There was so much chipping away at our collective mental health in 2022. From civic and social unrest to political upheaval, to a global pandemic, we have all faced so much this year. Many have come around to the fact that mental health is a vital part of our overall health. We have all learned new ways to cope, including mindfulness, exercise, yoga, peer support and just plain recognizing and honoring our feelings consistently. Even those of us who study and promote mental health,like me, sometimes find ourselves confronted with new information that helps us level up our own practices and thinking. We get incredible opportunities to learn. This is the incredible opportunity I had in 2022 by partnering with my friends at Miraval Arizona. Keep reading to learn more.
I have always held a deep desire to honor my sacred place in this world through uplifting others. It’s why I practice mindfulness,exercise regularly,and it’s even at the root of why I pursued my current career as a founder, scientist, and mental health correspondent. As far back as I can remember, I knew I wanted to lead others in caring for their mental health, especially those who are never seen as central to mental health discussions and those who are never viewed as worthy of obtaining care. Then in 2017/2018, I crystallized my vision as a retreat; a retreat to celebrate women of diverse backgrounds and uplift us in caring for their mental health. This was the origin of my idea for the Elevation: Healing our Healers retreat and I could not have found a better partner than Miraval properties. Miraval and I share a commitment to healing practices that reflect the diversity of the lived experience and that draw from global perspectives;thus,giving attendees the opportunity to be immersed in culturally responsive healing practices. Obviously, this is of deep importance to me as I am deeply committed to what I call BEII (Belonging, Equity, Inclusion and Intersectionality).
The Elevation: Healing our Healers retreat @ Miraval was curated to provide women and femme identified people with actionable tools for self-care and emotional wellbeing while holding space for them to literally“just be”. Too often for women of diverse backgrounds, messages of deservedness, rest, relaxation, joy and peace elude us as we work so hard in service of others to the exclusion of our own needs. The goal for our inaugural retreat in 2022 was to welcome our healers into a warm embrace and send them away after a two-day wellness experience, in a state of calm provided with actionable tools to help them on their journey of emotional well-being.
I characterize our two-day retreat under the themes of celebrating diverse women/femmes; holding space for diverse women/femmes and allowing them to rest; encouraging women/femmes to practice self-acceptance and stillness; and helping women understand that engaging in the act of rest is an act of resistance to harmful societal norms that erode positive sense of self and reward selflessness to our detriment.
Having the opportunity to learn about and experience cultural healing practices, healthy foods prepared in innovative ways, welcoming spaces that invited me to rest and curated activities that allowed my AAKOMA Project team and I to bond, open up, rest and heal with an incredible group of mental health nonprofit/social impact women and femmes of diverse backgrounds was an incredible gift for which I will always be grateful.
Being able to celebrate Belonging, Equity, Inclusion and Intersectionality (BEII) at the same time was a balm for my soul. Thank you to my guests, the amazing staff at The AAKOMA Project and to my partners at Miraval, I look forward to our ongoing collaborations with eagerness and anticipation for the wonderful things to come. #LoveLightScience