With so many of us having to work from home, sitting at a desk, I find the most important part of physical wellness is MOVEMENT. It doesn’t matter what you do, exercise, yoga, stretch’s walking or maybe as simple as walking around your home and going up and down your stairs. Even if you move for 5 minutes every hour, you are keeping your muscles loose. I do this and then take 1.5 hours out of my day to walk outside. I struggled with back issues from sitting at my desk for too long during the day and it got to the point, where I could hardly stand. After Chiropractic therapy, I have learned to keep moving daily.
Often when we refer to wellness, we assume that we are talking about physical wellbeing. But one can be physically very healthy but still be unwell, emotionally or mentally. What are the steps we can take to cultivate optimal wellness in all areas of our life; to develop Mental, Physical, Emotional, & Spiritual Wellbeing?
As a part of our series about “How We Can Do To Cultivate Our Mental, Physical, Emotional, & Spiritual Wellbeing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Patricia O’Connor Heitz.
Patricia is a Reiki Master, a Teacher of Mindfulness and Self-empowerment Coach as well as author of the book “Daydreams Come True” a workbook helping define your belief system and how to change your belief to support what you want instead of unconscious, self-sabotaging beliefs. She has spent the last 18 years studying the mind, body connection, its relationship to disease and how and why we sabotage ourselves. Since she was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2002, and through study, and awareness was able to discover her own self-sabotaging beliefs and heal them. She has made this wellness work her passion.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
My childhood story is one of many lessons. It is filled with many ups and downs. I grew up in an alcoholic family, so there was much dysfunction as well as verbal and physical abuse. At age 14, I attempted suicide, so as you can comprehend, there were many emotional challenges and leftover scars that affected me as an adult.
What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.
In 2002, I was diagnosed with Kidney Cancer. Since I had no symptoms, this came as a complete shock to me. Even more stunning, was that just 6 months prior to my diagnosis, my father-in-law had died from the very same disease. At the time, my children were young, and I kept thinking “I cannot die; I have young children” While I was home recuperating from having my kidney removed and waiting for biopsy results to see whether the cancer had spread outside the kidney, I read a book someone had given me: “You Can Heal Your Life”, by Louise Hay. When I read the question: “Why do you need to have this?” It was like a lightning bolt struck me! I knew instantly that the anger and negative energy I had been holding onto from a traumatic childhood had contributed to this cancer. This blew me away! I thought: “If I could create this disease from my anger, what could I do If I was happy and loved myself?” From that moment on, I had to learn everything I could about the mind, body connection and how to create wellness in your life and health.
None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?
I can’t honestly say there has been anyone along the way that stands out to me as someone who has most encouraged me. Because of childhood wounds, I have never found it easy to fully trust anyone, and therefore have not found a close person to confide in. The only person, that has helped me feel loved and safe is my husband. Not really knowing, or understanding what love was I would say it has been my husband who has loved me unconditionally and encouraged me to follow my passion. .
Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your career?
I think its hard to pick just one experience and call it a mistake. I really do not look at experiences I have had that did not turn out well for me as mistakes. I view them as lessons. I have learned important insight that has helped me grow and evolve not just in my career, but who I am as a person with each challenge. Events that have occurred in my life that created trials were becoming a single mother and struggling with poverty, a business bankruptcy, working for several companies just to have an income that I felt miserable at, and not being confident enough in who I was, and what I really wanted to do to create the career I now have; one that feeds my soul.
What lesson or take away did you learn from that?
At these times of my life, I was more in survival mode, so I did what I felt I needed to do to survive what I had created in my life. However, what I have learned is that I no longer need to live in survival mode. I have learned to “allow”. I have learned that I have the power to create whatever I want in my life by believing in who I am, and what I have to offer, and instead of frantically searching for a “job”. I now own who I am and my gifts and look for opportunities that allow me to utilize what I love to do. By believing in who I am and the value of what I have to offer, I can pay attention to what passes in front of me that is a match, instead of trying to make things happen. It is so much more peaceful and satisfying!
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
When I was home recuperating from having my right kidney removed due to kidney cancer, a friend had given me a book: “You Can Heal Your Life” by Louise Hay. This book was life changing for me. During the 2.5 weeks from diagnosis to this point, I had been asking God to help me see what I needed to see and know what I needed to know from this disease. I had felt from the beginning, my intuition told me, there was something I needed to learn from this. I believe that is what opened my mind to find the answer. While I was reading the book, the question came up: “Why do you need this in your life?” At that moment, it was like a lightning bolt hit me! I had seen in the book, anger is held in the kidney, and I knew I had held onto so much anger from my childhood, that I had created this disease in my body! The lesson was, if I could do that with negative energy, what could I create with positive energy.
Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?
Henry David Thoreau — “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.”
It resonates with me, because I have always been a daydreamer. I believe it was how I survived growing up in an alcoholic household. I daydreamed all the time. In retrospect, I believe it helped me escape. What I noticed however, as I started studying wellness, is that the daydreaming helped to create things in my life. This quote helped me realize, I could use this skill I had learned to attract my dreams into my life. If I just focused on my dreams and expected them to happen, my daydreams really could come true. This is why I named my book: Daydreams Come True as a step-by-step structure to create a life of your dreams as I have learned to do.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?
I am studying information on and writing for 2 books. The first one is “Belief Becomes You” How to Build a Better Belief Blueprint. This book will help readers examine what they have believed about themselves, their world, relationships, and careers. They will then be able to see where they have created beliefs based on perceptions not true and create new beliefs that will help them create what they really, really want to be or have in their life.
The second one is “Living Love”. This book examines what love really is. It is not just a word or a feeling, but it is the energy found everywhere around us in everything that is good. It will take the reader through their days, relationships, careers, being able to look for and find everything in their world that loves and supports them. My hope is that readers will find more self-love when they realize how much they are loved by everything around them in their world.
OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. In this interview series we’d like to discuss cultivating wellness habits in four areas of our lives, Mental wellness, Physical wellness, Emotional wellness, & Spiritual wellness. Let’s dive deeper into these together. Based on your research or experience, can you share with our readers three good habits that can lead to optimum mental wellness? Please share a story or example for each.
Do you have a specific type of meditation practice or Yoga practice that you have found helpful? We’d love to hear about it.
I meditate every morning before I leave my bed and start my day. I have honed the meditation I use through becoming a Reiki Master. The meditation is: to close your eyes and first follow your breath; do 3–5 deep, slow breaths to bring your body into a relaxation state. Focus on the slow rhythmic in and out of the breath. Next, imagine what love feels like. Remember the feeling of love. I started with remembering the feeling of love when looking at my sleeping child, or when I first fell in love with my husband. Then allow this feeling to wash over your body. Start feeling love in your feet and allow yourself to feel it as it travels up through your body. Then, see the shadows before your eyes as the manifestation of this loving energy into a tangible presence. When I do this, it literally gives me goosebumps, and I can feel this energy throughout my body. As I practiced this meditation every morning, I started to feel this love for myself. That was truly a miracle since I, like so many, have always had a problem feeling love for myself. I do this every morning and can feel how much I am loved by the Universe as I then intend to find this love throughout my day.
Thank you for that. Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum physical wellness? Please share a story or example for each.
1.) With so many of us having to work from home, sitting at a desk, I find the most important part of physical wellness is MOVEMENT. It doesn’t matter what you do, exercise, yoga, stretch’s walking or maybe as simple as walking around your home and going up and down your stairs. Even if you move for 5 minutes every hour, you are keeping your muscles loose. I do this and then take 1.5 hours out of my day to walk outside. I struggled with back issues from sitting at my desk for too long during the day and it got to the point, where I could hardly stand. After Chiropractic therapy, I have learned to keep moving daily.
2.) Developing more self-love. In my experience, if you do not care as much about yourself as you do your family, friends, etc., you will not make the time to give yourself what you need to live a life of thriving. We, as women are good at self-sabotage unless we learn the hard way, and even then, we dabble in self-love. Developing daily habits that make time for ourselves and our bodies is fundamental to wellness and health in all areas of our lives. I had always put others before me and suffered silently for the consequences. I no longer do that. I put me first, so I am at optimal performance for everyone I love.
How do you do this? Start with the above-mentioned love meditation every single day. Intend for your day to stay at this place of balance and commit to finding displays of love wherever you go. You will be amazed, at how this completely changes the perceptions of events, situations, and people as you go through your day. I also highly recommend taking a course on Reiki 1 which is about self-healing. It has made a huge difference in my life.
3.) Finding movement that you ENJOY doing. I, personally, don’t like structured exercise. I find it so boring. I love, however, walking and hiking in nature. I find I can do Yoga moves, stretching and walking all in the same activity and it gives me joy and I look forward to it every day, even in the winter. To force yourself to HAVE to do exercise, is a lesson is self-sabotage, as you will find a way to not do it for the long term. Find something that you really enjoy. It could be cycling, Yoga, walking, or even dancing. Anything that keeps your body moving that can elevate blood circulation, and muscle movement.
Do you have any particular thoughts about healthy eating? We all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, etc. But while we know it intellectually, it’s often difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion what are the main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives?
I don’t have any specific thoughts about healthy eating, other than understanding anything we do for or against us and our health, is driven by what we believe about ourselves. When we don’t take care of ourselves, mind, or body, it is due to lack of self-love. Most all of us, have wounds we have held onto from childhood, that have created false perceptions about who we are, our value and how we fit into the world. When we believe we are not valuable enough, we don’t take care of our mind, or body. What we believe about ourselves drives all our behaviors, from what we eat, how much we sleep, what we think about our bodies, and our relationships. I genuinely believe the foundation of healthy eating is more than just a list of the best foods. I believe, it is about learning to love ourselves, so we instinctively know, and do not need outside motivating forces, to create healthy eating habits. It becomes part of all that we do to love and take good care of ourselves.
Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum emotional wellness? Please share a story or example for each.
- Daily meditation: For me, this has been a game changer. I start every day with love for me, gratitude for all I have, and intention of everything good happening in my day. Even if some negative situations occur during the day, I am able to quickly work around them, by looking at what the lesson or message is in the event or situation.
- Taking time every day, to do something just for me. This may be making sure I take a walk in nature (which I love), going to a Yoga class, or whatever gives me joy. When I take time for me, I feel good about me and I can contribute much more to those around me.
- Listening to or reading something that inspires me. When I walk, I always listen to an audio book that inspires me. This helps to keep me in a higher energy place especially if my day starts to become negative with the people around me. It completely resets my mind and gets me back to looking at the world with love. If the weather is not good, I will read something inspirational. There is so much negativity around us, we must feed our minds with nutrition as well as our bodies.
Do you have any thoughts about the power of smiling to improve emotional wellness? We’d love to hear it.
I am not one who believes you should force yourself to smile. I believe in either reading something funny, watching something funny (YouTube is filled with selections) or calling a friend or loved one who always makes you smile. Smiling is the outcome of feeling happy or joyful. I have not found it helpful to force the outcome and hope for the experience.
Finally, can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum spiritual wellness? Please share a story or example for each.
- Daily Meditation: Even though I have listed this for Emotional Wellness, it really encompasses creating wellness for the mind, emotions, physical/body, and your spirit. Meditation and/or mindful breathing will start to physically calm the mind, to help you connect to whomever your higher power is. Whether that is God, Buddha, or the Universe, this is the energy of love. No matter what name we give it. It is spiritual in nature and when we can connect with this energy, we are one with calm, love, and balance. We, if we allow it, can instantly feel the love of our higher power, and be lifted to a higher vibration of love.
- The habit of “Letting go”. I have found throughout my over 18 years of studying mind, body wellness, that when we force what we want, we have created an underlying energy of “I need”. This “needing” creates a resistance to what we want, by implying the lack of it. We cannot create anything from lack of it. The law of attraction works from the belief of EXPANDING what we already have. By expanding, instead of replacing, we can easily multiply what we desire. To come from a place of “I would like to expand this, but I’ll be ok, if I don’t have it”, is much more powerful. That energetic “flow” is when you know you are connected to your higher power. I have found that when I want something and find myself “needing” it. I immediately start to ask myself if I will be ok if I don’t get it. When I feel comfortable with being ok with not receiving it and let it go, is when it shows up. It has happened every time. You must let go and allow the flow.
- To stop labeling. We, as humans, see things as good or bad, black, or white. Life is really like the ocean. The tide comes in and the tide goes out. It is part of nature. We are apart of nature. When we label something good or bad, it means we have expectations according to what we want to see. The Universe operates on a natural flow of in and out, growth and evolution. If we put labels on everything, we will surely be disappointed when things do not go our way. However, if we look at everything that happens as a cycle, we will be able to see the evolution in it. This brings great peace, and when we feel peace, we attract and allow more, and find more joy in our lives.
Do you have any thoughts about how being “in nature” can help us to cultivate spiritual wellness?
I do. As I have previously stated, we are a part of nature. Nature, as we are, is primarily an energy, a spirit within a form. When I walk in the woods or along a beach and contemplate what I see before me, I can feel the energy of love all around me. I can see the form of the trees, leaves, water, flowers, etc., but I can feel the benevolence of the loving, spiritual energy that created what I am looking at. It is all created from the same energy of conception, growth, and evolution that we are. We can call this energetic connection, spirit, God, Universal energy or whatever feels comfortable, but it is the energy that connects us all and literally makes the world go around.
Ok, we are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
I would love to speak with either Joe Biden and/or Kamala Harris. Creating a new administration with as many challenges as they have, I believe, discussing the idea of offering educational programs that help unify the country such as a self and social guidance curriculum that teaches people acceptance, and self-love. I believe this would greatly benefit our country. I am inspired by their determination to help unify the country, but that is such an insurmountable goal unless we re-culture our society. The only way, in my opinion to re-culture our society is through education.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 🙂
As I have stated in the previous question, I would love to speak with either Joe Biden and/or Kamala Harris.
I would love to discuss with one or both, the HOW of unifying the country. We cannot just create mandates. We must get people to see outside of their mindset. We must get people back to a place where they want to re-build our country from the ground up; literally. With new infrastructure plans to help re-construct our bridges and roads,etc. we can also create a mindset of re-construction that helps to re-build the ideas our country was built on: inclusion, liberty, freedom, and happiness.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
My Daydreams Come True page on Facebook:
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