Back in August, I did a small work project with mindbodygreen and as it was wrapping up, my contact there surprised me by tossing an invitation to revitalize my way. I honestly hadn’t heard of it until that moment, but after looking into it knew this opportunity was too amazing to pass up. Revitalize is an invite-only weekend in Arizona that’s one part wellness retreat, one part conference. Attendees range from world renowned doctors and healers, to athletes, to VCs and investors, to Instagram-famous yogis, to health food entrepreneurs to … me. Not sure how I got thrown in the mix LOL.
Each day there were content sessions split into several talks and conversations covering a variety of wellness topics. The rest of the day was filled with activities: group hikes, yoga, mediation classes, one-on-one sessions with doctors and life coaches, cocktail hours (gluten-free beer only, of course ;)) and more. The meals were incredible, the gifting suite on another level, and the spa at the Ritz open to all guests at a discount. MBG thought of everything.
It goes without saying I enjoyed myself, but from a professional standpoint, my big takeaways from the weekend were actually a bit unexpected. I flew out West thinking, “Wow this is going to be an amazing networking opportunity–this could be huge for my blog!” and ended up realizing that my professional goals maybe aren’t what I thought. I’ll get to all that, but first: the talks.
My Favorite Revitalize 2016 Talks
MBG streamed all the content sessions and has uploaded them to their site. Here are a few to check out:
How to Change the Labels that Tear Us Apart – Adi Jaffe, PhD
Adi shared his powerful personal story but also talked about some fascinating research around the ways labeling affects performance. One of my favorite talks from the weekend!
How to Fix What’s Not Working in Your Life – Beth Weissenberger
Sometimes it’s not the message, but the way in which it’s delivered that resonates. I could have listened to Beth talk all night about pretty much anything. She’s a tell-it-like-it-is life coach, and drove home the message that we need to get out of our own way. Something holding you back from accomplishing what you want? Guess what, that “something” is probably you.
What resonated with me about these two speakers was the power of sharing your story. I was captivated and moved by Psalm and Natalie, both shining examples of overcoming difficulty and finding/creating/living your most authentic life.
Closing Remarks – Hill Harper
Hill Harper’s talk was the one that probably resonated with me the most. I honestly hadn’t heard of him before this weekend but I am now a huge fan of him and his work–the guy was amazing. As a blogger, I loved when he talked about creating and the importance of continuing to put your content out there–you never know who it’s reaching and affecting. I’ll talk more about his talk at the end of this blog post as well. If you click the above link, just fast-forward to Hill.
My Two Big Takeaways from the Weekend
I don’t want to work with Gwyneth.
My biggest takeaway from the trip was ironic. As I settled in for my second meditation of the day, belly full of superfoods, skin soothed with organic essential oils, wrists donning beaded strands of good energy, a crystal in my hemp-spun handbag, it hit me:
I am such a fucking cliche privileged white person right now.
I MEAN C’MON. Sitting crosslegged on an eco-friendly yoga mat sipping organic green juice in a meditation geodome decorated like the inside of an Anthropologie listening to Gwyneth Paltrow’s psychic consultant give a speech. Tell me that isn’t the most ridiculously stereotypical upper-middle-class chick shit you’ve ever heard. It’s almost comical!
There’s no need to apologize for having the privilege of being able to go to weekend retreats like this; to eat 100% organic, local produce from a farmer’s market; to hire private meditation coaches and herbalists; to spend $300+ a month on fancy boutique gyms and fitness studios–those things are all great! Appreciate them if you can do them! Your health is the best thing in which you can invest! But I think we (I) need to acknowledge that doing all those things is, at least to a certain extent, just that: a privilege.
Being spoiled with a weekend of such “extreme health,” if you will, ironically made me realize that that’s not where I want to be professionally or what I want to focus on. I don’t want to be too caught up in health trends or extremes when there are so many people (I’m talking the majority of the country) who are still working at the basics of eating better and exercise. By the end of the weekend, I found myself thinking over and over: How can I be of service to those who don’t have such unrestricted and seemingly unlimited access to wellness?
And I don’t mean to imply that revitalize was about wellness for some snobbish elite–not at all. Everyone I had the pleasure of speaking with was so kind and genuine (the mbg community is amazing!) and the talks and information sessions were relatable and applicable to all. Speakers and presenters there don’t just cater to the Gwyneths of the world (although literally half of them are friends with her, no joke haha)–they work with a variety of communities and are truly inspiring. Revitalize wasn’t about “elite health,” the guests were just treated to it. Which I appreciate–are you kidding me?? I got to drink green juice, practice yoga in the sunshine, meditate and learn all weekend in a luxury resort. It was incredible. It was also the most unrealistic three days imaginable for the majority of this country and, for whatever reason, that struck me hard and has stayed with me. I’m grateful for the insight and it’s helping me refocus my professional and personal goals.
Dreaming big may mean something “smaller” to me than I thought.
In his closing talk, Hill Harper had us take out a piece of paper and write down a goal or two we had–what do we want out of life? Without putting any thought to it, without the tiniest little moment of hesitation, I wrote down (to my surprise):
- Have a family
- Write more
- Lead a community fitness/yoga program focusing on positive body image for young girls
Wait what? That’s it?? I could write down ANYTHING and there’s no mention of six-figure blog incomes, massive social media followings and influencing millions across the globe?! Nope. If this weekend taught me anything it’s that the stuff closest to home means the most to me. (Or maybe I’m just ridiculously unambitious haha).
I wrote my mom an email telling her about the weekend, my gained insights, and how it kinda had the opposite effect on me as I’d assumed it would. I think her response is a great way to end this post:
“We are all here to find ourselves, who we are, which eventually leads us to God. Enjoy the journey!”
I’d say revitalize was a definite stepping stone on that journey–even if not in the way I’d expected.