What exactly is a wellness festival?
Well, It’s sort of like a music festival, because I left wanting a totally new wardrobe. It’s kind of like a social media convention, because I felt everything I was hearing needed to make it’s way onto Twitter. It was also like an expo, because I came home with the *best* healthy samples a girl could ask for (seriously, I’m going to be snacking on the best stuff for like the next month!) But to be real, it was like nothing I had ever been to before.
Last weekend I attended the GOOD Fest in Philadelphia. It was the accomplishment of my best friend, Jess Baumgardner, and her business partners Kate Van Horn and Jen Clark; but I probably would have attended anyway, despite not knowing anything about it. It was a collection of incredible influencers and speakers, sharing their gifts with the room and enlightening us all on how to be our best selves.
To say it was what I was needing most is an understatement. As I have been exploring a life of health and balance, I am learning more and more about how important wellness is to my physical health. Having suffered from anxiety and depression since I was a child, I have seen manifestations like acne, cysts, and pneumonia stemming from stress, and finding peace has always been a struggle. After GOOD, I have a gang of new ladies to follow and learn from, and some nuggets of wisdom to get me through until their next podcasts air.
“This is not your only chapter.”
- Sara DiVello
Sara kicked off the morning with a meditation, before our Pilates taught by Kristin McGee and yoga by Jordan Younger, before any of us knew what we were in for and what to expect. She helped set the tone for what was to come and opened us all up for change.
Her quote made its way into my notebook before anything else. It resonated so strong with me and brought up a lot of questions. What was the end of my last chapter? What would I call this chapter? How will I remember it years from now? Or better yet, how do I want to remember it years from now?
It’s hard to be able to dissect a chapter you’re reading, let alone living, until you find out how it ends. But we each have control over the climax.
“Follow the mothership of your soul.”
There was an afternoon meditation (ok, I get it. I need to meditate!) led by Cassandra. She told us how she came to meditation at the lowest moment in her life, and it made me really wish all this wellness stuff had been introduced to me when I was at my lowest, because I knew exactly what she was talking about.
I zoned out a bit (was Instagramming) at the beginning of her talk, but really got engaged when she started talking about the mothership of your soul. We all have a mothership, guiding us through life, telling us where to go -- but only if we choose to listen. And listening takes work. Hence, meditation. Once that contact is made, it will be smooth sailing.
“Be proactive. Not reactive.”
- Katie Horwitch
I had the pleasure of dining with Katie the night before the event (perks of being a bestie) and when I learned the name of her project, Women Against Negative Talk, I physically shrunk in my seat. Just the name hit so close to home and I knew it was going to be a speech was going to make me uncomfortable in the most transformative way.
Katie talked about self-worth and confidence -- what happens when those things start to fade and how to get them back. Regaining confidence starts from within and should be cultivated through interactions with others; those who talk over your great ideas or try to claim them as their own.
I felt like Mimi when she un-dies at the end of Rent because Angel tells her from heaven to “wake up and listen to that boy’s song!” Listen, girl! Listen to Katie’s words!!! Piece together what she is saying right now about self worth and bring it back to what people have been telling you about your confidence issues. Figure out when that started to fade and how to get it back.
Start speaking and acting proactively in the moment. Use the words that are inside of me instead of what I think everyone wants to hear. Take a breath. Don’t dwell on the comments and the reactions of others. Disconnect.
Full disclosure: based on the name of Katie’s project, I was looking forward to a keynote about negative talk about other women, something I also struggle with. I’m a chronic gossiper and find refuge in telling someone else about what just happened to me. I could blame it on my insecurities, and I could blame it on how I heard the women in my family talking about other women as I was growing up, but there is no excuse for gossip. You know what kind of gossip I’m talking about, and it’s not the “oh she looks so good for having her third child” conversations. Although Katie didn’t get into it in her speech, I can’t help but think now that working on what Katie mapped out about regaining confidence and self-worth will help me treat this ugly symptom.
Clearly I have a lot to reflect on until February 3, 2018 when GOOD Fest hits up LA and again in April when they’re back in Philly. In the meantime, you can get involved by following GOOD Fest's parent company, B+YND, to learn more about what these talented ladies are working on.