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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Dori's Story

This is the (pretty long) story of the creation of the SkIndulgence line; or "How Dori Learned to Stop Being Afraid and Go For It".

Though I fell in love with herbs and the idea of creating my own skin care products at a very young age, I never felt it could be my livelihood.  Let me rephrase that.  I was always too afraid to try.  My entire adult life I have defined "security" as having a steady income via climbing the corporate ladder.  Never once in any of these positions did I feel actual passion, or even enjoyment.  To the contrary, I felt very out of place an unhappy.  For the past 15 years I would dread facing the office each day, and would come home each night discouraged and exhausted.  I tried convincing myself that everyone in business felt this way; that this was just part of life.  I know now that this is far from true.

Several months ago this internal conflict caught up with me.  At first I became increasingly withdrawn and depressed. I cried constantly and lashed out in anger at anyone and everyone. I stopped talking to nearly everyone I knew, and the relationships I maintained became incredibly strained, to put it lightly. Shortly after this depression started I began having debilitating panic attacks and night terrors.  It got to be that a day wouldn't go by that I would have several panic attacks or wake repeatedly throughout the night screaming and crying and filled with immobilizing terror.

The mental symptoms ended up being only a part of a much larger problem.  In early 2012, I fell very ill.  I got so weak that I could barely stand and was in so much pain it was difficult to walk.  I lost my appetite and then 20 pounds within weeks.  Several doctors and countless tests later, I was told that I had over 10 tumors throughout my body, one larger than a golf ball, and that these tumors, if not cancer, were at least the root of my illness and my mental state.  Eager to get those stupid things out and start feeling better, I scheduled the multiple surgeries it would take to remove them.

At the same time, my work situation had grown increasingly strained because of my illness.  I knew that taking time off to recover was not an option.  I say "knew", rather than "felt" because I was told as much very bluntly when I informed my bosses of my need to take time off to recover from multiple invasive surgeries.  The promotion I had just been granted was then revoked, as my illness now made me "untrustworthy".  Holding onto that need for "security", I put my work ahead of my health: I scheduled my surgeries nearly back to back starting on Thursday night with the final one Monday afternoon.  I then returned to work Wednesday morning.  I was severely bruised and my three incision points were bandaged and visibly bleeding through; I sobbed from pain the entire drive to the office and was unable to lift even a small stack of papers, but I feared getting fired and felt driven to show my bosses that I still deserved that promotion.

It was this return to work when I began to "see the light", so to speak.  Though they knew why I had been out of the office for three days (and could clearly see my bandages), not one of my three bosses asked how I was feeling or if I was ready to return, even those I hung out with outside the office.  I know this should not be expected in the corporate atmosphere, but, for me at least, it was the beacon that very clearly shed light on the fact that this environment was not meant for me: the dedication and commitment was not mutual.  I definitely don't need or want to be coddled, to the contrary I am a very independent and private person...but I knew I could no longer spend most of my waking life in a place that I now found incredibly cold and uncaring.  Instinctively I knew that this atmosphere was destroying me.  I feel that my getting sick was a message that there was a misalignment with the way I was living my life. Though it terrified me beyond belief, I gave my notice and left the company shortly after this.

Days after leaving my job, I boarded a flight for my annual trip to Kenya with Build.Create.Kenya.  Though I was recovered enough to get around at this point, my health issues were far from resolved: I was still 20 pounds down on my weight, incredibly weak, and experiencing the depression, panic attacks and night terrors.  My family and friends called me crazy for going to Kenya, but I knew in my heart I had to go.

Less than a week into my month-long expedition, I realized that I had not felt any of my illness' symptoms since my arrival.  I kept this to myself not wanting to "jinx" anything.  But as I continued to live the "hakuna matata" (no worries) and "pole pole" (slow/relaxed) life of the Kenyans, my symptoms fell away entirely.  I felt energized and exhilarated; I had an appetite and gained weight.  I laughed and I danced and I SLEPT!

Dori: Falling asleep while eating Twizzlers during a late night meeting :-)

The long flight back to Los Angeles gave me plenty of time to reflect on the experience.  I sent this information out into the universe, and I received an answer:  I was not living my life following the path that my heart and my passions were leading; I had exhausted my spirit and my body by living with a conflicted soul for 15 years.  To save myself, I had to strip away the previous definition of "security" and redefine it by listening to my heart.  It is a common saying that the skills you are granted are a gift to you from the world, but what you do with those skills is your gift to the world.

Experiencing a cancer scare was pretty effective at stripping away my fears.  A new fearless me, has set out to offer my skills to the world and see if I can't find a new "security" in doing what I love.  SkIndulgence Skin Care was born as a result.  Through SkIndulgence, I can share all of that amazing magic hidden within plants, flowers, and other gifts of nature.  At the basis of each of our products is a message:
  • Relax! Our body scrubs and bath tea are designed to help you relax; a gift I give each of you with a vengeance since it is what saved me!
  • Love the planet and its creatures! We believe you don't need to sacrifice nature with harmful ingredients and cruel animal testing practices for the sake of beauty; our ingredients and packaging are designed with the well being of Mother Earth and her children at the top of our priorities.  And most importantly,
  • Live simply! The best things in life can (and usually do) come from those that are the most simple!  Our ingredients are naturally simple by design.
This was my story...just the beginning though, follow along and let's see what happens!


  1. Wow. Touching story. Thank you for sharing.

  2. You've really come a long way - and now you are helping so many people - great for you! You are an inspiration!