Brooke Meadows- Vetiveracupuncture
I cannot believe it is already November and Brooke’s feature will be the last of this year. This year, the travel, the meet ups and time spent with incredible women filled my creative bucket in so many ways and opened a new concept of female community for me. I am so grateful for how this project evolved, from a one-time project to an ongoing project. And it continues to evolve over time into much more! I wanted to close this year with a woman who shares how important it is to step out of your comfort zone. Brooke left a life she liked to pursue a life she loved. She inspires us to, if the circumstances allow it, slowly shift your life towards a career or opportunity that fulfills you and gives you the purpose you have been longing for. Everytime when I open the interviews, I sit back in the evening with a cup of tea and I get lost in the written words and start to see the underlying connection we all have. Brooke’s responses contained so many words and thoughts that so many women can relate to. She is a perfect example how to live a “new” creative life in balance with all the ups and downs, and how our former careers can actually lead to new beginnings. Brooke is an acupuncturist with a beautiful curated space in Southeast Portland. She left a successful career in the fashion industry to study Chinese Medicine. She describes her final push to leave the industry, knowing that if she didn’t make a shift now, she would keep going in the same direction that wasn’t making her happy. She knew that she wanted a career that gave her as much as she gives to it. After leaving her fashion career, she studied Chinese Medicine and opened Vetiver Acupuncture and has now many patients who work in the creative industry. Read on to hear her insights about what acupuncture and design have in common. This is the last feature for 2018, and I have new female creatives waiting for 2019 already. This year was the start of this project for me, and a huge learning experience. I can’t wait to see how the next year unfolds. Thanks so much to all the women who shared their journeys and for all you of who have been keen to hear about their journeys. Read this last feature and find a little goodie from Brooke at the end.
A couple years ago you moved back to Portland after living and working in the Fashion Industry in both NYC and California. You shifted your career and now work as an acupuncturist in a space in Southeast Portland that you designed yourself. How has your relationship to fashion and design shifted in your life now?
It’s much more refined. I’ve found what works for me over the years and made it my own. I love flowy pieces and try to find items that are timeless, unique and basic at the same time. I love getting dressed up for work. My bonus-daughter recently asked me why I always get dressed up to leave the house. I love that she thinks this, but lets be real… I have a 6 month old and I’m usually in yoga pants and sweatshirts these days if I’m not at work. But it’s an important question. Fashion is my creative outlet and allows me to express myself depending on my mood. It can also alter how I’m feeling by what I choose to wear. From a very young age, I made the decision not to wear something that didn’t make me feel good. I still stand by that.
Even though they are so different, they both use my creative mind and intuition. I chose to leave fashion because I wanted a career that gave to me as much as I gave to it. I wasn’t sure how I would incorporate fashion into my path as an acupuncturist, but I knew it would become clear at some point. Of course, my love for design has manifested in my practice space. I created a space that feels amazing to me and feeds my energy, which I hope my patients feel too.
Stress, anxiety, depression, and fertility are some of the patient struggles you address in your work; how is acupuncture beneficial in these areas?
Acupuncture helps to create balance in the body, which is why it is helpful in so many ways. It releases endorphins during treatments, allowing patients to feel blissful; bringing people down from that fight or flight feeling so many of us live with. I personally struggled with painful periods, horrible pms, infertility, and anxiety, which is probably why I’m drawn to help women in these ways. I’ve always felt my own experiences make me a better practitioner. There are many fertility cases that are complex and take time, but I’ve had so many patients who were considering Clomid or had tried IUI without success and within a month or two of getting regular acupuncture, they got pregnant. It doesn’t always happen that way, but it’s such an amazing feeling helping women feel better emotionally and assisting them in their fertility process.
In a time where women daily juggle things like career, goals, and parenthood, how do you maintain a personal mindset of balance?
I’ve always been a person who takes things as they go, which keeps me present and mindful. That being said, I tend to take on a lot. Finding and keeping balance with a business, marriage, baby, and two dogs can be a lot. I think the key is to make sure I take some time for myself and use my time wisely.
Your passion and your curiosity for acupuncture started in NYC, and you felt you'd found your purpose...life went on and you always trusted it would merge together at the right moment in your life.Can you describe the moment you knew it was time to change something in your life, and shift things toward acupuncture?
I was walking down a street in New Orleans with my mom. I was at a point where I could see if I didn’t make a shift in my life, I was going to continue in the same direction, which wasn’t making me happy. I wanted more from my life and had felt a strong pull to study acupuncture for years. I think living my perceived dream job/life in NYC gave me the final push to move forward pursuing acupuncture. When people ask me how I got into acupuncture, it truly was an Aha! moment. I don’t remember exactly how the conversation went, but I have a vivid memory of that moment on a quiet street in New Orleans that would change the course of my life in such a profound way. Within six months, I was living in Portland, studying Chinese medicine… Eight years later, I couldn’t be happier and feel so fortunate.
What is your relationship with social media, especially instagram? Does it differ from your personal life or your business life approaches?
I love instagram. It’s been such a wonderful way to meet other professionals and even attract the kinds of patients I love to treat. However, it’s time consuming and I have to weigh what’s best for my time, but it really is one of the only forms of marketing I do. I think I’m fortunate to have a beautiful space where my patients like to post on their instagram, which spreads to so many more people. I don’t post much if anything about my personal life on my instagram anymore. I try to inform people about what I do, how my treatments can help, or inspirational content.
What are three things you would love to be asked about more often?
Wow, what a good question! I’m not sure there’s anything I would like to be asked about. I’m kind of an open book and share a lot. I do wish people knew the value of acupuncture more. It helps with so many different things and I hate to see people suffering when it can be such an easy fix. Most people know it can help for pain, but it can help with so much more. I tell my patients to tell me anything that’s going on with them, as weird as it may be, because there’s a good chance I can help. And no, acupuncture isn’t painful! It’s relaxing and rejuvenating and my patients tell me they have their most insightful thoughts or naps on my table. It’s not uncommon for my patients to look in the mirror after a treatment and tell me they look 10 years younger. The patients who have said this haven’t even had cosmetic acupuncture. It really is a magnificent medicine.
Here in the PNW we're arriving into the Fall; how can we embrace this season and incorporate it into our day?
In Chinese medicine, fall is the season of letting go. It’s a good time to deal with any sadness or grief you’re holding onto and release it. Eating pears, ginger, garlic, cinnamon, cardamom are a few of the things you’ll want to incorporate into your daily fall routine to support your lungs. Taking the time to become more introspective and creating some ritual of self-care is beneficial. I’m a huge fan of journaling as it allows emotions to come up we may not know are there and creates clarity.
“A little trick you can do at home to support your lungs during this time of year is to find the hollow beneath your collar bones and gently tap this area. Take deep breaths pulling your breath into your belly while filling up your diaphragm. On your exhales, let go.”
Brooke Meadows @vetiveracupuncture