The path to conscious living is a unique and transformative journey that takes different forms for each person. In my enlightening conversation with Caroline Vu, a highly skilled health coach and an artist using Reiki, I had the privilege of exploring her inspiring story towards holistic healing.
Through her personal experiences and self-discovery, Caroline developed a holistic approach to well-being that truly embodies conscious living.
During our discussion, we uncovered various aspects of Caroline’s journey and the profound impact it had on her life.
From her initial steps towards a more mindful and intentional way of living to the empowering work she now does in assisting others with their well-being, Caroline’s coaching services and Reiki paintings serve as powerful tools for transformation.
This interview provides a captivating exploration of Caroline’s journey and offers valuable insights into her unique approach to conscious living. It’s an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of her experiences and how they have shaped her into the incredible individual she is today.
(Maia) Your journey to becoming a certified health coach is truly an inspiration, can you share with us a bit about this journey and what your life looked like before your diagnosis vs. after?
(Caroline Vu) I didn’t pay much attention to my health until I started experiencing symptoms in my early 30s which started as severe bloating and brain fog. It was then that I became aware of the impact of food on my well-being. This led me to learn more about diet, psychology, spirituality and energy.
In 2013, I started my practice as a health coach, only to be diagnosed with breast cancer a few months later. Since then, I’ve definitely learned more about health and how complicated it can be. It became clear to me that health encompasses not only the physical aspect of nutrition but also the power of our thoughts, emotions, and beliefs.
Today, my life has completely transformed. I’m more deliberate in choosing what’s beneficial to me in a way that I truly enjoy and value. I’ve changed how I approach my habits by making them more enjoyable. I’ve gained valuable insights about myself, which has positively influenced all of my relationships.
“Health encompasses not only the physical aspect of nutrition but also the power of our thoughts, emotions, and beliefs.” — Caroline Vu
(M) Your experience with cancer must have given you unique insights into the healing process. How do these insights shape the guidance you offer as a health coach?
(CV) Before I got diagnosed, I thought that if I ever got cancer, I could just switch to eating a raw, vegan diet and that would be that– unfortunately, it’s much more complicated than that.
I’ve discovered that there are additional factors when it comes to healing. Many people have shared their stories of achieving healing through dietary changes and supplements, and I personally know a few of them. But there are also accounts of individuals who already had a healthy diet, and that alone didn’t lead to healing.
This taught me that the key lies in identifying what works best for you. While diet and physical changes may be the primary factors for some, others may find that emotional aspects play a more significant role.
Going through a diagnosis alone is a lot, not to mention all the decisions you have to make despite the uncertainty of it. After going through what I did, I have more compassion for myself and others.
I’ve learned that finding balance in medicine often requires bridging the gap between the conventional and holistic healing approaches. Finding the right support is crucial and having someone who can hold space for you to process your thoughts, emotions, and decisions is essential. No one else has the ultimate say in your choices, but you. That’s scary, but also empowering.
(M) As a certified health coach, your role involves guiding individuals on their wellness journeys. Could you describe what a typical coaching session with you entails for anyone who’s curious about it?
(CV) To determine if we are a good fit for each other, the process begins with a phone call to understand the person’s goals, expectations, and background. After that, they will complete a health history form.
Our work together not only covers the physical aspects of diet and exercise but also explores other areas of their life that may impact their well-being. Through regular meetings, trust and rapport are built. We discuss obstacles, celebrate achievements, and make adjustments as needed.
I’d love to help people who are open and motivated to make positive changes. However, it’s very important for them to recognize that similar to working out with a personal trainer, they’re the ones doing the exercises while I provide guidance tailored to their goals.
In coaching, they take ownership in making lifestyle changes, while I offer suggestions and ask thought-provoking questions to establish connections between seemingly unrelated aspects.
(M) Maia's Definition of conscious living entails being mindful of how your daily choices impact your overall quality of life and choosing the ones that serve you rather than the ones that you have been programmed to choose- Could you please talk a bit about the significance of conscious living in a holistic healing journey?
(CV) I love that definition. Living consciously is about autonomy and taking control with informed decisions.
We’re all different and over time, we can start to learn that things we thought were okay for us, are actually not. For example, noticing if a specific food that you are eating is triggering symptoms in your body.
There’s been a rapid evolution in the area of wellness and a huge shift of people recognizing that there are better options than easily accessible options like processed foods and drive-thru meals. We see this with the movement towards plant-based diets and more sustainable and responsible ways of farming.
Currently, there appears to be a shift in mindset, with a growing focus on mental health and a greater acceptance of seeking assistance for it. It’s more accepted to talk about holistic healing, and say you’re in talk therapy, hypnotherapy, EMDR, CBT, or micro-dosing with psychedelics, to name a few.
When you say programming, it brings to mind the fact that our childhood experiences dictate who we are. We are programmed from the age of 0 to 7, which dictates our subconscious.
Our thoughts are made from 95% of the subconscious versus 5% of the conscious. Our perceptions and inherited beliefs have a profound influence on our identity, but sometimes those beliefs hold us back rather than help us. But, we can all make the conscious decision to heal through the subconscious.
(M) Building healthy habits or rituals is a cornerstone of well-being. How do you guide your clients in cultivating lasting habits that contribute to their long-term health and happiness? Any advice for people looking to create new healthier habits in their lives?
(CV) Unless you have the personality that can quit something cold turkey, it’s more sustainable to take small steps and slowly evolve than to jump into a drastic change.
With that in mind, I start with how the person approaches change and start to understand what they’re doing already. Then we work together to find rituals and habits that will work for them. It’s easier to replace old habits that don’t serve us, with ones that are both achievable and enjoyable.
Another way I work to bring change in my client’s habits is simply bringing awareness to the habits and observing what the outcomes are in their lives. Just observing how something may be affecting them without judgment is extremely powerful. The idea is to think of yourself as a scientist, just observing and noting, without judgment.
When we observe ourselves objectively, we start to uncover the truth. Sometimes it’s not so easy to come from that place, and that’s why having support is so crucial. My goal is to shift the person’s perspective to make the lifestyle change easier.
Lastly, accountability is a strong factor in whether new habits are sustained over the long term, and can increase a person’s success rate in achieving their goals from about 65 to 95%. People who have your best interest at heart can help guide you and find the clarity that’s sometimes hard to find on your own.
(M) In addition to being a health coach, you’re also a Reiki artist. Can you talk a bit about what Reiki Paintings are, who can benefit from them, and how you got started in this field?
Reiki paintings make up some of the artwork I create; some paintings are purely to express myself artistically. Although some don’t have that element of Reiki, they still have meaning as art inherently does. But specifically, Reiki paintings are tools much like vision boards.
When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I had a gut belief that I wouldn’t die from it. I knew it would take time to heal, but that I would get through it. For whatever reason, the idea that it would take two years kept coming to mind.
I looked for an image that I could turn to, and the one I chose was of a woman standing in a flood of golden light, with her arms up in the form of a V.
That image spoke to me, it was a symbol of “victory” and it captured the joy and triumph of accomplishing something. When I looked at it, I thought to myself, “That’s exactly how I’ll feel when I get through this.” I held onto that image in my mind as often as I could. I remember sitting, meditating, and crying as I felt intense pain.
The tumor, at its largest, was as big as a tennis ball. I expressed gratitude to my body for warning me that something was wrong, and I held onto that image in my mind.
One day, as I was out exercising, I realized that I’d become that resilient woman who had gained her health back. I felt a sense of pride and accomplishment, knowing that I had persevered and emerged stronger than before.
I used visualization with that image to get me through treatment. On February 5, 2014, I received my diagnosis. Exactly two years later, on February 5, 2016, my oncologist informed me that I was NED (no evidence of disease).
The Reiki paintings I create are infused with intention, prayer, and affirmation. They serve as vessels of positive energy, directed towards overcoming challenges or pursuing desired goals. Whether it’s starting a thriving business, embarking on a new project, rebuilding a life, recovering from trauma, or in my personal journey, healing from cancer, these paintings have a purpose.
Visualization has been an incredible tool for self-empowerment in my own life. Over the years, I’ve witnessed how it has manifested my desired realities. The people who benefit from the paintings are the subjects of the artwork, whether it’s a portrait or a representation like a tree. The more the painting is used and incorporated into visualization, the more potent its impact becomes.
After reading “The Spontaneous Healing of Belief”, it was apparent that the power of sending energy to a person or thing is real and measurable. It’s not just woo-woo, there are experiments to support what something like Reiki and visualization can do, and it’s absolutely fascinating to me.
You can get a customized Reiki painting for yourself or a loved one. And I’m about to launch a new collection called Paintings That Manifest.
It’s a series made with inspirational images (including the one I used for myself) for different themes like courage, success, joy, peace, community, and more.
Like a custom Reiki painting, the practices involved include meditation; positive music or affirmations are played while I paint and recite along; prayers and affirmations are etched into the first layer(s) of paint or written on the canvas edge.
As these paintings become available, I’ll be announcing the news to subscribers on my website carolinevu.com.
(M) While fields of holistic healing such as Reiki are starting to become more popular, they’re still seen on the fringe of wellness in the Western world—
what would you like to tell people who aren’t sure what to think of Reiki or other forms of holistic healing (such as other Ancient Chinese Medicine practices, or Ayurveda, etc). Is there anything that you think is misunderstood? Or would like to clarify about holistic healing?
(CV) I think that it’s always good to remember that we’re still learning things in science, so it’s not always 100% There have been theories that have been debunked over the years. If you look into quantum physics and how it works, for lack of a better word, it’s “magical”.
As time progresses, more and more people will come to embrace these new concepts. I understand that it’s harder for people to accept things they cannot visually see, but I like to remind people that there are things that we can’t see but are accepted like gravity. If you start to learn a bit and poke around in the research, you’ll find there have been experiments that actually prove the power of Reiki and energy, and even remote healing.
I just released an article, explaining the relationship between the benefits of Artwork, Reiki, and quantum physics that was done to help people understand these powerful things and how we can improve our lives.
I think what’s misunderstood about healing is that you cannot isolate the physical from the mental, spiritual, and emotional— they’re all together.
Physical conditions can sometimes stem from specific causes, such as a cut, while at other times they arise from a combination of various factors. For instance, a person may have accumulated heavy metals in their body and experienced multiple traumas, such as a car accident, a significant breakup, or the loss of a loved one. When these factors accumulate, they can manifest into serious health conditions.
(M) Your journey is an inspiration to many seeking purpose and holistic healing. What advice would you give to individuals who are navigating their own paths and considering holistic approaches to well-being?
(CV) Regardless of what you are doing, approach it with a sense of balance. Whether you’re embarking on a significant journey, undertaking a major project, or facing a crucial decision, make a conscious effort to steer clear of fear-based motivations.
Instead, draw upon a state of tranquility and intuition. Meditation, affirmations, and visualization have played a significant role in my holistic healing journey and continue to be a consistent part of my daily life.
It’s important to seek support and find the tools that are right for you, and this is why I create Reiki paintings: to assist others in connecting with their desires and aspirations.
Remember, healing takes time; it is a gradual process, much like the journey that led to our state of unwellness.
As we conclude this enlightening conversation, we can take away that balance, tranquility, and self-compassion are integral to a holistic approach to wellness.
Enriching practices like meditation, affirmations, visualization, and the unique concept of Reiki paintings serve as powerful tools on the path to healing.
Remember that each journey of holistic healing is unique, taking its own time and path. May this dialogue serve as a beacon to those seeking guidance and inspiration on their personal healing journeys. Keep exploring, keep growing, and remember that the power to heal resides within you.
Be sure to follow Caroline on Instagram where she shares insights, tips, and affirmations to guide you in your path to wellness.
To know when she launches her latest paintings, sign up for Caroline’s newsletter. Remember, the journey to wellness is a shared adventure, and Caroline is there to walk with you every step of the way!