I went to a self-expression workshop and it made me feel a shit-ton of feelings (and you should go to it, too)

Up until a few days ago, I’ve been in a real slump. You all get it, right? You’re satisfied with how things are going, but there’s something blocking the way of doing more or doing better or – if we’re being totally honest with ourselves – doing anything at all. I’m talking like my alarm goes off at 8 a.m. and I’m all LORD GIVE ME STRENGTH TO GET OUT OF THIS BED.

Take this blog for instance. My temporary glitter tattoo has washed off in the time since my last post, and yet I couldn’t put my finger on why I avoided writing more. I mean, I’m a writer, so if I’m not writing, then what the hell am I doing with myself?

(The answer is actually watching nine hours of Orange is the New Black season two on Netflix in one sitting and eating tacos, but let’s pretend I didn’t just admit that.)

Enter the Rooted Center, a brand-new self-expression facility that offers “fitness for the soul.” Because gals like me who love to eat tacos and binge-watch Netflix need all the fitness they can get, and in addition to my writing slump, I’ve also been in a gym slump. May as well get my self-expression in check as I kill time until OITNB season three, I guess.

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The lovely Kim at Skirt PR invited me to participate in a free writing expression course (pssst, keep reading to find out how you can try Rooted for free this weekend!) and I was super interested for two reasons:

1) Like I already yammered about, I haven’t been able to write for shit and am lacking motivation and have no idea why;

2) I used to intern at Skirt PR and wanted to see what it’s like to attend a Skirt-promoted event instead of working at them. Like, I used to schlep bags of ice to parties and serve Prosecco to people who air-kissed at events, so let’s just say I’m totally cool with turning these tables and never being an intern ever again.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetWhat do YOU love about yourself today? Think about it. Pick something. It will make you feel awesome.

Admittedly, the concept of Rooted is confusing at first – you truly do have to experience it to get a handle on what actually goes on inside the center. And also admittedly, Rooted sounds kind of hippie-dippie, and I think to an extent, it can be.

But it works. I mean, I don’t even meditate, and after hot yoga when I’m supposed to be savasana-ing, I’m laying on my sweaty mat thinking about all the shit I have to do and wondering if I smell weird, so the concept of relieving mental and spiritual blockage is quite foreign, to say the least.

The Rooted classrooms are empty, save for four chalkboard-painted walls and an array of course tools. In my session, eight students and one course facilitator walked into the room (barefoot because it’s a spiritual experience, so obviously) and we introduced ourselves. We did a few ice-breakers. It was all pretty basic until the facilitator brought out a bowl of water and asked that we dip our hands in it and “wash away the expectations” before we begin our work.


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I shouldn’t have done an internal eye-roll – I mean, I’m the girl who used to make a weekly pilgrimage to hear some random lady play Tibetan quartz bowls in her living room in the name of spirituality and good vibes – but I did. It wasn’t until I was seated on the floor, pen and notebook in my hand, that I loosened up a bit.

The facilitator asked us to do nothing but write about whatever came to mind, and you guys, it was word vomit on paper. I don’t know if it was the chill music playing through the empty room’s speakers or the intense pain in my hand (because seriously, when was the last time I even wrote this much away from a computer?), or if it was because I dunked my hands in that damn bowl of water, but once I started, it was hard to stop.

Zero distractions, all the feelings.

And so I wrote. I wrote for 45 minutes straight and went off on tangents and spelled things wrong and, by the end of it, I could barely read my own writing, but I’ll be darned if I didn’t feel a strange sense of relief. I mean, I wrote stuff I wouldn’t have dared write in a diary, let alone in a class full of other shoeless strangers.

After the writing portion, we shared – or didn’t share – what we wrote and how we felt. We bonded and a few people cried. I kind of cried. At the end of the session, we destroyed everything we created, which is a relief because I’m 100 percent sure I would actually die if anyone ever came across those pages.

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 presetOk, so I destroyed everything I wrote except for this one positive affirmation. It makes me feel good, and I need to hear this more often (and maybe even believe it, too).

I could tell you about my walking home in the pouring rain after class like some Nicholas Sparks character (true) and how I felt compelled to write as soon as I got home (also true) but how I felt even more compelled to open a bottle of wine and reflect on whatever the hell just happened to me at Rooted (yep, also true).

But instead, I’ll just say Rooted helped me. I’m not sure how and I’m not sure if it’s all in my head, but it got me back to writing, which is a real blessing because it’s my job and I love it and I really don’t want to be unemployed and homeless anytime soon.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetWith Shruti Sekhri, the founder of Rooted, after class. Also with that positive affirmation pictured above, because why not?

And now to the best part – free classes! If you’re interested in seeing what Rooted is all about (or if it’s on your bus route, because it is ridiculously convenient for all you #72 North Avenue CTA riders), you’re in luck. The good folks at Rooted are offering free mini self-expression courses this Friday through Sunday and YOU ARE ALL INVITED!

rooted center opening courses free

So what do you guys think? Does it sound good? Confusing? Have you ever done a self-expression workshop or class and lived to tell the tale? Because now I’m all about peace and love and feelings, of course, so naturally I want to hear all about it.

  • Jennifer Walker

    Reminds me of Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages activity from The Artist’s Way: pouring out whatever’s in your head for 3 pages each morning to get the drek and drivel out of the way so you can be productive the rest of the day and unencumbered. I could never stick to it for long (SO not a morning person) but it got the job done when I’d do it. Now I’m better at keeping a journal that I write once I’ve gotten to the office for the day and still find it helps to not have to remember EVERYTHING on my own.

    Glad the workshop helped you and I look forward to hearing what happens next :)