Time to read: 7 minutes
Today we introduce you to the Founder of RAW Residency Cristina Sosa.
Cristina, tell me about RAW Residency, what is it and how did it all begin?
In 2016, I was done with going to events where people were either in an Instagram frenzy or there was no depth or connection really. I wanted to bring people together in order to connect on a deeper level and feel a sense of belonging.
People often ask me “RAW Residency? Do you guys just eat raw food all day?”. It’s not about that at all! The RAW for us means to really just go back to your essence, your creativity, your flow, your being, whatever that looks like for you.
It all began in Miami, first with RAW Talks, where we would speak about anything from money, sex, relationships, beliefs that are taboo and limit us in so many ways. And from there, we created RAW Experiences, including colour therapy, sound healing, breathwork, family constellations and much more. We would do events in the coolest places in Miami, such as the Soho House and Miami Design District, and had residency programmes in places like the 1 Hotel South Beach and W Hotel South Beach. We also had perks such as beach service at a W Hotel South Beach, three months credit on Spotify, and discounts in many places in Miami. We did our share of giving back with our partnership at Lotus House, a shelter home for women and children. After just one year, it became an actual membership-based community, where people were seeking a sense of GROWTH, MOVEMENT and CONNECTION – not just having them at one event and then going our separate ways.
Now with the pandemic, we do everything online. We realized that our community’s needs are constantly changing. There is a need for continuous programming, so we now offer over 20 events a month to facilitate a sense of being at ease, belonging, and to reprogram our minds, so we can free ourselves from our limitations and get closer to our RAW essence. Some of them are fifteen-minute events to come together, boost our energy and feel good. Others are a workshop or a book club, where we discuss books chapter by chapter weekly. We truly are a bridge for people’s growth, movement and connection.
It’s really beautiful to hear all that emerged with RAW Residency. Could you tell us in your own words what makes Raw Residency unique?
What really makes us different is the feeling of belonging, warmth and nurturing, it’s a unique feeling that you get when you are part of the RAW family, no matter who you are, no matter where you are or which part of your journey you find yourself in. You feel a sense of home-coming, it’s your place where you can reside within, without any judgment, guilt or shame.
Beautiful! How many people are in the community and how do you get involved in it?
Right now we have over one hundred subscribed members. We started with an application process but soon discarded it to make it easier for people to access this community which can boost every aspect of their life, professionally, mentally, physically or emotionally. To get involved, you simply can go to rawresidency.com and become a member. However, it is not for everyone, it is for the willing! Those who are intentional about this type of experience.
And who is your classic member?
To be honest, we don’t have a specific demographic. We have more of a psycho-graphic. Rather than it being an actual age or type of person or gender, it’s more of a mentality, a true wish to keep on growing, evolving, seeking novelties that spark a sense of creativity and excitement; that’s what we offer to our members. We have members from twenty-two to fifty-something-year-olds and everybody’s spirits feel, well, forever young (laughs). We have new workshops every week, not just on one particular thing. One day it’s meditation, the next it’s a family constellation, and then the following day another different modality. So basically, it is for anyone willing to go on this journey we call life together, with ease, play, and a sense of belonging.
Looking into the different challenges you faced and overcame in this journey, can you share with us something you learned about yourself, or a particularly interesting outcome?
I think this whole last year has been a massive “journey” for everyone. To start with, professionally, I went from having a company where we were doing over 10 in person events a month, connecting with people in different parts of Miami, and being constantly stimulated by meeting and co-creating with new teams, to not being able to do any events at all. Our structure/model changed completely overnight. Luckily, we took the decision right away to go online, we had no time to think, just do.
At one point, I hit rock bottom, the situation was challenging. The only thing that kept me going was thinking of the members and constantly asking myself, how can I add value to them? That question alone was and continues to be my fuel.
On a personal level, where do I begin! I recently moved to Tulum, Mexico, and I’m still living and breathing the changes that came with this move right now.
I think, overall, the biggest lesson has been to ‘dance to the rhythm of my own music’, to truly redefine that rhythm, no matter what others think. To live an authentic “RAW” life, because when we truly live from that essence, our presence automatically liberates others.
What is the part of your work that you feel most engaged with?
People are the part of my work that I feel most engaged with. Seeing someone transform and liberate themselves in front of your eyes, that is priceless.
And looking into the future, when you connect with your vision, do you have a Mount Everest that you feel that one day, one way or another you want to reach?
My vision is to be the bridge for individuals to become more liberated, to be free of their limiting beliefs, and let go of the programming that holds them back and I think that is a Mount Everest in itself.
What inspired you to start RAW Residency? What are the key elements of your inspiration?
I started seeking from a young age. I did my first Vipassana Meditation retreat at around 19 or 20 years old, I was the youngest person there. And I remember reading the Power of Now around the same time, which changed the course of my “thinking”, such a deep message: observe your thoughts, be aware of your behaviour to change and reprogram yourself. At the time it felt taboo to discuss these things. So the inspiration for RAW was to create a space for people to find their authentic power and help them discover the tools they need in order to remember their RAW essence.
What iDiscover and the iDiscover community means to you?
In order to create something new and get different results, you need to rewire your brain and vibrate from a different place. I remember when I joined to do the iDiscover Core programme I was in a resentful state; I had just left a job that my whole being was associated with and it wasn’t until I completed the iDiscover Core programme that I achieved a shift in my perception. It was like “I took my single-colour glasses off to realise there were more colours” (one of my favourite metaphors), and I became grateful for my experience. I had the RAW idea before I started the programme, but it was that iDiscover shift that got me out of that funk and into creating not from a place of resentment but from a place of being.
Your best adventure ever was?
Wow I’ve had so many, it’s such a hard question! I actually think my best adventure ever is what I am living right now, having moved to Tulum and having recently donated most of my belongings, managing to live off things that can fit in one and a half suitcases.
The most beautiful place you’ve ever been to?
So many to pick from. I think places are beautiful because of the memories we create in them. So for the sake of picking one, I would say Bonaire. We used to have a beach house over there, and it’s where my favorite childhood memories are from.
What is a guilty pleasure?
Ahh it actually changes all the time. It used to be spoons filled with Nutella but nowadays it’s hard to tell… Oh wait! It’s actually a big pack of Vanilla Oreos from South America, you know not just one but the whole package!
My favorite quote is...
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. You playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
My favourite question is “Who are you becoming and what type of leader do you want to be?” These are at least the questions I have been asking myself lately.