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Janelle: You're listening to "Staying in the Game," a Plum Dragon Herbs podcast where we have conversations about mindset and techniques for staying at the top of your game. I'm your host, Janelle Leatherwood. Well, today we are speaking with Shilamida Kupershteyn, an acupuncturist, a bestselling author, spiritual mentor, and a mom of all boys. She has three boys plus two bonus boys. And we're going to be talking with her today about her recent book, "31 Days of Gratitude" and a new and up-and-coming book that we'd love to hear about. Do you want to start us off by telling us a little bit about that book and we can talk about your whole journey to becoming an acupuncturist?

Shilamida: Sure. Thank you for having me today. I'm excited to speak with you. My new book is called "From Food Stamps to First Class." And it is a spiritual self-help book with stories of my life and how I found spirituality and applied that to my everyday life in order to manifest or create my every desire.

Janelle: And tell me where did you begin in this journey? Like, let's go back to how you got on this journey when you were 17 and you dealt with a very, very tragic situation in your life.

Shilamida: So when I was 17, I got a call when I was in the dorms and the person on the other line said, "Your father has cancer and he has two years to live."

Janelle: Oh, my gosh.

Shilamida: And it was a devastating phone call. There were also some other things that were said, which I'll leave you guys to read in the book because this is in the book. But, you know, having a parent diagnosed with cancer at such a young age really was a shock value for me and it put me into massive fear and panic. And I started to live my life that way and I became very angry and I didn't really know how to take out any of my aggression or work through anything properly. So I turned to drugs and alcohol and I tried to drown my sorrows. And then my mom got diagnosed with breast cancer.

Janelle: Oh, my gosh.

Shilamida: So I went from one parent having cancer to two. My dad ended up living nine years instead of two. So that was great. But, you know, I missed a lot of his life because, or the end of his life, I should say, because I was too busy waiting for his last day to enjoy the days that I had with him. So, you know, there's a interesting, what we're living through right now, you know, during my years of 17 to 27, I would say those 10 years I lived in total fear, fight or flight all the time thinking that somebody was going to die any second. And then when I was about 23, I had found Kabbalah and it was the first time that I was introduced to spirituality. I grew up as a Jewish kid in a Jewish household with grandparents who lived through the Holocaust.

And I used to call my parents breakaway Jews because they did what they had to do. But that was it. They were Russian. I didn't really understand anything at temple and I didn't get into the religion thing. So when I was presented with Kabbalah, it was something that I needed. It was a way for me to outlet my anger. It was a peaceful way for me to learn how to become a really good person. And it really helped me in my journey. And, you know, those years were hard and I didn't really know what I wanted to do with my life, but make money and be successful. And when I was 23, 24, I was very successful. I was making a six-figure salary. Well, that's what I equated as success at that time, right, how much money we made. I didn't really understand what life was all about. And by the time I was 27, I lost it all, lost my dad, got pregnant and found myself living on food stamps.

Janelle: Oh, my gosh.

Shilamida: Wow. So it was quite the whirlwind of events. After I had my first son, I was seeking out something. I thought that I wanted to be a nurse and I was petrified of needles. So I gravitated to nursing school and I just really knew that I wanted to help people. And I was introduced to the chakra system and I did a chakra meditation. And in the meditation, it came to me that I needed to be helping people and that I should go to massage school. So that was my first journey into the healing arts. I went to massage school. About three weeks into massage school, I heard the word "acupuncture" for the very first time. And around that same time I met a new friend who taught me about the law of attraction and brought to my attention how negative I was and how I complained all the time.

And, you know, nobody had ever said those things to me before and I never really realized how negative I was or how much I complained until she brought it to my attention. And then I became so aware of it that I was like, wow, I'm always negative. And with the law of attraction, the way that you think or you speak are the things that you attract. And I really made a conscious decision to talk more positive and started being grateful and doing all the things that the spiritual books, I was just filling myself with so much knowledge at that time and just really filling my time with anything that was positive.

And I asked the universe to put me on my path. I really wanted to be an author and a motivational speaker, but at the time I was about 250 pounds. I was very overweight, I was broke and I was living on food stamps. And I'm like, "Well, who am I going to motivate? Like what am I going to stand on stage and talk about?" And I asked the universe to help me to find credibility for myself and to build myself a career when I was ready to step on stage that people would listen. And the path led me to acupuncture school out of all places. Yeah. So that's how I became an acupuncturist.

Janelle: So tell me when you were in acupuncturist school, first of all, how long is that program that you do to become an acupuncturist?

Shilamida: So the program without herbs is three years. And then depending on the school that you go to with herbs, it's either four years or five years. So I did the three-year program.

Janelle: Okay. And tell me, you said to me earlier that your focus might be a little bit different. Tell me what you focus on as an acupuncturist.

Shilamida: Yeah, so I specialize in anxiety, depression, stress reduction, headaches, migraines, and fertility. When you talk to the average acupuncturist, most of them do pain management. But for me, I focus on the mental, emotional part because I feel that most of our physical ailments come from an emotional, mental issue, either that we're currently having or something that's been trapped inside of us.

Janelle: And where do you feel like some of the biggest mistakes are that people make in regards to their mental and emotional health?

Shilamida: I think that most people suppress their feelings and they try to brush them under the rug thinking that they're just going to go away. But what happens is, is that those emotions get stuck within our body and then it starts to manifest as pain or disease. And for a lot of people you'll see, you know, the headaches, the migraines, the low back pain. Some of the everyday aches and pains that the average person has, normally after a few acupuncture treatments with me, those things go away.

Janelle: And what are, like, some of your personal favorite health habits that you incorporate so that you have good mental and emotional health?

Shilamida: So, going gluten and dairy-free has been a life-changer for me. I as well suffered with anxiety and depression for most of my life. Clearly, living through my 20s thinking that my parents were going to die every day, I was always anxious, I was always depressed. I always had some kind of mental, emotional thing happening. And after I had my son, I was at the heaviest weight I've ever been. So, losing the weight via changing my lifestyle, not just being on a diet was a huge game-changer for me. And what I found in my practice is when I guide a patient to cut out gluten or to cut out dairy or to cut out both, usually we see a massive change and improvement in their mental and emotional being.

Janelle: So it, like, really eliminates maybe brain fog and just how does that work? How do you explain that?

Shilamida: So 70% of our immune system lives in our gut. And when you're eating something that the body is not happy with, it goes into the gut and it causes the gut to leak. So most people are walking around with leaky gut syndrome. And unless you're overweight, you don't really realize that there is a problem with your body. Because if you're in good shape or you're skinny, you're not really paying attention to the "health part." So what happens is, is it starts to leak out of your gut and then it creates phlegm inside the body and just like heat, phlegm rises so the phlegm will rise and at first it goes to the lungs, it congests the lungs and you'll get stuff like asthma or wheezing or you'll have chronic colds or bronchitis. Then it will rise up to the face and then you'll get your chronic sinus issues, your chronic coughs, tonsillitis, that kind of stuff. And then it goes up into your head and it starts to congest the mind.

So in the mind, you're going to get your anxiety, your depression, your schizophrenia, any of your big emotional disturbances are phlegm-related. So in traditional Chinese medicine, when a TCM acupuncturist diagnoses you, most of the mental, emotional patterns always have phlegm inside the pattern. You know, for anybody that's suffering with any kind of mental, emotional stuff, definitely change in diet, acupuncture. I love to use essential oils. That's a big part of my practice in my everyday life. Getting the right vitamins, sometimes there's a vitamin deficiency that's causing us. A lot of times it's a lack of magnesium, vitamin D, vitamin D. If you have low levels of those things, there's a relationship between that and anxiety and depression.

Janelle: Right. And what other types of Chinese modalities do you use in your practice?

Shilamida: I love to use cupping, I like to use ear seeds and I love using moxibustion.

Janelle: And what are some of, like, the ways that you've seen life-changing transformations happen in some of your patients? Like can you share any particular experiences?

Shilamida: Yeah. I had a patient that was supposed to do a meniscus tear repair in her knee. And on her third visit, she showed up and she's like, "Is it possible that I am not in pain anymore?" So anything is possible. And she continued coming for a couple more weeks and she ended up canceling her surgery and she didn't need to have it. So that was pretty spectacular. I have great success in fertility in my practice. So, there's been a lot of babies born with my help, so that's pretty cool, bringing lives into this world.

Janelle: Absolutely.

Shilamida: I had a patient that was on some pretty heavy medications since 9/11, and after a few weeks of acupuncture with me, she was able to cut her meds in half and then she eventually came off of them. So I've had some really cool results here for sure.

Janelle: Yeah. Is it hard to get people dealing with emotional, mental health to make those lifestyle changes that you talked about?

Shilamida: What I find is when people make their way to me and they hear my story and they see how relatable I am, I kind of ignite the spark within them to be like, "Well, hey, I'm just like her and if she made those changes, I can, too." And I feel like once they step through the door here, that they're ready to put in the commitment.

Janelle: Right. Like what habits, would you say, that most people find surprising about you?

Shilamida: I love to drink. I am a wine fan for sure. So a lot of people, when I tell them that they have to make a lifestyle change, they always get scared that I'm going to tell them not to drink wine or coffee. I love coffee as well. So those might be a little surprising to some people who see my lifestyle.

Janelle: Yeah. And what, you mentioned that you eat gluten-free. Like do you allow yourself to eat any treats or how strict are you in what you eat?

Shilamida: Yeah, I'm gluten-free but I'm not sugar-free. I do have a sweet tooth, so I love having something sweet or something good to eat. But, you know, I definitely try and keep it together and I allow myself to indulge a couple of days out of the week. So I really try to... I love intermittent fasting. I think that that is a great lifestyle for anybody who is looking to lose weight. It is really easy to stick to that. Intermittent fasting is eating within an eight-hour period of the day. And I find that that really helps me. You know, sometimes I see patients until 8:00, 9:00 at night, so my hours are a little bit off. And if I was to start eating breakfast at 8:00, 9:00 in the morning, it just would not be good for me for the whole day. So.

Janelle: Yeah, I've done intermittent fasting as well for a number of months at a time and then I'll go on and off for a little bit. But it is, you feel good when you don't go to bed on a huge, you know, stomach full of food and wake up and you just feel kind of like clean inside and out, so. Let's see. Going a little bit outside now of your acupuncture practice, what other programs do you have going on?

Shilamida: So I have my Gratitude Membership that I developed a few years ago. I did that because when I started learning all of this spirituality stuff, it was really hard for me to be grateful and to live in the positive. You know, when I was learning all this stuff, it's when I was overweight, my dad had just passed away. My mom was battling cancer for the third time. So when you tell somebody to be grateful that's in that kind of predicament, it's really hard. But gratitude is a practice. You actually have to work towards being grateful every day and being happy every day. And people don't realize that. People see happy people and they just think that they're naturally like that. But happiness is a choice.

You have to wake up every day and decide, "Today, I'm going to be happy. Today is going to be a great day," right? Because most people ruin their days by 10 a.m. It's like, the alarm goes off, you wake up late, the kids aren't cooperating, you forgot lunches at home. You know, your kid misses their shoes, something, some, there's always something. Then you sit in traffic, then you get to work. Your boss is annoying you, your coworkers are annoying you. And by 10 a.m, you've already cultivated so much negativity for the day that it's already taken over your whole day.

So what I learned early on is that in order to tip the scales of positivity to negativity, you have to say "I am grateful" at least 20 times a day. So when I ask people, "Are you grateful?" the response is always yes. And then when I say, "Are you actually grateful 20 times a day?" the response is usually no. So I created the Gratitude Membership so that every single day in your inbox at 7:30 a.m Eastern time, you get a email from me with a reminder to be grateful. There's a small spiritual blurb and there's five affirmations for you to repeat.

So, you know, when I first started on this journey and I have a gratitude journal from then. And the first, you know, 20, 30 pages, I struggled being grateful and now I could spit off a thousand things that I'm grateful for. Like just sitting in my office right now, I'm grateful that I have electricity. I'm grateful that the heat is on. I'm grateful that I have this beautiful space to escape to, even though I'm not seeing my capacity of patients. I'm grateful for my patients. I'm grateful that I have this gift that I get to share with others. And it just rolls right off of me because I really can understand and appreciate what other people don't have in this life. And how no matter how bad you are, like when I was living on food stamps, as bad as I thought my life was, somebody else had it so much worse than I did. And I just bring myself into that mindset whenever I go into, like, the victim mode. Like, you know, with the coronavirus right now, it completely whirlwinded my life, my partner's life, we're both business owners.

Nobody was prepared for anything like this and it's been a really stressful two months in our life. But this weekend I just sat around and just felt such immense gratitude for our situation and for our home and for the life that we've created together. It's like no matter what's happening in the world or how bad things are or how there's no money coming in, I'm just so grateful for this moment and knowing that even though it might not be as great as it can be right now, somebody else has it so much worse than I do. And for that reason alone, I am grateful.

So, you get a daily reminder to be grateful. You get a weekly love note from me. The love note is a sneak peek into my life. I always talk about personal stuff that's happening, sometimes very deep. And then I end it with a shift of how the issues that are happening in my life, how they relate on a spiritual level to you and your life. Once a month, I do a guided meditation. Meditation was always very hard for me. I hated sitting in silence with myself. And then I realized that I really wasn't supposed to necessarily sit in silence and I was so focused on that that I could never get into the meditation.

So, I send out real easy-to-follow meditations. They're usually always guided by me unless I find a gem that I really like that I want to share with the members. Sometimes they're as easy as 60 seconds and other times, they're five minutes. So I try to make them really short for the beginner meditator. And even for someone who's not a beginner, I try to change it up and make it a little different. Once a month, I record a video vlog for the members exclusively and then four times a year, every quarter, I do a live coaching call.

So it's a lot of fun. We all get together in a Zoom chat room and either I teach something spiritual or, you know, the members have been in for a while so they'll show up and we'll do some hot seat coaching. So it depends on what everybody is looking for and is in need of in that moment. And, you know, recently I've been doing bonus calls, so last quarter we had two calls. This quarter we'll have two calls. So, those are a lot of fun. I enjoy doing those.

Janelle: Wow. That is incredible. And what I really love about everything that you've just presented is that there are no excuses for someone to say, "I don't know how to do this. I don't know how to express gratitude or to express affirmations," because you're giving them what to say, step by step, you know, how to begin. And you've been at the lowest point in your life where you didn't feel like you could summon up gratitude and you're teaching people, yet, how to do that.

Shilamida: Yeah. And that's my first book, "31 Days of Gratitude: Create the Life you Desire." It's actually not just a book, it's a workbook per se or a journal, some people call it. Because in there as well, you know, looking back at my first gratitude journal, there was no guidance for me and I had a really hard time being grateful. So in "31 Days of Gratitude," I have sample affirmations on every single page. There's a spiritual lesson every single day. So the book itself is only like eight to 10 pages. And then it's 31 days of actual affirmations and then space to journal.

Janelle: And with all of that, you've also added on the weekly emails and reminders and the coaching that you're doing as well. And what is kind of like the highest level that people can participate with you? Is it like, are there in-person seminars that you're doing as well?

Shilamida: There were, hopefully there will be again. The highest level that I was offering before coronavirus was a mastermind where we would have done three in-person events together, one being an away retreat, and it was five months of group coaching with me. But since, you know, the past couple of months have been what they are, I suspended all of that. And what I'm doing right now is I'm doing virtual retreats. So last Saturday night, I hosted one. It was so magnificent. We did two hours on Saturday night and we meditated, we danced, we had fun, we laughed, we cried, we did all the things and it really was an escape. I called it "Escape, Restore, Retreat." And a big part of my audience are moms. So in this situation right now, it's hard for a mom to be able to restore and retreat because they're mostly surrounded by their kids 24/7 at this point.

So it was really nice to have that escape and I'm doing it again this Saturday night. So, I love that. I love creating events. I love throwing parties. I really put a lot of time, attention and detail into my in-person stuff. So, being able to do it virtually keeps the momentum going and it keeps me accountable, because I've definitely had my spouts over the last couple weeks of falling into the negative. So we gotta keep working ourselves to coming back, bringing ourselves back into the light, back into the positivity no matter what's happening around us.

Janelle: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And you mentioned, you know, an escape from our kids in these retreats. I'm going to bring up kids for a minute because since we are around our, those of us who have kids are around them more often right now. I have four kids of my own. I am finding that my, you know, I'm faring a little bit when my kids express a lot of negativity to me. And it can be overwhelming, especially because, you know, they're social distancing. They're not with their friends or they have concerns about how their school year is ending. And it's really sad, you know, for kids missing out on these milestones. But kids are a tough subgroup to teach gratitude to, I'm finding. How do you do that with your boys?

Shilamida: So, we practice gratitude every night in my house. And it was actually my first son that created the habit with me. So in the beginning when I was told to be grateful every day, I would forget. I'd write in the journal one day, a couple of days later I'd write again. So I started being grateful with my son at night. And what the beautiful thing about kids is, is kids create habits. They're creatures of habits. So when you start doing something with them and you do it a couple nights in a row and then you forget, they will most likely turn to you and be like, "Hey, mom, can we be grateful tonight?" Or, "Hey, mom, we forgot to be grateful tonight."

So that's how I started the habit for myself. I started being grateful with my first son. And when he would go to his dad's house, sometimes I would forget to be grateful. And now I have two little guys and we are grateful every single night, they're five and six years old. You would be blown away at some of the stuff that comes out of their mouths. I am, like, completely shocked. But they get it. Even though they don't get it, they kind of get it. And a lot of times I'll manifest with them. I'll say things like, you know, "Mommy is so grateful for our vacation house on the beach," or, "Mommy is grateful for our private jet." And they'll be like, "Well, mommy, we don't have that yet." And I'll be like, "We don't have that yet. But mommy is grateful for it because it's coming."

And so I start a little bit teaching them about manifesting and then I'll hear them in their gratitude saying things like that. And they're grateful for things that they don't have with the things that they want. So it's really interesting how they're picking up these habits. And, you know, when they start complaining or they start whining, I will remind them that they're not being grateful in the moment. And all I hear is whine or complain and the complaint department is closed.

So, you know, it's a habit for them, too. And it really is hard times and, you know, it's scary times for them taking them out, seeing people with masks on and, you know, they don't get it. Especially in my house, it's still normal. We're not under full quarantine because my partner and I are both essential. So we still go to work. We still have our nanny come and, you know, they don't really get the capacity of what's happening other than they keep hearing about coronavirus, coronavirus and life is a little weird outside.

Janelle: Yeah. Yeah. So teenagers, their thought patterns might be a little bit more stuck to the negativity and I'm sure some of your clients, too, your adult clients. So how do you retrain a person's brain when they seem to be stuck thinking negatively?

Shilamida: So I talk about the law of attraction, the law of reflection. I teach them about the laws of nature because spirituality is not for everybody, right? Or at least in the beginning, you say the word "spiritual" and people get scared. They think that it's some kind of cult or you're about to give them Kool-Aid or, you know. They don't really know how to wrap themselves around the word "spirituality." But when you talk about the laws of nature, every kid learns about the law of gravity, what goes up must go down. And, you know, there's laws of nature that they learn about in school. So when they learn it in school, it's "normal" to them, right? "Normal."

So we talk about the law of attraction and how what we think, we create and what we put out, we get in return. My kids understand what the word "karma" means, right? Like if they're whining or they're crying and they're having a bad day and then they go and they stub their toe and I'll be like, "Oh, that's karma for the way that you're acting." So I hear them using that with one another. My oldest is 13 and we also have a 19-year-old, almost 20, and 23-year-old because we're a blended family. So we range from five to 23 and, you know, it's...the older kids aren't with us all the time, but we just keep trying to bring them back in. Whenever we're together, we'll sit down and we'll be grateful together. We remind them that, you know, we live a privileged life in comparison to other kids. And I just really try to bring them into the light and really remind them, listen, as bad as this is, we could have it so much worse, right?

Like there's three of us living in this big, beautiful house, but at one point I was living in a tiny apartment. And what if we were living there during this right now? What about all of the people who are living in their tiny little apartments right now, right? And I just keep bringing them back to the light in that way. And then we do service stuff. So last week we went to the food bank and we delivered food to the food bank. And I include them in stuff like that so that they see how we can be of service to others. And when we give, we receive.

Janelle: Absolutely. I love you. You are so amazing. I love all that advice.

Shilamida: Thank you.

Janelle: I'm definitely taking this all in myself. Yes, I think that is so great teaching them the principle of the law of attraction. That what you send out comes back to you and how you can be grateful and then attract more abundance in your life by doing so.

Shilamida: Yeah. And my kids see it, especially my 13-year-old now. Like he sees it, he understands it, he sees all the good that I do and then all the good that we get in return. We definitely get perks of life because he sees that I'm of service and so is my partner. So because of that, you know, we get to go to certain things and we get to do certain things that the regular person is not doing and he's starting to realize and understand that. For my little guys, they're just in it, you know. And we always say, "Wow, when you guys were picking your contract of moms and dads, like you picked the right ones," right? But for my 13-year-old, he didn't always have it so easy. He lived with me in my dark negative times and he doesn't remember those times the way that I remember them.

So I did a good job in that period to, you know, shelter him from all that stuff. But I remind him on a regular basis where we came from and not to forget. And at any moment, it could all be taken away from you. And that's what we learned right now. My partner has had his business for 27 years. And in one week, he went down 90% in business and almost had to shut his doors.

Janelle: That's awful.

Shilamida: So, it's been a real eyeopener that, you know, you can build, build, build. Nothing is ever guaranteed and, you know, it's real easy to fall into the negative. It's all about how do you bring yourself out. How do you bring it back? You know, I always tell my patients and my clients like, "Look, you can have a bad moment. You can have a freak out moment, you can make a mistake. But it's all about how do you bring it back, you know, and how fast does it take for you to come back?" Most people will get upset and they'll let it ruin their entire day or their entire week. For me, if I'm having a bad moment, it's a bad moment. It's five minutes and then I have to move on. I might go back, but I gotta move on. And I just keep reminding myself if I'm going to live there, I'm just going to create more of it.

Janelle: And I heard you say before that life is about making corrections. You know, we aren't expected to be living our lives perfectly. We're expected to make the necessary corrections so that each day we're improving a little bit more and more.

Shilamida: Yeah, 100%. I mean, that's why we're here. And I think that people fail to know that. And that's what I've learned in my spiritual studies, that we didn't just come here to live life. Like we're not just here to be alive. We're here with a purpose and we stay alive until we complete that purpose. And when you put yourself into that mindset of, "Oh, I'm here to actually accomplish something," life is not about going to work from 9 to 5 to earn a salary so that I could take a vacation once a year and struggle and do all these things. We're actually meant to live beautiful, abundant lives. But we don't realize that, so we create these fear-based, miserable lives. Like most people are walking around really not happy with life. And what they don't realize is that they've created that for themselves. And it's hard to teach somebody that. Nobody wants to face the reality of that, you know, especially when they're hearing that for the very first time.

Janelle: Yeah. It's hard to look ourselves in the mirror sometimes and see what we need to see. And I know, like in your life, you were dealt some pretty straightforward comments from people who were very...had a very big impact on your life, talked about your brother at one point in a podcast show that I heard, and your ex. And do you want to talk about any of those, like, life shifts that came for you during those times?

Shilamida: You know, when I chose to live a really spiritual life, I needed to let go and isolate a lot of people. And this is where a lot of people, I think, get lost or get stuck because they're like, "Well, that's been my best friend for 25 years." And they can't imagine life without that person or, "But that's my mom. I can't not talk to my mom." But for me, I literally stopped talking to everybody. I don't know if you're familiar with Louise Hay, but Louise Hay is somebody that I love in the spiritual world. She has passed on. But I listened to something she did once and she said that she decided to stop talking negatively and stopped gossiping. And she didn't talk to anybody for three weeks because it was so hard to not talk about other people and to not be negative. And that's literally what I had to do with people in my life.

If I had girlfriends that were upsetting me, that were triggering me, I just cut them out and stopped talking to them. I stopped talking to my family, I stopped going to family events because you can't improve your spirituality and jump levels of life when you're constantly being triggered and pulled back down. So there are certain people in your life that were put there to trigger you on purpose. And you need to focus on yourself and be okay with yourself, right? Like in my years of doing drugs and alcohol, like there's plenty of things that I'm not proud of. I mean most of the things that I've blocked out or don't even remember at this point. But if I was to go back and judge myself on my behavior or how I acted, my God, I would have, like, a lot of really bad things to say.

But, you know, as you mentioned before, we're not here to be perfect. And a lot of times because of the role that I lead as a spiritual mentor, leader, people have that expectation of me. They expect me to be perfect. And I tell them like, you need to take me off the pedestal that you've put me on because I'm human just like you.

Janelle: Exactly.

Shilamida: I'm just more aware and I'm just more conscious. I've decided to dedicate the last 16 years of my life to waking up every day and trying to be the best human being that I could be, which means if I yelled at you and it didn't warrant that, I will go back and apologize or I will go do the spiritual work around it. If I walk out of ShopRite and there is an avocado in my cart that I didn't pay for, I'll go back and pay for it or I will consciously do a spiritual clearing from taking that avocado without paying for it, right?

It's not even done intentional, but when we do these acts and we realize that, "Oh, no, I did something wrong," it's not a punishment to do something wrong. And a lot of people imprison themselves in the punishment of, "Oh, I'm not perfect enough," "Oh, I'm not good enough," "Oh, I'm not worthy enough." But that's not the truth. You're human and we're here because we're supposed to make these mistakes because we're supposed to learn the lessons to not repeat the mistake over and over again. Nobody's perfect. Nobody will ever be perfect.

Janelle: Yeah. Okay. And so let me make sure that I understand something because when we talk about how none of us are perfect and people who trigger our, you know, angry emotions or whatever, they serve a purpose to teach us about ourselves and how we can maybe react better. But are you suggesting that we need to get them out of our lives or that they need to stay there but we need to adjust our reaction to them?

Shilamida: A little of both. So it really depends on, you know, for me, I was just so triggered in the beginning all of the time that I just needed to separate myself completely and I needed to do a lot of healing work on myself in order to get to a point where I wasn't triggered. So for family gatherings, you know, I stopped going for a while and then when I did go, I would only show up for an hour and then I would leave. Because I knew as soon as the alcohol set in, that it was going to be a nightmare for me. So I knew where my limitations were and I removed myself from them, right?

So just like on Facebook, if you have a friend or an acquaintance that you follow on Facebook or whatever, Instagram, social media, and you are constantly triggered by that person in their posts, that person should not be on your newsfeed every day. You need to unfollow them or delete them or just get them out of your eyesight. Because if there's somebody that's constantly upsetting you or triggering you, you're wasting all that energy. So why allow for yourself to be in that energy when you could be surrounded by love and light and positivity?

Janelle: Okay. Yeah, that makes so much sense. And it goes so well with, like, the two quotes that I read from you that I wanted to talk about today. You said, it was in an Instagram post, that, "In the end, we will not make everyone happy no matter how hard we try. So it's really important to make ourselves happy because that's who we have to live with day in and day out." And that was the first quote. Because I think what you're saying is we have to heal first and if we're not happy, then, you know, life basically sucks. You know, we can't just try to live our lives making other people happy and, because we never can. We'll never be able to do that.

Shilamida: Right. Well, most people, they live their life solely to make other people happy. They're not worried about them and their happiness. A few years back, one of my first coaches had said, "What other people think of you is none of your business." And I was like, wow. Like, I really liked that statement. And he went on to say that in a study, I forget what the study was, but they polled 100 people in a room and the way the study panned out was in a room full of 100 people, 25 people are going to hate you no matter what. You show up at a room of 100 people, 25 people off the bat are going to dislike you for some reason. Twenty-five people are going to love you no matter what. So there's your 50/50 split and then you're going to have 25 people who maybe disliked you at first sight, but will like you. And then you're going to have 25 people who liked you at first sight and then are going to dislike you.

And it was such a powerful statement that he made because that was the beginning of, you know, all of my online social media stuff. It was before I was in the "spotlight" per se. And I remember being in the car with my now 13-year-old, so he was probably like nine or so. We were listening to a CD on this and I turned around to him. And I said to him, "Hey, Mikey, there may come a day where people may not like mommy just because." And he looked at me and he was like, "Mom, everybody loves you." And I'm like, "I know." I said, "I know that that's the way it appears." I said, "But just hold on to these words because one day this might come back."

And sure enough, it wasn't a year later where I don't even know what happened, but some of the moms in town that I was friends with decided to start excluding me from things. And I remember my son being like, "Hey, mom, like why aren't you driving us to so-and-so's birthday party?" And I said, "Oh, I don't know. They didn't really need me there." And then we had, like, this full conversation and he really started to get it and he was like, "Wow, like I understand what you were saying back then." You know. So a lot of people, and I used to be like this, too. I'm a people pleaser and I don't like it when people dislike me. It hurts my feelings. I'm empathic.

So I feel a lot and I want everybody to like me and love me. But the reality of it is, is that they're not going to, and it's hard for people to wrap themselves around that. So once you understand that, that if you were to walk into a room and not say a word and 25 people are going to hate you no matter what, it, like, turns on this light bulb inside of you to be like, you know what? It doesn't really matter what other people think, right? I wake up every day and I'm of service to others. I'm an acupuncturist, I help people. I make miracles happen. I jump on any opportunity when there's a charity event or somehow that I could be of service. I know at the core that I'm a really good person. So if you dislike me for whatever reason, I'm not going to let that get to the core of me because I know who I am. I know that I wake up every day and I strive to be the best person that I can be. So it doesn't matter what your thoughts or opinions or judgments are of me because most likely I'm just triggering a reflection of you, right?

And that's what people don't realize that when we don't like somebody or we judge somebody or we're triggered by somebody, there's usually something about that person that is a full reflection of us, but we're not ready to see that. So that's why this person keeps being presented to us. And so when you put yourself in almost a bubble and don't allow for that energy to come into you, you allow for yourself to heal and you allow for yourself to forgive, right? So a lot of the spiritual work is self-forgiveness. Like being able to stand in front of a mirror and saying, "You know what, Shilamida? I love you and I forgive you. No matter what. I love you and I forgive you," because nobody else is going to say those things to you and mean it, right? So you have to be able to say that to yourself. And when you find forgiveness for yourself, everybody will find forgiveness for you.

Janelle: Yeah. It's so great what you're saying that if we don't release, you know, the need to get approval from everybody, then we're basically stifling our ability to love and create and have gratitude. That's what you said in this quote, I'm going to read it. You said, "We hide because we are scared. We are scared of what other people think. Why, why do others affect us so much? If we use that same energy of fear and judgment into love, gratitude and creation, our entire lives would change."

Shilamida: Yeah. Powerful.

Janelle: That is very powerful.

Shilamida: I spent many, many years of my life getting dressed for other people, right? Like, "Oh, I wonder what people are going to think of me wearing this outfit," or, "I'm going to buy these shoes because so-and-so is going to like them," or, "I'm going to order this meal because, you know, my husband would prefer me to eat that one day." Or, "I'm not going to go take that risk because my mom doesn't want me to." So that's the way the majority of people live. And that's the way I lived, too, right? In the book "From Food Stamps to First Class," I talk about how when I went to college, my parents didn't let me go to my college of choice because it was in Rhode Island. They made me stay local and they ended up making me go to school for business management and I was a pre-law minor by choice and I hated every single second of it.

So instead of embarking in the college experience, I embarked in the sorority experience and I just didn't go to class. I didn't care. I flunked out of a lot of things and I was living out my parents' dream. I wasn't living out my dream. And it's something that I really hold powerful with my children. I try to not put my opinions on my children. I try to show them each scenario and let them choose and decide. Because I know that we come into this world as individuals and we choose our mother and father to guide us on the path that we have chosen to take. It's all about us. But a lot of times in most parental situations, parents are trying to live out their dreams within their children and they throw the kids off track. I feel like my life was thrown off track for a while. I do also believe that everything happens for a reason, but I feel like I probably could have saved myself a lot of years of suffering had I not been living for other people.

Janelle: Yeah. Yeah. That is really true. I know as a mom, I find myself, as I get more experience, asking my children, "What do you want and what are your values?" Because it doesn't really matter, I mean, I've spent years and years teaching them, but if they don't fill it, you know, then they're not going to do it and they'll find ways to live out what they want to do. So tell me how can people get in touch with you and get ahold of your book as soon as it's released?

Shilamida: So, you can find me on social media by my first name, Shilamida. I am on Facebook. On Instagram, I am @goddess_of_gratitude. On Pinterest, I am also @Shilamida. So basically if you put my first name in, you will find me. My first book is available on my website,, or on Amazon. And the second book will be available on Amazon, Audible and Kindle, plus we'll have it available at my office. So I'm excited because this one is on Audible. That was an interesting experience recording that. [inaudible 00:48:58].

I am not a professional speaker so it was very interesting getting through that entire book. But I have to tell you, normally I can't listen to myself or watch myself back when I do interviews. I love, love, love the book. I was so blown away listening to it back because when I write, I have, like, an outer body experience, so I don't really remember everything that I write. And then when I reread it, I'm like, "Oh. You wrote that?" So, the book is like that. And if you're an audio person, you're definitely going to love it. And if you've never listened to an audiobook before, this might be a great turn-on for you because I don't love to read, I'm not, like, a big book person. I do it for knowledge, but I love being inspired and when there's a great energy behind something when I'm watching it or listening to it. And I just think that the book brings a lot of power and it's definitely great on Audible.

Janelle: Well, see, once again, you're giving people no excuses to make changes because they could either listen or they can read your new book. And I'll put show notes or I'll put links in our show notes to these ways that people could connect with you and find out about your new book and you'll have to let us know and we can let our listeners and viewers know as well when that book launches so we can pick it up.

Shilamida: Awesome. I would really appreciate that and I loved talking to you today. This was awesome.

Janelle: Thank you. Thanks so much for your time and I'm glad the one great thing is I've been able to speak with people who are a little bit hard to get in touch with because we've all had to slow down a little bit during this crazy time. But I do appreciate your time and we thank you so much for coming on our show.

Shilamida: Thank you, I appreciate it.

Janelle: Have a great day.

Shilamida: You too.

Janelle: And thanks to all of our listeners for joining us today. To learn more from Shilamida, visit us at We will post show notes, a transcript, and links to connect with her. And if you liked what you heard today, be sure to click the subscribe button, leave us a comment and rate us on iTunes, YouTube, or wherever you like to listen. By doing this, more people will have a chance to hear what our amazing guests have to share. Until next time.

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