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Sunday, December 02, 2007

A Look at Wellness

By Danielle Lum, Hawaii Bureau Chief

I heard about the networking event sponsored by the Hawaii Wellness Directory and decided to see what it was all about. I knew right off it would be different than other business networking events I’ve attended in the past as this event was being held at Tropical Smoothie, home of some of the healthiest smoothies and food in Hawaii. It was a very different venue than a hotel conference room or the Plaza Club.

I didn’t quite know what to expect. In my mind, I envisioned the types of people who would attend a wellness networking event and came up with the stereotypical: massage therapists, acupuncturists, herbalists, and mystics.

I was in for a nice surprise because the people and businesses represented were all over the map and quite interesting in both their businesses and their joie de vivre. To be sure, there were acupuncturists, aroma therapists, and massage therapists in attendance, but there is much more to wellness, as I was soon to learn.

First to introduce herself was Heera, who wanted everyone to know about her company’s Ecstatic Dance Jam classes. Ecstatic Dance, where you move as your spirit is inspired, opening you up to creative self-discovery, profound healing, and meditative bliss.

Suffice to say that once she got going, I was 100% certain that I was in for an interesting and educational evening.

Here are just a few of the attendees that caught my attention:

North Shore Naturals. The reprsentatives shared samples of their Spirulina and Ginseng Popcorn. I shied away from the ginseng because it was spicy, but the Spirulina popcorn was unexpectedly tasty. As a person who can eat popcorn for dinner, I found the Spirulina popcorn a welcome and healthy treat.

Studio Be. I really enjoyed Moana and Sandy from StudioBe, owners of a Downtown Honolulu event venue that supports artistic, intellectual and cultural endeavors. The two women are devoted to making a difference in the community and their words were peppered with a passion that is sometimes lacking in Hawaii’s business circles.

Dahn Mu Do. The Aiea Dahn Center holds classes for this Asian energy-based healing art is a mind-body training method using martial art postures and healing principles. Like most Asian martial arts, the focus is on mastering the mind though discipline.

Home and Harmony Inventory Service. These folks help before a disaster strikes by documenting, photographing, and recording your personal property giving you peace of mind in case the worst happens. Their motto, “Those who prepare the most, lose the least.”

After the introductions ended, I sought Heera out to let her know that while I found the concept intriguing, I just didn’t have the courage to go to her Ecstatic Dance class. She corrected me by saying, “You don’t have the courage…yet. But we’ll keep inviting you.”

I confessed in my last column that I consider myself rather shy. Let me digress a little to say that when I tell people that I’m shy, most react with unabashed disbelief, and usually a lot of sarcasm. After all, my profession is public relations. Networking, presenting, and socializing –things that extroverts are most comfortable – are all prerequisites in my career. And they’ve seen me fearlessly present to audiences of 300+ people, provide counsel to C-Suite executives, and help others feel comfortable in group situations. I certainly don’t appear shy to the casual observer.

Digression over. Although I am shy, I fully recognize the value of meeting and getting to know others so I compel myself to attend networking and other events. During the event, I put my networking skills to work, getting to know people, finding common ground, finding out about their business and what makes them tick, etc.

I usually leave networking events and meetings feeling a little drained. The energy it takes for me to be at my networking best is quite high, and I’m left needing some quiet time to recharge my batteries.

But leaving this wellness networking session was different. I left feeling ... peaceful. I took the powerful, positive, and healing energy generated from others in the room and channeled it into myself. I was almost ... dare I say it ... giddy.

This group meets monthly. If you want to attend, you may email Lori Chaffin.

I can hardly wait.

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