Lynn Kwitt: Faith, Determination, Perseverance – Ingredients to Healing


This week on KOWS Wise Woman Storytime, my guest was Lynn Kwitt.  Let me tell you a little about the story she told.

Imagine yourself a young child and think what would it look like and feel like to grow up unable to participate in childhood games and activities because the right side of your body just didn’t move the same way your left side did.

What would it be like for you,  bright and smart as you were, to not be able to clearly express yourself because it took you longer to articulate your thoughts and say your words?  And what would it be like to be called a “Retard” and to be constantly bullied as  your differences became the target of abusive and cruel behaviors and taunts?

And what would it be like to have this physical deficit and have absolutely no idea why you were so different and what caused it?

When my guest today, Lynn Kwitt was born with the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck 3 times, no one at the time had any idea of what this young baby had already suffered in utero.  It wasn’t until Lynn was 8 months old that a  rigidity set into her body ultimately limiting movement and sensation on her entire right side.  No one had answers or solutions. Her mother overprotected her; Lynn self-isolated and stayed to herself and as you can imagine this young child became extremely self conscious.

For many people an early beginning like this could lead to a complete shutdown and withdrawal from the world.  But not Lynn.   Instead of giving up, Lynn eventually sought answers  and ways to give new life to her body and spirit as she began a lifelong quest to understand her condition and to find healing and peace.  Along the way, she became her own healer and now offers hope and healing to others through the many healing modalities that changed her life.

I invite you to listen to Lynn’s story. 

And, if you would like to learn more about Lynn, make an appointment  or contact her, here is her information.

Business name: Wholistic Approaches

e-mail   website:

e-mail  website:


 Telephone; Bus. Line 707-570-0751

Cell phone 707-280-5449


By Roberta Teller


Ayin Weaver: Bleed Through – More Than a Book -A Life Message

We all know that our life experiences shape the trajectory of how we live, work, play and perceive the world.  My guest this week, on KOWS Wise Woman Storytime  Ayin Weaver tells a story from her early adult years that challenged the status quo of her thinking and forever changed her views of life, death and everything in between.  

Today’s story begins benignly when Ayin shows up at the prearranged time to tutor a young boy. Yet the encounter with the older woman who obviously made the appointment and invites Ayin into the home to wait for the arrival of the student, results in some strange and unsettling moments ultimately leading Ayin on a life changing path to a new inner and outer world view. 

Ayin has a 40+ year career as an illustrator, painter, sculptor, Reiki Master and author. Her first book, Artist as Healer, Stories of Transformation and Healing is a book of case histories of her healing work. Today we talk about her first novel Bleed Through – a fictionalized story of her beliefs about life and the interconnectedness of us all.

To listen to Ayin’s  story, click on the link below.

Ayin shows her art and teaches painting at Artflare in Santa Rosa, CA located in Building 33, Studio/Gallery #106, 3840 Finley Avenue, Santa Rosa

Her next Dolls for the Soul Workshop is coming up in February, 2016.

To contact Ayin by email, write to Attention Ayin in the subject line.


By Roberta Teller


Batja Cates: Tuning into and Trusting our Inner Voice



When was the last time you knew who was calling you, before you heard the phone ring?  When was the last time you stopped to listen to that inner voice that was beckoning you? When was the last time you broke from tradition, the expected,  and went off in a completely different course because you had a hunch or a gut feeling that pulled you in a new direction? And when was the last time you absolutely trusted that inner voice you KNEW was speaking the absolute truth?

This week’s on KOWS  Wise Woman Storytime we  explore the topic of intuition – that experience of knowing something even though you have no idea of how or why you know it.   Batja Cates shares her personal story of how through a series of synchronistic events, she was propelled into the practice of imaginal inner guidance work without any formal training or prior experience.  Trusting her natural ability to evoke spontaneous imagery in her clients, Batja successfully assisted her clients through the use of imagery as they faced serious illnesses and surgical procedures.

Some of the greatest minds affirm the power of intuition and the importance of heeding its voice.

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and  the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”

While it is debated if Albert Einstein or Bob Samples (scholar, artist, author or visionary) said this, I think we can all agree that this quote really addresses how we prioritize and allow left brain rational thinking to dominate over the still, quietude of right brain awareness.

Listening to Batja’s story has helped me get back in touch with the treasure trove of opportunities, insights and gifts that become available to me when I let go of the busyness and noise of the outside world and tune into my heart and intuition.

I have a hunch there’s some really good stuff here for you.


By Roberta Teller


Music From Wise Woman Storytime


The big question was; Other than simply cancel my radio show, Wise Woman Storytime, what should I do when my guest cancels and there is not enough time to find a replacement? 

Well, fortunately for me, when this happened in June, I had been giving some thought to a different kind of show and now was my golden opportunity to bring this idea into reality.

But first, let me give you a little background……

In the very beginning –  when I first started producing Wise Woman Storytime, I didn’t give much thought to the music that I played during the segways and breaks. But after a while, it dawned on me that each show would be much more interesting if the music reflected the story being told. So I started researching songs and all kinds of music that mirrored the story that my guest was telling.  What I began to unearth was a treasure trove of history about music and I was introduced to new artists and genres that I had not experienced before.

And I really liked the continuity that this brought to Wise Woman Storytime.

I’d been thinking for awhile that I’d like to dedicate a show to  the music I’ve played and when my guest became ill , I said, “OKAY……’s the time for Music from Wise Woman Storytime.”

So today, you’re going to hear some of the music I’ve played snippets of these past 10 months. It’s an eclectic sampling ranging from classical, to old standards, to contemporary and maybe even some rap. I hope you enjoy the variety and some of the background info I’ve discovered.


By Roberta Teller


Alex Lacey: Taking the Teeth Out of the Bark

Chronic and repetitive dog barking unnerves me. It always has and it probably always will………It’s the kind of sound that no matter what, I can’t tune out, block out, or just plain ignore. Earplugs, double paned windows and noise reducing machines never work. It’s like the sound permeates my being and enters into my body, mind and spirit……..Bombarded by repetitive and chronic barking, I lose my ability to focus, become agitated, get angry and  my guts feel tight and all knotted up.  I’m sure that my blood pressure is affected along with a rapid heartbeat. And then there’s the accompanied sense of impotency, because I have no control over whether the neighbor will or will not take responsibility and control his or hers animal’s behavior. Leaving home doesn’t really help as I find that I carry the anguish with me and returning home I worry that the barking will start again if it isn’t already. It’s really a vicious cycle. 

So, when I read that the World Health Organization has identified noise as a debilitating toxin with the potential to devastate health, I felt understood and my reaction to the noise intrusion was validated, acknowledged and legitimized. 

The problem of nuisance barking dogs was the topic of this week’s KOWS 107.3FM’s Wise Woman Storytime.  I actually became acquainted with my guest Alexia Lacey when a friend directed me to the survey she was conducting on a local internet bulletin board. Alex was gathering information and opinions from our west Sonoma County community on issues related to barking dogs. 

Having just bought and moved into her first home – her sanctuary and lifelong dream come true -Alex had a rude awakening. Exhausted and exhilarated, her first night”s sleep was interrupted by her neighbor’s barking dog which was not an anomaly, but as she would soon find out, was a regular pattern -day and night. The dream of living peacefully and quietly in her new home was to become her worst nightmare. When the neighbor not only refused to work with Alex for an amicable solution to the problem and instead became hostile and belligerent, Alex turned to the Sonoma County Animal Control for help.  

That is when Alex came face to face with a legal system that fails to protect innocent victims from irresponsible pet owners. She discovered a confusing definition of nuisance barking and a noise law that was vague and ineffectually phrased. She learned that the law favored the perpetrator and placed undue burden on the victim. Citations and legal consequences were highly unlikely because the complaints were difficult to prove and unenforceable by an understaffed Animal Control Agency. 

Alex uncovered one of the dirty little secrets of Sonoma County – an epidemic of nuisance barking complaints and no laws to effectively manage and control the problem.

For the past 3 years, under the constant duress of the ever present noise intrusion, Alex Lacey has worked tirelessly to bring peace to her home and to the lives of others whose lives are impacted by thoughtless, inconsiderate and yes, inhumane pet owners. Her personal commitment to fix our broken Animal Control system has included; extensive research on effective county and municipal policies that have shown high rates of success in eradicating the problem when complaints are filed; the creation, compilation of data  and summary of a survey of west Sonoma County residents that was submitted to Animal Control; and a detailed document of the issues residents of the county face, a clear and concise definition of nuisance barking and recommendations on the implementation of procedures, policies and laws that hold pet owners accountable. 

My goal in creating Wise Woman Storytime is to put the spotlight on older women; to give them a platform to  share their stories; and to highlight what a better world it is because of who they are and the difference they make.  Alexia Lacey is one such woman and in the next 12 months of so I plan to have her back on the show to tell us how well the new nuisance barking policies are working in Sonoma County.  Thanks to her.   

By the way, check out this great website called Barking Dogs. It’s  an excellent resource for those who want more information, resources and help. 

The link to the show is below….

 By Roberta Teller


Living with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity: Lena Rothman’s Story

Photo on 2013-02-08 at 10.16

Today, there are about 80,000 chemicals that are used in our homes and cars, washing machines and dryers, and rubbed into our bodes and hair. Petrochemicals are not only found in gasoline, diesel fuel, heating old and jet fuel, but in every form of plastic (except bioplastic), synthetic fibers (polyester, nylon, and acrylics), canned foods, pain medicines, make-up, dyes and paints……to name a few.

It is estimated that 74 million Americans have some form of chemical sensitivity. This could be as simple as an occasional headache from the odor of a perfume or new carpet.  But for 10 million people – 3.2% of the US population – it is a much more serious and chronic condition that it requires a major change of lifestyle because they can no longer live in a normal manner anymore.

Most of us go about our lives not worrying about what the person sitting next to us on the bus might have washed or dried her clothes with or what scented products she might have bathed with that morning. Instead of a short 5 minute bus ride, we might be walking instead. We don’t go to work  concerned about sitting in a room with men and women who might have splashed themselves with perfume or cologne  or washed their hair with scented products, and be worried  that we might get that “brain fog” again and not be able to concentrate or do our job to the best of our capabilities – or not at all. We don’t think that walking down the detergent aisle in our favorite grocery store might trigger a migraine or sinus infection. We don’t worry about the cleaning products our dream hotel uses because if they’re not free and clear of scents, we might have to sleep on the beach or head on home. And what happens when the house or apartment you live in becomes toxic and you start reacting to the formaldehyde in the building materials and have to move?  Where do you go that is safe?

And when we go to the doctor to talk about the sore throat, fatigue, headaches, muscle and joint pains we’re getting and the doctor tells us she has no idea what’s wrong with you or maybe worse, tells you that it’s all in your head and says, ”Here’s a prescription for anti-depressants,” and while you’re at it, “Go see a shrink.” What do you do?

My guest this week on KOWS, 107.3FM’s, Wise Woman Storytime is Lena Rothman who lived a normal life until the mid 1970’s when she started developing a series of symptoms that seemed unrelated and confusing to her.  Her throat closed and she was rushed to the hospital after she got a shot of penicillin. She broke out in rashes after swimming in a chlorinated pool, She began to react to the pollen in the air and had to have someone record a class she was enrolled in because she couldn’t remain in the classroom with the new carpeting. When it  became increasingly difficult to treat her acupuncture patients who used scented soaps, hair products and body lotions, her career suffered and her income was dramatically reduced.

Finding it increasingly difficult to live in a scented world, Lena retreated to a very rural community where she lived an isolated life and lifestyle for 7 years. It was here she studied and researched her illness and explored avenues that would give her a path to a more normal, albeit cautious and hyper-vigilant life; a life where daily normal activities involve planning safety routes, escapes and alternatives in the event of an exposure.

Today she is living in the city of Tuscon.

Known as Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, Environmental Illness or Chemical Injury this is not a patient friendly illness. Doctors are often uninformed and baffled by the complex and myriad of symptoms. Many doctors just don’t believe in MCS and believe the disease is in their patients heads. Very few allopathically trained doctors know how to test for the actual physical effects of human chemical reactions.

MCS is often described as the ultimate 20th/21st century disease.  We live in a world where one 42 gallon barrel of gasoline creates 19.4 gallons of gasoline while the rest – 22.6 gallons -goes into everything from detergents, body products, toothpastes rubbing alcohol, etc. etc. etc. Isn’t it time we rethink  “Living better through chemistry,” and listen to the messages of people – young and old, black, white, Latino, Asian – who are getting sick from the chemicals in the environment?  Aren’t they the present day canaries in the coal mine?  Hadn’t we better heed the lessons that maybe living better without chemicals might be healthier for all?

As always, click on the link below to listen to the show.

For more information, see the list of resources Lena has recommended.

By Roberta Teller



Resources:             Check out her video, How chemical Exposure May be Affecting Your Health       Chemical Injury Information Network      Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Referral and Resources     Imune          The Human Ecology Action League

Pamela Reed Gibson’s book, Multiple Chemical Sensitivity: A Survival Guide

El Chess: Lessons in Self-Love


“Bringing the experiences of women to full light, although in one sense perfectly straightforward, becomes a radical endeavor.” 

                                                                                           Carol Gilligan

Giving voice to the unspeakable, seeking healing rather than victimhood, and being a student, teacher and ambassador of self-love, are but a few of the gifts El Chess brings to the world. Creating a full life for herself and helping and inspiring others to live happily, is El’s life work and it hasn’t always been easy. 

Just a few days from her 70th birthday, El boasts a long resume of a successful and varied career and life. Her career path includes the following: personal life coach, seminar leader, keynote speaker, teacher, self-love educator,  and Executive director for the Attitudinal Healing Center of Sonoma County. She is a mother, grandmother and she just celebrated her 4 month wedding anniversary to the love of her life and soul mate, Tye. 

But life was not always good to El. Her early years were dominated by extreme abuse and trauma. She was subjected to unimaginable suffering and pain. Her first two decades of life were lived alone, isolated and invisible. 

This is a deeply personal journey of a woman who has been on a lifelong personal path to healing; a woman who credits her experience of living a fulfilled life to developing courage, striving for happiness, deep inquiry, and Grace. 

El’s story is a living testimony to how having a vision for a better life, having the courage to step on the recovery path,  and how having a commitment to do the inner work can lead to a fulfilling, happy and rich life. It is a story of the power of determination, will, grit and ultimately the ability to love oneself  that triumphs over adversity, heals and allows her to not only survive but to thrive.

When someone steps up to the plate, speaks the unspeakable, walks the path of healing and offers her life lessons to others – that is a radical endeavor………meet El Chess………a woman daring to live fully, happily and enthusiastically all the while changing the world as she goes.

Scroll down to listen to the the audio of the show

Want to contact El?

El Chess is in the process of creating a 12 Step Program called Adults Abused as Children Anonymous.  For more information on this, Self Love and her soon to be published books, you can contact her at 

By Roberta Teller

Charlene Stern and One Ordinary Near Normal Man

unnamedBen and Charlene Stern

I created Wise Woman Storytime  on KOWS 107.3FM as a platform to showcase older women who through their passions, life experiences, lessons learned, attitudes and actions, make the world just that much better for themselves and for the rest of us.

My goal has been to shine the spotlight on these elderwomen for all to see; to offer their stories as a testimony to what is possible when one has a dream or passion, when one has overcome challenges and when one’s beliefs are so strongly held, that life must be lived accordingly.

I offer these stories to be sources of inspiration and introspection; to open up connections between the generations; and to restore the rightful place of reverence and respect to our elder mothers. Through these stories, I strive to inform, share history  and build a better tomorrow.

The child of Holocaust survivors, Charlene Stern grew up and continues to be a student of her parents’ lives. Throughout her life, she has searched for answers to the often unspoken stories of her mother and father’s earlier years.

Ben Stern, her father, survived the Molgenicia and Warsaw Ghettos, 2 death marches, and 9 concentration camps, In the 1970‘s in his adopted city of Skokie, Illinois, 30 years after his liberation, Ben took a stand against a planned Nazi march in his hometown. When no one would back him up – not the ACLU, nor the city of Skokie or his Jewish community, Ben refused to back down.

Charlene is producing and directing a documentary film called One Ordinary Near Normal Man. Ben Stern, an ordinary, near normal man is the centerpiece. Rather than focus on the horrors and evils of the Holocaust and the betrayal and victimization of those who suffered, Charlene instead is making a film about how courage, compassion kindness, goodness and faith can be forces for creating a more humane and just world.

This is a story about the resiliency of the human spirit. There is a Ben Stern in all of us. What a better world this would be if we could all learn to love, be kind, live with integrity, and to stand up for what we believe in – even when we have to do it alone.

One Ordinary Near Normal Man is a  tribute to her father’s tenacity, chutzpah unimaginable will, and commitment to stand up for what is right and good,  Targeting (but not limited to) an 18 – 24 year old audience, the film  intersects the life of this 93 year old man with the younger generation, offering the lessons of those before to be understood, internalized, and translated into advocacy for peace, harmony and sanity for the future.

One Ordinary, Near Normal Man is a work in progress. If you would like to learn more about this project or make a contribution to ensure its completion, visit the website

By Roberta Teller



Lillian Judd: From Nightmare to Freedom: Healing from the Holocaust

2015-03-26 12.00.50


It’s impossible for me to wrap my head around the cruelty that humans are capable of. In the past 150 years, tens of millions of men, women and children have lost their lives in genocides and mass atrocities.  Millions have been separated from loved ones, tortured, raped, starved, demeaned, and lost everything after being forced from their hones and land. Think of our own Native Americans, the Armenians, the Jews of Europe, and the people of Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur who have been innocent victims of political, racial, and religious  hatred. And it doesn’t stop!. Right now, the people of Burma, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, Kenya, Nigeria and Syria are threatened and living in terrible peril. 

Of my recent guests on KOWS 107.3FM, Wise Woman Storytime, almost half of the elderwomen have been actual survivors of the Holocaust or the children of Holocaust refugees or survivors.  As a Jewish woman who grew up in New York, I am fortunate that no one in my immediate family was subjected to these atrocities. Over the years, I have studied world history, seen the movies and read the books, but nothing prepared me for the impact of these first hand accounts.

This was especially true for me when I had the privilege of meeting and reading and then hearing the story of Lillian Judd, a survivor of Auschwitz. 

Born in 1923, the young Lilly enjoyed a happy life in a loving family. Life was never very easy in Uzhorod, Czechoslavakia, but the family worked hard, grew much of their food and wore the clothing their mother was skilled at making.

But life changed in 1938 and became progressively more difficult once her home country of Czechoslovakia was handed over to Germany and the Hungarian Army marched into her home town of Uzhorod.  Anti-semitism raged, young boys were sent to forced labor camps, many disappeared, women had to make choices between food and warm clothing for their families and all work by Jews had to be done without a work permit.  Heaven help the one who was reported to the authorities.  

In 1944, the Jews were removed from their homes and forced to live in an old brick factory. The lucky ones got to live in the open stalls. Those less fortunate scrounged for materials to build a shelter for their families. After 6 weeks of little food and water, the Klein family, along with others were marched to the train station and crowded into box cars with no light, food, water or toilets.  Four days later they arrived at Auschwitz.

What is amazing about Lillian’s story is how she not only survived one of the world’s most heinous atrocities, but much more so, how she has healed herself and at 91 years of age is still working tirelessly to make sure that she does everything she can to speak about the Holocaust as an opportunity to educate, inform and help stop current and future genocides.

By telling her story in her book From Nightmare to Freedom: Healing from the Holocaust, she was able to shed the dark cloud that suffocated her for much of her life. With every chapter, she was able to let go of the past and became lighter and freer. 

I invite you to listen to her story and to check out her book From Nightmare to Freedom: Healing After the Holocaust.  You can find the book at her website or on Amazon. 

By Roberta Teller


Elaine B Holtz: An Ordinary Woman Doing Extraordinary Things


One of the greatest gifts for me from hosting Wise Woman Storytime on KOWS 107.3FM is that I get to meet and get to know some really wonderful women. Elaine B Holtz exemplifies this so well.

A first generation American, Elaine’s life story is an evolution from a sheltered child living in a homogenous Jewish community to a social activist who lives, works and thrives in a global society. Once the shy college student terrified of public speaking, today, Elaine hosts both a radio and TV show called Women’s Spaces interviewing politicians, fellow activists, artists, healers, writers and musicians. She is an author, a poet and currently serves Sonoma County with her service on the Community Advisory Board and the Human Rights Commision.

With a strong commitment for women’s rights, social justice, children, peace and the environment, Elaine B. Holtz is a spokesperson and visionary for those whose voices may be stifled or perhaps needs a platform to speak from. And while she says her radio show is “dedicated to ordinary women doing extraordinary things,”  she is the shining light giving them the spotlight.

By Roberta Teller