What happens when you do everything you’re supposed to do, only to find unhappiness and skipped dreams? Penelope Hsu had the courage to do the unthinkable. She became a doctor, started residency, and then…quit. Because she realized it wasn’t what she had wanted and she was burnt out – as many doctors unfortunately are. She is determined to help other burnt out doctors, teach them how to pay attention to their patients emotional and life states when diagnosing illnesses, AND coach others who feel cultural pressure to honor what’s expected of them at the expense of their own dreams.
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Rana Olk (Host): Hello, everyone. I want to start out by saying this: wherever you are, whatever you are doing right now, thank you very much for listening. As much fun as it is for me to inquire and ask questions, and to have these conversations with inspiring people doing awesome things, I do just want to let you know that I’m mindful of you out there and I really appreciate you stopping by. I’m in the midst of some cross-country relocation stresses right now, and truthfully, I am feeling overwhelmed more often than I’d like, and you know what, I don’t like myself when I’m overwhelmed or stressed. So, while I was preparing for this interview today, I realized my work, because this is my work, it is feeling like a much-needed break in my day. I was reminded of how lucky I am to get to do this, but more importantly, of how incredibly important it is to take a moment to pause and allow gratitude in, not in a lip service sort of way, but in a really emotional and heartfelt way, to really pause and take in what you’re really grateful for especially when you are stressed out, and this isn’t just woo-woo or spiritual talk here. Gratitude really does completely change your perspective. Of course, we all know that, but it can also change your health and your life, and as much as I know that, as much as I have learned that, I still forget sometimes, so I was really happy when I remember today, and I know that part of why I remember that was because of a guest that I have. She would definitely second what I have to say, and the level of credibility she has is pretty darn high. She is a medical doctor and she knows that her patients healing, and wellness is very highly correlated with her attitude, her thoughts, and her feelings.
She went out and became a certified coach on top of being a medical doctor, so she could help not just doctors but her patients. She has a personal story and a unique mission that I’m really excited for her to share with all of us today. So, Penelope Hsu – did I pronounce that correctly?
Penelope (Guest): You did.
Rana Olk (Host):Welcome, I’m so glad you’re here. Thank you so much.
Penelope (Guest): Thank you for having me. This is great.
Rana Olk (Host): Awesome. So, let’s start from the obvious. You are a medical doctor and you are a coach. How does that happen? Is it being a doctor enough?
Penelope (Guest): Oh, yes, it was more than enough, and then the third thing that I throw in there also, that I’m also an actor, so there’s a lot of juggling, but basically, what had happened was, I hit a bit of a rut about five years ago and I couldn’t really figure it out. I had a good job and I was it a decent relationship, and I just felt like there was something missing, I felt stock. It just didn’t feel right, I couldn’t figure out why, and I had tried therapy because I had done that in the past and it didn’t really work, I tried church, that didn’t really work, I tried journaling like crazy and that didn’t really work, and I know I feel like I’m a smart girl and I could not figure this out, and I just stumbled upon a woman who was a therapist and also a life coach, and I always laugh ironically. When I heard that, I was like, well, I just want a therapy. I don’t know what a life coach is. That is woo-woo nonsense, [0:04:07], and a medical doctor –
Rana Olk (Host):I don’t need anybody to tell me how to live.
Penelope (Guest): That’s right, and she was like, “Okay, Science. We will do it your way, but if it doesn’t work and from what I had already been doing, I kind of already [0:04:23], will you be open to trying something new?” and I said sure. At that point, I was just so stop I was willing to try anything, and of course, the life coaching worked. It was very profound, my coach asked me questions that nobody had ever asked and had me think about things and look at patterns and recognize patterns that I just was not really aware of. There is a level that we live our lives that is conscious, and then there’s a whole other level that is unconscious that we are not aware of, and as my awareness group, I remember becoming very indignant as to why didn’t I learned this in medical school? Like, this is profound stuff. This changes people’s lives. It totally changed mine. Why don’t I know anything about this and why was this not taught, and why are we taught that it is woo-woo, that it is nonsense?
Rana Olk (Host):Well, let us dispel the number one math right there because it’s becoming more prevalent. You are seeing it a little bit more in sitcoms and whatnot. A life coach, you guys, does not tell you what to do. Let’s just put that out there, but go on, Penelope. [0:05:33]
Penelope (Guest): Yeah, and so I could not get over the fact that it was just so helpful to me. I started using the techniques that my coaching used on me on my older teen patients – I’m a pediatrician but I work with a lot of teenagers in doing sexual health type stuff – and I saw it worked on that, and I was like, okay, well then, this stuff works, like this is not woo-woo nonsense. This really works, and if my medical community does not have any sort of way to support that or teach me that, I’m going to go do it myself. So, even though I swore I’d never go back to school after medical school, I found myself that eager student taking notes and all those kinds of stuff, and I went, and I became a certified coach.
Rana Olk (Host):So, it wasn’t enough for you to just learn what you learn. You got what you needed out of it. What was the inspiration? What made you feel like I’ve got to become a coach myself rather than just benefit from it?
Penelope (Guest): I feel like there’s this one patient that I always remember. She was a teenager and in our clinic at the community health center I work at, we have nine docs, and she had seen every single one of us, and every single one of us had documented that we tried to get her on birth control and that she refused, and then low and behold, she had gotten pregnant, and then there would be an abortion, and in this whole cycle would start all over again, and I had been one of the doctors she had seen and had tried, and then after the coaching and the way that I was taught to sort of ask questions and dig deeper and not just be like, “Why don’t you just take birth control? What is wrong with you?” Instead of that kind of an attitude, I asked her something along the lines of, “What could you be doing if you weren’t always dealing with this, if you weren’t always in crisis mode? What else could you do?” and she just looked at me like, “I don’t know,” and I was like, “Well, let’s think about it,” and just giving her, planting that seat of what else is possible here and what would you like to be doing with your time, what would you like to be doing with your life rather than just kind of getting stuck again in a rut – boyfriend to boyfriend, relationship to relationship – quite honestly, abortion to abortion, what else could you have, what else would you like in your life? And, she cried and that’s always to me a good sign, it’s a huge release, it’s a breakthrough, and she’s like, “Well, I certainly wouldn’t be sleeping on my friend’s couch. I’d go to school, I would do this, I would do that,” and I was like, “Well, why don’t we work on that? Why don’t we make that the goal? Why don’t we see what that looks like?” and I just literally started googling GED programs and this and that. Fast-forward a couple of months, she finally gets on first control. Fast forward a couple more months, she moves back home, she goes back to school, and off she went, and I look at her chart and she had seen so many of us, myself included, and had just hit a brick wall after brick wall, after brick wall, and then not to like, My shoulder too much, but just asking the question of what do you want from your life, what would you like to experience? shifts everything away from what do I need to do in this moment? It gets you out soldier in the battlefield mode versus general off the battlefield and seeing the whole game plan being play out. When you are caught in the middle of a crisis, you sometimes can’t see two steps forward, but with coaching, what I find so profound about it is it helps people get that perspective so they can see their lives two steps, five steps, 10 steps forward, and that is so much more inspiring than just being stuck in whatever crisis you are in or stuck in whatever you are in.
Rana Olk (Host):Well, and especially, you are a medical doctor, so if this word – it doesn’t take long to become a coach. If this were a training that was offered to medical students now, we all want our doctors to care more. You can probably go out on the street and at least – and I’m being very generous here – half the people you talk to would say, “My doctor doesn’t hear me, doesn’t see me, doesn’t have time for me, doesn’t even care about me,” and a lot of people do probably go to medical school because it’s the thing to do, it’s the definition of “success” and you can have a comfortable living if you do, but I think doctors took care more than they are allowed to. So, what do you think – I mean, what could change and why do you think it is that doctors aren’t – do they care? Let me just put it that way. The doctors really care about us or are we just another number and another patient?
Penelope (Guest): Funny, I actually just had this discussion last night. I’m facilitating a class with fourth-year medical students, and this was the exact conversation, and I think universally, we all care. We would not put ourselves through the misery that is medical school and residency if we did not feel very, very passionately that we wanted to help people and that we didn’t care. I think – I mean, the problem is a multi-headed problem, right? The insurance companies don’t pay enough so then, you have to see more patients, and so that cuts down on the time. Everything needs to be electronic, so you’re constantly looking at a computer instead of looking at your patient. There is so many aspects to it, and then I think the other thing that want that happening throughout medical education is there’s just so much knowledge that has to be crammed into your brain in a very short amount of time. Even though four years sounds really long, it’s not that long to learn everything there is to learn about body and everything that can possibly go wrong, and every medication that could be used to cure it, and so there’s just this mad rush of compressed all the stuff in and get it all and, and then turn out a position who’s going to be able to then, as soon as they are done, get out there and start taking care of patients, and so it’s not really set up for the touchy-feely take time, just get to know your patient; it’s not built in. However, having said that, I was very pleased talking to these medical students last night that at least this particular medical school is trying, and they are slowly building in modules, as they call them, to sort of cheap this more interpersonal care versus straight up didactic medical care, right? Not just writing the prescription and ordering the tests, but sitting, really empathizing, really hearing what your patient is telling you, and not just thinking of, okay, this is another migraine patient, this is another hypertension patient. Like, really, no, this is Mr. Smith who’s got four kids, and… And just lost his job and maybe that is what’s causing hypertension today and maybe it’s not a medication change. Maybe he just needs to vent, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
Rana Olk (Host):But, there is more of a recognition of how our thoughts and feelings are affecting our health and physiology, so to speak.
Penelope (Guest): Yeah.
Rana Olk (Host):And, it needs to be.
Penelope (Guest): It’s starting, it’s starting. Yeah, there was definitely none of that when I went to medical school. I was very happy to hear that they are starting to learn that. There is a technique called motivational interviewing that is a psychological technique. It started in the addiction world, but it really does, it’s as coachy as doctors. It sort of asks the question, what do you think is going on? What would you like to change? What do you feel that you are ready for? What are you not ready for? What are the obstacles you’re facing? And so, it’s a little – we are getting there, we’re getting there, and my hope really is to help medical organizations, residents, medical students learn about that connection a little bit more, really, really show the benefit of taking the time and really connecting to your patient because their emotions and their thoughts, and their life circumstance absolutely impacts their health, and that being a doctor heals does not always come from your pen and a test. Being a doctor who heals really can just be sitting with someone and giving them, and then having them know that they are supported and that they have an ally that is going to help them figure things out. They may take some time, it may not be perfect, it may not come from this one prescription, but I am here for you, with you, and I think that in and of itself can be therapeutic.
Rana Olk (Host):Wow, and we need it, we needed so badly, and now, something comes to mind and I’m wondering what you think about it, and you heard of the whitecoat affect, so some patient – can you describe what that is because it relates to what you are saying in a way. I’m going to relate it if you don’t see it, but the whitecoat effect.
Penelope (Guest): Well, the only whitecoat effect that I know is whitecoat hypertension which is a very specific thing where you see a doctor, your blood pressure goes up.
Rana Olk (Host): Interesting. Okay, but maybe it’s called something else, but the medical trials, they always have the control group and we want to make sure, in other words, that when people are getting well, it’s not just because they have seen a doctor. They have seen a doctor and that has a psychological impact on them that regardless of whether the doctor does anything can affect their health – they can improve sometimes even though they are taking a sugar pill just from the simple fact of having gone to the doctor, right? So, imagine what would happen if on top of that, the doctor, and actually feel cared for and see, and heard, and somebody says to them, “So, tell me about your home life. Could this be what is causing your hypertension or your migraine?” I’m talking to people and strangers which is a whole other project I have, the reason this comes to mind is I have realized how desperately sometimes people just aren’t being heard and feel like they are not being listened to or they had nobody to talk to.
Penelope (Guest): Yup.
Rana Olk (Host): So, if I were to ask you, if your mission is complete, Penelope has completed her mission, she has made the change she wants to make in the world, what would that look like? What would it be?
Penelope (Guest): I often joke, I’m going to revolutionize the practice of medicine. Yeah, I would have all of my physicians would be mindful physicians, all of my physicians would be aware not only of what going on with that because that’s a whole other thing, we don’t give any sort of our own feelings which makes it very difficult to show up for somebody else’s, but so all my docs would be mindful, would be aware, would be kind and compassionate, would note that there is value, there is therapeutic value in just what you said, I’m just sitting, it just being with someone in their pain, in their situation. Not having an answer necessarily, but just being there ally. And, if my mission is really complete, insurance companies reimburse for that. [0:17:38] longer visits again and they value the fact that what we to is not just in the things that we order and the things that we write, but in the relationship that you have, so yes.
Rana Olk (Host): So, woo-woo stuff, right?
Penelope (Guest): I know!
Rana Olk (Host):You need the woo-woo in there. No, I mean –
Penelope (Guest): You need a little woo-woo.
Rana Olk (Host):Yeah. It’s too bad that those things get a bad rap.
Penelope (Guest): Yeah. I think it is starting to turn and I was actually just on the phone a little while ago with someone who coaches physicians and said very clearly, “I do not call it life coaching. I call it executive coaching, I call it leadership development. You do not call it life coach,” and I was like, oh, that’s a good point because you say life coach and it’s like woo-woo, but if you say leadership development, use a physician development, you say executive development, [0:18:40].
Rana Olk (Host): Interesting.
Penelope (Guest): We’re getting there, we’re getting there, but medicine is a big ship. It’s going to take a long time for it turned.
Rana Olk (Host):Wow.
Penelope (Guest): And, I’m going to try.
Rana Olk (Host):Well, you also – I mean, speaking of all the things that a doctor has to think about, and now, on top of it, we’re saying please care for your patience, ask them how they are, sit with them, hold their hand, you also deal with physician burnout.
Penelope (Guest): Yeah.
Rana Olk (Host):That is one of your passions as well, so tell us a little bit about that because I think review the thing that oh, they’ve had it made, they’ve gone to medical school, the stress is over, they wanted to do this, they finally have this amazing career, what the hell? [0:19:24].
Penelope (Guest): Yeah, it is always amazing to me when people are like, “What do you mean physicians burnout? Like, how could you possibly burnout? You help people every day,” and it is so easy. One thing that most people don’t really recognize is that to get to the place that we graduate, we have incurred upwards at a quarter of $1 million in debt and we have been working roughly 100-hour weeks per year. That takes a toll and so yes, we come out with a “healthy” paycheck, but you are not paying off a quarter of $1 million debt anytime soon, and I know for myself, when I finally finished all of my training, I was 30, and so your entire 20s are spent training. During that time, other people have gotten married and bought their car and bought their house, and had a family, and you come out minus $250,000, already exhausted because you –
Rana Olk (Host): Yeah, and nobody’s paying you have to million dollars right after you get out of med school.
Penelope (Guest): Yeah. No, right, even if you go into plastic surgery, no one is going to pay you fresh out. So, this fact that we just start with, right? We start with this huge negative and then we battle our way back up, and then like I said before, the way healthcare is delivered in this country is less than ideal. Preventative medicine, but I do like pediatrics, making sure that the kids don’t develop high blood pressure and that they don’t develop obesity, and they don’t develop diabetes, I spent hours of my time counseling on exercise and healthy diet, and what changes can be made, and… Are you still swimming? And this and, but that doesn’t get quoted as anything. It doesn’t get captured is a procedure, it doesn’t get coded as an intervention, and so the way our healthcare system is, is that kind of the touchy-feely stuff, be asking what you are doing, the asking about the exercise and what’s going on in your life doesn’t get coded were captured, and doctors will be like, “Well, if I’m never going to pay off this debt, I got to do the stuff that gets coded and captured, right? I got to do the extra procedure. I got to see more patients,” is usually what it comes down to is we will just cram and more patients, and I have seen visits go from 30 minutes to 20 minutes, to 15 minutes. How much can you get from somebody in 15 minutes? I mean, we’ve been talking for about 20, right? And how would you get through the whole history of someone’s life what’s going on in their life, and that what’s going on with their medicines? It’s impossible, and so we get on this hamster wheel of just trying to see more people all of the time, and then document perfectly so that the insurance companies will reimburse you for that particular thing… And if they don’t like the way it is typed out and they would reject the claim – I mean, it’s just and but then there’s all this pressure to see more, do more, more, and it is unsustainable. You can do it for a while, but I feel like after – I don’t know and everybody’s different – in five years, 10 years, 15 years, 20 years, at some point, you are just exhausted.
Rana Olk (Host): Well, the moral of the story is, hey folks, for those of you listening, doctors are people too. They’re human. Sometimes, we need you to hold their hand and say, “How are you doing today?”
Penelope (Guest): Right. Oh, God, I would love that, I would love that.
Rana Olk (Host): Yeah, that’s good because I’m sure you get plenty of crabby people if you’re late into – I mean, I’m going to confess right here. When I go into the doctor’s office and I have an appointment that I’ve been waiting for half an hour and then they pulled me into the room and I’m waiting another half hour for the doctor, I’m not the most pleasant all the time. Thankfully, I love my doctor. I’ve been with her for years but that just means I’m nicer when I have to wait than I would be otherwise.
Penelope (Guest): No, and I get it. It’s frustrating for both ends, you know what I mean? We don’t want to runway. We don’t want people to just be waiting in the waiting room and that doesn’t make us feel good either. You don’t even understand the pressure that we feel when we see that happening. You are like, “Oh, my God, I’m falling behind. What do I do?” and this is why doctors don’t be during the day. We don’t need. We never eat lunch. We don’t have a lunch hour. I mean, there are literally days where I’m like, “Have I gone to the bathroom at all today?” Okay, and you just keep going because you don’t want your patience to wait, and so that’s what doctors will do. We will not care about ourselves in service of everybody else, right? So, I always make sure my stuff goes to lunch, like they all go. I will see my patients. If it means working through my lunch hour, fine. If that means staying an hour late, fine. But, what about me? When do I need? When do pee? When do I get to exercise? When do I get to relax? It’s not our primary directive and that’s what needs to bring out, right? You do so much for your patience and you do so much for the insurance companies. You kind of get lower and lower on the priority list, and then before you know it, you are exhausted, you are resentful, you are better, you don’t really feel fulfilled anymore but taking care of your patients. You forgot why you went into this in the first place and that is the definition of burnout. It’s just emotional disengaging.
Rana Olk (Host): Yeah, and I think doctors are already a punch that are probably harder on themselves may be or at least have high expectations of themselves, and you get used to having high expectations. Now, on top of it, there is something that our listeners don’t know unless they’ve right away gone in and looked it up online based on your name, but you are Asian-American, and so you might have had that kind of pressure or feel that pressure of doing well and holding yourself to a high standard more than other people. Do you want to talk a little bit about that? Let us talk about your personal story just a little bit before we –
Penelope (Guest): Yeah, I mean, yeah, I went to medical school because I’m Chinese.
Rana Olk (Host):What an interesting way of putting it – I was because I’m Chinese, okay.
Penelope (Guest): Yeah, like my friend put it this way, like in Asian culture, you have three choices: you can either be a doctor, a lawyer, or a disappointment.
Rana Olk (Host):Oh, gosh.
Penelope (Guest): And, I’ve stolen it from him because it’s great and it’s true. That’s it. Maybe you can throw in business, you can throw in computers, but –
Rana Olk (Host):Well, what about engineer, you know, that’s a good one too, okay.
Penelope (Guest): Right, but that’s it, and so that’s for messaging that you hear from the time that you are a little and whether it’s right or wrong, that’s the culture that you grew up and you wind up believing it. You wind up thinking, yeah, that makes sense. That totally makes sense and you will have a good living and I can help you – yeah, sure. That makes total sense, mom and dad, I’m going to go to that, until you take an acting class in high school and you are like, oh! This is fun. This is better than calculus, and then you get to college and you are like, oh, this is way more fun than biochemistry, but then what do you do with that? And for me growing up, I never challenged my parents. They had always given me good advice. Why would I think that they would give me bad advice? I bought into the storyline that acting and performing could be a hobby. It didn’t have to be professional, right? It could be your outside interest, but you need to [0:27:15], and you need to make the sacrifice that we made of coming to this country worth it, so we better overachieve. You better achieve more than what we could. You better sort of do us proud, and I think that is the experience of a lot of immigrants, not just Asian immigrants, and so I went to medical school and I loved acting and I didn’t really pick it back up until I was done with all my medical training.
Rana Olk (Host): Okay, so thankfully, more and more of us are awakening to the fact that trying to create a life based on others’ expectations is bound to catch up, right? And sometimes, they are a rude awakening. That’s certainly how it was for me, so what about you? Did you ever then wake up and think, oh, my God. I did these things for the wrong reasons. I didn’t do what I really wanted to do. Did you have any tinges of regrets?
Penelope (Guest): Oh, yeah, I definitely had that rude awakening. Mine was very rude because I was working as a resident 100 hours a week.
Rana Olk (Host):Oh, my gosh.
Penelope (Guest): It’s just very rude in general, and then to be doing at and not loving it and watching all my other residents really enjoy the fact that they are doctors now and we’re real doctors and we are taking care of patients, and I’m like, I hate this.
Rana Olk (Host):Oh, wow.
Penelope (Guest): I hate this so much, and it took me a while to figure out what it was, and I finally kind of had to acknowledge that it was because I felt dead inside, like all the creativity that are inherent floor had not really been attended to, and I felt like I was being asked to be an automaton, like just be a robot I’m just following orders and not think for yourself and not have any sort of life, what life can you really help when you’re working hundred hour weeks? And I realized that it wasn’t really fulfilling for me. I was just very depressed to be perfectly honest. I really did not like what I was doing and to do it for 100-hour weeks for a year when the idea of doing it for a lifetime was really when I was like, I need to stop. I can’t do this. So, I quit. I quit my residency to go be an actor full-time.
Rana Olk (Host):Wow!
Penelope (Guest): I was like, I just can’t do this anymore. I’ve tried for five years, right? Four years of medical school and one year of residency, I did everything the way everyone told me that I should, and it just made me more and more miserable, and so I finally was like, okay, well then, you know what? I’m going to try doing it my way for a minute and see what that feels like, and I felt great. It felt really, really good to be able to just audition and be creative and be on a theater or a TV set, and do all these fun things, but at the same time, there was still a part of me that didn’t quite feel fulfilled either, and that was sort of the final awakening of like, oh, wait, I’m both of these things. I’m not going to be able to choose one or the other. I think I have to figure out a way to be boat and that’s going to be challenging, and essentially, that is what my entire adult life has been. It’s sort of been trying to balance those two out and figure out how to make that work, and what does that look like, and the live –
Rana Olk (Host):That takes so much courage. I mean, that’s a radical, but I’m sure there are a lot of people who are and who were in your boat that just wouldn’t have said, okay, after all this work, I quit. That’s not – we are taught not to do that. Oh, I can’t imagine, but good for you, that is so awesome. So, you get to walk your talk, like if somebody comes to you and says, “Oh, no, it couldn’t possibly change course now,” you have the responses that: yes, you can.
Penelope (Guest): Yeah, you can, and come back, you know what I mean? When I quit, I never thought it was going to come back, and then I did, but thinking back under such different circumstances and in my terms. I was actually on the phone with a client just before our conversation and she was asking me about how I did it, and yeah, it’s not easy, but I mean, I made that choice when I came back that I was not going to be a 100% doctor; I was always going to have to be boat and I told her. I was like, “I think that flat out when I go for a job interview – I’m also an actor and I will need flexible hours, and I will need to work part-time, and if that doesn’t work, then that’s okay.” And, that’s just the way I live my life, and does that mean I don’t make as much money and I haven’t had quite the career trajectory? It’s fine by me because I’m living the life that I want to live. Not living anybody else’s academic career climbing life. I’m doing me and I’m having fun.
Rana Olk (Host): I love it. I love it. No, you are still acting. You are acting, you are coaching, if you are still part-time practicing and working at this mission of doctors becoming more holistic in their approach to their patient’s health, and not allowing themselves to get burnt out. Wow.
Penelope (Guest): Right, like I did it.
Rana Olk (Host):You are multi-talented. Well, okay, well, thank you very much, Penelope. I want to, before I ask you might one last question, I want to, just in case – and I know there are listeners out there who want to know more about you will reach you, how would they do that?
Penelope (Guest): Well, I have a website which is www.guidingclarity.com, and yeah, you can find my bio there, you can find all the different types of coaching I do which involve individual coaching. Again, I work a lot with Asian Americans because that is sort of a niche that I know in all this medical stuff that I do, working with organizations to bring that wellness message. So, that’s where you can find me, and the email is firstname.lastname@example.org. I am on LinkedIn, you can find me there as well.
Rana Olk (Host):Awesome. Should they be looking for you in any movies?
Penelope (Guest): Not any movies as of right now. I’ve done mostly theater since I came back to New York, so yeah.
Rana Olk (Host): Awesome. I was Nurse Ratched once in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
Penelope (Guest): Wow!
Rana Olk (Host): Yeah, that’s the nerves that there. Yeah, it’s not easy. Acting is not an easy profession, but it certainly is very satisfying and fulfilling.
Penelope (Guest): That’s a great role. You get to be crazy.
Rana Olk (Host):Yeah, exactly, I did. Some people would argue that I was just myself, but I can be intimidating, so [0:07:02]. What is one action – and so, for our listeners out there who want to in some way improve their lives, we’ve talked about so many different things, and going back to one thing they could do, I suppose, is hold their doctor’s hand and say, “How are you?” right? But, one action that could benefit them that they can take away and start today.
Penelope (Guest): Yeah, I teach a one breath meditation, and the way I learned it, it was called the squeegee breath which is the thing that people use when they are washing windows, where one side is all soapy and you put it on, all the soap, and you can’t see anything, and then what the other side is kind of squeegee and array, and it’s all clear. The idea is we have a lot of stuff going on in our lives and in our minds that gets very cloudy and you can sometimes see clearly what the answer is, you can’t focus, you can’t get present, you can’t attend to what you are doing – you are so distracted, and so with this one breath, you kind of take it all in on the inhale and you kind of get out of there – all the thoughts as the distractions, and the stresses and the bills and everything, you kind of gathering in on the inhale, and on the exhale, you just imagine like that squeegee kind of clearing everything away, so you take a big breath of the inhale and gather it all, any sort of stresses you have going on at home – moving, finances – and then, as you exhale, you just wash it all off and you just kind of clear the plate, and most of the time, it works. I would say it looks all of the time. It is just one breath because I know people don’t want 20 minutes to meditate or do a deep breathing exercise. One breath and just kind of wipe away.
Rana Olk (Host):I love it. Thank you. Okay.
Penelope (Guest): You are welcome. Thank you.
Rana Olk (Host): Well, thank you for being here. I think I’ve said it a lot, but I do, I do like the work that you’re doing and all the reasons you’re doing it. I can’t wait until we’re living in a room where your mission has succeeded, and I know it will because word is getting out, and someday, I’m going to see you and be like, “Oh, my gosh. I interviewed her!” So, that’s going to be awesome.
Penelope (Guest): Well, thank you for having me. This is so much fun, and as you can tell, I can talk about this stuff all day, so thank you.
Rana Olk (Host):Oh, you’re welcome. All right, everybody, well, take care, until next time, and oh, you know what? If you have questions, comments, or you just want to say hello, please hit me up. I’d love to hear from you and I even have a fun email address for you. It’s email@example.com. I’ll be waiting! Take care, bye.