Margaret Evans

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MARGARET EVANS of Nova Holistic Journal interviewed by John Petrozzi for Living is Easy radio show (www.livingiseasy.com.au)

JOHN PETROZZI: Hi. Welcome to Living is Easy. I’m John Petrozzi. Thanks for joining us all today.

Have you ever seen that magazine on the shelves, the NOVA magazine? Well, today, I’ve got the owner and editor of the magazine, Margaret Evans, speaking to me on the line. Margaret owns this great magazine that’s called NOVA magazine, and it’s that one that’s got the big picture or big photo of something really nice on the front cover.

Hi, Margaret, and thanks for coming on the show.

MARGARET EVANS: Hello, John. I hope it’s always something very nice on the front cover. It’s all on the big globe, too. The world is a big globe.

JOHN PETROZZI: That’s it. People always comment about the photo on the front cover.

MARGARET EVANS: We spend a lot of time on our covers. We often choose covers that match our particular theme for that month. Very often, it can be something quite abstract, like “belonging “is our current theme. It really is not all that easy to illustrate, we have to spend some time choosing images. We spend a lot of time on that and we have a lot of fun doing that.

And because the cover of NOVA, as you say, is sought after, a lot of people—surprise me enough—collect all the copies! That’s what I’ve been told.

JOHN PETROZZI: Is that right?

MARGARET EVANS: Lots of people told the editor, “Now if people find the [room],” John, but it’s seventeen and a half years of copy.

JOHN PETROZZI: Wow. Is that right?

MARGARET EVANS: That’s a lot of paper.

JOHN PETROZZI: I saw the website and you’ve got the archives on there, which I thought was pretty neat.

MARGARET EVANS: I think we were trying to reach as wide an audience as we possibly can, and the archives on our webpage are an ideal way to do that.

JOHN PETROZZI: Yeah.

MARGARET EVANS: And it’s a wonderful resource for anybody, really.

JOHN PETROZZI: It sure is.

MARGARET EVANS: I mean, I use it as a resource, too. I try to remember things from a few years ago, so I go to the archive.

JOHN PETROZZI: Wow.

MARGARET EVANS: I love it. If your listeners did the same thing.

JOHN PETROZZI: Yeah.

MARGARET EVANS: I checked it through. It’s there and the actual magazine itself, too, is online these days, so if people choose not to pick up the hard copies, they can actually read it online.

JOHN PETROZZI: Save paper.

MARGARET EVANS: Indeed! I mean, I think we’re all conscious of this. As you say, though, there are many, many people who want the hard copy of NOVA and we’re very aware of that fact, so that’s why we have a fairly wide distribution around Sydney and outside too.

JOHN PETROZZI: So, Margaret, how long has it been since you had the magazine?

MARGARET EVANS: Well, my husband and I own—my husband, Rey, who works in NOVA, as well. I lot of these people will be familiar with him—with another since about May 2001, so that’s about nine and a bit years.

JOHN PETROZZI: Fantastic.

MARGARET EVANS: We actually introduced the East Coast tradition, which is the one that you’re familiar with, obviously, in Sydney. So, we started that up. We applied NOVA in Western Australia, where that’s the foundation edition of NOVA and that started out in 1994. So, that’s [0:03:14] a very strong point. It’s actually Australia’s oldest free holistic publications.

JOHN PETROZZI: It’s interesting.

MARGARET EVANS: The one that you’ve got on the East Coast is the one that my husband and I started together, so we have a very, very close interest in that.

JOHN PETROZZI: Yeah. Well, the whole holistic movement has really grown. It’s growing year by year. What sort of trend have you noticed?

MARGARET EVANS: I absolutely agree with you. I think whether it’s called “holistic” or whether it’s called “wellness,” I think people are becoming aware of the need to move away from an acceptance that somebody else can take care of your health and that, really, it does start with you. I think that’s very much the essence of a holistic approach to health. “Holistic” is quite hard to say.

JOHN PETROZZI: It is.

MARGARET EVANS: A holistic approach really encompasses an idea of thinking about everything as a whole and that’s with a “W” in front of the “H.” So, if you think that everything is a whole, everything, not just individual human beings and animals but the whole world is interconnected, when you have a sense of the interconnectedness of everything, I think that you would realize the enormous importance and the power of a holistic approach.

JOHN PETROZZI: Margaret, it must be time consuming to put these magazines together and liaise with customers and editor, you know, a whole bunch of people. How do you find the balance in your life?

MARGARET EVANS: I suppose that’s a good question and one I have been asked quite often. We’ve got a very good team of people, so they all do what they have to do. We have an office in Sydney with two girls, Michelle Garcia and Marlene Vale, who represent us in Sydney. Obviously, as a free publication, we have to make our way in the world. We have paid advertising and we have staff in Perth doing a similar thing. We all do our own tasks very well and I concentrate on the editorial.

As an agency’s function, I believe should be, and that is to source great news stories from regular contributors and new contributors. I just received something today from somebody entirely new, for example, I just got back to now, who wants to have an important message and really wants to be part of this, as you said earlier, growing community of people who think in a holistic way. I think there’s an enormous grounds for all the people who really do want to take that control of their lives, of their health, and also to be able to direct the world in their own small way towards the more compassionate and loving way of dealing with people.

JOHN PETROZZI: Yeah. So, what’s been your journey, Margaret, in terms of getting you into such a thing as producing a magazine?

MARGARET EVANS: Well, I’ve got a varied background, John. I mean, I’m in my late 50s. By your late 50s, you do acquire a varied background.

I’ve been a journalist. I think back with horror at some of the things I used to have to do as a daily news paper journalist in the city in Perth. I’ve worked in many other forms of writing as well. I’ve been a daily newspaper deputy editor and acting editor. So that’s all been extremely useful experience.

I’ve also been a teacher. And so a lot of people with arts degree, which is what I have, sort of a thing between journalism and teaching. I found actually teaching to be an extremely formative past of my background. I think these two elements, in particular, probably come together. I think an editor’s role is very much like that of a teacher’s role. You are a facilitator of things. I just encourage people to express themselves as well as they can. I don’t try to force my views on people. I think there are many people who’ve got a tremendous contribution to make in their own authentic voices. I see my responsibility as, really, to encourage people to express that voice and to have the confidence to do that. And really, being a teacher is to understand that.

JOHN PETROZZI: And you feel that putting a magazine together with all those inspiring stories in there is just a bit of food for thought that people just sort of take a look at their lives and re-evaluate?

MARGARET EVANS: Oh, absolutely, yeah. I think that is the excitement of NOVA. People often say to me it’s not a particularly easy-read. I hope it’s not a superficial thing. It comes out monthly; there’s a month good reading in NOVA.

I remember one man I met…yes I’ve got a lot of memories, too, which is something I’m quite overjoyed about actually. It’s fairly unusual with publications. I met a man at a festival out in Sydney or Melbourne two or three years ago. He came up to us and said that he—a middle-aged man—when he first picked up NOVA, he couldn’t understand a word in it, but because his wife wants to read the magazine, he persevered. Then a year later, he said he could understand almost everything that he was reading.

I think that sums up a lot of people’s journey. It’s a journey into greater awareness of your potential within yourself and your potential to contribute, too, to a kind of softer, more inclusive world.

JOHN PETROZZI: Yeah, that’s great. Just before we spoke—just off the air earlier—we were saying that at my practice, I have NOVA magazine there on several tables. I just noticed over time that people are sort of waiting for the next issue to come out. You know, they ask me when the next issue is coming out.

MARGARET EVANS: That’s great. John, I love to hear things like that.

JOHN PETROZZI: Yeah. It’s great because I can sort of reflect back to some articles from time to time when I’m helping somebody, you know, deal with a situation or try to improve a part of their lifestyle. I’ll just refer them to an article in the magazine and say, “There’s a great reading there. I think it will benefit you.” And people are going for it.

MARGARET EVANS: That’s great. I think people do. We get complaints—which are sort of nice complaints to get—that the magazine is not there in a particular place on the first or the second of the month that we can relay. People call and say, “Where is it?” It’s because the experience that they have is very much the experience that we’ve had here in Western Australia, as well, where we, even after all of these years—17 and a half years—have a fabulous following.

It’s a very humbling thing. I mean, it’s something that I can never take for granted as an editor. Every month, we sit down and really have to really think about what’s going to be in the next month. We have to maintain that standard because a lot of people expect that of us, and it’s really part of our integrity. That’s very important to them. I think that’s the holistic approach to anything: You act from integrity. That’s my point of view.

I’m not trying to sound too precious here, but I’m trying keep that editorial level up and giving people new advice, caring advice, and wonderful personal account. It’s a very personal journey in NOVA that I think resonates to a great many people.

JOHN PETROZZI: Yeah, I think you’re right there.

MARGARET EVANS: It’s a journal. People are encouraged to convey their personal journey.

JOHN PETROZZI: Margaret, in the sense of planning for an edition, I couldn’t even fathom where you’d start with planning an edition or, you know, an article even. How do you go about sitting people down and saying, “All right, this is…”? Do you sort of plan things 12 months in advance?

MARGARET EVANS: Oh, that would be wonderful; that’s the best of all possible worlds, John. Of course, we don’t plan 12 months. I mean, we’ve got our themes going several months in advance. Although by the end of the year, then it’s time, like it is now, I mean, we’ve got the next couple of months our issue out on the streets. Now, we’re talking about “belonging,” so that’s our November issue. We’re already underway with our next one for December, and that will be on the theme of “universe.”

With our first couple of months of themes, we all had to sit down and just really think about our thematic structure for the year ahead. That’s the starting point. It’s a signature of NOVA that our stories are fashioned around a particular theme for that month.

That actually makes it sort of easier for us. I think there are a lot of regular columnists; I mean, I rely on my regular columnists to be there for me every month, and they are. Daniel Sowelu who all your listeners would know, I’m sure.

JOHN PETROZZI: He is an astrologist, actually.

MARGARET EVANS: He is.

JOHN PETROZZI: He is great.

MARGARET EVANS: He’s very popular. He’s in Byron Bay and enjoying life up there.

Jeremy Hill is one of the naturopaths who write for us. He travels widely. He lives mostly in WA, but he spends a lot of time on the East Coast in Canberra and is very, very abreast of what’s happening in environmental issues in the world.

I rely—I mean, it’s not just me. It’s very much a team effort. I think NOVA is very much a community of people. We all get together and we combine our talents to make it happen month after month.

JOHN PETROZZI: That’s great. Margaret, in terms of astrology, I know that there’s a bit of a growing trend in the business environment in using astrologists to help them track their planning a year ahead.

MARGARET EVANS: Yeah. I think Feng Shui, too.

JOHN PETROZZI: And Feng Shui, yeah.

MARGARET EVANS: It’s very, very important. Yeah.

JOHN PETROZZI: Do you use it personally for your plan?

MARGARET EVANS: I’ve actually had a reading from Daniel, who I regard as a wonderful astrologer. I do pay attention to Feng Shui very closely. I think it’s based on some very sound principles. You have to work and live in tune or in harmony with your environment. I think when there is discordance or you are disconnected in some way from the world around you, I think that doesn’t go well in your personal relationships or in your business relationships. To me, I think, yes, I pay very close attention to what Julie and Abraham are saying every month, and various times, I’ve had Feng Shui-

JOHN PETROZZI: Consultation or something?

MARGARET EVANS: -consultation.

JOHN PETROZZI: Yeah. I’m just interested to watch that space of consultants in the coming years, because it seems to becoming more of a growing trend, and it’s going to be interesting to see how it’s taken up and who takes it up.

MARGARET EVANS: I think, yes. I mean, the corporate world is becoming aware of the strengths of the holistic industry absolutely. I think the entrance of someone like Deepak Chapra is just growing greatly. He’s a man of very profound wisdom.

I think a lot of things happen also from a negative point of view, and when you consider what the world has been through in a last couple of years, everything from the global financial crisis—which is still lingering—environmental issues and terrorism and so forth, all of those establish structures that allow these situations to occur have proven to be so possibly ineffectual. That’s what I meant when I say, if for no other reason, some of the corporate thinkers will be starting to look at a much more holistic perspective as a much sound way of running your life in the business.

JOHN PETROZZI: Yeah. And if any of you has just joined us, we’re speaking to Margaret Evans, who’s the owner and editor of the great NOVA magazine, holistic journal. You’ve probably seen a copy at your local health food store.

Margaret, you’ve met lots of people and you’ve traveled a lot in your years of running the magazine. Are there any stand outs? Who sort of stands out in your mind as, “Wow! I should meet that person.”

MARGARET EVANS: I’ve been lucky. That’s been a fabulous part of it. It’s not always, by any means. There are tremendous opportunities and I’ve had a lot of fun. This person I’ve met recently and I’ve written about in the current issue is Karen Mace, who again is surely well known. She was in both Sydney and Perth for the “I Can Do It” workshops that were run by [0:16:34] wonderful speakers, and I think, too, certainly in Perth where I heard her to sell-out crowd.

JOHN PETROZZI: It was a sell-out crowd here, too, in Sydney.

MARGARET EVANS: Yes, and I was actually in Sydney the following week again, chasing her around the countryside. I actually got to interview her there.

JOHN PETROZZI: Oh, fabulous.

MARGARET EVANS: So, we did have a- I mean, I find her very profound and quite intimidating person to interview because of her knowledge and her intellect. I think that comes across so clearly when she’s giving a talk to a forum. She was speaking very much about how she sees this—and other people, too—sees this time as the end of the age of reason because we’ve given primacy to the mind, and it’s time now to move into the new era and that’s the soul era.

Karen Mace is very much a believer in the fact that we must engage our soul. We must search our life in realizing that we must have a soul connection. In her case, she prays. Other people don’t pray, but they can establish this sense of spirituality in their life by having a sense of the all-encompassing power of the universe.

So, I found her quite fascinating and I overcame my trepidation of a very experienced interviewee, but I think in lots of ways, she would’ve been one of the most challenging people I have ever interviewed. I really enjoyed that because she has a grasp of deep and important issues, and she’s not talking about superficiality. She’s talking about important developments in our world and in our lives.

JOHN PETROZZI: She’s a fascinating woman. A current book which I read that was written by her, she spoke about archetypes. She was really one of the first people who really made sense of archetypes. I think that way of looking at life in general is a very powerful way of looking at things, at people and ourselves.

MARGARET EVANS: Indeed. I think she’s a very compassionate woman. I think that’s a characteristic of a lot of the very big thinkers in our industry. I think [0:18:48] is another who, I suppose, because they can see through issues that the [0:18:59]. They can see a way for it. They can see the way, the path to healing. I think they’re really great leaders in this industry and approach that from a very compassionate point of view and really try to help out fellow mere mortals along that pathway to a more enlightened way of life.

JOHN PETROZZI: Oh, that’s great.

MARGARET EVANS: Another person I had a wonderful interview with, that was four years ago, was Amma, the hugging saint of South India. That was probably the standout interview. I think, from the point of she doesn’t speak English, number one, so we had to conduct that interview by her translator, one of her lovely Swami’s. While she was answering me, she was extremely patient and was wonderfully compassionate, a woman who just radiates with love. While she was talking to me, listening to questions coming from English into her dialect, and then, answering back, and then, having the answer sent back to me, she kept on hugging all these people. And when she was hugging people, her focus was directly on them.

Anyone who’s been hugged by Amma will know that that is absolutely true. She doesn’t dilute her focus on you at all. Then at the same time, she was thinking about what she could answer. She gave me some wonderful answers. I found that better. I came away from that interview sort of buzzing. I thought that was just a fantastic opportunity to meet her and to be so close to her. I got my hugs and I got a kiss, so I was overjoyed.

JOHN PETROZZI: Did you really? Wow! I only spoke to one of her representatives here. We did an interview just over the phone. She just sounds like an amazing person.

MARGARET EVANS: Amma?

JOHN PETROZZI: Amma – yeah.

MARGARET EVANS: People talk about her extraordinary energy. I mean, she’s a woman now in her, I think, [0:20:57] her age. She’s probably about 56 or 57, something like that. She works  14-15-hour days, and very often, she’s standing most of that time. She doesn’t stop to eat or anything. There are enormous crowds in India; hundreds of thousands of people queue up to be embraced by her because she is this great soul-healer, someone who just radiates compassion and love. Obviously, in Australia, the crowds are nothing like that but she’s still, I mean, I was struck that she had a lot of people she needed to hug, but still, here we are. The interview probably went for forty minutes or something like that. I think her representatives are very impressive, too. There’s another man she called “Brother Shantamrita.”

JOHN PETROZZI: Yeah – Shantamrita. He was the guy I spoke, too.

MARGARET EVANS: Very American, very impressive.

JOHN PETROZZI: Yes. But the amount of work those guys do in India, they set up schools, they set up townships, educational facilities, and they’re not sort of “sit around” people. They’re hands-on, sort of trying to improve the little world they live in over there.

MARGARET EVANS: I think Amma has earned great respect. This is somebody’s who’s just seen as a- ten years ago would probably just disregarded, really, as a saint or rather, matronly woman from India, and what sort of relevance could she be to the Western world. But after their response to the tsunami in Kerala, which has caused great devastation, the most effective response organised in Kerala, which is where Amma comes from, was by Amma herself and her organization that has done an enormous amount for people who lost their homes, and lives, and schools, and all the rest of it in Kerala.

As a result of that, and this is something that Brother Shantamrita said to me—and he had just come back from addressing the United Nations. He’d been invited as Amma’s representative to speak to a group of people, who are about to be sent as United Nations’ peacekeepers to Somalia. Anybody could get, but they decided to choose the representative of Amma because her message is resonating so effectively. It is this message of love and compassion, and this amazing Indian capacity, as you said, to make things happen. I think this is probably deep down behind that drive in India at the moment, the extraordinary drive coming out and this energy coming out of India that make things happen.

JOHN PETROZZI: Yeah.

MARGARET EVANS: Well, if you can do it with compassion and love and caring for your fellow men, that has to be a better way.

JOHN PETROZZI: Exactly right. Yeah. Margaret, we’re almost out of time. Where do you see the NOVA holistic journal going over the next, let’s call it, ten to fifteen years?

MARGARET EVANS: Oh, that’s a long time.

JOHN PETROZZI: It is a long time.

MARGARET EVANS: Well, in that stage, I obviously would very much want to remain involved with my husband with this magazine for quite a long time in the future. Obviously, somebody else will be doing the day-to-day work, and I would like just to have a more hands-off role in the magazine in the years to come.

JOHN PETROZZI: Yeah.

MARGARET EVANS: I think it’s coming into its own, actually, as we really discussed in this talk. The holistic industry is being seen as something very important. In lots of ways, it’s going into the mainstream. Yoga now, for example, is very main stream. Yoga, in fact, as its spiritual components is of enormous importance. I think perhaps, the mainstream isn’t just focusing more on the fit box style of yoga. Hopefully, that will grow, too. It’s in building the sense of the interconnection of everybody and everything in the worlds that we cannot a view that excludes a particular group or we can’t give in to fear. A lot of that is happening, I think, in the world where people become ostracized in some way as “the other.”

Now, the holistic view is all-encompassing and it overcomes social problems, it overcomes environmental problems, it certainly overcomes health problems, it overcomes spiritual problems. So, it’s an extremely important way for it.

JOHN PETROZZI: Fantastic, Margaret.

Margaret, thanks very much for your time today. We really enjoyed chatting with you.

MARGARET EVANS: Thank you, John. Thanks for the opportunity to talk to you all at Sydney business.

JOHN PETROZZI: Fantastic.

MARGARET EVANS: Thank you. My pleasure.

JOHN PETROZZI: That was Margaret Evans, owner and editor of the NOVA holistic journal. If you can’t find a copy, then just go online. Just put in Google search “NOVA magazine” and you’ll find a link there to some current and past editions. It’s worth a read.

Thanks for joining us this weekend. I really enjoyed all this week or today. I really enjoyed your company and look forward to catching you all again next week.

This has been Living is Easy. I’m John Petrozzi. Until next time, stay well and stay happy.

 

MARGARET EVANS of Nova Holistic Journal interviewed by John Petrozzi for Living is Easy radio show (www.livingiseasy.com.au)