To the shock of a nation the highly unanticipated retrograde of 2016 left a president-elect who seemed more concerned with Twitter than the lives of people impacted by hate crimes he emboldened with a campaign of extreme prejudice not to mention a trail of over fifty iconic celebrities like Carrie Fisher, David Bowie, George Michael and Prince who left countless fans saddened by their passing. What’s the first step in swapping out the mayhem for mindfulness? How do we even begin to address the new norms?
In New York this year on New Year’s Day, some decided to skip the celebratory champagne and reach for green juice instead for some much needed inspiration by heading to Soul Camp: New Year, a day camp for grown ups inspired by the wellness sleepover summer camp for adults founded by Alison Leipzig and Michelle Goldblum in 2014. The two reconnected after having themselves experienced the camaraderie, mindfulness and transformational bliss of sleep away camp. Leipzig and Goldblum have been on a mission ever since to bridge men and women to transformational “Soulversations”, wellness-inspired leadership and activities, and uproarious good times that activate joy, breakthroughs, freedom, and mindful restoration.
This year’s guest presenters and breakout session facilitators didn’t disappoint, bringing in everything from creative activities to breathwork, and life coaching to pure inspiration. After guests settled in by catching up at the Play-doh table or the inspirational Post-it wall, or snacking on kale chips, Patricia Moreno of IntenSati delved into themes to include “becoming bigger for something bigger” and the power of choice as it relates to challenges, difficulties, and obstacles in order to shed the same self-inflicted pain, judgement, and guilt that obstruct personal progress.
Lawyer, child welfare advocate and founder of Healing the Healer, Rachel Bavis, and artist Rocky Jaegar guided an affirming group painting session with roots in alleviating burn-out and also amplifying self-care as a means to maintain emotional health. Those who were more interested in practical life skills and the process of getting clear and motivated settled in with TV Executive turned Certified Life Coach Stefanie Ziev to map ‘I am’ declarations.
To hear Kathleen Booker, the founder of Breathing to Freedom tell it, many things are optional in this life, but not breath. In soulful rounds she worked a group reconnecting with being present, heart centered and connected to mindful, rejuvenating breath. Booker was utterly hands on, delivering gentle guidance. Making contact not only seemed to impact the person she’d focus on at any given time, but also created a circle of trust with other immersed in the exercise.
Goldblum and Leipzeig, and their staff of camp counselors, beamed during a closing statement announcing a teaser of summer events that promised to delight. With a camp on both the East and West Coast, they clearly are made for the type of adulting that allows everyone from open-minded high powered executives to wellness practitioners, to moms and dads looking for adventure to step out of buzz killing comfort zones and try new things. If there’s a way to fortify a sense of stamina, resilience, focus, and purpose in the New Year, it just may be to head to the Poconos or Sierra Nevada to act like a kid again.