Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan


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Sandy Queen addresses the importance of spiritual wellness

Courtney Kowalke/Winonan

Wellness expert and motivational speaker Sandy Queen discussed the importance of spiritual well being during Thursday’s presentation at Winona State University, “A Spirited Look at Wellness!  Treading Lightly on the Importance of Spirituality in Wellness.”

“If you’re not having fun with your spirit you’re not spiritual,” Queen said.  “That’s dogma.  That’s fear.”

The event was held in Stark Hall and was attended by 50 students, faculty, and community members.

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Queen was the third speaker of Winona State University’s 2012-2013 Lyceum series.

Her main philosophy is “Lighten up – this is the only life you have!”

The daughter of a Baptist preacher – an influence she cites as both the best and the worst of her formative years – Queen graduated summa cum laude from Towson State University with a B.S. in psychology and has spoken internationally about spirituality.

Through her wide variety of workshops and keynotes, Queen’s ability to use humor, even for serious topics, has gained her a widespread reputation for helping people take a look at their lives, attitudes, and feelings, and find places to “lighten up,” both personally and professionally.

Queen believes that spiritual well-being is a function of our ability to appreciate ourselves, develop an attitude of positive self-regard, and from that make positive choices to give the greatest chance for optimum living.

“I don’t assume or presume to tell you anything tonight that you don’t already know,” she said.

However, Queen noted spirituality is typically the least talked about aspect of overall wellness.

“People think you can’t talk about spirituality without religion, but that’s not true,” Queen said.

Though they are closely linked, Queen made distinctions between the two concepts.

According to her, religion has boundaries, rites and rituals, and more answers than questions.  In contrast, spirituality is open, awed, and asks more questions than it provides answers.

“With spirituality, all I can tell you is how I feel at this moment,” Queen said.

Queen believes healthy religion allows laughter and questioning, acknowledges there is a dark side to spirituality, discusses what qualifies as “sin,” and inspires people to act.

She also emphasized the element of joy in spirituality, citing Jesus as a key religious figure who understood the importance of being happy.

“There are these constipated Christians out there who don’t like it when you start having fun, and they don’t like it when you start asking questions,” she said.

“I’m not here to blast religion,” Queen clarified, noting her denomination is still a big part of her life and that she loves her church.

“I think rituals are a beautiful part of who we are, and they sometimes show that we are more alike than we are different in each religion.”

Queen believes love is the one underlying personal truth everyone has in common.

“I don’t care what church you go to,” she said.  “Everyone has a little bit of everything.  It’s about meaning and purpose and having a connection with your core.”

Queen seemed to consider this statement before she added, “A connection with your soul.  We’re afraid to say ‘soul’ these days, but if we get rid of ‘soul’ we get rid of what we need to talk about.”

When discussing wellness, Queen discussed the power of three and how the body, mind, and spirit are perpetually linked.

Linking spiritual to physical, Queen noted that in Hebrew, the word “ruach” means both “breath” and “spirit.”

“You can’t live without either one,” she said.

Additionally, the act of being spiritual should be as easy as breathing, but we don’t identify it as such.

“Both breathing and being spiritual are about being in this moment right now and cherishing this moment,” Queen said, citing both as “primal stuff that comes with being alive.”

“There’s nothing tied to [these experiences],” she said.  “It just is.  You can have good health or bad health, but you always have health.  It’s the same with your spirit.”

Similarly Queen connected mental and emotional health to spiritual wellness.

“If you aren’t healed in spirit, it doesn’t go away,” she said.  “What your mind possesses your body expresses.  You are the way you are because of what you do.”

In support of this idea she also cited Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity, which is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

“All I can ask is for the enlightenment to see the connections between my habits and actions and where they’re taking me so I can truly have healing,” Queen said.

Queen reminded the audience that healthy spirituality asks us to question everything, condemn nothing, and to “take a look at things that aren’t necessarily in our own little box.”

Queen also recommended embracing the spirituality of imperfection.

“We’re all a mess,” she said.  “We can’t be perfect.  But think about the cracks in a sidewalk.  What grows in those cracks?  Flowers do, and flowers can’t grow in a perfect sidewalk.”


Contact Courtney at [email protected]

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