“Look at your eyes in the mirror.” With Ming Zhao & Kelsey Patel

Look at your eyes in the mirror. Instead of seeing all the other things you’ve been taught to judge about yourself, just look at your eyes for a few moments every day. Notice their color, see if they’re shimmering and bright or a little dull — both are beautiful! And then just thank your eyes […]

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Look at your eyes in the mirror. Instead of seeing all the other things you’ve been taught to judge about yourself, just look at your eyes for a few moments every day. Notice their color, see if they’re shimmering and bright or a little dull — both are beautiful! And then just thank your eyes for all they show you each day and ask them to see your own inner and outer beauty in the world. To me, the most beautiful people are the ones who see their own beauty.

At times it feels like wellness or elevating one’s wellbeing, is diametrically opposed to high achievement and high performance in one’s career. The stress, mental energy, long hours, lack of restful sleep and preoccupation that result from a high-achievement life seem to directly inhibit wellness. And yet, in order to sustain the creativity, flexibility, mental acuity and resilience that are necessary for high performance, wellness and wellbeing of the mind, body and soul are also mandatory. So how do we achieve both? This is the question I’m hoping to answer through conversations with high-achieving leaders and influencers who are practicing their own philosophies about how to maintain their wellbeing.

As a part of our series about “Social Media Influencers Share Their Top Self Care, Wellness, and Beauty Tips, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kelsey Patel.

Kelsey Patel is one of LA’s leading wellness and reiki experts, and an expert in burnout. A spiritual coach, Reiki master, and wellness expert, Kelsey has helped thousands struggling with burnout and anxiety. Kelsey worked on Capitol Hill in the U.S. Senate for 4.5 years and as Director of crisis PR for a Fortune 500 company for several years prior to discovering Reiki as a last resort for her stress-induced back pain. Kelsey’s own journey has led her to help many others find balance and burn bright instead of burning out. Her teachings and practices, along with private client work to some of Hollywood’s biggest names, have been highlighted in various publications such as The New York Times, Reader’s Digest, US Weekly, SELF Magazine, Bustle, Well + Good, Marie Claire, GOOP, the Chalkboard Magazine and more. Her public workshops, corporate seminars and private coaching are all aimed at helping people bring joy, balance, fulfillment and purpose to their daily lives and work. She is previously the owner of Pure Barre Beverly Hills, where she learned first hand the intricacies of owning and operating a business. She is now the owner of the Magik Vibes product line, and host of the podcast of the same name. Her first book, Burning Bright: Rituals, Reiki + Self-Care to Heal Burnout, Anxiety and Stress, will release April 28, 2020.

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 of how you came upon this career path and to where you are today?

This was definitely not a path that I planned or tried to create for myself. As with so many things in life, I feel like this path sort of found me to help me when I needed it the most. I started my career in the U.S. Senate in Washington, DC, and after a few years of excruciating back pain and anxiety (stemming from an incredible and high-stress job, a toxic relationship and a lot of family drama), I decided to move to Los Angeles, CA, with a friend to escape what felt like an overwhelming and impossible life to live. I worked for a big FORTUNE 500 company and traveled all the time while living in Los Angeles. My back pain and anxiety did not subside after trying a variety of holistic options and after a few years of what became another very high-stress job, I decided to try my hand at being an entrepreneur with the hopes that my pain and anxiety would get better. I opened up a Pure Barre studio in Beverly Hills (I had been a dancer and dance teacher for much of my life) and as you can imagine, the stress was even more overwhelming owning a business. At that time, I had met a woman who did reiki and EFT (emotional freedom technique, aka tapping). I started to see her once a week for sessions and, even though, I didn’t understand how it worked, I knew it helped me release pain and stress. I began to study with this teacher and after several years of training, I began to see clients.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

There are so many people. From old bosses to friends to family and colleagues and teachers to my own students. I believe everyone comes into our lives for a reason. Some relationships are very hard and painful, yet they can offer the greatest growth and healing. I’ve been fortunate enough in my life to have both the most joyful and supportive and healing relationships and the most hurtful, challenging and painful ones. All of them are important to me and I am equally thankful for both.

Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?

I don’t know of one specific one! I made mistakes ALL the time and still do. I remember being in conversations with the most respected and high-level political figures and not knowing what some of the words they used meant and felt so ashamed of my intelligence. I’ve worn my workout pants inside out and taught an entire class without knowing. I’ve created classes that no one, not a single person, signed up for; I’ve tripped on stage when teaching to hundreds of people; and the list goes on. My biggest lesson is to keep showing up as my most authentic self. Not being ashamed of who I am and what I know and what I don’t know. I don’t want or need to be the smartest person in a room or the most put together or the most anything. I just need to be me. Unapologetically and authentically me.

As an influencer, you have been blessed with great success in a career path that many have attempted, but eventually gave up on. In fact perhaps most people who tried to follow a career path like yours did not succeed. Do you have any words of advice for others who may want to embark on this career path but know that their dreams might be dashed?

I believe we are all influencers. We all have influence. Your audience may be small at first but you matter to the people who are in your life. Try to let go of this idea of growing your audience for the sake of a number. Think about sharing from a heart-centered, passionate and authentic place just because you can and because it feels good. And, stop comparing yourself to anyone. The minute your mind wants to compare yourself to even one person, knock it off. Remember the famous quote, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”

Can you share with our readers some of your strategies you’ve used to build an engaged, loyal, and large online community?

I’ve shared a lot of things for free. People want knowledge. They want to learn. They want to grow and they want to be inspired. Give to your community and they’ll give back to you.

Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of our interview. In my work, I focus on how one can thrive and care for oneself in three areas: body, mind, and heart. You are a busy person with a demanding schedule, can you share with our readers two self care routines, practices or treatments that help your body thrive? (Kindly share a story or an example for each.)

These are the same practices I share and discuss in great detail in my first book, Burning Bright, which comes out on April 28th. First is a morning routine. I don’t leave my bed without first connecting to my heart and my breath. It sets up my whole entire day. Before I get out of the bed I ask myself what is one thing I will do or give to myself today no matter what the day brings. I make sure that thing is my priority. It doesn’t matter when I do it, but it will happen because I care enough about me and making sure my needs are met.

Reiki is my next thing. I reiki myself every day. I reiki my food, my car, my book has reiki infused within its pages, and I teach people how to reiki themselves in the book as well so everyone has access to this incredible healing modality.

Can you share with us two routines that you use to help your mind or heart to thrive? (Kindly share a story or example for each.)

For my mind, I love meditation and EFT (emotional freedom technique). These are two of the most powerful tools to help release anxiety and relieve stress and toxic thoughts. I’ve done a lot of speaking over the years, and I still get nervous before every event. I’ll almost always do EFT on myself prior to showing up to the event to calm my entire central nervous system and to look my fears straight in the face and clear them so they can’t take hold of me.

For my heart and my mind, I love physical movement of my body. If you move your body, you will shift and move the energy of your mind and open up your heart. As simple as setting an alarm on your phone for 10, 20 or 30 minutes and rolling out a yoga mat. If I really don’t want to move, I’ll turn on some beautiful music and set an alarm so I feel like I don’t have to do this for that long and I’ll start by just laying in child’s pose. Sometimes I’ll stay there for several minutes and just breath and release. After about 10 minutes, I’m slowly moving my body and my mind is starting to shift and I’m so happy and grateful to move. It’s incredible how quickly movement can move the mind into a more positive place.

Can you share 3 ideas that anyone can use “to feel beautiful”? (Please share a story or example for each.)

  1. Especially right now, massage oils onto your entire body on a daily or weekly basis. Giving your whole body your attention and love with some grounding oils can slowly start to help you see your body in its entirety vs. just the components you see and judge every day. I love massaging body oil into my skin after the shower on a regular basis. I go slow and as I do it, I’m thanking my body for all it does for me as a whole.
  2. Look at your eyes in the mirror. Instead of seeing all the other things you’ve been taught to judge about yourself, just look at your eyes for a few moments every day. Notice their color, see if they’re shimmering and bright or a little dull — both are beautiful! And then just thank your eyes for all they show you each day and ask them to see your own inner and outer beauty in the world. To me, the most beautiful people are the ones who see their own beauty.
  3. Wear the things you love. I used to buy clothes to conform, especially when I worked on Capitol Hill or in a big corporate office. Even when I owned fitness studios, I wore what I saw others wear or what seemed cool. Now, I wake up and feel into my mood and wear that and am happy with how it makes me feel because I chose to feel beautiful in it.

Is there a particular resource, a practitioner, expert, book, or podcast that made a significant impact on you and helped you to thrive? Can you share a story about that with us?

I loved the book The Big Leap, I love The Four Agreements and I loved Eat, Pray, Love. My own podcast is my source of inspiration because I get to interview the people I personally know and admire and my new book, Burning Bright, was written with the hope and intention to offer empowerment and inspiration to others.

Do you have a story about the strangest, most bizarre or funniest wellness treatment that you’ve ever experienced?

I’ve tried so many and in lots of different cities and countries. One of my favorites and most profound healing experiences was with a blind woman in Bali. She is a blind healer and it was very profound.

As an influencer, you are a person of great influence. If you could inspire 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.

I would love for everyone to give themselves the gift of self-awareness. Whether that’s through reiki, EFT, meditation, yoga, journaling, movement, healing, reading etc. If people create space and time to heal their old wounds and see that old beliefs and patterns are disrupting their current experiences, they would be able to release pain that’s no longer serving them so they could actually step into their truth in the now and stop hurting others to get ahead or serving others needs above their own. I believe we all have an incredible purpose here, that is innate and unique, and while everyone is trying so hard to be like everyone else, they’re missing the beautiful, uniqueness of their own sacred path and journey here.

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 with whom you’d like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this. 🙂

Arianna Huffington. I love her message about healing burnout and the culture of our work environments. My book is all about turning burn out into burning bright, and I would love to chat with her about how we can co-create awareness to keep healing this old, burned-out paradigm of work and success.

What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?



Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!

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