When I first opened High Vibrational Beauty, the seasonal recipe and ritual guide written by CAP Beauty founders Kerrilynn Pamer and Cindy DiPrima Morisse, I did so with some trepidation. In my line of work, I’ve encountered several high-production wellness guides, and despite the fact that this subject matter is right up my alley, I often find these books (and their blog-ish counterparts, like Gwenyth Paltrow’s goop) to instill me with fatigue, and on bad days, a sense of lack and un-wholeness—which is unlikely the intention of the wellness gurus and lifestyle authorities behind these publications.
Good Enough For Goop?
I sometimes wonder if I’m the only one vulnerable to feeling this way, but when I consider the commercial success of the wellness industry as a whole, I imagine that some of that is predicated on marketing to women’s feelings of not-enoughness: not natural enough, not pure enough, and even, not beautiful enough. The tactic is nothing new even if the products and branding appear alternative and to have transcended from a mystical realm of rose quartz and dustings of he shou wu.
That said, I’ve also found it important to not write off the new new age. Some of the trendiest must-haves to come from this movement are quite wonderful. Take matcha green tea, for example. Green tea has been rigorously tested in peer-reviewed studies and offers a host of real benefits. Likewise, yoga and meditation’s life-brightening effects are nothing to smirk at. Even the elements that ask us to stretch our imagination (crystals come to mind) can undoubtedly be a part of an authentic wellness practice and may have an important role to play in individuals’ psychological wellbeing. Most importantly, cultivating your own wellness rituals, even if that’s with the help of glossy guides, can be healing and empowering.
When Aspirational Becomes Exclusive
The authors of High Vibrational Beauty explain that the idea for CAP Beauty was “a clubhouse where wellness rules and everyone’s invited,” a space that would be both “aspirational and welcoming.” If this is so, I think it’s up to us, the ones who aren’t sure if we’re “everyone,” to welcome ourselves into this world and craft of our own definitions of wellness as we go.
With that mentality, my experience of reading High Vibrational Beauty has been largely positive—in part because it is chock-full of enticing recipes (most of which are relatively doable and plant-based)—but also because sitting with this book has encouraged me to confront the nagging feeling that I am somehow less than the people who manage to pull off these high-vibrational lives (or manifest them, as the case may be) all while affording an arsenal of exotic powders and serums.
Approaching the posh wellness industry with balance and confidence may take a little practice for some, but in the end, it’s worth it—there’s so much wisdom and beauty to be enjoyed when you come with the right mindset. Here’s how.
Remember that you are worthy. Before you open any wellness guide, walk into a yoga studio or go searching an online beauty boutique, remind yourself that you are worthy and you have the right to be there —even if you discover that the products or services do not fit into your lifestyle or budget.
Practice going back to basics. Keep in mind that true happiness and health begin with pretty basic elements—safety, adequate sleep, frequent exercise, loving relationships, and healthy food (and many of us in the developed world do have access to a healthy, whole-foods diet—goji berries optional).
Know that you don’t have to be a purist. When it comes to diet, exercise, and lifestyle, it’s healthy to let go of perfection. For example, although I follow a mostly natural body care routine, I allow my self to enjoy conventional fragrance and a few makeup staples from non-green cosmetics lines.
Pick and choose your wellness go-tos. High Vibrational Beauty is laden with interesting ideas—from seasonal altars to a pine pollen beverage—but it’s simply not plausible for most (including me) to put all of these into action, so I’m picking which ones excite me most and trying those. For example, I’m drawn to the vegan miso soup recipe in the Winter section and the abundance journaling prompts in the Summer section.
Have an open mind. When our first impression of something new to us is that it’s out of our reach, it’s only natural to close ourselves off to it, but try to have an open mind. My brain tends to check out when I read about making nut milk from scratch, for example, but I’m curious about the Beauty Elixir recipe, a nut milk-based warm beverage with some ingredients I’ve never tried (including an optional CBD blend), so I’m opening myself up to making my own nut milk, so I can enjoy this fascinating drink.
Practice self-luxury. This is a concept I made up, and it may sound kind of silly, but hear me out: We often hear the phrase, “you are enough.” I like to take it a step further. We are more than enough—we are bountiful. Joie de vivre, the ecstasy of life, comes from within and is ours to access as we please. This is helpful to remember when any lifestyle or product is being pitched to you. Each of us is overflowing with our own subtle magic that cannot be commodified. The rest—the glorified lotions and potions—is external, and we can choose whether or not to welcome those things into our already-gorgeous lives.
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Photos: CAP Beauty, plus Marisa Harris and Chris Jarvis via Unsplash