Hey rebels, I want to start today off with a question for you: how often do you really listen to your body and give it what it needs?
Maybe this looks like setting boundaries and learning to really say no to things. Or maybe it's even as simple as going to sleep when you start to feel tired instead of trying to push through one more task.
Brodie Welch, a Chinese medicine practitioner, bio hacker, and entrepreneur, is on the Rebel Rising podcast today. She is the expert in the Fundamental Interconnectedness of All Things.
She helps her clients see beyond the inundated self-care to really treat the underlying problems of their constant stress, fatigue, tension, and more to help them live a life that is more meaningful and sustainable, a life where they feel more in touch and in control with themselves.
- Why Brodie is rebelling against everything from patriarchy and capitalism down to the very specific notion that women have to earn the right to take care of themselves and our cultural, yang addiction.
- How she's helping to generate change that will lead to a world where we honor our being as well as our doing, especially for women.
- Why this change would lead to a healthier, more connected, more human, and proudly feminist culture.
If you're struggling to feel confident, embody self-respect, and stay committed to your values, you'll so appreciate Brodie Welch and all that she has to teach us today.
Listen in or read through the transcript below
Resources mentioned in this episode
Michelle: Hi Brodie, welcome to the Rebel Rising Podcast. I'm so glad you're joining me.
Brodie: I'm super psyched to be here, Michelle. Thanks so much for having me.
Michelle: All right. Well before we dive into the 3 Word Rebellion questions, why don't you tell everyone a little about you and your business?
Brodie: Sure. Well, I have had a Chinese medicine practice, so acupuncture, herbs and coaching people into what balance looks like from a Chinese medicine perspective, which is where health lives since 2003. And over the years I've watched very highly motivated, very smart, self-aware women, not able to kind of prioritize the self care assignments that I would give them at the end of each treatment.
And so my work has evolved into creating coaching containers for helping people implement and bridge the gap between what they know they should be doing to take care of themselves and actually doing it. So I'm still in the clinic a couple of days a week, but I also work with people all over the place on health coaching from a Chinese medicine perspective.
Michelle: Yeah, that's a pretty big gap. It's one thing to go in and get a treatment, it's quite the other thing to be able to implement what you need to do on your own.
Brodie: Exactly, exactly. And it really all does work together because Chinese medicine, one of the branches is acupuncture and the other is herbs, but lifestyle and diet is one of the branches of medicine.
And so if you're working on insomnia or stress or fertility or whatever it is, and what you do day in and day out is going to be far more powerful than what a practitioner does in a given office visit, no matter who you're seeing.
So what are you rebelling against?
Brodie: Frankly, I was thinking about that before we hopped on to this conversation. And I think what I'm rebelling against could be everything from patriarchy and capitalism down to the very specific notion that women have to earn the right to take care of themselves and our cultural, yang addiction, to use a Chinese medicine term.
Michelle: So tell me a little bit more about this idea that women have to earn the right to take care of themselves. What does that look like?
Brodie: Well, there's this notion of self-care that gets kicked around all the time that I used to call myself a self-care strategist, but because of the baggage around the word self-care that I feel like it's accumulated in recent years, I just kind of can't go there anymore.
But the idea that we're supposed to work harder than the guy sitting next to us in order to earn less money, that we have the bigger share of the housework and the kid care and the care of aging parents and probably even the pets really. I don't know if there's studies on that. But really that women have all of these expectations of taking care of other people and showing up in a certain way in order to prove ourselves worthy at work. And this idea that self-care is a pedicure or like a one and done spa day or like the exception rather than like a compartmentalized thing that's not integrated in the very fabric of our lives.
Brodie: And so what I see that deeply bothers me is women, especially living from a place of energy depletion all the time. Basically like we're trying to cram more in a day than can really honestly belong there without dipping into our reserves. And having this sense of time compression, like there isn't enough time to get it all done, which in Chinese medicine and in allopathic medicine, right? Stress is going to be one of the leading causes of everything that goes wrong in the body. Like we just weren't meant to feel like life is an emergency all the time.
Brodie: And so because of this desire to do more and to kind of project this image that everything's perfect and shiny and to meet these expectations on how we're supposed to care for other people and what we're supposed to be doing for our jobs, it's really easy to deny or to consider selfish the things, just our basic needs, right? Like just going to sleep when we're tired or getting up to stretch our shoulders after being at the computer for three hours. Or even just stopping to pee. I mean really it gets down to the super basics.
And I feel like we need to get real about that and acknowledge the fact that if some external force, if some like mansplaining dude were saying to you or to me like, "What are you doing taking a break in the middle of the day to relax or have a cup of tea or meditate or exercise? You're totally self-indulgent. You're totally selfish. You're totally lazy." Like we'd probably tell that guy to like, "Back the F up," you know?
Michelle: Uh-huh (affirmative).
Brodie: We wouldn't take that from anybody else. And yet for ourselves, we plow on through. We've sort of internalized this idea that what we accomplish, the young aspect is more important than who we are or the being aspect. Or identifying with the mind more than the body or the soul.
Michelle: Yes. And thinking of all of the business owners and entrepreneurs I have listening to this show, the trade-offs that they go through like, yeah, not getting up and stretching after you've been at your computer for a while. Or I remember this story, I think it's Denise Duffield Thomas tells it of this coach that she knows who was peeing in a Gatorade bottle so she didn't have to like go to the bathroom in between coaching sessions.
Brodie: Yeah, that would be on the extreme end of things. But I would submit that we all have, maybe not all of us, but it's a very common pathology for us to do things. Like I caught myself the other day eating over the sink, like shoveling food. It's like, come on now. Don't I deserve a plate? Don't I deserve to sit down and actually put myself into a parasympathetic state so that I can digest the food that I'm eating that's all beautiful, organic, blah, blah, blah? Highly prefaced food. But yeah, that idea that we wouldn't expect a friend to do that. We wouldn't expect a guest to do that. And yet we expect ourselves to do that on a regular basis.
Michelle: Yeah. Well we always received this message, it's like, oh yeah, well it's just like hustle and push through and deliver and get up at 5:00 AM so you get like extra hours to be productive. And it's part of the messaging that entrepreneurs and business owners receive.
Brodie: Absolutely. And even in how we're taught to think about our ideal client or just what do they secretly want? Well, they want to get more done. It's like, well, do they? I mean, I can make an argument that when we get really good sleep, we have really good focus, right? We need to go into the yin in order to have good yang, right? That we all know that on four days of not enough sleep, we're not going to be at our creative best at all.
Brodie: So on some level we get this. This idea that we do need good solid yin in order to perform our best. But the notion that that's the only thing that matters, that how you show up in your job doing your best creative work. Yes, obviously that's important, but so is just how you feel.
So is just for its own sake, you feeling like you're moving through life at your own pace from a place of ease. It's also the kind of presence that you bring to the people that you encounter in the world, whether they're your clients or your loved ones. That being able to hold space for someone, being able to react from a place of presence rather than reactivity is predicated on how much we've filled up the well.
Michelle: Yes, yes, yes, yes. That reminds me. Last week I had four client sessions in a day, which is something I never do because I know that my brain kind of slides out of my head after three because of all the creative work. And I always have this belief when I have days like this. I'm always like, there is always more than enough time.
And I move through my day with that belief and sure enough, like one of my clients, she's just like, "Oh, I just had something come up, Michelle, is there any way we could push back?" And I was like, "Yes," because I only had one client session the next day. I was like, "I have all afternoon free tomorrow." And she's like, "Oh, me too." And I was like, "Oh." And then she was apologizing profusely the next day. I was like, "Oh no, it's fine." I was like, "Because there's always more than enough time." And she's like, "Oh, I love that."
Brodie: Well and in a sense it's like her putting her attention where it needed to be allowed you to not overextend.
Brodie: It happened to work out that way.
Michelle: Yes. And it was just this beautiful, yeah. It just felt expansive and in flow and better than us trying to push through and her trying to get work done that she didn't have the bandwidth to.
Brodie: Absolutely. And I would submit, too, that you're allowed to stick with your recognizing that three is enough. Like letting three be enough for real.
Michelle: Yes. Yes. Exactly. Exactly.
So we're already kind of hinting at this, but I'm curious like what kind of change do you want to create in the world with your work?
Brodie: I would love to see a world where we treated ourselves like we would want someone that we cared about to treat themselves. I would love to see a world where we honor our being as well as our doing. How it feels, not just how it looks. And where we're really moving from a place of alignment with our inner values and staying within this idea of integrity with our own energy so that we're not robbing from tomorrow's energy to get through today.
Michelle: Can you tell me a little bit more about that? Like staying in integrity with your own energy?
Brodie: Yeah. So in Chinese medicine, there are three treasures. So we think about life energy or chi. We get chi from the air we breathe, the food that we eat and the positive digestion of our life experience. Also it's restored by sleep.
Brodie: The jing is our reserve energy. It's this reservoir that we dip into when we're doing too much. You can also think about it as like using the adrenal glands, kind of living in a fight or flight state, which is utterly unsustainable and biologically very expensive and throws off hormones and throws off immunity and throws off literally everything.
So if we think about the jing as like the principal in our bank account and our chi, that which we're able to create on a regular basis, like you go for a walk, you feel energized, right? You've just oxygenated your blood. You have really nourishing food, you've just put some energy in.
Brodie: Being able to use that energy without dipping into our reserves means that we're basically living off of the interest in the bank account instead of dipping into the principle. And that is living sustainably.
Brodie: And so if we're constantly dipping into the well, we are essentially aging ourselves much more rapidly than we would be. And we're also kind of using up this precious substance that we were supposed to be able to draw on when we need it. That basically helps us stay healthy.
And so when that well runs dry, things are more likely to break in our bodies. And so it's the kind of thing where to be resilient, we need to be, on a regular basis, just getting real. Like are you overextending your energy budget? Are you trying to make your days longer by making your nights shorter? Are you trying to, in a sense, prop up this notion of who you think you need to be in the world, right? Perfectionism, people pleasing, these kinds of things, instead of acknowledging the full totality of your being as opposed to just that survival strategy that you might be employing.
Michelle: So this also sounds like deeper and harder work around some boundaries because it sounds like sometimes you're going to have to say no to things that maybe initially you said yes to because you thought you would have the energy for and then at the end of the day you realize like, nope, I am not going to be able to do that.
How do you get started? Where do we start?
Brodie: Oh wow, that's a good question-
Michelle: I know that's a big question.
Brodie: If we think about what trait do you think is so essential to the survival of your ego? Like what do you identify with most?
So for example, let's say it is being a loving, supportive partner and parent. And one of the ways that you show that is you always cook dinner for your family, for example. And you just don't have it in you. It's like you have to let go of the fact that you can still be a loving and supportive parent with your being. You don't actually have to throw in a doing in order to meet that. You can still honor your values just by maybe making yourself a salad, making yourself something simple, letting everybody else fend for themselves, but being able to greet them with a smile, being able to hold space emotionally for example, if you just don't feel like you have it in you to cook a meal for the whole family.
Brodie: So things like that where it just maybe requires looking at how we identify as a human, what survival strategies we might have used to get through our childhood, but that maybe are outdated and that we could break up with.
Because so many times, right, like all of us know we need to be exercising and sleeping and nourishing ourselves with food and maybe meditating or maybe there are things that we want to be doing in order to feel joyful and self-actualized, whether that's art or writing or just anything that makes us happy that we're not necessarily making time for. The reason that we're not doing that, if we look at our rationale for why we override our desire to do those things, we can pretty much see like kind of what it is we're buying into, like where it is we might be yang addicted, where it is that we might be caught up in a false belief about how we need to move through the world.
Brodie: So really kind of just, I would say like as far as step one is like, look at next time you override your body's need or your heart's desire, what are you telling yourself? And then you get to question if that's true or not.
Michelle: Yeah. It's like yeah, the story I'm telling myself is...
Brodie: Exactly, right? Because if the story you're telling yourself is that you can't rest, take a break, exercise, fill in the blank of whatever you need to do to take care of herself, which are pretty agreed upon across all medical philosophies that if you're doing that, being able to catch yourself in the moment and recognize that when you do those things, you're actually in a far better position to come back and be productive or to just be the kind of person that you want to be around.
Michelle: Yes, yes. It's so interesting. As you were talking about that because I have this thing around deadlines, like I'm like, I always meet my deadlines, I always meet my deadlines.
And we were talking right before the show how I'm having a little bit of seasonal affect disorder this winter and I had a client deliverable due yesterday and I was just so tired. And so I sent my client a voxer message and I was like, "Hey, I hope it's okay but I'm just not going to get this to you today. I'll get it to you tomorrow. Is that all right?" And she boxed me back and she's like, "Oh, I have that too." She's like, "I'm not going to even be able to look at it until Monday, so you can just have the weekend." I'm like, "Oh." I'm like, "I can always ask for more time." Right?
Brodie: Yeah. Exactly. Like communicating is really taking a stand for yourself. That, hey, I'm dealing with something that I can't control here. And so I'm really asking for really honoring your humanity, your full humanity, not just you, the worker bee.
Michelle: Oh yeah. And when you develop like good, solid relationships with other people, they want to honor your being as well. And I think because we're always so caught up in our doing, we forget that sometimes.
Brodie: Yes, exactly. And at the same time, when we do these things on a regular basis, when we say like, "Yeah, look, I need an extra day on this." Or when you take a stand, when you draw that kind of a boundary, you're giving everyone else that you encounter permission to do the same when they need to.
And in that sense, we're really shifting the culture away from that glorification of busy. And that idea of pushing, striving upward, outward energy, all that yang energy, that we're giving space for the yin. We're letting it be okay to go into this pulsation of going yin so that we can go yang.
Michelle: Oh, I love it. I love it.
So my last question for you is, if everyone acted on this change you're seeking to create, what would the world be like?
Brodie: Well, we'd be far healthier, first of all. We would be more relaxed, right? We would have more connected conversations. Right? Have you ever tried to have a connected conversation when you're like speeding 90 miles an hour down the highway with tight shoulders and neck and clenched jaw? It's like you can't do it nearly as well.
So we would have a healthier culture. We'd have a more connected culture. We would have a more humane culture based on the rhythms of human beings instead of the 40 hour work week dictated by what's optimal for machines. And we would have a more profoundly feminist culture where we are allowed to honor our inner dimensions, our emotions, our souls, our inner values as opposed to just the speed and productivity of being capitalist worker bees.
Brodie: So we would still get things done. We would still be creative. We would still be world changing, committed to our values. We just wouldn't be running ourselves into the ground in order to do it. And we would be feeling powerful and confident because we would be showing up for ourselves. And every time, and really that my rebellion, my 3 Word Rebellion, which I haven't even said yet-
Michelle: Oh yeah.
Brodie: Is embodying self-respect. We would embody self-respect. And from that place of feeling deeply connected to our own sense of self-worth, we would be acting in accordance with that and we would be really owning a new level of feeling confident in who we are and what we do.
Michelle: I love it. I love it. And with that, where can people find you online, Brodie, if they want to connect with you?
Michelle: Awesome. Thank you so much for this conversation. I know so many people are going to get a lot out of it. I appreciate you being here.
Brodie: Oh, I love being able to get on my soapbox and rant about people embodying self-respect because I believe wholeheartedly, and I want that for everyone out there listening. I want you to take care of yourselves with so much love.
Michelle: Thank you.