Dr. Shiroko Sokitch, MD, is a Board Certified Acupuncturist, Functional Medicine Doctor, best-selling author, and life-long seeker of miracles, solutions, and healing. She is a leader of integrative medicine practices, who has informed, effective, intuitive, nurturing methods of healing patients with difficult or mysterious illnesses.
Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like? Did you have any particular experiences/stories that shaped your adult life?
I grew up partially in Germany – and Holland and moved to the Seattle area when I was ten. Childhood was traumatic and challenging. But it made me strong and able to withstand a lot of stress as I grew older.
I had a teacher in high school who was probably one of my most powerful influences. He was a philosopher and he taught philosophy instead of world history. He gave me a perspective on life that affected me. I also remember meeting a woman who taught me how to think with the end in mind. She taught me that if I lay down and closed my eyes before a test, I could imagine the test as successfully completed and then imagine myself as a doctor already. When I started to do that, my grades went to A’s
What is something you wish you would’ve realized earlier in your life?
I wish I knew how to listen better to the wise people I’ve known. I feel like one thing that happened in my childhood is that I learned not to trust authority – because they were always wrong. So when I heard wisdom, I often interpreted it through my own ears without really taking it in. I feel like I might have been wiser earlier if I had learned to listen better.
What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?
I often hear that people are told they are “just getting old” or “you’re in menopause – what do you expect” I think there’s no such thing as “getting old” and the expectation that we should fail in life as we get older is annoying. I believe in healing and growing more healthy as we age. With more wisdom, there is no reason we should not be able to manage our health. Also, we are often told that because certain labs don’t show anything “there is nothing wrong” – many conditions just don’t fit the standard model of illness. Even the best of medicine might not solve all mysteries. This is why I practice Chinese medicine – because it’s all about energy and balance. Even when you don’t have a “diagnosis” when you come from the perspective of finding balance, there is always something to do to help you feel better.
Tell me about one of the darker periods you’ve experienced in life. How you came out of it and what you learned from it?
One of the darkest periods of my life was when my marriage of 15 years ended right at the time my body was beginning the transition into menopause. It broke my heart. I began to question everything about myself. Who I was as a healer, and human, and what was the purpose of my existence. I almost lost my business and honestly didn’t know if I wanted to live. But with the love and support of my many friends and my clients, I learned more about love than I thought I ever would. I feel so blessed with the friendship and support I have in my life and have learned so much about being a better person in the world.
What is one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your success so far?
My success is deeply tied to my desire to be a better human every day and all the time and my never-ending curiosity about healing methods and how to help people get well.
What is your morning routine?
Usually awake by 6:30-7 am. Pray and gratitude practice before I get up. Then Brush my teeth in a meditative manner. Meditate, exercise – either yoga or other routines, make tea and breakfast – go to work.
What habit or behavior that you have pursued for a few years has most improved your life?
Meditation practice -for 10 minutes in the morning really helps me.
What are your strategies for being productive and using your time most efficiently?
When I have a plan for the things that I want to get done, I am most productive. If I have a project I need to get done or a deadline, right after my morning routine I start working on it. At the end of the day, I try to do the things that don’t require much thought, like research or answering emails because my creative juices aren’t that high at night.
What book(s) have influenced your life the most? Why?
Many years ago I read the Don Juan books – I was in high school at the time but I remember the concept of living life as though death was always on my left shoulder – it changed my life a few times thinking about things from that perspective. I would ask myself –“what would I do now if I would die tomorrow?” I left my surgical residency after two years because the answer to that question at the time was – I would not be doing surgery.
Do you have any quotes you live by or think of often?
“Be the first to apologize and the first to forgive”