Rising Through Resilience: Jen Owen On The Five Things You Can Do To Become More Resilient During Turbulent Times
An Interview With Savio P. Clemente
Stay grounded and get out of your head. When you notice ideas and thoughts whirling constantly, it’s time to get grounded. Stand firmly and pretend you have tree roots that leave the bottom of your feet and go all the way deep into the ground. Feel the solidness of the earth below you and breathe. Bonus if you can do this outside.
Resilience has been described as the ability to withstand adversity and bounce back from difficult life events. Times are not easy now. How do we develop greater resilience to withstand the challenges that keep being thrown at us? In this interview series, we are talking to mental health experts, authors, resilience experts, coaches, and business leaders who can talk about how we can develop greater resilience to improve our lives.
As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jen Owen, N.P.
Jen Owen is a Nurse Practitioner and Business & Life Coach. She practices integrative medicine at her Portland, Oregon clinic and runs an online health and healing program for women across the globe. When she’s not doing her healing work, Jen helps other Nurse Practitioners start and grow integrative practices like her own. You can find her work and blog at https://theflourishcenter.co/.
Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your backstory?
Sure. I got interested in natural medicine back in 1992. I had been struggling with repeated sinus infections for a few years. I met a woman who suggested I stop taking antibiotics every 3 months and try herbs. I had no idea what she meant but was open to try anything. I started reading books about herbal medicine, nutrition, and lifestyle choices. I did what was suggested and it worked!
I was hooked. I started studying everything about herbs I could get my hands on. I took herbal courses and started doing consultations. I quickly realized my deficits in areas like physiology and pharmacology, and I wasn’t making a living as an herbalist. I decided to become a Registered Nurse and eventually a Nurse Practitioner, so I would have a license to diagnose and treat patients.
I have additional training in nutrition, functional medicine, and Holistic Pelvic Care™. I started my first integrative medicine clinic in Bloomington, Indiana, and I’ve owned my second practice here in Portland, Oregon for 3.5 years.
I now combine all my healing work together in an online transformational program for women.
Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?
The most interesting part for me has been learning to do energy medicine. I’ve always been a science person. I love facts and research. Nursing worked well for me since everything is evidence-based. Then I studied Holistic Pelvic Care™ and Holistic Pelvic Energy™ with Tami Lynn Kent. Let’s just say my mind was blown. In this work, we combine massage techniques with energy healing.
I had never done any kind of energy work before, and the results were astounding. In literally every session, I watch females shift and transform, and it’s simple.
This caused a bit of a crisis for me. How could something without any science behind it produce such profound results? And does this mean all my other work isn’t necessary anymore? It took some time to work through it all and get clarity. The result was an even better healing method, the combination of treating with physical AND energetic techniques.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
I think it’s the combination above. I’ve come to realize that only treating physical symptoms isn’t enough. Most physical symptoms are the late manifestation of something that happened in that person’s life that affected them on a mental, emotional, spiritual, social, or financial level. They likely didn’t deal with it as they needed, so it started showing up in the physical body.
One of my patients had been having stomach aches since she was a little girl. She had seen every specialist, tried all the medications, and been tested exhaustively. Nothing was working. I did all the things I would normally do to treat her, and she didn’t feel any better. We finally uncovered that her 3rd grade teacher had been emotionally abusive to her. Her parents were dismissive about the teacher’s behavior at the time, so she thought it was normal. Once we found the source and cleared this, her symptoms completely resolved.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
I had a difficult time after I moved from Indiana to Portland. I tried to do my business differently than I had in the past and it wasn’t working. I made some costly mistakes and I was feeling incredibly down and discouraged. I lost trust in myself, something that had never happened to me before.
I reunited with a previous coach, who helped me dig myself out of the ditch I was stuck in. She helped me remember who I am and what I’m here to do. She constantly reminded me that I can trust my intuition and it will always lead me the right way. Her mantra for me is, “Jen Knows”.
We all know in our knowing what’s best for us. My best success comes when I follow this instead of anyone or anything outside myself.
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. We would like to explore and flesh out the trait of resilience. How would you define resilience? What do you believe are the characteristics or traits of resilient people?
I like to think of resilience as staying true to your own version of joy and fun despite what is happening to you and around you.
Resilient people are confident, grounded, trust in themselves, and are willing to put themselves first.
Courage is often likened to resilience. In your opinion how is courage both similar and different to resilience?
Courage is the ability to take the leap of faith. Resilience is knowing that whatever happens, “I can handle it”.
When you think of resilience, which person comes to mind? Can you explain why you chose that person?
Lady Gaga. She has struggled with depression most of her life and has been attacked ruthlessly and relentlessly by the media along the way. She continues to stand bolder and brighter. She lives and acts her truth, and she keeps showing up again and again no matter what.
Has there ever been a time that someone told you something was impossible, but you did it anyway? Can you share the story with us?
Ha! SO many times. This kind of feels like the story of my life. People are constantly telling me what is and isn’t possible and I love proving them wrong.
I remember when I started my first practice as cash-pay. Almost everyone I talked to told me it wouldn’t be possible, that people wouldn’t come to me if they couldn’t use their insurance. Yes, that was true for some people, but not for most. When people value something, they’re willing to invest in it. My work was new and different and transformational and getting patients was easy.
Did you have a time in your life where you had one of your greatest setbacks, but you bounced back from it stronger than ever? Can you share that story with us?
A couple of years ago, I invested in a business mentor. I spent a large amount of money and received no return on my investment. More than the money I spent, I also stopped listening to my inner voice. She would suggest something, I would know it wasn’t right for me, but I would agree anyway. Not being true to myself created a great deal of blame, shame, and guilt for me.
It was a powerful learning experience to remind me that I can always trust my inner voice to be the right choice for me, no matter what. As I continue to listen more deeply, I’m creating an even stronger business model and services that are in full alignment with my mission.
How have you cultivated resilience throughout your life? Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Can you share a story?
In 8th grade, I was bullied by a group of kids. They spread terrible rumors about me, made fun of me in front of crowds, and made the transition into high school extremely difficult for me. I didn’t have emotional support available to me at home, so I had to figure it out on my own. I had to learn to keep my inner peace and confidence and I became fiercely independent. This independence then allowed me to become an exchange student and move away for college.
Resilience is like a muscle that can be strengthened. In your opinion, what are 5 steps that someone can take to become more resilient? Please share a story or an example for each.
First, tune out the noise and stay true to yourself.
We can get caught up in what society is telling us, what our parents told us, and what our friends think. We forget what we really think and believe.
This can create a sense of overload and overwhelm.
For example, a client in my online program started paying attention to this. She got clear on what thoughts and beliefs were her own, tuned out everything else, and resolved years of anxiety within just 3 weeks.
Second, stay grounded and get out of your head.
When you notice ideas and thoughts whirling constantly, it’s time to get grounded. Stand firmly and pretend you have tree roots that leave the bottom of your feet and go all the way deep into the ground. Feel the solidness of the earth below you and breathe. Bonus if you can do this outside.
Third, create your personal outer limits.
A lot of people talk about boundaries. I like to think of them as your outer limits. It’s helpful to set up your outer limits each morning before you start your day. Pretend you have a bubble or pyramid around you so that negativity and other people’s points of view can simply bounce right off. This will help you stay in your own energy and avoid taking on what others are experiencing.
Fourth, stay present and listen to your knowing. Insert your own name, “_______ knows.” Trust yourself.
Be okay saying no. When it’s not a definite yes, it’s a no. For example, someone invites you to a gathering. You immediately feel no, yet you say yes. The gathering is awful, and you end up in a fight with your partner. Follow the yes’s and let yourself say no when you mean it.
Last, but not least, have FUN!
All work and no play or being serious all the time is exhausting and will burn you out faster than anything.
What are you doing for fun? What can you add that would be more fun for YOU? I’m not talking about what’s fun for your partner, your kids, or your friends. I give you permission to do what’s fun for YOU!
When you’re having more fun, you release more feel-good hormones. Feel good hormones make you more resilient.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
I would like to see everyone having more FUN! So many people are living in struggle even when their circumstances don’t warrant it. We feel like we need to be serious about everything and that life is a “journey”. This is especially true in the healing realms. Let’s do our inner work, release what’s no longer needed, expand our capacity for resilience, and get back to having more fun. Isn’t that what we’re here to do? Isn’t that what we all really want in our hearts?
We are blessed that some very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them :-)
Lady Gaga. I really admire her and wonder if she’d be interested in knowing about my mission of empowering women to live their very best lives and get out of struggle.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!