June Kaewsith is a professional artist, wellness consultant, and storytelling coach. She facilitates private coaching and group masterminds for women and people of color who seek clarity in their messaging and confidence in their speaking to grow their business from a place of alignment.
“ There also comes a point where you have to borrow other people's trust in you.“
What is the mask that you feel like you're putting on right now to the world?
June: What many people may see is somebody who carries so much confidence and completely has everything together. But what they don't know is that I still experience levels of anxiety and so much fear on this journey of sacred entrepreneurship.
Why do you still feel like you still have anxiety and fear around your journey?
June: I want to be very cautious about putting certain labels on my feelings. I've never personally been diagnosed with those things because as a child of immigrants, therapy is not something that was promoted. However, I know what it's like to not want to get out of bed because you're questioning your existence. I know what it's like to just feel your heart beating so fast, your throat closing, your gut contracted and constipated, and society labels it as anxiety, or as fear. We can run the excuse of using those feelings, those uncomfortable emotions that come up as a way to not take aligned action. What if instead what we label as anxiety or even fear, or maybe even depression is a symptom of you not taking any action at all. The body doesn't know the difference between what is fear and what is excitement, how is it that I can tell myself a new story about this experience and to be in the realm of play over perfectionism.
What would you say is something that you personally have done to kind of break through?
June: Well, I may be biased in saying this, but I've gotten several coaches. And I've been seeing these posts about self-trust. You need to trust yourself. And I get it. There's a huge component to needing to trust yourself on this sacred path. But then there also comes a point where you have to borrow other people's trust in you. There is a high level of self responsibility because we can't rely on other people to fix change or rescue us. That can't happen. However, I find my greatest teachers exist, not in books, not in individuals, but in mother nature. The ways that plants rely on one another to thrive. It's the mycelium network. We get to exchange each other's nutrients with one another whenever one of us is feeling weak. I want to be the one with a system that's so rooted, so grounded that all of these other plants that are still in the process of sprouting and blooming can link arms with me, can link roots with me.
What is one thing in your life that you feel like has really shaped you to become the person you are today?
June: In the height of the pandemic, I was in the midst of launching a new program. And I was probably like $20,000 in debt because I just made some big investments and I was uncertain about whether or not I would make that back. I got to hustle and show up more. And then I had a friend who called me from another friend's house to come and hang out with them for two, three days. I got there at around 10:00 PM and it was one of the most beautiful homes I've ever been in. When I walked into the home, you could see large windows that reveal hundreds of acres of trees and a sliver of the ocean. The actual pivotal moment was I didn't open up my laptop at all in those three days. And I was planning on catching up with all of these books and I didn't end up reading any of them. And instead my friends and I just did a little Psilocybin journey. All of the anxiety that I showed up with just dissipated. And I heard a voice from my ancestors. They whispered. It's like I'm sitting there amongst the trees and they said, “There's no more healing. Why do you tell yourself this story that you're healing from? We're good. We've moved on now. You have an opportunity to be in joy.”
How can we make our everyday tasks more of a ritual than just mundane things?
June: Whenever monks are preparing for monkhood, sometimes in certain lineages before they're able to receive the teacher, they have to learn how to see cleaning their home as prayer, as a ritual. Scrubbing the toilets, learning how to cook and prepare food and to make sure the kitchen is in order because all of these things, they compound into us not seeing it as meditation. The spiritual practices as the solution, but as a way to integrate into our life to where then it becomes an embodiment. When things are not in order, I don't feel in order. The real revolution begins right here in our living space. But you don't have to be a monk, what you can be is a kinder person. What you can be is somebody who still chooses love over conflict. Not seeing conflict as an opportunity to deepen our capacity to love and to forgive.
When should we actually connect with our ancestors and when do we know when to let go?
June: A couple of weeks ago I put together a gathering with a couple other Thai American friends. Loy Krathong is when we honor the water goddesses and we create these boats out of banana leaves and offer it to the water spirits. I never got to experience that in the motherland, and when I see pictures of it, I'm like, “Oh, I want to be there one day. When am I going to be able to go back?” For everybody who participated, it was emotional for us. So my mom stops by and she starts singing the traditional song and then she just starts dancing. Now she says to me, “I didn't realize the things that I grew up with would be so important to you.” I went to Thailand to study with an indigenous midwife and all of my classmates were white. So it just felt weird to go back and try to reclaim this practice and these white folks are taking my ancestral practices and going back to their countries, charging a buttload of money for it. While my own people who are actual traditional healers are barely getting paid for what it is they do. This is deep, profound healing work that has been passed down from thousands and thousands of years. And so I find out that when I come back to the states that my grandmother was a midwife and that as a child, my mom would follow her around, assisting her. Just imagine, like ten-year-olds witnessing babies coming into this world, but it wasn't in a hospital. It would be in their homes, surrounded by family.
What can you share with us when it comes to your lineage?
I'll share a poem I wrote called “Grandmother's Hands.”
I've been told I have my grandmother's hands rubbing calendula and rose oil to soothe the crevices forming in my skin. Lately, they've been cracking from the many times I've said “Twinkle, twinkle little star to myself, treating every cleanse as a ritual to celebrate old karma being washed away. Beyond flesh. My bones speak to the future I cannot quite grasp yet, but the feeling is certain. We were made for these times. Grandmother's hands knew how to garden a wilting weed back to life, the ones they tried to remove as unwanted, uprooted from her soil, flown into a foreign land as a reminder that sometimes dandelions serve as medicine. With few words spoken, English broken, her whispers from the garden beckoned me to speak on the things she wished, she could have said before her body turned to stardust and soil.
Kin khao lairang? Have you eaten yet? Hands offering strange fruit reminiscent of her country to say, I love you. What is blooming from these moments will compost and rebirth into the same balm that soothes these dry grandmother's hands today. And I am patiently caring for her, preserving what innocence I have left, as I call upon the elder, I too, I’m becoming. The one unsilenced as loud as an oak tree, as resilient as a lotus with seeds that will carry our stories of a time when the Earth asked us to be still, to be rooted, to savor the moments of cleansing, of compost, of creation. What will you do with your hands, with your heart, with your voice? What are the stories you will tell of how you emerged from the mud as you beamed light into the darkness in these times of change?
Learn more about June Kaewsith
Her podcast: www.yourstorymedicine.com
Follow her on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jumakae/
Bud to Blossom Mastermind: www.yourstorymedicine.com/budtoblossom
Upcoming workshops/offerings: www.liinks.co/jumakae
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