Transcription of Love Maine Radio #351: Brian Andreas + Fia Skye and Kat Frati

Announcer:                         You are listening to Love Maine Radio, hosted by Dr. Lisa Belisle and recorded at the studios of Maine Magazine in Portland. Dr. Lisa Belisle is a physician and editor-in-chief of Maine and Home+Design, Old Port, Ageless, and Moxie Magazine. Love Maine Radio show summaries are available at

Dr.Lisa Belisle:                   This is Dr. Lisa Belisle, and you are listening to Love Maine Radio, Show Number 351, airing for the first time on Sunday, June 10, 2018. Today, we speak with Brian Andreas, a master storyteller and creator of Story People, and Fia Skye, a teaching artist and founder of A Hundred Ways North. We also speak with Kat Frati, owner of

Thank you for joining us.

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Dr.Lisa Belisle:                   Brian Andreas is a master storyteller and creator of Story People, and Fia Skye is a teaching artist and founder of A Hundred Ways North.

Thanks for coming in today.

Brian Andreas:                    Yeah. Thanks for having us.

Dr.Lisa Belisle:                   You both come to Maine relatively recently, I believe.

Fia Skye:                                  Yes. We had a workshop at the Telling Room last September in 2017, and we found a place to rent and we were here by October 1.

Brian Andreas:                    Yeah. Well, we’d been looking for two years. We’d been driving all over the country looking for a place to call home. We had such fun here, and it was such a gorgeous fall that we assumed that that’s what weather would be like all the time.

Fia Skye:                                  Right.

Dr.Lisa Belisle:                   Ah. That is really the joke’s on you.

Brian Andreas:                    I know.

Fia Skye:                                  It worked out.

Brian Andreas:                    It was interesting. It was an interesting transition.

Dr.Lisa Belisle:                   Why storytelling? What is it about that particular genre that has appealed to you?

Brian Andreas:                    You want to take that?

Fia Skye:                                  Yeah. Well, for me, it’s very … I spent the last 20 years balancing life as a professional actor and then teaching in academia. I just recently left to go ahead and freelance and do all of that, take all of those skill sets that you use in performance about communication and story and body and voice and take it into daily life because it’s really useful. The thing that we focus on is this idea of how your story about things can actually move the tissues in your body because there’s no separation between your mind and body. The stories that you believe not only anchor your mind, but they actually affect the way you move, and they can age you or they can completely free you up in this, and so we look at story. That’s part of what we do is we look at story and how it affects your actual physiology.

Brian Andreas:                    Well, and then there’s that other aspect of storytelling, which is that once-upon-a-time thing that so often as adults we become, “Oh, this is real. Oh, this is how it is. This is the truth.” Everything that we know about brain science and everything that we know about storytelling is that it’s true when you say it’s true. Stories are incredibly powerful, and working with Fia and how it affects the body, I come at it more from the sheer lilt of being able to create on an ongoing basis. I’ve been telling stories for forever. Probably I grew up with a bunch of Lutherans who love to tell stories, so I come by it naturally.

Dr.Lisa Belisle:                   Is it because they’re Lutheran that they like to tell stories? I didn’t realize there was a connection.

Brian Andreas:                    No. It’s funny. I’m not sure that it is. It’s just in my particular experience. I come out of a Norwegian Lutheran background, the whole Garrison Keillor kind of thing. I had a bunch of relatives who were inveterate … Well, I was about to say liars, but they’re really good storytellers. It was always something that thrilled me, to hear what … My Uncle August would tell me about the invention of blood or how to tame a rattlesnake, those things. We’d go, “Wow, that is … I don’t know if it’s true, but it’s really cool.”

Fia Skye:                                  Yeah. It’s just stories are really powerful. They locate us and they guide us and they also, they keep us in a place too.

Brian Andreas:                    Yeah.

Fia Skye:                                  In a way. They give you this protection and the security and we take a lot of stock in it, and that can hold you sometimes and you shift one element. It happens all the time. Your day’s going in a certain way, a piece of information’ll fly in at you, and it changes the entire context. That’s how story happens.

We look at it, and we think, okay, how can you not get so anchored in space by what you think is true and by these stories that you believe. Then, what are some really creative ways you can play with that so it doesn’t get into this really bogged down, self-help kind of thing that is never just really interesting. No.

Brian Andreas:                    Yeah. Yeah. The thing that I think we love to play with a lot is that stories are fluid, and yet, the things that, as Fia says, that hold us in containers, this is an intimate space that we live in. Lovely, but when we stop moving that, stop remembering that we can make a different story, we lose our own ability to function in the moment. That’s where we love to play with it is stories constantly being fluid and in response to what’s going on, like Fia is saying, a piece of information comes in. Suddenly, this person you’ve been having difficulties with for months, all of a sudden, you see them as the child they are and how that they’re really doing the best they can. You have a completely different story about them and you treat them differently because of it. It’s intriguing. We both love stories.

Dr.Lisa Belisle:                   I’m interested in this in large part because of all the time I spend as a doctor and knowing that people’s … What you’re saying is absolutely true, that people’s stories really impact their health, they really impact their bodies. When someone stays stuck in the way they frame something for maybe decades, it can negatively impact so much of their inner and outer lives and the people around them. It’s been really interesting to see when something shifts. They come in and all of a sudden, things are so much better for them. When you parse it out, it often is because either they’ve gotten a new piece of information, as you said, or they’ve reframed the way that they’ve dealt with it.

Fia Skye:                                  Right, and it can happen quickly. That’s the exciting thing, is that you can do this today. It’s not as if this is a 12-step program, it’s going to cost you so much, blah, blah, blah, and this much time. It really is just like flipping a switch and saying, what if? What if this is also true? Or what are these ways that you can really basically get beyond your opinion of something and look at … We kind of play with it. Again, this comes from what … He’s been writing for years and drawing and an artist, and so he comes at story in this really beautifully, visual way. I come at it through words as a text coach. I look at it, and I think, well, what are the non-negotiables? Well, okay. Well, the day. Whatever day is, that’s non-negotiable.

Brian Andreas:                    I totally agree with you because how often do we just, as an example, how often do you go … You’ll be in a checkout line and you go, “What day is it? What day is it?” Someone will go, “It’s Thursday,” and you go, “Ah, I totally thought it was Tuesday.” No, the day isn’t negotiable. It’s what-

Fia Skye:                                  Right, kind of story or we can say that, yes, we’re in Portland, Maine, so there is that. Then there’s that even when you get into a relationship and you say, “Well, this is my husband, and this means this,” is not true, really. You can say, “Okay, yes, they were married on this day and this is when whatever.” Then, beyond that, everything is really opinion, and it’s all shades of gray.

See, I think it’s fascinating too, because as soon as you get locked into this idea of what a habit is, which is just simply choosing the same thing over and over and then creating myelin, and then the body memory is something like that. When you introduce something new, it’s like a whole world opens up, and that can happen at any age, in any relationship, even with your job and everything. The thing that’s really fabulous about it is that it’s empowering because you’re the only one that can do it, because you’re the only one that can really … Because the mind and body are linked, as you well know, you can’t lie to yourself. You can have all the mantras you want all over your walls, but if you’re not actually behind it, your body knows it. There’s this chaos and this collapse.

Brian Andreas:                    Well, what’s the thing that you had said, that when you were first starting the Alexander work, going, “Oh, I had a different sense of muscle and skeletal relationships, and so my body was trying to do that even though it’s not possible.”

Fia Skye:                                  Right.

Brian Andreas:                    You get a tension in there. When we have an idea of how things are and it’s not actually the reality of it, your body’s going to do its best to try and, to back you up, even if it’s not possible. You’re carrying tension in some weird ways because you’ve said, “Well, this is how I function best in the world.” That is not true.

Fia Skye:                                  Right. There’s a balance between how the body actually works and then what you do in life.

Dr.Lisa Belisle:                   Tell me about the Alexander work that you’re doing.

Fia Skye:                                  I’m in the process of certifying in this particular technique. FM Alexander was an actor, Australian actor, at that time, and kept losing his voice onstage. He was trying to figure out why, and he went to doctors and he’d try all of these different things and it didn’t stop it. He went into this lifelong inquiry that basically the way you use your body affects the overall quality of function of living.

He looked specifically at the spine and skull relationship so that if there’s any sort of pressure, it impacts the whole rest of the body, and that affects the way that you function. Not just with grace and flexibility and adaptability, but because the mind is connected to it. I could have a thought that has tension that’s going to ripple all the way through my tissues. It’s really about not just ease and grace and moving the way that you are originally designed to move, but it’s also keeping a flexible space and flexible thought at the same time. It’s very much psychophysical work is what it is. A lot of people use it for performance, a lot of musicians, dancers. You get a dancer that says, “Oh, I should be able to move like this,” and you look at the actual structure of the body and think, your body’s not going to move that way you want it to. This is where it is.

Brian Andreas:                    But I have a vision. It’s like, yeah, mm-mm.

Fia Skye:                                  Right, but what I love is when I’m walking up the stairs, and I think, well, how many times do I walk up this three-flight of stairs, this house we live right now? And I think over time, if I’m not doing that with my physiology in mind, that’s going to impact my joints, especially over years. We find that these daily moments are kind of like connected tissue in between the big, extraordinary events, but we don’t always think about these little moments between the hallway, between here and here or getting from work to home. Those in-between moments really make up the bulk of a life. If you can be in those with grace and awareness, it changes the way you are. When you’re more balanced, you feel good, you’re kinder.

Brian Andreas:                    Well, and-

Fia Skye:                                  You can adapt more, and it’s a lot. I don’t know. I think it’s the secret to world peace.

Brian Andreas:                    I would also throw in the thing that you just said, that we, our stories tend to focus on the dramatic lightning-bolt moment, like … that’s now suddenly understand everything. Yet, the majority of our life is those quiet moments, so why wouldn’t we orient our stories around the beauty of those moments so that we’re actually in our story regularly as opposed to waiting for that moment at which our life really starts? How often do we get stuck in the, well, my real life is going to start when I do this, or when I do this, then I’m going to be able to do that? Right now, we’re sitting here where it’s lovely, simply sitting here, and you can just feel the being here. Why wouldn’t we have a story about that? That’s the intersection of some of the things we do.

Dr.Lisa Belisle:                   Is there a story that the two of you could share with people who are listening now?

Brian Andreas:                    About … I’m not telling you my story.

Fia Skye:                                  About …

Brian Andreas:                    You could use it against me.

Fia Skye:                                  About what? About in …

Dr.Lisa Belisle:                   Just as a good example of the type of work that you do when you are doing a workshop, for example. Do you actually use a story and say, “Let’s pick this apart a little bit?”

Brian Andreas:                    Well, the thing that comes to mind isn’t actually something that, what we did in our workshop. I was at a meeting, a seminar, a while back and a woman got up and said, “I come from a family where I wasn’t loved. Everyone ignored me all the time, absolutely all the time. Now, my mother, after 20 years, has been contacting me, saying that she wants me to come to Christmas, and I’m not going to go to Christmas where they’re just going to simply ignore me and not love me just like they always did.”

We kind of walked through that, and so my friend said to her, “So, your mother is asking you to come, specifically to come so that she can see what you’re up to and she can tell you all the ways she loves you and misses you.” She said, “Yeah, but I’m not going to fall for that. I’m not going to fall for that at all.” He went through a little bit more, a little bit more, and finally he said, “So, what do you think?” Says, “I think my mom loves me and I haven’t seen it for a very long time.” You could see the change in her body, because instead of that compression of being, “I’m not loved and no one …” It’s like, phew, suddenly you’re not carrying that anymore. That’s a way that stories work.

Fia Skye:                                  I would say in terms of a workshop, there are a lot of creativity workshops out there right now that work a lot with imagination, but what we also look at is how are you holding a pen and how are you sitting, and where is the actual flow in your body? Is your whole body writing? Because any time you breathe, your spine is moving, and if your whole body rather than I have to get my mind, my mind, and even when I do that, it scrunches my spine and I get a little close to my screen or I curl up.

And you think, wow, wow, what if you open all of this up and then start writing? What part of you physiologically actually needs to … Just really the tip needs to hit the page and create little scratches that then later we’ll look at as language and words and thoughts. How can we stop pressing in? We have this thing with our relationship with our cell phones that really closes us in and forward and down. You look at these habits when we’re creating things, when we’re cooking, when we’re having really important conversations with people we care about, and we’re actually physically making ourselves smaller.

One of the things we do in our workshop is we kind of pit you into that, actually. We pit you in your habit, and then we say, “Hey, what if … How else can this look? Can we physically offer some other possibilities in this moment that then you can choose from?”

Brian Andreas:                    She does something called ghosting, where she’ll move through the workshop while people are doing what they’re doing, will just touch them lightly and go, “Well, what about that?” It can be really irksome, too, because when I’m typing and I’m going … and pounding the keys, she’ll go, “You know you could simply just touch the key,” and it’s like, “Yeah, you don’t understand what I’m writing right now.”

Fia Skye:                                  It changes what you write, I think. I think that it’s all connected, and I’m just curious. It’s like, oh, okay, wait. If I read that email, can I open up more? What happens? When the moment when I want to close, what happens if I just allow it to hold the whole thing to be in the space with me, and remember I’ve got three-dimensional space and all of that, so-

Brian Andreas:                    Someone

Fia Skye:                                  It’s stuff you already know how to do. It’s just reminding you. That’s it.

Brian Andreas:                    It’s a practice. It’s the thing that we’ve been seeing is that you can get the information all you want, but if you don’t practice, it’s not doing you any good. We really do focus on let’s get you into a practice for you. Not, oh, do these five steps and your life will suddenly open up and there’ll be butterflies everywhere and bluebirds like a Disney film. No, it’s what’s a thing that you feel good right now when you do it and continue to do that and how do you remember that. So, pretty simple.

Dr.Lisa Belisle:                   Is it also that telling the story in the first place has power that maybe people don’t recognize? Because there are times when I have been with people who have a story that’s locked so deeply inside of them, they don’t even recognize how much of an impact it’s having. When they start to write it down or when they start to talk about it, something really shifts in the way that they interact with the world.

Fia Skye:                                  Yeah. That’s a great point. It is a great point, because I don’t know how many times we hear, “Oh, it’s just the way it is. It’s just the way it is.” You think, well, it’s going to continue to be that way as long as we say that. We’re speaking it. We are creating existence. We’re creating history with every choice we make, and then all of a sudden wondering why that’s our history.

Brian Andreas:                    But there’s-

Fia Skye:                                  Absolutely, you hang the words in space and you can see them.

Brian Andreas:                    It also sounds like you were saying that sometimes people aren’t even addressing the fact that there’s a story, so they have to speak it first. There is no one size fits all on stories, but I think there is a being in relation to … How do you say that? Not overly abstract, but it’s being in the now of your life. If you’ve never spoken your story, a good place to start is speaking your story, but after you’ve spoken that story a few times, a good place to be is, is that story even true?

You can’t be at that place, is that story even true, if you’ve never, ever spoken the story. At the point where we’re at, I make up stories constantly just to try it out, because, oh, well, what if my story is I’m actually eight feet tall, but I’m in a 5’10” body? You can play with that. it’s not true. I know it’s not true, but I recognize stories are completely fluid, so I’m at a different place in story. I wouldn’t expect somebody who’s never, has had trauma or assault, who’s never, ever said anything, I wouldn’t expect them to be in the same place around story that I am.

Fia Skye:                                  Right. Sometimes creating a little bit of distance, you take a universal story. You take someone else’s story and you say, well, let’s just look at this, and that extra bit of distance, there’s enough of a gap where someone can navigate their own space between. It just kind of depends on the workshop. As you know, it depends on who you’re working with, who comes into the room, about which doorway you take, but it’s all the same room basically.

Dr.Lisa Belisle:                   As we’ve been talking, I was thinking … I don’t know why this came up in my mind, but about watching specifically young women who are maybe asked to come up on a stage, to accept an award in a way that so many of them … I have two young daughters. Well, they’re not young anymore, I guess. One is 22 and one is 17, but I’ve watched them as young women.

Brian Andreas:                    Oh, that’s still pretty young.

Dr.Lisa Belisle:                   Yes, exactly. But I watched them through their very young stage to their young woman stage, and I saw this over and over again, that young women tend to hunch down. They try to make themselves smaller, especially the tall women, tall girls. As a tall woman, I’ve done this myself, where you figure if you just hunch over that maybe you won’t take up so much space. What you’re saying about the way that we even arrange our bodies in the world is going to change the way that we interface with it and really change the way that other people interface with us.

Fia Skye:                                  It’s remarkable. The other thing that happens, look how many photos there are with women with their head tilted, where they’re still making themselves smaller. It’s just to the side, a little bit to the side. You have what I think of as physical qualifiers in the same way that we say, well, I just … I was like … It’s just less direct, and it’s a bit of an apology and it makes you a little bit what you think is nicer or kinder, a little bit more able to be dealt with. But it’s not altogether true, and there’s a squish in the spine and a little bit of a tightening, and I think it is a filter, and I don’t think we need them. I don’t think we need them, because I think over time, the doctor you know. Over time, that patterning begins to grow, and it actually changes your bones, moving your bones.

You think, what if there’s another way? But, yeah, absolutely. I see that with young women all the time. I hear baby girl’s voices where I think, wow, do you know you’ve got a two-octave range naturally and just what if you use it every single day? What would that be like? How would that be different for you and what might that feel like, and how might you move through the world, and what kind of permission might that inspire in someone else?

I think it really, really matters, and this weirdness about gender identity right now, too, in terms of what strength looks like and what it sounds like. I think we’re in a really fabulous place to explore a whole new way of being, with all of this, a great striation of generations right now. It’s an incredible place of possibility.

Brian Andreas:                    From a young male standpoint, different things happen, but still the same thing. It’s like trying to … ways of being less direct about what’s going on. Young males tend to be more … What is it? Your third, your first [crosstalk 00:24:08]

Fia Skye:                                  Well, there’s a sense of where women tend to cave. Young men, this is totally a gross generalization. It’s not true all the time, but sometimes there’s that puff-up, right? There’s that build-up of the pectoral muscles so that there’s almost like a shield. Right?

Brian Andreas:                    It is a shield from an experience of male. It is, it’s a way to shield.

Fia Skye:                                  There’s a shield. Right? What that does physically is you’re physically less flexible. Again, the mind-body, if you’re physically less flexible, there’s a really good chance that you might emotionally or mentally be less flexible. What is this idea of being … Vulnerability is a scary word, but really, it’s just available to be influenced, being willing to be in the space in a place of equality.

Brian Andreas:                    Fia often talks about wanting to work with young women, though. Watching, we’ll see someone, or when we went to TED, and see the way young women will present, and it’s like … Because it is, in some ways it’s very simple. When you catch someone doing something with their body, you go, oh, we can unwind that thread. We can follow that and go where is that? Where’s the story you’re carrying about that, that that is a solution, because that’s one of the Alexander things. There’s nothing wrong. It’s all a solution to how you see the situation at the moment. You’re solving something. Are you solving what’s in the space, or are you solving something that you’re carrying from 10 years ago, though? That’s the question.

Fia Skye:                                  Right.

Dr.Lisa Belisle:                   You have done a workshop with the Telling Room. What is next in your … What’s in your life plan?

Fia Skye:                                  Well, he’s working on a couple of different books here, some in the genre of Story People, and also a novel, which you can talk about.

Brian Andreas:                    You can write that down. I’m not talking about it.

Fia Skye:                                  You’re writing. You’re writing.

Brian Andreas:                    Yeah. I’ve been doing a lot of writing. I guess the easiest explanation is that I’m listening for where I’m headed, because I don’t know yet. It would be lovely. I’ve never been one of those people who have the idea and then go and execute it. The idea is an excuse to start figuring out what the real thing is. I’m in the middle of figuring out what that thing is. Then as far as workshops, we had been setting up some around the country, but then Fia decided that she was going to have her hip operated on.

Fia Skye:                                  Yes. I’ve been having some … Yeah, yeah. But it’s great. I just spoke with a woman in Charlotte, and I’m setting up something down there in April that weaves together silent narratives and some of this work. Then we’re going to talk to Celine actually about offering something else in the Telling Room, perhaps here in the spring, a three-day workshop on story and body. We’re navigating that. Within the next, hopefully, two weeks, we’ll have those up on the site ready to go.

Brian Andreas:                    The thing that I would say, that even as we were driving over, we like to do the thing that is really intriguing to us. We’re not really all that good at going, “Well, now this is what we’re known for, so we should do 12 of those next year.” We’re not really all that interested in that. We’ll take what are we interested in, then let’s do something on that.

Fia Skye:                                  There’s a bigger conversation about what’s happening in the world, so that’s one of the spaces. That’s one thing. I was speaking with this woman who was at a yoga studio, and we were just talking about who are the women that are coming into the room and what are the questions they’re having and what kind of classes are they signing up for and what seems to be in the space. You read the newspaper all over the country and say what are the dialogues that are happening and saying what kind of spaces do we need to hold that are-

Brian Andreas:                    And what are the conversations that aren’t happening, too.

Fia Skye:                                  Yeah, that we want to have. We’re not trying to repair anything. We’re actually moving forward. There’s a lot of listening right now and saying what do we want to be talking about and what are the words we want to be using? And how do we want to be in space together and how can we facilitate a space where that can happen? It’s a little hard right now to get ahead, too far ahead, because every day there’s a big title in the newspaper that changes, piece of information flies in, and it just shifts things a little bit.

Brian Andreas:                    The short answer is we have no idea.

Fia Skye:                                  Yeah. We’re in motion. We’re in motion. Exactly. We have them listed. We’ll have them listed on the site, though.

Dr.Lisa Belisle:                   I’ve been speaking with Brian Andreas, who is a master storyteller and creator of Story People, and with Fia Skye, who is a teaching artist and founder of A Hundred Ways North. I look forward to, I guess, seeing and hearing where your path takes you. I really appreciate this conversation today. Thank you for the work you’re doing.

Fia Skye:                                  Thank you very much.

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Dr.Lisa Belisle:                   Dr. Zach Mazone, D.O. created DaySpring lntegrative Wellness in Bath, Maine, with the belief that true health comes from building healthy relationships with your community, with your doctor, and with yourself. As a board-certified family and integrative medicine physician, Dr. Mazone and the whole staff at DaySpring are committed to supporting your wellness journey by providing integrative family medical care, osteopathic manipulation, herbal and lifestyle consultations, counseling, and Wave therapy.

DaySpring offers an innovative membership-based model of healthcare that gives you time together with Dr. Mazone to build a personalized wellness plan based on your health goals. Daily access for acute appointments is available, and you can even schedule a secure video conference call in the privacy of your own home. I know Dr. Zach and his family, and I believe strongly in the personalized, full-person approach to health that he provides. This is why I am encouraging you to find out more for yourself by visiting, or by calling them directly at 207-751-4775. DaySpring, wellness the way it should be.

Kat Frati is the owner of, a blog dedicated to inspiring women of all ages to create sustainable happiness in their lives. She’s currently working on a new initiative of building an online resource of life skills lessons for young adults.

Thanks for coming in today.

Kat Frati:                                 Thank you. Happy to be here.

Dr.Lisa Belisle:                   I was reading all the things that you have done and gone through, and it’s pretty amazing, actually. You have four kids, two stepchildren. You’re a cancer and open heart surgery survivor. You’re a musician, an athlete, an entrepreneur, a cribbage player, and you’re also a former computer engineer who designed air traffic control simulations for the Federal Aviation Administration.

Kat Frati:                                 That’s me.

Dr.Lisa Belisle:                   That’s quite the background.

Kat Frati:                                 Yeah, yeah. I also worked on Eartha up in DeLorme.

Dr.Lisa Belisle:                   Oh.

Kat Frati:                                 I designed that. Yeah, a lot of fun projects.

Dr.Lisa Belisle:                   Wait. You designed that enormous …

Kat Frati:                                 Yeah.

Dr.Lisa Belisle:                   Wow.

Kat Frati:                                 I know all the secrets. If you looked at it, it’s summer all over the globe. These are photos of there, and we picked the ones that were the greenest, so there’s only snow in the Alps.

Dr.Lisa Belisle:                   Wow. I guess that makes sense. You’d want it to be as pretty as possible.

Kat Frati:                                 Right. No clouds and no snow.

Dr.Lisa Belisle:                   Right. Huh, that-

Kat Frati:                                 Beautiful. It’s a gift to the state of Maine.

Dr.Lisa Belisle:                   Yeah. Yeah. That’s right down the street from where I live, and every time I get on the highway, I look at it with fondness.

Kat Frati:                                 Yeah. Yeah.

Dr.Lisa Belisle:                   All right, with all the things we just said, how did that get you to a place where you designed Eartha?

Kat Frati:                                 Oh, I moved to Maine and I was a computer engineer. I didn’t really know anyone, so I actually taught computer science at Waynflete a little bit, and then eventually, I just needed a stable job and DeLorme was a fantastic company. They were actually in Freeport when I was there, and so the whole building in Yarmouth, which has now been bought by Garmin, didn’t exist. There was a pit, there was an idea, and I was the project manager for the software. David wanted to build that. I was kind of in charge of parts of it, the data part.

Dr.Lisa Belisle:                   You grew up in Minnesota.

Kat Frati:                                 Minnesota and Boston.

Dr.Lisa Belisle:                   You came to Maine a mere 25 years ago.

Kat Frati:                                 Right.

Dr.Lisa Belisle:                   What was the original connection to the state?

Kat Frati:                                 Oh, it was my husband. We both went to Tufts, and we weren’t dating, but we both met each other later in D.C. where I was doing FAA work. We fell in love and got married and had our first child, and it was a tough time back then. It was Marion Barry was the mayor and caught on TV smoking crack. It was a little rough, and there were over 500 murders. I just got anxious as a new mom and decided to, let’s get out of here.

We looked at Minnesota, and he was from Augusta. At some point, he was in Augusta, so we chose Maine. Being a person who was kind of a gypsy, my father was an executive. We moved a lot when I was younger. I can’t believe I’ve been in Maine for 25 years. It’s just really the prettiest state, and you have the ocean, the mountains, just beautiful. Now, Portland has become an incredible city. I just love it. I like traveling and going to see other areas, but really, Maine is it for me.

Dr.Lisa Belisle:                   How did all of these different interests and background, how did this morph into what you are doing now so successfully with

Kat Frati:                                 Yeah. There was a point about 10 years ago and my first husband and I, we were together for 19 years and we ended up separating. I had four kids, and I really needed to reinvent myself. Actually, I was this computer engineer for 16 years, and then I had my third child and I was a stay-at-home mom for 16 years, hardest job in the world.

When I got divorced, I said, “Oh, no. I need to reinvent myself,” and I really just prayed and what do I need to do and listened. I put it out there and I listened, and very clearly this idea of helping young adults … my kids were still kind of young … helping them after they’ve left the nest. It came to me and there was a show called Gossip Girl that was really popular, and I was watching that. Then Grownup Girl came up, and I said, “Oh, my gosh, Gossip Girl. We need to make Grownup Girl. It was just so clear to me, and I just had to do it. I needed to do it.

I’ve been kind of dabbling just for probably eight years and learning the technology of getting back into programming slowly. Meanwhile I got remarried. My husband and I started a moving company called Integrity Movers, and we built that from nothing to a million-dollar company within two years. We’ve since sold the company, but it really taught me a lot of good business lessons and just gave me more food for thought to help guide this new generation who really wants to be entrepreneurs. These young adults, they all want to be entrepreneurs.

I have a lot to share, just a lot. And I have four kids who now they have left the nest, so they still need me. I’m not the only … They have friends who need advice, and you think that when you have a kid, you try your best to teach them everything you know, but life gets in the way and you don’t have time to teach them and sometimes they don’t listen or maybe you say it once, but they don’t really learn it. This just is very clear to me that this generation needs help. There’s no home ed classes anymore, so I’m just … I can do it. I know I have enough information and success in my life that it’s time for me to pay it forward and help them.

Dr.Lisa Belisle:                   It’s interesting that you’ve been through transitions yourself and reinvented yourself continually, and now you’re at a place where you are helping young women who are kind of in a fairly major transition into the next stage of their lives, into adults. Are there similarities between the types of transition that you went through and the types of transition that you see young women going through?

Kat Frati:                                 Yeah. I think my 20s, and this is kind of where we’re at right now, 20-year-old, 18 to 29, 35, were rough. They were rough, and it wasn’t because I had a rough life or a rough childhood, but it was because my father worked constantly. We were definitely well off. I had a nice childhood, so it wasn’t a bad thing. We had nice houses and stuff, but my mom was more into social, so I really didn’t get any guidance from them. When I left on my own, I struggled to figure out money, to figure out … And I got in trouble in a couple of areas.

My father told me, he told me this. He got me into Tony Robbins just by a fluke. He just told me about that. This was back in 1980s, early 1980s, and so I listened to the first cassette of Tony Robbins and I was really hooked on self-growth. That is really what taught me, and over my next 30 years, self-growth and reading books and listening to tapes, I just do it constantly. It helps me to grow and it makes my life a lot better.

I didn’t know that. I learned that the hard way, but now my kids, I’m a resource for my kids, and I see with the Internet, there is a lot more information out there, which is great, but it’s not always good information, and I would like them to kind of figure things out earlier than I did because it just took me way too long. My whole 20s was just … It was fun and it was successful in many ways, but then I floundered in a lot of ways. But that’s okay. It’s okay.

I didn’t really have a good support system, but I am a support system for my kids and I think they’re doing better, but sometimes it’s a matter of pointing them to the right place to find the answers. There’s so much noise out there, so that’s kind of what I’m thinking my websites and my initiatives are a good place where you can go and get real wisdom, really good life lessons, examples, inspiration, encouragement. Yeah, hopefully, they’ll have a little better time than I did.

Dr.Lisa Belisle:                   What are some of the biggest questions that you find that young women have?

Kat Frati:                                 Yeah. Money, certainly money issues, how do you … I just met with my daughter the other day. Went down to Boston and sat in a little café at 7:00 in the morning, and she said, “Mom, can you help me with my money?” I said, “What’s the problem?” “I don’t have any left at the end of the month,” and she likes to save money. We wrote everything out and kind of created a area where she can start recording her expenses to come up with a budget or at least understand how much she has for disposable income. Money is certainly another one.

Cooking, just eating healthy. A lot of people don’t know how to cook, so I am a type of person … I taught my kids, open up the refrigerator and what do you have in there? Now, they know how to throw something together that’s pretty good. My 16-year-old, she has a curry sauce that she figured out. You can do anything with curry. You can put rice, a little whatever, broccoli or vegetables we have, a little chicken. She makes the best dishes.

The other one is relationships, and I feel like I’ve learned. I’ve been divorced. My husband and I now, we really take time to learn about relationships and about communicating. We go to counseling just to … Not because we have a problem, but because we want to see how we can become better, and we’re really learning some great techniques that I’m able to share with my kids now who are in relationships. A little skill goes a long way. I can see that as something that the younger generation can benefit from that, from those things.

Then just general life skills, how to maintain your car, how to put air in your tire. How much pressure does your air need? Where do you find that information? How to maybe sew a button. Just life skills like that. How to fill out your taxes and stuff. I see those areas are really where I’m starting to concentrate on first.

Dr.Lisa Belisle:                   It is interesting that the things that you just described, many people just assume, “Oh, well, I should already know how to do that,” or, “I don’t necessarily need to learn that.” Really, what you’re talking about are skills, and how would you know them if you didn’t at least have them modeled for you in whatever family situation you come from or school situation you come from, but hopefully, had some sort of background. How would you otherwise learn them?

Kat Frati:                                 Absolutely. Yeah. Some people don’t even know that they … They’re too afraid of asking. One of the programs that I want to have is called Ask the Expert in these areas where you can submit a question and me or people who are working with me on some, as experts will answer the question and publish it because if you have that problem, probably some other people have the problem. That is going to be an important part of this initiative, is to really address real problems that people have, kind of customize the information to their situation, but then share it because there are other people who have that problem. Good for you for asking and trying to figure it out.

Dr.Lisa Belisle:                   My youngest is a 17-year-old young woman. She’s a junior in high school, and she and I sat down the other day to help her re-register the car that she drives online. I sat and helped her through TurboTax and all these other things that are so practical and such a nice building block for being an adult. I was realizing this is not the kind of thing that you learn in school.

You really have to have somebody who sits there with you because there’s so many little things that I had forgotten were potentially confusing. Where do you find the numbers that you need to put in online to get this car re-registered, for example. Her question was, “I’m not getting any money back from the state of Maine. I’m getting $10.00. Why should I even file my taxes for the state of Maine?” I’m like, “Because that’s what you do.” It seems really basic as an adult, but in talking to a 17-year-old, it just makes sense that she would ask.

Kat Frati:                                 Right.

Dr.Lisa Belisle:                   Do you find this with your daughter?

Kat Frati:                                 Yeah, I definitely do. I even need help because sometimes I don’t have the answer, so part of my initiative is to help parents as well. This will be good for parents to kind of guide them in teaching, if they want to, their child or their young adult to get the information, because I think it is hard for all of us. It is hard to keep everything together. I often say it’s a full-time job being me. Right? Especially with kids and businesses and stuff like that.

I wake up in my house, I wake up, and I’m like, “Oh, my gosh, I need to … So much to do,” and sometimes I don’t know the answers. Thank God for Google, but wouldn’t it be nice if there was a place where your path to growing up is … You can see where you are on the path and see what’s ahead, celebrate what’s behind, celebrate your successes, and there’s a place that parents and adults, young adults can go to just act as a resource and hopefully have a smoother journey, really.

Dr.Lisa Belisle:                   You have been a cancer survivor and an open heart surgery survivor. These are very big events. Either one of those is a very big event. Has this caused you to feel as if you have more of a mission that you are supposed to be trying to accomplish in your life?

Kat Frati:                                 Well, yeah, it’s definitely a mission. Like I said, it’s come from some other source that this is … I listen to my thoughts and I listen to my guidance system, and that’s what it’s telling me. Why it’s telling me that, I don’t know, but coupled with my confidence and my achievements … I just had open heart surgery about three years ago, and I’m so proud of myself because I did, I Googled how do you stay calm during open heart surgery? For three weeks … A book came into my life and I read it and I did these meditations and so I was really shocked that that morning when I was in the waiting room of the operating area, that I was calm, generally calm because I trusted. I had anticipated a reward for me at the end for going through this trauma, and it worked. It really worked.

There are techniques. I’m living proof that you can get through major surgery, which was hard, and there’s a whole lesson after that of being in the hospital, being gluten-free, which I am, and not have anything to eat and being six feet tall and not having the bed long enough, to be my own advocate. There’s a whole journey, because I was in the hospital for 21 days, to stick up for myself. That’s a whole nother story. I’m really proud of what I personally have accomplished, but I’m not special. If I can do it, really anyone can do it. It’s really a matter of trusting. That’s what, I’m more of an encouragement for people. You go for it. Definitely you go for it. No judgment. Where you are, you start and just try to do better. That’s kind of what my mission is. That’s what I’m here for, I think, at this point.

Dr.Lisa Belisle:                   There’s a scale of stressors in people’s lives, and the major stressors are some of the things you’ve just described. Most people will have maybe one or two of these stressors, but you’ve had lots of them. The stressors that can kind of cause us to be ill or can really impact us negatively are things like divorce, moving, having major surgery, having cancer, going through an illness. You’ve had a lot of these, and somehow you are kind of sitting here in front of me almost better than before. Somehow you have been able to be resilient through this. Is this part of what has led to this message of confidence that you are trying to share with young women?

Kat Frati:                                 Definitely. Definitely. How am I here? It’s not because I’m special. It’s because when I was down and got divorced, every night I would study Buddhism. I would learn how to meditate. I’d have my girlfriends over for a nice talk, chat. I did exercise. I got out in nature. I researched kind of for my own success what would help me in this situation. I prayed. I had some dark times. Really, I had some dark times, and I observed what happened when I prayed.

I just kind of developed this awareness around me and what would happen when I said, “Oh, gosh, I don’t know what to do. I prayed to the universe and I don’t know what to do. Tell me what to do.” Then I learned how to listen, and then all of a sudden, all of a sudden, a phone would ring and it would be my insurance company saying, “Hey, do you need some free counseling for being depressed?” What? Happens all the time. Happens all the time.

Once I started to become aware of that, then all of a sudden, my life starts getting easier because now I can ask for things and open my eyes and show up. I have a message of that, too, but I’m not going to preach that right away. That’s going to be by pointing out to these young adults, “Look what just happened to you. Do you see how this is more than you think it is?” Eventually, I’d like to get to that point where they’re realizing that they have everything they need inside them.

Then, you just need to do some tricks, tips, action, recover from failures, and you’ll be okay. Yeah. There’s a lot to this. I kind of say it’s easy, but there is great depth in this wisdom that I’ve gathered just through learning. Over time, it would be nice if these young adults would start going, “Oh, wow. That works for me,” and finding their own path, really, because what works for me might be something different, but there are universal truths that I have learned.

Dr.Lisa Belisle:                   What you’re saying I think is reminding me that many times, if you just decide, “I’m going to start here. I’m going to go out in nature one day a week,” whatever that is. If you stick with that and you have some success with that, then success builds on success. Rather than rearrange my whole life, I’m going to detox from everything that’s negative and then I’m going to start fresh, which is good for maybe the first day or two after you do that, and then after that, you kind of slide backwards. If you can just pick up a good, I don’t know, a good attitude, a good behavior, a good relationship, it doesn’t take as much sometimes to start as people think.

Kat Frati:                                 Absolutely. Yeah. I say slow and steady wins the race. If you can adopt one new thing a day, and even I’m so busy. I have a couple consultants and I have a couple of things. Realistically, if I get one thing done a day, that adds up. You do consistently one thing for this business or one thing for my own self and my relationship and my kids, one thing adds up to 365 things in a year. That is totally a secret definitely to my success is to keep chipping away at it.

The other thing where I am is I’m 55 years old. My grandmother was 102, and she was very active. I ask myself, what if I live to 105, which is totally reasonable these days, even given my health issues? What do I need to do today to get to 105 feeling good? Wow, when you start looking at it like that, you make different choices today. You pace yourself. I’m now working with some degenerate … Not degenerate. I’m tight in my shoulders, so now I’m going to Cape Integrative over at Cape Elizabeth, and he looks at me and he says, “Oh, my gosh, your muscles in your chest are so tight, probably from the surgery.” I said, “Let’s get this fixed because I still have years, decades left and I want to be vibrant.

You make different choices when you look at that. When you’re 20 years old, sometimes you don’t think that way. You think you’re invincible. But maybe I can get them to think, “Well, hey, do you want to live to 70? What do you want to do? What do you have to do to pace yourself so you’re not burning out?” I had to learn that the hard way, because I burned out at 28 big time, burning the candles at both ends. I’ve had my share of learning that, but, yeah, that’s definitely a great point.

Dr.Lisa Belisle:                   It’s interesting to me that not only are you raising … Because I still think once our kids get to be older, we’re still sort of raising them. We’re not raising them to be adults, but we’re kind of co-existing, co-raising one another, I guess. But you have four children, and you also have two stepchildren. You introduced a whole new set of relationship, a whole set of dynamics into your life, and that can be very different than having the four kids.

Kat Frati:                                 Yeah.

Dr.Lisa Belisle:                   Through that.

Kat Frati:                                 Yeah. What that taught me is allowing. It’s allowing different personalities, which they are. His kids have very different personalities than my kids and grew up totally different. Allowing how it is and not forcing it to be different and finding a way to love it as it is. For instance, his son, who’s older than my children, had his first child, so we’re a grandparent now. We’re grandparents. Wow. We just allow it. This is what we’re allowing, and my motto is love is the answer. I just love it.

Everything, every decision I make, if I make it with love, it’s always the right decision. If I make it out of fear, not the right decision. If I make it out of jealousy, out of control, anger, anything like that, not the right answer. I always say, okay, how can I, where can I find love in this situation? Building a blended family, it’s been very challenging, but if we focus on the love and find that little bit of, slice of love where we can really start honing in and connecting to, that kind of takes us further along to create continuity and build that connection and that everything you need to build that, keep us together. We’ve been doing that. But love is the answer, really, for me.

Dr.Lisa Belisle:                   Well, if I wasn’t convinced before, I’m definitely convinced now, and I encourage people to go to to learn some of your wisdom.

I’ve been speaking with Kat Frati, who is the owner of, a blog dedicated to inspiring women of all ages to create sustainable happiness in their lives. She’s currently working on a new initiative building an online resource of life skills lessons for young adults.

Thank you so much for coming in today. I really appreciate it.

Kat Frati:                                 Oh, you’re welcome. Thank you.

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Announcer:                           You’ve been listening to Love Maine Radio, Show Number 351. Our guests have included Brian Andreas, Fia Skye, and Kat Frati. For more information on our guests and extended interviews, visit Love Maine Radio is downloadable for free on iTunes. For a preview of each week’s show, sign up for our e-newsletter and like our Love Maine Radio Facebook page. Follow me on Twitter as Dr. Lisa and see our Love Maine Radio photos on Instagram. Please let us know what you think of Love Maine Radio. We welcome your suggestions for future shows. Also let our sponsors know that you heard about them here. We are privileged that they enable us to bring Love Maine Radio to you each week.

This is Dr. Lisa Belisle. Thank you for sharing this part of your day with me. May you have a bountiful life.

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