I was recently interviewed and featured in Shoutout Miami. Deep gratitude to Holly Hixon– thank you for referring me and for the opportunity to share my story!
To be honest, it isn’t easy to write about ourselves, however, the self-reflection is certainly healing in so many ways!
Q: How has your work-life balance changed over time?
I’ve been working at a paying job since I was twelve years old. Prior to that, I volunteered at my mother’s work every summer and even spent time with her at work before I could walk. My mother is a nurse and gave birth to me just 2 weeks before she graduated from nursing school. Needless to say, work is programmed into my DNA. As a youngster, I didn’t have the privilege of witnessing much work/life balance. My mother worked extremely long hours, and substance abuse was a coping mechanism for her as well as others in my family. She would work until she was sick and I only remember her taking one real ‘vacation’ for a week in Mexico when I was 17 years old.
Workaholism was ingrained in me from an early onset and continued the pattern until the last few years. I earned my Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology in 2009 while working at a local drive-thru coffee business, Dutch Bros Coffee. After graduating, I got a job doing research for the Developmental Sociobiology Lab at the University of Oregon for 2 years while also working part-time at Dutch Bros. In 2011, my husband and I had the opportunity to become the franchise owners for the 7 drive-through coffee locations. We took on this incredible opportunity without fully understanding the implications this could have on our health.
Our lives continued to be all about work, our team, and our customers. My people pleasing went through the roof while I attempted to keep everyone happy. When we weren’t working hard, we were creating fun, exciting experiences to keep the company culture alive. It wasn’t until I started to develop a regular yoga practice when I realized how I wasn’t prioritizing my health or honoring my boundaries. I then became a Certified Yoga Instructor and started offering classes to my team. It gave me an opportunity to speak about the importance of our health, the benefits of rest, breathwork and taking care of our bodies, minds and spirits. Also, the power of saying ‘no’ and honoring boundaries when we may not have the energy resources to give anymore. We birthed BZen Wellness in 2018 to help leaders learn radical-self care through; yoga, coaching, retreats, energy medicine, PEMF therapy and many other healing modalities.
We sold our franchise in 2018 and I began to focus full-time on BZen Wellness LLC. Now that wellness is my work and I have many healing offerings, my self-care and work/life balance has transformed. At 34, instead of 4am wake-ups with the coffee company, I sleep until 8am or when my body feels fully rested. Health is now a top priority. In 2019, I hired my first health coach because I was exhausted from my lifestyle of overworking, too much play, caffeine and no downtime. I was 32 years old when I learned through many lab tests that my hormones were out of balance, including my cortisol levels (the stress hormone). My coach had me reflect on my life and stressors that lay within. I had the hard realization that stress has been a major part of my entire life. Thanks to my coach, I have worked to prioritize my sleep patterns, diet, nutrition and exercise regime.
I would say that learning my own personal ‘balance’ has been a work in progress. Everyone’s balance is different, therefore we have to understand that work/life balance looks different for everyone. Life flows in seasons, and each season feels different. Our patterns, habits and needs will change from winter, spring, summer and fall. This includes our feminine cycles, as our menstruation phase will require more downtime and rest than the other stages of our cycle.
Everyone is different and we each need to learn our own boundaries and needs first and foremost. There is no better time than NOW to start prioritizing our health and wellbeing. Whether we begin our path of self-discovery through yoga, therapy, coaching, meditation, breathwork, plant medicine, books, education, a retreat or mastermind event, it’s never too late to start understanding who we are and what we need. Understanding our own limits, boundaries and sacred ‘no’ will help each of us know how to create a harmonious lifestyle.
I would like to pose the question: why does work have to feel like ‘work’? Why is ‘life’ something separate from ‘work’? What if our passion could be our work and in turn, our lifestyle? My work is my life. I incorporate the tools from my work into my life on a daily basis and share it with my family and friends, too. If you feel a high level of stress, exhaustion, dissatisfaction or that you’re neglecting your own needs, something must change. Life begins to flow for us when we’re in alignment with our purpose. Finding our dharma or true life purpose takes time and self-reflection. In order to understand our purpose and life mission, we have to get quiet enough to listen. If you’re feeling out of alignment, perhaps it’s time to pursue something that leaves you with your cup full, not empty. Or maybe it’s time to take a moment to refill. Moments of reflection whether short or long, provide us each with clarity. When was the last time you got quiet enough to listen?
Q: What should our readers know about your business?
BZen Wellness is a business dedicated to helping leaders learn radical self-care through coaching, yoga, PEMF therapy, energy medicine and retreats. We have learned from personal experience that it is easy to burn-out when leading a team of people or household. Thus, through these modalities and our teachings, we are burn-out prevention. We give people the tools they need to not only survive, but thrive.
Going from owning and operating a drive through coffee company with roughly 150 employees, to a small wellness business, my greatest challenge was realizing how much I lacked in prioritizing my self-care. I was sleep deprived, over caffeinated, and running on fumes. I eventually ‘crashed’ (full burn-out and exhaustion) in 2019 and since then, have been working on my own health and wellness, recovering from the fast-paced lifestyle and prioritizing my health. Once I transitioned to this work in the wellness field, I became equipped to train my nervous system and thus gain more power and sovereignty in my daily life.
In a world where we glamorize being ‘busy’, learning to say no and honoring our needs is greatly challenging. This is why I practice what I teach, because I’ve had to learn the hard way. Learning boundaries and how to ground my own energy system has been both rewarding and challenging. Being in this work of wellness, I tend to want to help everyone. However, having discernment that only people who really desire change and do the work, will do so. Not everyone wants or needs these tools, and those who do will find our work and benefit from it.
I attended my first yoga class in 2005 at the University of Oregon on a whim for an additional credit. After just a few classes I noticed a significant difference in my depression and anxiety. That year was one of my most difficult, and yoga seemed to be the only thing to really help alleviate my internal turmoil. I continued yoga classes at the U of O while earning my BS in Psychology. I began to develop a regular practice in 2012 at a local hot yoga studio. In 2015 decided to take a 200 teacher training in Vinyasa, hatha and hot yoga. Although it was a deeply emotional and challenging process, I soon realized how much I could help and share this practice with others.
I have always been empathetic, and as I began to teach yoga my empathy and intuitive abilities were increasing dramatically. It was then that a mentor crossed my path at the perfect time when I was experiencing a lot of nighttime experiences with the celestial. I received energy healing from her and soon mentored with her for about 2 years to learn to ground and balance my own energy system, connect with my intuition, manifest and to help others learn these tools, too. An energetic tune-up per se.
Since 2017, there have been some significant traumatic experiences in my life and these tools have been invaluable to utilize. I continued my yoga education with a 300hr program at the Sage Yoga School in Boise, ID. While experiencing and working through my own traumatic experiences, I studied and learned about trauma through my work at Sage. Some of my studies have been: Yin Yoga, Trauma Sensitive Yoga, Meditation for Life, Sacred Relations Tantra Yoga, Pathways of Movement, Alchemy of Self Realization, Yoga Psychology and The Yothera Method. I’m so grateful to say that through these incredible teachings I am now a 500 hour certified yoga teacher! It has been through this practice that I have found home within myself and inside my body. I’ve had my deepest and most profound insights, healed deep emotional wounds, found my greatest teachers and mystics, and truly found my voice. Yoga has been my greatest work of self-discovery, and the journey continues!
It was through my yoga teacher training where I experienced my first somatic breathwork practice. That session was extremely powerful and healing for me. I continued to explore breathwork and in 2019 my partner Jonah and I joined the Fit For Service Fellowship — a mastermind to help train individuals to become more fit to serve the world. Anahata Ananda was a featured practitioner and we experienced her Shamangelic Breathwork Ceremony– another powerfully healing experience for me. I decided that I wanted to learn this modality to share with others so I attended her 2-week immersion in Sedona, Arizona in 2020 to enhance my energy medicine tool bag and learn more about breathwork. So, so, powerful.
I have been enthralled with healing myself to help others on their own path of healing. Learning that it is through our bodies that we heal, it is my honor to be a Sacred Embodiment Guide to help others develop a relationship with their bodies. It is through these practices where we begin to translate and understand what our body is whispering to us. Our body will whisper until one day it screams (burn-out, injury, etc.) if we don’t listen to it. We each have our own mind, body, spirit connection. At BZen Wellness, through these tools, you will begin to merge into a wholeness. These radical self-care practices assist us to healing ourselves so that we can continue to be the incredible leaders we all are!
Q: If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If my best friend was visiting the area, we would likely spend a lot of time at my house! We would enjoy time in our garden, at the patio and beautiful sanctuary space. My husband and I cook at home a lot, so we’d prepare many fresh meals. Many of our closest friends live in the area as well, so we would take them to their countryside homes. King Estate winery is a must-see and we’d wine taste around the other local vineyards, too. If they are really into nature, I’d take them hiking, to the local rose garden, parks and exploring our nearby hot springs. We’d enjoy dinner at Marché, Café Soriah, Sabai, or Izakaya Meiji. Other events like the Eugene Saturday market and live music at McDonald Theater or Cuthbert Amphitheater are a must!
Q: The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to dedicate my shoutout to my beloved partner, Jonah Boersma. He has been a major source of support for me for the last 15 years and has witnessed my healing journey first hand. I love you SO much. Cheers to the rest of our lives!
My mother– Ginger Millette. I have learned so much from her through her own journey of healing. She’s taught me what it means to be resilient and overcome anything from alcoholism and grief stricken loss to near-fatal motorcycle accidents and breast cancer– she’s a fighter and it’s an honor to be her daughter.
Marisa Radha Weppner– my teacher, friend, and soul sister who created the Sage Yoga School where I can continue to learn and grow. She’s been there for me through some of my most challenging and celebrated moments.
Fit For Service Fellowship– these people have transformed my life! From my coaches to the souls who are called to do the inner work, this has been one of the most impactful programs and experiences to date.
Deep bows to all of my teachers, healers, friends and family. There are so many to list and the ones above are just a few I currently feel called to acknowledge.