Well, W.E.L.L. Summit Boston came and went but if you missed it I’m here to fill you in! W.E.L.L. Summit originated in Boston in 2015 but has been held annually in NYC ever since. This year they added Boston back into the mix for a spring event before the big annual summit – which will happen again this year in NYC on October 5/6 weekend. Mark your calendars!
W.E.L.L. stands for Wellness, Empowerment, Learning and Luxury. It’s a 360° wellness event looking at wellness and self-improvement from a holistic standpoint. It brings industry experts in from an array of disciplines including clean eating, fitness trends, green beauty and more. This event embodies wellness in mind, body and spirit. If you are in the wellness space, thinking of dabbling or just plain curious; this event is for you!
I’ve been drawn to W.E.L.L. Summit for so many reasons but the main being the Saturday breakout sessions. These are small break-out sessions that are capped allowing attendees to meet, connect, ask questions and get some good face-time from presenters. Really get questions answered and take something home. It’s been a powerful experience to be in room full of women with an expert to guide conversation, teach, mentor and connect with. I honestly can’t say enough.
Boston W.E.L.L. was a little bit different than what it has been in the past. This was more of an expo or main stage event. A sit-back-and-take-it-all-in kind of experience if you will. Meaning the breakout sessions were forgone and attendees were given the choice of two presentations/panels to pick from. So essentially 500 attendees voluntarily rotated between two rooms depending on who they wanted to listen to.
But, regardless of the structure, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. You could go the whole day and not “hear” much BUT then it happens. You sit in on a session, or you meet a presenter who looks you in the eye and you feel like she is speaking to your soul….or you hang back to meet a presenter and she puts her hand on your shoulder and it’s just what you needed to make the next leap of faith in your life. Or you learn that eating muscles can LITERALLY cure depression. Or you see a bar of soap being made and you have a whole new appreciation and 100 more questions about what the heck is in all of your personal care products.
W.E.L.L. Summit is not a degree program. At the end of the day you won’t leave feeling like an expert who has all the answers. What you will feel is empowered and curious to learn and discover more. You will identify feelings and questions that you had but you didn’t acknowledge or didn’t have the right vocabulary for…or didn’t even know they were even there.
So in that vein, I wanted to share a rundown of 3….okay 4 moments that really got me at W.E.L.L. Boston. Also, here’s a few clips from the day.
Sound Meditation with Sara Auster
Sound Meditation with Sara Auster – Listen, I’m no meditator. I’m a complete wannabe but I actually haven’t committed to sitting daily. And I get so mad at myself for putting it off and then everyday I put it off. And it’s been coming at me from all angles lately. I listen to a blogging podcast and they tell me to meditate, I go to my functional doctor and she tells me to meditate, I check out a H.I.I.T gym on classpass and they show me their guided meditation room/class…I get a birthday gift in the mail from one of my besties and you got it, it’s a daily guided meditation journal. I mean the universe is speaking!
Anyways, coming from a place of unpracticed, skeptical and uncommitted, I sat through Sara Auster’s guided meditation and it was pure bliss. She graced all 500 of us with a live sound bath. And in stead of telling yourself to “clear your mind” or “acknowledge thoughts as they come in and let them go”…or “focus on the breath” – this was so much easier and ENJOYABLE. Like you just sit (or lay) there and focus on the sound.
By using particular combinations of rhythms and frequencies, it is possible to shift our normal beta state (alert, concentrating, reacting) to alpha (creative, relaxed), and even theta (meditative state) and delta (deep sleep; where restoring and healing can occur). Using sound as therapy can provide results for a variety of issues including: sleep disorders, anxiety, depression, stress management, PTSD, pain management. – Sara’s website
Sounds that got louder and softer just took me away from my busy mind and gave me a focus that was interesting and calming. Seriously considering buying her Sound Movements on USB.
Mentor Lunch Sesh with Jenny D. Brice, MFT, MPH
So if you attend W.E.L.L. Summit with a VIP ticket, you get access to mentor sessions that are super intimate. In the past these have been held at breakfast which was a little early for my preference but this time they were over lunch. PERFECT. So we grabbed our complimentary Sweet Green, gluten-free, salads and headed off to our mentor sessions.
This time around, lunch mentors included Ksenia from Breakfast Criminals, Sara Divello author of Where In The Om Am I?, Chelsea Williams from That’s Chelsea and Jenny D. Brice, couples therapist working out of Holistic Wellness & Psychotherapy in Philadelphia, PA.
Four circles of chairs were set up in one of the presentation rooms and attendees got to pick two mentors to meet with (15 mins each). I was already sitting down when Jenny joined the circle I was in. It’s like fate made this happen because I don’t think I would have chosen this topic initially. Funny how things work like that sometimes, isn’t it?
Jenny didn’t hold back and started in on communication styles of couples. In each couple there is typically what she was calling a “pursuer” and a “withdrawer”. When conflict arrises, the pursuer tends to jump right in with, let’s talk about this right now….what happened….why…who….processing everything externally with the intention of connecting and showing love for the other person. This person’s worst fear is usually abandonment. While the withdrawer tends to retreat and not be vocal. Looking internally, processing on the inside, not wanting to talk it out in the moment but maybe later when they feel resolve. This persons worst fear is usually rejection.
Jenny said, when you can identify that this a typical communication trap for couples..the peruser pursues and pushes while the withdrawer retreats….then you can see that the fight or the argument is never really about the dishes or the trash or who’s turn it is to walk the dog. It’s about HOW we are communicating. So she left us with two tips.
For the pursuers: No matter how angry you are, don’t come out of the gates blazing. Instead, ask your partner when would be a good time to talk about this?
For the withdrawer: Instead of talking about the topic at hand, offer up your feelings. Tell your partner, I’m feeling really anxious about this conversation or the thought of this is making me really scared.
Not that this will solve all your problems but it will create a different path to connection. Change the conversation pattern. Create space for trust and feelings of safety.
This 15 minute talk totally blew me away and I’ve been chewing on it ever since. Does this resonate with you?
Getting UNSTUCK with Vanessa Gobes
Vanessa is a bassass presenter. She is funny, full of energy, radiant, not afraid to be vournable and best of all, she has her stuff together. I have so much respect for people who respect their audience. Who put the time in to organize and deliver information in a prepared way. She came full of life, relatable stories, original content and SLIDES. Not that you need slides to be a success but all of this to say, she wasn’t wining it.
Vanessa essentially took the eight moon phases – each of which she says provide specific, supportive energy. She created a clear set of guidelines + goal setting around them and taught us how to move our lives forward in 28 day cycles. She used this approach unstick herself from 22 years of living with depression.
Now, I’m not a full believer in moon cycles and energy – not yet at least – BUT what she had to say about goal setting and the format she gave us was concrete. For example, she would identify each moon phase as either having “yang” (active energy) or “yin” (receptive energy). So yang phases you want to make sure you check off your to-dos while in yin, give yourself grace and don’t push to get it all done.
Each phase had a guide that looked like this:
NEW MOON – this is the time to realize or identify
- Yang energy
- Please release my fear based thoughts about _____. Each day, my intention is to feel ______ about _____.
- Notice every time you engage habitual behavior or thoughts
- Journal: Declare you intention and include the words EACH DAY. Read this intention aloud each morning allowing space for tweaks and changes.
Healing begins the moment you believe you deserve it.
I left this workshop wanting to look into the moon cycles more and notice if I see my own energy waxing and waning along with it. So interesting right!?
Making A New Friend
I tear up as I write this…what a blessing it was to meet this mama who came to my event at Follain on Thursday night AND to W.E.L.L. on Saturday. From the moment I started chatting with her I could see she was the brightest light in the room. Just one of those people you instantly connect with who you feel like you could talk to forever.
But then you find out her cute retro hair is not a fashion trend but a grow out from chemo. Her tiny strong frame is not from the latest wellness fad but compliments of a double mastectomy. That the light in her eyes shines for her toddler who she parents solo. And she carries this light not only for herself, but for her baby and all the souls out there who have or who will be effected by cancer.
With this fire in her belly and a sparkle in her eye, she also is working on a brilliant idea of how to get clean beauty and personal care products into the hands of newly diagnosed cancer patients. She wants to help alleviate those feelings of stress and overwhelm at the beginning when the world is so upside-down.
Sharing this here in hopes that someone, brands, mentors or investors believe in this idea too and want to support her along the way.
W.E.L.L. Summit NYC 2018
The dates for NYC were just announced so mark your calendars for the weekend of October 5 + 6, 2018! It looks like they are playing with the structure again with a really cool idea for NYC. I will be back with more, plus more on speakers, logistics and all the goods soon. Stay tuned!
Did you attend W.E.L.L. Summit Boston? What did you think?