Open Your Mind About Opening Your Wallet

Photo courtesy of WELL Summit; Rachel Hanon Photography

Photo courtesy of WELL Summit; Rachel Hanon Photography

If I had a quarter for every time someone told me that a wellness event I was hosting, being featured at, or inviting them to was too expensive, I could probably buy the new iPhone…in coins. 

Usually, after I get that hard “no,” I get to wondering – and unfortunately, judging. I made a promise to Deepak Chopra (who is my mentor in my head) that I would not “edge God out” by letting my ego judge people, but it’s so difficult in instances like this. 

I usually wonder if they took a look at the event’s agenda, which at wellness events, regardless of mind, body, or spirit focus, are usually chock full of expert speakers, educational discussions on trendy or even taboo topics, the chance to voice their opinions and ask important questions, and an array of nutritious food and snacks.

I also wonder if they really weighed out the cost. Like, “Is this $100 ticket to an event about self-care and soul healing worth me not buying that pair of shoes? or attending another Sunday brunch? or spending $100 on lunch next week?”

I wonder if they even took a split second to care. Not just care about the event, but care to imagine spending $100 to take a crack at breaking down generations of unhealthy conditioning, misinformation, and fear that has been instilled in them by other people of color. 

Yeah, I said it. I said it because I still live it every. single. day. 

When I dove into the world of mind, body, soul wellness, doing Bikram Yoga, attending healing circles, and getting my aura photographed regularly, I received a lot of comments and questions. These are responses that I have framed in my hall of fame:

“I don’t do that bruja shit.”

“¡Tu si eres rara niña!”

“I don’t need an event to help me heal. I pray every day.”

I won’t share who said what and about what, but I will say that I shared what I shared with them because I thought they could benefit. I am not in the business of imposing my ideals on people, but I will share the good news when and where I can with those I love. 

Why “good news?” Because people of color are conditioned to cast doubt or misbelief on anything that might actually do them good if it comes from anything outside of their narrow purview. Fake news. I’m not saying that there aren’t any black and brown folks running wellness companies, hosting workshops, and packaging their knowledge in interesting ways, but there are a vast majority of people that choose to the stay in the dark about healing.

I was one of those folks. Six years ago I would rather spend a Saturday night out drinking with friends than sitting at any event that would open my mind and heart to new ways of thinking. It didn’t appeal to me. 

There weren’t any women that looked like me inviting me to their wellness events. All the wellness workers I followed were white. And maybe there were black and brown wellness experts doing the work back then, enticing people about healthy ideas and practices, but they weren’t in my face or on my phone. The “influencer” wasn’t so much of a thing yet, so it was all about word of mouth and plain ol’ research. I wasn’t doing research, and when I was, again, too white or too expensive.

The curious cynic, culturally conditioned to believe that “wellness” was for rich, white people, and the only things I needed to be “well” were traditional food, church, and home remedies; programmed to carry antiquated ideas that ultimately keep the culture stuck from generation to generation.

I don’t think like this today obviously, but it goes to show how far “the work” can take you. You know. The work we’re always telling you to do? Yeah, that. I did that. And I invested in myself by attending wellness events of all kinds, some of which did and didn’t resonate with me. So I decided to take things into my own hands. And here we are.

This is why I’m so proud of this brand. I am the woman who I needed years ago. I used to wear the same shoes that so many women who follow me today have worn. The curious cynic, culturally conditioned to believe that “wellness” was for rich, white people, and the only things I needed to be “well” were traditional food, church, and home remedies; programmed to carry antiquated ideas that ultimately keep the culture stuck from generation to generation. 

Today, I host, speak at, and endorse all types of wellness events focused on mental health, nutrition, spirituality, and personal development. Although I am a living, breathing testimony and I have a passion for sharing the diverse tools and practices that continue to serve me on my journey, I find it difficult to price my services and events at their worth. Not because of a lack of quality, but more so because properly valuating my products might seem like I’m creating a high barrier of entry—i.e., keeping the people that need to be at these events (like me six years ago) at bay.

Photo courtesy of WELL Summit; Rachel Hanon Photography

Photo courtesy of WELL Summit; Rachel Hanon Photography

I don’t have all the answers, but I do think that wellness creators, business and brand owners should keep pushing out these amazingly eclectic health and healing affairs. 

As for the humans who follow us, open your mind about opening your wallet. These events are more than just a few hours of talks and free sample bags. These carefully curated functions give you the opportunity to experience wellness from all angles, and expose you to effective products, routines, and narratives from folks that may or may not look and think like you. And maybe that’s exactly what you need. 

All that being said, I hope you join me for what’s going to be an amazing weekend at WELL Summit in Brooklyn. Six years later I’ll be sitting in the crowd, notebook in hand, taking in all the tips, advice, and recommendations presented. A wellness creator at one of the best health and wellness events in the country. A full circle moment for this once cynical woman, indeed.