Vivien: Hello and welcome to The Schapera Show where Vivien and Neil explore this big adventure called Life! Our guest today is someone that I met last year, someone who touched my heart profoundly, and I am so excited to introduce you all to Lucia Matuonto. Welcome, Lucia!
Lucia: Hello, Vivien, I am also very pleased to be here on the show today, thank you for asking me.
Vivien: Lucia, I met you when you interviewed me for a podcast, and although your podcast is extraordinary, with a global ranking of top 0.5%, there is so much more to you than that tip of an iceberg. Please can you tell us more about yourself?
Lucia: Yes, of course! I am a book author, podcaster and physical therapist (now I am also an entrepreneur). I am the host of the Relatable Voice Podcast and Uncut with Lucia, where I interview authors, storytellers and wordsmiths. I’ve published 5 books and my latest children’s book is entitled Out of the Box. I’ve just published the anthology Relatable Voices in September 2022.
Vivien: Yes, I’ve done both the Relatable Voice and Uncut with you, haven’t I?
Lucia: Yes, you have. The Relatable Voice is audio and can be found on Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, iTunes
and Uncut with Lucia is a video and can be found on YouTube and on WorldAuthors.org
Vivien: What do you focus on?
Lucia: In the Relatable Voice I focus on authors, storytellers, coaches, entrepreneurs and with Uncut I focus on book authors.
Vivien: And I know from experience just how very successful you are and how many listeners and followers you have. I also have to thank you for mentoring me, because you know, I wouldn’t be here right now on HealthyLife.net if it weren’t for my very, very positive experience with you. Of course, I want to talk about that a whole lot, but even more, I want you to share your amazing and heartwarming story about how you came to write children’s books. Please won’t you tell us?
Lucia: Yes! I am graduated in Physical Therapy and I hold a specialization in Intensive Care Unit and Neurology.
Back in 2008, I was working at a clinic in Florida which invented a groundbreaking technology. I was chosen to be the international consultant and spokesperson for a special suit that was inspired by astronauts’ suits. The name of the suit is Pediasuit.
This suit helps children with conditions like cerebral palsy. It is used for astronauts to help them maintain muscle mass and postural alignment when in outer space, and we realized that it could be used to support the muscles and posture of children whose nervous systems have been compromised and they cannot do that for themselves. By putting these children in these suits, they get a very particular base support that allows them to function at a much higher level and this of course is helping them to strengthen neural pathways and muscles also at a much higher level.
I trained physical therapists around the world on how to use it, as well as gave lectures all over the world, such as UAE, Egypt, Portugal, Cyprus, Bahrain, Malaysia, Germany and others.
Vivien: For me as an Alexander Teacher, I really appreciate the significance of this information because postural alignment and restoring the postural reflexes is at the core of our work. However, I know that there is even more treasure in your story, so let’s dig a little deeper. I think working with these children triggered you into writing children’s books, didn’t it?
Lucia: Yes, that’s exactly right! You know it is tough for these children to have such long training sessions, and they don’t really want to do it.
Vivien: Hmmm, I didn’t think of that – but I know that that is a big difficulty in teaching children the Alexander Technique – you cannot use the same format as for an adult. How long are these training sessions?
Lucia: about 3 -4 hours a day for 4 weeks. It is very long and tiring for a child. I wanted to make it more enticing for them, and more playful, and something they would look forward to and perhaps not even notice that they are actually working so hard for a long time. I created some story characters like Zoe, the Crab, Sophia the Snake and Ned, the rabbit and then I published a series of books entitled Zoe the Crab.
Zoe is a little crab, who lives with her mother and two teenager brothers on the beach. Zoe has difficulties to leave her house, I mean her hole so she keeps complaining about it. Also, she doesn’t like the fact that she moves sideways, she would like to move forwards like the other animals.
One day she goes on an adventure with her brothers, she ends up having an accident, loses her claw and gets lost on the beach.
Zoe meets with other animals that unlike her, walk forwards, however Zoe realizes that although they walk forwards, they also have some difficulties. For example, Sofia, the snake, moves forwards but she slithers and it takes her days to arrive at her destination.
These book series are about inclusion, diversity and friendship.
The books are being recommended in some schools in The US and I have good feedback from children and their parents. The book series is available in English, Spanish and Portuguese.
After that I published another book entitled Out of The Box for children from 8-12 years old and an anthology with 13 more authors entitled Relatable Voices, a Trip to Make People Smile.
Vivien: OMG, Lucia, when you first told me all of this, it brought tears to my eyes. It is such a wonderful feeling to come into contact with a good person such as yourself, and see the power of what a good person can bring to the world.
Lucia: Yes, exactly. So far, for me, my greatest achievement has been being an author, which led me to enter the podcast world. Both are very centered around story-telling, so you could say I’m best known for communicating and exchanging stories.
And that’s also why I want to empower other authors and writers and storytellers to bring their good into the world and give them a platform where they can reach more people and more people can benefit.
I believe the universe is asking us to reunite and build a great community. To change our world, we need to be more connected to each other and help each other. It can be through spirituality, mentally, with kindness and others. We are not an island.
Vivien: Lucia, you are a great example to all of us, and it is clear that you are very accomplished as a Physical Therapist an author, a podcaster and an interviewer. What do you consider to be your own personal accomplishments?
Lucia: Some of my accomplishments include that I speak five languages: I am a Portuguese native speaker, English, Spanish, Italian and German. I’ve lived in the United States, in Spain and in Germany (amongst other countries) and was able to learn the languages by fully immersing myself in the culture. I also ended up marrying an Italian-American, which helped a lot.
Vivien: 5 languages! That’s a lot! How does this affect you and the way that you see the world?
Lucia: Learning a new language is possibly the most mind-opening, consciousness-expanding thing we can do. It not only develops our brains, but it also opens us to new experiences in a way that isn’t otherwise accessible.
Vivien: OMG, Lucia, you have just touched on one of my most favorite topics. You know, I LOVE words. For me, words are the crystals of language. And what is so interesting for me, is that we don’t really have freedom of thought – we are limited to the concepts that are given to us via the words of the language that we speak.
This hits me personally in my profession – in the Alexander Technique there is no separation between mind and body, but in the English language there is no word for the unity of mind and body. One author, Ken Dychtwald, created the term “body-mind” and Alexander used the word “self” but it is very hard to explain the unity, and feel the unity, when the concept is absent from the language.
And that’s why I love to learn other languages – because I am also learning new concepts and ways of thinking.
Lucia: Yes, this is exactly my experience also. Some words just cannot be translated and then we have to borrow from another language … and if we don’t have a second and third language then there is nowhere to go.
Vivien: Oh, I know exactly what you mean! In South Africa, we were always borrowing words from Afrikaans. For example, there is a word in Afrikaans for a color that is a mixture of grey and brown – but English doesn’t have a name for that color. And then of course, there is Yiddish! The whole world has taken on some Yiddish words – so expressive! Words carry nuances of emotion and those nuances give us a flavor of the mentality and culture, don’t they?
Lucia: Absolutely! In Portuguese we have the word “saudade.” There is no English translation of this word. People will use “nostalgia” but this isn’t correct.
Vivien: Yes, I can feel something different when you say the word. Can you say it again?
For example, when I call my mom after some days without talking to her, I say : mae, estou com saudades. That means that I miss her a LOT. It is way more than I miss you.
Vivien: It feels to me that it is a word describing an energy – the energy of missing someone in a way that is both “sweet” because of the love you are feeling and “empty” because you cannot be with the person. And when you say the word, I feel a recognition of the word in my heart that helps me, because it gets into words how I feel about some very important people in my life. And this is why I call words the crystals of language. Thank you for this very beautiful word, Lucia!
Now that we’re on the topic of words and languages, I could go on and on, but what I really want to do even more than that, is make absolutely sure that everyone knows how to get hold of you, so that they can experience your wonderful work.
Lucia: Yes, thank you, let me go over that.
My books are available here: Amazon
My podcasts are available here: Spotify, iTunes, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, Breaker, Radio Public
Uncut with Lucia, my video series is available here: https://www.worldauthors.org/author/luciamatuonto
My website is: https://www.luciamatuonto.com/
And my new magazine is called The Relatable Voice magazine and it is available online at: https://www.relatable-media.com
Vivien: Thank you so much, Lucia. I also want to ask you more about yourself, because you have made some very interesting choices, like becoming a podcasterin English which is not your mother tongue. I know there is a backstory there regarding your personal journey that would be helpful for us all to hear.
Lucia: Yes, thank you Vivien I would be glad to share more of my story, because I also consider that to be an important aspect of who I am and what I have to offer.
Vivien: Thank you! We are interviewing Lucia Matuonto, Physical Therapist, Author, Podcaster and more and when we come back after the break, we are going to hear more about her personal story and guests who have inspired her. Please join us again, here on The Schapera Show after the break.
Vivien: Welcome back to The Schapera Show, where we are interviewing Lucia Matuonto, Physical Therapist, Author, Podcaster, Entrepreneur and more about her work and life. Lucia, writing is very important to you, isn’t it?
Lucia: Yes, writing is my oldest friend. I have been writing since I was a child. I remember that my friends used to go to my house and instead of playing with them I was either reading or writing. I was considered a bit weird by my friends.
When I moved abroad, I started writing a blog with my sister and a friend. The blog was called Tripolar (not bipolar because we were 3 people writing :). It was my way to keep in touch with my old life. I used to live in Rio de Janeiro and had my family and friends close, but then I moved to Middle East where I did not know anyone , so writing with them was a great way to keep in touch and share our new life experiences. This blog became very successful as we had a great audience. I believe that our readers loved the funny stories that had happened to us, to our friends and friends of friends.
I also wrote for a travel blog “Connect Italy” and co-authored a book with my sister Mulheres Enlouquecidas (Crazy Women).
Vivien: And then what was the sequence? When were you working as a Physical Therapist, and when did you start writing children’s books?
Lucia: Yes, this was the development:
I worked as a Physiotherapist in Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Germany and then I moved to the US and then to Spain in 2019, some months before the pandemic started. We had a restricted lock down in Spain and because of that I had a lot of free time, I decided to write the stories I used to tell to my little patients.
Vivien: And then when and how did the podcasting fit in and why did you choose English?
Lucia: The fact of English being my second language did not hold me back to pursue my career as an international consultant (16 years ago), a talk show and a podcast in English.
I’ve always had a lot of stories to share, I even started writing when I was 8 years old. I was even about to be featured on a podcast but it never worked out, and I was always self-conscious that it was because of my English level. So, I figured if no one will have me on their show, I need to create my own show myself. But the global lockdown really pushed me to actually go through with it, especially because we were all lacking human connection during that time.