Meet Shannon Cury, Founder & Facilitator, Collectively Well

Each week we highlight a member of the Locally Well San Diego Collective, our membership community for San Diego’s health + wellness entrepreneurs. This week we’re highlighting Shannon Cury, the founder and facilitator of Collectively Well. 

What personal story or experience led you to start your wellness business? 

Getting diagnosed with cancer in the middle of COVID was an invitation to a deep spiritual awakening that sent me on a deep dive into mind-body-spirit healing. The profound impact of meditation and breathwork on my mental health & self-awareness was a game changer, leading me to get trained as a breathwork facilitator. A consistent practice empowered me to leave the hustle of NYC for sunsets in San Diego. This city is so healing. Not long after making the move, I was laid off from my role at Google after 7 years. Excited for the blank slate ahead of me, I knew it was time to go all in on my passion for supporting people in tapping into the power of mindfulness & breathwork. And yet, I burnt out of entrepreneurship as quickly as I started it. My practice was no longer the silver bullet it once was. My mind and body didn’t need profound insights or intuitive downloads. They just needed to slow down & do the deep work of healing. More than anything, my spirit needed community.

Collectively Well was created to create spaces for us to come together over mind body spirit practices that meet us where we’re at. Sometimes that’s a breathwork session to connect you with your authentic Self and illuminate your path to growth, sometimes that’s sitting quietly and meditating with your others doing the same & sometimes that’s finding your voice and your people at an open mic. We’re all about slowing down and staying silly. Living intentionally doesn’t mean taking life seriously, either. Healing is fun if you let it be. At the end of the day, we hold a shared vision of elevating collective well-being. That’s a hefty task, so we start by authentically showing up for ourselves and our communities. 

What unique perspective or approach does your business bring to the wellness landscape in our community?

Collectively Well is grounded in Authentic Self Care and Real World Wellbeing, inspired in part by the words and work of Audre Lorde. “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare.” Authentic Self Care is self-care that’s self-aware. It’s anchored in a compassionate relationship with yourself and a commitment to the inner work that brings awareness to what your mind, body & spirit need. Bubble baths are wonderful but they’re nothing without boundaries. Real World Well-Being comes from embracing both the love & light and the dark & heavy aspects of the human experience. We acknowledge the oppressive systems that work against our well-being as the first step to taking our power back from them. Obviously, true collective well-being isn’t possible without policy change & systemic restructuring. We start by committing to unlearning so we can grow and evolve into new ways of living, individually and collectively. Both Authentic Self Care & Real World Well Being are the foundations for community care, the commitment to leveraging one’s privilege to uplift each other while balancing one’s needs. We soften the world we live in from within. 

Can you describe a specific example of how you have helped someone achieve their wellness goals?

Collectively Well’s signature program is “the course”, a twelve-week community breathwork experience to give you tools to connect your mind body, and spirit, space to reflect on your authentic self, and community support to cultivate a life that supports your well-being. Brooke, an alum of the course, shared they made more progress in the three-month program than in seven years of therapy. Holding space for people to deepen their self-awareness in order to show up with more compassion and devotion to themselves & their communities is personally such a gift. Other folks in that same group went on to build a safe loving relationship, find more peace & clarity through their spiritual practice, and model healthy emotional regulation to their kids. This work doesn’t just impact us today, it’s the foundation for the future of our society. The consistent combo of breathwork & community creates an empowering container for anyone looking for support in going deep on their healing and having fun doing it.  

Tell us about a challenge you’ve overcome in your personal or business journey.

When I discovered breathwork, it supported me in processing years of trauma while building a relationship with myself based on self-acceptance. Not gonna lie, I thought I found the key to both my own healing and everyone else’s too.  When my practice no longer brought the same clarity & peace, I was humbled right off my high horse. Not to mention, this was at the same time I was stepping into building out my private practice. The imposter syndrome was real. How was I supposed to market the power of a tool that wasn’t “working”for me anymore? Redefining my relationship with my breath led me to confront some hard truths: my self-acceptance was contingent on feeling “fixed.” The human experience isn’t a problem to solve. Healing is not linear. Wellness isn’t a destination. Embodying these lessons allowed me to expand the vision for my practice, creating collectively well to elevate a diverse range of modalities and practitioners, providing the community with different tools for different times. My private practice is focused on empowering people to build a supportive relationship with their breath and themselves, regardless of how they’re feeling. The breath is sacred, we don’t need to turn it into more work. 

What advice would you give to someone on their wellness journey?

Focus on self-awareness & acceptance before getting carried away with self-optimization & improvement. Learn your human design, get to know your inner child & your shadow in order to meet your authentic Self. Work with your shame instead of trying to self-care your way out of it. As humans, our capacity to change and grow is beautiful AND who we are is not a problem to solve. Get intimate with it all. No one has ever strong-armed themselves into long-term lifestyle & behavior changes. Find your community, set your boundaries & build a life that supports your healing. Let softness & compassion guide your journey. Living intentionally doesn’t mean taking life seriously either. Be playful, let it be fun, and let yourself be silly. 

How can our local community better support the success of our local wellness businesses?

The San Diego Wellness community embodies true community care. Nakita Valerio formed my favorite definition of the term: the commitment to leveraging one’s privilege to uplift others while balancing one’s needs. Doing our own work to unlearn societal conditioning & compassionately recognize our own blind spots is necessary for us to hold accessible & inclusive community spaces for the San Diego community. Showing up with grounded vulnerability and keeping each other off of pedestals is how we learn and grow together. It’s so inspiring to be in a community with practitioners passionate about sharing their gifts. The more we lean into exchanges to take care of each other, the more we can co-create a society that prioritizes well-being. 

Ready to work with Shannon? Get in touch!

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