A Self Love Prescription For V Day

Here’s to falling in love … with YOU! Tea alchemist and serial optimist Alicia Henry delivers a self love prescription for your V Day. Illustration: Soleil Ignacio

 

Valentine’s Day …  Whether you’re single or in a partnership, this commercial “holiday” can bring on a wave of negative feelings. Some of us become plagued with thoughts of loneliness, heartache, and even begin to question our self-worth. But there is hope for turning this day (and everyday) into a positive, love-filled experience. And you don’t have to search any further than yourself.

Loving yourself is the most vital action you can take towards your overall well-being and vitality in this life. Not only will you come to the realization that you are a divine being, but you’ll begin to draw others into your life who are also aligned with nourishing their souls and evolving into the best version of themselves. A beautiful ripple effect of LOVE. 

Like any new skill, self-love takes practice, determination, flexibility, and patience. It’s a practice we have to cultivate. This V Day is the perfect time to renew (or begin) your own self-love affair and I’ve concocted a self-love prescription to get you started. Here’s to falling in love with YOU!

Photo: Danny Lane

1. Morning Gratitude + Affirmation Ritual: Our mornings can make or break the rest of our day, so upon waking, take a moment to acknowledge 10 things that you are grateful for. This could mean being thankful for your soft pillow that you lay your head upon, or your two healthy feet that work tirelessly to get you around all day long! This is the first step to simply becoming grateful for who you are.

*Pro Tip: I love to cleanse my space before beginning my morning ritual. My favorite way of doing this is to light Palo Santo—the aroma is sweet and soothing, and it opens my space for newness.

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2. Solo Date: When we’re feeling lonely, the first thing we tend to do is run away from the loneliness and fill the void with social engagements. Friends are definitely a major component to our happiness, but if we can’t be happy solo then our social circles become a mere distraction from ourselves. Try turning inwards. You may actually love what you find!

*Pro Tip: A solo date could just mean reading an empowering book, like Clarissa Pinkola Estés’ classic Women Who Run With The Wolves.

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3. Write Yourself a Love Letter: Letter writing is becoming a lost art, but that doesn’t mean romance is dead. Write yourself a love letter that you can open up any day you need it.  The letter can include recognizing your greatest strengths, honoring what you believe makes you unique, and forgiveness for any negative feelings about yourself.

*Pro Tip: Create a romantic letter writing experience by lighting candles, burning incense, and using beautiful stationery. To get your creative juices flowing, check out this beautiful poem by the Romantic poet, William Wordsworth. Wordsworth describes his beloved as “a creature not too bright or good.” Who’s perfect anyway

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4. Meditate: Our minds are constantly buzzing, and meditation is an invaluable and truly intimate practice that brings us closer to ourselves, our intuition, our truth, and what really matters in life (to us). Even if it’s 10 minutes per day, give this peaceful, quiet gift to yourself.  

*Pro Tip: If you’re new to meditation, there are some awesome apps that will help guide you!

5. Practice Forgiveness: It’s all too easy to get caught up in the mistakes we’ve made, things we wish were different, our so-called imperfections, and other stories that we’ve created and hold against ourselves. But if it weren’t for our mishaps and wrong-turns, we would never evolve. Be tender and forgive yourself for anything that you’re holding onto that doesn’t serve your happiness.

*Pro Tip: The raspberry rose colored Rhodochrosite crystal (above) is known to activate the heart chakra, and promote self-worth and forgiveness. 

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6. Dance: Want a ticket to instant joy? Dancing is a way to connect to our essential life force. Don’t worry about what you look like—just let loose and feel the music. Whether you’re dancing with friends, or using your hairbrush as a microphone in your bedroom, never stop dancing!

*Pro Tip: Start the solo party with my three favorite tunes for dancing by myself—Pat Benatar’s  Love is a Battlefield, Banarama’s Cruel Summer and of course, Whitney’s How Will I Know.

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7. Take a Sexy Selfie: And see yourself through the eyes of lust. Sexy selfies don’t need to be sent to a lover, they can also be sent to your friends! A girlfriend of mine recently started a thread with her friends’ sexiest selfie submissions—it’s been such a beautiful, safe, body-positive experience.

*Pro Tip: The piece of lingerie I’m loving most at the moment is this black bodysuit by True&Co.

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8. Self-Care Spa: Taking the time to pamper your skin, hair, and nails is a rejuvenating self-care ritual that’ll give you that little extra pep in your step. 

*Pro Tip: In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, here’s an easy recipe for a truly decadent body scrub: In a mason jar mix 1 cup coffee grounds (just scoop ‘em off the bottom of your french press—no waste, yay!) with ½ cup coconut oil and ¼ cup raw cane sugar. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil and you’re good to scrub! I find that vanilla and/or essential rose oil are great accompaniments to the awakening coffee aroma. Keep your scrub in the refrigerator when you aren’t using it. Enjoy, beauty!

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9. Rest Sweetly: Never underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep. When we skimp on sleep, it directly affects our mental well-being. We wake up feeling groggy, our digestive and immune systems are thrown off, and we’re easily spun into negative thinking. Create a peaceful sleeping experience for yourself with kind bedding, a dark room, and a no-electronics policy.

*Pro Tip: Whenever I have trouble falling asleep, I add some lavender infused essential oil to my third eye and lower palms. I cup my palms over my face and breathe in slowly. When you focus on your breath and begin to slow your breathing, you’ll simultaneously slow your heart rate and bring yourself to a restful place.

Naked Sage Tea’s “I Care Deeply” Blend

Alicia Henry is an Herbal Alchemist  and Founder of Naked Sage Tea, an organic tea company based in Venice, CA. A serial optimist, she is aptly part of the team that achieved The International Day of Happiness, which became a resolution of the United Nations. Follow Alicia and Naked Sage Tea on Instagram for more romance, adventure, and sweet self-love. 

A SENSORY EXPLORATION OF PISCES SEASON

Welcome to The 12th Sense – a luscious monthly exploration of the current cosmic energies for your sign, by Cara George & Bess Matassa of Mojave Rising. THIS MONTH: create an altar for Pisces season…

We often speak of the Pisces/Virgo axis with a world-weary sense of psychic overwhelm; these highly sensitized signs are associated with the hollowed out, solitary feeling that we’re all just miniature specks. Yet one of the most sparkling, sunken-ship treasures of this axis is the capacity for these signs to elevate and transform our everyday experience.

Pisces season asks us to find pageantry in the minutiae and the slow unfolding of our lives. And with the North Node and Jupiter now in Virgo, Saturn in Sagittarius squaring the Pisces New Moon on March 8, and Mars primed to enter Sag territory on March 5, we’re being asked to activate a proprietary blend of pragmatic mysticism in order to find a different way to pray: one that allows for a sensuous seamlessness between our higher selves and our everyday environment.

And so this month, we invite you to set up an altar using seemingly frivolous objects, and to mix them with the most obviously sacred and self-consciously important. From boudoir vanities to austere, sacrificial shrines, we can dialogue with the divine using lipstick tubes, found objects, and sacred tomes alike.

Watch in wonder as your steak knives, lingerie, old love letters, and spice cabinet being to whisper that they’re worth believing in and that you’re worth believing in, too. And in the midnight hour, you’ll start to feel your own power in all its glamorous, gentle, ferocious divinity.  

Keyword: “Veneration”

Song Lyrics of the Month: “Life is a mystery/Everyone must stand alone/I hear you call my name/And it feels like home”

Now click here for a Piscean Playlist and read on for our tips for creating an everyday altar for Pisces season by sign.

 

:: Aries ::
Pisces season invites you to experiment with trusting in your potent, singular identity without having to prove it, and to calm your passion for friction as you revel in a strength borne through soft-focus edges. Select a precious object that you consider to be fiercely, distinctively “you” and experiment with placing it under a piece of fabric or inside a box as you move towards a faith in its inevitable survival – without visible proof. Throw down a symbol of strength or toughness and infuse this item with gloss and glitter. Think hot pink boxing gloves or a tool belt filled with feathers.

:: Taurus ::
Pisces season invites you to loosen up and play with the concept of security as you widen your field of value. Place an object that you treasure deeply next to one you consider meaningless and challenge yourself to see the worth of each. Celebrate your love of sensuous feasting with some Piscean synesthesia; mix a scent, taste, and color in a textured vessel to create a potion that feeds all facets of olfactory and visual delight. Think lavender ice cream or a rose margarita served up in a vintage Old Hollywood gold-leafed goblet.

:: Gemini ::
Pisces season invites you to celebrate the world’s dazzling array of information sources as you revel in the possibility of not having to understand it all. Place books in languages you don’t speak, maps of places you’ve never been, and menus of cuisines you’ve yet to sample on your altar as you honor global wares in all their jet-setting mystery. Take a walk and discover a found object of unknown provenance to add to your spread. Think Basque rock lyrics, maps of Pompeii, or an eccentric plant you pass every day without knowing its genus.

:: Cancer ::
Pisces season invites you to loosen your highly personalized grip, and to practice honoring feeling nature of everything that surrounds you. Choose a souvenir from childhood or a deeply charged object from a former emotional situation and experiment with blurring its boundaries; place it alongside brand new objects, melt it down or burn it, and venerate its remains. Or leave a treasured object exposed to light, wind, rain, and snow on a balcony or near an open window and watch its gentle erosion and changes through time. Think everything from exes’ love letters set aflame to Malibu Barbie through the seasons.

 

:: Leo ::
Pisces season invites you to challenge attachment to your tastes, and to rediscover a sumptuous internal fantasy life that needs no hook in the external world. Place jewels or makeup on your altar that aren’t quite your style, or look for an otherwise “ugly” object you can recognize each day for its unexpected, evolving shades of glamour. Pen letters to yourself or to an imaginary lover as you move towards your passionately internal world. Think those earmuffs from Aunt Linda you thought you hated, or a sweet message to your 5th grade self decked out in sparkly decals.

:: Virgo ::
Pisces season invites you to expand your love of divine detail and order as you practice embracing the gorgeous messiness of mixing, matching, blending, and fusing. Place a collection of essential oils on your altar and experiment with instinctually mixing them into a fragrant concoction. Or spend the afternoon decanting newly discovered wines in preparation for a tasting party that celebrates both individual flavor profiles and taste collisions. Think frankincense meets orange blossom, and full-bodied Spanish leathery red meets crushed-seashell Loire white.

:: Libra ::
Pisces season invites you to sample in-betweenness rather than having to choose, and to wander through shifting perspectives as you soften your search for the ideal with tender non-judgment. Play with the visual as you move your altar to different heights and lights and watch for changes in the shadows throughout the day. Adorn your altar with candles in recognition of the hybrid interplay between states of solidity and liquid. Think melted wax at midnight and firm, luminous clarity by daybreak.

:: Scorpio ::
Pisces season invites you to mix the intensity of penetrating and purging with the sumptuously tender act of allowing. Place an object on your altar that you’ve been hoarding but which causes you pain to look at. Repurpose this pain as you lay your object atop a luxe satin pillow, or wrap it in your favorite fluffy sweater or decadent piece of lingerie. Watch the boundaries between pain and pleasure dissolve. Think that caustic performance review shredded atop a heap of blue-violet hydrangeas, or purifying that garter belt gifted by the one that got away in preparation for a girl’s night out.

:: Sagittarius ::
Pisces season invites you to stoke your adventurous wildfire without having to externally seek in the physically nomadic world. Let the sounds of the ambient environment form the backdrop for an altar peppered with woodsy incense as you watch scent and smoke travel through space without having to leave your room. Think tripping out to the sounds of traffic on a regular weeknight as you burn Palo Santo and tobacco.

:: Capricorn ::
Pisces season invites you to relax into the sensation that not everything has to be accomplished or take effort. Place the remnants of a project that’s partially complete on your altar and honor where you are in the process. Bookend it with a jar of sand as you realize that you don’t have to build a castle to enjoy the shifting, soft sensations of all these tiny grains. Think rainbowed sand art placed in the bathroom you’re mid-renovation.

:: Aquarius ::
Pisces season invites you to break down rational systems of thought and to move towards the realm of irrational sensation as you blend your radical streak with Piscean mystical dreaming. Take an object apart and value its constituent pieces in a place of prominence. Or construct an altar to items that make no “sense” together but which carry an intuitively emotional charge. Think Ikea furniture instructions surrounded by talismans gifted from friends, and wondrously weird snapshots of your past and potentially future selves.

 :: Pisces ::
Invite yourself to explore the Virgo sitting opposite as you ask your slippery fishies to venerate the process of discernment, boundary construction, and divining what is singularly precious from the sea of possibility. Strip your altar down and practice choosing just one valued object from your bottom-drawer jumble of treasures and trash. Or add every precious item possible and then ritualistically remove them over the course of a week until only one beloved piece remains. Think fistfuls of plastic jewels from that lost weekend in New Orleans slowly untangling themselves, or a fishbowl containing a solo geode exposed to the light.

To find out more about Cara George and Bess Matassa and their work, visit: MojaveRising.com

ON CLOUD NINE: 2016 NUMEROLOGY

2016 numerology means we’ve entered a 9 Universal Year – where conclusions, letting go, surrender, loss, and transformation are key themes, says Felicia Bender.

 

One of the reasons we simply can’t resist making New Year’s Resolutions is because we’re feeling a very real, very profound shift in energy from one year to the next. By the Numbers, it’s undeniable.

The number for each Universal Year is like the landscape or terrain we’re driving through all year, the state or country we’re driving through on our annual “road trip.” And everyone on the planet will be feeling the energy related to this particular number during the entire year.

You calculate the Universal Year by simply adding the numbers in the current year (in this case, 2016) together like this:

2016 = 2 + 0 + 1 + 6 = 9

So the 2016 numerology makes this a number 9 Universal Year.

All of us begin feeling this energy starting January 1, 2016 and it’ll end on December 31, 2016.

So what about this 9 Universal Year?

Close your eyes and think back to 2008 (global financial crisis, anyone?). What were we collectively doing then? The reason I ask is because together we’ll be closing out the cycle that started in 2008—meaning, we’ll be evaluating and wrapping up what we started during that particular year because it was a 1 Universal Year. The 1 Universal Year is the start of a cycle—all about new beginnings. 2016 is a 9 Universal Year, which is the end of a cycle—all about completions.

Everyone on the planet will experience a year where conclusions, letting go, surrender, loss, and transformation are key themes. We can feel this, can’t we? From world politics to the microcosmic detail of our personal lives, it’s simply not business as usual right now.

2015 was the beginning of an intensly transformational Universal Year cycle. I call it a three-year “push” time (the Universal Year Cycle 8-9-1) where all of us will be met with challenges forcing transformation—pushing our lives into the next level of development and evolution, personally and for the planet as a whole. I keep seeing end-of-year postings on social media about how people are wishing “good riddance to bad rubbish” to the year 2015. This year was a challenging and intense year all around.

2015 tested all of us in the realms of personal power—it insisted that we stand up, step into our empowerment, and get it together with the material aspects of our lives. It was a year for financial gain (or loss) and was quite demanding on our time and energy. Everything was amplified in 2015. We were all being tested (again and again and again) in order to clarify who we are and what we want in our lives. Then it was the time to follow that up with action – whether that meant leaving things that weren’t working for us, or expanding our scope, taking some calculated risks, and moving into the “real us” with decisive action.

2016 is not the time to push, push, push. It’s the time to go back to the future (so to speak) and take inventory of the past—make amends, forgive, say your good-byes, and let go.

This is the year for surrender. It’s truly the time to place the oars with which we’ve been furiously paddling our life’s boat and give them a rest—to settle back and go with the current. It’ll take us where we need to land—despite the discomfort (if not downright terror) of not knowing the final destination. After all, there might be some rapids, waterfalls, shallow points, and maybe even some leeches and alligators along the way!

Handing over control and trusting a Higher Power instead of clinging to our Individual Will is the ultimate challenge of the 9 Universal Year—while at the same time moving forward with right action. Surrendering doesn’t mean sitting around and waiting for stuff to happen. If we’re ready, willing, and able to let go and move into a new, more highly evolved state of being, then 2016 is the year where dreams can manifest instantly. When there is no resistance, the full force of transformation has nothing to collide against.

When this happens, the beauty is in the breakdown. The butterfly is released from the chrysalis and can express itself fully and completely. Just imagine the transformation that could occur if, collectively, we could let go of what is no longer serving us and create a new paradigm. That’s what 2016 offers—the supporting energy to get rid of the old and make room for the new. This will happen across the board – in the world political spectrum and in our daily personal lives.

On the other end of the spectrum, the destructive tendencies of the 9 energy have to do with stubbornly and myopically hanging on for dear life to everything from the past (the comfort zone residing in suspended animation) — like a mausoleum of our own making. The whole idea that everything was better “back in the day” can be the ultimate caveat to progressing forward.

Clinging to a nostalgic past is one aspect of 9 energy that keeps us wallowing in quicksand. And then we wonder why nothing’s moving forward and life is clunking along as if we’re still driving a Model T in the age of hovercraft.

The magic of the 9 Universal Year won’t be fully evident until the dust has settled and we collectively create new systems to replace the old, outdated, or demolished ones.

2016 will demand our unabashed trust that what’s going is meant to go, even when there’s nothing solidly tangible to replace it with yet. The experiences gleaned in 2016 are a catalyst for global change and transformation with a humanitarian focus. The vibration of the 9 is highly creative and I daresay the Arts will be instrumental in this global change and transformation we’re working toward.

The number 9 is an innately “spiritual” vibration and, when we experience it, the challenge is in embodying and acting upon the constructive elements of all the numbers. That’s a big order to fill!

So 2016 is prodding all of us to take the lead in our lives (1) using love and diplomacy (2). We will be offered opportunities to communicate with a sense of joyful self-expression (3) while using our good sense, setting up a plan, and following through with hard work (4). “Freedom” can sought with focused discipline (5) and we’ll need to pay special attention to our domestic relationships and take on some added responsibility (6). It’s also about delving into our spirituality (7) while taking charge of our material existence (8).  And then wrapping it all up in a humanitarian bow! (9)