We all like a little rebellion in our lives. And while it comes in many shapes and vices, one thing remains constant: Rebellion is about feeling powerful and tending to yourself so you (hopefully) in turn can tend to others. Plant-focused Los Angeles chef and Fathom pal Brenda Wong explains how she embraced her spiritual rebel at a holistic wellness retreat in Venice, California.
LOS ANGELES - I have always worked in the kitchen. I recently switched from being a sushi chef to a plant-based chef using food as medicine after healing myself from debilitating chronic illnesses and depression. These days, I incorporate Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine in my cooking and am dedicated to sharing my mind/body/spirit transformations through plant-based food, bodywork, meditation, and positivity to support others from a place of empowerment and joy. I'm always looking for ways to connect with a community that feels the same.
What is The Poppies & Prophecies Retreat by Goddess Rebellion?
Goddess Rebellion is an LA-based, women-run events company dedicated to creating a better lifestyle and understanding of spirituality, health, and community. They hosted a day of workshops and events in my neighborhood of Venice. The itinerary really resonated with me: A range of all-female wellness practitioners and healers delivered a consistent message of self-love, self-care, and conscious living. I’m passionate about serving others from a place of love, grounding, intention, and clarity, and am constantly on the lookout to gain knowledge and education about the proper tools to thrive in a healthy manner.
What was especially great about the retreat?
What was incredible about the retreat was how packed it was — fast-paced, with a quality and quantity of presenters, loads of information, powerful exercises, a beautiful lunch with vegan options, an array of products and services presented without the feeling of being on the receiving end of sales, and plant medicine provided for those who were interested.
Take us through the highlights.
The day started off with Clevr Blends adaptogenic lattes made with superfood creamer, probiotics, and adaptogens. So simple and tasty: You just add water. Then I met Alejandra, a shaman who led an incredible meditation and delivered a talk on Mother Earth, the Divine Mother, and the powerful healing powers of the moon. I hung onto every word! She spoke of being an "elder" and how a "true elder" is a "little girl with all the wisdom to play," which is such a beautiful perspective on embracing aging as a woman. (Check her out on Instagram @malibumeditations for a dose of Zen.)
Manifestation by Jazmine May Graza was a perfect segue after a movement session. She is a firecracker — energetic, passionate — who was speaking about Spiritual Business. My favorite quote: "You are being called to be a fucking boss." What really hit me hard was the eye-gazing/story sharing exercises we did with partners. I talked about how the challenges my family and I have experienced have made us all stronger as a unit and also as individuals. My partner burst into tears and told me her father passed away recently and understood completely. She didn't know that I was speaking about my father's illness, which turned my entire life upside down. Jazmine's message rang loud and clear: It’s up to us to deliver the "medicine of story, of truth."
A workshop called Love, Sex, & Personal Partnerships by marriage and sex therapist Lauren Dummit was about healing yourself so you can show up in a relationship. She addressed issues like external regulation, addictions, and how to identify behaviors and where they may come from, and protocols for improvement.
High-profile entertainment publicist-turned tarot card-reader-to-the-stars (really!) Angie Banicki spoke about the sun, the moon, and other kinds of stars. Then crystal expert Erica Rachel K gifted us each a pouch with rose quartz and poppy seeds with a poem about new beginnings from seedling to full bloom. She encouraged us to integrate crystals into all of our rituals and to not overthink it.
The day ended with short presentations from natural beauty experts and bodywork therapists. I bought some joints rolled with lavender and rose and tried an Amazonian snuff offered and administered by the shaman. It was pretty empowering receiving medicine from her, and I got the message to continue on my journey.
No one wanted to leave the retreat. The message of the Goddess Rebellion rang true: Rebel against any self-doubt and join with others in your power.