Total Health: Rosemary Schmidt of Gainline Press On How We Can Optimize Our Mental, Physical, Emotional, & Spiritual Wellbeing

Authority Magazine Editorial Staff
Authority Magazine
Published in
14 min readNov 15, 2022


Photo Credit: Natalie Nigito Photography

Make room for art in your life. Choose carefully what you surround yourself with. Studies show that simply gazing at a painting can have a calming, centering effect. For example, I happened across the painting by Carol Aust at the Left Bank Gallery on the Cape, a girl running, leaping in mid-air, against a backdrop of cyan blue sky and peach-ish tinged clouds, and it was so inspiring, I had to have it, and it ultimately became the cover of the book. It hangs over my writing nook.

Often when we refer to wellness, we assume that we are talking about physical wellbeing. But one can be physically very healthy but still be unwell, emotionally or mentally. What are the steps we can take to cultivate optimal wellness in all areas of our life; to develop Mental, Physical, Emotional, & Spiritual Wellbeing?

As a part of our series about “How We Can Cultivate Our Mental, Physical, Emotional, & Spiritual Wellbeing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Rosemary Schmidt.

Rosemary Schmidt is a Boston-area Author, Blogger, and Geologist. She has authored two books, the first of which was published in 2003, Go Forward, Support! The Rugby of Life, which explores life lessons drawn from the sport of rugby. Her second book, The Happy Clam, a book all about happiness, was released in 2020 in the early days of the pandemic, and parallels her blog, Rosebud’s Blog, where she regularly posts about current events, art, science, and culture.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

I was the youngest of two, born in Colorado, where my family had moved for my sister’s health, as she was born with one lung and had asthma. The odds were really stacked up against her, and she beat them over and over again. I always felt lucky just to be able to breathe. My family had a pizza shop when we were little, so we grew up eating a lot of pizza!

What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.

Which one? I always knew that I wanted to write, but I also enjoyed science. I have to credit both my fifth-grade creative writing teacher, Mrs. Scanlan, and my sixth grade science teacher, Mrs. Ciszak, for making it fun and inspiring me.

None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?

It wasn’t so much encouragement as it was an extremely lucky break. In my senior year of college at the University of Dayton, I had the itch to write, and so I submitted a sample column to The Flyer News, and the Editors, Keith Elchert and Gayle Heiby Podczerwinski, picked me, an unknown Geology major, to write a weekly column. This was unheard of. Who does that? The columns were usually reserved for senior Journalism majors. And so, every Sunday, I would deliver my column, typed up on my little manual typewriter, sliding it under the door by noon, and then start the week wondering what I’d write about next. I have been forever grateful for this experience.

Years later when I would meet with Brian McGrory to explore opportunities at The Boston Globe, while he could not offer me a columnist position, he encouraged me to start a blog, which I did.

While writing my blog, I met Dr. Nancy Etcoff, who was giving a talk about happiness at Boston’s HUBweek in 2015. She encouraged me, telling me that there was room in the world for another book about happiness.

The most surprising source of encouragement was from my banker at Citizens Bank. I’d called to check out loan options for printing my first book, and she told me to just keep writing, and that even if the first book didn’t go anywhere, I needed to write that second book. She just had a feeling. Mind you, I hadn’t even finished the first book yet when she said that. I had no idea what a second book would even look like. I clung to those words for many years.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?

The name of my publishing company, Gainline Press, is very difficult to say, explain, or spell. I picked it because it was very clean from a Trademark standpoint, and it also holds meaning as a rugby term, as it’s the equivalent to the line of scrimmage. In rugby, you have to pass the ball behind you, backwards, and so you often lose yardage before you start gaining ground. It’s equally true in business that sometimes, most times, you have to spend and invest some money before you start bringing in money. So, I liked it as a rugby term, but didn’t realize I’d be spelling it and saying it over and over again, correcting people. “No, not Gameline, Gamelime, Gainlime…it’s Gainline, N as in Nancy” Alas. Likewise, the original working title of my first book was Rugby and the Meaning of Life, much simpler and easier to remember. The lesson: Go with your first thought, it’s probably best. Don’t over think things.

Funny story, after my first deposit posted after a couple of sales of my book for a grand total of $13, I got a letter from my bank, as they had noticed some suspicious unusual account activity.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

Only one? That’s like asking a mother which one of her kids is her favorite child. I love good fiction, well-written stories, I love to laugh. Reading fiction is also so good for us, as it builds empathy. Story telling is very human. I enjoy reading Sophie Kinsella, Louise Penny, Amy Tan, Janet Evanovich, Andrew Sean Greer, and Anthony Doerr. I’m also a big non-fiction junkie — Dr. Martin E. P. Seligman, Daniel Gilbert. Can you tell I’m hedging on this one?

I was recently introduced to children’s books, volunteering with the Read to a Child program pre-pandemic, where an adult is paired up w/ a child and you read to the child one day per week at lunchtime. Some of those books are pure genius — If I Built a Car (Chris Van Dusen) Dragons Love Tacos (Adam Rubin), The Word Collector (Peter H. Reynolds). I learned the most from these stories and this experience. In my head, I had visions of reading Good Night Moon and other sweet little books. When I met my child, he came bounding down the hallway, as if he had been shot out of a canon. I quickly learned that books had to be exciting and action-packed. Good bye Good Night Moon! We had one rule: To have fun reading books together. We didn’t have to finish a book if we didn’t like it. We could skip pages. We could skip to the very last page if we wanted to. It was rather freeing. And some days, he would have an appointment in the principal’s office afterwards, and he would stomp down the hall, saying “Con-se-quences!” I realized that he had probably built up more resilience in his short first-grade life than some of us who have made it a point to follow all the rules all the time.

Photo Credit: Natalie Nigito Photography

Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?

It’s a quote from George Eliot (aka Mary Ann Evans): “What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult to each other?”

I just really like the message, that we can all help each other out.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

I put on a Geodes and Journals program at the local Boys & Girls Club this past summer, which was funded through a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Each child in the program received a couple of geodes and a journal, and over the course of four hours, we covered over four billion years of Earth history and introduced the kids to journal writing. Who doesn’t love geodes? Plus they offer the perfect metaphor. While they look like ordinary rocks, when you crack them open, they reveal beautiful crystals inside. Equally, the journals offer a blank space where thoughts can crystallize on paper. I’m hopeful the project helps kids get excited about science and writing. Journal writing can serve as an outlet, a way to process all the emotions, especially with the challenges over the past several years during the pandemic.

While working on this project, I was reminded of a couple of quotes shared by Dr. Etcoff at her talk:

“Be the person you had (or wish you had) in your life.”

“Give away what you want in life.”

I’m not sure of the origins of the quotes, but the first time I heard them was at her talk.

OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. In this interview series we’d like to discuss cultivating wellness habits in four areas of our lives: Mental wellness, Physical wellness, Emotional wellness, & Spiritual wellness. Let’s dive deeper into these together. Based on your research or experience, can you share with our readers three good habits that can lead to optimum mental wellness? Please share a story or example for each.

This sounds great, as my book, The Happy Clam, has oodles of suggestions on these exact topics. I’ll share just a few here.

Try to use both sides of your brain. Just because you are a scientist doesn’t mean that you can’t also do art, music, or writing. An artist can also appreciate science and gain an understanding of the natural world. Keep an open mind.

Make room for art in your life. Choose carefully what you surround yourself with. Studies show that simply gazing at a painting can have a calming, centering effect. For example, I happened across the painting by Carol Aust at the Left Bank Gallery on the Cape, a girl running, leaping in mid-air, against a backdrop of cyan blue sky and peach-ish tinged clouds, and it was so inspiring, I had to have it, and it ultimately became the cover of the book. It hangs over my writing nook.

Make room for play, stay child-like. But not at the art museum, you need to behave there, or there will be consequences. It’s probably what I loved most about playing rugby, this spirit of play. Playfulness.

Do you have a specific type of meditation practice or Yoga practice that you have found helpful? We’d love to hear about it.

When I wake up two hours before my alarm, I take the opportunity to send positive thoughts out to the people in my life, and in the world. It can be as simple as saying/thinking “God bless so-and-so.” It helps re-direct thought to an outward focus on others, wondering how they’re doing, and sending out positive thoughts their way.

Thank you for that. Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum physical wellness? Please share a story or example for each.

Wall Angels. I learned how to do these while doing physical therapy for my neck, traumatized by driving on the Long Island Expressway, after which I vowed never to drive it again, and realized that I’d probably be happy retiring to a Jessica Fletcher-like life getting around by bicycle in Cabot Cove, Maine, aside from the high crime rate there (really, a murder per week?). Anyway, this exercise is life changing, and can fix “tech-neck” and improve poor posture. It involves simply standing with your head and back flat against the wall (or as flat as reasonably practical, given that there’s a curve to it), with your feet about six inches out from the wall, and shoulder-width apart, and arms raised to your sides (also flat against the wall), bent 90 degrees at the elbow, palms facing out. And then just stand there and breathe. Deep breath in, deep breath out. They should also be wearing non-slip shoes. When I first started doing these, I could only do two or three deep breaths. Now I can do twenty. Be patient with yourself. Definitely consult your health care provider before starting any exercise regimen. I do these almost every morning.

Sleep. Get an extra hour of sleep at night and you’ll be amazed at how much better you feel the next day! I have a theory that the entire East Coast is one hour of less sleep grumpy relative to our compatriots in other time zones. If we want to watch the Sunday night football game, it’s an hour or two or three later for us, and yet 8 AM arrives all the same, alas. Ditto for the Oscars, etc.

Walk. We have walked a lot of miles during the pandemic. Unable to go places, we traversed our neighborhoods and nature more than ever. The movement, fresh-air, and sunshine are like hitting a reset button on your router.

Do you have any particular thoughts about healthy eating? We all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, etc. But while we know it intellectually, it’s often difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion what are the main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives?

Agreed, sugar is addictive, and somehow fats were made the bad guys when we were growing up. All the while, sugar was being added to everything, the empty carbs ramping up our triglycerides.

The number one obstacle: habit. It’s just what you get used to. Something crazy happened during the pandemic. We ordered our groceries from Instacart for nearly the first year. Well, guess what? We only put things on our list that we needed. And the Instacart shopper only bought what was on the list. The usual impulse purchases in the snack/bread/bakery aisles were gone. And if it isn’t in the house, you can’t eat it. I mean, we weren’t perfect. One time, two cans of Pringles showed up in our Instacart order, the sour cream and onions ones. We didn’t order them. We decided that God must have wanted us to have them.

Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum emotional wellness? Please share a story or example for each.

Tend to your garden of friends. Pay attention to people. It’s well-documented that one’s social connectedness is the number one predictor of long-term health and happiness. It takes time and energy. That’s why the pandemic pulled such a double whammy on us. We were deprived of our usual social interactions, while we were also working our tails off to keep up with work.

Don’t take things personally. Easier said than done. I struggle with this one still. The challenge is this: how do you care, but not be bothered? Some of the greatest frustrations in my life wound up being the equivalent of a glitch in a software program; a clerical or accounting error. Now I know I should never have been bothered by it. But looking back at, I can understand why it would have been hard not be bothered.

Change the channel. Re-direct yourself to a different line of thought, rather than the things that are bothering you.

Do you have any particular thoughts about the power of smiling to improve emotional wellness? We’d love to hear it.

I have a saying: The most important thing I put on every morning is the smile on my face!

We’ve all heard about Dr. Amy Cuddy’s work, showing that while powerful people take more powerful postures, it works in reverse as well. Just by taking a powerful pose (arms raised above head for example), the body will create certain chemicals and you will feel more confident and powerful.

Likewise, we can also induce happiness in reverse by smiling. When we feel happy, we smile. When we smile, we feel happier as a result. The muscles involved in smiling actually trigger the creation of chemicals that make us feel happier.

Finally, can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum spiritual wellness? Please share a story or example for each.

Practice “Namaste.” By saying the light in me honors the light in you, we recognize that we’re all of the light, and part of something larger. Try to see the “god and poet” in each other, as writer Brenda Ueland put it.

Be open to the universe. Quiet the mind so that you can tune into the spiritual world.

Look beyond differences. All love is God’s love. If we all thought and spoke the same, life would be easy, and there would be no conflict. To quote Rumi: “How many paths are there to God? There are as many paths to God as there are souls on earth.”

Do you have any particular thoughts about how being “in nature” can help us to cultivate spiritual wellness?

Being in nature, seeing the vastness of the oceans, plains, mountains, and forests, all remind us how small we are, and yet the miracle of creation. It connects us with being a part of something larger, not apart from it. We’re all in this together on this 4.6 billion year-old rock spinning through space.

Ok, we are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

I think it’s always easiest to start with small, incremental change, so — how about if everyone was just a little bit kinder? For example, I’d love to introduce the little hand-wave to the East Coast. Back in the Midwest, when you’re driving on a two-lane road, and another car is approaching, it’s common to raise your hand slightly off the steering wheel and make a little wave to the other driver as you pass by, maybe even making eye contact. Contrast that with the East Coast where we’re far more likely to give a finger than a wave at someone while driving. Joan Osbornes’s song, “One of Us,” evokes the communal indignities of public transportation, riding on a bus, but I have a feeling that if she’d asked the same question about God being a driver in another car, the song would go differently.

The other thing I’d love to see is for the Geodes and Journals Program to expand nationally. All it takes is a couple of Geologists, geodes, and journals, and it could make a world of difference. If anyone is interested, I’m happy to share the handouts I prepared.

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

I would love to have breakfast with Aesha Scott, Chief Stew on Bravo’s Below Deck Down Under. She has such a positive attitude; she has become a bit of a role model for me. In the span of ten charters, and the confines of a super yacht, the show is a microcosm of the work environment, a case study in leadership and team building.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Check out my blog on for updates on the book, talks, interviews, etc.

Remember, that’s N as in Nancy… and there’s no lime in Gainline.

If it’s easier to remember, will take you there too.

Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.