February, Spring, Year of the Pig

It’s February - which means the midpoint between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox. We also enter the Lunar New Year of the Earth Pig and the Qi Node for the beginning of Spring. Phew… that’s a lot of new for one month!

When we keep up with the early season changes and Lunar Year we are better prepared for the energetic patterns of ourselves and the world around us. Everything is constantly changing. When we allow ourselves to do the same life becomes much more full of ease.


First off, let’s talk about the Qi Node for the beginning of Spring. February 4th marks the beginning of Spring according to the 24 qi nodes of Chinese medicine. Rather than being in full bloom, the start of the season marks a time we can start looking for buds and growth that has happened under the coat of Winter stillness. The beginning of Spring marks a time where we can tentatively shift our habits from the dreaming and inward momentum of Winter to begin to take action. We can make plans for the next few months, figuring out how we would like to move forward in this momentous season of change.

The nature of the Spring season is one of transition. Each day can be markedly varied weather, mood and productivity. While we may want to see a straight incline during this season of progress, it is more of an up and down see-saw. Stay open to things changing quickly. Allow yourself to try new things and experiment.


year of the pig

Happy New Year! February 5th, 2019 marked the lunar new year here in the U.S. and we have moved from the Year of the Dog to the Year of the Pig. In the Chinese calendar there are 12 animals and every year we move through the characteristics of the various animals. Atop the animal circulation there are elements that pair with each animal. We are currently in an Earth element cycle, so this is the year of the Earth Pig.

The brief summary of the Earth Pig is to expect an end to a 12 year cycle. The Pig is the last animal in the Chinese Zodiac and things that began 12 years ago should be wrapping up. We will be shifting into a friendlier and more easy-going year. However, there is also a chance that we can get stuck in the mud. Take advice from pigs and try to enjoy the simple things. Pigs as animals are often fed slop and live in the mud. They are able to enjoy the simple indulgences in life and thrive in this setting.

There is much more depth to each animal’s year and if you are curious about how the energies of this year will affect you, I recommend getting a personalized astrology reading.

Resources & more info on Year of the Pig -

Narry E Caldwell Blog Post

Well + Good

November Prepares us

Welcome to November.


Up here in the Northern Hemisphere this month is thought of as the peak of the Fall season. We feel a bit more chill in the air, leaves have fallen to the ground and it’s darker and darker everyday.

Get ready to change your perspective on seasons. In the Chinese medical calendar the beginning of November marks the very beginning of winter. This is because we are at the mid-point between the Fall Equinox and the Winter Solstice. Each equinox or solstice marks the peak of their respective season.

You may be saying “no no no.” or “but where I live it’s 75 degrees in November.” Well, believe it or not, weather does not define season. The light does define where we are in a season. I get it, this is often a completely new way of looking at things. When you start paying attention to the year this way you can be healthier, have more energy and feel more emotionally balanced.

Problems with our current seasonal point of view

  1. When we look at the equinoxes and solstices as the beginnings of the season we miss the clues and nuance that can help our self-care throughout the entirety of the season.

  2. When we see December 21st as the beginning of Winter, we have missed half the season.

  3. Likely we have already gotten sick.

  4. If you suffer from seasonal affective disorder, it has already probably affected you.

  5. We might be exhausted because we forgot to slow down.

  6. Basically we don’t feel good.


Benefits of switching up your seasonal understanding -

  1. You’re pretty much always ahead of the curve. When early November arrives you can start making the shifts to keep you healthy, happy and feeling abundant.

  2. The change of season feels more exciting! Rather than feeling like you got hit over the back of the head by the shocking surprise that Winter has come yet again, the cues of an early season can feel exciting. There are new veggies in the stores and farmer’s markets. The light is shifting. We can switch up our schedule slightly without needing to make drastic change

  3. You will feel better. Emotionally, physically, mentally. Believe me.

  4. You know it’s time to take certain supplements and herbs based on your body’s unique needs. This will help with everything.


Now that we’re on the same page - what are the things to do at the beginning of Winter?

When we enter November with the understanding that we are beginning Winter we can start making shifts to support our bodies through the season.

SLOW DOWN. I know the holidays are coming and there’s a lot to be done. But your body begs of you, do less.

COOK SLOW - time to break out the crock pot, simmer things on the stove all day. Enjoy your new slow pace of life and bring it in to your kitchen.

GIVE GRATITUDE - when we keep activating our hearts we promote movement throughout the body. Our emotional selves support our physical selves. Use the reminder of Thanksgiving to use this month to stay open. There many studies and practices that support this.

If you want to know more about Winter stay tuned for the Winter ebook. For now, here is a November guided meditation to support you through this month.

8 Signs you are ready to LET GO.

Have you ever known that it was time to let go? How did you know?

Or have you looked back and realized that somehow, you have let something go?

We all know the things you can let go of...

A past love.
A relationship that just wasn’t working well anymore.
An unfulfilling job.
A beloved deceased person or pet.
A home that was right for so long, but is no longer right.
A city that gave you everything you needed when you moved there and now almost seems to be pushing you out.
An idea that you or things “needed” to be a certain way.

Sometimes letting go just happens without us looking. More often it is a choice, a process. Letting go is moving forward into what we want as doors shut behind us.

Ah, the fear of the shut door. Yup, we all know that one. It’s like being a little kid again, getting tucked in at night. The fear is like is the wanting for the day to continue on for fear we might miss something if we say goodnight. We beg our parents to stay be next to us, for the light to stay on. Somehow the light, our parents staying, the day lingering it will protect us, so we request ‘can’t we just leave the door open a little bit?’

You can. As an adult you can leave the door open a little bit, not fully letting go of the day or the thing you wanted to let go of. But (and it's a big But) leaving the door open to what is no longer right for us takes up space in our minds, in our hearts. It is an attempt to hold on to what was rather than what is.

Ok, if you are curious about the signs you are ready to let go – read on.

In honor of upcoming Fall, the ultimate season to make moves and let some shit go here are 8 signs you are ready to let go.


1.  Because, Fall. Fall is the prime season for letting go.

Yup, nature rules and this season will almost force you to let go of something no matter how big or small. I know, I know. It’s literally your favorite season but you hate how the light has to get dark. Ironic right? You love the season’s holidays and some feeling that pops up this time of year. But at the same time you already MISS summer like crazy.

Well, as the days shorten our focus starts to shift from outward (activities, adventures, vacations, BBQs) to inwards (our routines, how we care for ourselves, the ways to nourish ourselves, perhaps even old grief or emotional stuff). Nostalgia…. Yeah, that’s that old emotional stuff reminding you that it’s still there. That’s ok by the way, but if you’re ready, fall is there for you. It’s the perfect season to L-E-T G-O.

“In the fall, the trees show us how lovely it is to let the dead things go…”


2. You have been feeling stuck, unmotivated

Maybe - Your job has been the same for years. You love the routine and the support and the people, but the drama, and the repetition it’s just not motivating anymore.

Maybe - You’ve been in the same home for awhile, you love it, every corner is precisely yours. But at the same time you wish you had a new space to create for.

Maybe – You just can’t get yourself to take care of yourself. You used to exercise, cook foryourself, do healthy things… but it Just. Ain’t. Happening.


3. You feel like you are carrying an invisible backpack of rocks

Ugh. Is this depression?

Nah, it doesn’t feel quite that severe, but shit is hard.

Days feel long and treacherous and like you just wish you be on the couch to binge watch Netflix and social media. Forget creative projects or doing new things.

You wish you could put the backpack down, but it just feels heavy, all the time.


4. Some physical symptoms are popping up in your body

Got the emotional blahs?

What about low energy, lethargy, and achiness?

Some of it is Lung stuff, low immunity, sadness, lingering colds, asthma, skin symptoms.

Or maybe some of it is Large Intestine, weird bowel movements, bloating, skin symptoms.

Yup, our bodies are wiser than our minds. If things feel out of balance, it’s time to let go.


5. Whether it’s an ex, a death, a job, a home, a city – you know it’s time for the next thing.

You miss what is gone. Or even preemptively miss what you want to leave. But the heart-achiness is no way to fill your heart or time. You just know, something has got to go, and part of that means you have to let it. You wish you were like that cartoon ice queen princess Elsa – let it go…


6.  IT(the thing you want to let go) you can finally appreciate all the things you loved about it

This is a good sign. This usually means that you are past some of the immediate phases of bitterness, or pure grief.  Your fondness will likely not end entirely, but it means that you’re not squishing down lots of anger or grief to resurfacing later. The love is real, and can be a part of the letting go process.


7. The space that loss has left open doesn’t feel quite as frightening

The place that has felt like emptiness now feels like a blank canvas, full of potential and ready to be painted. You are ready, you’re so ready to shut that door. You can’t wait for the next thing. It’s like being a kid, getting tucked in and finally being old enough to not be afraid of the dark. Or being so ready for the nighttime and your dreams.


8. The next good / big thing feels right on the other side of that door.

After all something really good comes after something really bad. You can’t see what’s next but you feel it coming.

So letting go can be hard. Let’s work together to make it easier. Offering Seasonal Intuitive sessions, Acupuncture + Health Coaching Sessions (the links take you to schedule).


If you identified with any of these signs you’re ready to let go. Somehow someway.

A letter to our readers..

Dear readers - 

This is Lauren, founder of Well in the West. As some of you may know, Well in the West’s seasonal education was born from a deeply personal place. In the Fall of 2016 my dad died suddenly. There was the shock, the grief, the family and friends, and the logistics. The fall whirred by in a fast upending tornado of tears. In November, as the dust settled, all of a sudden I felt like I was grieving alone.

I share this with you because, Fall is the season that most closely connects with grief. In Chinese medicine this season is an opportunity for us to march through the wounds of grief that we still carry. Fall is a time when we can be uncomfortably forced to face our depths. This can be hard. It can be hard to feel our feelings. It can be hard to ask for help. It can be hard to show ourselves to those even closest to us because, well, as Brené Brown said… “rarely do we see wounds that are in the process of healing. I’m not sure if it’s because we feel too much shame to let anyone see a process as intimate as overcoming hurt, or if it’s because even when we muster the courage to share our still-incomplete healing, people reflexively look away.” 

In this raw and tender place of the Fall of 2016, I dreamed of a group of people I could talk to through this season of grief. People that were perhaps also dealing with their own grief, but more so understood the ok-ness of this season of the year. And even more deeply, the perfectly normalcy of this season of life.

It is from that desire for showing the rawness of my grief that the Seasonal Wellness circles were born. That year was too late to start with Fall, I began in January in the depths of winter. Starting with an incredible group we went through winter together. I gave them nutritional information, exercise support, deep reflections and lessons to support through the darkest season. Over the past two years the seasons have passed and I have been a witness to incredible change. The women in these circles do. the. work. They are caring and open-hearted and they face themselves. On top of the emotional work, they take accountability for their physical health and make lifestyle choices to support the season at hand. They support themselves through the hard seasons and the easy seasons. I admire them, I am proud of them, I am grateful that they see the power of rising and falling alongside nature's beautiful cycles.

This seasonal work, is a practice. This work is not easy, but it is important. This work is both powerful and gentle. This work allows for a softness to take the edge off of the hardest transitions. 

The intimacy of the circles and the information has been incredible. Now I want to expand the offering even more greatly in the world. I believe that if Seasonal Wellness can become a broader conversation that it will give us all more space and expansion for deep healing. 

In 2019 I aim to have more offerings and more affordable versions of this work. I will be available for one-on-one seasonal coaching sessions that focus on self-care and lots of intuitive work to help guide you through your current state of transition. I will be available for acupuncture and seasonal treatment packages that will help your physical and energetic bodies align for the current time of year. There will be more workshop offerings, guided meditations and information on seasons of a day and seasons of a lifetime. 

Thank you for your understanding, support and patience as I enter a new season of this work. I cannot wait to share it with you. 


Lauren + Well in the West team

10 ways to Cultivate more Joy in the Chaos of Summer

Summer is the season with the most light in the day. There is also a feeling of lightness everywhere. It is easier to be lighthearted and without the usual burden of day to day life. 

In an ideal summer we feel heart expanding love and overflowing joy. This is the season where it is easiest to tap into our hearts. Think of how you felt during summers as a kid; free, wild, warm. As adults Summer is the busiest season for weddings - the most public proclamation of love. From childhood into adulthood, Summer is how we connect our hearts with the world and the ones we love.

This season is a time to be social, attend parties, host parties. Basically, it is time to do all-the-things. While this faster pace is a natural match to the Summer season, we can easily become overloaded. When we get overloaded there is a long list of symptoms that can pop up. Most commonly things like, anxiety, insomnia, restless sleep. Or even feeling scattered and overwhelmed. 

With the long lists of fun things and opportunity for heart expanding joy, how do we do all-the-things without falling into the stress of chaos?

I'd like to give you an invitation to cultivate joy instead of chaos this summer. Here's how.

unsplash brooklyn morgan


Say yes to the things that are heartwarming and heart expanding. Also known as a Hell Yes or the things you fully know you want to do. 

2. Keep your boundaries

Saying Yes is amazing and can open you up to a world of opportunity. Don't forget to say NO when you're not up for it, the situation doesn't serve you. 

3. Give yourself down time.

The point of vacations are to reset and relax. Whether you are near or far from home, try not to overload your schedule with to-dos and social activities. And if you over-do it, schedule some recovery time. 

4. Lighten up & Indulge!

Seriously, indulging can be a vice or a strength. It's important to loosen up a bit. Are you on a strict diet or always going to bed on time? Well, time to shake it up and indulge in that thing you really really want! Or if you are in in the midst of chaos and crave normal sleep schedule... INDULGE yourself and go to bed.

5. Sleep less

No need to be sleepless, but it's the perfect time of year to sleep less. Take naps if you need. With the longer hours of light, our bodies biochemically are available to less physical rest (if you are super burnt out this doesn't work this way, but for most people this works wonders)

6. Time IN

Spend time IN CONNECTION with the people you love. Phone calls instead of texts. Walks and talks. Linger over dinner with your family and friends. 

7. Put down the screens

Tv, movies, social screen time used to be an indulgence. Now they are the common way that most of us spend our days. Summer is tactile, time to be outside, be looking into people's eyes and noticing the beautiful world around you. 

8. Move, move, move your body.

It's a great time to train for a big event or push yourself physically

9. Absorb natural Vitamin D

Aka - go out in the sun, during peak hours, for 20 min with as little covering as possible. This is especially good for people who have symptoms during the Winter.Good self-care in the Summer is a wonderful antidote to the winter blues. 

chang duong heart summer healing

10. Take good care of your heart

Many of us have had a broken heart at some point in our lives. Due to a relationship, death of a loved one, precious animal or all the injustices we see in our world all the time. The Summer gives us an opportunity to tap into our hearts and repair some of the broken-heartedness we have experienced in our lifetime. 


We hope that this list helps you cultivate a bit more joy in your Summer season. Remember it's an opportunity, to play, laugh, expand, grow and always... heal. 

Excite! Well in the West's Summer event has been postponed to 2019 or beyond. Stay tuned for some other great events by following on instagram

Saying Goodbye to the Inner Perfectionist

Can we all get a little more holistic?

Can we use our mindfulness tools and yoga, acupuncture, nutrition, supplements to help us evolve into a greater state of health?

While we allow ourselves to be supported by all the things we are doing for ourselves, can we simultaneously say 'farewell' to our inner perfectionist?

How do we do that?

Let's talk more about how to truly let go of our inner perfectionist in order to support our full, holistic self. Let's not pretend that we get to do this in one fowl swoop. There is no way that our inner perfectionist leaves forever. In fact they will be coming back to visit us from time to time. These visits can be supportive, creative boosts in our work or they can be harmful. It is vital that we look our inner perfectionist in the eye and tell them that they don't get to run the show. In fact we are going to tell them "Human is better than perfect."

The stickiest aspect I see stick with people is their inner perfectionists seeking holistic options as a way to continue to control. This control is to control a situation, ourselves, our bodies, our lives. While holistic options are lovely and supportive, they cannot help us escape the human experience. 

The human experience is complex. Yet we have tendencies to expect ourselves to thrive at all moments, continuing on in a graceful and elegant manner through the hardest shit that will happen. In order to self-protect, we hold ourselves above the depths of our pain, sorrow, grief, shame. In the name of seasonal healing, we are attempting to escape our own personal winters. We are fingers crossed-eyes closed-no no no-to the magnificence of the human experience: we have enormous emotional depth.

Acupuncture, yoga, meditation, nutrition, supplements can provide us nourishment to help us through the hardest human depths. Our holistic knowledge and practices can support us. Instead of using holistic tools as obligations on a calendar, can these holistic tools be beacons of self-care and relief? Can we use these holistic visions to purposefully go through our personal winters so that we can bloom into incredible beings come the Spring. The Spring holds both glimmers of Summer and reminders of Winter, can we ride the wild ups and downs with grace amidst the challenges?

This is a process...

  • ...where we choose surrender over control...in big moments and little moments.
  • ...where we choose to prioritize our whole selves instead of just our physical bodies.
  • ...that is imperfect, holistic and honors every aspect of our being.


Oh hello holistic human. Can you put down your concepts of perfection and join me in the messy humanity. Let us dive deep, try hard and fail, grow, blossom, wilt, rebuild and always always find more love. 

Oh hi, Holistic perfectionist.

Oh hi, Holistic perfectionist.

We have taken to yoga, acupuncture, healthy cooking, eating, meditation. These habits are incredible. As practices they can be literally life changing or life affirming. Annnddddd just as easily we can become attached, dependent, high stakes on doing things a certain way. So just like that we are back at the beginning, stuck in a rut, using our holistic tools to try to dig ourselves out. 

Transformation in Spring

I imagine good teaching as a circle of earnest people sitting down to ask each other meaningful questions. I don’t see it as a handing down of answers...
— Alice Walker

Spring is a season of incredible transformation. Spring's transformation leads us into newness, inspiration and growth.

Launching into the newness of Spring, I chose to spend some time away. This time was to reflect, reset, support some dear friends and get some support. These friends are all business owners, women who have learned, grown, stretched, crashed and all along the way we have had each other. Over the past four years we have all up-leveled in our own lives and business. It is nothing short of an honor to learn from and lean on this incredible group of women. 

There is nothing that can replace the good company of other women spending time to support and uplift one another. We all entered with the normal patterns of our lives, and we left - shifted and lifted. Ready to re-enter our lives with new perspective, love and support. In short, we left the time away with some special transformation.


What does transformation look like?

With me, it looks gentle, soft, opening, vulnerable.

Transformation is all about becoming more of one-self.

Transformation moves through us and helps us to emerge into shift and change. 

Transformation is abstract and tangible. 


What did you leave this time with?

Nourishment - Food cooked by three incredible chefs.

Movement - My favorite yoga classes of all time.

Opening - A cacao ceremony which opened me to who I am right now.


Find your people, share your life with them. Support on one another, lean on one another, grow with one another.

If you want to find people through me - join Emerge, a Spring Women's circle. It's all virtual - find out all the details here.


Want to meet my friends?

We all come together through The Bay Area - Holistic Women's Network


Get the best food in the Bay Area from - 

Diane Davidson of Cast Iron Kitchen

Rachael Gorgestani of The Cupboard SF

Giovanna Garcia of A Purified Life


Best one-on-one yoga sessions - 

Anne Haskett of Woods - yoga, apothecary & acupuncturist to be


Wise + Knowledgable Sex talk - 

Myisha Battle of Sex for Life - podcast, blogs, classes and coaching


Transformation + Self Exploration - 

Giovanna Garcia - private coaching, cacao ceremony, cooking & more.