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There’s a frenzy around Gwyneth’s Paltrow‘s Goop that’s hard to put your finger on. On the one hand, her website told us to put jade eggs up our vaginas to improve our orgasms (and was subsequently sued due to misleading medical claims). On the other… she’s sort of a genius?
She built her $250 million business from the ground up, becoming self-ordained grand empress of all things weird, wacky and wellness on the way. For what would Goop be without it’s stainless steel vibrator necklaces and vagina scented candles? A lot less infamous than it currently is, that’s for sure. The thing is, as a veteran A-lister and the subject of endless tabloid fodder, Gywnnie knows more than anyone, that nothing sells better than letting us all in on the cray-cray methods that La La Land get stuck into in the name of wellness. It’s a surefire way to get everyone’s green carambola juices flowing and, of course, the headlines rolling.
This is how she’s built up the enigma that surrounds her In Goop Health summits, where tickets to her workshops can cost up to £4,500. “What – dear God, let it be good – could possibly be going on there?” we wonder, while trying to catch a glimpse from the covert Insta clips that go up and the glossy women emerging with Goop-merch goody bags. “What’s in them!!!” we marvel, while skim-reading the emerging reviews.
Well, the lid’s been lifted, thanks to the inception of Goop’s very first (now weekly) virtual summit, which launched last Wednesday on YouTube live. The best bit? It’s completely free, save for a donation to Doctors Without Borders, if you’re able. And – although there are a couple of highlights, like when their intuition coach called our souls a ‘f****** liar’ – it’s all rather tame, and dare-I-say-it, empowering?
“We have been wanting to bring In Goop Health to more people for a long time,” explains Elise Loehnen, Goop’s Chief Content Officer and first virtual Goop Health host, live from her LA living room. “We’ve heard from many of you that you want to attend and that it’s just not accessible either financially or geographically, so here we are. Today we’re going to bring you a little bit of the magic,” she says, before divulging what usually goes on at their gatherings. “Normally at an In Goop Health, I’d be on stage with Gwyneth and you’d be in community with hundreds of other women. So while I can’t quite approximate that, we’re all together energetically at this moment in time and space.”
Like Goop’s real-life In Health summits, the virtual version seeks to inspire a “heart opening and life-changing experience,” explains Elise, who introduces us to the first topic: developing your own intuition, “so in moments of indecision we feel like we can really figure out a path that works for us”. Led by energy healer and intuitive coach, Dana Childs, it’s an opportunity to “dive in and divine our own way forward.”
While the cynic in me sent my eyebrows shooting skyward, I have to say, I quite like Dana. She’s the bohemian equivalent of Mean Girls’ Ms Norbury, guiding a roomful of reluctant teens through their emotions in a healthy (or as Dana says, truthful) way.
She starts with a meditation. “Deep breaths to reset the nervous system,” she says. “Pull any borrowed energy back into you and let the light of the divine self spread through your body.” Not everything she says makes sense. That’s OK. Roll with it.
What comes next is a workshop on identifying which parts of yourself (between your body, mind, spirit and soul) to rely on when making a decision. The long and short of it is, quite literally, to listen to your gut. “Your body is the truth,” she says. “For instance, when you’re dating someone and your stomach hurts, or you’re in a new job you don’t like and your head hurts. Your body cannot lie. Trust the body” she says. Your mind on the other hand? Ooosh. “The mind is a big fat liar. The mind can ‘f’ you right up. It can be the place where we analyse and we try to come up with what we think we should do. Your mind is not to be trusted.” Got it?
She explains the difference between the spirit and the soul (I got a bit lost, tbh) and runs through a couple of exercises on determining how your body feels when responding to something it loves (open, tingly, warm) and something it hates (tight, constricted, choked). The bottom line if you’re in a pickle: listen to your body and – woop – decision made.
Yes, it sounds a bit frou-frou, a bit meta and a bit snowflake, but honestly, it’s quite a pleasant way to spend an afternoon. And if coronavirus has been doing funky things to your anxiety levels, pull up a pew, listen to this sweet lady speak words of encouragement and take the weight off. Ommmmmmm.