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“Only the truth of who you are, if realized, will set you free.” - Eckhart Tolle

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What We Can Learn from Animals with Cydney Peterson – 9-26-15

August 28, 2015

As we explore the ways that we can learn about ourselves from others, we also must consider the non-human energies that are present in our life that can also teach us.  Pets in our home help us learn about patience and compassion, but what else can our pets and other animals teach us about life and ourselves?  This week we speak with a person who has devoted her life to understanding and connecting with animals, and she’ll share with us how we too can learn more for the animals in our life.

CydneyPetersonJPEG0815Cydney Peterson was born in Eau Claire, Wisconsin and has spent a lifetime building relationships with animals.  She has always felt a special connection with them. She views the human-animal relationship as a gift and that it is humanity’s responsibility to care for Mother Nature’s creatures with kindness and love.

During her studies in biology and studio art at St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, Cydney began exploring animal care and behavior. She completed a general internship at Irvine Park in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, then a specialized internship in primate care at the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago, IL. In 2003, she began working as a zookeeper at the Houston Zoo in Houston, TX. In 2005 she then moved to Racine, Wisconsin where she worked as the Primary Rhino Care Specialist and Behavior Management Coordinator.

Cydney believes in positive reinforcement training to shape animal behavior and has attained exceptional results using this technique among a broad-spectrum of species. She has successfully built trusting relationships with dogs, zebras, capybaras, giraffes, tapirs, orangutans, wolves, fennec fox, bears, large cats, and rhinoceros, among many other species. Most notably, Cydney taught the black rhinos at the Racine Zoo to participate in unrestrained, non-sedated blood draws, a wide variety of husbandry behaviors, and painting with their prehensile lip.

Through her studies with the Karen Pryor Academy of Animal Training and Behavior, Cydney has developed additional insight into shaping animal behavior and clarified her understanding of canine communication. This has enhanced her relationship with her own dogs and helped her to communicate these techniques with pet owners. She believes that a clear understanding of animal body language and communication is essential for a successful training program with any species; and that building trust with the animal promotes a harmonious human-animal relationship.

Cydney’s current endeavors include dog training, dog walking, and pet sitting. She enjoys continuously cultivating her knowledge of behavior and motivation and will be adding to that knowledge base by exploring the world of human psychology and behavior; studying people’s relationships with food, body image and self fulfillment through the Institute for the Psychology of Eating.

Cydney currently lives in Mount Pleasant with her husband, Adam, and two dogs, Cooper and Roscoe.

What We Can Learn From Senior Citizens with Wendy Putzi – 9-19-15

August 26, 2015

We continue our discussion about what we can learn from others, but this week on the other end of the life stage scale…..we explore what we can learn from senior citizens.  Our senior citizens hold so much information, wisdom and stories from their own life experiences, but it can sometimes require extra compassion and patience to receive those insights.   This week we speak with someone who has spent her career following her life calling serving senior citizens, and she will share her thoughts on how we can explore these rich insights and what awaits us if we are open to learning from the elderly people in our lives.

WendyPutziWendy Putzi was born in Milwaukee and raised as a country girl on a hobby farm, embracing the calm, serene beauty of nature and animals.  Her first job was as a nursing assistant in a skilled nursing home and she found deep connecting in caring for others, especially senior citizens.  After much consideration, she felt a calling to be a nurse.  She attended Columbia School of Nursing, in a program that included lots of opportunity for hands-on training and now has over 30 years of geriatric nursing experience.

Wendy’s life work has been centered around working with senior citizens, from working as a floor nurse, nursing supervisor, medicare nurse, MDS coordinator, and assistant director of nursing, all in a skilled nursing facility.  She was a leader in opening a Community Based Residential Facility (CBRF), an assisted living facility from the ground up, and now is Director of Nursing at Hart Park Square, a residential care apartment complex and assisted living facility in Wauwatosa, WI.  Here, Wendy has found her niche.

Wendy has extended her studies into Healing Touch and Reiki energy work, as well as being a holistic health practitioner, and incorporates this into her work when caring for residents.

“I am filled with deep gratitude for the residents that have been brought into my life to serve, and the amazingly beautiful gifts that they ultimately provided me.” – Wendy Putzi

What We Can Learn From Teens with Bonnie Benes – 9-12-15

August 20, 2015

We talk often on the Mind Body Spirit Living show about how we can get to know ourselves better.  This week we begin a series of shows that explore how we can learn more about ourselves…….from others.  We start by speaking with someone who does what many people would find to be nearly impossible, but that she learns and grows from it every day.

As the Head of the Middle School at The Prairie School, Bonnie Benes does what many people would find incredibly challenging, spending her days with teenagers in grades 5-8.  Each day she negotiates teen hormones, angst and drama, and all the while finds herself energized and even learning about herself in a way that no other job could.  Join us to hear Bonnie’s thoughts on what we can learn about ourselves….from teenagers.

Bonnie BenesBonnie Benes was born in the small town of Berlin, Wisconsin and was raised by parents who were educators.  She attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison and received her B.S. in Physical Education with a concentration in athletic training.  After a relocation to Racine, WI, she landed at The Prairie School.  Five years later, she returned to school to receive her M.S. in Educational Administrative Leadership from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. In 1998, she became Head of the Middle School at Prairie.

While fully immersed in her teaching career, she was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer in 1993.  She completed  her treatment regimen while continuing to work full time.  In the Spring of 2000, her breast cancer returned and Bonnie balanced her treatment schedule and work schedule to insure a smooth continuation of the school year, and returned full time to school for the beginning of the school year in the Fall of 2000.

Bonnie is an avid Wisconsin Badger fan and a mentor and inspiration to generations of parents and students.

For more about The Prairie School, go to


The Journey from India to America with Sharadha Natraj – 9-5-15

August 18, 2015

Change is challenging for anyone, but relocating from one side of the country to another is a lot of change, and to move from the traditional culture of India to America is especially significant.  As we wrap up our series of shows on journeys, we have a discussion with someone who made this physical and emotional journey, and find out what lessons came along with this significant life shift.

Sharadha Natraj

Sharadha Natraj was born in Calcutta, India. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in German from Bombay University, with the intention of becoming a translator for technical documents in German and Japanese. Her plans abruptly changed when she moved to the Midwestern US in 1985, shortly after her wedding.  Once in the US, Shardha received a graduate degree in Library Studies from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

She has been a librarian since 1988, and has worked in research and public libraries, notably the Holocaust Memorial Center Library in West Bloomfield, Michigan and the Wauwatosa Public Library. She currently works at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Architecture and Urban Planning, where she is the Director of the Resource Center, provides guidance to students with research and job searches, and is the Executive Assistant to the Dean.

Sharadha loves to cook, bake, read, connect with her two adult sons, and spend time with friends.

Embracing Life’s Journey with Markus Kasunich – 8-29-15

August 14, 2015

The ultimate journey is the journey that life takes us on….the ups and downs, the highs and the lows.  What if we lived each day with the intention to embrace everything that happens to us as a lesson and gift on the journey?  How would it change the choices you make, or the way you view the experiences that happen along the way?  This week we’ll explore how to live as if life is happening “for us” and not “to us”.  Join us to be inspired to make the most of each day.

UpdatedCroppedMarkus0514Markus Kasunich is a frequent guest on the Mind Body Spirit Living show and we eagerly welcome him back this week to provide insight on the topic of “busy-ness”. Markus is Holistic Life & Consciousness Coach, Spiritual teacher, Healer, and Professional Speaker whose key focus is helping clients reveal the unlimited potential of their True Self. He offers private sessions, online coaching, and facilitates retreats, events and classes all over the globe. Markus is also an artist and has been a featured artist in gallery showings.

For more information about Markus, go to