Joie De Vivre, Living With A Ravenous Thirst For Life: “When people are afraid they are not happy” with Susan Nefzger and Dr. Marina Kostina

I had the pleasure of interviewing Susan Nefzger, a veteran PR pro, speaker, and author of A Practical Guide to Awareness, which is a step by step guide to finding fulfillment through self-discovery. Its companion workbook is” Putting Awareness Into Practice.”


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Certainly. I had an urge to write a book my entire life, but not until I had an email from the International Association of Conscious & Creative Writers was I drawn to travel to Glastonbury, England and discover the inspiration for my book. The first day of a writing retreat there I started writing the book and my life was transformed through the transformative process of writing. I knew I would have to integrate that experience into my life and it caused many changes.

What does it mean for you to live “on purpose”? Can you explain? How can one achieve that?

From my perspective, living “on purpose” means being completely self aware of what your true purpose is and how you can fulfill that purpose. Also, being mindful in each moment of who you are and how you proceed in the world.

Do you have an example or story in your own life of how your pain helped to guide you to finding your life’s purpose?

Yes, the rest of the story continues from when I attended a Conscious Writing retreat in Glastonbury at the Glastonbury Abbey Ruins. The very first day, I mind-mapped the outline for the book, then I walked out into the gardens and started writing the book. It was the process and the people in the group that actually initiated the clarity of space which allowed me to align with my creative consciousness and it poured out of me. Writing the book and becoming aligned in creativity through the process, changed everything about my life. It eventually resulted in a divorce, but I was fully confident it was for the best as I had to follow my path of bringing the message of self awareness to everyone. In fact, it has been a burning motivation for me ever since and I am in love with the work.

The United States is currently rated at #18 in the World Happiness Report. Can you share a few reasons why you think the ranking is so low?

Yes, I can. I feel that the United States is not focused on a coming together as a nation or recognizing that we are all one, the prevailing school of thought is one of us against them. So anyone who is different is a problem, and I feel that religious dogma all too often focuses on control through fear based tactics. So that when people are afraid they are not happy!

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I have developed a curriculum for self-awareness workshops so that people can discover their true gift and purpose in order to share it with the world. When we all become self aware and live our passion on purpose, we lift the planet up.

What are your 6 strategies to help you face your day with exuberance, “Joie De Vivre” and a “ravenous thirst for life”? Can you please give a story or example for each?

My six strategies for facing the day with exuberance are the following:

1) Create Space in Your Day:

Create space in your daily life that brings you to awareness. By doing so, you recognize potential conflicts or issues ahead of time, which allows for less pressure and less overscheduling of your day.

Start with the mindset to have time to yourself for a certain part of the day, even it you just start with 5 minutes a day to begin.

2) Gratitude Recognition:

Start your day with gratitude, even for the simple things like a hot cup of coffee, a comfortable bed, a beautiful flower, whatever is immediately present.

This way we become aware once again of our life and its positive moments rather than just the negative aspects or what a busy day we have ahead etc…

One way to make it a habit is to write it down on a piece of paper and put it in a container.

3) Surround yourself with things that inspire you such as beautiful objects, sentimental pieces and uplifting artwork:

This works to meet you with visual pleasantness as soon as you wake up and look around. Wake up and read inspirational material to yourself, whatever that may be before you check your email or turn on the TV.

4) Movement:

Start your day by doing something to physically move, like stretching, bending, yoga asanas, walking outside and breathing deeply while bending and stretching.

The transfer of oxygen to our body is enlivening and can help our mood.

5) Positivity: Be confident in the knowledge that TODAY anything is possible! And try to see the opportunities in things that occur instead of the negative aspects.

6) Smile! When we smile and share joy with others we feel happy too.

All of these steps assist me in facing my day with exuberance and they do work. I am living proof.

Do you have any favorite books, podcasts, or resources that most inspired you to live with a thirst for life?

Yes, I do. My journey toward self awareness began 30 years ago, and I was introduced to the Self-Realization Fellowship founded by Paramahansa Yogananda. His “Autobiography of A Yogi” is enlightening. There are groups all over the world where you can practice Kriya Yoga. I also studied many spiritual masters and modern experts such as Brian Weiss MD, his series surrounding Past Lives. His first book, “Many LIves Many Masters” was a complete light bulb moment for me on my spiritual journey.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote” that relates to having a Joie De Vivre? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Focus on what you want! It brings you back to center every time and you remember what is important every moment of every day.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

I am beginning self awareness workshops utilizing a curriculum I developed with my 2 books in order to help people become self aware in order to discover their true purpose. When we are following our true passions in life we are happy. We can share that with others and lift them up to higher levels of realization and happiness. Then the happiness is shared throughout the world. Being aware translates to being present. When we are present we allow for synchronicity and flow. This alleviates so much stress and despair, because we realize we can relax and not have to be in control all the time.