Rising Through Resilience: Timmy Luistro of Dharmic Soul On The Five Things You Can Do To Become More Resilient During Turbulent Times

Savio P. Clemente
Authority Magazine
Published in
14 min readNov 22, 2021

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Emptying — when times get really tough, we tend to hold many thoughts and emotions both in the body and mind, similar to tension building up. Like many parents, I tend to keep everything inside because I need to appear and be strong for my children. We can instead allow ourselves to cry and release everything surrounding this difficult period. There have been many nights where I wept and wailed when things felt intensely heavy and difficult to bear, which is a cathartic release.

Resilience has been described as the ability to withstand adversity and bounce back from difficult life events. Times are not easy now. How do we develop greater resilience to withstand the challenges that keep being thrown at us? In this interview series, we are talking to mental health experts, authors, resilience experts, coaches, and business leaders who can talk about how we can develop greater resilience to improve our lives.

As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Timmy Luistro.

Timmy Luistro is an Ayurvedic Counselor, Yoga and Meditation Teacher, and the founder of Dharmic Soul.

She obtained her yoga teacher certification in 2014 and expanded her knowledge in diet, lifestyle and self-healing through Ayurveda. She founded Dharmic Soul to share her passion for healthy living, nutrition, and cosmic oneness through her 1:1 coaching program, Conscious Living.

Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your backstory?

My journey through resilience began when I decided to end my marriage at age 30 and raise two young children on my own. Peace and freedom were worth much more than staying in a violent home. I took out two loans to pay for the annulment and to go to Koh Phangan, Thailand for a yoga teacher training. When I returned from Thailand, I took the big step. My children and I moved out with only our clothes and books. From then on, it was round-the-clock parenting on top of a full-time corporate job. I did and was everything because I could not afford to hire extra help for the first two years. I took up a second job to earn extra income as a yoga teacher and I would use my lunch break from the office to clean our unit and cook dinner. In 2018, we moved to Bali so I could manage a yoga school. Back then, it seemed like a good move as I was going to get to do more of what I loved. When COVID hit and Bali closed to tourists in March 2020, our yoga school also closed. That year was the most challenging for me mentally and emotionally. With the help of my partner, who is a counselor, and with my continued spiritual practice, I was able to emerge from this period of anxiety, despair, and depression. I pursued further studies and set up Dharmic Soul to offer my services as an Ayurvedic Counselor.

Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?

Definitely! Dharmic Soul’s Conscious Living program was born in Jerry Maguire-like fashion. One July night in 2019, I had a moment of inspiration wherein I had a clear vision of what I would be doing in the future: I would be facilitating health and wellness workshops to people who worked corporate jobs, and I would be helping them maintain their health and self-healing through nutrition, exercise, and meditation. I saw myself standing in a room with a group of people as I led the workshops, and it was so vivid to me that I sat up and wrote the program all night. While I did not finish writing the program that evening and submit a vision statement the following day like Jerry Maguire did, I now see that evening as my higher self or inner voice communicating to me.

Ever since we moved to Bali in mid-2018, I had this inner voice saying to me that I had to be ready, I had to have a Plan B. I am glad I listened to that inner voice and kept working on the Conscious Living program until the first half of 2020. We were severely impacted by COVID, but I had the Conscious Living program come to life two years later, and I am so excited to take it to the next phase post-COVID.

The key takeaway from this experience is to listen to that inner voice and trust it!

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Just as Jerry Maguire had to struggle with building his own agency as he worked one-on-one with Rod Tidwell, I face similar challenges building and expanding Dharmic Soul with limited time, energy, and resources. It’s a solo act and doing it all while running a household and managing two teenagers is all about balance, not perfection — but “I am going to take my one-on-one clients, and we are going to go all the way!”

I give every one of my clients personal attention and dedication outside of their live coaching calls so that they get the most out of their Conscious Living program.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

I am grateful every day for the present that my partner, Chris, is to me. He has always been a constant cheerleader and supporter. He encourages me to listen to my heart and follow my dreams despite all the challenges I faced. At my lowest, Chris encouraged me to voice out my fears and frustrations and held a safe space. He always listened and lovingly helped me through every setback. In the past, most of my relationships made me silent and I had to bear my crosses alone. I am eternally grateful to Chris for believing in me when no one else did.

Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. We would like to explore and flesh out the trait of resilience. How would you define resilience? What do you believe are the characteristics or traits of resilient people?

Resilience is one’s ability to see the light in the darkest moments, and thereafter, recognizing this darkness as a process and opportunity to become the light, just as the dusk moves to dawn.

People with resilience are fighters. No matter how many times one gets knocked down, they always get back up. There is an inner and outer battle that is being faced at the same time, and a soul warrior is how I would describe resilient people. They trust that the future will be alright, no matter how uncertain or how many factors are unknown. They also develop a certain inner tenderness, or empathy towards others because they themselves have had it tough. Some may have a tough exterior but are very soft inside once you get to really know them.

Courage is often likened to resilience. In your opinion how is courage both similar and different to resilience?

Courage and resilience are similar because both are virtues born of personal challenges. They are different wherein the first is the ability to face fears, and the latter is the ability to rise from difficulty. In difficult times, both go hand-in-hand. You need to have courage to face the unknown and resilience to keep on going no matter how many times you get knocked down.

When you think of resilience, which person comes to mind? Can you explain why you chose that person?

When I think of resilience, I remember my dad. He had a hard life growing up as he started working at age 14 so he could help his parents put his four sisters through school. He was very disciplined, a hard-worker, and was very humble. He often told stories of himself walking 20 kilometers every day to go to school and assisting his math teacher grade his classmates’ test papers and assignments. When he was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer, he carried himself and lived his final year with utmost dignity and grace. He never complained about anything all the way until he left the body.

Has there ever been a time that someone told you something was impossible, but you did it anyway? Can you share the story with us?

Yes. I can tell you of two significant instances.

The first was in 2014. My parents were initially dismayed and disappointed that I decided to do a yoga teacher training instead of an MBA which would further my corporate career. A product of the generation they lived in, they were both traditional and believed that a corporate job with benefits should have been the career to pursue to support my children as a single mother. They said that no other job would give the stability and security my previous corporate job offered.

I mustered all the courage in me and followed my heart. I chose the yoga teacher training because I love yoga. I was naturally good at it and experienced first-hand how it helped me realize my own strength and path to self-healing.

The second instance is, before Dharmic Soul went live online in July this year, I was told that it would not be successful. I went ahead and put up Dharmic Soul anyway! There is something more exciting, more fulfilling, and more frighteningly soul baring by building and working on what I really love.

These were big obstacles I had to overcome. Between pleasing parents and hearing that I could not succeed, this brought about many unpleasant exchanges and emotions. I tried to be what my parents wanted me to be and to stay on the course that was offered to me, but it meant not responding to my heart’s calling. In the end, I chose to stay true to what my heart had been saying to me for many years. I had to listen to the Heart. Having already done otherwise was soul-crushing.

Did you have a time in your life where you had one of your greatest setbacks, but you bounced back from it stronger than ever? Can you share that story with us?

Yes. When one gets married, we like to believe it is forever. However, my marriage crumbled very quickly, and I died from within. If I had not had any children, I would have given up on living entirely. I kept on for their sake, and I lived on the outside for them only. I was determined to give my children a better life, the life I had always dreamt and imagined for them.

For a long time, their future was my north star, and it was a domino effect from there. I simply did not have the money to start afresh. To afford bringing the children up on my own, I had to earn more, so I worked harder and had to accomplish tasks smarter. I had to get my mind and parenting skills in shape to be able to handle single parenting, so I studied counseling and child psychology. To keep my energy up, I kept myself in shape by getting up early to exercise first thing in the morning and eating healthy. One day, my best friend from work invited me to a yoga class which I resisted at first. I was very fortunate that my first class was led by a teacher who embodied yoga, and I admired how he taught and carried himself. He would sometimes stay after class to share the wisdom and teachings of yoga with me. I developed an interest in learning more about the true essence of yoga, and this led me to go to the yoga teacher training in Koh Phangan in Thailand.

Even with all the tight budgeting, I did not know how I could raise two kids with the salary I was making. It took a lot of guts to take out two loans to invest in our future. When I completed the yoga teacher training, everything flowed from there. I emerged from the training and returned to the Philippines with more courage, confidence and trust that taking the big step towards our freedom and peace of mind was a necessary leap of faith.

We are where we are today because that dream of forever died and I went through a journey of inner transformation supported by kind-hearted people and a series of conscious events.

How have you cultivated resilience throughout your life? Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Can you share a story?

I went through a very difficult relationship break up in my early 20’s and I cried buckets of tears. I credit my parents for instilling faith in a higher power as a way of cultivating resilience. They always cued, “Pray to God” for every hurdle and anything we wanted to achieve. When I felt that my prayers weren’t taking effect immediately, I ran many miles to get into a meditative state, as if I was expending the energy of heartbreak away. I read Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsch which gave me a wider perspective on life, love, and overcoming challenges. My angel best friend also reminded me that I could turn my pain into art. I created a scrapbook and put together photos of loved ones, personal achievements, inspiring quotes, poetry, and essays that grabbed me. It took me a few weeks to put the scrapbook together, and I still add to it today, such as notes that my children give to me. I look at it from time to time and it reminds me that something beautiful can come out of the worst of times.

Resilience is like a muscle that can be strengthened. In your opinion, what are 5 steps that someone can take to become more resilient? Please share a story or an example for each.

Throughout my own experiences, I observed these five steps within myself during the most difficult times. Each step progressed to the next, and sometimes, I would return to one of the earlier steps even after “moving forward”.

1. Emptying — when times get really tough, we tend to hold many thoughts and emotions both in the body and mind, similar to tension building up. Like many parents, I tend to keep everything inside because I need to appear and be strong for my children. We can instead allow ourselves to cry and release everything surrounding this difficult period. There have been many nights where I wept and wailed when things felt intensely heavy and difficult to bear, which is a cathartic release.

2. Perspective — many people have it much worse than you, and many others have faced similar issues and overcome them. When we think about how many others in underdeveloped countries or war-torn areas have it really tough on survival mode, this quickly changes my perspective about my own challenges. Just thinking about this allows us to have a glimmer of hope for our situation and be grateful. The shift to gratitude sets a more positive, action-mode attitude for everything else that I have and this opportunity to further refine my character, develop new skills, and expand.

3. Inspire — having a strong purpose or “why” is key to building resilience. When you have a strong purpose, it becomes your fuel when you are running on low or empty. When my marriage broke down, fortunately, I could not just give up easily. My children were my reason to keep on going. I stayed in the marriage for a few more years with no life inside of me, just for them. Their well-being and their future were so important to me that it generated an inner fire to become a better mother, person, and example to them. If we cannot yet find this why, it helps to be inspired by others. I remember watching The Pursuit of Happyness and identifying with the main character so well. His story felt like my story when I was in the middle of all my own difficulty; but seeing how far he had gone to keep alive and win the internship inspired me to keep going.

4. Build Up — when the going gets tough, self-care is essential. Keep the body, mind, and spirit strong by eating well and exercising, meditating or praying, and surrounding yourself with positivity, such as listening to uplifting music, being in nature, and reading inspiring books. It is not always easy. There were many mornings I woke up and wished that I did not have to get up. But step 3 (Inspire) made me get out of bed and do what was necessary. Other times, I reverted to step 1 (Emptying). Somehow the Build Up phase would build incrementally, and over time, I would feel stronger and more capable of handling day-to-day things with more ease.

5. Alchemize — the toughest times in our lives can bring out the best in us and this is the perfect opportunity to turn ourselves into gold. The most beautiful things are created out of the highest pressure points, like a diamond formed at very high temperatures and pressure. We can forge a shiny, diamond character by purposefully being loving, kind and compassionate towards others in the midst of our storm — this, in itself, is difficult, but paying it forward or being generous to those in need somehow feels like we have healed some wounds we have inside. Aside from the many outward or worldly things we can create out of these moments, we get to cultivate inner strength, faith, and trust in what is and what will be.

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 would love Oneness to be directly experienced and felt by everyone. When this Oneness is experienced, we genuinely see every single being and feel invisible particles of air as all of us and within us. This is the unifying love that all the great ones have spoken of, and when this happens, our mindset, our motives, and our actions move from a higher place of love, goodness, gratitude, and service for all.

This is generated in many ways, with one common example seen at a sports stadium where a crowd gets together to cheer in unity for their team. A much more profound, yet indescribable way to experience Oneness is through meditation or deep states of prayer which has a more lasting and significant impact by transforming the brain’s neural connections and increasing the heart’s capacity to open and love.

We are blessed that some very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them :-)

It’s a long shot, but I would love to have a private breakfast with the Dalai Lama. I tried to meet him in Bodh Gaya, India in January 2020, and I missed him by one day due to my work schedule and travel plans. He is getting older, and I would love to be in his presence to receive his blessings and wisdom.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Conscious Living is found in www.dharmicsoul.com, and readers can join me to receive inspiration and motivation at:

Facebook @dharmicsoul

Instagram @_dharmicsoul_

LinkedIn timmy-luistro

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

Thank you for this opportunity to share my experiences with you!

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Savio P. Clemente
Authority Magazine

TEDx Speaker, Media Journalist, Board Certified Wellness Coach, Best-Selling Author & Cancer Survivor