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My name is: Vanessa Cornell telling the truth.

My whole life practice is about being brutally honest about the ups, downs, messiness and beauty of my life. When you meet me, you might think I’m an Upper East Side mother of five living a perfect, shiny life. I’m working to break down those assumptions that people make based on appearances. No one’s life is perfect. We’re all just living messy lives, trying our best, no exceptions.

I’m talking about: Nushu Group, a place to simply share what’s on your mind and in your heart. It’s a place where you don’t have to pretend, where you can pull down the veils. It’s a place to find friendship and connection and love, and possibly even yourself.

You can find it at:

Before I began this work, I was: So desperately disconnected and lonely, so deeply unhappy despite all the outside appearances of a perfect life, that all I wanted to do is escape from it. Looking back, I realize I had so much to be grateful for: I had five healthy kids, an amazing husband and wonderful friends, and I was ready to throw it all away! I realized that it wasn’t my circumstances, but the fact that I wasn’t being true to myself that was creating this feeling of desperation. Nushu Group was a way for me to connect back to myself, to remember who I was and to live my life fully. Now, I live joyfully and intensely and with purpose. My circumstances are the same, but I’ve changed. Nushu Group changed my life, and I’m committed to passing along this gift to others.

What inspired me to launch it was: After listening and learning from all of the best minds in the self-help and spiritual growth world, I saw that what was clearly missing was a modality devoted to simply holding space, with zero judgment and zero fixing. Just a space quiet enough to hear yourself think, to tap into your own wisdom and to just feel loved for being you.

How it works is: You meet in an intimate circle of 8-10 people with a certified Nushu Group facilitator. After establishing and agreeing to group guidelines designed to keep everyone safe, you are invited to journal on prompts and then share your reflections with the group. No one will respond. No one will give you advice. No one will judge you. Whatever you share will be received with love and compassion.

What makes it special is: It’s so rare to find a space where no one is trying to fix you or come up with a solution to your problems. We’re in this culture where we feel like if we’re not actively doing something, proactively helping, offering advice, we’re failing our friends. In this space, you get to just be with what you’re thinking and feeling. It’s such a relief to know that you can just get it all out and not worry about how others will respond. There is a magic that happens when space is created for you to just hear yourself speak something out loud. We underestimate how much insight and clarity we can receive because, culturally, we’ve hardly had a chance to hear ourselves in that way.

One thing you can’t miss is: A chance to sign up for our Fall Nushu Group Series! You can sign up here.

My favorite secret detail is: I’ve watched deep, lifelong friendships emerge from Nushu Group. It’s so incredible that it brings tears to my eyes.

For me, what it means to feel grounded is: To live my truth every day, to be in internal alignment and integrity, where my thoughts, actions and energy all point me in the direction of my truth.

Grounding is so important because: When the going gets tough, as it inevitably will, a connection to self, to earth, to all that is, will help you navigate through it.

This can help you live your process (and get grounded) because: When you know who you are and are deeply connected to your truth, nothing can shake you.

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