Women In Wellness: Cristina Dam of Liberate Hollywood, on the Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s Journey Towards Better Wellbeing
Welcome your mistakes: I think many people including myself spend so much time and energy trying to get something right or perfect. This doesn’t exist and you’re going to make mistakes. In fact you are going to make a lot of them and you will learn more from the things you get or do wrong then the things you get right. Welcome your mistakes because they are your biggest teachers.
As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Cristina Dam.
Cristina Dam is the owner of Liberate Hollywood and Liberate Emporium, the two largest holistic centers in Los Angeles. She is an expert healer, motivator, and licensed hypnotherapist with celebrity clients that includes Adam Sandler, Halle Berry, Moby, and Diplo. Liberate Emporium and Liberate Hollywood offers everything from breath-work to Reiki and card reading to bring mind and body into spiritual alignment. With COVID-19 still prominent across the country, Liberate Hollywood and Emporium are offering remote sessions and live stream meditations, The spiritual guru also is working on expanding LIberate’s online presence; whether it’s through her YouTube channel or her podcast entitled Liberate The Podcast, where Dam and the other spiritual practitioners at Liberate offer information on some of the services offered, talks with some of the top names in the holistic and spiritual world and free guided meditations and therapy sessions. Cristina also loves giving tips on how to deal with stress and staying centered; things we all need during this time.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?
I guess one could say that I was always a motivated, curious kid. I grew up in a smaller town in Wisconsin and spent most of my childhood discovering the outdoors, building and creating things. My parents weren’t really around or involved in my life. My dad worked second shift and I was the youngest of 6 girls with my parents having me later in life. This allowed me to kind of parent myself, which gave me the biggest gift of creativity, vision and infinite possibilities. And freedom! I used to lay on the hill outside of my house and look at the stars and constantly ask questions about why we’re here, trying to figure out what else was out there and the bigger meanings of life. I was motivated to make a difference in the world and even was elected vice president of my class.
I’ve always been a natural do-er and leader and seeker of discovering more in the world. When people ask how I got to California, I say a palm tree led me to the West Coast. I grew up poor and never went on vacations or left the Midwest. I was fascinated by warmer places that had this strange tree that I wanted to live by one day. Once I was out in California, I found spirituality through kundalini yoga and feeling energy. I was guided to take hypnotherapy classes and go to hypnotherapy school and that led me down a whole slew of different certifications and teachings — everything from energy healing to neuro linguistic programming and formal graduate education. I wanted to discover everything that I could about the mind and spirit and learn why people were the way they were and how people could change and become different. That led me to open Liberate over a decade ago and ever since I have been continuously learning, growing and helping change peoples’ lives every day!
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?
Working in the spiritual and self-development field, interesting stories are easy to come by. To name just one or give one the title of “most interesting” is a bit of a challenge. I would say a test of faith would be at the top of the list. Opening Liberate Hollywood was quite a challenge and many roadblocks came up along the way. Faith was constantly being tested as I worked to build a lighthouse in the center of darkness, from construction, to legal, to love, to partnerships but at the top of the list, I would place the financial struggles to get off the ground. It was so bad; at times I had no idea how we would cover our expenses. But nothing was as bad as the time that tested my faith. I was ready to give up, I couldn’t continue and we were short $20k for rent and $5k for payroll…loans turned me down and I had a week to come up with the money or we would have to close our doors. I got down on my knees and said a prayer….”God I created this space through the guidance of you, to support all those that need healing and transformation….I don’t know what else to do but if you want Liberate to continue, I need your support now more than ever and if not, I am prepared to learn the lesson of releasing.” Two days later I got an unexpected visit from someone I met only once before that lived out of town. He insisted that we meet and when we did, he expressed that he wanted to figure out a way to work together. He pulled out a prewritten check for $25k and said …” Here I have a feeling you need this and if we figure out an investment great and if not, consider it a gift.” When he left, I fell to my knees and cried? It was the exact amount I needed and I knew my prayers were answered. The biggest takeaway I got from that is to trust in miracles and believe in the greater connection and connectivity of all.
Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I like to take the position that there are no mistakes, just learning lessons and I definitely have many lessons I have learned. The biggest lesson was putting trust in others over myself. So there isn’t one situation but rather, I had a pattern of being involved in business partnerships without clear communications or clear boundaries. This would get me into trouble, and I felt that I needed partners or other people outside of me to be able to do the things that I wanted to do. I thought people that were further along or more successful knew better than me, but I learned the most valuable lesson: that no one ever truly knows what is best but you. Each path is unique even if similar and you can learn from others and take feedback but the choices you make, what you create, or the path you choose is up to you.
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 about that?
It’s interesting, because I’m kind of grateful to all the people that ended up being challenging! I couldn’t agree more with this statement and believe that everybody gets to where they are and who they become through a combination of each and every interaction they have. Often the most challenging or difficult will create some of the biggest pushes forward. This is as long as we are willing to take responsibility, we will learn and grow. There are also many beautiful experiences that have transformed my life along the way but I find the biggest impact comes from the biggest pain. It’s hard to share details about a specific challenge because I need to respect the privacy of others involved, and some of these matters even went as far as litigation. But every one of these situations taught me valuable lessons, not only about myself, but also in regards to what I wanted for the future of Liberate and my personal career.
Ok perfect. Now let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?
The work that we do helps shift people on an individual level — which creates a ripple effect, shifting the people they interact with, and so on and so forth. Soon that causes an impact on the world. The biggest thing that we do is help people pivot during challenging times in their life while also reconnecting them to who they truly are. It is here that they are free to take the road that is most fulfilling and meaningful to them.
Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.
1.) Attitude of Gratitude: Wake up in the morning and either say out loud or write in a journal 5 things that you’re grateful for. This will start your day on a positive note. One of the laws of physics is ‘a body in motion stays in motion’ and I like to say ‘a mindset in motion stays in motion’.
2.) Lemon Water: The first thing when you wake up drink a 16 oz glass of water with a half a lemon in it. This hydrates you and helps flush the body of any toxins that accumulated or were being released while you slept. It also starts the day doing something good and healthy for your body and, kind of like the mindset of gratitude, causes you to be more conscious of what you do and put into your body. Your physical body is directly connected to your mental, spiritual and emotional bodies and being hydrated has a huge impact on your overall feeling state and wellbeing.
3.) Acts of Kindness: Do something kind of generous for another person each day. This can be as simple as buying a coffee for the person behind you in line, paying for somebody’s parking meter that’s expired or listening to a friend. Doing good for others helps open our hearts and does more good for us than we realize.
4.) Connection: Reach out to at least one friend, colleague or family member a day just to connect. Let them know you’re there for them and let them be there for you. Community any time is important and at this time is so pivotal. Connection is a necessary part of mental health and your overall well being.
5.) Grow: The saying goes if you are not growing you are dying. Do something that helps you grow, learn or take a step forward each and every day. This can be some form of self-practice like meditation or working out, it can be allowing yourself to listen to or read a book on a topic or subject matter that you’ve been wanting to learn more about, or it can be taking a step to accomplish a task that will move your life forward in some way, shape or form. It is important to focus at all times in your life — but especially now — on the things that you CAN control. Knowing that everything is subject to change. You can be the passenger or you can be the driver navigating your way through the changes in life.
If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?
I believe we have already started a movement and hope it continues to grow and spread to reach the masses. This movement is assisting individuals in connecting to their Inner Truth and allowing people to express and be who they truly are without fear and judgment. I think that the #1 thing that is “wrong” with the world is peoples’ inability to be and express and be their true self. Connecting to one’s truth without judgment or criticism and allowing this state to be expressed will cause unconditional self-love and acceptance. This is the key transforming individuals, their community and in turn, the world. Start by doing the 5 things above to start connecting to what matters, taking control and prioritize yourself and your life.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
1) Welcome your mistakes: I think many people including myself spend so much time and energy trying to get something right or perfect. This doesn’t exist and you’re going to make mistakes. In fact you are going to make a lot of them and you will learn more from the things you get or do wrong then the things you get right. Welcome your mistakes because they are your biggest teachers.
2) Trust yourself. All the answers that you seek are already within. People around you are day players in your movie of life. This is your story. You are the one who decides where it goes.
Like I mentioned earlier I often looked outside of myself for direction and guidance but every time it led me to a deadend until I learned it is ok to listen to the voice within and trust it will guide the way.
3) Money and time will never solve your issues. When you start out, you think that you need more money or you need more time to accomplish what you want but really, you just need to be more creative and stop making excuses, because when you really truly want to do something and believe in it, you’ll figure out a way. No matter how much money or time you’re given, you’ll never feel like it’s enough, you’ll just use it as an excuse.
4) You are the problem. It’s easy to place blame on others but the common denominator is always you. When you can look within and know that you are the gatekeeper to your success or the doormat to your failure, you can empower yourself and really make what you want happen.
5) Mindset and Energy are everything. You have to put yourself first and take care of yourself. When you have energy and a positive mindset from taking care of yourself, you are in a better space to make decisions, help others and create and do more in the highest service and the highest joy. I often had put my health last working 14 hour days and running my body and my soul into the ground. I hit a wall and found that health and mindset are everything and when honored I could do far more with far less effort.
Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?
The environment! The environment is near and dear to my heart because it’s the foundation of everything. If we don’t have the environment moving forward, or we keep on living in a toxic state, it doesn’t matter how great somebody’s mindset is. We can solve all the other issues but if the planet is not here, it will all be for nothing. This might seem like it’s a topic too big and many people might not know where to even start but every little step can make a big ripple. An example that can create a big impact is to stop using single-use plastic bottles and instead fill up a 5 gallon jug at home, buy a purifying system for your home or carry around a reusable bottle. Besides an impact on the environment it is also healthier for you and the water will be more alive, vibrant and not filled with possible toxins from the plastic!
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
@liberateurself on Instagram and Liberate on YouTube are our main platforms! We would love to connect with you there so please do say hi!