When I booked Jen Pastiloff’s Manifestation retreat for myself, I wasn’t entirely sure what to prepare myself for.

I’d been to Jen’s one-day workshop, and had my heart cracked open in just a few short hours.

I knew that I wanted an excuse/reason to visit Italy again and this was a good one.

It’s taken me a few days (alright–almost a week) to let myself ruminate in all the sights, sounds, and smells (oh the delicious smells) from last week.

I swam in the Mediterranean sea. I made pizza and pasta from scratch (and then ate it, along with Italian meats, cheeses and bread, by the forkful). I sang, danced, cried and laughed. I had an affair with Florence and Siena and relished in the beauty of the people and places within them.

This trip allowed me to realize the immense importance of self-care. I realized that I shouldn’t be ashamed or feel guilty for asking for it. Not allowing for¬†sufficient self-care is like withholding food or air–it’s a part of what I need every day and every week to be the best version of myself.

I had fallen into an almost seven-year bad habit of always doing all the things and making everyone else a priority–and I got overwhelmed easily, which in turn made me frustrated and resentful and ask anyone close to me, I’d lose my temper within seconds.

Of course, of COURSE I don’t want to be that way. It’s not good for the people I love and it’s not healthy for me. I said “yes” to this trip because I didn’t want to just be the version of myself who’s trying to get by every day. It was goddamn exhausting. I said “yes” because I wanted to be a better version of myself who feels better put together because my entire foundation is being reconstructed.

When I was called on to read during our sessions with Jen, my reoccurring themes were anger and fear.

Well, I got called out a lot last week about the anger. And one of my new friends noted the following: “You say you’re so quick to anger, but I’ve also seen how quick you are to get emotional and tear up. Maybe instead of trying so hard to control your emotions, you accept that you just feel them SO fiercely. And there’s nothing wrong with that.” (Thank you 1,000 times, Danette.)

With the first few days of the retreat behind me, I started started seeing myself the way the rest of the world sees me–not angry, but passionate. FULL of life.

I faced my fear of getting a massage with a healer and empath named Pushba. I was totally out of my element (and stark naked) and she had me place one hand directly underneath my solar plexus (the chakra that determines confidence and control in our lives) and one over my sacral chakra. She asked me if “I felt anything.”

Nope. Nothing. Just a hyper-awareness of how naked I am.

Then she said to me, “Here’s what your energy is telling me. You are pure, radiated joy. Do not let anger weight you down. You don’t have as many burdens as some of the others here (at the retreat). Be weightless in your joy–and spread it far and wide.”

This trip taught me to take the moments to feel emotions–yes, fear and anger–but also gratitude, sadness, joy, and most importantly, love.

I will walk the Earth as a human thank-you, and I will be weightless in my joy.