We don’t know about you, but we’re pretty obsessed with celebrating and uplifting others. (Sure beats trolling!)
Whether you finally nailed headstand in yoga, met a huge deadline at work, or only hit snooze once this morning, you deserve to be celebrated. But, the world we live in today is that it’s far more common to commiserate than to celebrate.
With International Women’s Day this month and tons of exciting female-centric events coming up, we’re charged up to cheer on and uplift those who identify as female.
Enter Dr. Carla Cupido, the founder of She Summits, a unique series of movement-inspired films, workshops, and events that’s currently on tour.
Carla describes the series as “a community festival that’s focused on the contributions of those who identify as female to important social and environmental conversations. We’re doing this through workshops and movement-based events.”
The reason behind what she does is “to awaken and activate the untapped potential within. To create conscious change in the world.”
This all began when Carla (who is a chiropractor in North Vancouver, by the way) started running unique outdoor movement classes for women. She stumbled across a film festival that was developed for females, but it was an Australian project. “I thought gosh, this would be cool to bring to our community,” she told us.
She ran her first festival in the fall of 2018, and it was crazy successful. “People’s responses were really beautiful.”
So her vision grew to encompass far more than outdoor adventure.
“We see movement a little bit more globally. It’s not just about specific sports in the mountains, it’s really about movement in general. That conversation broadens into other sports. We all connect at different levels to movement, and for me, we must raise the conversation above the specific sport.”
We sat down together to fully understand the power of movement on the path to women’s empowerment and community building.
Intersectionality: The Future Is In The Margins
To uplift any marginalized groups, it’s essential to understand that everyone brings a rich, important background to the table. There is just no end to the things we can learn from those who are different from ourselves.
“We use our platform to showcase individuals that don’t always get the opportunity to share their voices. It’s become a very intentional part of the selection, not just for our films, but for the speakers on our panels as well.”
For Carla, it’s all about “beginning meaningful conversations with people that have different backgrounds than myself, developing relationships with people that are different than me, and broadening my circle. This allows me to change the conversations that I’m having.”
She went on to tell us that they are working to foster meaningful communication and community among anyone who shares those intentions.
As such, She Summits is also committed to inclusion. Though the experiences are to elevate those who identify as female, they are for everyone.
Inclusion: Different Folks, Same Aim
“She Summits is about elevating those who identify as female, but the community that we’re creating is all genders,” Carla told us. “It’s important that we create safe spaces. No question. Especially when you’re doing our movement sessions.”
Carla continued to explain their outlook on all-gender space in a way that was beyond beautiful. It’s no question that women’s only spaces are more comfortable for some women, whereas others prefer spaces that welcome all genders. When it comes to movement, it’s easy to feel uncomfortable, and knowing exactly who will be in attendance can help ease the nerves.
So, rather than saying only women can attend, She Summits has opted to put forth that all individuals committed to elevating females are welcome.
“The men [who do attend] are so, so excited to celebrate women! All individuals here are committed to celebrating women. The feminine and masculine energies, the yin and the yang are within all of us. This allows women to find the energy that they need,” Carla said. “It gives us space to explore who we are, what we need, and what resonates with us.”
Movement And Emotion: Feel All The Feels
If you’ve ever had a transformational, movement-related experience, it’s likely pretty hard to describe. That’s because these experiences push us to the edges of our emotional spectrums and make us feel deep, real and raw.
“When we talk about the power of women’s involvement in sport, they’re open to the possibility of such a wide spectrum of emotions. In sport, we get to feel strong and we get to feel victorious, yet we also get to feel vulnerable and fearful, and sad, and lost. There’s this wide spectrum that you get to experience through sport. You get to feel strong and powerful while recognizing that being vulnerable can also be our strength.”
You don’t need to feel bad-ass every time you’re out there moving, feeling in and of itself is powerful enough. “It’s important to feel all those emotions and know that they’re all valid and also knowing that they’re also going to be felt in other areas outside of sport and to be familiar with them and understand them,” Carla said.
“Sport gives us a platform to understand our emotions and ourselves, our strengths, our weaknesses, and then take that outside of sport and be able to thrive.”
Sport (and intentional movement) pushes us into the extreme emotions on our spectrum, and it helps us get familiar with them and understand how to sit with them and recognize them when they arise in other areas of our lives.
Come As You Are: Community For Everyone
When we’re in spaces where we can safely wear our hearts on our sleeves, we’ll be far more open to building new, meaningful connections.
“We did our community mountain bike ride in October, and it was our first time trying something like that. We had 80 women show up. As I looked out into the parking lot, I thought ‘ok this is going to be interesting.'” Carla was noticing everyone from professional mountain bikers to an older woman in her sixties or seventies on a hardtail that looked like it was from 1990.
“Some of the beginner riders had never ridden. When they came back it was like they had been away at camp for a week as a group of 13-year-old girls. The energy was unbelievable.”
Carla was beaming as she told us this story. “Some women took way longer to get through some parts of the trail. Some women did massive airs through it. But they all stopped, they all took turns, and they all celebrated with each other. It was so beautiful.” This is what it’s all about.
“We want to make sure everyone feels strong, stable, competent, and connected to their core values so that they can stand for themselves in the world, and their communities, and for the things that they believe in with much greater capacities and strength.”
When we’re our best selves, we’re in the best positions to advocate for ourselves and our communities.
“When we are speaking about the power of supporting and lifting other women, it goes back to the saying ‘you’re only as strong as your weakest link.’ As women, it’s important to support and let one another rise to their best selves. We can only do that by lifting each other. The impact of that is huge.”
Coming Up For She Summits
She Summits are just kicking off their 2020 tour where they’ll be hitting 7 cities for 11 events. Each of their events is fully-accessible, and all levels are welcome.
“We have all these events coming up. The goal is to help everybody that is female and any of their allies to feel anchored within themselves so they can stand for the things they need to stand for to make this world a better place,” said Carla.
If you want to catch them on tour, click here to get the scoop and book your tickets.
Let’s (all) do this.