Always be compassionate to others. Regardless of our differences, we are all human; so instead of focusing on the differences, focus on the similarities — on what brings us all together as one humankind. There is nothing more powerful than connectedness from a place of good.
Asa part of my series about “How To Develop Mindfulness And Serenity During Stressful Or Uncertain Times”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Jenelle Kim, DACM, L.Ac., the founder and leader formulator for JBK Wellness Labs. Dr. Kim is carrying on the medical knowledge and wisdom of her lineage, which is rooted in the teachings of the great Dr. Heo Jun (1539–1615), a royal doctor of the great Joseon Dynasty (1392–1910). Dr. Heo Jun compiled the Dongui Bogam, a 25-volume medical encyclopedia, that was completed in 1613, with its basic theories based on the Yellow Emperor’s Inner Classic (Huangdi Neijing). Dr. Kim is the first female in her lineage to hold the treasury of her family’s proprietary Bi Bong® formulas that have been passed down for centuries and the first to share them on such a large scale.
Dr. Kim is devoted to integrating the philosophy, medical wisdom and expertise of East Asia with the advancements of modern life and medicine of the West in order to touch and positively affect the lives of others. Dr. Kim holds a Master of Science Degree in Traditional Oriental Medicine (MSTOM) and is Nationally Board Certified in Herbology, Oriental Medicine, and Acupuncture. She furthered her studies abroad, training with some of the most respected doctors and herbologists of East Asia.
Dr. Kim completed extensive training in East Asia under some of the most respected doctors in the field of Oriental Medicine and is the custodian of her family’s proprietary Bi Bong® formulas. Her extensive knowledge of herbal medicine allows for a unique perspective on the understanding of Hemp CBD and its effect on well-being.
With over 15 years in the beauty and personal care industry, Dr. Kim has formulated some of the first all-natural luxury products carried in high-end spas across the world including Ritz Carlton, Four Season & Mandarin Oriential and in the natural marketplace in stores such as Whole Foods Market & Sprouts. Formulating with CBD since 2012, Jenelle is known for being a pioneer in the industry and creating the first luxury CBD skincare line in the world — Cannabis Beauty Defined.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?
I was born to do what I do. I come from a long lineage of Traditional Oriental Medical doctors and herbologists, who have dedicated their lives to understanding medicine and the human mind and body in order to help us achieve our healthiest condition possible.
For my entire life it has been my wish to make a difference in the world. As an American born daughter of a Korean father and American mother, I learned from an early age the power behind centuries-old medicine and principles passed down from my mentors — the same principles that push me to continuously live a life of meaning, purpose, gratitude and giving.
As my mentor taught me, it takes one match to light a thousand — one person truly can make a difference in this world. I am fortunate in this lifetime to have the opportunity to share formulas the world that have the power to truly improve one’s mental and physical condition, and what is more important than our health. These secret formulas have been handed to through my lineage from generation to generation for centuries and were once only reserved for the royal families of East Asia.
This was not any easy endeavor especially considering that I was frequently told that no one would be interested in all-natural herbal formulations, no one would understand the beauty secrets of the East (interesting seeing that Korean Beauty is now the most renowned in the world ). I have had to break through many barriers and I have had to earn the responsibility of being the first woman to ever have the honor of guarding my lineage’s secret formulas, which had never before been shared on such a large scale.
Since I was 4 I learned the understanding of the human mind and body from my mentor. I simply started with secret formulas in my head and a huge wish to take these formulas into the world so that they I could help as many people as possible with them. I went to the Bishop’s School in San Diego (so I am a native !), studied at Pitzer College (of the Claremont Colleges), and received my doctorate’s degree in Traditional Oriental Medicine after 6 years of studying (and that was on the fast track!). I went on to study and practice both here in the US and abroad in East Asia. While going to school I began developing high-end, all-natural products for the high-end spa industry. It was at the age of 20 when I started building the first company that brought these secret herbal formulas to the world. I would wake up at 6 am to formulate and develop innovating products and creating the brand that would bridge ancient wisdom of the east with the technologies and developments of the west in a formulation, I would then go to school to study my medicine, treat patients in clinic and return around 9 pm to continue working into the wee hours of the night.
What started as a small two-person team in a laboratory in San Diego, has now grown into a team of 20+ employees, and the company is ranked in the top 1000 growth companies in the manufacturing sector based on Inc 5000’s 2018 rankings. Growth has been organic and steady and JBK has grown in concert with its client base. Its 50+ customers are carried on the shelves of Neiman Marcus, Whole Foods Market, Urban Outfitters, CVS, Kroger, Ritz-Carlton Hotels, Four Seasons Hotels, multinational direct-selling companies, and other locations. The business model is unique in that the products produced by JBK’s contain natural proprietary herbal formulas, which have been handed down from generation-to-generation and are only available from JBK. Therefore, there is a built-in mechanism whereby JBK’s clients are able to have truly special products from everyone else on the market, and the products cannot be duplicated by other manufacturers.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career
One of the most interesting things I have noticed since I began leading my company is how quickly everything can change. It is vital to constantly “go with the flow” or as I say, “move with the Tao.” I have watched the direction of our company change so many times because in order to be successful I believe that you have to constantly move with the twists and turns of opportunity. My mentor always taught me, there are only so many times in life when the door of opportunity shows up — sometimes its 3 times in life, and sometimes it is only once. So, when you know it is there it is so important to seize the opportunity, to be open-minded, to think at least 5 steps ahead. By continuing to follow these principles I have experienced time and time again that in one year everything can change.
One particular moment in time when I definitely saw that expanding our minds and ideas to embrace something totally different than what was planned was in 2012, when my lab entered the CBD industry. I initially turned down the offer to develop formulas for what are now the pioneers of the industry, but when I saw that they had clear intentions of helping others with this powerful herbal ingredient, which has been known in Traditional Oriental Medicine for over 4000 years, I committed to doing my part in helping the world understand CBD correctly.
Ultimately, myself and my lab have been at the forefront of natural products and herbal medicine in mainstream markets including high-end spas (Four Season, Ritz Carlton, Mandarin Orientals), natural product marketplaces (Whole Foods, Sprouts), Clinics, and large drugstore chains (Walgreens, CVS, Kroger). This is not an easy task but my passion always prevails.
What advice would you give to other leaders about how to create a fantastic work culture?
Treat your staff like family, I am very intuitive and have a strong sense of someone when I first meet them. My team is an essential part of my life and work and I make sure they know that.
From your experience or research, how would you define and describe the state of being mindful?
I would define mindfulness as a state of being aware and considerate, connected to the universe around you — nature and other people. It is a state of empathy and sincerity. Ultimately, being in this state creates a want to serve a purpose in your lifetime, to help those around you and to bring positivity into the world.
This might be intuitive to you, but it will be instructive to spell this out. Can you share with our readers a few of the physical, mental, and emotional benefits of becoming mindful?
When you are mindful, you are grounded and connected to your mind & body. It is important to note that being mindful is a constant and dynamic process. It is not something that you figure out once and then settle into. It is what I call Living Meditation™ or the practice of continuous and consistent reflection, perspective and gratitude. The benefits of being mindful are endless. Being mindful gives way to self-awareness of your own health and mindset. It leads to strong relationships as you constantly practice seeing others and where they stand at a given moment, which in turn allows your heart and mind to open up to their experience. Being mindful builds a foundation of security and peace, which directly affects your health, because through this you are better able to handle any stress or uncertainty around you.
Ok. Here is the main question of our discussion. The past 5 years have been filled with upheaval and political uncertainty. Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have only heightened a sense of uncertainty, anxiety, fear, and loneliness. From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to develop mindfulness and serenity during such uncertain times? Can you please share a story or example for each?
Picture your home and in that vision, picture clothes piled up everywhere, trash can overflowing, papers stacked all over the place, food rotting on the counter…. I think it is safe to say that almost anyone who sees this picture would agree that something needs to be done; a thorough cleaning and organizing session is definitely in order.
To the physical eye we are able to recognize when this “cleaning” needs to take place, but how often do we look inside?
So often our mind and heart are cluttered with ideas, emotions, questions, fear, anxiety, doubts, memories… When is the last time you took a look around your heart and mind?
This can be understood as the inner eye; this is the ability to look inside of yourself — to reflect — in order to see where you are standing. Just as you would not allow your outside environment to become overwhelmingly dirty and cluttered, it is even more important to make sure that you do not allow the same to happen inside of you. When your mind and heart are dirty with negativity or cluttered with confusion it is so easy to stumble when going about your daily actions; this inevitably affects the ability to work efficiently, care for yourself, care for your loved ones, communicate clearly.
Just as it would be quite overwhelming to try to tackle an entire house that is upside down with trash and clutter, the same can be said for purifying yourself. For most, the most effective way to begin is to begin one step at a time. In this case — day by day.
In the morning when you wake up, have a moment with yourself to go over 3 key aspects that you wish to accomplish that involve your character and/or overall self. These 3 aspects can be practiced at any point and can be practiced for a few seconds if that is all that you have (even when you are up against a deadline and/or when your kids are screaming through your house ☺…both of which I experience daily).
“Today I wish to:”
- Have more patience with those around me and to put myself in their shoes
- Not worry about things that I cannot control
- Accomplish [insert task] that I have been putting off
If this is challenging, then cut the time that you wish to achieve these things. For example, “For the next hour I wish to…” or “This morning I wish to…” Ultimately, you will begin to see that the timeframe that you have given yourself to accomplish these 3 things will begin to last longer. Before you know it, you will be creating good habits for yourself and your quality of life will improve.
Then, before you go to bed, take a moment to look over your day and ask yourself:
- What occurred today that I know I can improve upon?
- What was I unable to complete?
- How can I handle [insert situation] better next time?
These 2 moments of reflection, no matter how long or short, that you set aside for yourself can absolutely change your life. This is one way to practice Living Meditation™. Throughout this process you will begin to feel a much greater sense of calm and tolerance; both of which will lead you to become more grounded in your daily life and less apt to being moved easily on an emotional level. This “groundedness” and clarity are what allows these good habits to become part of you and lead you in your daily life, so that you are left feeling solid, happy, secure and confident.
From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to effectively offer support to those around us who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?
Please see above as this can be practiced by anyone and everyone, anywhere.
What are the best resources you would suggest for someone to learn how to be more mindful and serene in their everyday life?
All of the answers that we search for are within us and around us in nature. It is important for us to find principles or philosophies….ways of life that ground us and help us to work with life. This can be through the knowledge and wisdom of our mentors and thought leaders as well as through physical practice (because “working out” and physical practice strongly balances our mind and body and keeps us from being stagnant).
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
“Be like bamboo.” In life I find that it is so important to be fluid even in tough situations. Instead of being like a stiff board that is hard, taut and inflexible, be like that of bamboo — strong but flexible so as not to break…with knowledge, experience and wisdom that softly moves with life, with the Universe. Through this you gain the ability to move with what life brings vs breaking with every turn that may come your way. As we know, change is the only constant, so move with it.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
My mentor taught me “it only takes one match to light one thousand.” This means that one person who chooses to bring goodness to the world can influence one thousand.
Work tirelessly but be productive and have faith in the universe (regardless of what religion or belief system you follow). There is only so much in our control.
I truly believe that if you put your heart and mind into what you wish to achieve, always be a good person and stay on a path of goodness you can accomplish anything. Always be compassionate to others. Regardless of our differences, we are all human; so instead of focusing on the differences, focus on the similarities — on what brings us all together as one humankind. There is nothing more powerful than connectedness from a place of good.