Last weekend, I traveled to New York City to attend a conference held by the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN). The 2-day conference was held at The Jazz at Lincoln Center and attended by over 1000 current students and graduates of IIN. The experience proved to be motivational, inspirational, and educational.
I enrolled in the 12-month IIN health coach certification program in June 2014. As part of the curriculum, I am studying dietary theories and nutrition while learning how to be a better coach and mentor. In addition to my degrees in communication and adult education and my yoga teaching certification, I hope to gain additional and valuable knowledge, skills, and insight through IIN to increase the effectiveness and thoroughness of the support and assistance I offer survivors of abuse.
While attending the conference, I was honored to hear talks from several intelligent, successful, and knowledgeable individuals in the fields of integrative medicine, nutrition, yoga, sports, entertainment, and coaching, including:
Dr. William Davis, author of “Wheat Belly”
Nina Planck, author of “Real Food”
Venus Williams, tennis pro and designer
Dr. Andrew Weil, pioneer of Integrative Medicine
Jennifer Esposito, actress and founder of Jennifer’s Way
Daniel Vitalis, author of “Rewild Yourself”
Catherine Collautt, Ph.D., metaphysician and manifesting consultant
I was also honored to meet and be surrounded by other IIN students and graduates interested in helping their current and future clients enhance and increase the energy surrounding their mental, emotional, physical, relational, financial, and spiritual well-being. I found myself immersed in a sea of people with a collective passion to serve and give back compassionately to their fellow human beings. It was incredibly empowering to experience such energy in one room.
At one point during the conference, students and graduates who recently published books through IIN’s “Launch Your Dream Book” course were asked to come to the stage and introduce themselves and their books. I cannot recall the exact number who packed the stage, but it must have been close to 75.
My curiosity was piqued for two reasons when Jeanine Finelli took the mike: (1) Her name is nearly identical to my step sister’s name; and (2) Her book is titled, “Love Yourself to Health…with Gusto! – ABC Guide for Surviving a Toxic Relationship”.
Once all of the authors left the stage, I ran out to the book display table in the lobby in hopes of meeting her. Despite the dense crowd, I was able to find her and connect. Wow! I this was no coincidence. Jeanine is a 2008 IIN graduate and has been offering her coaching services for several years. I immediately asked her if she would be interested in becoming a guest on the BlogTalk Radio show, From Hurt to Healed: Conversations with Kim and Paula. She is definitely interested.
The next day, I met current student Madeline Eyer during lunch. The first things I noticed about Madeline were her clear blue eyes and her shiny silver hair. Stunning. She shared her book title, “Essential Green Smoothies”, which is filled with recipes that incorporate essential oils. Not coincidentally, I had just purchased a plug-in essential oil diffuser before the NYC trip and was in need of more information. Madeline mentioned that she was a distributor of a particular brand of oils and offered me her card and contact information. Soon I’ll be Skyping with her and learning more about essential oils in preparation for a smoothie party I’d like to have for friends and family. I may even suggest to the owner of Bethesda Salt Cave, where I teach meditation, to carry Madeline’s book. It’s beautifully illustrated and accessible to all, even newbies to essential oils like myself.
While in New York City, I also met a blog reader and survivor with whom I have been corresponding since July. This was our first face-to-face meeting and hope it won’t be our last. She is young, vibrant, and filled with a passion to give back too.
On my return bus trip to DC Sunday night, I sat next to my good friend and fellow IIN student and accountability coach, Ladan. We shared our reflections, ginger gum, and chocolate. Although we both agreed that a printed program would have been nice and that the venue would have been better if we had been allowed to drink water while in the auditorium, overall, we both enjoyed and were energized by our experiences at the conference.
I graduate in June 2015 as a certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. Upon graduation, I will automatically become a member of the International Association for Health Coaches (IAHC), the world’s largest collection of health coaches. I cannot wait to start putting my newly acquired skills and education to work on my blog and privately with my recovery coach clients and friends. We all deserve authentic, intelligent, and thoughtful support and guidance on this journey of healing and transformation in the aftermath of abuse.
Paula Carrasquillo, author of Escaping the Boy: My Life with a Sociopath