“Growth is painful. Change is painful. But nothing is as painful as staying stuck somewhere you don’t belong” - Mandy Hale
Almost three years ago, I took a risk to start Free Flow Botanicals, my plant-based skincare and holistic beauty business. And now, as a Clinical Herbalist and Holistic Beauty Coach, I get to serve women from all walks of life and am so grateful to be living in alignment with my heart!
But it hasn’t always been like this.
I used to be extremely risk averse. Growing up in a traditional Asian household, as an only child to immigrant parents from Taiwan and Japan, there was a lot of intergenerational trauma fueled by addiction, narcissism, depression, and abuse. I learned to cope in this environment by withdrawing, shutting down, and rather than pursuing my own dreams, I blindly followed those of a well-meaning parent. I was terrified of taking any kind of risk for fear of failure.
With this behavior came anxiety and low self-esteem which manifested into a multitude of health issues including poor digestion, chronic fatigue, insomnia, hair loss, irritability, and cystic acne.
When I turned 30, I hit rock bottom and fell into a deep depression while working on my doctorate, and that’s when finally I declared to myself that I’d had enough of feeling sick and afraid all the time.
Hitting rock bottom gave me the opportunity to re-evaluate what I wanted most.
I yearned to be able to connect to my heart, to love myself unconditionally. I felt so much love for my parents, friends, and my dog, but I couldn’t feel love for myself. On the surface, I had everything - my own apartment, a stable job with a good salary, opportunities to travel around the world, and no shortage of material possessions.
But deep down something was missing. I felt empty and disconnected. So I started to work on myself, peeling back layers of old conditioning, years of feeling guilt, shame, and unworthiness. I went to therapy. I spent hours sitting with my inner child, acknowledging her pain and comforting her. I took part in self-care practices like meditation, Reiki, dancing, and yoga which supported my healing journey.
Turning a passion into a profession
In 2012, I began to dabble in plant-based skincare products, starting with do-it-yourself (DIY) facial masks. At the time, I had a lot of acne scars, red inflamed blotches, and dermatitis, and was frustrated with the products sitting in my medicine cabinet, which were overpriced just as they were ineffective. From a blog, I’d found and tried a recipe for a facial mask with honey, ground oatmeal, and diluted lemon juice. After slathering it on my face and rinsing it off, my skin felt incredible and smooth to the touch. In one short month, my scars had noticeably faded. One by one, I threw out the store bought items that no longer supported my skin and began experimenting with my own skincare blends. This ignited my passion for clean beauty and plant-based skincare, leading me to create my line of high vibrational plant-based skincare products.
But it wasn’t until I began studying herbal medicine that an entire world of herbal allies invited me to work with them. At long last, I learned to connect to my heart and love myself unconditionally. And that gave me the courage and strength to leave my corporate job and take a huge leap of faith by pursuing a full-time education in Western Herbal Medicine and completing a three year training program to become a Clinical Herbalist.
Taking a leap of faith led me on an accelerated path to self-discovery, healing, and growth.
Immersing myself with herbs, I’d meditate with them, create herbal remedies and plant-based skincare products, all the while connecting deeply to their healing powers. At long last, the portal to my heart opened wide and I began to tap into its messages, gaining the clarity and wisdom that it deeply held.
I learned to love myself, to honor my light within, and most importantly, I turned my pain into my power. And now with each passing day, I learn something new about myself, how I relate to others, how to view challenges as opportunities, and to leverage my business, Free Flow Botanicals, as a springboard for personal growth and development.
What’s holding you back?
The egoic mind wants to do everything in its power to keep you safe, to prevent you from taking that leap of faith. This makes it easy to become complacent and stick with what’s comfortable and familiar. But I challenge you to ask yourself: "Am I truly happy?" and "Am I living in alignment with my heart, with my highest good?" If the answer is either question is no, then I urge you to begin questioning your existing beliefs.
When it becomes more painful to stay put rather than move forward, that's a telltale sign to start trusting yourself and exploring how you might begin taking your own leap of faith. Looking for ways to get started?