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My Journey Towards Self-Love…

By |2019-09-04T23:16:53+00:00September 4th, 2019|General Happenings|

A notebook with a drawing of a heart and the words"be you" and "love yourself"I know, I know it sounds so woo woo.  Yes, I will admit that I was and still am a self-help junkie.  In my 20s and early 30s I loved reading books on personal growth and development and I have come to realize that self-love is really act of resistance.  Much of mainstream media teaches us, specifically women to not be happy with ourselves.  To not be happy with our bodies, unless we sculpt, strain and starve ourselves.  Not be happy with our faces, where we have to use all sorts of make-up to cover up all of our flaws.  Not be happy with aging, to do everything in your power to not look older, where seeing your esthetician is a mandatory weekly visit and getting botox is like getting your nails done.  Not only, does doing all of these things to maintain an unrealistic ideal of beauty drain our time, but it also can drain our bank accounts.  Given that women still only make .77 cents to out male counterparts, it seems even more egregious that women spend so much money to try to attain a level of beauty, which in many ways is unattainable.

This year I turned 45 and have definitely fallen into the trap of wanting to defy my age, my skin and ensure that I maintain a certain physique.  This came as a surprise to me, because I feel like I have overcome many of my insecurities and have a fairly healthy self-esteem.

Let me start from the beginning to give you a little bit of history on my journey.  I grew up in a stable and nurturing middle class family, and both my parents are first generation immigrants from Taiwan.   I was born in Littleton, Colorado, and grew up in Louisville, CO.  I had a very typical childhood, I played with neighbors, went on summer vacations, attended public school and went to University of Colorado, Boulder for my undergrad degree.  I was awkward in my tweens and teens, and definitely fell prey to peer pressure and not feeling like I fit in.

In college, I started to gain more confidence.  I worked out almost every day, I loved going to the gym, I studied, dated, went to concerts and parties, and made good friends.  Then after I graduated, I joined the Peace Corps service where I lived in Nepal for 2 years.

It was here when everything began to fall apart.  After a year of living in Nepal, I started to become obsessed with my body, I gained about 10 pounds which is common among volunteers because of the high carb diet that many subsist on.  Having a larger physique in Nepalese culture was considered beautiful, but by American standards, being larger meant you were not desirable and lacked discipline.

I began to track everything that I ate in Nepal and became obsessed with my body.  I had lost my security blanket of control that I had in Colorado.  The ability to work out in a controlled gym/environment for 1-2 hours every day, and the ability to control what I ate (salads certainly don’t exist in Nepal).   This lack of “control” combined with the weight gain threw me into a deep depression.  I literally started crying every single day and I couldn’t get out of bed.  On top of feeling this way, there was so much shame I felt for not being able to, “keep things together.” It was a perfect storm.

Eventually the Peace Corps medical team intervened and I was sent to Kathmandu the Capitol of Nepal for psychological evaluation.  I saw a few therapists who gave me an evaluation and treatment.  What really provided the most healing and got me out of my funk, was a visit from my family.

I know it sounds so simple, literally having my father take me into his arms and giving me a big bear hug with tears streaming down both of our faces, started my journey towards healing.  I think it was at that moment I was reminded that I was loved unconditionally; and my pain was actually causing pain to my father.

This realization caused a shift in my thinking and being.  It cracked a light into the dark depression I was feeling and literally got me to “snap” out of it.  I didn’t heal overnight, at least I felt positive and optimistic that I could get through this tough time.

It has been over 20 years since I have lived in Nepal.   Nepal provided a “disruption” to my consciousness.  It woke me up to how insecure I was feeling growing up in American culture, and truly changed my outlook on life.  It gave me the confidence to purchase The Wellness Center over 17 years ago.

Now after 20 years since I lived in Nepal, I have re-cultured to American life.  I work out, monitor what I eat, and am in control of my body.  BUT my body is starting to change… I don’t recover as quickly from my workouts, I have a “soft” mid-section ever since my daughter was born, my skin is starting to freckle more and random moles are coming out of thin air!  I have been resisting these changes, feeling like I have to work out more, buy clothing that tucks and compresses my mid-section, I have to put on make-up that covers up my freckles.

I think to myself is this self-love?  Self-love is being ok with all of the changes that are happening in our bodies.  Instead of resisting the changes, embrace and love them.  As we only have one physical body, let’s love it unconditionally.  Truly, it is not what is on the outside that make us beautiful people, it is what is on the inside.   It is about feeling good about ourselves and our bodies no matter what they look like.  That being a happy, generous and giving person mean so much more than being perfect.

Replace FOMO with JOMO!

By |2019-06-20T18:52:00+00:00June 20th, 2019|General Happenings|

Recently, I was in a yoga class and at the end of class we were discussing social media.  This instructor said she did not have any social media accounts, while there might be moments that she might be missing out on cute pictures of pets and babies, the gains she receives in time and not feeling like she is “missing out” far outweigh the cons.

Facebook fuels the feeling of “FOMO,” the Fear of Missing Out.  When you look at what your friends are doing, or looking at vacation photos it is easy to wonder what you are missing out on.  Especially if your friends are at a party that you clearly were not invited to.  Before Facebook if you weren’t invited to a party or gathering you probably never even learned about it.  The feeling of being “left out” never surfaced.  With Facebook, it is inevitable that you will feel snubbed by friends if they are posting pictures of themselves at a social event that you were unaware of.

More than one billion people log into Facebook every day and it remains the world’s most popular social networking site. Studies show Facebook use is associated with lower life satisfaction and that spending a lot of time on Facebook will make you sad.

According to a 2014 study published in Computers in Human Behavior, most people aren’t using social media to be social. Only about 9 percent of Facebook’s users’ activities involve communicating with others.  Study participants experienced a sharp decline in their moods after scrolling through Facebook. Interestingly, they didn’t experience the same emotional decline when they surfed the internet. The toll on mental health was unique to Facebook.

Scrolling through happy status updates, exciting vacation photos, and beautiful family moments led participants to compare their lives with those of their Facebook friends and it is hard to not feel a bit envious and FOMO.   Many people after scrolling through facebook for an hour or more, feel like they have wasted their time.  But, we continue to check Facebook daily.  Studies confirm that people predict Facebook is going to make them feel better.

People assume Facebook activity will boost their mood as they check in with how their friends are doing. They don’t recognize that it’s actually robbing them of joy.

Young woman doing cartwheel on grass

How do you move from a Fear of Missing out to embracing the Joy of the present moment?  Michelle Rees writes a great blog on why you should embrace JOMO, the Joy of Missing Out, vs FOMO.

Here are a few tips to get you out of the habit of mindless Facebook scrolling:

Awareness: Knowing that Facebook can harm your emotional well-being is the first step towards taking a step back from it.

Limit your time: Try to only check Facebook once a week for less than 30 minutes or if you do check it daily.  Set a timer and only do it for max 15 minutes and then stop.

Awaken your creativity: I know it is easy when you are waiting for something or standing in line to take out your phone and look at Facebook.   Next time, try to just stand.  Having idle time can activate your creativity.  If you have more time, journal, color, draw, or take a walk in nature.  All of these things will awaken your creativity and make you feel more grounded and calm.

Embrace Joy!

 

Do you have an attitude of entitlement?

By |2019-06-13T13:08:53+00:00June 13th, 2019|General Happenings|

In the last 5-6 years, my life has gotten considerably easier.  In the sense that financially I don’t have the same worries that I had in my 20s and 30s.  There is money in the bank that provides a safety net for emergencies, I am putting away money towards retirement, and I am comfortably able to pay my monthly bills for both the business and my personal life.  Which is a 180 from my earlier days when I lived off credit cards and was wondering if I would make payroll every month.

Recently, I have found that this attitude that I “deserve” this or that creeping into my thoughts.  I “have” to eat out whenever and wherever I want, I can and am “entitled to” buy any gadget or thing that I want, regardless of whether or not I have a need. I “need” to go to the spa and get a facial and relax, I “deserve” to take this trip.  I find this feeling of entitlement unsettling and disturbing. 

A little bit about me, my parents are immigrants that came to the United States from Taiwan in the 1970s.  I was born in 1974 at Swedish Hospital in Littleton, CO.  I grew up in a middle class family, where both my parents worked.  We took modest annual vacations to Lake McConaughy in Nebraska every summer where we would boat, fish, water ski and swim.  My parents were very modest in their spending, and I grew up rarely eating out, watching my Mother paint her own nails, cut my father’s hair and we lived with the same furniture and blue station wagon for the entirety of my childhood.   We were naturally less wasteful, not due to a passion for the environment, but because we couldn’t afford to be wasteful. 

This upbringing has served me well, especially during the early days of my business career when I was running on a very shoe string budget.  I have learned to live modestly and not covet material possessions.  As my income has grown, my appetite for spending has not ,for which I have my parents to thank.    

Recently, I found myself thinking that I “deserve” this or that.  I think this is a common trap many of us that live in America, the land of excess and abundance.  We are surrounded by a culture of entitlement… that we “deserve” certain things for being American.   Marketers have a hay day with marketing “self-care,” you deserve this, or you need to indulge in that.  In many ways self-care has become so commercialized, that for many it is a spending frenzy.  Spending money on hair, makeup, spa treatments, clothing etc. I think it affects women more than men.  Women are put in vulnerable financial situations, when they are spending all of their disposable income on “self-care”, rather than building a financial safety net. Brianna Wiest writes a very thought provoking blog on what self-care REALLY means, and it is really an unglamorous and sometimes boring thing.   

As parents we need to work extra hard to not pass along a feeling of entitlement to our children.  I worry that with my own  daughter, Maya, that she will become entitled, because she is living in a different time with different privileges.  Clearly, if I start developing an attitude of entitlement, she will be much more likely to embody those same values.  I try to stay extra vigilant when I feel that my attitude is changing.  When I have an attitude that I “deserve” this or that, clearly this is when it is time to take a step back and actually re-connect with the roots that my parents laid.  Where I am grateful for all of the freedoms provided for me here in America, but I am clearly not “entitled” to them.  I have to work hard every day to remind myself and my daughter of the privileges we have and they should not be taken lightly or for granted.

Stay Grounded, 

It Takes a Village

By |2019-04-25T01:33:16+00:00April 25th, 2019|General Happenings|

I know it sounds cliché, but it really DOES take a village!  This has been on my mind a lot recently as I recently finished reading IKIGAI, The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life, by Hector Garcia and Frances Miralles.   It talks about these small villages in Japan that have the most centenarians there: people that live over 100 years old.   They studied the lifestyle of these people and found there were 4 main things that all had in common.

1)      They all had a passion that they discovered and loved, and continued to do into their golden years.  Whether it was teaching, writing, painting, working with people etc. and they all spent time on these “passion” projects every day.  Which provided them with purpose in their lives, and they always continued to learn and discover new things.

2)      They ate until they were 80% full.  They never ate until they were stuffed, instead they eat enough to satisfy their hunger.

3)      Activity was built into their daily lives.  100% of these centenarians had their own small gardens they that tended to on a daily basis.  They walked everywhere and their villages were geared towards walking versus driving.

4)      The villages had “social pods” where there was an activity director that planned nightly activities for the residents.  Every night there was a reason to gather and celebrate.  Either for dancing, eating, talking, game playing, karaoke or whatever the social activity director planned.  Everyone truly enjoyed spending time in community together, which then fostered a sense of family, trust and community.

When I reflect on my personal life, I find it hard to build community even within my small Lowry neighborhood.  Not due to lack of desire among myself and my neighbors, what I have found is that most families are so tired from the workday/week, that most don’t want to gather after work.  Many families and individuals just want to decompress from the day, which leads them to watch TV and buy fast food.

Many of us don’t have the time or bandwidth to plan activities.  It is hard to do things spontaneously as most of our weekends over scheduled.  Regardless, I am still grateful for my neighbors and my neighborhood.  I have faith that with a little bit of energy and intention we can all create our own little American villages.

In Health,

 

 

The Power of Patience

By |2019-04-02T22:29:11+00:00April 2nd, 2019|General Happenings|

Being around children and older parents and friends definitely is a lesson in patience.  My mom is in town this week, and we spent a few days up in Breckenridge.  My mom, who is 77 years old and I skied together.  At first, I noticed I was getting frustrated with how much slower she was moving, then I realized I had to practice patience.  I had to change my frame of mind and expectations.  I was happy to be spending time with my mom and if that meant taking fewer ski runs and only staying on green runs, it was worth it.  The goal was not for me to get as many runs in as possible, it was to spend time with my Mom.

Having patience, can be a challenge for most of us, but the ability to tolerate waiting, and to delay instant gratification without becoming agitated or upset can be life changing.  Being able to control your emotions or impulses and proceed calmly when faced with difficult or frustrating situations is an important life skill.

Needless to say, patience is not easy to attain and it’s probably harder now to achieve than ever before. In today’s world of ‘instant everything’, technological advancements and readily available credit have allowed us to obtain, experience, and consume practically anything we want.  So you may be thinking, is having patience still a virtue?

Absolutely!  Everything worthwhile and important does not take place right away.   Relationships, projects, learning opportunities all take time, dedication and effort to achieve.

The Benefits of Developing Patience

  1. Reduces stress and makes you a happier, healthier person. When you learn and practice patience you don’t get as angry, stressed or overwhelmed. You are more in control of your emotions and in a better position to deal with difficult situations with ease and poise.
  2. Better decision-making. When you’re patient you take the time to assess the situation, see the big picture, and weigh any pros and cons. The chances of making a big mistake lessen because you avoid making it in haste.
  3. Helps develop understanding, empathy and compassion. You are automatically more understanding and compassionate with others when you yourself are patient. Patient people take the time to process what they go through and are able to determine what it takes to overcome obstacles so they are more understanding of others. This results in better, more fulfilling relationships with spouses, friends, children and bosses.

In Health,

Curious about B12 shots?

By |2019-03-01T19:06:43+00:00March 1st, 2019|Naturopathy|

Vitamin B12 (or Cobalamin) is a crucial B vitamin.  It is needed for nerve tissue, health, brain function and the production of red blood cells.  It is a coenzyme that plays a large role in our metabolism and the functioning of the immune and nervous systems.  Vitamin B-12 is naturally available in meats and in small amounts from various plant foods and different types of seaweed.  So, for individuals who do not eat meat, obtaining vitamin B12 in bioavailable supplement form is key.

  • However, not all B12 is created equal.  Many over the counter B12 supplements come in a form that needs to be converted to the active form in order to be utilized by the body.  This is particularly important as some people do not have the necessary enzymes to convert to these forms of B12 (along with other B vitamins), making the supplements useless for that individual.

While taking B12 in capsule form is good, it still requires your body to convert its form in order to reap its many benefits.
Sublingual forms of B12 are an even better way to take it as the mucosal lining under your tongue and in your mouth has small capillaries that will absorb more of the nutrient, carrying it into the blood stream.
An B12 injection (shot) is one of the best ways to ensure that you will obtain more of this essential nutrient.
Vitamin B12 can be useful in treating and/or preventing the following conditions:

  • ischemic heart disease
  • migraines
  • chronic fatigue syndrome
  • peripheral neuropathy
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • cognitive decline
  • diabetes
  • asthma
  • hyperthyroidism

At The Wellness Center, we only use the most bioavailable form of B12 in our intramuscular injections. This ensures our clients get the most out of the vitamin.
If you are interested in getting a B12 shot please call The Wellness Center at 303-357-9355 to schedule an appointment, sometimes we can accommodate walk-ins.

How do you stay happy?

By |2019-01-30T03:38:29+00:00January 30th, 2019|General Happenings|

Happiness is such an elusive thing… we all want to be happy right?  But the human experience

does not lend itself to us being “happy” all of the time.  The human experience is filled with ups and downs, sadness and joy, fullness and voids.   I remember in my early twenties I went on a youth trip to Taiwan for a month.  It was an intense month of constantly being surrounded by new people, but we instantly connected and became fast friends.  It was a jam packed month filled with lots of fun and partying.  After that intense month, it was time to go our separate ways.   I remember feeling intensely lonely after a month of being surrounded by people.  It was such a stark contrast in experiences. 
Recently, I have been experiencing the same feeling.  For the past 3 months I have immersed myself on the leadership team for the Womxn’s March Denver.  In less than 3 months we were tasked with having to fundraise over $35k to put on a large scale march, we had to create a database of supporters, marketing and PR plan for communications, a website, fundraising events, a dynamic lineup of artists and speakers and a team of 100 plus volunteers to help us put on the march.  It was an intense 3 months,  right in the middle of the holiday season.  Since it was an intense time, emotions would flare from our leadership team when there were inevitably things that we did not fundamentally agree on. 
We made it to game day which was Saturday, January 19th and the event was very well put together, the program was inspirational and thoughtful, the march itself uplifted everyone and when it was all said and done we raised over $40k! There was so much to celebrate, but for me, it feels like there is a weird void in my life now.  When you are so busy for months working on a project, now that it is over it feels uncomfortable to slow down and get back to “normal” life. 
Being human is all about ups and downs.  We all experience highs and lows, life living on this planet is not easy.  Our brains are constantly comparing ourselves to others, constantly worried about something or other, and in general we can easily fall prey to “wanting” to feel happy all the time.  When we don’t we feel like something is wrong with us, so then we fill our days with busyness, shopping, eating, drinking, partying, whatever drama we feel like we need to stir up, we distract ourselves from feeling the void or the loneness, when in reality this is all part of the human experience. 
Rather than strive for happiness, I would instead focus on feeling at peace with the moments and experiences that you have on daily basis, find peace and contentment in the day to day mundane tasks of life.  Happiness comes and goes, but inner peace will carry you through each day.  
Here’s to inner peace!

Happy 2019!

By |2018-12-29T14:55:56+00:00December 29th, 2018|General Happenings|

This time of the year is always about new beginnings! It is a wonderful time to reflect on the past year and to look forward into the New Year.
I find that being human can be very challenging, and sometimes it is easier to just put your head down, follow the rules and not take any risks. While this works during certain points of our lives, living this way over many years, even decades can invoke a life that is dull and uninspiring.
We as humans are creative beings, and periodically changing things up is healthy and keeps the energy following. Recently, one of our practitioners took the leap and moved to Hawaii. Everything seemed to fall into place, she got a great job and it was in the perfect location. She took the leap and moved! This is no small task, packing and moving away is a HUGE change and takes A LOT of courage and work. I was so happy and proud of her for taking the leap. This is just what she needed in the moment.
After living in Hawaii for 3 months, it became clear that this was not the right path or place for her and with some deep introspection; she decided to move back to Denver. Some many say, oh what a waste of time, energy and money. I say what AN amazing change and experience she had! She personally grew by leaps and bounds, and learned how to trust her own guidance system and make decisions that were right for her. Now she is back in Denver, grateful, energized and no longer craving for another life in Hawaii. She took a leap and life rewarded her, in a very unexpected way.
What do you want to bring into your life this year? What new thing do you want to try that is a little bit scary? Here are some tips to living an introspective, peaceful and inspiring life:
#1 Take some calculated risks (be unattached to the outcome)
#2 Cut people or things out of your life that don’t feed your soul in a positive way
#3 Trust that there are certain things about life that are beyond your control
#4 Admit your mistakes and failures, and move on quickly without any self-shaming or judgement
#5 Trust your own unique life path, don’t compare yourself to others
#6 Trust that small voice inside of you
I hope 2019 brings to you much joy, peace and good health!
Happy New Year,

Keep it simple this holiday season!

By |2018-11-19T01:03:40+00:00November 19th, 2018|General Happenings|

As we move into the holidays; generally a stressful time of the year. I am reminded of a documentary that I saw years ago, called Money and Life. It discusses the dangers of attaching too much of our lives and worth to a dollar figure.
Over the years, money has lost its roots… it was created as a spiritual exchange of energy between people. Today, money feels more like something that controls our lives and divides us. Money today, causes a feeling of division and lack. The holidays feed into this feeling, causing us to spend money on things we don’t need and on presents that are forgotten within a month. Many times people will go into debt to fill this expectation of spending over the holidays.
What can you do? How can you buck traditional consumer culture?
The first thing is to start from within. Start by shifting your inner paradigm around money and spending. Trade spending and consuming for more time to think and relax.
Purchase things that are built to last, so many products today, break down within 1-2 years of purchase.  This is what we call planned obsolescence, where products are literally designed to break within a certain time frame so you have to buy it new again.  I recently, flew on Southwest airlines and they had an article in their magazine about buying products only once, and buying things that are built to last.  The idea of buying something that is build to last is good for you and the planet.  There is a website, called buymeonce that recommends products and companies that build their products to last, check them out here. 
Buy experiences rather than consumer goods, for example: gift cards for dinner, a massage, tickets to the movie or theatre the options are endless. (Even better, take your friends or family out on an adventure, you get to spend time with them and remember the experience.)
Tap into your creative side and make something this year, a photo book, knit a hat or scarf, make jewelry, make a mix of your favorite music, bake cookies.
Shop at a local small business to keep the money in the local economy.
Donate to your gift recipient’s favorite not for profit.
If you have never heard of the Story of Stuff project, watch their awesome YouTube video here!  
Wishing you and your family a very peaceful and happy Holiday!

I have a confession, I am closet Cupper!

By |2018-11-04T13:13:09+00:00November 4th, 2018|Acupuncture, General Happenings, Massage|

I think this seems weird to say this, but I love getting cupped. What is cupping you ask, and why do I love it so much? Cupping is a treatment that creates a partial vacuum on the skin using glass or plastic suction cups. You usually will feel a tight sensation in the area of the cup. Depending on your comfort the cups may be moved around or left in place. They may remain on your body briefly or for longer amounts of time. Each treatment is unique depending upon what is going on with you that day. The most common area that is cupped is the back, but the cups work well on other areas.
The suction that is created by the cups increases blood and energy flow to the area, and relieves tension and tightness. The increase of circulation facilitates localized healing. Cupping relieves pain by opening up the meridians, or energy channels, of the body and improving energy flow to every organ and tissue of the body.
For me personally, when life gets stressful and intense (which is often), my whole body tightens, especially my shoulders and neck. Even my head feels tight, almost like I am on the verge of getting a headache. Cupping seems to provide instant relief and similar to a therapeutic massage I feel my whole body release and the tightness melts away. I find getting cupping on a regular basis, especially if I have a lot on my plate, releases my tension and allows me to continue to keep living life at a high level.
Cupping has numerous benefits — it can help remove toxins from the body and stimulate the flow of fresh blood, lymph, and stagnant energy throughout the body. It often works wonders for patients with the flu, colds, coughs, back and muscle pain, poor circulation, anxiety, allergies, fevers, aches and myriad other pains.
I will warn you that cupping will leave bruises, but they are temporary. The bruising typically goes away within 3-5 days. In addition, the session can be relaxing, but at times the cups can feel uncomfortable as they are moved around the skin. BUT, that means the cups are doing their job, the more tense you are, the more intense the cupping can be, if you are new to cupping the therapist with typically ease you in. Some of our massage therapists can add cupping to your massage session. I personally, love seeing our Acupuncturists. They incorporate cupping, acupuncture and bodywork all in one session, but I am also a huge fan of Acupuncture, I find it to be extremely effective for me on many levels.
In addition to regular cupping, there is also fire cupping and blood cupping. I have not tried either of these, so I cannot personally speak to their benefits. If you are like me, and feel like your body gets tight during times of stress, I would high recommend you give cupping a try.
To cupping and your health,