with self-care wine and equity cookies
I just realized I missed an opportunity in this newsletter to call the whole concept “self-serve care.” Dammit!
This made me laugh out loud and also cringe so hard!! I will start by saying I am the white lady who loves crystals and has a Substack inspired by tarot 😂😂 but I also resonate with everything you said!! Even though the “literary apothecary” is slightly intriguing to me 🤣 those cookies would’ve made me choke! I have attended a few “spiritual” retreats in my area and have been so discouraged by the spiritual bypassing and propping up of empty “self care” as the answer to everything - and don’t get me started on tarot/manifesting BS. I had two separate readings where the readers told me they manifested their sports car and I was just done. That’s the fucking prosperity gospel in wellness disguise! I only follow white readers/teachers now who are trauma informed and actively support BIWOC (whether through scholarships for their services or invite BIWOC guest to their events/podcasts). It’s a small thing, but it feels like the only thing I can do while living in this capitalist world.
Anna, first I adore your writing style and appreciate the snarky humor peppered throughout your pieces. Next, this piece had me dying laughing. The lineup of the wellness retreat is deserving of a newsletter all to itself with the way people love to jazz up words and titles (i.e. Morning Nourishment and Farm to You)
Thank you for highlighting some of my own concerns with the wellness industry. If you get the time take a listen to the Maintenance Phase podcast especially the episodes on Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar and Moon Juice. They share some of the same findings you shed light on.
"Wellness only has value if it helps other people too." That's where so much of this stuff just stops, or else turns into something even more toxic telling people that they can right the wrongs of the world purely through the kind of individual enlightenment they'll achieve at a next-level wellness retreat (not indoctrination into a personality cult, we swear) held on some Caribbean island that they can attend for the low price of several thousand dollars. (I listen to a lot of the Conspirituality podcast. The money and grift in this industry is astonishing.)
I am constantly reminded of a tweet last year that says it all: "I don't need a workshop on work-life balance; I need the downfall of empire."
There is a lot of this stuff that irks me but after reading I can say I am in no position to dunk on it, really. I am part of the high end retreat industry and now it really, really does just feel gross. Is $3000+ to go float on a river any different than someone who goes to Sedona and beats on drums and kisses crystals? Ugh. I believe in, or maybe I should say I don't disbelieve in, a lot of stuff people would consider weird. And I religiously read my Arnold Schwarzenegger "The Pump Daily" newsletter five days per week. I'm about 20% the decent person I let people believe I am. I'm as guilty as anyone of shoving as much of my money as I can into the world devouring capitalistic maw, it's just at a lesser scale because I have less and it's for marginally different things. Who am I to judge?