MY MYSTICAL LIFE: LIFE LESSONS FROM THE ROAD

From Austin, TX, to the West Coast…it’s been a week of life lessons from the road.

:: MONDAY—WEDNESDAY::
Anybody who follows my Instagram feed will know the Pisces and I have been on a road-trip the past two weeks. Schedule: Austin—Marfa—Santa Fe—Sedona—Grand Canyon—Vegas—Palm Springs—Joshua Tree—LA. And it has been a TRIP—meaning the daily checking off of bucket list items, AND the deep and thorough examination of the contents of my head / current situation.

As I’m back in NY for a few days this week (yep there’s more to come!), I wanted to take the opportunity to record a few spiritual lessons from the road. Here goes:

Even your soul project / true calling / dharma work can become a ball and chain if you let it. In fact, there’s perhaps an even stronger likelihood of it taking over your entire life than a “regular” job where you clock in and out every day, since it’s what you were “born to do.” Like breathing. And so it feels natural to do it ALL THE TIME. Getting away from my desk and onto the open road gave me some invaluable perspective on how, with so many projects bubbling (book, sweatshirt line, live events, Club SÖDA NYC, etc!) I have allowed The Numinous to become my everything this year, to the point that there was no space in my life for…ME. Let alone for it to still feel like fun. This realization hit has I found myself trying to get a WiFi signal hiking somewhere in the Sedona red rocks, and suffering extreme bouts of anxiety at the number of unread emails that were building up while I “wasted time” checking out the Grand Canyon. I mean WT actual F?

A road trip is the perfect crucible from some honest self-reflection. Since your driving buddy essentially acts as a giant mirror for all your shit—kind of like your higher self observes your ego mind running rings around itself in meditation. In my case, the Pisces was the voice of my higher self—my fretting over where to do the conference call I had scheduled in TWO DAYS TIME, my fearful monkey mind trying to stay in “control” as my external environment shifted on an hourly basis. “You don’t have to do any of it if you don’t want to,” he reminded me. “You chose all this.” And what a fucking privilege too! The key insight being, that if I chose this work, then it is absolutely in my power to un-choose any bits that are no longer working for me. Like responding to every email I get within the hour. And same goes for all of us, in ANY situation, actually. YOU get to chose where your energy goes.

I do not need any more crystals, animal totems, oracle decks, or bunches of sage. A.k.a. all the trappings of “spiritual materialism”—a term that’s come up a few times lately, and so obviously was asking to be pondered. Not to mention my go-to on every stop of our trip being to seek out the best esoteric book store in town—which began to feel a bit like bypassing the art and going straight to the museum shop. As you can imagine, my house is FULL of spiritual paraphernalia—a Ganesh here, a clutch of crystals there. And it’s all very pretty. But I can’t honestly say I feel a true connection to most of it. And what become so clear on my trip was that all that “stuff,” for me, is simply a collection of talismans for the real spiritual work (the “art,” if you like) that’s happening on the inside. What I would define as the honest self-inquiry into WHO I AM and WHAT I NEED be the most fully me—as in, the truest expression of my spiritual self. Example: a healer I worked with recently told me a could use some Malachite in my life. But as I found myself returning lump after lump of the pretty green rock to its shelf in various esoteric stores along our route, I was also coming to the realization that what I truly need to develop spiritually is less time responding to emails, and more discernment on where I’m placing my energy (see points no. 1 & 2).

My email / work addiction is way worse than my alcohol addiction. As I explained when I wrote out my sober curious story a couple of weeks ago, my path to a more sober life over the past few years has meant a lot of sober firsts. And besides a few beers at the Austin City Limits festival on the first night of our trip, this has been my first ever (well, since the age of 15 or so I guess) sober vacation. “Holiday drinking” had always been my sobriety hall-pass (“I’ll only drink on holiday”), and so stepping outside of this has allowed for plenty of opportunity to witness my alcohol cravings and where they come from. And—ta-da!—the majority of the time I find myself fantasizing about a cocktail, it’s to flick the switch from work to play mode. Or rather, numb out the constant desire to…numb out with work and email! Being off my laptop has meant being fully present with my (not always exactly carefree, vacay-ready) self—showing me the extent to which I use work / being productive and busy, as a way to NOT just be with me. Which is what vacations are all about…which is why I now see I always held booze (believing it to be the most effective off-switch from work) as a vacay staple.

Hugging trees is the best. The hippies knew it, and every time I remember to do it I’m reminded how good and grounding, how calm, regenerative, and holy it feels to put your arms around a tree and really squeeze. Cut to Joshua Tree, where I found myself doing some filming with my boo Alexandra Roxo for a VERY EXCITING PROJECT (yes, another one!!) we’re launching on your asses next month. At one point, Roxo whips off her shirt and grabs the nearest trunk—the naked part not so natural for me, but my own tree-hug just as heartfelt. Our mutual friend Madeline has got into it lately too, “and she says it’s like doing a drug deal,” Alexandra joked. “In the city, you have to look in all directions and then go for it while you’re sure no-body’s watching.” Well, I say screw that! Who cares if they see? Tree-hugger and proud. A part of me I’ve been happy to re-connect with on the road.

Scenes from The Softer Image. Behind me, there was wild dancing and kava shots…

:: THURSDAY ::
I have to make some space here for beautiful Luke Simon’s nightlife experiment The Softer Image, a substance-free “high-vibe lounge” that debuted in NYC tonight. So happy I was back in town for this!! Said vibey “highs” were supplied by the equally divine Sah D’Simone‘s alchemical elixirs and tonics, a group trance to kick the evening off by talented hypnotherapist Shauna Cummins, and THE BEST old school housey soundtrack from DJ Bryce Hackford. There were hugs, wild dancing, impromptu reiki sessions, and my clock read 11.11pm before I knew it. Held in a Chinatown loft, maybe it was the kava shots, but the feel I kept getting was 4am-loved-up-after-party—only it all ended by midnight and everybody was completely sober. Thank you, Universe (and Luke), for hearing my pleas—and delivering a new way to switch off from work and have FUN. No alcohol required!

:: FRIDAY ::
I hate the rain. But today I love the rain. Since I’m my own boss, I shall be choosing to mainly work from underneath my duvet. Which will mostly mean reading the early proofs of Guru Jagat’s new book Invincible Living, ahead of my live Q&A with her at tomorrow’s Numinous Presents event in Brooklyn. I bet she has a thing or two to say about email addiction…since Kundalini yoga was developed by Yogi Bhajan as an antidote to what he saw (way back in the sixties) as the onset of “technology sickness.” Intrigued? There a still a few spots left—click here to discover more and sign up. 

 

MY MYSTICAL LIFE: A YOGIC IMMERSION, AND A POET WHO DIDN’T KNOW IT

An Immersion with my yoga preachers, an animal spirit out of balance, and an epic journey of self-discovery…

New pals! @welltodomag @thevoguetrip and @mind_body_bowl

:: MONDAY & TUESDAY ::
I’m dedicating some extra space today to THE most incredible weekend with my friends at lululemon. “The Immersion” was a four-day experience in Austin, TX, hosted by lulu ambassadors Gabrielle Bernstein and Baron Baptiste—creator of mega transformational practice, Baptiste Yoga. And it came at the perfect time for me, since 2016 has been the year I’ve finally found a dedicated yoga routine, but have found myself yearning for ways to tap the spiritual side of the practice. As in, use it as a way to commune with the Universal oneness, y’all!

Well of course this is Gabby’s whole jam with her Kundalini practice, which she described to us (50 of the most switched-on, diverse and interesting disrupter-entrepreneur types I’ve had the privilege of spending some dedicated hang-time with—and what an HONOR to be numbered among them!) as bringing “physicality to my spiritual practice.” A long-time meditator, “I was always like, ‘how do I get my body involved?'” And I may not be the most dedicated K-head (“K” as in Kundalini, obvs), but every time I do practice I can be guaranteed some pretty out-there downloads from the energy I call “spirit.”

Gabs getting her Kundalini on

And then there was Baron, a prime example of a breed I’ve named the “yoga preachers.” Not in the sense that he’s preaching a certain way to be or dogma to believe. If anything, his philosophy centers around the concept of “santosha”—sanskrit for something like: “satisfaction with the status quo…tinged with curiosity for where this could go.” But he’s one of those teachers with a sixth sense about precisely the right words to deliver at precisely the right moment in the practice to unlock the door to the divine. That is, to an understanding of your Self as a limitless being of pure light consciousness. Hallelujah!

Baron Baptiste: the preacher man himself

:: WEDNESDAY ::
A also brought along my new Wild Unknown Animal Spirit Deck, a.k.a. my favorite new toy. The card I pulled for guidance about my time at The Immersion? The Firefly—a flighty, creative energy that burns super-bright, but can easily burn out. Which sounds exactly like me—a major introvert—in full-on retreat mode. The suggestion to bring this energy into balance? “Write a poem.” Which I’ve actually never done before, but which has rapidly become my favorite thing! Kim Krans’s practical tips are one of the best things about the deck. Have you been using yours yet? I’d love to hear what you think.

:: THURSDAY ::
So Ellen Degeneres is a secret Numi. Um, going through the research for a recent interview I did with her uncovered the following evidence: she came out after a trip to spiritual development center Esalen, where, “What came up was: ‘would they still love me if I was gay?’ It made me feel ashamed that I was pretending to be something else, just to make people like me”; she’s a long-time advocate of Transcendental Meditation – “when your computer goes crazy, you just shut it down and when you turn it on, it’s okay again. That’s what meditation is for me”; AND in 2010 she founded a record company called eleveneleven. #materialgirlmysticalworld

…oh and she’s 99% #vegan

:: FRIDAY ::
You guys—I’m so so close to handing in the final manuscript for my book! And writing it has been the most epic journey of self-discovery, something I was reminded of today when I re-worked the intro I wrote as part of my original proposal waaaay back in early 2015. From the overall tone, to my knowledge and understanding of all things numinous, the process crystalized exactly how much I’ve grown in the past 18 months—not least as a result of me literally living what I’ve been writing about. Which bodes well for the impact the finished result could have on YOUR lives, dear potential readers! Safe to say I’m fully psyched to share my baby with y’all next year.

SXSW SPIRIT GUIDE: 36-HOURS IN AUSTIN

Yee-haw, here comes the annual music and culture mash-up that is Austin’s SXSW festival. But there’s a whole other side to the town that’s more hippie than hipster (in a good way). Here’s our recipe for a weekend of self-discovery  and spiritual hi-jinx in the Portland of the South…

SATURDAY

9AM BLACK SWAN YOGA

The girls who run this donation based studio ($10-$15 suggested, $7 minimum) made a grainy, black and white freaking yogic music video as the intro to their website. All classes – Beginner, Power, Sweaty and Flow – take place in a 90-degree heated room, and if you can’t get to one of the four Austin locations there are even online classes to do. We suggest kicking off your Austin tour with the 9am Power class taught by Adam M at the Downtown studio. Set to a soundtrack of hip-hop, reggae, and, um, tango; “The idea is that we’re working ‘towards’ being the best version of ourselves and having some fun doing it,” he says.

Blackswanyoga.com

11AM JUICELAND

Now it’s obviously juice o’clock, and with seven locations dotted throughout Austin this is the place to get your greens on. We say go straight for the hard stuff and make your selection from the “Next Level” menu. How about a Cold Shower (cucumber, parsley, mint, watermelon, lime, salt) to cool you down after that hot yoga session? Or if you really need waking up, the Xtra Holla Pain Yo! (jalepeno, garlic, carrot, orange, cilantro, lime, salt) should do the trick. They also do smoothies and soups, and there’s a vegan, gluten free “Functionally Good Food” menu too.

Juiceland.com

12 NOON THE HERB BAR

You’re invited to switch off your mobile phone before you enter this magical mystery emporium, which, open since 1986, looks like Bilbo Baggins hobbit cave with its little red door almost buried behind the ivy bush that covers the front of the building. Inside, you’ll find everything from herbal tea blends and massage oils to locally produced natural beauty products and remedies, astro paraphernalia, crystals, prayer flags and wind chimes, all served up by super-friendly owner Twila Dawn Willis. Yep, it’s basically Numi retail heaven.

Theherbbar.com

1PM UNCOMMON OBJECTS

 

 

There’s plenty more magic to be found at this Austin stalwart, but rather than try to describe the kind of treasures a root around this sprawling space might uncover, we repeat for you their manifesto; “We relish the time worn and well loved. We are crazy about genuine patina. We cherish folk arts and parlor crafts from around the world. We reflect the melting pot that is the American experience. We adore ingenious repair. We honor beauty found in unexpected places. We are inspired by the joy found in serendipity.” And seriously, where else are you going to find a skate board that doubles up as a ouija?

Uncommonobjects.com

2PM MR NATURAL

There’s A LOT of amazing vegetarian food in Austin, but we’re sending you to this meat-free take on a traditional Tex Mex joint for a couple of reasons. 1) It comes highly recommended from Twila at the Herb Bar. 2) They do an ENTIRE GLUTEN FREE MENU. 3) There’s an yoga studio attached where they offer a ‘spiritual Hatha’ practise. And, maybe most importantly, 4) They produce a huge assortment of insane wheat / sugar / dairy / etc free cakes and pastries out of the on-site bakery.

MrNatural-austin.com

5PM SPARTAN

This ridiculously hip lifestyle boutique is essentially what the Numinous would be if we had a store (now there’s an idea…) Owner Currie Person has curated THE chicest collection of spiritually aware fashion, jewellery and homewares, while some new arrivals for spring include a crazy cool tie-dye leather bag from Creatures of Comfort, a selection of vintage Andean blanket rugs, this set of Bing Bang skull studs and the great felt hat by Janessa Leone pictured here.

Spartan-shop.com 

8PM CHEER-UP CHARLIE’S

With kombucha on tap and the MOST delicious vegan food truck parked out back, this indoor-outdoor bar / live music venue is a one-stop healthy hedonism shop. They also serve fresh pressed juice cocktails, while a parachute canopy covering the patio creates an other-worldly, that-bar-from-Star Wars kinda vibe. Oh, and check out the rad décor on the dance floor! Who needs ‘shrooms with all this trippy black light s*** going on?

Cheerupcharlies.com

12.30AM STARRY EYES

If you can drag yourself away from the fun times at Charlie’s (see above), Starry Eyes – described as “an occult tale of ambition, possession and the true cost of fame,” is being screened as part of the official SXSW schedule. Following the (mis)fortunes of a wannabe actress in Hollywood, after a series of strange auditions she lands the lead in a new film from a mysterious production company. “But with this opportunity comes bizarre ramifications that will transform her both mentally and physically…” Yikes!

SXSW.com

SUNDAY

10AM BARTON SPRINGS POOL

This man-made pool in Austin’s Zilker Park is filled from the water of the Main Barton Spring, the fourth largest natural spring in Texas. Open for year ‘round outdoor swimming, long before the pool was built the springs were considered sacred and were used for purification rituals by tribesmen of the local Tonkawa tribe. So where better to refresh your Sunday morning head?

Austintex.gov

11am JYOTISH ASTROLOGY WITH ANNE BEVERSDORF 

This renowned Austin astrologer goes back and forth between traditional Western and Vedic astrological systems during a reading, cross-checking information to give a totally in-depth, 360-reading. Coming to astrology as a healing modality, “My goal is to open doors for a deep flowering of your innermost Self in relation to the world. My peace is in hearing that YOU have found meaning in both joys and sorrows,” she says.

Stariel.com

1PM WHOLE FOODS RAW VEGAN FOOD BAR

Not only does Austin have one of the biggest Whole Foods in the world (or at least what feels like it, this is the home of their HQ after all), there’s also a WHOLE counter of the infamous salad bar dedicated to vegan (and mainly raw) cuisine. Well, hello broccoli cashew crunch, chickpea chix salad, pumpkin seed cheese, and raw German chocolate cake. Oh, or how about a raw flax seed tortilla was topped with kale and avocado, spicy cashew cheese, mock sour cream, cilantro and pico de gallo? Yes please.

Wholefoodsmarket.com

3PM GARDEN OF THE ANCIENTS

A 15-minute drive out of town, this “herb emporium and nursery” carries over 300 medicinal and culinary herbs, while the store itself is set among the creeping vines of a sprawling working herb and vegetable garden. They also grown a large selection of “ethnobotanical”, or medicinal, plants, including Daturas and Morning Glories, Wild Dagga, Baby Hawaiian Woodrose, Wormwood, Skullcap, Wild Lettuce, Wild Tobacco and the legendary San Pedro cactus. Properly witchy stuff.

Gardenoftheancients.com

5PM CUSTOM CRYSTAL DESIGN SESSION WITH FORREST LEE

Fort Worth native Forrest Lee has been creating his beautiful Healing Vortex Crystal Wraps since 2009, when he was gifted his first crystal – “with intense compassion from a dear brother in a hard time” – with life changing results. Now, “my goal is to spread healing and compassion by igniting that heart flame in each human. The crystals help remind us of our divinity,” he says, and a custom design session with Forrest is the best way to find the crystal that will work the hardest for YOU.

Facebook.com/healingvortex.crystalwraps

7PM BANGERS

Time to balance today’s air and water energy activities with some low down and earthy SAUSAGE. Bangers is Austin’s famous “sausage house & beer garden” – and, yes, their veggie options (beet and goat cheese or veggie BLT) get a huge thumbs up from us. The veggie ranchero brunch and sides (jalepeno cream corn with onion gratin anyone?) are also ridiculous, and all washed down with libations from the gluten free beer menu (yep, you read that right!)

Bangersaustin.com

9PM SOUND HEALING WITH TINA RODRIGUEZ

This incredible local healing artist, who works with crystal bowls as well as the sound of her own sweet voice, hosts regular group sessions and is available for one-to-one healing. As the rest of the SXSW revellers rock out to the closing sets of the festival, send your spirit soaring high on her beautiful cosmic vibes.

Facebook.com/tinalasirena

For full listings of what’s up at SXSW go to the festival website.

@SXSW

With thanks to Caleb Campaigne.