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SELF(ISH) Philly 2022

Holy *ISH*. What a day!! I have just returned from a soul nourishing, heart opening, community building celebration of SELF LOVE. The Wellness Collective of Philadelphia hosted its successful 3rd Annual SELF(ISH) Philly Conference. The event, hosted at the gorgeous Vue on 50, brought in over 200 enthusiastic participants looking to spend the day lifting one another up. Thank you to Danielle Massi (the Founder) for the vision; to Keri McGinn (a new friend) for the invitation; and the entire Wellness Collective, volunteers, and attendees for this opportunity to be vulnerable and show ALL the way up. Here are some of the day's experiences that really impacted me.

The opening session set the tone for the day..quite literally. Luna Maye blessed the ceremonies by offering an engaging, vibrant, and emotive sound healing session to start our event. The experience was quite moving, and really welcome. We were able to shed our banal morning hassles - rainy commute, city parking, heightened attentions - exchanged for nourishing tones intended to bring the attendees to a place of openness. It was such a deep experience to be awash in her resonant song.

Through an ethereal voice, and adept tone weaving, Luna Maye guided the group to center our energy. With gentle insistence, she met us inside ourselves to share her powerful gift of vibrational alchemy.

Throughout the day, we had a multitude of opportunities to experience special pampering experiences and various wellness modalities. My first elective mini service was a reiki session with Lainie. She began by patiently and skillfully assessing my body energy and chakra flow. I could feel her warm vibrancy resonate over my skin. The reiki session was the perfect way to invite the different parts of my whole being to arrive fully to the experiences of the day. Lainie is a skilled Women's Empowerment Coach. She took the time to explain that she sensed blockages in my Third Eye Chakra & my Sacral Chakra. She sensed that I was doubting myself, and inadvertently stifling my own creativity (messages that keep coming up for me A LOT recently!). She challenged me to be mindful of these sticking points and to exercise small acts of rebellion to free them up. "Be decisive in choices, even small ones. Don't doubt yourself. Trust your intuition! Your guides are around you as support. Be brave enough to take leaps of faith. You will be so pleasantly surprised with the outcome."

ALMA Acupuncture was on site to deliver some loving healing for those feeling stress or pain! The practice is a bit foreign to me, so I eagerly signed up. Acupuncture is a tool that facilitates so many positive effects. It can reduce overall stress and anxiety, not just physical discomfort. A regular acupuncture regimen can help with internal issues from insomnia to immune health. I had no idea the myriad benefits. In my session, we focused on stress relief and tension in my neck / shoulders / upper back (Anyone else suffer from 'text neck'?). After the needles were placed - an easy and pain free process - the practitioner draped me in a thin, insulated silver space blanket (à la baked potato) and let me vibe out for 20 minutes. As time went on, I could feel my muscles responding to the needles. I'd experience small moments of release as my muscles sank further into relaxation. The secluded treatment area was in a sumptuous loft within earshot of the main stage. As the keynote spoke, I couldn't help but think I had the best seat in the house lounging all blissed out under my blanket!

The conference had several breakout sessions that encouraged movement. Not one to sit quietly, I welcomed the opportunity to get my blood pumping and engage in an interactive activity with the other enthusiastic attendees. Our hosts cleared an entire floor and Stephanie Grimes of Barre 3 Rittenhouse took center stage to get the crowd going. For those not exactly familiar (guilty!) Barre 3 is a full-body, cardio workout set to up-tempo music.

'Barre focuses on small, intense movements that push muscles to the point of fatigue, often in an aerobic setting' --> This delightfully accurate description really resonates with the quaking of my sore thighs, so we'll go with that! The music was bumping, the high energy was contagious, and we all had smiles on our faces as we gritted through something hard and wildly fun together. This fitness workshop turned into a full on celebration of Body! Talk about taking opportunities to believe in ourselves. I would definitely seek out Stephanie's classes when I need help bouncing, flexing, stretching & pushing outside of my comfort zone.

One of the best talks I heard was from a self-proclaimed loud & proud Jersey Girl, Dr. Nicole Rivera. Nicole runs the wildly successful and holistically sound Integrative Wellness Group with her husband, Dr. Nick Carruthers. Her message immediately touched me because she shared a story that I recognized. Here she stood, someone who embraced an active lifestyle, healthy diet, mindful living, and growth mindset, but she still didn't feel *well*. She took strides to know her body, and she took her own health in her hands. Despite doing all she thought was best, optimized health still alluded her. I know that frustration! Modern Western medicine extolls prescription over prevention. Conversations with my general practitioner typically center around staring at bloodwork results while he suggests meds I could take to counteract blips on my labs. Couldn't there be another way? I've been yearning to find medical professionals willing to help take a deeper look. Cue Nicole's vision of integrative health.

The professional team at Integrative Wellness Group works with their clients using extensive science-based testing to discover root causes of any symptoms blocking true holistic health. They facilitate DNA testing with hair samples, bloodwork that goes beyond traditional standard panels, vitamin level assessment, genetic testing, and beyond. Your completely customized care team joins forces to focus on physical, mental, and behavioral care. They also allow you to feel your best with a tailored vitamin and nutrient regimen for your specific body. I'm tripping over myself to schedule my consultation.

The most striking and resounding benefit of the day was immersing myself in the energy of the attendees. Over the last few years, conference founder Danielle Massi and her tribe has worked tirelessly to cultivate a community of fierce, strong-willed individuals who care about self-betterment, community, mental health advocacy, conscious living, and being our best selves! I am so proud to consider myself among them. At the conference, I was able to connect with a personal role model of mine, Keri. She is the fabulously radiant owner of Halcyon Floats. I have witnessed her growth and determination to succeed as a businesswoman in the wellness industry. Even as she rises, she is constantly extending compassion, help, and mentorship to bring others up alongside her.

Throughout the day, I listened to impassioned speakers remind us to know our worth and state our visions clearly so they can become actionable goals. Here, I'm sharing the start of that process for me.

In this day of introspection, I gave myself space and permission to ask:

What are my keys to happiness?

What elements can I strive toward in my life that would equate to a beautiful and fulfilled experience?

My responses:

☼ QUALITY TIME to experience life alongside my daughter.

☼ Strong, healthy body that moves the way I want and that feels optimized (Not always guaranteed!!)

☼ ONE romantic partner to build / grow / improve alongside, to build a family together

☼ Livelihood that allows travel & oneness with family

☼ To learn to FEED myself and my family [physically / spiritually]

(This is a nod to a trauma that, in the past, has lead me to feel inadequate, insatiate, and unfulfilled)

☼ Nurture and teach children that are yearning for love & attention

☼ Frequent opportunities to innovate and express creativity

☼ Embody & project GODDESS energy and light energy

** I understand that everyone's responses are personal and unique. Some of the things I have listed here may not be a priority to\you. I honor your choices and encourage you to think through any elements that might be important to you, for whatever your soul is reaching.

I intend to allow this experience to spur me on in my own goals and self discovery. The event has allowed me to see that there are so many resources available, and a thriving community to tap into to become an active participant in my own life. So get yourself a community like the SELF(ISH) Philly tribe. And if you like what you've heard, there's plenty for room for you here!

As always, I appreciate your feedback and would LOVE to hear how self-care and empowerment show up in your life. Have you tried any of the things I mentioned above? All comments welcome!

Thanks for reading,

- A


Danielle Massi, Founder -- @iamdaniellemassi

Keri McGinn, Owner / Float Goddess -- @halcyonfloats

Luna Maye, Sound Mediation -- @thelunamaye

Lainie, Reiki / Chakra Alignment -- @iamlainiedent

ALMA Acupuncture -- @almaacuphilly

Stephanie Grimes -- @barre3rittenhouse

Dr. Nicole Rivera, Integrative Wellness -- @drnicolerivera ; @integrativewellnessgroup

Unorthodox Therapy Inc. -- @unorthodoxtherapyinc

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