HolistiCitiLyfe has something to say about Women of Color and Wellness
What is it with Women of Color and Wellness?
Why are there so many stigmas, taboos, assumptions and stereotypes around women of color (particularly black women) and wellness? Many scientists report that 75% of black women are obese. Some social theorists believe that being overweight and pleasantly plum is part of “black culture”. There are those who believe that yoga and eating quinoa are only for the new generation hipsters. While there are others who imagine that meditation and isolated reflection disrupts Christian beliefs and teachings.
Well … we sat down with licensed Social Worker and Holistic Life Coach, Leslie Carrington who is the CEO and founder of HolistiCitiLyfe (HCL). HolistiCitiLyfe is a wellness travel and holistic lifestyle event company that helps groups and individuals rejuvenate and restore balance in beautiful and safe retreat locations all over the world. Although Leslie works with a diverse group of health coaches, wellness practitioners and gets clients from all over the world … part of her mission as a black Brooklynite with a Guyana heritage, is to gracefully engage communities of color in healthy lifestyle practices!
How do you define sustainability?
Sustainability is so broad and encompasses many systems. Sustainability encompasses ecology, economics, politics, and culture. Currently, I’m viewing sustainability as the pursuit to the common ideal. I personalize this by being more mindful of how and where I spend my dollars.
What does a sustainable lifestyle look like for you?
I currently purchase only organic, natural foods, I shop vintage and sustainable brands, and do my best to research where the brands I purchase are produced, and how they support the communities they are located in.
Why is it important for you to encourage people of color to participate in wellness travel and a holistic lifestyle?
It’s important for me to engage people of color who may have had preconceived notions of what holistic living entails. I want them to know that holistic living is about mind, body, and soul balance. Living a balance life does not mean you are no longer living a God centered life. In my personal journey, I grew to love God more as my love for myself increased. My love for self helped me make healthier choices, which lead to an improved diet, increased physical activity, as well as, the practice of silence. Taking time to sit in silence allowed me to tap into my own intuition or self-knowing, which allows me to better decisions. Basically, I would like other women of color to have similar experiences from taking the time to seek more balance in their daily lives.
In our efforts to bring about this paradigm shift, we curate wellness retreats that remove individuals from their daily stressors, which allow them to be more present and receptive to the teachings, techniques, and practices recommended by our skilled and trained practitioners. We also offer support to our clients when they return back to their daily grind. This support assists our clients in maintaining the course to more holistic lifestyle.
What do you think is the biggest ‘wellness’ challenge for women of color?
The biggest wellness challenge to women of color is the notion that we are “the strong ones” “We got this”. African American women/ women of the Diaspora are often the ones who take of everyone else; their mates, children, extended family, and friends. Basically, everyone except themselves. In addition, some may associate the upkeep of hair and nails and sometimes even the physical appearance as the totality of self-care. However, when we don’t care for our emotions, mental, and spirit the outward façade means little.
What and who inspires you the most?
My past work with children inspires me to do my part to bring about positive change in the life of those who cross my path. Positive change can be something as simple as a smile. Happier people make for a happier world.
Oprah is my icon. Her spiritual compass resonates with me. I can relate to her belief in God and her openness to embrace other religious and spiritual practices. Her understanding that embraces other spiritual practices does not diminish her relationship with her God. We are energy and we are all connected to the God of the universe.
What has been your greatest challenge?
Starting HolistiCitiLyfe has been the greatest challenge and has provided the greatest reward. It’s my baby after all. It’s been challenging making wellness travel appealing to those whose idea of a vacation is partying, drinking, and eating unhealthy foods. Getting those individuals to consider spending their vacation savings on trip that will detox their body, relax their mind, and rejuvenate their spirit has been challenging. However, who doesn’t like a good challenge.
“Expect greatness from me. Expect to see me featured on Super Soul Sunday. Expect to see Oprah on one of my wellness retreats. That’s divine knowing in play” - Leslie Carrington