it's translated roughly into mysterious atmosphere, miraculous sign. And re stands for soul and spirits. And Qi stands for vital energy. So in terms of being a practitioner, it is kind of like a universal life source energy. So we are all able to connect to that. And when you're open to that, you are just able to channel it. So I don't necessarily take credit for being a channel for that. But through my practice, I'm able to just hover over people I don't actually touch and my hands get very, very hot. And I'm able to help people move through either emotional ailments or physical ailments. And that's a beautiful experience when it's in person. But the masters of Reiki, which not are able to do distance healing, and distance Reiki healing, which is, you know, so amazing, but it's just such a hard concept to fathom logically that it's very hard to believe. And, you know, myself included, I would have a hard time believing it. But I've actually personally had experience. In my early childhood in Russia, I had eczema, which is a skin condition, it's itchy, it's Raschi, it can be because you're allergic to certain foods, or certain things in the environment, or certain things that you are putting on your body or in your body, as well as other deeper things that I think will come up throughout the story. But so it kind of went away. And then in my late 20s, I came back with a vengeance. And I was completely covered from head to toe. And they've got to be pretty unbearable. I kind of lost hope. And I thought that that was going to be my life. I just, you know, didn't really leave the house. It was just a very sad time in my life. And so I, I went to visit my father. And this was before I became a Reiki practitioner. And so he saw my condition. And he told me, he gave me a number to his teacher. And he said, This is an old teacher of mine. She lives in St. Petersburg, Russia, and when you come back home, give her a call. And so I came back home, and I really didn't know what I was getting myself into. But I was open to anything that could potentially help me. And I called this woman and I told her who I was. And she remembered my father. And I told her my situation, and she told me to go into my room, that we were going to hang up the phone and she was going to look at me, scan me and then she's going to call me back and we're going to talk and I said okay, so I went into my room and told me to put my hands on my knees and I put my hands on my knees and I'm just sitting there I close my eyes and all of a sudden I felt this heat that started rising through my feet. And it kind of was moving through my body and it kept moving higher and then when I got to my solar plexus to my heart area, something happened and like burst and I started bawling and I don't know how long I sat there like this. But after a while The phone rang. And we talked and she said, what she saw, and she gave me some insights and told me to go to sleep. And so the next morning, I woke up, and my skin was completely clear. Yeah, it's

Chris Searles 10:25
just one night sleep, that changed.

Dina Kunin 10:30
It came back with a vengeance, you know, the next few days, it came back and was the same as it was before. But that experience, and what she told me gave me hope. And it shifted my perspective that my life did not have to stay that way. What I did then was started working on myself from inside out, I started going to therapy, I changed all of my health habits, I started treating my brain differently, my thoughts, my everything. And it was a process. And it's been years in the making, it's a work in progress. But at this point, I have eczema, just a little bit on my hands, sometimes it has just been dissipating from my body from the inside out. And literally, like my hands and a little bit on my feet, which is so weird, it's like literally has been going outward, the more work and understanding I have gained. So it was the craziest catalyst for transformation and just understanding and, you know, we are so connected and everything is interconnected. And just because we don't understand something, it does not mean that it does not exist, you know, in this society, left brain, the logical part is, is so focused on and the right side of your brain, which is the imagination, which is beauty, which is colors, is, you know, told that it's not real, and then we wonder why we're in this place.

Chris Searles 12:19
I appreciate that. You're sharing all that so much. And then also, one touch point to maybe keep is, in terms of this transformation thing, is like the hard part is even envisioning transformation, because we're stuck in the physiology and the lifestyle. And so I find that really interesting that you have these two miraculous experiences were the first one was she communicated with you sort of tell him, you know, telepathically, however, we would describe that from a distance. And then secondly, you woke up changed. And so then you had a belief when it started to come back, that things could change. And that's kind of the key thing that that I'm trying to get people to share with us is, what are the ways that you've been able to unlock yourself from the paradigm of not being able to envision transformation? And that makes perfect sense. It's the actual experience of it happening, the transformation happening? And then you know, you can go back to it.

Dina Kunin 13:14
So thank you. Yes, that is just such a beautiful point, Chris. I mean, it is, it is it is all about our belief system. And what we think is possible, we don't even realize how conditioned we are, you know, how, just the way that you grew up our background, our families, the things that we just take for granted without ever questioning it. And so many people just go through their life without questioning certain things at all, which, you know, prevents them from, from shifting into that new paradigm of constant evolution of constant learning, of constant change, because that is the only thing that is constant is changed. And when you believe or when you are stuck in that mindset, that you are just the way you are that this is just the way it is. Then yes, absolutely. This is just the way it is and you are the way you are. That's just it's always gonna stay that way. And it is just so beautiful. Just the way our brains work. You know, manifestation and visualization. It's such a beautiful thing, because when you actually experience something, let's say, you know, for me, for me to get to a peaceful state, I picture myself sitting by the ocean and listening to the water and feeling the breeze and the wind in my hair. And then smelling that salt air. And taking those deep breaths, you know, I'm able to trance, you know, transition into that actual state. Because the amazing thing about our brain is, we don't, you know, it doesn't know the difference, it doesn't know that you're not actually by that ocean right at this moment, we are so powerful, and we don't even know it. And through, for example, for me, getting to that state, when I'm nervous, you know, when I have to remain calm in certain situations, getting myself to that state, and getting in touch with, you know, my breath, and breathing, which is so important, and it is connected to everything yet we take breathing for granted. And most of us don't even know how to breathe correctly. You know, I feel so strongly about the breath, it is directly connected to my work as a trainer, as a dog trainer, it is directly connected to the environment. And I mean, it is directly connected to our peace and well being.

Rev. Louis Tillman 16:13
And, yeah. You mentioned health and wellness, how has health and well being and your dietary change really impacted your life and your journey, and what are things that you could be teaching our listeners to do? Yes,

Dina Kunin 16:39
I really do treat my body as a machine and as a vessel, and I want to maximize what it can do for me, for example, I have rituals that I follow on a daily basis. And I have done that for many, many years. And, you know, I have not been sick in years. And so, for example, for me, I wake up and the first thing I do is I squeezed half a lemon into hot butter. And that is what I drink on an empty stomach. Sometimes if I want to get, you know, really creative i and also if I My body's kind of asking for something an extra boost, I will take some ginger and I will cut it up. And I will boil it for very, you know, on very low for hours and kind of get that ginger juice. And so I will put that in the fridge and added to my lemon hot water and then it's not hot anymore, and then it has the ginger flavor. So I will do that. And then I will process that for a while while I go about my you know, morning routine and tests. And then after a while I will do a green supplements which has kale and spirulina and just like an organic green supplements and some chia seeds. And I will drink that. And I'm also having my coffee, let's not forget that. To which I add this chocolate collagen powder, which is good for you and it adds flavor. I also intermittent fast because I have found that my body works really the best with that. Because when we sleep that is when the our bodies are actually able to heal, and to regenerate. And that is when our vital organs have the time to focus on rebuilding cells and all the other things that I don't know, because I'm not a scientist. But you know, when you eat late at night, then your body has to focus on digesting the food instead of working on regenerating. And so you never really get an opportunity to heal. So I have found that for me, it works really well to have a time where, you know, I try not to eat, you know, and we're all human and it's not perfect, but for the most part, consistency is key, you know and just shifting that mindset is a start. We're all working progress, but just being able to shift that thinking is the first step to transformation. I also just want to share just the natural remedies and me coming from a different country and you know, having grandparents that knew every leaf and plant and bury in the forest and just folk medicine and natural healing I you know have really incorporated that into my life. Like I said it is always a balance of Western and Eastern medicine together. But if I'm able to heal myself, using natural foods and vegetables that are available to me, that will always be my go to my first go to and then if that doesn't work, yes, I will, you know, do what I need to do after that, but why would I choose something that is not available to me from our mother earth from the environment from something that we should cherish, you know? So the things that I go to are lemons, ginger, garlic, and raw honey. I feel like those things are staples in most people's households. The thing was honey, it shouldn't be raw. Because process honey removes all the nutrients. And so that is very important. And honey, such an amazing, raw honey, never goes bad. be around for 1000s of years. It's very weird. That is why bees are so important. And, you know, to our environment, and that is a whole other conversation, because without bees, we would not be here and realize that.

Rev. Louis Tillman 21:23
Okay, again, you blew my mind, as usual. So for like, as you were talking, all I kept, the theme was just sacrifice. We are the most unhealthy country, hands down, and the most privileged country in the US. I mean, excuse me in the world. I wouldn't say us so quickly. Um, so it was like, intermittent fasting. I've really heard of it, studied it. I've never committed to it. And then the process of the lemon juice and the ginger juice. And I'm just like, I mean, we're lazy country. We're lazy people in this country. Not I'm not saying everybody so before the folks that listens are throwing darts, but a good number of us. So I'm like, dang, I can't buy that, like pre made juice, right? I need to like boil it and the power of water and all that good stuff. Right? But then you touch my soul. When you talked about the raw honey, I first time I've ever seen raw honey a day in my life. I've been Turin, Italy, northwestern Italy, close to France, literally a mountain just separate some of their for theological bootcamp. And I asked for honey, because everything's in small portions. It's not like when my friend Chris is at where everything's bigger, right? In Texas. So it was just like, very, like, maybe four ounce cup. And I was just like, what type of sick joke is this? And I said, Well, can I get some honey? And I was expecting, you know, the cute little bear smokey, whatever this and. And they gave me this like, hard, crystallized looking thing. And I'm like, what is it? So it was first time I'd ever seen, observed and even tasted raw honey, it was good. It's also very expensive than us in certain parts, right? But you just I'm sending her like DAG, I there's some things I need to do. And you nailed it. It's a mindset shift. I mean, if you know better, you do better. You and I've had conversations about food justice. I'm big on community gardens. But the thing that that I'm curious about is crickets. I know, you know, we were talking about crickets before we got on online. Can you just drop some knowledge about that for us?

Dina Kunin 23:40
Yes, you know, just to touch a little bit on food and community car gardens and sustainability, the fact that, you know, Americans are discouraged from growing their own food. They're not taught how to grow their own food. And the easiest things to grow are vegetables, and, and fruits. And those are the healthiest things that a lot of times can heal us in our medicine. And so I think that it is so important to just continue to spread that and to continue to, you know, involve as many people as possible because just like Lewis said, when you know better you do better. I think that is very powerful. I'm very passionate about that. Because as our resources are depleting and populations are growing. It is I feel so strongly about the fact that people don't take protecting our environment seriously when we are so interconnected, and we're so dependent on it for Survival. It just makes zero sense to me, you know, I have thought so hard about it i, this society is just promoting self isolation disconnects, you know, depression, just everything to just separate us when you know, when we obviously come together, we are stronger. And in terms of just food, even, I'm sorry, I'm just going to jump around a little bit. But even just going back to the breath, we breathe out carbon dioxide poison that kills us carbon dioxide poisoning. And then the plants in the trees take that poison, and they use it for food and give us back oxygen that gives us life. What more do you actually need to realize that, okay, and these are the things that I have thought about. You are a person, you don't have children, you don't care about anything, but yourself, you will never look beyond yourself, that's fine. You're not going to care about the environment. You don't care. Because when you die, who cares, it's going to last as long as you're around and whatever. But if you have children, if you care what is going to happen. Or if you know, not only when you have children, but when you are obviously aware of what is happening and the effects on the environment. But just you know, in my deep personal thoughts, since we're being vulnerable, when you have children, you want your children to experience things that you experienced, you don't want them to have sparsity. The fact that we have extinction of animals now, because we don't care. And there's so many animals that our children and our children's children will never see and will know will only read about in books. animal consumption has such a dramatic effect on the environment and the soil. And like I said, I'm not a scientist, so I'm not going to go into you know, depths of that but bringing back crickets, which I just have been studying. You know, crickets are the meat of the future. And trust me, I cannot even like envision myself eating

Rev. Louis Tillman 27:35
say that one more time for if the meat of the future. Make sure you know, I'm a little slow the meter. Okay, make sure one make sure

Dina Kunin 27:46
Yeah, I heard you know, Texas is where it's add honey covered crickets and, and all the other interesting things.

Chris Searles 27:55
I don't know what y'all are referring to. And I'm in Texas right now. I've never I've seen him in the in the gas station and places like that, and little plastic bags. But that's it. We're not all eating crickets yet down here.

Rev. Louis Tillman 28:08
Because I was telling Dana, before we all go live, so like I just remember every time it'd be like to gain or San Antonio or Eagle Pass or El Paso every time I've, you know, some of these I'm out there for something right? I would not even just the airport. But like some of those like general stores, non pop shops, you know, the day before there was like CVS and stuff, right? They would have, again, I'm learning so much about honey bility honey lollipops that were, I guess designed to be stirred and dipped into your beverage of choice, right? They would have either a bee Scorpion, scorpion or crickets. And I don't know the whole Scorpion thing. You got to educate us on that one one day, but but but they would have one of those three, and I just kept saying crickets and I was like, well, and now you know, to get theological for a minute is you see in the Bible, there were folks who be locusts and wild locusts and honey. I'm not gonna take it to another level with that, but but I would have clergy friends of mine that would How would you say personify that with their congregations and or communities of faith and they would literally eat these crickets. They would, they would like order them. They don't eat them live. So I don't I don't know what Dina found out yet. But they will eat these crickets that were different flavors like like sunflower seeds, right? I'm from Atlanta. So I used to go fishing in the southeast a lot. It's one of my favorite things to do till today. And I only use crickets to catch fish. So I would have never imagined that being the meat of the future. So we're so sorry to digress you know, you just touched our soul again. So continue I'm sorry for Oh,

Dina Kunin 30:01
no, those are very amazing and interesting points and stories. Absolutely see crickets have such a widespread use, you know, and I actually started researching crickets because I was doing a little research on manifestation and and what are the best possible things to how to go about manifesting something. And one of the things that it mentioned was in order to have something manifest just better, and more powerfully, you should do something good for nature. And so I started looking into what are some of the things that they mentioned. And one of the things that they mentioned was to go to a pet store and to buy 100 Crickets and to release them to nature. And so that's what made me start researching crickets. And so as I got deeper into my research, when you release them into nature, they fertilize the soil. Whatever they do in their scientific process, whether it's when they die, or whatever they eat, they fertilize the soil. And so being used as a food source produces 13 to 20 grams of protein per 100 grams,

Chris Searles 31:24
which is really high, we pay a lot of money for seven grams of protein and chocolate cashews.

Dina Kunin 31:29
100% 100%. Yeah, and so you just grown them into a powder and add them to meals. And that's a very easy way because I like I said, I don't see myself, you know, eating crickets that look like crickets. anytime soon, I'm confronted by a powder, I can do a powder. I can definitely do powders, and just the sustainability of maintaining crickets. I don't really remember the numbers, but it's, you know, literally just like a fourth of the use of what meat production uses right now. So yeah, so a little story about crickets that I never thought that I was going to share.

Rev. Louis Tillman 32:18
I love learning about crickets now, so. So I'm glad that you talked about that, you know, I really want to get into this conversation. How do the institutions and cultures that you personally interact with, and it could be from a micro level to a macro level? What are things that need to be changed? We have a lot of power. And you've said that a couple of times, I just want to lift that up, because that's something that under the sound of our voices, somebody out there needs to hear that you do have the power to change to manifest to transform. But what needs to change?

Dina Kunin 32:54
Ah, yes, well, I do have a lot of opinions about that, you know, my, my mantra in life is, all we're here to do is to love each other, to help each other and to learn from one another. And so many people are so disconnected and so apathetic, that if you are enlightened and aware, it is your duty, to spread it. And it's a very, it's not an easy place to be in, you know, I feel so strongly about all of these things and human rights and autonomy and, you know, justice and fairness and history and you know, me being an empath, and to me feeling the energy, it has been a very difficult few years, you know, we can't even take COVID out of it. But just the energy and just me feeling where people are at and, you know, me being involved in the justice system and being a stenographer, which, you know, we will let people look up but just new witnessing things and just the heartbreaking things that have been the catalyst for even the beginnings of conversation yet again, and being brought to the forefront yet again, you know, unfortunately,

Chris Searles 34:35
you know, by that you mean racism and misogyny and the sort of recent me to Black Lives Matter kind of movements or other things

Dina Kunin 34:43
100% You know, the things that we're kind of moving forward and, but never really gone. They have been brought back to the forefront and I feel like people are more ready to receive it now, in a different way, I feel the younger generations don't want to hear this anymore. They are done with this stuff, and they wanted to end. And I feel like, you know, it's just all about how do we actually bridge that gap, because it has been such a hopeless place for so long, we can say since the beginning of time, but we're just going to focus, you know, on this country, and I do feel that the younger people, you know, will prevail, but we have to help them, you know, and how do we do that? We start, I want to,

Rev. Louis Tillman 35:45
I'm sorry, I mean, I just wanna make sure I'm hearing you, right. So you're a proponent of intergenerational transformation, meaning that little bit of this way, I grew up, my grandmother used to say, this village can't survive on a generation alone. And what I'm hearing from you is that we have to help this younger generation, how we wanted to find that whether it's Gen Z millennial, Gen X, but it seems like it has to be intergenerational, it can't be one generation that's doing the print or the or the stamp on what change needs to look like. And we just go with that we all got to work together. And my hearing you right with that?

Dina Kunin 36:24
100%. You know, it definitely affects all of the things that we're talking about right now, as well as the environment and the things that we were talking about, you know, before, obviously, you know, the older people have the power, and they have the resources. And so yeah, they have the money, you know, and what, what mindset are they stuck in? And do they want to shift and transform and get with the program? Or are they so comfortable, and they don't want to be bothered, that they will continue to perpetuate the things that are happening. So there's just a lot that goes into that, as you know.

Rev. Louis Tillman 37:18
Yeah, I'm so thankful that you said the C word. comfort for those who weren't, weren't following. Laterally a different colloquialism to go with but I felt like this comfort zone concept is really what's creating more despair than hope. And for me, every time I go back to the neighborhood I used to live in in North Minneapolis. And when I go by George Floyd square, it's not memorializing, it's not uplifting, or whatever I got back from the neighborhood. I live that in North Minneapolis. It's not transformative. It's not even liberating. It's just depressing. It looks like a war zone. I think I'm one of the few people who's bold enough to say that publicly. Cuz it does. I mean, there's seven products and focus on look at that term, too. But folks are starting all types of stuff living in there is boarded up the cups food, and it's not uplifting it to me, it doesn't memorialize or even show a level of honor of the life of George Floyd, let alone whatever Black Lives Matter was supposed to mean at that particular chronological time in place. So for me, I'm just saying, as a young black male every time I go to the Twin Cities, and I talk, especially with clergy, and I'm very hard on the church. I don't know if anybody else is like that on this call or listening. But I know personally, I'm very hard on on my peers and my colleagues that are clergy, because the question I have is like, what is the church doing? Like we need to be not the catalyst, because when we talk scientifically, a catalyst is just where two elements sit, and do nothing. It's allowed for them to chill, but a convoys where they actually interact and create something new. So how do we move from being a catalyst to a convoy of hope, as a faith community?

Dina Kunin 39:16
You know, you're absolutely right. It is hard to find hope, a lot of times. But I guess I am an eternal optimist. I do believe in connection being the only way for us to get into this. And I do believe that in terms of connection and community, and just knowledge. There's so many cultures, not in America for the most part, although there's a lot of cultures in America that will resonate with this where the elders are valued. There's certain cultures where when the two Children get to a certain age, and I'm sure a lot of people will be familiar with this, they only spend time with their grandparents because, you know, the children just came from where the grandparents are going. And that's like a lot of indigenous cultures believe that. And so they spend a lot of time with their grandparents. And that's how they gain knowledge and that connection, and that is lost in this culture, when when people get to a certain age, they're thrown into a nursing home and forgotten about, you know, where is the, you know, hordes of schoolchildren going to the nursing communities, or assisted living communities to hear stories that will be lost and forgotten when these people pass and when history is not known, it will repeat itself. And so that is a major component for this hope and change that should, you know, only come, I feel like, and I, you know, I know, you will relate, but young people will connect to the grandmothers that will come out on the street and tell him to get their butts inside, or the people who have already been through certain experiences that come back, and they share them and they take these young people under their wing, it should be about that, when people realize that unless you come back and you serve and you are, you know, committed to ensuring that our future generations survive, then yeah, this is hopeless. But we can all do this, and we can all do a little bit. And if you can all just be one a mentor, if you just, you know, give some positive words or energy to just somebody, you know, young people, old l any people, then we're all coming into that change in that shift. And that's just, I feel like on a realistic level that anyone can do, because when you think about change, and shift and hope and, you know, changing institutions, and, you know, it's I think it's a very deep conversation when you break it down. But sometimes it's just so overwhelming, you don't even want to think about it, you don't want to be you don't want to just even be there. So that's why a lot of people just numb themselves to this because they feel that if they can't affect change, then they just need to focus on themselves, because they need to protect themselves from everything, and they just need to just live in their safe comfort zone bubble. But those things are very realistic to do. You know, just to be kind just to share.

Chris Searles 42:56
Ask on those things sort of put into language that I've recently, through our last issue come to us to describe my long search for sort of what is the what is the right place to be with all this stuff. And there's a simple sentence and then a couple of characteristics that I hear you describing, but I want to make sure that I'm not confirmation bias on those things. So one is this idea of kinship worldview, which is becoming, to me the way forward the way out of this, this mess of abusing ourselves, abusing each other, abusing the environment, abusing the future, you know, the downward spiral kind of world that we are now kind of critical mass with. And so the phrase is that each person wants to be an important individual in a nurturing community. And I really critique America as a society as being the opposite of that we try to make people into Kim Kardashian or you know, the Joneses or whatever, whatever your social model is. And we certainly don't provide nurturing community as a society, we sort of have a warrior king society, if you can make it, you know, then you're a star. And if you can't make it, good luck. But then also related to that, you know, how do you get out of this paradigm of not knowing yourself, because you haven't had enough of a community to say, you know, what your feelings matter your feelings are everything, your sensitivity and your strength, your intellect, and your simplicity. All these things are so valuable, you know, we love you, we want you, and we don't have that kind of social construct at the moment. And I see that Louis, very clearly in the New Testament. Love thy neighbor as thyself, says you are sacred. And so am I, you know, and this is the same idea as a kinship worldview. And so the the techniques kind of, according to another podcast, we did, so what do you do to build kinship? You know, what are the people do in the bush? And it's like, Well, same kind of stuff that Marcus was saying. And I don't know if you know, Marcus, but he's in Minneapolis to it. It's like, you know, you you try to make a connection. Like you're saying you try to make people laugh, you know, You're happy to see him, you don't approach him with the stranger danger stuff. Instead, like you said, you try to give them something positive, you try to listen to what they're feeling if they're in a state of stress, or you try to make them laugh, if they're, you know, feeling awkward or whatever, and just, that's, that's the way we, we build out of the downward spiraling it back into a love that you've said, connectedness so many times without having ever talked to you before, because that has become the theme for me, you know, so anyway, I just want to throw that back, sort of as a reflection on what you were just saying and see how you feel about that link.

Rev. Louis Tillman 45:31
Yeah. And I just also want to do, I think that you're going to inspire so many, not just generations, but particularly women, because the Bible has so much sexism in it. And we rarely talk about it as Christian reformed leaders, if you will. So the Syrophoenician woman, they really do show Jesus having a level of racism, and sexism, and him making him human too, by the way, but we don't really talk about how that manifests in Scripture. And what I'm getting at is so many women aren't even named in the Bible. So that's a whole different thing. So I'm just so thankful day, you are sharing your voice, your story and your testimony, because so many women I know, that are probably going through a lot of what you've experienced, and what you shared, are definitely going to be aspired to inspire before their racks fire. So please, I'm done talking, I got no more to say, go ahead. Do this. All you let me give them down to you without you.

Dina Kunin 46:35
Oh, well, thank you. Those are very kind words. And I really appreciate that, you know, you're absolutely right, it is all about kinship. You know, as you were saying, Chris, just in, in general. And, yes, I am very passionate about just connection and humanity and just love and we you know, we all just want to be happy, and we want to be secure. And we want to be free. We all have the same needs, every single person in the world, that is all they want. And, you know, when we simplify things, instead of all of these complexities that are, you know, built upon our neuro linguistic programming, the programming of each society and the conditioning and the norms that are just ingrained in us that we don't even question, you know, those are the things that separate us. And so when we're able to just reconnect to our basic needs, our breath, you know, our similarities. You know, I know it's cliche, everybody says, you know, focus on your similarities and not your differences. But those similarities are so simple. Just listening to someone without having the need to respond, and just hearing their story, because our reality is only based in our perception and our experience of how we envision the world. And, you know, going back to just being closed minded, and not being able to shift that paradigm, when only you only know those things, and you are not able to open your mind, and just hear another person's story. And even though it may not be your own experience, and even though you may never be able to relate to exactly what they are going through the humanity and all of us and just, you know, being compassionate, that is the key to all of this. Gratitude is the key to happiness, you know, being just mindful and grateful for things just elicits peace for me. And so I think that is the beginning of all of that. And I do hope that you know, I have inspired someone and I, you know, I'm very passionate about empowerment in general and women and women knowing how strong and powerful their voice is. And, you know, just humanity in general, we all really do need to work together. So I know it's a little, you know, naive of me in reality sometimes however, I believe it 100% Okay, well, I

Chris Searles 49:57
want to interrupt on that because I think that's some of our conditioning again, this, if I may say, you know, this like, idea that we're being naive by saying, we should try to be more connected and try to work together more, because number one back to the body, it feels better to be in that community or that society, you know, sort of like end of end of competition, it's just a better feeling in your every day when you're not in an oppositional place with the, you know, polarized politically, racially, economically, whatever. Not that this is a pro socialism political podcast, as Louis is saying, you know, we're not trying to steer into ideology. But just as you're saying that the emotional connection, the humanity, and also, what you just said, literally, the Simplicity's are so simple. And yet, they're so deep, the ones that you listed, you know, people want to feel known, and we want to be happy, and we want to be, you know, safe, secure.

Rev. Louis Tillman 50:55
Like, that's everybody,

Chris Searles 50:59
you know, want to be connected, like you said, you want to be important to other people, and you don't want them to abuse you, you want them to nurture your individuality. And so all of that is a feeling just like the act of breathing, you know that you were talking about stilling in the very beginning your mind going into this place in your mind, because your body can can take that like, again, that feels physiologically good, it puts you into a state of good decision making, you know, you're not in the antagonized stress response state. Anyway, I don't think it's naive at all. I think it is physiological truth. And that's a really good Northstar or compass for us to follow. And I hear you saying that in a different way, also, that that's been sort of how you found your rooted way into a healthier life, you know, a happier life.

Dina Kunin 51:49
Thank you, Chris, that is really, yes, that basically encompasses everything that you know, we are talking about. And I do want to just touch a little bit on breath, I use it a lot in my dog training, because, you know, dogs and children are the only beings that breathe correctly, naturally diaphragmatic ly, all the waves of the belly, most adults never breathe past their chest. And therefore, they are constantly hyperventilating. And in a constant state of stress and anxiety, because as we all know, when we have taken that deep breath, whether or not we have taken it, you know, later than we should have to calm ourselves or whatever it may be. But when we finally take a deep breath, or a couple of those deep breaths, and we enter that peaceful state, we can recognize that state if we are mindful of it. And that is, that state of peace, this present moment is, you know, really the only thing that you can focus on, to be happy for talking in those kind of terms. But in terms of breath and training, animals respond only to our energy, and the way that they communicate is through energy and body language and tone. And, you know, humans actually have to learn the animal psychology. So that's where I come in. And, you know, I'm not going to get into too deep into training. However, just one example is I had this family, these clients of mine who had a very hyper Rottweil, and the son was artistic soul, he was a very tense, very anxious, and every time he would come home and visit from college, they the dog and the son would just have a lot of issues. And so when I came in, I just had everybody just stand and breathe in a circle. And we all took deep breaths. You know, I just wanted to simplify it. Before I started even explaining anything. I wanted everyone to stand in a circle. And they probably thought I was very weird, which is what most people think about me all the time. But I had everyone stand in the circle and breathe very deeply diaphragmatic ly, with their hands on their belly, to the point where they feel their hand move on their belly until we stood in a circle. And the dog who was just, you know, being wild and hopping around, came in He laid in the middle of our circle laid down on on his side. And it was just such a beautiful experience of connection and paradigm shift and transformation. And from there, anything is possible, right? So it was just a beautiful experience and breath

Rev. Louis Tillman 55:23
was beautiful. I think yes, that was probably written on my, my hands. Oh, you're right there. But yeah, that was awesome. Um, I wrote down something that you said, and it was a thing that we're all if I can use my theological language called to love one another, help one another and learn from one another. So what is the vision that you have? I mean, what's your message to the world? Well, I,

Dina Kunin 55:58
I feel that my message would be to choose connection, to choose happiness, to choose gratitude, you know, to choose positive mindset, because a positive mindset does not change your situation. But it does change the way you respond to things that will help you transform your life.

Rev. Louis Tillman 56:27
I'm so thankful that you talk to me about therapy early on your story for the I see a therapist. And remember, the first thing they said to me that just rocked my world was that I'm only responsible for my actions and reactions to situations. Mine being the operative word, not someone else's. So if somebody is hostile, I'm only responsible by meet them at that level if I choose to take a different route. So very thankful that you had said that. And then the final question I have, with that vision that you're casting out to the world, what can we as listeners be doing to help carry that vision, or to help you with the message and the work that you're doing?

Dina Kunin 57:12
Well, to bring it to just a completely basic level, it would be just, you know, choose kindness, choose to take a deep breath before you react in a situation, choose to do something good, whether it's on a small level, on a one on one level, whether it's you know, through your community, through certain organizations through church, just do something that is good, that you can handle. Because we all can handle something, we just choose to not leave our comfort zones, which, you know, if you don't leave your comfort zone ever, it will eventually kill you. either literally or you know, metaphorically. So I feel that we are all responsible for how things are going to turn out. And because we are so interconnected, one action does make a difference. And I just really hope that, you know, the listeners feel the connection. And it gives you hope that you're not alone, even when it feels like it. And there are a lot of like minded individuals out there that want the same thing.

Rev. Louis Tillman 58:43
That's amazing. And I think I've said this like three times as the last question, I'm going to ask, what is it that keeps you going each day? Because I think the number one battle that we face is just waking up and taking one day at a time. What is it that has given you? I don't know that energy, the tenacity veracity to just continue to inform, influence and inspire those?

Dina Kunin 59:16
Well, for me, it is definitely you know, I'm very spiritual. So taking time for myself and practicing certain things. And just being in nature and being grateful. And just being mindful of the little things. You know, obviously I'm only human, I get frustrated. I have bad days, but just being able to, you know, come back into focus, realize that this is just a bad moment and also realize that I do have control over shifting, you know, my state of being whether it's my physical state of meaning or, you know, the state of being of where I'm at in a current situation or the state of being of the world as a collective some. I have faith and I have hope. I believe in humanity and connectedness, I know that there's a lot more good than evil out there. And I just really would love to have these outlets where people can share and come together, and through that find the community and connectedness and realize how much more powerful and stronger we are together.

Rev. Louis Tillman 1:00:45
Wow, that was in charge, amen. Say and are the same spiritual rounds. Ashay. So, Dina Hakuna and thank you so much, I remember we are talking about envisioning transformation. I'm your host, the host of the most we know revenue with Salman, please go to all to get a grasp of to some powerful and dynamic and amazing people like her. You don't want to miss out because again, these are amazing connections, these amazing stories, Dana magnetic again, I can't uplift you enough. Thank you for just taking time out and being with us. In church, when you said the song that I love so much that somebody prayed for me and had me on their mind. They took the time to pray for me. I'm just so thankful somebody prayed for me. I'm just so thankful that you took the time to be with us. And really the mission to walk alongside you and your journey and to help uplift and empower as we continue to carry out a vision that you have cast for us. So again, it's so great to be able to do another amazing interview and you all just stay locked. We have a lot of great stories along with you. Peace