Wellness for Real, Part Two of Series
Updated: May 6
With Kevin Strauss, Founder and CEO of Uchi, Share the Real You This is my second interview in my "Wellness for Real" series, where I am interviewing some amazing people who offer some great perspectives worth thinking about and sharing, on the topics of wellness, oral health, connection, providing safe environments for others to authentically be themselves, and much more!! This interview is with Kevin Strauss, Founder and CEO of Uchi, LLC . Hope you enjoy! Me: So let's start with, what is your definition of "wellness?" Kevin: Well I have come up with a definition that I prefer to use. It is actually google's definition. I like it because it is not passive, but active. Wellness is the state of being in good health, especially as an actively pursued goal. I added an addendum to this, as I also use "wellness" and "wellbeing" interchangeably, and it encompasses physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental. I see everything in health as a spectrum from 0-100%, and I don't think we are ever at 100% in any given area, whether it be daily, hourly, weekly, monthly, etc... My takeaway: I love this definition, as well as Kevin's addendum, and I agree that any conversation on "wellness", needs to include physical, emotional, spiritual, as well as mental. Unfortunately, these days, most in the "wellness" community are only focusing on physical, and not giving the other aspects as much focus and attention. #wellnessforreal Me: Many people confuse "mental wellness" with "emotional wellness." How would you make the distinction for people who think they are the same thing? Kevin: In terms of emotional health/ wellbeing- it is a person's ability to give and receive love, connection, and belonging. In terms of mental health/wellbeing- it is a person's ability to focus, concentrate, and think clearly in performing cognitive tasks. My takeaway: This is a profound distinction that Kevin makes. Emotional wellness is not the same as mental wellness. Both must be included when we talk about "wellness" in general, and each needs to be given the proper focus. #emotionalwellness Me: With so many people seeking out therapists, it is my opinion, that many seek out therapists for a deep need to express their feelings, and share in an open and safe space. Being able to be "fully present" with another human being is extremely powerful. Why do you think we live in a culture where most can not be present for another, and most can not provide a safe space for another to express themselves fully? Kevin: I do think this is true. Most are not fully present for one another, because they reject, shame, judge another human being. And why are we not listening? Our "normal" interactions are overshadowed by shame and judgment. Rejection is the opposite of connection, so most are really struggling to authentically connect. My takeaway: Being able to "connect" and be fully present for another human being, is truly one of the most powerful qualities anyone can have, nurture, and share with another.
#authenticconnection Me: So let's talk about pain for a moment. Not a very "popular" topic for most, but you and I talk a lot about unhealed trauma, childhood wounds, and of course, unhealed and suppressed unconscious and emotional pain. I wrote a poem about pain, and it is my core belief that the more deeply we can get in touch with our pain, the faster we can transform that pain into something beautiful. Masking the pain, and running away from pain, escaping the pain- can lead to destructive and devastating behaviors. What would you say about unhealed pain in general, and why do you think most do not want to address pain? Is it that we live in a "smiley face" culture, where everyone has to be "fine" and "happy" all the time?" Or do you think most are so disconnected from themselves, and their own feelings and emotions? Kevin: Humans are pretty much designed to avoid pain at all costs. Our brains do not distinguish between physical and emotional pain. Emotional pain does not have to be some "big event." Just like physical pain. A person who has a broken arm can be in pain, and a person who has a paper cut can be in pain. Similar with emotional pain. A child whose parents are constantly verbally abusive, and a child who asks his/her mom to look at his/ her drawing and is ignored.... that is neglect and that is pain. Pain is pain. So when we avoid the emotional pain, and do not deal with it, it becomes a terrible cycle. My takeaway: Emotional pain does not have to be some "big event", as Kevin shares. Whether it is repeated criticism, occasional or constant "put downs", bullying, discounting another's feelings, etc.... suppressed emotional pain that is not dealt with at the core, I do believe, ends up causing physical illness. Unresolved trauma and unhealed emotional pain, are toxic to the body. Where do people think these unprocessed and unhealed emotions go, if not dealt with in a healthy manner? They go to our cells. #healthycells #whocanbearpain Me: Let's talk a moment about being "sensitive." I wrote a poem about being sensitive, and I think it is a "super power" of sorts, and is something that should be embraced and nurtured. A very small minority of people think sensitivity is an esteemed trait. You shared with me the interview Brene Brown did with Glennon Doyle, and by the way- best podcast interview EVER! Glennon shares a story about her daughter and the pandas. Someone like Glennon understands sensitivity and that the gifts offered by a sensitive soul are to be nurtured and valued. She is rare in this way, and is a wonderful example. What is some of your "advice" to those who are sensitive, and how to deal with some of the "condescending" comments, for example, "you are too sensitive," "be stronger," "this is a tough world," "this is a dog eat dog world," "you need thicker skin," etc....Like a "Combat Sensitivity Phrases" tool kit? How do you respond when others tell you, some of the above, if this triggers anything? And also, what advice would you give someone who wants to embrace their sensitivity and do the inner work to not be "triggered" by "sensitivity condescending people." Kevin: Well, my first response would be "F-You" LOL, for someone who puts me down for my sensitivity with comments like those. But, on a serious note, Marisa Peer has some good suggestions for this with responses like: " are you trying to hurt my feelings,,,,,?" or "thank you for sharing....," and then just don't let it in. I think for me, I would just respond to comments such as these with this – " my sensitivity allows me to tap into my subconscious mind which gives me access to my intuition." My takeaway: Great response for all us sensitive people to embrace, and possibly memorize- LOL. thanks Kevin! Great for our " Combat Sensitivity Phrases" tool kit! #beingsensitive #marisapeer #brenebrown #glennondoyle Me: Now, this is a good segway to my next topic- let's shift to our society in general. In my previous interview with Robert, we spoke a bit about electronic devices- i.e. cell phones, laptops, etc.... You know, I do spend time away from my phone and am good at doing so. The other day I heard a quote by Rudolf Steiner. He lived from 1861 – 1925. He said the following: that "In times where there were no electrical currents, when the air was not swarming with electrical influences, it was easier to be human… For this reason, in order to be human at all today, it is necessary to expend much stronger spiritual capacities than was necessary a century ago." Thoughts on this? Kevin: Well , cell phones and laptops are just tools. Just like a hammer is a terrific tool to put nails in a board. You do not want to use a hammer to hit someone over the head. Today's electronics are tools, and we are not using them to their highest potential. The internet is a great tool, to transmit information, but if we are not using it well and if we are transmitting "garbage" – it is not being used productively. This is one of the reasons I created Uchi, to be used as a tool to help nurture connection. The more garbage in general, on social media that people are spending hours upon hours consuming, the less connection, one can potentially feel, especially if they are not aware how best to use this "tool." In terms of true and authentic connection, it is more about quality than quantity. My takeaway: Great points Kevin makes, and until people are able to truly and authentically connect with one another, we will not be able to move forward in a society that is thriving. #uchi #sharetherealyou Me: Let's chat just for a moment, about the Corona Virus, since we are being bombarded with all news and all perspectives about this 24/7. As you know, I have not had toilet paper for a while now, and I am surviving( I do have some tissues by the way). Why do you think people are so obsessed with toilet paper, and hoarding toilet paper? I have my own perspectives, but would like to hear yours. Kevin: So here is where I land on the toilet paper issue. People must have been going to the bathroom at their office, work, school, etc... so now they have to go to the bathroom at home. My takeaway: I myself just shake my head on this whole toilet paper shortage. I myself think there must be a correlation between people's need to hoard toilet paper, and their level of discomfort. Or maybe people are not as constipated as they say they are. LOL. Kevin's perspective may also hold a lot of truth. #whotheheckknows Me: What do you think about the "consensus" reality. When someone steps outside the "box"- others seem to do all they can to "pull them" back in. Most of the best , and most brilliant ideas, I have had, people all laughed at. And I say all. I have so many examples throughout my life, that I have now come to realize, that when people "laugh" at some of my ideas, and perspectives, that is now a signal to me, that I am on the "right" track. Why do you think it is so hard to step outside the "box" of culture and forge a new path. Do you think basically it is that those who step outside and are "courageous" trigger something in others? Kevin: Most do not have a support system, so they stop trying, and/ or they don't try new things. A support network is supposed to "be there" to love us - not to make us feel worse when we fail. Ultimately, when we have a support network that is there for us when we fail, self esteem can develop, and when we try something new, and have support, we then try things again and again, and experience "successes". Most people struggle with self esteem, since they do not develop it. Most people struggle with change, and never "succeed" at feeling good. In life, the real epidemic is people not knowing how to give and receive love. My takeaway: I do hope during this time, especially, people will be able to look deeper into themselves, their relationships, as well as their work, and reflect on authentic and genuine connections that are supportive, uplifting, nurturing, positive, as well as joyful. This is also a great time for inner reflection, journaling, reading, as well as writing. The one thing I do know to be true is that real, genuine, heart felt, and authentic connection is lasting. All the talk about what "industries" are "recession proof"- everyone can be "working" on developing and maintaining true and authentic connections during this time. Connecting on deeper levels with one's core, as well as others. We are all a "work in process," and hopefully we are all being a "work in progress"– moving forward, even if baby steps. A baby step in the right direction is always better than leaps in the wrong direction, in my opinion. Thank you Kevin for this interview!! You are truly an inspiration, as well as a blessing to many! To learn more about Kevin, please check out: https://uchiconnection.com Be sure to check out uchiTribe, uchiEducation, and uchiEvents. Mention code Faith10, and receive a 10% discount.